The term ‘anxiety’ refers to a feeling of worry or unease in response to a particularly situation or influence. There is no doubt that the media has greatly contributed to heightening the anxieties meters of all who feed into the emotional mincing machine. One must only observe the constant debate surrounding the issue of body image. Such publications like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and clothing based magazines are responsible for altering the minds of those who seek social acceptance.
British MP Caroline Nokes is a staunch advocate of how the induction of social media has affected young people. Nokes has been quoted as saying “social media networks are the primary way they(young people)communicate and their main channel to the outside world“. Her campaign Be Real: Body Confidence for Everyone aids in increasing the awareness of the dangers negative self-reflection. Its findings suggest that cosmetic surgery has risen by 20% since 2008. Nokes further states that looking at yourself through the online filter is quote “unhealthy. This stance is further corroborative with that of Dr Phillippa Diedrichs of the University of West England’s Centre for Appearance Research. She also states that those who spend time posting photo’s of themselves on Facebook are more likely “to self-objectify”.
One last point regarding body image refers to the backlash manifested by the comments by Adam Glassman. Glassman, who is the creative director for Oprah magazine stated that only women with flat stomachs can wear crop tops. This comment affected women to such a degree the hashtag #RockTheCrop was created and hundreds of photos of overweight women wearing crop tops were posted. In this instance media anxiety caused women to embrace who they are, not what others want them to be.
Another way the media conjured up anxiety for its audience was through the creation of the culture of fear. It refers to a method of using heavily emotive language and imagery to frightened the audience into an agenda. America is a nation which excels in this type of scare tactics dating back to the Cold War. Historian Nancy.E Bernhard wrote the book U.S Television News and Cold War Propaganda, 1947-1960.
In the book, she detailed how the US media used such slogans as “Better Dead than Red” to develop a hysteria and unease within the middle class. It further aided in reducing empathy toward the enemy and allowed the Government to conduct behavior without opposition.Thus, creating unease among the public. However, present day America is employing the same hyperbole and scare tactics in a war context. Popular conservative new publication FOX News are guilty of sensationalising the real threat of terrorist group ISIS. Evidenced by the comments made by Jenine Pirro(Fox News) stating that ISIS is the “single biggest threat in (America’s) 200-year history”. This is hard to believe considering Pirro is placing ISIS above Nazi Germany and Japan. Two world powers hell bent on world domination. As evidence suggests ISIS does no have near the military prowess some believed. Pentagon spokesmen John Kirby stated this in response to a question regarding ISIS owning drones.
The aforementioned exchange between John Kirby and unnamed journalist serves as strong evidence to suggest the media uses supposed international threats to create anxiety within the audience, even those within the media, like Jenine Pirro.
Anon, 2014. Does social media impact on body image? – BBC News. BBC News. Available from: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-29569473 [Accessed March 13, 2016].
Tribune Media Wire, 2015. O Magazine responds to body-shaming backlash: #RocktheCropTop no matter your size. Zap2It. Available from: http://zap2it.com/2015/07/o-magazine-rock-the-crop-top-backlash/ [Accessed March 13, 2016].