chapter  5
27 Pages

Sharing Stereotypes

ByPerry R. Hinton

The culturally structured knowledge that children learn at school about social groups may be, or may not be, different to that learnt in other contexts or by previous generations, aspects of which may be viewed as stereotypes. Since the time of F. H. Allport, there has been the view that the media presents stereotypical portrayals of social groups, which influences viewer perceptions of them. The consistent portrayal of the members of a social group in restricted social roles constructs media stereotypes, which, from an egalitarian perspective, reinforces unfair societal divisions. Social role theory argues that the stereotypes of men and women reflect the norms associated with the traditional male and female gender role in a particular society. Social role theory provides an explanation of why people develop stereotypical associations between social groups and attributes. Like stereotypes, labelling social groups in terms of ‘deviance’ constructs social relationships based on group identities, and reflect values and norms about who should do what.