YuChi instinctively apply stereotypes to classify people or events

YuChi Chu (Genie)

Hilary Iker

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English Composition,
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December 11, 2017

Research Paper


businesses and conglomerates employ the media to influence people’s perception
of certain products or brands for financial advancement. Governments and
politicians utilize the media to create propaganda. In both cases, the
foundation of such strong influence was caused by the exploitation of human
psychology, where the human though process is stimulated to a point where
emotions prevailed over rationality. The first step to defend against the
manipulation is to realize its existence. Then, people will become resilient to
the influence and may consider breaking out of societal norms and develop
independent thought processes based on reason; thus, weakening the monopolies
and governments built upon manipulation and deception.

propaganda has existed for centuries, rapidly growing social media and other
technology has allowed spreading of information to the masses. Because of this,
propaganda became a systematic process that can influence a whole nation. Although
propaganda is most apparent in times of war, it is regularly being utilized as
a weapon in political and social circumstances to influence people’s attitudes.
This is noticeable with the recent election commercials on TV, where the
candidates employed propaganda techniques to gain advantages over their
competitors. Another major example of the exploitation of propaganda is the use
of the media in its portrayal of countries that have nuclear technology. Everyone
is susceptible to propaganda, which makes it extremely powerful. According to
Cialdini, in his book, Influence: The
Psychology of Persuasion, people live in world with extremely complex
interactions between each other and among their surroundings. People cannot
make each decision based on every minor detail; therefore, their brain
unconsciously generalizes the world around them. They don’t have the ability to
process such exhaustive information. Instead, they instinctively apply
stereotypes to classify people or events according to fundamental

exploitation is also evident in the manipulation and marketing of the diamond
industry. Each year, people spend over 80 billion dollars on diamond jewelry in
the form of engagement rings, necklaces, earrings, and other fashion
statements. The price of diamonds is often attributed the its rarity. Films, such
as Blood Diamond, demonstrates the value
of diamonds and the extent some people will go to acquire wealth. Although
diamonds are beautiful gemstones, they are far from scarce. Diamonds are one of
the most common gemstones found on earth, and satellite technology can show
geology that likely contain diamonds. There is a huge inconsistency with the
ordinary nature of diamonds juxtaposed with its enormous price tag. According
to Stephan Kanfer in his book, The Last
Empire: De Beers, Diamonds, and the World, the diamond empire is the
world’s most enduring cartel. The De Beers corporation hired N.W. Ayer &
Son as their advertisement agency. Their plan was to employ the media to
control both supply and demand of diamonds. The goal of N.W Ayer’s advertising
campaign is to have both women and men perceive diamonds not as marketable
precious stones but as an inseparable part of courtship and married life. According
to Edward Jay Epstein in his article, Have
You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond?, in order to stabilize the diamond market,
De Beers had to endow these stones with a sentiment that would inhibit the
public from ever reselling them. The illusion had to be created that diamonds
were forever – “forever” in the sense that they should never be
resold. The Ayer’s plan to sentimentalize diamonds required delicately shifting
the public’s picture of courtship and engagement, the advertising agency proposed
exploiting the relatively new medium of motion pictures. Movie idols, the
paragons of romance for the mass audience, would be given diamonds to use as
their symbols of indestructible love. Furthermore, in its 1947 strategy plan,
the advertising agency strongly emphasized a psychological approach. N. W. Ayer
proposed to apply to the diamond market Thorstein Veblen’s idea, stated in The Theory of the Leisure Class, that
Americans were motivated in their purchases not by utility but by
“conspicuous consumption.” “The substantial diamond gift can be
made a more widely sought symbol of personal and family success – an expression
of socio-economic achievement,” N. W. Ayer said in a report. To exploit
this desire for conspicuous display, the agency specifically recommended,
“Promote the diamond as one material object which can reflect, in a very
personal way, a man’s … success in life.” N. W. Ayer continued with many more
advertising campaigns over the next 30 years that exploited the media and human
psychology to influence diamond prices for the De Beers corporation. Due to
this manipulation overtime, our currently society has been conditioned by the
De Beers corporation to view diamonds as a symbol of love and success.

media also exploit women to promote the sale of goods and services by the
sexual objectification of women. In his book, Gender Advertisements, Goffman analyzed over 500 advertisements to
find that the relationship between men and women in advertisements is that of
male power and female subordination. However, media’s objectification of women
isn’t limited to advertising. Films, music videos, and video games are full of
hypersexualized female bodies that contribute to harmful gender stereotypes. According
to her article in Sex Roles, Pennell
mentioned that girls become more aware of their own body competence after they
had extended exposure to films in which female stars were dressed in
over-sexualized costumes. Furthermore, the exposure impacted their view of the
female gender and female roles. Such over-sexualization in films lower girls’
self-esteem and encourages them to alter their bodies to look more like the
actresses in films and media. The effects of the objectification of women in
the media aren’t limited to just women. Men are affected with unrealistic
expectations of how women should look or behave. Large corporations continue to
exploit media to reinforce gender stereotypes in order to assist in sales
numbers or produce another blockbuster hit.

has always been an important facet of our society. The dramatic influence of
rapidly growing social media, computers, telephones, televisions, movies and
the internet has become a fundamental aspect of life for most people. This
ability to quickly transmit information to the masses can be used for
beneficial purposes as well as adverse desires. Wealthy corporations have
utilized the media to manipulate decisions regarding products and brands for
financial advancements. Governments have exploited the media for smokescreens
and propaganda. Media can be used as a vehicle for indoctrinating society with
contorted perspectives that will benefit the few by exploiting human psychology,
such as the superiority complex, fear of social rejection and isolation.





Robert B. Influence:
The Psychology of Persuasion,
Revised Edition. Harper Business, 2006

Epstein, Edward Jay.
“Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond?” The
Atlantic, February 1982

Erving. Gender Advertisements
(Communications and Culture). Palgrave, 1979

Kanfer, Stefan. The Last Empire: De Beers, Diamonds, and the
World. Noonday Press, 1995.

H. & Behm-Morawitz, E. Sex Roles.
2015. p72: 211-220.

J. Courtney. “How Diamonds Became Forever.” New
York Times, 13 May 1993, p. ST23.