MOSES LAKE – A new class being offered this fall at Big Bend Community College (BBCC), HUM 102, will investigate how the representation of women has changed over the last century in popular culture.
The class, called “Kick Ass Women in Popular Culture”, will be taught by Dr. Allison Palumbo. The class, as described by Palumbo, helps students gain critical literacy skills that will make them more effective and inclusive readers and thinkers.
“I hope students walk away understanding that we can analyze our fantasies and see if those fantasies actually reflect our true values or if they’re convincing us to accept things that aren’t really good for us,” Palumbo said. “Ultimately it’s about learning how to critically engage with media.”
Students in the class will watch film and television shows that challenge the damsel in distress stereotype by featuring women who save themselves and/or others using violence. On that note, Palumbo wants to mention that the film and television programs they will watch in the class are for mature audiences and include graphic violence and/or sexual themes.
The class will read what scholarly and popular critics argue about the chosen film and television shows to unpack controversies related to the “strong, independent woman” ideal. As part of that, students will gain historical knowledge of how the representation of women has changed over the last century and how that relates to how they are portrayed in the media over time.
“Representation is both reflective of ideals and then also reinforces ideals,” said Palumbo.
Palumbo said they will start by analyzing the first fighting female on film which comes from a 1914 film serial called the Perils of Pauline. Their studying of film and television will span through the decades from the 1914 film to more recent movies like, “The Woman King”, that was released in 2022.
Students will apply what they learn and observe to journal assignments, reading responses, personal reflections and multi-media assignments including a poster presentation.
HUM 102 is a hybrid class that will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 to 11:35 a.m.