Analyze representations of gender and/or race in two media images of your choosing.

Posted: June 8th, 2022

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Your Task: An Overview
This assignment asks you to analyze representations of gender and/or race in two media images of your choosing. The images should be ones that promote a product, brand, idea, event, etc. and that appear in mainstream magazines, billboards, movie posters, etc.
Your analysis will be informed by what might be called a “lens text” — a text that provides a framework for understanding or interpreting something. Your lens text will be one or more of the following videos, all available on Blackboard:
Killing Us Softly 4 by Jean Kilbourne (primary focus: gender)
Tough Guise 2 by Jackson Katz (primary focus: gender)
Bring on the Female Superheroes! by Christopher Bell (primary focus: gender)
Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror by Xavier Burgin (primary focus: race)
Confessions of a D Girl: Colorism and Global Standards of Beauty by Chika Okoro (primary focus: race)
Race in Advertising by Jeff Selby (primary focus: race)
Your Task: The Details
Your goal for Project 2 will be to apply some of the ideas in your chosen lens text(s) to the two media images you choose to focus on. Maybe you’ll discover that your images illustrate the ideas in Jean Kilbourne’s documentary, or that your images contradict Jackson Katz’s ideas, or that Chika Okoro’s ideas enlarge your understanding of your chosen images in some specific way…or something else!
Overall, your main job in your paper will be to assert a thesis that explains your overall analysis of your chosen images and to analyze those images in relation to your chosen lens text.
The images you choose MUST be ones that were produced by actual, legitimate companies and circulated in mainstream media for real commercial purposes. All of the images in the lens texts come from mainstream commercial sources, so your images should come from such sources as well. Please do not choose images that have already been discussed in the lens texts or in the sample student papers posted on Blackboard.
Often, students are more successful with this project when they choose still images rather than moving images like videos or TV commercials. However, you may choose two brief commercials or movie/TV clips, if you’d like.
To find images, you could use actual print material created for commercial purposes–material from magazines, album covers, etc. You could also find electronic versions of such material, but you’ll need to be able to prove that the original images came from legitimate magazines, billboards, movie posters, TV commercials, etc.
The two images you choose should have something in common, so that you have some grounds for comparison. For instance, you might choose two ads that sell the same basic product, but that target men and women differently (example: a Nike ad in a woman’s magazine like Cosmo, and a Nike ad in a men’s magazine like GQ.). You might also take an historical approach, using the internet to locate ads or movie posters from different decades.
Think of your audience for this paper as your classmates and instructor within the academic context of our course. Remember that your classmates may not be as familiar as you will be with your chosen images and chosen lens text(s).
The genre for your piece will be a textual / visual analysis. You can consult the the textbook chapter on Analyzing Texts (chapter 11) for help.
Format and Design
For this assignment, you’ll use standard MLA format (to be explained in the learning modules for this project).
Evidence / Documentation
Your evidence–or support for your assertions–should come from a.) your chosen lens text(s); and b.) the two images you choose to use for the assignment. No other outside sources should be used.
You’ll need to include a Works Cited page that documents your images and your lens text(s). Please see the instructions about citing sources in the learning modules for this project.
You’ll work through the following stages for creating your analysis:
Viewing and reflecting on the videos
Reading sample analyses in your textbooks and in learning modules
Completing prewriting and planning activities for your own draft
Creating a first draft of your project
Getting and giving feedback on drafts
Revising your project
Designing your paper in MLA format and citing sources appropriately
Editing and proofreading your project
Reflecting on and assessing your work

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