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Reflection

3 Dec

At the beginning of this semester I was excited to take Media and Identity as a class.  Media has been a concentration of mine, and I have always been interested in the way it shapes our perceptions, and how I can influence media to be better as a part of my future.  A couple weeks into the semester it was clear that I did not previously know to what extent the media was shaping our identities. Sure, I knew that media was constantly selling culture and products to us.  I thought it was something I could ignore and that it would not effect me.

Media penetrates much deeper than I originally thought. It reaches our subconscious and has an effect on our identities.  It truly effects the core of who we are and what we believe to be true. For instance, If someone before this class had asked me if a show such as Friends was racist, I would have thought they were crazy.  Then I learned that there are different ways to classify ideologies of race.  The fact that the show features no racial minorities as a way of symbolic annihilation was something I would not have thought of.  By not featuring other races this medium appeals to a white audience with white only ideologies.  This audience never has to worry about race and it is a comfortable ignorant bliss.  This alters the way the audience views the world and what they believe to be true.  But the world is truly a diverse place and there are people of different races everywhere.  We cannot let heteronormative shows influence us to separate ourselves into groups of “us” and “them.”  As a result, I have started to watch more shows that are diverse in culture, cast, and ideologies.  I am gaining more knowledge about others and growing myself as a person this way.

I have also noticed that in every show, movie, and advertisement I see that I am constantly analyzing and interpreting their different meanings.  What is even better is that I am doing this without realizing it.  This has actually started to get on my family and friend’s nerves, but they are appreciating the different perspectives and learning from it as well.  All in all, I have thoroughly enjoyed this class and the impact it has had on my life.  I will continue to extend my knowledge on this subject and be careful of how the media effects me.

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#BanBossy

26 Nov

The campaign #BanBossy has been gaining recognition this last year.  At banbossy.com, their aim is to promote leadership skills in young girls from a young age so that they are not afraid to be in leadership positions as they grow.  What sparked this movement is that when boys take leadership roles on the playground, the classroom, or at home they are applauded because it is a gender role that boys will become powerful in CEO, management, or other leadership positions.  When girls exercise the same leadership roles in these environments they are often called “bossy.”  This phrase cuts down girl’s self-esteem and research shows that more girls throughout their lives show anxiety about taking leadership roles than boys.  Why?  Because they were taught at a young age that boys should be leaders, and not girls themselves.  #BanBossy promotes that we should encourage girls as much as we do boys to excel in leadership roles.

#BanBossy trends on all forms of social media websites, but is most prevalent on Twitter and Instagram.  Their website features encouraging stories and video of women and girls taking charge and being in leadership roles.  For instance, Malala Yousafzai, Emma Watson, and even a 13 year old girl who became the youngest girl to scale Mt. Everest.  Even organizations such as The Girl Scouts of USA are promoting #BanBossy on the front page of their website and throughout their organization.  #BanBossy became even more popular when celebrities such as Beyoncé started promoting it. You can watch their video below, which has over 2.5 million views on YouTube.

I believe this campaign has succeeded in promoting leadership roles in young girls and defeating negative connotations such as bossy.  With its wildfire campaign over social media and millions of views on the promotional video parents, teachers, and many others are sure to have had their perceptions changed for the better and will start to encourage young girls instead of labeling them with negative connotations.

The articles we have read in class that best support the ideas of this campaign are Tiggemann and Polivy’s “Upward and DownWard: Social Comparison Processing of Thin Idealized Media Images” and Dill and Thill’s “Video Game Characters and the Socializations of Gender Roles: Young People’s Perceptions Mirror Sexist Media Depictions.”  These articles explain how media constructs identities for women as being sexualized and thin.  Not only are girls being discouraged from leadership roles, the media shows them that they should idolize being sexual and thin. Campaigns such as #BanBossy are doing a wonderful job at bringing these ideals down.

“Four Walls And A Roof” – Walking Dead

27 Oct

Three weeks ago the popular show The Walking Dead premiered for its fifth season.  For those who do not know, the show centers on a group of survivalist living in a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies around every corner.  I am going to call this group “Rick’s group” because Rick, previously a sheriff, is the central main character and I cannot spoil who else is or isn’t alive. (Also, for those who plan on watching the show there are minimal spoilers in this post, and I will alert when there are.) Throughout the five seasons of Walking Dead we have seen characters from many diverse backgrounds.  Though much of it does not matter now that the primary goal is survival.  Rick’s group has/had members who held well-paying jobs, those who were unemployed, Black, Asian, White, old, young, religious and not religious.  We have seen the group disregard their differences and identities in order to help one another survive.  If anything, they have survived by adapting to the new world and re-inventing their identities.  The one identity of characters that has not easily been adapted to the new world or re-invented .

In this new season we are introduced to Gabriel Stokes.  The Rick’s group finds him screaming for help from a boulder where zombies reach desperately for their next dinner.  They rescue him and are immediately taken aback by his pastorly robes and clean look.  He carries no weapons, and says this is the first time he has been away from his church since the apocalypse happened (which was approximately two-three years in the past).  Gabriel has had enough food for himself and has been hiding inside his church the entire time until he just ran out of food.  Rick’s group is apprehensive of him due to their “trust nobody” agreement but accept his offer of hospitality at the church. They find that Gabriel assumes he has survived this long because of God. He sticks to his faith, has not hurt anyone (living or dead), and is very afraid of the way the world is now.  In order to test his abilities and earn their trust Rick’s group forces Gabriel to go on a food run with them and find he is of no use.  At any sign of a zombie or violence he looks frightenly for any route of escape.  His foolish innocence almost costs the group their lives.

(Spoilers)  In last night’s episode, we find out that Gabriel has a dark secret like the rest of them do.  Most of the characters have had to do something ethically compromising in order to stay alive and characterize themselves as “monsters.”  Earlier in the apocalypse a group of people find Gabriel’s locked church and are begging for refuge from a close herd of zombies.  Gabriel keeps the doors locked out of his terror and fear and listens to the group die at the hand of the zombies. This guilt paralyzes Gabriel and he assumes that he will burn in hell forever for his actions.  Still though, this does not waiver Gabriel’s faith. Later in the episode Rick’s group outwits an enemy group and consequently slaughters them inside the church.  Afterwards, Gabriel comes out from hiding and solemnly says, “but this is the lord’s house.”  To which another character says, “No, this is just four walls and a roof.” (end spoilers).

I am really enjoying Gabriel’s character so far. It is interesting that he has survived so far into the zombie apocalypse.  Though we have not seen much of him yet, I am seeing parts of Todd Rendleman’s construction of a hypocrite and naïve evangelical Christian.  In his article “Images of Evangelicals in American Film (2008)” Rendleman describes the hypocritical Christian image a being when  “[a] gap between a character’s theological and lived values is stressed (p. 274).”  Since we just met him, Gabriel’s image has mostly been of him having and sticking to his faith.  Yet the big moment of tension that the show built up for Gabriel was his story where he let an entire group of people outside his church die.  He admits that it was wrong and contradictory to Christian values, and even says he prays for forgiveness everyday.  This act was one of a hypocrite Christian though.

Next, is the image of a naïve Christian that Gabriel’s image fits more wholly.  Rendleman describes the naïve Christian as, “The naïve evangelical wears her faith on her sleeve and is chiefly characterized by innocence and credulity (2008, p. 280).”  Gabriel has been unwavering in his faith thus far and makes no attempt to hide it. He is characterized as being innocent in the fact that he truly has not experienced the zombie apocalypse to the full extent the others have.  He has had a stable location relatively safe from harm, and has had food the entire time.  Also, it is clear that he has not had to kill another person, living or dead.  Next, Gabriel is characterized as being credulous.  When he ran out of resources Gabriel had to venture outside of his church and did not make it more than a mile before being saved by Rick’s group.  In order to survive any further, Gabriel will have to believe what Rick’s group tells him and will therefore have to follow their orders. I think these characteristics qualify Gabriel has being a naïve Christian.

As a fan of the show, I think that Gabriel’s faith will begin to waiver.  As he progresses with Rick’s group he will have to do ugly things that will characterize him as a “monster.”  If his faith does not waiver, I think he will begin to fulfill more qualities of a hypocrite Christian. What I do know for certain, this new season is going to be as thrilling as ever and holds big surprises for the characters and for the audience.

Construction of Whiteness Through a Black Lens

19 Oct

blackish1

Blackish is a new show becoming popular due to its acknowledgement of black culture and it’s majority black cast.  Episode 3 – “The Nod” features Dre, the father, teaching his son Andre an important gesture of black culture, The Nod.  According to Dre, when you come upon another black person in public it is an obligation to nod your head towards them in order to acknowledge them.  Even if this is a person you do not know.  Dre says this is an important nonverbal gesture of community because it shows that you have something in common, being black.  Rainbow, Dre’s wife and the children’s mother, seems to be on the opposite ends of these situations.  Andre not taking part in this cultural gesture is not an identity crisis to her.  Dre and his father are in agreement when it is said, “Pops, we fought to hard for these kids they have nothing else to struggle for.”  Rainbow exclaims, “isn’t that a good thing?”  To which Dre and his pops say “no!”

the nod

 

Dre comes to the conclusion that Andre needs black friends.  Since the kids are in private school they are the only black students there.  At work Dre he is faced with his own dilemma.  There is a new black employee named Charles.  They give one another “the nod” and make conversation.  He is happy to have a black coworker to connect with.  Dre soon finds out that Charles breaks many of the cultural/community rules that are unspoken.  For instance, he hugs too much, uses the urinal closest to the one Dre uses, and is too personal.  He wants to distance himself from Charles but realizes that he has a son close to Andre’s age and invites them over for dinner.  Also, Dre feels like he is obligated to be empathetic towards Charles because it is a part of “the struggle.”  During dinner that evening Charles is rude, too personal, and breaks many more rules.  Dre is close to kicking him and his son out of their home until he finds that Andre and Charles’ son getting along marvelously in the other room.  Though it isn’t their blackness that connects them, it is their “nerdy-ness.”  Dre comes to the conclusion that nerds are the ones now experiencing a social struggle and becomes more lenient with Andre.

not for use

The character I connect with best in this show is Rainbow.  She is probably the most “color-blind” of the entire family.  She has been through the same struggles that Dre has, but is not as pushy on the children to appreciate the struggle.  Rainbow is open to her children’s personalities and identities even in times that they do not participate in black culture. She is grateful that her children do not have to experience the black struggle and wants them to be color-blind as well. Rainbow is smart, empathetic, and supports her family members equally.  She is also there to mediate and be neutral in her family’s affairs.  She reminds me of myself and the place we hold in our families as observers and mediators.

In this episode there were not any white characters included in the story line.  They were bystanders in the background.  There was one scene where the youngest daughter, Diane, goes to work in the hospital with Rainbow for a sort of “career day.”  At some point Diane ends up in the emergency room and sees three badly injured patients wheeled by, all of which were white.  I do not see any implications in this though.  In other episodes I have noticed that when there is a white character featured that is the moment race is brought up.  For instance, whenever Dre has a conversation about or with a white person he is internalizing how he is treated by them due to race.  Blackish is portraying what whiteness means from the lens of a minority.  In Banjo and Fraley’s “The Wannabe, The Man, and Whitebread: Portrayals of Whiteness in Black Films” it is stated from Lewis (2004) that “because [‘racial minorities’] lives have been contained, limited, [and] excluded [by whiteness], racial minorities are one potential source of insight into an effort to understand how whiteness works today.”  Typically, whiteness is invisible and is not interrogated or negotiated in films because white is the dominant ideology.  Once we can evaluate whiteness as a racial lens such as other races are viewed can we understand how whiteness is constructed.  Blackish does a wonderful job of doing so by portraying how whiteness is perceived in a black perspective. I can honestly say that I feel more knowledgeable and understanding towards identity and race from seeing my whiteness from a new perspective.

Blackish and Identity Representation

8 Oct

Blackish is a new comedy on ABC that is bringing more black representation to television.  The pilot episode premiered last week.  Based on the first episode, I would say the show is going to be a huge success.  When I first saw previews for Blackish I wasn’t sure what to think.  Surely, this show is not targeted towards young white females like myself.  The previews were hilarious though, so then I thought that since it is a comedy then the targeted demographic is expanded.  I for one immensely enjoy comedies, no matter what they are about.  My next thought though was if I would enjoy it because it is centered around a black perspective.  The fact that I had asked myself that was infuriating.  Growing up in a culture that celebrate white perspective in entertainment has sheltered me.  It probably was not until I was in high school that I watched a show with a black or other minority main character.  One of my favorite genres is anime, which is centered around Asian perspectives.  Why would I not enjoy a show centered around a black one?  Was I scared that the show would make me feel less powerful in my white perspective?  Was I afraid that I wouldn’t understand the themes the show would focus on?  I needed to let go of these predisposed feelings that white culture has given me and dive in.

Blackish features a black/mix family who is upper middle class living in a “white” neighborhood.  The main character, Andre (Dre for short), and his wife Rainbow grew up poor and knew that they wanted better for their children.  They wanted to escape the urban or ghetto stereotype and “make it” in a white world.  They live in a nice, big home with their four children and Dre’s dad “Pops.”. Rainbow is a doctor, Dre work for an advertising firm.  This first episode, and what I assume will be the basis of the show, is the family hanging onto their black culture while they challenge the norm of being black and upperclass.  We learn that Dre is getting promoted to vice president of a division within the company.  At work, he fits in with the black crowd and his assistant who is white.  He notes the differences between “them” and “us.”. “Them” meaning the white people who hold the higher power positions and” us” meaning all the black people left sitting around the conference table.  He is thrilled that this promotion will put him on the other side of the table with “them.”. He says that if one black person makes it, it feels as if they all have.  Then, Dre learns that he is becoming the VP of the Urban division.  He is infuriated that he was chosen for the job because he is black, and more so that he is still treated differently in the office because of his color.

At home, his children are posing other dilemmas to him on what it means to be black.  His son Andre is a freshman in high school.  He wants to play field hockey instead of basketball, lets his friends call him Andy, and wants to have a bar mitzvah for his birthday party.  Dre feels as if his son is trying to be perceived as having white characteristics in order to fit in instead of being true to his black culture.  His two youngest children come home and say they do not want to go on a play date with Lily, who has a polka dot book bag and smells like turkey burgers.  Dre realizes they are talking about the only other black girl in their class and is upset that they didn’t describe her as being black.  Rainbow is excited that her children do not see race and thinks their description of their classmate was appropriate.  Much more minor things happen through out the episode that emphasize their blackness and Dre’s problem to hold onto his black culture without being stereotyped.  For instance, Andre’s white friend starts raiding the fridge after school looking for grape soda.  A stereotype Dre is upset the boy assumed.  The funny thing though is that he found a can of grape soda in the fridge.

The name of the show comes from these dilemmas.  At one point in the episode Dre exclaims that he wants his family to be black, not blackish.  He doesn’t want his family to dismiss their own culture in order to be more accepted because they act white.  I think this message is inspiring to everyone.  To those who are black and working through the same issues as this family is.  Also to those of us who are not black but need to be made aware of these struggles of identity in comparison to power relationships.  I think that one dilemma I have is that the show is a comedy.  I think that most people would not watch a show featuring such strong race-centered messages if it were not something to laugh at and with.  People feel less like the bad guy if they are laughing.  On a personal level, I connect with Dre and his fight of being real to himself, his values, and identity.  I found that even though we come from different racial perspectives, we could connect on many things.

In a study by Elizabeth Monk-Turner, Mary Heisermn, Crystle Johnson, Vanity Cotton, and Manny Jackson called “The Potrayal of Racial Minorities on Prime Time Television: A Replication of the Mastro and Greenburg Study a Decade Later (2010)” it is said that minorities are underrepresented in TV.  In Mastro and Greenburg’s study in 2000, when they are represented they are portrayed negatively.  In both studies, African-American’s make up 16% of primetime characters.  This number has not changed in a decade.  I believe what has changed is how they are portrayed.  Now, black roles are more than just the portrayal of low-income, uneducated, lazy, or disrespected.  Positive images of blackness are being represented in TV now, which will hopefully have a positive impact on how people view them.  Also, I expect that the percentage of African-American representation in prime-time TV will increase in years to come thanks to shows such as Blackish becoming more popular.

Modern Family and Class

24 Sep

Modern Family has become my new favorite primetime show on ABC.  It features a large family split into three homes that is culturally and socially diverse in many ways.  First, there is Jay, Gloria, Mannie, and Joe.  Jay is an older white male who is wealthy from what I presume is a business career.  He is set in his ways, divorced but remarried to Gloria, and enjoys spending his time at the country club playing golf with his buddies.  Gloria is his much younger latina wife who is vibrant, loud, and aggressive.  The two seem like polar opposites but they bring the best out of one another.  Gloria fell in love with them during their first argument because she had finally “met her match.”. Mannie is Gloria’s first son, and Joe is the son of both Gloria and Jay.

The next two homes are Jay’s two adult children Claire and Mitchell.  Mitchell is a gay, skinny, white, lawyer who is in love with his boyfriend Cameron who is more of a feminine homemaker. He is much larger, more sensitive, and adopts the “mother” role in their family. They have an adopted daughter, Lily, who is originally from Vietnam.  In the last home is Claire with her husband Phil, and three children Haley, Alex, and Luke.  I have not noticed that Claire has a stable job or income. She keeps herself busy with her family and supporting the community. Typically she is the one that is organized, time-oriented, and stressed about having too much on her family’s plate.  Phil is a quirky real estate agent who enjoys magic tricks and having fun. Their oldest child Haley plays the “dumb popular girl” model, Alex is intelligent and dorky, and Luke is portrayed as having focus issues and being dorky like his father.

It is clear that this show offers much variety in social and cultural demographics.  I do not believe that it offers variety in economic standing as far as the characters.  At least in the episodes that I have seen.  I would say that each of these three households are doing well when it comes to money.  Their houses are large, furnished beautifully, and they can afford extra expenses.  For instance, Jay can afford to be in a country club whenever he pleases and Gloria frequently goes on shopping trips.  The only instance I have seen of low economic standing I have seen with them is when Gloria speaks about what her life was like before she met Jay.  She lived in a run-down part of town filled with theft and poverty.  It is also alluded that the area she lived in was Latino/Hispanic.  I think that it is implicating to portray this neighborhood in that way because it is stereotypical to think of Hispanics as living in poverty.  I do enjoy that it is portrayed that Gloria married Jay for love and not his money.

Mitchell and Cameron live in a lovely home as well.  It is beautifully furnished but not as much as Jay and Gloria’s place.  It is not as large but much nicer than a home a family living in poverty would have.  Mitchell is normally wearing nice suits since he is a lawyer and they are shown on numerous occasions being invited to clients homes that are very rich.  For instance, one client had a driveway that had a rotating platform to move cars.  In the episodes I watched Mitch and Cameron were getting married.  Their economic standing was shown here as well because the wedding was high-scale with wedding planners, luxurious decorations, and taken place in a beautiful setting (SPOILER: originally, except that wildfires causes them to move the destination of the wedding to the country club.). Also, they can afford a honeymoon to Mexico.  Something that some married couples under the poverty line and even working class cannot afford.

Last, Claire and Phil’s family lives in a two story more typical house of the middle class.  I would assume that it is not as luxurious as Jay’s because they are raising three children on Phil’s income.  The home is still beautiful furnished and has nice appliances.  Their children all have laptops and electronics.  Haley, the oldest, has her own car that her parents bought for her.  The children go to camps and have paid for extracurricular activities.

Though each episode is told between alternating perspectives of each character, I think that Gloria stands out to me the most. She is the only not white character in the family and is only blood related through her and Jay’s son Joe.  She is portrayed in what I believe is somewhat stereotypical way of being Latina.  She speaks fluent English but her accent causes people to misunderstand her.  Also, she cannot understand some common slang terms or catchphrases.  She is very loud and aggressive as I mentioned.  Which is something that the other women are not.  She firmly stands behind her heritage, values, and beliefs and will confront anyone, even her family, over it.  I think it is implicating that out of anyone in the show she has a relation to poverty.  I think this confirms what Clawson and Trice discussed in their article, “Media Portrayals of the Poor.”. More often than not minorities are portrayed as being low-class and in poverty.  As far as I have seen, the other main characters have no relation to poverty and it is not an issue that is even talked about or addressed.  Though when the characters are in spas, or places of business the workers are more commonly a minority.

In conclusion, I absolutely love this show because it is diverse and shows many perspectives of social, family, and culture dynamics.  I think it would be beneficial if the show included economic diversity and issues as well.

Robin Thicke and Thick Ideals of Women

16 Sep

Anytime a Robin Thicke song comes on the radio my immediate reaction is to turn it off.  At that moment, silence is better than listening to the sexualization of women. So for this weeks analysis I decided to step out of my comfort zone and take a look at two of Robin Thicke’s music videos in order to see how women are depicted in comparison to the songs themselves.

First, I analyzed the lyrics and video for “Blurred Lines.”  Over and over again I have read posts online written by women about how degraded they felt after listening to this song. The lyrics of the chorus read “I hate these blurred lines, I know you want it. But you’re a good girl.”  These lyrics suggest that a woman should consent to sex even though she may not want to.  The rationale for this is that women secretly want it anyways, but are more interested in keeping their “good girl” innocent persona.  I found that this is most degrading to victims of sexual abuse who were frequently told, “I know you want it.”    The music video itself features Thicke with T.I. and Pharrel, two men also successful in the music industry, and three scantily clad women. The entire basis of the video are the three women posing and dancing seductively for the men to enjoy.  The men are dressed more professionally.  When they dance it is to please themselves and there is nothing sexual about it.  The men touch the women as freely as they want.  At one point Thicke even blows smoke into one model’s face.  Overall, I feel that the song and video sexualized women as objects that should embrace their sexuality in order to please men.  As many of our readings suggested, women in media are over sexualized and their identities are displayed as below men in power relations.

Next I watched Thicke’s video “Lost Without U.” The lyrics seem sweet at first.  There is a possibility that Thicke feels lost without a woman who is intelligent or skilled.  I quickly find out though that Thicke is lost without a woman there to stroke his ego.  The lyrics include, “‘Tell me you love me more, and how you think I’m sexy babe. That you don’t want nobody else. You wanna touch yourself when you see me. Tell me how you love my body, and how I make you feel babe. Tell me you depend on me.”  The video is Thicke playing his guitar and singing.  His gaze is for the most part on the woman in a pleasurable way.    The woman that he is “lost” without is either scantily clad, naked, dancing, posing seductively, or all over Thicke.  One of the implications of this is that it promotes Thicke’s “ideal” woman as submissive, sexual, and primarily focused on him.

One last thing I will take away from watching these videos is the social comparison I do between myself and these women.  As Marika Tiggeman suggest in her article about social comparisons women may feel negatively about themselves and their bodies after viewing women in media who are perceived as thinner or more beautiful.  After watching these videos I do feel a little less secure about my body and sexuality and what it means to be a woman.  At the other end of the spectrum though, compared to these women I do feel more intelligent than they are.  The implications to this is that these portrayals of women and the way I perceive them is not reality.  I should not feel less about myself because these women are shown to be more beautiful.  These videos are only portraying and ideology of what women should act and look like.  Also, I should not feel as if I am more intelligent than these women because of the way they act or dress.  They could be much more intelligent than I but choose to be represented in that way, and could possibly enjoy it.  Who am I to say that is wrong?

Overall, I think this is a wonderful representation of how we should look critically at how genders are portrayed and perceived.  We should be critical in the way we think of them and how they effect ideologies and people.

Blog One by Courtney Preston

3 Sep

Take a look around.  Notice what it in your immediate surroundings.  What are you listening to, what are you watching?  It is my best guess that some form of media is within ten feet of you.  Whether it be a magazine, television, cell phone, laptop, or radio they are constantly sending messages to us that we consume.  Even as I write this the TV in front of me is tuned into the popular sitcom Big Bang Theory.  It should not be a mystery to us that media messages are shaping our perceptions of the world because we consume so much of it.

First, here are some “live blogging” examples of how media shapes our perceived reality. The commercials I have viewed while watching Big Bang Theory exemplify how we should view ourselves and the world.  First was a GAP clothing commercial showing young adults in their clothes with text that says “dress normal.” The clothes were pretty average looking. Two people in jeans and casual dress shirts (plaid of course.)  This GAP commercial is selling the perception of normality side by side with their clothes.  We as viewers accept this as “normal” because we see it repeatedly and who wants to be labeled as abnormal? So we dress ourselves in them.  Next is a commercial for duracell car batteries.  The actor belongs in a body building competition.  He plays every part of the perception of what a “man” should be.  He is tough, can walk away from explosions, and is making the unsaid statement that this battery is what manly men should buy.  I am immediately turned away, because my first thought is “I am a women who knows nothing about car batteries because that is for men.”  Maybe I was trained to think this way because of messages like this being given to me year after year.

Media is shaping our perception of reality by developing and supporting ideologies of how the world, our cultures, and we should be.  For instance, author of “Messages Between the Lions” Naomi Rockler explores how a movie such as The Lion King can subliminally send messages that support dominant ideologies and how American audiences perceive that.  She finds that a majority of Americans do not see these messages because they were not intentionally put there by the producers.  They follow the concrete model of the transmission paradigm that says messages between sender and receiver are well defined, not confusing, and there are certainly not any “secret messages” to be interpreted.  On the other side is the ritual paradigm that we typically do not use.  This model of communication explores how media messages shape our perceptions of reality and our ideologies .  In this model we as critics of media can look at The Lion King and find how the outcast hyenas can compare to minorities and the handicapped in our society.  With repetition, it shapes our perception that we should not share with those people and that they should be outcast.  Therefore, shaping the ideology that power belongs to the dominant group (the lions, the whites) and that the others (minorities, hyenas) should be feared and outcast. 

Above are just a few waves in the ocean of media messages shaping our perceived realities and ideologies.  I believe that we should be open minded in thinking about how media effects all of us.  We could live in any type of world that we want.  We could be whomever we choose.  Even with the challenges of media in our lives constantly selling “reality” to us.  We need to constantly be aware of actual reality versus perceived reality. I plan on continuing to follow one my favorite quotes: “Believe none of what you see and half of what you hear” on my quest for truth in media and identity.