This quarter at Central I am taking a media and culture class, a required class for my major in Public Relations. We have been spending an ample amount of time looking at different types of mass media (such as books, newspapers, internet, telephone, etc), their history and how they have shaped (and continue to effect) the world around us.
A couple weeks ago we talked about Hollywood. I have been thinking about our discussion ever since.
When you picture the ideal man in your mind, what do you see? Tall, dark and handsome? Chiseled features? How about the ideal woman? Tall, stylish, and skinny as a board? Do you see something different? What do you strive to be? What do you wish you were?
Hollywood has painted images of the “ideal” man and woman and has plastered it up in magazines, all over the internet, in movies, television sitcoms, billboards, etc. We view their images, their family lives, their marriages and friendships as the norm; in fact, oftentimes, we go out of our way to make our norm resemble their’s regardless of the cost.
Why are we allowing them to dictate how we think, how we act, and how we treat others? Where’s our brains? What makes us get caught up in the glitz and glamour? And for heaven’s sake, why in the world do we care what the Kardashians are doing at every waking moment? And why are they famous, anyways?
In class a couple weeks ago, during a discussion on this topic, my professor asked a student in our class who is an Ugandan citizen how she felt about the way Americans, particularly women, are portrayed by the media and she answered that she felt embarrassed for us. And shouldn’t we feel embarrassed too?
Media has taken ahold of my generation, and I fear is leading us down an unhealthy path. Our culture places an immense value on how we look, how others perceive us, that we often forget to actually work on what others can’t initially see. We don’t read up and discover what’s going on in the world around us, we bail on relationships when they get difficult, we don’t stay true to our word, we would rather look out for “number one” than help out others.
We must start asking ourselves the difficult questions. We can’t run from conflict, but must instead stick around and work it out. Read up on the news, understand what’s going on, invest in those around you. It’s so important that we start to ask, “What am I leaving behind? Who am I investing in?” Are you apart of something bigger than yourself?
Want my two cents?
Be a thinker. Be a giver. Live for something. Be passionate.
And for Heaven’s sake turn off the TV once in a while. It’ll do you some good.