Within this session, we spoke about Representation and how Media has been a big notable change of representing. The main point is that “reality” is different for everybody, and how in the end it’s just a context.
The different “types”
There are three types that we looked at and how they are portrayed as well as gave some examples to how they’re portrayed in that specific way:
- They are seen as visual shortcuts
- An easy access to the character themselves (e.g glasses must mean they are smart)
- These are the ultimate stereotypes.
- They have every specific detail to do with that character (e.g name etc.)
- They usually tend to be negative
- These are the complete opposites of stereotypes
- They actually challenge what the stereotype and archetypes are
We firstly created two example for each of these, so to start with, an Old Aged Pensioner:
Stereotype – they would be fragile, most likely have a Zimmer frame, there skin would be like tissue, they’d have grey hair and baggy clothing, similar to the old lady as shown below
Archetype – A lady named Margret, they have a bucket hat, a perm, trolley, they’re slightly hunched and friendly, similar to this lady shown below
Countertype – They’re a mountain biker, they go to festivals etc. or they are completely the opposite of the original, so they wear hates, flamed shirts, heart glasses and go to raves such as this person
never too old to rave. be happy don't worry. old dancer (Богдан Ряпосов, 2014)
We also created one for a Scottish person:
Stereotype – ginger, heavy accent, stuck in their ways and aggressive
Archetype – their name is Hamish, they play the bagpipes, wear a kilt, they’re also a farmer
Countertype – they’re actually a florist, they live in Wales and they’ve never worn a kilt.
The topic itself is split into various different groups dependant on the situation and the person, but the main aspects of a person that we can have as stereotypes include:
It’s sad, but also true. Nowadays in particular we can see that some of these points are rising, for example the amount of homophobic people in the world has minimalized within the last 5-10 years, but it’s still there and sadly quite a lot, especially thanks to some campaigns as well, and especially over social media as people feel “Oh, they’re just behind a screen so it would all be perfectly fine to say that” when it’s just unacceptable in the end. You could also have some people judged by what others believe in, and apparently by their appearance nowadays that’s going to stereotype them as who they are. Say someone is wearing a hoodie, suddenly that directly makes them into a chav, when they could literally just be cold, or it might even be raining!
The Big Issue of Representation
There is a big issue to do with Representation in the end which is “gaze“. The other big issue is “Hegemony” which was created by Gramsci who is shown below.
Gramsci was an Italian man from the 1920’s who ended up going to jail between 8 and 10 years, and when he came out his whole country was overrun by right-winged fascists, which was completely different to how he remembered. He ended up moving to America, however, he saw in the newspapers about how much had changed and how they’d got worse and worse towards Jews in particular, and how every single Jew was the same and stereotyped when that’s clearly not true.
Back to the topic of “Hegemony“. He created the “Hegemonic Principle” which was the principle that we are still controlled with what we see through the media, as clearly the media is “always 100% correct“… Not true at all!
We looked into the Hegemonic Principle slightly to see what we could find for someone in a Current British TV Show as the Lead Character… Firstly, who was Female, Asian and Disabled and physically are none in any British TV shows currently. We then went onto changing it to just Female and Asian, and we came across that Bad Education, Coronation Street and Eastenders could be examples, then even changing it to just female we struggled to find “current” new shows, and we ended up getting Scott & Bailey as well as Tracey Beaker. Even narrowing it down to just female, we still struggled, and looking at the statistics, roughly 50% of Britain is actually female, so struggling to find a female who is the lead character off of our memories was still surprising, and shows that something needs to be changed to stop this!
We were asked to find one stereotype, and one countertype from preferably a current British TV show and give examples to clearly demonstrate what we are illustrating. For me I’ve used two different clips from two different singers at the auditions in Britain’s Got Talent, one from 2009 and one from 2013.
Here I’ve used a clip from Britain’s Got Talent of someone who people would stereotype as “they could sing”. From this one in particular, I feel that people could easily tell the types of songs that they would sing by the way that they dress and the way they look.
Alice Fredenham singing 'My Funny Valentine' - Week 1 Auditions | Britain's Got Talent 2013 (Britain's Got Talent, 2013)
The reason that I chose this singer from Britain’s Got Talent as a stereotype was because the way that she sings within this clip itself matches the similar way that she dresses. Typically a person who sings in that type of genre of music would wear something such as her, a simple white shirt, grey jeans, white shoes etc. as well as possibly some sort of jewelry and the way her hair is styled is similar to the way that someone from that specific genre would wear their hair. If we look at a picture of the actual singer of the song (Ella Fitzgerald) we can see that Alice looks a lot similar to Ella.
Compared to what someone would see as a “beautiful person who can sing”, this person in particular isn’t seen as “beautiful” by the general public, and nobody actually ever expected that she would be as good as she is. As shown below is a video from Britain’s Got Talent back in 2009 – the year where we met a person known as “Susan Boyle”.
Susan Boyle - Britains Got Talent 2009 Episode 1 - Saturday 11th April | HD Quality (Davy Leyland, 2009)
Many people started by stereotyping her as a person who wouldn’t be able to sing, didn’t believe her age and thought she was just pure-insane for even coming to the auditions due to the way she looked (especially at her age). The stereotypical route was used towards her, but then as soon as she started singing, it took a massive turn and ended with her receiving 2nd place on the show itself! The reason she is a counter type is because many people would judge someone who sings to look like her, they’d expect them to have a bunch of make-up on, most likely be skinny, wear a different type of clothing etc. however she comes out looking like she usually does, and takes the audience by surprise.
I feel this task was very useful as it allowed us to understand in more detail about stereotypes, countertypes and archetypes and what they exactly are, as well as allowing us to find examples from various different TV shows to prove our points of how they are a stereotype or a countertype.