28 January 2011
Essay Assignment #1
The Power of Media Messages
For more than a century mass media has accumulated a role significant to the cultures in which it dwells. Stemming from newsprint, mass media has evolved to such devices as the radio and the television. In restrospect, mass media has grown more and more effective and therefore, “an understanding of and respect for the power of media messages” is an important media literacy skill to obtain (Baran 27). To obtain this skill is to take a deeper look into the influence of mass media not only on one’s culture but also on one’s self. It is important to recognize this influence so that one will not “disregard media’s power through the third-person effect” (Baran 27).
It is impossible to live in a world consumed by media and not be affected by it as seen in an article entitled “Everything I Learned About Women I Learned From Reality TV” by Jessica Bennett. It warns that the “implications of [the] imagery” reality TV shows play on women “can be serious.” This is a take on the specific issue that media content through reality television shows portray women in a negative light. Through these shows women are not “the majority of the workforce,” they are not “waiting longer to get married”, and “their husbands are [not] taking on more responsibility at home” as in the real world according to Bennett. Instead, these programs show “the world [as] a place where your mom is a conniving, deceitful gold digger, your sisters and girlfriends, vicious and catty.” They go on to relate that “ women were put on this earth to compete for male attention—when, of course, they’re not busy pulling each other’s hair out or lounging half naked in a hot tub.” It is then that one might question the many images one is bombarded with on just the content of women in these kinds of images. This article questions the influence that it might have on those hiring women or promoting them at the same rate of men. If...
References: Baran, Stanley J. (2011). Introduction to Mass Communication: Media Literacy and Culture/Stanley Baran. (Updated 6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Bennett, Jessica. (2010, November 11). Everything I Learned About Women I Learned From Reality TV. Newsweek. Retrieved from http://www.newsweek.com/2010/11/11/the-problem-with-women-on-reality-tv.html
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