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Our Culture’s Expectations

Stanley Baran, author of Introduction to Mass Communication: Media Literacy and Culture, says culture serves a purpose because it's how we perceive ourselves. How we think, feel, and act on things becomes repetitive. He gives examples of how our culture restricts our options and provides guidelines. These guidelines have negative and positive results. 


For example, the author suggests that people do not consciously consider how far one should stand when conversing. Another example he uses is when at the dinner table with a friend’s family, one does not engage in a mental self-debate of asking yourself if it is inappropriate to burp or not. Through these examples, we can see the negative result of our culture’s limiting effects. It makes it harder for one to move past repetitive habits that are not always good for them. On the other hand, people are constantly reminded of what our culture expects of us, which is when the limiting effects become helpful and result in a positive result. 


 That is when social media comes into play and fixes situations. Communication leads to connections. The more sociable you are, the better the advantage of meeting more people. With friendships and interactions made over time, it may become a hassle to stay in touch or be tuned to the connection. The connections recovered through all popular sites help bring people together, seek new jobs, share special moments, locate support and assistance, and share beliefs. These reasons apply to all ages, ethnicities, and social classes. As one can see, worldwide connectivity can have multiple effects on the life of anyone.


Social networking is using dedicated websites and applications to interact with other users with similar interests to oneself, which is why social media is a new advancement in technology. In other words, social media is supposed to be a safe source of technology because of the process one has to go through to access their profile page. Despite that, frauds are still able to hack into profile pages. It even comes to the point where the owners of the sites are unable to stop it on their own, so instead, they may call the police department or deactivate the account. Everyone is not always in a situation where identity fraud could occur; at the same time, not every social site is for everyone. That is why people are told to choose wisely in every decision. 


Stanley Baran’s view of how our culture affects and how it is set to define us, our world, and our place are restricted to be different or act another way because our culture sets traditions that we learn over time. Limiting effects are involved; when only one will be approved if they are the same; if not, they will be considered rare. Society's main objective is to fit in, but Stanley Baran reminds us that our culture provides information that may help us make meaningful distinctions. Those distinctions are based on things considered right or wrong, appropriate or inappropriate, good or bad, and even attractive or unattractive. Our choices are made differently, just by who we are.  As for myself, I always take time to think about a question or answer I will present to the teacher and my classmates. I may ask myself, “Will my classmates think this is a good or bad question?” or  “Will my answer be wrong?”. All I have to know is if I communicate, my words will get heard, I will learn something new, and if I am right or wrong. 


Tough Guise 2 by a man named Jackson Katz is a documentary that supports the same concept as Stanley Baran in his textbook, Introduction to Mass Communication: Media Literacy and Culture. Tough Guise 2 dug deeper into the definition of masculinity. Many know masculinity is all the qualities and possessions that men have. In this documentary, Katz shows us how older men teach younger men the grades of being a real man. One tradition passed down to the generation of men is that they are taught to be violent. They are raised this way to fit in and not be called names. The use of masculinity restricts men from being different, such as having the quality of being gentle. Katz used an example of how the media shows that men are the majority who are committing the crimes—but they say that it starts young with the violent shooting video games that are made. These traditions that are learned and entertainment used for men become a habit. 


The effects of culture on us have been decoded. One can see that culture helps us identify our experiences. It also comes with conflicting impacts that can be positive and negative simultaneously. Not only did Baran aid us in believing who we are and what our culture expects of everyone, but he also helped us see how we can differentiate ourselves and know that we do not fit in by our choices. To further prove this, there is another documentary called MissRepresentation. This documentary showed the views of women. Society is the primary source that portrays a look that every woman is known to copy. That look lets women know who they would attract. This documentary also explains how women are very emotional about their image.


Women often fall into a sense of depression or anxiety to harm themselves; if they do not fit in or feel confident. Sometimes they may go the extra mile to perform surgery to change and better their appearance. Everyone can not always be what society expects of us.


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