Perceptions and Assumptions

Sarah Parker

Perceptions and Assumptions



1.) Bill Nye:

Bill Nye the Science Guy is depicted as the typical scientist. He is a geeky, tall, skinny, white male with a lab coat and crazy ideas. Scientists are stereotyped this way, however there are many other types of scientists besides ones that use chemicals and experiment in labs all day. This impacts me because I watched Bill Nye as a child, and now find myself assuming scientists are this “type” of person. I feel like it has possibly set a negative example for me, as well as women in general to fight the struggle in math and science classes. Since men are typically better at math and science, this could have been reinforced at an early age when Bill Nye was “the science guy”.

However, the show also created fun and exciting experiments that inspired me at times to recreate them which infused my curiosity for science. He also had helpers on his show that were children of all ages as well as cultures. They were all very smart and conducted their own experiments as well. They made science look fun and easy for people of all ages.

2.) Sex and the City:

Sex and the City is a popular show that has been on TV for decades. It is a positive influence for me when discussing the star’s successful careers. Since stereotypes leave women trapped under a glass ceiling, Sex and the City shows a positive role for white women to be successful on their own. They start off single, and extremely successful in their careers; however, they still find flaws in white-corporate America. Since they are female, they run into issues of moving up, as well as being stereotyped as emotional and unstable, when they are strong and independent.

This show clearly has a targeted audience, and therefore probably hasn’t and won’t reach everyone. The main characters are white females, and at times discriminate against men. It is important for all women to have role models that have made it in the corporate world and fought threw some of the many struggles that take place in the work place.

3.) “Ms. Swan”:

Ms. Swan (MAD TV) is a completely racist skit that became vastly popular in the 90’s. A white woman plays a small, old, Chinese woman and mocks all stereotypes. From her wardrobe to her accent, she is portrayed as unintelligent, and many racial slurs and stereotypes are constantly in the script. Because her character is not an American, she is made fun of because she does not fit in with common American culture.

This character is completely offensive, but has been recognized in pop culture for years. This clip is from a scene at a movie theatre when all she is trying to do is purchase snacks for the film. Because it is an everyday scenario, it is easily recognizable, however; the movie theatre employee is hardly accommodating. (But of course not, that wouldn’t make good TV.)

4.) Pocahontas:

The Disney movie Pocahontas shaped my image of Native Americans at a very young age. Although the movie demonstrates strong family values, tradition, and lifestyle, these depictions are not entirely accurate anymore. There is little respect or credibility given to the Native Americans as a whole, and even less towards the women. This affected me because I had a very solid stereotype set in my mind for how Native Americans looked and acted.

This movie, along with Bill Nye had such an impression on me so young, that I feel they shaped my outlook completely, and now thinking of Native Americans automatically brings an image to my head of chiefs and feathers and talking willow trees. These images can be restructured with more knowledge and understanding of the culture and traditions.


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