The image of Michael Jackson depicts his youth and exudes a sense of positivity that shows how he was revered in artistic circles. Jackson was an idol for all youth, but he appealed primarily to women who were completely taken by his sexy good looks as well as his voice that brought out his attractiveness and sex appeal.
However, there is the issue that Michael Jackson was a Negro so he was immediately conditioned and portrayed as being inferior. The same could be said for his appeal since nobody could look at Michael Jackson in a neutral light. The cultural conditioning with regard to man’s perception of the black race resulted in Jackson being pigeonholed into a sector where not even he felt comfortable. This innate racism that dominated American society resulted in Jackson attempting to change the colour of his skin in hugely publicised operations, he eventually became white skinned, but the toll on his psychological persona was great.
Michael Jackson’s image shows him in his complete prime, ready to take on the world. In their observations, the authors Laqueur and Beauvoir comment on the evolution of race, with regards to women but this can also be applied to the discrimination between the black and white races. One can also apply the thinking of the philosophers Aristotle and Galen who thought that women were lesser than men both on a physical level as well as on an intellectual level. The portrayal of Michael Jackson as a black man only emphasises his inferiority in the eyes of those who have the perception of negroes as being ultimately inferior both intellectually and physically.
Martha Stewart is known as the cooking Goddess and this image definitely reinforces that claim. It also implies that a woman’s place is in the kitchen and she has nothing further to do, but bake cakes and come up with tasteful recipes, as well as food. She is also the stereotype of the perfect woman, being blonde and beautiful with other physical assets adding to her allure.
Even if Martha Stewart appears glamorous in the photo as she holds her cake up high and smiles for the camera, the notion is that she is content with taking on the domestic role. It is clear that all advertising where women are concerned displays them either in a kitchen, happily cooking away or in other domestic roles such as cleaning and organizing the house. This stereotype can also be compared to the difference between a white man and a black man, with the former marked out to perform superior intellectual tasks, while the latter is only good for physical exertion and other menial jobs.
Malevich: Black Square:
This image has nothing much to say about it apart from it being a simple black square. The sense of void that this square creates is disarming and everything almost fades into insignificance around it. It almost portrays the blackness and darkness of humanity when racism or any other form of discrimination comes to the fore.
The black square is also in the form of a TV set and portrays a sense of anonymity and plasticity in its bleak subject matter.
Barbie Dream House – animation still
This still again reinforces stereotypes and the doll is holding two bags in each of her hands – a clear demonstration of the woman as a shopaholic.
However when one analyses this picture, the inferiority of the woman comes across quite starkly. Again the argument of Laqueur and Beauvoir comes into question since these describe the woman as being intrinsically inferior to the man. So it has to be understood that the woman’s place is in the house on a domestic level. Both authors have portrayed the image that women’s reproductive organs are inferior to those of men, although this theory has been propagated before by Greek philosophers Aristotle and Galen. The Barbie Doll definitely lies in this category.
All four images can be used to reinforce stereotypes, the former dealing with the difference between the black and white man, while the latter deals with the difference between a man and a woman.