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Society plays a big role in how people see and react towards one another. Some can be positive, but most of the time it is negative because stereotypes place you in a category you may or may not want to be in. Others might say that you only see stereotypes in movies, but this is not true. Even though there is a lot of stereotyping in movies, there is much more of it happening in the real world that no one knows about. Society stereotypes you every day based on your race, class, and socioeconomic status and much more. The reason why people stereotype is because of what they see on TV, or their social economic status, and in the end it influences a person on how he or she sees themselves.
The most influential meaning of how a society stereotypes a person is by what he or she sees on TV. No matter what channel you watch on TV, there are always people stereotyping one another, from judging those by their race, what kind of community they live in, or even what type of food people eat or drink, no matter what race the family is, there is always a stereotype the media labels us as. For example if you see a white family on TV they are always wealthy with one daughter and one son. Usually they have a dog and their parents are happily married. If you see an Asian family, the parents are strict with one son or daughter. This is a bad thing because when you are small and watching TV, and they are stereotyping a family, when you are young, you assume that’s how it works in the real world. Next time that young child sees a family similar to the one that he watched, he will automatically stereotype them before even getting to know them. Since he grew up with this kind of thinking it will be with him for the rest of his life. Young children don’t know any better but to assume what they see on TV is real. This is why you never believe on TV and bring those ways of thinking in the real world.
People in today’s society think if they know your economic status they know your whole life status. This is because of stereotypes. For example, if there is an African American mother with two kids at a young age and their father isn’t around raising the young child, society would assume that the father is in a gang or got the young woman pregnant then left her. Society stereotypes people without even hearing their story and seeing where they come from. That same mother could have had two kids with the man she loves, but he is not there because he is at war fighting for our country. Society judges people on how much money they make or have. For example, if you drive around a nice car, people automatically assume you have money. This is not always true because my cousin who is 21 drives a brand new Camaro. He never went to college and still lives with his mom working full time. If you saw him driving around you, would think he has a lot of money or comes from a family with money, but in this case he doesn’t have either of them. Judging people based off of their economic status is a bad way to judge because what you see may not always be what you assume. Another reason why judging off economic status is bad because it limits your view on how you see things. It is like seeing the world through tunnel vision, only seeing straight and not looking around observing new things. People think if you have nice things and drive nice cars, you are rich, but in the real world, it doesn’t matter what kind of clothes you wear or what kind of car you drive. Economic status cannot be guessed.
Stereotyping can really influence a person on how he or she sees themselves. This is a bad thing because not only is it bad to stereotype, but it can also effect ones emotion and self-esteem. Stereotyping on a person’s appearance is bullying; just because they fit a certain look doesn’t mean they are affiliated with them. I read a story in New Voices about a guy who was an American Muslim living in the United States. He was in high school when 9/11 happened. He was a regular Muslim who was born and raised in America, but once 9/11 happened, everything changed. He started getting bullied and stereotyped for looking like the terrorist who attacked the World Trade Center. Even though he had nothing to do with this event, he was still targeted because he looked like them. No matter where he went, everyone always stereotyped him for being born a certain religion. It is not fair to do this because not only is it bad, but it can have a major effect on you. Being stereotyped or being bullied at a young age can be traumatizing and can have an effect on how a child grows up and how he or she lives his life. For example, if there is a young Mexican boy who is watching a movie, and in the movie, there are gangs who are speaking English who live in America, the boy might see this as a cool thing to do and might end up joining a gang and ruining his life. This is bad because he is just following the stereotypes set for him.
Stereotypes play a huge role on how society sees people, and how people react to one another. It is bad to stereotype people on how they look and what clothes their wear because you never know where they come from, but it can also be bad because it can really affect someone’s emotions. It might not seem like it, but stereotyping is a form of bullying. Everyone knows that bullying is bad but stereotyping is the form of bullying that isn’t always known and stopped. Some of the few ways people stereotype others is by what they see on TV and how much money they look like they have. Stereotypes can influence a person on how he or she sees themselves. Today many people are trying harder and harder to not be stereotyped by wearing unique clothes. They want to see themselves as an individual and not as a whole. No matter what race, class or economic status you are in it is not a good feeling to be stereotyped for something you are not. In the end treat others the way you want to be treated.
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Stereotyping In The Media Essay, Research Paper
My topic will address how minorities and women are misrepresented in the media and how they are stereotyped. I plan to show how minorities and women are depicted or stereotyped unfairly in the news, on television, and in general.
In an article from USA Today magazine, it illustrated that if you have watched, listened to, and read media all your life, you probably have filed these images into your thinking process: African-Americans are mostly rap stars, professional athletes, drug addicts, welfare mothers, criminals and/or murderers; Latinos are illegal aliens, ignorant immigrants who take, but give little back to the country and can’t even speak the language, or drug-crazed thugs who have no respect for law or order; Asian-Americans are either weak, model citizens or inscrutable, manipulative, or uncaring invaders of business, especially in the United States; Native Americans are illiterate, drunken Indians who hate all Caucasians and sleep away their lives. (Saltzman, 1994) If you are like most middle-class Americans, most of what you know about members of other races or religions comes from what you read in the paper, hear on radio, or see on television. It is easy to see that racial and ethnic stereotypes still dominate much of reporting today. In today’s media, African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans and Native Americans either are treated as invisible or the source of a particular problem: crime, immigration, or the economy. In reference to Native-Americans: when you watch a sport such as the Atlanta Braves baseball team or the Washington Redskins football team, you see the tomahawk chop and chants at these baseball or football games. Anything wrong with this?
As for Hispanics, “You find a few Hispanics sprinkled through the networks but in supporting roles” says Hollywood publicist, Luis Reyes. “They are put there for color.” (Heller 1994) In 1993, Hispanics who numbered 25 million in the United States, played in only eleven of the 800 prime-time network TV parts, according to a March 1993 Newsweek study. Another study conducted by the Center for Media and Public Affairs, found that of more than 7,000 TV characters on 620 prime-time shows between 1955 and 1987, there were 2 percent Hispanics and 6 percent Blacks. Last year, Common Law lasted only four episodes on ABC. Today, there are no shows that I can think of that are all Hispanic — you have to go to cable TV to find a show.
Now turning to Asians on TV, if you remember the show “All American Girl” which depicted a Korean family, it is no longer on the air. Where do we see them now? No where.
Now let’s focus on African-Americans. Television’s most prominent black men are athletes and entertainers. On the court, on the field, on the rap stage, they are heroes to both Whites and Blacks, particularly to the young. What does this do? They may give an impressionable viewer the notion that speed, strength, and bad language will do for them what it has done for its heroes. Elsewhere on the small screen can be found black news anchors, reporters and commentators as well as actors, social workers, teachers, and public officials who represents different roads to achievement. But not even Colin Powell can compete in the dreams of most youngsters with that of a Shaquille O’Neal or Michael Jordan.
Dr. Camille Cosby, who received her doctorate in education (her husband is Bill Cosby) has written a book: “Television’s Imageable Influences: The Self Perception of Young African-Americans,” which charts the damaging impact of derogatory images of African-Americans produced by our media. She observed that self-esteem is considered a pre-requisite for success. She states, “What impact would it have on your psyche to see your people constantly portrayed as the devoted servant, the chicken and watermelon eater, the sexual superman, or the social delinquent, among many other derogatory images?”
It is for these and other reasons that Dr. Cosby wrote her book to emphasize the real human cost of media misinformation and indifference. Dr. Cosby also states, “As a mother, I am very aware of what children watch and how they are influenced by TV, movies, newspapers and art. The way the media distorts our differences is a covert divide and conquer strategy which I regard as a violation of human rights.” (Johnson, 1995)
When Blacks are invited into homes via television, it evidently is easier for viewers to laugh at African-Americans than to see them effectively addressing their problems.
Former TV comedies such as the highly rated Roseanne and Grace Under Fire, addressed serious issues such as wife abuse, forced unemployment, and divorce within the white working class, but similar issues come up short on black shows. This suggests that Blacks must be fun-loving and happy-go-lucky no matter how dire the circumstance. This “Don’t worry, be happy” mentality was illustrated in “A Different World,” a comedy about black college life as a spin-off from the ground breaking Cosby Show. But it focused on more partying; more relationship matters than on serious academics.
As for women, a report which analyzed media coverage of women, found that the “white male, as reported by the media, is the subtle norm by which all else is gauged.”
For example, when the subject is a white male, reference to his race and gender is rarely noted, whereas descriptive phrases, such as “black leader” or “female candidate” are often employed in addition to that person’s name and title. Images and beliefs concerning women are far more prominent in our society than those of men. Women are always the ones cooking, cleaning, doing household tasks or taking care of children. They are portrayed as being emotionally and physically inferior and submissive to men. Women are visualized as weak creatures. They tend to be confined to a life dictated by family and personal relationships. Men almost always dominate television programs. Figures show that in television drama women are outnumbered by men 3:1 or 4:1; in cartoons women are outnumbered 10:1; and in soap operas women are outnumbered 7:3. (Ingham 1997) In daily shows such as soap operas, women are usually hysterical, crying and emotionally out of control. This personifies women as being the inferior sex, which leads to many false stereotypes. Women as sex objects are the most common stereotype of women on television.
Now turning to the television network, Fox executives first embarked on their quest for the young-urban market dollar, by offering performers such as Keenan Ivory Wayans and Charles Dutton titles that promised an unusually high degree of creative control for African-Americans. Of course, the deals weren’t exactly what they were cracked up to be. When the TV show, In Living Color hit big, the upstart network got greedy and attempted to make syndication dollars on Thursdays while continuing with first-run episodes
Sundays. Naturally the Wayans family walked. And when the TV show Roc failed to earn big ratings, Fox began using its veto power over the shows content. The shows Roc and South Central depicted reality-based black families. Even though Roc was canceled, it went out with a fight. In a last ditch effort to salvage the working-class dramedy (comedy/drama), 29 black members of congress signed a letter of protest to Rupert Murdock (President of Fox network) while Congressman Ed Towns even issued a statement that members of the congressional black caucus will not stand for the “paternalistic” cancellation of positive black shows.
The star of Roc, Charles Dutton in commenting on his show in the magazine “Village Voice” says, “It is my opinion that if I was doing what Martin Lawrence was doing, if I was doing what some of the baffoon male characters on Living Single were doing, if our show was made of fluff-lightweight material such as Family Matters and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, I would have been on the air for five more seasons.” (Zook, 1994)
Now some solutions for the news. More than 5,000 minority journalists at a unity ‘94 conference in Atlanta, said the solution is to increase racial and ethnic minorities in news management ranks so that those who report, edit and decide what goes on via the media are proportionately representative of the public at large. The number of minorities in the media have increased in recent years, but that rate isn’t fast enough. It is unjustifiable that the men and few women who manage the media continue to do so without the benefit of enough input from racial and ethnic minorities to make a difference. (Sunoo, 1994)
Perhaps in the television arena, we could ask viewers what they think about the shows on the air; we need to encourage open dialogue. We need to show that diversity is a long-term commitment to change. Don’t just focus on diversity when it’s black history month or Cinco De Mayo; focus on diversity all the time.
In summary, I hope I have enlightened us all to know that there is minority misrepresentation in the media, whether it be Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans or Women. There are a number of solutions possible, but until mainstream America sees it as a problem, I don’t think it will change too fast.
As for stereotyping, the familiar saying, “Don’t be too fast to judge a book by its cover” is easy to say, but unfortunately most look at the cover before opening the book.
Heller, Michele A. (1994, August). “Off the air” Hispanic, 7, (7), 30-34.
Ingham, Helen. (1997, April 6). “The portrayal of Women on television.”
Johnson, Robert E. (1995, February 27). “Camille Cosby’s book explores negative images of Blacks in media.” Jet, 87, (16), 60-62.
Saltzman, Joe. (1994, November). “In whose image – media stereotypes of minorities.” USA Today (magazine), 123, (2594), 71.
Sunoo, Brenda Paik. (1994, November). “Tapping diversity in America’s newsrooms.” Personnel Journal, 73 (11), 104.
Zook, Kristal Brent. (1994, June 28). Blackout. Village Voice, 39 (26), 51-54.
Practice Essay – Contemporary Australian Theatre
Section I — Australian Drama and Theatre (Core Study)
1. Check how much time you have to answer the question. Keep an eye on the time as you write.
ttempt Question 1
Allow about 45 minutes for this section
Answer the question in a writing booklet. Extra writing booklets are available.
2. Take note of the criteria on which you will be marked.
n your answer you will be assessed on how well you:
■ demonstrate knowledge and understanding of drama and theatre relevant to the question
■ express your point of view and use appropriate supporting evidence and present a sustained, logical and well-structured answer to the question
Question 1 (20 marks)
‘ The weakness of Australian drama is that it relies on stereotyped characters to explore
serious social and personal issues .’
Discuss this statement, considering the challenges and opportunities for people staging
productions of the plays you have studied.
3. Read through the question several times. Underline key words of phrases that you will need to address.
In your answer you should refer to AT LEAST TWO texts set for the topic you have studied.
4. Take note of any additional instructions
Topic 1: Bush and City in Australian Drama
Texts set for study:
Ray Lawler, Summer of the Seventeenth Doll
Louis Esson, Mother and Son
Katharine Susannah Prichard, Brumby Innes
Betty Roland, The Touch of Silk
Topic 2: Contemporary Australian Theatre
Texts set for study:
Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman, The Seven Stages of Grieving
Jack Davis, No Sugar
Debra Oswald, Gary’s House
Suzanne Spunner, Running Up a Dress
2006-2008. Cameron,Matt, Ruby Moon
5. Decide Your Point of View
This should be stated in your introduction. The statement for this essay claims there is a weakness in Australian drama. It claims that weakness is that Australian drama uses stereotyped characters. You must first decide if this is true for the plays you have studied.
My point of view is that the characters in Ruby Moon are fairly stereotyped. However, I don’t think the protagonist in The ^ 7 Stages of Grieving is a stereotype. However, she is a generic (general, not very specific) character; an “everywoman” (a character who represents every woman, in this case Aboriginal) and I think this is relevant to the question.
You must next decide if the use of stereotype is a “weakness”. I personally don’t believe that it is a weakness in Ruby Moon. The use of the generic character in The 7 Stages of Grieving (in some ways, by virtue of her lack of an individual identity, a stereotype) does not seem a weakness to me either.
You also have to think about the “challenges and opportunities” this creates for those “staging productions”. I think that these two plays create more opportunities than challenges, but I must answer the question, so I will discuss challenges.
Here I state my point of view. I also tell the responder (in this case the marker) how I will support my point of view. The introduction is a little like a summary of the whole essay, so I must think about what I will say in the essay before I begin my introduction.
In essays you tend not to use the word “I”. Rather than say “My point of view is that the use of stereotypes in the plays Ruby Moon and The 7 Stages of Grieving is an effective technique,” it is more appropriate to say, “The use of stereotypes in the plays Ruby Moon and The 7 Stages of Grieving is an effective technique.” However, in the HSC Drama exam you are allowed to comment on your experiences of performing and watching others perform the plays during workshops/presentations. Consequently, you may use a phrase such as “Whilst performing Sonny Jim I was struck by the subtle dimensions to his seemingly stereotyped character.”
In my introduction I will state that the plays use stereotypes, or generic characters, but that this isn’t a weakness. I will say that it offers many opportunities to those staging the plays, however, it does create challenges.
My summary will include the main points of my essay:
My introduction might look something like this:
Australian playwrights do engage in the use of stereotypes. (3) However, this is not necessarily a weakness. (1) In the play Ruby Moon. by Matt Cameron, we are presented with a series of stereotypical characters. (4) Their stereotyped nature creates much of the humour of the play and allows the actors to switch between multiple roles with ease. (2) In The 7 Stages of Grieving. by Enoch and Mailman, we are presented with a generic character, referred to in the stage directions as “the woman”. (5) She is an Aboriginal everywoman. As such, she becomes a vehicle for responders to experience the whole of Aboriginal history, the “seven stages of Aboriginal history”.
(6) The use of stereotypes in these two plays allows theatre practitioners to challenge the stereotypes the mainstream has of Australian society. Stereotypes allow audiences to immediately identify characters as belonging to a particular social group, and this is an opportunity for those staging the play to expand audiences’ understanding of the complexity of personal and social issues facing those groups. (7) However, the use of stereotypes can encourage an audience to disengage with the characters and thereby trivialise the importance of the issues they face.
The body of an essay expands on the introduction. The points you made in the introduction are given more detail and are supported by key quotes, incidents from the plays, and other sources. Because I find the use of the generic character in The 7 Stages of Grieving as the most supportive of my point of view, I will use it first. This will cover points 3, 5, 6 and 7 from my introduction. In my answer, I will use references to the play and to other sources to support my answer.
I will discuss the “serious social and personal issues” faced by Aboriginal people and how the use of a generic character assists to present these to an audience in a way that does not trivialise them, but rather makes them more immediate and allows those staging productions of the play to gain the audience’s empathy.
I identify the personal and social issues of the play as: The physical and cultural displacement of Aboriginal people, Land Rights, The Stolen Generations and Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
This section of the body of my essay may look something like this:
The play The 7 Stages of Grieving contains elements of both realism and symbolism. The set is very symbolic, a black space edged in white with a grave of red earth in the centre. The stage arrangement symbolises the centrality of the land to Aboriginal people, and also the way in which they have been constrained by white culture. As the play progresses, each of these elements is activated in a symbolic manner. Above this hangs a block of ice which is suspended by seven ropes representing the seven stages of Aboriginal history. The ice drips onto the grave; tears for the grief Aboriginal people have experience over the last 216 years.
This one woman show has only one performed character, referred to in the stage directions as “the woman”. She is never named but is rather a generic everywoman, and as such, acts herself as symbol of the Aboriginal experience. She is a stereotype, a single character representing a group, but this does not detract from the poignancy of the play, or from the issues she explores on stage. The physical and cultural displacement of Aboriginal people, Land Rights, The Stolen Generations and Aboriginal Deaths in Custody are all explored through the vehicle of this character’s words and actions. However, none of these are trivialised by the brilliant text created by Enoch and Mailman. The challenge is for those staging the play to create empathy with the protagonist; no easy task.
One example of a social issue explored in the text is Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. In scene 18, Story of a Brother. we are presented with a personal account from the woman. The woman’s language is colloquial, in many places using words and grammatical structures we associate with a cliché of Aboriginal people. “Pissed as,” she says, “you got no right,” “No good that fella.” This could act as a trap for stereotyping and thereby alienating the audience or trivialising the issue, but rather we are profoundly moved by the subtlety and naturalness of the woman’s words and her pain. The repetition of the word “shame”, the impersonation of her brother stumbling drunk. The simple statement, “…we’ve seen it too many times, cousins going in and then you get that call.”
According to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, 1998, “a major reason for Aboriginal deaths in custody remains: the grossly disproportionate rates at which Aboriginal people are taken into custody, of the order of more than twenty times the rate for non-Aboriginals.” In the play we are presented with a simple narrative account of her brother’s “cycle”, which involves a lack of employment, police discretion, and, most importantly, shame. It is a down-to-earth and, in many ways, clichéd account of a personal story that taps into a serious issue. However, it is deeply touching if performed with conviction.
The conclusion summarises the content of your essay. You don’t bring up any new material in your conclusion, but simply state the point of view you outlined in the introduction which, by now, will have been proved to be justified. The conclusion is often very similar to the introduction but should be worded differently.
The plays Ruby Moon and The 7 Stages of Grieving both, to varying degrees, engage in the use of cliché and stereotyping. Characters are immediately recognisable as members of different social groups in Australia, and this allows those staging productions of the plays to explore the social and personal issues faced by those groups. Both plays require sensitive performances to avoid alienating the audience but are essentially sensitive and poignant explorations of the social and personal issues facing groups within contemporary Australia.