Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Advertising and Male Violence

The media has a major influence on male violence and many of us may not know it, but it's not just movies and video games that affect them. Believe it or not, advertising is also responsible when it comes to projecting images of violence that influences males.

The percentage of violent crime committed by males is a high 90%. Though this figure is unexpectedly high, it does not surprise me. When we look at statistics for victims of these violent crimes, you would expect the majority to be women. However, nearly 70% of the victims of violent crime are male. This is surprising because most of the violent crimes that we hear about on the news are towards women, which is odd because they are focusing on the minority. The reason that there aren`t more violent crimes committed by females is because traditionally, society hasn`t condoned or reinforced female violent behaviour in the same manner as it has for males.

Then comes the famous saying `Boys Will Be Boys`. When you look deeper into the meaning of this expression, the results are actually unfortunate. This phrase basically states that it is okay for males to act in violent ways to show that they are strong, agressive and powerful. It encourages them to do whatever they want, whenever they feel like it and be able to get away with it just because of their gender status and the reputation that comes with it. This happens all the time with young children. For example if little boys are caught misbehaving, or causing trouble... often violent trouble at that, a lot of times parents just state `oh well, boys will be boys`, totally overlooking the fact that these boys did something wrong, and need discipline. This then puts the idea in child`s mind that it is okay for them to act in those violent ways. This is also a great example of gener inequality, as you`d never see that happen to a young girl. She would get scolded and wind up in trouble for not acting `classy` or like a `proper lady`. To make matters worse, this `boys will be boys` attitude is also heavily reinforced in the media.

There are five main themes or archetypes that encourage male violence in the media:

1. Attitude is Everything- Basically states that attitude equals intelligence, and boys have the power to do whatever they feel like. It states that if boys are able to get around the rules, they have a smart attitude. It shows boys that you need to barrell over people in life to be strong.

2. The Cave Man Mentality-

Supports the notion that man is a historical and agressive creature, and goes with the classic "caveman" and "pirate" character, which shows boys that the behaviour of these overexaggerated statuses is what men have been, and should always be.

3. The New Warriors-

This advertising method uses sports figures to sell products. It makes consumers associate danger and violence with the products being sold, and basically asks men the question "are you tough enough?"

4. Muscles and the Ideal Man-

States that to be a "real man" you need to have a strong, muscular body, and tells men that they are only desirable if they have tonnes of muscles.

5. Heroic Masculinity-

This advertising method is involved with Hollywood, as most of the
lead characters in the top blockbusters have a violent image. These heroes usually carry weapons, look muscular, and there is always bold lettering in the advertisement, showing men that if they want to be like this, they need to act agressive.

I am not fond of these five advertising methods at all, because the media has overlooked the fact that not all men are the same. Some have more emotional perssonalities, and some do not choose to act in a violent manner, yet the media creates this image that puts unnecessary pressure on these men, because they want to be more likeable. This often results in many guys participating in violent acts, which causes harm towards themselves, their identity, and others.

No comments:

Post a Comment