The Effects of Mass Media Images and their Messages on Adolescent Females

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
The Effects of Mass Media Images and their Messages on Adolescent Females
Physical Description:
Project in lieu of thesis
Language:
English
Creator:
Greer, Ashley Dawn
Publisher:
College of Fine Arts; University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla
Publication Date:

Notes

Abstract:
“The Effects of Mass Media Images and their Messages on Adolescent Females” looks at messages about “being female” that are perpetuated by various mass media proliferated images, and how those messages may affect adolescent females’ sense of self-value and well-being. My study attempts to answer the questions, “In what ways do stereotypical, sexualized mediaproliferated images of females as youthful, slim, perfect, and sexualized effect adolescent females?” and “In what ways have I experienced and come to understand these kinds of images?” I examine scholarly research on the topics of media messages and female adolescent health and wellness; and I share my own experiences and insights as a young female raised in a media-saturated, beauty-focused environment. A review of research on media influences on female adolescent development indicates concerns about the negative impact of stereotypical images of females in relation to female self-image and sexuality. My own experiences confirm such concerns. My blog share my own experiences of images and inquiries about such images (http://30daysofmediamessages.blogspot.com). My Scoop.it site is an archive of studies I have collected and annotated concerning this topic http://www.scoop.it/t/ashley-s-art-educationscoops# curate. I also took original images about and for females from my daily life, images that raise issues also noted in research about the impact of images on females’ sense of self-worth. My Pinterest board collection of these problematic images of and about females that I have encountered over the past 2 months is found at http://pinterest.com/ashleydawngreer/visualculture- media-messages-girl-world-uf-capsto/. Based on these images and my research, I created a Mashup video, available at (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1o5MYe90lY). I also included some of these images on my website created for this project. My website serves as a central site and repository to share my research and link to all of these sites (http://mediamessagesandyoungfemales.webs.com). This capstone paper describes the research project, procedures I followed, and my findings, reflections, and recommendations.
General Note:
Art Education terminal project

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID:
AA00017131:00001


This item is only available as the following downloads:


Full Text

PAGE 1

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 1 THE EFFECTS OF MASS MEDIA IMAGES AND THEIR MESSAGES ON ADOLESCENT FEMALES By ASHLEY DAWN GREER A CAPSTONE PROJECT PRESENTED TO THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE O F MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013

PAGE 2

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 2

PAGE 3

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 3 Table of Contents Abstract """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""" # Introduction """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" "" $ Statement of the Problem """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"" % Purpose or Goals of the Study """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""" & Rationale and Significance of the Study """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""" & Assumptions """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""""""" & Definitions of Terms """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""" Limitations of the Study """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """" () Li terature Review """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""" () Methodology """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""""""" *) Data Collection Procedures and Instrumentation """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""" *( Data Analysis Procedures """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" ** Creative Products and So cial Media Utilization """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""" ** Limitations """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""""""" *+ Findings and Discussion """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""" *+ Final Reflections """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""" +, References """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" "" ,( Lis t of Figures """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""""" ,# Biography: Ashley Greer """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""" ,$

PAGE 4

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 4 Summary of Capstone Project Presented to the College of Fine Arts of the University of Florida In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degre e of Master of Arts THE EFFECTS OF MASS MEDIA IMAGES AND THEIR MESSAGES ON ADOLESCENT FEMALES By Ashley Greer April 2013 Committee Chair: Elizabeth Delacruz Committee Member: Jodi Kushins Major: Art Education

PAGE 5

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 5 Abstract "The Effects of Mass M edia Images and their Messages on Adolescent Females" looks at messages about "being female" that are perpetuated by various mass media proliferated images and how those messages may affect adolescent females sense of self value and well being My study attempts to answer the questions, "In what ways do stereotypical, sexualized media proliferated images of females as youthful, slim, perfect, and sexualized effect adolescent females?" and "In what ways have I experienced and come to understand these kinds of images ?" I examine scholarly research on the topics of media messages and female adolescent health and wellness ; and I share my own experiences and insights as a young female raised in a media saturated, beauty focused environment. A review of research on media influences on female adolescent development indicates concerns about the negative impact of stereotypical images of females in relation to female self image and sexualit y My own experiences confirm such concerns M y blog share my own experience s of images and inquiries about such images ( http://30daysofmediamessages.blogspot.com ). M y Scoop.it site is an archive of studies I have collected and annotated concerning this topic http://www.scoop.it/t/ashley s art education scoops#curate I also took or i ginal images about and for females from my daily life, images that raise issues also noted in research about the im pact of images on females' sense of self worth. My Pinterest board collection of these problematic images of and about females that I have encountered over the past 2 months is found at http://pinterest.com/ashleydawngreer/visual culture media messages girl world uf capsto/ Based on these images and my research, I created a Mashup video, available at ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1o5MYe90lY ). I also included some of these images on m y website created for this project. My website serves as a central site and repository to share my research and link to all of these sites

PAGE 6

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 6 ( http:// mediamessagesandyoungfemales.webs.com ). This capstone paper descri bes the research project, procedures I followed, and my findings, reflections and recommendations Introduction "The Effects of Media Messages o n Young Adolescent Females" looks at mass media messages perpetuated by images proliferated in various media outlets and how those messages may affect young adolescent females. As a mentor to youth and adolescents in my community, I have observed fir st hand how certain kinds of images in visual culture perpetuate particular feelings and behaviors directly related to aspects of female life such as self image self value and sexuality. The availability and proliferation of images in digital media exaggera tes this effect. It is my belief that the images in everyday visual culture ha ve an enormous impact on the development of female adolescen ts today's society. I first noticed this impact in a big way when I was responsible for a group of adolescent (11 15 years old) girls on a youth retreat down to the beach. It was a trip sponsored by the church, so I had already had a discussion with the group about dressing modestly (one piece swimsuits, t shirts, no short shorts) and also about making sure our attitude s and behaviors represented our church, no matter what other youth groups were wearing or doing. I was surprised at the responses I received, th ese girl s wanted to wear their bikinis, tank tops, and short shorts to the beach "because it would be hot". It w as obvious to me the temperature had nothing to do with it, but these girls wanted to look good for the thousands of other adolescents and teens that would be on this trip. I was firm in my decision, however, when we arrived at the beach there were numerou s occasions where we all had to wait while I sent a girl back in the hotel to change into something more appropriate'. I couldn't believe what a big deal they were making about the dress code implemented for a Christian teen conference! I was also shocked by the

PAGE 7

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 7 amount of time most of these girls wanted to take to primp' in the mornings before worship. I thought back to when I was their age and I could not remember being that concerned with getting dolled up in the morning, especially at the beach! Lookin g back now, I realize I probably was a terrible example for these young girls As the adult in charge I was getting up even earlier in the morning to fix my hair and makeup before breakfast. Besides the impact I have observed during my time as a mentor to youth and adolescent females in my community I have also become more aware of the impact that visual culture and multi media messages have had on me personally. As a female in my mid to late twenties, I have grown up in a world where I am constantly bomb arded with messages about what it means to be female in today's society. Working eight years in the beauty industry intensified my exposure to these messages, much like the growth of technology and media availability have intensified these messages to yout h in today's world. My research on images and their messages ha s given me new insight to what effect these messages have had on me personally. In this Capstone Research project, I offer a visual and narrat ive account of my own experiences of media messages about being female. My review of relevant research on media messages and female 's sense of self value allows me to develop insights that further inform my autobiographical stories and make sense of them. Statement of the Problem Images in v isual culture and mass media hugely affect adolescent culture Advancements in media technolog ies ha ve expanded enormously the number of images appearing in media devices, sites, and experiences available A dolescents have greater access to the se media and the images th ey carry than ever before Ultimately, I argue here that a media literate populace should result in a more responsive and responsible media industry and a culture that nurtures healthy

PAGE 8

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 8 lifestyles Absent such responsibilities on the part of industries and the culture at large, it remains our responsibility as adults, educators, and parents to educate young people about how to be critical consumers of popular images found within mass media. Purpose or Goals of the Study My study examine s contemporary resear ch that looks at effects on adolescent female development of images commonly found in mass media. By examining studies on the extent to which peer/media/cultural influence effects female adolescent development, I hope to establish a need for engaging youth in understanding and navigating these effects through media literacy programs. It is my desire that other educators will be able to use my research as a springboard for such engagements in their classrooms Rationale and Significance of the Study This s tudy is needed to establish the importance of media literacy in the classroom It is important to recognize that contemporary media proliferated images are an important source of influence in young peoples' lives especially females and that it is the res ponsibility of adults to help young people become knowledgeable users of the media that surrounds them. Assumptions It is my assumption that in today's society, an adolescent female s current and emerging sense of self is strongly affected by the visual culture and media they are exposed to. I believe that a comprehensive media literacy program in schools would result in more responsible media consumption and an all around healthier adolescent female community.

PAGE 9

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 9 Definition s of Terms Visuality: Sidney Wal ker, author of "Artmaking in an Age of Visual Culture: Vision and Visuality", defines visuality as "the sum of discourses that inform ho w we see" (Walker, 2004, p. 74). Visuality refers to the "socialization of vision", which i s a network of cultural meani ngs generated from various discourses that shape the social practices of vision (Walker, 2004, p. 75). Interstanding: In "Wrestling with Angels, Searching for Ghosts: Toward a Critical Pedagogy of Visual Culture", art educator Kevin Tavin introduces the t erm "Interstanding" or the process of "operating on and through theory in order to set yourself and the world in question" (Tavin, 2004, p. 3). Interstanding allows stu dents to critique pop culture to (re) construct meaning and develop agen cy for promoting social justice and encourages multiple and contradictory interpretations of popular culture that refuse a static notion of truth (Tavin, 2004). Media Literacy : Media literacy is defined as "the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and communicate messages in a variety of forms" (Hobbs, 1997, p. 7) New media literacies "equip young people with the social skills and cultural competencies required to become full participants in an emergent media landscape and raise public understanding about what it means to be literate in a globally interconnected, multicultural world" (Delacruz, 2009). ( See also Project New Media Literacies, n. d., ¦ 1 cited in Delacruz, 2009 ). Such literacies "involve social skills developed through collaboration and networking. These skil ls build on the foundation of traditional literacy, research skills, technical skills, and critical analysis skills taught in the classroom," and include behaviors such as "play, performance, simulation, appropriation, multitasking, distributed cognition, judgment, transmedia navigation, networking, and negotiation" (Delacruz, 2009). ( See also Jenkins, et al., 2007, pp, 3 4 cited in Delacruz, 2009 )

PAGE 10

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 10 Visual Culture: In "Wrestling With Angels, Searching for Ghosts: Toward a Critical Pedagogy of Visual Cultur e" Kevin Tavin describes visual culture as a "field of study that analyzes and interprets how visual experiences are constructed within social systems, practices, and structures" (Tavin, 2004, p. 1). Adolescence : The Encyclopedia of Psychology defines adol escence as a transitory period, during which an individual is experiencing a considerable amount of change in regard to his or her individual and contextual domains (Lerner, R. M., Boyd, M. J., & Du, D., 2010). Adolescence may be defined as the period in l ife when most of a person 's biological, cognitive, psychological and social characteristics are changing in an interrelated manner from what is considered childlike to what is considered adult like (Lerner, R. M ., Boyd, M. J., &Du, D., 2010). Limitations of the Study Although research findings substantiate that media plays a role in diverse facets of at risk behavior and adjustment in the area s of violence and substance abuse, these areas are outside the scope of this study. Also, while media messages hav e an impact on both male and female adolescents, for this study I focu sed mainly on girls. Finally, this study was intended to set up and establish a need for media literacy education in the classroom. Specific media l iteracy curricular units of study a l ogical next step, are beyond the specific scope of my research. Literature Review The Effects of Visual Culture and Media Technology on Adolescent Development Advertising across various industries and media outlets is an important area where images and the ir meaning s are intentionally shaped to create both a sense of desire and a sense of

PAGE 11

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 11 void in individuals, thus spurring them to buy particular products to address those desires and sense of void Television and reality shows create illusions about how othe rs may live. Even music is a means of communicating messages about life to a mass audience. All of these forms of communication create meaning. With the mass media becoming a major source from which the current young people in US society gets daily informa tion concerning products, life stories, and entertainment, it is wise to think critically about the messages they are conveying to us. This study is aimed to prospectively analyze published research that examines the role of media influences in young adole scent females in the areas of self image self esteem and sexuality What is Visual Culture? Developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky believed that in the process of development the child not only masters the items of cultural experience but the habits a nd forms of cultural behavior and the cultural methods of reasoning (John Steiner, n.d.). Current scholars would recognize that Vygotsky is talking in part about popular or everyday visual culture. Art educator Sydney Walker observes that v isual c ulture ha s a huge impact on how students develop artistically and how they learn to "see", that is, how they develop their visuality or "socialization of vis ion" (Walker, 2004, p. 75). How young people see things impacts how they understand themselves and others T hus, in this view, visual culture has a direct impact on how adolescents develop views on topics that they are exposed to via media and technology. In "Wrestling With Angels, Searching for Ghosts: Toward a Critical Pedagogy of Visual Culture" art educator Kevin Tavin elaborates and extends this thesis to a need for change in art education According to Tavin, visual culture as a "field of study that analyzes and interprets how visual experiences are constructed within social systems, practices, and structur es" (Tavin, 2004, p.1). Tavin claims that an art education based "solely on creative self expression ideologies, or studying art works

PAGE 12

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 12 exclusively from the museum realm, ignores the way that children and youth construct their ever changing identities thr ough popular culture" (Tavin, 2004, p. 1). Returning to Vygotsky's views, popular visual culture is form of cultural behavior and a primary vehicle through which individuals are socialized to see in particular ways, construct particular meanings about the nature of life, and learn about themselves and others. I believe that what I refer to as the mass media in this study ( as proliferated in advertising, TV, music fashion, and entertainment industries etc. ) are significant aspects of one's everyday visual culture and that it has a powerful impact on one 's cultural learning. Following Tavin's and Walker's advice, all of this necessitates changes in how art education is envisioned and taught. Self Image and Self Esteem Researchers and mental health clinicia ns have long agreed that contemporary influences of the media are associat ed with the development of self esteem in young females (Polce Lynch, Myers, Kliewer & Kilmartin, 2001). The study "The Contribution of Peer and Media Influences to the Development o f Body Satisfaction and Self Esteem in Young Girls: A Prospective Study" found that as earl y as school entry, girls appear to already live in a culture in which peers and the media transmit the thin ideal in a way that negatively influences the ir developme nt of body image and self esteem (Dohnt & Tiggemann 2006). Some researchers go so far as to link these pressures with life threatening eating disorders in girls, including anorexia. Anorexia as a disease has long been theorized as an act of resistance agai nst both controlling parents and the pressures of Western culture to be perfect, to be thin, and to be in control (Lewis, 2012) ( See also Bordo, 1993 cited in Lewis, 2012 ). Piphers (1994, 1996) clinical work led her to scrutinize how media set unrealistic expectations of girls' physical appearance (Polce Lynch et al., 2001). This observation has been supported by media theorists and researchers, who also noted a recent trend

PAGE 13

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 13 toward setting unrealistic expectations for boys (Polce Lynch et al., 2001). (See also Kilbourne, 1996, cited in Polce Lynch et al., 2001). Sexuality A special report by CNN Toddlers and Tiaras' and Sexualizing 3 Year Olds" cites a February 2007 report from the American Psychological Association that found that girls' exposure to t he hyper sexualized media content can negatively impact their cognitive and emotional development; is strongly associated with eating disorders, low self esteem and depression; leads to fewer girls pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and m athematics; and causes diminished sexual health" (Henson, 2011, para 7). This trend continues into adolescence. According to the study "Sexual Messages in Teen's Favorite Prime Time Television Programs", the television shows teens watch most frequently dur ing prime time (8 pm to 11 pm EST) are full of talk about and depictions of sexual activity (Cope Farrar & Kunkel, 2002). (See Figure 1 ) Figure 1 : Magazine cover featuring teen show The Vampire Diaries.

PAGE 14

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 14 The idea of sexual risks or responsibility is almost never talked about or shown and talk about or depictions of needi ng to wait or taking precautions occur in only about 5% of scenes portraying sexual behaviors (Cope Farrar & Kunkel, 2002). Research has also found that talk shows that frequently feature dysfunctional couples, parent child relations, marital relations and infidelity, other sexual relations, and sexual themes a re another favorite television genre of teen audiences (Greenberg & Smith, 2002). Music and music videos reinforce these negative messages for teens Music and music videos popular with teens continu e to be primarily about sex and sexuality, and become an especially important part of older teens media diets as they use the sounds and images to enhance their moods and learn more about themselves a nd youth culture (Arnett, 2002). Similar to TV shows and music videos, m agazines are an important part of most teen girls daily media diets. Analyses of teen girl magazines such as Seventeen and Teen reveal that they are designed primarily to tell girls that their most important function in life is to become se xually attractive enough to catch a desirable male (Peirce, 1995). The article "From Just the Facts' to Downright Salacious': Teens' an d Women's Magazine Coverage of Sex and Sexual Health" observes that the same message (e.g., "What's your lovemaking pro file?" or "Perfect pickup lines: Never again let a guy get away because you can't think of anything to say.") is repeated even more explicitly in the women's magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Mademoiselle which many middle and late teen girls r ead (Walsh Childers, Goff offer & Ringer Lepre, 2002). One of the most comprehensive studies of teen girls' and women's magazines ever done shows that these magazines are indeed full of information about sexuality (Walsh Childers, Goffhoffer & Ringer Lepre 2002). (See Figure 2.)

PAGE 15

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 15 The advertising industry further reinforces unhealthy attitudes and expectations. Tallim's study "Sexualized Images in Advertising" describes that while it is not unusual in the fashion industry to see very young models setting st andards of beauty, what is new is the emergence of highly eroticized portrayals of young women, as well as young men (Tallim, 2003). (See Figure 3.) With advertising decisions like these come negative consequences such as the common practice of objec tifyin g and degrading women, and contributing to a negative and unhealthy self image amongst young girls. As Tall im observes, "increased exposure to unrealistic sexualized role models for both boys and girls affect s the self esteem, body image, and expectation s Figure 2 : Teen magazine YM (Young and Modern) cover advertises conte nts such as "357 Ways to Look Totally Hot", "Friends with Benefits", and how to "Get Sexy Hair".

PAGE 16

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 16 regarding the appearance and behavior of the oppo site sex" (Tallim, 2003, p. 7). Thus far, this review has been concerned with ideas about female body image and sexualization which I have positioned as different from healthy human sexuality The Ameri can Psychological Association observes that there are several components to sexualization, which set it apart from healthy sexuality. Sexualization occurs when: A person's value comes only from his or her sexual appeal or behavi or, to the exclusion of othe r characteristics; A person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness (narrowly defined) with being sexy; A person is sexually objectified that is, made into a thing for others' sexual use, rather than seen as a person with the capacity fo r independent action and decision making ; Figure 3 : Image from hi gh fashion magazine spread portraying highly eroticized young girl

PAGE 17

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 17 and/or sexuality is inappropriately imposed upon a person. (Zurbriggen, 2007). Media Literacy I have argued in my introduction that media literacy is needed in response to the aforementioned issues. Media literac y is defined as "the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and communicate messages in a variety of forms" (Hobbs, 1997, p. 7). Across the country, local groups are working in schools and community centers teaching youth and parents to be more critical medi a consumers by showing them that media messages are constructed and can be deconstructed to uncover their assumptions and hidden values; messages are produced within economic, social, and political contexts; and that they can create media themselves (Thoma n, 1998). So far, although more research is needed, evaluation studies have shown that children who are taught such concepts are less susceptible to the negative effects of subsequent media use (e.g., Austin & Johnson, 1997). The American Academy of Pediat ricians issued policy statements on media effects, including sexuality and contraception, and has embraced media literacy as an important strategy for decreasing the negative effects of the media on youth (AAP, 1995). Their "Media Matters" campaign include s a media use inventory, which pediatricians are encouraged to have their young patients fill out and discuss with their parents. Increasing media literacy among parents and children will require significant resources to ensure that all who need it, get it What t his M eans for Art Education My arguments here are that a critical media literacy oriented visual culture approach in art education is needed to address the powerful influence of media on young people today. Two art educators in particular have su ggested ways to engage. In "Wrestling with Angels, Searching for Ghosts: Toward a Critical Pedagogy of Visual Culture", art educator Kevin Tavin describes

PAGE 18

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 18 one way to do this. He introduces the term "Interstanding" or the process of "operating on and throug h theory in order to set yourself and the world in question" (Tavin, 2004, p. 3). Interstanding allows students to critique pop culture to construct meaning and develop agency for promoting social justice. According to Tavin, u sing visual culture as a mean s to study popular culture to understand the sociology or politics of an image also allows a better understanding and appreciation of contemporary art and art that expresses ideas and opinions on social, political, gender, or race issues. A visual culture oriented approach to art education would be composed of lessons that encouraged students to examine social and political issues in their community and explore those concepts and ideas through different forms of media and techniques. While visual culture le ssons differ from traditional art lessons (because they focus more on popular visual culture and society and less on traditional fine art focuses such as principles and elements of design) it is expressed that a Visual Culture Art Education is more effecti ve in helping "shape and regulate student's understanding of themselves and the world" (Tavin, 2004, p. 1). Walker suggests a slightly different approach to Tavin's. In h er article "Artmaking in an Age of Visual Culture Vision and Visuality", Walker (2004 ) notes that contemporary artists must contend with the fact that culture is profoundly affected by the proliferation and circulation of images. This is largely in part to the technological revolution that has taken place over the last decade. This technol ogy also requires that artists understand the implications of producing artwork in a media saturated culture. Walker examines how vision is socialized as visuality and what that might mean for art making in practice and in instruction (Walker, 2004). If st udents are to meaningfully engage visual culture for art making they require knowledge and understanding of this nature to inform their own practice. Walker suggests that as students consider artist case

PAGE 19

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 19 studies and art making related to vision in society "it will be incumbent upon them to make the connections to their own practice" (Walker, 2004, p. 89). Final thoughts about the Literature regarding Media influences on Females' Sense of Self value Overexposure to media messages in television shows, movi es, music, advertisements, and the very activities that are suppose to be providing adolescents a healthy outlet, exposes kids to certain behaviors and ideals and then expects them not to act on them. Society expects adolescents to be mature enough to know what to do and how to handle this overwhelming and constant flow of information, however, adolescents do not instinctively understand these things. It is imperat ive for adults (especially parents and educators) to teach them about the world, and to know w hat is developmentally appropriate for them to be learning. Scholars have noted negative implications of an increased exposure to media messages. These implications include a decrease in adolescent's cognitive and emotional development, increasing cases of eating disorders, low self esteem and depression, and increased incidences of sexual harassment and violence. A critical analysis oriented visual culture perspective will enhance art education instruction in the classroom by encouraging students to consid er the importance of media messages in our everyday life and how these messages affect our society, our culture, and our own personal ideals. Everything from adver tisements and marketing, music videos, television shows, movies, media, and online social net works provide a constant bombardment of how we are supposed to look and appear to fit in and/or behave or appear normal. While most other subjects teach students to learn the right answer to a question, the art classroom provides an opportunity for student s to explore information and develop their own opinion on the subject.

PAGE 20

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 20 Visual culture art education encourages students to observe and analyze the different aspects of visual culture they are surrounded by daily and express their feelings and opinions on t he issues. Technology has definitely changed the art world, as well as the way we socialize and view society. This technological revolution affects youth even more, as youth are connected to technology more than anyone else in our society and are thus imme rsed in a variety of cultures and images. However, it is important that they understand the impact that this visual culture has, whether it is positive or negative. By introducing a curriculum that addresses visual culture education, students can begin to understand the importance of understanding media literacy and awareness, and visual literacy. Incorporating lessons that expose the impact of propaganda, visual culture, and media culture can help to better prepare students to process and understand the in formation they are exposed to instead of just absorbing it. As art educators, we are awarded the unique opportunity to explore issues of visual culture in the media. By teaching students how and why these messages are embedded in the media, they will be be tter prepared to consider the messages they are exposed to and maintain they own beliefs and ideas. Art educators need to pay attention to visual culture and find a way somehow to deal with its less desirable influences. Methodology For my research I hav e examined studies and meta analys es that deal with media impact on adolescent development. Meta analyses are studies that summarize the results of other studies (Lodico Spaulding & Voegtle, 2006). The fundamental goal of meta analytic procedures is th e accumulation of evidence for the purpose of furthering understanding of past rese arch and guiding future inquiry (Winner & Hetland, 2000). By examining studies on the extent to which peer/media/cultural influence effects adolescent development, I hope to e stablish an understanding of ways to engage youth in understanding and navigating these effects through

PAGE 21

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 21 media literacy programs. It is my desire that based on my study, other educators will be convinced to engage a media literacy approach in their classroo ms. I also incorporat ed a narrative approach using a modified form of auto ethnography by telling my own stories about images of females, and how I experienced and understood these images Telling one's own stories in research, also known as "n arrative r esearch is typically categorized as an overarching category for a variety of contemporary research practices (Casey 1995 1996) that privileges the voice of the narrator. Casey explains, "whether implicit or elaborated, every study of narrative is based o n a particular understanding of the speaker's self" (Casey,1995 1996, p. 213). Narrative research neither manipulates, nor obscures or marginalizes the voice of the researcher (Delacruz, 2011). This is precisely what I hoped to accomplish by adding my own personal life experiences to my research project Data Collection Procedures and Instrumentation My review of research began with examination of studies that explore media effects on adolescent's behavior and beliefs i n the areas of self image, self est eem, and sexuality This includes examinations of single studies and meta analys es that provide findings across multiple studies in a comprehensive and systematic manner "Meta analytic synthese s do not intend to be the final word on a research area, but r ather to clarify what has been learned thus far from the studies conducted and to determine what remains to be learned" (Winne r & Hetland, 2000, p. 3 ). I searched for meta analyses because of their expansive nature, their rigorous methodology, and their re spect amongst researchers. I identified and reviewed meta analyses and case studies that specifically examine media effects on adolescents and media literacy program results. As mentioned before, I also describe my own personal experiences, refle ctions, c ritical analyses, and understandings as a mentor to adolescent females and as an art educator. This

PAGE 22

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 22 includes collecting images that I have recently experienced in my daily life Within my auto ethnographic narratives, I embed research findings from my lite rature review into my stories Data Analysis Procedures In qualitative research d ata analysis strategies include categorizing strategies (coding and thematic) and memos. According to Maxwell, coding in qualitative research consists of applying a pre estab lished set of categories to the data with the primary goal being to generate frequency counts of the items in each category (Maxwell, 2004) The items are the arranged into categories that facilitate com parison between things in the same category and that aid in the development of theoretical concepts (Maxwell, 2004) In my study I have adapted Maxwell's approach looking for particular kinds of research writings and images of and about females, and then further identifying patterns and themes present in pu blished studies in my collected images, and in my own narratives Creative Products and Social Media Utilization My capstone project is published my website that house s all of my research and work. I have identified and complied relevant studies into a S coop.it archive that is accessible from my webpage. This will be convenient for associates and fellow teachers to further related topics they find especially interesting or concerning. I have also be en taking photographs of my images of females that I typi cally see in my daily life and I created a compilation of these visual images in Pinterest. I have annotated this Pinterest board and have made it public so that it will be easily accessible to the public, as well as linked to my webpage. Each annotation reflects my thoughts about the messages contained within these images. Throughout my research process and visual media compilations, I have also been blog ging about my findings, experiences, feelings, and

PAGE 23

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 23 insights relating to this study. Lastly, I created create a video mash up' that incorporates all of the images and media I feel best illustrates my data. The video is published to Y ouTube as well as located on my webpage. Limitations Although research findings substantiate that images play a role in dive rse facets of at risk behavior and adjustment in the areas of violence and substance abuse, these areas will remain outside the scope of this study. Also, while media messages have an impact on both male and female adolescents, for this study I focused mai nly on girls. While I am interested in the before mentioned areas of focus, I have a limited timespan allotted to conduct the study. I concentrate d my focus on the effect of media messages on adolescent girls in the areas of self esteem and sexuality. Fina lly, this study calls for but does not articulate specific media literacy educational interventions other than a general framework that embraces a critical visual culture informed orientation. Findings and Discussion In the Beginning My study looked at m edia messages contained within images perpetuated by numerous media outlets and how those messages may affect adolescent females. This began my inquiry into other scholarly periodicals and online publications, as well as taking notice of visual imagery tha t I experience in my daily life. I found numerous articles and publications that examined the role of media influences in the development of body satisfaction (incorporating the desire for thinness and satisfaction with appearance) in young girls, as well as the relationship between body satisfaction and self esteem. Research suggests that exposure to mass media

PAGE 24

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 24 depicting the thin ideal body is linked to body image disturbances in women. A meta analysis study that examined experimental and correlational stu dies testing the links between media exposure to women's body dissatisfaction, internalization of the thin ideal, and eating behaviors and beliefs with a sample of 77 studies that yielded 141 effect sizes found outcomes that support the notion that exposur e to media images depicting the thin ideal body is related to body image concerns for women (Grabe, Ward, & Hyde, 2008). Another meta analytic study showed the effect of experimental manipulations of the thin beauty ideal, as portrayed in the mass media, on female bo dy image. Data from 25 studies were used to examine the main effect of mass media images of the slender ideal, as well as the moderating effects of pre existing body image problems, the age of the participants, the number of stimulus presentati ons, and the type of research design. Results showed body image was significantly more negative after viewing thin media images than after viewing images of average size models, plus size models, or inanimate objects. The effect was stronger for participan ts less than 19 years of age, and for participants who are vulnerable to activation of a thinness schema (Groesz, Levine, & Mumen, 2002). Results supported the sociocultural perspective that mass media promulgates a slender ideal that elicits body dissatis faction implications (Groesz et al., 2002). Also, studies found that adolescent's lives are more influenced by the media now than ever before (Kraus, 2007). My own Story I also incorporated an auto ethnographic narrative approach to my research. When I b egan the research for this capstone project, I was working in the cosmetics/beauty industry and was continually under pressure not only to be my best, but also to be beautiful. I was on a constant mission to better myself and to search for flaws I could fi x. Sometimes, the product packaging itself would convince me of a flaw I never would have noticed otherwise. Did I need a

PAGE 25

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 25 moisturizer that was pore minimizing or line reducing? Maybe I needed both? I could find my answer on the advertisement installed in t he display. The beautiful, fresh faced, airbrushed mode l confirmed that I needed botha nd more. My angst did not end over which moisturizer I needed to buy; I was faced with a bevy of products that would help me to achieve the perfect end result. The perfe ct end result was that of the model on the advertisements on every shelf and end cap, and on the magazine that was strategically placed at the checkout counter. What did this mean for me? After studying visual culture in a University of Florida masters cou rse I began to realize the messages I was constantly a nd consistently bombarded with were not only present at my work place or in these magazines, but they were on television, radio, soci al media, in the grocery store they were everywhere! Being surrounded daily by images with messages that told me I needed products to fix my flaws left me feeling like I, alone, was not good enough. Everyday, without me even realizing it, was filled with efforts to make myself better. I was striving for perfection, and perf ection was the model images that were plastered around my world. I would wake up first thing in the morning and fix my hair and make up. Even if I wasn't going anywhere public, I could get more accomplished (and accomplished better) if I looked pretty doin g it. I was always on a mission to lose weight, even at 5'2" and 110 lbs. I would eat healthy foods, go to the gym, buy all the right clothes; I kept a spotless apartment and clean car. My life needed to be as perfect as a scene from a television show or a n image from one of the Pottery Barn catalogs that would show up in my mailbox. I was concerned, every minute of every day, what everybody else thought of me. More than anything else, I wanted to be the perfect girl. Returning to the Literature for a Bette r Understanding of the Perfect Girl. A study done of the G ood Girl Scout" stereotype and the awareness of expectation of

PAGE 26

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 26 perfection highlighted girls' cognizance of "goodness", their resistance to it, and the seemingly contradictory characteristics of pe rfection (James, Kirk, & James, 2012). (See also Girl Scouts of the USA, 2008, p. 29, cited in James et al., 2012). "These characteristics inform two key domains of leadership: Strong Sense of Self, which focuses on a girl's self esteem and self efficacy r ather than on any particular identity. The second is Critical Thinking, which encourages girls to examine ideas from a variety of viewpoints and explore implications of gender issues for their lives and their leadership development' "(James, Kirk, & Jame s, 2012). (See also Girl Scouts of the USA, 2008, p. 29, cited in James et al., 2012). In this study, the quest for perfection proved to bear complex and intense pressures that, without emotional guidance to encourage them to deconstruct the societal chall enges they face, could negatively impact the girls and the organization charged with empowering them (James et al., 2012). The perfect girl image has changed throughout recent history. For much of the late 19 th and 20 th centuries, girl perfection largely hinged on her appearance, virtue, and domesticity (James et al., 2012). (See also MacLeod, 2000; Rothman, 2000, cited in James et al., 2012). By contrast, "perfect girls" of today are expected to excel at sports, perform academically at the top of their cl ass, be thin, pretty, sexual to the appropriate degree, popular, and above all else, to be nice (James et al., 2012). (See also Brown & Gilligan, 1992; Roth, 2003; Funk, 2009; Girls Incorporated, 2006; Simmons, 2009, cited in James et al., 2012). The 21 st century good girl is to be endowed with "effortless perfection" (James et al., 2012). (See also Roth, 2003, p.8, cited in James et al., 2012). With these heightened expectations, these new "good girls" have found themselves at the crossroads of an identity formation that is both self sustaining and self destructive. (James et al., 2012, p 27). To some extent, the advances of feminism have obscured the degree to which societal

PAGE 27

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 27 desires for the nostalgic "good girl" still weighs heavily against actual advance s toward female equality. Coming from both internal and external sources, a crushing number of forces demand perfection from modern American girls, and the compounding effect is that demands are often contradictory (James et al., 2012, p.28). As social opp ortunities have increased for the American girl, so has the influx of expectations bearing down upon them. An increasingly popular means of dealing with such problems is becoming the "perfect girl", the girl who meets all expectations at once a girl who i s effortlessly "good". Some girls may act out this identity while still engaging in subtle and well thought out instances of resistance. Modern girls, like their predecessors, are masters of girlhood performance (James et al., 2012). Where do Girls Acquir e these Messages to be Perfect? Research about the impact of media messages on young girls is absolutely horrifying: g irls are now dieting as young as 7 years old, the number of eating disorders in young females in increasing and younger girls are being sexualized through advertisements, television, film, and music. A study published in Developmental Psychology found that as early as school entry, girls appear to already live in a culture in which peers and the media transmit the thin ideal in a way that negatively influences the development of body image and self esteem (Dohnt & Tiggemann, 2006). A critical aspect of a young person's development is to grapple with the question of "Who am I?" (Trammel & Dillihunt, 2012). (See also Belgrave, 2009; Calvert, Jordan, & Cocking, 2002; Erickson, 1980, cited in Trammel & Dillihunt, 2012). An individual's self concept is defined as our personal beliefs about who we are and our interpretations of how others see us (Trammel & Dillihunt, 2012). (See also Belgrave, 200 9; Cole & Cole, 1993; Rosenberg & Kaplan, 1982, cited in Trammel & Dillihunt, 2012). This is particularly salient for girls, who rely more heavily than boys on the perceptions of others (Trammel & Dillihunt, 2012). (See also

PAGE 28

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 28 Belgrave, 2009, cited in Tramme l & Dillihunt, 2012). After observing the adolescent and teen girls in the youth group I work with, it became apparent to me that because they have so much more access to these media messages now via internet and mobile internet access devices (phones, i Pads, etc.), it is easier for them to be effected at a younger age and with more intensity. My own personal experiences as a young woman in a media drenched environment has brought me to the conclusion that the more a person is exposed to these messages fr om the media, the more these messages are able to infiltrate our thought process. The messages are all around us. Even walking through the mall I see stores popular amongst young girls that boast short shorts and padded bikini tops to 8 year olds. I think about how girls are viewed in this world and in return, how they view themselves. It is obvious that sex sells. I receive Victoria's Secret catalogs in the mail, it seems like, twice a week. Their new tween brand is called, "Bright Young Things", and incl udes lace black cheeksters with the word "Wild" emblazoned on them. (See Figure 4.) I feel that consumers should take a stand against prominent brands preying on our children's deepest insecurities. Girls must be protected as they are learning to be comfor table in their own skin -protected by their parents, brands, idols and media. I believe that adults have a responsibility to keep children safe, and help them learn to respect and love themselves and others. Treating young girls' bodies as a commodity hu rts everyone, not just young girls, and not just the young girls who buy or covet these clothes. Figure 4 : Items from Victoria's Secret teen line "Bright Young Things"

PAGE 29

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 29 The US is replete with an unprecedented number of young girls suffering from eating disorders, while pushing the boundaries of their sexuality. Children are be ing objectified by retailers who see them as nothing more than a path to increased profits. Young girls are encouraged to be more assertive with their sexuality, which can lead to very negative outcomes. Society is supporting this so called "empowered" fem ale attitude and movies, television shows, commercials, magazines, and books all glamorize sex and the right of young women to go after whatever it is they think will make them happy. Young girls need to understand their worth is not based on their appeara nce. Her appearance has little to do with true beauty and her worth isn't wrapped up in looking good or being perfect. A Light at the End of the Tunnel The more I researched the detrimental effects that media messages were creating in young adolescent gir ls, the more disheartened I became. I thought to myself that things were only going to get worse. Nobody was going to regulate the messages the media and advertisement agencies were perpetuating. As I continued my research, I was encouraged to find my own images, take my own pictures and videos of what messages were affecting me. This task turned out to be actually much more difficult than I anticipated. The images I found and collected over the course of my research contained words and/or images that send the message to females that to be desirable and important we must be a certain way. I recognized the patterns and themes present among the images I was discovering. C ommon patterns include d messages that portrayed that as women we are most valued if we co nform to the standards set forth by these images, that is, if we are young, slim, and sexy, and if we main tain the qualities of the mass media depiction s of the perfect girl. The following paragraphs explain these patterns more carefully, but only scratch the surface of the meanings females receive from these kinds of

PAGE 30

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 30 images. What it Means to be Female. From a young age, girls are shown by the media what it means to be female. I included in my collection pictures of Barbie, who is the most notorious example of setting unattainable standards of beauty to girls from a young age. I found it to be in teresting that even though girl s dolls are less exaggerated ideals of the female form, the dolls are still dressed in sexy outfits. Short skirts, crop tops, made up faces, and styled hair. (See Figure 5.) I even found and included images of dolls that came with corresponding outfits for the child (crop tops and short skirts). Companies are creating cosmetics targeted to girls as young as toddlers and Spas are hosting manicure and pedicure parties for girls as young as 4 years old. Young girls are being trained from a young age that a fashion and beauty regiment is an important part of what it means to be female. We Must Stay Young, Slim, and Sexy. I included a numbe r of images in my collection that Figure 5 : Dolls from the Bratz collection. This line of dolls is very popular among elementary school age girls.

PAGE 31

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 31 send the message that in order to be important, desirable, or necessary, we must stay young, slim, and sexy. The models used in advertisements and the actress es on television and film media set the societal standard of wha t women should strive to become. The media consistently portrays women in positions of power who possess these qualities which sends the message that in order to achieve these power positions these are the external qualities we must present. Young airbrush ed models are pictured in advertisements for wrinkle cream and anti aging products. Celebrities with flawless, airbrushed skin are used to advertise makeup and skin care. Companie s, stores, and advertisements, bombard us with a tremendous variety of produc ts that promise to help us achieve these ideals, which reinforces the messages that we are receiving from the media already. The Perfect G irl. Another one of the common patterns I discovered amongst the images I compiled was the portrayed qualities of the perfect American girl. One of the best examples of this theme can be found in images from the ABC Family original series Pretty Little Liars. (See Figure 6.) Pretty Little Liars is a hit TV show that is popular amongst tween' and teenage girls. The main c haracters in the show are a group of four friends who portray all of the qualities of the perfect girl' to different degrees. There is the scholarly friend who is top of her class, always getting the best grades and awards and scholarships for her academi c accomplishments. There is the athletic friend who despite taking time away from her work out regime and conditioning, still comes back to be deemed captain of the swim team. Another friend is the artistic one who is a wonderful writer and develops a rela tionship with the handsome, young English teacher. The last friend is the fashionable troublemaker, who is always pushing the limits of what the perfect girl' can get away with and still be perfect. All four girls are beautiful and always look perfect, no matter what chaotic or dangerous situation they may be in. Perfectly styled hair, perfectly

PAGE 32

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 32 manicured nails, perfectly made up, even if they just rolled out of bed or survived an attempted murder from the unknown assailant who spends each episode tormenti ng the group. The qualities expressed by these girls are the perfect example of unattainable standards set forth by media, even on a show that is presented as family friendly'. So What's Next? About 8 months ago, I left the cosmetic/beauty industry. My time is now spent taking care of a little baby boy. We play games, read books, sing songs, and sometimes we turn on the television, but not usually. Leaving my job as a cosmetic / skincare specialist changed my lifestyle completely. Over the past 8 months I have slowly, but steadily, become less concerned with striving for perfection. What I have realized is that removing myself from media drenched environments has significantly changed not only my lifestyle, but also my perspective about myself. Although I still struggle with the trappings of a consumer capitalist girlhood such as makeup, weight issues, and clothes, during this process I discovered a silver lining. The silver Figure 6 : ABC Family hit T.V. show Pretty Little Liars

PAGE 33

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 33 lining I have discovered in my research process, is that the very harmful effects of media messages can not only be moderated, but, over time, may also be reversed. As a society, we should desire to situate girls as active agents and producers of culture and meaning. Educators should be encouraged to develop and refine programs to hel p girls counter and resist the negative societal messages they may receive and to build positive self concepts (James et al., 2012). Educators should also take note of teenagers' positive usage of social networking and use it in classrooms to help facilita te learning (James et al., 2012). A lthough more research is needed, evaluation studies have shown that children who are taught media literacy concepts (such as being more critical media consumers, understanding that media messages are constructed and can b e deconstructed to uncover their assumptions and hidden values, and that messages are produced within economic, social, and political context) are less susceptible to the negative effects of subsequent media use (Thomas, 1998; Austin & Johnson, 1997). The task of connecting art education to these aims will not be easy. As stated by Delacruz, "Teachers' technology related attitudes, capabilities, and working conditions are central to that work, but more than that, teachers conceptualizations about the relati onships between art education, technology, young people, and world conditions, are now of the utmos t importance" (Delacruz, 2009). Teachers must start by realizing that as a society we are inundated with media messages daily Teachers must then ask how wel l are we preparing our students to understand and react to these messages. It is important to consider how we help our students know that what they see and hear in the media may not be reality. This can be as simple as asking students what they see and wha t their point of view is. Media Literacy programs may involve having conversations as a group or allowing students to reflect individually using sketchbook journals. Students can be encouraged to take pictures of media messages they find,

PAGE 34

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 34 blog about the ef fects media messages have on their world directly, and start conversations about media messages using social media and online network sites. Facebook and Internet blogging are now transforming the traditional pathways in which adolescent identities are con structed. These online spaces in which adolescents create and co construct their identities through introspection, relationship building, and experimentation, are inextricably linked to their physical and virtual worlds (Trammel & Dillihunt, 2012). (See al so Bortree, 2005; Huffaker & Calvert, 2006; Zhao, Grasmuck, & Martin, 2008, cited in Trammel & Dillihunt, 2012). Identity construction on social media sites, or SNS, may allow girls to construct an identity without societal judgments and limitations of the ir abilities (Trammel & Dillihunt, 2012). Creative and critical utilization of online social media may be a useful addition to any media literacy oriented educational program. Regardless of approaches one develops in the classroom, i t is absolutely crucia l to educate ourselves and young children of these effects and that they are real. I know now going forward that I will take care in how much I expose myself to messages perpetuated in the media, and I will continue to encourage others to do the same. Fina l Reflections Looking Back Reflecting back on this entire process I feel hopeful for the future. Although media messages are becoming more intense and more prevalent with technology allowing for more media avenues, I have come to realize that girls are no t necessarily destined to be consumed by media influence. My concern for young females remains, as my research has confirmed that adolescents are at higher risk to be influenced by their surroundings and may not yet have the capacity to recognize when or h ow they are being influenced by media messages. However, as females, and as a society in general, we do have the ability to recognize media

PAGE 35

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 35 messages and learn how to process them and personalize them to fit our own needs and wants. It is also possible for us to educate adolescents in media literacy to prevent them from being too unwillingly consumed by media messages and their proposed ideals of perfection. After being consumed by the beauty industry for almost a decade, I was able to reflect with wisdom an d hindsight exactly how media messages had shaped and molded my world to fit their endorsed standards of beauty. I was also able to realize that once you recognize that media messages are influencing your thought process and way of life, it is possible to remove yourself from situations that will manifest these ideals that girls have to be perfect'. We do have agency over what w e choose to influence our lives, and media literacy is the best way to ensure this a gency. S tudies show that when girls do have me dia literacy education they are more equipped to think analytically about the media messages and ask critical questions. Media literacy programs such as Girls Inc. Media Literacy¨, encourages girls to examine how media messages are constructed, how these m essages reflect social values, and how girls' active participation can influence the messages and the values. There are many media literacy programs available to assist in building media literacy curriculums and a more media aware society. Resources such as Media Awareness Network', Center for Media Literacy', Media Literacy Project', and the National Association for Media Literacy Education' are full of information and can be helpful in incorporating media literacy in the classroom. Links to these si tes and more are available on my website. These resources reflect that there are positive changes when media literacy is introduced. Additional Resources The ultimate goal of this study was to create awareness of media messages perpetuated by numerous med ia outlets and how those messages may affect young adolescent females. All of

PAGE 36

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 36 my information and research can be accessed via the website that corresponds with this capstone paper. I have also opted to use social media networks in a more positive way by br inging awareness to this topic and sharing the information online. I have created a Scoop .i t archive to maintain the scholarly articles, research, references, and related videos I have compiled over the course of my investigation into the effects of media messages on adolescent females. (See Figure 7.) My Scoop.it collection is available at http://www.scoop.it/t/ashley s art education scoops#curate Figure 7 : Screen shot of my Scoop.it archive

PAGE 37

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 37 Another venue for the disse mination of my research and topic awareness is a Pinterest board I created for this topic titled "Visual Culture, Media Messages, & Girl World". (See Figure 8.) My Pinterest board consists of annotated images that I feel either send a message to young girl s or that bring awareness to visual awareness to visual culture and the importance of media literacy. My Pinterest Board may be seen at http://pinterest .com/ashleydawngreer/visual culture media messages girl world uf capsto/ My blog "Media Messages: 30 Days of Exploring and Reflecting on Media's Impact on Young Females" was my attempt to log and document media messages I came across in my daily uses of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr) and in everyday activities. I wanted to consider how an adolescent would react to such imagery and speculate as to what kind of message it would send. I know many of the adolescent girls I am around spend much of t heir Figure 8 : Screen shot of my Pi nterest board

PAGE 38

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 38 time on these social network sites and I know they see far more than I could even imagine. The blog "Media Messages: 30 Days of Exploring and Reflecting on Media's Impact on Young Females" is available at http://30daysofmediamessages.blogspot.com My study findings and outcomes on my blog, my Scoop It Folder, my Pinterest board, and in this capstone paper, are all contained on my website. My website is searchable using tags such as #teen, #gir ls, #female, #adolescent, #media, #messages, #visual, #culture, #media messages, #visual culture, #self image, #body image, #make up, #fashion, #magazines, #advertisements, #models, #dolls, #sexualization, and #beauty. My website can be accessed at http://mediamessagesandyoungfemales.webs.com Figure 9 : Screen shot of my Blog Figure 10 : Screen shot of my website

PAGE 39

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 39 My capstone paper is published in ISSUU as a means of further distributing my research and making it even more accessible to the public. (See Figure 11.) My ISSUU publication of this capstone paper may be found on my website as well as at ( http://issuu.com/ashleygreer/docs/theeffectsofmediamessagesonyoungfemales ). I created a video mashup' as a means of further spreading the word and my concerns about media messages and young adolescent females. (See Figure 12.) My video mashup' incorporates some of the images and media I feel best illustrates my data. The video is published on my website and at the YouTube address ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1o5MYe90lY ). Figure 11 : Screen shot of my capstone paper published in ISSUU Figure 12 : Screen shot of my YouTube video

PAGE 40

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 40 I have also shared my research on the University of Florida student moderated Facebook page and clos ed social network, UFARTED. I have tweeted my research findings and sites to Twitter and shared my findings with my peers. Altogether, my sharing via Facebook and Twitter, my blog, Pinterest Board, Scoop It, ISSUU publication, YouTube video, and website pr ovide a rich social media opportunity to share my research and experiences. By examining studies on the extent to which peer/media/cultural influence effects young adolescent females I hope to establish the importance of understanding ways to engage youth in understanding and navigating these effects through media literacy programs. I plan to continue my research and advocacy of visual culture and media literacy and have already spoken with colleagues who have expressed interest in a collaborative effort.

PAGE 41

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 41 References American Academy of Pediatricians (1995). Sexuality, contraception, and the media (RE9505). Polic y Statement, 9 (2), 298 300. [Online]. Available: www.aap.org Arnett, J.J. (2002). The sounds of sex: Sex in teen s music and music videos. In J. Brown, J. Steele & K. Walsh Childers (Eds.), Sexual teens, sexual media: Investigating media's influence on adolescent sexuality. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Austin, E., & Johnson, K. (1997). Immed iate and delayed effects of media literacy training on third graders' decision making for alcohol. Health Communication, 94, 323 349. Bordo, S. (1993). Unbearable weight: Feminism, Western culture, and the body. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press Casey, K. (1996). The new narrative research in education. Review of research in education 21 211 253. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1167282 Cope Farrar, K., & Kunkel, D. (2002). Sexual messages in teens' favorite prime time television pro grams. In J. Brown, J. Steele & K. Walsh Childers (Eds.), Sexual teens, sexual media: Investigating media's influence on adolescent sexuality. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Delacruz, E. M. (2009). Art education aims in the age of ne w media: Moving toward global civil society. Art Education, 62 (5), 13 18. Delacruz, E. M. (2011). Research in story form: A narrative account of how one person made a difference against all odds. In K. Miraglia & C. Smilan (Eds.), Inquiry in action: Paradi gms, methodologies and perspectives in art education research. Reston, VA.: National Art Education Association.

PAGE 42

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 42 Dohnt, H., & Tiggemann, M. (2006). The contribution of peer and media influences to the development of body satisfaction and self esteem in youn g girls: A prospective study. Developmental Psychology 42 (5), 929 936. doi: 10.1037/0012 1649.42.5.929 Grabe, S ., Ward, L.M., & Hyde, J.S. (2008), The role of the media in body image concerns among women: a meta analysis of experimental and correlational studi es. Psychological bulletin, 134 (3), 460. Greenberg, B.S., Smith, S.W. (2002). Daytime talk shows: Up close and in your face. In J. Brown, J. Steele & K. Walsh Childers (Eds.), Sexual teens, sexual media: Investigating media's influence on adolescent s exuality. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Groesz, L.M., Levine, M.P. and Mumen, S.K. (2002), The effect of experimental presentation of thin media images on body satisfaction: A meta analytic review. International Journal of Eating Di sorders, 31 1 16. Doi:10.1002/eat.10005 Henson, M. (2011, Sept 13). 'toddlers and tiaras' and sexualizing 3 year olds Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/12/opin ion/henson toddlers tiaras/index.html Hobbs, R. (1997). Literacy for the information age. In J. Flood, S.B. Heath, & D. Lapp (Eds.), Handbook of research on teaching literacy through the communicative and visual arts (pp. 7 14). New York: Simon Schuster M acMillan. James, H., Kirk, M., & James, T. (2012). I'm not your cookie: Debunking the myth of girl scout perfection in leadership and life. In M. Bae & O. Ivashkevich (Eds.), Girls, cultural productions, and resistance. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. John Steiner, V., & Mahn, H. (n.d.). Sociocultural approaches to learning and development: A Vygotskyan framework. Retrieved from http://webpages.charter.net/schmolze1/vygotsky

PAGE 43

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 43 Kraus, A. (2007). A study of media influences on the learning strategies of students in the first years of secondary school by means of "subtexts". Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/ Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 8 (3). Retrieved from http://www.qualitative research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/286/629 Lewis, A. A. (2012). Redefining "ana": The discourse of resistance on a pro ana website. In M. Bae & O. Ivashkevich (Eds.), Girls, cultural productions, and resistance New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. Maxwell, J. A. (2004). Methods: What will you actually do? In J. A. Maxwell, Qualitative Research Design: An Interactive Approach, (pp. 95 99). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. P eirce, K. (1995). Socialization messages in Seventeen and Teen magazines. In C. M. Lont (Ed.), Women and media: Content, careers, and criticism (pp. 79 85). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Polce Lynch, M., Myers, B. J., Kliewer, W., & Kilmartin, C. (2001). Adoles cent self esteem and gender: Exploring relations to sexual harassment, body image, media influence and emotional expression. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 30 (2), 225 244. doi: 10.1023/A:1010397809136 Tallim, J. (2003). Sexualized images in advertising Media Awareness Network Retrieved from http://www.media awareness.ca/english/issues/stereotyping/women_and_girls/upload/article _sexualized_im ages.pdf Tavin, K. (2004). Wrestling with angels, searching for ghosts: Toward a critical pedagogy of visual culture. Studies in Art Education, 44 (3), 197 213. Thoman, E. (1998). Skills and strategies for media education. Los Angeles: Center for Media

PAGE 44

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 44 Literacy. Trammel, M. S., & Dillihunt, M. L. (2012). Black girls talking back: How black girls use Facebook and blogs to resist marginalization. In M. Bae & O. Ivashkevich (Eds.), Girls, cultural productions, and resistance. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. Tv media's influence on child development. (2010, January 10). Clean cut media: Influences of media & pop culture on our worldv iew, Retrieved from http://www.cleancutmedia.com/tv shows/tv medias influence on child development Walker, S. (2004). Artmaking in an age of visual culture: Vision and visuality. Visual Arts Research 30 (2), 72 92. Walsh Childers, K., Goffhoffer, A., & Ringer Lepre, C (2002). From "just the facts" to "downright salacious": Teens and womens magazine coverage of sex and sexual health. In J. Brown, J. Steele & K. Walsh Childers (Eds.), Sexual teens, sexual media: Investigating media's influence on adolescent sexuality. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Weinstein, A. (2012). Violence in the media: What you need to know. Education issues today: School safety and violence, Retrieved from http://www.education.com/magazine/article/violence Zurbriggen, E. L. Public Interest Directorate, Women's Programs Office. (2007). Report on the apa task force on the sexualization of girls Retrieved from American Psychological Association website: http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/report.aspx

PAGE 45

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 45 List of Figures Figure 1: Magazine cover featuring teen show The Vampire Diaries. ................................ ......... 14 Figure 2: Teen magazine YM (Young and Modern) cover advertises contents ............................ 15 Figure 3: Image from high fashion magazine spread portraying highly eroticized young girl .... 16 Figure 4: Items from Victoria's Secret teen line "Bright Young Things" ................................ .... 29 Figure 5: Dolls from the Bratz coll ection ................................ ................................ .................... 31 Figure 6: ABC Family hit T.V. show Pretty Little Liars ................................ .............................. 32 Figure 7: Screen shot of my Scoop.it archive ................................ ................................ ............... 36 Figure 8: Screen shot of my Pinterest board ................................ ................................ ................. 37 Figure 9: Screen shot of my Blog ................................ ................................ ................................ 38 Figure 10: Screen shot of my website ................................ ................................ ........................... 38 Figure 11: Screen shot of my capstone paper published in ISSUU ................................ .............. 39 Figure 12: Screen shot of my YouTube video ................................ ................................ .............. 39

PAGE 46

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 46 Biography: Ashley Greer I am a recent graduate of North Georgia College and State University (NGCSU) in Dahlonega, Georgia, where I majored in Art Education. As an Art Education major at NGCSU, I was Co President and founding member of the NGCSU chapter of GAEA, and was i nvolved in numerous service learning projects, including one for the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit "Key Ingredients". I am currently a student in the Masters of Arts Education Program at the University of Florida. While I have learned about so many important asp ects of art education, there has been one aspect of art education learning that was very significant and influential to my way of thinking a bout art education. Visual culture and media messages are a very important topic to me as a young female and also as a mentor to young girls. In several of the classes I have experienced I have been asked to consider how media messages and t he visual cult ure that surrounds us daily may affect our thought processes and our art. My research was overwhelming and it disturbed me to reali ze how much visual culture is destroying our society especially our youth. I also realized how much these contemporary issue s have affected me personally. The more I have considered visual culture and how much I have been influenced by society and media c ulture, I have realized that I do not have to be perfect. Understanding this has allowed me to venture out in my art and not worry so much about a controlled process or result. Non objective art has become such a freeing outlet for me as an artist. My biggest strategy as an artist right now is to co ntinue learning and evolving as a person. I believe that when an artist evolves i n their life, they evolve in their work.

PAGE 47

The Effects of Media Messages on Young Adolescent Females 47