I feel it’s important to bring attention to a marginalisation of certain groups, which has been created by western media.
See if you notice anything in the following images…
Now I myself am white, so it wasn’t until I saw an article of complaints from minority groups that I became aware what was wrong with these images: the characters are predominantly white.
And why is all this an issue, you might ask?
This is an issue because these shows create an image in our minds, consciously or unconsciously, of what is normal. We see these shows and assimilate them as examples of how life is. Sure, we may realise that not everyone can be ultra rich, scandal seeking, and constantly juggling men or living perfectly happily with our friends, but what we can’t see past is the marginalisation of other groups.
TV seems to have a subconscious effect on us as to what we think society should look like. It doesn’t help when the most prominent images of minority groups in Australia are often negative, such as all Muslims being condemned and categorised as terrorists.
This marginalisation spills into all aspects of the media, including advertising, news, films and television etc.
The ad below depicts a stereotyped Indian man being put in his place by a white woman.
Fortunately the advertisement was banned, but it brings me to another issue I have with the media: far too often, minorities fall into stereotyped roles. For example, the international hit reality show ‘Jersey Shore’ depicts a hard partying, heavy drinking and violent group of ‘Italian Americans’. This portrayal leaves the audience with negative perceptions of the Italian-American community. As Joy Behar of ‘The View’ stated, “I do have a master’s degree, so a person like me is rather annoyed with a show like that because I went to college, you know, to better myself, and then these idiots come out and make Italians look bad.”
So clearly, there is an issue here. Next post I’ll be looking more specifically into Australian media and how it creates an image of white as ‘Australian’ and minority groups as ‘un-Australian’.
Til then, think of your favourite show…how are the characters depicted?