Psyware: Cultural Conditioning on the Sly

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Using arguments by Sarah Boxer, Diana Kendall, Jean Kilbourne, Michael Kimmel, and Joan Morgan as a springboard, take a leap into the world of pop culture or advertising to explore how certain media establish or perpetrate gender-related cultural myths and values that shape our attitudes and behavior. The material for your analysis may include printed ads, billboards, TV soaps, commercials, music videos, songs, and film. What is the psyware that we unknowingly get with the tempting content of marketing and entertainment? The purpose of your analysis is to make your readers aware of the underlying warrants, tacit assumptions, and implicit messages that these media convey with regard to gender.

Consider that your readers are adult consumers of pop culture, who are not familiar with the sources referenced in your analysis. Use summaries and paraphrase to avoid lengthy direct quotations (over 3 lines long) and cite all your references in MLA style.

In the opening paragraph, introduce the topic and provide pertinent background information to prepare your readers for your thesis. Present your thesis that orientates them toward detailed media analysis; state the purpose of your analysis. Make sure your thesis and your purpose match the task in the prompt.

In this project, you are expected to use multimedia sources for your analysis, which means that you should insert images, screenshots, or hyperlinks to accessible online content. Your analysis of a scene from, say, a TV show should include a brief summary of the context (relevant background information) so that your audience will follow your analysis which should dissect the scene to reveal the implicit message that targets its audience.

You may organize your essay thematically as Boxer or Kilbourne does: each relies on multiple evidence to prove her point. Or you may use one particular show to demonstrate a few implicit gender-related messages that its producers want the audience to absorb or accept.

Focus each body paragraph on a specific aspect of your thesis, providing references with your reasoning and commentary, as well as with appropriate supporting evidence from the assigned readings. Conclude each body paragraph with an appropriate summation.

Finally, wrap up your analysis with a brief overview of the media workings on our perception of gender and with an evaluation of the significance of your analysis for people


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