Stereotypes

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A stereotype is a widely held but fixed or conventional image of a thing, person or a group of people. They come about as a result of lacking in knowledge or when information is unattainable, hence a substitution of thoughts and opinions is implemented. This often leads to misjudgment and unfair discrimination toward certain people and situations. They are mostly based on extreme characteristics attributed to a specific group of people and they normally have negative values attached to the group in question. Basically, a stereotype is applied whenever everyone in a particular group of people appears to have the same life conditions, attitudes and characteristics. Not only do stereotypes affect opinions and thoughts but they also affect behavior. They are found everywhere, and though portrayed innocently, they affect and impact the mindset of many (Gray, 1996). In this essay, I will attempt to analyze the use of stereotypes in television shows and their impact on the audience by focusing on the portrayal of women in television.
Stereotypes are commonly used in television as they are quite easily identifiable with the audience. Since most television programs have only a span of between 20 and 40 minutes to tell a story, there is not much time to develop a character in a better well-rounded manner and thus the identities of characters must be established as quickly as possible. Therefore, script writers and program creators use it as a shortcut that is much more effective as opposed to delving into complete characterization for the sake of explanation.
Stereotyping women has been a major concern with media critics as well as feminists. Women in television are stereotypes in several categories including but not limited to: women po...

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..., leading to prejudice and discrimination. This last point in particular may have a lasting impact on an individual who has been stereotypes as it could lead them to view themselves in a different way (how the society sees them) and could ultimately change their actions to match a certain stereotype for purposes of feeling accepted as well as a sense of belonging (Lin, 2014).
In conclusion, my opinion is that stereotyping has more of a negative effect on society than positive. However, when it comes to television shows, its use becomes necessary so that an audience can easily form a connection and understand a specific character. Once the character has been established, however, the stereotype in question can be removed. In other words, if a television show has ten episodes, use of stereotypes in the first two can achieve a lot in terms of character establishment.

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