Example research essay topic: How The Media Presents The Contemporary Family – 1,534 words

Each and every person was born in a family. “The
family is an arena in which virtually the entire
range of human experience can take place. Warfare,
love, violence, tenderness, honesty, deceit,
private property, communal sharing, power
manipulation, egalitarian decision making- all can
be found within the setting of a family.”
(www.media-awareness.ca/eng/s/support) In society
every place people turn the issue of family life
is always being portrayed. Most movies and
television shows try to represent the ideal
perfect family. But in reality we all know that
the media family life is nothing like are own. In
this essay the focus point is the way children,
parents, and family life are presented within a
televised family, and if they are being portrayed
accurately, if social issues which affect them
dealt with, and if media represents the changing
face of the three.

Firstly, the way children are
viewed in the media is the first issue that is
being presented. It is a known fact that by the
time a child graduates from high school they have
spent more time in front of a television set than
in a classroom. During this time in front of a
television one of the things children often see is
a reflection of themselves. How children see
people their age is important, because it helps
shape how young people view themselves and their
place in the world around them. Most television
shows do not portray children accurately. Most
children shown on television are motivated most
often by peer relationships and romance, and least
often by school related or religious issues.
Statistics say, ” 85% of children shows are about
peer relationships, and 15% are about
school-related issues.”
(www.childrennow.org/media/content.html) Yes,
issues on romance are more entertaining then
school-related issues, but romance is not the only
issue that real children have to deal with in
there live.

Many children have a dream of becoming
successful when they get older. For example,
becoming such jobs as a doctor, or a lawyer.
Television makes it seem that those types of jobs
just come to people over night, and also without
having any hard work and dedication involved.
Television shows tend to miss that fact, and only
display the things they think that children really
care about. Personally, more family sitcoms should
have more episodes on children characters tying to
get good grades and more of an education, and
spend less time on romances issues. This is
because if children watch more shows on children
working hard to get good grades, it might motivate
the young viewers to do the same. Another fact
that television does not do is deal with import
social issues. Most children in the real world are
forced to deal with increasingly difficult family
and group problems.

Study show that children on
television are leading simpler lives. Static say,
“Only 10% of television shows featuring child
characters deal with major social, or family
issues, such as racism, substance abuse, public
safety, or homelessness.” ” Also only 2% of
television shows featuring child characters deal
with major family issues such as family crises,
child abuse, domestic abuse, or family values.”
(www.childrennow.org/media/content.html) In today’
s society many children go thought a lot of
different experiences while becoming a teenager.
These children are presented with many issues such
as substance abuse, and domestic violence that
they have not ever been thought. Most children
watch family sitcoms to get some advice on growing
up and becoming a teenager. These children hope to
relate to what the television character is going
through. Some shows actually do present issues
that teens go though. For example, the producers
of the television show Seventh Heaven had an
episode of a girl being in a gang.

It dealt with
the issue of drugs, violence and weapons. The
episode was about the girl getting in the gang. In
order for the girl to be excepted in the gang the
members of the group already beat her to see if
she was strong enough to be apart of their violent
group. It was part of initiation. When her parents
found out they wanted her to get out of it
immediately. The girl thought it would be easy to
get out because she thought that her fellow gang
members were her friends.

But she was wrong. When
she told the members that she wanted out they
flipped, and beat her to the point were she was in
the hospital. This episode was very educational
because it had to deal with a real issue that many
teens have to go though in everyday life. Secondly
the way parents are viewed in the media is the
second issue that is being presented. Parents are
not actually portrayed in media either. Many
parents work and also have a family life also.
Many television shows tend to miss that issue.

On
television whenever an issue comes up at work
there is always a babysitter their to take care of
the children. This is a problem for real people.
Work and family life have a habit of intertwining.
You will never see this happening on television
because of the nature of the television world. The
majority of the prime-time characters are male,
and few of them appear to have family obligations.
Parents are insufficient, and working mothers are
still quite unusual. Most shows center on either
the workplace or the home, without much overlap
that would tell us about character’s other roles.
Family responsibilities rarely come up at work,
and when they do, they are easily met. Television
has not changed face since the old times. It has
some catching up to do when it comes to the issue
of gender roles, which play an important part in
how work and family issues are portrayed.

TV
women, unlike TV men, are still mostly defined by
their family relationships. When women characters
do have work and family conflicts, it is usually
because work is affecting their primary role at
home. Thirdly, the way family life is viewed in
the media is the third issue that is being
presented. Today, popular sitcoms of the day have
became the arena for acting out the struggles,
fears, aspirations and the contradiction in our
lives, and above all, those of our families. But
the television producers that make these sitcoms
about are family lives have a hard time matching
television families to normal real life families.
For example, the Fox network capitalized on our
collective sarcasm about social background and
delivered Married with Children. “A case of a
sitcom that is suggestive of the reaction to
feminism.

The show features a working class,
dysfunctional family who is trapped by their
narrow lives, long standing complaints and by
insults that leave the experiences into
self-parody”
(www.media-awareness.ca/eng/s/support) Yes, many
families in society are dysfunctional but not as
bad as this show. For a sense of humor the members
of this televised family badmouths each other, and
instant each other. Also there are no signs of
affection used in any of the episodes. Obviously,
the question of family life being portrayed
accurately is answered. The funny thing about
televised families is that it changed face but in
a bad way. As time passes situations involved in
the show get worse and worse.

In the 1950’s shows
like Leave it to Beaver was on the air. This show
was the type of show that we wished are family was
like. It was about a family who had no problems
involved in their life. Whenever there was a
problem there was an answer that immediately was
found. In this show the father had the final word,
and whatever he agreed on went. The mother stayed
home to take care of the house, while the father
went to work.

Then in the 1960’s All in the Family
a show that was agonizing over civil rights and
anti-war protest. The producers of this show
wanted it both ways. “They acknowledged that the
audience knew about racism, and feminism attitudes
to work and ethnocultural shifts from disturbing
news stories, but encouraged viewers to look at
Archie’s solutions.”
(www.media-awareness.ca/eng/s/support) Television
has always been a site of struggle for the family,
giving us what we would like to believe but
measure against lived experiences. On the Cosby
Show the issue of racism was never involved. Also
this show give the example of Father knowing best.
But not all-family sitcoms are dysfunctional.
Sitcoms such as Seventh Heaven, and Full House
produce many values of a loving family. In
conclusion, this essay focused on the way
children, parents and family issues are presented
within a media family, and also if they are being
portrayed accurately, if social issues which
affect family life dealt with, and if media
represents the changing face of the family.

As we
know TV entertains us, but it also shapes our view
of the real world. Views of what is important and
what needs to be changed. Showing how families
cope with their own problems lets viewers know
that they are not alone in their struggles and can
offer them hope for solutions..

Research essay sample on How The Media Presents The Contemporary Family