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Stereotypes In the Media

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Stereotypes In the Media


Stereotypes play an important role in today's society and particularly in Propaganda. According to the Webster's Dictionary stereotyping is defined as a fixed conventional notion or conception of an individual or group of people, heldby a number of people. Stereotypes can be basic or complex generalizations which people apply to individuals or groups based on their appearance, behaviour and beliefs. Stereotypes are found everywhere. Though our world seems to be improving in many ways it seems almost impossible to liberate it from stereotypes.

Stereotypes have existed since the beginning of time in our everyday life through religion, politics and the media. Humans have the tendency to "use stereotypes in their humour, their descriptions of others, and even in their beliefs." One may believe it is possible to rid oneself of such habits; however if one looked at the regular promotions of propaganda, it would make this objective impossible. Stereotypes, however, aren't always negative; hence, this essay will discuss the negative and positive aspects of stereotypes used by propaganda. Propaganda is a force which can influence and affect everyone; bringing changes in behavior, attitudes and ones beliefs. It is also known that media impacts its viewersmodifying their judgments based on the information which they receive. Substantial amounts of stereotypes broadcasted through propaganda have similar effects. This essay will illustrate how stereotypes are generally portrayed and their function in propaganda. Also it will further reveal how successful and well stereotypes can work when used in propaganda tactics.

The media often uses and misrepresents stereotypes; however, they are significantly accepted by people among society. TV shows such as the Simpsons are packed with stereotypes within its broadcast of half an hour. The Simpsons contains a large number of audience that watch the show daily as it is broadcasted during prime time. Characters such as Apu are highly discriminated and stereotyped. On this show Apu is characterized as an Indian immigrant, who prays to Ganesh, and holds a highly noticeable and dissimilar accent. This is a stereotype which is observed by young children and is perceived as humorous; they apply this knowledge towards those they meet in real-life. Viewers of this show believe this information to be completely accurate for they hold little or no knowledge about that particular group. Though the stereotypes shown on TV are usually misrepresented, they are quite well accepted by the audience as the truth. The viewers who watch these shows on a regular basis do not recognize the biased content, which is being presented. Media grabs the interests of their audience through comedy, drama, and action which causes the viewers to disregard the immorality behind the content. Hence, the effectiveness of using such stereotypes contributes to the popularity of TVshows. On the contrary, the propaganda's use of stereotypes is not necessarily always a negative phenomenon. Propaganda's use of stereotypes can sometimes give one the motivation to learn.

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