Visual Sociology Social Roles, Gender Term Paper

Total Length: 854 words ( 3 double-spaced pages)

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With the death of the male member of the family, this family is forced to be together, and it is through their unity that they are only able to make themselves stronger individually. The image of a grieving family demonstrated the strength of the dead soldier (male) as an individual and the helplessness of each member of the family (specifically, women and children) he has left behind.

Picture 4, meanwhile, highlighted a common stereotype associated against males as more dangerous and suspicious in character than females. This picture of Iraqi males being searched by soldiers serves to reinforce the concept of males being inherently physically threatening to society. They are thereby discriminated against and are met with greater caution and scrutiny in the society. Though it demonstrated male physical strength, it also portrayed society's inherent hostility and antagonism towards males.

The last picture evoked a similar effect as was shown in Picture 4. Capturing images of soldiers walking in the dusty and bare streets of western Iraq, the picture invokes a feeling of fear and danger for the soldiers. The dusty and bare look of Iraq's physical environs helped promote the Spartan-like life soldiers are forced to live on, a sacrifice they have to make in order to ensure the security of the country (United States, as well as Iraq).
The setting, subjects, and mood of the picture help establish the thinking that indeed, males are physically strong than females. Hence, it is just fitting that males, who make the physical sacrifice, be given moral support from the females (who give emotional sacrifice for the males and the sake of the country).

These five pictures demonstrated a general trend still followed in the contemporary society: in conflict-ridden societies, males are assigned physically-demanding roles and tasks while females accomplish responsibilities that involve emotional and moral support. Though each role creates a balance in the society, the explicit show of sacrifice on the males' part creates the perception that they are making a bigger sacrifice, thereby perceiving them as stronger than females. Females as weak and vulnerable members of the society are thus reinforced despite the prevalence of feminist thinking and ideology.

In effect, societies remain traditional when the society is involved in a threatening situation in which the status quo may be disrupted. What these pictures reflect is the tendency of society to stick to and follow its norms and traditions in the event that social stability and security are threatened. It is through these situations that specific male-centric stereotypes become favored….....

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