Effects of Visual Media
June 2, 2013
Effects of Visual Media
As film technology has advanced through the years of development to the media outlet it is today, films have shaped culture and attitudes through stories and other content. As more movies are produced, views and values of society continue to alter based on the images portrayed. These changes in society occur because moviegoers absorb the styles and attitudes of idolized characters from films. For example, in the late 1960s, several movies were released depicting rebellion and violence. Movies such as “The Wild Bunch” and “Bonnie and Clyde” let to more liberal attitudes toward social order as well as an acceptance of violence and sex on-screen (Lule, 2012). More films were produced to specifically shape the viewpoints of the audience once filmmakers took notice. The movie “Super-Size Me” is one example of a movie produced specifically to alter perceptions of society.
Television provided a source of at home visual entertainment beginning in the 1950s. Initially, television was a family oriented activity with programming such as “Leave it to Beaver” featuring white families living in suburban communities with a focus on issues of family life but not on issues of society. These types of shows depicted the ideals of the time. As society events began to create stress in everyday lives during the 1960s, shows like “Bewitched” provided a world of fantasy and escape, but still avoided discussing the issues of the time. Between the 70s and today, shows began appearing discussing social issues such as single parent households, gender roles, and sexual orientation. Some shows such as “Murphy Brown” and “Ellen” airing during this timeframe were quite controversial for their roles in shaping society’s views on sexuality and the family unit.
New forms of technologies have changed how we view film and television. Our culture has changed from one that goes out to movies and stays home to watch television, to one that watches movies and television from anywhere via computers, tablets, smartphones, etc. This is all possible through the development of the Internet. The Internet has provided society the availability to watch movies and television from computers, tablets, smartphones, etc. from anywhere as long as there is an Internet connection. Our society is no long bound by the schedules set by television stations or movie theaters; instead, our society can view television programming or movies at their convenience.
Positive and negative influences can be found in all forms of media; however, the influences of visual media appear to be increasingly negative. Over the years, the amount of violence shown in both television and film has been steadily increasing. Many people in society believe today’s children are increasingly violent as a direct result of the amount of violence exposure received from media. An article by Duminica & Popescu (2012) studied the relationship between violence and the media and determined the increased violence exposure to the masses is the most serious risk for increased aggression in individuals (p.427). As society becomes more accustomed to the increasing amounts of violence shown through audio media, society becomes desensitized by these images, resulting in violence escalation both on-screen and in society. Visual media reflects social behaviors and attitudes through capturing the views of that time. As programs and movies were created over the years, each is a snapshot of the culture and attitudes of the time. For example, film and television from the 40s and 50s reflect a conservative society who values the nuclear, perpetually happy family lifestyle. Programs from the 60s reflect the increasingly liberal views on sex, violence and social order. Social views have evolved steadily as a direct result of the characters and views portrayed through visual media because audiences will imitate the...
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