Is it the media’s fault, society’s fault, or my fault?
Since the introduction of media in the 18th century, the world has always regarded any new forms of media in a negative light. People would view it with suspicion, worried that the medium audience would be easily influenced and emotionally vulnerable. These anxieties evolved around the argument that people mimic what they see. The context of what we see effects what we think about and how we react to it. This argument is still relevant today. Each year brings newer, more technologically advanced forms of media. This growth walks hand hand with the increase of anxieties of media and its manipulation.
But how much of this negativity is caused by the media itself, and how much of it is actually us as individuals? How much of the blame should be put onto society?
Every single time a girl goes onto Instagram and sees countless skinny girls parading around in a bikini, who is to blame for her feelings of self loathing and doubt?
- Instagram for showing her?
- Society because they’ve ingrained into us what the ‘perfect body type’ is?
- Or herself for not realising the trap she’s fallen into?
There are countless arguments that support each point.
This is my argument:
Instagram isn’t doing anything – it’s just giving people the option to post pictures and gives others the option to see those pictures. There’s a choice either way of what content is going in and what is going out. I believe the real problem of media anxieties is society itself. Society uses media as a way to portray its (mostly grossly inaccurate) opinions and views. Because of this, we need to start questioning the social context, rather than the media. For example, what are the social pressures working alongside the media? In this case, it’s body image.
Audience members need to make their own decisions about how the media effects them personally and act accordingly. Perhaps the girl who doubts herself when going on Instagram should not allow herself to go onto the site anymore. If a boy finds that he has more violent thoughts after playing a particular video game, he should then limit the time he spends on it. If a mother finds that her child is spending too much time online and not enough time outside, then they need to limit time on technology and encourage time outside. (Easier said than done though right?)
Photo found here
In this day and age, media consumption is unavoidable. Media anxiety is avoidable. We just need to realise what the real problem is.
Until next time,