Sex, Love, and Romance in the Mass Media
Analysis and Criticism of Unrealistic Portrayals and Their Influence
Routledge – 2003 – 200 pages
Series: Routledge Communication Series
This accessible yet research-based text offers both foundational theories and practical applications of analysis and criticism of mass media portrayals of sex, love, and romance in a wide variety of mass media, from entertainment to advertising to news. The multidisciplinary methodological perspective comes out of a media literacy approach and embraces a variety of traditions along the quantitative-qualitative continuum. Focused on portrayals of male-female coupleship, the book is centered around the 12 major myths and stereotypes of Galician's Dr. FUN!'s Mass Media Love Quiz©, each of which has a corresponding Dr. Galician Prescription® that encapsulates healthy strategies--rarely found in the mass media--to counteract that myth or stereotype. Readers learn how to identify, illustrate, deconstruct, evaluate, and reframe the mass media's mythic and stereotypic portrayals of sex, love, and romance. They also learn how to use their own formal critical evaluations to clarify their own values and--as media consumers or mass communication creators--to share their insights with others. Thus, the learning objectives encompass all three major educational domains: cognitive, affective, and behavioral.
Part I of this book covers the five foundations:
*myths and stereotypes of love and coupleship;
*models of realistic and constructive love and coupleship;
*mass media storytelling approaches, techniques, and devices;
*research and theories of mass media effects; and
*strategies and skills of media literacy.
Part II is devoted to exploring the myths and stereotypes identified in the Quiz. Following several brief case studies and a summary of related research and commentary, each chapter focuses on analyses and criticisms of portrayals of sex, love, and romance in the content of news and advertising, as well as entertainment using Galician's Seven-Step Dis-illusioning Directions. Each chapter concludes with a "Dis-illusion Digest."
While critical of unrealistic portrayals and the damage they can cause unsuspecting media consumers, Galician--a media literacy advocate--is not anti-media. Rather, her goal is to empower consumers to use these portrayals with more awareness of their possible consequences, to resist adopting them as models for actual behavior, and to consciously reframe them into more realistic, productive scenarios. This unique text is an engaging classroom resource for media literacy, media and relationships, and media and society coursework.
"This accessible, yet research-based text offers both foundational theories and practical applications of analysis and criticism of portrayals of sex, love, and romance appearing in a wide variety of both print and electronic mass media, from entertainment to advertising to new media. The multidisciplinary perspective grounded in a media literacy approach that embraces a variety of traditions along the quantitative-qualitative continuum. Sex, Love, and Romance in the Mass Media is targeted at students, educators, and media literacy advocates."
"Instructors of media literacy, criticism, and gender studies will find this a useful text, due to its summaries of media effects and research and the focus on love and romance, that serves as a popular subject among students. For instructors of television or film script writing and production, the text also could serve as a starting point for creating more realistic portrayals of love that also further the pro-social goals of gender equality in romantic relationships."
"This is the exact book I've been looking for! Mary-Lou Galician's Sex, Love, & Romance in the Mass Media is the most theoretically based and yet completely accessible book there is on this crucial topic. I plan on adopting it right away."
—Debra Merskin, Ph.D.
School of Journalism & Communication, University of Oregon
"I've read this book from cover to cover, with great interest. Count me as one of its admirers. It will go a long way toward 'saving' those who've been bamboozled by media fakery and false messages. 'Dr. FUN!' has succeeded masterfully."
—Mary Riege Laner, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Sociology, Arizona State University
"Everyone talks about sex and violence in the media, but mostly attention is paid to violence. At last, someone has taken sex--and love--seriously. This book is one that will captivate college students and teach them the critical thinking skills that we want to impart."
—Anne Cooper-Chen, Ph.D.
Director for Graduate Studies and Research, EW Scripps School of Journalism, Ohi
"Who wrote the book of love? 'Dr. FUN!,' that's who. Dr. Mary-Lou Galician's book is well-researched, entertaining, and most important, useful and necessary for navigating through this age of media saturation and myths. Don't leave home without it!"
—Ralph E. Carmode, Ph.D.
Professor, Jacksonville State University, Alabama
"Dr. Galician's new text is a comprehensive treatment of research in mass media and romantic relationships. She successfully blends both areas of research into a critical examination of the most predominant romantic relationship myths fashioned and supported by the media."
—Katherine Adams, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of Communication, California State University, F
"In an age in which the mass media strongly influence our views of the world and our place in it, Mary-Lou Galician provides great insight into the pitfalls of unrealistic media portrayals of intimate relationships in her new book, Sex, Love, & Romance in the Mass Media….One cannot read Dr. Galician's book without becoming a more aware and savvy media consumer."
—Norman B. Epstein, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Family Studies, University of Maryland, College Park
Contents: Introduction. Part I: Foundations of Analysis & Criticism of Sex, Love, & Romance in the Mass Media. Ideals & Illusions (Unrealistic Models). Diagnoses & Dis-Illusions (Realistic Models). Mass Media Narrative Constructions. The Influence of the Mass Media. Strategies & Skills of Media Literacy. Part II: Applications of Analysis & Criticism of Sex, Love, & Romance in the Mass Media. Dr. Fun!'s Mass Media Love Quiz © Myths 1-12. Epilogue. Appendices: Sample Completed Worksheet. Sample Analysis & Criticism.