Who Am I?
Hey guys! My name is Cierra Briana Colón. I’m finally a senior at Towson University! Like a lot of you, I’m a Mass Communications major with tracks in journalism and advertising. Communication Studies is my minor. I’m Vice President of Towson University’s National Broadcasting Society and Towson University’s Skydiving Club. Everyone should join Towson’s Skydiving Club before they graduate! It’s a great opportunity to jump off a plane with a great group of people at a discounted price!
Why am I taking media criticism?
So why am I taking media criticism? I don’t know about you guys, but I’m an extremely analytical person and I love spending my free time watching TV and movies. So why not take a class where I get to do both at the same time? Honestly, who doesn’t like to have their cake and eat it too?
What is media criticism?
You might be asking yourself what exactly is media criticism. I’m here to help! Media criticism is the systematic process used to understand media texts as meaningful sociocultural symbolic forms and forces. This process involves selecting media texts. Then within the selected texts, you describe messages, analyze patterns, interpret meaning and evaluate impact. It is important to remember that media criticism isn’t the opinion of yours or your peers. You should also remember that media criticism isn’t always negative.
Why is media criticism important?
It’s vital for us to understand media criticism because our generation, millennials, are the most connected of all generations. How millennial are you? I’m very millennial! It didn’t surprise me that I received a score of 90. I know I’m heavily connected to media. The first thing I do in the morning, with one eye open and the other shut, is check my iPhone for texts, Twitter mentions, Snapchats, etc.
The day Dr. Nicohls gave my MCOM 101 class an assignment where we couldn’t use our phones and Facebook for a few days still haunts me today. That was over three years ago. How embarrassing!
Media criticism is also important to understand because media in general, but especially television, are powerful. Media has the power to shape our lives, society and culture. Television has the power of entertaining, socializing, educating, informing and explaining information to its audience. These outlets are so powerful that oftentimes people don’t even realize they’re being influenced, which is scary.
Media literacy is a legitimate skill to develop. This skill is important because TV is a source of fragmented messages, disconnected and disjointed. Therefore, there’s a lot of room for interpretation. Things that I might be sensitive to in the media might go unnoticed by someone else.
I’m very sensitive to racial depictions in the media because I’m black and Puerto Rican, which makes me a minority. American Horror Story: Coven had a lot of racial slurs in their episodes this season so I stopped watching. However, my friend Diana wasn’t offended and continues to love the show. We’re all different.
Because there are so many messages within TV programs, we have a responsibility to make sense of what we see on TV. How we make sense of this content says a lot about ourselves and others.
A good example of a text to look at when talking about media criticism is Orange is the New Black, a Netflix original series. Orange is the New Black is about a woman who’s past has come back to haunt her and ultimately lands her in a women’s prison. This show can influence perceptions, values and culture in many ways.
There is racial segregation in the show. The blacks mostly eat and sleep near other blacks. The same goes for the Hispanics and whites. Inmates being separated by color can influence people’s perceptions on diversity. Someone watching the show might think that it’s OK to only befriend people of the same race as you.
The show also has a lot of stereotypes. For example, many people are familiar with the stereotype that hispanic women are known for giving up sex easily and having a lot of kids. One of the hispanic inmates gets pregnant by a prison guard while in jail. This could confirm or reinforce people’s perceptions of hispanic women.
This show has definitely highlighted the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender community. There are several inmates who are lesbians or bisexual. There’s also a transgender inmate named Sophia Burset. Her story and journey is an interesting part of the series. She’s been through a lot, but still tries to stay positive which makes viewers sympathetic to her character.
I think this aspect of the show might change people’s perceptions about the transgendered community. It has definitely changed my views. Laverne Cox, the actress who plays Burset, is scheduled to speak and advocate for transgendered at Towson University on March 12. I will more than likely attend because I’ve watched the show and grown a liking for the character and actress. I’m interested in learning more about her personal struggle with being transgender. If I hadn’t have watched the show then there’s no question that I wouldn’t care to attend the event. See! My own perceptions have been influenced. Powerful stuff!
What I’m looking forward to in the future
The most interesting part of media criticism is a cultural pedagogy. Media is a source of education that teaches us how we behave, think, feel, fear and desire. Every text has the power to affect us and that’s mind boggling to me! I’m looking forward to learning how to successfully critique media so that I can resist the status quo. Instead I’m interested in promoting counterhegemonic forces to emancipate the oppressed from the elite. I’m also very excited about approaching cultural studies from a multiculturalist perspective, where there’s an appreciation for difference n culture, groups of people and marginalized groups.
What are you most interested in learning about media criticism? Please feel free to leave comments and constructive criticism at any time. It would be greatly appreciated! I hope we all have a great semester and I look forward to intellectual, intriguing conversations!