Media Violence etc.

Does the entertainment media reflect the standards of the
American people, or does the entertainment media define
the standards of the American people? This question is
difficult to answer because of the complex interaction
between American culture and the entertainment industry.
To some extent, the entertainment media does gets
feedback on what viewers want to see in the form of
Nielson ratings and box office returns. But the simple fact
remains that the content produced and delivered by way of
television, the film industry, and the major music labels are
controlled by a relatively small group of individuals.
Entertainment media does not reflect standards of
American people. Instead, it defines what the people want.
The mass media is controlled by a selected group of people
who decide what shows get aired, and what the content of
those shows should be. The television ratings system and
box office returns provide some feedback, but the only real
concern is over what is the most profitable. One major
concern with the content of media is the effect it has on
very young children. Disney movies have taken quite a
beating over the years because of stereotypes they "force"
into children\'s minds. Stereotypes in "The Little Mermaid"
are a good example of this. Ariel, the star/role model in the
movie, plays the part of a helpless, blundering female. As
soon as she was left on her own, she immediately got
herself into trouble. There was always a male needing to
protect her. Another example of stereotypes is in the movie
"Dumbo", where the crows that gave Dumbo the magic
feather were portrayed as very stereotypical images of
African Americans. They were shown as jolly, easy-going,
and vulgar. Disney\'s animated films influence children in
their formative years of life. Do we want our children
growing up with these corrupt images in their heads? Of
course not! But there is not much that can be done about
changing the content. If a young girl wishes to grow up to !
be "just like Ariel", then what should you tell her? Maybe it
is a perfect opportunity for her parents to sit her down and
teach her about the differences between fairy tales and
reality. Television sitcoms and prime time TV series
commonly depict a family with a mom, dad (or even step
mom or dad), several children, and a pet or two, all in a
fairly stable relationship with one another. Never does
abuse, neglect, or other common family problems actually
occur in the main family of a sitcom. Again… it should be
taught to the children at an early age (perhaps in elementary
school?) that TV fiction is not an equivalent to reality by
any means, and that if their life does not "measure up", it is
normal, and nothing to be embarrassed about. Then there is
product placement in television and movies. In some ways,
seeing actual products that people recognize from daily life
makes the television and movie sets appear more realistic.
So in that way, entertainment media may be reflecting the
American people. But, a lot of the brand name products
used on movie and television sets are there because a
corporate sponsor paid to have their product included the
media content. This has become fairly common, and is a
smart means of advertising. What is shown on TV and
movies looks real to people, so if their product is included
in a popular sitcom or movie, the company will most likely
find quite an increase in market sales. So, in turn, the
entertainment media does in fact define what the public
wants as a whole. If a person or group of people disagree
with what they see on television, then they have every right
to just flip the channel or educate themselves or their
children to base their opinions more on individual thought.

Category: Social Issues