Up until really recently (like, last week), I thought that an audience can consume a lot of media without it having a negative effect on it, as long as members of said audience are media literate, take the time to reflect on the message actually contained in the media they are consuming, and analysing how it fits or clashes with its perception of reality.
So for example, I can read a fashion magazine and, as long as I remember that each model went through hours of makeup and hair, that the clothes are pinned in the back to make the fit perfectly, that the lighting is arranged by the millimeter, and that the pictures are photoshopped, I will be fine. Why? Because I’ll know that I can look amazing myself if I were on the same regimen as a fashion model and pictures of me were taken following a similar process (and if I learned how to pose!)
Of course there are extremes that I think will affect a consumer no matter what, especially when the inner nobility of man appears nowhere in a picture/scene/song/etc. But extreme media based on a complete denial of the higher nature of humans are not the media I have in mind when writing this post.
Unhealthy media can be made healthy by the way we consume them, I used to confidently think. But last week, as I was Fasting, I thought about this belief of mine in the context of the metaphor of the human body. If I eat junk food, is there anything I can do to eliminate its negative effects on my body?
I don’t think so. After all, I’m ingesting/absorbing/welcoming into my very cells a bunch of chemicals that are not really meant to be there in the first place. Similarly, I’m starting to think that negative media cannot but have a negative effect on us.
There are of course way I can minimize the effects of junk food. For example, if I lead an overall healthy life that includes a healthy, unprocessed diet and regular exercise; if I limit the intake of junk food; and if I choose less junky junk food—all of these can ensure that whatever junk food I end up eating has a minimal effect. It can even be argued that in these conditions, the pleasure of eating said junk food might outweigh the negative effect it has on my body, but that’s a whole other topic of conversation (and potentially an excuse for a writer who has a bunch of chocolate permanently stationed on her desk).
If this metaphor stands, it means that whatever negative effect of the media we consume can be countered by certain habits. What does it mean, though, to lead an overall healthy life with regards to media consumption? What kind of media is healthy and would help counter the negative effects of unhealthy media? What is the line between healthy and unhealthy media? Is it subjective or objective? And how much unhealthy media can remain healthy-ish?
Taking another step into this discussion is one that bloggers and writers like myself have to seriously consider: is the content that we are producing and sharing healthy or unhealthy?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter! Feel free to comment below or, as always, if you don’t want to share such intimate thoughts in a public forum, email me at saharsblog (at) gmail (dot) com.