Process Notes by Melvin Soh Chin Aik

When attempting to do a comparative analysis between two sources, it is important to select sources that illuminate different perspectives of an issue. While I initially intended to use videos from the same organization across time, I was unable to find the right sources to show the argument I wanted to make. This led me to use videos from two different countries to show two different approaches towards prevention of sexual assault.

While selecting the sources, I had started to formulate my thesis. The most significant difference between the videos was who bore responsibility for sexual assault. This led me to formulate a thesis around that idea (“a one-sided approach towards sexual assault is ineffective at preventing it”).

The next step was to close read the sources. A key advantage of choosing videos for comparative analysis is the greater amount of content available for close reading. However, this also meant that a considerable amount of time was spent watching, rewinding, and rewatching both videos in their entirety. Since the cursory reading had shown a key difference in who bore responsibility, the close reading was an attempt to –

  1. Determine who was the “culprit” in both videos
  2. Identify some characteristics that the “culprit” and “victim” share in both videos
  3. Identify some characteristics that differ between the videos

As this point, I created a 2×2 table to capture all this information. I also noted that the female characters tended to be portrayed as “victims” while the male characters tended to be portrayed as “culprits”. This idea of a power imbalance between genders was intriguing, so I decided to explore that. I then broke down the similarities and differences between the videos into whether they supported or challenged the stereotypical power imbalance. This became the skeleton of the essay.

It was at this point when I realized that the earlier thesis was too ambitious in attempting to determine the effectiveness of the videos at addressing sexual assault. I found it difficult to bridge the logical link between power imbalances and reduced effectiveness of the video. Consequently, I chose to narrow down my thesis, focusing on the empowered male and disempowered female. This eventually became the final thesis – that patriarchy is involved in producing both the circumstances for the sexual assault of females and the protection from sexual assault.

Upon reviewing my work a year later, I would argue that this essay remains somewhat incomplete. It would have been an improvement to further tease out the reasons why this power imbalance is a problem, thereby firmly establishing the essay’s significance. Additionally, it would have been good to examine the ethical premise of the videos, and how the videos do not go far enough because of the existence of a power imbalance between the genders.

Nevertheless, I hope my essay was instructive in helping you to develop your ideas for paper 2.

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