Cobb, C. (2008, Apr 14). Terrorism. Postmedia News, pp. n/a. http://search.proquest.com/docview/461217159?accountid=35875
“We’re afraid, very afraid… but our fear is invariably completely misplaced or way out of proportion” (Cobb, 2008)
“Politicians and media… have distorted and inflated the terrorist threat to score political favour and pander to audiences” (Cobb, 2008).
Acts of terrorism go on everyday in our world. Sometimes these events happen close to home and much of the time in other countries. Terrorism is presented in the mass media to its viewers through images and stories. Even when these events are not taking place close to home, but in other countries, it still affects the views by creating a constructed reality around terrorism. It creates fear in the viewers and can create what is called mean world syndrome. Mean world syndrome is when people who are watching the media start to believe that the world is a meaner and more dangerous place than it actually is. This happens through the negative images and stories that are presented through the media. The concept, terrorism, is defined in the text “Issues in Social Justice”, and it explains that the concept of terrorism is one that is hard to define as many institutions have tried to “apply the concept to individuals, groups, events, and acts of violence that have occurred in modern times” (Tridico, Pellerito, Armstrong, 2009, p. 249). Tridico et al. adds that there are “four crucial processes” that construct an act of terrorism, which include, “violence, a political motive or goal, perpetuated largely against innocent persons, and committed before large audiences in order to instill fear and chaos” (2009, p. 250). In the article “Terrorism” by Chris Cobb, he exposes how the media has a way of exaggerating the acts of terrorism which essentially causes the civilians to become more afraid and untrusting. Just as after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the USA, people became very weary of flying as they were afraid to be caught in the same situation again. Cobb mentions a study done that compared travel and fatality patterns, five years prior to the 9/11 attacks up to 2011, and found that, “1,595 road deaths were attributable to people shifting to traveling by car because of fear of flying…six times the number aboard the three doomed airplanes and a little more than half of the total 9/11 death toll” (2008). This just goes to show how much fear the media had instilled in its people, creating more deaths as a result of manipulating as blowing up the terrorist threats. Viewers of the media need to be critical viewers in order to gain a true understanding of our world.
An interesting concept is Ethnocentrism which is “the ‘view of things in which one’s own group is the center of everything, and all others are scaled and related with reference to it’ -W.G. Summers (Quist-Adade, SOCI 2275 Notes)”. Ethnocentrism can be a negative way of viewing others but not all feeling are negative. Some positive aspects of ethnocentrism is that is can give an individual a sense of social identity with the culture in which they belong. A person can feel proud of the culture and society they are in and can use this to compare their own ways of life with others. The negative aspects of ethnocentrism comes when the way of thinking is bias or becomes an “us verses them” mind set. The person may gain a false sense of reality rather then experiencing differences through the eyes of others. We can see examples of ethnocentrism in our Mass Media. There are many examples where reporters choose to report on things that are important to us in our western culture or from our western point of view on a subject matter rather then asking individuals from other countries what their perspective is on the matter. Ethnocentrism can be seen in commercials on TV that promote our western way of living as better than those of other cultures.
An interesting concept is objectification which is “treating people as if they were objects… nothing more than the attributes they display (Quist-Adade, SOCI 2275 Notes).” We see many examples of this in our mass media. Women are portrayed as body parts to sexualize and help sell products. Many examples of this can be seen on billboards, in movies, television shows, the internet, and especially in music videos. Objectification of women is created through a male’s perspective of women in a way that reflects male’s fantasies rather then reality. Women’s bodies are shown as body parts rather then as a whole human being; unique for her inner beauty as well as her appearance. Objectification is harmful to both males and females. Through the media, boys are socialized and it becomes normal for them to internalize these objective attitudes towards woman. It is important for boys to be taught that this is not a respectful way in which to display or view women. These images are also harmful to girls because it changes how they view themselves. Girls from a young age need to be taught to value themselves for who they are inside, so they will grow up to be confident and love themselves rather then compare themselves with what they see in the media.
http://www.voice-online.co.uk/sites/default/files/imagecache/455/VO-1458-p20-NEW-Beyonce.jpg retrieved on February 6, 2012.
“The media are not just social creations, they also create social reality”.
Quist-Adade. “Lost In Transmission: Representation of Racialized Minorities”. Chapter 2 (Kwantlen, Spring 2012)
We can find examples in the media that present to us ideas about reality and what it means to be normal. We see countless images about what beauty is and how women should present themselves in order to be “sexy” and what her role as a woman should be in society.
The media constructs reality and chooses what they want to present to society. One of the most prominent reasons to me, as to why they show select images, is to present the “values of mainstream society” (Quest-Adade) and have people become so used to the images that it becomes normalized and seems to be the normal way of looking at things.
This image shows Beyonce with her natural skin colour compared to her with a lighter skin and hair colour. This is an example of how media constructs reality. The image is presenting the idea that to have lighter skin is more desirable.
The question is, did she choose to present herself in this way? Or did the photo editors decide it was important to help sell a product.
This example goes to show how prominent examples within the media are social constructs. There are many examples where women’s faces and body shape are changed to show the ideal image of beauty. But who says what is beautiful? Media is not presenting that the individual is beautiful; rather media has constructed an ideal image to follow. Even the beautiful, extremely talented, Beyonce does not fit the ideal image and has her skin lightened in this ad.
Will anyone ever be “perfect” in this constructed world we live?
I am Dezirae McCausland and I am a student at Kwantlen. This is my second year at Kwantlen and I have also completed one year at a collage in Alberta. I am in the General Studies Program and once I have completed my bachelors I hope to go on to a PDP program and become an elementary school teacher. As a young child I had always dreamt of becoming a teacher. I enjoy interacting with children as they are so enthusiastic to learn.
This semester I am taking 3 courses and also work as a Hair Stylist. After high school I went to school for hair, worked for a few years, then decided I needed to continue my education to become a teacher.
I am a fun, caring person, and I enjoy being creative. Being creative has always been a part of me, things like painting, drawing, and baking are very relaxing. I also enjoy going for walks in nature and spending time with my family and friends. I have always been one to think and analyze the world around me, wondering why people do what they do and why are we here. With these many questions about life it has lead me in the direction of sociology.
Sociology to me has helped answer many questions and given me a better understanding of our society. Sociology is the study of societies and I find this a fascinating topic. I have taken a few other Sociology classes and have enjoyed each one. I choose to take this course on Mass Media & Society because I think it is interesting how much power media has on us. I want to know more about how it affects our lives and how it constructs our society.