Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Does The Media Merely Reflect Society Or Is It Instrumental In Constructing it

The media is around us 24 hours a day 365 days of the year, there's no escaping it, even when we try to switch of the reality TV and look for a movie to put on or find a nice magazine to read we still somehow manage to see this "world" we live in but presented in different ways, which strikes the question "Does The Media Merely Reflect Society Or Is It Instrumental In Constructing it".

I'm the first person to admit television is a good way to unwind after a hard day at school/work but do shows like "Waterloo Road" or "Eastenders" reflect society or are they creating this image of how society should be seen in today's world.In my opinion I think programmes like this are showing us today's society but I think they exaggerate it 100 times so we see a false image of society rather than the real thing.

Shows such as Eastenders document something quite interesting on television, affairs,death,sexuality and mental illnesses and they seem to do it to the extreme; Every Christmas evening thousands of people tune into Eastenders or Hollyoaks just to see how the big story of the year ends whether it be in a death or in someone walking out. So what is it that makes these shows so appealing to watch? I personally think that these shows are so appealing because they are showing a new take on life and although they are exaggerated by 100 we get too see how these people are dealing with the issues infront of them and i think that is what makes these shows so interesting.

Reality TV is another way the media try to show us what the world is like by documenting people living they're lived for example the popular American show "The Hills" gives us an incite on how people in LA are living they're lives by showing us they're nights out and how they do they're day jobs.This setup of TV is amongst the most popular viewing of the British public, and i think it is so popular because all the people we see on reality TV we either want to be them or we can relate to they're emotions and most of the arguments we see them having we can safely say "I've had that argument before." However not everyone feels this way an article published by http://www.contactmusic.com/
shows an opinion of a very high thought of British actor.

"British actor Stephen Fry has launched a scathing attack on the popularity of reality TV shows, insisting the format is "picking over the remains of life". The Gosford Park star, currently appearing in British small screen drama Kingdom, is disgusted by much of the competition his Sunday night show faces. Speaking to The Stage he says of reality programmes, "I would rather skewer my own eyeballs out of their sockets with a blunt bodkin than I would watch (them). "I thrive on creativity, energy and excitement."

This view on reality TV is a popular one with most people and I think they feel this way because they don't quite understand why these peoples lives are broadcast on popular television channels and why they are being broadcast in a certain way;In my opinion I feel reality television is false image society, i feel this way because in some reality televisions shows like The Hills the majority of the people we see are living the high life and earning thousands of dollars and I think we should be able to see what "real" America is like for example normal working families.

When Big Brother first hit our screens in 1999 it took the Television world by storm, suddenly seeing complete strangers living together for 2months seemed intersting, but why? People enjoy seeing other peoples misfortunes e.g. when someone falls over or when two people are having a heated argument it makes us feel somewhat better about ourselves in the sense that we would probably say to ourselves "im glad thats not me".

Magazines fill the local newsagents shelves by the hundreds, magazines like "That's Life" and "Take A Break" never seem to disappoint with stories such as "My husband killed my baby" or "Pregnancy Made Me Eat My Hair" these magazines are my favorite ones to read i feel this way because these stories are written by real people and you are seeing how the story has influenced their lives.

However some magazines such as "Heat" or "Star" don't display such stories on their front cover;The stories we see on the covers of these magazines often read like this "Posh Weight Battle" or "Fern Battles Holly" these stories really frustrate me because they aren't real life, to be honest i don't care if Victoria Beckham as lost another 2 stone or if Fern Britain is battling for her job. The models we see in these magazines that appear to be "beautiful" is not a true image of how today's women look in today's society and i think this is the reason most of today's teenagers are so obsessed with looking good or have this image of what the "perfect" person is like so in this aspect of the question "Does The Media Merely Reflect Society Or Is It Instrumental In Constructing it" i think the media is helping construct society by publishing these sorts of stories. In my opinion i would like to see more of the stories that are published in "Thats Life" in magazines like "Heat" because they are real people talking about real issues.

My personal opinion is the media works in two different ways, in most ways we depend on the media for an awful lot,although we don't like admitting it we like watching reality television and we like reading the newspapers to see what the government has been up too this week, but I also think the media is to blame for how society is changing and how peoples behaviour has changed.The media is often blaming the music we listen to for the way we behave, but i feel that its mostly the media to blame for teenagers being anorexic and teenagers being out on the streets every evening,I feel the media glamorise the world it is putting infront of us.So i think the media is instrumental in creating todays society.

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