Television Essay, Research Paper
In our society, we like to think of the television as nothing more of a form of entertainment. But do we really believe that? Maybe when television was first introduced, that is all that it was. That certainly is not the case today. It tells us what to buy, what to wear, how to act, even how to think. In other words, people are relying too much on television as a source of information.
There are very few television stations that are black oriented. This hurts blacks because it causes them to lose race pride and to conform. More and more, they lose their pride and start taking in more information that whites provide to them. On television, there are white women with straight, blond hair, tiny noses, and a skinny figure. This is the ?worst sort of Americanism?(Early, 225). When a black woman straightens her hair, this is because she thinks that she will look better if she does this. But who tells her this? The commercials on television that now have black women who do not look so black anymore. This connects to one of the essays that I read by stating, ?when offered a choice between a black doll and a white doll, little black girls invariably chose the white doll because they thought it ?prettier? ?(Early, 226). This causes psychological damage to black girls because they will never think they are pretty enough until they are white. Toni Morrison writes,
?Adults, older girls, shops, magazines, newspapers, window signs—-all
the world had agreed that a blue eyed, yellow-haired, pink-skinned doll
was what every girl treasured.? (Early, 225)
They took this information in from things just like television, which are all run by whites in a white world.
Television is starting to get better for blacks in some ways, but also even worse. There are stations that are not trying to unite the blacks and move ahead. Black Entertainment Television is a very good example of trying to unite the black community. Just look at the title of the station. If you are black, you are much more likely to tune into B.E.T. than if you were any other race. So this station knows what their following is, and through shows on their station and commercials, they try to get blacks to think the way the station wants them to think. For example, I saw a commercial on B.E.T. about the presidential election, but instead of including both the democratic symbol (donkey) and the republican symbol (elephant), they only included the donkey. This is telling the viewers that the only choice for blacks is democrats; the republicans have nothing to offer them. This is good because it helps the blacks to unite and all make the same choice, but it bothers me more because I feel that blacks should explore the issues and make a choice for themselves, not just listen to what the television is telling them. This hurts blacks because it has them not thinking for themselves.
Paige is someone who I had known for a long time. She lived across the street from me ever since I was five and we have stayed close friends the whole time. I always thought that she was very pretty, but she thought otherwise. She felt that her nose was too long, and it made her look ugly. I could understand why she thought this because all you ever see on commercials and fashion shows is beautiful women with tiny little noses and they were considered beautiful. She did not look at anything other than those models on TV as being pretty. She felt she would never find the right guy for her because her nose would turn them off. I know this sounds ridiculous, but she really believed it, and nothing would change her thinking unless she had a nose job. In Jaclyn Geller?s essay, ?The Celebrity Bride as Culture Icon? she stresses the fact that sexuality is playing too important of a role in love. One line is, ?Her attire is that of a contemporary bride envisioned as a dependent, sexual toy.?(Geller, 280) Paige did not feel like she could be a dependent, sexual toy with her nose, and felt she would feel more feminine if she got the nose job. She ended up getting the nose job because she felt that this would be the only way to feel better. It made her feel better for a while, but it was only a matter of time before she started to find something else wrong with her that did not make her feel feminine. Maybe if she had looked at other happy people that are married and care for each other, and that when it comes down to it, it does not matter how good looking a person is, its what kind of person they are. Television distorted Paige?s image of what she wanted to be, a happy woman.
Television is a liberal minded source of information. Almost all of the news stations are liberal and because of this, they try to get you to think the way that they think. For example, when the sexual affairs with Bill Clinton started to arise, the media tried to downplay the whole event. Television stations did not want their viewers to think that the liberal president was a bad man; they tried to say that he was a great president and this personal and private issue should not affect our opinion of him. But the truth is that his life is not private at all, especially when he does this with a co-worker, which in many offices would get you fired. He also has a wife, who seemed bothered by this but did not really speak up against her husband. He also deceived the American people; he lied to us on national television saying that he did not have sexual relations with Miss Lewinsky. Then when he was caught in a lie, the media tried saying that he did not really lie, he just twisted the truth. Now what I want to know is how can we as a society trust the nation?s leader, when he cannot keep his pants on during the course of his workday in an office that we pay for him to work in, not cheat on his wife. I feel that too many people watched only the television when the Clinton scandal was going on and just kept spitting out what the liberal news stations were telling them. There are many things that people do not know about this case that leads me to believe why they tried saying it was no big deal. They were embarrassed about Clinton, and television said it was no big deal, so to many, it wasn?t.
In conclusion, I believe that in our society today television has become too important to us. It is not used for the initial purpose. It is now used to try to get you to think the way they want you to. It seems that we have lost an interest in looking up information ourselves and having our own opinion. We want television to tell us what is right and wrong, and this is why many blacks are not becoming more independent, they are watching TV and uniting in that way. This is why people like Paige feel inadequate, and feel like they will never look as good as the models on TV unless they go and get their face fixed in surgery, which I feels takes away people?s originality. What we need to do as a society is to stop having the TV an almost way of life and bring it back to just another kind of entertainment, not politics.