Contemporary culture gives very different descriptions of young people, their consumption patterns, gender relations, and ethnicity. In his book Youth Media, Bill Osgerby shows that the attitudes toward adolescents and their behavior can vary significantly. More importantly, this author believes that they can often be misrepresented by modern media. This age group can be described as hedonistic, vibrant, depraved, deviant active, and so forth. These attributes are often inconsistent with one another.
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In other words, mass media can construct different images of the young generation and these images can be both positive and negative. This paper is going to discuss the reasons why ethical aspects of young people’s behavior attract so much attention. Furthermore, it is necessary to show why mass media and popular can offer different views on this age group. On the whole, one can argue that contemporary culture often disregards the opinions and values of young people.
One of the issues that are often explored in mass media is the aggression, violence, and depravity of young people. These topics may be explored by many journalists or news reporters, especially after events like the Columbine massacre (Osgerby 49). In particular, teenagers are often believed to be corrupted by films, video games, music, or reality shows (Osgerby 50). This theme is very popular among many people who criticize the ethical aspects of teenage culture. In his book, Bill Osgerby points out that this view is not quite justified, because there is no empirical evidence showing that media directly affect the behavior of a person (Osgerby 50).
Furthermore, it is frequently claimed that contemporary forms of entertainment promote obscenity, promiscuity, and aggression (Osgerby 56). However, such a researcher as Christopher Ferguson argues that it is very difficult to prove the relation between mass media, and a person’s tendency toward unethical behavior such as violence (377). Thus, one can argue that the description of young people can be negative and young people can be criticized, but at the same time, they are often portrayed as victims. The thing is that such views do not take into account the values and opinions of young people.
Contemporary culture also attaches much importance to the changing gender roles, the position of women in society and sexuality. These issues are also related to the ethical aspects of a person’s behavior. As it is noted by Bill Osgerby, popular performers continuously challenge the idea that women are no longer submissive and passive (p. 99). Moreover, more attention is paid to sexual topics such as homosexuality (Osgerby 100).
This change can be explained by the fact that societies have become more aware of such issues like gender inequality or discrimination against homosexual people. The critics of mass media believe that that contemporary culture pays too much attention to open sexuality of young people and it eventually contributes to their promiscuity (Osgerby 100). Such researchers as Susa Nahmias and Daniella Nahmias believe that emphasis on sexuality can indeed be dangerous, but it is very important to increase young people’s awareness about sex and gender roles (Nahmias & Nahmias 68). Therefore, gender relations and sexuality of adolescents play an important role in modern media.
It should also be noted that ethnicity and race also play an important role in modern culture and mass media. One of the arguments which are expressed by many people is that the subcultures of young people often promote deviancy and unethical behavior. Bill Osgerby argues that many young people, who represent minority groups, tend to construct their own subcultures (77). For instance, one can mention black youth culture and hip-hop (Osgerby 77).
The problem is that these young people often tend to be marginalized by contemporary media. It is believed that these movements promote misogyny, intolerance, or hatred. Yet, one should primarily understand why these subcultures emerged and why they enjoy popularity among adolescents. Thus, media tend to construct negative images of teenagers, their values, and culture.
Nevertheless, this is not the only image that modern culture can provide. In many cases, contemporary choose to overlook the ethical aspects of young people’s behavior, especially when these people act as buyers of goods or services. Media, especially commercials can portray them as active, vibrant, and creative (Osgerby 109). The thing is that these people are the most active consumers, and it is necessary to create a picture that can appeal to this age group (Osgerby 64). Thus, contemporary culture can portray different images of youth and their behavior, especially when these people are customers.
Overall, these examples suggest that mass media reflects significant changes which took place in the social, and cultural life of people. Such questions as the behavior of young people, their consumption and sexuality are frequently explored in films, music, magazines, video games, and other forms of media. Adolescents are often criticized for their alleged deviance or aggression. Moreover, they are portrayed as victims of culture. However, such representations do not explain the values of these people and the problems that they face.
Ferguson, Christopher J. “Video Games And Youth Violence: A Prospective Analysis In Adolescents.” Journal Of Youth & Adolescence 40.4 (2011): 377-391. Print.
Nahmias, Susa Beckman, and Daniella Nahmias. “Society, Sex, And Stis: Human Behavior And The Evolution Of Sexually Transmitted Diseases And Their Agents.” Annals Of The New York Academy Of Sciences 1230.1 (2011): 59-73. Print.
Osgerby, Bill. Youth Media, New York: Taylor & Francis, 2004. Print.