Mediated Media

The sensory stimulation when one walks into Times Square is overwhelming as there are lights, ads, people and sounds commanding attention from every direction. Times square is filled with Media, from the analog billboards to the digital TV screens that harbor all the ads everything functions in one way or another to establish relationships between the viewer and the thing the media represents. Media is extremely powerful in that is not only capable of representing reality, it is also able to re-appropriate certain elements and redefine reality through its lenses. It is clear that media has a large impact on shaping our lives and ideas about things pertaining to life.

Media also has the ability to reify certain ideas such as the concept of beauty. Beauty is an abstract idea and perhaps the simplest way to understand it is that it is rooted in the aesthetic, and it is something that “looks good”. The picture below is an accurate representation of what is considered feminine beauty in its mainstream definition.


Images like this create a standard of beauty for women across the United States, regardless of their ethnicity or culture. Beauty is represented as a longhaired woman who is slender, tall, sexualized and more often or not she is Caucasian. Whether or not they want to identify with this figure, they are compelled by society to identify with her and internalize this representation of beauty because images like this pervade their everyday lives: on TV, on the internet, in the magazine, and on advertisements across the country. Thus, we can understand that the human body itself is a kind of media. Certain body types reify the notion of beauty bridging the gap between what is abstract to what is concrete.

This idea can be applied to Fuller and Goffey’s concept of brainwashing. In Evil Media, Fuller and Goffey write “An example of such is brainwashing, characterized by indoctrination, mind control, the manipulation of thought patterns and brains, characterized as clumps of rewireable stuff…the other, you convince yourself, is an enemy of autonomous rationality, a purveyor of cheap and manipulative ideologies and an ill-willed manipulator of the free thinking individual”(Goffey, Fuller, 25). The standard of beauty can be thought of as a form of passive propaganda. With these images pervading everyday life, it is difficult to ignore their existence. It is also difficult to not conform to these standards while being surrounded by other individuals who do internalize these standards. Here, the “other” that the authors speak of can be understood of as the producers and the distributors of these images. But the question is, is beauty competitive and can there only be one dominant standard? Is the notion inherently exclusive? Should it strive to broaden its definition? If everyone was considered beautify, then would the notion change its meaning as well?


~ by hy521 on November 21, 2013.

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