The Influence of Media Models

Objective: Student will gain a realistic and positive image of himself by understanding the factors that the media manipulates to define a "Madison Avenue" sense of beauty.

Language Arts Standards: Listening, Reading Writing

Introduction: There exists in our country an way of thinking that is designed to manipulate of feelings and behaviors. The teacher may wish to have the students do a simple survey of the colors of food or cleaning products in their home. One survey might be to compare bright verses dull colors. A more complicated survey would be to make observations about which colors are predominately used on products.

The discussion can lead further into comparing images of people used in advertising. Have the students bring in magazines from home (or you bring one). Analyze the images that are used to sell the products. Identify race, gender, exposure of skin, colors of clothes, etc. (You may want to look at theme colors, such as "near" red, white and blue, which elicits patriotism.)

The students should discuss and write an essay about the way media defines our sense of beauty. What are the factors used by the media? Are there types of people that are used more often to sell products? Is that representative of the people the students see in the real world.

Sample Outline of essay:

I. Introduction: Type of Media Selected
II. Patterns seen by student in the use of body images
III. Interpretation of the Media's Use of these images, i.e. defining beauty and associating it with a product.
IV. Student's perception to how these "ideal people" relate to his "real" world.
V. Conclusion and summary.

Extentions: See "Labels" lesson from Phil McGraw, Ph.D.