Male Artist in the Media
By: Griffin Lutz
Throughout history people have always used stereotypes to classify, associate, or to make people feel inferior. Fifteen years ago, stereotypes were passed between friends on the playground, down from generation to generation within a family or seen on television and posters. The concept of bullying didn’t exist outside of school and the only form communication was the landline or the mail. The twenty-first century gave birth to the digital age making everything you wanted at the tips of your fingers. Social media, videos, music, you name it could all be found for the first time in one collective space. Unfortunately, with everyone being able to post their opinions/beliefs online, it soon became hard to tell the difference between fact and fiction. In this class, we have learned to read and analyze the different types of media that a majority of us come in contact with on a daily basis. Before this class, I never really paid much attention to where people got these ideas of “how male artist are supposed to act”. I found that television is one of the largest culprit of providing this false sense of reality. This paper will address three major stereotypes that promote and provoke society into making assumptions about how male artists behave: the flamboyant artist, the hipster artist, and the womanizer artist.
First, I chose look at the stereotypical flamboyant artist. This stereotype is the loudest and most expressive of all the stereotypes. A fun character that doesn’t generally take anything too serious and is at times is emotionally unstable. This can be seen in movies such as Zoolander (Will Ferrell) and of course Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Johnny Depp). These lovable characters possess over the top qualities. Fortunately, most viewers are smart enough to be in on the joke. It would be rare to find individuals who do not realize that these are ridiculous exaggerations. A recent and tamer example of this is seen in FOX Entertainment’s Empire; Season 2 Episode 4 “Everything We Know”. The show is one of the first to promote LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) which is groundbreaking considering the treatment of people belonging to the LGBT community in the past. However, this is the same character that Will Ferrell played in Zoolander. The only difference is this character lacks the of over the top flare (goofy hair, obviously too much eye makeup, matching outfit with his dog, etc.).
Next, I decided to look at a trend that is not specifically linked to male artist but when searching for examples it was prominently observed in the media. The hipster is described by Urban Dictionary as “A subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter.” The two shows that I want to focus on; Modern Family’s season 7 premier “Summer Lovin” and Brooklyn Nine-Nine season 3; episode 3 “Boyle’s Hunch. Not really knowing what a hipster was at first, I had a hard time trying to decide if this was actually a negative stereotype. After watching both shows I found that in these two examples the stereotype is being portrayed in a negative way; solely because both of the characters were pretending to be this hipster persona. Yes, I understand they are actors on a television show, but the characters on the show where simply pretending to be something they weren’t. Of the two, Modern family is the best at showing the transition from an up-tight lawyer to a deep thinking painter. It forced me to realize that I have even fallen victim to this stereotype. Just because I wear Oxford shoes, have a tucked in shirt, and happen to be standing outside the art building with my portfolio, people make assumptions and ask me if I am “one of those artist that is all in touch with himself and if I am reflecting on some big philosophical meaning for why it’s raining”. My answer always seems to be a version of “no I am standing under the cover because I have to go to work after this and I don’t feel like being soaking wet”. They are trying to use the hipster artist stereotype to define me. Unfortunately, not helping the situation is the fact that there is usually some other student next to me that quickly says “yes that’s exactly what I’m doing” which only solidifying their preconceived notion of what a hipster artist is.
The final stereotype that I chose to look at is the womanizer artist. A study done by HsinSheng College of Medical Care and Management in Taiwan set out to find the gender stereotypes of male and female artist in the media. A total of one hundred and one Taiwanese newspapers were used, taking articles from the entertainment columns. They then conducted a survey to find what people gathered was the main response of these articles. “Results showed… portrayals of male artists focused on personal defects in physical appearance and love affair” (Language and Ideology). This stereotype often perceives male artist as deep thinking, passionate individuals who use their creativity to seduce woman. The example is from the CW’s iZombie Season 1; Episode 2 “Brother can you spare a brain”. In the episode after eating the brain of the recently dead artist, she gains his personality. As a result, she starts questioning the meaning of everything she sees and tries to explain it though painting. She also can’t help but flirt with attractive women throughout the course of the episode. This proves that most people see male artist as cheating womanizers. While for most, the reputation of being a womanizer doesn’t seem so horrible, it might actually bother an artist who has been turned down by a woman he is interested in just because of this sterotype.
Stereotypes do not have to be harmful. As human beings, we should be able to laugh at exaggerated forms of ourselves. The idea of comic relief has been around for centuries. However, we all have to be in on the joke. We can not allow sterotypes to The problem interfere with our daily lives in which we make assumptions about individuals before we actually know them. The lack of an ability to break down the media wether it be television, social media, newspaper, or the movies, could causes us to misinterpret what they are really trying to say. Our lifestyle has become one of believing everything we see and not taking the time to stop and think if there is another meaning behind it. We have lost the art of thinking before we speak or more commonly these days thinking before we type.
One significant learning moment for me this term was when we talked about the different ways to break down an ad. I never really didn’t pay attention to ads. I just assumed they were only trying to sell me something so I tuned them out. However, I never actually broke an ad down and analyzed it to see what they did in order to get your attention and keep it. The strategies and work that goes into creating these ads is impressive. A second significant learning moment for me would probably when we looked at evaluating the news. I had been somewhat connected with the news, but I haven’t been as on top of it as I would like to be. Learning all the tricks to break it apart so you can understand what is actually happing was really useful and I find myself doing it now when I’m either watching or reading the news. I have gained a better understanding of the media and how it relates to the world around me.
“‘Modern Family’ Premiere Recap: Not Everyone Had the Perfect Summer…” Entertainment Weekly’s EW.com. Web. 16 Nov. 2015. <http://www.ew.com/recap/modern-family-season-7-premiere>.
“Empire Season 2, Episode 4: Everything We Know.” Wetpaint Inc Empire Season 2 Episode 4 Everything We Know Comments. 2 Oct. 2015. Web. 16 Nov. 2015. <http://www.wetpaint.com/empire-season-2-episode-4-1444261/>.
“Language and Ideology: Gender Stereotypes of Female and Male Artists in Taiwanese Tabloids.” Language and Ideology: Gender Stereotypes of Female and Male Artists in Taiwanese Tabloids. Web. 16 Nov. 2015. <http://das.sagepub.com/content/20/6/747.abstract>.
“Modern Family: Season 7 Premiere: Summer Lovin’ Recap – Season 7 Episode 01.” ABC. Web. 16 Nov. 2015. <http://abc.go.com/shows/modern-family/episode-guide/season-07/1-season-7-premiere-summer-lovin>.
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