The Influence Of Stereotypes In The Media

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According to Lippmann, “stereotypes are ‘pictures in our heads’ that we use to apprehend the world around us” (16). Stereotypes can be formed due to effects of media, as Wood describes media as pervasive, powerful and influential (31). Hence, stereotypes can be defined as inaccurate perceptions towards a group of people or community that is strongly influenced by the media. Whether positive or negative, stereotypes are usually false as they are formed based on personal judgments, which are biased or exaggerated.

When stereotypes are consistently portrayed in media platforms, they subconsciously form and maintain assumed identities for the stereotyped groups. According to Lawler, identity is a mixture of both similarities and differences where common identities are shared (10). However, due to media’s strong influence towards its audience, stereotypes are seen as a reflection of reality. Individuals then use these stereotypes to identify other individuals or communities. Cohesion in a society is possible when that society shares similar ideals and sense of belonging, despite their differences culture or behaviour. However, having an identity solely shaped by media stereotypes is unfair, as these assumed identities are false and inaccurate. Additionally, media’s strong influence makes it difficult for stereotyped communities to break away from misidentification and shape their own identities, resulting in negative reactions from the stereotyped groups and social incohesion
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