Images of a Hacker in Popular Culture: Why didn’t Hollywood Movies Get It Right?

Minh Le


In this blog post, I do not criticize or evaluate the whole movies and their quality at all, in fact they all are great and intriguing to watch. By that mean, I decided to narrow down my research to only focus on the image of a character identified as a hacker, in order to analyze how my identity-programmer represented in popular culture as a whole. After watching three movies I chose and taking note, one thing I noticed is that even though they were made and released in different time period: Hackers-1995, The Social Network-2010, and Blackhat-2015, they all highlighted a common stereotype in which talent programmers (hackers) tend to do evil things and abusing their power over the computer to exploit operating system vulnerability. (Side note: it is not that long in time, but the one comes out later should be better or avoid common missteps revealed in the previous one, right? In fact we don’t see much improvement here)

First, let’s clarify the definition of hacker and who is a hacker exactly in case for those that are still confused by the false presentation of hacker in popular culture artifacts, and then we can further examine how they were depicted as the way they were in Hollywood movie. The term hacker itself originally meant to identify computer scientist or programmer who is particularly skilled in computer programming. As time passed by, the meaning of the word “hacker” started to diversify, and somehow Hollywood movies and popular culture misled it to a typical stereotype in which the portrayal of hackers were depicted as awkward, antisocial, malicious, and secluded in their own world: the cyberspace.


The first artifact I analyzed is the 1995 American film Hackers directed by Iain Softley. The film is about a genius programmer, Dade, and his elite hacker group trying to uncover the truth hidden behind the criminal case. Although Hackers did a good job of portraying some elements of hacker culture, the film is notable for being the least accurate portrayal of hacking techniques as the way it shaped hacker culture in its own image. That is, in the article titled Hackers written by professional critic Jim McClellan reviewing the movie, he also shares the same thought on how Softley put all the action scenes in an immaterial realm cyberspace or map the urban landscape onto cyberspace (McClellan 1996), is failing to describe the actual hacking itself in reality.

Hacking in the movie

How people hack in the movie

After watching this movie, I noticed that Hollywood has contributed to the stereotype, which depicts hacker as young computer geniuses (with marvelous technological skills) had committed misconduct behaviors and performed illegal activities. Although there are many other hackers with different characteristics described in the movie, I will just focus on the portrayal of hacker demonstrated by the protagonist on this post. That is, my observation noted that dominant characteristics of a hacker are mischievous, ambitious, and childish, and it was shown each time when Dade intentionally used his skills to achieve his personal wishes. In McClellan’s article, I found that he mentioned the same argument that most of the hackers in the movie are representatives of cyber youth culture that tend to “take the world by storm” (McClellan 1996). His article basically suggested that Softley’s Hackers movie does a good job on the portrayal of hacking culture and the teenage characters, despite being depicted from a stereotyped pool.

The Social Network

Moving to the second artifact I chose, The Social Network directed by David Fincher, based on the real life story of the foundation of the social networking website Facebook-Mark Zuckerberg. In my opinion, The Social Network is a great movie as it has done a uniquely good job of displaying computers and hacking movement on the screen in realistic way. Although what Zuckerberg typed in his laptop doesn’t necessarily reflect real life “hacking”, it still makes sense to the audience as it depicts realistic portrayal of modern hacking. However, similar to Hackers, The Social Network also depicts the portrayal of a genius, teenage hacker in the same stereotypical manner. In the movie, Mark appears to be a very sarcastic person, which can be perceived from his conversations with others (though his appearance is to fit in the film and its genre). Again, when I narrow my focus only to the protagonist, I found the most interesting element of the film is the way it depicts Mark’s characteristics of naive, smart, enthusiastic but always struggling in the social context at the beginning (i.e. antisocial – typical stereotype of a hacker), and then transforms him into a cold-hearted businessman at the end. This is also when the paradox was clearly shown by the portrayal of the antisocial guy develops a social network.

In the article titled The Geeks: gods of capitalism by Laurie Penny reviewing the film “The Social Network”. She criticizes that the movie is basically a “redemptive parable of male nerd culture” in which a social network that connected more than 500 million people across the globe was germinated in an act of vengeful misogyny (Laurie 2010). Once again we can see how Hollywood movie depict programmer in typical stereotype of ambitious, abusing power in desperate for wealth and respect.


Hollywood movie finally gets hacking movement right on the screen with Blackhat, the American action thriller film directed by Michael Mann staring at Nick Hathaway, who is an experienced hacker, is assigned to a Chinese-American force investigating a series of incidents of cyber terrorism. The filmmakers clearly did their research, and the result is a remarkably accurate reflect modern hacking techniques on the screen. Instead of displaying complicated operating systems’ interfaces with high-end graphics, characters on the film “hack” using techniques exactly the same as how hacker “hacks” in the real life (using Bash, Emacs, Linux, and typing commands). That is, every time the camera shows a computer screen, the contents of the movie are built on a solid premise with most of the hacking performed is within the realm of the possible. That all being said, the movie does an excellent job on the technical side aspects.

Image of coding on-screen portrayed how real life coding looks like

Although Blackhat gets the visuals right, it accidentally fell into the common stereotype that has visited in so many previous Hollywood hacker movies when it comes to portraying hacker on-screen: programming is served for heist related purposes. In this movie, the portrayal of hacker was mainly shown by the villain, who is the responsible for a cyber attack to a Chinese nuclear facility and planning to attack more targets.

Image of a nuclear power plant explosion

Overall, the movie is very realistic and detailed with the raw materials for even though the way the plot is played out in Blackhat was too fast to be realistic, which somehow diminishes the technical accuracy.


To sum up what I have discovered so far after analyzing those movies, the ethical issue arises as one of the cause of how the portrayal of a hacker in popular culture falls into a common negative stereotype. Before advancing to the next step where I will discuss how the portrayal of hacker should be improved, let’s recall who are the hackers one more time. According to the definition in a peer-reviewed titled The Moral Cracker?, hackers are people who expose their interest in learning about computer hardware and software by digging into the machine to learn its hidden secrets or vulnerabilities, and, ultimately, to take control of it (Baird et al. 472) Now it’s time to categorize hackers into two groups. The first group, let’s called them black hat just like in the movie, vulnerabilities are prey to hunt for and exploit to gain financial benefits. The second group, denoted as the “ethical” hacker- white hat, is composed of individuals who serve for the cyber security to identify vulnerabilities and fix them before black hats find it. Though both use the exact same methods “to hack” into the operating system, their goals are way opposite from one another.

At this point, it’s clear to identify what Hollywood movies missing on the screen, we all see now? Yes, most of the hackers represented in the movies were fallen into the first group. Therefore, to put an end to the common stereotype existed so long, future movie that portrays the image of a hacker should be taken with the approach using the concepts discussed in the article The Moral Cracker as a core to develop.


Works cited

Baird, Bruce J., et al. “The Moral Cracker?” Computers &Amp; Security, vol. 6, no. 6, 1987, pp. 471–478.

McClellan, Jim. “Hackers.” Sight and Sound, vol. 6, no. 5, 1996, pp. 53,3.

Penny, Laurie. “The Geeks: Gods of Capitalism.” New Statesman, vol. 139, no. 5021, 2010, p. 12.

The Perception of Asian Americans in pop culture

Nathen low


SPR 2018

The perception of Asian Americans in Pop Culture

When I went into this assignment, I had only personal experience to base how people feel about Asian-Americans in society.  I grew up in a very small, rural town called La Grande, Oregon.  I basically knew everyone in my town and had been with the same 20 or 30 kids throughout grade school, and middle school.  After getting into some trouble, my mom decided I would start high school in an even smaller town about 10 minutes away, called Union, Or.  Having come from a small town already, I was certain that I had heard every Asian joke that there was.  But after attending Union High School, I realized that many people not only made ignorant jokes but were ignorant about anything outside of their small town.  I remember when I had a teacher of mine ask me if I was Asian or Chinese.  To this day I am not sure if he had accidentally misspoken, or if he truly had no idea how absurd that question was.

So I went into this assignment thinking that I was going to be covering how white-Americans viewed Asian people, and why.  But, after doing some research I discovered that the ignorance and mis-understanding actually goes deeper than that.  The first instace of this is anecdotal, when a friend of mine who is Chinese like me, made an ignorant comment when we were at the grocery store.  We were walking through the parking lot, and a 4-door car with 4 Asian people in it, drove by and nearly hit us.  My friend then said “the stereotype is true, Chinese people cannot drive”.  I asked him why he thought they were Chinese, and he responded by saying “All Asians are basically some kind of Chinese’  I laughed due to the ridiculousness of his statement, but then I sat there concerned as to this was purely a joke or a real thought that had inhabited his mind.



In this propaganda poster from WWII, we se that the Japanese man is depicted with fangs, and they spelled “very” with the double ll’s like “Velly” which is a stereotypical way of depicting the Japanese accent.  In my life I have been on the receiving end of these types of jokes and mockery.  Although, I do not want to sound like a victim.  People have every right to speak and say what they want as long as it does not incite actual bodily harm. Because of this, I was surprised to learn that there are even more instances, similar to the comment made by my friend in the parking lot, where Asians actually apply stereotype-based insults to interactions with other Asians.  In the article by the Asia Society (Kiang) mentions a conversation between Asian-Americans in a store, where one man accuses the “Korean” store owners of charging too much for beef.  The store owner, a Cambodian, tells him that he is Cambodian and not Korean.  The customer then proceeds to say that the Korean owners are ripping them off.  I was unaware that this type of racism happened between different types of Asians.



The next thing that I found, and that was very surprising to me, was that Asians are viewed as the model minority even in groups like the Alt-right.  Alt-right members have gone as far as excluding Asians from the list of races that they think should leave the country.  Their definition of “Asian” However, is limited to Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. (Lim 2018)      In the article they discuss how many Alt-right leaders and members seek Asian wives and girlfriends because they are believed to be submissive and loyal.  I found it interesting that there was selective racism and prejudice.  I know that from personal experience, there is much less hatred towards Asians than there is toward Latino and African-American people.  It was a level of bias that I was not even aware of.  And even the fact that the alt-right could be so selectively racist made me think, that racism may even be a choice.  It made me think that racism is something that we participate in, without the participation of people it does not exist.  This article made me think that we are all so quick to jump to conclusions about a certain kind of person without getting the whole story.


Asian males in movies have traditionally been portrayed as timid, and non-masculine friends or some peripheral role.  It was not until recently that we have seen masculine roles played by Asian males.  One instance I can think of where an Asian male is portrayed as even semi-masculine is in the Walking Dead, where Glen and Maggie are in a relationship.  Although this is a rarity where an Asian male is shown to be in a romantic relationship with a white woman, he is still portrayed as a scared and timid man in many instances.  And Maggie is shown to be more assertive and takes control in many instances.   In the article by “The Harvard Crimson” they mention a scene where an Indian-American actor has a sexual encounter that goes horribly wrong, but it was relatable to most straight males.  Portraying an Asian-American man in this masculine light of normalcy is strange progress, but it is a step towards inclusion.

I have discovered a lot about the perception of Asian-American males in Popular Culture.  I have discovered under representation, and very strong stereotyping in roles.  But what surprises me the most, is that I think that we are mostly represented fairly, and that things are improving as time goes on.  In general, Asian cultures are more reserved and less outspoken.  Representing Asian ales in an inaccurate light is as much as an injustice as not representing them at all in my opinion.  I have done a lot of self-discovery, and I am not only proud of my heritage, but I am mostly satisfied with how people like me are represented.










Works Cited

kiang, Peter. “Understanding Our Perceptions of Asian Americans.” Asia Society,

Lim, Audrea. “The Alt-Right’s Asian Fetish.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 6 Jan. 2018,

Reyez, Ruben. “America’s Most Important Leading Man | Opinion.” The Harvard Crimson,

Reasons for Chinese International Students to Mingle With Themselves

Week 10
Qinyu Lyu
Big Picture Blog Post


Being a part of this society, everyone has more than one identity. For me, I identify
myself as “daughter,” “only child,” “Chinese international student,” “listener,” “foodie,”
“college student,” “culture mixer.” Among all of my identities, I chose “Chinese International student” to do my research on. It is because studying in the United States
for three years as a Chinese student, I have noticed that Chinese students are not always depicted as positive images. For example, Americans think Chinese only mingle
with themselves because they do not want to come out of their comfort zone. As one part of this group, I do think it is a phenomenon existing in the college of the United States. However, as I did more and more research, I found out that there is a reason behind, which it is the difference between cultures of these two countries.

First, Chinese like to hang out with together because of their common interests and
language. In an article called “The Role of Person-Culture Fit in Chinese Students’
Cultural Adjustment in the United States: A Galileo Mental Model Approach” by Lin
Zhu, the author, used a Galileo multidimensional scaling model to explain the impact of
intercultural experience has on Chinese students. According to this article, the amount
of intercultural communication had a significant effect on person-culture fit, in turn
affecting sojourners’ adaptation outcomes. I related this article to a video I have found
as my primary resource made by a group of Chinese students. It profiled three Chinese
students at Smith College and their challenges finding right places for themselves
between China and the United States these two cultures. In this video, when the first
Chinese student mentioned her interests in Japanese culture and Asian culture in
general; she said she had more common topics and interests with people that had
Asian background, but she did not have that much to say with American students at
school because they did not have much in common. Although she came to United States when she was in high school, she did not find herself a big fan in this society so she could not find the sense of belonging here. Another Chinese student in this video explained a critical reason for Chinese students to always hang out with each other together, which is the language people speak and the familiarity of that language directly impact their passion of engagement in the conversation. She said it was hard for
her to engage in the conversation when she spoke English actively. She felt she was two people when she talked in English and Chinese.

I relate myself to both details above I have found in this video. For the first one, I have
the same feelings in the United States, people are accommodating and friendly, but
because we have been growing up in entirely different cultural backgrounds, we always
have different interest focused. One example could be in class when someone made
an American joke that related to its culture; everyone would laugh hardly except we
Chinese students. Also, when Chinese students sit down at the table with Americans,
just like the girl said, we do not have that much to talk about because our attentions are
on different things. When people are talking about American TV shows or things that
are prevalent in American social media, I could not participate that kind of conversation
because I have not paid much attention to those. I am also a big fan of Asian culture,
which brought me a lot of Korean friends after coming here, but I do not develop deep
relationships with local students. At the same time, I also found myself different when I
speak English; I think the language is not only the language but also the reflection of the
way you think, because of the altered expression of feelings and logical management,
I tend to use a different way to think in English as well as speak. So when even I do not
do that on purpose, I still show different characteristics when I speak English and Chinese. Language is a significant way to express myself; I believe it is also a big reason for many international students especially Chinese to hang out together.

Second, Chinese students like to stay as a group because they are facing the same
challenges that might only be understood by themselves. In an article called “Different is
not deficient: contradicting stereotypes of Chinese international students in US higher education” by Tang T. Heng, the author did a survey which is to follow 18 Chinese students studying in the United States for one year to see how they deal with sociocultural contexts and change over time. He exhibited his finds such as the communication styles, expectations from schools, the balance between play and work
and so on between these two cultures to illustrate that the misusing of inquiry methods may cause a lot of misunderstanding of Chinese students. I also found a short film talking about three things challenging Chinese students, which was housing, group project, and networking. Its purpose is to show the real challenges Chinese students will face when they decide to go to another country to live and study. At both the beginning and end of the film, those three students stay together, eating delicious food, taking selfies and shopping, which seems they are pleased and satisfied with their life. Especially when at the end, when one girl is asked how she is doing in finding an internship there, she answers with a smile:” It goes well.” However, in the previous story about her, she experiences a disappointing conversation with a prominent business person, the person tells her that 99% of international students failed to find jobs in the U.S. because they can never be one part of Americans.

It seems that the beginning as well as the ending which depicts the happy life for all those three Chinese students contradict the three divided stories talked. However, they are not in paradox at all. In reality, a lot of Chinese students like to pretend to live a good life, and everything goes well no matter regarding academic performance or internship finding. But behind, they are usually suffering from many horrible pains in many aspects. One reason is that they do not want their families and friends to worry about them. Another reason could be because everyone is hiding/herself and tries to show that they are living fancy life, it leads others to be not willing exhibit their pain outside, which might indicate they are losers in this country.

Third, Chinese students prefer to stay in their community because of their patriotism. In
an article called ”Patriotism Abroad- Overseas Chinese Students’ Encounters With
Criticisms of China” by Henry Chiu Hail, The author, talks about the reasons that lead to
cross-culture conflicts between Chinese students and Americans. According to the research, this cross-culture conflict does not only come from cultural misunderstanding,
differences in values, or lack of language ability, but also occurs as part of a struggle to
defend the national reputation and assert loyalty to one’s nation within the context of a
Perceived hierarchy of nations. Most Chinese students show their patriotism to them
Country by not willing to accept opinions from the westerners based on the bias. They
feel tightly connecting to their country, and they want to be respected by respecting their
country first.

I also found a new article called “Chinese Students in the U.S. Fight a ‘Biased’ View of
Home” by Shaila Dewan; in this article, the author talks about how Chinese students are
against Dalai Lama who said Tibet is not part of China, by listing things happened in several colleges that Chinese students had done, such as trying to limit his address to
non-political topics and throwing plastic bottle towards monks. He also displays opinions
from different Chinese on Chinese politics and the way western media present them. Many Americans think this phenomenon of Chinese students is mainly because they got brainwashed by the Chinese government. I don’t agree with this point because Tibet does not develop itself by refusing to take resources and beneficial policies provided by the Chinese government. Just like the Chinese student from the University of Southern California said, the history is the best evidence, for ancient Chinese emperor did grant Dalai Lama his title. Before I came to the United States, people always have a conversation about the transparency of Western media. However, after I came here, what I have noticed is not all western media is reporting negatively about China, but some of them to focus on things that they believe have something to do with the “human rights.” The exciting thing is, under the globalization of information, nowadays Chinese media does report the same stuff as the Western press does, the only difference would be the perspectives of their opinions.

In conclusion, it seems that Chinese students do not want to pay any effort in being involved in this country and the American community. The fact is, the common interests,
language, the understanding of challenges faced by this particular group as well as their
patriotism and loyalty to their country, which brings them the sense of belonging, all
become reasons for them to stay in their Chinese student’s community. As a result, it is
the cultural differences between the United States and China lead to the stereotypical
image of Chinese international students studying in the United States on current social
media, which is to only mingle with themselves.

Work Cited

Heng, Tang T. “Different Is Not Deficient: Contradicting Stereotypes of Chinese
International Students in US Higher Education.” Studies in Higher Education, vol. 43,
no. 1, 2018, pp. 22–36.

Zhu, Lin, et al. “The Role of Person-Culture Fit in Chinese Students’ Cultural Adjustment
in the United States: a Galileo Mental Model Approach.” Human Communication
Research, vol. 42, no. 3, 2016, p. 485.

Hail, Henry Chiu. “Patriotism Abroad.” Journal of Studies in International Education, vol.
19, no. 4, 2015, pp. 311–326.

Staff, Tea Leaf Nation. “Watch: Chinese Students in America Try to Find Meaning, and
Fit In.” Foreign Policy, Foreign Policy, 4 Aug. 2016,

Yang, Yung Jen. “Study Abroad – Whole Film 《我们留学生》正片.” YouTube,
YouTube, 3 Feb. 2015,
Dewan, Shaila. “Chinese Students in the U.S. Fight a ‘Biased’ View of Home.” New York
Times (1923-Current File), 29 Apr. 2008, p. A1.

Hispanic Representation in Popular Culture

Whenever I’m asked about who I am and what makes me who I am, my Hispanic identity is a big one. For the majority of my life I’ve noticed a general lack of Hispanic representation in pop culture. Additionally what little representation does exist, doesn’t portray Hispanics very realistically and tends to be negative in nature. Whether it’s the news, a movie, or a TV show, some Hispanic stereotype is often rearing its ugly head. While there may be some truth to stereotypes on the occasion, it’s hardly a reason to exaggerate, fixate or generalize them onto all Hispanic people to ever exist. There are different kinds of negative portrayals, some being more malicious in nature, like the Mexican Bandit stereotype, while others are negative in a different way. The use of funny accents and characterizations that make the character seem uneducated aren’t exactly villainous but they are still hurtful and perpetuate a false narrative. So I decided to look at how pop culture may be negatively representing Hispanics, and going step further to see how these portrayals may affect the overall perception and image of the Hispanic community.




If someone were to ask you to think of a lawyer, doctor or engineer on television, chances are whoever you thought of isn’t Hispanic. It’s not your fault one didn’t come to mind, its just that the reality is that you are more likely see a Hispanic play the role of domestic worker like a maid or some criminal drug lord. In fact Hispanics are 3 times more likely to be cast as lawbreakers than European Americans (Rivadeneyra, 394). TV shows like AMC’s Breaking Bad, are showcasing this extremely damaging stereotype of the villainous Hispanic. Hispanics, specifically males, have long been labeled as violent and associated with violence, criminal activity and gang involvement. Hollywood has exploited the ever growing stigma and narrative prompted by the Mexican Drug War and talks on immigration. In Breaking Bad, the majority of Cartel figures and drug dealers the main characters encounter in the series are Hispanic. They are all portrayed as aggressive, hostile, money hungry, self-centered villains. One of the first big cartel leaders in the series goes by the name Tuco. Tuco is very crazy and intense, often having all these outbursts of rage that result in fairly gruesome violence. A scene in the first episode of season 2 shows Tuco quickly escalating in anger at one of his own underlings and beating him to death with his bare fists. There are also many small derogatory comments and jokes made here and there throughout the show. In the pilot episode DEA agent, Hank, makes a bet with a fellow agent about the ethnicity of the suspect they’re trying to bust, “I got you twenty bucks, that says he’s a beaner” (Gillian, 2008). The mere fact that he expects a Mexican to be the one running the meth lab they’re trying to bust speaks to the pervasive image and idea that Hispanics are all drug dealer and crime bosses. Continued negative connotations like this, no matter how entertaining, are actually adding more fuel to the fire, reinforcing these damaging perceptions.

Tuco after he beat a man to death


Negative representation on television doesn’t just exist on live action shows but also resides on animated series, such as Family Guy. The show has one recurring Hispanic character, a middle-aged Mexican maid by the name Consuela. While she is a recurring character she is far from being a main character. Her appearances on the show are nonsensical; she just randomly appears in episodes sporadically every season for usually one to five minute bits. In her appearances she only interacts with the main characters half the time while the other half of the time she’s just in her own clip, in some wacky setting of her own. Consuela’s characterization is very consistent with what you picture for a stereotypical Hispanic maid or housekeeper. She speaks limited English, however through the years her broken English has improved. She’s generally seen as uneducated due to her lack of understanding, and she’s seen as being aggressive and mean sometimes. She’s always saying no to things and acting stubborn. Because of this Consuela is made out to be a really bad maid. She had altercations with the main characters, the Griffin family, in which she didn’t listen to them and cleaned things when it was an inconvenience to them and stayed late because she wanted to. On one occasion during Consuela’s upkeep, she ends up stealing $1000 in play money from the Griffin’s toddler, Stewie. When questioned about it she openly says that she took the money and when asked to give it back she says, “come get b****” (MacFarlane, 2009). Instances like this depicts that Hispanic maids are untrustworthy and quite frankly are criminals. There was even an instance when the Griffins tried to fire her but she refused to leave her job, so they took extreme measures to get rid of her. Once again going into this stigma that Hispanics are stubborn and in order to get them to abide one must take violent measures. This type of behavior from Consuela makes it so she checks off all the boxes to fit into the negative stereotype of the unintelligent, untrustworthy, Hispanic maid.

classic consuela always saying no



As mentioned before not all negative portrayals are villainous in nature, some don’t seem harmful but can still hurtful and perpetuate a false narrative. The 2011 film, Jack & Jill,  features one Hispanic character that doesn’t qualify as a background or extra character, the family’s Mexican landscaper named Felipe. Felipe’s character is characterized in a way that places him as foreign and at times perceived as inferior. Felipe speaks with a heavy accent and at times reverts to broken English. But the biggest thing about Felipe is that he’s made out to be this big jokester. Through the duration of the film Felipe makes a lot of interesting jokes. Every joke he makes is about illegal immigrants or common Mexican stereotypes. He makes comments about how good his tree impression for when immigration comes is, or talks about how his family member are all named Juan and they like to eat tacos and play soccer. Then at the end of he makes it into a joke by saying “I’m kidding,” ultimately dismissing it and laughing it off with everyone. The jokes his character makes are not particularly nasty on the surface, but they can be harmful and contribute to hurting the image of Hispanics. However for this particular film there’s an added layer of complexity that comes with Felipe making these types of jokes. If someone who is Hispanic has no problem making these kinds of comments into jokes and making no big deal about it, openly laughing; a viewer can interpret it as making those types of joke okay when it’s really not. As minor as some viewers may see it, that small stuff can still hurt an entire community and every small jokes contributes to the overall picture society has of Hispanics

All images and portrayals of anything, whether they be seen as positive or negative, can have an effect on viewers overall perceptions and beliefs on that subject or persons. But it is particularly these negative and stereotyped portrayals that can build up to be detrimental to images and perceptions of people, whether we intend for them to be or not. Stereotypes can both consciously and subconsciously affect our social judgments and beliefs, so this continuous stream of negative portrayals by Hollywood embeds these associations into the minds of its viewers. As much as we may try to disassociate from what we see in the media, it’s a big part of our society and culture. In Dong & Murillo’s study of the impacts of television viewing they explore our development of stereotypes, finding that we learn to “pick up values, ideal and behaviors from observing television programs.” At this point it’s almost seeing some sort of negative portrayal in media unavoidable, however it is not something to be taken lightly. We as the general public must begin to make changes in what we watch in order to correct and influence what is being created in media.


Learning Moments:


There have been quite a few learning moments for me this term, lots of moments and new insights from my fellow peers that made me stop and consider them more deeply. I learned a lot about media influence on our lives and the ways we may influence it back. Particularly in week 3 questions and discussions on the potential cause and effect media can have and who is to blame? Big questions such as “Does the media ‘cause’ or change our cultural attitudes or beliefs, or is it merely reinforcing existing ones? Is the media doing all of this stuff “on purpose’?” With issues things such as racial stereotyping, unrealistic life and beauty standards and violent images my knee-jerk reaction use to be to blame the media. However, a lot of media is just a reflection or reaction to all of our own ideas, beliefs, and desires. This makes our hand far from clean, we are at least in part responsible for what is created, shared, and shown to us. We as individuals and as content creators must be more considerate to ensure social responsibility.


Stemming from the learning moment in week 3, week 4 brought some ease to some of the tensions caused by the contemplations of cause and effect. In week 4 we learned to evaluate our sources and really interpret what they are, where they come from and what their purpose is. It’s easy as a consumer to take things at face value or to passively absorb information and messages presented to us without considering the whys, whos and whats. Having the tools and knowledge to evaluate your sources, can help with figuring out who’s to blame and what effects that content may be having. It’s way for us to not be mislead so easily, we can be more aware of agendas and overall more knowledgeable and informed as a society.



“Breaking Bad.” Breaking Bad, created by Vince Gilligan, AMC, FX, AMC Networks, 20 Jan. 2008-29 Sept. 2013.

Dugan, Dennis, director. Jack and Jill. Columbia Pictures, 2011.

“Family Guy.” Family Guy,created by Seth MacFarlane, Fox, 31 Jan. 1999-Present

Rivadeneyra, Rocío. “Do You See What I See?” Journal of Adolescent Research, vol. 21, no. 4, July 2006, pp. 393–414., doi:10.1177/0743558406288717.

Qingwen Dong & Arthur Phillip Murrillo. (2005).  The impact of television viewing on young adults’ stereotypes towards Hispanic Americans. University of the Pacific, Dissertation/Thesis.

Representation of Geeks in Popular Culture

           No one likes being called a nerd. I have been identified as a geek or a nerd  for a long time because I like to play video games. I also relate to the geeky characters on TV shows. That is the reason why I chose to write this paper: I wanted to see how people like me are represented across the popular culture. Geeks and nerds have a long history of negative stereotypes in popular culture. The individual of a group who is familiar with technology and fantasy content is often generalized into having poor social skills and cowardly behavior. This stereotype can be seen throughout popular culture, especially in older depictions. New and old shows still maintain the stigmas I described, such as The Big Bang Theory, The IT Crowd, and Parks and Recreation. Each of these shows depicts a nerd with a variety of the traits I described to varying degrees. Some shows depict these traits in more destructive manors than others. In my opinion it is important to make these issues known as such representation can lead to bullying in schools.

Source one: The IT Crowd

           I’d first like to dive into The IT Crowd, which far and away portrayed the most stereotypically possible depiction of nerds. The main and typically nerdy characters, Roy and Moss, are repeatedly portrayed as having a much lower social status than that of anyone else in the office. The Introduction to the show shows them bugging people about their computers (doing their job) and are consequently dropped down a trap door to the basement, where their office is located. That sort of gag is exactly the type of stereotype that I think should be far in the past regarding nerds. I think it’s damaging to self-esteem if someone who shares similar interests to you is mistreated constantly in popular culture.  Furthermore, in one episode a female co-worker comes to the basement to physically beat Roy over a work-related argument. The behavior is tolerated and the catalyst for the third main character, Jen, joining them in the basement, as the ‘public relations manager’ (to help them get along with their co-workers). I mention all this because it not only demonstrates the severe lack of respect for nerds, but also touches on another stereotype which is their lack of social skills with Women. After that violent situation, the women who beats Roy leaves and Roy asks whether anyone got her number, indicating romantic interest. I think this is a bit much because it implies that nerds are so desperate for socializing with the opposite gender that they are willing to look past violent tendencies and behavior. I would argue that this is an even worse portrayal because even if it is against a man, normalized violence isn’t appropriate. In that scene you can see Jen, not a nerd, casually watch the events unfold and eventually step in to diffuse the situation when she wanted to ask the woman where she bought such nice shoes. I think this further reinforces that nerds are portrayed as not being able to adequately socialize with others and that non-nerds have to step in to help.

Source two: The Big Bang Theory

          The Big Bang theory is the most popular artifact that stars a set of nerds. The show features a set of scientist friends who just live a nerdy lifestyle. This show is largely hated by real life nerds because of the way it uses nerd culture as its source of humor. Each nerdy cast member has the typical traits of being a nerd to an extreme end. Raj, for instance, can’t talk to women unless he is drunk and Sheldon has extreme social dysfunctionality with virtually everyone he speaks to. The main reason it’s disliked by so many people is that show is based off making fun of nerd culture. The activities the characters participate in are close to realistic but off enough that’s it’s mostly just insulting. A character will just say their mom is sending them their old N64 gaming console and the laugh track will play. Why is that funny? Because it’s something a nerd would do. It’s not particularly clever or poking fun at something extremely weird a nerd might do. It’s just taking a typical aspect of nerd culture, playing an old console, and portraying it as if it’s some hilariously ludicrous activity.

Related image


              One similarity I noticed between the IT Crowd and The Big Bang Theory is the germaphobia and extreme lack of social skills that Sheldon and Moss have. Sheldon has a superiority complex over everyone he meets. Sheldon will say something such as “Oh, please, if I don’t know, you don’t know.” This sort of interaction demonstrates a detrimental inability to form friendships with others. He behaves this way even towards his friends. Similarly, Moss has next to no social instincts. He will routinely think someone is talking to him when they’re not. Someone will ask him a sarcastic question meant to poke fun at him and he will attempt to attempt to google the answer. Social queues just go over his head. Sheldon boasts that he was tested for Autism as a child and the doctor cleared him. It’s this sort of joke that perpetuates the stereotype that nerds struggle to socialize or form lasting relationships with those around them.

              Another similarity that IT Crowd and the Big Bang Theory has is how physical appearance of nerds is very stereotypical. I would like to compare two main characters Moss from The IT Crowd and Leonard from The Big Bang Theory. They both have thick glasses and messy hair, they dress similarly, they appear to be physically unfit. It is very common for the appearance of nerds to be that way across the popular culture.

       Image result for moss from the IT crowd                    Image result for leonard big bang theory

            Moss from The IT Crowd                     Leonard from The Big Bang Theory

Source three: Parks and Recreation

               In contrast to my previous examples, I think the TV show Parks and Recreation portrays nerds in a better manor. Ben Wyatt is the resident nerd on that show, as is demonstrated by his deep appreciation for Game of Thrones, accounting puns, and creating the board game ‘Cones of Dunshire.’ He presents a character that clearly has nerdy interests but just in a casual way that doesn’t take away from his delightful and funny characteristics. Every now and then there’s a joke about him criticizing J.J. Abrams’ take on Star Trek but it’s far from what defines his character. I think this presents nerds in a more positive manner because he’s never presented as further down on the totem pole due to being a part of nerd culture, and he doesn’t have any severe issues with social interactions, romantic or otherwise. He just has funny quirks that everyone can appreciate in a normal way. For instance, his ‘Cones of Dunshire’ game is a huge success and becomes a beloved fake game by fans of the show. In another show the joke would have just been that he plays Dungeons and Dragons and queue the laugh track. His great humor, selflessness, and good nature are what define him.

Image result for ben wyatt pajamas

Secondary source: The Nerd as the Other

           A professor in the university of Vienna Jasmin Engelhart compares the representation of nerd culture in the media to the freak shows in the Victorian century. People liked to watch freak shows because they were fascinated with looking at people that act differently and they could compare their lives to the lives of the `abnormal`. Just like the people in the freak shows nerds in the media are represented as `them`or `the others`. This is usually achieved by comparing a nerd with a completely different person, for example a beautiful woman who knows nothing about science but has good social skills.  To look at this further the professor analysed the show Big Bang Theory just like I did. She suggested that nerds are represented that way so that people watching could look at them and say `I am so glad that is not me`. For example, even though Sheldon is so talented in his field he has a lot of difficulties in his everyday life that many people do not face. To make this contrast even larger he is compared to a woman who is seen as a `the norm`. So Jasmin Engelhart makes a conclusion that even though freak shows would be seen as morally wrong today, they still exist but their format is transformed and they target different kinds of people as being `freaks`.

Learning moments:

           I had a significant learning moment during the week 2 discussions when discussing how single mothers are portrayed in films and treated in reality. Andrea shared an article by Charlotte Ashlock that told a story about how parents wouldn’t let their children play with a certain girl because her parents were going through a divorce. I was just taken back by this story because divorce is just such a common occurrence that it’s hard to imagine someone being treated differently for going through it. This relates to my healthy communities class because neighbors getting along is an important part of forming a healthy neighborhood. This type of behavior goes against that principle and is just destructive. From here on out I’ll be more open to the idea that people might segregate themselves from others based on certain characteristics, even if I’d normally expect better of people.


          Another learning moment that comes to mind is the report from Stanford about evaluating information online. I spend a lot of time online looking at articles and images shared by thousands of anonymous strangers. That behavior was highlighted in the report when they used the example of sharing an image of disfigured flowers with the title, “Fukushima Nuclear Flowers.” I knew it wasn’t terribly strong evidence since the image could have been taken anywhere. But I didn’t even consider that the person who shared the article was completely anonymous, giving them absolutely no credibility. I’m just so used to everyone being anonymous that it doesn’t even register for me anymore, which is concerning. This relates to my other classes because I often reference sources that I might put an enormous amount of effort to certify. From here on out I’ll be more careful about where and who my sources come from.




          All in all, some artifacts in popular culture depict traditionally nerdy characters in a destructive manor while a minority do so in a positive manor. Many TV shows also often create a very stereotypical appearance of the nerd characters. I think the negative stigmas, such as poor social skills and place in social hierarchy hinders those who identify with nerdy culture. If you’re going to present a nerdy character then make sure their identity revolves around more than that trait. A good example of positive representation is Ben Wyatt in Parks and Recreation because he has many more things that define him. So it is okay to make some jokes about extreme parts of nerdy behavior (i.e. correcting others about nerdy facts) but it’s not okay to make all nerdy behavior itself into a joke.  


Works Cited

Lorre, Chuck, and Bill Prady. The Big Bang Theory. CBS, 2007.

Linehan, Graham. The IT Crowd. Channel 4, 2006.

Daniels, Greg, and Michael Schur. Parks and Recreation. NBC, 2009.

Engelhart, J. (2012). The Nerd as the Other: A case study on the representation of nerds in The Big Bang Theory and Beauty and the Geek.

Engineers in Film

Engineers are interesting to observe. They love problems – it’s what keeps them occupied, they enjoy arguing and thrive under pressure. That is how most of the engineers I spoke to at school perceive themselves. When the same question was posed at high school students, their responses were far more humorous. Their feelings can best be summarized through this joke:

How do you know someone is an engineer?
Don’t worry, they’ll tell you every time you speak to them

The high schoolers’ thought engineers were arrogant, sarcastic, logical and quirky. They’re also seen as asocial and boring to a certain extent. When asked why they thought of engineers that way, the majority of them said that it was how engineers were portrayed in TV and film. Most of them hadn’t actually met engineers before, they were influenced by pop culture artifacts. While these points might seem negative, people thought it made engineers seem “cool”. Engineers were portrayed as lame nerds in the 80s and 90s, but being a nerd is not a bad thing at all according to the current generation – the arrogance is earned, sarcasm is funny, and logical and quirky is entertaining.

Through this blog post, I hope to uncover why engineers are perceived the way they are – through popular film portrayals of engineers. The point is not to demonstrate that films get engineers wrong/right or they portray the act of engineering incorrectly, it is to just explore and analyze the primary sources I have selected to see how they are applicable to the world of engineers and engineering.

Iron Man (in the MCU)

Tony Stark is the quintessential engineer of modern times. He builds the fancy suits, drives the fast cars, has the attitude and also doesn’t get much sleep. The effect of Robert Downey Jr’s portrayal of Tony/Iron Man over the last 10 years has greatly influenced today’s youth. He also inspired me to join the field – I kid you not the only reason I wanted to be an engineer when I was 13 was because I thought I could end up working on the cool stuff I saw in the film. As did many others.

Effect on engineers

Needless to say, the films are exaggerated science fiction. It is highly improbable that someone could build the Mark 1 suit with a box of scraps in a cave, but it is a demonstration of how hacky engineers can get. In many cases, we actually end up repurposing techniques and hardware for purposes they weren’t meant for. The films have many other such technical marvels that so many people hope were real. Who wouldn’t want a miniature arc reactor and access to clean energy? Thanks to Iron Man, the representation of engineers went from shy and nerdy to badass.

The typical engineer

Iron Man brings with him the engineering persona. If the common perception of engineers today is “arrogant, narcissistic, cocky”, Tony Stark has had a major role to play in that. He starts off as a reckless genius and evolves into someone reliable and level-headed. His underlying persona stays constant throughout, with an emphasis on sense of humor, sarcasm and the ability to stay calm in dire situations. Both these cases speak to engineers like myself. The evolution is very similar to an engineering student who’s going through college life. We start off all high and mighty and (hopefully) end with the wisdom that makes us good contributors to society. The persona is also something seen in many engineers. A good engineer is good at pushing tasks to the last minute and coming up with an innovative solution during the 25th hour, thus the “calm under pressure” tag.

Iron Man brings out an engineers’ emotional make-up truly well. It is what has made engineers seem cool and we have oh so many Iron Man-Engineer memes and references.



The Martian


Mark Watney is actually a botanist, but an engineer at heart. A major veil this character lifts off the engineering lifestyle is that one needs an engineering degree to be an engineer. Watney’s feats throughout the movie are an example of true engineering – repurposing everything at your disposal to survive. Apart from being an excellent book and film, it is also realistic. While watching the film with my buddies, there were many moments where we thought “that could actually be possible”.

Technical prowess

In the Martian, Mark Watney has a fantastic understanding of applied engineering. His knowledge of the basic sciences paired with a mathematical mind is a depiction of an ideal engineer – one who can “overcome overwhelming odds by sciencing the s**t out of it”. His usage of duct tape reminds me of how much duct tape we actually use. I spent a few hours using about 100 meters (yes, the metric system rocks!) of duct tape in my capstone project to shield some circuitry from RF signals. Another innovative idea in the movie is the usage of a radioactive apparatus as a heating system. That is both genius and incredibly stupid at the same time, and it is exactly what engineers do when they need to get stuff to work in the last minute.

Engineering mindset

The way Watney attacks his dilemma and goes about planning to survive on Mars is characteristic of the engineering method we are taught in almost all our 100 level classes. Identify the problem, acknowledge it, spend 30 minutes freaking out about it and then accept your fate/start working on a solution. The solution itself is broken down into an order of priority, planning for future contingencies and events and flawless execution/sticking to the plan. It was refreshing to see this method in action and watching it work so well was special. Watney’s demeanor throughout the film was also accurate. He did all the freaking out in the beginning (albeit subtly) and stayed calm till the end. He even managed to stay optimistic and funny given his situation. Making fun of oneself is something I have seen in a majority of my engineer friends. In fact, most of the downright funny engineer memes and cartoons are created by engineers.

Mark Watney highlights the average engineer’s attitude towards their work.

Hidden Figures

The message in this film is of utmost importance to engineering and I have to slightly deviate from the theme I’ve set in the post so far to discuss it. This is relevant not just to engineering, but to all STEM fields. Hidden Figures is inspired by true events and the three main characters in the film were really NASA employees in the 1960s, when segregation was at a high in the US. This should serve as an inspiration for all those who feel out of place as engineers due to their gender, race or some other factor no one should care about.

Hidden Figures shows the resolve of these three women and how their efforts brought about change in NASA. While some of the situations were fictionalized and the racism was a little bit subtler in reality, it was still uncalled for. All that matters in engineering is one’s mind, not one’s skin or appearance. Taraji Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae show how STEM women have to overcome social obstacles to fit in and focus on their work. They have to put in more effort compared to the others because they aren’t taken seriously when it comes to their job. Because they did it in those harsh times, it is our duty to carry their ideals forward.

Being an engineer does not have anything to do with appearance. It has to do with the mindset. 80% of engineers are male, but this does not mean that it isn’t for others. There has been a steady rise in the number of engineers of other genders. This is due to films and other media portrayals similar to Hidden Figures. Why is it important to encourage girls to take up STEM fields? This is because they are usually diverted to other female-centric careers such as medicine, nursing, teaching, etc by their families. If someone’s interested in STEM, all they need is a mentor to introduce them to the field and to support their passion. We don’t (and probably won’t ever) have enough engineers. It is crucial that someone with the talent and mindset to become an engineer actually becomes one.

Hidden Figures shows us that anyone with the mind for it can become successful engineers.

Conclusion, Learning Moments

From Iron Man and The Martian

When I started my research, I was under the assumption that pop culture would portray engineers in the wrong light. I actually hoped to find some stereotypes that solidified how they misunderstood engineers. As I was going through potential artifacts, I found some erroneous examples. However, I chose to ignore them and talk about Iron Man and The Martian instead because these reflected how the public perceives engineers now, not 30 years ago. Positive reinforcement trumps negative reinforcement in my opinion. I mentioned before that these films get almost everything right about an engineer, and the portrayals actually make engineers look good. If people are inspired by these characters and end up going into a STEM career, it’s to our benefit. More engineers/scientists = more problem solvers.

Hidden Figures

Before I actually studied the characters on Hidden Figures for my essay, I didn’t understand how important it is to spread STEM awareness to those who don’t take up the field. I thought that anyone with the desire and competence to study engineering or the sciences would just find the way to do so without the need of coaxing – I was mistaken. Competence knows no race or gender, but competent people could be discouraged due to those factors. Hidden Figures was just a film, but it prompted me to speak to the women engineers in my classes and workplace to realize their challenges and understand the situation. I decided that I was going to do something about it. I signed up for volunteering opportunities at work which involve getting middle schoolers excited about STEM and letting them consider STEM careers. Female participation in these events is on par with male participation, which is nice to see. If we as a community can keep that fire in them going, it’s going to benefit us all on the long run.


  1. Portrayals of Engineers in “Science Times”; F. Clark; D. L. Illman; IEEE Technology and Society Magazine (Volume 25, Issue 1, Spring 2006, pp. 12-21)
  2. The portrayal of the network in the popular media, or what the non-techie person-on-the-street must think of us!; C. Kessler; S. D. Shepard; IEEE Communications Magazine (Volume 35, Issue 5, May 1997, pp. 114-118)
  3. Cultural Representations of Gender and Science: Portrayals of Female Scientists and Engineers in Popular Films; Jocelyn Steinke; Science Communication (Volume 27, Issue 1, September 2005, pp. 27-63)

Observations of Chinese Culture Portrayed in Media

In the modern society, people can easily receive massive information and messages because of the development of technologies. I’ve also watched many TV shows and movies, but I’d never thought about how those cultural traits are interpreted by people who grow up in different cultures. I want to see how Chinese culture is played in shows in a different society. I originally wanted to do Asian culture to be my topic, and I realized it was too broad since it includes many different cultures, so I decided to focus on Chinese culture.

In my opinion, Chinese culture is more conservative and strict according to what I was taught. Many classic works of literature generally tell people to be humble, polite, frugalness and satisfying what they currently have instead of having strong desires. The other way to describe can be that Chinese people believe that a good person should be able to restrain its desires and control its behaviors.

Although cultural aspects and elements are good and positive, it’s not always be interpreted in positive ways. Frugalness can be a good example of having negative impacts by over fulfilling it. I’ve seen many cases of being greedy for small advantages. Those people try to save money as much as they can, and it leads them to be greedy. One thing which is confusing me is that it’s often to see Chinese people being selfish and self-center in media, and it contradicts my idea toward Chinese culture. When I see news about Chinese people acting ridiculously in media, I really wonder why they are acting like that. I’m also thinking what impacts may be caused by the phenomenon in different society.

I started looking for TV shows and movies which are played in Western society, and I wanted to see what stereotypes and traits are portrayed in media. As I watched more TV shows and movies, I noticed comedy often includes jokes which may be a bit offensive from other perspectives since it’s made for amusing audiences, so I think comedy includes more information to talk about.

I will be discussing some stereotypes and traits which I’ve watched in media and connecting to reviews which enhance and inspire me of the understanding about them.


Silicon Valley

The first source which I chose was Silicon Valley which is made by John Altschuler, Mike Judge, and Dave Krinsky, and it’s broadcasted on HBO. There is a Chinese character, Jian-Yang, is played by Jimmy O. Yang. Jian-Yang doesn’t appear in many scenes, but he always causes issues and problems when he shows up. In my opinion, the personality of Jian-Yang is very bad in the show. He is selfish, greedy, and crafty. There is a scene showing that how Jian-Yang tries to fake a testament and fool a judge in the court, so he can inherit properties of his landlord. His landlord is out for traveling, and the landlord is tall and big, so Jian-Yang even prepares a body of a pig to pretend to be the body of his landlord. I thought it was weird and crazy when I watched it, and Jian-Yang’s roommates also think Jian-Yang is ridiculous and unreasonable.

The other scene which I remember clearly is when Jian-Yang’s roommates come back to their home, they see many technology company names which are written on a board. They ask Jian-Yang, and he replies that he will copy them to China to start new companies. I thought the producers are trying to satirize copyrights issues between Chinese companies and the US companies.

These two scenes may not have significant relations in Chinese culture, but these reflect Chinese traits which people see in modern society. There are other scenes in Silicon Valley representing selfish actions which Jian-Yang does. I guess the reason for producers to create these scenes may relate to what I mentioned earlier. They may have seen cases of Chinese people being selfish and self-center in their life, and the behaviors may offend other people.

However, I’m also thinking that for people who are not so familiar with Chinese culture, they may really be affected by media. According to an article, The Chinese in Silicon Valley: Globalization, Social Networks, and Ethnic Identity by Bernard P. Wong., reviewed by Joseph Bosco, it mentions that Chinese population is very concentrated in Silicon Valley workforce because of globalization. I think the TV show is trying to show some conflicts existing between Chinese and local employees as Chinese population keeps increasing in the area.

Fresh Off the Boat

The TV show, Fresh Off the Boat, is made by Nahnatchka Khan according to a biography which is written by Eddie Huang, and the show is originally played by ABC. Eddie Huang is an immigrant, and he writes the book to tell the story of growing up in the U.S. as Taiwanese family. There are many stereotypes being portrayed on the show since it is trying to represent the differences and conflicts between two cultures.

Eddie’s mother, Jessica Huang, is a very stereotyped Taiwanese mom in my opinion. She always forces or leads her kids to focus more on studying, so they can be accepted into schools with the nice reputation. Instead of thinking about being actors or rappers, Jessica thinks it’s better to have a practical and stable job such as doctor or engineer, so studying is the only thing that Jessica want her kids to do. Although Eddie receives straight A’s at the school, his mom thinks the school should be more difficult and strict. There is an interesting thing in here. Since Jessica thinks Eddie should study more, she wants to send him to “Chinese Learning Center”. I was wondering what was CLC, and then the show explains CLC is a place where students are given massive examination questions for them to complete, and they have to stay there studying for couple hours and complete questions again and again. This is very common in Taiwan and in some countries such as China, Japan, and Korea. Many students are getting the high-stress education by taking uncountable exams and infinite examination questions in order to be accepted in popular universities. Taiwanese parents generally believe studying is the only way to gain a chance to qualify stable jobs since companies tend to hire people graduated from popular schools. I’ve personally heard of people intuitively think I must be good at studying and math. In my opinion, if they received the same style of education, they might be even better.

One thing I also noticed in the show is superstition. When Jessica receives a check with many numbers 4 on it, she thinks it’s better to get rid of it because the pronounce of 4 is close to the word “die” in Mandarin. And Jessica believes it attracts bad luck if she keeps the money. I think this scene perfectly represents the different cultural concept. In Chinese culture, there are many taboos, and people may view it as superstition. For example, hospitals in Taiwan usually don’t have number 4 in elevators because no one wants to stay on the fourth floor especially in hospitals. I think this scene provides a great idea of how people with the different cultural background view things differently.

In one episode, Eddie’s school is asking students to pick a culture and represent the cultural traits. Eddie doesn’t want to do China. I guess the reason is Chinese culture is not so popular and liked in Western society. Also, in the show, Eddie is the only Chinese student at his grade, so he joins his friends’ group for representing Jamaica. When they are chatting, one of his friends makes fun of China saying China having nothing to show. In the scene, Eddie is getting serious about what his friend says about China and questioning him to be more specific about his words. In the show, Eddie is brave enough to speak up for protecting his identity and culture, but what about in reality? An article “Yes, you can laugh at your culture: Fresh Off the Boat cocreator Nahnatchka Khan explains why seeing the humor in your roots is the key to happiness” by Katie L. Connor talks about the impact of cultural differences. People often experience embarrassing moments because of cultural differences, and they can choose to just laugh about it. I think an important point in here is people can laugh about their “own” cultures since they have enough understanding. If people laugh or make fun of other cultures, it can just simply be considered despising other cultures.


Silicon Valley shows many contradictions to my understanding of Chinese culture. In my opinion, Silicon Valley is showing the phenomenon of Chinese people in recent years. The TV show reflects what people actually see in life about Chinese people. It may be exaggerated in comedy, but there are many cases of weird behaviors done by Chinese people in reality. And Fresh Off the Boat represents many Chinese cultural stereotypes such as frugalness and CLC. When I compare these two TV shows that I watched, I think it’s apropos to say that’s what I see in the past and now. I think Chinese culture is not valued as much as in the past as I see more and more negative cases about Chinese people. Instead of control itself or caring others, more and more Chinese people just do what they want without considering for others. It’s sad to see this happen as a Chinese person, and I think it really hurts the image of Chinese culture.


Work Cited

“The Chinese in Silicon Valley: Globalization, Social Networks, and Ethnic Identity by Bernard P. Wong.”  Reviewed by Joseph Bosco. 2006.

“Yes, you can laugh at your culture: Fresh Off the Boat cocreator Nahnatchka Khan explains why seeing the humor in your roots is the key to happiness” by Katie L. Connor. Cosmopolitan, 2015, Vol.258(3), p.50(1)


How Asian American Representation is Shifting in US Media

     Historically, Asian Americans have been one of the most underrepresented ethnic groups in American popular culture. One finding showed that Asian Americans comprise less than 4% of characters on prime time television (Tukachinsky, Mastro, & Yarchi, 2015). However, within the last twenty years there has been a gradual increase in inclusion of Asian Americans in American pop culture. This is important, as an increase in Asian American actors, artists, and singers gives other Asian Americans more opportunities to relate with and feel included in popular culture. Additionally, an absence of Asian Americans in pop culture can alienate them from others and create a lack of genuine representation of their culture and identity. Two major causations of this upwards trend was the slow and gradual increase of Asian American casting and the popularization of Korean culture within the United States. Although these two reasons are not the only causes, they have both greatly aided in growing Asian Americans  presence in American popular culture and helped in shifting Asian American representation in U.S. media.

     To begin, film and television are two of the largest components of pop culture in the United States. Television is still the “dominant source of media in our lives” (Tukachinsky, Mastro, & Yarchi, 2015) and the increasing popularity of online streaming sources allows for television to remain extremely relevant in popular culture. Due to this, television has a large impact on social domains, “including race-relations in society” (Tukachinsky, Mastro, & Yarchi, 2015). Consequently, the media’s limited and often stereotypical depictions of race and ethnicity influence the behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes of audience members. In a 2004 study done by Tukachinsky, Mastro, and Yarchi, they found Asian Americans comprise around 3% of the prime time population and only 1% of characters appearing in the opening credits. Additionally, there were no recurring Asian characters in the top shows of 1987-1989 and 1991-1993, however “their share gradually rose to 2.8% in 2007-2009” (2015). A lack of Asian Americans in pop culture can lead to misrepresentation of Asian American culture and can also “other” them. Since Asian Americans are being underrepresented in media, it can be difficult to feel accepted and valued in society. However, during the mid 2000s, the number of Asian American actors and characters began to rise.

     One great example of Asian American representation in pop culture is the 2014 film Big Hero Six. The movie revolves around Hiro Hamada (voiced by Asian American Ryan Potter), a fourteen year old boy living in San Fransokyo. The city of San Fransokyo appears to be a combination of Tokyo and San Francisco. San-Fransokyo-during-the-day-big-hero-6-37337156-500-209The city combines elements from both cultures tastefully and doesn’t come off as “exotic” or tokenizing. Hiro is intelligent, outgoing, and fashionable. He doesn’t appeal to any stereotypes about Asian Americans nor is his character portrayed differently because of his race. Big Hero Six became the highest grossing animated movie of 2014 and showed that Asian American characters are capable of achieving massive success in pop culture.

     Another example of Asian American culture in media is the show Fresh Off the Boat. In the show, Louis and Jessica are a Chinese american couple with three boys. They are proud of their Chinese culture but are also proudly American. The eldest son, Eddie, is obsessed with Black culture and goes against all Asian American c9e1058f3c3d55f932d6ee01b27e8e78stereotypes. He is loud, irresponsible, strictly listens to hip hop, and enjoys art. Eddie is individualistic and doesn’t abide to any stereotypes his family or society expects from him. Eddie’s characters offers viewers another representation of Asian American culture. Additionally, Eddie’s nontraditional personality and characteristics offer Asian American viewers another character they might associate with. These two examples are just a few that show Asian Americans are becoming more prevalent in American pop culture. Both of these examples were created and originated within the United States, but this is not the only method increasing Asian  American representation.

     Lastly, the Korean Wave is hugely aiding in bringing Asian and Asian American culture into American media. The Korean Wave is the international flow of Korean media content, specifically in the United States. Hyejung Ju and Soobum Lee state that the rise of Korean pop culture in the United States can be summarized in three major points. First, “the Korean Wave demonstrates the popularity of K-movies among specialized audiences” (2015. P. 324). Next, the Korean Wave includes the online consumption and circulation of K-pop and K-drama among Asian American youth. Last, the Korean Wave has impacted a recent trend in Hollywood films to cast Korean and Korean American actors more often in major roles. The article goes on to mention Lee Byung-Hun, Kim Yum-Jin, and Rain’s work in major Hollywood films. Similarly to shows created in the United States with Asian Americans, these Korean shows, movies, and music offerBillboard Music Awards, Arrivals, Las Vegas, USA - 21 May 2017 another representation of Asian and Asian American culture. Media plays an increasingly central role “as systems of representation in terms of identity, culture, and community” (Ju & Soobum, 2015, p.333). It is therefore important that Asian American representations are diverse, and the Korean Wave offers another representation that audiences can reside with. 

     In conclusion, popular culture in the United States is beginning to become more inclusive of Asian Americans. Although there is still under representation of Asian Americans, there has been an increasing upwards trend in representation over the last twenty years. In 2018, The Asian Pacific American Media Coalition evaluated that four major television networks made progress in representation of Asian Americans. Moreover, the Korean Wave is helping Asians and Asian Americans secure a place in American pop culture. With this increase in casting of Asian Americans, individuals are better able to portray their identities and their culture. Additionally, Asian American audiences have more potential to relate and associate with characters they see in media. Furthermore, an increase of Asian Americans in media could aide in dismantling any sense of “otherness” Asian Americans may feel. For these reasons, I am hopeful about the future of Asian Americans in popular culture and what impacts it will have.

     This class has illuminated many aspects of popular culture I had never considered prior, ultimately making we want to learn more about my identity in  popular culture. The first significant learning experience I had this term was the idea that the media can “other” people. In the article The Urgency of Visual Media Literacy in Our Post-9/11 world: Reading Images of Muslim Women in the Print News Media by Diane Watt, she states “representations we see in the mass media provide powerful messages on otherness” (2012, p.38). Through the use of misleading or intentionally ambiguous images, visual media is able to portray narratives that are inaccurate or not truly representative of what is actually occurring. This in turn can lead to othering the entity in that media. This is why accurate and genuine representations of people and their culture is so crucial in media. Knowing this information, I strive to be more critical and investigative of media in the future. In order to be an educated and active member of society, I feel that I need to be informed and critically thinking about the media I consume.

     The second significant learning experience I had this term was realizing how much work needs to be done in the inclusion of people of color in Hollywood films. In the YouTube video Every Single Word Spoken by a Person of Color in the Entire ‘Harry Potter’ Film Series by Dylan Marron, all the dialogue spoken by people of color in the Harry Potter films is comprised into slightly over six minutes. Considering the length and number of films, there is a blatant under representation of people of color in the films. Furthermore, the number of scenes with Asians was around one minute in length. With a lack of representation, people of color in the films are difficult to relate with and are unable to tell their interpretation of the story. In other classes I have learned that creating a sense of the “One” and the “Other” can lead to further disconnect and schisms between people. This is what visual media has the potential to avoid if people from all backgrounds are included. This further shows the importance of inclusion in popular culture.


Fanpop, Inc. “Fanpop.” Fanpop, 13 June 2015,

Hall, D., & Williams, C. (Directors). (2015). Big Hero SIx [Motion picture]. United States: Walt Disney Pictures.

Ju, H., & Lee, S. (2015). The Korean Wave and Asian Americans: The ethnic meanings of transnational Korean pop culture in the USA. Continuum, 29(3), 323-338. doi:10.1080/10304312.2014.986059

Marron, D. (2015, August 17). Retrieved May 23, 2018, from

  1. K. (Director), & R. B., E. H., & J. H. (Producers). (2015, February 4). Fresh Off the Boat [Television series]. Los Angeles, California: ABC.

“Metro.” Metro, Metro, 2 June 2018,

Pintrest.” Pintrest, Pintrest, 5 Feb. 2017,

Soderberg, Brandon. “Spin.” Spin, SPIN, 31 Mar. 2015,      psys-gangnam-style-become-the-no-1-rap-song-in-the-country/.

Tukachinsky, R., Mastro, D., & Yarchi, M. (2015, March 13). Documenting Portrayals of      Race/Ethnicity on Primetime Television over a 20‐Year Span and Their Association with National‐Level Racial/Ethnic Attitudes. Retrieved May 22, 2018, from

Watt, D. (2012). The Urgency of Visual Media Literacy in Our Post-9/11 world: Reading Images of Muslim Women in the Print News Media. The Journal of Media Literacy Education, 4(1), 32-43. Retrieved May 23, 2018, from

Yam, K. (2017, December 19). Major Networks Are Becoming More Inclusive Of Asian-Americans: Report. Retrieved May 23, 2018, from


Female Golfers Portrayed in Media Today


Females were not able to play sports nor were they considered athletes until a Title IX law was passed in 1972. There are very few films that feature female golfers as of 2016. However, there are 14 movies of male golfers as the main characters and only two about women. The game of golf was known originally for gentlemen only and ladies were forbidden to play. Female golfers were not recognized until the Women’s Professional Golf Association (WPGA) was formed into the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) in 1950. The LPGA tour has made women golfers more recognized, but still today female golfers are not portrayed as often as male golfers are in the media in the United States.

This blog post will be the examination of both a film, Swing Away, and a documentary, The Founders, which feature female golfers. Also discussed will be other golf movies that are all about male golfers with no mention of female golfers. This will look at the reasons why female golfers are not portrayed in many movies. The two films show women golfers and their lives of playing golf and the recognition for them in the public.

The Founders Film

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The Founders is a documentary film directed by Fisk Charlene and written by Carrie Schrader. Released in 2016, this documentary was screened in multiple film festivals all over the United States. This is a great story of 13 amateur women golfers who created the Women’s Professional Golf Association (WPGA), which eventually turned into the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). The purpose of this film was to show how the LPGA was created and that it wanted to have the world recognize that women can also be great golfers. This film is for anyone who believes in the transformative power of defying the odds.

Women golfers were treated unfairly and the world of golf discriminated against them. The film started as both female and male golfers played together in the the All-American Championship in Chicago, but not against one another. The winner for the ladies division got $500 and the male winner got $10,000. Women golfers wanted to equalize the purses for winning, which led them to separate themselves from the males. That catalyst led to the formation of the Women’s Professional Golf Association in 1944. In 1950, the 13 amateur women golfers had gone through many obstacles in order to reach their goal of becoming a professional sport for women by creating the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). The film showed that women golfers were unnoticed for many years and that the LPGA made a big impact on making them more visible. Once women golf was recognized as a professional sport, women were seen as great golfers, and they are now able to earn money by winning tournaments.

A review on The Founders by Violet Lucca discusses the good and bad about the film. “It explains that the LPGA was founded in 1950 and is one of the world’s longest-running women’s professional sports associations, and that it has attracted skilled female athletes of all races and classes the world over” (Lucca, 2016). Also mentioned in the article was that the LPGA never banned African Americans from playing and actively boycotted courses that didn’t permit them to enter the clubhouse. The Founders is a documentary that has a reenactment as well as interviews with the surviving founders of the LPGA. The subjects of the film are now elderly women who stood up against sexism years before the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. The film highlighted the financial problems of the LPGA’s early years. Women were forced to perform maintenance on the golf course, do the promotional work, and carpool between tournaments. The film discusses what the women had to face while playing golf. There was an incident where one of the top three female golfers in the U.S. was not allowed to enter the clubhouse on the course she was playing on in 1941. Shirley Spork, one of the founders, said, “Golf was a rich man’s game. You couldn’t compete unless you were part of an organization or private club.” This explains why it was not easy for women to play golf before the LPGA was formed. With no organization, they were not able to play unless they were part of a private club, but also they were not welcomed because it was considered a man’s game.

Swing Away

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Swing Away is a sports drama directed by Michael Nickles. The movie was released in certain theaters on May 7, 2016. This movie is about a professional golfer named Zoe Papadopoulos who had a meltdown on the last hole of a golf tournament and got suspended from the tour for it. She then travels to her grandparents’ village in Greece to get away from all the negative attention about her on the media. Being back in Greece, Zoe was able to regain control of her game and helped put the local golf course back in the hands of the villagers. The purpose of the movie is to teach about sportsmanship, the game of golf, and the cultures in Greece.

This is a good movie that presents a real life scenario of a golfer who couldn’t overcome her emotions after missing an important putt to force a playoff. Many golfers have gone through this, and it is great that she was able to turn her life around after her suspension. Zoe Papadopoulos was a professional golfer on the LPGA who had a mental breakdown and disrespected the association, the audience, and the golf course. During her suspension, she headed to her parents’ village in Greece and was able to participate in Greek customs with her grandparents. During her time in Greece, she mentored a ten year-old girl with her golf game. The public golf course in the village was in bad condition and Zoe was able to help the manager out and make the golf course more attractive. Along the way, the owner of the golf course did not accept Zoe as the pro and wanted to reconstruct the golf course into a five-star resort. The deal made was that the owner had to play against the 10 year-old girl that Zoe had been teaching. The girl won. The villagers were the owners of the golf course once again and Zoe headed back to America to play the rest of the tournaments on tour. The beginning of the movie portrayed a female golfer in a negative way, but it also gave much advice for women golfers.

A review of the movie Swing Away was written by Simi Horwitz. Swing Away was a sport and family movie that gives inspiration for female teens and golfers. The review discussed about the good and bad of the movie. The movie presented the female professional as emotional, strong, and community-oriented. While her suspension, she made progress with her golf game and helped the community of the village get their golf course back. Throughout the her suspension, Zoe learned about the power of resilience, heritage and second chances. The story of the movie was a great connection between the game of golf and Ancient Greece. It was mentioned that golf was formed in Ancient Greece. The film is very enjoyable and can be watched by any age in certain theaters. Mentioned in the article was a interesting fact about how “Swing Away was the first movie that featured a professional golfer as its heroine” (Horwitz, 2017). Compared to other sports, golf movies only had two films featuring females golfers, while there are 14 movies on male golfers.

Movies About Male Golfers

While the above films featured women golfers, the vast majority of films star male golfers. Some movies that feature male golfers are Caddyshack, Happy Gilmore, and The Greatest Game Ever Played. These movies mentioned and many more movies did not give the chance of having females as the main roles or any part in the movie about the game of golf. Caddyshack was directed by Harold Ramis and produced by Douglas Kenney. Happy Gilmore was directed by Dennis Dugan and Bill Paxton directed the Greatest Game Ever Played. Caddyshack and Happy Gilmore is a comedy and sports movie while the Greatest Game Ever Played was a drama, sports and history movie. This is to show that there are many golf movies only featuring male golfers and only two films were found including female golfers. This shows that not many female golfers are portrayed in movies and tv shows. If female golfers are shown in movies, they are shown in a negative way such as in Swing Away or on the side and usually not a big part of the golf story like in the movies where men are the main characters that were mentioned previously. Swing Away featured a professional woman golfer as the admiring figure. The Founders documentary showed the start of female golfers and the ladies professional organization.

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An article called I Just Want to Play explored women, sexism, and persistence in golf. This evidence connects to the fact that there are so many male golfer movies and few films featuring women golfers. There is a lack of women golfer representation in the media. In the early years of golf, there were barriers for women to play golf until the LPGA was made. Still with the Title IX law, women feel worthless as males are more popular in the media and in general to watch. The authors of this article wanted to discuss the barriers for women in golf and the strategies for them to play. They did a study of ten interviews, which consisted of recreational women golfers who faced discrimination on the golf course. They felt unwanted, ignored, and unnoticed on the course. Also mentioned in the article were ways to end gender-based discrimination in golf to make it more inviting for women by “having more of them work at golf courses, provide more merchandise gears, allow them to play from any tee grounds, and promote nine-hole play” (Mcginnis, 2005). Many women just want to play and so reducing gender barriers to play golf needs to happen. It should be the same in the media for female golfers to have the same amount of coverage as males.


All research has been presented to provide information about why female golfers are not portrayed enough in the media today specifically in films and shows. The Founders was a good documentary to show the creation of the LPGA and the start of recognition for female golfers. Swing Away was very inspirational and gave an impression to young females that golf can be played by females and they are able to overcome any obstacles that they face. The LPGA tour has made women golfers more recognized, but still today female golfers are not portrayed as often as male golfers are in the media in the United States. If discrimination between genders in golf make changes, golf could be the first towards equalizing genders in sports history and can lead to equal exposure between women and men in the media.

Learning Moments

One learning moment I had from this course was in Week 1. We had to read some course texts for our discussion post and what intrigued me the most was this article called “Why Students Can’t Google Their Way to the Truth”. It was one of the most interesting articles for me in this course. This article was mostly about fast checkers and how can students approach websites differently. You don’t realize that many people don’t pay attention to a website on if it is reliable or not. I have learned about choosing accurate and reliable sources for research papers before. At times I do check websites or articles if they are reliable, but at other times I just think there are good enough information to be true. What I learned most from the article was about understanding “fast-checkers”. I have never heard of fast-checkers before and the strategies and techniques that that they do, fascinates me. Fast-checkers has three strategies which are to read laterally, research more about the subject they are reading, and they scroll to the bottom first to look more at the reliable sources. I am thinking about trying these strategies and it can help me in the future with researching websites and how to learn more about a subject. This article made me realize that I am glad I pay attention to which websites are reliable when it comes to research so I am able to have the knowledge of the correct information. It also helps with figuring out which websites are reliable and teaching new techniques for researching.

Another learning moment was in Week 6 from a course text called “News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier”. I always thought the news was a good thing, but through this article, it could be a bad thing. I don’t often watch or read the news. I only look to see what is the weather locally and if anything big is happening in Portland. Also, I like to know news about my home state which is Hawaii. The article mentions that the news is misleading, irrelevant, toxic to our body, increases cognitive error, and etc. It is interesting to learn that news consumption could be a disadvantage and lead to health problems. Mentioned in the article that the news can trigger the limbic system and makes your body become stress. The news can also disrupts concentration and can weaken comprehension. In a 2001 study, two scholars in Canada showed that comprehension declines as the number of hyperlinks in a document increases. Also, some news has flaws that make people think it is right. I was taught that the news is important to watch and listen, but throughout this course, not watching the news could be a good idea. Watching the news can lead to many emotions from learning about something bad or good from the news. Staying away from reading about the news could be a good thing because you won’t have to find out how corrupted a certain part of the world is. I don’t usually watch the news and I am going to leave it that way because some news are not true also. From what I learned from the article will help me make decisions whether I will read the news information or not, and if will be benefit me or not.

Work Cited

Dugan, Dennis, et al. Happy Gilmore. Special ed., Universal Studios, 1996.

Fisk, Charlene, et al. The Founders. Level 33 Entertainment, 2017.

Horwitz, Simi. “Film Review: Swing Away.” Film Journal International, 11 Oct. 2017

Lucca, Violet. “The Founders.” Sight and Sound, vol. 26, no. 9, 2016, pp. 75–76.

Mcginnis, L, et al. “I Just Want to Play – Women, Sexism, and Persistence in Golf.” Journal Of Sport &Amp; Social Issues, vol. 29, no. 3, 2005, pp. 313–337.

Nickles, Michael, director. Swing Away. Freestyle Digital Media, 7 May 2016.

Paxton, Bill., et al. The Greatest Game Ever Played. Walt Disney Home Entertainment, 2005.                                                                               =CP71113416230001451&context=L&vid=PSU&search_scope=. all&tab=default_tab&lang=en_US

Ramis, Harold., et al. Caddyshack. Warner Home Video, 1980.

Artists are Kooky Eccentrics… Right?


Artists have an unusual relationship with popular media; first of all, it’s kind of difficult to locate many artists in pop culture in the first place, a fact that I fully came to understand after searching for examples of artists in a number of sources. In movies and TV shows, artists are largely unpopular characters to be found; I had to dig deep and think somewhat abstractly before I came across some suitable characters for my argument. And when they are present in the media, they’re also very commonly portrayed as either eccentric weirdos, or lower class people.


Is this really an issue? I mean, artists really are often living life to their own beat.. Many artists don’t follow the conventional rules that our society has decided are the right ones all the time, and they often don’t make a ton of money. I know people like this in my real life, and I’m sure most other people do, too. I mean, I’m an Art student myself, so I’m familiar with the stereotype.  So what’s the big deal? Why is it an issue to only ever portray artists like they’re the misfits in society, never the norm?

In popular media in the United States, I think there’s a bit of a chicken and the egg situation happening. It happens to all kinds groups of people, but I’m going to focus on the artists here for a moment. A lot of people in this world are only exposed to a large number of things exclusively through their television, or as of the last 20 years or so, their computer or smartphone. It’s somewhat reasonable, there’s not enough time or resources to experience everything first hand. It just can become an issue what that’s all they have to base their ideas and opinions on for all kinds of things, and people. It has very real consequences of how people perceive things in their lives. What I’m trying to get at here is that when they see the typical “starving artist” being portrayed in their favorite TV show, that stereotype can honestly change their impressions of people that they perceive as fitting in that box. Basically, if the TV is treating artists like poor weirdos, eventually that will come to pass and have an impact on the lives of real people.

Exhibit A: Titanic


The Titanic is an epic romance story released in the 1990s that focuses more on the lives of two passengers of the ship than the disaster itself. A wealthy upper class lady named Rose is due to be married off to someone of her status when she finds Jack. He’s one of the lower deck passengers, and he doesn’t have much money to his name. Jack is an artist, which is why he’s relevant here.   We know this because Rose asks him to draw her “like one of his French girls”, which he does so gladly. The film depicts him as very skilled, drawing Rose with a level of dedication and intensity that really only belongs to a master of his craft (Also Leonardo Dicaprio does a great job with his acting in this scene, which helps a lot). Jack is also seen to very clever and an all around upstanding guy, but Rose’s family would never approve of him because he is both poor and an artist. Only the best noblemen for their darling daughter Rose.  Surprisingly, this sentiment hasn’t really changed for a lot of people over the course of roughly 110 years, and a lot of parents wouldn’t be pleased if their daughter brought home an artist today. Living in Portland, it’s easy to forget that there’s such a stigma against those that are passionate for the arts because it’s such a progressive city that really supports its artists, but there are still plenty of people in this world that think it’s a complete waste of you time to invest in any kind of art related skill at all.

Basically, everyone but Rose discards Jack as being a worthless waste of space despite his numerous skills and generally likeable personality, all because he’s an artist and poor. I think part of the reason Rose falls for him because she knew his personality before his background, and not the other way around. Chances are, Rose would have ignored him too, has she known he was poor if the world in Titanic is anything like the real one. Then again, there was totally room for Jack on that board so who knows?

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It’s hard to say what the causation/correlation relationship is between being poor and being an artist, but it’s definitely fair to say that they’re often found together in popular media.


Exhibit B: Edward Scissorhands

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Edward scissorhands was a not-so-obvious choice for this project at first glance, because when I think of Edward Scissorhands, my first thought is “weird sort of Christmasy, sort of Halloweeny move about that guy with the scissorhands”. My second thought is “Yup, that’s a Tim Burton film”.  ‘Artist’ was definitely not the first word that popped into my mind in any case. I quickly changed my mind when I gave it further consideration, though.

It’s a quirky movie about a really lonely scientist who lives in a mansion overlooking a small suburban town. Out of this loneliness the scientist comes up with the idea of creating a human being to fill that empty void in his life. Instead of doing it the old fashioned way, he literally creates a person with various machines, parts and pieces, and of course love. And so Edward was ‘born’. However, just before the scientist could finish Edward, he dies, leaving him with clumsy scissors for hands. Edward is found by a kindly middle age woman involved in a pyramid scheme from the suburban town below, and is takes him into her home. Eventually it’s discovered that Edward is greatly skilled at using his scissorhands to  make things of beauty. He starts out with trimming hedges into amazing topiaries, and then graduated to doing pet grooming and hair styling on the women of the town.

I like this movie for this topic because both Edward and his creator can be considered to be artists. The scientist designed Edward and created him out of love, just as many artsits and graphic designers do with their own work.  Edward is a more spontaneous kind of artist, and doesn’t seem to need to have much of a planning stage before he gets down to the creation. It’s almost like the scientist passed on his ability to create to Edward, and Edward is carrying out his legacy in his own way; Art creating art. It’s also noteworthy to mention that they were both very much outcasts in this strange fictional world. We didn’t learn much about him in the film, but the scientist clearly never fit into society, living on all by his lonesome in a great looming mansion, forced to create someone that would accept him. Edward is of course an outcast because he’s never been exposed to anything; everything is new and a bit scary to him. He almost comes from another world in the context of this suburban town. His personality heavily contrasts with the other people in this film as well. He’s depicted as a quiet, introspective individual who’s probably very sensitive and naive. I wouldn’t say these kinds of traits are associated with an artist, but I do think that they’re often associated with weird people which is telling.

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 I’m not sure if it was intentional or not, but I’m also intrigued by how Edward’s scissorhands, the tools that he uses to make his art, are the very things that keep him from being able to get close to other people. Whenever he tries, he ends up hurting the people around him, or himself. It’s like the thing that allows him to be so successful and happy is also the thing that holds him back and the thing that makes others question his worth in the first place.


Exhibit C: Grace and Frankie


This is a comedy show that aired on Netflix a few years ago. A rough synopsis would be that two elderly women who aren’t fond of each other due to a personality clash end up living with each other after their husbands declare that they’re gay, and that they’re marrying one another. Grace is a stuck up prim and proper type who used to own a major beauty product company, while Frankie is the embodiment of the classic kooky art teacher stereotype. Some qualifying examples include:

  • Has her own art studio in the house
  • Teaches ex-cons how to paint
  • Smokes an obscene amount of weed
  • Has a sizable collection of penis shaped vases
  • Likes to “go with the flow”
  • Wears a lot of loose tie-dye clothing
  • Wears chunky gemstone jewelry
  • And many others

Grace and Frankie get the idea to create their own company at some point, and it quickly becomes evident that Grace is going to be the one who calls the shots. If Frankie even tries, she’s immediately shut down because her ideas are too weird, or she’s too weird in the first place. Her main contribution to the business was the initial idea in the first place, and the art on the packaging of the product, and after that she was more or less ignored.

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She is also shown to be unable to stick to something; she’s a vegetarian,but sometimes eats meat and constantly eats junk food. Part of that is the fact that she’s also representing the stoner stereotype, but that’s another stereotype that is often seen in association with artists as well.

Art Movies?


So what about Art Movies? Don’t movies that explore the fabulous lives of artists like Van Gogh and Caravaggio show them in a favorable light? The answer is yes, they absolutely do, but it kind of doesn’t count. First of all, these people are only put on a pedestal today. They weren’t always the historical figures that we seem them as now. In their own time, they were seen as just as eccentric and weird as any other not very well known artist of today. Second of all, these movies are hugely embellished and over emphasized, but they’re still based on the lives of real people, while I’m focusing on fictional artists. And thirdly, most people don’t watch art movies. They’re usually kind of weird and not all that consumer friendly, sort of an acquired taste. Basically, they’re not really “pop culture” at that point, so I don’t really think that a movie that idealizes an artist like Van Gogh is really saying anything about society.

So, are artists receiving the short end of the stick in media? Kind of. The vast majority of examples of artists on TV right now are mostly cast aside as weird people who don’t abide by the normal societal rules. It matters a lot to me because I’m living that life; I’m paying a lot of money, and I’m spending a ridiculous amount of time dedicated to becoming a better artist. I want to hone my craft, I want to become better and I want to be able to identify as an artist without feeling shameful or guilty because it’s a “waste of my time”. Despite having two other minors in more “sensible” fields, I’ve still had people tell me I’m wasting my effort on such a useless degree. I want other artists to feel like it isn’t a stupid decision follow their passion if they feel like they have to willpower to make it work.

If we only ever see strange weird people being artists in our media, that’s the only thing that’s ever going to happen. I understand fully they there are outcast artists, but they certainly aren’t all going to fit in that mold, contrary to how we’re seeing them now on TV. Art is important; creativity is vital to a functional society. If we want to have a social environment that fosters a positive relationship with creative people, then yeah, this kind of representation needs to change, or at least have a bit more diversity.


Learning Moments

Throughout the course of this class, I learned a few things about myself, the most prominent of which is the fact that I don’t tend to agree with the majority of the opinions that I would read from my classmates. At least about the articles we would read in the given week, anyway. We read “The News is Bad For You” by Rolf Dobelli and when I read it I was pretty unenthused by the author’s opinion that we should stop consuming altogether and the world would be a better place (paraphrasing, but that honestly was the jist that I got). However, I was surprised that a lot of my classmates were totally on board. “The article “News is Bad For You” was actually my favorite article to read in this weeks texts. This is mostly because I definitely reside with the words written in this article- and I’ve said those things my whole life. News is DEPRESSING. News causes unnecessary anxiety. News, for the most part, focuses on the wrong part of the information being shared. We’re so quick to believe every word we see in the news, and we often get emotions while watching the news that we don’t or shouldn’t need to feel about certain situations. We get scared to fly in a plane because of the Malaysia plane going missing, we get scared to do a marathon in case a terrorist bombs it, etc. Unnecessary fear spoon fed to us by the news.” – week 6.  Where I saw a loss of agency and empathy, they saw an opportunity to escape the more depressing side of being caught up in the news. It was an interesting experience to be at such polar ends of the spectrum, especially because I’m certainly not the most up to date person in the world.

The second thing I learned was just how under represented artists are in media! I know I already discussed it in the meat of the post above, but I really did have a hard time finding examples, especially from the library’s resources. My initial plan was to also include a section on the differences between male and female artists in popular media, but I couldn’t find a large enough sample to make any kind of conclusive deductions with what I had.

Overall, I had a better experience than I initially thought I would have, and I really found myself fully engaged in writing my weekly blog posts and reading the articles (even if I didn’t agree with them… maybe especially if I didn’t agree with them). Before this class, I was very turned off by online courses, and now I’ll definitely be giving more of them a try in my college career.  


Art Imitates Art, Steve Chagollan, Variety, Jan 8, 2001, Vol.381(7), p.S8,


Art in the Movies, Jim Gaylord,


Edward Scissorhands – Tim Burton – 2005


Grace and Frankie – Netflix (Firm),, et al. Grace and Frankie. Santa Monica, CA: Lionsgate, 2016.


TITANIC 1999 – James Cameron – United States Titanic. (1999). [DVD] United States: James Cameron.


This Is America: Breaking Down A Masterpiece

This Is America: Breaking Down A Masterpiece

This is America. Don’t catch you slippin’ now. On May 5, 2018 rapper Childish Gambino, moniker of the multi-talented Donald Glover, came out of his musical retirement to show the world a somber and viral retrospective of the country. With allusions to race relations, gun laws, and insights on how mass media and the internet has changed social behaviors. I questioned where a young African-American male like myself might fit into all this. How Gambino told me and everyone else, however, will go down as one of the all time great performance pieces ever made.

video credited to Donald Glover

This video is admittedly jarring and very confusing on the first view. Much akin to many great works of art, it is only upon multiple viewings that one can truly understand the genius of any medium. What my Big Picture Blog Post is about is the depiction of African-Americans, their history in America, and their current place in society through the guise of this extraordinary viral video.

As of writing this piece, just a mere sixteen days later, the aforementioned video has garnered 172,868,731+ views on Youtube ( and currently sits at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 music charts for the second week in a row ( To quantify, this video has been seen so many times that it accounts for more than half of the US population ( So what has made this video so popular? In
essence, it is a depiction of mass hysteria and chaos choreographed (Sherrie Silver) and directed (Hiro Murai) in such a succinct way that it can give off an eerie feeling of guilt and self-reflection. Here is a recent example.

On May 18, 2018 in the Houston, Texas metropolitan area 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis opened fire on the students and staff of Santa Fe High School, murdering ten people. On May 19, 2018, not 24 hours later, the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was televised at St Georges Chapel, at Windsor Castle in the UK. The juxtaposition of these two events would make it seem like they are unrelated. But in this short time news coverage, Twitter (6 million tweets,, and Youtube (72 million live stream views, were flooded with traffic. 30 million people watched in the US alone ( For context that outperforms the Oscars (26.5 million) and more than doubles the season finale of Game of Thrones (12.1 million) the highly popular television series. How was it that society could switch so quickly and causally from mourning the tragedy of a school shooting to the jubilation and fervor of watching the marriage of royals outside the country? And what does this have to do with Childish Gambino’s This Is America video?

Gambino depicts this quick change of focus in his video along with other cultural depictions of America in his lyrics.

We see this in the opening sequence and intro chorus of the song:

”Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away” 

The upbeat music sung by the choir and accompanied by the lone guitarist is adverse to the feelings of dread that is about to take place. The lyrics exclaiming something should go away the yeah yeah section mocking the way someone refrains from hearing something they hear at nauseam. And then the gunshot heard round the world. It is loud and a bit startling against the jovial notes of the introduction. Here we find our first strokes of hidden genius. The pose.


The pose is contorted, probably unfamiliar, and a bit awkward. Feelings you might get when someone crosses the street after meeting eyes with you walking down the same sidewalk. What about this pose is so genius you might ask? 


The picture above is the depiction of Jim Crow: “Throughout the 1830s and ’40s, the white entertainer Thomas Dartmouth Rice (1808-1860) performed a popular song-and-dance act supposedly modeled after a slave. He named the character Jim Crow. Rice darkened his face, acted like a buffoon, and spoke with an exaggerated and distorted imitation of African-American Vernacular English. In his Jim Crow persona, he also sang “Negro ditties” such as “Jump Jim Crow.”

Rice was not the first white comic to perform in blackface, but he was the most popular of his time, touring both the United States and England. As a result of Rice’s success, “Jim Crow” became a common stage persona for white comedians’ blackface portrayals of African-Americans.” (

This depiction of Gambino was purposely put into place to draw from the stereotypes of black on black violence. Without time to breathe Gambino hands off another shot of brilliant storytelling. The handling of the gun.

Graced by a bowing subject entering from the left, the gun is placed on a pedestal like red velvet sheet and taken away (pictured top).  The body of the executed man is simultaneously dragged out of frame to the right like a mere prop. This being a nod to gun violence and the value placed on the weaponry over the lives they’ve taken. These things however take place out of focus. Shooed away into the subconscious of the video as Gambino with a twisted expression begins to dance taking your eye off of what has just transpired (pictured bottom). Soon a man runs from out of frame, a car with passengers sitting outside the windows rolls by, all the while the beat and baseline get more aggressive and Gambino states:

“This is America (skrrt, skrrt, woo)
Don’t catch you slippin’ now (ayy)

Look how I’m livin’ now
Police be trippin’ now (woo)

Yeah, this is America (woo, ayy)

Guns in my area (word, my area)
I got the strap (ayy, ayy)
I gotta carry ‘em”

Yeah, yeah, I’ma go into this (ugh)

Yeah, yeah, this is guerrilla (woo)

Yeah, yeah, I’ma go get the bag
Yeah, yeah, or I’ma get the pad

Yeah, yeah, I’m so cold like, yeah (yeah)
I’m so dope like, yeah (woo)

We gon’ blow like yeah (straight up, uh)

These are allusions to police brutality and the feeling that no one is inherently safe. Even if you call the police you have to protect yourself with your own strap (gun). These lines are spoken as school kids join Gambino in his dancing. Popular dances in America are in abundance and done almost mockingly as more signs of chaos unfold in the background. There are several more cars this time, looted and broken down, someone on one of the cars has a money gun and shoots it into the air “making it rain” A brown and white chicken sit on the floor. A depiction of how African-Americans are shown to be particular fans of fried chicken. Yet the duality of one being brown and white raises the question of if there really is a difference outside the feathers. There is also the line “this is guerrilla” which refers to guerrilla warfare which is surmised to be in the spirit of a small militia fighting back against a much bigger body of power. This is accompanied by the line “I’ma go get the bag yeah, yeah, or I’ma get the pad” Which is suggested to be a nod to mainstream rappers obsession with drugs stating right after in the lyrics cold, dope and blow, all adjectives used to describe different types of drugs while being synonymous with saying some thing is awesome. We then cut to a room with a choir dressed in maroon. Gambino enters comically, dancing along with the choir as they sing, swaying in to the upbeat tone of the intro chorus until he seemingly realizes his situation and then… 

Gambino guns down the choir, symbolic to the 2015 Charleston church shooting. A terrorist attack by white supremacist Dylann Roof who murdered nine African-Americans at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Gambino again hands off the gun to another red cloth and walks pass a cop car insisting to not get caught slippin’. The crowd running in the background now grows enough to be audible. As Gambino looks on the chaos the camera spins to reveal an even more disturbing scene pictured below.

A man is thrown from a bridge, fires have been lit, all the while the focus is on Gambino and the children dancing. The kids following his moves and celebrating seemingly oblivious to the carnage happening around them. The beat is back to being aggressive and the camera pans to some students filming on cell phones as the lyrics play:

“Look how I’m geekin’ out (hey)
I’m so fitted (I’m so fitted, woo)
I’m on Gucci (I’m on Gucci)
I’m so pretty (yeah, yeah)
I’m gon’ get it (ayy, I’m gon’ get it)
Watch me move (blaow)

This a celly (ha)
That’s a tool (yeah)
On my Kodak (woo, Black)

Ooh, know that (yeah, know that, hold on)

Get it (get it, get it)

Ooh, work it (21)

Hunnid bands, hunnid bands, hunnid bands (hunnid bands)
Contraband, contraband, contraband (contraband)

I got the plug in Oaxaca (woah)
They gonna find you like “blocka” (blaow)”

The beginning lines are a testament to the self involved nature of social media as the kids dance and students sitting atop the bridge film them. Then we are hit with the lines: “This a celly (ha) That’s a tool (yeah)” This is an homage to the March 18, 2018 shooting of Stephon Clark, a African-American who was shot eight times in the back in his backyard in Sacramento, California. The police officers who shot him assumed he was responsible for local area robberies and was armed with a gun (“tool”) but was later found to be only his Iphone (“celly”). This paired with the students filming may be an a direct metaphor to the multiple incidents of the public filming police officers and the subsequent “rise” of acts of police brutality and misconduct against African-Americans and other minorities that followed.

The video continues with a man riding a pale horse in the background. His head covered in a black cloth. The biblical meaning behind which is an omen of the coming end of the earth. Gambino than has a brief pause in the video where he climbs to the top of a run down car as the video pans out to its conclusion. The dark annals of the same factory where Gambino runs toward the camera chased by the obscure figures who gain on him as the video comes to a close stating:

“You just a black man in this world
You just a barcode, ayy
You just a black man in this world
Drivin’ expensive foreigns, ayy

You just a big dawg, yeah
I kenneled him in the backyard
No probably ain’t life to a dog
For a big dog”

This powerful ending sequence is the last remnants of the country critique. They display that even with all the luxuries Gambino is able to afford and how far he can get away from typical life as a celebrity. He in the end cannot escape from the fact that he is black and will always be deemed and looked at differently.


Gambino, in a sense, plays the role of America depicting its unending violence to a quick reprieve of entertainment at the expense of minority culture and those who can be undermined and silenced. To all those that find themselves in that group this song has a message louder than any gunshots. This is America. Don’t catch you slippin’ now.


Works cited:

ChildishGambinoVEVO. “Childish Gambino – This Is America (Official Video).”, YouTube, 5 May 2018,

“Music: Top 100 Songs | Billboard Hot 100 Chart.”, Billboard, 26 May 2018,

“Countries in the World by Population (2018).” Philippines Population (2018) – Worldometers, United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, 2017,

“British Royal Wedding: More than Six Million Tweets on Prince Harry, Meghan Markle’s Big Day; Thrice More than William-Kate Wedding.” Firstpost, Firstpost, 20 May 2018,
Poeter, Damon. “72 Million Watch Royal Wedding Live on YouTube.” PCMAG, PCMAG.COM, 6 May 2011,,2817,2385046,00.asp.
Grady, Constance. “Almost 30 Million People Watched the Royal Wedding on US Broadcast Alone.” Vox, Vox, 21 May 2018,
Pilgrim, David. “Who Was Jim Crow?” Are Negros Closer to Apes Than to Humans? – Letters to the Jim Crow Museum – Jim Crow Museum – Ferris State University, Ferris State University, Sept. 2012,
“Childish Gambino – This Is America.” Genius, 6 May 2018,

You, A Vegan Guru?

You, A Vegan Guru?

What the Hell is Veganism?

Imagine every average American family around the breakfast table eating scrambled eggs, bacon, and buttery toast. Well sorry to burst your bubble it’s none of that b.s, the food I mean.  Let’s scratch that basic breakfast and replace it with a tofu scramble, vegan bacon, and some fresh fruit. Sounds weird, right? Well veganism is a wholesome plant based diet that excludes eggs, dairy, and honey from a person’s diet and even extends to lifestyle choices like clothing, makeup, and services. It basically excludes all animal products from the average diet and lifestyle to promote animal rights, environmental awareness, and ethical consciousness. The official Vegan Society states,” Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” You think cows and baby pigs are cute right? Good, because you are about to find out why you shouldn’t eat them.

Who Cares What I Eat?

First of all, you should care.

Bottom line as cliché as it is, your body is your temple and you should properly take care of it. You want every nutrient consumed in daily meals to benefit your overall being. For daily nutritional value, “In the case of a whole-foods vegan diet, replacements take the form of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, nuts and seeds”. You can pretty much cover all your bases if you stick to wholesome foods and stay away from consuming a lot of the processed (even if it’s vegan). If you’re worried about not getting enough protein, eat some trendy quinoa. If you’re worried about having low iron content, eat some beautiful leafy greens to pair with any meal. If you’re worried about calcium intake, eat some yummy legumes. Whatever you eat, make sure it is healthy, wholesome, and meets a standard. If you eat like that, you can eat however much you want, get your daily nutrients, and it’s guilt-free. What’s better than that?

Secondly, you can help prevent diseases.

Now the fact that you can reduce your risks of diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases, should be good within itself to stop to control your cravings for a double cheeseburger or a slice of cheesecake. (Trust me there are awesome vegan alternatives for those).  Vegans have significantly higher cardiovascular health benefits due to the simple fact that they specifically do not consume red meat. Red meat has a compound called carnitine that is linked to atherosclerosis, which is known to clog the arteries. “A diet high in carnitine actually shifts our gut microbe composition to those that like carnitine, making meat eaters even more susceptible to forming TMAO and its artery-clogging effects.” So naturally when you adopt a vegan diet red meats aren’t consumed and it lessens your chances of cardiovascular disease, which effects about 610,000 people that die from heart disease every year.


Also, you think cows and pigs are cute, right?

This topic is never fun to read about or see, but it’s essential to be knowledgeable about if you adopt the vegan lifestyle. Innocent animals are slaughtered every second just in the dairy, meat, and egg industry to be on Americans dinner plate. The numbers are drastic and you can personally check with this link ( ).The animals are given an unthinkable life where they are kept in untidy conditions and have little living room. For example, chicken production farms inject chickens with huge amounts of hormones so they are unable to walk and when people go to harvest the chickens they find a whole bunch of dead ones. The fact that large companies allow unsanitary conditions especially in the subject of slaughtering is disgusting. Consumption of meat, dairy, and eggs can easily be avoided but there are some things to look out for. The obvious things not to eat on a vegan diet are dairy, meat and eggs, but there are multiple hidden ingredients in processed foods to look out for:

  • Carmine, red coloring made from ground up insects. Carmine is found in bottle juices, colored pasta, frozen pops, and some candy.
  • Gelatin, which is proteins from bones, cartilage, tendons, and skin of animals. Gelatin can be found in marshmallows, yogurt, frosted cereals, and some desserts.
  • Pepsin, enzyme from pig’s stomach. Most commonly found in cheese.
  • Suet, hard white fat around kidneys and loins of animals. Found in margarine, mincemeat, and pastries.

Just make note to do some research to avoid nasty animal byproducts in your favorite candies, snacks, and daily treats.

Lastly, go green without going nuts.

We all enjoy our little nature walks and a deep breath of fresh air. The catch is, what we eat second handedly affects the environment around us. Animal agriculture generally takes up massive amounts of food, land, water, and energy and that drastically impacts our environment. For example, “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that roughly 80 percent of ammonia emissions in the U.S. come from animal waste.(13) A California study found that a single dairy cow “emits 19.3 pounds of volatile organic compounds per year, making dairies the largest source of the smog-making gas, surpassing trucks and passenger cars.”(14)”.  So imagine having so much power to make a decision that helps the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Just simply switching to a vegan diet can dramatically help and to see your carbon footprint and how your diet can affect the environment check out this calculator (

Now onto the fun stuff…

5 Little Tips to Help Transition to a Vegan Diet   

  1. Find your inspiration for going vegan!
  2. Start slow and know that every small change helps.
  3. Explore vegan restaurants and bakeries in your area.
  4. Attend vegan food and lifestyle events.
  5. Find your ultimate vegan guru!


Vegan Social Media AllStars!


We all have some preferred sort of social media account and access to the internet, so let’s use this tool to help empower the inner vegan in you! Personally, I draw most of my vegan inspiration from Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter. So let’s get down with some well-known vegan badasses and cool vegan accounts!

Youtube Ladies and Gents

The most helpful Youtuber that has helped me with my vegan transition is Bonny Rebecca. Her videos have a wide range of Who, What, When, Where, Why, And How vegan has impacted her life and potentially yours! Listed below is her video of 5 Benefits of Going Vegan.

Another kickass vegan Youtuber is Kate Flowers! Kate Flowers has such an inspirational background story that correlates to many of her viewers and she has earned copious amounts of respect. Her videos are very alike to Bonny Rebecca’s in the aspect that they were made to inspire other vegans and specifically

nonvegans around the world. Here listed below is a video on how to go vegan and her top 6 tips!

Let’s Now Get to the Double Tapping, AKA Instagram

Instagram is a huge social media platform where individuals discover new places, people, and events every day. Personally I follow a wide variety of vegan accounts, but specifically Instagram is perfect for discovering new hot vegan spots and local events. So I follow accounts like @eatdrinkvegan and @rawmanda where they promote all the best vegan foods in a specific area through pictures and videos. Here are some of awesome account posts that’ll (hopefully) make your mouth water.








The twitter universe is something very complex and tailored to certain individual’s humor, that being said it’s difficult to put certain tweets in this blog. If you don’t have a twitter, I suggest you create an account and dive into the ridiculous vegan twitter realm that’ll either have you join a debate or have a good laugh. Have fun exploring and retweeting!

Ready…Set…Go Vegan!

Overall, the vegan movement is growing and evolving every day. That being said, hopefully vegans will be represented more in popular culture and help spread awareness to enlighten various consumers. Obviously, people are going to resent the idea of veganism but more people will be accepting of it once more movies and celebrities are actively talking about it. Once veganism is talked about regularly, the more people are going to realize what is good for themselves and the Earth. It’s easier for someone to transition to a vegan lifestyle if they feel supported and limitless with their options.  The social media realm provides advice and support to so many people who are looking to become a vegan and it really is a beautiful thing. So if you’re willing to take this journey, follow the tips that were previously listed and find yourself wondering “Why haven’t I done this a long time ago?” . Veganism is so good for your health, environment, many innocent animals, and could cause a contagious smile. So bottom-line, get your inspiration and become your own vegan guru!


















Works Cited

Does Your Inner Entrepreneur Sport Stilettos or a Tie

The message to all business women should be:

You have what it takes to fulfill your dream in the “man’s world” of business. Despite the fact that it is hard for the world of business to accept and respect a woman business owner the same way it does a man, you can do it and you’re not alone. Ready…set…go!

This message is missing in popular culture. Successful businesses have been viewed for generations as a man’s realm; even today the world of high-powered business is often male-dominated. The differentiation in popular culture between men and women business entrepreneurs encourages the age-old expectation of dissimilar behaviors. While the number of women owned businesses increases, female entrepreneurs are treated differently than male business owners. How can we change the expectations of standards and ethics in our modern world to be based on achievement and community impact rather than on the gender of the business owner?

When I saw that we had to read a 30-page study on “Inequality in 700 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Gender, Race, & LGBT Status from 2007 to 2014,” I wasn’t sure how to quickly read and digest that much information, but it was fascinating and I couldn’t stop reading. This was definitely a learning moment for me. Not only did I realize that a research paper could be interesting but was a bit surprised that our advanced civilization really isn’t that advanced when it comes to how we value each other. Combining this with the assignment and instructions for “Deconstructing and Advertisement,” I was able to analyze an advertisement more deeply than I had ever intentionally done before. The exercise was very engaging and I definitely found it helpful when watching the films for this project. It took the classic who, what, why, when, how, where questions to another level forcing me to acknowledge I hadn’t been peeling away as many layers as I could. It has been interesting to apply this technique to the books and even the research studies.

Additionally, I am thankful for the reminders: that the eyes are the windows to the soul and not to judge until you have walked a mile in the other person’s shoes. This confirmed my stance on the importance of checking out a person’s shoes first and then looking in their eyes.

human eye

Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality. -Nikos Kazantzakis

Polka Dot Stilettos


Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world. -Marilyn Monroe



What does a successful business woman look like in popular culture? The sources I chose portray a female entrepreneur wearing tailored professional business attire with stilettos. Strong colors are often favored; a power suit tempered by a statement scarf, necklace or the ultimate power stiletto, Christian Louboutin signature black heel. She is sharp in appearance and wit.

The roles reflected preconceived ideas such as fighting harder to overcome or pandering to the male ego. In some ways, it was what I was expecting after listening to my grandmother, who did not let anything hold her back in her varied careers as a business owner, journalist, and newspaper editor. She did not accept a man’s definition of who she was or what she could do and wore suits and lipstick every day until she retired.

Since I found such very diverse popular culture characterizations, it was fun comparing them and finding similarities.
the-devil-wears-prada-photos-jpg.pngThe Devil Wears Prada is a film specifically focusing on two professional women. Miranda (Meryl Streep), the most influential position in the fashion publishing industry and her newly hired assistant (Anne Hathaway), fresh out of college. It details the beginning of a career, the choices faced in pursuit of success, and the stark reality of the consequences over time.

When I see Miranda in action, my first thought is that she is hard and cold, but as the film progresses, cracks in her veneer appear. It is interesting to note that if a man behaves in theThe Devil Wears Prada Advert same way, he would be considered demanding and tolerated because he earned it; while Miranda is viewed as the devil and is very careful hide any weakness.

 Details of your incompetence do not interest me. -Miranda

She has to be seen as tougher than any man, including the owner of the magazine, in order to maintain her position of power. “She’s not happy unless everyone around her is panicked, nauseous or suicidal” is her assistant’s apt description of Miranda’s reign. While laughing at the humor, my stomach clenches a little remembering a female boss whose daily aim was the same as Miranda’s. I had worked for men in the same position without daily heartburn, so I wonder a bit at the reasoning for such a drastic difference in behaviors. In a man it is seen as commanding and in a woman as beyond demanding. 

The Intern

The Intern is a comic and heartwarming study of unexpected role reversals in the modern business world. This film looks at the traditional role expectations of men and women as business owner and intern. The dichotomy of age is an important aspect, portraying a generation beginning their high-powered career alongside the challenges faced by an aging workforce. The film explores two very strong preconceived ideas using heart and humor. Firstly, the successful .com business has been founded and is operated by young Jules (Anne Hathaway), not by a tech geek young man; secondly, the intern is a retired business man who is bored and wants to learn about the modern business world, not a young person straight out of college. Jules is not an experienced business woman, but almost fell into the role of founder of a successful on-line business. She is portrayed as uber professional, quick and a little quirky, but not unkind. Her business grew out of her passion and desire to help but needs the guidance of someone experienced to validate and mentor her as it grows. In walks Ben (Robert De Niro), the unexpected 70-year-old intern, saying “I’ve tried everything. I just know there’s a hole in my life and I need to fill it…soon.”

The interchanges between Ben and his coworkers portray the value of life experience and the importance of cultivating relationships regardless of age or gender. Near the end of the film, Jules says to Ben, “It’s moments like this when you need someone you know you can count on. Because you’re my…I was gonna say intern-slash-best-friend.” The characters learn from each other and enrich each other’s lives in a way that makes me want more of the same kind of relationships and reminds me to value the ones I have.

 littleladyagency00brow_0The Little Lady Agency is the first of a series by Hester Browne, originally published in Great Brittan, 2005. The novel is directed toward any woman looking for humor, a little romance, and a lot of relatability. The main character is a young woman looking for a way to use her talents to make a living in the chauvinistic world of business. Melissa has personal and professional obstacles to overcome and, in her drive to find a way to be independent in London, she works through some of her own personal hang-ups while accepting that in order to be the success she wants, she will have to pander to some of the stereotypes and expectations of others. Her family and social circle have expectations she feels are outdated and unreasonable. Melissa discovers that she becomes the most powerful and effective version of herself dressed in luxurious feminine power outfits including, pencil skirts, stockings, stilettos, and a wig. She describes herself as “Mary Poppins in silk stockings.” Her declaration that “appearances can be deceptive. Just because someone has a generous chest and a romantic nature doesn’t mean they’re EASY,” is one that most women in the business world can echo. The author has created relatable characters and used humor paired with wisdom to point out quirks and stereotypes women often accept and to conform to as dictated by expectations in the business world.

Each one of these portrays the challenges faced by women who are succeeding in the world of business. Miranda, Jules, and Melissa dress in professional outfits paired with stilettos and have perfect coiffed hair with expert makeup. They definitely have different leadership styles. Miranda is the ultimate dictator and one raised eyebrow can mean it’s time to update the resume; Jules on the other hand rules with a firm, but kind hand. Melissa is the modern sophisticated version of an English nanny, organized and bossy, tempered by a motherly pat on the hand and a cup of tea as necessary. Miranda has had to fight hard and dirty for her position, while Jules seems to have stumbled into entrepreneurship and is still learning to navigate leadership. Melissa’s business is another one that is unintentional but comes naturally and targets an unexpected niche market; however, as the most organized of the three characters, she takes her path to business ownership more slowly and works very hard not to step on anyone’s toes. The strongest similarities between the three are their professional appearances and the awareness that women in business experience different expectations than men in the same positions. How they pursue their careers and treat the people around them is vastly different.

In the book “Women in Charge,” Goffee & Scase discuss female business ownership in Great Britain. Statistics indicate that business patterns don’t change much across the pond. They cite two major silent contributions that women have made over the course of decades in the male dominated world of business, firstly by being the woman who is “behind every successful man” and secondly by starting their own enterprises. Many women begin businesses from modest locations without seeking financial investment or loans and work to sustain a steady long-term growth pattern. They surmise that women with varied work experience have the practical skills to operate independent businesses successfully and that businesswomen choose behavior based on the desired response, often going against their natural personality to lead a business to success and stability.

The research study “Invisible Entrepreneurs: The Neglect of Women Business Owners…” by Baker, Aldrich & Nina, examines differences in leadership styles and how women have often adapted to behave like men. Their most “robust” finding was that women in headship roles are often more democratic leaders as opposed to men, whose leadership is frequently autocratic. This corresponds with portrayals in popular culture: if a woman is directive in her leadership style, she is critiqued as having a male behavior and often given a nickname that indicates she is an unreasonable task master. Democratic ruling women aren’t as terrifying; maybe that is why they get less attention.

This study validated my experiences as a business manager and an owner. In the small town where I operated a business, over 90 percent of businesses were owned by women. Women were in charge of the Chamber, City Hall, and the Small Business Association. They were driving change and growth in the city, without looking for attention or recognition.

It’s not a novelty anymore to see a successful female entrepreneur, yet we frequently register surprise when we hear about a woman who has done something noteworthy. Men often look for a pat on the back in business. More women start small businesses without financing and work to grow, whereas men seem to look for financing to open up on a larger scale at the outset. The authors of the study also conclude that men are more likely to gamble on a larger scale than women when it comes to businessbusiness-people.png ventures.

All of this has confirmed that to be a successful entrepreneur, gender does not matter. There are often differences in leadership styles between men and women, but in the end, business is business. Let me pose these questions:  Are men who wear suits and ties treated with a different level of respect and expectations than those who wear casual clothing to work? Is the tie the male equivalent to the women’s stiletto? What would happen if everyone dressed professionally for work? How would that change our perceptions of business professionals and expected behaviors?



The Devil wears Prada [Motion picture]. Aline Brosh McKenna (screenplay), Lauren Weisberger (novel).  David Frankel. Karen Rosenfelt for 20th Century Fox (2006).

The Intern [Motion picture]. Nancy Meyers (author and director). Steven Mnuchin for Warner Brothers (2015).

The Little Lady Agency. Browne, Hester. (2005). Originally published by Hodder and Stoughton.

Goffee, R. (Ed.), Scase, R. (Ed.). (2015). Women in Charge (Routledge Revivals). London: Routledge.

Baker, T., E. Aldrich, H., & Nina, L. (1997). Invisible entrepreneurs: the neglect of women business owners by mass media and scholarly journals in the USA. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 9(3), 221-238.



The Plight of the Server

The focus of all my research was the portrayal of servers, male and female, in film and television. I must say I learned quite a bit I did not know. The in-depth assignments leading up to this post fully delved me into the portrayals and interpretations of servers, customers, and much more in the way of customer service. I have been educated on the psychology of a restaurant, both sides of the customer vs server debate, and seen examples of all of these things on tv. The social separation between customer and employees is a vital component to everyday life. Whether in the restaurant or anywhere else in society, it appears in popular culture because we experience it almost every day. The portrayals of either the customer or the employee being correct in the situation of them have a disagreement is split almost down the middle because most people can relate to both sides and pop culture normally tries to relate to a vast audience to get views and popularity. The stemming source of both side’s equal portrayal is that of a genuine misunderstanding and fundamental lack of mutual experience in one another’s life positions.

My research began with the question of who was normally correct in these debates. Customers as far as I could remember were often portrayed as rude or entitled. With further research I remembered that I had actually seen quite a few instances of the employee being shown as lazy and good for nothing through the eyes of the customer. This brought me to try to figure out who was most often correct, and how this could tie into the portrayal.Image result for customer and waiter

My Research Analysis Worksheet gave me quite an insight about the portrayals of characters in tv, but not much background information as to why. My first artifact was that of Office Space. It is one of my favorite movies and entirely focuses on the life of the employee and the dreams they all have about quitting their jobs and rebelling against the flawed system that their management had created. It focuses less on the customer vs employee debate and more on the employee vs management/job expectations. It got me thinking about the other side of these conflicts. It is not always out on the floor with customers, there are also many disgruntled employees and flawed businesses. Jennifer Anniston plays a waitress in the film and she hates her boss. Her job expects her to care about it way too much and she simply does not have the enthusiasm that other employees do. My Research Analysis Worksheet helped me analyze the breakdown of comparing customer to employees, and how managers are a big part of server portrayals in tv and film. Managers are often the enemy as they set high expectations, bother you frequently, and are lazy themselves (according to media). While in my personal experience this is not as much the case, I do know of friends and have had a few bosses myself that truly are lazy, expect too much, and unfairly compare employees or use other skeevy blackmail type tactics. I can see where these portrayals come from, as pop culture loves to exaggerate small traits to make films and tv more interesting for the viewer and relatable for other viewers.Image result for office space waiter

I also used Two Broke Girls in my Analysis worksheet which was very helpful. While some shows dig deeper into the meaning and characterization of customers and servers, it is good to also examine the surface reflection of the stereotypes on cable sitcoms like this show. With the laugh track and shallow plot, it is surprisingly more popular than many serious interpretations, and thus reaches more of an audience. This was important to look at because I found the common portrayal that many people see or want to see. The scene I chose is one of customers being rude and the waitress (a main character) being sassy to them and putting them in their place. I feel this this was so relatable and a common portrayal because it is focused on the common person who has dealt with rude customers in any job, but especially serving. The portrayal is exaggerated, as this is a laugh track sitcom, but the portrayal is based off reality. We get to see how the world views a common interaction between two stereotypes. The main difference, and the source of humor, is that the waitress fights back. This is the source of humor and joy for the audience, because this does not happen in real life. In real life the server has to quietly take criticism and silently do their job. The jokes in the show actually point to the realest moments of actual life by pointing out real events and changing how the normal server would wish they would go. This supports the argument that customers are normally wrong.Image result for two broke girls

I also quoted a scene from Seinfeld which portrayed customers and employees both being in the wrong. Not a very common occurrence, so it was interesting to study. Seinfeld always has interesting social commentary, and it is mainstream enough to affect popular perception of food industry workers. This scene was also important as it took both sides of the argument to a different viewpoint. The main show character was portrayed as the bad guy by antagonizing the soup maker’s way of running things. The soup maker was also the bad guy for having such a rigid system. While the show clearly knows a lot about this interaction, they refrain from taking any stance too blatantly. The main focus is to show the interaction, not comment on it.Image result for soup nazi

My annotated bibliography allowed me to look at quite a few things in a different light as I had never quite read articles on the study of this profession. There are not exactly articles on server portrayals in film, but my articles helped me nonetheless as they explained the dynamic I hoped to examine further and under different microscopes.

My first article was Friendly Waiters and Other Annoyances which is a New York Times article from the late 1980’s. Written by Marian Burros in the New York times, it made quite a statement. I will admit it put quite a dent in my argument and was nearly infuriating to read. It is, simply put, a list of complaints by a customer and various bad experiences he had in the food industry in general as a customer. While many of his arguments were sound, it did make me wonder if this dynamic had changed in the years between then and now. While it was not completely relevant to today’s portrayals in pop culture it did provide insight into past experiences in the profession from the opposing side. He says some things that I cannot agree with like “I still resent a waiter who tells me his name” (Burros). This man find the fake niceness of customer service employees off putting and a sort of guilt trip and I would disagree. From personal experience, many people expect and enjoy the fake smiles and timid conversation. Though some do not, and I have at times been one of those people, possibly not in the mood to talk, I do not foster hatred at those times because I understand it is part of the job, and I know many more customers would be angry with me if I were to express my genuine feelings. This man also gets mad about genuine feelings when he says that servers act as though this is an in between job for them, as it often is. This laziness I can see complaints about as many people do not genuinely love their work, they simply need the money. I do feel however that you must pick one, enjoy fake happy employees or genuine careless ones. While I understand many of the man’s complaints, I feel it stems from a genuine misunderstanding of the food industry as a whole instead of faulty wait staff. I did indeed get insight of the stemming hatred between customers and employees.

My second source, The Social Structure of a Restaurant was mostly helpful in the examination of the innerworkings of a restaurant that fed into my understanding of why customers fight with employees and why managers fight with employees as well. The miscommunication and lack of understanding between departments is something to be examined, but is not vital to the content of this essay.

My final source was that of Hey Waitress! The USA From the Other Side of the Tray, which was a memoir written by a waitress who went on to study waitresses later in her life as it is an interesting profession. This laid groundwork that helped me understand the position on a global scale, the diversity of people in the job, and a lot about how society views the position. Many stereotypes of servers exist that cannot possibly fit all of them. Waiting tables is such a common position that the portrayals on tv cannot possibly represent all of them equally and well.

I come to realize that both customers and employees can be correct, and movies fairly represent that. The portrayal of these characters does bring up many questions about whether they show these interactions faithfully, which they rarely do. Most representations of these character are commentary that point out exaggerations of certain reoccurring traits. An actual confrontation between staff and customer is never fun, exciting or funny, so film and tv censor this by making it a goofy, laughable moment that is truly uncomfortable in person. It is relatable, so we enjoy seeing it in a fun light, but many of us understand that this dynamic is rarely fun in reality and stems from an invisible barrier created by a lack of knowledge of each other’s lives.


Class examination:

This class has been very informative on many things I ignore on a daily basis. One of the main examples of this was the article written about how dads are underrepresented and misrepresented in television. “The number of stay-at-home dads is still tiny, but the rules of fatherhood have changed a lot” is an example of one of those things I had simply never considered daily (Rosin). I often hear about underrepresentation of people of color, trans people, and so on, and I had never considered the underrepresentation of Dads, let alone the effects of these portrayals being so important to the development of so many lives. It really was a fascinating topic to explore. Other classes focused on other under representations, so I never would have heard about this otherwise. In the future I will keep an open mind to not narrow my views of a topic to one specific group. No matter what the topic is, I will attempt to think outside the box and consider all of the effects on anyone that could be connected.

Another interesting topic was the breakdown of advertising for a younger generation. The article we read examined many of the psychological things advertisers go through to convince children who were born to fend them off that they are their friends. “It was as if young people knew that the stuff on television was called “programming” for a reason, and developed shortened attention spans for the purpose of keeping themselves from falling into the spell of advertisers. The remote control allowed young people to deconstruct TV” (Rushkoff). This breakdown was relatable because I now understood why I was so immune to some advertisements but was so entranced by others. That whole week really helped me figure out what to look out for and really understand what different advertisements were attempting to get me to do. I will use this in the future consistently to keep my eyes open as ads have taken over almost every aspect of life and it is good to at least recognize their intent.


Works Cited

Burros, Marian. “DE GUSTIBUS; Friendly Waiters and Other Annoyances.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 May 1989,

Judge, Mike, director. Office Space. 1999.

Owings, Alison. Hey, waitress!: The USA from the other side of the tray. Univ of California Press, 2004.

Rosin, Hanna. “TV and Film’s Doltish Dad Gets a Makeover.” Slate Magazine, Slate, 15 June 2012,

Rushkoff, Douglas. “A Brand by Any Other Name – How Marketers Outsmart Our Media Savvy Children.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 2000,

Seinfeld, Jerry. “The Soup Nazi.” Seinfeld, season 7, episode 6, 2 Nov. 1995.

“Two Broke Girls: And the Petty Problem.” Two Broke Girls, season 1, episode 7, 31 Oct. 2011.

Whyte, William Foote. “The social structure of the restaurant.” The Anthropology of Organisations. Routledge, 2017. 19-27.


How mexicans are stereotyped and represented in a negative light in media

Isn’t it obvious by now?

Pretty much everyone is aware of the common stereotypes that are used to portray Mexicans, enough to where you could make a list. I feel like the most common perceptions I see are the “funny friend”, the “machismo/violent man”, and the “hot latinas” who are considered spicy or loud. Mexican is an overstatement because these stereotypes and more are often used and grouped with other communities, like Latinos and Hispanics. So there is often a lack of representation because they’re not accurately being culturally representative. Often, I see people forget the differences between them. I wanted to look into films and television to further my point in how Mexicans are often portrayed negatively or not represented in a culturally respective light. Even though in today, we are noticing some changes through the media, we are still lagging empathy and logic in recognizing the differences in other communities. The problem I am seeing is not just the portrayal in media but the lack of understanding that these things are not reality and what perceptions come within.

¡Three Amigos! Directed by John Landis

This is a movie that falls into the category of comedy and “adventure”. I am not sure about the purpose of the movie. Although, Steve Martin who wrote the screenplay had been attached to the project since 1980 and went through rejections prior to Landis. It changed throughout time, by that I mean the title and actors involved. None of those actors for the “amigos” were in any ethnicity of Hispanic or Mexican. It premiered on the 10th of December 1986 in the U.S.

I feel like I can’t speak for that but what I can say is, it affected more of the older generation viewers since it was out in their generation and kind of created and pushed this idea and fascination of the humor of Mexicans and the slang. It kind of made “amigo” a more used and popular word too. I realized now where a lot of people have gotten it from when they’re in a group of three like the three musketeers.

The stereotypes I often saw were like the “bandito” meaning the violent or thief like man. With the bandito, there was the sidekick who wasn’t very smart and had a very distinct odd accent that stood out more than the others which I thought portrayed a lot with the “funny Mexican friend” stereotype that furthered on in other media.

Below is a clip, showing how “dumb” Jefe is acting:

While observing the characters in the movie I noticed that the “Mexicans” were given this dirty image, and it seemed like they used a mild level of brown face. My reason for this observation is that the actor Tony Plana who is American-Cuban has significantly lighter skin than his character Jefe. Because they are set in a desert, I understand why he may appear to be more tan but he also looks very dirty, which reflects the stereotype of Mexicans being uncivilized. Though he is Cuban, there were a lot of other actors non-POC that played Mexicans in the movie.

Tony plana jefe.jpg

The movie seemed to stereotype just to help convey a point or simply for humor. Since they were all comedians they were probably just trying to “poke at it” instead of appropriating but it’s very demeaning when you think of it. In comedy, it appears to me that it is easier to get away with appropriation and stereotypes since it’s all for the “comedic relief”. What people don’t get is this action causes the audience to feel like it’s okay to joke around about it. Stand-up comedians, for instance, make fun of their own races but forget that their audience is more diverse than they imagine and that can cause an issue by how people interpret and interact with others in their daily lives.

Modern Family

S3:E22 Disneyland

S4:E13 Fulgencio

In this show, there is often this portrayal of Sofia Vergara who is American-Columbian and plays the character, Gloria. Gloria is often dressed in provocative clothing and is always speaking in a loud feisty tone, that is often portrayed with Mexican, latina, and Hispanic women. This isn’t the only time Sofia has played this type of character, in most movies or cameos she is typecast into this role. I find it interesting because Claire whose the other mom and the daughter of the man who married Gloria, is always dressed in comfy “soccer mom” clothing, so why can’t both of them dress either way? The differences between the two really show how often they stereotype Gloria and even her tv-show son and family.

Gloria Modern Family tops claire modern family

In episode twenty-two of season three “Disneyland” Jay is in shock when Gloria’s angry tone starts to calm down when her heels are off when she puts on the slippers he got her from a Disney boutique.

He then says “ Now please don’t go all Latin on me, when I say this ”

He was wondering if the reason she gets angry is that she’s always wearing uncomfortable shoes. This might not be the biggest deal but it’s still a problem with the generalization that all Latinas turn angry or spicy on men or people. Why is Latin used when he could have just said, “don’t get angry with me when I tell you this”. When he uses latin does he mean the stereotype of all Latina women being overly dramatic and angry or Latinx being anyone of latin decent? I do know that people use this stereotype on all women of this community.

In the “Fulgencio” episode, there was a lot going on… it started with Jay getting annoyed by Gloria’s relatives and doesn’t want their newborn babies name to be Fulgencio. Which is what Gloria’s mom wanted since it was her dead husband’s name.

He says to her mom “in America, it’s not real common to hear the name, Fulgencio”

The mom then tries to teach him how to pronounce it right when he butchers the name.

He then goes like; “I don’t even practice it, because I can’t name my son that”

Gloria’s sister is shown at 7:00. Claire mentions to Gloria that she’s getting pretty cozy with the “housekeeper” when Gloria tells her that’s her sister, you can tell Claire was surprised because of how weird the relationship was.

Her sister comes back in the scene asking “where is the river?”. At the end of the episode, they offer to buy the sister a house of her own so she can be “independent”. This idea as if she is helpless and can’t find her way out is often used as a stereotype for not just women of Mexican, Latinx, Hispanic culture but men too.

It seems like Gloria is the focal point and the comedy of the show for always being the diva and getting over emotional, I found a video of a compilation of her mispronunciations, since English isn’t her first language and she always gets corrected, but at the end; the family starts making fun of the times she had mispronounced and you can see she got really offended.

Danny Trejo… the typecast issue

The reason I picked the actor instead of a specific movie of the stereotype is that I find it very interesting that this actor, Danny Trejo is typecast into this bandito, angry violent character who kills people. People literally know him as that type of character but don’t really know any of his other stuff since there isn’t too much that stem off from the stigma. It does make it hard when his past, prior from acting; he was in and out of jail and prison which I feel like gave him this persona that he could only play in that type of role.

I am going to list a few movies he is in and just gives you the brief similarities of who he plays and attach photos.

Machete (most commonly what he is known of) directed by Robert Rodriguez (2010)

danny trejo

  • ladies man, violent character/vengeance, solving everything by killing

This Machete is very different than the one in spy kids because it shows a very violent side of him, where he deadly kills a lot of people.

Spy Kids, directed by Robert Rodriguez as well, first opens to the character Machete who is the uncle of the kids. Which was original what movie I knew from him and grew up with. He at first is very closed off and doesn’t want to express his emotions and tell his nephews that he misses his family and loves them because he is afraid and feels like he has to play tough. It is very different from what he regularly plays which makes it stand out. Although he is still pretty intimidating in this role, he becomes more open later by revealing how emotional he actually is in the series. He then helps the team a lot.  

Bad Ass directed by Craig Moss (2012)

danny trejo bada

  • Violent character/vengeance
  • Difference: he did show a little vulnerability that he often hides in his other movies.

In this movie, he has a hard time as a war veteran with a disability, to find a job so his last resort becomes working at a hot dog stand. He then gets this badass label when he beats up two white guys on a bus to protect the civilians.

I had realized that most of the reason why he killed was from some sort of vengeance or for the good but it still doesn’t beat the fact that his most played type of character is someone who is willing to use violence and someone who is intimidating and scary rather than playing a sweet or a romantic character. Yes, he’s been in comedy but it isn’t his most liked stuff or is left unrecognized since people rather see him kill in tv.

Let’s Back It Up Now…

In an article, I found called Using Media Literacy to Explore Stereotypes of Mexican Immigrants written by Lucila Vargas and Bruce DePyssler; they mentioned something very relatable to the point of what I am trying to come across.

“Media producers select small pieces of the real world and use them as building blocks in their own constructions.” ( pg.4)

Basically, they grab a small portion of what is considered real and make it into something totally opposite. Either that be replacing POC with white actors or stigmatizing a group and influencing the audience that Hispanics and Latinos are the same as Mexicans and they all speak with a funny accent, have this sexy look, are seen as violent, criminal or lazy. Where’s the positive light? We might be doing better recently but not enough to make a difference.

So what now?

In conclusion, these films and television shows have put some impact on their audience by the way they see the world. The idea of Mexicans are often grouped with other Spanish like speaking communities that aren’t even Mexican but because they speak a foreign language similarly it all involves sombreros and funny accents. Stereotypes have become so normalized through the years that even some Mexicans seem to be fine with it. The question I keep asking myself is, what can we do to break down these barriers and avoid the issue of grouping and stigmatizing?

Learning moments

During this term I learned a lot in the way media does influence our way of thinking and helps us perceive things, rather it is the right or wrong way. I do think as a society we need to not let film, news, and other sources of media and the internet, interpret how we see things and people exactly but learn from it and ask ourselves… is this accurate?
I would say a big learning moment would be the Every Single Word videos. I came with an expectation that there weren’t going to be many and kind of had an idea of the purpose. Although it was more shocking to see some movies that didn’t have any single person of color… That’s just like WOW… And the ones that did have an act, they were small roles most of the time and stereotypical.

Work Cited

    1. ¡Three Amigos!. Dir. John Landis. Perf. Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Martin Short. HBO Video, 1986. Film.
    2. Modern Family. Dir. Jason Winer, Steven Levitan. Perf. Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ed O’Neil, etc. American Broadcasting Company. 2009. Television Show.
    3. Machete. Dir. Robert Rodriguez. Dir. Ethan Maniquis. Perf. Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Steven Seagal. 20th Century Fox, 2010. Film
    4. Bad Ass. Dir. Craig Moss. Perf. Danny Trejo, Ron Perlman, Joyful Drake, etc. Samuel goldwyn Films, 2012. Film
    5. Spy Kids. Dir. Robert Rodriguez. Perf. Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Antonio Banderas, Danny Trejo, etc. 2001. Film
    6. Vargas, Lucila, and Bruce DePyssler. “Using Media Literacy to Explore Mexican Stereotypes of Mexican Immigrants.” Social Studies and the New Immigration, Nov. 1998.

The On-Screen Portrayal of Younger Brothers

Think of a movie or a TV show you watched when you were younger—maybe something that ran on Disney Channel or Nickelodeon—that features an adolescent protagonist with a kid brother. Is this little brother a calm, easygoing, honest, and well-mannered individual who respects and supports his older siblings? Is he the type of kid to do his homework, obey the rules, and maintain decent hygiene? Would you trust him to house-sit for you for a day, or would you be too worried he might let the cat loose, spill soda on the carpet, break a window, or set something on fire? Probably the latter, right?

Films and TV shows, especially ones intended for younger audiences, have a way of characterizing the youngest boy in the family. He’s mischievous, he’s a bother, he’s messy, he’s uncool; if you think about it for a minute, it’s a rather common trend. But have you ever considered the significance of this trend and what effects it has potentially had on young viewers, including your childhood self? A 1989 study on sibling interactions in popular TV families asserts that television is a powerful behavior influencer for its viewers (Larson 305). And not only that, a significant portion (over 40%) of sibling interactions observed in the study were negative in some way (309). Being the youngest male in my family and wondering about this media influence myself, I thought I would examine a few examples of younger brother characters in pop culture who I knew growing up, and what specific patterns exist in their portrayals.

Max in Max & Ruby

Starting with a young children’s cartoon that began its run in the early 2000s, Max & Ruby is all about the day-to-day life of the titular rabbit siblings. Since their parents or any other adults are very rarely shown, much more focus is placed on the sibling relationship between the two, and Ruby is frequently tasked with taking care of her younger brother Max, who is still too young to be able to speak in complete sentences. The stark contrast between these two characters is a major element of the show; the imagery in the opening of each episode demonstrates this when Max replaces a pink-frosted cake Ruby has made with one of worms, mud, and rocks. In the following bit, dressed as Count Dracula, he creeps up behind Ruby, who is wearing a pink dress and a tiara, to give her a scare. Basically, we get the overall impression that Max is constantly doing something to disturb his much more mature and earnest sister.

I see the sly grin on your face, Max. What kind of sick joke are you trying to play this time?

In an episode titled “Ruby’s Rainbow”, Ruby tells Max she’s going to paint a rainbow for their grandmother and then proceeds to explain what a beret and smock are. Max can only pretend he was listening and say “backyard!” to communicate that he wants to play outside in the rain. The remainder of the episode consists of Ruby encouraging Max to paint and learn about the colors of the rainbow as he repeatedly attempts to escape the house to play in the yard. In “Max’s Mudpie”, Ruby insists that Max stay out of the mud before their grandmother comes over to visit, but we all know Max can’t resist the urge to smear wet dirt all over his face three different times. 

“Ah yes, bathing in mud AND annoying my big sister. This is it. This is the life.”

Throughout the series, Max and Ruby’s roles and interactions remain very much the same; Ruby acts as the one who takes charge and tries to teach her brother and accomplish specific goals, while Max goofs around and gets into mischief.

Matt in Lizzie McGuire

Disney sitcom Lizzie McGuire also ran in the early 2000s and features protagonist Lizzie and her younger brother Matt. This image from the episode “Bunkies”, during which Lizzie is forced to share her room with Matt, should give you a pretty good idea of how things often go between the two.

Lizzie’s getting fed up with your shenanigans, man.

Matt completely fits the “annoying little brother” type. In this episode, we get a solid 30-second montage of him running around his sister’s room in the middle of the night shutting the door, turning lights on, and doing whatever else is the opposite of Lizzie’s preference. Matt’s repetitive and annoying behavior not only creates a pain in the neck for his sister, it’s even slightly irritating for the viewer to watch.

Besides what Matt does, Lizzie’s own words and actions emphasize the characterization of her brother. In between scenes and throughout each episode, a tiny animated version of Lizzie speaks directly to the audience and rants about things such as her brother being a “dorkhead” or a “weasel”. This more strongly conveys to the viewer the ideas we should have about Matt or whoever she happens to be talking about.

Cartoon Lizzie expressing her dismay to the audience

Still, Lizzie and Matt are not always in conflict with each other, but the way they sometimes make up is still telling of Matt’s character. Later on in “Bunkies”, Matt and Lizzie agree to pretend to like each other and get along so that their parents will free them of the punishment of sleeping on the floor; Lizzie later points out her brother’s skills in deceit by admitting he was a “good actor”. In another episode titled “Sibling Bonds”, Matt and Lizzie become closer to each other after Lizzie scares off a boy who once bullied Matt, while Matt tricks his sister’s nemesis, Kate, into opening a can of worms, sending her falling into a pond. The two siblings do similar things to help each other and ultimately form a closer bond, but the older sister Lizzie accomplishes this through power and intimidation, while little brother Matt employs cleverness and trickery. This interesting contrast highlights Matt’s mischievous character even at a time when the two siblings are able to hold back their hostility toward each other.

Harry in Freaky Friday (2003)

Freaky Friday, another product of Disney with a similar target audience to Lizzie McGuire, focuses on the conflict between teenage protagonist Anna and her mother as they struggle to get along and understand each other. Little brother Harry doesn’t get quite as much time on screen as his other family members, but we still get a clear sense of who he is from the very beginning of the film. Anna doesn’t want to get out of bed in the morning? Harry runs into her room, blows an airhorn in her face, then scurries off. Anna is being scolded by her mother on the way to school? Harry laughs and makes faces at her from the backseat. All the while Harry appears entirely innocent to his mother, never facing any consequences for his behavior. This contrast not only emphasizes the disconnect between Anna and her mother, being one of the primary conflicts of the film, but it paints Harry as a cunning, mischievous boy and perhaps even a frustratingly annoying character to watch for the audience as well.

Making faces at your sister behind Mom’s back—a classic little brother move.

Surprisingly, there is some character development for Harry later in the film, when Anna, without his knowledge, reads an essay he had written about her for school. The essay reveals that Harry deeply cares for and admires his sister, which clearly contradicts his behavior prior to this event. Also in this scene, however, he strangely confesses to enjoying fighting with his sister and being the pesky little nuisance he is, reinforcing the idea that even if there is no true malicious intent, younger brothers have this troublemaker type of role in the family especially when it comes to the treatment of their older siblings.


When children watch the television and see the interactions between a young boy and his older brother or sister, they are shown a behavioral model; whatever ideas and actions take place in a film or a show move beyond the screen and have at least some influence on the family dynamic or the way we view ourselves and others. Younger brothers are quite often characterized as troublesome, rascally, messy, and annoying, especially when it comes to the way they behave around their older siblings. Is this highly inaccurate in all cases? Does it automatically cheapen a TV show or a movie? Not by any means, but as a younger brother who tries to be a kind person—and has never at any point been interested in skateboarding in the house or rolling around in the mud—I believe only good things could come out of more frequent depictions of younger brothers as kind, supportive, and important family members in pop culture media.

Learning Moments

One of the most interesting and impactful moments of the course for me was in week 3, which focused on the influence of advertising. Reading and then using the “Deconstructing an Advertisement” handout has made me begin to think about advertisements in many more ways (the purpose, the message, the assumptions being made, and specific visual elements). Additionally, John Berger’s Ways of Seeing was a fascinating documentary that showed me how advertisers create glamorous images to instill personal envy and ultimately encourage customers to purchase products. I am not only more careful not to be mislead by advertisements, but I am also now more aware of and interested in the ways ads represent our culture and can have positive or negative effects on society.

Also during week 3, some really interesting questions came up in the lecture which I still think about often, one of them being: “Does the media ‘cause’ or change our cultural attitudes or beliefs, or is it merely reinforcing existing ones?” At times I and probably many other students in the class have felt the temptation to place all of the blame on “the media” for certain problems in society (racial stereotypes, unrealistic beauty standards for women, et cetera). However, the media is of course to some extent simply reflecting all of our own ideas, beliefs, and desires, and we do bear responsibility for what is produced, shared, and shown to us. Although I have not arrived at a clear answer of how we can as individuals influence pop culture media to change society for the better, I have learned that there is much importance in discussion and analysis of media—whether it is the news, a televised ad, a film, or anything else—to determine the extent to which its content is socially responsible as well as what short and long term consequences could arise from it.

Works Cited

“Bunkies.” Lizzie McGuire. Disney Channel. 21 Feb. 2003. Television.

Freaky Friday. Dir. Mark Waters. 2003. DVD.

Larson, Mary S. “Interaction Between Siblings in Primetime Television Families.” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 33.3 (1989): 305-315. Web. 2 May 2018.

“Ruby’s Rainbow / Home Tweet Home / Max’s Mudpie.” Max & Ruby. Nick Jr. 6 Oct. 2009. Television.

“Sibling Bonds.” Lizzie McGuire. Disney Channel. 3 Aug. 2001. Television.

Works Consulted

“Annoying Younger Sibling.” TV Tropes. Web. 20 May 2018. <;.

Kramer, Laurie, Sonia Noorman, and Renee Brockman. “Representations of Sibling Relationships in Young Children’s Literature.” Early Childhood Research Quarterly 14.4 (1999): 555-574. Web. 2 May 2018.

Women Introverts

There are many identities that I align myself with, such as Daughter and Singer, but the identity that I feel has been misrepresented in pop culture is the identity of Introverts. Women introverts specifically are usually either secondary characters, since most films and TV shows center around a male protagonist, and displayed as quiet and submissive. A film that plays on this stereotype is the 50 shades of Grey franchise. Although the introverted woman is technically the focal character her desires and introversion make her an easy target to be trampled on by the dominating male. If the women happen to be the lead they are also displayed in the same way or over-sexualized; think quite, shy, but secretly very sensual librarian types. AKA Anastasia from the 50 shades of Grey franchise. These stereotypes are grossly overused and inaccurate to most introverts I have met and read about. Sarah Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, is a Harvard law school graduate and former attorney and negotiator. She used to regard her quiet and reserved nature as a disadvantage, something to be overcome. She spoke to TIME magazine and defined introversion, “There are many different definitions that psychologists use. One that many would agree with — and that I like — is ‘people who prefer quieter, more minimally stimulating environments.’ The key is about stimulation: extroverts feel at their best and crave a high degree of stimulation. For introverts, the optimal zone is much lower.”

Women introverts in media are usually stereotyped as shy or over sexualized but in TV shows and films such as Daria, Gilmore Girls, and Amèlie while using Susan Cain’s definition of introversion, we see a broader representation of how women can be in control and strong-willed. This is important so girls have more characters to identify with and not be ashamed if they feel they act differently.

Daria is a TV show created by Karen Discher and targeted towards young adults. It was first broadcasted in the year of 1997 and lasted till 2001. This cartoon has a mix of characters with Daria Morgendorffer being the outcast for her high intellect and introverted attitude. This character doesn’t care what people think about her and doesn’t like a big group of friends or a lot of people around her. Her friend Jane is also very similar to her because she also finds the vanity of her peers annoying and the two have a very close connection. Daria’s younger sister is the epitome of everything Daria dislikes, however, which creates a dysfunctional family atmosphere. Another distinct characteristic of introverts is the need to reenergize after having too many social outings or being around too many people for a long period of time. Daria was exhausted by human interaction and occasionally bored by it. People might call her “too intense,” but she’d rather observe the world around her than make a phony effort to participate in it. She could easily feel alone at a pep rally, but she needed that time to think of her classic, snarky comments.

Daria is very similar to me as an introvert. Introverts aren’t necessarily shy; we just prefer a smaller group or one on one conversation typically. This makes me feel good that the creators made her a little feisty and not so much of a wallflower because that has been done. Daria is shown in a positive light most of the time, with her sharp wit and lack of patience for the student body that surrounds her. The only time she is seen negatively is when her apathy towards people goes a little too far and she becomes just mean and judgmental. daria-quotes-group

Amèlie is a movie directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. The film is about a French girl who has her own sense of justice. It was originally premiered in France. The film is set in Paris, France and revolves around a young girl in her twenties and her falling in love. She is very vivacious but also a little naïve when it comes to the world. With its quirky cinematography, it has become a cult classic even here in the US. The movie is in French and it has a youthful lens with which the audience experiences Paris.

Amèlie was homeschooled and seeing how her parents probably gave her the freedom to explore her feelings and this is probably what brought on this almost hero complex where she tries to punish people the way she sees fit. She also becomes a little more aggressive in her pursuit of trying to live her own life the way she wants. What I find interesting is that Amèlie may not be seen as an introvert right away based on her personality. Where Daria dislikes most people and only hangs out with one or two people, Amèlie is optimistic and somewhat of a free spirit. This is interesting that she decides to take life into her own hands in a more aggressive way because when she was younger she was rarely around people because of her Father’s mistaking for her having a heart condition. This is a possible reason for why Amèlie is more of an introvert because she grew up not needing others to recharge her and was perfectly content to be alone most of the time. What really makes her an introvert is her awkwardness in larger social situations and her content for wandering a city or doing something just by herself.

What is really revealing about this film when talking about introverts is that shows introversion and loneliness in a very different and creative way due to its Surrealistic effect. I think another introverted aspect that is revealed in this movie is how the movie shows how hard it is for her to open up to other people, like Nino. This may not be a specific introverted quality but this type of behavior is common for a lot of introverts. The character is shyer in the beginning but once she realizes she needs to be more aggressive with her life she becomes very strong-willed, which some people think shyness equates to introversion.


The last TV show created by Amy Sherman-Palladino called Gilmore Girls. It is referenced as a dramedy, drama and comedy, and was broadcasted in the US for teen audiences. Some details in this TV show are that the mother and daughter, Lorelei and Rory, are very close and almost like siblings. This could be due to the mother’s young age and her eccentricities could have formed Rory to be the way she is, more responsible and secluded to balance her mother. Rory is a very serious and studious person and prefers books to people. This TV show really reflects a certain type, and most overused in media, of an introvert. She is shy and prefers to be with a small select group of people, very intelligent, and has this sweet and bookish quality to her look. Her look is also something that plays with the stereotypical introvert persona. She is very sensible, but cute, almost a girl next door look that many guys fantasize over in the TV show. Something Rory shares with the other two characters mentioned is she is also strong-willed and knows her mind even if it is hard to express at times.

It is always refreshing to see a female character, especially an introvert, shown in a positive light when she is taking charge. This is something interesting however is because most people don’t mind as much when Rory does it, it could be the possible look she has where she seems a little helpless. It’s also interesting how different of a character she is compared to her mom, we definitely get the impression that Rory is more of the ‘adult’ type and her personality had to be more sensible to balance out the opposite personality. She is definitely more serious then Amèlie was and her introversion is a little more obvious and stereotypical, but not incorrect for some. It’s also very interesting that her introversion is found as an almost enchanting quality to some of the men, maybe a hyper-masculine trait for those characters? When compared to Daria who was not seen in this light it is interesting to see how different introverted characters are perceived based on their kind of introversion and how they are in the world. What really stands out about her character compared to other introverted women depicted in TV and Film is she is universally loved and is displayed as a tragic outcast but as a girl who just likes to be alone. Another revealing trait about her that most introverts can agree on is their absorption in a single task; Rory doesn’t notice Dean checking her out because she was fully engrossed in a book.

These shows show a better understanding of women introverts and with all women introverts being also strong-willed and leading characters even if they all various degrees of temperaments. The temperament is uniquely different within all 3 characters. Daria is an introvert who doesn’t need anyone and just chooses to be friends with a very select few. She sees the world for what it is and is a little cynical because of it. She has a very strong personality and isn’t afraid to tell people what is on her mind. Amèlie is a drifting spirit whose own fantasies and inside world colors her view on the outside world and how she fits into it. She is a very soft and has this floating quality to how she carries herself, however, she does have a bit of a temper and doesn’t mind enacting some revenge on those who have done her wrong. Rory is also very light and demure but has a very serious quality to her but shows it in a more subtle way then Daria does.

A pattern that was very obvious and wonderful was that all characters had a strong sense of self, whether it was always there or they found it on their own journey. This I think is very important and something I wasn’t expecting them to have because of other stereotypes. Each girl shows her authority in different ways but none of them back down from a fight and always do what they believe is right, even if the world doesn’t think so. This is very important so girls don’t feel like outcasts if they share these personality traits and because based on a study by Stanford where they studied 50 men and women there were more extroverts in both gender samples it is important for extroverts to understand what introversion generally looks like so we can all be sensitive to each other. Susan Cain says “So many introverts who I interviewed told me about a secret sense of shame they had about who they were and how they prefer to spend their time. I want people to have a comfort level with who they are. Secondly, I’d like schools and workplaces to rethink how they are structured and think about meeting the needs of their introverts as well as their extroverts.” If we create more diversity in film, both on and off the screen, and bring various types women into the forefront we can create understanding and a broader representation in the media which could in turn help change our current pop culture and how we view women and women introverts.

A strong learning moment for me this year was recognizing the stereotypes that are littered in film, TV shows, and throughout social media. This is important so we can understand how to change them and to expect change in the future so everyone is equally represented. One of the stand out momemts for getting to this conclusion was when we had to understand Axe’s reasoning behind their commercial and who they were trying to advertise to.

Work cited:

“Plot.” IMDb,,

“Plot, Daria.” IMDb,,

“Gilmore Girls (TV Series 2000–2007).” IMDb,,

Duca, Lauren. “8 TV Characters That Explain What It Means To Be An Introvert.” The Huffington Post,, 7 Dec. 2017,

@maiasz, Maia Szalavitz. “Q&A: Q&A With Susan Cain on the Power of Introverts.” Time, Time, 27 Jan. 2012,

Oliver, R. (1930). The Traits of Extroverts and Introverts. The Journal of Social Psychology, 1(3), 345-366.

Moore, W., Vail, Thomas, Schatzman, Bard, & Terlizzi, Charlene. (2016). A Phenomenological Study of Introversion, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.


The Importance of Brotherhood

Brotherhood is a very important part of a male’s life. Without brotherhood, there would be a lack of direction in life. Also, with life without brotherhood, there would be a lack of motivation and problem solving

All of those things lead me to the question on why is brotherhood so important? I will answer that question by analyzing 3 forms of media. The first one is the movie Brother Bear, the second is the song Big Brother by Kanye West, and the last a movie called Boyz N’ The Hood. By analyzing these forms of media, I will be able to explain how important brotherhood is.

Brotherhood is a very important in a male’s life. Brotherhood can start all the way back when you are playing on the playground with your friends while you were a toddler. When we are young we are so eager to learn and test out new things and the people who show us things are our parents, siblings and friends. These people represent a teacher for males throughout life. At a young age there is a few main things that are very important to learn from your family and friends, and that is how to interact with people which leads us to learning equality and fair treatment.

The first form of media, I will discuss is the movie Brother Bear, which was released by Disney in 2003. Brother Bear is a movie directed by Aaron Blaise. The purpose of this movie is to make other people see how things are from another perspective. During the movie Kenai and his brother seek to kill a bear, but things go wrong and the bear kills Kenai’s brother Sitka. After that Kenai tracks down the bear and kills it, but the spirits didn’t like his ruthless acts, and turned him into a bear to see things from another perspective and learn the aspects of brotherhood. When Kenai turns into a bear, he meets a little bear named Koda. He sees how hard and scary his life is, so he tries to
protect the little bear from the humans and get help from him to turn back into a human.


One scene in the beginning of the movie is the concept of how Kenai went from hating bears, to loving them because he learned and was put in the shoes (paws) of a bear and realized how hard their life was. The reason why this stuck out to me is because there is a saying that you should never judge a book by its cover, which is similar to Kenai’s feeling for bears.

Another scene in this movie is at the end of the movie when Kenai changed back to a human. He didn’t want to leave Koda, because he felt like his brother would be angry at him for loving the animal that killed him, but his brother came to him as a spirit and told him that he won’t be angry if he goes back to a bear or stays a human, he will always be his brother. This stuck out to me because he is saying through all of the things that happen, at the end of the day, I still love you. This is very important because throughout Kenai’s journey, he went through all of these negative situations, and grew from them.

Throughout this movie Kenai went through a lot of of hardships with his older brother and Koda the cub. All of these hardships and negative situations strengthened the relationship between Kenai, Sitka, and Koda. During this movie all of the characters had some type of hardship, but the way of making it through the hardship is sticking together with your brothers.


The second form of media that I analyzed is the song Big Brother by Kanye West from the Graduation album (2007). Big brother is a song created by Kanye West. The purpose of this song is to explain the hardships that brotherhood comes with and how a brotherhood outside of a family functions.

The relationship between Jay Z and Kanye go all the way back to 2000 when Jay Z’s record label Roc-A-Fella Records hired Kanye as a producer. When Kanye was on the record label, he produced a song on Beanie Sigel The Truth album in 2000, which left the founders in awe, which led to Kanye to produce one of Jay Z’s greatest songs, “This Can’t Be Life”, which started the brotherhood between Jay Z and Kanye West.

Throughout this song there is lots of interesting lines. The first line that stuck out to me is when Kanye talks about how he was so excited to show Jay Z  “He could change your life with all these beats I did, at least let him hear it, At least you can brag to ya friends back at the gig, but he got me out me out my momma crib, then he help me get my momma a crib’’. This line is very important because Kanye is thanking Jay Z for getting helping him make enough money to move out of his mom’s house, then overtime get his mother a new house by making music.

Another interesting line about this song is when he was talking about how his big brother (Jay Z) made him sit back and learn from him, which made Kanye angry, which turned into motivation for him. “Big brother got his show up at Madison Square And I’m like “Yeah, yeah, we gon’ be there” but not only did I not get a chance to spit it Carline told me I could buy two tickets, I guess big brother was thinkin’ a little different And kept little brother at bay, at a distance but everything that I felt was more bogus, Only made me more focused..” This line explains how Jay Z was hard on Kanye and didn’t want to give him the fame immediately, he wanted to show him how things were, and slowly bring him into the spotlight, so he will be a stringer artist, and know how things work at the higher level.


The third form of media that I analyzed is the movie Boyz N’ The Hood. Boyz N The Hood was released in 1991. John Singleton the producer, had a belief for Boyz N The Hood that it would give a look on how it is to grow up in South Central Los Angeles with violence and nothing but doubt. Another belief that he had for this movie is that it would teach people to be there for each other in the time of need. The last belief that the director had was that the movie would show how important family and friends are. With these four friends, the only thing they had is each other, and throughout their lives, they created a bond and a brotherhood.

One scene that stuck out is at the beginning of the movie when the older kids on the block stole Doughboy’s little brothers ball. Doughboy approached the older kid who took the ball and demanded his brother’s ball back. When he didn’t get the ball back, he kicked the older kid in the back of the leg, and then he was pushed down and beat up. Although he lost the fight, his little brother saw the sacrifice and love from him, which made their connection stronger.

Another scene in the movie is when Doughboy’s brother Ricky got shot and he felt like he lost everything. He had no father, no brother, and his mother wasn’t around. While he was telling his best friend Tre all of these things, he is starting to tear up because he felt like he is alone. As he gets up and walks away, Tre says “You still have one brother left”. This was a very important scene during the movie because they aren’t brothers by blood, but by all of the things that they have been through together, they are just as close as blood brothers.


Having that person there for you when you grow up is a very crucial part in life. The reason why is because they can help lead you and help you through life step by step. They also help give you direction in life to be successful and without that sort of mentorship/leadership, you will be oblivious to life. Without brotherhood, you will be walking into a world unknown.


One learning moment that I have this year is during week 2. There was an article about how Muslim women re portrayed in society post 9/11 era. This article stood out to me because it really shows how people act towards Muslims, and how horrible it is. The way that I learned from this article is to never judge a book from its cover. What I mean by that is that I will never label a Muslim person as a terrorist or threat to society.

Another learning moment that I had during this course is during week four when we were talking about primary sources. I chose a commercial that was with the cosmetics company Axe. In this commercial they talk about to be a man you have to have abs, have good looking hair, and be muscular. All this does is put out a negative stereotype, and make people think that to be a man you have to have all of those attributes, which is not true. This situation teaches me to always look at the little things in commercials and see what the message is. Another thing this teaches me is that lots of companies in their advertisements will say anything just to get their product sold.


Works Cited

Walker, R. (n.d.). Brother Bear. Movie. Retrieved May 22, 2018.

West, K,. (2007). Big Brother. Song. Retrieved May 22nd, 2018

Coles, P. (2003). The Importance of Sibling Relationships. Karnac Books. May 22nd, 2018

Boyz n the Hood. Directed by John Singleton. 1991. Movie.  May 22, 2018.

Coles, Prophecy. “Sibling Relationships.”

Mead, Jonathon. “How to Create A Long-Life Brotherhood.” The Art of Manliness. May 22, 2018.

Vespo, and Jo Ellen. “The Nature of Sibling Conflict During Middle Childhood.” Center for Civic Innovation. March 31, 1997. Accessed May 22, 2018.



Dear Hollywood: Using White Actors as Asian Characters Is Bringing Down Your Ratings

There’s a Problem in Hollywood…


Lately, I’ve noticed a problem in Hollywood. This problem affects me personally, which is why it drew my attention so quickly. I don’t think this problem should be ignored because after all, it’s affecting the Hollywood industry whether they see it or not. This problem, you see, is the whitewashing of Asian characters in Hollywood films that should’ve (and maybe even did) smash the box office.

Asians are misrepresented in the media and asians are under-represented in the media. If Asians are represented in media, it’s the stereotypical nerdy-like Asian who is into anime, science, and math. A quick example: In 2009, the movie Up was released, and guess what! A main character that is Asian! But don’t get too excited- he’s fat and nerdy. Asian’s aren’t represented correctly in the media and especially in Hollywood, so when directors see a perfect chance to use an Asian actor/actress as an Asian character- why would they pass that up?

\I’ve noted and researched some of the most prominent examples of whitewashing in Hollywood films. The movie Ghost in The Shell is a movie released in 2017 and based on an anime comic. The main character: Major Motoko Kusanagi (clearly a Japanese character) is played by famous actress Scarlett Johansson. Okay, what about the movie Aloha? Released in 2015, white actress Emma Stone gets to play a main role of a character who is supposedly from the Chinese-Hawaiian descent. And a box office crushing movie: Doctor Strange not only whitewashes an Asian character; they give a white woman the role of an Asian man. Nice job casting diversity, Hollywood.


The Culprits:

Ghost in The Shell

Ghost in The Shell is a movie released in 2017, based on an anime comic. It is about a human (Scarlett Johansson) saved from a terrible terrorist attack, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals. It’s audience is all movie goers, comic lovers, and action movie enthusiasts. It was originally published as a Japanese film and then again in 2017. The original film was set in Japan, with most roles filled by Japanese characters.

The first thing I noticed about this movie is the fact that it had come from a comic- specifically a Japanese comic. The main character (Scarlett Johansson) plays Major Motoko Kusanagi, which, let’s be honest, already screams Japanese character. I noticed that other Japanese characters in the movie were accurately casted by Japanese actors, like Takeshi Kitano playing Aramaki- so why couldn’t they cast an Asian actress as the main character? Johansson is a famous action star actress, and plays a lot of inspiring women roles, and I can’t think of ONE famous Asian-American actress that could’ve fit the part to make it the big movie it was. (If Scarlett was replaced by a less famous Asian-American actress, would the movie still be the big motion picture everyone was dying to see?)

Above: Major Motoko Kusanagi in the comic versus in the movie.

Guess what Hollywood: this movie was a bust. The low ratings is definitely interesting (and quite revealing), showing that clearly, fans of Ghost in The Shell noticed the whitewashing of the main character. I think that it definitely makes us look closer in to who the producers and directors were trying to capture as an audience. With that, we can see that maybe the whitewashing of Major Motoko Kusanagi was done for the purpose of income. A lot of movie makers do not consider cultures, do not consider casting roles similar to the characters- they care about money, and doing what will create the most income for the movie. Is this ethically appropriate in the Hollywood industry?



Aloha is a romantic comedy hitting the big screens back in May of 2015. The movie is about a military contractor on assignment in Oahu, Hawaii, reconnecting with his old love who is now married to an Air Force recruit. He also spends time with Allison Ng (Emma Stone), a fighter pilot, but as they travel throughout the lush terrain, Brian finds himself falling for his feisty guide, while his conversations with Tracy may provide a shocking revelation from their past. The movie, set in Hawaii, portrays not ONE actor or actress from the Hawaiian descent or culture. Instead, this movie is packed with famous actors and actresses like Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, and Rachel McAdams.

Emma Stone was the first casted member in the film, which is interesting to me because the movie was largely criticized for its whitewashing of a part Chinese, part Hawaiian character with a white actress. It makes us look deeper into this detail: why was she the first casted when they could’ve casted her in another part and gave the character to a closer cultured actress? Another detail I noticed was the culture appropriation of the Hawaii culture. As someone from Hawaii, I always get skeptical to watch movies based in Hawaii because of this exact problem. Hollywood has been known to whitewash and culturally disrespect cultures and ethnicities.

Box offices didn’t keep the movie in theaters for very long- within months, the movie was out on DVD, and it hasn’t shown up on streaming apps like Netflix. Aloha was nominated for three awards: The Teen Choice Award in 2015 for Choice Movie: Comedy, Choice Movie Actor: Comedy, and Choice Movie Actress: Comedy, in which all three resulted with the nomination.. This movie that had so much potential to be good, became a bust. Maybe Hollywood’s whitewashing and culture appropriating ways may are catching up to them.


Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange is a Marvel movie published in 2016. It is a superhero film based on the Doctor Strange comics, with the same characters and same names. It’s audience is predominantly Marvel lovers, which is a lot of America, and probably a lot of the world. It was originally published as the famous comic, with it’s world premier release in Hong Kong in October of 2016, and it’s American premier release in November of 2016.

This movie is the one movie that actually crushed the box office. Everyone, their moms, and their grandmas went to watch the movie. The whitewashing in this movie isn’t as prominent for people who don’t know the Marvel comic- because not only was an asian character whitewashed, but the character is a man in the comic, and a woman in the movie.

Above: The Ancient One: His Character versus Her role

This movie didn’t get much criticism for its whitewashing. With over 20 award nominations, almost half of them were awarded. It makes us think: did the fans ignore the fact because the movie was such a hit, or was it not noticed because of it’s subtleness?

Obviously the two biggest interesting and revealing details is the fact that this movie was an absolute hit in theaters, and that it’s whitewashing aspect was also a gender switch up. Does that make it more or less offensive? With a change in the sex AND ethnicity, it’s really not the same character anymore so the producers honestly could have just created a new one.  It’s interesting to me that this movie didn’t get as much hate for it’s whitewashing aspect, when not only did they use a white character for an Asian-Male role, they used a white female. Sounds both sexist and racist at this point.

I think that the fact that it was such a big movie even with those criticisms is interesting as well because it makes us realize that these problems aren’t as prevalent when the movie is so popular and so well-seen. It’s revealing to me that that’s the way we see these movies. Problems like whitewashing become so little when the movie is so popular and well loved by the critics. It shows a lot about the Hollywood and critic industry- they can project so much criticism to a smaller budget movie that portrays whitewashing, but when the movie is a big hit, whitewashing and even completely changing the sex of the character gets overlooked… interesting.


That’s not it: A Look at Statistics…

There is an inequality in films today in every ethnic culture and background- not just Asians are being attacked. Basically, anyone who isn’t white (or male) is being attacked. I won’t bother to focus on the inequality on anything besides what I’m researching, but it’s important to note that the Asian culture is not alone. In this case, maybe it’s not that there is a whitewashing of Asian characters, but it’s also the fact that there aren’t many Asian characters.

In “Inequality in 700 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Gender, Race, & LGBT Status from 2007 to 2014” by Dr. Stacy L Smith et. al, the first thing off the bat is that “… across 100 top films in 2014… 5.3% were Asian”. Let’s compare that to 73.1% that were white and we can widely conclude that this is a distorted demography. In those 100 films, 40+ of those films have no Asian speaking characters.

Even aside from the characters, Asians are underrepresented in films on and off camera. The article states that of seven hundred and seventy seven directors, only nineteen of them were Asian-American; that’s 2.4% of directors being Asian-American. These statistics show that Asians are not only MISrepresented in film, but they are also UNDERrepresented in film.



In the end, we can conclude two things from this research.

  1. Asians are misrepresented in film. When presented with an Asian character (which isn’t often), directors and producers choose to cast white actors or actresses in their place. Why? For the box office income: by using more famous and popular actors, it will draw more attention to the film and more people will go to the movie. I’m assuming it’s a common thought that nobody will notice the whitewashing of characters, but sorry to break it to you, Hollywood, but we notice and that’s probably a contributing reason to your low ratings.
  2. Asians are underrepresented in film. Not only are their characters whitewashed in films, but a lot of the time, there are no characters for them to whitewash. Asians are portrayed so little in film, only making up a mere 5% of characters. That’s sad. Even offscreen, Asian directors and producers aren’t common in film. Hollywood rejects Asians in general. Hollywood doesn’t allow for Asians to represent themselves.


Learning Moments

There have been an immense amount of learning moments throughout this term. It’s an eye opening aspect to see and read our own research and other’s research. You start to see how much we all have in common within our topics, and even though different, they’re the same. A lot of us talked about mis and underrepresentation of our ethnicities and cultures.

I learned one thing that’s important to note: Although Hollywood is sucking at representing more than just white people, Disney did a fantastic job at Moana. It captured every detail and aspect of the islander’s culture. With it’s recent release, it comes to show that maybe we are making moves towards showing diversity in film.

Works Cited:

Smith, Stacy et al. “Inequality in 700 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Gender, Race, and LGBT Status from 2007 to 2014.” Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative. 

Sanders, Rupert, director. Ghost in the Shell. DreamWorks Studios, 2017.

Crowe, Cameron, director. Aloha. Sony Pictures, 2015.

Derrickson, Scott, director. Doctor Strange. Marvel Studios. 2016.


Single Black Mothers

In looking at identity and how my identity is portrayed in pop cultural, there are several images that can materialize in one’s head, such as, Single Black Mothers living in poverty who are promiscuous having several babies by multiply fathers (baby daddies) who collect welfare lacking parenting skills, thus resulting in neglect and abuse. The Single Black Mothers and Her Many Kids: Are We All Welfare Queens with Many Children from different Baby Daddies? Of course not, but the media states otherwise.

In researching on how I identify, there seems to be several themes and patterns that came up, which was an abundant amount of negative portrayals of the Single Black Mother. In exploring several films, I was able to narrow down a few that I wanted to take a closer look at. These films were able to put in to perspective on how some might holistically view Single Black Mothers in America.

There were several things I noticed about this film clip, one of many, was there was a partying going on in the afternoon. It looks like the sun is out and the sky is blue. There is a police car in the background. This afternoon party is made up of  young black men and women along with a few children. The young party goers are wearing bright causal summer clothing, some of the younger women are wearing short shorts. Most of these party goers are dancing. Some of the children are sitting down. There is also a man and a women sitting at a table with a 40 ounce of malt liquor. One of the children ran up to the table. It appears that the young women is his mother. The little boy is wearing a blue bandanna around his head, his hair is braided. The young man and women are having a conversation. In the background there is dancing behind a worn white fence where the paint is peeling. 


The child seems to be interrupting the conversation and is asking the man for money. The young man gives the little boy money. The child pulls out bundle of money and added this money to his bundle. The little boy runs back to sit with his 6 siblings that are from different racial backgrounds. The children are sitting on an old dirty yellow couch with brown flowers that appears to be on a porch of a house. The young man and women continue to talk. The young women gets up, puts her finger on the young man chin guiding him to stand, she says a few things to him and she kisses him, then walks away.

“Don’t be a Menace to South Central While Drinking your Juice in the Hood”

There were several stereotypes in this film that I found interesting, one of which is the young lady sitting with the young man at a table, This scene seems to suggest that the young women is quite promiscuous due to her having 7 children by 7 different fathers who needs help raising these children. She seems overwhelmed. It appears these children are fatherless. This stereotype is reinforced when after a brief conversation, she asked the young man who she just met if he wants to move out-of-town with her because she needs help changing the diapers. She seems like she is trying to seal the deal by suggesting she is adventurous in bed. When she gets up to walk away she plants a kiss on him, suggesting that they will have sex soon.

Another interesting detail was the little boy wearing a blue bandanna. In the clip, the little boy ask the young man if he was trying to sleep with his mother and if so, he needs to give him money. This interaction of him trying to exploit the situation implies that this child might identify as being apart of a gang that wears blue bandannas. More, the child is extorting the potential future boyfriend, and that he is quite savvy for a little boy.

The creator to Don’t Be a Menace is making a joke about how some single black mothers have several babies from several different baby daddies, that are left fatherless without support. This film clip focuses on a young single mother looking for another man to father her seven children. Some individuals might see this film as funny and is a representation of some single black moms. This is affirming their bias on how they view single black mothers. The extreme characters and content of this film is supposed to be comedic and poke fun at how others might view Single Black Mothers. 

Other clips are not so funny, the set up,

In viewing this film clip, there is a single mother who is  threatening her daughter with a frying pan, the daughter makes her way upstairs trying to get away from her mother who continues to hurl profanities at her. They look like they live in an older apartment that is dimly lit, on the walls are old pictures in old frames. There is an old couch with debris on the floor and a TV stand in front of the couch. On the TV tray is a to go box and an ashtray. The mom takes a seat in a worn torn chair in front of a dated TV. The mom continues to yell obscenities at her daughter while smoking a cigarette. Her mom is wearing a rag on her hair head with a sports looking lightweight jacket with a tee-shirt underneath and tights. The mom gets up from the chair kicks something, while continuing to yell at her daughter. The daughter is looking down the stairs at her mom who at this point looks to be big, scary and loud while smoking her cigarette all the while threatening her daughter. Her daughter is looking down at her mom scared. 


What I found revealing about this film is how mean this mother is to her daughter. The amount of intimidation and the abuse is sadly something that can happen to children regardless of their race. The interaction between mother and daughter looked to be something that her daughter is use to. It seems although the daughter expects the abuse, the look on her face is of one who is terrified, it seems like she did not know what to expect next from her mother, but she knew something terrible was about to happen regardless how she answered the questions or if she answered at all. As a result, she was about to experience yet another horrific act of abuse.

Another detail I noticed was the age of the apartment that they lived in, it leads me to believe they live in poverty. The age of the TV and the furniture suggest that there is limited income. More, along with physically, mental and emotionally abuse, the apartment is messy, which most would agree is not fit for children.

It seems as though the creator of Precious is taking a look at untreated mental health issues that has tormented this single mother who lives in poverty who disciplines her daughter out of hate and rage, thus resulting in extreme physically,mental, emotionally, and sexual abuse. I think the creator is trying to put a spot light on how mental health issues and trauma can manifest its self, along with how poverty and lack of support can exasperate an already challenging situation. Some individuals might view this film as more of the same and expected with single black mothers. This can not be farther from the truth. Some audience may look at this film and can possibly validate their ignorant views that black single mothers are good for nothing, that we do not raise our children in healthy environments. This film is disheartening, me being a single black mother do realize that there are situations such as these. However, this is not representative of the majority of us hard-working single black mothers.

Another misconception:

Ronald Reagan and his take on single black mothers, although he does not mention us by race, most of us can read between the lines


As a Single Black Mother, it is exhausting fighting against these Narratives that seem to be interwoven in the minds of some that see us mothers synonymous with being lazy getting rich off the system that whites work so hard for, so we black single mothers can have multiple children and sit on our bums all day, um interesting. Lets see how this image is perpetuated in media, ready?

Is this most of us? Nope, not to my knowledge, I would argue that this is an extreme situation, however, the media does not mind taking full advantage by highlighting and pushing this stereotype in the homes of some.  In looking at another source, it seems to be more of the same, lets take a look, but first a quick description!

The young boy gets up from the couch were they appear to be watching tv, when his mom stops him and calls him to come back over to the couch. She stares at him for a moment, then proceeds to pick something off from the side of his face. She starts to raise her voice at her little boy and starts to repeatedly hits his bottom. Shes grabs at his belly and jiggles it while calling him names. She continues to hit him as he turns to walk away, the mom gets up and follows him while pushing him towards his bedroom as she continues to yell obscenities at him. They entered his bedroom where she grabs his pillows from his bed where she finds candy and candy wrappers. Then she hits him over and over again on his bottom. She pulls his shirt roughly and continues the abuse. The details I noticed was their home was clean. There is a couple of pictures hanging on the wall behind a red couch where a mother and her young son is sitting on. There is a couple of throw pillows on the couch. There is a lamp with a cloth thrown over it that has heart shape patterns on it. The mom is smoking a cigarette, she is wearing a rag on her head along with a tank top and shorts. The son is wearing some longer shorts with an undershirt which leads me to believe the weather is warm.

 She shoves him on to a scale and yells for him to read the number on the scale. He starts to sweat.. She reads the number on the scale. She then pushes the boy off the scale on to his bed and continues to hit and yell at him. He begins to cry. She then gets on the bed with him and pulls him close to hold him. It seems as though she is frustrated along with being out of solutions. Clearly after the abuse, she feels some remorse as we see how she is cuddling him on his bed. 

Monsters Ball:

One of many details that I found interesting is how the abuse escalated so quickly. It started out as the mom spanking her child on the bottom which quickly turned in to pushing and shoving coupled with verbal insults resulting in emotionally and physical abuse. It seem as though once she started to hit him it got out of control. Towards the end of the scene, mom realized how far she went in trying to discipline her little boy. The abuse is paired with some concerned about her little boys health/ weight. However, Mom seems to resent his addiction to food/sugar resulting in her feeling powerless thus fueling her rage. Her little boy looks to be using food as a comfort along with how to cope with his daily struggles. 

Again, I think the creator is trying to highlight some struggles that some single black mothers endure and being in this position can be challenging due to lack of resources and parenting skills on how to raise a healthy happy autonomous kid. However, due to the daily stress of living in poverty and frustration with her son who has issues with food, at times comes out in a form of abuse. In watching this whole film, it saddens me to see how the whole world is against her without any support, along with having to deal with the racist south that continues to oppress her. Being a single mother who is struggling with issues surrounding poverty is a  clear disadvantaged.

Last, I feel that I am not represented in any of these characters. The audience might conclude that black single mothers living in poverty lack the skill set to parent a child who is a well-rounded, happy, and intelligent, and in fact, might view these films as typical. Sadly, these portrayals of the single black mother are overrepresented in mass media. Most of us are hard-working moms providing for our families like any other family. Most of us provide a supportive loving environment expecting our children to do better than we have. We are not lazy individuals having multi children getting rich off welfare. We are hard working Single Blacks Moms who are raising strong, confident, beautiful, smart, determined, individuals that are assets to the global community. We are a complexed individuals with many intersections that symbolizes strength! With that being said, hats off to single mothers everywhere we rock!

Learning Moments:

I had several learning moments through out this course, one of many exploring the many pitfalls of advertising and how easy it is for marketers to sell products whether it is off of one’s insecurities promising if one were to use the product they can experience a life of happiness that includes love and prosperity. Bergers week 3 was eye-opening, I can see how folks spend their whole paycheck trying to capture an image playing on folks longing to look like the people on tv, or in magazines. These people are markerters dream not to mention it is great for the economy.

Another teaching moment was the analysing our sources, these assignments were really helpful. We were really able to dig deep in to our sources and were able to find things about our sources we otherwise wold of skipped over. This allowed me to really take a  look on how media can perpetuate stereotypes and strengthen bias. Now when I look at the typical stereotype I always have in the back of my head what I have learned. I enjoyed this class!


Title: Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood

Director: Paris Barclay

Producer: Keenen Ivory Wayans


Title: Precious

Director: Lee Daniels

Producer: Lee Daniels, Gary Magness, Sarah Siegel, Oprah Winfery, Tom Heller, Tyler Perrym and Lisa Cortez


Title: Welfare Queen


Title: Angel Adams, Mother of 15

Dec 28, 2017 –

Title: Monster Ball

Director: Marc Forster

Producer: Lee Daniels





The Representation of Arabs in Pop Culture

arabs in pop

Through the past couple of decades, Arabs have been the main face of distinguished stereotypes when it comes to movies and representations in pop culture. Even before 9/11, Arabs were heavily mentioned and often swept with typical stereotypes that were extremely obstructing the main face and good will of Arabs. Middle east is different than what is was 50 years ago and with what is happening through politics with Syria, Iraq and the Arab Spring, Stereotypes about Arabs started to evolve into the opposite of what is good and will continue to represent Arabs that way. Politics has always been the main source of why Arabs are represented this way and its objective is merely obvious and uncertain. Hollywood is one of the main sources that streams stereotypical culture beliefs and misrepresentations of Arabs, Muslims and mainly middle easterns. Most of the research done through the annotated bibliography and research analysis worksheet have led me to that most Arabs are portrayed and represented as villains, barbaric people, woman as belly dancers and terrorists. Those portrayals have led to severe consequences including racial crimes, profiling and discrimination.

Thinking that Arabs are terrorists and villains is factually incorrect even though current events seem to make it that way. Arabs are initially the first to be blamed when an unfortunate event occurs. When the world “Arab” is mentioned, it is targeted to 265 million people who reside in from 22 Arab countries. Does that mean we are all terrorists? Examples before 9/11 such as the Oklahoma bombing and the 1993 World Trade center bombing where Arabs were initially blamed for it at first. Hollywood really does influence a lot of their audiences and can bring out certain identities from absolutely nothing. With concurring events, movie producers try to take advantage of those unfortunate events into composing stories and movies involving around Arabs to gain more money and audience. This makes it absolutely false as Hollywood completely believes those stereotypes as “truthful”.  A couple of artifacts I looked and searched about talked about the stereotypes in context only, which were heavily influenced by Hollywood movies. Other artifacts specifically analyzed the movies that portrayed certain characters as villains in movies and TV shows. From looking at those artifacts and movies, they are commonly associated with harm to the community and unfortunately, Hollywood till this day still releases movies that contribute with those associations.

One of the artifacts written by Yasmeen Elayan, which was a thesis for her graduate studies talked about the stereotypes presented in Hollywood movies from 1994 to 2000. Different movies have been presented while allowing a qualitative analysis for better understanding of the movies. This helped me understand why the consequences associated with those movies occurred. Each movie had a different aspect on how the community reacted towards it and what were the consequences to the Arab middle eastern community and their reactions. It talked about how stereotypes can be harmful to any race or ethnicity. Through her studies in her thesis, Elayn explains why stereotypes are invented and that stereotypes are automatically or unconsciously generated in the mind and that categorizing is an important part of the mental process of evaluating the world. Elayan also says that “stereotypes are invented in order to explain why things are the way they are”.  Arabs have endured so many movies that are considered to be offensive, but movies industries consider it to be more and more profitable and entertaining to viewers as more viewers are getting attracted due to those political events. Events that occur actually help producers to produce more movies that misrepresent Arabs to gain more profit and Arabs somehow are not getting the whole picture here. It is in fact getting worse, but the more misrepresentations, the more people may form stereotypical views solely from viewing those movies. Hollywood is now seeing those stereotypes as some sort of entertainment and viewers are considering it to be truthful.

There are numerous effects from those stereotypes and misrepresentations mentioned in pop culture besides the negative aspect and the negative image. The embarrassment that evolves once movies are released is what effects Arabs and especially children. From a study conducted by Elayn, it is said that Arabs usually try to avoid having contact with other people and try to persuade people to telling them that they are not Arabs but rather Spanish or Italian. This effect demolishes the heritage and ethnicity of one’s culture in fear of getting negative attention from people. The youth will try to adapt the lives of living abroad and avoid any sort of relationship that involves them to be a middle eastern to help them adapt into a positive society. One study has shown that since movies are starting to depict Arabs in a bad way, hate crimes are starting increase and so is racial profiling. Living abroad for almost 6 years now, I have been in contact with people who made me feel extremely uncomfortable and have made racial insults towards me. These acts maybe not be due to pop culture but rather the news media sources which is way worse than the movie industry. As far as I know, every international Arab who studies abroad have been in contact with a person that has been racially insulting at least once.

Analyzing the movies that somewhat mention Arabs in them is critical towards understanding the effects and reasons behind it. The movie “True Lies”, which was released in 1994 presents Palestinian Muslims as fanatical terrorist who plant nuclear bombs as well as detonate an atomic bomb in Florida Keys (Elayn). This movie is listed to be one of the worst Arab representation movies in Hollywood. They are targeted as sexist, racist and idiotic because of the errors they made even a five-year-old could have avoided (El-Farra). In the movie, actor Schwarzenegger slaughters 64 Palestinians for laughter. James Cameron the director denies that the movie was targeted to Arabs and that he was just looking for a convenient villain as they could have been Irish terrorists, but they weren’t. The movies contain 44 scenes, 17 of which depicted Arab characters, which is approximately 58.8% of the movie. Many critics gave good reviews for the blockbuster Hollywood movie expect for Jack Shaheen, which he considered the movie to be “perhaps the most anti-Palestinian film and that it not only portrays Arabs as dangerous heavy-accented criminals, but as incompetent terrorists ultimately defeated by the American hero”. The Palestinian have already had enough with what was going on between them and Israel and as an Arab, I consider this movie to be a big disgrace and misrepresentation of Arabs.

“The Siege” is another movie that misrepresents Arabs that was released in 1998 by Fox. The movie depicted Arab Muslims and Palestinians as terrorists. It goes as Arab-American auto mechanics that go around to terrorize and kill more than 700 New Yorker. The extremists destroy the city’s FBI building, killing scores of government agents. They blast theater-goers, detonate a bomb in a crowded bus, and try to murder school children. (Shaheen, 2001). Through the movie release, many protests occurred during and after the premiere of the movie neglecting and denying the heavily misrepresentation of those Palestinian Arabs. The movie was set with mostly positive and negative reviews and with Denzel Washington assessing that the movie is not a stereotypical view of any group of people by any means.

There are many more movies to be mentioned such as “The Mummy” which was highly successful released in 1999. It goes around American Adventures that must travel through the vast treasure city in Egypt called “The City of the Dead” to claim what is them, however, they must battle it out with Arabs and Bedouins. “Three Kings” is a movie released in 2002 where it takes place during the Gulf War. Four Soldiers set out to steal gold that was stolen from Kuwait by Saddam Hussein (IMDb).


Figure 2. The Mummy (1999)

These are all movies that heavily misrepresents Arabs in Hollywood and pop culture. Those movies are causing negative opinions towards Arabs and cause them to be judgmental towards them. These movies are just through the years 1994-2000, and way worse movies are out now in the 21st century that misrepresent Arabs. Those stereotypes are being brought to the public effecting those innocents minds of the viewers into thinking that all Arabs are terrorist and so on. It is believed that those representations are what caused the violence towards the Arabs and they are heavily blamed for that.

Although most of the movies misrepresent Arabs, very little movies and TV shows represent them in a positive portrayal. One example would be in Grey’s anatomy, a TV show viewed and loved by millions, showing an Arab intern, Dr. Dahlia Qadri, in a heroic move saving a patient’s life by taking her hijab off of her head and wrapping it around his leg to save his life. Another positive portrayal while being far from perfect but offers a good impression of Arabs is Robbin Hood Prince of Thieves, where Azeem’s knowledge helps Robbin with giving him an upper hand in facing Sherrif Nottingham. More positive portrayals of Arabs should be shown on screen to help decrease rates of racism and discrimination and imitations to negative portrayals in “stereotype” movies is the next step towards reducing those misrepresentations. Positivity is a must from the movie producers as it reduces the tensions that occurs after watching the movie.  Suggestions must be implied to help the community adapt with the particular ethnicity group that is represented. It is extremely unfortunate and sad to watch yourself being misrepresented in movies that are watched around 150 countries.


Work Cited

  • Elayan, Yasmeen, “Stereotypes of Arab and Arab-Americans Presented in Hollywood Movies Released during 1994 to 2000.” (2005). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 1003.


  • Medhat, Noha. “9 Of the Worst Misrepresentations of the Middle East in Western Pop Culture.” StepFeed, 12 Dec. 2016,



  • Nittle, Nadra Kareem. “Common Muslim and Arab Stereotypes in TV and Film.” ThoughtCo, Aug. 23, 2017,

Computer Magic


This blog post is not meant to nitpick the details of popular culture artifacts to show how they have allegedly contributed to negative stereotypes of programmers. I decided I wanted to take the approach of how programmers are represented across genres, across disciplines, and even in different countries. Computer science is a broad field, so I feel that looking at the material in a similar, broad approach is justified.

As you may have already noticed, the identity that I am going to analyze is that of the Computer Scientist. We go by many different names: Programmers, Software Developers, Software Engineers, Hackers. These are just a few of them, but they represent the majority. Now, when I initially did my analysis of pop culture artifacts, I looked primarily at TV shows. This was because lately there have been a plethora of shows with characters fitting this bill. These are mostly shows that I have watched myself, which is likely due to wanting to see characters similar to my identity. But, as the class has progressed this term, I have gotten some other interesting ideas for places to look for artifacts. One of those is commercials that represent this identity.

I am going to start out with an overview of the pilot episode for each of these TV shows that I analyzed, and some of the things that I noticed while watching them. I chose the pilot episodes as a way to hone in on the initial representations for the audience. Next I will tie those artifacts to secondary sources, and go more in depth – tying together the characters, and discussing the significance of the genre to their representations. I will end off with a personal assessment of how my identity is portrayed in pop culture, linking my own experiences to how my identity is seen.

Mr. Robot:

I chose the pilot episode of Mr. Robot as my first pop culture artifact. This is a TV show about a hacker, Eliot, and his team that is trying to bring down one of the most powerful conglomerates in the world. The genre is a mixture of drama and psychological thriller.

One of the reasons I believe programmers have an inclination to watch this particular show it the fact that it tries to set itself apart from previous ideas of computers. When classifying oneself as a programmer, it is important to look at the means by which this identity is even possible – this being that of the computer. For years pop culture has used computers as important plot devices without delving too deep into what they even are. They are seen as a black box, a source of magical power that is hard to understand. In the article ‘Mr. Robot killed the Hollywood Hacker’, Doctorow even goes as far as to say “Mr. Robot makes a turning point for how computers and hackers are depicted in popular culture”.

Mr. Robot throws away these ideas. One detail that struck out to me is just the name of the episode. The name itself looks like a typical filename on someones computer. The numbering system of the episodes even lends itself to fundamental ideas in Computer Science. There are ten episodes in the first season, and they are labeled eps1.0, eps1.1, …, eps1.9. Starting to count at 0 is a small detail, but something that is done often in programming.

Eliot does have tendencies to fall into regular stereotypes of computer programmers. He hates talking to people. He spends most of his time holed up in his apartment on his computer, wishing that he could be less anxious all the time. He is a pale, caucasian male – the epitome of programmer. This seems to be overshadowed by the realistic approach towards technology, the scenes of Eliot stopping a hack by pinpointing the issue while the audience watches the commands that he is entering into his terminal. Eliot even demonstrates some of the motivations mentioned in the article ‘Hacking Hollywood: Discussing hackers’ reactions to three popular films’ – namely, ‘curiosity’, ‘knowledge’ and to escape the boring world around them.

Silicon Valley: Minimum Viable Product

Silicon Valley is an American TV show about a group of software developers in Silicon Valley who are trying to make a name for themselves with their startup company, Pied Piper. The genre primarily falls under comedy.

There are many scenes in this show that play into stereotypes. The guys walking through he part and mentioning that all of the girls and guys are separated – showing that programmers are typically bad (yet extremely obsessed) with women. Erlich Bachman is being pitched to on  an idea of Binary Soup, alphabet soup with 1’s and 0’s. Bachman grills the guy and goes into how he memorized the hexadecimal times tables when he was 14 – “Ask me what 9 times f is”!

Then there is a quote by Gavin Belson that leads into my next point. He says, “That’s weird. They always travel in groups of 5, the programmers. There’s always a tall skinny white guy, short skinny asian guy, fat guy with a ponytail, some guy with crazy facial hair, and then an east indian guy”.

The article titled ‘HBO’s Silicon Valley and Stereotyping’ goes into detailed analysis of the demographics of Silicon Valley in reality, versus that of the TV show. According to this article, 71.8% of the cast of Silicon Valley are white, whereas the population of Palo Alto is 60.6% white, and the tech industry alone only has 44.1% white workers. The Asian population is the most grossly underestimated as they only comprise 9.1% of the show, despite having more tech workers in the area than even white workers.

The IT Crowd: Yesterday’s Jam

The IT Crowd is a British sitcom about the workers in the Information Technology department for a company that are forced to work hidden in the basement. As mentioned previously, the genre falls under situational comedy, and this is the only non-American show on the list.

One of the IT characters, Roy, is shown sitting at his messy desk eating fried chicken. He is wearing a graphic t shirt that looks dingy. His hair is messy, and there are boxes littered all over the office. He waits a while to answer the phone because he is busy eating and licking his fingers off, then he gets angry on the phone. The other character, Moss, is shown wearing big rimmed glasses, a button up shirt and a tie. He then tries to explain to someone what is wrong with their computer, and doesn’t understand why they don’t understand what he is talking about. When a girl comes downstairs, Roy quietly rubs deodorant on his shirt sleeves and his face, then tries to make it seem like they were talking about books. Moss is oblivious, and keeps asking questions about what he is talking about instead of going with it. Later on in the show, their new manager says “You know, I mean I’m a people person. And people like you need a person to deal with people, a people person like me.” Even later on she tells them “It’s all right for you two. You’re used to being social piranhas.”



There was a pattern between the three, where they all had some line self referencing themselves into some kind of stereotype. Silicon Valley, and the conversations about how all groups of programmers are basically the same. In the IT crowd, they are generalized as being social piranhas, and overall just terrible with people. In Mr. Robot, Elliot says something about how hackers get bored quick and will just move on to the next job. It is interesting because they all come out with their stereotypes upfront, and all in their pilot episodes.

My thoughts

Now that I have looked at all of these sources, I felt it would be important to assess my feelings for how my identity is represented in pop culture. I will agree this identity is primarily dominated by men. I am currently working at Garmin AT in Salem for a Software Engineer internship, which I started the same day that this class started. Right now there are two other software interns there with me, but on different teams. They are both females, which is kind of surprising given that it seems a large percentage of my classmates in Computer Science are male.

On the other hand, I am working on a team of about 10 people. All of us are white males. In fact, the majority of the people at work or school that I know are white males. Now, I do not know if this is because of the location or not – it is just something notable. For the most part I feel that this identity is portrayed pretty well in pop culture. Silicon Valley, for example, has its statements such as the quote by Gavin Belson, but it shows a wide range of personalities among its programmers that I can relate to. I am also impressed with how Mr. Robot gets rid of the idea that computers are black boxes of magic without going too in depth (which would end up making the show boring).

Some Interesting Commercials

Works Cited

Primary Sources:

Judge, M. (Writer/Director), Altschuler, J. (Writer),  & Krinskey, D. (Writer). (April 6, 2014). Minimum Viable Product [Television series episode]. In J. Kleverweis (Producer), Silicon Valley. Palo Alto, CA: HBO.

Esmail, S. (Writer), & Oplev, N. A (Director). (June 24, 2015). [Television series episode]. In I. Srubshchik (Producer), Mr. Robot. Universal City, CA: Universal Cable Productions.

Linehan, G. (Writer/Director). (February 3, 2006). Yesterday’s Jam [Television series episode]. In A. Atalla (Producer), The IT Crowd. London, England: Talkback Thames.

Secondary Sources:

Doctorow, C. (2017). Mr. Robot Killed the Hollywood Hacker. MIT Technology Review, 120(1), 100-103. Retrieved May 3, 2018, from

Vlad, J. (2011). Hacking Hollywood: Discussing hackers’ reactions to three popular films. Journal of Media Research, 4(2), 95-113. Retrieved May 3, 2018, from

Lai, L. (2017, August 22). HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ and Stereotyping. Retrieved May 13, 2018, from


The Evolution of Asian American Identities and Representations in Popular Culture

In our increasingly complex modern world, cultural boundaries have begun to expand making way for a pop culture phenomenon between both the Western world and Asian American communities. Interestingly, this identity is although represented, seemingly underrepresented in an industry whose demographic in the Western world is centered around Caucasian actors/actresses, not necessarily those who identify as Asian Americans who make up only a fraction of the total popular culture community found in America.

Asian Americans have begun to experience a taste of what it’s like for their cultural aspects to integrate with Westernized practices in a more honest and realistic way when compared to negative representations in the past. By using research gathered from reputable peer-reviewed journals, news articles, and tv shows I was able to gain insight into the way these representations are changing for those that share this common identity.

During this research process, information collected from both my research analysis worksheet and annotated bibliography gave me a comprehensive overview incorporating a multitude of perspectives surrounding the past/present evolution of the Asian American as well as this identity’s representative portrayal in the media. For example, a newspaper article titled “On Capitol Hill, Asian-American Representation in Pop Culture Is on the Agenda” written by Alyssa Rosenberg and published by The Washington Post discussed the current representation of Asian-Americans in present-day media. Specifically, how Asian-Americans are being depicted unrealistically presenting debates about the direction in which Asian-Americans should be portrayed in the progressive popular culture of the modern day. The article was directed towards the general public incorporating ideas negotiated between government officials in order to decide how to widen this cultural conversation.

Importantly, when reading the article, I noticed how the topic of discussion was centered around debates pertaining to diversity and the on-screen representations of Asian Americans. Where historically, Asian Americans have been presented as, “sexless, socially awkward geeks” (Rosenberg). Another idea that circulated when analyzing this article was the idea of technology and its influence in representing the culture of Asian Americans in today’s media. Where new networks allow for easier access to Asian-American movies/tv shows granting communities greater media representation. Providing Asian-American actors opportunities in roles they otherwise wouldn’t have while simultaneously creating a need for Asian-American artists to tell their own stories.

Link to (On Capitol Hill, Asian-American Representation in Pop Culture Is on the Agenda):|A453420116&v=2.1&u=s1185784&it=r&p=ITOF&sw=w

In addition, a similar scholarly article titled “The Korean Wave and Asian Americans: The Ethnic Meanings of Transnational Korean Pop Culture in the USA” published by Continuum and written by Hyejung, Ju, and Soobum Lee discussed ethnic meanings pertaining to specific transnational Korean popular culture in the USA. Focused towards the increasing potency of this media which has translated into shifting demand and has changed the definition, meaning impact, and role of ethnic media in relation to Westernized Asian-Americans. Giving Asian-Americans something they can identify with across nations whose cultural evidence is demonstrated through this new rise of internet availability. Technology used by the media has also broadened their scope of content delivery offering audiences the ability to receive various forms of entertainment in more efficient ways.

Creating easier connectivity and access to media that would otherwise be inaccessible without the help of the internet. In turn, increasing the amount of Korean popular music, tv, and movies that are consumed by other cultures. This article also detailed how these new developments in Asian-American specifically Korean popular culture have been influenced by Western practices. With this explosion of Korean popular culture from country to country, a study was conducted and implemented into this articles research. This study observed that the recent increase in cultural exploration across nations can be directly attributed to the current health of the country’s economy/market. Translating into the most modern, knowledgeable, educated, and wealthy countries consuming the majority of popular culture especially content that includes Asian-American representations.

Link to (The Korean Wave and Asian Americans: The Ethnic Meanings of Transnational Korean Pop Culture in the USA):

Therefore, cultivating a lasting effect towards those that share the common representation and identity of Asian-American. Whose culture becomes digested by the rest of the Western world paving way for a rise in notoriety and popularity from international perspectives. Although, my idea is that Asian-American popular culture has always been successful intrinsically. Yet technological achievements and increased connectivity have enabled this Asian-American form of storytelling to gain momentum and provide enjoyment to a much larger audience.

Moving along, another hugely beneficial source used in my research was re-watching certain episodes of the hit tv series Lost in order to better understand representations of two Korean characters known as “Sun” and “Jin” who can be seen below. The series that aired from 2004-2010 originally broadcasted on ABC and rated TV-14 making the show oriented towards an older demographic. Created by J.J. Abrams this show featured the lives and stories of survivors following a plane crash in which they were forced to work together to survive on a mysterious although seemingly deserted tropical island.

Retrieved from:

After re-watching these episodes, I noticed specific details pertaining to each character. Although “Sun” and “Jin” are married to one another they share very different characteristics and roles. Providing contrasting identities between the representation of Asian-American men and women which is seen in this instance. Sun inherits traits that relate to intelligence, critical thinking, conflict resolution, nurturing, and even exhibits shy attitudes towards certain situations. Jin, on the other hand, is often misunderstood, caring, wholehearted, honest, and hardworking. I found both the traits and roles these characters exhibit to be interesting. It seems as though both characters are portrayed in a typical Asian-American fashion at the beginning of the series although as the show progresses and their attitudes change they mold into completely very different roles. It’s almost as though before the plane crash “Sun” was a very introverted individual and became extremely extroverted in the aftermath. While “Jin” was quite a determined and extroverted individual although became slightly more introverted unless the moment called for necessary action which was more frequent from season to season. Revealing that this show experimented with gender roles pertaining to Asian-Americans in popular culture. Providing importance surrounding the idea that Asian-Americans are being slowly reinterpreted to not only apply but also reflect the characteristics Asian-American audiences appreciate and can identify with.

Link to (Lost IMDb):

Furthermore, published in the Journal of Sex Research the article titled “Influences of Culture on Asian Americans’ Sexuality” discusses the idea that Asian-Americans have become more acclimated to mainstream American culture which has translated into attitudes and behaviors of Asian-Americans to be more closely related to white American norms. Including how these influences have impacted Asian-American cultural traditions as well as shaped certain sexual representations of Asian-American women in present-day media. Interestingly, historical Asian cultural traditions have viewed sexuality as an open expression although many of these traditions have placed emphasis on strict moral and social conduct. Where the beliefs and behavior of traditional Asian culture may, in turn, be misinterpreted by American society. Consequently, in these traditional Asian societies, over-sexualization of one’s self, as well as a lack of knowledge regarding sexuality, could negatively affect family honor.

This article directly relates the ideas culminated during my research in a few instances. It can be seen in this article that Western society has, in fact, changed the way Asian-Americans behave. Seemingly desensitizing traditional Asian culture through the influences of American beliefs and attitudes. Notably, the article’s discussion about sexual representations of primarily Asian women in a traditional setting as opposed to modern expression made me question representations of these individuals in present-day media. It seems as though Asian-Americans who inherit traditional values and cultural expressions will become more conserved. Conversely, those who exhibit more Westernized values will become cultured in a way that challenges these typical Asian beliefs. Translating into possible misrepresentations and misinterpretations in popular culture of Western society whose values don’t necessarily align with that of traditional Asian-American communities.

Link to (Influences of Culture on Asian Americans’ Sexuality):

Throughout the duration of this course, there were many significant learning moments I experienced making it difficult to narrow my selection down to only two. Above all, the first most beneficial learning moment was the weekly blog postings which allowed myself as well as my peers the opportunity to evaluate one another and reply with helpful insight in reference to current events depicted through the modern world of popular culture. This exercise also improved my ability to sort reliable information from unreliable information including the capability to concisely summarize scholarly texts which will be helpful for my future in academia. More specifically, during week 7 in which our blog prompted us to write a news story that we found interesting to ourselves and share with the class. My story, in particular, was centered around NASA’s observations and recordings of Saturn’s moon Titan which is unique in the sense that this planet appears to house liquid water below the planet’s surface. A plethora of peers replied about how interesting they found my shared article to be as well as how informative it was for some who had no idea about the story being covered. This made me aware of how powerful connectivity is in educating each other on the many discoveries and achievements happening in the world around us. The second most valuable learning moment from this course was the research that went into our Big Picture Blog post. Specifically, the knowledge gained about my identity which revealed many interesting facts about how my ethnicity is represented by the media and present-day forms of popular culture. Unveiling a historical evolution as to how my common identity has been perceived and consumed by the rest of the developed world. Providing necessary insight as to how my identity is changing and influencing those around me through representative Asian American communities who are becoming recognized at a slow but steadily increasing rate.

Work Cited







The Godfather and Guido Effect

If I were to ask you the question, “What are your perceptions about Italian-Americans?”, what would you say? I have a feeling I already know your answer to that question. Ever since the first major emigration of Italians to the United States in the early 1900’s, life has not always been easy. Violence, employment discrimination, and negative initial perceptions were a few of the biggest issues Italian immigrants dealt with when they first arrived in America. Although the stereotyping of Italian-Americans has changed over the years, the negative thoughts have always been around. When people think about Italian-Americans, they generally group them into two major categories: criminals and mobsters or guidos and guidettes. Often times, Italian-American characters in television shows or movies follow a specific description, which is often placed into those two major categories. Although the Italian-American culture has made tremendous strides in American society to displace the negative stereotypes that follow them, their characterization in the media and popular culture still remains negative and degrading. The continued misrepresentation and stereotyping of Italian-Americans as criminals, mobsters, and guidos in movies and television shows such as Jersey Shore, The Sopranos, and The Godfather has led to a constant negative perception of Italian-Americans as a whole in American society, as well as American popular culture and the media.

The television show Jersey Shore has been somewhat of an American staple and household name within popular culture and the television industry. Since the shows original premiere in 2009, six seasons have followed, with a reboot of the widely popular television show that premiered in 2018. I can honestly say that the reality show filled with constant partying, romance, and drama was one of my favorite television shows growing up and was the talk of the classroom each Friday morning after the show aired the previous night. The show showcases the chaotic lives of eight roommates partying it up, living the life many teens always dreamed about each summer along the Jersey Shore in New Jersey, Miami, and even Florence, Italy. Each of the roommates is of Italian descent is extremely proud of the heritage they come from, almost to the point of going a bit overboard. Even though Jersey Shore has been extremely popular since it first aired, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the show because of the use of negative stereotypes. When the show first aired, it was actually marketed to focus on “eight of the hottest, tannest, craziest Guidos.” For many Italian-Americans, the term guido can be interpreted as a racial or derogatory slur. This slur generally targeted working-class Italian-Americans, but in recent years due to the popularization of the show Jersey Shore, the term has taken on a new meaning. According to Sara Troyani, author of the article “Guido” Culture: The Destabilization of Italian-American Identity on Jersey Shore, the ethnic slur is now embraced by a large portion of younger Italian-Americans strictly because of the show Jersey Shore. In today’s society, a guido is an overly masculine, muscular, and often unsophisticated man. Troyani also includes a few interesting descriptions of how the cast members describe themselves in relation to the term guido: Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino describes the term guido as “a good-looking, smooth, well-dressed Italian,” while Ronnie Ortiz-Magro describes the term as “a guy that always looks prettier than his girlfriend.” For “DJ Pauly D,” the term guido is “’a lifestyle’ built around ‘family, friends, tanning, gel.’” The interesting part about all of these self-described traits is that none of them actually occur naturally. Countless episodes make constant reference to the racial slur and sort of paint the term in a positive light, in the sense that the term isn’t as bad as everyone thinks it is. The term guido represents a very small population of Italian-Americans and to some, is almost as offensive as the “n-word.” The continued use of racial slurs throughout Jersey Shore has angered numerous Italian-Americans, including myself because the stereotypes are simply untrue, but the popularization of the character type paints that picture that all Italian-Americans are like the roommates on Jersey Shore.

The second primary artifact I chose to analyze is the pilot episode for the HBO series, The Sopranos. The first episode of the six-season-long series introduces the entire show and many of the characters, including the main character, Tony Soprano. The entire series details his life as he tries to balance his family and home life with his criminal life as a mob boss. In this episode, Mr. Soprano seeks psychiatric help after a recent spell of anxiety attacks and describes his line of work, while detailing the constant problems he and his relatives face. When describing his line of work, Soprano refers to himself as a “waste-management consultant,” when in reality, he is the head of a major crime family in New Jersey. I find this comparison comical, as well as ironic because the mob is often tied to the garbage industry because mobsters often clean up messes by disposing of “trash” (enemies and dead bodies). One of the longest standing stereotypes of Italian-Americans is that they are all mobsters who, in some way, shape, or form are associated with criminal activity. Tony Soprano and his family are no exception to this stereotype. Almost every single character in this entire HBO series is involved with criminal activity. I mean just look at this picture (left); all these guys look like they are up to no good. The first episode of the entire series has numerous scenes that depict criminal actions such as drug deals, violence, and fights. Specifically, one scene that stuck with me from the episode was when Tony Soprano and one of his associates track down a man that owes them money and run him over with their car and proceed to beat him up. They stop at no costs to track down the man and almost injure numerous bystanders while destroying private property. This specific scene enforces the stereotype of Italian-Americans being brute criminals who have no regard for anyone or anything in their way. I feel like the pilot episode, along with the whole series, sort of overexaggerates the whole mobster stereotype and again paints the picture that all Italian-Americans are trigger happy psychopaths who are in mobs or the mafia.

The film, The Godfather, has often be referred to as one of the best movies of all time. The 1972 blockbuster film was based on the book The Godfather written by Mario Puzo that was written three years earlier. This crime drama follows the Italian-American crime family of Don Vito Corleone after his decision to not partake in a narcotics deal. His decision leads to a chain reaction of events involving the five major crime families of New York. The Godfather is one of the most prime examples of negative Italian-American stereotypes and gives one of the most authentic and detailed views in the Italian-American experience, specifically a glimpse into the world of organized crime. This film was one of the first major examples of the use of negative Italian-American stereotypes and can be considered as the pioneer for the stereotypes because it paved the way for television shows and movies of this same genre such as The Sopranos for the future in both a negative and positive way. When most people think of Italian-Americans, they think of this film. I think that says a great deal about the type of influence The Godfather has had on society and the perceptions people have about Italian-Americans. Although the majority of the film basically outlines the criminal/mobster stereotype, a strong emphasis is placed on other pivotal aspects Italian culture, such as the strong sense of family and love present throughout the film. Italians generally place family above all other aspects of life and The Godfather showcases that perfectly. The Corleone family cares greatly about each other, whether that be Don Corleone protecting everyone or him getting jobs for his family. They will go to great lengths to make sure that no one messes with the Corleone family, even if that means breaking the law. Although some of these characteristics about Italian-Americans, both positive and negative, are present in society, the media and popular culture overexaggerate the stereotypes to the point where they become commonly accepted.

            Throughout the entire research process for this project, I was really interested to see how the negative stereotypes of Italian-Americans in popular culture has evolved over time. The Godfather’s release in 1972 was one of the first films depicting Italian-Americans in such a negative light. According to Charles Coletta, author of the article Gangsters, Guidos, and Grandmas: Italian Americans in Twentieth-Century American Popular Culture, the film The Godfather, more than any other work, has had the most profound effect of linking Italians with organized crime in the American public’s mind. Over the years, many shows indeed replicated some of the characteristics and character types from the film and those replications can definitely be seen in shows like The Sopranos. One big difference that I noticed is that the stereotypes in The Sopranos were not as blatantly obvious as those in The Godfather. Although the whole “every character is in the mob” traits are still distinguishable, I feel like you have to look a little harder than in The Godfather. Many Italian-Americans, including myself, are extremely sensitive about how they are portrayed in movies and television shows because the portrayals have traditionally been so negative. When looking at more modern depictions of Italian-Americans such as Jersey Shore, I feel like the type of stereotypes that follow Italian-Americans are completely different than they previously were. Coletta also mentions how interesting it is to see how the popular perception of Italian-Americans has been constantly obscured by the mainstream media because of consistent stereotyping.

In conclusion, the continued negative depiction of Italian-Americans in American popular culture is a disgrace and needs to be re-evaluated. It is sad to see that a lot of Italian-American characters in shows and movies can basically be picked straight out of a book about the mafia or guidos. Although the mobster or guido character type is true for some Italian-Americans, the honest truth for many surrounding these stereotypes is that they are simply not true. The deprivation of Italian-Americans in other types of roles on the big screen limits a lot of true potential just because they do not fit the typical role given to them by society. I feel like a diversity among roles for Italian-Americans will offer new and much more interesting storylines and characters that are different than anything we have seen before.

Over the course of this research assignment, I had many significant learning moments and I actually found it tough to limit it to two. One of the biggest moments that occurred for me was through the weekly group workshop discussions. I feel like these were really helpful because I was able to get a lot of good feedback from a small and concentrated group of students instead of a lot of broad information from a larger class. I was able to learn much better from this form of discussion and I was also able to share some of my own feedback with other students who were struggling. The second learning moment that occurred for me over the course of this project was the fact that writing can actually be enjoyable. Generally, when I have to write a long paper, I dread it. I found that I do much better throughout the writing process when I have the ability to choose my topic and what I want to focus on instead of being given a prompt that makes no sense to me. I really enjoy the casual writing style of this paper and it helps my thoughts flow more naturally.


Adams, Guy. “Shadduppa ya Stereotype! Italian-Americans Fight Back.” Independent,   Independent, 1 Jan. 2012,

Coletta, Charles, and Donald McQuarie. “Gangsters, Guidos, and Grandmas: Italian Americans in Twentieth-Century American Popular Culture.” Dissertation Abstracts International, 2000. Portland State University Library,

Gambino, Megan. “What is The Godfather Effect?” Smithsonian, Smithsonian Institution, 31 Jan. 2012, “The Mafia in Popular Culture.” History, A&E Television Networks, 2009,

PBS. “European Emigration to the U.S. 1891-1900.” PBS, Educational Broadcasting Corporation, Accessed 19 May 2018.

Troyani, Sara. ““Guido” Culture: The Destabilization of Italian-American Identity on Jersey Shore.” Italian Studies Multicampus Research Group, vol. 4, no. 2, 2013. Portland State University Library,

How to be a College Student (according to popular culture)

The Side We See

There are two sides to college. One is the exams, books, and studying side, while the other is the drinking, parties, and fun side. Which one do we see more often in popular culture? Well the fun side, of course. Yes, the serious part of college is very real and important. Academics, knowledge, and drive for future success is really the whole purpose of it all. But, this is not what will really entertain people on the big screen.

Instead, movies show its audiences what they want to see. The typical college movie
revolves around the fun parts of college life; a few prime examples I found in my research were 22 Jump Street, Neighbors, and Happy Death Day.  In all three movies,
each capture and glamorizes everything on the side of college that lures teens and
young adults in – crude humor, pretty girls, hot guys, partying, alcohol, and fun. As a college student myself, I have to say I personally love these movies and think they are hilarious. These movies are all in good fun and in all honesty, do portray some truth at a glimpse of college life. But here’s the problem: what draws the line between what is fun and too much fun?

The Side We Don’t

In February 2017, a freshman at Miami state was found dead in a dorm room due to alcohol poisoning. A couple months later, a pledge from Pennsylvania State died from binge drinking and rough hazing by a fraternity. Later on, another student at Louisiana State University found dead with toxic levels of alcohol in his system. This is the side that we don’t see in movies and popular culture.  It seems like the same unfortunate story happens over and over, and since these occurrences aren’t particularly out of the norm, nothing is done about it. The glamorization of college, freedom, and fun in the media makes it easy to forget the very real consequences that can come from reckless behavior.

This really made me question the crude way college life is represented in the movies like 22 Jump Street, Neighbors, and Happy Death Day. It goes to show that the effects that they have in appropriating college culture can be harmful to its viewers, who are mostly teens and young adults. The way college culture is currently portrayed in the media leads to unrealistic expectations and troubling behaviors in students in the real world.

22 Jump Street

In this movie, two undercover cops are assigned to go to college as students and find a drug dealer on campus. Amidst their mission, they try to blend into the college lifestyle by doing the same things and acting the same ways as the college kids around them.

The whole vibe of the movie is very humorous, following the plot of the undercover cops’ mission while portraying a glimpse of college culture. The more compelling things are what really make the movie – like sports, frats, parties, drinking, and drugs.

Given the theme of the movie, alcohol and drugs are widely normalized in 22 Jump Street, being used, talked about, and humored throughout. For example, in order to become initiated into a fraternity and gain their trust, the two undercover cops drink and are hazed until they can barely function.


The movie itself does not take place on a college campus, but is still highly associated
with college through greek life. The whole plot of the movie involves a fraternity
houses’ neighbors trying to calm them from being loud so that they could live a normal life. Again, this movie portrays fun, light hearted humor as the two houses prank and rival each other.


In this movie, the college boys associated in the fraternity are represented as rowdy,
uncontrollable party animals. It fits with the whole theme, but what was strange was
the crude way young college students were shown  in the film. I don’t remember one
calm, studious college student throughout the movie. They were all portrayed as alcohol driven, immature, and obnoxious frat boys who only knew how to cause trouble and party all day.

Happy Death Day

A slightly different genre from the first two movies, Happy Death Day is a thriller that revolves around a girl who dies everyday and comes back to life until she finds her murderer. The movie does take place on a college campus, though, and gives us a good idea on what college life might be like.Being that the movie’s protagonist lives the same day over and over, here are a couple
things that I picked up on for the average day in college. The main character wakes up in the dorm room of a boy she doesn’t know after a night of drinking. As she’s walking through campus, she sees a group of tired, drunk fraternity pledges chanting the song “99 bottles of beers on the wall” as one of them passes out and falls onto the grass. She goes back to her sorority house to get ready for class and then at night, there is a party.

So What?

22 Jump Street, Neighbors, and Happy Death Day portray college students and university life in around the same ways: wild parties, drunken nights, and young kids doing careless things. College most definitely has its fun times, but this kind of portrayal is not the complete truth and there is so much more that is not shown. When
to – be college students are only shown that college is a certain way by these movies,
it becomes what they expect it to be like. These movies targeted toward young adults tell them about the free and exciting world of college life, and in effect, students learn to look forward to those glamorized parts.

Personally, when I was in high school picking out potential colleges, academics were important but I’d be lying if I said party life did not sway my interest. Unconsciously, flashy, well known party schools automatically became appealing just for their social status. I’m sure many college students can relate to this, given how the media grooms us to create certain expectations for college. In addition, I am sure that amidst research, many must have run into a list or two titled along the lines of “The Top Party Schools in America”.

“The Top Party Schools in America”

These lists are not typically hard to encounter when on the search for potential colleges. When looked up online, you’ll easily find several sites that playfully list their own opinions on the party life of different universities. Though they seem pretty
amusing and harmless, they still glamorize the wild, reckless side of college in the same way that popular movies do.

What’s bizarre is that even larger publishers like The Princeton Review (an academic site well known for college preparation in young students), have jumped on the bandwagon as well, creating their own annual list.

Dr. Dyszlewski, a Brown University Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, further explains the absurdity of such lists, stating implications like “when an influential publisher…. glamorize[s] a culture of drinking and drug use, they are also supporting a number of problems that are linked to excessive substance use”.

This all seems irresponsible and wrong, but here is the logic behind all of this: big publishers will only put up content they know their audience will be interested in. This is dd8b67eeed1c33f36d430faa7411f2405367a94810fcd145502ec6664b7c939c.jpgin the same way movies only show its viewers what they want to see. So when the audience, being students, are hyped up by movies about the fun side of college through popular culture, of course they would be interested in an article talking about the top party schools in the nation.

And so, the vicious cycle begins. Popular culture excites kids about the fun in college, influential publishers show them colleges well known for partying, and students go into
college expecting and seeking that kind of excitement. Then, the fun, drunken side of college becomes even more mainstream, media plays catch up with its audience, and it starts all over. Partying and drinking may already exist in college culture, but college representation in popular culture sustains these behaviors in young adults.

The Aftermath

These actions do not go without consequences. The three students from earlier in this post are unfortunately just a few examples within a larger population. From a statistic reported from The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in 2015, as much as 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 died from alcohol-related situations. In addition, the action of underage drinking within the college campus is so normalized that a huge majority of 80% of college students admit to using alcohol, and of those, around 50% engaged in binge drinking within the last two weeks. It is quite ironic how the potential repercussions of the issue are devastating yet advertised in the media as light hearted fun.

Wrapping it All Up

There is a huge problem in the way college is portrayed in popular culture. The representation that college is wild and fun at all times is dangerous, especially to viewers who are soon to be or are currently in college. The conclusions that are drawn from the typical college movie or article today create bad examples and lead viewers into thinking college is something that it is not entirely. These preconceived notions, in turn, lead to negative influences in behavior and health in real life students.

Fun times in college exist, but realistically, getting a college education takes a lot of time and effort. Good grades don’t come easy, all nighters will drive you practically insane, and half the time you are sleep deprived running off of coffee. If popular culture continues to parade only the fun side, students will be gravely misled when they encounter the real thing in life.

… and here’s the reality

Learning Moments

  • The first big learning moment I had was actually toward the beginning of the term when we discussed Filter Bubbles. Eli Pariser’s TED talk, “Beware Online ‘Filter Bubbles’”, was very insightful to me, especially because it grounded a definition to something I feel like I have always kind of been aware of. I still think it’s scary how powerful social media is in showing or not showing things on our personal timelines. Given that I use social media everyday, I definitely think this awareness is important in order to always remind ourselves that what we see online is always a distorted truth.
  • The second big learning moment for me was in Week 5 while watching the Every Single Word videos. It really blew my mind to see that every single word spoken by people of color in major movies could be summarized into 2 or 3 minutes. It really reminded me of the unfortunate underrepresentation of people of color in popular culture. This knowledge is important to have in the future since this is something that needs to change. As more people become educated and aware of the issue, hopefully in the future we see more progress.

Works Cited

Dyszlewski, Margaret Paccione. “College Drinking: Listing of Top 20 ‘Party Schools’ Called into Question.” Brown University Child & Adolescent Behavior Letter, vol. 26, no. 10, Oct. 2010, pp. 8–8. Academic Search Premier [EBSCO].

Flanagan, Caitlin. “Death at a Penn State Fraternity.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 9 Nov. 2017,

Kaufman, Ellie. “Police Investigating Possible Hazing Death at LSU.” CNN, Cable News Network, 15 Sept. 2017,

Landon, Christopher, director. Happy Death Day. Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, 2017.

Lord, Phil and Christopher Miller, directors. 22 Jump Street. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2014.

Murphy, Kate. “A Night of Drinking Ends in Death at Miami U.”, Cincinnati Enquirer, 23 Feb. 2017,

Stoller, Nicholas, director. Neighbors. Universal Pictures, 2014.

Terry-Mcelrath, Yvonne M., and Megan E. Patrick. “Intoxication and Binge and High-Intensity Drinking among US Young Adults in Their Mid-20s.” Substance Abuse, vol. 37, no. 4, 2016, pp. 597–605. Academic Search Premier [EBSCO], doi:10.1080/08897077.2016.1178681.