Media vs Society
Media vs. Society
Over time, the mass media became very popular and powerful in our society. The media is composed of newspapers, internet, radio, and television. All these tools are used to influence the society. It took decades for the media to be where it is now. In the beginning, people did not trust the media. Today, the media controls the public without them realizing that their lives are being controlled; it influences society’s opinions and determines definitions of what is wrong and what is right for them. People’s attitudes and outlooks are manipulated by a variety of information conveyed into newspapers, television, magazines and internet by the mass media.
The purpose of media is to provide information and entertainment to the public. However, the society has lost control to them and is bombarded with advertisements, unrealistic images and persuasive materials. We are at a point where we depend on mass media; we can’t go back from here, we can only go forward. By going forward, I mean that the level of control that the media has over us will only increase more and more in time. It will never go back to less control or no control at all. The society has allowed, little by little, the mass media to manipulate our thoughts and values. Unfortunately, we rate the media as our number one source of information, because we feel that they are highly qualified to pass information along. I find myself reaching for the remote, or the newspaper, or doing research online whenever I have a question or I need a piece of information.
The newspaper is an example of mass media. It has great power over the society, because it is printed daily and supposedly informs the readers with news from around the world. However, that is not the real truth. A newspaper has articles written by editors that describe the news in detail. By writing this article, the writer takes a side and expresses his or her side. Now the reader automatically sides with the writer because when they see a newspaper they think of honest, up to date facts. Some articles are written with the purpose of receiving a reaction from the reader. And a lot of readers will fall for the story and react just as the editor wished the reader would.
What could another great influence to the society? The television has probably the most influence because it emits images. We can remember and react faster to images than words. Also, more people watch TV then read a newspaper. Therefore, the mass media reaches a lot more people through the television. Also, the chance of persuasion is higher using the TV. Reality shows reveal “real” people’s life on TV. Viewers find themselves following the footsteps of reality show stars, because they think it is ok, their actions are real and they are not actors. That’s wrong. The article Of Losers and Moles, the author, a realty show production assistant, reveals that after filming is done there are “one to four week scripting phases, the story producers structure them to tell the strongest story” (Seyler, 399). All televised materials are created by producers and are edited and scripted.
Another great influence the television has on the public is body image. We are introduced to ideal beauty all day long through shows, movies, videos and commercials. This excessive exposure to beauty makes us believe that we have to look the way people do on TV in order to be accepted. On this subject, women are the number one target. We see perfect images of women everywhere and we want that for us too. Who wouldn’t want to look gorgeous, no matter the age, class, or other circumstances? However, realistically thinking, there is no perfect person. The perfect image that viewers are introduced to is not real. The editors do everything they can to create this flawless image, however it doesn’t exist; it is edited. This is also true for advertisements. Companies sell their products because their commercials portray perfect results after using the product. The advertisements influence the entire public because the product is portrayed so incredible, that it’s remarkable. “Thus the influence of advertising goes way beyond the target audience and includes those who could never afford the product, who will simply be envious and impress.” (Seyler, 374). For example, they advertise shampoo and they show these girls throwing their gorgeous hair in the air. I automatically think that if I use that shampoo, my hair will look as wonderful as theirs.
Children are also highly influenced by the mass media. During their learning stages, kids are very easily influenced because they want to explore and learn new things. The media will add colors, cartoon characters, toys, giggles and fun and they have a child’s attention. Many adults have as their idols movie stars and super models. As for children, their idols are cartoon characters. Controversially, most cartoon characters use violence. That’s how violence is introduced to our young generations. Then there are video games. Video games are created to be addictive. When one plays a video game every day, just like watching a certain TV show every day, that material starts molding the individual’s personality.
The clothing industry gets a great deal of advantage from the media. There are thousands of magazines floating around with celebrities showing off their fashion. “Fashion thrives by constructing stories, building images and weaving fantasies” (Seyler, 383). Since society idolizes celebrities, they want to mirror their image. New styles, colors or trends are introduced in magazines and then in stores. Once people see them on celebrities, they must have that too, even if it doesn’t look good on them, or it is way too weird and expensive. I now understand why designers give away free clothes to celebrities. They act as their mannequins. Celebrities walk around showing off their new fashion, and regular customers will start buying these items. My daughter is a great example of how media has taken over her thoughts. First of all, she is always concern about her figure; it has to be perfect, looking like a model. This has changed her eating habits and brought her to an unhealthy weight. Secondly, she spends all her money on clothes, shoes, and accessories. My daughter watches a lot of TV and is subscribed to a bunch of fashion magazines. So anything she sees new and “in style” she will go buy it, regardless of its price. Normally, I as her mom should be able to have some control in what she does or wears. However, that doesn’t happen anymore; despite of what I say to her, she will wear a certain outfit because a celebrity was posing in it. I always advise her that celebrities and fashion are unreal, as the article Dove Look is Real, but Does it Inspire? states, “fashion is not truth. That has always been the operating principle of business. Fashion is extravagance and incongruity, elegance and rebellion.” (Seyler, 383)
Another big manipulating factor is the internet. The internet’s popularity is the most recent from all other media features. One can find absolutely anything on the World Wide Web. Because the internet is a network between all people on this planet, anyone can post any information they have. That’s the explanation of this gigantic database, called the Internet. However, there is a discrepancy with the use of online sources. Since anyone can post online, false information is introduced over the internet. The browsers can have no idea that they are being fooled.
In conclusion, the mass media has a great influence on society today. Media affects everything. It affects the way we look, we idolize celebrities, the way we think, our morals are conveyed as a result of stories we read or see, and the way we act, children are raised in front of the TV watching cartoons, which have the most number of violent acts from all television programs. Over decades, humans allowed the media to invade their thoughts and define new meanings for their lives. Because it became a part of our daily routine, society depends on television, newspapers, magazines and the internet. Therefore, our habits are sculpted around the media and are responses to commercials, TV shows, movies, and articles. The society has built trust for the media, and a human automatically agrees with any information received from one of media’s sources.