A prominent ‘media panic’ in society today is the sexualisation of children in the media. Images such as the example below have many worried that due to today’s exposure to the media, children are growing up too fast. This raises issues about the representation of children, art & pornography, censorship and the concept of childhood.
However it becomes blatantly clear who is missing from this debate. Males. It is not a secret that there is an attitude towards girls and women that they need to be ‘pure’ whereas there is no such social construct for men. A good example of this is the dress codes of schools in North America and other nations which outline that girls should dress in such a way to cover their knees and bra straps. The idea surrounding this is to suggest that girls will be a distraction to the boys. This message is greatly problematic as it tells girls that they are merely objects to men and if they want to protect themselves from men then they should cover themselves up. Females have picked up the double standard as men aren’t told to cover up and have fought back their oppression both in online awareness and in their schools.
There is much emphasis and blame put women in the media for exploring their sexuality. In 2013, Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke performed together at the VMA’s. The moment the media and the rest of the world remembered was Miley Cyrus twerking up against Robin Thicke. The internet instantly responded to the performance calling Miley a “whore” and “slut”. However, a counter argument also began to question why Thicke wasn’t receiving any hate when he was an older man whom was married and a father. There is this suggestion that women are not allowed to explore their sexuality without being slut shamed but men are applauded. This all plays into rape culture. The organisation Women Against Violence Against Women have a great article which explores the this problem in society.
Whilst in many cases the use of young girls depicted in sexualised ways is truly disturbing, there needs to be a greater condemnation of those who sexualise images that do not have the aim of being sexualised. Furthermore, women in general should not be depicted as sex objects and should be treated with the same standards as men.
This semester my eyes have opened up to the world of the media.The theories such as the public sphere, media ownership, semiotics and media effects have led me to understand that the media has a greater role in our lives than previously thought. In particular, the theory of media effects in regards to how the media can influence the behaviour of the audience. It quickly became clear that it is rather how the audience uses the media and the level in which they are influenced. This also plays into semiotics, media ownership and the public sphere about how it revolves about the messages the individual receives from images