Is the media to blame?

It’s one thing for little girls to play dress-ups, donning frocks and heels, putting on some lippy and parading around the lounge room—but when adults come along and turn it into a fierce competition for money and prizes, complete with professional make-up artists, hairdressers and photographers, that’s just creepy and every kind of wrong.” – Catherine Manning.

young-girl-obsessed-with-body-shape-pic-getty-images-741087993 As a young girl, my favourite movie like many others was a Disney classic, “The Little Mermaid”. I vividly remember asking my Mum, “Why don’t I have red hair like Ariel?…and, why can’t I sing?” Obviously young children ask a lot of questions – and “why?” was definitely my favourite word up until I was.. well, let’s just say it still is. Ariel, a damsel in distress, skinny waisted and my definition of “perfect” was what I aspired to when I was 5. Sure, at the time I thought it was perfectly okay to think like this – but when it comes to reality, a young girl, boy, woman or man shouldn’t have to worry why they don’t have something that someone else does, instead they should embrace who they are because in my opinion, that is much more important. It was only last night I turned my Wii Fit on and put it away again after 5 minutes because it yelped and told me I should “try to avoid [my] afternoon snacks”.

So what on earth does this have to do with media and it’s effects? Well frankly, there is so much pressure in today’s society to be “perfect” or “ideal”. While the media isn’t 100% to blame it definitely plays a huge part in how we think about and portray ourselves. Linking to media is social media which is growing rapidly every day and it is hugely accessible on our phones, tablets and laptops. Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr are just a few of the ways we connect with others in the 21st century and it is through these sites and news programmes that we are drowned in negative images, comments and introduced to things such as “trolls”. If the media showcases what is “acceptable”, or rather if we as a society agree, then can magazine…. after magazine…. after magazine really escape the responsibility of instilling the minds of women and girls, an ‘ideal’ paradigm of beauty? “Toddlers and Tiaras” is a controversial television program showing oversexualised girls and is an example of not only the effects of media’s ideal but society’s viewpoint. pageant+girl-296x300 How can parents protect their children from developing a false sense of identity and self-esteem? Is it the media to blame for shows like this to be aired in the first place – creating self-esteem issues in young children, or is it the society’s view-point? Is this now a source of entertainment for viewers – to laugh, to comment – can it actually get any worse? This is a British article I came across, which includes some disturbing reallydisturbing facts. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2020765/Children-aged-FIVE-treated-anorexia-Doctors-blame-ultra-slim-celebrities.html?ito=feeds-newsxml This leads me to my next point. Discussions, insults and opinions play out on such a larger scale than ever before with the “connected” world, it is not just a localised or isolated dialogue. As all of you would know,  “liking” someones post – and being able to join in a conversation on any social media program has become the new way of “discussing”, but in most cases leads to arguments, cyberbulling – and “keyboard warriors”.. who somehow think negative comments wont have the same effect typed as it would be spoken face to face. References: http://ezinearticles.com/?Negative-Body-Image—Is-the-Media-to-Blame?&id=2905466 http://www.disordered-eating.co.uk/causes-of-eating-disorders/negative-body-image.html http://www.parenthood360.com/index.php/teen-body-image-and-the-media-14-20960/ http://kelseyd629.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/media-and-eating-disorders.html http://enlighteneducation.edublogs.org/2011/04/01/toddlers-tiaras-pull-the-pin-now/

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6 thoughts on “Is the media to blame?

  1. I like your point about trolls, bullying in regards to a sense of identity.
    Perhaps some references to professionals in the industry and research would help support your argument further.
    =)

  2. hi Lily: The topic riles me, too: why can’t young people be allowed to find themselves without the imperatives of ‘look-at-me-I-know-ya-want-it’ culture? Yes, we all learn from others, and in our times popular culture and social media are inescapable – and even worthwhile – but let’s pull it back a few notches and develop balanced people rather than bank balances! Harrumph.

  3. I definitely agree with the points outlined in your post. Especially the role of the media influencing others personal perceptions. Even though I don’t watch toddlers in tiaras I can see what is being shown in the show just by its name and the pictures. Good use of the article also, really shocked me too!

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