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Critical Observation

Essay by   •  November 5, 2010  •  1,106 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,270 Views

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Stereotyping is a prevalent practice in our society today. While many claim not to cast judgment onto to others, the majority of people whether they admit it not, hold many stereotypes about others. Whether we see it on the television, in magazines, or in the news, stereotyping is an important part of our lives. The purpose of this paper is to identify the different stereotypes regarding women that I have observed and what I would do to change these stereotypes through the study of psychology.

Stereotyping is a form of prejudgment on a certain group of people that has become a frequent norm in our society. Lahey's (2005) definition of stereotype is "an inaccurate generalization on which a prejudice or prejudgment is based", which creates negative connotations towards certain people based on race and gender. Examples of stereotypes that are often wrong are that women are weak and submissive, while men are powerful and domineering. Images of women on television and in the media are often based on stereotypical roles based on these examples. What I have observed on television and in the media is that women are more likely than men to be presented as product users in commercials. For instance, most of the commercials viewed on television and newspaper ads show women advertising the detergent and cleaning products and not men. I would like to point out that my husband is actually the one in our household that does the research on which household products work best. Television and media plays a vital part in these stereotypes because they affect how people think and generalize a group of individuals, based on the other's gender, race, religion, and culture.

I discussed the topic of gender stereotyping with several women in my family and they all agreed that with the increased popularity of television and media, gender assumptions among women have become so pervasive; they have vowed not to watch or promote programs or advertisements with gender stereotyping. In recent years with all the scrutiny regarding stereotyping of women, television and media has tried to stray from the typical stereotype of women staying in the home taking care of both the house and the children by finding new ways to stereotype women. For instance, many times we see on television and in the media that the women that are successful are very beautiful and flawless living fairy tale lives. We rarely see ordinary women who come in different shapes and sizes and have ordinary lives. On the other hand, women who have gained a high ranking in the corporate world are considered vicious and evil and will stop at nothing to get what they want. A great example of this type of stereotyping is from a move I seen some years ago Disclosure. Demi Moore plays a woman who frames a man played Michael Douglas by lying about him and making sexual advances towards her. When the man tells her no, she becomes angry and determines to destroy his career and family. From movies to television, these media avenues have persuaded our society to believe these stereotypes that have help to form and strengthen gender stereotypes.

Stereotyping is a huge part of today's society, much like it has been in all stages of history. Women have dealt with stereotyping as far back as the 1950's. From the beginning of our lives, we are taught that we are different. No matter what age we are, we all have stereotyped someone or something in your life. In our society, we stereotype people in many different ways. We stereotype a person if they look and act differently than us or belong to a different social group. It has become human nature to stereotype. Essentially, society has taught us stereotypes about virtually every social group that exists (Jackson, 2004).

In our society today, men and women perform distinctly different roles which are based on nothing more than their biological gender (Feldman, 2002). For example, still prevalent in today's society, men are better-suited to hold positions of power, while women are more suited to look after the home and children. These roles are perpetuated and reinforced by the mass media and society in many obvious and subtle

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