Author Archives: Randy Otis

Learning Outcome #1 – Reflection

Randy Otis
Comm 499 – Learning Outcome #1

Learning Outcome #1 – Reflection

For this learning outcome I decided to submit two journal entries from Comm 370. These entries both touch on the psychological theory framework. The psychological framework explains that communication is not the flow of information from the sender to the receiver but the thoughts and feelings of the sender when communicating. It can also include the reactions and feelings of the receiver after they decode the information. The first abstract talks about how people interpret certain religious materials. It is said that religion and culture can be a system of communication. Different people interpret different meanings to various symbols. I showed how the ideal of karma can be interpreted in various ways. Some people tend to take religion verbatim from the historical data and readings provided to them. Others will look for an alternative meaning to the teachings and may not take the teachings as literal. Depending on how the lesson is communicated based on the sender’s communication style can determine how people are facilitating meaning. Throughout Comm 370 I learned how to look at a situation and or ideal and find alternative meanings and ways to decode or understand the communication style.
I’ve found that no matter what topic you may be discussing there are always alternative ways to decode the information. I gained an understanding for the systematic theory that explains how different messages are interpreted and then reinterpreted to draw a conclusion. In my career I have to look at situations from many different perspectives. I’ve found that exercises like my artifact have allowed me the ability to critically analyze situations. In my job I have to find solutions to a wide variety of situations. If I only look at one way to solve the issues I often fall short in providing solutions. If I step back and look at the situation from my companies point of view, the customers point of view, and the point of view from an outsider looking in I am able to provide a long term solution an establish comfort for all parties involved.


Learning Outcome #1 – Artifact 1 “Television and Your Children”

Randy Otis
Com 370
Professor M. Johnson

Reading Response 2

It’s in a parent’s best interest to protect their children from all outside negative media that may be present in the child’s life. Often time’s television does have shows that negatively impact the behavior of a child. Violence and sexual content are just two major themes in shows today that attract large audiences. It’s almost as if media marketers and producers try and make their shows more violent and more sexual to attract younger crowds. I don’t think the baby boomers are looking to see “T and A” or intense action shows, but you see younger generations of people flocking towards this type of programming.
Parents that monitor the television shows their kids watch at least are in touch with what their kids see. In many cases kids will watch what they watch though. They will find a way to watch a show, whether it’s on-line or going over to a friends house to see the show. In this day and age it is very difficult to monitor what they watch. Personally I think you have to raise your children good enough to where you can trust that no matter what they are watching on television they can make responsible decisions about the information they consume.
As a new parent I can relate with some of these fears. I don’t want my children watching questionable programming, or R rated movies. But what’s the difference between them watching an R rated movie and going to Mayfair mall with me and hearing people dropping the “F bomb” all around us? When comparing violence on television we often times criticize certain shows for their acts of violence, but rarely do you see parents holding their children back from watching sports like hockey and football. You see just as much fighting and brutal violence in those sports than you do in most violent television shows. So it all comes back to talking to your children about what they are seeing around them.
Communication is the key to fighting technology fear. Talking to your children about everything is very important. They need to know what is going on around them. That is the only way they will make good decisions when they are put in a tough spot. We need to coach children to make good decisions. Certainly we all learn the hard way sometimes, but you can limit mistakes by teaching good morals.
I’m scarred that my daughters will be taking to boys at school. Now I have to worry about them IM’ing the boys when they get home, or texting them. My parents used to be able to answer all of my incoming calls at home. In the day and age of cell phones we can’t always answer our kid’s cell phones. The internet also scares me for my children. You can look up anything online. You can filter and get parenting restrictions on the sites your kids are going to, however it’s like television, if they want to see it they will. The great thing about technology is that there are restrictions to everything. You are able to monitor everything. What your kids watch, search online, and learn. The reality of it is, you would drive yourself insane trying to monitor all of this. And most research says that if you are trying to shelter your child, they will rebel down the line. Putting trust in them allows there self confidence to grow. I know I loved it when my parents trusted me to do things. It made me want to do the right thing for them.
I don’t think the fear in technology will go away. People are scared of what they don’t understand. The key to feeling secure with technology is to learn how to use it. Take the time to understand it and then you will feel more at ease.

Learning Outcome #1 – Artifact 2 “Do We Have a Choice to be Religious”

Journal Entry #1 Randy Otis (section C)

If religion is, as Bloom says, “accidental,” to what extent do we actually have a choice to *not* be religious? That is, is there any real freedom to assent or not in religious belief?

I believe everyone has the choice and or freedom to involve religion in there lives. Bloom explains that religion is “accidental”. There is some truth in this. Many people have what they call religious experiences, or events in there lives that they would justify as religious. Typically these would be accidental “forces of nature”. Religion is what you make of it. Many people base actions and events around them as religious. For example people on there wedding day’s base the weather as religious. “Oh God was really looking out for us today with the nice weather”. Or some may have a life and death experience that could be completely circumstantial but they claim it to be religious. Therefore I would classify most religious experiences as accidental.
Personally I like to live the karma way of life. If you do good things then in turn good things will come to you. I don’t feel I am a religious person, but I tend to feel like religion finds you. If you want to justify certain things you can take the scientific approach and claim things to be circumstantial, or you can base the events on the religion that you believe in. I don’t believe that anyone is born into a religion. Many parents teach there children what they believe but ultimately everyone makes there own decisions once they are at an age where they can figure things out for themselves.
Bloom is saying that people are conditioned to believe that religion is the reason things happen the way they do. If you are brought up into thinking that if you do negative things to people or yourself then you will “go to hell”, then I guess that you would typically carry that set of beliefs “accidentally”, because you have been conditioned to thinking that way. But humans generally figure things out for themselves. People that never sin or do anything harmful still have bad things happen to them. So how would we justify that set of beliefs? This Is why I don’t believe religion is accidental, it is your choice to come up with reasoning on why things happen the way they do.

Journal Entry #2 Randy Otis (section C)

What do you make of the relationship between the individual experience, on the one hand, and the fundamental commonality of the nature of that experience and its meaning, on the other? That is to say, James thinks that religion is fundamentally individual and emotional in character, but he also thinks that the emotions experienced by individuals are more alike than they are different. What would that mean if that were the case? About religion, and about the individuality of religion.

I believe people that are religious tend to follow what others have done before them. They look at the personal benefits of an individual’s religious experience and want to experience that for themselves. Everyone wants to be happy and fulfilled in life and if you believe that religion can do that for you why wouldn’t you follow that. You can look and see that it has had numerous positive effects on people’s life and want that for yourself, therefore following a group. You can have personal meaning to your religion and to your religious experiences, but ultimately you’re learning religion and basing your religion off of what others have done in the past. Religion is taught, you’re not born religious.
I agree with James in saying that people’s experiences are more alike then they are different. Emotions are guided by religion in many ways. If you are sad or upset about something you tend to look to a higher power to help you. Or you look to a support group like friends and family to guide you through your problems. Individuals usually like to know that there is a group to go to if something is wrong, or right. James believes religion is individual and emotional in character, I would agree with him, but where do you base religion off of? I base it off of what has happened in the past and what others have gained or lost from adopting a religious life. You can choose to control your emotions the way you want, but it’s easier to look at the past and compare how you may have dealt with things in the past. If I am dealing with a death in the family I may deal with it by praying or sitting by myself and reflecting on how to make positives out of a grim situation. I’ve learned to do that through advice from others.
Overall I feel that people start out following religion because they see that it is benefiting others and maybe they want to join in and experience that same collective happiness. But the further you think and reflect about your religion the more and more you understand that you create your own destiny. Religion then becomes personal, because you can relate everything happing in your life with your religion or set of personal beliefs.

Learning Outcome #1 – Reflection

Exit Essay

Randy Otis
Comm 499 Exit Essay
The Carroll Years

During my time at Carroll I’ve received a plethora of communication knowledge that has given me the skills to confidently enter the business world. I started my Carroll career focusing on Public Relations. I also took a liking to marketing and how both PR and Marketing are somewhat intertwined. PR taught me the importance of being precise and accurate when you are representing a group of people. The lessons focused on how to spin controversial issues into a positive light connected with me immediately. I often find myself trying to find a silver lining for every situation. In marketing classes I focused on demographics and how to target a group of people from a business perspective. Learning about demographics and target markets sparked my interest in technical and business styles of writing. I like to think that I have a diverse skill set, one side of me is business, and the other is focused on relationships and interpersonal communication. I have always been a very open minded person when it relates to politics, religion and education. That’s why I ultimately decided to pursue a liberal arts degree in communication. I immediately liked the focus on Communication law and research based classes. These styles of courses combined with cultural based courses, and a few business classes in-between was the well rounded education that I was looking for. During the progression of this exit essay I will discuss a few of the classes that inspired me, and how those classes allowed me to understand what career field I wanted to work in. I will finish by explaining how the knowledge I’ve learned has assisted me during the beginning of my career.
Prior to transferring to Carroll I took a cultural based communication class at Northern Michigan University called Communication and Art in Africa. I went into the class expecting a map based history education of Africa. I was happily surprised to finally understand the power of communication and art. The class focused on how communication mediums like music, radio broadcasts, and theater helped spread AIDS awareness to the people in Africa. There’s still a negative connotation to speaking about AIDS in Africa. People don’t want to admit they have the disease and don’t want to or don’t have the means to pro actively educate themselves on how to prevent the disease. The younger generation of Africans needed to and still needs to be taught about AIDS. What better way to reach people then to perform plays about it, write songs and outwardly speak about the disease. Prior to this class I didn’t understand the power of the written word, and the power of publishing. The written word can inspire a group of people and can be circulated easily. Without being able to publish stories of survivors, and medical advice, thousands more would contract the disease. The music created to spread the word was also important. We were able to see African singers and hear slam poetry from Africans that highlighted the passion of their message. This class made me really love the cultural side of communication. I enjoyed learning about how other cultures differ from us in their communication styles. That knowledge helped me better understand my own culture and surroundings.
I started my college career at Carroll U taking Intro to Journalism, which taught me the fundamentals of technical writing. This class taught me to be detail oriented and precise when writing. I use this tool daily in my career. When sending emails in the corporate world you have to be clear and concise. I learned the ability to limit my word count while communicating efficiently. As technology has progressed it’s interesting to reflect on how much journalism has changed. It’s no longer writing in newspapers and magazines. The majority of journalism is done online through blogs, social media and online post forums. It seems like the art of technical writing and journalism is being lost in tweets and blogs. On the positive side current news and information is available in the palm of your hand.
During my 2010 semester I found Comm Law to be one of my favorite classes. The ability to polish my public speaking was my favorite aspect of the class. I loved to debate and research communication related court cases. Dr. Daily pushed me focus on key points in the laws and to find loopholes that would give you a competitive advantage to debate or litigation. I use this tool in my everyday life when I try to sell product. Part of my job focuses on sales and establishing positive business relationships. Business relationships can often parish as a result of miscommunication with a customer. It’s important to be firm but fair while you’re either on the selling or buying side of the situation. Dr. Dailey taught me a life lesson. If you’re prepared to speak, you will be confident. And confidence is everything in litigation.
The liberal arts major allowed me to learn a little bit about a lot of topics. This format of learning is much like my job. I have to wear many different hats at work. Some days I’m doing customer service related work, other days I’m taking a sales role, and other days I act as a liaison between my customers and our sales and operations teams. What better major in school to prepare me than the liberal arts communication degree? I’ve used the researched based classes to aid me in the analytical portion of my job. I have to solve service failure related issues daily. Running data reports and researching historical solutions and action plans help me solve current issues. Without the understanding of how to gather and analyze data I wouldn’t be as effective in my analyzing role as I am today. Classes related to interpersonal communication, and culture helped me understand how to talk to people in a business setting. You have to be sensitive about what you’re saying to people in a corporate setting. When I manage my team I try to be firm but fair. Finding that happy medium can be tough, especially when you have a disciplinary situation. I have to take a different approach to managing each person on my team because of the different personality traits.
I couldn’t be happier about the classes I’ve taken at CU. Many students today are upset that they have to take classes that don’t relate to their career choice. I feel that each class offered a specific skill set that not only helps me in my career, but my everyday life.

Learning Outcome #2 – Reflection

Randy Otis
Learning Objective #2 – Reflection

There are many major religions that make up our global community, including Hinduism. In light of much unrest and extremism among the Muslim world, many citizens can have an altered view of a culture. In writing the paper on Kali a popular Hinduism symbol representing rebirth, and visiting the Hindu Temple of Milwaukee I discovered not only a way to better understand a culture, but also a more developed method of communication.
Art and religion is an important facet of a culture, and can represent many different worldviews. As I stated in the paper, art and religion are intrinsic in nature and by having a better understanding of a belief system represented through that art, I can have a better understanding of the people within that system. Art in itself is a strong form of nonverbal communication. If we look at an image of Kali, there are many different symbols that represent and communicate rebirth and opportunities for new beginnings. Some nonverbal communications can be altered between sender and receiver based on previous bias or ignorance. For example, a person, who is unaware of the symbolism of Kali, can see it as a graphic and disturbing image. Through writing this paper, I was better able to understand the impact symbols and art have on communication.
In addition to my knowledge surrounding nonverbal communications, I also learned about opposing worldviews. A worldview is the way the world is seen and is plainly referred to as, “who we are and what we believe.” The image of Kali is a great example of how one worldview differs from the other. While discussing these points in my paper, I was able to better understand what an uninformed person may interpret from this Hindu symbolic image, and what an actual believer would interpret. By having the ability to understand and interpret the belief system, I am better able to communicate not only with Hindus but also with people who may have a skewed perception of the religion itself.
Our world is becoming more than just different sub-cultures of communication. The internet created a push towards a more globalized world, and we are often faced with issues surrounding belief systems and communication. Each group of people has their own set of religious symbols, beliefs, rituals and methods of communication. By writing this paper, I was able to better understand a particular image and culture. By understanding this culture I have become more sensitive to misconceptions surrounding not only Hinduism, but also Muslims, Jews, Christians…etc. Religion is a very sensitive topic and great care needs to be taken to understand the beliefs of particular group in order to better communicate.
As I stated in the paper, each culture has symbols that can be misinterpreted and without prior knowledge, dangerous conclusions can be formed. There can often be a lot of noise involved in cross-cultural communications, and taking the step to understand and perceive the communications being sent is a good first step in moving forward towards communication in a diverse global setting.

Learning Outcome #2 – Artifact

Randy Otis
Learning Objective #2
REL 106 Spring 2009

Kali, the blue skinned, bloody Goddess adorned with dripping limbs and severed heads can evoke fear and shock to those unaccustomed to the symbolism behind such an image. As Americans entering into a global world, an understanding of other people’s cultures must be understood before judgment is placed. As an outsider of Indian traditions, people can form a negative point of view of the Hindu religion based solely on one image. Global citizens must have an understanding of different worldviews, and learn to view art and religion from a different perspective. Through the image of Kali, people can understand the Hindu religion and the beautiful and intrinsic nature of art and religion in India. It is important to have a basic understanding of a belief system, which leads to a better understanding of the people within that system.
We are all born with a different worldview. In the article, Changes in Euro-American Values, Mary E. Clark describes worldview as the construction of our childhood that shapes the way people see, understand and interpret the world we live in. In simpler terms, worldview is not something we consciously create; it is “who we are.” The image of Kali creates feelings of unease because our worldview has shaped us to interpret morbidity in a negative light. Kali can evoke fear and disgust in some because they have not been taught the symbolism behind the goddess.
In many different cultures there are religious symbols that can be misunderstood. Let’s take a look at some examples of Euro-American culture to better understand the different responses to symbols in religion. The first example that comes to mind is the image of Jesus Christ nailed to a wooden cross, head adorned by a crown of thorns. Many cultures could look negatively at the Christian tradition of wearing jewelry adorned with a man nailed to a cross. Images of Jesus Christ with a crown of thorns adorning his head, drops of blood running down his pale skin, can be equally as disturbing as Kali to those without the prior knowledge of the crucifixion. Another example of a religious symbol that can be misunderstood is circumcision, which symbolizes a Jewish boy’s participation in Israel’s covenant with God. To those with a different worldview, it can appear to be nothing other than genital mutilation.
As people start to explore their own traditions and symbols in religion, they can begin to see how those rituals or art can be misinterpreted. In Euro-American culture, we know that Jesus on a cross is a symbol of hope and love, and circumcision is a ritual of cleanliness and is widely socially accepted. To understand another cultures’ religious worldviews, people must first approach with understanding and openness. A high school student in India may have similar thoughts to our images and rituals, as our own response to their image of Kali. To begin to understand Kali, a better understanding of Hinduism is essential.
Art and Hinduism in India are deeply intertwined with religion. If there is art, there is religion, and one does not exist without the other. According to Kinsley’s Hinduism A Cultural Perspective, art is heavily embellished in India. The goal of the artist is to draw out the normal world and bring the divine to the people. The image of Kali is an artists rendering of an extreme and embellished Goddess that represents new beginnings and new hope.
In Hinduism, there are many misconceptions. One of the biggest misconceptions is the idea of worshipping multiple gods, while in reality they worship one main god called “Brahman”. Kali is only one of many gods that Hindus look to as a representation of the one god, Brahman. The Gods and Goddesses are worshipped based on the needs of the individual. A person may need guidance in love, so they visit Krishna or Parvati. A person may need guidance in their career, so they visit Ganesha. Each of these Gods represents the spirit or a part of Brahman, including Kali.
Among Hindu’s gods, Kali is the most frightening, with multiple arms; one brandishing a sword and the other a head of a demon. Adorning her ears are two heads, alongside a string of skulls for a necklace, and a belt made of human arms. He face is ferocious and blood drips from her breasts. It is little wonder that unease can be felt while viewing this image. Once a person understands the story of Kali and what she represents, the unease is replaced with hope. According to legend, Kali underwent a fierce battle against evil and demons, undergoing a killing rampage. Her killing spree would have continued if she had not, accidentally, touched the body of Shiva with her foot. In India, being touched by a foot is deeply insulting. Her face contorts into shock and rage as she realizes the insult she has given to Shiva, and only then does she restrain herself and the destruction of the world.
In Hinduism, a person dies and is reborn, and only with destruction can people have new beginnings. According to the article, Great Mother Kali, “what lives and dies, dies to live again.” Kali represents the destruction of evil and opens hope for those new beginnings. Kali is the Mother Goddess that destroys evil and transforms death into rebirth, giving Hindus another chance at achieving the ultimate release from rebirths called Moksha. In Hinduism, people live their life and bear the consequences of decisions in past and present lives, which is known as Karma. People are born into certain caste systems and undergo different circumstances because of Karma. Each person is responsible for every action in their present and past life, and Dharma is each person’s duty to uphold order in society, and each person hopes to transform death into the ultimate goal of Moksha. Kali is the Mother Goddess that destroyed the world of demons and evil to bring the opportunity for rebirth. Only with death can there be new life. Her rage and destruction brings feelings of hope and love to Hindus, and having a better understanding of the religion helps other’s view her in the same way.
In conclusion, there will always be different worldviews, and the more globalized the world becomes the more people need to understand and learn about other religions. Each culture has there own religious symbols, art, rituals and beliefs. To better understand each other as humans, people must learn about opposing worldviews. Whether it’s Euro-American or Southeast Asian religions that are being studied, a basic understanding of a belief system leads to a better understanding of the people within that system. The more the world becomes globalized, the more people need to understand one another to communicate and interact. As I represented in this paper, each culture has symbols that can be misinterpreted, and without prior knowledge a dangerous conclusion can be formed. Without knowing the story of the Goddess Kali, one would assume the Hindu religion is strange and somewhat scary. Symbols can be strange and confusing until we study another culture’s art and religion and learning the meaning behind the symbols. As with Kali, she is a symbol of hope and new beginnings, and with our new globalized world a person may want to give her a second look and even seek guidance for our own world’s new beginning.

2012 Resume

Randy Otis

Objective To obtain a Business Development Management position with   an Engineering Services company that utilizes and expands my experience in   Sales and Business Development.
Professional experience 2009 – Present            Hub Group Inc                          Downers     Grove, IL

Business Development Analyst

  • Responsible   for on-boarding and establishing new relationships with customers daily.
  • Manage   major national accounts with over 16 million dollars annually in revenue.
  • Received   the “40 at 40’’ award for excellence in Customer Service.  Awarded based on peer and customer   recognition.


2007 – 2009                   Hub Group Inc                                 Milwaukee,    WI

Customer Service Coordinator

  • Managed   the support team and developed the main training materials for the Hub Groups   interactive website.
  • Increased   intermodal volume on national accounts by 35% from 2007 to 2011.


2006   – 2007                 Patrick   Cudahy Inc                           Cudahy,    WI Sales   Merchandiser

  • Worked   with marketing department to develop new products and point of sales material   for new target markets.
  • Sold   products to retail customers directly at store level.
  • Coordinated   the product location in new Roundy’s stores for the “Deli” line of products.
Skills And Abilities Proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Lotus   Notes, Outlook Express, Transportation Planning Systems and Business Objects.
Education 2002 – 2006               Northern Michigan   University            Marquette,    MI

2006 – Present          Carroll   University                              Waukesha, WI

B.S., Communication

  • Liberal   Arts Emphasis
  • Minor   in Marketing


Learning Outcome #3 Reflection

Randy Otis
Learning Outcome #3 Reflection

While writing this research paper I conducted a systematic inquiry of an important topic that was relevant to a younger generation of women watching music videos. Body image issues have always plagued young women, especially in a time where music videos, magazines, television shows and movies all portray women in an unrealistic manner that can be not only offensive but demoralizing to young women’s body images.
This research paper demonstrates that I was able to conduct a systematic inquiry by finding empirical data on how many young women were watching music videos. Once I conducted the research I was able to compare that to prior testimonies and research done regarding the negative body image effects that this programming was having on young females. This process of applying the scientific method to research showed my ability to take data collected from other research done, and formulate my own research question and data collection process. I was able to apply a research method of using a questionnaire based off of the Likert Scale to come to a conclusion. This process of assigning the Likert Scale to my qualitative data showed my understanding of research methodology and how specific theory and methods are applied to certain topics or questions.
In my current job as a Business Development analyst, I analyze many different sets of data to dig into service issues, and pro actively prevent problems. This class was a building block for understanding how analyzing data can lead to problem resolution. Finding the right set of data, or research in this case was very important in order to formulate a research question.

One skill I was able to exhibit was the skill of conducting research through a questionnaire. At the time I felt that formulating questions that would quantify answers was a strength of mine. Asking the right questions is very important when trying to understand the true meaning of how someone feels about your topic or question. This project helped me understand that wording questions correctly can ultimately help your subjects/sample answer the question effectively. If there’s confusion while reading the question it can significantly change the subjects answer, and not allow them to fully disclose information. When I conducted my experiment I was able to use a relevant music video that most of the sample group would know and understand. This process clearly shows I was able to understand my audience prior to conducting my experiment.
This skill has helped me in my career. From a sales perspective it’s important to ask my customers the right questions to get information that you may not be able to come right out and ask about. For example, when trying to find out who your competition is, you might ask a customer what others are doing right or wrong. Through discussion you may be able to get information about your competition that your customer may not have wanted to disclose originally. I developed a skill of understanding my audience and being able to formulate questions for them based off of the nature of our business relationship. Much like understanding my audience now, when I conducted my experiment I was able to use a relevant music video that most of the sample group would know and understand. This process clearly shows I was able to understand my audience prior to conducting my experiment.
I now also work to analyze many different sets of data to dig into service issues, and pro actively prevent problems. This class was a building block for understanding how analyzing data can lead to problem resolution. Finding the right set of data, or research in this case was very important in order to formulate a research question.

Learning Outcome #3 Artifact – Rap Videos and the Effect on Female Adolescent Body Image

Comm 350
­­­­­­­­­Carroll University
Spring Semester 2009

Rap Video’s and the Effect on Female Adolescent Body Image

Music videos are a prevalent part of today’s music industry. There are television channels that are devoted entirely to music videos of all different genres, from country to rap and hip hop. Because they are viewed by so many adolescents, they have become a highly influential force in today’s society. The Internet also plays a part in the success of music videos. Websites such as have made it easier than ever to find and view a music video.

This paper examines the effect that music videos have on female adolescent body image. In this study we are defining body image as how the girls are judging the physical aspect of how they look; in comparison to the women they see on music videos.  Do the adolescents have a positive or confident perception of how they look? Or do they feel that there bodies are inferior to the women on the music videos?   Many studies have already been conducted regarding the effect that music videos have on teenage violence, drug and alcohol use, and body image. In this paper, the focus is on female body image and rap music videos, specifically, which have not been fully investigated. The information in this paper could help shed light on the power that this particular type of media has over adolescents.

Television has played a major part in the power of music videos. One station that has had a great impact on American culture is MTV, or music television. It arrived in 1981 and sparked a whole host of studies examining a wide range of topics. The station has since changed so that it is now more of a reality channel than music video, but it marked the beginning of a new era of that aspect of television. With the international growth of MTV’s popularity, its influence has become a world-wide phenomenon. Even in 1996, there was evidence that showed that African American teenagers watched approximately 3.3 hours of music videos per day (Peterson, Wingood, DiClemente, Harrington, Davies 2007). That number has likely increased, considering the media now available to adolescents. They can watch music videos on the Internet or download them onto their iPods to watch whenever they want. This constant bombardment of media messages can have an effect on a teenager’s image.

Because of the increased exposure adolescents have to the media, Tiggeman and Pickering (1996) investigated the relationship between exposure to television and body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness. The researchers discovered that total television viewing time was not significantly related to any of the weight variables they used in their study. However, they did discover that when television viewing was broken down by type of program (soap operas, music videos, movies, and sports), some correlations were found. Total time spent watching music videos were positively correlated with the drive for thinness and sports were correlated negatively with body dissatisfaction. Peterson, Wingood, DiClemente, Harrington, and Davies (1996) made a similar finding. There were high levels of association between female adolescents’ exposure to music videos and unhealthy body image beliefs and greater premarital sexual permissiveness attitudes” (Peterson, Wingood, DiClemente, Harrington, & Davies, 2007, 1187).  In another study, by Tiggeman and Slater (2004) participants were briefly exposed to music videos containing thin and attractive women, then were questioned as t how they felt.  Most participants indicated an increase in body dissatisfaction.

Similarly, Henderson-King (2006) found that research participants responded differently to the “ideal” body image.  Thinner women, on one hand, more positively evaluated their sexual attractiveness while heavier women reported a more negative self evaluation.  Even before rap music videos, music played a role in creating a stereotypical female body image. Cooper (1985) notes that women are portrayed in popular media as a “sexual object” or “a possession” (p.501).  As it relates to music videos adolescents may be judging there own bodies as a direct result of watching the women on the videos.  If they see that only attractive, thin bodied women are on the videos they may think that men only like that type of body on women.

A female’s sexual attitude influences how she feels about her body. Sexual attitude is in reference to how sexually attractive one might feel.  Do you feel sexy to the opposite gender, and or to your same gender? Because the content of rap music videos reflects the lyrics of the songs, they are often very sexually explicit in nature. While not all music videos are negatively portraying women’s bodies as a sexual object, “40% to 75% or music videos have been found to contain sexual imagery” (Baxter, De Riemer, Landini, Leslie, & Singletary, 1985). In contrast to the lyrics in a music video, the sexual imagery is often more subtle, but still obvious in its intent. The nonverbal displays of sexuality are expressed through postures, gestures, touching, and the use of space (Carstarphen & Zavoina, 1999). Peterson et al(2007) hypothesized that “The perception of portrayals of sexual stereotypes in rap music videos may cultivate a norm among African American females regarding the desirability of certain physical characteristics and sexual behaviors (p.1162).” Zhang, Miller, and Harrison (2008) discovered that the more college men and women watched music videos containing sexual content, the more likely they were to have positive attitudes towards pre-marital sex and to endorse gender-specific stereotypes, such as women were dressing provocatively to gain attention from the opposite gender, and men viewing women as sexual objects.

Many studies have been examining how rap music in itself has an effect on female adolescents’ behavior, such as use of drugs and alcohol, violence, and whether or not they contracted a new STD (Peterson et al.2007), but only a few have looked at how rap music videos affect a teenager’s body image.

One Problem with measuring music videos is that unless the content of the video is taken into account, simply asking a study participant how many hours per day they music videos is not actually that beneficial.  There are different genres of music videos with varying degrees of sexual content.  A researcher would be better served by measuring “exposure to sexual music videos specifically” (Zhang, Miller, & Harrison, 2008, p. 372).  Peterson et al. (2007) also acknowledged that rap music videos used in the study had not been content analyzed to determine exactly what stereotypes could be found in the videos.

Before a music video could be used in a study, it should be properly analyzed for all stereotypical content.  The amount of music video viewing should not be the only measurement.  The researcher should take into account exactly what kind of music videos the participants watch and how attentive they are while watching it.  For example, is the television on in the background, or are they focused on it?  The participants’ background should also be taken into account, such as family situation, age, level and success in school, and job situation.

RQ:  Is there a correlation between exposure to rap music videos and female adolescent body image?

In order to evaluate if watching music videos has a negative effect on teenage female’s body image, it is important do an experiment on teenage females to understand the direct effects.  Doing a pre-test/post-test experiment will show the cause and effect relationship between female body image and watching music videos.

The study will be focusing on teenage women between the ages of 14 and 19.  This will be a cluster sample of teenage females, from five different high schools around the Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha, Wisconsin areas.  Selecting such a wide range of high schools should make sure the sample frame doesn’t target a specific demographic.

The sampling frame of schools will be listed and numbered.  The research team will randomly select by number to ensure the team does not know the schools selected.  There will be a total of 100 females selected for the experiment.  Twenty girls from each school will be selected.   The study requires to randomly select an all-female physical education class at each school and testing the girls during their 30 to 45-minute gym class.  The teacher will be notified and given consent forms for each of the students one week prior to the experiment.  Students will have to have the consent form (Appendix A) signed by their parents and returned to school.  Once the parents have given permission, the researchers will make sure that each class has 20 students participating on the day of the experiment.  The students will know they are part of a research project prior to experiment.  The time of day that the experiments will be conducted will vary due to the different schools running off of different schedules.  Because this is a random sample of females, there will be no demographic characteristics targeted in this study.

To accurately access the effects of music videos on teenage females’ body image, the researchers are conducting an experiment using a pre-test as well as a post-test questionnaire (Appendix B).  The students will be taken into a classroom setting. Each student will have her own desk to complete a pretest given to them.  Students will be instructed not to converse with the other students during the experiment.  This test includes 12 questions that will ask specific questions to generate information about how each student feels about their body image.  The questions also focus on self confidence as it is related to body image.  The goal of giving this questionnaire prior showing them a music video is to get the students thinking about how they feel about their specific body type.  Raising consciousness about their bodies prior to seeing a music video is important so the researchers can judge if the video had a direct effect on how the student perceived their body.  The video being shown will be very provocative in nature and will show many different types of females; therefore just showing one video should allow the students to make a direct correlation to there own race, and body types.  After the students answer the questions, they are to hand in the questionnaire to the teacher located at the front of the room.   The teacher is strategically placed in front of the room to make sure the students are not conversing with one another during the tests.  The teacher then is to show the music video “Candy Shop” to the group of girls.

The music video titled “Candy Shop” is a song performed by rapper 50 Cent and R&B singer Olivia.  This video was chosen because of the women in the video being scantily clothed, as well as dancing provocatively.  The video shows 50 Cent in a bordello, looking at a random group of women to choose from.  This video presumes that 50 Cent is choosing one of the women with whom to have sexual relations.  The women in the video have good bodies and are generally attractive.  The video has been properly analyzed for all stereotypical content.  The stereotypes associated with this video are that women are portrayed as sexual objects for men.

Once the video is shown, the girls will be asked to fill out the same questionnaire, as a post-test, this is to show how the women on the video may change or influence the female’s perception of her body.  By watching the women on the video, the students may be subject to comment in further detail about how music videos may affect their body image.  The students may feel confident that they are just as good looking as the women, or on the opposite end, they may not feel their bodies are adequate as compared to the women on the video.  By giving a post-test, it is important to compare the information to the pretest to see if the students change the way they feel about their own bodies.

Predictive validity shows us that the questionnaire shows its ability to predict the student’s individual feelings of body image.  If the students answer the questions in a fashion that shows they are concerned with their body image, most likely when they see the music video they are going to comment on the post test that the video has a negative effect on their body image.  The Pre-test allows the researchers to predict the outcome of the test.  This is a valid measure of testing the students because we can see if the video as a direct correlation to the students feeling of body image.  If the students pre-test shows that they don’t have a problem with their body image, and by showing the video changes there perceptions of body image, then the research shows that the student may be directly affected by the video.  That outcome would predict that the student is impressionable of what they are seeing in the media, specifically in music videos.  Using the exact same test before and after showing the video is used to prove that the students either have body image issues, or they don’t.  If the questions are answered in the exact same manner the second time then the researchers will be able to come to a conclusion about how the student feels about her body image.  For instance if the questions are being answered to represent that the student feels self conscious about herself on the pre-test, more than likely she is going to fill-out the post-test similarly to the pre-test, regardless of the content in the video.

I will analyze this data in a quantitative manner.  The questionnaire will be based off of a “Likert Scale”.  The test will have the students assign a number to how they feel about a particular statement.  The numbers are from one to five depending on how much the student agrees with certain statements.  In order to assess how much the video triggered negative body image issues, the researchers will compare the numbers from the pre-test to the post-test using a related measures t-test.  This test is valid in measuring the student’s different levels of body image issues.  It helps researchers compare the pre-test to the post-test.  Distinguishing whether the girls have body image issues before seeing the music video will help confirm if teenage women are subject to body image issues regardless of whether they watch music videos or not.

Possible results may vary of course, however I predict that most of the students will have a greater number on the post test as compared to the pre test.  Once the students see the objectification of the women on the video they will compare the bodies of the dancers to themselves and they may feel inadequate, or less attractive.  If I find that there is a direct correlation between music videos and a teenage females negative body image, I would go to companies like Viacom who own MTV and VHI and tell them how there production of the videos are negatively affecting there target audience.  This may help sway companies to produce such videos as “Candy Shop”.  Also if there is a direct correlation between the music videos and negative body image, it would be important to advise parents that it may not be a good idea to let there children watch MTV.  I would notify the cable companies to put out a notice to all customers that have MTV and other channels with music videos.  The cable customers may want to block the channels once they understand there are negative affects to watching this programming.

There are different ways, or mediums of media that can persuade females to have a negative body image. Using a music video to judge how women perceive themselves is not incorporating enough of the Medias influence.  Magazines and television would be another avenue to research due to the higher levels of visibility women have to these mediums as compared to music videos.  Also only researching high school students doesn’t fully help the researchers understand women. In order to make generalizations of how women feel research would have to be done on women of all ages.



Baxter, L., De Riemer, C., Landini, A., Leslie, L., & Singletary, M. (1985). A content   analysis of music videos. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 29, 333–340.

Carstarphen, Meta G. & Zavoina, Susan C. (1999). Sexual Rhetoric: MediaPerspectives on Sexuality, Gender, and Identity. Connecticut: Greenwood             Press.

Cooper, Virginia W. (1985).  Women in Popular Music:  A Quantitative Analysis of Feminine Images Over Time.  Sex Roles (13)9-10, 499-506.  Retrieved February 25, 2009 from Academic Search Premier.

Henderson-King, Eaaron. (2006). Media effects on Women’s Body Esteem:  Social and Individual Difference Factors.  Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 27 (5), 399-417.  Retrieved February 25,2009 from Academic Search Premier Database.

Peterson, Shani H., Wingood, Gina M., DiClemente, Ralph J., Harrington, Kathy., Davies, Susan. (2007). Images of Sexual Stereotypes in Rap Videos and the Health of African American Female Adolescents. Journal of Women’s Health, 16, 1157-1164. Retrieved February 25, 2009, from Academic Search Premier Database.

Tiggeman, B. & Pickering, Amanda S. (1996). Role of Television in Adolescent Women’s Body Dissatisfaction and Drive for Thinness. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 20(2), 199-203. Retrieved February 25, 2009, from Academic Search Premier Database.

Tiggeman, Marika., Slater, Amy. (2004). Thin Ideals in Television:  A source of Social Comparison and Body Dissatisfaction.  International Journal of Eating Disorders, 35(1), 48-58.  Retrieved February 25, 2009 from Academic Search Premier Database.

Zhang, Yuanyuan., Miller, Laura E., Harrison, Kristen. (2008). The Relationship Between Exposure to Sexual Music Videos and Young Adults’ Sexual Attitudes.  Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media.  Retrieved February 25, 2009, from Academic Search Premier Database.






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