All around us are commercial images of ideal romantic relationships and behavior. What are three main messages that our media provide about such romantic relationships?

Essay 2 is a short research paper.  We often read magazines, surf the Internet, and watch television without focusing on how our media environment can shape our attitudes. This essay will help us to look deeper into these images, and is worth 20% of the final grade. Here is the topic statement and question:

All around us are commercial images of ideal romantic relationships and behavior. What are three main messages that our media provide about such romantic relationships?

In writing your essay, consider the following questions, and organize your essay to address each:

1. How are the messages similar between each type of media?

2. How are they different?

3. Do these messages include gay and lesbian relationships? How might these messages affect people’s self-esteem?

4. Do you know anyone (a friend or a family member) who believes in these messages about what’s normal for romance? How do you know he or she believes them?

Important Instructions:

Please read and follow all of the essay instructions.

1)  You must use at least three different types of media sources. You must give credit to your sources in the body of the paper, and you must include a bibliography or Works Cited page. You must have at least three sources on your Works Cited page. Some examples of different types of media sources would be:

ads/commercials of any kind


television shows




the internet (fashion/celebrity/gossip/lifestyle sites)

If you use our textbook, it can count as one source. The internet as a whole is one type of media source – you should not use three websites as your three sources. One television show counts as one type of media source – you should not use three different television shows as your three sources.

You are STRONGLY encouraged to use more than three sources if you need to, but you may not use fewer than three.

2)  You MUST be sure to properly cite (give credit to) your sources within the body of the paper. This means that, if you copy information straight from one of your sources, even if you change a couple of words, you must include in parentheses the name of the source you are using at the end of that sentence or paragraph. If you are not sure how to do this, check the “How to Cite Your Sources” instructions in Course Documents or the MLA link in the External Links, or please feel free to ask me.

It’s better to give more credit to your sources rather than to give less. If you copy something into your essay without giving credit to your source, it counts as plagiarism (stealing).

3)  IMPORTANT: Do not quote Wikipedia! In researching this paper you may of course refer to Wikipedia to familiarize yourself with the topic, and for your own information, but Wikipedia it is NOT an appropriate source for college level work. You should NOT quote Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Brittanica or any online encyclopedia. However, you are encouraged to look for original reporting, online magazines and/or news reports. Those are acceptable sources.

I’d be happy to look at a rough draft of your essay at any time before the due date; please don’t hesitate at all to ask for my help with this assignment.

4)  You must be careful to PROOFREAD as well as spell check.  Spell check will not pick up the difference between words like *should of* and *should have,* *woman* and *women*, or *lose* and *loose*.    These typos are the worst. ??

5)  Essay Length, Style, and How it is Graded:

The essay should be at least 4-5 pages long, doublespaced. Be sure that your font is no larger than size 12, and that your margins are no larger than 1? (one inch). If you choose to use the font Courier New, your font size should be no larger than 10. The essay will be assessed on completeness and on how well you address each of the 4 organization questions.

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