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The Effect of Media Consumption on People's Behaviour and Beliefs

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Media consumption has affected my behaviours and/or mental processes very largely through media stereotyping. To me, media stereotyping would include gender stereotyping and racial stereotyping, and these have been perpetuated even more with the use of mass media.

Firstly, gender stereotyping in the media has caused me to believe that my body should look a certain way that is usually virtually impossible. Females are usually expected to be hairless on their legs and armpits, and are supposed to have a body similar to celebrities’ bodies on magazine covers. We are also sometimes expected to live up to men’s unrealistic expectations of us, such as having a sexually attractive body. Females are also expected to act in a ladylike manner, from refraining from coarse or vulgar language to even sitting the right way.

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This has affected me by making me think that my current body type will never be enough to match the ones I see on social media or on magazines. Even though I know that Photoshop is used to enhance and slim down the bodies, I still feel like it is something that I am incapable of. Similarly, I find myself being conditioned to shave myself although there is nothing inherently wrong with body hair. However, I do it so as to not be judged by other people and online trolls, who perpetuate the idea that body hair on a woman is bad and disgusting.

I also get chided whenever a vulgar word slips my mouth or when I don’t sit properly, while men do not get called out for any of these actions. This in turn, has made me feel like I can never be on equal ground with a man due to the biasedness in today’s society. All these stereotypes of women have primarily affected what I choose to do in day to day life.

Next, racial stereotyping in the media has also affected the way I look about myself. With countless whitening creams and serums being advertised on television and social media, it has made me feel like I need to lighten the colour of my skin in order to feel prettier. As a result, this has made me always put on sunscreen and not go out much out of fear of becoming tan. This has also caused me to be laughed at by my friends who think that being tan is a very trivial matter.

In brief, this is how media consumption has affected my behaviours and mental processes.


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