Hi girls, what are you up to today?
We were discussing last night’s Super-Story; I could not help but fall in love with Okon.
Sorry, I don’t get what you mean there. Do you mean you know him personally?
I wish I did.
Don’t tell me you are tripping for “Okon” the TV character, like you did with the model in the fashion magazine.
What is bad about that? I think he is sexy and his character is single and he likes younger women like me.
OK, now that sounds crazy, you know he is not real! Besides, his character is like 15 years older than you. You’re way too caught up in the media.
Media! What do you mean media?
I mean the mass media. Mass media is defined as a means of communication with the general public.
Radio, television, movies, gongs, drums, town criers, telephones, telegrams, fax, internet, magazines and news papers are all part of the media.
These forms of media often send messages about sexuality.
Well do you think everything the media says about sexuality is bad?
NO. But sometimes we get so influenced by the media we forget to question the messages we are getting. The media can actually send across negative messages to young people.
Kunle, a classmate of mine has gotten addicted to violent pornography and now he sees girls as sex objects.
Not all media messages are bad just because they are sexual, but the media does use a lot of stereotypes like: - Emphasis on physical appearance - Women fighting over men
- Violence against women being acceptable - Men being macho - Sexual intercourse between married couples as boring - Only young people having fun or pleasurable sex - Women being weaker than men - Men always wanting sex and women always saying no
But the media isn’t all bad, I improve my spoken English through a radio programme and the newspapers.
Of course the media provides good information; sometimes the media portrays messages that are educational and beneficial.
Positive messages in the media: - A family happy to have all daughters - A young interracial couple fighting against social stigma - Students fighting government corruption - Strong, successful women in good jobs
The media can be a tool for social change, too! Think about the way music and newspapers reach everyone – what better way could there be to speak to a whole country?
Like what Fela Kuti did, when he sang about the problems here in Nigeria?
Exactly! His songs helped the people to bring democracy to Nigeria. That is how powerful the media can be.
That is the area we should emphasize above the negative portrayals that we tend to talk more about.
Let’s focus more on the media programmes that:
- Make us feel better about who we are - Do not show people getting hurt - Encourage us to do good - Provide accurate information and entertainment - Enhance decision making skills - Teach good sexuality values e.g. honesty, tolerance and trust - Discourage gender bias, violence against women, rape and bullying - Portrays values of commitment and love
Nigeria's female national football team
From our discussion, the media seems to have done more harm than good!
That’s because it’s easier to focus on the images portraying sexuality as pornography and vulgar expressions in paintings, music and dances.
This is why we say we must learn what is positive and be aware of how the things we see and hear influence our values and attitudes.
I wonder why the media still uses images that they know will influence people negatively.
The owners of media houses are profit oriented, so they show what they feel the people want to see, to enable them attract adverts, besides sexual images are more popular and sell more products.
We need to be mindful of what we watch, listen to and read. Always watch what is appropriate for your age.
I am troubled by the fact that I am surrounded by these images all the time.
That’s true, but just because they are true does not mean you have to be influenced by them.
You can keep away from them by:
- Identifying the negative values - Identifying the source of the value - Assessing its impact - Keeping away from its source - Replacing it with a positive value
Hmnn! As long as you know your own mind media may not be too bad after all.
Nope! It can be a friend and a good source of information, as long as you know how to use it.
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