Research by Innocean & The 100% Project explores media’s impact on masculinity and gender roles

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Jasmin Bedir: “There is a need to bring men into the conversation”

Innocean and The 100% Project have announced the next phase of their 18-month research project, following a comprehensive literature review focused on media.

The research seeks to investigate the representation of masculinity and masculine archetypes in the media, exploring the hypothesis that such portrayals contribute to negative impacts on gender equality.

Initiated in July 2023, the research project centres on the depiction of men in the media, with a particular emphasis on scrutinising how men in leadership roles are portrayed and the reinforcement of traditional gender roles. Additionally, it examines longstanding male archetypes and their influence on gender equity in society, workplaces, and leadership.

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The initial literature review, titled “Media’s Influence on Masculinity and Gender Roles through Masculine Archetypes,” identified prevalent male archetypes such as “the Hero,” “the Provider,” and “the Hedonist.” These archetypes often reinforce traditional gender roles, perpetuating stereotypical behaviours that are associated with adverse health outcomes for both men and women, while also contributing to gender inequality.

According to the review, media’s portrayal of masculine archetypes plays a significant role in shaping societal norms around masculinity and gender roles, influencing how people assign meaning and make assumptions.

The review has put forth various recommendations for the next stage of research, including evaluating masculine archetypes across different time periods and media formats, as well as fostering active partnerships with the media.

Jane Hill, co-chair of The 100% Project, emphasised the importance of understanding the impact of stereotypes and gender roles in a rapidly evolving media landscape.

Hill stated, “This literature review brings to light some of the masculine archetypes that exist within media and explores whether these have shifted over time.”

Jasmin Bedir, CEO of Innocean and founder of Fckthecupcakes, highlighted the responsibility of redefining aspirational culture for future generations.

Bedir articulated the influential role of media in shaping beliefs and assumptions surrounding masculinity and gender roles.

Bedir expressed, “We have identified a need for researchers and brands to partner with media and the entertainment industry to conduct large scale research that helps confirm or deny the shifts from traditional to modern or current day media representations of masculine archetypes.

“Given there is limited research on how men of today see themselves depicted in media, there is a need to bring men into the conversation.”

The review highlighted that failure to provide alternative expressions of archetypes could hinder the progression of gender diversity, equity, and inclusion in society and workplaces. It urged production and advertising companies to continue challenging and dismantling masculine archetypes attached to traditional gender roles to address the negative impact on individuals and society as a whole.

Top Image: Jasmin Bedir

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