Social media has been going crazy about a Clicks advertisement on Tresemme haircare products. My Zone asked a few individuals whether the media plays a role in creating negative stereotypes. Here’s what they had to say.
15 September 2020 | Opinion
I do think that the media contributes to spreading awareness on negative stereotypes because not everyone tends to take things seriously. And memes come into play because after the Clicks advertisement, I saw a few memes on "after Clicks, Cadbury must explain why the white is on top", and this just waters down the seriousness of the issue.
Absolutely, with regards to the Clicks ad, it reinforced negative stereotypes about black women's hair. Many of us were already raised that our hair is difficult. My hairstylist as a child never missed the opportunity to mention that multiple times while doing my hair, and I eventually relaxed it. Those stereotypes teach us to hate our hair; that straight hair is the goal when in reality, it's not.
Media plays a role as it helps circulate these posted or published stereotypes which are then interpreted differently by different people. If a negative stereotype is tweeted, I can screenshot it, edit it and reshare it to all other social media, publications, air it on radio and other forms of media. Someone else receives the stereotype I put out and may do the same as I did. It’s almost a never-ending cycle.
The media definitely plays a role in creating these stereotypes and it has always generalised black women in comparison to white women as not enough. Black women are always labelled as unattractive because of our natural features, be it our ‘wide noses’ or ‘big lips’, and in regards to the Clicks ad, our hair is now labelled as “dry, damaged hair”.
I believe that the media has a huge impact on the minds of citizens. The media takes up 10% while Clicks carries 90% of the blame. This is because Clicks had already made a decision on what to be posted before it going viral. We therefore cannot put full blame on the media because they have posted something of that sort; the media houses are only there to do their jobs by sharing and not judging or discriminating against the information that comes in.
The media does play a role in creating these stereotypes, as they feed us with information on certain things. We are constantly being bombarded with levels on how see certain things. The media creates a persona that usually does not in exist and as consumer of this information, we tend to idolise this and this takes away our self-confidence.