Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How "Brainwashed" Have YOU Been By Mass Media?

Something that is on my mind a lot is the effect of media on us, the world as a whole, the American people, men, women, girls, boys, and each of us individually. We are bombarded from day 1 with certain stereotypes, ideals, and molds that the media lays out for us of what we and our lives should look like. These stereotypes are often perpetuated by much of the populace, at least much of the vocal populace.

For the most part I try and avoid buying into these stereotypes and ideals. Sometimes I do wonder though how much of my own way of thinking and desires have been shaped by the media and what we are told to want. Do I want to lose those 15-20 pounds I have put back on over the last few years because I actually want to based on how I feel, etc. or because I have been exposed to the idea that lighter/thinner is "better"? I honestly do not know, it can be hard to tell how much is TRULY your own thinking and how much of it is indoctrinated into you via mass media.

Today however, I got an up close and personal slap in the face about how much an individual's ideals and ideas about how people are supposed to be can be formed by media and outside sources. This morning my younger brother, Erik, was in my room, "harassing" me while waiting for our mom to finish getting ready to take him out driving. She was almost done, and he starts in on how women just take longer to get ready, something like, "You can tell she's a woman, a man wouldn't take that long to get ready." I told him that I probably took less time to get ready than most guys I know. He told me that this was because, "That's because you are like a dude. You're more like a guy, you are kind of boyish." ................... Thanks? He goes on to tell me, "It's a good thing!"

Now, I know my brother well enough and I am comfortable enough with myself that it didn't really bother me, at least not for what he was saying about me, but it did bother me for what it was saying about what he though of men and women. Women are supposed to take a long time to get ready, they are supposed to blow dry their hair, and put makeup on, and curl their hair, etc. If you do not do these things you are obviously not a woman, but more like a "dude." Men get ready quick, they have to sit around and wait for the women to primp and prepare themselves for going out. So, if you do not live up to this stereotype then you are something else, and do not qualify for being a man/woman.

I have never been one to take a long time to get ready. Even if I have to take a shower before I go I can keep it under twenty minutes (and I have A LOT of hair), and if I have already taken a shower it's a matter of getting dress and running a brush through my hair. (Take THAT! ;)). I don't wear makeup, I honestly don't even own any and if I did I wouldn't know how to apply it. About the only thing I can do with my hair is curl it, and that is pretty much my limit. Like my sister just said (texted), "Most girls wouldn't take so long if they had hair like yours!" I was blessed with nice hair, really nice hair, hence the not knowing how to do it!

Erik was not done with his "insights" on his sister. This afternoon we were driving back from the movie, and we somehow get on the subject of my dating life (or the lack thereof). He's only known of one guy I have ever dated, and he informed me that, "You don't like boys." I'm not 100% sure where he was coming from/going from with this, but it just hit me that the way media portrays it you are either some ditzy boy chasing girl or some uptight corporate type witch with a capital "B" who does not like men. Therefore if you aren't the ditzy type you must not like men. Well, I am definitely not the ditzy type, (not that I don't have my "blonde" moments, I do, I DEFINITELY do, but I am not what the media portrays "ditz's" to be). So, if I am not a ditzy boy chaser then I must hate men, right? That is what the media would have us believe.

These two little conversations today with  my brother struck me with how much anyone, anywhere can be impacted and have their perspectives on people shaped by what they are exposed to in the media. I wonder, how much have each of us been "brainwashed" by what we are exposed to in the media?

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