Attitudes & Behaviours come under the Role of Media part of the course (Q2 in the exam). It is the area that considers some of the arguments surrounding whether, and to what extent, the media influence our attitudes and subsequent behaviour. For example, do violent films reduce our sensitivity to violence… or even encourage us to become more violent ourselves? If this is the case, what are we to make of the constant barrage of violence we see on TV in films, programmes or the 10 o’clock news?
And what about our attitudes to others? Are they refugees or migrants or terrorists? Are women portrayed as equal to men, or are they merely objects to be looked at? Are men allowed to have emotions, or are they always meant to be ‘strong’? And what values are shown as the ‘norm’?
In considering these points, it is important to be aware of the dominant ideology of a text. This can be summed up as an understanding of the core values it holds, the view of the world it portrays, and the value it bestows on the people it represents. It also can be seen as a reflection of the society within which the media is produced… the media epouses the values of that society — perhaps traditional views of family or law and order.
As a final thought, what are we to make of this performance of ‘Kiss Me’ by Olly Murs on The X-Factor. What is the function of the women in the performance, and what do you think of it? Is it just harmless entertainment, or a misogynistic throwback to a less enlightened point of view?