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challenging media stereotypes

Challenging Media Stereotypes

A stereotype is a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing. Many stereotypes are politically incorrect, insulting, hurtful and downright wrong. Media has cemented these kinds of ideas into the modern brain, and many people don’t even realize it; they just accept it as fact and move on. By looking at the reality of the people or things, we can see that some of the most widely known stereotypes are incredibly inaccurate and should not have been enforced onto the minds of modern humans.

everyone in africa is uncivilized or a warlord
Everyone in Africa is uncivilized or a warlord
  • Casino Royale – opening scene shows us Africa as a bunch of black men betting on a snake and a mongoose fighting
  • Apparently the people in Africa do not have modernized buildings, yet they have modern guns and can attach a rocket launcher to the side of a truck
  • Hollywood needs to dumb down the reality of Africa to make it more interesting or believable
  • Nairobi:
movie women can only talk about men
Movie women can only talk about men
  • In the '80s, feminist comic artist Alison Bechdel introduced a test for moviesconsisting of three little rules: The films only "pass" if they have (1) at least two female characters who (2) talk to each other at one point about (3) something other than a man.
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Dark Knight Rises, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Pirates of the Caribbean (1, 2, 4), Tomb Raider and Underworld do not follow those “rules”
  • Hollywood believes that women talking about something other than men will lose attention fast
  • Develop movies with female leads, as long as characters themselves are not too developed
  • Gives the impression that all women are as shallow and silly as Hollywood portrays them
white people are better at being asian than real asians
White people are better at being Asian than real Asians
  • The Last Samurai – Tom Cruise’s character is a better samurai than the actual samurai warriors
  • “White character beats Asian at their own game” – Rising Sun – aggressive Japanese business tactics threaten American interests until Sean Connery learns to use their own strategies against them
  • Kill Bill Vol. 1 – the Bride is a better fighter than Lucy Liu and an entire army of yakuza warriors
  • Hollywood has an obsession with Asian mysticism, but main characters have to be white for a hit movie – all positive values of the Asian culture transferred to white actors
anything including death is better than being disabled
Anything, including death, is better than being disabled
  • Million Dollar Baby – protagonist becomes quadriplegic, and is euthanized
  • Avatar – paraplegic protagonist leaves behind his entire life to travel across the universe to get a shot at walking again in the body of a blue alien
  • Hollywood shows people that you can “beat” a disability through sheer willpower
  • Makes disabilities seem far worse than they really are
  • Many people are upset by this because it makes them feel that they are not strong enough to overcome their disability
stereotypes and what they do
Stereotypes and what they do

It is very clear that Hollywood has set out a ridiculous set of standards for specific groups of people. So many of the stereotypes seen in movies and media are incredibly inaccurate, and give many people false information about the people the stereotype focuses on. These examples are merely the ones seen in many movies; there are countless other stereotypes, from religious to cultural to gender to sexuality. These lead to ignorance in the people who blindly follow what media tells them, without stopping to question if any of what they are being shown is accurate. Stereotyping is a vicious occurrence, and with it being so prominent in the media, there is little hope that anything is going to change for the better. The only way to help get rid of the stereotypes is to start with the media, and work outwards from there.