In the fall of 2015, I enrolled in Race, Gender, and Making Media with Dr. Heather Julien, a senior lecturer in the English department. In this course, we explored how ordinary consumers act as media producers, and analyze how various factors such as gender, race, ethnicity, ability, sexuality and class affect media-making. Because of the digital nature of the course, students were encouraged to publish their media assignments online.
In my visual assignment, I collected and displayed the most common stereotypes I found to be associated with three groups in digital media—Asian women, Caucasian women, and African-American women. I hoped to visually demonstrate how dangerous these stereotypes, by portraying these labels as both limiting and one-dimensional in reducing complex and nuanced individuals into a reflection of their perceived roles in society. The background and bolded words—“individual”—serve as a reminder that it is our social responsibility to challenge these common assumptions and understand that while stereotypes exist for a reason and may apply in certain specific situations, the most fundamental and universal way that we are all connected is the fact that we are all different.
Throughout the course of the semester, students wrote blogs detailing their thoughts and reactions to both our in-class discussions and relevant literature in the wider media studies field. Check out my blog Memos on Media to read more about my thoughts on media, from the role of journalism in addressing stereotypes, to how discussion affects the progression of social movements, to Drag Queen Barbie!
Keyword Script and Video
For my brief keyword script and video, I decided to focus on an aspect of the course that I was particularly interested in–moral panics. In the one minute long educational video below, I define what a moral panic is and give several examples of moral panics in a historical and cultural context.
For my final webtext, I decided to continue exploring the concept of moral panics. Though at first I wanted to discuss moral panics in general, I ultimately decided to focus on one moral panic that I felt was particularly relevant, both personally and in the modern historical and social context–immigration. I go more in-depth in defining moral panics and characteristics of moral panics, then analyze how immigration as a moral panic is portrayed in media and in reality. Check out my final hypertext, Moral Panic! At The Disco.