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Representation of Women and People of Color in Media

   

Added on  2019-09-16

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Stereotypes in the Media p. 1Both the reading and module/in-class content can be structured as:1.Minority Portrayals in the Media -- Historically2.Minority Portrayals in the Media --The Current Picture3.Characteristics of Audiences4.Gender Portrayals in the Media5.What are the Effects of Minority and Gender Portrayals in the Media?There is a lot of interesting content to get through. In the modules this week, we'll start with some basic, big-picture questions to frame the issues, and then review #1 -- #3 above. In class on Tuesday, we'll talk about Gender and Effects of Portrayals.1. What are the big questions about race and minorities and the media?Since the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's and beyond, researchers and the public have been interested in the nature of the media's under-representation and misrepresentations of minorities, women, and under-represented groups, and what effect they may have on individuals and society at large.Media portrayals of minorities are studied for negative and positive effects, with a focus on under-representation, negative stereotypes, and exclusion. Surely there are many relevant questions -- entire university courses on Race and Gender in the Media exist.We'll focus on three guiding questions in this module.1. How are minorities and different genders portrayed in entertainment media? Are these depictions different from real life?Are different races and ethnic groups being under-represented in the media? And are they being misrepresented? Research into portrayals of minorities used to focus almost exclusively on merehead counts, orhow many characters of what races were on TV orin film, and does that reflect actual numbers in the population? (foreshadowing question- which racial/ethnic group do you think is the most under-represented on U.S. TV?)Misrepresentations of minorities are concerned with the context of the portrayals themselves - Not just if there are proportionate numbers of groups on screen. Issues looking at misrepresentations of different minority groups explore the significance of the portrayals - are minority characters more likely to be in criminal justice situations? Are they more likely to have high or low prestige jobs? And what are there interactions with other minorities and whites like?Here's one image depicting noteworthy differences in race and gender proportions just in broadcast TV and cable TV from a recently available Diversity Report from UCLA. When reviewing the Infographic, look less at the difference between years, and try to focus more on the differences across media types: How do minority and gender presentations differ by broadcast TV and cable TV?
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Are men more or less represented in TV? How about behind the scenes, as show creators?What patterns do you see regarding race?
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So, according to the Infographic above, across cable and broadcast TV:Between 77%-81% of characters are whiteBetween 10-14% are blackBetween 2-3% are HispanicA look at gender reveals:Males and Females are relatively equally presented in lead roles on Broadcast TVOn cable TV, males are leads about 63% of the time, while females are lead characters 37% of the timeShow creators are between 71% and 77% maleAre these under-representations?Let's take a look at what the population of the U.S. actually looks like. That way, we can make comparison to see if certain groups are being under-represented on TV.Females and males each account for roughly 50% of the population (technically, females are closer to 51%)Here is a chart with the most recent U.S. census data about race and ethnicity in the U.S.:
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