It is very difficult to speak about family as something universal. People’s understanding of this concept depends on their cultural background, religion, or education. Overall, one can describe family as a group of people who live in a common household and who care about the wellbeing of one another. This interpretation is supposed to highlight the main elements of this term. Nevertheless, one cannot suppose that this explanation can capture every aspect of familial relations.
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It should be noted that media can enforce stereotypes about families in several ways. In particular, media messages can emphasize such aspects as the structure of family, gender roles, or the values of family members. In other words, they can show what kinds of behavior patterns are appropriate in a household. For example, media communication can overemphasize sexual relations within families. This tendency results in the oversexualization of many children (Lumby & Albury, 2010). In some cases, popular culture conveys idealized images of family. As a rule, the viewers can see a nuclear family that includes two parents and a child. Moreover, media focus on the middle-class family. To a great extent, policy is aimed at preserving the so-called childhood innocence (Taylor, 2010). These are the main trends can be identified.
Overall, one can say that the media always portrays the diversity of families in terms size, culture, or composition. For example, same-sex couples are practically absent in modern films, TV series, or advertisements. Similarly, more attention is paid to nuclear families, than to single-parent households. These are some of the main trends that can be identified. The main element that can be made is that families can differ dramatically in terms social class or structure, but this complexity is not reflected in modern culture.
Garlick, H. (2012). Raising kids for free: Why I won’t be spending money on my son in 2013. Web.
Lumby, C. and Albury, K. (2010) Too much? Too young?: The sexualisation of children debate in Australia. Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture and Policy, 135 (12), 141-152.
Rush, E. (2011) A Response to Taylor: The full picture of the sexualisation of children debate. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 36(4), 111-119.
Taylor, A. (2010). Troubling childhood innocence: Reframing the debate over the media sexualisation of children. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 35(1), 48–57.