Media and the American Culture

1. Family - Teach gender roles and expectations
• Primary agents of socialization
2. School - Conflict theorists contend that schools foster competition through
rewards and punishment - someone learning a skill may feel stupid because they
do not learn it fast enough
3. Peer Group - Teenagers imitate their friends - ease transition to adulthood
4. Mass Media and Technology
• 32% under 7 have their own TV’s
• 53% of children 12-18 have their own TV’s
• Television promotes the values of a given society; Europe vs. U.S.
5. Workplace - Behave appropriately in an occupation
6. The State - Individual as a citizen
• Media and its effects on children…
Purchase Power
American Values
American Culture- fashion, etc.
World Views
Right v. Wrong
• Media and its effects on adults…
Purchase power
World Views
American Culture- fashion, etc.
Written Media
Visual Media
• Television-watching Americans see approximately 100 TV
commercials a day.
• In that same 24 hours they also see a ton of print ads, billboard
signs, and other corporate messages slapped onto every
available surface.
• Studies estimate that 16,000 ads flicker across an individual's
consciousness daily.
• TV ads are built on one simple idea: If you buy X, you'll get Y.
• Y is rarely the product itself
• It's a positive emotion, a perfect relationship, higher social status or an
amazing experience.
• For example:
• Big Red gum="kiss a little longer."
• Toys "R" Us=reconnect with your youthful self, allowing you to have even
more fun with your kids.
• Verizon phone=stay close with your family.
• Calvin Klein jeans will make you sexy like Kate Moss
• Nike sports apparel will make you ready to "Just Do It" like a professional
• There is no human emotion or concern — love, lust, war, childhood
innocence, social rebellion, spiritual enlightenment, even disgust with
advertising — that cannot be reworked into a sales pitch.
• All 16,000 ads are “idealized”
• Idealization means that whatever's happening in the ad is ahead of
where culture is right now. It's not what we've got, but instead it's richer,
sexier and cooler!
• TV ads drive culture by reflecting only the lucky top 0.001
percent of what's possible.
• When the remaining 99.999 percent of culture imitates it, the
center of culture shifts.
1. Equal Opportunity
2. Achievement and Success
3. Material Comfort
4. Activity and Work
5. Practicality and Efficiency
6. Progress
7. Science
8. Democracy and Enterprise
9. Freedom
10. Physical Beauty/Fitness
• What is your view of beauty?
• Boys list the attributes of a girl that makes her beautiful. Keep it clean!
• Girls do the same for boys. Keep it clean!
Discussion1. How do the boys’ view of beauty differ from the girls?
2. Do you think the roles society has taught you play a part in your
3. What is our societal view of beauty?
4. Do you make an attempt to conform to the societal view?
5. What was the societal view of beauty in the past?