Unbelievably, this morning’s Today show had a segment entitled “Is TV making your daughters mean?” My immediate reaction was DUH, of course it is. It’s not rocket science, kids ARE influenced by what they see on TV. In fact, we all are. While I applaud them for attempting to address the issue I do feel it deserves deeper thought and a broader discussion since it deals with two critical issues, bullying and negative female stereotypes.
There are a whole slew of shows which glorify catfights and women behaving badly. The networks and their misguided supporters call this entertainment. I am never entertained by seeing people act like morons but that’s just me.
They accurately opined that such shows shore up the stereotypical belief that women do not get along and are bitchy. That’s not new though we can clearly see that this idea has long been the darling of our cinematic and TV czars. The only difference from past shows and movies would be that the women are alarmingly younger, kinda bloodthirsty and they curse like sailors. BLEEP.
In a seeming defense of this type of programming, one of the commentators said “No one wants to watch Harriet and Ozzy TV.” And yes, I agree that TV must change with the times. So, perhaps we should take issue with the times since these days, the meaner you are, the more you get ahead. Anyone who denies this is a greater idealist than me. Looking around with a keen eye, I’d have to say this is an increasingly popular social norm.
Yet people wonder why bullying has become such an ingrained part of the culture. I mean we were all bullied in school but it’s gotten really out of hand.
The answer isn’t hard to find, bullying is rewarded in a Capitalistic culture that puts profit before people. I’ve worked plenty of places where management upheld and rewarded corporate minions who ran roughshod over their colleagues to do their bidding for that bigger office, better title and jackpot bonus. Message: If you’re greedy its GOOD as long as it serves a purpose.
The school yard, or classroom is a microcosm of the world. Typically, the mean “girl” is surrounded by others that cheer her on and the subsequent feeling of power derived from the approval IS a heady drought of power. Kids often feel powerless and at the mercy of their environment. I know I did.
Often, said bullying is encouraged by their parents (yes I said it), lack of parental attention and affection, or a feeling of superiority that is prized by those who are themselves victims of some form of abuse.
The point being bullies are MADE not born.
It’s hard to escape the media images of women who are depicted as power hungry, cold hearted abusive bullies; Gold Diggers and that overused word – sluts. Think of the wildly popular Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) in “The Devil Wears Prada”, Brittney Jones (poor Demi Moore), Jamie Fox’s “Gold Digger”, Angelina Jolie’s onging attacks on Jennifer Ashton and please don’t get me started on the videos. The women all have one thing in common, the sterling ability to run over ANYONE, women in particular, to reach their goal. What happens to them? They get more exposure, success and glamour…. Nuff said.
Face it, TV is a means to make money and the corporations sole purpose in life is to capitalize off our indifference and willing participation which glorifies the basest of human desires. The kicker is they merely illustrate our cultural norms. Apparently, uplifting informative programming is on the decline.
It is easy to blame it on TV, which I revile as programming has become more and more commercialized and vacuous, but the filter to all this media hype is parental. It is our responsibility to ensure that adults in training are not watching just ANYTHING on TV. It is the parent’s responsibility to help children view the world, their lens is after all still developing. Barring that, contact the stations and make a noise, boycott the shows so they get removed from TV.
WHAT ARE YOUR KIDS WATCHING?
Please check out Bill Maher on Bullying and The Trevor Project.