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Sex Sells:The Damaging Effects of Sex in the MediaTyler HilliardThe world as we know it, is becoming increasingly manipulated by today’s social media which integrates social content, news, and technology to inform the masses on a daily basis. Commonly used forms of social media include the use of blogs, videos, social networks, photos, news broadcasting, music, etc. Through this social media, millions of people are capable of making intimate connections with others that would otherwise not be possible. However, many fail to realize how truly powerful the media is, and of what magnitude the media has on our individual and collective thought. Highly influential media-produced images, commonly referred to as controlling images, are capable of dominating the very culture and institution in which we live. Controlling images frequently have the function, whether intentional or not, of establishing and maintaining a power structure. And upon the diffusion of this knowledge, this structure is conveyed to a wider audience. Controlling images contribute heavily to stereotyping, the manipulation of social relations, as well as supporting pressing societal issues such as racism, bigotry, and misogyny. In a lecture given by Glenda Gross, a professor at Syracuse University, controlling images are defined as:Institutionally-reproduced representations that serve to normalize, legitimize, and justify structural inequalities by constructing oppressed groups (e.g., women, people of color, LGBT, etc.) as inferior.Sut Jhally, a professor at the University of Massachusetts, explores the consequences of exploitative images seen in contemporary music videos, yet another example of a controlling image. In the documentary titled Dreamworlds 3: Desire, Sex and Power in Music Video,Jhally assesses the function and costs of producing such hyper-masculine images, which in his opinion, invites the manipulation and control for men over women as well as whites over blacks as a social group. The construction of gender, American patriarchal culture, and the misogynist nature of men towards women are all the status quo primarily because the media reinforces them. Without
such support, women would be able to make large steps toward overcoming such institutionalized oppression. Despite the progress made since the first women’s movements, women face an almost insurmountable obstacle of reversing the effects of controlling images that will impede any further progress toward social equality and justice.
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Sociology, White people, black feminism, Patricia Hill Collins