Growing up, my favourite movies to watch were definitely Disney. At home I have three shelves of different Disney films, including all the Disney princess ones of course. I basically thought I was a princess and apart of Disney World. These movies truly fascinated me. I was a young girl who was mesmerized by their lives and the fairytales they were living in. I agree with the previous post in that these Disney movies highlight many negative stereotypes concerning gender and race. All of the princesses are beautiful, thin, and attractive young girls. These are the stereotypes and sexual scripts that are unfortunately instilled in the minds of children at such a young age.
Similarly, these stereotypes and sexual scripts are apparent in television shows today. In my opinion, I believe the degree to which television shows portray certain stereotypes is quite obscene in popular culture. The majority of television programs that adolescents watch nowadays are filled with gender stereotyping, racial stereotyping and as mentioned earlier sexual scripts. However, I also feel that some shows are trying to bush the boundaries of stereotypes and show the truth of it all. I will do an analysis of several shows comparing the differences some being very stereotypical and others not. For example, on Modern Family, Cam and Mitchell are homosexuals and the way they behave on the show is very stereotypical to gay men, such as the way they talk and act. Max Blum, a character on the show Happy Endings is portrayed as the gay best friend, however his character is very different than Cam and Mitchells. Blum’s character portrays a man who is “a hairy, horn-dog, no-good single gay dude…who spent more time eating Cheez Whiz than applying ‘product’” (Pinkert, 2013). As I was watching this show, I immediately thought this to myself. He is not depicted as the typical, stereotypical gay guy on a TV show. His character is hilarious and he’s essentially the joker in their friend group, but the majority of his jokes are not about him being gay or even homosexuals at all. I thought this was very interesting to compare the two TV shows and compare the portrayals of these two homosexual men. Another interesting comparison I would like to address is Sofia Vergara’s character on Modern Family, Gloria. I am a fan of this television show; therefore I am quite familiar with each character. Gloria does not go an episode without mentioning her ethnicity, her promiscuous clothing or acting in a certain way because she is “Colombian.” Of course, Gloria is always dressed in revealing clothing with her breasts out. This is typical and also very stereotypical, which is quite apparent in many episodes. On the other hand, April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation is also Latina. Her character is very different from Sofia Vergara. The humor on the show got me hooked immediately along with the cast and their personalities. The majority of the characters are presented without all the typical stereotypes that are visible in the majority of television shows today, such as Modern Family. April is “vivacious” and never goes on a rant in Spanish or even with a heavy accent as Gloria takes on in Modern Family. Also, Tom Haverford played by Aziz Ansari in Parks and Recreation is without a doubt comical and charming. His role on Parks and Recreation breaks the barrier of stereotypes as he is not portrayed like most South Asians would be – “proud and macho” or even “effeminate and nerdy,” however he is sweet, comedic and definitely considered the coolest guy on the show by far. The last example I feel is really prevalent in TV shows today would be the typical dumb blonde. On the Big Bang Theory, Penny definitely fulfills this character of a dumb blonde that is dating a nerd. On the other hand, Dallas Royce played by Cheryl Hines is very good at handling things, has great judgment with a good head on her shoulders as much as she comes off as a blonde bimbo.
These TV shows show us how gender and racial stereotypes are so apparent in popular culture. However, some shows in popular culture are able to push these boundaries and make great television. I believe it is quite distressing that children are being instilled with these stereotypes at such a young age and I believe more television programs should stop trying to make their show more comical by being extremely stereotypical.