Discussion of Asian Stereotypes in Popular Culture

In United States, we have different ethnic groups and people who come from different background and cultures. Among them, Asian is one of the largest growing minority groups. According to a research by Census Bureau, “from 2000 to 2010, the Asian and Asian American population grew faster than any other ethnic groups, increasing by 46%.” However, despite having a very large population, this is much contradicted to how often we see Asians on big screen TV. Whenever Asian characters appear on screen, they would be featured with plenty of traits that are not entirely accurate and therefore would cause misunderstandings and conflicts for viewers. Not only that, these misrepresentations could affect Asians negatively on how they look at themselves. I will analyze different trends of portrayals in media, and go in depth about the issues of Asian portrayals in media, arguing against the false portrayals and bringing the realistic images of Asians that are rarely shown.

A very popular stereotype is “Asians are smart, nerdy, and good at math.” It is true that there are Asians that are good at math, but not all of them. Not only that, just because they are smart doesn’t mean that they are nerdy or having a boring life. A good example of this would be Rajesh from the show Big Bang theory. He is a very smart guy but lack communication skills. This example leads us to another stereotype which is “Asians are bad at communicating”. While this can be true but the assumption behind this stereotype are often not quite true. Smart Asians are bad at communicating because they focus only into study and abandon their social relationships. A good example to argue against this stereotype would be the character London Tipton, played by Brenda Song in the show The Suit Life of Zach and Cody. London is a daughter of a wealthy hotel owner where the show takes place at most of the time. She has a very outgoing personality and from many people views, she is a spoil child. Unlike the typical main stream image of Asians, she often does things the way she likes without strict discipline. London often skips classes and gets bad grades, totally opposite to Asian’s portrayal in media. This character is a rare image of Asian on TV as it wasn’t portrayed like the typical stereotype about nerdy Asians we often see.

Another stereotype associate with Asians is that they are bad at sport. This stereotype is very contradict with another stereotype that we often see in media which is Asians are good at martial art. In the article “The 7 Worst Asian-American Stereotypes”, I found this “Asians are not good at sport” to be very interesting because I didn’t know about it until I do the mirror essay project. However, I do understand why people often associate Asians with martial arts. So why exactly do people think that Asians are bad at sport? One reason I could think of is because of the images of nerdy Asians that people often see in popular culture. Nerds are usually physically weak, knowing nothing else besides study, hence most Asians are assumed to be bad at sport as well. However, people are completely different in reality than what are being portrayed in media. Each person has their own qualities, traits, and personalities. Taking myself as an example, I played variety of sports during high school and middle school. I consider myself as a decent player, although not excellent. Beside me, there were a lot of other Asian players in my schools’ teams as well. Basketball, volley, tennis, and soccer, every team had Asian players and they don’t do badly at all in games. Some were even chosen to be team’s captain.

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Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) trains Daniel (Ralph Macchio) in The Karate Kid

On the other hand, the images of Asians being good at martial arts have to be credited to many famous actors such as Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet li. When the very first Bruce Lee’s movie came out, it gave people a deep impression of Asian fighter. This was a start of what would be later known as the Hong Kong New Wave, leading to many other actors such as Jackie Chan and Jet Li to enter the industry. Hence we could see why there is a booming in popularity of Asians kung fu in mainstream media. Even nowadays when there are a lot of martial art movies where the main characters could be white, black, or any other races, the mentor or master would usually be portrayed by an Asian actor. A perfect example of this would be “Karate Kid”. There are two versions, one was in 1989 and another was in 2010. In both versions, the protagonists were black and white while the mentors in both versions were played by Asian actors. Furthermore, when we see Asian characters on TV, they usually play as the minor roles. Unless the movies are about fighting, Asians may have chance to be starred as one of the main roles. “Rush Hour” series is another example where one of the main roles is played by the Asian actor Jackie Chan. He played the role which deal with criminals mostly by hand, fist, and martial art instead of gun, although the role of the character is a cop. The martial art stereotype that associates with Asians was created by the impression of Hollywood stars that have origins in Asia. There are other Western martial arts out there as well but we don’t often see them being show on mainstream media. Despite all that, not all Asians know martial arts. Everyone could be martial artists if they put time and has patience to practice.

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The Yellow Peril Drawing

Often time Asians would be portrayed as foreigners, forgetting that there are Asian Americans who were born and grew up here in the U.S as well. These kinds of portrayals would influence how Asians would think of their own racial group as well as larger society. According to Mok in this article “Getting the Message: Media Images and Stereotypes and Their Effect on Asian Americans”, Chinese immigrants as well as many East Asian immigrants were considered as economic threats and jobs competitors in America. Hence, the term “Yellow Peril” was given to Asian immigrants as a racial slur. To be honest, I have never heard of this term before until I do this mirror essay. After some research, I found that this term was started by German Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1895. According to The Phrase Finder, the term was coined after the defeat of China against Japan and was intended to apply for only Japanese at first. However, after numerous of reports in US newspapers about the event along with a painting where they showed “a distant Buddha-like figure sitting in an approaching firestorm”, attempting to invade Europe, this stereotype and fear started to spread. I find this very funny and ironic at the same time. If you take a closer look in history, Europeans were the ones who took the action and invaded Asia most of the time in the 19th century. This “Yellow Peril” stereotype promoted racism and created discrimination against Asians, especially Asian men. For Asian women, it is a different story. In this YouTube video titled “The Weird History of Asian Sex Stereotypes” by Franchesca Ramsey, MTV Decoded host, she mentioned that “Asian women are the most sought out group on online dating.” They are often fetishized and eroticized. Comparing the acceptance of White society, Asian women would often time have an easier time than men. As Asian Americans consume these ideas from the portrayals of Asians in media, they are affected by how they look at themselves and other Asians. According to Mok, some have accepted the fact that they cannot look all-American while some even wished they were born different from how they actually looked. Eventually, they would accept all these stereotypes even though they know that all these ideas don’t accurately portray them as a person.

Asians can be smart, dumb, outgoing, introvert, shy, and loud. Just like any other races, Asians have a very diverse personalities and cultures within itself. Media has created false images of what Asians and who they really are. It’s sad to see that lots of people bases on these images to judge individuals and fail to see that each person is unique and special. Because of that, it is difficult for Asians to express themselves without being labeled by stereotypes. One way to portrayed Asians accurately would be showing a diverse personalities and cultures of Asians on TV as well as giving more opportunities for more Asians actors in the film industries.

Learning moments:

One of the biggest learning moments that I have experienced in this class is probably commenting on the blog every week. It gave me opportunity to express myself as I don’t often speak up that much in real class. Second, this class discussed on different subjects and topics relating to media that I don’t often consider or aware of. Reading my peers’ comments really broadened my perspectives and I obtained a whole lot of useful information. Last but not least, I can see improvements in my writing. I learned a lot of different technique through the online resources. This mirror essay by far is the biggest writing project that I have ever done.

Come out of this class, I think analyzing advertisement and look at the news critically are the two skills that I appreciate the most. News and advertisements are two things that I see every day and everywhere. They often are the main tools that I use to get information and to know what happen around the world. Therefore, I think it is important to be able to analyze and be critical about them.

Preferences:

Asia Matters for America by the East-West Center. (n.d.). Retrieved May 23, 2016, from http://www.asiamattersforamerica.org/asia/data/population/states

Noronha, M. (2012, November 24). The 7 Worst Asian-American Stereotypes. Retrieved May 23, 2016, from http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2012/11/24/the-7-worst-asian-american-stereotypes/

Top Martial Arts Action Stars of the Century. (2011, March 2). Retrieved May 23, 2016, from http://www.imdb.com/list/ls000048950/

The meaning and origin of the expression: The Yellow Peril. (n.d.). Retrieved May 24, 2016, from http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/yellow-peril.html

A. Mok, T. (1998). Getting the message: Media images and stereotypes and their effect on Asian Americans. Cultural Diversity and Mental Health, 4(3), 185-202. Retrieved May 24, 2016.

H. (2016). The Weird History of Asian Sex Stereotypes | Decoded | MTV News. Retrieved May 26, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HS2jGfW5aOE

Young Adults Living with Parents…”As Seen on TV”

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Every day we make quick, snap judgments about the world around us based on preconceived ideas about products, politics, music, and people. One of the biggest contributors to these presumptions is mass media. Groups of people are often viewed in certain ways due to the way they are represented in television and movies.One such group Blog_Post_GIFis the community of young adults who live with their parents. Fifty years ago, this group was represented as a normal part of the nuclear family; however, modern media has inaccurately changed the image of young adults living with their parents into lazy opportunists, as depicted by movies like “Failure to Launch.”

What the Media Says

The first artifact that I analyzed was the show “Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.” This show depicts a family of four (Ozzie, Harriet, and two boys: Dave and Rick). The show ran from 1952 to 1966 so viewers got to see the two boys grow up, get married, and eventually move out. Before they moved out, though, they got stable jobs and dated. One episode stuck out in particular. In season nine, episode 4, both boys act independently despite living at home. They have their own funds to spend on meals and entertainment (even though they mom makes meals, too). There are even some episodes that they don’t appear much in because they are living their own lives. More importantly, their friends and girlfriends take no notice of the fact that they live at home. This would suggest that living with one’s parents as a young adult is not unusual. Rather, it is socially acceptable.The creator and writer, Ozzie Nelson, must have felt that young adults should stay home until they are ready (in this case get married). To many, though, this show is dated and just reflects the 50’s perfect suburbia. Thus, Nelson’s depiction of his household might be perceived as more of an ideal than a reality. Also, there might have been some bias since Nelson wrote and starred in the show. Nonetheless, Dave and Rick were depicted positively. They were made out to be hard working adults getting ready to leave the nest.This might have been a comedy, but the comedy didn’t come from the young adults, it came from a realistically quirky family.

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Season 9, Episode 4: https://www.viki.com/videos/1039297v-the-adventures-of-ozzie-harriet-his-brothers-girl-episode-55

It’s hard to believe that the 50’s and 60’s were 50 plus years ago. In that much time, it makes sense that media would change its depictions of many different groups. For stay-at-home young adults, though, the perception almost flipped completely. My second artifact was the 2006 movie “Failure to Launch.” This movie stars Matthew McConaughey, who plays a 30-something old adult who still lives with his parents. He has two other friends who also live with their parents (Demo and Ace). They live a very comfortable lifestyle. In the beginning, Tripp doesn’t have to worry about cooking, cleaning, errands, or other major responsibilities. The movie also barely shows the guys working. Instead, they are shown hanging out, hiking, rock climbing, playing paintball, and playing video games. This was a purposeful choice that shapes the image of these characters. When it comes to independence, he is in the sense that his social life is completely separate from that of his parents; however, he is extremely dependent on them for life’s necessities. The characters in the movie itself described them as lazy and selfish adults who took advantage of their parents and other people. In fact, Tripp’s own parents want him to move out. It is a comedy, but it consistently reinforces the stereotype that it establishes. I agree that some pressure is taken off by living with my parents, but I still have to work hard. Unlike the characters in the movie, I do have to help around the house, work hard at work/school, and balance my social life.

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Trailer: https://youtu.be/W5eADSOAwE4

The last artifact that I looked at was a series of interviews called “Grown and still at home: Why young adults are moving back home and staying longer” conducted by Yahoo Finance in 2015. The interviewer speaks to several young adults and their parents, whom they live with. All of the young adults had jobs but did not feel like they were financially able to be completely independent. Everyone who was interviewed pointed to the economy as the primary reason for living together with their parents. Each young adult in the interview said that they didn’t contribute much to the bills and barely did chores. Understandably, it can be difficult to gain stability in the economy, so contributing to the bills might be difficult. It’s interesting, though, that they brought up chores. It kind of showed a struggling, maybe even lazy, view of young adults living with parents. Yahoo chose who they wanted to interview and what to ask, which means they agree with the image that they depicted of this social group. Overall, Yahoo gave a more balanced view of young adults who live with parents; but the lazy opportunist stereotype was also presented.

By looking at media from the early days of television, pre-recession entertainment, and post-recession news, a trend becomes noticeable. In the mid-twentieth century, young adults were not looked down on for living at home. As time went on, society changed and so did its views. By the early 2000’s, that perception had transformed into the stereotype we see today: lazy opportunists. The Great Recession brought economic hardships, which justified this behavior. Unfortunately, it appears that negative stereotypes still persist.

Reality

For many young adults, moving away from one’s parents is just a part of life, but some decide to stay home with them a little longer. The reasons vary from person to person, but there are an increasing number of young adults living with their parents. In fact, the Pew Research Center reported that the percentage of young adults age 18 to 31 who live with parents is 36% (as of 2012) compared to 32% in 1968. Economic struggles and declining marriage rates are cited as major reasons for this trend. Enrollment has also increased a bit since the Great Recession. Economically, the unemployment for young adults is much higher proportionally than the rest of the population. To illustrate, those in the workforce age 16 to 34 have an unemployment rate of 51% despite making up around one-third of the population (Fry). Interestingly, employment has always been higher for young adults (Desilver). Could this trend be attributed to more than the economy?

It is possible that the changes within families are a factor. One of the most significant change was that “the share who were married and living with a spouse fell” dramatically (Fry). In 1968 about 56% of 18 to 31 year-olds were already married. The percentage was done to around 23% by 2012. Culturally, this makes sense. After World War II, “family structure in the 50’s was based around one central necessity: a secure life.” (Hussung). This lead to a very stable nuclear family and “children became emotional rather than economic assets.” (Hussung). Culture and family structure changed dramatically over the following decades. These attitudes meant that children were allowed to stay home until they were ready (in this case married and working). That has changed a bit from the idyllic 50’s. Now empty nest homes are much more normal. Also, singleness is now viewed as “…flexible in terms of moving in and out of their parents’ home…” (Qian 12).SDT-millennials-with-parents-08-2013-02.png More people might be staying home because they want to wait until they are able to explore life’s possibilities. Personally, I’m not avoiding responsibility. Rather, I’m just trying to find my barings before venturing into a quickly changing world.

Conclusion

The media has increasingly depicted young adults in a negative way. Through TV, movies, and even news, these young adults have been painted as lazy opportunists. Statistics and trends have offered another explanation for their decision to live with their parents. Economic and family conditions have changed dramatically since the idyllic 50’s. Maybe young adults just need some support while they begin to navigate the complicated world of work and social possibilities.

Learning Moments

This has ended up being my favorite SINQ classes because it has changed how I view everyday things. For starters, the “Influence of Advertising” unit in week 4 showed me the hidden messages behind the bombardment of media. I found the video “Ways of Seeing” especially enlightening. The video pointed out that advertising tries to sell you a fantasy by depicting a bright future and an unsatisfactory present. Now I can’t look at commercials without doing some analysis. One can almost imagine the marketing group’s pitch for the ad.

Another learning moment was in week 7 during the lesson on intellectual property. Before, I saw that issue as pretty straight forward. Anyone had the right to protect their ideas and thoughts. After watching the video, “Art in the Era of the Internet,”I understood that the issue is not black and white. Really there are instances where people should allow their content to be used so that creativity can be allowed to flourish. In other instances, people might want their content shared to spread awareness, but not taken advantage of financially. I really appreciated this class for expanding my perspective.

Sources

Ahn, Jeanie. Grown and Still at Home: Why Young Adults Are Moving Back Home and Staying Longer. Yahoo Finance. N.p., 30 Oct. 2015. Web. 01 May 2016.

DeSilver, Drew. For Young Americans, Unemployment Returns to Pre-recession Levels. Pew Research Center RSS. N.p., 2015. Web. 10 May 2016.

Failure to Launch. Dir. Tom Dey. Perf. Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker. Paramount Pictures, 2006.

Fry, Richard. A Rising Share of Young Adults Live in Their Parents’ Home. Pew Research Centers Social Demographic Trends Project RSS. N.p., 2013. Web. 17 May 2016.

Hussung, Tricia. The Evolution of American Family Structure. Concordia University St Paul Online. N.p., 2015. Web. 10 May 2016.

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Prod. Ozzie Nelson. Dir. Ozzie Nelson. Perf. Ozzie Nelson, Harriet Nelson, David Nelson, and Rick Nelson. Viki. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2016.

Qian, Zhenchao. During the Great Recession, More Young Adults Lived with Parents. US2010 Project (2012): 1-29. Web. 17 May 2016.

Science and Religion: What Does Pop Culture Have to Say?

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In the age where modes of media rapidly change and contribute to the shaping of culture, we as consumers and creators of culture ought to develop deeper understandings of the ideas that surround us. As a Christian and science student, one topic that I continually research is the religion and science discussion. This ever-changing story between religion and science—where they meet, where they disconnect, and what this relationship will look like as ideas advance—remains an increasingly prominent topic within contemporary society as a whole. The most dominant image within popular culture today is the idea of a great schism between religion and science, providing consumers of media with a skewed, incomplete image of this complex and long-standing relationship. Ultimately, failure to highlight the day to day reality in which the ideas of religion and science have intersected and cooperated can be stifling, putting an unnecessary limit to the degree in which a diverse society can work together.

The great discussion between science and religion contains a vast amount of branches and levels. Probably the most popular and flamboyant topic is about evolution and religion. However, it goes beyond evolution, present in all fields of science and in many forms. Ethics, research, philosophy, and even aspects like work team diversity are in some way impacted by the interactions of science and religion.

In 2014, one of the hottest topics to surface in this great discussion between science and religion was the live debate between scientist Bill Nye and intelligent design advocate Ken Ham. The purpose of this meeting is straightforward: it was an intellectual faceoff between two well-known thinkers in the creation discussion, debating topics like the age of the earth and differing worldviews in relation to science (Youtube).

On the debate’s cover image, the epic black and white portraits of Ham and Nye are pictured and divided by a solid orange bar, reminiscent of a scoreboard for a wrestling match. The purpose, content, and form of this debate sends a clear message to its vast audience: their fields of expertise are inevitably opposed. This message isn’t just offered to Ken Ham and Bill Nye enthusiasts; it’s also present in the popular Christian movie, God’s Not Dead.

In the main storyline, college student Josh Wheaton embarks on a journey to combat his angry atheist Professor Radisson and prove God’s existence to his entire philosophy class (Cronk). While the movie functions to reinforce the ideals of its Christian audience, the string of fiery debates between Christian student and atheist professor also relays the message evident in the Ham/Nye debate that this is a war—one wins, and the other loses. The story unfolds over the media like a dramatic relationship doomed to end in separation. To put it more broadly, the prevalent spirit of debate between religion and science within popular media transmits the idea that science and religion have no common ground, and therefore, animosity is inevitable.

From the front of popular culture media, it seems that this great, tense debate is the only way religion and science can interact with one another. However, this isn’t the case in all avenues, nor is it an idea reflected in all members of society. In a study by Baylor University, participants offered their response to the degree in which they agreed or disagreed to the question, “Are religion and science compatible?” The highest percentage, 48.4%, answered that they disagreed with this statement (Baylor).

In addition, research centers, such as the Krakow School in Poland, study the interactions between science and religion and how they can work together, highlighting that religion has played a role in the advancements of science, medieval reasoning to modern methods of science (Brozek). Searching beyond the surface reveals that there is more to the relationship between science and religion than debate and discordance.

Along with studies and research, TV shows and media sites are recently presenting a more multifaceted view. National Geographic aired a new series in 2016 called The Story of God, narrated by Morgan Freeman. In the episode, “Creation,” he interviews scientists and researchers from different backgrounds regarding their ideas on the relationship between religion and science.

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/the-story-of-god-with-morgan-freeman/episodes/creation/

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Vatican Observatory astronomer and Catholic priest Giuseppe Tanzella-nitti offers his view on the evolutionary aspect of this discussion: “Creation, from a theological point of view, is perfectly compatible with the Big Bang, because you need [always] a first cause” (National Geographic).   

Similarly, the website “Closer to Truth” provides a thread of interviews and resources in which scientists and researchers from various backgrounds explore this topic. Molecular Biologist and Evangelical Christian Denis Alexander states,

“I see the relationship between religious knowledge and scientific knowledge as complementary. They’re very complementary narratives about the same reality. And the important thing is to not mix…the languages of the different narratives up.”

https://www.closertotruth.com/series/are-science-religion-war

 Alexander views this relationship as complementary—each with different roles (Alexander). TIME magazine’s article, “God vs. Science” by David Van Biema exhibits this same motif of science and religion as complementary. In the article, what first begins as a reflection on the prevalent societal idea of a “caged death match between science and God,” turns into a dialogue between well known contributors to science, Richard Dawkins and Francis Collins (Biema).

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Francis Collins

Houghton Mifflin provided this photo of Richard Dawkins, authror of `The God Delusion.' (AP Photo/Houghton Mifflin)

Houghton Mifflin provided this photo of Richard Dawkins, authror of `The God Delusion.’ (AP Photo/Houghton Mifflin)

Collins concludes,

“I find absolutely nothing in conflict between agreeing with Richard in practically all of this conclusions about the natural world, and also saying that I am still able to accept and embrace the possibility that there are answers that science isn’t able to provide about the natural world… that in no way compromises my ability to think rigorously as a scientist.”

Similar to Alexander’s counsel to distinguish between the languages of science and religion, Collins states that faith doesn’t diminish the capacity to do science.

Perhaps the greatest aspect popular culture consumers must be aware of is this: the most flagrant aspects of the science/religion discussion do not speak for the discussion in its entirety. While the debate between religion and science does exist, consumers of popular culture must recognize that the negative, antagonistic tone sometimes carried furthest and highest throughout the media is not true or accurate in all cases. It is not always a war.

In reality, the field of science is diverse, filled with people from many different backgrounds and worldviews. Collaboration between all these different views is what sparks continual conversation and further advancement of bright ideas. Media’s spotlighting of society’s loudest, sometimes most negative voices within the realm of religion and science doesn’t offer the full picture of how science and religion interact daily amongst people. Popular culture ought to reflect society’s diverse attitudes toward the religion and science discussion by portraying the many different ways in which this relationship continues to play out, including instances of opposition as well as compatibility. Debate is “healthy,” as Alexander says, insofar as it gets members of society thinking and collaborating. However, when the image of hostility or war between science and religion displayed in media is considered the whole picture of the story, discussion is stifled. Deliberation has been and continues to be a valuable tool in society’s propagation of new and bright ideas, and this should continue as religion and science continually cross paths.

 

Learning Moments:

From this class, I learned how we as popular culture consumers are heavily affected by our input of information. In week one, we discussed how the internet can be a tool to filter out viewpoints different from what we’ve been accustomed to.  We can tend to use sites, apps, and modes of media that best fit our views. In order to avoid this narrow influx of knowledge, diversity amongst thinkers and deeper, wider research is important to implement. I think that strongly relates to what my popular culture essay is all about: being aware of the diversity of knowledge regarding the topics that most affect us. Before making a judgment about a big contemporary topic or issue, different sources ought to be considered beyond mainstream headlines in order to gain a more substantial, multifaceted understanding of the situation.

The second lesson I learned from this class is our tendency as pop culture participants to detach a person from their portrayal in media. The excerpt, “Eliminate the Middleman” by Sara Vowell showed how we can create distorted impressions about people based on how they’re covered in the news, all while becoming less aware of their normality. Her work with George W. Bush was most interesting to me, as it shed light back onto the reality that there’s a lot more to people than what media portrays—but strangely, “a lot more” is really just the heart beneath the face on our TV screens. She shows a different side of Bush when she mentions his regular morning habits like drinking coffee and that he loves his dogs. Linking the face with the real person is difficult but important in today’s culture, considering that an extensive amount of interaction is now electronic. The synchronized meeting was a really good way putting this to practice: even on an online interface, it brought more original and lively elements to our discussions, reminding us that behind each of our profiles and screens is a real person.

 

References

“Are religion and science incompatible?” Baylor Religion Survey, 2007.

“Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham,” Youtube. Feb 4, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6kgvhG3AkI

Brożek, Bartosz, and Michael Heller. 2015. “Science and Religion in the Kraków School.” Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science. 50: 194–208.

David Van Biema. “God vs. Science,” TIME. Nov 5, 2006. http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1555132,00.html

Denis Alexander, “Are Science and Religion at War?” Closer to Truth. 2016.

Harold Cronk, God’s Not Dead. 2014. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2528814/

National Geographic, “Creation.” The Story of God with Morgan Freeman. April 24, 2016.

Embrace the Journey

By: Tam-Nguyen Nguyen

When I started this final project, I knew the topic of “how fathers are being portrayed” by the media was not on my identity brainstorming list in the workshop section. However, one of the readings for week 2, “The Evolution of Doltish Dad “written by Hanna Robin gave me the inspiration to make this topic one of my proposals. It all started at the end of her article when she got surprised by “the sight of a stay-at-home dad making hand-print T-shirts for the teachers in [her] preschool” (Robin 2012). This illustration raises a question of what it actually means a stay-at-home or a single dad.

In the 90s, the figure of dads has been portrayed as doltish widely for entertainment purposes in the media, especially in films and television shows. When it comes to housework and children in films and TV shows, dads are very clumsy, clunk, and often don’t know what they are doing. In which case, their core comedy comes from the doltishness of dads, and it’s one of the elements holding the successful factor of a film or a TV shows.  The trend of doltish dads has been really successful in term of entertainment and has brought laughter to audiences around the world. However, after fighting for their rights, moms have been able to work hard for what they desire to be in the outside world; on the other hand, dads have also realized that it’s a necessity for them to learn how to help their partners care for the house and children. The learning of these important tasks requires hard work and patience. As a result, the media has misrepresented the role of dad to its audiences.

Mrs. Doubtfire

The film, Mrs. Doubtfire, directed by Chris Columbus is a good example for how the doltish dad figure is being used to create funny moments. The story of the film revolves around the separation of a couple, Daniel Hillard portrayed by Robin Williams and Miranda Hillard portrayed by Sally Field. Because of his love for his children, Daniel decides to disguise himself as a nanny and plans to get hired by his ex-wife in order to be close to them. Throughout the film, the comedy revolves around scenes involving Daniel being clumsy and making silly mistakes while trying to fulfill his role as nanny. One of the funniest scenes in the film is when Daniel tries to prepare food for the family while his ex-wife is at work.  The scene contains a series of confusing and silly mistakes made by him in the kitchen, and it turns out be a disaster; in the end, he cheats by ordering take out. As an audience, we know under the disguised nanny is a dad, and here, the doltish dad figure has been used for entertainment purposes.

Stu

Behind the laughter that Mrs. Doubtfire brings to the table, critics point out the underline meaning of the film. In the Mrs. Doubtfire’s review on http://www.commonsensemedia.org, critics address “serious issue such as the perception that Daniel is a bad father because he doesn’t make a lot of money” (Mrs. Doubtfire 2003). Throughout the film, Daniel’s voice does not have much value in the society that he lives in, and his ideas are not taken seriously. On the other hand, we have other opposite male figure, Stu, who has the potential to become his ex-wife’s new husband. Stu’s character is portrayed align with what our society considers a successful man, wealthy, out-going, and intelligent. Throughout the film, Columbus compares in contrast the two male role models through the view of our society. Looking at the dad role in the family, we have Daniel, who loves and wants to bring happiness to his kids, but he is not so effective at earning money, and thus, he is portrayed as doltish and clumsy. Besides, we also have Stu, a person who possesses all of our social expectation of what a successful man should be. Even though Daniel is able to be with his kids more, which is his desire, we, the audience, still main an image of Daniel as being doltish.

 

In reality…

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On the other hand, the article, “The Challenge of Becoming a Single Father” written by Dave Taylor depict very different to the doltish dad figure portrayed by the media. Being a single father is a journey that once taken, a man will experience dramatic changes in his life; he will have to learn about things that he would never consider learning before, and he will have to assume both mom and dad role. Taylor’s journey started after many unsuccessful attempts to save his marriage, he and his wife decided to separate. Thus, he found himself “a single dad, with children who were 10, 6 and 3” (Taylor 2014). During the time of being a single dad, he recognized that he was not taught to “nurture and be empathetic” and he also had trouble creating rules and enforcing them. On the other hand, his ex-wife did not have any of his problems; she was fully capable of nurturing and being empathetic; she also “rarely had rules and hated to enforce them” (Taylor 2014). Fortunately, after seven years, he has learned how to be “tough when needed” but also “sympathetic” (Taylor 2014).

At first, I had trouble wrapping my head around why I felt so different when reading Taylor’s story than watching a movie about single dad like Mrs. Doubtfire. From Taylor’s story, I find that his initial experience and the doltish dad figure are similar in term of them both not knowing how to deal with housework and kids. However, the characteristics of doltish dads are clumsy and careless when it comes to housekeeping; whereas in reality, being a single father or a stay-at-home dad requires a tremendous amount of afford to learn because it requires one to fulfill the roles of both father and mother; it’s a difficult challenge that one must embrace in order to become a single parent. Hence, the doltish dad figure portrayed by the media misrepresents the spirit of being a single father; it’s a challenge, not a joke.

In referencing back to the article, “The Evolution of Doltish Dad”, Robins points out issues coming from a large amount of movies and TV shows that “over the last 60 years woman have rapidly changed their role in the public domain, from Mary Tyler Moore to Murphy Brown to Hannah Horvath” but on the other hand, the dad’s role in the media has “[evolved] but only in tiny increments, and very slowly” (Robin 2012). The doltish dad figure portrayed in the media embraces the social aspect that men are not built for housekeeping, only the doltish ones have to deal with housekeeping and they look idiotic when they do so.

Cary Grant and Daughter Jennifer, circa 1969 (Photo Credit: knopfdoubleday/Flickr)

In article written by Walkinst,“5 Celebrity Dads Who Retired From Hollywood to Raise Their Kids”, he discusses the lives of 5 celebrity fathers., who gave up their Hollywood career in order to fully care for their children. These single dads are not idiots who have nothing to with their lives that we usually see in movies or TV shows; they were wealthy, successful and intelligence people, who decided that their children were more important to them than their own success. Unfortunately, even though their sacrifice might be understood by people, many non-famous single dads don’t get the attention that they deserve in the media, especially in movies and TV shows.

Our current social stereotypes believe that the female partner is more likely to be better at nurturing and housekeeping. However, the music video, “Blurry” performed by the band Puddle of Mudd is one of the rare popular artifacts that proves otherwise. In the video, the father desires to be with his son, and he treasures every moment with him. We also see the smile on the boy’s face whenever he is with his dad.  On the other hand, the mom struggles to keep her new family together, and all we can see on the boy’s face is sadness and loneliness. While watching the video, I was wondering why the dad does not have the right to care for his child. The reason can be interpreted differently from audience to audience, but one thing we know, is the case where we, as an outsider won’t understand. Thus, measuring one’s ability to take care of the children should not only be based on gender; dads can also be good at “nurturing” and “being empathetic”.

The Doltish Dad figure has been used for entertainment purposes for decades, and it seems to be successful in term of reaching to a wide range of audiences. However, because of the success of this depiction, the doltish dad figure has been overly used and perpetuated a stereotype which diminishes the value of dad’s role. Being a dad, a single dad, or a stay-at-home dad is a journey, a challenge that one decides to take, and the media should portray the dad’s role to reflect the spirit of being a dad, not a joke.

Learning moment

Over the course of this class, I have realized how vulnerable we are. Movies, TV shows, news, commercials, and many other things provided by the media all influence our ways of thinking and being one way or the other. Because we are surrounded by the media almost everywhere we go, being able to recognize and analyze what direction the media is attempting to lead us to is a very important ability to have, especially in America.

References

Columbus, C. (Director), Williams, M. G., Williams, R., & Radcliffe, M. (Producers), & Singer, R. M. (Writer). (1993). Mrs. Doubtfire [Motion picture on DVD]. United States: Twentieth Century Fox.

Mrs. Doubtfire – Movie Review. (2003, July 13). Retrieved May 09, 2016, from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/mrs-doubtfire

Rosin, H. (2012, June 15). TV and Film’s Doltish Dad Gets a Makeover. Retrieved June 01, 2016, from http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/06/what_to_expect_and_up_all_night_the_doltish_dad_on_screen_is_changing_.html
Scantlin, W., & Ardito, D. (2001). [Recorded by J. Allen]. Blurry. American. Retrieved May 31, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im66_xLTZGM
Taylor, D. (2014, March 4). The Challenge of Becoming a Single Father. Retrieved June 01, 2016, from http://www.fatherhood.org/fatherhood/the-challenge-of-becoming-a-single-father
W. (2015, August 16). 5 Celebrity Dads Who Retired From Hollywood to Raise Their Kids. Retrieved June 01, 2016, from http://tinseltownmom.com/5-celebrity-dads-who-retired-from-hollywood-to-raise-their-kids/

Put away that bright Aloha T-shirt- Pacific Islander Representation in Pop Culture

Over the course of this class, I have taken in deep consideration of the pieces that make up who I am. It is no surprise to me that the strongest thing I identify as, is being Hawaiian. Now, more than ever, you will come across a Hawaiian or Pacific Islander in your classroom or daily life. Like other races, the chances are, you have a few stereotypes that you immediately thought of.  I won’t be able to tell you everything about a Pacific Islander or Hawaiian throughout this blog post, but that isn’t my goal. Throughout this blog post, I hope to inform you of the current stereotypes that are being portrayed and make you aware that not everything we see, even if it’s from a known source, shouldn’t be taken without thought.

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As a Pacific Islander (PI), I have developed critical lens about how my race is portrayed in Popular Culture. There are many popular movies of the Pacific Islanders that are based on their cultures and traditions both accurately and stereotypically. I have decided to closely evaluate the popular culture artifacts Blue Crush, Johnny Tsunami, and Lilo and Stitch. As you see the following covers of the movie, you can notice that they all take place at the beach and with surfboards. The beach is a important aspect of all of these movies, as they are to Pacific Islanders, they are not all they have to offer.

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On the cover of Johnny Tsunami, you can see Johnny Kapahaala, a local Hawaiian, surfing on his bright board while he wears a floral blue swim shorts along with a bright orange floral “Hawaiian T-shirt”. As someone who knows nothing about the Hawaiian culture, you would think that this an accurate aspect of our culture– not necessarily the case though! You would rarely ever find a local wearing that clothing combination, unless for Tourism Day during Spirit Week.

Although these films may be based in Hawaii, the accuracy of these portrayals is very slim. I think the safest way to approach a situation that you may not know a lot about regarding the person or cultures involved is by asking questions and entering that situation with no assumptions. I’m well aware of the movie industry forming their films to satisfy the needs of the audiences, but I don’t think there is any harm in portraying these ideas in a matter that is appealing to the locals as well as the people who have no idea what to think.

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There are a number of basic stereotypes of Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders that are developed when viewing these movies such as:

  • All Hawaiians know how to “do the Hula”
  • All Hawaiians grow pineapples and coconuts
  • All Hawaiians LOVE to surf and,
  • All Pacific Islanders are naturally gifted musicians that can play the ukulele.

Yes, there are many Native Hawaiians and locals that can do all of the above and yeah we almost all can agree to at least one of these things, but it doesn’t make it right to generalize the entire culture entirely.

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Before this project, I viewed my three primary sources as movies that were made for pure enjoyment. After observing these films with critical lens, I asked some of my friends that aren’t from the islands to tell me about their feelings or some stereotypes that came to mind when they viewed it and they all mentioned the ones above. I wouldn’t say these stereotypes are negative thoughts, but it doesn’t make them alright nonetheless. The movie industry should be more careful about the way they portray things because there are cases that can directly affect a cultural group by the way they are portrayed in the “big lights”.

I also noticed a few other patterns regarding Pacific Islanders and the way we are represented in Popular Culture. These patterns consist of issues such as:

  • When Pacific Islanders actors and actresses are casted for a movie, they are completely stripped of their Pacific Islander characteristics.
    • This could include straightening or “taming their hair” or covering our traditional tatau, or tattoos, with stereotypical tattoos.
  • In movies about the Pacific Islander cultures, the actors/actresses that are playing the “local” is usually a person that has little to no knowledge of our culture or traditions. This pattern that I noticed is supported by the following movies and actors/actresses.
    • Daveigh Chase, voice of Lilo, born in Las Vegas, NV.
    • Brandon Baker, Johnny Kapahaala in Johnny Tsunami, born in Orange County, CA.
    • Kate Bosworth, Anne Marie in Blue Crush, born in Los Angeles, CA.

I think this problem has a lot to do with the movie industry not reaching out to the Hawaiian and local community when doing casting along with Hawaiians and locals not being suited enough to complete the job. This issue also ties into the presence of Pacific Islanders in the classroom and work environment. Despite the increase of the Asian Pacific Islander (API) presence as students and faculty, we are still at a low representation (under 1% of total population) (Goodwin, 2000). The movie industry has been showing improvement and they have heard our requests. They have recently conducted a casting in Hawaii to find the star voice of their new movie, Moana, a story of a Polynesian princess and her epic adventure across the ocean. This is the first movie of the star of the movie, being a local that is knowledgable and respecting of our cultures and traditions.hqdefault

In Paradise remade the politics of culture and history in Hawai’i, “the problemization of the liberal progressive view of the islands– that Hawai’i can retain its beauty and charm and at the same time become the center of Pacific tourism and development” (Buck, pg. 32). Tourism in Hawaii is at an all time high and getting more tourists in a day compared to the other Pacific Islands in a year. The tourism industry in Hawaii is often faced with the dilemma of satisfying the tourists and their stereotypes or breaking those stereotypes in hopes that tourists would appreciate our true culture.

Pacific Islanders are facing a lot of issues regarding our identity and portrayal, along with the control and representation of the stereotypes that have developed over the years. I couldn’t find a direct topic to focus on because ever issue is related to each other. The only way to solve one topic, we have to use our critical lens and evaluate the picture as a whole. Through this project, I was able to identify issues that are most dear to me and develop possible solutions to help this identity as a whole. I think a common and very important skill that we learned in this class is the ability to see a popular culture artifact and evaluate the purpose and motives the author created. I wasn’t aware of the issues my identity has faced and I definitely didn’t take into consideration that people took the movie representations so seriously. We are all unconsciously making assumptions and judgements based on people’s appearances, I believe it is a natural thing to do as humans. I think that if you are able to enter a conversation with those assumptions and judgements and still be open-minded and willing to accept that your thoughts may be incorrect.

Learning Moment

With all the social media and interaction with popular culture on the daily basis, I have realized that I do not evaluate it nearly enough as I should. This class has taught me that every post, article, advertisement, and more, went through a process to make sure it would reach the correct audience and leave them with a feeling that the producers wanted you to be left with. This class also taught me a lot about myself and the way I view things, things that interest me, and things that I identify as. These types of decisions that are made unconsciously are usually left unevaluated and sometimes even unacknowledged. It was really nice to be able to identify these things and evaluate the reasons I feel that way. There were many “ah-ha” moments throughout the class discussions because of the ideas that were brought up that I wouldn’t normally think about. An example of this moment was during Week 5, we were evaluating “The News”. I found it very interesting how news is one of the most important aspect to some peoples lives but in our society, I find it that the news broadcast things that we want to know rather than the things we need to know. To think that there are crimes, incidents, breakout moments, and a bunch of other news worthy events happening around the world, to only be informed about Justin Bieber’s new tattoo on his face, it baffles me.

Overall, I am happy to be able to take away critical lens from this class and utilize this feature in my daily life class. I always lived my life as a “go with the flow” type of mentality, where I would only care about the things that directly affected me. This class taught me that the things that have nothing to do with me, have an impact on me, even if indirectly. As a business major, I am often required to present things in a formal strict formatting that has no wiggle room as to where I can be creative. I struggled with this aspect at the beginning of class because I had to stray away from the way of writing I have been drilled with over these past two years. This was a great learning moment for me because it showed me how much I am capable of, and that with a little practice, it can’t be that hard. I appreciate having this skill now and I hope that I can continue practicing this and developing a more creative mindset. I can see myself using the online skills that I learned through this community in my future endeavors. I feel like online classes are a “hit or miss” in the sense of whether or not there is a strong community sense and the students interact successfully. I really enjoyed this class and the relationships you develop throughout the weekly discussions and blog posts. When we first started our comments, we used the usernames that were provided but as the weeks went by, I noticed each other getting comfortable with each other and using our first names or nicknames and I thought that was very interesting to see unravel. It was an amazing experience to be able to grow in my learning alongside my “Workshop” while still being able to check in with the wider class with our blog posts.

Thank you all,

Zee

Works Cited

Boyum, Steve, dir. Johnny Tsunami. Film Roman Productions, 1999. TV Movie.

Buck, Elizabeth B. Paradise remade the politics of culture and history in Hawai’i. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993. Pages 31-49. Web. May 23, 2016. https://muse.jhu.edu/book/9437

DeBlois, Dean and Sanders, Chris, dirs. Lilo & Stitch. Walt Disney Pictures, 2002. Film.

Goodwin, A. Lin, “Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Teaching”, Eric Clearinghouse on Urban Education, New York, NY. January 20, 1995. Web. Accessed on April 28, 2016.

Stockwell, John, dir. Blue Crush. Universal Pictures, 2002. Film.

Sun, Amy. “3 Myths about Hawaiians You Ought to Know Before Visiting Paradise”. Everyday Feminism. Blog Post. May 24, 2016. http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/01/myths-about-native-hawaiians/

 

The Perception and Stereotype of Modern Day Rednecks

The Perception and Stereotype of Modern Day Rednecks

By Carson Pickett Popular Culture. Daneen B.

“The challenge for “real” rednecks lies in breaking free of the expected parameters of the identity. With the long circulation of functional stereotype pasted onto the identity, writers from Appalachia and the South who do not exhibit the expected identity characteristics face narrative obscurity. I argue that by giving credence to the individuals who write back against Redneck stereotypes, the identity can be wrested free from its current ideological functions (Ferrence, 2014).”

Picture this: You are walking down the sidewalk with your friends when you see an older gentleman with a beard and a beer belly wearing dirty overalls and a torn up t-shirt. He smiles at you and your friends with a big, toothless grin and says, “Howdy y’all!” in a thick southern accent. What is your first impression of this man? Hillbilly, dirty, poor, crazy? Whatever your initial judgments might be, they would likely agree with the modern day perception of a stereotypical redneck. Today, people are more familiar with the kind of rednecks that are portrayed in popular culture. Some examples of these portrayals are the comedian, Larry the Cable Guy, the reality TV-show Duck Dynasty, and even popular country songs such as Redneck Woman. How people commonly picture rednecks is often misconstrued due to the exaggerated modern-day portrayals of this stereotype in popular media.

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Larry the Cable Guy might be more easily recognized by his coined phrase, “GIT-R-DONE.” Larry also talks in a thick southern accent. He typically wears a ratted plaid button up shirt with the sleeves cut off and usually has a drink in his hand. His shows consist of him making jokes about white trash, work, and just redneck life in general.The portrayal of this alter ego on stage is where a lot of people developed their perspective of rednecks.

In Matthew Ferrence’s book, All-American Redneck, he thoroughly describes Whitney’s character and how it affects audiences. Ferrence states that Larry the Cable Guy has become the most popular and clear-cut redneck comedic. Larry is an overweight man that wears a sleeveless plaid shirt, a camo ball cap, and a Confederate battle flag. This simplified image offered to audiences renders America toward the Redneck (Ferrence, 2014). Larry maintains the narrowed scope of the Redneck identity and supports the stereotype of the white, rural, racist homophobic male.

Ferrence states that Larry is clearly an exaggerated version of the Redneck, but the audience nonetheless laughs and participates with him. Many audience members can be seen wearing the Confederate battle flag hat that Larry does, or wearing his slogan, “Git’r done” on their shirts (Ferrence, 2014). Ferrence then takes his analysis in another direction and goes on to explain that Larry’s redneck identity is used to conceal the racism America. He fits the image of Redneck Racist that offers an explanation and support for continuing racism. Thus, Larry makes it safe for his audience to support racism since he is the one making the statements, not them. This makes it so the images of the working class converge with the maintenance of white supremacy, and further supports the idea that rednecks are racist. “Championed as the mighty Redneck resistance against the dangers of an America gone soft, Larry speaks the “truth” that the audience wants to be able to utter in their daily lives (Ferrence, 2014).”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the TV show Duck Dynasty brings a more PG light to the redneck stereotype.

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Duck Dynasty is comical show about a family of redneck millionaires living in a rural part of Louisiana. Similar to Larry the Cable Guy, each family member in the show has a thick southern accent and frequently uses incorrect grammar. One may notice that every adult male in the show has a long beard, and the majority also have long hair. They are also most commonly filmed wearing a hat, bandana, fur or camouflage. The way these characters look and dress also add to the audience’s idea that rednecks are poorly groomed. In other words, people see these guys on TV who are representing rednecks and get the idea that if you have a beard, wear camo, talk with an accent and aren’t very well groomed, you must also be a redneck.

The Robertsons are a big family that seem to always be with each other. This seems to be a common trait among redneck culture. In Bultman’s book, Redneck Heaven, she explained that one could often see 3 or 4 generations of a redneck family out in public together. She also stated the common act of the family openly sharing affection and pleasure in each other’s company (Bultman, 1996). This is also often the case with this redneck family.

Phil, one of the patriarchs of the family, wrote a book describing life before and after the TV show. Phil mentions the show’s producers were throwing ideas around about a new reality TV show and Phil jokingly says, “They said, why not one about a functional family?” and so they came to the Robertsons (Robertson, 2013). He also claims that, “Except for our manly appearances, it might not seem that we’re all that different from everyone else.” Phil’s son Jep also chimes in with a statement about his childhood. “I guess growing up in the Robertson household was like growing up in a lot of American households. Since I was really young, we were skinning fish, cleaning squirrels and picking dewberries. They were everyday events. Okay, so maybe my upbringing was a little atypical (Robertson, 2013).” Bottom line: the audience views these characters completely differently than they view themselves. “To the men of the Robertson clan, the term “redneck” is not a pejorative; rather, it signifies honor, love of one’s family, and dedication to their land and hunting (Narro, et al., 2014).” The Robertson’s are proud of the way they are. That sense of pride leads me to this next source.

 

 

For those who haven’t heard Gretchen Wilson’s song, Redneck Woman, or seen the music video, here you go: (https://youtu.be/82dDnv9zeLs). The video begins with a scene of Gretchen and other riding four wheelers through the river and mud. She is wearing dirty, ripped jeans and an old ball cap with her hair pulled back in a ponytail. The video then switches to her playing the song on stage at a concert. While she is playing, she is wearing jeans and a plain t-shirt with her hair down and her makeup done. The video continues to switch scenes back and forth between the four wheelers in the mud and her concert. There are also flashes of some scenes of a trailer park, people drinking beer, motorcycles, and her muddy truck.

The outfit Gretchen is originally shown wearing makes quite a statement about “redneck women.” She is the only woman playing in the dirt with the boys and is wearing jeans and a hat just like they are. The fact that the video then switches to her looking absolutely beautiful in just a t-shirt and jeans at her concert just adds to the effect of her lyrics. The video is showing that she is a redneck because she can go out and get dirty but she’s proud of who she is because she can then go get dressed up and still look beautiful without all the makeup and expensive brand names.

Gretchen Wilson’s identity literally became the Redneck Woman. It was the tag line that introduced her to the public. Wilson’s song remade the identity of a white, working-class female into one that was bereaved of status (Hubbs, 2011). The record affirms the distinctiveness and legitimacy of the Redneck Woman. “It offers moments of burlesque in lyrics touting the narrator’s unrepentant year-round Christmas displays, barefoot baby-toting, and preference for cheap Walmart lingerie. But it stakes serious claims for her resourcefulness, country affiliations and tastes, desirability, and, especially, agency (Hubbs, 2011).” The song works to remodel this social identity by rebuking a downward gaze. It intends to demolish the dominant class’s lowly perspective of this culture while also raising morale and pride among fellow rednecks.

This sense of Redneck pride originates from many sources and events. The following is an excerpt from Huber’s Redneck: A Short Note From American Labor History, which provides one example of the origination of redneck pride.

Union coal miners wore red handkerchiefs around their necks in order to avoid sunburn. Thus, this group was infamously nicknamed “rednecks (Huber, 1994).” The miners responded to this disdainful name by proudly adopting it as a badge of honor. The red handkerchief served as a symbol to identify the coal miners as a group. It was also a major symbol of the U.S. labor movement. In the midst of the movement, even workers of Italian descent tied red handkerchiefs around their necks in a display of racial and interethnic solidarity against the coal mining companies, thus shifting focus from ethnicity to the unifying red handkerchief. The organized miners proudly referred to themselves as rednecks to distinguish themselves from the strikebreakers, or “scabs (Huber, 1994).

Conclusion

One may spot some similarities in the previous sources that all contribute redneck stereotype. At one point or another, all characters of the media sources wear ratty, dirty or muddy clothing. They also all speak with southern accents and use slang such as y’all, yee haw, hell yeah, etc. Each person also states the pride they take in being the way they are. For example, Gretchen makes it obvious how proud she is of being a “redneck woman” and not a “high-class broad.” The Robertson family also claims how happy they are to be able to live the way they do.

Upon searching the term redneck in Google, one might first see the following images:

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The way rednecks are depicted in my original media sources only add to the stereotypical images above. However, they each give deeper insight into the lives of rednecks and also allow viewers to see that they aren’t just poor, unintelligent hillbillies with poor hygiene and missing teeth. Some actually have money and are smart, but also proud of the way they are.

So, what is the actual definition of redneck? Some may say a redneck is a toothless, white-trash hillbilly. Some may say, “redneck is a synonym for dumber-than-spit hair trigger racists (Bultman, 1996).” Some may say a redneck is backward, dirty, lazy, and crass. Although the idea of the redneck may be traced historically as a s term assigned to a sun burned Southern laborer or to a striking coal miner wearing a red handkerchief, a single representation of the word cannot be defined (Ferrence, 2014).

Redneck is a label applied to separate a certain class away from the mainstream. But equally notable is that contemporary use of the term is often quite positive. Think, here, of Gretchen Wilson’s celebratory country song “Redneck Woman” or the wildly popular Blue Collar Comedy Tour. In these instances, individuals proudly proclaim their own redneck position as a means to self- identify as different from a mainstream viewed as corrupt or too urbane or simply undesirable. In this sense, a new definition of the redneck as hero emerges, complicated by the self-avowal with which it is applied (Ferrence, 2014).”

While the redneck image originally came from white Southern and Appalachian roots, the modern day identity has no geographical bounds. “Anyone in America may safely claim the title of “redneck,” regardless of origin, locale, or social position (Ferrence, 2014).”No matter where you’re from, no matter your economic or social background, you can claim the redneck identity as long as you act the part.

However, the stereotypes still follow the title. Even while the function of the image shifted over time, the limits of the redneck stereotype remained clear (Ferrence, 2014). Camouflage, pickup trucks, incest, chewing tobacco and NASCAR may always be stereotypically associated with this identity.

Rednecks seem to be everywhere these days. Some individuals adopt the title as a mark of pride, while others assume the title to rail against degenerates in the woods. Redneck can simultaneously identify a person as Southern, racist, or poor and positively define a person as self-reliant and patriotic (Ferrence, 2014). The term is available for the humor of popular TV shows and media, just as it is also available as a description of lower classes, or as a badge of honor tapping into a historical resistance. This is why the term redneck is so difficult to define.

How this applies to me

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Even though I wear boots and was raised on ranches,

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and even though my friends and I sometimes shoot and skin squirrels for fun,

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I am not a true redneck. There are definitely some redneck aspects to my identity, but I am too much of a city girl to be a true, southern redneck.

However, there is a part of me that will always be categorized under the redneck category. Like my sources stated, family is very important in redneck culture. My family is one of the most important aspects of my life. They are the reason I am the way I am today. I have so much pride for my family name and everything that comes along with it. From successes to hardships, I draw strength from it all. We rope, ride, shoot, and even ride in broken wheelbarrows behind the four-wheeler for fun. We may not be the most conventional family, but there is not one aspect I would change about who we are, what we came from, or what we represent.

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I guess redneck pride is a real thing, even if I’m not a true, southern redneck. I wouldn’t change my redneck heritage for anything.

Learning moments

So many aspects of this term really got me thinking about how my life and views are affected by popular culture. I honestly haven’t looked at advertisements the same since! One moment in particular that stuck out to me this term was when we reflected on the commercials that evoked personal emotions. I was able to look back at a commercial that I have never been able to get out of my head and then actually reflect on why it had such a big impact on me. I was also pretty excited that next week when my evaluation was used as an example on the following week’s blog post.

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This review also helped me realize what makes advertisements in general the most impactful and effective.

The second most memorable moment for me this term may seem pretty nerdy, but I was really excited about it. When we needed to find secondary sources to back up or argue against our primary sources, I really struggled at first. I had the hardest time finding anything related to my original sources and on top of that, I couldn’t figure out how to use the library’s website the way we were instructed to. After hours of trying different ways to search for sources and also after asked Kim questions, it clicked! I even figured out how to get an unavailable book shipped to the library (and now I have like 7 books on rednecks/duck dynasty etc.)! This may have been easy for others in my class, but for me I wasn’t at all. Learning the hard way is somehow more impactful for me anyhow ;).

The techniques I have learned in the class will definitely help me with the rest of my studies. I learned how to analyze news media and advertisements as well as how to correctly search for and utilize sources. Overall, this term has been pretty good to me!

 

References

Bultman, B. (1996). Redneck heaven: Portrait of a vanishing culture. NY: Bantam Books.

Ferrence, M. J.(2014). All-American Redneck: Variations on an Icon, from James Fenimore Cooper to the Dixie Chicks. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press. Retrieved May 31, 2016, from Project MUSE database.

Hubbs, N. (2011). “Redneck Woman” and the Gendered Poetics of Class Rebellion. Southern Cultures 17(4), 44-70. The University of North Carolina Press. Retrieved May 31, 2016, from Project MUSE database.

Huber, P. (1994). Redneck: A short note from American labor history. Duke University Press. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/455956

Narro, A., Slade, A., Buchanan, B. (2014). Reality television: Oddities of culture. Plymouth, UK: Lexington Books.

Robertson, P. (2013). Happy, happy, happy. New York, NY: Howard Books.

 

 

 

A Deeper Look Into How Social Media Portrays The Mental Health of College Students

How Social Media Inaccurately Portrays the Mental Health of College Students:

A society can be defined as a group of people involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations (Wikipedia). As a college student it is common to feel the intense social pressures that are associated with being part of a society. These social pressures to “fit in” and be “normal” are the fundamental problems that ultimately lead to an increase in poor mental health that is often seen in today’s society. Current social media platforms are often at the forefront of depicting this image of college students. In my opinion, my identity as a college student is being misrepresented in numerous different social media platforms. The Social Network and Accepted are two well-known movies that inaccurately portray the mental health of college students by showing main characters that are subject to extreme self-consciousness, social anxiety and conforming to the social pressures of society.

The Social Network is an American biographical drama film released in 2010 depicting the creation of Facebook through the eyes of Mark Zuckerberg, the mastermind behind the world’s largest social network. The main purpose is to tell the story of how Facebook became a $44.2-billion-dollar company with 1.59 billion monthly active users. A key theme I noticed within the movie is how they portrayed Mark Zuckerberg as being an arrogant, rude, and offensive college student that wanted nothing more than to fit in and be “cool.”

A billion dollars is cool meme

After extensive research, I discovered a movie review of The Social Network written on WordPress.com titled “Why The Social Network Should Win Best Picture” by Joseph Donovan. Donovan is a member of the Ave Maria University Film Society and offers a great perspective of the movie. Donovan presents some very interesting ideas bringing in the terms “internet generation” and “microcosm” to describe the Mark Zuckerberg character. He describes social media as a “revolutionary way to communicate, a way which for the most part was free, uncensored, and anonymous.” Throughout the post Donovan mentions numerous ideas about Mark Zuckerberg, one time stating “It can be argued that the entire motivation for developing Facebook came from a feeling of social and personal insignificance.” He supports this idea by drawing on the scenes where Mark Zuckerberg’s character is rejected from prestigious Harvard final clubs. He also presents the idea that “Zuckerberg channels his pains of jealousy into his programming, in an angry attempt to ‘distinguish himself’ in a world where ‘social structure is everything’.” He wraps the review up by saying that “the vague dichotomy between ‘cool’ and ‘uncool’ is what defines Zuckerberg’s philosophy throughout the film.”

In my opinion, I feel that Donovan shed light on a very interesting perspective of the movie. His main points support the idea that there are many college students that have mental health issues such as feeling social and personal insignificance and that can look to address these issues through social media. The movie promotes the generalization that college students are subject to conforming to social structure and that they are self-centered people who obsess over their self-image and persona. It is true that some college students obsess over their self-image and persona, but at Portland State University I haven’t noticed it all too much. I think that the students at PSU are more diverse and unique in comparison to students at other colleges. Many of the students don’t care about what people think of them but rather hold value in doing the things they love to do. This movie creates a false generalization about college students and the way they act.

500 million friends meme

Accepted is an American comedy film that was released in mid-August of 2006. The movie is centered around a group of high school graduates who are unfortunately rejected from all of the colleges in which they applied. Being subject to the social pressures of society as well as the pressure of their parents, the group strives to satisfy this societal approval by creating a fake college in which they can “attend.” The story continues to unfold when unexpectedly hundreds of rejected college students are accepted to their fake college institution.

Accepted movie poster

“When every college turned them down… they made on up” – Accepted

After doing some research on the movie I discovered two movie reviews that uncover some of the main underlying themes and real life societal stereotypes of college students depicted in this film. In the New York Times movie review it mentions that this is a movie about a high school poster child of corporate anti-conformity. I agree with this idea simply because it is obvious that it is addressing the common societal expectation of going to college and becoming a successful person. I think it is something that many kids are pressured with today simply because college is much more accessible in this era. Back in the day, it was rare to go to college. College wasn’t something that was expected of students in the previous generations. The idea of corporate anti-conformity is seen as a problem which ultimately results in mental health issues for college students.

The plugged in article also mentions a few great ideas. It drew from the fact that the dean of the real Harmon college wants to eliminate half of the campus housing so that he can reject many students and be as prestigious as Yale. I think that is a very important idea to analyze. Colleges these days are so worried about being the most prestigious that they aren’t aware of the role it plays in students’ lives. The article concludes by stating that “Accepted wants to be about rebels who fight authority and scream that the rigid structure of formal education is at odds with the passionate flow of unencumbered creativity.” I believe that this movie portrays the common struggles of being a college student and the social pressures of being “accepted.” The movie inaccurately represents the lengths in which students will go in order to conform to the general academic views of society and ultimately makes it seem like college students have poor mental health. Students these days take great pride in working hard and attending the college of their dreams. From personal experience, I know that college students don’t generally do this when they aren’t accepted into their initial desired colleges.

Overall, today’s social media often depicts college students based off of some stereotype whether it’s the partier, the brainiac or everything in between. But the core underlying theme is that each of these stereotypes is associated with some type of mental health issue. For example, the partier is always worried about what others think of them and posting the best Instagram picture, and the brainiac is always the smartest person in the room but also the quietest and most socially awkward. For example, it’s unheard of in society to have star athletes also be known for their academic excellence, or brainiacs as the most popular kids in school. I personally feel that my identity as a college student is being misrepresented and that it is a growing problem. I understand that people often find it entertaining to see these types of stereotypes depicted in movies, but if you take a step back you realize that these movies act as a frame for who you are in society and which stereotype you fit into. In a sense, these movies limit who you can be as a person by telling you what you can and cannot do. In reality, college students can be whoever they want to be. Students can study anything they want which is why people say college helps you find out who you really are. Society should encourage students to find out who they truly are rather than making them conform to one of the many stereotypes. In conclusion, I think that portraying college students as having poor mental health or matching them to the common societal stereotypes is deteriorating society as a whole.

How Social Media Has the Potential to Create Mental Health Issues for College Students:

“Social Media Is Changing How College Students Deal with Mental Health, For Better Or Worse” is an article published by the Huffington Post: College Edition and is written by Riley Griffin, a sophomore at Duke University. The article targets the effects that social media has upon the mental health of college students. I think this article is important because it shows the relationship between social media and college students. It doesn’t necessarily state that not social media portrays college students as having mental health issues but rather that the college students themselves can use social media to create mental health issues. It draws on one situation in which a female at Duke University experienced the social pressures of being a freshman in college. She found it difficult to adjust to college life and relied on social media platforms as an escape from reality. She expressed that “In the current college culture, ‘the perfect girl on Instagram’ looks like she’s having ‘so much fun,’ has more followers than she is following, and collects ‘likes’ in nanoseconds.” The article states that “College students today are more detached from their peers than ever before. Research shows they’re less likely to have tangible relationships; enter college having spent less time socializing as teens; are more likely to be heavily medicated; and feel a greater pressure to be academically and socially successful than in the past.” According to Experian Simmons, a consumer insight service, more than 98% of college-aged students use social media. In conclusion, this article offers a valuable perspective on the social media vs. college students situation by demonstrating that many college students actually have poor mental conditions and that a good portion of it stems from social media. Although some may suffer from these conditions, I feel that it is not just to associate all college students in social media with poor mental health conditions as it makes the stereotype even larger. The following article is written by Katlyn Tolly and supports some of the same ideas that are presented in this article.

Social media use

X Axis: Year (2005-2015)     Y Axis: % on Social Media (0-100)

“Does Social Media Affect Students Self Esteem” is an interesting article I found browsing the USA Today: College website that supports some of the same ideas in the article presented above. As mentioned earlier, this article is written by Katlyn Tolly, a student at Columbia College Chicago studying journalism and marketing. The purpose of the article is to highlight the idea that social media is negatively affecting college students and has the potential to create mental health issues. The article addresses this idea by surveying 23 college students, 20 of which believed that social media caused anxiety or added stress to college students lives. I thought it was interesting how they highlighted that students have experienced anxiety when looking at other student’s pictures. After further reading, I found that it wasn’t simply because of seeing a picture, but that the anxiety stemmed more from jealousy, comparison and the fear of missing out. It initially sounds odd, but it is something that I have experienced and I am sure that many other people have as well. When walking through the campus of Portland State University, it is common to see students using social media sites. Normally they are either looking at pictures posted by their friends or posting photos themselves. This contributes to the never ending circle of envy and jealousy. Seeing a picture of your friends adventuring and having fun while you are studying can create negative vibes and ultimately result in mental health issues. In conclusion, this source supports the idea that college students play the main role in social media usage and how it affects them.

Conclusion:

After analyzing both my primary and secondary sources, I have came to the conclusion that there is definitely a problem in today’s popular culture that negatively affects college students. The misrepresentation of college students and their mental health through social media has the potential to make this issue even larger. Based on my personal experience as a college student, many of the stereotypes that were alluded to in The Social Network and Accepted were not necessarily accurate when comparing them to students at Portland State University. Many of the party goers that are depicted in these two films aren’t common at Portland State. By stereotyping college students, it gives the entire college student population a bad reputation. Many of my peers at Portland State are very hardworking and take pride in the work they do. I think that there needs to be a better representation of ALL college students so all of them can feel appreciated and motivated to perform well. By improving the way social media portrays the mental health of college students, I believe that there will be a positive effect on the way college students act socially and perform academically.

Significant Moments in Popular Culture:

One of the most significant events we had as a class was when each of us was assigned in Week 3 to analyze the Blu Electronic Cigarette ad. In my opinion, this was the most beneficial activity because we got to see how marketers target their specific markets and how much attention to detail they put into these ads. For example, in the Blu Cigarette ad many of us noticed that there was a specific color scheme used in order to portray a very cool and slick type vibe. The color of the clothes the model is wearing matches not only the background of the ad but the product itself. This technique is very beneficial and I think it is cool to be able to decipher these marketing campaigns.

BLu

A second valuable event that we had in this class was the synchronous Google Chat activity. This was a very beneficial tool to have and without this class I would have never known about it. In Popular Culture, we used Google Chat in order to virtually meet with classmates and work on our thesis statements. This activity was very helpful because it allowed us to get multiple different perspectives of our thesis statements. I believe sharing your work with others in order to get feedback is extremely beneficial because often times we don’t think about every possible perspective. Peer editing not only allows us to get an idea of what others are working on but also allows us to further develop our own work and understanding. Overall, I found the synchronous activity to be one of the most valuable and beneficial activities so far.

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society

https://amufilm.wordpress.com/2011/02/26/why-the-social-network-should-win-best-picture/

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/18/movies/18acce.html

http://www.pluggedin.com/movie-reviews/accepted/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/social-media-college-mental-health_us_55ae6649e4b08f57d5d28845

http://college.usatoday.com/2014/10/21/does-social-media-affect-students-self-esteem/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accepted

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1285016/

https://memegenerator.net/instance/32967730

 

The Media’s Portrayal of Gender Differences Within Athletes

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Picture found at: http://www.asmcmd.com/female-athletes-wanting-to-improve-their-fitness-or-body-appearance/


When you think of sports, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Maybe your favorite sports team, or maybe, you think of the sport you’re most interested in. Now, when it comes to sports televised or portrayed most throughout the media, what is the first thing that comes to mind? The misconstrued media coverage done throughout popular culture is one of the reasons why there are gender differences within sports(Pexton, 2011). Media’s coverage on female sports compared to male’s sports differs tremendously, and is in my opinion one of the leading causes as to why female sports are not as highly ranked or watched. Throughout this project, I have come to recognize the different levels of inequality when it comes to comparing the media coverage done in male sports, to female sports. Typically in sports, men are known to be seen as more inferior when compared to women, considering they are most likely referenced to being strong, fast, technical, and/or entertaining. On the other hand, women are more commonly known to be slow, boring, not as good as men, and/or weak in athletics. Why are men and women being compared to each other negatively? Why is their passion for the game and their popularity being compared and segregated by how the media chooses to portray them? These are questions that people have been asking for quite some time now, and with all of the progress our world has with equality, it is obvious that we still have work to do.


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Picture on the left: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/311452130455105403/              Picture on the Right: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/47358233552499912/


What Needs to be Recognized

Over the years, women have been a huge part of societies growth and are finally being recognized. Women are working outside of home, they are becoming socially acceptable in the work field and in higher positions, and are contributing to making our world better. If people are comfortable with women being in the working field now, then why are there still issues with women being involved in sports? I believe that the media has poorly portrayed women’s talents within sports coverage, and has focused more on men’s coverage instead. Women have been made fun of, stereotyped, and have had their image portrayed in a negative way. Due to the way media has portrayed them, if at all, women are held at a disadvantage (Pexton, 2011). Eric Vilain, from the New York Times, states that “when men are more talented than others, it is an expression of the beauty of sports”…“but when women out-compete others, suspicions about eligibility and arguments for a level playing field often arise” (Vilain, 2012).

Women are constantly being judged or mistreated due to their lack of ability to do what men can do based off of biology. Some researchers have come up with their idea to social solutions, such as giving females testosterone, or not segregating sexes in sports(Vilain, 2012). This is their way of creating equality, but why do women need to be changed in order to fit in? Women shouldn’t have to fight for equality by blending in. Women are seen to be less likely to do the things men can do, and this means less media coverage exposing their successes and performances (Vilain, 2012). I find it interesting, that an idea that popped up to some sports officials was to give testosterone to women for an increase in their athletic ability. I find it strange they are thinking in the direction of changing women, rather than changing the idea of women within sports. You shouldn’t have to give drugs to someone to make them equal; society should just accept that with proper exposure, like what men receive and are exposed to. If that is done instead, then women will see the right kind of attention and support that is necessary.


Featured below: Becky Sauerbrunn, Ali Krieger and Hope Solo being interviewed on The Daily Show

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You can access this interview at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9GqWoy6__s


Inequality Between Genders

These pictures above represent an interview featured on The Daily Show, and provides information as to how women are treated differently when compared to men. Becky Sauerbrunn, Ali Krieger and Hope Solo are three USWNT (U.S. Women’s National Team) players who are trying to help Hasan Minhaj, the interviewer, understand why the World Cup-winning U.S. women’s soccer team should be paid the same as males in the game of soccer. You can see how vast the differences are between how people think of male athletes, compared to women in this interview. Male athletes are given more sympathy, more support, are seen as higher individuals, and “can do no wrong”. But, even when a women’s team has a better record than a men’s team, men are still the ones being talked about. It’s not all about publicity, either. Women are constantly fighting for a face or name they can create for themselves to the public, but even with that disadvantage, they aren’t even being paid enough or close to what males are being paid professionally to be able to compare with men (Pexton, 2011).

In my research, I looked for statistics to show the ratings between female and male games on television, and who was ranked more popular and/or entertaining to the public. For one, women are not even close when it comes to media coverage (Harry, 1995). Professional women athletes still have lower coverage even when compared to the media portrayed for college male athletes. Men do bring in more of a crowd when it comes to live games, but how are people supposed to support women if their track record, schedule, game information, etc. isn’t being promoted or published as much as men’s? The media coverage has been a huge factor as to why women sports are not viewed or supported as much as males are. The lack of media coverage in women sports has increased inequality in sports between men and women, and cause women to seem “weaker”, or “slower” than the games played by men (Pexton, 2011). Women seem to be seen as inferior to men, even in sports, and this can drastically change based on how the media portrays women from now on to our society.


Portrayal

Another piece of evidence I found that shows the gender differences between men and women sports is a few clips from the movie, “She’s the Man”. This movie, made in 2006, is about a young female athlete who’s women’s soccer team got cut from her high school. Her school doesn’t allow coed sports, so instead, they choose to take away the women’s team completely while the men still get to keep their title and team record.The main character, Viola, has to disguise herself to look like a boy in order to be accepted onto the male team, only to prove that she can play just as good, if not better, than the boy’s team. This movie shows many stereotypes involving how women are being seen in not only the media, but in real life, too. In this YouTube clip below, you will see four minutes of gender differences being portrayed in this movie.

She’s the Man: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGEr-GHyK_s

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Picture found at: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/18-most-memorable-moments-from-shes-the-man

The main character, along with the general population of women, get stereotyped and made fun of a lot in this movie within athletics. In this film, the men are really trying to dictate women in sports, and telling them if they are allowed to play. Men have complete control in this movie of the situation with the standing of Viola’s team, until she has to literally disguise herself as the opposite gender to later on prove a point. The steps she had to take to, in the end, make things right between men and women sports, was dramatic and executes my point perfectly. Women have to go to the extremes to get noticed, but men just have to participate and the media is all over them. The idea that women cannot do what men can do needs to be stopped. Females growing up have been discouraged and scared to perform in “male dominated” sports due to the stereotypes and the perceived notions that men are better (Admin, 2010). Women have continued to break stereotypes and cultural barriers that have prevented them from participating in “manly” sports (Admin, 2010). Danica Patrick, Germaine de Randamie, and Pamela Reed are only a few of many who have strived to be the best, without the fear of men being better or getting in the way (Admin, 2010). They have even become role models for many younger female athletes, by proving that can compete and succeed in sports that have been dominated by men or are known to be “male sports”. This shows how women have considerably changed how they are viewed in the sporting world, by challenging stereotypes against them, and with proper media coverage to show for it, women can be noticed for their true athletic abilities.


Popularity

Some would argue that men bring in more fans than women, so obviously that is why they get paid more. Found in an article located on the Women’s Sports Foundation website, after winning the 2015 Women’s World Cup, the U.S. Women’s National Team won 2 million dollars. Germany’s men’s team won a whopping 35 million dollars for winning the 2014 World Cup (Women’s Sports Foundation, 2015). The U.S. men’s team finished in 11th place and collected 9 million dollars, and each men’s team that was eliminated in the first round of the 2014 World Cup got 8 million dollars each. After calculating, that is four times as much as the 2015 women’s championship team(Women’s Sports Foundation, 2015). Some changes within the media is a necessity in getting the popularity, rankings, and support up for when it comes to women’s games. But what else can be done to make sports more equal and less about gender differences?

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Picture above found at: http://espn.go.com/espnw/athletes-life/article/13013807/10-quick-questions-sydney-leroux

What We Can Do to Promote Change

  • Attend women’s sporting events
  • Support companies that advocate for women’s athletics
  • Sign up to coach a girls’ sports team, whether at the recreational or high school level
  • Encourage young women to participate in sports
  • Become an advocate: if you are or know a female athlete that is being discriminated against – advocate for her rights.
  • Encourage television stations and newspapers to cover women’s sports

With these changes in mind, and with the help from the popular culture in our media, inequality within gender differences can be ignored. People should play sports because of the love of the game they are playing, but with problems like low coverage, low support, and unequal financial support, teams are being compared and contrasted within their gender.


Learning Moments

A discussion that I happened to learn from the most, would probably be from week 1 and/or 5, considering we talked a lot about how different ways of media coverage can manipulate the way something is or how it looks. I found it really interesting about how media can turn something that isn’t really a big deal, and make it look like something it’s not. The manipulation done to certain posts and news updates shocked me, and gave me a lot of insight as to how media can portray certain situations and announcements. The media makes people form their own opinions and ideas based off of what they show them, whether that may be the whole story or only part of it. Also, learning about how Wikipedia can decipher between what is real and what isn’t depending on who is viewing or editing the pages, can seem very biased and unreliable information. It makes sense now as to why no one ever wants students to cite Wikipedia, considering the information given isn’t necessarily always factual and can be totally opinion-based. Both of these two discussion posts influenced me the most, and helped me connect to my final blog post. I find that the media could just be bending the facts on women’s sports, or not covering them at all depending on their biased view on how women are compared to men. It’s a possibility, and happens all the time in the world.


Conclusion

After looking over all three of my artifacts and all of the research I have done within this topic, I’ve recognized the true differences people compare genders to when it comes to sports. I find it interesting the different challenges women face compared to men, and it almost seems like things are more handed to men than women. Women are constantly fighting for equality, and me being a young female athlete trying to succeed in college makes this final blog post assignment very personal. The misconstrued media coverage done throughout popular culture is one of the reasons why there are gender differences within sports. Being a female athlete has its advantages and disadvantages, especially when compared to men. Media’s coverage on female sports compared to male’s sports differs tremendously, and is in my opinion one of the leading causes as to why female sports are not as highly ranked or watched. The support and interest is what lacks when people think of women’s sports, and that’s due to the different level of play when compared to men.

Fit young African-American woman Flexing Arm and Back Muscles against a studio background.

Picture found at: http://newsletter.dole.com/2015/are-female-athletes-slacking-in-their-nutrition/


Work Sited

Admin, (June 18, 2010). 20 Female Athletes Who Won in a Man’s Sport. retrieved May 28, 2016, from Sports Management Degree Web Site: http://sportsmanagementdegree.org/2010/20-inspirational-female-athletes-who-won-in-a-mans-sport/

“Gender Testing for Athletes Remains a Tough Call”. The New York Times. By Eric Vilain. Published June 18, 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/18/sports/olympics/the-line-between-male-and-female-athletes-how-to-decide.html

Noah, T (May 4, 2016). American Soccer’s Gender Wage Gaps. retrieved May 29, 2016, from The Daily Show Web Site: http://www.cc.com/video-clips/wg1gm6/the-daily-show-with-trevor-noah-american-soccer-s-gender-wage-gap

“Sports Ideology, Attitudes Toward Women, and Anti-Homosexual Attitudes.” By Joseph Harry, Northern Illinois University. Published in 1995. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01544760#page-1

“Women’s sports coverage lacking”. By Patrick B. Pexton. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/womens-sports-coverage-lacking/2011/06/10/AGk2kLPH_story.html

Women’s Sports Foundation, (July 20, 2015). Pay Inequity in Athletics. retrieved May 31, 2016, from Women’s Sports Foundation Web Site: http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/home/research/articles-and-reports/equity-issues/pay-inequity

 

How Hawai’i Residents Are Viewed in Popular Culture

map2cI have lived in Hawai’i, on the island of Kaua’i, for about 16 years. Once I had the chance to travel and experience going to different places on the mainland, there were so many different stereotypes and misconceptions being placed upon me because I was from Hawai’i. One of the many things I would hear people ask me was my mode of transportation.

“How did you get here? It must have been a long trip here on your canoe”.

Other misconceptions that I heard were:

“Do you know how to surf?”

Heck, I don’t even know how to swim that well. (Yes, I was raised on an island surrounded by water and don’t have excellent swimming skills)

“Do you know how to play the Ukulele? Could you teach us how to dance hula?”

“What is it like living in a grass hut?”

These are just a few of the many things I hear from people.

Hawai’i residents aren’t always represented appropriately in popular culture because of the many different stereotypes shown in the media. The identities of Hawai’i residents are viewed inaccurately, and sometimes exaggeratedly, because of the way popular culture represents us. Many times, we are viewed as a society that isn’t modernized.

Here is a following clip analyzed from the TV show Hawai’i Five-0:

768340HawaiiFive012The following clip was shown in the first episode of Season one of this popular crime/drama/action TV series shot on the island of O’ahu. As you saw in the clip, the guy asks the main character, Scott, why he doesn’t “look Hawaiian” even though he was born there. One of the biggest misconceptions that people don’t understand is the difference between being a Hawaiian and living in Hawai’i. Just because someone lives in Hawai’i, it doesn’t automatically make them Hawaiian.

According to Amy Sun, who wrote an article called “3 Myths about Native Hawaiians You Ought to Know Before Visiting Paradise,” she states that:

“A resident of Hawaii is someone (of any background) who just, you know, lives in Hawaii. A Native Hawaiian is someone who belongs to a specific group of people with shared traditions. Native Hawaiians, or kanaka maoli, are descendent from the original Polynesians who settled in Hawaii around the third century.”

20242816-Hula-Dancer-man-and-woman-Stock-Vector-hula-hawaiiWhen you search the term ‘Hawaiian’ on Google images, you will see pictures of tan hula dancers wearing leis and grass skirts. Yes, dancing hula is a part of the Hawaiian Culture, but it’s not something that we all can do.

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Going back to the TV show, Hawai’i Five-0, one thing I did notice was that the show depicts various aspects of Hawai’i and not just the beaches and relaxing places, such as the city view of the island. Because this show is able to show different parts of the island and share the culture at the same time, it will attract more tourists and help them understand better that Hawai’i is just as modernized as other places.

The show also has a diverse set of main characters in the show, aside from the fact that the two main characters are white. The diversity of this show helps to compare and contrast the different types of people that live in Hawai’i and that it is a melting pot.

2016-05-31 (2)In fact, according to the “Population Demographics for Hawaii 2016 and 2015” by suburbanstats, the table shows that 38% of Hawai’i residents are Asian, 24% White, 9% Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander, 8% Hispanic or Latino, 5% Native Hawaiian, 1% African American, while the rest of the percentages have a mix of two or more races, or other.

But, because the main characters of this show who are considered ‘local’ are White and Asian, it makes the audience assume that Hawaiians are considered Asian, which is another misconception that most non-native Hawai’i residents receive.

“By placing Native Hawaiians in the “Asian” category, we systematically erase Native Hawaiian culture, identity, and most importantly, Native Hawaiian needs” (Sun).

Although there are now very few pure Native Hawaiians residing in the islands, there are locals that are part Hawaiian, mixed with another race. In Eugene Tyler Chamberlains article, “The Hawaiian Situation: The Invasion of Hawaii,” the reason for the small number of Native Hawaiians is because of the colonization of Hawai’i, which reduced the Native Hawaiian population, especially due to infectious diseases. Also, one of the reasons why Hawai’i has so many Asians is because

“Sugar growers, who dominated the islands’ economy, imported thousands of immigrant laborers first from China, then Japan, then Portuguese from Madeira and the Azores, followed by Puerto Ricans, Koreans, and most recently Filipinos” (Chamberlain).

50frstdatesAnother movie that I analyzed was “50 First Dates”. This movie, unlike Hawai’i Five-0, seems to mostly show the beach, a hut restaurant, and the outdoors, which was probably to romanticize Hawai’i because of its genre being romantic comedy. According to a movie review written by Michael Tsai,

“They reinforce a paradisiacal view of Hawai’i. You never see traffic jams or places where people live”.

One thing I wanted to point out in this movie was the character, Ula, who is portrayed as a Native Hawaiian. The mannerism of his character makes it seem like most Hawaiians are stupid and don’t have the ability to take care of themselves or their family. First of all, Ula was played by a famous actor, Rob Schneider, who isn’t a local. A local said that Ula is “more like what someone from the Mainland would think locals are like” (Tsai).

Aside from Ula’s mannerism, he tries to speak pidgin, a language used by most Hawai’i residents, as well as some Hawaiians, which seems to be made fun of in this film.

“I don’t know what he was speaking, but it wasn’t pidgin, and the stuff he said, you wouldn’t hear people say over here” (Tsai).

An example of things he would say are:

“Quit busting my coconuts for five seconds”, “You’re such a lau lau”, and this part of the movie where he tries to speak Hawaiian:

Even though this movie is a comedy, only the locals who know about Pidgin and the Hawaiian language would really understand what is being made fun of and its comedic purpose. Locals would be able to notice their misuse of the language, and that they are just putting a bunch of random things together just to make it sound funny. But because this is a Hollywood movie, which targets more people who don’t live in Hawai’i, non-locals are assumed to believe that this is how we really talk and converse with other people. They may even try to imitate and make fun of the language itself.

shirt-tumblrAnother detail I noticed about this movie was that the main character, Henry, was wearing Hawaiian shirts most of the time, as well as some of the background characters in the movie. In reality, the only people you will really see wearing Hawaiian shirts are the tourists. Sometimes locals will wear them, but usually on occasions like a lu’au, may day, or if it’s part of their dress code for work. The fact that Henry is wearing a Hawaiian shirt all the time shows that this is how popular culture views the residents of Hawai’i and that we aren’t modernized enough to have the same types of clothing that everyone else has in the U.S.

liloandstitchEven in the movie “Lilo & Stitch”, Lilo is always wearing a red Hawaiian dress, while Nani always has her stomach exposed, as she wears skimpy clothing. Most of the characters in this movie seems to know how to play the ukulele, dance hula, and surf. Like I said before, just because we are from Hawai’i, it doesn’t mean we know how to do these things. Although, in school, students have the option to learn how to play the ukulele as an elective, which I had the opportunity to do. But not everyone takes the time to learn how to play this instrument. And even though Hawai’i is surrounded by water, making it easy to have access to the ocean, not all of us go to the beach to surf.

After analyzing all of these artifacts, I wondered what these movies would be like if they were played by actors/actresses who actually lived in Hawaii. Do famous Hollywood actors make a difference to how many views and money gets produced into the show/movie? How does pop culture make an impact on how cultural/geographical movies are portrayed?

The different types of media, especially in Hollywood movies, are one of the reasons why so many people are continuing to stereotype Hawai’i and its residents. Just because I live in Hawai’i, it doesn’t mean I am Hawaiian, nor does it mean that I know how to surf, live in a grass hut, and wear aloha print. Many of us unconsciously judge people based on where they’re from or what they look like.  Although some stereotypes are true, those characteristics are sometimes exaggerated and are made fun of. There are some people who seem like the stereotypical “Hawaiian”, but stereotypes are what makes us forget that we are all individuals with different personalities.

Learning Moments

One of the main things I learned in this class was about media literacy and its importance. Before taking this class, I never really thought the impact of having media literacy education, since I wasn’t taught too much about it in school. This topic was first introduced in week 2 and then further discussed in week 9. During week 2, we read an essay called “The Urgency of Visual Media Literacy in Our Post-9/11 world: Reading Images of Muslim Women in the Print News Media” by Diane Watt, which talked about the importance of combing intercultural education with media literacy. She explained that “media literacy [is] a key to negotiating our relationships with difference”. It was also interesting and revealing to see that there are many different programs and agencies that help people to become educated in media literacy. It’s especially assuring to know that it is being taught to kids so that they are aware of what they are seeing on T.V. and in other various media sources.

This course has also made me realize how or society today is revolved around media and technology. Along with the media, there are the advertisements and commercials that are constantly trying to sell us something and trying to tell us a message.  Many of them are manipulating us to buy a product, especially when it’s something we don’t absolutely need. Initially, whenever I saw a commercial or advertisement, I never took into consideration the meaning behind them and why they chose to design/make it a certain way. But this class has taught me how to analyze different types of media and become more aware of the “hidden messages”.

Works Cited

Chamberlain, Eugene Tyler. The Hawaiian Situation: The Invasion of Hawaii. n.d. Web. 14 May 2016. <http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=3&psid=4050&gt;.

Suburban Stats, Inc. Current Population Demographics and Statistics for Hawaii by age, gender and race. n.d. Web. 8 May 2016. <https://suburbanstats.org/population/how-many-people-live-in-hawaii&gt;.

Sun, Amy. 3 Myths about Native Hawaiians You Ought to Know Before Visiting Paradise. 9 January 2015. Web. 8 May 2016. <http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/01/myths-about-native-hawaiians/&gt;.

Tsai, Michael. Pdigin-holed. 15 February 2004. Web. 8 May 2016. <http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Feb/15/il/il01a.html&gt;.

 

The Portrayal of Introverted Women in the Media

 

what it introversion

http://danaemarie.blogspot.com/2013/07/how-to-flirt-with-introvert.html

What exactly does it mean to be an introvert? Well, introversion in the simplest terms is gaining energy from being alone, while extroverts gain energy from being around people. Susan Cain, the author of the book The Power of Introverts” defines introversion as “people who prefer quieter, more minimally stimulating environments.”A lot of people don’t really know what introversion is because it is rarely the main focus in the media. A lot of people associate the qualities of extraversion with the qualities needed to be successful. Extroverts are shown in movies and on TV much more often than introverts, which perpetuate this stereotype. Characters that people think are introverts are actually just shy, and characters that actually are introverted are portrayed on the more extreme part of the spectrum. This is especially true with introverted women. Even though there are fewer introverts than extroverts, introverted women aren’t adequately represented in the media because introversion isn’t usually focused on, and when it is, most introverts are portrayed by men.

introvert vs shy

http://www.happify.com/hd/what-every-introvert-needs-to-know-to-be-happy-and-successful/?srid=hfp

Before I get into the details of introverted women, I want to clarify what introversion isn’t. Something that a lot of people don’t realize is that introversion and shyness aren’t the same thing. When I was younger, I was incredibly shy; I had such bad social anxiety that I would hide under the table at parent-teacher conferences, and make my self sick at the idea of going to a birthday party where I didn’t know everyone. Luckily, I have outgrown that shyness as I’ve gotten older. A lot of people mistake shyness for introversion, or vice versa, or even think that they go hand-in-hand, but as someone who has experienced both, I can tell you that they are very different.

How Introverted Men and Women Differ From Each Other

Time Magazine interviewed Susan Cain about her knowledge of introverts. In the interview, Cain explains the differences between introverted men and women. She discusses not only how men are slightly more likely to be introverted, but also how gender norms affect how introverted men and women are viewed differently by society. She mentions both ends of the spectrum for both sexes. Men are expected to be more dominant and in charge, but the idea of the “strong, silent type” is also accepted by a lot of people. Women’s gender norms are evolving more quickly than men’s, so while some people expect women to act shy, they also expect them to be social, and be in charge of making everyone feel comfortable.

The website Introvert Spring touches on the differences between men and women.

      “How many of you have heard a friend say, with a chuckle, “dad is pretty quiet, but my mom will talk your ear off”? Or, perhaps they warmly relate how grandpa used to hide out on the roof with a book whenever guests came over. Can you imagine how people might react if it was grandma on the roof?  They would probably think she was crazy, depressed, or incredibly rude.  In any case, I doubt they would find her actions endearing.”

–Michaela Chung

 

How Introverted Women are Portrayed Online

When looking up introverted women online, there are some sources that are really helpful, like the website Introvert Spring, and the article “23 Signs You’re Secretly an Introvert” from Huffington Post. Introvert Spring is a blog written by Michaela Chung. Michaela originally started the blog because she felt misunderstood, and ashamed to be an introvert. Figuring that other introverts felt the same way that she did, she started the blog to let people know that it is ok to be an introvert. The article “The Challenges of Being an Introverted Woman” discusses several different aspects including the different ways that extroverted women and introverted women are portrayed in TV shows and movies and “society’s obsession with chatty women”.

“23 Signs You’re Secretly an Introvert” from the Huffington Post is a list of qualities that introverted people often have, even if they don’t fit the stereotypical characteristics of an introvert, which generally focuses solely on the social aspect of introversion. It discusses how a lot of people don’t even realize that they are introverts, because they don’t fit the stereotype. Introversion is gaining energy from being alone, instead of in a group, and finding being in a group for a long time to be tiring, even if they enjoy the company of the people they are with. The article goes in to characteristics and details that are often found in introverts, instead of just being antisocial or shy, which is what a lot of people think introversion is.

           

Are Introverts Less Happy than Extroverts?

introvert

https://www.quora.com/I-am-a-very-introverted-girl-having-hard-time-to-make-friends-What-can-I-do-to-have-a-good-relationship-with-my-friends

 

There are many times throughout my life when I’ve been told to be more outgoing and social because it will make me happier. This is often said to me by extroverts who feel happiest in a crowd, and hate being alone. The idea that introverts are depressed is a common idea that is encouraged by the media associating depression with the qualities of introversion. The scientific journal “Personality and Individual differences” published a study looking into this in 2001 called “Happiness, Introversion-Extroversion and Happy Introverts”. They tested 270 participants using the Oxford happiness index and the extraversion and neuroticism sub scales of the Eysenck personality questionnaire to see if happiness is related to introversion and extraversion. The study found that “the variables that appear to be most closely associated with happiness are life regard, self-esteem, life orientation and mental stability.” The qualities associated with introversion and extraversion like “empathic and affiliative tendencies and preference for solitude” had no significant relationship to happiness.

TV and Movies

It is hard to find good examples of female introverts as the main character in TV shows and movies. There aren’t a ton of introverted characters to start out with, and those who do exist are mostly men. In Huffington Post’s list “8 TV Characters Who Explain What It Means To Be an Introvert”, only two of the characters that are listed are female, and only one of them was a main character. One of the struggles of showing introversion on-screen is that a lot of characteristics or introverts aren’t necessarily visual characteristics, but show themselves in how introverts think. Some examples of this are how overwhelmed and exhausted introverts can feel when they are around a lot of people.

gilmore girls

http://crazy-internet-people.com/site/gilmoregirls/pages/promo.html

One of the best portrayals of an introverted woman on TV is the character Rory Gilmore in the show Gilmore Girls. Throughout the series Rory was shown to enjoy spending time just reading and being alone. Although Rory is clearly shown as an introvert, her mom Lorelai is extremely extroverted. Despite their differences, Rory and Lorelai clearly have a very close relationship, unlike the strained relationship that Lorelai has with her parents.

I find the difference in relationships between Lorelai and Rory, and Lorelai and her parents to be really interesting because it shows how sometimes a difference in personality types is more compatible than similar personality types. Lorelai and her mother are both very extroverted, and because of that, they often clash. On the other hand, Lorelai’s extroversion and Rory’s introversion balance each other out. I also found Rory’s awkwardness at meeting new people to be very revealing into her level of introversion. I felt like I could really relate to her in those situations.

Amelie is a French movie that was released in 2001, about a shy, introverted woman who discovers that she really enjoys helping people. Throughout the movie, she finds ways to help other people without directly interfering, but she ends up neglecting her own happiness. Amelie also does a good job of showing introversion in a positive light. Although she is quirky, her introversion isn’t viewed as a flaw, or something that needs to be fixed. The filmmakers did a good job of showing the parts of introversion that aren’t always seen, through visuals that represented Amelie’s imagination. Since Amelie is both extremely introverted and shy, many people may identify with different parts of her personality but she is a little bit harder to identify with as a whole.

Conclusion

When I first started researching this topic, I expected to find a lot more negative information about introverts than I ended up finding. Instead, I found that it was hard to find any type of representation of female introverts in the media at all. There are a lot of different ways that people experience introversion. Unfortunately, since there aren’t very many portrayals of introverted women in the media, they aren’t all represented. I think that I expected more negative representation, because the constant representation of extraversion creates the appearance that extraversion is “normal”, and that introverts are weird, or there is something wrong with them. It seems to me like the media has started becoming more willing to show introverts in a positive light, and hopefully that pattern will continue in the future.

introverts

http://introvertdoodles.com/comic

Learning Moments

To me, one of the most influential things that we talked about in class is when we learned about Wikipedia. I had no idea that people put so much time and energy into writing and maintaining pages so that they have accurate information. I was always taught that Wikipedia wasn’t an accurate source, but now I know that the information on there is a lot more reliable than people realize. Another important thing that I learned about this quarter was analyzing advertisements. I had no idea that there were so many different components that had to be thought out when creating an ad. The ability to analyze an ad makes it easier to look objectively at whatever is being promoted, and help learn the intentions of the creators.

References:

Hills, P., & Argyle, M. (2001). Happiness, introversion–extraversion and happy introverts. Personality and Individual Differences, 30(4), 595-608

Jeunet, J. (Director). (2001). Amélie [Motion picture]. France: UGC-Fox Distribution.

“Q&A with Susan Cain on The Power of Introverts”, by Maia Szalavitz, Published 1/27/2012 http://healthland.time.com/2012/01/27/mind-reading-qa-with-susan-cain-on-the-power-of-introverts/

Sherman-Palladino, S., & Palladion, D. (Writers). (2000-2007) Gilmore Girls [Television series]. The WB, The CW.

“The Challenges of Being an Introverted Woman”, by Michaela Chung http://introvertspring.com/why-introverted-women-are-less-accepted-than-introverted-men/#respond

“23 Signs You’re Secretly an Introvert”, By Carolyn Gregoire, Published 8/20/2013 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/20/introverts-signs-am-i-introverted_n_3721431.html,

 

Atheism

Through findings of my primary and secondary sources for this big assignment about the identity as an atheist, I have found out that there are many myths because of the lack of exposure and contact with atheist individuals. I have also discovered that even though atheism is growing, the myths and misrepresentations of them never went away simply because of the lack of information one has on atheism. Atheism isn’t a very popular topic, but it is a growing group and people should be informed and corrected of any bias or misunderstandings of atheists.

In the Hollywood Atheist page on the Tvtropes.org website, it talks about how some common negative traits of the atheist characters.

“Atheists are depressed, lonely, anti-social”

“Atheists don’t just argue against theism, but may actively discriminate against, harass, and even persecute believers”

“Atheists are hedonists and selfish individuals who only care about themselves and their own happiness”

In the Supernatural, Dean, the atheist older brother, is always shown as a depressing character that that drinks a lot and that everything is about him. He can’t stand the death of his younger brother dying or leaving him, so he tries to revive his brother by making a contract with a demon. Whereas Sam, the younger brother that believes in the existence of God, is more social, thinks about other people before himself, and believes that everything happens for a reason. This is causing many misconceptions in one TV series, simply because one does not believe in the existence of God, does not mean people can label them with all the negative words they can think of towards an atheist. You can’t say they are evil, depressed, selfish, and have an attitude about religion.

In the article, College students’ appreciative attitudes toward atheists written by Bowman Nicholas, Rockenbach Alyssa, Mayhew Matthew, Riggers-Piehl Tiffani, & Hudson Tara discusses the studies that were done to assess what most college students thinks about atheists. In one study, students of different religions were chosen at random and asked to complete a survey about their opinions. They also brought up another study done by the Pew Research Center’s Religion and Public Life Project that used a feelings thermometer to see how people in general felt about each religious group where the participants indicate warm for favorable and cold for unfavorable. Surprisingly, about 40% of those that responded ranked Atheists as the lowest/coldest.

Doane Michael & Elliott Marta wrote in Perceptions of discrimination among atheists: Consequences for atheist identification, psychological and physical well-being that people would rather support one that is gay or African American than to support an atheist for the presidential candidate. That causes a major stress towards those that are atheists when they learn that they are being so disrespected and misrepresented within the society. Why do people treat atheists like this? Because some think that being an atheist means that they believe in the devil and not God. That is not true. An atheist is someone that actively disbelieves or simply lacks the belief that God exists. It is bias like those that causes discrimination towards atheists when there really shouldn’t be.

According to Religious belief and intelligence: Worldwide evidence by Cribari-Neto Francisco & Souza Tatiene, there is a positive correlation between intelligence and lack of religious beliefs. Cribari-Neto and Souza said that as economic development increases so does atheism. They gathered data that showed atheists are wealthier, more liberal, and more intelligent than average. Being religious limits ones view about the world and political issues, reducing chances to advance and become wealthy. Atheists don’t believe in religion, therefore are not bound/tied so they are more free and liberal whereas religious groups are more conservative.

In Atheist Marriages Last Longer Than Christian Marriages, Research Says written by Courtney Nunes, it said that they surveyed 3,854 people living all over the U.S. and found that divorce rated were highest among Christians and those that believe in religion than atheists.

Learning Moment

One significant learning moment in this class was when we were discussing about Wikipedia in the first week of class. It was intriguing to learn that many, including myself, still use Wikipedia as starter to obtain information even though we are informed that it isn’t a trusted site because anybody can alter the information in Wikipedia. Another significant learning moment is when we were discussing about the news, media, and advertisements and I learned that the society we live in now have turned most of us skeptic towards anything that is provided to us. It isn’t a bad thing to be skeptic towards things, but it is also sad to learn that the news and media is so hard to trust. As a result, it will make people trust others less. For example, when one person sees another out on the streets asking for money, it will make one think “is he/she really homeless or he/she is just lying to get money?”

References

Bowman, N. A., Rockenbach, A. N., Mayhew, M. J., Riggers-Piehl, T., & Hudson, T. D. (2016). College Students’ Appreciative Attitudes Toward Atheists. Research in Higher Education, http://dx.doi.org /10.1007/s11162-016-9417-z

Courtney, N. (2013). Atheist Marriages Last Longer Than Christian Marriages, Research Says. Retrieved from http://www.opposingviews.com/i/religion/atheist-marriages-last-longer-christian-marriages-research-says.

Cribari-Neto, F., & Souza, T. C. (2013). Religious Belief and Intelligence: Worldwide Evidence. Intelligence, 41(5), 482-489. http://dx.doi.org /10.1016/j.intell.2013.06.011.

Doane, M. J., & Elliott, M. (2015). Perceptions of Discrimination Among Atheists: Consequences for Atheist Identification, Psychological and Physical Well-being. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 7(2), 130-141. http://dx.doi.org /10.1037/rel0000015.

Eric, K. (2005). Supernatural. TV series.

Hollywood Atheist. TV Tropes. Retrieved from http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HollywoodAtheist.

 

Wealth Gap In China

Haozheng Chen

Popular Culture

May 2016

Wealth Gap In China

  1. Introduction

 _79746211_sign

Nowadays the Economics for China is growing very fast. According to Kenneth Rapoza in Jan 20, 2013, “Over the last 20 years, China has become one of the biggest economies on earth, surpassing Japan and one step behind the United States”. And then according to the BBC News, the China Economies pass the United State become the first place of the biggest economic entity in the earth in 2014. Since the Chinese people started growing rich, there’s a lot problems from the situations. And there’s a lot of different views and also misunderstanding from other people. Every country have the wealth gap and problems with the inequality income.But there’s some difference on the income inequality and wealth gap in China. This post will be displaying the wealth gap from different artifacts that can represent the poor and rich level of people in China.

 

wealth-gap-01-e1452827603785.jpg

  1. Artifacts

“Ultra-Rich Asian Girls” is a TV show that have two seasons, and those girls are just recording their normal lifestyle which is luxury life for most of the people. Most people will think about they are flaunting wealth. For example, they got a million dollar house is the same as most of us got a new shoes or a new phone. This TV shows series are basically talking about the girls that were growing up in a wealthy family, and how they are trying to start their own careers since they are already one or more steps ahead of most of the people.

ultrarichasiangirls_2_header - 副本

Since there are already have some of the similar shows about wealthy people such as Rich Kids of Beverly Hills and Shahs of Sunset. This is the TV shows that’s majorly focus on a group of wealthy Chinese people and how they are different from other similar shows. It’s the TV shows not just about wealthy and it could be the one that’s reflecting how people came from the mainland China and being success only in the last 20 – 30 years. Also for flaunting wealth, it’s the most controversial thing nowadays. Being in the free North America, you have your choices to be poor, rich or middle class. You have your own freedom to look for what you want. But equality should be one of the main point in the show, we couldn’t just judge them because of they are way wealthier than most of us. They basically just living their normal life. The values concept between us and them are totally different.

ultra-rich-asian-girls

I think money, wealthy people and luxury lifestyle are the best tools for getting attention from audience. Also for the characters that’s using in the TV shows are very good since they all using those good looking females that is actually from rich family. For the TV shows that might makes the audience think that the Chinese is very rich and wealthy. Those girls in the TV shows are getting a two million house very easy as most of us getting a new pair of shoes. I think there will be a lot of people that thinking negative about this TV show because they are thinking they are flaunting wealth, and they are wasting money. And those characters are using the resources they born with to start their own careers will make the audience jealous, Because those resources could make them one or more steps before most of the people in the world. It also could remind the audience that who makes those people have this kind of luxury life. The struggles and tough life behind the screen of the first generation to become rich is so hard. Those success story of how the Chinese immigrants can not have but exceed in the economic growth from the past 30 years.

Ultra-Rich-Asian-Girls-of-Vancouver-960x500.jpg

According to Damian Grammaticas in China’s Ever Widening Wealth Gap, “’I’ve seen rich people, on TV, living in nice houses, driving fancy cars,’ he says a grin exposing his missing teeth. ‘I dream about having that kind of life. But i know it’s just a dream.’”. This farmer just having a government pension of $8 a month and some other revenue from selling the occasional calf or pig. The richest places in China have average incomes at over $10,000 a year now. But the average incomes are $2000 in GuiZhou, there’s even less for the areas that’s far away from city. A lot of people are live below the poverty line. But there is some people in the richest cities are drinking $3000 wine and eating $10000 dinner. The poorest people work so hard for a year only worth the wine that the rich people, or elite people normally drink in the dinner. That’s so broken for the wealth gap in China. Also being rich just a dream for those poor people because they don’t even have a chance to reach the rich level. They can’t even leave the village.

_63850904_jex_1545653_de08

 

It have the poor people facts and low quality life style at the beginning. So most of the audience will be touch by that. And then the rich and elite people’s high quality life style was given. Hence, through the comparison it can increase the feeling of the audience.  At the end of the artifact It have the solution for the gap between the rich and poor people in China. The government has been working and pushing the level of people. Therefore, I think it’s a very good news and artifact. For the views of this article, different people could have different views. Some people might think that the government has doing nothing for those poor people and they are so grieved for them. There are some other opinions that thinking the government did their best since the population in China is huge. And the period of development for China only about 40 years. Also some of them will think that the development of economics are unhealthy, since there are still a lot of people are under the basic living line.

images

  1. Reference

Those artifacts are very good on showing the wealth gap in Chinese people. There’s people in Midland China; and immigrant that comes from Hongkong and Midland China lives in North America. Those are very good sources to compare and getting information from. The possible questions that can bring up could be the government policy on the helping the gap of wealth, and the inequality income of people. The Lopsided development fact in China that makes the wealth gap more worse since poor people are being more poorer because of the inflation and the rich people are getting more richer. How they are a lot of different between people live in North America and the Mainland China. The freedom to being who you want to be and choose the individual task of yourself could be better to change from poor to rich. But I think everybody should be treated as an individual and being the same respect to everyone. No matter of the background, the race, and the sexual orientation. People should be open-minded with rich people and respect to the poor people. And then keep growing the economic more healthier way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work Cited

 

Rapoza, Kenneth. “The China Miracle: A Rising Wealth Gap.” Web. 20 Jan. 2013.<http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2013/01/20/the-china-miracle-a-rising-wealth-gap/#781644c16012&gt;.

 

Carter, Ben. “Is China’s Economy Really the Largest in the World?” BBC NEWS. Web. 16 Dec. 2014. <http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30483762&gt;.

 

LI, Kevin K., and Desmond Chen, prods. Ultra-Rich Asian Girls. Vancouver, Britist Columbia, 26 Oct. 2014. Television. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI56XotU8OQ&gt;

 

Grammaticas, Damian. “China’s Ever-widening Wealth Gap.” Web. 1 Nov. 2012. <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-20165283&gt;.

 

Swanson, Ana. “Canada’s ‘Ultra Rich Asian Girls’ and the Biggest Outpouring of Wealth in History.” Web. 18 Feb. 2016. <https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/02/18/what-canadas-ultra-rich-asian-girls-have-to-do-with-the-worlds-biggest-economic-threat/&gt;.

The Recent Portrayal of Chinese People

Introduction

reform

        In the past decade, China’s economy has been growing at the incredible high speed that has made the word “Chinese” is more frequently appeared in the world. Along with the Chinese people’s living standards improved, more and more Chinese people would like to go to different countries to study, experience, and even live. According to “Arriving Soon: More Chinese Tourists and Students – Part 2”, Ken Fox stated that as of November 2015, Chinese tourists travel to North America increases 151% from 2011 to 2015, and he highlighted that there were more than 100 million outbound Chinese travelers in 2014; in addition, 2014-2015 academic year, there was 304,040 Chinese students, increased 10.8% from 2013-2014 academic year, who have studied at the U.S.(Fox, 2016) Simultaneously, some stereotypes of Chinese people have been formed by other countries’ people, who have been in touch with some of Chinese people, just like rich investors, fuerfai (the rich second generation), and etc.; however, it can’t represent all of Chinese based on the big gap of Chinese income and the new generations’ economy model; by the way, the new generation’s consumption conception is affected by the Chinese one child policy. In this essay, I am going to discuss Chinese stereotypes, the causes of its formation, and its bias; finally, I will summarize what I learn during this course.

Discussion of Chinese Stereotypes

        Although some of countries’ economic has been stimulated by a large number of Chinese people who go and study abroad to consume, it probably has made some unwelcome, weary feedback from foreign. As Yoo reported, Chinese private consumption in the USA is $10.7 trillion in 2011, $12.6 trillion in 2015, and has been estimated to $15.3 trillion in 2020; in addition, Chinese government’s consumption in the USA is $2.5 trillion in 2011, $2.6 trillion in 2015, and has been estimated to $3 trillion in 2020. (Yoo, 2013)consumption Actually, this crazy spending power that makes Chinese people has been identified rich investors and fuerdai. During my research, I definitely found many articles, journals, or blogs to mention the rich investors. Just like Dan Levin pointed out, “the average price of a detached house in greater Vancouver more than doubled from 2005 to 2015, to about 1.6 million Canadian dollars ($1.2 million)” based on the flood of Chinese capital into the Vancouver’s real estate. (Levin, 2016) Indeed, this phenomenon has occurred not only in Canada, but also in the USA. real stateFor my experience, my family was going to buy a house in the Portland couple years ago, and we found a satisfactory house and made an offer; then, the agency asked us whether we were going to a one-time cash payment. We answered her, “No, we need a loan to buy it”; however, she was surprised to tell us that recently, many oversea Chinese investors have bought real estate, and they always paid off one-time by cash; thus, it was the reason why she ask us to do the one-time cash payment. Interestingly, here was an experience which was wrongly labeled my family as a rich Chinese investor. However, the local people don’t welcome these Chinese investors. Their crazy investments make the local real estate be skyrocketed that cause an affordable housing crisis. Indeed, some of the local people can’t afford the rising price, it definitely influences to the local people’s life. Thus, it is a double-edged sword.

        For some rich Chinese, they not only invest money into the foreign properties, but also prefer to purchase luxury goods. Levin also pointed out that “a large number of luxury car dealerships here employ Chinese staff, a testament to the spending power of the city’s newest residents. In 2015, there were 2,500 cars worth more than $150,000 registered in metropolitan Vancouver, up from 1,300 in 2009.” (Levin, 2016) However, this part of the Chinese consumers is known as fuerdai, which means the rich second generation. They like to show off their wealth through the purchases of luxury good, and post to the social network. Just like the son of the richest man in China, he had posted a photo to show off his dog wearing two gold Apple Watched in the social network.(Beam, 2015) In addition, a lot of media has reported that it is easy to see Chinese people wait in a line to buy luxury goods in many international brands’ retail stores. Interestingly, I found a video on the YouTube which reported a secret meet-up. The video recorded that a party gathered many fuerdai who have spent more $100,000 to buy super sport cars in Southern California, and they gathered together to show off their cars.

Causes of Its Formation

        According to the article “Young Consumers Drive China’s New Economic Model”, it pointed out that China has became a “consumption powerhouse” from the “world manufactory” during its the 12th Five-year Plan (2011-2015). (Yoo, 2013) This plan was going to reduce the urban and rural income inequality through stimulating domestic consumption to help the economic growth and employment environment. However, four main customer forces are formed during this policy, such as the post 1980s generation, the post 1990s generation, the second generation of the rich, and the young rural-to-urban migrants. There are the reasons why these four generations prefer to spend money on the luxury good, or become the purchasing power: first, the post 1980s generation was growing during the period of the social stability and higher economic growth, it cause them like to pursuit of personal satisfaction; secondly, post 1990s generation born in the period of the family police, thus, most of them is no siblings, and their parents will satisfied their needs that made them enjoying material prosperity; finally, the second generation of the rich and the young rural-to-urban migrants are the same age, but their background is very different. The young rural-to-urban migrants has a humble rural background, and they are affected by high economic growth and social change; thus, they tend to be urban residents and have a urban standards of living. In contrast, The second generation of the rich (also calls fuerdai) has wealthy family, and their parents earn a lot of money during China’s high-speed development period. At the same time, their parents pay great attention to their career, and ignore to concern for their children; thus, they will try to provide every best things to their children for compensation.fuerdai

        In addition, Xuefeng Chen stated that the family under China’s one-child policy are over-indulging their children, even called them “little emperors”, one childand the parents would give everything, which they can afford, to their children without hesitation; at the same time, these children are more eager got the attention from others, so they show off or flaunt their wealthy to catch others’ eyeballs.

Bias

        I think that the negative stereotype definitely misled people thought fuerdais who just spend their parents’s money, and the idle people. In fact, they are also a group of people who need to be more concerned about. Because parents spend more time on their careers, and they wrongly thought that their children need material compensations, it led these children who has formed the false consumption values; furthermore, the parents have not noticed that the children was under pressure based on their outstanding achievement. In addition, they also will help people who really need a help. As Bean stated, “there are two groups of poor people. One is, you don’t work hard. You deserve to be poor because you don’t work hard. Second is, you work hard but can’t succeed. I think we should help the second group of people. … There’s a saying, jiu ji bu jiu pin—‘We’ll help you if you have an emergency, but we cannot help you if you’re poor.’ ” (Beam, 2016) Finally, according to “The Urban-Rural Income Gap and Inequality in China”, it points out that the PPP (purchasing power parity) between urban and rural is 4,259 Yuan and 1,899 Yuan in 1995, and 7,798 Yuan and 3,434 Yuan in 2002. In addition, the minimum wage is still under 2,000 Yuan recently in China, which means there are too many people who still don’t have enough purchasing power to consume luxury goods. It is just a few of wealthy Chinese’s consumption phenomenon.

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Conclusion

        During my research, I definitely found many media described Chinese people has crazy purchasing power; indeed, Chinese economy is going to transform to the consumption pattern, so it has promoted the global tourism industry and retail industry. However, this strong consumer group is just a small part of China’s population, but these few of population has occupied most of the country’s wealth. China still has a lot of poor people, and they are not able to buy luxury goods, even they have to work hard for the basic problem of food and clothing. The media reports are only superficial, and they didn’t really comprehend deeply with the local Chinese people.Therefore, I think that the recent portrayal of Chinese people is just stereotype and surface. In addition, through this study, I think that some of Chinese imperfect policies have led to the present generations formed the new consumption concept, and this concept is not correct so that I think Chinese government and society should pay attention to this issue, and find a solution.

Learning Moment

        During this course, I think the most interesting and important is the media literacy. In the college, whether it is teacher or student has to contact media, use media, or pay attention on media; thus, when people face various kinds of information from media, selection ability, comprehension ability, evaluation ability, creation or production ability, and speculative response ability are pretty important in order to enable students who have positive attitudes towards media, and use media with an academic view. Therefore, I think that I will continue to train these abilities to help me gain useful and helpful information from the daily media.

Work Cited

Beam, Christopher. “Children of the Yuan Percent: Everyone Hates China’s Rich Kids.” Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, 30 Sept. 2015. Web. 30 May 2016. < http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2015-10-01/children-of-the-yuan-percent-everyone-hates-china-s-rich-kids >.

Chen, Xuefeng. “THE SOCIAL IMPACT OF CHINA’ S ONE-CHILD POLICY.” THE SOCIAL IMPACT OF CHINA’ S ONE-CHILD POLICY (n.d.): n. pag. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, May 2003. Web. 30 May 2016. < http://web.mit.edu/lipoff/www/hapr/summer03_security/CHEN.pdf >.

Fox, Ken. “Arriving Soon: More Chinese Tourists and Students- Part 2.” The Soundings Group. N.p., 01 Apr. 2016. Web. 30 May 2016. < http://thesoundingsgroup.com/arriving-soon-chinese-tourists-students-part-2/ >.

Jin-Seok, YOO. “Young Consumers Drive China’s New Economic Model.” Department – SERIWorld. Consumer & Society, Oct. 2013. Web. 30 May 2016. < http://www.seriworld.org/16/qt_Section_list.html?mncd=0301&dep=1&pub=20130422&year=2013&pubseq=349 >.

Levin, Dan. “Chinese Scions’ Song: My Daddy’s Rich and My Lamborghini’s Good-Looking.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 12 Apr. 2016. Web. 30 May 2016. < http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/13/world/americas/canada-vancouver-chinese-immigrant-wealth.html?_r=1 >.

Sicular, Terry, Ximing Yue, Bjorn Gustafsson, and Shi Li. “THE URBAN–RURAL INCOME GAP AND INEQUALITY IN CHINA.” Wiley Online Library. Review of Income and Wealth, 28 Feb. 2007. Web. 30 May 2016. < http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/doi/10.1111/j.1475-4991.2007.00219.x/full >.

VocativVideo. “Chinese Kids Driving Supercars: Inside the Secret Southern California Meet-up.” YouTube. YouTube, 18 Nov. 2014. Web. 30 May 2016. < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sH8sSKwS_gU >.

The Portrayal of Introverts in Popular Culture

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Introversion is a widely misunderstood personality trait. On television, introversion is typically portrayed in a negative way. Television characters that display traits consistent with introversion are usually better known for their abrasive personality and lack of social skills. Those negative qualities could be true of an introvert or an extrovert, so it is unfair of television writers to make them so exaggerated in introverted characters. It can be difficult for an introvert to find an inspirational role model on television, instead we get the message that something is wrong with us and we need to fix it. An important point to note is that introversion and extroversion is on a spectrum, not an either/or scenario.

Introversion is misrepresented in popular culture because it is often confused with shyness or social anxiety, it is often combined with disorders and mental illnesses, and it shames introverts into pretending to be someone they’re not.

BONES

The main character on the FOX show Bones is Temperance “Bones” Brennan, and she is an introvert. One of the most universal introverted traits is the desire to work alone or in small groups. Especially in earlier seasons, she is seen working alone in her office studying remains or evidence and this is where she thinks best. Another common trait amongst introverts is the preference for solitary hobbies. In the show, her main hobby is writing best-selling fiction novels based on her work. A defining trait for introverts is the preference for minimally stimulating environments, so her choice to work in a lab is a good fit for her personality. There she does not have to worry about lots of noise or frequent group work. While she does consult and collaborate with each of her coworkers, everyone has their own specialty and largely works alone.

Temperance Brennan is a good example that introversion and shyness are not the same thing. Susan Cain describes the difference in her TED Talk The Power of Introverts as “shyness is about fear of social judgment. Introversion is more about, how do you respond to stimulation, including social stimulation”. One of Temperance Brennan’s defining characteristics is that she is brutally honest and does not care what anyone thinks of her. Throughout the show she frequently says or does impolite or awkward things if it means getting the job done, something a shy person would avoid.

Some of her introverted traits are fairly accurate for a fictional television character, but some of them are exaggerated for drama or comedic effect by the writers. A stereotype that the writers perpetuate is the idea that introverts cannot be good leaders. Because she lacked the interpersonal skills necessary for the politics and bureaucracy for the job, she was passed up for a promotion to be in charge of the lab in season two. In this case she is not a good representation of introversion because her lack of social skills is the result of her parents and her older brother abandoning her as a teenager, not because she is introverted.

THE BIG BANG THEORY

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Sheldon Cooper is introverted and one of the main characters from the CBS show The Big Bang Theory. He has a strong preference to work alone; for example, he can get upset if someone tries to help him solve an equation. He enjoys his small group of friends, and it was not easy for him to adjust to more people being added over the years. He enjoys both solitary activities such as playing with his trains and small group activities such as playing Dungeons and Dragons. He is seen feeling uncomfortable in large group settings such as parties or crowded bars, and when he is in those situations he clings to his close friends. He is usually not seen spending time alone, but that is because The Big Bang Theory is a half-hour sitcom and that would be a waste of airtime. I believe that Sheldon is not shy because he boldly manipulates his relationships via contracts. He does fear social judgement from his friends when he uses the contracts to get his way. I also think he is not shy because he is known to be very blunt, and he has no problem correcting strangers’ behaviors.

On this show, introversion is misrepresented because it is a comedy. So any introverted character is going to also have a quirky personality or another defining characteristic that outshines the natural benefits of being an introvert. I think this is a necessary part of television because it can be difficult to translate introverted traits on screen. Related to several of the characters on this show, one such benefit is described by Susan Cain in her TED Talk. She said that “when psychologists look at the lives of the most creative people, what they find are people who are very good at exchanging ideas and advancing ideas, but who also have a serious streak of introversion in them”. While many viewers see similarities between Sheldon’s personality and Asperger’s Syndrome, the writers have denied the diagnosis. Shaila Lias is a blogger who wrote an article titled “Introverts on TV: A Look at CBS’s The Big Bang Theory”, and in it she comments on the writers’ denial of Asperger’s. She writes “by denying that Sheldon is actually someone with Asperger’s they further the misunderstanding that any person who doesn’t always want social interaction, doesn’t understand it. It adds to the discourse that introverts are socially awkward and rude. And that they can’t understand social conventions”.

Raj Koothrappali is not an introvert, he is an extrovert. He loves to throw parties, arrange scavenger hunts, and be around friends all the time. His character provides a good contrast to Sheldon’s introversion, and also reinforces the fact that shyness or social anxiety are not the same as introversion. In the first few seasons, Raj seems to experience Social Anxiety Disorder. Elements Behavioral Health, which provides mental health services, explained Social Anxiety Disorder as “an overwhelming fear of being humiliated in front of others. For some, this extreme self-consciousness means even simple actions such as eating in public or talking to a store clerk can be overwhelming… and can sometimes lead to substance abuse by those attempting to medicate away the negative feelings”. Raj exhibits this though his selective mutism around women he finds attractive, and his use of alcohol to self-medicate the issue. In later seasons he resolves his selective mutism and seems to have shyness rather than social anxiety disorder.

SHERLOCK

Sherlock Holmes it the title character from the BBC show Sherlock. Similar to Temperance Brennan and Sheldon Cooper, Sherlock Holmes is an introvert and he is not shy. When it is necessary he presents his unbiased thoughts. He is well-known for his bold behavior and lack of good social skills. He does not fear what other people may think about him, and so he is able to be brutally honest. He is often seen alone or with his best friend, particularly when he is working on solving a crime. He concentrates best when he can be alone with his thoughts and think scenarios through. He, like most introverts, prefers small groups or close friends instead of big social crowds. This can be seen in his close friendship with his best friend John Watson. A common trait of introverts is the tendency to dislike small-talk, which Sherlock exhibits. Most of his conversations are intellectual or purposeful in nature, not about meaningless small-talk topics. Therefore, I believe he dislikes small-talk because of its lack of purpose, not because he is afraid to talk to people. Common for introverts, many of his hobbies were of a solitary nature. For example, he played the violin, which can be played in a group but that is not a necessary component. The common introverted traits that Sherlock exhibits are just that, common. They are not true of all introverts and some have no scientific basis, but they common traits that many introverts can identify with.

Sherlock Holmes displays many traits consistent with introversion, but they are exaggerated to the point the character is often labeled as being psychopathic/sociopathic or as having a form of Asperger’s. This seems typical of introverts on television. The are commonly labeled as having a mental health issue or other disorders because their traits are exaggerated to the extreme. Any negative portrayal of introverted traits does not necessarily imply anything about extroverts. They are not exactly opposites, so a quality about one does not make the opposite quality true for the other.  

The Science Behind Introversion & Extroversion

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There is scientific explanations for why a person is more introverted or extroverted. As science progresses, new reasons become discovered. According to a Medical Daily article by Lecia Bushak titled “The Brain Of An Introvert Compared To That Of An Extrovert: Are They Really Different?”, in 1960 psychologist Hans Eysenck had a theory that levels of arousal was what differentiated introverts and extroverts. It was his belief that introverts were easily over-stimulated by the world while extroverts required a lot of stimulation to feel energized. Bushak also wrote that “in 2005, researchers concluded in a study that it all might be linked to dopamine — the reward system in the brains of extroverts responded differently than those of introverts”. Then in 2012 a Harvard University study completed by Randy Buckner led to the discovery that the gray matter in the prefrontal cortex, “a region of the brain that is linked to abstract thought and decision-making”, was larger and thicker in introverts and there was less gray matter in extroverts.

Learning Moments

One learning moment came this week when I was searching for an article about plagiarism for the Week 7 Course Blog prompt. In my research I found out that at most universities, it is considered plagiarism if a student uses the same essay for two different classes. I found an article titled “Self-Plagiarism: Is it Really Plagiarism?” by Robert Creutz, and it explains this dilemma. I never considered that resusing my own essay would be plagiarism and grounds for disciplinary action by the school. Fortunately, I never had the opportunity to reuse an essay. I still feel as though labeling that as plagiarism is harsh, because how can you steal from yourself? I do understand the reasons why it is considered plagiarism, but I do not completely agree with it. Either way, that is one learning moment from this course I will never forget.

Another learning moment came from researching my topic. Introversion is largely considered a psychological topic. During my research, I found several articles that discussed the science behind introversion and extroversion. I have always felt as though my introversion was an unchangeable and natural trait. Now I know that it is possible to move along the introversion-extroversion spectrum, but it is hard to change how someone’s brain works. The science seems to conclude that it has to do with some combination of arousal, stimulation, dopamine, gray matter. Having a scientific background does not excuse the way this personality traits is exhibited, but I do believe that it legitimizes the causes.

References

Bushak, L. (2014, August 21). The Brain Of An Introvert Compared To That Of An Extrovert: Are They Really Different? Retrieved May 2, 2016, from  http://www.medicaldaily.com/brain-introvert-compared-extrovert-are-they-really-different-299064

Gatiss, M. (Producer). (2010, July 25). Sherlock [Television series]. BBC ONE.

Hanson, H. (Producer). (2005, September 13). Bones [Television series]. FOX.

Introvert, Shy, Socially Anxious: What’s the Difference? (2015, May 05). Retrieved May 1, 2016, from https://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/mental-health/introvert-shy-socially-anxious-whats-the-difference/

Lias, S. (2013, November). INTROVERTS ON TV: A LOOK AT CBS’S THE BIG BANG THEORY [Web log post]. Retrieved May 1, 2016, from http://understandingpopculture.blogspot.com/2013/11/introverts-on-tv-look-at-cbss-big-bang.html

Lorre, C., & Prady, B. (Producers). (2007, September 24). The Big Bang Theory [Television series]. CBS.

TED. (2012, March 2). Susan Cain: The power of introverts [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0KYU2j0TM4

Popular Culture and How Collegiate Student Athletes are Portrayed

Popular culture puts collegiate student athletes in a negative spotlight as the student athletes get portrayed with the misconceptions that popular culture displays to the mass audience.  Popular culture as a whole gives two examples for student athletes, either an athlete did something wrong so they bring it to everyone’s attention or an athlete excelled and everyone else is falling behind because they are not like this individual. Even when popular culture is giving an athlete recognition for something positive they still bring up that most athletes are not doing the same thing, which again is putting a negative light on student athletes all together.  Popular culture focuses on the mistakes made in college athletics and most of the time doesn’t get the behind the scenes story before publishing a story which leads the mass audience to a misconception. When the audience only hears of the negative aspects that go on they don’t get the full story of what these athletes do every day.  The student athletes are not given credit for the overall picture of what the put into the program and team but known for being a “stupid, privileged” athlete just for identifying themselves as a college athlete.

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Left: Hruby, Patrick. 2011, April 6. Retrieved from: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/04/should-college-athletes-get-paid-ending-the-debate-once-and-for-all/236809/

Right: Sorenson, Adam. 2008, August 22. Retrieved from: http://blog.classesandcareers.com/education/2008/08/22/easy-a-for-college-athletes/

Portrayal

Looking through primary sources about the way student athletes are portrayed in popular culture, there were three trends that showed up in every artifact that identified student athletes in a negative light.  First, all sources said that student athletes take easier classes or are majoring in easier degrees. Second, football is the most popular sport in college athletics and this sport get the most negative light as it gets the most media coverage. Third, popular culture believes that all student athletes get privileges or advantages and that student athletes are not concerned about academics at all.

Blue Mountain State: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_iOoiL2Eow

Through Blue Mountain State the media is trying to get your attention through a TV show that is fun to watch but also comical. It is to the extreme of what the football stereotypes are and show all different kinds of personalities that could be on the team. Although this show is to get the viewers’ attention in a comical way now the consequences for the student athletes is they get known for the actions being portrayed in the show. Just like in every aspect of life there are a few mess ups and they set the name for the whole body of student athletes. Since this TV show is directed at a younger audience when older adults or parents see it they look down on college athletics as they would not want to see their kid doing the inappropriate actions produced in the show.  Football gets a lot of negative light from this show because they do produce a lot of stupid things that student athletes should not be doing.

Why Student Athletes Continue to Fail:  http://time.com/3827196/why-student-athletes-fail/

“Why Student Athletes Continue to Fail” has the purpose of getting the creators point of view across by drawing in a good situation then degrading others for not doing the same. He describes Jones at the beginning of the article and how he “did the right thing” but then is disappointed that more football players aren’t staying the full four years and graduating if they have the chance to go professional. He wants the audience to believe that there should be something more than football in a student athletes life and that isn’t true when the tweet about not wanting to go to school as he puts it. This is another way that football players are described in a negative light as they not only say that they take easier majors and classes but also that teammates influence them because they don’t want to be considered smart. Now some are smarter than others but that goes with everything, so to conclude and group all athletes together that they all just slide by, don’t try in academics, and are just stupid is not a fair conclusion for the audience.

The Myth of Being a Student Athlete: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/15/the-myth-of-the-student-athlete/?_r=0

“A Myth of Being a Student Athlete” was a little bit better about how media portrays student athletes because they did say that many of the concerns around student athletes are regarding football and men’s basketball. These are to two most popular college sports and the two sports that have the most opportunity to go professional. Almost all other sports don’t have this option so the life after college is very important to them. With that being said for football and men’s basketball, this is their career and people are degrading them for choosing that path. For the athletes that are continuing on with their sport after college popular culture like this article sends the audience a negative influence and portraying that they should be setting their priorities as something different.

Misconception

When looking more into this topic and at secondary sources there were some very interesting findings. In the journal article, “The Image Of Paul Robeson: Role Model For The Student And Athlete” it is about a former student athlete, Paul Robeson, who was a black football player who continued on to be a professional football player as well as a law student.  It explains what he went through and between school, football, and stereotypes of doing both. This article also talks a lot about the references made towards Paul as a scholar athlete with in popular culture. Some people thought that Paul got extreme benefits because he was an athlete and didn’t have to put in the work for school and just breezed by to go professional.  Paul showed that he could balance academics and athletics while also being a good person, he is now looked at as “black athletic hero” for his accomplishments.  It also explains that this type of person is not represented on media as the focus on the negative aspect that has gone on through student athletes and especially black football players.

In another journal article, “The American Dream Goes To College: The Cinematic Student Athletes Of College Football” it is a review on a movies and films regarding the “Athletic American Dream”. It talks about how it is seen in America and the way it influences universities.  There is a positive aspect about student athletes in this article as it describes how they impact not only the school itself but also the student body. It talks about how these football teams brings in money for the university but it also brings in attention for the school as many Americans are interested in sports especially football. As for the student body it is something for them to do and get away from all the books, it encompasses school pride and a great way to be involved.  These movies and films throughout the years allowed America to see the hard work that goes on behind the scenes as well as get the negative spotlight off and see what really goes on between the players and the community around them.

This article is a review on the movie “Schooled: The Price of College Sports” which talks about individuals that have played and the controversies that go on between outsiders and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). In this article it describes both sides about the controversies and why these issues have been around for a long time but now just becoming a bigger problem so more people are discussing them. Former Tennessee football player Arian Foster thinks that college athletes should be payed because he believes this is a job, he also has admitted getting paid by the university itself. The article demonstrates both sides of this argument as one believes that they are amateurs that shouldn’t be paid and the other side of it is that amateurs in other fields get paid for their work.  Another question that pops up during the article is if athletes are really there for the education or just for the sport?  One teacher says that they believe that athletes get special privileges from some professors just because they are athletes and some say they would never treat them differently than any other normal student. They go back and forth in this movie which gives you a good perspective and information on both sides.

Conclusion and Reflection  

Looking at secondary sources and comparing them to the primary sources, they backed up the finding from how popular culture portrays them.  Most of the secondary sources were former athletes describing their experience and how they got put in the negative wrap when the media doesn’t know what they had done to get to that point in their life. Athletes want to highlight the positives and the strides they have made to improve their representation but also all the hard work that goes in that seems to never be brought up.  It seems that a lot of the media that is presented to the public is written by people that what to put a story out and get the attention of those that don’t know how much effort and time is put in. But the one chance that they get to bash student athletes or the one mistake that is made, the whole world knows very quickly. My findings seem to be two sided and either you lean towards one side or the other and there is no in the middle. These draws people against and with student athletes instead of finding a compromise in the middle of things that can be improved and things that are done well.

Learning Moments

Throughout this term I learned a lot about popular culture, not only the way it identifies student athletes but also many other topics. One topic that I found really interesting was advertising and how it basically manipulates the viewers.  From week 3’s blog post Daneen Bergland wrote, “You can’t escape it. It has become the background noise of our culture, seeping into our consciousness by its ubiquity and repetition, its jingles and slogans bouncing around in a corner of our minds as we wait for the bus or kiss our children good night.” Thinking more about it, this is true as everywhere you look there is an advertisement for something. Marketers and advertisers want to be in everyone’s eyes all the time. So this means that they will be along the streets, on the internet, on TV, and even on the apps on our phones.  The big question is, businesses are competing to promote their product and they need theirs to stand out from the others but to what point are they manipulating the viewers? Advertising is interesting when you look at what goes on behind the scenes and looking at how they get to the customer really intrigues me because I know I fall into some of the scams.

Another thing that I found particularly interesting in this course was how people defined and described online communities versus in person communities and the strengths and weaknesses of both.   One of the questions asked in week 2’s discussion was “How are online communities different than other communities?” I found it interesting on how most people said the biggest difference between these two was that you don’t have the face to face interaction. Some people thought that this was very important within a community and others didn’t seem to think that it wasn’t such a big deal without that component. I think that an online community is a different type of interaction and to create a community through online communication means that everyone has to put in effort to have the community.  The groups made for discussions really helped me as I got feedback on things that were good and things I could improve but I got the most satisfaction from learning about everyone else’s identities and their research.

Work Cited

Gutting, Gary. “The Myth of the ‘Student-Athlete'” Opinionator The Myth of the StudentAthlete Comments. The New York Times, 15 Mar. 2012. Web. 30 Apr. 2016.

Harrison, C. Keith, and Brian Lampman. “The Image Of Paul Robeson: Role Model For The Student And Athlete.” Rethinking History 5.1 (2001): 117-130. Academic Search Premier. Web. 5 May 2016.

Miller, Andrew C. “The American Dream Goes To College: The Cinematic Student Athletes Of College Football.” Journal Of Popular Culture 43.6 (2010): 1222-1241 Academic Search Premier. Web. 5 May 2016.

Oppenheimer, Daniel “Why Student Athletes Continue to Fail.” TIME 20 Apr. 2015: n. pag. WEB.

Romano, Chris, and Eric Falconer. “Midterms.” Blue Mountain State. Lionsgate Television. Quebec, Canada, 2 Mar. 2010. Television.

Solomon, Jon. “‘Schooled: The Price of College Sports’ Is a Movie worth the NCAA History Lesson (review).” AL.com. N.p., 15 Oct. 2013. Web. 05 May 2016.

 

The Christian Identity Through A Movie Makers Lenses

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From completing the Research Analysis Worksheet and the annotated bibliography, I have discovered the different ways that the Christian identity is portrayed in popular culture. In my research, I specifically looked for representations of the Christian identity in modern movies. I’ve learned that there are various portrayals of the Christian characters played in these films. Some forms of the Christian identity I found in these films are conservative, goody two-shoed, absolutely pure, sheltered, and insane. In result of this, our society has formed stereotypical perspectives of a Christian person that are often times over exaggerated if not inaccurate. After this realization, I believe that the movie industry needs to be more aware of how a film represents an identity. Movie producers must be conscious of how those representations convey to the audience.

After analyzing my three primary sources, I felt like I really exposed myself to a variety of films that incorporate Christianity and the Christian identity in different ways. I was able to critically think about the movie’s portrayals and the possible motives of these. In comparing and contrasting the three films’ representation, I believe that there has to be some medium where the Christian identity is represented accurately while still aiming to create a great film. In my research, I’ve come to find that in the film-producing world, there is a great issue with creating an interesting movie while also accurately portraying a Christian character to the real world Christian identity.Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 7.23.19 AMMy first primary source that I have analyzed is an example of a Christian film that targets a generally non-Christian audience. “The Invention of Lying” was directed by comedian and actor, Ricky Gervais. The producer, director and writers don’t identify themselves as Christians. The film stars many famous actors and actresses and is produced by powerhouse companies such as Warner Bros. Christian content is reflected throughout the film, but not in the way a Christian person would think about it. The movie is extremely humorous and pokes fun at the Christian faith (Atwood). To me, it seems like that this may just be a media technique to attract the general target audience. The producers and directors of the film may just only be aiming to please a particular crowd yet could still be aware of the unhappy Christian viewers (Nehring). Based on the content, I would say that the film is showing Christians in a negative light. In the film itself, a Christian character isn’t identified and ridiculed. However, throughout the film, the Christian faith was mocked enough to the point where a person who does believe in that faith could be considered idiotic. Although there are a lot of jokes made, I don’t think the director was attacking the faith. Instead, the reasoning for this is to entertain the audience. An example of this would be the scene from the movie that mocks the Ten Commandments and even God. Here is a link to the clip of the scene:

Overall, I think that the main goal of this movie was to attract an audience and make a profit. I believe that producers were not considering the effect of portraying the Christian faith in the way that they did. Film producers must be aware that this misrepresentation of the Christian identity could be considered hurtful to those who do identify themselves as Christians. This film is a good example of how media techniques are used in popular culture that are aiming to make money, while the identity of a person is forgotten in the midst.Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 7.24.12 AMThe second primary source that I have analyzed is an example of a Christian film that aims to please the Christian audience. Although this may be the case, I strongly feel that the Christian identity is still misrepresented throughout this film. A team of producers who mostly all identify themselves as Christians created the film “God’s Not Dead”. The target audience is the Christian community and Christianity is reflected heavily in the content of the film. Many of the scenes revolve around the main character that struggles with the problem of proving his faith to be real. To any Christian, I believe the storyline would be interesting because we could put ourselves in that character’s shoes. For other viewers, they might not be able to fully engage with the story (Carey). Based on the content, I don’t think I fully agree with the portrayal of the Christian character. I think the producers left out many aspects of the Christian identity. The producers seemed to have really shown the Christian person in a very positive light (Nehring). I wish that the main character had been illustrated as someone who struggles also with a personal issue with himself, not only an exterior problem with just his professor; this would have made the story of the film more realistic. The attribute I did like is that the producers illustrate the identity of a non-Christian and try to relate that to everyday people. That attribute of the film seemed the most effective and accurate. I just wished they’d tie that more with the identity of being a Christian and not segregate the two roles. Overall, the movie’s representation of the Christian identity construes that Christians are people who do not have to deal with personal problems. This is not the case in reality. The determination to better oneself and to have salvation from sin is the essence of the Christian faith and the movie fails to portray that.Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 7.22.35 AMMy final primary source that I have analyzed mostly targets a general audience. Based on the content in the film, I feel like this movie most accurately portrays a person who identifies himself/herself as a Christian. Tyler Perry, who identifies himself as a strong Christian, produced this film, “Madea Goes to Jail”. He openly claims that he incorporates his faith into the work that he produces (Goodwyn). In the movie, I can see the many Christian values that Perry ties into the film. I think that Perry’s film reaches a vast audience and can be intriguing to anybody, both Christians and non-Christians. I admire that Perry doesn’t sugar coat the life of a Christian and that everything is picture perfect. He doesn’t necessarily portray the Christian life as in the “negative light” but he expresses that everyone goes through a struggle, both Christians and non-Christians. The reason I believe this film holds true to the Christian identity is because of the use of the character, Ellen. She is a minister/social worker who constantly works to get prostitutes off the streets. What I love about this movie is that Ellen’s character is not the stereotypical Christian that most movies would portray. A stereotypical Christian character in films are dogmatic, extremely compassionate, sometimes wise, and sometimes over-religious. In this movie, Ellen is kind of a hard ass. She knows that in order to make a difference with the women she’s working with that she has to be real with them. Her actions make me think of “tough love,” which breaks away from the typical portrayal of a Christian. Overall, “Madea Goes to Jail” is a prime example of a movie that is able to portray the Christian identity accurately while still producing a successful film. I believe that this film is really well rounded. It has a little bit of everything and aims to entertain a diverse audience; while at the same time represents Christians correctly while not boasting the identity. More Christian film producers should aim to create their work with similar attributes that Tyler Perry implements.

In conclusion, I was able to find primary sources that served as adequate examples of various portrayals of a Christian character in a film. In many films that depict Christians, I’ve observed a distinct pattern that occurs from movie to movie. First of all, for films that don’t specifically target the Christian audience, I noticed that the Christian character is often used as a mechanism to add humor to the film. This depiction is often stereotypical and just immense exaggerations of the Christian identity. On the other hand, in a film that is targeted for a Christian audience, I’ve noticed that the Christian identity is portrayed as a person who is pure, righteous, and law-abiding. This depiction is of the ideal Christian, which often enough is nothing like a Christian in the real world. Although these types of film convey a misrepresentation of the identity, I have also found evidence of a movie that is able to portray the Christian identity accurately. Overall, the film industry must remain conscious of how the Christian identity is represented in modern movies. Producers of such films must balance between accurately portraying the Christian identity while still producing great quality movies. I believe this is very possible.

Learning Moment

Throughout the term, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about the many different attributes of our popular culture that people are exposed to. I found it shocking when I realized that the topics in the course were all applicable to my everyday life! One significant learning moment that occurred this term was defining the term media literacy. Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media. I found this topic very revealing because prior to taking this course, I never really took the time to critically think about the media and how it influences me. Going even deeper, media literacy allows students to examine a form of media and decide for themselves what they personally feel, rather than being subliminally manipulated. Overall, I have developed my media literacy skill in this course and will be able to critically think about the many media forms that I am constantly exposed to. The second significant learning moment that occurred this term was discussing the topic of advertising found in our popular culture. In learning about advertisements, students got the opportunity to demonstrate media literacy. In doing this, students also got the opportunity to discover the various techniques that are used by the media to persuade viewers to feel, think, and/or act a particular way. Prior to this course, I never thought about the techniques used by advertisement producers. In discussing this topic in the course, I remember thinking that these advertisements are a bit manipulative. Overall, I believe it is important to be aware of the techniques used by advertisements in order to shield oneself from subliminal persuasion and manipulation. It is important to remember to always think about and form your own thoughts and ideas when exposing yourself to popular culture. Follow your thought process and analyze where your thoughts are stemming from. In demonstrating this, you’ll be able to confidently decide for yourself what information you choose to receive from popular culture. Ponder on this, it is better to know that you don’t know something, rather than believing you know something that is not true.

References:

Atwood, Blake. “The Invention of Lying (and Religion).” Relevantmagazine.com. RELEVANT Magazine, 04 Mar. 2010. Web. 03 May 2016.

Carey, Jesse. “The Way to Fix Christian Films: Add Ambiguity.” RELEVANT Magazine. N.p., 05 Apr. 2016. Web. 22 May 2016.

Goodwyn, Hannah. “Tyler Perry’s Keeping Faith Alive at the Movies.” CBN.com (beta). Christian Broadcasting Network, n.d. Web. 03 May 2016.

“Man in the Sky Causes Everything.” YouTube. YouTube, 19 Nov. 2010. Web. 4 May 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlX0Fk-701Q&gt;.

Nehring, Scott. You Are What You See: Watching Movies through a Christian Lens. United States: Rightline, 2010. Print.

The (American) Male viewed through the Popular Culture Prism

Of all the stereotypical identities I might be represented by in popular culture, one common feature between those I considered continued to stand out. Of all the different kinds of people there are, and that one can identify with, one trait I shared with so many has a stereotype of its own. tumblr_nnzn1kXTsa1rdlwzzo1_500Being a man.

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It is true that sometimes men are depicted in movies as smart, feeling, charismatic individuals with ethical behavior. However, the typical male portrayal in films, are depictions in simple terms of men as immoral, weaponized idiots, or they are otherwise likely presented as timid, sometimes impotent geniuses. images

 

 

The popular culture stereotype of male identity seems damaging to society because boys may grow up to value and emulate or dehumanize and loathe these behaviors -and may act out the fantasies of these films in their drive to identify as a man.

In my research, I explored the male characters of the three movies, The Change-Up, Full Metal Jacket, tumblr_lo54784zru1qje0bvo1_500and Iron Man for reflections of my American male identity.  The movies are of different genres and the male leads of each are dissimilar in character than the next.

In The Change-Up, The unmarried male friend of the protagonist is portrayed as an actor of tampon commercials and lorno (light porno). The quintessential pot-smoking underachiever – with questionable ethical judgement. A sport car driving, barely post-adolescent -who’s a Lothario without any compunctions about having sex with his best friend’s wife.

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“It’s kind of like were switching rides! (…) I’m going to wreck her!” – Mitch Planko, Jr.

The married character, conversely, is passive, arguably weak by comparison, but a successful lawyer. He’s not the unsophisticated, boorish idiot that his old high school friend is, and careful to project a neutered image.

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“Before making any decision in your life, no matter how small, call your wife first. Think of yourself as a brain-damaged mule, lost in a desert, helpless, dumb, and in constant need of direction. Never take the initiative, never strike out on your own, and never deviate from the plan. Why? Because you’re a brain-damaged mule and you’re lost in the damn desert!”

– Dave Lockwood

Neither personality seems tenable to a rational man. The archetypes are admittedly larger than life.

In the unmarried character’s earliest appearance, he boasts that on the previous night he “had to fight a bum” over a discard futon, so some hesitation to apply violence is suggested. Later, however, the same character -speaking  from his married friend’s body, advises the young daughter to always solve her problems with violence. It is excellent comedy in how it breaks convention this way, and consistent with framing masculine men as instigators of violence.

Another extremely insightful collection of data comes from Full-Metal-Jacketing, or Masculinity in the Making, where one finds explanation of an effort to “re-masculinize America”, in its analysis of books about the cultural conditioning of those who fought the Vietnam war. It discusses an examination of Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket as “an unmasking of patriarchy’s true meaning and motivation.”
The story of Full Metal Jacket, says Paula Willoquet-Maricondi in her book, accomplishes the reinstatement of a clarified rejection of the feminine -and restitution of the masculine by ultimately killing the female sniper – a purified masculine silencing the “castrating female”.

This relates to the binary of men presented in popular culture -viewed as either virile, successful hunters, or impotent, sensitive, weaklings. When weak, men are not man enough and are killed or not selected, and when men are strong, they do the selecting and the killing.

Men are frequently also denied their subjectivity in movies. It is not just the narratives – or stories – of the movies that communicate these messages, but also the visual techniques that producers employ. Who men are in film, is important, but how men in movies are filmed is also subject to this narrow character framing. By examining how men are framed by the camera, we gain insight into the stories about masculinity that are being told. In Iron Man, Tony Stark boldly squares off against dozens of hostile men with incendiary and automatic weapons, who are killing some people and enslaving others. The protagonist enters a sovereign nation and wreaks especially violent acts in the process of violating multiple international treaties.

When even good guys are so violent, is it possible to be strong, masculine, and sexually viable, but not be aggressive and violent?

In the documentary, Tough Guise, created by Jason Katz, especially valuable insights are provided on male identity and how it is formed, which can help answer that question.

The Tough Guise film systematically examines the relationship between pop-cultural imagery and the social construction of masculine identities in the U.S. at the dawn of the 21st century. The full movie helps to substantiate the premise of men being disproportionately portrayed in popular culture as violent criminals frequently seeking to rape and murder, as a means of reinforcing the image of a man as a tough, insensitive, unfeeling, stupid, sexually deviant and necessarily violent being.
Jackson Katz argues that widespread violence needs to be understood as part of an ongoing crisis in masculinity. In addition to the full length video, there is an accompanying study guide for instructors, here: http://www.mediaed.org/assets/products/237/studyguide_237.pdf

If the default framing of the American male identity in popular culture is as a sexually aggressive, mindless idiot that equates sex with violence, and violence with masculinity, then could this near-ubiquitous depiction have a negative effect on those exposed to these images?

Jonny rambo, jr.Focusing on the male capacity for violence keeps us from thinking of them as real, and as compassionate, feeling people who are unique, thoughtful individuals. There is nothing inherently wrong with these types of filmic techniques. In the real world, both men and women alike are violent, sexually aggressive and idiotic. The problem is that in the world of movies, and in so many other parts of our media culture, this is the primary way that men are represented. Boys who grow up surrounded by these images may become trapped in a notion of male identity that is not their own.
There are other scholarly works besides Tough Guise to support that premise, albeit from the perspective of feminist studies.
In Violent Love: Hunting, Heterosexuality, and the Erotics of Men’s Predation http://www.jstor.org.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/stable/3178583, Brian Luke draws parallels between sex and hunting. He compares the state of heterosexual male desire to predatory killing instinct, and his study equates the sexual satisfaction resulting from orgasm to (male) hunters’ desired satisfying result of killing. Brian Luke’s exploration of the relationship between socially encouraged forms of violence and killing, like hunting, with pursuit of women by the heterosexual male, is consistent with popular culture’s linkages between men’s predation in sex and propensity for violence.
Young people may internalize these ideas about men, and violence, and sex, and come to accept them as natural. They view their own identities and their own sexuality through the prism of movies we produce as an exploration of society’s anxiety, fears, and hopes -and act out the fantasies that recur in these films of popular culture. It behooves us to provide alternate, and realistic images of non-violent masculinity in films, alongside the spectacularly fantastic, and brutally real depictions we make for fun, of the violent animal called man.

Through this course I learned the perspectives of dozens of new individuals, each of whom brought their views, and their truths, to share. I also learned new functionality of the wordpress creative tools, and will be integrating much of this into the MartianMade® dot com website, including a discussion forum you are all welcome to participate in.

So, we all keep playing these games, and watching these movies, where both the good guys and the bad guys are employing violence.
Do they need to be so violent, to be considered masculine men?

What do you think?

Poll not scientific. For non-violent entertainment purposes, only.

Please visit martianmade.com

Sources

The Change-Up (2011) Universal, Directed by David Dobkin, starring Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds, with Olivia Wilde and featuring Alan Arkin http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1488555/

Full Metal Jacket (1987) Warner, Dir. Kubrick. Matthew Modine,Vincent D’Onofrio. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093058/

Iron Man (2008) Marvel, Dir. Jon Favreau. Robert Downey, Jr. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0371746/

Full-Metal-Jacketing, or Masculinity in the Making
Paula Willoquet-Maricondi, Cinema Journal
http://www.jstor.org.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/stable/1225514

Tough Guise: Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity, Jason Katz

Violent Love: Hunting, Heterosexuality, and the Erotics of Men’s Predation
Brian Luke, Feminist Studies http://www.jstor.org.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/stable/3178583

 

Discussion of Asian American in American sitcoms

Introduction

In this diverse cultural society, it has many different people who have different cultural backgrounds than others, and there is a growing minority comes to notice which is known as Asian. A research mentions, “According to Census Bureau data, the number of US native and foreign-born Asian residents rose 56 percent from the 2000 Census to the 2013 American Community Survey (one year release).” (Cox 2015) Undoubtedly, many Asian characters have started involving in the American entertainment industry. Superficially, Involving Asian characters in American sitcoms is a good sign because it offers extra opportunity to other ethnic groups to know about the ethnic group of Asian. Behind the back, most American sitcoms project negative Asian characters in the screen who are problematic, this is known as stereotypes. Hence, it is interesting to analyze these Asian characters that depicted in shows and see how they affect myself and people like me with this identity.

 

Varies of Asian stereotypes depicted in American sitcoms

Every Asian character has a similar characteristics in American sitcoms because these characteristics are centered on common stereotypes of Asian. For example, a video clip that trims a funny moment from a scene of The Big Bang Theory by a YouTuber called DengProductionsify.

From this video, Raj (the Asian character) is portrayed as a nerd who is being shy and try to evade Penny’s question (the White lady character) with odd action. Then, Penny comes to an assumption which is that Raj doesn’t speak English. According to these two aspects, we can see two common Asian stereotypes out of this scene. I am not judging about these because it is common to see some people who don’t speak English in this society, especially for those who are first-generation immigrants. However, I want to use my personal opinion and experience to explain why this character act like this. Let’s think of the “tiger mom” that we have heard about recently from media. (http://www.yourdictionary.com/tiger-mom) She treat you harshly and supervise you to ensure you use all your time in study before you step into the real society. That’s probably the reason we see many Asians are described as “nerd” because they sacrifice their own time and use every second of their life to study in the early age. As a result, this group of people possible become introverted and feel overwhelmed when talking to others, especially members of the opposite sex. There is another possible reason formed such phenomenon. From my personal experience, in older Chinese culture, boys have been told to stay a respectful distance between girls, which means that it is improper to touch or get close to girls for boys until they get into colleges (Of course, some people do not listen to it). Therefore, this creates a traditional trend for student’ daily life in school in which they often hangout with others of the same gender. (And of course, they are not gay.) I think that is the possible cause for Asian men don’t know how to communicate with women.

On the other hand, I do not encourage to show this stereotype in the screen because this will keep people to think that Asian is “nerd” and feel shy of communicating with women. Another reason is because there are bunch of people who are good at social communication, regardless of the gender of people and in what occasion. For example, Joe Wong is a Chinese American comedian who performs a very good and famous show in the Annual Dinner hosted by Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association at 2010.

Would he accept the stereotype of nerd, and who cannot talk to strangers or people of different gender? So, why can’t we try to portray these Asian characters without stereotypes and positively?

Another American sitcom called 2 Broke Girls, there is an Asian character called Han who owns an Asian Chinese restaurant where 2 broke girls work. In the show, you will notice that Han is being portrayed small and ethnic, speaks with accent. A video called Han’s Best Funny Moments and posted in YouTube, and there was a funny scene that showed how his employees made fun of his accent. (http://www.tubechop.com/watch/7917353#.VxuuRLmvBNU.link) It shows a stereotype that is Asians speak accented English, although the Asian character is an immigrant so it is not a problem for him to speak accented English. At some points, I personally feel it is bad to characterize all depiction of immigrants having an accent as necessarily negative depiction because it only bring a lot of negative effects. First, it reinforces the stereotype which every immigrant speaks accented English, but there are some immigrant who can speak perfect English. Second,  some “second generation immigrants”(who were born in the U.S and considered as Americans) may feel disgraceful when their peers mock them with accent, and in a broad perspective, sometime bullying is involved. “Situation comedies and reality television, as well as real life situations in schools, for example, show that acting out is more likely to get noticed than behaving oneself civilly and courteously.” (Bullying Statistics) This is also one of the reasons for me not to encourage TV shows to project stereotypes in the screen because they seem to help perpetuates stereotype of an ethnic group and implicitly bring negative influence on a certain aspect.

 

Summary

I am wondering why do we need to embed stereotypes into Asian characters in American sitcoms? Do we mean to do that, or we are lack of knowledge about this ethnic group so we can only go with stereotypes? An article called Asian Americans Struggle to ‘See Themselves’ in College Courses which presents a very useful way that seems possible to stop transmitting stereotypes. It mentions an Asian who is organizing a campaign to advocate adding ethnic studies in school program. I think it is a very well idea since it offers a chance or opportunity to people learn background information and knowledge about other cultures.  That the reason we construct stereotypes about other ethnic group is because we do not know about them. Therefore, it helps reduce stereotype if we get a chance to know about them. In conclusion, I find it is improper to present stereotypes in American sitcoms or even TV shows because media is most effective to spread information. I think we should understand the concept that stereotype is dangerous and harmful because it is like a wall that builds between people and prevent people from getting know each other. Therefore, the first step we should make is stop spreading stereotypes of an ethnic group in American sitcoms.

 

 

Learning moment

Throughout the term in this course, I feel like I have progress in my English writing and reading skills, and does something that I normally do not do and learn few analytical skills. First, the blog post is the biggest part to me, it offers me a chance to share my comments in which I rarely do it in a real class. Second, after reading many of my peers’ thought about a subject, it kind of trains me to become an objective person who can see one thing from different perspectives.

Additionally, the two valuable skills I learned throughout this course are the skill how to analyze an advertisement and the newsworthy criteria. News and advertisement are the media that are closely related to our daily life because we see it everywhere. Both of them are informative and easily spread message to people. Therefore, it is necessary to apply some critical skills on information we perceive from these two media in order to avoid receiving wrong, useless and misrepresented info.

 

 

Reference

Speedhar, Anjana. “5 Most Offensive Asian Characters in TV History.” Saloncom RSS. 22 Sept. 2013. http://www.salon.com/2013/09/22/tvs_5_most_offensive_asian_characters_partner/

Cox, Wendell. “Asians: America’s Fastest Growing Minority.” Asians: America’s Fastest Growing Minority. Web. 11 Apr. 2016. http://www.newgeography.com/content/004825-asians-americas-fastest-growing-minority

Luhar, Monica. “Asian Americans Struggle to ‘See Themselves’ in College Courses – NBC News.” NBC News. 13 Jan. 2015. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/asian-americans-struggle-see-themselves-college-courses-n284396

Sun, Chyng, Rachael Liberman, Allison Butler, Sun Young Lee, and Rachel Webb. “Shifting Receptions: Asian American Stereotypes and the Exploration of Comprehensive Media Literacy.” The Communication Review 18.4 (2015): 294- 314. http://www-tandfonline-com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/doi/abs/10.1080/10714421.2015.1085778

Teng, Elaine. “Why Is It Still Okay to Make Fun of Asians?” New Republic. 16 Mar. 2016. https://newrepublic.com/article/131631/still-okay-make-fun-asians

“Why Do People Bully? – Bullying Statistics.” Bullying Statistics. 2015. http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/why-do-people-bully.html

 

Popular Culture And Female Collegiate Athletes

The opportunity of being a collegiate athlete is a great privilege and an honor. The opportunity for these athletes to represent their school in their respective events is the result of many years of hard work, dedication, and determination. Granted, popular culture generally sheds collegiate athletes and athletes in a positive light, these same athletes are highly scrutinized and publicized. For women in sports, the media has been even more critical and has not differed in its representation of them in comparison to men. By doing so, this has continually promoted inequity in sports between men and women and the idea that females are inferior when it comes to athletics. Female collegiate athletes have become highly sexualized and are vastly underrepresented and misrepresented or have been viewed as entitled due to the media’s influence over its viewers on its multiple platforms.

SI Collage

  1. Top Left: Bruty, Semon. 2015, July 20. My Cup Our Cup. Retrieved from http://www.si.com/vault/search?term=July%2020%202015%20
  2. Top Right: Shipnuck, Alan. 2012, September 12. Manning Up. Retrieved from http://broncotalk.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/manning_si.jpg
  3. Bottom Left: Tsai, Yu. 2015, December 15. Serena Williams is Sports Illustrated’s 2015 Sportsperson of the Year. Retrieved from http://www.si.com/sportsperson/2015/12/14/serena-williams-si-sportsperson-year
  4. Bottom Right: 2015, February 23. Klay Thompson’s Warriors. Retrieved from http://www.nba.com/warriors/news/thompson-si-cover-20150219

 

Sexualization

Regarding the Sports Illustrated covers depicted above, one can observe a few noticeable differences between how the male and female athletes are portrayed. Serena Williams and Alex Morgan (two athletes that many female collegiate athletes look up to immensely) are shown with makeup, in flattering body positions, and are not necessarily shown showcasing their athletic abilities. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Klay Thompson and Peyton Manning are shown whilst competing in their sports. When female collegiate athletes see these respective images, they’ll focus on the sexualization of the female athletes and believe that is how they should look instead of admiring their athleticism and inspiring to be an athlete such as them. According to Kate Fagan, a contributor to ESPNW (ESPN’s female exclusive section), “…each time a female athlete is pictured in a sexualized way, it diminishes the perception of her athletic ability.” (2014). It’s shameful to see how seemingly harmless images such as these can shape and mold attitudes regarding how female athletes should look. Teenage female athletes, even adolescent ones, see these images and conclude that this is what they must look like in order to be successful in their chosen sport. As a result, many of these athletes become sexualized objects rather than athletic forces, even at the collegiate level. These sexualized images have the potential to be detrimental to young athletes. The media’s representation of female athletes as sexualized objects additionally lends support to negative, materialistic ideals that surround women in sports.

Underrepresentation

Over the years, women have been vastly underrepresented in sports representation. A journal I found investigates this issue by looking at the NCAA’s media guides, which updates readers on athletic achievements collegiately through pictures and articles. Through a study, the authors coded and analyzed numerous, individual media guides in an effort to measure the discrepancies between how male and females are portrayed on these media guides. These media guides are “representative of a powerful, highly prestigious, and influential sector of organized sports participation” (Buysse & Embser-Herbert, 2004). They serve as the main way for collegiate institutions to market their athletic programs to the public, whether that be alumni, sponsors, donors, or community members, through photographs and articles. According to the study conducted by Buysse and Embser-Herbert, the male athletes were, overall, portrayed by media guides in terms of their sheer physicality, athleticism, and in superior/dominant positions. The women, however, were feminized and their achievements as collegiate athletes were more often than not, trivialized. Specifically, out of the 307 covers that were analyzed, “47 percent portrayed women’s sports, while 53 percent portrayed men’s sports”. In addition, the findings concluded that women athletes were vastly underrepresented on the court/field and in action. After reading the study, it was shocking to see how an organization, such as the NCAA (who promotes equality of genders in sports), was misrepresenting and underrepresenting women in their own press releases and even promoting social constructs of what a female athlete should look/act like when competing in their chosen sport. A lack of representation for women athletes in popular culture also facilitates the belief that women athletes are exceedingly inferior to men athletes and their athletic achievements do not need to be taken seriously.

Misrepresentation

Lastly, women and men athletes alike have been largely misrepresented and misinterpreted throughout popular culture platforms. Because of this, misconceptions and negative attitudes/stereotypes have arisen regarding student-athletes. These could include the beliefs that student athletes are entitled, “dumb jocks”, narcissists, and undeserving. For female athletes, a study was conducted to measure the stereotypes that they most often hear. Fifteen female collegiate athletes were interviewed and they stated that the primary stereotypes directed at them were that they were lesbian and masculine (Kerrie & Krane, 2006). This consensus could be due to the media laying a foundation for collegiate women’s sports as being homo negative and heterosexist. If female athletes do not look like their highly sexualized, professional counterparts, they are automatically assumed to be “lesbian” or “manly” and not given credence for their athletic abilities nor are they represented in the media.

Popular culture’s effects on attitudes towards student-athletes can also be followed to the classroom setting. Whether professors are aware of it or not, there is evidence to show that it is highly likely that they will have negative attitudes/impressions for student-athletes within their classes. Even though findings showed that student-athletes do not differ from their regular student peers on participation and work ethic in the classroom, faculty members still held more negative feelings/attitudes towards student-athletes. These same faculty members that were interviewed stated that, if it weren’t for the negative publicity that tends to surround collegiate athletes, they would most likely not have this mindset (Comeaux, 2011).

Another common generalization about student-athletes is that they are lazy and undeserving of receiving a free education plus benefits. Leaked images of athletes seen partying and articles discussing athletes being given money or gifts is a common way the media promotes this stereotype. However, these athletes shown are just a minute percentage of student-athletes and shouldn’t be the poster children of what being a collegiate athlete is. A highly publicized interview with the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman discusses his perspective of what it was like being a student-athlete at Stanford University. In essence, Sherman discusses how people get upset with student-athletes because they are portrayed as not being focused in school and fail to take advantage of the major opportunity they have been given. This should not be the case, however, due to the immense time constraints, pressure (in school and on the field), and mental and/or physical exhaustion student athletes go through on a day-to-day basis (Sherman, 2015). Furthering this idea is a piece done by CNBC discussing how athletic scholarships are not necessarily the “Holy Grail”. Contrary to popular belief, the amount of actual athletic scholarships handed out is very rare. For men and women lucky enough to obtain these scholarships, there are many untold pressures and negative aspects that go along with playing a collegiate sport. Whether it be long practice hours, taxing physical demands, and struggling to balance intense college course with their sport, athletes are on a completely different schedule than those non-athlete regular students (Holland & Schoer, 2014). In reality, the amount of hard work and determination that comes with obtaining an athletic scholarship is astronomical. What isn’t shown in the media is the unglorified schedule of what a typical athlete must do. Again, by not showing this, the public automatically generates negative attitudes towards student-athletes.

(link to interview: https://youtu.be/FIdOKqga8NU)

 

Conclusion

Although the media has increased its representation of women in sports, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Effects from their lack of representation are still present in the forms of social constructs, generalizations, and stereotypes surround female athletes, whether they be student athletes or professionals. The continuation of sexualizing female athletes will further these ideals and prevent women in sports from being thought of as true athletic forces capable of immense achievements. Additonally, misrepresentations of student athletes as a whole have brought up further barriers that these athletes should not have to overcome.

 

Reflection of Term

Throughout this term, I have read many enlightening posts and articles regarding media’s influence on our everyday lives. I recognize that there is a strong connection between my topic and to how advertisers are persistently trying to garner interest through images that they believe will capture the most attention and will satisfy its consumers. Like John Berger described in his “Ways of Seeing” videos, consumers are constantly being surrounded by images that show them an alternate way of life and creates a type of social envy. In addition, I think it’s shocking how ads manipulate people’s attitudes and beliefs of how they think things should be or what they should have. It was eye-opening to read how the media is able to find ways to appeal to various types of people with just minute details within their ads. Whether it be an appearance of a celebrity or the positioning of a logo, companies put a great deal of thought into what could potentially pull in more customers.

I think the discussions I learned the most from are the Week 1 and Week 5 blog post discussions regarding how different media sources can be highly biased and can manipulate the way they provide their information to promote the messages they choose to. Like I said in the week 1 post, I had never taken into account that sites such as Wikipedia could have such a substantial inadequacy of diversity which would result in the spreading of skewed information. I had always wondered why teachers were so wholeheartedly against the use of Wikipedia on assignments, however after learning about the unreliableness of Wikipedia I completely understand how it can lead viewers astray with its largely unchecked and inaccurate information. Additionally, I found it thoroughly interesting to read about how articles published by news sources can influence its readers into thinking in a way that they want them to. Analyzing the general lack of information and word choice in the Huffington Post’s piece on the Afghanistan kidnappings was very constructive with showing students as to how this can happen and how to potentially stop falling victim to this kind of influence. Learning to critically analyze these news articles is imperative for people in order for them to form their own ideas and to not just mindlessly follow the societal norm. This idea can also be linked to my topic in the final blog post. Certain news sources choose to represent female athletes in a sexualized fashion in an effort to garner interest, even though it is not necessarily interest centered around their athletic abilities. By offering up highly provocative images, they are sparking negative and positive interests that can accumulate discussion and/or publicity around their organization.

 

 

 

 

 

Reference

Buysse, J. M., & Embser-Herbert, M. S. (2004). Constructions of Gender in Sport: An Analysis of Intercollegiate Media Guide Cover Photographs. Gender and Society, 18(1), 66-81. Retrieved May 28, 2016, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/4149374

 

Comeaux, E. (2011). A Study of Attitudes toward College Student-Athletes: Implications for Faculty-Athletics Engagement. The Journal of Negro Education, 80(4), 521-532. Retrieved May 28, 2016, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41341157?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

 

Fagan, K. (2015, October 15). Sex sells? Trend may be changing. Retrieved May 28, 2016, from http://espn.go.com/espnw/w-in-action/nine-for-ix/article/9604247/sex-sells-trend-changing-espnw

 

Holland, K., & Schoen, J. W. (2014, October). Think athletic scholarships are a ‘holy grail’? Think again. Retrieved May 28, 2016, from http://www.cnbc.com/2014/10/13/think-athletic-scholarships-are-a-holy-grail-think-again.html

 

Kerrie, K. J., & Krane, V. (2006). “Scary Dykes” and “Feminine Queens”: Stereotypes and Female Collegiate Athletes. Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal, 15(1). Retrieved May 28, 2016, from https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1G1-220135984/scary-dykes-and-feminine-queens-stereotypes-and.

 

Sherman, R. (2015, January 29). Richard Sherman discusses college athletes’ time constraints [Interview]. Retrieved May 28, 2016, from http://www.si.com/nfl/2015/01/29/richard-sherman-seahawks-ncaa-seattle

The Portrayal of Female Gym Rats

*Note: For this post, gym rats refer to those who frequently go to the gym to exercise.

In recent years, there has been a rise in the fitness industry and more and more people continue to find themselves working on their health at the gym these days. Because of this growing trend, the fitness community now functions with its own set of lingo, fashion, and even stereotypes. In fact, some of these stereotypes are visible in popular culture, especially when it comes to females. This post explores some examples of these female stereotypes portrayed in popular culture.

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Before analyzing the way popular culture depicts such stereotypes about female gym rats, it is important to review why they even exist in the first place. To start off, a lot of the ways female gym rats are perceived come from males, and because of that, most women are “gymtimidated” by male dominance in the gym. To stray away from any gymtimidation, women often stick to the areas where male gym rats are rarely at, such as the cardio space in which treadmills or elliptical machines can be found. Men, on the other hand, usually dominate the weights area. In an article from The Guardian, founder of Gymetrix Rory McGown claims, “There’s a stereotype of a groaning bodybuilding guy using the weights area” (as cited in Fry, par. 6). The groaning itself is enough to stray women away, despite their interest in weight training. For that reason, most women are perceived to be doing cardio such as running on the treadmill.  

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In this Apple Music advertisement, celebrity Taylor Swift is seen rapping to Drake and Future’s song “Jumpman” while working out. Of course, she is running on a treadmill. While the advertisement is obviously only meant to promote Apple’s Music feature, it is portraying a female working out by running on the treadmill, which goes back to the stereotype that women only do cardio.

Still not convinced? Let us look at Geico’s recent Flextacular ad.

In this advertisement, Geico is promoting “more ways to save” by using a gym scene of men exercising. Both men are lifting in the weights area at the gym. The purpose of these examples is not to criticize Geico and Apple for being sexist, rather it is simply to show how these stereotypes are being acknowledged in popular culture, whether it is intended or unintended.

Moving on, besides groaning, women often receive other negative vibes from men at the gym. In an article in The Telegraph, writer Radhika Sanghani points out, “If you’re a woman struggling to exercise, the men won’t laugh at you – they’ll just pity you.” In this article, she references Louis Durkin, manager of the men-only gym Muscleworks. According to Durkin, “If a man thinks a woman’s attractive, he’ll flirt. If the woman isn’t as good-looking and he wants to use the equipment, he’ll look at her unfavourably. It’s a caveman mentality.” Because of these perceptions, women continue to face such stereotypes, especially in popular culture.

This YouTube video portrays examples of both the pitiable and attractive female gym rat.

The clip compares the gym to the wildlife, and the narrator (male voice) begins by describing one type of woman at the gym in ways that make her seem pitiable. For instance, he points out that her emergence marks the beginning of the “New Year’s Resolutioners,” as if indicating that women only go to the gym as a New Year’s resolution.

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The filmmaker(s) even portray this woman as timidly entering the gym with a Starbucks drink and looking cautiously around as if unaware of where to situate herself. It is also important to note that the introduction of this clip shows an overview of men lifting weights and women (dressed sexually) doing cardio. Furthermore, about two minutes into the video, the narrator indicates that “Some members of the female species will flaunt their sexually developed bodies in order to attract the attention of a mate.” As the narrator is speaking, the camera is focusing on the breasts of the women. This is an example of popular culture portraying the “attractive” female gym rat. The clip emphasizes how the “female” species will “flaunt” their bodies in order to “attract” the attention of a mate. Not only does the clip make the female appear to be seductive, it also makes female gym rats look like their main purpose at the gym is to seek the attention of men.

On top of these, female gym rats are still perceived as many other things in popular culture. In this one single clip, different types of women are shown, pointing out to its audience “Don’t be that girl at the gym.”

It starts off with two women on the treadmill – one putting on lipstick and the other spraying herself with perfume. While this is obviously an exaggerated depiction, it still shows how popular culture tends to make fun of female gym rats. The next portion revolves around the idea, “Don’t be the naïve girl.” The way the clip films this portion is interesting because it completely displays a guy sexually harassing a woman while teaching her how to exercise. Yet instead of telling the audience not to be that guy who sexually harasses women, the video focuses on reminding people not to be the inexperienced woman who has no idea how to use gym equipment. After that, we are brought to the next portion, “Don’t be the endless talker.” This section shows two men disguised as women having a conversation while working out on the elliptical machines. Here, popular culture is portraying female gym rats as talkative. The next segment is yet again another interesting part, with the title “Don’t be the gym flirt.” It begins with a guy interrupting a few women by asking, “So ladies, can I buy you a protein shake?” As he asks this question, he flexes his body while winking and raising his eyebrows – which are signs of flirtation. Yet even if it is evident that the guy was the first to show signs of flirtation, the clip still focuses on the notion “Don’t be that girl at the gym [who flirts].”

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The video continues on by demonstrating the female gym rat as competitive, narcissistic, and hypocritical.

Thus, it is no surprise that women continue to go through all these stereotypes just for wanting to be healthy. Again, so many of what we see about them in popular culture comes from the very things that happen in the gym in reality. Majority of these examples came from male perspectives and that is because their dominance in the gym space gives them that advantage. “As long as many women still find gyms – and particularly weights areas – unwelcoming, male-dominated spaces, it will prove difficult to tackle such misconceptions. (Fry, par. 12)” It seems as if the solution Fry is suggesting is that women be not afraid of taking on weight training. In her article, she brings in the statement of David Stalker, CEO of UK Active. He states, “The important thing is that women do not miss out on the opportunity to strength train because of embarrassment or intimidation.”

On the other hand, besides male perspectives, the spatial organization in gyms can also contribute to these stereotypes. A writer from The Ubyssey agrees and points out that “in many gyms, cardio machines are lined up on one side of the room and face the large weight machines. Through a gendered lens, this can be seen as reinforcing the gender binary, particularly for females who focus exclusively on cardio . . .” (Heatherington, par. 7). Heatherington brings in the testimonial of Victoria Felkar, a personal trainer and bodybuilder. Felkar reports her experience: “I’m now sitting on that bike and I’m looking over the field of men training weights and grunting and growling and all of the bromance,” Felkar said. “That’s not exactly the most inviting environment, especially if we’re trying to break down these cultural binaries of the gendered gym environment” (as cited in Heatherington, par. 8). Therefore, another solution to eliminate such stereotypes could be to reexamine the way gym equipment and machines are set up.

After all, many stereotypes only exist because we make them exist. The good thing is that we have a choice on whether or not we want to keep them or fix them.

 

Learning Moments

Taking this course has allowed me to have several “learning moments” that ultimately made my journey in this course one to remember. One of these moments was in Week 2, when we read the article about the Doltish Dad. http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/06/what_to_expect_and_up_all_night_the_doltish_dad_on_screen_is_changing_.html

For me this was a learning moment because it allowed me to realize how much television influences the way we see people in society. Because most fathers are rarely shown in TV as stay-at-home fathers who take care of the kids while the wife works, we barely think of them that way in real life. Most of us think of them as “doltish” when it comes to raising kids. After reading that article for our course text that week, I now continue to evaluate and think about how television portrays other identities.

Another moment I had was in Week 6, when we had to analyze Adidas’ House Party Ad.

If I was watching this advertisement outside of this course, I would just think of it as a “cool” ad. However, I was able to completely look at the ad piece by piece and come up with an educated conclusion about it. For instance, I was able to notice some of the appeals they use such as the sex appeal. After this exercise, I now analyze commercials for what it really seems to be doing – rather than just simply saying it is “cool” or “boring.” Overall, taking this course has allowed me to become a much wiser member of a society that revolves around popular culture.

Works Cited

Buffdudes. “GYM WILDLIFE.” YouTube. YouTube, 28 Dec. 2015. Web. 15 May 2016.

CarlieStylez. “DON’T BE THAT GIRL AT THE GYM.” YouTube. YouTube, 30 Apr. 2013. Web. 15 May 2016.

Fry, Lucy. “Women and Weight Training: A Heavy Duty.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 06 Oct. 2013. Web. 15 May 2016.

GEICO. “Flextacular: More More More – GEICO.” YouTube. YouTube, 03 Jan. 2016. Web. 15 May 2016.

Heatherington, Reyhana. “Gendered Gyms: How Equipment Layout Reinforces Stereotypes.” The Ubyssey. N.p., 09 Apr. 2014. Web. 15 May 2016.

Martin, M. Keith. “House Party (Adidas Originals Ad).” YouTube. Adidas Originals, 5 Dec. 2008. Web. 15 May 2016.

Officialbeatsmusictv. “TAYLOR vs. TREADMILL.” YouTube. YouTube, 01 Apr. 2016. Web.15 May 2016.

Rosin, Hanna. “TV and Film’s Doltish Dad Gets a Makeover.” Slate Magazine. The Slate Group, 15 June 2012. Web. 15 May 2016.

Sanghani, Radhika. “What Men Really Think about Women in the Gym.” The Telegraph.Telegraph Media Group, 07 May 2015. Web. 15 May 2016.

Homeschoolers in Hollywood

Featured

It’s 11:30am and I’m at the grocery store with my mom. We’re heading for the checkout lane and I grit my teeth and clench my stomach, resigned to what’s about to happen. I watch the groceries glide along the conveyor belt and reach the checker. It begins.

“Why aren’t you in school?”

My mom looks at me, giving me the eye that I had better be polite to this lady.

“I’m homeschooled.”

A torrent of questions follow. These usually include the following:

  • How do you meet and socialize with other children?
  • Do you have friends?
  • Do you wear your pajamas all day?
  • Do you ever wish you went to real school?
  • Do you ever want to get out of the house? (“Hello, I am out of the house” is what I would say if my mom weren’t there)
  • What church do you go to?
  • (to my mom) How do you do it? I tried homeschooling my kids, but they just drove me nuts. (to me) Do you drive your mom nuts?

I understand these people and these questions. Most children attend public school. I am the rarity called the homeschooler. I have prepared answers to these questions, but they get asked so often, I get tired of responding. Now that I’m at university, the questions have subsided. I’m in the system now. This popular culture class has given me the opportunity to reflect on the twelve years I was homeschooled. Researching how the media stereotypes homeschoolers led me into another interesting observation. Today’s homeschoolers have embraced the media to challenge the mainstream media’s biased perception of homeschoolers. However, the success of these rebuttals is open to question, as many of these types of media reinforce or create yet new stereotypes homeschoolers must face.

Stereotypes: Fact or Fiction?

Type “homeschooler” into Google Images. You’ll get a family of five or more kids wearing long dresses and overalls, a kid in thick glasses winning a spelling bee, and this humorous sign warning of the dangers of interacting with a homeschooler:

Many crazy stereotypes get added to the “homeschooling” stereotype pot, often contradictory ones at that. We’re conservative and liberal. We’re not at regular school because we’re endowed with superior intellect and because we’re idiots who can’t keep up with our grade level. The only “fact” the media can agree on is that we have social issues and live sheltered lives. I don’t identify as any of the above. I lie in the middle of the political spectrum, thinking for myself instead of for a party. I’m not a dummy (4.0 student so far), but I’m by no means a genius. I’m Christian, but grew up in a nonreligious family. As I researched and combed through all these stereotypes about me, I got to wondering: am I an anomaly? Will facts show that I am just that outlier on the graph of homeschoolers?

To summarize my research in a sentence, I’d say that we’re not as bad as the mainstream media presents us, but we’re not as great as we tend to think ourselves to be. First of all, homeschoolers are not so rare as they used to be. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) charted the number of homeschooling students between 2003 and 2012. Based on their criteria for a homeschooling student, the NCES estimated that the number of homeschooling students increased by 61.8% across the United States — that’s about 677,000 new homeschoolers! We’re pretty smart, but not child prodigies either. According to a summary research article — which cites original, already conducted research — the homeschooling environment can “provide supportive learning settings,” but homeschooling students “are more likely to fall behind expected grade.” We’re not that awkward and unable to fit into normal life. Many homeschoolers have adapted easily to the university system. Stanford regularly recruits and admits homeschoolers, finding that “the brightest homeschoolers bring a mix of unusual experiences, special motivation, and intellectual independence.” So, when it comes to picking out the homeschooling facts from the homeschooling myths, one can say that homeschooling works and doesn’t, has its advantages and disadvantages, just like public school. But despite these facts, the media still continues to perpetuate homeschooling myths.

Homeschoolers According to Hollywood

The moon setting over an amorous couple in Paris, the Eiffel tower sitting picturesquely in the background. A gondolier singing an Italian ditty in the Venetian canals. The slanted-eyed Chinese villain with a Fu Manchu mustache. The socially inept, nerdy homeschooler who difficultly attempts to navigate popular culture. However humorous we find these stock characters, we must acknowledge them for what they are: stereotypes that have two-dimensional views of reality. Movies are artifacts constructed by Hollywood — one of the largest producers of media consumed by the masses — informing us how to consider, treat, and value differences and others. So, to start my research on homeschoolers in the media, I watched movies.

I started with Mean Girls, the popular 2004 blockbuster directed by Mark Waters and starring Lindsay Lohan. The film is about a homeschooled teenage girl navigating her way around that frightening rite of passage: high school. The first few minutes of Mean Girls quickly establish what a homeschooler is: nerdy, intellectual, backwater conservative “freaks.”

When protagonist and narrator Cady Heron then assures us she is not like this, it seems like the film has rejected this stereotype. But the content of Mean Girls itself dashes this hope. Cady doesn’t understand popular culture references and is socially inept when trying to fit in at her new high school.

badbreath

Cady’s friends are shocked at her having been homeschooled, finding this as interesting and rare as the fact she grew up in Africa. Director Mark Waters and screenwriter Tina Fey explain that the film was originally going to be called Homeschooled and feature Cady as an American homeschooled student, instead of being raised in Africa. But Paramount objected, thinking that the audience might assume that “it might make her too religiously weird if she were homeschooled here.” This remark is telling, showing how the media feels pressured into continuing to uphold certain stereotypes.

Homeschoolers According to (Homeschooled) Hollywood

In 2008, Sony Pictures — an established studio in the Hollywood studio system — founded the label Affirm Films, a studio aimed at attracting a Christian audience. Their 2014 release Mom’s Night Out centers on stay-at-home, homeschooling, mother-of-three Allyson and her attempt at having a stress-free girls’ night out. The film was written by and directed by former homeschoolers, Andrew and Jon Erwin. Before watching the movie, I watched a promotional film for Mom’s Night Out, in which Andrew Erwin sings the praises of homeschooling mothers, claiming he couldn’t have become a successful Hollywood director had his mother not pulled him from public school and homeschooled him.

After watching this video, I had great hopes for Mom’s Night Out. As a homeschooler who has broken into the Hollywood system, Erwin was in a unique place to represent homeschoolers like never before.

The first mention of homeschooling in the film is a negative one, unfortunately, perpetuating the stereotype that homeschoolers possess a “mightier than thou” attitude toward children who attend public school. When reporting her missing car, Allyson describes her bumpersticker “My homeschooling student is smarter than your honor student.” This antagonism pits supporters of the public school system against supporters of homeschooling, and vice versa. Homeschoolers may find characters like Cady Heron offensive, while non-homeschoolers may find Allyson’s self-righteous attitude annoying.

However, neither represent homeschooling well and depict reality. According to a survey conducted by the NCES, 85% of homeschooling parents opted to homeschool their children due to “concern about environment of other schools,” while 16% cited “dissatisfaction with the academic instruction available at other schools” as the motivating factor of their decision to homeschool. So yes, homeschooling parents believe they are making a sound decision to school their children at home. But by touting around a “I’m so much better than you for homeschooling my children” attitude, we do a disservice to ourselves and homeschooling. I have known several homeschoolers with this smug attitude, but from personal experience I can say the media has blown this stereotype out of proportion. We should realize that when we possess this antagonism, and when we create characters like Allyson, we are potentially turning more people off homeschoolers than gaining respect for it.

For me, the main disappointment of Mom’s Night Out was Allyson’s reason for homeschooling her children. Allyson is a germaphobe and obsessed with having control. When her children make her a surprise breakfast, instead of enjoying the sweet moment, she freaks out at the thought they might get salmonella.

Later on, Allyson’s husband knows all is not well when he comes home to find his house a mess. Allyson is hiding in her closet, crying and watching an animal video on YouTube on repeat to block the messy house from her mind. The Erwin brothers imply that it is this need to have control over her children’s lives that partially motivates her decision to homeschool. Allyson’s germaphobic and controlling character is supposed to be comedic. However, this kind of comedy is dangerous. Because of it, we don’t take Allyson seriously. Her decision to homeschool her children based on these irrational fears are absurd, so we might assume homeschooling itself is absurd. Erwin had the opportunity to use the mainstream media to represent homeschoolers well and possibly dispel some homeschooling stereotypes. But instead, Erwin further perpetuated these stereotypes and ultimately did homeschooling a disservice.

The Blimey Cow Solution (?)

We live in a highly connected world thanks to the Internet. If we have something to say, we can get it out to the world. Alternative media gives voice to the individual, a direct link between communicator and audience, instead of via the circuitous route of the Hollywood/mass media system. Homeschoolers have embraced alternative media like YouTube to directly represent homeschooling. Some of these homeschoolers are brothers Josh and Jordan Taylor, creators of the YouTube web series “Blimey Cow.” The Taylors first viral video was their video “You Might be a Homeschooler If…”

The success of this video led to many more “You Might Be a Homeschooler If…” videos, and other videos debunking homeschooling stereotypes. Performing parody skits, the Taylors caricature and overemphasize the stereotypes. With Jordan Taylor’s authoritative and ridiculing narration juxtaposed with these skits, the stereotypes now seem absurd. The Taylors, both homeschoolers, don’t seem at all like the stereotypes.

So, is “Blimey Cow” the solution? Should all homeschoolers drop what they’re doing, make a video, and post it on YouTube? Unfortunately, “Blimey Cow” has some similar problems to Mom’s Night Out. Like the Erwin brothers, the Taylors unintentionally perpetuate their own homeschooling stereotypes. For instance, in the video “Seven Lies about Homeschoolers,” Jordan Taylor claims that “most homeschooling families vote Republican. That’s a stereotype that’s actually true.”

That was a pretty general, board statement, so I did some research to see if that was true. While no survey or published research exists on the political demographics of homeschooling families, political scientist and Stanford professor Rob Reich says the homeschooling population has become more diverse. “No longer the preserve of left wing unschoolers and right wing religious fundamentalists, the great range of people who have chosen to home school their children make it difficult to draw even broad generalizations about the phenomenon.” So, the Taylors cannot make this claim without denting their up-to-now intact reputation for dispelling stereotypes. Homeschoolers stereotyping homeschoolers is dangerous because it factionalizes homeschoolers and without a united front, we cannot hope to change the mass media’s ideas of homeschoolers.

Conclusion

Society will not stop stereotyping us if we don’t stop stereotyping ourselves first. We must acknowledge that like all groups and identities, we are individuals in a cosmopolitan community. There is no one type of homeschooler. Homeschooling is growing more popular; it has become more mainstream, and so hopefully we can look to a better future for homeschooler representation in the media. But we must present ourselves well first. Now more and more often, when I tell someone I was homeschooled, I get answers like:

  • That’s so cool! I know someone who was homeschooled!
  • Me too!
  • Tell me more about what you did as a homeschooler.

The media is a platform where we can directly communicate who we are to others. Let’s use it to our advantage.

Learning Moments

My biggest take-away from this course has been that the media may be a reflection of reality, but like all reflections, it is one-dimensional and distorts certain aspects of an issue. For instance, in the excerpt from This American Life we heard this term, we learned how the press convoluted Al Gore’s Love Canal comment. The media misquoted and pulled the sentence out of context. Because news readers and television viewers were not present at the speech, we were “forced” to see the event through the lens of the media. I learned we must critically analyze the media we consume. The media may reflect reality, but it offers a certain reflection of reality as envisioned by someone else.

During this term, I was afraid of becoming overly cynical and critical. I feel we have to try to approach the media with as much of an objective mind that we can muster. We can’t accept everything we read or see, but it’s just as dangerous to assume everything we read and see was created by a malignant entity with evil intentions. My second biggest learning moment this term was realizing there is hope in attaining better balanced, and more inclusive media. With platforms like YouTube, personal blogs, and social media, we can directly share our experiences with the world, instead of allowing the mainstream media, the “middlemen,” to provide us with a prepackaged interpretation of the world around us.

Works Cited

Blimey Cow. “Seven More Lies About Homeschoolers.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 18 November 2013. Web. 27 May 2016.

—. “Messy Mondays: You Might Be a Homeschooler If…” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 30 March 2012. Web. 27 May 2016.

“Digest of Education Statistics 2013.” National Center for Education Statistics: Institute of Education Sciences. U.S. Department of Education, May 2015. Web. 27 May 2016.

Foster, Christine. “In a Class by Themselves.” Stanford Magazine. November/December 2000: n. pag. Web. 27 May 2016.

“Homeschooling in the United States: Statistical Analysis Report.” National Center for Education Statistics: National Household Education Surveys Program. U.S. Department of Education, February 2006. Web. 27 May 2016.

Jamaludin, Khairul Azhar, Norlidah Alias, and Dorothy DeWitt. “Research and Trends in the Studies of Homeschooling Practices: A Review on Selected Journals.” TOJET: The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology. 14.3 (2015). Web. 27 May 2016.

Mean Girls. Dir. Mark Waters. Perf. Lindsay Lohan, Jonathan Bennett, Rachel McAdams. Paramount, 2004. Film.

“Mission Statement.” Affirm Films. Sony, n.d. Web. 27 May 2016.

Mom’s Night Out. Dir. Andrew and Jon Erwin. Perf. Sarah Drew, Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton, and Trace Adkins. Affirm Films,  2014. Film.

Mom’s Night Out Movie. “Mom’s Night Out: From One Homeschooler to Another.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 17 April 2014. Web. 27 May 2016.

Reich, Rob. “More Oversight Is Needed.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 2 December 2015. Web. 27 May 2016.

Reitz, Michael. “How the Media Gets it Wrong about Homeschooling.” Practical Homeschooling. Home Life, Inc., 2004. Web. 27 May 2016.

Unknown User. “Mean Girls – Homeschooled.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 30 October 2010. Web. 27 May 2016.

Oh! Where to Find Peace of Mind?

Video

by: Sophia Jarvis

One of the most romantic notions of a life well-lived is the experience of moving to a faraway land where a person can immerse themselves in another culture, cuisine, climate, language, landscape, and architecture. This dream is not foreign in the United States, especially to the American woman. The concept of leaving the past behind to forge a future of literal and metaphorical good weather gives many a yearning to experience the Other. As such, the American woman is primed to desire the exotic because of the promise of a simpler, more romantically fulfilling life. However, rather than critiquing the status quo of their origin, the female protagonists in films like Eat, Pray, Love, Under the Tuscan Sun, and Mahogany all flee to pursue their individual success story whether that be emotional harmony, love and family, or career achievements, respectively. By placing women in the metaphorical driving seat of an Other culture, there is the hope she might be treated with the same socioeconomic privileges as a man would in America. Thus the representation of American women living in other countries is marketed to engage women as active consumers.

Films seem the most natural extension of interrogating this construction because of their widely distributed base and prevalence in the business of representation. All three artifacts come from the same genre (big-budget films) because it appears a relatively restricted way to control for variance due to publishing medium. In order to gain a working understanding of the representations in this blog post, here are the trailers for the three films that will be discussed.

Eat, Pray, LoveIn this trailer, Elizabeth Gilbert’s (Julia Roberts) adventure promises a vague inner peace that will lead to true love.

Under the Tuscan Sun – Here Frances (Diane Lane) searches for a home and community where family values and shared experiences are steeped in tradition.

MahoganyCareer achievement and financial success are Tracy’s (Diana Ross) ultimate goals, even at the expense of her intimate relationships.

At first glance, all three films contain women who are normatively beautiful, slender, socially extraverted, have or seek careers that allow them to live just about anywhere in the world, use alcohol as a therapist, do not speak the language of their new residence, and are single for the majority of the film—yet a major plot focus is on their romantic relationship(s). Interestingly enough, all three protagonists live in Italy with only one taking up residence in other countries as well.

All of these observations are interesting to note because they give a first impression of the type of woman America assumes can and does live abroad, and what that life might look like. In order to understand these representations, however, it is helpful to recognize different categorical promises that the lifestyle is advertised as providing. To interrogate these promises, isolating them affords the opportunity to see what they each rely on. Then they can be put back together to contextualize the content.

Portrait of a Person – Stereotypes and Personal Traits

The representation of female American expat (FAE) is rife with imagery, especially of the actual person doing the living. The top four google image results containing people for “American female expat” as of early this month were the following:

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Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Although these images alone could stand as artifacts for the representation of FAEs, here they are meant to act as support for the greater image of the person they intend to mimic. Additionally these images are consistent with two of the three films—white middle-aged women who are career driven. All three films, however, seek to reinforce the self of each female as an autonomous consumer of the other culture. As Ruth Williams points out in her article “Eat, Pray, Love: Producing the Female Neoliberal Spiritual Subject”, women are “encouraged to adopt a depoliticized outlook that ignores oppressive social realities in favor of a therapeutically tinged focus on herself” (616). In the pictures as well as the films the women are focused on themselves completely. There are not even other people present. The photo on the top right gives a vague inclination that the viewer is being brought into the experience with the woman, but above all there are no external influences within the imagery.

Although the article is geared specifically towards Eat, Pray, Love the same mentality can also be observed in Under the Tuscan Sun when Frances’s (Diane Lane) friend Katherine, another expat, gives her the nudge to buy a villa in the Tuscan countryside without knowing anything about her. The insidiousness of the assumption here is that without knowing her, Katherine has assumed that Frances has the means or desire to buy the villa, and with her upper-class appearance represents the belief that all women have the means to participate in the same lifestyle or they must be inherently flawed. Another example of this in the film Mahogany is the overarching theme that career success is more important than the friend-, work- and romantic relationships Tracy (Diana Ross) has built up over years. Thus, the image of the FAE becomes one synonymous with personal gain at the expense of the world around them.

Portrait of a Life – Privilege and Luxury

Another interesting facet of the FAE is the cultivated image that goes along with the person’s archetypal representation. Below the images exploit some of the positive and negative constructions of life abroad:

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Left: Taken from Surviving in Italy blog, Right: You have no idea how much time I spent looking for peanut butter.

Image sources: 1, 2

On the left the image has a sense of fashion, adventure, being carefree, and although there are some hiccups along the way (very left), a willingness to participate in spontaneous and reckless behavior (middle left) will lead to a more playful and fun existence (middle right). The reality, however, is much more like the image on the right. In the article “The Consumer Acculturation of Expatriate Americans” by Mary C. Gilly, she qualitatively measures the difficulty of American women adjusting to life as consumers in Madrid. Their findings indicate that the two categories of items most difficult to assimilate to were food and medical items (508-509). In my experience, this is wholly true. The majority of the group activity for our Facebook group was filled with “Where do I find [insert product]?” and “Help! I need to go to the hospital, have an English-speaking doctor/dentist recommendation?” or some variance of the two. In the films, this aspect of adjustment is glossed over without paying much attention. Each character quickly finds English-speaking friends on whom they can rely to translate from the get-go, and learn the host language either at an astonishing rate (Eat, Pray, Love and Under the Tuscan Sun) or hardly put any effort into it at all (Mahogany). Eat, Pray, Love even goes so far as to mock the Italian language by reducing it to the use of gestures to communicate anything you might want to say [read: anything Italians might want to say] since the rest of their culture has also been essentialized as a place where tradition equates sensual pleasure.

Later in the article, Gilly extrapolates from the experiences of many FAEs by adding that there are:

…four main periods of adjustment: 1) euphoria, where new arrivals are open to new sights, sounds and tastes, 2) skepticism, where newness becomes threatening, 3) integration, where guilt feelings emerge (because Americans place value in learning new ways) so that some effort is made to obtain some ingredients for favorite dishes from local sources, and 4) adaptation, where ingredients are consciously substituted and foods from home are combined with foods from the host country, with the expatriate again willing to try completely new foods (506).

This is an interesting piece of information to think about with respect to the films because in each there is some culinary highlight in Italy, yet in Eat, Pray, Love the gastronomy of India and Indonesia, both notoriously colorful and flavorful, are overlooked entirely. Here we can see that each country has been essentialized to a singular feature it has to offer. For Tracy in Mahogany, it is fashion. For Frances in Under the Tuscan Sun, it is land. For Elizabeth in Eat, Pray, Love, it is food (Italy), spirituality (India), and balance/love (Indonesia).

Portrait of a Place – Sensual Pleasure and Escape

Similar to the overall theme associated with interrogating pop culture representations, is the glamorous photography around cultural centers. In my experience abroad, the streets are narrow, everything feels crowded and traffic is always bad. However, in the next two sets of images, clearly the ones on the left have the feeling that something more exciting or peaceful is happening.

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Left: Metropolis building, Right: Madrid traffic

Image sources: 1, 2

These images were selected because the building on the left, the Metropolis building, is one of the most photographed architectural structures in the city, and in the heart of the city center. On the right is another picture of Madrid, but from the edge of the city where glamour is probably the last word that comes to mind. Similarly, below are two images of the same street, but with different lighting and angles. In fact, I lived on this street! The image on the left can surely be representative of the street on a sunny day, but the image on the right is more likely what one spots walking down the street on a daily basis, and not the reality cultivated in the imagery of living abroad.

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Calle del Olmo, Madrid

Image sources: 1, 2

The images of place are just as important to the vision of the person living in these places because of how the Other of place constructs the experience of the expat and their mission in being there to begin with. In the same Williams article mentioned previously she states that the consumption of place is problematic because it “represents a ‘new colonialism’ which is typified by ‘white people discovering themselves in brown places” (617). Although the films are in Europe, the fact that they chose Italy is no mistake. The Mediterranean has a warmer climate where stereotypes are built explicitly on relaxation, taking things slowly, and the enjoyment of life—all features absent in American culture that one might hope to escape.

Ultimately though, these pictures only help to assert the disparity between the visual context of the representation and the reality. Other facets of being in the place are important as well. In the article by Caligiuri and Lazarova they outline the factors that a company can do to help or deter a female expat from adjusting to life in the host country. They include social support, such as from family, friends, colleagues, host nationals, mentors, and other expatriates (766-767). These are just tangible sources. Along with them they detail the type of emotional and informational support necessary. This article is relevant because it details a different picture than the one represented in the films. They carry with them the notion that women living abroad do not all have a job that can float with them (writer/fashion designer), but may be pursuing a more practical career choice.

This vision produced around FAEs is not wholly the media’s fault, however. In an article titled “Why and How Women and Men Acquire Global Career Experience” the point is made that much of what is written about expats  “is largely represented by fragmented anecdotal accounts recommending such activities as foreign language study, study abroad, sponsoring foreign exchange students, international travel, international internships, participating in the home country in international economic partnership associations or societies” (Vance 36). With so little known even on an academic level about the realities and experiences of those who have actually lived abroad, it is no wonder the media’s perception would be just as minimal.


An anomaly in the representation of FAEs is the entirety of the film Mahogany. Although it fits in with the other films in many ways, it stands out due to its fixing itself outside of many of the traditional binaries—it doesn’t fix itself into the box that beautiful white women are the only ones who have autonomous lives with rich detail or stories worth telling. Furthermore, being the oldest film of the three, and being the most diverse in life content, details of life, reasons for being abroad, and the only one with a woman of color as the lead, is also the most nuanced in terms of socially conscious representations. Another anomaly within Mahogany is that it is the only film that gave reason for the lead character to go abroad without using her own means or volition to get there. She is hired by a photographer to pursue a better life where her Blackness will be celebrated. What this says about my identity is that Europe is not a place for my racial acceptance because I have the privilege of racial acceptance anywhere I go. Hence, when later telling a vague story about a vague woman who goes on a vague adventure to live abroad the casting directors chose the vaguest type of woman they could, the “default”—a white woman.

The representations of FAEs becomes problematic when they are contextualized. There is the justification for the image that American women need to engage as consumers to live a fulfilling life. In William’s article she explains Elizabeth’s behavior in the quote, “Presenting this tendency to ignore her own needs as the core problem in her life, it is clear why Gilbert’s journey comes to represent that of a woman re-claiming the ‘right’ to be selfish. Within this context, Gilbert’s trip is a direct rebellion against patriarchal social norms that encourage women to cultivate a personality of selfishness” (617-618). Essentially, the rhetoric around buying a piece of living abroad, as it is represented domestically, harms everyone because it naturalizes the belief that certain selfish and socially irresponsible behavior is justifiable if you have not been fulfilled or treated equally in other areas of life.


One paradigm shift for me was one of the first articles we read for class about the bias of Wikipedia. It really struck a chord with me because I had never considered that a crowd-sourced, collaborative project could structurally privilege certain groups over others. It just goes to show that really no rock should be left unturned and no angle unexamined because there could be ideological assumptions about reality and what constitutes a “fact” or something worth knowing. Beyond that, it also shows that, while nowadays you do not need to be ordained by a king to have the legal right and authority to write about a subject, there are still barriers to already marginalized groups and the material being written does not necessarily properly reflect the people the articles are written about. This can be problematic when the well-accepted assumption about Wikipedia is that it is unbiased. The belief is so widespread that even mentioning it to someone who thinks themselves media literate will cause them to get defensive and think you are nitpicking.

Another major learning moment for me was reading about the perpetual game of cat and mouse between advertisers and youth in the article A Brand by Any Other Name. Honestly, due to the way consumers themselves are often represented as mindless and easily persuaded I thought myself somewhat different in my consideration of image. Now I feel silly even typing that, let alone thinking it, but it was the truth! I make judgment calls on even the smallest details of clothing that to me separate one image from another. Like the words we choose to use in each context, where I have lived has informed my fashion decisions. When I was living in Spain this was a problem at first because I did not know how to interpret the “signals” particular articles of clothing were meant to give off because the dialect was completely different. If that does not make sense, what I mean to say is that what a certain type of hat “says” here about a persons subculture identification or personality is different here than there, and thus I had no idea how to pick up on those cues and find my own style within their culture. So, reading that article opened my eyes to the fact that it is something we all do, whether consciously or subconsciously.


Works Cited

Caligiuri, Paula, and Mila Lazarova. “A Model for the Influence of Social Interaction and Social Support on Female Expatriates’ Cross-Cultural Adjustment.” International Journal of Human Resource Management 13.5 (2002): 761-772. Business Source Premier. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.

Eat, Pray, Love. Dir. Ryan Murphy. Perf. Julia Roberts. Sony Pictures, 2010. Film.

Gilly, Mary C. “The Consumer Acculturation of Expatriate Americans.” Advances in Consumer Research 22.1 (1995): 506-510. Business Source Premier. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.

Mahogany. Dir. Berry Gordy. Perf. Diana Ross. Paramount, 1975. Film.

Under the Tuscan Sun. Dir. Audrey Wells. Perf. Diane Lane. Touchstone, 2004. Film.

Vance, Charles M., and Yvonne McNulty. “Why and How Women and Men Acquire Global Career Experience.” International Studies of Management & Organization 44.2 (2014): 34-54. Business Source Premier. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.

Williams, Ruth. “Eat, Pray, Love: Producing the Female Neoliberal Spiritual Subject.” Journal of Popular Culture 47.3 (2014): 613-633. Academic Search Premier. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.