Fathers in America. Dummy or Just Dad?

Fathers aren’t always dummies, although we have our moments, movies and television shows over exaggerated and glamorize their antics and behaviors. I myself am a father of two girls. I can relate to fathers in pop culture because what happens to them does happen to me. It doesn’t happen everyday, but I have made a crude comment that would get some laughs and I have slipped, fallen and hurt myself. On the show Home Improvement, Tim Allen ends up in the emergency room so often that they know him by name and he knows what the caferia is serving on any given day. He constantly is screwing things up, but he has his own T.V. show. Each day of his life is a new and exciting adventure or at least that is what we see. No man lives his life like this, but they have had moments like this in their own lives. They can relate, therefore causing; interest, amusement and entertainment.


Why are fathers portrayed as bumbling idiots? My view of a father growing up was someone who was responsible and took care of his family. He was smart, educated and generally a friendly person. Is that too boring for people? In Hanna Rosin’s article, The Evolution of The Doltish Dad, she talks about the rules of fatherhood and how they are changing. A man can be unemployed and stay at home. He is smart enough to handle school lunches, pick ups and drop offs as well as being a loving husband. Is it now being played out on T.V. and the movies because that is what is accepted in society now? Michael Keaton became a stay at home Dad in the 1983 movie Mr. Mom. He didn’t know how to do laundry, cook or clean and couldn’t find his way through a grocery store. All be it funny and amusing, I am quit certain most men are capable of taking care of the home while his wife is at work. This clip I found on YouTube that should shed some light on his character. It also supports the idea of the Doltish Dad character as well as show that a father is strong in mind and can take care of his family.

Mr. Mom Tribute https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIkHMGxyN34


I watch this show Life in Pieces. It is a multi-generational family that lives within the same community. The characters include newly weds, first time parents, children and grandparents. This show plays on some of the funny antics as for mentioned. However it is modern, keeps up with pop culture trends and introduces social media into fatherhood.It shows successful fathers but still with that goofy edge that we have seen in my other examples.


Conculsion: I am glad to see that fathers in popular culture are being seen as successful members of a family. Despite the humor they provide the fact that they are productive in a family setting and support and rear their children shows men are not just idiots and bumbling fools. They are important and their antics are only present for laughs and so other can relate to what they are watching.




Learning Moments: My main learning moments consisted of; the blog and research process, the close to heart subject matter and my classmates feedback and suggestions. It was very helpful to see how others were working through there blog process and it helped me when I was having issues with my thesis statement. Through my research process I wanted to focus mainly on the movies and television. I did however find articles that helped me personally for the enrichment of me being a better father. I found it interesting to read and learn about what others thought about being a father as well.












Works Cited

Wind Dancer Prods. Home Improvement. Sept. 17, 1991 – May 25, 1999. Television

Rosin, Hanna (25 June 2010). “The Evolution of the Doltish Dad” http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/06/what_to_expect_and_up_all_night_the_doltish_dad_on_screen_is_changing_.html

Loring, L., Shuler L., Spelling A. (Producers). Dragoti S. (Director) (1983). Mr. Mom. United States. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.

Kapital Entertainment. Life in Pieces. Sept 15, 2015-present. Television.


Making The Cut

Approximately 6 months ago I took on a lot of responsibilities and minimized my social outreach. For several months prior I would slick my hair back into a ponytail everyday because spending 30 minutes to make the “natural” curls behave was too much trouble. I quickly decided it was time for a change, and cut off my shoulder-length hair. During this project I decided to look at how media portrays other woman with short hair. In my research I discovered that women with short hair in action films are masculine, victims, or sexual deviants. The three films that I watched were V for VendettaCatwoman (2004), and Mad Max: Road.

The first film I watched was V for Vendetta. I chose this film for my research because when it came out in there was a lot of news about film star Natalie Portman and her on camera head shave for the role. I have included a link to the scene in the film for anyone who is unfamiliar with it. The clip shows the haircut scene of her and the other female character that has their head shaved during the film.

It is very clear that Natalie Portman’s character, Evey, is portrayed as a victim during the time of her haircut. During the scene she is in prison scrubs, she is in a very muted environment with a faceless individual shaving her head. During the entire time Natalie Portman’s head is being shaved she is crying and looks terrified. The second woman getting her head shaved, actress Natasha Wightman, is having her head shaved for the same reason; removing the identity of the individual, and psychological torture. The difference is that Natasha Wightman’s character, who only has a brief voice over, is a person who has grown up facing severe diversity. She is a lesbian who was disowned by her parents, and was disowned by her first love. She was different in a society that demanded normalcy. Although her head shave is to victimize her, her character is calm, and collected because it is a non-issue comparatively to the events she has previously experienced in her life.

I was frustrated with the attachment that Natalie Portman’s character had with her hair. After being water boarded, and starved, and beaten. The first comment she makes after having her head shaved was “You cut my hair”. For cinematic reasons I want to give the film the benefit of the doubt because she lists the terrible things that were done to her in the order they happened, but if someone tortured me I could not care any less about how much hair was on my head. Below is a clip from an interview that Natalie Portland had after her role in V for Vendetta, specifically about the head shave experience, with IGN. She doesn’t talk about the societal opinions about women with shaved heads, but about how “cool” rain feels on a shaved head and how that experience was of note to her.


The second film I watched for this project was Catwoman (2004), starring Halle Berry. As a teenager when this film came out, I was SOOOO excited for it. Look at this film with a badass chick in it! How cool is it to have a superhero/antihero film starring someone who wasn’t white and blonde. The adaptation rocked my world, and I felt like I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. Fast forward through High School and my early 20s and just generally a lot of personal growth. When I re-watched the film for this course, I was extremely uncomfortable. It was honestly hard for me to get through.

With new eyes I saw a film that touched on an adaptation of an antihero that was, in my opinion, distasteful and embarrassing. Halle Berry’s character starts out as a shy meek, presumably uninteresting woman with long limp curly hair. She wears oversized sweaters, and risks her life to save a cat. Later after seeing something she isn’t supposed to see, she is murdered, and the cat she saved returns the favor and brings her back to life. This time though, she is different, she is confident, she is poised, and she is all about being sexual and sassy. During her transformation, the first thing she does is cut off all of her hair. See the clip below for her transformation. Like the first film, this was a real haircut that was caught on film.

Catwoman as a character in this film is very sexualized. I think out of all the adaptations that I’ve seen of Catwoman in a film or a show, this one fell short. The Film Review Article in The New York Times by A. O. Scott tells viewers that they are more likely to be entertained by the Garfield film that came out around the same time, than they are to be dazzled by Pitof’s interpretation of Catwoman (2004). Scott even goes to say, “Watching [Catwoman] is like paging through a fat European fashion magazine at high speed in the lobby of a sleek hotel. Through the haze of moody color, you can occasionally glimpse the flicker of an idea about female sexuality or the manufacture of beauty, but these themes are ornamental flourishes in the pretty, kinetic emptiness”, and I couldn’t agree more. When films have shots like the gif below of female characters with ample cleavage and see-through panels of mesh everywhere, including their butts, it is hard to take the films, or its message seriously. In the end this films felt more like soft porn than a cinematic masterpiece about powerful women.


The third film I re-watched for this project was Mad Max: Fury Road I picked this film originally because I knew that Charlize Theron had been nominated for, and won several awards for her role in this film, and also because she is my favorite actor. When the film began I remembered the premise and felt justified in using it as one of the three main sources for this blog post. For those of you unfamiliar with this film, Theron plays a character named Furiosa, who is the only female soldier under villain Immortan Joe. She ends up betraying him and stealing his war-rig in order to free his 5 slave-wives. Unlike the first two films, we meet Furiosa with a short buzzed haircut. She wears masculine clothing and wears war paint on her face much like the “war boys” she is in charge of.  Later in the film we get to find out a little bit more of Furiosa’s past, and can make assumptions of what she has been through and why she was willing to give up her leadership under Immortan Joe in order to save other women. Below is the clip of Furiosa reuniting with the people she originally belonged to before being captured by Immortan Joe as a child.

From what we know about Furiosa in the clip above, we can formulate that she fits in two of the categories listed in the beginning of my post. She is a victim. She was captured as a child with her mother. Her mother died within 3 days of their capture and she survived, losing part of her arm along the way, and gaining the trust of the leader of the ban of men that captured her as a child. We can assume that her masculine appearance might have to do with this broken upbringing. It might also have been the reason why she outlived her mother. She is clearly a fighter and is in it for the long hall. I included a clip below that includes part of Theron’s experience with shaving her head, and how it affected her. I think it is important to note that the director of the film was speechless when Theron offered to shave her head, further proving how interconnected our values of female hair length is.


After watching all three films to get a perspective of how women with short hair were portrayed in the media, I took the time to read articles that related to real life women who have short haircuts, in order to relate it to the pop-cultural representations of women with short hair. I was especially touched by this article in Cosmo by Leah Carroll, a woman who went through a few years of her life with short hair, and then started experiencing cat-calling once her hair started growing out again. This article felt relevant to me because like Evey in V for Vendetta part of the reason Carroll cut her hair in the first place was because she was a victim of a crime. Her head was not shaved in part of a systematic dehumanizing process by a vigilantly proving a point. She chose to get it cut after a man had used her long hair to his advantage to mug her, pulling it to keep her from getting away. Carroll discusses the traps she fell into when first deciding to cut her hair, and the guilt she felt when she finally decided to start growing it out again. She discusses the real social anxieties that are created when a woman cuts her hair, and with this I related quite deeply. “I walked back to the office feeling 10 pounds lighter and like I had lost a limb. I stared at myself in every reflective surface” (Carroll 2015). It is a huge change, to cut your hair and stop caring what others think. At first it felt like I was sacrificing my femininity for the convenience of short hair.

Link to Leah Carroll’s Article for those of you interested

I read an article today that I am sneaking into my final blog post about a haircut that Katy Perry recently shared with the world at the IHeart Radio Music Awards on March 5th 2017. The article is titled Katy Perry Reveals a Radical New Breakup Pixie Cut on Instagram. 

The article goes on to say that Perry’s haircut was purely in correlation to a break-up she had earlier that week on multiple occasions, the article is very leading and doesn’t give room for any other reason why Perry chose to get a haircut. “What better way, then, to mark a fresh start than by cutting a past paramour (or, for that matter, fried ends) right out of her hair? Perry’s shorn undercut, which was finished with choppy side-swept bangs and captioned “I wasn’t ready till now,” is a punkish followup to her bombshell bob, offering the hair equivalent of an extra stroke of suddenly-single eyeliner” (Schulte-Hillen, 2017). I decided to include this article in my research because I thought it was important to add in a piece that was extremely relevant and recent. It is another example that a woman is depicted as cutting her hair due to some sort of mental instability; coping with a break-up. I think she looks killer, and it is important to note that not all haircuts are because women are upset with boys.


I think that women in action films with short hair meet very specific criteria. This is clear by the films I studied in order to come to this conclusion. One thing that I do not agree with though, is that these action film norms are anywhere close to why the majority of women with short hair decide to make the cut. This is a pop-culture identity that is vastly stereotyped and I think it is damaging to women with short and long hair alike, by placing expectations of what having short hair will be like, and why it is done. Thanks for a wonderful term all.


Works Cited:

V for Vendetta, Lily Wachowski & Lana Wachowski, James McTeigue, Grant Hill, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EWnPG_yKYk

Catwoman, Pitof, Denise Di Novi, and Edward MCDonnell, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fV26YLAHza8

Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller, Doug Mitchell, P.J. Voeten, https://youtu.be/hEJnMQG9ev8

“No sex for women with short hair?; Talking Points.” Sunday Times [London, England], 7 Dec. 2008, p. 12. Academic OneFile, go.galegroup.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=s1185784&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA190172318&asid=3a8688e75e55abc86d5cf919f7cdc508. Accessed 25 Feb. 2017.

“Why Women Choose to Cut Their Hair Short.” UWIRE Text, 17 May 2015, p. 1. Educators Reference Complete, go.galegroup.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/ps/i.do?p=PROF&sw=w&u=s1185784&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA414228760&asid=30ad0178b6de7a15f6c97a4138541c29. Accessed 25 Feb. 2017.

“My Short Hair Made Me Feel Invisible” Cosmopolitan, 10 September 2015, Leah Carroll, http://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/a46100/short-hair-pixie-cut-invisible/

“Katy Perry Reveals a Radical Breakup Pixie Cut on Instagram” Vogue, March 3rd 2017. Sophie Schulte-Hillen. http://www.vogue.com/article/katy-perry-haircut-blonde-pixie-chris-mcmillan-instagram-orlando-bloom-breakup



The Modern Day Geek


When I began studying at Portland State University I noticed a trend. Many of my classes, from math to chemistry, seemed to have pretty balanced demographics, but then when I went to my computer science classes they were overwhelmingly dominated by white males. I became curious, what factors made it more likely for someone like me to end up in this class than someone of a different gender or ethnicity. Looking ahead to the career that I hope to have in the future I looked towards many of the biggest companies in the field to see if they were facing the same gender and ethnic deficits that I see in my classes, and it was quite clear that they were. For my looking in the mirror blog post I chose to look at how modern programmers are portrayed in media, specifically in the movie The Social Network and the television shows Silicon Valley and Mr. Robot. Popular culture largely depicts programmers, software engineers or “tech savvy” people as males, and this portrayal has far reaching implications in our society. 

The Social Network:

The Social Network is a movie that is loosely based on the creation of the social media platform Facebook, and also on some of the lawsuits and controversy that came from it’s inception. The main character Mark Zuckerberg, who eventually creates Facebook, played by Jesse Eisenberg, displays some of the characteristics that we see in older nerd tropes including being an introvert, problems with communication, and being very smart. Where there were some surprises for the portrayal of programmers is in the supporting cast. Justin Timberlake plays Sean Parker, the creator of the music application Napster, Andrew Garfield plays Eduardo Saverin, the cofounder of Facebook, as well as Armie Hammer who plays the Winklevoss twins, two fellow students of Mr. Zuckerberg who would end up sueing him for stealing their idea. All of these characters brought a different view of programmers and software developers as members of select fraternities and privileged groups, generally living a life of glamour and being a part of the “cool crowd”. Ying-bei Wang points out in Facebook, Made in Harvard: Youth, Stereotypes, and Exclusivity in the Information Age that “The Social Network does an outstanding work transforming a computer geek into a hero of the Information Age.” and how “with the arrival of the Information Age, geeks have enjoyed more positive evaluation because of their computer skills.” This is a new light that we see programmers, techies, and geeks being portrayed in, but it still carries some of the same tropes from earlier years.

Silicon Valley:

My next artifact that I chose to use was the fourth episode of the HBO series Silicon Valley, Fiduciary Duties. The episode revolves around the main character, Peter Hendricks, having issues with explaining his vision for the future of his company, Pied Piper, and what his software will actually do. Already this synopsis is similar to established tropes for tech-types, trouble putting a concept into words. There is a host of awkward conversations throughout the episode, from the character Peter Gregory’s address to the crowd, with the untimely inflections to his abrupt conclusion of his welcome speech, to the Pied Piper group’s conversation with a couple of paid actresses who are hired in order to get conversations going with guests at the event for members of the software development community in Silicon Valley, directly making the joke that to get these people to talk, you literally have to hire someone to coax them into it. There are plenty more jokes on physical characteristics, such as the character “Big Head” being unable to simply toss a hacky sack higher than a few feet. I do understand that Silicon Valley is meant to serve as a platform for discourse on some of the ridiculous facets and stereotypes of the tech industry in Palo Alto. While the show does bring some of the valley’s glaring deficiencies to light, it still falls back on aged jokes about the nerdy programmer for it’s main punch lines.   

Mr. Robot:

My last artifact was the pilot episode for the USA series Mr. Robot. The episode centers on the character Elliot who is a quasi hacker vigilante. He works at a cyber-security firm called All Safe by day, but uses his hacking skills to turn in individuals to the police who deal with things such as child pornography or cheating husbands to their wives. Elliot exhibits some of the same characteristics as characters from the other artifacts: antisocial, trouble communicating with others and most obviously being he is a male. Where Mr. Robot differs is that the show’s lead character is of a minority background. I found this very surprising as, to be honest, I had assumed he was another white man. With few exceptions, programmers in TV shows and movies have been white males. While the narrative of the programmer being an introvert was told in all three of my artifacts, I was surprised to find there was some truth to this. In the article Personality Types in Software Engineering, Luiz Capretz states that “(his) research found more introverts (57%) than extroverts (43%)” and that “the software field is dominated by introverts, who typically have difficulty in communicating with the user.” Even though these characteristics are present in the real industry I believe popular culture exaggerates it past what you would typically see in the real workplace, thus distorting the audience’s view of programmers.

Implications and Observations:

I think one of the most interesting details about the over representation of the group of people I belong to, male programmers specifically that are white, is that the over representation of them in popular culture is reflective to what is present in the industry. Looking at the recent diversity reports from Facebook, Intel and Google, three very large software companies, it becomes very apparent that this is true. In the tech related jobs in each company males make up well over fifty percent of the workforce, while white males make up the majority of that percentage with Asian males relatively close behind. If from a young age kids only see groups of people doing certain jobs, represented in specific ways, then I think it is safe to assume that they will only associate those types of people with that job. This seems to be one of the problems with how programmers and really any “computer-oriented” jobs are represented in popular culture, as far as movies and television shows are concerned they have almost solely been portrayed as white men with few exceptions. I think this is partly why we see such large gender gaps in the industry. This is supported by Lori Kendall’s statement in White and Nerdy: Computers, Race and the Nerd Stereotype where she says “people seeking to hire computer programmers often look for signs of nerdiness as proof of intelligence” and that “After several years of gains for women and minorities in computing education and occupations, those gains seem to be reversing.”  It is my belief that if pop culture devices can include more people from varying backgrounds then more people with diverse backgrounds will be inclined to become programmers.


In conclusion, I believe that many of the old tropes of programmers, techies, or people who like computer stuff really, are still present. Themes of weak physical aptitude, anti-social tendencies and awkward personas continually get brought up in popular culture. While these themes are still prevalent, there are new themes that are being brought to audiences. Sexual appeal, glamour and prestige are a few new characteristics being attributed to programmers in movies and television shows. Personally I can identify with some of the characteristics attributed to programmers, but I can still get a laugh out of the jokes that may come at my own expense because I know that they are overly exaggerated. What I see as a serious issue though is that while some  movies and shows have made leeway representing underrepresented groups, such as Mr. Robot having a minority lead character, there is still a long way to go in order to make the field more inclusive.  

Learning Moments:

The two biggest learning moments for me came during the research analysis worksheet and the annotated bibliography. The combination of these two assignments achieved what I believe to be one of the larger goals of the looking in the popular culture mirror blog post and this class as a whole. The research analysis worksheet gave me insight into how people such as myself get portrayed and often stereotyped in popular culture. It taught me how to approach a media device by not taking it at face value, but by asking critical questions as to its purpose. On the other hand the annotated bibliography led to a wealth of information confirming that there are many problems with the media’s portrayals of programmers, and then how these portrayals have larger second and third order effects. I learned more on how to use available tools for research and analysis. Where I think the looking in the popular culture mirror blog post is a good chance to share my findings with others, the research analysis worksheet and the annotated bibliography are what allowed me to make the connections between the representations of programmers, why those representations exist, and the effects of they have.


Personality Types in Software Engineering, Luiz Fernando Capretz, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Volume 58, Issue 2 February 2003, pages 207-214

Facebook, Made in Harvard: Youth Stereotypes, and Exclusivity in the Information Age, Ying-bei Wang, Selected works of Ying-bei Wang, Bowling Green State University, Spring February 22, 2014

“White and Nerdy”: Computers, Race and the Nerd Stereotype, Lori Kendall, The Journal of Popular Culture, Volume 44, Issue 3, June 2011


“Ditzy Blonde”

Over the course this term I have learned a great deal from researching some of my identities such as young blonde female in the media. I wasn’t surprised by my research because it was a stereotype that I was already familiar with, the “ditzy blonde”. Not only have I learned how my identity is portrayed in the media and how others with the same identity feel about that, I have also learned excellent ways to find sources. Through watching young blonde females in media then reading studies and reviews on the media revealed the stereotypes that follow those identities.

Learning how to navigate the Portland State University library was helpful and where to go within the site to look for a specific type of source. An assignment that we completed in mentor session that I actually found extremely helpful was the Search for Resources Library Tutorial. It walked through each type of source you may need for a research paper and how to find it through the libraries site. This was helpful because before I would just search some key words and then what type of source I was looking for, for example “Blonde Stereotypes Peer reviewed journal”. Through taking the tutorial I also learned that there is a more effective way to search and use key words for example capitalizing AND to separate two key words, and placing parenthesis around words that should be searched together.

Another important concept that I learned was primary and secondary sources and why they are both important. A primary source would be data such as a chart and then a secondary source would be analysis of the chart. A secondary source for my identities would be this article analyzing a primary source, which was an IQ test.


The article is going over the results of an IQ test that was done on people of every hair color the primary source (the IQ test) stated that blondes averaged an IQ of 103.2, brunettes a 102.7, redheads with 101.2 and people with black hair come in last with a 100.5. The article goes on to analyze the first source as to explaining that this is possibly why blondes are the chosen identity to play the “ditzy” person. It hypothesizes that the reason that blonde wear the chosen hair color to play the ditzy character was because they were truly the smartest hair color. This is a secondary source because it is making assumptions based off the evidence that the primary source had presented.

The next source that I looked at was one that was actually recommended to me in a comment and that was legally blonde. In case you have not seen this movie it is about a young blonde that fits perfectly with the typical stereotypes of that hair color, superficial, ditzy, doesn’t’ work for what they have. But after her boyfriend Owen breaks up with her before leaving for grad school for being too dumb, she defies the stereotype and goes to law school while using her social butterfly personality to her advantage in school. This was a fun source to look at because it is one that addresses the typical stereotypes for someone with the identities of a young blonde female but then also shows that same female rising above and accomplishing great things.

This movie spoke volumes because it magnified some sterotypes but used them in a positive way. Elle woods, the star of Legally Blonde wears pink glitter everything, and even carries her chiuaha in her purse, she loves to have fun and can come across as materialistic and dumb. After being told that’s not enough she shows young women that you can be pretty and be smart.


This image is a clip from the movie and it is an excellent example of the stereotype that blondes are into pink and glitter and heels. At the same time it is deifying the stereotype of the ditzy blonde as she is standing in a power pose as the lawyer in the courtroom in a case, which she won in the movie based on her knowledge of makeup and beauty.

After Elle wins big and proves that you can be smart blonde and pretty

I found a review of the movie by someone that blogs by the name of “the rogue feminist”. http://theroguefeminist.tumblr.com/post/113358128353/legally-blonde-feminist-review-and-analysis She discusses how Elle Woods the lead in the movie is a role model to young women. After being dumped for being “too blonde” she rose up and proved him wrong. She goes on to review how this movie puts many aspects in a positive light such as female friendship; Elle supports her friend and encourages her to leave her abusive husband. The first time watching this movie I did not notice this until I had read the review and it got me thinking about it. When looking at the two females they seem opposite in appearance, but regardless Elle encourages and helps another female, even though women are typically known for being caddy.

Another film that sends a similar message to legally blonde would be House Bunny. When a playboy bunny gets kicked out of the mansion some sorority girls allow her to stay there so she will help them become more sociable to create more pledges to the home. The message is again that extensive knowledge of makeup and beauty can be used to either win a case or in this instance help some young girls save their sorority home.HouseBunny_2lg.jpg

The concept of the dumb blonde also has a negative effect on the way men think of women. Dara Greenwood and Linda Isbell wrote a journal on a study of Men and Women’s reactions to dumb blonde jokes. They revealed that after listening to dumb blonde jokes men the men found them more funny and less offensive than women and this also correlated with them being higher in hostile sexism. Presenting the stereotype of the dumb blonde as funny and a joke teaches men that it is okay and humorous to be offensive. This journal demonstrates why it is a bad idea to place negative stereotypes around an identity; it teaches society that these people are less because of their appearances.

Overall I noticed that my identities of a young blonde female are not represented very positively in popular culture. Blondes are typically played out as the ditzy materialistic character and their the only hair color with e category of jokes dedicated to it. Through movies such as legally blonde teaching girls that you can love to be beautiful and pamper yourself but also go to school and be success at the same time.




Legally blonde. Dir. Robert Luketic. N.p., n.d. Web.

Theroguefeminist. “Legally Blonde – Feminist Review and Analysis.” The rogue feminist. N.p., 11 Mar. 2015. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.

Waghorn, Mark. “Ever used a ‘dumb blonde’ cliche? Science has something to say about them.” Mirror. N.p., 23 Mar. 2016. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.

Women Career Stereotypes

Berlynn Deluna

Popular Culture

Big Picture Blog Post

Final Draft

Women Career Stereotypes in Popular Culture

I found a lot of interesting information for my topic on women career stereotypes. My primary sources taught me a lot about people’s attitudes towards women, gender roles and equality. This topic is significant to me because I personally want to pursue a career that is generally known as a “masculine career.” I would feel discouraged knowing that I’m treated differently because I am a female. A woman can do a job just as efficient as a man. In popular culture, women career choices are “predictable”. There are so many gender inequalities when it comes to career choices. I enjoyed completing the research analysis assignment and annotated bibliography because I found many different perspectives on women career choices. I also learned how these choices affect our popular culture. I used movies, TV shows and articles to get the best possible sources for my topic.


women fire fighter

G.I. Jane

The most reliable source I used was a movie called G.I. Jane. Demi Moore plays Jordan O’Neil, the main character of the movie. Jordan wanted to become a sniper for the military. The men laughed at her because they all thought there was no way that she would make it through the intense training. They tried to lessen the intensity of the training because she was a female. Jordan fought to be trained equally just like the men. She didn’t want to be treated different. I found it surprising how Jordan decided to shave her head to prove that she isn’t any different than the others. I also found it revealing how she decided to move in to the guys barracks. She refused to be treated differently. Jordan showed the men her dedication and willingness to be part of the combined reconnaissance training team. In my opinion, Jordan is a strong women that shows her audience how brave she is. She never gave up or let anyone stand in the way of her passion. This shows that all women are capable of doing anything they set their mind to.

Chicago PD

Another source I used was from a TV show called Chicago PD. The sergeant on the show promoted a female patrol officer to detective in the intelligence unit. Her new partner kept belittling and doubting her commitment and strengths because she is a woman. This show give examples of stereotypes based on women’s abilities when it comes to career choices. This episode was intended to prove that women can succeed in a dominant male position if given the opportunity. This episode was surprising to me because the patrol officer Burgess proved herself to the intelligence team that she is a super hard working female that could get the job done. The sergeant promoted Burgess because he also realized her strengths and abilities. Burgess’s new partner who has been a part of the intelligence team for a long time, doesn’t feel that she will be a good asset because she is a woman. He kept giving her a hard time until she proved she was the strong and capable police officer that she is. This shows the audience some struggles that women might have to face in order to be excepted. In my perspective, Burgess is a passionate women that earned her way up to become part of the detective team.

Chicago Fire

The last TV show I used for my topic was Chicago Fire. This episode was about a woman EMT promoted to become a fire fighter. Although she was already part of the fire station, the other fire fighters were doubting her abilities because she’s female. It was really hard for all the men to get used to having a female on their team. Once they noticed her drive and passion for the job, they opened up to her. This episode was very interesting to me because it made me really think about how many double standards there are when it comes to women career choices. I was surprised to see that Dawson, the female firefighter had to prove to the fire men that she was capable to do the job. They all noticed her drive and committed to become a firefighter when she was a paramedic but they still didn’t welcome her until she proved herself. I also found it surprising that even he fiance, the lieutenant doubted her abilities. He felt she should continue being a paramedic. This episode on Chicago Fire has opened my eyes on what women have to deal with in order to be considered equal.

I noticed a lot of similarities between all three of these sources. All of the women had to prove that they could do the job in order to be accepted. They were all treated the same at the beginning. These women have a similarity that they are passionate to help make the world a better place and nobody was going to stand in their way.

I also used a couple of articles online to back up some my evidence that I gathered from my topic. The article that stood out to me the most is called, “Untangling Life Goals and Occupational Stereotypes in Men’s and Women’s Career Interest.” This article focuses more on which careers women and men choose to pursue. The occupational aspect part of the article states that both men and women choose their careers based on gender stereotypes. Women generally like to stick to careers that are categorized for women such as a nurse, receptionist or a teacher. Men like to pursue a masculine career type such as fire fighter, construction worker or police officer unless the feminine career pays more. This article relates to my primary sources because it has to do with women career choices. While my main focus is how people make career stereotypes, this article differs because it talks about how women make career choices based on these gender inequalities. Although, it is not entirely the same topic, I really enjoyed reading this article because it is in comparison to my topic.

Another article I chose to use as a secondary source is called, “How Stereotypes impair women’s careers in science.” This article was very interesting to me. It talks about career stereotypes between women and men. They did a study based on an arithmetic task to see the difference in gender performance. Both genders performed equally. I found it interesting to find out that men are more prone to talk highly about their skill abilities.  Talking about previous career performance does help to lower these gender stereotypes but doesn’t eliminate it completely. I was shocked to find out that both men and women are more likely to hire men. This compares to my primary source because it gives me a lot of information about women stereotypes. This article confirmed my beliefs and ideals on career inequalities. My topic is focused more on women choosing more of a masculine career and the stereotypes that it comes with.


I found my topic very intriguing. To this day, there are so many career gender inequalities. Many women have to deal with these problems all the time. I don’t think it is fair how these stereotypes are still a huge issue in our society. Many people watch these shows such as both men and women that are interested in our criminal justice system. This audience could draw two types of conclusions from these sources. They might realize that these stereotypes need to change. They also might agree with the gender inequalities. I feel these shows could help improve the mindset of this audience’s views based on gender career issues. On the other hand, how will this improve by portraying the same stereotypical messages in the media? Everyone is created equal and should be treated equally.



Learning Moments:

I really enjoyed our looking for researches assignment. With this only being my second quarter at Portland State, I had never used the PSU Library to research. This assignment was very helpful. The steps and instructions to help us navigate through the online library was very efficient. Now that I’ve completed this assignment I feel confident to research information for future classes. I also really enjoyed our weekly discussions. This is my first online course I’ve taken. I was little nervous to take this course online but I found it very helpful that these discussions kept me engaged throughout our discussions. One blog post that really caught my attention was about advertisements. I learned a lot from this discussion. The videos and articles about advertisement really caught my attention. We had to watch and analyze the Adidas advertisement that involved many different celebrities. After this blog post, I’ve noticed myself analyzing many different advertisements. I also enjoyed reading all of the interesting comments on everyone’s opinions about this topic.



Work Cited
Reuben, Ernesto “How stereotypes impair women’s careers in science” 2014, 25 March. Web.



Barth, Joan “Untangling Life Goals and Occupational Stereotypes in Men’s and Women’s Career Interest” 2015. Web.



Wolf, Dick (Producer). Michael Brandt, Derek Haas (Creators). 2012. Chicago Fire.


Dick Wolf (Producer). Michael Brandt, Derek Haas (Creators) 2014, 8th January. Chicago PD.



My Final Blog Post: Groups And Most Importantly, Racial Groups, Diving Deep Into My Own Stereotype.

I think about life and how we are each divided into little groups since the first day we take our first breath to the last day where we close our eyes and see nothing again. I believe a lot of people think about this too, but my question for you has to be, why are we put in these groups in the first place and how can we break free from them? Especially these racial groups that divide us so much and make us so “different” from one another. The one I want to use as my example throughout this essay is one that I have lived and had all my life, Hispanic and more specific, Guatelamateca, which is a word used to call people from the country of Guatemala. As I go throughout my examples I want everyone to think about the stereotypes that others have put upon you and to think about how popular culture makes you look in front of everyone and the reasons why they do that to everyone.

At first when I was younger, about seven years old I never thought I was very different, I had just moved from Guatemala, a country where I had been born and had lived and loved for 6 years to a country that was cold and rainy, and salty and I wasn’t too sure what everyone was saying. Then I learned and understood and figured out that really people did think I was different because of the way I talked and the way I acted. Throughout this term, I really was able to reflect on that as I studied the articles given to us to read and did my own research about my topic.

One of the first things that really helped me realize that stereotypes, like me being Hispanic, really are something that we do every day, with and without really thinking about it was growing up and having people say “what part of Mexico are you from” without really giving me a chance to say that I actually was from somewhere else. As I have looked at things during class I also noticed that even though I don’t mean to, sometimes I do the same thing. For example on of the things that we learned about was how to analyze and article/ an image without putting our opinion on it before giving it a chance. During this process I really had to check everything off as a list because I would start writing my own opinion of what I thought was right and wrong and try to say what I saw and what I felt but we weren’t supposed to do that so it took a lot of rewriting in order to try to get it without my opinion but just real analyzes showing me that stereotyping and looking at something and think about something else that you feel “relates” to it is something that comes naturally into our minds and we can’t or don’t always control it.

This lead me to consider how I was going to look at the topic of what I was researching and try to understand it not because I have gone through it but because I want to learn why the popular culture sees me and other Hispanics the way they do and don’t really give it a second thought. As I did my research I really took to heart the conversations I had with my family and friends as well as the recommendation from my Professor and my peers and the wonderful comments they made about their own stereotypes during our conversations online. As well as how the articles and subjects we read about helped me understand how to look at the points I choose. I think that with that combination it really lead me to understand that we can’t really truly break free from stereotypes but we can help them change for the better and lead them to be more of a positive interaction instead of and ignorant and negative way of thinking about people.

The first example I decided to analyze really was how people moved to the USA and why most people generalize that if you are Hispanic you must be from Mexico and the newest trend you must be from Guatemala. Something I learned long ago in one of my History classes when I was in High School that has stuck with me for a long time was that around the 1800’s the USA took over half of Mexico’s land which lead to the first Hispanics in the USA, making them USA Citizens because of the USA taking over something that wasn’t theirs to begin with, but really what can you do? that is what happens when there is a war. Things change and people learn to live but that is also how stereotypes begin, there is a change and that change brings questions and leads to assumptions. In this case, it leads to people seeing Mexicans as the only Hispanics that lived in the USA. Which leads me to analyze that this is where most people got their idea about everyone that is Hispanic must be from Mexico. Something that is most recent though is a new trend that has started putting one more culture into this assumption and that is people from Guatemala. Which just started because it is a growing population in the USA, but still very small and for the most part they are assumed to be Mexican anyway.

Throughout the process of research, the another example that showed me how people view and feel about Hispanics was a new TV show called American Housewife. It is a show that talks about a regular American family today is the modern world. It is a show that has a lot of different stereotypes but the one I am addressing is how it shows Hispanics. Even though this show is mostly whites and one Asian and one black person, again with their own stereotypes, they show the Hispanics it is for a very brief moment and it is how they have put them in many shows. They are the cleaning ladies and they look chubby and dark and with strong accents that don’t always allow use to recognize what they are saying. In the episode I watched the boy that the “American housewife”   has named Oliver has a side business with this Hispanic maid and they are talking about how he owns her her money and he is acting like he is smarter than her and saying, look I know what I’m doing trust me, I’ll get us more money, this in itself is sexist and racist because he is a white, male, middles school kid, treating this older Hispanic woman like someone that doesn’t know or understand what money means. Well, that happens and she tells him to get her her money because she wants to go back to her country. So by the end of the episode he learns and understands that he needs to give her her money and he goes and says “so you can go back and see you family in Guatemala” putting a stereotype on her without really asking where she is from, and she looks at him and says “I’m from El Salvador”, Now I want you guys to look at this like you were someone foreign that moved into this country and what would you think if you saw this? I can tell you looking at the facts that it is obvious that the kid didn’t pay any attention to the person he is working with, and second, he doesn’t really care because to him she is just a worker. In the end, he even says whatever and thinks he has made this right by the mere fact that he gave her the money he owed her anyway. The show made it seem like that was the most important part and that Oliver learned and a valuable lesson but really looking and analyzing it further you see that the skip over the fact that he is still disrespectful to the older woman and doesn’t care that really she is a person that has more to her then every show is willing to show in their TV shows.

This leads me to my next example which is another comedy TV show called Last Man standing. This is a show about a Dad that has three daughters and a wife and he works as the publicist of and outdoor company. In this show, there is a lot of sexist and political and racial jokes and one of them, but what I want to analyze is something different. Mike, that is the dad’s name, and his wife Vanessa decide to hire a cleaning lady, and what race is she? She is Hispanic of course and again the way she physically looks is chubby, dark-skinned, dark hair, with a strong accent. Now the reason why I am very keen on mentioning how she looks and how the  other Hispanics looked on the TV show American housewife is because the way they

Blanca Serving Mike salted peanuts in Last Man Standing show Hispanic is very similar all the time. It doesn’t matter what country they are from or anything, to the people creating the shows, they always put a Hispanic as dark skinned, strong accent, dark hair and the only thing that varies is whether they are skinny or chubby based on the fact of what the show is about. For example In the TV Show Modern family the only Hispanic show there is Sofia Vergara who played a Mexican woman that married an older man that is rich. The way she looks is very important, she is always wearing very skin tight clothing that shows all her body and curves. Compared to the poor Hispanics shown in TV shows are shown as all the same basic facts they use expect that they are chubby. Something that I noticed while looking at all the facts was that really when it comes to everything that is Hispanic based they don’t really care about looking into it further than what is common on TV, even studies are more based on what people have seen then what people really know.

As I was looking at the library resources and everything on the web and around me was that the titles really said it all. When I looked up Hispanics, and more specifically Guatemala, everything was generalized. No matter how specific I was, I always ended up with the same thing, Mexicans, and Why poor Hispanics are obese, and why Hispanics do drugs and why Hispanics are addicted to alcohol it was never something good about Hispanic but instead it was always something negative about them and assumptions that because they group they studied was prone to that that all Hispanic must be the same.

In Conclusion:

I was truly hoping that I would be proven wrong about stereotypes and especially the stereotypes about Hispanics and that my life had just been a confusion and really I was a one in a million at being thought of as a stereotype, but instead I was proven right that stereotypes are something we are born with, since the first breath you draw to the very last one.  Which leads me to really see that yes it is going to be hard to change these stereotype that I have been born into and most people are probably going to continue thinking that I am from Mexico and really I will live as a maid and not get too far with my life but hopefully as I go throughout the rest of my life I can show them that there is something more I can offer and that I am not just the newest trend of Hispanics, but that I am me and me is amazing at being different. If anything this research showed me how really Hispanics are all put under the same categories but I hope one day that changes and during a test I will be able to put Guatelmateca or when someone asked me where I’m from they don’t just jump to the conclusion that I must be from Mexico. I never thought that my research would lead me to a deeper understanding of who I am by showing me who people think I am but who I really I’m not and, I hope all of you have discovered who you are and take that with you as you go throughout the rest of you lives.

Work Cited:

S2 Episode 10, “The Help”, Last Man Standing, Jack Burditt, ABC. 2011

watch on ABC or online.

S1 Episode 11, “The Snow Storm”, American HouseWife, Sarah Dunn, ABC. 2016

watch on ABC or online

Modern Family, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, ABC. 2009

watch on ABC or online

Bergad, Laird W., and Herbert S. Klein. Hispanics in the United States: A demographic, social, and economic history, 1980-2005. Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Acculturation and drug use disorders among Hispanics in the U.S.(Report), Journal of Psychiatric Research, Feb 2013, Vol.47(2), p.226(7)

Google and google scholar to see what came up in general for every time I typed in Hispanic, Guatemala, Latino, TV, Books, Studies, woman etc.

The portrayal of relationships of young adults in movies and television


For my blog post I chose to analyze how pop culture portrays the relationships of 20’s somethings in movies and television. My reason for choosing this specific trope is due to the time period I am in my life and how it corresponds to the kinds of media I consume on a daily basis. The three primary sources I have chosen to help me with my analysis are Scott Pilgrim vs The World, How I Met Your Mother and the hit television show Girls. All three sources have completely different show dynamics but all have central themes that are quite related.

My findings were fairly interesting, on the surface the shows portrayed the relationships of the main characters with their friends/families/lovers as self-fulfilling, selfish, and tumultuous. The deeper I dived into the sources and the secondary sources I found an interesting trend. The way 20’s somethings relationships are portrayed in movies and television has to do with the transitional stage that being in your 20’s causes.


Scott Pilgrim vs The World: Dealing with the past.


In the film Scott Pilgrim vs The World, the main character Scott Pilgrim, meets a beautiful delivery girl named Ramona Flowers. At the time Scott has no idea that this girl he has fallen for has a slew of ex boyfriends that she has left with little to no closure. Of these ex boyfriends (the 7 evil ex’s) she has cheated on each one consecutively.

It is clear in the portrayal in the film and the comic from which it’s based that Ramona is free spirited, hence the colorful hair that she changes every week and a half. She recently moved to Toronto to start over, hoping to escape her past. This is typical of people in their 20’s to do. Most are have yet to gotten married or have kids so the roots that they have set down could be as simple as a few ex boyfriends that they need to get away from to start over.

Like most movies that Michael Cera stars in, he needs the help of his friends to win the girl. This movie is no different. Scott Pilgrim is a lazy slacker who is selfish and doesn’t want anything to do with anything complicated. It is because of this that he is dating a high schooler by the name of Knives Chau. His immaturity causes him to essentially be a free loader living off of his friend’s good graces. He is stuck in a loop until he is forced to progress or transition to something more.  Insert Ramona Flowers. A very complicated girl for whom Pilgrim must defeat all 7 of her evil ex’s to date her.

Their relationship- both Scott and Ramona are similar in the way that they deal with their past, they run from it. As one of my secondary sources points out, “Scott bundles up all of his guilt and negative memories and crams them away in hopes that he can forget them and be able to live with himself. Ramona on the other hand, ends every relationship the same way: she runs away as far as she can, as fast as she can.” (http://www.doctornerdlove.com/2012/04/learn-this-scott-pilgrim-vs-world/).  Scott can’t seem to get past the idea that Ramona is his ideal “Dream Girl” and doesn’t notice that she has very real problems. Likewise, Ramona can’t get past the fact that Scott may have been cheating on her with Knives Chau. The idea that they both have an idea of what the other should be like as opposed to how they actually are is something that is very common in relationships. Especially newly formed relationships, this as you can see can be a serious problem for someone in their 20’s to deal with emotionally because they have yet to have developed the maturity of say someone twice their age.

How I Met Your Mother: The importance of friends


In the television series How I Met Your Mother, the show follows main character Ted Mosby as he navigates relationship after relationship trying to find his future wife. There is one constant throughout the show for Ted, his friendships with Marshall, Lilly, Robin and Barney. While the title of the show may denote how Ted finds the future mother of his children, it is much more about how important friendship is as one transitions through their 20’s and all the problems that arise from such an important phase in life.

The relationships-

Ted and Marshall: The two of them are best friends who use to be dorm mates back in college. Marshall is someone who Ted can always count on, more importantly Ted will model what his ideal relationship will be like based on Marshall and his wife Lilly. Marshall always seems to be able to call Ted on his stuff when he is acting like a moron. There are various points in the show when Ted falls for an obviously bad choice and Marshall is there to support Ted even when he knows Ted will end up getting hurt.

Marshall and Lilly: The ideal relationship. Marshall met Lilly back in college while rooming with Ted. The three of them become great friends and end up moving to New York together. While they have their moments, for the most part they have a solid relationship and are both there for Ted when he needs them.

Barney, Ted and Marshall: Barney can be over the top. Sometimes he may get ted or Marshall into some trouble but in the end he always seems to pull through. While he met the two of them later after Ted and Marshall have already been friends for so long, he soon filled the outsider dynamic that counter balanced the relationship.

Robin and Ted: Robin was Ted’s dream girl. You could call this a best friend romance, which is worse than a regular romance because that there’s so much on the line. The two of them struggled to draw boundaries after they initially split up because the two of them still had feelings for each other. Without spoiling the ending things all work out.

This show reflects how important friends are during your young adult years. While there are ups and downs everything always works out because they have each other. This can be represented in their favorite meeting spot, the bar below Ted and Marshall’s apartment. This is where the whole group usually meets and you really start to understand the different dynamics that are prevalent in large groups of close friends, especially in this age group. As Emily Yahr points out in her article  “Overall though, “HIMYM” offered a much more valuable lesson about the importance of adult friendship, as the intense bonding in post-college years means that those friends essentially become your family.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2014/03/28/why-how-i-met-your-mother-connected-so-deeply-with-the-younger-generation/

Girls: Building a relationship with yourself 

Girls blogpost tv show

The show Girls may not seem to be unique to outsider observing, but what makes this show so great is because it focuses on a group of girls being unapologetically themselves or at least what they think is themselves. Girls focuses on the 4 girls you see above you, but what you don’t see above is the trials, abortions, job losses, the sexuality, the failed relationships that come and go, the friendships lost and gained. “It feels like this smartly aging show—which still has so much (sometimes too much) to say about friendship, love, and the slow-yielding benefits of self-acceptance—deserves a nudge back into the pop-culture nerve center. It’s time to re-embrace Girls, for all its complexities and frustrations. Maybe it’s even time to start arguing about it again.” https://www.wired.com/2016/03/girls-conversation/

We all know in order to maintain good relationships with our friends we need to have good healthy consistent relationships with ourselves…well this is quite the opposite for these girls and quite the opposite for any young adult. That’s what makes this show so good! Here’s a bunch of girls that everyone that’s in their 20’s can relate too. With each season, each character gains a little more insight of their own personality and with that comes loss, pain, success and triumph. That’s what life is all about.

Conclusion: or the big takeaway

Each of the shows/movies I chose, uses comedy to portray growing up in your 20’s, which for me is exactly why I chose them. Being in your 20’s is a huge transitional time. You start out being granted independence from your parents, you also dabble with knowing your supposed to be doing something productive like hold a steady job or continue your education, all while trying to find yourself. These shows allow us a break, they give us an outlet to feel relieved that some horrible situation can be relatable and with a little theatrics their even funnier than our real lives. And to be honest, they help contribute to making my life a little more “doable”.

Learn From This: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Harris O’Malley, Paging Doctor Nerd Love, http://www.doctornerdlove.com/2012/04/learn-this-scott-pilgrim-vs-world/

Why ‘How I Met Your Mother’ connected so deeply with the younger generation, Emily Yahr, director,The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2014/03/28/why-how-i-met-your-mother-connected-so-deeply-with-the-younger-generation/

Girls Is the Best Show No One’s Talking About Right Now, WIRED, Brian Raftery, https://www.wired.com/2016/03/girls-conversation/



Stereotyping Of Student Athletes Throughout Popular Culture

Never judge a book by its cover, simply means do not form an opinion about a person based solely by appearance.  Have you ever stereotyped a certain group of people? Everyone has probably subconsciously stereotyped someone at some point in their lifetime.  Stereotyping happens every day, everywhere no matter how hard we try not to do it. The definition of stereotype is, “a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.”   I have been a student athlete my entire life and have noticed in pop culture there are many different stereotypes associated with student athletes.   Many stereotypes are not necessarily true, but perception is everything.  Student athletes in popular culture are usually perceived as “God like hero’s”, “the Popular Kids,” or the “Dumb Jocks”.  Many people believe student athletes are given special treatment or perceived as students who receive special treatment. There are different stories and scandals about student athletes every day. The media especially likes to focus on the negative stories about student athletes rather than the good ones.  Feel good stories are nice but scandal stories increase revenue.  Student athletes are either loved by many when they win, or hated by many when they lose a game.  Athletes are judged by their performance, they are either a success or a failure depending on the win/loss column, their character is secondary.  Student athletes are portrayed by pop culture as being dumb, super human,  spoiled students who do not appreciate the preferential treatment they receive.  Nothing could be further from the truth as 99% of student athletes are smart, work hard in their sport and receive no special treatment.

High School and college sports have been around for decades and there has always been controversy whether athletes receive special treatment.  Special treatment falls under many different categories.  A few athletes have received special treatment, ranging from small violations like getting free food from a restaurant, to more severe infractions, as in accepting money or expensive gifts from agents, or pressuring a professor into changing a grade so the athlete remains academically eligible.  I found a lot of great examples showing that indeed there are cases of student athletes receiving special treatment. I also found key examples on how student athletes are portrayed throughout media. In the article, Education; Bending The Rules For Student Athletes written by William E Schmidt, he discusses the scandal University of Georgia faced when they were caught for giving special treatment to their athletes. At a testimony in court, University of Georgia’s faculty members were charged with changing the grades of their student athletes in remedial classes in order to stay eligible. A certain professor was told to change the grade of one of his football students because “he scored the winning touchdown against their rival Georgia Tech.” It is no secret that there are special treatment scandals everywhere.  I am a student athlete and I can testify for my fellow team mates stating we do not receive special treatment or fall under that stereotype.  I believe most people do not realize being a student athlete is like working a full-time job, which includes travel, and going to school.  We are on a strict schedule which includes practice, conditioning, study hall, and volunteering in the community.  Being a student athlete is not only physically taxing but also mentally taxing.  Athletes place high expectations on themselves, and when we do not perform as well as we would like it can be very difficult mentally.  There is not a lot written about the stressful life of a student athlete, most writings are about the games.  Nor are the benefits of being a student athlete discussed much in the media.   One of the best gifts an athlete receives through their college career are the friendships formed with team mates.

Another stereotype I always see about student athletes is the “popular kid,” and “God like hero” appearance constantly shown on different T.V shows and movies. Throughout popular culture TV jocks are always played by big handsome men.  They always try and find the most attractive looking people to play the different athletes, and give the appearance these athletes are perfect, they are Godly hero’s.  A perfect example would be the T.V. show Awkward and the movie High School Musical. In the show, Awkward, there is this very handsome character, his name is Matty McKibben. Matty was very beloved for his athletic skills and his handsome face in the T.V show. Matty was a star athlete making him a very popular man in his high school. In the movie, High School Musical, the athletes are also the most popular kids in their school. The athletes were the most attractive and most liked in their high school. The famous character Troy Bolton, from High School Musical, was the star basketball player every guy wanted to be and every girl wanted to have. When you think about some of your favorite movies and T.V shows it is very easy to find that stereotypical popular, attractive, athlete.


While the image of student athletes on TV shows as being gorgeous, super athletic, charming, perfect kids, makes for great TV, the reality is most student athletes are average looking with pimples and other personality flaws just like everyone else.  The problem with portraying athletes as super human is it can give kids with little athletic ability an inferiority complex.  How can they possible compete with these perfect people? Another issue which could arise with the perception of student athletes being “God Like” is some athletes will believe the hype written about them and become complete jerks. The sad part about athletes believing they are above other people is less than 2% of college athletes turn pro in their sport.  Meaning college athletes best serve themselves and the community when they try to display exemplary behavior in representing their college.

Another perception of student athletes in pop culture is that they are dumb.  The only reason they got into college is because they play a sport.  Nothing could be further from the truth because student athletes are admitted into college needing to fulfill the same requirements as any student applying to the same college.  Meaning if a school requires a 3.0 GPA and a 1600 on the SAT’s for admittance into their college, then a student athlete must pass the same requirements.  Are their cases of students not having the minimal requirements to get into college, of course, but the number is quite low.  Colleges do not want to give scholarships to athletes if they think the kid is going to struggle academically. Meaning they do not want to lose money.  A student on academic probation is of no use to the team.  Athletes take the same required courses as anyone for their major, yet the perception of the dumb athlete still persists.  A student athlete must not only study, they practice every day, and travel to many games, leaving on Thursdays and returning late Sunday night or early Monday morning.  Student athletes basically have a full-time job with their sport, and go to school full time, yet the dumb jock image is as prevalent as ever.  Student athletes are also required to devote time to charities in the community which benefits them and the community.  I wish pop culture would show the athlete as smart, hardworking, and charitable because they are.

In pop culture student athletes, have been perceived as given charitable treatment when it comes to their academic admissions.  They are given free food, given better grades than deserved, they do not even have to show up to class.  Of course this is not true.  Very few student athletes are given any preferential treatment.  There are just too many rules and regulations a college must abide by, and they cannot give preferential treatment.  Another myth of the student athlete is that they are dumb.  Student athletes go to school full time and put in full time hours with their sport.  Student athletes are smart and hard working for the most part.  It is important the image of the student athletes change so little kids do not think they do not have to study because they are going to be jocks. Young kids need to see both male and female athletes as smart, hardworking community minded young adults because everyone benefits from the positive image.

Learning Moments:

One major thing that I have learned throughout the year was how to analyze media artifacts. Throughout the different blog post throughout this term, we got to dive into different articles and different advertisements. I learned how to really search for the hidden meaning behind certain advertisements as well. In week 4, Analyzing Primary Sources, we had to watch an Adidas advertisement and we then had to figure out things such as, why was it made, who was it made for? What patterns or repetitions did you notice in the ad? Being asked questions like that challenged me to really think about what certain articles and advertisements, etc, are trying to tell us, or what they are trying to get us to take notice, or what they want us to think about a certain thing/idea. I now look at media artifacts with a different perception, and I try to analyze everything the best I can.

Another major learning moment I had was when we were discussing diversity issues in popular culture. I believe it was in week 5, Reflections on Hollywood film. I did not realize how much the entertainment industry is lacking with diversity! I can’t seem to find the link, but we were provided with a link to a website that had different videos of the diverse characters. These videos included all of the lines the character had in the film. Most of them were very short lines and had very few lines all together. It was terrible! I was expecting the videos to be somewhat long, you know including every spoken line from a movie, but no, some were only 30 seconds! That really stuck out to me in my brain showing how much we lack in providing everyone with diverse characters or providing everyone with different cultures to view.

Works Cited:

WILLIAM E. SCHMIDT., EDUCATION; BENDING THE RULES FOR STUDENT ATHLETES, Special to the New York Times. Published: January 14, 1986

Awkward, directed by Millicent Shelton (2011, MTV), TV

High School Musical, directed by Kenny Ortega (2006, Disney), TV

Media Portrayal and Gentrification in Portland, Oregon


As a person who has lived in Portland her entire life, I found myself a little bit judgemental and defensive about the way that Portland, Oregon and the people who are from here have been represented. For some reason I tried and tried to disprove the stereotypes constantly presented of Portland people in the media, but I have found myself ultimately accepting that maybe the media is onto something. The representation of people native to Portland, Oregon though slightly exaggerated, is ultimately pretty spot on. However, with further media exploration and research, I have found that the portrayal of people from Portland in the media is only representative of a very specific group of Portland people.

Primary Sources


Over the course of my research, I found two good sources of media that showed compelling perspectives of Portland people. I started with the most obvious and widely known representation of Portland, the IFC television show, Portlandia. Though I am not a huge fan of the show overall, it definitely addresses some interesting stereotypes and conventional perceptions of people from Portland. For six seasons now the sketch comedy show has parodied common lifestyle and cultural norms of people from the proclaimed “weird” city.

In the form of humor, the show touches on many conventional social norms that seem to be embraced all throughout Portland. From the use of all natural and organic hygiene products, to feminism, to the over apologetic, Portlandia does exemplify the people of Portland pretty well.

I found both truth and humor in one of the very first sketches on the show. In an episode titled “Farm,” characters played by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein are seen sitting at a table in a restaurant. As they are engaging in small talk the waitress approaches the table to greet them. She introduces herself and asks if the couple if they have any questions about the menu, which they seemed very interested in. “I guess I do have a question about the chicken, if you could just tell us a little bit more about it” says Brownstein. The waitress then proceeds to give some further information about the chicken, even accessing his own personal file complete with his name and a profile photograph.

Though a goofy presentation, I actually found this scene to be pretty representative of common concerns Portlanders tend to hold. As a result of a high demand for local, ethically produced products from the people of Portland, all throughout the city words like “organic,” “natural,” and “free-range” can be found pasted onto windows and menus and are used as an extremely effective sales technique. Known as a very “green” city, the importance of sustainable products and practices I would say is actually pretty high up on the priority list of Portland inhabitants.

Movoto Blog Site

As Portland continues to grow in population, so does the abundance of videos and blogs claiming to illustrate what Portland and it’s people are really like. I found one in particular on Movoto.com titled 10 Portland Stereotypes That Are Completely Accurate, and to no surprise, I actually did find them to be extremely representative.

The blog claimed that people from the city are overly nice to strangers and to their pets. It stereotypes Portlanders as coffee snobs, alcoholics, and even “olympic brunchers.” I found the most accuracy however in the section that identified people from Portland as “Professional Recyclers.” Growing up in Portland, I have never lived a life where I did not recycle, and under certain circumstances, you are actually required to by law. So I think it is safe to say that indeed, Portlanders are professionals at recycling, a cultural attribute I am proud to affirm.


Secondary Sources

On the hunt for secondary sources, the articles and information I found actually made me look at my primary sources from a new perspective. While organic produce and products are important, and initiatives to grow and develop sustainability is critical to preserving the planet, these factors may have actually greatly contributed to another aspect of Portland’s newfound identity, the gentrified, “whitest city” in the country.

The article, Retail Gentrification and Race: The Case of Alberta Street in Portland, Oregon discusses how the gradual, yet seemingly sudden influx of urban retail locations such as yoga studios and organic food markets have brought about a new specific generation of Portlanders, the white urban hipsters. What has been historically marked as a largely African American neighborhood, Alberta Street, North, and Northeast Portland in general are now almost entirely white. As Portland continues to develop and grow, the uprising of over priced clothing shops and boutiques has consequently left many native Portlanders feeling intimidated, unwelcome, and out of place.

Similarly, the article, Contesting Sustainability: Bikes, Race, and Politics in Portlandia further confirms how seemingly positive and sustainable city initiatives can delude, deceive, and hide serious consequences for Portland people, and the city as a whole. While sustainable actions are often greatly encouraged, commonly, it is at the expense of communities that more often than not, are made up minority group members or families of a low socioeconomic status. Lloyd Center Mall in Northeast Portland for example, was widely promoted as a sustainable action and benefit for the city, but many are unaware of the countless amounts of African American families and individuals that were displaced because of it’s construction.


In conclusion, the portrayal I have found of Portland people in the media is representative of White Portland more than anything. Though often described as a city with great diversity, shows like Portlandia for example are overwhelmingly White. Without a single main character of color, Portlandia depicts many cultural aspects and norms of White communities in Portland, leaving out almost entirely any illustrations or even mention of minorities or communities of color, which are often highly segregated throughout the city. Additionally, the 10 Portland Stereotypes blog does not include a single person of color in any of its depictions, and many of the stereotypes it drew from very representative of an upper/ middle class association.

Learning Moments

There were many learning moments for me throughout the course of this term. I mostly enjoyed the lesson at the start of the course on media literacy and identifying and recognizing legitimate internet sources. This has not only helped me become a more informed and advanced researcher, but it has also guided me to explore more media and news outlets online in general, and to be more critical and observant of the news and media that surrounds me.

Work Cited

Amy Lubitow and Thaddeus R. Miller. “Contesting Sustainability: Bikes, Race, and Politics in Portlandia.” Environmental Justice, Volume 6, Issue 4, 2013, 121-126.

Daniel Monroe Sullivan and Samuel C. Shaw. “Retail Gentrification: The Case of Alberta Street in Portland, Oregon.” Urban Affairs Review, Volume 47, Issue 4, 2011, 413-432.

“Farm” Portlandiawritten by Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, and Jonathan Krisel, and Allison Silverman, directed by Jonathan Krisel, IFC Productions. 2011.

Mollie Pennington. “10 Portland Stereotypes that are Completely Accurate.” Movoto.com, http://www.movoto.com/guide/portland-or/portland-stereotypes/. March 14th, 2017.

“Portlandia- In the restaurant.” YouTube, uploaded by isoc tudor, 25 January 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAlWrT5P2VI.

Tomboy Censored Media: The Portrayal of Females in Popular Media

Tomboys are a great example of how American society has overlooked the true meaning of understands gender, race, class, and sexuality. There are already countless articles surrounding the cinema’s influence on society’s point of view. But what happens when films start to portray females outside of the traditional values of womanhood? Better yet, what assumptions does the public make surrounding tomboys? And are these portrayals usually ‘correct’ and if not why? These are some of the questions I attempt to answer within this blog post. In the end I hope to understanding how and why tomboys are portrayed in the media a certain way.

Identifying the Tomboy

Its always important to understand where and when an identity first showed its colors. The word ‘Tomboy’ has been around longer then we think; at least since the mid-16th century. Before the world underwent some changes in the early 19th-century, the word ‘tomboy’ was actually used to describe rambunctious young boys. Of course, just as time moves forward so does societies ideals. However, society has one major flaw in its design. This flaw is the very idea that every single person can fit into a category. What most people forget is that within these category there are other categories, and within those there are others. You see there are literally and figuratively limitless categories describing ones identity. It is to my belief that this is where the word ‘unique’ comes from.

Since the early 1920s, the term Tomboy was defined as—a girl who shows behavioral characteristics of that of a boy. They would consciously dress and act like a guy. Forcefully mimicking a guys behavior to make themselves standout among the traditional girls. In my opinion, that is a very broad definition. In a behavioral study done in 2002, the authors wrote “that individuals can be male-typical in some respects and female-typical in others” (Bailey 333). In other words, there is no such thing as an activity, or even a behavior, that is exclusive to males and or females. It is here that I would like to make an important note that throughout my time spent researching tomboys in the media, I have found that there is not just one type of tomboy. There are the ‘traditional’ tomboys—one who dresses and acts like a guy. Then there are ‘girl’ tomboys—someone who mixes both girl and guy attire and behaviors. And then theres the ‘social’ tomboy—where you dress like a girl and act masculine in public, but when you go home you put on your boxers and play video games.

Tomboy vs. LGBTQ

I kind of feel like the public is getting lazy at this point and doesn’t want to analysis tomboys. So as a result, they just stuffed them into the Queer category. The problem with this, is if a tomboy shows up on the big-screen, the first assumption people will make is that they are apart of the LGBTQ community when they’re really not. I think its safe to say that by the way the mass public perceived tomboys, they sort of assumed that the word tomboy was just another identity for someone who’s queer.

Coming from a personal experience, although I’m pretty sure a lot of people can relate, having short hair and dressing very masculine can get a little bit irritating and exhausting sometimes. The reason I say that is because people immediately make the assumption that because we look even the slightest like a guy, then we must be gay. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been mistaken as a lesbian, based solely on my haircut and my clothes. I have met so many other girls like me. Where society thinks that they look like a lesbian but in fact they identify as a tomboy. Like I said before, it can get extremely irritating and exhausting to have to explain yourself to a complete stranger. Ley me make this perfectly clear. Being a lesbian is a choice of sexuality. Being a tomboy is not. I don’t have a problem with how many sexual identities there are, and I love that society is now taking the time to understand all of them. What I don’t like is all these assumptions are based on how one acts. Yes I understand that most of the time there are tomboys that might look like a lesbian, but it just might mean they like wearing the same clothes. I soul heartily believe that society needs to take a little bit more time when analyzing someone. Society is built upon judgment, especially within the realm of sexuality.

Below are some videos that are not only beautifully done, but are extremely beneficial when addressing the topic of gender or identity norms. The first one is a music video titled “Break Free”, featuring the beautiful Ruby Rose showing us was its like to come out of your own skin; and what that process may be or feel like to someone. The second one is a short danish film called “Boy”. It explains to us how confusing it can be to find your own identity. As well as how your decisions can influence or even effect those around you. I highly recommend watching both.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFjsSSDLl8w  (“Break Free” Music Video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwV7ENOTeek   (“Boy” Short Film)

Tomboys in the Mass Media

Since the beginning of the narrative cinema in the early 1920s, the media has had certain standards or criteria about how females should be portrayed. This criteria was based upon societies ideals of the ‘traditional’ woman—who is attractive to look at, content and well mannered, desires the domestic life, and will do as she’s told. If for any reason a female character falls outside of these ideals, then she was labeled an outcast or an ‘untraditional’ woman. So with that said, what is a tomboy according to the media?

In American films, tomboys are usually just side characters with a label over their heads. Or maybe even a phase that the main girl was supposedly going through; like adolescence. My point is, tomboys today don’t really have central light focused on them in the mass media. They’re kind of just standing there in the background; untouched and un-relatable. However, society has recently become increasingly more educated when it comes to identities. People are starting to look more closely at the main message(s) of films. To the point where they’re changing their perceptions about the portrayal of females in both society and the mass media.

The Disney Tomboy

I came to the conclusion, that the best way to show examples of portrayals of tomboys in films was to look at films that have such a huge impact on female identities. From the minute we’re born we start building up our identity. Like most American girls, we look to Disney princesses to help us find our way. However, I noticed that as time has gone by, more Disney’s princesses are starting to show a tomboy personae. Disney touched on this idea back when they made Mulan (1998). By making Mulan, Disney proposed an idea that females don’t always have to be all girly and obsessed with marriage. Unfortunately, they quickly realized that society wasn’t really ready for this new persona. So they went back to their original topic in Disney films, true love. However in the past 20 years Disney has brought back their original idea, and we can see it being used in films like The Princess and the Frog (2009), Tangled (2010), Brave (2012), and their recent film Moana (2016). While I adore the films The Princess and the Frog and Tangled, I argue that these films do not show their females portraying a tomboy persona. Rather, they show these princesses in a more tenacious sort of way. For instance, Tina and Rapunzel show some characteristics of having a very strong and determined personality, like a tomboy. On the flip side though, both of them are still acting within the confines of the ‘traditional woman’. In the end, making them not a tomboy.

Disney’s newest film Moana, is the first disney film to completely disregards anything that deals with disney’s old idea, about love and marriage. I’d like to mention that throughout the entire film, not once was it mentioned that Moana had to get married or even had the idea of love on her mind. Instead the film focuses on the message of determination and staying true to yourself, even if that means going against what other people want or say. I would agree that its films like Moana that cause the film industry to really question the idea of how females should be portrayed in films. That we can still have a great film filled with adventures, without having to add in the topic of love.

Too add some more light on the subject. I think Disney knows how much of an influence it can have on people; children especially. Little girls all over the world love to dress and act like their favorite princess. And I’d like to believe that the reason why they’re starting to show more masculine females, is because society (or the film industries) are starting to realizing that not every girl’s mind is fixated on gold diamond dresses and finding true love. That we can be strong determined females, and that there are girls that don’t care for makeup and dresses. And even though, disney doesn’t really have that many tomboy princesses, they still shows strong female characters that fight for themselves and don’t just sit around waiting for a fairy godmother to come and fix all their problems. In some respects, this is just one of the main reasons how the media can have a huge impact on a child’s identity.

Futuristic Tomboys

We all know that the media can influence society just like a puppeteer can influence its puppet. In some respects, what I have written here are just some of the ways the media can have a huge impact on someone’s identity. Growing up with films like Mulan, I learned that it was okay for me to fight back. That I didn’t need to wear a dress and fall head over heals for every guy that looks my way. I grew up with two lesbian moms, that taught me that just because I’m a tomboy, doesn’t make me any lesser than any other girl. Times are changing; and for the better I may add. My hope is that one day the media will use their power to influence people’s assumptions of not just tomboys, but every person with a different identity or gender outside of society’s so called norms.


Abate, Michelle Ann.  “Tomboys : A literary and Cultural History.”  Philadelphia : Temple University Press. 2008.

Bailey, J. M.; Bechtold, K. T.; & Berenbaum, S. A. . “Who Are Tomboys and Why Should We Study Them?” Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 31, No. 4. pp. 333–341. August 2002.

Brave”. Directed by Brenda Chapman and Mark Andrews. Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios. (2012). Film.

England, D. ; Descartes, L. ; Collier-Meek, M. “Gender Role Portrayal and the Disney Princesses” Sex Roles. Vol.64(7), pp.555-567.  February 2011.

If I was a Boy”. Performed by Beyoncé. Song. Released 2008.

King, Elizabeth. “A Short History of the Tomboy.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 05 Jan. 2017. Web.

Moana”. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. Co-Directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams. Walt Disney Animation Studio. (2016). Film.

Mulan”. Directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook. Walt Disney Animation Studio and Pictures. (1998). Film.

Tangled”. Directed by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard. Walt Disney Animation Studio and Pictures. (2010). Film.

The Princess and the Frog”. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. Walt Disney Animation Studio and Pictures. (2009). Film.

Tomboy”. Directed by Céline Sciama. New Almaden, CA : Wolfe Video LLC. (2011). Film.

Womak, Finch . “Tomboys and Girly girls-The Portrayals of Femininity in Disney Princess Films.” Looking in the Popular Culture Mirror: Student Essays from University Studies 254. N.p., 14 Dec. 2016. Web.

Love Graphic Design More Please!


Are you an artist or are you a designer? Maybe you’re both. As a designer in training, I’ve found that when talking about my future career people don’t know much or anything at all about what Graphic Design is. I’ve also notice a huge lack in Graphic Design being portrayed in media. This makes me feel as though graphic design is not important even though it is integrated into most of the things we see and use on a daily basis. Graphic design is very important to our society as should be respected more as a profession. Graphic designers are constantly finding solutions to design problems that often go completely unnoticed.

I feel a though on of the reason Graphic design is not respected much as a profession is because it is often put in the same category as ‘art”. And we always here the stereotypes of how artist are gonna end up broke and/or working at a Starbucks. Now I believe art and artist are a wonderful and important part of our society, but art and Graphic design are two totally different things. The difference between art and design is quite obvious yet people don’t know the differences and often make judgments on graphic design based on this lack of knowledge. Being a designer takes a deal of knowledge and skill and the process a designer goes through to create art is long and requires lots of revision. In order to teach others more about graphic design and it’s importance to our society, I decided to explore representations of Graphic design in media and then answer some questions based off of my explorations; Why is graphic design thought of as a lazy profession? Who are some graphic designers that have influenced the world heavily? Why is graphic design important to our society? What is the difference between ‘Art’ and ‘Graphic Design’

Susan Kare- Mac’s Icon Mother


Susan Kare is the woman who made Apple’s Macintosh computers first icons. She has also made thousand of icons for some of the biggest software companies in the world. Using principles of minimalism, Kare was able to create precise icons that conveyed their function to the viewer quickly and were easy to remember. In an interview of Kare, she stated that she “think[s] of design as problem-solving(3). She tries to understand the audience and their needs before she begins creating solutions. Kare would “explore many avenues while brainstorming since there’s never only one ‘right’ answer”.

When asked how she feels about new design software and how it has influenced Graphic Design today, Kare explained that she believes Graphic Design now is more about how someone crafts a design vs. the tools the use to make it. She also touches on the idea that participating in a long process or trial and error leads someone to good insight and results vs. making something that is aesthetically pleasing and is “over-shared” thus contributing to the predictability and uniformity in visual expression(3).

Susan’s works are remarkable and the reason to how we are able to understand the computer icons we see today. There are many version produced now, but all influenced by Kare’s original works. Without her exploration and brainstorming to create these initial icons would computer icons be as useful as they are today? I don’t believe so.

Her mention of aesthetically pleasing and over-shared design is important too, as it relates to what we see in design now where peoples’ work can be posted on a number of social media platforms and get mixed in with a similar design, thus not making it special or thoughtful. Lots of people now claim they are a designer just because the created a simple logo in photoshop, but what process did they go through in order to get to the finished product? What purpose does it serve other than being visually satisfying, if it even is that?

Paula Scher- Typography Queen


Paula Scher is a Graphic Designer with a focus in Typography, painter and art educator in design, and the first female principal at Pentagram( a design firm in New York). She was recently featured on an episode of the new Netflix original documentary series Abstract. In this documentary, it follows Scher as she works and lets her talk about her time as being a designer for 40 years. Scher has created album covers for hundreds of bands and logos for some of the biggest companies in this world such as Tiffany & Co., Citi Bank, The Public Theater, The Metropolitan Opera, and much more(6 &12). She is basically the QUEEN OF LOGOS! Slaaaayyyy

Scher works remind me just how much we are surrounded by graphic design and a designer’s work(s) every day. Every sign and album cover we see has been designed by someone in order to differentiate a business or group from others. We see these images and sometimes we’ll think they’re super cool and snap pics and post them on Instagram, but does anyone know who created these works? Does it matter? I believe it does. Why? Because someone took time and spent energy and sketched, doodled, and made mockups in order to produce what we see and they are not appreciated or given the credit they should be given.

Tiffany & Co. is notably one of the most famous jewelry stores and their brand is very memorable. Paula Scher made that happen.

Annie Atkins-Movie Prop Designer


Annie Atkins is literally the designer behind the scenes. She creates artwork for movies starting from the poster, to the graphic props needed in movies like telegrams, prison escape maps, shop front signs, fake passports, etc. She is the person who creates the things that help make the movie come to life and seem more realistic. The cool part? Atkins doesn’t use much technology to create her works. Depending on the time period she will use the traditional mediums used to create the props needed for the movie(13). Atkins must spend a lot of time researching in order to portrayed the correct look for the overall design of a “historic replication” piece. She also always works right on the location of the movie in order to get a good idea of the feel and mood of the movie. She has never set foot in Hollywood (1). Some of Atkins best works are all type based props in the visual movie The Grand Budapest Hotel, and fake passport and neon signs made for Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of spies.

Atkins is good example proving that graphic design doesn’t happen just on a computer and that lots of research and work go into creating every design. Her works played a crucial, yet mostly ignored part of the movies previously mentioned. If her designs did not match the aesthetic of the movie in the time and place it was located, the whole story would have failed to come together. Some of the best parts of movies are the graphic props they use, so to think that someone had to design every little thing is mind blowing to me!

Questions to answer:

Why is graphic design thought of as a lazy profession?

Lots of people I’ve met assume that because I want to be a Graphic Designer I’m lazy and that all I want to do is create art all day and overcharge people for my services. But I don’t want to do that. I mean creating art all day sounds fun, but I rather design and brand people and businesses all day long. I think the reason why a lot of people think Graphic Design is a lazy profession and that anyone with a computer can be a Graphic Designer is because of freelance servicing sites that allow people to “brand”  themselves for free or really cheap. Because of sites like these, people then start to think designers charge too much money for their work that seems to be as easy as taking an odd shape and putting a nice font over it and calling it a logo.

After reading Graphic Design: The Rodney Dangerfield of Professional Services, I agree with a lot of the points that are made. For example, “ I’m a graphic designer, you know, I design logos, brochures, websites.  ……Maybe collectively, similar lackadaisical answers to “what do you do” is our undoing.” (8) Meaning that maybe because designers talk about their jobs in such simple terms people begin to think it is a simple job. Designers don’t talk about it well and the public doesn’t care to stop and notice how well a designer had done their job in designing a sign, or a yogurts company packaging.

“So when I hear, “what do you do for a living?” Next time I’ll answer, ‘I help businesses manage customer perceptions and influence the decision process by communicating benefits and features through sensory involvement. I am a designer, a graphic designer.’’(8)

Designers need to start talking about their jobs more like jobs and not hobbies and consumers should start paying more attention to the things they buy and why it caught their attention to pick it up and appreciate the person who got them to do it.


Graphic design vs Art: what is the difference?

“Art is expressive and usually about what the artist wants whereas design is about intent and what the audience wants. Design is about communication, art is about expression.”
– Robert Blake(10)

Art and Design often confused because principles and elements in art are similar to those in design and a lot of the techniques used for one are used in the other. However, the purpose is totally different. Graphic design aims to solve problems or communicate a specific thing in order to give a client/ the audience what it wants. Art expresses what the artist wants and is being done for the artist. It can convey a message, but usually, the message is emotionally tied to the artist themselves to then show to an audience. I think it is important to know the difference between Art and Design because then design can start to grow an identity for itself separate from design, thus giving the designer more of a stage as critical thinkers and problem solvers.


Conclusion- Why is graphic design important to our society? Thoughts and hopes for the future.

Graphic design and design, in general, is literally everywhere around us. It allows us to recognize our favorite brands, navigate our way in a mall to the bathroom, and know which button to press on our phones to make a call. Graphic Designers should be appreciated more because without them some problems in our world would not have a solution. People would deal with signs and symbols that aren’t effective in conveying their message, and businesses could not have their own unique identities. Paula Scher, Annie Atkins, and Susan Kare are only a few of the designers that have influenced our world in wonderful ways. Other designers such as Milton Glaser who created the I LOVE NY logo and Shepard Fairey created of the OBEY Giant Brand and more known for his Obama “Hope” poster. Fairey recently created a “We the People” series as a way to protest President Donald Trump. (4) As an up and coming designer, I want this field that I love so much to be valuable and thought of its own category so that I and designers like me can shine a bit more in this world.



“Design is one of the most powerful forces in our lives, whether or not we are aware of it, and can also be inspiring, empowering and enlightening”
– Alice Rawsthorn(7)

Learning moments of the term

This Pop-culture class has taught me a lot about myself and how I view the social media I consume. I had never thought too deeply question or research further the things on saw on my social media as I never thought that there was a problem. Through this class, I have learned that nothing is standard anymore. All search engines have special algorithms that purposely filter through my search results to show me the things I want to see to that I will agree with. These “filter bubbles” block me from seeing views that differ from my own, thus I’ve been missing out on others thoughts on issues I care about. I was starting to think lots of people my age thought the same way I did/do on topics and now I know this isn’t true, leaving me to look quite ignorant. I no longer take videos at face value now take in the media I consume with a grain of salt and research further anything I have more questions about.

I also found that marketers looking to advertise use old contemporary or English paintings to sell a product, was also quite fascinating and sad. In one way its is powerful that artwork that old still inspires people today and the compositions are mimicked to sell products well, but on the other hand, it is quite devious. Marketers are basically telling this idea that if you buy their product you will begin to live that lavish life of the people in the ad. This, however, is a false promise. I also think that using this technique helps to reinforce ideas about groups of people and cultures.

For instance, this magazine cover featuring Lebron James is quite eye catching. Yet compare it to the propaganda poster on the left, 100 years older than the cover, and we find some scary similarities(11). The message present in the propaganda poster is still being conveyed in the cover. Is it on a different level? Yes, but it is still very much present.

original (1)



[1]”About.” Annie Atkins. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.

[2]AdobeCreativeCloud. YouTube. YouTube, 21 June 2016. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.

[3]Butler, Andy. “Interview with graphic designer Susan Kare.” Designboom | architecture & design magazine. N.p., 21 Oct. 2014. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.

[4]Chung, Stephy. “‘Hope’ artist’s new posters protest Trump.” CNN. Cable News Network, 19 Jan. 2017. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.

[5]Crockett, Zachary. “The Woman Behind Apple’s First Icons.” Priceonomics. N.p., 03 Apr. 2014. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.

[6]Dunne, Carey. “Graphic Designer Paula Scher: “I Figured Out Every Identity I’ve Ever Done In A Taxicab”.” Co.Design. N.p., 13 Apr. 2015. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.

[7]Heller, Steven. “‘Design Is One of the Most Powerful Forces in Our Lives'” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 13 Mar. 2014. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.

[8]Levins , William. “Graphic Design: The Rodney Dangerfield of Professional Services.” Nuvonium. N.p., 30 Apr. 2009. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.

[9]“Paula Scher | Biography, Designs and Facts.” Famous Graphic Designers. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.

[10]Robertoblake2. YouTube. YouTube, 11 Apr. 2014. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.

[11]Shea, Danny. “Uncovered: Possible Inspiration For Controversial LeBron James Vogue Cover.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 28 Mar. 2008. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.

[12]Solarmoviez.to. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.

[13]Strizver, Ilene. “Annie Atkins: Graphics and Typography for Film.” CreativePro.com. N.p., 21 Dec. 2016. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.

How Trump’s Immigration Order Is Affecting Higher Education


As a second generation student immigrating here to receive higher education is a dream not everyone can experience. Studying in this country is one of the most interesting, fulfilling and amazing experience. Not everyone has the chance to receiver higher education and for many they take risks in order to fulfill this dream. Recently, the president of the United State has issued an immigration ban to seven countries including my country of origin (Somalia). As a student from Somalia I feel like my depiction in the media is extremely interesting, as it brings light to many views that the American public has towards different religions, ethnicity, and cultures. Throughout my research I explored how the immigration ban has greatly impacted foreign students.


Higher education have been the foundation of advanced learning. The idea that traditional liberal arts education at college level gives broad knowledge aims at broadening the mind. This will increase the development of the mind so that it will be able to close upon the truth of our existence and lead to the understanding of life’s values. I believe everyone has a right to receive higher education without feeling frightened or oppressed. Recently, the current president has issued an executive order to ban immigration from different countries. As a nation of immigrants many people dislike this choice, as a second generation student like myself we don’t know what to expect from this immigration this can tend to cause issues regarding school including depression, unwelcomed and frightened. Throughout this paper I would like to address the popular culture regarding this issue and how students are greatly  affected by this problem.

USA college today has made a video titled “How universities are responding to trump’s travel ban”. The purpose of this video is to further illustrate the problem regarding the Immigration ban set forth by the current president, and the reaction of colleges across the country. The creator of this video is the USA Today college staff. The purpose of this video is to explore the responses different colleges have according to this issue. The 62 institutions comprising the Association of American Universities (AAU), released a statement Saturday urging government officials to end the travel ban “as quickly as possible.” The audience of this video are government officials and other people who agree to stop the travel ban. I have noticed the similarity of the reaction from the 62 institutions within the Association of American Universities (AAU), many universities have gathered statements in response to the executive order. In addition to offering support, resources and advice to those affected, some administrators have gone so far as to pledge to protect the private information of their international students, faculty and staff. A protest has occurred at all 62 institutions regarding this issue, as a source of communication active protesters used twitter. In order, to describe what is happening at the colleges. In addition, to these communication tool students spread message via twitter in order to have events such as protest. The Harvard Crimson reports, that some 150 people gathered in Harvard Square for an “emergency protest” against the travel ban Saturday night.I have noticed that social media platforms especially twitter was effectively used to raise awareness and events on college campuses governments have more or less caught up to political protesters when it comes to social media. Twitter and Facebook aren’t just for nerds any more — they have become mainstream during difficult times, and that means governments have figured out not only how to block them but how to use them for their own social purposes.

http://http://college.usatoday.com/2017/01/29/how-universities-are-responding-to-trumps- travel-ban/

An article illustrates, the students impacted by this change. Titled, “These are the faces of trumps ban”. This article is written by Lyric, Lewin, the author illustrates the impacts the immigration ban on students. This law has separated families in the US an all over the world. CNN has heard from people seeking refuge from war, wives trying to return to their husbands, parents hoping to attend their child’s graduation in the US and many more. Throughout this article, I have noticed students have immigrated here to seek refuge are greatly impacted by this problem. For example, Raya Bidshahri is a current student at Buffalo University. She is studying neuroscience and says the university has warned her not to leave the country because she might not be able to re-enter the country. Her family was planning to attend her graduation, but they are Iranian they’re now covered by the ban. Schools across the country have current students who are worried they won’t be allowed back into the U.S. if they leave, prospective students who may not be allowed in at all, and faculty who are from the banned countries and fear they will be denied re-entry if they try to visit sick family members or relatives outside the country.

A federal judge came to the aid of scores of refugees and others who were trapped at airports across the United States on Saturday night after an executive order signed by President Trump, which kept many foreigners from entering the country, this problem led to a chaotic scene across the globe. The judge’s ruling blocked part of the president’s actions, preventing the government from deporting some arrivals who found themselves in the situation by the presidential order. But it stopped short of letting them into the country or issuing a broader ruling on the constitutionality of Mr. Trump’s actions. The Department of Homeland Security said that the order also detained green card holders from the banned countries from re-entering the United States. In a briefing for reporters, White House officials said that green card holders from the seven affected countries who are outside the United States would need a case-by-case waiver to return. Throughout reading this article I was saddened how, students attending American universities who blocked from returning to the United States from visits abroad. One student said in a Twitter post that he would be unable to study at Yale. Another who attends the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was refused permission to board a plane. A Sudanese graduate student at Stanford University was blocked for hours from entering the country. Human rights groups reported legal permanent residents of the United States who hold green cards were being stopped in foreign airports as they returned from vacations or study abroad. There was Human rights groups reported that legal permanent residents of the United States who hold green cards were being stopped in widespread condemnation of the order, from religious leaders, business executives, academics political leaders and others.

Learning Experience:

Through out my time in this coarse. I have learned how popular culture greatly influences our society. Leading to, how we view our cultural differences. As students we seek most of our information on social media platforms, we also tend to gather information from online resources. As students we seek most of our information on social media platforms, we also tend to gather information from online resources. Throughout my experience this class I have learned that certain websites tend to give users what they want to perceive and find. From my personal experience, when I use snapchat I am used to seeing information from many entertainment platforms, I become interested because of the topic and tend to read the whole post.


Work Cited

http://college.usatoday.com/2017/01/29/how-universities-are-responding-to-trumps- travel-ban/

Lewin, Lyric. “These are the faces of Trump’s ban.” CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2017.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/28/us/refugees-detained-at-us-airports-prompting- legal-challenges-to-trump’s-immigration-order.html



Pianists in Movies

by Melissa Terrall

I’m a pianist, studying piano performance at Portland State University.  My dream is to build a career as a performer, teacher, and researcher in the field of piano performance.  I thought it would be interesting and enlightening to look at this identity in popular culture.  How does popular culture view and portray pianists?
I was not expecting to find so many movies and TV shows with pianists in them.  But when I searched on IMDb, it came up with 846 titles!  In the end, I narrowed my topic by looking at pianists in movies specifically (not TV shows).  I watched three very different films from three different decades: Shine (1996), The Pianist (2002), and La La Land (2016).
Though all three movies feature pianists, they could not have been more diverse.  The Pianist is definitely the most sobering of the bunch.  It tells the story of Jewish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman who worked in Warsaw and survived the horrors of the Jewish ghetto and the holocaust.  Shine tells the story of pianist David Helfgott (also Jewish, as it turns out) who had to stand up to his stern father who stood in the way of his musical education.
La La Land is very different than the other two.  For one, it’s fictional, telling the story of two artists – a jazz pianist and actor – who have aspirations of careers in the arts.  It’s a musical in the style of the old classics; and though it’s lighthearted in comparison with the other films I watched, it also tells of the struggles that pianists – and artists in general – face in pursuing their career.
Movies about pianists are at their best when they explore and appreciate the nuance of a piano career instead of dramatizing it.  The movie The Pianist portrays a pianist questioning the meaning of his work against backdrop of the dark reality of World War II and Nazi oppression.  Does his music career have meaning during a war?
In one particular scene, Szpilman approaches a conspirator to see if he can join the resistance against the Germans.  “Please let me do something!” he says.  Szpilman hasn’t been idle; he has been working in fancy cafés in the ghetto, playing piano for wealthy people.  In this way, he has been helping to support his parents and siblings.  Still, he pleads to be able to “do something.”  He seems to be wondering whether his work as a pianist is really meaningful or worth anything.  His conspirator friend says that Szpilman is “too famous” and would only endanger himself and others should he join the resistance movement.  “You’re an artist – you keep people’s spirits up!”  This man encourages him because he believes in the necessity of musical art in such a dark time.
Soon thereafter, Szpilman’s brother scorns his brother’s profession: “you work?” he sneers.  So we see these two contrasting views of the pianist’s work.  One man says it is essential for keeping up morale, and another scorns it as pointless.  Caught between the two is the pianist, loving his career but simultaneously questioning it.
I think this is a question that pianists ask often: is what I do just a hobby?  Can I actually make a meaningful career out of this?  These thoughts were certainly on my mind when I was considering whether to pursue a music degree, and it continues to be something I ponder as I take steps toward finishing my degree and beginning my career.  Sometimes, movies give us the idea that this journey of becoming a musician is something magical.
I think that the film Shine was unrealistic in the way it depicted the work it takes to be a pianist.  The portrayal of practice, lessons, and performing was romanticized.  David’s playing would sound forced and unmusical and then the next moment, it would be nearly perfect.  Granted, a film can’t possibly show every step of the learning process, but I think it could have shown more realistic and gradual steps.
Shine’s portrayal of this pianist is the most absurd in the scene of David’s performance of Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto in London.  His curly hair becomes excessively damp with sweat, and the sound cuts out as we watch just his fingers move.  It’s like we’re viewing his mind work without hearing sound.  It was supposed to be dramatic, but it made me wonder if something was going wrong.  Was he having a breakdown and struggling to perform?  As it turned out, it was just a distracting dramatic effect.
In her article “Pianists in Movies,” Flo Leibowitz of Oregon State University also finds that the careers of musicians tends to be portrayed simplistically in movies.  She says that movies about the great composers tend to focus on “composing, not performing.”  In reality, musicians past and present wear many hats throughout their careers: we are performers, teachers, professors, researchers, managers, entrepreneurs, writers, composers, and more.
I think that La La Land successfully portrayed the struggle and joy of a music career without dramatizing it.  Sebastian, a jazz pianist, really wants to play music that he truly loves and is devoted to.  For him, that’s classic jazz, and he specifically wants to open his own jazz club as his venue for performing.  Along the way, he makes a pretty big break when he is invited to go on tour.  It pays quite well, but it’s not really the music he ultimately hopes to be playing.  But playing popular music can be a necessary and beneficial “compromise,” so to speak, for a classically trained pianist.  To bring what may be considered “stuffy” classical music to audiences, we need to cross some boundaries.  In La La Land, Sebastian chooses to make a compromise: he goes on tour, which is actually a really great opportunity for him even though it’s not playing the classic jazz that he really wants to.
Back in the nineties, The Piano movie soundtrack became immensely popular in Spain.   In an article heavy with statistics, Howell Llewellyn delves into how this happened, though it was not the sort of music that would have been expected to become popular.   “The Piano’ is a clear crossover between new age, classical, and pop,” says Garcia, of Virgin Records, the label that produced the soundtrack album.

While Shine may romanticize the aspects of practicing and performing, it does poignantly portray the power of music to help a person cope with mental illness.  David Helfgott developed a mental illness that made him socially incompetent and kept him from performing for many years.  After decades living in asylums, he eased back into performing by playing in restaurants and bars.  Eventually, he returned to the concert stage and has had a successful career.  It’s a riveting and inspiring comeback.  And though his mind is still addled with a mental illness that leaves him socially unstable and acting like a child, the same mind is able to produce incredible music.
In a similar fashion, piano music is what helped Szpilman (The Pianist) cope with the horrific ordeals he faced.  At multiple points in the film, he is seen “playing” music silently even though he has no instrument.  We see his fingers drumming mindlessly sometimes.  Often, it is during moments of most intense fear, pain, or vulnerability.  Once, his fingers play while he is on the train trying not to be noticed by the German soldiers who are only a few feet away.  Another time, he plays mentally during the ear-splitting bombings late at night.  Later, he continues to play music while, starved and feeble, he hides out in an abandoned Warsaw hospital.
Szpilman hid in Warsaw for a very long time with next to nothing to eat.  When he was found by a German officer, who spared him, he was a shadow of the man he had once been.  His speech was slow and labored, his physical exhaustion having led to mental numbness.  When the officer found a dilapidated piano nearby in the ruins, Szpilman sat down at the instrument and music flowed from his fingers – music that had stayed with him through all the physical ordeal he had been through.  https://youtu.be/jHfQCfUTlXE
Adrien Brody is the actor who played Szpilman  Brody went to unfathomable lengths to do justice to this role.  Not only did he give up his New York apartment, sell his car, and move to Paris to be in the movie, he starved himself down to 130 pounds to play the emaciated pianist who barely survived war-torn Warsaw.  Brody also took piano lessons to polish his musical ability, which in turn helped him relate to the character.  “During the time I was starving myself, the thing I was most comforted by was playing the music.  It calmed me and allowed me to some degree to distract myself from my own loneliness at the time.”
Brody wasn’t just acting.  He became Szpilman.  He entered his mind and experience as best he could.  In a similar fashion, pianists are actors.  We assume the lives of composers – past or present – on stage.  The music we make is their intimate, vulnerable, passionate, declamatory, and intense musings.  As Brody says, “Playing a real person, you have the obligation to do it the right way.”  That’s true whether playing a role or playing music.  I’m inspired to look into the background of the composers whose pieces I’m playing and try to get into their minds.  It’s a big responsibility to play the music of Brahms, Chopin, Schubert, and Bach – people who lived several hundred years ago.  I need to understand what was going on in their lives and minds so I can effectively present their music to audiences today.

Works cited

Primary Sources
Movie: The Pianist  2002 Directed by Roman Polanski and written by Ronald Harwood (original book by Wladyslaw Szpilman)
Movie: La La Land: 2016 written and directed by Damien Chazelle
Movie: Shine: 1996 written and directed by Scott Hicks and Jan Sardi
Secondary Sources
Adrien Brody pays his dues in ‘The Pianist’
Carla Meyer, Chronicle Staff Writer Sunday, December 29, 2002
Project Muse Volume 21, Number 2, October 1997: Pianists in the Movies, by Flo Leibowitz
Billboard. 106.18 (Apr. 30, 1994): p8:  Chart-topping ‘Piano’ is latest quiet surprise on Spain’s charts, by Howell Llewellyn

Hispanic Stereotypes

While going through my identities I realized hispanics weren’t portrayed realistically in pop culture, I decided I wanted to dig a little deeper and see what kind and how these portrayals affected the hispanic community. Whether you’re watching the news, a movie, or a tv show you’ll  see some kind of hispanic stereotype being portrayed. Imagine going to school or work and already having people think they have you all figured out, thinking they know who you are and your story. While some stereotypes are true, pop culture portrays hispanics in a negative way, because people don’t think they’re educated, they’re automatically assumed on doing the dirty work, and many think they’re all illegal immigrants. Not only am I a proud hispanic but I want to start seeing changes on how my community is portrayed.

Image having a world hispanics, no one to mow your lawn or clean your house. The film “A Day Without a Mexican” is a day in which all Mexicans disappear from the United States.

3629268That’s when many Americans start worrying because there is no one cutting their grass, or building their homes. The feeling of only being wanted to do your dirty work makes many not want to be wanted at all. This really stood out to me because there are thousands of very successful Mexican-Americans. In the short film “challenging hispanic stereotypes” we see how the feeling of not being wanted can cause many drop out rates in hispanic students. It’s not always about saying it verbally but just the way situations are put can have students knowing they’re not wanted. This can be seen by not enough space for them in class, or having to take specific classes just for hispanics when they’re not always needed.  Arturo Madrid says that by not having enough space or enough teachers for the students shows them “that we really don’t value you. And we don’t expect you to do very well, and we’re not going to ask very mucasselman-feature-dropout-2ch of you, because obviously you can’t do it very well.” Although the video a “A Day Without A Mexican” wanted to show how Mexicans do play a big role in society they still managed to highly stereotype the kind of people we are.




When we see hispanics in movies or shows, they’re rarely playing a lead role, why is that? Most of the time when a hispanic is a lead role in a movie they are played by an American actor. In the movie Nacho Libre we see that a Hispanic role is being portrayed as a hero and role model, something we all were proud of. Then image how many hispanics felt watching the movie and seeing that the actor playing the lead is not a hispanic actor. NBC News wrote an article about the lack of Latinos in Hollywood, o-latinos-movie-theater-facebookwe can see that people stating and noticing what’s going on, but yet we see little to no improvement. Hispanics are one of the most underrated ethnic groups in the film industry, while also being one of the biggest moviegoers. This shows h
ow Hispanics  rarely get to see someone on the big screen they can relate to.

Growing up and seeing that you’re different than what people put you out to be can be confusing, especially when you’re young and still trying to figure out who you are. Many hispanics are completely different to what many stereotype them to be. I read this article about a guy named Jose, it’s titled “Media portrayal of Hispanics undermines the community’s diversity”. He talks about what being latino means to him and how every individual is so different. He’s had people tell him that he is the least hispanic latino ever, what does that even mean? At one point he felt as if he was born into the wrong ethnicity because of how different he was from his “Hispanic stereotypes”.  A show I felt tied in with Jose’s article was “Devious Housewives” in this show we see how the five main hispanic actresses are extremely stereotyped. Being a hispanic women myself just watching a little bit of the show showed me a very bad misrepresentation to how our hispanic women are like. These are the kinds of shows that cause stereotypes to continue growing, when many are successful hispanic actors, doctors, and lawyers. What really stood out to me the most was that by reading his article I realized that I have even caught myself stereotyping my own community, by being surprised if one of my hispanic friends or relatives doesn’t enjoy spicy food. I would catch myself telling them “What kind of latino doesn’t like spicy food?”. This really showed me how stereotypes like these had been drilled into my head since childhood, to the point where I was starting to think them as well. We have such suclatino-topcess in our hispanic community that needs to be  portrayed rather than just our stereotypes, such as Alberto Gonzalez the nation’s first Hispanic Attorney General, or Mel Martinez one of the only two Hispanics in the U.S Senate. Like these two there are thousands of successful hispanics in America.

What I feel like I learned the most from this research is the fact that it all seemed so normal to me, to the point where I was starting to believe these stereotypes as well. I really think it opened up my eyes to see how hispanics are really being portrayed in the media, not only that but how it’s affecting the way many view us. After looking into these shows and movies I won’t be able to see them in the same light. I’m going to start analyzing films more and notice the little things and how many hispanics are even getting a shot as a lead role. Another thing I learned was that we should use these stereotypes as an extra push, not only to prove others wrong but to show people what being hispanic really looks like. We are just as successful, just as family orientated, and just as smart.

Although saddened by the way many hispanics are portrayed in the news or in films I’m excited to see what the future holds. Especially with everything that is going on in the news, many are starting to stand up for one another and I feel like right now is when we are coming closer together as one. Yes there still will be stereotypes and yes there is still lots to improve on, but some progress is better than no progress at all. In the end while some stereotypes are true, and pop culture will continue portraying hispanics in a negative way, this research paper really helped me feel more confident in who I am as an individual. After learning about other many successful hispanics I am more motivated than ever to push for change in not only by how I view my community but how others do as well.


Works Cited

Bastidas, J. A. (2014, September 23). Opinion: Media portrayal of Hispanics undermines the community’s diversity. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from http://go.galegroup.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/ps/i.do?&id=GALE%7CA383400082&v=2.1&u=s1185784&it=r&p=PROF&sw=w

Moyers, B. (Director). (1988, November 9). Challenging Hispanic Stereotypes: Arturo Madrid [Video file]. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from http://fod.infobase.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/p_ViewVideo.aspx?xtid=4961

Latimer, (2016, February 22). Latinos in Hollywood: Few Roles, Frequent Stereotypes, New Study Finds. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/latinos-hollywood-few-roles-frequent-stereotypes-new-study-finds-n523511

Padgett, Tim. 22 (Aug. 2015). 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America.” Time. Time Inc., . Retrieved February 15, 2017 from http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2008201_2008200_2008225,00.htm

White Males & The Entertainment Business


The Entertainment Industry

First and foremost, the entertainment business is an incredible industry that allows artists to explore their passions and create art. The Industry is what relays our News, and gives us an outlet on a stressful day, and makes us laugh; however, there are some parts of the industry that need to be examined and changed. Most recently the major studios have been under a microscope with the Equal Employment Opportunity commission regarding the lack of diversity in Film & TV Directors. Out of the highest grossing films in the last year, only 7% have been directed by females, and that has led to criticism thought the industry. The issue goes deeper than that, and the pay discrepancy between male actors and female actors is almost 50%, Depending on the statistic you look at. Last year, the top male actor made 80 million dollars, and the top female actor only made 45 million dollars, however a lot of variable go into that, depending on how many films were worked, endorsements and others, but the issue is still an ongoing concern. Another issue is the lack of diversity in top earning films. Top grossing films have had mainly white male actors, and that’s been an issue for decades. In a world of diversity, and in an industry with a reach across the world, there needs to be diversity in films that have a global footprint.

The cause for the lack of diversity  

How did the industry become one of the least diverse industries in the world, while criticizing the lack of diversity throughout the world?… Its Business. The top studios which distribute the films, and finance the films are primarily looking at return on their investment. When a film has a large budget, and it needs to make a return on that investment, the executives are looking at actors which have the largest star power, which can bring an audience to the theater. That’s the part of the business which has created a lack of diversity. There are so many films that are distributed with big budgets, and unfortunately, there’s not enough diversity in the top tier of actors. Why is that? Many of the actor’s careers are created by talent agents who find these independent actors and turn them into stars. On the flip side, to be noticed by the powerful talent agents, actors need to work hard. When it comes to talent managers, there needs to be a focus on looking for diverse talent and working with the studios to get the actor into big budget films. The part of the business that some don’t like, is the majority of the American audience watches big budget studio films which are distributed into the theater, and that what the industry bases their talent hiring on.

Where is the industry today?

One of the best autobiographical and revealing TV show, and Movie is – Entourage. This entertainment medium is meant to attract people to the industry and how it works, all while being entertaining. The main characters are white males, and the main center piece is a fast talking, hard working talent manager trying to make his client rich and famous. The women portrayed in the TV show and movie are portrayed as ditzy, southern California model stereotype, which is damaging to the image of women in society. All the main characters, and the majority of on-screen cast, is white, and male; from the studio executives, to the talent managers, to the friends, and people at the parties, the image portrayed has little diversity.  This is what the industry is working on fixing, but still has a ways to go. This production has gained a lot of scrutiny in the past based on its depiction, but when it comes to the interworking of Hollywood and the entertainment business, it bears some fruit.

Has the industry really changed over time?

Where has the progress in the industry been made, with movies such as Café Society its seems as if things are moving slowly. This movie is about the early 1900’s Hollywood, and the industry itself. It portrays a cut-throat industry where people need to look attractive to other people and schmooze with the ones who are decision makers.  This is in terms of the studio executives, the talent manager, and even the actors themselves. The issue with this film, and what it depicts is the fact the industry hasn’t drastically changed since then. There is still a diversity issue in the industry, and it’s been present for a long time. The industry for decades has been about ones’ prestige, their image to the world, and their star power, however, the film is a showcase of the industry and what it has become. With images of Hollywood already tailored, this movie depicts how they were created, and how they still stand today.

There’s still hope for change!

There is hope in the industry, and it will continue to become more diverse as time moves on. I believe that the world, the industry, and the American people want to see a more diverse entertainment industry. Because we all consume entertainment in one way or another, it’s very important that the industry changes. With the advancement of streaming and internet services, this has changed the diversity spectrum drastically. With new studios joining the market, such as Amazon Studios, Netflix, Hulu, and others, there are more chances, and opportunities for actor, directors, and other to get involved in projects and changed our perspective on the industry today. Another great point is the outcry from people within the industry, such as actors, directors, and others. This is where the change needs to happen and where it must begin. It needs to change from within as well as from the outside in.

What I learned.

There’s a lot I took away from this, and some is good, some is bad, but in the end, I feel hopeful for the industry. Entertainment is an incredible beast, its mean, it’s nice, it passionate, its rigorous, but it will always bring light to a subject the world needs to hear. With the industry becoming more diverse and changing every day, the content will only get better. The issue of consolidated media has changed due to the internet, and that has caused an explosion in diversity, this is what the industry needs and it will continue to grow in that direction. I’ve learned that people want to make a change about it, and they are willing to speak up about it, which is why the industry will change. Especially when more diverse artists are cast for films and TV shows, that’s the type of management we need, and thats where the change will happen.


In conclusion, the industry is changing, but it still stuck in its old ways. With entertainment industry growing, changing, and even becoming easily accessible by the world, it will change and it will change for the better. The entertainment industry is a staple of American freedom, free speech, and the American spirit, and the industry is recognizing that, and it will continue to be a beacon for the rest of the world. In terms of the business, the way business is conducted needs to change. From the studio executives, to the financiers, talent agents, and media owners, the business will change as long as they’re willing to change, and with the outcry from people all around the industry to the audiences who watch the entertainment, it’s a matter of time until things get better.


Work Cited:


McGregor, Jena. “Analysis | Hollywood’s diversity problem looks a little better after the Oscars. But it still has a long way to go.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 27 Feb. 2017. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.


Deggans, Eric. “Hollywood Has A Major Diversity Problem, USC Study Finds.” NPR. NPR, 22 Feb. 2016. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.


Yahr, Emily. “Everyone Hates ‘Entourage’ Now. When Did the World Turn on the Hit Show?” The Washington Post. WP Company, 03 June 2015. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.


UNST 254A Class Lecture & Readings.



International Students in Popular Culture


Living and studying in a different country is one of the most interesting, amazing, and also in many cases difficult times of any international students life. Only a handful of people get the chance to continue their education abroad, and for many that time will be their first away from their home, and family. As an international student I feel like my depiction in the media is extremely interesting, as it brings light to many views that the American public has towards different religions, ethnicity, and cultures. Also I went in-depth on how the portrayal of American culture around the word has made America such a desirable place for many students around the world. That depiction of American culture can be seen through Hollywood movies, American sports, music, and the countries big role in global fashion, and trends. I will also be looking on how different students from different countries and cultures are treated in real life American college life, and how they are depicted in American movies.  Movies and other forms of American culture, that are currently very popular around the world play a big role in an international students choice to come and study in the United States.


 As my research started I wanted to find a movie where an international student was depicted in a good light. After some research I noticed that in the movie Foreign Student (1994) which was directed by Eva Sereny and written by Menno Meyjes. In the movie the main character (Philippe) is an international student that is French, which is important to underline as throughout my research I have seen a trend of different experiences from students depending on country of origin. Meaning that if the students’ country of origin in romanticized by main stream American culture then that student would have a different experience than someone whose country of origin is seen in a negative light. Going back to the movie I personally I felt like the movie even though was very informative of the depiction of foreign students in America was a little unrealistic. “The script often gives its characters such clumsy material” that can be seen in how quickly Philippe (the main character)  falls into a daring love affair, he also hears Faulkner give a reading, a white Southern girl falls in love with him and he plays in the season’s big football game. All plays on how American movies play a huge role in making an International Students want to come to America, these movies that give an impression that foreign students are kings on campus, plays a big part in an international student’s choice to come to America.

Another very interesting finding that was extremely appealing throughout my research was the whole “party culture” that is so attractive to international students. One of my artifacts was a TV series called Blue Mountain State, which portrays certain aspects of American university life, including American football, sex, binge drinking, drugs, wild partying, and hazing. Although these aspects may not seem very appealing to some American students, a large majority of international students, especially male students would find these aspects of American college life very appealing, and very different to the culture they come from. The freedom that international students get from living alone in a different culture is part of the appeal for coming to the United States, and experiencing new things they wouldn’t of been able to experience in their perspective homelands is also a big part of the appeal.


The Cover of the ‘Blue Mountain State’ series which portrays the certain American University life, including American football, and sex

In alternative part of my research I wanted to look into how other international students, which come from countries less romanticized in American culture, are treated. Examples of countries less romanticized by main stream American culture are Chine, India, Middle Eastern countries, East Asians, and African students. The literature review that I looked into was very well written, and I felt like it gave me a different view on International student’s life, and overall media depiction than the views I was looking at throughout my research. The review talks about how “students from China face considerable more difficulties both academically and socially, given the formidable language and cultural barriers.” This was very interesting for me as most of my research consisted of International students being depicted in a certain light depending on ethnicity, and how they are choosing harder, and more in demand majors compared to their American/US born counterparts. This review sheds light on the difficulties some international students face when they have a completely different culture than the American. Also the review highlights how students that have language barriers, accents, and culture barriers are treated if they come from countries that are considered are romanticized vs. not romanticized. To put in perspective a male with a French accent would find it easier to connect with an American as France, especially Paris is seen in a good light, compared to the same student if he was to be from Pakistan, which is connected to the Taliban in mainstream culture. Also many of the Popular culture today would depict a French international students as a attractive “badass” who has lots of female attention, compared to his Indian counterpart who has no experience talking to the opposite sex, as seen in popular TV series the Big Bang  Theory.


Indian PHD student character in ‘The Big Bang’ TV series Rajesh Ramyan “Raj” Koothrappali who’s principle characteristic was is inability to speak to or around women.

Looking into how the United States would benefit from International students coming, and studying in America, I looked into different articles. One that stood out was  “American schools aren’t producing enough skilled workers for high-tech companies like Microsoft” that was said by Microsoft founder Bill Gates in this article, and that is a big reason young people from across the world attend American universities, to seek out there ‘American Dream.’ The article highlights how “If you look at the computer science department in the top [colleges], the majority of students are not US born. That says something about our education system.” This means that not only is America so appealing to International students for college, it is also appealing for life after college. This gives more backing to my idea that America is not only a fun experience it is a step towards the life an International Student cannot attain in his/her homeland.


A picture seen a lot in many universities websites that promote International Students coming and studying in America

Learning moments

This Pop Culture class has truly been one of a kind, as I was able to learn and go in depth in a culture that plays a huge part in my life. As millennials we get most of our information online, we also spend a fair amount of our social and personal time online. Pop Culture was able to get me to look into this part of my life in a different prospective. I find it interesting that we as a generation are proud of the fact that we questions the norms, and try to be different, but by doing so we are creating these barriers between what we know, and what we don’t know. We spend so much of our time in an online universe consuming so much information, that we forget to truly grasp what’s happening. I’ve learned that certain websites are made to give the user what he/she wants to see, Facebook has a whole algorithm to show you the ads that you want to see that relate to your views, and in doing so we are creating even bigger barriers between people. I personally have this problem as I am so used to seeing ads, and news sites that give me what I want to see that in a way I’m blinded by the fact that there is a whole other perspective. It is good that we see things that make us happy, but to truly grow I feel being fed the news, and the side of the world you want to see is damaging to a person’s true understanding of the world.


Abrams, Corinne. “Why Indian Student Numbers in U.S. Are on the Rise After Three-Year Decline.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, 17 Nov. 2015. Web. 03 Mar. 2017.

Barta , Patrick . “How International Students Are Changing U.S. Colleges.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2017.

Falconer , Eric , and Chris Romano. “Blue Mountain State.” BMS. Lionsgate Television. Montreal, Canada , 11 May 2014. Television.

MMAMeetsBoxing. “Foreign Student 1994.” YouTube. YouTube, 23 Sept. 2013. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.

“International Students in the US .” The New York Times. The New York Times, n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2017.

Tucciarone, Kristy. “How HOLLYWOOD Movies Influence International Students to Study in the United States.” College and University. American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, 01 Apr. 2013. Web. 09 Mar. 2017


The Portrayal of Young Volunteers in medias

By: Xiaozhao Su

Beginning of this century, young people have been taking their important roles in the world. I feel so proud of being a young people in this period, it’s our responsibility to play our leaderships actively in our communities and our nations. These young volunteers have been portrayed as these people who want to develop their skill in order to prepare their future careers on medias. Giving back to our own community with the knowledge we learned is meaningful, and volunteering in different types of the organizations is the way to satisfying and fulfilling their lives. In popular culture, these young volunteers have viewed as people who looking forward to improving their networking, communicate ability with their creativity and their own ideas, they are finding the effective ways to give back the community and make an ideal place to live.



The facts and challenges for these young volunteers—Teen Ink article


 According to the Teen Ink article, there was only 61.8 million Americans reported volunteering in the year 2009 and this number is only a portion of the American population.  I  believe most of the American is lazy and this can become the main element to affecting their actions. Many of them are not even completing their duties in diary life, they are missing the abilities in time controlling. So it is almost impossible for them to spend time on volunteering. All of the American should realized time management is very important for us no matter in studying or volunteering. This article also mentioned how lazy American is and many of them still think they will reach their goals and their dream will come true in the way that is comfortable for them.


People are not looking forward to volunteering is because they can’t find the truly of volunteering and thinking something in a simple way. We are solving our personal problems in volunteering because we are learning many new things every day, and it is the positive way for us to increase knowledge in different areas. One thing really interesting to me in “Teen Ink” article is he said volunteering is a way to relax ourselves and I totally agree with him. We must have a time when feeling lonely or having depression, and volunteering can be express our feelings with people around us and get to connect to others. So giving back a way to help others, but also a way to help ourselves.



 They were succeed academically—“Youth Helping America”


Click to access 05_1130_LSA_YHA_SI_factsheet.pdf

This is study based on the survey, title “Youth Helping America”, they tried to see the connections between volunteering and the “primary social institutions” to which teenagers are exposed – family, religious congregations,and schools. It states 55 Percent of Youth Volunteer, and youth volunteers succeed academically, it also listed the reasons why religious can affect their choices and youth will volunteer if the family members do. This study was talking about the young people succeed academically if they volunteer, that is something I never expected. “Students who report doing better in school are more likely to be volunteers than students who report doing less well, and are also more likely to have been involved in community service as part of a school activity”, I will explore more in this area since I ignore most of the youth are still in school, and I think it is necessary for me to explain the connections between school activities and volunteering, now we can see the forces are pushing them and where their passion come from.



Social capital variables are the most relevant—Youth Volunteering in Countries in the European Union



This is a research-article described the differences and similarities youth volunteer rates in European on individual and national, they tried to know about the reasons and elements that are affecting young people’s choices in the community activities with the comparisons and observations. They used data from all the survey which asking young people what would their thinking if they have the opportunities to volunteer, and they made some statistics to shows people’s choices in different ages. And they finally summary social capital variables are the most relevant when young people is deciding to participate in community volunteering.

  They asked young people they types of the volunteer activity (Social Conscience, Professional, Leisure, and Social Justice) if they are volunteering in different places in European, and “Leisure” and “social Justice” are having the high percentages than “social conscience” and “ professional” We can understand main volunteer activity is related to leisure, and free-time activities, but “social Justice” is over what I expected and let me feel surprise. This let me think of how these non-profit organizations and programs are so popular in the community, they are providing the chances for the young people to practice their leaderships, and be responsible to their communities. They have predicted as the roles who are preparing for their future living, and entering the mainstream of society.





There are positive and aggressive—-”Giving Back 2 The Community”




I always can’t understand where their passions come from, but I had some ideas after watching the TV shows called “Giving Back 2 The Community” in the Teen Youth Summit which is a TV show.  The shows were about the programs in the community that are the organizations to teach the youth all kinds of the skills that can help them to serving and giving back the communities, they are providing committed outreach to the future of their community’s youth and young adults. Most of the young people believe what they did was very meaningful in their ages, that was a way to thanks who gave out the resources in the community and support the community.  These programs provide the chances for them to improve the abilities in communication with others, how to come up solutions when they were facing challenges. They were practicing their leaderships, they enjoyed spending time with the people they like and get together to toward a same goal. They can make the lives easier by learning the success or mistakes in volunteering in the community, it was a great way to get the valuable experiences.

The programs in the community are the organizations to teach the youth all kinds of the skills that can help them to serving and giving back the communities, they are providing committed outreach to the future of their community’s youth and young adults.

Most of the young people believe what they did was very meaningful in their ages, that was a way to thanks who gave out the resources in the community and support the community.  These programs provide the chances for them to improve the abilities in communication with others, how to come up solutions when they were facing challenges. They were practicing their leaderships, they enjoyed spending time with the people they like and get together to toward a same goal. They can make the lives easier by learning the success or mistakes in volunteering in the community, it was a great way to get the valuable experiences.





They are practicing—-“Young Adult Library Services”



This article provides me a lot useful information on how volunteering benefits our teenagers, and let me know about how they can practice all the skills when they are volunteering. The article encourages teenagers to participate in different departments in a  youth adult Library Services Association, in order to help them building all the professional skills. The article explained the purposes of each program specifically, and it states what kind of the young people is appratelite for each program.

This is the article with any stories on it, but it still let me pay a lot attentions on it. The audiences for this article are all the young people who want to building their skills and make them be more professional, and the title in the article was not volunteering. The benefits are labeled on each single subject, this can tell why it can attract so many teenagers to join these programs. Here is the connections with the first resource I watched, these young people are pursuing the same goals that expand networking, update skills, and develop leadership.



They are creative—“Slovakian teenagers”



There must have some “loophole” when we are giving back such as the services we are providing can popularize everyone in the community, Some of the young people have their thought on giving back to their communities. In the “Slovakian teenagers” story,  two teenagers were setting up a new food bank at a church, and they wanted to give something back to the city in their own way. Their purpose is to encourage people to join them, or let people know they can have their own way to give back to the place where they are living.  “I hope it is going to be appreciated by the community.” They believe what they did can help people who is indeed, and they are giving is useful for everyone in the community. He said: “Our Lord Jesus Christ fed the hungry by multiplying the loaves, so you cannot to some extent preach the word of God on empty stomachs,” They won’t forgot who give them hopes, and they want to give back the motivations to others with their actions.  “If they don’t get help from anyone else, we are here to support them.” They want to help these who haven’t been help, they are backing up for the community and they want every single one in the community can be benefited. Some of them might have the same though as me,  why they are not just join the public food bank and get together with them instead of doing in their own way? That let me think of the issues we may have when we are giving back. For example, when we are donating the food to the food bank and they can’t handle what you are giving, that can waste your resources and waste their time. Their thoughts are helping these who have been forgot or ignored. Everyone is the decision maker and all the feedback from them is valuable. We are having the same goal which is making the community a better place to live, so the way to volunteer is multifarious and they have been portrayed as the creative individuals.



Volunteering in this community is always our diary actives, APANO (Asian Pacific American Network OF Oregon) is one of the most important organizations in Jane District (where I am living, located in SE Portand)and I feel so glad that I became their member last year. APANO is the special leader in Jane District and its amazing leadership is putting Jane District moving forward. It is organizing by partnering with neighborhood associations and local businesses in order to meet the economic needs of residents. I am volunteering as a Chinese interpret in APANO on the weekend twice a month and I learned many skills of communication and getting people together. I understood learning people’s stories and connecting them to issues is very important for a community, and APANO aims to advance a long-term cultural strategy to impact many policies through centering the voices from all of us. We always trust APANO’s works and I feel so proud to service in this organization. We are been portrayed as people who are pursuing our life goals by the time when we are volunteering, we are looking forward to improve all kinds of the skills we should have in order to prepare our future. We are active, creative and aggressive in the medias, and we are continue to be positive.


Learning Moments:

In week 4 of this term, I have practiced how to analyze our primary sources and I learned a lot from that chapter. “Analyze” is defined as  “Examine methodically and in detail the structure and elements of something typically for purposes of explanation and interpretation.” And I believe to practice our Popular Culture Media and Popular Culture Artifact are very important in this class, and the skills of analyzing are useful for our college study in the future.

When we are having conflicts with others, or having different opinions with someone, it is hard to tell who is wrong or who is right. To determine if we are creative or smart enough, we should jump out from this situation and look at these contradiction in the a new perspective and see who is right. In this pop class, I have learned how to use another perspective to get more ideas on someone’s thoughts, and I will keep improving this kind of the skills.





Works Cited:

  1. (n.d.). Youth Volunteering in Countries in the European Union.


(2015, May 11). Teen Youth Summit . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4oORqMG0ho https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlSUueNC2tM

Company/Entity:Young Adult Library Services Association. Young Adult Library Services (winter 2014)


Youth Helping America: The Role of Social Institutions in Teen Volunteering.(11/2015).URL: https://www.nationalservice.gov/pdf/05_1130_LSA_YHA_SI_factsheet.pdf

Giving Back 2 The Community

Giving Back. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.teenink.com/opinion/social_issues_civics/article/166601/Giving-Back/

Giving Back. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.teenink.com/opinion/social_issues_civics/article/166601/Giving-Back/Blackbelt


Effects of Negative Portrayals on Hispanic Women

Popular culture is everywhere and it is everything. We have movies, music, television, magazines, news, music videos, sports and so much more. But when we look at the diversity that is in everything that is considered popular culture, what do you notice? Do you notice people of color? I believe when it comes to television and movies, we still have a long way to go. Music is very diverse. There are so many genres and so many types of different people in these genres. When we look at sports, we can see it is diverse. Every type of person plays sports. You see Hispanics, African Americans, Asians and so many more. But when I sit down to watch a movie or a show, why is it that I do not see more people like me? In popular culture there is a negative stereotype and a lack of Hispanic women, which creates a false view on all Hispanic women overall.

The first source that I looked at was an article that examined “Mexican drug lords.” They examined the “lavish” lifestyles they live with the money that they get from drugs. They talked about “girls in bikinis draped over quad bikes”. I chose this article because it is an example of what I am trying to explain in my blog. I am trying to show that this is what people think of when they think of women. More specifically, Hispanic women. They are bad examples. Because it also shows that some women chose to do these type of things. Then their actions, to many people, reflect upon on all Hispanic women.


For my second source I looked at an article called Sociocultural attitudes and expectations as a result of media internalization: An exploration of potential cultural resiliency factors among Mexican-American college women. It talks about the effects that negative portrayals of Hispanic women have on Mexican-American college women. The portrayal of skinny women with cleavage, and how they are seen as objects. It adds on more pressure to these young women. And most of them already have pressure from their families to graduate and become successful. They already have people doubting them because they are women but also because they are Hispanic women.

The third source I looked at was a study that talked about how many women are very self-conscious of their body because of the portrayal of media. Effects of this portrayal causes body dysmorphia and eating disorders. This is because the media portrays thinness. When you look at magazine covers and ads on television, skinny women are praised. In the study they studied the 9 most popular magazines in Mexico. A total of 53 covers were analyzed. Covers were rated in several categories related with aesthetic aspects. “The results show that 100% of the covers still show the photograph of a woman as a lure, and that 98% of cases she was a thin or a skinny woman.”  (Lugo- Pérez, Ana Laura). If Hispanic women are being portrayed, they are most likely being portrayed in this manner; unrealistic and false expectations for Hispanic women. This portrayal also creates stereotypes.

So after examining the different ways Americans portrayed Hispanic women, I decided to look at how Hispanics themselves portray women. I looked at a music video called Te Quiero A Morrir by a popular band called Banda El Recodo De Cruz Lizárraga. I noticed in the video men being the main characters. I noticed one girl in the video. She was very pretty. She was wearing a lot of make-up. She had a lot of cleavage. It seems like a very traditional Mexican music video. I’d like to talk about how in the music video the girl is the object. She is what he is trying to win over. Why are women seen as just objects? They put a lot of make up on her. They had her in super revealing clothes. It’s like they make it seem like women don’t have a brain. Like we are just here to look good. I sometimes get really annoyed when I see women being used as just objects in music videos and anywhere .

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 9.53.52 PM

Another artifact that I looked at was Modern Family. What I saw was an American Family. With only two Hispanics in the family. They also have a gay family in the show. They also have different adventures. The Hispanics are always singled out for some reason or another. It is a very funny show. They use sarcasm and sometimes they use stereotypes to carry out their jokes. Which work out almost every time. In the show Sofia Vergara plays a Columbian woman. Her character is always very loud. And she is portrayed as crazy or always mad. And she is always being praised for her body. But she is also made fun of because of her accent or the fact that she sometimes struggles to talk in English. This shows the “stereotypical” Hispanic women.


The last artifact that I looked at was the television show George Lopez. It is about a Mexican family. Many of the episodes show many aspects of Mexican culture. There’s the husband, the wife, the two kids and the angry grandma.  I thought it was interesting that the daughter was not actually played by a Mexican actress. Masiela Lusha is from Europe. She is not Mexican yet she was given a Mexican role. That bothered me little because people do this all the time. Roles that are meant for African Americans or Hispanics or Asian or Australian are given to white people.


In conclusion, as I was doing my research within these artifacts I had some questions that arose to me. Why is it that women that are in this lifestyle portray themselves in such ways that it makes a portrayal of all Hispanic women?  What could be good examples that could be given to Mexican-American women in college to help them with their experience?  Why is it that 98% of covers only showed skinny women and not real life women? These artifacts showed that the unrealistic portrayal in the media have a negative effect on Hispanic women. learned that some of these questions may never get answered. I also learned that no matter how hard we try and change a perspective on a certain culture, there will always be ignorant people who focus on stereotypes. There is a lack of and stereotype of Hispanic women in popular culture.


Mexican drug lords show off their lavish lifestyles with Instagram pics of bikini-clad women and gold-plated guns; Bikini-clad women, gold-plated guns, wads of cash and big guns are appearing on the social media accounts of Mexican cartel members as they compete to be Narco King of Instagram.” Daily Mirror [London, England], 10 Sept. 2015. Accessed 19 Feb. 2017

Perez, Natalie Marie. Sociocultural attitudes and expectations as a result of media internalization: an exploration of potential cultural resiliency factors among Mexican-American college women. Thesis. 2010. Print.

Perez, Natalie Marie. Sociocultural attitudes and expectations as a result of media internalization: an exploration of potential cultural resiliency factors among Mexican-American college women. Thesis. 2010. Print.

Music video by Banda El Recodo De Cruz Lizárraga performing Te Quiero A Morir. (C) 2011 Banda Sinaloense El Recodo De Cruz Lizarraga Exclusively licensed in the United States to Fonovisa. Published on Dec 20, 2011.

O’Neill, Ed, Sofía Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse T. Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet,Jeffrey Morton, Chris Smirnoff, Elaine Ko, Steven Levitan, Michael Spiller, James R. Bagdonas, Ryan Case, and Gabriel Mann. Modern Family. , 2010.

George Lopez, Constance Marie, Masiela Lusha, Valente Rodriguez, Belita Moreno,Emiliano Diez, Aimee Garcia. George Lopez. 2002.

Body Shaming Women in Social Media and TV/Movies

As a 19 year old woman living in today’s world, women’s bodies continue to be shamed as depicted in movies, tv shows, advertisement, and social media. As a little girl, high school setting in movies and tv shows always centered around a pretty popular girl and the loser girl who everyone made fun of. As a young girl I wanted to be just like the skinny pretty girl because she was treated special. Even animated shows like Disney movies portray a princess who is very pretty.  Disney princesses’ were very skinny with tiny waists and because that is how Disney decided what the ideal body image should be.  Nowadays Instagram, a major social media site for young adults, is flooded with photos of women showing off their bodies.  The fitness industries images are plastered across print media and social media of how women should look, as skinny as possible. Victoria Secret, a lingerie shop is often praised for their stunningly beautiful models who attain bodies that most people can not achieve.  As a young woman, I am surrounded by mass media, whether it be in print, on the internet, in movies or tv, that sends a clear, yet unfair message of how my body should look, an unattainable weight that promotes poor self esteem in women.  

As a division one tennis player at Portland State University, I work out 3-4 hours per day 7 days a week and try to eat a balanced diet.  Even though I push my body to the limits of what it is physically capable of, my body is not close to those bodies that are admired in mass media.  The body that the mass media portrays as beautiful is a body that is unattainable to the average person.  One example of body shame women depicted in mass media is from a 2015 movie, The Duff.  This coming of age movie is about a girl, with a normal body size, named Bianca who is a senior in high school and has two best friends, Jess and Casey who are more attractive and  popular than her. In the movie someone tells her she is known as the DUFF which stands for Designated Ugly Fat Friend. Bianca in a photo on the bottom to the right clearly is not ugly nor is she fat.  This movie centers around Bianca looks and attaches value to her as a person.  Bianca overcomes the label by reinventing herself and refuses to not let the mean friends define her.

In Bianca’s ugly phase, she is dressed in baggy clothes that didn’t have too much color.  Her makeup is minimal and her hair minimally styled.  Bianca is portrayed as ugly because she is dressed in baggy clothes, and no makeup.  Just because she isn’t wearing tight clothing or wearing a full face of makeup, does that make her ugly? In contrast, the popular character Madison is dressed like she was on a fashion runway. Comparing the two made me wonder why the popular mean girl get to be all dolled up and they shame upon girls who don’t dress as glamorous?  What I took from this is that if you are skinny and dress cute people will like you and want to be you. If you’re not skinny and you dress not as stylish, no one will really like you. This is a clear example of body shaming women. Young women take away the message that it isn’t ok to be anything but skinny. Many movies send a message that in order for girls to be accepted, you must be skinny to be beautiful.  Women need to be accepted for whatever body type they are and should not define who they are.


“Social Media and Body Image Concerns: Further Considerations and Broader Perspectives.”

This article, by Robert J. Williams, is about social media and how it is overtaking mass media. Social media is everywhere. Everyone is on it and you can’t really escape it. Body images that flood social media are so constant that young girls and women begin to believe that that is what women should look like.  Because achieving those body images are nearly unattainable to the average girl, they feel alienated and ashamed of their own body.  This article did many studies however one of the studies that caught my attention was that in Australia in 2014, studies showed that girls observed the internet for body images more so than using magazines and or TV exploring. Everyone dreams for the “perfect body” and we learn how to get a better one through social media, this article even mentioned that we learn more about bodies and looks through the media rather than searching the web. For example, a girls fitness page portrays a skinny fit body that makes the viewer desire one. I am not saying don’t try to be skinny but in social media  is flooded with pretty girls  showing off their perfect bodies and it puts a image in girls minds that if you want a ton of likes or if you want a lot of followers you need to look skinny to be pretty and you will become popular and people will like you. Images of the perfect body is everywhere.  Mass media needs to portray what girls actually look like and represent all body types as beautiful.

To the credit of some, there has been more acceptance to women of different shapes and sizes through some social media and movies. I have learned that within the last few years bigger women have been accepted for who they are and magazines and commercials are showing how beautiful they are and that they don’t need to be a Victoria’s secret model. Two different companies caught my attention in how they are evolving in showing a positive vibe towards the diversity of women’s bodies. Dove was the first company I noticed. They advertised a print ad of real women of many shapes and sizes in a way that was respectable and treated all of them as naturally beautiful.   However, Sports Illustrated 2016 issue made a surprising decision for their  bathing suit catalog. They put a bigger girl on the cover, Ashley Graham. This was great to see that even one of the most popular magazine companies was recognizing that women can be confident and sexy at a heavier weight. In the photo, Ashley is confident in a two piece bathing suit and gives an air of beauty.  In the last few of years  women’s bodies are being more accepted at all sizes and there is less pressure on being perfect. Women are being more accepted around the world for their own “perfect” bodies and hopefully this will continue and improve for all generations to come.


The DUFF. Dir. Ari Sandel. Prod. Susan Cartsonis, McG, and Mary. Screenplay by Josh A. Cagan. Perf. Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell, and Bella Thorne. Lionsgate and CBS Films, February 12, 2015(LA Premier) February 20, 2015 (USA). Film.

Producers: Susan Cartsonis, McG, Mary Viola

Williams, Robert J., and Lina A., Ricciardelli. “Social Media and Body Image Concerns: Further Considerations and Broader Perspectives.” Springer Link. N.p., 14 Nov. 2014. Web. 20 Feb. 2017. <http://link.springer.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/article/10.1007/s11199-014-0429-x&gt;.

Brazilian, Emma. “Real women have curves: marketers are embracing plus-size models as body-positive selfies and hashtags storm social media.” GALE. N.p., 25 Apr. 2016. Web. <http://go.galegroup.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/ps/i.do?&id=GALE|A451229452&v=2.1&u=s1185784&it=r&p=PPCM&sw=w&authCount=1>.

Fitness Freaks in Popular Culture


What is a fitness freak?

“Fitness freak” is a very trendy, slang term for someone who is exceedingly dedicated to diet, exercise, and leading a healthy lifestyle. Typically, these types of people are very happy, active, alert, and always wanting to share their passion with others. Fitness freaks have somewhat of a double-sided reputation. Some may picture a fitness freak as a cute, healthy girl who runs errands in spandex and drinks a smoothie for lunch before hitting the gym. Some people picture fitness freaks as the steroid-raged, protein chugging, bro who roars after every single rep he finishes at the gym. Fitness freak is a hard term to define as I have found that it takes on many different meanings depending on people’s perspective and experience with people who are into this lifestyle of healthy living. In popular culture, fitness freaks are vastly viewed as inspirational figures of normal people pushing their bodies extraordinarily, but they can also be seen in a comedic or negative light.


Parks and Recreation

Chris Traeger, the “fitness freak” in this show is actually rather unstable. All of the characters in this show are unstable in their own way. The overall theme of the show is that government workers are all very strange in that particular city and that government work is terrible. All of the characters deal with those facts in different ways. Chris Traeger himself is perhaps the most extreme and annoying of all of the characters. He lives in a world of absolute positivity because he was born with a blood disorder when he was younger. He dedicates his whole life to fitness in order to enrich his life and live as long as possible. He runs 10 miles a day and in scenes that show his office, his entire desk is covered with supplement pill bottles. The character is played by Rob Lowe and he does a fantastic job of making such an unbelievable character seem so real. In many ways he tries to make others around him healthier and happier. He invites co-workers on runs, offers healthy snacks, and showers every one he meets with positive affirmations and words of encouragement. The general reaction is that he makes people happy with the words he says, but his positivity and obsession with health makes others barely tolerate him.


Do you have a co-worker or friend like this? It is pretty funny to me to watch Parks and Recreation and see someone who is like myself portrayed in such an extreme light. I too take a huge multi-vitamin pill every morning, hit the gym every night and try to stay as active and positive as possible. My question while doing research was why do we all find him so funny? One of the reasons this could be is that many people romanticize over being in shape and being the “fitness freak” or just having the body they have always dreamed of. I have had countless people tell me they just “wish they could be this healthy” but feel too overwhelmed to try.


Instagram fitness models


I found a website with an article titled “25 Inspiring Fitness Girls to Follow on Instagram”. This article lists exactly what it says, 25 fitness girls to follow on Instagram. The article features a slideshow of fitness girls who have Instagram accounts dedicated to sharing their own personal progress as well as workouts and tips. These women are not
professional athletes, but rather just people who are dedicated to fitness. The top of this article says: “All the motivation you need to get in shape – and stay there” That is exactly what the online fitness community is all about.

This helps to give a visual aid to what being a “fitness freak” looks like when you are not a professional athlete. It is like having a second job, it is a lifestyle and a commitment. Absolutely anyone can jump into this crazy community and the people in it are almost always happy, outgoing, optimistic, encouraging, and inspirational. They look amazing, they tell you that you can do all these things too, but it can still feel extremely difficult.




Nike has become more than a household name over the last twenty years. Nike is considered one of the most respected, top-quality sports brands out there. Not only are their products amazing, but they are known for another thing, their advertisements. The advertisement I chose to research is titled Unlimited Pursuit. It showcases female Olympians in their natural habitats, perfectly executing their skills. The song in the background of this commercial is a cover of Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness” covered by Lissie. Why this song? All of the women in this advertisement are happy, they have chased their dreams and accomplished the impossible.

Happiness is a key theme here. In this Nike ad, the lyrics that say “I’m on the pursuit of happiness and I know everything that shines ain’t always gonna be gold, hey. I’ll be fine once I get it, I’ll be good”. In this context it is correlating fitness to happiness. On Instagram, you never see these models sulking or living average lives, they are happy! They are always smiling, always incredibly positive, and always pushing their followers to find their own happiness. Chris Traeger is always extremely positive to the point where he goes out of his way to compliment and encourage every single person around him. Why is there such a strong correlation between fitness and happiness?


The science behind it


 In an article titled “Heart and Head” by Paul Erickson, I found out how exercising not only builds muscle strength, increases stamina, and makes us fit, but also how exercise effects the brain. Erickson discusses how by exercising, the brain receives more blood and oxygen and it can re-build cells faster. This makes things like mood, memory, and mental agility even better. This article goes deep into the science behind the correlation between exercise and better mental health, and even better grades and focus for students. This source gives some science behind the concept I am highlighting that “fitness freaks” (or rather people who exercise a lot and eat extremely healthy) are naturally optimistic and happy.


Although, it is possible that you can have too much of a good thing. This fascinating article I discovered really gets into the difference between someone who enjoys exercising every day and someone who is obsessed to the point of hurting themselves. “Can You Exercise Too Much” by Massage Magazine goes into how fitness can become an addiction and then things like eating disorders and injuries come into play. It speaks of people who are perfectionists fall into risk of developing an eating disorder or becoming addicted to exercise because they feel an obsessive need to be perfect. This article contrasts the idea of “fitness freaks” being naturally optimistic. There is always a dark side to everything and sometimes wonderful activities can be turned into dark obsessions. Anorexia and exercising to the point of breaking a part of your body are not good things and unfortunately, in this fitness community we see it all the time. From the body builder using steroids to the girl who only ate an apple all day. When fitness becomes a dark obsession, there is usually a deeper underlying problem.




Fitness freaks are viewed in a few different ways in popular culture. There are the extremely positive, happy, inspirational ones; as well as the over-doing it, unhealthy, obsessive ones. Overall, being a fitness freak is supposed to be a good thing. This community of people who host their platform largely online are trying to get everyone to try something fitness related. Whether it is meal planning to eat healthier, going on walks every day, or going all out and getting a gym membership. The greatest thing about fitness is that it means something different to everyone. To the woman who worships crossfit to the man who goes on one weekly run, they are both into fitness.


Learning moments


Over the course of this class I had many learning moments. I took this course because I wanted to learn more about how to evaluate the world around me. One of my favorite prompts was in week 6 when we discussed the news and how we interpret it. I gained so much knowledge from this course on more than just what I used to consider pop culture. I thought this course was going to be about television and actors but it gets so deep into everything from the psychology of advertisements to how to analyze the information we take in. This course proved to be extremely valuable in changing the way I consume information and how I look at the world.


Another fascinating learning moment was in week 5 when we analyzed our favorite movies to see if there were any characters that reflected our own personalities. I had never thought about this before and I was fascinated how many of my favorite movies showcased people who had similar qualities as I did, or qualities I desire to have. Overall, this course had been fantastic. The sense of community is awesome, the course itself is eye-opening, and if you really dig into the prompts and readings it will definitely change the way you think.






Works Cited

“Can you Exercise Too Much?.” Massage Magazine no. 135 (August 2007): 108-109. SPORTDiscus, EBSCOhost (accessed February 9, 2017)

“25 Inspiring Fitness Girls to Follow on Instagram” Fisher, Lauren Alexis. Harper’s Bazarr (December 13, 2016). harpersbazaar.com (accessed February 18, 2017)

“Heart and Head.” Erickson, Paul. American School & University 88, no. 10 (June 2016): 30. SPORTDiscus, EBSCOhost (accessed February 9, 2017)

Parks and Recreation, Greg Daniels, Michael Schur, CBS, 2009-2015

Nike: Unlimited Pursuit, August 22, 2016, nike.com. https://youtu.be/SmLpiHDuLSE

All images were found on Google images.

The Life of the Introvert in an Extroverted World

There is a portrayal in popular culture as introverted people being inherently strange and socially awkward and they are often cast in a negative light compared to their extroverted counterparts.  To make things clear, when I say introvert, most people tend to think it is synonymous with shyness, when this is not the case.  Nor is it the complete opposite of extroversion in that introverts never want to be around people at all.  Introversion and extroversion are on a spectrum; a person can be closer to one side than the other but polar extremity is not usually the case.  In television and films, however, introverted characters are pushed so far to the extreme that they are often imbued with psychological maladies to exaggerate their traits.



Let’s look at Dexter Morgan, a blood analyst and introvert who also happens to be a serial killer.  He exhibits all of the traits of an introvert.  He prefers working alone in his lab, as he thinks best when doing so.  For the most part, he has only one close friend; his sister, which he considers enough to satisfy his social needs.  A defining trait for introverts is their desire to be in minimally stimulating environments, whether this be working in a lab or having a hobby that avoids noise and people.  One such hobby of Dexter’s is to go out on his boat and fish.  He does this whenever he needs to clear his head and think (also to dump bodies).  Dexter is an accurate representation of an introvert in that he is seen as charming and sociable by his co-workers and friends but secretly harbors a desire to be alone because interacting with people can be exhausting.  He is often forced to pretend to be someone other than he actually is to appease more extroverted people around him.  The misrepresentation of introverted people in general is that Dexter is also a pathological liar and killer.  Introverted traits are repeatedly associated with serial killers in popular culture but in reality, there is no basis for this trope.  In fact, as Susan Cain says in an article entitled “The Myth of the Killer Introvert,” she states that “introverted young people are less prone to violence and delinquency than extroverts are.”



The main character of the show is Will Graham, an introvert.  Graham is a criminal profiler and psychologist who uses his vast stores of empathy to get into the minds of murderers and understand why they do what they do.  Quiet and brooding, Graham is everything about an introvert that TV loves to exaggerate.  He is introverted to the point of mental illness.  It’s even implied at points that Graham has low-level Asperger’s syndrome, a diagnosis that has recently become synonymous in popular culture with innate genius . To exemplify his extraordinary introversion, he even lives alone in a secluded house with his only friends being a bunch of dogs.


Curb Your Enthusiasm

I figured I should provide an example from a show that doesn’t involve serial killers, so I picked the introvert everyone loves to hate:  Larry David.  David is a good example of being introverted rather than shy.  Author Susan Cain explains in “Quiet,” a book about introverts that “Shyness is the fear of social disapproval or humiliation, while introversion is a preference for environments that are not overstimulating.”  Larry makes plans with friends and hosts parties because he feels like he has to, and at the back of his mind, he is always secretly hoping the plans will fall through so he can relax at home by himself.  Not because he hates people, but because he just gets tired of them quickly.  Larry David is one of the more realistic portrayals of an introvert in popular culture. He uses his creative, solitary nature to create a successful life and one that allows him to be himself.


If a meme is the primary way that introverts express themselves in modern society, then Imgur is the introvert’s paradise.  What started out as a simple image sharing site has now developed into a full-fledged community of people who feel their voice is lost among other social media sites.  The site is filled with memes such as the “awkward penguin” one above, and obscure references to jokes made excursively on Imgur.  Rating something “5/7” is actually giving it the best rating possible.  There is an undercurrent of self-depreciating humor to the way many users make fun of their own antisocial tendencies.  This is a popular trend among introverts: allowing the perception of extroverts towards introverts to control how they view themselves.  The picture above was posted with the title “This is why I don’t go outside…”  Simply put, Imgur reveals that the public’s misconceptions about introverted behavior actually affects the behavior of introverted people.


The Brain of the Introvert

What most of popular culture seems to forget is that the there are physiological differences between an introvert versus an extrovert.  It’s not simply a matter of being shy around people.  To explain the graphic above, here is a quote from Dr. Marti Olsen Laney, author of the book The Introvert Advantage:

“While extroverts are linked with the dopamine/adrenaline, energy-spending, sympathetic nervous system, introverts are connected with the acetylcholine, energy-conserving, parasympathetic nervous system.”

Basically, introverts need less external stimulation than extroverts because they are more sensitive to dopamine, and if they get too much, they will feel overstimulated and anxious (Laney).  So, an extrovert will go to a party with loud music and plenty of new people to soak up all they can to feel stimulated while an introvert will go to the same party, listen to one song and talk to one person and feel the same level of excitement.

Knowing that there are real, physical differences in the brain of introverts and extroverts makes me as an introvert feel more comfortable with myself.  While we tend to see this division as a fifty/fifty chance, in reality only about a quarter of the population is introverted (King).  Perhaps this is the reason for the many misconceptions society has about introverts.  There is an underlying attitude in popular culture that introverts need to “change” and make an effort to become more social and extroverted, when in actuality we are innately different and view society in different ways.

Learning Experiences

I think the thing that will stick with me the most from this class is how everyone saw a different result after searching online for the same thing.  While I was aware companies such as Google were tracking peoples’ internet histories, I wasn’t aware the extent to which each individual’s internet platform was being catered to their desires.  What bothers me the most about something like this is that I never signed off for anyone to track my web activities.  Imagine someone from Amazon showed up at your home one day, set up a camera without asking, and videotaped your life in order to decide which products you would probably like.  That is just as creepy to me as companies tracking your activity online.

The laundry list of negative impacts associated with reading and watching popular culture news was another revelation for me.  As someone who flips through a news app a thousand times a day, I definitely took notice.  Among other things, it inhibits deep concentration, it wastes time, and most important to me, it destroys creativity.  As Rolf Dobelli says in his article regarding the news: “If you want to come up with old solutions, read news. If you are looking for new solutions, don’t.” Considering that looking for solutions to problems was one of the main reasons I had for reading the news, this really hit home.  I know that after this class, I will spend more time searching for more “newsworthy” journalism and less time looking at sensationalist headlines, and hopefully, find better solutions to the world’s problems than the ones the media supplies.


Work Cited

Dexter: the first season, volume 1. Dir. Steve Shill. Showtime, 2008. TV Show. Web.

David, Larry, Jeff Garlin, and Cheryl Hines. Curb your enthusiasm the complete series ; one to seven. S.l.: Home Box Office ˜œ, 2012. TV Show.

Fuller, Bryan . Hannibal. NBC. 2012. Television.

“Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet.” Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

Laney, Marti Olsen, Dr. “The introvert brain explained.” Magical Daydream. 21 Nov. 2016. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

Granneman, Jenn. “Introverts’ and Extroverts’ Brains Really Are Different, According to Science.” Andymort. N.p., 4 Mar. 2015. Web.
Laney, Marti Olsen. The introvert advantage: how to thrive in an extrovert world. New York: Workman Pub., 2002. Print
King, Carl. “Myth #1 : Introverts don’t like to talk.” CarlKingdomcom. Web. 8 Mar. 2017.

“Imgur popularity rises among Millenials.” UWIRE Text, 29 Jan. 2014, p. 1. General OneFile, 19 Feb. 2017.

Cain, Susan. “The Myth of the Killer Introvert.” Psychology Today. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

Dobelli, Rolf. “News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 12 Apr. 2013. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

“Introvert, Shy, Socially Anxious: What’s the Difference?” Addiction Treatment | Elements | Drug Rehab Treatment Centers. N.p., 05 May 2015. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.



Music and Sports: A Beautiful Combination

Athletes and Music Lovers

The identity I chose to explore while taking Popular Culture is that of an athlete, who is also a lover of music. Music and sports have always seemed like two different world; you have your athletes and your musicians, your bands/choirs and your sports teams, and your concerts and your sporting events. After researching this topic throughout the semester, I have found out that these worlds are not that different at all, and can actually go hand in hand by benefiting each other beautifully.

One of the artifacts I looked at during the semester was the movie High School Musical. The film does a good job at portraying the identity of someone who is involved with both sports and music. It was extremely difficult for me to find more instances of this in the media. I was searching through movies and TV shows that I thought might contain another athlete/musician and I couldn’t hardly find any! This made me think that in the media, sports and music are not portrayed as going together. I found this interesting because I found many real-life examples in which athletes are also musicians and vice versa. It was odd to me that I could not find more examples in the media. I think the entertainment industry has this idea that an athlete must be just an athlete and a musician must be just a musician. The characters don’t get any room to explore other talents, which is a shame. The students in the movie are almost all one-dimensional. You have your athletes, your nerds, your skater punks, etc. I feel like back in the day, this is maybe how our world was. People just stuck to what they knew. I think in today’s world, however, people are becoming more interested in having multiple skills and interests. This is what needs to keep happening if we want to reach our full potential! Especially when talking about sports and music, because the two just go beautifully together. It really is amazing how they benefit each other.


During the term I also looked at an article published by ESPN Music. The article includes an interview between Chris Paul, a professional basketball player, and Kendrick Lamar, one of the most popular rappers in the game today. One of Kendrick’s quotes that I really liked is: “Hip-hop and being a pro athlete go hand in hand. When they come together, it’s a win, not just for your business brand but also for culture. I always use the word ‘culture,’ because that’s first — everything else falls behind it. When they see that this guy loves rap the way he does, and this guy loves basketball like he does, the business is going to flow behind it.” I want to elaborate the business aspect of sports and music. The article talks about the bond between sports and music — especially rap – and how it is now permanent and “unbreakable.” Hip-hop’s new generation, led by rappers such as Drake, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar, has allowed artists to be who they are – and the music has in turn challenged athletes to up their game and demand their true market value. This is a very interesting topic. Has certain music actually improved certain athletes playing ability? Have athletes caused certain music and artists to be more popular and therefore pushed them to be more successful? I think the answer to both those questions is yes. It is quite amazing how the two worlds influence each other in be great.

And it’s not all about business. The article also dives into the unique and sometimes offbeat ways in which the two worlds, music and sports, intersect and collide. Whether it’s musical inspiration for athletes and fans alike — such as Kobe Bryant recalling the song that was playing when his high school team celebrated a state championship — or the athletes themselves getting involved in music, such as snowboard Olympian Shaun White learning guitar. Music, in Kobe’s case, elevated that moment of winning a championship to an entirely new level. Shaun White, having the success he had in snowboarding, wanted to see if his talent might crossover into guitar.  Music and sports flourish together—the “unbreakable” bond is something that has formed over the last decade and something that will continue to grow. We are actually seeing professional athletes such as Shaquille O’Neal and Damian Lillard pursue a career in music along with their career in sports.

How Music Affects Our Bodies

Another very interesting article I came across titled Sound and Body: Music and Sports talked about dissociation and the effects of music on athletes from a biological standpoint. Dissociation refers to diverting the mind from sensations of fatigue that creep up and in during performance. Research has repeatedly shown how music can improve performance by drawing one’s attention away from feelings of fatigue and pain when engaged in endurance activities such as running, cycling, or swimming. It’s been shown that listening to music during exercise increases the efficiency of that activity and it postpones fatigue. This especially holds true if there is a synchrony between the rhythm of the music and the movements of the athlete themselves. In terms of muscle strength, music that is perceived to be motivating can lead to bursts of intensity. This increases your work capacity and can bring about ultra-high levels of explosive power, strength, and productivity. Think of its influence on running, high jumps, weightlifting, plyometrics, and even high intensity interval training.


Music also promotes flow states for internal motivation. Flow involves an altered mental state of awareness during activity. Even though it is a feeling of energised focus it seems the mind and body function on “autopilot” with minimal conscious effort. Some coaches and athletes refer to this as being “in the zone”. It sometimes has been referred to as a spellbinding state and can actually feel trance-like. So can you imagine how music can pair with flow for a stimulating and enhancing performance for yourself or client? Some athletes describe utilizing music to aid with their mental imagery during the routine part of their activity as allowing them to be “in the zone”. Many athletes use music in different ways in order to achieve a particular level of focus and concentration before a game or competition as well. Music enables them to put aside all other outside distractions in order to concentrate and envision what they want to accomplish during the game.



Several studies have linked music with positive feelings and memories. Music can boost internal motivation by triggering good emotions, helping you experience much greater pleasure from the activity. This is magnified when a piece of music reminds you of an aspect of your life that is emotionally significant. Music and sports benefit each other beautifully, and can flourish together in a culture where being an athlete and a music lover  in the media as almost nonexistent. 

What I’ve Learned 

I have learned a lot this semester in regards to pop culture. Two things I would like to highlight are how to dissect media source’s credibility and how to avoid plagiarism. It is important when looking at news reports and media coverage to look for bias. It is extremely difficult in this day in age to tell what is being reported truthfully and what is not. A couple steps I learned that have helped me so far include researching more deeply about what is being reported, looking for facts instead of opinions, and making sure the sources that I’m looking at are credible.

Another thing I learned was how to avoid plagiarism. Back in the day, it was harder to plagiarize because we didn’t have computers and copy and paste. It is harder now than ever to know how to source correctly and how to avoid using another’s ideas without giving them credit.  Several ways we can avoid plagiarizing include knowing how to use references, doing our work on time so we are not pressured by time to get it done, and using our own ideas and thoughts.

Works Cited

Sheppard, J. R. (2008, October 8). Sound of Body: Music, Sports and Health in Victorian

Britain. Retrieved February 19, 2017, from http://www.tandfonlinecom.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/doi/abs/10.1080/02690403.2015.1075810

Teitelman, Bram. “Faction: giving athletes, and the music they love, a voice.” Billboard Radio

Monitor, 5 Aug. 2005, p. 12. General OneFile. Accessed 19 Feb. 2017.

Terry, P. (2012, Dec. & Jan.). Effects of synchronous music on elite athletes during training

activities. Retrieved February 19, 2017, from


How is Hawai’i Portrayed in Popular Culture?


Do you surf? When I was younger, this was one of the most common questions that people would ask me if they have not visited Hawai’i yet. Other questions that I have been asked are “Do you surf?” or “Can you speak pidgin?” Popular culture has put a picture in people’s heads that Hawai’i is “paradise”, but it is over exaggerated.

50 First Dates:

The 50 First Dates is a movie that was first released on February 13, 2004. The three main stars in this movie were Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, and Rob Schneider. Adam Sandler played as a person from Hawai’i named Henry Roth that falls in love with a girl named Lucy that was played by Drew Barrymore. In the beginning of the movie, there is a scene when a whole bunch of women talking about this amazing time they had in Hawai’i “Paradise” with this guy named Henry. At the end, they all said he had these crazy reasons on why he could not see them anymore. Later in the movie, Henry finds Lucy and finds out that she has been in a car accident and has short-term memory loss. His goal is to make her fall for him everyday.

In this movie, there are a couple of details that I have noticed while watching. There were only four main locations that they used that had buildings in them: The diner, sea life park, Lucy’s house and the hospital. Most of the other scenes showed open roads with not that much civilization around it. I found this to be interesting because Hawaii is not like this at all. There is limited space on an island, this means that you are going to see more crowded places with buildings because they do not have many places to build. The director could get the effect that he or she was secluded by using angles who wouldn’t show much of the island. Furthermore, during the driving scenes, the characters drove on dirt roads. All though there are dirt roads in Hawaii, they are used to go from place to place. Dirt roads are usually for driveways to go to people’s houses. Secondly, I feel like the director and wardrobe artist used the Aloha print T-shirts to help the audience to identify who was a local in the movie. Interesting enough, this is not a typical practice locals do. Unless it is for a special occasion. More so, you would see tourist using aloha T-shirts. Completing this works sheets makes me think that popular movie like 50 first dates is what influences tourist to wear aloha T- shirts daily.   

In an article called, “Pidgin-Holed”, by Michael Tsai, he talks about how the 50 First Dates is misleading about Hawai’i and how this is happens to often in the media. One of the misleading details in this movie is that there is no traffic when they go their aerial shots of the island. According to the U.S News & World Report, Hawaii was ranked in the top 10 in 2015 for cities that have the worst traffic in America. The limited space on the island also causes them to not have enough roads to ease traffic.

Blue Crush:

Blue crush is a movie that was first shown in 2002 that takes place in Hawai’i. The main star of this movie is Kate Bosworth, who plays as the character Anne Marie Chadwick. This movie is about Kate solving her issues in life with her friends, so she can compete in a big wave competition. Throughout the movie, she finds a man that she likes, and he also helps her to solve some of her problems.

One of the things that I noticed in this movie is that I felt like they were trying to portray that everyone in Hawaii surfed or is into surfing. There are many local people who do not know how to surf. It is a sport in Hawai’i, and only some enjoy it and are able to do it. Another thing that I noticed in the film is that the characters that played as locals in this movie had a local slang or broken English (Pidgin). Even though there are a lot of people who talk in this slang with their family, we were taught at our schools how to speak regular English.  

In the Pidgin-holed, Michael Tsai says, ““Blue Crush,” which was based on a journalist’s work, stereotyped local male surfers as territorial bullies.” I agree with Michael Tsai that I felt like the movie was trying to show not just “local male surfers” but just Hawaiian males that they feel like no one else but locals should be at the beach surfing. For example, there was a scene in the movie where Anne was teaching Matt, a pro bowl football player in the movie, how to surf. When the locals found out that she was bringing this “outsider” to the beach, the movie had the locals get mad and end up punching Matt in the face. There is a stereotype that locals in Hawaii do not having tourist in their island, but the truth is that the tourist is what helps Hawaii’s economy going. If Hawaii chases away their tourist, it is going to be hard for the city to be financially stable.

Lilo & Stitch:

Lilo & Stitch (2002) is about young girl (Lilo) who adopts a pet (Stitch). In actually, Stitch is actually an alien that crashed landed on earth. During the movie, Lilo tries to teach Stitch on how to be a pet. Surely there is some issues when she is trying to do this because Stitch is not an ordinary pet, which makes it harder for him to adapt to the new world. The purpose of this movie is to show that a family can overcome anything. Throughout the movie they both learn important life lessons that would ultimately help them to become family (Ohana). The audience for this movie was for children.

One of things I noticed in this movie is that a lot of the characters used a Aloha T-shirt. Although Lilo technically didn’t use a T-shirt, she used a hawaiian dressed instead. In Hawaii we consider both of those as the same for it to be considered an Aloha T-shirt.  Usually, this is not an common type of clothing that locals like to wear daily. This is something locals use for 1st birthday parties or weddings. One thing you will notice if you do visit Hawai’i is that tourist actually are the ones wearing the Aloha T-shirts and that is how people know if they are not from Hawai’i. I feel like because of popular culture movies like Lilo & Stitch that people get the perspective that they should be using a Aloha T-shirt while visiting.

Throughout the movie, there are other things that the director was hinting at that the movie was taking place in Hawai’i. One of these things were when Lilo went to Hula class. Hula is dance that was in originated in Hawaii that helps tell a story though dancing. Usually, there will be certain dances to certain songs. Another part in the movie was showing Lilo and her family surfing. This is another indication that the director was using this setting to show that they were in Hawai’i. Going back to the very first question of this paper “Do you surf?”, this what I get asked the most by people when they find out I am from Hawai’i. Popular Culture has an image of Hawai’i that constantly represents how it is there.


All three movies demonstrate the way that Hawai’i is viewed in popular culture and it is not all true. Hawai’i is not all paradise like most people think it is, there is a lot traffic, most people do not surf, and mostly tourist use Aloha T-shirts. In all reality, I feel like popular culture portrays Hawai’i a certain way because the state wants people to visit Hawai’i. A lot of Hawai’i’s income comes from people visiting the state. This is why pop culture makes Hawai’i seem like paradise.


One of the major learning curves for me was during week 4 learning how to analyze primary sources. Since my project had something to deal with watching a film, this week help me prepare to understand how to find what was the purpose of the movie, what is interesting about the movie, the different types of patterns in the movie and how to explain the things I noticed to help me get my point across about how Hawai’i is portrayed in popular culture.


Clare eriko.jpg Clare Eriko | 11.22.14 12:55am@ClareEriko SHARE Twitter Pinterest Tumblr Email. “The Stich In My Side: Renavigating Racial Identity Through Lilo & Stitch.” Ravishly. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

“Pidgin-holed | The Honolulu Advertiser | Hawaii’s Newspaper.” Pidgin-holed | The Honolulu Advertiser | Hawaii’s Newspaper. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

Rachel, Dicker. “These 10 Cities Have the Worst Traffic in America.” U.S News & World Report. N.p., 15 Mar. 2016. Web.

The portrayal of Latina women in Television

Entertainment is a large part of the human experience, visual entertainment to be exact, has become an entire culture that we have all been a part of throughout the years. Through television shows and movies, we have constantly seen characters of different backgrounds, genders, and ages, but never really questioned the realism of the characteristics themselves. We are surrounded and consumed by various sources of media on a daily basis that unknowingly the visual effects of media has manipulated the perception of who individuals really are. In the TV shows Devious Maids, Jane the Virgin, and Modern Family, we will discover how television portrays the personalities of Latina characters and whether stereotypes play a role in who they are and who they play.

Devious Maids:

The TV Show Devious Maids (2013) created by Marc Cherry and produced by ABC Studios, is about the lives of four maids who tend to the homes of rich families in Beverly Hills, California. Every family they work for has their own agenda, life, and most importantly, their own secrets. Each of the four women are of a different Latin descent, and even though these women have different lives they still seem to have many similarities. They are all Latina, over 30 years old, with long dark hair, attractive, and fierce.

These similarities are seen throughout the entire show and never really quite change but just progress and become more obvious. They become involved and caught into a series of scandals that happen within their group of maids and with the families they work for, when they have their lunch breaks or get together they gossip and complain about their employers. There are many scenes in which these women use their nationality to defend themselves or use it as an excuse.


The stereotypes used in Devious Maids are that Latin women are always maids and tend to the needs of others rather than their own. They are also perceived as immigrants with strong accents, are typically loud, and are almost always strict mothers.

Jane the Virgin:

Jane the Virgin (2014), produced by Urman Snyder and presented on The CW, is a telenovela about a young Latin American virgin woman who gets accidentally artificially inseminated. Jane is a student and part-time employee who strives to become a writer, who has lived with her mother and grandmother her entire life and never really had a father figure growing up.  Her grandmother, Alba, moved to the United States as a young mother to provide and give her daughter Xiomara (Jane’s mom) a better life. Alba is represented as a very stereotypical Latin grandmother,  wise, religious, and is not approving of the choices or lifestyle of others.                                       

Xiomara, Jane’s mother, is a very noticeable character in the way she is presented, she is attractive, flirty and very free-spirited, the complete opposite of her mother and her daughter Jane. Jane on the other hand, depicts a very positive and refreshing side to the Latin American culture. She is a very bright and studious woman who works through the challenges that life throws at her while maintaining a positive attitude. The stereotypes depicted in this show toward latin women, is that they are very family oriented, flirty, gossipy, and religious.


Modern Family:

Modern Family (2009), created by Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan, is a sitcom presented on ABC. The show surrounds itself on three different families, one gay couple with an adopted baby, a family of two parents and three kids, and the last family is an older man with a Colombian wife and her child. Every episode consists of different humorous scenarios and situations that the family’s experience. The character Gloria Pritchett played by Sofia Vergara is presented as a “typical” latina, she is very loud, dramatic, and has a thick spanish accent. 

She is not only portrayed as latina in her way of being but also in the way she looks, she is very attractive with long dark hair, colored lips, with almost always tight clothing with some cleavage showing, or as Teresa Correa quotes in her article Framing Latinas: Hispanic women through the lenses of Spanish-language and English-language news media:  “They have a Spanish accent and a homogeneous look: slightly tan, dark hair, short and curvilinear. However, these generalizations differ with reality. In fact, Latinas are a heterogeneous group with different levels of assimilation in the USA, dissimilar cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, and diverse physical builds.” There are many instances in the show where Sofia uses phrases like, “ In my country…”: or excuses herself just because she is Colombian.


The stereotypes depicted in Modern Family are that Latina women are loud, angry, argumentative, and unreasonable.


After generations of trying to break the stigma of stereotypes and generalization, we have not yet been able to reach the point at where it breaks. In this day and age we still see and hear stereotypes being used in person and in media, especially in film. The shows Devious Maids, Jane the Virgin, and Modern Family are only minor examples of how the media depicts and exposes Latin women. They are shown as maids, mothers, religious, crazy, loud, and overprotective. As Myra Mendible states in her book, From Bananas to Buttocks: “In the United States, the Latina body has signed in for somatic differences (body type, coloring, facial features) and differences in culture, class, language, religion, and sexuallity.” (7)

One of the largest aspects of Latinas in film is their sexuality.  “Latinas have this stereotype that we’re sex symbols … that we walk sexy and (have) this flavor.” Said Puerto Rican actress Roselyn Sanchez in an interview on KPCC. 

Although these shows are meant to be entertaining and funny, the underlying messages and meaning are not positive or funny at all. The characters with certain personalities and looks are created for the audience to feel connected and be able to relate to them. There are an endless amount of stereotypes used to generalize Latin women in film and other media that are not accurate, sadly enough some of our favorite programs attack and even exaggerate personalities in order to get the attention of views.

Learning moments:

Ever since this assignment began, I have found myself looking at media in a different perspective. Week 1 was truly an eye opener when I had to categorize myself and choose specific groups or personality types that I belonged to. That exercise made me realize a lot about myself and, and in the way that others view me. Then moving onto week 4 where we had to choose a specific identity to start our project,  that’s when I figured out which identity I felt the most connected to. After much research I began to realize that various sources of media attack culture, nationality, and gender in so many ways possible, that is why my hope was to bring these aspects to light and show how a Latin woman as myself is preserved.  

Cherry, M. (Producer). (2013, June 23). Devious Maids [Television series]. Beverly Hills, California: ABC.

Correa, Teresa. “Framing Latinas: Hispanic women through the lenses of Spanish-language and English-language news media.” Journalism 11.4 (2010): 425-43. Web. 14 Feb. 2017.

Lloyd, C., & Levitan, S. (Producers). (2009, September 23). Modern Family [Television series]. Los Angeles , California: ABC.

Mendible, Myra, ed. From bananas to buttocks: The Latina body in popular film and culture. University of texas Press, 2010.

Snyder Urman, (Producer). (2014, October 13). Jane the Virgin [Television series]. Los Angeles, California: The CW.

Staff, AP With KPCC. “Women in film: Latinas more likely to appear nude, study says.” Southern California Public Radio. N.p., 07 Sept. 2016. Web. 14 Feb. 2017.

Images and Gifs:








Introverts in Popular Culture

Oxford dictionary defines “stereotype” as, “A widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.” Stereotypes have always been around and we somehow accept it like a fact, even though not all of them are true. Moreover, you may not notice it but we all have stereotypes, we apply them all the time without knowing it. Introverts, in current society, are often wrongly perceived as nerds and that they have no life. I am an introvert myself, I am proud of who I am and I can say that these stereotypes are not true. Nobody should be ashamed of who they are just because society doesn’t consider them to be “the standard.” Why does describing someone as “outgoing” carry a positive vibe, while describing someone else as “shy” is considered a character flawed? To explain this, I will use Napoleon Dynamite, a Ted talk by Susan Cain, and a YouTube video to further support my claim.

Napoleon Dynamite is a 2004 comedy movie directed by Jared Hess and is about a socially awkward 16-year-old boy from Idaho, how he gets bullied in school, daydreams about fantasy creatures, and his relationship with his friends, Pedro and Deb. Throughout the movie we can see how Napoleon has changed not only his own life but also others’, helped Pedro to win the class president position, was in a relationship with Deb, or changed the whole school’s perspective with his dance performance. The movie not only portrays Napoleon as the only introvert but also his brother, Kip, Pedro, and Deb. Napoleon is portrayed like a typical nerd anybody would imagine: skinny, big glasses, not so many friends, and he is always in his own imaginative world. His brother Kip, who is 32, is unemployed and does nothing but chat with girls, he eventually met a girl and later moved to Michigan. His best friend, Pedro, is a quiet yet bold transfer student from Mexico; he has a hard time adapting to the new environment but later decides to run for president of the school. Deb, our last piece of the puzzle, is a shy girl who sells key chains and glamour shots to raise money for college. Even though they all have different personalities, something in common is their talent and that they all are unique in their own ways. The characters may seem like a typical nerdy type we usually see portrayed by the media but this movie is actually different, showing that even though they may be a bit socially awkward and not good with communicating, they all have inner personas that only get to shine when the right moment comes. For example, the highlight of the movie is when Napoleon decides to break out from his shell by dancing in front of the whole school after Pedro’s speech has failed. It’s interesting that he has never danced before and all the moves he learned are from a VCR footage, which shows that he can learn new skills very quickly by paying attention to the details.


The movie is a good example to show introverts are just like anybody, they are capable of everything and can do them even better than extroverts, all they need is a “catalyst” and a right moment to shine. I don’t consider myself a nerd just because I like to be on my own, I don’t mind socializing or go out of my comfort zone, but I can see a little bit of myself in Napoleon. One of the reasons why introverts are falsely portrayed are because of the stereotype media has made. It’s really easy to find a show with nerds being antisocial, collecting comics, and staying indoors all day. Introverts aren’t necessarily nerds and it also doesn’t apply the other way around.

The next source I want to share is a TED talk by Susan Cain. She is a co-founder and Chief Revolutionary at Quiet Revolution, an author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, and an introvert herself. The talk was given in 2012 and has got more than six million views on YouTube, one of the most watched TED talks ever. In the beginning, she talks about her summer camp experience as a kid, how she was told to be outgoing, has to put her books away, and “socialize” with other kids, even though deep down inside she just wants to read books. I can totally relate myself to her, I was told to socialize as a kid as well even though I really didn’t want to, but what else could I do? My dad always wanted me to be the socialized kid, like himself, but he doesn’t understand that I can’t be someone who I am not. Furthermore, she also talks about how people tell her all the time that she needs to change her introversion, that being quiet is not a way to go, even though her intuition tells her that it is not right. I have always thought that there are people like me out there but not many compared to extroverts, but I was wrong after watching the video; introverts make up a third to half of the population, that means one out of two or three people you know.


Furthermore, she also makes a point that shyness and introversion is different—shyness is about fear of social judgement while introversion is about how do you response to the stimulation. In a society where extroverts are often looked upon as superior to introverts, it’s difficult for introverts to be themselves. You can easily find introverts being portrayed as shy, anti-social, and not “having a life” in the media. A few examples can be Raj from The Big Bang Theory or Gale from Breaking Bad. They’re consider introverted and only feel comfortable around their close group, or mostly by themselves, something not necessarily true. Moreover, “introverted leaders often deliver a better outcome than extroverts do,” Cain says, and the reason is because they listen to his/her employee’s ideas and are more likely to let them go with it, whereas extroverted leaders can easily get excited about things and often times forget about others’ ideas and therefore the ideas are not accepted. Some examples of excellent leaders in history are Eleanor Roosevelt, Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, they are introverts and they are the best at what they are doing.

At the end of the speech, Cain calls for three actions: do less group work, go to the wilderness, and take a good look at what is inside your suitcase. The first action doesn’t mean that there should be no communication at all, but workers and students also should be given more privacy and freedom, and extroverts can learn how to work independently as it is an important skill to have as well. The second action means that we need to take a break once in a while to get inside our head, to understand your body and mind. The last action, looking at your suitcase, means that introverts need to open up some more, to share their thoughts with others so the world would know how they also have brilliant ideas. As Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has said from his book The Systems Model of Creativity, creative persons “can be both extroverted and introverted depending on the phase of the process.” This means normally we see ourselves more introverted or extroverted than the other, but we can actually be both depending on the situation. The point of the speech and the book is not to position introvert as superior, but to point out that we are all the same even though you may not know it.

The last artifact I want to share is a YouTube video from a channel calls TheDaydreamSound. The speaker is an African-Canadian and he talks about his experience being an introvert and how does it affect his life. One time he went to a festival in downtown Toronto with his friends, and there were lots of people there gathering around. After a while being surrounded by lots of people and noises, he and his friends decided to go back because it was too intense and too much to handle. It was then he realized that those kind of environment is not for him, that he prefers somewhere where his mind can rest. I can relate to him because I hate places with loud music and noises like bars, I try to avoid it as much as I can, those places drain my energy. He also talks about how from the outside he and his friends look just like anybody else and there is no way to tell if one is introverted or not, which lead to an assumption that everybody is the same, that introversion is not real when in fact they made up half to the third of population. He goes on to explains how introverts always are in their heads and that “external stimulates really messed up the balance.” One of his statement I find true is “we avoid situation of high stimulation to retain our vitality,” it means introverted people enjoy being by themselves, that it doesn’t mean they are shy, extroverts can be shy as well, it just means they don’t want to spend much time socializing, too much stimulation can drain their energy.


In conclusion, it is fine to be who you are, introverted or extroverted, you just need to accept who you are and everything will be much easier the sooner you realize it’s just a tag that doesn’t mean anything. Being introverted also doesn’t mean that you are “less” compared to extroverts, you approach and do things differently but you are capable of everything just like anybody else. The ideal world I want us to live in is when introverts and extroverts work together to achieve a common goal. An example of such partnership is extroverted Steve Jobs and his partner, Steve Wozniak, different personality but together they changed the world.

Learning moments

Two moments during the course I find most the interesting are how students believe anything from any websites with .org at the end of their domain, and the lack of diversity in Hollywood’s movies. I personally have visited many websites with .org domain with the content is not that great, but it never crosses my mind that they are not 100% reliable. I often time don’t take everything for granted so before trusting something, I always do intensive research on the subject in order to come to my own opinion. It is the same with mainstream media nowadays, you don’t see much diversity but because those movies are overwhelmingly presented, we take it for granted and never really thought why shouldn’t there be more minorities actors/actresses. It is important for each of us to process information critically by themselves, especially in these days when false information is out there with real facts and there is nothing you can do but to do your own research to figure it out.


Cain, Susan. “The Power of Introverts.” TED. Feb. 2012. Lecture.

Coon, Jeremy, Chris Wyatt, Sean Covel, Jared Hess, Jerusha Hess, Jon Heder, Jon Gries, Aaron Ruell, Efren Ramirez, Tina Majorino, Munn Powell, and John Swihart. Napoleon Dynamite. Beverly Hills, Calif: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2004.

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. The Systems Model of Creativity. The Collected Works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, 2014. Print.

TheDaydreamSound. “What is it like to be an artistic introvert?” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 18 Oct. 20015. Web. 26 Feb. 2017.

The Shifting (Skin) Tone of America

The Shifting (Skin) Tone of American Popular Culture.

For this blog post I wanted to discuss the emergence and progress of the (partially colored) multiracial identity in popular culture. In order to give you an understanding of the state of multiracial identities I will provide artifacts that span the spectrum of America’s popular culture mediums. America is a land of cultural and ethnic diversity. Children are born within this diversity of backgrounds who have multiple racial heritages. For this post, when I say multiracial, I am referring to a person with at least two distinct racial backgrounds, one being considered a minority. A 2010 census states that over 1.6 million Americans claimed both Black and White on their forms, that is 138% higher than the decade earlier. This statistic echoes the truth, more and more Americans are having children that have more than one race.

However, one would of not necessarily see that by viewing older popular culture. America has a history of not properly representing multiracial individuals in popular culture. To prove my point, we have to look no further than comics. Comics have always provided a glimpse into the happenings of the time they are printed. During World War II, Captain America was created as a way of compensating for the fear and anxiety of Americans during that time. Looking at old comic books, one can see that often times cultures and ethnic groups were reduced to crass stereotypes. All superheroes who were Asian were kung fu masters. All Black characters had being African as an emphasis of the character, and often had Black in their name, such as Black Panther of the Avengers movies. With such a stereotypical and horrid depiction of non whites, what hope could there be for a group considered even more of a minority. The lack of a nuanced understanding of strictly non Europeans precluded only the most rudimentary representations, or characterizations of every one that was brown. It seemed like asking some to see grey, when they can only can see black and white. This sentiment of being such a minority, that you do not even get a negative stereotype, could have been applied to any other popular culture medium.

However, there has definitely been headway in the establishment of more complex racial identities. For this project, I wanted to review how just within the last decade, the identity of biracial or multiracial individuals within popular culture has been established and how it continues to develop.

I think in part, the presidency of Barack Obama helped spotlight multiracial individuals, for better and worse. One of the largest issues with culture’s perspective on multicultural individuals is to place them in the category of the parent with the darkest skin tone. This can be seen by looking at President Obama, who is biracial. Barack Obama’s father was Black, and his mother was White. He is equally either, and both, yet he is often referred to as the first Black president.

One of the main issues facing multiracial individuals, is the lack of a unique identity. Instead, multiracial individuals are often placed in the same category as the darkest skinned parent.

To see this in action, I decided to utilize videos about Barack Obama. Upon researching videos that spoke on Obama’s race, I noticed that the video almost all had a negative view of him. Often, Caucasians in these videos make issue with Obama being too Black, and the videos in which he is accused of being too White, are all filmed by African Americans. This type of racial conundrum towards those of mixed heritage could be, and still can be, seen in popular culture. In part, this inability (or lack of desire) to differentiate between multicultural individuals is the cause for a lack of cultural identity. However, I noticed the reverse to be true, many people who were considered minorities were extremely critical of Obama.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization, located in Washington DC. It is one of the artifacts I chose to utilize. First I watched a large amount of Youtube videos about Obama. I chose to use the videos this group produces and posts to YouTube. After looking through a pool of different forums and political debate groups, this one seemed the most bipartisan. The production value is high, and the group is a valid government run group. I chose a table discussion/video made shortly after Obama left office, discussing his presidency as a whole. However, this video echoed a strange theme I had seen in my research, that there were those who perceived Obama as too White, or not Black enough. He received much criticism from minorities for not acting more Black, or for acting too Caucasian. I personally understand the frustration of this situation, both having a Black father and White mother, I was often asked why I acted so White, or so Black by the different sides of my family.

The slow development of multiracial identity in popular culture stems from the prejudice and ignorance that is a fundamental part of eurocentrism. It precludes understanding of others. Eurocentrism is a dominant part of our American culture, and thus heavily influences cultural elements such as the news. American news programs have had a strong tendency to be focused on Caucasian aka eurocentric issues, both domestic and foreign. Past manifestations of this is in the 1990’s, when young Caucasian girls went missing, national news organizations would sometimes pick up the story. However, when little Black girls went missing, no one cared, as was retroactively self evident. It can still be seen in towns such as Flint Michigan, and the lack of drinkable water in a supposed first world nation. Many news organizations either did not report or underreported this event, and other similar events that affect predominantly non Caucasian groups. This systematic ignorance of race issues extends to all who are non Caucasian, or not fully Caucasian.

All people use what they see around them to inform their view, both of others and themselves. As adults, when television was the main form of information,it was frustrating to see African Americans disproportionately portrayed as thugs, criminals and the poor. Yet as adults we understand that what we see is not always true. However, as a child of mixed race, being told they are black, seeing bias prejudice and negative stereotypes woven into their cultural landscape can seed hatred in the form of self loathing or racism. Yet, as a multiracial child, you are placed under the label of colored. So, many multiracial children end up absorbing the only source of cultural identity they could find, negative depictions and stereotypes they had seen on television. The means by how this affects children was reviewed in week 4. The way in which stereotypes were depicted, from the news to commercials, enforced a non positive self image. However, modern day examples of positive and amazing multiracial  individuals can be found in abundance.

One such modern example is Spider-Man, Miles Morales, from Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man comic publications. The new Spider-Man, named Miles Morales, is an individual of Hispanic and African heritage. Miles’s heritage plays a role in the world and relationships in which Miles participates. The character and his heritage are an essential role of the character, and is treated with respect, without being a defining attribute. However, Miles Morales’s Spider-Man is just one in a line of the welcomed, recent characters whom are also underrepresented multiracial minorities. However, when researching how people view Miles Morales, I came across articles by individuals that expressed dismay at a “Black Spider-Man” (even though the fictional character is also Hispanic.) This serves to illustrate the upstream battle of establishing a racial identity for multicultural individuals.




Another of the positive multiracial growth popular culture artifacts I chose, addresses eurocentrism and multiracial and colored individuals in the news. The show was call The Nightly Show, and was produced and hosted by Larry Wilmore. The Nightly Show was a night time news talk/comedy show. It followed a very similar vein as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The Nightly Show had a racially and culturally diverse news crews. In addition, The Nightly Show discusses news in a way that is far more removed from eurocentricity than most any news or news like show. The topics were mostly domestic, but topics and reports pertained to issues involving all Americans. In other cases, the reports were also those that mainstream news opted to ignore or underreported. The personalities of the host and cast are a mix of respectful yet introspective.


One of my peers in my discussion group for this class suggested that I use the show Black-ish as an example.This show is a sitcom type show, with a cast of famous actors, most of which are predominantly Black. Reading a bit from Wikipedia before watching the episode, it said the show attempts to relate issues facing minorities amid its comedy and sitcom trappings.
It is interesting observing a popular culture artifact free of foreknowledge. I watched the episode that the classmate had mentioned, and was surprised to see how the show dealt with sophisticated elements of racial identity, and in regards to those of mixed race nonetheless. However, what surprised me more was that this show was not pitched solely as an urban show, which was once code for things consumed by African Americans. One of the main characters, the main male character’s wife, is both Black and White. She also has perception issues as to how she is perceived by those of other races. Personally it was fascinating to see such a realistic yet positive individual who dealt with the issues that come with be multiracial.

The show was aimed at the general audience, and has also won many awards. For a show that is not considered “urban” to have a predominantly Black cast, and also speak about the racial identity of multiracial individuals was unheard of. The suggestion from my classmate definitely helped to improve my perspective of the popular culture perspective on multiracial individuals.

Popular culture has shifted over the last few decades years. The awareness of a multiracial identity has grown greatly since the turn of the century. However, the presence and perspective on multiracial individuals in popular culture, for better or worse, helps enforce said racial identity.

Children utilize popular media as a way to inform their identity, because of this it is important for every child to have healthy information of not only other racial identities, but of their own.

I think that week 2 in our blog, the reflections of others in the Popular Culture Mirror Blog, was very relevant to my blog post. Specifically the concepts of portraying individuals as one dimensional. Frankly, as someone who is multiracial, I get called Black, or African pretty often. This is not an issue in regards to individuals. However, as a person, it is frustrating, I am proud of both sides of my heritage, and when someone makes a point of assuming what I am, I find it disrespectful and lazy. Nonetheless, after this class, I have come to understand that people who have a lack of real life experience with brown people, often rely on the only experience they have with them, which is from the television. With the way in which media of all forms relies on tropes and stereotypes, it is easy to see the seeds of ignorance on the range of racial identities.


However, from the tropes and stereotypes, an amazing comedy duo, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. These two actors, star in their extremely popular television show, called Key and Peele, that airs to this day on Comedy Central. These two actors, in their 40’s, are both biracial, or of black and white heritage. They use their own personal experiences and comedic sense to talk about racial issues. One of the main topics they choose to parody: the struggle of biracial people. The clip I chose is from a movie they made “Keanu”, it has some profane language, it is about a biracial man who was raised “white” yet talks black to trick people. Challenging norms of convention while utilizing comedy helps to examine the multiracial identity. However, because the two actors are themselves, it lets them explore the subject of the biracial dichotomy, in a way someone who is not biracial may feel uncomfortable doing. 

The best way in which to combat ignorance and promote multiracial identities is through breaking down old conventions. It would seem that society often attempts to classify things into groups. In my view, this old style convention of a need for a strict sense of understanding and organization is detrimental. Concepts such as transgender equality, gay marriage and interracial relationships suffer from the negative stigma placed upon them for being ambiguous, or for what is considered falling out of line with what is perceived of as “normal”. Once the concept of having to have others fall in with one’s worldview is gone, the space for identities of all types are allowed to grow and flourish.

America is often referred to as the great melting pot, yet this is at odds with the history of racial strife within America. However, as time progresses, the evidence can be seen in our nation’s children: racial barriers are slowly being broken. As each year passes, the cultural identity of multiracial individuals in popular culture becomes more diverse as it becomes evermore mainstream.


Bendis, Brian Michael et al. Ultimate Comics. New York: Marvel Worldwide, Inc., 2012. Print.

“Black-Ish”. NBC, 2014. TV programme.

Csizmadia, Annamaria. “The Formation Of Positive Identity Development In Bi -Racial Children”. Sociology Compass 5.11 (2011): 995-1004. Web.

Keanu. United States: Jordan Peele Keegan-Michael Key, 2016. DVD.

“Miles Morales Is Coming To The Big Screen, But Is That Enough?”. Movie Pilot. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

Willmore, Larry. “The Nightly Show – Alton Sterling’s Death & Black Lives Matter”. YouTube. N.p., 2015. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

Asian-American Students in Popular Culture

The number of Asian-American students in the United States has been growing throughout the past years, with China holding 31.5%, Vietnam holding 2.1% and Taiwan holding 2.0% of total international student enrollment as of Fall 2015.* Even with these numbers, T.V shows, films, and other forms of popular media often display Asian-American students differently. Popular portrayals of Asian-American students in the media includes: having exceptional grades, having a “tiger mother” parent, and being awkwardly shy with not much to say. Although some of these stereotypes might be true, they are portrayed in an exaggerated way, which masks the reality of being an Asian student. These exaggerated stereotypes are not fair to those that do not fall into any of these stereotypical categories. These stereotypes can paint them into a negative light, where outsiders can have a negative perception of Asian-American students. The different stereotypes of Asian-American students will be shown through analyzing three sources: the movie 21 & Over, the popular TV show Glee, and the popular movie Pitch Perfect. Asian-Americans are unjustly represented in entertainment and in reality, since we aren’t just book nerds and piano-players.

M 189 Franois Chau stars in Relativity Media’s “21 & Over”. © 2011 Twenty One and Over Productions, Inc. Photo Credit : John Johnson

The movie, 21 & Over is a movie that was produced by Relativity Media, Skyland Entertainment and Virgin Produced. The film is rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, some graphic nudity, drugs and drinking. The movie was originally published in Japan, and was released in March 2013 in the USA. The movie focuses on Jeff Chang. The main description of the movie was that “the night before his big medical school interview, a promising student celebrates his 21st birthday with his two best friends.” The one thing that stood out to me was that this movie plays on the stereotype of a strict Asian dad. When Jeff Chang’s Caucasian friends were over, they greeted his dad with the title of doctor, whom they were expecting to not be home. When Jeff Chang’s dad came out, his two friends were both scared and got quiet. The dad stated an intimidating rule telling his Jeff that he has an interview to get into medical school the next morning. The dad ended his line with, “don’t embarrass me,” which shows how strict an Asian parent can be.

After watching that scene, the stereotype that was portrayed was the Asian student having exceptional grades (in this case, Jeff got a medical school interview) and the Asian parents as the super strict “tiger mom.” Tiger mom can be defined as referring to “a strict or demanding mother who pushes her children to be successful academically by attaining high levels of scholastic and academic achievement, using methods regarded as typical of childbearing in East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia to the detriment of the child’s social, physical, psychological and emotional well-being.” This term came from Yale law professor, Amy Chua, in her memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

The second piece of entertainment that stood out as I dig deeper into this research is the popular TV show, Glee. Glee is a TV series that aired from 2009-2015. It is classified as comedy, drama, and music. The series was created by Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk, and Ryan Murphy. It had the description of “a group of ambitious misfits try to escape the harsh realities of high school by joining a glee club, where they find strength, acceptance and, ultimately, their voice, while working to pursue dreams of their own.” Similarly to the movie 21 & Over, Glee had a scene where they showcased a “tiger mom” along with the high expectations Asian parents have on their kids. The scene that confirmed this stereotype was when an Asian male student was telling a girlfriend how he got an “A-“ on a Chemistry test, and how that is equivalent to an “Asian F,” as they called it. Later on, they showed a scene where that same male student and his dad were in a conference room with the principal of the school. The dad was telling the principal how he suspected that his son was on drugs even though the principal told the dad that his son was one of the best students in the school. The reason behind the suspicion was that he received the “A-” on the chemistry test, again repeating how that means it’s an “Asian F.” Reflecting on the first example, both really showed how the popular media portrays the life of an Asian-American student with the strict parent, along with the exceptional grades they should earn.

With the stereotype of “all Asian-American students know what they want to do”, and the stereotype that we want to get into medical school, a survey at Golden West College showed differently. The paper titled, Vietnamese Choice of Majors at Golden West College, written by Nancy Boyer, surveyed Vietnamese college students that are enrolled in two English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. They then wrote a paper on their ideal job, along with completing questionnaires. The survey shows that “a large number of students has not chosen a major yet, 27% were studying pre-health, 21% business and etc.”

Planning to go into Harvard or having an interview at a medical school is a great dream and accomplishment. It just might not be so great and fitting when it comes to stereotyping Asian-American students with it. The research survey at Golden West College on Vietnamese students defeats the stereotypes that were shown in the movie, 21 & Over, along with the tv show Glee.

Lastly, a movie that stood out to me with how they portrayed Asian-American students, is the movie Pitch Perfect. Pitch Perfect is a comedy written by Kay Cannon and Mickey Rapkin, directed by Jason Moore. The movie was released in 2012 with the description, “Becca, a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school’s all-girls singing group. Injecting some much-needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition.” The actress I will be focusing on is Hana Mae Lee, who plays the character of Lilly.

Lilly dresses and acts distinctly different from the other characters in the show. In the beginning, The Bellas had a singing audition where Lilly tried out. Lilly stood on stage with long straight black hair and straight across bangs as she auditioned for a spot in the group. As she started to talk, no sound came out of her mouth. She talked so quietly no one could hear what she was saying. The part where you can barely hear Lilly talk came up often throughout the movie. It is still unclear how Lilly got chosen to be in The Bellas, but the two girls that auditioned Lilly seemed to like her. Even when Lilly does talk, she would say a lot of strange things like “I ate my twin in the womb” or “I set fire to feel joy,” along with “hello my name is Lilly Onakuramara, I was born with gills like a fish.” In relation to all the weird things she said, the writer also made her do a lot of strange things. There was a part where Lilly tried jumping in to break up an argument, but she ultimately got pushed off and fell into a big pile of puke. She then enjoyed her visit on the ground by make a “puke angel.” This portrays the negative stereotype of Asians tending to be a little bit weirder, that they are awkward and very soft-spoken.

During my research about Lilly Onakuramara, I found different interviews that had been done in regards of Lilly. I found that she is actually really cool person with bleached blonde hair, along with a funny and outgoing personality. How they portrayed Lilly in the movie was the complete opposite of how she is in real life.

To conclude, popular culture really has a one-sided view on how Asian-American students are portrayed. Even though the “tiger mom” way of parenting might be true reflecting some family, it is not only Asian-American parents that does this to their children. It is not entirely a put down how popular culture displays how smart and over achieving Asian-American students are. This could be seen as a big compliment. But there is a thin line that lays between the comedy and mocking part of Asian-American students. Sure, stereotypes can be humorous when it is put in the right context. But it is surely not fair to stereotype on the “tiger mom” and good grades, and the quiet and awkward kid. There is fun Asian parents out there that do not fall under the “tiger mom” classification, and there are students who do not want to attend medical schools.  There is also definitely a lot of outgoing Asian-American students that do not have straight black hair with China bangs.

Learning Moments

Doing long and extensive research on who I reflect to be on popular culture was an eye opener as well as a great learning experience. This class forced me to look from different perspectives and analyze different medias. I have always been seeing what the writer wanted me to see, and to not question about what they are showing me. I never would have question about why the casting director would cast someone so outgoing and talkative in real life, and turned her into the character Lilly in Pitch Perfect. There are few ways that popular culture views Asian American students which presents the viewers the small range of knowledge on Asian American cultures. When watching movies, I mostly just watch along and enjoy the storyline of what the movie has to say. 

Week 4, Analyzing Primary Sources gave amazing tips on how to analyze any material. “AIMS” taught me to “acknowledge and suspend bad habits,” “identify purpose and form,” “look closely at details”, and ask further questions overall. These steps were applied to the research of this paper. After this class, I learned to analyze different materials. Is the material legitimate? Or is it just click bates that I always fall for?


21 & Over. Dir. Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. Perf. Miles Teller, Justin Chon and Skylar Astin. Relativity Media, 2013. Film.

Glee. Dir. Murphy Ryan, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan. Perf. Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, and Darren Criss. 20th Television, 2011. Television.

Pitch Perfect. Dir. Jason Moore. Perf. Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, and Brittany Snow. Universal Studios, Rouge, 2012. Film.

*“International Students in the United States.” Project Atlas, United States. Fall 2015, www.iie.org/Services/Project-Atlas/United-States/International-Students-In-US#.WMicOBIrKAw

Boyer, Nancy. Vietnamese Choice of Majors at Golden West College.” 1993. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED365385

Glee – Mike Tells Tina He Got an Asian F. YouTube. YouTube, 03 Nov. 2016. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.

Glee – Mike and his dad have a meeting with Principal Figgins. Youtube, 06 Oct. 2016. 14 Mar. 2017.


Does Good-Looking Equal Un-Intelligent?

By Hannah Cantrell



Female college students embody many amazing things, but those often get lost in popular culture. In 2016, it was estimated that “11.7 million females . . . attend[ed] [college] in fall 2016, compared with 8.8 million males” (National Center for Educational Statistics). As you can see, females are the majority in colleges, but that is not recognized or appreciated in media. For my blog post, I chose to analyze how female college students are portrayed in popular culture, specifically movies. This is something I wanted to analyze because as a female college student myself, the stereotypes negatively affect other females and society in general. Through my research, I have discovered many things about the stereotype of female college students in movies, but most importantly how it has to do with their looks. I also wanted to examine one movie out of the three that could portray a “good-looking” female in a position of power. Overall, I found that female college students portrayed as “good-looking” are shown as less intelligent in films.


Legally Blonde:

Many of us remember seeing Legally Blonde when we were young and how we thought it was a funny, bubbly movie of beauty and success. Essentially (for those of you that don’t know) Legally Blonde is a 2001 movie starring Reese Witherspoon as Elle, a stereotypical blonde, sorority college student who ends up following her ex-boyfriend to Harvard law school. Originally she wanted to go to win him back, but as the movie progresses it is evident that she has the skills to be a better lawyer than him. Along the way, there is a love story written in with Elle and a different law student and the trials and tribulations of her law school journey. To be honest I absolutely loved this movie as a kid and saw it multiple times after it came out. It is a very entertaining movie that keeps you interested in the story line. However, when looking for sources for my blog post, I immediately thought this was a negative portrayal of a female college based off of looks.

Women college students are often stereotyped by how they look rather than by how they are as students. In Legally Blonde this rule is no exception. The “dumb blonde” stereotype is one portrayed often in films by depicting blonde female actresses as “dumb” because they care about how they look, most notably about their blonde hair. For example, Elle is portrayed as a blonde, sorority girl who is obsessed with the color pink and how she looks. This is done to diminish the quality of her intelligence and present her as something other than what she actually is. This is a common theme within many popular culture movies, as they portray women as sexual objects to make their achievements outside of their looks seem so much more astonishing.

A review of the movie called “A Rich Ditz Has Both Brains and the Last Laugh” by A.O. Scott offers a complimentary praise of Legally Blonde, while also offering criticism about certain aspects. He offers admiration for both Reese Witherspoon’s performance and the content of the movie itself. However, he also notes that the movie “mock[s] her ditzy rich-girl cluelessness at one moment and admir[es] her moxie the next” (Scott). I also found this to be true when I was analyzing the content. It seemed like they wanted her to be portrayed as a success story by beating the odds of her stereotype, yet they would juxtapose that by having her do something that insulted her intelligence. For example, in her law school application video, Elle has it filmed in a pool wearing a bikini, automatically accentuating her sexual (not intellectual) appeal. This was just one of the many ways the film portrayed her in a negative light, highlighting her looks rather than her brains. Overall, this review was helpful in presenting positive facts about the movie, while also offering suggestions on how it could be better.


The House Bunny:

Another comedic movie from the 2000’s is The House Bunny made in 2008 starring Anna Faris. The House Bunny is essentially about a Playboy bunny that gets kicked out the mansion the day after her 27th birthday. Unaware of where to go, she stumbles upon an “unpopular” sorority and ends up becoming their “house mother”. The movie has a lot of comedic moments, like having Anna Faris’ character Shelley do ridiculous things such as wearing glasses way too strong in an effort to look “smarter” for her date. However, this also leads to the negative portrayal of female college students in this movie. Sexuality is held in a high regard and intellect is held in a low regard.

Since Shelley is a current, and then former, Playboy bunny in the movie she is stereotypically cast as blonde, tan, and voluptuous. Most of the movie is centered around how she looks, from the sorority respecting her more, to getting attention from all males in the film. Also, the film decided to cast the sorority all as stereotypes that gather negative attention based on how they look. Shelley comes in to transform them and make the girls desirable to men, rather than teach them to be confident with whom they are. The House Bunny takes the idea of a damsel in distress and turns it into a character unable to see whom she really is since she is caught up in trying to impress others.


“‘The House Bunny’ Skimps on Comedy; This Fish (or Bunny) Out-of-Water Tale is Legally Dumb,” by Colin Covert, as you can probably tell by the title, is a negative review of The House Bunny. Covert definitely offers a harsh review of the film as he said in the article, “This film, a custom-crafted star vehicle that Faris developed and co-produced, is a wasteland of humor where sickly jokes go to die. This dumb “Bunny” should have stayed in its hole.” While there was obvious bias in this article, I found it a brutal review that pointed out the stereotypes that make this movie damaging to female college students. What I most importantly took out of the review was that other people are seeing these stereotypes are not happy with them either.


From Straight A’s to XXX:

We all know how expensive college tuition is, right? For one student her tuition was extremely expensive and she found herself in a position with no help to pay for it. The movie From Straight A’s to XXX, tells the real story of Duke college student Miriam Weeks who turned to porn in order to pay for her 60,000 dollars a year tuition. She successfully keeps it a secret until a classmate finds out and soon the entire school knows about her alter ego. Instead of hiding, she decides to take an interview with the school paper and stand up for her decision. I found it refreshing how this movie takes the stand of being neutral and allowing the viewer to decide how they feel about the main character rather than portraying her as weak or vulnerable, versus Legally Blonde and The House Bunny.

What is particularly interesting is that Miriam describes her decision to do porn to the paper as a feminist decision. She says how it is empowering for her to be able to express her sexuality. The movie also brings up her homework and/or classes often to remind the viewer how she is still a student and intelligent. Porn stars are often portrayed in popular culture as self-absorbed and un-intelligent. It is very commendable for this movie to have presented a view that did not thrash the main character because it could have been easy for them to do so given the context. Instead, it allows us to keep open minds and truly understand why Miriam decided to become a porn star, and how it ultimately benefitted her.

“Lifetime’s ‘Duke student porn star’ Movie is a Scathing Commentary on College Tuition Costs” by Emily Yahr is a complimentary review of From Straight A’s to XXX. The purpose of this article is to analyze and articulate how the movie will portray Miriam in a position of power. It is also about a woman who made a choice for herself. The article focuses heavily on the cost of college tuition, making the piece less about a porn star and more about how difficult it is to pay for college. As someone who is currently dealing with that reality, one can better understand why Miriam made the decision to become a porn star. She is a woman who wants to be educated and found a way to do so that does not interfere with going to class or being able to study.



Popular culture and specifically film, have cast female college students in a negative light, focusing on their looks rather than intellect. Legally Blonde and The House Bunny are examples of how female college students are portrayed by how they look rather than how they are as students. However, From Straight A’s to XXX portrays a female college student who is in the sex industry but is confident in who she is. On the other hand, overall female college students are shown as “popular” based on being good looking and are portrayed as less good looking when playing “smart” characters. As you can see from my analysis, this is prevalent in many movies in the twenty-first century. As a female college student myself, I see this stereotype prevalent in real life too. As females are now the majority of students in college, I think it is time for popular culture to start to accurately represent them in popular culture.


Learning Moments:

Honestly, I was most intrigued this term by learning what labels my classmates identified themselves with. I found it was very interesting to see the labels other people embody and how that affects their perceptions of themselves. It also made me think about what labels I attach to myself and how some of those are positive and some are not. We definitely label ourselves by what society sees us as, maybe a daughter or girlfriend, rather than a creator or an intellectual. It made me wonder what labels other people would say I am, versus what I categorize myself as. I found this exercise and the eventual Big Picture Blog post to be an important step in realizing what stereotypes there are about someone like me out in the world, and how I can choose to break out of those.



Covert, Colin.”‘The House Bunny’ skimps on comedy.” Star Tribune. Star Tribune, 21         Aug. 2008. Web. 26 Feb. 2017.

“Fast Facts.” Fast Facts. National Center for Education Statistics, 2016. Web. 24 Feb.      2017.

From Straight A’s to XXX. Dir. Vanessa Parise. Perf. Haley Pullos. Sepia Films, 2017.

Legally Blonde. Dir. Robert Luketic. Prod. Marc Platt and Ric Kidney. Perf. Reese            Witherspoon. MGM Home Entertainment, 2001.

Scott, A. O. “A Rich Ditz Has Both Brains and the Last Laugh.” The New York Times.         The New York Times, 12 July 2001. Web. 26 Feb. 2017.

The House Bunny. Dir. Fred Wolf. Prod. Adam Sandler, Jack Giarraputo, Allen Covert,   Heather Parry, Karen McCullah Lutz, Kirsten Smith, and Anna Faris. By Karen          McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith. Perf. Anna Faris, Colin Hanks, and Emma Stone. Columbia Pictures, 2008.

Yahr, Emily. “Lifetime’s ‘Duke student porn star’ movie is a scathing commentary on         college tuition costs.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 10 Feb. 2017. Web. 26 Feb. 2017.




Multicultural Identity

Today I am writing to share with others my experience in my popular culture course. I was given the assignment to explore my identity in popular culture. I was immediately intimidated when I began to discover my identity in popular culture because it was challenging for me to think of the last time I felt that I identified with what I was watching or reading. I was so excited because I have always wanted to do research on my identity. The identity I chose was being a person who is multicultured or a person of mixed race. I often see biracial people, and since attending Portland State University, I have had many people ask me questions about my background. My initial questions for my identity was how do multi-cultured people identify? How do multicultured people face stigmas? What concerns do multicultured people face? And so on.

When finding popular culture artifacts around my identity, it was hard to find any on multicultured people. So, instead, I found media that portrayed diverse identities. To me, diverse has many different meanings. When I identify as diverse I mean that I am different, I have four various ethnic backgrounds, and I will never identify as just one because I feel that that is disrespectful towards my family members who came before me. So, with my search for popular culture artifacts, I searched for diversity in ads instead of multicultured.

The first ad I found was a Coca-Cola commercial that aimed to promote optimism, inclusion and humanity values that should bring us all together. This ad especially stuck out to me because it was sung to “America the Beautiful” in English, Spanish, Keres Pueblo, Tagalog, Hindi, Senegalese, French, and Hebrew. It showed many different ethnic groups laughing and sharing happy moments together with their friends and family. This commercial matters to me because it was made by a big company like Coca-Cola. Instead of promoting their soda with a celebrity or a famous athlete they chose to promote their soda and recognize the different people who made up or nation and send a message saying to promote optimism, inclusion and humanity values that should bring us all together. The second ad I found was for Apple Canada. The entire commercial was filled with images of people from all different backgrounds that you don’t typically see when you turn on your t.v. The individuals in the ad were interracial couples, models of color and siblings. What made the ad compelling to me was the narrator in the background who states people as “a human family” and that we are more alike than we are unalike. This is significant to me because at the end of the commercial I was able to identify with their message. It also sparked my interest on how Canada views multicultured people. My last popular culture artifact was by the Diversity and Inclusion Ad Council titled “love has no labels.” It starts with two people kissing shown as an x-ray, then they come out of the x-ray machine and surprises the audience by being a non-traditional couple. It then continues with, interracial couples, those with disabilities, families, interracial friends, and those who have diverse religions. The key message is that love has no labels, love is love. This ad is important to me because it adds that we are all humans and humanity joins us all in a community.  

Looking back at my first discoveries on my identity, it validates that culture has a bigger picture to it. The light bulbs went off in my head learning that as a person who identifies as multicultured, I need to stop excluding myself from everything. I feel that I view myself as “other,” I exclude myself from finding strong connections out there because I am not a whole of anything. In the first Coca-Cola ad I learned about inclusion and humanity and then related it to how although I don’t have a single ethnic group to identify with, there is a group at Portland State University for each of my ethnicities that I can join. I feel that this will allow me to learn even more about myself and strengthen my identity. In the Apple ad, I enjoyed being reminded that we are more alike than we are unalike and that made me relate to my current friend groups. Even though we may not seem the same at first glance, or share the same backgrounds, but we are very alike, which is why we are friends. We support each other throughout hard courses, and all have a desire to get into a graduate program. This should not be overseen just because we don’t resemble each other through shared ethnicities and backgrounds. Love has no labels taught me that the connections people have are real and valid regardless of how “different” it may be. I can relate this to moving to Portland, a majority White place and seeing how people are not used to seeing a person of a mixed background.

The next journey I took in this course was looking at academic articles about my identity, to my surprise, it was very easy for me to find articles. The first journal I found was titled “Parental Perceptions of Multicultural Education in an Ethnically/Racially Diverse School District” by Mary Jo Haveman. The purpose of this study was to see how that outside of academia and education circles think about multicultural education. Haveman believes that parents have a heavy influence on children’s perspectives and ultimately their educational experience. It is hard not to notice that the curricula in our schools are not reflected the nature of the American experience for most cultures. This study was significant to me because I learned how multiculturalism is implemented in academia. It is opposed by those in office, yet still recommended. I feel that this creates a gap and adds to people having cultural biases and stigmas because students are not being educated on the history of multiculturalism and how different ethnic groups of people came to America. I also learned that parents already thought that their children were having multicultural approaches in the curriculum taught at school, so they never thought to talk about it with their children.

The second article was “Multicultural Identity: What It Is and Why It Matters,” by Angela-MinhTu D. Nguyen and Veronica Banet-Martinez. It speaks about how multiculturalism and globalization influence how people see themselves, others and how they organize the world around them. I became aware of the issue of how individuals develop a sense of community, national, cultural, ethnic and racial group members because meaningful in situations of culture clashing. I also learned that there is no standard agreed on definition made for a multicultural person, it is more of an individual self-label. The article also reveals how multiculturalism has been formally adopted as an official policy as nations such as Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands. Policies include dual citizenship, government support for media outlets in minority languages, support for cultural holiday’s, celebrations, community centers and acceptance of traditional and religious codes of dress and behavior in public space. Policies influence the structures and decisions of governments to ensure political and economic resources are allocated equitably to all represented cultural groups. Policies encourage ethnic and cultural groups to maintain, develop, and share cultures with others and accept and interact with other groups. Consequently, when national policies and government groups’ acculturation attitudes do not match with acculturating individuals’ strategies, conflicts and problems in intergroup relations may arise.

The last article I read was A Transformational Journey: Exploring Our Multicultural Identities Through Self-Study, by Amber Strong Makaiau and Anne Reilley Freese. The article was the self-study of multicultural identities took place in a high-school ethnic studies course and a university multicultural education course with 117 participants. What makes this study particularly interesting is that in Hawaii, no ethnic group is the minority. The study engaged the student to have conversations about multicultural views. Each shared their beliefs, experiences and own biases about different ethnic groups. Not everyone always agreed with what was said, but they were able to challenge each other’s assumptions. This also allowed for students to reconstruct ideas about their identities and how they viewed others. The teachers learned that if they also shared their stories, the students would feel more safe and comfortable opening up about their experiences.

Reading published research articles also added to the bigger picture of culture. It validates that multicultured identities are relevant and should not be pushed aside. In the first article, I learned the struggle of implementing multicultural education in academics. I related this to my education growing up and learning about the Boston Tea Party, 9/11 and traditional white classics of America. I do feel that historical events should be taught in schools, yet I can’t understand why students are not learning all of America’s history. Immigration and the history of so many different people coming to America are so important to teach and for students to learn and identify with. The second article showed me how multicultural policies could be nationally adopted. I then related it to my experience and how those policies would affect me in my everyday life. I feel that although it wouldn’t make a dramatic difference, I would value myself more and feel as if I am being recognized and valued as a muticultured citizen. The last article taught me that if there are programs implemented to help students understand and talk about their identities, then students will be open to learning and positively respond to open conversations. This made me relate to my journey in this course, Professor Bergland made me discover something that has always been on the back of my mind, and I enjoyed learning about my identity. Without it being mixed with my education I may have never gotten this opportunity.

Another significant learning moment in this term was when I read the journal “Inequality in 700 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Gender, Race, & LGBT Status from 2007 to 4014” by Dr. Stacy L. Smith et, al. It amazes me how times have not changed and has me wondering why films are made in the way they are. I feel that films are a way of escaping reality and when I watch a movie I’d like to connect with the characters on screen. Why do producers feel that there is this ideal character? It gives me a sense of false hope because if the characters on screen are ideal women, I am far from ideal. The ASC research also revealed that “half of the children under the age of five are from an underrepresented racial and ethnic group.” Knowing that information, I feel that producers should make more diverse characters because as a child when you see movies or t.v shows you often end up idolizing that character and wanting to relate to them and dress up as them.

I have learned so much about my identity through this assignment. My favorite things that I learned are how other nations implement laws with for multicultured people, learning how implementing a program that addresses those who are multicultured helped students and how those big companies like Apple and Coca-Cola are marketing their products with non-traditional identities seen on screen. From here, I would like to find out if more schools are adding multicultural education to their curriculum and if the United States has ever thought of adding policies for those who identify as multicultured.

The moral of sharing my experience of my multicultural identity from my Popular Culture course was to share how such small things, like ad’s or the various ways education, can impact those who identify as multicultured. I feel that by implementing multicultural education into our school’s curriculum, people will be able to find their identity and this will also allow everyone to understand one another versus creating stigma and bias. I also feel that as a Nation we need to stop ignoring the multicultured identity because there are so many people who identify this way.

Haveman, Mary J. “Parental Perceptions Of Multicultural Education In An Ethnically/Racially Diverse School District”. (1999). UMI Publishing.

Love Has No Labels. Diversity & Inclusion AD Council. Retrieved February 2017. Retrieved from, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnDgZuGlHs.

Makaiau, Amber S and Freese, Anne R. “A Transformational Journey: Exploring Our Multicultural Identities Through Self-Study.” (2013). Routledge Taylor and Francis Group.

Nguyen, Angela-MinhTu D., and Benet- Martínez, Verónica. “Multicultural Identity: What It Is and Why It Matters.” (n.d).  U.C Riverside.

Official Coca Cola Big Game Commercial 2014 America Is Beautiful. (2014, December 18). Retrieved from https://www.youtbe.com/watch?v=ry6FSK6UEk

The Human Family – Shot on IPhone. 2016, August 04). Retrieved February 2017. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=#2x3qEgsWEk&list=PLT_sdCjs1xFEiMhkRS3eKbwxmWBBWKIOs&index=13

Christianity in Popular Culture Media

Upon doing research on how Christianity is portrayed through the media, I found a few interesting sources that depict such a negative perception on how Christians behave and communicate their faith in public. The primary sources that illustrate such strong characterizations of Christians were narrowed down to the movie Easy A, a YouTube video of a Christian woman interrupting a Muslim ceremony, and an interview of the Westboro Baptist Church members on the Tyra Banks show. After analyzing various popular culture artifacts, it seems that Christians are generally portrayed as aggressive, narrow-minded hypocrites. To be more specific, I will focus on the portrayal of Christian women that are depicted in the media. The common representation of Christians acting out in hostility and being prejudiced sets a stereotype among all Christians which makes many of them feel reluctant to express their identity for the fear of being attacked verbally or physically by others.

I grew up in a Wesleyan based Christian church. Many of its core values revolved around giving authority to biblical teachings, beliefs, and priorities, as well as spreading these components of Christianity. I was brought up to believe that people from all backgrounds are welcomed to learn more about Christ and to be respectful of other people’s decisions no matter how much I disagree with them. Our church is big on fellowship and acceptance of one another. It has always been a focus to spread love and compassion towards people despite their differences. Belittling or attacking other people’s beliefs is never encouraged and that’s not how situations are dealt with when conversing with someone that has opposing views. We have grown as a church with the understanding that we are not perfect individuals and we don’t always have life all figured out. As a Christian woman, I see myself as just another human being struggling through life like anyone else. Just because I believe something so strongly doesn’t mean I will go out of my way to put myself above others and rebuke their opinions. People should have the choice to believe and do what they want, and I may not always agree with it, but I will respect it. A few of the popular culture sources I analyzed conveyed Christianity on extreme levels of hate and condemnation; these common portrayals are what commonly lead people to jump to conclusions about the Christian identity.

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 6.25.30 PM.png

In the movie Easy A, Olive (Emma Stone) lives her high school days going unnoticed. She is a straight A student that stays out of trouble. One day, Olive tells her best friend a small white lie about losing her virginity to a fictional college boy. The perfectly dressed and “innocent” Christian girl Marianne (Amanda Bynes) overhears this conversation and rumors flood the school campus about Olive being an adulterer. Olive gains a reputation as this girl who sleeps around as she continues to start more rumors about herself to help the males in the high school look “cool”. During this time, Olive is also studying the novel The Scarlett Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne. Olive relates her situation to the main character Hester Prynne, who is also ridiculed by the act of adultery by the Puritans. Throughout the movie, Olive is verbally harassed by Marianne and her Christian group of friends. Marianne and her friends carried on with these persecutions due to hearing the rumors that circulated the school, but never went straight to Olive to hear her full story. Olive described Marianne and her Christian friends as a group that liked to “shove their religion down people’s throats”. Marianne also carries herself with superiority and talks to Olive in a condescending manner. She is quick to point fingers and express disgust towards someone she knows nothing about. Re-watching this movie, it made me think that non-Christians may generalize all Christian women to be arrogant and seek out to make secular individuals look bad in order to make them look better. Christians can often be perceived as people who jump to conclusions right off that bat and make immediate accusations towards people, when this is not always the case. This movie expressed a relevant theme that if you believe everything you hear, you are bound to make snap judgements about the things you know very little about.

Image result for christine weick interrupts

The next artifact I analyzed was a video from the FOX 7 Austin YouTube channel titled “Texas Muslim Capitol Day Interrupted by Christine Weick”. The video clip shows a Muslim woman speaking on a podium about celebrating the Texas Muslim Capitol Day. A few sentences into her speech a woman protester approaches the podium from behind, aggressively snatches the microphone, and shouts “I proclaim the name of the Lord Jesus Christ over the capital of Texas. I stand against Islam and the false prophet Mohammad. Islam will never dominate the United States and by the grace of God it will not dominate Texas!” After releasing the microphone to join the rest of the protestors she continues to shout “Mohammed is dead!”. So much for spreading love and acceptance to all people, right? Herein, is another very negative representation of a Christian woman. I imagine secular viewers watching this on the news and being influenced to think that Christian women are wildly barbaric, disrespectful, and bigoted. It is obvious that Christian values do not always coalesce with those of other religions, cultures, and political views. I just find it bothersome that the Christian groups that are frequently portrayed on the media are organizations that are quite extreme and exhibit so much hatred. Many people may not understand that there a number of different Christian organizations and groups to be involved in. Various organizations have their own preferences on how they decide to minister their faith, but if majority of what is being seen on the news are malicious Christians bashing on other religions, then it may lead people to think there is only one type of Christian.


My last primary source was the most interesting to analyze. A mother and her two daughters were interviewed on the Tyra Banks show. The women that were interviewed are members of the Westboro Baptist Church. The Westboro Baptist Church is known for their hate or large disapproval of the LGBT community, and anyone who disagrees with their belief system and way of thinking. This group pickets in a number of cities throughout the year to express their belief on how God hates just about anyone outside of their organization. Throughout the interview Tyra Banks and Shirley Phelps-Roper (mother of two girls) are having more of an argument than a discussion. Shirley constantly interrupts Tyra and makes snide remarks about everyone going to hell. There is a clip that also shows Shirley talking about how the Westboro Baptist Church gets harassed by many people. Their homes have been damaged, they have been shot at, etc. She goes on to talk about how she doesn’t understand why people do this and says “I thought this was the do your own thing generation, tolerance, loving-where is that? Where is your diversity?” I found it interesting for her to ask such a question while she claims herself to be a Christian leader while participating in so much hate crime. A lot of hypocrisy was depicted in this interview. Tyra Banks has a fairly large following, therefore there is no doubt that this interview put Christians in bad light. It was very evident of who came off as the “bad guy” while watching this video clip, and as a Christian woman myself, it makes me feel as if the mere mention of claiming a Christian identity already sets me into the image of being this horrible person that attacks other people’s beliefs and values. This also ties back to the concept that there are so many organizations that minister their faith in different ways. Some people choose to minister in hate and others with compassion and respect. However, the sweet and gentle is not always publicized. People are more triggered and attentive when they view something controversial and chaotic because it’s more interesting.

A journal article I looked into discussed a study on how Christian adolescents between the ages of eleven to nineteen in England were treated when others knew about their faith. There were reports of slurs, mocking, labeling, stereotypes and bullying towards the Christian adolescents. (Moulin 2016) Individuals even mentioned how depiction of Christians in the media were misleading and how it led many of their non-religious peers to make assumptions about their character. Accusations of Christians being the teacher’s pet or a know-it-all were common reports from the younger adolescents. This goes to show how the media does have an influence on its viewer’s perception of people. The study claims that adolescents felt afraid to admit that they were Christian. I find it unsettling that starting at such a young age, people are so hesitant and ashamed to claim who they are and the things that are important to them. It’s unfortunate that there are so many exaggerated and contradictory representations of Christianity spread throughout the media. It is pretty rare to see a Christian act on a more genuine and normal scale, rather than trying to act perfectly innocent or extremely aggressive and hateful. The depictions of a Christian that are not portrayed as extreme are seen in movies that are produced by Christians; God Is Not Dead and October Baby are some examples of this. God Is Not Dead is about an evangelical male college student who is challenged by his philosophy professor to prove to that God is not dead to his. He uses no aggressive language or behavior when addressing the class, he doesn’t force people to side with his opinion, and he even claims himself everyone has a choice in life. October Baby is a movie about a young college girl who goes on a trip to discover where she truly came from. The Christian characters played in the movie were conveyed as gentle and empathizing mentors.

Above all, the portrayal of Christian women in popular culture media is depicted with a lot of negativity. This was shown in the movie Easy A, FOX News YouTube clip of the Texas Muslim Capitol Day, and a YouTube video of Tyra Banks interviewing members of the Westboro Baptist Church. Each Christian woman represented in these movies or videos was labeled to be hypocritical, crazy, and narrow-minded. This has a major influence in the media in stereotyping Christians to be arrogant, fake, and hostile people; these pre-set labels may cause Christians, who do not behave this way, to live in fear of being harassed or criticized. It’s unfortunate that the media is fond of publicizing crazy, triggering, and exaggerated content of Christians because it generalizes all Christians to come off as devaluing individuals, when there are Christians that are capable of being respectful and cordial towards people who disagree with them.

Learning Moment

One learning moment I was able to take away from this class was going through the process of analyzing primary sources for my identity project. Reviewing each source multiple times allowed me to dig deeper into why viewers may perceive an identity to be generalized a certain way. Some components of the content were highlighted more to create emphasis. Analyzing films, I was able to carefully observe the way actors wanted to convey a certain identity. It was very interesting to examine the different techniques that were used to convince the viewer to look at the character in a particular way. The Analysis Move videos from the course texts were helpful in paying attention to certain details. Another learning moment that was very helpful to me was the thesis grilling activity. I thought it was insightful to hear different people’s feedback on my thesis. Video chatting on Google Hangouts was a new experience for me, so it was interesting to be involved in an activity like this.







Moulin, Daniel. “Reported Experiences of Anti-Christian Prejudice among Christian Adolescents in England”. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 06 May 2016. Web

Gluck, Will., Devine, Zanne. Prods. Easy A. 17, September 2010. Movies

Fox 7 Austin. 06, February 2015. “Texas Muslim Capitol Day Interrupted by Christine Weick” YouTube.

Burns, Steve. 19, April, 2011. “Crazy Baptist Lady On Tyra Bank’s Show Part 2” Youtube.

Easy A 17, September 2010 Google images. http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lonhtg2IiW1qdqlhzo1_r1_500.gif

Christine Weick Interrupts Muslim Capitol Day. Google images.


Shirley Rogers on Tyra Banks Show. Google Images.














The Diverse Portrayals of Asian Americans


Imagine it’s your first day of class. You’re sitting next to an Asian student when your professor asks you to introduce yourself to the people around you. What are the thoughts going on in your mind? Do you expect this student to be a Pre-Med profession? Broken English? Have the last name Nguyen? Your answers to these questions will vary when compared to others’ answers. Why is that?

When it comes to the portrayals of Asian Americans in popular culture, there is not just one typical stereotype. The stereotypes for Asians range from bad drivers to being super good at math. How come there is not just one dominant known thing about Asian Americans?

Why it Matters

According to a study conducted by members of University of Southern California Annenberg’s Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative (2014) about inequality in popular films, Asian characters only make up 5.3% of the 100 top films of 2014. More than 40 of those 100 films have no Asian speaking characters. Only 17 out of the 100 top films observed featured a lead or co-lead actor that was not White.

The media is the main source for mass communication. Either it be the news, television show or memes on the internet, we pick up information from what is being spread throughout. Because there is such a low percentage of Asian American actors and even a lower percentage of Asian American celebrities, the audience of the media cannot get a true grip on who/what Asian Americans are. That is why Asian Americans are shown throughout the media to be so different and not just have one “typical” stereotype.


Asian American actors are usually side characters and are rarely ever given the lead roles. As mentioned above, only 5.3% of characters are Asian. This lack of Asian American characters in the media causes Asian Americans to be effortlessly represented in various ways, implying that portraying Asian Americans is not important.

its a crisis

To further explain how variously Asian Americans are represented in the media, we will dig into different “cultures” of the media: Meme, Television and Movie culture.

Meme Culture

For those who don’t know, memes (rhymes with seem) are pictures that spread throughout the internet and are usually made for jokes. When it comes to Asians, the meme culture heavily puts the stereotype of intelligent Asians, strict parents and bad drivers into play.

The meme culture usually shows Asians in negative ways. I have yet to see a positive meme about Asian people. Memes are meant to be funny in some way; either by being super relevant, actually funny, or for being so dumb that they’re funny.

Television Culture

Think of a TV show that has Asian actors as the lead role. For most, the first show to pop up into their mind is Fresh Off the Boat.

Fresh Off the Boat is an ABC comedy sitcom about a Taiwanese family that have just recently come to America. Jessica Huang, played by Constance Wu, is the mother of the family who takes on the “hard working Asian” stereotype. In the episode called, “Sisters Without Subtext,” Jessica gets into an argument with her sister, Connie, because of her passion for painting.  Jessica says that it’s selfish for Connie to go after what she’s passionate about instead of what will help keep her family together. According to Jessica, there is no such thing as “free time” or “hobbies.” Everything she does is for money, which helps her maintain her family.

Another stereotype that can be seen in Fresh Off the Boat is the “traditional Asian.” In the episode, “Manchurian Dinner Date,” Eddie Huang, played by Hudson Yang, is excited for his mother, Jessica, to meet his girlfriend, Alison, who is white. But knowing that his mom will only accept an Asian girl, Eddie brings home his fake girlfriend Aubrey, who is Chinese, instead. Audrey does the traditional Asian thing where she takes off her shoes before entering the Huang’s household. She even brings a gift of boxed oranges to present to Eddie’s parents.

So, we’ve already talked about one TV show with lead roles consisting of Asian actors. Now think of another one. Having a hard time? I did too.

The show Nikita stars a cold assassin whose mission is to take down the secret organization that trained and betrayed her. The main character who takes on the role of Nikita is Asian American actress, Maggie Q.


According to the USC study mentioned above, females are three times more likely to be shown in sexy attire, with some nudity, and referenced as physically attractive (2014). In this CW network television show, Maggie Q is shown as a sexy assassin who will sometimes even seduce her way through missions. So what stereotype is put upon Maggie Q’s character, Nikita?

Maggie Q being a mixture of Vietnamese and Polish-Irish while taking on the role of a sexy assassin, makes her Nikita character a target of “yellow fever.” The term yellow fever is used to describe men who like Asian women because they see them as sexual geishas or school girls. According to YouTuber Anna Akana, from Cate Matthew’s (2014) article, “Here’s What ‘Yellow Fever’ Really Means,”  yellow fever is “the living embodiment of offensive stereotypes.” This “yellow fever” stereotype pretty much says that you’re automatically a sexual desire because of your skin color and/or race.

tina bangs gif.gif

Movie Culture

With the percentage of white actors being at 73.1% compared to the 5.3% of Asian actors (2014), it’s no surprise that Asian American actors rarely ever get the lead roles in movies.


In the movie Mean Girls, the lead actress is Lindsey Lohan who plays the role of Cady Heron. Cady is a teenager trying to fit in at a public school that is filled with laws of popularity that divides students into cliques. Cady points out two specific Asian cliques; the smart nerds and the cool Asians. Each clique shows Asians in different ways.

The smart nerds are given about two seconds of camera time and were not given any speaking lines. Those actors were irrelevant after the couple seconds. It would have been cool if the movie went a little deeper in detail with each clique. But who am I kidding. Mean Girls is a movie about a white girl who moves to a school and ends up being friends with three other white girls.

The cool Asians didn’t consist of smart members. Throughout this movie, the Vietnamese girls of the cool Asians’ clique were given very short appearances. Their clips consisted of them arguing with one another for being “boyfriend-stealers” and “scammers.” Usually, you would probably just expect Asian characters to play the smart nerd role. But in this movie, the preppy cool Asians can be seen fighting and calling each other “sluts.”


Why is there a lack in Asian American actors?

Notice that I questioned Asian American actors, not characters. The only actor to fulfill an Asian role should be someone who is Asian themselves, right? So why is Japanese cyborg Motoko Kusanagi, the main protagonist in Masamune Shirow’s “Ghost in the Shell” anime and manga series, played by White actor Scarlett Johansson?

In Keith Chow’s (2016) New York Times article, Why Won’t Hollywood Cast Asian Actors, Hollywood’s reasoning for not casting Asian American actors in films is  because “ not any of them have a box office track record.” Hollywood says that it’s not about race. It’s about green (money). But Chow’s findings from a study done by the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, goes against the sayings of Hollywood. The study found that films with diverse leads, such as Fast and Furious, resulted in not only higher box office numbers, but also a higher investment for studios and producers.

How does the lack of Asian American actors impact the representation of Asian American people?

As we can see, Asian Americans are represented in various ways. The positive is that not all Asian Americans are the same, so having numerous portrayals of Asian Americans helps show the many different ways Asian Americans are. The negative is why they are represented in so many ways. Asian Americans are represented so effortlessly, implying that popular culture does not think Asian Americans are important or good enough for big roles, or to even act as themselves. Mickey Rooney, a White male, played the role of Mr. Yunioshi, a Japanese character in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961). James D’Arcy, also a White male, was casted to play the Archivist, a Korean character, in the movie “Cloud Atlas” (2012). The lack of Asian American actors implies that Asian Americans are not good enough to be casted to play themselves, so White actors are casted for their part instead. The long history of whitewashing can be briefly summed up with this slideshow from the New York Times.

Learning Moments

I expected this class to be about how certain things are portrayed in popular culture. I was partly right, but not in a way most would expect. I not only learned about how things were portrayed in the media, but also as to why.

In week 2, we read a journal from Diane Watt (2012) titled, “The Urgency of Visual Media Literacy in Our Post-9/11 world: Reading Images of Muslim Women in the Print News Media.” I learned that not everything you read is what it seems. The images that we see in the media don’t always correlate with the story that is given. “Images of women from one part of the world are routinely placed with a story from another. This means that a photo of a Shia’a Palestinian refugee in Southern Lebanon could accompany a story about the activities of Sunni males in Afghanistan – even though the religious, gender, class, cultural, historical, and political differences between two such groups may be vast” (34). From this journal, I realized that images are used to draw our attention to what the writer wants us to read, knowing that we won’t question what the truth is.

I also learned to question myself, “Why does this matter?” In week 6, we read articles about The News. What makes good or bad news and what makes news good or bad for you. In week 7, I learned to use the Newsworthy Criteria to answer my question of “Why does this matter?” which I will be applying to my everyday life.


M., Eddie. (2011). High Expectations Asian Father. Retrieved from:  http://i1.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/facebook/000/157/381/9196237.jpg

Asian Crossover. Meme Generator. Retrieved from: https://cdn.meme.am/instances/400x/67495141.jpg

Driving Meme. Kappit. Retrieved from:  http://www.kappit.com/img/pics/201503_2229_gedfc_sm.jpg

Dr. Carmen Lee, Katherine Pieper, Stacy L. Smith, & Dylan DeLuca, Marc Chouei, Traci Gillig. (2014). Inequality in 700 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Gender, Race, & LGBT Status from 2007 to 2014. USC Annenburg School for Communication and Journalism. Retrieved from: http://annenberg.usc.edu/pages/~/media/MDSCI/Inequality%20in%20700%20Popular%20Films%208215%20Final%20for%20Posting.ashx

It’s a crisis Gif: https://media.giphy.com/media/l0HFjUCsgWTmmUMDK/giphy.gif

Mean girls Gif: https://media.giphy.com/media/umHYJnLapYbcY/giphy.gif

Tina’s bangs Gif: http://66.media.tumblr.com/932d0df9234cc762a843c80c406b235c/tumblr_o6h716TeNC1so18vqo1_500.gif

Matthews, Cate. (2014). Here’s What ‘Yellow Fever’ Really Means. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/29/anna-akana-asian-girls_n_5628201.html

Mean Girls Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBxxLCqQn2U

Fresh Off the Boat Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLD8L7rsu2M

Nikita Gif: http://s43.photobucket.com/user/renzordic/media/Ad%20GIFs/tumblr_l8il4dt7o41qaextmo1_500.gif.html

Chow, Keith. (2016). Why Won’t Hollywood Cast Asian Actors. The New York Times. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/23/opinion/why-wont-hollywood-cast-asian-actors.html?_r=0

Whitewashing, a Long History slideshow. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2016/04/22/opinion/whitewashing-a-long-history/s/chow-ss-slide-HTTQ.html

Watt, Diane. (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. Retrieved from: http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1081&context=jmle



The Big Picture On Millennials


According to many people, Millennials are a group of individuals born somewhere between the early 1980s to the early 2000s. They are also known as Generation Y as they follow Generation X and they are usually the children of baby boomers and Generation Xers. There is a bit of disagreement though with the dates that “make up” a Millennial. Knowledgeable Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe are the original people who thought up the term Millennials. In their opinions, they believe that Millennials are born from the 1980s and graduate in the year 2000. Others have argued that generation Y ends in the mid-1990s. These differing opinions result in a generation that is widely diverse to everyone. The one thing though is that most people agree that Millennials are all about themselves. They are considered selfish, entitled, lazy, shallow, confidant, narcissistic to name a few. I believe these opinions are because Millennials have grown up in a “tech” world, they have been given these incredible resources and the outcome has been considered a damaging prospect. In my opinion, Millennials are a misunderstood generation who has been falsely accused of being these negative traits and it’s a generation who needs to be redeemed to our society.


Representation in Media:

Recently Millennials have been represented on television as the “younger generation”. There has been a few shows recently that have made Millennials the forefront of the show, with the whole show being about different generations reacting to each other. This has been popular among many people because it seems like our society likes to see the differences between each generation, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials and even the really young kids – Generation Z. A long running show by the name of Survivor recently came out with a new idea, “how about we mix two of these generations and see who comes out victorious?” Cool idea, right? When I first started seeing the ads for this season my mother and I started getting excited at the idea that both of our generations (her being a Gen Xer and me being a Millennial) were going against each other. Growing up watching survivor as a child with my mom made this a cool concept, you get to see all the people who started watching this show when they were younger going against each other as adults.



CBS later presented this season as, Survivor: Millennials vs Gen X. This season ran from September 21 to December 14, 2016 and consisted of two original teams featuring one team of Millennials and one team with Gen Xers.  The purpose of Survivor is to determine who is the “sole survivor” out of a group of people, which means who can survive the longest on the island without getting voted off by their team members.  Each week they had competitions to see who would gain immunity for that week and remain on the island while the other team would have to vote off one of their members. In the beginning, we got to see how each team worked together. They were both especially different in the way they set up camp, got food, and performed in competitions. The Gen X team had more strong willed players while the Millennials were generally pretty laid back. One example of this was when the Millennials were setting up camp on the first episode they were mostly sitting around casually getting the work done. This happens more than once when they try to get tasks done, most of the time they would get the job done but they take their time and talk to each other while they do it. Since the Millennials were so laid back they could work together easily and they were not as stressed going into competitions. On the other hand, this affected their work ethic and they weren’t getting all their daily tasks done which then effected their camp. The Gen X tribe had a harder time working as a team because a few of the men felt that they could control the rest of the people in their tribe. This contributed to them not trusting each other and failing in competitions. Even though they worked harder on their camp, they didn’t all get along. Later in the season the audience got to see how Millennials and Gen Xers worked together when the two teams became three. Then about halfway into the season the three teams combined into one with Millennials and Gen Xers working individually to win. I think that this season showed how Millennials are in “real life”. Even though this is a show you got to see how they work together or individually to get daily tasks done similar to work or home life and you got to see how they communicate with each other and how they live with one another. This was eye opening because you got to see how different generations work with each other.


It’s All About Me, Right?

Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation is an article in Times Magazine written by Joel Stein. Stein calls Millennials lazy, entitled, selfish and shallow but backs up his opinions with his studies, statistics and quotes. He starts out saying that narcissistic personality disorder is almost three times higher than baby boomers were at the same age using statistics from the National Institutes of Health. He believes that narcissism is a problem that Millennials face. He then goes into how since Millennials grew up with technology they are even more consumed with telling other people what they are doing and why they’re doing it. Next he brings up how he sort of acts like Millennial, he states he is consumed with technology as much as the next guy and he understands why that is. He believes that Millennials have adapted to the rise of technology and they are just living the life they were given. He thinks that if there was this amount of technology in other decades before us you would have seen similar results. I think an interesting detail was the statistics on how now-a-days Millennials are super narcissistic. I didn’t realize that this was a big thing, I have heard of selfishness but not necessarily narcissism. If you were to ask my Gen x mom she would say she thinks the exact same way. I believe that certain people are going to be selfish and narcissistic no matter what generation they were raised. Another interesting detail was that the author believes that Millennials adapted to the rise of technology. We can’t get mad at the people who use technology over the person who invented all of it.


The Great Indoors:

Another television show appeared on CBS near the same time as Survivor called, The Great Indoors, directed by Andy Ackerman and it still airs on CBS starting from October 27, 2016 to present. The Great Indoors is a sitcom on CBS created by Mike Gibbons. Its purpose is to show how the Generation X main character, Jack Gordon, supervises a group of Millennials in a web-only magazine called Outdoor Limits at the headquarters in Chicago. This sitcom has a varying small cast of baby boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials. With them you get to see how the Millennials interact with social media and the differences between magazines in the past versus now-a-days. The Millennials will do random things with each other while working such as playing games, cooking, Facebooking, Instagraming and joking around. The point of Jack supervising the Millennials was to get them to start writing meaningful content on their website instead of top 10 lists kind of like Buzzfeed. The audience gets to see how social media influences the way the Millennials write for their online based magazine. I think it is interesting to have varying generations portrayed because you get to see how they interact with each other. Compared to Survivor we did not get to see the different generations talk to each other at first but in this show, you have a Gen x supervisor of a group of Millennials. The audience can see how Millennials are treated by the Gen x and baby boomer characters which is mostly negative. The older generation treats the younger one as almost dumb, they talk down to them and they act like the Millennials are weird. The founder of the magazine, Roland, is a baby boomer and you can see the difference between him and the other characters. He uses quotes and ideas he’s heard to give advice rather than the Millennials using memes and videos to help a friend or to use for their magazine. Another interesting thing I found was the use of technology in the show. The magazine had shifted from being paper to online only and that was a difficult adjustment for the main character, Jack. The Millennials would talk about twitter and how to connect with their audience rather than writing actual helpful content on the outdoors. I could see why they would want to connect to their audience and use things teens use anyways like twitter, Instagram, and snapchat but it wasn’t helpful for their magazine. There are a lot of critics for this show though, ‘The Great Indoors’ Leans on Tired Millennial Clichés written by Robert Bianco for USA Today describes how The Great Indoors is a comedy on CBS showing how different generations can work together. He then describes how Joel McHale, who plays Jack Gordon in The Great Indoors, from the television show Community and his in-show boss Stephen Fry can get laughs from basically everything they say, no matter how “painfully clunky”.  He later describes the premise of the show and concludes with “the problem here isn’t that Great is making fun of Millennials: No generation gets blanket immunity from mockery. It’s that it’s doing so in such predictable, worn-out fashion” (Bianco). He believes that this comedy is not doing a great job at even being funny, it’s rather just using jokes people already tell and think.



Millennials are still a misunderstood generation but now you can now see a different side to them, they are more than just what critics say they are: selfish, entitled, lazy, shallow, confidant, narcissistic, etc. They are a generation who has grown up in a tech induced world with resources and inventions that previous generation couldn’t even dream of and they are actually pretty similar to every other generation before them, type casted.


Learning Moments:

The first item that helped me understand my topic was the Research Analysis Worksheet. With this worksheet, I could identify my primary sources and could describe the useful information I found within them. This lead to a great outline for my blog post and I could use a lot of the information found from them to create my rough draft.

The second moment that helped me was the peer reviews that I received from two of my group members. I could see exactly what I needed to work on and it made revising my blog post easier. Thank you, Sierra and Ariel!


Works Cited:

Bianco, Robert. “Review: ‘The Great Indoors’ leans on tired Millennial clichés.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 26 Oct. 2016. Web. 26 Feb. 2017. <http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2016/10/26/review-great-indoors-leans-tired-millennial-cliches/92724596/&gt;.

Gibbons, Mike, creator. The Great Indoors. Gibbons Brothers, Shiny Brass Lamp Productions and CBS Television Studios, 2016.

Parsons, Charlie, creator. Survivor. Mark Burnett Productions, Castaway Television Productions, MGM Television, Survivor Productions LLC, CBS Electronics, CBS Paramount Network Television, Columbia Broadcasting System, DJB, Living Films, Mixers, SEG and Survivor Entertainment Group, 2016.

Stein, Joel. “Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation.” Time, Time, 20 May 2013, time.com/247/millennials-the-me-me-me-generation/. Accessed 14 Mar. 2017.

Big Picture Blog Post


This blog post is an exploration into a chosen identity that I have been researching and interacting with since the start of winter term, as well as talking about some significant moments that I’ve had in this class over the last 10 weeks. The personal identity I chose to look at this term is firearm enthusiast/gun owner. In today’s day and age, our media, intentionally or unintentionally, misinforms the public in order to push their agendas. In this post, I will be examining multiple forms of media that portray gun ownership both positively, and intentionally negatively to show simply that this does not happen with every media artifact we look at. My intentions for this blog are not to sway you into becoming a gun owner, or change your views on laws and regulations on firearms. But to simply bring awareness to you that agenda setting and media framing are prevalent in our society, and that you should be aware of this when deciding on which research or articles you choose to put credibility in. Enjoy.


CNN Article

“4 Gun control steps U.S needs now”  is an article posted on CNN’s website containing 2 videos of democrats protesting current gun laws and participating in an occupancy.  This article is interesting because videos attached to have the majority of airtime given to single speakers who spoke of tragic unlawful killings which would devastate any viewer, and rightfully so. However, when watching some of the live social media broadcasts and videos of this same occupancy, found outside of the website, there are many speeches taking place which state outrageously ignorant comments displaying complete misunderstanding of our current gun laws and regulations. This article is a great example of how, on occasion, even our national media outlets can frame what they report to fit their chosen political agenda and influence the opinions of their viewers. In a video from an individual inside the room broadcasted to social media, you can hear a speaker talking about how we allow criminals to purchase machine guns. This is untrue, but due to the well known political background of CNN, they certainly wouldn’t broadcast this because it would go against their political agenda.

To purchase a machine gun in the United States you must do the following: first, find a machine gun for sale (much more challenging than you’d think); second, pay the dealer or individual who has it; three, fill out the ATF Form 4 in duplicate; four, attach small passport photos; five, complete two FBI fingerprint cards; six, fill out a check to cover the $200 transfer fee; seven, fill out a Certification of Compliance, sometimes called a Citizenship Form; eight, submit it to the NFA branch of the ATF and wait until the transfer is approved. Not only is the process extremely lengthy and very expensive, if you have any of the following crimes in your criminal history, you will be declined immediately: Fugitives from justice, Illegal aliens, Unlawful users of certain drugs, Those committed to a mental institution, Those convicted of crimes punishable by imprisonment for more than one year (which generally covers felonies) and Those convicted of crimes of domestic violence.

American Sniper

Another media outlet that I looked at involving the portrayal of firearm enthusiasts is the movie American Sniper. American Sniper is a film about an American Navy S.E.A.L by the name Chris Kyle. It was directed by Clint Eastwood and had a purpose of bringing the heroic story of our country’s most lethal sniper. The main thing I took away from this film was the portrayal of Chris Kyle in an honorary form. This film is certainly set out to show the heroics Chris showed on the battlefields in his four tours to iraq, and I think does so respectfully. However, although commonly, and rightfully, referred to as a hero, there are certain groups who look at Chris Kyle’s legacy and the impact he made on protecting our Americans Citizens and put what he did in a negative light, with tags such as murderer placed on his name. Viewers can take whichever standpoint they’d like on the film and Chris Kyle’s portrayal within, but the general outcome of this film was a feeling of pride in our country as well as deep sorrow for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in fighting for our country.

USA Today Article

“Gun control is not the answer: Opposing view”  is an article posted on USA today.com by Robert Farago that speaks on the notion of gun control and speaks of ways that we can prevent gun violence without enforcing stricter gun control laws. This article is interesting because he points out the fact that enforcing stricter gun laws and regulations simply takes it away from law abiding citizens, and that gun regulations and laws will not affect criminals, felons or the mentally unstable. Take the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting for example. Before the shooting even took place, the following laws were already broken: Assault with a deadly weapon, Committing A Felony With a Firearm, Possession of a stolen gun-4 counts (either state or federal charges), Unlawful carrying of a loaded pistol without a permit, unlawful possession of a firearm on school property, Underage adult in Possession of a loaded gun(4 counts), Criminal Trespass and Car Theft. The issue is not with the laws our country currently holds on our firearms, but the individuals themselves.

The author, Robert Farago, proposes an interesting notion which states that the only way we can stop killers from killing, is to put them in a place where they don’t have access to weapons or civilians. Which brings up the issue of mass incarceration and he speaks on that, but it’s not necessarily relevant. He goes on to say “As the French terrorist attacks proved, gun control doesn’t work. Worse, civilian disarmament leaves innocent people defenseless against killers. Gun control enables — rather than prevents — homicide.”(Farago, 2015)


Being a firearm enthusiast, I obviously believe that every legal citizen in the United States should exercise their right to bear arms with whatever weapon they see fit. I do, however, believe that we as a nation should have gun laws and restrictions on weapons due to prior criminal charges and history with mental instability and we are currently doing so. Further laws and restrictions would simply be hurting our lawful citizens and restricting their right as Americans to protect themselves and their families. I believe it’s important to look at gun laws when speaking about firearm enthusiasts and gun owners for the simple fact that it directly affects us. In my research in this topic, I have found that being a firearm enthusiast as well as an open gun owner comes with occasional scrutiny, and that on occasion, our popular culture outlets will skew their reports in a way that influences opposition to gun ownership. I also believe outlook on this identity is influenced by political party,  as are many identities in this day and age. I think the main thing we can all take away from researching our identities is that no matter what it is, be educated on that subject matter and be very weary and observant of the sources you trust to educate yourself with.  

Class Reflection:

I think the most significant lesson I’m taking away fromt this class is sort of what I just spoke of in my identity reflection. That is to be mindful of media outlets and the sources you choose to look at when researching or educating yourself on a topic. This class allowed for questioning of resource credibility and definitely help with overall awareness of the massive affects our media has on our lives.


Donohue, J. J. (2016, June 26) “4 Gun Control Steps U.S Needs Now” Retrieved


Eastwood, C. (Director). (n.d.). American Sniper [Video file].

Farago, R. (2015, Dec 2) “Gun control is not the answer: Opposing view”  Retrieved from:


To See or Not to See?: Transgender Representation in Popular Media

The issue of representation is not a simple one. When it comes to the representation of transgender people in media, it becomes quite clear that there is significant work to be done still. This blog post attempts to analyze the ways in which representation functions – how is it positive or negative, who is represented and who is in charge, etc.? “American brands, which tend to be conservative marketers, have slowly embraced gays and lesbians in their ads. Transgender men and women, however, have barely been given a voice” (Guynn). Through my research I have come to the conclusion that the media plays an integral role in the way the lives of transgender people are perceived and accepted. The media, in essence, is a tool through which transgender stories are legitimized and recognized. Thus, it becomes ever more important to examine the ways that transgender characters are portrayed.

I chose to take a close look at three primary sources of transgender media to create a base line for representation. The medium that I found most relevant (and popular) was film. If a transgender character exists, it is most often in a film.


Rocky Horror:



The first film I will discuss is “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. This movie was produced by Michael White Productions and distributed by 20th Century Fox. The target audience for this film was a niche crowd of misfits and it has since developed a cult following. It was originally released in Los Angeles in 1975. This film centers around a character deemed to be a transvestite and his creation of a creature intended for sexual purposes. The identity of this character can be assumed first through dress and presentation. Frank n furter is dressed in a corset, fishnets, high heels, and has a full face of makeup on. The makeup is done with dramatic flair to the point of almost looking like clown makeup. Shortly after his introduction, he sings a song about being a transvestite from Transylvania. This then confirms the identity of the character.


Frank n furter is portrayed as a highly sexual character. His creation, Rocky, was made for his own sexual benefit. He also is shown as sneaking into two separate rooms to attempt to trick and coerce both a male and female character into having sex with him. Frank n furter is also a violent character. He is shown to have murdered another character because his thunder was stolen. He also has a slew of oddball, treacherous followers that do his bidding.

The main points to address about this portrayal of a “transvestite” character are as follows: the character is portrayed by a cisgender man, the character is highly sexualized, the character is violent, and the character is overly dramatic. On transgender characters being portrayed by cisgender actors, Raquel Willis writes in her article “Hollywood, You’re Halfway There With Trans Representation” “it features, yet again — in a tried and true Hollywood custom — a cisgender man playing a transgender woman. Not only that, but we’re also seeing the trans narrative played out through a cisgender lens. It’s akin to how I feel when I continue to see narratives of color translated through how white people see the state of race and race relations. As a trans woman, I must admit that it continues to be disheartening to see certain portrayals of my community’s experiences in the hands of cisgender people. When I see yet another cis man in a trans woman role, à la Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club, it continues to elucidate how society understands us. Or how — in short — they don’t. The acceptance of the “man in a dress” trope continues to persist despite more awareness and representation than ever before” (Willis). By doing this, it undermines the actual lived experience of transgender people (especially women) who have to undergo severe transformations in order to fit into societal expectations.




The second film I chose to analyze is “Tangerine”, a film directed by Sean Baker and produced by Duplass Brothers Productions. The original audience was Sundance Film Festival, which is where it was first shown. This film was shot entirely on an iPhone 5s. The plot is centered on two transgender sex workers and their adventures throughout LA. Transgender sex worker Sin-Dee Rella, who has just finished a 28-day prison sentence, meets her friend Alexandra, another trans sex worker, at a donut shop in Hollywood on Christmas Eve. Alexandra accidentally reveals that Sin-Dee’s boyfriend and pimp Chester has been cheating on her with a cisgender woman. Sin-Dee storms out to search the neighborhood for Chester and the woman. Both of the main characters are black transgender women who are played by transgender actresses.

The fact that this film centers around black, transgender sex workers is interesting in that it is taking an uncommon narrative and giving it a comedic twist. The statistics of transgender sex workers are especially high among the MTF (male to female) communities (particularly among transgender women of color). The fact that the narrative revolves around these women and their quest to right a lovers quarrel gives the director/writer an opportunity to share the lives of these women in a more accessible way to audiences. If an audience is able to laugh they will be more likely to listen to the narrative being discussed. Another detail is the focus on the immigrant and his life in America. The taxi driver is struggling to make ends meet in his multigenerational family. He is shown to frequent transgender sex workers exclusively. This brings up a side that is often not discussed. If transgender women are talked about in relation to sex work, they are often criminalized for their work. However, very rarely are the people who request sex work from these women talked about. In this film, the audience is actually given some scenes from the point of view of the client. He is given a backstory; a family, a career, a life. This film works to humanize both sides of the sex work industry and I find that to be a rare narrative.


Silence of the Lambs:


The final film I chose to analyze was “The Silence of the Lambs”, directed by Jonathan Demme and produced by Strong Heart/Demme Production. It premiered in New York in 1991 and has since received critical acclaim.

The character Buffalo Bill is one of the main antagonists of this film. His character is portrayed as a bisexual, transsexual serial killer. Buffalo Bill is given numerous mental health problems. He is shown to be sexual and violent in nature. Hannibal Lecter, who worked with Buffalo Bill, makes the claim that Buffalo Bill is not in fact transgender, but is something altogether more “savage and terrifying”.

Buffalo Bill’s gender identity is handled in a number of very problematic ways. First, his character is a classic example of the killer transgender trope. Transgender women are often represented as psychotic killers as a lazy method of responding to mainstream society’s fear of gender nonconforming people. This popular trope in film reinforces the idea that being transgender is unnatural and perverted, and pathologizes gender fluidity. In addition to crazed killers, Silence of the Lambs portrays transgender women as imposters. After analyzing the Buffalo Bill case files, Hannibal Lecter famously says, “Billy hates his own identity, you see, and he thinks that makes him a transsexual, but his pathology is a thousand times more savage and more terrifying.” This quote enforces the idea that other people can determine a person’s gender identity.


A Deeper Look:

So, what does this all mean? To piece together this information, I turned to an article written by GLAAD.org. GLAAD put together a review on all transgender inclusive television episodes over the past ten years. From this, they came to the conclusion that there is still much work to be done in order to achieve fair and accurate depictions of the transgender community. Since 2002, GLAAD catalogued 102 episodes and non-recurring storylines of scripted television that contained transgender characters, and found that 54% of those were categorized as containing negative representations at the time of their airing. Transgender characters were cast in a “victim” role at least 40% of the time. Transgender characters were cast as killers or villains in at least 21% of the catalogued episodes and storylines. Anti-transgender slurs, language and dialogue were present in at least 61% of the catalogued episodes and storylines (glaad.org). By encouraging and allowing this media mentality to continue, it directly contributes to the ignorance and lack of knowledge exhibited by the general population. It is also harmful for transgender youth that are taught through the media that they will be bullied or laughed at because of who they are. It is vital that media representation is improved if there is any hope of battling ignorance and promoting understanding. “We hope that representations of transgender people on television evolve to become as diverse, nuanced, and inspiring as the community those images reflect,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick.  “Media has a history of telling the world a story that transgender people are always victims or villains, instead of true depictions that show the transgender community as citizens worthy of equality and respect.” (glaad.org).


Media is essential. In one study, researchers said “Existing research has identified the role that various media play for LGBTQ individuals in this process and suggests that media figures play an important role in their identity development. This research has also associated exposure to positive LGBTQ representations with resilience and well-being. One issue is that in mainstream media, LGBTQ representations are relatively uncommon. Even though they have become more frequent in recent years, the scope of portrayals is still limited for example, gay men are featured far more frequently than other groups while other identities remain nearly invisible. Further, these depictions are often stereotyped or otherwise bowdlerized and therefore provide limited learning opportunities” (Ralston). Media is an outlet for oppressed groups to find comradery, acceptance, and guidance. Without it, the stories of transgender people become lost in the shuffle. There is still a great deal of important work to be done. The best way to attack this is through the careful analysis and questioning that we have begun to work on through projects like this one. Overall, I will conclude by saying that finding pieces of myself in media was essential for my survival, but it left a lot to be desired. If I based my entire identity off of films, I would only believe that my life was meant to end in tragedy. That’s why representation is so important. It’s important for the young, transgender kid, scared of what their life is going to look like. I want to change the stories they see. If I could go back to my young self, sitting at home, terrified and questioning my identity, I would only say one thing: you do not have a death count. Your story does not have to be a tragic one. I want to share with the world that this life is not full of tragedy; that it is absolutely possible to grow up and be happy. That’s what’s at stake with representation, and that is why it is vital to continue to evolve and grow in the way that we portray transgender characters.


Works Cited:

Jessica, Guynn and TODAY USA. “Transgender Ads Break Ground at Espys.” USA Today

Ralston, Rachel. “Queer Identity Online: Informal Learning and Teaching Experiences of LGBTQ Individuals on Social Media.” Elsevier 65 (2016): 635-42. Gender Studies          Database [EBSCO]. Web.

 The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Twentieth Century Fox, 1975. Film.

Tangerine. Dir. Sean Baker. Duplass Brothers Productions, 2015. Film.

Silence of the Lambs. Dir. Jonathan Demme. Strong Heart Productions, 1991. Film.

“Victims or Villains: Examining Ten Years of Transgender Images on Television.” GLAAD.                      12 Jan. 2017. Web.

Willis, Raquel. “Hollywood, You’re Halfway There With Trans Representation.” TheHuffington Post. TheHuffington

Post.com, 14 Jan. 2015. Web.