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Old 02-21-2007, 01:50 PM   #16
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Originally posted by Irvine511



and the biggest instrument of propaganda in the Western world is the biggest selling book of all time ...
The Bible itself is not propaganda. However, it is often used as propaganda, I agree. Especially by those trying to justify their behavior.
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Old 02-21-2007, 01:57 PM   #17
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The number of mental and emotional health problems (eating disorders, etc.) being diagnosed in males has increased as well. That leads me to believe there are external/media factors involved.
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Old 02-21-2007, 02:03 PM   #18
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The number of mental and emotional health problems (eating disorders, etc.) being diagnosed in males has increased as well. That leads me to believe there are external/media factors involved.
Personally, I'm not entirely convinced there are MORE people suffering from these obsessive-compulsive psychological disorders now than there's ever been, it's just that they are manifested in different/new ways. The media is involved, but I can't accept it as the root cause. Unless people are getting A Clockwork Orange-esque exposure to the media, I can't see how it could actually cause psychological disorders.
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Old 02-21-2007, 02:05 PM   #19
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The Bible itself is not propaganda. However, it is often used as propaganda, I agree. Especially by those trying to justify their behavior.


isn't that a matter of faith, not fact?
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Old 02-21-2007, 05:22 PM   #20
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Could we leave The Bible and religion out of it and just stick to the topic please?
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Old 02-21-2007, 05:33 PM   #21
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Could we leave The Bible and religion out of it and just stick to the topic please?


good call.
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Old 02-21-2007, 05:37 PM   #22
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so don't buy it. speak with your dollars. and realize that simply because it's not what you want, that doesn't mean that it isn't what other people might want, and if they outspend you, then it's something you've got to deal with.

where do you think these messages come from? they come from messages that have worked well -- i.e., made money -- in the past where people have consumed the image, the sound, the movie, the CD, the program. it was successful, and as we all know, once something is successful it is replicated and imitated until it is no longer successful.
For some reason this reminds me of a hilarious series of impersonations my mother used to do involving a time back when she was dating my father and a less-sheltered friend dragged her to a department store ("Girl, you need to get yourself a makeover!" or whatever the '50s equivalent would be) and she was first dumbfounded by the sheer array of products, then unable to stop laughing at the absurdity of it all--the precious-wecious product names, the unnerving list of precautions you needed to take to make sure the false eyelashes didn't rip out your real ones, the counter girl's well-honed tsk-tsk routine ("My, your skin is ashy. Have you been exfoliating lately?" when the evident truth was they simply didn't have much appropriate for darker-skinned women). In the end she did wind up buying a few things, then when my father saw her with them on he cried, "What did you do to your face?!"

If I recall, this APA study is the one which included an experiment where male and female college students were first given a math test, then split into groups where half the subjects retook the test in a bathing suit, half in sweaters and pants. The "swimsuit" males' scores were not significantly affected, but the women's were. The conclusion roughly being that women are significantly more burdened by concerns about how "worthy" their bodies are than men, to the point where it demonstrably harms their performance in theoretically unrelated arenas.

In general I lean towards Lies' view on this. The problem isn't the specific details of the "ideal feminine" image being promoted (e.g., Grace Kelly vs. Paris Hilton) but more generally the idea that success or not in matching up to it is the premier index of self-worth for women. Which was and is a notion exploited, rather than created, by the media; they didn't have to "program" it, it was already a pre-existing idea in our culture: women don't earn widespread admiration and favor through their achievements as men do, but rather by being nice to look at. And the effects of that are exaggerated by the comparatively much stronger association of women with the "private" sphere (i.e., exists to provide comfort to one man and his children) so consequently there's a tendency for "feminine" archetypes to be much less diversified--e.g., so-called madonna/whore type thinking, where the image is either reassuringly beautiful, demure and self-sacrificing or titillatingly sultry, brazen and appetitive.

Both expectations are insulting and patronizing, but the fact is they're out there and there's boatloads of $$ to be made exploiting them, which of course the ever-escalating proliferation of media enables even as it also facilitates the sending of more conflicted, complex and contrary messages. Like Lies I don't buy the idea that the (unsurprisingly) simplistic ideals promoted by marketers "cause" eating disorders, compulsive promiscuity, etc. Yes, it's fair to say they provide more fuel for the fire where the potentially self-destructive drives we all have to win favor, admiration and acceptance are concerned, but I don't see attempting to control that by manipulating the image supply as a realistic answer. I'm very skeptical about the idea that Dove "Real Beauty" or other 'alternative' marketing schemes represent "progress"--I've seen a couple of those ads, and I couldn't help noticing that while for example they showed a wider diversity of body types than a fashion show would, the women were all still cellulite-free, perfect teeth etc. What it more looked like to me is an attempt to capitalize on the recognized 'niche market' of women who are tired of 25-year olds promoting wrinkle creams, while dutifully avoiding pushing the envelope too far out of the escapist fantasy territory that grants cosmetic products their appeal. It's not unlike the way people who don't stand a snowball's chance of ever becoming a domestic doyenne nonetheless happily fork over for Martha Stewart's formidable demonstrations in that arena ("And you may wish to save your grass clippings, as I do, to make your own handwoven table centerpiece"). With the difference that the bottom has pretty much fallen out of whatever expectations once existed that women or anyone else should be skilled in those matters (hey, works out great for Procter & Gamble and Swanson's).

I feel the same way about pop culture packaging for the "religious" market--it similarly misses the point by selling itself through, Look! See how cool and desirable and successful people who have these qualities are? rather than by affirming the value of those attributes in and of themselves, which you simply cannot achieve through those means. Try a good book or a documentary or, better still, hands-on personal experience instead. I'm also convinced from what I saw where I grew up that Bible Belt-style isolationism from most of the trappings of the "decadent" life is anything but a surefire route to intact, functional, healthy families with nary a self-destructive behavior in sight...but that's another topic for another thread. Limiting and monitoring the media consumption of your children and discussing it with them are good things and as a parent I'm all for them, but you're kidding yourself if you think that will make up for not raising them to devote themselves to things which are larger and far more important than themselves, and "alternative" media messages which feed off the same solipsistic "Be this and everyone will look up to you!" kind of fantasizing won't help either.
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Old 02-21-2007, 05:49 PM   #23
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Well at least Dove is a step in the right direction-it's not perfect, but what is? I do know for a fact that when I look at those ads or go to their site, I feel better than I would looking at other ads. Not everyone has the benefits of the best parenting in that regard, and those issues can and do follow you into adulthood. My personal self esteem issues aren't due to media images, but they do have an effect that I am aware of. It's a wonderful and lofty ideal to say that parents should focus on all other more important things wtih their daughters, but parents are also truly up against it. And it is critical that kids, but especially girls given the inequities that still do exist and the pressures and the images and all of it, get that from parents. But we also can't deny the power of the media, and at some point they do have responsibility. I'm well aware that they use sex to sell and that it is all about money-but that doesn't absolve them of all responsibility. If that's their only motivation in doing it to girls and teen girls, then why don't they do it to boys? Do they? I would guess because boys just aren't the consumers that girls are. Whatever the reason, it's still wrong in my eyes to sexualize young girls. They have so much more to offer and need people to appeal to their brain power and not their bodies.
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Old 02-21-2007, 05:52 PM   #24
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Personally, I'm not entirely convinced there are MORE people suffering from these obsessive-compulsive psychological disorders now than there's ever been, it's just that they are manifested in different/new ways. The media is involved, but I can't accept it as the root cause. Unless people are getting A Clockwork Orange-esque exposure to the media, I can't see how it could actually cause psychological disorders.
But clearly some external influence is at work when we observe trends like:

Quote:
Emerging Trends

* Incidence of eating disorders has doubled since the 1960s
* Increasing numbers of children as young as age six suffer from the illness
* 10 percent report onset of illness at age 10 or younger
* Incidences of eating disorders are increasing among diverse ethnic groups
* 42 percent of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner
* 9 percent of nine-year-olds have vomited to lose weight
* 13 percent of high school girls purge
Link
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Old 02-21-2007, 06:53 PM   #25
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^ That's such a wide range of problems. Actual eating disorders are the most deadly psychological disorder, key words being psychological disorder. Food, weight, appearance, etc are almost entirely incidental. Those are just the manifestations of the psychological disorder. Kind of like cutting oneself. People don't cut themselves to be skinny and pretty like pop stars. They do it b/c they're in so much pain, they only feel relief by inflicting pain on themselves. Most eating disorders are girl's attempts to regain control in their lives, usually set off by some incident like getting raped, being in a abusive relationship, having an overbearing parent call them stupid and/or fat, etc. Some traumatic experience sets it off, and then it becomes a total mind game with food as the game pieces. Unfortunately, I've met many girls with eating disorders (comes with the territory of being a gymnast and a girl living in campus housing) and I've never ever met a girl that said her ED was because the media convinced her to get skinny. It's a very surface level correlation for a psychological disorder that is extremely complex.

If 42% of third graders want to be skinny, I still doubt it's because of what they saw on TV. It's more of the mob mentality. You get a bunch of adolescent girls together and all they do is constantly compare themselves to one another. I can't even remember what celebs in the media were popular and good looking when I was in third grade, but I CAN remember THE girl all the other girls wanted to be.

Just because these incidents are increasing doesn't mean it should be attributed to the media by default. Why is peer influence not a better explanation?
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Old 02-21-2007, 07:04 PM   #26
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It looks like peer influence does play a part as well. From the article:
Quote:
Both male and female peers have been found to contribute to the sexualization of girls—girls by policing each other to ensure conformance with standards of thinness and sexiness (Eder, 1995; Nichter, 2000) and boys by sexually objectifying and harassing girls. Finally, at the extreme end, parents, teachers, and peers, as well as others (e.g., other family members, coaches, or strangers) sometimes sexually abuse, assault, prostitute, or traffic girls, a most destructive form of sexualization.
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Old 02-21-2007, 07:18 PM   #27
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But clearly some external influence is at work when we observe trends like: ...
Right, but on the other hand perhaps you've seen some of the research that's been in the press just the last few days, pointing out for example that compulsive overeating is also sharply on the increase and more than 4 times as common as anorexia or bulimia, or that a girl is 12 times more likely to develop anorexia if a blood relative also has it. Furthermore it's been known for some time that there's a very strong correlation between eating disorders (in men or women) and obsessive-compulsive and anxiety disorders, as well as other forms of addictive behavior, so it's not out of line to speculate that a combination of those issues, family problems, peer influence, and the focal point for dysfunctional attempts to control and direct those pressures provided by media imagery is more what's at stake. I think that's perhaps what Lies had in mind by saying marketing images aren't the "root cause".
Quote:
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Well at least Dove is a step in the right direction-it's not perfect, but what is? I do know for a fact that when I look at those ads or go to their site, I feel better than I would looking at other ads. Not everyone has the benefits of the best parenting in that regard, and those issues can and do follow you into adulthood. My personal self esteem issues aren't due to media images, but they do have an effect that I am aware of. It's a wonderful and lofty ideal to say that parents should focus on all other more important things wtih their daughters, but parents are also truly up against it. And it is critical that kids, but especially girls given the inequities that still do exist and the pressures and the images and all of it, get that from parents. But we also can't deny the power of the media, and at some point they do have responsibility. I'm well aware that they use sex to sell and that it is all about money-but that doesn't absolve them of all responsibility. If that's their only motivation in doing it to girls and teen girls, then why don't they do it to boys? Do they? I would guess because boys just aren't the consumers that girls are.
There's less motivation to sexualize men and boys (though that's certainly not absent) because they're less "sexed" by cultural archetype to begin with; that ties into the whole concept of women being there to provide visual interest and private benefits for the "real" social doers and contributors--men. To clarify, I'm not against stuff like the Dove campaign by any means; I think ultimately it misses the point, but does no harm and perhaps, all in all, even a bit of good. I don't believe for a second though that they're doing it because they're a more "responsible" company; like most other businesses their only real goal is to make money, period, and for the moment they've more or less got the market cornered on the cosmetics version of the "Keepin' it Real" schtick. It's perhaps a bit too easy to get carried away with discussing The Media as if it were some monolithic beast driven by a standardized agenda, when it's really an anarchic grab-bag of people and organizations all trying to promote their own interests through a common technological medium.
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It's more of the mob mentality. You get a bunch of adolescent girls together and all they do is constantly compare themselves to one another.
This reminds me of an article I read awhile back by an eating disorders researcher concerning an "anorexia" epidemic (of sorts) which apparently emerged in convents in, I think, Italy during the late medieval period, based on the written records of a few doctors and abbesses. Fasting as a means of expressing devotion was very popular at the time and a trend developed of some nuns, notably younger ones, becoming "possessed" by the drive to fast, as one doctor put it, to the point where they began starving to death and, mystifyingly, refused to stop despite seemingly recognizing the problem. The doctors were aware that peer influence somehow had something to do with it, but of course had no access to modern psychological models of compulsive behavior, so their only "prescription" for dealing with the problem was an absolute ban on fasting in convents.
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Old 02-21-2007, 08:13 PM   #28
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You know, I work in something news-related (not saying where, but not that it really matters), and I'd say that the main thing that causes all these "health problems" is not the "sex," but all the "fearmongering." And I mean, I'm pretty much forced to do it every day. Everything seems to be "how to scare parents into thinking that bad people/things are going to steal/kill/defile/happen to their children." It disgusts me, but that's where the money is.

"Media" is no different than any other business, as it's interested in only one thing: money. And let's face it, guys, Freud was right. The two subjects you can always count on are "sex" and "death." Until human nature changes, neither subject is going to go away.

And the media's side in this "culture war"? Whichever side parts with the most money.
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Old 02-21-2007, 08:17 PM   #29
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[B]There's less motivation to sexualize men and boys (though that's certainly not absent) because they're less "sexed" by cultural archetype to begin with; that ties into the whole concept of women being there to provide visual interest and private benefits for the "real" social doers and contributors--men.

the only thing i would add is that, in gay culture, the same thing is done to young, beautiful, sculpted men, models of unattainability that induce the same kind of body image fixations and anxiety that many young women suffer from, thus underscoring the point that it's the universality of the male sex drive/male gaze -- whether hetero or homo -- that is the driving force behind advertising.




[q]It's perhaps a bit too easy to get carried away with discussing The Media as if it were some monolithic beast driven by a standardized agenda, when it's really an anarchic grab-bag of people and organizations all trying to promote their own interests through a common technological medium.[/q]

perfectly stated.
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