Posted by: arianeleigh | October 8, 2012

Fingerprint of Ideology

Several days ago I attended a two-day conference about sex trafficking in the U.S. hosted by Shared Hope International.  I have focused much of my journalistic work around this issue and would consider myself well informed about the societal factors that contribute to the issue.

During the conference, I attended a class about sex in the media where I learned about the ideology of sex that our culture upholds. In this ideology, women are sexually desirable, vulnerable and sexually exploited, whereas men are sexual creatures who are allowed to indulge in their sexual fantasies. The idea surrounding this class is that if we can recognize this ideology about sex in society, then we can make a conscious effort to go against the media that supports the ideology.

This all sounds fine and well and I strongly believe that we must think twice about the media we consume, but I believe that we all fall victim to our unconscious patterns and behaviors.

In Chapter 11, O’Shaughnessy and Stadler state, “The consequence of our living and behaving through unconscious consciousness is that certain patterns of behavior become naturalized, defined as part of human nature, regarded as common sense or the way things are” (O’Shaughnessy, 176).

So as I sit in this class and think about how women are sexualized in the media, I also think about the ways in which I unconsciously support this unhealthy ideology.

I still watch TV programs where women’s beauty is the main focus and I still consume trashy magazines such as Cosmo and Elle, purely for the ridiculous entertainment.

“As audience members and consumers, our feelings of pleasure (our emotional responses) may be more important that our ideological understandings of the media – if we enjoy a program, who cares what the ideology is?” (O’Shaughnessy, 202).

This statement made in chapter 13 affirms my stubbornness and desire for the media I consume, but know I should reject.

Is it possible to recognize or become conscious of an ideology and then live a lifestyle that completely rejects this ideology?

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