Global Media

Wednesday, we had the pleasure of gathering together, to discuss the influence of Western media in our global world. We wanted to talk about the movies, TV shows, actors/actresses, influences and ideas we had all been exposed to, at different capacities. Many of us had grown up having watched many of the same films and we discussed how certain ideas of beauty, of good/bad, of “the good life” and representations of culture had been perpetuated through the media. Everyone took turns sharing their own experience with media in their lives and their communities.
Folks shared how they understood the traditional culture of their country and community, and how they thought the mass media influenced this culture. People shared their ideas about their families, hometowns, as well as their countries, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, China, Libya, Japan, Canada, Russia.

“Whenever America is at war with a country, that is who is depicted as the villain”. “Seems like some people are taught to believe what they see in the media”. “We are exposed to many ideas, controlled by a specific population..”. “Mass media is a capitalist system, it goes where the $$$ is.” “Media can be really harmful and perpetuate racist and oppressive ideas.”

“Culture sharing can be a good thing, it has both good and bad consequences.” “It’s a good thing to be able to communicate with people from many different walks of life…”. “Connection is good, the dominance of one idea isn’t always…”.

A few members felt safe enough to be very critical of how Western media has influenced the world and their own cultures. We recognized who owned these media corporations and that they had their own political and economic agenda to adhere to. We discussed how racist ideas are shared through media and how the impact of this can be seen throughout the world. Many countries sell skin-bleaching products so that people of colour lighten their skin to try and match Hollywood’s depiction of beauty. Many experiences, stories and ways of being are disregarded, othered, forgotten and/or destroyed, because of the value that many societies place on the “American dream”. We discussed how mass public is able to either ignore wars and/or support them, even if they are unjust, due in part by the fact that they are exposed to very biased propaganda and media control.

People asked questions, shared ideas and offered their own explanations of how stereotypes have frustrated and hurt them in the past. We talked about how the media can be used as a tool and how ideas are easily shared and constructed. We talked about our favourite graphics, stories, imaginative journeys, drama, romance, comedic style, musicals. We discussed the positive attributes of the evolved media industry and which classic films we thought shared positive and empowering messages.

There is no doubt that Western media controls the majority of mass media in the world. We all had favourite movies from our own countries, cultures, experiences.. and realized that we had so much more to learn, always. I remember again, the more questions we ask, the more we look at all the things we think we know and can discuss in this space, the less we feel we know. But the conversation journey is worth it every time, because moment by moment, we grow together.