Media’s Influence on Expectations


Expectations vs Reality is a major topic of discussion amongst people nowadays, but how much should media be taken into account on this?

Malieka Khan , Photojournalist

With today’s widespread social media influence people are getting information faster and more efficiently than ever, yet still the original forms of media (i.e. television, music, and movies) have been major factors of influence several decades before social media even existed. Most specifically these forms of media give way to the idea of perfect lives and relationships on screen through their plots and messages. Overtime these messages have become implemented into the minds of several of their consumers leaving them with fantasies of perfect lives with all their goals fulfilled and wishes granted. The question is are these unrealistic expectations good or do they do more damage than they are worth?

Jobs are shown to be these amazing and easily attainable sources of income where anyone can receive the one they would like at any moment. Still if not, surely this is due to the plot and they want to be a doctor will end up as an artist which his or her true passion and from there he or she will make more money than ever expected. When in real life jobs are not always the most fun things to have nor are they just given away. In this case, would these movies and television shows be an amazing motivator for people to go out and scavenge for the jobs they would only dream of having or would this turn into a sad reality check for the adults who in many cases are in a job they hate and believe they should just not be motivated at all because they were supplied with empty promises.

Relationships are another dream that are almost never as perfect and easy as shown in media. Now this is not to say that they are never amazing and as happy as those on television because they definitely can be, just not in the ways that media presents them to be. In movies grand gestures and romantic acts everyday are what bring a couple closer together and in a perfect relationship, however in real life many couples will state that the little things that no one notices are what truly make love what it is. In fact, those in movies are all sweet and nice, but nothing will beat the true, raw, real life emotions because of that innocence. However people will grow up believing that love is set by grand gestures and posters and flowers everyday and therefore practically miss out of true life love. Yet “Sometimes true life isn’t really like the movies, but most of the time it can definitely be better,” states Ashley Payne (10). Still eventually people will realize it too late, but there are those few that do get a relationship “like the movies” that they believe is the perfect fantasy. With love it really does depend on the person, however should media still be selling this idea of true love and forever happiness in the ways it has in the past or should they show what many believe love truly is so no false promises are not kept.

Life in general is usually much different all through media such as how the world works including money, houses, friends, and relationships not dealing with romance. A classic example is teenagers in movies that can go out whenever they feel without their seemingly nonexistent parents not having a problem with the situation. Now many teenagers will disagree with this fact and state that they have the opposite relationship with their parents. Not to mention money never seems to be a big issue in movies and tv unless the plot or joke demands it to be. This can set unrealistic expectations for finance in the future leading into houses and general utilities. A classic example of money not being an issue in television is in the show Friends when the main character’s apartment should cost $5,100 a month, yet a chief and a barista can afford to live in it.

Many misconceptions such as these live within movies and television yet still they are widely watched and looked up to. Perhaps the reason they are shown the way they are are to give people an area in which a perfect life can exist and this is why they seems so unattainable. Therefore this seems to be both a good and bad issue based off the idea that it supplies the people with a perfect life, even if it is fictional, yet still sets up unattainable expectations for them. So in the end if that is what the audience wants then they seem to be doing a spectacular job achieving it.