This is a topic I have been thinking about for quite some time now, and coincidentally, Ray Wolfson over at Return of Kings recently wrote up an interesting article about the creep of female melodrama into male TV.
While I consider Ray’s points to encompass a minor subset of the larger issue, he is correct in highlighting that today’s culture of entertainment is overtly feminine and purely fantastical in nature. In all mainstream media, the message de rigueur is female empowerment and independence.
Even more detrimental is the wide acceptance of ensuring men are presented as an inferior sex.
The TV Version of a Man is No Man
Back in the day, you could count on sporting events as a male-centric extravaganza, but even that has been co-opted to drive the message home that women should be a part of everything a man enjoys. There is no respite from female sideline reporters and studio talking heads ensuring we talk about rape culture and domestic violence.
Additionally, we have a never ending cacophony of commercials encouraging us to buy things we don’t need in order to achieve a fleeting state of quasi-satisfaction.
If you allow yourself to be bombarded with messages designed to make you feel unhappy and inferior—unless you purchase worthless (meaning no intrinsic value) items like diamond rings— then unsurprisingly, your overall satisfaction in life will be negatively impacted.
Not only does television consistently present fem-centric tripe like Everybody Loves Raymond, Big Bang Theory, and The Good Wife, but every seven minutes you’re bombarded by three minutes of marketing material explicitly designed to influence how you view your own life.
I work in the marketing industry and know how much effort goes into crafting messages and imagery designed to elicit specific feelings or actions. Professional marketers and data analysts are exceptionally good at what they do.
TV Rots Your Brain
To be clear, I am not entirely opposed to men exposing themselves to the world of entertainment. Life can be rough, and the occasional escape from the day-to-day can be beneficial to us all. I simply want to make clear the level of influence we are subjected to through the recurring messages we allow to enter our minds.
Use caution and discernment when selecting your entertainment. Consider the benefits of time-slipped viewing via TiVo and other recorders that allow you to skip commercials. Take a closer look at your favorite show and evaluate whether or not it presents men in a consistently positive light. Perhaps unwinding with a video game makes more sense for you.
Personally, I have found reading to be a much better use of my time. There is more variation and originality in books relative to what you will find on TV or in the movies. You can easily discern whether or not a given book is designed to provide escapist fare, will challenge you to think critically, or is designed to encourage you to be a better man.
Build up your mind, and your ability to accomplish great things grows exponentially. Learn from history, and you will avoid the mistakes made by greater men centuries before you.
However you choose to spend your leisure time, I suggest you carefully evaluate its lasting impact on you. Mindless consumption will undermine your best efforts to reach the heights of manhood. Recognize your selected entertainment for what it is, and ensure you understand both its advantages and disadvantages.
Establish, and always maintain, a filter that allows you to see outside influences for what they really are. In this way you successfully separate yourself from the flock of sheep our consumerist culture depends on. And before you know it, happiness and satisfaction in your life will no longer be the exception, but the rule.