Does Music Affect Teen Actions
A Position Paper
Prepared for the Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for
TREX 1001 Mythbusters
Ohio Northern University
Society today is different than it was decades ago. Whether good or bad, it is evident. Culture is more centralized around media more now than it has ever been. It'd be hard to go a couple hours without being exposed to media and impossible to go a whole day. How exactly does media influence the population? Does the constant exposure make America susceptible to the messages artists and designers are trying to portray? Getting more specific how does music affect teen life? Music is something that is important and valued by many teens a crossed the world. It is possible the lyrics of these scandalous, rebellious, and/or M-rated pop artists are sinking into the cerebellum of curious teenagers. Teenagers are the targeted audience for many artists. The question is, does the explicit music people listen to affect behaviors when it comes to sexual activity, drugs, and alcohol. Digging deeper into one of media's most effective conveyor of message, there is research that puts some backbone into the argument.
American adolescents are exposed to 2.4 hours of music per day and their weekly listening easily exceeds 16 hours (Primack, Douglas et al., 2009). Today’s artist paint pictures of teenager’s sexual fantasies, making it seem risk free and fun. Music portrays threesomes and girl on girl action to appeal to the young imagination of teenagers. With constant exposure to this sexual ‘dreamworld’ teens are propelled to try and experiment what is being repetitiously ran through their ears. In a recent study scientists grouped teens according to their sexual media diet or (SMD) which was weighted on their frequency of media usage. The individual’s SMD combined the overall amount of sexual content being displayed with the specific type of sexual content. This was then tracked over a one month time to give the subjects media diet. White adolescents (12-14 years old) in the top quintile of the sexual media diet were 2.2 times more likely to have had sexual intercourse when 14-16 years old than those who were placed in the lowest SMD quintile (Brown, L’Engle et al., 2006, pg.1018). White males in the highest quintile also reported using media more frequently than the other portion with their choices containing more sexual content (Brown, L’Engle et al., 2006, pg.1021). More than three quarters of the high quintile white males listened to rap music, whereas only one third of the lowest quintile males tuned in (Brown, L’Engle et al., 2006, pg.1021). A perfect example of the influences rap and hip-hop affect the adolescence sex drive. By the age of 16, 55% of the males in the highest quintile had performed sexual intercourse, compared to a shockingly low 6% of those in the lowest (Brown, L’Engle et al., 2006, pg.1022). However, because time order was not clear it is plausible to conclude that those who were partaking in sexual activity were also the ones most interested in the sexual content in the media rather than vice-versa (Brown, L’Engle et al., 2006). Music listeners may begin to believe the world’s artists and adopt their norms as their own. Such norms would be risky and unsafe sex habits, partying without consequence and partaking in illegal substances. After hearing so much, the listener of the music whether rock, rap, hip-hop or country becomes accustomed to the lifestyle and practiced norms of the artist. These songs also cast a very negative light on women. Music tries to connect the lyrics with a story the performer is trying to portray. In these songs culture teaches us the separate rolls of being male and female. Songs portray females as items, animals and sex thirsty all the time with men being overpowering, almighty, and powerful (Dreamworld; Despire, sex,...
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