Sex and the Media


Assessment task title: Research Essay
Details of task: Write an essay responding to one of the following questions/topics:
1. Select a recent advertising campaign (it may be located across several media
and it may be a commercial campaign or a government/community/health
campaign) to critically analyse in relation to the socio-cultural construction of
gender and/or sexuality. Using the critical frameworks you have developed this
semester, deconstruct the campaign and develop a position on how gender
and/or sexuality are constructed in the campaign through visual and textual
2. Can we say that men are now ‘objectified’ in visual culture in the same way as
women? Develop an argument as to why the social/political consequences of
‘objectifying’ images might be different, or that they should be understood as the
same, for men and women. Your argument should address why and how the
social context of ‘postfeminism’ (Gill, 2007) affects our understandings of images.
You can choose from a wide range of media texts to substantiate your argument.
3. Do digital social media provide ‘safe spaces’ for people, especially
non-dominant people who experience marginalisation? Or are they ‘toxic troll
territories’? Develop a position on the notion of safe digital social spaces,
potentially comparing and contrasting two or more examples as case studies.
You could consider social media like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit,
Snapchat, or groups, hashtags, subreddits/threads within wider platforms. You
could also consider virtual worlds like MMORPGs, MUDs, or MOBAs.
4. There are continuous debates about whether or not people seek empowerment
through self-sexualisation and subjectification , and may or may not have
autonomy regarding their choices in engaging with beauty and raunch culture.
Critically evaluate such claims by developing an informed, research-based stance
as to whether people do or do not have such autonomy. Consider the implications
and nuances of self-sexualisation and subjectification.
Regardless of which option you choose to respond to, each essay must include the
● Clear evidence of research beyond the required unit readings. All essays are
required to include at least 8 academic sources to pass with at least 5 of those
being additional academic sources beyond the set weekly readings. Ideally,
most essays should include 8-10 sources (or more), which will include a
combination of required readings and at least 5 additional peer-reviewed journal
articles, scholarly book chapters or scholarly books. Consult the guide on Moodle
and/or your tutors for advice on identifying and evaluating an academic source. A
list of recommended readings is provided on Moodle for each essay
question/topic, and these do not count as weekly required readings.
● The use of media text case studies . This may include images, stills from videos,
lyrics, transcripts from interviews, etc. These should be properly referenced
according to the style guide you are using and can be embedded in-text.
However, these sources do not count towards your minimum number of 8
academic sources.
● A clear, coherent argument developed logically over the course of your essay.
The argument should be identified and sign-posted in the introduction, and built
upon drawing on your research, in each subsequent paragraph. The conclusion
should neatly summarise the evidence you have gathered and reiterate your
● Clear expression . Try to write in short, sharp, to-the-point sentences and be
sure to leave ample time before the due date for proof reading and editing. Read
your writing out to yourself to help identify inconsistencies or awkward
● Proper referencing . Undergraduate writing is about ‘building on the shoulders of
giants’ and synthesising ideas and existing research, potentially into new but
well-founded forms. You can use APA, ASA, or Harvard referencing, as long as
you are consistent and use an in-text author-date system with a complete list of
references at the end of your essay. Only include references in your list of
references that have been cited in the text.