Representations of Male Educators in Popular Culture

The amount of screens and images our society now process on a daily basis is mind blowing.  I feel as though I am one of the last of the millennial generation without a smartphone; no twitter, instagram, facetime, tinder, pinterest, I even use paper maps.  Despite this Luddite app-less world so many people seem convinced I live in, I am still absolutely saturated in screens, media and popular culture.   This Mirror Essay has presented me an opportunity to reflect on popular culture and how it influences and portrays the kind of person I imagine myself to be.  We are all many things to many people, but for the sake of clarity, I will be investigating the role of my profession, a male educator, and it’s depiction through three films Bad Teacher, Dead Poets Society, and The Great Debaters as well as a recent Times article focusing on “Bad Apple Teachers”.  These pieces of media will paint a complex portrait of an essential profession, a dichotomy between the sternness of old school disciplinarians and the out of the box thinking, imagination and warmth associated with more progressive educators as well as portrayed laziness and the thanklessness of the position which are both portrayals of educators represented in popular culture.

Bad Teacher is a 2011 Comedy film starring Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Lucy Punch, John Michael Higgins, Phyllis Smith and Jason Segal.  It was directed by Jake Kasdan and written by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky.  Intended for a wide adult audience and made as a commercial venture, the creators’ portrayals of educators aren’t found within the lead actress but in the supporting cast of teachers.  They are shown as being over emotion airheads, ignorant to sarcasm and manipulation.  Some might view this media as a reason to hold grudges against teachers for their perceived laziness.  Much is made about having 3 months off and the ability for a teacher to turn on a movie every day and nurse a hangover.  The movie at first made me laugh because the main character was so ridiculous I couldn’t feel personally offended in any way; it was a dumb gag comedy that happened to be about a teacher.  The other teachers in the film who were supposed to be regular teachers, however, seemed very thick and about half way through the film I was personally offended by the lack of a portrayal of a normal, decent, flawed but passionate teacher in this film. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oobnef8Xa4k This movie was clearly written by Hollywood to make as much money as possible with little thought given to the social ramifications of their depictions of educators.  This influences the content by depriving it of any emotional gravity, focusing instead on jokes and gags that would look good in a movie trailer.  It’s hard to explain that I liked this movie fine but I think the only people who come out of it in a positive light are the children.  Everyone else seems pretty crappy- except maybe the gym teacher Russel, who is easily the most relatable character.  Although he remains grounded from the ridiculous cheeriness and stupidity “good” teachers seem to have (his sarcasm with teachers displaying strangely misplaced enthusiasm is a constant in the film) he is shown as being genuinely engaged with his students when he is having a yelling debate with a sixth grade boy about whether Lebron James is a better basketball player than Michael Jordan was in his prime. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7q6gHW9fo0 That being said the film does not ever show him in his classroom or have him discuss any passion for his profession, when asked he shakes off the question (while smoking weed during a school dance).

Dead Poets Society is a 1998 film directed by Peter Weir, starring Robin Williams and written by Tom Schulman.  Released in theaters across America and in various countries around the world it was produced to entertain and make money as well as for artistic merit.  The beliefs the creators of this movie hold are that Poetry, art, education and self-exploration are a vital part of coming of age. Some might be bored by the subject matter and at times slow storyline but this film was very inspirational to me and motivated and affirmed the life I have chosen.  The main teacher Mr. Keating and his students are shown in a positive light while the school’s administration and adults who do not challenge the notion of conformity are painted negatively.  I believe that the main reason that the parents and administration need to be shown so negatively in this film is so that the positive impact of a great teacher, individuality, art and poetry can be shown as such positive things, this exemplified by a student’s suicide when his father forces him into military school after he finds his son has been spending time acting.  Mr. Keating’s passion and prowess as an educator awoke the students passion but his influence, for the sake of drama is met with a shadow in the form of the boy’s father.  The film utilizes music and dramatic lighting to make its points stronger throughout the film.  I think that the genre expectations of this film as an Oscar seeking Hollywood film are what you would expect- fine acting performances and an intense but uplifting film.  The fact that Keating’s out of the box approach to education- while being very effective, is clearly at odds to the other teachers and the administration is very surprising for such a prestigious school in which the film is set.  Also, it must be noted, the entire film exists in the world of rich straight white males almost exclusively.  These issues can partially be addressed by the film’s time period.  Due to the dress at parties as well as the music played by the boys’ homemade radio we can assume the movie takes place sometime in the fifties.  This would explain why such a prestigious school would not take in minorities or women.  Placing the film in a time before the beatniks had gained appreciation and the countercultural movements associated with Vietnam had taken place may explain why Keating’s values of original thinking and perspective were not held among higher values in education.  That being said, art existed before Woodstock and Keating’s complete lack of support by any adult in the film is very surprising if one takes the film as a slice of life set against a New England private school in the fifties.  It makes sense dramatically, however, as it highlights the traits of Mr. Keating which the filmmakers are proponents of.

The Great Debaters is 2007 Drama film directed by Denzel Washington and written by Jeffery Porro and Robert Eisele.  The film stars Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker.  It, like Dead Poets Society is marketed to a very broad audience and was created to make money and for artistic merit.  The main assumption and belief the creators of The Great Debaters hold is that racism is wrong and education and intelligence is the way to overcome it. Like Poets some might interpret this movie as slow, boring or melodramatic but those emotionally invested will surely be affected emotionally in the way the creators intended.  This movie was also motivational from a teaching perspective but also very horrifying in its depiction of racial violence and segregation.  The commercial purpose of this film is to make money for the studios who produced it and the artists involved.  It influences the violence implied versus the violence actually shown, the language used in the film and the films length.  Racism is clearly shown in a Negative light in this movie as the film focuses on people marginalized by its existence.  Education and intelligence is shown as an essential, noble trait, as a way to break down barriers of hate and as a path to understanding and tolerance among blacks and whites.  These things are at the heart of the movie not only because they serve the story but because they are nearly universally considered to be moral and true.  I thought that this movie was very interesting because of Tolson’s political and social double life.  This film is different than the others I’ve compared because it deals with a very right or wrong moral issue about race.  Tolson’s hard nosed demeanor and double life create an extremely complex character with a lot of drive and dedication to see justice in the world.  He is scholar during the day but at night attends rowdy parties and meetings amongst the lower class sharecroppers in order to spread his ideals to the masses.  This makes him different from many teachers in that he quite openly has an agenda and pressing that on his students is his main goal- as opposed to many teachers whose philosophies revolve more around their students self discovery.

Looking over these sources it seems that passion and compassion are the linking bonds in what these medias use to describe a good teacher.  Tolson and Keating are both great educators, their style, though, couldn’t be more different.  While Keating is warm and out of the box Tolson is an old school disciplinarian who yells at students, presses his own views upon them and is generally no-nonsense.  They both care deeply about their students and have a passion for education and the subjects they teach.  This is undisputably their linking bond.  The characters in Bad Teacher, however, do not provide a mirror into a wonderful and inspiring teacher like the other two films but reflect modern and underthought stereotypes of educators.  Deeply fleshed out characters are not a staple of the type of comedy Bad Teacher aims to be but the insulting way that teachers are depicted: overly emotional, ignorant of sarcasm and decidedly unhip or lazy, manipulative, and alcoholic cannot be ignored when watched by anyone who is a teacher or cares about one.   These dichotomies presented in the sources produce a lot of different feelings, the teachers are either superheroes or seemingly the last people you would want working with your children.  While I found it very inspirational reflecting on Tolson and Keatings portrayals I still found myself uneasy with the lack of a flawed, human portrayal of a male teacher who is still motivated by passion and compassion.

 

Works Cited

Bad Teacher. Columbia Picture, 2011. DVD

 

 

Dead Poets Society. Dir. Peter Weir. Touchstone, 1989. DVD.

 

 

The Great Debaters. Dir. Denzel Washington. Harpo Productions, 2007. DVD.

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Looking in the Asian Student Mirror

Featured

Asian Students in Media
By Nhuy Hoang

Films, T.V., and other forms of popular media often portray Asian students as awkward, bright, school-oriented scholars with “tiger parents” that not only encourage, but pressure, their children to be the very best. I would say that this stereotype holds true for me based on my personal experience, but I wouldn’t go on to say that it is true for all Asian students. This stereotype does not seem all too bad (what’s wrong with being smart?), but it also depicts Asians in a negative light: as quiet, cold, and unnatural. The purpose of this essay is to get a better understanding of how Asian students are portrayed in media, and why. Also, how realistic are these stereotypes that popular culture has made so universal, and why has the general public accepted these stereotypes as a good representation of such a diverse culture? In order to answer these questions, I will be analyzing three different T.V. shows and films that include an Asian student, whether in a positive or negative light.

The film, “Pitch Perfect”, is an example of a form of popular media that depicts Asian students as an oddity. The film focuses on Beca Mitchell, a young, American student that joins the Barden Bellas, an acapella group at Barden University. One of her fellow club members and classmates, Lilly Onakurama (played by Hana Mae Lee), is an outspoken, awkward Asian student that can barely be heard during auditions and performances. Lilly dresses conservatively compared to the other girls, and she has a haircut that is referred to as the “China doll bangs”. Nisha H., a recent college graduate, says that “it’s not clear how Lilly got the stamp of approval to join the Barden Bellas, [considering that] her defining characteristic is that she cannot speak or sing above a whisper.” Nisha mentions that this characteristic causes her character to continuously be ignored throughout the film, demonstrating how unimportant and unrelatable her identity truly is. This portrayal of Lilly would have been tolerable had the only other Asian in the film been portrayed as a normal person. However, Beca’s roommate, Kimmy Jin (played by Jinhee Joung), was unrelentlessly detached and rude.

When Beca first meets Kimmy, Kimmy is unresponsive and evilly glares at Beca. Beca goes on to question whether she can speak English, and Kimmy, still unresponsive, just keeps on glaring. Most of Kimmy’s screen time is spent giving evil stares, saying blunt and offensive remarks, or doing school work to drone out Beca. She is only smiling and happy when she is surrounded by her Korean friends, which suggests that she only gets along with her race. My first time watching this movie, I didn’t like either Lilly or Kimmy’s characters. It seems like the writers specifically made them the odd characters because they are Asian. Asians are often generalized as introverts, people that survive independently and in solitude. According to the popular online dictionary, Urban Dictionary, introverts are often mistaken to be rude, unfriendly, or even stuck up simply because they tend to keep to themselves. I would agree that this is the vibe I received from both of these students my first time watching the movie. Why, though? I most certainly don’t consider myself to be like Kimmy and Lilly; some days, I like to be alone, but for the most part, I am outgoing, loud and engaging. Lilly is given many odd lines, such as “I set fires to feel joy”, and “I was born with gills like fish”. In one scene, she is seen laying in a pile of puke making a snow angel.

Toward the end of the movie, Beca and her crush are watching a movie when Kimmy returns home with two of her Asian friends. Kimmy says to her friends, “The white girl is back,” right in front of Beca, and then glares at Beca’s friend until he gets up and leaves. This scene alone demonstrates that Kimmy had a specific issue with Beca because she was white. Perhaps it was because of Beca’s initial assumption that Kimmy’s unresponsiveness was due to her not being able to speak English. Lilly and Kimmy are both minor characters in Pitch Perfect, since their actions do not largely affect the outcome of the movie. However, their strikingly odd actions and words don’t go by unnoticed. They are special because they carry with them something that the other students don’t: the Asian culture. They appear to be the only two Asians on the whole Barden University campus. This film makes both of these girls seem like an anomaly, but the truth is, they are perfect examples of how Asian students are portrayed in everyday media: socially awkward, but smart in school.

Glee is an American comedy-drama T.V. show that focuses on the fictitious McKinley High School Glee club, a club where musical students join together and learn to work as a team to win choir competitions. Mike Chang, a Chinese character played by Harry Shum Jr., is one of the first Asians to join the club, along with his Asian girlfriend, Tina Cohen-Chang, played by Jenna Ushkowitz.

In the 47th episode of the show, Mike receives an A- on a chemistry test, and his dad, enraged yet worried that his son will not be able to attend Harvard, pushes his son to give up the glee club, and his girlfriend, to focus on his studies. Mike promises to change his habits, but eventually decides to follow his dreams and try out for the main role in the school performance of West Side Story. When confronted, Mike admits to his mother that his real passion is being a dancer, not a doctor. Surprisingly, she reveals she also gave up dreams of becoming a dancer, and that she does not want the same fate for her son. Much like Lilly and Kimmy, Mike and Tina are both minor Asian characters, placed in a school setting where white people are the majority. Mike is portrayed as your typical, smart Asian student, whose parents shun him for receiving a grade that, I think, any hard-working student would be satisfied with. The fact that the episode was titled, “Asian F” goes to show that according to popular culture, only Asians have these kinds of standards for their children. This episode also sheds light on one of the few things that push most Asian students to do and be their very best in school: their parents. Both of Mike’s parents want him to become a doctor – a very demanding, but lucrative, career. His father scolded and lectured him for choosing the arts over chemistry, and his mother openly supported his father in the beginning. You can only imagine how stressful it is for a student like Mike, who’s already managing clubs, sports, and a girlfriend, to handle his parent’s demands to be perfect – especially when those demands are not even in sync with his desires. According to Urbandictionary, a tiger parent is one that is “overly strict with [their] child in order to foster an academically competitive spirit”. Usually, this form of parenting is used with the intention of pushing a child toward financially successful careers, but can often result in the child “feeling emotionally unfulfilled and/or socially inept” (Urbandictionary). Mike is not close to his dad, and this stems from his father’s “tough love” style of parenting. His mother, on the other hand, is kind and forgiving, and this enables Mike to open up to her at the end of the episode about his dreams. The most interesting part of this episode was not the way that Mike Chang was depicted as your stereotypical Asian, but rather the fact that his mother was encouraging and open to him choosing his own destiny, straying from how society says she’s supposed to be. It’s interesting to see how Mike is your typical Asian student, but his mom is not your typical Asian “tiger” parent.

Unlike Lilly and Kimmy from “Pitch Perfect”, and Mike and Tina from “Glee”, London Tipton from the sitcom, “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody”, does not follow the stereotypical Asian guidelines. London, played by Brenda Song, is portrayed as ditzy and often times, careless. London is outgoing and full of energy, unlike our Asian characters from Glee and Pitch Perfect. London comes from an unstable family history: her father has remarried dozens of times and lacks an emotional presence in her life, while the only thing that London knows about her mother is her Thai origin. London, although extremely privileged and heir to the Tipton corporate empire, is unhappy because she has never had an adult role model in her life. She reveals to her best friend, Maddie Fitzpatrick, that she copes with the emptiness by buying and wearing designer clothing. Just like Mike’s mom, London’s parents are extremely lenient, and allow London to do whatever she wants. Since London does not have the typical Asian “tiger” parents, or any other sort of pressure pushing her to excel in school (because she is already so rich), she doesn’t take her education seriously. London enrolls at Maddie’s Catholic school, and is eventually expelled for not attending her classes. She attends Cheevers High School, and then, at her father’s discretion, is moved to Seven Seas High, a high school program on a ship, in order to prevent her escaping to another place. Despite all of these efforts toward a good education, London gets by in school by having Maddie do all her work for her. She does terrible in school, she is overall considered to be “stupid”, and she is overly privileged, leading to her lack of concern for her education. This goes against the common stereotype that Asians are smart and tend to do well in school. Contrastingly, Maddie is a middle-class, blonde-hair, American girl, played by Ashley Tisdale. Maddie is extremely logical and smart, and is often seen puzzled by London’s idiocy. The most common “blonde” stereotype is that blondes are stupid. However, in this popular T.V. series, the Asian is stupid and the blonde is smart. This causes me to believe that the writers did this on purpose with the intention of erasing the invisible lines of race separation, because it defies not only Asian stereotypes, but blonde stereotypes as well. It is important to understand that anyone of any race or color could face what London faces, and in this show, her being Asian has no impact on the outcomes of her decisions. Since the show aired in 2005, London Tipton has appeared on every single episode. The fact that London is a major character alone differentiates her from the usual depiction of Asian students in popular media. Although the main setting of this show is in a hotel rather than a school, the same stereotypical theme is present: Asians tend to be weird, quiet and smart, and they have tiger parents that push them to do well in school. London is loud and normal, but stupid, and this is mainly attributable to the lack of discipline she’s received from her parents.

It is clear that popular culture depicts Asian American students and their culture in a variety of ways. I grew up with the mentality that I had to be the best at everything I did, especially in school. I would say that this was due to the amount of pressure that my parents placed on me at a young age, and that this pressure has only grown as I got older. However, although I fit in with the stereotypes outlined in this essay, I don’t condone their excessive use to mock the Asian community. Usually, when these stereotypes are subtly incorporated into storylines and plots, they’re meant to be comical. The way that Asians are mocked in media is supposed to be satirical, and is expected to be something that everyone laughs at, and then brushes off. For example, when Peter Griffin, the main character of “Family Guy”, pulls out an Asian student instead of a calculator for his SATs, most people laughed for a minute, and then carried on with their lives.

Does this scene necessarily put down the Asian race? I wouldn’t say so. Many would argue that this is a compliment, and should be taken as such (there’s nothing wrong with being considered smart!). But what about all the Asian students out there who don’t think they have brains like calculators? What about all the Asian students that love dancing, like Mike Chang, or even shopping, like London Tipton? Should they be okay with a stereotype that basically says they must be smart to fit in? How about a stereotype that says Asian students must be quiet and strange to be considered normal? I don’t think so, and I believe that popular media needs to take more steps toward a less bias and discriminating storyline for its Asian characters. Regardless of whether or not these stereotypes pertain to them, or whether or not they find these stereotypes offensive, Asian students must stop accepting these as the norm in order to promote a change in the direction of popular culture.

Works Cited:

H, Nisha. “Pitch Perfect and its Far-From-Perfect Portrayal of Asian American Women.”Racialicious the Intersection of Race and Pop Culture. N.p., 12 Oct. 2012. Web. 03 Dec. 2014.

Murphy, Ryan, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan. “Asian F.” Glee. Fox. 19 Mar. 2009. Television.

Pitch Perfect. Dir. Jason Moore. Perf. Anna Kendrick. 2012. Film.

Kallis, Danny, and Jim Geoghan. Suite Life of Zack and Cody. ABC Kids. 18 Mar. 2005. Television.

Male/Single/35

Tad Johnson

Mirror Essay

12/02/14

Male/Single/35

There is a belief that I have encountered in society that indirectly states that a person, regardless of gender, should be settled down or at least trying to do so around their late twenties to early thirties. When a person chooses to wait longer than this, it is often declared that he or she is not complying with this unwritten rule for some mysterious reason. Maybe it is said that the individual is in denial of their age. Or maybe it is even worse, they truly cannot find a partner to settle down with and are extremely ashamed of this. I believe there is another, much more positive, alternative to this. In my case, I proudly remain single for the simple fact that I am not ready for settling down, nor do I think it fits my personality. It is very possible that a person can wait as long as they wish to settle down for the simple reason that they enjoy being single and are in no hurry to make an impulsive decision.

I am a thirty five year old heterosexual male who loves every bit of my single life and am sometimes offended by social media’s various takes on the “single older guy”, as well as some occasional statements from my family members. Family members who touch on this subject are usually searching for the, “when are you having kids?” question. For the most part I am not affected by comments that seem to expect a response pertaining to the matter of having children. However, there have been moments where the conversation of starting a family comes up and I become a bit saddened that I can’t “deliver” anytime soon. Generally, my sentiment towards the idea sorts the conversation out through various body language expressions that exemplify the confidence in my life choices thus far. I am very confident this is currently the right lifestyle for me and am just trying to live my life as well as I can.

In a 2003 movie by Director Todd Phillips titled “Old School”, a group of thirty plus year old males start a fraternity near a college campus. They are reliving their “younger days” and are supporting a stereotype that exists in society where most single older men in their 30’s are viewed as big irresponsible kids. In this movie not all of the men are single like myself, but I often get compared to these characters as if I party all of the time and live “the dream.” This insinuation is aimed at me not caring all that much about responsibility and just floating through life without a problem. Unfortunately I do not have time for such an extravagant freeloading type of lifestyle. For over eleven years now I have worked on the railroad while focusing on securing my future as best I can. Responsibility is something that I pride myself on, and my career as well as my financial decisions are very much so dependent on that very thing.

I have found that because I am a single 35 year old male who has made a few good choices, one of which was starting a career, that my responsible decisions have awarded me to take the “next step” and settle down. Apparently I am now ready to find a wife and start a family. Many times a year I am asked when I am going to “join the club.” I realize this is not everyone’s view but it certainly is a common view in my experience. In these conversations, I generally respond with, “I only want to get married once so I am taking my time” or “I didn’t know it was a mandatory thing to settle down!” Speaking of “settling down”, this term gets misused all too much. If I decide to always remain single, then my retirement will be one of many versions of “settling down.”  This term is aimed at the idea of a person becoming more accountable with his or her finances and for the most part, using everything that has been learned so far in his or her life, while applying it towards a predictable more simplified lifestyle. That sounds like a great mindset for someone who is starting a family for obvious reasons, however, it also sounds like an intelligent decision for anyone on the entire planet who has learned through trial and error that life can be tough so you’d better think ahead and prepare for hard times. I will definitely “settle down” one day but there is no certainty of which kind of “settling down” I will have.

A good friend of mine not too long ago said to me, “hey Tad! your like that Dupree guy from that movie!” My friend was referring to a movie starring actor Owen Wilson titled “You Me, and Dupree”, directed by Joe and Anthony Russo. In this romantic comedy there is a buddy from the past named Dupree who randomly shows up and crashes on his friends couches, because he has accomplished little in his life, and basically couch surfs and chases women around. It is because of these social media perspectives that I fall into a stereotype that offends me from time to time. I am often excluded from social functions because I am single and am thought to be doing “single guy stuff”, whatever that means. I am comfortable enough to where I have no urge to seek a partner and feel that anyone who rushes such a thing may fall into an unhappy situation such as the character “Ed Bundy” who plays an unhappy husband that works as a shoe salesmen on the hit TV show “Married with Children.”

This show ended in 1997 and was certainly a very extreme example of an unsuccessful marriage, even though it had it’s good moments. In my opinion, the over all the message was, “oh well I guess i’ll just go along with the role of society and make fun of my wife all of the time while I complain about everything else.” Although, there is also a message in this television series that supports my point on the single lifestyle, and that is to be patient and happy with yourself first and foremost. That way, if and when you do meet someone, it will be a better situation. I choose to be single for many reasons but one may very well be that due to my parents both having been married multiple times, as well as many unhappy marriages I have witnessed, I wish to “season” myself as long as I can so that I can be a better man for my friends, family and possibly a partner for when ever that time comes. I will enjoy my life on this planet and continue to explore the world through single eyes for now.  It just makes sense for me.

Works Cited:

IMDB; “Old School”, 2003, Directed by Todd Phillips

IMDB; “You, Me and Dupree”, 2006, Directed by Joe Russo and Antony Russo

IMDB; “Married with Children”, 1987-1997, Created by Ron Leavitt and Michael G. Moye

Artifacts: (movies)

“Old School”

“You, Me and Dupree”

“Married with Children”

Sources:

International Movie Database (IMDB) for all three artifacts.

3,586 words

The Starving Artist

Zackary Rodrigues

2 December 2014

There is no quicker path to wealth and fulfillment than becoming an artist, right? Unfortunately, for most, pursuing art as a career can put someone in a pretty rough situation. Most professional creatives types find themselves in one of three different positions: They make very little off their work, they have a partner that rakes in most of the income, or they make a decent living from teaching their artform, which severely impedes the time they have to actually function as an artist outside of their job. People who find themselves in these positions are not necessarily dissatisfied with their lives, considering that money does not mean everything, and teaching the arts can be rewarding. However, the masses tend to discourage this career path for financials reasons, as well as the notion that it simply is not practical to be a skilled artist in today’s world. It is important to also note that even when one becomes successful and well-known as an artist, a whole new set of difficulties becomes reality. I will reflect on both the portrayal of the struggling artist and the successful artist, as well as how the importance of artists is viewed in society. Since I favor music as an artform, musicians and musical roles will be used more frequently as subjects, and films will be a large portion of the media artifacts used.

Movies and television, while being the most prevalent and popular forms of media of today, exaggerate to the furthest reaches for the sake of entertainment. This can lead to a lot of falsehood and misunderstanding of identities, among other aspects, that are represented. Types or groups of people tend to be oversimplified or taken to some kind of extreme. In the case of the artist, the common tropes and tendencies continue to appear; there’s the general laziness, less than comfortable living situation, dependency on others for financial support, and perhaps most commonly, the disappointment and judgement from family and friends (more specifically, the famed “grow up and get a life” narrative). A near perfect example of this occurs in the infamous movie School of Rock, in which Dewey Finn, played by Jack Black, is a slob who is down on his luck and living with his old bandmate Ned. Dewey traps himself in the glory days of his rock n’ roll prowess, while his old bandmate has left that past behind to become a school teacher. Despite the best intentions of Ned and his blunt, aggressive girlfriend, they cannot get him to move out and get a real job to support himself. Other tropes are represented in Dewey’s character, such as laziness, but also an air of stupidity. In comedic representations of an artist, mainly musicians, there tends to be an emphasis on stupidity in their character. Walk Hard  is another great example of this trend. Though based loosely on the life story of Johnny Cash, it is very tongue-in-cheek and over the top as far as the main character’s stupidity and the life decisions he makes because of it.

Considering that much comedy generally relies on the stupidity of others, this is not truly out of the ordinary. However, it is interesting how often the idea of being a musician coincides with lack of intelligence in this genre of film. Outside of comedies, there is not much of a representation of this trope, but there is often a sort of antithesis to it. Whether based on a real artist or not, films often depict artists who struggle with something mentally that acts as a veil for their hidden genius. A good example of this is The Soloist, in which Jamie Foxx plays a Juilliard-trained classical cellist, who has severe schizophrenia and is living on the streets because of it. He tries his best to battle his disorder as he gets help from the journalist who wants to write a story about him, though it proves to be a struggle for both of them.

Both comedic and dramatic portrayals have their merits. In films like School of Rock and Walk Hard, the audience gets a more plausible, yet moderately ridiculous portrayal of the common lost cause that an artist/musician can become. Films like The Soloist display another section of the spectrum of representation, which is darker and more characterized by mental illness than just being a slacker or not being very smart. Like any other idea depicted in media, between these two extreme depictions is a golden medium that relates more to reality. It is very rare that this medium gets a fair representation, but when it does, there is more truth for others to gain. A film that encapsulates this reality best is Inside Llewyn Davis. This film shows that fictional representation can be both truthful and entertaining. In this film, Llewyn is a folk singer who is struggling to stay alive as he bums around and accepts the hospitality of others constantly. There is a sense of realism to his story and the way others are treating him. It is a film that more accurately depicts the day to day struggle of a musician, or any artist for that matter.
When looking for the most accurate information from films, the most obvious and safe choice is a documentary. Documentaries about musicians, painters, actors, and other artistic roles are often some of the more accurate documentaries, and it tends to be for a very simple reason: Artists like to talk about themselves, especially on camera. This is especially true for those who have gained fame and notoriety for being artists. They like to make it personal, because their art is an expression of themselves, and if they get a chance to share their own view on their life and work to an interested audience, likely they will jump at the opportunity. However, the inflamed ego and self-righteousness readily expressed by many artists does not come without its fair share of ridicule, both from viewers as well as other filmmakers. There have been many metacritical and satirical movies made about these sort of biographical films. One of the more popular examples of this is the mockumentary This is Spinal Tap. It centers around a band called Spinal Tap, and their story of becoming a force in the British heavy metal scene. While Spinal Tap are a real band, their intentions in this film were to satirize bands of their stature, and the documentaries made about them. There are plenty of famous lines and sayings that have been repeated ad nauseum by fans of this film, simply because they are so memorable and relatable to the egotistical and fruity lifestyle of a rockstar. Unforgettable moments like Nigel talking about his amp going up to eleven, and the band incessantly shouting “rock and roll!” backstage before they play, are constantly referenced as the reference point for cheesiness and silliness in popular heavy metal music of the time.

Aside from mockumentary films about musicians, many great and informative films have been made that really cross the bar for artist representation. Exit Through the Gift Shop is a film that mainly centers around an obsessive shop keeper who tries to befriend the famous street artist Banksy so that he could film his exploits. The documentary delves deeply into the shopkeepers story while also giving an extensive background on Banksy and other street artists. It simultaneously tells a very entertaining story of an ordinary man’s journey to becoming an artist and gives perspectives from other artists on both him and their own journeys as artists. While being a film about various artists, it serves as a critique of art itself, leading the other artists to really think about what they do with their own lives. As the shopkeeper becomes more obsessed with the idea of being a street artist, it shows more and more that he knows nothing about what he is doing, and that his art is terrible and meaningless. Despite this fact, he opens his first ever art show on a whim with very little time to prepare and still sells millions of dollars worth of art. It made the long-time street artist Banksy question the point of art and whether or not it was worth his time to really focus on his craft. The humble shopkeeper’s rapid rise to fame and wealth got him and the other artists in the film thinking hard about the purpose of art in today’s society; how do people really see art? Does it need any sort of creative force behind it? Could someone simply do what Thierry the shopkeeper did and still have the same merit and genuine influence as they do? What is the importance of an artist to the world today?
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has discussed such questions, namely the last one posed. The World Congress on the Status of the Artist was held in 1997, at which three matters were discussed: “the artist and society, the role of art in society and art as a major challenge for the coming century” (1). A large group of speakers met to discuss the importance of artists in today’s world, relative to aspects such as the need for art as cultural sustenance, the possible saturation of art in any form, and the struggle to keep art and technology in line with each other. The importance of art education and the funding of artist was also a main topic, which most members of the congress could agree on: “Art education should be central to the education system, with the same status as scientific subjects and languages. Art was fundamental to the harmonious development of a human being” (5).
The general public, let alone the media, seem to lack a solidified opinion on the role of the artistic individual. As determined by UNESCO, art should be held in high standard from an educational perspective at the very least, and artists should be publicly funded if there is demand for what they do. Film depictions may try to generalize certain types of artists, but in no way is being an artist made to be a shameful thing in today’s world. People often make a fuss over the idea of art as a source of income, but what I have found is that artists who wish to pursue what they love are rarely discouraged entirely by media outlets.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
“World Congress On The Status Of The Artist.” Global Media Journal: Indian Edition 4.2 (2013): 1-6. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 3 Dec. 2014.

Inside Llewyn Davis. Dir. Ethan Coen and Joel Coen. Perf. Oscar Isaac. 2013. Film.

Exit Through the Gift Shop. Dir. Banksy. Perf. Banksy and Mr. Brainwash. 2010. Film.

School of Rock. Dir. Richard LinkLater. Perf. Jack Black. 2003. Film.

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Dir. Jake Kasdan. Perf. John C. Reilly. 2007. Film.

This Is Spinal Tap. Dir. Rob Reiner. Perf. Christopher Guest. 1984. Film.

Moms Of Special Needs Kids & The Media

Andrea Kempel

Moms Of Special Needs Kids & The Media

In 2007 I was pregnant with my second child and stereotypically doing what many others like me did: Watch Oprah Winfrey’s show titled “Mothers Battle Autism” while my first born napped. A happy and determined Jenny McCarthy was the special guest, there to promote her latest book: “Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey In Healing Autism”.  As a mom, I was there to listen, and so were thousands across the nation. Every sense in my body was tuned in as I heard vaccines were the cause of her child’s autism, and I carefully listened to every detail of dietary changes and extreme detox measurements designed to “cure” her child. In the end he was cured and I was now worried about vaccines and autism. But I was also impressed. Life had dealt Jenny a difficult hand, and she had figured it all out without anyone’s help; not even doctor’s –the hell with them and all their research-. According to what the media was showing me, this woman was a super model, a business owner, a writer, an actress, a mother of a special needs child. She was super-mom.

As life has it the reality of special needs parenting would eventually reveal itself to me. Fast forward eight years and a degenerative eye disease diagnosis on both of my sons, and my job as a special needs mom proved to be better when surrounded by support. Us moms of special needs kids are not super-mom, and we do need help.

I recently saw a video featuring 2012 Mrs. World April Lufriu being interviewed by anchor Cindy Edwards on the Daytime show. The interview appears to be about the Mrs. World pageant, but Mrs. Lufriu gracefully turns the subject to her kids and spends much of the interview speaking about the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB). Her children, like mine, have a degenerative eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa. When told that pageants get a bad rep Mrs. Lufriu asserts wanting to change those views:  “I’m just a mom fighting a battle against time, and I just want to portray that more than anything else. I’m not just a beauty queen. I’m here on a mission”. The interviewer also comments on her busy schedule, travels, children, husband and business, intentionally showing her almost in a non human way, yet as Mrs. Lufriu openly admits, behind the pageant smoke screen is a mother advocating and asking for help. A vulnerable Mrs. Lufriu, who like myself is full of worry and full of hope knowing the only possibility of medical research moving forward and finding a cure relies on the monetary donations people make to the FFB.
 NBC’s popular TV show Parenthood features Kristina Braverman (Monica Potter) as one of the main characters and her Max (Max Burkholder) who has Aspergers Syndrome, a form of Autism. The show features Max and the family’s joys and struggles as a result of Max’s disability. Many of their episodes show Kristina as a mom in a very real way. In one episode, for example, she is shown attending an Asperger’s parents support group and viewers are exposed to some of the tension and sadness that erupts as Kristina hears the stories of other parents as they relate to her own. But the show isn’t always true to the average family condition; NBC’s website describes Kristina’s character as a mother raising “Three children (including one toddler, one pre-teen with autism and a college student), while fighting and winning an emotional battle with breast cancer, and running for mayor”. The description doesn’t even mention that Kristina also opened her own charter school in order to provide a better and more inclusive education for Max.
 
I recently stumbled upon a particularly insightful blog post featured in the Huffington Post titled “7 Things You Don’t Know About A Special Needs Parent” written by M. Lin (A  writer, journalist and mother of a special needs child). One one of her main points, “I am human”, tells us about the joys and challenges of raising a child with a special needs while reminding readers that we are more similar to all other moms than we are different. We too feel tired. We have good and bad days, and days when our kids drive us crazy and we need a break. We have our own hopes and our lives. We’re just human.
 
The media has greatly redeemed itself since that 2007 Jenny McCarthy interview and consistently shown us that vaccines don’t cause autism after all, but much remains unsaid about mothers of special needs children. Many want you to know that autistic children are not broken and therefore don’t need to be fixed. Most of us wish people would stop telling us “God only gives special needs kids to special parents”, as if all other mothers in the world would drop on the floor and never get back up if they found out their child was different. I am a mom, a student, a wife and an educator. I advocate for my children fiercely and love them entirely and unconditionally for who they are and have confidence in their abilities. I have been challenged beyond any stretch of my imagination, but I feel lucky be my children’s mom. My role as a mom of special needs children has taught me that disability is a normal part of society. The people in our society and our children benefit from the contributions you make to our walks, from having an inclusive community, from being supported, and from kindness and its felts results. As Helen Keller once said: “Alone we can do so little; Together we can do so much”.
 
Works Cited
 
“Mothers Battle Autism.” Oprah.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2014
 
“April Lufriu- Mrs. World Shuns Fame for Her Family.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2014.
 
Monica Potter | About | Parenthood | NBC.” NBC. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2014.
 
Drumming, Neil. “Parenthood” and the Charter School Dream.” Saloncom RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2014.
 
Lin, M. “7 Things You Don’t Know About A Special Needs Parent.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 09 Mar. 2012. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.
 

Male Feminists in Popular Culture

Male Feminists in Popular Culture

I should start by saying that I consider myself a feminist. I should also say that I do not use this term lightly. It is important to state that the feminism that I prescribe to has been built by women who have come before, without whom we would not have feminist portrayals at all. More and more in recent years there has been an upward trend of men identifying as feminists, but with new trends comes opposition. The portrayal of the male feminist within popular culture has been an interesting one because there seems to be two main characterizations that come from two disparate camps. One side is represented by non-feminist men, who portray men who do identify as feminists as somehow not masculine. The other side is represented by feminist idenitified women who feel that male feminists are merely attempting to gain the attention of women or who are trying to take on the identity of the oppressed without having ever experienced it first hand. Both portrayals take away from those men who truly do identify as feminists, not because they have ulterior motives but because it is the right thing to do.

The first characterization of male feminists comes from men who vehemently oppose identifying as such. I have found that many men turn away from being labeled feminist for two key reasons. First, they feel that the term itself is stigmatized. Some men feel that feminism is synonymous with “man-hating” or “female-supremacy,” and so they spurn the title. Second, there is a general idea that feminism is also synonymous with femininity. To some, if a man identifies as a feminist, he is stripped of his masculine because he is seen as taking on what they feel is a feminine role. I found a great example of these portrayals in a clip from the show “Fox and Friends” in which they discussed the “wussification of men” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YG7KTMyOnw). The hosts were discussing with guest Nick Adams how they perceive a lessening of classic gender roles and stereotypes within today’s society, and that they see this as weakening society as a whole. They felt that “men should be men” and that America is in danger of falling into this neutral territory in which genders blurred together. They then related this to feminism by confidently stating that feminism produces “angry women and feminine men,” and that this somehow denies men of being masculine (Nick Adams, Fox News). They believe that feminism is weakening the security of our nation, and compromising this American image of manliness and masculinity. The most astounding part of the clip comes when the guest is quoted as saying “wimps and wussies deliver mediocrity, and men win.” What the people in this clip fail to realize is that the entire world does not prescribe to the gender roles that America does, so if we are not coming off “masculine” enough for them, not every country would view this as weaker or lesser. The other thing that took issue with was the calling of men “wussies” because they are participating in feminism. I find the use of the word “wussy” and “wimp” quite juvenile, and also offensive to women because they are saying that men doing things they feel are prescribed to women makes them “wussies,” and therefore lesser, concluding that women are lesser then men.

Another example that I found of male feminists being looked upon as less masculine than their non-feminist male counterparts was an interview Joe Rogan did on his radio talk show (http://youtu.be/wK9GnWVWolo?t=2m56s). In the clip, Rogan states that men who claim to be feminists do so just to appear “different” (Joe Rogan Experience #533). He goes on to say that, to him, men who identify as feminists are never “savages… studly, or good looking,” but rather they are not manly or attractive and are “socially retarded” (Joe Rogan Experience #533). According to him, men who support feminism are doing so to appear super sensitive and are living “life in misery” (Joe Rogan Experience #533). Rogan is generalizing the male feminist community, saying that manly, good looking men don’t support feminism, but feminine socially awkward men do because that is the only way that they are able to relate to women. Both of these examples support the idea that femininity is inherently negative or is lesser then masculinity, which is not only harmful to male feminists, but I argue harms non-feminist males because it further serves to strengthen traditional gender roles.

While one side of the media portrays male feminists as less masculine, some female feminists are skeptical of the intentions in which men profess their feminism. There are some who believe that men cannot inherently be feminists because they live outside of the experiences of being a female. Others believe that men can be a part of the movement, but that there are some inherent issues that come up that should be actively addressed. An article entitle “So You Want to Be a Male Feminist? Maybe Don’t” by Kat Stoeffel goes into a few of these issues (http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/10/you-want-to-be-a-male-feminist-maybe-dont.html). She begins by identifying two groups of men that she has come into contact with. One are men who support gender equality and defend women’s rights, but “would sooner die” than be labeled a feminist. The second group are men who freely label themselves feminists to try and “shore up their sensitive-dude bona fides” (Stoeffel). She then goes on to say that one of the bigger issues she has experienced with men practicing feminism is some of their volatile responses when women criticize or comment on their actions. Stoeffel states that to “act defensive in the face of criticism from the women you purport to serve.. undermines your shaky right to be there in the first place.” The most crucial part of her article, though, came when she stated that “the fact is that even though you know better, and are truly a male feminist, you’re still stuck being the bad guy. You can’t opt out of the privileges you inherited at birth” (Stoeffel). She asserts that male feminists, though some might truly have the right intentions, need to remember that they are just allies and cannot experience the same oppression that women experience because they inherently have privileges that women do not.

On the topic of intention, Katie Heaney wrote an article on BuzzFeed entitled “I’m Not Impressed By Aziz Ansari’s Feminism” (http://www.buzzfeed.com/katieheaney/im-not-impressed-by-aziz-ansaris-feminism). In it, Heaney discusses how intentions can influence a man’s interaction with feminism. What the article is referring to is when comedian Aziz Ansari went on the Late Show With David Letterman and “came out” as a feminist. Ansari made a few follow up comments expounding on his feminism by giving the dictionary definition of feminism, putting down the angry woman stereotype, and putting Beyonce and Jay-Z as the model for gender equality. Heaney felt that Ansari was oversimplifying something that most women do not find simple or easy at all. She argued that though Ansari’s intention was to try and take down what he perceived to be a stereotype of feminism, Heaney herself identified with it. She is a women who experiences sexism and oppression on a daily basis and she is angry about it. She feels personally scorned when it is proclaimed that this is not a real identity. Despite this, she is glad that Ansari and other men are at least thinking about feminism, but she ultimately feels that intentions are crucial. She ends by stating that she can “no longer think claiming the word feminist is particularly worthy of accolades. Acting like one – that is”(Heaney).

Both of these portrayals show male feminists in a negative way, but I feel that the critique coming from women that identify as feminists is a positive one. When men say male feminists are “feminine” or “wussies,” they are demeaning them and there is nothing to be gained. When feminists comment on male feminism, they are doing so for the betterment of the movement, and the betterment of each other as people. Regardless of how feminism is portrayed in popular culture, whether of a man or a woman, it is crucial to note that this is an exceedingly complex issue that cannot be generalized or trivialized.

Citations

Heaney, Katie. “I’m Not Impressed By Aziz Ansari’s Feminism.” BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed, 8 Oct. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. <http://www.buzzfeed.com/katieheaney/im-not-impressed-by-aziz-ansaris-feminism>.

Stoeffel, Kat. “So You Want to Be a Male Feminist? Maybe Don’t.” The Cut. N.p., 10 Oct. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. <http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/10/you-want-to-be-a-male-feminist-maybe-dont.html>.

Joe Rogan & Chris D’elia Mocking Male Feminists Jre 533. Dir. Joe Rogan. Perf. Joe Rogan. Youtube. N.p., 24 Aug. 2014. Web. 16 Nov. 2014. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wK9GnWVWolo>.

Nick Adams- Fox News- The War on Men. Perf. Nick Adams, Elisabeth Hassleback. Youtube. N.p., 4 Feb. 2014. Web. 16 Nov. 2014. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YG7KTMyOnw&gt;.

The Aggressive Male Gamer

Featured

Jacob Demming

UNST-254A

Final Draft

The Aggressive Male Gamer

Ever since the 1970s, video games have evolved from refrigerator sized cabinets to hand-held devices that fit in our pockets. With games becoming more available and diverse in content, more people joined; playing games from puzzles to first person shooters. From this hobby emerged people who identified themselves as “Gamers”, a majority being males.(TV Tropes) But in more recent times, male gamers have been represented more as a sexist and more violent group of people. This is problematic since it perpetuates a negative image that is simply untrue for the majority of this large demographic. I believe male gamers are falsely represented in popular culture, focusing only on negative aspects or events leads to the identity being seen as malicious. It’s important to note that this essay’s purpose is not to compare female gamers to male gamers; but to simply analyze the messages that are being sent about the identity of male gamers.

To exactly define who is a gamer is a complex topic since different people have different definitions. This often leads to confusion about what kind demographic makes up the identity. The Webster’s dictionary defines a gamer as, “a person who plays gamesespecially:  a person who regularly plays computer or video games.”(Webster) This definition, although broad, helps show that the identity can be applied to a large demographic.

Another definition of gamers comes from Urban Dictionary, the second most popular definition since April of 2005 states:

“The term “Gamer” by itself can apply to nearly anyone who plays video games on a regular basis or even once in a long while … there is a large amount of debate about who and what gamers exactly are. The best way to define the term “gamer” is not to define it at all but accept that there are in fact many types of gamers out there and there is no blanket term that can cover them all. “ (Urban Dictionary, 2)

With these definitions so far being non-gender specific, where exactly does the word “male” come into the picture?

The association of the words “male” and “gamer” is best described by TV tropes, a site known for analyzing and documenting tropes in popular culture. On their website, the trope “Most Gamers are male” states that males age 15 through 25 make up the primary demographic for videogames(TV Tropes). However, the trope page also notes that the demographic is dated back to the early 90’s and doesn’t represent the shift in the demographic of gamers. The page goes on to describe how in 2013, females represented more than half of people who play videogames are female.(TV tropes) This is an interesting contrast to the earlier description of gamers being mostly male. But just how are male gamers being represented in the media today?

In a recent interview on the Colbert report, Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist and critic of “gaming culture” talked about recent events under the name GamerGate. When asked about her thoughts on corruption of gaming journalism, she states that the real issue is:  “…men going after women in really hostile and aggressive ways… terrorizing women for being involved in this hobby”(Colbert Report). Although she doesn’t give any specific examples of these “really hostile and aggressive ways, “but the usage of such words as “terrorizing, hostile, and aggressive” creates an association with these words and the identity of male gamers. Since her statement specified “men”, it generalizes the identity as a whole. Although the Colbert report itself is a satirical show, it’s a nationally broadcasted program and as such is seen by many viewers.

However, the association of male gamers and these negative descriptions is not a new trend; there have been other occurrences of similar statements from other media outlets.

An example of male gamers being represented as hostile and aggressive can typically be seen in the news after violent crimes. Brian Ashcraft, a writer for Kotaku, wrote an article in 2012 about the outcry against violent videogames in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting.  Ashcraft talked about the social media hunt to find “…clues they could pin the shooting on.”(Ashcraft)

“…during those initial reports, a mob of angry Facebook users noticed that Ryan Lanza [the shooter] had liked Mass Effect [a rated M game] on Facebook. Coupled with news reports that a Fox News expert connected the horrific shooting to video games, some felt like this was proof positive that games were to blame.”(Ashcraft)

Unlike the Colbert report, this incident involved videogames that were specifically violent, containing mature themes and guns. However the correlation that the shooter was a male videogame player surely didn’t help the identity of other male gamers. Other tragedies like this have happened in the past, and videogames are frequently used as a scapegoat. (Ashcraft) Events and news coverage like this leads to an association with male gamers and violent crimes, a false representation of the identity as a whole. Besides the claims of male gamers being aggressive and hostile, there has been more recent news coverage portraying the male gaming demographic as sexist and women-hating.

In October of 2014, the New York Times published an article titled, “How Sexist Is the Gaming world?” again, featuring Anita Sarkeesian. A key part of the article tries to explain why male gamers are “harassing women online”

“While the online attacks on women have intensified in the last few months, the dynamics behind the harassment go back much further. They arise from larger changes in the video game business that have redefined the audience for its products, expanding it well beyond the traditional young, male demographic.”

Sarkeesian’s claims come from the numerous death threats she has received from “opponents or her recent work challenging the stereotypes of women in video games”. While this sort of behavior is unacceptable in any situation, these threats are used to generalize the male demographic of gamers. Specifically, these generalizations paint male gamers as those who attack women and harass women online. It sends a message to readers that male gamers do not want women in gaming, that they harass women who try to play games. Though these statements only represent the tiniest fraction of those who identify as gamers. Using several examples to represent all male gamers is an inaccurate way to show the demographic. I’m not saying that there is absolutely no harassment towards female gamers, but these repeated articles denouncing the identity leaves me feeling bad for even associating myself with being a male gamer. With all these negative articles, there must be some positive media about the gaming identity, right?

A very interesting aspect about the male gamer identity is the lack of positive news coverage from major news outlets. These stories are almost never seen outside of videogame news websites, leaving the public in the dark. Between CNN and the New York Times, the last gaming article that showed gaming in a positive light was back in 2013. The last article in question was written by Christopher Dawson for CNN. In his article, Dawson discusses the numerous game organizations that donate to charity like Extra Life, Electronic Frontier Foundations, and the Humble Bundle(Dawson). These charity events by gamers are frequent events as seen by the upcoming events calendar on the Childs Play Charity website (http://www.childsplaycharity.org/). The lack of coverage of positive news relating to gamers, hurts the identity for both males and females. More coverage of gaming charity events could help show the diversity of those that identify as gamers. When comparing the amount of negative and negative publicity gaming receives from news outlets, it’s clear that male gamers are seldom presented in a positive manner.

To conclude, popular media shows that male gamers are sexist, ignorant, and aggressive when these labels only apply to a miniscule section of the demographic. There are many aspects about gaming culture that is simply not talked about while negative aspects about the identity are highlighted and frequently talked about. This representation is harmful because it generalizes an entire demographic of people in a negative way, causing people to feel ashamed to identify themselves as a gamer. News outlets like CNN or Fox News need to focus on other parts of gaming culture instead of blaming videogames for violence in youths. From this, society can see a more accurate picture the identity of a gamer, for both male and female alike.

Works Cited:

Ashcraft, Brian. “Mob Blames Mass Effect For School Shooting, Is Embarrassingly Wrong.” Kotaku. N.p., 15 Dec. 2012. Web. 15 Nov. 2014. <http://kotaku.com/5968683/mob-blames-mass-effect-for-school-shooting-is-embarrassingly-wrong&gt;.

Dawson, Christopher. “Playing Video Games to Raise Millions for Charity.” CNN. Cable News Network, 28 Oct. 2013. Web. 15 Nov. 2014. <http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/25/tech/gaming-gadgets/gaming-for-charity/index.html?iref=allsearch&gt;.

“Gamer.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gamer&gt;.

“Gamer, Definition.” Urban Dictionary. N.p., 09 Apr. 2005. Web. 15 Nov. 2014. <http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=gamer&gt;.

“Main/ Most Gamers Are Male.” TV Tropes. TV Tropes, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2014. <http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MostGamersAreMale&gt;.

Schulten, Catherine. “How Sexist Is the Gaming World?” New York Times, The Learning Network. The New York Times, 17 Oct. 2014. Web. 15 Nov. 2014. <http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/17/how-sexist-is-the-gaming-world/?_r=2&gt;.

“The Colbert Report: Gamergate – Anita Sarkeesian.” YouTube. Comedy Central, 30 Oct. 2014. Web. 15 Nov. 2014.