Stereotypes are a big problem in our society. It puts labels about how a person should act or live according to their sex, race, personality and other facts. Stereotypes have created a distortion of how every individual should be. It is not only society where we get exposure to stereotype. It’s not just one movie. It’s not just one TV show. It’s constant exposure to the same dated concepts in the media over and over, starting before preschool and lasting a lifetime. Concepts like: Black cannot be good; boys are smarter than girls; certain jobs are best for men and others for women, and even that girls are responsible for their own sexual assaults. These are not only limiting our life but also creating metal depression like an inferiority complex.
Stereotyping is very common in our society. Society differentiates everything according to the gender, color, etc. like, a girl is judged according to her complexion. It is traumatising when a little girl complains about how she has been bullied in her school because of her dark complexion. It is also noticeable that a girl with darker complexion has been treated differently from others by the family members. It becomes a matter of passion for that girl to become pretty like the magazine girls. It takes a long time for her to understand that the value of a person does not lie in good looks rather it depends on the characteristics are you holding. It seems complexion is the certificate of character. This is just an example, there are many which lead to an inferiority complex. It is also a common tendency of many that they feel inferior because they are not as healthy, beautiful or strong as others. It often affects not only the children but also the adults, subduing their real spirit and making their life desolate and unhappy. Stereotypes create a misconception of how people are and how they live in other cultures, religions, or countries. This misconception could cause problems such as discrimination.Inferiority complex is a lack of self-worth, a doubt and uncertainty about oneself, and feelings of not measuring up to standards. It is often subconscious and is thought to drive afflicted individuals to overcompensate, resulting either in spectacular achievement or extreme social behaviour. It is mentionable that an inferiority complex occurs when the feeling of inferiority is intensified in an individual owing to discouragements or failure. Both men and women can suffer from this problem. The woman may feel it when they are judged by the colour of their skin or physical structure. On the other hand, men may feel inferior as well under some circumstances.
It is to be mentioned that the media has a great influence on our lives. We all like to hold the characteristics that media packages to us. In movies, men are seen and heard twice as often as women. Horror is one genre where women are taking on increasingly prominent parts. But women are assuming central roles – not as victims and heroes, but as a monster. In most of the movie, it is seen that women are portrayed as a demon where men are the superheroes. It creates an impression that women are the demons thus they should be controlled by men. It emphasises the bad side of one particular gender, which is also spreading the assumption that women are the negative character and they need to be suppressed. Whereas we should understand that positive and prominent roles for women in movies “motivate women to be more ambitious” professionally and personally. A good character may bring the changes into human life, thus the negative role of women can bring a negative impression on the society.
As media plays an important role in every life thus media can contribute to break the stereotype from the society. For audiences who absorb ideas from the media on how to behave and what to become, the characterisations can lead to false assumptions and harmful conclusions. These oversimplified characterisations play out in many ways over and over. Media can break the idea of superheroes are strong and brave; where the princess is submissive, fearful and meek. Exaggerating the differences between boys and girls is just a ploy to keep audiences entertained. It’s not what we really want our future generation to emulate.
We are not going to be able to prevent ourselves from seeing everything that sends the wrong message. We as the new generation should do something to avoid this problem. We can start changing our perception of stereotypes and should be aware that all stereotypes are bad regardless if they are good or bad because it causes prejudgment. Learning to respect and understand other cultures, religions, and countries could avoid many problems such as discrimination. And most importantly, we should teach new generations to respect each other regardless of their differences. With all of this, we can change our perception of the stereotypes that are deeply rooted in our society and make a better society. Fortunately, the most powerful messages of the future generation will initiate from us. When we actively role-model gender equality, speak out against stereotypes, and challenge outdated ideas, it will be heard loud and clear.
Anika Ibnath Prema, student of English Department, IUB