Media influence on our places and aspirations

More notes from the Diversity and Place discussions. In this session,  the discussion took an interesting turn away from the consistent topics I’d heard this morning, with one person asking:

“How much influence does the media have on our places and aspirations?

“For example, if you want to be an entrepreneur do you watch Dragon’s Den?

“I’m not saying we should quell the media, nor impose restrictions, but I am aware of the influence of the media on my thinking.”

Aspects of the media change aspirations. Hello Magazine is full of women who are young, slim and beautiful.

The media portrays aspirant images telling you what you should be – rather than suggesting what you can be. Does this shape – and limit – our aspirations because they are so narrow and prescriptive? Or, if the aspirant images projected at us are so outlandish and out of our reach, does it in fact discourage us from aspiring at all?

Another perspective was from someone who is blind. As a blind person, walking into an area that’s stereotypically associated with danger and a higher risk of being mugged, hasn’t been an issue in reality. More affluent areas are those where people are less likely to say “how can I help?”

“The areas we may think of as ‘tougher’ or ‘more troubled do not trouble me. People there have helped me.”

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