The Media And Identity

Submitted By bewilson17
Words: 1554
Pages: 7

Wilson 1
Brooke Wilson
ENC 1101
November 7, 2014
The Media and Identity Today we are surrounded by the media. Everywhere we go and everything we do revolves around the media. We watch it on TV, we see it on the internet, and we read it in newspapers and magazines, so how does it affect us and who we are? I think the media represents who we are as a country and how does that relate to us? The media influences and distorts our identities in many ways. The media gives us stereotypes that feed our imaginations, unreal expectations, and skewed world views. Stereotypes surround us wherever we go and they affect who we become. Sometimes we start believing them because we see other people act that way and support those stereotypes. This suppresses who we really are inside. The media also gives us unreal expectations of who we should be or what life should be like. We see pictures of beautiful people and we aspire to be them and have their perfect lives that are depicted in the magazines and on TV. On a global level of identity we see skewed images of the world through the news. We see what others want us to see and it’s only from the point of view of the American government. Do we ever really know what is true and what is false? The media is such a powerful influence to our formative years in which we find who we are, it is hard to know if we are who we are because we choose to be or if we were persuaded to be this way by external forces. Wilson 2
Reality television thrives on stereotypes and I think the public also thrives on stereotypes. I think America likes to be a little racist. It drives some people to overcome their stereotypes and it allows others to express their feelings. People believe the stereotypes are true and in turn the people who are focused in that stereotype start believing it is true and that can really affect how that person sees themselves. We either reject it or accept it. In Jennifer Pozner’s excerpt from Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth about Guilty Pleasure TV she talks about the show America’s Next Top Model and the way that Tyra Banks plays to the stereotypes of the girls to feed viewers’ needs for drama. As viewers we believe that those girls are the way they act and we respond to that. There was a girl on the show who was half Japanese and half white who didn’t have a problem with her cultural identity but Pozner says “They framed her as uncomfortable with her cultural identity, while confusing that identity” (Pozner 398). They went on the photograph her with Chinese ornaments. This goes along with the all Asians look alike stereotype. This situation can be compared to that of the Hispanic tradition of the Quinceanera. In the culture this particular party is very special for the girls turning 15, it is a passage to womanhood. In Julia Alvarez’s essay from her 2007 novel, Once Upon a Quinceanera: Coming of Age in the USA, she states “I feel as if I’ve wandered into the back room where the femaleness of the next generation of Latinas is being manufactured, displayed and sold” (Alvarez 51). I think that the wealthier girls see these beautiful parties on Latin TV and throughout their families and are inspired to recreate the magic at their own parties. The media makes things like body size, hair, dress, and parties all seem so important and they feed into who we are. We have all seen the movie where the unachievable boy ends up with the nerdy girl. This is an example of unreal expectations. We see the girls and boys with perfect bodies in the magazines and at bus stops and we want to be those people. Eventually we believe our bodies are
Wilson 3 horrible and we would do anything to be like those people. We see all these men with high powered jobs and see women cast down in gender specific roles. Why is society doing this to us? Why is the media trying to change who we are? For so long and it still is an unreal expectation for women to be the top of companies. Many shows today how mothers