Bipolar Disorder: Crazy or Accurate?

When you hear the words “Bipolar Disorder”, what pops into your mind? When someone says “Oh, he/she is so bipolar!”, is your first thought that they’re crazy? Known in the past as manic depressive disorder, and on some TV advertisements as bipolar depression, bipolar disorder is a mental illness that will affect approximately 4.4% of the population at some point in their lives, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Mental illness is often stigmatized, and while it is becoming a more openly discussed topic, the appearance of mental illness in popular culture is still not what it should be. Bipolar disorder isn’t shown in the media as commonly as unipolar depression, but when it is portrayed, it is portrayed rather hastily. It leads you to wonder how well the disease was researched before being acted out. Here, we will examine some examples of bipolar disorder in the media, and how it is portrayed.

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            Mr. Jones: Mr. Jones is an older film, released back in October of 1993. As the film begins, we are greeted with the song “I Got You (I Feel Good)” by James Brown, which is rather upbeat and cheerful. At first, you might not think anything of this song, but you will later realize the significance of it. As a group of construction workers enter a job site, we are introduced to Mr. Jones, our main character. He is eccentric and excitable, and while smooth talking with the foreman, he manages to get hired on at the job site.

Mr. Jones’ eccentric behavior continues as he impulsively gives another character, Howard, a 100-dollar bill, and tells him an odd story about how he’d found it laying on the ground and out of nowhere a voice tells him “give it to Howard”, but he didn’t know anyone named Howard before this, so how cool is that?! After more upbeat excitement, Mr. Jones seems to finally lose all touch with reality as he decides that he is going to fly like the jets overhead, and must be restrained and pulled away from the edge of the roof, that he’s almost jumped from.

In a scene change, we meet the psychiatrist, Elizabeth, who will be another crucial character. In the mental hospital that has an absolutely terrible system of “evaluate, medicate, evacuate”, Elizabeth meets a heavily sedated Mr. Jones, who has been fed way too many antipsychotics, and has been misdiagnosed with schizophrenia. At a later point, once no longer sedated, Jones and Elizabeth meet again, and Jones is released from the hospital. Elizabeth discusses with the staff Jones’ misdiagnosis and that she believes he actually is suffering from bipolar disorder. Meanwhile, off the medication, Jones goes back into a severely manic episode, in which we see hyper sexuality, impulsivity, grandiosity, and so forth. He is finally brought back to the mental hospital after he disturbs a symphony in an attempt to conduct the orchestra and speed up the music.

Mr. Jones does not like to admit that he does indeed suffer from bipolar disorder, and when a depressive episode finally hits, Jones is absolutely distraught, stating that he’s a junkie who needs his high, which in this case is referring to him needing and desperately missing his manic episodes. We also continue to witness a budding relationship between Jones and Elizabeth, which has begun to cross the bounds of therapeutic and into something unethical. Why is Elizabeth so obsessed with Mr. Jones? Why is she the only person in this ridiculous hospital that can tell that Jones has bipolar disorder and not schizophrenia?

As Jones’ treatment continues, Elizabeth continues to dig deeper, eventually violating Jones’ privacy by contacting someone from his past he claimed to be dead. They fight, and despite the fact that Jones is at the psychiatric hospital through a court order, he is somehow able to leave. Elizabeth continues to follow him, and eventually we are faced with a dramatic scene in the rain in which they finally kiss. Ethics have been completely broken and violated, and only then does Elizabeth attempt to remove herself from Jones’ case. Hospital drama continues, and eventually they I think run off together so that they can be together after Jones has another mental break after being transferred to a different hospital and leaves.

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            Silver Linings Playbook: The Silver Linings Playbook is a more recent film and also has a main character with bipolar disorder named Pat. We are introduced to a clearly delusional Pat who is talking to someone or something not there, and he manages to avoid taking his medication. Pat’s mother checks him out of the mental hospital in which he had resided for the last 8 months, despite medical professionals advising against this and that Pat is just starting to get used to the routine.

Pat is un-medicated, very manic, and still rather delusional. This helps with the movie’s hijinks, as he expects to be able to easily prove to his wife that he’s changed and okay now. He is also driving his parents crazy. At a strange dinner with I’m assuming friends or possibly neighbors, Pat is introduced to Tiffany, who is a bit of a basket case following her husband’s death, as well as someone dealing with her own mental health issues. Tiffany and her sister, who is one of the people who invited Pat to dinner, aren’t getting along, and Tiffany convinces Pat to leave with her.

Pat and Tiffany have definite sparks, but Pat argues that they’re both married. Drama ensues and Tiffany starts following Pat around. Pat can’t talk to his wife because of a restraining order, so Tiffany agrees to give his wife letters from him so long as he competes in this dance competition with her. He gets a letter back from his wife, his dad is an unusual person with OCD rituals regarding sports while also not seeming to understand Pat’s bipolar disorder, Pat and Tiffany go on a really horrible date, and so forth. There’s a lot of B-plot in this movie. They compete in the dance competition, get the score they need to win a bet his dad and a sketchy book guy made, Pat finds out his wife didn’t actually write the letter to him, but Tiffany did, and he writes her a letter back telling her that he loves her. Que happy emotional scene.

Mr. Jones and Silver Linings Playbook did have some good points to them. They were accurate in the medications used to treat their mentally ill main characters. Mr. Jones did a wonderful job of portraying both the manic and depressive states of bipolar disorder. The Silver Linings Playbook did a good job of showing delusions and I suppose psychosis. However, there is a lot I am not so happy with.

In Mr. Jones, transference and countertransference does make sense, but no matter how you spin it, it was completely unethical and illegal for Elizabeth to sleep with Jones, and she should have been reported, fired, stripped of her license, and possibly arrested. The fact that multiple people knew what had happened and chose not to do anything about it so long as she stayed away from Jones upsets and disturbs me. It was also rather disturbing that Elizabeth completely violated Jones’ privacy and tracked down his old “dead” girlfriend to talk to her. Without a release of information and a number of other things, she’s also violating HIPAA and lord knows what else.

In the Silver Linings Playbook, Pat is pretty much portrayed as crazy, and a lot of the stuff with him and Tiffany is a battle of who is crazier, and “at least I’m not as crazy as you are.” This falls back into that negative portrayal and stigmatization I mentioned earlier. Meanwhile, if Pat was in the hospital being treated for eight months, he would be closely monitored, and they’d have noticed that he was continually delusional and manic. They would have also noticed that he was skipping out on his medication. His family not fighting harder to keep him on his medication was another red flag, even if we ignore the fact that he should not have been able to be released to them in the first place in his clearly unstable mental state. And why does Pat have to end up in such a dysfunctional and sketchy relationship with Tiffany? I get that a romantic ending is great for Hollywood, but with how toxic things were during their date and other points in the film, this is just setting Pat up for further failure.  In an article titled “Bipolar Disorder Affects Behavior and Social Skills on the Internet” (Martini et al.), it does discuss how people with bipolar disorder have poor social skills, and that those worsen over time, but I’m not sure that even that can fully explain Pat’s constantly awkward behavior and poor social skills. I’d like to believe that if he stayed on his medication, that he could learn positive social skills, but that might still be a stretch with the way his character is portrayed.

I believe that Mr. Jones was well researched, but I don’t necessarily feel that Silver Linings Playbook had as much research backing it up, and it chose to go more for what would be the most dramatic, vs. what would be more realistic. While the actors may or may not have had mental illnesses of their own, I don’t think that anyone in these films actually had bipolar disorder. It leads me to wonder how these films might differ or if there would even be a film if any of the actors playing bipolar characters actually had bipolar disorder.

However, I do feel that taking a que from the writers of Mr. Jones would be a good step in the right direction for future shows or films featuring characters with bipolar disorder, so long as they don’t cross over into unethical relations with the doctors. I think that an even stronger point of view would be a character who suffers from bipolar disorder and with the help of family, friends, and/or medication, is able to become more stable and experience life, with or without all of the dramatic hijinks, and not have to have everything tie into whether or not they have a love interest.

 

References

Bipolar Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2018, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/bipolar-disorder.shtml

Figgis, M. (Director). (1993) Mr. Jones [Film].

Russell, D. (Director). (2013) Silver Linings Playbook [Film].

Thaís Martini, Letícia Sanguinetti Czepielewski, Adam Fijtman, Leonardo Sodré, Bianca Wollenhaupt-Aguiar, Caroline Silveira Pereira, . . . Marcia Kauer-Sant’Anna. (n.d.).Bipolar disorder affects behavior and social skills on the Internet. PLoS ONE, 8(11),E79673. Retrieved from http://europepmc.org/backend/ptpmcrender.fcgi?accid=PMC3823569&blobtype=pdf

Gay Actors…or Gay for Pay?

The gay culture is defined and put into a box where actors portray a character that may or may not reflect accurate information about our lifestyles. Straight actors are often cast as gay characters and openly gay actors are usually only cast as gay actors. Ellen Degeneres is a famous openly gay comedienne wasn’t always out of the closet. She had a sitcom (Ellen) on ABC – a primetime sitcom on network television, no less. Ellen Degeneres came out as gay openly, then her show aired the (now infamous) episode titled, “Puppy Episode” where her character on the show comes out as gay. It was only a year after that that her show was suddenly cancelled by the network. She leans over a microphone at the airport and announces she is gay over the loudspeaker, accidentally. That moment is almost engrained in my head. The two most difficult words to say out loud for just about anybody is “I’m gay.” And the humor of saying it even louder and amplified is not lost on how those words sound so loud already. It almost feels like it should be whispered for fear of rejection.

Unfortunately, this is what we have to deal with. The shame of being different from the “norms of society” or the assumed lifestyle that is pushed and engrained in the heads of all children since birth. “One day you will find a wonderful girl, marry and have children.” “Which girl are you asking to the prom?” It’s constant. It’s not malicious (most of the time) but it’s been beaten into our heads subliminally since birth. It’s just the way it should happen naturally. It’s expected and please don’t differ from the expected. Please don’t make me worry.

My parents are the most supportive parents a gay boy could ask for. Even my mom admitted to me that she didn’t want me to be gay. Not because she didn’t agree with my lifestyle or support me, but because she was sad that I would have to fight harder to be accepted. She was worried that I would have to protect myself emotionally, physically, intellectually, mentally, etc. She would always worry (until society completely altered it’s thinking) that I would be judged and ostracized. It’s not her fault she felt that way. She loves me so much that she wanted nothing but happiness and less bumps in the road.

Hollywood. Acting. Performing. Creativity capitol of the world. Singing. Dancing. Make-up. Glamour. Fashion. It’s practically a mecca for the stereotype of gay men and they run the town. More than 40% of West Hollywood’s population identifies as LGBT. Even still, most of America does not buy into the lifestyle as acceptable. The Hollywood entertainment industry is not just about the culture of itself. It’s about selling movie tickets, ratings for television shows, etc. Why would a 29 year old Ohio small town male buy a ticket to see a movie where the lead has values that he, himself does not condone or approve of? To put it in another perspective: How many grandparents do you know sit down on Sunday evening and watch Real Housewives of Atlanta religiously? They don’t understand it and don’t find it relatable. Therefore, Hollywood must adjust and accommodate to the wishes of the many.

Will & Grace debuted in 1998 and went off the air in 2006. This network television show (NBC this time) was always on top of the ratings game. It was fresh, pushed the boundaries and was different. It was eccentric, and it was real. Or so it appeared to many people. Sure, the gay community loved the show. We were torn. Finally, a show where we weren’t the gay best friend (Reality Bites, Clueless, My Best Friend’s Wedding) with the one-liners or the ‘hey girlfriend’ flamboyance. Or were we? Many in the gay community felt betrayed. Jack (Sean Hayes) was a flamboyant sidekick that may have stolen scenes and (arguably) the funniest character on the show – but was it fair to be portrayed with a stereotype? Sure, at least we were getting some attention and the country seemed to really embrace us. Okay, go with it. Eric McCormack plays Will Truman on the show. He is straight and married to a woman in real life. Eric was interviewed once and said, “nothing that anyone in Hollywood ever says makes a difference to people living in the middle of the country.” Truth. If you do not agree with a lifestyle for various reasons it’s going to be damn near impossible to convince you otherwise. And how in the hell are you going to have a sitcom convince a Southern Baptist that being gay is okay and should be accepted and treated equally in society? Impossible.

Showtime debuted with Queer as Folk (2000-2005). This was the first time sex was featured in such a real, raw way on television. At least for some of the gay population. The show was a drama that had it all. Comedy, drama, sex, nudity, and good writing. The setting was in Philadelphia and showed gay men actually dealing with homophobia and how hurtful it could be. The show was groundbreaking in that it portrayed not only the sex and lifestyles of gay men. It talked about HIV, open relationships, straight and gay relationships co-mingling together. But it still lacked as much substance as the typical gay male in a suburban city. Larger cities are diverse and (generally) more democratic.

‘Brokeback Mountain’ was a film starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal (both heterosexual actors). This is a story of two high school drop-outs in their early 20’s who meet as temporary hires to spend a summer herding sheep in the high meadows of Brokeback Mountain. One night Jack insists Ennis share his tent and lay together for warmth from the cold. Bodies touch and arousal leads to quick sex. The next morning Ennis declares, “I’m not no queer.” Jack agrees, “Me neither. A one-shot thing. Nobody’s business but ours.” They spend the summer growing feelings for each other. Then, spend four years apart before reconnecting and picking up where they left off. Ennis is married and has children and Jack is in a relationship with a son as well. Over the course of 20 years, they make it a yearly event and eventually drift apart, unhappy and struggling with accepting their label of being gay. They fight it tooth and nail. The sex scenes in the movie are brutal, rough and yet, tender. This is a powerful movie because it dives into the conflicts of accepting who you are and the struggles how people will perceive you. It also is rare because it’s about middle America – and not Hollywood, Philadelphia or New York, which would have much more diversity, understanding and acceptance.  Both Ledger and Gillenhaal won the Academy Award for their roles in this movie.

Straight actors have won Academy Awards and nominations for playing gay characters. Sean Penn in Milk, Tom Hanks in Philadelphia, Charlize Theron in Monster, etc. “It’s very difficult for an actor to come out if all the signals from agents, directors and studios say ‘we will not put a gay man in a leading straight romantic role,’” David Hauslaib (founder of the blog Queerty) says. “They look at audiences and based on no hard evidence, they conclude that moviegoers will not pay to see a gay man play straight.” There’s too much money at stake. “Big tent-pole pictures are really, really large investments, so the studios want to be sure nothing detracts from the box office.” My take on the double standard is that the majority of the population is heterosexual, and therefore, it’s easier to imagine a straight actor playing a role and being believable in a gay relationship than a gay actor pretending to be straight. The reason for this is the stereotypes. Hollywood is about glitzy fashion and flamboyant men. How could the gay actor be believable falling in love with a woman when he probably just wants to wear her heels and go shopping with her best friends, instead? But a straight actor is more believable because even if he does fall for a guy in this situation in the movie, it’s believable that he could always go back to women if it doesn’t work out.

References:

https://www.visitwesthollywood.com/lgbtq/

https://inews.co.uk/culture/eric-mccormack-interview-everyone-knew-i-married-child-i-took-will-everywhere/

Dahl, M. (2010). Under the Rainbow: Post-closet gay male representation in American theater and television. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

Lee, A. (Director). (2005). Brokeback Mountain [Motion Picture].

Puente, M. (2010, August 24). Playing it straight, or gay, doesn’t always go both ways. USA Today, p. 02D.

Roughton, R. (2013). The Significance of Brokeback Mountain. Taylor & Francis Group.

The Female Stigma of the Military

When you think of a woman in the military what do you think? Are they strong? Are they weak? Are they suitable for the work that they have been assigned? Well, I think yes, I am strong and I am absolutely suited for the military and for my job in it. I strive to be a better soldier and a better leader. Many people seem to judge the military and the women in it for many different reasons. A common thought is the motherly, overprotective idea that because you are in the military you are more likely to be sexually harassed, which sadly is true.

To be in the military as a female means that you will face sexual advances from all sides, especially as an enlisted female. One of the main tensions in the military is that it is a difficult profession with a lot of increasingly hard demands physically, mentally, and emotionally. As a human being in that specific environment there needs to be an outlet in order to not be compressed by all of the difficult situations that we have to face on a daily basis. One of the many ways that military members do so is to inject humor into every aspect of their lives. There is a fine line in between humor and sexual harassment which has at length been discussed at least once a year in specific briefings that every unit in the military receives.

The statistics of people in the military getting sexually harassed is outrageous. Even though the numbers show a very large figure, it is known that many people who are involved in such circumstances do not act or do not discuss the situation and, in order to keep their rank, they do not acknowledge that there is a problem at hand. The majority of my frustration at the chain of command or the people in charge are not taking a proper, firm stance on the matter and the fact of the reports that go unnoticed. The differences that are shown in this article Baldwin, J. (1996). Female Promotions in Male-Dominant Organizations: The Case of the United States Military, is the idea that because of a certain rank or status, the individuals involved are urged to keep silent, even at the expense of their own personal well-being. This is a different ideal than the army I choose to sign my life to. I have known instances of grievances happening, but have also known that they have been handled with the individual’s welfare as the main point of concern, by lower enlisted and by high ranking officers. This amount of care is extremely important especially when concerned with the care received by enlisted personnel and officers. Officers issues or grievances are unfortunately, sometimes swept under the rug as discussed in this article.

As a person in the military I feel it is important to note that since this article has been published, quite some time ago, all military branches and commands have felt the need to address the issue and make the problem more commonly mentioned, with yearly briefings and more strict standards and regulations. The emotional support that people in the armed services are provided are especially important and well versed. The mental health and physical safety of all parties involved are important and taken into consideration. The idea of safety is of key importance to the different branches; luckily, the command has become increasingly aware of the issues that have arisen and has taken charge. Another one of the main issues is that it is not just a female problem, it is a problem in general. Females are not the only ones who are sexually harassed, males are also sexually harassed and it is also not all done by the opposite gender.

There has been a disconnect between the enlisted side and the officer side. There have been some articles that have shown that the officers get a different treatment than the enlisted. The officials who decide what the punishment is for the perpetrators are the officers, therefore there are special circumstances for the officers versus the enlisted. As seen in this article the “Sex, the Army and a Double Standard” there have been a lot of different scandals that have dealt with the higher ranks of the military and have brought careers to an end. The ideals of the military have to change, luckily in recent years there has been a great importance placed on the needs for reform in the policies surrounding this issue.

Another thought would be that the female is less suitable to be in the military because of the physical differences between males and females. In the movie Meagan Levey, the first part of the movie is shown some of the backstory to Levey going into the military. She wanted to make something of her life and to prove to herself that she was made of stronger stuff. One of the first major struggles that is depicted in that movie is Levey’s urge to get a K-9. Even though she is an MP (Military Police) she still needs to prove that she is capable of handling a K-9. The physical aspect of this feet is very challenging for Levey and she establishes that she is a hard motivated and diligent marine. Levey has to prove that she is physically capable for all of the work that she needs to do in the military and with her dog. The military is obviously physically demanding and in order to advance in any rank or status you need to show that you are physically up to the challenge of dealing with more responsibility.

These two stigmas show the importance for females to remain in the military. Females need to prove to themselves and others that they are not just a sexual harassment case and they are not just a female who can’t pass their physical fitness tests and therefore cannot rank up and pursue their careers. Females in the military should be proud to be in such a noble profession.

Bibliography

 

Meagan Levey, 2017. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4899370/

 

Baldwin, J. (1996). Female Promotions in Male-Dominant Organizations: The Case of the United States Military. The Journal of Politics, 58(4), 1184-1197. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/stable/2960156

 

Thompson, M. (1998). Sex, the army and a double standard. Time151(17), 30.

 

Lesbian Representation In Pop Culture Media

Lesbian Stereotypes in Popular Culture

Stereotypes and tropes are no rarity when it comes to Hollywood portrayals of lesbians. There are several tropes that commonly occur in portrayals of lesbians within film and television. The most prevalent is called the “luscious lesbian.” The “luscious lesbian” is feminine, conventionally attractive, and most likely white. She is often used to entertain the heterosexual male audience through acting out sexual fantasies. She is gay enough to enjoy being with women, but not enough to be intimidating to heterosexual men or to exclusively interested in women.. The “luscious lesbian” appears constantly throughout pop culture with the sexualization of her character occurring to different extents. Both Katherine Hiegl’s character in the movie “Jenny’s Wedding” and Denise Richard’s in the teen movie “Wild Things” could be considered “luscious lesbians” although one movie contains no sex and the other is highly sexual.

Different movies and different levels of sexualization, however both contain “luscious lesbians”: white, conventionally attractive, and feminine.

Another common lesbian stereotype within popular culture is that of the “psycho femme.” The “psycho femme” lesbian is a dangerous, obsessive and crazed character, whose sexuality is ultimately linked to the concept of homsoexuality being an illness. An example of the “psycho femme” is the murderous and manipulative Catherine from the film “Basic Instinct”. Another could be Natalie Portman’s character in “Black Swan” whose homosexual fantasies fall under the umbrella of her psychotic behavior.

 

Misrepresentation of Lesbian Relationships

Jules and Nic from the movie “The Kids Are Alright”

Lesbian relationships are almost always the subject of films with lesbian characters and are often poorly and inaccurately represented. Mainstream media very often makes the mistake of modeling lesbian relationships off of the stereotypical heterosexual relationship. An example of this is in the 2011 movie “The Kids Are Alright”, despite this movie being touted for displaying a lesbian couple as “normal” in reality the film forces one women, Jules, the more feminine of the two, to take on the role of the “wife”, staying at home and raising the children and forces the other Nic to be the “husband”, working a professional job and claiming  ownership of the family. The highly acclaimed film “Blue Is The Warmest Color” also pushes this heterosexual mold onto a lesbian relationship, forcing Adele to be a school teacher who cooks and caters to her girlfriend Emma, a strong, opinionated, and successful artist.

A common trope when it comes to portraying lesbian relationships is “friends or lovers”, where a romantic relationship is continually hinted at but is never confirmed or seen by the audience. An example of this could be from the film “Fried Green Tomatoes” in which two characters Idgie and Ruth share a deep friendship with clear sexual undertones, however any actual homosexual love between them is never confirmed. To a lesser extent the “friends or lovers” trope also applies to the movie “Jenny’s Wedding.” Although this movie is literally about two lesbian women marrying each other, the audience rarely sees the two supposed lovers interact. The characters have no sexual chemistry between them, kiss a total of three times throughout the film, and almost never actually touch each other despite being in a relationship.

Lesbian sex is also commonly misrepresented in portrayals of lesbian relationship. Much of the time lesbian sex in film is shown to be unsatisfying or inadequate without the aid of a man. In the film the “Kids Are Alright” Jules and Nic’s sex life is ultimately a failure despite the effort both women display in romancing one and another. Jules ultimately end up having a sexually satisfying affair with her children’s sperm donor, highlighting the illegitimacy lesbian sex in the media compared to heterosexual sex. A similar situation appears in the movie “Kissing Jessica Stein” in which the main character’s relationship ultimately ends over the lack of sexual intimacy.  On the other end of the spectrum, lesbian sex in media is commonly displayed as entertainment for both the heterosexual man behind the camera and also in the audience. In the movie “Blue Is The Warmest Color” the sex scenes are long, graphic, and choregoraphed to the point of almost pornagraphic. This theme of lesbian sex scenes used to titillate and audience also continues in several movies, such as “American Pie 2”,” Wild Things”, and “Cruel Intentions.”

 

Whiteness and Heterosexuality of Lesbian Media

The author of the of the book which the film “Blue Is the Warmest Color” was based off, Julie Maroh, was very critical of the movie despite the overwhelming praise it received from reviewers during its release. She stated on her blog in regards to the movie “It appears to me that this was what was missing on the set: lesbians.” While watching and researching films with lesbians in it for this class this appeared to be very common. Rarely are movies about lesbians directed by actual lesbians, but are often directed by heterosexual women and men. In fact all of the mainstream films I watched about lesbians were not directed by lesbians. Very rarely are the actresses playing lesbians lesbians themselves. To me, the exclusion of lesbian creative input in film and television, prevents accurate and meaningful portrayals of lesbian characters.

“Blue Is The Warmest Color” a film about two white lesbians played by two white straight actresses, directed by a straight man.

Another commonality that the movies I watched share, is that they are overwhelmingly white. Every lesbian character in the mainstream movies I viewed for this project were white, and there were very rarely any people of color in the background. This trend also continues in LGBTQ representation on television. In GLAAD’s “Where We Are On TV” report, in 2017 only 36% of LGBTQ characters on broadcast television were people of color. To me this shows that Hollywood has regularly ignores the stories of lesbians are not just the stories of white women but also the stories of women of color.

 

Positive and Diverse Portrayals of Lesbians in Hollywood

Although lesbian portrayals in Hollywood clearly have a long way to go I do believe they are progressing. More and more we are seeing more television shows and movies about lesbians. Streaming services like Netflix have provided opportunities for queer people to create more content that has accurate and entertaining content with GLAAD reporting that lesbians make up the majority of LGBTQ representation on streaming platforms. Shows like “Orange Is The New Black” and “One Day At A Time” have increased lesbian representation in media in a more meaningful and accurate way.

Scene from “But I’m A Cheerleader”

Films have also progressed somewhat but at a much slower pace than television when it comes to lesbian representation. The only popular film that I was able to find about lesbians that was also directed by a lesbian as well was the 1999 film “But I’m A Cheerleader.” The character’s love stories and triangles within this film have a very similar plot to many teenage rom coms of the 90’s but with added storyline of being in a conversion camp. The sex scenes in the movie are subtle and framed romantically, with soft lighting and music. This is movie is mostly white but does have at least four characters of color, and all four speak. Although not necessarily the most artistic piece of work I think it’s one of the few films about lesbians that gets it right when it comes to two girls in love.

Overall, I think Hollywood is making progress in representing lesbians, but that progress is very slow. More opportunities need to be allocated to tell lesbian stories and these stories I think should be told by actual lesbians.

 

Sources

 

Eaklor, Vicki L. “The Kids Are All Right But the Lesbians Arent: The Illusion of Progress in Popular Film.” Historical Reflections/Reflexions Historiques, vol. 38, no. 3, Jan. 2012, p. 153. Fine Arts and Music Collection, doi:10.3167/hrrh.2012.380309.

Jenkins, Tricia. “”Potential Lesbians at Two OClock”: The Heterosexualization of Lesbianism in the Recent Teen Film.” The Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 38, no. 3, 2005, pp. 491–504. ProQuest, doi:10.1111/j.0022-3840.2005.00125.x.

GLAAD Where We Are ON TV Report. 2017, GLAAD Media Institute, glaad.org/files/WWAT/WWAT_GLAAD_2017-2018.pdf.

Swisher, Kara. “WE LOVE LESBIANS! OR DO WE? ‘HOT’ SUBCULTURE — OR JUST NEW HURTFUL STEREOTYPES?” The Washington Post, WP Company, 18 July 1993, www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1993/07/18/we-love-lesbians-or-do-we-hot-subculture-or-just-new-hurtful-stereotypes/c04ac909-7af7-4fe6-965f-546c72f768dd/?utm_term=.464335a542dd.

Walters, Suzanna Danuta. “The kids are all right but the lesbians arent: Queer kinship in US culture.” Sexualities, vol. 15, no. 8, 2012, pp. 917–933., doi:10.1177/1363460712459311.

Jews in Media: Laughing with us or at us?

Reflections on Research

Through my research into the portrait of Jewishness in popular culture I have discovered a lot. The most important thing I took away from my research is that Jews portals differ vastly depending on the creator and whether they are Jewish or not. A classic example of a show created by Jews is “Seinfeld”. The humor is unquestionably Jewish, and it does not use its characters Jewishness as the butt of its jokes. The characters Jewishness is not the shows source of humor. There is more of a overarching theme of humor in the absurdity of life and Jews happen to be the stars. Compare this to “New Girl’s” sole Jewish character Schmidt, you can hardly go an episode without an inappropriate Jewish joke. The punchline makes fun of Jews. Humor around the Jewish character has no nuance, he is a Jew and Jews are ridiculous and funny. The following Jewish jokes from season four alone:

  1. “You’re really sexy for a Jew.” (Episode 9: “Thanksgiving IV”)

Schmidt receives the awkward compliment during an intimate encounter at his “Bangsgiving” Thanksgiving party. A young woman he’s getting close to on the couch makes the casual observation, causing him to ask: “Wait, what?”

  1. “Has anyone ever told you you look like a Jewish Kennedy?” (Episode 12: “Shark”)

Power-hungry local politician Fawn Moscato compares Schmidt to playboy President John F. Kennedy in a bid to win his affections. She may have a point about his chiseled face and hairstyle, but she follows up by saying: “I hope not, because that would be offensive.”

  1. “I’m having my teeth shaved by a 25th of an inch. Fawn thinks that I have the teeth of an immigrant. She says every time she looks at me, all she can see is Fievel Mousekevitz singing ‘There Are No Cats in America.’ Those little mice Jews.” (Episode 20: “Par 5”)

Schmidt explains that Fawn, who is now his girlfriend, has some pretty exacting standards for her significant other. Fievel Mousekevitz is the animated star of the 1986 film “An American Tail,” which tells the story of a family of Russian Jewish mice who immigrates to the United States to escape anti-Semitism.

  1. “How do I look? How Jewish? I mean like good Jewish or bad Jewish?” (Episode 1: “The Last Wedding”)

Schmidt nervously questions the quality of his Jewish appearance after spotting his crush at a wedding. His friend Nick refuses to answer, thinking the question sounds like a trap.

  1. “It says here we need a murder of peppercorn and — some of that flat Jew bread?” (Episode 17: “Spiderhunt”)

Schmidt is stirring a strange sauce that Nick is concocting from an old family recipe. Matzah seems to be among the obscure ingredients called for in “The Sauce,” though Nick’s family clearly didn’t have Jewish roots.

  1. “When we’re in public, let’s just tone down the Jewish thing, OK?” (Episode 12: “Shark”)

Fawn censors Schmidt after he uses the word “schmendrick” (Yiddish for “stupid person”) in casual conversation. So much for her digging the Jewish Kennedy vibe.

  1. “You Jewish?” (Episode 22: “Clean Break”)

In undoubtedly the most awkward Jewish joke of the fourth or likely any season, guest star Jack McBrayer (aka NBC page Kenneth in “30 Rock”) asks Schmidt out of the blue if he’s Jewish. The two stare silently at each other for several seconds waiting for a laugh from the audience. Not every joke can be funny.

 

The show is written and directed by non-Jews, their perspective on Jewishness is strictly from the outside looking in, there are no insights on Jews or Jewish culture as it really is. The humor is clumsy and without subtlety, laughing at Jews rather than with them. These tasteless minimizing jokes are all too familiar to me as a Jewish person. Jokes like those in “New Girl” give people permission to be insensitive about Jews. Anti-semitism is seen an a different light as other forms of discrimination, seen perhaps as something that is a non issue. It seems to me that people think anti-semitism is a thing on the past and thus something that can be joked about, this is far from the truth. Anti-semitism did not begin or end with the rise and fall of Nazi Germany. Starting in the fourteen hundreds Jews were slaughter is mass during the Spanish Inquisition. Jews had to fight to become naturalized citizens across Europe. Charles Dickens, literature’s darling, called Oliver Twist’s money hungry murderous villain merely “The Jew”.  Jews were lynched in the south. To this day Jewish community centers are under constant bomb threat and Jews are victims of hate crimes in this country. After Trump was elected the PSU Library, my work place, was vandalized with swastikas. I was one of three Jews in my graduating class in high school and was subjected to untold numbers of holocaust jokes and other anti-Semitic jokes. The difference between “Seinfeld” and “New Girl” in regard to Jewish jokes is the former makes Jews feel seen and understood, we can laugh together at the absetdaty of it all, wharas the ladder make Jews the laughable other and normalizes anti-semitic humor. A dangerous thing to do even in this day in age. We do not live is a post racial society. Anti-semitic jokes trigger trauma, feelings of otherness, and fear.

Takeaways from the class

On a different note I’ve one of many aha moments that I had throughout the class came to me after watching Sharyl Attkisson’s Ted talk on astroturfing. So many instances of corporate manipulation became clear after hearing the talk. Attkisson said, “First, hallmarks of astroturf include use of inflammatory language such as “crank”, “quack”, “nutty”, “lies,” “paranoid”, “pseudo”, and “conspiracy”. Astroturfers often claim to debunk myths that aren’t myths at all. Use of the charged language test well: people hear something’s a myth, maybe they find it on Snopes, and they instantly declare themselves too smart to fall for it.” So many instances of this rhetoric sprang to mind. I’ve witnessed a multitude of snarky facebook posts where the poster announces they are too smart to fall for a so called myth and calling out those who are stupid enough to believe it. People are pit against one another, the facts are no longer the focus of the debate Attkisson explains further in her talk: “And most of all, astroturfers tend to reserve all of their public skepticism for those exposing wrongdoing rather than the wrongdoers. In other words, instead of questioning authority, they question those who question authority.” In reality the “myth” is the truth coprite interest wanted to hide. Their campaigns have been so successful that the truth has been obscured and ordinary people tout their rhetoric as a badge of their intelligence. As annoying as this is to me, the real villain here are the corporations that invest ridiculous amounts of money into astroturfing to trick people. If the country was not the tool of corporations these practises would undoubtedly be criminal acts. Democracy is a lie if people don’t have access to unbia information.

Another memorable source was the video series on advertisement, “Ways of Seeing” by  John Berger. Berger uses advertisements and oil paintings as his evidence. I found his logic and examples disturbingly similar to the marketing world of today. Like the oil paintings of old and when Berger was producing his series, modern advertisements purposely erase the means of production that are too often exploitative, and invite you into a perfect world. The oil paintings of the past did not show how the wealthy amassed their fortune through the exploitation of indigenous peoples and African slaves. The same is true of today’s advertisements. There is no hint of the people that produced the goods advertised, the labor market is outsourced and the manufacture, of clothing especially, is done in unsafe sweatshops. The people that produce our goods are often living in extreme poverty, but they are made invisible by advertisement. Something that I think has changed from the time Burger produced his series is the appropriation of political causes for profit, advertisers will use any “hip” cause if they can make money off of it. In the heat of discontent after Trump’s election Pepsi put out an advertisement depicting protesters and riot police setting aside their differences and sharing a Pepsi. The protest shown was a mix between a BLM protest and an anti-Trump rally without political signs. It was a despicable display of neoliberalism making a complete mockery of the reality of police brutality and Pepsi’s history of exploiting black and brown people. As Berger states: “What happens out there happens to strangers, whose fate is meant to be different from ours.” We are taught to disassociate with people suffering in other places, their lives are far off and only hypothetical. We are meant only to relate to the dream like world of advertisements, and we do. I can relate to this feeling, the suffering people are so far away and our paths have never and likely will never intersect. They are hypothetical to me as an American. Worst than this, our consumer culture has lead to the exploitation of people and the degradation of their homes. Advertisements and mass media both causes and numbs us to human suffering. It is the means to our end of consumer goods. Berger suggests the possibility of glamour makes us complicit in the world of consumerism. We are willing to toil and exploit in the hopes of gaining fame and happiness. What we want in not “spray”, but the image that is sold to us. We want the impossible dream. I feel like advertisements have robbed us, they replaced valuing who one is with what one has.

Work Cited

Abrams, Nathan. The New Jew in Film: Exploring Jewishness and Judaism in Contemporary Cinema. Rutgers University Press, 2012.

David, Larry, writer. Seinfeld. NBC.

Manwithaplan999. “WAYS OF SEEING (final episode – advertising) 1/4.” YouTube. March 09, 2008. Accessed February 27, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmgGT3th_oI.

Meriwether, Elizabeth, writer. New Girl. FOX.

“7 strange Jewish jokes that prove ‘New Girl’ is the anti-‘Seinfeld’.” The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. January 05, 2016. http://www.jpost.com/Not-Just-News/7-strange-Jewish-jokes-that-prove-New-Girl-is-the-anti-Seinfeld-439443.

TEDxTalks. “Astroturf and manipulation of media messages | Sharyl Attkisson | TEDxUniversityofNevada.” YouTube. February 06, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bYAQ-ZZtEU.

Women in Today’s Sports

Ashley Doyle
Women in Today’s Sports

When starting this course and having to think of a proposal I wanted to take a different approach and think of something that maybe people haven’t thought to write about yet. What I came up with was lately women have been taking a stand and speaking about, and how our role is starting to change today. Ways that were easiest to explain for me would be through sports. Throughout the years in women’s sports athletes and coach’s roles have really shifted. Through current events of what happened between the USA gymnastics trainer and gymnastics, the Missouri softball coach and his players, and women in the coaching world. Coaches have been 180118094521-01-larry-nassar-0116-super-tease[1]having to adjust to this generation with approaches of different coaching styles. Women have gotten the courage to start to speak out. Toward issues they feel should and need to be addressed.

Larry Nassar became the USA Gymnastics trainer in 1997. From 1997 to 2004 only 3 cases were brought to high authority figures attention, that Larry Nassar was assaulting gymnastics. Authority figures like coaches and professors were approached about the issue and never did anything about it. For 20 years Larry Nassar remained the trainer and was assaulting young athletes. Until 2015 investigation finally took place on the abuse Nassar had done to 156 victims. After one year of investigation, Larry Nassar was convicted. But why did it take so long for Nassar to be put behind bars. It hit me that girls and women who were training in the Olympics had trained their whole life. I did farther research on this subject and spoke to a woman who had been on the Olympic softball team and found articles about Olympics and women on the Olympic teams.

What I found was how there is one top USA team and then following them is about 10 different USA teams. The top team is the team who see on TV representing the USA. Then the other players on the “younger” or team below are all reserves. Waiting for their chance to get on the top team. So, if one falls due to injury or leaves for other purposes, a reserve will replace that athlete. How it went for the young girls and women training to one day being on the National USA team, was they had reputations to keep and you don’t want your reputation or the respect that people have for you blown. If this were to happen where women would speak up about Nassar their shot at going to the Olympics may or was blown. If you spoke up about anything you were not going. This wasn’t the only sport where if you were to speak up about issues or problems you were not going to the Olympics this happened. Nassar had a lot of respect by his coworkers, peers, and the coaches of the gymnastics team. Why it took so long for him to finally be convicted was because of the fear of women and young athletes thinking they were not going to make it to the Olympics also his reputation was far greater then any of the athletes. He made athletes aches and sores go away, he helped those athletes. The gymnastics took his abuse because it was what they had to do, was keep quiet. To make it to the Olympics.

For 10 seasons Coach Earleywine of the Missouri softball program had a winning record every year, and in the softball, world was a high well-respected coach. In his final two seasons coaching at Missouri his coaching methods and styles were questioned by players and the athletic department at Missouri. The article that I had found talked about how Earleywine had been a well-respected coach, but in his 2015season players approach Athletic Director Mack Rhoades, saying how Earleywine had been verbally abusive toward players. Within the same season right before the college world series players protested for almost a whole week. Expressing how they would not play for Earleywine until changes were made. Within those six days Earleywine had voluntarily entered counseling. After the season came to end seven players were set to transfer. Including their number one pitcher Paige Lowery who became an All-American in her next season at Oklahoma, and his All-American shortstop. Earleywine was under investigation leading into the 2016 season he had been suspended from violating Level III infraction, by offering a prospective student athlete before August 1st. But not for his actions in the previous season. By the end of the season Earleywine had been fired. So, why was Earleywine’s coaching style excepted 10 years ago but in his last few years not excepted? It is due to how Earleywine did not evolve with the generation and who players are today.

“Coaches 10 years ago were aggressive and demanded work from their players” (Kellie Wilkerson 2004 USA softball team player). Reading and listening to what Kellie Wilkerson had to say about her playing days to her coaching days, she expresses how this generation expects intent results, and we expect our coaches to teach us everything. Where as back when she played in the early 2000’s, it was like background softball, where today is computerized softball. This is for every other sport as well. What I collected from articles and observing sports and this generation is we are in ways babied. We don’t know how to handle situations where we are yelled at or how to deal with conflict. This is no bash on my generation it is just information I have gathered and observed. One reason Earleywine was had no problems in his early years of coaching, then leading into his final years he had problems was the way that this generation works. Earleywine did not adapt to this generation either. He did not change his ways with his coaching style and how he approached his players with fixing problems and learning situations. The way Earleywine approached situations 10 years ago the same way he did in his last years, 10 years ago it was excepted.

In the history of coaching there has only been one women who has coached the opposite sex. Teresa Philips was the head coach for Tennessee State men’s basketball team. She only made it has a head coach for a collegiate men’s team for only 3 years. Before taking over as the Athletic Director. In the coaching world most coaches are men, throughout all of DI-III and NAIA, only 40% of a coaching staff there are women. Only 23% of women coaching are head coaches. These numbers are really shocking to me, because when I look at it the relationship from players to coaches it completely different from when it is a female coach to a male coach. Someone told me once that being a female coach we connect so well with our players because we walked your path. This made sense to me    femalecoaches[1]because being coached by both females and males, both being good coaches. I see what she is talking about sometimes, female coaches know what do to in some situations that sometimes male coaches do not know how to respond or do not feel comfortable talking about.

Kate Ryan and Stacey Leasca wrote the article “Let’s get to the bottom of why Male and Female Coaches are treated differently.” Both Ryan and Leasca were collecting information on gender bias in college sports. One piece that stood out to both was that female coaches face harsh biases while male coaches did not. What they observed was that male and female coaching styles were not the same when it came to coaching women. They felt that male coaches were not connecting as well to their players as well as female coaches were connecting with their players. Observing and comparing coaching styles from men to women. Seeing how players responded to their coaches, when the team was in a certain situation. One thing that they wanted to address was this was not bashing male coaches, but they saw differences. One major point that they addressed was also coaches not adapting to this generation, how coaching nowadays is a lot different than awhile back. Being aware with who their player might be as a person, or who they are dealing with in certain situations.

That bring together all three of these different topics is the Me-Too Movement. Women are starting to advocate for themselves when they know something that has happened to them is wrong. Women standing making a difference for themselves and others around them. But I feel that where the Me-Too movement comes into effect was the case on Larry Nassar. He had assaulted 156 women for so long it finally took one person to finally go to the police and say something to the police. With the other 2 pieces, I feel that the Me Too can also be involved because women athletes were tired of being verbally abused. Plus, females deserve their place in the coaching world. It has been stated in articles that women coaches have better connections with their players, plus women deserve their chance at coaching. These three articles really helped me understand how the world of sports is and what it is coming to today. How it is such a business, and, in some cases, you must know the right people to get jobs of keep your spot on a team. I feel that it is good that women are starting to take a stand from knowing what is right and wrong in the sports world and in regular society. But cases have risen in the past few years relating sports and behaviors from people and I feel that it has risen in result of the Me-Too movement.

Work Cited
“Let’s Get To The Bottom Of Why Male And Female Coaches Are Treated Differently.” GOOD, 28 Dec. 2016, sports.good.is/articles/gender-bias-college-sports.

Tod Palmer <a href=”mailto:tpalmer@kcstar.com” title=””>tpalmer@kcstar.com. “Mizzou Softball Coach Ehren Earleywine Expected to Return in 2017.” Kansascity, The Kansas City Star, 18 Aug. 2016, http://www.kansascity.com/sports/college/sec/university-of-missouri/article96482547.html.

Hobson, Will. “USOC, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State Answer to Congress for Larry Nassar Scandal.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 13 Feb. 2018, http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/usoc-usa-gymnastics-and-michigan-state-answer-to-congress-for-larry-nassar-scandal/2018/02/13/371ad944-10f5-11e8-9065-e55346f6de81_story.html?utm_term=.b42ff879af82.

Kellie Wilkerson- PSU softball coach, 2004 USA Olympic Softball Team, Mississippi State Softball
Meadow McWhorter- PSU softball coach, Mt. Hood Softball Coach, Jacksonville State Softball

The Football Jock in Mass Media

Mason Vega

Professor Bergland

Pop- Culture

March 14, 2018

The Football Jock in Mass Media

With mass media having such a large influence on what we see through Film, Television, Television Ads and Social Media we see a common theme of the football player as a bully. One of my favorite quotes from Australian Musician Sia, says “When you have a lot of people telling you what you are and perceiving you in a certain way, it’s difficult to find your own identity.” -Sia     We see a bully in film usually as the star football player who is so self-absorbed highly arrogant and a bully to the “little guy” or non-athlete that cannot defending himself physically and doesn’t have the confidence to defend himself verbally.  I will focus specifically on football players portrayal as bullies in movies and a television show and point out some of the reoccurring labels that I found and how these could affect the viewers perspective of football players in a negative way. Continue reading

Millennials

I worked at a shoe store for a few months, and one of our bestselling brands happened to be Skechers. The Skechers brand is known for comfort and are very popular with older customers. My coworkers and I were all pretty young, and we’ve had a few instances of older people being rude to us simply because of our age. This puzzled me because we’d be doing everything in our power to make a successful sale. What exactly sparked this negative attitude?

I wanted to know…

How are Millennials represented in mainstream media?

ABC’s Selfie:

The show centers around Eliza Dooley, a 20 something, social media-obsessed pharmaceutical sales representative. Her whole life revolves around her online presence, she’s a micro celebrity. After embarrassing herself by throwing up in front of all her coworkers, Eliza realizes that fans and followers do no translate into real life friends. After the incident, Eliza barricades herself in her apartment, and no one comes to her aid. In an effort to ‘re-brand’ and make herself more likable, she enlists the help of her coworker, Henry, a successful marketing wiz. Henry has to teach Eliza the all basics, such as how to look people in the eyes when she talks to them, strike up small talk around the office, and when to put down her phone.

Henry’s character describes Eliza as a “vapid, despised, social media-obsessed narcissist”. In this show, Eliza represents the stereotypical Millennial, however the personality is cranked up a few notches to add for comedic effect. She fits many of the typical Millennial traits like always being on her phone, not knowing how to actually talk to people, and prioritizing her online brand over her real life image.

 

Speaker Jason Dorsey Shares How to Market and Sell to Gen Y:

This artifact is a recorded video of Jason Dorsey giving a presentation instructing an older generation on how to successfully sell to Millennials. He begins his presentation by emphasizing the importance of the Millennial generation, as we are the generation with the most spending power, surpassing that of even the baby boomers.

He also goes on to point out the lack of communication skills of millennials. He uses an example, saying you can call a millennials 5 times, and they will not pick up, but if you text them, they will respond (even if they’re driving). Dorsey blames the lack of communication skills on being tech-dependent. We are not tech-savvy, but tech-dependent. Millennials don’t know how technology works, despite not being able to function without it, it makes us tech-dependent. Knowing this difference is how to attract Gen Y to be potential buyers, claims Dorsey.

If it’s not unique, it’s not something we want. Dorsey concludes that millennials come off as entitled because ‘we’ve been saved by our parents’. He claims that the diversity that exists within the millennial generation is due to people being raised in different environments, such as rural areas versus urban areas. It is difficult to market to such a diverse group of people, which is why other generations see us as entitled.

 

Why do these stereotypes exist?

Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation By Joel Stein

Joel Stein is a former humor columnist for Time Magazine. The article “The Me Me Me Generation” was a cover story in 2013 and garnered Stein quite a bit of negative attention.

In the article, Joel Stein points out a few negative traits the Millennial generation carries. He then goes and breaks down why such labels were formed.

Narcissism?
The narcissism exists because in the 1970’s, everyone thought it was a good idea to boost their children’s confidence, by telling them how special they were. As a result, it created self-centered kids.

Laziness?
The explanation for millennials being so slow to move out or putting off buying real estate is simply because we are a cautious generation, afraid to take a step before analyzing our alternatives.

All this information relates to my primary sources because it affirms the stereotypes projected onto millennials. The stereotypes are basically surface-level to understanding why millennials act the way they do, and much of it has to do with growing up with technology and having to take calculated steps due to all the career and life choices available.

 

Goldman Sachs Infographic

This secondary source is an infographic about the millennial lifestyle, spending, and investing habits. It focuses on the trends of millennials. It summarizes that due to technological change, that some industries have gone through change and some disruption. The statistics state that millennials are slow to buy big-ticket items such as cars and homes due to the ‘sharing economy’. The sharing economy includes the rise of renting real estate and car sharing services such as Uber, Lyft and Car2Go. With an adaption to the ‘sharing economy’, the article explains why the housing market, for example, is not as appealing to millennials, with less and less of us prioritizing buying into real estate. The reluctance to dabble in real estate is attributed to the fact that millennials have less money spend, and as a result renting living space has become more popular.

Conclusion:

Turns out, there is some truth to the common Millennial stereotypes. All the research points towards the notion that as a generation, we are a product of our environment. The narcissism is contributed to the way we were raised. The entitlement stems from our diversity. Our ‘laziness’ is due to the fact that Millennials don’t have too much money to spend, instead turning to the ‘sharing economy’ for alternatives. As cliche as it sounds, we’re just misunderstood.

 

WORKS CITED

“How to Market and Sell to Millennials.” Performance by Jason Dorsey, How to Market and Sell to Millennials, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlRm07–_zA.
Kapnek, Emily. “Selfie-Pilot .” Selfie, season 1, episode 1, ABC, 30 Sept. 2014.
“Millennials Infographic.” Goldman Sachs, http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/millennials/.
Stein, Joel. “Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation.” Time, Time, 20 May 2013, time.com/247/millennials-the-me-me-me-generation/.

 

 

 

 

 

The Violent Gamers

In the 21st century, video games have broken onto the world stage, up till 2016, the amount of gamers in the world has reached 1.8 billion, with 1.2

immersive experience makes anything possible

billion gamers playing on PC. Video games have become an important part of the popular culture, people enjoy exploring virtual and fancy worlds as if they were living in the game world. I personally enjoy playing games very much, because it provides a so called “immersive experience” and thus I can do anything I like in the game just like I really did it in the real world.

 

Some people prefer the violent elements, and the game publishers produce the violent games to hit their spots. An example is the famous Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series.

Grand Theft Auto V

In GTA, player can do almost anything they want: robbing, murdering, crashing people, and driving cars, planes, and even submarines. And obviously, nearly none of them are allowed in the real life. The game series has become an outlet for people’s repressed desires, the sales of it faithfully reflects how popular it is: as of February 2018, the latest series, GTA V has shipped over 90 million copies in the worldwide.

Here comes a problem: as you can see, neither laws nor orders exist in the game worlds. Some media criticize the violent games as leading teenagers to commit crimes. As a gamer, I could not agree with that opinion because I don’t think I have ever been influenced by a violent game and thus decided to find some scientific proofs about the connection between violence and game.

A crime happened in the real life

A 14-year-old Idaho boy in Coeur d’Alene confessed to authorities about a pre-planned murder of his family members after idolizing a violent game character, Trevor, in Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA V). The boy, Eldon Samuel III shot his dad with a .45 calibre handgun, before killing his brother. Samuel later revealed to officers that he “enjoyed playing as Trevor in GTA V, which inspired him to emulate the violent character’s actions in real life”.

Trevor in GTA V

Trevor is usually seen as an extremely aggressive and dangerous character in the GTA series, he usually tends to solve problems with guns, knives and sometimes gas. It’s not hard to understand Samuel’s actions if he was trying to emulate Trevor. Similar to Trevor, the characters in violent games are usually shown as bloodthirsty and aggressive, and there’re some gamers (just like Samuel) who cannot distinguish real and virtual.

Vasilli’s Story

Vasilii was a League of Legends (LOL) professional gamer, on the night of Oct. 26th, he was streaming himself live in LOL. After performing poorly and losing the match, he started to blame his teammates, and his girlfriend advised him to stay calm:

“Why are you still talking now? I’ve told you you better not talk too much.” Said his girlfriend.

“Why?” Vasilli asked with no emotion.

“You are the main problem, you know? And you keep blaming others, not only in game but also fans in stream room.” After saying the words, Vasilli’s girlfriend gave him some advices about the game.

“He keep laughing on me and hurt me hard, mentally.” Said Vasilli.

“You can block him them. Just ignore/block him next time. He’s also streaming, you looked so dumb you know?”

Hearing that, Vasilli suddenly flipping everything in the front of him: the table, the monitor, and the webcam. Because of that, the rest of video is literally invisible, but we can hear him yelling “Are you looking for a beating?” and “I want to kill you right now”. He seems to beat his girlfriend, as he continually yelling dirty words and his girlfriend can be heard yelling and crying, “I don’t know why you’re so mad, you beat me for this?” while furniture goes flying around the room.

(make sure to lower your volume if you decide to watch)

As a result of the incident, Vasilli’s gaming team, as well as his streaming platform, announced that they have terminated their contract with the him, and the police arrived to arrest this gaming star.

The mad guys

If the Vasilli’s case was just an accident, there’re more and more players revealed on the Internet, being angry, reasonless and crazy. They broke their monitors:

punch their friends:

and threw their consoles out of the window:

 

Wait, you forgot the base number

So far, even if I trusted the gamers so much, I’m starting to worry about the influence of the games. The gamers were so aggressive, I believe that there’s no one in the world can save them. But wait, remember the research study on week 5? Data may not represent anything without given the base number, and the base number of the gamers is surprisingly huge!

Anthony Martin Bean, a master of Pacifica Graduate Institute, wrote a dissertation named “Video Gamers’ Personas: A Five Factor Study Exploring Personality Elements of The Video Gamer” for his doctor degree. The dissertation explored 19,416 video gamers’ personalities and analyzed them in scientific ways (the Big Five Inventory, BFI). This dissertation contains everything we need: scientific method and a huge sample capacity!

In the report, the researchers found four distinct and statistically different personality profiles—introversive, extroversive, secure ambiversive and insecure ambiversive—and indicated no support indicated for the different classification of video gamers possessing statistically different personality traits. Also, they found that different genres of video game player have different personality types, but the personalities found did not fit into the criteria of antisocial personalities.

Coincidentally, another dissertation named “Does Playing Video Games with Violent Content Temporarily Increase Aggressive Inclinations? A Pre-registered Experimental Study”, made by the researchers from Northern Illinois University, explored the relationship between violent behavior and the violent video games. The researchers designed an experiment to test whether participants who played a violent video game (VVG) would exhibit increased aggressive inclinations relative to those who played a non-violent video game (NVG):

386 participants were randomly assigned to play a VVG or NVG prior to presumably interacting with another participant. The researchers then measured participants’ aggressive inclinations: participants reported how many pins they would like to stick into a “voodoo doll” representing their interaction partner, and how likely they would be to actually harm their partner.

The report shows that there was no observed difference between the aggressive inclinations displayed by participants who played a NVG and the participants who played a VVG. Thus, the hypothesis that playing a VVG would increase aggressive inclinations was not supported in the study.

Conclusion

There’s no scientific evidence shows that playing video games, not even violent video games, could increase the possibility of being anxiety or aggressive. And the cases showed at the beginning should be the exceptions. The popular culture successfully portrayed games as something that would drive people crazy, by showing what they wanted you to see. I think the process of research taught me a lesson: data is always the best tool to help us tell right from wrong.

 

 

Works Cited

  1. Video gamers’ personas: A five factor study exploring personality elements of the video gamer” Bean, Anthony Martin; https://search-proquest-com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/docview/1733679590
  2. Does playing video games with violent content temporarily increase aggressive inclinations? A pre-registered experimental study” Randy J.McCarthy, Sarah L.Coley, Michael F.Wagner, BettinaZengel, Ariel Basham; 17 Sep. 2016, https://www-sciencedirect-com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/science/article/pii/S0022103115300093#s0045
  3. GTA 5: 14-year-old Boy Kills Father and Brother ‘Inspired’ by Violent Character Trevor” Vinod Yalburgi; 29 Mar. 2014, https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/gta-5-14-year-old-boy-kills-father-brother-inspired-by-violent-character-trevor-1442418
  4. Top 15 Angry Gamers, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zy6laZtRkcM
  5. The version with the minute before Vasilli beat his GF, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06SqXDs3RrE&t=4s
  6. League of legends. Top 5 rage players, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rljG6xrQreE
  7. There are 1.8 billion gamers in the world, and PC gaming dominates the market, https://mygaming.co.za/news/features/89913-there-are-1-8-billion-gamers-in-the-world-and-pc-gaming-dominates-the-market.html

Southern Women in Media

7dd52297b93e19bbf6fba53caccc9edfIntroduction

Popular culture is all around us; whether we are watching television, listening to music, or reading social media, we can’t escape it. Take a second and think about how much exposure you have had today. How many times have you picked up your phone today and gone on any social media apps? Whether intentional or not, we are exposed to it every day. Popular culture has an influential impact on our thoughts and ideas about society that affects each and every one of us in some kind of way.  Even though most identities are represented inpopular culture in many different ways, southern women are misrepresented through movies, television shows, and journal articles that lead to people developing false stereotypes and views towards not only southern women, but identities in general.

The Power of Popular Culture

Media manipulates the lenses in which we view society without us even realizing it. More often than not, our ideas are shaped by what is presented to us from the media rather than from our own thoughts and beliefs. Many of us fall prey to popular culture by conforming to the social norms that are represented. These looks, behaviors, and ideas that depict pop culture become a manifestation of what people want to be. We have an array of images that pop into our heads  when thinking about certain idenzombomeme27022018210828tities, looks, and concepts. The media has attempted to represent almost every idea, action, and look out there in some way, shape, or form. However, many of those identities are misrepresented, or in some cases, there is a lack of representation. Many of us are unable to have exposure to different cultures or identities, and as a result, we obtain our perceptions through pop culture. When analyzed, the media is often talked about in a negative way, but it should not always be considered something to stray from. Popular culture can allow us, when given accurate representations and information, to gain insight into cultures and human experiences we do not have the opportunities or access to. The ability to instantly subject ourselves to multiple media platforms is at our fingertips every day. This makes me think about whether we are overexposing ourselves, but either way, we have to be careful with believing the false realities and misconceptions that popular culture often creates.

Identities in Media

All of us possess many different identities that are commonly represented in popular culture. The identities we use to describe ourselves are based on categories we are exposed to and led to believe at an early age in our lives through popular culture. Even though an identity defines who a person is, it is not represented by only a few key characteristics. One does not have to fit those certain traits and molds the media creates to be zombomeme27022018202438considered socially acceptable. The media tends to only focus on a few token traits which are commonly the most exaggerated cases. For instance, women from the south have different stigmas and stereotypes that surround them, leading people to believe they are a an entirely different category of women.  In actuality, they are regular everyday humans that have been categorized by popular culture. The media groups so many identities, such as this one, into unrealistic, stereotypical representations that do not portray the general identity. Because of this, many are led to believe these misconceptions.

Southern Belles versus Redneck Women

What do you picture when you think of a typical southern woman? Do you think of a girl holding up a fish she just caught or do you think of a woman in sophisticated clothing sitting around a fancy table with their friends? When most people think of southern women, they often think of a typical traditional southern belle- a classy, pretentious, zombomeme27022018201959white woman in a big hat and hoop skirt-or they think of a redneck country girl in daisy dukes, cowboy boots, and camouflage. However, despite the social class standings, the most common stereotype that both sides share is being racist and caucasian.  

Most people’s perceptions of southern women, especially those located on the west coast, obtain their views primarily from popular culture commonly through movies and television shows.  For the stereotype of traditional southern women, I found that the movie The Help, which is based off of the original novel, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, provides a good representation for southern women during the civil rights period.

The Caucasian southern women are seen as classy, rich, proper, racist, and snobby. They are too preoccupied with what everyone thinks and making sure they are at the top of their class. The movie focused on how caucasian southern women act and treat others, especially their African American maids. The women do not practice what they preach and treat their maids as if they are inhuman and extremely inferior to them. The Caucasian women in the film dressed classy, always wearing sophisticated outfits and jewelry. Their hair was always done and were always presented in a high-class way. They were often seen in a relaxed setting with their friends out for brunch or tea. They had little duties to attain to because their maids fulfilled all of their responsibilities, including caretaking and cooking. 

Granted the movie takes place in a historical setting, the people viewing it can be influenced to perceive that this is how southern women are in today’s society. The media today represents southern caucasian women as those who are still attached to their history and stick to their traditional beliefs and ways of life, when in actuality it is the opposite and most have progressed to different values.

97e97fe82a02bb5a6aa73eafd05a60a4I can’t speak for all southern women, but the majority are not racist, like the women in the movie they do not have African American maids, and they are not all snobby rich women focused on hierarchy.

On the other hand, the majority of people think of rednecks when it comes to southern women. Most picture hillbillies with missing teeth and bad hygiene riding four wheelers and trucks through the mud. Others also picture the country girls holding fish in their hands, shooting guns, wearing short shorts, cowboy boots, and camouflage. They are represented as entirely different kinds of human with the automatic assumption of being politically conservative and uneducated.

There are many misrepresentations of rednecks in general throughout popular culture. I think the best misrepresentation of southern women is exemplified in the song, Redneck Woman by Gretchen Wilson. If you are not a fan of country music, especially more traditional styles, you have most likely not heard this song. This song would not likely appear on the popular country radio stations that are local to this area. In the music video, Gretchen Wilson stars as herself, representing redneck women. She is a caucasian female that contradicts the traditional southern way of life throughout the entire song with her more laid back, rustic ways. Gretchen refers to herself as a “redneck woman, I ain’t no high class broad” and through the use of different examples, such as “buying clothes at Walmart half-priced rather than Victoria’s Secret” and “rather drink beer all day than champagne” people are able to understand more about the culture she is describing, such as going the cheap route when purchasing items (2004). The video displays women on four-wheelers riding through mud puddles in the woods, residing in trailer parks, and hanging out at bars dancing and drinking lots of beer. The women are wearing cowboy boots, and camouflage, showing that they can be the outdoor type but also clean themselves up when the time comes.  Many southern girls participate in a lot of these activities, but more as hobbies, not ways of life. They like to hunt and fish, but they also like to get dressed up and keep themselves maintained and classy.gretchenwilson23_v_e

 

When young kids are growing up, especially in today’s society, they are glued to television shows, movies, and music to pass their time. Songs are very powerful sources that allow people to gain insight of the culture. Little girls who listen to these songs of how southern women are supposed to be influences their behaviors and mindsets, according to the mold they believe they have to fill.   Most country songs played on the radio sing about women, alcohol, dirt roads, trucks, and being rebellious. Some people are not fond of traditional southern music, and country music today has evolved with more of a pop-style to it. This draws more people in due to its mainstream effect exposing more people to southern ways of life.

I found this particular song and the music video revealing of how the majority stereotype southern women. However, as I mentioned before, the traits used to classify them are more of hobbies that southern women enjoy in their free time and they do not define everything they are. This representation is an extreme version of the southern identity, but is one of the most common examples seen in popular culture. There are southern women that are defined by these traits, but it is not a good representation of southern women or southerners as a whole. I believe that there are people that fall under these characteristics all over the world, not just in the south.

 Usually, there are extreme and unique cases that stand out and are represented in popular culture that contribute to the general stereotypes people know of.  A few extreme examples of rednecks in general that I considered were Honey Boo-Boo, Party Down South, and Duck Dynasty, which are all reality tv shows about southern families and or individuals living in the south.

2016 NBCUniversal Summer Press Day

Southern women possess a combination of different traits that originate from the sources and characteristics I described above. In the reality television show, Southern Charm, the southern lifestyle is represented with a mixture of traditional and redneck aspects. The show follows the lives of eight adults that live in Charleston, South Carolina whom are all living the modern southern life. The best representation of a southern woman is seen through the character, Cameran. She is educated with high standards and morals while being proper and elegant. However, she also knows how to have a fun time and enjoys going out into the woods to go hunting or fishing. Throughsouthern-charm-cameran-eubanksout the show, the southern ways of life are exhibited and we are exposed to all the different aspects of the culture. This show is different compared to the extreme cases, providing the most accurate representation in media.

 

While maybe not as exciting or popular, we get a lot of detailed information from the articles we read. In particular to southern women, the article Southern Belle or Southern Hell?,  the effect of southern culture on young women is explained through personal experiences (Bridget, 2013). The article discusses this mold that these young women are expected to fit in; must be classy, ladylike, graceful, and everything else that screams southern. These molds were created by men during the civil war era when the traditional Old South lifestyle was popular. The article, The Southern Woman: A History of Rebellion, Passion and Betrayal in “Gone with the Wind” and “Caballero: A Historical Novel”  analyzes the gender roles, identity, and culture of southern women (Vela, et al. , 2012). Their behaviors are still represented today, but with modification, just like with most identities. Southern women have become more independent, educated, and more represented in the workforce. In the article, Magnolias Grow in Dirt: The Bawdy Lore of Southern Women, numerous stories are told about southern women that go against everything they were taught to be (Green, 1977). They do break the rules and have fun in their free time, because well, they are normal human beings too.

Conclusion

Overall, there is not one-way southern women are represented, but rather a combination of traits. Many people are led to believe there are only certain characteristics and identities that southern women display. I believe this is true for most identities that are misrepresented in popular culture. However, in this case, a woman is not southern just because she looks or acts the part, it comes from within. You can wear cowboy boots and be classy in any region of the world, but it comes down to the values you possess and how you display yourself stems from the way in which you were raised. So just because some popular culture represents southern women as trashy hillbillies, racists, caucasian, preppy snobs, or confederate flag waving Trump supporters, this is not the case for the general group.

Personally, I was raised in the south and portray some of the traits represented in the media, but not all. I am caucasian and do own cowboy boots, drive a truck, and occasionally I like to fish and shoot guns. However, this does not make me racist and uneducated as it is often portrayed and assumed. I do possess some characteristics of a redneck, but I can also be a sophisticated and elegant southern belle. I wear pearls and often have monogrammed accessories, but I am not focused on social class nor am I dependent on men and others to fulfill my responsibilities. Just because southern women like me possess some traits, such as the ones analyzed, does not mean they represent all of the stereotypes nor can these ideas be generalized to a whole group or identity.

Learning Moments

Throughout the term, I learned a lot about popular culture and how it plays a significant role in our lives. In particular, I found the week about the influence of advertisements one of the most educational and applicable to our everyday lives. The article by Rushkoff, revealed how intricate and subliminal advertisements can be while illustrating how society has begun to materialistically define ourselves based on what we possess through his examples of purchases and investments (2000). Advertisers know all the tricks and trades to influence people to buy certain products and convey important messages. We are surrounded by ads and I think it is important to be able to dissect ads and identify the purpose, audience, biases, and other parts as mentioned in the Deconstructing an Advertisement article (2005). Whenever I watch ads now, I pay more attention to all of the details and parts of the ads I would normally overlook.

Additionally, many of us stay updated with current events through news sources. Today, there is an ever growing amount of fake news popping up on the internet and on news channels. I think being able to analyze news sources and articles is a very important and a necessary skill in our society. Week 6 made me realize how easy it is to be tricked by the news and I always need to be skeptical of the information I find or hear about. The article, News: Balance Bias with Critical Questions, helped me consider questions to ask when encountering any kind of media (Hynds, n.d.). Before, I never thought much about the source I was retrieving my information from, I only looked for the answer I searched for. Now, I analyze the source before reading the article to help determine the credibility of the source and whether I can trust the information. Many of us are easily tricked by the news and it is important for us to gain these skills to make more educated decisions and acquire accurate information. zombomeme27022018200840

By learning about these concepts, I am able to use the skills I have acquired to examine news articles and advertisements in media to determine any biases or incongruities. I can use these techniques in other classes when conducting research or searching for information. When out and about in my daily life, I can also apply these concepts when reading or watching advertisements and analyzing popular culture in general.

 

References

Barnathan, M. , Columbus, C. , Green, B. , Lunsford, S. (Producers), & Taylor, T. (Director). (2011). The Help [Motion Picture]. United States: Dreamworks Studios. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1454029/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt

Bridget, C. (2013). Southern Belle or Southern Hell? Women’s Media Center. Retrieved from http://www.womensmediacenter.com/fbomb/southern-belle-or-southern-hell

 

Green, R. (1977). Magnolias Grow in Dirt: The Bawdy Lore of Southern Women. The Radical Teacher, (6), 26-31.

 

Hynds, P. (n.d.). News: Balance Bias with Critical Questions. Retrieved from http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/news-balance-bias-critical-questions

http://www.mediaed.org/handouts/DeconstructinganAd.pdf

 

Rich, J. & Wilson, G. (2004). Redneck Women [Recorded by Gretchen Wilson]. On Here for the Party [CD]. Los Angeles, California: Epic Records. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82dDnv9zeLs

Rushkoff, D. (n.d.). A Brand By Any Other Name-How Marketers Outsmart Our Media-Savvy  Children. Retrieved 2000, from https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/rushkoff/brand.html

 

Smith, W. (Creator), & Garcia, P. , Mckinnon, B. (Directors). (2013). Southern Charm[Television Series]. Charleston, South Carolina: Haymaker. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2815522/?ref_=nv_sr_1

 

Vela, J., Miles, Caroline, McMahon, Marci, & Nuss, Melynda. (2012). The Southern Woman: A  History of Rebellion, Passion and Betrayal in “Gone with the Wind” and “Caballero: A Historical Novel”, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.

PICTURES/MEMES:

Cameran eubanks [digital image]. Retrieved from https://lovelace-media.imgix.net/getty/518605936.jpg

Cameran eubanks southern charm[digital image]. Retrieved fromhttps://static1.squarespace.com/static/55485da1e4b070e824121f7d/t/5704ccea45bf21f7ce 2cfa54/1459932501892/southern-charm-cameran-eubanks?format=500w

Gretchen wilson  [digital image]. Retrieved from http://img.gactv.com/GAC/2007/08/13/gretchenwilson23_v_e.jpg

How to act like a true southern belle. [digital image]. Retrieved from https://i.pinimg.com/originals/7d/d5/22/7dd52297b93e19bbf6fba53caccc9edf.jpg

Steel magnolias [digital image]. Retrieved from https://i.pinimg.com/originals/97/e9/7f/97e97fe82a02bb5a6aa73eafd05a60a4.jpg

***other memes were made personally from an app called Meme Generator.

 

Creepy or Normal? A look at Introversion in the Media.

Ever since I knew what the word “introvert” meant, I considered myself to be one. Basically, I tend to prefer to be alone although I do enjoy social interaction from time to time. I’m not necessarily anti-social as I have several good friends, it’s just that I thrive in a solitary environment. When alone, I am able to think more clearly and make important decisions levelheaded. I also do all my work alone, where it is quiet and I am unable to be bothered by the outside world. This assignment sparked my interest on what it means to be an introvert from the eyes of popular culture and the media in general. Before I started the assignment, I couldn’t really think of an example in the media where an introvert is either the protagonist or let alone portrayed in a positive manner. Usually when I thought of an introvert in a movie I almost instantly thought of someone like Norman Bates from Psycho (which, now that I think about it, I should used as a source but I didn’t for some reason). After concluding all of my necessary research, I can conclude that my initial preconceptions were right for the most part. Based upon my findings, Introverts in the media are portrayed as disturbed individuals with either a mental illness, extremely antisocial tendencies, an aptness for murder, or they have had a troubled childhood. As an introvert, I have experienced nearly none of those things. I find the media’s representation of introversion to be severely hurtful to the image of introverts everywhere as viewers may get the wrong idea and think of introverts the wrong way.

                       

One of the first examples of an introvert being negatively portrayed in the media is Ricky from the movie American Beauty (1999). Ricky is seen as an extremely odd person according to his peers. At school he is bullied and when he starts dating his girlfriend, her friends advise her to be careful of him. He lives at home with his mother and father and the whole family is constantly at ends due to Ricky’s behavior. In his free time he enjoys filming abnormal things such as dead crows, plastic bags, and his crush Jane. Obviously, his activities aren’t exactly what a “normal” person would do. And in today’s world, randomly filming someone in secret would most likely get you in trouble with the police. On top of his creepy behavior he also is seen abusing drugs in order to get away from both his family and his peers. As a character, Ricky is an odd individual who is generally harmless, but his activities have warranted unwanted attention and thus he is seen in a negative light.

Analyzing Ricky didn’t really give any shocking results. In fact, I almost expected him to be portrayed the way that he was. However, looking at his character from a broader perspective made me realize that his importance goes way beyond just the movie and that he may have a more influential impact than what I first thought. I have come to realize that Ricky is one of the many representations of introverts that the media has come to think of us as. To put it bluntly, the media can sometimes inherently very racist, over assuming, or just down right false in their views of certain types of people that were being featured. Ricky, like many other introverts that I have studied, plays into the creepy trope yet the writers changed it slightly by adding in an artistic aspect to him to the movie can original. While I’m sure there are real creepy introverts out there (in fact, Jeffrey Dahmer comes to mind) however the vast majority of us are inherently decent people with normal lives and the media’s general perception of introverts is skewed towards a fantasy version.

 

 

 

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Despite all the negative research that I was receiving, I vigorously strive harder in order to find a positive portrayal. To be honest, it took me a long time to think of one but the answer couldn’t be more clear… Batman from the Animated Series! Not only is Batman an introverted in the media but he also appeals to nearly every demographic, especially children. However, while on the surface Batman may seem like the almighty hero that catches all the bad guys, there are some negative traits that he exhibits that one can’t ignore. For example, first and foremost, he beats every nearly everyone who opposes just to get what he wants. While violence is an unfortunate aspect of police-like work, he could solve problems just as easily by using more amicable means. Another trait, and perhaps the most revealing of his introversion, is that he is famous for brooding alone over the loss of his parents. He took their early deaths to heart as that is the sole reason he became batman in the first place. The various villains on the show often make fun of his odd behavior (similarly to Ricky) and this often angers Batman even more which only fuels his violent outbursts.

 

Like Ricky, this portrayal of introversion can be quite toxic to the image of introverts. While the writers made Batman in order to appeal to children, his violent actions are actually quite graphic and even disturbing at some points. Now, what does this mean to children? It is believed that children often learn their values their parents, teachers, and finally television and movies. By watching Batman on TV, is is implied via the show that violence and melodramatic behavior is an acceptable way to accomplish their goals. Additionally, they are learn that introverts are inherently silent, stalking individuals with little to no friends whose troubled childhood caused them to act the way they did. At the core it, Batman: The Animated Series, while under the guise of being a positive representation, is essentially a poor portrayal of introverts and it only harms their public image and perception.

 

 

 

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And finally, the last primary source the solidified my claims was the character Lars from Lars and the Real Girl (2007). In the movie, Lars is seen to be an extremely antisocial basement dweller whose quest for love eventually leads him to fall in love with a sex doll. While in his “relationship” he becomes deeply attached to it (whom he effectually names Bianca) and he treats as if she is a real girl. He isolated himself from the outside and he even ends up putting his friendships due to his behavior. During a visit to a doctor (as advised by his friends) he even claims that touching real people burns his hand. Which is a good indicator of how far gone he is from the real world.  He continues this destructive behavior up until the very end of the film when he believes that Bianca is dying due to being unresponsive for unknown reasons. After her death, he decides to move on from his old ways and start interacting with the outside world again.

Lars can be viewed as the pinnacle of the representation of introverts in the media. He consistently isolated himself from the outside world, implied to have a mental illness, and is socially awkward. While the movie provode character development for him towards the very end, his initially behavior is consistent thought most of the film. This is probably the most harmful of the three characters that I studied because not only does he exhibit stereotypical traits of an introvert in the media but the movie is portrayed in a light-hearted manner. Lars and the Real Girl isn’t meant to be taken seriously but the fact of the matter is that his character is still harmful to some viewers.

In conclusion, it would seem that the portrayal of introverts in the media is heavily biased towards one side. Based upon the several sources that I have analyzed, it is easily to see that the media tends to represent them in a negative manner and as a result it is toxic to their image. Even when the representation is “positive” (i.e. Batman) the character still exhibits prominent negative traits that are integral to the character and in turn, turns them negative. With this in mind, we as the consumers are better able to recognize how the media skews the image of certain groups and that they are a mere caricature of them and not an accurate depiction of introverts as a whole.

 

Bibliography

Dini, Paul. Batman: The Animated Series, Season 2, episode 1-3, FOX, 1994.

Gillespie, Craig, director. Lars and the Real Girl. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 2007.

Mendes, Sam, director. American Beauty. DreamWorks Pictures, 1999.

A Product of Our Generation

When I started to think about the topic of millennials, the first thing that came to mind were the jokes that surround our generation. It seemed to me that most of the talking people did about millennials included jabs at our use of technology, our love of the selfie, and the fact that we tend to live at home longer than the previous generation. When I did a little more research, I found that this was mostly true.

However, I went into it thinking that these generalizations were just a joke. People like to make wild assumptions about other generations. They like to condense people into a few stereotypes that look funny in an SNL skit. In the case of millennials, that means lazy, narcissistic, and technology-obsessed. I didn’t think that many people actually thought it was true. So, I then set out to research the articles and portrayals of my generation.

One of the first things I found was an article titled The Me Me Me generation. This is a pretty popular article from Time magazine that was written in 2013. The first half of the article talks about the exact traits that most people attribute to millennials. The author lists off statistics like “the incidence of narcissistic personality disorder is nearly three times as high for people in their 20s as for the generation that’s now 65 or older,” and “more people ages 18 to 29 live with their parents than with a spouse.” Reading statistics like this, I was skeptical of their sources, and of their actual validity. Are millennials really narcissistic and lazy, or are these other traits that are being misinterpreted?

The article didn’t include any sources, so I looked into it a little bit more. I found the study that measured narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) by age, and found that the statistic was true— but the author of the article left out one key factor. “3-year follow-up found that about 50% of the 22- to 45-year-old subjects with [NPD] did not qualify for the diagnosis 3 years later.” Meaning that younger people tend to sort of grow out of it. It’s important to research the statistics in articles like this. The author didn’t include any sources or links, and he didn’t include all of the information about these studies. He just rattled the numbers off and called it cold, hard data. We learned about this in the first week of the term, when we covered how difficult it is to get the correct information.

So, the author took it out of context, and I think that’s the case for a lot of evidence against millennials. If you take us out of context, we look ridiculous. Why would we live at home when our parents could afford to have an apartment and go to college all on a minimum wage job when they were our age? Why do we constantly take pictures of ourselves and post them on the internet for everyone to see, when the generation before us didn’t do anything like that?

I continued to wonder whether the stereotypes about millennials were true. When I looked around at my friends and classmates, I didn’t see a bunch of lazy narcissistic people. So I set out to look at the different portrayals of millenials in videos, skits, and TV shows, as well as articles and research.

Lazy. Baby boomers love to point fingers at millennials and call us lazy. According to the older generation, we like to have things handed to us. We expect to get jobs without hard work, and we expect high pay without a fifty-thousand dollar college degree, and we expect to succeed without deserving it. According to a survey by Bentley University, fifty percent of millennials think that their own generation don’t succeed because of a bad work ethic. Seventy-nine percent also expect a pay increase every year. But the same survey finds that sixty-six percent of millennials want to start their own business, and that seventy-seven percent think flexible work hours would make work more productive for them.

Narcissistic. It’s no secret that millennials love social media. Facebook, Tumblr, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter– whichever you pick, you have the ability to amass hundreds to thousands of followers, to post pictures and statuses, and to broadcast your thoughts to the world. It’s the ideal platform for a narcissist. I don’t want to believe that millennials are narcissistic, but then, there are plenty of statistics to back it up. On the other hand, many of these statistics are based on a short quiz called the narcissistic personality inventory. It asks you to pick answers like “I am assertive” and “I wish I was more assertive.” This is an old test. It’s hard to tell if it really measures narcissism anymore, especially since it’s based on self reporting. Other studies have also found that narcissism isn’t actually related to generation, but the stage of your life. Maybe we need to wait until millennials are older to really find out.

Tech Obsessed. When you look at media that includes millennials, the young people are always staring at their phones. In the SNL skit titled Millennials, the main characters are looking at their phones throughout every scene. They never take their eyes off of them. In one scene, one of the characters is standing in a window and talking about how he’s going to give up social media. The scene is very clearly comparing giving up social media and jumping out of a window, and implying that millennials feel that way about it. The other characters are also texting throughout the entire scene.

The same thing happens in the short film Millennial Job Interview, in which a girl is texting while interviewing for a job. The interviewer in the video asks what computer programs she’s proficient in, and she responds by telling him all of the different social media websites that she uses, as if that’s the only way she could comprehend using a computer. Millennials are always shown this way– taking photos, texting, and surfing through social media. So is it true that most of us are like this? A report on social media usage across different age groups found that “adults 35 to 49 were found to spend an average of 6 hours 58 minutes a week on social media networks, compared with 6 hours 19 minutes for the younger group.” Sure, we use our phones a lot, but we aren’t necessarily more obsessed than our older counterparts.

When you look at the research, it’s pretty clear that the information is so muddled that it’s hard to come to a real conclusion. Some research finds that millennials love ourselves, and another study finds that we don’t. One finds that we’re on social media all the time, and another finds that adults are too. When it comes down to it, it’s possible that millennials are just a product of our generation. We’re not good or bad, we’re just different from those who are older and younger than us.

I’m friends with a lot of baby boomers on Facebook, because I mostly use it to keep in contact with my family. This is not a solid form of research by any means, but I thought I’d ask my friends on there what they would have posted about if they’d had social media at my age. The responses were surprisingly familiar. Politically, they listed off things like apartheid and nukes, as well as the time Reagan said “you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all,” about California redwoods, and how they categorized ketchup as a vegetable in school lunches. In entertainment, they’d have posted about color TVs, microwaves, Secretariat winning the Triple Crown, and Grateful Dead concerts. They’d have posted about health food like alfalfa, molasses, and carob, and pictures of clothing optional beaches and waterfalls and communes. And what do we post about? Political turmoil, stupid things our president has said, new technology, amazing athletic feats, concerts, and health food.

So, how does it affect us to be viewed this way? For me, it hasn’t changed a lot. I think if anything it pushes me to be the opposite of what they think me to be– to be proactive and down to earth and to unplug. But at the same time I am what I am. I love my phone and my computer and my netflix. I text all the time, and keep my headphones in on the MAX, and I’m not ashamed of it. An article by Heather Molzen chronicles how she looks around her and sees how millennials are helping people and working to make a difference in the world. She writes; “even though we have opportunities and technology that was unavailable to other generations, we try our best not to take these privileges for granted. Instead, we use them to tear down generational stereotypes–one action at a time.” I couldn’t agree more. It isn’t helpful to try to break down an entire generation because you don’t like the way they were raised.

In the end, we’re really not that different. What’s different is the world around us. It’s not our fault that we have the technology that we have now. They invented the TV so we could invent the tablet. They teach us about their thoughtless presidents so we can be critical of ours. They told us to take pictures now so we could remember those moments in the future. Maybe some of us have negative traits, but that’s what it is to be human.

Works Cited

Bentley University November 11, 2014. “Millennials at Work.” Millennial Minds: The PreparedU Project Survey | Bentley University, 11 Nov. 2014, www.bentley.edu/newsroom/latest-headlines/mind-of-millennial.

Brea, Daniel, director. Millennial Job Interview. Breafilms, 24 Oct. 2017, http://vimeo.com/239050403.

Stein, Joel. “Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation.” Time, Time, 20 May 2013, http://time.com/247/millennials-the-me-me-me-generation/.

King, Don Roy, director. Millennials . NBC, 2017.

Molzon, Heather. “Students counter millennial stereotypes through work ethic.” UWIRE Text, 27 Apr. 2016, p. 1. General OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A450664140/ITOF?u=s1185784&sid=ITOF&xid=011c3a1b.

To Thrift or Not to Thrift: Is Never a Question

Introduction

I thrift for joy. The glee I feel while thrifting is a combination of several factors: I am a consumer; I get pleasure from wearing or having something entirely unique; my daily creative outlet is my clothing choices; and I do not have the budget for first-hand clothing. These features about myself become important when considering the external nature of clothing and that it is highly visible; because of this, my clothing choices contribute not only my personal identity but also to my ascribed identity. The aim of this research project is to locate and study some of the ways that media and popular culture have contributed to how my identity is perceived. To illustrate my discoveries, I will comment on three examples of how thrifting is represented in popular culture from primary sources followed by three summaries of secondary source analyses of thrifting. A common theme of the artifacts detailed here is relationship thrift-shopping has with money and commerce. The opinions and perceptions of this relationship comment on my personal identity and how I feel people have reacted to my ascribed identity. It is my opinion, supported by this analysis, that my identity as a “thrift shopper” has shifted positively in recent years and this shift has been reflected in popular culture. These examples will illustrate that thrifting still exists in popular culture as primarily as a money saving tactic, however there is evidence that this could be challenged soon if it already hasn’t already.

 

Methods

            This research was approached with the purpose of finding how my personal identity reflected in popular culture. Because of the niche nature of thrifting in popular culture, I was limited in my possible sources. The sources I selected emulated in some way, the popular theme of money and economy.

Further research is suggested into the relationship of gender and thrift shopping, as well as the connection of environmentalism and conscientious consumerism to thrifting. 

Results & Analysis

            This section includes, first, a summary of the subgenres identified from the primary source research, and then a summary of the second sources and the analysis and personal reflection.

Primary Sources

“The Woman American”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8z6wQxbGS8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pE0Y54_OBX4&t=185s

(The Crittenden Automotive Library, 2016)

(twinklez1985, 2010)

American Thrift is a product placement promotional short film produced by the Jam Handy Organization in 1962 for the Chevrolet division of General Motors. The purpose of this film is a commercial, and it’s audience is American consumers of automobiles in the 1960’s. The film is acknowledged as “A Tribute to the Woman American” and chronicles the trials and tribulations of thrifty women in American nuclear families in the 1960’s. The film emphasizes the resourcefulness of the woman American as a positive feature. She, the woman, is tough and resilient yet generous. This film celebrates thrift as a way to promote Chevrolet’s economical mass-production manufacturing which they deem as thrifty as well.

Though this film is a commercial for all intents and purposes, it is also an interesting insight into the historical perception of thrift. The very intentional promotion of thrift as a positive ideology suggests to me that there was a negative association the film intended to dispel. This is impossible to learn for certain, but there has always been the notion of poverty and scarcity associated with thrift.

I found myself reflecting on how I perceive my own economy of thrift while watching this film. I have never been in the position to shop first-hand retail and am almost certain that even if I was, I would likely still shop thrift for the same principals I listed in the opening paragraph. I haven’t always had this conviction however, and there was a period where I longed to not be thrifty. This film allowed me to feel comfort in my ingenuity and resourcefulness through thrift. 

Thrift Shopper for Profit

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RAKWj2CJMQ

 

(SPIKE, 2010)

Thrift Hunters is a reality TV show on Spike about two men Jason Smith and Bryan Goodman, who make a profit reselling thrifted items on eBay. The purpose of this TV show is that of entertainment. The episode selected for this analysis featured Smith and Goodman attending a community garage sale. The reoccurring theme in this episode is that of negotiating. The thrifters are attempting to lower the prices on the items they plan to resell and the sellers in several occasions do not yield to them. The show ends with the Smith and Goodman stating how much money they spent at the garage sale and how much they anticipate charging for the same goods on eBay.

This show represents a potentially negative interpretation and facet of thrifting. In the realm of thrifting there exists a contingent of individuals who attempt to exploit the economical and cheap nature of second-hand for personal gain. These individuals taking advantage of the system, make access to reasonably priced interesting goods difficult.

Often while thrifting I have encountered individuals that I associated with this trope. At an antique mall in Newport, Oregon I had a conversation with a person who owned a small vintage store in Portland. This person commented to me that the prices of the items at the antique mall were great because they could easily mark them up 300% and still sell them.

 

New Generation of Money Savers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK8mJJJvaes

 

(Macklemore LLC, 2012)

Thrift Shop is a 3 min 55 sec comedy hip hop song released 27 Aug 2012 by the duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz; and had internet success with 1,156,535,618 views as of 12 Feb 2018. The music video was filmed in several thrift and consignment stores in Seattle, Washington. The audience was likely young music listeners and hip-hop fans. Its purpose is for entertainment.

The music video features crowds of people dancing and seeming to have a good time while wearing clothing the viewer assumes came from a thrift shop, the connection the viewer makes is associating young famous people with second-hand clothing and items. There are many references to other popular culture events like R.Kelly’s sheets and sneakerheads that are embedded in the lyrics. There are many lines about money in the song, many about saving money but there is a prominent segment from 2:34-2:51 where the lyrics seem to be mocking expensive designer clothing.

This song and video came out when I was in high school, which proved to be a very formative for me. At the time of its release, I was attending a generally affluent school and I was still choosing my clothing in an attempt to reflect a wealthy lifestyle I did not live. Macklemore’s lyrics and outrageous dancing, though not my personal style in music, did resonate with my deeper desire to dress differently. Watching as Thrift Shop gained prestige in popular culture, I began to feel liberated and validated.

Secondary Sources 

Thrift shopping: Combining utilitarian thrift and hedonic treat benefits (Bardhi & Arnold 2005) is the first article I identified about thrifting. This paper was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Consumer Behavior. This paper is a small scale ethnographic study of five thrift stores in the Midwestern United States. The authors were writing in opposition to a theory put forth by Miller in 1998 in the book Theory of Shopping (in Bardhi & Arnold 2005). Miller argues that thrift and treat work in opposition to each other. Bardhi & Arnold (2005) suggest the opposite, from their research on the patrons of the five thrift stores, they suggest that the intersection of thrift and treat is thrift shopping.

The second source outlined here is an article titled 25 Famous Women on Thrift Shopping (Ma 28 Dec 2017). The article is a compilation of quotes from 25 women celebrities. Some of the quotes, notably from Winona Ryder and Eva Mendes, are anecdotes about a time in the celebrity’s life when they wore something publicly that was from a thrift store. Others are about the “thrill” of the hunt, Lorraine Kirke calls it “scouring.”

The last source is a IMDB user review of the Netflix TV series Girlboss that was posted on 29 Oct 2017. The username of the author is shrpalodhi and the title of the review is A story about a Spoilt kid, who has no sense of ethics and is kind of an awful person. This show is loosely based on the story of Sophia Amoruso, the owner of the online retailer Nasty Gal.

This review is generally negative, giving the series an overall rating of 2/10. Most of the review is about the main character’s flaws, for example: “Within the first 5 minutes of the show, the main protagonist has become so detestable to me that I am actually rooting against her.” The review has several more comments along these lines. Halfway through the review, the author comments on the premise of the show, which is the main character’s ascension into online vintage retail success. The reviewer shows disbelief and shock in the character’s ability to sell a jacket for $650 on eBay, which is the catalyst for the online marketplace she created.

Analysis

Although 1962 is very far from the world I operate in today, some of the points made in American Thrift (The Crittenden Automotive Library, 2016; twinklez1985, 2010) resonate with me. I am a resourceful woman and I feel pride about it. It is difficult to overlook, however, that this was a promotion for a car company, and it seems as if the advertisers were attempting to associate their product with the ‘woman American’s struggle.’ I also have difficult feelings about the perspectives presented by Thrift Hunters (Spike 2014) and Girlboss (shrpalodhi 2017), as both leave the viewers with a sense that there are individuals in the world actively looking to exploit the thrift world for profit. I did find myself represented and amused by Bardhi & Arnold’s (2005) conclusion that thrift shopping provides a hedonic benefit. Lastly, I felt comfort and validation from Macklemore’s Thrift Shop (Macklemore LLC, 2012) and the 25 celebrity women who commented on thrifting, all positively (Ma, 2017).

Conclusion

            How people interact and perceive another’s clothing choices is ultimately a comment on perceived status and wealth. The connotations and associations with regards to thrifted clothing are highly context dependent and variable among different groups of individuals.

One interesting interpretation of thrifting’s success in recent years came from my partner, who is a conscientious consumer and by extension, an avid thrift shopper. He perceived the popularity of thrifting as connected to how fashion is constantly revisiting previous styles. For most, haute couture is financially unavailable, so fashionable people with limited budgets depend on recycling styles found in the time warp of some thrift shops.

In every artifact I found about thrift shopping in the popular culture, as well as the commentaries about thrift shopping in academia, the theme was money. The connection and feeling about the money shifted from the thrifty American woman in the 1960’s out of necessity to the pride Macklemore exuded for finding bargains in 2012. This shift is potentially an indication of change, which I perceive positively. Allowing thrift shopping into the mainstream validates the creative and economical choices of many individuals in society. In an world that is increasingly ravaged by consumerism and capitalism, it will be important thrifty individuals to be given a place.

I have always been fascinated and interested by clothing, this investigation into my identity via clothing inspired an anecdote with which I will conclude this analysis.

When I was in sixth grade, the most desired piece of clothing was a $60 Hollister logo sweatshirt, of which many of my peers each had several. For Christmas in 2007, my parents gifted me a green zip up hoodie with the Hollister logo embroidered across the breast. The second day after we returned to school, one of my friends spilled a particularly oily packet of ranch on the sleeve. I never could remove the stain. After all the yearning and devastation, I donated the sweatshirt to Goodwill, where hopefully it was reincarnated as a thrift find, starting another cycle of life. 

Learning Experiences from the Course

           Civic Online Reasoning

At the moment of writing this, I am less than a month away from graduating with a degree in Applied Linguistics; which is a science that is largely concerned with research acknowledging what has come before it. All of this is to say, I have read and analyzed many papers published about studies, many of which came from “credible” institutions like Stanford. While reading the Civic Online Reasoning study (Wineburg, McGrew, Breakstone & Ortega, 2016), I found myself shocked, annoyed and even slightly offended. Feeling attacked in this way colored my interpretation of the research in a way that demanded pause and examination. The self-examination and reflection calmed me down, and allowed me to sort through the fact that the researchers were more than likely not intentionally belittling me, instead they were documenting a phenomenon they had previously noted in an academic environment. The external evaluation lead me to conclude that research institutions like Stanford, are not perfectly objective by default, and that some allowance should be more for new areas of study like the internet.

Overall, my initial and subsequent reactions to this study were an experiment in patience, understanding and processing.

Hollywood

                                   

Lupita Nyong’o (left) and Kumail Nanjiani (right) at the

90th Academy Awards, $ March 2018 (“Oscars 2018”).

“Some of my favorite movies are movies by straight white dudes, about straight white dudes. Now straight white dudes can watch movies starring me, and you relate to that. It’s not that hard. I’ve done it my whole life.”-Kumail Nanjiani

Of the course blog discussions, I personally found the discussion on Hollywood movies to have been the most enlightened and engaged. My peers’ comments were ablaze with realization and deconstruction. Hollywood movies being identified as under-representational is not an original idea to this class, however, it was made a reality by the comments of my peers. Many of my class mates, including myself, seemed to be analyzing the films from a new perspective that left some people longing and some people seemingly upset. It was incredible to be in the middle of such an engaged group of individuals, and although many things in the media and popular culture today are dire and upsetting, the sentiments echoed by this class was encouraging.

References:

Bardhi, F. & Arnold, E.J. (2005). Thrift shopping: Combining utilitarian thrift and hedonic treat benefits. Journal of Consumer Behavior, 4(4), pp.223-233. Wiley. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/doi/10.1002/cb.12/epdf

[The Crittenden Automotive Library]. (2016, Oct 3). American thrift (Part 1) [Video File]. Retrived from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8z6wQxbGS8

Ma, J. (2017, Dec 28). 25 famous women on thrift shopping. Retrieved from https://www.thecut.com/2017/12/quotes-from-25-famous-women-on-thrift-shopping.html

[Macklemore LLC]. (2012, Aug 29). Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Thrift shop feat. Wanz (official video)[Video File}. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK8mJJJvaes

[Oscars 2018] [image]. (2018, March 4). [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/entertainment/article/Oscars-Kumail-Nanjiani-and-Lupita-Nyong-o-Vow-12728092.php

shrpalodhi. Girlboss. (29 Oct 2017). The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 18 Feb 2018 from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5706996/reviews?ref_=tt_urv

[SPIKE]. (2010, Dec 17). Thrift hunters: A garage sale on steroids [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RAKWj2CJMQ

[twinklez1985]. (2010, Dec 17). American thrift part 2 (1962) [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pE0Y54_OBX4&t=185s

Wineburg, S., McGrew, S., Breakstone, J. & Ortega, T. (2016). Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning. Stanford Digital Repository. Available at: http://purl.stanford.edu/fv751yt5934

 

 

 

Arab stereotypes in popular culture

Mahdi saad

UNST254A

 

Arab stereotypes in popular culture

In this age and era, we are affected by things we see and hear. Everyone uses popular culture for many reasons. They use it for entertainment like watching movies, TV shows, and cartoons. Some use popular culture to communicate with the outside world. This can have both positive and negative impacts on the people. For example I looked at how Arabs are being portrayed in media, hollywood, and disney. The Arab culture is put in a cage and being defined in way such that when someone looks at for the first time will have negative first impression.

First of all, the things I learned in doing this project shocked me in many ways. Some true information is presented and some false information is presented. I was shocked when when I read this article called “Strategies to Successfully Push Back Against Harmful Hollywood Stereotypes About Arabs and the Work New Generations Must Take On” by Dr. Shaheen.  In this article, Shaheen showed the point of view of how Hollywood presents Arab culture when they release new movie and the same thing when Disney releases cartoon movies like Aladdin.

The second thing I learned is how different Arabs are being portrayed differently for other Arabs. The media is portraying them differently even though they are both Arabs. For example, if we look at how Dubai is being portrayed in Fast and Furious as rich and happy. On the other hand, if we look at Iraqi we will see that in the movie American Sniper the country is always shown in the state of war and destruction, which has truth to some of it. I learned that if we look at the right sources in media we can find the truth and the hidden agenda behind and why these movies were made. At first I thought these portrayals of Arabs were made for entertainment and funny. After reading few articles and watching some movies, I learned there are  negative impacts of these work.

One of Disney’s finest work is the cartoon movie Aladdin. At the beginning of the movie, there song where it starts sing saying “ Where they cut off your ear, If they don’t like your face, It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home.” The use of such language causes people to think and doubt the Arabs humanity. The little exposure to Arab culture came to see them through a skewed lens of ignorance. The echoes in the hate crimes, Islamophobia, and discrimination still continue to worsen day by day.

The article by Dr. Shaheen talks about about Arabs stereotypes in movies, films, and TV  shows. This was presented at the conference in The Israel Lobby and American Policy in Washington DC. It tells that Arab and American Muslims have been relegated to playing terrorists for decades in the mass media, but that needs to be changed. It suggests major organizations to be active and acknowledge more often image makers whose films enhance tolerance and image makers who vilify Arabs. It mentioned a lot of movies and pop culture work were Arabs were used in negative way and he asked the question why. This quote is right out of the article where it mentioned the work were Arabs were used as villans to destroy and bomb things. “And then suddenly, Howard Gordon started showing Americans with Arab roots and American Muslims as homegrown terrorists out to destroy their country. 24 was so successful that numerous copycat series copied that format from 24. Shows that I hope none of you have ever seen, like “Threat Matrix,” “Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye,” “The Agency,” “The Unit,” and others.”

This is very related to my artifact and it provided a great prove to support my project of Arab of stereotypes. The article by Dr. Shaheen that was presented in the second paragraph. showed me a lot of things I was not aware of until I read this article by Dr.Shaheen. One of these things I thought at the beginning they were made just for entertainment and nothing more than that. It was not meant to be just for that. It is just a coincidence but after reading this article. I started feeling it was meant and it was done deliberately to deform the image of Arabs in media. This was very helpful resource for me and I wish I could have used it as one of the artifacts.This article had a lto of ideas and very interesting point of views that were connected to my second artifact that I have learned from. My second artifact was a movie named True Lies by James Cameron. The movie showed how Arabs are being cruel to women ad they think everything can be bought with money.

One of my resources was a video that talks about Arabs in the media and how it leads people to pick one of two. The first Arabs are being presented poorly or that’s their true image. I believe the creators of this video wanted to change the point view of the audience who are watching the video. The people will see this differently making them start thinking by agreeing with author and saying you know we were not paying attention to it before but to think about now. This person is right. I feel I was surprised and shocked by the things this person said in the video. This will help them to make money by grabbing the attention of the people to watch the video on their website. This will influences the point of view of the people causing them to not to believe everything that you see is not correct and you need to be aware of the media products. The Arabs are being presented poorly in the media and this video is trying to clear up some of the misunderstanding. The are being presented that way can lead to two conclusion. The first one they were meant to show them that way to destroy their image or it was not meant to and it was only to coincidence. The video did not show how arabs are not what they are in the media and it did not provide prove at the same time leaving the viewers little bit lost.The conclusions the audiences can draw based on this fact is do not judge someone from behind the screen. This video communicates its message by using cartoon shows and movies that every single person knows about. The video wanted to show that we should not judge others by watching a movie or a tv show. In the paragraph down below describes how popular culture affects us and how my community and Arabs should be presented.

The popular culture can shape your point of view of certain people or a  group. Popular culture plays a major role in shaping a person’s thoughts and it also shapes your feeling about certain things in life. It shapes who you are in many different ways. The community I belong to defines my personality the way I talked and the way I dress and the language I speak. My community shapes my behaviors, bleeds and values. The interactions in my community influences the way I interact in the society because it is made up of a lot of different communities. The location you were born has large impact on your live as person and the place you were born plays the biggest part defining you as person and that shapes who you are.

Arab culture defined by their action. Our actions outside our homes define what we are in this community and to other people. It is very important to be respectful, mindful, and thoughtful of who we interact with in the community. We are responsibly about we say and what do as individual or a group. We are judged by our voice and action in the community.  How else do we judge other if we do not look at their actions in the past and what they have done. We are defined by our actions, so we need to do good things in the society that way we can be remembered with respect and honor. We need to judge the people by their actions and not appearance. Some people judge others by their appearance which I think that is disrespectful. It is not all about looks. We should judge others by their kindness and manner. When I was back in home country my parents taught me to respect the elders and be to those who are younger than me. This is the way people will judge me and will always remember me by. They will remember as respectful and well-mannered man. This is how the place we live in impacts our lives. The opportunities that exist are based on skills and not community and who you belong. There are many different types of opportunities and jobs that exist are based on your education level.

I did this paper some can people have better understanding of arabs and arab culture and how it is being portrayed in the media.  I made this to change the lens which people are looking at arabs in popular culture. The idra not everything portrayed in media and popular culture is true.

 

These are the websites I used to get my information- from.

http://web.b.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=3&sid=febcf75e-1ef3-42fb-8c7d-047328bf206d%40sessionmgr120&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=122900471&db=aph

http://www.aaiusa.org/arab-portrayals-in-film-a-history-of-stereotypes

 

The Military and Pop-Culture

Introduction:

In this big picture blog post intended to conclude and summarize winter term, I will put fourth my findings in regards to how pop-culture primarily in the form of films from the year 2017 portrays the military and those serving in the military. In addition, using my secondary sources I will explore those portrayals in their reality and look into how accurate those portrayals actually are. And lastly, I will critically analyze both the primary and secondary sources using my own first hand knowledge and experience being in the military.

The Popular Culture Depiction (Primary Sources):

I chose to take a look at three military films all of which were released in the year 2017 for my primary sources for this project. I initially was going to use the film War Machine but I watched another film on Netflix that worked perfectly for this project and I fell in love with the film and felt that it would work better for this project. I am primarily going to go off of the trailers for the movies, I will make references here and there to actual individual scenes from within each film but I figured it would be extremely difficult to effectively in 1500 words dive deep into each of the four films.

The first primary source that I chose is the film Thank You For Your Service. This is a film that is based off of a true story written on an infantry unit returning from a 15 month rotation in theater (combat deployment). The film follows three soldiers and their families upon their return and the struggles that they face once home. Primarily the film focuses on the struggles and demons that the soldiers face, largely this is put fourth in the form of PTSD. There are also the common struggles of smaller things like not knowing what your kids do and don’t like anymore, feeling a disconnection from a child that was born while you were gone and finding it difficult to come back to a normal civilian environment.

 

 

The second primary source that I chose is the film Megan Leavey which is also based off of a true story and portrays a lost female character who through the Marine Core finds herself. Leavey enlists, goes off to boot camp, becomes an MP (military police) and goes on to become a dog handler, something that was not common for females to do at the time. The result is that the military ends up being something that turns her life around and provides her a level of purpose. Leavey deploys with her bomb sniffing dog Rex to Iraq where initially she is kept from combat patrols but eventually earns the rapport with her command and along with it the ability to go onto these combat patrols as a female. On one of those patrols herself and Rex get hit by an IED and then take contact from insurgent combatants, she has to be medically evaluated via helicopter and the rest of the film is her fighting for the right to be able to take Rex as he is retired and she separates from the military.

 

The third and final primary source that I chose is the film Sand Castle which is a Netflix Original that portrays a soldier who enlisted in the reserves to pay for school pre-iraq war and ends up being deployed for the initial invasion into Iraq. Initially he attempts to get out of having to perform his tasks as a soldier but eventually he falls into his roll as a soldier. There is a clear level of a lack of comfort that he experiences in his role as a soldier, it does not come natural to him at first in the same way it does for his battle buddies, reason being he did not want to be a soldier he wanted his school payed for. There are clear portrayals of struggles regarding PTSD portrayed in the film due to the things he has experienced in theater (combat).

Digging Deeper: What Do These Sources Show:

There are a few aspects of the film portrayals that I want to take a look at before moving on to secondary sources regarding these aspects. Firstly in all three primary sources there are portrayals of PTSD. Something that the media does really well is portraying veterans as broken PTSD ridden individuals. The media seems to automatically portray every issue or most all issues that soldiers face regarding returning home from theater as being related to PTSD. This is false, PTSD is an issue and significant numbers within the veteran community suffer from issues related to PTSD but there are a slew of other problems that veterans face that do not get talked about because the media is so fixated on PTSD. In case anyone is unaware, PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Another aspect from these primary sources that I would like to take a look at and analyze is that while the men were battling their demons in the first and third primary sources, they were not portrayed as weak or overly emotional. While in the second primary source in which the main character is a female she is portrayed as extremely weak and overly emotional, in tears a multitude of times throughout the film. In the other two sources, the men struggle with demons but they keep it in, they are portrayed as being cold and emotionless. It seems clear that even in 2017 that there is a very stark contrast between how female and male soldiers are portrayed in film.

An External Look (Secondary Sources):

Regarding how the media portrays soldiers after they return home from theater and the common portrayal of them being in a broken PTSD ridden state, the reality of the situation is that only between 11% and 20% of veterans face issues connected to PTSD (Merry). I am not saying that those numbers are insignificant, they are a very serious issue, but I would say that it is not as large of an issue as the media portrays it to be. I feel as though Hollywood makes it seem like every veteran deals with PTSD and that it is the #1 most pressing issue that those returning home face. I remember having an Arabic partner last term and when she found out that I was in the military one of the first things that she said to me was “you’re going to have PTSD!”, which threw me off, I had never had anyone say that to me before.

In reality, those returning home from theater (combat) face a lot of other issues outside of PTSD that really do not receive representation in the media and by Hollywood such as depression, difficulty readjusting to civilian life and not being in theater, separation issues from their battle buddies whom are consider family and so on. There is evidence that in a significant number of cases, soldiers are too quickly diagnosed with PTSD that they do not have, instead of the time being taken to look into other types of psychological problems that the veterans or soldiers may be suffering from (Fisher). Screenings and diagnoses for PTSD can be very inaccurate and it is not uncommon to encounter false positives and false negatives (Fisher).

There is this growing divide between those who are in the military and those who are not; it is popularly called the military civilian divide. My research points to this divide largely being from very little if any normal everyday representations of those who are veterans. We all have this preconceived notion or idea of what someone in the military is like or who a veteran is. Only 0.50% of the population are on active duty (Merry), fewer and fewer people know someone who is in the military and thus how do we bridge this divide? Stephany Merry suggests that we do this through normalizing veterans and those in the military as seen through the media and pop-culture. Merry points to a character from Modern Family, one of the dads who is a Navy veteran who every so often makes reference to his service but is overall a normal person. Bruce Flemming points to a growing divide at every level of our society from fewer and fewer members of congress having ever served to less and less universities hosting programs like ROTC.

The vast majority of those who return home and separate from the military reintegrate back into society, they get jobs, they continue on with their families and they become functioning members of society. This is rarely the image that people see through the media. A 2015 Veteran Economic Opportunity Report found that the median income of post 9/11 veterans is 11% higher than their civilian counterparts and the unemployment rate is lower for veterans than their civilian counterpart (Merry). Veterans are not broken, they are not dangerous, they are not ticking time bombs, of course some return home with problems but the resources are there to help them and the vast majority are just proud Americans.

A Look Back at The Term:

I was lucky enough that my high school was a full IB school thus the only English class that was offered to juniors and seniors was IB English. Thus my entire last two years of high school was spent studying, analyzing and understanding biases, rhetoric, advertising, messages and tools used by the media and so on. This term was largely a look back for me at what I learned in high school. It was a refresher course. I use these tools in my every day life when I critically think about every message being sent to me while interacting with the world around me. Especially being a political science major who is very critical of where I get my history, news and current events on a daily basis.

Works Cited:

Fleming, Bruce. “BRIDGING THE MILITARY-CIVILIAN DIVIDE.” Wiley Online Library, 2 Mar. 2010, onlinelibrary.wiley.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9736.2010.00596.x/full.

Merry, Stephanie. “Theres a divide between civilians and soldiers, partly because of Hollywood.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 18 May 2015, http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/theres-a-divide-between-civilians-and-soldiers-hollywood-is-partly-to-blame/2015/05/17/ea1332f0-f819-11e4-a13c-193b1241d51a_story.html?utm_term=.ad5eab215dc8.

Fisher, Michael P. “PTSD in the U.S. military, and the politics of prevalence.” Science Direct, Aug. 2014, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953614003451.

Cowperthwaite, Gabriela , director. Megan Leavey. LD Entertainment , 2017.

Hall, Jason, director. Thank You for Your Service. DreamWorks Pictures, 2017.

Coimbra, Fernando, director. Sand Castle. Treehouse Pictures, 2017.

Portrayal of the modern Native American

All of my life, I have always been very proud of my heritage. My family always encouraged me, and always made sure I felt strong and confident in who I was. It wasn’t until I started school that I started realizing that I was different, and that was brought on by parents, teachers and the other students. I also realized at a young age that, because I am not white, people feel as though they have the right to guess my ethnicity, or ask rude questions. It’s routine at this point that when I meet someone new, they ask my name and then “what is your ethnic background?”

Particularly with older people, often I get asked if my family “lives on the rez”, or if they have tipi’s and this really shows how little most people know about Native Americans. To a startling number of people, we are often thought of as very backwards, as though we haven’t caught up with the rest of the world in terms of advancement. I’m also meant to have all the answers to questions, such as if it is offensive to have an ‘Indian for a mascot” (Graduated from Philomath High School, “Home of the Warriors”) and then be told that I should be proud because I am being depicted as “powerful”.

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Native Americans are nothing more than a brief history lesson from middle school to most people, and are so often disregarded by the general public. In almost all movies where Native Americans are featured, they are only depicted in historical movies and they often are just an inconvenience to the main characters. Considering how I hate old westerns, I had a very limited selection of movies to watch growing up. There was Pocahontas, Spirit, Brother Bear, and Peter Pan; and a majority of these are not positive representations. That is why I decided to do my blog post on Native Americans in media.

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I have decided rather than just limiting myself to the depictions of Natives in Film and TV, I thought I would also incorporate different aspects of the media that they would be in, such as news or events. To start off, I think a good place to start would be Native Americans in the news. The two major topics that are often thought of the use of Natives as mascots for sports teams, and the Dakota Pipeline. For background, a major controversy is the sports team called the Redskins, that uses the face of a Native American as their mascot. There are largely differing opinions, a pretty stark contrast between Native opinions and ones from non-native descent. In a poll done by Washington Post, they stated that 9 out of 10 Native Americans did not find the name offensive. While on the other hand, they only surveyed around 500 people, many of whom had no tribal affiliation.

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In a blog called Native Appropriations, ran by Dr. Adrienne Keene, she talks about the many things wrong with this survey. To start off with, it’s important to note the fact that despite many studies, tribal council votes, and the voices of actual Native Americans saying how offensive this is, Washington Post still felt the need to run their own personal poll. The reason this is so discouraging, is that it just gives fuel to those who want to silence the voices of those who are being disrespected. In an interview on NPR with a representative of the Oneida Indian Nation and CEO of Oneida Nation Enterprises by the name of Ray Halbritter, he is quoted as saying

Anybody who believes in doing what is right knows that you shouldn’t use a slur against someone. You shouldn’t say a name to somebody else if they are offended by it, even if it’s not defined as a slur, and this is defined as a slur. And you can’t change that. No poll in the world is going to change the fact this is a dictionary-defined slur that our people are subjected to on a daily basis.”

The second example that I wanted to use is issue of the Dakota Pipeline. To give a little bit of backstory, the Dakota Pipeline was a construction project that was started in 2016 and spans 1,200 miles across South Dakota and Illinois. There was a massive protest that went on for months, and the reasons for it were varied. From an environmental perspective there was a lot of outcry (which is for another time), but there was also backlash for this project from the Sioux tribe too. The reason behind this is because the project was moved from Bismarck, which is a highly populated, higher income part of the state to the edge of the Standing Water Sioux Reservation. Not only does this violate several federal laws that are put in place in order to protect land that is federally known as theirs, it is also detrimental to their only water source.

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The last form of media that I am going to mention is how Natives are portrayed in TV and film. There are many older films such as Dancing with Wolves, Pocahontas, Peter Pan, and the like; but I’m going to focus more on modern examples. The first being Ken Hotate, which is a character is the TV show Parks and Recreation.

Ken Hotate is the tribal elder of the Wamapoke Tribe, and his character is introduced because the annual harvest festival is taking place on Native American burial grounds, and he asks for it to be moved. After saying that there isn’t anywhere to move the festival that wouldn’t be offensive, because of Pawnee’s bloody history, Ken then subtly threatens a curse on the festival to scare them. This ends up working, and the festival gets a lot of bad publicity and the characters are stressed throughout the whole story arch.

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I think that watching these episodes is better than explaining, because it was a satirical way of portraying Native Americans, but was done well. Not only did they get an actual actor of Native descent, they took a lot of the stereotypical tropes and showed them as what they are; which is completely ridiculous.

The second example I chose was John Redcorn from King of the Hill. The reason I chose to discuss this character is because he is portrayed just as a modern Native American would be, and he brings up a lot of issues that are faced. He is also known for calling out ignorant remarks that are made, and educates the others. He is not a perfect character, along with my other example, but I think that is what makes it much better.

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Conclusion:

Analyzing these sources has made a realize a few things; and those are that in the real world, there is still a lot of progress to be made. In an article written by William Gallo titled “Native Americans: A Forgotten Minority in US Presidential Campaign”, they are said to be the most marginalized group in America, but not many people know that. The struggles that are faced by Natives are swept under the rug, and are extremely misunderstood, and there is so much more to write about. It wasn’t enough that almost a whole race of people were taken out by genocide, but the remaining are completely disregarded and disrespected.

The example that I chose to use in this essay were meant to differ a bit, because I did want to show not only the real world examples, but also a couple of media examples that I do like. So while I could have focused on the negative representations such as Pocahontas and Dancing with Wolves, I chose not to for the sake of not being redundant. Those are used widely in different essays and works, so I wanted to incorporate a few that I remembered from my favorite shows.

The reasons I love the characters Ken Hotate and John Redcorn is because I do relate to them; I have a lot of the same thoughts that are voiced in these show. They bring up issues within the government, ignorance towards their cultures, racism, and disrespect from peers. I do hope that I did bring more awareness to this topic, because it was difficult for me to articulate. This was an excellent learning opportunity for me, because I am used to my family and I responding to this subject more along the lines of this image.

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Learning Moments:

I think that the biggest learning moment for me this term was the text called “Inequality in 700 Popular Films”. It really put into perspective the lack of representation of any ethnicity other than white, and it gave me the idea of looking in any examples with Native Americans, because in this text they are not even listed or they are less than 1%. I knew that there weren’t many spaces with accurate portrayals of those of my ethnicity, but I never knew the extent of it.  I’m happy from doing this project, because in the process I did learn more about my own heritage.

 

Sources:

 

Rosenstein, J. (2016, May 31). How Do Native Americans Really Feel About the Washington Redskins Nickname? Dont Use the Phone. Retrieved February 27, 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jay-rosenstein/how-do-native-americans-really-feel-about-redskins-nickname_b_10199688.html

 

Native American Leader Responds To Washington Post ‘Redskins’ Poll. (2016, May 21). Retrieved March 01, 2018, from https://www.npr.org/2016/05/21/479001688/native-american-leader-responds-to-washington-post-redskins-poll

 

Natives Against Redsk*ns. (2017, June 21). Retrieved March 01, 2018, from http://nativeappropriations.com/nativesagainstredskins

 

American Indian Issues Are Marginalized. (2017, November 10). Retrieved March 14, 2018, from https://www.theodysseyonline.com/american-indian-issues

 

Gallo, W. (2016, March 15). Native Americans: A Forgotten Minority in US Presidential Campaign. Retrieved March 14, 2018, from https://www.voanews.com/a/native-americans-forgotten-minority-us-presidential-campaign/3236468.html

What Makes a Prince “Charming”?

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A fellow classmate asked me about the “Nice” identity I had chosen during the Identity Brainstorm assignment. She asked me, “When you say ‘nice’ [I’m] wondering if you mean ‘nice guy’, as in the men who behave in a more gentleman-like and gentle [manner] with women, who are looked down upon and poked fun at in pop-culture?”. This made me curious about the “nice guy” trope where a man acts chivalrously towards a woman to win her affection.

I wanted to look at the inspiration of this chivalrous ideal, the romantic heroes in classic animated fairy tales. The traditional romantic hero, or “Prince Charming” is a character that is familiar in many fairy tale films. But how has this charming character changed over the years? And what are the traits that define him?

To answer this question, I analyzed three Disney fairy tale films, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, and Frozen. By looking at the behavior of the male heroes in these films, I could see if “Prince Charming” had changed over the course of time. These films had wide public appeal, so any changes could show how romance, chivalry, and masculinity may have changed with the times.

 

 

When choosing films for this project, I used the following criteria to narrow my selection:

  1. The film must be a modern adaptation of a fairy-tale

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I chose this criterion because romantic fairy-tales use similar elements in the heroes’ journey. This made it easier to compare characters from one film to another.

  1. The film must be an animated feature film from Walt Disney studios

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This criterion was chosen due because of Disney’s incredible impact on modern culture and wide public appeal. Any changes would also indicate how Disney shifted its narratives over time.

  1. A romantic pursuit of a woman by a male character should be a significant part of the film’s plot

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A male character’s romantic interest needed to have a major presence in the film. This would allow me to better analyze the male character’s traits, motives, and actions. Unfortunately, this eliminated films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and The Little Mermaid from my list.

  1. The love between the male and female protagonists is made official at the end of the film

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The male protagonist needs to succeed in finding love. This would allow me to assess the film’s message about the ideal aspects of love. Each film may have its own definition of defining what true love is.

 

 

Sleeping Beauty (1959)

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In Sleeping Beauty, Prince Phillip is the male protagonist and Princess Aurora’s love interest in this film. He is the hero of the movie and fights bravely to rescue Aurora from her curse of eternal slumber.

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The first half of the film shows us the heroic traits of Prince Phillip. He first encounters Princess Aurora in the woods where she is disguised as a peasant. Although she runs away initially Phillip is able to catch up to her and manages to win her affection by singing to her. Later that day, Phillip declares his intent to marry Aurora to his father, King Hubert. Hubert is shocked at the news and asks his son would be willing to, “Give up the throne, the kingdom for some… some nobody?!”. Unconcerned, Phillip repeats that he’s going to, “…marry the girl [he] loves” and rides away to meet Aurora again.

In the second half of the film, Phillip is captured by the evil faerie Maleficent while Aurora’s curse takes hold. Maleficent locks Phillip away in her castle, as only a “true love’s kiss” can break Aurora’s curse. Phillip is rescued by three fairy godmothers, who bestow him with a Shield of Virtue and a Sword of Truth. Wielding these weapons, he swiftly fights his way out of Maleficent’s castle and rides over to rescue Aurora. He uses his sword to overcome enchanted vines and later defeats Maleficent in her dragon form single-handedly. He kisses a sleeping Aurora thus breaking her curse. The film ends with Phillip and Aurora dancing together on a castle floor.

Certain physical features and character traits define Prince Phillip as a hero. Phillip is tall, handsome, and romantic. He wields a Sword of Truth and a Shield of Virtue and uses these to slay Maleficent in the film. When interacting with Aurora, Philip is congenial and polite, but later chases after her as she runs away. Phillip is able to win Aurora’s affections after catching up to her by singing and dancing. Aurora would later describe Phillip to her godmothers as, “…he’s tall, handsome, and so romantic.” Phillip later proves to be a capable fighter and fights through many obstacles, including slaying Maleficent. These heroic acts are made in an effort to rescue Aurora from her curse.

Unfortunately, Sleeping Beauty was not a critical success, and reviews for the film were mostly negative. After the incredible successes of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Cinderella, Disney was hoping to repeat the formula to strike it big. Many reviews called out both the film’s lack of originality and the similarities to previous films. In a review for Film Quarterly, Raymond Fielding wrote, “The film’s characters and story can scarcely be distinguished in style from those of Snow White, except by their total lack of ingenuity”. A New York Times review by Bosley Crowther discussed the film’s lack of wit, “Prince Phillip is a saccharine cartoon likeness of a crooner on the cut of Tommy Sands”. Due partially to the poor performance of the film, Disney Studios would not return to the fairy-tale genre for 30 years.

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

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This film has two male leads; Gaston is the film’s antagonist and the Beast is the film’s protagonist. The story follows the main female protagonist Belle as she helps the Beast overcome his curse and his personal demons.

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Gaston is described in the film as handsome, gorgeous, strong, and tall. At the beginning of the film, women in the town are seen swooning over him. Even Belle’s father Maurice mentions how handsome Gaston is. He is shown to have great fighting prowess, both bare-handed and with firearms. However, Belle sees Gaston differently calling him rude, boorish, conceited, and primeval. Belle is seen having many unpleasant encounters with Gaston. In one scene, Gaston attempts to get Belle’s attention by taking her book away from her then proceeds to say chauvinistic lines about women learning to read before throwing her book in the mud.

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The Beast is described by others in the film as huge, monstrous, hideous, and ugly. Maurice uses these words to describe the Beast after being released from the Beast’s castle. In addition to being physically frightening the Beast is also mean and quick to anger. When Maurice is caught using the Beast’s castle as shelter, the Beast furiously calls him a trespasser and immediately imprisons him into a cell. Maurice is only released once Belle agrees to take his place for life. Later in the film, the Beast gets better at managing his temper and attempts to make up for initially treating Belle so poorly. As the Beast and Belle better understand one another, she describes him sweet, dear, and unsure. Belle later attempts to introduce the Beast to the town pleading, “Please, I know he looks vicious but he’s really kind and gentle. He’s my friend”.

When comparing these two characters to Prince Phillip, one can quickly see that Gaston shares many superficial qualities, such as good looks and fighting prowess. Also like Phillip, he decided to marry Belle after seeing her for the first time, as did Prince Phillip with Aurora. However, it should be noted that Phillip wanted to marry for “love”, whereas Gaston wanted Belle solely for her beauty. In similar “romantic” fashion, Gaston pursues Belle when she’s running away from him. He does this twice in the film, on the street and at Belle’s house, both for the purposes of winning Belle’s affection.

Contrary to Gaston, Beast does not start off the film as a handsome figure. He also does not treat Belle nicely when he first meets her. However, Beast does still follow a few classic conventions of the romantic hero. For example, Beast shares the romantic hero’s noble characteristics. He shows remorse for his rages throughout the film and attempts to right his wrongs each time. First, he transfers Belle out of her cell to a more comfortable guest room after sending Maurice away too fast for Belle to say goodbye. He runs out to defend her from wolves after she escapes his castle in fear. He even gives her the castle library after initially treating her so poorly. The Beast is also virtuous; he never forces, guilts, or manipulates Belle into breaking his curse. Contrary to Phillip, the beast does not slay the main antagonist at the end of the film.

Beauty and the Beast was praised for its modern tone of the story and characters, giving Belle and Gaston’s characters much of the credit.  Gaston’s portrayal as a comically macho and insufferable character was cited as an attributing factor to the film’s modern tone. Janet Maslin of the New York Times appreciated that Gaston’s super macho demeanor, “is initially the butt of the film’s jokes” which made the film, “an amusingly clear product of its time”.

Frozen (2013)

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This film has two male love interests, Hans and Kristoff. Hans is the main antagonist and Kristoff plays one of the protagonists.

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Prince Hans is very respectful to Princess Anna when he first meets her. He is physically described by Anna as being “gorgeous” and having “great physique”. He also displays noble and righteous traits when Anna puts Hans in charge of the kingdom as her proxy. He provides warm blankets and soup to the people of Arendelle while the kingdom is under heavy winter. When the Duke of Weselton attempts to undermine Anna’s authority, Hans stands up for her and threatens to charge the duke for treason. All these heroic acts are undermined when in a plot twist, Hans coldly tells Anna he doesn’t love her and that he was just using her to ascend to the throne. All of his heroic acts were merely a cover for his true intentions.

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Kristoff does not initially act respectfully towards Anna. He agrees to help Anna up the mountain after she buys him the things he needs for the journey. He is described as grumpy in the film and acts this way with Anna initially. When his sled is destroyed during the ascent, he reacts bitterly, telling Sven that he has no interest in helping Anna anymore and that, “In fact, this whole thing has ruined me for helping anyone ever again.” However when the two are not in peril, he lets his guard down and is able to crack jokes with Anna. The trolls call Kristoff “sensitive and sweet” and say that he “runs scared” and is “socially impaired”. Although Kristoff does demonstrate moments of bravery, he does not defeat or engage anyone in combat. However, he does use his survival knowledge to avoid obstacles, including making a snow anchor to safely rappel down a cliff.

The antagonist in this film shares even more traits with Prince Phillip perhaps intentionally so. Hans mimics many of Philips character traits up until his reveal as a villain. He is kind and respectful to Anna in their first encounter and later pretends to fall in love with Anna at first sight. He even leads a charge to rescue Anna, defeating a snow golem to get into Elsa’s castle. Despite all of these very heroic qualities and charitable acts, Hans’s was still the villain of this film. At this point, the question becomes what qualities did Hans NOT have that made him a villain? The answer to this question can be found in all male protagonists in each of the films; all of them were honest in word and deed and chose to act with integrity. For example, Kristoff does not ever lie to Anna or try to guilt her into doing anything. When his sled is destroyed, he does not seek damages from Anna. After Anna promises him a replacement sled, Kristoff never asks her to make good on her promise and he even initially turns it down when she does replace it. Despite Kristoff’s growing feelings for Anna, he respects Anna’s engagement to Hans and leaves when she is in safe hands. He only returns to Arendelle when a growing ice storm threatens Anna’s safety.

The film achieved resounding success on opening release, becoming the number one ranked film on its third opening weekend. It is currently Disney’s highest grossing animated film of all time (Box Office Mojo). Many critics praised the film’s contemporary take on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Snow Queen”. Stephen Holden of the New York Times chose Frozen as his NYT Critic’s pick stating, “They are significant departures from tradition in [Frozen] that shakes up the hyper-romantic “princess” formula that has stood Disney in good stead for decades and that has grown stale.” Holden cited the film’s version of Hans, “a picture-perfect prince who is revealed to be a scheming, opportunistic cad” as one of these significant departures from tradition. Even less positive reviews noted the stark difference between Frozen and earlier films. Anthony Lane of the New Yorker wrote, “Disney has thus arrived at a mirror image of its earlier self: the seriously bad guys and the top-grade sidekicks—the Shere Khans and the Baloos—are now a melting memory, while the chronic simperers, like Cinderella, have been superseded by tough dames.”

Conclusion

As Disney films adjusted with the times, so did their respective heroic male counterparts. Gone was the charming, handsome, and daring champion of old, making way for a more grounded and less daring hero instead. Male protagonists became less confrontational, and acts of might were less of an indicator of a man’s heroic traits and more an indicator of his darker ones. This trend suggests that a man needs to offer more than just physical prowess and handsomeness. In Beauty and the Beast, Gaston’s good looks are the reason he is revered by the entire town. Gaston makes no attempt to hide his ugly qualities and Belle is the only one who can look past his handsomeness. Frozen takes this idea one step further by having Hans hide his ruthless and deceitful nature behind his handsomeness.

Charisma was also dialed down as male protagonists became less cordial to the female protagonists. This doesn’t suggest that women are attracted to this behavior, for none of the female protagonists responded positively to poor behavior. Rather, this lack of cordiality implies that a good man’s affections develop over time; the heroes do not warm up to their female counterparts until much later in the film. To further this claim, the heroes no longer fall in love at first sight. Only the villains in later films desire to marry a woman at first sight.

These changes to the heroic “nice guy” in Disney films point to changes in how men and women perceive each other in romantic relationships. Prince Charming and the traditional view of chivalry were no longer relevant to the average audience.

 

Learning Moments

This class has been very enlightening due to the amount of self-reflection we’ve been asked to do for assignments. The identity brainstorm was a fun and eye-opening assignment. Picking ten identities was hard and it forced me to consider what my qualities were beyond the superficial. The identity brainstorm also helped me develop a prompt for this project through comments from peers. Even the course readings helped me become more aware of unconscious habits and biases. For example, the report by the Stanford History Education Group about its media literacy study was interesting, especially when comparing my answers to the study’s participants’ answers. I had to question why I got some questions wrong, or why an advertisement was able to sway me. Moments like these helped get a glimpse about how I react to the world around me at an unconscious level.

I’d imagine knowing my inner traits and characteristics will make me more actively aware when reviewing media, or when performing any critical review. I’ll better know how I might be unduly swayed and can account for my biases when attempting an unbiased review. On a more practical level, having new techniques to recognize faulty logic or suggestive messaging will allow me to tell the difference between good information and not.

 

Works Cited

Beauty and the Beast. Directed by Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise, Walt Disney Pictures, 22 Nov. 1991

 Box Office Mojo. iMDb, http://www.boxofficemojo.com. 15 Feb. 2018

Crowther, Bosley. “Screen: ‘Sleeping Beauty’.” The New York Times, 18 Feb. 1959, Web. 15 Feb. 2018

Fielding, Raymond. “Sleeping Beauty” Film Quarterly Vol. 12 No. 3 (Spring, 1959): pg. 49. Print.

Frozen. Directed by Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee, Walt Disney Studios, 27 Nov. 2013

Holden, Stephen. “Disney’s ‘Frozen’ a Makeover of ‘The Snow Queen’” The New York Times, 26 Nov. 2013, Web. 15 Feb. 2018

Lane, Anthony. “It’s Cold Outside” The New Yorker, 9 Dec. 2013, Web. 16 Feb. 2018

Maslin, Janet. “Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Updated in Form and Content” The New York Times, 13 Nov. 1991, Web. 15 Feb. 2018

 Sleeping Beauty. Directed by Clyde Geromini, Walt Disney Productions, 29 Jan. 1959

 

 

 

 

 

Mother and Daughter Relationships in Popular Culture

Growing up I have always been very close with my mother. I feel very comfortable sharing aspects of my life with her and view her as a very close friend. This relationship is what first sparked my interest in looking at the way daughters are portrayed in popular culture. I began to reflect on television shows and movies I have watched focusing on how the daughters were displayed. Technically all females are daughters, but in several aspects of television and movies being a daughter is a large part of that character’s identity. It was these characters that I wanted to research and learn more about how they are portrayed. I began to realize that there are several different aspects I could look at. The one I decided to focus on was the relationship between daughters and their mothers and how this is portrayed specifically looking at the teenage years.

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Before diving into my research, I had already formed opinions about what I was going to discover. From my own experience of watching movies and television shows, I noticed a recurring theme of a negative relationship between mothers and daughters. They always seemed to be arguing about one thing or another. Teenage girls were always displayed as very hormonal and bratty, and their mothers were always the last person they wanted to talk to. With this knowledge already in my head, I began to research different examples of mother and daughter relationships in popular culture.

The Popular Culture Depictions

The first artifact I looked at was the show Modern Family. The show Modern Family has been on for ten seasons and as a viewer, one can watch the characters change and develop as the years progress. One thing that also develops along with the characters is their relationship with the other characters. Now, in this show there are several generations of parents and children, but I only chose to look at one of the families. The one that I chose to look at was the relationship between Claire and her daughter Haley. I chose to only focus on this specific relationship because it is a perfect example of what I thought I was going to find before I began my research. A large part of the family’s dynamic is the relationship between Claire and Haley. The show begins with Haley in high school and many of her struggles stem from boys and school. Claire and Haley are constantly butting heads. There is one scene specifically that I thought displayed this. Claire is driving Haley and one of her friends to school and Claire gets frustrated with how many times Haley uses the word “like” incorrectly and interrupts her daughters conversation to tell her so. This turns into a screaming match between Claire and Haley. Immediately after watching this scene I started to analyze it. What I first noticed was the topic of their argument. The phrase “like” has only recently become a popular saying among millennials. The fact that this is the basis of their argument, shows that one reason for their arguments is their lack of understanding of each other’s culture. Claire and Haley can’t connect because they have such a significant age difference and therefore grew up in very different times. Throughout the show this a repeated theme.

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Another artifact I analyzed was the movie Lady Bird. Lady Bird is a coming-of-age movie that illustrates the struggles of one girl who goes by the name Lady Bird. Some of these struggles include money, college, boyfriends and her relationship with her mother. Lady Bird and her mother constantly constantly do not see eye to eye. Lady Bird is struggling to discover who is and who she wants to be all while her mother is placing pressure on her. While I was analyzing the film, I first looked at the mother, Marion. I noticed that even when Lady Bird did reach out to her mother, she replied only with negative comments. While Lady Bird is growing and developing throughout the movie, her mother remains the same. She is constantly tired and she refuses to get out of the mindset that they do not deserve a better life because of their financial status. This places a heavy weight on Lady Bird’s shoulders. This is a different relationship than the one seen in Modern Family. Modern Family takes a very comedic approach. This is a much more raw portrayal of a relationship between a mother and daughter. There are many reasons that one could say that Marion was emotionally abusive to her daughter Lady Bird. At the end of the movie, Marion wrote several letters she chose not to send to Lady Bird who moved off to school. In these letters it is assumed that she is apologizing, saying she does love her daughter. The movie does end with a resolution of some sort but does not outweigh the rest of the movie where Lady Bird is constantly facing criticism from her mother.

Outside Resources

When I was doing outside research, I found that very few have studied this topic in great detail. On book that I did find however was called “Lives Together/Worlds Apart: Mothers and Daughters in Popular Culture” by Suzanna Danuta Walters. In this book she goes over several popular culture examples that display different relationships between mothers and daughters. One thing that stood out the most to me as I was reading through the book was that “the mother/daughter relationship is formed, at least in part, by the cultural images that give it meaning”(Walters, 4). No matter the relationship of the mother and daughter being displayed in popular culture, mothers and daughters everywhere are being affected. While this is not a widely popular topic of discussion, a large part of the population is involved. When Walter states that popular culture give mother daughter relationships “meaning”, she is pointing out how people, most times unknowingly, associate parts of their lives to what they consume from the media that surrounds them.

I also wanted to observe the relationships between mothers and daughters from a different aspect. I started to look into studies that have been done about relationships between mothers and daughter in the real world. On study I found looked at the way parents and their children interact and how the children react to different strategies dealing with their emotions.

While the basis of this study was to look at different methods of parenting in detail, I just want to pull out something specific they found in their results. They found that “regarding adolescents’ age, the relationship between the mothers’ reported use and their adolescents’ reported use of CR was stronger for younger adolescents compared with older adolescents”Silva, Freire, Faria(2018). What I want to pull out from that, was the fact that as the children grew older their relationship with their mother decreased. While I focused my research on only the relationship between teenage daughters and mothers, technically daughters can be any age. This is another aspect that can be researched and interesting to see if the relationship between mothers and daughters changes as they age.

Why Does This Matter?

Being a daughter is a large part of my own identity and a large reason I chose to research it for my project. The common theme between all the artifacts that I analyzed, were negative relationships between mothers and daughters. Whether it is a generational disconnect or an emotionally abusive mother, the thing that connected them all was the fact that they were all negative. Growing up surrounded by popular culture that displayed mothers and daughters a certain way, definitely shaped what I thought the norm was for mother, daughter relationships. Young girls everywhere are also being exposed to these toxic relationships that are being displayed in popular culture. When this is the only thing that is being portrayed, daughters and mothers in the real world have nothing else to base what a healthy mother and daughter relationship is.

What I Have Learned?

After taking this course, participating in discussions and interacting from my peers, I have a lot of new found knowledge not only about the information in my research project but about many other aspects of popular culture. The blog post prompts pushed me to look at my world and self reflect. My eyes were opened in ways they were not before and I gained a new way to look at popular culture. One specific example, was all the articles and prompts about news. I now look at news differently and realize how much news is crammed down our throats as consumers. Another important thing I can take away from the course is how we were forced to comment on our peers posts. I was able to get so many different perspectives on one specific topic. By having to respond, I was pushed to pull apart their response and analyze what they were really trying to say. I also pushed myself to look at the opposition to what they were saying. This and several other aspects of this course developed and pushed my critical thinking skills.

Works Cited

Silva, E., Freire, T., & Faria, S. (2018). The emotion regulation strategies of adolescents and their parents: An experience sampling study. Journal of Child and Family Studies, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10826-018-1015-6

Walters, Suzanna Danuta. Lives Together/Worlds Apart: Mothers and Daughters in Popular Culture. University of California Press, 1992.

Too Lazy to Read This Blog? Hey me too.

Introduction.

You have probably heard it before, right? You are resting in your bedroom, fiddling around on your laptop, perhaps playing video games, or maybe even having a chat on Skype with your friends. It’s been five hours since you have started relaxing, when suddenly, you hear your parents yelling something at you. You hear them say things among the lines of “You are soo lazy!” or “Clean your room!” or possibly even “Do your damn homework!”. Once these words finally register in your thick skull, you finally do what any other normal college student would do: you take those words as a declaration of incompetence! How dare the Elite Class mock us!  We are just as valuable a citizen as they are! Such the oppression to give you the urge to finally give the bourgeoisie a piece of your mind.. But what kind of dirt could you ever hope to stain them with? You were indubitably, being lazybut was that so bad? All you were doing is a bit of relaxing.. Everyone deserves it! You turn to the Internet: “Look at all these articles telling me to embrace my laziness, saying how intelligent it would make you!”. You turn to television/movies: “Ha! If you have to blame anyone for my laziness, blame my upbringing!” You have dug up a goldmine of counter-arguments that you could finally use against your parents, but something else pops into your mind just before that could happen. You deeply reinstate your question: “Is being lazy really such a bad thing?”. With questioning like this comes nervousness and realization, where you finally are able to calculate the risks and consequences of being lazy, such as those that could impact your physicality or mentality, and maybe those that could impact what defines you as a person. You might have turned towards the Internet, but, “This article tells me that laziness is detrimental to your life”. You might have turned towards television/movies, but, “This advertisement tells me that not only does laziness affect me negatively, but also affects those around me as well”. So what is it now? Countless articles and media in the internet keep obscuring the hidden purpose of lazy culture. Can I really derive to a conclusion that gives that personal and healthy meaning towards this topic of laziness?

Can I really find out whether being lazy is a positive trait or a negative trait to have, by observing what Popular Culture has to offer?

 

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Abuse and Mis-usage.

The definition of lazy is “disinclined to activity and exertion”(merriam-webster.com), or in simpler terms, the unwilling to work or use energy. For starters, the word lazy can be used to insult someone or openly mock. We can see an example of this in Santhnam Sanghera’s article, I Am Sick and Tired That Students Are Lazy and Should Be Sent Down the Mines. In this article, the author criticizes and shallows out the people who wrongly accuse of college students who partake in a part time job rather than a job which relates to their field, in which these people resort to calling these college students lazy for being so privileged/”bloody fortunate” for working in a generation where it is not required to work in the mines or to be drafted into the armed forces, feigning ignorance to how much more difficult education and the employment competitiveness has evolved into compared to what it was decades ago.

I Am Sick and Tired of Reading That Students Are Lazy and Should Be Sent Down the Mines

The-Lazy-Student

I also feel that Rebecca Florida’s article, Research Suggests Being Lazy Is a Sign of High Intelligence, also tends to misuse the word, lazy.

Research Suggests Being Lazy Is a Sign of High Intelligence

The author presents a US-based research that observes and studies a group of people divided by those who are “thinkers” and “non-thinkers”, all while exclaiming the heading point of their research: that lazy people are smarter. What they observed mostly was what events enfold among these participants when presented with too much free time over the course of a week. What they deduce is that “thinkers” in their free time tend to intensively think to themselves while “non-thinkers” tend to physically exercise themselves. What I came to figure out was that the author of this article is proclaiming that the act of physically exercising oneself doesn’t contribute to laziness, but the act of mentally exercising yourself does. That is when I presumed that the author only relates the term lazy towards these “thinkers”. But what is to say that mentally exercising is different than physically exercising oneself. There are different aspects towards these two exercises, in that instead of exerting work towards staying in shape, you are exerting work towards increasing your mental capacity. When referring back to this definition of lazy, putting out work or energy does not necessarily state that there needs to be a physical or mental aspect to it. I believe that it is just that because it does not need to be specified so we can make laziness out to be the variable identity it should have been. And that is where I believe that the author misused the word lazy.

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Understanding the Negatives.

The trait of laziness is generally seen in a negative manner in the public’s eye and your parents, for reasons that are understandable at the most. For example, according to Dr. Richard Weiler and Dr. Emmanuel Stamatakis’s article, Laziness will send us to an early grave, the authors warn us of the health and mental risks of not being involved actively in a physical sense, especially those who live “a sedentary lifestyle”.

Laziness will send us to an early grave

The authors of this article state that humans are purposed to always keep moving forward, via staying physically active, as this constant state of movement keeps us in shape for our bodies, and our minds. They emphasize that this particular era of ours is the most in danger of suffering the pursuit of laziness and all its consequences. They say that the danger is all thanks to this supreme state of convenience of technology and everyday items/tools (phone, computer, ect.). This perpetuating use of these items and the rate of our technology’s evolution has narrowed the way towards defining this era to be one where “moving has become redundant” and the vapidness of the race to make everybody’s lives easier. They also divulge that the cost of our diminishing role to exercise may result in broad arrangements of health risks such as heart problems and diseases, obesity, and even depression.

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This next example ties into the previous-said article.

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Sendentary :60

This advertisement portrays a household consisting of a boy and his grandmother. We see that this boy is prone to finding ways to do things without exerting too much active work and energy, the very definition of lazy. Most of the time, the boy always seems to be sitting down, indulging himself in sedentary and leisure activities, but there may be occasions where he performs medial tasks and chores. Physically, the boy looks overweight, un-energetic, and omits this lousy and unrespected vibe that in due time, disregards his very own grandma’s feelings. The advertisement portrayed this boy this way to provide a message: that stay active leads toward a healthy and happy life. How they do this was that they indirectly compare this boy to his grandma. You see, grandma here has possible muscle and/or bone problems due to the cane she needs to use for walking properly and the possibility old age might contribute towards this deterioration. Despite her old age and/or health issues, the grandma is portrayed to be more active than her own grandson, in which she is seen having more screen-time standing up and exerting energy a whole of a lot more than the boy’s screen-time. What puts the final stake in the coffin is that in one of the last scenes, the boy calls his own household, in which we see grandma exerting lots of energy (and maybe strain) to walk across the hall to finally pick up the ringing phone, only to find out that it was just her grandson calling in for a “grape soda” that he could have just picked up himself. One of the similar messages this advertisement tells of is that the lack of physical activity can lead to earlier than expected health issues. This boy was very young and had many opportunities to be actively involved in physical movement, but the way he is living his life might lead towards a life similar to grandma’s at a younger age than she is. Another one of those messages tell that laziness is a selfish action. Remember that death glare the grandma showed us? She had enough of that laziness shenanigans! The way she reacted negatively towards the requests of a grape soda for her grandson goes to show that it is disrespectful that you are trying make someone else do the work for you when you could have done it yourself.

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A Positive Portrayal.

I too was among the ones who solely believed that being lazy means you have inherited a negative trait or a bad habit, you can thank mom for ingraining that deep into my soul. But as time went on and the Internet became more prominent into my life, I have started seeing laziness in a new light. Throughout my sessions of surfing the web, I have been coming across many YouTube videos or journalism and articles stating that: Being lazy has its benefits. Aside from the small boost towards my own ego which could possibly land me into another feud with my parents, these certain sources bring somewhat understandable points on to how laziness can help pave the way to success in your life.

Take Lolly Daskal’s article, 7 Reasons Why You Need To Embrace Procrastination, for instance.

7 Reasons Why You Need To Embrace Procrastination

The definition for procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing a task that needs to be fulfilled.  I bring up procrastination because it ties in towards laziness, in that since you are delaying a task towards the “last minute”, your time is basically spent not exerting any work or energy towards this task. Since procrastination ties into laziness, it should generally seem like the negative trait it is, but the author of this article sheds the purpose and motive of procrastination in a different manner, one where procrastination can greatly benefit your perception. To summarize, the author treats procrastination more of like a practice or exercise to slow down your priorities rather than to set aside. The advantage to slowing down include being able to think more of the task at hand — due to having a bigger load of time. This load of time would also raise clarity of the situation, which in return, puts you in a calmer state-of-mind.

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Another example that shares how laziness can be beneficial is Toni Hart’s magazine segment, IT’s OKAY IF YOU KICK BACK.

IT’s OKAY IF YOU KICK BACK: When You Are Older You May Have Lots of Hours to Fill. These Are some of the Things I Do.

In this segment, the author goes against the purpose of always keeping on the move and to express that taking a step back and to relax is just as important to your livelihood. He states that always finding something productive in a time when you are not required to, can eventually and unnecessarily drain you of your energy, physically and mentally. The author states that planned-out periods of not doing anything should balance out that fatigue. The author also emphasizes that this especially should be relative towards elders or people at the age where you really need to consider the amount of energy you put out towards tasks since their physicality become more fragile as time goes on. He finally shares to us that at an old age, it is good to acknowledge just how much “free time” you have earned now that your lifestyle revolves around the end of labor and into a life of withdrawal (retirement).

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A lifestyle.

My final source on laziness sort-of ties in with some of these previously-said sources and portrays them in a children’s animated film, WALL-E.

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The thing worth mentioning in this movie is the civilians aboard the spaceship in this movie. Over generation after generation, the convenience of technology has had the civilians/humanity digress as a whole in terms of befitting health. Their lifestyle had them grow up to become more lenient towards the convenience of technology, factoring into the cause of their obesity. This view shares similar ideas with Dr. Richard Weiler and Dr. Emmanuel Stamatakis in the article, Laziness will send us to an early grave. It’s especially concerning to observe that only robots are left to do ALL of the work while the civilians live a sedentary lifestyle, in which these views are also shared with the advertisement, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Sendentary :60. Another important note is that the purpose of these civilians living in this starship is to kick back and to live a life of extensive vacationing, but as it seems, this vacation feels too extensive and unnecessary for the citizens own good, similar to how too much junk food can be bad for your health. Because of this extensive vacationing, the citizens have forgotten the other main purpose of why the starship exists in the first place: to exhaustively check if Earth is habitable again, further proving that they aren’t balancing priorities with relaxation and vice versa. These views share many things similar– but also conflicting notions towards Toni Hart’s IT’s OKAY IF YOU KICK BACK.

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Despite this, towards the end of the movie, you can see that these civilians start to explore social connection, as well as physical exertion and mental planning, in which it did not seem as if they despise the melioration of exerting energy and work. It felt as though that these citizens have always been open to try new things, it is just that their own lifestyle and technology closed them off to these opportunities.

Ending thoughts

Just as I have expected, I did not seem to arrive at a conclusion whether or not laziness leans towards the positive side or the negative side.. But I felt as if this terms meaning should be left indefinite. What I can conjure up is that being lazy will definitely have its negatives when you finally see if it has been punishing your lifestyle and your health. But with careful planning and foresight, you can utilize laziness in a way that could make duties and tasks more efficient than it should be. Laziness should be balanced in a way where time relaxing can take the strain away from your work and that work can refresh your mind and body away from relaxing too much. Now that my conclusion is finished, I think I’ll take a eight hour nap and skip class today.. oops.

Learning Moments.

  1. In Week 4, we were given the opportunity to analyze an ad by Axe called, Find Your Magic.We not only analyzed the commercial by the context we are given, but we also scrutinize the little details the commercials has to offer such as patterns, contrasts, anomalies, and statistics such as audience and broadcast detailing. Things like camera angles, words on screen, and aesthetic and style would be duly noted down as well so as to take note of any sort of emphasis on occurring and reoccurring elements within the advertisement. Sometimes these emphasized elements conform a sort of lesson or morale and could be shown subliminally/metaphorically or could be shown in plain sight to the viewers . When doing all these processes when analyzing, we begin and narrow our way to define the purpose and form of the advertisement as well as to seeing how certain forms and styles lead towards an effective piece garnered towards certain audiences .
  2. In Week 7, we self-reflected on how we digested news and how the news is prepared and presented. One particular article we came across is called “Is News Bad for You”, a piece in where the argument is that news has evolved into a piece which trims little yet important details so as to streamline the piece so as to aim it towards most audiences. News articles also tend to insert a bias in an informative piece, in which this case, the piece would then transform into an opinionated piece. I, for one, both agree and disagree in the article’s argument. I can see and understand how news articles nowadays exclaim only the peaks of events while leaving out detail that supports the context. I can also see how a bias can affect the tone of an objective piece into a subjective commentary in which it attracts more people with both contasting and similar opinions. Despite this, information is still being delivered in some fashion and I believe that cut-out detail does not opt-out for a more attracting article, but rather, this process entices the audience by leaving out unnecessary/loose ends of the information.

 

Works Cited

American Academy of Orthopaedic. “American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Sendentary :60.” YouTube, YouTube, 10 May 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__94GrS7ksE.

American Academy of Orthopaedic. “American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Sendentary :60.” YouTube, YouTube, 10 May 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__94GrS7ksE.

Daskal, Lolly. “7 Reasons Why You Need to Embrace Procrastination.” Inc.com, Inc., 15 Aug. 2016, http://www.inc.com/lolly-daskal/7-reasons-why-you-need-to-embrace-procrastination.html.

Dr Richard Weiler & Dr Emmanuel Stamatakis. “Laziness Will Send Us to an Early Grave.” BBC News, BBC, 29 Oct. 2010, http://www.bbc.com/news/health-11442101.

Flood, Rebecca. “Research Suggests Being Lazy Is a Sign of High Intelligence.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 6 Mar. 2017, http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/research-suggests-being-lazy-is-a-s….

Hart, Toni. “IT’s OKAY IF YOU KICK BACK: When You Are Older You May Have Lots of Hours to Fill. These Are some of the Things I Do.” Lesbian News, vol. 43, no. 7, Feb. 2018, p. 33. EBSCOhost, stats.lib.pdx.edu/proxy.php?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=127763672&site=ehost-live.

Sathnam, Sanghera. “I Am Sick and Tired of Reading That Students Are Lazy and Should Be Sent Down the Mines.” Times, the (United Kingdom), 02 June 2017, p. 37. EBSCOhost, stats.lib.pdx.edu/proxy.php?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nfh&AN=7EH126123868&site=ehost-live.

Stanton, Andrew, et al. WALL-E. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, 2008.

Student and popular culture

Popular culture or pop culture is generally recognized as a set of practices, beliefs, and objects that are dominant or ubiquitous in a society at a given point in time. Popular culture also encompasses the activities and feelings produced as a result of interaction with these dominant objects. Heavily influenced by mass media, this collection of ideas permeates the everyday lives of the society. Therefore, popular culture has a way of influencing an individual’s attitudes towards certain topics. Popular culture guides person’s life. Pop culture essays guide one along the route of information. People of all ages are connected with it. Elders watch TV and read magazines, and babies play popular toys. This culture makes people able to express their ideas and life. Everything you want people to know about yourself may be expressed though popular culture. Students are the group who influenced by movies so much. Teens find extreme sports appealing and live to try trends. Teens are most influenced by some of movies and videos, and younger students’ mind would not become mature. This way would let younger students follow what the movies show.

Many of the same categories that influence young people today, such as TV, movies and celebrities, were popular with previous generations. However, the way that teens access and interact with popular culture has been revolutionized by technology and specialization. They don’t just experience popular culture and react to it; they interact with it and affect it in real time. They’re using technology to do it, and youth leaders can utilize these same technologies to establish relationships between our teens, their views of culture and their faith.

At the age of 8 or 9 years old, students often have smart phones, and they along with using social media. Students use text to find out about homework assignments, make plans for the weekend and spread information among their peer groups. Laptops and tablets still have their places, but the smartphone is the access point for teens to get and send information. I don’t know what the situation of American students at the age when they take courses in the classroom. I don’t know whether American students use smartphone or any electrical equipment in the class. I only talk about the situation of Chinese classroom in China. In China, students are not allowed to use smartphones and any electrical equipment in the classroom. If teacher saw students using smartphone while taking the class, teacher would confiscate their smartphone and some teacher would not give back to them. I think students use smartphone while taking the class can make them not focus on class.

When young people aren’t texting on their phones, they are often checking in on social media sites. Social media is a key part of teen culture, from Facebook to Snapchat, teens are sharing what they’re interested in and what they think about culture. I think using social media in the students group is ok, but this don’t allow students spent more time on it, because studying is the first thing of students. If students spent more time on it, they would not have time on their study and maybe they would not pass the exam. Spending more time on social media sites, students are not focus on their study and have no more time to do some meaningful things. I think especially the young students need to spend more time doing some meaningful things, such as doing some volunteer activities. I think doing some volunteer activities which is better than use more time on the social media.

When students use their smart phones or use some social media sites, they will watch some advertisement in it. Students watches these advertisement, so they would think about whether to buy it. If this good was represented by their favorite celebrity, so students probably go to buy it. For example, LiNing, which is a Chinese sports brand, it is sponsored to Chinese badminton team. In addition, this brand let some famous athletes to represent their products, so I would probably love to use this brand and go to buy some products of this brand. The celebrity endorsement of advertisement influence students’ purchase intention. Celebrity endorsement is one of the advertising techniques companies use to create awareness and gain favorable responses about their products and services. Advertising is a very strong component of business in any society. It possesses pervasive and persuasive power. Though primarily designed by firms in order to create awareness about goods and services.

Today’s young people seem to be obsessed with popular culture and inundated with images from the many forms of media’s presence in their lives. There are televisions in almost every home in the country and many young people have their own television in their rooms. It is becoming increasingly difficult to get into a car, go into a store, or watch a commercial without bearing some type of music playing. Sporting events occur practically every day on a variety of levels; many of our young people look up to athletes as heroes. Today’s students are also inundated by movies and video games. Parents and teachers have allowed and sometimes encouraged it, many adolescents have embraced popular culture. Students spend great sums of their allowance money or their minimum wage earnings on music and video games.

I watched a movie called Bad Genius. This is the Thai heist thriller film produced by Jor Kwang Films and released by GDH 559. It was directed by Nattawut Poonipiriva, and stars Chuntimon Chuengcharoensukying in her acting debut as Lynn, a straight-A student who devises an exams-cheating scheme which eventually rises to international levels. Inspired by real-life news of students cheating on the SAT, the film transplants the heist film structure to a school-exams setting, and features themes of class inequality as well as teen social issues. The titular heroine here is straight-A student Lynn, who, as the film begins, has just enrolled in an elite school. Hailing from a lower middle-class background-her father is a plain, recently divorced schoolteacher – the teenager discovers, much to her chagrin, that fraud is endemic in her new surroundings. While the school charges students “tea money”, teachers leak exam papers to students in return for “tutoring fees”. Watching her father scavenge money for her tuition, the good girl soon turns bad as she develops a plan to earn a quick buck. Egged on by the beautiful but dim-witted Grace and her rich but equally dense boyfriend Pat, Lynn devises a system by which a small-scale experiment in a classroom, Lynn’s operation eventually balloons into a derring-do venture with a bigger test taking place in the school hall, as she scrambles to beat a cheat-proof device in the exam papers. I love this movie and never thought a move about an exam could be this suspenseful. Exams can be the most nerve-wracking and stressful experiences as students. Many of us can relate to cheating, and I think that is a huge factor on this film’s popularity. The Thai movie and the actors have won many well-deserved awards. As I watched, the true antagonists were the students who “use” Lynn to cheat. The movie story also showed how unfair life is, especially in school – the rich kids get away with anything because of their cash, and those who work hard are sometimes unappreciated. Cheating is a fast remedy, but it will not solve the problem. In my opinion, it is better to fail than to cheat. The best solution to your grades is actual studying and understanding your lessons in school. I’m really amused that the people in the story had to go all through that when in the end studying for the exam is easier and less stressful than a heist.

The popular culture texts inform and shape students’ discussions of social studies texts. Adolescents draw on pop culture texts to inform their understanding of academic texts in ways that support and limit them. In this article, author examine how sixth grade students spontaneously incorporated pop culture texts into discussion to inform their understandings about social studies texts. Pop culture texts encompass both print and non-fiction books. They are mainstream texts that are mass produced and may be tied to a variety of other commercial products. Understanding how youths integrate pop culture texts into discussions about academic ones can help teachers more effectively use them to deepen students’ reading comprehension and curriculum knowledge. Pop culture texts can play an importance role in shaping students’ literacy as well as developing their content knowledge. However, students’ accepting nature of pop culture texts – and their dismissive nature of academic ones – suggests that they could benefit from a more systematic instruction that allows them to identify and deconstruct messages found in both types of texts. One way to approach such instruction is through critical media literacy. Using the pop culture to help student learn knowledge is a better way. Students will likely need assistance in learning how to use pop culture texts to explore academic content.

In conclusion, although technology has a great advance and make popular culture becomes more wonderful, students need to learn how to distinguish what popular culture is great and what popular culture is harm. Some of them is muddy for students mind, especially the younger students. I think parents and teachers need to take care of younger students and teach them to walk on the truth road and not walk on the wrong road. I think letting students have a good personality need to begin to build up when their age is young. Popular culture plays an important role in our life, but it is also a one coin with two sides, so need to distinguish what it is good and what it is wrong.

 

Reference

  1. Leigh A. Hall, How Popular Culture Texts Inform and Shape Students’ Discussions of Social Studies Texts, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy.
  2. Adeyanju Apejoye, Influence of Celebrity Endorsement of Advertisement on Students’ Purchase Intention, 2013,3,2

 

Analyzing the differences between Indian and American culture

Introduction:

Being the first person in my entire family to study and live in the United States, I have been able to say that I am the only person in my family to feel the most need to have to balance both the vastly different Indian and American cultures. A lot of times, this balance can be arduous, however, most of the time I don’t even realize that I am doing it everyday. In order to further look deeper into this identity of mine, I decided to look into various different American popular culture media sources to get a sense of the way that other Indian youth in the United States deal with cultural differences. The sources that I have looked at in order to get a better understanding of the nuances of these cultural differences is Hasan Minhaj’s standup Netflix special Homecoming King, a YouTube video made by a channel called “Boldly” called Dating as an Indian Woman  and another video called Indians react to American Pop Culture Stereotypes by the YouTube channel “BuzzFeedVideo”. Indian culture and religion has historically been misunderstood and this is seen in some of the sources that I chose to look at. The effect of this misunderstanding and difference in culture on the actual Indian youth is something that will be explored more in this blog. Specifically, I chose to look at the detrimental effect that balancing Indian and American popular culture has on Indian young adults living in the United States. Looking at this effect is important because many people immigrate from India to the United States in search of a better life for their family, and they become acclimated to, are important to and contribute to American society.

Homecoming King:

The “Homecoming King” stand up comedy special on Netflix was performed by Indian comedian and actor Hasan Minhaj. It was performed in Davis, California in Minhaj’s hometown on May 23, 2017. The audience including not only Indian adolescents but also people of other backgrounds, the purpose of the standup special is to show give a sense of an Indian Immigrant’s experience in America and to also give a sense of the type of stereotypes that Indian people face daily living in America. In the standup, Minhaj uses very many different sound effects, backdrops, and lots of Urdu quotes (Indian language) to give the viewer a more authentic experience. Though the special is a stand up comedy special, there are still a lot of sad bits as well where Minhaj talks about some very real and serious problems that he faced while growing up. It was interesting to see this, because it was the first time that I have ever seen sad emotion mixed in with comedy. Minhaj had a way with timing the emotions so that they mixed, however, therefore they worked. In speaking about these rough childhood experiences like bullying and racism from the outside world because of his skin color, he tells the audience several stories like his mother returning to California from medical school with his younger sister, his prom night, and the conflict that exists between Hindus and Muslims. In one of these stories, Minhaj talks about being the victim of a hate crime because of his muslim background. At 28:27 in Minhaj’s special, he talks about how a group of kids in his high school stalked his family, smashed their car windows and stole their belongings while threatening to kill them because of their skin color. Minhaj shares how irate he was and notices that his dad wasn’t saying anything. He then asks his dad why he was silent and his dad replied with: “These things happen and will continue to happen. That’s the price of living here.” Minhaj then realizes that him and his father are from two totally different generations and cultures. He explains that his dad is like a lot of immigrants that come to the United States in search of a better life by saying: “My dad’s from that generation where he feels like if you come to this country you pay something like the American dream tax. You endure racism, and if it doesn’t cost your life, you pay it.” He goes on by saying that being born and brought up in the United States, that he has the audacity for equality.

This short story that Minhaj illustrates the vast amount of difference between being brought up in the United States and being brought up in India. I personally can relate to the issue that Minhaj illustrated, as my family and I have spoken about not opening up my mouth about things like political issues in the United States. Behind closed doors, my parents have told me about the issues and implications of speaking out against any injustice or issues as a young boy of my skin color. It has made me realize how vastly different the American and Indian cultures are. In India, the United States is viewed as the promise land and as a place that only the most privileged and intelligent people are able to immigrate to. Almost every Indian that comes to the United States view this privilege as a huge opportunity and do everything in their power to make sure that them and their families are able to stay safe and become successful. In doing this, many Indian people who immigrate to the United States make sure that their kids don’t say anything to jeopardize their position because they realize they have come to live permanently in a land that is not theirs.  Being brought up in the United States for my entire life, I and many other Indian young adults feel that we have a right to speak out when we see something wrong and we feel that our voices can and should be heard as well. Being brought up in America and being taught in our schools that we are all equals in America, we develop a mindset that we are all equal and that we are only defined by our character, not our skin color and backgrounds. This attitude in and of itself demonstrates the amount of difference between Indian and American culture. One can clearly see the detrimental effect that discrimination like this could have on a young Indian growing up in America. We are usually portrayed unfairly as people that come to a foreign land in order to further our agendas and are sometimes unfairly punished for this. As spoken about before, the difference between people brought up here and people brought up in India is that we as people brought up in the United States feel like we have a say on whether or not we can be treated fairly in this country, while most of our parents and relatives who grew up in India and immigrated to the United States feel like they have no right to speak. Having to keep our mouths shut and follow what our parents say on issues that we feel like we have a say in can have detrimental effects on us mentally.

Minhaj talks about his personal experiences and the immensely large differences in marriage culture in India and marriage culture and also about how people in India are split over religion. At 20:41 in Minhaj’s comedy special, he talks about the long rivalry in India between Hindus and Muslims and jokes about how the hate from both sides is outdated. He speaks about how there are still very many people in India that hate each other for their racial backgrounds, and uses American standards and ideals to reveal how Indian youth in the United States view this dislike between both parties as senseless. He then jokes about the way that times have changed and how American ideals have helped shed a different light on the senseless resentment. This had me thinking about how the Indian caste system (Indian hierarchical system) is outdated, and how many people in India still use it to divide people during marriage. It was interesting to think about the way that people moving to the United States and adopting the culture here has changed views on the Indian caste system. This is also something that highlights the differences between Indian and American culture. Minhaj then talks about the way that this dislike between Hindus and Muslims affected his personal marriage. He speaks about how his father did not want him to marry a Hindu girl because of what other Indian people might think. He asks his father “Isn’t there something bigger that unites all of us outside of race, color, creed and caste?” I personally found this very relatable. Having Indian parents who grew up in India and had an arranged marriage, I have had many conversations about how I don’t believe that an arranged marriage is the best option for me. Growing up in the United States, I have seen that the cultural norm is marrying somebody that you have taken time to know and truly love. This has always made sense to me and I have always wanted to marry somebody that I love and who loves me. I have never really understood how somebody could marry and spend the rest of their lives with someone that they barely know. This is one of the biggest things that I have had to balance as an Indian young adult in the United States. I strive to try and balance my parents’ ideals and cultural teachings with those that I have learned by myself, living in the USA. Many times, this balance can be very difficult. This can be so difficult sometimes, that many people often joke and make fun of the Indian tradition of arranged marriage, resulting in comics and memes like the one attached below. In the picture below, a young man is seen talking to a woman about getting to know each other in preparation for an upcoming arranged marriage. The woman asks the man how they are going to get to know each other and the man responds by saying that they should add each other as friends on social media. Comics like these poke fun at the Indian traditional marriage system and really give the reader a sense of how difficult it can be as an Indian man and woman living in the United States trying to fulfill their parents’ traditional needs, while also trying to keep a balance with the American way of doing things. This shows the flip side of things and gives the reader a sense of the struggle of the Indian youth coming to America and adopting its customs through American popular culture and trying to keep those ways while taking heed of the Indian way of doing things. Sometimes as the Indian youth growing up here in America, we want to follow some of the things that Americans do over some of our Indian roots because we were brought up this way. This difficulty stems from American popular culture and media, and this can be detrimental to the Indian youth living in America because it can sometimes in severe situations, drive a wedge between the youth and their parents because of different opinions on marriage.

Dating as an Indian Woman:

The Youtube video called “Dating as an Indian Woman” was made by a Youtube channel called “Boldly.” It was posted on January 7th 2017 and has upwards of 3.5 million views with 57,000 likes and 6,000 dislikes. The targeted audience of this video seems to be young adult Indian women and men living in the United States. It also appeals however, to all types of Americans, as there seems to be many different underlying messages in the video. The purpose of the video is to presumably to let the audience know how it feels to be an Indian woman in the United States  balancing the two different cultures. The video also shows very many different stereotypes made against Indian people in America. The very first thing that jumped out to me in when I was watching this video is the way that the main Woman, Maya’s date was trying to pronounce her name and asked her if she “spoke Hindu.” When he asked her if she spoke Hindu, the word “Woke?” popped up beside his head, along with a box that checked no. This part of the video made me realize how much this happens in my life as well. Many people who are trying to get to know me at first ask if I speak Hindu. Being that Hinduism is a religion and Hindi is a language, I always correct their mistake. Even though this mishap happens very often, and in the video it shows Maya (the main character) getting annoyed by the mistake, I personally don’t really mind it because it is a very innocent mistake and one that could easily be made because of how similar the words are. This relates to us Indian young adults trying to balance the two vastly different cultures because it goes to show how even though we can get caught up in American culture and society, we are still able to stick to our roots and educate people about our culture and customs.

Throughout the video, the main character’s mom keeps texting her and the text messages appear in boxes, letting the viewer know what is being said. At 1:42 in the video, after Maya’s date with Josh, her mom texts her and asks her how the date with Josh was. Maya’s mom keeps sending her pictures of very many different guys with their credentials and even makes her a Shaadhi.com account (popular Indian matrimonial website).  Maya doesn’t seem to be interested in any of the guys, and in the video, as Maya is walking around in the city, she looks at different guys and personality boxes appear on the side of their heads. One of the guys that she looked at had the “Mysterious” and “Sexy” box checked next to him. Another guy that walked by had a “Handy” and “Handsome” bo checked next to it. Another guy that she walked by had a “Would please mom” box checked next to it. When I saw this, I immediately thought back to the Hasan Minhaj marriage story. It got me thinking about the way that most Indian parents who lived and were brought up in India have always favored arranged marriage and have tried to instill their ways of marrying someone into their kids. Growing up in America, you are taught to look for someone who matches your ideal qualities in life and you are taught to get to know them for a few years before getting serious about marriage. In India, sometimes the arranged marriage is so sudden that the couple doesn’t even have time to have a conversation with each other before the marriage. A lot of times, the couple starts talking and getting to know each other after marriage. This has never made sense to me, but it is something that a lot of Indian parents, including mine, want from their kid. Trying to balance the American way of marriage with the Indian way of marriage and make both parties happy is a challenging thing to do, and it is something many Indian young adults living in the United States struggle with. This shows the opposite side of the spectrum than the one we saw in the Hasan Minhaj marriage story. Sometimes, we as the Indian youth living in America like to adopt and immerse ourselves in the American culture and its traditions as much as we can, but other times, we like to stick up for and defend our roots when we feel that someone doesn’t respect or understand it. In the video, Maya can be seen facing a constant mental battle in trying to use her American cultural values to decide what is in the best interest for her while trying to balance what her mother wants for her with the Indian traditional values. The viewer can clearly see how much this constant battle stresses her out and wears on her when she goes to bed at the end of the video. This shows how American media and culture can not only directly have an effect on Indian youth living in the United States (by portraying them a certain way), but it shows that it can have an indirect effect on us by instilling in us values and norms that we at times can not let go of.

Indians react to American Popular Culture stereotypes:

The Youtube video called “Indians react to American Pop Culture Stereotypes” was made by a Youtube channel called “BuzzFeedVideo.” It was posted on January 22nd 2015 and has about 6 million views. It also has 81,000 likes and 3,000 dislikes. The targeted audience of this video seems to be at young adult Indian women and men living in the United States. It also appeals to people of other cultures because the people in the video speak a little bit about the types of stereotypes that Indians feel that they face, giving other people an idea of the type of comments are being made towards them. The purpose of the video is to give the audience Indian youth’s perspectives on the way that they are portrayed in movies and Western media and to speak about the accuracy of the way that they are portrayed. In the video, there are Indian youth  there are lots of big names of mainstream media that include TV shows, music videos and movies such as The Simpsons, The Big Bang Theory and Slumdog Millionaire. I notice that there are many famous scenes and characters that they analyze in the video that appeal to the mass crowd as comical such as Raj Kootharpalli in Big Bang Theory and Apu Nahasapeemapetilon in the Simpsons. The way that Raj Kootharpalli in Big Bang Theory and Apu Nahasapeemapetilon in the Simpsons are portrayed is analyzed by the Indian people in the video as almost slightly racist, as if to suggest that all Indians have long names and most young Indian men who live in the United States are socially awkward. The Indians in the video remark that the accents and portrayals about Indians in mainstream media are all false and are not accurate representations of how Indian youth in the United States. This got me thinking of how it is very interesting how Indian young adults are portrayed in the American media. I have thought back to every American movie featuring an Indian character. None the characters that I have seen have been portrayed as normal. Every single character has had a quality or two that has separated him/her from the rest of the crowd. I found this very interesting, as this video led to me reflecting how we as Indians are portrayed in the American media. A lot of times, this portrayal is very unfair and biased to draw a reaction and emotion from the crowd. Another theme that I was able to notice throughout the video was the Indian accent. The Men and Women in the video had a very different accent from the accents that were portrayed in the movies and TV shows that they were analyzing. In one of the music videos that were being analyzed (“Lean on” by Major Lazer and DJ Snake), they showed their take on traditional Indian dance steps, bright colors and palaces. The video also featured a juxtaposition of very many seemingly poor people and the bright colors and dance steps. Growing up in the United States, and having visited India on several occasions, I could see how people could make that assumption on first glance, however there are many more things that aren’t taken into consideration in making these assumptions. Having seen the types of ways that we are portrayed as Indians in American media, it is interesting to me how we tend to react. Many times, we have problems with some of our own outdated Indian cultures and norms, however, we also get offended when that culture that raised us is misunderstood by other people. It goes to show the type of way that we as the Indian youth living in America struggle with balancing both of the cultures. The examples of the videos that the Indian men and women reviewed in the “Indians react to American Pop Culture Stereotypes” video are examples of more direct rather than indirect ways of negatively affecting Indian young adults. The way that we are portrayed in the media is in the video shown as utterly laughable. In the video, the way that Indian men and women react with comical disgust shows the way we feel about certain portrayals of us in mainstream media for humor purposes.

Secondary Sources

The first source that I looked at in order to get a deeper understanding of the detrimental effects of balancing Indian and American popular culture through the PSU library was called “Attitudes Toward and Beliefs about Transgender Youth: A Cross-Cultural Comparison Between the United States and India.” The article examined attitudes toward transgender youth in the United States and India, two cultures with differences in conceptualizations of gender and treatment of transgender individuals in society, law, and religion (Elischberger, H, Glazier, J, Hill, E.). The article did a study with a sample of 218 men and women in the United States and 218 men and women in India. The finding of the article was that there was an overwhelming difference in the opinions on transgender youth in the sample that was interviewed in America and the sample that was interviewed in India. There was a lot more support and acceptance for transgender people from the Americans than the Indians. The reason that I chose to review this article was that I felt that it would give the reader a sense of the vast amount of difference in Indian and American culture. Nowadays, bigger parts of India are more progressive and accepting of this, however, many people in India frown upon transgender and gay people and see them as an embarrassment. This gives the reader a sense of the type of cultural difference between Indian culture and American culture and further shows the mental struggle that we as Indian youth deal with in order to balance these two cultures. Having a gay friend or being gay and an Indian can be a lot of stress to deal with especially not knowing whether your parents and family friends will accept you or look down upon you.

The second source that I chose to use in my search is an article called “Caste, kinship and the realisation of ‘American Dream’: high-skilled Telugu migrants in the U.S.A.” Being that my mother tongue is Telugu, this article immediately caught my eye. This article is basically about how Telugu people come from south India to the United States in pursuit of a happier life and jobs in the USA. It goes over how caste and kinship also play a role in the way that we find partners when we Immigrate to the United States. The article mentioned that the number of immigrants based on topographical studies have been growing steadily, and that certain castes more than others decide to immigrate to the United States in search of a better life by saying things like: “…decades of migration from the dominant castes have shaped a caste-inflected transnational habitus among its members who see migration of their youth to the U.S.A. as desirable, and at times, also inevitable. (Roohi, 2017)” The reason that I decided to look deeper into this article is because it talks about how we as Indians have a certain hierarchical system called a caste system that we follow (as introduces before) that determines things like marriage, social circles and many more. This caste system has been there since 1000 BCE in Hindu scriptures and has been passed down many generations. This system decides a lot about the way that we as Indian people live our lives. Coming to America, there is obviously no such thing as a caste system and it is essentially a “free” country in which the ones with the most to offer to the world rise quickest to the top. This caste system is still something that a lot of Indian people living in the United States carry and follow. Many people hotly debate the usage of the caste system in 2018, but it is still something that a lot of families, including mine, follow. I chose to review this article because it gives the reader a sense of the type of balance that we as the Indian youth have to keep between this essentially “free” and non-judgemental culture with this highly restrictive (but beautiful nonetheless) culture which sometimes can feel very stressful to maintain.

Lessons Learned

In looking deeper into my own cultural identity and also seeing many different forms and influences of American media through this Popular culture class, I have been able to learn some valuable lessons. Through our weekly readings, blog posts and workshop sessions working with classmates, I have learned many things about how the way that American popular culture works and also about the effects that it can have on people. One example of the most informative and interesting things that I learned this term that I will take away with me was the week 6 news discussion on the blog. The course texts for that week talked about how there are always ways that certain news media outlets trick you and mix in bias with factual information very slyly in order to feed the reader a certain opinion without them knowing. That week’s reading “Why students can’t google their way to the truth” talked about how there was a study done at Stanford to test students’ ability to determine trustworthiness. What surprised me is that in the article , more than half were unable to correctly determine the trustworthiness of a given website: “More than half concluded that the article from the American College of Pediatricians, an organization that ties homosexuality to pedophilia and which the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled a hate group, was “more reliable (Wineberg, McGrew 2016).”  This surprised me that more than half of the Stanford students in the experiment were unable to correctly check for legitimacy. It made me think about how many of my sources actually come from credible sources. Seeing as most of my news comes from social media like twitter and facebook, as well as the top news stories in the news google tab, I hardly make an effort to check for legitimacy and this could lead to a misunderstanding and wrong information. Being a college student, this is something that opened my eye and showed me how much incorrect information and information mixed on with bias that there is out there. I have had an experience with my high school journalism class with accidentally citing news a news outlet that wasn’t trustworthy all. I was oblivious to it at the time, and was taught at the time to double-check for legitimacy, however I never really learned exactly how to check properly. It is important for me to be able to check my sources for legitimacy and trustworthiness before I use them anywhere in my college career, and reading the course texts in week 6 opened my eyes and showed me different ways to check for legitimacy. Another thing that I learned this term was through the analysis of the different ads in week 3. Being a consumer of social media and popular culture, I have seen many different ads over the years. Ads are everywhere, and they are hard to miss and a lot of times, I take their meaning for granted. In week 3, we looked at different ads and went deep into analysis into every single element. In that week, there were course texts that taught us to strip ads bare to their smallest details such as color of the ad and placement of different things. Looking deep into every element helped me realize different meanings and purpose of the ads. This will be big for me as a member of American society to analyze things for deeper meanings and to look at different placements, symbols and clues to find deeper meanings.

Works Cited:

BuzzFeedVideo. “Indians React To American Pop Culture Stereotypes.” YouTube, YouTube, 22 May 2015, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ul2iNPfVsYQ.

BuzzFeedYellow. “Dating As An Indian Woman.” YouTube, YouTube, 7 Jan. 2017, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnpykJg2ZA0.

Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King, Storer Christopher, Minhaj Hasan, Art and industry, 2017, Netflix, https://www.netflix.com/title/80134781

Abidi, Shajia. “There’s a Really Big Reason Hasan Minhaj’s ‘Homecoming King’ Went Viral.”The Tempest, 30 June 2017, thetempest.co/2017/06/16/entertainment/54495/.

Sapra, Meera. “Life’s a Comic Strip!” Arranged Marriage, lifesacomicstrip.blogspot.com/2009/11/arranged-marriage.html.

Elischberger, H., Glazier, J., Hill, E., & Verduzco-Baker, L. (2018). Attitudes Toward and Beliefs about Transgender Youth: A Cross-Cultural Comparison Between the United States and India. Sex Roles, 78(1/2), 142-160. doi:10.1007/s11199-017-0778-3

Jayanti, S. (2017). Concerns of American Hindu Youth. Hinduism Today, 39(4),70.

(www.dw.com), Deutsche Welle. “India’s Caste System: Weakened, but Still Influential | Asia| An in-Depth Look at News from across the Continent | DW | 17.07.2017.” DW.COM, http://www.dw.com/en/indias-caste-system-weakened-but-still-influential/a-39718124.

 

Hispanic/Latin Women in Pop Culture

When I look in the mirror, I would like to think I see a fair-skinned woman in her late twenties who is trying to navigate life. I am curvy, small, and have died my hair more colors than I should ME 2have, with the hopes of reaching an unrealistic goal of a perfected hair color. I can understand, speak, and write in Spanish. I can cook the best homemade meals and give my Abuela (grandmother) a run for her money. I am intelligent and am driven to complete my degree, get a kickass career and be able to live comfortably all on my own.   What I have just described is nowhere close to what Pop Culture describes a Hispanic or Latin female. Yet to the everyday person walking on the street, I would not be categorized as Hispanic and or Latino. Why is this you ask?  Pop Culture and the Hollywood vision has given us a mold of how a Hispanic and or Latina should look?

In the Hollywood scene, Hispanics and Latinas actresses are mainly given two roles and or characters to portray on the small and big screen. One, the sexy beautiful bombshell who is unfortunately dumb as they come and is only after a rich andSofia is only after a rich white man’s money, or two, the immigrant who plays the babysitter and or maid because all they are good for is being the “help”. MiadEven though the Hispanic and Latin community are the second highest community throughout the United States we are stiffed short in the television and movie industry. According to Brian Latimewerethor of the article “Latinos in Hollywood: Few Roles, Frequent Stereotypes, New Study Finds”, which was published by NBC News “Out of 11,000 speaking characters in film and TV only 5.8 percent of where Hispanic or Latin descent.” (Latimer 2016). This Hispanic and Latin community is not being given the same opportunities as other races are. This article led me to greater questions into why my beloved ancestry was being left behind and out-casted from television and film.  After reading this article I needed to delve deeper into my research and which lead to a secondary question. Do movies and television shows that case leading Hispanic and Latino actors actually produce a profit?

I begin to research movies, who specifically had male and female leads where both actors were of  Hispanic and or Latin descent. In my research, I came across an article that was written by Brooks Barnes and published in the New York Times in May 2017. The article is entitled “Diversity Dominates” Barnes’ article spoke about diverse movies and if done the correct way and run with the big motion picture films. Barnes was specifically speaking of the movie “How to be a Latin Lover” and its opening weekend. “How to be a Latin Lover” stared Salma Hayek, a well known Hispanic Actress, and Eugenio Derbez a respected Hispanic actor.

Both actor’s names are known for great films, but many thought it was not enough to bring in the big dollars when it was first released. A competing movie, “The Fate of the Furious” was also released the same weekend. With a movie whose franchise was already such a success, there was no hope that “How to be a Latin Lover” would come anywhere close to be a success. Most critics were not wrong about the “The Fate and the Furious” which ended up being the number one movie for the box office that weekend, but those same critics were wrong about the flop that “How to be a Latin Lover” was expected to have. According to Barnes, ““How to be a Latin Lover” was only shown in 1,118 theaters across the United States and brought in 12 million dollars opening weekend … the film only cost 10 million to produce.” (Barnes 2017).  After reading many reviews of the film I came to one realization, this movie was based on a male and his success with seducing women. Salma Hayek, although given a leading role was placed in the stereotypical role of the single mother who has to work hard to take care of her child. Unfortunately, my questions continued to grow and I started to research additional films. Was there a film where Salma Hayek played a leading lady in which she was powerful and successful?

I was able to find my answer fairly quickly with a search threw IMDB. In 2012, Salma Hayek was cast to play Elena in the movie Savages. It is easy, to sum up, her character as a female drug lord.  A female drug lord who was a bad ass and did not let anyone step over her because she was in charge and what she said goes. The movie even goes as far as kidnaping a white female (played by Blake Lively). Although in this film she is portrayed as a strong and independent female who knows how to take care of business, there is another negative stereotype for the Hispanic and Latin community as a whole, which is being the corrupt and dirty drug lord.

This does nothing to help this Hispanic and Latin culture in the long run. Yes, it brings good entertainment, but it also digs the hole where we are buried just a little bit deeper. I continued my search and came across another film. “Beatriz and Dinner” came out onto the big screen in 2017.

Salma Hayek plays a holistic healer for the rich and famous. When her car breaks down at a client’s house, she is invited to join her clients for a sophisticated dinner party. Long story short, chaos ensues, and a series of events unfold, where we are left with a bitter taste in our mouths as the movie finishes. (I do not want to give all the movies secrets away). Again, this movie like the movie “Savages” where Salma Hayek is portrayed in a negative light,  Salma Hayek as the only Hispanic and or Latin character in the movie. She is working with a Caucasian cast and at times “Beatriz at Dinner” has very political motives behind and in between the storylines. I, unfortunately, was only left with more questions as to why Hispanic and Latin women were not portrayed in the proper light. The only conclusion that I was able to come up with was maybe the real version of a Hispanic and or Latin person wasn’t appealing? Does the media not want to portray the great sides of the Hispanic and Latin culture? Are we only suppose to be portrayed as the dirty drug lords, the sexy bombshell or the help?

My quest to find out why Pop Culture and Hollywood as a whole did not want to portray Hispanic and or Latin women for who they truly were was at a standstill. We are smart and intelligent women who come in all shapes and sizes. We are kind and loyal, can be sexy and seductive when we need to be. We are intelligent and smart, capable of running the world if given an opportunity. But does all that really matter? When will working hard ever pay off if we are keep getting knocked down and placed in a box that Hollywood and Pop Culture deem appropriate? I would like to think we are in the right direction in the year 2018, with hopes that change is on the horizon and I need to sit back in be patient. Can I be proactive and take part in a movement where women not only Hispanic and Latina, but all women are being brought up in the ranks. After completing this class and all the research and resources that were given to me read and comprehend, I believe that change is possible, but it is going to take time. This assignment opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of answers to my growing list of questions. By the end of this blog post, I most likely will have at least twenty more questions to the growing list of why Hispanic and Latin culture has a whole has been shunned and or ignored in Pop Culture and in Hollywood. It is unfortunate that I will not get to answer my original question from the being of this post. “Why has Pop Culture and the Hollywood vision given (us their audience) a mold of how a Hispanic and or Latina should look? But is not because I did not research enough information or did not work hard enough to find the answer. It is because there is not just one answer. There are several factors and reasons why Hollywood and Pop Culture are the way they are. My mind has opened Pandora’s box and as I grow up and the years change, the culture in the media will as well. Therefore, any answer that I can come up with will be mediocre and may not even be relevant in years to come. The only thing that I know is true and I can believe in is this.

 I AM BEAUTIFUL THE WAY I AM! I DO NOT NEED POP CULTURE OR HOLLYWOOD TO TELL ME DIFFERENT! I CAN AND WILL REACH MY GOALS IN LIFE AND NOTHING WILL STOP ME FROM ACHIEVING WHAT I WANT IN LIFE! I JUST NEED TO BE ME!

WORK CITED

“Latinos in Hollywood: Few Roles, Frequent Stereotypes, New Study Finds” by Brian Latimer – https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/latinos-hollywood-few-roles-frequent-stereotypes-new-study-finds-n523511

Barnes, B. (2017, May 12). Diversity dominates. India Abroad Retrieved from http://stats.lib.pdx.edu/proxy.php?url=http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/docview/1898639178?accountid=13265

The “Dumb” Blonde

Barbie dolls for some people became the beginning of the unrealistic expectations for women, where women had to be tall, skinny and blonde with blue eyes to be the American standard of beauty. But along with this standard of beauty, we see a more negative image being shown for women who are blonde. This stereotype usually shows women who are the ‘sexy dumb blonde’ that, as put by Limor Shifman and Dafna Lemish, re-enforces old ideas about women being “sex objects”. It is disproportionate how often blonde play the role of the women sexually surrounding rich men. Also, blonde women are often seen as the girl that the guy wins at the end of the story or movie, which shows that blondes are seen as a prize. Being seen as a prize can be seen in a positive light but also has its drawback because in real life being a blonde walking down the street you are more likely to get harassed by men. From a young age, girls see other females with blonde hair heavily sexualized, like Barbie dolls, and make the connection that their part in the world is to be perceived in the eyes of attraction. Along with this, jokes about blonde women being stupid and needing rich men are both sexist and demeaning to self-esteem.
The way these ideas have been spread is primarily through media, especially movies. We can see examples of the “dumb blonde” persona in movies like Clueless, Legally Blonde, House Bunny, White Chicks, Powerpuff Girls (Bubbles), Blue Mountain State (Thad), Johnny Bravo, Glee (Britney S. Pierce), Mean Girls (Karen Smith) and Bring it On. We see it in songs like Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend”, Dolly Parton’s “Dumb Blonde”, Hoku’s “Another Dumb Blonde”, and many others. Memes which are arguably the fastest way to spread media have only highlighted the already formed stereotypes about blondes.
In school I was treated a lot differently than other girls for my achievements (ex. “Good job! You overcame your blonde hair!”) or when I did something silly (ex. “It must be because you’re blonde”) and it actually was really frustrating. To this day older men say things like “Why are you in college? You don’t need an education if you’re a pretty blonde!” or something along those lines. These media artifacts re-enforce the idea that blondes are dumb as well as shed light on how often blondes are negatively portrayed in media.
Why is this important? Jackie Baker’s analysis on the way stereotypes in the media influence, as well as reflect, our culture provides a deeper understanding on the way blonde women are typically displayed as dumb and this has an effect on all individuals. Blonde women are not taken seriously in the media, therefore are not taken seriously in real life. Being addressed by the public as dumb may make a person think they are actually dumb. One of the negative effects of stereotyping is demeaning someone’s “natural ability” to achieve in the world. This left me wondering how have blondes been portrayed negatively by films and TV shows in the United States, and what does this imply about our culture? By looking more deeply at some of the biggest films in Western media we can see some common themes. I will be analyzing the films Legally Blonde, Clueless and White Chicks. I argue that the way modern films portray blonde women is misrepresenting them as dumb, superficial conceited and overly sexualized.

Legally “Dumb” Blonde
Legally Blonde was released July 13, 2001, in the USA by the director Robert Luketic as a Romantic Comedy. Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) tries to win over a guy who thinks she is “too blonde” by using her money and looks to get her Harvard. Elle Woods uses her money and looks to get what she wants, but her stupidity often gets in her way. In the actual description of the movie they use the phrase “too blonde” as a synonym for “too stupid”. At the end of the movie she is trying to win a court case and her saving grace is her knowledge of fashion and beauty. Also at one point she gets invited to a “costume party” and Elle arrives in a Playboy bunny suit, but the party is not actually a costume party.
Elle sees her kind but awkward classmates attempt to ask out a girl who says no and humiliates him. Elle interrupts and brags about how great sex was with him- although not true- to make him seem more desirable. She also ends up rightfully winning the court case, in the end, proving everyone she isn’t as dumb as they thought she was. In the end, she makes a very empowering speech about her struggles and it shows how she overcame her dumb blonde stereotype. She uses her knowledge of fashion and beauty to help herself and help others which seem sweet, but in actuality it is magnifying the fact that the only way for her, a blonde rich female, to be useful in the world is to use her skills that she acquired from being so vain in order to help others. It is somewhat of a backhanded compliment.
In the film, she gets portrayed over and over again as being very dumb, and people use the word ‘blonde’ to refer to her lack of knowledge. This is very revealing in the way that our society has used that word as both a physical character description as well as a word to demean other people. This can be seen pretty much throughout the entire movie. This movie also does a great job of showing how these stereotypes hold back blonde people from feeling like they can be as smart anyone else. Elle has a hard time being taken seriously in school because of how she looks, talks and dresses. Being a blonde in law school isn’t easy for her. But she is also somewhat of a hero in her own way. She uses her knowledge of fashion and beauty to save the day and to rightfully win the court case. I found that part amusing in the way that the knowledge she needed to know that was very specific and had she not known so much about beauty she wouldn’t have won. Also, she is shown to have a huge heart in the film, she decides to stick with the case even though it doesn’t seem likely to win and she uses her knowledge of sexual desire to help out her friends in their love lives.

White Chicks
White Chicks was released June 23, 2004 (USA) by the director Keenen Ivory Wayans as a Comedy/Crime. Two FBI agent brothers, Marcus and Kevin must escort a pair of socialites- the Winston sisters- to the Hamptons, where they’re going to be used as bait for a kidnapper. When the Wilson sisters get a facial scar in a car accident, they refuse to leave the hotel due to their appearance, showing how vain and self-centered they are. Marcus and Kevin decide to pose as the sisters, transforming themselves from African-American men into a pair of blonde, white women.The two men have a difficult time upholding their new female personas which leads to a lot of tension and comedic relief. The two have to flirt with other men, act really dumb and pretend to know other people and about fashion. They use their looks, use their money influence and play dumb to get out of many situations. The movie ends with the sister’s friends becoming friends with Kevin and Marcus for real by making a pact to stay together and go shopping.
The real sisters fit the mold of ‘typical blonde’, being white females who are rich, good looking and ‘dumb blondes’. We only see them for a little bit of the movie but the men who overtake their personas must match this stereotype perfectly to get away with their plot. When the two African American men are changed into blonde, white females they are treated at a higher respect regardless of the fact that they are hideous. Part of the reason they are able to get away with so much is that of their money. This shows how much richness or the appearance of being rich can change your style of life. Being a blonde, white female in this movie gives the notion that you can get whatever you want and be treated great by men for just looking like that. For instance, a man pays a lot of money to go on a date with one of the FBI agents and take the “sister” out on a very nice date despite the fact that the “sister” was acting rude and gross the whole time. The consistent display the “sisters” as being very dumb blondes in order to fit in with their rich friends. Fashion choices seemed to be a huge deal to the characters in the film, reiterating that stereotypically one of the most important things about being a wealthy female is fashion. In the end, the sister’s friends end up admitting they like the African American men better than they ever liked the real sisters, indicating that the sister never really had anything to bring to the table. This shows that the stereotypical blonde female doesn’t have anything to bring to the table beside looks, money, and societal influence.
The African American men experience more privilege as white females because they get more respect and attention. Conclusions that audiences might have drawn based on these facts are that African American men won’t be taken as seriously as white females. The purpose of the movie was to be comedic however it has deeper meanings about the way rich white females act compared to African American people. It uses comedic relief to contrast the groups of people and uses a crime plot to give to movie meaning.

Clueless
Clueless was released July 19, 1995, in the USA by director Amy Heckerling and Paramount Pictures. The film Clueless stars a blonde, white girl who is very rich and very clueless to other people’s needs, until the end she finds passion in helping others. In the film Clueless, we see Cheryl “Cher” Horowitz a superficial, blonde, attractive, popular and rich teenage girl who is very clueless about other people’s and her own issues. Her brother teases her that her only direction in life is “toward the mall” because she is so involved with herself and fashion. She is completely oblivious to other people’s needs. Cher plays cupid for two teachers in order to get them to tone down their strict grading policies, allowing her to get a good grade but when she sees their newfound happiness she realizes she enjoys being selfless.
She decides to take in a girl who isn’t traditionally attractive under her wing and give her a “makeover” to make her more fashionable. The girl’s popularity surpasses Cher’s and the girl ends up confronting Cher and saying she is a “virgin who can’t drive”. This sparked soul searching and she made an effort to be a more selfless person by captaining the school’s Pismo Beach disaster relief effort. In the end, she finds happiness in her relationships with people and herself.
In this film, we see a blonde, white female who is totally clueless about everyone else. She fits into the “dumb blonde” stereotype in every way. They show her failing her class and her driving test and acting like a complete idiot. People around her think she is very dumb but she doesn’t think she is, she thinks she can pass by in life with her looks and money. Her skill in setting up the two teachers was not truly a selfless act because she was doing it in order to get a good grade. Also, she uses her looks to get she wants with the boys at her school, making her look like a temptress. She is shown to be obsessed with her looks and boys’ attention. The fact that all she cares about is fashion shows a deeper look into how self-centered she is and how blondes are shown as small minded followers often. Often in the movie, she is displayed as a sexual object with her outfits, personality and the way men treat her. It is powerful at the end that she decides to want to be more selfless and help others which shows that blondes can overcome their stereotype of being self-centered, but it doesn’t address that she isn’t dumb. Also, there were many dumb characters but not all were blonde, it just correlated richness with dumbness.

Reflection of films
These movies primarily showed dumb, white, rich, good-looking blonde females in a very negative way. However, in Legally Blonde and Clueless, the blondes overcame the “dumb blonde” stereotype, which is a great positive spin to the movies. Also in White Chicks, the focus was on the contrast between how African American men and white, blonde, rich females behave. It is somewhat comedic because in White Chicks when the FBI agents transform themselves into white, blonde females they are actually so unattractive but no one seems to notice. Shannon Luders-Manuel’s commentary on the film White Chicks provides insight on how African Americans are wrongfully contrasted via blonde white people by saying,“Challenging racial stereotypes is often done through satirization of those very stereotypes.” This can be seen in the way White Chicks portrays White People as dumb as superficial.
The pattern of the films showed exactly how often this typical stereotype of blonde women gets reiterated in media culture and how it is so enforced to film audiences. The similarities between the three films were that they all had white females who were rich, good looking and all ‘dumb blondes’. These patterns are intentional in the way that white blonde females have over and over again been seen as sexual objects that cannot think for themselves. In many movies, blondes are not seen as coherent people who think for themselves- they are shown as small-minded follows. These films also reinforce the idea that in order to live a carefree life where you can just use your looks to get by you need to be white with money- and shows if you are female you can get whatever you need from men.

Other things to consider

Blondes have the front page in our world as being the ‘ideal women’, especially in America. Historically many of the Greek gods were golden-haired, and today we see Fox News and Donald Trump give bleach blonde hair a new meaning where being blonde (accompanied by white skin usually) is the representation of the right-wing conservatives. Even people of color are trying to achieve the blonde look with ideals such as Beyoncé, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez but only 2 percent of the population is naturally blonde and 1 and 3 people dye their hair lighter. Having blonde hair as an adult is rare and draws attention because it suggests youth because hair tends to darken as people get older. Also, female politicians with blonde hair tend to be more popular.
By analyzing the films Legally Blonde, Clueless and White Chicks we are able to see how blonde females have been portrayed negatively by films and TV shows in the United States, and what this implies about our culture.  This class gave the tools to effectively analyze primary sources of media artifacts that misrepresent how blonde women are shown in the media. Blonde women are targeted as dumb, conceited, superficial and sexual objects.

Bibliography

Legally Blonde. Robert Luketic. Santa Monica, CA: MGM Home Entertainment, 2004.
White Chicks. Revolution Studios. Wayans Bros. Keenan Ivory Wayans. Culver City, Calif. : Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, 2004.
Rudin, Scott, Amy Heckerling, Alicia Silverstone, and Paul Rudd. Clueless. Hollywood, Calif: Paramount Pictures, 1995.
Shifman, Limor and Dafna Lemish. “Blondejokes.Com: The New Generation.” Society, vol. 47, no. 1, Jan. 2010, pp. 19-22. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s12115-009-9275-9.

Baker, Jackie. “Analyzing Stereotypes in Media.” Teaching & Change, vol. 3, no. 3, Spring 96, p. 260. EBSCOhost, stats.lib.pdx.edu/proxy.php?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=9605074838&site=ehost-live.

Photo-illustrations by gluekiT. Leigh Vogel/WireImage)/Getty Images (Vanessa Trump); Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images (Conway). “The Politics of Blondness, From Aphrodite to Ivanka.” The Cut, 10 Aug. 2017, http://www.thecut.com/2017/08/politics-of-blonde-hair-from-persephone-to-ivanka-trump.html.

Luders-Manuel, Shannon. “Humor and race in dear white people and white chicks” JSTOR. 3 March, 2017. https://daily.jstor.org/humor-and-race-in-dear-white-people-and-white-chicks/.

The Hollywood Scandal To End All Scandals

One of the most powerful cultural icons of all time is the American movie industry and its figurehead: Hollywood. In the early part of the twentieth century, this neighborhood in central LA became a hotbed for film production, growing into one of the most recognizable symbols of American popular culture. The major production companies ruled the cinematic world for decades, but as the technology required to produce films became less complicated to use and cheaper to buy, independent filmmakers were able to rival the large studios. One of the most successful and impactful of these indie production companies was Miramax films. Founded by Bob and Harvey Weinstein in the 1970s, this studio went on to produce such films as Cinema Paradiso and Clerks. The studio is perhaps best known for its work with Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman in such films as Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill 1&2. Bob and Harvey Weinstein eventually left Miramax and founded their own company, aptly named The Weinstein Company, where they continued to produce independent films, including teaming up with Tarantino for several more features. Bob and his brother Harvey were shot up to the top of the industry, becoming incredibly influential in the world of film.

On Thursday October 5 2017, The New York Times released an article claiming that Harvey Weinstein has been, for decades, sexually assaulting actresses and paying them off to keep quiet about it. This was a huge deal in the industry, and for me as an aspiring filmmaker. For years Harvey Weinstein had been someone I looked up to immensely. He and his brother had somehow managed to cut through the bullshit of the film world to create one of the most successful indie film production companies in history. Suddenly everything I felt about him had changed.

It seemed after that first story broke, that every day a new person was chiming in with more damning evidence against Weinstein. He was removed from his own company, threatened to sue The New York Times, and offered weak apologies to some of the women he was accused of assaulting. From October 5th to the day of this writing (February 27 2018) new information relating to this story in one way or another has come forward. Yesterday it came out that The Weinstein Company was going to file for bankruptcy. How the mighty fall. This scandal doesn’t stop at Harvey Weinstein either. Many other household names have been accused of debauchery of one form or another. Kevin Spacey was outed as a pedophile, which he pathetically tried to spin as him coming out as gay. Brett Ratner, a famous director and film producer, James Franco, and Louis C.K., to name a few.

One of the things that I think is most interesting and depressing about this entire situation is the fact that this is not a new problem. We now know Harvey Weinstein has been at this for at least two decades, but I had heard at least three years ago that Bryan Singer, the director of critically acclaimed films like X Men and The Usual Suspects, had been accused of sexually assaulting teenage boys and using his wealth and power to avoid prosecution. I am positive that there are countless more predators in the film industry, and most likely every industry with positions of power, and it worries me greatly since I too want to be a part of this world.

I also think that it’s really interesting to look at how people in the industry have been examining the issue of sexual assault and harassment in showbiz. One of my favorite TV shows of all time, BoJack Horseman, contains an episode which tackles just such a scenario. In season 2 episode 7, two of the characters, Diane and BoJack are doing a tour around the country to promote a book. At one of the stops, Diane is asked about a third character, Hank Hippopopalous, a big late night TV show host who has been accused of sexual misconduct by many women who have worked for him in the past. Diane condemns the behavior of Mr. Hippopopalous despite the fact that on the surface he is a beloved television figure. This move sparks a firestorm of hate against Diane (and BoJack by association), for trying to tarnish the reputation of a man with such a good public reputation. When Diane points out that he has been publicly accused, people tend to dismiss her as trying to “get her 15 minutes of fame,” or for trying to falsely accuse him because he’s a successful man. It even gets to the point where Hank personally arranges a meeting with Diane in an empty parking garage after making her think that she would be meeting one of his accusers. He threatens her explicitly and tells her to back off. This is very reminiscent of the way that the public treated Bill Cosby’s early accusers, before his legal issues really took off. This is also the way that people claim Weinstein has acted for decades; either threatening or bribing those who might want to expose him for what he really is.

Another really poignant example of this in realistic fiction is the Netflix show Master of None, created and written by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang. While this show is marketed as a comedy, I would describe it more as an realistic absurdist drama with very clever writing. This show has used its platform as a popular show on several occasions to address modern social issues. One of the key plot points of season two involves Ansari’s character Dev creating a TV show with his friend Chef Jeff (Bobby Cannavale). Throughout the show Dev and Jeff spend a lot of time together, bonding as friends, and promoting their show. In the season finale, it is revealed that Jeff has been accused of sexual misconduct by several of his female employees past and present. This revelation puts Dev in an uncomfortable position when the news drops while they’re being interviewed on a talk show. Dev immediately tries to distance himself from Jeff, but still gets caught up in the drama because of how close they’ve become.

I think Master of None is an especially good example because Aziz Ansari was briefly accused along with a wash of celebrities around the time of Weinstein for sexual misconduct. Specifically, a woman he had sexual relations with said that he did not listen to her when she did not give him consent. However it was later revealed that she never said “no” until he asked if she wanted to have sex in front of a mirror, and then afterwards, they just hungout. Weird, yes, but hardly morally or legally violating. I think this is a very interesting flip side to the current trend.

In the wake of the accusations against these celebrities, the legal repercussions have been, in my opinion inadequate. I understand that it’s hard to compile evidence against such powerful people, especially when many of the accusations against them are from some time ago, or lack concrete evidence outside of witness testimony. However, I think the public rose to occasion quite valiantly. Cultural movements like the #metoo trend have grown both online and in real life. For example at the Emmy Awards, actors dressed in black clothes adorned with pins supporting the people leveling the accusations against the people in charge.

It is in this aspect that I am proud to be a filmmaker, and to see the level of support from some other important figures in my chosen field. It can be hard to remember in times like these that despite the massive amount of negativity and evil, there are still so many good people out there, and that in the end they will prevail.  Hopefully in the coming months we will start to see concrete legal repercussions against many of the accused, I’m sure Harvey Weinstein will be indicted, if for no other reason than popular demand. I also think that this is helping to make those in our culture who were unaware of this problem more cognizant to it, and those who would speak out against it more confident in doing what’s right. Finally, I hope that it will also have an effect on those people who would want to prey on people less powerful than them. Hopefully these people will see what happened and remember that they simply can’t get away with things that they used to, because as a culture we are growing, and while it may seem hard to see the bright side when even your president is a rapist, we must remember: the night is always darkest before the dawn.

Bibliography:

“Harvey Weinstein Timeline: How the Scandal Unfolded.” BBC News, BBC, 12 Feb. 2018, www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-41594672.

Kantor, Jodi, and Megan Twohey. “Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 5 Oct. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/10/05/us/harvey-weinstein-harassment-allegations.html.

Dowd, Maureen. “This Is Why Uma Thurman Is Angry.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 3 Feb. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/02/03/opinion/sunday/this-is-why-uma-thurman-is-angry.html.

Ansari, Aziz, and Alan Yang. Master of None (TV Series 2015– ), Season 2, episode 10, Netflix, www.imdb.com/title/tt4635276/.

Bob-Waksberg, Raphael. “BoJack Horseman.” Netflix Official Site, 22 Aug. 2014, www.netflix.com/title/70300800.

 

Strong Females vs. Dominant Males in Shoujo Anime

Anime like many media products is created to entertain specific audiences. Shoujo in Japanese translates to “girl,” meaning Shoujo anime is anime for girls. This genre of anime has no limitations in plot or setting as they can range from historical dramas to science fiction, but they must capture the attention of their targeted audience of young females. Having a genre that is targeted to females seems like a great idea, as many of these animes have lead female characters that display confident, strong, and independent personalities. From the Journal of Popular Culture, Fusami Ogi stated that this genre is great as it is content for women written by women. It was Shoujo anime that really changed the way society viewed Japanese women. Women were no longer just wives and stay at home mothers, but working with careers just like men.

When watching animes like, Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge or Wolf Girl Black Prince, the female characters can really be made out as role models for their targeted audiences. Yet, the fault in the Shoujo anime is with their male leads. In almost every Shoujo anime that you will watch, the male leads always have an upper hand over the female leads. Whether it be physical strength or mental manipulation, the male characters always have dominance. What this look like in Shoujo anime and what this means for their young female viewers will be covered throughout this blog.

Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge

In my first source, I chose to look at the 2006 anime, Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge, or translated in english to The Wallflower. This anime is about a girl named Sunako, who after being called ugly by the boy she liked, rejects all forms of beauty. Her aunt is determined to transform her into a lady, so she makes the four men who rent her house train Sunako to become a proper lady in order for them to receive free rent. Sunako is not your typical female lead, which makes her even more entertaining. She likes horror films and her best friend is a human anatomy doll. Sunako enjoys being alone and is able to manage herself. Going back to the plot of her aunt wanting to transform her into a “lady,” it sets up this expectation that Sunako would need to become the stereotype of a girl who likes pink, wears makeup, and wants a mans attention, but Sunako being a good friend and overall person makes her a better lady then the other female characters that follow the stereotype. This creates a strong message to the female viewers about what it means to be a lady.

For Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge, the main male lead is Kyohei. Kyohei’s personality is very bitter and negative. He is often described as “God’s gift” for being so beautiful, which is Sunako’s worst nightmare. Whenever she sees his face, she gets a nosebleed because he is too “dazzling.” Sunako, being very dark, makes it her mission to kill him, jokingly of course. Kyohei is the only character in the show who really gets Sunako and often uses her weaknesses against her. He repeatedly saves her from conflicts, like when other characters try to harm her. This follows my observation that although Sunako is this strong and independent character, she can’t beat her opposing male lead, Kyohei.

Wolf Girl Black Prince

My second source, is quite the opposite of the prior as it follows the typical female genre expectation. In the 2014 anime, Wolf Girl Black Prince, Erika Shinohara is the only one of her friends who does not have boyfriend. One day she takes a picture of a random boy and says that is her boyfriend. That boy, Kyoya Sata, ends up being a popular guy at her school. Erika asks Kyoya to pretend to be her boyfriend and makes her life a nightmare by making her into his personal slave or dog, being the meaning behind the title. Erika follows the common female character expectation, as she desires a boyfriend, wants to fit in, and make a man happy. However she does display points of difference as she knows what she wants in a relationship and ultimately ends the torment because she knows that she deserves better. For the audiences, Erika can be character that many young girls can relate to with the pressures of being a high school girl trying to fit in, so showing her actions and how she learns to put herself first is very good of the young girls watching.

The male lead, Kyoya, is just as the title says, a black prince. Kyoya is initially very cruel to Erika, not only by blackmailing her into being his slave, but he plays with her emotions. In episode 5, Kyoya does an entire monologue of how he loves her, only to laugh in her face and say that it was joke. Throughout the entire anime, even after they start dating, Kyoya’s choices and lack of explanation of his actions constantly leaves Erika hurt. He is her love interest and her enemy. This anime also follows the expectation of the Shoujo genre having male leads that dominate over the female leads.

Hana Yori Dango

My last source is different as I’ve chosen to use the live action adaption instead of the anime. The reasoning for this choice being that the live action gained much more media attention globally. My third source is the 2005 drama, Hana Yori Dango or Boys Before Flowers. This drama was the first Shoujo genre product that I watched. The drama really stood out to me and made me admire the Shoujo genre because of the complex plot. The story is about Tsukushi Makino, she is from the working class and ends up attending a school for the rich. At the school she encounters a group of boys known as F4, all wealthy heirs to big Japanese companies. The leader, Tsukasa Domyouji, makes her life hell before falling in love with her. This story structure is very common in Shoujo products, with the poor girl and the rich boy. The difference that this drama had to others is that Tsukushi, which translates to, “tough weed,” is exactly that. Being that her family isn’t wealthy, Tsukushi works multiple part time jobs to help support her family. She also is aiming to attend university after high school and works very hard on her academics. Notably Tsukushi doesn’t take crap from any of the rich characters. Her conflict started with F4 because the were bullying her friend and she stood up against them. The reason Tsukasa finds her so appealing is because of her strong personality. Even he acknowledges that she isn’t like other female characters that just want him for his money. Tsukushi is a great character for the Shoujo audiences because of how tough and selfless her character is. She puts others before herself and doesn’t let negatives keep her down.

In contrast to Tsukushi’s tough personality, male lead, Tsukasa has to beat her. Tsukasa has a similar personality to Tsukushi with the main difference being his class and anger problems. Due to his class standing, Tsukasa often feels very entitled and tortures those who are lesser than him. He initially bullies and abuses Tsukushi, from putting snakes in her locker to paying guys to attempt to rape her. Tsukasa does everything to crush Tsukushi’s positive and strong personality and would have succeeded had he not fallen in love with her. Tsukasa is an example of a crazy level of a male lead possessing more power over the female lead.

What It Means For Viewers

Following the breakdown of the sources, the focus returns to what this portrayal of female and male anime characters means to audiences. A study was conducted to observe the effects the Shoujo genre has a young adults in the U.S (Ramasubramanian 2012). The study hypothesized that viewers creation of wishful identification (WI), or the act of identifying and making ties with a character, would then lead to parasocial interactions (PSI), a relationship that makes an audiences feel as if the characters are their friends. The result of WI and PSI is that the viewer would exhibit personality traits just as the character that they identified with. The study found that female viewers experienced the most WI and PSI with Shoujo characters that portray a prosocial personality (Ramasubramanian 2012). Having viewers identify with the Shoujo female leads is beneficial as these characters are great role models.

Conclusion

Thinking about why Shoujo animes follows the pattern of having male leads that possess more power over their already powerful female leads brings up the question as to what it says about reality. It is no secret that males have been portrayed as more dominant, whether it be in media, careers, or sports. Shoujo would not have been such a big deal when it was created if people weren’t aware of how much media isn’t female dominant. Going back to Ogi’s point of Shoujo being content for women by women, why is it that these women writers are continuing to make men greater in their content?

I believe that Shoujo wants to portray worlds that are relatable and true. We do live in a world that men are more powerful, but we also live in a world where women aren’t weak. These strong female characters are examples of what women are capable of. These female characters are confident, independent, and selfless. As bad and cruel as the male leads are to them, they never let it break them. They stay true to themselves, and that is the greatest lesson that the young girls watching can take away the next time they watch a Shoujo anime.

Learning Moments

From this course, I’ve gained a better idea of what popular culture is and how it affects their viewers. Media is a great thing, we can receive news and entertainment, but we also can receive false information and false expectations and stereotypes. One of the readings we did earlier in the course, “The Urgency of Visual Media Literacy in Our Post-9/11 world: Reading Images of Muslim Women in the Print News Media,” has stuck with me as it discussed the false use of images on news stories. Being the age of social media, I often fall for fake thumbnails. From the readings and discussions we had throughout the course, the greatest lesson I learned is that we must be the ones to filter what media we intake, whether it be finding reliable news sources or understanding the reality of a character than believing how media portrays them.  

References

Watanabe, Shinichi, director. Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge. Studio Nippon Animation / TV Tokyo, 2006.

Kasai, Kenichi, director. Wolf Girl and Black Prince. Studio TYO Animators / Tokyo MX, 2014.

Setogushi, Katsukaki. Hana Yori Dango. Tokyo Broadcasting System, 2005.

Ogi, Fusami. “Female Subjectivity and Shoujo (Girls) Manga (Japanese Comics): Shoujo in Ladies’ Comics and Young Ladies’ Comics.” Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 36, no. 4, 2003, pp. 780–803.

Choo, Kukhee. “Girls Return Home: Portrayal of Femininity in Popular Japanese Girls’ Manga and Anime Texts during the 1990s in Hana Yori Dango and Fruits Basket.” Women: A Cultural Review, vol. 19, no. 3, 2008, pp. 275–296.

Ramasubramanian, Srividya, and Sarah Kornfield. “Japanese Anime Heroines as Role Models for U.S. Youth: Wishful Identification, Parasocial Interaction, and Intercultural Entertainment Effects.” Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, vol. 5, no. 3, 2012, pp. 189–207.

Latino Stereotypes in Hollywood.

Latino Stereotypes in Hollywood.

As a latino living in The United states I have been subject to certain stereotypes that surround my ethnicity. Growing up English was my second language and during my years in elementary school I had a very difficult time communicating with my peers. I lived in an area that had high rates of cultural differences however I was still subject to being associated with common stereotypes like being an illegal immigrant or being latino and not being able to speak english etc..  I thought it would be interesting for this project to see how latinos are portrayed in hollywood for it is one of the biggest business in the country. Hollywood in my opinion is a platform that heavily plays a role in stereotypes when it comes to portraying characters. This essay will focus on taking a closer look at how Hollywood plays a large role in influencing the negative views that people have on Latino culture in the United States.

Latinos As viewed through Holywood.

Sadly there are many stereotypes that  carry negative connotations when it comes to latinos in hollywood. The first big example of this can be seen through Zalma Rios article 8 examples of the problem hollywood has portraying Mexico and Mexicans.

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In Zalma Rios article 8 Examples of the Problem Hollywood has Portraying Mexico and Mexicans , Rios points out one of the first stereotypes that Hollywood places on the latino population. Zalma points out a movie called Spanglish in which one of the protagonists of the story plays a recently immigrated single mother in where she fills the role of being a housekeeper that has difficulties communicating in english. This movie was played in theaters and had a large budget therefore I believe it reached a lot of people. This fits in making this movie a large influence in how people perceive the Latino population in The United States.  

The movie Spanglish is enforcing a couple of negative stereotypes. The first one being that Latinos are uneducated therefore the protagonist ( Flor ) had to get a job as a housekeeper because that is all she is capable of doing. Furthermore the negative stereotypes of  miseducation continues to be reinforced by the fact that Flor has difficulties speaking english. Had it not been for the fact Flor is uneducated she would be able to properly communicate with the family that she works for. Lastly , Flor also seems to not be financially stable to be able to keep her children and provide for them. This gives her the awfully negative connotation of financial unsuitability.  Because Hollywood is such a large driving force in the way that we perceive people, this movie was able to comically jab at the latino population and enforce negative stereotypes that do nothing but harm those who are trying to live in The United States

Another artifact that was examined for this project was BABEL.

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Babel was released in theaters in 2006 by Paramount Vantage and won the Golden Globe awards for best motion picture in the drama category. Because of its accolades this movie serves as a vehicle for latino stereotypes. In the movie one of the protagonists Adriana Barraza (Amelia) is the greatest victim of the negative stereotypes of latinos as viewed through a Hollywood lens. She is also portrayed as a housekeeper who much like in the movie Spanglish , has difficulties communicating in english. However , when Amelia does try to communicate in English she is able to do so but in a heavy and thick accent.

Babel manages to further attach negative stereotypes to the latino population. is a housekeeper that does not have any papers and is undocumented furthermore she also has difficulties communicating efficiently in english. The actor that plays the housekeeper is Adriana Barraza (Amelia) . During the movie , the actor Bazzara  has a hard time speaking english and also has a very prominent thick accent. There is one specific scene in the movie where they are trying to cross the border with two kids who are not theirs. when they are trying to cross the border they are stopped by the immigration police who start asking the kids questions. The kids are confused so they say that they are not their parents and that is when the two latin actors decide to break the law and speed past the security checkpoint.

Babel manages to pull out a lot of different negative stereotypes for the latino population. It can be argued that the movie is trying to convey Latinos as undocumented immigrants , meaning that they don’t really have a right to be in the United States . Furthermore it paints them as violent. Willing to break the law at no cost as long as they will benefit from it.

Finally, Thought the movie Babel , the country Mexico is portrayed as an inhabitable dessert. There are a lot of effects which emphasize a desert like quality of the country. Trucks pass by living dust everywhere they go. The shots in the movie  have a brown tint to the there is a shot where there is a fence displayed and on the other side of the fence there is a truck with the words border patrol on the side of it. It seems to taunt people who try to look at the fence with a constant reminder that even if they wanted to get across into the US they would most likely fail and get caught in the process. When the housekeeper first crosses the border with the kids one of them states that their mother has said that Mexico is very dangerous.

Why is it important to look at how latinos are represented in the media?

The media and popular culture play a huge role in shaping society and the way people learn and digest information. In one of our earlier readings in the term the class was assigned to watch a ted talk by Eli Pariser where he talked about “Filter Bubbles” essentially search engines such as google use their algorithms by displaying specific search results based on the type of person that they are such as ethnicity or where they live and what they are searching. Basically everyone will get a different search result. The way we digest information in this digital world is very specifically delivered therefore it plays a large role in shaping how we view people and current events. It is hard to turn one’s head and look the other way when the media plays such a large role in shaping the way that we think. One might think they are in control of the things that they want to learn and research but in reality much of these things are controlled.

To further understand the interpretation of latinos in popular culture, I researched secondary sources for this project.  I found an article called Using Media Literacy to Explore Stereotypes of Mexican Immigrants.  Written by Vargas , Lucila , The article argues that the media plays a large role in determining the populations attitude towards a specific subject like in this case immigration and latinos. Varga’s article examines the fact that Mexican immigrants or Latino born Americans have had a hard time integrating into U.S. culture without automatically being labeled an  immigrant or being associated with their stereotypes. Without people being able to tell the difference of the two groups.

The article takes a closer look at entertainment and how the Mexican population is interpreted. Varga states that Latinos usually play supporting characters. In fictional works the author states that latino immigrants usually play law breakers and victims. The author further stated that Film researchers have identified six Latino media stereotypes: dark lady, Latin lover, female clown, male buffoon, half-breed harlot, and bandito.

Vargas enforces the effects that the negative stereotypes such as the ones mentioned in this post have towards the latino population. Essentially Latino immigrants are viewed in a negative connotation by The United States population. Through the power of popular culture and specifically Hollywood. There have been negative connotations that have slowly evolved and gave Latino Groups in the U.S. harmful effects such as being lazy , uneducated and with no possible future when compared to the rest of the population.

Two Things I learned

I think that the most interesting thing I learned while doing this project was being able to uncover the effect that popular culture has on people. There is so much media around us and I think for the most part we are oblivious to how much it affects us. I think it is extremely eye opening to realize how much popular culture is able to guide the way we think and our opinions.

The other thing that I learned about while doing this project was being able to distinguish how different groups are treated. In my case I was aware of some of the stereotypes regarding latinos because I had experienced some of it  but I wasn’t aware just how prevalent these stereotypes are in Hollywood.

Sources: 

Pariser, Eli. “Beware Online ‘Filter Bubbles.’” TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles.

 

Rios, Zelma. “8 Examples of the Problem Hollywood Has Portraying Mexico and Mexicans.” Borderzine, 26 Apr. 2015, borderzine.com/2015/04/8-examples-of-the-problem-hollywood-has-portraying-mexico-and-mexicans/.

Vargas, L., & DePyssler, B. (1998). Using media literacy to explore stereotypes of mexican immigrants. Social Education, 62(7), 407-412. Retrieved from http://stats.lib.pdx.edu/proxy.php?url=http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/docview/210632779?accountid=13265

“Babel.” Paramount Home Entertainment, 2007.

“Spanglish” Colombia Picture , 2004

 

Traditional Roles of Non-Traditional Students in Entertainment Media

When we think about college, we think about adults fresh out of high school starting out their adult lives, experimenting and finding their place in society, educating themselves and setting patterns for the rest of their life.  While this is the majority of college students, there are other “non-traditional” students which do not fit this stereotype. These students are usually over 30 and have either returned to school or have come to a point in their life where the feel the can finally go to school.

Being an older non-traditional student myself, this pop culture class has encouraged me to look in the mirror and evaluate my position in society. Our discussions so far have prompted questions about stereotypes in media.

Why look at media portrayal of older students? Is the portrayal accurate? Looking at these questions and looking for patterns in media portrayal can help us establish a groundwork for other questions about fairness and social bias and the bigotry that comes with it. Namely, does ageism disadvantage older students?

In our modern day and age, movies and television commonly push social and political messaging that both reflect and mold popular opinion. By looking at how entertainment media portrays individuals, inspecting character roles, interactions, and value of the character in the portrayal, we can get a better idea of how we as a society see older students and justify our treatment of them. If our ideas about older students are accurate, we can then have conscious justification of why we treat older students the way we do. On the other hand, if our ideas are not accurate, the realization of this can empower us to reevaluate our social interactions, and empowers us look at ways in which the stereotypes negatively impact older students. When we are hurting someone and don’t realize it, we end up being disadvantaged as well, as we are limiting our ability to engage in our social interactions which have the potential to mutually beneficial.

So the search is on.  How does media portray older students?  Here’s what I’ve found.

The majority of older student characters are included in films or television series as background characters, with main character portrayal being the exception, not the rule.

Honestly, I scoured the internet for a couple days looking for something to watch where the older student wasn’t just an incidental character without any purpose in the plot. This lack of representation makes it difficult to study this subject, but I did manage to find a few different things, so onward!

Let me go over what I’ve found.

Spoiler alert: I’m going to talk a lot about what I see, so you might want to watch the first episodes and movie before I tell you how everything turns out.

Community:

From 2009 to 2015, NBC Studios produced a television series about an older student going to community college named “Community.” This sitcom was targeted primarily at teen to young adult audience.

In this comical representation of community college life, Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) is a disbarred lawyer who is forced to return to college when it was discovered his college degree was faked, in order to get back to getting his life as a lawyer. With a somewhat pleasant personality, he is a fast-talking type and tends to engage in deception and pretense to manipulate those around him.

jeff

It’s interesting that Jeff, being a GenX, is portrayed as a shifty, fast-talking, slacker who wants to make everyone else do the work. This is a generational teen stereotype that exists in many movies from the 1980’s such as “Back to the Future”, “Footloose”, “Breakfast Club”, etc. He is portrayed as not going to college to learn, but only to jump through hoops required for getting back to his career after he was booted out from the legal bar for faking his college degree. He says whatever is needed to get what he wants with no real merit to offer. The “slacker” character archetype. A GenX hold over from teen movies from the 1980’s.

Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase), is another older character. He is a white male baby-boomer with a slight air of pompousness, who seems to be disconnected from progressive standards and current trends. He’s openly identified as having a “creepy vibe,” which he doesn’t seem to understand. In the first episode, he is openly verbally chastised for “sexual harassment” by two black characters, an athletic jock and the target of his affection, Shirley Bennett, a middle aged salty woman with a passive aggressive attitude.

pierce

Pierce Hawthorne is portrayed as being unable to relate to the modern college world, holding vestiges of legacy societal values that are shunned by the current progressive movements common on modern college campuses. As a baby-boomer, he’s portrayed as irrelevant, disconnected, and a social nuisance, with comments like “why would I harass someone I’m attracted to?”

Shirley Bennett (Yvette Nicole Brown) is a middle aged black woman who is tagged with the stereotype of being in school for making “poor life decisions” by a young white female student, who then goes on the offensive with salty attacks about the young woman’s age and inexperience in life.

shirley

So all-in-all, we have three characters who are represented. The boomer character Pierce is often the butt of many jokes. Though, this being a situation comedy, all of these characters are meant to be laughed at, but he seems to be the target of much ridicule and disdain.

The one thing that ties these three characters together is that they all have somehow failed in life and are returning to school to attempt to correct that failure or try to skate by in life until they find something else to do.

These portrayals are based on a cultural “generation gap”, and the assumption that individuals cannot adapt or be part of current college culture, because they are imprisoned in their conditioning and social expectations. Also, neither of these characters are portrayed as going to school for education, but for ulterior motives.

Adjectives that I see assigned to the three older student archetypes in this portrayal are: recovering from failure, desperate, predatory, underachiever, past their prime, irrelevant, disinterested, foolish, dishonest, average, sexually inappropriate, and alone.

Beer & Seed:

This 2002 indie film was written by and stars comedian Bill Cox. This dark comedy on the experiences an older people who return to college to “start over again” is targeted at college audiences and indie movie circuits. It is currently available to rent on amazon and vimeo.

The main character, Bill, is portrayed as a balding overweight gray-haired veteran. One of the first scenes how him getting into a younger student over the ownership of a pen when the younger student takes it, and ends up driving the pen into the hand of the student.

bill

Bill goes back to school with the intention of doing what he felt he missed out on in life, but finds a lack of acceptance there. It’s interesting that there are several cues in the movie that Bill, the main character, has no future prospects past college. He’s portrayed as having no purpose except self-satisfaction. He’s not going to school to get a career or to prepare for the future. No one pays him any attention for his college career until his fight with another student. He is irrelevant to society, as he is already used up and has little left that can be taken, or that he can offer, in the way of a traditional college student.

It’s revealed that the character works at a bar mopping up urine in the bathrooms, and spends time fantasizing about fat girls who attend the bar. There is an animated rap song sequence called “I like the fat chicks,” where he’s checking out pigs and fat girls, then creeping after a fat girl at the end.

fat chicks

Socially, he’s not really able to connect with students or professors and is isolated socially. The dean has an interview with him where he tells him directly, “I don’t think you fit in.” His drafting professor also tells him “a good eraser will be the key to your success.” The school pushes him out by granting him “life experience credits” and charging his GI Bill, suddenly reducing his time to graduate to 4 weeks.

He’s told in his progress interview, “You lived life once, and it took all you had. This was never your life, you are just here marking time.”

It appears the author is trying to make a statement about stereotypes and being cultural ostracized because of age, being a social outcast, and not fitting in no matter how hard you try.

The other younger students ignore and avoid him, and when they are forced to interact with him, tend to be hostile. His social position with his professors is one in which he is not treated as a normal student and even though he works hard, they target him for harassment.

This is contrasted by a sudden switch in the last ten minutes of the film where he finishes his degree and goes around fixing everyone else’s problems, resulting in everyone living happily ever after. It’s a bold statement, in that the writer seems to be saying that people do have value, even if you don’t see it at first.

Adjectives attributed to Bill, as the adult student, as I see it, are: seeking purpose, bored, predatory, troublemaker, past their prime, irrelevant, unwanted, outsider, failing, average, sexually inappropriate, and alone.

Campus Ladies:

In 2006, Oxygen television network broadcast “Campus Ladies”, a television sitcom targeted toward a female middle class demographic. It was aired in 2006-2007 and was canceled when NBC Universal acquired the network in 2007.

Joan and Barri, the two main characters in the series decide to go to college after they are free of their husbands, one of which passed away and the other caught cheating. They decide to go to college to rediscover and recreate themselves, as without their husbands they feel free but without purpose.

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As they move in, their dorm roommate is offended that she has to live with 2 “elderly” ladies, though they are admired and offered assistance by young college men who also live in their co-ed dorm.

paige

They face opposition when approaching a sorority, where the sorority interview shows disconnect from understanding questions about vegan-ism, modern trends, fashion, pop-culture and the like. One of the sorority girls asks “Can they even be in a sorority?” The age-based bigotry from both the room-mate and the sorority are are pronounced.

Toward the end of the first episode, they attend a frat party and get drunk with everyone else and when inhibitions are down start to ft in. Playing ‘spin the bottle’ and ‘truth or dare’ are bonding moments at the party. One of the ladies gets into a make-out session with a young student, who finds her attractive, and ends up going back to her place for some cuddle action.

cuddles

At the end of the first episode, while trying to comfort the room-mate (who also was rejected from the sorority), they talk about the horrors of aging in the body, age spots, blemishes, bald spots, hair on chin, etc. These horrors are based in societal valuation of female body.

Every male in the series supports and accepts the main characters, even finding them attractive, while the other females in the series are resistant to their presence. It’s interesting that in a show on a network targeted at female demographic, which panders to a feminist ideology, that personal empowerment in returning to college first starts with separation from their husbands.

This starts an initial series of events in the first 15 minutes of the characters rediscovering themselves and overcoming their inhibitions. This feels like a message that going to back to college is a symbol of new beginnings and letting go of the old. The focus of the show doesn’t seem to be about their study or going to school for an education, but to have the “college experience.” This includes socializing, cute guys, drinking, and some social conflicts based in identity objectification.

I think there is a portrayal of age bigotry at work in the program, as they are emotionally opposed by their roommate and the sorority girls because of their age, though it may just be a proxy for jealousy, considering the younger women aren’t being portrayed as attractive, and target demographic for the program are middle aged women themselves. This bigotry and the characters overcoming of it may be a proxy to help the target demographic to feel a sense of personal empowerment and relevance that they may be lacking.

There is also a pronounced generation gap in relation to pop culture knowledge with the sorority that appears. This seems to indicate a belief that older people are disconnected from the world and isolated from their peers when returning to college.

So, there are some positive adjectives in this portrayal of female older students, as well as some not so positive: recovering from failure, desperate, sexually empowered, caretaker, relevant, disinterested in education, honest, average, sexually inappropriate (relative to inter-generational relationship taboos), and alone.

So looking at these portrayals I can see several adjectives that describe the character archetypes which are held in common, these include: recovering from failure or seeking purpose, desperate, average, sexually inappropriate, and alone.

So, what?!

I’m going to take a moment and interject a little bit about myself, so you can understand a little better my own experience and maybe see my bias in things.  I am a non-traditional older student. As an older student, I don’t think any of these portrayals really represent me in my reason for attending school. I am attending college to educate myself in higher mathematics and computer science, as they are interests of mine. In my past I have had successes and failures like any other person, but I am not attending college to try to recover from any particular failure.

Up until this point in my life, I have been prevented from getting federal funding for college because I didn’t register for military conscription with Selective Service between the ages of 18 and 24, which only males are required to do. Over the years I have been denied FAFSA assistance. Luckily, with persistence, PSU granted me a waiver after considering circumstances in my life when I was still of an age where I could register. Getting a higher education is something I always wanted, but was never privileged enough in society to attain.

Contrary to the comical narratives portrayed in these shows, I believe a majority of older students are enrolled in school with the purpose of gaining further education, not because they have a lack of purpose or direction.

All in all, this really isn’t a full look into bias and bigotry in society.  Much of my experience is anecdotal, and observations drawn from a small sample, but there does appear to be a mismatch between social stereotypes about older students and the reality which surrounds them.

Could messaging be promoting societal bias against older students?  Older students do seem to be less connected socially than some of their peers, and the level of prejudice is something that could be studied further.

Does messaging reflect existing society bias against older students? Statistically, older students have been shown to receive far less aid in the form of scholarships, honors, and the like, and make up a relatively small representation of the student body.  Whether these are because of institutional prejudices or because of personal choice is something that would also be worthy of further research.

 All in all, it looks like there may be something present which we can address as a society, looking the mirror of our own expectations. I encourage us all as a student body to look internally at how we feel about people of different ages, and how much of that comes from social conditioning. Ideally, we should strive to judge people for who they are and the merits of their hearts, and not their age, genetics, or other bodily constraints outside their control.

Being able to connect with other people on a real level seems to be less and less common as we continue to add more abstractions to our understanding of reality. Honest, intimate, real. These types of social relations with other people are precious and should be cultivated and treasured.

Why else are we living?

Popular Portlanders

While I grew up in Washington, Portland Oregon has been the place I call home. Upon moving to Portland in 2010, I was exposed to a whole new atmosphere. Life in the city with malls and a river and thousands of people was so unlike my little hometown, and I quickly fell in love. With a vast change in scenery by only driving an hour and a half in any direction, Portland offers a lot to the people who have the privilege to reside within its beauty.

June 2016, High School Graduation

However, the people who reside within Portland, often referred to as “Portlanders”, are perceived by popular culture and media to be people of outlandish and unique characteristics. TV Shows, movies, and music have created a “Portland stereotype” that is recognized all over the nation. These stereotypes include the kombucha-loving, flannel-wearing, bike-riding hipster, or the beer-brewing, tattoo-covered coffee snob and of course, the weird-behaving and bizarre-appearing people who fill our streets and stores.

Now, Portland is growing in popularity and is being recognized as this city of weird and the home of the hipster. Having lived in Portland for almost half of my life, I thought it would be interesting to see how shows like Portlandia and sensations like The Portland Unipiper have painted a picture of Portlanders, and whether these capture realistic aspects of people that I have met in Portland, or if they are playing too far into a fantasy. Upon analysis of popular culture that puts Portland in a spotlight, I believe that popular culture does accurately represent an aspect of Portland’s unique population by reflecting how Portland welcomes and celebrates diversity, even if that diversity is displayed through weird situations.

The first popular culture artifact that probably anybody would think of when they hear Portland is Portlandia. Portlandia is an 8-season TV comedy series that contains parody sketches of what life is like in Portland, OR. The two main actors, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, created the show that first aired back in 2011. (IMDB, Portlandia) The show has become widely popular across the country, being accessible from a variety of streaming services in addition to TV. While the show has grown in familiarity, it has also sparked controversy from those who live in Portland. Portlandia is full of outlandish, over the top comedy sketches that resembles a similar feel to the more widely known series Saturday Night Live. Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, the main actors within the show, take on many different personalities and characters. Some of these characters include feminist bookstore owners, an outdoorsy couple, and hipsters, and resemble different stereotypes that people could expect to find within our city. In addition to the multiple characters, Fred and Carrie move throughout Portland, showing many different locations around town such as Powell’s Books, Downtown, local coffee shops/restaurants, and neighborhoods. From this, the audience can see a lot of real time representation of what different areas of Portland look like. The raw footage from various sites shows the variety in different areas of Portland. (i.e. SE Portland “hipster culture” vs NW Portland high-end districts.)

The stereotypical characters contrasted by the reality of the different locations of Portland is what makes the show more realistic. It puts a heavy emphasis on the differences that exist around town, something that really is true. It reveals all the types characters and how they live amongst each other, all within one town.

Some people, however, look at Portlandia as a poor representation of the people in Portland. The characters from the show are overacted, over the top, and outlandish to further engage the audience and make the show more entertaining. I think it is the addition of the raw material of locations and destinations around town bounced against overacted stereotypes that has sparked the controversies from Portlanders. To those who see it negatively, they believe that Portlandia is trying to present a pure and accurate model of Portland in its entirety but have taken it too far to poke fun at people that reside within those areas. In an article interviewing Portlanders to determine their view of Portlandia and its representation of our city, a native Oregonian and local bike shop owner says that “Hipsters have always been around, but now their highly curated way of life has been given a platform for everyone to see. It’s the absolute worst.” (Cottell) While Justin disapproves of the attention we have been getting for our stereotypes due to Portlandia, he makes a living based on those stereotypes, proving that the things they represent really do exist within our city, just maybe to a slight extreme.

Another interviewed resident, Lisa Ciccarello, explains that Portlandia “wanted to make a caricature of Portland and it did — so much so that now people are flocking here to live” (Cottell) Lisa recognizes that what the show represents is just a slightly exaggerated reality of our city, something that I also observed, and people are coming to be a part of that as they see it as a positive or an attracting attribute. The creation of the Portlandia characters is purely for entertainment and fun, but some viewers are missing that aspect of parody entertainment. With the addition of the actual Portland neighborhoods, restaurants, and popular attractions, paired with these stereotypes of liberal, eco-friendly foodies, we can see a pure representation of Portland and all the things that make it interesting and popular, and the diversity that exists among our residents.

Another popular culture artifact that I thought of when trying to investigate Portlanders in TV was the show New Girl. New Girl is one of my favorite shows. It is funny, quirky, and talks about real problems that young adult women face such as love, job loss, pregnancy, and day-to-day stress (IMDB, New Girl). The main character, Jess, is written to be from Portland, OR, and mentions it throughout the series. I think the reason it makes so much sense for Jess to be from Portland is because she is quirky and weird. She wears bright colors, older time-period inspired dresses, and acts childish at times, by acting oddly and speaking in different voices. The reason this makes sense is because one stereotype of Portlanders is the weird, the over-the-top, and the outlandish identity.

In one episode of New Girl, they travel to Portland Oregon for her father’s wedding, where they flash quite a few recognizable stereotypes of Portland. Besides mentioning the rain and the wineries of Portland, the characters of New Girl mention the “Portland Hippies” and that calling someone weird in Portland is actually a compliment. While I would assume calling someone weird is not much of a compliment, no matter where you are, this represents popular culture’s tendency to highlight the weirdness of Portland.

The final artifact that highlights parts of Portland is more of a social media sensation. He has become more publicly known and is even compared to similar characters across the nation, including NYC’s Naked Cowboy. Portland’s Unipiper is our “Keep Portland Weird” mascot, parading around the city on a unicycle and flaming bagpipes. The Unipiper has started to gain popularity and national attention, making a presence in important moments such as protests, holidays, weather events, and festivals. The Unipiper, shown in the video below, supports the stereotype of weird Portlanders that reside throughout the city of Portland.

While Portlanders receive a lot of attention in media and popular culture, many people disagree with the representation that is shown. We are perceived as hippies and/or freaks, and while the artifacts show this, I think there is a deeper meaning behind just simply us being weird. Similar to The Unipiper, Portland is a city where people are welcome to be whatever they want to be. Whether this means to be weird, a hipster, fitness focused, an up-and-coming barista, or a college student attending a campus in the heart of a city like me, it is all welcomed and celebrated.

Learning Moments from Winter 2018

In Week 3, we discussed issues within advertising and the influence its has on us as consumers. Douglas Rushkoff, a culture theorist, wrote the piece A Brand by Any Other Name- How Marketers Outsmart Our Media-Savvy Children, originally posted in the Times of London in 2011. This article analyzes the strategies advertisements companies utilize to target consumers, and in this specific case, children and younger consumers. This is an issue I had worked on last year in my Race/Class/Gender class, where I analyzed media and advertisements that had directly affected me as a consumer and how it had painted expectations on how I should look/act and what I should buy/do. I looked at 5 issues of Glamour magazine from 2011 to 2012, when I was a teenager and was most influenced by the things I read and saw. I cut out images and words that presented a gender norm or social expectation and compared them to findings that combatted these. The final products are presented below.

From these two images, we can see that magazines present more examples of gender norms and social expectations (left image) than things that defy these (right image.) The extended analysis of how advertising affects its audience and the methods that they use to target consumers through both my previous classes and our work throughout this class has allowed me to be more

Another thing that really stuck with me from this term was in week 5 when we looked at missing representations in Hollywood films. One source from this week, called Every Single Word. In this source, creator Dylan Marron analyzes famous movies and pulls every line from the movie that was spoken by a person of color and puts it into one clip. For the most part, these clips are less than one minute long for an entire movie, representing the lack of diversity within Hollywood films. In one of his videos, he looks at the entire Harry Potter series and all the lines within it that were spoken by people of color. The video was just over 6 minutes long, including the showing of the movie titles. This included actors reappearing throughout the series, and voice actors that were used to voice mythical creatures.

The Harry Potter series, has a total of 8 movies, with approximately 1180 total minutes. Putting this into perspective, it means that 0.005% of the entire series is spent with a person of color speaking. The lack of cultural representation in this movie is alarming, as it is a very popular and widely known aspect of our culture. Watching these videos always stun me, and I have found myself referring to them for both entertainment and educational purposes. Check them out at http://www.dylanmarron.com/every-single-word/ and see if one of your favorite movies is on here, you will really learn from it!

-Brittany Schmid

Works Cited:

Cottell, Peter. “Portlanders Get Brutally Honest on What They Really Think of ‘Portlandia’.” Thrillist, 16 Aug. 2017, www.thrillist.com/lifestyle/portland/portlandia-tv-show-review-portland-people.

dylanmarron. “Every Single Word Spoken by a Person of Color in the Entire ‘Harry Potter’ Film Series.” YouTube, YouTube, 17 Aug. 2015, http://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=378&v=x67OjOLj11g.

ethosandaftermath. “Portlandia bike clip.” YouTube, YouTube, 30 Jan. 2011, www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3nMnr8ZirI.

Jaffe, Jenny. “New Girl Recap: Crush Pond.” Vulture, 18 Feb. 2015, www.vulture.com/2015/02/new-girl-recap-season-4-oregon-wedding.html.

Martin, Patrick. “Here is a video of a man playing flaming bagpipes while riding a unicycle in a Star Wars costume.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 14 Dec. 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2017/12/14/here-is-a-video-of-a-man-playing-flaming-bagpipes-while-riding-a-unicycle-in-a-star-wars-costume/?utm_term=.1856b9db4b3f.

Marron, Dylan . “EVERY SINGLE WORD.” Dylan Marron, www.dylanmarron.com/every-single-word/.

“New Girl (TV Series 2011– ).” IMDb, IMDb.com, www.imdb.com/title/tt1826940/.

“Portlandia (Series).” TV Tropes, tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/Portlandia.

“Portlandia (TV Series 2011– ).” IMDb, www.imdb.com/title/tt1780441/.

Rushkoff, Douglas. “A Brand By Any Other Name – How Marketers Outsmart Our Media-Savvy Children.” PBS, www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/rushkoff/brand.html.

What Influenced Your Perception of Single Motherhood?

For decades, single mothers have been shamed and looked down upon in our society. They are commonly portrayed as inadequate, lazy, and as abusive of the welfare system. Historically, there has not been a positive connotation to the title single mother, and it has only very recently become less stigmatized. Despite the normality of being a single mom, there is not a significant amount of popular culture references to the lifestyle. Although there are few TV/movie single mother plots, the ones that do exist are frequently criticized for glazing over the realities of single motherhood, leading to mothers feeling like they don’t get accurate representation in the media. This representation not only impacts mothers, but is also harmful for children to have their mother’s deal with such harsh stereotypes.

I grew up with a single mother who had three children with three different fathers, and I wanted to focus on the way that I saw stereotypes affect my family and I. My mom was not a single mother by choice, it was very much so circumstantial. Based off of the stereotypes that were attached to single motherhood, I felt a sense of shame and guilt frequently throughout my childhood. I felt like it was a bad thing that we didn’t have a father in the home, and I didn’t understand why my family was ‘different’ than others.

I was the oldest of three, and while my mom was going through college I took on a large responsibility of caring for my younger siblings when necessary. We didn’t have a lot of money, but everything my mom made she gave to us. Any financial assistance she received went towards providing a stable home where we didn’t have to fully see how little she was working with. What was provided to us based off our family financial needs was never used for anything but the purpose of meeting basic needs for us. Many people believe that single mothers abuse any assistance that they are given, or that their assistance is not deserved. For single mothers, that is such a frustrating stereotype because so many single mothers work as hard as two parents would work combined, and that stereotype takes away the credit they deserve.  A common misconception is that single mothers are a driving cause for high poverty rates here in the United States. Single mothers are seen as taking more than they need, or sometimes trying to profit off the financial assistance they are given.

Beautiful portrait of a mother with her two sons outdoors

A show that represents single motherhood poorly are the 16 and Pregnant, and Teen Mom series. These shows follow young mothers throughout their pregnancy and then throughout the children’s lives up until now. Many of these young moms end up single mothers. This show essentially shows what is easily consumed by media. It focuses on the extremes, like the highs and the lows, and it doesn’t necessarily deal with the essence of single motherhood. When watching these shows you get the sense that single motherhood makes your life chaotic and all over the place. It is important that viewers are able to recognize that shows like these are fabricated reality TV, and it is not this raw, unedited show many view it as.

An article I found that works to disprove the claims and ideas that single mothers are a leading cause for high poverty rates in the United States. The article is titled ‘Single Mothers Are Not the Problem’ by David Brady, Ryan M. Finnigan and Sabine Hubgen, and discusses how no group in America is linked to poverty rates more so than single mothers. When the poverty scholars formed a bipartisan panel to write a “Consensus Plan for Reducing Poverty” in 2015, their first recommendation was to promote a new culture around marriage and new norms for parenthood. In response, they prove that single motherhood isn’t the cause for American poverty. Brady, Finnigan and Hubgen recently published a study in the American Journal of Sociology, noting that reducing single motherhood rates does not substantially reduce poverty. They prove that single-mother families are a smaller percentage of society than people assume. It has declined in percentage from 10.5% in 1980, to 8.8% in their last study from 2013. In turn, because single-mother family rates are lower than expected, reductions in single motherhood would not make a large dent in poverty rates. They go on to say that we have high poverty rates because of the way we penalize our four major risks of poverty, which are unemployment, single motherhood, low levels of education, and forming households at a young age. They give examples like if you lack a high school education in the United States, your probability of being in poverty increases by 16.4%, where in 28 other rich democracies, lack of education only increases the probability of poverty by less than 5%. This article simply disproves the idea that single mothers are at blame for the high poverty rates the United States maintains.

Single mothers historically have not had the deserved space to claim what is theirs, and have had to slowly break down the many barriers in the way of their equality to mothers in dual parent relationships. A circumstance that has become a more common occurrence are single mothers by choice. As single motherhood gradually becomes more socially accepted, more mothers have begun to feel comfortable with making the intentional decision to go into single motherhood. An article that touches directly on this is called ‘Doing the Right Thing? Single Mothers by Choice and the Struggle for Legitimacy’, by Jane Bock. She begins the article by mentioning that rates of teen pregnancy, drug abuse, and behavioral problems are higher within in single-parent households than in dual parent households. She also mentions that families run by single-mothers are statistically the poorest of all major demographic groups. The use that information is used to go on to say that single mothers are commonly attacked because of those statistics. Single mother and welfare-dependent have become synonymous. The article notes that there is a new wave of single mothers, who happen to be mid-age, and they have inherited the stigma of their poorer younger sisters. Bock reveals that the new entry of middle-class women into single-parenthood has sparked conversations about whether single-parent homes are ‘legitimate’. The term Single Mother by Choice, SMC, is coined, which is single women claiming their entitlement to make this decision. They acknowledge that this is a way for them to separate themselves from other single-mothers who are represented as the ‘real’ problem. Overall, this focuses on the legitimacy at hand with when a single mother raises a child, and either praises or condemns the single-mothers. In response to this movement, it becomes apparent that those who are able to make this claim are individuals with privilege. It is critical to acknowledge that single motherhood looks completely different for those who are not white.

An example of how different single motherhood can be is shown from the event summarized in the article ‘Foster Care as Punishment: The New Reality of ‘Jane Crow’’, by Stephanie Clifford and Jessica Silver-Greenberg. This is an article about the higher risks African American mothers living in poverty face of having their children removed from their care, likening it to Jim Crow laws. A mother put her child to sleep, and is bathing per usual, and when she gets out of the bath, she is not able to find her daughter. Her daughter was 5, and was looking for her mom and once she couldn’t find her, her daughter Deja headed to her grandmother’s house. When the mom went to the police to receive help with finding her daughter, and bringing her home safely, but instead, authorities removed her daughter from her home, and placed her in foster care. She was then charged with endangering the welfare of a child. There was no benefit of the doubt in this situation. Her child was taken into foster care, and when returned, for these minor infractions, the single mother still had to be in the ‘system’, and remain under monitoring with frequent home visits from authorities. She dealt with stigma and trauma when she was already living in a society that doesn’t support that community of single moms already. The purpose in this article is to highlight how institutional racism impacts single mothers and their children, especially when focusing on the unfair threat of having a child taken away from you if you are a single black mother living in poverty. In this article we see that instead of mothers being seen for their sacrifices they are judged and penalized. Single mothers are often compared to the perfect standard of mother, and when unmet, they become criticized. That idea of perfection is going to hurt less privileged mothers more, as shown in this article.

The enforced stigma around single motherhood is harmful to so many. The common stereotypes that are pinned on single mothers makes me think of the Chimamanda Adichie concept of the danger of a single story. Chimamanda uses the example of how Africans are categorized as starving, poor humans over and over again, and after long enough, that becomes the single story for those in Africa. I see similarities in this because after the continuous labeling of single mothers as lazy, accidental, and welfare dependent, people reduce individual single mother’s stories to one.

Throughout the course of this class I have taken away many tools and skills that can be useful in any environment, including outside of school. We have spent much of this term focusing our attention to issues and topics that provoke thought, while also listening to the variety of opinions and perspective from students in this class. Through the process of critically analyzing sources in this class I have gained a great tool set for looking at issues deeper and more wholesomely. I was able to take a lot out of reading other student’s responses to the assigned material. I feel lucky to have had access to a class such as this, and the online aspect was intriguing because I think we were able to see a really honest side of people. Many people feel more comfortable opening up online, and our weekly assignments were grounds for critical thinking and expressing our honest thoughts and ideas.

References
Bock, Jane D. “Doing The Right Thing?” Gender & Society, vol. 14, no. 1, 2000, pp. 62–86.,
doi:10.1177/089124300014001005.
Brady, David, and Ryan. “Single Mothers Are Not the Problem.” The New York Times, The New
York Times, 10 Feb. 2018, http://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/10/opinion/sunday/single-mothers-poverty.html.
Clifford, Stephanie, and Jessica Silver-greenberg. “Foster Care as Punishment: The New Reality
of ‘Jane Crow’.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 21 July 2017,
http://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/nyregion/foster-care-nyc-jane-crow.html.

The Portrayal of Japanese People in Film and Television

I have many memories of growing up with Japanese culture, but one of my fondest memories was going to Hiroshi’s Anzen, a small Japanese market in NE Portland. It’s been closed for about four years now, but I remember going there almost every week after school where my dad would buy me one nikuman (a steamed bread-like bun) and a bottle of Mitsuya Cider (Japanese soda similar to Sprite). I went to the store so often that a lot of the employees became family friends to me. Since Hiroshi’s Anzen was probably one of the only Japanese stores on the eastside of Portland, it became a hub for a lot Japanese people in the area. It really felt like a little community. Being apart of that community and interacting with a lot of Japanese people had really grown my love for being Japanese. With that being said, I thought it would be interesting to see how Japan and its people are portrayed in popular media, specifically television and film. For this project, I chose to analyze an episode of The Last Samurai, HBO’s Girls, and Lost in Translation.

The Last Samurai

Directed by Edward Zwick, The Last Samurai centers around Captain Nathan Algren. Played by Tom Cruise, Captain Algren is an alcoholic who is traumatized by his actions during the American Indian Wars. He is given the task by Omura, a Japanese businessman, to train the country’s first army in modern warfare to defend Japan’s new emperor from a samurai-headed rebellion. When Algren is captured by the samurai rebellion, lead by Katsumoto, he becomes assimilated in Japanese culture and develops sympathy and respect for the samurai who are angry about the spread of modernization and fall of power of the samurai in Japanese society. Algren and the samurai then develop a bond to face the rising tension between the modernization of Japan and old Japanese ways.

After watching The Last Samurai, it was evident that the movie portrayed the Japanese in need of “of a white man [to teach] the rapidly modernizing Japanese how to honor the past” (Shin). When the film begins, feudal Japan and bushido were the oddities, or things that needed to be changed,  of the Japanese since Captain Algren’s original intent for being in the country was to train Japan’s army in modern warfare (westernize them). As the movie progressed, the modernization of Japanese society became the oddity of Japan. What was particularly interesting about this was that this realization of cherishing Japan’s old ways wasn’t realized until Captain Algren, who represents the west, pointed it out. When the samurai army is defeated by the imperial army, Algren delivers Katsumoto’s sword to the Meiji Emperor. As he does this, he “reminds the emperor that Japan had a great tradition that should not be forgotten. Moved by Algren’s speech, the emperor ends his pro-Western modernization policies on the spot…” (Shin) by saying “…We have railroads and cannon, Western clothing. But we cannot forget who we are. Or where we come from” (The Last Samurai). Despite Katsumoto pleading with the emperor to stop the modernization of Japan, he was unsuccessful. Having Captain Algren easily able to stop the emperor’s policies  shows that the film “is another cliché of the West enlightening the East” (Shin).

HBO’s Girls 

Written by Lena Dunham, HBO’s Girls revolves around the lives of four young women living in New York City. In the episode “Japan,” the writers wanted to give “Shoshanna [one of the main characters from the show] the chance to find herself without the other girls…” (Hanaway). With that,  the writers “crafted a story arc in which… the somewhat timid Shoshanna finds and accepts a marketing job in Japan, which is where the cameras pick up and tell her story” (Hanaway). When Shoshanna makes her way to Tokyo, she is seen waking up in her big and colorful apartment. Once ready for the day, she is then making her commute to work while bubblegum pop like music is heard playing in the background. At work, it’s shown that Shoshanna takes a liking to one of her co-workers. Throughout the episode, Shoshanna is seen interacting with her Japanese coworkers by going to bathhouses, clubs, and a fetish bar.

The Tokyo Nightlife Shown in the Episode

The Fetish Club Shown in the Episode

After watching this episode, I noticed how it seemed to emphasized the eccentricity of Japan and its people by exaggerating only the weird aspects of the country. My assumptions were confirmed in the director’s commentary of the episode as the actors spoke extensively about the wacky parts of Japan like Takeshita street in Harajuku (a district known for its quirky fashion), Tokyo’s nightlife where the people there “were total characters” (HBO 2016), and the fetish clubs. To further that, the actors made comments like “people look costumed, but they are just living their normal life” (HBO 2016) and “… as crazy as it looks, it’s reality there in some ways” (HBO 2016). While emphasising the wacky parts of Japan isn’t particularly harmful, it does present the viewer with the idea that Japan is an ultra weird place even though the things presented in this episode only represent a small portion of Japan.

Lost in Translation

Rewinding to 2003, Sofia Coppola captures the experience of two strangers in Tokyo, Japan in her critically acclaimed movie, Lost in Translation. The American romantic comedy centers around Bob Harris, a washed up actor, and Charlotte, a young college graduate. Bob Harris and Charlotte form a strong bond in Japan,  a country’s “whose language and customs are mysterious to them” (Wheeler 63) and in turn, rediscovering themselves.

Despite beautifully capturing the mesmerizing bright lights of the billboards that illuminate the skyscrapers in Tokyo and the overwhelming size of the city, it felt like the movie also emphasised the oddities of Japanese people. After watching the film, it felt very apparent that there was a huge contrast between the Japanese and American characters in the film. To go more in-depth, it felt like the Japanese characters were made to act very exaggerated in an effort to look weird, whereas the American characters were shown as exhibiting a more calmer demeanor and thus, appearing more normal.  This was notably evident in the scene where Bob Harris is visited by a prostitute. In this scene, the prostitute butchers her l and r pronunciation by saying “Lip my stocking” (Lost in Translation). Unable to understand what she was saying, the two continue to exchange words until Bob realizes that she wants him to rip her stocking. When he is about to rip them, she suddenly throws herself onto the floor of the hotel bedroom and starts rolling around while saying “Don’t touch me, Mr. Bob Harris” (Lost in Translation). Bob Harris is shown looking unamused and confused while she continues to roll on the floor. The stark contrast between the Japanese and American character in this scene is noticed when the Japanese character “ends up on the floor thrashing about as a disconcerted Bob looks on” (Wheeler 64). Besides the prostitute scene, the peculiarities of Japanese people are further shown like “the young boy in the arcade cavorting wildly, the hopeful politician hopping around like a rabbit outside a van driven by his campaign team,… the condescending commercial director imploring Bob to ‘raise his tension,’… [and] the men on the subway reading perverted comic books…” (Wheeler 64).  These strange scenes were “all noted with smug contempt by Charlotte and especially Bob” (Wheeler 64).To further this, a movie reviewer from The Guardian writes that, “The good Japan, according to this director, is Buddhist monks chanting, ancient temples, flower arrangement; meanwhile she portrays the contemporary Japanese as ridiculous people who have lost contact with their own culture” (Day). This exaggerated portrayal of Japanese people can be seen as harmful as this movie is considered a “critically acclaimed” film and with that, can heavily influence the perception of how people view the Japanese. Just reading the YouTube comments on a lot of the clips about the film show how people think the Japanese are weird based on what was shown in the film.

Whiskey Commercial Shoot

Conclusion:

From practically being told how to honor the past of their own culture by a non-Japanese person to acting really weird on screen, analyzing the way Japanese people are portrayed in television and film was interesting to me as I had not realized how foolish the Japanese were being portrayed. Despite the portrayal not being as severe as other groups of people, the portrayal seems to have already influenced society as I am noticing more people generalizing Japan as weird or weak. With that being said, I think it’s   important for the media to accurately portray minority groups as inaccurate portrayals has the “power to impact intercultural relations and on the life possibilities of marginalized groups” (Watt 33). I am fortunate to be able to see through the stereotypes of Japanese people as I grew up surrounded by Japanese culture, but many aren’t. Despite the portrayal of Japanese people has gotten better, I think it could get better.

Class Take Away:

As this class is coming to an end, I thought the most important thing learned is to always try and examine beyond what is presented to you. I think there is a huge “… temptation to view the world in simplistic, binary terms…,” (Watt 33) and you will be presented with content that may not truly “…reflect lived experiences…” (Watt 33). With that, it is very important to keep an open mind and never take things face value as “they have the power to impact on intercultural relations and on the life possibilities of marginalized groups” (Watt 33). A relevant example to this class would be the doltish dad trope. It’s important to see beyond the dad being clueless when it comes to kids because it is a “genuine block to social progress” (Rosin).

Another important thing learned from this class would be from week 1 about the online filter bubbles. I’ve heard about websites using an algorithm to generate interesting content for the viewer, but I was not aware about how different the content would be from person to person. In Eli Pariser’s TED Talk, he showed how one of his friend’s search results didn’t contain content about a big media event whereas his other friend’s search results included it. Learning this is very important, as it will make me more skeptical of my search results and force me to research deeper so I can get objective content.

Works Cited

Coppola, Sofia, director. Lost in Translation. Universal, 2004.

Day, Kiku. “Kiku Day: Totally Lost in Translation.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 23 Jan. 2004, www.theguardian.com/world/2004/jan/24/japan.film.

Dunham, Lena, director. HBO Girls 5×03 Shoshana in Tokyo. | Japan Episode 1/2 62,411 Views. HBO, 2017.

“Girls Japan.” Dunham, Lena, director. Season 5, episode 3.

Hanaway, Tom. “Lena Dunham Brings ‘Girls’ to Tokyo for a Fifth Season Episode.” The Japan Times, 13 Aug. 2015,

www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2015/08/13/tv/lena-dunham-brings-girls-tokyo-fifth-season-episode/#.WoDTnZM-eDU.

HBO. “Girls Season 5: Shoshana Takes Tokyo (HBO).” YouTube, YouTube, 6 Mar. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1saERch9XI.

Rosin, Hanna. “TV and Film’s Doltish Dad Gets a Makeover.” Slate Magazine, 15 June 2012, www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/06/what_to_expect_and_up_all_night_the_doltish_dad_on_screen_is_changing_.html.

SHIN, MINA. “Making a Samurai Western: Japan and the White Samurai Fantasy in The Last Samurai.” The Journal of Popular Culture, Blackwell Publishing Inc, 28 Sept. 2010, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-5931.2010.00787.x/full.

Watt, Diana. “Journal of Media Literacy Education.” “The Urgency of Visual Media Literacy in Our Post-9/11 World: Reading I” by Diane Watt, 2012, digitalcommons.uri.edu/jmle/vol4/iss1/4/.

Zwick, Edward, director. The Last Samurai. Warner Bros., 2003.

 

Yellowface in Hollywood

 Introduction

As an Asian America film student trying to put my name out there for recognition, applying for audition after audition. I noticed one major thing, seeing auditions requirements for “looking for Caucasian male needed” or “looking for Asian American actors/actresses fluent in Chinese.” I found myself sitting there thinking about how about how Asian American actors and actresses in the film industry have been misrepresented and miss treated over the decade. Mass Media through the ages have altered the perception of viewers on how we see Asian American stereotypes from the film industry in today’s society.

Through time one thing that almost everybody often looks past is the competitiveness of the film industry and how hard it is to get a role in general. Not only is it hard to find a role in general there are a lack of roles for Asian American actors and actresses, and the role selection for us (Asian Americans) are often stereotypical which gives viewers a false perception of Asian Americans in general. Through mass media Asian American’s are put under a completely false depiction of our community and we often never get the credit or the time to show on how hard it really is being an Asian American in the industry.

Overused Stereotypes

 

In an article published by Complex written by Nada Kareem Nittle in 2017 talks about the five most overused roles commonly more available to Asian American actors than a normal primary role to a non-Asian actor trying to make their way into the industry. This Article was published on Complex news and talked about five key overplayed stereotyped for Asian American actors/actresses. The first stereotype would be the most commonly used in the early 90s would be the “Kung Fu” master, the Asian American role where they are just only present because of their physical capabilities. One key example for that role would be Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan in practically all of his roles. Following that role would be the ‘Dragon Lady.” Since the early days of film these dragon ladies play as extremely pretty and cannot be trusted. One key example would be the character Lotus Blossom in the film China Doll (1958.) The next following role would be the geeks, often times in shows and movies the depiction of an Asian American character is usually the tech guy/girl or math whiz. An example of the geek role could be found in the film 16 Candles (1984) the character Long Duk Dong plays the epitome of the nerdy Asian guy.  The last two most commonly used roles play more of a secondary role to most films and shows and they are the “Foreigner” and “Prostitute.” These are the more common roles in modern day cinema for example, in CSI shows these Asian roles become easy target.  And well the prostitute role is self-explanatory, notable movies where this role is used “Full Metal Jacket.”  These roles truly are over used but in reality, but what most viewers do not commonly see is the fact that these roles are practically the only roles for Asian American actors and actresses. These roles play a huge misconception of stereotypes towards Asian American’s in the film industry making viewers believe that these stereotypes actually exist in the real world.

 

Losing Opportunities

 

Stereotypes in the media are especially harmful given that the Asian American community is woefully underrepresented on the large and small screens alike. According to the Screen Actors guild, “Only 3.8 percent of all television and theatrical roles were portrayed by Asian Pacific Islander actors in 2008, compared to 6.4 percent portrayed by Latino actors, 13.3 percent portrayed by African Americans and 72.5 percent portrayed by Caucasian actors.” The statistic shows how drastically small the percentage of roles given to Asian American actors compared the vastly incredible amount given to Caucasian actors and actresses. Through that comparison through of percentage a statistic was given and had said that 1 in 8 Caucasian actors and actresses were given a role compared to the 1 in 24 roles given to an Asian American. On top of the lack of roles for Asian American, over the past century abundant amounts of Asian American characters in stories were given to Caucasian actors and actresses. Through the ages Asian character roles have been consistently taken by white actors and actresses. From the most commonly known one as Scarlet Johansson playing the character Major Mokoto Kusanji in the film Ghost in a Shell (2017) A Japanese comic franchise. Or in the film Aloha (2015) based off of the novel where the character Allison Ng a half Hawaiian half Chinese character is played by Emma Stone. The Year of Living Dangerously (1982) the character Billy Kwan was played by Linda Hunt, a middle-aged Caucasian woman during that time. Not only did she play the role of an Asian male in the film she actually won an Oscar for Best supporting actress. Following that the film Remo Williams (1985) the actor Joel Grey born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio plays the Korean character Chiun. Taking a trip back to the earlier days of film, the film series Charlie Chan (1931-1946) the primary lead role of Detective Chan was not only played by a white male but three different white males (Warner Oland, Sidney Toler, Roland Winters) over the two decades of this series.  It is quite astonishing on the numerous amounts of roles that were originally for Asian American actors and actresses were casted to Caucasian actors and actresses.

 

Speaking Up

An article published by the New York times interviews Asian actors and actress Constance Wu, Daniel Dae Kim, and Aziz Ansari. This interview follows each of them and their hardships through the industry. Constance Wu an Asian American actress who speaks on the issue of how Asian American actors and actresses get treated fairly worse in the film industry. She had a lead role in the TV show Fresh Off the Boat, which was highly considered extremely controversial to the Asian American community but to a non-Asian viewer it was a hit TV show and found it hilarious. Using a lot of stereotypes of Asians as humor towards its show. Constance Wu exposes the industry on how Hollywood has made somewhat of a humoring topic to be an Asian American in Hollywood. Although she gets a lot of mixed reviews from the Asian American community on her controversial role, but states by her “I was focused on the task at hand, which was paying my rent.” Following Constance Wu’s segment is Daniel Dae Kim’s moment, the former star talks about his hard ships in the industry even on regards of contracts and wages for filming the hit TV show Hawaii 5.0 on how his white co-stars would get faster treatment in regards to their contracts compared to him and other Asian co-stars. “It was very notable to me when I would see an Asian face on screen when I was growing up, it never really occurred to me how few there were until I saw one.” as stated by Kim in his interview.  Lastly, the final segment of the interview follows Aziz Ansari, the director and lead role in the hit Netflix show Master of None, he stated why he chose to create this show and it was because he wanted to make a show where an Asian American actor was the lead role and did not follow any of the stereotypes that Hollywood had projected them as. When you go into an audition room and you see a bunch of people that look like you, and you start feeling like. I’m not here for me… I’m here because I fit what looks like the person they want.” As stated by Ansari he talks about his actual hardships of the film industry which inspired him to create the first show starring an Asian American as a lead role.

Conclusion

As shown above all sources and examples show the common misconception of Asian actors/actresses in the film industry. The opportunities of roles given to an Asian American actor/actress is drastically lower than a Caucasian actor/actress. The limited number of roles given to Asian American’s often times play to a more stereotypical casting, giving viewers the misconception of Asian American actors and actresses.  On top of the lack of opportunity for these racial roles, Caucasian actors/actresses are being casted for Asian characters taking away from the limited opportunities towards Asians. Mass media has altered the view and overlooked the hardships of Asian American’s in the film industry, we often invisible or the butt of a joke.

What did I learn

Through my research and writing I learned quite a few things about this topic, being a film student, I thought this topic would have been easy to me but I was completely in awe of the research I found. I learned that Linda Hunts Oscar winning performance was her role for playing and Asian Man. Being somewhat in the industry myself I found that even the more notable Asian American actors and actresses still go through the hardships of what aspiring Asian American actors and actresses go through.

Work Cited

Nittle, Nadra Kareem. “Why Hollywood Should Drop These 5 Asian American Stereotypes.”ThoughtCo, www.thoughtco.com/asian-american-stereotypes-in-t-film-2834652.

Hess, Amanda. “Asian-American Actors Are Fighting for Visibility. They Will Not Be Ignored.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 25 May 2016. Web. 11 Feb. 2018.

“Asian Representation and Anti-Asian Racism in Contemporary Hollywood Film.” Asian Representation and Anti-Asian Racism in Contemporary Hollywood Film | Digital Repository, digital.library.ryerson.ca/islandora/object/RULA:725.

Chan, Justin. “Where Are All the Asian Americans in Hollywood?” Complex. Complex, 20 Oct. 2016. Web. 11 Feb. 2018.

Mexican Immigrants Depiction in American Pop Culture

Growing up, I would say that I lived in an area where diversity really wasn’t welcomed. I attended a school of around five hundred students where there was a total of five Hispanic students, my brother and I being two of them. Now, one thing I always noticed was that I didn’t receive the same amount of discrimination that the other Hispanic students faced. I’m not sure why but if I had to guess I would say it had something to do with the way I acted. Often times my friends would say how I wasn’t like the other Mexican kids in school because I didn’t listen to the same music, talk the same way they did, or get the same grades as them. I personally never paid too much attention to it until this last year when I heard President Trump say, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting” (Young). After hearing that, I couldn’t believe that someone who was running for President could say things like that and still find the support of the people. But slowly, as his campaign continued, I realized that it’s the media’s fault for how we are being perceived by society.

When we look at media today we can see that it is not like it used to be. Everything is at our fingertips so as a society were consuming a lot more and being influenced by it in a larger scale. We’re failing to form our own thoughts and ideas, so we often agree with what we see on television, social media, film, etc. What this means is that were blindly allowing the creators behind the media to influence us with their individual views of others. They have the power to attach stereotypes to a select group of people, which can be a good or bad thing. The reason I wanted to look into how Mexican immigrants are depicted in American pop culture was because to me, it seems as though the media is focused on creating a division among cultures by depicting Mexican immigrants in a poor and problematic way.

News Media Representation of Immigrants

While I was going through my research of how immigrants are depicted in the news I found that 39% of Americans acquire their news digitally (Kinefuchi). Meaning that Internet news has become an essential source that informs and organizes the public’s understanding of Mexican immigration. While some may see this as a positive thing, others see it as a way of manipulating the public. Often times news will use strategies such as “Ideology Squares” to pin audiences with or against social actors in the news (Kinefuchi). Doing so allows the writers to simplify the issue for their audiences. However, in a recent study done by Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) they concluded that the voices of immigrants themselves are grossly missing from news media stories about immigration reforms (Kinefuchi). Meaning that the representation of immigrants come from sources who are not immigrants themselves resulting in negative metaphors and framing (Kinefuchi).

One common depiction that was seen across news sources was this idea that immigrants are like pollution. They’re individuals who “contaminate” the “pure” American identity (Kinefuchi). Personally, I have never faced that level of discrimination, but I know it exist. Now, it’s easy to say this is an isolated incident and that not everyone feels the same way, but research shows that over 50% of stories talking about Mexican immigrants mainly focused on crimes, drug trafficking, or violence (Kinefuchi). So, when the majority of the coverage tells you how one group of people are dangerous or criminals how else are people supposed to act towards them? Again, I bring up my question about how President Trump could continue to have support from the people after his remarks about immigration. Well, it’s simple. It’s because the American people agree with him.

Hispanic Image in American Film

When it comes to Chicano/Hispanic representation in Hollywood I’m often left embarrassed. Too often do I see us being depicted as lazy, unintelligent, criminal, and “foreign.” Frank Javier Garcia Beruman, the author of The Chicano/Hispanic Image in American Film, wrote about how, “…the portrayal of Chicanos and Hispanics in film mirrors the image of them fostered by the media” (Berumen). Having learned how the news depicts immigrants it’s no surprise to also see a negative representation in Hollywood.

However, not all films are negative. In the film Under the Same Moon, the directors did a great job at accurately depicting the struggles Mexican immigrants go through to live a better life here in the U.S. The movie revolves around a mother, Rosario, who left her son, Carlitos, in Mexico in hopes of creating a better life for the both of them. The entire movie is about humanizing the experience. It makes you root for the mother, who is facing all of these difficulties to make her son’s life better. What was even more important was the fact that the movie had an almost entirely Hispanic cast. It showed me that the directors and producers understood how to connect to the audience. Not only that but it also showed those who live in the U.S. what immigrants go through in order to live a better life. I also thought the film did a good job of bringing awareness and reminding people just how hard it is to immigrate to another country. It’s not as easy as some people think where you apply and become a citizen within a couple months.

Another detail I found interesting was this idea of the U.S. being viewed as a bad guy throughout the film. Although the movie was largely made for a Hispanic audience, it was showcased across the U.S. So too do something like that and still be well received by different audiences showed just how powerful the message was. I think far too often we see issues like these brushed aside. Even now with all the deportations going on we see how easy it is for people to forget that these individuals have families. I feel if this specific movie was shown to more people today there would be some more empathy for all immigrants.

Why How We Are Represented Is Important

The most important thing that comes out of representation is how it impacts immigration reforms. In my research, I found a study done by researchers from the University of Cincinnati who found that, “Latin American stereotypes have the biggest impact, while perceptions of Asian, European and Middle Eastern people were not strongly linked to immigration” (Fuller). Thus, how Americans view Latino immigrants effects how they feel about immigration policy, and, in this case, Latino stereotypes have a negative impact on immigration, especially on issues such as unemployment, schools and crime.

Another reason representation matters is because of the way the youth perceives themselves. If the stereotypes showcased by the mass media are Mexican immigrants who are criminals that deal drugs and don’t focus on their education, then we can expect the youth to internalize those characteristics. This in turn can affect their character and opportunities for success. For me, it’s important to provide people with role models they can relate too on a cultural level. Not only that but it helps show society that we are more than just criminals. We are people looking for an education to better the life of our families and ourselves.

The reality is that the US is filled with stories of immigrants who have come to the US and found success. So why not focus on those instead of the negative ones? Why not focus on all the first-generation college students like myself who are trying to get a degree and make a name for themselves? It’s something I started to ask myself while doing my research. I began wanting more representation and more movies showcasing what it means to be Mexican American. I can only hope that as time goes on, we can begin getting rid of these negative stereotypes and show representation not just for my culture but all the ones that make up this country.

Works Cited:

Berumen, Frank J. “THE CHICANO/HISPANIC IMAGE IN AMERICAN FILM.” Harvard Educational Review, Jan. 2018, p. 271, hepg.org/her-home/home.

Catsoulis, Jeannette. “Mother and Son, Divided by Border, United by Phone.” New York Times,vol. 157, no. 54254, 19 Mar. 2008 p.8. EBSCOhost, stats.lib.pdx.edu/proxy.php?url= http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=31332770&site=ehost-live.

Fuller, Dawn. “Who “They” Are Matters: Researchers Assess Immigrant Stereotypes and Views on The Impact of Immigration.” UC Magazine, 20 Aug. 2012, p. http://magazine.uc.edu/, http://www.uc.edu/.

HEWETT, HEATHER. “Mothering across Borders: Narratives of Immigrant Mothers in theUnited States.”Women’s Studies Quarterly, vol. 37, no. 3/4, Fall/Winter2009, pp. 121-139.EBSCOhost,stats.lib.pdx.edu/proxy.phpurl=http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=47550444&site=ehost-live.

Kinefuchi, Etsuko and Gabriel Cruz. “The Mexicans in the News: Representation of Mexican Immigrants in the Internet News Media.” Howard Journal of Communications, vol. 26, no. 4, Oct-Dec2015, pp. 333-351. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/10646175.2015.1049759

Young, Jim. “30 of Donald Trump’s wildest quotes.” CBS News, CBS News, http://www.cbsnews.com/. Accessed 15 Feb. 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Classic Californian” and Portrayals of Norcal vs. Socal

As I myself am from California, born and raised, I have found that wherever I travel I am hit with the stereotypical questions like, “Do you live on the beach? Do you surf everyday and say hella?” Yes I do say hella, but no, I am from Northern California. I don’t live on the beach and go surfing everyday. These stigmas associated with Southern California and Hollywood fill most people’s mind when they think about California. Using several various types of sources, I have strived the uncover these stereotypes while attempting to portray the difference between Southern California and Northern California.

Norcal vs Socal

Let’s start with a comical side to this. Northern California and Southern California generally do not get along! For years people have been attempting to separate this areas, creating two different states. I understand there is bias to this but it is interesting to analyze the common thoughts around each of this areas. If you want, you may click on this link and take a buzzfeed quiz on Are You More Northern California Or Southern California? Find out if you belong in Berkeley or Beverly Hills.”

According to my quiz scores: “You got: NorCal

There’s no doubt about it: you belong in the Bay Area. You prefer public radio to music festivals, hiking to tanning, and windbreakers to short shorts. You’re laid-back and in touch with nature, and you definitely voted for Obama.”

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How to be a Californian

“This is what you have to do to really call yourself a Northern Californian.”

An article’s audience based towards people from Northern California or specifically the bay, attempts to humor those with the stigma and stereotypes commonly held by people of this area. I found it easier to list the stereotypes and stigmas presented as I plan to go more into depth regarding some that people who aren’t from California, specifically Norcal, most likely won’t understand.

Stereotypes/stigmas: Democrats, contrast between NorCal and SoCal, Prius, earthquakes, Karl the fog, hella, vineyards, good Mexican food, Californian stop, surfing, marijuana, festivals, protests, plastic surgery, beach bods (Mullins)

First, I’ll begin with some general stereotypes and then go into specifics regarding the comparison between Norcal and Socal. As I enjoy to examine some of the comical aspects of this, I’ll start with the Prius. Living in Northern California, a Prius will be almost every 8th car you see as people here are very environmentally aware, while if you were driving through Southern California you are way more likely to come across expensive cars speeding down to the I-5. California is also well known for its “California stop,” regarding when Californians slightly put their foot on the brake pedal and maybe slow down to 5 MPH, but stopping at a stop sign completely is practically unseen. When people think of California, various things come to mind such as its several festivals and protests, good Mexican food, and earthquakes because of its placement on the San Andreas fault. Specific to Southern California, its representations include Hollywood, plastic surgery, surfing, and much more.

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The identity of a Northern Californian, and their media representation, can be defined by various ideas and items, many that differentiate those representations surrounded by Southern Californians. One of the first thing that comes to people’s mind is the Bay Area and Napa Valley. San Francisco, a city surrounded by water is home to many people of various ethnicities, and holds many popular tourist attractions such as Alcatraz, Coit Tower, Pier 39, and many more. People of the bay are also known for their lingo, specifically their use of “hella,” and this word is now used across the states. The Bay Area has a large presence in popular culture, and many different forms of media representation. For example, Karl the Frog is the Bay Area’s name for its marine fog, and this fog also has a twitter that gives updates on his status. Napa Valley is another known area for its acres of grape vines, vineyards, and wineries. Alongside this, Northern California has one of the best climates for the production and harvesting of marijuana, and this has become even more big as it’s recreational status has just become legal in California. The land and climate of Northern California greatly distincts that of Southern California.

 

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Portrayal in the Media

I found from the text California History, an article called “California and the American popular imagination: using visual culture in California history pedagogy” that I felt really embodied the identity of Californians. It depicted that, More than any other state in the union, California projects indelible images of material wealth, beautiful bodies, exotic landscapes, cultural diversity, and opportunities for personal reinvention. Ideas about California, both present and historical, exist as a series of visual representations consumed through decades of advertising, movies, celebrity culture, and television shows that have, in turn, produced an infinite number of tropes: the California girl, the California tan, the California lifestyle, California fusion cuisine, California soul, and the ubiquitous California look, which might reference anything from lowriders to Pop art to artificial hair color” (Schrank).

 

California in Films

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The Californiacation

A writer tries to juggle his career, his relationship with his daughter and his ex-girlfriend, as well as his appetite for beautiful women. This tv series open by displaying palm trees and the California coast. With the main character wearing shades and driving at a high speed down the road, he portrays an uptight attitude. Southern California is represented through images of the life on the beach and Hollywood. He states living in the “City of angels” and acts as if he is surrounded by famous people everywhere he goes. I found that this show really utilizes the sexualization of women as the main character constantly has a new sexual partner. It’s interesting that in this series, the protagonist meets several girls due to his celebrity writer status. This portrays a common thought about women in Southern California, specifically Hollywood.

The O.C.

A troubled youth becomes embroiled in the lives of a close-knit group of people in the wealthy, upper-class neighborhood of Newport Beach, Orange County, California. I have acquired a statement about the show that says, “Storylines deal with the culture clash between the idealistic Cohen family and the shallow, materialistic, and closed-minded community in which they reside.” First episode depicts two characters driving down the coast, again the presence of palm trees, water, and surfing is shown. The tv series follows a boy who moves from a not so great neighborhood to a prestigious one in Orange County, a very popular town in Southern California. Because he comes from an area that doesn’t necessarily mimic the media’s representation of the classic California, he notices the differences when moving to the O.C., an county depicting how most view California. This place is very wealthy, prestigious, and the characters act uptight. Most of the teenagers are partiers and materialistic. They refer to the O.C. as a ‘bubble’ with trust fund kids.

Entourage

The tv show Entourage, follows a group of actors and their journey through Hollywood and fame. As they are originally from Queens, they soon have to adapt to their new life in Southern California. This show depicts popular views of California and Los Angeles, for example, the characters run into famous people everywhere they go. Similar to The O.C., both tv shows present an outsider’s view on Southern California and therefore tends to portray many thoughts about the aspects of a “classic Californian” and the common stigmas associated with them. This series also depicts an interesting image as the characters become more materialistic and uptight the longer they live in the Hollywood area.

Is there reasoning to these stereotypes?

Popular culture has developed a specific connotation regarding California, like Los Angeles for example, in the way they view the city and its people. I encountered an interesting article in which the author believed that, “This way of seeing became the basis for a new political subjectivity that prized an inclusive white identity among a heterogenous suburban public” (Avila). As I have been examining the identity of a Californian and the representation in popular media, I didn’t think to examine how this stereotype developed. This brought to my attention a larger issue, and how examining past occurrences and events leading up to the creation of stigmas could explain why we have them today surrounding certain areas or groups.

Learning Moments

I found the library tutorial “searching for resources” very helpful, and discovered many of my sources this way. I am now aware of a several reliable online databases I can use to search for information for school and research projects, and I will never simply search google again. I have always struggled to find trustworthy sources for projects so this library tutorial was definitely beneficial for me.

I encountered another learning moment during week 6 when discussing the news. My perspective was broaded when considering things I hadn’t dug as deep into before, such as general news consumption, including the public’s intake and my own. I became more aware of how most sources of news have a particular audience they are trying to adhere to, and use specific strategies to present their information. Alongside acknowledging my lack of news consumption, I also acquired techniques that I can use when reading news information and also regarding searching for appropriate unbiased sources.

 

Works Cited

Avila, Eric. Popular culture in the age of white flight: fear and fantasy in suburban Los Angeles.  University of California Press, 2006.

Cart, Michael. (1983). Life in the fantasy lane: L.A. hosts ALA. (ALA in Los Angeles). Library Journal,108, 1090.

IMDb – Movies, TV and Celebrities – IMDb. www.bing.com/cr?IG=72DAD90D8B6A43518E4CCA8BD22D0FBE&CID=2259C78A 99C96F3A071ECC2198666E90&rd=1&h=EMb72trYGYc6A1Kf7XtPUGIRt76GCrZIhKrV7SQUF8&v=1&r=http%3a%2f%2fwww.imdb.com%2f&p=DevEx,5065.1. The Californication, The O.C., Entourage

May, Kirse Granat. Golden State, Golden Youth The California Image in Popular Culture, 1955-1966. The University of North Carolina Press, 2010.

Misener, Jessica. “Are You More Northern California Or Southern California?” BuzzFeed, www.buzzfeed.com/jessicamisener/are-you-more-northern-california-or-southern-california?utm_term=.kfx0MGqry#.gnYqvGP7y.

Mullins, Jessica. “How to be a Californian: A look at the good and bad stereotypes.” SFGate, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 Dec. 2017, www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Californian-Northern-California-stereotype-8208447.phP.

Schrank, Sarah. “California and the American popular imagination: using visual culture in California history pedagogy.” California History, vol. 87, no. 1, 2009, p. 62. General OneFile,