Once the feminist mind has been activated it is hard to turn off. This makes engaging in media a complicated experience. This post has become an extension of my post, Living in the Feminist Bubble, specifically focusing on media.
As far as we’ve come in society, visual representation in popular media still tends to be white, heterosexual, middle class and often times male (or from or for the male perspective).
I have found that people get confused when considering the critique of media. Critiquing is an important practice. To sit complacently and merely consume (as relaxing as that sounds) is lazy consumption. You’re not doing yourself or broader society any good.
But here is the confusing part; many question how you can consume and critique simultaneously. These two concepts do not exist exclusively. On the contrary both concepts overlap in numerous arenas.
I myself have been questioned about my personal media consumption choices. I cannot stand Robin Thicke but I still have some Jay Z lingering on my iTunes (mostly when he sings with Beyoncé to my defense). Some would argue the latter is much worse than the former.
I have erased music from iTunes that I find insulting, gotten rid of movies that have offensive representations of women, and try and choose books by female authors in order to broaden my literary collection.
All of this being said I still partake in the broader hegemonic media representations. I cannot reject every single piece of media I find problematic. Just because I am a feminist does not mean I shut out all unruly representations. Honestly, that wouldn’t leave me with much.
I think to be a good consumer is constantly be critiquing. Even when you find a song or movie that has numerous multifaceted positive representations you should still critique.
But with critiquing comes finding your own personal boundaries. For me I may use the moment “Blurred Lines” comes on at the bar to use the bathroom. Or I may choose to watch a television show based solely on the fact that it is seen as feminist. These are my choices.
I am tired of being confronted with accusations that because I am a feminist I cannot consume or disregard certain shows, songs, movies, etc.
Just as with everything else I have my own personal boundaries in place for what is acceptable and what makes me uncomfortable. I can guarantee that I would disagree with many media consumption choices that many of you reading have made.
If you wish for me to change the song because of sexist language I will. Don’t want to go to a movie because of their racial slurs I won’t go. The beauty of being a critiquing consumer is that we will all have different perspectives, different reasons for accepting or rejecting something.
If someone wishes to engage in a conversation about why I have made the choices I make then by all means ask away.
Start thinking of consumption and critique as actions that can take place simultaneously.
Who produced it?
Who is it for?
Why do you enjoy it?
Why do you reject it?
Challenge yourself to ask questions of the media you consume.