Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Media reflection

                Over the course of these few weeks I have been forced to explore areas of media that would likely have not even thought to browse. Media has always served as a distraction, that is something I browsed to occupy my mind. And so media consumption for me was always fairly limited, however at certain times it will greatly increase or fall based off the amount of time I find myself wanting to "zone out." The label critical thinking made me think this class would be spent analyzing document after document to understand how to better mesh ones thought process, but I'm glad the content turned out to be the way it did. I feel now that I know a lot more about advertising than I did when the advertising began, the the obvious connection to the world around us made the material really appeal to me. Curriculum in school can get boring because it's hard to find how it is relevant to my life but with this class the relevance was clear. As clear as it could possibly be at 7:18 in the frickin morning. Advertising has long been a fascination of mine and before this class I understoof a few basic appeals that I saw repeated in ads. What this class did for me was expand my capacity to understand exactly what was being thrown at me and why advertisers thought I would relate to their content. Although I know we scratched the surface as far as advertising goes, there were a lot of knew concepts thrown at us and the projects we did both in class and research done for our blogs really  helped me make the connections between the concept and it's real world use. Media blogs were not always my favorite, but what I can say is they really did help me tie together all we were learning. Where I stand now, I have full faith in my ability to understand and disect the the ads that I am exposed to in my daily life. This means that I will better know which companies make quality products and reflect that, and which companies want to appeal to me through subliminal appeals. Media literacy is important as a consumer because having it can help you best choose a product. If a company's appeal is through vague words and false statements, a media literate consumer would be able to understand that that company says it'll give you more than it does. Similarly, if a company is straight forward and does not try to use distraction as a means of appeal, you have a better chance of buying a quality product. Although discerning which companies are quality and which lack such a measure is difficult based purely off advertising,  a consumer can pick up on which ads are a whole lot of bologna and which are worth paying attention to. It's also doesn't hurt that being able to break down an ad is an empowering feeling, as though you are one step ahead of corporate America. From keeping this log I have become more politically informed, more aware of how advertising functions, and more aware of how I interact with media. A sense for how media affects me is also something I have gained some perspective on. Media literacy doesn't necessarily sound like something important in this world, but being able to responsibly and efficiently navigate through the wide world of media is of great value. Media makes up a large part of our lives and this is only increasing. If we want to get the most out of the media and understand what is really being stated and how that message is being conveyed, we must first understand the techniques used. By doing this, we can better sort through the barrage of messages so that we do not get sucked in by the initial appeal of many advertisements.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Charity as a Means of Persuasion

                Now a days there is a large demand for being charitable and for giving to those less fortunate. Anything from donating clothes to the Salvation Army or time in a local soup kitchen is considered to be charitable and is something that we try to do when possible. There is a certain satisfaction we get when we know we have contributed to a cause that benefits the greater well being. This feeling of satisfaction is something that major corporations and companies tap into in an effort to build up the Ethos of their company. By telling consumers that their company will donate to a good cause should they buy their product, companies make consumers feel they have indirectly been charitable. This concept that someone can give to a good cause by simply buying a product is the strategy of offering a simple solution. Someone who feels that they should give back more to the community but doesn't always have the chance can satisfy their minds knowing that a portion the money they just spent on cereal will go to a hungry child in the U.S.
                The issue I have with such promises is that there is no one to ensure what is promised gets fulfilled in its entirety. Companies use vague references when referring to their charitable involvement, which leads me to believe that such companies don't give as much as they say they are. Promises about giving to those in need make a company look good and make consumers feel good about themselves when they buy a companies product, but I question how honest major companies are about what they actually give away. Making us feel good about ourselves is an ingenious way to advertise, and it is clear why companies would make promises about giving back. I just hope that the companies are honoring the promise they make because its important to give all that you say you will.

The Role of The Bachelor is the Media's Wrongful Depiction of Women

               Recently in our critical thinking class, we have been exploring the negative way in which women are depicted in the media today. Some of the things we have been observing and reading about makes me sick to my stomach as I imagine a young girls trying to find who they are through the cloud of media messages that constantly hangs around. Women are sexualized, made to look weak and feeble, and often shown to be dependent on men. One show I feel wraps up these horrible stereotypes into one is the show the Bachelor. The Bachelor is a television show in which women from around the country "compete" for the affections of a single male and whomever the man likes the most gets to marry him. I have seen one episode of the show and what I saw within that hour was enough to make me never want to watch it again. The problem with The Bachelor is that the women are shown as bitchy, manipulating, and overly dramatic. They gossip openly about other competitors, make rude comments, and act dramatic to make the show more interesting. Unfortunately, the women enforce the sassy and unintelligent stereotype to gain viewers, and people who see the show get the idea that that is how women act in the real world.
             In addition, women are sexualized and shown to be objects men can have as underlying messages of the content. The man interacts with the women individually and during such times the women sexualize themselves in an attempt to seduce the man so that they may be selected as his bride. The women flirt and get physical with this random guy on camera, which send the message that in order to be desired by men you have to be sexually appealing. Further, the women are put into a contest for a single mans affection, which tells women that they are objects that men can pick and choose and that they aren't worthies much as a man. These things are all reflected in the content and as far as media goes, The Bachelor is a blatant example of poor media depiction of women.
              Having said all that, I am left to wonder how a show with such a blatant disrespect for women can become so popular among the general population. What puzzles me even more is that a show that objectifies women to the extreme is very polar among women and young girls. One reason may be is that the women shown appeal to our desire for prominence because when beautiful women are gathered and given lots of attention, people wish they were in the same situation. The added "romantic" effect of the show along with the drama that is overly exaggerated all make the show appealing, but still the shows message is a lot to get over. The role of women in the shows audience shows how the extent to which media influences how women view themselves and how the stereotypes are taking hold in their minds.