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The goal of this assignment is for you to analyze some aspect of mainstream media firsthand, using ideas and tools from the readings to understand the ways in which a particular media text in a particular genre/discourse negotiate the gender aspect, the ways in which they inhibit changes in gender relations or gender hierarchies but also the ways in which the texts might facilitate changes in gender relations or gender hierarchies by challenging current norms and understandings, by going against the grain of common sense, or the way in which the texts do both at the same time, both challenging and reinforcing current understandings of gender. You may take feminist/womanist/gender-centered/intersectional or any other approaches that allow you to deconstruct aspects of the social construction of femininities/masculinities in your selected media or popular culture text. Be sure use relevant tools and concepts from the course material in doing the analysis. Steps to do the assignment: Select a particular media genre. Examples of television genres would be reality programs, crime dramas, talk shows, situation comedies, etc. Examples of print media genres would be teen magazines, hobby magazines, immigrant newspapers, etc. You could also look at music, the Internet, or other media or pop culture. You could also examine particular social media sites. The important thing is that the media/pop culture you choose should have wide exposure, it should be widely consumed. Read as much scholarly work as you can about this genre, and about particular offerings within this genre, both from the course texts and from other scholarly sources. (Note: Scholarly sources are full-length articles from scholarly journals or articles from edited collections, or books. A good indication that a source is scholarly is the listing of several citations at the end of the work). Select particular examples of the genre to analyze. For example, choose particular episodes of a TV show; choose particular issues of a magazine; or choose particular songs within a musical genre. This is called the “universe” of the text that you will analyze. The “universe” of text should be chosen based on the research questions you’re asking from a feminist/womanist/gender-centered/intersectional perspective. Collect enough of a sample of the genre to get a sense of how gender is represented within it; enough of a sample to get a sense of the patterns of representation. For example, collect several issues of the magazine; collect several songs in the genre; or identify several websites to analyze (they should be grouped logically). If you’re analyzing song lyrics, for example, you should include at least 20 songs. If you’re analyzing program episodes, you should take notes on 10-20 episodes in all, etc. Take notes on the media texts you have selected, using concepts and tools you have learned from our Gender and Media textbook as well as from the scholarly articles you have read. Attend to the media texts closely, noting the way in which gender is negotiated or addressed in the content, the way gender is represented or the way certain aspects of life are gendered. Be sure to pay attention to both content and format. For example, for TV shows or movies, attend to lighting, settings, treatment of time and space, kind of shots, etc., as well as to the plot/narrative. Note any patterns that emerge. For example, note any patterns of gender representation that repeat themselves across episodes of a TV program. Compare your observations with what other scholars have said about the gendered aspects of the genre. Write a 5-7 page paper integrating your own first-hand analysis with the information from scholarly sources. The paper itself should have the following parts: Introduction, briefly describing the genre and examples from within the genre you have selected for the research and summarizing what other scholars have said about the gendered aspects of this genre and particular subsets of the genre. Analysis of the media text/sample, describing in detail what you found and the patterns that emerged in terms of gender representation. Give specific examples/slices from the media “texts”/artifacts to support your observations throughout. Focus on the ways in which gender relations/gender hierarchies/gender issues are dealt with in the genre. For example, if you’re analyzing news reports, give specific quotes from news stories (if you’re looking at TV news, you might also describe aspects of the video footage) to support your description of the patterns you have found. As another example, if you’re analyzing episodes from a TV show, be sure to support your description of patterns with descriptions of particular scenes, characters, plot development, etc. Conclusions and discussion, relating what you found from your analysis of the media genre to what other scholars have said about the gendered aspects of the genre. List of references, listing in APA/MLA or other documentation style the secondary sources you have used. (Note: You will be using the same style to cite sources in the text as needed). Appendices, including any material from your primary research that would help me understand your analysis. This could be listing of program episodes and the times they aired, etc., or a listing of news stories, etc.


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