Response Paper: Television and Brazil
The analyzed article concentrates on television in Brazil as one of the possible factors which have influenced the fertility levels in the region in the second part of the twentieth century. The authors make it clear that television was not the major motivation for this change, but the levels of fertility have dropped and the authors make an attempt at estimating the possible influence television and telenovelas have had on this process. The events of traditional telenovelas take place in Brazilian cities making the viewers somewhat closer to the described events. The families depicted in such series are usually small, sometimes even unnaturally small, with one or two children (Faria and Potter 260). These families are very happy and well-off, showing the viewers a model of a happy family of the modern age. People wanted to have happy and wealthy families, now the telenovelas have shown that small families are what they want. The television has also depicted the sexual relationship between men and women as not aiming solely at giving birth to a child; it has shown sex as a means of attaining pleasure (Faria and Potter 261). Adding to this was the advance of medicine and contraception, giving people an opportunity to get involved in sexual intercourse without it necessarily resulting in pregnancy.
Article of Television in Brazil
In the discussed period the society of Brazil has undergone certain social changes. It got involved into industrialization, with greater division of the labor market and therefore the advance form Durkheim’s mechanical solidarity (where people share common values as their lifestyle and work is similar) to the organic one (based on interdependence which arises from the specialization of the labor market). Television has shown people new values, which became shared by many, that is, a small and wealth family and a new side of the sexual intercourse. Television has also emphasized the importance of youth and beauty. The social institution of a family was perceived differently; it became healthier (as a result of the development of medicine) and wealthier (as a result of economic development). Television has showed a happy family each person wanted to have; it also showed the value of youth and beauty to women.
The analyzed article concentrated on the influence television has had on the Brazilian citizens. However, the media has influenced our society too. A quite debatable topic is the rise of violence levels as a result of violent scenes presented on television. More than 3 thousand researches were conducted with each proving that violent television scenes really do have an influence on behavior. Especially it is seen with regard to children. Many cartoons and programs created seemingly for the very young audience, for example the Woody Woodpecker series, contain episodes which include violence (though they are presented as funny). A comparison of the behavior of children who are used to watching such programs and the conduct of those who are not revealed that children who watch television regularly display aggressive or inappropriate behavior much more often.
We can hear on the news about a murderer dressed similarly to and imitating the actions of Freddy Krueger; about teenagers who have tortured their neighbor and poured salt over his wounds just because they saw it in some movie on TV. Children, unlike adults, do not adequately perceive what television programs show them. Not only young people but also adults might undergo behavior changes under the influence of television. It may be a positive phenomenon as in the case of the fertility issue and telenovelas in Brazil or a negative one as in the case of violence showed on television and violence in real life situations in the U.S.