By: Helena Ruiz
The definition of power is having the ability to control and influence the behavior of individuals. In media and culture, this influence becomes more of a manipulation as power is created to control what is to be seen and what isn’t. We are unconsciously being spoon fed intended messages so we begin to think and react in ways that those behind the power want us to. In all actuality, our thought processes are controlled by the changes around us. Power is created by our own thought processes, which changes with time and new discoveries.
Another form of power would be hegemony. Hegemony is also an influence- culturally, economically, socially, etc- exerted by a dominant group. With money comes power and hegemony. Again, media is based on this idea that peoples opinions and ideas can be manipulated in order to sell a product, sway an opinion or even get a consumers vote.
Barbara Kruger says “Time has changed and the world comes to us in different ways. Narrative has leaped fromt he page to the screen, music demands to be seen as well as heard, computers have jumbled our relationship to information, surveillance and money, and television has nearly changed everything… In the blink of an eyes we’re soaked in sales pitches and infotainments that make history when they do business.”
Sexism is a major dilemma in media and news outlets. Sexism is prejudice or discrimination against one because of their sex or gender. This causes a lot of controversy when it comes to popular culture and media. The main aspect that comes with popular culture is this idea that “sex sells”. While it is unfortunate, a lot of the time it is true. Media enforces in many ways this idea that women are meant to be sexy and flawless and subjected to the man. They are usually portrayed as such sex symbols in media and propaganda in order, again, to sell products or even just to grab the attention of a reader.
Here’s a still photo from Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” video and a great quote from Naomi Wolf. The actual video is such a great depiction of how women are portrayed in media and pop culture as objects more so than human beings. This is the type of media that is grasping the attention of all types of people. Not in a positive way either. Things such as this video are examples of how sexism is so relevant in today’s society and media.
The gaze is a term originating from Jacques Lacan which he used to describe “the anxious state that comes with the awareness that one can be viewed”. In simple terms, it just means that we become more dependent and aware when we know we are being viewed. In reference to media, the gaze plays a role in how we perceive different images on a daily basis. Where we may react to media one way while we are alone, we may act differently towards it if we are being watched. This just shows the many influences around us that sways our opinions on things.
Ways of looking is the conceptual way of viewing what we experience around us. In “Remote Control” Kruger talks about how we view things ‘through our own lens’.
“The spectacle is a central notion in the Situationist theory, developed by Guy Debord in his 1967 book, The Society of the Spectacle. In its limited sense, spectacle means the mass media, which are ‘its most glaring superficial manifestation.‘In ‘The Society of Spectacle’ it is described as an affirmation of appearances and identification of all human social life with images. In other words it is not a collection of images, but the social relation of people mediated by images. We are all part of this spectacle as images and media are becoming more relevant in society.