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An Individuals Identity Is Formed By Society Media Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 2063 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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An individual’s identity is formed by society in which media plays a predominant role. There is a daily interactive relationship between the subject and the object, that is, human agents and the conditions of their subsistence, respectively. Theories of the individual emphasize on differences between people and deem these differences as natural. Individuals are “constituted” as the possessors of positions throughout the effects of social relations. Alternatively, other theories of the topic concentrate on people’s general experiences in society through watching TV, surfing the internet or reading the newspaper. It is these general experiences that are the most significant way of distinguishing who we are. Thus, subject identity is a social construction, not an ordinary one.

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When we connect with the media, we act and are acted upon, use and are used by the system. Ideology is not precise, but implicit in images, structures, and sign systems evident in the media which task is to establish the individual’s as subjects. We have social identities conferred unto us, mainly through the mass media. For example, take the popular medium of magazines. Magazines are an easy way of targeting the exact audience that has been set out to be.

This is important as not only are individuals capable to choose which magazine they would desire to read but they are also capable of utilizing it to assemble their own identity. One of the most outstanding images found in magazines is that of the thin and beautiful model, numerous females would glance at these images as a source of inspiration as to what their bodies should look like and would think that they were inadequate if they do not look like the models featured. For example a perfume by Giorgio Armani called “Sensi”, saying that “I sense, therefore I am” and a model lying across a table giving the impression that one must need this perfume in their everyday life, and the emphasis on women’s fragrance. Our society today has been affected in such a materialistic world that it is so easy for advertisers to promote any old debris and still be assured that consumers will buy into it, regardless of the cost of the product. The media has us “brain washed” very well, and know how and what to promote to us in a very effective way.

It is through the modern media apparatus that people achieve a sense of identity. There is no doubt that contemporary media is a culture possessed with the “self”. Via the mass media we are told ways in which to develop the “self”. We buy books, read articles in the newspaper, and we watch lifestyle programs. The mass media supply us with the talent to transform, create, re-create and mass produce identity. The media permits us to transform the very way we think of ourselves, for that reason it allows us to become and be seen the way we desire to be.

A popular contemporary medium for transformation is found in the ability of an individual to build a web page on the internet. It offers a unique opportunity to write one’s self on a global stage and for the author to believe about their identity. Generating such pages offers an exceptional chance for self-presentations in relation to several dimensions of social and individual identity to which one chooses to allude. We seek to be as straightforward as we would like to present ourselves to the human race. This technology is greatly about viewing ourselves a certain way, as it is about having other people view us. By abstracting oneself onto a web page, one sets a target to which one must stand true.

It is understandable that due to the contemporary media with which we engage it is more likely that instead of achieving, experiencing and learning our identity, we are more likely to purchase and use our identity. Since ‘personality’ is largely a subject of outward behavior and appearance, individuals begin to use consumption as a means of creating a “social self”. Thus identity becomes constructed, rather then exposed and variable, rather than preset. A fundamental support in the construction of identity is fashion. The problem with this type of construction is that by dressing a certain way, the fashion industry offers a “new you”. In acquiring certain styles of fashion and particular brands, people consequently relate themselves with the meanings embedded in those goods. These modified meanings thereby become piece of the perceived “self”. It creates a fake ideology, a mask for one in which one can change who they are by means of changing the way they dress. For example, Jerry Seinfeld is backing up American Express Michael, Paul Reiser wants you to use AT&T, and Jordan is selling you Gatorade. Why do these famous stars emerge on commercials and show up in ads? The idea is to subliminally give the product traits that it never even deserves, like wealth, fame, and even success. When you see Michael Jordan drink that Gatorade and then go for a 360 slam-dunk, they desire you to think that, “Hey maybe if I drink Gatorade, I can turn into as great a basketball player as Michael Jordan”. Now when you see someone like Jerry Seinfeld with American Express, they want you to think, “If somebody as prestigious and successful as Jerry Seinfeld adores American Express, then it MUST be a great card to have”. Besides the less obvious, there is just the fact that someone needs a famous celebrity to present and sell their product, rather than some ordinary person who holds no social figure in society.

Society and mass media are primarily split between different desires, interests, and engagements, and so is the subject. There is an essential lack between personal identity and identification with the mass media: a gap that prevents identification from ending up in a state of clean identity. Identity is a case of building and articulation because as individuals we do not have a definite position in our social structure.

We create identity in relation to those surrounding us and much of the cause for our own uncertainty about our identity is because the nature of society is endlessly changing. As beings that innately desire to be accepted, the way in which other people view and judge us has become of great importance. Hence as individual we all try to be as well as manage to conform to the ideas extended by the media. This is due to the detail that there is a need to feel part of a group, a want to feel as though one belongs, and to improve one’s identity in the eyes of others. Studies report that communication allows young people to facilitate social involvement and thereby make a recognizable identity. Contemporary society and mass media produces the end of the individual, and encourages conformity. The mass media are responsible for “brain washing” the people of the paradox, your identity is only individual when it is the same as everybody else.

The media operates as a needle which injects attitudes, ideas, and beliefs into the viewers who as a defenseless mass have little choice but to be influenced. As an outcome identities are assembled from the material generated by the media.

The mass media establishments do have the authority to set the agenda, to select, to frame, to classify and to define appropriate issues. Consequently, media communication is a prearranged activity, which “frames” the social reality in accordance with the “dominant ideology”. The meanings that are collected from the media do not have to be final but are open to refashioning and reshaping. Ultimately we only get to choose from a selected few issues which reflect the interests of capitalists and large corporations. It is from these narrow issues that an individual assembles their identity. Certain standards and ideologies are imposed unto us, with no opposing views to counteract their influence. Thus, we can only illustrate from the cultural collection accessible to us.

Mass communication can influence cognitive change amongst individuals, mentally order and manage the world for us and also plainly create conflict or violence between people in society. Therefore, authorities or interest groups who have enormous control on media especially the government, newspaper and television program producers need a proper consideration for media use as well as being accountable for consequences. Evidently the modern media penetrates everything that we bump into in our everyday life. The author of “Understanding Power the Indispensable Chomsky”, Chomsky showed how the conventional press is run by the political economy and how the spectator is made into a pawn. The author constructs a propaganda model in which he exposes how the government exploits the media to implement control over the people. The mass media, therefore, is a business tool that is used to program the population. The spectator is told what kind of desire he/she must have.

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The messages we obtain are selective, diverse, and contradictory. It is through the magazines, television, news papers and the internet that, at its disposal, society has a great deal of resources accessible to them. There is no such thing as a set identity; it is negotiable and constantly being altered in order to keep up with the altering nature of society as identity is assembled in relation to others. The media supplies us with tools, allowing us to develop into the person we want to be, and fit in with those around us.

In my opinion media is a reflection of society, not the other way around. So if we want to really deal with violence, we should to start with ourselves, not with the media that is basically showing us the world as it is. You can’t blame TV and music for all the unconstructive things that people do. It’s the person’s responsibility to be interpreting the message the correct way. You can’t deny the fact that media does project wrong images towards young people but its how they interpret the messages and act in response to them that’s important. Parents should explain to their kids that most of the stuff on TV is fictional. The majority of us watch TV; but most for people, these messages and images do not elicit nor drive impulsive behavior. However, because media has a huge impact on society, whatever is displayed and conveyed has a great effect on people, especially on younger minds.

I think that violence and sex on TV and in music is used as the lone scapegoat as crime arises. The crime can only be blamed on the individual. Eminem and Marilyn Manson have the right to speak what they wish, people have the right to listen or not listen. But, no one has the right to murder. And if someone does commit murder, I don’t think music, or violence that they see or listen to can or should be solely responsible for their crime.

Is censorship the response to the problem of violent entertainment? Should we tell people what they can or can’t read or watch? The simple respond to this question is no, we can’t censor violent entertainment. Because of freedom of speech but there is a fair ratings system – which works most of the time. Rappers, writers, performers, and singers write based on their life and what has gone on in it. A rapper raps with reference to poverty, shootings, and robberies, why? Because that’s what the majority of them lived through. Eminem raps about things that board his nerves. Why? Because he lives with those feelings and emotions. People who use these artists as reasons to be brutal are wrong. Music and TV do not commit crime it’s the society and the people themselves. Thus I believe that although the media plays an essential role in defining who we are and establishing our identities, it does not govern our actions.

1. Parenti, Michael. Inventing Reality- Politics of News Media: St. Oartin’s Press, 1993.

2. Chomsky, Noam; Mitchell, Peter. Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky, 2002.

3. Lorimer, Rowland. Mass Communication in Canada, 1996.

4. Kilbourne, Jean. Killing Us Softly. (Video)


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