Today’s media has a big influence on how people act and over time the impact it has on our society has changed. The representation that it gives out has become more important as it effects a wider range of people, and can control the thinking process behind our actions. This surely means that the news given should only be the truth and should accurately represent the world that we live in, however the truth is often twisted to benefit the writer or whoever is in charge. Over time this has become more of a problem as it often causes people to think in a different way, often with a stereotypical mind-set.
Representation is a big part of what makes the media so influential in the current day. This is because over time the media has shaped the way society is shown and often presents a very corrupt impression of today’s world. In all aspects of media, this is a huge problem as it misinterprets what is reality and what is emphasised or changed. Another reason as to how the media has become so influential is due to the fact that it is portrayed as a reliable source of information or entertainment. The story or message that is being represented then becomes very important as it will most likely be the factor that will determine whether the audience will return to that content, meaning that any future revenue will decrease. Greed is one of the main reasons why the media has become so corrupt and misleading.
Stereotyping is the generalisation or assumption of a specific detail or person. It is often used as an easy access point to insult or talk negatively about something. With the way that the media represents our society, stereotyping has become more of a problem and effects more people now than it has ever done before. Not only has it changed the way people think and act but it also forces people to live in a society where stereotyping is normal. For example, stereotyping is to judge a person by their physical appearance, gender, ethnicity, class, sexuality, location or even religion. This means that everyone is susceptible to stereotyping in today’s world which can make it a very vulnerable place to be. For instance, a stereotype of a male teenager is that he would wear tracksuits and have bad behaviour.
An archetype is very similar to a stereotype, though it is much more critical. For example, an archetype will go into much more depth by making assumptions on things that would be impossible to know without asking that person. For example, an archetype could be that a teenage boy from a poor background would have almost no prospects in life and will follow the same career trajectory as his parents .An archetype would not only judge a person by one specific detail, but they would also guess more information about them, based on that one point.
A countertype, (as the name suggests) is the opposite of the above. Therefore a countertype would be dissimilar from what would have been assumed at first thought. In today’s media, countertyping is evident though it isn’t seen as much as stereotyping/archetype comments which is another problem as it shows that the large proportion of the media is based around negative information/messages. For example, a countertype could be that although the teenage boy from a poor background is expected to have a bad career, he actually has a very good work ethic and becomes an executive at a large company.
For this task we were asked to find examples of a stereotype and a countertype in current British TV shows. I feel like this would be a very interesting topic to research as it would give me a better idea as to how stereotyping is implemented into TV shows without it seeming like an unnecessary aspect of the show.
Before having a change in presenters, Top Gear was famous for its uses of stereotypical references and selection of controversial terms. Over time the show grew and adapted to its larger audience conveying all of its presenters as very animated and interesting people. Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond were all presented as stereotypical figures, most likely to make them seem more relatable. Out of the three I find that Jeremy is perceived most stereotypically. I think Jeremy is very energetic and isn’t afraid to hold back in the face of confrontation or lack of attention. Over the many years at Top Gear he was well known for making controversial comments and taking things too far. Although, on the show he is also seen as a very old fashioned kind of person, seen in both the way he acts and dresses. But most importantly he has a love for cars (as does all of the presenters) and you can tell that he enjoyed the show whilst he was on it. In this video, the three presenters are in Africa for one of the show’s special episodes. Again, all three clearly have a character put on to suit the show but Jeremy Clarkson stands out most with his humour and likeability.
(Top Gear, 2013)
Asian Provocateur is a reality series, looking into the life of Romesh and Shanthi Ranganathan and their conflicting relationship as mother and sun. At first impression, Romesh seems a dull, miserable person as he has a very monotone voice and neutral face expression, however this is not the case. As seen in the following video, Romesh has a very good sense of humour and uses his monotone voice to his advantage. The type of humour he uses is also very interesting as it is difficult to convey without seeming too miserable or overdone. In this short promotional video for the series, Romesh and Shanthi discuss their plans for the trip and quickly become distracted. However this gives a perfect sense as to what Romesh and his mother are really like which is important as it is the first out of a collection of videos that are used to promote the series.
(BBC Three, 2016)
Stereotype of myself
As said before, stereotyping happens to everyone and can be done through the smallest of specific details. Through my experience I have noticed that people have stereotyped me on my physical appearance, my age and the class that I come from. Though it happens on a regular basis it does not bother me as it isn’t hugely negative and I have learnt to deal with judgemental opinions as I know that I could be an easy target. I say this because I am a teenage male from a poor background, therefore people influenced by the media would find it difficult not to make assumptions about people like myself and those in a similar situation.
With the way that the media has become more influential in today’s society it is easy to think and act on what is told and shown. Despite this it is important to remember that the media is very controlling and that a lot of the stories told are twisted to suit the writer or the company in charge to benefit them, mostly for financial purposes. Corruption is a big part of today’s media, meaning that a lot of the news or stories told are held back from the public, again to suit the person/people who are funding the process.
Top Gear (2013) Speed and power! – top gear Africa special – BBC. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqQzU-q8S2o (Accessed: 18 November 2016).
BBC Three (2016) Asian Provocateur: A day with mum. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUbmoyhffZc (Accessed: 18 November 2016).