The contemporary world of media and the popular cultural representation acts as a stabilizing forum for building a social reality. Media has always assured access to the construction of social problems for a more significant audience. On the other hand, social problems linked to the media involve negative media effects on the children, youth, and the general society. This has, therefore, promoted excessive consumerism and materialism as a result of the media representation. Several pieces of research and theories have intensified debate on the media as a social problem, and most of them have so far confirmed that media is associated with adverse effects. They have, therefore, effectively worked to lower some of these social problems. However, some studies have recorded skepticism regarding the claims of the associated social problems as a result of media and, at the same time, confirmed some positive aspects associated with the media. Therefore, this paper will mainly focus on how media representation of the social problem relies on stereotypes/ invincible histories and intersectional systems of power and privilege. It will also dwell on the limits of the media image of the social problem.
In reference to Quillian, media representation to social problems has relied on the stereotypes and erased histories, the general expectations of the members of a particular social group (Quillian, 2010). Therefore, the media industry puts more emphasis on the stereotypical perception, especially to the different genders that a given feature is used as the characteristic to the membership of a given social class (Quillian, 2010). This, therefore, makes people focus on the differences among the groups and forget the variation existing among the social sect. Reliance on stereotypes by the media on the approach to social problems could, of course, be helpful whenever there is a necessity towards making an essential estimation of the individual behaviours. On the other hand, this function still renders reliance on stereotypes and the intersection systems of power and privilege less effective in an attempt by the media to evaluate the defining characteristics of the existing social problem. In most situations, gender stereotypes pushed by the media usually exaggerate implications related to the categorization of people based on their gender and a more simplified view of reality.
It should be understood that invincible histories pushed by the media are the source of the social problems experienced within a given society. For example, men and women selected to undertake a certain career are affected by how both are valued and rated. And in most of the careers, men are more likely to be identified for various promotions and those other best positions following the reflections on the erased histories and the intersection system of power and privilege(Fraser, & Williams, 2001). For instance, the management by female professors has lower chances of securing the endowed chair when compared to male professors, even in situations where there no existing difference in their objective performance.Therefore, in my view, social media has proved to be a highly powerful tool, as they inspire movements in the world that push for the downfall of social problems. It is also shedding light on social injustices through the digital platform that acts as their main mode of information dissemination.
Despite the major strides that have been made by the media towards the consolidation of social problems, they have still faced a significant setback on various social issues. According to Chermak, conservative, and Left-liberal media detractors have always argued that media is associated with different social effects and, at the same time, promoted social problems (Chermak, 2011). During the period of the 1960s, several studies on violence and media emerged in different parts of the world to respond to the growing violence within the society and the permissive media of the public which had doubled the representations of the most implicit violence and sex in the television, films, television, and other forms of media. Still, on the sameviolence and media, literature has always asserted that representations that were violent on media were directly associated with social issues. This was a perfect reason for obtaining media image limitations.
In reference to Williams, negative association of consumerism and media, bulging violence, and excessive materialism were subjected under contest by the cultural studies of the British, which proved that at the time, media was being scapegoated for various social problems (Fraser, & Williams, 2001).Therefore, media representation of the social problems mostly views women and social problems as the objects and victims. Additionally, the mainstream media have not participated in positive images, especially when it comes to the women’s movement; instead, they have been focusing on women as being the individual examples that form social problems such as domestic violence or rape.
To conclude, I think the democratization of the entire system of media will necessitate recognition and reform movement for a different social movement for the sake ofreforming the media system for social change and at the same time addressing the associated social issues and problems (Fraser, & Williams, 2001).This can be made possible by the avoidance of over-reliance on media representation to the social issues on stereotypes, erased histories, and the intersection systems of privilege and power.If this is not the same case, there will always be social problems and issues as a result of a lack of media balance on their approach.
Bullock, H. E., Fraser, Wyche, K., & Williams, W. R. (2001). Media images with respect to social issues. Journal of Social Issues, 57(2), 229-246.
Chermak, S. (2011). The presentation of drugs in the news media: The news sources involved in the construction of social problems. Justice Quarterly, 14(4), 687-718.
Quillian, L., & Pager, D. (2010). Estimating risk: Stereotype amplification and the perceived risk of criminal victimization.through the media Social psychology quarterly, 73(1), 79-104.
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