Academic journal article Journalism History

"Warning: The Media May Be Hazardous to Your Health"

Academic journal article Journalism History

"Warning: The Media May Be Hazardous to Your Health"

Article excerpt

"Warning: The Media May Be Hazardous to Your Health." Santa Cruz, Calif.: Media Watch, 1990, 36-minute VHS tape. Purchase $155. Web site: www.mediawatch.com.

Media Watch was founded in 1984 by Ann J. Simonton. The goal of the organization is to educate viewers about degrading stereotypes in the media. The organization takes both an educational and an activist role in informing media consumers about the racist, sexist, and violent images prevalent in the media. Simonton, a model for eleven years, now travels the lecture circuit alerting audiences to the hate that is often directed towards women in mainstream media.

"Warning" is a compilation of photographic and video images that have been found in mainstream media and pornographic magazines. The collage, at times shocking, presents a strong case that women are objectified in ads, music videos, and programming with the sole purpose of selling products. The video illustrates the media practice of dehumanizing women by portraying them as objects. It shows both subtle and overt images of violence against women that are found in all forms of media.

Simonton tells viewers why she believes these images are harmful. Further, she describes groups that are particularly singled out for abuse-namely women of color and children-by the way they are portrayed. The final section of the tape shows the actions that Media Watch has taken in the past to protest against corporations that perpetuate the practice of using stereotypic images. According to information on the Media Watch website, the organization no longer engages in the type of high-profile protests shown at the end of the video. …

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