In Breakin' It Down: Girls and Music Video I explore sexual
identity by exploring relevant research, developing pedagogy, and
then videotaping, describing and examining the outcomes of this
instruction in two forms, a documentary and my Master's Thesis.
After an extensive study of feminism, liberatory pedagogy and media
education, I developed a curriculum to encourage girls to delve
deeply into accessing and evaluating gender stereotypes in music
videos. Ethnic, racial and cultural identity are equally important
and significant to interpreting popular music and its performance.
Yet, my ability to appropriately stimulate and direct discussions
with impressionable young people about such issues as racial and
cultural injustices is not yet fully developed. Nevertheless, I
developed a framework through which to begin to broach such subjects.
The project's theoretical underpinning emerged in a parallel course
with the application of the curriculum designed to describe and
evaluate how girls negotiate meaning from music video messages.
Through close examination of pedagogical and media theory, I began
to make sense of my observations as a cultural educator teaching
Breakin' It Down, an extracurricular media literacy program.
In my thesis I blended several theoretical frameworks to form what
I call "postmodern feminist cultural studies." Cultural
studies serves as the reference point for contextualizing the setting,
the pedagogy and the research data.
Cultural studies is filtered through the lens of postmodern feminism.
Postmodernism allowed me to explore the power and impact of the
visual images in popular culture as vehicles to more fully explicate
video aesthetics, for example the currently popular application
of rapid montage imagery. My media literacy curriculum called for
the deconstruction of music video images, the process embodied a
postmodern methodology of breaking apart the pieces of a medium
that are by definition fragmented. The theoretical backdrop of feminism
underscores the issue of subjectivity as I observed and interpreted
it. Young people, people of color and females are often underrepresented
in research and in the concert of voices fighting to be heard in
all arenas of the U.S.
In the complete thesis document several additional areas of literature
are reviewed before research methods are introduced.