Stereotypes in Print Texts Legally Blonde
The media often uses images of men and women in stereotypical roles in print and non-print texts. This is quite common because society has been taught to accept groups of people with certain characteristics, especially females. They are often stereotyped by their roles in society and their image. Stereotypical women are commonly used in feature films like Legally Blonde and print texts to exploit maternal role models and sex symbols. The media uses persuasive techniques such as layout, camera angles and lighting, characters and setting to promote stereotypes. The layout in print advertisements can mean a lot of things.
The Band-aid advertisement for healing gel exploits the image of a perfect mother by the layout. The mother is holding her daughter in a protective caring pose. The mother and daughter are light haired, Caucasian, young and good-looking, they are both perfect. The characters are on the left hand side of the page, the side we see first and the heading is Healed with love, this could represent that mothers are best to love and care for children. The advertisers have used a mother because women have been stereotyped as the major cares of children. The layout also includes camera angle and lighting to display this stereotypical image of women.
In the Band-aid advertisement, the camera angles and lighting focus on the perfect features of the characters to help exploit the perfect mother. In the advertisement, the lighting has been focused on the top of the mother and the side of the child. This exploits the characteristics of the perfect mother such as being moral, caring and loving. In Health products, the media tends to use people with a clean appearance and good looking to promote their products because we have been taught to believe that these people are perfect and if we use the product, we will be like them.
The stereotyping of women’s roles within society is frequently reinforced by the setting they are placed in and the characters they play in feature films. Film makers rely on our knowledge of stereotypes to attract their audiences. In the feature film Legally Blonde the film makers are exploiting the image of a “dumb blonde” by portraying the characters in settings which are pink, pretty and very dedicated to the main character Elle Woods. The setting of
Elle’s room is extremely pink with her furniture being pink, pretty and her cupboards and floor are flooded with soft toys and beauty accessories, photos of her boyfriend and her dog. The sorority that Elle lives in is decorated for with roses and pink decorations for Elle to prepare her for her date with her boyfriend. The film makers have used props and backdrops which are pink and pretty to show Elle’s main characteristics of a “dumb blonde”. We are expected to believe that Elle is a pretty, nice and dumb person by her settings and surroundings. The film makers have also projected the image of a “dumb blonde” by the characters.
The main character Elle Woods of the film Legally Blonde is instantly reconised to be a “dumb blonde” by her familiar characteristics that we have been taught to accept from blondes. Elle and the other characters from her sorority are mostly blonde, beautiful and young. Elle’s two main friends are both, like Elle, fashion experts. They idolize Elle in her looks and personality. When Elle is about to leave with her boyfriend, the members of her sorority are fussing around Elle to make her look her best. This gives us a perspective of a “dumb blonde” by Elle’s personality and her friends.
We are taught to accept blondes as dumb bimbos who only care about fashion and beauty. Characters such as Elle Woods are often recognised by the stereotypical roles and images they have been put in by the media. To conclude my essay, I believe that the media has employed stereotypes in both print and non-print texts to entertain and attract us. We are constantly encouraged by film makers and the media to accept these traditional gender roles as being normal and desirable. Blondes can equally be as smart as brunettes and have the same characteristics.