Sexual Rhetoric: Media Perspectives on Sexuality, Gender, and Identity

Sexual Rhetoric: Media Perspectives on Sexuality, Gender, and Identity

Sexual Rhetoric: Media Perspectives on Sexuality, Gender, and Identity

Sexual Rhetoric: Media Perspectives on Sexuality, Gender, and Identity

Synopsis

This work explores, through case studies and critical analyses, how media depictions affect the social construction of gender, sexuality, and identity. Through a combination of historical and contemporary topics, scholars examine the stereotypical portrayal of women and men and the contexts within which these stereotypes are illustrated. The studies also discuss the sociopolitical implications of symbols and images associated with these gender representations. Concrete references to particular media support both the methodological and theoretical approaches of the different essays. These quantitative and qualitative studies expose the myriad ways in which the media intervenes in our perception of popular culture.

Excerpt

Now more than ever, our senses are titillated and saturated by myriad media. The speed at which images are colliding with our senses accelerates with each passing innovation and invention. At times, it seems we are lost within the morass of messages, unable to interpret their meaning to our lives.

Richard A. Lanham in The Electronic Word (1993) characterizes this state as being on "the edge of chaos," an inevitable consequence resulting from life within the Information Age. Importantly, he notes, this epoch is defined not just by the plethora of media and information sources within it but by the accompanying burgeoning of voices within the discourse. Such expanding knowledge borders bring new participants into the conversation and such variety also brings uncertainty. We cannot assume that what we once knew to be true about our world is still true today.

This combination of both opportunity and angst accompanying today's media messages offers increasingly rich fields of exploration for students of the media, as well as those who study society. The two are inextricably intertwined. But the study of the media cannot be limited to an examination of the technology surrounding it and enabling it, although such a view is tempting. However, to look simply at the technical trappings is to look too simply at the world.

Rhetorical interpretations offer potentially invaluable ways of looking more fully at this media world that surrounds us. Rhetoric, defined here as a way of . . .

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