MTV: A Threat to American Culture?

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In the early 80’s a revolution in music took place the creation of a music television station. A new way to take pleasure in music was born. The creation of MTV is an important event in American history. MTV has affected our culture and the entertainment and music industry as well. In many ways, it has expanded the music industry and influenced youth to better the world. In a different perspective, one can say that MTV has corrupted the value of American life. Some believe that it has harmed the youth of America through the promotion of violence and sex, furthermore commercialized American society, and monopolized the entertainment industry. Whatever the view, MTV definitely has a prominent role in American culture.

Throughout the years, MTV has gained great power of influence over youth through television and music. The average child watches 7 hours of television per day. In this large amount of time a child’s future can be greatly affected, so what he or she watches should be chosen wisely. Music today contains explicit content such as drugs, sex and violence, and adolescents are constantly exposed to such issues through music and with MTV’s help, through television as well. Not only music videos, but shows such as Jackass, with their dangerous acts of stupidity, and The Osbournes encouraging drinking and the use of profanity. One could say MTV is promoting crime and violence. Furthermore, certain events which MTV promotes such as “Springbreak” contain drug use, sex and violence and in some cases even death. According to statistics, the average number of violent acts seen by a child by the age of eighteen is 00,000. There is a constant debate whether violence can be blamed on American television and music. Although the evidence in this debate is extensive against MTV, supporters still believe that MTV is entertaining and shouldn’t be blamed for the problems that face America’s youth.

Many critics of MTV and the American music industry feel that the music industry does not care about values and American culture, rather the whole part of the relationship with the teen is just to turn them upside down and shake all the money out of their pockets. Even more critics agree and feel that MTV is a mockery of American culture. Shows such as the Tom Green show and The Andy Dick show, which aired on MTV a few years ago, display gruesome acts of stupidity, which to some is not at all amusing and can in no way be seen as entertainment.

Some also feel that MTV has brought about many stereotypes. Blacks are often perceived as violent sex driven gangsters on the station through numerous music videos. Women are displayed solely as sex symbols, lacking any integrity or value as human beings. Other minorities are shown in a archetypal manner, brought about by their white-male counterparts. After the many years of fighting for equal rights in America, critics feel MTV has emerged and turned everything around.

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MTV uses commercial logic. This being the idea that everything is dedicated to the idea of selling something. The teen’s power in America has risen throughout the years since certain products and music go by what they, the consumer, wants. MTV is like a 4 hour infomercial. Sometimes it’s an advertisement paid for by a company to sell a project. Sometimes it’s a music video, which in other terms is an infomercial to sell a record label. Sometimes it’s a set filled with trendy clothes to sell a look that includes production of that set. MTV is the ultimate gatekeeper of the American industry because so many people watch it and if an artist is on there the chances of success increase greatly. With MTV’s power to influence American and worldwide youth, it has been able to bring across many messages about serious issues as well as about what clothes Britney Spears says are ‘in’.

MTV has so much power in American culture because it consists of television and music, two very important aspects of communication. Music was given more importance and value since now it was not just for mere entertainment, but rather to bring about change in the world. Music is changing and connecting with a whole new audience, increasing sales and changing the way people perceive music. Before MTV, rap music was almost undetectable in America. Now, after the promotion from MTV, rap music is one of the biggest and most listened to genres in music.

Although it has been blamed with much damage to American society, MTV has also given back and hosted many benefit concerts and fund-raisers. It has raised money for causes such as hunger and worldwide poverty. It in many ways brought the people of America closer together in its pursuit to create a better country for its youth. MTV has given American youth a club where they can always belong. They were given a channel of their very own where anyone could be a member and a door was opened which allowed adolescents to interact with their role-model on a more personal basis. MTV keeps American youth updated with every day news and events occurring worldwide. It keeps them aware of certain issues and problems they must face.

MTV has also brought blacks and whites closer together, primarily because of pop culture. Today hip-hop, rap, reggae and R&B have been greatly accepted in the music industry and have had great success. Blacks were given more respect and were looked up upon by the youth of America. In addition, Latin and Middle Eastern music have also been greatly accepted. Women, although still seen as sexual symbols, have become powerful figures in the entertainment industry and equal to all. Women solo acts and groups have become very popular. Women were a great addition to the rise of our economy. MTV has also promoted and encouraged creative music. Many different kinds of music have emerged from dance to country due to MTV’s publicity and support of various new artists. Without MTV many artists may not have achieved the success that they had.

MTV, as one can see, although containing many bad qualities, has brought about some good in the American culture and entertainment and music industry. In addition to the benefits above, MTV has helped our economy remain on top. MTV helped build the booming multi-million dollar entertainment and music industry we have today. With publicity and constantly keeping performers in the public eye, various artists have been recognized and risen to stardom. MTV shaped stars into teen role-models and with publicizing certain images it promoted an idealized teen lifestyle. Stars can express themselves in just about which ever way they please and can set themselves with a certain image they want perceived of them by the public. MTV is a vehicle for promoting trends and new styles. It helps to shape what is ‘popular’ in America.

MTV is a prominent force in American society today. It has shaped the way that the country, and now the world, views many issues. It has even helped expand the American economy and made numerous entertainers wealthy. Although many critics view MTV as harmful to American society, through promotion of various dangers to youth, it remains the leader in music entertainment. MTV helps shape our nation and its culture; it is one of the most influential creations in America today.

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