Exactly How Much Does the Media Affect Our Lives?

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Have you ever thought about how much the media affects your everyday life? Have you ever had half of your media influence removed from your life abruptly? About three months ago, my father decided to cancel the cable. From middle school until pretty recently, I can say that the media affected everything I did. What I wore, what I bought, what I ate. It affected me much more than I realized. Now that almost half of my media influence is cut out, I notice the absence a significant amount of influence to act or do things in a certain way.
From a young age, I’ve been told not to be too influenced by the media; that most of what they tell me is lies. Like most children, my parents and their views completely influenced how I grew up. I think that because media was not a huge part of my childhood, when I finally became fully exposed to it, it was a new and exciting thing. The media wasn’t something that fully affected me until middle school, when life no longer always revolved around what my parents told me. I could probably say that at that time, I was somewhat obsessed with the influences popular media extended toward me. I was amazed that there were certain ways I should do things, like buy certain clothes. I scrutinized Seventeen magazines. Reality TV was a new thing for me. I started listening to popular music. I also think that middle school is really a time when people want to fit in, and want to be like everyone else. At that time, I really started to pay attention to the media and what it was telling me, and actually wanting to listen, because I wanted to fit in with what everyone else was doing. It drew me in multiple ways that I was aware of and other ways subconsciously.
Somewhere along the way, between then and now, I veered a little less in the direction of trying to fit in with how the media was telling me to be. However, it wasn’t some drastic change. Even though I am less affected by the media now, it still stares me in the face everyday and tries to drag me in, successfully or not. Veering away from that middle school idea of trying to fit it, I’ve tried to be more of myself. I’ve realized that there’s not really a point of doing exactly what the media is telling me to do. What good is it to be lost in the sea of conformists? I’m not talking about being absolutely crazy and out there, but at least being my own individual.
When my dad cancelled the TV, I honestly didn’t mind a whole lot. I thought I would do fine, and that it might be good for me. This isn’t about how horrible it was once I didn’t have TV anymore, but about how much I realized that it really affects us in so many ways. I’ve realized how much the media plays a role in our lives. Without cable, I no longer feel as much of a want towards material things. Unless someone happens to tell me about it, I no longer want the new iPod simply because I know nothing about it. I no longer see ads for it everyday; therefore I no longer want to engage myself in all its amazing features. I don’t think about wanting it at all, in fact. After my Vogue subscription ran out, I don’t fantasize about going to mall and spending hundreds of dollars. If I pick up any given magazine, I can guarantee that at least half of the pages are filled with ads, making me want to buy some pair of jeans or a new lipstick. Although I disregard a lot of the ads and see them as annoying, they are there for a reason. The companies know that I will be drawn in to some of them, and that just maybe I will buy one of the products. All the time, I will see Facebook statuses about Jersey Shore or someone will talk to me about a commercial. It is insane how much our lives revolve around the media without us realizing it.

Our lives, especially those of the younger generation, really revolve around the media. It affects us in ways that we don’t see and ways that we take for granted in a sense. Without cable, I am starting to see the media’s influence in ways that I never would have thought twice about before. Media stares at us from every billboard, every commercial, and every magazine stand at the grocery store. Although it’s somewhat up to us how much of it we take in, there’s always going to be some that we can’t control.





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