Out of the mouths of babes
International School of Amsterdam
For Part 2 of my English course we studied how women are portrayed by the media. We began by viewing Jean Kilbourne’s Killing Us Softly 3 and reading Kilbourne’s book The More You Subtract, The More You Add. I refer to statistics and facts from this sources in the written task.
The Calvin Klein ad pictured here, the one that I refer to in my written task, is one I also used for an “ad critique presentation” (IB further oral activity). We spent time in class asking ourselves who was responsible for several problems, including the social construction of gender, beauty and sexuality to the often dangerous behaviors advertisements seem to promote (eating disorders, objectification of women, violence against women, hyper-masculinity, and others). We also discussed ways in which individuals and groups can resist these problems and promote social change.
An opinion column seemed to be the ideal forum for me to write. I wanted to move from the specific problems I saw in this ad and speak to the larger issues it points to. I read many writers of Op-Eds and decided to model mine after New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd because her voice combines comic elements with biting commentary. Her columns, like many other Op-Ed writers, are grounded in the writer’s personal life. It contains not only her opinion, but many newsworthy statistics and a call to action.
I believe that have met several of the learning outcomes for Part 2. I have examined different forms of communication within the media, by looking at a range of texts, from ads and opinion columns to documentaries and counter ads. I have also shown an awareness of the potential for ideological influence of the media, by looking at both sexist ads and counter-propaganda, such as Kilbourne’s speech.
Jhally, Sut. Director. (2000). Killing Us Softly 3: Advertising’s Image of Women featuring Jean Kilbourne. New York: Media Education Foundation.
Kilbourne, Jean. (2000). The more you subtract, the more you add: Cutting girls down to size. In Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel. Charmichael, CA: Touchstone Press.
“Mommy, look at me. I’m beautiful.”
I turned around, reading glasses perched on the end of my nose, peering over the top to see my eight-year-old posing, nearly naked, hips jutting provocatively forward and gently sucking a thumb, in one of her father’s dress shirts from the laundry basket and CK written in my red lipstick on the pocket, only one lower button closing the shirt so my baby’s privates were just covered like the proverbial fig leaf. I was horrified. Horrified at what she was communicating – already – without awareness.
I shook my head, dismayed, “Daniela, let’s get you into your jammies and off to bed.” As I walked into her room, I told her how I feel about the advertisement she was mimicking. I told her about women’s strength and real “girl power.” And then I helped her change, and read her several pages of Stargirl until she drifted off to sleep.
Throughout this course, you will build a portfolio of written tasks. There are two types of written tasks, known as written task 1 (WT1) and written task 2 (WT2). These are very different in nature.
Written task 1 is an 'imaginative piece' in which you demonstrate your understanding of the course work and a type of text. For example you could write a letter from one character to another character from a novel that you have read for Part 3 or 4. Or you could write a journalistic review of a speech that was studied in Part 1 or 2. Because the possibilities are endless, it is easy to write irrelevant work. Therefore it is important that you look at several samples and several tips for guidance on the written task 1.
Written task 2 pertains to HL students only. It is a critical response to a text or texts, written in light of one of six prescribed questions from the IB Language A: Language and Literature guide. These questions can be answered using texts from all parts of the syllabus.
Remember: An essay is not an acceptable type of text for the written task 1. Students are encouraged to step into someone's shoes, explore a different role and practice writing different types of texts. The Paper 2 and the written task 2 provide opportunities for students to practice essay writing.
* At SL students must have written at least three written tasks 1s. One must be on Parts 1 and 2, one must be on Parts 3 and 4, and the other can be on any part. Again this is a minimum requirement.
* One of the two tasks submitted at HL is a written task 1 and the other is a written task 2, meaning that HL students submit either 'possibility 1' or 'possibility 2' from the table below.
|HL only||Parts 1 & 2||Parts 3 & 4|
|Possibility 1||written task 1||written task 2|
|Possibility 2||written task 2||written task 1|