One of the media theories that we would like to relate and incorporate to our project was the article of gay representation in society. We really enjoyed this media analysis in Resolution because it was not from a commercial news perspective. In this article is stressed the point of small filmmakers asserting their agency against big corporations and broadcasting stations. Two questions were addressed in this article:
1. What images would I like to see more of in the world?
2. Face the representational problems of society today and in the ways that affect your daily life.
We think these two fundamentals presented in the article will help us to develop of a critical theory of our own using the theories in this article as a reference. We like how this article highlights the under representation of gay media and experimental filmmaking in today’s television and how we can take a stand against these limiting constraints. This theory will be vital in establishing our media plan of action.
Paulo Freire’s discussion in “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” can certainly be applied to our project. He discusses the “dehumanizing” process that oppressors of the world have wrought upon the “oppressed”, and how it is the oppressed’s job to re-establish and restore the humanity not only in themselves, but also in the oppressors. The oppressed have been made and conditioned to be completely dependent on the oppressors, both materially and emotionally. In other words, the oppressors have imposed onto the oppressed a “colonized mentality”, in which the oppressed feel an “irresistible attraction towards the oppressors and their way of life”, to the point in which this way of life becomes an “aspiration” of theirs (62). However, it is when the oppressed “find the oppressor out” and “become involved in the organized struggle for their liberation that they begin to believe in themselves” (65). They will find the oppressor “out” and build confidence and knowledge within themselves through the process of engaging in “critical and liberating dialogue” (66). The pop music scene, especially in the past five to ten years, has opened itself up, acted as a stage for the LGBT community, and given it a voice to express itself and raise popular awareness about issues pertaining to the community. In recent years, there have been a large number of popular figures and musicians who have openly expressed and showed support for the LGBT community and a slew of LGBT-related causes and initiatives to change perceptions about LGBT people and to obtain equal rights for everyone. This large show of recent popular support for LGBT people and their many causes (repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and repealing large chunks of the “Defense of Marriage Act”, to name a couple) within popular music and pop culture would have certainly been seen as “counter-cultural” and anti-mainstream not too long ago. Of course, however, a slew of popular musicians such as Lady Gaga, Macklemore, Nicki Minaj, and Katy Perry have worked to change previously negative perceptions and attitudes of LGBT people through their very vocal support of the community through their music and actions, and their great outspokenness, acknowledgment, and open appreciation of their very large LGBT fanbases. While it is interesting to wonder why exactly these popular musicians and artists have decided to be so vocal about, and pay so much attention to the LGBT community, the fact of the matter is that they have helped to greatly boost awareness and acceptance of LGBT people and to change people’s attitudes. Additionally, they act as models of support and self-acceptance for many LGBT youth. Perhaps these pop stars have indeed helped LGBT people to not only “find the oppressor out”, but to have a great impact on the oppressor’s attitudes and perceptions, in a positive way.
Additionally, Gregg Bordowitz discusses the concept of the “general public”, which he describes as “a fiction established to organize consumers around purchasing products”, and that anyone “who may not fit the image of what advertisers want television viewers to imagine as the kind of people who want a particular product is excluded from the field of representation.” In other words, if one’s overall values, lifestyle, personal opinions, and identity are in opposition to the traditional norms, expectations, and perspectives of the dominant order and ideology, one will be largely exempt from advertisers’ primary target audience. Again, it has been interesting to watch these mega pop stars in recent years pander to, and market themselves and many of their products to the LGBT community. This has certainly worked to pull LGBT people and their values, lifestyle, and identity into a more acceptable light from the mainstream’s point of view. LGBT people and their culture are increasingly becoming assimilated into the “general public”, and through their music, videos, actions, openly acknowledging and expressing support for their LGBT fanbases, and more, numerous pop stars have been able to help make this more and more of a reality.
“Video for Change” by Gillian Caldwell can relate to our topic in the way that music videos play a role in advocacy. The author documents their own story, and how they were able to use video and film to enact social difference. Caldwell talks about her own piece, Bought and Sold : An Investigative Documentary About the International Trade in Women, which proved to be effective as a visual medium. According to Caldwell, “We recognized that video could elicit powerful emotional impact, connecting viewers to personal stories. It can illustrate stark visual contrasts and provide direct visual evidence of abuses. It can be a vehicle for building coalitions with other groups working on an issue. It can reach a wide range of people since it does not require literacy to convey information,” (2). The use of pathos and strong visuals draws people in and connects them to the topic. In this digital age that we live in, presenting the audience with more visuals and less words has proven to be a very efficient method in gathering attention.
Music videos today tackle deep topics, like sexuality, including people coming to terms with their gay identities. The music video for Katy Perry’s “Firework”, for example, showcases disenfranchised youth. The song, which focuses on empowering those who feel cheated by today’s social system, calls for a revolt of the oppressed. One of the people in the video, a gay male, sits on the sidelines at a nightclub, self conscious and held back by his sexual identity. As the video progresses and Perry belts out “Baby, you’re a firework!”, we see the young man realizing his true potential. The video ends with him standing up, walking up to, and kissing another young man at the nightclub. The video has reached over 400 million people on Youtube alone, highlighting the power that these videos with positive messages send to the general public.