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Gender as contested memes in the media spectacle. Negotiating the meaning of gender in popular mediated culture

Published in: Education, Technology, Spiritual
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  1. 1. A spectacular contesting field of meaning…
  2. 2. Alternative title:Gender as contested memes in the media spectacle Negotiating the meaning of gender in popular mediated culture
  3. 3. To get in the mood
  4. 4. negotiation of meaning is on- going mediation of media= experience technologies (subjective of voices filters) gender gender is amedia Literacy: time social & culture wise & construct crucial: sustaining images, media (just asrelationships, values spectacle identity) popular culture gender as mediation = important contested socialization memes agent Meaning generating devices
  5. 5. Creatures looking for meaning―The saturation bombing approach to life‖ (Bill Viola)
  6. 6. Media as agent of socialization
  7. 7. Media as agent of socialization• Agenda Setting function• Uses and Gratification• Media Dependency Theory• Symbolic power (semiotics)• Carrier of values and ideologies (hegemonies)
  8. 8. What‘s in the box, granny?
  9. 9. The workings of the media• Fragmented mediation• Constructed/deconstructed• Discourse and images: actors and actions• Meaning generating devices: images, stories, metaphors, myths• Strategic process (arranging and re-arranging images/actors/acts)• Carrier of values and ideologies• Frames the ‘fragment’/image/story• Sets the agenda• Mainstream vs. alternative: Power/interests involved
  10. 10. Recap: Five core concepts in media literacy1. All media messages are ‘constructed’ (authorship/constructedness)2. Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules (format and techniques of production)3. Different people experience the same media messages differently (audience)4. Media have embedded values and points of views (content/message)5. Most media messages are organized to gain profit, convince and/or power (purpose/motive)
  11. 11. A now what about the meme-thing? Contested memesMeaning carriers, Meaning fighters The winner takes it all
  12. 12. Woman as contested meme(e.g. in the last two weeks…)
  13. 13. What is a Meme…• A meme is an idea, or a particular way of thinking about what an idea is.• A unit of mental information in the same way a gene is a unit of biological information• A metaphor of an idea as a transposon, a pattern of thought as a virus, a knowledge structure as a chromosome.• Memes compete to spread their information though a social population in the same ways genes compete to spread their information content through a biological population.
  14. 14. Gender is a social constructFeminist Theory Queer theory
  15. 15. So, back to socialization…or Barbie as an archetype
  16. 16. Playing with dolls while negotiating the meaning of personhood…
  17. 17. And how about GI joe?
  18. 18. Personhood negotiation:Images of late 80s and 90‘s
  19. 19. Becoming biographies?Bursting some mythical bubbles…
  20. 20. Mediation of experience: the experience of Gender
  21. 21. Language and Images mediate…1. All our experience is mediated, nothing is direct, and images & language are central forms of mediation2. People can mediate our experience by the way they structure reality for us in social interactions – The ideas they stand for, their intentions, their own experiences and how they ‘see’ the world influence how they mediate (compose) this reality they want to share3. Texts, whether they are books, films or advertisement mediate our experience
  22. 22. Barthes‘ Myth (1972) & Entman‘s Frame (1993)• Myth is not a falsehood or a fiction, but a rhetorical figure upholding a social belief that has become so firmly entrenched it is understood as real and therefore has real effects.• To frame is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in discourse (text, talk, images) in such a way as to promote
  23. 23. Meaning generating devices: Myths, metaphors,stories, frames, images They are all entwined And they do a great job in mediating experience for us
  24. 24. A perspective influences how you: Value & Act Analyze attitude Talk about (solutions) Identify See or (causes & understand (judge with others(pinpoint) (frames) consequences) others/see (discourse) Accept the yourself) status quo
  25. 25. Bursting some mythical bubbles1. The obsession with the body: culturally embodiment of gender (Butler) o Sexy for who? o You are a man, because you have a penis!? o Calorie counting freaks… o Perpetual youth! The ant-ageing movement2. Masculinity is strong, Femininity is Soft and other absurdities!3. Queer is deviant! o What I don’t understand, I will try to categorize, even if it doesn’t fit in the narrow category!
  26. 26. “Objects are categories of objects which tyrannically induce categories of persons. They undertake the policing of social meanings, and the significations they engender are controlled.Their proliferation, simultaneouslyarbitrary and coherent, is the best vehicle for a social order, equally arbitrary and coherent, to materialize [...]” Jean Baudrillard
  27. 27. Narrow category boxes…
  28. 28. I am (post) (post) modern fluid…
  29. 29. Continuity is replaced by fragments
  30. 30. Extract from:Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection is Harming Young Women Courtney Martin Author, philanthropist, blogger, editor, and lecturer on topics such as feminism, activism, and philanthropy
  31. 31. The engraved ‗Barbie‘ in our psyche
  32. 32. Doll face
  33. 33. From dolls….
  34. 34. …to reality TV
  35. 35. And in between… Ana & Mia
  36. 36. Mediated gender attributes
  37. 37. Extract from:Tough Guise, Violence & Media the crisis of masculinity
  38. 38. True or false? a continuum? or mere stereotypes!? Nelson (1985)• Masculine • Feminine• Active • Passive• Presence • Absence• Validated • Excluded• Success • Failure• Superior • Inferior• Primary • Secondary• Independent • Dependent• Unity • Multiplicity• Organized • Scattered• Intellect • Imagination• Logical • Illogical• Defined • Undefined• Dependable • capricious
  39. 39. Reversing the Gaze: Men as Object
  40. 40. Taking a critical stance: 5 core questions of media literacy… (new) Media as technologies of alternative voices
  41. 41. Technologies of liberation: WE ARE THE MEDIA & THE MSSG Mainstream is slowly dying!Alternative voices, grassroots movements, Mobilizing! Ladies & Gentlemen…the critical literate individual is awakeningand he/she or LGBT has a powerful voice
  42. 42. Core concepts translated in key questions1. Who created this message? (authorship/sender)2. What creative techniques are used to attract my attention (format/creative strategies for reality construction)3. How might different people understand this message differently? (audience/receiver)4. What values, lifestyles and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message? (content)5. Why is this message being sent? (purpose)
  43. 43. Participatory culture (Jenkins)A participatory culture is a culture :• With relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement• With strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations with others• With some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the one with the most experienced is passed along to novices• Where members believe that their contributions matter• Where members feel some degree of social connection with one another – at the least they care what other people think about what they have created.• Not every member must contribute, but all must believe they are FREE to contribute, when ready and that what they contribute will be appropriately valued.
  44. 44. Joanie Croes, Aruban contemporary artist
  45. 45.
  46. 46. Conversation, social identity, support
  47. 47. e.g. Alternative narrative:What if Carrie was a lesbian?
  48. 48. The revolution will be tweeted tweeting for freedom…
  49. 49. Digital activism: signatures for action e.g.
  50. 50. Miss Representation
  51. 51. The film became a movement― The average teenager spends morethan 10 hours each day consumingmedia — more than sleeping orattending school. Media is themessenger and an increasinglypowerful one. Mainstream mediabombards children and adults alikewith overwhelming messages thatwomen should be beautiful and sexy,while men should be powerful andoften violent. These messages limitchildren‘s ideas of what is possible inthe world and can have damagingeffects on their self-esteem, health,and the way they treat others‖Miss Representation org.
  52. 52. Taking the pledge against ―Miss representation‖ actions you can take…
  53. 53. What if you start conceiving your Facebook wall as a platform for change?
  54. 54. Voicing checklist• What am I authoring?• Does my message reflect understanding in format, creativity and technology?• Is my message engaging and compelling for my target audience?• Have I clearly and consistently framed values, lifestyles and points of view in my content?• Have I communicated my purpose effectively
  55. 55. Recap: Gender & the Media Spectacle:1. The negotiation of meaning is an on-going process2. Mediation of experience, mediation is never neutral3. Gender is a social construct4. Gender as contested memes5. Meaning generating devices: images, myths and stories6. Mommy and daddy can’t be around all the time, but you can always count on popular culture, it is everywhere, all the time to ‘socialize’ (with?) you7. Media play a crucial role our lives, both time wise as culturally wise: creating meanings, (of the self), strengthening relationships and pondering values8. Media as powerful technologies of voice.
  56. 56. Conclusion:• fluidity, diversity, identity…is so difficult to categorize in ‘cultural’ image-boxes.• We are no longer passive recipients of the media, we are the media…• “Pro-sumers”(Ritzer)/ “participative culture”(Jenskins)• Be the message
  57. 57. More information on the topic: media-clippings (articles, videos, etc) are being curated here.