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Media Savvy Youth: Challenging Pop Culture Messages that Contribute to Sexual Violence

Download this publicationThere is no denying that the media is a powerful force in contemporary society. With the daunting combination of seemingly endless resources and control over access to information, the media offers us a blueprint for how to act and what to think. Whether you are online, watching TV, or listening to music, you are vulnerable to an onslaught of messages that you may not even be aware of. Their influences are so ingrained in our daily life that they often go unnoticed.

This is why media literacy is so imperative. We are often surrounded by messages that promote a victim-blaming mentality, sensationalize sexual violence, support rigid gender roles, and encourage negative stereotypes of those outside the mainstream of society. And there is no population more strongly targeted than our youth, who are rarely taught the critical thinking skills they need to deal with media messages. While there is debate as to whether media is influencing society or society is influencing media, in the end it feels like a moot point. There is a reciprocal relationship, and if we can change one it will influence the other.

Confronting media's use of power and manipulation is an important aspect of anti-sexual violence work. It can take many forms, but I think songwriter Jello Biafra said it best, "Don't hate the media. Become the media." This issue of Connections aims to celebrate that very sentiment.

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Reviewed: May 10th, 2016