YouTube as Case Study: Analysis of Gendered Representations in Video

By Eudey, Betsy | Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Women's Studies Resources, Winter 2008 | Go to article overview

YouTube as Case Study: Analysis of Gendered Representations in Video


Eudey, Betsy, Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Women's Studies Resources


I have often required students to engage in critique of television shows, commercials, movies, and music videos as a means of developing their critical skills and demonstrating their understanding of the ways in which sex and gender are represented in popular culture. Such an assignment can lead to valuable consideration of the social construction of gender; the power of popular media in reinforcing, challenging, or creating notions of sex and gender; and the ways in which an audience can support or reject particular representations.

Although there have been many benefits to such assignments, there were several problems that limited successful completion. First, students who chose a lengthy program or movie often didn't have the ability to engage in detailed critique of the full range of issues present. Second, students often evaluated programs or ads viewed in real time, and found it challenging to accurately describe and critique a clip viewed only once. Third, many students found their program choices were limited because of their busy schedules. Finally, I was often unable to assess the quality of a student's critique if I wasn't familiar with the source material.

In my Fall 2007 section of a course entitled Society and Gender, I again had students engage in a critique of filmic media, but I limited their choice of artifacts to ones posted to YouTube. For the assignment, I asked students to select any YouTube video that they felt had something interesting to say/show regarding gender and/or sex. In the written report, they were to provide the URL link to the video, briefly describe the content of the video, and then engage in a gendered analysis, drawing upon media analysis tools and information about the social construction of gender they had learned in the course. …

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