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Everyone knows there were many obvious stereotypes in earlier years, but did you know a lot of these stereotypes still exist in the 2000s? Many of these stereotypes are caused by social media and the news.
In earlier years, such as 1929, journalists and publishers controlled any news or announcements that were going out to the public because they were the only source of information the people had. There were many controversial stereotypes that were implied in newspaper ads and articles, such as women had to be skinny and wear makeup to be pretty, men had to be manly and strong, women belonged in the kitchen and taking care of kids, and African Americans should not be able to do simple things, such as attend the same schools, or drink out of the same water fountains as whites.
Although we try to fight for more equality for all, a lot of the typical stereotypes that were around in the 1920’s continue to be a problem, and one of the biggest causes of this problem is social media.
Even though social media is a massive part of millions of people’s lives, this friendly way of communicating with others has turned into a way for people to get approval from society. People trying to be like popular people on the internet, is creating many issues with low self esteem in people all around the world who think they aren’t good enough. This causes many cases of depression at a young age. “Around 16.
2 million adults in the United States, have had at least one serious episode of depression in a year.” (healthline.com, 2018)
People look at Instagram models, celebrities, and internet sensations as role models to how they should live their lives. All of these important people represent the same stereotypes that women have to be skinny, pretty and wear makeup to please society and that men have to be big and strong and do all the hard work. If people keep trying to live up to these unrealistic standards, then there will be more and more cases of depression a year. “More than 25 million Americans suffer from depression each year and around 5-8 percent of those people are older teens. Major depression has affected half of the people who die by suicide.”(American foundation for suicide prevention)
These harmful stereotypes have been affecting society for a very long time. It is in our human nature to categorize and judge people. Some of us are unaware how much these stereotypes affect people. Martin Luther king’s famous “ I Have a Dream” speech all started because of a huge stereotype that changed the way society looked at people of color. In the 1929, Martin Luther King’s birth year, society segregated blacks from whites in many ways. They couldn’t use the same bathrooms, ride the same vehicle of transportation, attend the same schools, or even drink out of the same water fountains as white people. “ African Americans were stereotyped as dirty and contaminated,” (Psychologytoday. com, 2011), this caused whites to not want to be around them.
Some may not realize it, but a lot of this racism is still a huge problem in our world today. “A survey done by CNN shows that 8 out of 10 blacks and 2 out of 3 Hispanics believe that the system for criminal justice favors or approves whites over other races.” (cnn.com)It’s not just Hispanics and blacks that are having trouble with being equal in society, Muslim people have a hard time getting through everyday situations such as going through airport security, meetings, and job interviews. They are often stereotyped as bad and dangerous because of well-known terrorists groups. People see news about ISIS and other groups and get alarmed or scared and just assume that all Muslims are bad. “Seventy-five percent of Muslims believe that there is a lot of discriminations against Muslims in the United States.”( pewforum.org, 2017)
Social media in the 2000s is also one of the main ways for people to get bullied. This way of bullying is called cyber bullying. When people, especially young teens, don’t abide by the strict standards of society caused by common stereotypes and standards, then they will easily be a main target for bullying. “More than one out of five students report being bullied a year” (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016). This also causes so many teens to be insecure about themselves and who they are.
Even though social media enforces so many of these awful stereotypes, some people try their hardest to end them. Some people post pictures that show you can still be beautiful and love who you are without wearing makeup or starving yourself. Women are often stereotyped as weak and unable to do things a man can, but these stereotypes have been proven wrong by many women There are many successful, hard-working women in the work field that inspire others to work hard as well. “ More than two hundred thousand women are working in the active-duty military.”(cnn.com, January 24, 2013). It is so inspiring that so many women have joined the armed forces when women weren’t even allowed to be in the military years ago.
We have come such a long way from the popular stereotypes in earlier years but some continue to be a problem. If we continue to inspire others to accept other people and themselves, these stereotypes won’t be an issue. Social media can be such an amazing way to spread positive messages to large amounts of people, but also spreads negative messages and starts stereotypes that impact so many people’s lives.
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