by Ellen Gillingham
Milestone and Meyers, Part III of Gender and Popular Culture
1.) What is this week’s readings major arguments/points?
The reading’s major arguments focus on literature on gender and cultural consumption. It examines how people make sense of and respond to media texts. The authors ask which role gender plays in media and consumption. The reading also focuses on space and place to add gender and consumption’s effects in public space, instead of just private, domestic consumption. Another important point is how women are consumed and gazed upon in urban spaces. The reading also offers that consumption can be a highly productive act producing meanings, identities, and subjectivities.
2.) What are some things that you did not understand? Or, are there questions you have for Professor McCune, or the author?
I agree, popular culture shapes identity and relations, but what other institutions shape identity? Are these other institutions more or less powerful?
3.) What did you learn about Gender and Spectacular Consumption?
I learned about the ‘direct-effects theory’, which is when “media texts contain certain representations and messages directly uncritically and passively absorbed by the audience” (152). However, consumers are neither uniform nor passive, so this theory does not seem as relevant as the ‘active audience’, in which media audiences are conceptualized as actively involved in the process of meaning production” (154).
4.) How might you apply the author’s ideas to other examples, beyond what is
presented in the essay?
It is in the context of social changes that “popular culture emerges” (214). It shapes and forms identities. Another example comes from an essay by Steward Hall. Identity belongs to the future as well as the past. It is more like colonizers and less like colonized, in the sense that historical differences lead to unique histories. Identity is about what separates people; their differences are defining. This is because identity also depends on geopolitical locations. This adds to the importance of culture idea presented in the reading, while popular culture does shape identity, it is important to include other information about identity.