Fun with Media Literacy
I wrote Reality Bites Back because I believe that we need to take a serious look at the meaning and political implications of reality TV’s regressive representations of women, people of color, and American life. But make no mistake—I will never judge anyone for enjoying reality shows, and I will never tell you to throw out your TV. I think it’s much more important for you to learn how to watch. The first step: Banish the phrase “mindless entertainment” from your vocabulary.
Yes, it’s true: reality TV and other forms of commercial media can be toxic for women… and for men, people of color, the economy, love, sex, and sheer common sense, to boot. And, sure, this would all be really depressing if there were nothing you could do about it. Luckily, there’s a lot we can do individually and collectively to transform the way we experience media. The first step is to become an active, critical media consumer. This requires bringing critical media literacy skills to the news we read and watch; the music, videos, and movies we hear and see; the video games we play; the print ads, commercials, the billboards that we pass by on our way to work or school… and, of course, to our favorite TV shows.
That process can be intense, but it can also be fun. Use the following media literacy games, activities and strategies – adapted from Reality Bites Back, where you can find more such resources in chapter 10, “Fun With Media Literacy” – and watch with your mind alert and your humor intact.
For more media literacy strategies, games and information, buy Reality Bites Back today!