Portland State Gender Message Frequencies in Media Entertainment Paper

First Posting:

Please be sure to use the numbering and lettering! Remember that you are able to correct the numbering and lettering after you paste your posting into the message box.

1. (150-300 words) First, say the alphabet out loud three or four times. (If possible ask two or three people in your life to do this too.) Then answer and discuss the following: Did you sing the alphabet instead of say it? Did you sing it in a particular melody? Did you add an end message, also in the same tune, “Now I know my ABCs…” to the song? If you were able to say it without singing it, still note the point of this quick exercise: Message frequency applies to all manner and content of media messages: the letters, the melody, the message structures, pronunciation emphasis and manner. Gender familiarity is learned in much the same ways as alphabet familiarity and marketing (product) familiarity are learned.

2. Gender Messages frequently seen & heard in media entertainment.

Use the format shown in my “I Love Lucy” example. See this example below.
a. Makealistof5to7genderideas,roles,plots,behaviors,stories,etc.,whicharefamiliarto

people in the United States (the public) because they are frequent media messages.

  1. From your list, select one frequent message about gender: _______________________and one media example: ____________________. (If you select a TV show, select just one episode from the show to use for this example. This will help you in focus on specific message content.)
  2. Description:(Write150-300words)Describethemessage;whathappened;identifythe story and the facts/findings of the story. Stay focused on what happened and report the specifics of the message content. In this description, discuss message frequency; does this gender message have the same or similar level of familiarity as the alphabet song? Explain. Caution: be careful to not include off track content in this part i.e., your opinion about the good or bad of them, why these messages exist in this way, etc.
  3. Opinion: (Write 150-300 words) What are your opinions, attitudes & perceptions of: [1] the messages about gender that you identified?
    [2] the influence of familiarity of this type of gender message on us as a people?

3. Gender Messages NOT frequently seen & heard in media entertainment. Now, focus on gender areas which are covered so infrequently that message familiarity does not exist about them.

a. Makealistof5to7genderideas,roles,plots,behaviors,stories,etc.,whichareunfamiliar to people in the United States (the public) because they are infrequent media messages.

b. c. & d. Use the same instructions as detailed above in Q. 2.
Writing Caution: avoiding inaccurate uses of “you” in First Postings.

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Second Posting:

(350-500 words) After open all of the First Postings in your Group in ONE window(!), reread everyone’s postings and then discuss “The State of Gender in our Media Entertainment Today.” Looking only at mass media messages primarily in television and movies, what grade would you give our current gender-in-the-media-health report? Keep your writing formal, this needs to be a descriptive report as you explain and summarize your determinations. Be certain to keep your focus on current media messages. Do not jump to a future you hope we will see or think you see coming, rather keep your focus on what exists now.


  • To help you stay on track, review Level 9 of the Gendertalk Continuum; this is the type of message content to use here.
  • Use 2 to 3 ideas of your Group Members in order to add depth and breadth to your discussion here. Do not use direct quotesthough.
  • To add depth to your discussion, use two concepts or ideas from the Week 5 Media and Gender Main Lecture. Cite your uses as follows: (Alienation Function).


Example of content and format for First Posting Qs. 2 & 3 above:


[a] Frequent Messages: List of 5 to 7 gender ideas, roles, plots, behaviors, stories, etc. [1]

[2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

[b] From your list, select one frequent message about gender: roles – cis women are housewives and cis men work outside the home. and select one media example: I Love Lucy; I watched this episode on the TV Land channel. [http://www.tv.com/shows/i-love-lucy/job- switching-15119/].

[c] Description: Lucy and Ethel challenge Ricky and Fred to a gender role switch of their workloads and types of work. All four of them made diminishing remarks and insults about each other’s traditional gender work not being as not difficult to do as their own, and that no effort is required to do it. They set out to prove their cases, but both sets of wives and husbands failed at accomplishing the “inside work” and “outside work” that their spouses do every day. They exhaust and embarrass themselves. They make a mess of everything and instead of proving how easy the others have it, they demonstrate the difficulty of each other’s work. After this, they gained respect for the success their spouses have in their traditional gender roles. The couples agreed to keep things as they had been and not switch again. This is a frequent theme about gender roles. It is probably as strong as the alphabet song in influencing power because the idea of men being inept at housework and child rearing is a comedy plot shown repeatedly. Women in typically men’s jobs or professions are not seen as much as it is debated over, such as women in military combat. We see women as breadwinners and heads of households more than we see men as househusbands.

[d] Opinion: I have this seen episode several times. When Lucy and Ethel are in the candy factory failing to wrap the chocolates quickly, they are hilarious! The failures of Fred and Ricky are the more typical of the comedy of the “Mr. Mom” theme, they are ruining everything and it is pretty funny too. The content of the messages exchanged between the wives and husbands is typical and stereotypical. There is an apologetic and overly solicitous tone to their messages when they all learn their lesson. This is sort of a placating of gender roles by extreme failure. When they switched, it was a confirmation of the norms existence. Ricky and Fred wearing aprons are funnier than what Lucy and Ethel wore at the candy factory. Still, Lucy and Ethel are funnier given their actions. I can ignore the silliness of the stereotypical and familiar messages in it and enjoy the show. I still fall in line when a traditional norm is challenged, but then truly isn’t. I fall for the joke. It is really irritating to think of it as one of the most frequent gender messages today, 60+ years later after this show. Messages that are funny have a smooth type of influence, they don’t rock the boat. Our producers of media programming are afraid to risk too much it seems, in a two steps forward, three steps back kind of way.

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Caution! Do not use this same example in your posting!

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