Day 103 Question 103:
What kind of affect has the media had on you throughout your life?
The media….IT IS EVERYWHERE!!! Until I reached my adult years I took media for granted. I never thought it really had any influence on my life. Boy was I wrong! Honestly, the media has shaped me in a lot of ways….some for good and some not so good. I am a lot more aware of my media intake nowadays….I am able to differentiate between real and make believe. I am able to make conscious choices and form opinions based on what I read and what I see. As a young child and a teen, I really never thought about these things.
For many years I struggled with my identity and what I was supposed to look like and how I was supposed to act and to be honest, I believe the media was a huge influence on my way of thinking. I never understood why my Prince Charming wasn’t coming to take me away and shower me with love. I honestly believed that the love stories that we saw/see in movies were real (well I still kind of do). After going on disappointing date after disappointing date and meeting men that were lazy and just dealing with the whole dating scene in general, I realized that love stories like we see in the movies are VERY VERY rare. These love stories don’t show the dirty details of the relationship and the struggles and the hardships (well in a way they do but never in great detail) and the fights and the battle people have within themselves to make the best decisions. I realize now that these movies are fictional stories but as a young person I believed that the love that they showed in movies was what all real love was like. I have yet to experience or witness a love on that kind of level. Unfortunately my disappointments in the dating world (because of having this high standard and desire for the same sort of relationships I had seen in the movies) has made me closed up when it comes to sharing any form of intimacy with a man. I believe I will know when it is 100% right for me but I still hold onto a fear because I am still lost between fiction and reality. The media has molded me into this person. I realize I make my own choices and decisions and I am not placing blame, I am just saying that the influence of the media and the drama of the film industry has/had influenced me in a way to want something that I am unsure whether or not it is real or attainable.
The media is actually a very tricky thing. It can be pure evil but it can be a major source of power as well that could get the ball rolling on a movement of some form that could change the world. Although sometimes I look at things in the media (skinny women, women with perfect teeth, powerful women) and I wish I had those things and I get a little too hung up on image….as of lately I have used the media as a tool to sharpen my mind. I will space out and watch a sitcom for hours and laugh and smile because I know I need that as part of my day but instead of watching things that only focus on women’s outer beauty (I used to love America’s Next Top Model or reality shows with only skinny, pretty women), I choose to watch the news and form my own opinions about what is going on in society. I focus on seeing the bigger picture and I have opened up my vision to what is going on far far far outside of me. The media has helped me research subjects that I find fascinating and it has allowed me to voice my opinions (on this wonderful blog provided by wordpress). The media has allowed me to connect with old friends (this is a positive and negative because I am working on limiting my Facebook time because I was turning into a junkie) and hear the insights of others. I am even working on my Masters Degree online which is a blessing for me because I work 60+ hours a week and physically going to school would have been impossible.
Life is this great balancing act for each and every one of us. Media has become this source that we must learn how to balance in order to use it in a healthy manner. It is something that could be easily abused and something that many could use for the purposes of evil. It is even something that could cause great harm. Media for young people is quite scary. If you watch the news or read a newspaper (yes the use of media yet again) we have seen this huge jump in the number of teen deaths and teen suicides and the media somehow played a factor. Kids nowadays are getting bullied not through just vocal words but through various media outlets. Young girls are being taught that beauty means being stick thing and having perfect features (they don’t realize that so many of these women on the covers of magazines or in photo shoots are airbrushed). There is a show on TV that seriously gets my blood boiling. It is called The Secret Life of an American Teenager. This show is aired during primetime on a basic cable network. On this show, there have been two teen girls (15 and maybe 16) that have become pregnant and it is as if the pregnancies are being sensationalized. These young kids are talking about marrying their boyfriends and they talk about sex nonstop. Everything about this show is wrong!!!! I understand what goes on in schools nowadays and I believe in In Your Face Learning but the message that this show is throwing out to young kids/teens just disgusts me. Where is the line between morality and making ratings/money. Have we become such a money/material crazed world that we stopped caring about what children are exposed to????? It seems that way to me. Again though, it is the job of the parents to monitor what their children are exposed to. This is a double-edged sword though. Whether we like it or not, there are parents out there that are going to let their kids do what they want and watch what they want. As I have said a million times over, it takes a village to raise a child. I, personally, could not be a part of a staff that promoted something that I knew had a great chance of harming children/teens. Maybe harming is a strong word but the statistics show how easily influenced kids and teens are nowadays….school shootings, attire, attitudes, education levels, peer pressure, etc.
I laugh to myself when I get writing sometimes because in words I type I see so much of my dad in me. I never thought I would be the type of person to say, “I just don’t understand kids these days.” Well of course I don’t. They are of a completely different generation and with how rapidly technology is advancing, I am going to be one of those dinosaurs that no longer knows how to use a computer…hahahaha. I believe I am quite a liberal person and I believe people need to hear the 100% completely honest truth. With that being said, there is always a need for discretion and protection as well. Anything can form a positive impact if it is presented in the right manner. The modeling industry can be made up of many thin women but if they were to portray curvier women models as well and on top of that focus on their other strengths (educational backgrounds, trades, etc) then young girls may not always be so influenced to try to be skinny as much. The eating disorder statistics may decrease drastically. With ups there are downs and with downs there are ups. The media should show both of these things so young people and adults alike don’t immediately fall into the category of ignorant because of lack of knowledge. I see the world as this beautiful place with endless opportunities. I, without a doubt, do not have the answer to all of the world’s problems…I do have a lot of opinions though ;0) The media is something that could potentially the most powerful tool in the world (if it isn’t already). I guess what it comes down to is the people driving that media and what their moral values really are.
Thoughts? Opinions? Likes? Dislikes?