Sunday, November 9, 2008

Using The Media to Make Canada More Trans-Positive

Changing hateful and discriminatory attitudes is not an easy task. Yet in order for our proposed policy to be effective this is what needs to be accomplished. The media has long been seen as a medium used to influence people’s attitudes, actions and believes; and with today’s growing technology it has become even easier to reach a higher number of potential message recipients (Bryant and Zillmann, 2002). Every day we are subjected to messages from companies of consumer goods, the entertainment industry, politicians, and everyone in-between. We process and are influenced by these messages both consciously and subconsciously many times a day.

In conjunction with implementing policy changes within the prison, as described in previous blogs, a mass media campaign would be launched in order to help create a more trans-positive society and a large reduction in hate crimes. Research shows that when introducing any media campaign there are rules that need to be followed (Bryant and Zillmann, 2002). Firstly it is imperative that the campaign start out small and build slowly. For our trans-positive campaign the message would start through blogs, websites and print ads, then move to television and billboards, and finally to featured stories, public services announcements and documentaries. This progressive strategy seems to legitimize the message in the eyes of the public. It is also important to make sure your message comes across strong and relevant to the audience. For example, in our campaign to stop hate crimes, it would be impactual to use statistics as well as personal stories. Lastly research has proven that the source of the message has an effect on the effectiveness of the campaign. It is important that the message comes from a neutral or unstigmatized group. Considering that transgender people are extremely stigmatized is it vital for this campaign to have outside groups backing it; for example, the Canadian government and/or local human rights groups.

Implementing a successful media campaign will be a long and hard process, one that does carry a financial burden, but if it educates and helps shift public attitudes towards being trans-positive, then surely the benefits would outweigh the costs both inside and outside the prison walls.
Bryant, J. and Zillmann, D. (2002). Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research
Tuscaloosa, AL: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

No comments:

Post a Comment