Stereotypes in the media industry
Have you ever wondered what stereotypes mean? The word that is frequently used in today’s media. The stereotype was first referred to in 1850 to describe an image that was preserved without modification. But later, in 1922, American journalist Walter Lippmann introduced the term “stereotype” in the modern psychological that stereotype is an oversimplified or biased idea of a person’s or group’s usual traits.
Stereotypes in the media industry nowadays
Nowadays the media industry has a big effect on our lives. We consume plenty of media in many types such as advertisements, movies, or even the games that we play. What if we have seen the stereotypes from the media industry without even noticing them? Here are some examples of stereotypes in the media industry.
Representation of women in video games
Video games represent many good things, such as a social form of entertainment, teamwork, and developing skills in reading or problem-solving. Still, the wrong side that many video games represent up until these days is the sexualized of Female characters. Whether that game is about action or a shooting game, most video games publishers create hyper-sexualized female characters that show most body parts that conflict with the story of the game itself.
The video game series that we will use as an example is “Tomb Raider.” Tomb Raider is a game about action/adventure, and the protagonist is a woman called Lara croft. She is shown as a brilliant and athletic British archaeologist who travels the world to explore ancient tombs and dangerous ruins. However, her character design can be considered over-sexualized because most of her outfits show her body part a lot, like short bottom and a small and very fit shirt, but the most unreasonable thing is her oversized breasts; this can indeed be considered as fanservice for male games.
A study asked around 100 women to play some of Tomb Raider games. The American Psychological Association(2019) showed that ” Participants identified the sexualized video game protagonist as fictional and thus not a realistic source of messaging about women’s bodies”
In one, Tomb Raider Underworld, subjects played a part in the game where Croft is outfitted in “bikini bottoms and a form-fitting long-sleeved wetsuit top” that was “portrayed in a way that emphasized Lara’s waist, hips, and breasts.”American Psychological Association
But many recent games that have been released in a couple of years make powerful female characters, not just to be on screen for sexualized.
A great example would be “The Last of Us Part 2“. In this game, Naughty dog (The publisher) came up with a game that did an excellent job of praising women and LGBTQ+ characters. Trama(2021) said that ” the fact that things are slowly changing for the better in real life for LGBTQ+ people, it is still a long way to go before a proper representation of these themes is brought more often on the big screen and in video games. Suffice it to say that when The Last of Us Part 2 was released last year, it was the very first blockbuster game to ever feature a lesbian woman as its protagonist, and while that’s a great achievement it also means that more should be done in the industry to shake things up”.
Stereotypes in advertisements
The advertisement was created to grab attention from the audiences to their products to make them interested in it and buy it but not every advertisement succeeds in it, there are still some advertisements that represent their product to the audience in the wrong way and make them interpret it as a stereotype instead of interested in it.
Stereotypes in advertisements can be in many ways, here are some examples of stereotypes in advertisements.
- Beauty standard
Beauty standard is a bias that exist for a very long time and people are trying to overcome it, but there are still some advertisements that promote their products in a wrong way until it turns out to be setting a beauty standard.
Lipton claims that people who drink their green tea product can lose up to two kgs of weight. The advertisement shows a lot of women filming on the set, everyone has a skinny body and wearing the same dress except the main character who is the only one who wears a larger dress and has a plumper body which shrunk down after she drank Lipton green tea at the end of the advertisement. This can be indicated as a stereotype because the concept of the advertisement shows that people have to be skinny first to be confident in their bodies. As you can see that the main character did not wear the same dress as the other and covered her body entirely until she had a skinny body at the end of the advertisement.
- Gender stereotypes
Are there still people who think that women have to stay at home to do housework and that a duty to make money is for men? This advertisement clearly reflects that notion.
The advertisement shows a seller introducing a new cleaning product, Harpic Bathroom cleaner, to the customers and what happens is only women are interested in it, the only man that exists in the advertisement is the seller, so many people think it is a stereotype because it indicates that the duty of cleaning is only for a woman.
Black people stereotypes in movies
Even the movie that we watch, are still disrupted by stereotypes. It is a sure thing that one movie has to be filled with a variety of characters, but there are some stereotypes that make the producer already specify the characters to be like what people think they should be.
Even though there are various characters in the movies but have you ever noticed that most of the movies will place black people as only a few characters due to the image that most people set for them. Here are some examples of stereotypes in movies or films that we can commonly see.
- The Thug
Have you ever noticed that most of the movies have to represent Black people as dangerous people and be drawn to illicit activities, such as the drug dealers, the womanizer, or even the criminal. An interesting example would be “The Purge 4″.
Dmitri Cimber is a major character in the movie. He was a thug and drug lord in Staten island (the location where the first trial run for the Annual Purge took place). He had a gang to work for his drug business and protection at various corners.
- Black Fierce Friend
In a group of friends in a movie, there must be one of the friends who is sassy, hilarious or hot-tempered, and that one friend will always have to be a black person. Only a few movies represent black people as polite people. Here is an example of a movie that has this type of friend called “Hell Fest”
The movie is a horror movie that has a serious atmosphere, so they have to put a hilarious character to make the film more relaxing, which is Brooke. Brooke is the Secondary main character and Natalie’s best friend (main character).
The last thing we want to mention is Encoding/Decoding (CTA), even if the product turns out to be a stereotype but it does not mean that the producer really means it, due to the fact that encoding and decoding do not always correspond. In the product, there are many factors that can be indicated in many ways, so there are many reasons to make people misunderstand the points of the producer due to the various thoughts from many people.
To learn more about Encoding/Decoding (CTA), you can check out this link: https://medium.com/brixenlabs/stuart-hall-7f75ce66a847
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