Gender and Equality in the Society

Introduction

Media content sways the manner in which people perceive gender and equality. In spite of the women’s vital role in contemporary society, it should be noted that they are not symbolized in the mass media according to their population and to their communal participation (Hinman, 2010). There is a mismatch between how women are portrayed in the media and how they appear in real life. Owing to this, the media have been condemned for compromising on the intention of realizing gender equality. Similarly, they have been blamed for propagating undesirable gender prejudices. According to women activists, the media misrepresent and portray women as sexual objects. The media also portray women as subservient. Because the media interfere with the fight for gender and equality in the society, it should adopt a deontological theory approach rather than utilitarianism theory approach to address the alleged accusations.

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Unlike the utilitarian theory, the theory safeguards the value of every individual. Similarly, the approach offers certainty. The utilitarianism approach should be avoided because it offers a degree of doubt in a manner through which it seeks to address gender inequality issues in the media.

Application of two ethical theories

Based on the above challenges and the historical stereotypes of women, the media fraternity should tackle the alleged accusations. They should try to expand their boundaries to allow the equal representation of all genders in the industry. In this section, two ethical theories are applied in analyzing how the media should address gender and equality. The two concepts selected are utilitarianism and deontological theories.

Deontological ethics

Unlike utilitarianism, the deontological theory focuses on the actions of individuals rather than on the results of their actions. The deontological theory emphasizes that some actions are wrong or right with respect to their attributes (Piller, 2013). The theory urges individuals to act accordingly, irrespective of the noble or wicked consequences, which may result from their actions.

Proponents of deontology theory live in the space of ethical guidelines such as it is immoral to kill innocent persons, it is immoral to steal, it is immoral to tell lies, and it is right to keep promises. An individual who adheres to deontological ethics is required to do the right thing at all the time. As such, they should do good deeds even if their consequences are more harmful than doing immoral things. For instance, the theory upholds that it would be immoral to falsify to save a colleague from an assassin. When compared with utilitarianism theory, it is noted that utilitarianism begins by reviewing acts and identifying the right actions as those that guarantee maximum happiness for the involved parties. On the other hand, deontologists identify the right actions before proceeding.

Concerning deontology theory, the media should address issues of gender and inequality by first coming up with a number of policies and measures to address the issues. Thereafter, they should review the choices and measures to identify the right and wrong selections. The right choices are then selected for implementation. Based on the theory, the media should acknowledge that misrepresentation of women, the portrayal of women as submissive beings, and the depiction of women as sexual objects are morally wrong. With the acknowledgment, they should formulate the right policies and measures aimed at ending the vices. The policies and measures should be right according to the deontology theory.

If the media utilizes the theory, it will empower women in the industry through positive action platforms and national gender equality policies. The above actions would be appropriate because they are perceived as morally right. The media industry should implement affirmative action programs with quantifiable goals to incorporate a gender aspect in their workplaces, motivate women to take high-ranking positions in their corporations, and assure gender equality in working conditions. National gender equality policies ought to be implemented by the media owners by supporting studies on stereotypes in the media, encouraging networking and create more gender-based platforms, and enhancing public consciousness about the effects of media on gender and equality through promotions, information days, and advertisements.

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With respect to the above illustrations, it is apparent that unlike utilitarianism, the deontological theory emphasizes the actions of individuals rather than on the results of their actions. Deontologists identify the right actions before addressing any issue (Piller, 2013). Therefore, the media should address issues of gender and inequality by first coming up with a number of policies and measures to address the issues. Thereafter, they should review the choices and measures to identify the right and wrong selections. If the media utilizes the theory, it will empower women in the industry through positive action platforms and national gender equality policies.

Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is a moral concept, which determines right and wrong based on the results of selecting an act or rule over other acts or rules (Caille, 2013). The standard of utility is evaluated against every other action in a circumstance of choice. With respect to consequences, utilitarianism encompasses all the good and bad effects resulting from the decision chosen. The effects are considered whether the decision has been implemented or not. When the dissimilarities between the consequences of options are not great, the options are not perceived as being moral (Caille, 2013). Actions or decisions should be perceived as ethically right or wrong when the repercussions are of such significance that an individual would desire to see the cause compelled to perform in a favored way. Unlike deontology theory, the concept moves away from the choice of an individual’s welfares and takes into account the welfares of everyone.

With respect to utilitarianism, the media should end gender prejudices by choosing decisions based on the consequences of their choices. The media should settle on a choice that will enhance the happiness between both parties. As such, the media have distorted the perception of women in society by misrepresenting them, displaying them as submissive beings, and by portraying them as sexual objects.

They should try to expand their boundaries to allow the equal representation of all genders in the industry. Similarly, they should stop depicting women as sexual objects. By doing so, the industry will enable women to compete equally with their male counterparts. Women will also get equal opportunities as men do in the industry. In addition, the media will enhance their reputation by enhancing equal representation. Based on the above illustrations, it is apparent that the above acts will result in maximum happiness between both parties.

Critics suggest that the theory should not be adopted because it may perpetuate immoral acts while trying to please the involved parties. Concerning the subject issue, the theory supports any decision or act that will result in greater happiness for both the women and the media. For instance, the media can retrench a number of men and replace them with women. Similarly, the media can employ women only into new vacancies.

In addition, opportunities expected in the future can be preserved for women. Through the above initiatives, the media will address the social inequalities that had been directed at the female gender in the past. The actions will enhance the media’s reputation. Despite the benefits of the above acts, it should be noted that the decision taken is unethical as it gives women more privileges over men. By doing so, the theory has gone against its main goal of enhancing gender equality.

Lastly, it should be noted that the media might end the above challenges by adopting policies or acts that will result in greater happiness for both the industry and the women. Through utilitarianism theory, the media may settle on a choice that will enhance happiness to both parties instead of listening to the critics’ opinions that suggest that with utilitarianism theory, immoral acts can be defended.

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Evaluation

It is apparent that the media will be more likely to succeed in addressing gender and equality issues if they adopt a deontological theory approach rather than a utilitarianism theory approach. Unlike the utilitarian theory, the theory emphasizes the worth of every individual. The policies and measures formulated through the approach give equal respect to all parties. Similarly, the approach offers certainty. The utilitarianism approach identified above offers a degree of doubt in a manner through which it seeks to address gender inequality issues in the media. As such, the intended consequences are not predictable because the future is uncertain.

Those who object deontological theory assert that the approach permits actions and decisions that make the earth a less desirable place. For the reason that deontological theory ethics are not focused on the consequences, it may lead to passages of action, which may result in a decrease in global happiness (Mosser, 2008). Despite the objection, the theory is still appropriate in ending gender and equality in the media. The approach will ensure that affirmative action is undertaken to end the vice in the media industry. Similarly, the approach gives equal respect to all parties, enhancing the chances of succeeding in the intervention.

Conclusion

As indicated above, media content sways the manner in which people perceive gender and equality. There is a mismatch between how women are portrayed in the media and how they appear in real life. Media have been accused of propagating undesirable gender prejudices. According to women activists, the media misrepresent and portray women as sexual objects. To address the issues, utilitarianism and deontological theories were applied. According to utilitarianism, the media should end gender prejudices by choosing decisions based on the consequences of their choices. The media should settle on a choice that will enhance the happiness between both parties. With respect to deontological theory, the media should address issues of gender and inequality by first coming up with a number of policies and measures to address the issues.

Thereafter, they should review the choices and measures to identify the right and wrong selections. The right choices are then selected for implementation. After analyzing both theories, it was found that the media would be more likely to succeed in addressing gender and equality issues if they adopt a deontological theory approach rather than a utilitarianism theory approach. The policies and measures formulated through the approach give equal respect to all parties.

References

Caille, A. (2013). Utilitarianism and Anti-Utilitarianism. Thesis Eleven, 1(21), 57-68. Web.

Hinman, L. (2010). Ethics updates. San Diego: University of San Diego. Web.

Mosser, K. (2008). Understanding philosophy. New York: Chelsea House Info base. Web.

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Piller, C. (2013). Valuing Knowledge: A Deontological Approach. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 2(6), 413-428. Web.

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