Mass Media Stereotyping The Issue

The Issue

(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

The mass media (television, radio, films, large-circulation magazines, newspapers, large-scale advertising) have often relied on stereotypes. In the early 1990’s, stereotypes still were common in the mass media, but progress had been made toward the eradication of stereotypes. Stereotypes contain assumptions that affect how society perceives a particular group; members of groups have protested, with varying degrees of success, stereotypical portrayals in the media. The number and varieties of stereotypes in the media is myriad and is not limited to stereotypes of ethnic or racial groups. Stereotypes may range from the perhaps merely annoying—the brainy boy in glasses (poor eyesight seems a requirement for intelligence in many forms of mass media)—to the most blatantly bigoted. One may argue that the mass media resists depicting life’s complexities generally, and that stereotypes are a part of the general pattern in mass media of the reduction of experience to what is most readily understandable.