Today, mass media as a whole is believed to be a celebrated mean for this rapid development of information age. Undoubtedly, mass media has helped the world to progress through many aspects. However, even the greatest invention of all time has its drawbacks. According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, mass media can be defined as a medium of communication that is designed to reach the mass of the people (Media). Since it is “designed to reach the mass of people,” media masses greatly affect one’s culture. What one sees, what one learns, and how one behaves become greatly dependent on the mass media.
How people define their identities also rely heavily on what people absorb from the media masses. A fact that should be recognized by all Americans is that negative effects on the American culture are being brought by the mass media, especially paper ads from magazines and fads created by movies. Many messages that establish negative effects on society are first created for one intention: profit. The types of magazines being targeted by this research paper are teen magazines, car magazines in particular. The trend that car magazines today are gradually becoming multi-elemental does not bother anyone but, in contrast, attracts more customers.
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A car magazine today is made to be more marketable and made to be mixed with all sorts of materials like featuring sexy girls, electronics review, and game reviews. A result of this combination is a generation of teens, especially males, with their lives full of only cars, electronics, gaming, and girls suggested and reinforced by those magazines. The point being made here is not for one to blame the car magazines for creating many societal problems or setting trends that considered “bad. ” The true purpose of this essay is to send a warning message to all readers against the unhealthy messages implanted in many car magazines.
Throughout history, marketers have always been trying to reach a goal of making the most profit out of everything. Recently, seeing the hit of the “lad magazines,” Eddie Alterman has successfully tried to put out a magazine called MPH that mimics the format of magazines such as Maxim and FHM and combines cars with sex and women targeting the most of the male readers’ market (Nauman). As Matt Nauman from the San Jose Mercury News described, this new magazine is “full of pictures of pretty young women and risque, sophomoric humor. From the description of Nauman’s, one can easily picture what kind of car magazines are being put out onto the newsstands. According to Nauman, the amazingly low cover price that is being offered is $3. 99. A section titled “How to get FREE SEX from perfect Strangers! ” can even be found from one of the issue of MPH (Nauman). Even though MPH is targeted young guys in their 20s and 30s, as Alterman claimed (Nauman), it can be easily accessed by anyone much younger than that because of the fact that it is really not a pornographic magazine and is much economically acceptable for most teens.
People can imagine how the generation would be like growing up reading magazines that feature nothing but car and sex. The result can be devastating and already one can see the moral declination from society to be tolerant about sexuality being so accessible to virtually everyone. Perhaps, these kinds of magazine will not have a direct negative effect on American society and American culture in United States. However, there at least will be some indirect negative effects from those sexually-explicit magazines being read by a great deal of male teens.
Another medium that is being targeted is the most popular movies made for teenagers. Take a teen movie from Hollywood for example, the success of the movie “The Fast and the Furious” in 2002 was remarkable (Reno). Jamie Reno from the November 4th, 2002 issue of Newsweek wrote, “The movie simply glamorizes illegal street racing (Reno). ” The movie does not only glamorize illegal drag racing but also sent out a message that open-minded girls are easily accessible. A teen watching the movie may get an idea that winning in an illegal street race is “cool” and can get “chicks” without any difficulty at all.
Furthermore, the movie also allures teenagers to illegal modifications to make their cars faster. The impact of the movie was huge. “Unfortunately, in the week of the film’s opening at least five people died in drag races around the country,” Clarissa Cruz reports in the September 14, 2001 issue of Entertainment Weekly (Cruz). This perhaps is a coincident where five people dying in the first week of the movie shown happened by dumb luck, but most people will argue that the movie has greatly influenced the pop-culture.
Cruz later adds, “According to SEMA, retail sales of accessories for sport compact cars roomed up 59 percent in 2000 with approximately 72 percent of the consumers between the ages of 16 and 25 (Cruz). ” This proves that the movie has made a gigantic impact on teenagers. Glorifying such illegal actions is becoming more acceptable in society, teenagers look at them as “cool” and “in the culture. ” Movie industry is at least be partly responsible for many teenagers’ innocent lives. The popularity of illegal street racing takes off when “The Fast and the Furious” was shown.
Thanks to the heavy advertisements being spent every years by magazines and telemarketers, illegal modifications and illegal street racing continued to burgeon throughout the country and has became a popular culture. According to the Patrick Marshall in the article “Advertising Overload” published by CQ Press, magazine and newspaper subscriptions are the second most popular products bought from long-distance marketers. This proves that a large amount of consumer spending goes to the magazines, and that implies that magazines can easily have a great influence on society since so many people are reading them.
Furthermore, overall advertising expenditures of corporations are roughly $250 billion dollars on advertising and marketing to U. S. consumer in 2003, up to 30 percent more than in 1996, according to “2003 Commercial Industry Forecast and Report (Marshall 52). ” This shows that a huge amount of money is being invested on the advertising market. Advertisings nowadays are getting overfull (Marshall 53). For example, one can easily find that almost over 50 percent of the contents are advertisements of cars from a particular brand or aftermarket racing accessories available to street racers.
The reason to that is because younger adults and teens are more willing to spend and they are very suggestive from popular culture (Masci 1007). Thus, the advertising industry within car magazines and movies should have some responsibility in meanderingly killing innocent young street racers by promoting and exalting such illegal actions. “The thrills of street racing just won’t die, even if some of the drivers do. “???James Dean (Lopez 1). This quotation is a great quote that tells the truth about illegal street racings.
In Steve Lopez’s article “Southern California teenagers who drag race their cars” that interviewed an eighteen-year old teen named Erica shows that teenage is seriously involved in many illegal street racing in Southern California, and the saddest thing is their parents tolerant that (Lopez 2). Influenced heavily by movies and magazines, teenagers have become professional-driver “wannabes” (Lopez 1). As seen from the article, street racings are held frequently and one thing is certain that some teens died from accidents caused by that, but that never scares the kids off.
In the article, Los Angeles police captain Ron Bergmann says that there is an increasing number of teenagers racing off the road illegally. The parents reveal that it is safer to let the kids to participate in illegal street racing than to let them drink or do drugs (Lopez 2). This may sound ridiculous to most people, but that is how the reality is. This is only one of the many real-life examples one can find in the newspaper. One can see from this type of article that street racings have become more serious not just in Southern California but in many states as well.
Teenagers’ minds are vulnerable to suggestive messages, and yet those suggestive messages are being sent by movies and magazines all the time without someone doing something about that. Under the severe impact from media, street races have became more popular than ever and finally the officials are doing something to try to stop that. In response to the rising seriousness of illegal drag strips on the road, Los Angeles Police Department has demonstrated how a car is being crushed recently in Sun Valley (Covarrubias).
Seeing the street fatalities raising again, the city has passed a car seizure law that allows police to seize the vehicles from illegal street races for resale or crushing (Covarrubias). This is a very big step advance in the prevention of street fatalities and illegal racings. This event has shown how this pop-culture has became a threat to public safety and government’s commitment in trying to reduce or stop such dangerous actions. This also shows that how big of an influence can be caused by media, even the officials have to step in finally and remain some control of it.
Hopefully this new law will be effectively limiting accidents and fatalities caused by street racings. However, efforts in limiting the media from broadcasting negative messages are also very important. In many car magazines, more often than before, sexy girls are being associated with cars implying that women are objects that are inferior to men. For example the first issue of MPH, a yellow Mustang and a model in a short leather dress are featured on the cover (Nauman2). In addition, there is something more explicit showing inside that issue of MPH.
A huge two-page spread filled entirely by a woman’s bottom wearing bikinis is shown in there (Nauman 2). This is a representation of what today’s moral has declined to concerning the explicit content of sexuality. This also shows what car magazines have evolved into: a semi-pornographic car magazine. Another example can be found in everyday life, one would comment on a set of rims as “sexy” or “hot” instead of just “nice. ” This situation has suggested that women are demeaned and degraded by men often.
This also shows the relationship between females and objects in the eyes of today’s teens. Females are more often unconsciously being looked as objects by men simple because of magazines like MPH, and advertisement that often place half-naked girls beside the products. Placing sexy models besides their products, men unconsciously associate objects with women and gradually “see” women as objects. It is pathetic that such thing is happening, efforts in regulating the advertisement industry are to be made by organizations and government.
Pictures with girls explicitly exposing their bodies posing besides cars are being seen more often and are just overwhelming. It sometimes makes a person to wonder what the advertisement really is selling, the girl or the product? According to the author of the article “Getting Beyond Simple Thinking” David Swindle from University Wire, more exposures to sexual contents could lead to higher crime rate of rapes (Swindle 1). Assuming this suggestion is true, it will make sense to connect frequency of media that broadcasts or shows sexuality to the increasing number of rape rates and teenage pregnancy.
In the article “Incidence of Rape Higher in Utah? ” from Salt Lake Tribune, a study held by National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center in South Carolina shows that “one in five Utah women have been raped (Canham). ” There is a possibility that it is just an incident, but the exposure to sex or sexual contents of today’s generation makes one wonder the connection between the two. All the negative messages that are present in most car magazines today are the result of marketing without moral.
Marketers simply care less about what is good and evil, their ultimate goal is to make money. That not only is morally wrong, but also is a problem leading the society today to have such a generation of teens dying from illegal street race and teens looking at women as objects. Just as John Follis from “Mad Avenue” has suggested, the blame is not to the magazines, movies, or media as a whole on the market today as their own goal is to make profit. However the government that represents the society and the society itself should be responsible for that.
No longer should a person tolerate such bad atmosphere to develop and let this “culture” passes on to the next generations. The intention with this essay is to make people to be aware negative messages that are being implied in many magazines today and make effort in avoiding to let them have a negative effect on a reader. It is also encouraged for people to make their efforts in helping pass laws and organize campaigns that educated people of this situation and try to make a difference. There is basically no way in the world can one stopping such immoral actions of the publishers anyway.
However, what can a person do to help the society is that first the readers have to be very clear minded about what they are reading, to discover any hidden messages behind, and to distinguish between right and wrong. Then, as readers understand more about the techniques being used by publishers to market them, they can gradually ignore many negative messages from the magazines. Taking the step to next level, one can also participate in social activities in educating people about what the media has done and hopefully a better tomorrow is to be made.