Media Gives Us Unrealistic Expectations About Life

Posted by Caylee P.
Feature Image by jarmoluk

As a child, the one thing I could not wait to do was grow up. With the media’s portrayals of what it was like being a high schooler, I was so dying to experience all of the things I had seen in movies and TV. With all of this media I had been led to believe that I could possibly be that one in a million and become a secret pop sensation like Miley Stewart in Hannah Montana, all while still maintaining a normal life. Similarly, I had believed that I would meet some amazing guy, maybe at a ski resort like in High School Musical and that we would have a perfect relationship, like Troy and Gabriella. I was able to hold on to these false perceptions for years until the real world slapped me in the face and showed me that life is not as easy and perfect as it is portrayed on the big screen.

Do we have too much technology?

Jake and Melissa Kircher’s article “Does Media Distort Love?” says “the average American takes in about 3,500 to 5,000 marketing messages a day and spends about 41 hours per week using technology such as cell phones, TV, video games, music and the Internet.” Technology is so prominent that it seems almost impossible to prevent getting a skewed view from the Media we see everyday society. Looking back at Kircher’s article, they also state that “everyone is spending vast amounts of time engaged in mediated reality and less time engaged with each other.” Not only is the media affecting our view on society, it is also interfering with most of our personal lives, at this point where do we draw the line and say there is too much?

How have we been influenced by the media?

No one has drawn the line to say there is too much technology and media in our lives, so many decisions and beliefs of children and teens and are still being shaped by the media. The article Mass Media Influence on Society proves this when it says, “We rely on mass media for the current news and facts about what is important and what we should be aware of.” The people running these types of companies can twist the information and make us believe what they want us to believe, rather than allowing us to form opinions of our own.

Media not only affects how we view major news events, but also how we view life. Many of us in todays society have been subjects to unrealistic goals and expectations about life.  Cassi Clerget’s article “On the perils of unrealistic expectations” says we “look at the world and we expect something from it.” These expectations that we place on life affect our happiness and  even leave us disappointed when we finally see how unrealistic they are. The sad thing is, that it is soeasy for the media to affect our views that it can happen without us even knowing

Happily Ever After?

Many people do not realize how easily the media affects our views on many aspects of life. For example, Our view on relationships is influenced from the time we are kids watching Disney movies and TV shows, this includes fairy tales such as Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. This continues into our teen years where we see all the sappy chick flicks, such as A Walk to Remember. Plus, teen dramas and catchy love songs like “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno mars are also added to the list. Finally the opinions acquired from these influences  work their way into adulthood where your list of expectations on what  characteristics your spouse should contain have been made.

The media’s leads grow up believing that we will have a perfect relationship and end up with a happy ever after. This does not end up happening in most cases as living up to the standards of a fictional character is almost impossible. This leaves us disappointed because “we believe we are settling when he doesn’t come around” says Cassi Clerget. Furthermore, Laura Marostica says “Romantic comedies can shape expectations of what love is really like”. Marostica says the media is“shifting adolescent perceptions about what love is like, and how to show it.” This means that it not only affects our views on love, but also how we act and treat our significant other. Could this be the reason that divorce is so high in our country? After all, with the media embellishing love so much,the expectations set up seem almost impossible to live up to.

Is it Just Like the Movies?

The media can shape our perception of college just as easily as everything else in our life. Due to all the movies and shows that make post high school life look amazing,  many of us are dying to go to college. These types of movies include  Sorority Wars and Sydney White in which the protagonist’s main goal is to get into the sorority of their choice, while beating the popular sorority and its leader. Pitch Perfect also sets up some high expectations, making it seem like college is just about being social and putting everything you can into clubs, like the Barden Bellas.  I mean, joining a sorority/fraternity, having tons of new friends and endlessly partying and independence! Sounds fun right? The thing is, this is not just some big party that you slide your way though for four years until you finally graduate, get a job and grow up.

We are so influenced by the media that we look past the fact that media tends to forgets to add in the realistic details about college.Saher Khan explains how “College movies don’t tell entire story about higher education” when she says, “ [W]hen we get here though, we are for sure in for a rude awakening.” From the media, the fun side of college is seen, but they leave out the part about it being actual work, leaving us again with expectations that are let down by the reality of the situation.

For us in high school, we are mainly affect by the distortion of these two topics. These are just two of many that are changed and glamorized by the media in movies and TV shows. Our views are distorted on these subjects in almost everything we watch because the media would rather make an unrealistic depiction of life, rather than a realistic one. This is because most of us would rather watch these unrealistic movies because its an escape from the real world and the reality of it. In the end, is it the media’s fault for giving us these unrealistic expectations, or is it ours for

indulging in these films and letting them continue to distort our views on reality?


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