Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hegemony and the Media

The media today mediates what we know and see as reality. Many may have the belief that the media is solely reflective of our society, but in my opinion it very much dictates and constructs our reality. It is through the representations in the media of our culture, our society that we see the concepts of age, gender, race and more. Within our reality exists ideology. This system of beliefs and values are showcased through the media and hegemony is greatly present for it is the way the dominant or those in power maintain the control over their influence. This maintanence is promoted through the media. James Lull reveals that "mass media are tools that ruling elites use to "perpetuate their power, wealth, and status [by popularizing] their own philosophy, culture and morality," (62). In reference to hegemony, he notes that those "owners and mangers of media industries can produce and reproduce the content, inflections and tones of ideas favorable to them far more easily than other social groups because they manage key socializing institutions, thereby guaranteeing that their points of view are constantly and attractively cast into the public area," (62). Some ideologies that are put into place by our media include the importance to be slim with beauty ads. However, today there are ads that are trying to counteract these ideologies and in the beauty example we have ads such as the Dove campaigns to show "real" and "average" woman and showcase their beauty.
The example that I have chosen to showcase ideologies and hegemony is a SONY PSP ad that was put up on a billboard in Amsterdam and on the Dutch SONY website back in 2006. These ads having heavy racial ideologies built in. Here, the image is supposed to represent the new, white PSP coming out. From the images we see that the "white PSP" is stronger, fiercer, and stylish. The slogan attached to the billboard is "White is coming." If this isn't racial implications, I don't know what is. It depicts the "black PSP" as being weak and inferior to the "new white" one. This presents the racial ideas that the white race is the superior race. There is a picture where we see the "black PSP" fighting back and it being on top of the "white PSP," but the representation is still mostly represented by the white "winning."

The images for the post were found at: http://adland.tv/content/sony-psp-ads-white-vs-black


  1. The usage of light around the face of the white model definitely enhances this idea of superiority and dominance as the black model gets engulfed in the faded edges.

  2. Jessica,
    Well done! I love this piece, I think it's brilliant and wish more people would speak out more on social issues such as the one being presented here.
    A couple of things that almost stand out automatically to me is the fact that the white woman in the first image is taller (long leand and in power) and therefore towering over the black woman she also appears to be taking up most of the picture space. Another issue is the hair...I think most people identify beauty with hair and that hair is also a marker for genders. Here we can see who has the longer hair...of course the white woman has a full head of big lushes white hair and the black woman short and dark, if it wasn't for the skirt being shown on the black woman in the last image I would have questioned her gender.
    Overall the white woman is sexier, more dominating, and aggressive...this image not only speaks to many females but it arouses male interest as well.
    On a small note why does it almost appear as if they are animals fighting? Is the image also relying the message that women are less than human?...I think so!