WSS 281: WOMEN AND THE MEDIA

Media Images

Cropped from "Media Images" by © Leslie C. Sotomayor 2009, featured in the 2009 issue of transcending silence

Course Requirements | Grades and Expectations | Schedule | Print Version

Fall 2011
Class Number: 9815
Tuesdays & Thursdays
4:15-5:35 pm
Humanities 24

Instructor: Dr. Janell Hobson
Office: Social Science 355
Office Hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2:30-4:00 pm, & by appointment
Email: [email protected]

COURSE DESCRIPTION
This course explores women's representations in mass media and what they tell us about gender and its impact on the roles women and men are expected to hold in society. We will also examine how gender changes meaning in these representations due to race, class, sexuality, nationality, and other social factors. These issues will be explored through engagement with both local and global media, as well as historic and contemporary examples, in order to fully understand why women (or at least the signs of womanhood) have become so central in selling everything from sex to politics.

COURSE LEARNING GOALS
During the course of the semester, students will learn to:

  1. Analyze different forms of media and how they help to shape images and attitudes about women.
  2. Compare and contrast diverse representations of women and men as they relate to sexual, racial, class, national, and physical differences.
  3. Produce their own media and analyses in ways that represent diverse women and men in more complex ways than what already exists in commercial media.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS

Required Equipment:

This class will use i-Clickers, which is available for purchase at the University Bookstore and must be registered at http://www.iclicker.com. Clickers will be used for regular class participation, pop quizzes, and poll-taking.

Assigned Readings:

Ms. Magazine Digital Classroom (you may subscribe online). Available: http://www.msmagazine.com/msintheclassroom

Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. (Available at Mary Jane Books and University Bookstore).

Additional readings are available on Blackboard 9.1 and in a Course Packet (abbreviated in the course schedule as CP), which can be purchased at Mary Jane Books, located on the corner of Western Ave. and Quail St.

Assignments:

Pop Quizzes: Occasionally, you will take quizzes in class, through the use of Clickers, based on reading and video assignments. Because these quizzes will be unannounced, you must always anticipate a “pop” quiz, so be prepared by doing reading assignments ahead of class time and by showing up to class on time. Your two lowest quiz grades will be dropped from your final grade.

Media Watch Blogs: You will have an opportunity to sign up on Blackboard for a Media Watch team, which will provide weekly blog postings (200-300 words in length) on women in current media. You will have a choice to sign up for Advertising, News, TV, Film, Music, Art, or Youth Media. Team members will take turns blogging weekly as you work to keep the class updated on current media.

Comparative Review: While Ms. Magazine is one of our required texts this semester, you will also be encouraged to regularly read another “women's magazine” and later develop a comparative review between this magazine and Ms. Your review may take the form of an essay (2-4 pages, typed and double-spaced), a 5-10-minute video (to be uploaded on You Tube), or a 5-10-minute audio podcast (to be uploaded on i-tunes). You will need to submit a 250-word proposal for this review on Blackboard by Tuesday, October 18, midnight. The comparative review is due on Tuesday, November 22 (submit essays in class; provide video/audio links on Blackboard by 4:00 PM EST).

Final Exam: The final exam will cover materials studied in the semester and include short-answer questions, true/false questions, image analyses, and a short essay. Some of these questions you will help to formulate and post on Blackboard. It is scheduled for Monday, December 12, 10:30am-12:30pm.

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HOW GRADES ARE DETERMINED

ASSIGNMENTS

POINTS

DUE DATE

Pop Quizzes

20

Unannounced

Media Watch Blogs

30

Weekly on Blackboard

Comparative Review

20

October 18 (The Proposal)
November 22 (The Review)

Final Exam

30

December 12, 10:30am-12:30pm

GRADING SCALE
A = 100-93 points | A- = 92-90 points | B+ = 89-87 points | B = 86-83 points | B- = 82-80 points
C+ = 79-77 points | C = 76-73 points | C- = 72-70 points | D = 69-65 points | E = Below 65 points

COURSE FORMAT AND EXPECTATIONS
Class sessions will be structured around discussions, lectures, and occasional class exercises. You are expected to come to class regularly and to contribute to discussions. You will also be expected to bring your Clickers to each class session, along with reading materials the day that we discuss them. Due to the contents of this course, sensitivity and respect for all are a must. Please turn off cell phones (or keep on vibrator alert in cases of “emergency” calls) before class begins. Texting and Internet surfing on personal laptops are considered disrespectful use of class time and will result in reduced points from your final grade if they become regular occurrences.

Late assignments will result in a 5-point reduction for each day late. After two days late, you will receive a “0” for that assignment. Plagiarism and cheating are university offenses and will result in failing grades.

TO AVOID PLAGIARISM
Understand what it means: plagiarism results when someone uses the ideas or writings of another and presents these ideas or writings as her or his own. When citing sources, it is best to present ideas using your own original words. When quoting directly from sources, it is best to use direct quotes only if the phrasing is apt and powerfully stated; be sure to include proper citation. However, it is best to explain the information completely in your own words while providing proper citation.

TO AVOID COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT
You will need to familiarize yourself with copyright policies on “fair use” of others' creative works. Copyright “fair use” allows you to reproduce copyrighted work if your use of such work is “transformative” of the original or contains a small portion of it. Visit: http://fairuse.stanford.edu

ATTENDANCE POLICY
You are allowed three unexcused absences, but once you miss more than three classes, you will receive a 5-point deduction for each additional absence. In these cases, exceptions will be made only for emergencies and illnesses, with proper documentation provided. Please choose your absences wisely since pop quizzes are unannounced. There will be no make-up quizzes, nor will you receive extra time to complete them if you show up late; please remember that the quizzes are conducted through Clickers.

EXTRA CREDIT
Free tutorials on various media productions (Dreamweaver, Windows Movie Maker, iMovie, Photo Shop, Audacity, etc.) are offered at the Interactive Media Center , located in the basement of the main library, which you can sign up for individually. You may also request a special tutorial meeting if you are able to assemble a group. In keeping with the course learning goal of producing your own media, you are encouraged to learn new media production skills. You stand to gain 2 points extra credit on your final grade for each tutorial that you attend. Visit: http://library.albany.edu/imc

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COURSE SCHEDULE

INTRODUCTION: WOMEN IN MEDIA

Aug. 30
Course Overview.

Sept. 1
Introduction: Everyday Media Group Share.
SCREEN ON BLACKBOARD: Killing Us Softly (Jean Kilbourne, 2010).

Sept. 6
SCREEN: “Miss America,” from American Experience.
BLACKBOARD: “No More Miss America!

Sept. 8
Video Screening continued.
CP: Perlmutter, “Miss America : Whose Ideal?”

UNIT ONE: WHOSE BODY IS THIS?

Sept. 13
CP: Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”; hooks, “The Oppositional Gaze.”

Sept. 15
CP: Shohat, “Gender and Culture of Empire.”
SCREEN: Hollywood Harems (Tania Kamal-Eldin, 1999).

Sept. 20
CP: Pinho, “White but Not Quite: Tones and Overtones of Whiteness in Brazil.”
BLACKBOARD: Williams, “Blonde Beauties and Black Booties.”

Sept. 22
CP: Jones, “The Hair Trade.”

Sept. 27
CP: Zane, “Reflections on a Yellow Eye”; Jervis, “My Jewish Nose.”

Sept. 29
holiday – no class.

Oct. 4
The Bluest Eye
(Autumn-Spring).

Oct. 6
The Bluest Eye (Summer).
CP: Wall, “On Dolls, Presidents, and Little Black Dolls.”

UNIT TWO: DIFFERENCE BODIES, DIFFERENT REPRESENTATIONS

Oct. 11
CP: Thomson, “Integrating Disability, Transforming Feminist Theory.”
SCREEN: The Body Beautiful (Ngozi Onwurah, 1991).

Oct. 13
BLACKBOARD: Herndon, "Disparate but Disabled: Fat Embodiment and Disability Studies."

Oct. 18
SCREEN: The Celluloid Closet (Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, 1995).
Due: Proposal for Comparative Review.

Oct. 20
Film continued.
CP: Russo, “Who's a Sissy?”

Oct. 25
SCREEN: Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes (Byron Hurt, 2006).

Oct. 27
BLACKBOARD: Stoltenberg, "Sexual Objectification and Male Supremacy"; Hemphill, "Conditions XXI"; Ross, "The Gangsta and the Diva."

UNIT THREE: THE POLITICS OF REPRESENTATION

Nov. 1
CP: Caputi, “Crises in Representation: Hate Messages in Campaign 2008 Commercial Paraphernalia.”

Nov. 3
SCREEN: In Whose Honor? (Jay Rosenstein, 1997).

Nov. 8
CP: Najumdar, “The Embodied Voice: Stardom and Popular Music in Hindi Cinema.”

Nov. 10
SCREEN: Carmen Miranda: Bananas is My Business (Helena Solberg, 1995).

Nov. 15
Film continued.
CP: Enloe, “Carmen Miranda on My Mind: International Politics of the Banana.”

Nov. 17
Ms. Magazine essay (anniversary issue): Steinem, “Sex, Lies, and Advertising.”

Nov. 22
Ms. Magazine vs. Women's Magazines Discussion.
Due: Comparative Review.

Nov. 24
holiday – no class.

CONCLUSION: LOCALIZING WOMEN, GLOBALIZING MEDIA

Nov. 29
BLACKBOARD: Garcia, “Sexing Violence in Mexico.”
SCREEN: Performing the Border (Ursula Biemann, 1999).

Dec. 1
BLACKBOARD: Miller, “Who Runs the World? On Beyoncé, Sampling, Race, and Power.”

Dec. 6
Course Review.

THE FINAL EXAM IS SCHEDULED FOR MONDAY, DECEMBER 12, 10:30am-12:30pm.

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