If you’re thinking this is going to be a thread about women’s rights, then you’re mistaken. We hear so much about how women are oppressed and marginalized such as in the media and how male privilege is everywhere in the media. Stop whining! Be a man! You just don’t your male privilege! These are some thing critics of feminism might be encountered with.
Are women so marginalized and men privileged in the media? Well, consider this. Men are generally portrayed in American media as being either stupid or evil. Women are generally portrayed as intelligent and good. Even when women are portrayed as evil they are portrayed as the mad genius while the evil men are viewed as the evil morons. This is especially true in kids’ shows and comedies. I will go over general genres.
Action/Adventure – This genre hasn’t been as tainted by political correctness as others have, which is why action/adventure films and shows are notorious for receiving complaints from feminists about how the man is the archetypical hero, though they also ignore the fact that the archetypical villain is usually male. Women were once frequently portrayed as damsels of distress and the hero’s love interest, but now women are frequently portrayed as the hero’s partner now (though that does not bother me).
Comedy – This genre is notorious for its portrayal of men as buffoons and/or villains. Even if the main character is male, he is viewed as very dumb while his girlfriend/wife is portrayed as much smarter, sort of like a mother figure. Usually in comedies, the man is somebody who has a horrible addiction to bad habit that annoys the wife so much that she sometimes threatens to leave him and take the kids with her. At best the man is just an adult child who never grew up. Sometimes it is not so benevolent as some comedies portray this man as a jerk who deserves to be left behind for another man. This genre frequently portrays men as either stay-at-home husbands and fathers or as dead-beats with low-wage jobs and the girlfriend/wife is portrayed having a far better paying job which makes her the breadwinner, something feminists complained about when men were the breadwinners.
Romance – In chick flicks, men are regularly portrayed as the “sex object” and love interest of the main character; yet whenever women are portrayed as the “sex object” it is offensive and misogynist to feminists. Furthermore, the main character — if it be a woman — is a gold-digger who is enamored with the rich guy, but if it is not the main character then the female gold-digger is portrayed as evil. So the character with the same trait is viewed radically different depending on whether the character is the protagonist or not. The male love interest is often portrayed as being with another woman at first who may even seem tyrannical to the main female character and in the end the male love interest realizes that he was dumb to be with that woman instead of the female protagonist. The guy apologizes for his stupidity and the girl accepts and initiates the relationship. If the protagonist is male, he is a dork who has a difficult time talking to girls and asking them out; this male protagonist is portrayed is goofy at times which may annoy the female love interest who may not even notice his existence at first. The female love interest is portrayed as almost impossible to get, making the guy go to far lengths just to get her to notice him. She ends up becoming his girlfriend because of pity; so ultimately it is on her part to start the relationship but only after the guy has gone through thick and thin to get her to say ‘yes’. This can be harmful in reality and lead to allegations of stalking.
Horror – The male characters usually die while the female virgin survives. I remember learning this precisely in my film studies class. Not much more can be said about this other than the fact that the villain is almost always a male although some twists have occurred such as a female villainess in the original Friday the 13th.
With that said, it is pretty obvious that gender roles are not uniquely in regards to women but men as well and that men are frequently portrayed more negatively in the media than women.