MEDIA LITERACY EDUCATION, GENDER, AND MEDIA REPRESENTATIONS IN THE HIGH SCHOOL CLASSROOM
Committee memberShaw, Adrienne, 1983-
Duffy, Brooke Erin
DepartmentMedia & Communication
Media Literacy Education
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/3427
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AbstractThe media impact how people perform their gender, and play an important role in the reproduction of gender binary. Media representations of gender can be described as hegemonic in the sense that, because of their complexity, they contribute to the reproduction of gender norms by otherwise agentic audiences. Media literacy education offers useful strategies for helping audiences question media representations of gender, allowing them to trouble the hegemonic system that keeps inequalities in place. This dissertation answers the question: How do high school students respond to the instruction in a media literacy program informed by gender studies and scholarship on media representations? To answer this question, I used ethnographic methods and the case study approach. My main findings are: (1) Classes that involve analysis of media representations of gender have an agenda-setting effect on students, helping them notice problematic media messages and connect them to social problems and inequalities. (2) Media and gender classes can encourage students to engage in social action, even without the teacher’s prompting. (3) Media and gender classes are not part of a standard curriculum, and teachers choose to include them because they are passionate about gender inequalities. This is why these teachers might lean towards the protectionist approach. (4) Students might embrace teachers’ message about the value of gender equality and diversity, but keep their implicit biases unchecked. Teachers should think of ways to address these biases in the classroom. (5) In order to help students acquire a balanced set of media literacy skills, it is important to work on all competencies of the AACRA model of media literacy education: Access, Analyze, Create, Reflect, and Act.
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