- Race/Gender/ Media: Considering Diversity across Audiences, Content, and Producers
Race/Gender/Media: Considering Diversity across Audiences, Content, and Producers offers forty-four readings that give students a solid foundation for understanding issues related to gender and race in the media. Rebecca Ann Lind introduces the book with a concise explanation of relevant vocabulary and key concepts. For undergraduate students, this may be an introduction to new concepts that will provide a context for the subsequent readings. For graduate students, the introductory chapter may be a welcomed review of concepts that can sometimes be difficult to grasp. Lind offers a thorough summary of media literacy along with a concrete explanation of its importance. She proposes that producing a media-literate audience is the goal of the readings.
Part I, "Audiences," explores audience reception, use, and interpretation of the media. Bradley Gorham's article lays the foundation for comprehending the psychological implications of stereotypes in the media. A variety of theoretical perspectives are introduced along with relevant examples. Susannah Stern presents a cultivation analysis on beauty. Larry Sterlitz's article discusses global media and local meanings through a case study of an African man. This section offers a cogent explanation of media theory that is valuable for critical analysis of the media.
The most difficult task of the teacher in a women's studies classroom is getting the students to actively engage with the readings. At the end of each reading, in the section entitled "It's Your Turn," the authors offer numerous exercises that help students apply the theories to media texts, thus offering hands-on experience in critical evaluation of race and gender. In addition, these exercises can provide [End Page 256] an outline for class discussions. In these concluding sections, there are enough exercises to engage students with in-class activities as well as written homework assignments. Some of the exercises can be used as traditional tests of knowledge gained from the readings. Exercises that require more time and effort can be worked into group projects to be presented to the class. The exercises not only provide relevant application of the concepts presented in the reading, they also give inspiration for the teacher and the students to create their own assignments and projects.
Part II, "Content," explores race and gender within the context of film, television, and music. This part is divided into sections that can be used to create learning units. Articles by Jean Kilbourne, Susan Eastman, Jaideep Singh, and Thomas Moriarty demonstrate how media socialize the audience to ideas about race and gender as they reinforce stereotypes. Authors Travis Dixon and Tom Grochowski focus on news. Norman Rockler, Katherine Bartnett, Ralph Donald, and Leslie Grinner discuss film. Entertainment television is covered by Joan Conners, Janice Peck, and Erin Mac Donald. One of the timeliest sections contains articles by Nina Huntemann and Cynthia Cooper on new media including video games and the Internet. These chapters are important because students become most engaged when they are discovering innovative ideas about their favorite new media. In Part II, the authors reveal implications for sexist and racist media content. Finally, the authors make suggestions for improving the awareness of negative and unrealistic representations in the media and for producing more empowering and realistic representations of gender and race. The readings and exercises in these learning units help equip the students to become more skilled at their own critical analysis of media content.
Part III, "Production," addresses issues of media production. Cynthia Conti and Amanda Lotz discuss how production issues relate to audience and to content. This section documents the dearth of women in the media industry as well as the importance of the inclusion of women in this industry.
The epilogue includes additional books, journal articles, chapters, Web sites, films, and videos. By reviewing the Web sites and videos in class, students become even more aware of the importance of media literacy and critical analysis of the media. Additionally, the supporting materials allow the theories and concepts presented in the readings to become more fixed...