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Do Stereo Types Change Over Time? Using The Gangster Genre As An Example

1050 words - 5 pages

Whether it is possible to define a stereotype is one thing, but to define the change of a stereotype is something completely different. This is not because it is difficult to distinguish a change from the original, but because stereotypes are constantly changing, and differ from genre-to-genre, alongside the social, political, economic and cultural changes of the era. To pinpoint an exact change in a precise stereotype is not very easy to do. However, it does happen, and roles and characters have been created in the last 30 years which have altered the stereotypes and representations originally made from the black and white cinematography of the 1920s to the 1950s.

Due to hybridisation, ...view middle of the document...

The original 1920’s gangster was described as how HE was (all of the stereotypes are of men) because at the time, drugs weren’t commonplace, tailored suits were the status symbol of the time, the Bentley was (and still is) a sign of power, Humphrey Bogart was traditionally in that style of gangster film, and Tommy Guns were the weapon of choice. And the setting for this gangster was Chicago, New York and other American cities. This is the stereotypical Al Capone gangster, the 1920’s man.

The British gangster, the “Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” type gangster was again thought of, because of the social standing of the time, the mid 1990’s. “Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” is a good example of the British Gangster. The Londoner, Cockney being a stereotyped person to be a gangster, probably brought about by Dave Courtney, the gangster himself immortalised (like Al Capone) for being a gangster. The stereotype is all in keep with the social changes of a bustling merchandised city, London. Sawn-off shotguns are seen as an effective weapon for their capacity to spread shot over a wide area (this is a relevant point I will soon get to) rather than aesthetic purpose. The suits are trendy enough to make the men look intimidating like a club doorman, but cool and collected like a businessman (which they are). The fast cars show that the men are wealthy, and the warehouses for “sorting people out” draw their illegal actions away from the attention of police and public alike, not liking their operations to be known.

And my final example of the gangster is the Black Gangster. Musicians who endorse the gangland in their music, and openly advertise their gangland status bring about the Black Gangster stereotype. Famously Cypress Hill (Rap musicians) sings about and endorses this behaviour to their fans. The segments of this stereotype are thought of for the attempt to again keep up with a culture that is testosterone driven, “respect” seeking, “my car/cock/gun is bigger than yours” culture that has dominated the youth of both Britain and the...

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