21 years old, Art Student, Illustrator, Photographer, Writer, Thinker, Existentialist.

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Thursday, 31 March 2011

Cultural Stereotypes*

The idea behind this piece of work is to identify the stereotypes that we, the media, television, or other outlets may attach to the cultures from around the world. I am aware that some people may view my work as racist, shocking, inappropriate or offensive, this is not my intention. My intention is to make people realise that we are all equal and all different in our own unique way.

Everyday children are confronted with what is considered to be beautiful, attractive or normal through the magazines they read, the programmes they watch or the celebrities they admire. What is normal? I’m sure that if you asked anybody they would all express a different answer, the reason for this is that nobody really knows what normal is. As human beings (and that is what we should be classed as, not objects of advertising, sexpression or stereotyping) we have the ability to look past gender, disability, race and background, maybe we should put these traits to good use once in a while.

Normal does not exist; we can only live the life that we choose for ourselves. Identity is not something you can buy, it is created from the person within and the individual personality you hold. We can aspire be anything we want to be, so find what it is and go for it!

*Stereotype: (Greek ‘fixed impression’) in sociology, a fixed, exaggerated, and preconceived description about a certain group or society. It is based on prejudice rather than fact, but by repetition and with time, stereotypes become fixed in people’s minds, resistant to change or factual evidence to the contrary.

Some sociologists believe that stereotyping reflects a power structure in which one group in society uses labelling to keep another group ‘in its place’.


In some parts of Japanese society women are still viewed as second-class citizens, therefore the male toilet logo symbolises the male dominance within the culture. I drew a Geisha as they are still very much a part of Japan's cultural history and they are predominantly female, although Taikomochi are the male variety they are not as well known. The kimono belt shows the Rising Sun - the center piece on the Japanese flag. Other things on the kimono are Gameboys (Japan's association with being the technological capital of the world). Chopsticks, sushi and fans are commonly associated with Japan as they are one of the first things that Western society immediately thinks about Japan. The US dollar represents the Americanisation of the Country, as with every other Country you cannot escape the ever present bombardment of McDonalds, Starbucks and Coca-Cola.


Americans are stereotypically patriotic about their beloved US of A, hence the American flag in the background. McDonald's is the most popular fast food franchise in the world, Americans are stereotyped to wear I <3 NY t-shirts and eat McDonalds - resulting in the epedemic of obesity we are all told about. Disney World is what a lot of tourist go to America for, so the Goofy hat shows that.


Piniatas are a Mexican tradition so the character is drawn as a Pinata rather than a person. The number of bats highlight the mass number of offspring that we are told that Mexican produce. Wal-Mart is said to employ immigrants and within America Mexicans are seen as immigrants so the Wal-Mart uniform tells us that this unhappy chappy is employed there, perhaps the dissapointment in his face is due to the unfair wage he is given? The 'sombrero' is a nacho, because as we all know Mexicans live on a diet of party food... Tequila, apparently Mexicans love the stuff, in pictures and cartoons they are all seen swigging the stuff.


Going by the stereotype Chairman Mao (Mao Tse-Tung) is idolized in China, and there is not a room in any house that does not have is face adorned within it's confines. The bookcase has several copies of a red book, Mao's red book to be exact. When we see Chinese people in popular culture they wear what is percieved as a 'Chinaman's hat' - Raiden in Mortal Kombat wears one. 'Study or Die' is something I took from P Diddy's disgraceful and intimidating campaign 'Vote or Die', Chinese children are seen to be pushed to achieve high marks in school and perhaps even bullied to do well, our views and perceptions of the world are pretty squiffy thanks to the TV and the media.

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