Home » Gender » Media Argumentative Essay

Media Argumentative Essay

Many of my friends have chosen suicide to stay alive and now they think they’ve found a wife in any woman who can bring to life the emotion that this 21st century has made them suppress. Media portrayals of the ‘ideal man’ have ruined our men, and I’ll say this over and over again. Us boys are playing dead to stay ahead of this game where emotions aren’t permitted to run their course. So we run until our legs are pained, and we’re forced to keep a poker face throughout the burn. As children should be seen and not heard, a mans burden should be buried and not learnt.

My dad taught me to portray strength well, but my friend taught me that sometimes when you fall you cant help it. And that sometimes its okay for a man to feel helpless. I was the first man to cry on her shoulder. She told me that at that exact moment, she had never respected me more. But what proceeded, really frightened her. I felt a rush of embarrassment fill my body. And then suddenly, like a closing door my mouth closed upwards, I pushed away my tears because I should have never let them fall in the first place. Then I turned, face stern, and asked her if she was okay.

I saw, she was hurt that day. She felt my pain. How can a man with cheeks still soaked float up out of that moment as if being hung by ideas of masculinity to act as his partners rock, as if we’re not allowed to be broken. I am man. Nothing and nobody should overwhelm me emotionally. Before I display an unfixable weakness I’ll be damned, before I was human, I was man. Now I’m going to throw out one statement that will land as fact in every corner of the globe, men are not expected to publically show vulnerability or hyper emotionality in any way except for anger.

And the purpose of my investigation is to find out the reasons for this, by exploring the impact of male representation within the media. To answer this, I think first of all we must ask how does the media influence us? As human beings, we first learn by observing. Growing up children learn from their parents, by observing their peers, but they also learn by vicarious learning – by watching the media, which is a very strong educational tool for children.

They learn how to count on Seasame street, how to make friends with Dora and how to solve a problem with Blues Clues – they learn certain behaviours which are stored for later use. But more interestingly is that they learn scripts about behaviours like.. “how do I interact with a new person I’ve never met? ” “what do I do when mum and dad take me to a restaurant? ” They’re little scripts, but they also learn scripts about.. “how do I behave when I’m angered? Or frustrated? ” “what do I do when I’m scared? ” Or “when I’m in a sexual situation” And those scripts they learn stay in memory from adolescents to adulthood.

In certain instances when they’re ‘primed’ (trigger, which means there’s something there in the environment which gets them to think about a situation), those things which they’ve stored and learned from parents, peers and the media come out to the forefront and they act upon them. Children are influenced by what (victor strassburger) is called the role modelling effect. Say you have a nail hammering it into the wall, you accidentally miss, hit your finger and say “Oh damn”, your kid – or more likely in our case younger brother or sister will walk around saying ‘oh damn, oh damn’.

SAME AS SOMETHING MEDIA NEGATIVE As children grow, how they are influenced changes. The role modelling effect develops into the super peer theory. Teens are influenced by peers, and this theory suggests that the media becomes a type of ‘super-peer’ meaning it has a major influence on teens. Media portrayals of males as violent and aggressive, as emotionless and sex thirsty individuals exerts a certain influence on kids, they learn to believe that that is how they must act. The theories that account from learning are the same – whether they are positive or negative.

None of us would ever disagree, that if a child watches Seasame Street or Dora or Blues Clues that they learn nothing from it, we all would say its incredibly educational for children. When a character drops something and goes 1 2 3 4 5, we all agree a child can learn that. The child will also learn how to pick up a gun, how to use it. This doesn’t mean they will but ask them if they know how to pick up a gun, what it does and how to load it, the answer would be yes. The learning processes for all the educational pro social, unfortunately are no different then for some of the negative things .

The way we learn how to behave socially, is the same across. The media has the ability to influence our behaviour and therefore dictate our thoughts and our feelings. The media is the mastermind behind the invisible force that restricts men from being themselves. These representations of males have molded how we as a society judge man. Three words make a phrase that represents what the media frequently depicts. This phrase and it’s portrayals have become the most culturally destructive mandates of this century. If we could change how we understand these words, we would change the world.

The phrase is ‘be a man’. Now I ask every guy in this room today to think about the context when you were young and someone told you to ‘be a man’‘. And I know it is almost always put in the context of ‘stop acting that way’ ‘stop with the tears, stop with the emotion’ ‘don’t be some kind of poofter, some kind of sissy, a weakling’. ‘Be a man’. Young boys are taught at a very early age that in order to be a man, they’ve got to separate their hearts from their heads. The media feeds three main lies to us of what it means to ‘be a man’. The same lies I was fed, is being fed to other kids today.

They are presented differently but they all promote a certain way that men need to stick within the boundaries of. What is described as a man box. REWORD Analysts and researchers have said that 90% of people represented on T. V are males. And that the portrayal of these male characters falls within a range of 5 stereotypes 1) The Joker – A popular figure amongst males, a funny guy 2) The Jock – A powerful, strong individual willing to compromise long term health 3) The Strong Silent Type – Does not allow emotion to show, portrays himself (not in a cocky way) as tough ) The Big Shot – Successful person who always does well 5) The Action Hero – Strong, often aggressive which encourages the first lie and I think every boy learns this by the time they are 8 or 9 years old. They learn it through movies which they then believe to be true and so it’s reinforced on ball fields and playgrounds and during lunchtime all over their community.

The lie is that as a culture we associate masculinity with athletic ability, size, strength and aggression, and that any emotion apart from anger is detrimental to their reputation. So what happens to those boys that have athletic interests and abilities? hat can catch a long ball and shoot a three – well, those boys are elevated on that playground. They’re given a little more value, a little more worth, they’re even ascribed a little more masculinity. I believe that’s distorted and just wrong, being a man has nothing to do with athletic ability, size or strength capacity. The second thing every boy will learn before the time they’re in high school is that we associate masculinity with issues of sexual conquest. Collectively we as men are taught to have less value in women, to view them as property and the objects of men.

What does it mean to be a man? t means you can bring some beautiful young girl alongside of yourself and then use her. Use her to either gratify some kind of physical need, or use her to validate some kind of masculine insecurity. That may not be you guys in here, but all you need to do is look around to see how many women are treated like trash. Music is a heavy contributor that inconspicuously propagates this lie. Music is an important part of many peoples lives, it’s considered the “universal language of mankind”. Todays teenagers spend about 4 hours a day listening to music or watching it on television.

The main genre supporting this fabricated deception is hip hop, which is the most listened to genre of music in the world. Artists always try to have as many women as they can in their video clips, these women are shown wearing little to nothing (skirts, bikinis) and dancing provocatively for the male. The song “Ball” by T. I reinforce this idea, lyrics such as “Bitch shake it like a dog, hop like a frog, ride it like a horse” “Where you at hoe? Where you at hoe? Can a n-gga stick key up in ya back door”, reflect just what types of messages our males are receiving.

Boy’s develop the belief that to be a man you need to treat women poorly, like they’re objects. They think this is a man’s world, and that women are flowers waiting to be plucked. But that doesn’t make you a man, it just makes you an unfaithful user. Then later on you get the third lie in this culture, and that is that we associate masculinity with issues of economic success, as though a man is measured upon his job title, his position, power or the amount of possessions he has accumulated. This like the others is just a lie. This lie is fed through all sectors of the media.

Media portrayals of social class tend to celebrate hierarchy and wealth. Those who are wealthy receive positive press as individuals who are deserving of their position, that they are honorable celebrities – above the average man. Then if you look at how at when news organisations focus on the working class, you see how they consider them to be problems. They regard this group of people as flawed individuals that are criminals, welfare cheats, abusers and addicts. Which is wrong, the quality of the individual is not based upon the money he has.

And that’s the problem, we live in a society where all kinds of men, associate their self worth, with their net worth. (The media also focussees on items like luxury cars, holiday spots and expensive fashion accessories that only the wealthy would be able to afford) Now I could take those three lies, and tie them into just about every social problem in the world. It starts with the media. These projections have created a box of expectations that men feel they have to live inside. Typical portrayals of men have bred masks of fake strength which control their actions and cause them to die silently inside.

Often these expectations hold men back from expressing their true feelings, and with the expansion of media over the years, there has been a growing increase in the effects of these stereotypical representations of men. The suffering of this disease of the masculinity is causing unfortunate consequences for men and society. Men become a prison of their own mind. Male suicide in NZ has increased by 75% and many near victims have attributed reason to the staunch – tough nature of our men, 69% of men preferred to deal with their problems alone – according to a large survey done by CALM.

Chief advisors of CALM have said “The traditional strong silent response to adversity is increasingly failing to protect men from themselves. ” These men’s thoughts have been distorted by the media and their actions support the negative consequences that it has on them. Most criminal activity is committed by male, we attribute to 85% of murder, 90% of assaults, 95% domestic violence, 95% of dating violence, 95% of child sex abuse and 99. 8% of rape. These statistics are shocking, and prove that society is paying a large price due to these problems associated with masculinity.

The stats prove that men not only hurt themselves the most, but they also hurt others the most. I learnt that these increases in statistics over the years has a direct relationship with the increase in the medias emphasis on masculinity and violence. I believe the media’s influence has made males more welcome and accustomed to such behaviours. The bombardment of these expectations and stereotypes has leaked through their brain and somehow dictated many of their actions. These representation of men make them feel that they need to hold this attitude, and carry themselves this way.

The process of curing our men would be a long task but it is necessary. I mean it would be, being taught for generations that there’s certain emotions that they are expected not to embrace will do that to you. ‘Stiffen you upper lip boy’, ‘Come on kid, big boys don’t cry’. Because of this conditioning its been necessary to stay alive. I’ll admit that your generation of males and potentially mine – cant afford to be anything but the alpha male at all times. But they need to forget this idea. Our men need to be human again. We can initiate a positive change through education.

In primary we had this program of poets come, they taught us ways to share our thoughts through writing. So I’ve seen first hand the impact of pumping free expression into schools, I’ve seen boys that have been very very angry learn to evaluate reassess and change their emotions. Systems like this could really help our men, and our society. Philosopher Plato said “men need to be educated” to make the right decision and explained that “the object of education is to teach us to love what is beautiful”. They need to “choose their path of life through careful examination”. Even back then he knew men needed to change their approach of living.

He said we should learn to be more like women, instead of being the aggressors, learn to show emotion. “Only then will we be free from the disease of masculinity”. I also found from sites of therapy that to help our men we need to listen more, and encourage men to visit their doctors and proactively manage their health. To help our men we need to battle this problem until it is gone. Media could contribute by minimising the portrayals of perfect men, and alternatively showing ‘real’ men, who aren’t afraid to be who they are. It is evident from these sources that our men need healing.

The traditional image of what a ‘man’ is needs to change. This shift in momentum can be created by the group who started it. The media could begin to show men differently – as able to express themselves however they please and not feel like they have to restrict parts of their personality to fit a tough guy persona. This and educating males that to be a man doesn’t mean they have to be the strongest. that its okay to not be dominant, that its okay to have feelings and emotions, that its okay to promote equality, that its okay to have women who are just friends and that’s it, that its okay to be whole.

That these things add value to a man. During my inquiry I learnt about how males are represented in the media. I found out that they are generally portrayed to be strong, and not show true emotions. This has impacted many lives in society negatively, causing increases in crime, depression and suicide. I found problems but I also found solutions to the situation men have found themselves in. We need to change our perspective of what it means to be a man. Once we learn to do this, life will begin to improve and societies wounds will be healed.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.