The Impact of Film and Television on Societal Norms

Two of the most effective forms of communication in the world are film and television. They have a daily audience of billions of people and can significantly alter social mores.

The unspoken expectations and guidelines that direct our behavior in society are known as societal norms. They are influenced by many different things, such as tradition, culture, and religion. By reflecting and supporting current norms or by challenging and altering them, film and television can have an impact on societal norms.

Reflecting and Upholding Current Standards

Television and film frequently reinforce and reflect prevailing social norms. In many romantic comedies, for instance, the male lead is the provider and the female lead is the breadwinner, reflecting traditional gender roles. This may support the notion that these are the only roles that are appropriate for men and women.

Another illustration is the frequent depiction of violence in media. Many action movies and television programs glorify violence and present it as the only means of problem-solving. Viewers may become less sensitive to violence as a result, increasing their propensity to use it to settle personal disputes.

Norms Must Be Challenged and Changed

Television and film can also question and alter societal norms. For instance, same-sex couples have recently appeared in a lot of movies and television shows. This has assisted in challenging the conventional notion that marriage is only between a man and a woman as well as normalizing same-sex relationships.

Another illustration is the fact that more diverse casts are appearing in a growing number of movies and television programs. This contributes to dispelling the myth that success and happiness are only possible for white people.

Effects on Children and Youth

Children and young people are especially susceptible to the effects of film and television. This is due to the fact that they are still forming their own beliefs and values. Additionally, compared to adults, kids and teenagers are more likely to be influenced by the media.

According to a University of California, Berkeley study, aggressive behavior was more prevalent in kids who watched more violent television. The study also discovered that children were more aggressive the more violent the television programs were.

Girls who watched more television programs with unrealistic body images were more likely to struggle with their body image, according to a different study from the University of Southern California. The study also discovered that girls’ likelihood of having issues with body image increased with the amount of television they watched.


Norms in society can be significantly influenced by film and television. Existing norms can be reflected upon and reinforced by them, or they can be questioned and altered. It is critical to be aware of how these media may affect both us and society at large.

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