Henry Jenkins, MIT Professor and author of Convergence Culture, defines the terms “media convergence” and “participatory culture” while connecting their meaning and importance to the world around us. Jenkins states that “media convergence” is “a world where every story, sound, brand, image, and relationship plays itself out across the maximum number of media channels.” We, as human beings, control the media as it makes its way through our everyday lives. Ultimately, convergence culture would not exist without us thriving off of it, which in part is where “participatory culture” comes into play. “Participatory culture” is described as a world where everybody participates by producing and sharing, thus media is taken into our own hands to do with as we wish. Since the middle of the 19th century, “participatory culture” has existed and formed from scenarios such as young kids producing their own publications and sharing them on a national scale. This phenomenon has continued to influence the youth of many generations to create new innovations across the world. For instance, the international underground zine movement that emerged from the punk music scene in the 1990s known as Riot Grrrl.
To be honest, it took me a little while to comprehend the true meaning behind the logic of Henry Jenkins’ “media convergence” and “participatory culture”. However, after continuous repetition of the material, I feel that I have a better understanding of the topic, whereas before I was unsure of either subjects. Jenkins stated some interesting facts about the media culture and the affect that it has had on people over the years. I think one of the most engaging remarks that he made was that the “participatory culture” is not all about money, but rather about sharing and learning from each other through this connected world that we live in. He also brought up the subject about zines, more importantly the Riot Grrrl movement, which allowed young women to share their opinions and experiences of sexism, body image, and identity. Personally, I love the feminist punk culture that existed in the 1990s, which still exists today. Ever since listening to the band Bikini Kill, I researched about Riot Grrrl which Kathleen Hanna, the band’s lead singer, was known for as the voice of a generation. Hanna began with creating zines and performing spoken word poetry to advocate women’s rights, but soon realized that she should start a band, so that people would actually listen to what she was trying to say on a larger scale. This tactic relates back to “transmedia”, which Jenkins termed as meaning “across media.” By Hanna sharing zines, poetry, and singing about the current issues that women all over the world were and still are experiencing, she gained a following of people that wanted to be a part of the movement Riot Grrrl. 20 years later, that movement still exists; women and men are writing zines, being in bands, creating websites, and making art in order to change society through active and creative means.
P.S. If you want learn about the true meaning of feminism, watch this video here