Eleventh Brown Bag of the Semester – December 5, 2014


Ashley Kraus, PhD student, Department of Telecommunications, Media School

On the Street: A Content Analysis of Body Imagery in Streetstyle Fashion Blogs

Research on ideal body imagery in the mass media indicates that a curvaceously thin ideal is the norm for females and a lean, muscular ideal is the norm for males. Perhaps this finding has remained consistent due to the focus of body ideals in traditional media as opposed to new media. To date, relatively few studies have examined body types online. Streetstyle fashion blogs provide an opportunity to understand whether this media genre offers a healthy alternative to the lean, idealized images featured in traditional media because ordinary people (referred to as “pedestrian models”) are typically featured in lieu of traditional models. I will discuss the ways in which pedestrian models are portrayed in streetstyle blogs, especially in regards to: body size, body positioning, and facial prominence. I will also discuss the ways in which these portrayals are reinforced via reader commentary.


Nicole Martins, Assistant Professor, Department of Telecommunications, Media School

A Content Analysis of Teen Parenthood in ‘Teen Mom’ Reality Programming

Research suggests that sexual health messages embedded in entertainment programming may reduce sexual risk-taking. Entertainment media can promote positive health-related decisions because they overcome the resistance that viewers may have to overtly educational messages. In this talk, I will focus on the potential impact of two “edutainment” programs in particular: MTV’s 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom.  MTV and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancy assert that these programs are a great “teaching tool” for teens about the consequences of unprotected sex and may be responsible for a decline in the teen birth rate. Yet existing research has found mixed support for this claim. I will discuss the ways in which teen pregnancy is portrayed in these programs, and the research that has examined whether exposure to these messages is related to adolescents’ pregnancy-related beliefs, attitudes and sexual behavior.

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