Look at what stereotypes are and why they are used by media texts
Discuss how stereotypes/countertypes are used by media texts
Identify some characteristics of stereotypes
Discuss how stereotypes are formed
Stereotypes are used to enable an audience to
instantly identify and understand the meaning of a
text. Stereotypes are an extreme form of
representation . Certain aspects are focussed on
and exaggerated. The ideas and values that
these represent are part of the dominant
In texts, stereotypes are characters who are
‘types’ rather than complex people.
Stereotypes are usually negative representations
and most have a lot of assumptions.
Stereotyping is often evident when there is a
power imbalance between members of society.
Relations from men and women, for example,
could encourage the development of stereotypes
on both sides. In the same way, disadvantaged
minority groups (ethnicity, disability) often have
stereotypes associated with them.
• What stereotypes are you using in your short
film? Why are you using them? How will your
audience react to them? How will these
stereotypes aid to understanding of the
Why use stereotypes?
• Characters and plots are very quickly establishedCharacters and plots are very quickly established
through the use of stereotyping (especially important inthrough the use of stereotyping (especially important in
sitcoms and soaps – half hour long)sitcoms and soaps – half hour long)
• Provide points of identification (“us”) and distancingProvide points of identification (“us”) and distancing
strategies (“them”)strategies (“them”)
• Construct images of “otherness” which help to reinforceConstruct images of “otherness” which help to reinforce
and naturalise the status quoand naturalise the status quo
• Unconscious institutional or social prejudiceUnconscious institutional or social prejudice
• Realism: some stereotypes can be argued to have aRealism: some stereotypes can be argued to have a
basis in realitybasis in reality
• Institutions dominated by white, middle class maleInstitutions dominated by white, middle class male
What makes a stereotype?
• Appearance e.g.young people that choose to wear hoodies
have a criminal tendency
• Behaviour - e.g. males being interested in football
• Attitude - e.g. males don’t want to be in serious romantic
relationships whilst females are often represented as being
fixated on the dream wedding
• The Media, stereotypes often fit the particular
medium or genre. E.g. the same stereotype can be
used in different ways depending on the form or
genre of the media text
Representation of social group, gender,
race, class etc
The target audience
(age, gender, class) will
representations in the
Wide or niche
Most texts will be working
in relation to a set of
generic conventions and
these will usually have an
impact on the
representations in the text
(use of stereotype
It is important to know who produced the
text and why. This may shed some light
on the nature of the representations in
Elements of texts which work to create
larger meanings and values, e.g.
camerawork, editing, mise-en-scene,
narrative structure, sound.
The body language in these images is almost identical but Monroe is clearly being ‘caught unawares’
whereas Diaz is aware of the camera and is making eye contact with the audience. In addition, Monroe is
displaying a modest attempt to cover her legs – the narrative within the image suggests the display of flesh
is accidental. Diaz’s dress is a revealing one and so, along with the images repeated behind her, the
connotations are that she is choosing to reveal her body and the overall impression created is that she is
more in control than in the Monroe image. Monroe’s character appears more naïve – even
innocent. Diaz is more knowing and active in the creation of the representation. These differences could be
related to different attitudes towards women at these points in history although it is clear that they are still
portraying similar stereotypes that are expectations within the genre of ‘romantic comedy’. Despite the time
differences, the roles the women play in the films are likely to be very similar.
Choose at least 3 film posters and look at how age, gender,
attitude, lifestyle and behaviour are being presented (what
behaviours are assumed based on their appearance?)
Age Gender Attitude
Film representing gender
• How are the characters represented?
• What evidence of stereotyping is there? Why?
• How do representations challenge or reinforce
• Identify other genres where stereotypes are dealt with differently?
• Consider the stereotypes of the ‘serial killer’ as depicted in
psychological horrors and compare this to their representation in
factual or news programming.
• What qualities does a stereotypical policeman have in a drama
compared to a comedy?
• Are young people depicted differently in newspapers than in