How do media and advertising affect your intimate relationships?

Have you ever thought about what seemingly unrelated but pervasive media and other mass influences have on your relationships? As a woman, how am I diminished - in my own eyes or in the eyes of my partner, my kids - by exposure to images of scantily clad women and girls being used to sell products and services not only to men, but to women and children as well? As a man, how do you feel when you are told through endless self-help and 'life-style' articles and sit-coms that men are no good at nurturing small children, performing routine housecleaning tasks, or not competent at providing emotional support or empathic connection to those you love the most? And that this is just the limitations of 'being a male'? How insulting to all those beautiful partners, Dads, brothers and sons out there! When couples and families encounter relationship difficulties - of course it's important to look at the immediate context, what's gone wrong in our interior space, and in our nuclear as well as extended family space. Let's not forget, though, to look at the space around our relationship and family environment - the 'air we breathe' in the form of the TV/radio we watch or listen to, the magazines/books we read, the community we live in - and reflect on how these  shape us, and how we shape ourselves and our relationships in response to them. And of course, let's not forget about our capacity to shape and influence those larger forces - through thoughtful letters to editors, the choices we make about what products we purchase etc. Let's make a big loud noise when we object to the negative impacts of these on those we most care about! As always, your responses are most welcome. Cheers, Vivienne.

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