What Wall Are You On?

Leaving home and being forced to play the game of college, I have noticed a lot about my peers and the campus as a whole. The other day, I was having a friendly discussion about the role media plays on our lives; it shapes us to be the perfect mold society wants us to be, based on a course available here, Comn 215, Mass Media and Society. Not only are our physical appearances molded, but our attitudes, actions, and reactions are shaped. I personally think I as an individual am being shaped by media, no matter how hard I resist it. A simple example: I watch HGTV a lot… like I am obsessed with it. More recently, I have been watching Queer Eye– if you don’t know what this show is, hit up Netflix after reading my blog post. Basically, Queer Eye is meant to teach an individual how to present themselves, how to become a member of society, how to design their home, and how to have a healthy lifestyle. Personally, these shows have shown me how to design my home, and of course, I listen because it seems to be the “best” way out there. Although Queer Eye is a positive way to get someone who is essentially “lost in life” back on the right track, they are pushing social norms onto them. They are telling the individual what is appropriate to fit into society, while also telling them to be their “true self”. How is someone supposed to be made over from the inside out, and still expected to be themselves? The individuals on the show are essentially being altered to fit into society instead of being an outcast, but at the same time, they are building their self-confidence and overall feeling of self-worth, which is definitely a positive. Where is the line of building self-confidence but changing who you are to be more accepted? They push the individual to be their “true self” but change everything about them to fit in. I haven’t truly figured it out yet…not sure if I ever will…

Today in class, we read Imperceptible Mutabilities by Suzan-Lori Parks as a class and discussed what we read in smaller groups. This play toys with the concept of a “fly on the wall”, which is when there is an unnoticed observer in a particular situation. In “Snails”, there were cameras planted to observe what was occurring, going unnoticed. I had self-realization in class today; we are all a “fly on a wall”, we all play the game that society wants us to play. For instance, we discussed in class how when we go to plays, we are expected to sit there and listen, being an unnoticed member in the crowd. When this boundary is broken, we get uncomfortable and unsure of how to act and react. In more recent ways, we are a fly on the wall through social media. I came across Emma Pomainville’s blog post –The Audience’s Role in Theater. In this post,  Emma raises the question, “So what role does the audience play? I think viewers can be active or passive”. I think this is important to consider because we are constantly a type of audience in the world, but we need to decide what type of audience member we wanna be- noticed or unnoticed.

Picture this…you are scrolling through Facebook, you end up on an ex-significant others timeline and you find yourself digging through their old photo album. No one knows you are here, observing and watching unless you want to be noticed, which you really don’t want to. Your thumb accidentally slips when you meant to click to the next photo and you like the picture, which was posted in 2007. You go into instant panic mode because you were supposed to go unnoticed, be a “fly on the wall”. You delete the person you were “watching” off all social media. You find yourself in an uncomfortable position on the Facebook wall and cannot just disappear.

Now that your worst nightmare is over, consider this. The way our society works, we are forced to be a “fly on the wall”, we have no choice. We are living in a generation where we essentially want to disappear, even if it means blending into the world, which shows like Queer Eye tends to do. My question for you is this: Were we always a fly on the wall or have we evolved into this type of society, a place where we like to go unnoticed-blending in with the rest of the world?

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