The battle between the sexes has been an evolving argument for centuries. While men traditionally called all the shots and women were expected to comply, the last century has seen a progression of more equal roles among men and women. With a balance in power between men and women also comes a developing interest in finding entertainment niches for both of the sexes. With Direct TV, the entertainment needs for men and women are addressed by the creation of channels that are geared towards gender specific programming. While stations such as Spike are focused mainly on male entertainment, the Hallmark Channel and Oxygen specifically target women viewers. Typically male programming tends to highlight sports, cartoon humor, and action films. This is in great contrast to the romantic comedies and dramas that characterize womens programming. These gender specific channels are not meant to be solely for the viewing purposes of one gender, but are simply marketed towards one demographic.
The Spike channel is marketed directly towards young males in both the choices of programming and advertising. Programs aired on the Spike Channel include The Ultimate Fighter, and CSI reruns. Spike is also known for its James Bond movie marathons and the dubbed comedy game show MXC. The majority of these programs are targeted at a young male audience, but that is not to say women viewers dont also enjoy this kind of programming. An HD viewing of The Ultimate Fighter takes wrestling and cage fighting to a new extreme. Professional cage fighters duke it out for the title, while the program follows their lives as they live together and train together. Comedy Centrals The Mans Show is written specifically for men with a remnant air of the Howard Stern Radio Talk Show. Comedy programs aired in Spike and Comedy Central can be marketed towards both women and men, but are overwhelmingly watched by males.
Womens programming does not revolve as much around violence, but tends to lean heavily on drama and romantic comedies. Channels such as the Hallmark Channel and Oxygen specialize in made for TV movies famous for their heart wrenching plots and tear jerking endings. Digitally re-mastered and high definition versions of older shows such as 7th Heaven and Little House on the Prairie are popular programs on the Hallmark Channel that are suitable for the entire family. The Oxygen Channel specifically targets women with programs such as The Bad Girls Club and the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency Show.
The appeal to the sexes is also apparent in the choice of advertising on gender specific television channels. While Spike channel is flooded with commercials for mens deodorant and sporting events, Hallmark Channel focuses their advertising campaigns on makeup and hair products. The goals of gender specific programming are to target one half of the population based on whether they are female of male. While the battle of the sexes is still prevalent in modern society, through targeting gender specific programming, the entertainment industry aims to appease both sides.
CSI, Profiler, Missing these popular television shows are fun and entertaining to watch, but have created many misunderstandings about the field of forensic psychology.
Watching the handsome or beautiful agent artful deduce from a single strand of hair and a scuff on the baseboard near the kitchen that the culprit was wearing blue suede shoes as he entered the home through the patio doors, paused for a drink of lemonade from fridge, filled the glass to the height of a cup, paused to admire a painting and then brutally murdered the inhabitants with an ice knife before walking casually out the front door can have you on the edge of your seat. You may wonder and marvel at how quickly and easily these bloody crimes can be solved as the (beautiful and handsome) agents drop fabric/blood samples into special solutions that all but pop out an address to the criminals lair. You shake your head in wonder as they reconstructed a crushed cell phone using nothing more than a pair of tweezers and a piece of string which immediately enables them to hear the victims final call that also conveniently names the killer. Wow, you marvel (as these heroes of the unfortunate slain push through gritty and complicated crime scenes, solving each murder in one hour including commercial breaks while elegantly surfing their own relationship and family dramas) forensic psychology has come such a long way!
Yes, forensic psychology has come a long way, but not in the way these popular shows would have us to believe. Entertaining? You bet! Realistic? No. Even though the majority of the population can fully appreciate that these shows are based in entertainment rather than fact, this CSI effect has had a great influence on how we view situations where forensics come into play. American legal professionals claim the profusion of forensic psychology crime shows has jurors expecting exciting, damming evidence and spectacular shows of forensics in the courtroom while enrollment in forensic psychology post secondary education has notably increased worldwide. On a positive note, these shows bring forensic sciences into public awareness which has created a greater demand for forensic evidence in real crime investigations.
Forensic psychology is interesting, rewarding and fascinating work despite not being accurately portrayed on TV. It involves getting into the mind of criminal by unraveling clues, studying mannerisms, and using scientific processes learned thorough by years of diligent study. Forensic psychologists are often called upon to testify in court and to provide criminal profiling that helps investigators anticipate the perpetrators next move.
Although the study of forensic psychology is amazing and has the ability to hold the attention of the world at large, let us never forget that this is a true science that is used to catch real criminals. What you see on TV is entertainment. What happens in a real crime lab may not be as slick or technological, the investigators may not be as beautiful, the evidence may not be as exciting and the case may take longer than an hour to solve, but the end result is the same. Forensics at work means criminals get caught, and that is a beautiful, beautiful thing.