The Media

media

So many of us think that we are above the media and press brainwashing. We think we can interpret advertisements and make our own decisions based on the product. We think that we can develop our own opinion regarding the news and we think that we cannot be manipulated by propaganda. However, I would argue the opposite.

First and foremost I would like to address advertisements. They have become all pervading in our lives. They are everywhere. There is no escaping them. This is mainly due to the variety of forms that adverts can take. They can be found on billboards, magazines, television, radio, on the internet and newspapers. Companies who develop adverts have established ways in which the product they are broadcasting can subconsciously enter your mind, even if you aren’t paying much attention. Technology has exacerbated this culture with adverts on social media sites, in particular Facebook, which are aimed at your search and profile history. Thus making the adverts that much more effective. This also continues the commercialised culture of society.

The attack on our subconscious is also undertaken in the news. The newspaper headlines naturally distort our view of the news. Emotive headlines are common and thus show the perspective of the newspaper and journalist that is then pushed onto the reader, often subconsciously. I have found many instances of this, one of which was in the Daily Mail today and stated, “This is legalised murder, claim family as judges rule doctors can let Grandad die.” The use of “Grandad” here is emotive as it suggested familial ties rather than using the more objective term “man”.

Finally, the use of propaganda for humanitarian campaigns also play on our emotions. This is through accusatory language such as the use of “you” which makes the reader feel as though they are the only ones who can help. Humanitarian campaigns also use images of suffering that evoke guilt and the desire to help, this is the same as quantifying things that you buy in your life compared to how much they can help in underprivileged areas. An example of this is the cost of a coffee a week can save a life. I’m not saying this kind of humanitarian campaigning is wrong, as it certainly works and it is vital that humanitarian campaigns raise money, I just found it interesting to assess their fundraising techniques.

It is important to remember that we live in a society that is becoming increasingly globalised and commercialised and the press, media and campaigners react accordingly. Advertisements and propaganda have become even more important in the last few years due to the economic climate not being conducive to spending or donating money. Thus, naturally, this kind of press and advertising has been exacerbated in recent years.

The Pressure To Be Thin

I’ve been reading and following more and more people on wordpress as the days continue and I’ve begun to realise that I’m most definitely not the only one who notices the ridiculous pressure on people today to be thin. Myself being a teenager I am more apt to observe this trend amongst young people.

I primarily blame the celebrity culture for imposing this need to be thin on young people. Sites such as www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/index.html  constantly glorifty slim and trim bodies and there are an exorbitant amount of size 0 models on catwalks and photoshoots. Photoshopping in magazines and online articles also only furthers the view ‘the thinner the better.’ Photoshopping can be even more damaging to individuals, and society as a whole, as these portrayals are not even realistic and thus become unachievable.

The indoctrination of young minds of what is the correct body shape is  happening at younger and younger ages. In my opinion, this is mainly due to over prevalence of the internet in our society and the wide access that young people (and when I say young people I mean between 8-16, but mainly the 8-12 bracket) have to articles and pictures that constantly refer to weight and the ‘perfect beach body.’ It is wrong that children as young as 7 or 8 have begun questioning their body shapes when they should simply be enjoying life and being healthy, not worrying about what they are eating.

There is an ongoing trend of anorexia and bulimia in western cultures, these diseases or both demoralising and life threatening to individuals and family and friends affected. Even those who aren’t fully affected by an eating disorder can still have their quality of life reduced, as they constantly worry about what they are eating, their calorie consumption and their figure.

I’m an advocate for healthy living, I hate diets and don’t think they actually work. I’m a believer in everything in moderation. Eat healthily and exercise to maintain fitness and health, nothing compulsively. This, I believe, should be enough for society. After all, no one is perfect.

Sure, thin and attractiveness sell, but are we really placing profit and commercial value above our children’s’ and even our adults’ mental and physical well being?