Setting the shark scene
DOI link for Setting the shark scene
Setting the shark scene book
We argue here that the great white shark, although deserving of our awe, has been taken out of its natural context and placed in cultural contexts in which its natural characteristics and behaviours have been greatly exaggerated and distorted to encourage fear and hate. The spectacular ‘Air Jaws’ acrobatics of the great white are ubiquitous on the internet. These images imply that anyone in the ocean is in danger of being rushed at in that way, yet this is one of many strategies that the great white needs to use in order to capture smart, fast and aggressive seals. The dorsal fins of the larger sharks strike terror into us, yet they merely help the sharks to steer through the oceans. Cultural representation has built these magnificent creatures into monsters by drawing on iconic sharp and jagged shapes that infants are taught at an early stage of development to avoid. Cultural representations of the great white shark in media as diverse as cartoons through to film and sensationalised news reports have consistently ignored the great white shark's many more fascinating characteristics that ought to provoke, curiosity, awe and respect, rather than fear.