Children, Youth And Media


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Jeanne Prinsloo looks at the relationship between the Media and Young people

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Children, Youth And Media

  1. 1. Children, youth and media Jeanne Prinsloo
  2. 2. <ul><li>Research into children’s TV fiction </li></ul><ul><li>Research into representaions of children and youth in advertising in popular magazines </li></ul><ul><li>Representations of young people in the print news media </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Childhood as a construction </li></ul><ul><li>What is represented as appropriate is dependent on the space and time </li></ul><ul><li>Chlidhood as a time of innocence </li></ul><ul><li>Childhood as not adult </li></ul><ul><li>Childhood as period of becoming </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>The media introduce children to worlds outside their immediate reality . </li></ul><ul><li>They expand, interpret , highlight, judge , legitimize or exclude social phenomena that the viewer encounters in reality and in the other media. … </li></ul><ul><li>[They] constantly reinforce certain ideological, mythical, and factual patterns of thought and so function to define the world and to legitimize the existing social order (Lemish 2007:101). </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Why fiction? </li></ul><ul><li>Through processes of identification (Lemish 2007), children can take on the roles of the protagonists or other characters, and along the way learn lessons about what is constituted as heroic, as appropriate, as socially effective. </li></ul><ul><li>TV offers a peekhole to roles beyond their everyday reach, particularly to those highly prioritised and stereotyped in dramatic genres. </li></ul>
  6. 6. hours TV genres 64 fiction 124 game shows, documentaries, mixed format shows, trailers, etc 12 ads 198 Total recorded
  7. 7. Sex of characters: SA and international sex number % female 285 28% male 674 67% indeterminate 49 5% sex % female 30.9 male 65.1% indeterminate 4.1%
  8. 8. What roles do the characters play? Character roles Female: number & (% of female) Male : number & (% of female) Hero 78 195 Villain 25 114 Hero’s helper 93 187 Villain’s helper 6 30 Member of family 20 19 ‘ Princess’ 23 26
  9. 9. Infantilising females Characteristic Categories Female Male Age Baby 0 (0 %) 4 (1 %) Child 89 (35 %) 148 (25 %) Youth 100 (39 %) 207 (36 %) Adult 57 (22 %) 196 (34 %) Body weight Very thin 4 (2 %) ?? 12 (2 %) Normal 255 (99 %) 491 (82 %) Overweight 0 (0 %) 42 (7 %) Hugely muscular 0 (%) 57 (10 %)
  10. 11. Race not gender Characteristic Categories Female % Male % Skin colour Asian 11 3 Black 12 7 White 70 86
  11. 12. Heroes and hypermasculinity <ul><li>males overwhelmingly in the majority </li></ul><ul><li>more likely to be leaders of groups of helpers, or lone heroes, or villains </li></ul><ul><li>act in public spaces </li></ul><ul><li>enormously strong and athletic heroes </li></ul><ul><li>physical strength frequently extended by cars, guns and machinery </li></ul>
  12. 13. Emphasised feminities <ul><li>Less frequent and so less visible (1 to 3) </li></ul><ul><li>Younger </li></ul><ul><li>Slighter </li></ul><ul><li>More often helpers than men proportionately </li></ul><ul><li>Not helpers to villains </li></ul><ul><li>Need rescuing more </li></ul><ul><li>More likely to use wit than technology to resolve problems </li></ul>
  13. 15. Conclusion <ul><li>Children’s TV fiction not a space of benign innocence </li></ul><ul><li>Precisely about violence and ways of becoming sexualised </li></ul><ul><li>Such hegemonic discourses are rehearsed constantly and form lessons that child viewers are likely to internalise. </li></ul><ul><li>This is their curriculum design. </li></ul>
  14. 16. Advertising in popular mags <ul><li>Advertising is a genre that largely proposes a particular lifestyle of consumption </li></ul><ul><li>Gendered dimension </li></ul><ul><li>Male female proportion </li></ul><ul><li>Age difference </li></ul><ul><li>Gendered activities of children </li></ul><ul><li>Gendered activities of parents </li></ul><ul><li>Very bland </li></ul><ul><li>No teens </li></ul>
  15. 17. Advertising in popular mags <ul><li>46 girls (30%), </li></ul><ul><li>56 boys (37%) </li></ul><ul><li>(32%) whose sex is indeterminate </li></ul>
  16. 18. Advertising in popular mags <ul><li>boys are more populous than girls; </li></ul><ul><li>boys older and engage in a greater range of activities and are depicted as more physical and adventurous </li></ul><ul><li>girls in those more intimate domestic spaces of bathroom and bedroom </li></ul><ul><li>less frequently participate in the public domain. </li></ul><ul><li>mothers not father </li></ul><ul><li>mothers counselling and consoling them, making their lives pleasant and happy </li></ul><ul><li>puzzle: the teenagers seemed to have left home </li></ul>
  17. 19. Young people in print news <ul><li>Youth as in need of rescue </li></ul><ul><li>Youth as dangerous </li></ul><ul><li>Youth beyond rescue </li></ul><ul><li>Where were the youth as becoming? </li></ul><ul><li> youth as innocent? </li></ul>
  18. 20. Children making media <ul><li>Why? </li></ul><ul><li>Critical multi-literacies paradigm </li></ul><ul><li>Young people as skilled producers and users of media </li></ul><ul><li>Need knowledge of the genre and need to be nurtured as critical thinkers? </li></ul><ul><li>What works against such critical media production and reception? </li></ul>
  19. 21. <ul><li>Masterman on practical media production </li></ul><ul><li>“ All communication forms are not ‘innocent’, and transparent carriers of meaning. They are impregnated with values and actively shape the messages they communicate. Secondly practical [media production] work is not an end in itself but a necessary means to developing an autonomous critical understanding of the media” </li></ul>
  20. 22. <ul><li>‘ Children are given a voice’ </li></ul><ul><li>Where does that voice come from? </li></ul><ul><li>‘ We must value our culture’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ School uniforms are good’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ We need to have media about schoolgirl pregnancies’ (13 yr old boy) </li></ul>
  21. 23. <ul><li>Need to factor in </li></ul><ul><li>The media world that has been naturalised </li></ul><ul><li>The kinds of literacies they have lead them to make particular judgements and to write about particular things </li></ul><ul><li>The notion of an authentic voice that is automatically of interest </li></ul>
  22. 24. <ul><li>Risks of celebratory approach: </li></ul><ul><li>Liberal approach that focuses on individual ‘growth’ and self development </li></ul><ul><li>Reproducing naturalised practices in relation to class, gender, culture, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of contextualising knowledge and lack of emphasis on research </li></ul><ul><li>Regurgitate agenda of concerned adults </li></ul>