Tutorial number: 08
Date: October 20, 2014
2014-2015 KINE1000 6.0 Socio-cultural Perspectives in Kinesiology York University
The Media and my Body
Throughout my life I have always been judged based on my race, the way in which I dress and the way my body appears to be. Through personal experience, it has become apparent to me that the media plays a central role in creating the social construct that causes me to be judge. By emphasizing social hierarchy, highlighting racial stereotypes and discouraging individuality, the media undermines all who do not fit the criteria. It is the media that connects a person’s social class with certain brand names, which in turn sets a criteria in which all members must fit, in order to gain acceptance. Not wearing any labels is connected with being a member of the low class and that person is subjected to ridicule and isolation. It is the media which connects certain characteristics to an entire race, condemning all members to be viewed through the same narrow lens. It is also the media which determines what is to be viewed as healthy, by focusing their attention on only athlete and models, portraying them as ideal while ignoring individuality.
How is it that we all know to dress a certain way when going out for a job interview, where we wish to leave an impression? That which is viewed in the media has an effect on how people themselves want to be seen. The media glorifies glamorous life styles and expensive clothes while inadvertently, making the average life style and clothes seem inferior by not giving them the same attention. This makes these traits appear as the norm in a society, leaving the average person something unrealistic to strive for. Growing up I had always bought my clothes from a non major clothing store and never cared much about the labels that came with it. Upon starting high school however, the need to dress a certain way became apparent. Observing how high school students behave is a good way to see the effects that media has on people, because most of them are easily influenced by the media. On TV shows and in high school, the common trend was always that, the well-dressed person, wearing expensive brands was seen as the one with class and personality. He/she would have respect in a social gathering and be seen as outgoing and attractive. The person who dressed simpler, wearing clothes bought at a non-label store however, was mostly portrayed as if there was no personality or attraction in him/her. I felt like I was a no body and that I was not being taking seriously in most social circles. It was then that I insisted to my parents to start buying me brand name clothes. After a short transition struggle with my new found wardrobe, I had noticed a dramatic shift in the kind of company I was attracting. When I dressed to look like people on TV by wearing expensive clothing, I felt that I was respected more. I would draw no attention when I dressed as an average person, and was forced to conform. The media connects a person’s social class with certain brand names, which in turn emphasizes social hierarchy, in which all members strive to fit in.
Another aspect of my body which is often judged is that I can be identified as someone from the Middle East. My heritage is quite apparent, as I have an accent and skin tone of that of an Arab. People whom I have never met will have preconceived judgments about me, which they would have made by racial profiling. The media is mainly responsible for setting stereotypes that are in our society today, with almost all minority racial groups having negative stereotypes. By regularly unifying a few characteristics with a race, the media establishes those traits as the norm for the race. I remember when I was younger, I would not approach a group of African kids who would be sagging their pants for fear of my safety. The