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Examine the representations of ethnics in a range of soap operas.

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Introduction

MEDIA STUDIES ESSAY: Examine the representations of ethnics in a range of soap operas. HARINDER SINGH Soap operas are continuously watched throughout Britain. Recent studies reveal that one in five Britain's couldn't name the prime minister of England, but when asked to name a character out of Eastenders they were able to produce names with ease. This shows us that for most of us soap operas are a key element in our everyday life. As well as the popular Eastenders, Coronation Street is a favourite with soap lovers and is Eastenders greatest rival. Although these soaps intend to represent reality, is the way reality interpreted correct? Stereotypes are becoming an issue and are shown in a large quantity on television, in much the negative perspective of ethnics. The lack of ethnic representation in soap operas has been somewhat of a consistent problem. To overcome this a ten percent rule has been introduced by, the control of television programs for England. This rule enforces that ten percent of guest characters had to be ethnic minorities. In light of this rule we saw the arrival of many ethnic characters. Nita was introduced to the square approximately one year ago: A single mother who found a job at the "local newsagents." ...read more.

Middle

Perhaps this stereotype has bee used on the basis that many Asians do own corner-shops and therefore it would be a representation based on general fact. Recent studies carried out by a poll on the internet reveal that out of every ten viewers three believe that Asians are shown as corner-shop owners in order to degrade their reputation. Jason's mixed race dad, Tony, is another stereotype shown in Coronation Street. Tony is portrayed as a stereotypical black adult. He has divorced his wife (Eileen) a long time ago and since then spends most of his time with girls, drinking and smoking. The aspect focused in this stereotype is that the black character is happily divorced and doesn't care how his children are but would rather spend his time with women and alcohol. Recent storylines (dating 15th- 18th) showed him getting into serious arguments with Eileen. This storyline showed a cruel side of his character as he took Jason from Eileen in spite of the fact that he didn't want him there, but only wanted to see Eileen's hear broken and she was truly left devastated. This creates a negative portrayal as we see the black character doing so many spiteful acts and we feel anger towards him. ...read more.

Conclusion

However it is evident that some ethnic groups are not represented because of: lack of that particular ethnic society in the specific area, in order for a new character to come in other characters would have to be suspended from the show. Therefore we also have too look at it from the perspective of the producers who have to put in a lot of time and effort to make a single episode and twisting storyline plots is another task that the script writers have too look forward to as well as keeping the viewers interest in the program. The way we look at some representations may make us feel negatively about them, but they are only there because a mass statistic influences their nature in soaps. For example a soap such as Eastenders is more likely to include a range of ethnics as the spread of multicultural people is very high. Therefore Eastenders is more likely to use ethnics than a soap such as, Emmerdale where the community has a lot less ethnic minorities. I think stereotypical representations are unfair as they only highlight an element of the chosen society to display and more often than less it is a negative portrayal of an ethnic minority. Producers should display ethnics with a broader view in mind and more positive speculations. ...read more.

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