Tati's talking . . .

blog for Jour 4250 (Race, Gender, and the Media) --- just a few thoughts on things we discuss in the classs

Friday, June 02, 2006

final project

Corpus: My corpus of media texts is 16 music videos from both BET and MTV. The videos are all from either the r&b or hip-hop genre.

Review of Literature: Most studies done on music videos suggest that most videos are either highly sexual or high in violent content. The studies also reflect a negative impact on youth who are the prime watchers of said images. Music videos have a repuation of objectifying women and over-sexualizing all acts within the image. A previous study ( R. L. Baxter, C. De Riemer, A. Landini, L. Leslie, and M. W. Singletary, 1985) sampled 62 music videos and categorized them by majority of content. This analysis had 23 content categories. This study showed 59% of videos to involve sexual things, 56% involving dance, and 53% involving violence and/or crime.

http://gas.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/16/1/115

http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&se=gglsc&d=5001527353

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/101/4/669

What's happening on Music Television? A gender role content analysis
Rita Sommers-Flanagan. John Sommers-Flanagan and Britta Davis
School of Education, Department of Counselor Education, University of Montana, 59812 Missoula, MT; University of Portland, USA

Research Questions: The following are my research questions.
Do most videos contain explicit content?
In most music videos are women objectified or seen as only sexual objects?
Are there videos that show women in a different light?
What are the focus of other types of videos that are not over-sexualized?
What is another strong theme in today’s music videos?

Methodology: My methodology included watching two hours of videos on both BET and MTV and then categorizing them based on the main themes shown throughout the video. I chose to focus only on hip-hop and r&b videos. As stated before the research comprises 16 videos. I did a content analysis on the videos are placed them into either one of five categories.

The following are the five categories:
Sexually explicit ---- strong sexualization of females
Dance/Performance, Party/Club
Acting out a Scenario
Showcasing Cars, Jewelry, Belongings, etc.
Other.

I watched each of the videos and detailed the actions within it. Then I categorized each of the music videos.

Findings: I found that of the 16 videos watched only 2 contained sexually explicit scenes and focused solely on the females in the video as sexual objects. In these videos the camera angles were used to give us the best view of the women’s chests and rears. There was also some face-ism in these videos as their bodies were seemingly more important. Three of the sixteen videos mainly showcased cars, jewelry, and other belongings. A heavy theme in urban music videos is to focus on the rims of a car, which was seen in this analysis. It is also a popular trend to focus on diamond chains and necklaces, earrings, rings, teeth, etc which was also seen in the analysis. Four of the sixteen videos simply acted out the lyrics heard within the songs without using strong sexual themes. Seven of the videos were categorized as dance/performance, party/club. The focus of these videos was either on a specific dance move, the artist performing his/her dance routine, or on a party scene with a crowd of people dancing. Surprisingly the videos with party scenes were not objectifying to women and did not focus on them as sexual beings. No videos were categorized as ‘other’.

Discussion/Conclusion:
According to my research, not all or even most of hip-hop/r&b videos contain strong sexual themes. Most videos’ emphasis is on dancing, performing, or being ‘flashy’. Hopefully better suited to its teenage audience dancing and performance videos exceed sexually explicit videos that primarily focus on women‘s body parts. The study's results indicate, that sexually oriented, suggestive behavior is portrayed frequently in music videos, but videos focused on dance and party themes are more prevalent. There are music videos that show women in a positive light and as an equal member of society. This research reveals another possible problem in music videos that may be more prevalent than oversexualization - which is the exaggerated focus on acquiring things such as millions of dollars, extremely expensive cars, shiny rims, massive amounts of jewelry, and other things that go along with the sometime faux lifestyles portrayed in music videos. Questions regarding the impact of this portrayal on adolescent socialization and peer relationships, can be raised for further study. Futher study can also be done on the frequency of instances of violence and crime content in music videos.

Bamboozled

Wow!!!! I don't know what to say about this movie. I'm still in shock. While watching the movie I wondered to myself could something like this ever happen today in 'real life'. I know that this movie was based on satire, but my mind still wondered. I still don't believe (well, at least I hope) that it never could. I hope that the general public would never accept and allow such racist and politically incorrect public movements.
Another part of the movie that stood out to me was how Pierre started to become more accepting of this show he had created for the opposite reaction of what he had received. But, I believe that to be a prevalent problem in our culture - acceptance. Not just involving race relations, but we have come to be more accepting of a lot of the "dirt" in the media. Things such as oversexualization of women, extreme uses of violence, etc are all just being accepted, as if its all ok.
Is it all going to someday backfire on us like it did in this film?

conclusion

I'm not really a big movie-watcher, but I know that after taking this class I can never watch another movie again without thinking objectively about it. I used to watch Disney movies and sing along w/the characters and enjoy the animation - now I will be looking for the word 'Sex' written in the clouds above Simba or the preacher guy in Beauty in the Best becoming erect. lol. But seriously, this class has taken my thought process, involving media, to a much higher level. Most of the things that I viewed in mass media prior to this class were just taken by me as a fact and that this is just the way things are. Now I have the ability to see the faults in mass media and see the effects that its having on our culture. :-)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

"its a stage for the worst within us" article

This article brought up an issue that's been in the back of mind since the events of Katrina. I'm a Christian, but in the aftermath of the events I can't believe that some Christians would just explain the disaster as God's way of canceling a gay festival. Even if this is someone's opinion is it okay to say something like that during a time of tragedy? I really feel like thoughts and sermons like that throughout that time were totally inappropriate.

women in sports

Thinking back to my senior year of high school I remember thinking Lisa Guerrerro was so cool. She was the "hot chick" sportscaster who appeared on 'The Best Damn Sports Show, Period'. I wanted to be my own version of her! Then I had to do a career project in some mundane required course and of course I wanted to research women in sports and find out all about Lisa. Well . . . that was the very last time that I was so impressed with her. After doing my research I found that she had not graduated from college, had not studied broadcast journalism, and well, hardly knew sports, period. I was so disappointed to find out that she had gained her status from being a cheerleader. Of course, I had already liked her because I thought she was "cool and pretty" (yeah this was high school) but I had expected her to be educated as well. :-( And now she has become even more popular, becoming a 'Monday Night Football' reporter. To find this out makes me feel kind of sad, because realistically no matter how many degrees I obtain or how many years I study I probably would never reach her level of success in sportscasting, which she has seemingly obtained merely because of her "hotness". ::Sigh::

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

content analysis

My favorite research method that I've learned in this class is definitely the content analysis. I just think that its such a clean-cut approach to analyzing things. I did a content analyis in my Jour 3200 class but I have to admit I had no clue as to what I was doing and walked away from the class still having no idea what it was. Now I love content analyses, and its a part of my everyday vocabulary. Yeah, I know its strange. ;-)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Mag Addict

Hi, my name is Tatiana and I am a magazine addict. After taking Jour 4250 I will probably never look at magazines in the same way again. Looking at my stacks and stacks of Cosmo, Seventeen, Teen People, Cosmo Girl, etc I almost feel embarrassed to have been embracing something that I now see has been detrimental to society, myself included. I definitely can't say that I completely hate magazines now, but 'Race, Gender, and the Media' has allowed me to see some of the effects they have had on my life. For starters, I began receiving my subscription to Seventeen at 11 years of age when i was in 7th grade - a time when a lot of girls self-esteems are already at its all-time low. I know that it didn't have any positive effects on mine as well. Now when I look at Cosmo, Teen, etc. I notice things that I never have before that are so utterly ridiculous to me. Last night while thumbing through some past editions, on the cover of Allure magazine i read, "Fast Ways to Slim Down and De-puff". Yes, de-puff. And inside of the magazine along with the articles were pictures of a very slim supermodel "trying" to fit into her jeans. ummm . . . something about that just didn't sit right with me.

shadow study

A sample of a mini-study
“General themes of a teen magazine - beauty, fashion, and sex”


Two-sentence summary of findings:The majority of editorial copy in Seventeen magazine is that of beauty, fashion, cooking, and decorating subjects. The suggestions that these are the main concerns of a teenage girl is apparent.

Summary of the previous study: The previous study by Department of Journalism, Southwest Texas State University, 78666 San Marcos, TX (November 1990, Sex Roles) reveals that sixty percent of the editorial copy for each issue for the years 1961, 1972, and 1985 dealt with beauty, fashion, cooking, and decorating. The feminist movement of the late 1960s may have influenced editorial content somewhat: the amount of coverage in the category male-female relations, representing traditional socialization, decreased in 1972, while coverage in the category self-development, representing more feminist messages, increased. In 1985, however, the percentages returned to their 1961 figures, suggesting that the effect was not permanent.

Its most important foundation literature and how it relates to your own project:There was no foundation literature found for this article, but since has been referenced by six newer articles such as Peixoto Labre, Magdala (2003) Friendly Advice? Beauty Messages in Web Sites of Teen Magazines. Mass Communication & Society 6(4) and Peirce, Kate (1993) Socialization of teenage girls through teen-magazine fiction: The making of a new woman or an old lady?. Sex Roles 29(1-2).

Corpus and method:My corpus comprises all pages of editorial copy, appearing in the October 2005 and June 2006 issues of Seventeen. The method is quantitative content analysis, in which the copy was coded by type as either beauty, fashion, cooking, decorations, sex/relationship, celebrity stories, and other.

Findings:In the two Seventeen magazines used for the study there were 50 stories/articles. 15 were considered beauty; 11 fashion; 2 cooking; and 1 decorations. These subjects are discussed in a total of 58% of the magazine’s copy. The 2% difference between this study and the previous can be accounted for by 9 articles on sex and relationships. Sex seems to be one of the top themes throughout the magazine, much more so than cooking and decorations are. Most of the copy is dedicated to beauty, fashion, and sex/relationships. In 2005 and 2006 cooking and decorations is not a strong theme heavily emphasized in Seventeen.

Conclusions:This mini-study fits much of the prior research on topics in Seventeen magazine, which would lead you to believe that teen girls are concerned mostly with beauty and fashion. However, there was not much mention in the previous study of copy that was sex-related. In today’s Seventeen this is a much stronger theme. A larger study of teen magazines could be attempted to see if this pattern continues in other newer teen magazines such as Teen Vogue, Teen People, Teen, etc. Are the topics more variable in any other teen magazine? Are there any teen magazines that focus primarily on self-development rather than beauty?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

more about Lynch . . .

I found Lynch's speech fascinating because unfortunately I believe that some of his ideas carry on today. Its known that in the Black community skin tone is a big deal. Sometimes lighter-skinned people are seen to be more beautiful or treated better, while darker-skinned are thought to be less attractive and perhaps even loud and ignorant. Of course this is extreme foolishness. It's a big problem in the Black community, in my opinion. Lynch's ideas of making light skinned VS. dark skinned still somewhat prevails today.

William Lynch

Well today in class we talked about lynching, and I overheard another student discussing William Lynch, from whom the term "lynching" derived. I was interested in this so I found out some more details. William Lynch was a White slave owner who repeatedly made speech to Whites giving them tips on what to do with their Black slaves. Here are some excerpts from that speech:

"Gentlemen, you know what your problems are: I do not need to elaborate. I am not here to enumerate your problems, I am here to introduce you to a method of solving them. In my bag here, I have a fool proof method for controlling your Black slaves. I guarantee everyone of you that if installed correctly it will control the slaves for at least 300 hundred years. "

"The Black slave after receiving this indoctrination shall carry on and will become self re-fueling and self generating for hundreds of years, maybe thousands. Don't forget you must pitch the old Black male vs. the young Black male, and the young Black male against the old Black male. You must use the dark skin slaves vs. the light skin slaves and the light skin slaves vs. the dark skin slaves. You must use the female vs. the male, and the male vs. the female. You must also have your white servants and overseers distrust all Blacks, but it is necessary that your slaves trust and depend on us."