September 24, 2011 / Media - Marketing & Advertising, Safety, Sexism, Youth

How the Media Train Boys to be Sexist


The following post is cross-posted by Erin McNeill’s blog Marketing, Media, and Childhood. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and not necessarily those of The New Agenda.

Watch this trailer from the Media Education Foundation, which highlights the powerful messages boys are getting from current popular media. Or, as they put it, “Takes aim at the forces in male culture that condition boys and men to dehumanize and disrespect women.”

The issue with negative media messages to our children, as I see it, is not so much how those messages may harm our individual children, and what individual parents can or should do about it, but how these messages are changing the culture as a whole. This film sheds some light on just how the media is changing the culture, and not in a good way.

Here is how filmmaker Thomas Keith finds that media portrayals of men and women teach boys to be sexist:

Step 1: Train men to womanize
By showing constant objectification in the media – television, music videos, film.

Step 2: Immerse men in porn
“In the pornified world, which is the world we are in, boys and men learn that women love to be sexually objectified.”

Step 3: Make rape jokes
Such as the ones on Fox’s Family Guy.

Step 4:Unleash the masculinity cops
Obey the code, or you are like a woman. And you don’t want to be that (see above).

Join Our Email List

Be the first to know the latest initiatives from The New Agenda to improve the lives of women and girls.

Thank you for joining our list! Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.

  • Bes

    I would agree, however, Corporate Media culture (CMC)is not American Culture. CMC is however very loud and very dedicated to presenting the arrested development male view and they are very invested in not allowing a female view of the world or a balanced view of the world. But much of their sexist schlock (NBC’s Playboy Club bombed)fails to connect with Americans because it doesn’t reflect our cultural values.

    In my opinion Feminists and Pro Woman groups should be actively involved in taking down Corporate Media’s pipeline to our country’s children which is Basic Cable. That would produce more positive change in our culture than anything else women could do.

  • yttik

    “Here is how filmmaker Thomas Keith finds that media portrayals of men and women teach boys to be sexist”

    I don’t think “sexist” is the right word. Those four steps lead to Step 5, which is violence against women. First you dehumanize them, then you make violence sexy (porn,) then you can kill them. If you look at our TV shows today we have CSI, SVU, crime dramas with a nonstop parade of dead women in sexy poses. We have 24 hour cable news shows that do nothing but sensationalize violence against women. Our cartoons, comedians, and political commentators think nothing of wishing violence and torture upon women.

    “Sexism” is passing a woman up for a promotion. What we’re seeing is outright hatred of women, violent misogyny. Our media culture isn’t just teaching men and boys to dehumanize and not respect women, it’s teaching them to be violent against us. That’s what a rape joke is, that’s what a death threat is, that’s what a parade of sexy posed corpses is. It’s not “disrespect,” it’s violence.