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Mind Control The Media Aims To Influence People Media Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 1478 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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In our era, almost all advertisement and information tools contain images. Since most images appeal to our emotions rather than to our reasoning, they can hide the truth and divert our attention by arousing our feelings towards a certain cause. They can manipulate the public opinion, mold our attitudes and transform our vision of reality. They are teaching us how to be, more than our own parents and teachers do: they tell us how to observe and instruct our vision in what a flaw is and what’s normal (Bordo 2006). Because they require less effort and concentration, the idea that reside behind the images is easily transmitted to our thoughts. Thus, they permit an instantaneous acquisition of divulged information, dissuade others and confuse their perception of what is right and wrong. And since nearly everyone rely on the media to inform them, it can easily mislead us.

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By simply switching on the television, an endless collection of images is set before your eyes and glide through your neurons to implant a standardization of what true beauty is (Lemayian, 2005). Nowadays, body image is becoming very important in our society, and it is particularly amplified by the media. “How to interpret your body 101” is becoming a global requirement (Bordo, 2006). Furthermore, among the many methods used by the media to transform the image into an ideal one, the most common is the edited photo. On the billboards publicity and press, retouched photos are almost everywhere, imposed by a company that makes the body image an ultimate reference. With software such as Photoshop, body image can be completely changed. The commercial of the Dove Evolution video translates well these practices. Dove Evolution is a one minute clip directed by Tim Piper where we see an ordinary woman accompanied by a makeup artist sitting on a chair. A fixed plane then comes closer to her face and film the process of her transformation. This woman’s hair and make up are done, and her picture is retouched digitally. Then the background turns into a billboard ad where the face of this woman that was made perfect, catches the eye of many group of girls passing by.

Most of the time, the image of beauty promoted by women’s magazines is that of the thinness and youth. Similarly, cinema and television are promoters of unattainable beauty. For instance, many actresses are obliged to loose weight in order for them to be allowed to participate in the film. Moreover, in the movie “The Devil Wears Prada” which is directed by David Frankel, the star Anne Hathaway as Andy Sachs, a talented writer who has recently graduated, was admitted as a co-assistant in one of the most superb fashion magazine firm, and was compelled to loose a lot of weight. In addition, the other co-assistant (Emily Blunt) was dieting because she was supposed to accompany the editor of the magazine (Meryl Streep) to a fashion show in Paris. And after being complemented on her thin looking figure by the new co-assistant (Anne Hathaway), she claims that the effective diet that got her into this skinny looking figure is to eat nothing at all, but a tiny chunk of cheese only if she felt like she was going to faint. Therefore, the audio-visual media is constantly imposing the compulsion of being thin which could cause several health problems (such as anorexia and bulimia) for the brain-washed girls during their pursue of the perfect body. For instance, three years after the media was introduced in Fiji, 11 percent of the girls were forcing themselves to vomit in order to stay thin (Bordo, 2006).

Conversely, media can also lead to obesity. And that is because advertising is constantly promoting unhealthy consumption, and encouraging food products that are not recommended in a balanced diet. A company named Ofcom carried out a research in 2004 into television commercials concluding that they have a reasonable direct influence on children’s choice of food (Boyce 2006). Additionally to the fast food, most of the ads market for drinks that are very minimal in nutrients such as coffee, soda and energy drinks, and snacks that are very high in saturated fat and carbohydrates, but very low in proteins and vitamins (such as chips and chocolates). Moreover, the ABC health news states that, according to a research concerning the adolescents of age ranging from 12 to 17, the obesity was growing by 2% for each hour of TV watching. In addition, Kuribyashi et al., 2001 conducted a study in which the types of food that are commercialized were compared during two period of time: between the phase of peak viewing by children and the phase of peak viewing by adults. It was learned that there were more food advertisements screening throughout the morning children’s program with increased recurrence and larger consumption of the total program duration than food commercials shown during prime-time adult programs in the evening (Kuribyashi et al., 2001). This demonstrates how the televised media is exploiting the minds of young innocent children who can be easily manipulated by attracting images of any product. For instance, the Great School organization declares that the food and beverage industry spends more than ten billion dollars targeting children and youth through television advertisements, special promotions and attractive packaging. Not surprisingly, the Kaiser institution in Calif, reported through a research from Europe and the U.S., that the children’s obesity was significantly reduced when the duration spent on television was decreased, since they will become more engaged in physical activities and less exposed to the scheming food commercials.

The media also aims to influence people in order to make them behave and react in a given direction. We can therefore say that the media is commanding our opinions in order to pilot our way of life; an aspect of stereotyping is employed in the media. Additionally, the use of stereotypes facilitates the goal of the producers because it allows the audience to easily remember and identify a certain character in the motion picture industry. The facet of media stereotyping is also reflected on our lifestyles. For example, in a movie or a series, a family is often represented by a father, a mother, two children and a dog. The mother cleans, takes care of the children and makes sure that the dinner is prepared when the father comes back from work. Stereotypes are used in cartoons as well, such as the amiable grandfather of Pinocchio, the wicked stepmother in Cinderella, and Dexter who is a smart kid featured as a nerd with no social life. All these characters represent, among many others, the familiar stereotypes assimilated by the children.

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Moreover, by shaping hostile stereotypes, the media can help maintain or develop the rejection of a social group by another. For instance, William Drummond, an academic journalist professor in the University of California at Berkeley and co-author of a current study on the situation of the African-American male in California states that the negative stereotype that many people have of African-American men is caused to a significant degree by the media: broadcasting media convey the lead in relating young African-American males with aggressiveness, lawlessness and violence. The most widespread stereotype about African-American men is that they engage in drug abuse in disproportionate numbers. In the report, Drummond reported statistics from a U.S. Justice Department survey that show only 6 percent of African-Americans had used cocaine in their lifetime, and that the great majority of respondents — 65.5 percent — had used it fewer than 11 times. Among white respondents, 10.6 percent had used cocaine in their lifetimes, with 62.3 percent of those respondents saying they had used it fewer than 11 times.

Conclusively, the media possess a certain type of control over our minds; they play an imperative role in the public opinion. Its ubiquity and diversity therefore affects the entire population, and is fostered by globalization in today’s society. The danger is that we are in a society that is governed by images and economy: the information is increasingly being diffused under the hidden purpose of financial profit and not for the simple function to share and inform. The information is then manipulated to become more prejudiced, and ends up by losing all its meaning. Therefore, it is crucial to try to withdraw ourselves from the subjective impact that is implanted in the media, and think about its veracity before considering it. In order to fight against the self-control by the media, the audio-visual apparatus should be utilized to broadcast and elucidate the deceits and hazards that are promoted by media.


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