Dec 3, 2009 #1
I'm in college, and I just wanted to run my thesis by you all to ensure that my writing was down pat. This looks like an excellent website and I'm determined to try it out.
For the assignment, I chose to write a four-page, roughly 1,000 word essay on how the media and television effect women. I mean no harm to the television shows I name, they are just examples that I chose. If anyone else has better examples, please let me know. I am looking for help with the conclusion, and if anyone has any advice, I'll take it!
Thanks again --
I'm in English 101 in college.
"Excellence Is the New Average"
"The first thing is that sex sells. It always has, always will." (1) Sex does sell - to millions and millions of people everywhere. As one person once said, "You will know whether a man is gay or straight by looking at the porn on his computer." Sadly, this has become the way of life for many Americans, and it is now finding its way into the younger generation, as well. Televisdion and the media seem to be helping this along, and women seem to bear the brunt of the wrath. Everyone seemed to be in an uprorar over the recent Justin Timberlake incident where he tore part of Janet Jackson's shirt off, exposing part of her breast. However, more and more incidents like these are occuring on television every day, and nobody seems to complain about those. There are multiple instances on television where someone's shirt, or, rather, whole outfit is taken off, and nobody watching it complains. Shows like Survivor seem to be more about getting naked than about winning stunts. Television should be about more than using women for sex objects. Where did the mothers go? The mothers who used to stay at home and watch their children, play with their children, and "train them in the right way to go?" Sadly, the mothers are gone, replaced by the Barbies on television, who work too much, eat too little, and drink to cope with the stress.
Television is cheapening the value of women's life. Women, strong women, are becoming victims in television and real life. There has been a startling increase in violence against women on television in the last four years - a startling 120% increase. If that isn't enough to scare you, shocking statistics say that crime is on the rise, and even children are becoming violent because of what they watch on television. Marie Winn, author of Television, The Plug-In Drug, quotes a child psychologist, who says, "Marie Winn, in the book Television, the Plug-In Drug, quotes a child psychologist, who says, "I find that watching television is most destructive for psychotic children. The very thing I want to help them understand is the real world, to increase their awareness of reality, of cause and effect. This is very much shattered by the illogic cartoon characters being able to fly through the air, for instance, or other fantastic things that seem so real on television. Some of these children have omnipotent fantasies. They think that they can fly, too." (Quoted in Television, the Plug-In drug, page 107). Don't fool yourself by thinking children can't understand television, and that they are insusceptible to it. They are perhaps more susceptible to it because they cannot understand it, yet, they try and copy what they see on television anyway. This can quickly become dangerous.
Television is changing the way we view women dramatically: from the way we view them sexually, to the way we view them in everyday life. Many strong and capable women are becoming victims to diseases like anorexia and bulimia because they feel as though they have to live up to television's standard icons, and, truthfully, they cannot.
Television is a recipe for disaster. Although some of its programming is good, most of it needs to be ditched and thrown out the window. Shows like Shark and CSI Miami show us that it's okay to be bad and cheat every now and then - as long as you're on the right side of the law, and, of course, don't get caught. In the words of Salman Rushdie himself, "In order to be famous and rich, it's OK - it's actually "good" - to be devious. It's "good" to be exhibitionistic. It's "good" to be bad. And what dulls the moral edge is boredom." (240). This is demonstrated every day in front of us on television when sexy women walk before us and men rush to have sex with them, or, worse, murder them. The traditional housewife is gone, and has been replaced by a sexy role model who works sixty hours a week and never sees her children because even when she's home, she's buried in work.
As Brenda Powers from the Sunday Times states, "Women on television are expected to be either decorative and dumb, or unthreateningly attractive, capable and always, always beautifully dressed and well groomed." (2). This alarming trend is becoming true and is hurting teenage girls and women of all ages. Craig McQueen, author of We Have Weight On Our Minds: Real Women Talk To Three Women Who Feel Modern Society Puts Them Under Pressure To Be Thin, states12: "Fears have long been raised about the effect the fashion television industry has on levels of eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, but now research is suggesting that the effect could be even wider." (1).
Television can be used for good. Educational shows such as Sesame Street teach us the joys of sharing, caring and learning. Unfortunately, that just isn't an option for prime-time viewing hours, and shows range from ratings of PG and higher, and many young children are watching these alone. Girls, at startlingly young ages, believe that they have to conform themselves to what they see on television. Unfortunately, it is impossible. Many women on television are decorated by professional dressing crews, and then air-brushed with specialized equipment on television. It's just not a realistic image, and it is making it almost impossible for young girls and women today to compete. Plastic surgery is helping millions "be old and look young", but its effects are more dangerous than we realize. Women are dying to be beautiful, bold, young and attractive like you see on television. One example is Lauren Katherine Jones, who was a twenty-one-year-old woman who died shortly after having liposuction. Although her surgery went well, she died three days after the event, suffering from severe bleeding. (1). The old expression, "It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt," is now becoming more true than ever.
Sex isn't just being marketed to older women and men, it's now being marketed to the younger generation, and they must perform to look good. As Nancy J. White, author of When Girls Grow Old Before Their Time: Stop The Media Barrage Telling Kids To Be Sexy, says, "Push-up bras for preteens; barley pubescent, skinny models. Thong underwear for 10-year-olds with the words "eye candy" or "wink, wink" written on them." (1). Ten year olds used to not know what the words "eye candy" meant, and now it's being marketed to them like candy, and younger and younger individuals are having children every day. One of my friends had a child herself, at only age fourteen. Perhaps if she had had sex education, if she hadn't been pushed and prodded, she could have avoided this enormous, terrifying event in her life. When a woman gives birth to a child, it's a wonderful thing, and everyone welcomes the new babe into the world. When a teenager gives birth to a child, it's a terrifying thing, and she gets scolded by everyone. Perhaps the television's message should be, "Sex is okay, just don't get pregnant!"
People everywhere are advertising safe sex. "If you must have sex, practice it safely!" This, unfortunately, is no guarantee. Abstinence is the only guarantee to safety. But it's getting harder and harder to remain a virgin while all the others are getting excited about who they're going with and what they're doing in bed.
Women everywhere are being told that excellence is the new average, that they must perform and live up to everyone else's standards. It's been far too long since a woman has had the opportunity to be a hardworking mother and support her kids. It's been far too long since we've had a generation of stay-at-home mothers. It's time we stop this nonsense now.