Alienation in the 21st Century
Alienation in the 21st Century
Unreal Women and Unreal Men
It has been pointed out in a recent hub ( myownworld's excellent Men and Pornography as An Online Addiction) that pornography on the internet is on the increase or, at any rate, there are people addicted to it. This I believe is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to alienation in the 21st Century.
There are men who feel closer and more passionate with images on a screen than with real women in real life. The women images on screen, of course, can be doctored and often are to come closer to the male and, in some instances, the female ideal. If the eyes of the original model are not the recommended color (whatever that might be) they can be changed. If the model has not quite the right shaped face that too can be altered. And so it goes until you have something on screen that is as real as a three dollar note. Beautiful? Well, for a teenager yes. For someone who has been out in the real world and likes it there they can read it as false and not pleasing but the viewer in this instance may not understand why. It may be a case of: Technically she is perfect so why am I not interested in her? For someone who has taken to the false or semi-false images, however, they are not very likely to find someone in the real world that will match their vision in the not-so-real world.
Are women affected by false or doctored female images? Yes. These false images may be one of the reasons why disorders such as anorexia and bulimia have taken off in the late 20th Century and are doing well in the early 21st Century. Women cannot compete with unreal women and they shouldn't have to. Men also find themselves competing with unreal men and this can lead to depression. Do women also suffer from depression when they try to become 'unreal' beautiful? The answer of course is yes.
Are images of unreal women found elsewhere besides the computer screen? The answer is yes. Many magazine covers have doctored photos of women from health magazines, to magazines for men to magazines specifically targeted for women. There was a popular Australian model famous for her freckles who appeared on one magazine cover without her freckles probably because some editor didn't like women to have freckles. The magazine where this occurred was not a men's magazine but a magazine specifically put together for women. Are freckles a crime? No. Can a woman look beautiful with freckles? Yes. Can men and women be tricked into thinking there is something not quite right with freckles? You bet!
What is the answer? The best thing anyone can do is take a walk in the real world. Talk to people, all kinds of people. Maybe take up a sport. Pining away for the impossible or to become the impossible image doesn't do anyone any good.
In the real world women can be harsh with men but at least they are real women. In the real world men can be harsh with women but at least they are real men. In the real world it is also possible to find someone you click with and that can lead to a life less lonely. This is a good thing. It is of course possible to meet someone online, form a relationship and then meet in real life. This can work. It can also be dangerous as not everyone tells the truth online.
How alienation took off in the 20th Century
There were kids in the beginning of the era of radio who became addicted. They came to prefer listening to the music and then the stories on offer. They would stop whatever they were doing of an afternoon to tune into their favorite radio show. They world sit and listen as Superman saved Lois Lane yet again or stopped a meteor from smacking into the earth. They would sit and listen as the Lone Ranger did his thing in the wild west and the Green Hornet rounded up the bad guys in some inner city locale. There were also game shows such as pick-a-box and the news and fashion tips for the ladies and sports reviews for the men though a lot of women also listened in. This was all a pretty good escape from reality but it wasn't perfect. It was, after all, just sound, no images. You had to go out into the real world for images or pick up the Radio Times. There were also good things about radio that should not be forgotten. With the advent of radio it was possible to be sitting in a lounge room in Sydney, Australia and listen to a compare in England review an Ashes cricket match between England and Australia live as the cricket match is actually happening in England.Comedy was king on radio.
With television you have not only sound but also picture. You can see Superman fly. You can see the Lone Ranger shoot up the bad guys. Of course you could at first only see all this in black and white. If you wanted color you would have to go out into the real world or get a copy of TV Week.
Then color television came in. Now you could see the newer programs in color. You no longer had to go out to see people moving in color. What's more, there were television families that just about always solved their problems by the end of the episode. Unlike many real families they did not have continuing problems. They were as close to perfect as you could get. It is no wonder people were drawn to them.
In the cartoons and the live action adventure stories the heroes always or almost always triumph at the end of the episode. The bad guys including the bullies always lose. In real life of course this doesn't always happen and there is often a gray area as to who is the good guy or gal and who is the bad guy or gal. Pretty gals may fall for the villain or bully at the beginning of a episode but they are NEVER with the bad guy or bully at the end of the episode finding they have a preference for the honest and true blue hero. In real life this does not always happen. Then there is comedy to make you laugh after a hard day at school or work. Unlike radio you can actually see the comedians take falls or custard pies in the face, etc.
Do we really need the outside world when television gives us so much? In truth we do in order to grow up and also find a place in the outside world that goes beyond schooling and work. Are there still people addicted to television? You bet. What's more, with videos and DVDs you can remain addicted even when the programs being shown are lousy and unwatchable.
Is so called 'Reality' television creating a new type of television addict? Probably but it is also probably too early to comment. 'Reality' television may also be driving people away from television altogether and either into other addictions or even into the real world.
Images of whatever you want are easy to come by. Making friends on line is easy and often easier than face to face. Hurting people on line is also, unfortunately, easy but so is helping them and also making them feel appreciated. There are also computer games that can be played on line with more than one person. You can create a new personality for yourself and give yourself the body type you have always wanted. You can do all this and more. Is this sort of thing addictive? You bet. It can take you away from reality to the point where a walk down the street to buy milk and bread feels like you are in a strange non-technological territory.
Cell Phones or Mobile Phones
Call them cell or call them mobile they do more nowadays than just provide you with an instant phone when you are not at home. They have become essential for business people. Parents want their offspring to have them in case of emergencies which is only sensible. They have however become a problem in some schools where students prefer to text each other or play games on their mobiles rather than listen to the teacher. It is also possible to have pornographic images come up on the tiny screen or to access the internet. Mobiles seem to be able to do everything short of brushing your teeth for you at night and tucking you into bed. I have seen teenage girls texting each other or verbally talking to each other via phone when both girls were no more than twenty feet from each other. Why didn't they just walk over and talk to one another in the real world? Maybe the answer is that the world of the mobile is far more fun and far more addictive.
Are There Other Forms of Technological Addiction Not Mentioned?
I am sure some of my readers will be able to add to this list. I have been concentrating on addictions involving sound and/or picture but I know I haven't touched upon everything in this category. I think this lot is enough to go on for now. I look forward to your comments. I hope this has been informative to some of you. I'm off fishing soon. Back to the real world you might say.
More by this Author
Einstein, Doctor Who, Edison, Freud, Jung, Mitchell, Ford, The Spitfire, Punch and Judy, Desk Job, Don Berlin, Masks, clowning, Gotham, Bedlam, the Camera, the moon, alchemy, USA, Mental Illness.
Battle of Britain, Nazis, Communism, Spitfires, Hurricanes, RAF, Dad's Army, Goodnight Sweetheart, The Man in the High Castle, The Demi-Paradise, The Shadow, The Ashes, 1929, rabbit stew, Poland.
New Tricks, The Saint, The Avengers, The Champions, Monty python, Blackadder, Ballykissangel, Red Dwarf, Doctor Who, Cracker, Dad's Army, The Indian Doctor, You Only Live Twice, Horrible Histories.