Stereotypes in the Media

The media plays an important role in providing information, entertainment, as well as instilling values to the different members of the society. The undertaking of this roles is, however, marked with a lot of stereotyping. Wolska (2011) defines stereotyping as the act of judging a person or a group of people based on the opinions of others. In the process of passing out its message to the public, the media has been found to create stereotypes through their influence on the opinions and attitudes of the audience. Their strong ability to influence the public has had both positive and negative impacts, with the negative impacts raising a lot of concerns.

A good example of the role the media has played in promoting stereotypes is through commercials, whereby certain groups of people are generally described as one despite their individual differences. Women in commercials are, for example, mainly portrayed as those that promote daily sales and are mainly used in advertisements promoting cosmetics and domestic products, while men are mainly used in those adverts that market more highly ranked merchandises such as cars, investment opportunities, and products. Women are shown as those whose activities mainly revolve around the household environment, while men are seen to be more of outdoor people (Matthews, 2007). In the case of women, there is also the tendency to use slender women to advertise beauty products, thus associating beauty with being thin, a situation that has played a major role in promoting weight related disorders such as anorexia as people struggle to lose weight (ADL, 2014).

Dealing with media stereotypes calls for the public to understand the stereotypes and acquire viewing skills that will enable them to be more informed, and those that are not easily manipulated by what they hear, see or read (Wolska, 2011).

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