Stereotypes In The Media Essay

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When one looks at how the media continues to communicate certain messages to the American public, it is remarkable how some trends have continued for decades. This is particularly true concerning images and graphics and the subtle messages that they carry in the world of print communications. The unfortunate reality is that the media is no different from many institutions in American society in that it has to sell products to the public in order to stay financially stable. As a means of doing so, the media provides audiences with images that often satisfy their desires and meet their expectations. Consequently, the inclusion of such stereotypes creates a vicious cycle as the audience continues to be exposed to such messages and subconsciously accepts them as reality. As humans, we stereotype because we are cognitive misers and the powerful want to remain power. There are many stereotypes used in the media consisting of gender, race, elderly characters, martial status, and socio-economic status. The stereotype that stands to me most was gender in the media. As a woman myself, it upsets me when woman are portrayed poorly in anything media related. Examples of this stereotype in the media include two worldwide famous magazines like Sports Illustrated and Entertainment Weekly.
Sports Illustrated, perhaps the most recognizable sports magazine in the world, continues to perpetuate stereotypes of athletes and cheerleaders through repeating motifs on their cover designs. In a recent issue, the magazine featured star collegiate basketball player Doug McDermott on the cover. Two cheerleaders who are bending down and hushing their mouths accompany Doug in order to emphasize that McDermott’s talents need to be kept secret. The accompanying ...

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...sort to stereotypes in order to sell a product.
Entertainment based magazines including Sports Illustrated and Entertainment Weekly are notorious for portraying female characters as sexually provocative beings, those who are attractive for their sexuality rather than their intelligence or physical dexterity. These magazines in particular are known for putting provocative imagines on the cover to attract more readers. Hopefully, as the country continues to mature and become even more tolerant of people’s differences, people’s expectations will change accordingly. Instead of portraying sexy and provocative images of women that make normal women feel insecure, more natural and real looking models should be shown in the media. For the future, I hope to see that media can start relaying messages to the people that challenge and even defy their preconceived beliefs.
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