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GCC Observation Gender Inequality Project

GCC Observation Gender Inequality Project


IMAGE In a popular music video, a group of scantily clad women are shown dancing around a male artist who is positioned at the center of attention. The camera frequently zooms in on the women’s bodies, focusing on their curves and revealing clothing, while the male artist remains fully clothed and in control.

SYMBOLISM This image symbolizes the objectification of women in media. The women in the video are treated as mere props to enhance the male artist’s image and appeal. Their sole purpose seems to be to cater to the male gaze and provide a visually pleasing backdrop for the male performer. The contrast between the women’s sexualized appearance and the male artist’s empowered position highlights the power dynamics at play.

GENDER INEQUALITY This example reflects both the Beauty Myth and patriarchy. The women in the video are portrayed as objects of desire, reinforcing the idea that a woman’s value is primarily determined by her physical appearance and sexuality. This perpetuates the Beauty Myth, where women are encouraged to conform to unrealistic beauty standards in order to gain approval and attention. Additionally, the unequal power dynamic portrayed in the video reinforces patriarchy, as it positions men as the dominant figures who control and define women’s roles and worth in society. This reinforces gender inequality by reinforcing the idea that women’s worth is linked to their ability to cater to male desires.

IMAGE A magazine cover features a photoshopped image of a famous actress. Her skin is flawless, her body is slim and toned, and she appears to fit the societal standards of beauty. The headline beside her image emphasizes her “amazing post-baby body” and offers tips on how readers can achieve a similar appearance.

SYMBOLISM The image represents the perpetuation of unrealistic beauty standards in media. The photoshopped image of the actress sets an unattainable ideal of beauty that is often manipulated through digital means. The focus on her post-baby body implies that a woman’s value is linked to how quickly she can conform to societal beauty standards even after giving birth.

GENDER INEQUALITY This example illustrates the Beauty Myth and reinforces gender inequality. The magazine cover promotes the notion that a woman’s worth is contingent on her physical appearance, especially post-pregnancy, rather than on her accomplishments, skills, or personal qualities. This contributes to gender inequality by perpetuating the idea that women must constantly strive to meet these narrow standards, diverting their focus from other areas of life. Moreover, the digital manipulation of the image sends a message that natural appearances are not good enough, which can erode women’s self-esteem and create a cycle of insecurity and dissatisfaction.

By analyzing these examples, we can see how media representations can perpetuate both the Beauty Myth and patriarchy, contributing to gender stratification and reinforcing unequal power dynamics between genders.

GCC Observation Gender Inequality Project



Gender Inequality

Sociologists have repeatedly shown representations of gender in the media support patriarchy and the “Beauty Myth”. Both patriarchy and the Beauty Myth create gender stratification.


Provide 2 examples of patriarchy or the Beauty Myth from any media source (YouTube, music videos, TV; magazines; film; posters, etc.).  You must provide an analysis explaining how your examples are evidence of the Beauty Myth and patriarchy.

To organize your analysis, use this format:

  1. The image
  2. The symbolism of the image
  3. Why this is an example of gender inequality



On the TV program, Two and a Half Men, women are portrayed in limited ways: as a virgin (the good girl); the whore (the “hot” chicks who indiscriminately sleep with Charlie); the “crazy” female (Rose – the neighbor); and the crone – old women who are not sexual creatures (Mother, the maid).


This portrayal of women values and ranks them on a scale of potential sex partners – with potential partners ranking as high status / value and women who are not potential sex partners as low status / value. For example, Charlie has multiple female sex partners – many of which were one-night-stands; Charlie’s brother had difficulty finding a “normal” woman and consistently deals with his ex-wife who is aggressive and at one time becomes a lesbian; and their mother who is portrayed as a hag.


This is an example of patriarchyWomen are defined in relationship to men on this show. This creates a power dimension where women are below men. It also is an example of the Beauty Myth as the women the men are interested in are bound to beauty and are not valued as whole people. When groups are placed in a hierarchy, this is inequality.

Your observation should be written as above—each paragraph should be titled accordingly (Image; Symbolism; Gender Inequality) with a brief discussion explaining why you think it fits this category. You may not use my words, my ideas, or my examples.

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