Monday, January 15, 2007

The Entertainment Industry's Effect On Society (3)

How many people do you know who have favorite celebrities and look for them in magazines or movies to see what the next hair or fashion trend is? I must admit, I also often look in celebrity magazines to see what the stars are up to and to scope out the "hot" new trends. However, this has brought me to the realization that the entertainment industry is constantly changing our perceptions of who we are and is highly responsible for our changing cultural trends. People look at celebrities and completely change their own views and ideals in order to match what they see as perfection. Why is it that many people cannot see an average middle class family as ideal? People want more money, the ideal career, and a Range Rover. The simple things are becoming less and less appreciated as people look to those people with more wealth to see how they are living in comparison to their own lives. People want something more, something bigger. The media and the entertainment industry are constantly in view and have a huge impact on our societal trends. These aspects of the entertainment industry in our society remind us of how the rich and the famous live. We cannot escape the magazine covers, constant advertisements, or the entire entertainment industry in general. All aspects of the entertainment industry overwhelm our society and are highly responsible for our changing perceptions and trends.

For example, there are numerous television shows which make many look at their own lives, causing them to suddenly want something different. Television shows such as "Top Model" and "The Fabulous Life Of..." are perfect examples. "Top Model" displays tall, thin, beautiful girls as the ideal "top model." This makes many young girls wish to be thinner with perfect bodies and untouchable beauty. Their own image of themselves becomes distorted as they see what is considered as beautiful in our society. "The Fabulous Life Of..." shows celebrity lives, including the places they go, their extravagant homes, and over the top vacations, which are out of reach for many who are not fortunate enough to make millions. This show makes families and people of lower economic status feel as if their lives and the things that they do for fun or for pleasure suddenly aren't as good as the many celebrities who can afford to do whatever they desire.

Divorce is also much more common in our society, and it is no surprise that this trend is seen with celebrity couples. Celebrities are getting divorces almost everyday. It now seems that divorce is expected with those couples who are in the media. Because these divorces are publicized as normal, and even sometimes as a good thing, this has allowed our society to look at divorce and view it with less and less significance. There is hardly any negativity carried along with divorce anymore. Marriage seems to have become the trial run as opposed to dating. Celebrity couples have created a divorce trend, and in turn, have created the meaning of divorce to not really have much meaning anymore. Divorce is now looked to as extremely common, which is another example of how celebrities and the industry are changing our own perceptions.

Cosmetic surgery has also swept through our society and is becoming increasingly common as people want to look like their favorite celebrity and be more beautiful. Television shows, such as "I Want a Famous Face," "Extreme Makeover," and "Dr. 90210," make plastic surgery seem almost as if it is "the thing to do." "I Want a Famous Face" takes mainly teens and tries to transform them into looking like a certain celebrity by giving them multiple cosmetic surgery procedures. This is absolutely ridiculous. This sends out a message that a person's own identity is not good enough. "Extreme Makeover" and "Dr. 90210" make plastic surgery seem like simple procedures and send out the message that a person should get plastic surgery if they do not feel that they have the perfect body. Things seem as if there is no excuse not to have the perfect look, since there is the option of plastic surgery. Celebrities are also getting plastic surgery to better their appearance, most of the time because they think that it will help their career. This trend makes it even harder on our society, making it seem as if a person must be perfect to be successful in this business. This has changed many people into constantly thinking that they are not good enough or good looking enough, which then causes lack of self-fulfillment.

Although I do feel that the entertainment industry has negatively affected the minds of people in society, I do not believe that the entertainment industry is bad. I just think that many aspects of this industry, such as those mentioned above, need to be recognized and changed somehow so that our minds are not clouded with this idea of celebrity perfection. Self-fulfillment and confidence are key ingredients for true happiness, but these ingredients are becoming hard to obtain. The media and entertainment industry are constantly sending out messages of what perfection is, making it difficult for some to be happy and content with the way they are. Why do we look to celebrities and the media for guidelines as to what should make a person happy when we should be happy with what we already have? Yes, it is good to want more and strive for higher goals; however, until a person reaches that state, it is important for them to be content with where they are, no matter the way they look, or the amount of money they make. I want our society to stop looking to television shows, movies, and celebrities for what the "perfect" or "ideal" life is. Studying this topic over the next few months will help me to understand what creates this obsession with the entertainment industry and all of its components, which could further help myself and others to know how this might be changed. Looking to the entertainment industry for just that, entertainment, and not as the guide to a perfect life, will help many to be more satisfied and happier with who they are. The entertainment industry will always have an effect on societal trends; however, we need to work towards the idea of these effects being positive on society. Transforming models and actors into more average looking people would be a huge start; although, it will take a tremendous amount of societal change, as well as a change from huge corporations, which is not an easy task. With more people expressing concern over the negative images that the entertainment industry is creating, there will only be an increased chance that things might change for the better.


Jen Pell said...

I'm teaching english in a hungarian highschool in budapest. I am tackling the huge issue of entertainmenet this next month. I typed up television impacting society and your blog came up. Thanks for your post. I will check back with you later because I tend to agree with a lot of what you're saying.

Anonymous said...

Hello Mervyn, I want to thank you for writting this article. I liked it and it inspired to me use it as reference when I did my english final last night. If you happen to read this and have the time can you let me know what you think of it? (this is the paragraph were I used your article as a reference.

What people view on television, on movies, on reality shows, in magazines, and on the net is solely for entertainment purposes and should not be taken too seriously by their consumers. Nevertheless, when a person sees their favorite singers, dancers, baseball players, or soccer players performing, he/she will often become star struck by that person and try to imitate them by altering their walk, their catch, their voice, or try to achieve the money the stars have. However, when some people cannot live up to the standard they see in the media, they are left disappointed in themselves which causes them to have low self-esteem and they tend to be less social with their peers. I am not arguing that this is not a distressing state to be in since it is a daily struggle for some people and for some of our youth today. Rather, I am pointing out that what people see in the media is all Hollywood, which is glitz, steroids, plastic surgery, heavy makeup, and special camera effects, which gives consumers something interesting to watch. Moreover, in an article titled “the Entertainment Industry’s Effect on Society”, Mervyn supports my claim on how the media should be seen as nothing more than entertainment and should not be a used as a crutch to guide society.
Yes, it is good to want more and strive for higher goals; however, until a person reaches that state, it is important for them to be content with where they are, no matter the way they look, or the amount of money they make. I want our society to stop looking to television shows, movies, and celebrities for what the "perfect" or "ideal" life is…. Looking to the entertainment industry for just that, entertainment, and not as the guide to a perfect life, will help many to be more satisfied and happier with who they are. (1)

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