Thursday, July 7, 2011

Media influence

Media influence has been a particularly poignant subject lately, especially for this family man. After reading the decent, but repetitive book "So Sexy, So Soon", I had several new approaches to help our family's cause. We already had a long standing "open discussion" requirement when a given media provokes thought or questions, along with other protections and approaches. Parents/guardians/family cannot simply give up and, as the book states, go beyond just saying no to inappropriate activities.

First, the best overall point in this book discusses how media gears people towards consumerism ideologies and the "quick fix to happiness" instead of getting satisfaction and a solid well being from creativity, hard work, and imagination. Remediation is a huge element in this consumerism that results in diminishing originality, fewer ground breaking experiences, and recycled archetypes/cliches.

Now for the relationship factors. One of the biggest points was how men find attachment and intimacy more difficult to achieve than women. Sex in intimacy should be seen as a privilege and honor instead of something to exploit or take advantage of. It's a defining activity that is associated with overall life success and sadly linked to violence. Sex scenes in movies do not show many redeeming qualities any more. No Strings Attached/Friends With Benefits are unfortunate movie media examples reflecting the so-called norm. Society claims it is the norm, so peer pressure, shallow thoughts, and immediacy typically overcome deep thought, methodical thinking, and objective decision making. Why else would "kids feel guilty experiencing things they know parents disapprove." They know it is wrong.

Check who kids follow, how they use their environment, communicate or miscommunicate real life elements, and consider what they see as pretend versus what is real as time goes on. Parent can monitor and keep kids accountable to their actions, but kids make the ultimate decision. Young ones influenced by media see they must achieve "effortless perfection" to "win" in life and become a success in other people's eyes.

The "pressure for sex and lack of sexual power" instills fear that people will lose their partner or arouse anger if they do not give into other's wants/desires. Unfairly inflicting one's will involuntarily over another human being is never a good idea. It has reduced governments to rubble in the news, but it occurs on a personal level through misused media. Media can be such a blessing when used according to God's will not ours.

We must address how young people learn about sex and how it has become so impersonal and destructive in modern culture. We have to protect each other, build accountability/community, show authentic compassion, try hard at cooperation, and build open forums where people can discuss "legimate sexual feelings of their own" without exploitation, mediation, and unnecessary dissemination. Lately notable female celebrities feel its necessary to express their sexuality exclusively through media (magazines, private cell phone pictures, etc.). Media defines actions and influences, which makes the difficult task of understanding how young people process sex even more complex as they try to "make sense of their experiences".

Finished reading this book last night, then saw a great related post in today's USA Today - see below:
Game violence is unprecedented
There is a vast difference between the violence in Grimm's fairy tales, which I grew up on, and images of women being brutally tortured and killed in video games.

In the story of Hansel and Gretel, the image of an old witch being put into an oven because she wanted to eat children is not a violent image to a child. In a child's imagination, the witch is symbolic of something ugly that perhaps brings unhappiness to a child's life. Putting the old witch into the oven is helping the child understand that something evil, or ugly, can be gotten rid of.

Graphic images of topless women being violently harmed are being ingrained into the minds of innocent children repeatedly in some games, leaving little room for imagination. As an adult, I don't want those images in my mind. If I had those images in my mind as a child, I perhaps would be a depressed adult today.

Shame on the manufacturers who degrade the human race with such vile products. Forget regulation. Ban the product entirely.

Theresa B. Slusher; Cincinnati
from USA Today Opinion section - Letter on July 7, 2011

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