Saturday, August 31, 2013

Hello all,

It will be a fast-paced semester. I expect great work and dedication from each of you. I will make the material and the classes engaging and awesome - as possible ;) It is up to all of you to do your part, stay on top of the readings and the assignments and make this class awesome too!

I look forward to spending the next semester engaged in great discussions, impressed with your projects and getting to know all of you. Welcome!

Prof. Caçoilo


Women and Media Fall 2013
MEDIA 384.00
Saturdays 2:10 – 5:00pm
Department of Film and Media - Hunter College
Professor Doris Caçoilo  :: dcacoilo @
In this course students will be introduced to key issues and theoretical approaches in the study of women and media.  The course will explore representations of women in media as well as researching the work of women in the industry. Students will research and analyze how the media creates and challenges stereotypes, ideas of difference including exclusionary representations of minorities and women. Readings, class discussions and projects will explore how media shapes our attitudes and identities. Long a focus and a concern in feminist scholarship, critique of the media is crucial in the discussion of the representation of women in the media. The course will use a historic context of feminist media studies to interpret and analyze contemporary media examples. Students will read across various fields to interpret and critique images in various media: television, advertising, film and new media to explore women’s role and perception, women as audience and especially the importance of women as media makers.

This class is intended to help students develop the ability to create thoughtful and engaging projects and writing assignments. In addition to a rigorous reading schedule students are required to write various projects for the class blog and sustain continued research and writing throughout the course in addition to the scheduled projects. 

Feedback from your classmates is a valuable resource for the improvement of your writing and your work. Critiques allow us to share our projects with others and express our intentions. The idea is to be able to understand the concept behind each work and to analyze the method of every student to determine whether they achieved their goals.  Feedback from others gives us valuable information in order to keep making progress.  For this reason, class participation is essential.

Class sessions will be divided into presentations, class discussion of the readings, and group critiques of projects. Presentations will address both theoretical and analytical issues related to women and media. Some class time will be dedicated to work on individual projects but it is the student’s responsibility to finish his/her work and present it on time. Students are responsible to be prepared for class, read all assignments on time and post all writing and projects to the blog, paying attention to technical and aesthetic presentation as well as thoughtful and well-developed content.

READINGS There are no required texts. Various weekly reading assignments will be assigned and linked on the blog and posted on Blackboard. The full reading schedule will be distributed on the blog. Readings are due each week. All readings are REQUIRED unless otherwise stated.

CLASS PARTICIPATION For each reading you must prepare two questions and two quotes or passages from the readings for class discussion. Several students will be called on in each discussion and you must have these prepared for each reading.

BLOG You must consult the class blog daily to check for announcements, readings and to post your assignments. The blog is crucial to the course and completion of the requirements. You MUST have access to the blog to complete assignments, readings, post work and comment on students’ posts.

TWITTER You must create a twitter account (if you do not have one already) we will share links and comments with each other using the class hashtag: #womenmedia
Five writing assignments published to the blog as well as a class presentation and a final project will be developed during the semester. You must complete these in a professional manner and ON TIME. No late work will be accepted for a full grade evaluation unless previously discussed with the professor. The assignments will be related to the issues discussed in class, allowing students to explore new technologies by researching and responding to various class discussions and readings.

--Attendance and grading policy:
Attendance is required. Attendance is taken at the beginning of each class, and will be considered when determining the final course grade.

More than three (3) absences will result in an 'F' (failure) for the class. No exceptions. This is standard policy across digital media courses. Class begins on time, so you must be punctual. Lateness, leaving early or leaving class unexcused for an extended period of time will also be recorded. Two of these instances will count as one absence.
You are required to make up any and all work that is missed if you are absent. Notify the professor if you will be absent or e-mail asap. As work will not be accepted late, please contact the professor to hand in work on time!

--Grade policy:
All assignments must be finished and handed in on time to receive a passing grade for this course.

30% 5 blog posts
10% 1 group presentation
40% final project
20% participation (Contributions to class, critiques and the blog + attendance)

NOTE: BACK-UP your work frequently, even as you are working on the projects. Write and edit your posts locally before uploading them to the web. No excuses!

* If you have a disability which will affect your coursework, please notify the instructor within the first two weeks of class to ensure suitable arrangements and a comfortable working environment.
Contact The Office for Students with Disabilities, Hunter East 1119 Phone  (212) 772-4882 or 4891, TTY: (212) 650-3230.

* This is a list of numbers which you can use if there is an emergency or crisis situation on the Hunter campus or if you need assistance at other times.
Security -B125 West - 772 - 4444; During business hours: Medical Office - Room 307 North - 772 - 4800; Office of Student Services - 1119 East - 772 - 4882 4891 (crisis counseling available), The Women's Center - 801 East - 772 - 4931.

Hunter's Reading/Writing center is where students receive tutoring in reading and writing skills, critical reading, and the writing process. Students can apply for a weekly appointment with a tutor and/or use drop-in services during scheduled hours. Students may also attend workshops offered at the Center throughout the academic year.

Statement on Originality of the Work
All work completed for this course must be completed by the student enrolled in the course. All work for this course must be made in this course and not fulfilling the requirements of another prior or current course unless pre-approved by the instructor. Plagiarism is a very serious academic offense which will result in penalties ranging from reduction of class grade to failure in the course. Plagiarism occurs when the ideas, images, and words, published or unpublished, of others are presented as one's own without citing the original source. Plagiarism also occurs when the papers, research, or creative works of another person are presented as one's own work.

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All students need to be on the listserv FM-L to receive important departmental notices. Just email and leaving the subject line blank, write SUBSCRIBE fm-l (that's an "L" not a 1) in the body of message and you're set!


All readings for each class will be listed on the class blog every week. It is the student’s responsibility to check the blog for required readings and assignments. All readings can be found on Blackboard, online (linked from the blog) or otherwise specified on the blog.

If you ever have questions or concerns about the schedule, due dates, changes or anything else please ask me after class or e-mail me:

Students are required to read the appropriate readings for each class, complete all assignments on time and post 2 links to delicious each week.

Week 1: Saturday 8/31 What is Media? Culture? Gender roles? Introduction and discussion.
Week 2: Saturday 9/07 (class starts at 3pm) Ways of viewing--the gaze Discussion. Readings Due. Discussion session. Bring in media example for discussion Post 1 Due #passesbechdeltest
Week 3: Saturday 9/14 NO CLASS 
Week 4: Saturday 9/21 Signifying Gender: Femininity Discussion. Readings Due. Post 2 Due
Week 5: Saturday 9/28 Signifying Gender: Masculinity Discussion. Readings Due. 
Week 6: Saturday 10/5 Gender and Advertising Discussion. Readings Due.
Final project topics due.
Week 7: Saturday 10/12 Body Image Discussion. Readings Due. Post 3 Due
Week 8: Saturday 10/19 News Media and Ownership Discussion. Readings Due.
Final project proposals due.
Week 9: Saturday 10/26 Alternative Media -- response, identity and roles. Discussion. Readings Due.
Week 10: Saturday 11/2 Women and Movies Discussion. Readings Due. Post 4 Due
Week 11: Saturday 11/9 Independent, Documentary Film Discussion. Readings Due. (Draft) Bibliography due.
Week 12: Saturday 11/16 Media Activism, Art/New Media Discussion. Readings Due. Post 5 Due
Week 13: Saturday 11/21 Art/New Media Discussion. Presentation of Final Projects in progress.
Week 14: Saturday 11/30 NO CLASS J THANKSGIVING 

Week 15: Saturday 12/7 Presentation of Final Projects + papers due. – Group Critique
Week 16: Saturday 12/14 Presentation of Final Projects + papers due. – Group Critique

Week 17: Saturday 12/21 – TBD no class if all presentations are completed

 *Weekly presentations:
Present the work of a media artist, activist or leader who has used media to further address women’s issues, the lives of women and/or global awareness of women’s rights. A small group of students will present each week. Presentations should be organized, clear and engaging and should include a visual component in addition to a well prepared verbal presentation. These should be 7-10 minutes. The topics should be relevant to the classwork and should spur discussion within the classroom. Presentations must be posted to the blog. Every student will present once throughout the semester.

*Posts 1-5.
Students must develop well-edited and researched responses to readings and discussions in class. Each post will be specific to the topics covered in class at that time and will be explained during class. Students are responsible to write and edit these posts as well as illustrate them and successfully post them to the blog for discussion and critique in class.

*Final Project – Creating Your Own Media: A Cultural Intervention
Based on the discussions, readings and projects presented in class and on the blog, please create a short piece of media which focuses on a social or political issue to specifically address the role of media, technology, audience, gender, owners and media makers. Your project should address how media affects the lives of women and/or how women can be instrumental in solving or raising awareness. Your project must be published and somehow distributed to your audience.

Ultimately your project should:
1)    Be publically visible.
2)    Provide clear criticism of a specific media narrative or aspect of popular culture.
3)    Encourage its audience to shift their perspective and take social action.

These must also be published to the class blog and presented in class.

The assignment can take many forms:
-Essay with embedded images.
-Video- music, documentary, performance.
-Researched article or paper.
-Extensive slideshow with captions or narration (think NYTimes)
-Interactive Web Project/Site

*You must create a post on the blog for your final project. This will include a link to your project, a summary and explanation, images and or videos. You will present using/from your post - this will be much easier. ALL projects must be posted to the class blog and resource lists and summaries printed and handed in to me. Projects in print such as: papers, zines etc must be physically handed in to me. I have invited guests to attend our final presentations.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Classroom screenings

Project examples
12 year old launches a petition
Yellow Girls
Sluts Say Yes
POWER program
Past Patriarchy
Short Film - A Day
Comedy - women in Advertising
Fruit Punch - Zine
Audio Podcast - I am not my hair


Shirin Neshat:

A stranger in her city:

Boy I am - Sam Feder

Feminist Frequency 
kanye misogyny:


super hero:

Women Make Movies

Catherine Gund

WAM - Women, Action and the Media

Feminist Movie Critique
Feminist Frequency


Youtube - Advocacy
Street Harassment -
Rape -

Youth made/Independent documentary/Advocacy/Media Literacy

Kiri Davis

Coming out

Queer in the City - Youth made video for the Global Action Project

Byron Hurt

Byron Hurt-Beyond Beats to Rhymes

Barack and Curtis

"No Homo"

Media ownership/consolidation

Why Don't Women Have More Power

Rachel Maddow

Melissa Harris Perry

Reel Girls Media Consolidation

Citizen Journalism - For Neda

A Stranger in Her Own City

Mona at J Street 2011

Slideshow project:

Why Don't Women Have More Power

Rachel Maddow

Melissa Harris Perry

Body Image
34 x 25 x 36 mannequins pbs
on you tube
 wet dreams and false images:
stretch marks:
Dying to be thin - PBS
Kilbourne on Thinness

bell hooks
Cultural Criticism and Transformation


Spike Lee

john berger WAYS OF SEEING (episode two - female nude)

Important List of Terms


Ally: Any person or institution who understands how doing anti-homophobic work benefits them and their people, and then goes ahead and does that work. Being an ally is more active than being a friend.

Bisexuality: Sexual attraction to and/or behavior with both sexes.

Biological Sex refers to the physiological and anatomical characteristics of maleness and femaleness with which a person is born.

Gender Identity refers to one's psychological sense of oneself as a male or female.

Gender Role refers to the socially constructed and culturally specific behavior and expectations for women (femininity) and men (masculinity).

Coming out: The act of defining oneself as gay or lesbian. There are significant moments and incidents of "coming out" -- to family, religious community, neighbors, colleagues. Coming out also represents the daily, ongoing need to not be made invisible in a heterosexist society.

Dyke: Many lesbians self-identify as dyke. This is not a word all lesbians feel comfortable with. It is still a loaded term that is used in a derogatory way by homophobic people.

Fluid: A term suggesting that sexuality and gender are social constructs and that it is natural to feel a certain "fluidity" in sexual attraction and identity. Fluid refers to accepting the continuum of sexual orientation from gay to straight with every nuance in between.

Gay: Traditionally, the term gay has referred to men. It has come to include lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, transexuals, etc. The word came from the Gay Liberation movement.

Heterosexism: Believing heterosexual lifestyle is superior to other lifestyles; promoting heterosexual lifestyle.

Heterosexuality: Sexual attraction to and/or behavior with the other sex.

Homophobia: The fear, intolerance, mistreatment, and oppression of homosexuality, bisexuality, lesbian women, gay men. It is often used to express the mistreatment and oppression of gay people by individuals and/or institutions.

Homosexuality: Sexual attraction and/or behavior with the same sex. sexuality, lesbian women, gay men. It often used to express the mistreatment and oppression of gay people by individuals and/or institutions.

Lesbian: Gay woman. Most lesbians prefer the term lesbian because it gives gay women an identity independent from men. There is a growing diversity of lesbian lifestyle and culture. Many lesbians self-identify as dykes.

Outed: (As in, "They 'outed' her at the meeting.") When someone tells other people that another person is gay.

Partner: A term used to describe a sweetie, loved one, wife/husband, comrade-in-life, within the gay community. It is also a term straight people consciously use for their lovers/spouses as an act against hetereosexism.

Patriarchy is the root cause of sexist oppression. It is a system of oppression which values the work of men over that of women, which privileges male culture and men oriented roles and tasks over that of women and women oriented tasks. It is a system of oppression that elevates men into positions of power and decision-making while devaluing or diminishing the contribution of or role of women. **Taken from MXGM Definitions**

It is a system of oppression, which assumes and accepts heterosexual relationships as the norm and values those relationships at the expense of others.
Patriarchy, arguably the first system of oppression learned by everyone, intersects with other systems of oppression such as white supremacy, classism and heterosexism to oppress Black women and Black LGBT/Queer people.

Patriarchy is a political-social system that insists that males are inherently dominating, superior to everything and everyone deemed weak, especially females, and endowed with the right to dominate and rule over the weak and to maintain that dominance through various forms of psychological terrorism and violence.....Bell Hooks

Privilege: A resource or state of being that is only readily available t some people because of their social group membership.

Queer: A term, loved by some gay people, hated by others, that reflects inclusion of gay, straight, transexual, transgender, bisexual, and questioning people. Outside of the gay/lesbian community, queer is a derogatory term used by homophobic people.

Questioning: Being open to defining one's sexual orientation.

Racism is the belief that there are inherent differences in people's traits and capacities that are entirely due to their race, however defined, and that, as a consequence, racial discrimination (i.e. different treatment of those people, both socially and legally) is justified.

Racism is more than a matter of individual prejudice and scattered episodes of discrimination. There is no black racism because there is no centuries-old system of racialized subordination and discrimination designed by blacks to exclude whites from full participation in rights, privileges, and benefits of this society. Black racism would require not only a widely accepted racist ideology directed at whites but also the power to systematically exclude whites from opportunities and rewards in major economic, cultural, and political institutions. While there are Blacks with anti-white prejudices, and there are instances of Blacks discriminating against whites, these ….are not part of an entrenched structure of institutionalized racism that can be found in every part of this country **Taken from MXGM Definitions**

Right: A resource or state of being that everyone has equal access to, regardless of their social group membership.

Sexism: The cultural, institutional and individual set of beliefs and practices that privilege men, subordinate women, and denigrate values and practices associated with women. Sexism is more than a matter of individual prejudice and scattered episodes of discrimination. There is no female sexism because there is no centuries-old system of sexualized subordination and discrimination designed by women to exclude men from full participation in rights, privileges, and benefits of this society. Female sexism would require not only a widely accepted sexist ideology directed at men but also the power to systematically exclude men from opportunities and rewards in major economic, cultural, and political institutions. While there are women with anti-male prejudices, and there are instances of women discriminating against men, these ….are not part of an entrenched structure of institutionalized sexism that can be found in every part of this country. **Taken from MXGM Definitions**

Sexist oppression is any force or entity that limits the self-determination of women and girls. It is the exercise of male privilege (power and control), by individuals as well as the state and results in violence and abuse of women and girls. Sexist oppression is propagated by the state through policies and practices that adversely affect women. The result of these policies is the creation and expansion of an economic and social underclass of women who struggle to support their families while they are treated as expendable labor. **Taken from MXGM Definitions**

Sexual Orientation: Sexual orientation is the term people use to define what gender they are sexually attracted to. A person who has a sexual attraction to members of the opposite gender is called heterosexual (or straight), while someone who has a sexual attraction to members of the same gender is a homosexual person. Sexual orientation is a continuum, not a set of absolutely different categories. It is not known what determines a person's sexual orientation.

Social Power: Access to resources that enhance one's chances of getting what one needs in order to lead a comfortable, productive and safe life.

Transgender: This has become a catchword for transvestites, transexuals, female and male impersonators, drag queens, those without a specific gender label.

Transsexual: Changing to another gender: surgically, chemically, and/or aesthetically.

Gender non-conforming refers to people whose gender expressions do not match stereotypes of how girls/women or boys/men are "supposed to" look and act. In reality, most people in general don’t meet all gender expectations and stereotypes either; almost nobody is perfectly masculine or perfectly feminine. The reason gender nonconforming people are included in the list of transgender people is that there are some people who identify as transgender but are not transitioning gender, and do not consider themselves cross-dressers, androgynous, or gender queer. Gender non-conforming people have an increased need for safety while in the shelters.

Two-spirit: The definition of a two-spirit person varies across the Native American cultures in which they appear. In general, two-spirit people are born one sex, and end up fulfilling the roles assigned to both sexes, or other roles reserved for two-spirit people. Some people consider two-spirit a term that can refer to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, while others think it is best used only for transgender people.

Transphobia is the negative valuing, stereotyping and discriminatory treatment of individuals who do not conform in appearance and/or identity, to conventional conceptions of gender. Trans-identified (transgendered) individuals, lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and their supporters are typically the targets of transphobia.

Taken from:

additional resources for definitions and terms: