Jenn Pozner and Melissa Harris-Perry’s class talk reality TV

Yesterday Melissa Harris-Perry’s Tulane class had a Twitter chat with Jenn Pozner about reality TV and the messages it’s selling us about race, gender, class, our bodies and sexualities, inspired by Pozner’s book Reality Bites Back. Zerlina dropped knowledge in the chat as well.

You can read the whole conversation at the hashtag #RealityBitesBack. Here’s few highlights:

Victoria’s Secret:

@MHarrisPerry: My mouth is agape as student describes to me the opinion that Victoria Secret models are heavy.

@JennPozner: Victoria Secret fashion show? An advertiser’s wet dream. Literally. Hour long product placement
Clothing size and body image:
@amymmmmmkay: every time a woman has curves, she’s labeled as #exotic. it’s only okay to be thick if you’re not white?
@cannon_laura:  Just learned that size six could be considered plus size. Whaaattt?
@MHarrisPerry Referencing #RealityBitesBack students thinking abt assumption that women must be super attractive & men can be average: news, sitcoms, etc

@JennPozner: decades of studies of print&broadcast advertising prove engaging w/ads makes women feel bad about bodies

@GoddessJaz This #RealityBitesBack discussion is important! My 8 yo goddaughter told me a size 6ish animated character was fat. Really upsetting!
Reality Shows:
@ZerlinaMaxwell Kardashian wedding was a sham produced to make money off idea of “fairytail romance”
@MHarrisPerry We are perhaps coming to consensus that Top Chef is not evil & that Miss America is less evil than The Bachelor.
Media Literacy:
@JennPozner Can always find 1 or 2 exceptions w/media trends. #MediaLiteracy requires big picture content analysis+ economic analysis.
@ZerlinaMaxwell Now would be a good time to say that reality teevee is FAKE. It’s scripted just like a drama. Just so we’re clear.
@MHarrisPerry @jennpozner Can you give us one ACTION ITEM for media literacy. What should we do?
@JennPozner YES! ALWAYS QUESTION. Core to #medialiteracy: ask who has created the narrative; who profits from it; who glamorized & who excluded in it. #Medialiteracy = ACTIVE engagement w/media. Banish the phrase “mindless entertainment” RESOURCES:
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One Comment

  1. Posted December 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    On a similar note, guess what news item was forwarded to me by a friend on facebook?

    A guy commenting on a Victoria’s Secret ad. Apparently, it’s disturbing, even to men, that women are so skinny in these things. (Though, really, it sucks that it takes a guy being disturbed to make the trend start to reverse.)

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