ERIC Number: ED273950
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Oppositional Decoding as an Act of Resistance.
Specific social groups express themselves through their own particularized media. For example, "MS" magazine directs its communication to feminist readers, and as a part of this, regularly reprints advertisements and news clipping taken from mainstream media in its "No Comment" section. This section provides opportunities for "oppositional decoding," or the ability of a reader to understand the intended meaning of discourse, but to decode the message in a contrary way. Examples of media selections that might be found in the "No Comment" section are those that treat women in terms of their husband, regard women as unimportant to their husbands, exploit pictures of women, use sexual entendres or puns to sell goods and services, suggest that women enjoy sexual violence or abuse, illustrate male dominance, stereotype differences between boys and girls or men and women, depict women as stupid, recommend that women improve their bodies to attract or keep men, portray women as men's property, or mock, challenge, or condemn feminism. The consistent oppositional decoding of these images of women and of the relationship of women and men helps to maintain the social practices and structure of feminism, but does not necessarily change either the encoding or decoding process taking place within mainstream ideology. Perhaps changing major ideological systems cannot occur without access and commitment to an alternative, oppositional definition of reality, and alternative publications of specific cultural groups offer ways in which oppositional thinking may be taught and learned. (SRT)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Ms Magazine; Oppositional Decoding
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (69th, Norman, OK, August 3-6, 1986).