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Reply #252: Yes, I can answer your question. [View All]

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thucythucy Donating Member (182 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-11 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #250
252. Yes, I can answer your question.
Edited on Wed Oct-19-11 02:28 PM by thucythucy
We all define for ourselves what we find demeaning. Is that simple enough? We all of us interpret for ourselves the messages with which we are bombarded, day in and day out, by the culture around us.

But so what? The discussion, as I see it, is how we as progressives respond to what we see as demeaning or racist or misogynist imagery in the media. For some, the answer appears to be: do nothing, question nothing, discuss nothing. Turn the page, change the channel, accept what you see as inevitable, harmless, irrelevant. Shout down or ridicule anyone who voices any concern about the impact of such images on the struggle for social justice. Let "the free market" work its magic, as it has in so many other aspects of our lives.

For me, by contrast, the answer to how we respond to such imagery is by analyzing its impact, and exploring the ways to change what we perceive as a media environment hostile to equal rights for women, people of color, GLBTs, people with disabilities, and other people historically marginalized and disempowered by mass culture. Up thread I offered Martin Nolan's "The Cinema of Isolation: A History of Physical Disability in the Movies" as one model for how to go about doing this, as are the films by Sut Jhally, for instance "Dreamworlds"--his study of sexist imagery in popular culture--to which I would add "Class Dismissed"--his look at how television routinely denigrates and marginalizes working class people. What I and others advancing the need for such work get in return are various cries of "censorship!" "Andrea Dworkin!" "you must hate sex!" etc. etc.

As Shcrane71 points out, some progressives seem to react with incredible defensiveness as soon as the question of media images of women and girls is concerned. Many of the comments on this thread certainly seem to support her assertion.

Mainstream media is rarely if ever content neutral. The messages it sends, subtle and not so subtle, have real world consquences for real live people. Teaching and encouraging media literacy--how to see behind the surface sheen of what the media convey, whether that be through advertising, pornography and erotica, popular entertainment, Fox News or Rush Limbaugh--is one of our most effective tools as progressives trying to effect social change.

Why is this so difficult for some progressives to understand?
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