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Skewed: understanding media bias


© Sarah Cresswell

Have our brains been hijacked? Are we living in a matrix of unconscious bias, shaped by a heady mix of stereotypes, advertising and cultural trends that mould, and skew, how we see ourselves and everyone else? This bold and thought-provoking audiobook original reveals how, from early childhood, dominant cultural narratives shape who we are, tell us who we should and shouldn’t like, and make us question whether we should even like ourselves.

Written and presented by broadcaster and identity commentator, Caryn Franklin MBE, and leading Social Psychologist, Professor Keon West, Skewed: Decoding Media Bias takes listeners on an enlightening journey through the myriad of biases and agendas we unconsciously absorb every day. Blending fascinating scientific research and analysis with sharp insight and wit, it challenges cultural messaging around identity and objectification, including race, gender, gender non-conformity, sexual orientation, age, and attractiveness.

The dynamic duo examine and overturn some of the biggest assumptions of society and invite listeners into a life-changing conversation. Get ready to un-skew yourself with some of the following questions:

  • How is sex appropriated to manipulate how we think and what we buy?

  • How do children’s books, cartoons and video games distort their sense of identity?

  • How do news outlets choose which crimes to report on and how does this affect how we see certain groups?

  • Are falsehoods and disinformation in media and advertising damaging our self-esteem?

  • Are we lazy thinkers; viewing the world through simplistic formats and stereotypes and why does this matter?

Intending to radically reframe how our inner worlds are shaped, Caryn and Keon shine a spotlight on the skewed agendas presented by media, advertising, social trends and fashion. From pop music to pornography, news media to films, this provocative audiobook invites listeners to question and rethink everything they know.

Featuring special guest interviews with a range of visionaries representing diverse identities and areas of expertise - including campaigner and life coach Michelle Elman, academic and drag artist Cheddar Gorgeous, innovative business leader Cindy Gallop, forensic psychologist Dr Dominic Willmott, author Natasha Devon, and many more - Caryn and Keon boldly offer a vision for an alternative future; a world in which we recognise and process bias, one in which diversity and difference can truly flourish.

Caryn Franklin MBE, fashion editor and later former presenter of BBC TV’s iconic Clothes Show, now commentator, educator and activist, commented: “We are all naturally inclined to bias. In fact, the brain thinks it is helping us to make shortcuts to judgment. We also seek familiarity and often surround ourselves with people, things, ideas, and opinions in which we can see ourselves, and our own world views, reflected. Keon and I wanted to challenge human propensity to absorb bias and the stereotypes our omnipresent and evermore powerful media presents. And just as importantly we wanted to explore our own biases, investigate the origins and unpick the comforting falsehoods we all sometimes tell ourselves”

A Professor of Social Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and expert on identity, prejudice and representation, Keon West added: “Bias, whether in conscious or unconscious form, is a term we frequently hear bandied about—yet many of us have a somewhat narrow understanding about what it actually means or where it comes from. It is a topic that has always fascinated me. Much of my research investigates how bias manifests itself and why it affects so many aspects of our daily lives. I’m really excited to be teaming up with my stylish friend Caryn to take a deep dive into this complex, multi-faceted world.

Skewed: Decoding media bias by Caryn Franklin MBE & Professor Keon West, featuring special guests, is out on 15 September 2022, published exclusively in audiobook format by WFH Original (W.F. Howes)


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