Furthermore, misogyny is nowadays prevalent as a construction of the media. With changing times, the media has developed a fascination with violent and unruly girls and women. As female delinquents become more, the media is also at the same time striving to create fictional films showcasing female violence. Ferrell and Websdale (1996:116) suggest that the reason behind increased female violence is the notion of emancipation. As women strive to seek equality with their male counterparts they are becoming more aggressive in defending and ensuring their liberation.
Indeed, it is common these days to watch films where female characters are being portrayed as powerful and invincible. Not only are they shown to carry weapons and kill others they are also triumphing over their male characters. This new generation female characters are instilling attitudes which encourage violence among young females. When young female characters watch these films they observe that women are only able to accomplish their goals using violence. This belief provokes an affinity for crime and such young people will not hesitate to use violence in order to get what they want.
Demonizing of children by the media has not only distorted how people view children but it has also made young people more likely to commit serious crimes. In recent times, young people have been depicted in the media as being rebellious, unruly, and violent and even highlighted their increased involvement in crime. Jewkes (2004:94) illustrated that the presence of killings carried out by children and young people only reflects a much wider problem. Fictional films such as horror movies are keen to showcase young people as killers and monsters who are constantly engaging in antisocial behaviors.
Such films send a confirmatory message to young people that being deviant and violent is appropriate and just like the characters in films they can get away with serious crimes. Dowler (2003:120) argues that the media can be used as a positive force in the fight against crime. This argument emanates from the notion that as young people watch violence, brutality and injustice in crime news and shows they can react positively with strong convictions of eliminating these vices. This perceived fear of crime can compel young people to shun from violent and aggressive behaviors.
However, this possibility is flawed by the opposing notion that these same news and shows are capable of shaping attitudes with an affinity to criminal behaviors. As such, the role of the media as a mediator of these negative attitudes and behaviors takes precedence. From the above discussion, it is evident that the media plays a big role in shaping and influencing attitudes of young people who commit serious crimes. This role emerges in the analysis of characteristics of media content and the effects of this content.
Media content characteristics include perceptions of realism and violent characters, and the portrayal of justification for aggressive behaviors. These characteristics are responsible for such short term effects like arousal and imitation in young people. Constant interaction with violent characters may evoke arousal and consequent imitation of these aggressive behaviors in a bid to experience similar feelings. Furthermore, when media content often creates justification for the violent and delinquent behaviors young people may perceive these behaviors as appropriate and without adverse effects.
In addition when young people perceive violent scenes in crime shows as realistic they are likely to develop aggressive ideas and even imitate them. Furthermore, these aggression inducing factors can be enhanced when young viewers identify themselves with lead violent characters. Long term effects of media content involve an accelerated array of antisocial behaviors which are carried out by young people who have become emotionally desensitized and highly comfortable with engaging in violence. The lack of supervision of children while interacting with the media accounts for the development of these deviant behaviors.
It is therefore important that media content for young people are screened and if possible violent content be completely prohibited for viewing.
Anderson, CA 2004, ‘An Update on the Effects of Playing Violent Video Games’, Journal of Adolescence, Vol27, pp. 113-122. Azarian, ZS. , Hassan, MSBH & Osman, MD 2009, ‘Effects of Watching Violence Movies on the Attitudes Concerning Aggression among Middle Schoolboys (13-17 years old) at International Schools in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,’ European Journal Scientific Research, Vo. ,38, No. 1, pp. 141-156.