Ideological criticism examines how ideas are embedded and circulated through texts, this is a production centered approach. Which is different then the other approaches I have examined in my other posts. This will help you better understand the power of media over our social reality. First lets understand what Ideology is.
Ideology is a set of ideas that gives some particular account of the world such as persons outlook on life, it is a mean of exerting power. It acts as an instrument to extend control over others works to maintain existing power relations.
Ideological criticism, is looking how the text is produced in ways it interacts with our life’s experiences, or understanding the dominant ideas or values circulating in our social world.
This approach does not just study the text itself but the way the text affects, structures and interacts with society. This is what makes this approach diffrent from others. It uses a hegemony approach, which uses ideology as an instrument to exert power. It is important to understand the concept of hegemony because it explains the issue at hand how the dominant elites and many media conglomerates hold power over the masses and how these masses just accept these ideas as natural and norm.
Assumptions and details of this approach are to understand the media texts that establish and sustain existing power relations, to inform and empower for material change to improve equality and to expose and challenge dominant ides and values.
Political Economy Theory
Political economy theory is a theory under the ideological criticism approach. It is based on the marxist conception of socioeconomic order. This theory looks in to how media institutions, texts, and practices establish and sustain existing power relations, also how the media advance the intrests of the dominate elites and how the maintain control.
Political economists are focusing on the current trends of deregulation, growing power to reach the global media conglomerates and to increase dominance of advertising and marketing in our lives. These economics are doing this through synergistic practices such as cross-production, cross-promition, across advertising and blockbusters.
The main concerns are:
-the social roles of advertising and marketing practices
-the ideology of materialism or “consumerism
-the influence on our “consumer culture
-how advertising and marketing practices to promote a “culture of consumption.”
-The increasing commercialization of our culture.
Their biggest concern is commercialization and childhood, which we will be examining next.
Studying the Approach
Two diffrent documentaries Mickey Mouse Monopoly: Disney, Childhood & Corporate Power and Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood can both be examined by an ideological criticism approach.
Lets take a look at Mickey Mouse Monopoly. This film gives the world a whole other take on Disney. When you think of Disney, what comes to your mind? The most happiest place on earth. Magic, wishes, dreams. Well this film picks Disney apart for what they really are portraying. It shows how a media conglomerate can dominate a societies relatiy.
Disney has raised many generations, and has had a huge impact on the power to shape our culture and society. Were gonna look how Disney movies, portray different race, gender and class.One of the biggest things that are taught through these movies is gender roles and the norms. This is something I really think our society needs to focus on and what we are being taught. Lets take a look on how Disney raises our children how to be in their gender role.
How to be a girl:
Any little girl will tell you, what princess they want to be or what beautiful dress they want to wear and one day will wait for their prince charming to sweep them off their feet. But when you really think about it, is that the message you want to be told to to young girls? Disney girl characters all consist of the same characteristics: big eyes, big breasts, tiny waists, batting eyelashes, beautiful, and seductive. Theres no in between and anything less than perfection for these characters. Which teaches girls that to be beautiful this is what they need to look like. Disney shows in a lot of their movies of women using their bodies to attract the man, or to manipulate them to get what they want.
They also don’t just teach physical characteristics they also teach these young girls memorable lessons, they give the themes for our society. In every movie somehow some way the girl always needs to fall back on the man, or be rescued or need their help. I think this views women as them being weak. In Beauty and the Beast, It teaches a very shameful dangerous messages. When the beast is being abusive and yelling at her, Belle is the first one to go back and let go and forgive him for all those things and look at the good in him. I think this teaches a really bad lesson to which myself have believe the same thing. As a women to sweep the mans mistakes under the rug and be the one to make things better.
How to be a boy:
In every Disney movie, there is either a handsome prince, or a strong man saving the day. The appearance Disney gives their male characters are strong with muscular figures, broad shoulders, nice hair and a strong jaw. They must be very masculine and tough. They teach that their personalities should have no feelings, and to get the girl is to just be charming.
Disney always shows how men can be changed, in the same film as before in Beauty and the Beast, they show how abusive and mean the Beast may be but no matter what Belle stays with him and changes him for the better.
After watching this film, It really showed me how it affected my perception about a lot of things. Learning about ideologies and how to use an ideological approach helps you to look further into the meanings of what your being exposed too. Media conglomerates do have so much power, and society is controlled by their messages. Disney is everywhere and is a very powerful company, they control many things. It is important to remember the messages that are hidden and what is being exposed to you.