Mishalish Insight

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Youthful Violence and the Quest for Identity in a media-saturated age- O'Dea

In a quick summary, O'Dea states in an odd fashion the correlation between youth violence, present day media, and identity. She talks about what identity is (during this media-saturated age): simply a shallow, transient, consumer cultured, unsatisfying image that can simply be bought. The self- image has become more based on what you wear, buy, listen to, watch on tv, and drive, rather than actions and character one builds through process, work, and time. Due to this shift in identity, people are unable to respect and charish their self-worth and constantly shift resulting in a feeling of loss of identity. O'Dea equated this shift and loss of indiviual meaning with the desensitizing media where no longer are images presented in media distinguishable between image and reality. In this loss, teens are driven sometimes to violence to desperatly attempt at finding what is REAL.

Due to O'Dea's very complex and deep article, I found that certain aspects I agree with and other aspects I do not. I am quite aware with how our culture has become an image based society, and how many waste so much money, energy, and emotions trying to buy an image they can project-but does this really drive people to mass murder? I am not quite sure this would be the only factor that drove the two boys in the Columbine shootings.

Also, there are flaws in the "image possessing identity" (not in O'Dea's case neccessarily, but with the mindset of society). When looking at my own self- If my identity is based on my clothes, make-up, etc, am I then a hippie, jock, professional, or a slob??? Based soley on my clothes, one would think that I have an identity crisis coming to school one day is a dress, the next in sweats, but when in reality I am comfortable with who I am and find myself with a constant character that does not buy into trends. Humans are much more complex than being able to place them into distinct categories, even if they only remain in a certain category until the next new trend comes along.

As O'Dea wraps up her article, she suggests that we have failed as society to take action against the power of the media and it is now time to start learning the language of media and begin educating our youth. This, as I have stated before in previous blogs, is absoloutly neccessary. We do indeed have a powerful influential culture in our society that needs to be learned about and taught how to critically analyze it.


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