Feminism (and other causes) As An Imperative For Media Studies

I came across the following trailer on Tumblr – in my mind it’s an excellent mission statement for the relevance of media studies and the sociological repercussions of current schemes through which we see women in the mass media.

I found the video was also a little “second-wave” in that it seems to be directed to middle and upper class women in America. Obviously, this was its target audience, but it’s worth acknowledging that the same discrepancies exist (and are amplified) for women and people who are religious or ethnic minorities, non-Americans, the LGBTQIA community, and anyone who is represented by stock characters (if at all) in the media.

Political economy, as mentioned in the trailer, has a great deal to do with that. A key demographic for all profit-motivated media is white males age 18-35 (or as Cracked calls them, MAWGs). Ideally, every community should be recognized in a truly public sphere as Habermas envisions it, but often we rely on smaller “bubbles” of sub-culture media to satisfy those needs to have viable exchange, discourse and entertainment which suits our identity (the obvious reason being the economic and social domination of white males and that traditional model which caters to them).

Miss Representation 8 min. Trailer 8/23/11 from Miss Representation on Vimeo.

I’m not sure if I’ll get the chance to see the film, I’ll definitely keep my eye out for it. Of course, this sort of identity politics (“Identitarian activism” as David Joselit calls it) is only so useful as that it serves to illustrate specific case studies of issues which exist in the media, born out of underlying conditions in our society.

David Joselit, “The Video Public Sphere,” in Nicholas Mirzoeff, Ed., The Visual Culture Reader, New York: Routledge, 1998: 451-457.

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