Over the past several years I’ve been recording TV commercials and using them in educational remixing workshops. I’ve found that fair-use remix video can be a fantastic way to combine critical media literacy, technical skills and creative play to help youth understand, deconstruct and reconstruct mass media messages about gender roles.
At the 2010 Open Video Conference Hack Labs I met Zohar Babin from Kaltura.org and he started helping me build a simple online application to facilitate quick remixing of toy commercials without the need for expensive editing software. In a nutshell the app lets you re-combine video from ads directed at boys with audio from ads directed at girls (and vice versa) to create hilarious and insightful fair use mash-ups. It allows you to drag and drop clips from a library of 40 different gendered toy commercials into 800 possible remix combinations. Though it’s still in the early stages, the beta version of the tool is ready for public testing. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.
Why remix toy commercials?
Young people in the United States are subjected to an average of 25,000 TV commercials every year. Embedded in those advertisements are a very regressive and stereotypical set of social values about gender roles for boys and girls. So how can kids push back against a multibillion dollar corporate marketing machine? The goal of this project is to help empower youth of all genders to better understand, deconstruct and creatively take control of the highly gendered messages emanating from their television sets.