Elephant Man Stigma

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After watching the movie ‘The Elephant Man’ and understanding Goffman’s readings , This essay will now use the perspective associated with the Canadian sociologist Erving Goffman, and in particular the movie ‘The elephant man’. They both indeed talked emphasized on social stigma. In short Social stigma is when society thinks something is bad, or has a prejudice against it. Smoking tobacco used to be very common, but in many places, there's a social stigma attached to it, these days. AIDS is stigmatized, although not as much as it used to be. Being fat carries a stigma in much of the USA today, although in many cultures and at many times, it's been considered attractive. You could think of stigma as being like the opposite of prestige. Goffman…show more content…
An ‘actual’ identity is one that is real and undertaken by a specific person in relation to themselves and not society’s impression of their reality. Therefore a ‘virtual’ identity is based on relationships with others and an ‘actual’ identity is more personal and individual. The movie discusses how ‘Stigma’ was written to show how people manage their stigmas or ‘actual social identity’ when that identity or stigma is seen as negative by society as a whole. The media, and its use of stereotypical disabled imagery, enforces ‘virtual’ identities that in reality may not authentically exist. However it is also helpful in this discussion because Goffman’s use of dramaturgical descriptors is also relevant to media studies. The social drama model adapted by Goffman describes how all members of society are actors even in reality. Disabled people are also actors but their ‘reality’ is often inaccurately portrayed by the media and that is what is emphasized on by ‘the elephant…show more content…
Goffman’s front/back stage dichotomy has also been used to show how we are all actors on a stage but certain groups are unable to escape from their ‘virtual’ social identity thus weakening their ‘actual’ social identity and their standing in society. Goffman’s use of dramaturgical references means his work can easily be adapted to help understand the media and its use of disability as a metaphor for evil or

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