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Gender communications  slideshow1 Gender communications slideshow1 Presentation Transcript

  • Communicating Gender Diversity: A Critical approach
  • Chapter 11: MEDIA Paige Rentel 7/23/13
  • Media: Modern forms of media include: Prints, paintings, television, movies, radio, newspapers, comics, novels, magazines, internet, CD’s, and podcasts Media is discussed in the plural
  • All media communicates understandings of gender gender influences all forms of mediated communication Media can contain contrasting views Culture industries- pop cultures mirrors industrial factory process creating goods for standardized consumption (p.236)
  • Mitchell Stephens- Rise of the image, fall of the word Examines recent shift from words to visuals Prime example: Television By the late 1880’s 98% of U.S homes has at least one TV “Video revolution”: is third major communications revolution (first two: writing and print) Westerfelhaus & Brookey note that our society is being shaped by powerful familiarizing influences on TV, movies, magazines, and music videos Media scholars argue that just as religion and science once outlined behavior, mass entertainment has taken the position and now shows people how to behave and act
  • Media Economics: there are economics to production and programing economical process and institutional patterns govern media messages Commercial TV is an economic medium (Budd et al., 1990, P. 172) “Television programming’s ideological role is not incidental to its status as a commodity but, rather, is thoroughly implicated in it” (Dow, 1996, p. xix) Class matters- popular shows depict rich families and modern couture Media as a Social Institution
  • Media & Power “US is a consumer culture, so understnading media is one way to understand how power (element of media as institution) manifests itself “(p.238) Media experts power over how people do gender Media forms infuence social norms concerning gender,race, nationality, class and more They provide visuals and examples for what is feminine and what is masculine Media power over gender: Ex: female beauty beauty norms change over time -driving force of cahnge is media representation of beauty one must remain aware, develop consciousness, and be able to criticize what messages they are watching
  • Media & Hegemony Media, as an institution of civil society, shape the cognitive structures through which people perceive and evaluate social reality (Dow, 1996) Media hegemony is not all-powerful. It needs to be maintained, repeated, reinforced and modified in order to respond to, and overcome, forms that oppose it. Thus, “hegemony, rather than assuming an all powerful, closed text, presumes the possibility of resistance and opposition” (Dow, 1996, p.14). Media abides by tradition gender/sex norms and expectations with few exceptions Most shows follow an unwritten rule of standards of attractiveness rule is usually only broken to signify a “bad” character Media gives people the impression they have control over what they view and how they view it (what their options are of what they are watching) in actuality, they are more or less being controlled John Fiske (1987) argues the other end of the spectrum which is that each individual creates their own meaning rather than by media providers Best explanation: power lies between both extremes because although media messages are persuasive, people can resists these messages People’s level of thoughtfulness and creativity is influenced by their educatio, one should: examine how powerful or effective oppositional responses are compared to the power of hegemonic messages, try to discern what role media play in facilitating oppositional readings explore what we as textbooks authors, and you as students, can do to facilitate critical abilities.
  • Media Polyvalence & Oppositional Readings Media texts cannot be all things to all people because some things are open for interpretation Celeste Condit (1989) argues that instead of polysemy (multitude of meanings) researchers should use polyvalence (or multitude of valuations): “Polyvalence occurs when audience members share understandings of the denotations of a text but disagree about the valuation of these denotations to such a degree that they produce notably different interpretations” (p. 106). Mediated messages do not occur in vacuum but in a particular place, at a particular time, to particular audiences (P.241) Rhetorical approach reminds us that “audiences are not free to make meanings at will from mass mediated texts” because “the ability of audiences to shape their own readings . . . is constrained by a variety of factors in any given rhetorical situation” including “access to oppositional codes . . . the repertoire of available texts” and the historical context (Condit, 1989, pp. 103-104) Audiences must develop a gendered lens if they are to create oppositional readings Even though people are able to view media in different ways, they tend to produce similar thoughts about identity and gender identity
  • Interlocking Institutions Media is not only an institution but it effects the way other institutions are “represented and constructed” Television participates in “interpreting social change and managing cultural beliefs” (Dow, 1996, p. xv) EX: Media shapes and informs peoples understanding of family, family values, and family behavior Media interacts with gender as they provide mechanisms through which representations of work, family, education, and religion are communicated (P.241) representation is not necessarily straightforward because “media messages are diverse, diffuse, and contradictory” (P.241)
  • Media messages create an unrealistic view of beauty and attractiveness
  • One of the worlds most successful models, Andrej Pejic, is a man. However, despite his success and wealth not many people have heard of him. He doesn’t get anywhere near the media attention that less successful female models get
  • It’s not about sex difference Men are also being targeted and pushed to achieve unachievable perfection Media doesn’t solely affect the perception that females should strive to reach an idealistic beauty.....
  • Differences Among Women Differences in reception to media messages exist across races and within sexes, even though images my be understood as unattainable (making them less powerful) they still have an influence on the way people perceive each other Photoshopped images give women an unattainable example of a beautiful body Women held to beauty standards, but the standard is different among women Sexualizing women's body is a common ad theme
  • Similarities between men and women Both men and women have issues with their body Women tend to overestimate the degree of thinness found attractive to men because magazines target thinness towards women Men tend to overestimate the degree of muscularity attractive to women “the ideal male body marketed to men is more muscular than the ideal male body marketed to women” (Frederick, Fessler, & Haselton, 2005, p. 81). Five characteristics of a U.S. hegemonic masculinity (a masculinity we would argue is actually a U.S. White hegemonic masculinity) 1) it defines power in terms of physical force and control, 2) it is defined through occupational achievement, 3) it is represented in terms of familial patriarchy where the man is the breadwinner, 4) it is symbolized with the frontiersman and outdoorsman, and 5) it is heterosexually defined.
  • Media Construct (& constrain) Gender Media content & media Effects: Bulk of research of media has focused on centent of media “media content analysis attempts to quantify what is in mediated products” (P.243) some examples of content analysis count ratio of men to women on tv, violent shows, and more
  • Men, Women, and Violence in the Media “women and minorities (especially women of color) are underrepresented in U.S media” Women are shown as sex objects An increasing concern is being placed on children’s television as an average of 7.86 violence incidents occur per hour (there are 4.71 instances per hour found in adult- targeted prime time programming) Health communication researcher Alexandra Hendriks (2002) has called for a broadening of media effects research to study the effects of media on body image. Media effects and content studies share similarities: They believe that media is best understood through a study of its representations, and hence tend to ignore (to varying degrees) the process of production and the role of the audience. They tend to treat the audience as passive and universal. They believe that one can distinguish between good and bad representations.
  • Media do influence people’s beliefs and behaviors. Media representations of violence are one of the ways in which gendered violence is normalized in U.S. culture; media images of hegemonic masculinity present violence as the answer to problems, if someone kills a mans family, his solution is to kill them even more violently (P.245)
  • Media Depictions of Rape Rape representations not only provide insight into how women are gendered and raced as deserving or undeserving victims, but also into how men are gendered and raced as perpetrators or savior When deciding whether to reproduce vivid narratives of rape, one should consider how those whose stories are told would want their stories told. Particularly when discussing sexual violence occurring abroad, “we need to be mindful of how rhetorical acts of witnessing may function as new forms of international tourism and appropriation” and not world traveling (Hesford, 2004, p. 121).
  • Media as Always Liberatory and Constraining Studies were done on women that read romance novels: findings: many women read romance novels to liberate themselves and seek a sensitive partner but all they read was a women being saved by a male (Mitchell, 1996, P.54) Madonna provides a classic example. Madonna is best understood “as a site of contradiction” where her “gender play simultaneously challenges and reinforces gender roles” (Hallstein, 1996, p. 123). examples in this section were mainly masculine to remind readers that its not just about females and femininity but males and masculinity as well
  • Gender is constructed and thus always a flux “Today’s magazines for men are all about the social construction of masculinity” (Gauntlett, 2002, p. 170) Cosmo was playing Playboy at its own game, seeing sexual pleasure as important, and suggesting that women were entitled to it. Cosmo’s assertion of women’s rights to enjoy sex, and to talk about it, was quite radical, and this new discourse brought other changes – men, for example, were no longer treated with reverence, but could be seen as inadequate, or the butt of jokes” (Gauntlett, 2002, p. 53)
  • Conclusions: Hollywood is condemned for failing to live up to traditional family values, most dominant media images reinforce the gender binary of heteronormatitvity Danger lies within people watching movies uncritically Although creative uses of media are important, an institutional approach to media also makes clear they may be insufficient. 1st: media are ephemeral, making them a “fragile basis for lasting social change” (Dow, 2001, p. 137) 2nd: changes in representation do not necessarily translate into changes in policy (Budd, et al., 1990)