Cultural messages are so ubiquitous that we think we have become experts at ignoring them. The genius of advertising though is that the messages seep into our thoughts regardless because of how saturated our lives are with media. Since these messages are largely subconscious, we do not have effective guards in place against them and as a result, their effects are often more pervasive than we realize. Cultural messages can be categorized with one of three labels – good, innocuous, or destructive. But who gets to decide and how does this decision become a widely held consensus?
For example, one of the most powerful messages perpetuated by the media is the prescription for what constitutes the ideal female body; an unrealistic and unhealthy image that is portrayed as normal. The detrimental effects of this message have been addressed through many different avenues – Dove produced its impactful Evolution commercial, Barbie was criticized, and several documentaries were made. These countercultural reactions to the mainstream media’s depiction of the female body express the widely held view that this cultural message falls into the destructive category. In this case, I have drawn the same conclusion.
(Read part 2)