It may be the case that you want to compare and contrast a few videos from the same artist or genre, that would be fine. Maybe you want to examine a song/video and its remakes. Be careful not to bite off too huge of a project – you probably don’t want to be examining Madonna’s femininity and ideology over her thirty year career (plus it’s been done already!). Let’s chat if you are not sure what you would like to look at. Step 2: Watch the video! Over and over! Go to Lyrics.com and read the lyrics. You are no longer simply an audience member, you are a researcher with specific goals and therefore you will be (re)watching your text while applying relevant theories and looking for specific scenes, behaviors, lyrics, and images. There is no way you can complete all components of this assignment simply from your memories of watching Bad Romance a lot in high school. Take notes! Rewind! You will expected to pick apart various elements of the video looking for how gender/sex/race/sexuality/class functions and/or is portrayed. I’ve mentioned that the images and lyrics will be important to your analysis, but also consider the actual sounds you are hearing (remember we talked about the jarring sounds in Formation?). How do they make you feel? While not a necessary component to your analysis, perhaps think about the artist or group performing the song and video. Finally, does this song and video interact with other cultural moments or phenomena (an example would be Lady Gaga’s If it Happens to You, which explicitly responds to university sexual assaults)? Step 3: Research. While watching your video, you should be trying out different theoretical “lenses” on the story, images, lyrics, sounds, and artists. Once you feel you have selected the appropriate perspectives through which to analyze the video, you must find FIVE scholarly articles from outside of class which pertain to your argument. You will probably also use readings from class to back up your claims and analysis. We will conduct a research workshop in class to assist you understanding this part of the assignment.Having gone through several different theories of origin, women’s movements, and ways gender is communicated, you will conduct a music video analysis and prepare a research paper combining the theories and your deconstruction of your artifact(s). Specifically, you will be examining in depth the way(s) the category and meaning of “woman”, and other aspects of identity such as race, class, sexuality, ability, etc., function through the song and the music video. Importantly, an analysis is notsimply a rehash or a review of the video and song. Rather you will be expected to examine the lyrics and images using one or more theoretical perspectives introduced in class and make an argument or evaluation about the way(s) “women” and communication function as you see it. Someone watching the exact same video as you may come up with a completely different interpretation. Your grade is not determined by the conclusion you come to, rather than effort you apply in using class concepts to deeply analyze the video. Step 1: Pick a video
1. Introduction (15 points): Briefly describe your specific focus, purpose, and rationale for this project. After reading this section I should know what video you chose and a little something about your relationship to it. That is, had you seen it before? Why did you choose it? What about it piqued your interest in it as the focus of analysis? Etc. Finally, this section should end in a clear thesis statement: After analyzing the video_____ through _____ perspectives, I found ______. (or something like this). Hint, hint: This section is almost written after the rest of the paper is completed. 2. Establish your theoretical framework (25 points). Identify and explain the theoretical framework (e.g., previous scholarly literature, important concepts & perspectives) that guides your analysis. What theories from class and the text stand out as relevant to your video? What have scholars writers had to say about issues related to your topic already? How are specific theories and ideas about gender and communication informing the way you view and interpret the video and conduct your analysis? Explain what these concepts mean and why they are especially appropriate for your project. You should be utilizing theories of gender and communication drawn from course materials and outside research. **Note: This is where relevant content from the 5 additional scholarly articles required (see project description in syllabus) should first be introduced.** ***ANOTHER note: avoid reviews or criticism of your video written by other people. I want to know what you think about this video/song*** 3. Video description (15 points): While this assignment is not a “video review,” you should include a few paragraphs about the video itself. What is it about? When was it made? Does it have a clear narrative or is it more abstract (that is, weird, bizarre, or avant garde)? Does it have a cohesive style or tone? What was going on the country/world when it was written and filmed? What was going on with the artist at the time? 4. Analyze and argue (50 points): This is the meat of your paper. This is where you go beyond a cursory description of the video and dig deeper into specific scenes, characters, story lines, lyrics, images, music, really any part of the video is game for analysis. What is the role of women and communication in this video? What are the lyrics about? How does the video forward the song’s meaning (or does it?)? What does your theoretical framework(s) help you to uncover about the portrayal of gender/sex/race/class in the video? Here you should accomplish 2 things: (a) Take a descriptive position: Give a detailed deconstruction of what you see going on in the video. Using your theoretical len(ses), give specific examples of the ways gender (and other
identities) function, are shaped, and are represented in the film. (b) Take an evaluative position: What do you make of these findings (e.g., are they positive, negative, both, something else…and why, exactly)? This is where you weave your findings with your personal perspective. Put simply – how do you feel about this video?
Your argument is like a thread woven and developed throughout the paper. It should be previewed in the introduction, elaborated and supported throughout the paper, and ‘driven home’ in the conclusion (see also #5 below). **Note: A strong argument does not simply repeat or illustrate course material; it extends or advances that material. Be very clear about how your argument adds something distinctive to our content this semester, as well as to your 5 additional articles.** 4. Conclusion (20 points): Here is where you will discuss the theoretical and practical implications of your analysis. Think of it this way: So what? In other words, why should gender and communication scholars as well as artists and directors and consumers care about your findings? What’s unique and significant about your argument? What are its implications for the study of gender and communication, as well as the practice of gender and communication in real life? Be specific. 6. Attend to stylistic matters (25 points): The presentation or ‘packaging’ of messages affects their persuasiveness. So in your paper, pay close attention to issues of format, logic, grammar, word choice, punctuation, sentence & paragraph formation, and so forth. Also, remember to provide a list of references in your major’s style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc).