media darling

a personal record of how different forms of media and their content affect me (a college student)

I Kissed a Girl – annoying and over-played yet thought-provoking November 13, 2008

Filed under: sex on tv — katie @ 1:30 am
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I heard Katy Perry‘s “I Kissed a Girl” on the radio for the thousandth time today and began thinking about the portrayal of girl+girl experiences in the media. I don’t classify these interactions with girls as lesbian interactions because the few examples I can think of are with girls who are confirmed heterosexuals. So, my question is why there is such a double-standard for hetero-girl-on-hetero-girl action in the media, that definitely influences girls’ behaviors in real life.

“I Kissed a Girl” is about a girl who has a boyfriend but decides to kiss a girl for a new and foreign experience, and proceeds to explain how much she likes it and how fun it is. It also states that she is drunk and has “lost all discretion.” Not to say there is anything wrong with anyone experimenting with their sexuality, but she is blaming the incident on alcohol, basically saying that the kiss wouldn’t have happened otherwise. This sends a confusing and pressuring message to girls absorbing her song and music video trying to get something out of it.

Some other examples I could think of was the unexplainable make-out session between Madonna, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera (three definite heterosexuals) and the pseudo-lesbian couple that “teases” the boys in the movie “American Pie.” The Madonna/Britney/Christina episode got huge coverage when it happened at the 2003 VMAs and yet there was little explanation of what the kisses meant or were intended for. It definitely got the reaction they were probably looking for, though.

I have to wonder what sort of effect seeing these shock-factor images has on young girls who are just hitting puberty, experiencing sexuality for the first time, and exposed to “fake lesbianism.” It must be confusing to first figure out sexuality in general and then feel the pressures of the media to engage in sexual activities with someone they might not be sexually attracted to, to fulfill the pleasures of other people – namely guys.

Are girls who feel the need to make out with other girls doing it as a sexual experimentation or liberation? Or just to entertain guys because the media tells them it would be cool, shocking and sexy?


the glorified gangster November 11, 2008

Filed under: violence in the media — katie @ 12:07 pm
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Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel, Bonnie & Clyde, Jules and Costello are all great American gangsters portrayed in movies. Gangster movies have been always been popular and will most likely remain a favorite genre for many years to come. Their worlds of violence, organized crime, and illegal activities are often glamorized in the media because they are so exciting to watch, but are people essentially supporting gangsters’ causes by supporting their stories so much?

An interesting aspect of the gangster life is that many mobsters and gangsters are portrayed as being very religious, and yet they kill and torture people without blinking. Good thing they pray a lot

Even music has developed a very gangster theme – especially in the rap industry. Every new rapper thrives to be the next biggest “G,” and their songs about the thug life often hit the Billboard Charts because people love hearing about the gangster life. Gangsta rap has been a legitimate genre of music since the 1980’s and remained popular since it’s arrival. Also, there are tons of new video games about the mafia and gangsters that are extremely popular with the youth today. Perhaps the appeal of gangsters is that their lifestyles give people their five minutes of feeling like a bad-ass.

Between movies and music about gangsters, there is so much that portrays them in an almost likeable, poignant way – which is kind of crazy when you think about it. The media portrays gangsters who are actually murderers, thieves, criminals, etc. as cool guys with awesome lives that are actually good at heart and just taking care of their families (in a nutshell…).


advertising alcohol November 6, 2008

Filed under: advertisements — katie @ 11:41 am
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What does the media tell us about alcohol? That it’s sexy and glamorous. That hot people drink it or drinking it makes one more attractive. That good things only come from drinking it. That there isn’t much responsibility that goes along with drinking it…etc.

I raise the question of whether it is ethically responsible to show alcohol ads on TV when people under 21 are obviously viewing them, and the ads are definitely having an influence on their attitudes about alcohol.

Many would argue that publishing racist, sexist or anti-Semitic ads would inflict harm on the public because of the hurt and influence they can have on people. Not publishing these ads is the ethical thing to do, but these ads with their potential harm are no different than many other ads that in circulation today. The alcohol and tobacco industries are incredibly lucrative businesses – definitely credited to the amount of advertising they do in print media and broadcast outlets, and I don’t anyone would argue that these products are not harmful.

Alcohol ads are constantly broadcast on television networks, and people under 21 are often exposed to behavior-influencing content through a countless number of ads. There have been many studies and content analyses examining whether exposure to alcohol ads increases young people’s tendencies to drink alcohol. In a study from 2004 titled Alcohol Advertising Exposure and Perceptions: Links with Alcohol Expectancies and Intentions to Drink or Drinking in Underaged Youth and Young Adults, researchers Kenneth Fleming, Esther Thorson, and Charles Atkin found the following results.

Alcohol advertising is influential in shaping young people’s attitudes and perceptions about alcohol advertising messages. The attitudes and perceptions predicted both positive expectancies and intentions to drink of those under the legal drinking age…Positive expectancies are powerful predictors of intentions to drink and consumption for both groups. The effects of alcohol advertising on intentions to drink of those aged 15 to 20 years are mediated by cognitive responses to advertising messages and positive expectancies. (Fleming, Thorson, Atkin)

Alcohol advertisements do not only influence young people to drink, but also have an effect on legal-drinking-aged people to want to drink (Fleming, Thorson, Atkin). Alcohol is abused in the United States far too much, and all the advertising supporting its consumption makes people drink, often without considering the dangerous side effects.

Drunk driving is still a prevalent issue, regardless of laws and the dangers, and alcohol-related deaths are high in numbers. With these facts in mind, should it be argued that all alcohol-related advertisements be pulled from the media? It is not plausible to prevent the publishing of alcohol advertisements, because although they debatably inflict harm on viewers, alcohol companies are protected by the First Amendment to advertise their product.

It should be kept in mind how much advertising can influence people’s behaviors and attitudes, and that sometimes they are nearly irresponsible.

Look how fun drinking is!

Look how fun drinking is!