Oneof the most popular network television programs to come along in years, ModernFamily, enjoys a viewership of 11 million between the ages of 18 to 49(Goldberg, 2017). Modern Family presents the intimate lives of the Pritchett-Dunphy-Tuckerclan, a large and blended family trying to portray and embrace United States’modern family. One of these characters, Gloria Delgado-Pritchett (played by SofiaVergara), is the only female Latina portrayed—referring to the first seasononly.
A close multimedia content analysis of the first season of this sitcomshows that the opportunity to advance the image of Latinas is lost as dialogueand the presentation of Gloria perpetuate the Hot-Latina stereotypes in themedia. Genderstereotypes of men and women are frequently perpetuated by organizationalpractices and social norms (Reskin & Padavic, 1994). Nowadays,organizational practices and social norms are not only dealt with through dailylife, but also through every source of mass media individuals are constantlybombarded with. “Accumulation Theory (DeFleur & Dennis, 1998) suggests themedia are likely to have powerful effects if the information is presentedpersistently, consistently, and corroborated among forms; as a media effect,stereotypes rely on repetition to perpetuate and sustain them (Merskin, 2007). In the case of Modern Family, they not onlyperpetuate the gender stereotypes, but also the cultural stereotypes of Latinawomen.
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Ethnic stereotyping can be more harmful thanstereotyping of gender, as media representation may constitute the onlyexperience of contact with a particular ethnic group that an audience may have (Wilson,2011). They are often based on social myth, perpetuated by people and the mediaand may provide individuals with a set of narrow prejudices that will not bechallenged elsewhere within their experience.The need for a more accurate portrayal of thediversity of different races should a priority for Hollywood movies seem to beparticular offenders when it comes to lazy racial stereotypes.