Media As Pedagogy And Socializing Agent

Overview

This study was designed to critique media as a socializing agent and form of pedagogy. It examined how the personal experiences of African American girls (ages 13--16) have been shaped by idealized standards of feminine beauty aesthetics (i.e., body shape, skin complexion, hair texture) promulgated in selected popular media texts (i.e., teen-oriented films and magazines). It also explored how the participants compared, identified or imitated these idealized standards, and the manner in which they decoded media's ...
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Overview

This study was designed to critique media as a socializing agent and form of pedagogy. It examined how the personal experiences of African American girls (ages 13--16) have been shaped by idealized standards of feminine beauty aesthetics (i.e., body shape, skin complexion, hair texture) promulgated in selected popular media texts (i.e., teen-oriented films and magazines). It also explored how the participants compared, identified or imitated these idealized standards, and the manner in which they decoded media's intended messages and thus developed dominant/hegemonic, negotiated or oppositional resistance strategies. This project studied African American adolescent girls because research focusing on them tends to be compartmentalized. For example, a study may focus on the effects that hair or skin complexion have on self-image. Hardly ever are several feminine beauty aesthetics considered at once. Moreover, most research focuses on television; the other forms of media (i.e., teen films and magazines) are largely ignored. Qualitative in nature, the project involved surveys, a descriptive analysis and review of selected teen magazines and films, as well as videotaped focus groups and one-on-one interviews. The DVD, which highlights the four films used for critical analysis in the study, can be found in the UCLA Charles E. Young Research Library. Many of the participants recognized that teen magazines and films were unable to guide them to ways of looking and behaving that are valued in their families and cultural communities. Some viewed the magazines and films as biased and largely irrelevant to their ideas about beauty and the development of their self-image. In contrast, other participants have been greatly influenced by mediated messages, and feel that most young girls are influenced by these subtle, yet pervasive messages, as well. This study has advanced our understanding of selected teen magazines and films and how they convey certain dominant images of beauty, as well as how a select group of African American girls interpret and decode constructed media messages. It problematizes Euro-centric ideas of beauty, while advancing counter-hegemonic notions of Afro-centric beauty aesthetics. This project also shows how some young girls develop resistance strategies to avoid commodifying and appropriating Western culture beauty ideals. It enabled the participants to listen to their own voices and develop a heightened awareness and consciousness about what they see and hear in the popular imagination. The study also highlights the need to encourage the development of media literacy skills in educational and community settings, so that adolescent girls can become more shrewd in their observations and readings of popular culture. I conclude with implications and contributions of this study and offer recommendations for future research.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243561824
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/3/2011
  • Pages: 322
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.67 (d)

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