d g e
- education for disability and gender equity
Media and the arts have helped people reflect upon values, moral dilemmas, character traits, and other profound aspects of lived experience. These explorations have undoubtedly empowered individuals, and contributed immensely to human development.
On the other hand, the power of the media can wield negative as well as positive influence. By constructing images and ideas which become fixed in the public mind, the media can sometimes perpetuate false and/or destructive beliefs, which can then be translated into harmful public policies.
*Stereotyping* is one way that the media's power can impede human progress: Media-generated stereotypes encourage the public to think about certain groups of people in ways that are simplistic, one-dimensional, or contemptuous. The result can be widespread prejudice, or even institutionalized social policies which discriminate against those groups.
For example, look through a popular magazine, and examine how many of the advertisements portray women. What messages do these ads convey about women's bodies? How do the ads convey these messages – through words, or through pictures, or both? What jobs are the women in these ads doing? How do these women relate to men?
Do these ads promote stereotypes about women? Which stereotypes do you see represented? What effects do you think these stereotypes might have on women reading the magazines? What effects do you think the stereotypes might have on men?
(Next - Section 3: Disability in Media)