Monday, October 19, 2009

Stereotypes Come to Life in The Real World

Hall defined stereotypes as, “reduced to a few essentials, fixed in Nature by a few, simplified characteristics.” Our natural tendency to describe a race by a few, essential characteristics alleviates our communication and helps form a standard that all of those within a certain culture can understand.

The perfect example of this can be found within the popular MTV show, “The Real World.” The show functions as a basic exploitation of cultural stereotypes. In fact, the show would probably be much less successful if it did not employ such systematic categorization. From the Catholic white girl to the womanizing black male, this MTV show has it all.

Each season (who can even keep track of how many there have been?), the token African American male is constantly pinned as a female aggressor and generally violent character. They tend to be extremely sexual by bringing home various women throughout the show. As a result of this, the token black character is usually outcasted from the group, especially the female roommates.

By doing this, MTV aids American viewers by giving them something that is easily understood by all and shared as “common ground.” If MTV were to try and break the stereotype, viewers would become confused and challenged making the show ineffective and most likely unsuccessful.


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