The mass media act as an agent of socialization, teaching individuals the social and cultural ideals of their society. As individuals, the media not only teach us about society’s expectations and desired behaviors, but we also learn which social identities our society values the most and which are seen as less desirable.
For this discussion, you will examine what role the mass media play in replicating and reinforcing the stratification systems connected to a variety of social identities. Read the article, The Objectification of Women in Advertising (Links to an external site.), and review The Role of the Mass Media in Representations of Age, Social Class, Ethnicity, Gender, Sexuality, and Disability to address the following:
For the first part of this discussion, select two of the following social identities: age, class, physical ability, body size, sexuality, and/or ethnicity. For each of the two identities you select:
Describe the system of stratification for that identity in the United States.
How do the media generally portray this identity group? In particular, do the media representations convey any messages about which members of this group society values most? Please provide an example for why or why not.
Explain how the media representations either reinforce or challenge the associated stratification system.
Next, consider gender and beauty ideals.
What beauty ideals do the media in the United States reinforce for men? For women?
Corporations use the media to sell their products; however, in doing so, they are also reinforcing society’s norms and values about which bodies are most highly valued in our society. Describe a recent commercial or advertisement you have seen, and explain how it reinforces society’s beauty ideals.
Describe one real-life consequence for either men or women who do not meet society’s beauty ideals that are reinforced by the media. This short article (Links to an external site.) may help you with this component.
Your initial post should be at least 500 words in length. Support your claims with examples from the required material(s) and/or scholarly resources, and properly cite any references both in text (Links to an external site.) and in a references list (Links to an external site.) at the end of the post. The Scholarly, Peer Reviewed, and Other Credible Sources table offers additional guidance on appropriate source types. If you have questions about whether a specific source is appropriate for this assignment, please contact your instructor. Your instructor has the final say about the appropriateness of a specific source for a particular assignment. Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts by Day 7.