What we'll do today in class:
- 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
- Apply what they've learned about cultural analysis to visual essays
Connection to course goals: Discussing Katz should again touch on two of the main goals of CO150 - showing how writing can be used to gain a voice in culture (he 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 context of this essay with their own context in essay 3. The analysis of the visual essays asks students to begin practicing and applying the analysis skills they'll need to effectively meet the context for Essay 3.
- Discuss the Katz essay.
- Your goal here is to discuss the same 4 parts of Katz as you did for Kilbourne and Lewis on Wednesday.
- You can use many of the same questions from Day 19, and since students should be more familiar with these issues and will have a homework assignment you can run this as a large group discussion.
- If this discussion is running long, skip Part IV of the discussion - the comparison of Katz's context to the context for Essay 3.
Transition: We've now seen a few examples of what people do with cultural analysis and why. Now let's move more toward preparing for our assignment specifically by practicing cultural analysis of media texts through the Function for Culture approach, as well as moving toward thinking about the function these texts might serve for a viewer (option 2 for Essay 3). This activity will be similar to what you'll eventually be doing with your TV show.
- WTL: Look at the visual essays "It's a Woman Thing" and "Pumped Up." What are the obvious messages you see about gender in these ads? What dominant cultural myths do you think are reinforced or challenged in the images?
- Large group discussion of the visual essays focusing on Function for Culture.
- Your goals in this discussion are to check their understanding of Function for Culture analysis and see if they can effectively apply it to the images. You also want to start trying to get students to move beyond obvious messages and complicate their analyses by looking for more "hidden" messages.
- As they explain their analysis, try to make sure students are already using textual examples to support their analyses. That is, make sure they point to the images in the ads and explain specifically how they actually do what they're claiming they do.
- (NOTE: It might be useful to focus on one or two of the images to find the more "hidden" messages, rather than spending a lot of time on trying to analyze them all. There are examples from a few of the images below that could serve as a focus)
- Discussion questions:
- (From their WTLs)What are the most obvious messages these images put forth about gender? What gender messages would anyone who picked up this image be able to see rather easily?
- Next let's think about whether these messages are dominant cultural myths. Can you think of any other "cultural texts" (TV shows, movies, ads, songs, etc.) that put forth these messages?
- Let's try to find more hidden or subtle meanings that might elude the causal viewer. Are there other messages about gender? Are there messages about dominant myths other than gender? Do the ads reinforce or challenge dominant myths? How might some of these images be both reinforcing and challenging dominant myths? Does an ad appear to challenge a myth, but actually reinforce it?
***(NOTE: This is the more difficult part of the activity, so be prepared to help them get beyond the obvious messages. Some examples of more "hidden" messages:
- The "Feel it" ad is for Haagen-Dazs. While it obviously portrays a dominant message about how woman should look (skinny and sexy) and act (sensual), it is also an ad for ice cream, which seems to challenge the notion of how woman should look because it's not exactly a health food.
- The bottom ad on page 239 shows the type of muscles that are inherent in the "violent male" myth Katz talks about. However, this image could also be seen as showing the male in a submissive position to the woman.
Transition: We've looked at how you might analyze these essays through the Function for Culture lens. Now let's consider how you might analyze them from the Function for Viewer perspective.
Large group discussion of visual essays focusing on Function for Viewer.
Another goal here is to introduce them to Function with Viewer, which we haven't really worked with at all.
Also, be sure to emphasize that with this approach we look first for the existence of a cultural anxiety.
(NOTE: you might quickly refresh their memories about what a Function for Viewer analysis tries to do by having them refer back to the assignment sheet and/or drawing the picture of the Function for Viewer relationship -- Culture --> Viewer --> TV -- on the board.)
- What are some obvious current anxieties about gender that people might hold? What might people be anxious about in terms of gender expectations? Gender roles? Can you think of any actual events which involve gender that people might be anxious about?
- Why might these images be appealing to a viewer in terms of those anxieties? In what way might these ads reassure a viewer's anxiety about some aspect of culture?
- What are some less obvious anxieties about gender that might currently exist? You might think of certain places (family, work, sexuality) where gender has become more complex or has perhaps been "confused" for some reason.
- How do you see the images dealing with these less obvious anxieties?
- Emphasize that close reading and attention to details will be crucial for a successful analysis.
- Remember to also emphasize that one of the main goals of this activity was to start pushing students to look beyond the more obvious messages in culture, something they'll have to do for their essay.
Exercise in determining an audience for their essays.
- Let's quickly go back and think about who Katz was thinking of in terms of an audience.
- Use the introductory information and clues from the text to figure out what type of audience Katz was writing to.
- How do you decide who, specifically, to write to? Generate a list of questions that could help someone narrow their audience for their essay.
- Who would most likely care about my analysis?
- Who needs to know about my analysis?
- Practice narrowing audience by considering who someone might write to if they were analyzing one of the visual essays.
- Who would care about these messages?
RC: "The Case of Daytime Talk TV", p. 5-12