About this blog

This blog is a product of the University Studies Sophomore Inquiry Course, UNST 254 Popular Culture, at Portland State University. The essays posted here are written by students at PSU. We hope to educate the interested public by applying critical thinking and analysis to portrayals of types or groups of people in popular culture media.

2 thoughts on “About this blog

  1. Please let Jamie Gibb know that I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Life — It’s the Pits.” I liked the fact that there were sources to back up the information contained within. I also appreciated the subtle sarcasm.

  2. I very much enjoyed reading the post by April Hernandez (2015) about Latina stereotypes in U.S. television (“Sexy, Sassy, Spicy: The Portrayal of Latina Women in American Television”). This cogent, well-written and well-researched essay provides an important testimony for those of us who are not Latinas to read and take to heart. I found it as I was searching the web for first-hand Latina points of view in the wake of the 2020 Superbowl halftime performance of Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. I was looking for a diversity of Latina opinions, and posted this essay — among others — on Facebook as a way of suggesting that stereotypes matter; and that it’s possible that not all Latinas found the halftime show to be empowering. (Not to assume anything about what Ms. Hernandez’s opinion might be today, as it’s now five years after she wrote her essay, but to make the point that these stereotypes are very well-entrenched.) Those interested in following up on this idea may want to check out a YouTube about Carmen Miranda (not the A&E Biography one). It shows that Miranda’s presentation and style was highly exaggerated by execs in Hollywood, after she became famous appearing on Broadway and other venues in NYC. Originally, when Portuguese-born Miranda first arrived in NYC from Brazil, her authentic style was considered exotic, yet it was still more subtle than it became later. When Miranda was featured in movies, she had been “Americanized” by the studio system to support the stereotypes Ms. Hernandez describes in her essay. 80 years later, things have only somewhat improved for Latinas in American media. I hope Ms. Hernandez went on to great success as a student and in life.

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