Gender in Media
THIS IS AN EXCELLENT ARTICLE showing the challenges of inspiring change in the media industry (Winter–Spring 2020). The work of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media actually draws upon the theoretical premise of Cultivation Theory—that images in the media affect perceptions of the real world. Thus, the statement that “Geena pioneered the field of research on gender in media. Period.” is not quite accurate. The late communication scholar George Gerbner actually pioneered cultivation research, including the media portrayals of women and minorities. Davis (CFA’79, Hon.’99) ran with the work started by Gerbner. I applaud Davis’ important work and hope articles such as this bring renewed emphasis to how much there is that still must be accomplished.
We discussed the Davis story in my CM 180 Understanding Media course this spring and how it relates to cultivation theory. I was pleased to see one group of students wrote about this issue for their final project and produced the following infographic:
4/4 Another @COMatBU #CM180 Understanding Media team #KeptCOM & (Jawaher Alkhalifa, Emma Nelson, @CissyW8, Annie Zeigler) pushed back against how media has cultivated images of damsels in distress pic.twitter.com/r3Pm9rUrNa— Michelle Amazeen (@commscholar) May 15, 2020
Michelle A. Amazeen
BU College of Communication
Associate Professor, Mass Communication, Advertising & Public Relations
I LOVED THE FEATURE of Geena Davis’ accomplishments on the subject of gender parity in Hollywood. You can’t improve what you can’t measure, so by quantifying the portrayal of girls on-screen, those who wish to effect change can make more informed and conscious decisions.?
Considering this story, I was curious about the graphic published on page one (Tip Sheet, Winter–Spring 2020) that illustrates the survey results indicating that more than 9 out of 10 Americans can’t tell the difference between online news and paid promotion. Why are all the bodies male? Were only males surveyed? Or is this another example of gender bias in the media?
Tara Auclair (Questrom’04)
Coral Gables, Fla.
Memories of the Miracle on Ice
WITHIN MINUTES of getting home with today’s mail, I found myself reading Mike Eruzione’s description of the winning goal against the Russians and the eventual gold medal in 1980 (Winter–Spring 2020). I found myself getting all excited again as it was such a stirring moment in America (and hockey).
In 1980 I was teaching at Berwick Academy in Maine, where Mike had spent a postgraduate year before BU. He returned for Alumni Day that spring primarily to see Paul “Pop” Whalen (Wheelock’53,’54) who had been his hockey coach in his postgraduate year. I recall overhearing part of a conversation between Mike and Pop during the banquet.
Mike: “Listen, Pop, I know that I was not in just the right position and my feet were wrong, but I had the shot!”
Pop: “Mike, that’s okay—I’m not your coach anymore. You did fine!”
It was definitely a BU moment.
After that I went to the library and took out Thelma & Louise in order to watch it yet again. Thanks for some great stuff in Bostonia.
John Herrick (CAS’70)
South Portland, Maine
THIS STORY is what America is about. My dad drove the charter bus all the players rode on at one point during the games and [they] signed the program he had. He said of all the teams he drove, the hockey guys were the best. Thanks for all your hard work and bringing home the gold.
Marilu Gordon (MET’15)
AWESOME. Simply awesome—even 40 years later.
Dave DeMaio (COM’80)
Remembering COM’s Betsy Dickinson
I ATTENDED COM, then known as SPC, from 1971 to 1975. Beyond the great faculty, SPC meant two things to me back then. First was Kula and Jim Otis’ Tom Thumb diner just out the back door, on Cummington Street, where we’d rush for coffee to get through early-morning classes. Second was Betsy Dickinson [former assistant dean for student affairs], as she was then known, just inside SPC’s front door. She was always eager to help students with their professional questions and personal challenges. I was so sorry to learn of her passing in the Winter-Spring Bostonia. Yet I’m heartened to realize that the almost-angels up there now have a real champion in their corner.
Mark Thompson (COM’75)
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