The media love to create a moral panic, and a hot topic of recent years has been the way children are being portrayed in the media, commonly certain advertisements which some view to have sexual connotations of young girls selling clothes. It difficult to point to a single causal factor, though most people (and the media) like to blame the media for the way in which a child has had its innocence stolen.
Looking back towards the ‘media effects’ model and its issues it seems unreasonable to blame the media for the sexualisation of children as there are numerous other factors to consider. Is this simply an evolution of our culture and the way in which children behave? Attitudes and behaviours of different social groups often happen, men change, women change so why not children? Or is this ignored as children are often separated from society and put into their own special category of people with no critical thought. Now while there is a greater prevalence of the media in society this doesn’t mean that as a result of this children are being sexualised, that is technological determinism and I think its a discredit to the nature of people that the way we behave is shaped simply by the evolution of technology. (Cana 2003)
Now semiotics and all the connotations that come with an image of a child that may be considered sexual. Is an image of a girl modelling clothing inherently sexual, or is that just one of the many connotations that can be taken from an image, what if it just connotes the misuse of a child in an effort for the parent to channel their dreams through? Now certain images intend to connote the child as sexual, like this one from 1959. But to claim an image as being sexual makes you view it as sexual, its the power of suggestion, forcing you to view it as if you were a paedophile. (Turnbull 2014)
However is this the intended effect by those controlling the circulation of these images and texts, is the desired effect to generate controversy which garners free advertising through various types of media exposure? There is of course some level of control that comes into this with the cultural divide of what is considered High and Low culture, an arbitrary divide. The way in which children are used in these two categories vary based on the perception of the medium in which they are portrayed. (Turnbull 2014)
Children will always remain an important subject throughout the public sphere, as most people have them. It calls upon a protective instinct of a parent to keep their child safe from the dangers of the world, and the potential threat of a paedophile upon your child is a frightening concept. Therefore the mediators, whether it be news anchors or talk show hosts, will facilitate a discussion and encourage participation through means of social media.
Upon reflecting on the issues that have been taught in this subject over the past 6 weeks, I have achieved a greater understanding of how the media works and how it works on us. I’ve held a cynical view of the media for a while now and thanks to BCM110 I have a greater level of education to support my view (Hopefully evident through my blog posts.) After being thrown into the deep end with blogging it’s an interesting feeling having it come to an end.
Cana, M. 2003, “Critique of McLuhan’s Technological determinism viewpoint or lack of one thereof”, infosophy, 21st October, viewed 13/04/2014, http://www.kmentor.com/socio-tech-info/2003/10/critique-of-mcluhans-technolog.html
Turnbull, S. 2014, “Relating Media theory to Media issues”, Lecture, BCM110, University of Wollongong, 08/04/2014