Media and Ideology
I connect this idea of media and ideology with one of my previous readings, Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence by Adrienne Rich. According to Media and Ideology by Croteau, “ideology is related to concepts such as worldview, belief system, and values, but it is broader than those terms,” whereas ideology helps us to better understand the world. Compulsory Heterosexuality for instance, is a great example of a dominant ideology, which indicates that the relationship between a man and woman is essential and without it, we would not be able to reproduce and grow. This ideology known as compulsory heterosexuality is overly exposed in the media.
The media portrays images that almost suggest “what is “normal” and what is “deviant”. In Croteau’s piece we read, “The fear is that media images normalize specific social relations, making certain ways of behaving seem unexceptional.” And because we see in the media certain behaviors and daily routines that are practiced constantly and consistently by those portrayed in the media, we begin to normalize these behaviors and these customs that we may see on TV, on the internet, and read in the newspapers, etc. What ends up happing is that when we see people who are not living by these habits, practices, and behaviors, we start to recognize them as outcasts… as the ones who do not belong. Reading through Rich’s piece about compulsory heterosexuality, I began to understand that the media does play a big role in why heterosexuality is in fact so compulsory, enforced, and essential. There is this idea that heterosexuality is so compulsory in our culture that it is almost not seen as a choice. I believe that compulsory heterosexuality is being overly exposed in the media, because in TV shows for example, we see families that consist of heterosexual couples, a mom and a dad, or a single mom, or a single dad, but we never see families that consist of lesbian or gay couples, two moms, or two dads. It is so natural and part of our daily routines that we do not question why the media tends to portray only families that consist of heterosexually coupled “mom and dads”.