It is juvenile to suggest that the media has NO effect on consumers. Humans are not robots, we can not come away from being exposed to a media form completely unresponsive. However it is also naive to suggest that the media is the only and main cause of societal problems such as obesity, eating disorders, violence and the classic problem of poor self-image amongst young women. The way an individual receives a piece of media is completely dependent on how the person interprets it and whether they are aware that what they are seeing is a representation, not reality. This can then decide whether or not it effects them negatively or positively.
The media effects model says that the sole cause of social problems like the ones mentioned previously, is the media. However when pinning the cause of the problem down to “the media”, people often make the mistake of over looking how much the individual/s personal background e.g poverty, unemployment, housing, family and peers effect them. For example in the case of the murder of Jamie Bulger 1993, two young boys who came from very dysfunctional back grounds murdered another child named Jamie Bulger. In the trial it was found that the way the two boys had carried out the murder had similar traits to the movie Child’s play 3 and so started the debate of how much violent media effects young children. This is also seen when young women develop eating disorders and a lot of people may argue that this is partly the media’s fault for generating photos of skinny, beautiful girls on the covers of magazines and advertisements. However these girls are most likely to have extreme problems with their self image and their ability to accept themselves for who they are before the media is even brought into the equation.
We can not blame the media for our own personal issues, because take away the media and the individual would still be vulnerable to it, so maybe the media just exposes whats already there….