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Objective: To make students aware of how movies, television, print ads, music, and the new arenas of electronic games and the Internet reflect (or distort) reality.
Grade Level: Grades 4 through 12.
Time: 40-minute introduction; research time; presentation time; letter-writing time.
Materials: Television set, lyrics from current popular songs, newspapers and popular magazines, electronic games, and the Internet (with graphics). If all of these media are not readily available, choose from among those that are.
Procedure: Divide the class into 5 to 10 research teams. Brainstorm together to pick:
Have each group write down the name of each show, song, magazine, etc. For each, analyze how the two genders are represented in terms of:
to Other Gender:
On the day designated for reporting and wrapping up, have each team summarize for the rest of the class its findings in terms of physical descriptions, emotional characteristics, personality, and mannerisms for the male and female characters respectively. As each research team reports, use the chalkboard to synthesize the summaries.
Ask students to discuss these questions:
Remind students that media purveyors often claim that they only "give the public what it wants." Have the students write a letter to the executive in charge of the medium they analyzed explaining the project and their findings.
Adapted from "TV-A Mirror of Reality," School-to-Work Jumpstart Equity Kit, WEEA Equity Resource Center, 1995, p. 40.
The above excerpt was from Raising the Grade, a curriculum about Title IX. It is available from WEEA in the Spring of 1998. Call 800-793-5076 to order.
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