This semester, you will write two papers in which you identify a problem in the representation of a particular group in media (related to gender for paper 2, and race for paper 3) and describe what you think would be a more positive or healthy portrayal. For example, you might identify a TV show that reinforces stereotypes about women as unintelligent and passive, and describe how the show could be revised to challenge this stereotype.
This paper involves a five step process: 1) identification of the cultural artifact; 2) discussion of applied concepts; 3) critique of ideologies; 4) de/reconstruction of the popular cultural artifact so that ideologies in original popular cultural artifact are subverted; and 5) interpretation of and reasoning behind reconstruction.
Template for Media Literacy Paper 1 (gender):
- Identify the artifact
- What type of media is it? (Book, TV show, etc)
- Premise? Basic “thing” the show is about?
- Applied concepts
- What is gender?
- Other concepts from the course that are relevant to part 3 of your paper: define them (For example: objectification, hegemonic masculinity, “superwoman ideal,” etc)
- Remember: use APA for the readings, as well as a reference list at the end of the paper.
- You MUST cite at least one paper from this course (for example, the “Doing Gender” piece may be useful for you). You can cite papers from outside of this course as well. Your citation must be relevant to your argument.
- Critique of the ideologies
- One paragraph per claim you make
- Topic sentence: something like “Star Trek portrays many of the female characters as sex objects.”
- Evidence: “Seven of Nine wears a tight-fitting catsuit.”
- Reasoning: “This outfit was designed specifically to emphasize her body shape as much as possible. In fact, it was so tight that the actress, Jeri Ryan, fainted during filming. Further, there is no practical explanation for why she would wear this costume instead of a Star Fleet uniform or more loose-fitting clothing. In this way, the show presents Seven of Nine in a way that focuses on her sex appeal, in a way that is decontextualized from anything her personality or job duties.”
- Additional evidence to support the claim (can be in new paragraph if needed): “Similarly, Deana Troi’s costumes were designed to emphasize her beauty and body shape.”
- Reasoning for the evidence you described in “e”
- What changes do you propose? Be as specific as possible. Explain exactly what changes you would make, so there’s no ambiguity, confusion, or unanswered questions
- Remember: your changes should reverse the ideology being described above. So, I might describe how I would have Seven of Nine dress instead and whatever other changes I would propose to avoid portraying Trek characters as sex objects
- Interpretation / reasoning:
- How does this subvert the original ideology?
- What is the new message that you are sending?
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