Thursday, December 10, 2009

Everything is better if its FREE!

So, I look at various topics on wikipedia probably at least 5 times a day, often more. Right now, they are asking for donations by putting a bar at the top of the screen with names of donors along with an amount they donated and a testimonial of some sort.

After thinking, what? I do not want to pay money to wikipedia! I will not!

I then considered how much we expect our media to be free. We don't want to pay a dime for anything, even though someone had to put their time and effort into providing us with the things we receive. Pretty much everything on the internet is a given- free. facebook (there are always speculations that they will start charging, and everyone freaks out and makes 3 million groups about it), music (pandora charges if you listen more than 40 HOURS a month??!!!? OUTRAGE!), television (WHAT? Hulu is charging money next year?!!?? I will never be paying for that!).

So, why do we think that we shouldn't have to pay for anything? Or what do we consider worthy of our money?

Are they any problems with things being free?
-Pornography- accessible, anonymous and affordable. Now more than ever, anyone can view pornography without anyone knowing (they don't have to shell out money for it, and they don't have to go to the store to buy it). This has caused more problems for relationships and families than I want to think about.

-Failing Music Industry- who wants to pay for music when they are many sites (most perfectly legal) that they can get it from for free?

-Promises to "NEVER pay for movies again" which I got when I googled it. This will probably never happen, and people get all mad when they have to pay a dollar to watch a good film. What about the millions of dollars put into that movie to make it so good?

-If something does cost money, people often ignore it. "I won't pay for that!" hulu, "elfyourself" (people ONLY ever make the free ones), people who do free trials of netflix and then cancel after 15 days of watching as many movies as they possibly could.

I am guilty of the obsession with FREE things, too. Just something to think about?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Media Portrayals of Alcohol

College students reported that positive drinking outcomes, like having fun, socializing, meeting new people and expressing oneself, are more common than negative outcomes (Murphy et al, 2006). Negative consequences often do not occur immediately, meaning that youth and young adults may not see the adverse effects of drinking until it is too late. Real life positive outcomes are typically defined as increases in social benefits, which is in line with media portrayals. The only instance in Gossip Girl that negative consequences were more prevalent than positive was when the character was drinking alone, meaning they had no chance of benefiting socially. If there are depictions of under age drinking, more negative consequences should be shown in order to prevent early onset of drinking, as well as dependence in later life. In addition, television producers may have the responsibility to depict events and activities, other than drinking, that can bring positive outcomes.

A fellow blogger asked the following questions:

I just recently started watching Gossip Girl . I'm just wondering, does anyone else find it weird that the main characters in this tv series are always at a bar drinking when they're supposed to be in high school? Does this say something about the integrity of NYC bars? Or does it put pressure on those high school viewers to drink?

To answer her, I think YES to both.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

gleeeeeee my new favorite show!

Letter to the CW

I am a fan of Gossip Girl, and have been since Season 1. Part of the reason I enjoy the show is that the characters are a little rebellious, and get themselves into plenty of situations that I would never want to be in myself. But the fact that it is on television, and that these are characters rather than real people makes it fun to watch. However, the November 9th and November 16th episodes of Gossip Girl made me very uncomfortable. Both of the episodes featured major characters involved in a sexual threesome. The way it was portrayed made it seem like it was a “normal college experience”. While the second episode did portray problems that stemmed from their actions, it was never mentioned that the threesome wasn’t a good idea, only that they chose the wrong person to include. “The third person should be a stranger” was the response of several other characters.

Television is very influential in the lives of children, especially when it comes to decisions about sex. It has even been described as a "sexual super-peer" - meaning that television has the ability to intensify the peer-pressure teens are already feeling to engage in high-risk sexual behaviors, such as a threesome, which could be damaging to their physical and emotional well-being. When television portrays attractive, popular teenage characters as sexually active, it sends a powerful message to young viewers that they, too, should be sexually active and in fact, there might be something wrong with them if they aren't. Gossip Girl has portrayed this message on many occasions, but they rarely show the characters in bed in their underwear, kissing, like they did on the aforementioned episodes. Teens are aware that television influences their behavior. According to one survey, a third of youths 12 and older say the media encourages them to have sex by making it seem like "everybody does it." Many studies from past few years have revealed a strong correlation between exposure to adult media content in childhood and early onset of sexual activity among teens.

I ask that you take the time to think about the consequences you may be inflicting on the teens who watch Gossip Girl, as well as the other shows on your network. Not only the threesome, but other influential messages about sexual activity as well. Teens and young adults do look to the media for messages about sex, and they should see at least some good examples and not feel like they have to act like the characters portrayed on their show to be liked, or worse, loved.