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Stacie Graham

Reshaping Image: Cross-genre and Intersectional Examples within the Media Industry

In this talk the focus lies on the possibility of representative imagery in the media and entertainment industry and to what extent the lens has shifted. The ever elusive notion of identity as well as the individual and collective understanding of personal versus projected image is continuously influenced and re-shaped with the help (or hindrance) of representation in broadcast media, digital media and other powerful vehicles of mass communication. What is the media and entertainment industry's role in informing versus reflecting the collective understanding of expression as it pertains to gender and sexuality, body politics, race/ethnicity, class, societal and cultural norms? There exist groups, whose defining characteristics could be found in subculture or the embrace of subverting the cultural norms that subverted their very existence, who find their individuality framed as caricature, stripped of its 'threatening' nature and branded as mainstream. Again others remain on the margins, visibly invisibilized in support roles to be mocked and copied yet never fully integrated.

In an exploration of cross-genre examples stemming from Germany, and more broadly Europe, this talk will illustrate that representative imagery is not simply a quantitative fix. In a digital era, the barriers to considered and intersectional representation have been lowered, however the willingness of the collective to re-shape their understanding of image is limited to hand-picked identifying characteristics and has, in many ways, been regressive in nature.