Monday, 6 January 2014

‘Whoever controls the media, controls the mind’

In my last post, I touched on the subject of the media being a device for indoctrination, myself being a recurring victim! So, I thought that I’d combine my views on the media with another one of my favourite things- vintage advertisements. I would like to start by saying that I am by no means an expert on media and marketing, nor vintage advertisements and these are just my opinions.

I’ve always been fascinated by how the media works and the power that it has over us- I love this Jim Morrison quote that I used as the title of this post as I think that it sums it up perfectly. From expensive perfume to over-priced baby dolls, adverts can sell anything, hence why the media is such a huge part of the economy and relied on by huge companies. Not only this, but can you imagine a world without the media? Celebrities wouldn’t be celebrities, news wouldn’t be news and we’d be disconnected from the rest of the world. Being a student and not holding a TV license nor buying the newspaper regularly, I often feel like I live in a selfish bubble; when we’re sat in our kitchen, my flat often ponders the question: what is actually going on in the world at the moment? Thank god for social networking and the DailyMail app! One of my resolutions for this year is to keep up to date with the news and what’s going on outside of Sheffield as well as reading about things that might not interest me, but have an impact on us such as politics.

My main point that I want to get across is that the media is a powerful machine that can do anything it wants to. If it wants to destroy Kate Middleton, it has the power to do so; if it wants to trigger a young girl’s eating disorder, it can do; if it wants to turn a tiny bit of cellulite on Britney Spears’ thighs into a worldwide headline, it just takes the click of a button. Without sounding biased, I do believe that the media has a slightly larger impact on women rather than men, especially when it comes to the sticky topic of body image. It makes me sick when I see gossip magazines such as Now! exploiting women’s ‘bikini bodies’ and ultimately making not only those women, but millions of others feel rubbish about themselves. This may be clichéd to say, but we are all intended to be different- a size 6/8 is NOT the perfect size and blonde hair, blue eyes and big boobs are NOT the perfect combination, contrary to belief and the media’s brainwashing skills. No wonder there has been an increase in the number of people being admitted into treatment for a mental health illness such as an eating disorder. I hate to think what a photographer/journalist would make of my HEALTHY size 12 body!

This brings me on to talking about my obsession with vintage advertisements (and my preferred choice of artwork for my wall!) I think that the media has always been very catty and exploitive, especially in the health and beauty industry and it wasn’t up until the 21st century with the creation of new technology that it really came to its peak of bitchiness. During my A Level English Language, I remember studying an advert for clothing from the 50s that would definitely not have been acceptable today due to political correctness of language; if I remember rightly, it went something along the lines of it being disgusting and unacceptable to be pear shaped. Yet it’s now acceptable to exploit women on magazine covers and photoshop Victoria’s Secret models within an inch of their lives. Crazy.

In fact, I think that from what I’m looking at now, the tables seemed to have turned. I have just found the 50s adverts above. on Google and apparently it wasn't so sexy to be naturally slim back then! The fact that the media have played on what it means to be sexy and what men apparently want women to look like is something that is very comparable with today’s media. The main stereotype of being an object desirable to men seems to be (what I mentioned earlier,) that of the blonde hair, blue eyes and big boobs variety in today’s world.  Though I’m sure that if you ask any man what their ‘type’ is, many would probably say that they don’t have one. The lesson here is that nobody should be TOLD by journalists what they should look like to enable themselves to be seen as ‘sexy’ and ‘desirable.’ All you can do is be yourself; at the end of the day, that is what makes you YOU. It’s sad that the media then and now plays such a huge role in our lives, whether it be on the topic of body image to adjusting our own beliefs and values.

On a lighter note, I just want to share some of my favourite vintage adverts since despite my views on certain aspects of the media, I still love them.

1.) Fry’s Milk Chocolate- This one I have up in my room. I just love everything about it- the slogan, ‘its worth the risk’; the children sneaking chocolate; the pastel colours, it’s just so cute!

2.) Twiggy Lashes- I think that this one is pretty iconic, I mean look at those huge eyes and spider lashes! Plus, who doesn’t love Twiggy?
3.) WW1 Propaganda- I could write so much about this topic, not to mention my huge interest in WW1! I love this piece of propaganda as I think it conveys just how powerful the media can be when it comes to playing with your emotions and making you think about things that you never usually would. 
4.) Coca Cola- Simple but effective. To be honest, I love all of the vintage Coca Cola adverts!
5.) Fairy Soap- No vintage advert collection is complete without a classic soap one! I especially love the image of the little girl all dressed up to look like a little doll!

And, just to end the collection, they may not be vintage in the timing of their creation but they’re definitely relevant to today:

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