Tag Archives: #Society

Media creates our social norms

How many times has someone told you that whatever you do isn’t normal?

It happens to a lot of people and for different reasons.

It might be because of the things they do and do not enjoy, but everyone has their concept of normal and are a little threatened by anything that challenges that concept.

Where does the idea of normal come from?

It comes from the TV shows we watch, the books we read and the music we listen to.

Every piece of media put out into the world is a message. Artists knowingly and unknowingly put their beliefs into any work they create. Consumers also conscious and subconsciously pick up these beliefs, slowly creating social norms.

These norms can be about anything from what constitutes boy versus girl toys, to what our concept of beauty is.

Gender norms are a perfect example. Joss Whedon, creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and countless other shows, was once asked why he kept writing strong female characters.

His response was, “Because you’re still asking me that question.” With that answer, Whedon pointed out one of the things that is wrong with our modern American culture. We are always surprised when a strong female character makes it either to any form of media.

This means there are countless books, movies, plays and other forms of media out there with a weak female protagonist that is influencing modern society, convincing us that femininity is a weakness.

There are many artists like Whedon who are combating this norm, but this could just as easily create a new norm. Not all strong female characters are as well-rounded as Buffy Summers, Veronica Mars or even a majority of the characters in “Orange is the New Black.” Some female characters might as well just become stereotypical macho males with boobs.

It is the little things that consumers have to watch for.

Ke$ha may sexualize men in her music much  like men have sexualized women for generations, but is that really the battle we want on our hands: A fight over which gender can sexualize the other the most?

When we know where we are getting our social norms from, it is much easier to experience any sort of media with at least an ounce of intelligence.

An intelligent consumer doesn’t blindly follow along but questions everything, every character and every character’s action.

An intelligent artist makes sure they realize the messages they are sending and I hope that more and more artists follow in Whedon’s footsteps.

Gilberto Galvez / Features editor

Gilberto Galvez can be reached at linfieldreviewfeatures@gmail.com.

Confession told on YouTube shocks society

Would you have the strength to admit that you did something wrong? Something so terribly wrong that it

could result in being arrested or even being put in jail for years?

That’s exactly what 22-year-old Matthew Cordle did last week when he uploaded a video to YouTube

confessing to driving drunk and killing 61-year-old Navy Veteran, Vincent Canzani.

After the incident, Cordle met with attorneys who told him his blood test may be thrown out and after that

he would only need to lie to avoid punishment.

Cordle responded by making a video that would give prosecutors “everything they need to put [him] away

for a very long time.”

As a mass communication major, I am constantly being told how citizen journalism in the age of social

media is leaving traditional journalists out of a job.

People are tired of hearing processed news from biased sources owned by large media producers with

their own agendas.

In our media classes, we are taught to be fair, honest and unbiased in our approach to recording and

delivering news.

But Cordle’s confession brings up a whole new use for social media truth-telling: behaving like an honest,

decent human being and admitting your mistake for others to learn from.

Never before have we seen this kind of brutal, self-destroying honesty in such a public way.

We’ve become a society built on lies. Phrases like “weapons of mass destruction” and “when the

president does it, it’s not illegal” come to mind.

More recently is the Anthony Weiner scandal. Obama’s plans to pull troops from Iraq and Afghanistan

and the Assad regime over the use of chemical weapons make it difficult to believe in anything our leaders

have to say.

We’ve been lied to by politicians and presidents so often that hit television shows like “House of Cards,”

“Boardwalk Empire” and “24” all have a lying political figure as a central character.

“Politician” and “corruption” have almost become synonymous. We accept that fact, even though these

elected officials are fundamentally representing the voice of the American people.

I couldn’t believe the bravery of Cordle when I first saw the video. The way it begins by pixilating his face

and obscuring his voice, then gradually revealing his identity as he begins to confess.

Then I realized: he is simply confessing a mistake, something all human beings are bound to do in their

lifetime.

His mistake was far more awful than most people will likely commit, but even so, all he is doing is

being honest.

What does it say about our society that we are shocked by the truth when we hear it?

Would we rather hear news from untrained citizen sources than from professionals with hidden agendas?

Would we begin to ignore our legal system because of its blatant corruption?

The answer isn’t easy to arrive at.

As a society we are taught to ignore our problems and lie when confronted.

Only if we are willing to stand up and reveal ourselves as human beings, will we ever begin to see

change.

Cordle’s video is amazing, but not because he made it knowing it would get him in trouble.

Olivia Marovich / News editor

Olivia Marovich can be reached at linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com.