Throughout the 20th Century, minorities have made significant strides towards autonomy and equality in American society. From the right to own land to the right to vote, and further still, the squelching of Jim Crow era segregation in the South. These advances are part of who we are as Americans, yet it seems they have not fully infiltrated the collective whole of American society. Despite the political rights and power that minorities have obtained, the supremacist ideologies and racist beliefs that were indoctrinated into the American psyche are just recently being reversed. However, these ideas that were ingrained in the mindset of Americans for so long have given way to a less conscious variant of segregation. No longer is it the blatant practice upheld by the law and celebrated with hangings and beatings, but instead it is a subtle practice that is the "crown jewel" of the entertainment, media and film industries. We might not see confederate flags flying in parks or signs relegating colored people to separate facilities, but we do see minorities cast as criminals and leeches to "white upper-class" America. It is the Paramount Pictures, NBC's, ABC's and Universal Studio's of the world that are the propagators of the negative stereotypes and inescapable stigmas that many thought were left behind once the shackles of segregation were broken. Unfortunately, they are resurfacing in our sitcoms, newscasts and big screen movies. Historically, the portrayal of minorities in movies and television is less than ideal. Whether its appearing in disparaging roles or not appearing at all, minorities are the victim of an industry that relies on old ideas to appeal to the "majority" at the expense of the insignificant minority." All blame, however, cannot be placed on the white males who run the industry, for a small number of black entertainers perpetuate these stereotypes as well. Even though they defend their actions as an "insiders look" into the life of a certain minority group, they are guilty of the same offenses that opponents have indicted the media, film and entertainment industries of. We cannot contribute to the viscous cycle that is the unconscious racism of the media, film and entertainment industries; instead we need to break the cycle and formulate a new industry that is more representative of the reality that is American society today.
Some people study media to make claims about media ingeneral—that is claims that can be generalized to a large section of media—suchas a channel (television) a genre (primetime family shows, sports, country& western music), or to a specific genre within a specific channel (printjournalism; television advertisements). Others seek to determine if exposure tomedia has effects on individuals (does it make us more apathetic aboutviolence? Does it lower women’s self-esteem? Is it associated withaggressiveness in children?). Studies of either of these types are consideredto be (cause-effect, variables, prediction, generalizable claims of Truth). Studiesin this line usually measure variables and do statistics to see if there are (ex: Are women and men represented differently incountry & western, rap, and Christian videos? Do Blacks and Whites reactdifferently to racial representation in commercials aimed at children?) determine whether there are (Is girls’ self-esteem related to their use ofteen fashion magazines? Do people who read rifle and gun magazines rate higheron ethnocentrism than those who do not?).
A key issue is the lack of women on the other side of the camera or writing desk in newspapers and newsrooms. Women are across the media and creative industries, particularly in creative roles. Recent that men not only dominate in terms of producing media, but also are much more likely to be called upon as ‘experts’ on various social issues including those affecting women such as abortion and reproductive rights. The website was set up to counter this, providing a comprehensive database of female experts to help improve the representation of women – and women’s issues – in the media.
More recently there have also been an emerging group of dramas focused around women with important public roles such as , the prime minister in Norwegian drama Borgen, and , the intelligence officer in US drama Homeland. The relationship between the private and the public is an important part of these dramas but is definitely not all that’s going on in them. The female characters are complex and not easy to reduce to stereotypes. One of the most recent TV shows that has reignited debates about representation of women in the media is the American show ‘Girls’ starring and written by Lena Dunham. While some have praised the show for a more authentic portrait of contemporary western womanhood and , others have for its lack of ethnic and class diversity.
While representations of men and women are changing, we still see differences in men and women’s roles within popular culture and the ways in which they feature. Even smart, independent young women appearing in film and TV (for example, the pictured Veronica Mars, and ) are sexualised in a way that male characters are not. This sexism spans the media from television and through to newspapers and magazines. A revealed ‘endemic’ levels of sexism in the British press, and sparked campaigns to challenge sexist media representations (such )
Stereotype in this sense means "is an imitation, a copy of something of someone that is, by means of the media machinery, held up first as THE symbol or symbols to the exclusion to others; and then repeatedly channeled out to viewers so often that in time it becomes a `common' representation of something or someone in the minds of viewers" (Blackwood).
Ivory Toldson, a psychology Professor at Howard University and research analyst at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation discusses how black women seem to me the most lacking in health, values, and overall self-esteem, if one solely relies on the media.
There are many larger sociopolitical implications of the media representation of black family life in The Cosby Show; however, the dominant and most frightening of these implications is the idea that the "American Dream is real for anyone who is willing to play by the rules," (709).
Check your paper » AfricanAmerican Representation in the Media
In Jacqueline Bobo's article, The Color Purple : Black Women as Cultural Readers, she discusses the way in which black women create meaning out of the mainstream text of the film The Color Purple.
In analyzing Bobo, and Innis and Feagin's studies of how black people respond to their representations on television and in movies, we can see that there is a lot more ground to be covered in the areas of equality and political correctness when it comes to media.
Focusing on the way murdered females were portrayed in various forms of media, beginning in the late eighteenth century in the United States and ending with the present day representations in film it is evident that a traditional style of portraying dead women has continued to pervade society through the twentieth century....
Finally, studies of either type (scientific or humanistic)can take a specific value orientation—to fight social inequality, to criticizestructural inequalities (sexism, racism, classism, etc.) in the text. We willcall these studies that deliberately seek to change social structures or fightmediated forms of oppression . As examples, one study might present asystematic cross-cultural analysis of representation of women in rap musicvideos (Conrad et al., 2009). Another might look (scientifically) at the impactof repeated media exposure of Latina women on their self-concepts (Rivadeneyraet al., 2007). Humanistic studies might look at the representation of race in (Nakamura, 2009) orhow sexual activity in reinforces traditional sex and gender ideologies (& Cannon, 2009). In communication, seereason below)
: This link is to research funded by the UK Resource Centre for Women in Science Engineering and Technology. There are six reports into representations of women in science, mathematics, engineering and technology in the media (including in: print, television drama, children’s television, films and the internet).