Blog Reactions

ot-sidebarpic_01Media Criticism is one of those courses that definitely has it’s perks. One of those perks is having the opportunity to give feedback to other classmates on their blog posts for a grade.

That’s right! Getting a grade to provide feedback has to be the best homework assignment I’ve gotten all semester.

Anyways, for this particular assignment in Media Criticism, we had the task of explaining what media criticism is in our own words while using the different terms we’ve learned in class and applying them to a media text of our choice.

The first person’s blog I commented on was Shoareged Phillpotts’. This is what I said…


Hey Shoa!

I really enjoyed your blog. It had a nice flow and was very informative. What I enjoyed about the blog discussion was that it is about a show, or series of shows that I actually watch in my free time. It helped me identify the different roles within the shows and apply them to media criticism.

What I learned from your blog post is that Genre Criticism is used to attract the attention of the audiences. I think it is a relevant approach to critique a media text because a lot of people often don’t think about how and who is being targeted and how the media uses different factors such as drama, clothing, and nationalities in order to attract a specific audience. Though the cast for the Love and Hip Hop series is relatively diverse, the viewers for the series vary, but the majority is usually minority women.

You did cover the discussion of race, class, and gender, but I think you could have went further into the race topic. It would have been nice to know your personal views of how these shows affect the different races that are portrayed in the series.

I think it’s important to further discuss race on Love and Hip Hop because the series is leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of a lot of African American viewers because we all do not act like the characters in this series, yet, it is what the media is portraying us to be.

You could find additional information on your topic in an article entitled “Study: Reality TV, Reality Unfair to Blacks” This article talks about how blacks in reality TV are often portrayed as violent, while those who may not be black are looked up to as organized and creative. This information is relevant because it talks about how blacks are stereotyped even in shows that don’t have a majority of minority characters.

I agree with most of the points made in your blog. One thing that I don’t quiet agree with is what you said that the Love and Hip Hop series single handedly defines a race. I think that other shows such as Real Housewives of Atlanta, Black Ink and She’s Got Game also support the stereotypes when It comes to a specific race, not just one individual show.

You can improve your discussion more by going more in-depth about race, class and gender. I think it is important to go more in depth about that because it is a major, unspoken factor in these reality TV shows.


The second person who’s blog I commented on was Kalin Dodson‘s blog. This is what I said…

Hey Kalin!

I really enjoyed reading your blog post.

What I learned from your blog was that what you watch can alter your perception of what life and reality is supposed to be.

It also made sense when you explained how someone who may be unaware or un-knowledgeable about what the real world is really like can watch shows like Love and Hip Hop and think that it’s okay to dress and act like the individuals on the show.

I enjoyed how you used the term “woke” to describe people who have knowledge about the media and want to look deeper into different outlets to analyze them further.

I think it’s a relative approach to critique media text because a lot of people, especially those of different minorities watch shows such as Love and Hip Hop and often think that the people in these shows are the people you should look up to and want to be like, and that’s false.

I think it would have been nice if you talked more about race and how African American people are portrayed in reality shows. It also would have been nice if you gave examples of different reality TV shows that are similar and also talked about the targeted audience in these reality shows such as race, age, and gender and how you can tell who is being targeted.

I think it’s important to include the targeted audience of a source because it helps people understand just how the media is trying to drag people (especially young people) into their traps with the hopes of them losing their selves.

You can find additional information about your topic on an article entitled “How Reality TV is Changing Our Daughters

The article talks about how black women are portrayed in reality TV and how young children are falling for the trap. It also talks about how out of 150 reality TV shows, 30 of those shows are centered on black females. The shows that are centered around black females usually include drug use, nudity and domestic violence.

I do disagree when you said that people who may not be media literate may see a physical altercation on Love and Hip Hop and think that it is okay to physically assault someone. While I do think that the shows promote violence, I do also think that the shows also promote positive things as well such as independence and self-sufficiency.

I really enjoyed your blog. It was extreme easy to read and flowed well. To improve, it would be nice if you added a little more detail to the blog and maybe connected it with more than just one reality TV show to describe what different things go on in the different reality TV shows and how they vary when it comes to the targeted viewers.

The third blog that I commented on belonged to Taylor Villarreal. This is what I said…

Hey Taylor!

I really enjoyed your blog post on media criticism. I liked how you used different media texts like Calvin Klein ad to pick apart what media criticism is. It helped a lot to compare it to things that we see in everyday life.

I also liked how you used The Hills as your media text to criticize. I used to watch The Hills like crazy when I was younger and never really thought about the analytical side of things in the show.

I agree with you when you said that this type of show influences our culture. I remember being in high school and the top discussion in our homeroom classes would be if we saw the latest episode of The Hills.

While watching The Hills at a younger age, I used to think that a life as a 20 year-old would be full of love, hate, and friendships, and it was, but not to the extent that they portrayed it on The Hills.

I also enjoyed how you semiotics to break down Coppertone Tanning lotion and how they portrayed women who have tans in the past compared to women who have tans in today’s society.

If I could change one thing in your blog, I would of dug a little deeper in breaking down the media texts in The Hills instead of doing two different texts. It, at times, became a little confusing.

There is an article called “What Reality TV Teaches Teen Girls”  that talks about how American culture that is portrayed in reality television is not actually reality and I think it would be a good article to include into your blog post.

Overall, I really enjoyed your blog. Though it became a little choppy at times, it was very fun to read.



My experience of using blogs for assignments has been bitter sweet. The plus about using blogs for assignments is that it gives you the opportunity to be more creative about the design and there is more room to have more personality in your words as opposed to having to be formal with words.

As far as providing feedback to my classmates on their blogs, I also think that it is a more positive experience. I personally think that it gives me the opportunity to let classmates know how I rSVPMA-Customer-Feedback-Blog-2-091913eally feel about their blog posts and you also get a deeper sense of their personalities, which is always fun. By providing feedback on their blogs, I think it allows us to help one another. It also allows us to be more open to constructive criticism because it’s not face-to-face criticism and we also have the option to read it if we desire criticism, and if we don’t, there is always the choice to ignore the comment.


Consuming Kids – Reaction

17911consumingkids“Consuming Kids” is a mind blowing documentary about how children are targeted against when it comes to media.

I learned so much about the marketing world just by watching this documentary and saw things in a way that I’ve never seen them before.

Consuming KidsWhat really struck me as shocking was when marketers targeted children by putting their favorite characters on boxes of cereal or different products.

Kids don’t know the difference between crackers with scooby doo vs. regular crackers because they think it tastes better simply because it has the character’s picture on it.

“One of the things that gives children some stability is their touchstones.”

Touchstones are constant things in a kid’s lives that they think they’ve figured out and feel comfortable with and learn to love.6610-Muscle-Chest-Spiderman-Costumes-large

Marketers use the attachment to children’s different touchstones in order to make a profit.

What also baffled me was how companies secretly use product placement in movies, video games or TV shows to instill products into kid’s minds without them even knowing it.

“They are exposed to so much advertising that they learn to ignore it.”

But the thing that disturbed me the most about the documentary was when they talked about how companies basically stalk children in grocery stores, department stores, slumber parties, and even in the bathroom just to find out what products children are attracted to.giphy

The G.I.A (Girls Intelligence Agency) is a scam that I think needs to be stopped. The slumber parties that they conduct teach children the wrong things. Children should never be encouraged to turn on their friends in order to obtain information for a company.

“Children are tomorrows adult consumers…build a relationship with them now and you’ve got them when they’re older.”

Marketing is taking advantage of children’s urge to be older, look older, and act older.

The tween is a term created to describe children who are younger than teenagers, but older than being a baby.

Girls are being taught what it takes to be “pretty” and “sexy”. They are also being told that what they buy defines their value.

Barbie Dolls are becoming more and have on less and less clothes.2350853_orig

These children who buy these dolls and mimic what their dolls wear, which is inappropriate for children of such young ages to be wearing.

With children being targeted with so much junk food, they are being taught and encouraged to eat the wrong things.

These leads to childhood obesity, which can lead to further problems as an adult.

Overall, I thought “Consuming Kids” was an outstanding documentary that opened my eyes to a lot of things that I may not of noticed before.

After watching this, I will definitely be more mindful of the different marketing tactics going on around me and when I chose to have children, I will raise them to be more mindful as well.

Reaction – Mickey Mouse Monopoly

trailer_112I had the opportunity to watch a few sections of the “Mickey Mouse Monopoly” documentary and I must say that it was completely mind blowing.

Being a Disney fan since a young age, I never would of thought to look too deeply into the meanings of different things that may be represented in a few Disney productions nor did I ever think that anything Disney related could ever have anything less than pure innocence.


One of the things that really interested me was the portrayal of different minorities in a few of the most popular Disney movies such as The Jungle Book, The Lion King, and Oliver & Twist.

It was interesting how in “The Jungle Book” African American people were portrayed as monkeys who were singing about wanting to be human and equal to everyone else.

What I also found interesting was how these monkeys sang with a lot of soul, making the song “I Want To Be Like You” a very bluesy song, identical to those back in the 40’s what were sung by mostly African American artists.

They used lyrics such as:

“I wanna be a man, mancubapes-junglebook
And stroll right into town
And be just like the other men
I’m tired of monkeyin’ around!”

Does that mean that these writers believed that African American people could never be anything but animals who could never be men and are only capable of “monkeyin’ around”?

Another thing that I never noticed was that the hyenas in The Lion King were almost poking fun at people who lived in more urban setting and making fun of how they talk.

It completely outrages me that children (including myself when I was a child) watch these movies and have no idea of the hidden meanings behind these things until they get older.

HyenasIn the movie, a mother’s child identified a group of young black children laughing with the hyenas in The Lion King and that’s a sad comparison for a innocent child to have.

The sad part about all of this is that the people who created these movies  were socialized and obviously had thoughts and beliefs of black people, or people of different minorities being monkeys, or loud hyenas who speak ebonics and want to be “human”.

“Media influences the way we think.”

Disney has so much power in society, what this means is that they have the power to do whatever they need to do in order to save their image of innocence.

But though they have the power to hide what happens behind closed doors, they can not control the opinions of others.web-disney5n-3

Another thing that shocked me was Disney’s portrayal of women as being seducing with long eyelashes, small waist and curvaceous (yes, even the animals).

When young children watch movies like this, it presents to them what femininity “supposed” to look like.

“What does it mean to be a woman? What does it look like?”

It also tells young girls that it’s okay to use their bodies as objects in order to get what they want and that they need to be rescued by men because they are incapable of saving themselves.

This false image of what a “real woman” is, is ultimately hurting us, as women and as a society.

orig-21201453With newer movies such as the Princess and the Frog and Frozen, women are beginning to be a little more independent, but the “ideal” image of what a female should look like remains the same, and so does the idea of needing or wanting to end things with a man and live “happily ever after” is still existent.

Overall, I thought the “Mickey Mouse Monopoly” opened my eyes to a lot of things that I’ve never noticed before and I can honestly say that I will never see Disney the same again.

The Power of Media Criticism!

iojowA little about myself

My name is Taylor Haire and I am a Mass Communications major at Towson University. I love studying journalism because it has such a big impact on society.

With a major in Mass Communications, I plan on becoming a radio personality at a major city. My dream of being a radio personality comes from a passion of helping and uplifting different communities.

Being a radio personality will not only give me the power to do that, but it will also allow me to incorporate a few of my other passions such as music, art and poetry into my profession.

In order to be a successful journalist/radio personality, I decided to take a course called Media Criticism.

Media Criticism? What’s That?ask-question-1-ff9bc6fa5eaa0d7667ae7a5a4c61330c

Media Criticism is a course that allows you to break down the many parts of the media and understand them from a more in-depth point of view.

I’m sure we all have over-analyzed something in the media one time or another, but who says over-analyzing is bad?

Media Criticism will help you understand how things are, why things are, and who is being targeted. Then, you take all of those aspects and put them together in order to thoroughly understand a piece.

Sounds confusing, huh? Well, keep reading. I’ll explain.

What can Media Criticism do for you?homer-pointing

It is important to think carefully about the media because in order to fully understand how and why things in the media are the way they are, you have to analyze every different aspect such as texts, audience, production, and the social world.

It is extremely important to develop media literacy because it allows you to be aware and cautious of the “un-spoken traps” that companies may be trying to trap you with.

How many times have you seen a commercial for a face product and the female who they portray as having “beautiful” skin is un-commonly flawless? How many times have you compared yourself to that female and thought that if you purchase the product being advertised, you too, could look like that flawless female? Media Criticism will help us break down a commercial or media source like that and pick every small detail about the commercial to come to a conclusion.

You will NEVER see media the same.

It is also important because it allows you to analyze and interpret different media outlets and to come up with your own opinions.

Text? Like…Text Messages?text_message_icon

The “text” of media is defined as “anything that you actually see and/or hear.” What that means is that the text is usually what portrays the message.

For example, a lot of beauty product commercials now-a-days show a female whose image may not be “average” to the regular female, but Dove is trying to change the standard definition of beauty in the media through their recent commercials entitled “Dove Real Beauty Sketches.”

What does this have to do with anything?tumblr_inline_n4m1k1xjyg1qkztg5_by_fishpaste12-d7va240

These commercials/short films include numerous different women of all ethnicity, sizes, and backgrounds describing what they don’t like about themselves.

One video in particular that stood out to me was entitled “Dove Legacy”. The 3 minute commercial shows women writing down their imperfections. In another room, at the same time, their daughters wrote down their imperfections also.

What most of the mothers failed to realize was that what they thought was imperfect on them, became a reflection of what their daughters thought of themselves.

This text translates that it is okay to not be perfect, but confidence is contagious and could affect people who are the closest to you.

Dove created this text to show women that the media and society does not define what beauty is, you do.

Why this commercial is so specialdove

Society is sometimes outrageously harsh on females. We, as females go through so many un-spoken obstacles that we sometimes feel we are “expected” to deal with.

The constant feeling of wanting to be prettier or smaller or to have more or less features than we were born with is always hoovering over our heads like a huge dark cloud.

Sometimes, it feels like the media isn’t even our friend. Constantly showing commercials or TV shows starring females who are society’s definition of “beautiful” leading us to believe that if that’s what beauty is, and we don’t look quite like it, we must be ugly or something must be wrong with us when in reality, like James Blunt taught us, “We’re Beautiful”.

The recent Dove commercials have hit me close to home. They include females who are just like me and you and tell their stories of insecurity and what they dislike about themselves. To your surprise, you might find a few things in common with these ladies as I did.

Now, Let’s Dissecttumblr_lt2f4s5CjO1r13toi

Dove uses the real life, relatable relationship between a mother and a daughter to convey the message. Growing up, most daughters look up to their mothers for advice and most importantly, guidance. Thus, the commercial creates a personal relationship and connection with most women because they are either a daughter or a mother.

Dove felt like this message needed to be communicated through the media because they wanted to re-define what beauty is.

The music in the background is also an example of the text. The music is soft and settle at first as if it were representing the mother’s insecurity. As the commercial concludes, the music becomes more uplifting and even has a beat as if it was to represent happiness or the “sunshine after the rain.”

To break down this commercial even further, we will be using semiotics.

Here comes the big words

According to my notes, semiotics is defined as “the study of how social production of meaning is constructed through system of signs.”

How do we know that the Dove commercial/ad is promoting self-beauty?

What signs are shown in order to translate this message?

But no, we’re not done yet. You can break semiotics down into two parts; syntagmatic and paradigmatic. (bear with me, okay?)

tumblr_inline_norfdetrJN1sloena_500Syntagmatic is a process that allows us to combine all signs together in order to create a complete meaning.

Within syntagmatic is syntagm, which is the order what you are trying to analyze is in. But it can’t just be in any old order, the order has to make sense of the whole meaning.

For example, if you are going on a date, you might take a shower, pick an outfit, get dressed, and leave.

Syntagm in this process is the order in which you get ready for the date, and why things were done in that order. For instance, you take a shower first because you might be dirty. You pick an outfit because you want to look nice for your date. Once you find an outfit, you put that outfit on because you wouldn’t want to go on a date naked. All of these actions end with one outcome, you will eventually leave for your date.

Paradigmatic is the process of “understanding a set of signs that are all members of defining a category.”

What this means is that with paradigmatic, instead of looking at the order, you look at the individual aspects and ask yourself “how we know this is happening.” Or “why”.

Within paradigmatic is paradigm which is a more complex way of saying “dissect”, because that’s exactly what you do.

Back to the dating example, if the topic is getting ready for a date, and your chain of sequences is taking a shower, picking an outfit, getting dressed and leaving, the paradigm way would be to explain HOW you would know that you’d be picking an outfit and getting dressed. Also, how and why one comes before the other.

Now, let’s apply what we’ve just learned to the commercial/adsemiotic.triangle

The syntagm part of this text is that the mother’s explain their insecurities, then the daughters are asked to write theirs down, the producers then share the daughter’s insecurities with their mother’s and the mother’s see that a lot of their insecurities often became their daughters.

The paradigm part is that you know the mothers are talking about their insecurities because they are picking out specific things about their bodies and their body language seems un-confident. We know the daughters are writing down their insecurities because we see them writing and then the producers hand their mother’s a piece of paper with writing on it. We know that they wrote down insecurities because the mothers are comparing what they said to what their daughter’s wrote.

But Wait, There’s More

Ideology is also a big part of this commercial. In my notes, Ideology is defined as something that “views TV texts as instruments of power and control.”dove-real-600x319

This is absolutely true for the Dove commercial. The commercial

The context of this text is that they are trying to create more awareness towards self-beauty.

Dove is trying to tell a story by using different characters that can relate to society. The characters being used are mothers and daughters of different backgrounds and ethnicity. The setting is in a house which gives the text a more personal and “behind closed door” feel.

The language of the text varies. Towards the beginning, the mother’s use words like “don’t” and “dislike” which shows signs of self-hate. Towards the end, the language becomes more uplifting as the mothers explain how they want their daughters to grow up with the mindset that they are beautiful. The characters then begin to use words such as “like” and “love” to describe themselves giving of a sign of self-love and appreciation.

Dove creates a personal and emotional relationship among a lot of females because they too often deal with insecurities about their physical appearance.

So what?media-brain

It is extremely important to understand media texts. So many things could be assumed about media texts, so many people can have so many different opinions and explanations. By analyzing a text through media criticism, not only will one learn how to thoroughly dissect every teenie tiny little detail, but to be more open about their personal opinions by doing the proper research in order to find an educated explanation.

My criticism on the Dove commercial will help others better understand it by understanding the influence that it has on the audience and culture.

Others who may not be females may not know of the struggles we go through on a daily basis when it comes to our physical images. We also may not be aware of just how much our personal opinions can affect the people who look up to us such as our children or younger siblings.

It can influence culture by creating a sense of awareness. Maybe more companies will stop advertising products with flawless models and start including real life people who others can actually relate to.

So, there you have it. The importance of Media Criticism in a nutshell (or two).

Any Questions? Let me know your thoughts.