Media and Cultural Analysis


Media and Cultural Analysis, Spring 2018

Browse Exhibits (12 total)

A World Against Sex


This exhibit focuses on media in various forms that has been banned for being deemed too “obscene” for the public eye. We also look at why this media has been banned, and the surrounding culture through propaganda.

To determine whether the product is "obscene" we will refer to the Miller Test, established in Miller v. California, used by courts today in obscenity cases. 

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Animal Rights


All contributers to this exhibit feel strongly about animal welfare. Our message is to expose animal cruelty that is supported by the fashion industry and us, the consumers. We selected the most popular animals used for their hide and fur which include the mink, fox, rabbit, cow and crocodile. Each page will show one photo of the animal in their natural habitat, two photos of the inhumane treatment they experience, one video, and one fashion item available for purchase.

Banned Books Through Time


This exibit highlights banned books and the circumstances for which they were banned. Three main time periods where censorship was used by goverments are explored here.

Diversity in Emmy Award Winning T.V.

The Emmy Award has been a highly recognized award for outstanding American television since 1949. Devided by various genres, the award compares shows based on the quality of production, preformance, popularity, and originality. Our counter archive's objective is to illustrate a lack of minorities in the cast of winning television series from 2012 - 2017. Our archive will be cast photos of the winning shows and the counter archive will be photos of minorities in the cast of the winning show. 

Fat Disney

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This archive serves as an exhibit demonstrating the categories that fat characters are placed into within the Disney franchise. The collection features descriptions and images of fat characters from Disney films and TV shows to highlight the following tropes/categories they are defined by: The Comedic Reliefs, The Simpletons, and The Villains.

Racial Bias in the Grammy Awards


A Grammy Award is an honor awarded to recognize outstanding achievement in the mainly English-language music industry. Our exhibit mainly focuses on the racial bias in the Grammy Awards to indicate the huge gap between numbers of white artist winners and those winners who are people of color. We put emphasis on the Album of the Year; we list all the nominees and winners for recent 10 years and compare their metascores. People of color may have a higher metascore and more popularity among the audience, but these information would not help them win the awards.

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Sex Sells, but Sexism Does Not

"Sex Sells." Walk into an Advertising 101 class, and there is a chance you have heard this bold phrase. Yet, there is a fine line between arousing the curiosity of consumers, and offending the moral of individuals. The sexualization and debilitation of women in advertisements often push these images over this fine line.

In order to illuminate advertisers’ manipulation of sexual innuendos, American sociologist, Erving Goffman, deconstructs hundreds of advertisements in his book, Gender Advertisements. By analyzing the positioning, wardrobe, expression, and framing of subjects, Goffman notices a discrepancy in the portrayal of males and females in advertisements (Goffman, 3). A trend in advertisements depicts females as subordinates to powerful male figures.

Through our counter archive, we dive into four of the categories that Goffman defines when analyzing gender imbalances in advertisements:

“The Ritualization of Subordination”

Advertisers weaken women by positioning them beneath men. Females tend to lay powerless on the ground, while males stand tall with power and confidence (Goffman, 40).

“Feminine Touch”

Females are typically depicted gently caressing the surface of an object, or sexually grabbing their own body in order to suggest their sexual accessibility (Goffman, 29).

“Relative Size”

In order to indicate female inferiority, advertisers position women to be smaller than large, powerful men (Goffman, 28).

“The Family”

Men are empowered in an image of family in order to show male superiority (Goffman, 37).

Juxtaposing the archive of all Twenty-First Century advertisements, our counter archive explores the manner in which advertisers exploit gender stereotypes in order to appeal to targeted groups or the mass audience.

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Sexualization of Lyrics over Decades

In this exhibit, we explore the top 5 Billboard hits of each decade, starting in the 1950s through 2016. We have chosen to analyze the meaning and quality of songs and lyrics in the different time periods, comparing the decades to each other. With our archive of top songs, we concluded that the focus of music has vastly changed, and often includes a female presence, whether sexually or with the theme of love in the lyrics. We continue to explore the hits to see if there are any linear lines between the decades’ hits and if we can come to new conclusions of societal changes.

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To the Core of Who We Are: Gender


Dear Reader,

We're glad you're here and overjoyed that you care about gender just as much as we do.  We know that gender is a word that invokes a variety of responses depending on where people fall on the spectrum when it comes to gender expression. While the gender binary is explicity dictates how people should act by social norms, we wanted to focus on those who are not on extreme ends on the binary, or even in a binary. With the socio-political climate marginalizing many of those who do not conform to a specific side, and the regular oppression of certain gender groups, we wanted to see gender as a lens to someone's identity and celebrate when someone is comfortable and able to share who they are to the world.

To achieve such a feat, we looked at gender expression as a journey from the most general way of expressing gender to a more intimate and personal approach. Our project can be likened to cutting into an onion; with each layer revealing more of the core, where someone's gender identity sprouts from. To showcase this, we have 3 different layers to peel back: Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube, with Facebook as the most general way to express gender, and Youtube as the most private, intimate layer that reveals, at the core, how people are affected by gender.


Our Facebook page shows gender expression through posts comprised mainly of words. Due to the fact that anyone can post anything, this is the broadest category as these posts are also up to our interpretation of what these very words are trying to convey. Our Facebook category is comprised of recognition of different genders beyond "male" or "female." By incorporating screenshots of users' Facebook posts into our project, it brings out the diverse ways people choose to express who they are.


Our Instagram category takes the viewers through a more visual journey as users share empowering images that celebrate gender identity or expression. While there are also words that users use to explicate their posts, the pictures add more detail to what the user is trying to convey and is a more artistic way of expressing gender. 


Our YouTube page is the most intimate and raw page of our project and allows viewers to see subjects in the flesh. With no written words or still images to hide behind, the subjects in the videos encourage viewers to look beyond established gender roles and accepted gender expressions with real-life stories; their courage serving as a very visceral way to see how we feel about gender and other people's personal stories. 

Join us in diving into identity from a concoction of letters to raw, intimate journeys of people and celebrating the courage that all those have demonstrated in fighting against accepted norms and current attitudes regarding gender.


Asha, Juliana, Esther, and Karen

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Transgressing the Gender Binary in Beauty Standards


The 1990's were considered an era of perfection, where gender normativity was dominant and beauty standards for each gender were rigid. For women, the ideal look to be "beautiful" was to be "heroin-chic", or extremely young and stick skinny with eurocentric features. For men, the ideal look was "metrosexual", where they were supposed to look lean, fit, and strong. The majority of models and actors/attresses that were on magazine covers and beauty campaigns fit these set categories in the 1990s. Any other narrative, ones that included women or men with different features or the transgender community, were relatively silent. 

However, since the start of the 21st century, beauty standards of broadened and gender binaries have began to deconstruct in the beauty & fashion industries. Our counterarchive seeks to showcase the rising narratives that challenge the traditional gender binary narrative in relation to beauty standards. The collection we present showcases the people narratives that were subdued in the nineties, but is today now being recognized and appreciated. In our introduction section, we will also briefly cover how much of this is owed to the rise of the internet and social media in the 21st century, as it gave many people a free platform to project their voices and identities, and gave way to new conversations and communities that allowed for more inclusion and diversity. Overall this collection shows the rising narratives that push past the traditional view of gender binarism (i.e. that there are only two specific genders) and the view that these two genders each have very specific characteristics of what makes them beautiful.

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