What we'll do today in class:
- Analyze the context of Essay 3
- Focus on Function for Culture approach to analysis
- Look at what questions these essays ask about TV and culture
- Look at what assumptions these essays make about TV and culture
- Discuss "dominant" cultural myths and messages about gender
Connection to course goals: The discussion of Essay 3 again emphasizes the importance of context in the writing process by encouraging students to consider the different audiences and purposes possible for this assignment. Discussing the two essays should touch two of the main goals of CO150 - showing how writing can be used to gain a voice in culture (they chose to write to express their views on advertising) and how important context is to the writing process. They will also be asked to accomplish the latter goal by comparing the contexts of these essays with their own context in essay 3.
- Using their homeworks as a starting point, discuss the context and purpose of this essay. Your goal, here, is to just get them thinking in terms of responding to the context and the different expectations they'll have to meet and choices they'll be able to make.
- What is different about the audience or context for this essay compared to the previous essays?
- Based on the context for this assignment, what different purposes might a writer have in producing this kind of text?
- (NOTE: Even though we saw two possible purposes in the WTL from yesterday - to try and remove a show or to try and defend a show - be prepared for students to possibly still have trouble thinking of reasons they would write this kind of analysis. If that happens, here are some questions and examples to assist you:
- Why would anyone want to know the effect a show may have on them?
- What possible "end results" can you envision for this type of analysis? How might you try to affect the show? How might you try to affect the readers of your essay?
- Might try to have a show removed
- Might try to have a show censored
- Might try to defend a show
- Might try to explain to the readers an effect the show has on them that they're not aware of
- Might try to explain the effect so the readers are more critical of shows they watch
- Might try to explain the effect to persuade reader to watch a show they previously disliked
- Might try to explain the effect to help reader understand better why the like a show
- Might try to explain the effect simply to help the reader better understand culture
Transition: We've now considered some of the expectations we'll have to meet based on the context for Essay 3. Let's now take a look at how cultural analysis plays out in essay form and what purposes and audiences the authors we read for today had in mind.
WTL: Take about 5 minutes to jot down some thoughts on the following prompt to get us started on discussion…What gender myths do these authors feel advertising portrays? What effect do they feel it has on viewers?
Discuss the Lewis and Kilbourne essays.
- (NOTE: Remember to keep in mind the overall role of reading in this unit when preparing for and leading this discussion. We're not using these essays to gauge their ability to decipher main ideas (hopefully they've mastered that after Unit 1). Instead, discussions should focus on trying to introduce students to ways of thinking about the relationship between culture and TV, to questions they'll want to consider in writing the second essay, and toward examples of the type of analysis they'll be doing in Essay 3.)
- PART I: Using their WTL's as a starting point, discuss the two essays first just to get a sense of the argument these authors are making and how the students respond to those claims. Some possible discussion questions:
- What are the gender messages that Kilbourne and Lewis feel are being reinforced by advertisements?
- Do they offer support for these as the dominant gender myths? What type of support do they use for their claims about culture?
- Can you think of examples of ads that fit what Kilbourne is saying? What Lewis is saying? Any examples of ads that challenge what these authors say?
- Do you agree with the claims they're making about gender messages and these ads? Are the messages (dominant myths) they mention accurate? Do they provide any evidence for the myths they mention?
- Are there other myths that you think are present? Any examples of other dominant myths that challenge what they're saying?
- Are there any places where you feel Kilbourne or Lewis goes too far?
- They all seem to identify negative messages from the media. Is this fair? Are all of the messages described by these authors inherently and entirely bad? Can you think of any other examples of messages we may get from television that are positive?
- PART II: Now that we've agreed on their main claims and had a chance to respond to those claims, let's take a look more at how these authors think about culture and the media.
- What types of assumptions do these authors make about the relationship between TV and culture?
- Do these ads reflect our current culture or create our current culture? Can it be both at the same time?
- What effect do these ads have on viewers in each author's opinion? Are viewers necessarily conscious of these effects?
- What reasons do the authors provide for these portrayals of gender? Why does our culture like/need these images?
- (NOTE: If students are struggling here, or perhaps just as another way to help them understand the relationship these authors are analyzing, ask them to draw a picture of the relationship between Television/Advertising, the audience/viewers, and culture)
- PART III: Okay, we've seen their main arguments and flushed out the relationship these authors describe between culture, media, and the viewer, let's now consider why they wrote their essays.
- What is each author's purpose? What are they trying to accomplish or do with their essay?
- What, in your opinion, do these authors want their readers to do or think after reading their essays?
- PART IV: These essays are taking a similar approach to what you're being asked to do in Essay 3. Let's take a minute to compare their contexts with our own before we move on to actually practicing cultural analysis.
- How are these essays compare with the context we have in Essay 3?
- What is similar about what they do? What parts of their essays seem to fit with our assignment?
- Where do the contexts seem to differ? What do these authors do that might not fit with our assignment?
- Do they "prove" the dominant myth or anxiety exists? How might you prove a myth or anxiety for your essays? What types of evidence would be needed?
This whole discussion should take between 30-35 minutes.
Reserve Reading, Katz, "Advertising and the Construction of Violent White Masculinity", 458-466
(NOTE: The Katz essay is included in the appendix, and can be placed on reserve at the library. Copying the essay for the whole class would violate copyright laws.)
A one-page summary of the gender myths Katz is concerned with and a comparison of those myths and Katz's argument to the two we discussed today.