A Stereotypical Media Essay

1273 words - 5 pages

By: Clint Phillips E-mail: a65phalcon@hotmail.com A Stereotypical Media The media of today's society plays the peddler to the stereotypes that plague our country. However, the media is not solely to blame. Susan Sontag states in her essay "The Image World": "Through being photographed, something becomes part of a system of information, fitted into schemes of classification and storage"(Sontag 196). Through our own demand as consumers, the use of advertising in television, newspapers, and especially magazines relays to the public an erratic system of stereotypical information. The system of information relayed through photographic imagery in advertising directly affects the thoughts of society, on how a woman should look and feel. Thus, mixing the stereotypical woman of delicacy, and grandeur with sex and sexuality. The vast amount of stereotypical advertising today is directed at the middle-class, American worker. This specification in advertising is due to the fact that the middle class workers are the main consumers. This idea is represented in the magazine, Newsweek. Printed on April 3, 2000, Newsweek prints numerous articles of news that are not so focused and in-depth, but still contains valid consistency. The magazine is M/C Phillips, Page 2 truly tailored to the middle class and so is its advertising. In the midst of clutter, from articles of political power, to the rise of the doughnut culture, sits an ad of poise and content. Posted by the Target Corporation, a store tailored to the middle class, the ad displays, a very young, beautiful woman covered shoulders to toe in ivy, holding a rayon handbag. She is poised, illustrious and elegant, a mirror image of a statue. The backdrop of the image is calm, organized and serene. The ad reads "ivy plant $6.99, rayon crochet bag $14.99"(Newsweek 7). However, the ad's imagery at first glance does not fully portray the stereotypes within it. The appearances of stereotypes in this serene ad are hard to find, but are found deep in the text of the image. The apparent purpose of the ad is to sell items such as a handbag, and ivy plants. However, the apparent does not relay the reality. The use of a woman's stereotypical sexuality covers up the real with the fantasy. A stereotype as defined by the Module, "Images of Women and Men", "is viewed today as a process that distorts reality"(Unger & Crawford 219). So in essence this is what the image, or the advertisement has done. Advertising takes the process of photography, and distorts its reality by applying such methods as stereotyping. This creates a desired and common appearance of the perfect, beautiful, fantasy woman. The posture of this image relays a sense of refinement, such M/C Phillips, Page 3 refinement that would be found in the stereotypical elegant, sexy woman. The placement of her hands gives way to the image of elegance. They are poised, and hold to the endearment of elegance, beautiful but refined. Even when with the sense, or...

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