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Debunking the Myths of Media Normalizing Discriminations in Pop Culture

Children have jumped from buildings trying to impersonate their favorite superheroes, fatal accidents have happened while trying to imitate wrestling stunts, and men have made fun of their fellow beings on influences from the media. 

Since the birth of broadcast media, it has been the most important factor in creating and spreading cultural and moral values across the plains of humanity. Various ideas have ever since been sent out throughout the globe and humanity has sat in front of it keenly learning, copying, and storing all the information. And one day, an innocent kid said to his classmate, “You’re so fat. You look funny.” And his classmates laughed along. His comment broke the silence and brought them together to laugh. The victim’s thoughts even now, are out of the question. How did an innocent kid’s funny bone get stimulated by seeing a fat kid? Where was it from that the kid learned it is entertaining to tease others? Will a kid remarking the same to an elderly be funny? Will an elderly commenting the same about a kid be funny? The entertainment media has put up a curtain, one that has blinded our logic and stimulated our sensations.


The Birth of Discriminations

Diving into some historical moments, Black participation can be seen from day one of British television; however, the notion of Black as entertainers has changed throughout the course. Analyzing researches, like the one Jochen Petzold has made in this field, of one of the most iconic roles in history, Alf Garnett from the BBC1 comedy show, "Till Death Do Us Part", mentions that the role of Alf “was meant to criticize his racism, the satire was not recognized by many viewers.” Curry and Chips (ITV 1969), Love Thy Neighbours (ITV 1972-76), and Mind Your Language (ITV 1977-79), are some of the popular shows that have been a part of our childhood and can be interpreted as shows that focused on “problems with neighbors, problems with language, or with fitting in.” The problem was not about depicting the problems but about creating a new prejudice that the White man found funny.


The Critical Sense of Humour

Sensitivity for others' feelings in our daily communication as well as our political correctness in various scenarios today seems to be a by-product of comedy in media. Various types of comedy which we are subjected to on a day-to-day basis have changed the way we mingle in our surroundings expecting to produce the same humor constructively, but rather turn out to offend others. Satirical Comedy, or other forms of lower comedies such as the Slapstick, has had a neutralizing effect on various attitudes that we have openly called to be heinous but on entertainment levels accepted. 

Various examples from our favorite movies, television shows, and OTT that we have subscribed to because of their variety are a matter of fact the reason why in the first case why such contents exist. One of the studies mentions a phrase that, due to the lack of variety inside the scriptwriting team has there been satirical comedies that have hurt minority or absent community's identity. But it is not far away from our discussion to speak of a show which would depict a White man in a black environment experiencing the cultural shock.


The Hypocritical Self

Rowan Atkinson featuring show Mr. Bean and its animated series is much sought after by parents to provide entertainment for their kids but at the same time frowned upon when the child shows mannerisms and actions that resemble the show. This depicts how media or the other way around humans, have been an influence on the latter as defining the socially accepted standards. It wasn’t till late in 2020 that there has ever been a Black 007 from the famous James Bond series. And the first Black Green Lantern also received much of the sympathy votes. The idea that to be a hero is to be handsome, strong, and importantly ‘fair’, and to be a lady is to be slender, tall, and full of motherly values has become the norms of society. Since day one, when we were fed with advertisements and soap operas that focused on the concept that human life as such is a journey towards perfection. The idea of how one should be and how one should be treated forms two large cultural dispositions that have been induced in society that has got varied multitudes of cravings.

 An installation from the Museum of Pop Culture


Is it Media or Society?

Yes. Many actors and actresses have been cast stereotypically into various roles in which they have been a perfect fit. Such roles not only include action heroes, handsome alpha males, the epitome of beauty, but also criminals, prostitutes, and so on. This takes us to the next question of how does the casting agent or the viewers decide a particular actor or actress is fitting for the role? … Was it their appearance or was it the golden ratio that media has embedded into our genes? Hence it would be an expression of how an artist is being publically branded as an example of how society should believe a criminal or a prostitute should look like.

Various debates are argued about how depictions have influenced the social understanding of concepts, for example, a very much sort after question, “How Rock music depicts women”, is often described as an infringement into the artist’s creative space, similar defenses in favor of media practices that can degrade the standards of thought in the society by establishing what can be called a poisoned popular culture. This poisoned pop culture of a particular society is a progeny of the media of the same society. In the Bollywood movie Super 30, Indian Actor Hrithik Roshan can be found to have made his complexion darker. This had stirred a thought across whether he being portrayed as an Indian in the International spectrum requires him to go darker on his complexion. The question then emerges about the situation as i) the actor getting ready to do a darker version of himself to fit the character and ii) a shout-out to the world that any person from that particular ethnicity and region is supposed to be conceptualized with a dark complexion.

Where does the accountability of a show such as Game Of Thrones lie, when it depicts more than a dozen sexual harassments and rapes. The narcotizing nature of media is a truth that we cannot ignore. With such a top-ranking large fan following series, the audience should realize that they are being fed with what they want and not what is only available.  

Media is a powerful tool that over the years has become an invisible partner in society. It has multitudes of power to make and break notions. Media can create a utopian society and it also can destroy the last of the hopes of a better tomorrow. Media is the genie who provides what society wants it to.



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