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The most important development in a child is his individual identity. While children are shaping their attitude and identities, most of the times they tend to imitate their ideals and personalities for inspiration. The youth relates to a specific individual or a personality as their role model due to a certain quality or skill that they posses. It is not necessary that the child should look / dress or copy all the qualities of his hero, they can just select the attributes which suit them best and the ones they can relate, hence applying those skills or attributes to themselves. For example, the Supreme Court judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg may not have a direct influence on girls and women to become lawyers and subsequently judges, but her being there makes other female believe that it's a possibility too (Gibson & Cordova, 1999).
This is the ongoing pop culture, where parents and close relatives play a very important role because at an age when children are adopting from their parents and surroundings they might look in them the inspiration they require or which they might choose to adopt from a celebrity without knowing what is right and wrong for them. Other influences can be counted in as well, for example the place of education or other cultural influences for instance in every day growing media.
This paper discusses the entertainment industry in particular television media, cartoons and comics. As an example, we will analyze what type of skills and image of heroes, and role model does the contemporary media promote? To what extent do educators come into this era of cultural diversifications? Can educators play an important role as being role models for the youth? Can they as compared to the other celebrities who act as role models for the youth, play an important role towards shaping a better future and a different approach towards thing? Does television, entertainment industry, and other form of mass media guide our youth towards the right direction? Finally what are the qualities that drive one to choose a particular individual as their role model? We will discuss these questions and attempt to evaluate their answers in the light of surveys and various research studies (Signorielli & Bacue, 1999).
The way pop culture can be defined is always different due to the everyday changing environment in which the pop culture plays its role. For instance, if we consider the television world; it is easy to analyze what is happening just by looking at the billboard charts. In this way we can evaluate that for the past 50 years or more. Pop have been part of the mainstream media; it has successfully been evolving and changing, with certain patterns that have been visible and consistent throughout the years.
Variations of Pop Culture
The entertainment industry is a very successful part and widely popular part of the current pop culture phenomenon, with the television culture serving as a dominant factor for the perceived view of our society and culture, hence the majority of the substance shown on TV revolves around exploiting various ethnic groups residing in the U.S. By making gang wars-based films, also the ancient strategy of using women merely as a sexual element, or portraying them as the property of men giving out the message of the male dominance. Below we will analyze the television and film industry about their involvement in taking advantage of the racist's issue of the American society, a popular domain in this area; we will discuss the exploitation of women and the sexist phenomenon against feminism in the entertainment industry.
Gender Inequality and visible sexism
In the world of television media, male characters whether animation or real life, are more popular then female ones. Gender generalizations have always been the norm of the world. For instance qualities like, athletic, technical, bravery, assertive, responsible, ingenuity attractive, aggression and leadership have always been associated with men more than women. Considering that male characters are shown more than female ones, hence they do twice as more as female characters do. Also the role or purpose female characters are supposed to portray as seen in the few films show differentiation. All other movies or cartoon show females fulfilling the same criteria of screen as was 50 years ago.
However the male character in various media mediums have evolved greatly in the past 20 years compared to female characters. For instance, male characters would be more seen in a character where they have to tackle a situation or lead a group, where they express their leadership skills and are seen as the boss (Thompson & Zerbinos, 1995). Thus these stereotypical characters of the dominated male gender present a very restricted variety for role models.
Message Interpreted from Comic Books
Superheroes comics represent the larger than life culture of the American society and hence the main focus of these comics is the "male dominance" factor. This has always been the only way for heroes to be represented since the advent of the first comic in 1930. The role of the hero in the comic plays has always been the central part of the entire scenario primarily centred around the male figure for example super man and spider man. However, in recent times the female figure as super heroes has started to attain much importance. Still the major message that is parted from these comics is: women and other people of different color do not get their fair share in superhero comics. Women are mostly portrayed either as the victims or the main reason for the ongoing nuisance. How is this interpreted in the playground for children? Recent studies suggest that in the playground, boys come up with more super hero or crime fighting games than girls. While girls were excluded from these activities, if in the event they were made a part of the game then only stereotypical roles would be given to them such as helpers or the typical "woman in distress" situation who is waiting for her hero to save her. Thus if educators do not attempt to normalize or balance the ongoing muscularity in these comics, then superhero play may only serve to promote the already fast growing gender inequality.
Racism and Ethnic Discrimination:
Characters in animated films including cartoons also follow the typical stereotypical routine. While positive changes have been seen in these movies in relation to the portrayal of ethnic minorities and feminism, these changes can be noted. Still to a large extent, these genre of entertainment remain very narrow-minded when it comes to making good powerful animated stories for children. In this analysis we can say that the villains in the anmiations for example Jaffar in Aladdin express a very typically racial in nature, yet the hero of the film Aladdin himself is shown possessing a very light skin, with sharp features. However, the villains appear to have a very scary look to themselves including the accents and the skin, supporting beards, sinister eyes, heavy eyes, large noses and swords (Henry Giroux, 1997). Another example is Pocahontas, who we see being portrayed as a real life Native American girl, however, in the movie she was depicted with an hourglass figure Barbie doll looks (Giroux, 1997).
Hence what is evident is that animated and cartoon characters, even those who have been adapted from real life histories are heavily stereotypical with racial discriminative attitude. Characters have been basically stripped of their identity to fit a certain character, but fortunately for the children educators have the power to educate the children against such concepts with more accurate representations of historical characters. It does not end here; even in the world of comics; colored people are often given the role of villains, scarcely victims and those who are incapable of doing anything heroic. The only reason for their presence in the comic is to create violence, show aggressive behavior and make it look possible and legal.
Real-Life Television Characters:
While huge progress has been made in efforts to represent ethnic minorities on television; in the 1990's the silver screen portrayed a very discriminative version of entertainment where a huge decrease was observed in the casting of colored actors. In 1998, only 19% of Screen Actors Guild roles went to people of color. In the latter half of the 1990's roles for African-American's, Latinos and especially Native Americans decreased to only 5% (Screen Actors Guild [SAG], 1999. When we talk about women, even now there are a less percentage of them in the entertainment industry than men; women make consist of a minority of 40% in the industry. They are often younger than tier male counterparts giving out the message that a woman's youth is of the only value than any of her other qualities. Where it comes to career oriented women's role, such characters are less typical while in this category the male character is now very stereotypical (Signorielli & Bacue, 1999). According to these researches we can conclude that considering…[continue]
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