PICTORIAL STEREOTYPES IN THE MEDIA
A pictorial stereotype is an image that conveys misinformed perceptions that have the weight of established facts.
DOMINANT CULTURE Dominant cultures are often not designated by having the most members, but by having the most economic and political influence over an entire society. They can also have individuals as members that cross ethnic, racial, gender and other lines.
MEDIA COVERAGE AND PREJUDICIAL THINKING Few practicing journalists are from diverse cultural groups. Only 5.8% of all media personalities identify themselves as a member of a culture other than the dominant Anglo one.
AFRICAN-AMERICAN RACIAL STEREOTYPES Although African Americans are more fairly represented in the media today, the most common pictures still relate to crime, sports, and entertainment. Since the early days of the slave trade, pictorial stereotypes have been used to maintain the dominant culture’s power.
FEMALE STEREOTYPES Despite social progress for women in the 1960s and beyond, media stereotypes of women in news, entertainment and advertising context constantly remind viewers of society’s male-dominated view.
SEXISM IN ADVERTISING Images in magazine ads and television commercials show women as sexual objects to attract the attention of potential customers. The objectification of men as sexual beings is also becoming increasingly common in advertising.
GAY & LESBIAN STEREOTYPES Gays and lesbians are one of the few groups that can still be discriminated against “legally.” The nation’s leading gay rights group, The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), asked the studio heads behind Sacha Baron Cohen’s movie Bruno to add a tolerance message at the end of the film. GLAAD activists fear the Golden Globe-winning star’s stereotypes of gays in the film go too far. The group insists that Cohen uses every negative depiction of homosexuals in his portrayal of the materialistic Austrian fashion journalist Bruno. A statement from the studio’s press office reads, “Bruno uses provocative comedy to powerfully shed light on the absurdity of many kinds of intolerance and ignorance, including homophobia.”
NATIVE AMERICAN STEREOTYPES Portrayed as bloodthirsty savages, alcoholic indigents, romantic princesses, and silent but wise sidekicks, Native Americans have long been a staple of paperback, movie and television stereotypes.