Sensational, Sexy, and Violent Media

Today’s video is a break from my usual love-life videos. It’s a topic close to my heart that I’m really hot about right now.

I discuss the extent to which media really does effect our focus, and ask, can we blame the media?

43 Responses to Sensational, Sexy, and Violent Media

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  1. Allison says:

    Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant!!!! This is one of the things I have been learning recently thanks to your brilliant advice, video’s, books, along with others. Is that no one is responsible for my own life experience but me. And I have the power to choose what it will be. It is a very powerful truth that once realized can set your life on a path of strength and adventure, as opposed to a life of being the victim and isolating yourself from the world. Well said Matt! you’re so smart! ;) thanks for being such a great mentor for us!

  2. Genevieve says:

    I usually love you videos and look forward to each one, but this one was hard to listen to. I stopped watching about 3 minutes into it the first time as I felt like you had misinformation and debating the wrong issue and belittle the very important issue of the media’s portrayal of woman and the affect it has on our society. Nobody’s really saying that the media is to blame for the shootings (if they are, those people are wrong like you stated), most people are saying that the media has help create this culture where men feel entitle to sex with women and leave women feel afraid on a daily basis (please read the #YesAllWomen for a better understanding of the fear most women feel everyday).

    It is hard to deny the media’s influence on our culture, even yourself admitted to changing your drinking habits after watching Mad Men (1 hour a week for 23 weeks a year for a few years). What do you think happens to little boys when they are inundated with images, video, movies, video games, TV show, … showing women as sexual objects and/or prizes at the end of a quest (i.e. Super Mario Bros, Zelda, …). This is all poison ingested daily.

    You advocate mentorship. I’m all for mentorship, and I will help the boys in my life grow up to be respectful men. But how do I reach the boy that may, one day, assault my daughter? I reach them by asking the media to act responsibly and stop showing poisonous images. I’m not asking for censorship, I’m asking for them to portray women like real people.

    You probably won’t read this post, but here are some resources you may want to peruse to understand the issue better and make better informed videos:

    Miss Representation (movie): (trailer) (website)

    The Mask You Live In (upcoming movie): (trailer)

    The Hidden Meanings in Kids’ Movies (TedX):

    A great article about entitlement and the shooting: Your Princess Is In Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds

    I could go on…

    Please watch/read and be part of the solution.

    • Anjali says:

      I really hope Matthew (and anyone else for that matter), checks out the content you linked. He’s missing the point in a big way. This isn’t about censorship.

  3. Jill says:

    Sadly, it seem children aren’t being mentored. I was lucky enough that my mom made sure she knew what was going on when I was young however it did get a little old when I turned 30. I also believe children are being exposed way too early. Years ago I worked in a preschool and remember this 4 year old walking up to a little girl and saying, You wanna come to my place or yours and he didn’t mean play ground. I also remember having sex ed and most of the girls had no clue what was going on with their body. We are human beings we are curious especially as children between certain ages our minds are sponges. I could go on an on for hours but the bottom line is children are being exposed to too much to early and not being given good guidance. I know there are somethings they are going to be exposed to and it can’t be helped but we can pick up the reigns and set things straight.

  4. Genesis says:

    Matt, you are epitome of the kind of people we need more of in this world! Constantly I’m seeing many people (and formerly along with myself) blaming the media for this, or the media for that.. When in reality we need to reflect on ourselves. If we sat down and told our loved ones the truth, not some sugar coated bs about society and the media, then our youth wouldn’t give in to the medias bs in the first place! We desperately need to give our children a voice in todays age, but first.. We need to show them both sides of the spectrum before they try to believe what’s being shoved down their throats 24/7!

  5. Faizah says:

    This is one of the strongest videos you’ve ever made. I agree with you and ask you to do more videos like this.

    Thank you Matt.

  6. Karen Williams says:

    Excellent advise and very smart answer for the topic of media influence!! Here Here!! Teaching/taking responosibility for ourselves in everyway is the key, very well said Matt!!
    Thank you

  7. egle says:

    Based on a lot of the content you’ve made & I’ve seen… you truly are a… magical genius. I’m coming to one of your events in NYC. I sincerely can’t wait to finally meet the man, the myth, the legend. But I will. See ya in person in July! ;D

  8. Anna Blendermann says:

    Brillant Matt! I couldn’t have articulated that point as well as you have. The fact that people criticize the media more than seeking to be good role models is so true. Maybe it’s because we don’t feel like good role models or just that the media has to be stopped, but either way…its a wrong way to think about it. Changing the world doesn’t start with others. It starts with us.

    Love your videos! Keep it up!

  9. Elaine says:

    Well articulated Matt. I couldn’t agree more about it being our own responsibility to view the media as we choose, through educating ourselves and having our own, informed opinion. I have never been a fan of celebrity magazines but, about a year ago I moved house and made a conscious decision not to have a television. Quite frankly The Best thing I have ever done against procrastination and now, in hind-sight, a great way to remove certain external influences.
    I am out of the loop in certain areas but, Thanks to following a lot of your great advice, I have busied myself by getting out more, being more interested and generally studying people rather than swooning over George Eads in CSI!
    Subsequently I have an active and varied social life, I have a greater number of interests on a peripheral level and I am focusing on a couple of things to master.
    I digress- I had never seen this point from the angle of being a mentor. Thanks for sharing that idea, it makes great sense. I spend quite a bit of time in the company of bored teens and, through work this will probably increase! You’ve shown me yet another angle to view a point I also feel quite strongly about!
    Thanks Matt.
    I am enjoying hearing you broaden your topics for discussion. You’re not just about Love, I look forward to more of your views on life in general!
    See you next weekend in London!!
    Xxxx Elaine xxxX

  10. Lucy says:

    Inspired! Thank you :-)

  11. Erika says:

    So true. Well said Matthew. Thanks for this interesting and thought-provoking segment.

  12. Shân says:

    A great point Matt, thank you. Mentoring can be life changing for kids. Predominantly because it makes them feel that someone is truly interested in them and cares about them enough to invest their time and their heart. Also that they are being heard and their opinions freely expressed and valued. I do worry though that there aren’t always enough mentors out there doing this in reality. Whilst there are also plenty are. My other concern is that there are some adults out there who aren’t emotionally intelligent who are able to detach their personal responsibility and accountability who have been given the gift of being a parent. What then…?

  13. Kasia says:

    There’re some interesting things that you’r saying in the video. With many of them I really do agree and hope people will realize very soon the importance of mentoring. They should also keep in mind that it is only people themselves who are responsible for their actions, behaviours and choices.

    But, when it comes to the media and media content, do you really believe that they’re not to blame at all?
    Don’t you think that with power comes responsibility?
    Power in the sense that the media have the ability to publish/broadcast content. They should take responsibility for what they air, and not air blindly everything that will be a nice little earner for them.

    The responsibility goes in both directions, in the direction of the sender and the receiver of the message.

  14. Andreea says:

    The same thing is said about parents. They are responsible for how their child gets to be.But I have seen people who had bad parents and they become good and vice versa. Ultimately we decide what models to choose and what not.
    Maybe the media:
    1. underestimate our power to choose what we want to be and what not
    2. promotes immature behavior -not to take responsibility for youre own life
    3. they don’t know what else to talk about

  15. ANGELA says:

    so true Matt, I mentor some amazing young women and men and I feel by letting them know about my choices I made right or wrong that I help them make better choices for themseelves. Keep up the good work that you do.

  16. Sara says:

    Interestingly, I think it’s not just about mentoring kids…but “mentoring” adults too! I’ve recently read more and more about feminism and had some deep realizations about just what it’s like being a woman in this culture – most importantly the feeling of perpetual vulnerability. The fact that it’s perfectly normal to expect to be assaulted in some way in certain environments. And how unsafe it can feel to speak up. And as a result I’ve had many conversations with men in my life about the issue – and bringing their awareness to it has helped them understand what they weren’t conscious of before.
    I don’t think that society reflects the media so much as the media reflects society. So really, if we want the media to change than it starts with personal attitudes shifting.

  17. Mitze says:

    It is fake, a movie, art, advertising, a dream, if you don’t understand this, then there is something wrong with YOU.

    Everyone is crazy nowadays. And there are a lot of psychopaths.

    I am soo glad that there are people like Matthew. I consider him like a dad. He is a role model.

    But Matthew, the thing is, you don’t want to teach people nowadays, grown-ups or not, they are too arrogant to think deep about life-issues and problems or life-values.

    People don’t want to reflect on their behaviour or their thinking.

  18. Helen says:

    Matt: Not just a pretty face ;-)

  19. laura says:

    I appreciate this video so much. We’re in a society that is rushing children to growup and not taking the time to nuture their world view education. Each element has a responsibility-media, society, individual and I think more and more children are growing up lacking the understanding of accountability and seek to put all the blame elsewhere. So videos like this are important!

  20. Maradoll says:

    En pointe, Matt :)

  21. Florina says:

    Couldn’t agree more. People need to be educated to think and to have perspectives different to what they are being fed. And they need people close to them to show them that it is possible and that they should question everything; to form their own system of beliefs.

  22. Sarah says:

    Hey there :) I just wanted to drop in a little idea for the next video:

    Self-discovery seems to be the big key to self-love, so the question that arises is if there are any ways to actively find oneself…
    See, it is not that I am not meeting people, nor that I don’t have any hobbies to get busy with.
    However, there are often dilemmas in our lives in which we have to decide between family or love life… things like that :D pretty tough, I know ^^

    • Sarah says:

      I’m talking about these moments of big decisions in which you really, really need to know who you are, what you want for your future and what you are willing to risk.
      In my case it’s either family and living in harmony or independence (which sounds like freedom, yet could feel like torture)…

  23. Lynn says:

    Mass media in the USA is not produced everywhere. Most of it is produced in LA and NYC. That’s about it. The industry produces a lot of knock-offs of knock-offs of knock-offs, that present a point of view of the world that is very narrow and provincial. The problem with the media isn’t that it’s all bad, but that it is uniformly boring, and lacks a diversity of viewpoints. People are tired of living with a lack of real choice, which you can see by how many people contributed recently to the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter, and the Veronica Mars movie Kickstarter.

  24. Pauline J.Postill says:

    thanks Matt! so good so smart!

  25. H says:


    Nice one.


  26. Kathryn says:

    In a global world where we have access to media from all parts of the world, we can actually be more informed than ever. Why should we be so frightened about this for ourselves and our young. Not only do we underestimate adults ability to be reasoning leading to an opinion, not a ‘truth’. We underestimate the young. Yes they are growing up in a society different from the one we did and are probably exposed at an earlier age. Is this a bad thing? As you say, if handled well it need not be viewed as a problem.
    It also struck me recently how important mentors are. In my life they were key. We adults should not feel burdened but want to do this. There are great young undergraduates in British universities in mentorship schemes at the moment helping school age children set up businesses and helping some to have better education access. I could go on, they are doing great things, achieving great results, all in their own time for free.
    The media are doing what they do well, selling and making money. Look how people in France supposedly didn’t want the intrusion of their leaders affair being made public, when they just couldn’t print enough of the magazine that had brought it to attention!
    Have a great Sunday Matt and keep doing what you are doing.
    Kathryn x

    • Kathryn says:

      I’m a late adopter, only on season four. Have taken to wearing shirt dresses and a slight wave in my hair, much to the amusement of the guy in HMV who normally helps me to find something with Optimus Prime in it!

  27. EMMA says:

    Hi Matt,

    I agree largely with what you say, however (slightly off tangent) it IS the case that the media orchestrates to manipulate our political views both in the USA and the UK. Those who run the news channels for example wield a great deal of hidden power, (the BBC or Brussels Broadcasting Corporation – funded by the EU over here).

    I have studied Steven Pinker’s theory that world violence has declined. I see his point that there is media overload of information we would not have received previously, (while I remain undecided of much of his claims).

    I agree with you massively that censorship of entertainment media risks controlling what we would choose to see. My argument is that news media DOES have too much control and increasingly so. The UK media reacts crazily to what ‘he said, she said’ on Twitter and so forth. What next, the ‘thought control police’….

  28. Nicola Codner says:

    Think these comments are good but maybe a bit simplistic. There needs to be more in society to support emotional intelligence and good communications/ relationships. It’s also good to see the media being questioned within the media.

  29. lena says:

    exactly! thank you, matt!

    I’m a teacher working with kids from 6 – 14 and this is a topic that moves me deeply as I have to work with it every day..personally and at work. you can’t prevent someone (not even yourself) from seeing or experiencing certain things and it will get more and more. but you can develop a strong character and get your own tools to deal with them best.

    for me, media is a perfect reason to start TALKING with each other and build relationship. to share opinions and to look behind them.. “to bring the TRUTH” (oh thank you for saying that!!)
    the thing why media work is it touches something in our heart and that’s where we should put the attention first. why CAN it influence me at all? what’s going on inside me and why is that so..? what need do I really have and what is the best way to fulfill it? such a good reason to talk about things that REALLY matter.
    … so much more to say.

    we have to kick our own asses to stop blaming and start building something greater and better! thank you very much, matt, this is what I always say!!

  30. Lisa says:

    Hi Matt,

    I agree with many points you made, just putting the blame on others won’t make things better. However this is a rather narrow view of ‘the media’. Take also into account journalism and news reporting on critical international issues. It has ceased to be about telling people the truth; instead it is about creating images and shaping opinions by (purposefully) portraying one ‘truth’ about (political) international events. I would argue that people are susceptible to that because mostly they only have access to content from their own countries (not necessarily their fault). If you’re interested, read some academic work in political science.

    Take care

  31. Suzanne Ellison says:

    I agree 100% with what you say Matthew, but I take responsibility for my thoughts and actions, and sadly not everyone does. Where media is dangerous is when you have young children watching the songs and movies that are sexual and violent and they grow up believing that it is ok to be like that because their parents have not taught them any different. Media has a lot to answer for, but I think the buck stops with parents when it comes to teaching a child what is right and wrong.

  32. soha says:

    That was a great seminar in LA and very lovely to see you today !

  33. lin says:

    Exactly…if movies and media weren’t psychologically powerful these industries wouldn’t be billion dollar and thriving.

    and….Our culture can be toxic…especially for the vulnerable/ young. However, People like Elliot Rogers- an unwell boy with aspergers-are failed by their parents and mental health care providers.

    • anon says:

      No where has it been confirmed that E.R. had asbergers.
      As for this media debacle: society and media influence each other. I think people are to narcissistic to care about the truths and realities of the world. There is the internet and people also have the options to travel to learn about other “truths.” If people want to be naive to the truths of the world that is only their fault. And it doesnt help when people who openly express their dislike for fakeness and materialism as not being realistic. No realistically the materialism and emphasis of self in America is quite disgusting. Thats all people seem to be about.

      • lin says:

        My impression has always been that American highschool, American society for that matter, is way more socially brutal than in the U.k. If you are “different”, poor, black, overweight, or socially or mentally hampered by things like Aspergers or poor social skills, or even unusually gifted or smart, then it can be hell.I often think i’ve seen a side to humanity that few have- a privilege of sorts- just by being overweight. We also have this thing in our culture of blaming the victim. And even the word carries with it a sense of shame, lameness and weakness. I’d rather say, survivor of social toxicity. :P

        I’ve always found that people in groups don’t think properly and it’s natural for a few oddballs to be created and marginalized. It’s just how we operate as complex primates…on a very complex scale. I’ve watched people be ostracised and watched people enjoy the playing of that game…and i often think we creat ER’s of this world and then complain when they reflect back the ugliness we help create. That’s why i always try and intervene when i see bullying or group norming going on.

        ER may not have been on the spectrum, but he was disturbed. To be honest, i was horribly bullied and rejected myself, and i think to survive that you do need good nourishing people in your life. ER is the ugly reflection of our culture and it convenient to blame the bad apple, but i think this thing is systemic and we all contribute.

        Mathew is right in saying young people need mentors…i had one in school for a while..assigned to me because i was a truant. For the short time i opened myself up to my mentor and had a positive, nourishing relationship with adult….my grades improved. hmmmm…maybe i should do the mentor thing as an adult? What a clever man you are, M.

        • lin says:

          In addendum to that, i would like to say that i think family is also very important and grounding. Not everyone has amazingly supportive loving family to balance out the dehumanising aspects of participating in larger society. Also, and i have seen this first hand on my own doorstep: we need to not be afraid to intervene we see a marching band of redflags, when we see unwell people who are alone in the world. I know of a recent suicide that was violent but completely preventable. If only the poor girl had a better support network and the mental health services in my country weren’t so weak, she would be alive today. Okay, finsihed. x

  34. lisa Wood says:

    Mathew Thank you so much for your weekly videos. This is a Fabulous lesson and like all the good lessons it is amazingly simple and real. Thank you

  35. Jackie Morrison says:

    The media can be a form of subliminal hypnosis and you’re right, being around the right mentors can counteract just mindlessly taking in the content without discretion. It’s like the saying from Socrates (I think): better to give energy to the new rather than fight the old.

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