Meenakshi Gigi Durham is a distinguished scholar, professor and writer. Durham was born in Mangalore, India but moved to the United States and then Canada at a young age. She is employed at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Iowa's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Durham is currently a joint Professor of Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies as well as the Dean for Outreach and Engagement for The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences  She was previously a Faculty Fellow in the Office of the Vice President for Research & Economic Development. She was also the Associate Faculty, Director of the Obermann Center of Advanced Studies, and she is a member of the board of directors for the Project of Rhetoric of Inquiry. 
Durham sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Communication, Feminist Media Studies, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Communication, Culture & Critique and Sexualization, Media, and Society. From 2007-2016, she was executive editor of the Journal of Communication Inquiry.
Meenakshi Gigi Durham
|Institutions||University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences|
|Main interests||Media and the politics of the body|
Durham’s main focus of research is the representation of gender and sexuality in the media, issues of gender, sexuality, race, sexual violence and youth cultures. She predominantly focuses on the politics of the body 
Durham's work has caught attention and she has been recognized publicly multiple times. She has appeared on The Dr. Phil Show, Irish National Television, BBC, Iowa Public Radio and Illinois Public Radio. Durham was featured in the popular documentary, “Miss Representation”, which was aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network. 
The Encoding/decoding model of communication was first developed by cultural studies scholar Stuart Hall in 1973. Titled 'Encoding and Decoding in the Television Discourse', Hall's essay offers a theoretical approach of how media messages are produced, disseminated, and interpreted. As an important member of the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies, Hall had a major influence on media studies. His model claims that television and other media audiences are presented with messages that are decoded, or interpreted in different ways depending on an individual's cultural background, economic standing, and personal experiences. In contrast to other media theories that disempower audiences, Hall proposed that audience members can play an active role in decoding messages as they rely on their own social contexts, and might be capable of changing messages themselves through collective action.
In simpler terms, encoding/decoding is the translation of a message that is easily understood. When you decode a message, you extract the meaning of that message in ways that make sense to you. Decoding has both verbal and non-verbal forms of communication: Decoding behavior without using words means observing body language and its associated emotions. For example, some body language signs for when someone is upset, angry, or stressed would be a use of excessive hand/arm movements, red in the face, crying, and even sometimes silence. Sometimes when someone is trying to get a message across to someone, the message can be interpreted differently from person to person. Decoding is all about the understanding of what someone already knows, based on the information given throughout the message being received. Whether there is a large audience or exchanging a message to one person, decoding is the process of obtaining, absorbing, understanding, and sometimes using the information that was given throughout a verbal or non-verbal message.
For example, since advertisements can have multiple layers of meaning, they can be decoded in various ways and can mean something different to different people.
"The level of connotation of the visual sign, of its contextual reference and positioning in different discursive fields of meaning and association, is the point where already coded signs intersect with the deep semantic codes of a culture and take on additional more active ideological dimensions."Gaze
In critical theory, sociology, and psychoanalysis, the philosophic term the gaze (French le regard) describes the act of seeing and the act of being seen. The concept and the social applications of the gaze have been defined and explained by existentialist and phenomenologist philosophers; Jean-Paul Sartre, in Being and Nothingness (1943); Michel Foucault in Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1975) developed the concept of the gaze to illustrate the dynamics of socio-political power relations and the social dynamics of society's mechanisms of discipline; and Jacques Derrida, in The Animal that Therefore I Am (More to Come) (1997) elaborated upon the inter-species relations that exist among animals and human beings, which are established by way of the gaze.Male gaze
In feminist theory, the male gaze is the act of depicting women and the world, in the visual arts and in literature, from a masculine, heterosexual perspective that presents and represents women as sexual objects for the pleasure of the male viewer. In film and photograhy, the male gaze has three perspectives: (i) that of the man behind the camera, (ii) that of the male characters within the film's cinematic representations; and (iii) that of the spectator gazing at the image.The film critic Laura Mulvey coined the term male gaze, which is conceptually contrasted with the female gaze. As a way of seeing women and the world, the psychology of the male gaze is comparable to the psychology of scopophilia, the pleasure of looking; thus, the terms scopophilia and scoptophilia identify both the aesthetic pleasures and the sexual pleasures derived from looking at someone or something.Mediation (Marxist theory and media studies)
Mediation (German: Vermittlung) in Marxist theory refers to the reconciliation of two opposing forces within a given society (i.e. the cultural and material realms, or the superstructure and base) by a mediating object. Similar to this, within media studies the central mediating factor of a given culture is the medium of communication itself. The popular conception of mediation refers to the reconciliation of two opposing parties by a third, and this is similar to its meaning in both Marxist theory and media studies. For Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, this mediating factor is capital or alternately labor, depending on how one views capitalist society (capital is the dominant mediating factor, but labor is another mediating factor that could overthrow capital as the most important one).
To give a concrete example of this, a worker making shoes in a shoe factory is not only producing shoes, but potential exchange-value. The shoes are commodities that can be sold for cash. In this way, the value of the labor of the worker is the exchange-value of the shoes he or she produces minus his or her compensation. At the same time, however, the shoes produced have certain social or cultural values as well. In this way, the worker’s labor is mediating between the economic or exchange-value of the shoes, and their social or cultural, or symbolic value.
In media studies, thinkers like Marshall McLuhan treat "the medium is the message" or the medium of a given social object (such as a book, CD, or television show) as the touchstone for both the cultural and material elements of the society in which this object exists. McLuhan is famous for critiquing the different types of cultural and material processes that are made available between print-based media (like books and magazines) and electronic media like television, radio, and film. While print requires thinking that is linear, chronological, and separate from the thinking of others, electronic media are considered more organic, simultaneous, and interdependent on other media and on other users of that media.
Many thinkers are now considering how Marxist theory affects the way we think of media and vice versa, at the same time that new media are becoming a major form of communication. Contemporary media theorists often use elements of Marxist theory, such as mediation, to look at how new media affect social relations and lifestyles through their ability to communicate images, sounds, and other forms of information across the globe at incredible speeds.Oppositional gaze
Oppositional gaze is a political rebellion and resistance against the repression of black people's right to a gaze; and it is through these looking relations that independent black cinema develops. The phrase oppositional gaze was coined by feminist, scholar and social activist bell hooks in 1992. It is a work of feminist film theory, which criticizes the male gaze through Michel Foucault's 'relations of power'. hooks asserts "there is power in looking".The oppositional gaze encompasses modes of looking and looking back which employ reflexive gazes such as:
The shared gaze
The repressed gaze
White supremacist capitalist imperialist dominating gaze
Black male gaze
Gaze of RecognitionThe Lolita Effect
The Lolita Effect: The Media Sexualization of Young Girls and What We Can Do About It is a 2008 book by Meenakshi Gigi Durham. The book's title refers to a term coined by Durham, the Lolita effect, which refers to the theory that media sexualization hinders the healthy development of pre-adolescent and adolescent girls. Its title is derived from Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita,where a middle-aged professor becomes obsessed with the titular 12-year-old girl. The term Lolita effect has since come to refer to the blame that can be put on young females for their part in abuse or harassment that they face; similar to the phrases “slut-shaming” or “victim-blaming.”
The book was first published by The Overlook Press.Winx Club
Winx Club is an Italian animated television series created, directed, and produced by Iginio Straffi. It is set in a magical universe inhabited by fairies, witches, and other mythical creatures. The show follows a fairy warrior named Bloom as she enrolls at the Alfea College to train and hone her skills. The series is presented in a style that combines Japanese anime with Western animation. Common themes in Winx Club include romantic relationships and the transition to adulthood, juxtaposed with magic elements and action sequences.
Iginio Straffi conceived the show's concept in the late 1990s after working in the comic book industry. While developing the series, Straffi drew inspiration from manga and the comics of Sergio Bonelli. He consulted with Italian fashion designers to create a futuristic clothing style for the characters. Straffi's company, Rainbow, animated a pilot episode in 2000 and started production on a full season in 2002. In exchange for broadcast rights, Rai Fiction financed 25% of the show's budget, and the series' first episode premiered on Rai 2 on January 28, 2004.
Winx Club employs a serial format—modeled after those of American teen dramas—that follows an ongoing storyline, with individual story arcs comprising each season. Initially, Straffi planned for the plot to last three seasons, but he decided to continue the story following the show's success. In 2010, Nickelodeon became a co-producer of Winx Club, and its parent company Viacom gained 30% ownership of Rainbow in 2011. Production on the fifth and sixth seasons was divided between Rainbow and Nickelodeon Animation Studio. To attract an American audience, Viacom assembled a voice cast of Nickelodeon actors (including Elizabeth Gillies and Ariana Grande), invested US$100 million in advertising the series, and inducted Winx Club into Nickelodeon's franchise of Nicktoons.The series has been a ratings success in Italy and on Nickelodeon networks internationally. By 2014, Winx Club had been broadcast in over 150 countries worldwide. The series has developed a following among comic and fashion fans, and its portrayal of gender roles has generated academic interest. Critic reviews of the series have called attention to its themes of empowerment and positive relationships, as well as to the perceived sexualization of the character designs. Three theatrical films based on the series have been released, and the first two received David di Donatello Award nominations. The franchise has spawned two spin-off series and various forms of licensed merchandise, including a comic book serial, platform video games, and lines of fashion dolls. A live-action adaptation of Winx Club aimed at young adults was announced in 2018.