Feminism — A Movement Transcending and Transforming in Time

Feminism today is: “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men”, as defined by the Oxford dictionary, but to many it is so much more. It is a way of living, it is an ongoing fight towards victory in equality. Fifty years ago, feminism was in its second wave — defined by the understanding that women’s personal lives were deeply inflicted politically, and worked to fight against sexist power structures. In reality, the true meaning of the word foregoes any place in time — feminism exists wholly as an evolution of beliefs and actions made in the effort equality amongst the sexes. Feminism is timeless.

Historically, feminism has been found as radical and progressive — a movement over a lifestyle. In the media, feminism has thematically been represented in protests, records of actions taken out of context, presented as absurdity. This was feminism in the 1960s:

1977:  Women taking part in a demonstration in New York demanding safe legal abortions for all women.  (Photo by Peter Keegan/Keystone/Getty Images)

1977: Women taking part in a demonstration in New York demanding safe legal abortions for all women. (Photo by Peter Keegan/Keystone/Getty Images)

In the media today, feminism is shown through clothing printed with empowering slogans and prints of breasts, feminist icons — musicians, writers, actors, filmmakers, designers, etc—, world wide political discussions and beyond. Feminism is not restricted to women fighting against men, there are now many men in the fight with us — it is a genderless, sexless, raceless battle in favor of all genders, sexes, and races — in favor of equality. This is feminism in 2015:


PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 30:  Models walk the runway during the Chanel show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2015 on September 30, 2014 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

PARIS, FRANCE – SEPTEMBER 30: Models walk the runway during the Chanel show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2015 on September 30, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Beyonce preforms at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at the Forum in Inglewood, California on August 24, 2014.

Beyonce preforms at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at the Forum in Inglewood, California on August 24, 2014.

Fifty years apart, and here we are, fighting the same battles: unequal pay, lack of control over our own bodies and sexuality, the list goes on. The differences come through the progression of society — the way feminism is portrayed and the way we view it, the way its marketed and contributed. Fifty years ago, feminism reached the masses in breaking news, in taking over the streets and the occasional Hollywood figures or musicians. Today, feminism reaches the masses through blogs, photo series, podcasts, fashion, political figures, social media platforms, music, art and beyond.

It's Me and You Clothing Lookbook

It’s Me and You Clothing Lookbook

It's Me and You Clothing Cookbook

It’s Me and You Clothing Cookbook

Nineteen year old Jewish girl from Chicago, Tavi Gevinson, was just twelve years of age when she started a fashion blog known as “Style Rookie”, and is now one of the most influential female activists of our generation — the head of world wide pop culture and femme-themed Rookie Magazine, online. As she stated in her TedxTalk just a few years ago: “Feminism is not a rulebook, but a discussion, a conversation, a process”(Gevinson, Tavi. “A Teen Just Trying to Figure It out.”) This thoughtful collection of twelve words is a pretty direct analysis and representation of the manifestation of what feminism is presently.

Through Tavi, what it is to be a woman today versus what it has meant historically is a budding conversation that happens on a platform reaching world wide in an instant — a reality that was unthinkable fifty years ago.

It was then when the discussions took place through community marches with signs held high and the burning of bras. News that didn’t reach outside of its own community until days after, if it spread at all; news that was “discussed” as an event, as something that happened, but taken apart from the root of what generated the action-taking. Being a twelve year old, being Jewish, and being a girl were each battles in themselves.
Star Olderman, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and Chair of the Women’s Studies Department at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, wrote the article “Midwestern Women and the Second Wave of Feminism: How Social Change Happens” as a review of the documentary “Step By Step: Building a Feminist Movement”. The review tells of many Midwestern women interviewed in the film and how their local efforts transformed into state-wide and national feminist movements. This depiction speaks directly to what Tavi Gevinson has and is currently doing. Tavi’s ability to lead a movement beginning as a middle class, Jewish, twelve year old girl is something that would have been nearly unattainable without the internet. Feminism often begins with every day people asking questions about every day scenarios, and acting in pursuit of answers. Olderman’s analysis of Steb By Step’s representation of feminism speaks of “women who at first seem to be involved in very separate or very local struggles, finally bringing them together on the state and national levels” — although speaking to movements over fifty years old, one sees parallels of this happening in social circles similar to those of activists such as Tavi Gevinson, Amy Poehler, and Lena Dunham.

Along the lines of the evolution of forming feminist communities, Oxford University Press’ book: Everywhere and Nowhere: Contemporary Feminism in the United States by Jo Reger depicts feminism on a community-wide scale. Notating how feminism starts with the individual and intermingles, Reger’s studies align very well with what Tavi was accomplishing from a very young age. Reger largely compares feminism in terms of generational differences, notating how there are often disagreements on what is actually important or worth fighting for. Where in the the 1960s, women would have to leave the United States in order to get a safe abortion, and today abortion is legal in some states, there is sometimes conflict in the minds of prior generations of feminists when hearing of movements such as “Free the Nipple”, questioning the importance of that relative to what they fought for some years ago. Many older activists see young feminists as being too concerned with popular culture and sexual empowerment, when in reality, these are very real and resonant topics of this generation. Reger confronts these conflicts best in stating “Disagreements about who ‘we’ are, or should be, take time and resources away from activist tasks, often alienating participants and fragmenting the movement.”

One representation of feminism really resonant to this generation is the television series Gilmore Girls — following a single, independent mother, successful in her career and raising a daughter. This show hits close to home for me as it was probably the first example of feminism that was revealed to me as a young girl. Amy Sherman-Palladino portrays powerful, independent, self-motivated women — writing her characters in ways in which the audience can get to know them in a very real and familiar way.

Although not an exact analysis, the topics examined in Reger’s text correlate closely with many of the characteristics that make up Gilmore Girls. The series is a thorough representation of feminism on both individual and community-wide scales, showing how feminism and communities effect one another, support and growth wise. Each individual takes on the role of being a feminist differently — Gilmore Girls portrays three generations of Gilmore girls, each strong and independent in significantly different ways, largely as a result of the differing waves of time they each grew up in. Gilmore Girls is also incredibly diverse casting wise, which opens the viewers eyes to feminism across the various social factors — race, gender, sexuality, religion, class — which Reger depicts in her book as incredibly important, but rarely found.

As mentioned before, Tavi notates that women are often portrayed as very flat, two-dimensional characters — over simplified and easily understood, when in reality women are not like this whatsoever. In the case of Gilmore Girls, on the whole, the characters at play are somewhat of an anomaly because of how multidimensional they are, even considering the time period of its release.
As a public television show of the early 2000s, such attentiveness to the representation of women was a rarity. Lorelai and Rory, the two main characters, are intelligent, humorous, motivated young women, independent in many ways — but are also very real in the the way that they do show weaknesses (often when it comes to relationships in their various forms), but are not overly inhibited by their trials. One topic that Gilmore Girls touches on in particular that stands apart from the majority of representations of women in the media is the role that food played within the show. Food was often a tool for guiding conversations and building character relationships. I would estimate that nearly 65 percent of the conversations held throughout the show take place during the consumption of some form of food. There was an emphasis on the lack of knowledge Rory and Lorelai had of making food, counter playing their overall intelligent personas, which lead to the mother daughter duo eating fast food, take out, and frozen dinners for the duration of the series. For a show focused around two women, this pushes preconceived notions of the ways in which a woman should and does eat by emphasizing eating incredibly unhealthy food in abundant quantities and high frequencies.

gilmore girls chinese food gilmore girls pie

The 1966 Czech film “Daisies” is a strong representation of feminism in its second wave, and in many ways is a parallel to Gilmore Girls. In some ways, the two main characters are a bit less dimensional than the girls of Stars Hollow, but their polarizing personalities are undoubtedly intentional. Vera Chytilova was the first female film director of the nation, and was actually banned from film making after the making of this film — proving how rare such a portrayal as this was in popular culture. Her portrayal of two young, bored girls includes numerous scenes of ravenous eating, tricking men into buying the two sisters meals, and leaving the men in the dust — without the sexual favors they presumed would be granted in return. “The twinned heroines act like dolls run amok, but they’re also impish adolescents tweaking society through their experiments in self definition. ‘We can try anything once,’ they claim in their existential repartee” writes Nicholas Rapold of the New York Times in An Audience for Free Spirits in a Closed Society. This description exemplifies the free spirited beings Chytilova so boldly chose to portray in the midst of a very conservative political regime. Although very similar to many of the characteristics one can find in Gilmore Girls, Chytilova’s representation was seen as obscene, and was pretty clearly a rebellion against many social expectations in a bit more obscene, blatant way.


i love food

It has been incredibly interesting to find that many representations of feminism in popular culture have retained similar qualities over history — what seems to have changed more than the content itself, is how harshly the public reacts to the the content. The ideals continue to transcend time, while taking form in new interpretations. It is clear that for a large part of history this part of my identity was often represented through satire and absurdity in an attempt to maybe counteract peoples opinions by showing that, in reality, feminism is a way of living, feminism should be the norm.

Learning Moments:

There have been many learning moments for me throughout this course — some of which were incredibly revealing in terms of information, and some experience based. As I have never taken an online course before, this term was, and continues to be, a learning experience in terms of organization and independence. It has been a rollercoaster of confusion and revelation on a number of scales. Although in many ways online courses offer a liberty as to when a student needs to be presently working, the time range in which one needs to be online, whether figuring out an assignment, doing the research, completing the assignment, etc., is entirely more scattered. It is not at all the same as going to a class twice a week, receiving all of the information in a two hour period, and leaving with the understanding that you have a routine amount of time between then and the next time you will be in that class. This calls for a lot of self-discipline and organization in the realm of online courses.
On another note, the freedom of online courses allow access to so much more information — the vastness of what is out there to research is at the tip of the students fingers, quite literally, and is encouraged to be delved into. On top of that, the peers one interacts with are granted the same opportunity, and are encouraged to share their findings with the others in a way that isn’t as available as in face to face classes because there is no time frame cutting of a students thought necessarily — the information is forever lingering through the world of the internet.
In coming into this course I was unsure of what to expect. I am not personally acclimated to popular culture as intensely as a majority of my peers today are, so I thought of this class as a way to gather wisdom on today’s popular culture. Although this did happen naturally through many of the examples we were asked to share with one another in relation to topics throughout the term, this term was more of an analysis of popular culture’s presentation — which I almost enjoy even more. Studying the affects of advertising and the many ways it takes form and place within our culture was undoubtedly my favorite topic of the term — despite, and probably because of, how sickening the revelation of the subconscious power advertising has on its audiences was to me. Naturally now I can’t help but find that advertising is virtually unescapable today, so when I’m not avoiding it, I keep in mind the four steps learned from the “Deconstructing an Ad” handout.


Garis, Mary Grace. “What Makes Up the Diet of a Gilmore Girl? Lorelai and Rory Have Very Specific Tastes.” Bustle. April 17, 2015. Accessed December 4, 2015.

Gevinson, Tavi. “A Teen Just Trying to Figure It out.” TedXTalks. 2010.
Accessed October 17, 2015.

Olderman, Star. “Midwestern Women and the Second Wave of Feminism: How Social Change Happens.” University of Wisconsin System Women’s Studies Library, 1999. Accessed October, 2015.

Rapold, Nicolas. “An Audience for Free Spirits in a Closed Society.” The New York Times,
June 29, 2012. Accessed November 30, 2015.

Reger, Jo. Everywhere and Nowhere: Contemporary Feminism in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

“Daisies.” Criterion. Accessed December 1, 2015.

“Definition of Feminism in English.” Oxford Dictionaries. Accessed October 9, 2015.

“Gilmore Girls.” Writ. and Dir. Amy Sherman-Palladino. Warner Brothers, 2000-2007.

Image Sources:

Images 1-3: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/feminism-second-wave/a/1960s-Feminism-Timeline.htm
Image 4: http://globalgrind.com/2014/09/30/chanel-spring-2015-show-feminism-photos/
Image 5: http://bscene.bershka.com/en/2014/feminismo-arte-y-colores-pastel/
Images 6-7: itsmeandyou.com
Images 8-19: https://www.ted.com/talks/tavi_gevinson_a_teen_just_trying_to_figure_it_out
Images 10-12: http://www.bustle.com/articles/74366-what-makes-up-the-diet-of-a-gilmore-girl-lorelai-rory-have-very-specific-tastes
Images 13-14: https://www.criterion.com/films/27854-daisies

College Portrayal in Society

By Kenya Hall Popular Culture. Daneen B.

college portrayal in society    college meme

Nowadays society is so judgmental of the 21st century college student. Society often perceives college students as arrogant and lazy fools. We are believed to be drunken, sex driven crazies in the pre stages of alcoholism. But what society doesn’t understand is that we spend four years trying to map out the rest of our lives through education, and although some benders get us through the term here and there, we are much more than our stereotype. When I started college at Portland State University I knew what would be my biggest distraction. The IDEA of college.aint nobody I thought that college would be this fun social event that everyone did because partying would play a big factor in it I thought that college would be just another life experience.  As I continued on with my education I realized that my idea of college isn’t what college is at all. We go to school to invest into our future selves. I was coaxed into the idea of going to college based on the television shows I watched. Being a first generation college student, I had no one to tell me what to expect, my only other resource was watching tv and basing what is a big life decision on fictitious people. In this way, society had encouraged the idea of going to college by portraying it in a way that glorified the young adult experience, instead of showing what college was really like. Because society sees college students in a negative way, they are also shown on tv to be the exact stereotype that we are seen as.

My findings for my primary sources were the television show Greek which aired on Abc Family, The L.A. Complex and the song I Love College made famous by Asher Roth. Being in college I have learned so much about myself, others, and what college life is truly like. Those facebook memes that talk about living on 20 cent ramen, and being broke are definitely part of the college struggle, and if you never experience that part of college then you haven’t had the right college experience. I have learned that I am not super woman, I cant be in more places that one, and I cannot commit to every college related activity that I intended on doing. I have learned that you cannot rely on other people to get your responsibilities done. But I am a student who is trying to work at the best of my abilities. Being a college student can have its ups and downs with finals, midterms and online class work, you never have much time to party, but when the opportunity presents itself, you obviously take it. The unfortunate part about that is that society only focuses on the idea of college students getting drunk and partying and being too hung over to make it to classes, but we work our butts off to get assignments in, in a timely matter.

My first source is the ABC Family show Greek. I feel that most shows or movies that portray college are inaccurate. For instance the movie 22 Jump street show Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill at crazy frat parties and drinking giant gallons of milk while the entire crowd cheers them on. They go to wild spring break parties and football games but no footage of them actually learning somethinggreek.

College students get judged for their extreme partying, also it gives high school students false hope of what college actually is. In the show Greek it follows a college freshman named Rusty Cartwright as he tries to get through the hustle and bustle of being an outsider in this huge Greek “culture” that his popular sister belongs in.

I think that this show portrays college through the point of view of college freshman because it accurately shows the struggle of college and having to work hard to get where you want to  be in life. You see Rusty’s coming of age story as he finds his place In the college world. You see him making many mistakes, and the  show doesn’t portray college as rainbows and butterflies, it is the real deal. It goes over obstacles and challenges that every college student faces at some point in their college career.

Another portrayal of college would be the song “I love college” made famous by Asher Roth. Its purpose is to give an idea of how partying in college would be, and although it seems like a cliché this song is pretty accurate for college freshman, its an artifact to me because when I first started college I focused more on partying and not my education, I think that it is definitely something that you grow out of by your senior year. This song accurately describes how society sees college students .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYx7YG0RsFYar.i love college

Another  show that is more influential to college life/ adulthood is the The L.A. Complex The L.A. Complex is about a girl who, after completing her college career moves to L.A. to look for a job to start her acting career. She moves into a complex with other people trying to make their way into stardom, and they all struggle in their own ways. All thinking that they should be more privileged than the other which describes to each their own “complex” of living in Los Angeles. The audience is people who also struggle with finding work after their undergrad. Its purpose is to show that not everything is at arm’s reach; you have to work for what you want, and I think that once you get into a certain stage In your college career that becomes more of a realistic fact.

Memorable learning experience

My most memorable/favorite learning moment was the advertising lesson. I enjoyed it because there are so many ways to be tricked into mainstream consumerism. Someone could be convincing you that you need something or that you need to do something with subliminal messages that we don’t even notice. I shared a few videos about how smoking is bad with the #truth videos and my point that I was showing was that big marketers target a specific age group and target what they would captivate their interest. The commercials have funny memes and dancing and music, but the message that they are trying to portray is that smoking is bad for your health. Although they are trying to relay an important message, they hide it with funny sayings and music.

Although I think that it is trivial that most marketers are in the same line of persuasion it is also interesting that you can almost coax people to see something without them even seeing the thing that they are supposed to be seeing.aint nobody 2

Another memorable learning experience was reading about how the boy in the shoe shop didn’t want to buy a certain type of shoe because he was worried about the child labors and the people who created them, wanting to not contribute to the harsh reality of how a lot of our products are made. That one spoke out to me because someone at that age felt like the things that happen in the world that we live in are so unfair, and especially him being a young adult and having that realization means something. If everyone or at least a majority of the world thought that way, who knows where we would be.



Traveling in the Media


Traveling in the Media

By: Carl Johnson

We see traveling all over the media whether directly or indirectly. Traveling can impact our lives and help shape who we are and how we perceive the world. Media can impact the way we perceive or understand certain places of travel, certain cultures or certain environments. Fictional or non-fictional movies, news articles and documentaries can help promote or demote a place of travel and can be the deciding factor on whether or not someone decides to travel there.

In the movieSecret-Life-of-Walter-Mitty Secret Life of Walter Mitty we see a man who resembles the majority of the working class. Working so much that we often don’t have time to do the things we want so all we can do is daydream about them. Throughout the movie we begin to see a man break out of his comfort zone and develop into a completely different person through his travels. Although his work is the thing that has kept him from traveling it also becomes the thing that motivates him. He traveled the world in order to find a picture that a photographer for Life Magazine had. He travels to cities all over Greenland, Iceland and Denmark. The movie shows culture, nature and the different lifestyles of the people who live there. He is able to experience different cultures, whether and meet new people through his travels.

This movie was actually one of the first major motion pictures knowingly set in Iceland. Although it has been seen in other movies and shows such as Game of Thrones and Thor we often don’t know exactly where these beautiful scenes are shot at. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was the first movie to give insight into Icelandic culture and show exactly where the waterfalls, volcanoes and glaciers are from instead of it just being a background. This movie focuses on the beauty of the landscape and rather than having it as a background element it is actually a major part of the movies story (Hull, 2013).  We also meet a photographer who talks about the beauty of photographing in the places he has traveled and often times elects out in taking a picture because a moment is so beautiful. Traveling helped Walter gain courage, self-worth and a different view of the world that surrounds him. We see his daydreams become a reality.


The Bucket List was another major motion picture revolving around the idea of traveling shaping a person’s life. In this movie we meet two elderly men, Carter Chambers and Edward Cole, who ar58390-51057e unlikely friends find that although the only common attribute they share is there terminal illness they can still gain astrong friendship. They both feel like they have yet to actually live their lives. They adventure to places such as Egypt, France, Italy and China to complete a list they have written before they “kick the bucket.” This was another movie that didn’t just include the scenery as a background but as a major aspect of the movie. Although this movie doesn’t show as many cultures in the places traveled like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty does, they do feature beautiful places to visit that people may not have thought of visiting. This movie teaches us how travel can bring joy and it can make us feel like we have accomplished more in our lives. Not only do they show how travel can fulfill their lives but also how experiencing new things and understanding how another’s life can enrich their lives. This movie also features the journey to finding god and peace. (Breimeier, 2007).

The Bucket List and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty both show how there is more to life than just a job or career. Carter Chambers and Walter Mitty share a common trait; they both have603029b453c952e1aa513b58aaa25a38 worked the majority of their lives and found their fulfillment through work never knowing anything else but their jobs. When they begin to travel due to their circumstances they begin to open their eyes to the purpose of life and the enrichment that their travels can bring to their souls. Although they are in different circumstances they both find courage, self-worth and a different view of the world that surrounds them.

Both movies have shown that there is more to traveling than just sightseeing or
trying new foods. We see that travel can help people gain a sense of self-worth and achievement. It helps people grow and become the people they want to be. Experiencing new cultures and people can help us see a new side to life and help us understand what our true purpose is. They show the life is about growth and self-improvement and that through travel we can gain these important aspects that help us to become a  better individual and benefit those around us.








Diamond, Stephen. “Staring at Sixty: Some Musings About Mortality and the Bucket List.” Psychology Today. 9 Apr. 2009. Web. 27 Nov. 2015.


“Five Life Lessons From The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty.” Wild Sister Magazine RSS. 10 Feb. 2014. Web. 27 Nov. 2015.


Hull, Robert. “Walter Mitty Gives Iceland Its First Leading Role in a Hollywood Blockbuster.” The Gardian. 26 Dec. 2013. Web. 27 Nov. 2015.


Mansaray, David. “The Importance of Travel for Personal Development.” David Mansaray RSS. 8 Feb. 2012. Web. 27 Nov. 2015.


Plastic Surgery – A Cultural Reflection in South Korea


by Chau Nguyen

Gangnam district

According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), the U.S, Brazil, and South Korea are the top three countries with the highest cosmetic surgical procedures in 2014. South Korea, although was ranked in third place, is actually the plastic surgery capital of the world. No exact number could be found online, but you can calculate the number of surgical procedures for every 1000 citizens by taking the total number of procedures, dividing it by their total population in 2014 (which can be found here), then time 1000. It is true that South Korea has he highest number with 9 procedures for every 1000 citizens.

Plastic surgery is a controversial topic not only in South Korea but in any country that people can have access to this service. To make plastic surgery become such a high demand industry, Korean media must have played a big part. What interests me the most is not their marketing strategy, but the mindset of Korean people on this topic. What makes it be widely accepted and spread across Korean generations (and probably among other Asian countries as well)? After doing some research, I have found that the Korean entertainment industry often sets beauty trends and standards that are followed by their citizens. These admired beauty standards combining with the social beliefs in South Korea has made plastic surgery a necessity, to the point where it can improve someone’s chance to get a job.

So, what are Korean beauty standards? Let’s take a look at this music video, Lion Heart, by Girls’ Generation, one of the most popular Korean idol groups.

The female singers in this video all have something very similar to each other: small V-line face shape, round fore head, double eyelids, tall nose bridge, beautiful smile/teeth, fair skin, thin body, bright and youthful makeup, colored hair, colored contact lenses and a cute yet sexy look. These characteristics are considered the modern beauty standards in South Korea. And thanks the booming entertainment industry, Korean people not only idolize these celebrities’ look but they are also obsessed with them. In the article, The K-pop Plastic Surgery Obsession, written by Zara Stone for The Atlantic magazine in 2013, the author mentioned about James Turnbull, a writer, lecturer in Korea on feminism and pop culture, who is also the owner of the popular blog The Grand Narrative. Turnbull noted that the main idea of producing idol groups is for the audience to like the stars’ appearance and to want to look like them.

In this plastic surgery advertisement, the after-surgery picture shows the model with the similar features: double eyelids, small V-line (or “contoured” face shape), tall nose bridge, and fair skin. Her before picture depicts her looking dull and unhappy, while the after picture is the opposite. To most of us, she looks beautiful in the before picture, but according to Korean beauty standards, her look could be improved. Notice the texts in the ad: “facial contouring that makes you Beautiful like flowers”,“make over Beautiful Face”,  “Contour your face to find your hidden beauty”, “TL Plastic Surgery Where you can find your true beauty.” These words constantly remind the audience how their natural born features could be  undesirable, that doing a facial contouring procedure will help them find their “true beauty”. Beauty is no longer a product of nature, it is now a product plastic surgery clinics and the K-pop industry.

But has this kind of beauty standard always existed in South Korea? I don’t think so. If you look at the picture of Miss Korea  in 1960 and Miss Korea in 2012. The Korean beauty standards in the 1960 still reflected what a normal Korean person would look like (slanted eyes, round face, flatter nose).

Mihija Sohn, Miss Korea 1960, and Sung-hye Lee Miss Korea 2012. (The Atlantic)

Mihija Sohn, Miss Korea 1960, and Sung-hye Lee Miss Korea 2012. (The Atlantic)

After the Korean War, Dr. David Ralph Millard, the chief plastic surgeon for the U.S Marine Corps at that time, went to South Korea in 1954 to help treat Korean accident and burn victims. He later perform the first recorded double eyelid surgery with his reason being to help Asian women minimize the sleepy, unemotional look from their slanted eyes .Despite the fact that his first clientele wasn’t Korean celebrities but prostitutes who wanted to attract American soldiers with their new look, once the first plastic surgery clinic opened in 1961, the number of double eyelid surgery procedures kept multiplying (Stone, 2013). However, not until the entertainment industry flourished that plastic surgery has become such a popular phenomenon in South Korea.

In the early 90s, Lee Soo Man founded one of the first and biggest entertainment agency, S.M Entertainment. The company created many legendary Kpop groups including H.O.T, S.E.S. It now owns Exo, Super Junior and Girls’ Generation. Along with other agencies, J.Y.P and Y.G, S.M has been recruiting young talented boys and girls in their early teenage years. They then have to go through a strict training and not all trainees are guaranteed to be able to make a debut. The group members often have plastic surgery done prior to their debut to make sure they look aesthetically pleasant and suit the Korean beauty standards. When they get famous, they automatically become the trend-setters and many young children will try to copy everything that they do.

In the article, About Face written by Patricia Marx for The New Yorker magazine, Eugene Yun, a private-equity fund manager, told Marx that in Korean language, instead of saying my husband, wives say “our husband”. This, in fact, is a form of antithesis individualism. When Korean people go to restaurant, they often order the same thing. When they go shopping, they want to buy the most popular item. If you have a chance to improve yourself, to look better, you should because everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn’t you?! Hailey Kim, a Korean-American 17 year-old girl, explained to Zara Stone the reason she had a nose job and double eyelid surgery was because she thought her face didn’t look right before (slanted eyes and flat nose). Her mom, aunts and cousins all had surgery done in Korea and gave her full support to follow their footstep.

South Korea is a very competitive society where people compete with each other on materials, money, social status, health and physical appearance. They want to try their best to do everything in their life. That could be measured by surpassing your friends, family, neighbors on whatever they do or have in life. Eunkook Suh, a psychology professor at Yonsei University, in Seoul, stated “In Korea, we don’t care what you think about yourself. Other people’s evaluations of you matter more.” It is because Korean people’s mindset is heavily influenced by Confucianism. He also said that a lot of Korean people believe in an increment theory rather than an entity theory when evaluating someone’s potentials. In another word, practice makes perfect. Maybe you weren’t born with a certain talent, but if you keep practicing that skill set, you will eventually be good at it. And If you weren’t born looking like a K-pop star, or having one of their features, you can now do so with plastic surgery.

Nowadays, having a higher education, good work ethics or talents is not enough for the young Korean people to get a good job, especially women. Kang Nayeon, a high school student from Gumi, a small city outside of Seoul, said that some companies didn’t like to hire people that had had nose job and eyelid surgery, but they still preferred hiring pretty people. And that is why parents allow and sometimes encourage their children to have plastic surgery done when they are younger so when they grow older, it will look more natural on them. An eyelid surgery as a high school graduation gift is very common thing in South Korea.

In conclusion, plastic surgery has become a necessity for Korean people to improve not only their look and self-esteem, but also their chance to get a good job. If someone abuse it, by having too many procedures, they might get frown upon, but having some subtle changes like double eyelid surgery, a nose job, botox or filler would be considered normal. Korean beauty standards in this case is a reflection of their popular culture and social beliefs. Regardless of what the rest of the world think, Korean people will still pursue their beauty standards by one way or another. I think everyone should have the freedom to define their own beauty and decide on how to look their best. However, people should raise concerns about the safety and regulation issues within the plastic surgery industry in Korea to decrease the number of incidents and illegal practices.

Learning moments

This class has sparked my interested in writing and although I don’t have the best writing skills, I can see my improvement throughout the term by reading my own writing and going through the thought process. I think being able to write about a topic that interests me is the biggest help, along with all the required readings and online resources.

My favorite blog post was about analyzing advertisements, I think everyone’s posts were very interesting and diverse. Writing peer review letters was another good learning moment for me because I got to apply what I learned and interpret it in form of suggestions. It also helped me remember different concepts and methods when writing an essay.


Giunta, Stephen Xavier. “ISAPS International Survey on Aesthetic/Cosmetic-Procedures Performed in 2014.” Stem Cells in Aesthetic Procedures(2014): n. pag. IASP. 2014. Web. 20 Nov. 2015. <http://www.isaps.org/Media/Default/global-statistics/2015%20ISAPS%20Results.pdf&gt;.

“Lion Heart – Girls’ Generation.” YouTube. SMTOWN, 17 Aug. 2015. Web. 3 Nov. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVCubhQ454c&gt;.

Marx, Patricia. “About Face.” The New Yorker. N.p., 23 Mar. 2015. Web. 10 Nov. 2015. <http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/03/23/about-face&gt;.

Stone, Zara. “The K-Pop Plastic Surgery Obsession.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 24 May 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2015. <http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/05/the-k-pop-plastic-surgery-obsession/276215/&gt;.

“TL PLASTIC SURGERY Facial Contouring.” YouTube. TPL Plastic Surgery, 1 Jan. 2015. Web. 3 Nov. 2015. <https://youtu.be/nA2X5SWSnZs&gt;.









Big dreams, Latina stereotypes, Who we really are

Stereotypes Based on Famous Latinas

There are many influential Latinas in the entertainment business to start off with Selena (a famous singer known and loved). Another example, is Philly Brown (A girl who used her passion for singing to help her family get through tough times) , Gloria (A sexy milf who loves her family and is married to an older man), their is also, Consuela (A maid in a comedy tv show that loves to clean), and finally, Marisa Ventura from Maid in Manhattan (A maid who falls in love with a wealthy white man). All these Latinas are well known, although Selena is a real person and everyone else is fictional. These are some Latinas who represent the Latino community because they are famous and well known. In general Latinas hold a good record prioritizing family values, aspiring the American dream, following family traditions (musicians), and being hard workers.

A negative stereotype of Latinas is the assumption that they all have thick accents, work as maids, like to show cleavage, are liars, and have attitude.

To fight with these stereotypes here are examples of different Latinas:

Filly Brown
Filly brown, by Youssef Delara is a movie about a struggling Latina who turns to her passion of singing in order to to help her family. Her family is struggling because her mom is in jail and Filly has to take care of her dad and younger sister. In order to do so she works at her uncle’s tattoo shop until she gets this awesome opportunity when a music producer discovers her talent. In the movie “Timing is of the essence as she is hustling to raise money for what she thinks will be her mom’s ticket out of prison.” (Melanie Mendez-Gonzales. Movie review. Que means what).
The movie shows the struggle of the first generation Latinos, who become responsible of their siblings, and are  forced to mature faster than the rest. It continues by showing how hard Latina’s fight to help their family. It also shows how parents could also be struggling in addiction, and making the daughter/son be the grownup. There are times that I have felt this way and I have seen it in many Latino families. It’s not always the mom it could be the dad too putting a lot of responsibility on the first born since it is traditional to do so.
Something that I found revealing was how minorities especially most Latinas struggle with money, and family. Another thing that I noticed was how the first born has to take care of kids, and it’s hard to follow your dreams when your turn in between family and your passion.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy9CBJ1HA7k (Link shows The struggle for Filly, this song explains what she is going through).

This is the story of a famous singer named Selena who was one of the first Latinas to make it famous in Mexico and America. She was born in Texas and she had an American dream, to be a famous singer and to reach success in the English market . She succeeded but “The day her life was tragically cut short, Selena was expected at the studio to work on her first English-language album “Dreaming Of You.” “Only 4 of the 13 tracks envisioned for the album were recorded yet the record went multi-platinum when it was released posthumously. The album sold over 5 million copies and surpassed Mariah Carey’s sales records.” (Carolina Moreno. Huffington Post. reasons why Selena will never be forgotten).
She ended up being shot by her friend, Yolanda who was in charge of Selena’s fan club, causing many people to grieve for the young role model. Gregory Nava was asked by Selenas dad to make the movie about Selena, in order to keep her legacy going and in order to show Selena’s accomplishments. Many Latinas lookup to Selena since she was similar to the girl on the block. She never forgot her roots, she was down to earth, and she had a strict dad, big dreams, a boyfriend who her dad did not approve off and managed to achieve her lifelong goal. Details I noticed is that her dad passed down his talents to his daughter in hopes that she will become what he never could be. Another thing would be that she was the first Latina ever to become famous/well known in Mexico and America. I feel that parents usually do that to their kids. They have kids in order for them to keep their legacy going, dreams, hopes that they were not able to do. I also realized Latina’s don’t usually become famous in America and Mexico; so when that happens of course people are going to celebrate it’s a step closer to expanding our horizons.

Consuela is a maid in a popular tv show called Family Guy. She shows all the negative stereotypes of Latinas. She is a maid, she has an accent, she acts as if she is not smart, she is a liar, and Consuela tends to always clean wherever she goes. Consuela usually appears on episodes when someone needs cleaning, or on Valentines day when she crossed the border in a matrix manner in order to see her husband Juan. They were about to get intimate when Consuela tells him to wait while she freshens up by spraying herself with a cleaning product the famous “Lemon Pledge.” (Season 11 Episode 12; Valentine’s Day in Quahog). In the episode, “Dog Gone” 2009, Stewie loses $1,000 and asks Consuela if she took it. She admits she did and stewie demands her to give it back. She answers back saying “Come get me B—.” Family guy tries to show the bad stereotypes that are popular in people’s minds, Consuela makes Latinas seem like there only job is to be maids, that they are liars and are people who tend to steal from others.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VM4KBOv-O-g (Here is a link of Consuela showing these stereotypes).

In modern Family Gloria is a sexy Latina married to an old white man. She has an accent, loves family, and has a very spicy attitude. She has mixed stereotypes good and bad. It is good to be sexy but when people categorize certain Latinas as sexy vs not sexy it takes stereotypes to a whole different level. Gloria loves family and will do everything to help them be happy, which is a good stereotype for Latinas, family means everything. Gloria has an accent which may not be bad since that is who she is, even so not all Latinas have big accents all the time, people believe Latinas have accents every time that they talk and that is beyond true.

I have realized that Latina’s are shown as strong, poor, they tend to have dreams of a better life, have to take care of family,are taught of as maids, cooks, and house moms. This paper has taught me that Latina singers tend to become famous in order to help their family and to follow their dreams. I feel proud that Latina’s seen as fighters, and no matter what life throws their way they won’t give up. No matter what, minorities will always seem different than others and Popular culture made me realize this. My thesis is that people see famous Latina’s as what Latina’s are and they don’t know the truth about how one person is not the whole culture. My goal is to show people that it is not what it is about at all.

During the term the most significant learning moments for me was when we had a group chat in hangouts and give advice about our paper. Personally chatting and getting advice from others helped me a lot, for some reason the chat was erased but here is an example of another chat that helped me speak out and help others.

Me: “You could say a positive thing that you feel about being a photographer. For example creative, that’s a good stereotype right?”

Me: (Gave a link) “Not sure if this could help but I found it in the word press the title is Photographer stereotypes-a satire (some example)”


Another moment for me would be when I had to write answers to questions that where beyond my knowledge. For example:

In what ways have you participated in or learned about community this term, both in and out of this class?

A: Being able to give each other thoughts, feedback, and criticism. Working as a team for a desired goal (passing the class, learning about popular culture).  That’s what we have been doing I have been doing my part by participating in discussions and such. Out of class I learned about the school’s community, PSU students work together to graduate, help others, make others feel welcomed. We are a huge community of students at PSU not as close but certain parts of the community makes us feel welcomed for example, My sorority Kappa Delta Chi makes me feel welcomed.

Has your definition or understanding of community changed since the term started? Explain.

Yes it has, I believed community was people you where close to, family, a small town community, people who are united, same ethnicity. I just realized that there is way more like online communities, school communities, sorority communities, it doesn’t have to be the same race to be in a community.

Finally another big thing that helped me have a significant moment was during my teachers blog posts. She had asked us to analyze a news article and to find something about plagiarizing. take a look below

Newsworthy Criteria

Timeliness: Did the event just happen? A: No
Proximity: How close is the event, physically and psychologically? New York
Prominence: How many people have some knowledge of the person or event? Fox news, car companies like the Lambo’s
Significance: How many people will be affected? By how much? Not a lot just the company
Currency: Is the event part of an on-going issue? If not, should people know? Maybe
Controversy: Is there conflict or drama? Drama
Uniqueness: Is it a first, last, largest, least, best or worst? Large
Emotional Appeal: Is there humor, sadness or a thrill? Thrill
Here are some questions I ask when I’m analyzing whether a news story is newsworthy:
Does this information matter? Why? No, because politically it is not affecting the world, it’s effecting a company
Does it serve a “greater purpose” or is it just interesting, shocking, or entertaining? Entertaining
In what ways might this story influence the way I think, act, shop, or vote? I will definitely need to buy a Lambo later on
1. Mandatory Prompt: Find a news story (can be a video or print story, from TV, Internet, or paper). Use the “newsworthy” criteria

above (both the editors’ and mine) to analyze it. Give us a link to the story and tell us your findings. Why do you think the editors/producers chose it, and was the story covered really newsworthy? Why or why not?


Fast & The Furious: Detective agency posts $100,000 reward for missing Lamborghini. By: Fox News
The title is misleading Fast and the Furious when I clicked on it I thought It was going to be about The movie Fast and the Furious. Instead it was about a Lambo that got stolen and just disappeared sort of like Fast and the Furious on Oct 28. They claim whoever can find it will be rewarded $100,00. I think they choose to talk about this because people tend to love cars, especially fast cars so they also tend to post things people like beside the regular news. This news is not really affecting us politically, it only affects the company.

Find a source on the Internet related to plagiarism/copyright (video, article, blog post, etc.). Summarize it for the class.

I found this fun video about Plagiarism, Its a teacher rapping about it with his students. Writing verbatim and writing everything word from word is bad. And to be okay while writing a paper, cite it and acknowledge the author, citation style. Like the teacher says
“You’re only cheating yourself.” If you plagiarize. must watch video!


Work Cited
“Latina/o Representation and FOX Broadcasting Company: Family Guy.”Latina/o Representation and FOX Broadcasting Company: Family Guy. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2015
“FILLY BROWN Movie Review.” Qu Means What. N.p., 19 Apr. 2013. Web. 03 Dec. 2015

“Selena Movie Review & Film Summary (1997) | Roger Ebert.” All Content. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2015.

Moreno, Carolina. “20 Reasons Selena Quintanilla Will Never Be Forgotten.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2015

“Google Images.” Google Images. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2015.

When Passion Turns to Violence: How Soccer Supporters are Portrayed in the Media

Growing up as a supporter of soccer in America was very difficult at times. When I was a kid, the sport was not very widely accepted in the United States. People would say things about it not being a real sport or they would scrutinize the players for faking injuries. I tried not to let any of that bother me because I know most of the world agreed with my opinion of the game. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that the view of soccer fans internationally is much different than it is in the United States. The more research I do, the more I learn just how much soccer means to people in different parts of the world, and how closely I can relate to them. Soccer is and always will be part of my identity. This essay looks into how this identity of mine is represented in popular culture. Due to a long history of intense rivalries, soccer fans from around the world are seen as overly passionate, violent drunks.

These fans, often referred to as hooligans, tend to pick fights with rival fans or start riots. Some fans will yell profanities at players and sometimes even attack them. A group of these fans is called a firm which started as a British term, but has spread worldwide since. Lexi Alexander’s Green Street Hooligans shows what it’s like to descend into the violent, gang-like culture of British firms. Elijah Wood plays a Harvard journalist student who moves to London and quickly becomes swept up into the fierce rivalry between Millwall Football Club and West Ham United. While West Ham is normally a decent team on the field, Millwall isn’t quite up to that standard and is really only known for their rambunctious fanbase. The film provides a fairly realistic look into football hooliganism, but also tends to focus on the Matt.


In a 2005 review of the movie, Roger Ebert mentions that he first thought the inclusion of Matt’s character wasn’t actually a necessity for the film. He later states that “the movie’s point is that someone like this nerdy Harvard boy might be transformed in a fairly short time into a bloodthirsty gang fighter. The message is that violence is hard-wired into men, if only the connection is made.” Although Ebert doesn’t say one way or another if he agrees with that, it does raise a good point. Stereotypically, men have been known to be the more violent and impulsive gender. When hooliganism was much more common in the 20th century, the firms were predominantly male. This, of course, does not mean that soccer fans have been violent because they are male. Most of the firms focus on their pure hate of people from a different region than them.

Instead of harmless trash talk and bragging rights, they take their rivalries to another level and express their disgust with each other through physical violence and vandalism. It’s almost as if they treat it as another game. If one firm’s team loses, they get a second chance to show who is boss. These fans are unlike any that American sports have ever seen. Though, there have been some reports recently of fights between rival fans in America. The Oregonian reported a local incident near Providence Park (then Jeld-Wen Field) on April 14th, 2013 in which a Portland Timbers fan, James Decker, was attacked in his car by two visiting San Jose Earthquakes fans.

James Decker said a group of San Jose Earthquake fans attacked him and smashed his windshield. (Photo from James Decker)

James Decker said a group of San Jose Earthquake fans attacked him and smashed his windshield. (Photo from James Decker)

Decker’s wife and children were also in the car. Since then, NBC Bay Area released an article saying that the two suspects from that day had been arrested. There was also an incident on the other side of the country between opposing fans.

Harrison, New Jersey is home to a Major League Soccer team called the New York Red Bulls. In 2015, the Red Bulls were introduced to a new team in MLS called New York City Football Club. These two teams quickly became regional rivals and, of course, the fans acted accordingly. Most fans focused on the rivalry that happened on the field, but that didn’t stop a few fans from making it a more personal matter. British tabloid Daily mail reported that, “Two gangs of rival supporters were seen brawling in the streets of New Jersey”. This could be a sign of a more passionate, violent culture than American sports has seen before. Daily Mail reporter Kieran Corcoran takes it one step further and starts comparing this one brawl to the historical hooligan culture of England. Tabloids are known to use buzzwords and repetition, and often times they try to make a story more interesting than it is. Writing about some drunken belligerents in front of a bar isn’t necessarily special or interesting, but when the media tries to make it seem like a trend, that’s when people tend to get intrigued. This type of the journalism fools people into thinking there is a trend that might not actually exist. It also reports on the worst aspect of anything without showing the other side. So when people who aren’t familiar with soccer read this, they might think of hooliganism as more of a disease that is spreading as soccer gains popularity in America. In reality, hooligan culture has been around for a very long time and is actually dissipating. American fans like me have pride for their city and their team. And while there is an immense hatred towards rival teams, most fans focus on the game and let their team’s form do most of the talking. Contrary to what the media reports, most soccer fans are not violent and animalistic. In fact, many fans are very involved in their community and try to help out around the city.

The supporters group for Portland’s soccer team is called the Timbers Army. They have a lot of ways for fans to get involved with things like helping clean up parks, planting trees, and other things similar to those. In 2013, the Timbers organization and the Make-A-Wish Foundation partnered up to make a cancer-stricken eight year-old’s dream come true. Atticus Lane-Dupre was diagnosed with cancer and ended up having to miss some of his soccer season to undergo cancer treatment. His wish was to play a game against the Timbers. It was amazing that the game happened at all, but even more amazing is that over 3,000 fans came out to the event and cheered for Atticus’s team. atticus-portland-timbers-600x390 This shows that the Timbers Army is not only passionate about the game, but also about their fellow fans and the community surrounding them. After the game, most of the reaction articles that came out were local. There definitely wouldn’t be tabloids about it. This is just a local, close-to-home case of what a supporters group can do.

Soccer is more than just a game to me and other fans. Though there has been a long history marred by violence, soccer culture has vastly changed. This doesn’t stop media sources from trying to allude back to the times in which fans were crazy, drunken marauders. This piece of my identity is not accurately portrayed in popular culture.



Green Street Hooligans Movie Review | Roger Ebert (All Content) http://rogerebert.com/reviews/green-street-hooligans-2005

Hawley, Lindsay (2004) “Ethnics, Violence, and Truth: Soccer’s American Past,” Constructing the Past: Vol. 5: Iss. 1, Article 4.Available at: http://digitalcommons.iwu.edu/constructing/vol5/iss1/4

25 Fearsome Soccer Hooligan Gangs You Never Want To Meet In Person (List25) http://list25.com/25-fearsome-soccer-hooligan-gangs-you-never-want-to-meet-in-person/

Green Street Hooligans. Dir. Lexi Alexander. Distributed by Warner Home Video, 2006. Film.

Dailymail.com, Kieran Corcoran. “Has British-style Hooliganism Infiltrated American Soccer? Fans Brawl in the Streets Ahead of New York Derby Match.” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 10 Aug. 2015. Web. 2 Dec. 2015.

Two visiting soccer fans arrested for April attack on Timbers fan (KATU.com) http://www.katu.com/news/local/Two-visiting-soccer-fans-arrested-for-April-attack-on-Timbers-fan-221562811.html

The rise of new feminism in the current Chinese Popular Culture

At first, I wanted to explore the topic of the job situation of Chinese young people, then I try to find the urban movies and TV series about young people’s job. However, I discovered that most of the highly popular Chinese television drama and movies in recent years I found are about women’s career and life. For example, the TV show “Go Lala Go” played on the Sohu website which is a Chinese video website after14 days, total amount of play was more than 100 million times, the playback volume has exceeded 10 million in a day, created the website record for “the highest level of play” and “play the fastest-rising” (ent.news.cn, para.1). And the TV serials “Ugly Wudi” was showed on September 28, 2008, it got highest ratings for Hunan satellite TV for 4 years (media.people.com.cn, para.1). In addition, these TV dramas have a common characteristic is that reflected the feminism. TV shows as a cultural product, they not only tell the story to the audiences, and disseminate the underlying values. In recent years, the feminist dramas get Chinese audience’s favorite, because of the improvement of women’s status in China. Therefore, I focused on feminist films and television shows, because these TV shows reflect the characteristics of contemporary Chinese young women. Then, I will focus on the two aspects which are women’s appearances and career to analyze Chinese films and TV dramas in recent years how to reflect these characteristics.


There is a Chinese proverb “Those who please other people with their appearance will get less and less love when their beauty fade away”. However, women’s beautiful appearance and the female body are often as a commercial selling point of a movie or a TV show. In fact, this reflects the unfair treatment for women, because the female body and appearance have been regarded as a kind of consumer products. Therefore, most women in the TV series are sexy and beautiful, it is to attract male viewers. For example, Lust, Caution is a 2007 espionage erotic thriller film directed by Ang Lee. The content of this movie is a group of Chinese university students from the Lingnan University who plot to assassinate a high-ranking special agent and recruiter of the puppet government Mr. Yee using an attractive young woman Wang Jiazhi to lure him into a trap. This movie is not very old, but it reflects the idea is old. First, actress Wang Jiazhi use seduction for killing a traitor. I think it also reflects the discrimination for women. Because these students can use a variety of ways to kill the agents, why they must choose seduction. This seems to mean that women are weak, only the beautiful appearance is the characteristic of women. Second, there are three pornographic parts in the movie. The purpose is to titillate audience. Maybe many people would say that this movie is an art, but I have to say that many people watch this movie just for porn clips. It illustrates women’s body are already as a physical commodity, used to stimulate the public’s consumption. Therefore, the expression of the movie is an unfair treatment for women.20071030134107777dd


However, the urban movies are totally different. These dramas are not concerned about a woman’s looks, but they more focus on showing women’s ability. For example, a popular teleplay which names “ugly Wudi”. The actress is a graduate graduated from the famous university in China, and her major is Financial. However, she cannot find a job because of her appearance. She looks ugly. She is fat and has explosion style hair and big buck teeth. In addition she always wear a pair of glasses and old-fashion clothes. In fact, ugly heroine is hard to receive the audiences’ favorite, but this role is still loved by the audiences, because of her upbeat personality, diligent attitude and problem solving skills. Even though she met a lot of problem, she never give up. She still votes resume to many companies. Finally, she is admitted to a well-known advertising company, which names “Gainian”. She is admitted as a secretary of the president. Whereas, her ugly appearance makes her be excluded by her workmates. She does not have friends, and they often laugh at her because of her appearance and apparel. However, she does not care about other people’s sights. She just work hard. Finally, she tries her best and use her advantages of professional and personality. She got success in career. In addition, due to her efforts, she also helped the company get $ 40 million profit a year. Thi01300000168284122304564314547s T
V show was loved by many Ch
inese audiences, because a lot of people think Wudi is an inspirational example. Because most people are ordinary looks, after watching this TV show, audiences would believe that ordinary people can gain success and love, if we work hard and never give up. Therefore, in this TV show, the concerns of the people are not a woman’s appearance and body shape. They focus on the role Lin Wudi ‘s ability and spirit. Therefore, this shows the improvement of the status of women, because it reflects female no longer only have the appe
arance, like avase, women also have the ability.



In the Chinese tradition, male is the leading force for social development, so male is the dominator, women should dependent on men. Therefore, women do not need a job, they just need to take care of her husband and children. Therefore, there is a stereotype for women in Chinese TV show and movie. That is if the woman married, family is the core of her life. If an unmarried girl, love is the most important thing for her. There is an example. The movie “Painted Skin” is a 2008 supernatural-fantasy film directed. This film is not old, but it has a stereotype of women. There is a role of the General’s wife and her name is Pei, Rong. The role of Pei Rong is designed totally according to male perspective which is a wife should serve for her husband. 10080889So Pei, Rong is a virtuous wife and she has a beautiful and dignified
appearance. She stay at home every day and wait her husband return after he win the fighting victory. When her husband came back with another woman, she did not complain. She chose to make her husband and the woman get married for the sake of her husband happiness. The woman’s whole life is for husband. The film embodies cultural expectation of traditional female role.Women do not have their rights; they need to obey their husband. Everything she does is for her husband, without taking into account her feelings. Audience thinks thiswoman is pathetic, but it also reflects the stereotype of women in the movies.


Here I will use an movie “Go Lala Go” compare with the “Painted Skin”. I mainly focus on the heroine, du Lala. She is a young woman who has just started work. When she was just graduated, she found a job which was a small private enterprise. She was not satisfied with this job and her boss often harass young women, so she went to the job interview of DB company which is a world-wide Fortune 500 company. Because Du Lala got a good education, she get this job. She worked in a big company is not easy, and she encountered a lot of difficulties, like she need to plan company relocation, but she worked hard, and never give up. Finally, she was promoted from secretary to HR manager and she fall in love with a sales manager Wang Wei. The most important thing is there is a policy in this company, an employee who work in this company cannot get married and fall in love with another employee who also work in this company. Du Lala did not like traditional Chinese women choose to love, she chose to the career, so she broke up with Wang Wei. Therefore, this film reflects love, family, and the man is no longer the focus of her life. Women are independent and they can have their own career. The film reflectedthe new feminism. Women are independent, they have equal U7481P1276DT20120703092843status and career aspiration. Because Du Lala chose to break up with her boyfriend, it means women is not chosen by man, so the status of women and men are more equal. After watching this movie, maybe many women want to be like her. The reason is the female independence the role have is our desire. There the movie illustrate what the feminism is Chinese young women think.

In conclusion, although Chinese film and television show still exist the stereotype of women. Even not all of the TV series and movies as well as these two teleplay and movie which the narrative main line is about women. However, TV show and movies are a reflection of real life, the status of Chinese women has improved in real life, so these popular urban TV series and modern movie also have the emergence of feminism. Therefore, the feminism of the TV shows or movies reflects and transmit the modern values.


Go Lala Go get high ratings. (2010, August 9). Retrieved from http://ent.news.cn/2010-08/09/c_12425188.htm

Luo, X. (2012, June). Research on the images of “superwomen” of “Work place play” during New Century. Retrieved from http://www.doc88.com/p-2806684542612.html

Qian, Q. (2012, April 15). The Study of female images in Chinese metropolis films in the new century. Retrieved from http://www.doc88.com/p-1488575813664.html

Why TV shows Ugly Wudi is popular. (2009, February 19). Retrieved from http://media.people.com.cn/GB/22114/45733/146913/8835395.html

Learning moments:

This is my first time take online class. I have learned this class ten week and I got many new knowledges. There are my two significant learning moments. First, I think the course blog is most useful for me. Because I need to post my initial responses according to those questions of course blog every week, it can push me to think. If I read the course texts, I just read the new information. However, if I need to write blog, I will combine book knowledge and our own experience in thinking. In addition, I can read classmates’ blog and get classmates’ response, it is beneficial to me understand different people’s opinions and expanded my views. For example, we discussed the topic of advertising. I found a Chinese tradition makeup ad to prove advertisements can contribute and reflect our traditional culture and fashion value. Another classmate agreed my opinions; she post an old period ad about man tie. I really like it, because it is helpful for me to look back American ad history. And I get the recognition of the students, I feel very happy. Therefore, this is my most significant moments.

The second significant moment is week 7, I learned how to analyze whether a news story is newsworthy. I can follow these points, timeliness, proximity, prominence, significance currency, controversy, uniqueness, emotional Appeal. These points are easy to remember and understand. Now, when I read a news, I am not only concerned about whether the content is interesting, sometimes I will consider the newsworthy. This helps me learn not to blindly accept the information. Therefore, this is also an important learning moment for me.




Asian Stereotypes In The Media

I am Asian, so I must be a poor English speaking-doctor aspiring-kung fu fighting-crazy driving-math whiz. Those are some of the stereotypes that are being portrayed in the media and in real life about Asians. For many years there are negative stereotypes that have been featured in films and TV shows about the Asian culture. Some of which are true and some exaggerated. However, since the Asians are going along with it and have accepted these “images” being placed upon them society has looked it as being all true and have expected all Asians to possess these “traits”. The media can be very unjustly. What ever is being portrayed in the media can be harmful when it is projecting the wrong idea. Asian Americans have been affected by these stereotypes for so long that there needs to be some knowledge of it to further prevent this problem from escalating. As we look into the popular negative stereotypes portrayed in the media we can educate people on why it is wrong in hopes of opening their minds to differentiating what is mere entertainment and what is actual culture.


First lets look at how Hollywood portrays Asian stereotypes. After reading an article by Zak Keith, he goes into great detail about the negative stereotypes that is featured in Hollywood films and shows. Negative Asian stereotypes are essentially the only Asian themes ever used in Hollywood and other media. They are casted as foreigners and not as acculturated Americans. Some almost exclusively used Asian stereotypes in Hollywood and the media; Perpetual foreigner, martial arts, model minority, nerd/geek, gendered racism- sexualized female, asexual male and sanctioned racial-gender coupling, inferior and subordinate. Asian males are yet to be cast in a leading Hollywood role, unless it is inseparable from their status as a foreigner with martial arts skills. What I found interesting, but not surprising is the stereotypically occupations that are put onto Asians. It can be frustrating because we (as an Asian person) will never be able to get out of that expectation of having those occupations. Ethno-specific occupations stereotypically assigned to Asians include doctors, lab assistants, restaurant worker, Japanese businessman (in a corporate meeting), laundry service, or grocery store.

Asians are portrayed as extremely uncool and having poor taste and the inability to grasp American culture and nuances. Hollywood’s rules for gendered racism: Asian female + White male = YES! Asian female + Black male = MAYBE. Asian male + White female = HELL NO! Asian male + Black female = HUH? Asian male + Asian female = ABUSIVE. Negative perceptions on the desirability of Asian men have real-life repercussions on relationships. Dating and marriage stats indicate that in the US- considered the biggest melting pot in the world- Asian males are far less desirable than Asian females. Asian males are among the least-preferred partners of all other ethnicities in the U.S. this might have to do with the negative portrayals of them in the media. This is very dissatisfying for the Asian males that are going through this.


Next let’s take a look at some films and TV shows that actually feature these stereotypes.

The movie Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (part of the Harold and Kumar series) is about the continuing of the story that the first movie leaves off, with Harold and Kumar flying to Amsterdam but is imprisoned after being mistaken for terrorists and go on some comical misadventures when escaping from the Guantanamo Bay jail. Even though this movie seems to be a well-liked comedy and included some scenes that defended the Asian stereotypes depicted in there, it still was hazy on the intention of the movie and it easily can still be mistaken to be true. During the scene of when the two guys Harold (Korean-American) and Kumar (Indian American) were thought to be terrorists on a plane and their parents were called in for interrogation by the FBI. The first stereotype in this scene was the fact that a Chinese interpreter was called in to translate even though 1. His parents clearly spoke English and 2. They were Korean not Chinese. The second stereotype was that just because Kumar was Indian American they saw him as a terrorist on a plane because of his bomb-shaped bong.

Of course these films were made to be funny and deal with racial issues, but for the individuals that don’t know or understand the historical background of these cultures they can be influenced by these media images and depictions about minority groups.

Now who remembers Miss Swan from MADtv?


Miss Swan is a reoccurring character of the then popular comedy show MADtv. She possesses the classic “traits” of the Asian stereotypes. She had a funny accent along with broken English, she works at a nail salon, and she has the chinky eyes and classic haircut. I personally found this to be very funny but that was before I knew how much it would affect my future image from other people. After this skit became so popular people would assume that that’s how we all talk, that we all did nails, and that we had the chinky eyes. The even more interesting thing about this is that this actress isn’t even of Asian descent! Alex Borstein is white and from Illinois. This is what the media calls “Yellowface” where Asian characters are portrayed by actors/actresses of other race using make-up. This actually cracks me up because wouldn’t it have been easier to just cast an already Asian actor? They may have done that for the effects though. This specific character in this show can almost be used as an “advertisement” of how Asian women are portrayed. Like the lesson about the influence of advertising in week 4 and the history of advertisement in week 3, it mentioned, “ … advertising, especially non-commercial public service announcement ads, had social and cultural value.” Although advertising can create social and cultural value it can also create false assumptions. Looking at this Miss Swan skit as a ad of how Asian women are portrayed it does in fact show negative stereotypes that is not true about Asian women. This lesson shows us how to look at advertisements and in this case character portrayal deeper than what is shown. We must analyze and ask questions on what the “ad” is trying to say or do and it is relevant or not. By doing that we have a higher chance of understanding the real intent of these characters, entertainment and not facts.

An article was written by Justin Chan titled “Where Are All the Asian Americans in Hollywood?” exhibits how tough it is for Asian Americans to land a led role in Hollywood. Keanu Reeves, who is of Chinese and Hawaiian ancestry, and Will Smith are the only two that have landed many lead roles. Although Asian Americans are now the nation’s fastest-growing demographic, their presence in films have gotten smaller since 2008. A direct quote from RaceBending’s Marissa Lee wrote in an email “American History is pretty racist and sexist, and Hollywood is reflection of our culture.” She also adds “Hollywood doesn’t put minorities in lead roles because our society rarely lets minorities take the lead.” This all makes very much sense. The lead roles offered to Asian Americans have decreased over the years. Directors and producers seem to have just ignored them and whitewashed films that were centered on Asian culture. In order for Asian Americans to pop up in the Hollywood scene, there needs to be more writers willing to step up and write more Asian-American parts.

However there is a slow turn to this discovery. A couple of college buddies created their own independent film production Wong Fu Productions that are trying to turn the Hollywood media around by shedding positive light to Asian Americans. They have been a top-hit in the YouTube community producing short films and videos featuring Asian individuals without portraying ANY Asian stereotypes. This article supports my theory that a difference can be made to the restriction of Asian American lead roles in Hollywood. As an Asian community, something more needs to be done to take back our culture. The media has put out this view, negative view on Asian Stereotypes and that’s how they identify Asian Americans today. By changing that view and perspective, respect can be gained back for the Asian community. Asian Americans should be looked upon like everyone else not belittled or judged by the stereotypes that have been trending throughout the years. A stance needs to be taken.

Along side from this is the new sitcom Fresh Off The Boat (a Fox TV series created by Nahnatchka Khan) that does include Asian main characters. This show tries to capture the true struggles that most Asian Americans had to face when first entering the states. Although they do use a lot of the negative stereotypes it is hopeful that they are using to teach the world.


To sum up, this 4 out of 60 minute video about “Asians In The Media” Q&A diversity workshop at Trinity College in CT given by Eliot Chang explains a lot about this identity.

In order for society to understand the Asian culture and how these images and stereotypes affect them, there needs to more discretion when using these tactics for entertainment. Sure they are all very entertaining and fun to watch, but there needs to be understanding that it IS just done for entertainment and that this isn’t how the Asian culture should be seen or treated. Taking from what I learned about communities in this class it has helped to enhance the understanding that the Asian community or anybody that fits the practices of this community should stand together and teach other communities about the impact of negative stereotypes on Asian Americans, a community will work better than an individual.


Work Cited

Chan, Justin. “Where Are All the Asian Americans in Hollywood?” Complex. Complex, 20 Aug. 2014. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Chang, Eliot. “The Real Damn Truth About Asians In The Media.” YouTube. YouTube,8 Sept. 2014. Web. 15 Nov. 2015

Keith, Zak. “Hollywood Asian Stereotypes.” Asian Stereotypes in Hollywood and Other Media. Zakkeith, 26 Feb. 2013. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Kim, Eunyoung. “Gender & Race.” : Asian Stereotypes in Harold and Kumar Series. Blogspot. 20 Apr. 2012. Web. 15 Nov. 2015

Qiang, Ashley. “Slant.” When Asians Americans Appear On TV, It’s usually As One of These Racist Stereotypes. Slantnews, 22 Aug. Web. 15 Nov. 2015


The Pretentious Artist


Dinner For Schmucks 2010

Tim: “I don’t think I get it, Kieran.”

Kieran: “Poppycock, you’ve been stockbroking too long, Tim.”

Kieran: “What does it make you think of?”

Tim: “I guess it kind of makes me. Um. Think of your penis.”

Kieran: “Then you get it.”


I traditionally avoid going into art galleries, though being an artist and art enthusiast I want to see art that I don’t have the money for. I usually go during first Friday if I have the time, so I have a crowd of people there as well (and to get some free wine and cheese). I do this because I feel awkward speaking to the art curator, especially the artist. Why? I found that it’s because they speak a whole other language then I do, a language I feel I need to describe and have a conversation about art. I have spoken to many artists, art teachers and a few curators and they have not made me feel awkward or stupid. So why am I so nervous to go to a gallery? Little bit has to do with my own personal insecurities and I know I will usually be the only one in there with the gallery’s curator. Exploring this awkwardness, I found myself thinking it’s about the language I don’t speak, the pretentious one, the language that popular culture has led me to believe that the artist is a show off. With a little critical inquiry into artifacts and sources in popular culture I found to change my views of the fine artist being pretentious.

Kieran is an artist of masculinity and freedom. He includes himself as the subject for every painting. When he talks about his craft and his art he is pretentious. He describes his huge ranch that is his getaway from all the glamor or that he even uses metaphorical mediums to literally put into his art: bull shit or even zebra after birth. He is someone living the glamorous life and it makes the protagonist nervous about his own relationship. This is a prominent example of why I picture the fine artist as a pretentious, though the only time I see this pretentious language used is in the reviews or statements describing the artist.

You can find little about the artist from reviews and statements. Art enthusiasts and critics will use a language that uses very confusing words, vague points, and passive language that does not take responsibility to what they are saying. I call it pretentious language. I usually find pretentious language in artist statements or reviews in places such as the publication New American Paintings, where they connect the artist to the art enthusiast since 1993. An example of this review comes from the first art I found on their website, Long Night in the Garden.


Nina Rizzo Long Night in the Garden, 2015, oil on canvas, 60 x 120 inches

New American paintings reviewer B. David Zarley starts his review of it well, stating it takes a while for the eyes to adjust to the overall darkness. After that however its gets a little confusing: “which open like false editorial spread irises to provide for the killing of Kurtz and the comforting recognition of shapes, shapes engorged, swollen sweet and suspended, striated like carapaces or the long, primed, puckered muscles of the thigh, like ladders from Pluto, the fat wet tongues of leaves lapping against and pulling the eyes, as if by slow jungle steamer, into and through Nina Rizzo’s Conradian jungle” B. David Zarley.

This review does not describe the art, it’s almost as if he is creating his own abstract creation. Taking credit for his understanding though being very vague and confusing so the reader has to put in the effort to define what it means. This pretentious language is what I picture the artist using.


A Bucket of Blood 1959

Maxwell H. Brock: “I will talk to you of Art, for there is nothing else to talk about, for there is nothing else… Life is an obscure hobo bumming a ride on the omnibus of Art. Burn gas, buggies, and whip your sour cream of circumstance and hope, and go ahead and sleep your bloody heads off. Creation is, all else is not. Creation is graham crackers; let it all crumble to feed the creator; feed him that he may be satisfied. The Artist is, all others are not. A canvas is a canvas or a painting. A rock is a rock or a statue. A sound is a sound or is music. A preacher is a preacher, or an Artist.”

In the 1959 horror movie A Bucket of Blood we get a glimpse of the protagonist’s desire of being an artist, someone who is all knowing of the world and its personal workings. Walter is a busboy at an artist’s hangout. Jealous of the surrounding successful, creative and intelligent people Walter takes a stab at sculpting. He unsuccessfully tries to win the admiration of the artists he holds so highly. After almost making a smiley face from the clay, he tries to save the landlord’s cat that has been crying for help stuck inside the wall. With the right intentions to free the cat by making a hole for it to escape, he stabs it. Then preserves it in clay. Takes the cat statue (with the large kitchen knife sticking out) to the artist club. They love it. He gets his wish and becomes the artist that others admire. Though lacking the talent he ends up murdering people, growing more intentional as the story goes on. Turning them into statues. He is revered by his peers; he starts to take up the artist persona. He hides himself as a pretentious artist. This seems to be the reason why the artist would use pretentious language, because he/she is scared of being ridiculed. That the artist themselves is not special.


“Why do people think artists are special? It’s just another job.” –Andy Warhol


I was searching for a good pretentious quote from an artist I always thought was pretentious: Andy Warhol. Someone I really thought would personify who a pretentious artist is like. Maybe just from his simplistic works or how he is the “artist” that is satire as the pretentious artist. I was mistaken and I found myself admiring him. So by critically breaking down the intentions of critics or of others with an opinion on the artist I found that most opinions were false and solidifies the pretentious artist in the eyes of our popular culture.

Fine artists depict the world around him/her. My views can be changed after seeing the world through the eyes of the artist. Relationships are made through the art, we get an image of the culture and history that surrounds the artist. The artist out of fear of judgment will use language to persuade otherwise. Most of the pretentious language we associate with the artist comes from the viewer not the artist. Today the artist and the artist voice is hidden behind the art and namely the computer screen. Art is typically sold is over the internet with new artists using etsy or even galleries make it convenient to buy over the internet. Based on a survey from artbusiness.com galleries sell most of their works online with the gallery itself being just a store front. Though the article is to be taken lightly; Artbusiness.com is selling its counseling for people starting their art business. So the pretentious voices we hear from our popular culture are not typically from the artist, but the art enthusiast and the art dealer.

Works Cited

Archibald, Dion. “Andy Warhol Quotes.” Art Quotes. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2015. <http://www.artquotes.net/masters/warhol_quotes.htm&gt;.

Lotz, Cally. “Pretentious Artists Statements: Why We Write Them.” The Collectors’ Artist. N.p., 19 Sept. 2014. Web. 8 Nov. 2015. <http://www.thecollectorsartist.com/pretentious-artists-statements-why-we-write-them/&gt;.

Rizzo, Nina. Long Night in the Garden. 2015. Oil on canvas. Linda Warren Projects, Chicago, IL.

Zarley, David B. “New American Paintings.” New American Paintings. Chicago Contributor, 26 Oct. 2015. Web. 8 Nov. 2015. <http://www.newamericanpaintings.com/blog/nina-rizzo-environmental-impact&gt;.

“Art Galleries, Art Sales and the Internet: A Survey.” Art Business. Alan Bamberger, n.d. Web. 8 Nov. 2015. <http://artbusiness.com/how-art-galleries-sell-art-online.html&gt;.

A Bucket of Blood. Dir. Roger Carman. Perf. Dick Miller, Julian Burton. MGM Studios, 1959. Film.

Dinner for Schmucks. Dir. Jay Roach. Perf. Paul Rudd, Jemaine Clement. Paramount Pictures, 2010. Film.

Foreign Exchange Students in the media

After I went to the U.S., I saw there were more and more exchange students here. Studying abroad has been a tendency during the 21st century. I am an exchange student from China and some times I have the same emotion with the character that I found from the movie “Sixteen Candles” and the sitcom “That 70’s show”. However, Foreign Exchange Students in the media are always not in conformity with the facts. In the media, they are ridiculous. I would say that foreign exchange students are positive, optimistic and patient. Students go abroad for studying because they want to study in a new environment and get more knowledge about the new culture from the new school.


Sixteen Candles, Gedde Watanabe

The movie, “Sixteen Candles”, a kind of comedy and family movie that shows a girl named Samantha (played by Molly Ringwald), who’s sixteen’s birthday has been totally forgotten by her entire family. The dialogue she said most times is “I cannot believable.” She cannot believe her birthday, which is an important event for her family, has forgotten by her family. I think the creator wants to use a humor way to reflect when a girl’s birthday was forgotten by her families, what kind of reflections she would have. As a student, this movie has reveal students who are in the puberty having different emotions. However, when parents watch this movie, I think they may notice if they forgot their children’s birthday, what would their children do.


Sixteen Candles

Long Duk Dong (Gedde Watanabe), a foreign exchange student lived in a host family. When he had the dinner with his host family, this made me remembered the first I came to the U.S. At that time, I felt nervous; I didn’t like to have a conversation with others. Nevertheless, Long Duk Dong had played a humor role to make the movie to a high comedy, so some part in the movie was not correct and not same to foreign exchange students’ real life. When Long Duk Dong went to the dancing party, he was very happy. He met the girl that he liked. He said, “ This is the best night of my life”. I thought he is very funny and I imagine are we foreign exchange students the same as him. The commercial purpose of this movie is attractive students attention and earn more box office. If a movie wants to earn a high box office, then the creator have to make the content to be more meaningful. Audiences might draw a conclusion about the movies’ plot and cohesion. In this movie, the creator has used a special to attractive audiences’ attention, because all the characters in the movie had performance in a natural voice.

That 70’s Show, when I first time saw the name, I thought it might be a talk show or entertainment. When I search this name online, I realized that 70’s Show was a comedy sitcom. It totally had 8 seasons from 1998-2006. In this TV show, I think the creator has spend more time on creating the content of the show, because it had 8 seasons, the creator should make each season combine to each other. And always use some specific way to attract audiences’ attention. I think that 70’s Show is suitable for every age group. When I was in china, my grandma always like to watch comedy sitcoms with me. Those sitcoms are the same like that 70’s Show. The discretion of audience rating is the best way to evaluate a TV series.


That 70’s Show, Wilmer Vaderrama

So the That 70’s Show needs a good story to consolidate its position. The media product use to get my attention was their plot. There’s also have a foreign exchange students in the TV Show, his name was Fez (Wilmer Valderrama). Fez also lived in a host family; when the first time he meet his gang, they cannot understand his words. Sometimes they laughed at his pronunciation. However, this is a comedy. The creator wish to creative a humor situation, so he have to change some of the plot that not as usual. When I watch the part of Fez’s friends ridiculed at his English speaking, I felt unhappy. That 70’s show was a comedy; people in the show should create a comedy effect. Nevertheless, the real life of exchange students is not the same as Fez. American students are friendly with exchange students, and they have made friends.


The article I found from the U.S. News is talked about the trend of more and more international students come to the U.S. for studying. In these days, Students go broad for studying has become a popular trend. In my opinion, the author wanted to reflect a reality of Students from China and Saudi Arabia drove nearly 8 percent growths in international college students in the U.S. I think the audiences of this article can be divided into two types. One is Americans’ view another is foreigners’ view. For this article, it is profitably for all foreign exchange students, because studying abroad has been a hot topic during these years. Students wanted to study in a new environment and learn more knowledge. For American students, they may think that their learning environment and living environment were broken.


As an exchange student, I think I had learnt a lot after I went to the U.S., there are many difference between the cultures. I don’t think there’s a commercial purpose of this media product. It is just an article that stated the present situation of the society. There is no any commercial purpose. The media product of this article has used some data and examples of the international college students in the U.S. to get my attention. In the article “Number of International College Students Continues to Climb”, Moron France said “It provides an opportunity for our students to engage with people who are different from themselves and it creates a much more interesting campus community.” I like his opinion; he thought different culture would create an interesting campus community and good for college students’ study environment. During the recent years, more and more foreign exchange students choose to come to the U.S. for studying. As an exchange student, I think I have learnt a lot from the new school, especially for the new cultural. I find many differences between my country and the U.S.

Learning moment:

In this term, I think that I have learned a lot from the popular culture course. This is my first time to take the online class. At the beginning of the term, I actually didn’t know how to discuss and doing homework on the D2L. For the normal classes, we only use the D2L FOR checking homework and grades. However, this is also my first time to use the blog, all students share their comments on the blog and we reply to each other. I think it is good way for we students to understand one another, though we couldn’t each other.

Works Cited :

Ebert, Roger. “Sixteen Candles Movie Review & Film Summary”, 4 May, 1984. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

Lindsay, Deutsch, “That ‘70s Show’ stars grow up.” USA Today n.d.: Academic Search Premier. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

Porter, Caroline, and Douglas Belkin. “Record Number of Foreign Students Flocking to U.S.” Wall Street Journal. N.p., 11 Nov. 2013. Web. 01 Dec, 2015

Sixteen Candles. Dir. John Hughes. 1984. Youtube.

That ’70s Show. Dir. Mark Brazill. 1998.


The Views of Filmmakers

Filmmakers are a big impact in the world today. They create films for entertainment and movies, TV shows, and videos on the internet are one of the main sources of entertainment. You see several people going to the movie theater when a movie is just released, you see people watching their favorite TV show in their free time, waiting rooms have TV’s playing TV shows, we see this everywhere and this is all possible because of the filmmakers.

An example of an inspiring filmmaker, in my opinion, is Devin Graham, a YouTuber. I have been a fan of Graham’s work for a long time, for he has been in the YouTube industry for about five years at this point. Graham grew up in Utah, he studied film at Brigham Young University but discontinued his education when he started making YouTube videos.

devin graham


One of my favorite videos filmed by Graham is the very first video I saw of his. Assassin’s Creed Meets Parkour in Real Life, I have seen this video over a dozen times, I was very intrigued by his visual effects, at 0:17 there is a special effect he did using the green screen that I only found out by watching his behind the scenes, which I also find very interesting. Another aspect in this video that I found very interesting was the main character, he jumps off the walls, does a bunch of crazy flips, this person is Graham’s personal friend named Rodney Shalvis. Shalvis is a stuntman, which is why he is performing in Devin Graham’s videos and helping him produce a well written short video. I have also found that he performs in some of his other films and they work together, likely to help each other gain viewers and business.

Assassin’s Creed Meets Parkour in Real Life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAhPaiajwDY

Graham is expressed in the popular culture media because he has viewers. He reflects the people in the world by having these people watch his videos. Graham started making his videos with the equipment he had and the people he knew, the more viewers he got, the more popular he became. He had companies asking him to sponsor for them, an example of that is a granola bar company called Bear Naked. He has made a couple videos sponsoring Bear Naked, an example is his video called Human Bowling – Bear Naked, he shows their label and their products throughout the video and deliberately puts their name at the end of the video:

bear naked

Therefore, by being an excellent filmmaker, he is noticed by growing companies such as Bear Naked who ask him to sponsor for them, which leads his viewers, such as myself, to be introduced to these new products that we may want to buy.

Personally, I think Devin Graham is am amazing filmmaker, I love the material he shoots, I love his editing style, and I am truly inspired by his work. Soon after I started watching Graham’s videos, I found myself attempting to create videos with this style, I experimented with the equipment he used for his films and I learned a lot from watching and attempting to recreate it. By watching his videos it made me feel inspired and like I could accomplish and build a career like he has.

Another inspiring filmmaker I have discovered is Ryan Higa. Ryan Higa is well known on the internet, he creates short comedy skits and posts them on this YouTube channel: nigahiga. He also has another channel named HigaTV that he uses to post his behind the scenes, other short videos, and vlogs.

Higa’s main channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/nigahiga

Higa’s second channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/HigaTV

Higa has over fifteen million subscribers, and 2 billion views. He has been a member of YouTube for nine years. He started with short low quality videos that he filmed just to goof around and for his family to watch. More than just his family watched, and his videos took off. Higa has since then dedicated his life to making YouTube videos for his fans and viewers. Higa writes his own stories and has several friends who help him produce them. He also acts in his own films which is how his fans know him so well and how he has become such an internet sensation.

niga higa

When I started looking into Higa’s work this term, I thought he was a genuine person who wanted to make videos for his fans just because he had a good heart and wanted to keep them updated. But as I gathered more information, I saw that Higa sold merchandise that had his name, logo, or catchphrase on it. He also made his own app called the TEEHEE app that was released in the Apple App Store, and Google Play store. However, I have not seen him advertise for a different company, but he does allow ads to be shown during and before his videos, although this is a feature that most YouTubers will have.

In my opinion, I think Higa is very funny and creative. I like the way he organizes his videos, I like how he posts on a weekly basis to keep his viewers satisfied, and I like how dedicated he has been to his career since he started. Over the years I have seen many changes and when I look back at the big picture, it is inspires me and makes me think about how many things are possible over time.

Ryan Higa is well known on the web, he makes his videos about his life and beliefs which can be reflected to his fans and viewers. He has made stereotypical jokes, especially about his own race, admittedly they make me laugh and I’m sure several other as well, but this is how he reflects the media in popular culture.

And lastly, I used a film called The Visit as another one of my examples to represent filmmakers. This film helps me represent the way the media represents filmmakers.

the visit

This movie is about two kids who document their trip to their grandparents’ house whom they have never met before. The young girl in the movie likes to make films and she wanted to document this experience to show her mother, she gives her younger brother a camera too so they can both gather footage. The movie portrays the older sister as a “director,” she likes to look for certain camera lighting and angles and she tries to get her brother to act at some points.

Movie trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Fv3gU-ed7Y

Some things I found surprising in this film is how to characters acted. The young girl in the movie who likes to film reminded me a lot of myself when I was younger and wanted to make short films. I also have younger siblings who I would include in my videos and I would try to make home videos such as what she is trying to do. I believe the media did a good job representing how a young filmmaker would be portrayed in the real world.

I also think it was a good idea to make the film basically as I would like to call it “first person,” because it allows the viewer to feel more involved, especially as a thriller/horror film, the point is to make the audience feel scared, and by feeling like we are experiencing this, or that this has really happened, brings the viewer the sense that this is real.

Overall, filmmakers have a large impact in the world, and are expressed and shown in several ways. I have used two really great filmmakers as examples to show how they represent themselves in the media, and a film written to be as though we are in the kids’ position, being that all the camera shots are shot from the camera they are holding. I have learned several things from this project such as being conscious of a filmmakers’ advertising, I learned more about the examples that I used, and I was also inspired to do more research on filmmakers myself just to gain more knowledge about them.


The Change Portrayal Of Gamer In Popular Culture


The media portrayal of a gamer has been changing over the years.The Image of a gamer on in popular culture often being young teens or children who are unattractive, fat, antisocial, and lazy. So being a gamer myself, I decide to do my research on this topic and my findings are relatively opposite of the portrayal. The artifacts that I analyzed was the show South Park, an article from ESPN called “The Unkillable Demon King” and a YouTube video called “LOL and NBA”. With the analysis, I came out with conclusion of that the gamer image of popular culture is rapidly changing.


(Stan Marsh, Eric Cartman, Kyle Broflovski, and Kenny McCornmick)


The first artifact I analyzed is an episode of South Park that came out in 2006 called “Make Love, Not Warcraft” which is very much the portrayal of the stereotype of a gamer. In this episode, everybody started playing War Of Warcraft because it’s a new game that allows you communicate with others online and able to do quests together. Jack Tenorman, who is just a normal dad that was introduced to the game and he was immediately hooked into it and value his in game status than real life status. In this one scene where they portrayed Eric, Kenny, Stan, and Kyle being obese camping under Eric’s basement with 4 computers. The room is messy, filled with garbage along with empty cans of energy drinks. They looked like they haven’t shower in months or left the basement. They didn’t care about anything besides level up. This is shows the image of gamer in media.


(Lee Sang-Hyeok AKA Faker)

Another artifact that I found was this article from ESPN called “The Unkillable Demon King”. This article is about gaming, but yet ESPN is willing to outreach from their normal sporting news to publish this. Behind the reason that is the E-Sport gaming community has been growing and evolving to the point where they consider E-Sport, competitive gaming, a sport. In the article, they talked about what the game League of Legend is and introduce who Lee Sang Hyeok is also known as Faker. He is a professional gamer that plays in the competitive League of Legend team called SKT-Telecom. The most well known gamer in the world and arguably best League of Legend player in the world. Due to the up-rise of League of Legend, the current most popular PC game in the world, according to Riot games, the company that owns League of Legend said there are 27 million daily players and 67 millions monthly players. This was the major reason that leads to Lee’s success in the gaming community. He is the first player ever to win two worlds championships in the history of league of legend competitive gaming. Also the championship comes along with the prize pool of 1 million dollars. Within all his success, he is being recognized as public figure, idol, and icon for many teens that shares the same dream as his, which is to make a career of playing games.  

I would have to say that Lee is the Michael Jordan of competitive gaming. He had changed revolutionized the game by his game plays and popularity. The typical gamer image are being changed because of his success by just playing games. This article is a great example of how he influence the change. Having a gaming article published about you by ESPN is a sign that popular culture acknowledging the existence of gamer. After all, from being a target to make fun in South Park to now being recognized by the popular culture and being idolized.

Last artifact I used to analyze is a video created by Riot Games called “Lol and NBA”. It’s about the meeting of two people from different worlds, yet they share one similar interest, which is to play the game of League of Legend. The two people in this video are Gordon Hayward and Joedat Esfahani. Starting with Gordon, who is a professional NBA player that plays the small forward position for the Utah Jazz. He isn’t just a regular NBA player, but he is an excellent one, being the best player in the team and played for the 2014 USA team. For Joedat, he is a professional League Of Legend gamer plays who at the time play for Curse Gaming but he’s now retired. The two popular culture identity are opposite of each other. As Gordon’s identity is a NBA superstar, supposedly he is muscular, tall, and rich, while Joedat, the gamer, is fat, anti social, and nerdy. Those are the popular culture traits of their identity, however,  these two were able to come together and meet each other and have fun playing the game League of Legend. The interesting part is the fact the NBA star is a gamer himself which oppose all the stereotypical popular culture portrayal. This could hint that the gamer identity has been changed.

The views towards gamer has been different from the past. Back in 2006, in South Park they were using gamer stereotype to create humor for the audience and now in 2015, gamer are being treated as a celebrity, role model, and a career. Example of that would be Faker, who is extremely successful in the career of gaming and created enough attention for ESPN to write an article about him. Add to the changes, Gordon Hayward an NBA player who consider gamer is part of his identity is the new portrayal of the a gamer. With all the research I had done, I came up with the conclusion of that the portrayal of gamer in popular culture has been changing.

From my secondary source researches I had found an interesting article written by Jo Bryce and Jason Rutter called “Killing like a girl: Gendered Gaming And Girl Gamers’ Visibility”.

The article is about how female gamers are big part of the gaming community while the stereotypical of gamer is often males which is quite shocking to see. According to Interactive Digital Software Association suggest that 44% of U.S gamers are female (Bryce,2,2002). As this supports the portrayal of popular culture is not arcuate. Female gamer are being overlooked because of the heavy influence by the stereotyped portrayal in popular culture, where it had changed people’s view of a gamer.

During this course I have learned few valuable skills that will be carried for the future. One of them is critical thinking. Every week we had to do the blog comments which allowed me to practice my critical thinking by answering the questions in my perspective. Also those suggestion questions helped me a lot, it gave me a new way of looking at the situation. I am glad that this course gave me the chance to practice my critical thinking skills.

Another valuable skill I learn during this course is to how to write feedback and accept suggestions. The weekly comment on other people’s post and comments gave me a good practice of how to give feedback that could help my peers. Also accepting suggestions and feedback from them are important as well. This allows me to insert new ideas to my essays or post and I believe this will be a good skill to have outside the class.

Work Cited

Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 27 Jan. 2014. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

“Killing like a Girl: Gendered Gaming and Girl Gamers’ Visibility.” Killing like a Girl: Gendered Gaming and Girl Gamers’ Visibility. 13 May 2002. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Kimes, Mina. “The Unkillable Demon King.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 10 June 2015. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

“LoL and NBA.” YouTube. YouTube, 14 Feb. 2014. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

“Riot’s ‘League of Legends’ Reveals Astonishing 27 Million Daily Players, 67 Million Monthly.” South Park. Dir. Trey Parker. Paramount Pictures :, 2006. Film.


Mixology misconception: How the media influence the way people understand bartender

In this paper, I will illustrate three biggest major misconceptions about the bartending industry influenced by the media, including semantic, popular media, and job appeal. The bartender is a mixologist with more social skill and situational to deal with customer. Indeed, the bartender is a high status job. It’s an Art.

People usually come to the bar to either get drunk or to meet with friends. That’s how people are done in 1990. People don’t want to wait for their drink, they don’t care about fresh squeeze lime juice. Everything is mechanize and ready to serve without preparing. Bartending become a drink pourer job. However, between the 1870 and 1880, the golden time of the cocktail, the bar is the place for people to meet after work in a comfortable manner. In 1862, a bartender named Jerry Thomas was the first one to write down the recipe to make cocktail and soon became a trend.


Picture 1. A Jerry Thomas first book named “How to Mix Drinks, Or the Bon-Vivant’s Companion” 

The golden time of the cocktail is the time when the bartender is the important person in the town. You can go to the bar and get tons of information from the news to the story around the corner of the street. The foundation of the U.S is from immigrants. When they come to the U.S, they bring goods from an artisan in their home country include alcohol beverage. Each of these alcohol from a different culture and combine in one glass and we call it a cocktail (Robert Simonsson, 2013)


The prohibition between 1920 to 1933 makes the bartending industry decrease like a car without a break. Many bartenders have to leave the country to make a living or continue to pursue their dream. Recently, the industry tends to go back in the golden time and the new term “Mixologist” comes in. Then what does a mixologist mean? According to Behrendt’s article in 2010, the author mention that in “the Oxford English Dictionary also tells us that the suffix “-ology” means “the science or discipline of.” (Behrendt, 2010). Therefore, this term can apply to any other industry like music, film or food. In Wong’s article, he included one of his conversations between him and bartender Watanabe, the bartender expresses one point “calling yourself a mixologist doesn’t make your customer believes in you” (Wong, 2015).

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In the introduction, I’ve mentioned the term mixologist as a new term. In fact, mixologist is a new term for the modern industry not a new term. I understand that some dictionaries don’t carry this term definition, but believe it or not this term is not a new term. Mixologist refers to bartender using fresh ingredient and precise scientific technology to add a unique taste to it (Mitenbuler, 2013). According to Mitenbuler, the term was first discovered in 1860 from a newspaper. After the prohibition, the term seems to be carried away because most the bartenders have to migrate to another country to follow their dream until the prohibition was over and then come back to the U.S. Recently, this term comes up and has suddenly become the popular trend of TV shows and bartender guide books. Some people refer to themselves as mixologists, but don’t really understand the role or the difference between a mixologist and a bartender. I also want to include another perspective about the term mixologist from newspapers or magazines, which is also the origin of this trend. One cocktail’s expert name Colleen Graham explains the role of mixologist and bartender, putting them into two categories. But either mixologist or a bartender, they are both a service job and their target is making customers happy and relaxed (Graham, 2015). Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 11.25.23 PMTable 1 (Graham, 2015)

The second major misconception of customer about this peculiar line of work came from the popular media included movies, news and experience in bar and restaurant.  Back in 2000, the movies “Coyote Ugly” by David McNally staring Piper Perabo, the depiction of a bartender is improving, but still give the negative influence in the person’s mind (Coyote Ugly, 2000).  Back in 2000, the movies “Coyote Ugly” by David McNally staring Piper Perabo, the impression of a bartender is improving, but still give the negative influence in the person’s mind (Coyote Ugly, 2000).  In the movie, McNally played as Violet Sanford, an arrogant young woman leaving home to pursue her aspirations of becoming a songwriter in New York City. The climax of the story is when her apartment is robbed.  At that moment, she sees three girls which change her life, Cammie, Rachel, and Zoe. The incident lead to the story that she has to work at the bar named Coyote Ugly. Technically, the story has nothing wrong with the plot or the movies itself. However, the way it expresses can also be explained in another way. For example, if she isn’t getting robbed in the first place, will she agree to work at the Coyote Ugly. Furthermore, if she not fascinate when the three girls flaunting the money they earned every night. After that, the movie has nothing surprisingly get going anywhere. Violet meets a boy and start a relationship and she started to change her own image from a “New Jersey girl” to a “New York city girl”. In the end, Coyote Ugly also has a happy ending like any other movies. In short, Violet represents a group of girl that don’t fit in but want to blend into the society in the fastest way. She used the job bartender as a shortcut to fit in the society. Somehow, in my mind, Violet is naive and dreamy.

In the documentary Hey Bartender in 2013, Steve Schneider currently works at Employees Only state that “… people are calling themselves mixologist, those are the geeks…… they take forever to make a drink” (Hey Bartender, 2013). He also mentions that bartender is more aware of everything surround which is the same idea fit in one of the categories of Colleen Graham. Everybody come into the industry with a different story about their life. They could be a student majoring in a different major. Bartender expresses themselves in their product to add more value to it and make it alive (Ocejo, 2012). The reason bartender considers as a low-status form of manual labor because of the bar culture in 1990. Robert Simonsson at New York Times explain about this phenomenon. In 1990, the bar industry tends to tilt to a club and a Dj base bar where people want something fast and fresh or not, fresh ingredient not really matter (Hey Bartender, 2013). Because of that reason, becoming a bartender is not something anyone wants to have a career in. That is not art, pouring booze all night is not an art. That’s why some people’s misconceptions about bartending is a temporary job and not an actual job (Wong, 2015). However, bartending is not a trashy job, in Ocejo’s article, the author refers bartending as an artist, actress and singer.

A few years recently, people are more interesting about what they take in and they want to bring the old time back, where fresh local ingredients matter. Traditional Craftsmanship of cocktails. When people try to bring the traditional craftsmanship of cocktails back a conflict inside the restaurant industry happen. The different between cook and chef, drink pourers and cocktailians become a thing. It does not matter if he/she a cook, chef, bartender or mixologist, as soon as they bring their job to the level of art, that’s the most important point (Kazanchyan, 2012).


Dale Degroff at Museum of the American Cocktail said that cocktail is gift from America because people brought a different type of spirit and alcohol and we combine it and there we have it, cocktail (Hey Bartender, 2013). Degroff is also the first person bring the term mixologist to the media. It’s about fresh quality ingredients. Cocktail bartender is a cultural work. The reason I say it because every bartender will have their own signature drink and they put their soul into it.

The other aspect of this paper is job appealing. If you look up on YouTube the name Salvatore Calabrese, you probably find an old man making drinks and he looks classy in a suit and tie. He’s a great example of a mixologist and the way he talks and the way he fixes the drink takes time. I understand that recipe and technique are important but it is not about how the drink was made, it is how you treat and serve the customer. Salvatore uses a big ice cube from distilled water, sounds like an alchemist to me. It’s true that the purify ice will make your drink better (Kazanchyan, 2012).

In my opinion, a bartender is a person who can bring to the customer the best experience during the time they spend in the bar and after they walk out of the bar. Despite the work, life and tragedy outside, when they come inside the bar, they can finally find their destination. The bar is an important place of a community, where people have a place to gather for many occasions. Bartender is not only a guy mixing a drink but also a host. Bartender is a person bring people together and hear people share their own story. It’s an Art.

“A bartender is a rock star couldn’t be bothered to learn an instrument.” – Simon Ford




Coyote Ugly. (2000). Touchstone Picture.

Eats, S. (2013). The Term ‘Mixologist’: Trendy But Not New. Drinks.seriouseats.com. Retrieved 16 November 2015, from http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2013/08/history-origins-of-the-term-mixologist-nineteenth-century-drinking-bartenders-jerry-thomas.html

Graham, C. (2015). Are You a Mixologist or Bartender? Well, That’s a Good Question…. About.com Food. Retrieved 16 November 2015, from http://cocktails.about.com/od/cocktailspeak/g/mixology_define.htm

Haddow, G. (2005). The phenomenology of death, embodiment and organ transplantation. Social Health & Illness, 27 (1), 92-113. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9566.2005.00433.x

Hey Bartender. (2013). Omar Broadway Film.

Matejka, A. (2009). Mixology. New York, N.Y.: Penguin Books.

Mitenbuler, R. (2013). The Term ‘Mixologist’: Trendy But Not New. Drinks.seriouseats.com. Retrieved 2 December 2015, from http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2013/08/history-origins-of-the-term-mixologist-nineteenth-century-drinking-bartenders-jerry-thomas.html

Ocejo, R. (2012). At your service: The meanings and practices of contemporary bartenders. European Journal Of Cultural Studies, 15(5), 642-658. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1367549412445761

Morabito, G. (2011). Steve Schneider, Principal Bartender at Employees Only. Eater NY. Retrieved 2 December 2015, from http://ny.eater.com/2011/8/19/6659207/steve-schneider-principal-bartender-at-employees-only


“Who’s the nerd now?”


From Outcast to Social Norm: The Evolution of the Nerd

Picture a Nerd. What do you see? Pasty skin, thick glasses and a pocket protector? Maybe you imagine someone who is socially awkward, keeps to themselves, or possibly someone chilling in the school cafeteria enjoying a competitive game of Magic the Gathering. Imagine these stereotypes while you still can, because they are being revamped, updated and upgraded. Popular media, fashion and social popularity have enabled nerds to transform into something beautiful and desirable. Nerds are evolving – becoming a social norm in today’s popular culture.


“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…“  (Star Wars, 1977.)

Take a look back to the beginning… How are nerds so different now, compared to how they were in the past? What has enabled them to evolve into something so popular, so fresh, and so sought after? It’s best to take a gander in Popular Media, starting with Revenge of the Nerds.

This is a movie that fulfills all nerd stereotypes. Revenge of the Nerds is a film that strives off the segregation of nerd vs jock. The Freshmen hall is taken over by a group of jocks who accidently burn down their own home, leaving the unfortunate Freshmen body left to live in the College Auditorium. The class is asked to join fraternities, so they can relocate. All students find a fraternity, except a small group of students, who are segregated as nerds. This movie reflects the change of how we view nerds in popular culture. The nerds fight back and form their own fraternity. They develop the courage and power to be proud of what they are and the media loves it. This movie has all the college humor; from panty raids and booger jokes, to underage drinking and sexual misconduct – but it revolves it around a group that is less than popular: Nerds! Revenge of the Nerds kick-starts the beginning of nerd popularity and nerd pride.

Gibert: “I just wanted to say that I’m a nerd, and I’m here tonight to stand up for the rights of other nerds. I mean uh, all our lives we’ve been laughed at and made to feel inferior. And tonight, those bastards, they trashed our house. Why? Cause we’re smart? Cause we look different? Well, we’re not. I’m a nerd, and uh, I’m pretty proud of it.”

The popularity of this movie encouraged more and more nerd Protagonists in the media. A more recent and comparable example, The Big Bang Theory, is an extremely popular sitcom about nerds, just being nerds. This show survives on continuous cheesy geek jokes and fulfilling stereotypes. It’s a show about a group of nerds who don’t have to get cooler as they get older; they are already kings by being nerdy as ever. These nerds are funny, smart, and cool! The show sells so much merchandise; how many of those “Bazinga!” shirts have you seen floating around? The audience loves the lives these nerds portray, making nerds more and more popular. The more popular the nerd becomes, the more the nerd population will grow. Soon, the nerd will become just like anybody else: Normal.


“In my mind, a nerd is someone who is passionate about (and very good at) something – be it math, Irish literature, D&D, botany, whatever. Somewhere along the line, this changed to being part of a certain culture, watching this TV show and wearing that type of clothing…”  (Westcott, 2012.)

As the popularity of “nerditude” increases, we witness the lowering of the nerd bar. “Recently, the number of Hollywood celebrities who claim to be or have been nerds has skyrocketed.” (Hwang, 2013.) Nerds have been becoming so popular and so cool that celebrities want to be them. Celebrities have no fear of being ridiculed by fans because nerds have become so socially acceptable. Take a look at fashion. “Revenge of the Nerd fashion reflects the times we live in.” (Vogue, 2015.) Overall, fashion expresses what’s “popular.” Thick, black framed glasses are being worn on the red carpet. Nerd culture sells. We are experiencing the rise of “fake nerds” and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The more the nerd, inside and out, becomes more socially acceptable, the more the nerd becomes a social norm.


What is this image trying to sell? We learned earlier in our course how to analyze advertisements. This is very straight forward. Thick framed glasses, goofy bowtie t-shirts and cardigan sweaters are in. Nerds are sexy, and Forever 21 knows it. It’s time to make profit on what’s popular. We also learned about the influences that advertisements have on us. Fashion is an identity. If looking like a nerd is in fashion, why wouldn’t you want to look like one? This model is clearly attractive, even when wearing an attire, that in the past, was considered not so attractive. This further encourages the idea of nerds becoming a social norm.

“Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one…”  (Charles J. Skyes, 1996.)

With the rise of the internet and advancement in technology, all due respect goes to our nerds. “That’s the only way that the world can solve its big problems: by mainstreaming oddball people and ideas that might have been shunned in a prior generation.” (Hwang, 2013.) We need brains to help us with technology. It’s as if the roles have switched; instead of being attracted to muscles, we’re attracted to that big sexy brain. Instead of watching football, why not try watching “Lets Plays”? Instead of organizing strategies in sports, why not organize strategies in “Larps”? Lets Plays are videos on Youtube of someone playing through a game. A Larp is Live Action Role Playing; so a bunch of people get together and act out DnD related activities with foam weapons and fun costumes. Larping has become so popular there is even a website, www.larping.org that allows you to search for local larping communities; and trust me, there are a ton.  How fun is it to dress up as your favorite video game or comic book character and meet up with like-minded people at organized events such as Comicon? These are examples of nerdy things that are becoming more and more popular. This is the rise of nerd culture.

How do the nerds feel about all of this attention? If nerds are becoming mainstream, are they no longer special? There’s this thing called Nerd Pride that has also developed with the growing popularity of nerds. Nerds have fought against popular culture for many years, lost many battles, and have now finally won. New nerds keep popping out of the wood-works who have never had to deal with nerd prosecution. These “fake nerds” are those who think nerds are cool and so desperately want to be nerds. “Singles on dating websites define themselves in their profiles as “nerds” and “geeks” – in a positive way.” (Westcott, 2012.) It is a known fact, due to Nerd Pride, that nerds get highly irritated by the increasing amount of “fake nerds.”


This rise in popularity has allowed nerds to have their very own holiday: Geek Pride Day, May 25th. This day was chosen to coincide with the first Star Wars Film, which was released on May 25th, 1977. It is a world-wide celebration of nerdom; where you can celebrate anything and everything worth “geeking” out over. Tech brands go nuts using this day to increase sales and advertisements. There’s money in nerds, whether it be from fashion or technology – the growing acceptance of nerds is income.

“As more and more people become enthusiasts, traditional “nerd” and “geek” interests – Star Trek, comic books, anime, video games – are moving into the mainstream.” (Westcott, 2012.)

The idea of the nerd has evolved. Past nerds were socially awkward and afraid of being outcasts – while present day nerds are sought out and viewed as attractive. Being a nerd now is mainstream. Movies that have been making the most in box office have been comic book and video game movies. There is a ton of money in the video game market. The more nerds, the more profit. Nerds are no longer side characters, but main characters in media. They are the protagonists, the heroes. They inspire the rise of the internet. There are many people who are calling themselves nerds, because they so desperately want to become nerds.

Why does this all matter? It’s proof that society is changing, adapting and evolving. Society is growing and essentially becoming more “open-minded.” Those who were once ridiculed are now honored. Gender roles have been switching, advertisements are focusing on improving the world rather than selling something, and social identities are adjusting. Nerds are evolving and becoming a social norm, and that is amazing.  Nerds may not be enjoying the rise of the “fake nerds,” but they are definitely appreciating the social freedom popular culture has given them. The rise of nerds in the media has granted them power; but the more nerds become mainstream, the more they become just like everybody else: A Social Norm.


Works Cited

Edmundson-Cornell, Harry. The Big Bang Theory and Geek Culture. 4 Jan. 2014. Web. 18 Nov. 2015. http://sequart.org/magazine/38229/the-big-bang-theory-and-geek-culture/

Fox, Jessie David. The Evolution of the TV Nerd, From Potsie to Urkel to Abed. 12 March 2013. Web. 28 Oct. 2015. http://www.vulture.com/2013/03/evolution-of-the-tv-nerd-screech-urkel-abed.html#

Hwang, Victor W. A Huge Global Epidemic: Fake Nerds. Forbs.com. 3 Jun. 2013. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/victorhwang/2013/06/03/a-huge-global-epidemic-fake-nerds/

Kempley, Rita. Nerds Come Into Their Own, At Last. The Washington Post. 10 Aug. 1984. Web. 8 Nov. 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1984/08/10/nerds-come-into-their-own-at-last/8d51812d-508b-4efa-bf2f-d6c1c97b90ff/

Kim, Monica. Revenge of the Nerds: Why Geek Chic is the Next Fashion Phenomenon. Vogue Magazine. 25 Aug. 2015. Web. 8 Nov. 2015. http://www.vogue.com/13299064/nerd-style-fashion-gucci-fall-2015/

Revenge of the Nerds Quotes. IMDB. Web. 18 Nov. 2015. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088000/quotes

Sifferlin, Alexandra. What to Know About Geek Pride Day. Time Magazine. 25 May 2015. Web. 8 Nov. 2015. http://time.com/3895549/geek-pride-day/

Star Wars Quotes. IMDB. Web. 18 Nov. 2015. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076759/trivia?tab=qt&ref_=tt_trv_qu

Westcott, Kathryn. Are “Geek” and “Nerd” Now Positive Terms? BBC News Magazine. 16 Nov. 2012. Web. 28 Oct. 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-20325517

West, Randolph. Skyes, Charles J. Charles J. Skyes – Some Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School. 19 Sep. 1996. Web. 8 Nov. 2015. http://rabryst.ca/2006/09/charles-j-sykes-some-rules-kids-wont-learn-in-school/?entry=entry060928-084532


Asian Portrayals in Pop Culture

Han Nguyen

Coming to the United States in 2009, it was my first time encountering the Asian stereotypes. For the 12 years living in Asia, I never heard such stereotypes that defined an Asian person as being smart, quiet, good at martial arts, etc. I was surprised and shocked by these stereotypes that people were throwing at me in America. When people struggled in math, they came searching for me, assuming that I had the answers because of what my ethnicity. However, I tried to explain to people that the stereotype of being Asians being smart wasn’t true and it didn’t apply to me. It was through my prior education over in Vietnam that taught me how to solve for the answer. I do not blame people for labeling me under such stereotypes but I do have reasons to blame the media in pop culture for having bias stereotypes and misinformation about Asian people. I believe that the media looks at Asian people in just one dimension and based their assumption for the whole race. I will be analyzing different TV shows and trends to go more in depth about the issue of Asian portrayal in media, to argue against the false portrayals that the media gives and to show the more realistic sides of Asian that are rarely shown.

Yellow-face is a trend of theatrical make-up to transform White performers into looking “Asian”. This trend started in 1767 when Arthur Murphy’s The Orphan of China was presented in Philadelphia and still continues until today. Yellow-face has been used in numerous movies and shows such as Madame Butterfly, The Forbidden City, Balls of Fury, etc. The deep meaning behind Yellow-face isn’t about white people wearing make up to look Asian but it is about the bias against hiring real Asians to play Asian roles. It is shown by white producers, directors, and others who control the depiction of Asians in popular culture through casting decisions and the propagation of racist Asian stereotypes. It shows how hard it is to get into the media industry when your ethnicity is Asian. This identity limits chances for people to get the roles that are supposed to be for them.

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This Youtube video below is made by Buzzfeed on how Asians feels or reacts to Yellowface.

Another issue that we have with Yellow-face is how the make-up portrays Asian. The make-up always makes the actors have the alien-looking with all the weird and ugly features. It is s if white people think Asians are ugly and odd looking. As an Asian person, it feels dehumanizing when they give the incorrect portrayal of being Asian. The given depiction does not describe the looks of a normal Asian person. Asians do not always have crooked teeth, big nose, small eyes or bowl-cut hair.

In the movie, The Karate Kid, tells the story of a black kid named Dre Parker, played by Jaden Smith, who moves to China because of his mom’s new job. As he tries to get used to culture differences, he finds it challenging because he is of different race and culture. As he tries to fit in, he meets Mr. Han, a retired martial art teacher who is played by Jackie Chan. Dre gets in troubles with some Chinese kids that forces him to learn karate to win matches against them in a tournament. This movie shows a lot of stereotypes about Asians. For example, in the airplane scene, Dre tries to speak Chinese to an Asian guy to ask him where he is from, the guy answers, “Dude I’m from Detroit.” This question is most uncomfortable and the most asked question that every Asian person gets. It makes us feel unwelcome, even though America is home to a lot Asians who are born here. Another stereotype shown is that Asians are very well-disciplined. In the movie, it displays the young Asian children’s martial arts training. They follow every instruction from their teacher and are not allowed to talk back.


Another issue shown in the movie is that Asian people are dressed very conservatively and moderately, which is very different from American styles. The most common Asian stereotype is having strict parents. In the movie, Dre ends up liking a Chinese girl. However, the girl’s parents are very strict and they expect her to be the model role. They often expressed their expectation of her doing well in school and pressure her to become famous by being the best violinist. Overall, The Karate Kid shows the negative and unrealistic portrayals of Asians.

In contrast, the TV show Fresh Off the Boat is the first American comedy series starring an Asian American family as protagonists after Margaret Cho’s All American Girl. It’s about a Taiwanese family moving from Chinatown in Washington D.C to Orlando, Florida. The mother Jessica Huang, played by Constance Wu, struggles with culture differences because Orlando doesn’t have a big Asian community or population like where she used to live in D.C. The father Louis Huang, played by Randall park, works toward their American Dream by opening a western-themed restaurant named Cattleman’s Ranch Steakhouse. The show’s protagonist, Eddie Huang, played by Hudson Yang, tries to assimilate into the new school. Eddie is a big hip-hop and basketball fan. Unlike how Asian is portrayed as smart, dressing weirdly, socially awkward, Eddie is loud and outgoing. He’s just an average student who struggles in school. He gets along well with his friends and good at being social. Instead of wanting to be a doctor or an engineering, the set occupations for Asians, Eddie’s dream is beyond that and very different. He wants to be different and follows his passion in hip hop music. The family is also very different from the stereotypes given about Asians. People tend to think that Asian men are very demanding and head of the family and everyone has to listen to them. But in the show, the wife Jessica is always the one that complains and yells, while Louis is very patient and good at listening to his wife. He doesn’t demand her to do this or that. Another detail about this show that goes against Asian stereotypes is they speak perfect English. In a lot of movies, white people mock Asians by faking accents and using broken English. Not all Asians speak broken English and it is an insult to Asian Americans when white people use accent to make fun of them.


Another TV show that shows a different side of being Asian is The Suit Life of Zach and Cody. There is an Asian character in this show named London Tipton, played by Brenda Song. She is the daughter of the hotel owner where the show is staged at. She is a spoiled child that only has self-interest due to her family background. Unlike the stereotype of being obedient and well-disciplined, London always did what she liked because she grew up without guidance and discipline. Her dad was always away and she often gets lonely. Her dad is opposite from what Asian parents are portrayed in media. London’s dad is easy and lets London do whatever she wants, which is why she is ignorant at times, but she is still very nice those around her. London is not school oriented; she is known for skipping classes and getting bad grades which is the total opposite of Asian’s portrayal in media. She is more rebellious and realistic.


In conclusion, Asians are very dimensional like any other races. We can be smart, shy, nerdy, awkward, outgoing, loud, talkative, or dumb. They created a false portrait of what and who Asian people are. Although it is sad that people believe in such stereotypes and assumptions about Asian people, they fail to understand what makes each individual unique and special. It hard for Asians to express their real character without getting judged and getting labeled by the stereotype. One way to accurately portray Asians is getting the media change the way they portray Asians as well as giving Asians more opportunities to shine in the industry.


Work Cited

Lam, Chris. “East Asians Watched Yellowface And It Will Make You Cringe.” BuzzFeed. Buzzfeed, 30 July 2015. Web. 14 Nov. 2015. <http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrislam/east-asians-react-to-yellowface#.xymMy5A3K&gt;.

“London Tipton.” The Suite Life Wiki. Wikia. Web. 14 Nov. 2015. <http://suitelife.wikia.com/wiki/London_Tipton&gt;.

Moon, Krystyn R. Yellowface Creating the Chinese in American Popular Music and Performance, 1850s-1920s. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2005. Print.

“Watch Fresh Off the Boat TV Show – ABC.com.” ABC. ABC. Web. 14 Nov. 2015. <http://abc.go.com/shows/fresh-off-the-boat&gt;.

I’m More Than My Skin

I’ve always known that racism is a major part of American history, and because the color of my skin I am subject to many assumptions. After years of judgment and distorted beliefs, stereotypes arose. As a young child I was never aware that I would face some of the challenges I would eventually come to later in life. Pre-k through 3rd grade were some of my best years. I was surrounded by people who loved me for me, and was sheltered from any bigoted views from the outside world. Then fourth grade hit, and that was a wakeup call. My eyes were opened to reality in ways I never knew existed. Growing up in a predominately white town I learned early on that, I am viewed a certain way in the world. In 1619 the first group of slaves were brought to Jamestown, Virginia. This isn’t news, but it goes to show how African Americans were viewed even 1000+ years ago. Clearly in this day and age slavery has ended, but has racism?


            In the 1920’s South, African Americans were constantly reminded of their place in white society. They were told that they had to enter buildings from a different place, drink from different water fountains, and use different restroom facilities all because of the color of their skin (Wadelington, F 2004). Also because of the stereotype of the time that African Americans were thought of as “dirty” and disease carrying. The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was just beginning to surface with their views on African Americans (Wadelington F 2004). They added fuel to everyone’s fire, and are one of the reasons racism is still alive today.


(Photograph represents segregation in the south)

Racist black stereotypes range from what some may call “comical” to derogatory and disrespectful on all levels. Multiple characters were created to portray African American people. One of the first characters portrayed was named Jim Crow. The character originated on minstrel show in the 1830’s when his character was first shown by a man, Thomas Rice, wearing black face (Padgett, K 2015). Many people credited Rice for creating this character when in reality he had observed slaves and their ways of signing and dance, and stole the idea and added his own style to it. The reason that it is important to realize that the character was appropriated by Rice is because what many saw on television was believed to be true, when in reality African Americans were only being looked upon as a joke.


(Jim Crow character as seen in minstrel shows)

Other characters used were The Mammy, Jezebel, and Sapphire, but these women characters were used to portray how African American women are viewed as sex objects and only capable of domestic work (Pilgrim, D 2008). In researching The Mammy character, I have learned that she is the maid who get paid very little, and treats her white ”family” better than her own family.  She is the person who takes care of the children, washes the dishes, and cleans everything. Black women were often casted as the role of Mammy in films because they were not allowed to play any other character. They were not allowed to show that they could be anything else than a maid. One of the mammy characters used today is Aunt Jemima. She is an African American woman dressed as a maid on a popular syrup bottle. This shows how this caricatures are still alive, being used to entertain, and make a point today. The point being made with this character is that someone would want to buy the product because it was made by a maid character who is portrayed as being an excellent cook. The Aunt Jemima character is still offensive today because of the history it represents. The character itself is full of racist undertones, and having it on the product supports the views seen by the people who made it. Whether or not someone sees this character as offensive today, it has an offensive past regardless.


The Jezebel character originated from the bible. She was a sultry temptress who’s main goal was to use her body to get what she desired. This image was put on to African American women. This made African American women look as though they had an unquenchable thirst for sex with white males. During the years of slavery, white male slave owners saw African American slave women as sexual objects that they can do with what they please. This led too many rapes, and since slaves did have any rights, legally it was considered okay. Jezebel characters often wore skimpy clothing, and tried to seduce their male counter parts. Black women are still being portrayed as sex objects today. One example is how they are seen in music videos. A popular music artist portrays herself as a sexual object by objectifying her body. You can often find Nicki Minaj flaunting her surgically modified rear end in tight clothing. She is known for her sexual music video “Anaconda” which is a song about men desiring women with large behinds.


The Sapphire character is a rude, sassy, dominate woman who emasculated men. In the 1930’s this character was seen as comical by mimicking, and over exaggerating personalities of black women. The sapphire character became popular on the radio show Amos n’ Andy (1928 to 1960). The radio show was an all-white cast who would appropriated black culture. Later in the 1950’s the radio show turned into a television show with an all-black cast. The main purpose of the show was continued to mock African American cultures, and popularize black caricatures. This media lead others to believe that the jokes being made weren’t just jokes, but they were jokes on the African American race which in turn, lead people to think of the race as a whole, as a joke. The sapphire character is still being played in movies today. For example, director Tyler Perry often times has a sassy and rude woman play a Sapphire character, and she is often times emasculating men.

Through this course I have learned to not take something at face value, and to analyze it to find deeper meaning. For example, when I analyzed the Adidas commercial for the blog post. I was asked to find any patterns and figure out why it didn’t make sense. In my research for this project that is exactly what I did. I found out different ways to look at the information I collected, and bring it to one initial blog post. Another thing that I learned throughout this course was that I can use more than just text sources to support my findings. I can watch videos, analyze different excerpts, and I utilized all these findings in my project.

The way that African American people are viewed through media is not the way I see myself at all. They are often seen as lower than white people, and they are often viewed as sexual objects. The way I see my self is the complete opposite. I shouldn’t feel ashamed for being who I am even if the view of African American women have been obstructed. The way I was raised, and my experiences in life have shaped me to be the proud person that I am today. This project has reassured me on the fact that I am not just the color of my skin.


Works Cited

Padgett, Ken. “Blackface! – The History of Racist Blackface Stereotypes. Blackface! – The History of Racist Blackface Stereotypes  N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2015.

Padgett, Ken. “Blackface! Origins of Jump Jim Crow.” Blackface! N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2015.

Pilgrim, David. The Mammy Caricature.” Jim Crow Museum: The Mammy Caricature Ferris State University, Aug. 2008. Web. 14 Nov. 2015.

Pilgrim, David.  The Sapphire Caricature.” JCM: The Sapphire Caricature. Ferris State University, Aug. 2008. Web. 14 Nov. 2015.

Wadelington, Flora Hatley. “Segregation in the 1920s.” <i>Segregation</i>. Tar Heel Junior Historian. Spring 2004.1, 1 Jan. 2004. Web. 14 Nov. 2015.

Single Moms Portrayed in Media: Welfare Bound or Hard Working Women?

Pop culture in America has become so diverse that finding a reflection of who you are in the media has become much easier. Whether it be through the news, television, radio, film, advertisements or social media, there is always going to be a wide variety of people who reflect the radically different lifestyles in this country. Generally, these media portrayals are fairly accurate, but there are times when these reflections of who different types of Americans are can be nothing more than stereotypes and incorrect adaptations of who advertising companies and producers think we are. I have seen myself mirrored in media and television many times, and I have also seen the stereotypes of who I am. The most important thing in my life is being a mom. I have had little or no help raising my daughter for the last ten years, which makes me a single mom. Single mothers have a very wide variety of stories and living situations, but they do have a stigma attached to them, and I live with that every day. This stigma has been created by media and pop culture. The stereotype is that single moms are welfare bound, lazy, have too many children and these children all have behavior problems. The image these media outlets create are often wrong and can be hurtful. Groups like single moms are often misrepresented or inaccurately portrayed, and with pop culture and media having a massive impact on the lives of their audiences, these flawed depictions can do harm to individuals and families.

Single moms in media are almost always shown as poor struggling women on welfare who have children that misbehave and are at high risk for a number of very unwanted characteristics. Although there are a lot of struggling single mothers out there, the welfare abuser single mom is not always true or accurate. I was recently given an article to read about a single mom. This woman, Jennifer Stepp, is a classic example of everything I don’t want to be and everything pop culture shows as a stereotype of who I see myself as. Stepp has three children by three different men, two of which are in prison, and is receiving nearly every form of public assistance available. In the article it says, “it bothers her that single mothers sometimes get a bad name, that people think they just have babies and collect welfare” (Fessler, 2012). While I find it admirable that she doesn’t like single moms getting a bad wrap, she is exactly who she says she doesn’t want to be seen as. She receives: free meals, half her rent paid, free health care, free education and free daycare. What bothers me about this story is the news source, in this case NPR, choosing a single mom receiving every known form of public assistance, with three kids by three men as the poster child of single moms needing a safety net of support. From what I have learned throughout this course, it is not a random error in judgement. She was chosen to obtain more readers, even if those readers are only viewing the story because they are mad and was to cast judgment. Media does this a lot, they play on people’s emotions to gain viewership which leads to more revenue for their company.

The tactics different companies use to gain revenue was an eye open for my in this pop culture course. News stations are the most guilty of this. During week five of this class the class was asked to use a piece called  “News: Balance Bias with Critical Questions” to examine an article about a kidnapping in the middle east, which the news article was trying to insinuate was terrorism related (Hynds, n.d.). The article was totally lacking credibility, sources and an actual reported event, it was simply meant to scare (Barghi, 2012). While reading the article and examining it with a check list focused on details and accuracy it hit me- I read articles like this all the time and I assume they are correct. I believe this is what most people do. We read and hear about so many news stories on a daily basis and we take them at face value, but when a person digs deep and think about who wrote them, why and what the details are, the articles have a tendency to crumble. The same techniques can be applied to television and film. In my case, these techniques will be used to think about media, film and television and the representation of single mothers like Jennifer Stepp.

There are 9.9 million single moms in this country right now and many of these women are hard working and not on public assistance, but these women aren’t the examples you generally see (“Mothers by the Numbers,” 2015). I had to dig deep to come up with a media source I had seen where a single mom isn’t like Jennifer Stepp. What I came up with was Miranda on Sex and the City (Parker, 2000). Miranda is a lawyer living in New York City with little or no family. She becomes a parent during the series and is raising her son alone. Although she has a very good career and is well off financially she struggles with having to choose between work and her son. Because high income single moms are rarely the focus of television and film, their struggles are rarely identified. However, there was a study done about the resilience of higher income single moms called, “Yes She Can: An Examination of Resiliency Factors in Middle- and Upper-Income Single Mothers” (Kjellstrand & Harper, 2012). This study found women who are at the highest income levels often have lower resiliency because of the huge demands of their high paying jobs. Miranda had this problem as well. Although she was a strong woman she was constantly being shown as the struggling mom because she couldn’t manage to pull herself away from her work. At one point she was having issues feeling like her nanny was raising her son more than she was. I find it refreshing to see a well off single mom on a very popular television show, but it saddens me that even the smartest, most well off mom is still shown to be struggling and having a hard time raising a child alone.

During week four in this course our class talked about how we are influenced by the advertising we see around us. There was a lot of discussion about ads which are meant to empower people. These ads aim to make people feel strong and capable with the hope that people will run out and buy a product. Keeping that in mind and thinking about single moms in media and how people can see themselves in this type of cultural mirror, it makes me wonder if these media outlets sharing stories of welfare moms can have an unspoken impact of women viewers. If these women are seeing mothers like Jennifer Stepp and Miranda, they may find themselves mimicking them without realizing it. This can be a positive thing if they are led to feel empowered but the opposite is almost more possible. There could come a time when a woman reads an article or sees a show about struggling moms and things “why bother?” and gives up hope.

Being a single mother is one of the hardest jobs out there and having hope and strength is essential. I saw these qualities in a woman named Katrina Gilbert. She was the focus of an HBO documentary called “Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert” (Cookson, 2014) She’s not the stereotypical single mom on welfare with three kids by three fathers who had her children out of wedlock. She did things “the right way,” she got married, had three children and was happy until her husband became dependent on drugs and she left him. She works full time but is still only making $9 an hour. She is not on welfare, but is very low income and struggles every month. However, despite her struggles, she is able to successfully raise her children. She is thrifty, responsible and a good mom. This documentary is a very accurate an honest portrayal of the life of a single mom and I found myself relating to her on many levels.

Out of all the single mothers I have seen and thought about, I saw myself in Katrina Gilbert the most. I saw her try to do right for her children and being responsible by pay bills she couldn’t afford, and while doing this she never gave up hope and never once thought she should give up stand in line at the welfare office. Her story was a good one, which makes me wish more people like her were the characters in television shows, news articles and films. Single moms need to see someone like her as an example they should be following. These women may come in many different colors, are from all over the country, and we all raise our children differently, but what we have in common is being there for our children. We have taken on a job that not everyone could or would take. Some may do a better job than others, but at least they try and for that they deserve regard and understanding.

With media and pop culture having such a huge influence on the lives of Americans there should be care involved when showing characters from specific groups. This could be anything from race, economic status, sexuality, or people like single mothers. What producers and advertisers do to gain more revenue has a large affect on viewers and they need to take care to make sure their actions are biasing people against one another. If I have learned anything throughout this course, it’s that you are who you are, not who you see on television and films. It’s important to remember is to keep who you are in mind while watching the constant flow of media that streams through our lives and be that person, not the person media wants you to think you are.




Barghi, S. (2012, October 13). Afghanistan Kidnappings: Two Foreigners Missing From Aid Team. Retrieved November 15, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/13/afghanistan-kidnappings_n_1963205.html?utm_hp_ref=afghanistan-war-blog

Cookson, S. (Director). (2014). Paycheck to paycheck: The life and times of Katrina Gilbert [Motion picture]. HBO.

Fessler, P. (2012, July 11). To Beat Odds, Poor Single Moms Need Wide Safety Net. Retrieved November 15, 2015, from http://www.npr.org/2012/07/11/155103593/to-beat-odds-poor-single-moms-need-wide-safety-net

Hynds, P. (n.d.). News: Balance Bias with Critical Questions. Retrieved November 15, 2015, from http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/news-balance-bias-critical-questions

Kjellstrand, E., & Harper, M. (2012). Yes, She Can: An Examination of Resiliency Factors in Middle- and Upper-Income Single Mothers. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 311-327.

Mothers by the Numbers. (2015). Retrieved November 16, 2015, from http://www.infoplease.com/spot/momcensus1.html

Parker, S. (Director). (2000). Sex and the city [Motion picture on DVD]. HBO Home Video.

I Am Middle Eastern/ American


By: Jasmine Carter-Sadek

I am Middle Eastern/American, and my identity as this comes into play with every decision I make in my daily life. Often times I find myself torn, where I have to choose between my beliefs on my American side and the beliefs and values I have in my Middle Eastern culture. Society through pop culture does not make it easy for someone to identify himself or herself as Middle Eastern/American, but essentially forces you to believe that you are one or the other. I am constantly forced with the question:

Do I go this way or do I go that way?

Sometimes I feel like a double-sided coin rolling down a hill and in the end when I come to fall, where will I stand? Who will I be? Or is essentially having multiple identities a single identity?

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The media is powerful, and has the capability to insinuate ideas, beliefs and values. Through strategic tactics the media is implanting and manipulating the minds of people. Throughout different types of media this is introduced both subtly and deviously. Persons of a Middle Eastern identity are stereotypically portrayed in pop culture and in many different forms. I focus on films, TV shows, and commercial ads.

These artifacts are here proving to me that the media is wrong on the different generalizations they reinforce on Middle Easterners. These artifacts remind me to take a look at whom I really am and the part of myself that can’t and won’t be denied.


Through film, filmmakers are able to tell you a story; they are able to draw you in mentally by toying and provoking your thoughts and emotions. Films are very powerful and affective when it comes to prevailing a message. This is simply due to the mass audiences that go to see these films. Films are able to manipulate the audience into believing what they put on the screen is essentially right or true. Persons of a Middle Eastern identity are portrayed stereotypically through film in many ways. Society has created stereotypes portraying them as the “outsiders” or “enemies”. Through the media these stereotypes are continuingly reinforced. As a person from a multicultural background I look at these stereotypes from both points of views: from an American cultural perspective and a Middle Eastern cultural perspective. The way the media portrays middle easterners, generalizing them into labels such as a terrorist or the enemy is not the way I view all middle easterners and our culture. This is because I have first hand experience with my culture and its rich history of courtesy. In the end I find myself torn between which sides I really abide too.

The film titled American Sniper is a documentary film of the life of the United States Navy SEAL, Chris Kyle. This is a film directed by Clint Eastwood and is based on a book titled American Sniper written by Navy SEAL Chris Kyle himself. Chris Kyle was the most successful sniper in American military history having 160 confirmed Kills, and 255 claimed kills during his six-year military career. The film American Sniper convinces viewers that Chris Kyle is what heroism looks like. This film also portrays the general racialization that all middle easterners are the enemy. This portrayal takes place especially in the opening scene where Chris Kyle is conflicted between shooting a woman and her son due to a suspicious object. Chris Kyle described Iraqis as “Savages, and despicably evil” or using terms such as “Rag Heads”. This war film brought up a lot of controversy in the media. There were two perspectives I analyzed with both being the question of: Is the American Sniper, Chris Kyle a hero or not?


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An article titled “Chris Kyle — a True American Hero.” written by Elise Cooper in the American Thinker Newspaper is written in a perspective that glorifies and hales Chris Kyle to be a true American hero, hence the title. The author of this article emphasizes that sniper Chris Kyle was sent out to do a job, and that his different job experiences ended up making him a warrior-hero. By serving ones country and sharing his story on the postpartum mental effects of war in his autobiography he impacted the lives of many people in the United Nations.

Another Newspaper article titled “The Real American Sniper Was a Hate-filled Killer. Why Are Simplistic Patriots Treating Him as a Hero?” written by Lindy West depicts Chris Kyle and this film in a negative light. Stating that this is not what America should be portraying a true American hero is. Instead this article portrays Chris Kyle as the enemy, who is being glorified for unethical reasons. The portrayal of people of the Middle East in such a stereotypical way has led to where people are now lashing out on social media attacking and generalizing even a whole religion, for the insinuated ideas they interpreted from this film. The below image is of multiple tweets regarding the film:








Analyzing these two main perspectives is where my multicultural identity comes into conflict within itself. I am American but I am also Middle Eastern. I was born an American and was raised with the American culture background but also raised practicing my Middle Eastern culture. When watching this film, I was in conflict of the same question; Is Chris Kyle a true hero or not? Is this representation of people of the Middle East true or not? My American side would tell me that yes he is a hero; he is soldier risking his life serving and protecting our country for my freedom. Then my Middle Eastern side challenges these thoughts on the way they portray people of the Middle East. I do not believe that the representation this film portrays; that all people in the Middle East are the enemy’s, is true. In American popular culture Middle Easterners are represented in a negative light, so as an American do I fear my other identity and call them terrorist? Since this idea is what most Americans are subjected to in the media? When all I have ever known from that side is generosity and compassion? In one culture Chris Kyle is a hero and in another he is a Villain, and if I side with either culture I am either an outsider or one in the same.


Middle Easterners are stereotypically portrayed in media not only in one hit films, but also in on going TV shows. I analyzed a T.V show series titled Homeland that was developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa. This show is for an American political thriller loving audience. This being a television series it is meant to entertain, but the propaganda embedded in it also brings out political messages.

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Analyzing this show I had caught on to the nonchalant racism that manipulates the viewer into believing in typical Middle Eastern stereotypes. This show has a creative way of linking different stereotypes to form one big generalized conception. For example through portrayal of race, prayer, and violence this series connects Middle Eastern to Islam to terrorism. This is what is creating the generalizing effect. This is affecting ordinary people in real life, where if a person identifies as Middle Eastern they are often categorized as “terrorists”. These labels lead to real life consequences. One example being; Homeland had used the name of the former Pakistanian Ambassador, Hassaim Haqqani, as the same name as the terrorist they are trying to track down. Now potentially when people see and think of the Pakistanian ambassador they could generalize that he is also a terrorist, and that Pakistani people who follow under this ambassador are terrorist.

Certain characters in this show and their background story position also incorporate ideas to which people with a Middle Eastern cultural background pose as a threat to Americans.




A character in this show is a man named Nicholas Brody who is a white marine hero who converts to the religion of Islam. When Brody’s wife had found out about Body’s conversion she says, “ Nicholas had it all, white, a hero, a family man, but he threw it all away by becoming a Muslim.” This direct quote in the show from Brody’s wife is in my opinion Islmaphobic. The quote also reinforces the audience of the typical true identity of an American stereotype. Through Brody’s character I had drawn the conclusion that a white man that is Muslim is more acceptable to society than a Middle Eastern, darker skinned Muslim. Although they portray Brody as being more “acceptable” to society, him being Muslim is still seen as a threat but is just portrayed more sympathetically throughout the show.




In season two of this television series was a stereotyped “infiltrating Muslim” character named Roya Hamad. She was stereotyped this way due to her superstitious power and access to acquire information through the government. Roya is a well-educated television reporter from Oxford University. Roya is working with Brody for the Muslim terrorist leader. In my opinion the presence of the character Roya Hamad was to implant the idea that no matter how well integrated and accustomed to the American culture the Middle Easterners or Muslims (Since homeland uses them as interchangeable terms) and their culture are always going to be a hidden threat.

I have noticed that in some scenes of this show the cinematography, lighting and camera angle is a big manipulation tool. When a middle easterner is in front of the camera the lighting tends to be dimmed and darker than usual. The camera angle is usually pointed down at the Middle Easterner as if the white all American government official is taller or essentially of power looking down on them.

A blog post titled “Arabian Street Artists” Bomb Homeland: Why We Hacked An Award- Winning Series.” Written by Heba Y. Amin discussed the outbreak of a graffiti artist on the set of Homeland. The artist incorporated graffiti written in Arabic stating, “Homeland is racist “ on the wall of one of the set scenes. These graffiti artists were hired by the Homeland producers to add authenticity to their set scenes in the second episode of the 5th season. The art they had portrayed was something Homeland was not expecting. Some of the graffiti was labeled “Homeland is Racist” “Homeland is not a series” “Homeland is a watermelon”. The directors did not catch this and filmed their scene anyway to later find out. This blog post depicts why these graffiti artists did what they did and provides many pictures of the different messages they had put out there. This blog post extended my own ideas on what Homeland’s political message is to its viewer and the different inaccurate and bigoted portrayals it has on Muslims and people in the Middle East. The directors of Homeland being unaware of the graffiti that read, “Homeland is racist” in their scenes has prevailed to me that “The truth always comes out”.

Below are photos of the graffiti:

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This is a Coca-Cola Commercial titled “America the Beautiful” that aired during the 2014 Super bowl. Its purpose was to send out a positive message showing people of all different backgrounds and multicultural identities together enjoying the same product.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUGDQo2Pb6g

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This commercial includes a belief that needs to be reinforced more often in media. This is one of the few positive messages I have seen in advertising that promotes unity with different cultures here in America. Some people might have taken this commercial for the positive message it was intended to give but others took it in a negative direction. There had been a lot of controversy on this commercial. After watching the commercial, could you guess why? Take a look at these Facebook comments, and tweets. Now can you guess why?

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People had displayed that it is offending Americans due to portrayals of a Muslim women wearing the traditional headscarf or “Hijab” and the big one, “America the Beautiful” being sung by bilingual Americans in seven different languages: English, Spanish, Keres, Tagalog, Hindi, Senegalese French and Hebrew.


A YouTube video had brought this controversy to my attention.

Link: https://youtu.be/S5oRAF00RHA

This video is of an analysis review of the Coca-Cola ad “America the Beautiful” Super Bowl commercial titled “Coke’s Superbowl Ad Drives Right Wing Racists INSANE” by the TYT University YouTube channel called the “Common Room”. This video has 4 people; two males and two females who are discussing the dilemma that America had on the Coca-Cola commercial. They discuss how this ad had been depicted and analyzed in media by the number one factor being; the song “America the Beautiful” was sung in another language other then English. Immediately in this YouTube talk review one woman had said the “problem” with the commercial was “Muslims” which I had found provocative. After watching this I had noticed that I don’t typically see woman in the traditional Muslim headscarf the “Hijab” in ads by companies who are trying to sell their product.

Coca-Cola linked a positive advertising technique that touched me emotionally which is my opinion is a strong tactic in selling their product. This commercial featured happiness and pure joy with smiles and laughter while also being surrounded by loved ones and enjoying a refreshing coke. This commercial is one that I think represented people of different multicultural identities in a positive light. The bright colors and different sceneries set the positive tone and mood of this commercial. By having everyone enjoying the same thing, the refreshing coke, and the “America the Beautiful” song sung in different languages is what made the connection and brought the cultures all together.



There had been many significant learning moments throughout this term but there was one moment that has really help shape the way I think, and has really enhanced my critical think skills. During week 3 and 4 of this course we discussed first the history of adverting and the influence of advertising. While using the steps of the “Deconstructing A Advertisement” model, I was able to further look into the meaning of advertisements and I have applied these rules when analyzing the Coca -Cola ad in my big picture blog post. I also have been applying these techniques to other classes such as my sociology class. After being introduced to the book Ways of Seeing by John Berger, I was blown away but how much I had learned, and how I had never thought of how to look at certain pieces of artwork or advertisements the way it assists you too.


Another significant learning moment would be this big picture blog project. I was able to chose an identity of mine and really go into depth and see how it is portrayed in popular culture. By doing this I got to ask myself questions I had never had been asked before, and learned a lot more about who I am and how the news, media, anything in pop culture affects me.



         TYT University YouTube Channel. “Common Room” “Coke’s Superbowl Ad Drives Right Wing Racists INSANE”, 8 Feb. 2014. Web. <https://youtu.be/S5oRAF00RHA>.

Amin, Heba Y. ““Arabian Street Artists” Bomb Homeland: Why We Hacked An Award- Winning Series.” Web log post. HebYAmin. N.p., 14 Oct. 2015. Web.

Cooper, Elise. “Chris Kyle — a True American Hero.” American Thinker 27 Jan. 2015: n. pag. Web.

West, Lindy. “The Real American Sniper Was a Hate-filled Killer. Why Are Simplistic Patriots Treating Him as a Hero?” N.p., n.d. Web.

American Sniper. Dir. Clint Eastwood. By Jason Hall and Chris Kyle. Perf. Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller,   Kyle Gallner. Warner Bros., 16 January 2015. DVD.

 CONTROVERSIAL: “America The Beautiful” Coca Cola 2014 Super Bowl Commercial | Political Topics. Youtube. Coca-Cola, 3 Feb. 2014. Web. <https://youtu.be/vUGDQo2Pb6g&gt;.

Gordon, Howard. “Homeland.” Showtime. Dir. Alex Gansa. N.d. Television




Female Athletes and Media

Initially, I just wanted to take Pop Culture for my Sophomore Inquiry class because I thought it would be an easy A, yet interesting at the same time. This class has actually turned out to be very hard, but very beneficial. Through Pop Culture, I have learned the importance of thinking critically and questioning what I am seeing or reading. These skills were utilized while analyzing how the media portrays a certain part of my identity, an athlete, and also while analyzing different perspectives on a subject and the psychology behind advertising.

Individuals are made up of their many different identities. I am a daughter, sister, student, barista, athlete and shopaholic. I chose to focus on media’s portrayal of female athletes for my essay. When female athletes are portrayed in the media, the focus is on feminine characteristics, especially regarding appearance, and sexualizing them instead picturing them as strong, accomplished athletes they are. Aimee Lamourex summarizes my main point very well in her blog post on WordPress: “Girls also see a double standard in covering women’s sports. When male athletes receive media attention, such coverage is primarily focused on their skills and performance. When female athletes receive media attention, the media is much more likely to focus on their physical attractiveness or non-sport-related activities” (Lamourex).

One example I found of media’s tendency to focus on physical attractiveness is a photo shoot of MMA fighter, Ronda Rousey for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.Ronda1


How are these pictures showing her as an athlete when they nothing do with the fact that Rousey is number one fighter in her weight class? This is where the problem arises: focus on sex appeal, rather than athletic achievement.

Matthew Curtis, who wrote his entire college thesis about the portrayal of US athletes in the Olympics, summarizes the qualities that were focused on in women’s sports were “emphasized aesthetics- grace, form, and beauty” (Curtis). I found a similar example of this on the cover of ESPN’s Body Issue 2015.


The US Olympic Swimmer, Natalie Coughlin, is shown above. Is one supposed to infer that she is a swimmer just because she is sitting in water? Here, ESPN is not advertising Coughlin as an athlete, but advertising her body instead.

Finally, what I think is the ultimate example of the sexualization of women’s sports is summed up in the following clip: Lingerie Football League:

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUI5NdGVVlw

Why do female athletes allow themselves to be portrayed this way? Some possibilities are more money, increased popularity, branding, and it may just be their form of self-empowerment. I think the main reason female athletes are portrayed this way is because provocativeness attracts the most attention in a day where attention spans are so short. It gives them exposure and popularity, something that is sometimes hard to come by in women’s sports, but does it really make them a more credible athlete? No; it may increase their popularity, but decrease their reputation, especially amongst other women. These athletes have an opportunity to be role models for thousands of girls and women; however, by allowing the media to portray them this way just sends the message to girls that they have to take their clothes off to be popular.

To accurately access media’s representation of female athletes, it is vital to consider their role in how they are portrayed as well. In the paragraph above, I mentioned that some woman display themselves, such as the ones pictured above, because it empowers them as women. Because these women do so much with their bodies every single day, showing it off might not seem like a big deal. It’s a way of celebration and showcasing their success. Swimmer Ashley Tappin echoes this saying “We’re healthy. We’re fit. And we are not just cute; we do good things with our bodies. They are functional. Why not show them off?” (Sexploitation). Women in athletics face the challange of balancing their femininity and their athleticism, so sports are a question of “how do you maintain femininity?”. While some female athletes want to show off their bodies, the marketing and branding of a female athlete is a game of who is sexy enough to be advertised. Some choose to capitalize on this, and some don’t. Some athletes are okay with using their bodies for exposure; it is just an individual decision.

The bottom line is, these women shouldn’t have to make this decision: media should advertise these women based on what they are: athletes. As much as provocative advertising can help these women become more recognizable, it doesn’t actually increase their popularity or following as athletes. So, it is not sex, but talent that sells. (Fagan).

Some companies are beginning to recognize, and respect this. Nike, in particular, encourages women empowerment, not through showing off their bodies, but showing off what their bodies can do. One famous example of this is Nike’s ad featuring tennis star Maria Sharapova. Sharapova is famous for being one of the pretty faces of the tennis world. The ad mocks the way media has focused on her appearance, and shows why she is really famous: her talent.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=au17YpGAa-s


Additionally, there is coverage of women athletes that don’t mention a word about their appearance.

Link: http://www.bustle.com/articles/64938-the-lindsey-vonn-foundation-empowers-girls-sets-an-excellent-example-of-overcoming-obstacles

Olympic skier Lindsay Vonn started a charity called the Lindsay Vonn Foundation to help support programs that help empower young girls and increase their self-confidence.

Learning Moments

This brings me to one of my biggest learning moments for the term: considering both sides of a story. This importance of this became especially apparent when analyzing news and current events in week 5. One of my classmates exhibited this very well, using the example of the Portland housing market. I never even considered that someone could think it was anything but terrible:

*…As a person who is easily influenced by information, I think my consumption of news hinders my perspectives and actions. For example, my step-dad is a housing developer in Portland and has been responsible for the demolition of many homes in the city. Having just read a strongly worded, biased article from Willamette Weekly about the destruction, the evils of gentrification, and what kind of city Portland is turning into, I spoke to him about my concerns. I was very surprised when I was met with an entirely different point of view and set of facts that the article did not include. Although I am still on the fence about whether or not housing development is good for the city, it was an important conversation to have with my step-dad because it reminded me to always ask questions, stay curious, and not let any one person or source determine your belief in something. Even your own parents.

The comment posted by my classmate helped me realize the importance of considering both sides of a story. I never even considered that someone could think different. I think this experience will prevent me from being so black and white about certain subjects in the future.

Another significant learning moment of mine was when we analyzed John Berger’s “Way of Seeing”. This was probably the biggest wake up call of the class. Not only did the tactics he described help me analyze advertisements more effectively for my mirror insight, but also he stated the all too real truth of the psychology behind the advertising/purchasing pattern. I think he encapsulates my whole response process to media and advertisements perfectly. At the root, everyone wants to be glamorous and beautiful, to be envied, to have status…. That is what drives me to continue to buy and buy and buy. As bad as it sounds to some people, appearance will tell you a lot about a person (which is why I think way the women athletes pictured above bother me so much). I want to appear as someone who has it all together, that is fashionable and confidant and most of all, worthy. These are the feelings advertisers prey on. They tell me “if you use this perfume, it will make you sexy”, “if you have this kind of jeans, it means you’re classic”, “if you pose in this bikini, guys will give you more attention”… The list goes on. The difference is, and what I learned from Ways of Seeing, was that I can analyze these messages advertisers are trying to sneak into their ads, and respond to them less emotionally and more rationally.

Analyzing how media portrays parts of my identity, gave me a better perspective to why these parts of portrayed this way, the effect it has on me, and the effect it has on others. From my research, I have learned that female athletes are objectified, the focus on their aesthetics and physical appearance, rather than athletic ability. Despite this, there are efforts to counteract this kind of advertising. Companies, such as Nike and Under Armour, are focusing on empowering women and rather than displaying them. Through this essay and significant learning moments, I have learned to interpret media messages more effectively, in turn making more rational decisions and not just being comfortable accepting the way media shows something, but analyzing the reasons it might be shown the way it is.


Curtis, Matthew K. “America’s Heroes and Darlings: The Media Portrayal of Male and Female Athletes During the 2014 Sochi Games.” BYU Scholars Archive. Brigham Young University, 31 May 2104. Web. 7 Nov. 2015.

Fagan, Kate. “Sex Sells? Trend May Be Changing.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 15 Oct. 2014. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.

Lamourex, Aimee. “How the Media Portrays Female Athletes.” How the Media Portrays Female Athletes. 22 Apr. 2012. Web. 7 Nov. 2015.

“Ronda Rousey Swimsuit Photos, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2015.” Sports Illustrated. 1 June 2015. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.

“Sexploitation: Helpful or Harmful in Female Athletics.” The Communique. University of California, San Diego. Web. 28 Nov. 2015.

Stanek, Becca. “The Lindsey Vonn Foundation Empowers Girls & Sets An Excellent Example Of Overcoming Obstacles.” Bustle. Web. 8 Nov. 2015

Williams + Hirakawa. Natalie Coughlin- Bodies We Want 2015. N.d. ESPN Body 2015. ESPN GO. Web. 28 Mar. 2015. <http://espn.go.com/espn/photos/gallery/_/id/13174028/image/37/natalie-coughlin-bodies-want-2015&gt;.


Male Artist in the Media

Male Artist in the Media

By: Griffin Lutz

Throughout history people have always used stereotypes to classify, associate, or to make people feel inferior. Fifteen years ago, stereotypes were passed between friends on the playground, down from generation to generation within a family or seen on television and posters. The concept of bullying didn’t exist outside of school and the only form communication was the landline or the mail. The twenty-first century gave birth to the digital age making everything you wanted at the tips of your fingers. Social media, videos, music, you name it could all be found for the first time in one collective space.  Unfortunately, with everyone being able to post their opinions/beliefs online, it soon became hard to tell the difference between fact and fiction. In this class, we have learned to read and analyze the different types of media that a majority of us come in contact with on a daily basis. Before this class, I never really paid much attention to where people got these ideas of “how male artist are supposed to act”. I found that television is one of the largest culprit of providing this false sense of reality. This paper will address three major stereotypes that promote and provoke society into making assumptions about how male artists behave: the flamboyant artist, the hipster artist, and the womanizer artist.


First, I chose look at the stereotypical flamboyant artist. This stereotype is the loudest and most expressive of all the stereotypes. A fun character that doesn’t generally take anything too serious and is at times is emotionally unstable. This can be seen in movies such as Zoolander (Will Ferrell) and of course Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Johnny Depp). These lovable characters possess over the top qualities.  Fortunately, most viewers are smart enough to be in on the joke.  It would be rare to find individuals who do not realize that these are ridiculous exaggerations.  A recent and tamer example of this is seen in FOX Entertainment’s Empire; Season 2 Episode 4 “Everything We Know”. The show is one of the first to promote LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) which is groundbreaking considering the treatment of people belonging to the LGBT community in the past. However, this is the same character that Will Ferrell played in Zoolander.   The only difference is this character lacks the of over the top flare (goofy hair, obviously too much eye makeup, matching outfit with his dog, etc.).


Next, I decided to look at a trend that is not specifically linked to male artist but when searching for examples it was prominently observed in the media. The hipster is described by Urban Dictionary as “A subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter.” The two shows that I want to focus on; Modern Family’s season 7 premier “Summer Lovin” and Brooklyn Nine-Nine season 3; episode 3 “Boyle’s Hunch. Not really knowing what a hipster was at first, I had a hard time trying to decide if this was actually a negative stereotype.  After watching both shows I found that in these two examples the stereotype is being portrayed in a negative way; solely because both of the characters were pretending to be this hipster persona. Yes, I understand they are actors on a television show, but the characters on the show where simply pretending to be something they weren’t. Of the two, Modern family is the best at showing the transition from an up-tight lawyer to a deep thinking painter. It forced me to realize that I have even fallen victim to this stereotype. Just because I wear Oxford shoes, have a tucked in shirt, and happen to be standing outside the art building with my portfolio, people make assumptions and ask me if I am “one of those artist that is all in touch with himself and if I am reflecting on some big philosophical meaning for why it’s raining”. My answer always seems to be a version of “no I am standing under the cover because I have to go to work after this and I don’t feel like being soaking wet”.  They are trying to use the hipster artist stereotype to define me.  Unfortunately, not helping the situation is the fact that there is usually some other student next to me that quickly says “yes that’s exactly what I’m doing” which only solidifying their preconceived notion of what a hipster artist is.

The final stereotype that I chose to look at is the womanizer artist.  A study done by HsinSheng College of Medical Care and Management in Taiwan set out to find the gender stereotypes of male and female artist in the media. A total of one hundred and one Taiwanese newspapers were used, taking articles from the entertainment columns. They then conducted a survey to find what people gathered was the main response of these articles. “Results showed… portrayals of male artists focused on personal defects in physical appearance and love affair” (Language and Ideology).   This stereotype often perceives male artist as deep thinking, passionate individuals who use their creativity to seduce woman. The example is from the CW’s iZombie Season 1; Episode 2 “Brother can you spare a brain”.  In the episode after eating the brain of the recently dead artist, she gains his personality. As a result, she starts questioning the meaning of everything she sees and tries to explain it though painting. She also can’t help but flirt with attractive women throughout the course of the episode. This proves that most people see male artist as cheating womanizers.  While for most, the reputation of being a womanizer doesn’t seem so horrible, it might actually bother an artist who has been turned down by a woman he is interested in just because of this sterotype.

Stereotypes do not have to be harmful.  As human beings, we should be able to laugh at exaggerated forms of ourselves.  The idea of comic relief has been around for centuries. However, we all have to be in on the joke.  We can not allow sterotypes to The problem interfere with our daily lives in which we make assumptions about individuals before we actually know them.  The lack of an ability to break down the media wether it be television, social media, newspaper, or the movies, could causes us to misinterpret what they are really trying to say. Our lifestyle has become one of believing everything we see and not taking the time to stop and think if there is another meaning behind it. We have lost the art of thinking before we speak or more commonly these days thinking before we type.

Learning Moments

One significant learning moment for me this term was when we talked about the different ways to break down an ad. I never really didn’t pay attention to ads.  I just assumed they were only trying to sell me something so I tuned them out.  However, I never actually broke an ad down and analyzed it to see what they did in order to get your attention and keep it.  The strategies and work that goes into creating these ads is impressive.  A second significant learning moment for me would probably when we looked at evaluating the news. I had been somewhat connected with the news, but I haven’t been as on top of it as I would like to be. Learning all the tricks to break it apart so you can understand what is actually happing was really useful and I find myself doing it now when I’m either watching or reading the news.  I have gained a better understanding of the media and how it relates to the world around me.


“‘Modern Family’ Premiere Recap: Not Everyone Had the Perfect Summer…” Entertainment Weekly’s EW.com. Web. 16 Nov. 2015. <http://www.ew.com/recap/modern-family-season-7-premiere&gt;.



“Empire Season 2, Episode 4: Everything We Know.” Wetpaint Inc Empire Season 2 Episode 4 Everything We Know Comments. 2 Oct. 2015. Web. 16 Nov. 2015. <http://www.wetpaint.com/empire-season-2-episode-4-1444261/&gt;.



“Language and Ideology: Gender Stereotypes of Female and Male Artists in Taiwanese Tabloids.” Language and Ideology: Gender Stereotypes of Female and Male Artists in Taiwanese Tabloids. Web. 16 Nov. 2015. <http://das.sagepub.com/content/20/6/747.abstract&gt;.



“Modern Family: Season 7 Premiere: Summer Lovin’ Recap – Season 7 Episode 01.” ABC. Web. 16 Nov. 2015. <http://abc.go.com/shows/modern-family/episode-guide/season-07/1-season-7-premiere-summer-lovin&gt;.



“Review: IZOMBIE Episode 2: Brother, Can You Spare a Brain? | Nerdist.” Nerdist. 25 Mar. 2015. Web. 16 Nov. 2015. <http://nerdist.com/review-izombie-episode-2-brother-can-you-spare-a-brain/&gt;.



Looking At Female College Students in Media

Looking At Female College Students in Media

By: Natasha Poole

Typically, during your senior year of high school you were either looking what colleges to apply for or what other direction to go in. In 2008, about 11,000,000 females and 8,000,000 males were in college that year (2012, Forbes). College plays a big role in people’s lives, whether it is how it helped them prepare for life, get them a career, or helped them meet their future spouse or long-time friends. When I look at popular culture media today, I see female college students depicted as sex, drug, and party, crazed people, with no ethics or morals. I see this as a major problem today, because only 45 years ago 2,500,000 females were in college (2012, Forbes), and now they are wrongfully being portrayed as wild girls with bad intentions. I examined three examples of how this is presents in today’s media, the film, The House Bunny; a popular website and YouTube channel, Collegehumor; and the film, Spring Breakers.

The House Bunny, a 2008 comedy film directed by Fred Wolf, was an obvious film to use, because of their theme of self-transformation to look like a typical college girl. The main character, Shelley Darlington, recently got kicked out of the Playboy mansion for being too old, sets out to find a career and lands a job as a den mother for an unpopular sorority. Shelley has blonde hair, wears copious amounts of tight, pink clothes, and plays the dumb role a little too far. As the movie progresses, she notices her sorority is the weird one, there are shy, smart, and nerdy girls in the house, including one girl with a back brace. She then decides to give them a makeover to make them fit in more at their university, which includes long extensions, tight clothes, and lessons on how to talk to boys and be “slutty.” The girls eventually learn that they they should be their true selves and tone down their new look, while still incorporating it into their lives. I found that many people agree with me, why does physical appearance impact your college career?  This movie shows that in order to go anywhere or do anything productive, you must “look good” while doing so. It shows that these girls’ lives are greatly improved due to a make-over (2008, MEDIA PORTRAYAL OF SORORITY WOMEN). But in a study on women in college shows that women who show more of their identification were less likely to pursue math related careers and women who showed less of their gender identification were more likely to pursue math related careers (2007, Keifer). This source made me think more about my argument and made me think that appearance may place a role in college academics. I also found that it just wasn’t the physical appearance that made them fit in with the other female college students depicted in the film, it was how they acted with others. They were told to tone back their quirky personalities and hobbies, while acting more provocative towards the opposite sex. One part of the film really highlighted this, when Shelley decide to throw a party and pushes the girls to have sex with the opposite sex. As a female college student, I am ashamed to be depicted this way. I know many girls that are not “slutty,” do not wear pink, provocative clothing, and dumb themselves down for attention. The behavior in the film is extreme and a bit offencive for real-life female college students.


The House Bunny, Shelley Darlington

Another source of media that misrepresents female college students in the same way is College Humor, a website containing comical articles and short videos. One article that I found was called “The ABC’s of College.” It had a word for each letter that had to do with college life. Some examples are, “A is for alcohol, H is for high, R is for ragers, S is for sex, etc.” I found that each example is a major stereotype for college students, including females. As I kept reading through the website I thought of the site as a satire, something funny that pokes at real life situations. Yes the “The ABC’s of College” is mainly pointing out stereotypes and making fun of them, it is also reinforcing them by not explaining why they aren’t always true.

My last source was the film, Spring Breakers. The movie is about four female, college students who are looking do something fun on their spring break. They steal and cheat their way to have a good time in Florida where they end up going to jail for possession of drugs. The next day they get bailed out by a popular rapper by the name of Alien. He introduces them to more drugs, sex, and violence. I found that spring break was a major part of students’ college career in a movie review of spring breakers (2013, Lemire). The article brought up the point that Spring break seems like a time for students to be free from school and have fun, so I think the film was perfect for seeing the stereotypes of what female college students and what they do on their spring break. In the film, we see them wear swimming suits the whole time and experiment with drugs brought to them by Alien. The movie review by Christy Lemur in the Huffington Post, states that the director of the film, Kornie, states that the movie is a sad reality. I think that this is true because of how popular culture enforces the trend of college students going wild for spring break.


Spring Breakers

The course has really helped me view media in a different way. I found week six’s activity very valuable because I learned how to really pick apart a piece of media, the Adidas commercial, for the first time, also I got a lot of new and unique ideas from my classmates. I also learned a lot from week 4 when we looked at advertisements. I found that there are a lot of trends in advertisements, like some of their humor targeting men in particular. I related this to my essay and the trends I saw in my sources. Looking back at my sources, the film, The House Bunny; a popular website and YouTube channel, Collegehumor; and the film, Spring Breakers.  I see female college students depicted as sex, drug, and party, crazed people, with no ethics or morals. This is a problem because the feminist movements throughout the sixties until now, has made it possible for about 11,000,000 females to attend college, and with the misrepresentation of female college students in popular culture media, I feel like we are downgrading female students and making it harder for them to be taken seriously with the high impact of popular culture.


Works Cited:

(2012, July 16). Retrieved December 2, 2015, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/ccap/2012/02/16/the-male-female-ratio-in-college/

Media Portrayal of Sorority Women. (2008, December 11). Retrieved December 2, 2015, from http://issuestereotypes.blogspot.com

Kiefer, A. K., & Sekaquaptewa, D. (2007). Implicit stereotypes, gender identification, and math-related outcomes a prospective study of female college students. Psychological Science, 18(1), 13-18.

Rosen, C. (2013, March 14). ‘Spring Breakers’ Review: Harmony Korine’s Titillating Nightmare Also Has A Lot To Say. Retrieved December 2, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/14/review-spring-breakers-is_n_2874790.html

The House Bunny [Motion picture]. (2009). Sony.

Korine, H. (Director). (2013). Spring breakers [Motion picture]. Lionsgate.

CollegeHumor – Funny Videos, Funny Pictures, Funny Links! (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2015, from http://www.collegehumor.com


The Latina Woman in Popular Media

Throughout history, Latina women have been stereotyped as sexy, spicy, and wild. Influenced by politics, Latinas stereotypes are common and stubborn portrayals, repeatedly shown in popular media. They affect Latina girls watching as much as they influence everyone else’s perception of Latinas and while there are a few exceptions to these stereotypes, the entertainment world mostly offers only stereotypical roles for Latina actresses.

History and Politics:

During the time of the Mexican-American war, anti-Mexican sentiment was alive and thriving. Areas of Mexico had been forcibly taken and made into U.S states like “California, southern Texas, (and) Arizona” (Greenberg). Film reflected this anti-sentiment by portraying Latinos as “dim-witted” and “dangerous” and Latinas as morally corrupt “seductresses” (“Stereotypology: Spicy Latinas”).

From Dolores del Rio to Carmen Miranda, Latina women were pressured to play characters embodying the sexy, wild stereotypes associated with them. Dolores del Rio’s appeal and fame reached international levels, helping not only the inclusion of Latinas in film, but also, no doubt, the stereotyping and commodification of Latina women.


Dolores del Rio

Modern Stereotypes and their Effects:

In the 21st century, it is not uncommon to see the same Latina stereotypes, even if they are slightly modified from the original and from each other. Specifically the over-sexualization of Latina women, enforced by portrayals of sexually promiscuous Latina characters, is a common occurrence in pop culture and used to commodify Latina bodies.

The film Bandidas, although featuring two Latina leads, contains several scenes in which both women are over-sexualized for the benefit of the male gaze.


Salma Hayek and Penélope Cruz in Bandidas

First of all, the title Bandidas means “bandits” and enforces a Mexican stereotype seen in films portraying Latinx people as criminals. “The film’s title and the outlaw theme intend to evoke familiar cinematic representations of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in Hollywood and in America’s history: bandits, villains, cowboys, and vaqueros…” (Ruiz-Alfaro, 200) Despite the fact that the two women are bandits, the film is careful to keep the violence tame and the girls attractive. “Behind this female characterization is Hollywood’s strategy of presenting them as aggressive and rebellious, but only up to the point that they continue to be sexy and charming, and therefore still highly “enjoyable” and attractive to the audience.” (Ruiz-Alfaro, 204) It is important in the film that the women remain part of the male gaze. They don’t go too far in breaking comfortable stereotypes and although the women seem rebellious and independent, they frequently go to men for advice and the story puts them in compromising situations (as seen in the image above).

Despite Bandidas enforcing stereotypes, it does not go quite as far as the music video for David Guetta’s “Play Hard”. The music video takes place in what seems to be Mexico. It begins with a stereotypical gangster scene, but instead of exchanging drugs (which is commonly seen in pop media), they are paying for boots. This could be considered a twist on the stereotype, a purposeful misdirection to point out your own misconceptions, but the video does not live up to such hopeful interpretations.


Play Hard Screenshot

A screenshot from “Play Hard”

The video not only exaggerates and makes a mess of several Mexican cultural artifacts, but also sexualizes Mexican women entirely. Because “Play Hard” is a music video, the ability for women to speak is completely taken away. This already puts them in a disadvantageous position. A woman is constantly dancing and the emphasis is clearly on her body, particularly on her bottom (shown above). We don’t see her face until a more than a minute into the video, further concreting the focus on her body. Younger women showcase their body, quite literally (shown below).

Play Hard Screenshot 2

Another screenshot from “Play Hard”

It is also worth noting the different ways the video treats Mexican men in comparison to women. Although many of the men are also highly stereotyped, they are not sexualized at all. This is most obvious when it comes to the dances. The men dance in what seems to be a formal competition and there is no sexual nature to it. The few instances we have of women dancing include the woman in the leopard print pants and pink sweater and beauty pageant contestants standing awkwardly half naked on stage. Latinas suffer from both gendered and racialized stereotypes.

Stereotypes have a very real effect on Latina women’s lives. “Latino immigrant women are mainly affected by different stereotypes that makes them more vulnerable to negative experiences (e.g., sexual harassment, discrimination, etc.).” (Lopez, 102) The constant sexualization and assumptions (e.g “Latinas are wild”) make it so Latinas are less likely to be taken seriously and seen as more inherently sexual. Because Latina women are seen as more sexually available, overemotional, and “willing to work in positions that offer low salaries” (Lopez, 102) they are more likely to be paid less, given more work, and mistreated by employers. According to AAUW website, Latinas made 54 percent of what white men made in 2013 when white women made 90 percent.


The film Frida’s portrayal of Latinas and Mexico sparked controversy and both positive and negative responses from online forums and news mediums.


Maybe because the film is based on the life of a real person who was a disabled, feminist, bisexual Latina woman, the film complicates common Latina stereotypes. “Over the past 10 years, Latina bodies have become a key visual symbol for panethnic identity formations among U.S. Latina/o communities and for an exotic racial difference that is socially acceptable and consumable by domestic and global audiences.” (Guzmán, 247) As Guzmán points out, Latina bodies have been commodified to make them easily, shallowly understood, but Frida does not allow for the same easy going interpretations. Shown through the way media reacted to the movie, “The identity narratives in Frida, the Latina/o news coverage, and on-line chat streams demonstrate the complex act of crossing through borders…” (Guzmán, 248), Frida forced audiences to examine and rethink Latina identity as shown the film. It made Latina identity as seen through the film incapable of the same commodification pushed onto stereotyped Latina women in other pop culture.

Frida Screenshot

Screenshot from Frida

Frida does not hold back punches. It is unapologetic in its portrayal of Frida Kahlo and her life and pain. The image above is from a clip in which she mourns the death of her relationship and much like the scene showing the bus accident that left her permanently disabled, this scene does not try to make her pain attractive or easier to bear. The music encourages us to feel pain, her clothes are typically masculine and do not at all encourage her sexualization (in fact, it seems to do the opposite), and the way she cuts her hair is rough and angry (not what is typically seen in scenes in which women cut their hair).

Frida cuts her hair clip:

Bus accident clip (cuts out what she looks like after receiving the injury, which is shown in the movie, but is still violent/difficult to watch):

Historically and presently, Latina women have been stereotyped and their bodies commodified in popular culture so thoroughly the effects bleed into the lives of real Latina women. The “sexy spicy” Latina is the one of the few and most common portrayals of Latina women in popular culture. Films like Frida disrupt the pattern and portray more realistic and complex characters than the U.S public is used to. Films like Frida break stereotypes and make commodifying Latina women more difficult.

Learning Moments:

Throughout my time taking this Popular Culture class, I have learned quite a bit to do with advertising and interpreting media.

Specifically, early in the term, we learned how to discuss whether or not an ad is effective, who it is marketed towards, and how this is shown through an ad for electronic cigarettes. It was my first time looking at an ad that way and it certainly gave me a new perspective.

Another example is learning how to go into detailed responses about popular media without making anything too personal. I have always had trouble not including my personal experiences with things I see in the media, but reading other people’s responses really helped in giving me an example of how to go about things without being too emotionally invested. It also helped me improve my online communication skills, especially with my responses to other people.

Works Cited

Greenberg, Amy S. “The Origins of the Latino “Immigration Problem”” History News Network.N.p., 26 Nov. 2012. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

“Stereotypology: Spicy Latinas.” YouTube. YouTube, 20 Oct. 2015. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Lopez, Johana P. “Speaking With Them Or Speaking For Them: A Conversation About The Effect Of Stereotypes In The Latina/Hispanic Women’s Experiences In The United States.” New Horizons In Adult Education & Human Resource Development 25.2 (2013): 99-106. ERIC. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Molina Guzmán, Isabel. “Mediating Frida : Negotiating Discourses Of Latina/O Authenticity In Global Media Representations Of Ethnic Identity.” Critical Studies In Media Communication 23.3 (2006): 232-251. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 8 Nov. 2015.

Ruiz-Alfaro, Sofía. “Between Women: Bandidas And The Construction Of Latinidad In The U.S.-Mexico Borderlands.” Quarterly Review Of Film & Video 31.3 (2014): 199-210.Art Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 8 Nov. 2015.

“David Guetta – Play Hard Ft. Ne-Yo, Akon (Official Video).” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

Bandidas. Dir. Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp., 2006.

Frida. Dir. Julie Taymor. Perf. Salma Hayek. Miramax Films, 2002.

“By the Numbers: A Look at the Gender Pay Gap.” AAUW Empowering Women Since 1881 By the Numbers A Look at the Gender Pay Gap Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

“Frida (8/12) Movie CLIP – Frida Cuts Her Hair (2002) HD.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

“Frida (1/12) Movie CLIP – Bus Crash (2002) HD.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

The Evolution of the Portrayal of Hijab in Popular Culture

The Hijab has evolved from symbol of oppression to fashion statement to those who don’t understand what the the veil (Hijab) symbolizes. In Islam, Hijab is a symbol of piety and obedience to one’s lord. Since the age of Orientalism when veiled women were portrayed as exotic and a subject of fantasies to now an age where the hijab is a symbol of empowerment and women reclaiming their body image from men and from being objectified. (The Muslim Veil in America) As I was conducting research to further prove this point I noticed that in the artifacts I have chosen that depict veiled Muslim women in popular culture (popular blog, new show, and a prominent magazine) as empowered and show the hijab in a positive light. The 3 different artifacts depict 2 real women and 2 fictional characters succeeding in all spheres of life from education, career, and the fashion.


The second artifact I have chosen is a fictional character as opposed to the Individual World Poetry Slam champion and the first veiled Muslim model for the H&M campaign. All the artifacts I have chosen show Muslim women who wear the veil in a positive light. The women are empowered, strong, and educated. This recurring pattern is giving me hope that our society is becoming more accepting and knowledgeable. When I see one of my most important identities portrayed in the media in a such a way I feel proud to be an American. The media is the greatest challenge that Muslims face in their day-to-day lives because most media coverage concerning Muslims is slanted, portrays Muslims as being hostile, and implies negative tensions between Christians and Muslims. Much of this information is propagated by Islamophobes who either don’t know anything about Islam or have an agenda of their own. (Smearcasting: How Islamophobes Spread Fear, Bigotry, and Misinformation)

In the article that we read in class The Urgency of Visual Media Literacy in Our Post-9/11 world: Reading Images of Muslim Women in the Print News Media, it was interesting how she introduced Edward Said’s Orientalism to teacher candidates so she could familiarize them with the concept of “othering”. Orientalism has several different but interrelated meanings. Generally, the word Orientalism describes the way the West understands the Orient in context to Western experiences. While Western scholars, Orientalist, attempt to form a collective body of knowledge of an entire half of the Globe, including Eastern philosophy, history, religion, culture language, and social structure, an entire half of the globe is generalized and categorized. But the political connotation of Orientalism was a political vision of reality whose structure promoted the differences between the familiar (west) and the strange (the east). This idea of the minority being viewed as the other is not a new concept.


As a minority population in America, Muslims women face many challenges and difficulties. Some of these challenges can be overcome easily and others require a bit more effort and struggle. They are faced with discrimination and prejudice. They also have trouble assimilating into the current Western culture. It’s even more difficult for them when the people who are the majority are trying to keep them from integrating and assimilating with them because of ignorance and miscommunication. The media is the greatest challenge that Muslim women face in their day-to-day lives because most media coverage concerning Muslim women is slanted, portrays them as oppressed, subjugated, and victimized. Much of this information is propagated by people who don’t understand what veil signifies. I know firsthand what it’s like to be categorized, stereotyped, and discriminated against because I too wear the veil. As a Muslim women I am constantly and cautiously aware of how I carry myself and how present myself. For many people I maybe the first veiled Muslim Women they come into contact with in an academic or professional setting. And whether or not I like it they will, consciously or subconsciously, use me as an example of what a Muslim Woman is like. (Smearcasting: How Islamophobes Spread Fear, Bigotry, and Misinformation)

I found the original article on buzzfeed through FB. It describes the events that went down on the grounds of Yale university. However, the article was written by a community user so I wanted to make sure that the information was factual. I looked up the information and found the same information on a more credible site. The article was written to recognize Emi Mahmoud for her award. The target audience of Buzzfeed is millennials, tech savvy, global, and cosmopolitan, an increasingly more tolerant and open minded generation.

At the Annual Eid celebration, Emi Mahmoud Neo-Priestess is recognized as the Individual World Poetry Slam champion of 2015. The title of the article, Muslim Girl breaks the internet. The last time the internet was broken, thanks to Kim K, it was due to her almost nude body covered in oil, alcohol, and a tasteless black garbage bag. Now the internet is “broken” because… an empowered Muslim women wins a global award while wearing the hijab and getting an education at Yale. Fans worldwide reply with adulations of “SLAY” and “this is so lit”. What I found very interesting was that almost all captions that went along with the pictures from the event made some reference to pop culture. The setting; hogwarts, the girls poses; Solange inspired,  their ootds and makeup; Flawless (Beyonce), and the title; Kim K. I never expected Muslim women who have reached acclaim to be compared to other “notable” women from the Knowles sisters to the more notorious Kardashian, classy or not. Why does their presence need to be compared to these other women in order to be recognized as influential or distinguished? By comparing Emi to these women, the connotation is that we cannot see or understand her success without comparing her to other popular figures in our “culture”. In a way it’s demeaning as well because her success cannot stand alone without that comparison.

The piece definitely showed veiled Muslim women in a positive light.The article used the title to grab the audience’s attention. Muslim girl breaks the internet. The last time the internet was broken by Kim Ks almost nudes. However, the reader quickly realizes that this blog post is very different. Veiled Muslim women can take the stage and do awe inspiring things


The writer of the piece on Buzzfeed thought that Emi was a “Queen’ who “Slay[ed]”. In current popular culture to be described as a Queen who as slaying (doing exceptionally well) and then to have your art described as “lit” (amazing; turnt), is the highest adulation you can receive.

As a Sudanese American attending an Ivy League, Emi has probably overcome a lot of discrimination and challenges to get to where she is today. Some people might say that the only reason she got accepted to Yale or won the award is because of affirmative action. As a survivor who endured so much, escaped Darfur with her family and who is trying to achieve her goals and fulfil her grandmother’s dreams, I see her as a role model and someone who I want to aspire to be like. When you read her story regardless of whether or not you identify with her you should feel inspired as I do. Even though the odds were stacked against her, she came out on top, a victorious Queen.

Here is one of Emi’s more recent pieces:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaWw6-3GrcU

The ABC drama Quantico, premiered this fall. According to Variety, Quantico ratings are climbing especially for a show that runs on Sundays at 10. An arresting drama set at an FBI training school, with diverse characters. ABC networks writer/executive producer Josh Safran for Quantico says that the writing staff is very diverse even including a Palestinian Muslim. He wants to start conversations in America’s living rooms.


What makes this show so enthralling? The demographically diverse characters? The depth of characters who ask questions that are necessary for our nation to move forward and develop? The most interesting character (in my opinion), Nimah Amin, is a Muslim woman who wears the hijab and has an accent. Later in the show it is revealed that she actually has a twin and the both of them are there as one student for an experiment run by the deputy director, a black woman who is also the highest ranking women in the FBI. “Nimah” is bold, brazen, and sometimes brash. A far cry from the stereotype of the demure, subservient victim that is often portrayed by Hollywood. She makes her opinions known, and makes sure everyone knows that she doesn’t especially care about their opinions of her. She’s there to become an agent because “she” is gracious for the opportunity that America has given her.

From the very start the audience knows that the show is about finding the identity of the person responsible for the largest terrorist attack against New York since 9/11. Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra) the “protagonist” and a brown girl as well is framed for the attack. It later become obvious that the terrorist is one of the FBI’s students. As the episodes go along and more information surfaces, certain clues make some of the students look guilty. The blonde debutante heir to a fortune who is becoming an agent to avenge her parents death in 9/11; the “gay” Jew, former CPA, former IDF soldier who lived in Palestine who wears fake glasses; the resident golden boy blonde and privileged by all accounts and a notorious underachiever who only got into the academy because of his parents have all gotten their turn under scrutiny. However, the veiled Muslim women with the accent has been shown in the most positive of lights. She is shown as an empowered and educated agent. Is this a bureaucratic decision made so as not to offend or is there a deeper meaning behind this decision to keep this character from coming under scrutiny?


The creators behind Quantico come from diverse backgrounds and it is reflected in the content of the show. The most obvious and important way it’s reflected is the characters are demographically diverse, not whitewashed nor do they conform to mainstream stereotypes. It’s refreshing to see diverse characters on TV played by their respective identities.

It’s a show on ABC network that’s gaining viewers and ratings. Since there are commercials in between I’m assuming that’s how they make their money. They have to keep ratings and viewings up so that may influence the content of the show. They have to make sure that the plot twists and character addition if any, don’t upset their viewers so much that it affects the ratings. In one of the earlier episodes, a Mormon character is shown in his temple garments. Later it is revealed that said character should have been ex communicated on grounds of misconduct while on a mission and tried for criminal deeds. This caused an uproar in the LDS community but obviously not enough to lower ratings and views.

Often times when ethnic or diverse characters are shown on major networks are whitewashed within an inch of their identity. Sometimes you will have a white actor playing a person of color. As recently as the beginning of this year in the movie Aloha, when Emma Stone plays a Hawaiian and quarter Chinese character. Some think that one of the reasons that the movie did not do well at the box office was because of this “cultural insensitivity”.


Another cultural insensitivity in episode 6 when Simon and “Nimah”’s friendship becomes more than just that and culminates in a passionate expression of “Nimah” removing her scarf and telling Simon it’s ok for [for him to kiss her presumably].  This bothers me because so far the producers of this show did everything so well in presenting this character. The scarf is a symbol of submission to her Lord, only her family and her husband can see her without her scarf, and pre-marital relations are forbidden in Islam. Entertainment media is often not synonymous with accuracy but I would like to see how their relationship develops or doesn’t. Especially when they examine his Zionist background and her Muslim family.

The tentative caress:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGji3u4RtbM

In an age of fast paced technology and social media a phenomenon “the Instagram model” as emerged. That’s how, Maria Hidrissi, the first veiled Muslim women in a H&M campaign was discovered. As I conducted further research I found out that this campaign, H&M Close the Loop – Sustainable fashion through recycled clothes was released September 2, 2015 on youtube. The campaign released by H&M hopes to reach its diverse customer base by featuring Sikh men, a transgender women, an amputee, and a veiled women. Maria, an entrepreneur of Moroccan and Pakistani descent, owns a beauty salon in London where she calls home. A budding fashion blogger, she was surprised when H&M contacted her. Her initial response, they know I wear a scarf right?


You can view the full campaign ad here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4xnyr2mCuI

According to their website, H&M is the second largest global clothing retailer and they continue to expand. Where does their success come from? They aim to provide fashion and quality sustainably at a great price. They also collaborate with prominent celebrities fashion houses and designers. Their newest collaboration with the fashion house Balmain will hit the stores in November. The campaign urges its target market that the only rule of fashion is to recycle your clothes. The video features a demographically diverse group of people.

As a relatively new company (68 years young), bringing revenue of billions of dollars, remaining  socially responsible, and environmentally sustainable is difficult. And now this campaign released before the release of one of their largest collections and collaborations with Balmain (French fashion house). If H&M was not known as a socially responsible company people might have “thrown shade” towards them for engaging in such common marketing tactic. New companies are generally expected to be sustainable in order to be successful on the long run. However, the campaign has come under the radar because they might be using the diverse models as a marketing tactic and not actually because they believe the society has become more accepting. This is important because people need to be conscious consumers and as Americans we are “brainwashed” by million of dollars of marketing and we often buy into such campaigns when in reality they are not as socially responsible or environmentally conscious as they say they are.

The creators of this campaign ad believe in being socially responsible and environmentally conscious. If you associate or identify with any of the minority identities featured in the campaign you might feel like the fashion industry is becoming more welcoming and accepting. As a person of color, and a veiled Muslim women who shops at H&M I definitely feel good about being represented by the brands that I like to shop from. Even though the fashion industry in general has a long way to go before they can be classified as progressive or accepting I do feel like H&M is changing the game.

There is no doubt about the commercial purpose of the campaign ad. H&M is a company that has a combination of good company values and a great marketing advertising department. According to AJ+, Muslims are expected to spend an impressive $484 billion on clothes and footwear by 2019. Not advertising or tapping into this niche target market would be essentially throwing away money. In the fashion industry many designers and brands choose white models with certain body types (fit/toned for men and underweight for women). The models must conform to certain standards of “beauty”. These standards rarely if ever represent the majority of the population. It is refreshing to see such a big company take that leap and be one of the first to break these constructs.

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 2.08.09 PM

It is interesting to see how increasingly veiled Muslim women are showing up in recent popular culture. Growing up, I can safely say that I did not see veiled women on TV or magazines or blogs. It’s fascinating to see how the preconceived notions about veiled Muslim women have evolved over time; especially since 9/11. During the rise of Orientalism, the veil woman was seen as exotic or someone to fetishize. After the decline of peace in the Middle East, the veil became a symbol of oppression and victimhood aa way to silence women. Now there are prominent veiled Muslim women are coming into the limelight for doing incredible things; Ibtihaj Muhhamed who is on the American fencing team, Asia AKF a fashion blogger and entrepreneur with over 1.5 million followers on Instagram, and many more. These are the faces under the veil.

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 2.32.27 PM

There is a newly emerging “Islamic” culture industry specifically market towards muslim women. These Muslim women have been active as consumers and producers in this new industry. Many of these women are writers editors models and business owners. The entrepreneur in specific have paved a new road while combining Islamic teachings with new concepts of fashion, lifestyle, and beauty. Since Muslim women’s needs are specific this creates a niche market that is constantly changing and redefining how the Muslim woman is shown. In specific, this paper will discuss how images and ideals of the Muslim woman are produced, broadcasted, and consumed by an increasingly capitalist global market.

There are social implications that comes with what it really means to be a Muslim woman who wears the veil in the market as a producer or a consumer in a capitalist society. Many of these women have to navigate between stereotypes and preconceived notions of the orientalist days while presenting themselves as independent and professional. Much like the feminist movement in America, Muslim women want to challenge and reify stereotypes by making their voices heard. (Introduction: Muslim Women, Consumer Capitalism, and the Islamic Culture Industry)

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 2.08.09 PM

There is also a growing Muslim lifestyle magazine industry that has emerged for an increasing Islamic Bourgeoisie. Namely fashion editorials but unlike the ones we are familiar with, such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, these magazines feature veiled and modest women. The different magazines have appeal to a variety of Muslim women and present different lifestyles from the elite fashion bloggers to the working professionals. These magazines prove that you can be a modest veiled women and lead a fashion forward lifestyle. They use different aspects to appeal to these women. Some use the common cultural aspects, socioeconomic status, or degree of “piety” to attract certain consumer/customer base. However. the different magazines discussed all had the same challenge of overcoming the politics of how they represented Muslim women.

This reminds of the discussion we had in class of the influence of the media. In the media saturated world we live in today, we are constantly bombarded with images of the ideal. Doctored images, of what perfect people look like. At every turn, we are besieged with images of what we are suppose to look like. The magazines and commercials that extol the beauty of the size 0 figure are endless. Girls, before they even reach puberty are affected by these images so much that they feel that they are lacking, or will never be beautiful. This is also the same media platforms (Instagram mainly) that is also helping Muslim veiled teens find their style or fashion inspiration from the likes of ASCIA_AKF and YAZTHESPAZ89. Media influence can be used positively in this case of this Muslim girls who might feel that they are not represented by their favorite actors, models, and musicians. (Marketing Muslim Lifestyle: A New Media Genre)


Muslim media such as these lifestyle magazines face challenges when it comes to depicting veiled Muslim women. The point of contention is modesty. Some consider the veiled women in the magazines as not modest enough and others say the women are too modest. Another interesting point I came across in my research is how the identity of Muslim women has been materialized or commercialized. The veil is required for Muslim women to wear as symbol of submission and piety to their Lord. On the other hand, many fundamental components of capitalism “self-indulgence, conspicuous consumption, this-worldly orientation, materialism, and individualism” is against the basic principles and teachings of Islam. Not to mention the fact that the veil, a symbol of reverence and devoutness, has been commercialized.  (Introduction: Muslim Women, Consumer Capitalism, and the Islamic Culture Industry)

One thing that fascinated me is how the Hijab has evolved from symbol of oppression to fashion statement to those who don’t understand what the the veil (Hijab) symbolizes. Since the age of orientalism when veiled women were portrayed as exotic and a subject of fantasies to now and age where the hijab is now a symbol of empowerment and women reclaiming their body image from men and from being objectified.

Works Cited

Bee, Zenith. “Community Post: Muslim Girls Break the Internet.” BuzzFeed Community. N.p., 7

Oct. 2015. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.

Bhagwati, Anu. “ABC’s ‘Quantico’ Is A Breakthrough for South Asians on TV.” New Republic.

N.p., 27 Sept. 2015. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

Castellanos-Monfil, Román. “Yale Senior Wins the Individual World Poetry Slam

Championship.” Yale News. YaleNews, 26 Oct. 2015. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.

Cohen, Lori, and Leyna Peery. “Unveiling Students’ Perceptions About Women in Islam”.The

English Journal 95.3 (2006): 20–26. Web.

H&M Close the Loop – Sustainable Fashion through Recycled Clothes. H&M, 2015. YouTube.

Gökarıksel, Banu, and Ellen McLarney. “Introduction: Muslim Women, Consumer Capitalism,

and the Islamic Culture Industry”. Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 6.3 (2010): 1–18. Web.

Lewis, Reina. “Marketing Muslim Lifestyle: A New Media Genre”. Journal of Middle East

Women’s Studies 6.3 (2010): 58–90. Web.Porter, Rick. “Where ‘Quantico’ Goes From Here: Creator Breaks Down the Twisty Premiere.”

The Hollywood Reporter. N.p., 27 Sept. 2015. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

Rendall, Steve, Isabel MacDonald, Veronica Cassidy, and Dina Marguerite Jacir.Smearcasting:

How Islamophobes Spread Fear, Bigotry, and Misinformation. Ed. Julie Hollar and JIm Naureckas. NY: FAIR, 2008. Print.

Watt, Diane. “Journal of Media Literacy Education.” “The Urgency of Visual Media Literacy in

Our Post-9/11 World: Reading I” by Diane Watt. N.p., 10 Sept. 2013. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

Obsessions, Compulsions, and the Media


Willow Rickert-Osborne
Pop Culture 254

When examining the media and its content it’s often found to be loaded with stereotypes. The effect of these over exaggerated characters are supposed to liven the television show or movie they are placed in. However, sometimes these stereotypes are damaging to the viewers. For example, obsessive compulsive disorder is the focus of this paper and was analyzed through three different popular culture artifacts: As Good As It Gets, Monk, and The Big Bang Theory. After dissecting each primary source there were a few comparisons that lead me to my conclusion: characters with OCD stay the center for comic relief while half of the disorder is disregarded. Because of this, the media is reinforcing negative and unrealistic stereotypes as opposed to breaking them.

To give some context on the disorder Heyman et al states that OCD is a widely common mental illness (424). Symptoms associated with the illness include the patient suffering from obsessions and compulsions (most of the time). Sometimes obsessions and compulsions can be separate. Thus, recurring similarities are “…anxiety about harm… a need for symmetry or orderliness, often associated with counting, ordering, and arranging compulsions; unwanted fears and images about committing aggressive or sexual acts; and compulsive hoarding” (Heyman et al 425). In other words, OCD is a branch of an anxiety disorder that causes the brain to have unwanted thoughts that result in some of these compulsions listed above.


The first pop culture artifact I chose to analyze is As Good As It Gets, a movie filmed in 1997 with Jack Nicholson as the main character: Melvin Udall. In order to see how the media wanted this movie presented to the public it was important to watch one of the main trailers. Some of the focal areas of emphasis in the trailer start off with the Melvin Udall being extremely rude to his neighbor. After that, Mr. Udall is automatically called appalling by the narrator, a freak show, and the worst person on the earth. Watching the trailer doesn’t give the same effect as just listening the words. This is because while the narrator says these negative comments about Melvin, he is acting out in ways that are considered funny or immature. For instance, in the trailer Melvin is seen dancing around in his favorite restaurant mocking the people who are sitting in his seat, which he sits in every day, and jumping over cracks in the sidewalk. Thus, in order to really see how damaging the trailer can be it’s important to analyze it. According to college professor Bill Hudenko, Jack Nicholson did a great job at portraying the disorder in daily life compared to other media depictions. Therefore, Melvin definitely exemplifies the characteristics of someone who has obsessive compulsive disorder. A few reasons he does a successful job portraying the disorder lies in his actions. For example, Melvin has to lock his door three times before he leaves his house, his candy is separated and color coded, and he eats breakfast at the same diner every day. While you read this you may be wondering why I chose an artifact that is almost twenty years old as opposed to something current. Well, I wanted to choose an older artifact so I could compare it with some of the newer ones that will follow. While I think the movie As Good As It Gets is trying to make an attempt at raising awareness about the disorder it does it in a more negative light when compared to Monk or The Big Bang Theory. Despite the fact that Jack Nicholson successfully depicts some of the common actions that people with OCD experience he is still portrayed as an unfriendly bully who is misunderstood.


Another primary source that displays the identity of obsessive compulsive disorder is the television show Monk. This show’s main character is a detective living a perfectly normal life with this disorder. He displays some of the more common compulsions like washing his hands and organization in comparison with As Good as It Gets. In one episode Monk was at the doctor’s office and there were a few vials of blood on the counter. Of course the blood wasn’t evenly placed in the vials, so he mixed the different blood types together in order to get them to be level with each other! He does this with decaf and regular coffee pots in another episode as well. However, the whole point of this series is to show that people with this disorder can lead normal lives and have careers. While it is a comedy it can still be inspirational to its viewers because it gives the audience the idea that obsessive compulsive disorder is something that can be conquered and functioned with on a daily basis.


Lastly, Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory shares signs of obsessive compulsive disorder as well. This can be seen in almost every episode when he goes to visit his neighbor Penny. He has to knock on her door three times while saying her name in order for it to feel right. There was one episode where she came to the door before the third knock and he had to ask her to shut it so he could finish his ritual. Sheldon also is very serious about where he sits on the couch as well as his spot in the parking lot of the college where he works. His consistency and dramatic attitude if that consistency gets broken is common in patients with obsessive compulsive disorder.
sheldoncooper1 9_3

After reviewing all three of the pop culture artifacts it’s important to recognize that there is some truth in these stereotypes. For instance, a lot of the compulsions are very typical for people who suffer from this disorder. However, these tics are not as funny as they are portrayed in the media. Experiencing these compulsions can be extremely isolating and emotional and that is something neither one of these sources addresses. Also, the other side to the disorder is never discussed which would be the trigger for these compulsions: the obsessions. According to Heyman et al. in the Clinical Review, the obsessions are uncontrollable thoughts that the patient has and in order to eliminate the stress/anxiety from these unwanted thoughts they are acted upon through the compulsions. Thus, compulsions are unwanted actions that are uncontrollable. In other words, this disorder is something that cannot always be contained physically or emotionally.

Despite the issue that the media does not fully portray this disorder within it’s characters it is also important to realize that it can. As of now our stereotypes on mental illness in the media give the general public a preconceived idea on how people with mental illnesses act and what type of people they are. The result of this is a growing judgmental society. For instance, so far violence is one of the most common stereotypical characteristics of a person who has a mental illness (Stuart 5). This isn’t just addressed in tv shows or movies either. The news is another culprit for the negativity that surrounds mental illness. In short, news reporters want to draw in a large audience, so over exaggeration is very typical within news stories. However, there are some reporters out there that are honest and true to the story, but still choose the negative story because it will attract a larger audience (Stuart). While these are common issues in the media that shape our perceptions from early on we can start to change how our ideas are formed about mental illness. We can achieve this change in perception by putting more emphasis on positive stories or even a balance between the negatives and positives. By doing this we won’t be prone to believe people who suffer from disorders are so different from the general public.

Learning Moments:

Before this class I was pretty ignorant to the media. I think that’s one reason why I chose this SINQ. I was a hermit. I don’t have Facebook. I don’t have television. I didn’t have the knowledge to analyze the media because I wasn’t constantly interacting with it. However, this class forced me to become comfortable with this all consuming pop culture. For example, in week three we were given a hand out that would help us during the process of dissecting an ad: Deconstructing an Advertisement. This assignment was engaging on a level I had never been with advertisements. In order to test out our new knowledge we were prompted to use this handout and analyze an advertisement for e-cigs. After this, I started to really think about the ads I am subjected to on a daily basis and why or why not they interest me. Some more resources that encouraged this basis for analysis were given to us in week two which were three videos focused on analysis moves. These included “acknowledging bad habits”, “identifying purpose and form”as well as “microscope”. The first move, “acknowledging bad habits, stressed that they key to truly making a strong analysis is to be an objective thinker, while “identifying form” forced us to understand who the ad was for and “microscope” encouraged us to see details and realize that they are there for a reason. Analysis wasn’t something I was particularly good at. However, by having these resources under my belt I feel more confident when it comes to analyzing pop culture media.

As Good as It Gets. Dir. James L. Brooks. Perf. Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, and Greg Kinnear. Tristar, 1997. Film.
The Big Bang Theory. CBS. 24 Sep. 2007. Television.
Deamer, Kacey. “Cleaning Up OCD Stereotypes”. buzzsawmag.org. 15 November 2009. 29 October 2015. Web.
Heyman, D Mataix-Cols, N A Fineberg. “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder” Clinical Review. 333.7565 (2006): 424-29. Print.
Monk. USA. 12 July. 2002. Television.
Stuart, Heather. “Media Portrayal of Mental Illness and Its Treatments: What Effect Does It Have on People with Mental Illness?” CNS Drugs. (2006). 99-105. Print.

“Have a drink, mate?”

Recently, I came across a link to an article titled: “G’day mate: ‘Lazy’ Australian accent caused by ‘alcoholic slur’ of heavy-drinking early settlers”. The link was accompanied by a comment, “I’ve pretty much never been less surprised by anything”. I’m half Australian and I couldn’t help but crack a grin in agreement with that comment. Australians are descendants of English convicts who were exiled to a desert wasteland occupied by unimaginable beasts and creatures that make a person question the existence of any god. Considering their harsh origins, it’s not surprising that these settlers turned to the bottle for comfort. Over 200 years later, Australians are perceived as lazy, racist, alcoholic brutes with gambling problems. After my recent trip to Australia, I often wonder if the stereotype isn’t too far from the truth.

My conception is the result of my father’s mate winning two plane tickets to the United States from an Australian radio contest. After spending some time here, my dad reckoned he’d like to stay in the land of opportunity, so he entered a green-card marriage while his mate returned to Australia. My dad worked odd jobs across the country and ended up in Los Angeles, working in the film industry. He built up connections in the industry and used them to start his own business, A few months ago I visited Australia with a friend and my father. We drove across the country from Melbourne to Adelaide, then to my dad’s home town for the first Hardy/Pedler family reunion in twenty or so years, where my dad met about fifty cousins whose names he had never heard before. I was introduced to countless family members who were previously unaware of my existence, but more importantly I met the man who gave my dad the opportunity to start a new life in America. I can’t remember this man’s name because like every other patron of this reunion, I was hammered.

In hindsight, much of my journey seemed like an intoxicated blur. Upon further reflection I realized that whether I was in Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city, or Mount Burr, a town with a population of 390 people (Australian Bureau of Statistics), I spent most of my time in pub. There was always a pub nearby and it was never empty. Much like a booze-induced blackout, I didn’t lose any exciting memories of adventure; they just weren’t created. I feel haunted by what I can still recall, the sense of desolation and hopelessness I observed in the various cities and people of Australia. The tagline on a poster for the Australian film Wake In Fright summarized it perfectly:

wake-in-fright-poster1“Have a drink, mate? Have a fight, mate? Have a taste of blood and sweat, mate? There’s nothing else out here, mate.”


While in Australia, I spotted the poster for Wake In Fright on Netflix. I had wanted to watch the movie for many months, but it was unavailable on Netflix in the United States. Instead of actually exploring Australia, my friend and I decided to crack open some stubbies (Aussie slang for beer) and watch a movie about the country instead.

Originally released in 1971, Wake In Fright was well-received upon debut, both internationally and in Australia, for it’s brutally honest depiction of life in Australia. During a screening in Australia, a man interrupted the film by screaming, “That’s not us!” before leaving the theater (qtd. in O’Loughlin). Unfortunately, the film was considered lost due to a lack of VHS distribution. In 2009, the film resurfaced and was restored for a release at the Cannes Film Festival where it received a second wave of praise from critics, holding a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Wake In Fright follows John Grant, a schoolteacher from Sydney reluctantly teaching in a small town in the Outback under a government contract. Grant plans on traveling back to Sydney over the Christmas break, but must stop in the Bundanyabba (referred to as “The Yabba” by the locals), another small Outback town. While in the Yabba, Grant is greeted by aggressively friendly locals who encourage him to join in their drinking. After watching men gamble, Grant drunkenly hatches a plan to earn enough money to buy out his contract from the government, freeing him from teaching. Grant is initially lucky, but takes the betting too far and loses all of his savings, stranding him in the Yabba. Relying on the kindness of stranger, Grant accepts his fate and begins binge-drinking with his new friends, leading to fist fights, kangaroo hunts, and homosexual encounters. Eventually reality and sobriety hits Grant, who then tries to kill himself but fails.

Wake In Fright explores Australia’s alcoholism as a catalyst for other vices: gambling, sexism, masculinity, racism, and homophobia. The film’s entire plot is driven by drinking and the increasingly poor decisions made by characters during absurd levels of intoxication. As a cornerstone of Australian culture, “beer is a religion” and the pub is it’s temple (Kirby, 244). Unfortunately, the average Australian pub is not as welcoming as a temple. Until 1976, Aboriginals were forbidden by state law to drink in pubs (248). Today, Aboriginals and immigrants still face discrimination quite frequently, even outside of the pub.

Racism in Australia is a common theme in the 2007 television series Summer Heights High. The Australian mockumentary follows two students and one teacher (all played by one actor) at Summer Heights High, a fictional public school in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia. The character Ja’Mie is introduced as a transfer student from a private school. Elected Australian of the Year, Ja’Mie describes herself as “the smartest non-Asian” she knows. During her tour of the school a student explains how the school is diverse, yet all the races are socially segregated. These polarized cliques are given racist labels, such as “filos” (Filipinos), “curries” (Indians), “fobs” (an abbreviation for “fresh off the boat” immigrants), and “rangas” (orangutan, slang for red-haired people). Ja’Mie becomes friends with the popular girls, who unknowingly enforce segregation via exclusivity in who they allow in their group. The only non-white member is Bec, who was “adopted” into the group because she’s “hot for an Asian”. Ja’Mie starts several conflicts with Bec in an effort to ostracize her from the group, often making racist statements and citing negative Asian stereotypes in her arguments. Ja’Mie takes advantage of racism in the school for her own benefit when proposing a school formal. During a school-wide assembly, she explains that a formal would “bring groups together and remove the apartheid of the playground”.

Summer Heights High(Jonah, Mr. G, and Ja’Mie, all portrayed by series creator Chris Lilley)

Jonah Takalua, a self-proclaimed “fob”, is a Tongan student who is both a victim and an instigator of racism among his peers and teachers. Declared an “at-risk” student by his teachers, Jonah is a delinquent vandal who is barely literate. He attends special classes at Gumnut Cottage, a special education class composed mostly of other Polynesian students who are also considered at-risk. Jonah and his Polynesian peers reluctantly attend Polynesian Pathways, a program started by the administration for Polynesian students designed to “help them celebrate their heritage and show that we celebrate it too”. The school also hosts the annual Poly Day, where Jonah and his friends perform a traditional Polynesian dance in costume, resulting in heckling from white students. The school’s attempts to avoid discrimination and racism actually alienate the different races in the school and fuel conflict.

Jonah’s crew of Polynesian friends, “Poly-force,” frequently tag bathrooms and pick on younger white students, who respond with racist comments that escalate into fights. When confronted by teachers for his behavior, Jonah responds with his defense, “people are racist to fobs… so we can be racist to rangas”. Jonah claims, “teachers at this school are so racist. They always blame me for shit. If anything ever happens in school, teachers go ‘Jonah, he must have done it’”. As a result, Poly-Force is given additional boundaries during recesses, but the rival white students remain unpunished. Jonah explains, “we have a rule where we’re not allowed to go within 10 meters of the fence, in case we beat the shit out of pedestrians and stuff and kids”. His friend, Leo, interrupts him, “we don’t attack people.” Jonah replies, “Yeah, but we have a reputation for being violent”. The cycle of racism between students and teachers is handled poorly by administration, fueling further racial conflict in the school.

Jonah’s fictional experiences at Summer Heights High reflect the current state of racism in Australian public schools. Australia has had a long history of racism, but after recent attacks against Indian students studying in Australia, the author of “Curry Bashing: Racism, Aliens, and Space Invaders” raises the question “are Australians racist?” (Baas, 39). The author spoke with different students at Australian public schools and their responses were quite alarming. Similar to the characters of Summer Heights High, they were open about confessing their distaste for Indians and Asians because there were “many” of them (39). Australian students consider them “space invaders,” aliens who take up space in hallways, subways, public spaces, and roads (41). For a country that is literally it’s own continent, a lack of space isn’t a valid excuse for racism in the 21st century. The media claims that these were opportunistic attacks, not racial, suggesting that Indian students were likely targets because they’re “soft” and “weak” (37). Even in their effort to deny racism, Australians can’t help but be racist.

I encountered this casual racism quite frequently during my trip to Australia, even among people my age. Some of the Australians I met made racist observations like it was talking about the weather, for them it was just small talk. I kept my mouth shut, I was outnumbered by what I believed to be a horde of raging drunks. Even I was perceiving them as a stereotype I had previously resented, but now it stood before me, beard and all. My father had always been my source of information on Australia and it’s culture, having never occurred to me that he spent most of his life in America. It became clear to me that there was a reason he never returned to Australia. The family reunion we attended at the end of our trip only confirmed my suspicions. Most of my extended family had never left the country, many still lived in the town their family had lived in for generations. Are Australians aware that people in America perceive them as rowdy patrons of a steakhouse chain, throwing shrimp on the barbie while sipping oversized beer cans? Try ringing up the pub and find out.


Works Cited:

Baas, Michiel. “Curry Bashing: Racism, Violence and Alien Space Invaders”. Economic and Political Weekly 44.34 (2009): 37–42. Web.

Ketchoff, Ted, dir, Wake in Fright. Group W/NTL Productions, 1971. Film

Kirby, Dianne. “Beer, Glorious Beer”: Gender Politics and Australian Popular Culture. The Journal of Popular Culture, 37: 244–256 (2003). Web.

O’Loughlin, Toni. “Oz Wises Up to it’s Heritage”. The Guardian. June 18, 2009. Web.

Pearlman, John. “G’Day mate: ‘Lazy’ Australian accent caused by ‘alcoholic slur’ of heavy-drinking settlers”. The Telegraph. October 27, 2015. Web.

Summer Heights High. ABC. ABC, Sydney. September 5 2007 – October 24 2007. Television.


Wake in Fright: http://www.cvltnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/wake-in-fright-poster1.png

Summer Heights High: http://www.comedyquotes.tv/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/640×360-SummerHeightsHigh-640×360-1.jpg




Still Mocked, but it’s Getting Better

Growing up, TV and movies were a big part of my life. In most of the movies and shows I saw, the cool, smooth, sexy guy always having the most fun, was able to pick up the ladies, and just having a good life overall. Being the young impressionable kid that I was, I wanted to be one those cool, smooth guys. In a way these characters were like role models to me, someone I can look up to. However, whenever I saw an Asian male in a movie or a show, he is usually portrayed as someone who was unsexy and lame, has no game with the opposite sex, and just overall pathetic. I never saw an Asian male in media that was worth being role model (outside of the martial arts genre). Seeing that as a child really bothered me. Being Asian myself, I believed I was at a huge disadvantage. I felt inadequate. Now, as young adult I realize that race/ethnicity should not hinder my life, but I still worry about the influence this could have on younger Asian kids. I worry they too will feel inadequate for being Asian. Though it may seem harmless to the mass audience, the way Asian men are portrayed in American media has negative consequences because it leads to assumptions that do not fit every individual Asian male and leads the younger Asian audience to question their own self worth. I will examine the how Asian men are being mocked and desexualized. In doing so, I will be discussing a variety of movies and TV shows from the past twenty years.

Historically, Asian men have been desexualized in American media since the 1850s. This stems from the xenophobia that Americans felt when Asian immigrants were migrating to the west for employment opportunities. The hate and hostility toward the Asian immigrants even fueled anti-immigration and exclusionary laws against them (Chau). One of these laws excluded the Asian community from interacting with the white communities. The Asian immigrants were also constantly mocked in media. The non-interaction of these two communities created a divide in understanding. Asian immigrants were constantly being mocked through desexualizing images of Asian men and no one else knew any better, for they believed that those details were true. There are lingering effects in today’s media because of these negative portrayals of the Asian immigrants (Chau). Though it may not be as hostile in media today, Asian men are still being mocked and desexualized in American media.

The first artifact is from the movie Fargo. Fargo is a 1996 crime thriller film that follows a Marge, who is a married, pregnant police officer, as she tries to solve a murder in her hometown of Fargo, Minnesota. Marge’s investigation takes her Minneapolis where an old classmate of hers, Mike, calls her up to catch up on old times. Mike is an Asian American male. He speaks with a heavy Minnesotan accent, and in this particular scene he is dressed to impress. After some small talk, it is clear that Mike is attempting to hook up with Marge. He mentions how lonely he is after the passing of his wife, who is also another high school classmate. He basically tries to guilt Marge into hooking up with him. Mike’s desperate attempts at Marge make him look pathetic. What really bothers me about this scene is that the directors of this film were specifically looking for an Asian man for this scene. Actor, writer, David Mura audition for the role of Mike for this film, and noted that directors were looking for “a Japanese-American man, in his late 30’s, a bit portly, who speaks with a Minnesota accent” (Mura). After seeing the movie, Mura was glad that he did not get the part. It is frustrating to know that the directors were specifically looking for an Asian man to embarrass on screen.

The next artifact that I will examine is a sketch starring Bobby Lee from the show Mad TV. In this sketch Bobby is trying to pick women outside of a nightclub. Bobby’s presentation does not give him a good first impression with the women he is trying to flirt with. He looks like a loser in this sketch. In his unsuccessful attempts at picking up women, Bobby makes a complete fool of himself. He’s unnecessarily jumping all over his car to get the attention of the girls, and he is using some terrible pick up lines. The only girl that Bobby is able to pick up, is someone who is drunk. The sketch makes it seem like Asian men are only capable of picking up girls when they are not sober, and if they are sober, no Asian man stands a chance. Another thing that I found interesting about this sketch is when the drunken woman says she has never met someone who was “funny and Asian”. I found it interesting because the line makes it seem like Asian men are incapable of being funny. Asian men are human too. We can be funny.

The next example is the Asian male character Glenn played by Steven Yeun in The Walking Dead. Glenn represents a change of the way Asian men are portrayed in media. He isn’t purposely singled out or mocked because of his ethnicity/race. He is just one of the guys. Glenn doesn’t stand out because he has some sort of accent or because he acts out in crazy comedic, embarrassing ways. Glenn stands out because he is cool, a strong fighter, and dependable. He is a vital member of the group that he survives with. In two different instances in the show (season 1 episode 3 and season 5 episode 3), when the group splits up, Glenn is asked if he would accompany them for their journey. The other members of the group see Glenn’s worth, and know he can hold his own against the zombies. The character Glenn is a nice change of pace because he is a strong, cool Asian character, which something rarely seen in the media outside of the martial arts genre.

Another Asian male who is making history is Justin Kim. He is the first Korean American male model to be on the show America’s Next Top Model. In this particular segment of this interview, Justin is asked how he felt representing the Asian demographic. He is aware of how Asians and especially Asian males are made fun of in media. What really stands out for me is when Justin mentions how there is not really an Asian American male actor in the entertainment business that one can look up to. He realizes that he has a responsibility to represent a demographic that has been heavily made fun of. Justin wants to be the role model that Asian American kids can look up to, and I applaud him for that noble statement. It’s also nice to see a masculine Asian male on TV after years of seeing Asian men being mocked and under sexualized.

Fargo and the Mad TV clip are both 10+ years old. Though Asian men are still mocked in today’s media such as Ken Jeong’s character in the Hangover movies, I’m happy to note that society and American media is changing with more Asian males getting recognition with better and respectable roles. It may be a slow change, but at least change is happening. In the article Not sexy enough? The Plight of Asian American Male Actors, author Larry Yu discusses why we don’t really see Asian males in a major roles. Yu claims these production companies believe that it would be too much of a risk put an Asian male at the lead. Production companies don’t believe that Asian men leads are capable of bringing in large profits (Yu). With more roles like Glenn’s in The Walking Dead and more people like Justin, perhaps these production companies can finally realize that there is no risk, and that Asian men can hold their own in a major role. According to a 2014 report, since 2007, the percentage of Asian people in the top 100 movies of the year has been increasing year after year. The highest percentage was seen in 2008, where 7.1% of the top 100 grossing films that year had an Asian person with a speaking role (Smith et al.). The past two years alone, there has been an increase of TV shows consisting of an Asian male lead or an Asian family. Though it is now canceled, Korean American actor John Cho had the lead role in the TV show Selfie. Indian American actor Aziz Ansari’s new show Masters of None just released onto Netflix where he plays Dev the main character. Also, Fresh off the Boat and Dr. Ken are two sitcoms that are both centered around an Asian family.

In the scene from Fargo and the Bobby Lee clip, both men are made to look desperate and sleazy. There is nothing cool or sexy about them. Those are just two examples from a vast amount of other circumstances where Asian men are pathetically portrayed. I believe that stereotyping is fine. It’s what we do as humans. Not every stereotype is true nor does it apply to every single individual in a certain group. However, when it’s done over and over again, it could lead to unexpected consequences. When Asian men are constantly being portrayed as these unsexy and uncool people for so long, some viewers/audience members may start to think that this stereotype may not just be a stereotype but something that is actually true and applies to all Asian men. This kind of constant belittling could also have negative effects on young and impressionable minds. Thankfully now, more and more roles for Asian men are popping up where they are not ridiculously embarrassing themselves. Young minds can finally have an Asian male role model to look up to, and viewers/audience can finally see that Asian men are not always these unsexy, pathetic clowns.

Learning Moments:

A significant learning moment for this term was when we broke down a news article to examine the finer details and whether we deemed it newsworthy or not. The article News: Balance Bias with Critical Questions by Patricia Hynds provides me with a good list that I can use to assess any article. This article is another good reminder to me that there may be more details about a certain topic out there than what is in one particular article. If I’m not finding what I need in one article then I should move on and find a new article. Also the Newsworthy Criteria from Week 7 lecture is another excellent resource for me to utilize. This source helps determine which piece of news is worth my attention. The criteria has eleven points and if I find that the news story hits a majority of those points then the news topic is indeed newsworthy.

Another significant learning moment for me this term was the in week 2 when we read the article about the doltish dads. The article highlighted that our culture is moving away from the idiot, irresponsible dad to the dad that stays home and watches the children while the significant other is the breadwinner of the family. This was significant to me because I can say the same evolution is happening with Asian men in our pop culture. There are more and more respectable roles with Asian men appearing, and it’s a nice change of pace.

Works Cited

AfterBuzz TV. “America’s Next Top Model After Show | Mamé & Justin Kim Interview | AfterBuzz TV.” Online video Clip. You Tube. You Tube, 7 Oct. 2015. Web. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykXBaT6wbUY&t=29m51s

CHUA, PETER, and DIANE C. FUJINO. “Negotiating New Asian-American Masculinities: Attitudes and Gender Expectations.” The Journal of Men’s Studies 7.3 (1999): 391. General OneFile. Web. 3 Nov. 2015.

Coen, Joel, Coen Ethan, dir. Fargo. Working Title Films, 1996. Film. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_Ge4F4E9JE

“Four Walls and a Roof.” The Walking Dead. AMC. New York City. 26 Oct 2014. Television.

Mura, David. “How America unsexes the Asian male.” New York Times 22 Aug. 1996: C9. Academic Search Premier. Web. 20 Oct. 2015. http://modelminority.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=281:how-america-unsexes-the-asian-male-&catid=37:dating&Itemid=56

Philbin, J.J. .Mad TV. Hollywood, CA: Quincy Jones-David Salzman Entertainment Inc.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzjvwDsy5G0

Smith, Stacy L., et al. Inequality in 700 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Gender, Race, & LGBT Status from 2007 to 2014. USC Annenberg, 2014.

“Tell It to the Frogs.” The Walking Dead. AMC. New York City. 14 Nov. 2010. Television.

Yu, Larry. Winfrey, Y. L. (2015, Feb). Not sexy enough? the plight of asian american male actors. International Examiner. International Examiner [Seattle, Wash] 07 Oct 2009: 2-3.

Football Players in Society Big Picture Blog Post

Dallas House
November 14th 2015
Popular Culture
Football Players in Society

     Football is a sport which has played an exceptionally large part in American culture and is arguably the most popular sport in America. Football clubs, rituals and tailgating all stem from the popularity of this sport. In the sport’s biggest event, the Super Bowl, millions of spectators nationwide are sure to watch the game whether they are fans of the teams or not. During the regular season, diehard football fans will even go as far as worshipping and idolizing their favorite players and teams. There is a myriad of ways in which football players have affected people nowadays. There isn’t a place a person can travel to and not discover some form of football culture. In our society and culture nowadays we fail to realize the true effects that football players can have on our daily lives. The artifacts we’ll address will show the effects of football players off and on the field, as well as the negative impacts they have on our society.

0377434001418499382_filepicker(Greg Hardy on the left, Adrian Peterson in the middle, Ray Rice on the right)

In today’s culture there are also the negative effects that football players have on our society. For example this last decade the NFL has beaters and abuser’s such as Ray Rice, the Baltimore Ravens running back caught on video knocking out his future wife; Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings running back indicted on a charge of injury to a child after striking his 4-year-old son with a switch; Greg Hardy, the Dallas Cowboys defensive end prosecuted on charges of domestic violence(Cohen, 2014). All these cases were unacceptable and all three of these players got suspended from the National Football League for it. The media attacked these three players in every way possible. Helping our culture to view NFL football players as just a bunch of thugs and criminals

Other negative effects that football players have had on our culture are the multiple drug, dui, and gun charges that players in the league get on a regular basis. This is a disgusting matter between men that do horrific things, but this shouldn’t label all football players today. There are more good people in the game than bad. A New York Times study written by Neal Irwin from 2014 showed that one in every 40 NFL football player’s get arrested in a given year (Irwin,2014). This study took the amount of arrests over the past 15 years and took the average mean of them. The results showed that 2.53 percent of football players had a serious run in with the law. This may sound bad but this arrest rate is actually lower than the national average for men in that age range (Irvin). Our society and the media focus primarily on all the bad things, but fail to acknowledge the other 97.47 percent of  role models that impact our culture in a positive way. In an overall stand point, football players effect our culture in A more positive than negative aspect. Helping to show why passed players mistakes shouldn’t label the NFL in a bad way.


(Cam Newton QB of Carolina Panthers at play 60 organization)

Besides that there are plenty of positive effects that football players have had on our community. One of those effects is from an off the field organization called play 60. The play 60 organization emphasizes childhood obesity rates that is at an all-time high: today, nearly one in three kids and teens in the United States are obese or overweight (Lindeman, 2014). A lot  of football players help to show that physical activity produces overall physical, psychological social benefits, that show how inactive children are likely to become inactive adults. That’s why the American Heart Association and the National Football League have teamed up to create the PLAY 60 Challenge, a program that inspires kids to get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day in school and at home. It also helps schools become places that encourage physically active lifestyles year-round. By leveraging the American Heart Association’s health expertise and the NFL’s commitment to physical fitness, you can help them achieve their goal of getting kids physically active for 60 minutes every day. When kids see their favorite football player or role model  having fun and being active with kids. It helps encourage them to get off their feet and actually play outside for 60 minutes. As you can see in the picture it’s showing Cam Newton the quarterback for the Carolina Panthers having fun playing outside with the kids. He also has A commercial with the organization that consists of him playing around with the kids at the park. Helping to show and give the youth an example of what the they should be doing on A daily basis. Helping to influence our culture from getting off the social media sites and to start playing outside and getting fit. This is playing huge effect on our culture because childhood obesity has been at an all time high over the years.


(Russell Wilson at Seattle’s Children Hospital)

     Another football player that effects the community in a positive way is Russell Wilson the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. The Seattle’s children hospital came out with a journal saying,” Russell Wilson visits us every Tuesday to visit the children with severe illnesses. The reason he does this is because he said,”I believe God has put me on this earth to serve others” (Russell Wilson). As you can see in this picture listed above he forms a unique bond with the children and family. Its some of these kids dreams to meet Russell Wilson and he makes those dreams a reality for all of them. By going and spending time with them every Tuesday. This effects so many families lives and helps better our society as a whole. When parents and kids see this it makes them want to be like the many athletes who help out like Russell Wilson. Helping to have kids grow up where they support the community and others. Showing the true effects that football players can have on changing our culture in a positive way.


(Remember The Titans cast that portrayed the true story)

     Another way football players impact our society is by changing our culture, and that is what this team did during the 1971 season. The  T. C. Williams High’s football players and their coaches confront not only the internal pressures of integration, but also the external pressures of political unrest due to the Vietnam War. To become champions despite formidable odds against them is a tribute to the character of T. C. Williams High, its football team, and their coaches. It is also a testament to the power of the human spirit in overcoming the most extraordinary obstacles imaginable. Back than there wasn’t such thing as whites and blacks working together or even being friends. This special team put everything besides them and learned to love each other no matter what the color of their skin was. Whats amazing is that these football players went against their culture, society, and what their parents believed. These bond of brothers didn’t care what society had to say and formed a bond that couldn’t be stopped. This team didn’t only change the popular culture but they changed it forever. This is why football players are so impactful when it comes to our popular culture over time.


     Looking back over all the artifacts I found out that their can be different portrayals and  characterizations of football players in pop culture media. Of course there are some negative portrayals of the football players like the ones listed previously. However, the culture we are in doesn’t let us really hear about all the positive effects that are happening around the world. Social media these days only like to report and spread news that make athletes look bad or that can make a great story. This is wrong because society is stereotyping football players and giving them a perception of being thugs and delinquents. Society needs to open their eyes and realize that there are more positive affects when it comes to football players than negative ones. For example If that 1971 football team didn’t change the culture who knows how the aspect of life would have been. If that team never happened than there could be a chance that our culture never would have changed to how it is nowadays. When you look at the world nowadays for the most part you don’t see that type of racism anymore. Lastly is the lost perception that football players have. Theres a ton of people that don’t realize what Russell Wilson does every Tuesday but, they sure no what football players are suspended or prosecuted for something. In all I feel like our culture is changing but I want to see society, to start viewing football players for all the positive aspects they bring to our popular culture media.

Learning Moment

     One of my biggest learning moments this term was when we had to write a blog post on if our view of community has changed over the term. This was impactful to me because it got me to change my whole view of what community truly met. Before this class I felt that community was an in person type thing where you can only form a bond if  you personally form a connection. For example football because a team is all on the same page trying to accomplish the same goal hence, having a strong community. After writing that post it got me to realize that our group A blog post is a community as well. We all our trying to address that certain topic, while others are giving suggestions on how to better our points. Showing that their can be a form of a community online over a computer. This helped me understand that there are a multiple of different meanings when it comes to community.

Another learning moment I had was when we learned about the history advertising has had on our culture. This helped me realize the true powerfulness that television and social media have on our society. When people see an advertisement it affects everyone in a different way. I realized this when I was reading all my groups discussion post and saw all the different responses that everyone gave. Helping me to actually look at commercials and realize the true affects that advertisements can have on our society.


Cohen, R. (2014, September 19). How the NFL Reflects American Culture. Retrieved November

16, 2015, from http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-the-nfl-reflects-american- culture-1411149452

Irwin, N. (2014, September 12). What the Numbers Show About N.F.L. Player Arrests. Retrieved December 1, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/13/upshot/what-the-numbers-show-about-nfl- player-arrests.html?_r=0

Lee, B. (n.d.). The Heroes We Idolize in Sports. Retrieved November 16, 2015, from


P., A. (2014, September 4). NFL PLAY 60 Challenge. Retrieved November 16, 2015, from

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Educator/FortheClassroom/Play60Challenge/ PLAY-60-Challenge_UCM_304278_Article.jsp#.VklLQK5Y6ko

Russell Wilson: I Am All In. (2014, December 1). Retrieved November 16, 2015,

from http://www.seattlechildrens.org/about/stories/i-am-seattle-childrens-wilson/

Scott, A. (2010). Remember the Titans. Retrieved November 16, 2015, from


Nerds in Popular Culture

Over the past few years, what is considered “Nerd culture” has grown rapidly. With the increase in technology this can be seen as no surprise. Due to nerd culture becoming more part of what is considered mainstream, many more people identify themselves as a nerd. A nerd is different from a dweeb, geek, or a dork. Nerds are the type of people who take characteristics from all three of those identities. Nerds have the intelligence of a dweeb and a geek, the social ineptitude of a dork and dweeb, and the obsessiveness of a dork and geek. With the increase in nerd culture, nerds can be seen in different kinds of media like television and movies. Within each case of a nerd, there are still some common elements that can be observed that shows what makes up the nerd identity. The artifacts that were analyzed were Revenge of the Nerds, Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, and The Big Bang Theory which are a mix of television shows and movies.  After observing these three different artifacts, which are spread out over twenty-years, one common thing that can be seen is how each nerd is portrayed as socially inept.

History of Nerds

The nerd identity may seem like a newer identity that has grown in the past few years, but it can actually be seen around the 1920’s. Ron Eglash quotes a science fiction writer, Samuel Delaney who believes that “’the period from the twenties through the sixties there was always a bright sixteen or seventeen year old who would fix your clock.’” Samuel Delaney believes that this was how nerds were identified. Eglash also describes how the nerd identity may have also taken full effect during the Cold War. During the Cold War there was an increase in emphasis on science education which fueled the passions of the people who were seen as “electronic hobbyists” (Eglash). Mathematics and computing skills that these hobbyists or nerds were interested in were seen as less masculine. Masculine technology was seen as “concrete, massive, and having direct effects” which were the opposite of what nerds were interested in (Eglash). This may have contributed to the stereotype of nerds not being masculine. These historical events set the nerd identity of being primarily white males who were interested in electronics and were not considered masculine.

The Nerd Identity in 3 Different Artifacts

The Big Bang Theory is the most recent out of the three artifacts that was looked at. In this show, there are four different nerds that each have their own personality and quirks. However, each seem to share an extreme case of being socially inept. For this analysis, the episode, “The Peanut Reaction” was looked at in order to get a good idea how a nerd was portrayed in this show. There were multiple instances in this episode where the characters can be seen as socially inept. The character, Sheldon, is a theoretical physicist who seems to have a hard time dealing with people. Even though Sheldon, is mainly a theoretical physicist he appears to know about all topics that relate to science. Because Sheldon is so smart about different things, he becomes arrogant about his knowledge and this leads to being a part of his social incapabilities. In the episode “The Peanut Reaction,” Sheldon flaunts his knowledge about computers as he is buying a gift for his friend. While, Sheldon is looking for a gift, a man recognizes Sheldon’s knowledge about technology, and asks Sheldon about a graphics card he is looking to buy. When Sheldon asks about the BUS for the graphics card, the man has no idea what he is talking about. Sheldon’s arrogance about the topic causes him to get upset with the man he just met. When his friend, Penny, tries to pick out a new router for Sheldon’s friend, Sheldon gets upset because he does not agree with the model she picked out. He even makes fun of the fact that she thought it would be a good present. These two situations show that Sheldon does not get along with others due to his arrogance which proves how socially inept he is.


The cast of The Big Bang Theory                           (From left to right: Howard, Raj, Penny, Sheldon, and Leonard)


The character, Raj can also be seen as socially inept. One of the main quirks of the character is that he cannot talk to a girl. This trait is exaggerated to this point where he literally says no words when he is with a girl. The only way for Raj to talk to a girl is that he drinks alcohol. Because of this weird quirk with the character, Raj can be seen as lacking in social skills.  Howard, one of the other nerds out of the main four, also demonstrates his lack of social skills in the episode. Similar to Raj, he also has trouble with girls. In the article, “White and Nerdy,” Lori Kendal points out that one of the main stereotypes of the nerd identity is that they are “socially inept and undesirable” (Kendall). Howard demonstrates both of these traits through his desperation towards women. In order to keep his friend away from a surprise birthday party due to Penny still setting up, Penny convinces Howard to poison himself with food he is allergic to by promising to set him up with a girl. Howard’s extreme socially ineptness causes him to be desperate when he wants to meet and talk to a girl. These two characters also show how their social ineptness is demonstrate through the fact that nerds have problems with girls. It may be normal for a person to be awkward around girls, but the nerd identity seems to take it to extremes.

The last nerd of the group, Leonard, seems to be an anomaly of the nerd stereotype. He is portrayed not as socially inept as the other three. He does not have issues talking to other people and he knows how to interact with women. At the end of the episode he is even seen kissing Penny. Leonard seems to be a more progressive portrayal of a nerd in which is seems to be closer to being an actual person and not a stereotype.

When observing the movie, Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, the character that fits the identity of the nerd would be Wayne. Wayne is the father in the movie, who is also an inventor and a lover of science. He wears the giant thick glasses that all nerds seem to wear when portrayed in the media. Wayne, like Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory, is also a scientist who appears to know all topic of science. He is not just smart at technology and inventing, he also knows lots of physics, biology, and chemistry. At many points in the movie, Wayne uses his knowledge in order to get himself out of various situations while he is shrunk to the size of an ant. Unlike Sheldon, Wayne’s brilliance does not seem to cause him to be arrogant. However, Wayne seems to be too nice to people to the point in which he is a pushover. This drives Wayne’s social ineptness. Throughout the movie, Wayne is bossed around by his wife and his brother. At work, Wayne has trouble talking to his bosses because he is too nervous and he thinks he is too weak to speak his mind. This shows how nerds are portrayed as being unable to speak for themselves in social situations. Nerds seem to trade their masculinity for their intelligence, which leads to their lack of social skills.


Wayne in Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves

The last movie that was observed was Revenge of the Nerds. Revenge of the Nerds is about a group of nerds that are picked on in college by the jocks. They get so fed up by the jocks that they rise up against the jocks and take revenge against them. Within this movie there are a lot of characters that can be identified as nerds. The main two nerds of the movie are best friends named Lewis and Gilbert. One major thing that can be noticed is the clothes that the two nerds are wearing. Once again the stereotypical nerd glasses are present on both characters. They are also wearing pocket protectors and ties. This shows how nerds are portrayed as people who wear semi-formal clothing for their normal wear.


Gilbert and Lewis in Revenge of the Nerds

One thing that can be noticed is how frequent the two nerds talk about their past. They constantly talk about how they were picked on for being a nerd in high school. This causes the characters to be nervous when meeting new people which leads to their socially ineptness. Towards the beginning of the movie they are rejected from every fraternity that they apply to. This shows how they are not socially accepted by others due to their nerd identity. Another example that shows that they are portrayed as socially inept is when the nerds throw a party for the Lambda Lambda Lambda fraternity, which is an all-black fraternity despite most of the nerds being primarily white. When Lewis notices the fraternity leader isn’t enjoying the party, Lewis changes the music to African tribal music because he thought it was more to the black fraternity’s liking. From this it can be concluded that Lewis is unaware of what is socially acceptable and he comes off as insensitive. At another point in the movie, Lewis and Gilbert are seen moving their furniture through campus when they first arrive. As they walk around campus, they run into people causing them trip or crash on their bikes and the two characters don’t even notice. From these examples, the nerds are portrayed as so socially inept that they are unaware of the people around them.


 After observing these three different artifacts, a lot of similarities can be seen when nerds are portrayed in movies and television. There are some positives that come with the nerd identity such as their vast knowledge in a lot of different topics. However, these positives seem to be overshadowed by their negative qualities, primarily their social ineptness. Their social ineptness seems to be used as the main source of conflict for each of the artifacts. With Big Bang Theory, Leonard poisons himself in order to meet girls, in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Wayne hid the fact he wanted to shrink one of his possessions from his wife, and in Revenge of the Nerds, the nerd are picked on by the jocks. This is an important observation because it creates a negative outlook on people who might identify themselves on nerds. Only until recently have nerds become to be more socially accepted by society. Sandra Friedrichs believes that nerds are increasing in popularity because of two reasons (Friedrichs). The two reasons are that the term “nerd” has changed and that nerd culture has become a part of everyday life.

Sandra Friedrichs describes that the term nerd no longer means that someone is socially awkward or “machine-like” (Friedrichs). She believes this because of their love for technology. Technology has become a lot more popular over the years and loving technology seems more of a normal thing now. Before, being knowledgeable in so much technology meant you were an outsider and were a target for bullying. With smart phones, and computers becoming technology everyone uses, this is no longer the case. Technology has become an everyday thing to use so there are no longer negative feelings towards nerds.

Learning Moments

One example of a learning moment during the term was when we had to analyze the ad about Adidas shoes. Towards the end of the ad, the adults are seen leaving the shoes at the bottom of the pool. I wrote how I thought this was contradictory because it showed how people were leaving the shoes and it could mean that it didn’t matter to them. However, one of my classmates pointed out that it could mean that without the shoes the party stops. This led me to learn that I had to view things in different angles and not be so single-minded.

Another example of a learning moment was I learned to give insightful suggestions to my classmates throughout the term. By having us give suggestions to other classmates’ mirror essay caused me to think of well-thought-out suggestions because I knew that my classmates were in the same situation as me. I would want as much help as possible for my essay, so I tried to be as helpful as I can to them. When I had to give examples of other artifacts to my group, I looked up possible artifacts in order to be as helpful as possible.



Eglash, R. “Race, Sex, and Nerds: FROM BLACK GEEKS TO ASIAN AMERICAN HIPSTERS.” Social Text (2002): 49-64. Print.

Friedrichs, Sandra, 2012, The Rise of Nerds’ Popularity, Munich, GRIN Verlag, http://www.grin.com/en/e-book/196875/the-rise-of-nerds-popularity

Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves. Dir. Dean Cundey. Prod. Barry Bernardi. By Karey Kirkpatrick, Nell Scovell, and Joel Hodgson. Walt Disney Pictures, 1997.

KENDALL, L. (2011), “White and Nerdy”: Computers, Race, and the Nerd Stereotype. The Journal of Popular Culture, 44: 505–524

Prady, Bill, and Lee Aronsohn. “The Peanut Reaction.” The Big Bang Theory. Dir. Mark Cendrowski. CBS. 12 May 2008. Television.

Revenge of the Nerds. Dir. Jefferey Kanew. 1984.



I Am Not a Sexual Commodity

Me, at the tender age of 5. Obviously, at this age, I had no idea what racism or sexism was. I was happy to be at school, ready to learn. But somehow, I knew I was different than the other kids at school (I grew up in a largely white town).

Growing up, I was very aware of my ethnicity. Coming from a traditional Korean background, I recognized from a young age that I was different than my peers. Often, I was asked questions like “You look so exotic, where are you from?” and “What are you? Are you Chinese?” Questions like these made me think that my ethnicity was the only thing that people saw when they looked at me. This made me hyper-aware of my appearance and how I came across to others. I have found during my research that my perpetual self-questioning is confirmed by the way Western media portrays Asian women. Western media has imposed an identity on Asian women that portrays them as aesthetically pleasing and sexually willing.

To fully understand how Western media portrays Asian women, one must look into the history of the images Western society has created and circulated. Despite much talk of the U.S. being a “post-racist” country, “yellow peril discourse has not ended and continues in contemporary media” (Ono, Pham 42). In their book, Asian Americans and the Media, Ono and Pham refer back to moments in U.S. history and show that the representations of Asian Americans have been controlled by the dominant white society. Simply put, Asian Americans have not been able to represent themselves in mainstream U.S. media, therefore, have been depicted without much education or knowledge about who they are.


During the late 1800s, when Asian men started immigrating to the U.S., the United States purposely excluded Asian women from immigrating to the U.S. because families could be threats to the “efficiency and exploitability of the workforce” (Tewari, Alvarez 193-195). In accordance with Asian American Psychology: Current Perspectives, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the U.S. began to allow women to migrate into the country. Most of the immigrated women were prostitutes, brought in by the U.S. to fulfill the sexual needs of the Asian men. According to The Asian Woman in America, Kumagai wrote that in the late 1800’s, an inevitable result of such few Chinese females compared to Chinese males resulted prostitution. Many of these women were not originally prostitutes, but forced into it. This condition existed throughout the years. These Chinese women were severely oppressed and used as mere sexual commodities (Kumagai, 3-4). Due to the great number of prostitutes, Asian women were subject to the stereotype of being hypersexual, sexually submissive and subservient. This image of Asian women starkly contrasted the “pure” identity that European women had. Throughout history, Asian women have been burdened with this image that had been imposed on them by Western society.

A Dragon Lady is a stereotype of Asian women as strong, domineering, or mysterious. Inspired by the characters played by actress Anna May Wong, the term comes from the female villain in the comic strip Terry and the Pirates.

There are two main ways that Asian women are portrayed in Western media. One of these archetypes is known as the dragon lady. The dragon lady is a cold, conniving, deceitful woman that uses her sexuality to attain her selfish goals. The second way archetype is the lotus blossom. The lotus blossom is quite the opposite of the dragon lady. She is much more submissive and subservient, willing to do anything to keep her man happy. Although they seem to contradict each other, both representations depict the Asian woman as a sexual object that are meant to serve men. These two Asian women archetypes are seen continuously throughout the history of popular Western culture.

Ciocio, the “lotus blossom”, kills herself because her husband leaves her for another woman.

One of the earliest examples of the lotus blossom stereotype dates back to 1903, in an opera called Madama Butterfly. An unfortunate result of this stereotype is shown when the main character, Ciocio, is overcome with shame and distress as kills herself when she discovers that her white lover, Pinkerton, has left her for a white woman. Pinkerton married Ciocio with the intentions of eventually leaving her until he found a “proper” American wife, knowing that Japan’s divorce laws were laid back. Ciocio, clueless and selflessly in love with Pinkerton, tirelessly waited for him to return for to her after he went back to America. During this time, she had given birth to their child. When he finally arrived to Japan, Ciocio realizes that he brought along his new American wife. The way that Ciocio is portrayed is problematic for the image of Asian women because it puts them in a position where they are depicted as weak, pathetic and inferior to the white woman. Western society has imposed a stereotype on Asian women that we are perpetually waiting to be rescued by a man and placing our self-worth on how good of a wife we are.

(Warning: Video contains violent and graphic images.)

A young O-Ren Ishii lures the man who killed her parents to get revenge. Knowing that he is a pedophile, Ishii uses her sexuality to bait him and kills him ruthlessly.

The stereotype of the dragon lady is also problematic. In Kill Bill: Vol. 1, O-Ren Ishii is depicted as a ruthless assassin. O-Ren Ishii’s merciless and brutal character is glamorized, which places her power on her sexuality and exotic image. In the animated scene of Kill Bill: Vol. 1, both of O-Ren Ishii’s parents are brutally murdered by Boss Matsumoto (a boss of a ruthless Japanese mafia) right in front of young O-Ren’s eyes. This traumatic experience lead to her burning need for revenge. Luckily for her, Boss Matsumoto was a pedophile. At the age of 11, she got her revenge by murdering Boss Matsumoto with her own hands. O-Ren’s character, the dragon lady, puts a complex on all Asian-American women, including myself, because it puts a burdened expectation on us. Western society assumes that Asian women are okay with being seen as exotic sex objects and “china dolls”. Dating back to the late 1800s, the term “Asian women” have conjured up images of prostitution, sexual unambiguity, and exoticness. The dragon lady is known to use her sexuality to gain what she wants. This is damaging to Asian women because it separates their sexuality as a separate entity, which leads men to believe that it can be used to satisfy their sexual desires. The dragon lady, although portrayed as willful and malicious, she is represented as sexually willing, demeaning her value.

Western media has imposed an image on Asian women that depicts them as aesthetically pleasing and sexually willing. From my research of the Asian woman image in popular culture, I have come to find that these issues stem from a dark history of prostitution and sex slavery. Growing up as an Asian American and being a woman myself, I questioned my own image in comparison to society’s expectations about me. However, now that I have a more profound understanding of the stereotypes, I can free myself from worrying about how society views me. I no longer have to fall into the lotus blossom category when I am feeling shy, or be seen like a dragon lady when I am more forward about what I want in life. I don’t have to feel the need to second-guess my actions, just to save someone from thinking a certain way about me. My sexuality is not something to be used as a commodity for someone else’s pleasure. My ethnicity does not make me exotic; therefore, I am not defined by it. I fully embrace being Asian; however, I am more than just a race.


Learning Moments

During this term, I’ve had a few valuable learning moments where I’ve been pushed to think outside of my “normal” rhythm of thinking. One of the most memorable moments was during week 4, when we discussed and learned about the influence of advertising. What caught my attention the most was the Ways of Seeing (1972) BBC documentary that was posted in the course texts section. John Berger (art critic and writer) talked about glamour. He states, “Without social envy, glamour cannot exist”. Overall, this documentary was very eye opening and refreshing. As a fashion and beauty product lover, it is so important to refresh my mind and understand why I want so much and what drives my wants in the first place. This documentary was a pivotal learning moment during this term.

Another huge learning moment for me was during week 9. During this week, we were asked to choose one of the agencies or programs listed in the reading (Media Literacy: An Alternative to Censorship) that was assigned to us that week. Honestly, I was not even aware that there were such programs that were aimed towards teaching people about media literacy. The program I researched was the Just Think Foundation. I was so surprised and relieved to find out that this program targets bringing curriculum to lower-income students (4th to 12th graders). Media literacy is such an important thing to talk about, and starting at starting at a young age will only benefit the students. This inspires me to bring more awareness to everyone I know about media literacy (including my future children).


Works Cited

Alvarez, Alvin, and Nita Tewari. Asian American Psychology: Current Perspectives. New York: Psychology, 2009. Print.

Kill Bill Vol. 1. By Quentin Tarantino. Dir. Quentin Tarantino. Miramax Films, 2004.

Kumagai, Gloria L. The Asian Woman in America (1978): n. pag. Web.

Madama Butterfly. By Giacomo Puccini. Performance.

Ono, Kent A., and Vincent N. Pham. Asian Americans and the Media. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2009. Print.

Representations Of Me



The African-American, or black, women’s representation within popular culture, more so through the medium of television, can be analyzed in many different ways and from many different point of views. On one hand there are your television shows that showcases your beautiful, strong, and authoritative black woman, that is usually in a position of power made to been seen as a force to be reckoned with. Then on the other hand there are reality shows that exhibit young and beautiful black women as loud mouthed and angry who when involved in a conflict with someone, (which seems to be more often than not) first instinct is to throw a glass at their counteragent or co-star. From a black woman’s point of view the depiction of the latter can be labeled as cringe worthy. Cringe worthy and unpleasant due to the stereotypes theoretically shoved down the American television viewer’s throats.

Television series:

SR Headshot 11.14  635798446621469190616254195_olivia-pope




Shonda Rhimes, a black female television producer who created and executive produced highly viewed and critically acclaimed television shows such as ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder has brought positive and inspiring black women to primetime television. Scandal’s Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating, portrayed by Kerry Washington and Viola Davis respectively, are seen to some as strong and successful role models who happen to find themselves the center of drama-filled attention. And to others Rhimes television shows are described as “yet another network series.. to showcase a powerful, intimidating black woman” (Stanley, 2014). Stanley, a white woman, goes on to write in her article for the New York Times reviewing “How To Get Away With Murder” that if Rhimes decides to publish an autobiography she should title it “How To Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman”. This article has succumbed to a large amount of backlash and garnered an apology from the author and editor. But some would say after reading the “apology” that the damage has already been done. Rhymes responded having taken offense to the article stating ”How come I am not ‘an angry black woman’ the many times Meredith (or Addison!) rants?”, referring to two white characters also created by Rhimes on shows Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice (Cheung, 2015.)


Ernestine_Wade_as_Sapphire__Amos__n__Andy__copy amosandyheader1

For decades black women have been stereotyped as bossy, sassy, and angry. Dating all the way back to the 1940’s with the radio program turned television sitcom The Amos ’n’ Andy Show.  Creators of The Amos ’n’ Andy Show featured the black “finger-waving, neck snapping, constantly complaining wife” of another character is what author Blair Kelley would categorize as the beginning of the stereotype of the angry black woman created by white men and televised into popular culture (Kelly, 2014).  


Reality Shows:



Extremely volatile conversations that often lead to violent confrontations are the two main portrayals of young black women on reality T.V. shows. On these shows such as VH1’s Basketball Wives that profiles a group of young beautiful women that either have been or are dating/married to NBA players, cameras follow the women who live in Los Angeles, California and exploit both their personal and professional lives. Many instances of drama ensue throughout each episode of the show, that often lead to some sort of violent behavior both physical and verbal. Having watched a number of reality shows in the past and conducting minor research on the genre I found that, as many people may know, much of reality T.V. shows’ content are comprised of of producer-based conflicts in an effort to make the show more entertaining. Because surely, a group of black women who attend a charity event and behave normally without any glass throwing, fighting, or screaming across the room versus ones that don’t make for higher ratings. Higher ratings mean higher priced advertisements, which means more money for the producers and network executives, all at the expense the woman’s reputation of dignity and respectability. Basketball Wives is not the only reality show that portrays black women in the angry black woman form. Other television network’s produce cringe worthy T.V. depicting black woman. Oxygen’s Bad Girls Club, Bravo’s Real Housewives of Atlanta, and VH1’s Love and Hip-Hop all display black women as catty, violent, or angry in one way or another.



After reading articles and reviewing television shows—both “reality” T.V. and scripted T.V. series, black women are overall portrayed and perceived as angry in one form or another. Living in the skin of a young, smart, beautiful, motivated black woman combined with my research leads me to believe the stereotype of the angry black woman has been embedded into both African-American non-African-American’s subconscious, that it ultimately doesn’t matter how much black female character creators try to get away from it, the majority of viewers are going to see them that way. That stereotype from the television spills into real life and the behavioral expectations both African-American and non-African-American place on African-American/black women whenever a black woman expresses her negative feelings on a subject.


Note from Author:

In the last paragraph I mention African-American as also stereotyping black women as the “angry black woman” whenever we feel the need to express ourselves, due to the monumental amount of self-hatred that has been instilled into the African-American culture. Although I have witnessed and continue to witness the somewhat “awakening” from the self-hate mind set many African-American people have, elaboration on this topic is indeed a conversation for another time.

Important learning moments:

I have learned a lot of things over the last 10 weeks. Reading my classmates blog posts have opened my eyes more to stereotypes that exist outside of my own.  If I had to chose one important learning moment for me that stuck out the most from this course, I would say it was learning more about writing a better thesis and getting the point I want to make more cleat to the reader, with the use of the writing clinic. Being a Communications major the courses I take require a lot of reading and writing. The writing clinic helped me so much so that I saved the “Guided steps to writing a paper” and other links into my internet browser favorites.


Cheung, A. (2015, February 11). Black women’s progress collides with media stereotypes. Retrieved October 28, 2015, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/02/11/black-history-black-women/23266115/


Kelley, B. (2014, September 25). Here’s Some History Behind That ‘Angry Black Woman’ Riff the NY Times Tossed Around. Retrieved October 28, 2015, from http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2014/09 the_angry_black_woman_stereotype_s_long_history.html


Samuels, A. (2011). Reality TV Trashes Black Women. Newsweek, 157(19), 62.


Stanley, A. (2014, September 18). Wrought in Rhimes’s Image Viola Davis Plays Shonda Rhimes’s Latest Tough Heroine. The New York Times, p. AR1. Retrieved October 29, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/21/arts/television/viola-davis-plays-shonda-rhimess-latest-tough-heroine.html?_r=0


Vietnamese in Media


I came from an Eastern country where there are only two tropical seasons – either rainy or sunny, Vietnam. It was a blessing opportunity for me to legally immigrate to the U.S seven years ago. I never noticed what would be so much of a difference between others and me besides my accents and looks. My high school classmates often called me “dumb” because I couldn’t pronounce the words and talked too little. I understand that my name is difficult to say, but I never expected them to name me “that Asian”. “Do you eat your own dogs? Can you pronounce this words for me without ‘s’? Shut the f* up! Asians are always good at Math!” were what I frequently received throughout my three years attending high school here.

I often questioned myself about why they kept treating me this way because I thought that racism was banned in the U.S. I understand there are some differences between Western and Eastern cultures, but it seems harsh for them to view each other normally like their own human kind. Even though Vietnam is considered as an Asian country as a whole, and we do share some similar traits, each country has their unique traditions and daily life actions. Vietnamese identities are mostly portrayed as nail-salon owners, poor English speakers, and dog-eaters.


How are Vietnamese known as nail salon owners? According to Step Glaser, a teacher from Colorado, the first Vietnamese nail salon network started in the mid-‘70s by the Nguyen family. They opened Advance Beauty College (ABC) in Orange County, California in 1987. As of today, ABC is considered to develop one of the largest manicuring programs in the country.

“When you build such a huge network in one industry, it will be able to help future Vietnamese Americans,” maintains Nguyen. “So any Vietnamese Americans who came in the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s, clearly had a family member or someone close to them that was already in the industry.”

It explains why nail salons are very common opened by Vietnamese because we have had a whole set up network, and it doesn’t require many skills or studies to actually get a job there. However, you all may notice that most of the old Asians do not have a high key job because they are not fluent in English – which is the most primary requirement from all the industries. “One of the main reasons why many immigrants work in low-paying jobs in the service sector is because U.S.-born workers don’t want them” (Le, C.N.). Therefore, usually, the owners and workers from these shops are newly immigrants or mid-30-and-40 women, so they do not have much of a chance to enroll in school for proper education and English.


This is Anjelah Johson’s (an actress/stand up comedian) first experience at an Asian nail salon. The Asian lady was portrayed with small eyes and black hair (common looks).

In Anjelah’s talk show (stand up comedy), Asian (Vietnamese to be specific) business is a lot different from the ones that are owned by White people. Vietnamese ladies couldn’t speak and write English properly – “Beautiful Nail – only one nail?” She also described how nicely those ladies talked her into getting more treatments, but it actually costed her more each time they suggested. Vietnamese people actually sounded like “ching ching chong chong” to others, and they talked also behind her in their own language. She frowned a lot and somehow wasn’t very satisfied with her experience (Anjelah Johnson).

I agree that was very rude of those ladies, but I have to say that their English might not be rich enough to hold a long conversation with Anjelah. I highly believe that she thinks that a Vietnamese owner doesn’t require many communicating skills from her workers. The Asian people probably would find it normal for a Vietnamese to act so because this actually happens in real life, rather than that, other nations may have the same point of view as Anjelah’s. This presents that Americans cannot patiently tolerate Vietnamese accents or their ways of speaking. This news may be very upsetting to those who speak English as their second language because they will not have the sense of being welcomed or belonged here.

In “American Born Chinese”, released in 2006, Gene Luen Yang has potrayed the typical Asian stereotypes that each of us, Asian, has experienced such as being called F.O.B (fresh of the boat), viewed as dog-eaters, isolated if speak some languages other than English, etc. There are three stories contained in this graphic novel, but the second one is about second-generation immigrants from Eastern countries – Vietnam included. Jin Wang and Suzi (two Asian Americans) were assumed to be each other’s relatives, but once people found out they were not, rumors began to spread that kept they from talking to one another. Jin Wang was eating dumplings when the other white kids made fun of his traditional food. He was pushed to change his lunch to sandwiches.


It’s very depressing when Asian kids feel ashamed of their own kinds and prefer speaking English more than their mother language. These kids were portrayed to have same physical looks and tend not to become close to each other due to the embarrassments. (Pg. 37 & 31)


Should we stop eating our traditional food and go with hamburgers to feel more fit in? Does everything we eat contain dog meat? (pg. 32)

Wei-Chen, a transferred student from Taiwan, was trying to make friends with Jin Wang by speaking Chinese to him, but, in return, Jin Wang did not hope to be grouped with Wei-Chen. He ironically expected a newly immigrant to communicate with him through English even though that person literally could not. All the Asians are drawn almost the same with black hair and small eyes. With their shirts always carefully tucked and pants pulled up till the point they couldn’t be any higher, the kids appeared very nerdy and old-fashioned.

I’m actually disappointed with some native Asian American students here. They viewed me as a disgusting alien and ignored all of my questions while kept shouting for Asian power and rights during the school activities. There is a VSA (Vietnamese Student Association) at PSU, but they actually draw a lingual border between the native and fobs – whereas inner groups are formed, and many members are not even Vietnamese. I wonder why physical looks and fluency in English mean much more than national spirits.


It is considered as a crime if one kills or eats any animals instead purchasing them from the farms or markets here, but the most sinful one is eating dogs, human friends. Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese (and many other races) people do eat dogs, but it is one of our normal cultural traditions back in our countries. This so-called tradition has caused most Asians to lose their humanity credits when other people keep viewing them as criminals even though they may or may not ever eat dogs. One wonders if anyone ever thinks of other animals as lovable as dogs and why dogs are superior to them. It is not that they are not as smart, cute or loyal as dogs, but humans never actually give them all a chance to be.

“Is it because we spend so much time with dogs — looking into their eyes, talking to them, walking them, picking up their crap — that we understand that they are living, breathing, feeling beings? Would we feel that way about other animals if we could hang out more? Or would the beak-y, frowny face of the chicken still stop us short of empathy?” writes Slate’s William Saletan (John D. Sutter).

In February 2012, a North Carolinian middle-aged man shot three Muslim college students, and the police claimed it as “an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking. The father of one victim confessed “I am sure my daughter felt hated, and she said, literally, ‘Daddy, I think it is because of the way we look and the way we dress’ ”(Karan Mahajan). If people could randomly apply justice on an outsider, then this whole world would never be able to escape from drama and unwanted deaths. I honestly  do not understand why physical difference would make a huge impact on righteousness and human rights while some animals are viewed even higher than a person with color.


Gordon Ramsay tried to drink cobra guts and wine in Vietnam because the guys said that it helped with sex and maintaining health. He used a lot of F-words to express his fear and disgusts.

In “Gordon’s Great Escape: Vietnam”, directed by Emma Sayce, Gordon expressed his feelings about how Vietnamese killed animals cruelly, but the people there did not find it provoking or disgusting. He proposed that he usually got to pick the vegetables and meat loafs from the markets, but he never actually got to prepare all the ingredients this freshly – especially he got to observe and kill the animals that he would cook. Gordon also gave Duck lady (a female chef) a kiss as out of sudden just because he found her food so great, even though it was inappropriate to do so in a traditional country. He discovered that the people there partied a lot, especially men, while women had to wake up so early to prepare meals, take care of the kids, and go to work to earn a few dollars a day. He was so welcomed, but he still had some little complaints on Vietnamese accents.

I don’t know how you will feel about killing an animal fleshly yourselves, but that’s how the meat is prepared before nicely getting packed. Imagine if all the killings are stopped, there will be no more hamburgers, tacos, Pho, etc.  Will you all want a life completely without meat?  Besides the vegetarians, even kids would want some mcDonald’s.

There are many reality shows about how the chicken are raised and killed, how hotdogs are made nastily, frozen soups been using for months, etc. I’d stopped eating poultry for a week after seeing a presentation on how the poorly the chicken were taken care of in the U.S. In Vietnam, everything is fresh and cooked daily to make sure the authentic taste remains, and they do not add any unknown artificial flavors rather than M.S.G (which I don’t find in many restaurants here). We value qualities more than quantities, and that’s why a running chicken costs more than the industrial type.

Throughout this course, I learn how to make connections and analyze subjects deeply. I really appreciate that we get to work with many social media sources to have better thoughts and views about the topics that we have chosen besides those boring literature sources. We were assigned to read some texts and explained what we found interesting or odd and why we thought so. It helps a lot when you recognize which source is good enough to apply into your papers.

1495213_10151892918821705_884200948_oScreen Shot 2015-11-15 at 11.10.02 AM

We eat pre-packed beef, lettuce, tomatoes, and rice like other normal American families. We do not own a nail salon, and, instead, we are running a grocery store like 7eleven.  

I am a pure Asian – Vietnamese, and I do not mind being called a F.O.B because there are many things that I am still learning. Stereotypes do not naturally come from a person’s boredom, but they are related to some facts. I understand that there are many things that we have done in order to get those listed titles above, but it does not mean that we all are alike. I have lived here long enough to adapt some American traits, and I would like to mix them up with my Vietnamese ones. Every race has its own stereotypes, and I believe that nobody likes to be judged based on them. We have been taught at school to respect other people, and it also means we should not disgust any traditions that we are not used to.

I eat the same food as others, my family runs business too but not nail salons, and I think my English is okay enough while writing this essay. I am not doing these normal acts because I live here, but I had done the same things when I was in Vietnam. I hope that society can present more bright sides of Asians instead of feeding people negativity from the stereotypes. Every part of this world is beautiful and deserves the same compliments; do not ruin the images in others’ minds just because you personally do not have a good time.




Anjelah Johnson. “Nail Salon Uncut (Stand Up Comedy)”. February 1, 2008. Youtube Channel: Comedy Time

< https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsWrY77o77o >

Emma Sayce. “Gordon’s Great Escape: Vietnam (S02E02)”. May 16. 2011.

TV Show – Documentary.

< https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4oTGaZddzU&gt;

Gene Luen Yang. “American Born Chinese” – graphic novel. 2006. First Second

ISBN 978-1-59643-152-2. Pg. 30 – 40, 87 – 106, and 163 – 192.

John D. Sutter. “The Argument for Eating Dog”. CNN. July 24. 2014.

< http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/23/opinion/sutter-dog-meat-ethics/&gt;

Karan Mahajan. “The Two Asian Americas”. October 21, 2015. The New Yorker.

< http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-two-asian-americas&gt;.

Le, C.N. 2015. “The Impacts of Immigration” Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian

America. November 8, 2015.


Steph Glaser. “Why Vietnamese Americans Rule the Nail Salon Scene”. January 16,

  1. Personal Blog.

< http://matadornetwork.com/life/why-vietnamese-americans-rule-the-nail-salon-




Food Lovers All Around


Food in Media

(the Fit Foodie, 2014)

When was the last time you went out to eat or made something and DID NOT take a picture of it? Food constantly evolves in the way it is portrayed through the media (Tuckman, 5). There are blogs, television shows and movies all about food. People even dedicate their lives to finding good eats. There is more to a foodie’s life than just taking pictures of food. The sharing of meals, dishes, recipes and restaurants builds relationships between people all over the world and exposes people to different cultures and traditions. However, if it were not for the media, people would not be exposed to different food cultures and traditions around the world. The media plays a major role in creating relationships by exposing different cultures, traditions and modern ideas that surrounds food.

AZ in Morocco

Andrew Zimmern (right) from “Bizarre Foods”, enjoying a meal with new friends in Morocco.

The television show ‘Bizarre Foods’ with the host Andrew Zimmern portrays a true foodie. There is no doubt Zimmern loves food; he devotes his life to finding good food and sharing food with people. He travels the world and meets people who want to share their culture through traditional dishes. The meals are always prepared in its traditional way then a group of people enjoys the meal together, talking, making connections, and learning about each other’s cultures. Zimmern takes the time to learn the story behind each dish so he can show people around the world that these foods are not bizarre to one culture. The message that Zimmern tries to interpret is that no food is bizarre; we call it ‘bizarre’ because we are not exposed to it. When in reality, eating a squirrel to one culture is like eating a slice of pizza to the American culture. In Zimmern’s television show, a group of people builds a relationship with each other because a meal is what brought them together.


Jon Favreau as “Carl” (middle) in the movie Chef, his son (left) and wife (right).

The movie Chef directed by Jon Favreau shows the life of a foodie. It is about this man named Carl who is a really good chef but gets caught up in what social media is saying about him. There is a food critic that comes into the fine dining restaurant Carl is a chef at and calls him out on things he cannot cook. Carl ends up yelling at the critic in front of everyone at the restaurant. Carl ruins his career after the confrontation with the food critic. Carl has a son who is probably 10 years old. He often cooks for his son every chance he gets and his son totally adores the good food Carl makes. After getting into it with the food critic, Carl slowly begins to ruin his relationship with his son because he tries to prove the food critics and social networks wrong. Carl realizes that without his family he does not have anyone to share his food passion with. Again, food has brought people together.

Steph is the creator of the food blog "I Am A Food Blog".

Steph is the creator of the food blog “I Am A Food Blog”.

There are also food blogs that bring people together. Social networks such as Instagram, Pintrest, Facebook, Tumblr, and other blog sites are where people who share a common interest in recipes and finding new restaurants connect. A popular food blogger Stephanie who normally goes by “Steph” in her blogs shared that she began her food blog to share simple recipes she created herself with things in her fridge. Steph was not always a food blogger; she began as a photographer and realized how much she loves food. Since creating her blog 3 years ago she now photographs food for restaurants that she features on her blog. One blog of Steph’s that stood out was a party she planned. She shared her secrets about making her friend’s party successful from all the food Steph made, how she decorated and most importantly, how much everyone loved her easy dishes! Many bloggers connect on blog sites like Steph’s and learn about each other’s cooking secrets and go-to places when they are not in the kitchen.

image (1)

(the G Brief, 2015)

Many people may not recognize that there are many different types of foodies. Foodies who love to cook, foodies who love to find good eats, and foodies who share their findings whether it is recipes or restaurants. Even within the term “Foodie” there are interest categories. For example, the genre ‘health food bloggers’ could consist of vegan bloggers, organic bloggers and meal prepping bloggers. There are so many different categories of foodies that it is easy to connect with people all over the world. Today, because of the media, people are brought together through food and exposed to a variety of innovative and delicious food ideas.

Learning Moments

Throughout this class, it has raised my awareness to many things in the media and how we portray the media. I am glad that I was able to read so many things about media literacy and how we must be educated on how to read media properly and see between the lines. This class has also brought my attention to different identities. Realizing that I belong to many different identities has helped me understand the sense of community. This class showed me how important it is to build a sense of community.

Works Cited

Chef. Dir. Jon Favreau. Perf. Jon Favreau, Scarlett Johansson, Sofia Vergara, Emjay Anthony and Robert Downey. 2014. DVD.

Le, Stephanie. Web log post. I Am A Food Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2015. <http://iamafoodblog.com/about/&gt;.

Tucker, Tate. “The Food Trends That Will Never Go Out of Style.” : A Modern Take on How Food and Hospitality Are Shaping Society (2014): n. pag 34. Print.

Zimmern, Andrew, dir. “Bizarre Foods.” Travel Channel. 2006. Television.

College Females in the Media

The images presented in the media play an important role in everyday life, and sometimes the messages presented to young women about their identity and beauty are biased. I chose to research how my identity as a female college student is portrayed in popular culture today. Some of my findings were new and reveling while others were familiar. I chose three movie artifacts to analyze. They are called: “Legally Blonde,” “Sorority Wars,” and “Sydney White.” These movies affect the young generation of females, because they portray stereotypes toward women, ideal body standards and certain biased female behavior.

The movies that I analyzed took place on a college campus and featured females with an “ideal body” image. They also had a similar “sorority” theme trend, which seems to be a popular college theme involving females. However, I also realized that in each movie the female college students behaved and acted differently when it came to dealing with problems and negativity. For example in the movie “Sorority Wars,” directed by James Hayman, there was a scene where Katie the (main character) chose to join a different sorority because she wanted to avoid the negativity in her first sorority. Throughout the movie she sought justice for the unlawful behavior of the other sorority houses, which included illegally drinking. Then the “war” became against Katie (the prized legacy for the Delta sorority) because she chose a different house and went against the “mean girls.” The entire movie is centered on Katie and her interactions with the “mean girls.” This consistent trend of “mean girls” theme, categorizes how female college students tend to behave in sorority houses. Also the cast for this movie are all models, skinny females, and this impacts the ideal standard of how female college students should look.


"Mean Girls"

                               “Mean Girls”

“Sydney White,” directed by Joe Nussbaumthere, casts a female college freshman named Sydney, who joins her mother’s once honorable sorority. Sydney White meets a group of “dwarfs” who accept her for who she is, and she ends up living them because her own sorority won’t accept her. The purpose of the movie is to entertain the audience with comedy/drama that happens between college females. This movie also presents the stereotype of “mean girls” that dislike Sydney, and plot against her. This stereotype portrays the struggle of fitting into a college campus because there will be girls that dislike you and don’t accept you. Sydney stands out because of her unique character, and in the scene below we can see that the “blonde” females don’t accept her in their sorority, and later dismiss Sydney from the house.

Sydney is about to be humiliated and dismissed from the sorority house.


Lastly, I realized that only in the movie “Legally Blonde” directed by Robert Luketic and written by Amanda Brown, featured actual classrooms and course work that was involved with the female college student. This movie also focused on a “blonde” female stereotype. Although, this film was changing the way blonde college girls are represented in the world. The main character (Eli Woods) is determined to show the world that she is more than just another pretty blonde face girl. No one believes in Eli, because of her blonde hair and “not that smart.” All the law students laugh at her, strongly judge Eli on her appearance, and the way she looked. I think many people think poorly of women and don’t believe that they can as successful as men, and capable of getting “law” degrees. From the movie Eli’s ambition and dedication won the favor of her professors, and thus in the end she won a court case.

legally blonde 2

Eli Woods arrives to Harvard University, and receives glares from the other students.

From my secondary research I chose to research how different stereotypes of female college students are portrayed in the classroom setting. From my finding “Confronting Math Stereotypes in the Classroom” by Guy A. Boysen, I concluded that female college students face stereotypes and sexism on a daily basis and that negatively affects their academic ability. College students that experience sexism and various stereotypes also experience emotional stress. In one of my primary artifacts “Legally Blonde” the main character Elle Woods faced a negative stereotype from her peers because she was blonde. Because of this stereotype the character was categorized as “not smart” and incapable of finishing school for a law degree. In the movie “Sydney White,” Sydney faces a negativity from the “mean girls” and that affects her emotions and behavior. 

Another secondary source that I analyzed was called “Pressure to be Prefect” by Pavica Sheldon. Sheldon focuses on the fact that the pressure to achieve a perfect body and cultural attractiveness ideal is very high. All these movies that I previously mentioned focus on the “ideal” body standard. The studies concluded that when female college students are exposed to media that shows thin, well-proportioned models, it affects their self-esteem and thus they feel less attractive afterwards. Another study by Cohen called the National Association of Anorexia

Nervosa and Associated Disorders found that the participants “were dissatisfied with their own bodies” when they watched music videos and TV shows with such “ideal” imagery. Study reported that “53% of American girls are ‘unhappy with their bodies” by the time they are thirteen years old, and the percentage “grows to 78%” by age of seventeen as a result of seeing ideal body types in the media. This it is important to help young female college students develop a stronger identity that is different from what is presented in the media. Overall from my finding I realized that the movies that are aimed for the young female audience can affect the self-esteem and behavior of those females. Although not all female college students will be affected by the ideal  body image in the media, I think it’s important to boost the confidence of young college women and teach them to not glorify slenderness the is portrayed in popular culture today.

Throughout my analyzation, I came to the conclusion that teenage college movies with female students will always have a lot of drama, conflict, and comedy. Most of the movies that involve the female college student identity are “chick flicks” and they target the majority of the female audience. In real life, female college students are thought to be hardworking students that are on top of their studies and have their life together. However, in some movies that I analyzed, female college students engage in drama like “Sorority Wars,” thus the portrayal of female college students seemed to be biased.  In every movie that I analyzed I also noticed that the “ideal” beauty standard is being portrayed to college students. Also in some movies female college students don’t go for difficult degrees and it’s rarely shown that a female college student is actually behind a book studying. I feel that movies today don’t exist without the “bad guy”, and in this case there is a group of “mean girls” that portray negativity and jealousy toward a certain female college student character.  It’s important to understand the messages in the media because young women are constantly exposed to these potentially harmful messages at a young age, and those messages are constantly influencing them.

Significant Learning Moments

Something that stood out to me this term was about the history of advertisements, presented in week three. When deconstructing the advertisements I was surprised by the deep meaning each advertisement held. The course text presented that week was called “American Advertising: A Brief History,” and the point that stood out to me the most was that the advertising industry falsely pictures the world to the consumers, so that they hope for it. They picture things like prosperity, material comfort, luxury, while in reality many Americans don’t have that kind of life. This made me think how people always keep wanting better things in life, to be more successful, forgetting the things they already have. Sometimes the media can make peoples so anxious that people don’t fully appreciate the things they have because they are busy chasing their new goals. Also if the media falsely pictures the world, it can influence people to feel less about themselves and what standing they have in life.

The topic presented in week four called, The Influence of Advertising, also stood out to me significantly. One discussion question asked if advertisements contributed anything of value to our culture, and I think that they do, because they reflect the world we live in. Although there are inappropriate racist commercials that use offensive stereotypes to sell products, we should not allow or tolerate them. However, many other commercials can mirror our beliefs, and influence how we see the world; those ads can be positive. Positive advertisements can open our societies eyes to see that typical things that we say can actually be offensive to certain genders and people. The course text presented that week called “Ways of Seeing” by John Burger also opened my eyes to a new way of “seeing” advertisements. In Berger’s piece it was interesting how the oil paintings showed the luxurious life based on what the people already had, but today advertisements show that people need to buy certain products to have a good luxurious life. I learned that although advertisements are addressed to the public, the ideas presented can be personal and influence individualist to want something because it will enrich their lives.


Cohen, M. (2012). Teen health and the media. University of Washington Experimental Education Unit.

Boysen, Guy. “Confronting Math Stereotypes In The Classroom: Its Effect On Female College Students’ Sexism And Perceptions Of Confronters.” Sex Roles 69.5/6 (2013): 297-307. Academic Search Premier. Web. 5 Nov. 2015.

Klawans, Stuart. “The Girls Of Summer.” Nation 277.3 (2003): 50-53. Academic Search Premier. Web. 6 Nov. 2015.

“Legally Blonde.” IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc, n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2015

Sheldon, Pavica. “Pressure To Be Perfect: Influences On College Students’ Body Esteem.” Southern Communication Journal 75.3 (2010): 277-298. Academic Search Premier. Web. 6 Nov. 2015.

“Sorority Wars.” IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc, n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2015

“Sydney White.” IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc, n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2015

Male Students in Media and Film

A Popular Film Image of the Male College Student


Popular culture, at its core, portrays assumptions about our society and instills a shallow representation of ideas. Through television, social media, internet, and tabloids, popular media is able to spread information to the majority. From this point, the media promotes messages and presumptions about life. What comes along with popular media is a mass wave of misconceptions and fanaticized prescriptions of reality.

As a male college student, I have taken an interest in how the media portrays male college students as a whole. Male college students are shown in media as alcoholic guzzling jocks living for the weekend and partying. I don’t think that this idea of male students represents who I am and the vast majority of my male college peers.

The most popular representation of male college students comes from the infamous movie Animal House. This film depicts an outcast fraternity, Delta Tau Chi, which strives in non-stop partying, chasing women, and drinking booze. The fraternity is at odds with a fellow fraternity and the dean of the university. Through a series of clashes against the rival fraternity and campus faculty, Delta takes desperate measures to ensure that they are not dissolved by the university. The overall theme of the film pokes fun at college life and embraces a humor aspect of the college atmosphere. The underlining idea that the movie promotes is that college is a fun place where a male student can find a clan of other male peers like himself and have the time of his life partying and chasing girls. As a viewer, of Animal House, I do admit that the film is a successful piece of comedy, but it does not account for real circumstances in the life of a college student.

The next film that caught my attention, Neighbors, embraces a more modernized depiction of a fraternity in a typical suburban neighborhood. In the plot of this movie, the next door neighbors of the frat house is a young couple who has just had a newborn child. Conflict arises between the two households because the fraternity house continually hosts obnoxiously loud parties which irritates the couple and wakes their newly born child. The tension between these neighbors leads to both sides sabotaging each other’s property in attempts to demand respect. What I found interesting about this film was the choice of character use. The film exhibits the newlywed father as goofy overweight Jewish male. The male fraternity president, the antagonist, is a chiseled Caucasian male with tan skin, blue eyes, and a tattoo of the Greek fraternity symbol. The film equates college life to drinking, partying, and chasing girls. As a college student, I find no similarities to the lifestyle that the characters live in the film. I don’t find consistent theme of daily partying to be accurate in reality of my experience as a college student.

The last movie that drew my interest was the 1994 film named PCU. The center of this story revolves around a high school senior who visits a potential university that he may attend. When he arrives on campus, he is immediately immersed in the vivacious environment of PCU. During his stay at the University, he rooms with a fraternity full of party animals, alcoholics, and pranksters. The high school senior is led by a member of the fraternity named Droz Anderson. Droz is depicted as a 7th year senior who has not really gained anything from college besides partying and drinking. The rest of the individuals in the fraternity are shown as slobs and girl chasing drunks. This film, like both of the previous movies, does not represent male college students in reality. It solely focuses on aspects of partying, drinking, and sarcastic dialogue.

The assumptions that popular media suggests about male college students do not reflect the same image in reality. In real life, college students do not have the luxury to party 24/7 and not study for any classes. Real college students have to dedicate time to their studies, work, sports and other endeavors during their time in school. The media’s role in the representation of male college students is not showing the true image of the average male student.

What I have learned from this project and throughout this term is that pop culture uses media as a tool to manipulate the consumer into thinking that they have to live up to the standards of what is displayed. There are many misinterpretations that are promoted through screens, magazines, social media, and the internet. It is imperative for viewers to receive the messages from pop culture in a critical matter. Consumers must learn to question and inquire the background of advertisement, mass messages, and information promoted by media.


Reference List


1.       Animal House, Harold Ramis, Douglas Kenney, Chris Miller, John Landis, Ivan Reitman, Matty Simons, National Lampoon 1978,http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077975/fullcredits?ref_=tt_ov_wr#writer(n.d.).

2. Retrieved December 1, 2015, from http://www.stumpedmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/AnimalHouse.jpg 

3.  (n.d.). Retrieved December 1, 2015, from http://www.stumpedmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/AnimalHouse.jpg 

4.  Neighbors, Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O’Brien, Nicholas Stoller, Good Universe and Point Grey Pictures, 2014, http://www.neighbors-movie.com/

5.  PCU, Adam Leff, Zak  Penn, Hart Bochner, Twentieth Century Fox, 1994, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110759/

Musician (myo͞o-zĭsh′ən): Any Person, Whether Professional or Not, Skilled in Music

Leah Addington

Daneen Bergland



Musician (myo͞o-zĭsh′ən): Any Person, Whether Professional or Not, Skilled in Music

There has been a great evolutionary awakening for twenty-first century musicians. In the past, music was used as a form of entertainment, which has not changed in contemporary times however, they have transformed the mechanics and patterns of music to become an even more relatable form of language. One aspect that has changed has been the consistency of rhythm in contemporary music whereas if we were to look at Beethoven, classical composers decorate their music with ornaments and fashionable characteristics that create warm and specific sounds. Composers of today follow the same concepts except they have extended the potentials of what music can do for others. By studying current musicians and the process of becoming popular, there is very distinctive qualities that has given the opportunities to become known in our society. One of the many intriguing details about a musician is when is an artist considered a musician? Perhaps more importantly, who has the authority to say who is a musician or not? From musicians and non-musicians, opinions differentiate greatly however, juxtaposing the voices of musicians and non-musicians argues that depending on the artist’s musicality, impacting their audience influences them. Thus, the ability to relate to their audience and the audience responds back suggests as the vital aspect of what defines a musician.

By thoroughly investigating contemporary artists, it has presented the many qualities musicians process. A musician is a title, and when someone has a title, there are many factors that go in order to earn that title. Sometimes musicians take their title granted. For instance, in an article called Taylor Swift is Not the Savior Artist Needs, the reporter Mike Masnick responded to an incident involving Taylor Swift arguing against a negotiation made by Apple with record labels. Earlier this year in 2015, Apple made a deal with record labels in terms for the copyright holders, deciding they would not be compensated with royalties in the first three months during the “trial period.” This “trial period” represents the time for artists’ music to be played on Apple’s streaming music program. If it becomes popular among the listeners, Apple will continue playing their music. If not, the artists’ period ends.

Taylor Swift

In correspondence to this new negotiation, Taylor Swift took great offense however, she wrote a blog post that “this isn’t about me.” She continues to refrain the words “this is about” with various scenarios, such as “this is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success” (Masnick, Swift). It is great for a musician to respond to the media when there is a less than favorable action that could affect their need for making income. But Swift is not very subtle in the way she handled this new negotiation. From her blog post, Masnick said it was “touching” but also “almost entirely hogwash for a variety of reasons.” In her blog, Swift said she was thankfully on her fifth alum and does not have to worry about this however, Masnick argues that as Tom Conrad pointed out, her career was built on terrestrial radio play, which is a free service. Thus, “Swift is living proof” that without performance royalties, it doesn’t mean “suffering” but instead, it leads to an “immensely successful and profitable career” such as Swift’s (Masnick). Musicians basically receive nothing in royalties and do not have a big enough fanbase to generate enough revenue. Therefore, even if they were paid, it will not help them overall as a musician because “if they’re getting enough plays to matter, then they have other ways to make revenue” (Masnick). In order to find have recognition has a musician, artists need to advertise themselves in any way they can, and the response they get from listeners will contribute to their success.

Overall, the impact of this move would have been minimal for musicians. Musicians need to take in consideration if “they [rely] on the royalties from Apple Music to make or break their musical career has no musical career” (Masnick). Even if Apple decided to begin paying them, then musicians would demand more, and many artists would give a bad reputation. It would no longer be about the music but their paycheck, and one of the greatest impacts of becoming a musician is to have and present a positive role model for the next artist. Thirdly, the most concerning point is Swift gave “a false sense of hope to those who rely on obsolete business models, rather than innovating them” (Masnick). The Atlantic’s article titled her blog post as Taylor Swift Almighty: Is she the most powerful person in music? Also, Jeremy Olsan wrote on his Twitter:

LcpotXjlMusicians were celebrating Swift’s blog post in which will not even benefit them. It’s unfortunate because Swift should be a role model however, her blog suggested to not focus on business models that let them connect directly to fans and give them a reason to buy something (Masnick). They are treating Swift as “a savior,” which is damaging for a seeking musician. A musician does not need to “pray for a savior” but needs to take steps to ensure they are a competent business model. This article submits a critical factor in defining a musician because after her blog, people were believing she was the most “powerful musician in music.” Who is to say there is a most “powerful” musician? Music is a form of language that can be communicated to any ear and by any person. Music stations played Swift’s music for free at the beginning of her career and that was a huge part of why she is where she is—it communicated to an audience. Thus, she is no more powerful than any beginning musician because every musician’s mission is to give to their audience.

This is not to say Swift herself cannot be defined as a musician. In fact, even in the beginning of Masnick’s article, he admits “she’s an incredibly savvy music person, who has built a tremendously successful career, often by maintaining control on her own” (Masnick). This can be seen in the article Taylor Swift Dismisses the Haters, Dances with Fans for New Song ‘Shake it Off.’ Two years prior to her newest CD, it was enough time for her to grow and change. And as a musician, change can be very positive because “[changing] what you believe in and what’s influencing and inspiring you” affects your music, and music is a reflection of the artist’s character (Kreps with Swift). Her new album was “a rebirth of [her],” which further explains that a musician matures as they pay closer attention to the tunings of their craft. Her goal for her next album is to continue this change but to never change in the same way twice because then the musician has not grown as an artist (Kreps with Swift.)

In a review with Swift, an NPR staff has a twelve year old daughter who wanted to ask Swift “why’d [she] address [Shake it Off] to [her] haters and not [her] motivators.” Swift responds how she first wrote a song in the past called Mean, addressing her bully’s asking why they were mean. Swift realized there should be a more positive way to approach an issue, and that it’s important to “be very aware of who you actually are, and to have that be the main priority.” This goes a huge way to relate the audience and be seen as a good role model. Swift is not “the savior” we should praise however, it is not to say we should be attentive and recognize everything Swift tries to do for her audience. One of her goal through her lyrics is to encourage girls who are in middle school to find a way to distract yourself from negativity (NPR Staff with Swift). As a musician myself, I do not relate to her lyrics because they do not apply to my life. But for some others, especially a younger audience, her message is a healthy approach to a problem they may have, thus serving as a great role model for musicians and non-musicians.

In order to represent as a role model, the artist must connect to the audience. If there is no connection to fans, then it will not work for the musician. Music is about connection, and if a musician cannot feel connected to another person through their music, something is greatly wrong. Not every person can relate, but there has to be a message coming across that lets us recognize the relation to a group of people.

Creating connections is one of the extensions of being a musician. Lindsey Stirling, a new musician becoming popular in the music industry, is a violinist and goes against the traditional norm of playing classical music. When she began her career, she first went to America’s Got Talent and made it all the way to the quarter finals. Here are the results of why she was unable to continue:

The judges of the show were very skeptical of her purpose as a musician. She was trying her all as a dancer and as a performer but they believed she should only use her instrument as an accompaniment to a singer, not be the soloist herself. Her performance made them come to the conclusion that the violin “is not what that type of instrument is used for pop music” (America’s Got Talent Broadcast). One of the major problems with her performance was her incorporated dancing, which at some parts of the video, it was evident. However, it’s condemning to say one form of an instrument is not allowed to branch out and be its own voice. They grouped the violin as if it’s an extension of a thought for music, which completely diminishes the capability a musician can do with his or her voice. An instrument just doesn’t make sound, it’s also a voice, her voice. And that’s one of the things most non-musicians do not understand. They believed pop or dubstep belongs only with the human voice, which actually has the same equal amount of emotional and physical delivery as instrument. A violin doesn’t only mean an instrument from a Vivaldi String Quartet—it also can be a part of the contemporary realm our ears hear every other day in the grocery store.

Sharon Osbourne famously opinionated that the “violin would never be able to fill the halls if she didn’t hire a singer” (America’s Got Talent Broadcast). Now, Stirling has been on not only state tours, but world tours. Here is one of her most famous music videos:

Stirling created her own youtube channel in the beginning, and the more she listened to the type of sounds her audience wanted to hear, she tried with whatever talent she had and she delivered. If a musician can use a bad experience to drive them, then they have succeeded already as an artist. Everything takes time. Her moment in America’s Got Talent was five years ago. Now she has two published albums featuring guest artists. For musicians, patience is an absolute virtue, and Stirling waited graciously and has blossomed beautifully. As an artist, she is not so easily woven in a particular genre because she has stretched every possible flavor someone could ask for.

Lindsey Stirling

Chris William, a music reporter and non-musician, went to see Stirling in concert in Los Angeles. In his report, he spoke about how a classical and pop critic wondered about this new trend of violin and “who it was for.” Both the critics did not care much for her music, but at the concert, there were a different type of audiences drawn to listen to her that night. He said “the audience would have surely thrown the NYT critics back to square one by being a diverse and indefinable as any you’d see at pop shows” (William). William argues how much Stirling has extended the stereotypical character of the violin and has brought in “ethnically diverse” ages into her concert, from gamer friends, “bordering-on-elderly attendees,” and “the young African-American woman who kept frantically waving her arms and screaming obscenities at the wholesome Mormon violinist—happy obscenities, as in, ‘Can you f-ing believe this? Every f-ing note is so f-ing fantastic!’” (William). It goes to show Stirling used America’s Got Talent to encourage her to prove how powerful music can be in any shape and form.

However, William did criticize her music has “vaguely moody melodies” and “consistently favors frenzy over emotion,” which is a weakness to her record. Then again, she is still a growing artist. People of all ages and of all groups are at her concert eager to listen, and she will move across the block to the bigger Nokia Theatre if she does not change her style (William). The critics may not understand, but as William puts so delicately, “the violin-loving little girls and EDM-craving gamers and New Age middle-agers understand” (William). Lindsey doesn’t solely connect to one age group, but to everyone. Thus, Lindsey changes the perception of the way America’s Got Talent works as a show. Who has the authority to say who is a musician or not? Not the judges. Not the musician. It is the audience.

Lastly, Michelle McLaughlin is also a contemporary artist like Swift and Stirling. She is a solo pianist and composer, who began playing at the age of eight. Unlike the other two artists, she was never taught the piano and yet she is currently working on her 15th album. She reveals that “[she] just learned to play by listening to other musicians” (Mclaughlin). While growing up, she was shy to have people besides close family and friends to listen to her music, but once she began giving new cds for Christmas cards, the positive feedback encouraged her to go even further as a musician. Like Swift, she went to Whisperings: Solo Piano Radio to have her music, for free, be played. Although a reviewer of the station enjoyed it, she had to advance her recording equipment. Once she did, a couple of different stations began to play her music and one night, she even happened to hear one of her Christmas songs be used on TV.

Michele McLaughlin

This is also an aspect every musician needs: inspiration. In order to become a known artist, McLaughlin had to have inspiration to listen to, in order to become an inspiration for someone else. For her, her music is “[her] story, [her] diary, [her] journal, [her] biography…a glimpse into [her] soul” (McLaughlin). And to represent that was listening to another’s story through their music. In a music reporter’s review, Bill Binkelman had heard how “[Mclaughlin] presents her emotional intent of song forthwith and front and center” and that “it’s a testament to her considerable talent that this baring of her soul always works so well” (Binkelman). If someone else were to play her music, it would not have the same story anymore. She has the talent to represent her life within the notes she writes down on paper, which is a great challenge for so many, including myself.

Similarly, Swift also had said since her musical career had begun, “people [had] essentially gotten to read [her] diary for the last ten years” (NPR Staff with Stirling). Both of these artists reveal that music is a way to send a message to the audience. To make a connection, either by telling their story or story that may relate to something they have experienced. For Stirling, she has broken the rules of using a stringed instrument as a new genre of instrument play, and it is gathered a great diverse of people, all wanting to hear a diverse world of violin sound. Each of these artists are related in that they aspire as role models and inspire their audience, extend the possibilities with music, and connect with their audiences. These contemporary artists are great definitions for what it means to be a musician because although not perfect, they use their craft as way to create a universal language anyone can listen and understand. There are many aspects that are involved in the title of a musician, and these three represent and own these titles.

Learning Moments

One of the greatest learning experiences in this class is getting to know my individual mentored group. It has built such a solid and insightful way of learning about someone else, including myself. During week 5, it asked about our secondary sources and what we had found. One of the people in my group had asked me “I have heard of a lot of people losing respect for modern music because it lacks the intimate meaning that classic music tends to have. Why do you think that might be?”

My response: as for the lack of intimate meaning in modern music, I personally do not think it’s entirely lost, just muddled. Songs now days are very repetitive in their sound and lyrics (not that songs in the past aren’t) but they are losing their uniqueness (which is difficult for all artists). It’s difficult to actually answer your question because I’m not sure if you mean classical music, which don’t have much emotional meaning but focus more on technical and rich detail. Modern music appeals to our emotions more but are not as complex in the lyrics (such as Shake It Off) or in the compositional process. Artist take immense amount patience and diligence in their music, but the technical process has diminished in modern artists (no pun intended). I do not care much for pop music but for a few songs (such as the new beautiful “Hello” by Adele and “Love Runs Out” by Onerepublic”). That’s just my personal tastes. I think Taylor Swift has great musicality however, I believe her lyrics are youthful and simple. It doesn’t move me at all. Her words can relate to some people, but overall, I think the subject about relationships are more than simple. I think Adele captures it very well within her new piece. Does that not define her as a musician? No, because she knows five instruments and her music sells. Her album 1989 she describes it as “it’s the rebirth of [her].” She transitioned from country to pop. And I think that’s great, because music is a huge realm to explore and exploit beautiful differences. However, I also think she could try to stretch her lyrics a bit more, but again, it’s her personal style that I’m not in favor of.

Another great discovery over the course of these weeks is finally observing popular culture and how people and subjects are portrayed in media. In week two course texts, this article really made me critically observe:


One of the great questions asked by a classmate to my response about the article was an old classmate from Race and Social Justice FRINQ course last year. He asked: “How do you think the media is portraying black lives today in relation to the article on Muslim women? Is there relation in the media’s standpoint?” And it made me so happy that could be passionate and intellectually involved in my response. Here is an excerpt of my response:

“Unlike the Muslim women, African-Americans are not viewed as terrorists. There are some pretty well known African-Americans, like Michael Jordon, Eddy Murphy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Snoop Dog, who are all perceived very, very differently. One is inspiration, one is entertainment, one for hope, and I don’t even know about Snoop Dog, all I know is he does rap and a few other shenanigan things, so I don’t really know what to say about him, he’s just a popular musical figure (if you call rap music, but I’m a biased classical composer intended major). But one stigmatization attached to the imagery of an African-American is terms such as “captive,” “enslaved,” “nigger,” “mule,” “powerless,” and the horrific terms go on. A lot of people think of African-American’s as the descent of slaves in the past of our country in the United States. But what becomes so muddled is the fact people do not study the actual history of these priceless figures we never hear about, and there is so much more than simply Africans being brought over to this new land and to serve to their “white, holy masters.”

Muslim Woman

“…I believe that yes, African-American’s can certainly be tied to certain stereotypical terms or points in history. But like the author for the article about Muslim women argued so well is educate yourself. Why is popular culture the way it is? It’s because we do not take the time to learn about the “behind-the-scenes” of a group of people and their history, but only get an overview of an article or a known piece of history about them and have that be the strong basis to our conclusion of the subject. No, I do not believe Muslim women should ever have to be solely connected to an event such as 9/11. In fact, one of the most intellectual, strong, and powerful voice I heard in my Race and Social Studies class was a Muslim woman. She inspired me. She was the one who wanted to actually speak up, when I know sometimes when I speak, I get tongue-tied because I’ve always struggled lining up my thoughts in an organized manner and make an argument or discussion verbally. Much better at it now, but it’s still a heavy insecurity I think I might always have–unless I listen to more people like the young woman, who covered her face except her eyes, in my FRINQ course. And that means something. Something enlightening. Something evolving–the evolution of listening, understanding, and having acceptance of diversity.”


I felt like I can have a voice, and that makes me feel very proud to share it. And so overall, this class has made me look around my physical community (my home, church, campus) and ask myself, “why is this place the way it is, in terms of representation?” I love having this online community to share our thoughts and ideas and learn from each other. And more surprisingly, what I learned about myself.


Masnick, Mike. “Taylor Swift Is Not The Savior Artists Need.” Techdirt. June 23, 2015. https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150622/22584031428/taylor-swift-is-not-savior-artists-need.shtml

NPR Staff and Swift, Taylor. “‘Anything That Connects’: A Conversation With Taylor Swift.” NPR Music. Updated November 12, 2014. http://www.npr.org/2014/10/31/359827368/anything-that-connects-a-conversation-with-taylor-swift

Kreps, Daniel and Swift, Taylor. “Taylor Swift Dismisses the Haters, Dances With Fans for New Song ‘Shake it Off.’” RollingStone. August 18, 2014. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/taylor-swift-dismisses-the-haters-dances-with-fans-for-new-song-shake-it-off-20140818

“Lindsey Stirling America’s Got Talent.” Youtube video, 7:29. Posted by “America’s Got Talent.” April 12, 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2xL7D5lPAk

William, Chris. “Lindsey Stirling Fiddles with the System: Concert Review.” The Hollywood Reporter. May 16, 2014. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/lindsey-stirling-fiddles-system-concert-704996

McLaughlin, Michelle. “About Me.” Michele McLaughlin. 2015. http://michelemclaughlin.com/about/

Binkelman, Bill. “Musical Storytelling to Inspire and Excite the Imagination.” Michele McLaughlin. 2015. http://michelemclaughlin.com/

Harper, Douglas. “Musician.” Dictionary.com. Online Etymology Dictionaryhttp://dictionary.reference.com/browse/musician

Images From:

Higgins, Parker. (August 6, 2015). Taylor Swift’s Streaming Rant Nearly Identical To Garth Brooks’ Used CD Rant. Retrieved from: http://www.hypebot.com/.a/6a00d83451b36c69e201b8d1438405970c-800wi

Masnick, Mike. (June 23, 2015). Taylor Swift is Not the Saviour Artists Need. Retrieved from https://i.imgur.com/LcpotXj.png

Carrillo, Luis David Hernandez. (August 31, 2013). Youtube video: la mejor violinista sin duda una de las mejores lindsey stirling HD. Retrieved from http://i.ytimg.com/vi/sL25AnUDnAY/maxresdefault.jpg

Mclaughlin, Michelle. (2015). About Me. Retrieved from http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/ffr/images/c/c5/MicheleMcLaughlin.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20141029231724

Jews News Administrator. (October 14, 2015). Muslim Woman Issues Chilling Warning to the West about Dangers of Islam. Retrieved from http://cdn.jewsnews.co.il/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/1380.jpg