Diversity in the Media
****Review the module resources and overview, then select a popular culture example. (It can be a television show, a commercial, a game, a movie, etc.). Analyze the representation and social message that is associated with the example. If you would like, you can select a particular episode of a show.
*****In your initial post, briefly describe the popular culture example you selected and address the following:
What is the composition of the primary characters, and what groups within diversity do they represent?
What is the latent (or unintended) social message or commentary about a particular group to society that is reflected by this example?
What are the social implications of this message? Briefly discuss any potential social impact or response to the example.
*****In response to your peers, provide feedback about the example used and the social message that was provided. Are there other messages being represented?
Make sure you support your response with the readings from this module, and any additional resources if needed.
Review the module resources.
Curating Inequality: The Link Between Cultural Reproduction and Race in the Visual Arts
Race, Gender, Hollywood: Representation in Cultural Production and Digital Media’s Potential for Change
Adolescents and Media: Teenagers Talk About Television and Negative Representation
The articles in this module’s readings represent a small sample of the broader conversations around representation, diversity, and the arts and media. As you read these articles, consider:
What is the impact of a lack of representation of diverse groups? How can these issues be addressed?
Take a look at your own preferred media. In what ways do you see similar or different trends from those described in the readings?
Video: Miss Representation (1:30:30)
This video examines how women are represented in American mainstream media and the cultural norms that influence women’s behaviors and feelings of self-worth.
When an artist creates a work of art, the tendency is to create a product that relates to what they know. The people, places, behaviors, values, and things are all drawn from their own experiences, although perhaps altered depending on the imaginative spin the artist puts on them. The way that people, places, or things are portrayed reflects the artist’s attitudes, and may be fundamentally different from our own.
Because culture and history determine which artists and art are privileged and preserved, they help impact how we see the world around us. For instance, if we can see ourselves reflected in the media we consume, we may assume that everyone has equal portrayal; however, if we do not see ourselves, we may see a lack of diversity. Similarly, our local communities can serve as a filter, perhaps limiting or broadening our access to different kinds of art and media.
In recent years, study after study has taken a critical look at media offerings and to what extent women, people of color, the LGBT community, and people of varied ages and ability are represented. One notable example is the continuing research conducted by the Geena Davis Institute, which shows the disparities in representation. The “About Us” webpage for the Geena Davis Institute indicates that the core of their studies follows three guiding principles:
Children are engaging with media up to 7 hours a day, and consuming massive amounts of unconscious bias in the programming they’re consuming.
Media can greatly influence children’s social and cultural behaviors and beliefs.
Negative stereotypes children see in media can create life-long imprints which can affect their attitudes toward male and female roles in our society as well as career occupations and self-esteem. (2019)
Since the institute’s launch in 2004, change can be noted in film, television, and advertising towards balanced representation. For further reading, including research findings and impact analysis, visit the Geena Davis Institute webpage.
Review the overview of the humanities lens from the Four Lenses document that you reviewed in Module One, and reflect on your favorite artistic or creative artifacts (movies, video games, fandoms, etc.). How do they shape your attitudes toward others? How have your attitudes changed over time as you’ve tried or experienced new things? How does interacting with artistic artifacts from another culture also shift your perspectives?
Geena Davis Institute. (2019). About Us. Retrieved from https://seejane.org/about-us/.
Peer post 1
One show I have been anxiously waiting the third season to premiere on Netflix is 13 Reasons Why. Although it is very controversial, I believe is shows quite a bit of diversity as well as brings up current social issues. The cast in itself is diverse in regards to gender, race, and personalities. It’s not a typical high school show. The cast includes Hannah who is a white teenage girl who commits suicide and tells her story posthumously. Popular cheerleaders and Ivy league sports player who are African American, honor student with changes in sexual orientation and a football sports star who are Asian, Hannah’s confident throughout the show with her tapes she made before she committed suicide is a homosexual Latino named Tony. Then there is Clay who is one of the main characters trying to figure out the 13 reasons why Hannah committed suicide and he is a white male. There are many more characters involved in the show such as other students and teacher, all having mixed races, but it’s more the internal factors that make it an even more diverse cast. Throughout these characters, they represent the changes a high school may face such as sexual orientation, sports choice, drugs, sex, alcohol, and many more differences that make each character their own. The reason why I like this series is that it’s not a stereo typical cast. It involves surprise in seeing which characters have a past history that has defined their actions or an unexpected choice they are making different than others shows may have represented that character.
One of the shows major messages involved is that Hannah Baker commits suicide unexpectedly to friends and family. However, this show has a latent message if one looks more closely that is what bullying can do to someone who you may think is living a great life and you don’t really know what someone is going through by just looking at them. Clay, a main character, believes Hannah lives a perfect life while he is working with her in the movie theater. However, throughout the show and with Clay listening to the 13 tapes, he realizes she was bullied for being a new student, her new friends turned on her, she was being harassed by others, and was eventually sexually assaulted and raped. She never let show to her friends and family, but deep down she was hurt and believed the only way out was to kill herself as no one was reaching out to her to be a friend.
Since this show is watched by many teenagers, it has many social implications. By framing this message of suicide being an answer, it could have other teenagers try to take the same choice. Other implications include the more positive side that hopefully high schoolers will see how detrimental bullying can be to others and to fight back when one sees this happening to others. To make sure to check on friends and expressing any mental health issues or choices someone may need to make is okay to talk about. In the Media Watch article written, the author writes “the ensuing discussion was animated, too difficult to transcribe, but revealed a very serious lack of knowledge about sexual matters. It was disturbing to hear these young people and to realize that they actually wanted programmes which would give them the knowledge which they needed “(Hobson, 2013). This is why I believe this show has gained momentum with adolescents as it brings up many major issues that teenagers want to know more about and it gives them many answers to their questions.
Carra, M. (2019, June 12). The Diversity Of ’13 Reasons Why’ Sets It Apart From Typical High School Series. Retrieved from https://www.bustle.com/p/the-diversity-of-13-reaso…
HOBSON, D. (2013). Adolescents and the Media: Teenagers Talk about Television and Negative Representations. Media Watch, 4(2), 192–208. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.snhu.edu/logi…
Peer post 2
The usual ads depicting women, especially minority women seem to be about stereotyped and conceptualized ideals regarding beauty, cereal, and family. A few days before this assignment had entered my orbit, I saw an ad on T.V. that took me by surprise. A commercial for Dove® skin products has actually knocked down some of the barriers to diversity inclusion. The ad features about 16 different women. The composition of the women varies in skin color, ethnicity, age, body size and sexual orientation and identification (Dove, 2019).
This ad is seeking to redefine, at least the corporate image of, beauty. This ad sends a message that all women can consider themselves beautiful regardless of skin color, imperfect skin color, ethnicity, body size or sexual orientation/identification. There are no latent messages within the ad as it is an overt message challenging conceptions about beauty. This ad depicts a diverse section of women that are often purposely excluded from advertising, especially advertising for ‘beauty’ products (Dove, 2019).
The possible social impact of ads like this could positively affect the self-perceptions of young girls, and all women, by helping them to accept themselves for what they are as opposed to what the media tells them they should look like (Newsom, 2011). I found this ad to be a refreshing challenge to several stereotypes that prevail about women and our looks. The film Miss Representation was a comprehensive examination of media influence and political messaging about women (Newsom, 2011). Scary. The Dove® ad might be one of several new trends in advertising that will depict the beauty of diversity in the human female.
Teenagers and women of color are depicted in this ad although the representation of racial diversity in the media has been historically small (Erhiga, n.d.). This topic is often discussed at awards shows, if and when a person of color receives an industry accolade. The subject may be discussed but changes regarding more diverse representation in Hollywood have been very slow. The lack of women in roles as directors is addressed in the Miss Representation film and in the article by . Stereotypical typecasting is discussed in the film (Newsom, 2011) and in the article by Erigha (n.d.). This limits women to secondary roles and constrains the diversity of viewpoints in film.
Negative perceptions about teenagers that are portrayed in film or T.V. have had a negative effect on perceptions about all kids (Hobson, 2013). How often does it occur that when you see 2 or more teens together, an assumption is made about their potential negative behavior ? Media influence might account for this perception.
Blackwood, A., & Purcell, D. (2014). Curating Inequality: The Link between Cultural Reproduction and Race in the Visual Arts. Sociological Inquiry, (2), 238. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.1111/soin.1203…
Dove Project #Show Us (2019). Shattering beauty stereotypes. Retrieved from
Erigha, M. (n.d.). Race, Gender, Hollywood: Representation in Cultural Production and Digital Media’s Potential for Change. Sociology Compass, 9(1), 78–89. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.1111/soc4.1223…
Hobson, D. (2013). Adolescents and the Media: Teenagers Talk about Television and Negative Representations. Media Watch, 4(2), 192–208. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.snhu.edu/logi…
Newsom, J. (Director). (2011). Miss Representation [Video file]. The Representation Project. Retrieved July 21, 2019 from https://snhu.kanopy.com/welcome/video/miss-represe…
Diversity in Media
The show that I selected for this essay is Black-ish. Black-ish is an American sitcom that premiered in 2014. It was created by Kenya Barris and ran on ABC. The sitcom follows the story of an American upper-middle-class family that is led by Andre Johnson and Rainbow Johnson. The primary characters are black and biracial.