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Thinking Critically of the Media

“Cultural Criticism and Transformation� shows many ways to watch films critically. Hooks outlines many different aspects of films, such as the way women are portrayed, violence, and different stereotypes that are portrayed in movies, which need to be thought critically of. Films can be taken apart to get a closer look at the characters- their race, gender, age- this can help the viewer to understand certain stereotypes that exist in our society. An example of this is when hooks explains that a movie, which is based on a book, the thief is changed from a white male in the book to an African American male in the movie. She speculates that in our society it is often more believable for an African American teenager to be a thief. Intersectionality is a term hooks uses that could explain this idea. An African American, adolescent male has different stereotypes than those possessed by a white, adolescent male. There are so many forms of oppression that coincide with each person’s many identities, that it is easy to overlook some of the stereotypes.

Another idea that hooks uses is creating women in media as sexual objects. This is when women are purely shown to be sexualized. An obvious example she looks at are rap videos. Women in rap videos are there specifically to be sexualized and be placed below the male rappers. This is a problem for our society because it is accepted that the women in these videos serve no real purpose other than to “worship� the male rappers, they become subservient to them.

There were many examples of oppression and stereotypes that she used in this film that I may not have been really aware of before. This is a problem for me, I don’t want to watch and accept stereotypes specifically because they are so common in our society that it causes me overlook them in movies. To use my example above, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about the thief being African American. Stereotypes have become so ingrained in our society that I think there are many problems with our media that is overlooked. I hope that after viewing this film I will be able to take a deeper critical look at the movies and images I see.

Comments

I absolutely agree with your statement that you "don't want to watch and accept stereotypes specifically because they are so common in our society that causes [you] overlook them in movies". And I also agree with you, that it is a scary thing to be so accustomed to stereotypes that they hardly resignate with you as a stereotype. I also thought that it was very honest of you to admit that you wouldn't have thought twice about a thief being portrayed as an African American. This is probably true for most of us (definitely including myself), which is deeply disheartening.