We did it class! We have finished our first steps to becoming media literate students that can help understand media messages through various mediums. It has been very insightful having a diverse group of students who are active and critically thinking about the media that surrounds us all, everyday. For me personally, I’ve enjoyed hearing different people’s experiences with media and how they interpreted it because we all have different backgrounds, meaning we may interpret things differently, but also can have similar interpretations as well. This assignment has been enjoyable because learning how other classmates dissect their chosen media was very informative. I’ve learned new ways of interpreting media and have added it to my own interpretation so that I may better understand the media as a whole. For this assignment I read Rae Weddington, Kiara Oliver (Olive), and Derrick Edwards blog posts. The comments I made to their blogs are below:
Rae Weddington –
First off Rae, I want to say that your blog post is very well written and concise. I liked how you incorporated bold and colored fonts to separate different arguments and segments. I also liked the media text you chose (even though I barely got through it), because there is so much that you can take from Spring Breakers. The biggest thing I learned from your analysis was how to break down a film using a structuralist approach because personally I felt more comfortable using a semiotic analysis. It was nice to have this example and without the structuralist approach I wouldn’t have thought about Alien being seen as this white savior. Spring Breakers definitely shows white people as eliciting criminal behavior, but black people are seen as the villains going against Alien and portraying this stereotype. I would also like to add that Alien is almost making a mockery of rap artist with his grill, dreads, and body covered in tattoos. Playing on that fact that rappers have to live the life that they rap and need materialistic objects to show it. Something I disagree with, however, is how the film only promotes heterosexual males ideals. In the trailer, women are overtly sexualized and I agree that it is for the titillation of male viewers, but it also says to me that it’s ok for women to explore their sexuality with other women. It is promoting lesbian behavior because this is seen as something that is “hot”, so it’s ok for women to be with other women, but it excludes men who are homosexual. All in all, I like how you used technical codes like the music to demonstrate the messages Spring Breakers gives and using the casting to show how this is the behavior of teenagers once they grow up out of their innocent “Disney” image. You can possibly add more with the music, like including EDM because it is prominent in the film as well, but I think you covered many points from a film that is just overloaded with media messages.
Kiara Oliver (Olive) –
Hey Olive! I have to say; you did a lot with just a short clip less than one minute. I loved Proud Family as a kid and haven’t seen any clips or scenes in years; I have to say this really showed how messages are hidden in even children’s shows that follow us into our adult lives. I had never thought of their clothing and the color of their skin being drastically different being a symbol of “darker=bad”. All the other kids have fairly light skin and thus are shown with more vibrant colored clothing while the Gross Sisters are seen wearing the same dull clothing opposed to the other kids. As a child watching this, I can see a girl how those who wear clothing like the Gross Sisters may feel, as they have to wear vibrant colors so that they may appear as the innocent girls on the show rather than the Gross Sisters. In this short clip of the gross sisters, we see them being greedy and only thinking about themselves. The message continues that those who dress like this and have darker skin are seen as greedy and evil. What I personally took from them speaking Spanish was how they saw it as only a means of stealing money rather than to communicate with people who spoke Spanish. Clearly they knew that none of the students, but LaCienega spoke Spanish and they used it as a way to be intimidating to take their money. As you mentioned with “Papi” in the show, he is seen always doing deviant antics and the fact that he solely speaks Spanish makes people associate Spanish speakers with solely these antics. I loved how you added religion into the discussion and how the Gross Sisters were bringing down Penny because of it. I believe you could have added more, like how she is the only one wearing the scarf around her head and is the only one too poor to pay the Gross Sisters. Associating Islam with being poor. Overall I think you picked a really good clip and you show how these media messages are deeply ingrained in children’s cartoons that we all grew up with.
Derrick Edwards –
How’s it going Derrick. Your posts were very engaging while also being informative. Back when Charlie Sheen was in that show I use to watch the show all the time and the poster that you chose to analyze actually said a lot about the show. The way you dissected each sign into parts was very well done and gives a lot of information about the show without people ever having to see it (which I think they should). I never thought of Two and a Half Men in the way that he did not want his relative living with him because he was a grown adult. It makes sense that way too because of how much he admires Jake over Alan. At first I thought it was solely over his personality, but the show demonstrates Alan as somewhat of a moocher, which reinforces your idea that a relative that is a grown adult living with you is seen as mooching and thus, not encouraged. What I’d like to add is that this also shows men that their home is their domain. I disagree with how you explain Charlie’s arms folded and facial expression because to me it feels as if he is saying “this is my home and I’m king”. In the theme song explicitly it shows how this show is all about Men and often shows women in a bad light. In the poster itself you can see how Charlie is the dominant one in the house and no one can get in without him saying so. I think you could of done a lot with the clip that you had added, however the poster was a nice demonstration of a media text analysis, especially with the breaking down of signs.
This was one of those classes that I looked forward to going to because of how engaging everyone in the class is. As the semester comes to an end I hope everyone continues to have fun and give their experiences with media because after looking through some of my classmates posts, I can see that there are many things I didn’t realize after watching certain material. I know I’m not alone in this and I feel we, as students, can really benefit from talking about one another’s ideas. I really hope classes like these become a staple to the education system, especially in high school and even younger. I think society would benefit greatly from developing people who are media literate so that everyone may be able to understand what media is trying to tell us. How we can empower ourselves by understanding these media messages and fight hegemony so that those that are put down may pull themselves to the same level as everyone. I hope everyone has a good summer.