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Stereotypes

According to Oxford dictionary, stereotypes are ‘a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing’. (Oxford University Press, 2016)

They are usually, if not always negative and present a specific view of an individual, group of people, etc.

In order to explain stereotypes I’ve illustrated some which I am aware of.

As a foreigner in UK I’ve experienced discrimination based on negative stereotypes that exist about Eastern Europeans. Generally, after learning where I’m from people would talk to me in a slow and simplified way, ask me how come we learn English in Croatia, am I Russian and so on. This made me extremely self-conscious about my nationality to an extent that I hide it.

The stereotype for some Eastern European countries (such as Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria) are that women are prostitutes and promiscuous, while men are primitive, violent and wear the signature Adidas tracksuit. While some women might go in for prostitution, reasons are much more than promiscuity. Massive inequality gap between Eastern and Western Europe, poor education, rural areas and socialist and communist heritage have a great deal to do with the trade some chose and how men are raised.

‘All Muslims are tourists’ – after doing some research about islamophobia in UK, I came across this amazingly funny typo someone posted on their twitter account. The general stereotype about Muslims is how they are all violent, terrorists and so on. These stereotypes are reinforced by the bigot Western media with harmful ideology of promoting nationalism and hatred. I thought the right way to tackle this is by humour.

Middle-aged women, if not married are considered to have almost lost the purpose of their lives. Marriage is an unexhausted source for chick-flick movie – wedding day is considered as the greatest day of women’s lives. Choosing flowers of the right shade of nude and toppings of a three-floor cake are unavoidable. It almost appears that middle-aged women are gaining purpose by marriage.

Lastly, LGBTQ community carries a weight of a lot of stereotypes. Each representative letter has its own stereotypes, not to mention discrimination that exists within the community.

REFERENCE LIST:

Oxford University Press (2016) Oxford Dictionaries. Available at: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/stereotype (Accessed: 06.05.2016.).

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Punk

Was punk a cultural movement, fighting the political oppression or was it mainly a rebellion against society’s values and norms, which was expressed through fashion and music?

Roger Sabin (2002, p.3), a professor of popular culture explains the cause and emphasis with punk was on class politics. He writes how Britain in 70’s had the full justice for the movement to being (2002, p.3): ‘For example, if we think of punk as an explosion caused by the bringing together of various unstable elements, then the UK’s economic recession during this period can be seen as the catalyst.’ This could very likely be the oppression Margaret Thatcher brought to the working-class.

For instance, a great movie – Pride, retells a story of an LGBT group in London which collected money for the miners in the 70’s. This being just one example of the oppression, it not a wonder that youth felt the urge to resist the political and economic oppression through punk as a platform for this.

On the other hand, Steven Heller (2003, p.200), an art director from New York writes: ‘American Punk was more cultural than political’. American Punk was more a rebellion again hippie music, while British fought the oppression from the government. Either way, it was a mean of rebellion. Heller (2003, p.200) makes a good point explaining zines as a DIY rebellion, where anyone could self-publish one, without censure and transfer ides to the wider audience. Messy layout, sellotape, those were all the things which would define punk zines aesthetically.

Today, punk is seen more as a cultural phenomenon, similar to what Heller described it to be in U.S. in 70’s. It is arguable weather today’s punk can even be considered a movement of rebellion. I believe punk must fight the government’s oppression, and fashion and music can only be a platform for this. It being purely a cultural movement does not imply strong enough of an impact on cultural norms, discrimination, oppression, etc.

Reference list:

Sabin, R. ed. (2002) Punk Rock: So What?: The Cultural Legacy of Punk. London, US: Routledge.

Heller, S. (2003) Merz to Emigre and Beyond: Avant-Garde Magazine Design of the Twentieth Century. London and New York: Phaidon.

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