Since it’s the end of the year, there are lists all over the place of the best, the worst, and all in between of the year’s movies, shows, games, news stories, vines, live feeds, and everything else from the worlds of moving images and sounds. I will share one that I find particularly useful for media literacy educators, which is a short piece from BuzzFeed in the vein of the work done by the Media Education Foundation. Titled Photoshopping Real Women Into Cover Models, it’s succinct, well produced, and eye-opening for teens (and will be for quite a few older people as well). For me, this is one of the most important visual literacy themes for our students today because kids have been so skillfully conditioned by our media environment to believe unconditionally in popular culture’s models of behavior, of consumption, of what is supposed to attract and repulse us. As a result, many young people never even start to question these forces while they have been simultaneously led to believe that they are absolutely independent in their choices, tastes, and values.
For longer pieces on this and related topics, Media Education Foundation also offers many titles investigating these forces from numerous angles, including gender roles, violence in the media, ethnic stereotypes, and more. For younger students, here is a page from Canada’s MediaSmarts with short videos and lesson plans establishing the basics of media literacy. Finally, on mediateacher.net, check out these posts — Generation Like or Digital Nation/Merchants of Cool — for materials, lesson plans, and further reading.