Media Consumer’s Handbook
In this writing assignment, you will create a detailed analysis of how one figure or character is
talked about in mainstream media.
Step 1: Choose your figure or character from the list below:
● An immigrant parent
● An athlete of color
● A sex worker
● teenage girl “delinquent”
Step 2: Select two media texts of the same kind (e.g. two films, two television shows, two ads, two video games, two documentaries, etc.) and analyze how this figure is represented in each.
Step 3: The paper is to draw a conclusion about the dominant forms of representation for your chosen figure or character. What are the main narratives, signs, or settings associated with them? Why have these become attached to the figure? What are some general implications that
these characteristics may connote to audiences? To answer this you need to consider the formal and production elements.
- Attend to the media’s formal elements (editing, framing, lighting…). Refer to the Amy Villarejo reading for how to address these elements. Consider also the signs used and the meanings they convey.
- Describe the context of production. Who produced this media text: a corporation, a government agency, an NGO, a community of individuals, etc.? Explain what you see as the producers’ aims in depicting this figure or character. Are they furthering a cause, selling a product, trying to be entertaining? Evaluate whether or not these aims are met, and why.
Keep in mind, this assignment asks you to analyze and construct an argument based on this analysis. To quote Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, avoiding falling into the “restrictive notion of images are being either positive or negative, as communicating either the truth or perpetuating some oppressive stereotype.” Rather, pay close attention to the use of media conventions and signs to construct dominant forms of representation, and link these representations back to who made them and forward to who consumes them.
Utilize at least 2 readings from the course reading list to support your argument and cite appropriately. The Villarejo article does not count as one.
● Maintain Academic Style
● 1500-1800 words long
● 12-point Times New Roman font; one-inch margins, double-spaced
● MLA style citation
● Include your works cited page at the end
● Use at least 2 of the course readings to support your argument. Villarejo’s does not count as one.
Type of assignment: Academic paper writing
Type of assignment: Essay
Number of sources: 5
Academic level: Bachelor
Paper format: MLA
Line spacing: Double
Language style: US English