Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Women's and Gender Studies


Linda Grasso

Subject Categories

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Journalism Studies | Mass Communication | Women's Studies


journalism, feminism, objectivity, misogyny, homophobia, gender


The news is important because it helps individuals understand their place in the world and make the best decisions for themselves. Throughout its strong history and presence in the United States, the journalism industry has prided itself on delivering fact-based news using an objective framework, meaning that there is an expectation that journalists communicate the news impartially and without bias. Through an examination of gendered language and visual representations published in and by recent mainstream U.S. digital and print media outlets, this paper explains how the media plays a major role in the perpetuation of cis white masculinity. This paper explores the use of gendered language and gendered visual content like advertisements to make conclusions about the qualities and traits implicitly deemed favorable by U.S. news outlets, as well as those that are looked down upon. The gendered language and portrayals examined in this paper demonstrate that news outlets frequently communicate misogynistic, anti-LGBT, and racist ideology, which contributes to discriminatory practices and prejudice against women, LGBT people, and people of color. Additionally, this paper argues that the dissemination of such ideologies is not only harmful, but is proof that objectivity is a mythical conception that does not in practice function the way journalism pioneers and practitioners claim it does in theory. Lastly, this paper gives concrete suggestions that journalists and newsrooms can employ to identify, critically analyze, and eliminate unnecessarily gendered language and portrayals, as well as provides new frameworks from which to teach journalism at the school level and beyond.