Portrayals of Arabs in Popular Culture

In our modern time, people are impacted by many things. Things that we visualize, feel, and use to interact with others. In general, most people use popular culture for couple of reasons and one of them is entertainment. People watch Tv shows, movies, and cartoons as ways to communicate with the outside world. The formal definition of popular culture, is the entirety of ideas, perspectives, images, and artifacts. In this course, I looked at the stereotypes of Arabs that were depicted in media, hollywood, and disney and I analyzed them furthermore through artifacts. The Arab’s culture is negatively portrayed in ways that make people believe and have the wrong impression form the first time. Ways that were tied to their religion, finances and even terrorist activities.

 

There are many things that I discovered as I was doing my artifacts and I think they matter since they are relative to who I am. First of all, there are many things that I was shock about as I was working on this project. There were some true information presented and some are false. “One of the things that I was shocked about and I consider it wrong information”-was from the article, “The Construction of Arabs as Enemies”.

 

This article is very relative to what I talked about when I was analyzing my second artifact which was a movie. This movie was called true lies. In this movie  the portrayals of Arabs were represented as being dangerous and terrorists. This article extend the explanations more by providing more example and incidents that happened for example the 9/11. something that I would to extend my idea furthermore is when they were saying that  “all Muslims are Arabs and all Arabs are terrorists”. From what I know so far about this attack is that those who caused were mostly from Saudi Arabia who hijacked the planes and those people belong to Osama Bin Laden’s terrorist organization.

These two images show how Arabs are being portrayed as villains in movies and Tv shows.

Something that I would like to reflect  on is that not all muslims are terrorists. And I think considering all muslims are Arabs and all Arabs are terrorists is also a false ideology. There are Arabs who are not muslims. For example in Middle East. We have kurdish people, Christians and Turkmen, and most of those people who belong to those doctrines speak and understand Arabic, so this doesn’t mean that all of them are terrorists. However, there are people who are terrisort who interpret Islam in their own way trying their best to deform the image of Islam.

 

The second discovery that I found was how in movies, they shed light on Saudi Arabia portraying their culture in negative ways, although it became  one of their closest country recently. For example in the article The Bad, the Ugly, the Super-Rich, and the Exceptional Moderate: U.S. Popular Images of the Arabs, the author Morsy talked about a variety of portrayals of Arabs. He talked about how in the United State, we continue to observe the unfavorable depiction of Arabs in novels, films, and children’s cartoons. The article also talks about how the mass media focused on Arabs as villains who threatens the American way of  life by their economic and political blackmail. This article also talks about how the weekly Tv magazines “60 minutes” showed American audience the super consumerism of super rich Arabs in london’s shopping centers. Arabs were filmed buying luggage by the dozen, and jewelry by the million dollars worth.

I think this article is very related to my first artifact in my research analysis worksheet. In my first artifact, I talked about the portrayals of Arabs of being rich. This article supports my explanation especially where I mentioned above about the resources that arabs have such as the oil. For example, Saudi Arabia is ranked the second country after Russia for the oil production. Because of these resource they have, they are considered rich. One other thing that I find it relative to my artifact especially when this article talked about the control of oil that Arabs have made them accessible to have mansion and industrial plants. I found it relative especially when they showed the sheik in  cannonball run 2 move was living in a mansion and wearing all of this jewellery in his hand.

In contrast to the primary source Saudi Arabia’s Political Purge artifact. This news showed the recent development that happened in Saudi Arabia. According to what the reporter was saying about how president Trump is being fair and helping the prince to gain more power by tweeting and encouraging their action.

 

The popular culture can  shape your point of view on certain group of people. Popular culture plays a major role in shaping a person’s thoughts and it also shapes your feeling about certain things in life. It shapes who you are in many different ways. The community I belong to, defines my personality, the way I talk, dress and the language I speak. My community shapes my behaviors, beliefs, and values. The interactions in my community influences the way I interact in the society because it is made up of a lot of different communities. The location you were born has large impact on your life as person and the place you were born plays the biggest part defining you as person and that shapes who you are.

 

Arab culture defined by their actions. Our actions outside our homes define what we are in this community and to other people. It is very important to be respectful, mindful, and thoughtful of who we interact with in the community. We are responsible about what we say and what do as individual or a group. We are judged by our voice and action in the community.  How else do we judge others if we do not look at their actions in the past and what they have done. We are defined by our actions, so we need to do good things in the society that way we can be remembered with respect and honor. We need to judge the people by their actions and not appearance.

Some people judge others by their appearance which I think that is disrespectful. It is not all about looks. We should judge others by their kindness and manner. For example when I was back in home country (Iraq), my parents taught me to respect the elders and be kind to those who are younger than me. Be respectful to all people  regardless of their ethnicities, background, and religion because after all, we fall under the flag of humanity. This is the way people will judge me and will always remember me by. They will remember as respectful and well-mannered man. This is how the place we live in impacts our lives.

The purpose of doing this project and writing this paper so people can have a better understanding of Arabs and the Arabic culture and how it is being portrayed in the media.  The intention of doing this is to change the lens which people are looking at Arabs in popular culture. The idea is that not everything portrayed in media and popular culture is true.

 

Citations

 

Trevor Noah. “Saudi Arabia’s Political Purge”. Youtube, uploaded by Daily Show, Nov 7, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CkmLsyvutg

 

Morsy, Soheir A. “The Bad, the Ugly, the Super-Rich, and the Exceptional Moderate: U.S. Popular Images of the Arabs”. (winter, 1986). Retrieved from http://stats.lib.pdx.edu/proxy.php?url=http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/docview/1297352087?accountid=13265

 

Debra Merskin. “The Construction of Arabs as Enemies”. (17 Nov 2009). Retrieved from https://www-tandfonline-com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/doi/pdf/10.1207/s15327825mcs0702_2?needAccess=true

 

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Bipolar Disorder: Crazy or Accurate?

When you hear the words “Bipolar Disorder”, what pops into your mind? When someone says “Oh, he/she is so bipolar!”, is your first thought that they’re crazy? Known in the past as manic depressive disorder, and on some TV advertisements as bipolar depression, bipolar disorder is a mental illness that will affect approximately 4.4% of the population at some point in their lives, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Mental illness is often stigmatized, and while it is becoming a more openly discussed topic, the appearance of mental illness in popular culture is still not what it should be. Bipolar disorder isn’t shown in the media as commonly as unipolar depression, but when it is portrayed, it is portrayed rather hastily. It leads you to wonder how well the disease was researched before being acted out. Here, we will examine some examples of bipolar disorder in the media, and how it is portrayed.

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            Mr. Jones: Mr. Jones is an older film, released back in October of 1993. As the film begins, we are greeted with the song “I Got You (I Feel Good)” by James Brown, which is rather upbeat and cheerful. At first, you might not think anything of this song, but you will later realize the significance of it. As a group of construction workers enter a job site, we are introduced to Mr. Jones, our main character. He is eccentric and excitable, and while smooth talking with the foreman, he manages to get hired on at the job site.

Mr. Jones’ eccentric behavior continues as he impulsively gives another character, Howard, a 100-dollar bill, and tells him an odd story about how he’d found it laying on the ground and out of nowhere a voice tells him “give it to Howard”, but he didn’t know anyone named Howard before this, so how cool is that?! After more upbeat excitement, Mr. Jones seems to finally lose all touch with reality as he decides that he is going to fly like the jets overhead, and must be restrained and pulled away from the edge of the roof, that he’s almost jumped from.

In a scene change, we meet the psychiatrist, Elizabeth, who will be another crucial character. In the mental hospital that has an absolutely terrible system of “evaluate, medicate, evacuate”, Elizabeth meets a heavily sedated Mr. Jones, who has been fed way too many antipsychotics, and has been misdiagnosed with schizophrenia. At a later point, once no longer sedated, Jones and Elizabeth meet again, and Jones is released from the hospital. Elizabeth discusses with the staff Jones’ misdiagnosis and that she believes he actually is suffering from bipolar disorder. Meanwhile, off the medication, Jones goes back into a severely manic episode, in which we see hyper sexuality, impulsivity, grandiosity, and so forth. He is finally brought back to the mental hospital after he disturbs a symphony in an attempt to conduct the orchestra and speed up the music.

Mr. Jones does not like to admit that he does indeed suffer from bipolar disorder, and when a depressive episode finally hits, Jones is absolutely distraught, stating that he’s a junkie who needs his high, which in this case is referring to him needing and desperately missing his manic episodes. We also continue to witness a budding relationship between Jones and Elizabeth, which has begun to cross the bounds of therapeutic and into something unethical. Why is Elizabeth so obsessed with Mr. Jones? Why is she the only person in this ridiculous hospital that can tell that Jones has bipolar disorder and not schizophrenia?

As Jones’ treatment continues, Elizabeth continues to dig deeper, eventually violating Jones’ privacy by contacting someone from his past he claimed to be dead. They fight, and despite the fact that Jones is at the psychiatric hospital through a court order, he is somehow able to leave. Elizabeth continues to follow him, and eventually we are faced with a dramatic scene in the rain in which they finally kiss. Ethics have been completely broken and violated, and only then does Elizabeth attempt to remove herself from Jones’ case. Hospital drama continues, and eventually they I think run off together so that they can be together after Jones has another mental break after being transferred to a different hospital and leaves.

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            Silver Linings Playbook: The Silver Linings Playbook is a more recent film and also has a main character with bipolar disorder named Pat. We are introduced to a clearly delusional Pat who is talking to someone or something not there, and he manages to avoid taking his medication. Pat’s mother checks him out of the mental hospital in which he had resided for the last 8 months, despite medical professionals advising against this and that Pat is just starting to get used to the routine.

Pat is un-medicated, very manic, and still rather delusional. This helps with the movie’s hijinks, as he expects to be able to easily prove to his wife that he’s changed and okay now. He is also driving his parents crazy. At a strange dinner with I’m assuming friends or possibly neighbors, Pat is introduced to Tiffany, who is a bit of a basket case following her husband’s death, as well as someone dealing with her own mental health issues. Tiffany and her sister, who is one of the people who invited Pat to dinner, aren’t getting along, and Tiffany convinces Pat to leave with her.

Pat and Tiffany have definite sparks, but Pat argues that they’re both married. Drama ensues and Tiffany starts following Pat around. Pat can’t talk to his wife because of a restraining order, so Tiffany agrees to give his wife letters from him so long as he competes in this dance competition with her. He gets a letter back from his wife, his dad is an unusual person with OCD rituals regarding sports while also not seeming to understand Pat’s bipolar disorder, Pat and Tiffany go on a really horrible date, and so forth. There’s a lot of B-plot in this movie. They compete in the dance competition, get the score they need to win a bet his dad and a sketchy book guy made, Pat finds out his wife didn’t actually write the letter to him, but Tiffany did, and he writes her a letter back telling her that he loves her. Que happy emotional scene.

Mr. Jones and Silver Linings Playbook did have some good points to them. They were accurate in the medications used to treat their mentally ill main characters. Mr. Jones did a wonderful job of portraying both the manic and depressive states of bipolar disorder. The Silver Linings Playbook did a good job of showing delusions and I suppose psychosis. However, there is a lot I am not so happy with.

In Mr. Jones, transference and countertransference does make sense, but no matter how you spin it, it was completely unethical and illegal for Elizabeth to sleep with Jones, and she should have been reported, fired, stripped of her license, and possibly arrested. The fact that multiple people knew what had happened and chose not to do anything about it so long as she stayed away from Jones upsets and disturbs me. It was also rather disturbing that Elizabeth completely violated Jones’ privacy and tracked down his old “dead” girlfriend to talk to her. Without a release of information and a number of other things, she’s also violating HIPAA and lord knows what else.

In the Silver Linings Playbook, Pat is pretty much portrayed as crazy, and a lot of the stuff with him and Tiffany is a battle of who is crazier, and “at least I’m not as crazy as you are.” This falls back into that negative portrayal and stigmatization I mentioned earlier. Meanwhile, if Pat was in the hospital being treated for eight months, he would be closely monitored, and they’d have noticed that he was continually delusional and manic. They would have also noticed that he was skipping out on his medication. His family not fighting harder to keep him on his medication was another red flag, even if we ignore the fact that he should not have been able to be released to them in the first place in his clearly unstable mental state. And why does Pat have to end up in such a dysfunctional and sketchy relationship with Tiffany? I get that a romantic ending is great for Hollywood, but with how toxic things were during their date and other points in the film, this is just setting Pat up for further failure.  In an article titled “Bipolar Disorder Affects Behavior and Social Skills on the Internet” (Martini et al.), it does discuss how people with bipolar disorder have poor social skills, and that those worsen over time, but I’m not sure that even that can fully explain Pat’s constantly awkward behavior and poor social skills. I’d like to believe that if he stayed on his medication, that he could learn positive social skills, but that might still be a stretch with the way his character is portrayed.

I believe that Mr. Jones was well researched, but I don’t necessarily feel that Silver Linings Playbook had as much research backing it up, and it chose to go more for what would be the most dramatic, vs. what would be more realistic. While the actors may or may not have had mental illnesses of their own, I don’t think that anyone in these films actually had bipolar disorder. It leads me to wonder how these films might differ or if there would even be a film if any of the actors playing bipolar characters actually had bipolar disorder.

However, I do feel that taking a que from the writers of Mr. Jones would be a good step in the right direction for future shows or films featuring characters with bipolar disorder, so long as they don’t cross over into unethical relations with the doctors. I think that an even stronger point of view would be a character who suffers from bipolar disorder and with the help of family, friends, and/or medication, is able to become more stable and experience life, with or without all of the dramatic hijinks, and not have to have everything tie into whether or not they have a love interest.

 

References

Bipolar Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2018, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/bipolar-disorder.shtml

Figgis, M. (Director). (1993) Mr. Jones [Film].

Russell, D. (Director). (2013) Silver Linings Playbook [Film].

Thaís Martini, Letícia Sanguinetti Czepielewski, Adam Fijtman, Leonardo Sodré, Bianca Wollenhaupt-Aguiar, Caroline Silveira Pereira, . . . Marcia Kauer-Sant’Anna. (n.d.).Bipolar disorder affects behavior and social skills on the Internet. PLoS ONE, 8(11),E79673. Retrieved from http://europepmc.org/backend/ptpmcrender.fcgi?accid=PMC3823569&blobtype=pdf

Gay Actors…or Gay for Pay?

The gay culture is defined and put into a box where actors portray a character that may or may not reflect accurate information about our lifestyles. Straight actors are often cast as gay characters and openly gay actors are usually only cast as gay actors. Ellen Degeneres is a famous openly gay comedienne wasn’t always out of the closet. She had a sitcom (Ellen) on ABC – a primetime sitcom on network television, no less. Ellen Degeneres came out as gay openly, then her show aired the (now infamous) episode titled, “Puppy Episode” where her character on the show comes out as gay. It was only a year after that that her show was suddenly cancelled by the network. She leans over a microphone at the airport and announces she is gay over the loudspeaker, accidentally. That moment is almost engrained in my head. The two most difficult words to say out loud for just about anybody is “I’m gay.” And the humor of saying it even louder and amplified is not lost on how those words sound so loud already. It almost feels like it should be whispered for fear of rejection.

Unfortunately, this is what we have to deal with. The shame of being different from the “norms of society” or the assumed lifestyle that is pushed and engrained in the heads of all children since birth. “One day you will find a wonderful girl, marry and have children.” “Which girl are you asking to the prom?” It’s constant. It’s not malicious (most of the time) but it’s been beaten into our heads subliminally since birth. It’s just the way it should happen naturally. It’s expected and please don’t differ from the expected. Please don’t make me worry.

My parents are the most supportive parents a gay boy could ask for. Even my mom admitted to me that she didn’t want me to be gay. Not because she didn’t agree with my lifestyle or support me, but because she was sad that I would have to fight harder to be accepted. She was worried that I would have to protect myself emotionally, physically, intellectually, mentally, etc. She would always worry (until society completely altered it’s thinking) that I would be judged and ostracized. It’s not her fault she felt that way. She loves me so much that she wanted nothing but happiness and less bumps in the road.

Hollywood. Acting. Performing. Creativity capitol of the world. Singing. Dancing. Make-up. Glamour. Fashion. It’s practically a mecca for the stereotype of gay men and they run the town. More than 40% of West Hollywood’s population identifies as LGBT. Even still, most of America does not buy into the lifestyle as acceptable. The Hollywood entertainment industry is not just about the culture of itself. It’s about selling movie tickets, ratings for television shows, etc. Why would a 29 year old Ohio small town male buy a ticket to see a movie where the lead has values that he, himself does not condone or approve of? To put it in another perspective: How many grandparents do you know sit down on Sunday evening and watch Real Housewives of Atlanta religiously? They don’t understand it and don’t find it relatable. Therefore, Hollywood must adjust and accommodate to the wishes of the many.

Will & Grace debuted in 1998 and went off the air in 2006. This network television show (NBC this time) was always on top of the ratings game. It was fresh, pushed the boundaries and was different. It was eccentric, and it was real. Or so it appeared to many people. Sure, the gay community loved the show. We were torn. Finally, a show where we weren’t the gay best friend (Reality Bites, Clueless, My Best Friend’s Wedding) with the one-liners or the ‘hey girlfriend’ flamboyance. Or were we? Many in the gay community felt betrayed. Jack (Sean Hayes) was a flamboyant sidekick that may have stolen scenes and (arguably) the funniest character on the show – but was it fair to be portrayed with a stereotype? Sure, at least we were getting some attention and the country seemed to really embrace us. Okay, go with it. Eric McCormack plays Will Truman on the show. He is straight and married to a woman in real life. Eric was interviewed once and said, “nothing that anyone in Hollywood ever says makes a difference to people living in the middle of the country.” Truth. If you do not agree with a lifestyle for various reasons it’s going to be damn near impossible to convince you otherwise. And how in the hell are you going to have a sitcom convince a Southern Baptist that being gay is okay and should be accepted and treated equally in society? Impossible.

Showtime debuted with Queer as Folk (2000-2005). This was the first time sex was featured in such a real, raw way on television. At least for some of the gay population. The show was a drama that had it all. Comedy, drama, sex, nudity, and good writing. The setting was in Philadelphia and showed gay men actually dealing with homophobia and how hurtful it could be. The show was groundbreaking in that it portrayed not only the sex and lifestyles of gay men. It talked about HIV, open relationships, straight and gay relationships co-mingling together. But it still lacked as much substance as the typical gay male in a suburban city. Larger cities are diverse and (generally) more democratic.

‘Brokeback Mountain’ was a film starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal (both heterosexual actors). This is a story of two high school drop-outs in their early 20’s who meet as temporary hires to spend a summer herding sheep in the high meadows of Brokeback Mountain. One night Jack insists Ennis share his tent and lay together for warmth from the cold. Bodies touch and arousal leads to quick sex. The next morning Ennis declares, “I’m not no queer.” Jack agrees, “Me neither. A one-shot thing. Nobody’s business but ours.” They spend the summer growing feelings for each other. Then, spend four years apart before reconnecting and picking up where they left off. Ennis is married and has children and Jack is in a relationship with a son as well. Over the course of 20 years, they make it a yearly event and eventually drift apart, unhappy and struggling with accepting their label of being gay. They fight it tooth and nail. The sex scenes in the movie are brutal, rough and yet, tender. This is a powerful movie because it dives into the conflicts of accepting who you are and the struggles how people will perceive you. It also is rare because it’s about middle America – and not Hollywood, Philadelphia or New York, which would have much more diversity, understanding and acceptance.  Both Ledger and Gillenhaal won the Academy Award for their roles in this movie.

Straight actors have won Academy Awards and nominations for playing gay characters. Sean Penn in Milk, Tom Hanks in Philadelphia, Charlize Theron in Monster, etc. “It’s very difficult for an actor to come out if all the signals from agents, directors and studios say ‘we will not put a gay man in a leading straight romantic role,’” David Hauslaib (founder of the blog Queerty) says. “They look at audiences and based on no hard evidence, they conclude that moviegoers will not pay to see a gay man play straight.” There’s too much money at stake. “Big tent-pole pictures are really, really large investments, so the studios want to be sure nothing detracts from the box office.” My take on the double standard is that the majority of the population is heterosexual, and therefore, it’s easier to imagine a straight actor playing a role and being believable in a gay relationship than a gay actor pretending to be straight. The reason for this is the stereotypes. Hollywood is about glitzy fashion and flamboyant men. How could the gay actor be believable falling in love with a woman when he probably just wants to wear her heels and go shopping with her best friends, instead? But a straight actor is more believable because even if he does fall for a guy in this situation in the movie, it’s believable that he could always go back to women if it doesn’t work out.

References:

https://www.visitwesthollywood.com/lgbtq/

https://inews.co.uk/culture/eric-mccormack-interview-everyone-knew-i-married-child-i-took-will-everywhere/

Dahl, M. (2010). Under the Rainbow: Post-closet gay male representation in American theater and television. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

Lee, A. (Director). (2005). Brokeback Mountain [Motion Picture].

Puente, M. (2010, August 24). Playing it straight, or gay, doesn’t always go both ways. USA Today, p. 02D.

Roughton, R. (2013). The Significance of Brokeback Mountain. Taylor & Francis Group.

Lesbian Representation In Pop Culture Media

Lesbian Stereotypes in Popular Culture

Stereotypes and tropes are no rarity when it comes to Hollywood portrayals of lesbians. There are several tropes that commonly occur in portrayals of lesbians within film and television. The most prevalent is called the “luscious lesbian.” The “luscious lesbian” is feminine, conventionally attractive, and most likely white. She is often used to entertain the heterosexual male audience through acting out sexual fantasies. She is gay enough to enjoy being with women, but not enough to be intimidating to heterosexual men or to exclusively interested in women.. The “luscious lesbian” appears constantly throughout pop culture with the sexualization of her character occurring to different extents. Both Katherine Hiegl’s character in the movie “Jenny’s Wedding” and Denise Richard’s in the teen movie “Wild Things” could be considered “luscious lesbians” although one movie contains no sex and the other is highly sexual.

Different movies and different levels of sexualization, however both contain “luscious lesbians”: white, conventionally attractive, and feminine.

Another common lesbian stereotype within popular culture is that of the “psycho femme.” The “psycho femme” lesbian is a dangerous, obsessive and crazed character, whose sexuality is ultimately linked to the concept of homsoexuality being an illness. An example of the “psycho femme” is the murderous and manipulative Catherine from the film “Basic Instinct”. Another could be Natalie Portman’s character in “Black Swan” whose homosexual fantasies fall under the umbrella of her psychotic behavior.

 

Misrepresentation of Lesbian Relationships

Jules and Nic from the movie “The Kids Are Alright”

Lesbian relationships are almost always the subject of films with lesbian characters and are often poorly and inaccurately represented. Mainstream media very often makes the mistake of modeling lesbian relationships off of the stereotypical heterosexual relationship. An example of this is in the 2011 movie “The Kids Are Alright”, despite this movie being touted for displaying a lesbian couple as “normal” in reality the film forces one women, Jules, the more feminine of the two, to take on the role of the “wife”, staying at home and raising the children and forces the other Nic to be the “husband”, working a professional job and claiming  ownership of the family. The highly acclaimed film “Blue Is The Warmest Color” also pushes this heterosexual mold onto a lesbian relationship, forcing Adele to be a school teacher who cooks and caters to her girlfriend Emma, a strong, opinionated, and successful artist.

A common trope when it comes to portraying lesbian relationships is “friends or lovers”, where a romantic relationship is continually hinted at but is never confirmed or seen by the audience. An example of this could be from the film “Fried Green Tomatoes” in which two characters Idgie and Ruth share a deep friendship with clear sexual undertones, however any actual homosexual love between them is never confirmed. To a lesser extent the “friends or lovers” trope also applies to the movie “Jenny’s Wedding.” Although this movie is literally about two lesbian women marrying each other, the audience rarely sees the two supposed lovers interact. The characters have no sexual chemistry between them, kiss a total of three times throughout the film, and almost never actually touch each other despite being in a relationship.

Lesbian sex is also commonly misrepresented in portrayals of lesbian relationship. Much of the time lesbian sex in film is shown to be unsatisfying or inadequate without the aid of a man. In the film the “Kids Are Alright” Jules and Nic’s sex life is ultimately a failure despite the effort both women display in romancing one and another. Jules ultimately end up having a sexually satisfying affair with her children’s sperm donor, highlighting the illegitimacy lesbian sex in the media compared to heterosexual sex. A similar situation appears in the movie “Kissing Jessica Stein” in which the main character’s relationship ultimately ends over the lack of sexual intimacy.  On the other end of the spectrum, lesbian sex in media is commonly displayed as entertainment for both the heterosexual man behind the camera and also in the audience. In the movie “Blue Is The Warmest Color” the sex scenes are long, graphic, and choregoraphed to the point of almost pornagraphic. This theme of lesbian sex scenes used to titillate and audience also continues in several movies, such as “American Pie 2”,” Wild Things”, and “Cruel Intentions.”

 

Whiteness and Heterosexuality of Lesbian Media

The author of the of the book which the film “Blue Is the Warmest Color” was based off, Julie Maroh, was very critical of the movie despite the overwhelming praise it received from reviewers during its release. She stated on her blog in regards to the movie “It appears to me that this was what was missing on the set: lesbians.” While watching and researching films with lesbians in it for this class this appeared to be very common. Rarely are movies about lesbians directed by actual lesbians, but are often directed by heterosexual women and men. In fact all of the mainstream films I watched about lesbians were not directed by lesbians. Very rarely are the actresses playing lesbians lesbians themselves. To me, the exclusion of lesbian creative input in film and television, prevents accurate and meaningful portrayals of lesbian characters.

“Blue Is The Warmest Color” a film about two white lesbians played by two white straight actresses, directed by a straight man.

Another commonality that the movies I watched share, is that they are overwhelmingly white. Every lesbian character in the mainstream movies I viewed for this project were white, and there were very rarely any people of color in the background. This trend also continues in LGBTQ representation on television. In GLAAD’s “Where We Are On TV” report, in 2017 only 36% of LGBTQ characters on broadcast television were people of color. To me this shows that Hollywood has regularly ignores the stories of lesbians are not just the stories of white women but also the stories of women of color.

 

Positive and Diverse Portrayals of Lesbians in Hollywood

Although lesbian portrayals in Hollywood clearly have a long way to go I do believe they are progressing. More and more we are seeing more television shows and movies about lesbians. Streaming services like Netflix have provided opportunities for queer people to create more content that has accurate and entertaining content with GLAAD reporting that lesbians make up the majority of LGBTQ representation on streaming platforms. Shows like “Orange Is The New Black” and “One Day At A Time” have increased lesbian representation in media in a more meaningful and accurate way.

Scene from “But I’m A Cheerleader”

Films have also progressed somewhat but at a much slower pace than television when it comes to lesbian representation. The only popular film that I was able to find about lesbians that was also directed by a lesbian as well was the 1999 film “But I’m A Cheerleader.” The character’s love stories and triangles within this film have a very similar plot to many teenage rom coms of the 90’s but with added storyline of being in a conversion camp. The sex scenes in the movie are subtle and framed romantically, with soft lighting and music. This is movie is mostly white but does have at least four characters of color, and all four speak. Although not necessarily the most artistic piece of work I think it’s one of the few films about lesbians that gets it right when it comes to two girls in love.

Overall, I think Hollywood is making progress in representing lesbians, but that progress is very slow. More opportunities need to be allocated to tell lesbian stories and these stories I think should be told by actual lesbians.

 

Sources

 

Eaklor, Vicki L. “The Kids Are All Right But the Lesbians Arent: The Illusion of Progress in Popular Film.” Historical Reflections/Reflexions Historiques, vol. 38, no. 3, Jan. 2012, p. 153. Fine Arts and Music Collection, doi:10.3167/hrrh.2012.380309.

Jenkins, Tricia. “”Potential Lesbians at Two OClock”: The Heterosexualization of Lesbianism in the Recent Teen Film.” The Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 38, no. 3, 2005, pp. 491–504. ProQuest, doi:10.1111/j.0022-3840.2005.00125.x.

GLAAD Where We Are ON TV Report. 2017, GLAAD Media Institute, glaad.org/files/WWAT/WWAT_GLAAD_2017-2018.pdf.

Swisher, Kara. “WE LOVE LESBIANS! OR DO WE? ‘HOT’ SUBCULTURE — OR JUST NEW HURTFUL STEREOTYPES?” The Washington Post, WP Company, 18 July 1993, www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1993/07/18/we-love-lesbians-or-do-we-hot-subculture-or-just-new-hurtful-stereotypes/c04ac909-7af7-4fe6-965f-546c72f768dd/?utm_term=.464335a542dd.

Walters, Suzanna Danuta. “The kids are all right but the lesbians arent: Queer kinship in US culture.” Sexualities, vol. 15, no. 8, 2012, pp. 917–933., doi:10.1177/1363460712459311.

The Football Jock in Mass Media

Mason Vega

Professor Bergland

Pop- Culture

March 14, 2018

The Football Jock in Mass Media

With mass media having such a large influence on what we see through Film, Television, Television Ads and Social Media we see a common theme of the football player as a bully. One of my favorite quotes from Australian Musician Sia, says “When you have a lot of people telling you what you are and perceiving you in a certain way, it’s difficult to find your own identity.” -Sia     We see a bully in film usually as the star football player who is so self-absorbed highly arrogant and a bully to the “little guy” or non-athlete that cannot defending himself physically and doesn’t have the confidence to defend himself verbally.  I will focus specifically on football players portrayal as bullies in movies and a television show and point out some of the reoccurring labels that I found and how these could affect the viewers perspective of football players in a negative way. Continue reading

The Violent Gamers

In the 21st century, video games have broken onto the world stage, up till 2016, the amount of gamers in the world has reached 1.8 billion, with 1.2

immersive experience makes anything possible

billion gamers playing on PC. Video games have become an important part of the popular culture, people enjoy exploring virtual and fancy worlds as if they were living in the game world. I personally enjoy playing games very much, because it provides a so called “immersive experience” and thus I can do anything I like in the game just like I really did it in the real world.

 

Some people prefer the violent elements, and the game publishers produce the violent games to hit their spots. An example is the famous Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series.

Grand Theft Auto V

In GTA, player can do almost anything they want: robbing, murdering, crashing people, and driving cars, planes, and even submarines. And obviously, nearly none of them are allowed in the real life. The game series has become an outlet for people’s repressed desires, the sales of it faithfully reflects how popular it is: as of February 2018, the latest series, GTA V has shipped over 90 million copies in the worldwide.

Here comes a problem: as you can see, neither laws nor orders exist in the game worlds. Some media criticize the violent games as leading teenagers to commit crimes. As a gamer, I could not agree with that opinion because I don’t think I have ever been influenced by a violent game and thus decided to find some scientific proofs about the connection between violence and game.

A crime happened in the real life

A 14-year-old Idaho boy in Coeur d’Alene confessed to authorities about a pre-planned murder of his family members after idolizing a violent game character, Trevor, in Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA V). The boy, Eldon Samuel III shot his dad with a .45 calibre handgun, before killing his brother. Samuel later revealed to officers that he “enjoyed playing as Trevor in GTA V, which inspired him to emulate the violent character’s actions in real life”.

Trevor in GTA V

Trevor is usually seen as an extremely aggressive and dangerous character in the GTA series, he usually tends to solve problems with guns, knives and sometimes gas. It’s not hard to understand Samuel’s actions if he was trying to emulate Trevor. Similar to Trevor, the characters in violent games are usually shown as bloodthirsty and aggressive, and there’re some gamers (just like Samuel) who cannot distinguish real and virtual.

Vasilli’s Story

Vasilii was a League of Legends (LOL) professional gamer, on the night of Oct. 26th, he was streaming himself live in LOL. After performing poorly and losing the match, he started to blame his teammates, and his girlfriend advised him to stay calm:

“Why are you still talking now? I’ve told you you better not talk too much.” Said his girlfriend.

“Why?” Vasilli asked with no emotion.

“You are the main problem, you know? And you keep blaming others, not only in game but also fans in stream room.” After saying the words, Vasilli’s girlfriend gave him some advices about the game.

“He keep laughing on me and hurt me hard, mentally.” Said Vasilli.

“You can block him them. Just ignore/block him next time. He’s also streaming, you looked so dumb you know?”

Hearing that, Vasilli suddenly flipping everything in the front of him: the table, the monitor, and the webcam. Because of that, the rest of video is literally invisible, but we can hear him yelling “Are you looking for a beating?” and “I want to kill you right now”. He seems to beat his girlfriend, as he continually yelling dirty words and his girlfriend can be heard yelling and crying, “I don’t know why you’re so mad, you beat me for this?” while furniture goes flying around the room.

(make sure to lower your volume if you decide to watch)

As a result of the incident, Vasilli’s gaming team, as well as his streaming platform, announced that they have terminated their contract with the him, and the police arrived to arrest this gaming star.

The mad guys

If the Vasilli’s case was just an accident, there’re more and more players revealed on the Internet, being angry, reasonless and crazy. They broke their monitors:

punch their friends:

and threw their consoles out of the window:

 

Wait, you forgot the base number

So far, even if I trusted the gamers so much, I’m starting to worry about the influence of the games. The gamers were so aggressive, I believe that there’s no one in the world can save them. But wait, remember the research study on week 5? Data may not represent anything without given the base number, and the base number of the gamers is surprisingly huge!

Anthony Martin Bean, a master of Pacifica Graduate Institute, wrote a dissertation named “Video Gamers’ Personas: A Five Factor Study Exploring Personality Elements of The Video Gamer” for his doctor degree. The dissertation explored 19,416 video gamers’ personalities and analyzed them in scientific ways (the Big Five Inventory, BFI). This dissertation contains everything we need: scientific method and a huge sample capacity!

In the report, the researchers found four distinct and statistically different personality profiles—introversive, extroversive, secure ambiversive and insecure ambiversive—and indicated no support indicated for the different classification of video gamers possessing statistically different personality traits. Also, they found that different genres of video game player have different personality types, but the personalities found did not fit into the criteria of antisocial personalities.

Coincidentally, another dissertation named “Does Playing Video Games with Violent Content Temporarily Increase Aggressive Inclinations? A Pre-registered Experimental Study”, made by the researchers from Northern Illinois University, explored the relationship between violent behavior and the violent video games. The researchers designed an experiment to test whether participants who played a violent video game (VVG) would exhibit increased aggressive inclinations relative to those who played a non-violent video game (NVG):

386 participants were randomly assigned to play a VVG or NVG prior to presumably interacting with another participant. The researchers then measured participants’ aggressive inclinations: participants reported how many pins they would like to stick into a “voodoo doll” representing their interaction partner, and how likely they would be to actually harm their partner.

The report shows that there was no observed difference between the aggressive inclinations displayed by participants who played a NVG and the participants who played a VVG. Thus, the hypothesis that playing a VVG would increase aggressive inclinations was not supported in the study.

Conclusion

There’s no scientific evidence shows that playing video games, not even violent video games, could increase the possibility of being anxiety or aggressive. And the cases showed at the beginning should be the exceptions. The popular culture successfully portrayed games as something that would drive people crazy, by showing what they wanted you to see. I think the process of research taught me a lesson: data is always the best tool to help us tell right from wrong.

 

 

Works Cited

  1. Video gamers’ personas: A five factor study exploring personality elements of the video gamer” Bean, Anthony Martin; https://search-proquest-com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/docview/1733679590
  2. Does playing video games with violent content temporarily increase aggressive inclinations? A pre-registered experimental study” Randy J.McCarthy, Sarah L.Coley, Michael F.Wagner, BettinaZengel, Ariel Basham; 17 Sep. 2016, https://www-sciencedirect-com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/science/article/pii/S0022103115300093#s0045
  3. GTA 5: 14-year-old Boy Kills Father and Brother ‘Inspired’ by Violent Character Trevor” Vinod Yalburgi; 29 Mar. 2014, https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/gta-5-14-year-old-boy-kills-father-brother-inspired-by-violent-character-trevor-1442418
  4. Top 15 Angry Gamers, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zy6laZtRkcM
  5. The version with the minute before Vasilli beat his GF, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06SqXDs3RrE&t=4s
  6. League of legends. Top 5 rage players, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rljG6xrQreE
  7. There are 1.8 billion gamers in the world, and PC gaming dominates the market, https://mygaming.co.za/news/features/89913-there-are-1-8-billion-gamers-in-the-world-and-pc-gaming-dominates-the-market.html