Influence Of Media Violence Aggression Against Woman And Children

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Media violence is mainly defined as the visual portrayal of physical aggressive acts by one human or human like character. It can also be defined as the act of violence such as killing or injuring someone, independent of the method used. Aggression is behavior that is intended to harm other individual who does not wish to be harmed (Baron & Richardson ,1994). It can be physical or non-physical. Physical includes hitting, kicking, stabbing or killing. Non-physical includes verbal, social aggression and non-verbal. Examples are gossiping, swearing, bullying, threatening etc.

Theoretical explanations for media violence effects

These theories explain why observation of violence by family, peers and community stimulates aggressive behavior in observers. There seem to be two types of causes- short term and long term effects.

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Short Term Effects

Priming. A technique where exposure to an external stimulus influences the response to a subsequent stimulus without any intention or conscious guidance. Watching violent video primes aggressive related ideas which causes people to offer more hostile explanations for others behavior. Increases violence against woman and children.

Arousal. Presentation of aggressive behavior in mass media arouses the observer, due to two possible reasons- excitation transfer and general arousal. If arousal is increased, inhibition reaches a peak where inappropriate response is diminished and dominant learned response are displayed.

Mimicry. Imitation of specific behaviors are a special case of observational learning. In recent years, it has been observed that young individuals have an innate tendency to mimic whomever they observe. Especially when children grow up watching violence behavior, they are prone to mimic it.

Long Term Effects

Observational Learning. Social scripts guide behavior through observation of peers, family, community and mass media. Social scripts are encoded during the early, middle and late childhood. During this period, cognitive schemas in children are elaborate. For example, extensive observation of violence produces schemas which attributes hostility to others action.

This can be seen when children observe aggression in mass media such as domestic violence, bullying etc. and try to imitate those behaviors in their daily life.

Disinhibition. It is the removal of inhibition. It results in acting out behavior that normally would be restrained. For example, giving messages that violent behavior is acceptable by TV programs which will lead to success and popularity. For some people, this message can lower inhibitions against acting out hostile feelings (Anderson et al.,2003). Another example can be proving manliness or to show that their head of the house by harming woman and children.

Desensitization. Repeated exposures to emotionally activating media or video games can lead to habituation of certain natural emotional reactions. This process is called desensitization (reduced emotional sensitivity). Media violence tends to lower sensitivity to violent acts even if the real thing is gross, ugly and gut wrenching. Even when media violence is graphic, it is often experienced in the relaxed and familiar setting of home. It often leads to demeaning attitudes towards woman and therefore make violent or coercive sexual behavior more acceptable. An example of this comes from a study where they compared the effects of viewing the films Swept Away and The Getaway which show woman as victims of both erotic and non-erotic aggression. More aggressive films increased the acceptance of violence against woman. It reduced perceptions that material was violent, reducing support for sexual equality and lessening sympathy for rape victims (Zillman & Bryant, 197; Check & Malamuth, 1981; Donnerstein & Penrod, 1984).

Media Violence Against Woman

One of the causes of violence against woman is how media portrays woman. Woman being seen as mere objects used for gratifying men’s desires. This has increased both sexual and non-sexual violence towards woman. Statistics suggest that violence against woman is committed by large numbers of men rather than few deviant individuals. The effects of cultural and social variables on male aggression have received greater attention in recent analysis, role of mass media is one such object of inquiry.

Sexual Violent Erotica

Many argue that pornography degrades woman and encourages sexual coercion and violence at least in some vulnerable individuals (Malamuth,1993). In a survey assessing public reaction to various forms sexually violent media, a substantial majority of respondents supported censoring sexually violent media whereas only half supported censoring non-sexual violent media and only a third supported censoring nonviolent sexually explicit movies (Fisher, Cook, & Shirkey, 1994; Fisher and Grenier, 1994).

Theorists explain media effects either direct or indirect paths of influence on behavior. Those who believe in direct paths postulate specific depictions are responsible for specific actions. Indirect models don’t rule of a direct cause-effect relationship, but a more complex connection between behavior and media depictions. It is suggested that thought patters, sexual arousal patterns and other responses modifies to exposure to sexually violent depictions. Over a span of years, these responses and also factors which include social, individual and circumstantial factors may contribute to a diverse of antisocial behaviors.

Studies of media violence have suggested three conclusions (1) Females are the ones targeted in the vast majority of depictions by males. (2) Over the past 15 years, media sexual aggression appears to have increased markedly, though it remains lower than media nonsexual violence. Content analysis of sexually explicit books, magazines, movies and videotapes have found considerable variability in the extent of sexual aggression they present (Dietz & Evans, 1982; Malamuth & Spinner, 1980; Stone, 1985; Winick, 1985). Magazines portray the least and adult books the most. (3) Sexual violence is often depicted quite differently from nonsexual violence. Victims of nonsexual aggression shows intent on avoiding victimization, while sexual violence is portrayed as the victim secretly desires and derives pleasure from the assault. In addition, it is also presented as without having negative consequences for either the victim or perpetrator. The simultaneous presence of aggression and sexual arousal results in conditioning sexual associations to violence and incline people to justify the violence or act aggressively.

In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in aggressive-pornographic images in the mass media. Aggressive pornography refers to depictions in which violence, threats, or obvious power differences are used to force someone to engage in sex. Donnerstein and Daniel Linz (1986) that media violence is most damaging as the put violent images rather than sexual ones. Mainstream movies, magazines, music videos and television programs equally to blame (Donnerstein, 1991).

In 1983, Donnerstein presented some participants with a violent-erotic stag film. The film depicts a woman who wishes to study with two men is forced to drink with them and ends up being tied up, stripped, slapped and raped. Other participants were presented with a violent but non-erotic film without any nudity or sexual activity. Male participants who were angered by a female confederate before watching the violent-erotic film gave more intense shocks to the confederate. In another study, participants were either angered or not by a female confederate against whom they could retaliate. Then they were shown the film, however the ending was varied; in one the victim was smiling and not resisting, in the other she seems to find the experience humiliating and disgusting. The male viewers delivered more intense shocks to the confederate when agreed. When they were not angry they administered more intense shocks when the film depicted as enjoying the experience (Donnerstein and Berkowitz, 1981).

For most men, fantasies about consensual sex or voyeuristic fantasies are more common. Playboy which has the largest circulation of erotic men’s magazines rarely displays violence. Similarly, many popular R-rated movies display at least some female nudity and non-explicit sexual acts. Nevertheless, it is possible that even nonviolent erotica induces sexual coercion and aggression. Such erotica may promote the dehumanization of woman by treating them as sexual objects, as subordinate to woman as existing solely for male satisfaction. Extremely explicit hard-core pornography predominantly affects the viewers experience as negative.

This includes verbal, physiological or psychological violence against woman. Portrayal of domestic violence in movies, books etc. increases tendency to seen as subordinate to men. Television and movies are filled with scenes of woman being threatened, beaten, tortured or murdered.

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Influence Of Media Violence Aggression Against Woman And Children. (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
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