Today was our last class! I think what I will mostly take away from this class is to be aware of the media messages that are being sent to me personally and the messages that I will be sending to my students. I want to try to avoid subliminally sending negative messages to my students, and try to have them look above stereotypes in the world. I think it is important to teach students how to interpret media and have them look into what is really being said.
Everyone knows the stereotypes that exist in our society, but we try to avoid these first instinct thoughts that pop into our heads. And I feel as time has gone on, society as a whole has become a lot better at repressing these stereotypes by having patience and taking the time to get to know people before making judgement. This could just be my opinion and where I live (Portland), but I do feel like we have come a long way since the basic stereotypes. For example, the media does not depict women as staying home and taking care of the kids anymore. Women are seen as powerful beings who can make more money than a man in the workplace. However, there still is that thought in the back of peoples’ minds that girls should at least be pretty. When we watched the What Would You Do clip of the white guy, black guy, and pretty girl stealing a bike, it was very clear that people still act upon stereotypes. I personally felt uncomfortable when watching the clip because I personally had never seen this come out of people until I was in an interracial couple.
It was interesting to me to see what has been published on the front page of newspapers from around the world. Even though they were all from the same time, there were no front pages that looked the same. I saw some very provocative photos on the front of a couple Caribbean newspapers that you would probably only see in US magazines, and even then it probably would not be on the cover. I also noticed that a lot of the pages were centered around local news as opposed to national or world wide. I think this is because it is more interesting and relevant to the readers buying the newspapers. For example papers in the Midwestern states focused on the floods that have been occurring recently.
The switch to empowering commercials is very controversial. It is good that people are taking notice that girls have been seen as lower or prissier and need to make themselves pretty for men. However, at the same time the companies promoting these ads are the ones selling beauty products to these girls/women. One review compared these ads to the car commercial ads that promote a green and clean environment, but then are still trying to sell you their cars that pollute the environment. Another example is the Pantene commercial below that encourages girls to be stronger and to not always say sorry. Yes, this commercial did make me realize how often I say sorry without realizing it, but I still feel as though since it is a hair product commercial that I should not take it too seriously because they are just trying to sell me something.
There are many different types of advertisements in the world. Types include:
Bandwagon~ argue that a person should buy or think a certain way because everyone else does
bait and switch~ dishonest tactic in which a salesperson lures customers into a store with the promise of a bargain
celebrity spokesperson~using a celebrity or famous person to promote a product
emotional appeals~manipulate viewers to feel specific emotions to sell products
glittering generalities~emphasize high valued beliefs
humor~make the viewers laugh while providing information about the product
individuality~appeals to the consumer’s desire to be different from the other consumers
loaded language~use words with positive or negative connotations to describe a product
name-calling~attacks people or groups to discredit their ideas
plain folk~uses ordinary people to help the consumer relate
product comparison~attacks competitors’ products
It is very common for advertisers to combine these different techniques to make even more effective ads. Here are a couple of examples I have found while watching TV or reading magazines:
Celebrity Spokesperson and glittering generalities
Another aspect of advertising we discussed was how food in pictures are altered to appear more appetizing than what the real food looks like when you order it. In class we decorated our own salads. We used Pam to make the lettuce look fresh and napkins to make the salad look fluffed up. The following clip is from the Food Network Challenge show that I watched where food stylists compete in creating the most attractive food dishes:
Today we analyzed how photographers use lighting, angles, hair, looking direction, body language, cropping, background, color, and lots of other things to get their message across to the reader/viewer. They use these tools to have the reader interpret the image in a certain way. For example in the picture below of Angelina Jolie: She is supposed to be portrayed as beautiful. I know this because her hair looks soft and light, the lighting make her features look soft as well, she is wearing white to give the image of purity, her diamond earrings tell us that she is classy, the picture is zoomed in to only display her shoulders and head so the reader can see close up how beautiful she is, the background is a soft blue color so there is not a strong contrast, and her makeup is very lite so that it seems as though she is so beautiful that she does not need make up. Every photographer goes through this process when creating an image.
Sound editing plays a large part in how a viewer connects or feels about a video or commercial. People use sound in movies to understand the emotion that is being portrayed in the visual. I think the most interesting part of the movie making process is when people use random objects and techniques to make sound effects. The people who do this for a living use the most random objects in order to make a certain sound they want. Students could learn from this because it teaches them that they cannot always believe what they hear. It would be fun to create an activity in which half of the students wear blindfolds while the other half chooses items from either around the classroom or from a selection that they teacher would provide, and the students wearing the blindfolds try to identify the object. Students will be working on their sensory skills and learning about movie production while also having fun.
Worldmapper.org is a website that shows how maps are distorted to show different populations from around the world. It shows a wide range of different categories from the amount of people who have died from malaria to the amount of clothing exported from each country. The website shows this by shrinking countries with smaller amounts and expanding countries with higher numbers. This could be a very useful tool in the classroom because it would help students see the extreme difference of populations when dealing with different subjects. You could use it throughout the year with different subjects ranging from social studies to math to science. It is a really effective website because it makes you see the size difference as opposed to just comparing data.
Another thing we looked at was how headings use words and phrases that may have nothing to do with the actual article in order to grab the attention of the readers. It was interesting to see the misleading titles and then read the actual article to try to figure out why the title was chosen. This is an important skill to teach in your classroom because it shows students that you cannot use an article based on the heading when looking for supporting research. Students often use irrelevant articles because the headings make them believe the article is about a certain idea when it could discuss something completely different. For example in class we looked at the heading “Texting Officially Disastrous to Relationships Says Study”, this leads the readers to believe that there is supporting research and data that proves this theory. When in actuality the article does not say that texting is disastrous, but that these new technologies can cause issues. It is not “officially disastrous”.
While in class today, we went through two different newspapers in order to see which articles we (as groups) thought were more important than other articles. It was interesting to see how the different groups analyzed the articles to judge which ones should be on which pages. Some people thought about the community that would be reading the articles, while other groups thought about what they would want to read in the newspaper. It made me realize how difficult it would be to be an editor to choose the layout or a reporter to go through the decision of writing an article that may not by ethically right. Reporters are faced with the challenge of deciding whether or not an article is ethically right to write about and publish within their community. They sometimes fight the battle of whether they should publish a piece that could ruin someone’s life or not report the news that the public deserves to know. An activity such as this one could be used in a classroom with older students to help them see the decision making process that goes in to the news articles they read everyday. Students could then write their own articles for a writing assignment where they could judge if they are writing an ethically right piece.
“If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed” Benjamin Franklin (1730)
This was the second quote our group had that we decided not to share with the class. I believe that his statement is very true. It seems as though that with any article or story there will be someone with an opposing point of view. It is important for students to understand this because almost everything they will read or write may have someone who has a different point of view and does not want them to publish their work. For an activity with older students, you could do the same sort of activity that we did with the different situations and deciding whether or not they should be published based on ethical reasons. It would be difficult to do this in an elementary school setting because the students may not understand the concept of being ethical.