Essay on Stereotyping on Television

Submitted By Bethaney-Mallory
Words: 788
Pages: 4

Stereotyping on Television The United States is now more diverse than it ever has been, but from watching Hollywood films and television programs it’s easy to overlook that development. That’s because characters of color remain underrepresented in mainstream movies and TV shows. In addition, many actors of color are asked to play stereotypical roles—from maids and immigrants to thugs and prostitutes in Hollywood. This overview breaks down how African American, Italian, Arab Americans and Asian Americans continue to face stereotypes on both the big and small screen. The majority of gender related studies focused their attention on women. Very few studies involve male stereotypes. Studies have shown that women are portrayed on television as passive, being dominated by men, governed by emotion, overly emotional or dependent. For example, June Cleaver, portrayed by Barbara Billingsly, has given viewers the image of a housewife. A woman who cooks, cleans and takes the children everywhere they need to go. Women are also depict as less intelligent then men and generally weak. The roles which women are assigned tend to be marital and family oriented. In addition, women are rarely shown to be able to successfully combine marriage and employment. Women are typically younger than men on television and usually disappear between the ages of 35 and 50. Ironically, women are five times more likely to be blond. Take for instance the television show Bewitched. Elizabeth Montgomery played the role of a house wife with child, who didn't work, and she had blond hair. Another example is the television show "I Dream of Jeannie." Barbara Eden's role was a young, sexy, blonde woman who granted Larry Hagman's every wish. Although gender stereotypes are common, racial stereotypes have not received the attention which gender stereotypes have. Studies have shown that many racial stereotypes have been conveyed through television as well. Take for instance the Italian race. Italians were generally depicted on television as Mafia hoodlums. Movies like "The Godfather," and "Scarface," are great examples of the Mafia hoodlum stereotypes. Asian people are perceived as invaders or karate experts. All of the great Karate and Kung Fu movies, the characters are played by people of Asian or Chinese descent. For example, Bruce Lee was on of the greatest Karate movie stars of his time. He was a Chinese American actor. War, terrorism, dangerous, oil, desert, hot, camels, sand, Saddam Hussein, Kuwait, the Gulf War, PLO, Jews, Arabs, Muslims, hate, fanatics, radical, destruction, oppression, dark skin, dress funny, black veils, cab drivers, oppressed women, OPEC, are most always depicted about people from the middle east on television or in movies. For example, movies like "Reign Over Me," and "United 93," the terrorist were played by people of middle eastern descent. Terrorists, Muslims, turbans, veils, hijackers, dark skins, wealth, poverty, tents, sand, sheikhs, oil, robes, harems, religious, repression, Arabian horses, anti-American, Ali Baba, Aladdin, rebels, sandals, cab drivers, Mecca, Saddam Hussein, and belly dancing are most always depicted as Arabs. For example, True Lies, in 1994, first tipped me off to the problem of demopathy. Stereotypes of blacks as lazy, stupid, foolish, cowardly, submissive, irresponsible,