writing an essay about the media and identity

  • be 1500-1800 words long.
  • be double spaced, documented and formatted in the MLA style, typed using TIMES NEW ROMAN 12 point font with one inch margins all around. Any other font or spacing is unacceptable.
  • Utilize at least 3 outside sources, including 1 in support of your group and 1 in opposition (the third is open). Only one of these sources can be from the web (i.e. a website. Articles from newspapers and magazines found on the internet are allowed, but library sources are encouraged), and, of course, Wikipedia and dictionaries are not acceptable.

WRITING ABOUT MEDIA AND IDENTITY

  • You are going to observe and report on a specific chosen identity of a group of people, and you will analyze it in two ways:
    • How media construct the identity
    • How the members construct the identity
  • Then, you will create an argument in which you create a sympathetic yet critical discussion of the identity and its role in contemporary society.
  • Remember, you are taking a side in this argument, but I am asking you to take a sympathetic side, even if you, personally, do not agree with the group.

REQUIREMENTS

  • Your essay should:
    • Start with an engaged image that sets the scene for your reader.
    • Define the group through a sympathetic lens.
    • Offer the objections, disbeliefs, and prejudices of the group.
    • Offer the group’s side of the argument.
    • Argue for the role the identity plays in contemporary society, or what it responds to.
    • Have a definite introduction (with specific thesis statement), body, and conclusion. The thesis statement should define your argument, and your introduction should provide the context of the issue for your reader.
      • The introduction will provide that context by discussing an accompanying visual image that you find to relate to your argument.
    • be about 1500-1800 words long.
    • be double spaced, documented and formatted in the MLA style, typed using TIMES NEW ROMAN 12 point font with one inch margins all around. Any other font or spacing is unacceptable.
    • Utilize at least 3 outside sources, including 1 in support of your group and 1 in opposition (the third is open). Only one of these sources can be from the web (i.e. a website. Articles from newspapers and magazines found on the internet are allowed), and, of course, Wikipedia or any dictionary are not acceptable.
    • Have quotes from the text to support your analysis; however, there is no set number of quotes required. As per the syllabus, any paper not correctly documented in MLA style will receive a grade of F.
  • Your essay should not
    • Judge or mock the group you are reporting on. Remember, you are creating a sympathetic portrayal.
    • Be based on a group categorized by ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic class or any other category considered to be reasonably beyond one’s immediate control. Rather, write a paper in which you research an identity that is self-chosen (i.e. “Catholics” would not be acceptable but “Jedi” would be, as most people are not born into the Jedi religion). While these are powerful topics and the people at the heart of them deserve equal defense from poor media representations, this project does not use fine-enough tools to deal with these more complex issues.

EVALUATION

  • I will evaluate you with the following questions in mind:
    • Does the depth of knowledge in the paper support the level of writing required for this class?
    • Is the argument valid? Does it demonstrate understanding and critical thinking? Is it an original argument with a complex thesis statement and supporting topic sentences?
    • Does the student use quotes to support her point? Is his argument supported by the text itself?
    • Does the writer carefully and thoughtfully use secondary sources?
    • Is the paper careful to maintain a sympathetic tone?
    • Is the paper documented in correct MLA format?
    • Is the paper well-written with correct grammatical and mechanical structure?

FURTHER DETAILS

  • The purpose of this essay is to actively engage the student with the identity chosen, and is dependent on the student’s creativity. An essay that merely regurgitates classroom discussion or relies solely on examples given in class will not receive a grade higher than a D.
  • No one gets it right the first time, even professional authors. Therefore, rough drafts are expected, despite the ease of computer word processing programs. I suggest that when you make major revisions to your essay, print up the former draft before revising on the computer. That way, your portfolio will definitely contain rough drafts.

EXAMPLES

(You may pick one of these, or use this list as inspiration. I urge you strongly to pick something you’re not necessarily familiar with and are interested in discovering!)

  • Chosen philosophies: Jedi, Church of the Subgenius, Q-Anon bakers, Freegan
  • Subcultures: Goth, Emo, LARPing, Steampunk
  • Fan Cultures: girls who game, fantasy football leaguers, political protesters, comic book “geeks,” Juggalos, Bronies

Bronies:

    Quidditch players:

      Professional air-guitarists:

        Fantasy football players:

          Feminist gamers: http://kotaku.com/the-anita-sarkeesian-hater-that-…

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