Teens and the Media: Stereotypes

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Terence Domio
Eng. 131
Professor Sherwood
19 Oct. 2011
Teens and the Media: Stereotypes
We see it all the time without even realizing it, whether it be in a magazine, an ad campaign or on television. Unknowing, we try with the upmost dedication to fit into the mold of what we believe to be hip or cool and shun others who don’t. You have the typical jock, the cheery cheerleader, the trouble child, the quote unquote “nerd”, and even the hipster kid who tries to be different but is unknowingly fitting into an already established group. These are the typical stereotypes associated with teens and they have a great effect on how we view ourselves and adults in particular view us to be.

First off, let’s establish what a stereotype is. Stereotypes are a fixed, commonly held notion or image of a person or group, based on an oversimplification of some observed or imagined trait of behavior or appearance. That being said, stereotypes can be evoked in simple words and phrases (such as “jock” or “nerd”). These things are easily recognizable to those who share the same views of the user. Stereotypes can be positive, but for the most part negative since they are mostly used to make the user feel a sense of superiority over the person or group being stereotyped. Stereotypes usually appear in the media because of the biases of writers, but are somewhat effective (yet still negative) because they provide a quick identity that can easily be recognized by the audience in particular. It’s usually easier to use stereotypes to quickly give the audience an understanding of the character or situation at hand. This is particularly dangerous for us youth because stereotypes can affect the way society views us and with enough exposure to said stereotypes, society will eventually come to view it as a reality instead of a chosen representation.

Most of the media teens are exposed to is unrealistic in the portrayal of people. This is particularly so in the portrayal of image....
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