Literature Review: The Impact Of Media Influence On Society

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Literature Review

The study of media influences on society is important because of the impact it has on shaping our beliefs, behaviours, and biases. Many Sociologist have examined the different aspects of media influence on society and this literature review will summarize the findings of five different research articles which focus on the effects of media exposure on society as a whole. A variety of issues are explored including, feminism, racism, sexism, and inequality of the different socioeconomic classes. It is important to highlight the influential practices used by the media to influence people, so that we may better understand the impact that it may have on our daily lives. This literature review examines the many aspects of media
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They found that often powerful women are portrayed as “bad” as opposed to powerful men roles that are viewed as more positive. Sutherland, et al warns that the presentation of powerful women in films is complex and not straightforward. They give examples of different movies that portray powerful women and offer analysis of characters that were powerful women, but viewed as evil or mean such as in, The Devil wears Prada; the main character in this film is presented as a masculine women who exploits the less powerful. This portrayal gives the impression that business women in a powerful position can be mean and it’s not a very desirable role. However, as the authors discuss, a man in a similar role would be characterized as strong and an effective leader. Sutherland, et al also highlights the conflicting views on women in power such as in the film Fatal Attraction, in which a deranged (Alex) woman aggressively seduces another woman’s husband (Dan) and the loyal wife uses her power to kill Alex. Both of these roles portrayed powerful women, but one was evil whose power needed to be controlled and the other was a protector of her her family. Also, Sutherland provides the views of prominent feminists (A. Dworkin & c. MacKinnon) who have grounded their analysis of inequality in the notion that masculinity means domination and femininity means subjection. The domination view holds that “what it means to be a woman…show more content…
Their study was based on an examination of the content of animated cartoons which exposes young audiences to media biases at a very young age. Their study was unique because it focused on a younger media group as opposed to the majority of other media analyzes that prefer to to do adult focused groups. Interestingly, they found that homosexuals are annihilated in cartoons in other words they are basically non-existent in cartoons. Klein, et al gives the reference of symbolic annihilation which was first made by Tuchman (1978), who described the phenomenon as a process by which the mass media omit, trivialize, or condemn certain groups that are not socially valued. This is a major issue because it sends a message to society that certain groups are not important in society and therefore are not part of the important story. Unfortunately, these disenfranchised groups are often cast aside and not valued in society as a whole. By not even referencing them or identifying them they are sending a message that these “outcast” are not welcomed in mainstream media which translate to mainstream
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