Word Count: 579Does the entertainment media reflect the standards of theAmerican people, or does the entertainment media definethe standards of the American people? This question isdifficult to answer because of the complex interactionbetween American culture and the entertainment industry. To some extent, the entertainment media does getsfeedback on what viewers want to see in the form ofNielson ratings and box office returns. But the simple factremains that the content produced and delivered by way oftelevision, the film industry, and the major music labels arecontrolled by a relatively small group of individuals. Entertainment media does not reflect standards ofAmerican people.
Instead, it defines what the people want. The mass media is controlled by a selected group of peoplewho decide what shows get aired, and what the content ofthose shows should be. The television ratings system andbox office returns provide some feedback, but the only realconcern is over what is the most profitable. One majorconcern with the content of media is the effect it has onvery young children. Disney movies have taken quite abeating over the years because of stereotypes they "force"into children’s minds. Stereotypes in ;The Little Mermaid;are a good example of this.Order now
Ariel, the star/role model in themovie, plays the part of a helpless, blundering female. Assoon as she was left on her own, she immediately gotherself into trouble. There was always a male needing toprotect her. Another example of stereotypes is in the movie;Dumbo;, where the crows that gave Dumbo the magicfeather were portrayed as very stereotypical images ofAfrican Americans. They were shown as jolly, easy-going,and vulgar.
Disney’s animated films influence children intheir formative years of life. Do we want our childrengrowing up with these corrupt images in their heads? Ofcourse not! But there is not much that can be done aboutchanging the content. If a young girl wishes to grow up to !be "just like Ariel", then what should you tell her? Maybe itis a perfect opportunity for her parents to sit her down andteach her about the differences between fairy tales andreality. Television sitcoms and prime time TV seriescommonly depict a family with a mom, dad (or even stepmom or dad), several children, and a pet or two, all in afairly stable relationship with one another. Never doesabuse, neglect, or other common family problems actuallyoccur in the main family of a sitcom.
Again it should betaught to the children at an early age (perhaps in elementaryschool?) that TV fiction is not an equivalent to reality byany means, and that if their life does not "measure up", it isnormal, and nothing to be embarrassed about. Then there isproduct placement in television and movies. In some ways,seeing actual products that people recognize from daily lifemakes the television and movie sets appear more realistic. So in that way, entertainment media may be reflecting theAmerican people. But, a lot of the brand name productsused on movie and television sets are there because acorporate sponsor paid to have their product included themedia content.
This has become fairly common, and is asmart means of advertising. What is shown on TV andmovies looks real to people, so if their product is includedin a popular sitcom or movie, the company will most likelyfind quite an increase in market sales. So, in turn, theentertainment media does in fact define what the publicwants as a whole. If a person or group of people disagreewith what they see on television, then they have every rightto just flip the channel or educate themselves or theirchildren to base their opinions more on individual thought.