Suggest how it might contribute to a debate in a mediated public sphere
Jurgen Habermas came up with the concept of a ‘public sphere’ in which he described it as a “social life in which public opinion can be formed and which is accessible to all”. This is seen as a part of democracy. The ‘mediated public sphere’ looks at the role of the media and popular media within the public sphere.
A popular media text that could contribute to a debate in the mediated public sphere is the TV show ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ as it focuses on young children parading around in extravagant costumes, lots of makeup and big hairdos. This could influence a debate in a mediated public sphere as some people may find the concept very controversial and inappropriate. There has already been an example of a mediated public debate when the beauty pageants came to Melbourne, it caused conflict and a public debate with anti-pageant protesters on the steps of Melbourne Parliament House on May 25 2011. This will always be a debatable topic as there will always be individuals who support the child beauty pageants and there will always be those individuals who find them controversial.
The issues that may be raised are; that young girls are growing up too fast, its sexualisation of young girls and it may have some effect on their mental wellbeing. The show has contestants that are as young as 18 months old, most of the children experience spray tanning, waxing and other beauty products that are common for older women but not considered normal for children this could be just one of the issues raised within the debate. Some people may see child beauty pageants as harmless fun but the show places the idea of perfection and having the complete package as being the most important thing, this may possibly be an issue as it could affect the emotional well-being of children as they are socialised.
The show ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ could contribute to a debate in the mediated public sphere as some aspects of it focus on issues within child development.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6hMDs4rBmw Here is another clip that I thought might interest people. The TYT discuss about a contestant from ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ named Honey Boo Boo.