The prevailing portrayals of 'Gypsies' in popular media are not representative of the real Roma ethnicity. In my research I ask the questions: What are common portrayals of 'Gypsies' seen in Western media? How do these differ from the actual Romani population? What are the consequences of these misconceptions? Through the use of surveys, I obtained data that revealed perceptions of 'Gypsies.' I examined these surveys and the popular culture references they indicated to get a better idea about the influence of media on people's notions of 'Gypsies.' The misrepresentation of 'Gypsies' is a problem because media affect public perceptions and thus affects public policy. The consequences of negative stereotypes have been seen in many instances, such as discriminatory laws that are extremely harmful to the Roma population. Furthermore, the misrepresentation and/or essentialization of a culture is detrimental to the goals and values of anthropology. Anthropologists should strive to accurately and respectfully portray cultures. Though anthropologists in most cases do not directly produce media that stereotypes cultures, the negative effects should concern anthropologists. Media producers should consult anthropologists before portraying a culture and anthropologists should support efforts by media producers to be culturally accurate. My project aims to deconstruct 'Gypsy' myths and present accurate information on the Roma, as well as discuss how media affects this specific ethnic group.


Craven, Christa


Sociology and Anthropology




gypsy, roma, orientalism, anthropology, essentialism, exoticism, primitivism, stereotype, cultural representation, myth

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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