Blog Assignment #1

My name is Lexa Epstein and I am a senior at Towson University. I am a Communications major graduating in May. I am from Pikesville, MI decided to take this Media Criticism course because I think the topic is interesting. Media plays a large role in my life, and in the life of many others, so I knew that I would enjoy learning about it.

Media criticism shapes our culture. It helps us to think about media consumption habits, it helps us understand how media shapes our world. Media criticism is a process that we use to understand media as meaningful sociocultural symbolic forces.

What I find interesting about learning to conduct media criticism is all of the parts that go into it. In semiotics there are all kinds of signs and the signs have different meanings that are interpreted in many ways. There is an actual science to media criticism. I find the idea of hegemony interesting; that there is an actual power that the elite have over the masses and this power controls the media and therefore our culture.

It is important for people to understand and think critically about our media saturated environment and what is going on in it. In today’s world, it’s important for people to be “media literate”; without being this way one would be disconnected from our culture. Media is everywhere in our lives and people need to be aware of it. We need to be aware of the way it is affecting us. You may not realize it, but things that you see, hear, and read in the media affect the way you interpret the world around you. Media is so powerful that it shapes our culture, society, and lives.

An example of how media shapes our lives is through television. Some shows on TV today depict the world unrealistically. One TV show that does this is Gossip Girl.

Gossip Girl is about a group of high school aged kids living in New York City. The TV program doesn’t show these kids living the way that real high school aged kids do; going to school, doing homework, and going to the movies on the weekends. Instead they portray these kids lives as basically ideal for a high school person; shopping all day, partying all night, having no parental supervision, and being able to do whatever they want to do, when they want to do it.

By doing this, the media gives the audience a false perception. It depicts that there are high school children who actually live this way. There aren’t. The audience then may question why they don’t live like this or what they can do to live this glamorous lifestyle. It falsely portrays to the viewer that there are high school kids who drink and do drugs every night rather than stay at home with their parents doing homework, living the actual life of a high schooler. It doesn’t show the world in a true light.

TV programs, especially programs like this, affect our culture and society immeasurably. It is important for others to understand and explore cultural criticism so that they understand how the media affects their lives. I hope to learn a lot in this class so that I can share my new information with others and help them understand media criticism.

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