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Media: social and broadcast

Social and broadcast media have the potential to shape gender norms – both in a more or less equal direction. Gender stereotypes can be reinforced or challenged through images, behaviour and discourse. 

In recent decades the potential of mass media to contribute to changing gender norms on a large scale has been recognised and incorporated into social change programming. The growth of social media has given rise to concern about the spread of misogynistic content and effective ways to counter this. However, social media has also emerged as a space where feminist activists can mobilise and develop support networks, and where users can influence others in their personal networks through the type of content they share.

ALIGN’s research focuses on:

  • the influence of social media on norms of masculinity, particularly among adolescents
  • the potential of social media as a space for feminist organising
  • the role of social media ‘back-ends’ – algorithms and content moderation policies – in influencing the type of gendered content users see
  • how broadcast media can contribute to equitable gender norms, through strengthening representation of women and gender-diverse people, and through the images and storylines they project 

Upcoming research

ALIGN’s report How does social media influence gender norms among adolescent boys found that most research on this topic has been carried out in Europe and the USA and relatively little takes into account boys’ perspectives on the content they consume or produce. ALIGN partners in Mexico are working with adolescent boys in six states to understand how they use social media, the sorts of gendered content they encounter and how they feel it affects them. The research will also delve into adolescent girls’ perspectives on gendered social media content. The research involves qualitative participatory methods, including Photovoice, and a quantitative survey. Check back here for findings in Spanish and English later in the year.


The resources in this section cover both the ways that inequitable gender norms and stereotypes can be reinforced through broadcast and social media, and effective ways to promote more equitable gender norms.