What We Mean

from Aaminah Hernandez on http://writeoussisterspeaks.wordpress.com

Square One: What is Media?

10 04 2008

Talking about media justice doesn’t get too far if we don’t even know what media is or we think our contribution and work isn’t part of media. A friend recently asked in a forum if her work with theatre even counted as media or if it was something else. I felt sad for her that she would discount her own work. If a silly sitcom counts as media and can be deconstructed to reveal how it plays into materialism, sexism, racism or how it instructs against such things, certainly theatre can and does serve the same function. Perhaps even in a more personal way. So I thought I would share some of my thoughts about what media is.

I create media with words. Because words are what I am (argueably) good with. Words are the media that is taken for granted, but many people think that the only words that “count” as media are articles, non-fiction books, and other “serious” matters. Preferably written by an expert, but as we witness in the cases of memoirs and many other genres people with no expert or authentic knowledge at all are often listened to… just because. I would like to argue that everyone is an expert. You are an expert on your own life and experiences, and you are an expert on the things that matter to you.

I would also like to argue that fiction and poetry and any other form by which words are used (even stand-alone words) to convey a story is media. Because media is getting the story out there. Preferrably in an accessible form. And for many people fiction and poetry are more accessible or interesting than an academic tome.

But I’d like to challenge us to consider other forms of media. I think most people agree that television programming, movies and magazines are media. In fact, there are many blogs that discuss those forms of media. We often neglect theatre as a form of media, though, and I wasn’t so successful googling to find blogs that discuss theatre in such terms.

A friend of mine creates buttons. This is a form of media.

Another friend of mine makes jewelry and clothing that are a form of media.

As a token of appreciation to those who have donated to my AMC fund, I have been making and sending out bookmarks with thoughtful quotes, including my own words. That is media.

My ex-husband owns 7 or 8 Che Guevara t-shirts and when not in his work uniform, he is wearing Che. Unlike alot of young people today who don’t know what their t-shirt means, the Nica knows. He studied Che’s words while living in the mountains with an M-16 as his companion, and spoke/trained directly with people who had worked with Che. This is his quiet way of telling his own story of revolution. This is media.

Painters, photographers, printers and other artists are creating visual representations of media in many different forms and styles, some of which incorporate multiple forms of media.

Musicians create media in many forms including stunning videos to go with the work.

There are many different forms of media. Some things are not recognized for their contribution to media and I would challenge us to be creative and open minded in our definitions. I would challenge us to use whatever means we create to make media and to imbue it with value as such.

What is media? Media is any means that you use to tell your story or to give agency to someone else to convey their story.

What is your definition?

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