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Media Violence Etc. Essay, Research Paper

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.


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