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Stereotypes - As Seen on TV

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Introduction

What exactly is a stereotype? When I hear of the word "stereotype," I think of a person or a group of people being labeled based on their looks, race or how they are portrayed in the media. With enough exposure to a stereotype, people eventually believe it and conceive it as a reality. I believe that the media has a tremendous influence on how certain races are portrayed. In her essay, "The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria," Judith Ortiz Cofer reveals how Hispanic women are portrayed in the media: The myth of the Hispanic menial - the funny maid, mispronouncing words and cooking up a spicy storm in a shiny California kitchen - has been perpetuated by ...read more.

Middle

After seeing these videos, one will think that the word "woman" is synonymous with the word "sex." The fact that these women are usually minorities adds fuel to the flame. Cofer recalls several incidents where she has been a victim of stereotypical view of Latin women. Because of her Puerto Rican background, Cofer's mother encouraged her to wear clothing that others deemed inappropriate. Cofer's culture is different from the American culture, therefore the way Latin women dress give American men the wrong message. American men misinterpret the vivid colors and the abundance of jewelry and accessories Latin women wear as a provocative "invitation." As a result: Mixed cultural signals have perpetuated certain stereotypes - for example, that of the Hispanic woman as the "hot tamale" or sexual fireband. ...read more.

Conclusion

Young boys will probably perceive the women in their lives as nothing more than a piece of meat. It's disturbing how crime against women has steadily increased as women are degraded in the media. It's remarkable how the media has an immense effect on today's society. This is due to the fact that millions of people spend hours glued to the television. Unfortunately, the characters portrayed by the media fail to reveal how real people are in the real world: "There are thousands of [people] without the privilege of an education or the entrees into society...life for them is a constant struggle against misconceptions perpetuated by [myths]" (227). It's important to correct any misconceptions; otherwise, people will never know the truth behind a stereotype. Our goal should be, "to try to replace the old stereotypes with a much more interesting set of realities" (227). ...read more.

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