What are you attracted to?

In order for me to discuss how the media is effecting consumers perceptions I had to do some research. What are we attracted to? or What is attractive. Obviously we all have our individual preferences but is there and underlining to what the brain processes as a positive or negative? Of course I had to do some primary research, so I took to my university to ask some students what they find attractive.

The outcome of this video shows a general idea of what features people are attracted to and to be honest it doesn’t stray away from the assumptions I had made before hand, though I didn’t expect so many females to respond with also appreciating a big booty.

Is this anything we can help though, I feel as though theres more to it, that the influence that celebrities have on us actually give us higher expectations when it comes to looks.

Brands which depict a stereotype of a man or woman have made their way into our heads, to think this is what is to be normal. Gillette, LYNX, Victoria Secret and American Apparel are all guilty of showing these stereotypes, and with enough interaction with consumers, they start to develop to live up the same standards shown by the brand.

It’s not only brands which can influence viewers to have an appeal towards looks as well as lifestyle. Reality TV is probably one of the most influential forms of media. As its reality, and these celebrities live a luxury lifestyle shown by brands, they are portraying what is seen as the ideal look. They could do this by being associated with brands or just by using the products, but the relation between the two encourages us to do what they do (by wearing the same brands or using the same products) with the outcome of us being a little bit closer to becoming our favourite celeb.

I’m sure we could all look just as glamorous as someone on channel E if we had the money.

Fantasy Vs. Reality

So all this talk about how society is developing a shallow mindset can’t be done without some research. I ask a number of students at my uni what they are physically attracted to. I wanted to gain an understanding as to the kind of expectations we have set in our minds, and if this is due to influence from the media. Both men and women are constantly shown in a glamorous effect, but are these ideals making their way into peoples subconscious?

Naturally we are all attracted to certain features in someone, but how much of that is influenced by the media.

Karen E. Dill, wrote the book titled How Fantasy Becomes Reality: Seeing Through Media Influence. If you want a really good example of the media influence to our behaviours, there is an a reference she uses with Harry Potter and how it is applied to real life situations.

She also refers to psychologists who have studied the importance of imitation in human development. William James, who is an American psychologist had discussed what he referred to as the “Ideomoto theory” which is the that “every representation of movement awakes to some degree the movement it represents.” (pg. 85)

Other psychologists have researched into The “Chameleon Effect” which looks into the idea of how we may imitate others around us subconsciously. “If we are in the room with a ‘foot shaker’ or a ‘face rubber’ we’ll shake our foot or rub our face more as well, but we won’t be aware of it” (pg 86).

When taking these factors into consideration it’s easier to understand why we may unexpectedly look like we belong to the Kardashian clan one day. With the amount of “reality stars” forced onto us through all the different media outlets, its as though these characters have become your friends, you feel as though you know them and can relate to them, thus a small amount of imitation doesn’t take me by surprise.

Do you think sex sell?

I had done some primary research and asked some of the student at my university on what they think about sex being in the mainstream media. The opinions given showed that the majority of people agree with the fact that sex sells in the media and their reasons as to why were all surprisingly similar. Before I say to much, here is the video…

The video has made it clear that sex is being sold in a way for consumers to want to part-take in a similar lifestyle that is being shown by the brand personality. Though not many people will agree with it when it is abused, it is a factor that still works. One individual in the video states how sex is taboo, which encourages us to view it for this reason alone. Also, another comment which was repeatedly mentioned was in regards to the unrealistic imagery shown. All this is gain the publics interest in a product or brand.

As humans we are programmed to respond to certain primal urges, sex being one of the key ones. With this already embedded into us, it is an easy opportunity for advertising companies to use this to their advantage.

 

Are consumers being sold a dream?

There are two reasons you would purchase a product, one being that you understand that it is of use to you and that it will benefit you in some way, the second reason being you’re buying into the lifestyles that the product is associated with. I wanted to ponder on the subject to see which one people tend to go for.

Advertising has so many more platforms today then before social networking was introduced to us. If you have a product, it’s pretty easy for you to advertise it on your account. Many celebrities use this platform to sell or promote items from their own brand or could even be endorsed to do so.

Now here’s the question, do we just buy the items because your favorite celebs are “using” it or is it because the product is genuinely good?

So now, you’ve had your derrière blown up to its ideal size, what would this be followed up with? Two words, waist trainer. Basically like a corset, though we are in 2016. They have become widely popular throughout the western culture for women to achieve an un-naturally small waist. It’s the 11th Jan 2016, 04:20pm and the current number of tags for “waist trainer” is sat at 321,606. Which went up in the time of me taking a screen shot. I think Instagram itself is a very superficial outlet, as it has now come to showing off what you have physically and materially.

Waist training does have its downsides like expected, but how many people are aware of them?  wrote on the Huffington Post about the problems you may face as well as the effects of waist training. He states “As the corset is holding your waistline in, it’s also putting pressure on your internal organs. Among the potential health hazards of waist training are acid reflux, rib damage, and bruising. Corsets can also restrict blood flow back to the heart, which could affect your blood pressure and cause dizziness or fainting.” That is enough in itself to put me off this craze. 

A friend of mine is already mid purchase with a waist trainer, so I wll post up a video or link before and after she used it to see what she thought about it, followed by a short statement of her overall views.

“I saw a lot of people starting to use a waist trainer on social media, they showed it being really easy to use with a quick outcome.

So after using it for the 30 days I can say I did see somewhat of a difference, it does help with posture and when wearing it, it shows you the shape you’d achieve if continuing to wear it. I did realise when wearing it that it is very uncomfertable and I wouldn’t want to wear it for longer then the 8 hours a day that I did. I think most people buy into it without really understanding it or how to use it effectively. It is also something that you have to use in the long run to see drastic effects, but with the discomfort I would just recommend ladies to go about shrinking their waists through gym and dieting correctly, because I could use this for a few months but my body would go back to its normal shape unless I wore it majority of the time, which isn’t healthy I would think. I also think that people aren’t to aware of the damage it does to your insides, because it does manipulate your torso and everything within that area, which was quite scary to think about. Definitely do your research before hand

The affects of social media on your kids

I was born in the 90’s, technology hadn’t reached the level of exposure that it has today. It has become second nature for the upcoming youth to work technology devices a lot easier then most of us. I didn’t even have a phone until my early teens and the use of the internet wasn’t as accessible as it has now become, not to mention the cost of using the internet from phone was something my mum wasn’t willing to pay for. It seems that today, having the internet at hand is something of a necessity, we have it on our phones, but if you need a bigger screen you could always use a tablet… and if that doesn’t work for you laptops/computers aren’t to difficult to get hold off. With all this technology hovering over us, it’s understandable to understand the affects it’s having, whether they are negative or not.

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Stimulation overload

Melissa Williams, professional counselor, public speaker and children’s book author, “The continual stimulation overload we see with social media in the lives of children leaves a negative impact on young minds regarding emotional regulation, proactive lifestyles, judgmental attitudes and self-confidence.”

She shares results from a panel discussion by CSC clinicians at the Nightingale-Bamford School that reported that potential impact of social media on psycho-social development leads to a potential for greater anxiety, increases in depression, can lead to impulsive reactions in order to ‘correct’ impressions or comments being circulated online, and takes time and energy away from physical activity, play (for younger children), academics and family time.”

Social media is anything but “social”

Dr. Kyle Pruett, a clinical professor of child psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and member on the Educational Advisory Board to The Goddard School,

“Parenting in the Age of Digital Technology” a recent national study survey from Northwestern University, had more than 2,300 American parents with children eight and under: “The most widely agreed-upon parental concern in the survey was the new media’s negative effects on physical activity and sleep routines. Most real friends at this age will keep you moving — virtual friends, not so much.”

The main media sources that seem to be gaining the attention of the youth are magazines, music videos and television shows. A lot of examples will come to mind when thinking about over-sexualised media, though not all the messages within it will be obvious, understanding the indirect perverted messages may be something that needs some light shone on it to make adults aware of the reality that is today’s media.

Rolling Stones

No matter what your age, I’m damn sure that everyone who isn’t hiding under a rock is familiar with the name Rolling Stones. It could bring a number of things to mind, the music, the artists or even the magazine. Unfortunately I’m not here to discuss their musical talents but to look at the change in how the Rolling Stones magazine has changed over the years. The magazine which was founded in 1967 by Jann Wenner is still one of the most popular magazines to date, covering such topics of music, actors and shows.

I feel like it’s safe to say that over the years, companies have realised how to use sex to sell. The Rolling Stones magazine is one of those, which over the course of time have used this feature to their advantage. I wish I could say that it was for both men and women, but it seems to be the women covers which have become a bit more over exposed, with the occasion male showing us his best features.

 

The two images that you see here were the first two women to feature on the cover of the magazine in the 60’s.

And these are some of the first male artists to feature on the cover.

Both the men and women are shown for what they represent in the media and their characters are portrayed honestly. So far so good right? I mean other than the famous image of John Lennon and Yoko showing us what their behinds look like, there was nothing distasteful advertised.

A transition from the 90’s to the early 2000’s was a turning point for what was acceptable in the media. Women started embracing their sexuality and understandably showed no remorse when baring it all in the face of the media. I guess that’s another issue to cover though. With only 30% of the Rolling Stones covers featuring women, 83% of them were shown in a sexual manner.

This is just one of many examples that connotes the difference between men and women in the public eye.

Eric Hatton, PHD, dug a little deeper into the issue and had this to say after studying over 1,000 covers on the Rolling Stones mag.

“What we conclude from this is that popular media outlets such as Rolling Stone are not depicting women as sexy musicians or actors; they are depicting women musicians and actors as ready and available for sex. This is problematic,” Hatton says, “because it indicates a decisive narrowing of media representations of women.

“We don’t necessarily think it’s problematic for women to be portrayed as ‘sexy.’ But we do think it is problematic when nearly all images of women depict them not simply as ‘sexy women’ but as passive objects for someone else’s sexual pleasure.”

But for those of you who are interested in seeing a raunchy Rolling Stones cover, this is for you, enjoy.

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Are we wired differently?

 

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Dr Michael Mosley who researches for the BBC Two Horizon, explores the idea of men and women’s brains working somewhat differently.

So is your brain male or female?

It’s quite interesting, as from when you have a baby you’re more prone to buying blue clothes, toy cars and so on and for a girl, pink is the color, and they are given dolls, makeup and house play sets. It’s these factors that could determine if men and women are programmed to like certain things or if it’s that we introduce these stereotypes on them. It is these aspects that determine the outcome of a child’s future self.

It has been proven that there are two different brain types, Systemisers and Empathisers. Systemisers being those who like taking things apart to understand how they work Empathisers being better at reading someones feelings or how they are thinking.

Professor Baron-Cohen is an individual who believes that social conditioning is not to blame, but that the hormones that are released from the womb will influence your behavior.

Professor Ruben Gurr, men showed stronger connections between the front and back of their brain, suggesting that, “they are better able to connect what they see with what they do, which is what you need to be able to do if you are a hunter. You see something, you need to respond right away.”

Women, on the other hand, had more wiring between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. According to another of the researchers involved in this study, Dr Ragini Verman, “the fact that you can connect from different regions of the brain means you ought to be good at multi-tasking and you may be better at emotional tasks”.

So does the fact that we may be wired differently effect our roles in society? I guess so to some extent. Men often tend to lie in the Systemisers category and women in Empathsiers. It’s an explanation as to why gender stereotypes are still in place. It could also be that the gender stereotypes are what cater well to both men and women, which would explain a lot of the stereotypes shown in advertising.