Gray’s Article, discussing the term, Media Literacy, is defined as “one’s understanding of the medium, what one knows or expects of its structure, genre, and tropes, and how one has been trained to make sense of its messages, style, and rhetoric.” He comments on how media companies such as advertising, film, television, and other mass medias include subliminal sub-text context into our lives everyday. I believe part of everyone’s agenda during their journey to pursue and complete their higher education, should be left with a sense of how to approach mass media and critically analyze it. It is easy to fall victim of an advertising agency’s agenda to sell their products in a positive light, even if there is a hidden truth behind it.
The light shined upon abnormally thin supermodels to convey women’s ideal perception of perfection is a scheme. Even celebrities on Instagram feel there is a need to doctor themselves in photos in order to appear thin for the thousands and sometimes millions of followers they have.
But there are also companies who take pride in the way they produce their product’s advertisements. America Eagle’s underwear and intimates line for women. The line is named Aerie and their slogans are “the girl in this photo has not been retouched,” “the real you is sexy,” “#aeriereal.”
Gray also discusses media literacy education in his article and “that its chief objective is to provide the raw materials and tools required to develop an awareness of how media are constructed, by whom, and with which meanings privileged or excluded, how consumers engage with them, and to what individual or societal effects.” (224) As consumers we should be taking pride in company’s products who choose to fully and easily disclose what is in their product, where it is made, who is it made for, etc. The companies who disclose the most information are usually the most trustworthy, and and have nothing to hide.
The example of GMOs comes to mind, and how companies do not wish to share this information customers especially when the US does not require it by law. In 2013, Chipotle became the first fast food restaurant to admit their use of GMOs in their burrito assembly lines. Each individual business tries their best to use local meat providers but in the case that the supply is short, they tell their customers that certain choices of meat may have not been “responsibly raised” with the use of hormone additives. The company states they wish to eventually move forward by eliminating all GMOs in their products but until then, full disclosure is the best policy, especially when the FDA does not require it at all.
In conclusion, Gray brings up the importance of media literacy her article. Celebrities, the fashion industry and popular fast food chains all have their own agendas. As media consumers it is our jobs to figure out the truth versus the fabrication, and at least if there are fabrications, do companies disclose them, or try to cover them up? As a female consumer, i find myself sticking to consuming products who are the most honest. I do not idolize celebrities such as the Kardahsians who are obsessed with their self image but bare no talent associated with their fame. I spread awareness that there are companies dedicated to telling the truth to their companies such as Aerie and Chipotle. But hopefully Chipotle will finally eliminate the use of all GMOs in their food in the future like the claim to. Until then, full disclosure is the best policy in my book, especially if it can cause people harm physically or mentally.