It’s interesting when you look at how entertainment, especially television, has changed over the years. Through the 1970s, primetime television was fairly wholesome. Most of the characters on shows like “Leave it to Beaver,” “The Brady Bunch” and “Little House on the Prairie” were role models for children who promoted positive values.
When you look at what has happened on television since then, especially in the past decade or so, there’s a major shift in how characters are portrayed, especially females. It’s not uncommon to find a “queen bee” character that is bossy and mean. She’s frequently very attractive and is portrayed in a way that leads girls to look up to her, and a lot of the behaviors these characters portray end up becoming something that is accepted and even promoted.
Shows like “The Bachelor” and “The Real Housewives” promote women who behave badly; they exhibit catty behavior and often gang up with each other to ostracize or discredit other women. They’re very often glamorous, have a lot of money and wear fancy clothes. Again, this becomes the accepted role model for girls and young women today.
Entertainment and the media are perpetuating this view of how girls and women should act. If you behave the way that they do, they imply that you’ll be rich and famous, too.
As schools continue to teach good digital citizenship, showing ways that students can be intelligent, contributing human beings in a very fast-paced world, they should also consider including education on the negative effects of media and entertainment. Unfortunately, it isn’t going away. We can’t ignore the psychological effects on students that this type of entertainment is causing.
Not only should schools examine how they can educate their students, they could work with parents to help them be aware of the effect some of these television shows have on the people watching them. I would love to hear how you are dealing with this issue inside your schools.