Female Gamers

Video games have been a big part of growing up for a lot of people ever since games have come out for commercial use from the 70’s and 80’s. A lot of those people though are males.  You may not see a lot of females in the gaming era because they are yet to be really noticed and are slowly being recognized. Like many females today we are harassed, sexualized, demeaned and overcoming the male spectrum. Woman are just as capable at gaming as men as they are with everything else men can do but not all of us are given that chance.

According to the Washington Post men under the age of 18 are 17% of the gaming community while women over the age of 18 are 36% of the gaming community. This study was done by a gaming advocacy group Entertainment Software Association. The number of female gamers age 50 and older increased by 32% from 2012 to 2013.

Many of us who have been playing video games for a long while can say that most women are portrayed as the damsel in distress or over sexualized goddess like warrior/super hero. Games like Zelda, Super Smash bros, Mortal Kombat and some characters in the RPG game Skyrim are a good example of these. In many of the Zelda games, Link, the hero is sent on missions to save his land and also save the princess Zelda, this also goes for the Mario games with princess Peach. As for Mortal Kombat, the women are very over sexualized by wearing bikinis with huge chests and tiny wastes. In Skyrim the females are portrayed as house wives or sexy warriors. I believe because of these games women aren’t looked at as equal when it comes to playing the games with other people.

As games have started changing and adding more female roles (females as the protagonist) more female gamers have started coming to light. One game in particular would be The Walking Dead by telltale games. It starts out with a male main character but soon changes to the younger girl’s point of view. These types of games are not only for men but for women too, or at least that’s the image they are trying to put out there. With games like these it definitely gets more females involved especially the women that like gore. If you were to look on YouTube or type in the search “gamer girls” or “female gamers” you will see a lot of females pop up. Some are videos of girls being scared or being bad asses.

Because games are trying to get more women involved, more women start playing. The game Grand Theft Auto V has a new feature, online gaming, with this new online gaming anyone can play. Meaning they have both genders for your choice and any race you want, the same goes for Call of Duty Ghosts. Video games like this are where women get harassed the most. On a web site called VG24/7 there was a survey conducted by Emily Matthew and she found out that women are harassed four times more than men while playing video games. I for one am one of those females. No matter what game I play I’d rather be male and not use my microphone so no one knows I’m female. I do love games that have female characters or have more female options, but that is just setting us up for tons of harassment.

 

Overall I feel society as a whole views women as lesser individuals when it comes to the gaming community. Whether it be being made fun of for strategizing and problem solving, or being constantly harassed by other fellow male gamers. Women have branched out and become more prominent in the gaming world. More game developers have incorporated females and female protagonists to get more women involved but with the online community and harassment we female gamers will still be scared to fully come to light.

 

Work cited.

Washington Post

 Harwell, Drew. “More women play video games than boys, and other surprising facts lost in the mess of Gamergate” the Washington post N.p 17 October 2014 Web. 06 march 2015

<http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/10/17/more-women-play-video-games-than-boys-and-other-surprising-facts-lost-in-the-mess-of-gamergate/&gt;

VG24/7

Nunneley , Stephany.  “Study – 63% of women polled report being harassed while gaming online” VG24/7 N.p 8 September 2012 Web. 06 march 2015

<http://www.vg247.com/2012/09/08/study-80-of-gamers-believe-sexism-is-rampant-in-the-gaming-community/&gt;

Representations of Male Educators in Popular Culture

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

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

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

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

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

 

Works Cited

Bad Teacher. Columbia Picture, 2011. DVD

 

 

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

 

 

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

Male/Single/35

Tad Johnson

Mirror Essay

12/02/14

Male/Single/35

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

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

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

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

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

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

Works Cited:

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

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

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

Artifacts: (movies)

“Old School”

“You, Me and Dupree”

“Married with Children”

Sources:

International Movie Database (IMDB) for all three artifacts.

3,586 words

Moms Of Special Needs Kids & The Media

Andrea Kempel

Moms Of Special Needs Kids & The Media

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

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

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

Male Feminists in Popular Culture

Male Feminists in Popular Culture

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

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

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

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

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

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

Citations

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

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

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

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

Looking in the Mirror as a Young, Female, Art Student

Shelby Lux

Daneen Bergland

Popular Culture

16 November 2014

Looking in the Mirror as a Young, Female Art Student

With the upbringing of new movies over the past years, common stereotypical portrayals are quite easy to recognize. For example, popular kids are commonly shown to be snobby while smart kids are usually shown as being nerdy and bullied in school. Much like these more well-known stereotypes, art students are shown similarly to each other but shown less frequently. Art students are all portrayed a little differently depending on the movies. Most of the time, these characters are not the focal point and act in the background behind the leading role. Unlike the portrayals in movies that show art students to be outcasts, unpopular and dark compared to their peers, real life art students differ greatly. While comparing the art students in movies to myself, I noticed that my appearance and personality are opposite or more toned down then their exaggerated characteristics. Often times, art students are not the way popular culture media represents them physically, in regards to both fashion and personality.

I, myself, am an art student studying graphic design at Portland State University. I spend most of my days in the art building on 5th avenue with other students that also have a passion for art. From seeing and interacting with art students’ first-hand, it is easy to compare the differences between real life students vs. movie portrayals. For example, in the popular click flick comedy Mean Girls which is a movie about Cady Heron a 16-year-old homeschooled girl, returns to the United States after 12-years in Africa and attends public school for the first time. Janis and Damian who are classmates with Cady warn her to avoid the school’s most exclusive clique, the Plastics. The Plastics soon take an interest. Soon after, Cady is slowly becoming one of The Plastics and Janis plans revenge against Regina with Cady as an infiltrator (Wiki).  One of the main characters is Janis, who is a gothic, outcast art student. She is often looked down upon her other peers based on her exaggerated style and personality. Janis has jet black hair, normally wears black clothing with bold accessories. Unlike her peers she is brutally honest, outspoken, and very different making it more difficult to truly relate with. I had a difficult time even relating to her even as an art student myself.

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After watching the movie, I was curious as to what others thought about Janis and her bold, gothic style. I found this web article called “Where’s the beef?” In it, Peter Rainer mentions “[Cady] immediately gets pulled into a vortex of cliques—the Plastics, the Mathletes, and the freaks and geeks in between” (Rainer). This quote is a clear example of how someone’s appearance effects the way others view them and instantly categorizes them into different groups. Rainer’s article was the only review I could find online that somewhat referred to Janis. Others focused on Cady played by Lindsay Lohan and the “plastics”. It was interesting to me that even with her artistic and unique style, her character blended into the background and didn’t seem as important as the others based on the movie responses.  Janis is portrayed as an artistic freak who is different compared to her surrounding peers.  In most cases, I am very soft spoken, quite in larger groups of people, less opinionated and often wear colorful or neutral clothing that doesn’t stand out that much from a crowd. I have loose light brown waves and rarely wear any jewelry because it makes me feel too dressed up. If someone were to see Janis and me standing right next to each other, it would be easy to recognize how opposite we really are based on our personalities and appearance. Even though, art students are creative individuals and often times think “outside of the box”, their appearance and personalities don’t always reflect this in real life.

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As well as being portrayed as outcasts, art students are often shown to unpopular. In movies such as Art School Confidential which is about how the main character, Jerome pursues his true obsession to art school. As he learns how the art world really works, he finds that he must adapt to the reality that faces him (IMDb). Jerome attends art school focusing on being an illustrator. Before school, he had all these high expectations and ideals of how art school would be like. When got to class, he realized it was not like how he imagined it to be. After a while, he becomes friends with Bardo who is considered to be a loser by others. With this, Jerome is looked down upon by his peers. For example, in classroom critiques negative feedback was given out to unpopular kids even if the quality of work was far better than others. In real life classroom critiques that is unlikely to happen. From my experience, art students tend to judge each other based on the quality of art work rather than solely off of the actual artist. In high school, I do remember there being cliques between students but art students were minimal and usually weren’t constrained to one label. For example, in school I took almost every art class available and I was friends with the students that wanted to pursue the arts as well but that didn’t stop me from being friends with individuals from other cliques. I wasn’t never looked down upon from my peers from my passion and don’t remember ever being treated negatively based off of my status in school. In previous critiques, my peers would give appropriate feedback depending on the art work. With this experience, when I see art students portrayed as being unpopular it’s unsettling. It is difficult for me to watch students treated so badly in movies and even television shows with false interpretations. In real life situations, art students can vary in status and are often times shown in a brighter, positive light.

Shes_All_That

Another misconception about art students that I have heard quite often is that artists have darker souls than other types of individuals. While some art can come off as dark or unsettling, this doesn’t always mean that the artist is. In the movie She’s All That which is about how a high school jock makes a bet with a friend that he can turn an unattractive girl into the school’s next prom queen and his friend chooses Laney, an outcast art student. (IMDb)  Laney who is a high school artist is considered to be very dark and solitary compared to her peers. With past experiences, Laney thought that if she hid away from others, she could escape the hurtful situations that come with being a teenager. She draws inspiration from her troubling past into her paintings such as her mom passing away when she was a young girl and is often times found to be in her dark basement acting as her art studio. Much like Laney, I have made darker pieces which usually held a deeper meaning but I wouldn’t consider myself to be a dark person. I have had negative experiences in my life occur that have put me in a dark place for a while much like other individuals have. For me, to forgive and forget about these negative event, I create. Whether it be: painting, drawing or taking photographs, I enjoy making pieces inspired by what has happened in my life. Doing this, acts as a coping mechanism because it allows me to relive a moment, emotionally deal with it and move forward. I don’t think that constrains me of having a dark, stand offish personality. Many artists will make dark pieces to make their audience somewhat uncomfortable and informed. This darkness does not, more often than not, correspond directly to the students’ personality, usually just an emotional state after a tragic event.

From my observations, the portrayals of art students in movies such as Mean Girls, Art School Confidential and She’s All That are not always 100% accurate to everyday artists. In movies, artists are often shown as being dark, outcasts, and unpopular compared to their peers. While comparing myself to the stereotypical portrayals it’s easy to see that I don’t fit into the “common art student” category based on how I look and act compared to my peers. From the movies I’ve watched I can say, I’m not as brutally honest and bold like Janis, I’m very quiet in comparison. My art work was never judged in a critique based off of my peers’ preference on whether they liked me personally or not like Jerome’s experience. Even if I’m having a bad day, I don’t come across as dark as Laney does in She’s All That. After looking at the above examples, it is easy to see that real life art students are not the way popular culture media tends to represent them physically as well as in terms of personality and fashion. All in all, it’s unclear to tell just based on appearance whether or not a person is pursuing the arts without getting to know them a little better.

Work Cited

Art School Confidential. Dir. Terry Zwigoff. Perf. Max Minghella, Sophia Myles, and John Malkovich. Sony Pictures Classics. 2006.

“Art School Confidential.” IMDb. IMDb.com. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.

Mean Girls. Dir. Mark S. Waters. Perf. Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, and Tina Fey. Paramount, 2004.

“Mean Girls.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Nov. 2014. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.

Rainer, Peter. “Where’s the Beef?” NYMag.com. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://nymag.com/nymetro/movies/reviews/n_10326/&gt;.

She’s All That. Dir. Robert Iscove. Perf. Freddie Prinze, Jr., Rachael Leigh Cook, Matthew Lillard, and Paul Walker.  Miramax Films. 1999.

“She’s All That.” IMDb. IMDb.com. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.

Curvy Women In Popular Culture

“Curvy Women In Popular Culture”

Haley Mills

Looking in the Popular Culture: Mirror Essay

December 2nd, 2014

Throughout the years, heavy women have gone through many different stereotypes, whether it be in the media or with society as a whole. Overweight women in the entertainment business are often times subject to roles that make their weight the main focus and use that to fulfill stereotypes and make humiliating jokes toward their size. Because of this, the characters are looked at as being heavy before they are looked at as being an actual person. Since this is so prevalent in our popular culture, it has become a normal way of thinking within our society. However, there has been a shift in the industry that is trying to counter the way heavier women are portrayed, to show that they are actually normal and attractive people.

In order to understand the change that is happening, we must look at different sources and how they portray heavy women in the wrong ways. One of the main sources of false portrayal is basically every movie Melissa McCarthy plays in. In her movies, her character is often a confident women but mixed in with many other bad qualities. These qualities include being vulgar, lacking personal hygiene, wearing unflattering clothes and having a tom-boy personality. Her role in The Heat summarizes almost every stereotype about heavier women. Another example is Rebel Wilson in Pitch Perfect. Her character goes by the name “Fat Amy” so “twig bitches don’t call [her] that behind [her] back” (Perfect).  Why does this even need to come up in the film? Writers feel the need to point out a women’s weight in the these movies so either herself or others can use it for humorous purposes. Thankfully, there has been a shift throughout the years that is changing the perception of heavier women within the entertainment industry.

It is becoming more obvious that there is a small change happening within movies and television that are trying to normalize women’s bodies and the way curvier women act. In Hairspray, the main character Tracy Turnblad, is an overweight teenager who dreams of winning Miss Teenage Hairspray on the Corny Collins Show. Even though the popular girls in the movie make fun of her, Tracy remains confident and wins Miss Teenage Hairspray. This is a great example because it shows that even though someone is overweight, you can still be talented and achieve the dreams you have set for yourself. Another character who is very similar is Mercedes on Glee. Mercedes is another curvy woman, but she is always dressed well, has a confident attitude and is one of the best singers in the Glee club. Glee breaks many other stereotypes within today’s society, which is why it was such a big success across the nation. In Gilmore Girls, Melissa McCarthy plays a character named Sookie, who is a charming cook. She is able to find love on the show which  is usually not the case with heavier women in the media. Sookie’s weight is never brought up in the show which allows humor to show up in other ways. These shows and movies are just some of the subtle examples that are changing the way curvy women are perceived, but the two that are becoming increasingly popular are The Mindy Project and Girls.

In the Mindy Project and Girls, we are introduced to two different curvier women who approach the conventional standards of beauty and weight in different ways. Mindy Khaling plays Mindy Lahiri on The Mindy Project. Mindy is a curvier women who cares about her looks and dresses in cute and flattering clothing. Mindy knows she could improve herself by losing a few pounds but is happy and satisfied in her current body. In the show, she talks about the daily struggles of life including her eating habits and her exercise routine or lack there of. Mindy has a charming and confident personality and attracts several male boyfriends throughout the show. Lena Dunham plays the character Hannah Horvath on the show Girls. In Girls, Hannah’s character is one who is unconcerned with the conventions of beauty whether it be her weight or the way she dresses. She considers herself about 13 pounds overweight in the show, but that doesn’t stop her from having lots of sex or wearing whatever she wants. In the show, Hannah is nude a lot which is not really the case in television shows or movies for heavier women. This is groundbreaking for us heavier women because society often times tries to make us feel like we should hide our bodies and never exposes them like Lena Dunham does in her show. Both shows have two different takes on curvier women and how they act in their lives. Both are changing the way curvy women are viewed and show that no matter our size we can still be beautiful and do the same things that “normal” sized women do in their lives.

An interesting point to make is that both The Mindy Project and Girls are written and directed by Mindy and Lena themselves. This is one of the main reasons why the shows are so accurate in showing how curvier women should be portrayed in the real world. They are using events that have happened in their lives and incorporating their views on their bodies in their shows. Mindy like her character, cares about her style and looks and realizes she could improve herself by losing a few pounds, but it isn’t a priority for her. When being asked on the Today Show about why she doesn’t do nude scenes she said, “because that means I would have to exercise” (Strauss).  On the contrast, Lena Dunham was asked in an interview why her show has so much nudity and she responded by saying , “it’s because it’s a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive” (Molloy). Lena and her character both tend to act like they don’t care at all about any beauty norms. In society, we have women who are like either one of these women. By having two different types of shows conveying many of the same meanings, it helps women of all different personalities feel more comfortable with their body size.

Being a curvy girl in today’s society, it is very easy to get angry and sad about the way heavier females are portrayed in the entertainment industry. But after taking the time to find shows that are trying to normalize the views of heavier women, I have nothing but hope for the future for curvier girls to be looked at as women first instead of our body size. It only takes a few shows and movies to start a revelation within our culture to start changing the ways heavier females are portrayed. We can only hope that more and more producers and writers can come together and stop having false stereotypes in their shows and start making more accurate representations of all women, so that it is a normal way of thinking for everybody in the world.

Bibliography

Bogart, Laura. “How Melissa McCarthy Sold Out Overweight Women”. Salon. Salon Media Group Inc. 13 July 2014. Web. 10 November 2014.  <http://www.salon.com/2014/07/14/ how_melissa_mccarthy_sold_out_overweight_women/>.

Dunam, Lena. (Judd Apatow, Lena Dunham). (2012). Girls [Television Series].  New York City, NY: Apatow Productions.

Khaling, Mindy. (Mindy Khaling). (2012).  The Mindy Project [Television Series]. Los Angeles, CA: NBC Studios.

Molloy, Tim. :Judd Apatow and Lena Dunham Get Mad at Me For Asking Why She’s Naked So Much on ‘Girls’”. The Wrap. The Wrap News Inc. 9 January 2014. Web. 10 November 2014. <http://www.thewrap.com/judd-apatow-lena-dunham-get-mad-asking-shes-naked-much-girls/&gt;.

Pitch Perfect. Dir. Jason Moore. Perf. Anna Kendrick, Britney Snow and Rebel Wilson. Brownstone Productions (III), 2012. DVD.

Strauss, Elissa. “Why Mindy Kaling — not Lena Dunham — is the body positive icon of the moment”. The Week. The Week Publications. 22 April 2014. Web. 10 November 2014. <http://theweek.com/article/index/260126/why-mindy-kaling-mdash-not-lena-dunham-mdash-is-the-body-positive-icon-of-the-moment&gt;.

Single, White and a Mother

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http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0238784/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2660806/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

 

Heather Hurley

Daneen Bergland; Hilary Gray

Popular Culture

16 November 2014

Single, White and a Mother

When it comes to being a single mother, there is always a stigma that comes with it; whether positive or negative, that mostly depends on the type of media it comes from. Mothers, particularly single mothers, are portrayed in what seems to be either two ways, one of which has to do with low socioeconomic status, the other with being a young mother. If you hear the word single mom, the first thing that might pop into your head is, what kind of money does she make, does she work, or how many kids does she have? The stereotypes that come with being a single mom can be harsh at times, but as a single mother myself, I can understand where some of the thoughts come from. As for how a single mother, particularly of Caucasian race, is portrayed in popular culture the word that best describes the kind of portrayal is, scattered. Meaning there really is no set way a single mother is portrayed. She can play the “dumb blonde” role to “rich bitch” and even is seen as being poor or one who struggles financially.  There doesn’t seem to be one set stereotype, or one set idea of what a single mother should look like or be seen as in the media. I will examine three different popular culture artifacts and take a look at how a single mother, particularly of Caucasian race, is being portrayed and highlight some of the main points or key elements of the artifacts that relate specifically to a single white mother and the different portrayals presented. The three artifacts that I have decided to take a deeper look at are: the television shows Gilmore Girls and Mom, as well as the movie The Single Moms Club. By examining these artifacts and taking a look at significant stereotypes, I will compare and look at the contrast of the portrayal of a single white mother in the media versus in real life, and compare them all to my own identity.

In this first artifact, I will examine the television show Gilmore Girls; produced by Amy Sherman-Palladino, first airing in 2000. The show introduces a single mother, Lorelai Gilmore, who had her daughter, Rory, at the age of sixteen, and is raising her alone. The father is nowhere in sight, nor talked about at all in the first few episodes; which is a stereotype in itself, that most single moms are raising their kid(s) on their own because the “dead-beat” dad is not around. In the first episode, the pilot into the series is one of the best to represent what I am looking for in the portrayal of single white mothers. In this episode, right off the bat a major stereotype of a single mother is present, and that is that they have struggles with money. Although it would seem as though Lorelai has a great job, the manager and eventual owner of her own Inn, and makes enough money to support her and her child, it still doesn’t seem to be enough for the things that they want, not necessarily need, like private school in this case. In order to better understand this stereotype, I will give a brief summary of what this episode is about. Lorelai’s daughter, Rory, had got accepted into this prestigious private school; they were so excited that she had actually got in. Then it would seem as though the amount of money it would cost in order for Rory to attend, was more than Lorelai could handle. Therefore, she had to go to her parents, who happen to be very wealthy, and ask to borrow money. And I highlight the word borrow because of her independent stature, in that she doesn’t like to nor wants to, ask for money from anyone, especially her parents. She had to make it very clear that she was only borrowing the money, and that it would be paid back, and that if it wasn’t for her daughters education and needs, she would not be asking for the money.

One of the more interesting stereotypes present in this television show is the fact that Lorelai had her daughter at such a young age. Not only does it seem most single mothers are represented as having their children young, but it seems to go hand-in-hand with the kind of relationship that the two have; more of a best friends relationship and not parent-child. It would seem in order to have this kind of close relationship with your child, you either have to be a single parent or close in age (meaning a young mother). Another factor could be that the father is not around, he only appears every once in a while. Therefore, if not having a make figure around for her daughter, Lorelai maybe felt obligated to always give her daughter what she wanted. This doesn’t hold true in my case, or for that matter, in many cases where fathers are not present.  Not only do I have to be the mother and father, I have to be the good guy and the bad guy all the time. There is no alternative, so it can get confusing to children, and it doesn’t really allow for me to be that close to my children, I always have to be the parent. As for the being a young mother part, in my situation, I was twenty-one when I had my first child, and although I didn’t finish college or get a career going, there would of been plenty of time, leaving less room for financial troubles of not having finished high school, which most young “teen” mothers don’t do.

Some critics bash the idea behind this series in its entirety in that it does not represent a realistic idea of what is reality; that the relationships, the type of people and the things they do and the way they act; is just simply not real. This is not how people or situation is like in the real world. (Calvin 15). Therefore, it can be said that this can extend to the relationship that Lorelai and Rory have in the show, as well as the portrayal of the life of a single mom. Sure, the stereotype of single moms being young when having their kids is present, but the struggles that should be associated with that stereotype are not present throughout this series. However, in the first episode, as mentioned before, regarding the struggle with being able to pay for Rory’s private education, the unrealistic part is that most of the time, especially a single mother, it would not be so easy to find someone who is able and willing to help you at a moment’s notice when things start getting hard, whether it is financially or something else.

For the second artifact, the television show, Mom, written by Chuck Lorre et al., we see a completely different side of the life of a single white mother. Unlike Gilmore Girls, the reality of the struggle the single mom Christy goes through is more likely to happen in real life; at least when it comes to the stereotypes surrounding single mothers like lower socioeconomic status and financial problems. However, just like Lorelai from Gilmore Girls, Christy also had her first child at the age of sixteen. One example of the differences and change in stereotype being portrayed is Christy has a job as a waitress, probably a more suitable job for a single mother, especially one who also had her daughter at a young age, than say a manager/owner of their own Inn like Lorelai. I make this comparison between Christy and Lorelai because although they both didn’t finish high school, had a child as a teenager and neither has the “baby daddy” present, they are shown in such a different way in the popular culture artifact. Meaning that Christy in Mom actually has to struggle, she doesn’t have the choice of going to her rich parents, which is why Mom is a better portrayal for what a single mother would go through.

Although in the television series, we see Christy working and making somewhat of a living, the fact that she is a recovering alcoholic and has a slight gambling addiction, proves that she is unable to put her money where it belongs, which is evident in  the episodes  “Hepatitis and lemon zest” and “ Figgy pudding and The Rapture.” In these episodes, the family, as well as the grandmother, who lives with them and has her own struggles, gets evicted from their home due to not paying the rent, and ends up moving into a really rundown hotel. These are the types of real struggles I was talking about. This would never happen in Gilmore Girls because she comes from a rich family.

One of the more interesting aspects of this show is the fact that this single mother is being portrayed as having problems with alcohol abuse in the past, which might be a better representation of the life a single mother lives, although it does not relate to my own life as a single mother. This is almost the complete opposite of what is shown in Gilmore Girls, in that there is no one there to catch this mother when she falls, and instead of alcohol problems, Lorelai’s only addiction seems to be caffeine.

The last artifact that I took a deeper look at is a movie written, directed, produced by Tyler Perry called The Single Moms Club. This artifact is different than all the rest in that it not only showcases single white mothers, but there are five mothers in total, two white, two African American and one Hispanic. Although there are many different representations and portrayals with each individual single mother in this movie, I am only going to focus on how the single white mothers are meant to be perceived. One of the single mothers has a great job, lots of money and has only one child; which she had later in life by way of sperm donor. The second single white mother becomes single due to a failed marriage where she ends up with nothing but a house and kids to take care of. She has never worked in her life, and had to let go of the maid, forcing her to raise her kids alone, which she never had really done before. This particular mother also plays the “dumb blonde” role in that she doesn’t get a lot of things, and has to get told things by her friends in order to see something that is obvious to others.  Just by this brief explanation, there really doesn’t seem to be any major struggle for either of these mothers. Therefore, the movie basically doesn’t highlight the real issues that a single mother has to go through; except the fact that when being a single mother, it is really hard to have a life outside of being a mother. This is something that I struggle with and can relate to on a daily basis; in that I am home with my kids practically 24/7, 365 and do not really have a social life. So instead of showcasing the everyday problems single mothers go through, this movie really just represents a way for single mothers to get together and help each other be more social and who can understand what it is like to raise children on your own.

In each of these artifacts, we see several single, white mothers, who all have their own story, and are told in a different way. First we had Lorelai in Gilmore Girls who had her daughter at a young age, and whose lifestyle and attitude are better suited to be a best friend and not a mother. Who is shown to have struggles with finances, but has support when things get too bad. The father of her child is not really around, especially early on in the series, and she has problems finding a man to share her life with. Then on the other end, we have (name) from the television show Mom, who clearly has had several issues in her life from having her first child at a very young age, to having financial problems, to even having problems with alcohol abuse and gambling addictions. However, this is a more realistic view of the stereotype associated with being a single mother, poor, had kids when at a young age, yet independent, and doesn’t have help from other people. Lastly, there is the film The Single Moms Club that gives us a different portrayal of single mother’s altogether. Here, both single white mothers are well-off in terms of financially, and the only significant issue is the fact that they do not really have other people in their lives that are facing the same problems, and together join a group where they can get support. Each of these different portrayals of the life of a single, white mother really does not depict the reality of how a one really lives. The struggles that they go through, the way they are looked at by other, the true identity of a single mother, is not shown in either of these artifacts, and certainly not my identity.  Of course, not everyone is going to be the same, and people are going to go through different struggles and have different ideas of what a single mother should be seen as in popular culture, but the point is that the negative aspect behind the idea of a single mother, and the positive things that are accomplished by the average single mother are really not highlighted at all throughout these artifacts, and it is a shame that not one can hit the nail on the head when it comes to portraying a character to fit the mold that most single mothers go through.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Calvin, Ritch. “Gilmore Girls and The Politics of Identity” Essays on Family and Feminism in the Television Series. 2008. Print.

Vietnamese War

War is a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations.  Moreover, they want to show off the power of the country or greed, inconsistency between two countries. So wars start happen.  It makes human’s life become suffer, and difficult.  In the pop Culture, American people always think and never forget Vietnamese’s war whenever they look at Vietnamese people.  In the past, there have been a lot of wars in Vietnamese history. Such as, China control of Dai Co Viet, France controls all Viet Nam, and Japanese control Viet Nam. At that time, people lived a difficult life and lived a nightmare “Hell life.” Moreover, the war made people lose their house or property and many people lost their family members. It is extremely important to see how the war affect to people life in the view of popular culture. According to “Vietnam War Short Film “by Austin Wieland and Shane Bagwell on YouTube on February 18, 2014. It talked about Vietnamese’ war.  At the first beginning of the film, they used American old man for an example. He was sleeping on the sofa and dreaming. The Vietnam’s war were appearing in his dream. He saw many things in his dream such as: Bomb was destroyed villages, dead body, and injured. After the movie I can tell the old man probability was the American army before and he attended to Vietnams’ war. That’s why he has nightmare about it.  Moreover, the war is over but everyone will never forget those difficult dates of suffering life by war. After the film the send the message that “There were about one million lifetime cases of PTSD as a result of the Vietnam war.“ There are a lot of wars in Vietnam’s history but the most famous and also biggest event in Vietnam’s history was North and South were united in 1976. There are many advantage and disadvantage for this war, and the difference of view between American people and Vietnamese people about the war.

The Vietnam War was an armed conflict between North and South Vietnam.  At that time, the North followed the communist regime, and they called the south “Viet Cong”. They were against South and South’s partner was the United State. According to “Vietnam War” in the history article, the author told about the war between South and North in Viet Nam. The war began in 1954, when Ho Chi Minh and his party community controlled in the North. At that time, they tried to against the cold war the Soviet Union and United States’ army. At that time, there were more than three million people killed by war. In 1969, there were 500,000 U.S military participated in Viet Nam conflict. One more important evident film to see how the war affect to people life in the view of popular culture. According to “Vietnam 1968 – War Short Film” by David Bradbury on Youtube on August 7, 2014. He talked about Southern Vietnam 1968. In the film they showed the panoramic of war like gun fighting, and the chase scene killed each other. Moreover, in the film they showed the brutality of the war affected to people’s lives such as: many soldier was killed by war and injured soldiers. On the last film people can see a Vietnamese soldier with disappointed face.  Then in 1973 the U.S. president ordered all the U.S. army to withdraw. The communists forced and controlled Saigon. Vietnam War was ending, and North and South Vietnam were united as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 1975.

The difference of view between American people and Vietnamese people about the war. In fact, American people look at the war in popular culture about Vietnamese war, and they believe that war was an intentional mistake, and it was so wrong and immoral. Most of the soldier who attended Vietnam’s’ war, and came back said that “They were harassed by anti-war civilians, but these account should not be accepted until systematic investigation confirms them.” According to ” Coming to Terms With Defeat: Post-Vietnam America and the Post-Civil War South” by Gaines M. Foster in VQR, on December 12, 2003. He talked about the war between American and Vietnam. The war makes for American people angry. Some of the soldier said ” Many talk of trying to hide their service; others who did not or could not because of injury, recount sad tales of harassment by angry or scornful fellow citizens. “Did you kill any babies?” they say people asked them. They tell of a passerby looking at their empty sleeve and hissing, “Serves you right” or of anti-war protesters spitting on them. The image of being spit on by civilians.” In addition, the veterans said that they felt defilement, and embarrassing about their action, and they had a sense which society condemned their actions and rejected them as unclean. On the other hand, Vietnamese confederate has a difference look in popular culture. People believe that those soldiers are brave because they didn’t care about their life to protect the country.  Even though the Vietnamese confederate soldiers were fail in the war, they were welcomed and embraced by Vietnamese community. The soldiers said “Confederate soldiers, too, worried about whether defeat dishonored them, but few recounted tales of scorn. They talked instead of how Southerners warmly embraced them. A one-armed veteran likely met not a hostile comment but a bevy of adoring females. Towns throughout the South staged picnics and celebrations to welcome their soldiers. More important, in the 10 to 15 years after the Confederate surrender, Southerners built Confederate cemeteries, erected funereal monuments, and held yearly memorial celebrations in honor of the dead and the veterans” by Gaines M. Foster. These celebrations and memorials are celebrated every years for the soldiers who was sacrificed to protect for the country. It is the pride of Vietnamese community and the country also.

In short, there are many advantage and disadvantage of this war, and the difference of view between American people and Vietnamese people about the war. The advantage is that Vietnamese war help for united the country. However, the disadvantage war is that it killed many people, destroyed many house and property, and people’s life is difficult in this sociality like lose their family members, lose all the house, and property. Moreover, the difference of the view between American people and Vietnamese people about the war is American people believe that war was an intentional mistake. It was so wrong and immoral which their country has done. That’s why the U.S citizens were very angry when their soldiers return, although they were win in the war. On the other hand, the Vietnamese people were very happy and proud of their soldiers because most of soldiers was sacrificed to protect the country. In my opinion, I think the war should not be happen because it is a big problem which affect to people in the both countries in the war life such as: people are suffering about finance, life, lost probability, and lost a member in the family. It is not necessary fight each other. Instead of fighting, American and Vietnam should be friend and cooperate with each other to make the country stronger. On the contrary, in Vietnam both North and South shouldn’t being racist because we are living in the same country and they should accord together to against the enemy. Pass through every war, since many things have happened and finally North and South Vietnam became friend, and people are living in peaceful life. So people in Viet Nam will never forget this event and every year they make a ceremony like every house needs to hang Vietnamese flag, School and companies have a permission to close in this day to memory for this event.

 

 

Works Cited

Bradbury, David. “Vietnam 1968 – War Short Film.” YouTube. YouTube, 7 Aug. 2014. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.. “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxiR1sZUGQ8

 

Foster, Gaines M. “Coming to Terms With Defeat: Post-Vietnam America and the Post-Civil War South.” VQR. N.p., 12 Dec. 2003. Web. 02 Dec. 2014. “http://www.vqronline.org/essay/coming-terms-defeat-post-vietnam-america-and-post-civil-war-south

 

“Vietnam War History.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.” http://www.history.com/topics/vietnam-war/vietnam-war-history

 

Wieland, Bagwel. “Vietnam War Short Film (PTSD).” YouTube. YouTube, 18 Feb. 2014. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6xcRFvL6Ms&spfreload=10

 

Twenty-year-old females portrayed in the media

Hannah Maculsay

Twenty-year-old females portrayed in the media

December 2nd 2014

 

How Twenty-year-old females are portrayed in the media

Social media became a big part of civilization as early as the two thousands. With the rise of upcoming social medias, places, new technology, Popular Culture has transformed a lot through twenty-year-old females. As many people between the ages of ten through middle aged, social media is a huge necessity that is apart of everyday life. Twenty-year-old females go though the struggles of finding that they are and mostly expressing themselves in so many different ways. In previous generations twenty-year-old females would not worry about the constant insecurity of how well dressed or how thin they need to be. It seems as if there is only one thing on a young woman’s mind; which is too protect their image as much as they can. It is extremely important to see how twenty-year-old females are viewed in popular culture.

Cailin Russo is a phenomenal twenty-year-old female model that plays Justin Bieber’s girlfriend in his music video called, “All that matters”. By having the main role in this music video, her modeling career skyrocketed and is now one of the top young female models in the world. The music video gives a sexual connotation to further understand he relationship between the pair. Justin Bieber and Cailin Russo exchange lips throughout the video which made all of Bieber fans wondering, who is the new girl he is dating? With that being said, music videos have been around as early as the 80s. Music Videos that talk about dating, love, or even sexual preferences, often portrays a fantasy love life that most young twenty-year-old girls thrive on. When in reality, Justin and Cailin convey that it is easy to be in a relationship with another person. The video has mood lighting to show the romantics between the two, however if the video color scheme wasn’t blue and red, the video can show the realism that the couple stages. Cailin has blonde hair with green eyes and since she models, she has the slim figure all girls want. Other females who watch this video look up to her because she shows that this is what Justin wants in a girl. The camera angles that are used show close ups of the bottom half of her body. She portrays that this is the way one has to look in order to fulfill Justin Bieber’s needs. The entertainment channel, “E!” gives all the hot gossip on what is going on in all celebrities. As soon as the news is posted on the “E” website, Cailin and Justin’s popularity rating went up. This video was a hit for a month and made twenty year old woman really think about their image and what is important to show off. Most women can agree that music videos interpret things that are not realistic.

Instagram came out in 2010 and is an apple application for people to post pictures for Instagram viewers to “like” their photos. Twenty-year-old female, Jen Selter has nearly one million followers on Instagram due to her derriere. Her Instagram mainly attracts males because of her workout pictures. It is inevitable that men thrive on her Instagram because of her undeniable physique, however females her age look up to her because she models that working out at this day and age is ideal for a twenty year old. There are many controversies over her Instagram because some argue whether it is inappropriate or some viewers are offended. Her point is to make it clear that she works really hard for her body and that it is healthy. It would be a more positive influence on twenty-year-old females if she posted more on how to eat healthy foods, rather than just show off her body and take provocative. That is what makes young females get the ideal look t Instagram and when you have someone posting pictures on how a female should look like, it can be disheartening to some, or inspirational.

http://www.teenvogue.com

There are numerous magazines to promote the latest trends all around the world. Teen Vogue is an amazing fashion magazine to give young adults ideas of different styles that are being worn right that minute. Throughout the last part of the magazine are models posing in different outfits to promote all kinds of designers. Yes, there is such diversity within the race of the models, however seeing plus size models seems very limited. By understanding that designers only create a certain amount of sizes, it can really create image issues for young adults by only seeing that there is one body type in order to fit these trendy outfits. Teen Vogue magazine provides beauty tips, health talk, and personal stories told by individuals around the world. This magazine has had numerous impacts around the world, but something to improve on would definitely be finding more body type models. However, a magazine that shows all body types is called, “Seventeen” magazine. The magazine always had fun colors to attract the readers and for seventeen year old woman to build a trusting relationship with the magazine. There are all kinds of fashion magazines, but there aren’t all types of body types that are modeled in the magazine.

I am truly grateful that I didn’t grow up on the idea of caring what other people think of me. I am a twenty-year-old female and looking at what children have to grow up with now really makes me think how we can change our popular culture back to how it used to be. For an example, what ever happened to playing outside and using your imagination? Instead young adolescents are worried about the next Instagram they should post to see what can get a lot of likes, or how thin they want to look for a celebrity, and how trendy they want to dress in order to impress their figures. It is always an instinct to follow the trends and to be in good shape, but caring about body image can put so much stress on the human body. I am very fortunate of what I have surrounded myself with and hopefully in the future twenty-year-old females can improve the impact we are making today.

 

Bibliography

 

“Instagram – Fast, Beautiful Photo Sharing for Your IPhone.” Instagram. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.

 

“Teen Vogue: Fashion, Beauty, Entertainment News for Teens.” Teenvogue Content. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.

 

ouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.

 

“Instagram Star Has an Enviable Rear – and 1.3M Followers.” New York Post. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.

Female Asian Intelligence in the Media

Thien Kim Duong

Popular Culture: Looking in the Mirror Essay

November 14th, 2014

 

Asian American people haven’t always been shown or portrayed that much in the popular culture. It’s still uncommon to see Asian people represented in the media. But when they are portrayed, they tend to get stereotyped as the super smart nerd or that they all know Kung Fu or some other martial arts. Asian women specifically are barely ever represented in the media. Most of the roles they portray usually end up being the nerds or the dumb pretty Asians which are actually incorrectly represented. Asian female women’s intelligence in the media are never actually depicted correctly compared to reality, if anything they’re sort of negative representations. Some of the stereotypical representations of Asian female intelligence in the media are: Asian females are pretty but very dumb, or Asian females are extremely smart nerds; and if they are represented they’re usually biracial, rarely portrayed as full Asians.

One common representation of Asian female intelligence in popular culture is that they’re pretty but extremely dumb. One of the terms they call this is “Asian airhead” which is pretty much the Asian version of the dumb blond. Being that they’re really pretty and well-liked by others however they’re extremely lacking in the intellectual area. One example that exactly portrays this trope of Asian female intelligence is London Tipton from the TV show series The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, played by Brenda Song. In this role London Tipton is portrayed as an heiress whom is pretty but dumb and tends to make a lot of mistakes. London is of mixed race whom is half Asian and half Caucasian. This representation of Asian female intelligence is lacking and negative because it depicts Asian females as being extremely dumb compared to others. Which is ironically opposite from another trope of Asian, that they’re extremely smart nerds. “Instead of relying on the stereotype of the cerebral and hardworking Asian, Song’s character is constructed in such a way as to destabilize that image: she is wealthy, spoiled, and vacuous, concerned only with her clothing and shopping” (Nilsen, Sarah, and Sarah E. Turner. The Colorblind Screen: Television in Post-racial America). Though London Tipton is given the role as a dumb person however occasionally she does display moments of high intellectual. For example, she is incredibly good at playing chess and writing calligraphy. During the episode, “Smart & Smarterer”, London is seen playing chess with another costar and ends up wining every single match, showcasing how talent and smart she is at playing chess. Which is unusually compared to her normal portrayal of being dumb, which might indicate that the creators tried to give her a little bit of intellectual compared to her normal intelligence. However this is still a very incorrect and negative representation of Asian female intelligence since it extremely downplays an Asian female intelligence as being dumb when in reality, Asian females aren’t that dumb. Though I’m not speaking for every Asian female individual, but I personally don’t think Asian females are as dumb as the Asian airhead trope depicts us as. I think Asian females do have intelligence and intellectual, though the level of intelligence varies to one person to another but it’s incorrect to showcase all Asians females as dumb.

Another representation of Asian female intelligence directly opposite to the earlier trope is about how Asian females are depicted as being smart nerds, who gets perfect A’s in all of their classes. One example is Evelyn Kwong played by Michelle Kim in the TV series, Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. In this TV series, Evelyn is portrayed as a super competitive and the smartest person in her entire school. Evelyn is the epitome of the Asian stereotype of being a nerd. She is shown as an unattractive nerd dressed in all plaid sweaters and khakis whom is exceedingly smart but isn’t so good at interacting with other socially. Evelyn is also characterized as being so smart she’s a bit crazy and tends to belittle and mock others whom are dumber than her. This representation of female Asians is negative because it makes it seems like every Asian is exceedingly smart compared to everyone else to the point that all we care about is our grades and wanting to be smarter than everyone else. Another reason it is negative is because it makes Asians seem like they’re socially awkward with others. These are false portrayals of female Asians, because not all female Asians are smart to that extreme and not everyone is always socially awkward. Every individual Asian female have their own amount of intelligence and personality, some being smarter than others naturally, or being more likeable. It’s unfair to depict all Asians as the same. Just because a large majority of Asians are shown as naturally smart doesn’t mean that everyone is, some people are just really hardworking and strive to do their best in academics while there are others whom are a little bit lacking than others. By depicting all Asians as being outstanding smart nerds, it creates a lot of pressure for Asian females to live up to. It makes it seem as if Asian females have to be super smart in order to fit in with others and live up to this stereotype.

Another illustration of this trope of being a smart Asian female but in a more positive light is through the role of Alex Munday from the movie Charlie’s Angels played by Lucy Liu. In this role, Alex is an undercover investigator spy whom uses their intellect and martial arts ability to fulfill and succeed in missions; while also maintaining her other jobs too like being a neuro surgeon, working for NASA and other top intellectual jobs. Alex is a half Asian and half Caucasian female whom is extremely smart but has a very good social life and is well liked by others. The reason Alex is a better and more positive portrayal of Asian female intelligence is because even though she is still depicted as being a super smart Asian, however she is given a more positive and lively persona that isn’t focused solely on academics. Instead they changed and diverted the focus onto making her role seem more positive and “kick ass”. They made her seem like a really cool and social person that uses her intellect for good reasons, like saving others. The creators were able to make Alex into a really positive role model for young Asian females in which you don’t have to fit in with the stereotype of being socially awkward nerd. Instead you can be a strong, smart and astonishing female who embodies her intellectual and puts utilizes it for greater purposes. This was the role model I personally looked towards while I was growing up. Of the three examples listed, I was able to relate to this female representation the most while growing up, because it was a positive portrayal of Asian females that actually help to persuade and encourage me into realizing my intellect and what I could use it for. This role help morph my ideas of Asian female intelligence and helped me grow up to who I am today, a stronger and smart Asian female that is proud and confident of the amount of intelligence I have.

Even though Lucy Liu’s role as Alex Munday is a positive portrayal of Asian female intelligence however there is still one detail that sort of twists her role a little bit, this is about how she isn’t actually portrayed as fully Asian in the movies; rather half Asian and half Caucasian. In the movies, during the second installment, it was revealed that Alex’s father was actually Caucasian while there was nothing revealed in regards to what Asian race her mother was. This caused an uproar in the Asian community because Alex’s role was supposed to be a positive portrayal for all Asian races, but when it was revealed she was half, people were shocked about it and didn’t understand why the creators would change her identity. In Yvonne Wong’s article, she writes about “Alex Munday in the first Charlie’s Angels film was celebrated as an attempt to show the non-stereotypical side of Asian Americans. Alex Munday was portrayed as an Asian American woman with vigor and confidence, an exceptional rendering that wasn’t constantly epitomizing cheap Oriental clichés. But the implication that Liu’s character is biracial — half Asian and half white — has the Media Action Network for Asian Americans, an organization dedicated to monitoring the media and advocating balanced and sensitive portrayals of Asian Americans, steaming” (Wong, Yvonne. “Charlie’s Angels Sequel Angers Asian Americans”). Wong continues on talking about how the Asian community was surprised at the fact that they created Alex into a biracial person when in the first installment she was clearly full Asian. People were upset at the fact that they chose to turn her into a biracial instead of keeping her as a full Asian. Wong further analyzes the fact that perhaps the creators manipulated Alex’s character into being biracial in order to make it more acceptable to the public, like how the accepted Asian couples in the media are mostly white male/Asian female. Similarity, London Tipton’s character in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody was also portrayed as a biracial character too, being born to a Caucasian father and Asian mother. I think Wong’s view on the biracial Asian character is very true and makes sense. Perhaps popular culture isn’t ready to full accept Asian roles in the media yet. Even though both actresses in each media example are actually fully Asian in reality but are subject to playing biracial roles. I think there’s a very large chance that the creators of both medias made the actresses play biracial roles in order to make them seem more acceptable and recognizable.

Overall the media usually depicts Asian female intelligence as being two different ends of the intellectual spectrum, either really dumb or super smart. There are rarely any roles that showcase Asian females having intelligence that falls in between. Of most of the roles Asian females play in the media, these roles tend to showcase Asian females as being a dumb airhead or really smart, both of which aren’t correct representations to Asian female intelligence. It’s unfair to categorize all female intelligence as being either or, there are many people whom aren’t that dumb or super smart. Each person is their own individual and carry their own level of intellect. I personally wish the media could portray Asian female intelligence a bit more thoughtfully or expand it in a way that is more relatable, by showing the Asian female role in a way that the intellects are spread out amongst many level of intelligence besides the two opposite ideas of dumb/smart. And also try to make some of the Asian female roles be more role model like, in which they bring a stronger more encouraging image to the public to those who learn and watch those media outputs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

     Charlie’s Angels. American action comedy film. Dir. by McG. Produced by Leonard Goldberg, Drew

Barrymore, and Nancy Juvonen. Perf. Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Bill Murray, Sam Rockwell, Kelly Lynch, Crispin Glover, and Tim Curry. Columbia Pictures. Based on Charlie’s Angels written by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts. 2000. Film.

     Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. Nickelodeon. Created by Scott Fellows. Produced by Scott

Fellows, Bill O’Dowd and Jorg Westerkamp. Perf. Devon Werkheiser, Lindsey Shaw, Daniel Curtis Lee, Jim J. Bullock, Daran Norris. 2004. Television.

Nilsen, Sarah, and Sarah E. Turner. The Colorblind Screen: Television in Post-racial America. N.p.: NYU, 04 Apr. 2014. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

“Smart & Smarterer.” The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Disney Channel. USA. 10 October. 2005. Television

     The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Disney Channel. Created by Danny Kallis and Jim Geoghan. Produced by Pamela Eellis O’Connell, Jim Geoghan and Irene Dreayer. Perf. Cole Sprouse, Dylan Sprouse, Brenda Song, Ashley Tisdale, Phill Lewis, and Kim Rhodes. 2005. Television. Sequel was The Suite Life on Deck.

Wong, Yvonne. “Charlie’s Angels Sequel Angers Asian Americans.” Modelminority. N.p., 30 June 2003. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. <http://www.modelminority.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=473:charlies-angels-sequel-angers-asian-americans-&catid=44:media&Itemid=56&gt;.

Feminism & YouTube

Featured

Lauren Wilbur

As a millennial with Internet access, I am constantly wading through media –especially media that has been tailor fit to my exact interests thanks to the World Wide Web stalkers known as advertisers and promoters. One of my most prominent interests is feminism. For the purpose of this paper, I define feminism as equality for all people. I consider myself to be a feminist, I have feminist friends, I follow feminist blogs and groups, and I read a lot of feminist articles. While some of my media outlets are more serious than others, there are also an abundance of feminist YouTube videos that I’ve come across. The content is generally short and sweet, easy to follow, and interesting to watch – a surefire way to get me, someone with a short attention span, to pay attention to until the end. The three YouTube videos I will be referencing today show an interesting paradox between content created for a male audience and content created for a female audience; if you’re a male, feminism is portrayed as something to mock, but if you’re a woman, feminism is portrayed as smart and serious.
The best example of a YouTube video mocking feminism is ‘Polisub: How to Turn on a Feminist.’ This video depicts a man and a woman on a date. The man is explaining to the video’s probably male-centric audience how to pick up a feminist by highlighting points like Hillary Clinton, equal pay, and establishing good eye contact. When the woman picks up on each of these less than subtle tactics, she throws her head back towards the camera and moans or shows ecstasy in some other way until, at the end of the video, the man has clearly gotten the woman to sleep with him.
While yes, some feminists do enjoy – and potentially get turned on, by Hillary Clinton, equal pay and eye contact, not all do. This video generalizes those experiences until they become mockable, further substantiating the ridiculousness that is portrayed. The woman is still viewed as a sexual object who is being lured in by the man who is saying exactly what she wants to hear. Also interesting to note is her appearance – she is blonde and well dressed, the stereotypical male object of desire. While this could simply be a way to say ‘look, feminists are pretty too!’ from a cynical point of view it could also mean that this video further perpetuates a man’s desire and assumed ability to get any pretty woman he wants into bed.
Contrasting the videos geared towards men, videos discussing feminism for women audiences are set up very differently. While the videos still have elements of fun in them, such as the crude language in ‘Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs for Feminism,’ the videos are generally more fact-based and show statistics, talk about real life personal experiences, and are used to educate as opposed to mock. Generally these videos are viewed by feminists and, those who can relate or find the information valuable, share these videos to educate those around them. While this may not always work, the goal of getting the word out about equality is still a worthy cause.
In ‘Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs for Feminism,’ the whole stereotype of young girls wanting to grow up and be proper, beautiful princesses is stopped in its tracks. Yes, these girls are cute. Yes, they’re wearing princess costumes. Yes, there are typical ‘girly’ colors all around. However, as they cuss like a sailor and spout out facts about feminism and equality it is clear that they are no princesses – at least not in the conventional sense of the title. These girls are spirited, intelligent, strong and they can dress however they damn well please – that doesn’t take away from their independence.
A boy is shown in this video as well, dressed in his own princess costume and stating that being called a girl shouldn’t be an insult – that being a girl does not make someone weak. Further highlighting the extreme between what is being seen and what is being said, this video portrays ‘damsels in distress’ who speak crudely and a boy in ‘girl clothes’ who preaches equality. That’s enough for anyone to stop and take notice and, given the amount of views, quite a few people did. These feminists become relatable because of the humor, but the important message of equality is still being taught through the seriousness of their message. They may be cute, but they also know their stuff.
The tone in “WHY I’M A… FEMINIST *gasp*’ is also more serious and is directed to a female audience. The woman in the video uses personal experiences, statistics, news headlines, pictures and definitions to make her point – that feminists are great, and feminism is not only crucial, but something to be celebrated. While she is still dressed nicely and wearing makeup, she also lifts her arms to show off her hairy armpits in the video. She labels feminists as women who can do what they want, stereotypes and social stigma need not matter. She comes off as intelligent and passionate, not crazy.
A man also appears in this video to further drive in the points that the woman had been making. He asks the audience, would they words matter more if I had just said them? The question really makes one think about the inequality assigned between men and women’s words. Would the facts from a man’s mouth make more of a difference? Be more credible instead of just another annoying speech from a man-hating, crazy feminist?
Every time I view the previous two videos I’m riding on this wave of empowerment and then the reflex to have it all come crashing down shows up the second the human being with a penis shows on the screen, regardless of their message. I can’t help but wonder how much of that reflex is caused by the media – countless of items broadcasting patriarchy, inequality, male dominance, etc. are bound to take root in a person’s brain eventually. Even research on YouTube has shown that a level of gender inequality for top videos exists, further finding that the videos showcasing women only do well when they express the proper amount of femininity (Wotanis & McMillan)
Perhaps my examination of the men in these videos is too cynical – pointing out the connections to worldwide sexism and privilege as opposed to recognizing them as allies. With the growing rate of male feminists, especially celebrities like Ryan Gosling and John Legend, men supporting women’s equality has become slightly less taboo. It’s no longer an insult for a man to be a feminist, but a supporting hand.
As a feminist, it can be difficult to watch the various videos that pop up on my social media feeds. I get the facts, I get the empowerment, I get the girl power. But, although some of the mocking videos do get a laugh out of me, I think it’s such a shame that people turn feminism into something to be made fun of – something someone shouldn’t want to be or something that can’t be taken seriously. I identify with the women trying to educate those around them of equality, but any time I identify in any way with a feminist being mocked – it’s hard not to feel ashamed of my beliefs, or like being a feminist is something to hide and not be proud of.
Overall, it is safe to assume that all media must be consumed with a grain of salt. Who is the intended audience? Is this information true? Am I being manipulated? Is this viral because it’s good, or viral because it’s bad? It’s complicated to be a millennial when these dilemmas are thrust upon us daily. Within the context of these media sources, however, the most obvious contrast is the intended audience – male or female. It can be concluded that, when videos regarding feminism are directed towards men, feminists are portrayed as crazy, self-indulgent and mockable women. However, when videos regarding feminism are directed towards women, feminists are portrayed as independent, strong, sassy men and women.

References

FCKH8. (2014, October 21). Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs for Feminism by FCKH8.com. Retrieved December 2, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqHYzYn3WZw

Funny or Die. (2014, April 17). Polisub: How to Turn on a Feminist. Retrieved December 3, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjuLfcH6yGA

Lacigreen. (2014, April 23). WHY I’M A…FEMINIST *gasp*. Retrieved December 3, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwJRFClybmk

Wotanis, L., & McMillan, L. (2014). Performing Gender on YouTube. Feminist Media Studies, 14(6), 912-928. doi:10.1080/14680777.2014.882373

Media’s Portrayal of Female Snowboarders

Video

The progression of women’s snowboarding has sky rocketed in the past couple years. That leaves me to think, how do my experiences differ than the ones portrayed in the media? Popular culture represents women’s snowboarding in a suitable fashion. Female snowboarders are in the media not for fame, but to be an inspiration. They are shown in mainstream culture less than their male counterparts, but are always promoting snowboarding in an encouraging way on and off the screen. Women snowboarders want to improve the sport and help it develop. Their laid-back, fearless personalities appear in mass media, portraying them in the light it should be.

Standing on top of a rock, with a view of mountains in the background you see Torah Bright, a professional snowboarder. There are clouds coming in from the left with the quote: “Take the Mountain by Storm DARE YOURSELF” lying on top of them. The incoming clouds make your eye zoom and focus on Bright and the fact she is staring at snowy mountains (Girl in Betsey: Roxy Fall/Winter 13).

When looking at this ad, from the company Roxy, I get a sense of freedom because she is out in nature; able to do mostly anything she wants. You also get a sense of how beautiful nature can be, almost how inspiring it is. I get this is feeling when snowboarding because you are surrounded my snow and trees. It is breathtaking and you feel free. Free from all stresses in the real world, free from work, and free from reality. The views you get from a top the mountain are inspiring. They encourage you to literally take the mountain by storm, and be in control.

Think of yourself as Bright in the picture. Imagine the view you are seeing, and how on top of the word you feel. That is how you feel while snowboarding. This ad is representing snowboarding the way it is in the feelings you get while snowboarding. It is showing how amazing the sights you see are, and how inspiring they truly are.

In a video interview with ESPN, Kelly Clark, a US women’s professional snowboarder, discusses her time with the sport and the way she wants to influence it. Clark is the first American female snowboarder to have competed in multiple Olympics (Issacson).

Clark proves in this interview that she isn’t competing in snowboarding for the money or the fame. She talks about how she wants to help the sport grow and that is why she is still practicing competitively. In the 2010 Aspen X Games, Clark was the first female to preform and land a frontside 1080. This trick consists of doing three full rotations in the air off of a half pipe. Landing this skill made history for women’s snowboarding. Kelly pushed the sport to develop toward harder, more advanced tricks to compete with. By doing this, she encouraged her competition to practice more difficult skills.

There is a foundation for children called the Kelly Clark Foundation, started by Clark. Her motivation for this organization is to encourage kids to get out there and onto the mountain. It targets skilled snowboarders to help them get seen my sponsors, and under privileged children to give them something positive to do with their time. The foundation awards scholarships to students so they can attend a school for snowboarding. It gives the less fortunate the opportunity to progress in snowboarding.12_02_14_Snowboard_Half-pipe_Women_02_hd

While watching this video, you can start to understand Clark. It shows you how humble she is and demonstrates she love for snowboarding. Additionally, you see winning isn’t everything to her, and her motivation to inspire and assist other snowboarders. The video is revealing Clark’s true motivation for snowboarding. You see she wants to expand the sport and make it more available to the younger generations. This is true to me for all female snowboarders. The experiences you have while snowboarding are life changing and we want to share that with as many people as possible. It also presents the work Clark has put in to help the sport progress, and landing the frontside 1080 proves that.

http://http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:8872304

Jamie Anderson discusses snowboarding and her views in an interview with ESPN’s Body Magazine. She is a professional snowboarder and was part of the 2014 United States Olympic team. One of the things that stuck out most to me while reading the article was Anderson’s quote, “That’s the thing that’s not totally healthy about competitive snowboarding. It’s such a free kind of soul sport” (|, Morty Ain). This quote explains how snowboarding is something to do for fun, even when you are competing. Anderson is viewing snowboarding as something to do for your soul, and even when you are competing she is saying you need to do it for yourself.

Jamie Anderson at 2014  Sochi Olympics

Jamie Anderson at 2014 Sochi Olympics

Jamie touches on in the interview that she doesn’t get jealous of her competitors, but she gets inspired. That is another way the media is representing female snowboarding in the same way as I see it. When you’re on the mountain and you see someone pull a trick, you get motivation to try and learn it. In this interview Anderson is really on point about a lot of values of snowboarders. Even in life no one likes a cocky person, but on the mountain you don’t see someone have their head held high because they are better than you.

Mass media lets people see how amazing snowboarding can be, from the flips and twist some snowboarders can preform to the sights you get to see from the mountain. The Roxy ad with Bright shows you what you see from the top, and inspires you to keep on going until you are at the bottom.

Anderson and Clark both discuss how professional snowboarding isn’t about the competition or money, but more about how much you like it and how you want to inspire others. This is true for recreational snowboarders as well. Obviously you are not in in for the money, but you are out there because you want to be. The love for the sport overrides anything that might stop you from snowboarding.

Popular culture doesn’t always portray athletes or people in the correct way, but with women’s snowboarding it is on point. We are represented in the media as positive, motivated individuals and this is completely true. Every day when you are up on the mountain, I set a goal for myself. No matter how many times I may fall or want to quit, I keep trying. That goes for all snowboarders, quitting just isn’t an option.

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

“Girl in Betsey: Roxy Fall/Winter 13.” Girl in Betsey: Roxy Fall/Winter 13. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.

Issacson, Melissa. “CLARK STILL CARVING HER OWN PATH, ON TOP OF HER GAME.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.

|, Morty Ain. “Jamie Anderson in Only A smile.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.

Branch, John. “Jamie Anderson, Slopestyle’s Star, Is on Top Again.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 09 Feb. 2014. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.

Digital image. Olympics. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.

Torah Bright of Australia Competes in the Snowboard Women’s Halfpipe Final. Digital image. The Australian. Getty Images, n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2014.

The On-screen Version of Female College Students

It is very easy to become overwhelmed by information and messages we receive through the media. In our society today, we rely on social media as if we cannot live without it. We wake up in the morning and the first thing we turn to is our cell phones or computers hoping to find some juicy information on the events that took place while we were sleeping. Whether it is something to do with our friends or an event that made the front page of the news, we thrive off of the media. Some stories we come across are true and others are altered to make the story more interesting or to get more publicity. That is where the problem starts. Advertising and the media put images and stories into our heads that are so far from true we start to believe them. Images are put into our heads of what the perfect girl is suppose to look and act like, or what we need to eat to be skinny and fit in. In my research, I have found that advertising and media has altered our perspective of what kind of people female college students are and how they act; this is a case where a negative image has been implanted in our heads.

One very interesting article I came across was “Girl Revolt” by Micah White at Adbusters. This articles purpose is to inform people that advertising constrains the horizon of female aspirations, gendering their dreams before they’re hatched. Constraining the horizon of female aspirations? Some wonder what this means and if it is even true. Advertising does in fact constrain the horizon of female aspirations by creating picture perfect females that we see in ads and in commercials everyday. Starting at such a young age, us girls are thrown into a world of chaos and expectations. Gendering our dreams before we are even hatched shows how much society has an impact on the expectations of females. This article informs people November of 2010 that girls revolted in hopes to break the chains of advertising, overthrow the patriarchy of consumerism, and blockade the libidinal economy. Anyone can talk about how they will try to do something about the expected attitude and demeanor females are suppose to have but it takes real courage to take a stand to try and change that perspective. This all ties back to advertising and the vicious approach it has on people in society; especially females. We are targeted at such a young age that it is difficult to break the chains, meaning thoughts and expectations that advertising has shown how females are suppose to be. Two interesting words that were mentioned in this article are weak and vulnerable. You would think, hearing these words that they are bad and females would not want to be categorized in them. Well, that is wrong. Advertising and society has put so many outrageous and negative images in our brains that weak and vulnerable are being held as “sexy” and women are seen to be “easy.” No female wants to be known as weak or vulnerable but advertising has altered those words and actions to be viewed as something sexy.

Legally Blonde is a movie about a sorority queen that gets dumped by her boyfriend, and then decides to follow him to law school to get him back and, once there, learns she has more legal savvy than she ever imagined. Its purpose is to show that “girly girls” can be just as smart as men and can be successful even when doubted. With as much advertising that goes on around us, especially business or political advertising, we seldom see females being the center of attention. Usually females are the center of attention when there is something wrong going on or there is a commercial bashing on females by having them dress in skimpy clothes to show its viewers that eating a big mac can be sexy and it essentially worth it. This movie is the perfect example of how other view female college students. Advertising portrays females as non-intelligent or easy every single day. There are millions of commercials and ads that due so. In Legally Blonde, it shows that it takes courage and determination to make something of you, even when no one believes that is remotely possible. No one believed that some sorority queen that was worried about fashion and getting her nails done would prove everyone wrong and become a successful lawyer. Using Legally Blonde as a source has shown me the stereotypical views of female college students, which can be broken when no one thought it, was possible.

My third primary source I found to be interesting is the TV show Modern Family. Modern family is a TV sitcom about three families they give us an honest and often-hilarious look into the sometimes warm sometimes twisted embrace of the modern family. It also says shows the trials and issues they overcome as one big happy family. Each of the three families is very different in their own way but they prove to always be there for one another no matter what. Modern family is a show that has its own twists and turns on your average every day life of a modern family. The reason I chose this, as a source was to analyze the oldest daughter Hayley going off to college. Following the show, I thought it would perfect knowing the background information of her and her transition to college. Before entering college, females already have an imbedded reputation of being “easy” and “dumb” due to society and it’s advertising. In Hayley’s first year of college she gets kicked out for too much partying and assault on a police officer. Aside from Haley, the younger sister Alex is smart, awkward, and considered “unattractive”. It shows how in media, girls cannot be both; they have to be one or the other which is very inaccurate. This backs up the notion that female college students do not have what it takes to survive and be successful in college because that is what advertising has portrayed us to be. Modern Family is a great example in showing the damage advertising has done in showing everyone what female’s act like and what they are good for.

When researching possible articles for my secondary source I decided to venture out a little and choose an article that would catch people’s attention. The article I came upon “Perceptions of Female Pornography Stars” did just that by capturing my attention. I thought this would be a very interesting and controversial topic to relate all of my findings to. One thing that stood out to me in this article is when they are talking about stereotyping pornography stars and it is said that we apply social labels and also justify political stands. While this is true towards female pornography stars, it is also true towards all women. We do apply social labels based on what we hear about others and what we see in advertising. I agree with this article, that yes, we have an embedded outlook on what kind of people female pornography stars are due to the reasoning advertising has portrayed them to be. The article says, “Those who believe that pornography is harmless, and that those who act in it do so voluntarily, rely on anecdotal evidence to support their position” supporting the notion that anecdotal evidence is only evidence that has been drilled into our minds. This evidence is not so much facts, but opinions and assumed roles we have been seeing our whole lives through the media and advertising. “Perceptions of Female Pornography Stars” backs up my argument that advertising and the media are negative components of our society because they both put assumptions in our head that people, mostly females, are vulnerable.

In conclusion, I would say I have found advertising to be a major bash of female college students. For years now, advertisements have been filling our heads on what females are supposed to act and look like. If females are not acting or dressing like we see they are suppose to, we are confused and judgmental. It is very sad that we cannot accept women for who they are. My sources, such as Modern Family, show that there can be two types of females, which in a sense can be good or bad. Society has portrayed females to be dumb, such as my source Legally Blonde, that want to party all the time and not focus on school, which is completely wrong. I am not saying there are not any females like that because trust me there are, but not all female college students are like that. There are many successful students that go on to do huge things in life and go on to break that stereotype of female college students. I hope that one day, advertising will stop showing what females are supposed to look and act like and show the real side, which is starting to happen like “Girl Revolt.” The side that wants to prove people wrong and break all of the stereotypes advertising has created.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

White, Michah. “Girl Revolt.” Adbusters. 1 Nov. 2010. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.

Legally Blonde. Perf. Reese Witherspoon. 2001. Film.

Modern Family. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2010. Film.

Polk, Roselyn, and Gloria Cowan. “Perceptions of Female Pornography Stars.” Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality 5.3 (1996): 221. Print.

 

Reflections of a gay Mormon

Featured

Blake Latimer

2 December 2014

 Reflections of a gay Mormon

“Hello. My name is Blake, and I’m a gay Mormon.” The last two words put together could sound puzzling to some. I grew up in a large suburb just outside Salt Lake City, Utah. My family went to Church every Sunday and to Temple often. Yet at the age of 13, I knew I was gay. I grappled with this for three more years before I started distancing myself from the church, but I could not shake that foundational belief; gay is bad. At least that’s what I thought growing up. Let’s face it; Gay Mormon is not something that we think as being represented in the media, and certainly not in a positive light. Ensign, the LDS (Latter Day Saints/Mormon) Church based magazine, published a statement from the Church:

We want to help these people, to strengthen them, to assist them with their problems and to help them with their difficulties. But we cannot stand idle if they indulge in immoral activity, if they try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called same-sex marriage situation. To permit such would be to make light of the very serious and sacred foundation of God-sanctioned marriage and its very purpose, the rearing of families. (Ensign, Nov. 1998, 71).

I am one of “these people”. Slowly but surely, the media is helping to chip away at a relatively silent voice in the gay community.

The media is taking notice of this hot button issue on several levels. In Latter Days, a small budget film released in 2003, the premise is about two men who fall in love. The gay stereotype character is portrayed as promiscuous, flirty and flamboyant. When the film was made 10 years ago, I think that there was an even greater stereotype than there is today. The missionary is innocent, good and God-fearing. The stark differences between the characters lends to an interesting but sometimes unbelievable storyline. How much of Latter Daysthis could be true to real life though? The answer: much of it. The movie uncovers some dark topics that are prevalent in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community. Of specific interest is the missionary character’s attempted suicide after his excommunication. Many gay youth, in particular Mormon gay youth, attempt to and often succeed in committing suicide. According to thetrevorproject.org, “LGB (lesbian, gay and bisexual) youth are 4 times more likely, and questioning youth are 3 times more likely, to attempt suicide as their straight peers.” Now imagine compounding Mormonism on top of this. The combination of those two factors alone could make many just another statistic. I do wish the film had addressed ways to get help, though I suppose there were not as many resources available 11 years ago as there are today. I believe the gay community will see this movie as much more empowering than the LDS Church will. I identify more with my LGBT family than with my Mormon faith so watching the missionary separate from his church in this film was rough. Latter Days rates a 7.3/10 from more than 12,700 users on IMDb, the Internet Movie Database, and the consensus seems to be that it is a “Surprisingly touching” and “heartwarming” film (IMDb.com). I don’t think the goal of this movie was to make money. In my opinion, it was much more about making a statement that there are gay Mormons in our communities and this movie provides many of them with a voice. I think this influenced the content by allowing the film to not shy away from being provocative and edgy. The Mormon community is not shown in a positive light, nor is the stereotypical missionary character that plays the love interest. However, by the end of the film the stereotypes have eroded and “true love conquers all” is the message. The “good side” of the church is also not shown which is definitely intentional. A viewer might conclude that the creators of this film had a negative experience with the Mormon Church. The expectation is to get an emotional reaction from the audience.

Untitled

The music industry has taken note of at least one artist who is bringing light to the situation. Rolling Stone’s headline reads, Neon Trees Tyler Glenn: “Gay, Mormon and Finally Out”” (25 March 2014), with a stark picture of a bleach blonde pop star in a glowing green jacket. Glenn still identifies as Mormon, even though he has known he was gay since he was just six years old. Instead of dealing with this fact, he threw himself into his religion. He went on a two-year mission to Nebraska, baptizing 17 people during that time. I find this interesting because it almost seems to be a way to avoid dealing with one’s reality, and instead focusing on what you’re “supposed” to be doing. In other words, did he go on his mission to delay dealing with his sexuality until he came back, or possibly see if he could repress those feelings altogether? My reaction to the article is that the church will not support Glenn. I think many members of the church may choose to boycott the band and take a stance, perhaps not allowing their children to listen to Neon Trees music. Remember how heavy-handed the church was involved with Proposition 8 in California? The church fought hard against same-sex marriage. I certainly don’t believe that the church will act any different towards Glenn, just because he is a pop star. Rolling Stone was sensitive to Mormons in order to portray Glenn in the best possible light. If Glenn can be portrayed as a pioneer, perhaps they believe the Mormon Church will not turn its back on him. What is not shown at all is the church’s official stance on homosexuality. A missing aspect of the article is what the church believes. Readers can draw the conclusion that, yes, the expectation is to sell magazines, but to tell Glenn’s story in an objective and factual way.

Tony-award winning musical, The Book of Mormon, does not rely on flashy costumes or star power to make its statement. Instead, it uses stereotypes and humor to convey the message of Mormon hypocrisy and injustice. Missionaries in their familiar black suits and pressed white dress shirts, nametags glistening in the stage light. In Act 1, the cast sings a song entitled, “Turn it off”. This is referring to ways to deal with the strict Mormon life. The missionaries teacher, Elder McKinley, tell them to “turn it off like a light switch”. He is referring to his own sexuality. Towards the end of Act 2, the LDS church turns its back on Untitled.png2the villagers that have been baptized, telling them they are not really Mormon. That was my experience growing up in the church: we shunned those who were different from us or didn’t share the same teachings or beliefs. This content definitely reflects a jaded view of the LDS Church. I think Mormons may see this play as a slap in the face, while others will see it as pure comedy. No one really comes out looking good in this play. The missionaries are portrayed as young, dorky soldiers, while one of the church leaders is repressing his own homosexual desires. The teachings of the church seem far-fetched at times. That’s why The Book of Mormon makes fun of it. Mormons are shown is this way because the writers have a certain opinion about the LDS Church and wanted to convey it. What is not shown is the positive side of the church and how much it does for the community, but then again, that’s not really the point. The technique used to draw our attention in and keep us entertained is through comedy. I think the expectation is that the audience is left with a more comical view of the Mormon Church and a feeling of maybe not taking it all so seriously.

My research has uncovered some serious and dark topics, full of repression, suicides and angst. The more I read and the more artifacts I find, plus what I have experienced first Untitled.png3hand, the Mormon Church does not appear to be too tolerant of the gay community. In fact, the church directly fights against the rights of the LGBT community (think Proposition 8). According to freedomtomarry.org, 35 States, plus Washington, D.C. and St. Louis, Missouri have ruled in favor of same-sex marriage and the number continues to grow. Will the Mormon Church evolve with the times or will it continue to turn its back on so many, just as it has in the past? While I acknowledge my foundational upbringing, I no longer identify as Mormon. What I have found by looking in the pop culture mirror is one of mixed reaction and acceptance, at best.

 Works Cited

“What is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ attitude regarding homosexuality and same sex marriage?” Mormon.org LDS Church, Nov 1998.Web. 15 November 2014.

Latter Days. Web. 6 November 2014. <huluplus.com>

“Facts about Suicide” TheTrevorProject.org The Trevor Project. Web. 6 November 2014.

“Latter Days (2003) – IMDb.” The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Web. 6 November 2014.

Ganz, Caryn. “Neon Trees’ Tyler Glenn: Gay, Mormon and Finally Out”. RollingStone.com Rolling Stone, 25 March 2014. Web. 6 November 2014.

“The Book of Mormon.” Broadway.com. EUGENE O’NEILL THEATRE, Web. 6 Nov. 2014.

“States” freedomtomarry.org Freedom to Marry. Web. 25 Nov. 2014.

Female Snowboarders

Danae McCutcheon

Popular Culture: Looking in the Mirror Essay

December 2nd, 2014

Sports are very popular in our pop culture these days. Throughout the world, we have all sorts of events/competitions to display people’s great sport talents from The Masters Tournament, to the Little League World Series, and then to one of the biggest competitions worldwide are the Olympics. The Olympics hold the appropriate sport events during the winter and summer. One of the sports during the winter Olympics that catches my eye every four years is the snowboarding event. How each and every person, whether female or male that competes, carry themselves all in the same orderly fashion, but then it is what they are capable to do on the mountain that sets them aside from each other. Throughout popular culture, we have labeled snowboarders as adventurists who defy the limitations of nature and who push themselves to the limit. Snowboarding could be either considered a hobby or a sport that involves a person riding down the hill of a mountain that is covered in snow, while standing on a snowboard that is attached to the snowboarder’s feet. For years, Snowboarding has always been viewed as a male dominant sport, but in recent years the pop culture of woman snowboarders has proven that they are just as versatile and talented as any of their male counterpart in this area. Which gender have you seen more in this sport? This problem of gender inequality in snowboarding has been an issue in the past, but now our culture has been finally coming around and showing off the talent that these women have in this sport.

Women have taken up snowboarding as it allows them to enjoy the activity as an individual or in a group, take in the beautiful environment around them, and have a great workout and a stress release. I would like to shed some light on how our culture views female snowboarders in this day-an-age. Some people in our culture advertise females in snowboarding gear, but they’re not represented in the same way as men. In the media, women are shown advertising snowboarding gear in their bikinis. For instance, when searching “Female Snowboarders” on Google, the first thing to pop up is, ‘The 20 Hottest Professional Female Snowboarders’. Female Snowboarders are breaking out of that sexist idea and are overcoming being known as ‘a Bikini model with a Snowboard’. The talents hidden behind their faces are being uncovered by more exposure in the media and now coming to the forefront and being shown in our pop culture. An author who wanted to point out the prevalent sexist mentalities, Chickie Rosenberg, did so in her book, “Snowboarding for Women: A Guide for the Betty Shred Wannabe”. Some of the sexist trends that Chickie spells out in her book are, “But such comments tend to be a ‘guy thing’; women are usually, by nature, more responsible in terms of risk”, and another one, “I happen to think that snowboarding is a sport which is particularly appealing to women in terms of the fact that the balance movements involved in riding are so much like dancing,”. Chickie shows us that Snowboarding is looked at as a “guy thing” or a male dominant sport, but that women could potentially be very good because of their practice from other sports. She also adds her own opinion, “I am not a big strong athletic person, and I started to snowboard at the advanced age of 50. I had determination and confidence that I would persevere until mastery. Those are the necessary ingredients.” Rosenberg brings up a really good point by saying that you can “be a woman of 50 years old in our culture” and still be a rock star on the mountain as long as you have a drive to do so. Breaking down some of Rosenberg’s book, Chickie explains how sports like dance represent a feminine side of women to show off their beauty and delicacy, and sports like snowboarding are seen as masculine because of being ‘Brave and Wild’ to do jumps and to speed down the mountain. Therefore, how our pop culture has viewed women in dance or other sports, they expect them to act the same way while snowboarding. As women are becoming more popular in the media for snowboarding, they are now looked at as risk-takers and as to executing jumps precisely vs. just studying a jump in-depth. That is why they are becoming more popular than ever before.

I have always been curious of how snowboarders, both female and male, view/see female snowboarders. To start off, male snowboarders see female snowboarders as cautious on the mountain. Female snowboarders have agreed with the males in the past about being cautious and respectful, but that’s how they used to be. Female snowboarders have become more dominant in this sport. When females first started competing with male snowboarders, females had a small fear of being seen as masculine, which made a good portion of them hesitant to compete in competitions. Since snowboarding is looked at as a male dominant sport, females have had to think of ways to make it more feminine. The women didn’t want to feel like they were losing themselves as a female by wearing baggy clothes and talking in the nature of how the males do. That is why there are now more colorful tighter fitting clothes made to help distinguish gender, so that the female snowboarders are more comfortable in how they are seen. There is a very specific language that goes on, on the mountain. Things like, ‘shreddin’ the gnar’, or ‘hittin’ the jumps’ or ‘carving the pow pow’ are some popular usage of terms used. That was another reason that made females snowboarders hesitant to really go all out and express themselves on the mountain because they were afraid that they wouldn’t live up to those “hard-core” words. Nowadays, women snowboarders are more confident to use those words, because of their increased rank in our pop culture next to male snowboarders. Female snowboarders have viewed other female snowboarders as risk-takers. When female snowboarders compete with other females, they still want the other female snowboarder to do well in the competition because they understand and respect each other. They know how hard it has taken each of them to get to where they are. An all-girl only snowboard event competition is put on each year for pro snowboarding girls to help gain interest to new becoming female snowboarders. This event helps as well to get the word out there that females can make it and do well in the snowboarding world. Transworld Snowboarding magazine give the latest news on this girl’s only competition called, “Supergirl Snow Pro” which is a 5-star event put on by the world snowboard tour. This competition has the top female snowboarders from around the world there. There were interviews with the competing female snowboarders taken place after the ladies went down some of the runs. One of the interviews, put on by Breck TV Show, featured a professional female snowboarder, Kjersti Buaas. Kjersti talked about how it was an honor to come to a competition like the Supergirl Snow Pro because “They cater to the women”. Another interview took place with Silje Norendal, and she commented how, “There needs to be more all girls’ events because personally I want to grow our sport and get more girls involved in our sport”. Female snowboarders want to encourage other females to either try snowboarding out or have current female snowboarders try new things like jumps or new tricks. Female snowboarders in our pop culture see how few of females snowboarders are out there and how they want them to prove to society and our culture how women snowboarders are impacting and can bring good competition to events.

As stated earlier of how our pop culture views both of these genders in snowboarding, is it fair to ask if male and female snowboarders view themselves as equals in snowboarding after being told they aren’t equal in our popular culture? I see it as a very important thing to get the inside scoop of how the snowboarders actually competing with each other feel about one another. In an article by Matt Boxler, Boxler interviewed one of the head coaches, Carla Hess, for Loon Mountains snowboarding camp. Carla explains how, “The one thing I did notice, though, was that in all the magazines the guys had these awesome action shots in their ads and the girls were either just modeling the gear or pulling some wimpy straight air with a grab,”. Hess said, “It was so annoying and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I saw things starting to change.” Hess commented on, “How she didn’t find the male snowboarders to be equal to the female snowboarders mainly because of the different recognition that they were getting at competitions”, Carla continues, “If a guy would land a jump perfectly and it looked cool, then he will most likely get in a magazine, but if a girl does the same thing nothing will happen”. Carla’s last comment about how she has seen things change since then, I couldn’t agree more with her. Female snowboarders are now starting to get featured on much credited Snowboarding magazines cover. Boxler also came across a survey conducted in 2008 by the National Sporting Goods Association to see what percentage of the American snowboarders were males. Out of 6 million snowboarders, 72% were males. Male snowboarders continue to think of a good majority of them are still dominant in this sport. The fact that there are still more males in this sport than females is true, but the females are coming up to speed and winning a good amount of competitions with new tricks than ever before. Our pop culture for snowboarders is that it has been made easier for male snowboarders to get acknowledgement in this sport faster than female snowboarders. Female snowboarders have had to work up to 3x’s harder to get the same acknowledgement from popular snowboarding companies. So in saying that, males are coming around to the idea that females are becoming their equal in this sport, and females already think that they are equals to the male snowboarder if not more than that. I mean hey, from my perspective if the female snowboarders have had to work and train 3x’s harder than the males to get where they are, then I will give them credit for that, and same goes if it was the other way around.

Popular Culture has labeled snowboarding as a male dominant sport and it has been viewed as that from the beginning of its time. In recent years, the culture of women snowboarders has proven that they are just as versatile and talented as any of their male counterparts in this area. From finding out how our culture views female snowboarders as more delicate and respectful on the mountain, to current thought that female snowboarders have gained their own title and rank in the snowboarding world. Competitions between male and female snowboarders have been looked at as real competitions because they are now looked at as equals in our culture, and furthermore, more males and females have been found to think of each other more equally in the snowboarding sport. Male snowboarders have been previously been viewed as the dominant part of snowboarding, but little by little female snowboarders have been earning their equal titles by training a lot and attending all girl competitions that focus and cater to each women to make them a better competitor. Males in this sport got their recognition a lot easier than female snowboarders did. Whether it is female snowboarders still working hard over the next few years to have them looked at as normal in the snowboarder world or males still keeping the dominant face of snowboarding, both genders are out there doing what they love most. As a female snowboarder, I respect the sport of snowboarding so much because it is one of the things that you can’t buy to be good at, it just happens over time. It is an amazing sport with a lot of talented people out there killin’ it and working their butt off doing so. I can’t wait for the years to progress to see how snowboarding for females is taken to the next level and how they can continue to excel in this sport.

Asian Dancers

Asian Dancers

Minh Nguyen

 

Becoming a dancer is a dream that many people long for, even a dream of mine. The unfortunate reality is, not many will make it. With dance growing in popularity, different opportunities are made available in TV shows, movies, tours. However, the chances of acquiring one of those opportunities is not the same for everyone. Being a dancer in the industry is already difficult; being an Asian dancer is even more difficult. There are only a lucky few who have made it big as an Asian dancer. The purpose of this essay is to understand how popular culture portrays Asian dancers in the media. Particularly, what are the stereotypes associated with them and how they are being used in TV shows or movies? To investigate further in details, I will analyze different sources from the media: the TV show Glee, the TV show America’s Best Dance Crew, the movie Step Up 3D, and a research “South Asian Dance in Britain: Negotiating Cultural Identity by Dance” by Andrée Grau.

Throughout my childhood, I had always thought that dancing was for females because most of the time I would relate them with ballet dancers. When I first started dancing, particularly breakdancing, I would be afraid to show people my talent, especially to my family. My parents thought that it was odd at first, thinking this was one of my phases. My brother is into sports and played football throughout high school. He had hopes of me to play like he did, but when he found out that I danced, he made fun of me like how big brothers joke around with their siblings. I can relate to the character Mike Chang (played by Harry Shum Jr.) in the TV show Glee.

 

Glee, produced by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, is an American musical comedy-drama that was first aired on Fox network on May 19, 2009. The show focuses on William McKinley High School’s Glee club, the New Directions, competing on the show choir competition circuit, while its members deal with relationships, sexuality and social issues (glee.wikia). Considered to be the best dancer with a Pop-and-Lock style, Mike Chang was first introduced as a football player on the McKinley Titans, but eventually decided to leave the team to join the Glee club. He never allowed himself to dance outside of his bedroom prior to joining Glee for the fear of being made fun of. I think this is because he wants to fit in with his football teammates by trying to stay “cool” and not show anybody who he really is. Despite how media typically portrays jocks as bullies, Mike appears to be much less cruel and more sensitive than his teammates. Like many Asian parents, Mike’s father has high expectations of him getting perfect grades in school so that he can get into Harvard. The show shows him to be knowledgeable from his participation in the school’s academic decathlon club. His father is not fond of Mike dancing because he thinks it’s a distraction and will affect his studies. What was really interesting to me was in episode “Hold on to Sixteen”, it showed Mike winning his father’s approval by his performance. Although the show used typical Asian stereotypes to represent Mike Chang, he did not follow the typical Asian route.

In February 2008, Randy Jackson produced a new hit dance competition show called America’s Best Dance Crew (ABDC) on MTV. ABDC is an American competitive dance reality television series that features dance crews from all around the United States (america’s_best_dance_crew.wikia). In season 1, two Asian crews took America by surprised: Kaba Modern, UC Irvine’s very own hip-hop dance team, and the Jabbawockeez (with one African American member), originating from San Diego, California. Kaba Modern was eliminated in week 7 placing third, while Jabbawockeez and Status Quo advanced to the finale.

In the following clip of the live audition, Yuri Tag was asked by Lil Mama if her parents were more supportive of her since they made it to the final decision. This is much like the situation of how Mike Chang’s father was not supportive of him. Yuri’s parents attended the show to watch and support their daughter perform live.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OToawVQy8HU#t=0m39s

The next clip shows a little more of her parents.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHStLXgs6RE#t=0m24s

I can picture how Yuri felt when her parents became fully supportive of her dance. It’s hard to change someone’s perspective, especially your parents since they have more life experience than you do. Many Asian parents left their country to come to America to find a better life. My father left Vietnam to try and create a better future for us. He left his family, friends, everything to come to America with no money. From there, he endured hardship for many years before he was able to make something of himself. That’s one reason why Asian parents are strict with their children so that we won’t have to go through what they went through. I could also see this as a marketing ploy by playing that clip on the show. People with emotional stories help gain more viewers which then produces more money.

The Jabbawockeez, with their mix of various urban dance styles, became season 1 winners of America’s Best Dance Crew. They gained a large fan base throughout the show because of their unique styles and their use of masks.

 

“We want you to experience Jabbawockeez as a group and not just follow or be fans of one individual person. There’s no lead dancer in our crew. Our philosophy is that when you watch us perform, you have to watch us as a whole… When we put [the masks] on, it’s not about who we are or where we came from. We’re all one.”

-Jeff “Phi” Nguyen

These masks have become iconic all around the world. You will instantly think of the Jabbawockeez whenever you see the mask.

 

Much like how Kaba Modern has an interesting background story, Jabbawockeez does too. Just before the show was released, Gary “Gee” Kendall, a member of Jabbawockeez, passed away. Producers can capitalize on this story and use it to attract more people to watch the show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNFGk85FM24#t=1m05s

Since winning season 1, their popularity sky rocketed and everyone wanted them. The Jabbawockeez have been in many commercials, movies, tv shows since then. They are probably the most successful Asian dancing group to actually make it big in the industry. Now they even have their own show in Las Vegas, where seats are usually sold out.

Many people thought that the show was set up when they announced Status Quo was the No.1 Vote from viewers over Jabbawockeez and Kaba Modern. In an article written by Kat Nguyen where she attended the live viewing, she said,

When Status Quo was announced as the No.1 vote-getter from viewers and were safe from elimination, my jaw hit the floor. Are you kidding me? That loud eruption of cheers that you heard on the show tonight? Didn’t happen. When the announcement was made, there was light applause. People around us were confused and shocked. There was booing. And chants of “Recount! Recount!” Of course, that was noticeably absent from what aired on TV.

From a marketing perspective, it would make sense to keep Status Quo. Maybe the producers wanted to have a West Coast versus East Coast finale? Or maybe they didn’t want two Asian crews to make it to the end because it wouldn’t please their viewers? Having two Asian crews in the finale could bring up controversy about not having an “American” crew because the show is called America’s Best Dance Crew. This could leave a bad impact in the media for the show. Even JC Chasez, one of the judges on ABDC, said that seeing Jabbawockeez and Kaba Modern go against each other was the biggest and greatest competition on the show yet, maybe even surpassing what Status Quo and JabbaWockeeZ might do in the finals. If the show was actually rigged (which we’ll never find out), then that makes me angry because they are stripping opportunities that Kaba Modern had worked so hard for because of their race or where they came from.

The movie Step Up 3D, produced by Jon M. Chu, was created to show the world the styles of dance that you don’t usually see. In a scene from the beginning of the movie, we are shown Kid Darkness (played by Daniel Campos) battle Moose (played by Adam Sevani), one of the main characters. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPbyhvdPITM In this clip, we can see that Kid Darkness ended up losing to Moose. It showed him getting “burned” judging by the crowd’s reaction. We can also see that Kid Darkness had no dialogue, in fact, none of the Asian dancers have any dialogue in the movie. It’s interesting to see how Moose was shown to be a “hero” and Kid Darkness to be the “villain”. I felt like they used Kid Darkness to buff up Moose’s character because he was one of the main characters in the previous movie, Step Up 2: The Streets and people recognize him more. I would expect Kid Darkness to have at least one line in the movie but he did not. In the scene of the last battle, I only counted about 3 Asian dancers: Kid Darkness on the black clothed team, Cable (played by Harry Shum Jr.) and Jenny Kido (played by Mari Koda) on the red clothed team.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dNQe0hlGs0

All of them are background dancers except for Kid Darkness. He gets a little more center screen time from 5:52 to 6:04 and 6:43 to 7:03 in the finale. After the battle is over, they practically aren’t shown anymore. It’s interesting to see how Asian dancers are portrayed in this movie. They are often times put in as background or supportive characters, never the main role. Audiences typically expect a Caucasian to play the main character in the movie. Producers deliver that expectation to generate more money. However, by giving the role of a background dancer to an Asian, it is a step towards a chance to be casted as a main character. Here is an interview with Harry Shum Jr. where he talks about how we shouldn’t give up and just keep trying even with the little opportunities.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJmaI-SKknc#t=3m11s

Those small moments may be just enough for a producer to spot their talent and land them a role for other projects. Daniel Campos was able to get casted in a couple of commercials by Microsoft after the movie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37F6Ig1WLT4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=des3dpKtfIM

Him and Harry Shum Jr. are two of the few Asian dancers to be successful in the field.

       

In the research of South Asian Dance in Britain in 2001 by Andrée Grau, he carries out a study on the British South Asian dance phenomenon to see how the role of the profession plays in British cultural life. To study this, he looked at the impact of globalization on South Asian dance in Britain, the relationships of race, gender, class, education, training professionalism and the issues of creation of dance forms and genres generally and particularly South Asian dance. South Asian dancers in the UK have been primarily females that can’t make a living from their dance practice. However, a number of men are making a strong mark, but the number of women still dominate over men. These dancers devote all of their time to dance and are often resentful towards those who don’t fully commit themselves full time. There are studies that have shown that the middle class and upper class receive more attention and access to resources than the lower class. In terms of funding, South Asian dance gets less than 2% of the overall dance allocation. These dancers are at a situation where “they have not yet made the work, yet they have to sell the tour” to be able to survive. Although it’s been more than a decade since the research was written, it takes great persistence to be a dancer; I don’t know if I could make it in their shoes. Not being able to be famous and scraping doing what I love doing, I don’t know if I would.

Being an Asian dancer in the industry is difficult. Often times you would be struggling to receive a role in a project. Even if you do land one, majority of the time you would be in the background or a supportive character. Producers can use you in any way they please, including attaching stereotypes to your character to make more money. There are fewer opportunities because you’re a dancer, and being Asian also doesn’t improve your chances. Like Harry Shum Jr. said in his interview, “Just stick to it, and go against the grain sometimes when they say you can’t play this, keep doing it. Create it yourself if they don’t let you do it,”.

 

Work Cited

Mike Chang Biography

http://glee.wikia.com/wiki/Mike_Chang

 

Grau, Andrée. “South Asian Dance in Britain: Negotiating Cultural Identity Through  Dance”. 2001

 

Picture of Mike Chang

http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110605100923/glee/images/6/63/Mike_chang_hand_puppets_by_robynthegirlwonder-d3bsokd.jpg

 

Kaba Modern Live Audition

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OToawVQy8HU#t=0m39s

 

Kaba Modern Week 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHStLXgs6RE#t=0m24s

 

Picture of Jabbawockeez mask

http://www.dancestudiolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Jabbawockeez.jpg

 

Jabbawockeez Live Audition

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNFGk85FM24#t=1m05s

 

Nguyen, Kat. “Robbed: Kaba Modern on America’s Best Dance Crew”. March 20th, 2008

http://www.ocregister.com/watcher/strong-453777-crew-dance.html

 

Kid Darkness versus Moose

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

 

Step Up 3D Final Battle

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dNQe0hlGs0

 

Harry Shum Jr. interview

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJmaI-SKknc#t=3m11s

 

Microsoft Surface commercial

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37F6Ig1WLT4

 

Microsoft Surface commercial #2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=des3dpKtfIM

 

Picture of Daniel Campos

http://data3.whicdn.com/images/36408234/thumb.jpg

 

Picture of Harry Shum Jr.

http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110915004109/step-up/images/1/16/Harry_Shum_Jr_Ubisoft_Launch_Just_Dance_2_XXWqBmfrWFDl.jpg

Moving past civil war stereotypes

The Deep South. Admit it, as soon as you hear those words you think of that bright orange Charger jumping over a police cruiser while someone’s yelling yeee hawww in the background. Backwoods yokels like the Duke boys of the Dukes of Hazard have become the monolith of southern culture, or at least that’s what most popular culture would have you believe. In reality however, the culture of South is a lot more complex than the northern perception of cut up overalls, moonshine, and NASCAR.

First, let me start by defining what I mean by “the south”. This stereotype mostly only applies to what is known as the Deep South or Southeast United States, which stretches from Texas up to the Carolinas and all the states in between. This region, also known as “Dixie” is clumped together as a single group, largely because of the American Civil War. This is the region of the US that made up he confederacy in the civil war, and is the area that will be discussed in this essay. The Southwestern United States also hold several unfair stereotypes, but for the purposes of this essay, we can save that for another time.

Now, these stereotypes that are often cast on Southerners, for the most part, are not self-inflicted. In fact, many of the people that have this kind of “red-neck” perception of the south, have never even been there, or have met few to no real southerners. So how do these widespread “regionisms” exist? Through the media and several popular culture outlets. Dating all the way back to the civil war, the popular media of the United States (largely produced by non-southern media companies) have used three main stereotypes to paint a picture of the American south: Rural or poor, Racist, and Un-educated or stupid. While these three stereotypes may have been true at the time of their inception in the mid 1800’s, they hold little relevance to real life in the southern states today.

The First of these main stereotypes, is the depiction of a rural, poor south, one in which the economy is based heavily on large plantation style farms and the agricultural industry. This stereotype is perpetuated by many popular movies and television shows ranging from classic older shows and movies like “Beverly Hillbillies”, “Smokey and The Bandit”, and “The Dukes of Hazard”, to shows and movies that are more recent such as the MTV show “Buckwild”, the A&E program “Duck Dynasty” and countless others. These shows are never based in one of the several large cities in the South (9 of the top 20 largest cities in the US are located in the South (2010 US Census)), they are always in the backwoods farm towns of the south far in the Appalachian Mountains, or Everglade Swamps. The 2010 Us census reported that roughly 75% (3 out of 4) of all southerners live in metropolitan areas as opposed to rural areas. That estimate includes urbanized suburban areas around big cities as well. This then becomes less of an issue of South vs. North as it is Rural vs. Urban. Based on population density, Not a single southern state places in the top 10 most “rural” states, and only 4 dixie states are accounted for in the top 20.(2010 US census) I have found these statistics to be true also in my own personal experience. I have lived in three southern states growing up, Texas, Georgia, and Arkansas. While I lived in the south my family lived in the mostly suburban communities of Plano, Cumming, and Rodgers respectively. It wasn’t until we moved to the northwest to the small town of Washougal, Washington that I truly experienced “rural culture”. Based on all of this evidence presented, it would be logical to argue the rural stereotype of the south is misplaced.

The second main stereotype that often accompanies southerners as a whole is racism, particularly towards African Americans. This stereotype is not shown as much in popular culture as the others, but it is prevalent in a lot of news media outlets. News outlets such as the The Atlantic often run stories on racism in the south, but often leave out, or completely disregard some glaring facts. (Florida)Often times these stories base their levels of racism on how many hate-related groups are present in the community in question. While the south does have the largest concentration of hate groups comparatively to the rest of the country, this doesn’t mean the people as a whole are more rascist. Upon closer inspection of these hate groups, many have been around since before de-segregation in the south and have dwindling numbers of members. Many of these groups today are beginning to die off as their memberships dwindle. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an organization that monitors these hate groups, also reports that as membership of these hate groups are falling, membership of anti-hate groups like anti-racism, and LGBT support groups are increasing. In many cases the membership of these anti hate groups far outweighs the membership of the hate groups. Because of this evidence it is safe to say that judging a region’s amount of racism only looking at number of hate groups alone is not an accurate estimate of said region’s tolerance of minorities. The second reason why this particular stereotype is unfair, is that African Americans are often times not the minority. The 2010 census found that 105 southern counties had an African American population of 50% or higher, and also that 55% of all African Americans living in the United States live in southern states. Finally, the 2010 census also reported that the number of people who claimed both Black And Caucasian (mixed race families) more than doubled from 2000 to 2010 suggesting a significant increase in mixed-race families this census data alone turn the racist stereotype of southerners on its head, because in many cases the white population is the minority, which means that your “average southerner” is an African American, not a racist white man.

The third and final stereotype that is misrepresented in popular culture is that of southern stupidity. Much like the first stereotype I discussed, this is another one that is shown throughout a wide range of popular culture outlets. The primary source I chose to showcase this stereotype is the appalling show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”. This show airs on what is questionably named “The Learning Channel” (TLC) and displays a seemingly endless cast of idiots from a small rural town in Georgia. This cast is known for such eloquent catch phrases like “I wish I had an extra finger, then I could grab more cheeseballs” and “I don’t even think I’m a real person I think I’m a fish”. (IMDB) This level of mindless “comedy” is to be expected from modern reality TV shows, but all kidding aside, this stupidity is very degrading to the south. It’s an implicit bias that seems to be built into out popular culture and media system today; if the person has a southern accent, then they must be dumb. This stereotype however, like the other two already discussed, is inaccurate when it comes to looking at the facts. The National Education Association keeps records of public schools across the United States. The records from the 2012-2013 show a majority of southern states in the top 20 states in regards to public school attendance, graduation rates, and daily attendance, with two southern states in particular, Florida and Texas, consistently scoring in the top 5. (Rankings) The access to quality education does not end with high school graduation either. The US News National College Rankings, rank colleges by academic achievement. Several southern schools such Vanderbilt in Tennessee, Rice University in Texas, and Emory University in Georgia receive high marks in the top percentile of over 200 schools ranked. This is in stark contrast to what the popular television shows show of the south. They do not depict an educated south, but rather one where people like “Honey Boo Boo” run the show.

In conclusion, when we turn away from believing everything on television, to actually putting in some time to research things before jumping to conclusions, we are quite often surprised at what we find, this is certainly the case with the stigmas of being a southerner. There are many unfair stereotypes that popular culture and the media tag to what being a southerner entails. These stereotypes are almost always misguiding and hurtful to those that are from the south. What we see on TV and the silver screen of Racist, uneducated, an underdeveloped southerners has no resemblance to the Educated, tolerant and industrialized south that we see when we look at the facts.

 

 

Works Cited

 

Florida, Richard. “The Geography of Hate.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 11 May 2011. Web. 01 Dec. 2014.

 

“Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.

 

“National Universities Rankings.” National University. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.

 

 

“Rankings of the States 2013 and Estimates of School Statistics 2014.” Rss. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2014

 

Rawles, Kristen. “5 Big Media Stereotypes About the South (And the Real Story Behind Them).” Alternet. N.p., 2 Apr. 2012. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.

 

“Southern Poverty Law Center.” Southern Poverty Law Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2014.

 

“United States Census Bureau.” 2010 Census Shows Black Population Has Highest Concentration in the South. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.

Just The Average Indian American

by Sharath Menon

This article discusses about the stereotypes that are directed towards Indian diaspora. The word diaspora means a group of people living outside their native land. For example, Portland State University mostly consists of European, Asian, and Mexican diaspora. Indians face all sorts of stereotypes in the US. There have also been lots of racial attacks targeting Indians involving the September 11th attacks. The first stereotype I have observed with many Indians are that they are socially awkward around strangers and how they are stereotyped as franchise of call center employees. My artifact is Raj from The next stereotype about Indians are that they are stereotyped as call center or seven-eleven employees. My artifact is Apu from the Simpsons. My third topic I have looked into was how the Indian diaspora in America is very studious and how they have dominated the spelling bees in the recent years.

There are more stereotypes about Indians such as worshiping cows, working at cell centers, and even being Jihadi terrorists. One excellent source for this topic is Slumdog Millionaire, an award winning movie taking place in the slums and busy streets of Mumbai, India’s largest city. The film is about a boy who grew up in the slums to becoming a chaiwalla (what we call barista here) to winning a millionaire show. This film highlights the poverty and trafficking problem going on in India. Here in Portland, Oregon, Indian Americans are a well respected community that blends in well with the rest of the population because they are seen as outgoing, hardworking, and intelligent. In other parts of the US, Indians do not have a good label as they are stereotyped as rude, impatient, foul smelling, and often generalized with brown skinned people for being terrorists. When I search on Google for “Indians are…”, the first result to pop up was “Indians are rude”.  After the September 11th attacks, Indians have received a lot of attacks. When Nina Davuluri won Miss America last year, there were social networking comments that read “So Miss America is terrorist.” and “Miss America or Miss Al Qaeda?”

Warning: Offensive and Foul Language

http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/a-lot-of-people-are-very-upset-that-an-indian-american-woman

The main stereotype observed with Indians are that they are socially awkward around other people. My first example of this is Raj from Big Bang Theory. His full name is Rajesh Kootrappali. Raj is an astrophysicist working at Caltech. He behaves hesitant around women as well as his friends. Once in a while Raj talks with his parents over in New Delhi with his laptop and often gets embarrassed by them. As a result, he dislikes his Indian heritage and the Indian culture. Raj tries to socialize with American girls but circumstances do not go well with him as the relationships end after a few days. According to TVGuide, Big Bang Theory was the number one most watch television show in the 2013-14 season with 23.1 million views.

youtube: Raj’s Big Bang Moments

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

Indian Americans and other South Asians live in tightly knit and social communities, and place a paramount value within their community on academic performance. Growing up also to an Indian community, I have observed that many Indians interact with each other and get together for Indian celebrations such as Diwali. In India, there is a very ancient mechanism being practiced called the Caste System that discriminates based on skin color and wealth. Coming back to Nina Davuluri, notice how she has a darker skin complexion than all the Miss Indias. This brings up another stereotype that Indians lust after white skin. In only two of 81 surveyed countries in a poll, more than 40 percent of respondents said they would not want a neighbor of a different race. This included 43.5 percent of Indians and 51.4 percent of Jordanian. In India, majority of clothing and lingerie stores display trendy fashions on mannequins with blond hair, blue eyes and milky white complexions. Even the advertisements and store posters that use Indian faces promote a look that is unattainable for most Indians: a fair complexion. The most popular Bollywood stars such as Aishwarya Rai, a former Miss World, look more white than Indian. This discussion was reignited after Nina Davaluri, a woman of Indian descent, was crowned Miss America. Many here wondered: Could someone as dark complexioned as Davaluri win a pageant in the country of her heritage?

Screenshot 2014-11-30 at 7.59.39 PMScreenshot 2014-11-29 at 11.13.03 PMScreenshot 2014-11-29 at 11.12.47 PM

Former Miss World Aishwarya Rai (left), other Miss Indians (center and right)

Screenshot 2014-11-29 at 10.41.26 PM

Nina Davuluri, winner of Miss America 2013 (above)

The next topic is how Indians are portrayed as seven eleven employees in popular culture. One example of this is Apu from The Simpsons.  His full name is Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. Despite having a Doctorate’s degree from a prestigious school, Apu is the owner of a franchise called Kwik-e-Mart where he runs the cash register. The Kwik-e-Mart in The Simpsons is the equivalent of a Seven-Eleven in America. The long-running cartoon show called The Simpsons has perpetuated this stereotype with a character named Apu. He has an Indian accent and runs a “Kwik-E-Mart,” a convenience store inspired by 7-Eleven. When the real-life convenience store chain had transformed some of its locations into Kwik-E-Marts to promote the Simpsons movie in 2007, some Indian-American store owners were not exactly thrilled with the idea. Indian-Americans despite constituting less than 1% of the U.S. population, 3% of the nation’s engineers, 7% of its IT workers, and 8% of its physicians and surgeons.

youtube: The Simpsons – All Syrup Super Squishy Bender

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61kHpmenkT8

The final stereotype is how Indians are very smart in memorization skills as they dominate the spelling bees. If anyone follows the spelling bee championships, all the recent winners have been of Indian origin.The last eight national champions and thirteen of the last seventeen have been of Indian descent, a string of victories that began since 1999. The same circumstance is happening in the geography bee as three of the last geography bee winners are of Indian origin. One primary reason for this circumstance is that the Indian culture high emphasis on academic achievement and memorization as well, as a building block of higher-level knowledge. Social expectations around academic performance within the Indian diaspora in US tend to be much higher than in other demographic groups. Arvind Mahankali (pictured below), the 2013 spelling bee champion, says spelling also teaches kids logic, as they use a word’s origin and meaning to deduce its spelling. However, spelling is an exercise in memorization, and while rote learning tends to be scorned in American schools these days, it is central to Indian education, and very much valued by immigrant parents who grew up that way.

Screenshot 2014-11-30 at 7.48.20 PM

Based on my observation with many Indian families, I have noticed the vast majority of them put a large emphasis on education and discipline. As a result, I have noticed many Indian and Chinese students in my middle and high school score the highest academically. In many peoples perspectives, they believe Indians have very long and complex sounding surnames such as that of Raj from Big Bang Theory or Apu from The Simpsons. Below is a video stereotyping immigrant parents versus white parents in the US and Canada. Russell Peters is a Canadian stand-up comedian born to Indian immigrants. He is well known in Canada and the UK but not so known in the states.

youtube: Russell Peters – Beating Your Kids

Warning: Foul Language

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn5jlrxcpkI

The movie Slumdog Millionaire is an excellent example of how Western media depicts India as the film won multiple Academy awards at the 2009 Oscars for best motion picture, best director, and best music. The film shows the miserable condition and chilling reality of the poverty, slavery, and discrimination that prevail all over India, but focusing in India’s largest city. The film displays the immense wealth divide and the social evils of the Caste system. As a result, many Indians looking for a much better living work very hard to immigrate into many countries. Competition is very high there because only the brightest students can get into universities or make enough money to immigrate to other countries. When you look at images of India, there are a lot of immensely crowded and dirty places and personal space and hygiene is not a concern there. The society and behavior in India is very different than that of the West. One could conclude that is why many Indians in the United States may be perceived as rude, impatient, and socially awkward. Raj from Big Bang Theory spent his childhood in New Delhi and later did his alma mater at California Institute of Technology (Caltech). However here in Portland, I have observed Indian Americans being stereotyped for positive qualities such as hard working and highly intelligent and they are well respected here for that.

Screenshot 2014-11-30 at 7.54.46 PM

In 2007, the median income of households headed by an Indian American was approximately $83,000, compared with $61,000 for East Asians and $55,000 for whites. Despite the occasional Seven-Eleven stereotype that originated from The Simpsons, Indian Americans still enjoy having more financial freedom financial freedom than other ethnic groups in the United States. For many immigrants, especially Indian and Asian immigrants, the American dream is well and alive here.

youtube: Slumdog Millionaire Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIzbwV7on6Q

Work Cited:

Basu, Moni. “‘White is Beautiful:’ Why India needs its own Oprah Winfrey”, CNN, 26 September 2013. 24 November 2014.

Big Bang Theory, 2007 – present, TV series. TV Show. Comedy. Aired on CBS. Created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady. Featuring Kunal Nayyar, Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Mayim Bialik, and Simon Helberg.

Broderick, Ryan. “A lot of people are very upset an Indian-American won the Miss America Pageant”, Buzzfeed, 15 Sept. 2014. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.

Fischer, Max. “A fascinating map of the world’s most and least racially tolerant countries”, Washington Post. 15 May 2013. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.

Richwine, Jason. “Indian Americans: The New Model Minority”, Forbes, 24 February 2009. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.

The Simpsons, 1989 – present, TV series. Comedy. Aired on Fox. Created by Matt Groening. Featuring Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith, and Hank Azaria.

Slumdog Millionaire, 2008, rated R. Directed by Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan. Music by AR Rahman. Features Dev Patel and Freida Pinto.

Smith, Tovia. “Why Indian-Americans Reign As Spelling Bee Champs”, NPR, 29 May 2012. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

Why Indian Americans Rule the National Spelling Bee.” LearnThatWord. 2014. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

Female Tennis Players

Jessica Nguyen

Popular Culture: Looking In the Popular Culture Mirror Essay

November 30th 2014

                Throughout history, men have displayed more power than women and society makes men seem more important. Men are portrayed to be more muscular and more “manly” while women had an icon of being “lady-like”, gentle, and proper. In today’s society, men are the dominate figure in sports and that they receive more media attention than female athletes. The sport of tennis, in particular, hasn’t yet been the main eye catcher of media like basketball and football.  However, tennis has shown more equality than other sports but still not enough.  Society and media focuses on the male athlete’s skill and performances while female athletes only receive attention based on their attractiveness or clothing style.  Female tennis players have been striving for equality and respect since the 1900’s, females are just as good as males in tennis.

In the year 2011, a Rogers Cup women tennis tournament poster advertisement came out and sparked a fire within the public. The slogan of the poster was “Come For The Ladies. Stay For The Legends.” This could be explained in many ways. When I read this, I thought of it as the buy a meal and get a free dessert time of deal; the female athletes, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, were the meal while the male athletes were the desserts. In my mind, when I go out to eat the dessert is the best part of dinner and with this slogan, the male athletes resemble the dessert meaning that they are the best part of the tournament, please come. A women activist named Heather Jarvis mentioned in her article that the poster is “demeaning towards women. It suggests women are just the initial attraction, they don’t actually matter” and behind the slogan “it says the real athletes, the real legends, are the men.”  The only thing positive about the poster is that they used pictures of the female athletes expressing their love for tennis. Down below is a photo of the poster.

rogers_cup_changes_slogan_poster_after_accusations_of_sexism

Back in time, it was hard for women to participate in anything that men were in. It was hard to women to participate in sports. Soon, Title IX passed in the states in 1972, the title stated that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance”.  Female athletes have increased since but still they have not yet been equal to males. Men are still overstepping women and even though women have been proving that they can be just as good, nothing changes. If it weren’t for female tennis players like Billie Jean and Serena Williams, then society wouldn’t ever believe that females are just as good as males.

The media has great powers that can change the way their audience think and feel about certain information. While male tennis players become popular throughout media by their strength and skills, society today focuses on the attraction and looks of female tennis players.  People don’t usually pay attention to how good a female athlete is but rather they focus more on attractiveness.  Anna Kournikova and Maria Sharapova for examples are two highly known tennis professionals have received way more attention about their clothing style and looks rather than their tennis game skills. Why is it that females only gain popularity with their appearance and not their talent? After I wrote out “female tennis players” in the search bar of youtube, all I saw in the results space was “Sexiest female players”, and “Top hottest tennis players”. When I searched up male tennis players, I did see some “Top hottest male tennis players” but I also saw a lot of “Best male tennis players”. Why is it that the focus of media is just on the appearance of females while they focus more on the strength and skills of males?

It’s basic knowledge to know that male athletes always get paid more than females. In Maria Sharapova’s situation, according to Forbes article, it stated that Maria was the on the top list of highest paid female athletes. The only reason she has this much fame is because of commercials and companies using her image of looks and style to bribe the people. There has been a huge controversy whether or not female tennis players should receive equal pay of a male tennis player or not. Winning the same tournament, Rafael Nadal and Victoria Azarenka’s pay wasn’t the same according to the Forbes article, “Tennis’ Gender Pay Gap Problem Looms on the Sidelines”.  There have been many complains and reason towards this pay gap, some say it’s because the tennis rules for women and men are different while others say it doesn’t matter, it’s the same tournament. This just showed the unfairness between the gender differences. Why is society like this? Why can’t women make the same earning as a man if they are doing the same work? In the movie “When Billie Beats Bobby”, there was a part where Billie and her group of gal friends wanted to petition for a higher earning to be equal as men.  Many made fun of her for wanting and believing that females are equal to males but Billie proved them wrong by beating Bobby, the number one male player during that time, and made history.  She got the respect and equality she deserved but it still didn’t change how society works today.

There have been many complaints about sexism within tennis. After Andy Murray, a British tennis player beat Noval Djokovic in the Wimbledon finals, CNN and BCC cheered over that Murray was the first to win a Wimbledon. Murry wasn’t the first, there have been many female British champions but no one have ever thought about cheering for them. When you thought the sexism would be over, during the French tournament, Marion Bartoli won for the Wimbledon women’s singles but she didn’t get praised for it, instead many criticized her for her appearance. When you finally believe these sexist comments are done for another one arrives. CNN posted that “Serena Williams slammed Russian tennis Chief Shamil Tarpischeve for his “insensitive, sexist and racist” remarks”. Society did improve because WTA banned Tarpischev for a year and was fined $25,000. Even though sexism hasn’t improved, what improved were the people who are fighting for justice against sexism.

I am a female tennis player and when I walk around with a tennis racquet in hand, people judge me and also whisper to one another that I’m just playing because of the outfits. It really bothers me when the world judges before understanding, every sport has it’s rumors and expectations. In high school, tennis was known for only “Asians” and everyone assumed every Asian student knew how to play tennis. When the see an Asian female play tennis, many automatically assume, they only play the sport because it’s easy and the outfits are cute. Media created expectations, assumptions, and judgmental people.

Media has a huge influence on the people especially the younger ones. Media will always complement on how attractive a female is while for men on how muscular they are. With this, there will be a decrease in female athletes because younger girls would be scared to become that manly image that media disses on for females. Females can be strong and skillful in sports while at the same time be attractive and feminine. Why does society judge so much? Why does it matter how or what a person does? There shouldn’t be any shame for how a person is; everyone is different with different personalities, talents, strengths, and determinations. Tennis has been one step ahead of other sports by striving towards equality with the genders. Even though it doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere, it has been improving with baby steps.

 

 

Works Cited

Serena Williams slams Russian tennis chief for ‘sexist and racist’ remarks. (2014, October 20). Retrieved November 14, 2014, from http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/19/sport/tennis/tennis-serena-sharapova-tarpischev/

Men versus Women Tennis Matches. (n.d.). Retrieved November 14, 2014, from http://www.topendsports.com/sport/tennis/men-v-women.htm

The beauty necessity in women’s tennis. (n.d.). Retrieved November 14, 2014, from http://www.examiner.com/article/the-beauty-necessity-women-s-tennis

How the Media Portrays Female Athletes. (n.d.). Retrieved November 14, 2014, from https://aimeelamoureux.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

Backpackers ‘R’ Us, Unless Media Has a Say

By Catrina Boar

It’s a cold December evening, the popcorn is finished, and it’s time to settle in for a movie.  The chosen theme for the viewing party will be backpacking and the crazy trek of sexually hungry, young, fit, white, and somewhat foolish young adults that flail around Europe, entertaining us for a couple of hours. It is in many ways unfortunate that the norm or type cast of the typical backpacker is often reduced to these traits. It seems that the media, on screen or even in print portrays three main stereotypes about backpackers. First, they are young, usually in their late teens or early twenties and in perfect physical condition. Second, all backpackers are portrayed as Caucasian. Third, if you are a traveling backpacker then you are promiscuous and naive or easily influenced. Most advertisements use an ideal image of youth and health to sell the idea that backpacking is a fun and energetic activity and to convince people to participate in these activities.

The most common theme in media when it comes to backpacking is the idea that you have to be a young adult/late teen to backpack. Every image depicted in media of backpackers is that of a healthy, in shape person probably in their late teens or early twenties.  In the backpacker magazines, everyone looks young like they are in the peak of their physical lives. The film Eurotrip casts all of the main characters who backpack across Europe as college students. Finding media that depicts someone older is very difficult and for good reason, this idea of youth and health is an ideal image and can cause people to want to be more involved in these activities. For example, in the television show Gilmore girls, one character Emily, says in response to Lorelai (the leading lady, a thirty-something single mom and Emily’s daughter) going backpacking “Yes, but you’re not a kid, you’re a grown woman. What are people going to think when they see a grown woman bunking down with a bunch of twenty-year-olds?” This scene makes it clear that Lorelai is too old to backpack as well as defining the proper age to backpack.

Specific scene from season 3, episode 13:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9AfkQ3FiMFU

This form of media is interesting because it not only depicts the stereotype that you have to be a young adult to backpack, it also shows how they are deviating from that stereotype by allowing a woman in her late 30’s to go backpacking. In contrast Rory (Lorelai’s daughter) is the stereotypically “proper” age for backpacking, as the series tells her story of life in high school and university.

Another contrast to this stereotype is the article “What a 74 Year Old Man Can Teach Us About Backpacking” by Stephanie Yoder, freelance writer and online blogger. This article joins Yoder as she interviews a 74 year old backpacker who took the tragedy of his wife’s death and turned it into non-stop traveling throughout the whole world; Asia, Africa, Europe, etc. He believes that “The biggest problem with kids today, is that they’ve lost the drive to explore. Its human nature to want to see what’s out of sight, what’s over the next mountain.” This is interesting because it is actually claiming, albeit by personal opinion that younger people do not backpack as much as they should. I found that a lot of people start backpacking early in life and that this allows them to stay healthy and strong to where they can continue backpacking into advanced years. Alternatively, there are examples of older people just starting out as backpackers because they want to do something new and exciting with their lives. It’s the whole idea of a bucket list, older people or those with severe diseases do it because it’s an experience they wanted to have before they die.

However, in support of the idea that backpackers are mostly young adults is an article by Tracy Stephenson Shaffer. According to her piece “Performing Backpacking: Constructing “Authenticity” Every Step of the Way”, backpacking is a “rite of passage” for those in their late teens and early twenties as they face the transition between childhood and adulthood. This is expressed in this quote from her article.” Backpackers by definition go about the touristic experience with all their costumes and props on their backs so as to be free to improve, to expand the time and space of “typical” tourism in hopes of getting a unique sense of place and a deeper understanding of self during their travels. Ironically, while backpackers work to create sincere, singular, and original experience with the people they meet and the places they visit, backpacking has become almost an obligatory rite of passage amongst young middle class and upper middle class American adults.” (Page 140)  This is interesting because it not only supports the idea of young adults being the primary age of backpackers; it also focuses on American (presumably mostly Caucasian) people.

When it comes to the stereotype that all backpackers are Caucasian, I looked at movies, television shows, and magazine photos. In EuroTrip, all of the main characters are Caucasian and from the United States. Although the show Gilmore Girls is filled with multi race characters, the two who went backpacking (Lorelai and Rory) are Caucasian. It’s possible that media is trying to idealize backpacking by using a racist image that only Caucasians are exciting enough, or adventurous enough to participate in the activity. Another example comes from when I looked at ten random cover images of the magazine, below are just three examples.

this is it

Although not every cover I looked at showed people, the majority of those that did were clearly Caucasian people although there were a few that depicted other races. Some covers were far off picture or depicting the backs of the people in the photos, probably as an attempt to avoid race discrimination. However, most look Caucasian and those where the faces are clearly depicting Caucasian people. In the photos where the subject’s back is to the camera or they are far away from the camera, the people still appear to be Caucasian, although it’s difficult to prove this with any degree of accuracy. This creates the idea that only Caucasians enjoy exploring the wilderness and backpacking. According to this magazine it is very clear that hiking, and backpacking and camping are beneficial and that everyone should do it. They use ideal images of beautiful landscapes, mountains, rocky areas, few people, and wilderness to sell this idea. In contrast my personal experience backpacking has demonstrated that people of all races backpack, it is not just for Caucasians.

The idea that backpackers are promiscuous and easily influenced is not a rare representation. Various movies such as EuroTrip as well as many horror films that involve backpacking such as the movie Hostel use sex as a way to grab attention. Sex sells and media knows this and takes advantage of it. It is likely that the ideal of sex is related to the youth stereotype being applied to backpacking. Backpacking itself could be seen as a sexy activity; media may romanticize it with “foreign lovers” or even as a couple’s first trip together. Young and sexually hungry/active go hand in hand. EuroTrip is a movie where everything that could go wrong does go wrong, including sex.

EuroTrip trailer:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SeoX8MZd81E

The movie EuroTrip creates the idea that Caucasian backpackers lose every bit of intelligence that they have when something sexually enticing or exciting happens. As an example, one of the main characters (Cooper) goes to Europe specifically to have sex resulting in the following proclamation:

     “You know America was founded by prudes. Prudes who left Europe because they hated all the kinky, steamy European sex that was going on. And now I, Cooper Harris, will return to the land of my perverted forefathers and claim my birthright… which is a series of erotic and sexually challenging adventures.”

Conclusions people could draw based on this movie is that backpackers are foolish, they lose their money, tickets, and passports but don’t really seem to worry about it, as well as being sexually obsessed. However, when looking back at Shaffer’s article “Performing Backpacking: Constructing “Authenticity” Every Step of the Way”, the theme of promiscuous and easily influenced behavior is incorrect. In fact this article examines how different people work to individualize their experience rather than conform to influence.

       Before the final credits roll and the popcorn bag is thrown out let’s recap.  Backpacking is an activity where a person explores a new environment or even escapes their current one; no matter their reason or their methods, backpacking is always individualized and personalized to the person or group.  Often times in the media we experience backpackers being shown in what could best be described as negative light. You have to be young, you have to be white, you need to be a tad naive, and a little bit promiscuous.  However, what’s been shown in the previous pages is that backpacking can give you an experience that’s foreign and incredible as well as spontaneous and affordable; it can be almost a “rite of passage.” Another look shows that backpacking is an adventure that everyone should experience no matter their age, gender, race, wealth, or hunger to crawl into bed with numerous partners. The truth about backpacking is that it is what it is.  If you want backpacking to be a party, make it a party. If you want it to be the hiking trip of a lifetime, make it that way. If you want to use it as an inexpensive way to make travelling spontaneous; go for it. The influence and representation from the media on this activity (and many other subjects for that matter) should not dictate what we do, who we are, or how we are seen.

Bibliography:

EuroTrip, 2004 movie, rated R.
Teenage Comedy Movie
Written by Alec Berg, David Mandel, and directed by Jeff Schaffer. The film stars Scott Mechlowicz, Jacob Pitts, Michelle Trachtenberg, Travis Wester, and Jessica Boehrs.

Ten random cover pages of “Backpacker Magazine” – National Parks Guild
Various authors, editors, and photographers.

Gilmore Girls, 2000 TV series
TV show. Family Comedy. Originally aired on WB, then CW.
Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband Daniel Palladino, starring Lauren Graham (Lorelai) and Alexis Bledel (Rory)

What a 74 Year Old Man Can Teach Us about Backpacking by Stephanie Yoder, full-time freelance travel writer. Story posted July 19th, 2011.
Her website: twenty-somethingtravel.com

Performing Backpacking: Constructing “Authenticity” Every Step of the Way.
Author: Tracy Stephenson Shaffer
Text & Performance Quarterly. Apr2004, Vol. 24 Issue 2, p139-160. 22p.