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Cluster Analysis of Public Service Announcements on Sexual Assault

Autor:   •  October 24, 2018  •  5,676 Words (23 Pages)  •  123 Views

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In this PSA, many famous celebrities take a stand against sexual assault. This PSA is simple. The background is white, and against it appears the face or upper part of body of each celebrity. Each of them takes turns to make announcements. Some of them appear in clothes which have the logo of the campaign on them. First, Jon Hamm says “it’s on us to stop sexual assault.” Then Kerry Washington says “to get in the way before it happens.” After her, Common says “to get a friend home safe.” Joel Mchale is the fourth actor showing in the video and says “to not blame the victim.” He is in a T-shirt with a black “It’s On Us” logo and he looks down at his T-shirt. Then it’s Rose Byrne saying “it’s on us,” after which Kevinlove says “to look out for each other” and Kerry Washington shows in a jacket with a blue logo at the same time (she puts her hands into pockets of her jacket). Then Mayim Bialik and Randy Jackson appear together and say “to not look the other way,” and Mayim Bialik is in a blue T-shirt with a white logo. After them is Questlove, and he says “it’s on us to stand up.” Then Connie Britton says “to step in,” and at the same time Common is on the other side of the picture in a shirt with an orange logo and takes a step forward accordingly. Then Jon Hamm appears again and says “to take responsibility.” He is in a black T-shirt which has a yellow logo on it. The next one is former vice president Joe Biden. He says “it’s on us, all of us.” After him there is a shift of many faces including all those stars mentioned above and some ordinary people. They say “stop sexual assault” together. At last, it’s former-President Barack Obama saying “learn how and take the pledge at It’s On,” and the appearance of the logo ends the video. (“It’s On Us: Sexual Assault PSA You Tube)

- “Who Will You Help”

“Who Will You Help” was released by Ontario government. The advertising campaign is part of an action plan called “It’s Never OK” and was released on March 6, 2015 to stop sexual violence and harassment. The Action Plan sets out concrete steps to end acts of sexual violence. It focuses on “changing people’s attitudes, providing survivors with more supports and making workplaces and campuses safer from, and more responsive to, sexual violence and harassment” (“It's Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment Progress Report 2015-2016” Ontario). The Ontario government has assigned $41 million over three years to support its implementation.

The PSA targets at bystanders and helps them to recognize when an assault is occurring and take steps to stop it. The advertisement can be divided into two parts. In the first part, it depicts various scenarios where women are placed in situations of stoppable sexual assault. The viewer is put in the position of being a witness to the assault. First there is a guy sitting next to a drunken girl at party and taking off her coat. His friend is filming the process. The guy turns to “witness” and says, “thanks for keeping your mouth shut.” Then the scene is changed into an office. A man keeps touching a female colleague’s shoulders and looks up and says to audience, “thanks for minding your own business.” The third shot is that a group of teenagers stand in the school hallway. A boy is surrounded by his friends, and he shows them private photos of his girlfriend on the phone. He turns and says, “thanks for not telling my girlfriend.” The fourth scene is in a bar. A man drops a roofie into a woman’s drink when she’s not looking, and says to the viewer, “thanks for not telling anyone.” Then it’s a signal of division. There is a black background with white words on it (said by the PSA’s narrator): When you do nothing, you are helping him. But when you do something, you help her. The rest of this advertisement is how the four situations develop and indicates who have been helped by “you”. The woman in the bar exchanges her drink for a new one and says, “thanks for telling the bar tender.” The teenage girl walks in the hall of a school with her friend and says, “thanks for stopping him.” The man in the office gets a talking-to from the boss and the woman nods and says, “thanks for telling the HR.” The girl at the party is now awake and being taken care of by her friends. She says, “thanks for getting help.” Finally, the words “Who Will You Help” appears on the same black background. (“Who Will You Help? Sexual Violence Ad Campaign” You Tube)

- Methodology

A. Cluster Analysis

Cluster analysis was developed by Kenneth Burke. This rhetorical methodology basically asks “what follows what”, which means to note “what subjects cluster about other subjects.” (Sonja K. 69) In other words, it is concerned with the examination of elements that the communicator link together.

The methodology involves three basic steps. The first is to identify key terms that appear to be the most significant. The criterion of the significance is on the basis of frequency or intensity of use. Frequency refers to how often the term is repeated. A term that is used over and over again in the artifact is probably one of the key terms. Intensity refers to how critical and central the term appears to be in the artifact. A key term may not appear very often but its removal would change the nature of the text significantly.

The second step is to identify the terms that cluster around each key term each time it appears in the artifact and chart the clusters. There are various ways in which terms may cluster around the key terms------they may simply appear in close proximity to the key term, or they may have logical relationships with the key term.

The third step is to interpret the clusters and discover an explanation for the artifact. At this step of the process, clusters are analyzed to reveal what potential messages are being presented by the rhetor. The clusters then are identified to see which of them are most significant and have the most explanatory value for the rhetor’s work.

The key elements and clusters in the PSAs are in not only verbal but also visual forms. Since the techniques for analyzing a visual text mainly includes composition (what is included is deliberately placed), contrast (the arrangement of opposite elements creates interest, excitement or drama), and framing (the same camera shots relevant to film), this paper will focus on these three aspects in PSAs when applying cluster analysis. It identifies key terms and clusters by considering the PSAs’ composition, contrast and framing.


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