Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Masculinity in America

The website I have chosen features an article written by the organisation; Children Now who fight for priority of government and state funding being given to children. The issue the article highlights is the effect American media has on young boy’s understanding of what is meant to be a man in America and the behaviours that are seen as acceptable. 

The article presents the issue that American media focuses on masculine behaviours being aggressive and anti- social. This is supported by a study that was carried out by Lake, Snell and Perry et al. The study interviewed 1,200 10-17 year olds about masculinity in the media. A few statistics from it are that 3 in 4 of the children interviewed described males on T.V. as violent and 2 in 3 children described males as being angry. Further information found in the study discovered around 74% of males in programmes sampled performed some sort of anti social behaviour like ridiculing and aggressive acts.

The study suggests that young boys are learning to be aggressive and anti-social through the media which is saying these behaviors are the right way for a man to act in America. The aim of the organisation; Children Now is to widen the behavioral ideals presented to men at a young age. The article also highlights that young boys are spending more time watching T.V. than they do with their fathers and sports coaches which is their other source of finding out what masculinity in America is. The study also found out that aggressive behavior is not just portrayed in television programs, but also by sports commentators who use language associated with war and martial arts, and adverts which show masculinity as being speed, danger and aggression. 

There are various psychological experiments that support the idea that the media plays an important role in behaviors that are learnt. One of these is a study carried out by Bandura (1961) who's experiment found 2 out 3 of the children observed who watched an adult act aggressively to a blow up doll, recreated the actions portrayed by the adult, where as the children who watched an adult act kindly to a blow up doll showed very little aggression towards the doll. 

This study and others like it support the issue of this article which is; the media is influencing young boy's understanding of what it is acceptable of an American man. 

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