With the change of time and generation, the channel of communication is also changing. Source of information which was collected through newspapers and radios are now received through internet which is readily available at the tip of fingers. Social Media which has revolutionized the internet has the capacity to provide information on a larger scale. So besides listening and reading, visual information has become an important part of information. Media functions in such a way that it impacts our daily lives, our choices in fashion or food, the lifestyle we live, the mode of communication, the cars we drive etc. We might not be aware of its effect but media directly or indirectly is influencing our lives. Today, media has dominated the Naga populace not only individually but also collectively.
Media also plays a crucial role in projecting and influencing the gender roles in any given society. Gender in media refers to how gender is represented within the media platform such as television, movies, magazine, videos and so on. With the emergence of new technology, there is an increase in the commercialization of mass media. Often, we fail to notice but media has started to disrupt the image and value of both men and women. The young adults in Nagaland are no doubt persuaded by it. Commercial advertisement of different brands projects men to be masculine, handsome, sexy and stylish. Focus is also directed towards hairdos, clear and fair skin in the present times. On the other hand, media projects women to be beautiful with glowing features, fairer skin tone, perfectly shaped curves and flat belly. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 11,326 18-year-old women underwent breast augmentation surgery in 2014 alone. Looking perfect and wanting to look perfect has gradually been ingrained into Naga society. Hence as a result, most of the Naga youths are following what is being projected in the media, leading to massive eating disorder, lack of self- confidence, being self- conscious, low self – esteem and lethal psychological disorder. In Dimapur, there is an increasing number of clinics mainly for lip augmentation and eyebrow lift surgery. The numbers of patients are increasing which emphasizes that ‘we need to have a perfect and beautiful body or face’.
Music videos and video clips mostly portray sexuality and worldly pleasures. The young adults are motivated by the videos so much that the way they dress and the attitude they display are so close to imitating them. Attitudinal and behavioural transition also questions our ethical moral codes and our mental state. On the flipside, media is influencing society to accept what is not real. So, the false body image of men and women projected in the media impacts young adult’s’ perceptions on how they need to look and whether they fit in the image portrayed in the media. Sexiness and having a perfect body is now essential for both genders so much that now most of the products that are advertised are directed towards fairer skin, thin belly, masculine and hairless body. When media focuses on sexuality and objectification of both genders especially women, there will be higher chances of sexual assault, rape, and molestation in the society. Since media influences young adults more, it is bound to have a negative impact on their sexuality and their perception of sex.
Recent increase in the number of internet users in Nagaland is another media effect. The easy access to the internet has been very helpful to a wide range of people – a teacher, a student, businessman or an officer. Use of the internet mostly by students has helped them to access e-books, journals, any article relating to their subject. It has helped the Naga populace in enriching their knowledge, creativity and has helped the entrepreneurs to advertise and popularize their business in a cheap and easy way. At the same time, uncontrolled access to the internet has reached an alarming rate. The use is and can create a menace in the future, if awareness and training on the correct usage of internet and social media is not done. Many of us are seen surfing the internet mainly for playing games, checking Facebook status, uploading pictures in Instagram and chatting in WhatsApp. On an average, a person spends roughly around five hours or more in a day floating aimlessly in the dark abyss of social media. The time spent by a student in studying their subjects is spent more on accessing the internet. The impact of media has also led to an increase in health hazards like sleeping disorder, back pain, migraine etc.
Media- one of the pillars of democracy; is one successful instrument and is now a central part of our daily lives. Thinking about the effects of media among the Naga populace, questions may rise as to whether if we could cope up with the negative effects as well. In any given society, when change happens, there is always a deviance. And the past events are a witness that we often fail to effectively channelize the deviance. Social media is shaping our lives daily while influencing our mental state as well. We should not only consider media as a negative impact because there are also many issues that have created a negative impact in our society. It is not right to blame media alone. Since, we know that media plays a very decisive role, we should be constructive and be conscious of what media conveys and we should also have absolute control on the use of media.
Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Tatongkala Pongen, Aniruddha, Meren and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.