Single, White and a Mother


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.. “


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. “


“Vietnam War History.” A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.”


Wieland, Bagwel. “Vietnam War Short Film (PTSD).” YouTube. YouTube, 18 Feb. 2014. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.”


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.

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.




“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.










     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. <;.

Feminism & YouTube


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.


FCKH8. (2014, October 21). Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs for Feminism by Retrieved December 2, 2014, from

Funny or Die. (2014, April 17). Polisub: How to Turn on a Feminist. Retrieved December 3, 2014, from

Lacigreen. (2014, April 23). WHY I’M A…FEMINIST *gasp*. Retrieved December 3, 2014, from

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


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.


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.
















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.