Feb 222010
 
Authors: Rachel Childs

The concept that pop culture has broad implications for the types of media society consumes is not a new one.

Critics constantly analyze the question of which pop diva has been more sexualized, Britney or Madonna?

They pose theories in articles in publications like Vogue and Cosmopolitan about what Lady Gaga’s tone down of her normally provocative image meant when she met Queen Elizabeth.

There’s no shortage of examples.

But one of the things that is not addressed so vehemently is how to educate media consumers on how to watch and read critically to reduce the negative effects of the constant messages on TV and in magazines –– which are often overtly sexual and violent.

Ariela Canizal, the resident director for Parmelee Hall, tried to do just that Monday night in a presentation to a number of hall residents from Durward who participated in a new campus program that aims to educate students on a variety of social issues.

“Be conscious of what you’re reading and what you’re seeing,” Canizal told the students during the presentation.
The Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE) office presented “Scene It: Pop Culture Social Justice Edition,” a discussion on pop culture’s role in society and its evolution for its Rams Engaging in Active Leadership (REAL) program.

The REAL initiative is a program with advancement opportunities for members, who can move up a level in the program for every five workshops they attend and eight hours of community service they do. Other workshops have included instructional sessions on wildlife survival, getting a job and improving memory.

SLiCE chooses campus community members who are experts in the respective topic to host the presentations for the REAL program.

Residents of Durward Hall’s 9th floor, all of whom are members of REAL, attended Wednesday night’s workshop in the Durrel Center’s Red Carpet Room.

“They really make you think,” said freshman Regan Brown, who is working on her second level in REAL.

Canizal and Campus Education Director Stephanie Beamer created the presentation after being approached by SLiCE.
“We both really liked pop culture,” Canizal said about why they chose the topic.

Attendants watched a number of music videos on YouTube that showed prominent pop stars like Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus in their infamous sexualized manner to form objective opinions about the images.

The purpose of the event was to inform students on how to judge what they consume before basing any important decisions on them.

“I don’t think we’re as fazed by this stuff because we grew up with it,” said first year REAL participant Amanda Marshall.

The REAL program’s next presentation on Thursday will examine images of vampirism in media. It is located in the Lory Student Center room 220 at 5 p.m.

Staff writer Rachel Childs can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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