In the past decade, media has become a lifestyle for most of America. Our lives are being shaped on and around the influence of whatever the media is saying we should live and act. Ever since the media has managed to work its way into our culture, it has had the largest influence on society. Everyone has started to use the media as a trend-setter that tells us what is popular and what is not. This can be a major problem in society today because this influence is too heavy and pushes people to think they are not important and have no purpose in life. This effect on men and women has been very negative in the sense that it is degrading to people to try to be something they cannot really be. Negativity brought on by the media is consistently seen throughout sports, fashion and advertisement worlds. And although media has brought man negative things, it has also brought some positive influences to society, some would argue, in politics and other areas women can be seen excelling in. In addition, it has been shown to have a positive effect on men when exemplary men are on TV or in the print media.
The world today has brought media into everything we do, including sports, which would make sense with it because they are nationally televised. Women have always been at the low end of the spectrum when it comes to sports. They hardly have any professional sport that’s constantly being shown outside of the Olympics. The top two that come to mind are women’s basketball and golf. The media is the sports casting network and has nearly shut down any mention of these sports at all. Sports networks such as ESPN and Sportscenter focus on the male sports of that season usually baseball, basketball, or football. Occasionally other sports are highlighted, but rarely a woman’s sport. The media has so much influence in women’s sports that since no one wants to watch women play sports, they don’t allow them to have professional leagues.
A study was done by the Women’s Sports Foundation that showed that about 6% to 8% of total media coverage is devoted to women’s athletics, and about 3.5% of articles are written for female athletes (Cassel). This negative effect is constantly seen and heard by women in the sports world and they still have to fight to get these opportunities for women’s sports. This also is reflected in college where women are mostly still ignored. The Women’s Sports Foundation said that males get $179 million more in scholarship money than women (Cassel). This is extremely unfair. Because of the lack of interest in women’s sports in America, women get less of an opportunity to perform as they do in men’s sports. The media can also have a negative effect not only on women, but also on men.
In today’s society, everyone tries to have a certain appearance that they have seen on television and that they think will somehow make them look better. Media makes us want to become something we’re not and follow what’s trending. They make us think that if we have these certain look or live up to a certain behavior, all will be perfect, and we can have all the attention, but we find that we fail to live up to those expectations. This goal we seek is impossible to reach because these models or actors have professional coaches, makeup artists, writers, and staff to help them be who we think they are. It is common to see women get the worst because of their insecurity regarding their bodies. They try to compare their bodies to the models that have been photoshopped or are not even real, but yet, they will never reach their goal. These pressures by the media that cause insecurity in women lead them to do crazy things. These changes can be small, like dying their hair, or something more drastic like anorexia.
The South Carolina Department of Mental Health showed in studies that about 1% of women deal with anorexia which doesn’t seem like a lot but it’s a lot more than it seems (Steele). It is also very common to see girls starting to diet at very young ages, like nine years old with about 40% of them admitting that they do (Seele). These girls aren’t even in middle school, and yet they are worried they’ll become ugly and fat. Women however aren’t the only ones affected by this appearance problem. Men are affected tremendously as well. Men sometimes become very insecure about themselves if they don’t have enough muscle or a six-pack. It doesn’t have as much of a drastic effect on males, but it still affects some of them. Another negative effect on men is that it causes them to try to make the prettiest girl theirs (N.p). The problem with that is that sometimes women can be put down because they don’t think they have the right look. This is a huge factor in today’s society and hopefully it will change, but at least not all things in the media are bad.
Although the media has had a heavy influence of negativity on society, it has brought some positivity to society. Women have lately been gaining more and more equality to men in society in many areas. Women have been able to engage in a lot more things, such as politics. Women like Hilary Clinton and Sarah Palin have been stepping out and having a say in what goes on in politics. This is great for women to see happening because it encourages them to strive to have a voice rather just to allow only men to have a say. Media has been encouraging women to step out and have a say. Media has also affected men in a positive way as well as, if not more than women.
Men don’t have the same view as women when it comes to the media telling them a certain way to look. Studies are showing that when men see the media on ways they should look, they take it and try to use it as a motivation like (N.p.). For example when they see the public image of a muscular guy with a six-pack, they take it as a challenge and try to work to obtain those results. This is where women typically are different in the studies. They take media coverage in a negative way and get upset about it. However, it is very rare to have positive influence from the media; it can still have a negative effect on people.
Media has become a large part of society today and is most influential to the nation as a whole. Many people shape their lives based on how the media tells them to. This has been negatively impacting the population as a whole, and many would agree it’s doing more harm than good. With the media being so important to our lives, it should start becoming more positive in order to encourage men and women, rather than to degrade them.
Cassel, Jean. “Gender Discrimination in Sports.” Livestrong. np. 19 June. 2011. Web. 23 Sept. 2012. “How Do Negative Body Images in the Media Impact Women? Physical and Mental Effects.” Hubpages. np. 6 June. 2011. Web. 23 Sept. 2012. “Media Images of Female Models Have Negative Effect on Men.”
News-medical. Np. 7 Nov. 2008. Web. 23 Sept. 2012. Steele, Melisa. “National Statistics for Anorexia.” teen-beauty-tips. np. nd. Web. 23 Sept. 2012.
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