On Dirty Artists

 

Among most people, and most circles, artists are seen as aloof and high society creatures. Painters and sculptors lead lives of enlightened and inspired solitude, tucked away in secretive and exclusive corners of the world. Museums perpetuate this idea, and history only honeys the artist’s works through mystery and veiled awe. Artists however, often view themselves as normal people, ones that work in the realm of realism and fantasy, paints and stones. Rather than some glorious visage, artists are often normal people, or the most down to earth people you can meet. I believe that one’s view of artists, is more dependent on the viewer’s position, rather than the artist themselves. For once you cross the barrier, and become an artist yourself, there is a grand lifting of the veil, and you can see artists simply as people in a profession. While many people portray artists as these grandiose beings,  we are truly just people who choose to create beauty.

Creative Arts Group is one example of this, a group of artists that portray themselves as humble artists. They are a small, non-profit art gallery in the hills of Sierra Madre, California. They teach classes to artists of all ages, and all mediums, and simultaneously house a gallery where they can display and sell artist’s work.  In October 2012 KGEM Tv, the local news channel, made a mini documentary on CAG, as it is known locally.  

The primary thing to note, is that the writer of this small film is an artist, and a former student of Creative Arts Group. The people being interviewed are also artists, So this piece of media is made by artists, for those who wish to become more personally involved in art.

I like to think that this video is a very realistic and sensible take on artists. They show artists of all ages, ranging from young children, to aged adults; and also artists of varying skill levels and mediums. There are sculptors, welders, painters and jewelers all working in in one community and within the same space. And while they do emanate professionalism, a clean and organised gallery and well spoken individuals; the video also highlights the rougher side of the artist’s life and work. The clay room is dusty, dirty and loud; and the classrooms are rowdy and filled with laughter.

One of  Creative Arts Group’s featured artists, D. Lester Williams displays this idea quite well: “You gotta get out there and get your hands dirty…” And I think this would be true with all artists. Jackson Pollock worked by splattering paints on a canvas, and most probably himself. When Michelangelo carved out David, he was almost certainly covered in marble dust and debris. And when modern potters shape an elegant vase, their hands are plastered with thick layers of mud and clay.

 

This concept put forth by Creative Arts Group is directly contrasted by the appearance of artists in Art shows and art exhibitions.  For this comparison I will again be using D. Lester Williams, and his website. The difference here is, that the artist made this website to cater to the potential consumer, those who want to buy or commision his art. So this piece, like the Creative Arts video, was made by artists, but rather than talking to artists D. Lester uses the language expected by the public.

I want to stress that I respect this artist a great deal, more than any other artist I have or ever will meet, so what I say next is not intended to be malicious. On D. Lester’s home page, we see a very clean layout with a picture of the artist in a suit and bowtie in front of one of his works. Adjacent to this the page details the methods used by the artist: “Forming, assembling, fabricating, welding, flame and plasma cutting, as well as using different fasteners, and various patinas, painting, or powder coating. All these processes manage to find their way into (D. Lester’s) creative sculptures.”

While all of this is true, it is far from realistic. D. Lester does form, assemble, weld and plasma cut his pieces, but in reality he is constantly experimenting and trying out new things and methods, often times not knowing for sure if something will work. Many times he has compromised and covered up his mistakes or, as many artists do, integrated these into his designs to enhance their beauty through imperfection. Most importantly however is that this small statement leaves out the humbling and humanistic conditions that D. Lester happily works in.

The artists calls his workspace “The Pit” it’s an old garage filled with scrap metal, dust and tools. No bigger than an average classroom, and with less useable space than an airplane aisle. And Lester does not wear suits and bowties when he works. He adorns himself with second hand flannels with holes burned into them, a decades old leather apron and two pairs of jeans covered in paint and char. While this description isn’t glorious and clean, it is all part of what allows D. Lester to do his work, it is his process and his inspiration.

To remove the ramshackle and chaotic-order that is an artist’s workspace and personality is, in my opinion, to dehumanise them. The nature of an artist, their quirkiness and their charm is what makes it so fun to converse with them, and can be equally as memorable as the works of art themselves. And this is one of the reasons that I encourage people to meet artists in person, you learn who they are and what led them to be the artist they had become. D. Lester for instance, is an excellent speaker, he has stories from his past that can apply to any and every situation. He can give words of wisdom and a laugh to any topic you may choose to bring up.

This lack of humanism in this website is a result of both the audience and the author. By an artist, for the patrons. This Idea changes however, when the producer is a non artist, and is creating the material for other non artists. One of the most famous examples of this is the 1990 movie “Ghost”, specifically the famous pottery scene, talks about pottery in a very demeaning manner, using it as a tool for allegory and then throwing it to the side in favor of romance.

The scene holds a lot of symbolism and meaning, but the art of pottery, and therefore those who practice the artform, was treated with very little respect or thought. The purpose of this scene is to create a sexual moment in the movie. Whether the allegory is on the act of creating something beautiful, or breaking something down into a phallic shape and rubbing on it for a solid minute … It is still considered one of the sexiest scenes in film.

What is perturbing about this scene though, is the glorification of the art and what artists do during their time. While it is true that romance can spark some of the most evocative works of art, in this scene it debases the pottery to a lump of wet dirt. Were anyone to come to a potter and knock over a piece such as the one in Ghost … they would not get a makeout session. The artist would no doubt become upset, it can be equated to someone coming up an executive’s computer, and deleting the only copy of a business report. There is nothing sexy about it, and there is something wrong and disheartening that Ghost would aim to create this sexual scene via the disrespect of an entire artform.

While this is all right and good for a movie, and entertainment; in terms of portraying artists, It is grossly wrong. And this glorification creates the opportunity to hurt the image of budding artists. There is nothing wrong with artists looking put together, but I think we should equally encourage the rough and tough image of artists, that lends an insight into the creation of the beautiful trinkets and wonders that we so appreciate.

Works Cited:

Ghost (Pottery Scene)

Directed by Jerry Zucker, Written by Bruce Joel Rubin

July 13, 1990. Web. March 13, 2017

 

“Creative Arts Group (CAG), Sierra Madre, CA”

Posted by KgemTv (The local Tv Station)

Oct 10, 2012. Web. March 13, 2017

 

Lester (November 25, 2015) Introduction

dlesterwilliams.com

Web. March 14, 2017

 

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Fathers in America. Dummy or Just Dad?

Fathers aren’t always dummies, although we have our moments, movies and television shows over exaggerated and glamorize their antics and behaviors. I myself am a father of two girls. I can relate to fathers in pop culture because what happens to them does happen to me. It doesn’t happen everyday, but I have made a crude comment that would get some laughs and I have slipped, fallen and hurt myself. On the show Home Improvement, Tim Allen ends up in the emergency room so often that they know him by name and he knows what the caferia is serving on any given day. He constantly is screwing things up, but he has his own T.V. show. Each day of his life is a new and exciting adventure or at least that is what we see. No man lives his life like this, but they have had moments like this in their own lives. They can relate, therefore causing; interest, amusement and entertainment.

 

Why are fathers portrayed as bumbling idiots? My view of a father growing up was someone who was responsible and took care of his family. He was smart, educated and generally a friendly person. Is that too boring for people? In Hanna Rosin’s article, The Evolution of The Doltish Dad, she talks about the rules of fatherhood and how they are changing. A man can be unemployed and stay at home. He is smart enough to handle school lunches, pick ups and drop offs as well as being a loving husband. Is it now being played out on T.V. and the movies because that is what is accepted in society now? Michael Keaton became a stay at home Dad in the 1983 movie Mr. Mom. He didn’t know how to do laundry, cook or clean and couldn’t find his way through a grocery store. All be it funny and amusing, I am quit certain most men are capable of taking care of the home while his wife is at work. This clip I found on YouTube that should shed some light on his character. It also supports the idea of the Doltish Dad character as well as show that a father is strong in mind and can take care of his family.

Mr. Mom Tribute https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIkHMGxyN34

 

I watch this show Life in Pieces. It is a multi-generational family that lives within the same community. The characters include newly weds, first time parents, children and grandparents. This show plays on some of the funny antics as for mentioned. However it is modern, keeps up with pop culture trends and introduces social media into fatherhood.It shows successful fathers but still with that goofy edge that we have seen in my other examples.

 

Conculsion: I am glad to see that fathers in popular culture are being seen as successful members of a family. Despite the humor they provide the fact that they are productive in a family setting and support and rear their children shows men are not just idiots and bumbling fools. They are important and their antics are only present for laughs and so other can relate to what they are watching.

 

 

 

Learning Moments: My main learning moments consisted of; the blog and research process, the close to heart subject matter and my classmates feedback and suggestions. It was very helpful to see how others were working through there blog process and it helped me when I was having issues with my thesis statement. Through my research process I wanted to focus mainly on the movies and television. I did however find articles that helped me personally for the enrichment of me being a better father. I found it interesting to read and learn about what others thought about being a father as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Wind Dancer Prods. Home Improvement. Sept. 17, 1991 – May 25, 1999. Television

Rosin, Hanna (25 June 2010). “The Evolution of 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

Loring, L., Shuler L., Spelling A. (Producers). Dragoti S. (Director) (1983). Mr. Mom. United States. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.

Kapital Entertainment. Life in Pieces. Sept 15, 2015-present. Television.

 

Making The Cut

Approximately 6 months ago I took on a lot of responsibilities and minimized my social outreach. For several months prior I would slick my hair back into a ponytail everyday because spending 30 minutes to make the “natural” curls behave was too much trouble. I quickly decided it was time for a change, and cut off my shoulder-length hair. During this project I decided to look at how media portrays other woman with short hair. In my research I discovered that women with short hair in action films are masculine, victims, or sexual deviants. The three films that I watched were V for VendettaCatwoman (2004), and Mad Max: Road.

The first film I watched was V for Vendetta. I chose this film for my research because when it came out in there was a lot of news about film star Natalie Portman and her on camera head shave for the role. I have included a link to the scene in the film for anyone who is unfamiliar with it. The clip shows the haircut scene of her and the other female character that has their head shaved during the film.

It is very clear that Natalie Portman’s character, Evey, is portrayed as a victim during the time of her haircut. During the scene she is in prison scrubs, she is in a very muted environment with a faceless individual shaving her head. During the entire time Natalie Portman’s head is being shaved she is crying and looks terrified. The second woman getting her head shaved, actress Natasha Wightman, is having her head shaved for the same reason; removing the identity of the individual, and psychological torture. The difference is that Natasha Wightman’s character, who only has a brief voice over, is a person who has grown up facing severe diversity. She is a lesbian who was disowned by her parents, and was disowned by her first love. She was different in a society that demanded normalcy. Although her head shave is to victimize her, her character is calm, and collected because it is a non-issue comparatively to the events she has previously experienced in her life.

I was frustrated with the attachment that Natalie Portman’s character had with her hair. After being water boarded, and starved, and beaten. The first comment she makes after having her head shaved was “You cut my hair”. For cinematic reasons I want to give the film the benefit of the doubt because she lists the terrible things that were done to her in the order they happened, but if someone tortured me I could not care any less about how much hair was on my head. Below is a clip from an interview that Natalie Portland had after her role in V for Vendetta, specifically about the head shave experience, with IGN. She doesn’t talk about the societal opinions about women with shaved heads, but about how “cool” rain feels on a shaved head and how that experience was of note to her.

***

The second film I watched for this project was Catwoman (2004), starring Halle Berry. As a teenager when this film came out, I was SOOOO excited for it. Look at this film with a badass chick in it! How cool is it to have a superhero/antihero film starring someone who wasn’t white and blonde. The adaptation rocked my world, and I felt like I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. Fast forward through High School and my early 20s and just generally a lot of personal growth. When I re-watched the film for this course, I was extremely uncomfortable. It was honestly hard for me to get through.

With new eyes I saw a film that touched on an adaptation of an antihero that was, in my opinion, distasteful and embarrassing. Halle Berry’s character starts out as a shy meek, presumably uninteresting woman with long limp curly hair. She wears oversized sweaters, and risks her life to save a cat. Later after seeing something she isn’t supposed to see, she is murdered, and the cat she saved returns the favor and brings her back to life. This time though, she is different, she is confident, she is poised, and she is all about being sexual and sassy. During her transformation, the first thing she does is cut off all of her hair. See the clip below for her transformation. Like the first film, this was a real haircut that was caught on film.

Catwoman as a character in this film is very sexualized. I think out of all the adaptations that I’ve seen of Catwoman in a film or a show, this one fell short. The Film Review Article in The New York Times by A. O. Scott tells viewers that they are more likely to be entertained by the Garfield film that came out around the same time, than they are to be dazzled by Pitof’s interpretation of Catwoman (2004). Scott even goes to say, “Watching [Catwoman] is like paging through a fat European fashion magazine at high speed in the lobby of a sleek hotel. Through the haze of moody color, you can occasionally glimpse the flicker of an idea about female sexuality or the manufacture of beauty, but these themes are ornamental flourishes in the pretty, kinetic emptiness”, and I couldn’t agree more. When films have shots like the gif below of female characters with ample cleavage and see-through panels of mesh everywhere, including their butts, it is hard to take the films, or its message seriously. In the end this films felt more like soft porn than a cinematic masterpiece about powerful women.

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The third film I re-watched for this project was Mad Max: Fury Road I picked this film originally because I knew that Charlize Theron had been nominated for, and won several awards for her role in this film, and also because she is my favorite actor. When the film began I remembered the premise and felt justified in using it as one of the three main sources for this blog post. For those of you unfamiliar with this film, Theron plays a character named Furiosa, who is the only female soldier under villain Immortan Joe. She ends up betraying him and stealing his war-rig in order to free his 5 slave-wives. Unlike the first two films, we meet Furiosa with a short buzzed haircut. She wears masculine clothing and wears war paint on her face much like the “war boys” she is in charge of.  Later in the film we get to find out a little bit more of Furiosa’s past, and can make assumptions of what she has been through and why she was willing to give up her leadership under Immortan Joe in order to save other women. Below is the clip of Furiosa reuniting with the people she originally belonged to before being captured by Immortan Joe as a child.

From what we know about Furiosa in the clip above, we can formulate that she fits in two of the categories listed in the beginning of my post. She is a victim. She was captured as a child with her mother. Her mother died within 3 days of their capture and she survived, losing part of her arm along the way, and gaining the trust of the leader of the ban of men that captured her as a child. We can assume that her masculine appearance might have to do with this broken upbringing. It might also have been the reason why she outlived her mother. She is clearly a fighter and is in it for the long hall. I included a clip below that includes part of Theron’s experience with shaving her head, and how it affected her. I think it is important to note that the director of the film was speechless when Theron offered to shave her head, further proving how interconnected our values of female hair length is.

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After watching all three films to get a perspective of how women with short hair were portrayed in the media, I took the time to read articles that related to real life women who have short haircuts, in order to relate it to the pop-cultural representations of women with short hair. I was especially touched by this article in Cosmo by Leah Carroll, a woman who went through a few years of her life with short hair, and then started experiencing cat-calling once her hair started growing out again. This article felt relevant to me because like Evey in V for Vendetta part of the reason Carroll cut her hair in the first place was because she was a victim of a crime. Her head was not shaved in part of a systematic dehumanizing process by a vigilantly proving a point. She chose to get it cut after a man had used her long hair to his advantage to mug her, pulling it to keep her from getting away. Carroll discusses the traps she fell into when first deciding to cut her hair, and the guilt she felt when she finally decided to start growing it out again. She discusses the real social anxieties that are created when a woman cuts her hair, and with this I related quite deeply. “I walked back to the office feeling 10 pounds lighter and like I had lost a limb. I stared at myself in every reflective surface” (Carroll 2015). It is a huge change, to cut your hair and stop caring what others think. At first it felt like I was sacrificing my femininity for the convenience of short hair.

Link to Leah Carroll’s Article for those of you interested

I read an article today that I am sneaking into my final blog post about a haircut that Katy Perry recently shared with the world at the IHeart Radio Music Awards on March 5th 2017. The article is titled Katy Perry Reveals a Radical New Breakup Pixie Cut on Instagram. 

The article goes on to say that Perry’s haircut was purely in correlation to a break-up she had earlier that week on multiple occasions, the article is very leading and doesn’t give room for any other reason why Perry chose to get a haircut. “What better way, then, to mark a fresh start than by cutting a past paramour (or, for that matter, fried ends) right out of her hair? Perry’s shorn undercut, which was finished with choppy side-swept bangs and captioned “I wasn’t ready till now,” is a punkish followup to her bombshell bob, offering the hair equivalent of an extra stroke of suddenly-single eyeliner” (Schulte-Hillen, 2017). I decided to include this article in my research because I thought it was important to add in a piece that was extremely relevant and recent. It is another example that a woman is depicted as cutting her hair due to some sort of mental instability; coping with a break-up. I think she looks killer, and it is important to note that not all haircuts are because women are upset with boys.

 

I think that women in action films with short hair meet very specific criteria. This is clear by the films I studied in order to come to this conclusion. One thing that I do not agree with though, is that these action film norms are anywhere close to why the majority of women with short hair decide to make the cut. This is a pop-culture identity that is vastly stereotyped and I think it is damaging to women with short and long hair alike, by placing expectations of what having short hair will be like, and why it is done. Thanks for a wonderful term all.

aEGxDMp_700b.jpg

Works Cited:

V for Vendetta, Lily Wachowski & Lana Wachowski, James McTeigue, Grant Hill, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EWnPG_yKYk

Catwoman, Pitof, Denise Di Novi, and Edward MCDonnell, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fV26YLAHza8

Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller, Doug Mitchell, P.J. Voeten, https://youtu.be/hEJnMQG9ev8

“No sex for women with short hair?; Talking Points.” Sunday Times [London, England], 7 Dec. 2008, p. 12. Academic OneFile, go.galegroup.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=s1185784&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA190172318&asid=3a8688e75e55abc86d5cf919f7cdc508. Accessed 25 Feb. 2017.

“Why Women Choose to Cut Their Hair Short.” UWIRE Text, 17 May 2015, p. 1. Educators Reference Complete, go.galegroup.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/ps/i.do?p=PROF&sw=w&u=s1185784&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA414228760&asid=30ad0178b6de7a15f6c97a4138541c29. Accessed 25 Feb. 2017.

“My Short Hair Made Me Feel Invisible” Cosmopolitan, 10 September 2015, Leah Carroll, http://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/a46100/short-hair-pixie-cut-invisible/

“Katy Perry Reveals a Radical Breakup Pixie Cut on Instagram” Vogue, March 3rd 2017. Sophie Schulte-Hillen. http://www.vogue.com/article/katy-perry-haircut-blonde-pixie-chris-mcmillan-instagram-orlando-bloom-breakup

 

 

The Modern Day Geek

Introduction:

When I began studying at Portland State University I noticed a trend. Many of my classes, from math to chemistry, seemed to have pretty balanced demographics, but then when I went to my computer science classes they were overwhelmingly dominated by white males. I became curious, what factors made it more likely for someone like me to end up in this class than someone of a different gender or ethnicity. Looking ahead to the career that I hope to have in the future I looked towards many of the biggest companies in the field to see if they were facing the same gender and ethnic deficits that I see in my classes, and it was quite clear that they were. For my looking in the mirror blog post I chose to look at how modern programmers are portrayed in media, specifically in the movie The Social Network and the television shows Silicon Valley and Mr. Robot. Popular culture largely depicts programmers, software engineers or “tech savvy” people as males, and this portrayal has far reaching implications in our society. 

The Social Network:

The Social Network is a movie that is loosely based on the creation of the social media platform Facebook, and also on some of the lawsuits and controversy that came from it’s inception. The main character Mark Zuckerberg, who eventually creates Facebook, played by Jesse Eisenberg, displays some of the characteristics that we see in older nerd tropes including being an introvert, problems with communication, and being very smart. Where there were some surprises for the portrayal of programmers is in the supporting cast. Justin Timberlake plays Sean Parker, the creator of the music application Napster, Andrew Garfield plays Eduardo Saverin, the cofounder of Facebook, as well as Armie Hammer who plays the Winklevoss twins, two fellow students of Mr. Zuckerberg who would end up sueing him for stealing their idea. All of these characters brought a different view of programmers and software developers as members of select fraternities and privileged groups, generally living a life of glamour and being a part of the “cool crowd”. Ying-bei Wang points out in Facebook, Made in Harvard: Youth, Stereotypes, and Exclusivity in the Information Age that “The Social Network does an outstanding work transforming a computer geek into a hero of the Information Age.” and how “with the arrival of the Information Age, geeks have enjoyed more positive evaluation because of their computer skills.” This is a new light that we see programmers, techies, and geeks being portrayed in, but it still carries some of the same tropes from earlier years.

Silicon Valley:

My next artifact that I chose to use was the fourth episode of the HBO series Silicon Valley, Fiduciary Duties. The episode revolves around the main character, Peter Hendricks, having issues with explaining his vision for the future of his company, Pied Piper, and what his software will actually do. Already this synopsis is similar to established tropes for tech-types, trouble putting a concept into words. There is a host of awkward conversations throughout the episode, from the character Peter Gregory’s address to the crowd, with the untimely inflections to his abrupt conclusion of his welcome speech, to the Pied Piper group’s conversation with a couple of paid actresses who are hired in order to get conversations going with guests at the event for members of the software development community in Silicon Valley, directly making the joke that to get these people to talk, you literally have to hire someone to coax them into it. There are plenty more jokes on physical characteristics, such as the character “Big Head” being unable to simply toss a hacky sack higher than a few feet. I do understand that Silicon Valley is meant to serve as a platform for discourse on some of the ridiculous facets and stereotypes of the tech industry in Palo Alto. While the show does bring some of the valley’s glaring deficiencies to light, it still falls back on aged jokes about the nerdy programmer for it’s main punch lines.   

Mr. Robot:

My last artifact was the pilot episode for the USA series Mr. Robot. The episode centers on the character Elliot who is a quasi hacker vigilante. He works at a cyber-security firm called All Safe by day, but uses his hacking skills to turn in individuals to the police who deal with things such as child pornography or cheating husbands to their wives. Elliot exhibits some of the same characteristics as characters from the other artifacts: antisocial, trouble communicating with others and most obviously being he is a male. Where Mr. Robot differs is that the show’s lead character is of a minority background. I found this very surprising as, to be honest, I had assumed he was another white man. With few exceptions, programmers in TV shows and movies have been white males. While the narrative of the programmer being an introvert was told in all three of my artifacts, I was surprised to find there was some truth to this. In the article Personality Types in Software Engineering, Luiz Capretz states that “(his) research found more introverts (57%) than extroverts (43%)” and that “the software field is dominated by introverts, who typically have difficulty in communicating with the user.” Even though these characteristics are present in the real industry I believe popular culture exaggerates it past what you would typically see in the real workplace, thus distorting the audience’s view of programmers.

Implications and Observations:

I think one of the most interesting details about the over representation of the group of people I belong to, male programmers specifically that are white, is that the over representation of them in popular culture is reflective to what is present in the industry. Looking at the recent diversity reports from Facebook, Intel and Google, three very large software companies, it becomes very apparent that this is true. In the tech related jobs in each company males make up well over fifty percent of the workforce, while white males make up the majority of that percentage with Asian males relatively close behind. If from a young age kids only see groups of people doing certain jobs, represented in specific ways, then I think it is safe to assume that they will only associate those types of people with that job. This seems to be one of the problems with how programmers and really any “computer-oriented” jobs are represented in popular culture, as far as movies and television shows are concerned they have almost solely been portrayed as white men with few exceptions. I think this is partly why we see such large gender gaps in the industry. This is supported by Lori Kendall’s statement in White and Nerdy: Computers, Race and the Nerd Stereotype where she says “people seeking to hire computer programmers often look for signs of nerdiness as proof of intelligence” and that “After several years of gains for women and minorities in computing education and occupations, those gains seem to be reversing.”  It is my belief that if pop culture devices can include more people from varying backgrounds then more people with diverse backgrounds will be inclined to become programmers.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, I believe that many of the old tropes of programmers, techies, or people who like computer stuff really, are still present. Themes of weak physical aptitude, anti-social tendencies and awkward personas continually get brought up in popular culture. While these themes are still prevalent, there are new themes that are being brought to audiences. Sexual appeal, glamour and prestige are a few new characteristics being attributed to programmers in movies and television shows. Personally I can identify with some of the characteristics attributed to programmers, but I can still get a laugh out of the jokes that may come at my own expense because I know that they are overly exaggerated. What I see as a serious issue though is that while some  movies and shows have made leeway representing underrepresented groups, such as Mr. Robot having a minority lead character, there is still a long way to go in order to make the field more inclusive.  

Learning Moments:

The two biggest learning moments for me came during the research analysis worksheet and the annotated bibliography. The combination of these two assignments achieved what I believe to be one of the larger goals of the looking in the popular culture mirror blog post and this class as a whole. The research analysis worksheet gave me insight into how people such as myself get portrayed and often stereotyped in popular culture. It taught me how to approach a media device by not taking it at face value, but by asking critical questions as to its purpose. On the other hand the annotated bibliography led to a wealth of information confirming that there are many problems with the media’s portrayals of programmers, and then how these portrayals have larger second and third order effects. I learned more on how to use available tools for research and analysis. Where I think the looking in the popular culture mirror blog post is a good chance to share my findings with others, the research analysis worksheet and the annotated bibliography are what allowed me to make the connections between the representations of programmers, why those representations exist, and the effects of they have.

References:

Personality Types in Software Engineering, Luiz Fernando Capretz, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Volume 58, Issue 2 February 2003, pages 207-214

Facebook, Made in Harvard: Youth Stereotypes, and Exclusivity in the Information Age, Ying-bei Wang, Selected works of Ying-bei Wang, Bowling Green State University, Spring February 22, 2014

“White and Nerdy”: Computers, Race and the Nerd Stereotype, Lori Kendall, The Journal of Popular Culture, Volume 44, Issue 3, June 2011

 

“Ditzy Blonde”

Over the course this term I have learned a great deal from researching some of my identities such as young blonde female in the media. I wasn’t surprised by my research because it was a stereotype that I was already familiar with, the “ditzy blonde”. Not only have I learned how my identity is portrayed in the media and how others with the same identity feel about that, I have also learned excellent ways to find sources. Through watching young blonde females in media then reading studies and reviews on the media revealed the stereotypes that follow those identities.

Learning how to navigate the Portland State University library was helpful and where to go within the site to look for a specific type of source. An assignment that we completed in mentor session that I actually found extremely helpful was the Search for Resources Library Tutorial. It walked through each type of source you may need for a research paper and how to find it through the libraries site. This was helpful because before I would just search some key words and then what type of source I was looking for, for example “Blonde Stereotypes Peer reviewed journal”. Through taking the tutorial I also learned that there is a more effective way to search and use key words for example capitalizing AND to separate two key words, and placing parenthesis around words that should be searched together.

Another important concept that I learned was primary and secondary sources and why they are both important. A primary source would be data such as a chart and then a secondary source would be analysis of the chart. A secondary source for my identities would be this article analyzing a primary source, which was an IQ test.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/forget-dumb-blondes-study-reveals-7606038

The article is going over the results of an IQ test that was done on people of every hair color the primary source (the IQ test) stated that blondes averaged an IQ of 103.2, brunettes a 102.7, redheads with 101.2 and people with black hair come in last with a 100.5. The article goes on to analyze the first source as to explaining that this is possibly why blondes are the chosen identity to play the “ditzy” person. It hypothesizes that the reason that blonde wear the chosen hair color to play the ditzy character was because they were truly the smartest hair color. This is a secondary source because it is making assumptions based off the evidence that the primary source had presented.

The next source that I looked at was one that was actually recommended to me in a comment and that was legally blonde. In case you have not seen this movie it is about a young blonde that fits perfectly with the typical stereotypes of that hair color, superficial, ditzy, doesn’t’ work for what they have. But after her boyfriend Owen breaks up with her before leaving for grad school for being too dumb, she defies the stereotype and goes to law school while using her social butterfly personality to her advantage in school. This was a fun source to look at because it is one that addresses the typical stereotypes for someone with the identities of a young blonde female but then also shows that same female rising above and accomplishing great things.

This movie spoke volumes because it magnified some sterotypes but used them in a positive way. Elle woods, the star of Legally Blonde wears pink glitter everything, and even carries her chiuaha in her purse, she loves to have fun and can come across as materialistic and dumb. After being told that’s not enough she shows young women that you can be pretty and be smart.

legally_blonde_-_h_-_2016

This image is a clip from the movie and it is an excellent example of the stereotype that blondes are into pink and glitter and heels. At the same time it is deifying the stereotype of the ditzy blonde as she is standing in a power pose as the lawyer in the courtroom in a case, which she won in the movie based on her knowledge of makeup and beauty.

After Elle wins big and proves that you can be smart blonde and pretty

I found a review of the movie by someone that blogs by the name of “the rogue feminist”. http://theroguefeminist.tumblr.com/post/113358128353/legally-blonde-feminist-review-and-analysis She discusses how Elle Woods the lead in the movie is a role model to young women. After being dumped for being “too blonde” she rose up and proved him wrong. She goes on to review how this movie puts many aspects in a positive light such as female friendship; Elle supports her friend and encourages her to leave her abusive husband. The first time watching this movie I did not notice this until I had read the review and it got me thinking about it. When looking at the two females they seem opposite in appearance, but regardless Elle encourages and helps another female, even though women are typically known for being caddy.

Another film that sends a similar message to legally blonde would be House Bunny. When a playboy bunny gets kicked out of the mansion some sorority girls allow her to stay there so she will help them become more sociable to create more pledges to the home. The message is again that extensive knowledge of makeup and beauty can be used to either win a case or in this instance help some young girls save their sorority home.HouseBunny_2lg.jpg

The concept of the dumb blonde also has a negative effect on the way men think of women. Dara Greenwood and Linda Isbell wrote a journal on a study of Men and Women’s reactions to dumb blonde jokes. They revealed that after listening to dumb blonde jokes men the men found them more funny and less offensive than women and this also correlated with them being higher in hostile sexism. Presenting the stereotype of the dumb blonde as funny and a joke teaches men that it is okay and humorous to be offensive. This journal demonstrates why it is a bad idea to place negative stereotypes around an identity; it teaches society that these people are less because of their appearances.

Overall I noticed that my identities of a young blonde female are not represented very positively in popular culture. Blondes are typically played out as the ditzy materialistic character and their the only hair color with e category of jokes dedicated to it. Through movies such as legally blonde teaching girls that you can love to be beautiful and pamper yourself but also go to school and be success at the same time.

 

https://typeset-beta.imgix.net/rehost%2F2016%2F9%2F13%2F92b3e3b1-7bb2-4334-9073-374f7f593191.jpg

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/forget-dumb-blondes-study-reveals-7606038

Legally blonde. Dir. Robert Luketic. N.p., n.d. Web.

Theroguefeminist. “Legally Blonde – Feminist Review and Analysis.” The rogue feminist. N.p., 11 Mar. 2015. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.

Waghorn, Mark. “Ever used a ‘dumb blonde’ cliche? Science has something to say about them.” Mirror. N.p., 23 Mar. 2016. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.

Women Career Stereotypes

Berlynn Deluna

Popular Culture

Big Picture Blog Post

Final Draft

Women Career Stereotypes in Popular Culture

I found a lot of interesting information for my topic on women career stereotypes. My primary sources taught me a lot about people’s attitudes towards women, gender roles and equality. This topic is significant to me because I personally want to pursue a career that is generally known as a “masculine career.” I would feel discouraged knowing that I’m treated differently because I am a female. A woman can do a job just as efficient as a man. In popular culture, women career choices are “predictable”. There are so many gender inequalities when it comes to career choices. I enjoyed completing the research analysis assignment and annotated bibliography because I found many different perspectives on women career choices. I also learned how these choices affect our popular culture. I used movies, TV shows and articles to get the best possible sources for my topic.

 

women fire fighter

G.I. Jane

The most reliable source I used was a movie called G.I. Jane. Demi Moore plays Jordan O’Neil, the main character of the movie. Jordan wanted to become a sniper for the military. The men laughed at her because they all thought there was no way that she would make it through the intense training. They tried to lessen the intensity of the training because she was a female. Jordan fought to be trained equally just like the men. She didn’t want to be treated different. I found it surprising how Jordan decided to shave her head to prove that she isn’t any different than the others. I also found it revealing how she decided to move in to the guys barracks. She refused to be treated differently. Jordan showed the men her dedication and willingness to be part of the combined reconnaissance training team. In my opinion, Jordan is a strong women that shows her audience how brave she is. She never gave up or let anyone stand in the way of her passion. This shows that all women are capable of doing anything they set their mind to.

Chicago PD

Another source I used was from a TV show called Chicago PD. The sergeant on the show promoted a female patrol officer to detective in the intelligence unit. Her new partner kept belittling and doubting her commitment and strengths because she is a woman. This show give examples of stereotypes based on women’s abilities when it comes to career choices. This episode was intended to prove that women can succeed in a dominant male position if given the opportunity. This episode was surprising to me because the patrol officer Burgess proved herself to the intelligence team that she is a super hard working female that could get the job done. The sergeant promoted Burgess because he also realized her strengths and abilities. Burgess’s new partner who has been a part of the intelligence team for a long time, doesn’t feel that she will be a good asset because she is a woman. He kept giving her a hard time until she proved she was the strong and capable police officer that she is. This shows the audience some struggles that women might have to face in order to be excepted. In my perspective, Burgess is a passionate women that earned her way up to become part of the detective team.

Chicago Fire

The last TV show I used for my topic was Chicago Fire. This episode was about a woman EMT promoted to become a fire fighter. Although she was already part of the fire station, the other fire fighters were doubting her abilities because she’s female. It was really hard for all the men to get used to having a female on their team. Once they noticed her drive and passion for the job, they opened up to her. This episode was very interesting to me because it made me really think about how many double standards there are when it comes to women career choices. I was surprised to see that Dawson, the female firefighter had to prove to the fire men that she was capable to do the job. They all noticed her drive and committed to become a firefighter when she was a paramedic but they still didn’t welcome her until she proved herself. I also found it surprising that even he fiance, the lieutenant doubted her abilities. He felt she should continue being a paramedic. This episode on Chicago Fire has opened my eyes on what women have to deal with in order to be considered equal.

I noticed a lot of similarities between all three of these sources. All of the women had to prove that they could do the job in order to be accepted. They were all treated the same at the beginning. These women have a similarity that they are passionate to help make the world a better place and nobody was going to stand in their way.

I also used a couple of articles online to back up some my evidence that I gathered from my topic. The article that stood out to me the most is called, “Untangling Life Goals and Occupational Stereotypes in Men’s and Women’s Career Interest.” This article focuses more on which careers women and men choose to pursue. The occupational aspect part of the article states that both men and women choose their careers based on gender stereotypes. Women generally like to stick to careers that are categorized for women such as a nurse, receptionist or a teacher. Men like to pursue a masculine career type such as fire fighter, construction worker or police officer unless the feminine career pays more. This article relates to my primary sources because it has to do with women career choices. While my main focus is how people make career stereotypes, this article differs because it talks about how women make career choices based on these gender inequalities. Although, it is not entirely the same topic, I really enjoyed reading this article because it is in comparison to my topic.

Another article I chose to use as a secondary source is called, “How Stereotypes impair women’s careers in science.” This article was very interesting to me. It talks about career stereotypes between women and men. They did a study based on an arithmetic task to see the difference in gender performance. Both genders performed equally. I found it interesting to find out that men are more prone to talk highly about their skill abilities.  Talking about previous career performance does help to lower these gender stereotypes but doesn’t eliminate it completely. I was shocked to find out that both men and women are more likely to hire men. This compares to my primary source because it gives me a lot of information about women stereotypes. This article confirmed my beliefs and ideals on career inequalities. My topic is focused more on women choosing more of a masculine career and the stereotypes that it comes with.

Conclusions:

I found my topic very intriguing. To this day, there are so many career gender inequalities. Many women have to deal with these problems all the time. I don’t think it is fair how these stereotypes are still a huge issue in our society. Many people watch these shows such as both men and women that are interested in our criminal justice system. This audience could draw two types of conclusions from these sources. They might realize that these stereotypes need to change. They also might agree with the gender inequalities. I feel these shows could help improve the mindset of this audience’s views based on gender career issues. On the other hand, how will this improve by portraying the same stereotypical messages in the media? Everyone is created equal and should be treated equally.

 

         

Learning Moments:

I really enjoyed our looking for researches assignment. With this only being my second quarter at Portland State, I had never used the PSU Library to research. This assignment was very helpful. The steps and instructions to help us navigate through the online library was very efficient. Now that I’ve completed this assignment I feel confident to research information for future classes. I also really enjoyed our weekly discussions. This is my first online course I’ve taken. I was little nervous to take this course online but I found it very helpful that these discussions kept me engaged throughout our discussions. One blog post that really caught my attention was about advertisements. I learned a lot from this discussion. The videos and articles about advertisement really caught my attention. We had to watch and analyze the Adidas advertisement that involved many different celebrities. After this blog post, I’ve noticed myself analyzing many different advertisements. I also enjoyed reading all of the interesting comments on everyone’s opinions about this topic.

 

 

Work Cited
Reuben, Ernesto “How stereotypes impair women’s careers in science” 2014, 25 March. Web.

http://search.library.pdx.edu/PSU:all:TN_gale_ofg364691802

 

Barth, Joan “Untangling Life Goals and Occupational Stereotypes in Men’s and Women’s Career Interest” 2015. Web.

http://search.library.pdx.edu/PSU:all:TN_springer_jour10.1007/s11199-015-0537-2

 

Wolf, Dick (Producer). Michael Brandt, Derek Haas (Creators). 2012. Chicago Fire.

 

Dick Wolf (Producer). Michael Brandt, Derek Haas (Creators) 2014, 8th January. Chicago PD.

 

 

The Portrayal of Black Women on TV by Black Producers

 

Introduction

Historically black women have been stereotyped by white media as the angry black woman, welfare baby momma, unhealthy fat black woman, Jezebel, crack addict, and prostitute. For my blog post I chose to analyze 3 different prime time TV shows; Scandal, How to get away with murder, and Being Mary Jane to determine if shows created by African American women still held negative stereotypes. For a long time, African American women have had to take a backseat to star roles because shows were not written, produced, or directed by African Americans (Strong). And even worse, the roles they do take are typically very demeaning and embarrassing for me, as an African American female, to watch. Shonda Rhimes is an award-winning writer and producer who is the first African-American woman to create and executive produce a Top 10 network series; Greys Anatomy. She is also the producer of Scandal. Mara Brock Akil is also an African American TV writer and the producer of Being Mary Jane. So, did these producers get it right? Does their characterization of black women truly represent today’s black woman? Are they characters that the black female audience can feel proud of? The black characters depicted in all three shows can be described as strong, assertive, professional black women who are more than qualified to compete with their white counterparts. The shows leave the black female audience feeling empowered and connected to the characters as a true reflection of the struggles of African American women as they rise to power in corporate America. Unfortunately, since many white American’s continue to correlate the definition of Strong Black Woman to be synonymous with Angry Black Woman or believe that to be powerful a woman has to sleep her way to the top, both producers find themselves under scrutiny as a perpetuator of the continued negative stereotyping of black women in media.

Scandal

Shonda Rhimes                                                 Kerry Washington 

First airing on ABC television network April 5, 2012 , this political thriller series is partially based on press aid to the Bush administration Judy Smith. Smith’s character named Olivia Pope is played by black female actress Kerry Washington. Olivia is a professional “fixer” for the moneyed, powerful, and even president of the US. The targeted audience is women of all ages, liberals, and more specifically, African American women. The purpose of scandal is to show the many political and social issues faced daily by political figures as well as those in power.

Olivia Pope is a very powerful figure on Capitol Hill. She is very confident in her abilities as a fixer and is known for her work ethic. Olivia has formed a team of gladiators who are all broken from past experiences. Each gladiator has a personal relationship with Olivia that ties them to her. Her gladiators are loyal to her to a fault and would risk death to protect her.

Olivia has had several unsuccessful relationships with some very powerful and influential men. She does not discriminate on race and dates white as well as black men. The men in her life fight for her attention and this includes her own father who is also very powerful and known as command.

I find it interesting that Olivia’s team consist of persons that she has rescued from some horrible event in their lives. It’s as if she seeks out others who are just as broken as she is so that she can feel needed, important, or connected in some way. By rescuing them, there is a debt that can never be repaid and so their loyalty to her is unto death. Regardless of the dynamics of the relationship, she truly cares for each member of her team. She is a single black female with no children and yet she mothers each member of her team. It is almost as if she is their savior and they literally worship her. The men in her life worship her also as if she is some Goddess. Not only those that she has been in a relationship with but even those who are just members of the inner circle have shown that they are willing to sacrifice the life of others to save her.

Olivia Pope’s character always leaves me feeling very proud and empowered as a black woman. Even her wardrobe has become a fashion statement that sets the standard for many conversations with my peers. I believe that the creator believes that black women are powerful both professionally and sexually and have the sexual prowess to seduce the most powerful men in the world. Olivia is not afraid to get in the ring with the best and is highly respected among her peers. I think that creator Shonda Rhimes wanted to portray black women as powerful for the purpose of dispelling other media depictions of black women as prostitutes, uneducated, crack addicted, baby mommas. However, in showing the black woman as powerful, she has been communicated as being angry with corporate America, out for vengeance, and ruthless which might cause white audiences to continue to fear or be intimidated by the drive of the black woman or corporate America to be hesitant when considering allowing the black professional to have a place in the corporate boardroom. By depicting the character of Olivia Pope as a sexual goddess, Rhimes continues the negative Jezebel stereotype that black female characters have historically been depicted as. These negative portrayals of Olivia Pope are nothing but reincarnations of old stereotypes and although it may be viewed as just entertainment, media can powerfully influence the identity of young black women (Strong).

How to Get Away with Murder

giphy

Viola Davis 

This is a Drama TV series first airing on ABC 09/24/14 Starring Viola Davis as Annalise Keating, a prestigious law professor. This series appeals to young and middle aged adults and primarily women. The purpose of this series is to show how the legal system can be manipulated by those with knowledge and power.

This suspense TV series is produced by Shonda Rhimes who also created Scandal. The main character, Annalise is an African American law professor who has hand selected a team of law students who will intern with her. Each student has something in their background that they keep secret but Annalise is aware of. Annalise is widowed and has no children. She lost her son during her eighth month of pregnancy. The circumstances surrounding the death of Annalise’s husband has put her in a position where she has had to protect her intern’s from prosecution for murder. This changes the relationship from that of professor to that of protector and at times mother figure. As the series evolves, the students become the protectors.

Annalise is a very well- known and powerful attorney who has made a few enemies throughout her career. She is very outspoken and feared by her students, co-workers, and even members of the DA’s office. Annalise has two employees who have troubled histories that she has rescued them from and they now are loyal to her even unto death. Annalise’s father left home when she was a teen leaving her feeling abandoned. Annalise was sexually assaulted as a child and as a result has had unsuccessful relationships with both men and women and 1 failed marriage. Annalise is also a functioning alcoholic.

Annalise is portrayed as two characters. A very beautiful, caring, and well put together professional as well as very mean, ugly (inward and outwardly), and falling apart.

I find it very interesting how the character of Annalise Keating has a dual personality that is shown on the screen. At times she is shown in designer clothes, a well put together attorney and professor who cares about the education and lives of her interns. She goes above and beyond to protect them but within a matter of minutes she can switch to a very ugly person who says mean and ugly things to those who are loyal to her and those she loves. This is the angry black woman character that most are familiar with and even expect. She goes from designer clothes and beautiful make up to a bath robe, no make-up and even removes her wig to reveal a very ugly and/or vulnerable individual. This vulnerability takes her from her goddess status to an ordinary individual with the same concerns, fears, and demons as those that she is working so hard to protect. I must say that when the characters ugly side is shown, I feel a tinge of humiliation. There are certain aspects of being a black woman that are not shared with the public for instance, the wig only comes off behind closed doors. It almost feels like our secrets are being exposed during Annalise’s vulnerability.

I believe that once again producer Shonda Rhimes depicts the black woman as being in charge of her own destiny. Much like scandal, Shonda reflects that when the layers are peeled back, underneath you will find a woman who is broken and afraid. It’s as if she believes that black women wear two faces. One that the world sees which is strong, fearless, and has it all together and then the one that only her closes confidants see where she is vulnerable and at times very weak. I can relate to this portrayal as an African American woman because I have always been taught to be strong and to not show any weakness. But there are times when you just want to be free and vulnerable and let others be in charge for once. But when black women are portrayed in this manner it usually comes across in media as lazy and complacent. When the main character Annalise has her moments of weakness and vulnerability, she proves that black women can’t take the pressures associated with success and will always turn to liquor or drugs. White audiences might draw the conclusion that we are not capable of handling success and will always revert back to what is familiar whereas black audiences might draw the conclusion that you can never afford to be vulnerable. Although the character of Annalise is depicted as a competent professional, according to Kretsedemas, the role of black professional or boss isolates the character within a mostly white cast thus producing social distance between whites and blacks. This portrayal of the isolated black professional is the perfect backdrop for the stereotype of angry black woman. “Some of the most well-known depictions of angry black women are connected, in some way, to the professional work world” (Kretsedemas). Therefore, according to Kretsedemas, the depiction of the upwardly mobile black professional is associated with aggressive and flamboyant behaviors.

Being Mary Jane

Mara Brock Akil                                                                               Gabrielle Union 

Airing on BET, this drama TV series first aired as a 90 minute pilot series on 07/2/13. Produced by Mara Brok Akil, the series stars African American actress Gabrielle Union and is intended for a young African American female audience. The series follows the personal and professional life of a young, ambitious, and successful TV news anchor Mary Jane Paul with a purpose of showing the struggle women of color endure as they attempt to climb the white American corporate ladder.

Mary Jane is young, beautiful, ambitious, hard-working, educated, intelligent, and family oriented and yet she is single, over 30, unable to sustain a serious relationship, and childless. Mary Jane desires a serious relationship, she desires a child, and she desires to be lead anchor at work. Although she comes from a two parent middle class home she has still endured the many stereotypical hardships known to inner city African American families. A brother who is a drug addict and a niece who was a single parent before the age of 18. Mary Janes success comes at a price as her family members see her as their cash flow and other members of the black community see her success as a sell-out.

Mary Jane’s closest friend, confidant, and producer is a Latina female character Kara. The only African American men on the show are the men that Mary Jane meet in the night clubs and have brief relationships with or other professional men who are direct adversaries. Mary Jane and Kara are always vying, most times unsuccessfully, to produce and be the face of the TV station against their white co-workers.

Once again, we have an African American producer depicting black women as competent professionals trying to compete in corporate America and grab ahold to the American dream that has escaped most of the African American community.

I find it very interesting how the show interprets the manner in which African American relationships are forged. Mary Jane has to resort to club hopping in order to meet a potential partner and each time he is either intimidated by her success, unsuccessful in his own professional life, or only looking for a one night stand. The only time she does find someone who is as successful professionally as she, he is either married or white which doesn’t seem to matter to Mary Jane either way. Mary Jane is portrayed as so desperate for love, marriage, and baby that she is willing to go to any length including stealing an ex-boyfriends sperm. Many African American professional females can relate to Mary Janes plight because they too find themselves living in a world where there is a shortage of professional black men, the good ones are already married, and the blue color workers are intimidated by the strength of the professional black woman not understanding that she had to build this strength to get where she is. I believe that the young African American audience will relate to Mary Jane but the show is still full of the stereotypes of old like Jezebel, angry black woman, and ghetto. In one scene Mary Jane loses her cool and behind closed doors let’s a ratchet Latina girl know that although she is a professional, she can get ratchet also. This scene could be interpreted that all black women are ghetto deep down inside, no matter how well dressed, or how far up the corporate ladder.

I the family dynamics created by the show to be very interesting. To give this young professional a drug addicted brother and incorporate teen pregnancy both with Mary Jane and her niece is top loading the show with all types of situations allowing the audience to be able to better connect to the show. Since the shows audience is young African American women, there aren’t many of us who have not been directly affected by the drug addicted family member, abortion, or teen pregnancy within our family. And there is always that one family member who has made it out and now is obligated to give everyone in the family the “hook-up”.

Although many might see the new depiction of black women in television as successful professionals unrealistic, according to Jewell Jackson McCabe, president of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, this is not the case but the issue is that many can’t see beyond the image of the black woman as maid (Strong).

 

 

Conclusion

Although there is a big difference in the way that African American producers depict black women on TV, many of the old stereotypes have a way of creeping in. These stereotypes can have real life consequences not only affecting how black women are treated but also affecting the negative expectations of how black women should act.

Although it has been a long road and they don’t always get it absolutely right, black female producers Shonda Rhimes and Mara Brock Akl has put forth a valiant effort to change the image of the black woman on television giving black women both young and old hope that they can be more than the stereotypes our mothers have had to suffer through and fight to overcome.

 

 

Learning Moments

A very significant learning moment for me in this course was during week 5: reflections on Hollywood films. The class was assigned to read a study done at USC called Inequality in 700 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Gender, Race, and LGBT Status from 2007 to 2014. When looking at the stats I found it very odd that it did not surprise me that only 5.3% of actors in the top 100 films of 2014 were African American, and of that only 4.7% of directors were black. These finding are what lead me to my thesis for my Big Picture blog post. In my blog post for week 5 I correlated USC research finding with on going controversy with the Grammy award show. I pointed out the debate people have been having in regards to the lack of diverse in this award show, even though there have been many renowned films with black actors and directors to go through Hollywood.

In other courses throughout my years at PSU I have learned many interesting things, intro to sociology was the one course that opened my eyes, especially in popular culture. It has been very gratifying to take sociology and learn the sociological aspects of popular culture and then to then come in an actually popular culture class and be able to go more in depth with my learning of this subject. In sociology we studied the term “The Glass Ceiling” which is a barrier that prevents women and minorities for obtaining higher-level achievements. We discussed why these hierarchies were in place and ways to break through the glass, the first start to a breakthrough is by discussion and education.

Resources

“Strong black women on TV still portrayed by racial stereotypes – The Collegian.” UWIRE Text, 13 Dec. 2013, p. 1. Educators Reference Complete. Accessed 26 Feb. 2017.

Kretsedemas, Philip. “‘But she’s not black!’ viewer interpretations of ‘angry black women’ on prime time TV.” Journal of African American Studies, vol. 14, no. 2, 2010, p. 149+. General OneFile, Accessed 26 Feb. 2017.

Smith, Stacy L., Dr. “Inequality in 700 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Gender, Race, & LGBT Status from 2007 to 2014.” N.p., n.d. Web. <http://annenberg.usc.edu/pages/~/media/MDSCI/Inequality%20in%20700%20Popular%20Films%2081415.ashx&gt;.