How society and the agents of society have persuaded the world’s population to judge ourselves as lower than others
A major problem today is how society and the agents of society have persuaded the world’s population to judge ourselves as lower than others. Alicia Moore’s (Pink) song “Don’t Let Me Get Me” depicts this problem. The following paper describes the problem through socialization, family as an agent of socialization, gender, mass media, and roles. These concepts are then shown through the conflict perspective. Society and many of its aspects are influential in our viewing of ourselves as less than those around us.
Conceptual Framework and Literature Review There are five Sociological concepts that I have used in explaining “Don’t Let Me Get Me” by Pink. They are socialization, family, gender, mass media, and roles. Socialization in many discussions focus on childhood, adolescence, or our pre- adult life and how this lays a foundation which plays a significant role in our self-concept and social life for the rest of our lives (Brym, 2001, page50). Similarly, (Ambercrombie, Hill, and Turner, 2000, page 329) states “Socialization may be divided into three stages. These stages are first socialization of a child within his or her family, second is socialization within his or her school, and finally one’s socialization as an adult. Socialization may also be defined as “the process whereby people learn the attitudes, values, and actions appropriate for individuals as members of a particular culture” (Schaefer and Smith, 2004, page616). In “Don’t Let Me Get Me”, this young girl doesn’t seem to have had a strong sense of socialization from family or school which has led her to a poor self-concept.
This song portrays the importance of having a strong sense of socialization when we are young, thus agreeing with the above definitions. Family has been defined many ways in many different societies and cultures. Probably the most common definition of a family in our culture would be that of a nuclear family. A nuclear family is “social units comprising a man and a woman living together with their children” (Abercrombie et al. , 2000, page 243). Since this type of family acts as a nucleus for which larger family groups will be built, this name suits well to the definition (Schaefer and Smith, 2000, page 355).
When a child is younger they spend the majority of their time with the few people in their family. Therefore “the child learns to think and speak; internalizes norms, beliefs, and values; forms some basic attitudes; develops some capacity for intimate and personal relationships; and begins to develop a self image” (Brym, 2001, page 56). The girl in this song obviously didn’t learn many of these aspects from her parents. Not only does she feel hatred from her parents, but she doesn’t like her own identity, perhaps partly because of her family relationships.
It is extremely important for an individual to maintain strong and healthy relationships with their parents and family in order to keep a strong self-view. There are two genders and a person’s gender is socially and culturally constructed (Abercrombie et al. , 2000, page 149). Along with gender there are also gender roles. According to (Schaefer and Smith, 2004, page 297) gender roles are “expectations regarding the proper behaviour, attitudes, and activities of males and females”. Because of these expectations we find stereotypes of genders such as we find in “Don’t Let Me Get Me”.
The music business thinks that you must look a certain way to make it in their society, thus constructing the stereotype of a “perfect woman”. “Physical . attractiveness is especially important for women. That is because they are judged on the basis of appearance more often than men” (Brym, 2001, page 82). Mass media plays a major role in our society today. Just proceeding the Second World War, many thought the media had all the power while its audiences were said to be passive (Abercrombie et al. , 2000, page 383). The mass media’s effect on society is huge.
It, in it’s many forms, shows its audience a life beyond reality with perfect shaped women and men, leading us to believe we are only perfect if we look like those on t. v. , in magazines, books, etc. Another stereotype of the mass media is that a woman’s body is for a man’s pleasure. This is a major theme in the Harlequin romance novels, for which its readers read anywhere between three to twenty novels a month (Brym, 2001, page 81). This goes to show how popular the media is. With her low self-concept to begin with in the song, the music business heightens this by letting her know that her looks are not perfect enough despite her talent.
Another view on mass media is “Even if she does become a professional, she may secretly regret falling short of the media stereotype” (Schaefer and Smith, 2004, page 299). The mass media’s stereotype, especially of women, is thrown at us at all times. “Sociologists use the term social roles to refer to the behaviours that are expected of people occupying particular social positions” (Brym, 2001, page 179). Also our role does not come from our own individual characteristics, but rather from what everyone expects of you within a certain position (Abercrombie et al. , 2000, page 301).
In the song, her role as a student, as a daughter, and as an individual are not what is expected of society or of whom she wants to be. This is probably the case because her parents deny their role as parents by hating their daughter, as well as teachers dating her. “Sociologist Helen Rose Fuchs Ebaugh (1988) developed the term role exit to describe the process of disengagement from a role that is central to one’s self-identity and re-establishment of an identity in a new role (Schaefer and Smith, 2004, page 121). He girl in this song struggles with role exit as she no longer loves herself and wants to change. Description Of Lyrics
Alecia Beth Moore, also known as “Pink” is the artist behind the song “Don’t Let Me Get Me”. Her stage name “Pink” came from a character known as Mr. Pink from a favorite childhood movie of her and her friends. The parents of her and her older brother of two years split up when she was at the young age of seven years. Her song “Don’t Let Me Get Me” is from her second album “M! ssunderztood”, which came after the success of her first album “Can’t Take Me Home”. “M! ssunderztood” is the album she has put out to the world that realistically portrays her life, “Brutal, honest, painful, but very real. Very truthful. (www. bandhunt. om).
This song “Don’t Let Me Get Me” depicts the life of a young girl as she struggles with the aspects of society. She has low self-esteem and self-concept because of society and now hates herself. She wants to change everything about herself and enjoy the life of someone else, anyone but who she is now. Analysis and Application Socialization: the girl in this song does not follow the process of socialization. The song quotes “And my socks are never clean/ Teachers dated me/ … I was always in a fight”. She does not follow the attitudes, actions, and values which are appropriate in society and culture and its socialization.
Family: Family is a key concept in explaining this song. Family is supposed to be the main agent of socialization, but because today usually both parents work to bring in an income we wonder if it is still our main agent anymore. It says in the lyrics “My parents hated me”. Because this young girl does not have the support she requires from er parents, this could be a reason for her hatred towards herself. “Don’t want to be my friend no more”. Gender: Gender is shown in the song through how men believe they can take advantage of women. The lyrics quote “Teachers dated me/ …
Tired of being compared/ To damn Britney Spears/ She’s so pretty/ That just ain’t me”. Gender in this song, shows how we are led to think that we are not the “perfect woman” unless we possess the looks and body of the rich and famous. Mass media: mass media is shown through the same quote as above: “Tired of being compared/ To damn Britney Spears/ She’s so pretty/ That just ain’t me”. Mass media is becoming one of the main agents of socialization. We get our ideas of being perfect through this although here she argues against media trying to put forward her talent. “That just ain’t me”.
Roles: Roles as well as role exit are shown through this song. “Teachers dated me/ My parents hated me”. The norms of her role as a daughter and as a student are broken. Also a quote to show role exit is “Don’t want to be my friend no more/ I wanna be somebody else”. She is going through the first stage of role exit. She doubts her role and wants to change. She searches her alternatives such as becoming a pop star. “LA told me/ You’ll be a pop star”. Interpretation Pink’s song “Don’t Let Me Get Me” is a song about a girl who has a talent of singing, but struggles with many aspects of the social world.
She feels no respect or love from her parents or teachers. This leads to her low self-esteem making her feel that she can not accomplish anything. She wants a new life and does not love herself any longer. She has become the person she hates and would not be friends with. She tries to become a pop singer and even then they tell her she would have to change her looks and her ways. She is not good enough for her parents, teachers, friends, or the music industry or so it seems that that is the way she sees things. The agents of socialization have turned their backs on her causing her to turn her back on herself.
It seems she is afraid if she does not change soon she will arm herself. She struggles with role exit. The lyrics reads “So doctor doctor won’t you please prescribe me something/ A day in the life of someone else”. She knows she has to change and tries the music industry as an alternative. Pink describes the social world as it is with the mass media making us believe we have to be perfect in every way. As for her view of family and teachers, she has taken it to the extremes. We all feel a little unloved or unwanted sometimes, but she shows through her lyrics that this girl was always hated. I agree with her sense of the social world.
I think at some point we all get down in the dumps about everything in society as we try to achieve our goals and make something of ourselves. This song relates to the conflict theory of society. With this theory lower people try to get power, while those higher up try to keep the power they already have. The girl in the song is struggling to gain power through the music business while the music business tries to keep power by trying to change who she is. The conflict theory also has to do with competition and inequality. She competes with everyone around, society, and herself to become someone.
She is made to feel unequal or less than those around her. Conclusion Society and many of its aspects are influential in our viewing of ourselves as less than those around us. Throughout this paper I have discussed the influences of socialization, family, gender, mass media, and roles as they relate to “Don’t Let Me Get Me” by Pink. If we don’t receive the better aspects of these concepts our self-concept and self-esteem will be suppressed. Other concepts that could also be used in depicting our views of ourselves are pop culture, economics, and the competition between genders such as male dominance.
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