Come on in and take a seat. All of your loved ones are here because we care about you and want the best for you. We love you! But you have a serious problem that is making you miserable and it’s making us miserable too. This is your media intervention.
We noticed your problem started years ago, and we thought you would get over it, but you haven’t. You used to be a happy-go-lucky person but now it’s always doom and gloom with you. You let the media dictate your conversations, your thoughts, your emotions, your self-esteem and self-image, and the way you see the world. You are addicted to the media even though YOU KNOW it is sending you messages that are unrealistic and often harmful and YOU KNOW this has a negative affect on your mood. But you are addicted and dependent on it! You keep watching and listening to it even though you know what to expect. Why do you keep doing this?
Your expectations for the media are totally unrealistic and because of this you are frequently disappointed. You know that White people make up the majority in Western countries and they control almost all of the media. You make up 13% or less of the populations in said countries yet you expect to be represented more than that? If you accept that you will only be represented 13% of the time or less then you will stop being disappointed. You constantly point out that the media is racist but you keep consuming it and complaining about the racism! You know that you don’t have to turn on the TV, you don’t have to read or buy magazines, and you don’t have to listen to the news right? You keep turning to the media for positive messages and guidance and that is totally insane! Why do you keep tuning in and continually hurting yourself? Why don’t you limit the media you let influence you?
Black people watch on average 7 hours and 12 minutes of TV per day, more than any other group (The Root). Now if Black people have little media representation and a lot of those representations are racist stereotypes then why are you consuming so much TV? Given that Black schools tend to be inadequate and Black people have difficulty getting jobs (due to racism), why are you not spending your free time studying, reading, and learning so that you can do better at school and develop skills to make you better job applicants? That is what will actually improve the status and power of Black people, not more distracting TV shows. Your media consumption is making you into a really unpleasant person to be around. You are always complaining about things that you really can’t change. You may not realize this, but your being angry and complaining to people outside of the entertainment industry DOES NOTHING to change the media…NOTHING. It just puts you in a bad mood and transfers that bad mood to other people. The same complaints are made over and over and over again each time the media does something you don’t like. I would think you would have learned by now that the media will keep offending you and your complaints to media outsiders will not change that (it’s just passive aggressive).
YOU need to severely limit the media you let into your consciousness. For some of you, this will mean going cold turkey for a while so that you can see how much happier you are without the media. This will be hard at first, but once you are clean you will realize how much the media was holding you back. For others, you may be okay with just limiting the media sources you consume and the your hours of exposure. We hear you! You like TV because it de-stresses you. But this is a short-term reward. In the the long run it’s actually adding to your stress because it’s getting in the way of you doing things that could make your life better and it’s frequently putting you in a bad mood. We understand! It’s not fair, other people can consume as much media as they want so you should be able to as well. Unfortunately, you are not like those other people…you are the one having a negative reaction to the media that is adversely affecting your life and your relationships with others. Some people can have lots of sugar but others can’t because of diabetes. Some can eat lots of junk food and not become obese due to their genetics, metabolism, and activity level. Some can finish a task in 10 minutes that takes you an hour. People are different! Some people can handle the media but YOU CAN’T. You need to stop consuming so much of it and letting it affect your mood and your self-worth. If seeing a White woman on the cover of Vogue makes you think of little Black girls crying or Black folks getting lynched then there is something seriously wrong! If seeing Zoe Saldana on the cover of Cosmopolitan makes you hate yourself, think you are ugly, and believe that you will never find love and die alone, then something is wrong!
If you can not go cold turkey with the media I suggest you consume it only in the process of doing something productive that you need to do anyway. For instance, you can have the TV or news on while you get ready for work/school, while you are cooking healthy meals (instead of ordering fast food and sitting on the couch), while you are detangling your hair or doing your nails, while you clean your house, or (listen to the radio) on your way to work/school. An excellent idea would be to only watch TV while you are exercising (okay maybe just 1 hour), that way you can easily fit in 1 hour of exercise each day and Black women NEED that exercise. Better yet, get out of the house to exercise, talk on the phone with people (instead of texting), read a book, study, work on a hobby, go out and socialize, go for a walk, iron your clothes, volunteer, join a club, or many other things that don’t involve watching TV or reading magazines. You need to make a list of all the things you want to do but are not doing because you are watching too much TV. You need to start doing those things NOW. Don’t worry, you can always catch up on TV later when you have your life back on track.
Your media consumption should revolve around your life not the other way around. Don’t put off important tasks because your favorite show is coming on. CANCEL YOUR CABLE (this will save you money and limit your exposure to advertising). Watch your show on Hulu, Netflix, or sites like LetMeWatchThis (you have to get used to this one and get a pop-up blocker) without commercials. Don’t EVER just sit in front of the TV and watch whatever happens to come on because that will make you depressed! Don’t waste an hour watching TV news, just go online and search news sites for the information you want or skim the headlines. Don’t listen to radio stations that play woman-hating garbage in between the songs you want to hear. Just go to sites like Grooveshark.com and listen to a station that plays the music/artists you like.
Now as with every intervention, if you don’t stop your behaviour there will be consequences and we will not enable your addiction. If you do not stop consuming and complaining so much about the media these will be the consequences:
1) We will ignore your complaints about the media and tell you to turn off your TV.
2) We will change the subject when you start complaining about the media.
3) We will skip/not comment on your media complaint articles.
4) We will not send you articles about media complaints.
5) We will consume less media and find other things to talk about with you.
You have the power to change your life and this takes COURAGE. You can break the media’s hold on you, you don’t have to let it control you. Busy people with power and influence barely have time to watch TV…maybe you should try to be more like them instead of following the mindless consumer masses. Take control of your mind away from the media! Let’s do this together!
Note: If you are not experiencing any of the difficulties mentioned above then this post does not apply to you. Also, everyone knows that you will not be able to avoid all media (e.g., advertisements, billboards etc. but you can limit some of it).