An Editorial on the Impact of Media Messaging

Exercising Editorial Privilege: I woke up with this on my mind and had to blog it out.  I encourage you all to watch the video that I linked to the bottom of this blog because this topic affects us all.  The image I’ve featured is to prove the point that we need to be more mindful of how we portray people in the media.

Seven years ago I made a decision to take a more active role in controlling the media messages I list to.  As a former journalist in training, I know a LOT of the tricks of the trade for communicating messages to the public.  Becoming a sociologist only made me better aware of the power of subliminal messaging and how it affects the behavior of people.  I went totally against the grain that day seven years ago when I decided that I would not watch traditional cable television.

Part of my decision was based in my finance management.  I was starting my doctoral studies and the budget was tight.  I had also become frustrated by the poor quality of show selection presented to me daily.  I spend more time watching NCIS marathons than anything else.  Netflix made my choice easier along with Hulu.  So I took the leap.

After a period of adjustment I noticed that I stopped turning on the tv even when I traveled and the cable was right there.  I also noticed that when I was in other places where people were watching tv if they gave me the control I would mute the commercials.  I began to notice that this irritated people so being who I am, I asked why?  They said they wanted to hear the commercials.  So I challenged them.  Are these things you plan to buy?  Because I’m pretty sure most men don’t give a damn about Tampax and women probably don’t look to television for information on erectile dysfunction.  We have other ways of accessing that information besides sitting there randomly being bombarded by what that station manager was paid to pump those advertisements between the sections of the show you sat down to watch.

I might feel differently if I were paid to watch these commercials, but since I’m not, I don’t listen to them.  When possible, I don’t even watch them.  Truthfully, they annoy me.  I’m the kind of person who when I need something, I’ll seek it out.  I don’t like being worked on, I don’t like being pitched.  Advertising is professional pitching.

One of the other things I noticed when I cut back on my media messaging is that I made fewer assumptions about a lot of issues and I stopped feeling as self conscious about my body.  That’s part of what hit me so hard when I saw the Upworthy video I’ve linked below.  I unplugged from the mainstream objectification of women perpetuated by the media and I started really seeing myself for myself.  I’m now much more selective about what magazines I pick up, what video content I view, what ads I listen to on the radio.  (The number of “get cash quick now” ads that run on stations with high African-American listenership is enough to make you want to vomit by the way and completely disproportionate to how often you hear those messages on radio stations that trend towards Caucasian-American listeners.)

So no, if you come over to my house, you can’t watch Monday night football and we can watch Scandal but I’ll be a week behind and commerical-free in my viewing.  But my take away from this is that it’s important to exercise control over the things that you can and we CAN and should control much of the messaging we visit upon ourselves and our families.  There is great power in words and images.  These things imprint on our minds and our hearts whether we are conscious or completely oblivious to their presence.

~Marta G.

“The Next Time Someone Says Sexism Isn’t Real, Show Them These Shocking Role-Reversal Images”

Click the link below to view this video on Upworthy:

The Impact of Media Messaging

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