The average American is exposed to over 3000 advertising messages every day.
Companies spend about $12 billion on advertising products to children.
Advertising tries to tell us who we are and who we should be. It sends messages about how we should act, dress, look, feel and behave.
Media pressures kids to be more like adults.
Why media matters…
Condones violent and aggressive behavior
Glamorizes tobacco, alcohol and other drugs
Endorses poor nutrition, unhealthy dieting, obesity
Reinforces poor body image and self-concept
Instigates early and risky sexual behavior
Does all media send unhealthy messages…
Absolutely not. There are plenty of healthy messages out there but unfortunately, they tend to be overshadowed by the negative messages that are are too often turned inward and used negatively against ourselves. Additionally, there is a societal pull for these unhealthy messages to continue. I remember when the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty was launched. I was amazed, relieved and so proud of them for taking a risk (unfortunately it was a “risk”) by honoring women of all shapes, sizes and ages in their advertising. I was extraordinarily surprised when I heard that a poll was done about these ads and it revealed a large minority of consumers who preferred the unrealistic images of beauty that are more typically found in the advertising world. So… I do not solely blame the media, our fashion designers and the business executives who want to capitalize on their products. I encourage all of use to reflect upon our own self-esteem, ideals, wishes and judgments of ourselves and others and the ways in which they may draw us individually, and as a society, towards the unhealthier media messages.
What can we do…
Empower ourselves, our children and those around us.
Be discerning about what we see, read and believe. Recognize unhealthy AND healthy messages.
Talk about the messages we receive from our media and how it impacts us.
Ask questions about the message being sent and the intention of that message, e.g.: What is this trying to sell me? What is this ad telling me that I need in order for my life to be better, more complete, or for me to feel better about myself?
Consider what the advertiser is wanting the us to think or feel.
Question what we see in advertisements.
Remember that digital imaging has changed the world… (the average issue of Vogue contains over 400 manipulated images)
Read on…If you would like to read on, I offer you my FAVORITE book about media messages: “Can’t Buy My Love” by Jean Kilbourne.