Dominant Social Ideologies - Sample Essay

In this essay I will give a variety of media examples that will relate to Dominant Social Ideologies and in turn will relate to Maslows need hierarchy. A Dominant Social Ideology is a mass belief in society and mankind that you should aspire to a level in which you feel is right. Maslow was a psychologist who in the 1950’s devised a hierarchy of people’s beliefs and behaviour. It consists of several layers with the basic or more functional needs at the bottom, rising up through the needs to the pinnacle of the hierarchy when you will gain self-fulfilment. All or most of the media represents and exploits the motivations of society and DSI’s.

There are ranges of techniques used to affect the ways in which we think. I am going to give three television advertisements. My first advert is a Findus meal advert it involves two good looking women eating a savoury rice meal, with the ‘feeling great’ music in the background, it explains that no other meal make you feel as good as this one. The target audience is women who want to lose weight and feel good. This is a stereotype in itself because often men want to feel good and maybe lose weight. It shows that if you eat the food product it will make you more attractive to the opposite sex. This is related to Maslow’s need hierarchy on the first level by feeding you, and on the proceeding levels until you reach the level at which you need to be respected, admired and loved by others.

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For my second advert I have chosen a loan application advert. At the beginning of the advert it shows two women talking about their finances. The first woman complains about the stress factors and how things are getting her family down. The second woman tells her about the specialist finance group. The first woman takes her advice and after you see her on the supermarket car park feeling amazing and being able to pay off all her debts and to afford a brand new car. The person describing the product was talking with a nondescript accent, he was not talking ‘BBC English’ or with one of the many local dialects.

This shows that the target audience is average people who have money problems. It also indicates that in most families it is the man who deals with finances and therefore acts as an ‘exploded’ stereotype. This exploits DSI’s by showing that after taking out a loan with low apr and a good quality car you will again be accepted by society. This relates to Maslow by giving you money it is giving you a sense of security and to be admired by the fact that you a have a new car.

My third and final piece of advertising is the Lemsip Max Strength advert. The scene is set in an office with two men (one is older than the other) talking about office reports and other office jargon. During the conversation, the younger man finds out that the older man has organised the meeting from home, after he had been using Lemsip Max Strength. The older man then uses a small but effective catch phrase “…This sorts the men from the boys…”.

The target audience are young men who want to mature and become men to attract the opposite sex. The DSI is that you need to be mature in life to get far and being petty and silly is ineffective. Also it reinforces the Dominant Social Ideology that to be happy, we need to be successful in our jobs. Relating this to Maslow it takes you to the second stage of the hierarchy, the need to feel safe from danger and threatening situations.

I will now move on to my second media type – Soap Operas. In most of the soap operas now there is now a greater variety of social situations, for example homosexuals are now not as excluded in society as they were before. It often shows a man or a woman split up over some reason and the person or persons who deserted their wife or husband will not be liked and cast out of society. This shows the DSI is that you should be in a loving relationship or a family. It also shows on the other side that people who are successful are loved and are greatly respected by other people in the ‘epicentre’ often a pub or in a bar. In the hierarchy this is in the respected and admired level.

My third section is journalism in Broad Sheets and Tabloids. The Tabloids tends to sensationalise on the more exciting news and incidents involving the rich and famous, erotic happenings and negative news. On the other hand, the Broadsheets talk about political and parliamentary incidents.

In the tabloids they also use exaggeration and stereotyping to shock readers into buying their newspapers, for example “VICAR BARES ALL TO CONGREGATION!!! – SEE PAGE 2!!”. The broadsheets use and tell solid information but often in a bias opinion. People tend to buy tabloid papers in order to catch up on gossip, to find out who is going out with who so that they can appear knowledgeable, when in fact they’re not as all they are doing is reading what is known as the ‘gutter press’. I think that only the broadsheets falls into a section in Maslows need hierarchy, that is the need to acquire knowledge and understand things.

This is the final section to my media piece, British Films. For this section I have chosen the film ‘Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’. This gangster film involves a card game gone wrong because of the club boss cheating. The man who lost owes half a million pounds and he has to give it back in a week. The plot thickens but in the end the man who cheated got shot – this shows that lying and cheating is wrong and in the end the good guys always win. This shows that the DSI is that being good and honourable is the best way to be and being bad is unethical and pointless.

This relates to Maslow need to be safe because when you become in a criminal fraternity, you always have to “watch your back”. The conclusion is that if you are a good, kind, faithful and respectful you will be admired and looked up to by others thus putting you on the road to self-fulfilment. However, if you are deceitful, selfish, disloyal and reckless you will be disliked by others and unable to reach an attainable goal of self-fulfilment.

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