understanding media

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Welcome to the forum for the Oxford Brookes University module U75102 Understanding Media.  The forum is currently closed.

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Author Topic: Stereotype, do they reflect or create?  (Read 4441 times)

Fluffy200

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Stereotype, do they reflect or create?
« on: October 29, 2014, 09:57:25 am »

We are surrounded by media all day everyday whether we like it or not and we are living in a saturated society. And it really isn't something we can help! Everyday we are encountered by stereotypes which re-inforce ideologies and shows the world as it is, but my question is actually DO stereotypes in-fact reflect our world or do they help create it?

To back up this idea we can look at the Hypodermic Needle Theory, that the media injects its messages into a passive audience, these are things such as information, values and attitudes. And with those things, comes stereotypes. It is also really important to understand how passive we are as an audience! Should we really believe everything we see and hear?
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nugget

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Re: Stereotype, do they reflect or create?
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2014, 11:47:26 am »

I agree with 'Fluffy200'; I believe we are being injecting with beliefs and values everyday without even realising. This is a perfect example of the marxist theory; the idea that the elite our filling our heads with false needs and messages to keep the masses under control.
I believe the stereotypes help create our world as they make us who we are. We all conform to cultures and stereotypes to be a part of something and 'fit in'. We are guilty in our world of judging people on how they look or act in society. This is due to the media and how they perceive the 'normal' person. The 'hypodermic needle theory' shows clearly how the media inject us with stereotypes and how we should act or look in public to feel accepted.
This in turn i believe creates the world we live in as the media shapes the way our world looks and acts. We conform and copy one another and listen to the messages fed to us as a passive audience.
I most definitely do not agree this is right to feel we need to listen to what is subconsciously being said to us, but i do think we are guilty of it, including myself. I often wear a certain thing because its 'in fashion' or act a certain way around a certain class.  i completely agree with the statement however i feel we should work on trying to change the way we view ourselves and others; i think we should be allowed to act as an active audience and not feel guilty about being ourselves and moving away from these stereotypes fed to us.
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beanie

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Re: Stereotype, do they reflect or create?
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2014, 11:51:29 am »

This is a very interesting question raised by 'Fluffy200'. Some people may say that  the stereotype must have come from somewhere and therefore the stereotypes shown in the media must reflect what is seen in real life. This is supported by the uses and gratifications model as this theory fulfils one of the key uses of the media: surveillance. The audience uses the media to get an idea of the groups of people in the world, e.g stereotypes.

However on the other hand, some people say they stereotypes in the media are created and encourage further generalisations. As 'Fluffy200' said, this is supported by the hypodermic syringe model, as the stereotype is injected into the audience and in turn the stereotype gets generalised.

Another example of the idea that stereotypes are created is the fact that over 60% of disabled people in the media are immobile, causing being in a wheelchair to become the icon of disability. This suggests and encourages the stereotype that most disabled people are in a wheelchair, when in fact this is not the case and hugely ignores the amount of mental disabilities present today.

Can anyone think of any other examples supporting if a stereotype is a reflection or created?
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asdfghjkl

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Re: Stereotype, do they reflect or create?
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2014, 05:33:23 pm »

'Fluffy200' has brought a very evident debate to discussion in relation to the stereotypes in which we are formed within society and whether they are enforced.

I disagree with the concept that people are being injected with ideas, especially in todays society. I believe that the audiences that are consuming media texts nowadays are no longer passive but are very active in relation to their participation and communication with media texts. This means people are now able to communicate their opinions and views to a potentially worldwide audience in order to debate the concept at hand. Consumers are now able to choose the messages in which they want to agree with and they are also able to contradict them with their own views making them more of an active audience.

I believe that most representations and stereotypes have evolved and changed over time making them a continually developing factor in society. For example, the representation of youth has changed a lot over time, from being people who are an equal part within society to being a threat and having negative characteristics about them. This is definitely highlighted within the film industry in that youth are being outlined as being threatening, violent, abusive and problematic within society. Films such as Eden Lake and Harry Brown, where the youth are able to intimidate and harass the older generation, are able to really focus the audiences attention on these factors. These films definitely emphasise the concept of hegemony and that the dominating class is able to distinguish the stereotype of, what is seen to be, a less dominant group of people. This is happening with adults and youths within the films as it is being presented from an adults point of view.

Most stereotypes have an element of truth in that some youths do contain these characteristics however, this generalisation may not comply with all youth in society today.
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nutella

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Re: Stereotype, do they reflect or create?
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2014, 11:48:52 am »

I largely agree with ‘nugget’ and how it is not right that we feel we need to listen to what is subconsciously being said to us – and we soak up information that we then use to perceive the world in a certain way without actively knowing all the facts – yet most of us are guilty of it. Stereotypes make us generalise people, which is wrong as no two people are ever exactly the same, and there is so much more that we should find out on a personal level before we make judgements, but I think that this is also never really going to happen on such a large scale, and is an unrealistic view when looking at large groups of people, as no one has time to get to know every different person on a personal level.

I also agree with ‘nugget’ in that we should start trying to change the way we view ourselves and others, but also I think that sometimes stereotyping can have an advantage in that it enables us the actively and quickly respond to each other about different things, as it could bring us together having the same idea about a stereotype so as to share different experiences or comment on what other people may be saying. Having stereotypes can then enable us to argue with different opinions, and even help us to discuss why we think about groups of people in these ways, which could help in changing our negative views on different groups.
Theorist Theodor Adorno said about psychoanalysis that “only in its extremes is it true”. This could connect with stereotypes and support the original idea on whether stereotypes help to create our world, as looking at things in extremes can sometimes help us to understand the world on a large scale, even if it is wrong to stereotype individual people.
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KingOrange

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Re: Stereotype, do they reflect or create?
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2014, 12:52:00 pm »

I think the relationship between societies' stereotypes and the media is very close. The media plays an important role in categorizing and framing groups within society, whether this be through news coverage or the representation of film/soap characters for example.

They may well play an important role, but I would disagree with the idea that the media alone 'create' stereotypes. I think it's a natural part of human nature to 'judge' people and employ stereotypes on either one off experiences or from what we have been told by others close to us. I also believe that societies would still create stereotypes and perceptions of 'outsiders', even if the media ceased to exist. Regional stereotypes, which have been around for perhaps centuries, are maybe an example of this. Yorkshiremen being seen as 'tight', people from Somerset being 'yokels' etc are stereotypes society has created, not the media.

That said however, perhaps the media plays an important part in accentuating such regional stereotypes. A clear example of this would be reality TV shows such as The Only Way Is Essex, Made In Chelsea etc. Perhaps people from Essex already had what could be seen as negative stereotypes, and the media have played a role in increasing these perceptions.

In page 109 of our 'Media Students' textbook it raises an interesting point that the media will always reflect stereotypes because In Stories there is often not enough space or time to amplify, or give a 'back story' toe every figure that appears- hence the shorthand use of 'types' to mean background characters. They often highly stereotyped, and often understood as such
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