Media Education Unit Plans


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Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project

The article I choose to do my reflection on is Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project by The MacArthur Foundation. This study examines the effect technology has on youth and searches to answer two main research questions; “how are new media being integrated into youth practices and agenda?” and “how do these practice change the dynamics of youth-adult negotiations over literacy, learning and authoritative knowledge?” (John D & Catherine T, 1)

Within the last decade media was permeated the lives of our youth today changing them in countless ways. To understand why the media is meaningful in the everyday lives of youth, researches relied on interviewing and observation techniques. They found among many things, that today’s youth are driven by two fundamental genres. The first being “friend ship driven participation” and the second being “interest driven participation” (John D & Catherine T, 10) Friendship driven activities “ hanging out, messing around a geeking out” were associated with public networking like Facebook and Myspace. I myself hangout on the internet in places like Facebook because of entertainment reason and how it enables you to connect to friends. Another reason why youth enjoy the internet so much is because of interest based participation such as “ specialized activities, interests, or niche and marginalized identities” (John D & Catherine T, 11),8599,1675244,00.html

The internet a great out lit and resource for expression and forming identity. With reading chapter 39 on queer theory and the media, I come to learn how valuable the internet is for the queer community. When coming out you often experience a great deal of confused pertaining to identity and who you want to be. On the internet there are groups that help to educate people about their sexuality and are happy to include you if you feel like you identify with them. This new learning happens on a more informal level. Rather then in the class room with a teacher, youth can now log onto the internet and learn things from other peers. Learning on the internet is so amazing because it happens on your own without enforcement or authority. There has been a shift in the new and cool place to “hang out” because now it is on the internet. Absolutely everything can be found on the internet and it seems harder and harder to find things that aren’t. Food orders can be place on the internet, dating takes place on the internet and even books are now read on the internet. The internet has completely transformed our lives for the better or worse that’s up to you! This change is not limited to the internet, however the internet was what development I grow up with that why I wanting to discusses it.

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Representation of Queers in the Media

An interesting chapter I read was a chapter on queer theory in the media. Sexuality and sexual diversity is all over the media, however there still is a discrepancy between heterosexuality roles and homosexuality characters. I believe this discrepancy is evidence of the homophobia that still exists within our nation.  The same is true regarding the underrepresentation and classification of minorities groups and women’s roles within the media. Interesting the media is a reflection our societies present culture therefore these stereotypes that exist in the media exists in real life as well. In addition the portrayal of queer on the media is often stereotypical and very misleading. Gay men as often stereotyped as being feminine, dramatic, and very theatrical, whereas gay women are portrayed as being masculine, emotionless and hyper sexualized.  Stereotyping queer is very damaging to our society and as well as homosexuals who are trying to come up. Queer use the media and the character on television as roles models whom they can relate therefore stereotyping can leave them to feel alone and very different then how a “queer person” should act. It sends the wrongful message that queers should be a certain way and it categorizes sexuality which is very wrong. Sexuality is not black or white and there are lots of shapes of gray in between.  Many of us have preconceived notions of what it means to be queer which really pigeon holes the queer community.

 Although the representation of queers in the media has increased they are often very restricted in the types of genres and roles. Time and again queers characters act within the genre of crime drama or simple drama.  Furthermore the conflict is because of the character sexuality and therefore the drama is centered on that. This sends the message that being queer is associated with problems and heart ache so it’s no wonder people don’t want to come out.  Interestingly sexuality and sex is absolutely ever where in the media, however gay sex is rarely seen. This taboo topic is only seen between women and is often at the male heterosexual desire. The media belief in hetronormativity is hurtful and simple wrong. The media is such an important resource and should be used for helping the queer community instead of setting them back. In the past the media and especially the internet has been used to assist queers in coming out. It also helps them in forming identities which is crucial in the coming out processes.  The internet has been excellent in supporting the gay community; there are many websites and chat rooms that bring queer communities together.   Website like the following are great tools so someone coming out.,chatnow/Itemid,212/

The media has made some progresses and has shows like Will & Grace which is about two gay men and a women

And another popular show involving a gay character is Queer eye for a straight guy

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Class, sex and racism in the twenty first century media


It is evitable that class, sex and racist ideals all play a role in 21st century media. Minorities are still underrepresented, women a forced to take on certain roles and the media targets white middle class. According to the article Critical media literacy for the twenty-first century, taking our entertainment seriously; executives and producers claim that the media function is simply to entertain. However this unfortunately is not its only role the media plays. The media teaches and acts as a form of education and this education extends to ideas and notions pertaining to class, sex, ethnicities, etc…   In addition, it promotes other harmful ideas like violence and early sexual onset. The media works to shape and mold our perception and undeniably play a huge in educating the world. Although the media can have a negative effect it also can be beneficial as well. Television shows like extreme makeover and the swan work on improving people and their image. However they give the impression that a little plastic surgery can get you a long way. My personal favorite is the Oprah Winfrey show and I would have to completely disagree with this article. It claims that “ talk shows like Oprah dedicate enormous amounts of airtime transforming guest with the help of hair, make-up and style experts”  ( Leistyna and Alper, 65) Although Oprah does dedicate time to issues of style and beauty, she also devotes  her resources to issues of health, finances, spiritual growth among many other positive issues. I think Oprah and other shows similar to hers are representative of society’s growth and need for positive change. There has also been a move towards more traditional values like marriage and the women’s role. Shows like the bachelor, bachelorette and desperate housewives, and newlyweds encourage customary beliefs.

To some its pure entertainment and to others like myself it’s manipulative and a new form of sexism. The media trying to put the women back in the house and out of the work force.  Interestingly enough there are shows like matcher millionaire who not only push for the traditional marriage; but also communicates to views that women are only interested in millionaire. It conveys that women only interested in marrying a man if he wealthy, which is a terrible message to send to our world.


Additionally, shows like the apprentice have sexist tendencies as well. The following article follows the different seasons of apprentice and explores where the show went sexist. It very interesting and I think you should take the time to read it


The media is responsible for both good and bad influences to our world. While a lot of progresses has been made there exist a new form of sexism and racism within today’s media. These issues are not limited to television and are seen in music as well. Take for exaple the music video by Tina Turner ” whats love got to do with it” which protrays black females in animalistic and hypersexual ways.

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Deception within the media

The mainstream media has a number of strategies that work to influence everyday propaganda. Writer Edwards Herman speaks about these very issues in his chapter Word tricks and propaganda. He focuses on the numerous techniques the media uses in their use of language order to misinform and mislead the public. The “language tricks” the media uses often work to deceive innocent civilians, by causing them to believe that the propaganda is factual and comes from a neutral and reliable source. This however is not the case and language is never neutral.  So many variable can effect what is being propagated, for example our selection of what’s being discussed or an emphasis on particular details. Our choice of words is also crucial, according to the article events and organizations can be associated to purr words (positive expressions) and snarl words (negative expressions). Groups linked to positive terminology (although in fact bad) get encouraging and optimistic responses from the public, while groups linked to terminology such as terrorist and extremist induce feelings of anger or rejection. Our society is so conditioned to respond to these terms that we often do so without any thought or consideration.

My personal favorite language manipulation is removing agency because I am certain that many of you, like me, get caught up on the shocking tragedy rather then who is to blame. This happens because of the deceiving manner in which the media propagates terrible things, take for example “more then 500,000 Indonesians are estimated to have died in a purge of leftists in 1965, the year Mr. Suharto came to power”. This example distorts the truth, removes agency and at the same time allocates blame.

So what can we do to promote change you may ask? Well the answer lies in Media activism!!!!!!!!! We need to stop being passive viewers and start being skeptical of the media and what it perches. In addition, we need to put things into perspective and keep in mind where are sources are coming from. For example, if you are listening to media coverage in the United States of America keep in mind the biases that may be imposed on you. Furthermore, we as a nation need to be active. If someone or something is being misrepresentative then speak up! It is the nation’s responsibility to tack action and confront whatever media sources is being unfair. A great example of people uniting and taking action is the women’s movement. Although significant strides have been made, things are far from perfect; women still continue to be unrepresented in the workforce and the media. As a woman I feel a personal reasonability to confront these issues on a day to day basis. In other words, being passive is serving others and myself an extreme injustice and not allowing us women to progress and be granted equal privileges. We all need to become more active because at the end of the day, who’s keeping the media in production? US! Therefore media should appeal to our likings and it will, only is we speak up.


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My media project

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