There is a lot of easy-to-find information out there on how Western media negatively affects females (which will be the topic of next week’s post in the series). The negative affects on males, specifically, were harder to find.
Media Smarts reports this is partly due to males not being as open as females. This feeling of guarded nonchalance is partly because of the constant media message that “real men” don’t care. They are either the fat and lazy guy too dumb to care or the macho manly man who is too cool to care. “A study by the UK National Health Service found that hospital admissions for men with eating disorders had risen by two-thirds between 2001 and 2011,” reports Media Smarts. Despite the messages I received from parents and males immediately after I crowd sourced via Facebook asking if males feel media pressure, their concerns are still difficult to address.
“[There is] Definitely body pressure. Television shows (sitcoms, serious ones, even cartoons) always had the coolest guy with the biggest muscles get the girl,” a male friend wrote me. This was echoed by a mother talking about her primary school aged son feeling body pressure, “the same as girls.”
Media Smarts states that males feel a need to conform to the average weight, if not especially athletic. Therefore they fear being too fat or too thin. Athletic males feel an immense pressure to look the part, turning to unhealthy lifestyles involving performance enhancing drugs.
Through interviews I learned that males feel a strong need to have the best of the best and the most up to date gadgets. And in order to “man up” and be a “manly man” this means the best tech toys, cars, clothes and BBQ know how. And though they are expected to know everything about everything, men are “too dumb” for women’s work. And if they aren’t above household chores and cooking they are emasculated, maybe, even, gay (The horror!)
There is an emphasis in media land on men needing to be tough no matter the amount of violence. Video games, movies, TV, ads, it’s everywhere. Violence = A man.
When someone accused me of being sexist for being a feminist they posted me a link regarding a man aisle in a New York grocery store; full of beer, fat filled snacks and condoms. I understand the attempt at humour, but the message here is “You’re a dumb man,” or “You’re above women’s work.” And when our children see this aisle they are unable to separate the reality from the comedy.
A big topic, please feel free to reply with your input or contact me. Though please remember to read Commenting Policy before you do. Next week we’ll take a look at the media’s negative impact on females.
Next, Media affects on females.
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