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The MTV network has been on air for many years and has become far more than just an entertainment outlet. MTV has defined a generation and for many young people it has defined what it is to be cool. There have been several attempts by different groups to rise concern about the way how this channel has influenced its audience. It has come under attack of critics, parents and researchers who have asserted that MTV’s content has damaging effects on its audience. MTV network initially reached its fans through rock personalities but, more recently, the network explicates the teenage experience to audiences through their own peers. This paper will seek to discuss the effects of MTV on rock audiences and the larger society.

The greatest effect of MTV to its audience which is largely the younger generation is how they interpret the programs that claim to be real and have similarities to their lives. Another factor that enhances these effects is the way in which audiences relate to the on-air personalities that include the phenomena of para-social interaction and identification, both of which bear the potential of affecting beliefs and behavior. Focusing on content, sexual and violence scenes has been a major part of music videos. It is thought that violence and sex sell, TV commercials use sex and violence to get attention and combine their products with pleasant feelings and since music videos are just commercials, it is not surprising that the content of MTV bears sex and violence. However, the concern here is the effect such scenes have on its audience since MTV is known to target the young generation. There has been a public outcry on the content of rock music videos. For instance, The National Coalition on television claimed that sex and violence in rock music videos makes them harmful to young audiences. Researches by several groups show that most of the characters on MTV are male. Women characters wear indecent clothes. Males and females maintained their stereotypical roles as expected by the public. There is a massive content of violence in these music videos too. It is said that more than half of the videos contain some violent scenes or crime acts. Pornography has constantly been a male-dominated industry and men enjoy sexual content more than women. MTV caters more towards male audience as they make up the bulk of rock music fans thereby buying more albums.

The contents of sex and violence on MTV are largely to be blamed for having a negative effect on the young generation. The effects are believed to be of different degrees depending on each individual where some of worst cases are incidents of rape or acceptance of it. Women are depicted as sex objects in some music videos. Objectification of women is dehumanizing and makes men think that they can use women as pleasure objects, a phenomenon that is ill in the society. Women are portrayed as promiscuous on MTV and thus many young people and other audiences especially men develop the wrong idea that all women are loose just like the ones they see on MTV. Observation is an important learning tool used by a person to get things into their mind, believing them and consequently acting on them.

The socialization function of MTV is also critical in affecting the lives of its audience. Rock videos in particular aid young people in constructing the understanding of the world. Due to the exposure of such videos, these young individuals especially men develop certain attitudes towards rape. This audience may try and model their behavior according to their rock stars whom they see mistreating women and using them as objects. Furthermore, the sexual role women play in rock videos gets instilled in the audience’s mind as a stereotype of  the way how all women act.  

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