How does media affect humans in their day to day lives?

A discussion on “The Psychologically Damaging Effects of Media” provided context on how today’s media sources manipulate humans and define social constructs.

The discussion occurred this past Thursday, Nov. 15 featuring Professor Marie-Joelle Estrada as the main speaker.

The conversation took a quick turn when Estrada delved into how the media provides many unrealistic expectations for consumers.

She explained how the romantic comedies are fixed: where females are given an impression that they are going to live “happily ever after.”

This is untrue, Estrada said; it is an “implicit set of unrealistic expectations.”

In turn, she mentioned the difference between female and male expectations for relationships. “Men think porn is realistic for relationships while women think romantic comedies are realistic for relationships,” she said.

The media also sets up unachievable expectations in other areas — for instance, body image.

According to Estrada, body dysmorphia is on the rise — in both women and men. Individuals are “preyed upon on their insecurities”. She used an example for men through the Viagra commercials.

Estrada explained how the Viagra commercials were originally targeted to help older men with erectile dysfunction. However, more recently, Viagra has changed their consumer pool to target more than just 50–60 year-old men.

Viagra uses newer commercials that manipulate younger men, claiming men always need “erectile insurance.”

The next point that Estrada made touched upon the negative impacts of media through Photoshop. Body dysmorphia has only increased with the abilities of Photoshop.

She said that only small details are changed in photoshop edits, but the entirety of the picture is completely different from the original.

Women are portrayed as slim and thin while men are portrayed as buff and toned in today’s media.



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