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How The Media Has Helped The Community to Overcome The Fear of Monsters

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Are Good and Evil Social Constructs of Modern Society, or Nah.

Monsters, once a feared and taboo subject, are now the golden boy of western culture. Everything from movies and T.V. shows to book about humans loving a vampire. People no longer see vampires and zombies as scary, but as a fantasy creature that just like humans, can be good or evil. This new trend of anthropomorphizing historically evil creatures by western media is changing people’s perceptions of good and evil. People no longer fear monsters and try to avoid them, but openly embrace them, and effectively demoralize society.

Historically people have been scared of monsters and had precautionary measures against them. People were actually scared of monsters, to the point of killing people that they thought were monsters. Take the Salem witch trials of 1692 for example. Over one hundred people died as the results of botched trails. In the book “The Wonders of the Invisible World” by Cotton Mather, the author transcribes the trails that took place, and they sound quite ridicules.

Elizabeth How pleading Not Guilty to the indictment of Witchcrafts, then charged upon her; the Court, according to the usual Proceedings of the Courts in England, in such Cases, began with hearing the Depositions of several affected People, who were grievously tortured by sensible and evident Witchcrafts, and all complained of the Prisoner, as the cause of their Trouble. It was also found that the Sufferers were not able to bear her Look, as likewise, that in their greatest Swoons, they distinguished her Touch from other Peoples, being thereby raised out of them (Mather 149).

It wasn’t stated, but she was found guilty and hung. There was no real evidence to indict let alone convict her, but since people were driven to mass hysteria because they were fearful, they didn’t care.

The media has played a large role in the anthropomorphizing of monsters. Monsters are one of the most dominate topics of entertainment, from books like “Twilight” and “Vampire Diaries” to movies like “Minions” and “I, Frankenstein” that make monsters look cute and cuddly or almost human. The monsters of old just don’t exist anymore. Vampires are now regarded as twinkly feministic creatures that are now the butt of jokes because the Twilight saga. Vampires used to be considered really badass villains, based on a Vlad the Impairer, an evil person that killed and tortured many people. The media has so changed our views on monsters that people actually want monsters to exist. Zombies are becoming increasingly popular, with shows like “The Walking Dead” and movies like “World War Z” and “Zombie Land” being very successful and drawing in crowds of zombie enthusiasts. With the increasing popularity many people are actually looking forward to a zombie apocalypse. How often do you see “Zombie First Response” bumper stickers on cars? In Las Vegas, Nevada, they actually have an entire store dedicated for supplies for when the zombie apocalypse comes. People actually want zombies to take over, they don’t think how many people would die, they just want some ridiculous fantasy created by pop culture. They only think of the “fun” part of an apocalypse, like surviving of the land and killing humanoid creatures and not the fact that everything you loved and cared about is gone. People get this fantasies from the movies that only show the “cool” parts, because no one wants to see a movie that depresses them, they go to be entertained and see things that can add to their fantasy.

Monsters are now come in two varieties, good and evil. No longer are monsters considered only emotionless killing machines. Modern perceptions of monsters can now be classified as good or evil, and it happens a lot. The “Twilight” series, again, can be used as reference. You have vampires that act as good guys and vampires that are supposed to be bad guys. How can things that were once only considered evil now be considered good? Well, what exactly is good and evil? Good and evil are concepts created, maintained and amended by society. They are only reflections of what people believe in at the current moment. Back in the late 19th century homosexuality was considered evil, but now being against homosexuality is considered evil. These concepts only reflect what people want them to. In modern society, people are believing less and less in personal responsibility and more “we are only products of our own environment”. If people now believe that no one is essentially evil, that people just act the ways that they know, then you can’t just write off a specious of creatures.

The advent of the internet has contributed to the glorification of monsters. The internet is a double edged sword; everyone gets an opinion. Websites like tumblr let people say whatever they want, without any filter. According to Freudian theory” The id acts according to the “pleasure principle”—the psychic force that motivates the tendency to seek immediate gratification of any impulse (Wegner, 481) “. People do what they want because they want to. People worship the devil, talk about their friendly encounters with demons and ways to summon loved ones from the dead. People area reading these stories not from some dusty old book or hearing it from a creepy old lady, but are reading it in the comfort of their own house, which I feel gives it a much more light hearted connotation, you’re no longer associate it with creepy books and sketchy people, but somebody just like you.

The website Creepypasta has contributed quite a bit to the glorification of monsters. Creepypasta is a website created for the sole purpose of creating scary stories, the most known well ones being “Slender Man” and “Jeff the Killer”. The story of Slender Man has recently caught fire, with video games being created and references to him in Disney shows, and people even going so far as to try to kill another person over him. NBC news had covered the story.

As the middle-school friends played in a wooded area Saturday morning in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, one of them retrieved a five-inch blade tucked inside her waistband, according to a criminal complaint. She and another girl allegedly held the third one down and stabbed her 19 times all over her body. … One of them allegedly told police that they wanted to become “proxies” of the faceless character, and would have to prove their dedication with killing, reported NBC affiliate WGBA in Green Bay. They planned to take their victim’s body to a part of Nicolet National Forest in Wisconsin’s north woods, where Slender Man supposedly lives. (Ortiz, NBC)

While mental health may come into play, two girls still tried to kill a friend of theirs to please a completely fictitious monster that they had so glorified that they felt that they needed to kill for it. I’ll admit, creepypasta is a very entertaining website that does have many interesting stories, but people tend to forget that they’re made up. Everyone of these stories is just the writing project of someone with a lot of creativity and free time. Certain people long so much for monsters to be real that they’ll believe anything that they want. I went to high school with some rather “interesting” people. They believed that certain stories were actually true. They wouldn’t go certain places at certain times because they feared that slender man might get them. They altered their life style because they feared some fictional that they convinced themselves was real.

Places without the influence of western culture are more prone to being fearful of monsters and evil forces. Every year a church I used to go to would send people to Hati to try and help out after the earthquake. The stories that they would tell were like no other. People were horrified of voodoo. From stories of zombie like creatures that caused people to flee villages to people getting blades inserted into their arms to somehow make them stronger. The people there act almost like western culture did hundreds of years ago in the sense that they are terrified of monsters. My old pastor, who had gone to Hati twice, was kind enough to talk about his experience over there.

“Voodoo plays a big role in their society. When I said “zombie” in a sermon there they all gasped. Some said fear of the medicine man’s voodoo is what helps keep crime down (since they could put a curse on you in response to your crime). I never saw a curse being put on someone, but I saw a guy who runs around named with an empty look on his face. Been like that his whole life. A spirit gets passed down from one family member to another, and now to him. The pastors there say they can case out the demon, but unless Christ comes into his life there will be other spirits coming back to take its place.” (Keith Robinson, Email)

The people of Hati actually fear voodoo and voodoo related monsters. Hati, in case you didn’t know, is a very poor country. They have no real access to western media except when the occasional visitor lets them borrow their ipod. They’ve never heard of Twilight or the Walking Dead or other western media representations of monsters, they’ve never seen or heard of a monster as anything but horrifying and dangerous, giving them no reason to think that they are anything but scary.

As people’s view on religion has changed, so has their view on monsters. I believe that the concept of good and evil was originally established by religion and the created by it. Recently, in the past forty years or so, the amount of Christians and the involvement of Christianity in government has declined. This is the same time frame in which monsters have become more human. Back in the 19th century when Christianity was much more conservative and played a much larger role in society, monsters were regarded as evil, no ifs ands or buts about it. Demons were considered very real and very terrifying. Demon possession was so acknowledged and believed in that people started using it as an explanation for things. If you’re wife was acting weird she was possessed, if girls were playing around too much, like in the case of Salem, they were possessed, if inanimate objects were acting “weird” they were possessed. A case that shows the change in perception over time is Robert the Doll. Robert, the supposedly possessed doll of the son of an 18th century painter, was a very creepy looking doll to begin with. Looking like a deformed human, had reportedly laughed and threatened maids, would run across window sills at night and threaten to kill the young owner (Robert the Doll, Warren). People were terrified of this doll, and rightfully so. After the death of Eugene, the owner, in 1979, the house and the doll went to the public. After it went to the public, people started to realize that they could make money off of it. They would charge people to come and view the “Haunted Doll”, and people would flock in. People are no longer scared of demon possession, it’s now treated more like a commodity or a gimmick. T.V. shows like ghost hunters avidly search out places that are reportedly haunted to look for demons. Hotels that have allegedly haunted rooms charge people who want to stay in that room extra because people will pay it.

Not all monsters that western media anthropomorphizes are big scary creatures. Evil characters are becoming more and more popular, such as Walter White and Jessie Pinkman from Breaking Bad, and Darth Vader and the storm troopers from the Star wars series. References to both these characters can be found everywhere, with merchandise and cameos becoming quite popular. People don’t stop and think about what these characters did, all they see is some cool guy that the media acclaims. Both Walter White and Jessie Pinkman were murders, with Walt going even so far to poison a child. Darth Vader killed dozens of innocent children all because he was told to, and he even appears in Disney Land commercials and cartoons. People don’t stop to think about what he did, only that he looks cool and people will like him. People only blindly follow the media that they’ll believe whatever they tell them to.

Modern day monsters are just like you and me, just with special powers, or at least, that’s what the media wants you to believe. Gone are the days when a house being “haunted” was enough to keep someone out, or the possibilities of vampires would scare teenage girls, not bring them to euphoria. The media has made almost all monsters seem cute and cuddly for their own gain. One can rightfully assume that selling merchandise of murderous and torturous monster such as a vampire is a bit taboo, but if you redefine them to be a loving creature capable of emotions, then you can reach a whole new audience. The media purposely made monsters they way they are today. Freaky psychopathic monsters reach a much smaller audience then loveable creatures. They have successfully created an entirely new genre based on what they already had. People no longer fear monsters, they love the adorable monster of modern day, giving people no creature to call evil, and thus compare things they find evil to. If you have no social boundary to set the limits of what’s just being a jerk and what’s actually being evil, then you have a society that has no guide lines telling them what to do or not to do, essentially a demoralized society.

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How the Media Has Helped the Community to Overcome the Fear of Monsters. (2019, March 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 27, 2022, from
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