The Gender Gap No More: Mass Media's Assault on the Human Ideals

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Drake Gutierrez
Professor Muniz
English 1A
11/8/12
The Gender Gap No More: Mass Media’s Assault on the Human Ideals
With the great influence the media holds over the commoner it is not surprising to find that a staggering percentage of the information and knowledge that is obtained is taught through the media. According to Ann Marie Kerwin, “the average American watched 280 minutes of TV each day in 2009, more than four-and-a-half-hours worth and a three-minute increase compared to the year before. A similar rise can be seen around the world, where the average human being watched three hours and 12 minutes worth of TV a day” (Advertising Age). Over the span of one week, the average American has consumed 30 hours of media. There is no question of how the media plays such an influential role on the American ethos. Men are constantly bombarded with stereotypes defined by the media that question a man’s degree of masculinity and young women are galvanized to explore the perks of promiscuity. Both men and women have now become self conscious about their physical appearance due to the media’s assault on the body image. And now the media has begun targeting children in order to ensure their entrenchment of purchasing products that will carry on to adulthood. The media has reinvented itself into a corporate mudraker, corrupting the ideals of humanity in the ambition of turning a dollar. Young women have been in the crosshairs of the media’s scope since its bearing and have had its influence mold their perspectives like play dough. It was not until recently that the media has made an even greater effort to mold the minds of women, although this time around it is making its approach at much younger ages. In her review of M. Gigi Durham’s book The Lolita Effect, Taylor Wollek quotes Durham saying: “Research has shown that in the United States, sexual activity is known to start around 11 or12 years old. One in five adolescents under the age of 15 have had sex and even more have engaged in oral sex. Durham notes a Kaiser Foundation study has found that one in nine television shows intended to be viewed by teenagers include a scene that depicts sexual intercourse. Adolescents who watch shows with high sexual content are twice as likely to have sex earlier than a child who does not watch these types of television shows” (Journal of Youth and Adolescence). The media has encouraged the youth of our generation to become sexually active and by doing so has created a generation fixated on the fulfillment of sexual desire. Young girls are now more than ever feeling the pressures of society to accommodate to such sexual attention. The pressures that they are receiving are of course not from the society they depend on but rather the society that they are exposed to through mediums of media they consume. It is very clear that sexual objectification has impinged on our youth’s innocence. Girls have become way too sexy way too fast. The Lolita effect has now become a codename for such a course, however this scheme does much more than encourage a young girl to become promiscuous. The Lolita effect does not just explain how young girls are becoming sexual objects through the media but also explains how young girls are directed to act in front of their male counterparts. Taylor Wollek paraphrases Durham in her review of The Lolita effect by saying that, “Durham has classified four myths of sexuality that are involved in the Lolita Effect. She looks closely at the four myths and discusses ways to change them. The myths talked about in this book are: the myths of, if you got it flaunt it, the anatomy of a sex goddess, pretty babies, and violence is sexy” (Journal of Youth and Adolescence). The “if you got it flaunt it” myth shows the importance of an “it” factor. It generally states that girls need to possess an “it” factor and if they indeed do, then they must flaunt it. The second myth states that every girl must obtain the anatomy of a...
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