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Media, and its effects on the young.

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Introduction

Little Andy sat transfixed in front of the television, watching 'Tom and Jerry'. Only five years old, the flashing images of Tom slipping on a banana that Jerry left for him makes him chuckle, then he lets out giggle as he sees Jerry pounding Tom on the head with a hammer. Meanwhile, his eleven-year-old brother, Billy, has his earphones on, listening to a song with lyrics that are unfathomably slurred amidst the clamor of a discord of electric guitars and drums. Christine, the oldest of the three, was in the bathroom, sticking her fingers down her throat, so that she could vomit what she ate, in order to be thin. It looks like the above scenario is a typical household; a bulimic teenager, an insensitive, isolated boy and a child who will grow up to be violent and anti-social... Or is it? The situation above is due to the influence they get from various media forms. The violence in TV shows will affect little Andy for life. What Billy doesn't know is that many of his metal music contain 'hidden' lyrics that cannot be indecipherable. These are lyrics are actually aggressive, vulgar and uncouth. Christine feels pressured to be slim, just like all the models and stars she sees in magazines and movies. ...read more.

Middle

The media perpetuates unrealistic and stereotypical perceptions on men and women, reflecting and sustaining socially endorsed views of gender and sex. "Television causes a twisted sense of personal identity, when people start comparing their own lives with the program content." (Dutton 52) When an individual compares himself or herself to people on the screen, not only is it ridiculous, but it is also impossible to do so. "Exposure to stereotypical views on television make people prejudiced" ("Media" n.p.), and people who have poor self-image are more vulnerable to developing prejudices. "Today, women are abused in media. Our environment has been demoralized." (Augustine n.p.) Indeed this is so. Women are considered sex objects, and are characters who devote their primary energies to improving their appearances and taking care of the home and having babies. Women are defined by their bodies and how men treat them. Women's independence and endeavors are irrelevant, and the abilities and other talents of women are obscured. (Wood n.p.) On the other hand, men are presented as hard, tough, independent and sexually aggressive. They are unafraid, violent and totally in control of all emotions, and in no way feminine. "There is an oversimplified generalization about people." ("Media" n.p.) These misrepresentations reflect cultural stereotypes that depart markedly from reality. ...read more.

Conclusion

On the other side, it is a clash of the problems of society which advocates violence, sells illusions and perpetuates perceptions of gender and sex. As always, the bad is easier to believe and the lure of the media culture is so magnetic that it cannot be suppressed. The chimera of innocent-looking media messages is what men, women and children of society are buying, and the worst part is that they don't want anything else. Referring to the example from above, if little Andy's mother was to suddenly come into the room and switch channels to a talk show, he would loose interest in it. He would run over to his father's toolbox and pull out the hammer, to try out what he saw on TV. Christine would go on despairing to be thin like models she sees in the movies and on magazine covers. In the end, she would fall sick with malnourishment and may go into coma if she continues to live like that. The media today forces violence, discrimination and unrealism unto everyone alike, and the consequences affects each one of them for life. Yet, people still embrace it, as the media constructs a form of escape or emotional release from everyday pressures. To conclude, in the true words of Somerset Maugham, "It is dangerous to let the public go behind the scenes. They are easily disillusioned and are angry with you, for it was the illusion they loved." 2 ...read more.

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