Should we really blame the media?

The media has always been to blame for major issues such as anti-social behaviour, cyber-bullying and violence. However, is it really justified to blame the media for how these issues were formed? Yes, the media may have been a key factor in how these problems occurred however, can we really blame media industries for how audiences interpret the information being conveyed? Messages can become easily mixed. From the duration between the speaker giving a speech to the audience who take on its certain effect, a ‘noise source’ comes into play changing how the message is interpreted resulting in the alteration of the lasting effect audience members are left with. Take Chinese Whispers for example, just because the end message doesn’t match up to the start, should we blame the first speaker? Or can we believe that somewhere in the middle someone had misinterpreted the message changing the initial idea? Should we blame the media due to a misinterpretation?

An example of this theory is perceived through the popular social media site, Instagram. A site originally created to be a simple photo-sharing app. Today a ‘trending hit’ on this application is Fitspo. Fitspo (short for fitspiration) is portrayed images of active, strong and fit women to promote proper exercise and healthy eating (urban dictionary definition). Yet, instead is progressively promoting impossible standards. Fitspo has influenced a huge audience in a negative manner where instead of loving and appreciating their body types, are being conformed to ‘the perfect size’. Body image has always been a confronting issue reflecting on young teenagers and adults, usually resulting in eating disorders and unhealthy ideals. The users of Instagram influence the innocent and manipulate how they perceive themselves and how they perceive ‘healthy living’.

The popular media platform has become a target for women and the ideal size they perceive. It is a fine line between motivation and manipulation. Fitspo has greatly affected today’s society and can be seen as “… A movement that triggers obsessive behaviour and another impossible body standard for women…it’s everywhere. It’s growing. And it has the potential to screw up the body image of a whole generation of women.” (Kate Spies, 2015) Fitspo impacts an individual’s lifestyle by making them constantly rethink decisions such as what they ‘should’ be eating instead of what they want to eat, when they ‘should’ be exercising instead of when they want to exercise. They are replacing the wants with unnecessary ‘needs’. Although is it appropriate to blame the media platform as a whole or should we be punishing the users of the site? It was not their intention to create such an impressionable development influencing viewers worldwide.

The participating users who had originally started the fitspo movement have, in a way, misinterpreted the key idea behind Instragram. Just because Instagram engagers have used the media site in an unfavourable manner does not mean the specific media site is to be blamed. It is the misinterpreters who have initially created this issue not the media.

References:

Omg-theykilleddrory.tumblr, 31 July 2011, Top Definition: Fitspo, Urban Dictionary, viewed 15 March 2015
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Fitspo

Katie Spies, 25 February 2015, #Fitspo: 2015’s Most Dangerous Body Image Movement, Mamamia, viewed 17 April 2015
http://www.mamamia.com.au/lifestyle/is-fitspo-dangerous/

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One thought on “Should we really blame the media?

  1. l totally agree with your argument here. The fact that the media simply acts a platform so individuals are able to interact but is then blamed for the content that is displayed and exchanged is silly. Where it’s obviously the people utilising the medium that is the problem rather than the medium itself. I admit that people believe its easier to blame the media rather then themselves because there will obviously be no reaction, but what people have to understand and admit is that with or without the media bulling, violence and anti-social behaviour is going to happen either way.

    Like

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