Overview of the Assignment
The purpose of this assignment is for you to evaluate how the media portrays women.
For this assignment, you will watch, analyze, and critique how women are portrayed on television programs. Choose a 30- or 60-minute program on (network, cable, Netflix, Amazon, some YouTube shows, etc.); programs may be dramas, sitcoms or reality shows. You can watch one specific episode, a grouping of episodes, or an entire program series. However, the specific episode(s) you evaluate must have had an original (first) airing date within the past 8 years.
Choose ONE of the options below:
- An episode (or, grouping of episodes) that features portrayals of menstruation, pregnancy, mothers, or motherhood.
- An episode (or, episodes) that features a main character who is a member of an “invisible” group: a lesbian woman, a bisexual woman, a woman of color (Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian woman, etc.), a transgender woman, or an older woman (over 50 years of age). A main character is the person around whom the episode’s plot revolves.
- An episode (or, grouping of episodes) that features a woman main character that has a physical (e.g., heart disease, HIV/AIDS) or psychological (e.g., depression, eating disorder) health problem. For this option, the program or episode must be about the main characters health problem.
For the option you choose, your paper needs to include the following:
- (5 points) State the name of the television show, the episode(s) air date (when it was first shown), and channel. Note the type of show: drama, sitcom or reality show.
- (5 points) Describe the episode(s) with the assumption that your reader has never viewed the episode(s).
- (5 points) REVIEW: How is the woman (or women) who is the focus of your paper (e.g., an Asian main character or woman with HIV) portrayed in the episode(s)? Use examples from the episode(s) to illustrate your description.
- (4 points) Is the portrayal of the woman (or women) who is the focus of your paper consistent with the factual information you learned from class (text or lecture or videos)? Describe how the portrayal is and/or is not consistent with facts, again using examples to illustrate your points.
- (4 points) Who do you think is the intended audience for the program? How do you know?
- Discuss anything else you think is important to the analysis of your episode(s).
- (7 points) What is the meaning and significance of the way the woman (or women) was portrayed in the episode(s) you analyzed? Taking the entire episode(s) into account, were there any messages you felt were being communicated to the viewer through how the woman (or women) was portrayed?
- (6 points) Did the way the woman (or women) was portrayed make you feel any particular emotions (e.g., fear, guilt, pride); do you think the episode(s) was supposed to make you feel these emotions? Why?
- Discuss anything else you think is important to the critique of your episode(s) – that is, about the meaning and importance of the portrayal of the woman.
- (5 points) What are your thoughts/opinions about what you learned?
7 points for linking your analysis/critique to the material covered in the texts and lecture. To earn full points you need to apply the concepts, not just name them.
2 points for formatting, grammar/spelling, organization, and overall quality
Guidelines for the assignment
To earn the highest possible score, be sure to do the following:
- Address points #1-6 above.
- Write your paper in numbered format.
- Link your analysis to material covered in the texts and lecture. The best papers will give considerable attention to the Analysis and Critique components (#4 & #5).
- Be thoughtful, organized, have good sentence and paragraph structure, and be free of punctuation and spelling errors.
- For this paper, you do not need a separate introduction or conclusion section of the paper.
Formatting for the assignment Papers should be:
- 2-4 pages in length (maximum 5 pages)
- Double-spaced, 12 point font with 1-inch margins on all sides
- Include your Name, PID, and the Option you chose (1 = Menstruation/Pregnancy/Motherhood, 2 = Invisible Women-What Type; 3 = Physical/Psychological Health Problems) at the top of your paper. This part should be single-spaced.
- Upload your assignment to the D2L class website ASSIGNMENT 3 dropbox. Papers may only be submitted in a different way with permission of the instructor.
- A reference page is not needed unless you are citing information from a source other than lecture or the textbook.
Some possible episodes/programs – feel free to choose something different. If you have questions – please ask!
Modern Family (ABC), Season 3, Episode 17 (“Leap Day”)
16 and Pregnant (MTV)
Hot in Cleveland (TVLand) – “Elka Ostrovsky”
Veep (HBO) – “Selina Meyer” (I don’t know Meyer’s age, but Louis-Dreyfus – who plays Meyer – is 50+) Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
WOMAN OF COLOR
How to Get Away with Murder (ABC) – “Annalise Keating”
Scandal (ABC) – “Kerry Washington”
Modern Family (ABC) – “Gloria”
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) – “Callie Torres”
Once Upon A Time (ABC) – “Regina”
The Mindy Project (now HULU) – “Mindy Lahiri”
Fresh Off the Boat (ABC) – “Jessica Huang”
Insecure (HBO) – “Issa Dee”
Orange is the New Black (Netflix) – “Sophia Burset”
New Girls on the Block (Discovery Life)
Homeland (Showtime) – “Carrie Mathison” (bipolar disorder)
The Bridge (FX) – “Sonya Cross” (Asperger’s syndrome)
Parenthood (NBC) – “Kristina Braverman” (breast cancer)
LESBIAN or BISEXUAL
Master of None (Netflix), Season 2, Episode 8/Thanksgiving – “Denise”
Marvel’s Runaways (Hulu) – “Karolina Dean”
Broad City (Comedy Central), Season 2, Episode 9/Coat Check – “Ilana Glazer”