Influence of Media and Culture on Self Image

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Is culture today experiencing information overload leading to self confusion? Having access to information twenty-four hours a day does not necessarily have a positive impact on society and self image. Media content despite its public charge does not exactly mirror real self image. Mass communication with television ads and movies offer an unrealistic view of the everyday person in various aspects of life. Media can have a positive or negative influence on culture and the way people view their lives compared to those in the public eye. There is much speculation about how the media can affect self-concept, self-identities and self-evaluations. Media also has the power to sway beliefs, morals and behaviors. Research has shown how media content does not reflect reality in regard to who is represented, and how groups and situations are portrayed (Aubrey, 2007). Reality television is an excellent example of how someone can develop a negative self image of themselves. The television show The Real Housewives of New York is a good example. The women shown on this program are not like the average women. The profile of these women is they are usually wealthy, thin with perfect hair, skin and teeth. In addition, these women do not have to work to earn a living. The camera’s follow the cast around daily and record various aspects of their lives for all of America to see. They show the women shopping, and spending large amounts of money on clothes, jewelry and cars. If they want something the cost does not matter. Additionally, they show the women getting facial Botox, liposuction and other cosmetic procedures. After watching this show is would be understandable how the average women would have a negative image of what most women are like. The culture of the rich housewife is nothing similar to women who work and have to toil with a budget to control monthly expenses. The media portrays the issues these women have as issues most women have, which is far from reality. If the average woman does relate to the issues of the real housewives the other reality is she may not have access to large amounts of money to fix whatever issues she may have about herself image. Why are people drawn to reality television shows when they do not mirror real life? Reality television allows a person to daydream about gaining status through automatic fame. People can watch the shows and imangine themselves becoming famous by being on television. The idealism of reality shows is that ordinary people think if they become famous and gain wealth this will allow them to move up to a better more influential social group. People begin to believe that money and fame will solve a number of issues specific to self-doubting and imperfection. Reality television would have the viewers believe that people who are wealthy have the same problems as the average working person, which is not reality at all. On the other hand it is difficult to not watch reality shows to see what drama rich people have and how they solve problems. Self concept plays a vital role in personality development. It has been established by contemporary researches that the way an individual perceives himself goes to shape his behavior patterns (Parlikar, 1972). Self concepts are individuals’ mental representations of themselves. People tend to attend to the feedback they receive in their daily lives and the influence of culture on image. For example people do not remember exact life experiences that help formulate self perception. Overtime people translate specific experiences into a general representation of oneself. For instance, feeling shy in group discussions or eating lunch alone each day can cause one to perceive themselves a shy person or unsociable. In society this behavior is labeled as a person who is shy, and a person who is introverted may be able to recognize the same behaviors in others to identify and recognize their own self perception (Parlikar, 1972). Also media does...
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