How the Media Influences Our Lives

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Marissa Macina

Dr. Lori Maida

Intro to Sociology Telecourse

May 2, 2009

How Our Media Today Influences Our Lives,
Socially Acceptable or Not

High-risk behaviors in adolescence often experience multiple

difficulties, often socialized in economically stressed families and

communities. Adolescent delinquent behaviors such as drug and alcohol

abuse, failing in or dropping out of school, and unprotected sex are interrelated.

An involvement in one problem is generally a sign of some participation in

other socially undesirable actions, which are most likely underlined by a

common factor. There are many factors that can influence an adolescent to go

the wrong way, such as society, family life, the media, magazines, movies, and

the internet. The media, magazines and movies tend to focus on the bad,

lower-class, and typical stereotypes of youth and young adults, and violence.

Nothing sells like violence, depicted in a serious or comical way.

Television seems to draw the most attention, since it is found in 98.2

percent of American family homes and is the primary media source

immediately accessible to youth on a day-to-day basis. For television is free,

on 24/7, it is in the privacy of your own home, and acts like an electronic baby-

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sitter for parents who are too busy or too preoccupied to spend time with there

children. Since television is so obviously the most influential media, I chose

movies. Movies are one step beyond reality. Production companies spend

millions on taking a social norm and kicking it up a notch. Showing our

delinquent youth in movies, such as Boyz n’ the Hood, only lessens the impact

of hardship and true misfortune that the inner-city youth have to deal with on a

day-to-day basis.

Throughout movie history there has always been movies

detailing the cruel reality that African American’s have had to withstand

generation to generation. Early on there were movies about slavery and the

degrading inequality between blacks and whites. Blacks were treated

inhumanly and less than human from the whites and left to fend for themselves

after being brought to America from Africa by-force. They were separated from

their families stripped of their cultures and made to do whatever their owner’s

wanted them to whenever they wanted them to do it. The struggles they have

conquered and the ones they are still fighting today are all seen in movies.

The movie Boyz n’ the Hood is no exception. There are so many

situations and stereotypes played out in this movie that sometimes I wanted to

laugh. The ghetto African American stereotype has been so imbedded into my

brain, let alone the rest of American societies that I knew what was coming

next. In society today African American children are more likely to be poor; two
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out of five babies are born into poverty and face a losing struggle with poverty

throughout childhood. As seen in this movie with the single mother verses the

single father type families. Almost 45 percent of African American women are

left to raise their children alone, or without a spouse, which leads to such

things as dependency on Federal assistance, lack of supervision due to

working overtime or two jobs, and families are more than twice as likely to live

in overcrowded housing to help pay the bills. The female ran household is

more likely to be considered poverty level over a male ran household since

females tend to make less money. The male headed household, almost 9

percent of African Americans, was portrayed in the movie to be more structured

and have a more disciplined lifestyle with an inspiring role model to look up to,

listen to and to know he cared about his son and loved him and wanted more

for him than to live in the...
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