The media, no doubt, have a negative and positive impact on different societal cultures in the world. It is a collaborative communication tool used in storing and sending out information. The media includes communication media, mass media businesses, cinema, print media, and many others.
Writing an essay on how media shapes our culture requires diligent research on media types and their influences on several world cultures.
How Does Media Shape Our Culture?
Depending on the way a society responds to media influence, media has a great impact on society’s cultural patterns. For example, media has the power to influence the beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes of individuals. However, not all of these influences result in changes; some merely serve to reinforce existing beliefs.
In the modern world, culture is spread through various mass media channels. These channels and systems differ from culture to culture, depending on preference. The way the media sets up unwritten laws and unsaid rules affects how societies work either in a good or bad light. However, media helps society in many ways, including spreading cultural knowledge, relevant knowledge, and artistic works around the globe.
The Influence of Media on the Society
Media has become an essential part of modern society, with individuals interacting with various kinds of media. It has made viewing easier and more accessible even to children. For example, children now use media devices in school; because, in most schools, general knowledge of different media advancements has become compulsory.
Media influencing society is not a new thing in the modern world. Various ways media shapes society and influences it includes:
- Showing what people tag as ‘important’.
- Demonstrating fads and hot button issues.
- News media reporting what they think people want to hear.
- Determining the content shared to the society and, consequently, the images of the society.
- Shaping the way individuals see the world.
Popular Media Examples
Television used to be the only source and mode of staying up to date with events happening. Today, there are several media outlets, including the channels where you listen to your favorite music, watch the latest movies, or watch an ongoing event. The media has expanded; popular media examples include:
- Newspaper outlets online and offline
- The web or internet
- Digital media
- Social media
Tips For Writing an Essay on Media
Writing an essay about media typically requires good writing skills and an in-depth understanding of media concepts. Below are some guidelines to make writing an essay on media easy.
- Brainstorm on the particular media topic essay. For example, “The Influence of Media on Society.” To write on this topic, you have to first note the keywords to which you will narrow your search. The keywords are “Media” and “Society;” you type these two in the search engine and read the first couple of articles that come out.
- Note your findings and key points from the research.
- Map out an outline from the key points you jotted down; they constitute the central ideas of your essay’s body paragraphs. Then, divide the essay outline into three: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion.
- Create your first draft of the essay on how the media shapes society using the outline. Expand each point in the outline to draft the essay.
- Go through your work, read thoroughly, and correct grammatical and spelling mistakes. Also, note sentence structures and fix whatever errors you find. Once you have done this, you can go ahead and submit the paper.
Writing an essay on how the media shapes our culture is just like writing any other essay structure-wise. Unless otherwise specified, the essay should have five paragraphs, including:
- One paragraph for Introduction
- Three for the body of the essay, and
- The last one for a conclusion or summary
Here is an essay sample on the topic “How Does Media Shape Our Culture”
The Effects of Media Culture on Today’s Society
In the 21st century, we live in a media culture largely influenced by the internet, television, and other forms of mass communication such as the radio and newspaper. The prevalence or saturation of the media into everyday life affects our culture and socialization, which causes some concern because the companies that control media content do not always have society’s best interest in mind when making media choices. In fact, these companies often use their power over media content to control the masses and shape society into a form that benefits the company above all else.
Culture and socialization begins in childhood, and even Disney has engaged the creation of gender myths through media that affect our society, and other companies have followed suit. Ultimately, media culture has positive and negative effects on today’s society, and it is important to understand its power and purpose to regain some control over our culture.
Culture and socialization begins during childhood, as it is the development of the individual or self through cultural learning. Who we are is in part a reflection of what we have seen on television and how our altered actions have been perceived by our peers. Individuals learn through observation and experience how to act appropriately and how to expect others to act (Van de Walle 315). Socialization and culture affect one another reciprocally. When people act through socialization, they build culture. Likewise, when people belong to a culture, they tend to socialize in a certain way. Peaceful societies are built through culture and socialization, as people in peaceful societies are acknowledged for their good behavior, and they continue based on that acknowledgement. Popular items and stories through media influence exposure to social norms and enhance the knowledge of individuals in relation to society as a whole.
Media has had a large impact on socialization because, since the time of the Gutenberg printing press, it has increased literacy, decentralized political power, and eventually globalized our masses to an eclectic mix or melting pot of culture and identity (Zhang 54). Newspapers became controlling social factors that could demystify government corruptions. Even mass entertainment became a form of social control, as participants were unlikely to spend time on other acts that went against the grain of civilization. Entertainment was a distraction from unwanted activity. Today’s vast mass media access provides social critique, exposure to alternative lifestyles, and venues of expression never before thought possible. However, the effect of media control and influence over society is not always positive (Zhang 55). While access to a multitude of media options has opened the minds of many, it has also provided an increase in avenues for manipulation.
Disney, for example, has had a large role in the socialization of children since the 1930s when Snow White was released. In the 1990s, feature-length Disney movies regained popularity, but the advent of feminism and civil liberties did not have an impact on the gender myths perpetuated by Disney’s films. Decades of Disney movies have equated beauty with good and ugly with bad. In the case of Snow White, she was also childlike and not a sex symbol because that is how the perfect woman was viewed during that time period. Disney’s construction of the proper woman evolved with the times. In the 1992 Disney movie, Aladdin, sex symbols were more in line with the sought female body type. As such, Jasmine, the heroine, is voluptuous rather than child-like. Ariel in The Little Mermaid and even Elsa in Frozen are depicted as sexual, objectifying women in all instances. Additionally, in most roles the women are dependent on the man for rescue or salvation, and the men are usually strong and independent, which also depicts the socially desired image of man (Layng). The princess in Snow White is dependent on the princes kiss to wake up. Ariel must find the true love of a man. Jasmine needs saved by Aladdin. Elsa, interestingly, needs saved by her sister, but she needs to be saved by Kristoff. Frozen is a good example of Disney changing with the times but still holding on to traditional social norms.
Disney movies have been a powerful force in culture and the society, as its social myths have reinforced social norms such as marriage, families, and middle class values. The stereotypes and boundaries of the middle class become sought after norms through animation. All while watching harmless entertainment aimed at giving parents somewhere to take their children, Disney has managed to instruct, mold, and guide society away from evil through personal values and morality stories. Yet, it has also imposed gender roles and restricted the diversity of the ideal man and woman (Layng). It is debatable whether society has benefitted from this practice or not depending on one’s view of gender roles.
The mode by which the media creates myths about genders and how it affects our culture has been analyzed extensively by social scientist. It has been found that myth creating itself is deeply embedded in the human need to have stereotypes and the tendency to seek out and belong to homogenous groups. Therefore, humans are already designed to accept gender myths by default. While social myths defile meaningfulness and hide the truth, they do create connections with similar individuals, and this encourages societal cohesion. Essentially, the mode used by the media to create gender myth is market saturation, so the imagery or ideas present are viewed by enough to impact social norms (Kudriavtseva et al. 56). In today’s diverse world, societal cohesion can be inhibited by homogeneity, and the media adapting to the need for diversity in its content and social myth creation.
Media has the ability to encourage and effect social change, but it also has the ability to maintain the status quo. This is viewed as a very important utility, and the media’s dual function has been used readily for political and societal purposes (Zhang 54). Status quos that have been kept throughout decades are being discouraged now. For example, marriage solely being between a man and a woman is now a challenged status quo as a result of social media, whereas it used to be the only accepted norm because of mass media. Equality between races, sexes, and socioeconomic statuses are now possibilities and discussions because the internet challenges traditional media and limits its power. It injects society with diversity and opens the minds of individuals, which blurs the lines of societal norms (Kudriavtseve et al. 56). This is a positive outcome for cultural minorities living alternative lifestyles.
However, as freeing and disseminating as mass media, especially social media, may be, it is still influenced by controlling agencies that control ideas and information. This impacts the culture of certain groups, as much of the time the control is exhibited incognito, and society does not realize that the ideas are controlled for an ulterior purpose. For example, it is difficult to extract any truth from current elections and coverage of both candidates. This affects culture because ideas are formed that are faulty and cause argument rather than building values that can aid citizens in their decision-making process. This form of control is more obvious than others, and the ulterior motive is clear. However, sales pitches in media often take the shape of research or consumer reports, but then they rate only their product above all others. Lastly, the media is filled with sexual imagery in music, television, and online. People like the Kardashians build expectations of what is normal, and it impacts society because it impacts our children. These three examples are vastly different from one another, but they depict the impact and the drive behind media manipulation for social purposes.
Media culture is inescapable unless one is willing to imprison themselves from society, but it has a societal benefit that is observable and attainable through communication of social norms. With that benefit comes the restrictive practices of gender roles and imposed societal norms that are not recognized as positive or helpful for society, but there is a lot of room for argument in either direction. The primary role of mass media in socialization and culture is growing, as people today are deluged with media from their phones, cars, televisions, radios, and even their wearables. It is so entrenched in society that it has become unnoticed and therefore more powerful. Simultaneously, it has lost some of its power as saturation has led to so much content that one can easily stray from social norms. However, diversity is quickly becoming the social norm, so as usual, media will evolve with the times.
Kudriavtseva, V. I., et al. “Myth-Creating as a Way to Develop Modern Mass Conscience.” Global Media Journal (2016): 1-6. ProQuest. Web. 12 July 2016.
Layng, Jacqueline M. “THE ANIMATED WOMAN: The Powerless Beauty of Disney Heroines from Snow White to Jasmine.” The American Journal of Semiotics 17.3 (2001): 197-215. ProQuest. Web. 12 July 2016.
Van de Walle, Guy. “‘Becoming Familiar with A World’: A Relational View Of Socialization.” International Review of Sociology 21.2 (2011): 315-333. SocINDEX with Full Text. Web. 12 July 2016.
Zhang, Mei. “A New Look At Mass Media: Agents of Control and Change.” Review of Communication 9.1 (2009): 54-57. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 12 July 2016.
Culture is a popular subject of discussion in anthropology. The subject covers a wide range of topics that are conveyed through social education in physical communities. Writing an essay on media shaping human culture requires a deep insight into both topics.