Thursday, January 31, 2013

Post 2, Media is/as Education

    "Unpacking the Myths that Bind Us”, Christensen

The author talked a lot about how media influences us in ways that we are not aware of. Both the author and some of his students realize that our self-image is shaped by the media. This reminded me of a movie I watched in a couple of other women studies classes called Killing us Softly. This movie shows how television, magazines, movies, etc, teach us both the roles of women and the roles of men. The focus on women in advertising has a lot to do with appearance, and one that is completely unrealistic. The movie shows how images are photo shopped and the ideals are unattainable. You can find the summary here and part of the video here:

I also watched another movie called Tough Guise that showed how media teaches men to be strong, heroic, physical, and even violent.  This shows that both men and women are influenced by the media. Again, you can find the summary here and part of the video here:

The author also talked about how students did not want to admit that they were influenced by the media. Some students felt like they had control over the media. I think a lot of people might feel this way, but they also don’t know that they can be influenced very quickly and subconsciously. I believe this is talked about in Killing us Softly, but I also have learned it from my psychology classes.  This is called subliminal messaging
After doing a google search on subliminal messages, I was able to find lots of examples, especially with children's media. Here's one example:
What's really sad about these subliminal messages and images in children's media, is that children are probably even less aware of what is happening and more receptive to the messages. Once you get older, you can start to realize that these things we've been watching or seeing were pretty bad. But,  when you are young watching it, you're not thinking like that. You're pretty much just taking it for what it is and accepting it.

 For class:  
Has anybody seen these two films? What did you think about them?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Post 1, Media and Ideology, Croteau

1) Media and Ideology, Croteau

2) Quotes

a. “In essence, the accumulation of media images suggests what is “normal” and what it is “deviant”… When such difference is highlighted by, for example, television talk shows that routinely include people who are otherwise invisible in the mass media- cross-dressers, squatters, or strippers- the media can become part of a spectacle of the bizarre.” (163)

Media creates an idea of normalcy by continually showing only a limited number of things. Anything that stands out from what media often portrays is seen as abnormal or unique. Those things that are considered normal is our ideology.  This is important because it tell us that there are things that are neglected in the media that are important too, but not given as much credit because we are not constantly seeing it. Even things that aren't necessarily "bizarre" at all are given special attention in television shows. For example, I watched an episode of Katie Couric's new talk show not too long ago that was all about women who didn't wear make up. ( I don't think its "deviant" to not want to wear make up, but I guess it can be seen that way when basically all women in the media are made up.

b. “Instead of seeing media as places where behaviors are normalized and boundaries are created, those in the industry tend to argue that the images they produce and distribute simply reflect the norms and ideas of the public.” (p.164)

The people in the media industry think that what they promote is already the popular ideas of the consumers. I can see why those people would say this. If media producers want a business, then they need to cater to what the public wants, in a way.  I still do think that the media can control us, but at the same time, I can understand how the media would want to be cautious in portraying things that the public wouldn’t like or accept.

c. “These examples illustrate how claims about nature work in the service of ideology. If such claims are widely accepted- if they are seen as the outcome of nature instead of culture- then there may be legitimate reason for racial inequality, sexual discrimination, and the demonization of gays and lesbians since these relationships are the result of the natural order of things. What we think of as natural and normal, then , is a central part of the terrain of hegemony” (p.167)

What we think of as natural is usually very different than what we think of as cultural. Cultural things can be socially created, while natural things are just seen as nature and always there. Although things are changing now, for awhile people thought it was natural to be heterosexual rather than homosexual and natural for women and men to be different. However, we know now that those things that people may take as being natural were socially constructed.

3) I thought the most about my second quote, because I can understand both sides of the argument. I’m wondering what other people think about this. Does the media cater to what the public already likes or does the media influence what the public likes in the first place? I’m not sure.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


I'm Sarah. I am a senior and will be graduating in May. I don't know what I'll be doing yet after I graduate, but I'm working on figuring that out. I'm a psychology major and women's studies minor. I was still on campus during my break working as an assistant at the library. For Christmas, I went to New York City for the first time. I'm pretty happy to be back in school and hope this semester goes by smoothly and quickly!