Posted by Paul Martinez on May 28th, 2019
The contemporary world of mass media is a complex system of social values, traditions, concepts, and principles reflected by means of mass communication. Today, it is necessary to pay attention to mass media and the information, which it spreads among the target audience. Regardless of the fact that everyone is used to the information received from TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines, it is always important to look at the same information from a different point of view. Stereotyping is one of the most widespread “diseases” of the contemporary world, which worries many social critics struggling to change the world and make it a comfortable place to live in. However, there are many difficulties in improving social relations as long as mass media is one of the sources proclaiming stereotyping in its essence. The current discussion reveals the connection between mass media and stereotypes, the most common stereotypes stemming from mass media, its effects on t society, and various solutions, which can help to combat stereotypes at least in the media.
Connection between Mass Media and Stereotypes
Mass media is one of the sources of the popular culture, which changes at a rapid pace along with tendencies in social interaction, values, principles, and traditions. While traditions maintain the same meaning according to the culture, values and standards tend to develop and transform in the most unexpected ways. For example, many years ago, a skinny woman would be considered as a non-feminine individual, while today it is one of the iconic ideals of fashion. It is a widespread stereotype, which encourages women to stay on dozens of diets in order to achieve a body shape of their dream according to the latest tendencies in fashion. Mass media can easily spread any infectious social idea, which will further transform into a stereotype. Media does not only have an entertaining function, but is also a mirror of social norms, beliefs, standards, and values, which tend to reveal the current social order. In the majority of cases, stereotypes reflected in mass media stem from families, educational institutions, religious organizations, and other socially directed institutes (Hancock, Jolls, & Jolls, 2013). Moreover, racial inequalities result from religious beliefs, which also take its place in the media. Some critics claim that media is the source of new unique movies, TV shows, documentaries, and music. However, it is obvious that the contemporary media with its products is a mirror of the social vision of the world. Media would not create unique products if its target audience did not buy it. In addition, media uses ideas of society in order to make its shows acceptable and expectable. Thus, the audience would not pay attention to the product of mass media if it did not meet its requirements and emphasize its thoughts. It means that people are the source of stereotypes intensified by mass media, which, at the same time, creates a global influence on the audience’s way of thinking. A single thought generated in society further transforms into a new wave of stereotypes, changing perception of the world.
Stereotypes and their Effects on Society
Stereotyping has different effects on the public. In general, there are both negative and positive effects and consequences of each stereotype, which create new challenges in social evolution. It is possible to define each stereotype and explain its influence through specific examples. For instance, reflection of life concepts with the help of movies is a widespread phenomenon. It is common to see the leading character struggling to achieve success in sport, business, fashion, or any other field. Many films reflect the need to work hard and dedicate much time to training in order to be successful. It is a positive motivator influencing people in the perspective of goals achievement. It embodies the competition, which everyone has to face practically in every sphere of life. However, the idea that anyone working hard to achieve success will achieve it and will make all dreams come true is a myth. On the one hand, it is true that if someone wants to succeed in life, he should work hard. On the other hand, hard work does not guarantee anything. Every individual has different opportunities and conditions, which have a direct influence on the success achievement. Not everyone, striving to achieve the same goal, has the same possibilities. Many people cannot feel the taste of success as long as they do not have enough money or prospects, which can help to accomplish a certain objective.
One of the major stereotypes widespread with the help of mass media relates to the appearance, especially a facial beauty. Practically all sources of mass communication dictate the standards of beauty with the help of colorful advertisements, popular TV shows, and stories proving that it is possible to change according to any beauty standards. More and more people develop an unhealthy desire to turn to services of cosmetic surgery. It means that happiness starts depending on the appearance and accordance with the beauty standards. Such desire has a negative influence on the establishment of psychologically healthy nation willing to live and be thankful for everything. As a result, thousands of teenagers are craving to transform their bodies according to the dictated fashion. Otherwise, they feel that they cannot be noticed or valued owing to their natural beauty. It is an essential problem, which continues to worry social critics.
Another popular stereotype reflected in mass media is a dependency of women on men. It is one of the major stereotypes, which evoked a range of movements aimed at fighting for women’s rights. However, society still believes that a woman cannot achieve any success without men’s help. While someone finds it natural, other people argue that women need to rely on men in order to gain success. Mass media also continues to spread a stereotype that a woman should only play a role of a loving wife and a caring mother without any opportunity to achieve success in the sphere of business. In general, it is possible to find numerous stereotypes in the media, which contradict each other. For example, while some movies show that women cannot achieve success without men, others reveal that men need support and help from women in order to be successful. Therefore, there is a need to learn how to handle generation of new stereotypes, which stem from mass media and influence the development of society. Moreover, it is important to accept the dictated standards as a negative social stereotype, which requires finding a reliable and meaningful solution. Otherwise, prejudices will continue to threaten normal way of living.
In case of mass communication and predispositions, it is hardly possible to find appropriate solutions, which can combat stereotyping once and for all. The reason is that when one stereotype stops to exist, another one takes place. Fashion, social standards, values, and norms of behavior have always been the major aspects of social evolution. It means that it is impossible to avoid stereotyping or labeling of social norms, which leads to the development of a wide range of prejudices. However, it is possible to create a certain threshold of resistance to the newest tendencies in stereotyping. Firstly, it is necessary to teach children not to accept mass media as a reliable source elucidating how to behave or follow a set of the expected norms. Children should constantly learn how to turn into individuals with independent personal worldview. Children should not be the ones who reproduce everything they hear, see, or read in the sources of mass communication. Mass media is not the source of pure truth, which can teach how to meet standards of society. Secondly, it is essential to combat a common problem of every individual – belief in stereotypes. If everyone puts much effort into development of unique outlooks, ceasing to believe everything that TV says, it will be easier to live in society full of freedom of thought and equality of rights. In this case, it is most likely to see positive changes in social evolution and human development in general.
The discussion successfully reflected the contemporary role of stereotypes in mass media. The truth is that people continue to follow standards dictated by means of mass communication. Strong will and independent way of thinking are not enough to change society. People should start educating their children to think profoundly in order not to follow the common stereotypes spread with the help of the media. Otherwise, society will continue creating borders, making people challenge each other’s identity and personality. Moreover, society needs to learn more about its opportunities in the development of the freedom of thought and equality of rights in every aspect of life. It might be the next stage of evolution proclaiming the new era without prejudices and limits of thought.
About the author:
Paul Martinez, as a former journalist, he knows how powerful a word could be. Now he is a blogger and writer at Writer-elite company. Working with experts in academic writing is a pleasure. And he is happy to share my experience with those who are only learning. His motto is: "Live the life you love, love the life you live".
About the AuthorPaul Martinez
Joined: May 28th, 2019
Articles Posted: 1
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