Since the creation of the first Television back in 1888, media has begun to portray stereotypes. Media portrayal of stereotypes broadcast a false sense of reality to portray what people want to see in order to boost ratings. There are many T. V shows out there that focus solely on stereotypes and ignorance. A prime example of this would be the “reality” show Jersey Shore. The jersey shore cast focuses on Italian stereotypes as well as gender differences and the double standards of today’s Generation. The television show Jersey shore was first aired in 2009 and was a big hit amongst 14-25 year olds.
The show is set on the coast of New Jersey, and follows the lives of 8 strangers. The premise of the show was to see how many Fights and other shenanigans these 8, self absorbed, “guido’s” could get into. The casting Directors for jersey shore picked these 8 people because they fit the perfect mold of what a guido is. Guido is, a slang term for a lower class or working class urban Italian-American. The guido stereotype is multi-faceted. Originally, it was used as a demeaning term for Italian Americans. More recently, it has come to also encompass Italians who conduct themselves as thugs with an overtly macho attitude.
The show focuses on the views and values of these eight strangers. There is a strange mixture of customs as well as new age views between the roommates. The four male roommates have a credo that they live by and it is called “G. T. L” or Gym, Tanning and Laundry. Everyday like clock work these men wake up, go to the gym for 2 hours, then go and get spray tanned, then they all make a group trip to the Laundromat to do their laundry. Sometimes, to switch things up, they will throw a haircut in. After they Finish their GTL, they start to prepare for clubbing and picking up woman.
The Goal of these men are to get as many women as they can to sleep with them. Every night they have a new group of women in their hot tub, and they see nothing wrong with this. On the other hand, we have the women of the house. The women don’t really have a credo that they live by, they mainly try to make each others lives a living hell and try to make each other leave the house. The friendships that these women form rarely last more than two episodes and always end in a slap fight. The one thing that they can all agree on is their love for “juice heads” or men who use steroids to increase their muscle size.
They all go to clubs with their short, almost non-existent skirts and blown out hair. These women try to find men in the clubs, but they have to be careful about how many men they kiss or have sex with because they will be called whores if they make out with to many people. The double standard between the men and women is made very clear. Men are aloud to have sex with as many people as they want, and they are also allowed to bring women over the house. Women on the other hand are “whores” if they bring a man home from the club and have sex with them.
Like many of the articles that we had read in class, men and women have these double standards in almost all aspects to their lives. The fact that the men in the house are allowed to sleep with as many men as they want, and women can only sleep with one a week, is ridiculous. People should be free to make their own life choices. I find this show, and all other shows like this, to be extremely degrading to not only Italian American culture, but to the east coast persona. It all relates back to stereotyping in the media. There is a high demand in today’s world for uneducated people, getting drunk and having sex on T.
V. The Media responds to this need by airing shows like Jersey shore. They find a stereotype that they can capitalize on and run with it. The Producers of these type shows don’t realize what harm they are doing to the next generation. Children are growing up all around the U. S. thinking that this behavior is tolerated and looked upon as ideal. What is even worse, it that most people viewing shows like this are in the mid west, and never had any experience with “normal” Italian Americans, and east coast people to formulate their own opinions.
They have to rely on what they see on the television for their ideas. There are many changes that need to be made in media portrayal of stereotypes. These stereotypes are being broadcast to our young generation and destroying their views and Values. There has been a rise in Underage drinking, as well as an increase in destructive behavior In America since the beginning of the new millennium. I truly believe that the media is one of the main things to blame. Education, on all fronts, is needed to help relieve the world of these stereotypes.