Module 5 (Last Post)

In module 5 we covered topics such as consumerism and representation in the news and how these affect us in our lives. In Chapter 10 of Karen Sternheimer’s text, Connecting Social Problems and Populer Culture: Why Media is Not The Answer we found that children are a big concern when it comes to over-consumption and consumer knowledge. Sternheimer points out how easily we want to blame the media when children have a higher knowledge as consumers because “children are somehow untainted by consumer culture until advertisers enter their allegedly pure space” (p. 248). I found it interesting that we forget about the struggles that a large number of children in this country face while focusing on the numbers of children who overindulge as a problem. It is funny to think that as a society we worry about the manipulation and control that advertisements may have on children yet it has been found that “trade publications often speak of children as especially skeptical and difficult to address….children as often more independent than their parents are willing to admit…children are seen as a challenge” (Sternheimer p. 260). We tend to think that children are fragile beings that need constant supervision and protection from all things, but in reality children are able to distinguish nearly as much as adults when it comes to thinking critically about what they watch on television, if not more at times.

While reading through the different readings for this module, I couldn’t help but feel exhausted as I read about the different biases, misrepresentations, under/over-representations, and distortions found within news coverage. With Benjamin Redford (2003) stating, “the news bias distorts reporting and changes how we understand and react to the world around us” (p. 65) and Peter Hart (2014) writing,  “a survey of major cable news discussion programs shows a stunning lack of diversity among the guests,” I found myself increasingly discouraged about watching any news coverage. I never even considered the news lacking in diversity until taking this course and learning to actually read into what I saw in media. Even then, I wouldn’t have considered a channel like CNN to lack diversity being that it is supposed to be a more non-bias news station, yet it was found among other major news channels to lack in diversity in guests that were female and people of color. I found this shocking because I just assumed that in the news, especially on CNN, diversity should be ever present due to the fact we live in such a richly diverse country. Reading about the biases in news coverage and the disproportionate coverage of diversity really opened my eyes to what I have been watching, and makes me want to think more critically about what I am being told on the news.

We have reached the end! Module 5

So I do not know about you guys, but I feel like I am walking away from this course with a plethora of knowledge compared to when I started with. This course may have been short, but I feel like the amount we learned is more than I have learned in a couple full semester courses.

In this module, I learned a lot about the news and also how consumption impacts us. I found the readings from the Karen Sterheimer’s text, Connecting Social Problems and Popular Culture, very interesting this week. I have always blamed the media for influencing our spending habits. When in reality, we are to blame. We have made it to where money pretty much runs our society.  The reason why our children and the next generation, feel entitled to things or to spend money is because we let them. The children are not to blame, they are only following our lead. Yes children have as Karen Sterheimer says, “kidfluence: the power children have to influence their parents’ purchasing decisions”. (Sterheimer 2013 p.247) But, its the parents who allow the children to influence them.  They have a need to consume. Sometimes it could because they feel guilty they are not home or even guilty that their children don’t have what the other children have. When in reality, is it really that important to “Keep up with the Jones'”. Buying things even if they are not necessary, is a problem people have. But, Our economy depends on people spending in order to keep running. Sternheimer, K. says, “Approximately two- thirds of the economic growth in United States can be attributed to consumer purchases”. (2013 p. 248).  Everyone has a problem with overindulgence, despite what “class” they fall under.  We are a culture of consumption. Adults want to fit in just as much as children do, that leads to them spending money they may not have. It is easy to blame advertising for children wanting to have things, but really children are the hardest targets for advertisers to reach. I did not know this until I read it in the text. I always thought that children would be the easiest target. Some advertisers have mastered the trick though and understand children and what they want to see. One way that advertisers have influenced the youth to buy their products is by offering youth who may be “popular” to other children free products. I have seen a lot of this on youtube. I watch make up tutorials on there and follow girls who have a large following. I always wondered how they always have the newest make up products (because I struggle to buy the few products I use!). I have learned that they are offered free products if they use them in their tutorials! And of course they do! Who wouldn’t want free makeup? And they make them look AMAZING! They sell those products and make me want to go out and buy it for myself. Which is me failing into the consumption cycle just like the advertisers planned.

Just like the youth want free products, schools want funding too. It is becoming more common for schools to sell public space to advertisers. According to Sternheimer, K, “The sad fact is that advertisers often value children as consumers more than our society values them as students, and advertisers are fronting the money to prove it.”(2013, p. 263) The advertisers are jumping on that lack of funding problem in schools. Because society is failing to provide the resources schools need to help our students succeed, our students are now around advertisements more and more.  No wonder they are craving to consume and manipulating their parents to do so! People need to realize that it is better to live with less and to create more balance in their life. They need to add more yin to their yang. To create this balance, they have to be more conscious of their consumption.

Just like advertisers try to show us things we want to see in order to convince us to buy products. The news follows that trend. They show stories that will get them the most views. We depend on the news to get all of our information. We really miss out on a lot of information because the news media will show what is going to get them the most views. According to Radford (2003), “Typical local news stories one might encounter in an average week include house fires, car accidents, hit-and-runs, bank robberies, homicides, and the like. But very little of this is actually relevant to the vast majority of viewers.” He also says, “Television, by its very nature, distorts the reality it claims to reflect and report on. Events are compressed, highlighted, sped up”. This makes me feel that when I watch the news I really am missing a lot of the story. They do not give us all of the information, instead, a summarized version of it which could be majority false because it is only data- no information or wisdom. I really enjoyed the article, “How to Detect Bias in News Media”, because it really shows us ways to find out of if the information we are paying attention to is correct. I have noticed that many media sources lack diversity. As I read in this article, “In order to fairly represent different communities, news outlets should have members of those communities in decision making positions.” ( Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting.  p.1) As McChesney (2002 ) says in his article “The Rise and Fall of Professional Journalism”, when journalism was on the rise, “People could trust what they read.”(2002, slide 6) That is not true anymore. The news only shows what is going to get them the ratings and views they want. “mainstream news and “business news” have effectively morphed over the past two decades, as the news is increasingly pitched to the richest one-half or one-third of the population” (McChesney, 2002, slide 13) The media gets to show what they want because it is their freedom of speech. Although we may not agree with some of it, that is what they are allowed to do.  The powerpoint, “Democracy & The News”, provided to us during this module shows us different peoples opinions about freedom of speech and how it has changed or what it means.

The article, “Who Gets to Speak on Cable News?”, also goes into detail about how news networks do not show diversity. Before this course, I never really payed attention to what is shown on the news, but I must say- my eyes have been opened! We did an activity in this module like the project they did in this article. We watched the news and made note as to who spoke on that story and who it was about. A majority of the people were caucasian and usually male. I noticed, just like mentioned in this article, that when I did see another race, it was usually the news anchor. Who was the same Asian female, shown on many stories. The article says, “Male guests widely out numbered women on every show, making up to 72 percent of the guest lists.” (Hart, 2014) I never really thought about women being a minority. I mean sure earlier in the module we learned about sexism, but I thought that women were shown equally. I know there was an issue with races not shown equally, but I never noticed it with gender. “Among guests with a partisan affiliation, Democrats outnumbered Republicans…”. (Hart, 2014) When I was doing my news critique, I too noticed this. I saw I believe one video and it was about Donald Trump. The reporters were all giving their opinion as to why he should not be president. It seemed very bias because the reporters were all supporting Democratic beliefs. I learned the differences between a lot of Liberal and Conservative beliefs from the article provided by the editors of StudentNewsDaily (2010). This article was interesting. I knew the difference between their beliefs, but this article went into a lot of detail which helped clear up any confusion I had about what the different parties supported. I lean more towards the right side, but on some issues I do have a liberal opinion. How about you guys? Did you go through the article and mark where you stood on each issue? I thought it was really interesting.

I thought that the final chapter we read in the textbook was a good wrap up to the whole course. I have learned that media is not to blame for many of the issues going on in our society. From violence, bullying, suicide, sexual behavior, teen pregnancy, eating disorders, substance abuse, homophobia, racism, sexism, or materialism occur. There is much more underlying issues that people choose not to pay attention to. This course really helped me recognize that. Poverty is a big thing to blame for these problems happening. Children who live in poverty have less access to food and health insurance, this causes issues to their health. Sure the government has programs to help people in poverty, but they are things like the GI Bill which “enabled many WHITE families to buy homes with little or no money down and in some cases pay less to move into a newly constructed home than to remain in urban homes”. (Sternheimer 2013, pg. 277) This provided a way for white people to move away leaving other races to live in the communities that pretty much died because there was no money being invested. This created areas of poverty. Living in poverty, can cause stress in homes which can cause violence or substance abuse by the parents. Also, children could feel abandoned because their parents are not home because they are out working. This lack of parental guidance, can cause children to go out and make another family like a gang. Teens growing up poor, feel like they have less to lose. They could fall into substance abuse or be involved more with violence, which could lead to them going to jail.Or even for  teenage girl become pregnant, she may think she has no future, so why not? Teens living in poverty have less access to sex education or healthcare access. This teen pregnancy could lead to teen marriage, which could lead to divorce. It is an on going cycle, which is becoming harder and harder to break.  It is very common for everyone to blame the poor people for having to live like this. I am guilty of that. I always say, they can go out and get a job and make a difference in their own life. I have always drove past homeless people on the side of the street because I just assume they will spend the money on drugs or something. I have learned not to categorize all people living in poverty. Everyone has a different story. My eyes have really been open though to see that sometimes, there is nothing they can do. Most often, parents are working and still can’t manage to make enough to support their family. My heart goes out to these children. I know that after this course, I am going to do what I can to help volunteer or donate items to these children. I have lived a very privileged life.  All it takes is one thing to make a difference in their life.



Blog 5 – Jessica Zarate The End Is Here!

When hearing about current news and world events in the world online, on the radio, or on television, always consider the source. News advertisers will go to great lengths to persuade the audience into believing their perception. According to Radford (2003), “News messages may do more than inform viewers about events; they
may also change the meaning and significance of events. How a particular story is reported, and how the facts are filtered by the journalist, can greatly influence the audience. Time and space constraints strip away valuable information needed to really understand a news event” (pg. 67). He goes on to discuss how news can distort events and create fear in many people who do not second guess the news and believe it to be true. He goes on to discuss the idea of “What is newsworthy” and how to detect it. Directors and editors are in charge of the news which gets produced. Things to be aware of are the different types and numbers of similar stories, stories that compete with it, the amount of time available, and the coverage area. The number of events the media actually covers are small and select.
According to McChesney, R. (2002) article titled, “The Rise and Fall of Professional Journalism” there are two functions of journalism in a self-governing society. The functions include, “watchdog roles” and “informative roles”.. McChesney, R. (2002) states, “Journalism should be neutral and unbiased” (slide 6).Readers should be able to trust what they read and make educated decisions with judgement based on true unbiased information.Journalism should be neutral and free from racism, stereotypes, environmental degradation, inspire political movement while staying neutral when presenting controversial issues. I found the video “Who Makes The News” to be very interesting. Before taking this class, it had never crossed by mind that women in media are significantly underrepresented.According to Global Media Marketing Project. (2015). “Who makes the news”, a group of individuals did a study to figure out the ratios of men to women in the news. The findings were mind blowing. In one study, when analyzing the amount of women read about in print, radio and television were 24%, whereas men were covered in the other 76% of coverage. In other news findings, only 37% of newscasters delivering and covering the news on television are women, which means men cover the other 63% of news being delivered around the world. This is a perfect example of the inequalities around the world pertaining to women. I am curious to see other similar studies pertaining to women in the media.
In Sternheimer, K. (2013), according to chapter 10, “For many Americans across the age spectrum, what you have and what brand of stuff you buy contribute to the production of an individual’s status”(p. 246). This is all to true for a majority of our youth. These days, children being to take notice of what things they have, what things others have, and what they need in order to obtain the status they desire. These types of items include cell phones, ipods, name brand shoes, clothes, and purses. I sat down and had a conversation with my brother Anthony; a secondary educator for the the Los Angeles Unified School District, Anthony Zarate says (Personal Communication June 26, 2016), “materialistic items such as clothes, shoes, phones, and other tangible material items become a way for students to differentiate between the “cool kids” and the “not so cool, poor kids. Student’s begin to notice class differences and use these differences to taunt and tease one another when they see a fellow student does not have the adequate materialistic items”. Children are growing up in a world of a hyper consumerist society. One of the questions I often ask myself, where does all of this start? People want to blame parents, but honestly I feel the blame needs to be thrown back on the media makers and the notions they create that tell children and adults that the items they want are necessity.

Module 5. The last one!

Module 5
Taylor Wing

Wow! I cannot believe this is the end. This class went by way too fast. For how quickly time flew by, the course content was extremely well structured, and I feel as if I learned a vast amount of great information that I will carry with me.

Media influence on consumers has been the most interesting topic for me to learn about. We continued with this theme in module 5. It was fascinating studying how neuroscience helps us understand the influence media has on us. It was compelling to read about the three different systems of the human brain. The third system, the Cerebral cortex, otherwise known as the “Thinking Brain” promotes higher actions or thoughts that rise above the first system. Being able to function above the fight, flight or freeze instincts is what the third system allows our actions and thoughts to do. The Limbic system controls our emotions, not our cerebral cortex, which is our thinking portion of the brain. Media advertisers act on our emotions, such as pleasure or anger to affect our lives and grab our attention, rather than using the thinking portion of our brains that allow us to unravel and construct self-awareness.

One of the activities in Module 5 encouraged me to be a news media critique. I noticed some patterns when it came to who is speaking on the news channels. It tied into one of the articles I read by Peter Hart called, Who gets to Speak on Cable News? Hart explains, “A survey of major cable news discussion programs shows a stunning lack of diversity among the guests” (Hart, 2014). Even with new media, we are still having the same issues when it comes to diversity. Underrepresentation of minorities should be an issue that is resolved by now. The news media is not making positive influences on us when they are not portraying the changing racial and ethnic makeup of society. Just as Lindsey said, all networks and news channels care about are ratings, and to achieve those higher ratings they are not giving us the information we need, rather the information they want us to hear. We need to evaluate the information given to us, just as in one of the articles I read, How to Detect Bias In News Media, “It is essential that news media, along with other institutions are challenged to be fair and accurate” (Cohen, N.D). Unfortunately, people often trust every word the media feeds them. Being media literate has given me insight on how to deconstruct forms of media and determine the true message being depicted.
In Sternheimer (2013), Chapter 9 expresses how consumers are provoking the economy and affecting society with total control and influence. She highlights children innocence and the issue of influence the media has on drug and alcohol abuse. It is easier to view children as sitting targets rather than being able to decide what is true and what is not. Deconstructing media is something that everyone can do. Deconstructing media promotes new ideas and helps form your own opinions, rather than words be put into your mouth. Overall, the information obtained from reading Karen Sterheimers text, Connecting Social Problems and Popular Culture has advocated the importance of being a media literate and for media reform. I took pleasure in reading this book and taking this course.

Module 5 (last one)

This final module has been interesting for me because I generally tend to enjoy learning about marketing.  However, this part of marketing is bothersome to me.  I don’t like the idea of being manipulated or manipulating people and I think that’s a big part of what we learned this week.  I have never been a big fan of the news because I feel like I don’t learn anything new when I watch it.  The questions I have are not answered by the media and now I don’t think they even care what the full story is.  All the network cares about are ratings and people don’t like hearing about the same story over and over again so after they report on it, you rarely hear an update unless it’s some kind of terrorist activity or mass killing.

According to Radford (2003), the news bias distorts reporting and changes how we understand and react to the world around us.  Unfortunately, we trust the news and rely on the media to tell us what we need to know.  However, what we need to know and what they want us to know are rarely the same thing.  After reading the Radford article, I realized how local news isn’t very helpful unless the story directly relates to your life and that the market drives the news and the ratings tell the networks that if they want the ratings, they need to report on things such as sex and violence.  I believe the phrase was “If it bleeds, it leads”.  In the words of Joseph Stalin, “A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic”.

I don’t know about you guys but that quote is upsetting because I think it’s true.  When a small number of people die, we rally around the family to help but when it’s a massacre, I think we go into information overload and all we think about is how many people, not who they were.  One other thing I took issue with in the Radford article was that it mentioned that 90% of kids feel safe in their schools.  I want to know why there’s a new story every week in the news telling us how unsafe our schools are.  Why do we have to live in fear that every teacher is a rapist?  Another of the ruined fairy tale myths is that of Lindsay Lohan.  The poor girl was put on a pedestal just so we could tear her apart.  All in all, I learned that there is no way you can make an informed decision solely based on what the media reports (Radford, B. 2003)

After reading the conservative/liberal article on, I realized a few things about myself.  First, I am fairly far right 90% of the time.  The few things that put me on the liberal side of the spectrum include my belief that global warming is real and we need to prepare ourselves by finding clean energy sources and also that same-sex marriage shouldn’t be legal.  Although I am very conservative, I don’t believe on infringing upon people’s private rights as long as they are not hurting me or my family.  According to McChesney (2002), there are two functions of journalism in a self-governing society.  These two functions include the watchdog and the informative roles.  The three biases deal with how the journalists decide what news to produce.  Basically, if it deals with a government official, it has a hook and it shows the values conducive to the commercial aims of the owners, advertisers and political aims of the owning class, then it is good news and should be produced.

In Sternheimer (2013), chapter 9 talks about how consumers are stimulating the economy and hurting the environment at the same time.  This can be related back to the videos on ‘The Story of Stuff’ where she talks about the cycle of electronics and the average life cycle of 18 months.  This chapter reminded me that although advertising is everywhere and is geared towards children, the media does not pay for and deliver the toys to my home.  I buy my child the newest Shopkins or My Little Pony toys because I don’t want her to think we can’t afford the things she likes or that her friends have.  However, I see that she probably looks at me and my buying habits and self-control and imitates me.  It makes me feel like I need to be more aware and that I too need to limit my spending because what’s ‘cool’ only lasts a short while and then it’s discarded and taken to the dump and all the toxins that went in to making it were for nothing.

The Sternheimer text was a great book for this class and I feel wiser and hungry for more information after reading it.  Thank you!

Jessica Zarate – Blog 4

In chapter 8, discusses child obesity and provides statistical information to support her theories on recent studies of weight gain in children and adolescents. According to Sternheimer (2013), “Between 1980 and 2000, the number of children classified as overweight doubled for those aged two through eleven and tripled for adolescents twelve to nineteen” (p. 198). One major contributor to child weight gain is high-calorie, fatty foods that children consume while watching television. “sitting and eating in front of the television for long periods of time is a good way to gain weight” (p. 199). In our household, this is a major issue. I want to know why we are leading our youth to live unhealthy lives and set them down the wrong path at such young ages. As an educated adult, I know I need to make better decisions for my children that will benefit them in the immediate future as well as the long run. Going back to Dr. Pabers’ lecture, life is all about balancing the yin and yang. Having said that, television and snacking is not a bad thing, but at some point the tv needs to be turned off and outdoor play needs to be initiated. In my family, there are a lot of changes going on. We are constantly on the move and life is all about survival. For example, I can relate with coming home late after a day of being at work and school. I am tired, have been on my feet and running around all day and hungry. My go to quick fix is popping a frozen pizza into the oven to quickly feed my family, get them ready for bed and start over again the next day.
I can definitely relate to the YouTube video “Impact of Media on Culture”. According to Dugan (2010), he states, “We learn culture from the people around us” (1:55). He then went on to say, “learned behaviors” and families. He commented on how stories are passed down from generations to generations, which creates the family values. According to the video, “Fear that the media has replaced the family as the storyteller” is a major issue. One thing I learned from the video is that we each possess different cultures which we use in different environment. For example, when we are at work, as employees we adapt to work culture. When we are at home we adapt to our family culture, and when at school we may adapt to our school culture.
The media is very much to blame for many, many, problems associated with body image. In the US popular culture tells us that beautiful women are extremely thin and have large breasts and plump bottom. In the media we are constantly exposed to this through images, videos and social networking sites, including and not limited to the fashion industry. Failure to look like these beautiful models seen on television or in the advertisements leaves many young men and women to be faced with body dissatisfaction. According to Sternheimer (2013), “Images of unrealistically thin young women reflect a very narrow version of beauty and the way in which women are routinely valued based on their appearance in popular culture, and in many cases everyday life” (207). According to Dugan (2011) in his YouTube video, “Impact of Media on Culture – Developing a Common Culture” he states, “before mass communication, all culture was local and defined by language, village customs and religion” (1:10). Mass communication creates shared experiences and defines who we are as well as our place in society. Unfortunately, this is where people struggle and develop complexes such as Anorexia and Bulimia. Ideas of right and wrong are shaped by culture which we are exposed through by mass communication (dominant culture). It is very hard to find the balance between the different types of culture which make up our identities. According to Dugan (2013), “People who reject the dominant culture and embrace and preserve their bounded culture are looked negatively on because they distinguish themselves from the dominant culture”. It is interesting to think about subcultures, which is talked about in the series of Dugan’s YouTube videos. Often times, these people reject the idea of the mainstream “American” culture. In an attempt to embrace personal/bounded culture which will cause social tension due to unfamiliarity. People need to look past this and find common ground so everyone can be accepted and loved for who they are rather than assimilate to what is acceptable.
Chapter 10 in Connecting Social Problems and Popular Culture, Sternheimer discusses the connection between consumption and materialism. Adults need to set limits for their children and educate kids on the difference of wants and needs. Sternheimer states, “Children continue to be the focus of our fears of hyperconsumption, especially when it appears that children’s consumer knowledge is greater than that of their parents (247). As a mother of three children, I agree with this statement. Often times my older boys are obsessing over the latest online game, gadget, clothing, shoes, or device they want. Usually, they see these items on tv, online, or from someone at school. For example, one of the latest styles of clothes out right now is “Galaxy-wear”. My boys are insisting that we go online to Amazon or visit the mall to purchase these cool shirts and hats with the galaxy prints on them. As a mother, I know that this is something they want this week. What will they want next week? I know that I will never be able to meet all of their materialistic desires. So what can be done in this situation? This is a conversation I have had many times with family members when discussing my children’s behavior. Maybe I created the monster. Instead of making them work for the things they want I am guilty of going out and buying the item, but asking them to be good in return. Maybe I am to blame for the holidays where I go out and purchase them large amounts of gifts instead of maybe two or three. According to Sternheimer (2013), she states, “We show people we love them with material goods, reward children with gifts, and teach them that holidays means shopping, even if you must go into debt in the process. Consumption is the building block of a capitalist society and has become the hallmark of American culture” (255). This chapter discusses serious issues to address in the consumer- oriented society. Sternheimer tells us that maybe the advertisers are extremely influential on our children. In terms of advertising and consumption, Sternheimer states, “Companies also target fashion-forward young people and bloggers who they think will influence their peers” (259). They do this by giving them free stuff in hopes they will market their products and increase their sales. This is a huge social problem in today’s society. Unfortunately, the media dictates to our youth what is socially acceptable and cool. In order to achieve this coolness, one needs to go out and purchase the beauty product, wear those new clothes, buy that latest album, game, or electronic. Not only do they need these products, they need to look slim and be super fit. This class has defiantly opened my eyes to how the media uses mass communication to target our youth and instill unacceptable values in our children.

Module 4 Recap- Taylor Wing

Module 4 Recap

Taylor Wing

EDUC 345


This week is definitely flying by. I cannot believe class is almost over. I am really enjoying these blog posts and I appreciate the feedback I am getting from my fellow group members. The videos and readings this week truly opened my eyes to the influences media has on us.

To start off, Karen Sternheimer discusses the myth that media causes teenagers to be sexually active even though sexual activeness with teens is the lowest it’s ever been with teens. The transition of women moving into different roles into the workforce is connected to sexual promiscuity. Pop culture and mass media are connected. Pop culture can be shared through magazines, newspapers, television, and all other forms of media. Pop culture has the ability to dominate our attention. Media and pop culture are constantly changing. Race, class and gender are directly linked pop culture’s influence on teens sexuality. Media also reflect unrealistic images of women and this casts as a false sense of reality. These fake images lead to dissatisfaction with women and their bodies. They then use this feeling of inadequacy to market products that will “help” their imperfections. It is horrifying to think how much media pressures people to look a certain way. This is a huge reason why there are eating disorders and issues with obesity.  It was amusing to find out our youth are the ones that are not as influenced from pop culture and media as adults are.

Terry Dungan’s YouTube video series gave me insight on the relationship between mass communication and cultural values. He begins by talking about family culture and values portrayed by media. We learn about what is an acceptable family lifestyle through the media. The media is the story teller. People can be negatively influence because media does not show consequences for bad behavior. Terry Dungan shares with us that people fear what they consume in media because they will be encourage to act in bad ways. Cultural influences effect all forms of media, especially television. Mass media can shape our lives positively and negatively. Media and culture are a huge part of our lives. Not only can culture shape our media, but media can shape our culture. Although media has such a big impact on our lives, Dungan talks about how people are not letting media influence their beliefs and life choices as much as they did in the past.  Popular culture is arising and is becoming the new social and emotional influence on our lives. Karen Sternheimer states, “We must look deeper than popular culture— we need to look at the structural roots to understand issues such as bullying, violence, suicide, teen sex and pregnancy, divorce, substance use, materialism, and educational failure” (Sternheimer, 2013). We need to encourage mass audiences to not let the negative influences of media shape their lives. Just as Caterina says, youth is heavily influenced on the media for the image they have of what they are truly supposed to look or act like. Often times the media influences our self- image negatively and that is when eating disorders and risky behaviors are formed. The video I watched in this module that links to the same feelings of dissatisfaction was the Dove Real Beauty Sketches. The Dove Real Beauty Sketches explores the gap between how we view ourselves and how other people perceive us. This commercial is a way media can influence our thoughts and ideas in a positive way. There are ways the media can help change the way we view ourselves and society positively.

Mary- Module 4

Module 4 was definitely an interesting one for me this week. My interest was continually peaked by both the readings, as well as the videos.

Chapter 6 of our text by Karen Sternheimer covered the topic of sex in teens and how we try to blame media for this “problem. What I found to be intriguing was that teens actually are much less sexually active than that of teens 20 years ago, and they engage in safe sex than their counterparts. Sternheimer went on to talk about how we as a society like to focus on teens on the topic of sex while ignoring the fact that adults are much more likely to be engaging in risky sexual behaviors and having unwanted pregnancies. We focus on teens because we fear for their futures, but we forget that we were once teens ourselves and went through similar experiences.  Sternheimer talks about how the past seems more innocent on the topics of sexuality and youth to us because we view it with a sense of nostalgia. I was surprised to find out about the drops in teen sexual encounters because I am one of those people who sees how sexualized television is nowadays and assume that it is a big influence on the actions of today’s youth. I couldn’t help but laugh when reading how we as a society fear for youth because of such media interactions like “sexting,” only to find out that adults were more likely to take part in such activities. I never realized the fears we have for teens with media could actually be less of an issue than that of the fears we should have for adults with media.

The videos by Terry Dugan caught my attention because they really shed more light on what culture really is and how complex it truly is. I have always been mostly aware that culture are traditions and shared experiences we learn from stories passed down through the generations, but I did not fully realize the change of storyteller for cultural learnings and the effects it has had. Dugan stated that media was the new storyteller for the current generation, and it has been viewed as bad because it encourages bad behaviors and shows them going unpunished. It has led to a “decline in family values.” Society is quick to blame the media when the youth reject the experiences passed down by their parents which has led to censorship of media that can be traced back centuries. I feel that Dugan did a really nice job of highlighting the fact that people are more and more trying to preserve their own culture instead of assimilating into the dominant culture which can lead to things such as genocide, racism, and  oppression. I really liked the idea of the “melting pot turned into a walled garden” because I see it a lot in today’s world. Tensions has risen because people are rejecting what they are unfamiliar with and trying hard to preserve their own culture in places where that is a difficult task.

In both the texts of Karen Sternheimer and the videos of Terry Dugan we see that media has been censored or filtered in attempts to protect youth and to help with a common culture shared by all. The thing is that censorship does not fix the “corruption” that we feel media has imposed on youth; it never has. It is also interesting to see the disconnect found between adults and teens though the experiences are often similar, but the teens are viewed as in need of protecting or saving from media.

Caterina- Module 4

Hello my fellow bloggers!

I am so sorry for the late post. I had a very busy week and some family issues came up which prevented me from being able to post earlier. I enjoyed the reading in the text book and the videos we watched this week. I felt that it was easier to handle instead of many different readings! I hope you girls thought the same!

Just like we have learned in previous chapters of our text book by Karen Sternheimer, the media is often the thing people blame for the issues going on. Chapter 6 covered the topic of promiscuity. People from older generations often blame the media for children/ teenagers being sexually active. When in reality there is a gap in generations which is recurring and inevitable. The generations before us did not have as many sources of media. They however, participated in sexual acts just as this current generation. In fact, when industrialization happened, both parents from each family started working instead of the father working and the mother staying home. This created less supervision and more independence for the children to experiment and do what they wanted. This is when parents started really loosing control of their kids. However, media was not as such of a big deal then as it is now. The generation before ours however, fails to view it as every generation is sexually active, it doesn’t matter what we use to entertain our selves with. Youth in any generation are trying to figure out who they are in their own personal culture. Each generation says that the generation following them is far worse off due to the change in the social and cultural spheres. This supports the argument that it is not the medias effect that ruins the youth. It is merely due to a misunderstanding between a foreigner judging a different culture. As Professor Dugan mentions in his video, The Functions and Effects of Culture, people are starting to act with their personal culture (who they are when they are by themselves) and their bonded culture (who they are when they are with their friends) when they are in dominant culture (in public). Other people do not know how to act in response to this though because it is unfamiliar to them. They do not know their place or role in that persons personal or bonded culture.

The media today is filtered. There are special organizations to monitor movie content and ensure that movie and television shows are acceptable to show. The type of censorship and control gives the media power. It allows them to limit and restrict what the youth sees. This is influencing the youth negatively because it does not allow them a choice of what to think. It highly influences their opinions based on their restrictions.  Professor Dugan talks about how the media is restricting receives in his video, Module 3 Part 1c, The communications Process, he talks about how television shows and movies are showing edited versions of media or even providing age rated labels. I am not saying that I think that all things should be free reign for the youth. But, I do think that the reason why they do things is because they are curious about what they are or who they are. So they experiment to gain self knowledge and build up and meet their inner identity.

The media does warp the youths image of what they should look like. We watched other videos in the module this week about how the media changes peoples appearance to benefit their sales. They feed off of peoples insecurities. I do think that this is an issue the media is creating. I think there is more to it when it comes to violence and sex, but as for poor body image- I think the media has a great impact. Chapter 8 of the text, talks about beauty image, obesity, and eating disorders. Many youth look to the media to build their self image. The fashion industry for example, use models to sell their clothes/ cosmetics/ accessories. Many of these companies use very attractive and thin models in their campaigns. The youth compare themselves to these models. Who most of the time are unrealistic or even photo shopped to appear really thin. Society says that we should all be really thin. If you are a little overweight, you are made fun of. It is sad because it is a fact that eating disorders are a big issue. The fact that everyone in society is aware of how bad the problem is and how unrealistically thin these girls are, yet is perpetuated, which shows that this thin image is what society still wants. Images of unrealistically thin young women reflect a very narrow version of beauty and the way in which women are routinely valued based on their appearance in popular culture and, in many cases, everyday life. (Karen Sternheimer, pg. 207) I have noticed that media does not promote alternative forms of beauty. Usually only thin women are considered beautiful. No other body type is glorified as much as that. I believe that the media strips away the possibility of there being other forms of beauty. Most people overlook the social and political aspects that go along with this form of beauty. It is economically, socially, and politically extremely hard to achieve. Not just extremely hard, nearly impossible. As Professor Dugan mentions, we are the receivers of this mass media. We need to provide feedback to encourage the media to improve or alter the message they are creating. I think that if the media encoded different media, media that possibly promoted all forms of beauty, there would be less of a problem with eating disorders.

Another disorder is obesity. I think that all age groups in America have problems with obesity as well. But, obesity in the youth is a big problem. Our youth learn from us. If we are eating poorly and providing them with junk food, how are we going to expect them to be healthy? We need to set a good image for them to pay attention to. Also, the media should promote health as a priority. I think instead of there being such a jump form anorexic models to sales at McDonalds, the media should find a happy medium in their advertisements. Of course, they are never going to do this though because our society doesn’t pay attention to the happy medium which is horrible. Professor Dugan talks in his videos, New Media Landscape, about symbiosis. He says that mass media needs other mass media in order to operate. There are two different aspects, partnership (where two companies work together in two different spots) and conglomerates (organization where one company owns many different networks). Then in line with symbiosis in his second New Media Landscape video, there is convergence (blending the different aspects of mass media into a seamless whole). This is where all the networks are airing all the same information. This narrows down the amount of sources. I think that this is why the medias all show the same information and there is no change. They are either all working together or owned by the same place. Or they get their information from all the same sources. I believe that we need to provide feedback to help make a change since we are receiving this information that warps our societies view of “normal body image”.

Overall, I found this module to be very interesting. I think that it touched base on a lot of issues we are facing not only with the youth in our society, but all ages. I think these are all big issues and something needs to be done. Once again, I am so sorry for posting so late!