Module 4 Module 4 Module 4 Module 4
Module 4 Presentation Readings Assignments

Go on to Part 4, Mass Mediation of Leisure
Go back to Part 2, Media and Socialization, continued

Media and Socialization (continued)

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1) Media and Socialization

This refers to the ways media influences the development of an individual's culture and the culture of groups.

The two main ways that attitudes are shaped are through:

1) "Media Role Models"
2) "Modeling Group Behavior"
2) The Group Behavior Model
1) The media often shows social activities or group life. People watch these activities and learn how the members of the group are supposed to act.
2) These portrayals represent reality to the viewer. Although, the portrayals may be either accurate or inaccurate.
3) People exposed to these portrayals learn about the group dynamics. They learn even if the portrayal is wrong. So by watching how groups act in the media, people learn about specific behavior of the members. They learn how a leader is supposed to lead. They learn how followers are supposed to act. They learn how disobedience to the group is punished and how obedience is rewarded.
4) These learned lessons influence how we act in a group or how we think about a group. Again, even if the portrayals were false.
Here is a common portrayal of women in beer commercials.

Should we expect all women to act this way?

The commercial below, deliberately plays against stereotypes of women.

Exactly what do people learn?

1) They learn how the group and its members are expected to act

How are gays supposed to act? What do they like? What do they dislike? Millions of viewers of the program "Will and Grace" thought they knew.

2) They learn the specific roles of the members of the group

Who are the people shown in rap videos? You have the "players", the "homies", the "bitches and hos". They all have specific roles, and if we watch enough videos, we learn what those roles are. Aren't all urban youth like this?

3) They learn the ranking within the group

Cheerleaders are a group often portrayed in the media. One of the girls is the leader. Others are followers, but still part of the clique. Non clique members are scorned by the cheerleaders. Cheerleades are vain, petty, more concerned with popularity than sincerity, and not too smart. From watching their portrayal in the media, I've learned how they act, what their roles are, what their ranking is. I've a wealth of knowledge about cheerleaders gained from the media. You mean cheerleaders aren't like that?

4) They learn how the group enforces behavior

In rap videos, you "bust a cap in his ass." In cheerleader films, you shun them at best or publicly humiliate them at worst.

"As boys pass from childhood to manhood, they develop their moral and ethical code. They learn to handle emerging sexuality. They clarify conceptions of gender roles. And they prepare for their future careers. While young people have traditionally been guided in these paths by familiar sources - family, friends, religion - today's boys are increasingly influenced by an ever-expanding and pervasive media."

Click here to read Boys to Men, Entertainment Media - Messages About Masculinity.

"Watch hip-hop videos today and you'll probably be blown away by the amount of skin on display. Breasts bursting out of bikini tops. Bottoms "covered" by thongs.

Maybe it's caused by the success of crunk, the hard-core hip-hop sound from the South that's dominating the charts. Or could it be the effect of hip-hop's enduring obsession with pimp and stripper culture? Whatever the reason, the objectification of black women - both visually and lyrically - is all the rage."

Click here to read "Blacks debating negative images of hip-hop."

Does the ad to the right reinforce a negative stereotype? Or is it just a clever play on words? It all depends on how sophisticated the person is who sees the ad.

This quiz shows how our concept of romantic love between man and women have been molded by the media.

The Mass Media Love Quiz

With such contradictory behavioral models, it's difficult to determine what the appropriate roles are of men and women in our cultural "rituals".

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation - "Teens, Sex, and TV"

"In April 2002, the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a nationally-representative survey of young people ages 15-17 about the role of television in influencing the sexual decision-making of teens. This survey snapshot high-lights the key findings from that survey."

Life Magazine Cover
Click for larger image
©1948, Life Magazine

Media and Socialization (continued)

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