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Miss Representation Essay

1659 words - 7 pages

Media has been, is, and always will be a powerful tool. Many countries have laws in place to censor and limit the narrative, so their people will have the information the government wants them to hear. The media can garner support for war or foster nationalism. It can incite revolutions, change regimes, or foster dissent among different groups. It can be used to disparage and cut down people based on archaic rules of gender, class, race, and sexual orientation. It can reinforce social norms or bring about new ways of thinking. Media has always had immense power, and now with the advent of technology, it has only grown stronger. Through our cellphones, music, and laptops, the media can affect ...view middle of the document...

In the movie industry, for every black director there is sixteen non-black making movies. Rich white men rule the media, and they love money. But yet, with minorities set to outnumber whites, the people in control do the bare minimum in representation. Once could argue that majority is still a majority, so of course they would cater to the whites, but if making the most money is the goal that makes no sense. For example, in a report from the Entertainment Software Association, women make up 45 percent of all gamers, but there were zero female protagonists in the top twenty games sold in 2013. To make money, you must please your demographic, and ignoring 45 percent of your consumers can never be good for business. In a study done at the University of California, Los Angeles, TV shows with ethnically diverse casts and writers have better ratings. TV shows with ten percent or less diversity were the biggest group with 52 shows, had the lowest ratings of the bunch. So this begs the question, why is the majority of the media today is full of white people? It cannot not be money because it is more profitable to appeal to groups outside of the majority. A lot of this has to do with the racism, sexism, homophobia, and a bunch more –isms in today’s society. Many people are under the belief that we live in a post racial society, but that is simply not the case. While bigotry and prejudice is frowned upon, institutional racism is barely on the radar. The same goes for many other isms; being blatantly sexist or homophobic is not okay, but the parts ingrained into society’s fabric are not being brought to light. The system is not a fan of people outside the norm, so the people not in the majority get pushed out of the media or are grossly misrepresented.
There are different practices that keep marginalized groups in place in terms of media oppression. Blackface started in the 1820s, when slavery was still a norm of society. It got its start in minstrels, using racist stereotypes for laughs. Thomas “Daddy” Rice, one of the most famous minstrels of his time, created a character that danced and sang a song called “Jim Crow.” The character also disrupted white people in relatively peaceful settings, like train cars and restaurants. His shows were so popular that when segragated train cars were introduced, they were nicknamed “Jim Crow cars.” Jim Crow was later used as the name for the block codes and sgreation after the Civil War. Another famous minstrel, George Dixon, played a characters, called Zip Coon who was an arrogant free slave who thought he was smart and tried to be a dignified man. He, of course failed miserably, not being able to pronounce words correctly and his raggedy clothes. Jim Crow and Zip Coon both merged and created the coon, where whites would paint their face black and exaggert their features like bid red lips or bulging eyes. From these minstrel shows arose many other characters, like the mammy, an overweight black women dovoted to her...

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