Mainstream Entertainment And Objectification

Mainstream Entertainment and Objectification

The digital age has made audio-visual entertainment cheap, easy to obtain and, for an ever-increasing number of people it became one of the main means of counteracting the stress of daily life.

Cinematography and computer games are the undisputed leaders when it comes to this sort of fun. There are a lot of excellent movies and games out there. The opposite is also true and therein lays a problem: entertainment is a highly efficient means of propagating stereotypes and ideologies. Let’s take a look at some of these effects (such as the stereotyping of the human body) and observe how they sometimes end up damaging our society.

Social Contribution Inequality

Social Contribution Inequality

There has been a lot of talk in the past decades about income inequality and for good reason. Various factors contribute to income inequality, such as the political orientation of a country or its economic status. But at the root of unfair reward systems lies a way of thinking that associates people with the immediate economic benefit that they bring to a group. In other words: no long-term strategy.

Such reasoning made more sense in a past when a famine could threaten the survival of an entire culture. Even though we live in quite different times (many countries are approaching post-scarcity economy), our instinct hasn’t quite caught up yet. This is not entirely surprising given how fast we’ve evolved in the past centuries. Our “firmware” hasn’t had enough time to adapt. So, we’re still prone to terribly pragmatic and survivalist decision-making. Social contribution inequality is the result of this style of thinking. It is the poor rewarding of some members of society because others do not immediately see them as being profitable.

The Intellectual Diet

The Intellectual Diet

Just like the body is what it eats, the mind is what it experiences. This is a truth with vast and grave implications when it comes to the types of entertainment we invest our time in. Entertainment is a highly efficient social programming tool because when entertained the mind is open and relaxed. While in this state, it is easier for toxic messages to escape our scrutiny and infiltrate our thoughts.

A simple example about how entertainment has negatively affected our society is the impressive range of stereotypes it helped create. We need to look no further than the objectification of both women and men. The silent enforcement of ideal body types starts as early as the first cartoons kids watch and continues throughout the adult life, slowly dripping into our minds from movies to magazine covers and commercials.