The Media and The Mind

“Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.”

-Jim Morrison

8468788107_bb6c21b0e4_kThis awesome art is made by Flickr user mkhmarketing.

How true is this?  It’s one of the things I’ve been pondering: when does this apply in society?  When doesn’t it?

For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to distinguish media as a body controlled by a tight-knit group of television executives, news casters, and celebrities.  While society is a mush-pot of everyone else.

Also, before you read this, my mind has been whirling about with too many things, worries, and pressures lately.  So I apologize if this post doesn’t really make sense.

1. How society treats certain genders?

Movements like the HeForShe campaign and the AskHerMore movements championed by major figures in media including Emma Watson, Meryl Streep, Lena Dunham, and Reese Witherspoon have been making waves in media for those who see the reasoning behind these movements.  Before figures in media rose up and noted this inequality, few people spared a second thought about how women were treated in society and in media– as mere “eye candy” or viewed as “weak” and only adequate as mothers (who mind you are freaking awesome).

Here’s a compilation of female celebrities lashing out against sexist questions: http://www.buzzfeed.com/kristinharris/reporters-asking-female-celebrities-the-wrong-damn-q#.gva1lrlEY.

2. How society treats certain races?

It took a while for African Americans to gain a foothold in the equality spectrum in the United States.  Period or large movements fighting for equal rights, many people were afraid to stand up for the cause.  Mass-media let those people know what they are not alone and that there are more willing to fight for the same causes.

On the other hand, media is also the one causing stereotypes, especially on account of gender, race, and other minute factors.  For example, Asians are stereotyped as “nerdy” and typically strict; however, I definitely know that that’s not true for everyone.  Often times, these social norms built up by society becomes what defines a person, not their individual idiosyncrasies.

3. How society views people with certain preferences?  How society makes us think?  How tolerate and accept?

In some ways, media has mixed results when it comes to preferences.  From what I have been seeing, sometimes society tends to champion beliefs that are different from those of media.  But then again, in any group of people, there will always be at least one “rotten egg.” Although, this brings me to another point: which influences what more– society or media?

How much can individual people, not under the microscope of scrutiny change the “idols” and those who’s lives are broadcasted and discussed in detail?

With questions like these, it annoys me that all I can really conclude is that every situation is conditional.  Ever case and debate is unique.  It’s hard to come up with a generalization and answer these questions, just as it is not right for society to stereotype, problems can’t truly be clumped up and addressed similarly.

So, how much influence does mainstream media really have over us?  Well, to some extent, in too many ways.  And in other respects, however much we let it.

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