THE BLOG

Democracy Wanted: Media Effects on Celebrity Icons Creates Social Regression

07/14/2013 07:27 pm ET | Updated Sep 13, 2013
  • Andreea Nica Writer, PhD Sociology Candidate, Media Strategist

When it comes to mainstream music, my quest to find meaning in lyrics has proven futile. In general, mass media seems to discourage creativity, intellect and wit when it comes to producing meaningful messages and visual appeal.

Deconstructing music videos and lyrics has become one of my favorite pastimes. Critiques include badass women who emulate unappealing characteristics of male stereotypes such as Jessie J's "Do It Like a Dude" video to Lana Del Rey's song "Cola," sharing with the public that her vagina tastes like soda pop.

The opening line to "Cola" being: "My pussy tastes like Pepsi Cola."

As a fairly open-minded, radical friendly individual, the opening proclamation in "Cola" still catches me by surprise. The word 'pussy' isn't a term that is typically associated with strength or integrity. It is a pejorative term describing someone who is weak or cowardly.

Given I share the same female organ as Del Rey, I was personally insulted when she compares her vagina to that of a mass-produced bottle/can of fizzy high fructose corn syrup that leads to poor health. The song is said to have been inspired by her Scottish boyfriend. She sure has a winner on her hands.

Another flagrant media icon, Miley Cyrus, recently released "We Can't Stop" which has been a buzzing tune in mainstream pop culture. The song appears to incorporate deliberate, controversial racial and gendered messages.

One example being: Cyrus bends down shaking her bum with exclusively black women surrounding her and sings:

"To my home girls here with the big butt. Shaking it like we at a strip club. Remember only God can judge ya."

There are far more obscure depictions in the video, but the song's message is simply: We're young and we can do whatever we want. Yes, we get it Miley; you're no longer sweet Hannah Montana.

As a critic of popular culture, I continue to find the digital production of saturated absurdities a detriment to the progress of young people and humanity in general. And no, the catchy and trendy beats do not outweigh the prevailing asinine effects of celebrity icons on society. I've often been told not to take lyrics and visuals too seriously -- that it's all about making money.

The revenue model does not revolve around what the consumers actually want, but on what we think we want. It is widely acknowledged that companies purchase media airtime for their top artists -- sorry Beyonce fans, but the rest of the world doesn't actually want to hear the same song multiple times per hour. Rather than reconfiguring the industry to promote intelligible lyrics, authenticity, and egalitarian imagery, it continues to adhere to a herd mentality.

The media systems not only reduce the self-worth of its celebrity assets, but use them to construct the psyche of people, especially young people. Why is it difficult to find an intelligent, eccentric individual within mainstream pop culture? Is it because media companies would struggle to control and mold intelligent artists; who possibly have a greater understanding of how they impact others?

I dream of a day when mass media conveys deep emotions, features of egalitarianism, and positive depictions of sexuality. Before passing this off as an unrealistic vision, remember, they have to give the people what they want. Choose wisely.

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