This module is for

Media Literacy

How do we analyze media and issues of identity?

Issues of identity related to race, gender, sexual orientation, class, religion, age, and ability are represented in, and influenced by, media. The following set of guiding questions can help you to analyze media and its impact on identity. When analyzing media, ask yourself:

  1. Who designed this media?
  2. What is the purpose of this media?
  3. What values or points of view are represented?
  4. What techniques were used to get my attention?
  5. What message is it trying to convey?
  6. What other message(s) might it also convey, intended or unintended?
  7. How does it make me feel?
  8. Would everyone feel the same way? Why?
  9. What issues of identity are represented in or left out of this message?
  10. How might this media influence issues of identity?

Now, explore a sample media analysis of this collection of magazine covers. As you read the responses, consider whether you might have responded in the same way.

Expand the dropdown for each question to read the sample response.

You may have noticed that some of the magazine covers use propaganda to persuade readers to think or act in a certain way. Propaganda is a form of communication that uses specific techniques to influence people’s opinions and behavior. For example, some of the magazines include articles about getting “ripped” or getting “big guns.” However, the techniques they offer may not be realistic for everyone, even though they likely present them as such. Making unrealistic promises is a common technique used in propaganda. Other techniques to be aware of include scare tactics, stereotyping, appealing to emotions, and using false statistics, slogans, and testimonials from famous people.

The danger of propaganda is that it often relies on false, exaggerated, or incomplete information to influence people. If you are not media literate, your opinions, actions, and sense of identity may be easily manipulated by propaganda.