How Does the Media Shape Society?
Media have a large impact on society. Media influences people’s attitudes by giving a new perspective and motivates people’s thoughts with some information. At the same time, how people think affects the standard and value of the community. What society will be like depends on people’s opinion. If the citizens believe that the issue is a major event, the issue will be what society pays attention to. For example, people care more about equality so more campaigns occur. If the population agrees that it is a good thing, the society will praise it. For instance, people praise King Rama 9’s actions so the efficient economy is embraced more by the city. Because the media shapes society by shaping people’s thinking, the media should represent a good sample.
Case 1: Disney – WOKE
Disney is one of the most lovely film studios of all time. Not only because of the story and characters that touch the audience’s heart, but also because of how Disney promotes diversity. In the past, it was not as diverse as today, Disney racist and disdainful of some nationalities in its movies. As the time passed, the world became more diverse, Disney tried to change itself to become more woke. Disney deleted the scenes that show racism out of its movies before publishing on Disney+ application and apologized for its past mistakes. Moreover, Disney created more different characters to support the uniqueness of people. Instead of racism, Disney created new different nationality princesses to Disney Princesses franchises. Including Tiana (African American), Mulan (Chinese), Moana (Polynesian), Jasmine (Agrabah), and Raya (Asian) to the franchises not only help support feminism, but also help support the beauty of different nations. In addition to the original animation, Disney also has more black people cast in its live action movies. The one that people most talk about right now is the The Little Mermaid live action version that has Halle Bailey to play the role of Ariel. Besides creating various national characters, Disney also created more of LGBT characters in its animation. Alisha Hawthorne (Queer) from Lightyear, Luz Noceda (Bisexual) from The Owl House, and Ethan Clade (Gay) from Strange World are some of the examples. According to Disney’s actions and changes, Disney is one of the good speakers for equality and diversity to society as Mr. Walt Disney once said, “Dream, Diversify-and never miss an angle.” The book should not be judged from its cover even if it differs from the others.
Case 2: Kseries – Stop Bullying
Talking about the stop bullying campaign, Kseries is one of the media that try hard to stop the violence in the school. This topic has been discussed in several Korean series for a long time. Formerly, for instance Boys Over Flowers, this issue may not have been taken that seriously in the drama. However, bullying in school began to be seen as a big deal later in Korea. Series as one of the most influential media in the world are now telling more about this issue and demonstrate what is right or wrong. Who Are You: School 2015, The Penthouse, and The Golden Spoon are some of the Kseries that talk about bullying in a school more solemnly. In 2022 – 2023, there is another series that is going viral to talk about this issue. The Glory indicates the effects that the bullied suffer from being bullied, the common sense of bullies, what is right or wrong, what should or shouldn’t do, and about revenge. The violence shown in the story shows people that bullying others is cruel, no one who received this is happy like the bullies, and the bullying may be a wound to the bullied forever. Furthermore, the series can also inform the parents about their parenting style. The parents should pay attention to their child. They can help their bullied child to solve problems and teach them how to fight and be strong in the real world. On the other hand, the parents can also teach and punish their child if their child bullies others. If Korean dramas continue taking the anti bullying campaign seriously, the violence in the school will be lessened. Not only in Korea, but around the world.
Case 3: Victoria’s Secret’s VS Dove’s Beauty Standard Campaign
Apart from the media that help shape the society in a good way, there are also some of the media that give a wrong standard and value to the community. The advertisement of Victoria’s Secret is one of the media that shares the wrong attitudes toward people. The advert poster of this brand gives an unhealthy body standard. Victoria’s Secret believes that a skinny body is the beauty of women, which causes a beauty standard of an unrealistic body. This makes many women try to lose weight to be skinny, so they can be beautiful in Victoria’s Secret clothing. This misunderstanding can cause the women who don’t fit with the beauty standard to be not confident with their body. Additionally, some people may have become more weakened or got affected by Anorexia Nervosa. Apart from unconfident and health problems that can be followed by these wrong attitudes, the beauty privilege may occur more. Who have a skinny body which is considered beautiful may receive more opportunities but those who do not may receive abuse. The bullying of others’ appearance also may increase. This misconception may lead to disruption and violence in the long term if not corrected. In contrast, Dove’s advertising said that everyone is beautiful in their own way no matter how their body size, hair style, or skin color they are. This help encourages people to be more confident and proud of themselves. Beyond this, the wrong beauty standard and healthy body definitions can also be redefined in a more realistic and nice way. Sometimes, the media may be the one who makes the world absorb the wrong belief.
- The storytelling of the media is as important as the message. If the storytelling cannot convey the message well enough, the audience will receive the misunderstanding and ambiguity. The audience may understand that what should not be done is what should be done because of misleading. The following are the suggestions for storytelling:
- Connotation and Denotation can also help convey the message to the audience. Denotation is the direct meaning of a word, scene, or things. In opposition, connotation refers to the indirect or hidden meaning. For example, people may view Asphodel as a plant (denotation) but in Harry Potter it means regret (connotation). Using these two may help explain the audience and lessen misunderstanding.
- Syntax error and semantic error are two of the errors that ruin the message conveying. The syntax error is the incorrect word arrangement or spelling. The semantic error is the incorrectness of the overall meaning. Using the wrong words or codes (syntax error) can affect the meaning of a message; not fine images can also affect the connotation of the message (semantic error).These two errors should not happen in communication.
- Reflecting society is one way of storytelling that is effective. Sometimes showing the real situation of the society emphasizes the problem that should be solved to people. Nadao Bangkok is one of the film studios that usually use this method in their work. For instance, show Thailand’s education system and teenager’s life problems in Hormones.
- Dystopia can be another way to communicate about a must change problem to the audience. Representing the worst case can encourage the audience to find solutions to the causes of the problem and protect the world from the disaster. The Hunger Games and The Devil Judge are two of the shows that are successful in using this style of storytelling.
- Discretion is important as much as the message and the storytelling of the media. Media can help motivate the audience’s good thinking; however, it depends on the viewer’s discretion. If people have a bad character in the movie such as Joker as an idol instead of being aware of it as a warning parable, the society will value bad things.
- The restriction of age is important. Because children have not much discretion, parents should check the media they view to make sure they do not receive and copy the improper things. For example, children may view the violence and bloodshed in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba as normal so the parents should guide their child while watching the movie. Parents should also avoid their child from watching some movies that are not for kids (The Simpsons, Family Guy, Ted, etc.). Some games, books, and songs may also not be proper for kids.
At the end of the discussion, these three examples represent that the media can be a good and bad communicator depending on how the user sends the message. As we now fully understand the essentialness of media to the society, how to use it well, and other components that can affect the communication, we should use media effectively to send only a useful message to be a good example to people. When the population follows the good example, the society will become nicer. Please be a good media creator to shape our world to be better!