Media Makes Things Normal To Us

Some of us want to conform and want to fit in. We may want to talk to the “right” people, and experience the “right” things, and live the “right” way. But what is that way?

Every human being is composed of trillions of atoms, and as much as the physical part of the body is complex, even more can be said for the brain. You are constantly breathing and thinking and talking and moving all because of what’s up there.

But how do you get to the place where you are today?

By taking in all kinds of media – which is the main course, with talking to people, experiences, and all in all living the “right” way as side dishes. Sure, you inherited traits and ideas and opinions and religion from your parents and your siblings, but as repetitive that might have been, media may be even worse.

Now, this can be a good thing. If a child learns to keep an open mind at a younger age, or at least, eventually learns to get to that point, then all is not lost. Media is bad and good, sometimes both opposites being contained within the same final product, and sometimes it isn’t clear or easy to spot them either which way.

TV tropes, books, podcasts, music, commercials for skin cream and college and cars and the latest sale this weekend only – as much as people do things on their own accord, it has been media that has influenced them. It is what has repeated certain messages over and over again.

We come to expect what we’ve seen and heard most often, even if we are aware in some sense that all of our expectations won’t turn out to be what we expected to be.

We expect that a girl likes to wear heels and a boy likes sports or cars or sport cars. We expect that if a girl is talking to a boy or vice versa that they are both obviously heterosexual and obviously in a relationship or want to be in a relationship.

We expect that two girls talking aren’t lesbians but in fact are of course talking about boys they like (*cough* Oops, that didn’t pass the Bechdel Test! *cough*)

We expect the nerd, the goth, the emo kid, and the smart aleck to all fit some sort of mold that we feel very strongly about and “know” to be true.

But none of this is 100% true. Humans have flaws, we ourselves have flaws, and none of us are the characters that we see on TV or read about in books.

We don’t stand for metaphors or symbolism or talk eloquently – but for others, we are that character.

The characters on the screen are written by someone else, with their own worldview, their own perspective.

But that friend you’ve got?

You know the one.

They’re really great.

Media tells us what’s normal, but other humans tell us what’s real.

Mary Wright

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