Published April 16, 2012 by Dezirae Mccausland

The mass media presents its viewers with millions of images everyday. Many of the images which we see create stereotypes about different groups of people. Stereotyping, as presented in the text, “Lost in Transmission: (Mis)Representation of Racialized Minorities in Media”, is “a process the denotes a prejudiced description of an entire category of people” (Quist-Adade, 2012). These stereotypes create pictures in our minds about a particular group and they become part of our constructed reality. One of the largest groups of stereotyped people is women, as they are presented in ways that demote their true equality, individuality, and independence in our world. Women are often shown as sexual objects, there to take care of a man by remaining in the home caring for the house and children. In a post by David MacGregor, he states that, “In the 1950’s and 60’s when men dominated advertising stereotypical impressions of women as inferior or subservient were not only commonplace but usual” (ThoughtSpurs, 2008). As we look at advertising from the past and present, we can easily pick out images that create stereotypical views on women. Although times are changing, and women are becoming much more active in our society with equal rights as men, there is still much degradation on women by the images they are presented. The mass media portrays the ‘ideal’ body type as tall and thin. We can find numerous images of starving run-way models, who strive to fit into this ‘ideal’ image. These images can become very harmful to young girls as disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are becoming a huge phenomenon due to the negative images women are receiving about themselves. Proper education on this matter of stereotyping of women and women’s rolls, is very important in today’s world. A very interesting and informative film called, Killing Us Softly 4, with Jean Kilbourne, exposes the truth behind how women are displayed in the mass media. Films like this help us to gain a better understanding of the realities of stereotypes that the mass media is presenting its viewers.


Illustration… Mean World Syndrome

Published April 16, 2012 by Dezirae Mccausland

As people view the mass media on a daily basis, we tend to take in what we see for face value wanting to believe everything that we see to be reality. On television, there are numerous genres of movies, television shows, and news broadcasts, but much of what we see is negative in content. The news that is presented is mostly negative rather than positive, showing us unforgettable images of war torn countries, starving children, and terrible events that are happening around our world. Movies and video games are full of violence and even children’s cartoons have violent acts which are turned in to jokes. Just look as the classic “Road Runner and Coyote” cartoon, the Coyote’s whole goal is to catch the Road Runner by setting up bombs and traps. Of course, this cartoon is quite comical, but if you look at the deeper meaning there is quite a lot of violence in these, kind of cartoons. As viewers of the media are constantly shown violent shows and news that is negative in nature, it starts to create a mean world syndrome for the viewers. Mean world syndrome is when people start to believe that the world is a meaner and scarier place than it really is (Quist-Adade, 2012). This video clip,Mean World Syndrome Video shows a very good example of images shown through the mass media, and it is very easy to see why a person would start to view the out side world as being such a bad place. As much of the news we hear is about tragic events around the world, people may start to construct false ideas about other countries and places in the world. Since our view is limited, we start to believe what the reporters are telling us, but it is important to remember that reporters and the mass media have a way of choosing what they want to show us. So, the mass media may be making the world seem like a meaner and scarier place than it really is, but maybe we need to get outside to experience real life situations rather than becoming a ‘couch potato’ and absorbing the media’s perspective of our world.

Significance of Mass Media

Published April 16, 2012 by Dezirae Mccausland

For my last ‘coolest concept’, I want to touch on the significance of the Mass Media. When we think about the mass media there are so many different forms in which we receive information. Television, commercials, radio, newspapers, internet, and billboard ads, just to mention a few. This information that we are receiving from the mass media covers a vast variety of topics that relates to our lives and the world around us. The messages we receive from the mass media are a constructed reality of what the media is telling us about our world and how we fit into it. The significance of the media has two functions, either positive or negative. First, on the positive side, the media helps to inform us on events that are happening around us, as well as, letting us know what events are happening around the world. Some dysfunctions of the media are that it shows us mostly negative stories compared to positive ones, the media pick and choose what they think is important for us to hear, this is called gate keeping, and lastly, the media tends to make stories bigger than they really are, this is called agenda setting or framing (to impose a preferred meaning onto an event). The mass media is fast moving and ever present in our lives and as viewers and recipients of the mass media we can take from it what we need to be well informed, while also being critical of the negative aspects.

Illustration… Racism in the Media

Published April 15, 2012 by Dezirae Mccausland

This video link above, is a commercial for KFC, a popular fast food restaurant. It shows a ‘white man’ sitting in a crowd of rowdy ‘black people’. He says “Need a tip in an awkward situation?” and then is shown with a bucket of KFC’s chicken. This commercial is creating a stereotype of African American people, assuming that all ‘black’ people love fried chicken, and once the man offers the crowd around him some chicken, instantly the situation is not awkward and they seem to be settled down. This commercial is very racist. Although created using light humor, the underlying message is racist by creating a generalization about the crowd in the background. In the text, “Issues in Social Justice”, the content on race and racism is quite extensive. The most important aspect of this section is that race and racism has not always existed in history, but was created by humans. Race, “can be defined as a grouping of human population characterized by socially selected physical traits” (Tridico, Pellerito, Armstrong, 2009, p. 308). So, race was socially constructed. Racism then, is the act of hatred or intolerance towards another race. Even though in this commercial we do not see blatant hatred toward the other race, there is the underlying message that the one and only ‘white’ man feels uncomfortable among the crowd or another race. It is surprising that this commercial was created by KFC and that it was even allowed on Television at all. Racism in Media

Illustration… Culture of Consumerism

Published April 15, 2012 by Dezirae Mccausland

Mai, A. (2005, Dec 02). Consumerism — instant culture, just add water. Coquitlam Now, pp. 14-14.

“Consumerism has been recognized by many as an illness, a fixation on material happiness that is destroying the values of our society and depleting our world or resources” (Mai, 2005).

“Consumerism. It’s instant culture, my friend — just add water” (Mai, 2005).

Our society today has become one that is obsessed with buying, it has become a culture of consumerism. We see millions of ads and commercials for all sorts of product, for every aspect of our life, and it is the mass media’s job to sell us these products. They present to us the idea that we need what they are selling and once we have bought the products that our lives will become better and as a result and we will be happier. Every other month there is a new holiday or season where we are presented the idea that we ‘need’ to buy the latest products. In the text, “Mediated Society: A Critical Sociology of Media” it explains that Commodity Fetishism is “when consumers project a value onto a commodity as if the value came from the commodity itself rather than the labour that produced it” (Jackson, Nielsen, HSU, 2011, p. 257). As our culture is one of consumerism, constantly wanting more, bigger, and better things, people rarely stop to think where the product is from and how much work was actually put into the product. The article by Alice Mai, is a very interesting one with very good statements about how obsessed our society have become with things. Mai states that the basic needs of humans are “food, water, shelter” (2005), but the mass media sells goods and products as if they are also ‘needs’ which are important for our ultimate happiness and survival.

~What would we do if we could not buy the latest style of shoes?! EAK!

Illustration… Globalization

Published April 15, 2012 by Dezirae Mccausland

Webster, N. (1999, Jul 17). Now the electronic herd rules: Columnist examines impact of globalization on our lives. The Gazette, pp. J.3-J3.

“The good news is that nations that are democratic, transparent and plugged in, with such basics as sound accounting, a free press and an honest legal system, are the ones best poised to benefit from the new order” (Webster, 1999).

“The bad news is that globalization, for many, means Americanization” (Webster 1999).

The transportation of information, goods, and ideas has become quite fast moving within our world. With new technologies and interconnected systems the exchange of anything is becoming very easy in today’s world. In the text, “Mediated Society: A Critical Sociology of Media”, Globalization is defined as “accelerated, intensified connections and networks in both physical and virtual senses” (Jackson, Nielsen, HSU, 2011, p.124). In Norman Webster’s article, he explains that there are both positive and negative aspects of Globalization. As shown in the quote above, nations that are financially ahead and have good systems will benefit from this transfer of goods and information. It will help to boost their economy only if it does not take away from their already established systems. On the negative side, Globalization can create Americanization for other countries. Examples from the article are “Mickey Mouse, Marriott, malls, McDonald’s and movies [from America]” (Webster, 1999). In this sense, Globalization would take away from a country’s individuality, possibly losing some of its unique qualities which help to make it the country it is. Within these countries, the ones that are in most need of development, “Americanization and environmental destruction seem to be the sad costs of getting rich” as to get rich is the number one reason a country would bring in Globalization. Webster makes a good point as he give us an illustration of what globalization could do, he quotes in his article “Touring the world will become like going to the zoo and seeing the same animal in every cage – a stuffed animal” (1999). As Globalization is an inevitable fact, which is developing more and more vastly every day, we will not see Globalization come to a halt. The world needs the transfer of goods, media, finances, and ideas in order to continue to make money, but if the world is not careful in developing the poorer countries, their individual identities could become destroyed as Americanization takes over.

Gendered Media

Published April 15, 2012 by Dezirae Mccausland

In the mass media we see social constructions of gender which create stereotypical rolls that men and woman are supposed to follow. These social constructions display woman as sexual objects, who are often shown as powerless and needing a man to help her in order to function in this world. Within this gendered media, woman are also underrepresented giving stereotypical representations. Woman are shown in typical rolls but do not reflecting the true diversity of woman’s rolls within our society. When recipients of the mass media see gendered media, they internalize what they see believing it to be true. This can be harmful to both men and women. This is a cool concept to me because as we watch television, see ads, and watch movies, it is very easy to see how women and men are displayed in such stereotypical ways. Men are to be strong, love sports and cars, and women are to be slim, beautiful, and consumers of cosmetics and household necessities. But, if we look at the real people of our world, we can see there is much diversity among men and woman who have so many different personalities and interests, the media is only presenting us with a construction of what they want us to believe genders should be like.