The influence of media on society

Topics: Mass media, Media influence, Sociology Pages: 7 (2305 words) Published: June 5, 2014
The media is a powerful force in contemporary society, which determines our actions and identities. With reference to relevant sociological theory and evidence, discuss media effects.

Society relies a great deal on technology for news, entertainment and education. Mass media is seen as one of the greatest influential factors on the opinions and viewpoints of society in the modern world. Media includes a range of sources, for example, Magazines; Internet; Television; Books and Radio. All of these sources are what contribute to the beliefs of what society believe life and culture to be, which is sometimes heightened to unrealistic standards. Although media provides speedy access to various forms of communication, as with anything else, negative ones closely follow its positive attributes.

Socialisation and society is one of the main features in partnership with mass media. As seen in the contemporary society, norms; values; and way of life have changed to a great extent in comparison to the generations gone past. A crucial aspect that a large media society has embraced is that it brings to the surface great awareness of the world around us. The media has exposed individuals of all ages to different aspects of the world that previous generation had no exposure to. This vast revelation has educated the youth, thus making them more aware and resourceful about the world today. Media delivers messages 'across the globe' in a matter of minutes, providing us with information about the most current events around the world. Media is actively transmitted on a day-to-day basis via millions of people and their access to resources.

An example is in the fashion world: it is media that creates the trends and genres of different types of clothing, also considered as 'identity'. _The fashion world markets their clothing to society through the media_ (Crane, 2012) using various sources such as, television, Internet, and print sources like newspaper and Magazines. Today's society faces constant debate about women's body image. Size 'zero' has become not only a fad in the world of high-end fashion modeling but also a fad in smaller castings of modeling. The size zero topic has caused a revolution with women around the world trying to enter the modeling industry, harming their bodies in countless ways in order to achieve the "ideal" body image. Women today face extensive criticism about their appearances due to the superficial ideology created by the media. This has brought plenty of criticism from feminist individuals, groups and organisations around the world whom state that women have died from starvation simply for a short-lived career in the modeling world. A way in which media has positively impacted upon the notion of the 'size zero' topic, is through the use of TV commercials by popular companies like Dove, to empower women, this was done through Doves 'Be Beautiful' campaign which showcased women of all shapes and sizes labeling them as all equally beautiful.

Today's world has stereotypes made from different forms of media. Stereotypes have been created on different ethnicities and cultures. As individuals growing to a more open-minded mentality, we see distinct relations between the two. When we see a particular ethnicity portrayed in a certain way, judgments tend to be established and therefore we then relate them to an entire culture of people.

Analyses of media in modern and post-modern societies have concluded that media are the society's storytellers, repeatedly confirming and modifying the society's image of itself (Anderson, 1991; Condor, 1988, Fairclough, 1995; Hall, 2001). In and through those stories, whether in the factual or fictional genres, we get to meet and 'know' our fellow citizens and, consequently, consistently distorted depictions stigmatise those so portrayed (Nairn, 1999; van Dijk, 1993).

Eventually many individuals tend to conform to those stereotypes, thus following the self-fulfilling...
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