A stereotype can be defined as an idea that a person or people might have concerning another person or people. Stereotypes are traits associated with a person or a group. Stereotypes can be either positive or negative, where positive stereotypes involve referring to the person or the group as having good traits which are beneficial and positive. In contrast, negative stereotypes perceive the group or the person as having negative and toxic characteristics.
Stereotypes are learned from the environment as people tend to understand things as they grow and interact with the environment. Stereotype comes out of assumptions, especially when a member of a certain group has certain traits. The group is assumed to carry the same characteristics as that person. Stereotypes and the media are intertwined. The media can be referred to as any means of mass communication. Most of the time, the media makes stereotypes about people and also communicates the stereotypes to others. The mediate creates and perpetuates stereotypes in several ways.
Stereotypes in the media are created in various ways. To start with, multiple mediums such as news, gaming, drama, and programs hosted in the media create stereotypes when they involve a person or people from a certain group who displays a certain trait that renders the viewers to stereotype that group in that way. For instance, holding a music show with an African-American rapper will lead to viewers stereotyping that most African-Americans love rapping, which may not be correct.
Having a drama where an older man is giving advice will lead to a stereotype that older people are wise and knowledgeable. Secondly, the media creates stereotypes through the presence of ethnic minority media. These media are meant for the lesser individuals, those with less intelligence, less wealth as well as less power. The stereotype created in these media is that people from a certain ethnic group are minor to be on major media platforms.
The media maintains stereotypes through continuous communication of created stereotypes. For instance, a continued airing of a program that contains a certain stereotype will make it remain perpetuated with its viewers maintaining the belief of the trait of the group represented. The media reaches a large number of people, and if it communicates a certain stereotype, there is a possibility of the stereotype spreading to a mass of people. Whatever media shares, people tend to believe it more as they believe that the media offers what’s right, which contributes to the maintenance of a given stereotype.
For example, if the media communicates that women are more prone to stress, there is a possibility that viewers will believe it and agree to it, even if that might not be the case.
Stereotypes are born from perceptions that emerge from certain individuals’ characteristics in a group. Although stereotypes sometimes are perceived as negative, it also has a positive impact. The media has generated stereotypes through their different programs and maintained them over time. The media also has promoted already created stereotypes, and people tend to follow them along as they trust them.
A positive stereotype should be encouraged as it offers motivation, while a negative stereotype should be condemned and discouraged. The media should be used to spread positive stereotypes and fight the negative stereotype to create a better society.