Stereotypes in the media are about as new as the invention of the wheel. The news media’s framing of social events and issues has also become par for the course. Like news media, entertainment media often reflects or incorporates current events into its production. As I have noted before, the cultural production of entertainment media is often a subjectively creative replication or manifestation of hegemonic norms. For instance, in the 1990s, many box office films and television shows incorporated story lines displaying the crack epidemic of the time. In doing so, many African Americans, and African American males particularly, were frequently portrayed as ruthless drug dealers or users. In the same manner, Hispanic or Latino males are often cast as homicidal gang bangers with little to no empathy for human life. Of course, the perpetuation of media stereotypes has not excluded women of color, as women of color are often portrayed in a negative light as well (e.g., prostitute, crack abusing mother, etc.). (more…)
According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2012, more than half of babies under the age of 1 were a racial or ethnic minority. Such findings support the assertion that, ultimately, the United States will become a majority-minority country. Thus, cultural production via television should reflect such. For this reason, I am rather befuddled when I see television shows whose cast fails to reflect the demographics of the location in which the show is set.
As an example, although the state of California had the most single-race, non-Hispanic Whites in 2011, the state’s population is rather diverse with Asians, American Indians, Blacks, Hispanic/Latinos, Native Hawaiians, and bi-racial or multiracial persons collectively comprising 65 percent of the total state population. Looking more closely on the local level, Pasadena, CA, the setting of the Big Bang Theory, is similarly (more…)
The influence of the media on culture is one of my greatest fascinations. Particularly, I, like many others, am intrigued by the manner in which the media perpetuates cultural hegemony. Therefore, I make a concerted effort to look at multiple news and entertainment internet sites on a regular basis. During one of my recent searches, I came across what had to be the 200th article on a Teen Mom cast member. For those of you who are not familiar with Teen Mom, it is an MTV reality show that is supposed to depict the harsh realities, or consequences, of having a child while still a teenager. While it seems the creators of the show set out to send a cautionary message to teenagers about the perils of teen pregnancy, they have, in fact, sent what one could argue is a contradictory message. (more…)