Lectures & Workshops

Want to share the analysis in Reality Bites Back with others? Want to learn how to critically respond to media stereotypes discussed in the book?

Now’s your chance! Reality Bites Back author Jennifer L. Pozner has been presenting keynote speeches and multimedia presentations about reality television since The Bachelor first began handing out the long-stems, Kelly Clarkson sang her first note on American Idol, and America’s Next Top Model contestants first informed us that they weren’t there to make friends.

Jennifer has spoken on gender, race and class in the media at more than eighty colleges, and at numerous conferences, high schools, and public events. Make your campus or community group her next stop – organize an event today!

Project Brainwash: Why Reality TV Is Bad for Women

(…and men, people of color, the economy, love, sex, and sheer common sense!)

Do you ever wonder…

  • Why reality TV frames humiliation of women as the “perfect fairy tale romance”?
  • If men should be valued for more than just the size of their … wallets?
  • Why women of color are typecast as deceitful divas and “ghetto” sluts?

…Then don’t miss this rousing multimedia presentation! With humor, razor-sharp analysis and provocative clips from shows like The Bachelor, America’s Next Top Model and Flavor of Love, media critic Jennifer L. Pozner exposes the editing tricks and ideological agendas producers and advertisers use to create a world in which women not only have no real choices, they don’t even want any. Pozner pushes back against “reality” TV’s regressive stereotypes about women, men, love, beauty, and race and class in America, and reveals how unreal so-called “unscripted programming” really is. You’ll never see mating, modeling and makeover shows the same way again… and you’ll laugh—a lot!

Additional Lecture Topics Available:

  • Triumph of the Shill: How Stealth Advertising Corrupts Media and Threatens Democracy
  • Hillary Clinton’s Cleavage…and Other Useless Things I Learned from the News: Unpacking Media Representations of Women
  • When Anchormen Attack: How Media Shape Our Ideas About Gender, Race, Politics and Elections
  • Media, Women & War: How does the silencing of women’s voices in war coverage shortchange America?
  • Race, Class, Gender and Katrina: The Human Impact of Disastrous Reporting
  • Surviving “False Feminist Death Syndrome”: Media Coverage of Feminism from the ’70s to Today

Hands-On Media Literacy Workshops

As noted in Reality Bites Back chapter ten, “Fun With Media Literacy,” being an educated media consumer requires bringing critical media literacy skills to the reality shows we watch, the news follow; the magazines, newspapers, music, videos, and movies we read, hear and see; the video games we play; and the print ads, commercials, and billboards that surround us.

Jennifer’s media literacy workshops will help you do just that—and have fun in the process:

  • “Reality TV Bingo”: In this fun, video-deconstruction workshop, participants identify cultural stereotypes, stealth advertising and production tricks while watching a reality TV episode. It’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MT3K) meets cultural studies, designed to give you a new lens through which to view media long after the laughs have died down. A must for your critical thinking toolkit.
  • “Media Literacy 101: How To Think Critically About Mass Media Messages”: Media literacy is a crucial way to fight propaganda, manipulation and damaging stereotypes in today’s mega-merged media environment. In this intensive workshop, you’ll learn how to deconstruct biased news framing, decipher coded media messages, and apply critical thinking skills to journalism and pop culture. Participants emerge with media literacy tools they can apply to everything they read, watch and hear in newspapers and magazines, TV and film, and the internet and social media. Each workshop can be tailored to address topics most relevant to your campus.
  • “Media As Teaching Tool: Building Media Literacy Into Your Curricula”: Professors: Are you looking for a dynamic way to engage your students in issues of gender, race, class, consumerism, globalization and more? Do you want to make academic issues feel urgently relevant to students’ daily lives, with help from The Daily Show, the New York Times and Twitter? If so, this multi-media workshop is what you’ve been waiting for. Learn easy and compelling ways to build media literacy into interdisciplinary curricula.
  • “Getting Your Voices Heard: Media Training for Campus Activists”: Sick of media calling feminists and anti-racism activists “whiners,” women’s studies programs “anti-intellectual,” people of color “lazy,” anti-war protestors “un-American,” and gays and lesbians “immoral?” Want to learn how to raise public awareness about violence against women, sweatshop labor, immigration rights, racial profiling and other social justice issues? This intensive media training gives students practical, concrete strategies to challenge media bias and change the debate. Students gain skills they need deconstruct “spin” and inaccuracy, get their own positive messages heard, and access (or create) independent media alternatives.*

Note: Media trainings can also be customized for your non-profit or community advocacy group.

Praise for Jennifer’s Lectures and Workshops

“One of the best guests I’ve worked with during twenty-some years of teaching. Jennifer left a positive and lasting impression… if I could, I would bring her back to this campus every year.”
Brenda Haack Fineberg, Classics Professor, Knox College

“We could not have been more pleased with Jenn’s talk and the student response to it.  She addressed the subject of women/gender and reality television with a tremendous amount of knowledge, expertise, and humor.  The students found her very engaging and funny, and I have heard many of them say that the talk was the best WGS event that they have attended in their time at TU. Jenn also offered a media literacy workshop for faculty and students… it was a fun, engaging, and extremely informative exercise.”
Jan Doolittle Wilson, Ph.D., Director of Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Tulsa

“Outstanding and powerful…clear, concise, entertaining, and hard hitting. Thank you!”
Danielle McGurrin, Sociology and Criminology Professor, Stonehill College

“You said so many things this campus needs to hear that hadn’t been addressed by any other speakers. I don’t think our students would have gotten these important ideas from any other source. You were personal, accessible and challenging—a great information resource.”
Alison Piepmeier, Women’s Studies Professor, Vanderbilt University