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In this essay I will be discussing the relationship between stereotyping and representation.

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Introduction

In this essay I will be discussing the relationship between stereotyping and representation. Posing the question, do the media have an influence in society's perceptions on a particular group due to the images represented on that group, and whether this has a negative or positive effect? The best way to define stereotypes is a widely circulated prejudgement or assumptions about a particular group. Most stereotypes work by taking a common feature (true or false) on a particular group and manipulation audiences into thinking it's the norm by implying that all members of that group also share those features. Media is a very powerful tool within the world today, we see and use the media every day weather it be in a magazine, on the news, through advertising or on the internet, we use these elements of media so much that we ourselves aren't aware of the influences it gives through the use of manipulation. Many critics have argued that stereotypes are an unavoidable part of the mass media representations. Hollywood cinema for example was first established by aiming films at illiterate, multi-ethnic American audiences. Characters were given visual aides or melodramatic characterisations to help audiences have a better understand of that characters role in the film, for example the good cowboy would wear a white hat and the homosexual made limp wrested gestures, these stereotypes were useful widely circulated entertainment products. ...read more.

Middle

Stereotypes help us to make sense of our surroundings and naturalise difference making differences seem normal and real even if their not. People think that their perceptions of things are final and ultimate but we are sure as we have not experienced them ourselves. The media creates certain identities through representation, therefore creating and circulating particular identity discourses. In victor rouso's film the celliod closet homosexuality was represented as something to be ridiculed, pitied or frightened of by creating stereotypes of what it is to be gay. Identity is an effect of discourse. The media creates certain identities through representation, therefore creating and circulating particular identity discourses. Discourse is a language or system of representations that has developed within society in order make's and circulates meanings about a particular subject matter. The meanings created are in the interests of the group in society which the discourse originates and works ideologically to seem natural to make the meanings become common sense. Discourse is a social act that is used to either promote or oppose dominant ideologies. This is sometimes referred to as a discursive practice. It's not only the news that uses representation to create stereotypes many forms of advertising reinforce dominant discourses within society by promoting it and encouraging it. For example Nike, has a target consumer that they promote their products to being young youths generally black. Many of their recent adverts have black, male wearing thuggish clothing. ...read more.

Conclusion

It wasn't until the 1970s that films began to feature predominately black casts and started to really capture black culture but still taking emphasis on violence and sex which was known as the blaxploitation films. Black males have been portrayed as sexually ravenous and predatory which tells us that the group doing the stereotyping, white males fears such as mixed relationships and desires what they are labelling the other. "I believe very strongly that the programmes we get on screen reflect the kind of people who make them. By and large the BBC is run by white middle class males and we get that kind of television (crick, 1992, p.129). They projected their fears onto black men. Stereotypes bounce back at us as they project our unconscious thoughts and anxieties. Finally in the 1990s there was an emergence of films starring black actors that were made by black producers. Such as spike lee's film, do the right thing black film makers were eager to represent the many different features of black culture that was ignored in previous white dominated films. I feel that the relationship between stereotyping and representation is a very simple one they work in correlation to each other. Stereotypes are caused by certain representations and representation of certain groups is created through certain stereotypes. The reason why these stereotypes are able to be continued is because people are not nessicerilly educated enough to recognise what is true and what is false about certain groups. ...read more.

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