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

 

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

Southern Women in Media

7dd52297b93e19bbf6fba53caccc9edfIntroduction

Popular culture is all around us; whether we are watching television, listening to music, or reading social media, we can’t escape it. Take a second and think about how much exposure you have had today. How many times have you picked up your phone today and gone on any social media apps? Whether intentional or not, we are exposed to it every day. Popular culture has an influential impact on our thoughts and ideas about society that affects each and every one of us in some kind of way.  Even though most identities are represented inpopular culture in many different ways, southern women are misrepresented through movies, television shows, and journal articles that lead to people developing false stereotypes and views towards not only southern women, but identities in general.

The Power of Popular Culture

Media manipulates the lenses in which we view society without us even realizing it. More often than not, our ideas are shaped by what is presented to us from the media rather than from our own thoughts and beliefs. Many of us fall prey to popular culture by conforming to the social norms that are represented. These looks, behaviors, and ideas that depict pop culture become a manifestation of what people want to be. We have an array of images that pop into our heads  when thinking about certain idenzombomeme27022018210828tities, looks, and concepts. The media has attempted to represent almost every idea, action, and look out there in some way, shape, or form. However, many of those identities are misrepresented, or in some cases, there is a lack of representation. Many of us are unable to have exposure to different cultures or identities, and as a result, we obtain our perceptions through pop culture. When analyzed, the media is often talked about in a negative way, but it should not always be considered something to stray from. Popular culture can allow us, when given accurate representations and information, to gain insight into cultures and human experiences we do not have the opportunities or access to. The ability to instantly subject ourselves to multiple media platforms is at our fingertips every day. This makes me think about whether we are overexposing ourselves, but either way, we have to be careful with believing the false realities and misconceptions that popular culture often creates.

Identities in Media

All of us possess many different identities that are commonly represented in popular culture. The identities we use to describe ourselves are based on categories we are exposed to and led to believe at an early age in our lives through popular culture. Even though an identity defines who a person is, it is not represented by only a few key characteristics. One does not have to fit those certain traits and molds the media creates to be zombomeme27022018202438considered socially acceptable. The media tends to only focus on a few token traits which are commonly the most exaggerated cases. For instance, women from the south have different stigmas and stereotypes that surround them, leading people to believe they are a an entirely different category of women.  In actuality, they are regular everyday humans that have been categorized by popular culture. The media groups so many identities, such as this one, into unrealistic, stereotypical representations that do not portray the general identity. Because of this, many are led to believe these misconceptions.

Southern Belles versus Redneck Women

What do you picture when you think of a typical southern woman? Do you think of a girl holding up a fish she just caught or do you think of a woman in sophisticated clothing sitting around a fancy table with their friends? When most people think of southern women, they often think of a typical traditional southern belle- a classy, pretentious, zombomeme27022018201959white woman in a big hat and hoop skirt-or they think of a redneck country girl in daisy dukes, cowboy boots, and camouflage. However, despite the social class standings, the most common stereotype that both sides share is being racist and caucasian.  

Most people’s perceptions of southern women, especially those located on the west coast, obtain their views primarily from popular culture commonly through movies and television shows.  For the stereotype of traditional southern women, I found that the movie The Help, which is based off of the original novel, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, provides a good representation for southern women during the civil rights period.

The Caucasian southern women are seen as classy, rich, proper, racist, and snobby. They are too preoccupied with what everyone thinks and making sure they are at the top of their class. The movie focused on how caucasian southern women act and treat others, especially their African American maids. The women do not practice what they preach and treat their maids as if they are inhuman and extremely inferior to them. The Caucasian women in the film dressed classy, always wearing sophisticated outfits and jewelry. Their hair was always done and were always presented in a high-class way. They were often seen in a relaxed setting with their friends out for brunch or tea. They had little duties to attain to because their maids fulfilled all of their responsibilities, including caretaking and cooking. 

Granted the movie takes place in a historical setting, the people viewing it can be influenced to perceive that this is how southern women are in today’s society. The media today represents southern caucasian women as those who are still attached to their history and stick to their traditional beliefs and ways of life, when in actuality it is the opposite and most have progressed to different values.

97e97fe82a02bb5a6aa73eafd05a60a4I can’t speak for all southern women, but the majority are not racist, like the women in the movie they do not have African American maids, and they are not all snobby rich women focused on hierarchy.

On the other hand, the majority of people think of rednecks when it comes to southern women. Most picture hillbillies with missing teeth and bad hygiene riding four wheelers and trucks through the mud. Others also picture the country girls holding fish in their hands, shooting guns, wearing short shorts, cowboy boots, and camouflage. They are represented as entirely different kinds of human with the automatic assumption of being politically conservative and uneducated.

There are many misrepresentations of rednecks in general throughout popular culture. I think the best misrepresentation of southern women is exemplified in the song, Redneck Woman by Gretchen Wilson. If you are not a fan of country music, especially more traditional styles, you have most likely not heard this song. This song would not likely appear on the popular country radio stations that are local to this area. In the music video, Gretchen Wilson stars as herself, representing redneck women. She is a caucasian female that contradicts the traditional southern way of life throughout the entire song with her more laid back, rustic ways. Gretchen refers to herself as a “redneck woman, I ain’t no high class broad” and through the use of different examples, such as “buying clothes at Walmart half-priced rather than Victoria’s Secret” and “rather drink beer all day than champagne” people are able to understand more about the culture she is describing, such as going the cheap route when purchasing items (2004). The video displays women on four-wheelers riding through mud puddles in the woods, residing in trailer parks, and hanging out at bars dancing and drinking lots of beer. The women are wearing cowboy boots, and camouflage, showing that they can be the outdoor type but also clean themselves up when the time comes.  Many southern girls participate in a lot of these activities, but more as hobbies, not ways of life. They like to hunt and fish, but they also like to get dressed up and keep themselves maintained and classy.gretchenwilson23_v_e

 

When young kids are growing up, especially in today’s society, they are glued to television shows, movies, and music to pass their time. Songs are very powerful sources that allow people to gain insight of the culture. Little girls who listen to these songs of how southern women are supposed to be influences their behaviors and mindsets, according to the mold they believe they have to fill.   Most country songs played on the radio sing about women, alcohol, dirt roads, trucks, and being rebellious. Some people are not fond of traditional southern music, and country music today has evolved with more of a pop-style to it. This draws more people in due to its mainstream effect exposing more people to southern ways of life.

I found this particular song and the music video revealing of how the majority stereotype southern women. However, as I mentioned before, the traits used to classify them are more of hobbies that southern women enjoy in their free time and they do not define everything they are. This representation is an extreme version of the southern identity, but is one of the most common examples seen in popular culture. There are southern women that are defined by these traits, but it is not a good representation of southern women or southerners as a whole. I believe that there are people that fall under these characteristics all over the world, not just in the south.

 Usually, there are extreme and unique cases that stand out and are represented in popular culture that contribute to the general stereotypes people know of.  A few extreme examples of rednecks in general that I considered were Honey Boo-Boo, Party Down South, and Duck Dynasty, which are all reality tv shows about southern families and or individuals living in the south.

2016 NBCUniversal Summer Press Day

Southern women possess a combination of different traits that originate from the sources and characteristics I described above. In the reality television show, Southern Charm, the southern lifestyle is represented with a mixture of traditional and redneck aspects. The show follows the lives of eight adults that live in Charleston, South Carolina whom are all living the modern southern life. The best representation of a southern woman is seen through the character, Cameran. She is educated with high standards and morals while being proper and elegant. However, she also knows how to have a fun time and enjoys going out into the woods to go hunting or fishing. Throughsouthern-charm-cameran-eubanksout the show, the southern ways of life are exhibited and we are exposed to all the different aspects of the culture. This show is different compared to the extreme cases, providing the most accurate representation in media.

 

While maybe not as exciting or popular, we get a lot of detailed information from the articles we read. In particular to southern women, the article Southern Belle or Southern Hell?,  the effect of southern culture on young women is explained through personal experiences (Bridget, 2013). The article discusses this mold that these young women are expected to fit in; must be classy, ladylike, graceful, and everything else that screams southern. These molds were created by men during the civil war era when the traditional Old South lifestyle was popular. The article, The Southern Woman: A History of Rebellion, Passion and Betrayal in “Gone with the Wind” and “Caballero: A Historical Novel”  analyzes the gender roles, identity, and culture of southern women (Vela, et al. , 2012). Their behaviors are still represented today, but with modification, just like with most identities. Southern women have become more independent, educated, and more represented in the workforce. In the article, Magnolias Grow in Dirt: The Bawdy Lore of Southern Women, numerous stories are told about southern women that go against everything they were taught to be (Green, 1977). They do break the rules and have fun in their free time, because well, they are normal human beings too.

Conclusion

Overall, there is not one-way southern women are represented, but rather a combination of traits. Many people are led to believe there are only certain characteristics and identities that southern women display. I believe this is true for most identities that are misrepresented in popular culture. However, in this case, a woman is not southern just because she looks or acts the part, it comes from within. You can wear cowboy boots and be classy in any region of the world, but it comes down to the values you possess and how you display yourself stems from the way in which you were raised. So just because some popular culture represents southern women as trashy hillbillies, racists, caucasian, preppy snobs, or confederate flag waving Trump supporters, this is not the case for the general group.

Personally, I was raised in the south and portray some of the traits represented in the media, but not all. I am caucasian and do own cowboy boots, drive a truck, and occasionally I like to fish and shoot guns. However, this does not make me racist and uneducated as it is often portrayed and assumed. I do possess some characteristics of a redneck, but I can also be a sophisticated and elegant southern belle. I wear pearls and often have monogrammed accessories, but I am not focused on social class nor am I dependent on men and others to fulfill my responsibilities. Just because southern women like me possess some traits, such as the ones analyzed, does not mean they represent all of the stereotypes nor can these ideas be generalized to a whole group or identity.

Learning Moments

Throughout the term, I learned a lot about popular culture and how it plays a significant role in our lives. In particular, I found the week about the influence of advertisements one of the most educational and applicable to our everyday lives. The article by Rushkoff, revealed how intricate and subliminal advertisements can be while illustrating how society has begun to materialistically define ourselves based on what we possess through his examples of purchases and investments (2000). Advertisers know all the tricks and trades to influence people to buy certain products and convey important messages. We are surrounded by ads and I think it is important to be able to dissect ads and identify the purpose, audience, biases, and other parts as mentioned in the Deconstructing an Advertisement article (2005). Whenever I watch ads now, I pay more attention to all of the details and parts of the ads I would normally overlook.

Additionally, many of us stay updated with current events through news sources. Today, there is an ever growing amount of fake news popping up on the internet and on news channels. I think being able to analyze news sources and articles is a very important and a necessary skill in our society. Week 6 made me realize how easy it is to be tricked by the news and I always need to be skeptical of the information I find or hear about. The article, News: Balance Bias with Critical Questions, helped me consider questions to ask when encountering any kind of media (Hynds, n.d.). Before, I never thought much about the source I was retrieving my information from, I only looked for the answer I searched for. Now, I analyze the source before reading the article to help determine the credibility of the source and whether I can trust the information. Many of us are easily tricked by the news and it is important for us to gain these skills to make more educated decisions and acquire accurate information. zombomeme27022018200840

By learning about these concepts, I am able to use the skills I have acquired to examine news articles and advertisements in media to determine any biases or incongruities. I can use these techniques in other classes when conducting research or searching for information. When out and about in my daily life, I can also apply these concepts when reading or watching advertisements and analyzing popular culture in general.

 

References

Barnathan, M. , Columbus, C. , Green, B. , Lunsford, S. (Producers), & Taylor, T. (Director). (2011). The Help [Motion Picture]. United States: Dreamworks Studios. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1454029/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt

Bridget, C. (2013). Southern Belle or Southern Hell? Women’s Media Center. Retrieved from http://www.womensmediacenter.com/fbomb/southern-belle-or-southern-hell

 

Green, R. (1977). Magnolias Grow in Dirt: The Bawdy Lore of Southern Women. The Radical Teacher, (6), 26-31.

 

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

http://www.mediaed.org/handouts/DeconstructinganAd.pdf

 

Rich, J. & Wilson, G. (2004). Redneck Women [Recorded by Gretchen Wilson]. On Here for the Party [CD]. Los Angeles, California: Epic Records. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82dDnv9zeLs

Rushkoff, D. (n.d.). A Brand By Any Other Name-How Marketers Outsmart Our Media-Savvy  Children. Retrieved 2000, from https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/rushkoff/brand.html

 

Smith, W. (Creator), & Garcia, P. , Mckinnon, B. (Directors). (2013). Southern Charm[Television Series]. Charleston, South Carolina: Haymaker. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2815522/?ref_=nv_sr_1

 

Vela, J., Miles, Caroline, McMahon, Marci, & Nuss, Melynda. (2012). The Southern Woman: A  History of Rebellion, Passion and Betrayal in “Gone with the Wind” and “Caballero: A Historical Novel”, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.

PICTURES/MEMES:

Cameran eubanks [digital image]. Retrieved from https://lovelace-media.imgix.net/getty/518605936.jpg

Cameran eubanks southern charm[digital image]. Retrieved fromhttps://static1.squarespace.com/static/55485da1e4b070e824121f7d/t/5704ccea45bf21f7ce 2cfa54/1459932501892/southern-charm-cameran-eubanks?format=500w

Gretchen wilson  [digital image]. Retrieved from http://img.gactv.com/GAC/2007/08/13/gretchenwilson23_v_e.jpg

How to act like a true southern belle. [digital image]. Retrieved from https://i.pinimg.com/originals/7d/d5/22/7dd52297b93e19bbf6fba53caccc9edf.jpg

Steel magnolias [digital image]. Retrieved from https://i.pinimg.com/originals/97/e9/7f/97e97fe82a02bb5a6aa73eafd05a60a4.jpg

***other memes were made personally from an app called Meme Generator.

 

Creepy or Normal? A look at Introversion in the Media.

Ever since I knew what the word “introvert” meant, I considered myself to be one. Basically, I tend to prefer to be alone although I do enjoy social interaction from time to time. I’m not necessarily anti-social as I have several good friends, it’s just that I thrive in a solitary environment. When alone, I am able to think more clearly and make important decisions levelheaded. I also do all my work alone, where it is quiet and I am unable to be bothered by the outside world. This assignment sparked my interest on what it means to be an introvert from the eyes of popular culture and the media in general. Before I started the assignment, I couldn’t really think of an example in the media where an introvert is either the protagonist or let alone portrayed in a positive manner. Usually when I thought of an introvert in a movie I almost instantly thought of someone like Norman Bates from Psycho (which, now that I think about it, I should used as a source but I didn’t for some reason). After concluding all of my necessary research, I can conclude that my initial preconceptions were right for the most part. Based upon my findings, Introverts in the media are portrayed as disturbed individuals with either a mental illness, extremely antisocial tendencies, an aptness for murder, or they have had a troubled childhood. As an introvert, I have experienced nearly none of those things. I find the media’s representation of introversion to be severely hurtful to the image of introverts everywhere as viewers may get the wrong idea and think of introverts the wrong way.

                       

One of the first examples of an introvert being negatively portrayed in the media is Ricky from the movie American Beauty (1999). Ricky is seen as an extremely odd person according to his peers. At school he is bullied and when he starts dating his girlfriend, her friends advise her to be careful of him. He lives at home with his mother and father and the whole family is constantly at ends due to Ricky’s behavior. In his free time he enjoys filming abnormal things such as dead crows, plastic bags, and his crush Jane. Obviously, his activities aren’t exactly what a “normal” person would do. And in today’s world, randomly filming someone in secret would most likely get you in trouble with the police. On top of his creepy behavior he also is seen abusing drugs in order to get away from both his family and his peers. As a character, Ricky is an odd individual who is generally harmless, but his activities have warranted unwanted attention and thus he is seen in a negative light.

Analyzing Ricky didn’t really give any shocking results. In fact, I almost expected him to be portrayed the way that he was. However, looking at his character from a broader perspective made me realize that his importance goes way beyond just the movie and that he may have a more influential impact than what I first thought. I have come to realize that Ricky is one of the many representations of introverts that the media has come to think of us as. To put it bluntly, the media can sometimes inherently very racist, over assuming, or just down right false in their views of certain types of people that were being featured. Ricky, like many other introverts that I have studied, plays into the creepy trope yet the writers changed it slightly by adding in an artistic aspect to him to the movie can original. While I’m sure there are real creepy introverts out there (in fact, Jeffrey Dahmer comes to mind) however the vast majority of us are inherently decent people with normal lives and the media’s general perception of introverts is skewed towards a fantasy version.

 

 

 

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Despite all the negative research that I was receiving, I vigorously strive harder in order to find a positive portrayal. To be honest, it took me a long time to think of one but the answer couldn’t be more clear… Batman from the Animated Series! Not only is Batman an introverted in the media but he also appeals to nearly every demographic, especially children. However, while on the surface Batman may seem like the almighty hero that catches all the bad guys, there are some negative traits that he exhibits that one can’t ignore. For example, first and foremost, he beats every nearly everyone who opposes just to get what he wants. While violence is an unfortunate aspect of police-like work, he could solve problems just as easily by using more amicable means. Another trait, and perhaps the most revealing of his introversion, is that he is famous for brooding alone over the loss of his parents. He took their early deaths to heart as that is the sole reason he became batman in the first place. The various villains on the show often make fun of his odd behavior (similarly to Ricky) and this often angers Batman even more which only fuels his violent outbursts.

 

Like Ricky, this portrayal of introversion can be quite toxic to the image of introverts. While the writers made Batman in order to appeal to children, his violent actions are actually quite graphic and even disturbing at some points. Now, what does this mean to children? It is believed that children often learn their values their parents, teachers, and finally television and movies. By watching Batman on TV, is is implied via the show that violence and melodramatic behavior is an acceptable way to accomplish their goals. Additionally, they are learn that introverts are inherently silent, stalking individuals with little to no friends whose troubled childhood caused them to act the way they did. At the core it, Batman: The Animated Series, while under the guise of being a positive representation, is essentially a poor portrayal of introverts and it only harms their public image and perception.

 

 

 

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And finally, the last primary source the solidified my claims was the character Lars from Lars and the Real Girl (2007). In the movie, Lars is seen to be an extremely antisocial basement dweller whose quest for love eventually leads him to fall in love with a sex doll. While in his “relationship” he becomes deeply attached to it (whom he effectually names Bianca) and he treats as if she is a real girl. He isolated himself from the outside and he even ends up putting his friendships due to his behavior. During a visit to a doctor (as advised by his friends) he even claims that touching real people burns his hand. Which is a good indicator of how far gone he is from the real world.  He continues this destructive behavior up until the very end of the film when he believes that Bianca is dying due to being unresponsive for unknown reasons. After her death, he decides to move on from his old ways and start interacting with the outside world again.

Lars can be viewed as the pinnacle of the representation of introverts in the media. He consistently isolated himself from the outside world, implied to have a mental illness, and is socially awkward. While the movie provode character development for him towards the very end, his initially behavior is consistent thought most of the film. This is probably the most harmful of the three characters that I studied because not only does he exhibit stereotypical traits of an introvert in the media but the movie is portrayed in a light-hearted manner. Lars and the Real Girl isn’t meant to be taken seriously but the fact of the matter is that his character is still harmful to some viewers.

In conclusion, it would seem that the portrayal of introverts in the media is heavily biased towards one side. Based upon the several sources that I have analyzed, it is easily to see that the media tends to represent them in a negative manner and as a result it is toxic to their image. Even when the representation is “positive” (i.e. Batman) the character still exhibits prominent negative traits that are integral to the character and in turn, turns them negative. With this in mind, we as the consumers are better able to recognize how the media skews the image of certain groups and that they are a mere caricature of them and not an accurate depiction of introverts as a whole.

 

Bibliography

Dini, Paul. Batman: The Animated Series, Season 2, episode 1-3, FOX, 1994.

Gillespie, Craig, director. Lars and the Real Girl. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 2007.

Mendes, Sam, director. American Beauty. DreamWorks Pictures, 1999.

A Product of Our Generation

When I started to think about the topic of millennials, the first thing that came to mind were the jokes that surround our generation. It seemed to me that most of the talking people did about millennials included jabs at our use of technology, our love of the selfie, and the fact that we tend to live at home longer than the previous generation. When I did a little more research, I found that this was mostly true.

However, I went into it thinking that these generalizations were just a joke. People like to make wild assumptions about other generations. They like to condense people into a few stereotypes that look funny in an SNL skit. In the case of millennials, that means lazy, narcissistic, and technology-obsessed. I didn’t think that many people actually thought it was true. So, I then set out to research the articles and portrayals of my generation.

One of the first things I found was an article titled The Me Me Me generation. This is a pretty popular article from Time magazine that was written in 2013. The first half of the article talks about the exact traits that most people attribute to millennials. The author lists off statistics like “the incidence of narcissistic personality disorder is nearly three times as high for people in their 20s as for the generation that’s now 65 or older,” and “more people ages 18 to 29 live with their parents than with a spouse.” Reading statistics like this, I was skeptical of their sources, and of their actual validity. Are millennials really narcissistic and lazy, or are these other traits that are being misinterpreted?

The article didn’t include any sources, so I looked into it a little bit more. I found the study that measured narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) by age, and found that the statistic was true— but the author of the article left out one key factor. “3-year follow-up found that about 50% of the 22- to 45-year-old subjects with [NPD] did not qualify for the diagnosis 3 years later.” Meaning that younger people tend to sort of grow out of it. It’s important to research the statistics in articles like this. The author didn’t include any sources or links, and he didn’t include all of the information about these studies. He just rattled the numbers off and called it cold, hard data. We learned about this in the first week of the term, when we covered how difficult it is to get the correct information.

So, the author took it out of context, and I think that’s the case for a lot of evidence against millennials. If you take us out of context, we look ridiculous. Why would we live at home when our parents could afford to have an apartment and go to college all on a minimum wage job when they were our age? Why do we constantly take pictures of ourselves and post them on the internet for everyone to see, when the generation before us didn’t do anything like that?

I continued to wonder whether the stereotypes about millennials were true. When I looked around at my friends and classmates, I didn’t see a bunch of lazy narcissistic people. So I set out to look at the different portrayals of millenials in videos, skits, and TV shows, as well as articles and research.

Lazy. Baby boomers love to point fingers at millennials and call us lazy. According to the older generation, we like to have things handed to us. We expect to get jobs without hard work, and we expect high pay without a fifty-thousand dollar college degree, and we expect to succeed without deserving it. According to a survey by Bentley University, fifty percent of millennials think that their own generation don’t succeed because of a bad work ethic. Seventy-nine percent also expect a pay increase every year. But the same survey finds that sixty-six percent of millennials want to start their own business, and that seventy-seven percent think flexible work hours would make work more productive for them.

Narcissistic. It’s no secret that millennials love social media. Facebook, Tumblr, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter– whichever you pick, you have the ability to amass hundreds to thousands of followers, to post pictures and statuses, and to broadcast your thoughts to the world. It’s the ideal platform for a narcissist. I don’t want to believe that millennials are narcissistic, but then, there are plenty of statistics to back it up. On the other hand, many of these statistics are based on a short quiz called the narcissistic personality inventory. It asks you to pick answers like “I am assertive” and “I wish I was more assertive.” This is an old test. It’s hard to tell if it really measures narcissism anymore, especially since it’s based on self reporting. Other studies have also found that narcissism isn’t actually related to generation, but the stage of your life. Maybe we need to wait until millennials are older to really find out.

Tech Obsessed. When you look at media that includes millennials, the young people are always staring at their phones. In the SNL skit titled Millennials, the main characters are looking at their phones throughout every scene. They never take their eyes off of them. In one scene, one of the characters is standing in a window and talking about how he’s going to give up social media. The scene is very clearly comparing giving up social media and jumping out of a window, and implying that millennials feel that way about it. The other characters are also texting throughout the entire scene.

The same thing happens in the short film Millennial Job Interview, in which a girl is texting while interviewing for a job. The interviewer in the video asks what computer programs she’s proficient in, and she responds by telling him all of the different social media websites that she uses, as if that’s the only way she could comprehend using a computer. Millennials are always shown this way– taking photos, texting, and surfing through social media. So is it true that most of us are like this? A report on social media usage across different age groups found that “adults 35 to 49 were found to spend an average of 6 hours 58 minutes a week on social media networks, compared with 6 hours 19 minutes for the younger group.” Sure, we use our phones a lot, but we aren’t necessarily more obsessed than our older counterparts.

When you look at the research, it’s pretty clear that the information is so muddled that it’s hard to come to a real conclusion. Some research finds that millennials love ourselves, and another study finds that we don’t. One finds that we’re on social media all the time, and another finds that adults are too. When it comes down to it, it’s possible that millennials are just a product of our generation. We’re not good or bad, we’re just different from those who are older and younger than us.

I’m friends with a lot of baby boomers on Facebook, because I mostly use it to keep in contact with my family. This is not a solid form of research by any means, but I thought I’d ask my friends on there what they would have posted about if they’d had social media at my age. The responses were surprisingly familiar. Politically, they listed off things like apartheid and nukes, as well as the time Reagan said “you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all,” about California redwoods, and how they categorized ketchup as a vegetable in school lunches. In entertainment, they’d have posted about color TVs, microwaves, Secretariat winning the Triple Crown, and Grateful Dead concerts. They’d have posted about health food like alfalfa, molasses, and carob, and pictures of clothing optional beaches and waterfalls and communes. And what do we post about? Political turmoil, stupid things our president has said, new technology, amazing athletic feats, concerts, and health food.

So, how does it affect us to be viewed this way? For me, it hasn’t changed a lot. I think if anything it pushes me to be the opposite of what they think me to be– to be proactive and down to earth and to unplug. But at the same time I am what I am. I love my phone and my computer and my netflix. I text all the time, and keep my headphones in on the MAX, and I’m not ashamed of it. An article by Heather Molzen chronicles how she looks around her and sees how millennials are helping people and working to make a difference in the world. She writes; “even though we have opportunities and technology that was unavailable to other generations, we try our best not to take these privileges for granted. Instead, we use them to tear down generational stereotypes–one action at a time.” I couldn’t agree more. It isn’t helpful to try to break down an entire generation because you don’t like the way they were raised.

In the end, we’re really not that different. What’s different is the world around us. It’s not our fault that we have the technology that we have now. They invented the TV so we could invent the tablet. They teach us about their thoughtless presidents so we can be critical of ours. They told us to take pictures now so we could remember those moments in the future. Maybe some of us have negative traits, but that’s what it is to be human.

Works Cited

Bentley University November 11, 2014. “Millennials at Work.” Millennial Minds: The PreparedU Project Survey | Bentley University, 11 Nov. 2014, www.bentley.edu/newsroom/latest-headlines/mind-of-millennial.

Brea, Daniel, director. Millennial Job Interview. Breafilms, 24 Oct. 2017, http://vimeo.com/239050403.

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

King, Don Roy, director. Millennials . NBC, 2017.

Molzon, Heather. “Students counter millennial stereotypes through work ethic.” UWIRE Text, 27 Apr. 2016, p. 1. General OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A450664140/ITOF?u=s1185784&sid=ITOF&xid=011c3a1b.

Arab stereotypes in popular culture

Mahdi saad

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Arab stereotypes in popular culture

In this age and era, we are affected by things we see and hear. Everyone uses popular culture for many reasons. They use it for entertainment like watching movies, TV shows, and cartoons. Some use popular culture to communicate with the outside world. This can have both positive and negative impacts on the people. For example I looked at how Arabs are being portrayed in media, hollywood, and disney. The Arab culture is put in a cage and being defined in way such that when someone looks at for the first time will have negative first impression.

First of all, the things I learned in doing this project shocked me in many ways. Some true information is presented and some false information is presented. I was shocked when when I read this article called “Strategies to Successfully Push Back Against Harmful Hollywood Stereotypes About Arabs and the Work New Generations Must Take On” by Dr. Shaheen.  In this article, Shaheen showed the point of view of how Hollywood presents Arab culture when they release new movie and the same thing when Disney releases cartoon movies like Aladdin.

The second thing I learned is how different Arabs are being portrayed differently for other Arabs. The media is portraying them differently even though they are both Arabs. For example, if we look at how Dubai is being portrayed in Fast and Furious as rich and happy. On the other hand, if we look at Iraqi we will see that in the movie American Sniper the country is always shown in the state of war and destruction, which has truth to some of it. I learned that if we look at the right sources in media we can find the truth and the hidden agenda behind and why these movies were made. At first I thought these portrayals of Arabs were made for entertainment and funny. After reading few articles and watching some movies, I learned there are  negative impacts of these work.

One of Disney’s finest work is the cartoon movie Aladdin. At the beginning of the movie, there song where it starts sing saying “ Where they cut off your ear, If they don’t like your face, It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home.” The use of such language causes people to think and doubt the Arabs humanity. The little exposure to Arab culture came to see them through a skewed lens of ignorance. The echoes in the hate crimes, Islamophobia, and discrimination still continue to worsen day by day.

The article by Dr. Shaheen talks about about Arabs stereotypes in movies, films, and TV  shows. This was presented at the conference in The Israel Lobby and American Policy in Washington DC. It tells that Arab and American Muslims have been relegated to playing terrorists for decades in the mass media, but that needs to be changed. It suggests major organizations to be active and acknowledge more often image makers whose films enhance tolerance and image makers who vilify Arabs. It mentioned a lot of movies and pop culture work were Arabs were used in negative way and he asked the question why. This quote is right out of the article where it mentioned the work were Arabs were used as villans to destroy and bomb things. “And then suddenly, Howard Gordon started showing Americans with Arab roots and American Muslims as homegrown terrorists out to destroy their country. 24 was so successful that numerous copycat series copied that format from 24. Shows that I hope none of you have ever seen, like “Threat Matrix,” “Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye,” “The Agency,” “The Unit,” and others.”

This is very related to my artifact and it provided a great prove to support my project of Arab of stereotypes. The article by Dr. Shaheen that was presented in the second paragraph. showed me a lot of things I was not aware of until I read this article by Dr.Shaheen. One of these things I thought at the beginning they were made just for entertainment and nothing more than that. It was not meant to be just for that. It is just a coincidence but after reading this article. I started feeling it was meant and it was done deliberately to deform the image of Arabs in media. This was very helpful resource for me and I wish I could have used it as one of the artifacts.This article had a lto of ideas and very interesting point of views that were connected to my second artifact that I have learned from. My second artifact was a movie named True Lies by James Cameron. The movie showed how Arabs are being cruel to women ad they think everything can be bought with money.

One of my resources was a video that talks about Arabs in the media and how it leads people to pick one of two. The first Arabs are being presented poorly or that’s their true image. I believe the creators of this video wanted to change the point view of the audience who are watching the video. The people will see this differently making them start thinking by agreeing with author and saying you know we were not paying attention to it before but to think about now. This person is right. I feel I was surprised and shocked by the things this person said in the video. This will help them to make money by grabbing the attention of the people to watch the video on their website. This will influences the point of view of the people causing them to not to believe everything that you see is not correct and you need to be aware of the media products. The Arabs are being presented poorly in the media and this video is trying to clear up some of the misunderstanding. The are being presented that way can lead to two conclusion. The first one they were meant to show them that way to destroy their image or it was not meant to and it was only to coincidence. The video did not show how arabs are not what they are in the media and it did not provide prove at the same time leaving the viewers little bit lost.The conclusions the audiences can draw based on this fact is do not judge someone from behind the screen. This video communicates its message by using cartoon shows and movies that every single person knows about. The video wanted to show that we should not judge others by watching a movie or a tv show. In the paragraph down below describes how popular culture affects us and how my community and Arabs should be presented.

The popular culture can shape your point of view of certain people or a  group. 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 talked and the way I dress and the language I speak. My community shapes my behaviors, bleeds 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 live 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 action. 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 responsibly about 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 other 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. When I was back in home country my parents taught me to respect the elders and be to those who are younger than me. 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 opportunities that exist are based on skills and not community and who you belong. There are many different types of opportunities and jobs that exist are based on your education level.

I did this paper some can people have better understanding of arabs and arab culture and how it is being portrayed in the media.  I made this to change the lens which people are looking at arabs in popular culture. The idra not everything portrayed in media and popular culture is true.

 

These are the websites I used to get my information- from.

http://web.b.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=3&sid=febcf75e-1ef3-42fb-8c7d-047328bf206d%40sessionmgr120&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=122900471&db=aph

http://www.aaiusa.org/arab-portrayals-in-film-a-history-of-stereotypes

 

The Military and Pop-Culture

Introduction:

In this big picture blog post intended to conclude and summarize winter term, I will put fourth my findings in regards to how pop-culture primarily in the form of films from the year 2017 portrays the military and those serving in the military. In addition, using my secondary sources I will explore those portrayals in their reality and look into how accurate those portrayals actually are. And lastly, I will critically analyze both the primary and secondary sources using my own first hand knowledge and experience being in the military.

The Popular Culture Depiction (Primary Sources):

I chose to take a look at three military films all of which were released in the year 2017 for my primary sources for this project. I initially was going to use the film War Machine but I watched another film on Netflix that worked perfectly for this project and I fell in love with the film and felt that it would work better for this project. I am primarily going to go off of the trailers for the movies, I will make references here and there to actual individual scenes from within each film but I figured it would be extremely difficult to effectively in 1500 words dive deep into each of the four films.

The first primary source that I chose is the film Thank You For Your Service. This is a film that is based off of a true story written on an infantry unit returning from a 15 month rotation in theater (combat deployment). The film follows three soldiers and their families upon their return and the struggles that they face once home. Primarily the film focuses on the struggles and demons that the soldiers face, largely this is put fourth in the form of PTSD. There are also the common struggles of smaller things like not knowing what your kids do and don’t like anymore, feeling a disconnection from a child that was born while you were gone and finding it difficult to come back to a normal civilian environment.

 

 

The second primary source that I chose is the film Megan Leavey which is also based off of a true story and portrays a lost female character who through the Marine Core finds herself. Leavey enlists, goes off to boot camp, becomes an MP (military police) and goes on to become a dog handler, something that was not common for females to do at the time. The result is that the military ends up being something that turns her life around and provides her a level of purpose. Leavey deploys with her bomb sniffing dog Rex to Iraq where initially she is kept from combat patrols but eventually earns the rapport with her command and along with it the ability to go onto these combat patrols as a female. On one of those patrols herself and Rex get hit by an IED and then take contact from insurgent combatants, she has to be medically evaluated via helicopter and the rest of the film is her fighting for the right to be able to take Rex as he is retired and she separates from the military.

 

The third and final primary source that I chose is the film Sand Castle which is a Netflix Original that portrays a soldier who enlisted in the reserves to pay for school pre-iraq war and ends up being deployed for the initial invasion into Iraq. Initially he attempts to get out of having to perform his tasks as a soldier but eventually he falls into his roll as a soldier. There is a clear level of a lack of comfort that he experiences in his role as a soldier, it does not come natural to him at first in the same way it does for his battle buddies, reason being he did not want to be a soldier he wanted his school payed for. There are clear portrayals of struggles regarding PTSD portrayed in the film due to the things he has experienced in theater (combat).

Digging Deeper: What Do These Sources Show:

There are a few aspects of the film portrayals that I want to take a look at before moving on to secondary sources regarding these aspects. Firstly in all three primary sources there are portrayals of PTSD. Something that the media does really well is portraying veterans as broken PTSD ridden individuals. The media seems to automatically portray every issue or most all issues that soldiers face regarding returning home from theater as being related to PTSD. This is false, PTSD is an issue and significant numbers within the veteran community suffer from issues related to PTSD but there are a slew of other problems that veterans face that do not get talked about because the media is so fixated on PTSD. In case anyone is unaware, PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Another aspect from these primary sources that I would like to take a look at and analyze is that while the men were battling their demons in the first and third primary sources, they were not portrayed as weak or overly emotional. While in the second primary source in which the main character is a female she is portrayed as extremely weak and overly emotional, in tears a multitude of times throughout the film. In the other two sources, the men struggle with demons but they keep it in, they are portrayed as being cold and emotionless. It seems clear that even in 2017 that there is a very stark contrast between how female and male soldiers are portrayed in film.

An External Look (Secondary Sources):

Regarding how the media portrays soldiers after they return home from theater and the common portrayal of them being in a broken PTSD ridden state, the reality of the situation is that only between 11% and 20% of veterans face issues connected to PTSD (Merry). I am not saying that those numbers are insignificant, they are a very serious issue, but I would say that it is not as large of an issue as the media portrays it to be. I feel as though Hollywood makes it seem like every veteran deals with PTSD and that it is the #1 most pressing issue that those returning home face. I remember having an Arabic partner last term and when she found out that I was in the military one of the first things that she said to me was “you’re going to have PTSD!”, which threw me off, I had never had anyone say that to me before.

In reality, those returning home from theater (combat) face a lot of other issues outside of PTSD that really do not receive representation in the media and by Hollywood such as depression, difficulty readjusting to civilian life and not being in theater, separation issues from their battle buddies whom are consider family and so on. There is evidence that in a significant number of cases, soldiers are too quickly diagnosed with PTSD that they do not have, instead of the time being taken to look into other types of psychological problems that the veterans or soldiers may be suffering from (Fisher). Screenings and diagnoses for PTSD can be very inaccurate and it is not uncommon to encounter false positives and false negatives (Fisher).

There is this growing divide between those who are in the military and those who are not; it is popularly called the military civilian divide. My research points to this divide largely being from very little if any normal everyday representations of those who are veterans. We all have this preconceived notion or idea of what someone in the military is like or who a veteran is. Only 0.50% of the population are on active duty (Merry), fewer and fewer people know someone who is in the military and thus how do we bridge this divide? Stephany Merry suggests that we do this through normalizing veterans and those in the military as seen through the media and pop-culture. Merry points to a character from Modern Family, one of the dads who is a Navy veteran who every so often makes reference to his service but is overall a normal person. Bruce Flemming points to a growing divide at every level of our society from fewer and fewer members of congress having ever served to less and less universities hosting programs like ROTC.

The vast majority of those who return home and separate from the military reintegrate back into society, they get jobs, they continue on with their families and they become functioning members of society. This is rarely the image that people see through the media. A 2015 Veteran Economic Opportunity Report found that the median income of post 9/11 veterans is 11% higher than their civilian counterparts and the unemployment rate is lower for veterans than their civilian counterpart (Merry). Veterans are not broken, they are not dangerous, they are not ticking time bombs, of course some return home with problems but the resources are there to help them and the vast majority are just proud Americans.

A Look Back at The Term:

I was lucky enough that my high school was a full IB school thus the only English class that was offered to juniors and seniors was IB English. Thus my entire last two years of high school was spent studying, analyzing and understanding biases, rhetoric, advertising, messages and tools used by the media and so on. This term was largely a look back for me at what I learned in high school. It was a refresher course. I use these tools in my every day life when I critically think about every message being sent to me while interacting with the world around me. Especially being a political science major who is very critical of where I get my history, news and current events on a daily basis.

Works Cited:

Fleming, Bruce. “BRIDGING THE MILITARY-CIVILIAN DIVIDE.” Wiley Online Library, 2 Mar. 2010, onlinelibrary.wiley.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9736.2010.00596.x/full.

Merry, Stephanie. “Theres a divide between civilians and soldiers, partly because of Hollywood.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 18 May 2015, http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/theres-a-divide-between-civilians-and-soldiers-hollywood-is-partly-to-blame/2015/05/17/ea1332f0-f819-11e4-a13c-193b1241d51a_story.html?utm_term=.ad5eab215dc8.

Fisher, Michael P. “PTSD in the U.S. military, and the politics of prevalence.” Science Direct, Aug. 2014, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953614003451.

Cowperthwaite, Gabriela , director. Megan Leavey. LD Entertainment , 2017.

Hall, Jason, director. Thank You for Your Service. DreamWorks Pictures, 2017.

Coimbra, Fernando, director. Sand Castle. Treehouse Pictures, 2017.

What Makes a Prince “Charming”?

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A fellow classmate asked me about the “Nice” identity I had chosen during the Identity Brainstorm assignment. She asked me, “When you say ‘nice’ [I’m] wondering if you mean ‘nice guy’, as in the men who behave in a more gentleman-like and gentle [manner] with women, who are looked down upon and poked fun at in pop-culture?”. This made me curious about the “nice guy” trope where a man acts chivalrously towards a woman to win her affection.

I wanted to look at the inspiration of this chivalrous ideal, the romantic heroes in classic animated fairy tales. The traditional romantic hero, or “Prince Charming” is a character that is familiar in many fairy tale films. But how has this charming character changed over the years? And what are the traits that define him?

To answer this question, I analyzed three Disney fairy tale films, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, and Frozen. By looking at the behavior of the male heroes in these films, I could see if “Prince Charming” had changed over the course of time. These films had wide public appeal, so any changes could show how romance, chivalry, and masculinity may have changed with the times.

 

 

When choosing films for this project, I used the following criteria to narrow my selection:

  1. The film must be a modern adaptation of a fairy-tale

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I chose this criterion because romantic fairy-tales use similar elements in the heroes’ journey. This made it easier to compare characters from one film to another.

  1. The film must be an animated feature film from Walt Disney studios

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This criterion was chosen due because of Disney’s incredible impact on modern culture and wide public appeal. Any changes would also indicate how Disney shifted its narratives over time.

  1. A romantic pursuit of a woman by a male character should be a significant part of the film’s plot

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A male character’s romantic interest needed to have a major presence in the film. This would allow me to better analyze the male character’s traits, motives, and actions. Unfortunately, this eliminated films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and The Little Mermaid from my list.

  1. The love between the male and female protagonists is made official at the end of the film

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The male protagonist needs to succeed in finding love. This would allow me to assess the film’s message about the ideal aspects of love. Each film may have its own definition of defining what true love is.

 

 

Sleeping Beauty (1959)

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In Sleeping Beauty, Prince Phillip is the male protagonist and Princess Aurora’s love interest in this film. He is the hero of the movie and fights bravely to rescue Aurora from her curse of eternal slumber.

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The first half of the film shows us the heroic traits of Prince Phillip. He first encounters Princess Aurora in the woods where she is disguised as a peasant. Although she runs away initially Phillip is able to catch up to her and manages to win her affection by singing to her. Later that day, Phillip declares his intent to marry Aurora to his father, King Hubert. Hubert is shocked at the news and asks his son would be willing to, “Give up the throne, the kingdom for some… some nobody?!”. Unconcerned, Phillip repeats that he’s going to, “…marry the girl [he] loves” and rides away to meet Aurora again.

In the second half of the film, Phillip is captured by the evil faerie Maleficent while Aurora’s curse takes hold. Maleficent locks Phillip away in her castle, as only a “true love’s kiss” can break Aurora’s curse. Phillip is rescued by three fairy godmothers, who bestow him with a Shield of Virtue and a Sword of Truth. Wielding these weapons, he swiftly fights his way out of Maleficent’s castle and rides over to rescue Aurora. He uses his sword to overcome enchanted vines and later defeats Maleficent in her dragon form single-handedly. He kisses a sleeping Aurora thus breaking her curse. The film ends with Phillip and Aurora dancing together on a castle floor.

Certain physical features and character traits define Prince Phillip as a hero. Phillip is tall, handsome, and romantic. He wields a Sword of Truth and a Shield of Virtue and uses these to slay Maleficent in the film. When interacting with Aurora, Philip is congenial and polite, but later chases after her as she runs away. Phillip is able to win Aurora’s affections after catching up to her by singing and dancing. Aurora would later describe Phillip to her godmothers as, “…he’s tall, handsome, and so romantic.” Phillip later proves to be a capable fighter and fights through many obstacles, including slaying Maleficent. These heroic acts are made in an effort to rescue Aurora from her curse.

Unfortunately, Sleeping Beauty was not a critical success, and reviews for the film were mostly negative. After the incredible successes of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Cinderella, Disney was hoping to repeat the formula to strike it big. Many reviews called out both the film’s lack of originality and the similarities to previous films. In a review for Film Quarterly, Raymond Fielding wrote, “The film’s characters and story can scarcely be distinguished in style from those of Snow White, except by their total lack of ingenuity”. A New York Times review by Bosley Crowther discussed the film’s lack of wit, “Prince Phillip is a saccharine cartoon likeness of a crooner on the cut of Tommy Sands”. Due partially to the poor performance of the film, Disney Studios would not return to the fairy-tale genre for 30 years.

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

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This film has two male leads; Gaston is the film’s antagonist and the Beast is the film’s protagonist. The story follows the main female protagonist Belle as she helps the Beast overcome his curse and his personal demons.

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Gaston is described in the film as handsome, gorgeous, strong, and tall. At the beginning of the film, women in the town are seen swooning over him. Even Belle’s father Maurice mentions how handsome Gaston is. He is shown to have great fighting prowess, both bare-handed and with firearms. However, Belle sees Gaston differently calling him rude, boorish, conceited, and primeval. Belle is seen having many unpleasant encounters with Gaston. In one scene, Gaston attempts to get Belle’s attention by taking her book away from her then proceeds to say chauvinistic lines about women learning to read before throwing her book in the mud.

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The Beast is described by others in the film as huge, monstrous, hideous, and ugly. Maurice uses these words to describe the Beast after being released from the Beast’s castle. In addition to being physically frightening the Beast is also mean and quick to anger. When Maurice is caught using the Beast’s castle as shelter, the Beast furiously calls him a trespasser and immediately imprisons him into a cell. Maurice is only released once Belle agrees to take his place for life. Later in the film, the Beast gets better at managing his temper and attempts to make up for initially treating Belle so poorly. As the Beast and Belle better understand one another, she describes him sweet, dear, and unsure. Belle later attempts to introduce the Beast to the town pleading, “Please, I know he looks vicious but he’s really kind and gentle. He’s my friend”.

When comparing these two characters to Prince Phillip, one can quickly see that Gaston shares many superficial qualities, such as good looks and fighting prowess. Also like Phillip, he decided to marry Belle after seeing her for the first time, as did Prince Phillip with Aurora. However, it should be noted that Phillip wanted to marry for “love”, whereas Gaston wanted Belle solely for her beauty. In similar “romantic” fashion, Gaston pursues Belle when she’s running away from him. He does this twice in the film, on the street and at Belle’s house, both for the purposes of winning Belle’s affection.

Contrary to Gaston, Beast does not start off the film as a handsome figure. He also does not treat Belle nicely when he first meets her. However, Beast does still follow a few classic conventions of the romantic hero. For example, Beast shares the romantic hero’s noble characteristics. He shows remorse for his rages throughout the film and attempts to right his wrongs each time. First, he transfers Belle out of her cell to a more comfortable guest room after sending Maurice away too fast for Belle to say goodbye. He runs out to defend her from wolves after she escapes his castle in fear. He even gives her the castle library after initially treating her so poorly. The Beast is also virtuous; he never forces, guilts, or manipulates Belle into breaking his curse. Contrary to Phillip, the beast does not slay the main antagonist at the end of the film.

Beauty and the Beast was praised for its modern tone of the story and characters, giving Belle and Gaston’s characters much of the credit.  Gaston’s portrayal as a comically macho and insufferable character was cited as an attributing factor to the film’s modern tone. Janet Maslin of the New York Times appreciated that Gaston’s super macho demeanor, “is initially the butt of the film’s jokes” which made the film, “an amusingly clear product of its time”.

Frozen (2013)

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This film has two male love interests, Hans and Kristoff. Hans is the main antagonist and Kristoff plays one of the protagonists.

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Prince Hans is very respectful to Princess Anna when he first meets her. He is physically described by Anna as being “gorgeous” and having “great physique”. He also displays noble and righteous traits when Anna puts Hans in charge of the kingdom as her proxy. He provides warm blankets and soup to the people of Arendelle while the kingdom is under heavy winter. When the Duke of Weselton attempts to undermine Anna’s authority, Hans stands up for her and threatens to charge the duke for treason. All these heroic acts are undermined when in a plot twist, Hans coldly tells Anna he doesn’t love her and that he was just using her to ascend to the throne. All of his heroic acts were merely a cover for his true intentions.

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Kristoff does not initially act respectfully towards Anna. He agrees to help Anna up the mountain after she buys him the things he needs for the journey. He is described as grumpy in the film and acts this way with Anna initially. When his sled is destroyed during the ascent, he reacts bitterly, telling Sven that he has no interest in helping Anna anymore and that, “In fact, this whole thing has ruined me for helping anyone ever again.” However when the two are not in peril, he lets his guard down and is able to crack jokes with Anna. The trolls call Kristoff “sensitive and sweet” and say that he “runs scared” and is “socially impaired”. Although Kristoff does demonstrate moments of bravery, he does not defeat or engage anyone in combat. However, he does use his survival knowledge to avoid obstacles, including making a snow anchor to safely rappel down a cliff.

The antagonist in this film shares even more traits with Prince Phillip perhaps intentionally so. Hans mimics many of Philips character traits up until his reveal as a villain. He is kind and respectful to Anna in their first encounter and later pretends to fall in love with Anna at first sight. He even leads a charge to rescue Anna, defeating a snow golem to get into Elsa’s castle. Despite all of these very heroic qualities and charitable acts, Hans’s was still the villain of this film. At this point, the question becomes what qualities did Hans NOT have that made him a villain? The answer to this question can be found in all male protagonists in each of the films; all of them were honest in word and deed and chose to act with integrity. For example, Kristoff does not ever lie to Anna or try to guilt her into doing anything. When his sled is destroyed, he does not seek damages from Anna. After Anna promises him a replacement sled, Kristoff never asks her to make good on her promise and he even initially turns it down when she does replace it. Despite Kristoff’s growing feelings for Anna, he respects Anna’s engagement to Hans and leaves when she is in safe hands. He only returns to Arendelle when a growing ice storm threatens Anna’s safety.

The film achieved resounding success on opening release, becoming the number one ranked film on its third opening weekend. It is currently Disney’s highest grossing animated film of all time (Box Office Mojo). Many critics praised the film’s contemporary take on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Snow Queen”. Stephen Holden of the New York Times chose Frozen as his NYT Critic’s pick stating, “They are significant departures from tradition in [Frozen] that shakes up the hyper-romantic “princess” formula that has stood Disney in good stead for decades and that has grown stale.” Holden cited the film’s version of Hans, “a picture-perfect prince who is revealed to be a scheming, opportunistic cad” as one of these significant departures from tradition. Even less positive reviews noted the stark difference between Frozen and earlier films. Anthony Lane of the New Yorker wrote, “Disney has thus arrived at a mirror image of its earlier self: the seriously bad guys and the top-grade sidekicks—the Shere Khans and the Baloos—are now a melting memory, while the chronic simperers, like Cinderella, have been superseded by tough dames.”

Conclusion

As Disney films adjusted with the times, so did their respective heroic male counterparts. Gone was the charming, handsome, and daring champion of old, making way for a more grounded and less daring hero instead. Male protagonists became less confrontational, and acts of might were less of an indicator of a man’s heroic traits and more an indicator of his darker ones. This trend suggests that a man needs to offer more than just physical prowess and handsomeness. In Beauty and the Beast, Gaston’s good looks are the reason he is revered by the entire town. Gaston makes no attempt to hide his ugly qualities and Belle is the only one who can look past his handsomeness. Frozen takes this idea one step further by having Hans hide his ruthless and deceitful nature behind his handsomeness.

Charisma was also dialed down as male protagonists became less cordial to the female protagonists. This doesn’t suggest that women are attracted to this behavior, for none of the female protagonists responded positively to poor behavior. Rather, this lack of cordiality implies that a good man’s affections develop over time; the heroes do not warm up to their female counterparts until much later in the film. To further this claim, the heroes no longer fall in love at first sight. Only the villains in later films desire to marry a woman at first sight.

These changes to the heroic “nice guy” in Disney films point to changes in how men and women perceive each other in romantic relationships. Prince Charming and the traditional view of chivalry were no longer relevant to the average audience.

 

Learning Moments

This class has been very enlightening due to the amount of self-reflection we’ve been asked to do for assignments. The identity brainstorm was a fun and eye-opening assignment. Picking ten identities was hard and it forced me to consider what my qualities were beyond the superficial. The identity brainstorm also helped me develop a prompt for this project through comments from peers. Even the course readings helped me become more aware of unconscious habits and biases. For example, the report by the Stanford History Education Group about its media literacy study was interesting, especially when comparing my answers to the study’s participants’ answers. I had to question why I got some questions wrong, or why an advertisement was able to sway me. Moments like these helped get a glimpse about how I react to the world around me at an unconscious level.

I’d imagine knowing my inner traits and characteristics will make me more actively aware when reviewing media, or when performing any critical review. I’ll better know how I might be unduly swayed and can account for my biases when attempting an unbiased review. On a more practical level, having new techniques to recognize faulty logic or suggestive messaging will allow me to tell the difference between good information and not.

 

Works Cited

Beauty and the Beast. Directed by Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise, Walt Disney Pictures, 22 Nov. 1991

 Box Office Mojo. iMDb, http://www.boxofficemojo.com. 15 Feb. 2018

Crowther, Bosley. “Screen: ‘Sleeping Beauty’.” The New York Times, 18 Feb. 1959, Web. 15 Feb. 2018

Fielding, Raymond. “Sleeping Beauty” Film Quarterly Vol. 12 No. 3 (Spring, 1959): pg. 49. Print.

Frozen. Directed by Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee, Walt Disney Studios, 27 Nov. 2013

Holden, Stephen. “Disney’s ‘Frozen’ a Makeover of ‘The Snow Queen’” The New York Times, 26 Nov. 2013, Web. 15 Feb. 2018

Lane, Anthony. “It’s Cold Outside” The New Yorker, 9 Dec. 2013, Web. 16 Feb. 2018

Maslin, Janet. “Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Updated in Form and Content” The New York Times, 13 Nov. 1991, Web. 15 Feb. 2018

 Sleeping Beauty. Directed by Clyde Geromini, Walt Disney Productions, 29 Jan. 1959

 

 

 

 

 

Mother and Daughter Relationships in Popular Culture

Growing up I have always been very close with my mother. I feel very comfortable sharing aspects of my life with her and view her as a very close friend. This relationship is what first sparked my interest in looking at the way daughters are portrayed in popular culture. I began to reflect on television shows and movies I have watched focusing on how the daughters were displayed. Technically all females are daughters, but in several aspects of television and movies being a daughter is a large part of that character’s identity. It was these characters that I wanted to research and learn more about how they are portrayed. I began to realize that there are several different aspects I could look at. The one I decided to focus on was the relationship between daughters and their mothers and how this is portrayed specifically looking at the teenage years.

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Before diving into my research, I had already formed opinions about what I was going to discover. From my own experience of watching movies and television shows, I noticed a recurring theme of a negative relationship between mothers and daughters. They always seemed to be arguing about one thing or another. Teenage girls were always displayed as very hormonal and bratty, and their mothers were always the last person they wanted to talk to. With this knowledge already in my head, I began to research different examples of mother and daughter relationships in popular culture.

The Popular Culture Depictions

The first artifact I looked at was the show Modern Family. The show Modern Family has been on for ten seasons and as a viewer, one can watch the characters change and develop as the years progress. One thing that also develops along with the characters is their relationship with the other characters. Now, in this show there are several generations of parents and children, but I only chose to look at one of the families. The one that I chose to look at was the relationship between Claire and her daughter Haley. I chose to only focus on this specific relationship because it is a perfect example of what I thought I was going to find before I began my research. A large part of the family’s dynamic is the relationship between Claire and Haley. The show begins with Haley in high school and many of her struggles stem from boys and school. Claire and Haley are constantly butting heads. There is one scene specifically that I thought displayed this. Claire is driving Haley and one of her friends to school and Claire gets frustrated with how many times Haley uses the word “like” incorrectly and interrupts her daughters conversation to tell her so. This turns into a screaming match between Claire and Haley. Immediately after watching this scene I started to analyze it. What I first noticed was the topic of their argument. The phrase “like” has only recently become a popular saying among millennials. The fact that this is the basis of their argument, shows that one reason for their arguments is their lack of understanding of each other’s culture. Claire and Haley can’t connect because they have such a significant age difference and therefore grew up in very different times. Throughout the show this a repeated theme.

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Another artifact I analyzed was the movie Lady Bird. Lady Bird is a coming-of-age movie that illustrates the struggles of one girl who goes by the name Lady Bird. Some of these struggles include money, college, boyfriends and her relationship with her mother. Lady Bird and her mother constantly constantly do not see eye to eye. Lady Bird is struggling to discover who is and who she wants to be all while her mother is placing pressure on her. While I was analyzing the film, I first looked at the mother, Marion. I noticed that even when Lady Bird did reach out to her mother, she replied only with negative comments. While Lady Bird is growing and developing throughout the movie, her mother remains the same. She is constantly tired and she refuses to get out of the mindset that they do not deserve a better life because of their financial status. This places a heavy weight on Lady Bird’s shoulders. This is a different relationship than the one seen in Modern Family. Modern Family takes a very comedic approach. This is a much more raw portrayal of a relationship between a mother and daughter. There are many reasons that one could say that Marion was emotionally abusive to her daughter Lady Bird. At the end of the movie, Marion wrote several letters she chose not to send to Lady Bird who moved off to school. In these letters it is assumed that she is apologizing, saying she does love her daughter. The movie does end with a resolution of some sort but does not outweigh the rest of the movie where Lady Bird is constantly facing criticism from her mother.

Outside Resources

When I was doing outside research, I found that very few have studied this topic in great detail. On book that I did find however was called “Lives Together/Worlds Apart: Mothers and Daughters in Popular Culture” by Suzanna Danuta Walters. In this book she goes over several popular culture examples that display different relationships between mothers and daughters. One thing that stood out the most to me as I was reading through the book was that “the mother/daughter relationship is formed, at least in part, by the cultural images that give it meaning”(Walters, 4). No matter the relationship of the mother and daughter being displayed in popular culture, mothers and daughters everywhere are being affected. While this is not a widely popular topic of discussion, a large part of the population is involved. When Walter states that popular culture give mother daughter relationships “meaning”, she is pointing out how people, most times unknowingly, associate parts of their lives to what they consume from the media that surrounds them.

I also wanted to observe the relationships between mothers and daughters from a different aspect. I started to look into studies that have been done about relationships between mothers and daughter in the real world. On study I found looked at the way parents and their children interact and how the children react to different strategies dealing with their emotions.

While the basis of this study was to look at different methods of parenting in detail, I just want to pull out something specific they found in their results. They found that “regarding adolescents’ age, the relationship between the mothers’ reported use and their adolescents’ reported use of CR was stronger for younger adolescents compared with older adolescents”Silva, Freire, Faria(2018). What I want to pull out from that, was the fact that as the children grew older their relationship with their mother decreased. While I focused my research on only the relationship between teenage daughters and mothers, technically daughters can be any age. This is another aspect that can be researched and interesting to see if the relationship between mothers and daughters changes as they age.

Why Does This Matter?

Being a daughter is a large part of my own identity and a large reason I chose to research it for my project. The common theme between all the artifacts that I analyzed, were negative relationships between mothers and daughters. Whether it is a generational disconnect or an emotionally abusive mother, the thing that connected them all was the fact that they were all negative. Growing up surrounded by popular culture that displayed mothers and daughters a certain way, definitely shaped what I thought the norm was for mother, daughter relationships. Young girls everywhere are also being exposed to these toxic relationships that are being displayed in popular culture. When this is the only thing that is being portrayed, daughters and mothers in the real world have nothing else to base what a healthy mother and daughter relationship is.

What I Have Learned?

After taking this course, participating in discussions and interacting from my peers, I have a lot of new found knowledge not only about the information in my research project but about many other aspects of popular culture. The blog post prompts pushed me to look at my world and self reflect. My eyes were opened in ways they were not before and I gained a new way to look at popular culture. One specific example, was all the articles and prompts about news. I now look at news differently and realize how much news is crammed down our throats as consumers. Another important thing I can take away from the course is how we were forced to comment on our peers posts. I was able to get so many different perspectives on one specific topic. By having to respond, I was pushed to pull apart their response and analyze what they were really trying to say. I also pushed myself to look at the opposition to what they were saying. This and several other aspects of this course developed and pushed my critical thinking skills.

Works Cited

Silva, E., Freire, T., & Faria, S. (2018). The emotion regulation strategies of adolescents and their parents: An experience sampling study. Journal of Child and Family Studies, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10826-018-1015-6

Walters, Suzanna Danuta. Lives Together/Worlds Apart: Mothers and Daughters in Popular Culture. University of California Press, 1992.

Too Lazy to Read This Blog? Hey me too.

Introduction.

You have probably heard it before, right? You are resting in your bedroom, fiddling around on your laptop, perhaps playing video games, or maybe even having a chat on Skype with your friends. It’s been five hours since you have started relaxing, when suddenly, you hear your parents yelling something at you. You hear them say things among the lines of “You are soo lazy!” or “Clean your room!” or possibly even “Do your damn homework!”. Once these words finally register in your thick skull, you finally do what any other normal college student would do: you take those words as a declaration of incompetence! How dare the Elite Class mock us!  We are just as valuable a citizen as they are! Such the oppression to give you the urge to finally give the bourgeoisie a piece of your mind.. But what kind of dirt could you ever hope to stain them with? You were indubitably, being lazybut was that so bad? All you were doing is a bit of relaxing.. Everyone deserves it! You turn to the Internet: “Look at all these articles telling me to embrace my laziness, saying how intelligent it would make you!”. You turn to television/movies: “Ha! If you have to blame anyone for my laziness, blame my upbringing!” You have dug up a goldmine of counter-arguments that you could finally use against your parents, but something else pops into your mind just before that could happen. You deeply reinstate your question: “Is being lazy really such a bad thing?”. With questioning like this comes nervousness and realization, where you finally are able to calculate the risks and consequences of being lazy, such as those that could impact your physicality or mentality, and maybe those that could impact what defines you as a person. You might have turned towards the Internet, but, “This article tells me that laziness is detrimental to your life”. You might have turned towards television/movies, but, “This advertisement tells me that not only does laziness affect me negatively, but also affects those around me as well”. So what is it now? Countless articles and media in the internet keep obscuring the hidden purpose of lazy culture. Can I really derive to a conclusion that gives that personal and healthy meaning towards this topic of laziness?

Can I really find out whether being lazy is a positive trait or a negative trait to have, by observing what Popular Culture has to offer?

 

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Abuse and Mis-usage.

The definition of lazy is “disinclined to activity and exertion”(merriam-webster.com), or in simpler terms, the unwilling to work or use energy. For starters, the word lazy can be used to insult someone or openly mock. We can see an example of this in Santhnam Sanghera’s article, I Am Sick and Tired That Students Are Lazy and Should Be Sent Down the Mines. In this article, the author criticizes and shallows out the people who wrongly accuse of college students who partake in a part time job rather than a job which relates to their field, in which these people resort to calling these college students lazy for being so privileged/”bloody fortunate” for working in a generation where it is not required to work in the mines or to be drafted into the armed forces, feigning ignorance to how much more difficult education and the employment competitiveness has evolved into compared to what it was decades ago.

I Am Sick and Tired of Reading That Students Are Lazy and Should Be Sent Down the Mines

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I also feel that Rebecca Florida’s article, Research Suggests Being Lazy Is a Sign of High Intelligence, also tends to misuse the word, lazy.

Research Suggests Being Lazy Is a Sign of High Intelligence

The author presents a US-based research that observes and studies a group of people divided by those who are “thinkers” and “non-thinkers”, all while exclaiming the heading point of their research: that lazy people are smarter. What they observed mostly was what events enfold among these participants when presented with too much free time over the course of a week. What they deduce is that “thinkers” in their free time tend to intensively think to themselves while “non-thinkers” tend to physically exercise themselves. What I came to figure out was that the author of this article is proclaiming that the act of physically exercising oneself doesn’t contribute to laziness, but the act of mentally exercising yourself does. That is when I presumed that the author only relates the term lazy towards these “thinkers”. But what is to say that mentally exercising is different than physically exercising oneself. There are different aspects towards these two exercises, in that instead of exerting work towards staying in shape, you are exerting work towards increasing your mental capacity. When referring back to this definition of lazy, putting out work or energy does not necessarily state that there needs to be a physical or mental aspect to it. I believe that it is just that because it does not need to be specified so we can make laziness out to be the variable identity it should have been. And that is where I believe that the author misused the word lazy.

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Understanding the Negatives.

The trait of laziness is generally seen in a negative manner in the public’s eye and your parents, for reasons that are understandable at the most. For example, according to Dr. Richard Weiler and Dr. Emmanuel Stamatakis’s article, Laziness will send us to an early grave, the authors warn us of the health and mental risks of not being involved actively in a physical sense, especially those who live “a sedentary lifestyle”.

Laziness will send us to an early grave

The authors of this article state that humans are purposed to always keep moving forward, via staying physically active, as this constant state of movement keeps us in shape for our bodies, and our minds. They emphasize that this particular era of ours is the most in danger of suffering the pursuit of laziness and all its consequences. They say that the danger is all thanks to this supreme state of convenience of technology and everyday items/tools (phone, computer, ect.). This perpetuating use of these items and the rate of our technology’s evolution has narrowed the way towards defining this era to be one where “moving has become redundant” and the vapidness of the race to make everybody’s lives easier. They also divulge that the cost of our diminishing role to exercise may result in broad arrangements of health risks such as heart problems and diseases, obesity, and even depression.

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This next example ties into the previous-said article.

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Sendentary :60

This advertisement portrays a household consisting of a boy and his grandmother. We see that this boy is prone to finding ways to do things without exerting too much active work and energy, the very definition of lazy. Most of the time, the boy always seems to be sitting down, indulging himself in sedentary and leisure activities, but there may be occasions where he performs medial tasks and chores. Physically, the boy looks overweight, un-energetic, and omits this lousy and unrespected vibe that in due time, disregards his very own grandma’s feelings. The advertisement portrayed this boy this way to provide a message: that stay active leads toward a healthy and happy life. How they do this was that they indirectly compare this boy to his grandma. You see, grandma here has possible muscle and/or bone problems due to the cane she needs to use for walking properly and the possibility old age might contribute towards this deterioration. Despite her old age and/or health issues, the grandma is portrayed to be more active than her own grandson, in which she is seen having more screen-time standing up and exerting energy a whole of a lot more than the boy’s screen-time. What puts the final stake in the coffin is that in one of the last scenes, the boy calls his own household, in which we see grandma exerting lots of energy (and maybe strain) to walk across the hall to finally pick up the ringing phone, only to find out that it was just her grandson calling in for a “grape soda” that he could have just picked up himself. One of the similar messages this advertisement tells of is that the lack of physical activity can lead to earlier than expected health issues. This boy was very young and had many opportunities to be actively involved in physical movement, but the way he is living his life might lead towards a life similar to grandma’s at a younger age than she is. Another one of those messages tell that laziness is a selfish action. Remember that death glare the grandma showed us? She had enough of that laziness shenanigans! The way she reacted negatively towards the requests of a grape soda for her grandson goes to show that it is disrespectful that you are trying make someone else do the work for you when you could have done it yourself.

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A Positive Portrayal.

I too was among the ones who solely believed that being lazy means you have inherited a negative trait or a bad habit, you can thank mom for ingraining that deep into my soul. But as time went on and the Internet became more prominent into my life, I have started seeing laziness in a new light. Throughout my sessions of surfing the web, I have been coming across many YouTube videos or journalism and articles stating that: Being lazy has its benefits. Aside from the small boost towards my own ego which could possibly land me into another feud with my parents, these certain sources bring somewhat understandable points on to how laziness can help pave the way to success in your life.

Take Lolly Daskal’s article, 7 Reasons Why You Need To Embrace Procrastination, for instance.

7 Reasons Why You Need To Embrace Procrastination

The definition for procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing a task that needs to be fulfilled.  I bring up procrastination because it ties in towards laziness, in that since you are delaying a task towards the “last minute”, your time is basically spent not exerting any work or energy towards this task. Since procrastination ties into laziness, it should generally seem like the negative trait it is, but the author of this article sheds the purpose and motive of procrastination in a different manner, one where procrastination can greatly benefit your perception. To summarize, the author treats procrastination more of like a practice or exercise to slow down your priorities rather than to set aside. The advantage to slowing down include being able to think more of the task at hand — due to having a bigger load of time. This load of time would also raise clarity of the situation, which in return, puts you in a calmer state-of-mind.

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Another example that shares how laziness can be beneficial is Toni Hart’s magazine segment, IT’s OKAY IF YOU KICK BACK.

IT’s OKAY IF YOU KICK BACK: When You Are Older You May Have Lots of Hours to Fill. These Are some of the Things I Do.

In this segment, the author goes against the purpose of always keeping on the move and to express that taking a step back and to relax is just as important to your livelihood. He states that always finding something productive in a time when you are not required to, can eventually and unnecessarily drain you of your energy, physically and mentally. The author states that planned-out periods of not doing anything should balance out that fatigue. The author also emphasizes that this especially should be relative towards elders or people at the age where you really need to consider the amount of energy you put out towards tasks since their physicality become more fragile as time goes on. He finally shares to us that at an old age, it is good to acknowledge just how much “free time” you have earned now that your lifestyle revolves around the end of labor and into a life of withdrawal (retirement).

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A lifestyle.

My final source on laziness sort-of ties in with some of these previously-said sources and portrays them in a children’s animated film, WALL-E.

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The thing worth mentioning in this movie is the civilians aboard the spaceship in this movie. Over generation after generation, the convenience of technology has had the civilians/humanity digress as a whole in terms of befitting health. Their lifestyle had them grow up to become more lenient towards the convenience of technology, factoring into the cause of their obesity. This view shares similar ideas with Dr. Richard Weiler and Dr. Emmanuel Stamatakis in the article, Laziness will send us to an early grave. It’s especially concerning to observe that only robots are left to do ALL of the work while the civilians live a sedentary lifestyle, in which these views are also shared with the advertisement, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Sendentary :60. Another important note is that the purpose of these civilians living in this starship is to kick back and to live a life of extensive vacationing, but as it seems, this vacation feels too extensive and unnecessary for the citizens own good, similar to how too much junk food can be bad for your health. Because of this extensive vacationing, the citizens have forgotten the other main purpose of why the starship exists in the first place: to exhaustively check if Earth is habitable again, further proving that they aren’t balancing priorities with relaxation and vice versa. These views share many things similar– but also conflicting notions towards Toni Hart’s IT’s OKAY IF YOU KICK BACK.

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Despite this, towards the end of the movie, you can see that these civilians start to explore social connection, as well as physical exertion and mental planning, in which it did not seem as if they despise the melioration of exerting energy and work. It felt as though that these citizens have always been open to try new things, it is just that their own lifestyle and technology closed them off to these opportunities.

Ending thoughts

Just as I have expected, I did not seem to arrive at a conclusion whether or not laziness leans towards the positive side or the negative side.. But I felt as if this terms meaning should be left indefinite. What I can conjure up is that being lazy will definitely have its negatives when you finally see if it has been punishing your lifestyle and your health. But with careful planning and foresight, you can utilize laziness in a way that could make duties and tasks more efficient than it should be. Laziness should be balanced in a way where time relaxing can take the strain away from your work and that work can refresh your mind and body away from relaxing too much. Now that my conclusion is finished, I think I’ll take a eight hour nap and skip class today.. oops.

Learning Moments.

  1. In Week 4, we were given the opportunity to analyze an ad by Axe called, Find Your Magic.We not only analyzed the commercial by the context we are given, but we also scrutinize the little details the commercials has to offer such as patterns, contrasts, anomalies, and statistics such as audience and broadcast detailing. Things like camera angles, words on screen, and aesthetic and style would be duly noted down as well so as to take note of any sort of emphasis on occurring and reoccurring elements within the advertisement. Sometimes these emphasized elements conform a sort of lesson or morale and could be shown subliminally/metaphorically or could be shown in plain sight to the viewers . When doing all these processes when analyzing, we begin and narrow our way to define the purpose and form of the advertisement as well as to seeing how certain forms and styles lead towards an effective piece garnered towards certain audiences .
  2. In Week 7, we self-reflected on how we digested news and how the news is prepared and presented. One particular article we came across is called “Is News Bad for You”, a piece in where the argument is that news has evolved into a piece which trims little yet important details so as to streamline the piece so as to aim it towards most audiences. News articles also tend to insert a bias in an informative piece, in which this case, the piece would then transform into an opinionated piece. I, for one, both agree and disagree in the article’s argument. I can see and understand how news articles nowadays exclaim only the peaks of events while leaving out detail that supports the context. I can also see how a bias can affect the tone of an objective piece into a subjective commentary in which it attracts more people with both contasting and similar opinions. Despite this, information is still being delivered in some fashion and I believe that cut-out detail does not opt-out for a more attracting article, but rather, this process entices the audience by leaving out unnecessary/loose ends of the information.

 

Works Cited

American Academy of Orthopaedic. “American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Sendentary :60.” YouTube, YouTube, 10 May 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__94GrS7ksE.

American Academy of Orthopaedic. “American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Sendentary :60.” YouTube, YouTube, 10 May 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__94GrS7ksE.

Daskal, Lolly. “7 Reasons Why You Need to Embrace Procrastination.” Inc.com, Inc., 15 Aug. 2016, http://www.inc.com/lolly-daskal/7-reasons-why-you-need-to-embrace-procrastination.html.

Dr Richard Weiler & Dr Emmanuel Stamatakis. “Laziness Will Send Us to an Early Grave.” BBC News, BBC, 29 Oct. 2010, http://www.bbc.com/news/health-11442101.

Flood, Rebecca. “Research Suggests Being Lazy Is a Sign of High Intelligence.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 6 Mar. 2017, http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/research-suggests-being-lazy-is-a-s….

Hart, Toni. “IT’s OKAY IF YOU KICK BACK: When You Are Older You May Have Lots of Hours to Fill. These Are some of the Things I Do.” Lesbian News, vol. 43, no. 7, Feb. 2018, p. 33. EBSCOhost, stats.lib.pdx.edu/proxy.php?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=127763672&site=ehost-live.

Sathnam, Sanghera. “I Am Sick and Tired of Reading That Students Are Lazy and Should Be Sent Down the Mines.” Times, the (United Kingdom), 02 June 2017, p. 37. EBSCOhost, stats.lib.pdx.edu/proxy.php?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nfh&AN=7EH126123868&site=ehost-live.

Stanton, Andrew, et al. WALL-E. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, 2008.

Student and popular culture

Popular culture or pop culture is generally recognized as a set of practices, beliefs, and objects that are dominant or ubiquitous in a society at a given point in time. Popular culture also encompasses the activities and feelings produced as a result of interaction with these dominant objects. Heavily influenced by mass media, this collection of ideas permeates the everyday lives of the society. Therefore, popular culture has a way of influencing an individual’s attitudes towards certain topics. Popular culture guides person’s life. Pop culture essays guide one along the route of information. People of all ages are connected with it. Elders watch TV and read magazines, and babies play popular toys. This culture makes people able to express their ideas and life. Everything you want people to know about yourself may be expressed though popular culture. Students are the group who influenced by movies so much. Teens find extreme sports appealing and live to try trends. Teens are most influenced by some of movies and videos, and younger students’ mind would not become mature. This way would let younger students follow what the movies show.

Many of the same categories that influence young people today, such as TV, movies and celebrities, were popular with previous generations. However, the way that teens access and interact with popular culture has been revolutionized by technology and specialization. They don’t just experience popular culture and react to it; they interact with it and affect it in real time. They’re using technology to do it, and youth leaders can utilize these same technologies to establish relationships between our teens, their views of culture and their faith.

At the age of 8 or 9 years old, students often have smart phones, and they along with using social media. Students use text to find out about homework assignments, make plans for the weekend and spread information among their peer groups. Laptops and tablets still have their places, but the smartphone is the access point for teens to get and send information. I don’t know what the situation of American students at the age when they take courses in the classroom. I don’t know whether American students use smartphone or any electrical equipment in the class. I only talk about the situation of Chinese classroom in China. In China, students are not allowed to use smartphones and any electrical equipment in the classroom. If teacher saw students using smartphone while taking the class, teacher would confiscate their smartphone and some teacher would not give back to them. I think students use smartphone while taking the class can make them not focus on class.

When young people aren’t texting on their phones, they are often checking in on social media sites. Social media is a key part of teen culture, from Facebook to Snapchat, teens are sharing what they’re interested in and what they think about culture. I think using social media in the students group is ok, but this don’t allow students spent more time on it, because studying is the first thing of students. If students spent more time on it, they would not have time on their study and maybe they would not pass the exam. Spending more time on social media sites, students are not focus on their study and have no more time to do some meaningful things. I think especially the young students need to spend more time doing some meaningful things, such as doing some volunteer activities. I think doing some volunteer activities which is better than use more time on the social media.

When students use their smart phones or use some social media sites, they will watch some advertisement in it. Students watches these advertisement, so they would think about whether to buy it. If this good was represented by their favorite celebrity, so students probably go to buy it. For example, LiNing, which is a Chinese sports brand, it is sponsored to Chinese badminton team. In addition, this brand let some famous athletes to represent their products, so I would probably love to use this brand and go to buy some products of this brand. The celebrity endorsement of advertisement influence students’ purchase intention. Celebrity endorsement is one of the advertising techniques companies use to create awareness and gain favorable responses about their products and services. Advertising is a very strong component of business in any society. It possesses pervasive and persuasive power. Though primarily designed by firms in order to create awareness about goods and services.

Today’s young people seem to be obsessed with popular culture and inundated with images from the many forms of media’s presence in their lives. There are televisions in almost every home in the country and many young people have their own television in their rooms. It is becoming increasingly difficult to get into a car, go into a store, or watch a commercial without bearing some type of music playing. Sporting events occur practically every day on a variety of levels; many of our young people look up to athletes as heroes. Today’s students are also inundated by movies and video games. Parents and teachers have allowed and sometimes encouraged it, many adolescents have embraced popular culture. Students spend great sums of their allowance money or their minimum wage earnings on music and video games.

I watched a movie called Bad Genius. This is the Thai heist thriller film produced by Jor Kwang Films and released by GDH 559. It was directed by Nattawut Poonipiriva, and stars Chuntimon Chuengcharoensukying in her acting debut as Lynn, a straight-A student who devises an exams-cheating scheme which eventually rises to international levels. Inspired by real-life news of students cheating on the SAT, the film transplants the heist film structure to a school-exams setting, and features themes of class inequality as well as teen social issues. The titular heroine here is straight-A student Lynn, who, as the film begins, has just enrolled in an elite school. Hailing from a lower middle-class background-her father is a plain, recently divorced schoolteacher – the teenager discovers, much to her chagrin, that fraud is endemic in her new surroundings. While the school charges students “tea money”, teachers leak exam papers to students in return for “tutoring fees”. Watching her father scavenge money for her tuition, the good girl soon turns bad as she develops a plan to earn a quick buck. Egged on by the beautiful but dim-witted Grace and her rich but equally dense boyfriend Pat, Lynn devises a system by which a small-scale experiment in a classroom, Lynn’s operation eventually balloons into a derring-do venture with a bigger test taking place in the school hall, as she scrambles to beat a cheat-proof device in the exam papers. I love this movie and never thought a move about an exam could be this suspenseful. Exams can be the most nerve-wracking and stressful experiences as students. Many of us can relate to cheating, and I think that is a huge factor on this film’s popularity. The Thai movie and the actors have won many well-deserved awards. As I watched, the true antagonists were the students who “use” Lynn to cheat. The movie story also showed how unfair life is, especially in school – the rich kids get away with anything because of their cash, and those who work hard are sometimes unappreciated. Cheating is a fast remedy, but it will not solve the problem. In my opinion, it is better to fail than to cheat. The best solution to your grades is actual studying and understanding your lessons in school. I’m really amused that the people in the story had to go all through that when in the end studying for the exam is easier and less stressful than a heist.

The popular culture texts inform and shape students’ discussions of social studies texts. Adolescents draw on pop culture texts to inform their understanding of academic texts in ways that support and limit them. In this article, author examine how sixth grade students spontaneously incorporated pop culture texts into discussion to inform their understandings about social studies texts. Pop culture texts encompass both print and non-fiction books. They are mainstream texts that are mass produced and may be tied to a variety of other commercial products. Understanding how youths integrate pop culture texts into discussions about academic ones can help teachers more effectively use them to deepen students’ reading comprehension and curriculum knowledge. Pop culture texts can play an importance role in shaping students’ literacy as well as developing their content knowledge. However, students’ accepting nature of pop culture texts – and their dismissive nature of academic ones – suggests that they could benefit from a more systematic instruction that allows them to identify and deconstruct messages found in both types of texts. One way to approach such instruction is through critical media literacy. Using the pop culture to help student learn knowledge is a better way. Students will likely need assistance in learning how to use pop culture texts to explore academic content.

In conclusion, although technology has a great advance and make popular culture becomes more wonderful, students need to learn how to distinguish what popular culture is great and what popular culture is harm. Some of them is muddy for students mind, especially the younger students. I think parents and teachers need to take care of younger students and teach them to walk on the truth road and not walk on the wrong road. I think letting students have a good personality need to begin to build up when their age is young. Popular culture plays an important role in our life, but it is also a one coin with two sides, so need to distinguish what it is good and what it is wrong.

 

Reference

  1. Leigh A. Hall, How Popular Culture Texts Inform and Shape Students’ Discussions of Social Studies Texts, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy.
  2. Adeyanju Apejoye, Influence of Celebrity Endorsement of Advertisement on Students’ Purchase Intention, 2013,3,2

 

Hispanic/Latin Women in Pop Culture

When I look in the mirror, I would like to think I see a fair-skinned woman in her late twenties who is trying to navigate life. I am curvy, small, and have died my hair more colors than I should ME 2have, with the hopes of reaching an unrealistic goal of a perfected hair color. I can understand, speak, and write in Spanish. I can cook the best homemade meals and give my Abuela (grandmother) a run for her money. I am intelligent and am driven to complete my degree, get a kickass career and be able to live comfortably all on my own.   What I have just described is nowhere close to what Pop Culture describes a Hispanic or Latin female. Yet to the everyday person walking on the street, I would not be categorized as Hispanic and or Latino. Why is this you ask?  Pop Culture and the Hollywood vision has given us a mold of how a Hispanic and or Latina should look?

In the Hollywood scene, Hispanics and Latinas actresses are mainly given two roles and or characters to portray on the small and big screen. One, the sexy beautiful bombshell who is unfortunately dumb as they come and is only after a rich andSofia is only after a rich white man’s money, or two, the immigrant who plays the babysitter and or maid because all they are good for is being the “help”. MiadEven though the Hispanic and Latin community are the second highest community throughout the United States we are stiffed short in the television and movie industry. According to Brian Latimewerethor of the article “Latinos in Hollywood: Few Roles, Frequent Stereotypes, New Study Finds”, which was published by NBC News “Out of 11,000 speaking characters in film and TV only 5.8 percent of where Hispanic or Latin descent.” (Latimer 2016). This Hispanic and Latin community is not being given the same opportunities as other races are. This article led me to greater questions into why my beloved ancestry was being left behind and out-casted from television and film.  After reading this article I needed to delve deeper into my research and which lead to a secondary question. Do movies and television shows that case leading Hispanic and Latino actors actually produce a profit?

I begin to research movies, who specifically had male and female leads where both actors were of  Hispanic and or Latin descent. In my research, I came across an article that was written by Brooks Barnes and published in the New York Times in May 2017. The article is entitled “Diversity Dominates” Barnes’ article spoke about diverse movies and if done the correct way and run with the big motion picture films. Barnes was specifically speaking of the movie “How to be a Latin Lover” and its opening weekend. “How to be a Latin Lover” stared Salma Hayek, a well known Hispanic Actress, and Eugenio Derbez a respected Hispanic actor.

Both actor’s names are known for great films, but many thought it was not enough to bring in the big dollars when it was first released. A competing movie, “The Fate of the Furious” was also released the same weekend. With a movie whose franchise was already such a success, there was no hope that “How to be a Latin Lover” would come anywhere close to be a success. Most critics were not wrong about the “The Fate and the Furious” which ended up being the number one movie for the box office that weekend, but those same critics were wrong about the flop that “How to be a Latin Lover” was expected to have. According to Barnes, ““How to be a Latin Lover” was only shown in 1,118 theaters across the United States and brought in 12 million dollars opening weekend … the film only cost 10 million to produce.” (Barnes 2017).  After reading many reviews of the film I came to one realization, this movie was based on a male and his success with seducing women. Salma Hayek, although given a leading role was placed in the stereotypical role of the single mother who has to work hard to take care of her child. Unfortunately, my questions continued to grow and I started to research additional films. Was there a film where Salma Hayek played a leading lady in which she was powerful and successful?

I was able to find my answer fairly quickly with a search threw IMDB. In 2012, Salma Hayek was cast to play Elena in the movie Savages. It is easy, to sum up, her character as a female drug lord.  A female drug lord who was a bad ass and did not let anyone step over her because she was in charge and what she said goes. The movie even goes as far as kidnaping a white female (played by Blake Lively). Although in this film she is portrayed as a strong and independent female who knows how to take care of business, there is another negative stereotype for the Hispanic and Latin community as a whole, which is being the corrupt and dirty drug lord.

This does nothing to help this Hispanic and Latin culture in the long run. Yes, it brings good entertainment, but it also digs the hole where we are buried just a little bit deeper. I continued my search and came across another film. “Beatriz and Dinner” came out onto the big screen in 2017.

Salma Hayek plays a holistic healer for the rich and famous. When her car breaks down at a client’s house, she is invited to join her clients for a sophisticated dinner party. Long story short, chaos ensues, and a series of events unfold, where we are left with a bitter taste in our mouths as the movie finishes. (I do not want to give all the movies secrets away). Again, this movie like the movie “Savages” where Salma Hayek is portrayed in a negative light,  Salma Hayek as the only Hispanic and or Latin character in the movie. She is working with a Caucasian cast and at times “Beatriz at Dinner” has very political motives behind and in between the storylines. I, unfortunately, was only left with more questions as to why Hispanic and Latin women were not portrayed in the proper light. The only conclusion that I was able to come up with was maybe the real version of a Hispanic and or Latin person wasn’t appealing? Does the media not want to portray the great sides of the Hispanic and Latin culture? Are we only suppose to be portrayed as the dirty drug lords, the sexy bombshell or the help?

My quest to find out why Pop Culture and Hollywood as a whole did not want to portray Hispanic and or Latin women for who they truly were was at a standstill. We are smart and intelligent women who come in all shapes and sizes. We are kind and loyal, can be sexy and seductive when we need to be. We are intelligent and smart, capable of running the world if given an opportunity. But does all that really matter? When will working hard ever pay off if we are keep getting knocked down and placed in a box that Hollywood and Pop Culture deem appropriate? I would like to think we are in the right direction in the year 2018, with hopes that change is on the horizon and I need to sit back in be patient. Can I be proactive and take part in a movement where women not only Hispanic and Latina, but all women are being brought up in the ranks. After completing this class and all the research and resources that were given to me read and comprehend, I believe that change is possible, but it is going to take time. This assignment opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of answers to my growing list of questions. By the end of this blog post, I most likely will have at least twenty more questions to the growing list of why Hispanic and Latin culture has a whole has been shunned and or ignored in Pop Culture and in Hollywood. It is unfortunate that I will not get to answer my original question from the being of this post. “Why has Pop Culture and the Hollywood vision given (us their audience) a mold of how a Hispanic and or Latina should look? But is not because I did not research enough information or did not work hard enough to find the answer. It is because there is not just one answer. There are several factors and reasons why Hollywood and Pop Culture are the way they are. My mind has opened Pandora’s box and as I grow up and the years change, the culture in the media will as well. Therefore, any answer that I can come up with will be mediocre and may not even be relevant in years to come. The only thing that I know is true and I can believe in is this.

 I AM BEAUTIFUL THE WAY I AM! I DO NOT NEED POP CULTURE OR HOLLYWOOD TO TELL ME DIFFERENT! I CAN AND WILL REACH MY GOALS IN LIFE AND NOTHING WILL STOP ME FROM ACHIEVING WHAT I WANT IN LIFE! I JUST NEED TO BE ME!

WORK CITED

“Latinos in Hollywood: Few Roles, Frequent Stereotypes, New Study Finds” by Brian Latimer – https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/latinos-hollywood-few-roles-frequent-stereotypes-new-study-finds-n523511

Barnes, B. (2017, May 12). Diversity dominates. India Abroad Retrieved from http://stats.lib.pdx.edu/proxy.php?url=http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/docview/1898639178?accountid=13265

The “Dumb” Blonde

Barbie dolls for some people became the beginning of the unrealistic expectations for women, where women had to be tall, skinny and blonde with blue eyes to be the American standard of beauty. But along with this standard of beauty, we see a more negative image being shown for women who are blonde. This stereotype usually shows women who are the ‘sexy dumb blonde’ that, as put by Limor Shifman and Dafna Lemish, re-enforces old ideas about women being “sex objects”. It is disproportionate how often blonde play the role of the women sexually surrounding rich men. Also, blonde women are often seen as the girl that the guy wins at the end of the story or movie, which shows that blondes are seen as a prize. Being seen as a prize can be seen in a positive light but also has its drawback because in real life being a blonde walking down the street you are more likely to get harassed by men. From a young age, girls see other females with blonde hair heavily sexualized, like Barbie dolls, and make the connection that their part in the world is to be perceived in the eyes of attraction. Along with this, jokes about blonde women being stupid and needing rich men are both sexist and demeaning to self-esteem.
The way these ideas have been spread is primarily through media, especially movies. We can see examples of the “dumb blonde” persona in movies like Clueless, Legally Blonde, House Bunny, White Chicks, Powerpuff Girls (Bubbles), Blue Mountain State (Thad), Johnny Bravo, Glee (Britney S. Pierce), Mean Girls (Karen Smith) and Bring it On. We see it in songs like Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend”, Dolly Parton’s “Dumb Blonde”, Hoku’s “Another Dumb Blonde”, and many others. Memes which are arguably the fastest way to spread media have only highlighted the already formed stereotypes about blondes.
In school I was treated a lot differently than other girls for my achievements (ex. “Good job! You overcame your blonde hair!”) or when I did something silly (ex. “It must be because you’re blonde”) and it actually was really frustrating. To this day older men say things like “Why are you in college? You don’t need an education if you’re a pretty blonde!” or something along those lines. These media artifacts re-enforce the idea that blondes are dumb as well as shed light on how often blondes are negatively portrayed in media.
Why is this important? Jackie Baker’s analysis on the way stereotypes in the media influence, as well as reflect, our culture provides a deeper understanding on the way blonde women are typically displayed as dumb and this has an effect on all individuals. Blonde women are not taken seriously in the media, therefore are not taken seriously in real life. Being addressed by the public as dumb may make a person think they are actually dumb. One of the negative effects of stereotyping is demeaning someone’s “natural ability” to achieve in the world. This left me wondering how have blondes been portrayed negatively by films and TV shows in the United States, and what does this imply about our culture? By looking more deeply at some of the biggest films in Western media we can see some common themes. I will be analyzing the films Legally Blonde, Clueless and White Chicks. I argue that the way modern films portray blonde women is misrepresenting them as dumb, superficial conceited and overly sexualized.

Legally “Dumb” Blonde
Legally Blonde was released July 13, 2001, in the USA by the director Robert Luketic as a Romantic Comedy. Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) tries to win over a guy who thinks she is “too blonde” by using her money and looks to get her Harvard. Elle Woods uses her money and looks to get what she wants, but her stupidity often gets in her way. In the actual description of the movie they use the phrase “too blonde” as a synonym for “too stupid”. At the end of the movie she is trying to win a court case and her saving grace is her knowledge of fashion and beauty. Also at one point she gets invited to a “costume party” and Elle arrives in a Playboy bunny suit, but the party is not actually a costume party.
Elle sees her kind but awkward classmates attempt to ask out a girl who says no and humiliates him. Elle interrupts and brags about how great sex was with him- although not true- to make him seem more desirable. She also ends up rightfully winning the court case, in the end, proving everyone she isn’t as dumb as they thought she was. In the end, she makes a very empowering speech about her struggles and it shows how she overcame her dumb blonde stereotype. She uses her knowledge of fashion and beauty to help herself and help others which seem sweet, but in actuality it is magnifying the fact that the only way for her, a blonde rich female, to be useful in the world is to use her skills that she acquired from being so vain in order to help others. It is somewhat of a backhanded compliment.
In the film, she gets portrayed over and over again as being very dumb, and people use the word ‘blonde’ to refer to her lack of knowledge. This is very revealing in the way that our society has used that word as both a physical character description as well as a word to demean other people. This can be seen pretty much throughout the entire movie. This movie also does a great job of showing how these stereotypes hold back blonde people from feeling like they can be as smart anyone else. Elle has a hard time being taken seriously in school because of how she looks, talks and dresses. Being a blonde in law school isn’t easy for her. But she is also somewhat of a hero in her own way. She uses her knowledge of fashion and beauty to save the day and to rightfully win the court case. I found that part amusing in the way that the knowledge she needed to know that was very specific and had she not known so much about beauty she wouldn’t have won. Also, she is shown to have a huge heart in the film, she decides to stick with the case even though it doesn’t seem likely to win and she uses her knowledge of sexual desire to help out her friends in their love lives.

White Chicks
White Chicks was released June 23, 2004 (USA) by the director Keenen Ivory Wayans as a Comedy/Crime. Two FBI agent brothers, Marcus and Kevin must escort a pair of socialites- the Winston sisters- to the Hamptons, where they’re going to be used as bait for a kidnapper. When the Wilson sisters get a facial scar in a car accident, they refuse to leave the hotel due to their appearance, showing how vain and self-centered they are. Marcus and Kevin decide to pose as the sisters, transforming themselves from African-American men into a pair of blonde, white women.The two men have a difficult time upholding their new female personas which leads to a lot of tension and comedic relief. The two have to flirt with other men, act really dumb and pretend to know other people and about fashion. They use their looks, use their money influence and play dumb to get out of many situations. The movie ends with the sister’s friends becoming friends with Kevin and Marcus for real by making a pact to stay together and go shopping.
The real sisters fit the mold of ‘typical blonde’, being white females who are rich, good looking and ‘dumb blondes’. We only see them for a little bit of the movie but the men who overtake their personas must match this stereotype perfectly to get away with their plot. When the two African American men are changed into blonde, white females they are treated at a higher respect regardless of the fact that they are hideous. Part of the reason they are able to get away with so much is that of their money. This shows how much richness or the appearance of being rich can change your style of life. Being a blonde, white female in this movie gives the notion that you can get whatever you want and be treated great by men for just looking like that. For instance, a man pays a lot of money to go on a date with one of the FBI agents and take the “sister” out on a very nice date despite the fact that the “sister” was acting rude and gross the whole time. The consistent display the “sisters” as being very dumb blondes in order to fit in with their rich friends. Fashion choices seemed to be a huge deal to the characters in the film, reiterating that stereotypically one of the most important things about being a wealthy female is fashion. In the end, the sister’s friends end up admitting they like the African American men better than they ever liked the real sisters, indicating that the sister never really had anything to bring to the table. This shows that the stereotypical blonde female doesn’t have anything to bring to the table beside looks, money, and societal influence.
The African American men experience more privilege as white females because they get more respect and attention. Conclusions that audiences might have drawn based on these facts are that African American men won’t be taken as seriously as white females. The purpose of the movie was to be comedic however it has deeper meanings about the way rich white females act compared to African American people. It uses comedic relief to contrast the groups of people and uses a crime plot to give to movie meaning.

Clueless
Clueless was released July 19, 1995, in the USA by director Amy Heckerling and Paramount Pictures. The film Clueless stars a blonde, white girl who is very rich and very clueless to other people’s needs, until the end she finds passion in helping others. In the film Clueless, we see Cheryl “Cher” Horowitz a superficial, blonde, attractive, popular and rich teenage girl who is very clueless about other people’s and her own issues. Her brother teases her that her only direction in life is “toward the mall” because she is so involved with herself and fashion. She is completely oblivious to other people’s needs. Cher plays cupid for two teachers in order to get them to tone down their strict grading policies, allowing her to get a good grade but when she sees their newfound happiness she realizes she enjoys being selfless.
She decides to take in a girl who isn’t traditionally attractive under her wing and give her a “makeover” to make her more fashionable. The girl’s popularity surpasses Cher’s and the girl ends up confronting Cher and saying she is a “virgin who can’t drive”. This sparked soul searching and she made an effort to be a more selfless person by captaining the school’s Pismo Beach disaster relief effort. In the end, she finds happiness in her relationships with people and herself.
In this film, we see a blonde, white female who is totally clueless about everyone else. She fits into the “dumb blonde” stereotype in every way. They show her failing her class and her driving test and acting like a complete idiot. People around her think she is very dumb but she doesn’t think she is, she thinks she can pass by in life with her looks and money. Her skill in setting up the two teachers was not truly a selfless act because she was doing it in order to get a good grade. Also, she uses her looks to get she wants with the boys at her school, making her look like a temptress. She is shown to be obsessed with her looks and boys’ attention. The fact that all she cares about is fashion shows a deeper look into how self-centered she is and how blondes are shown as small minded followers often. Often in the movie, she is displayed as a sexual object with her outfits, personality and the way men treat her. It is powerful at the end that she decides to want to be more selfless and help others which shows that blondes can overcome their stereotype of being self-centered, but it doesn’t address that she isn’t dumb. Also, there were many dumb characters but not all were blonde, it just correlated richness with dumbness.

Reflection of films
These movies primarily showed dumb, white, rich, good-looking blonde females in a very negative way. However, in Legally Blonde and Clueless, the blondes overcame the “dumb blonde” stereotype, which is a great positive spin to the movies. Also in White Chicks, the focus was on the contrast between how African American men and white, blonde, rich females behave. It is somewhat comedic because in White Chicks when the FBI agents transform themselves into white, blonde females they are actually so unattractive but no one seems to notice. Shannon Luders-Manuel’s commentary on the film White Chicks provides insight on how African Americans are wrongfully contrasted via blonde white people by saying,“Challenging racial stereotypes is often done through satirization of those very stereotypes.” This can be seen in the way White Chicks portrays White People as dumb as superficial.
The pattern of the films showed exactly how often this typical stereotype of blonde women gets reiterated in media culture and how it is so enforced to film audiences. The similarities between the three films were that they all had white females who were rich, good looking and all ‘dumb blondes’. These patterns are intentional in the way that white blonde females have over and over again been seen as sexual objects that cannot think for themselves. In many movies, blondes are not seen as coherent people who think for themselves- they are shown as small-minded follows. These films also reinforce the idea that in order to live a carefree life where you can just use your looks to get by you need to be white with money- and shows if you are female you can get whatever you need from men.

Other things to consider

Blondes have the front page in our world as being the ‘ideal women’, especially in America. Historically many of the Greek gods were golden-haired, and today we see Fox News and Donald Trump give bleach blonde hair a new meaning where being blonde (accompanied by white skin usually) is the representation of the right-wing conservatives. Even people of color are trying to achieve the blonde look with ideals such as Beyoncé, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez but only 2 percent of the population is naturally blonde and 1 and 3 people dye their hair lighter. Having blonde hair as an adult is rare and draws attention because it suggests youth because hair tends to darken as people get older. Also, female politicians with blonde hair tend to be more popular.
By analyzing the films Legally Blonde, Clueless and White Chicks we are able to see how blonde females have been portrayed negatively by films and TV shows in the United States, and what this implies about our culture.  This class gave the tools to effectively analyze primary sources of media artifacts that misrepresent how blonde women are shown in the media. Blonde women are targeted as dumb, conceited, superficial and sexual objects.

Bibliography

Legally Blonde. Robert Luketic. Santa Monica, CA: MGM Home Entertainment, 2004.
White Chicks. Revolution Studios. Wayans Bros. Keenan Ivory Wayans. Culver City, Calif. : Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, 2004.
Rudin, Scott, Amy Heckerling, Alicia Silverstone, and Paul Rudd. Clueless. Hollywood, Calif: Paramount Pictures, 1995.
Shifman, Limor and Dafna Lemish. “Blondejokes.Com: The New Generation.” Society, vol. 47, no. 1, Jan. 2010, pp. 19-22. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s12115-009-9275-9.

Baker, Jackie. “Analyzing Stereotypes in Media.” Teaching & Change, vol. 3, no. 3, Spring 96, p. 260. EBSCOhost, stats.lib.pdx.edu/proxy.php?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=9605074838&site=ehost-live.

Photo-illustrations by gluekiT. Leigh Vogel/WireImage)/Getty Images (Vanessa Trump); Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images (Conway). “The Politics of Blondness, From Aphrodite to Ivanka.” The Cut, 10 Aug. 2017, http://www.thecut.com/2017/08/politics-of-blonde-hair-from-persephone-to-ivanka-trump.html.

Luders-Manuel, Shannon. “Humor and race in dear white people and white chicks” JSTOR. 3 March, 2017. https://daily.jstor.org/humor-and-race-in-dear-white-people-and-white-chicks/.

The Hollywood Scandal To End All Scandals

One of the most powerful cultural icons of all time is the American movie industry and its figurehead: Hollywood. In the early part of the twentieth century, this neighborhood in central LA became a hotbed for film production, growing into one of the most recognizable symbols of American popular culture. The major production companies ruled the cinematic world for decades, but as the technology required to produce films became less complicated to use and cheaper to buy, independent filmmakers were able to rival the large studios. One of the most successful and impactful of these indie production companies was Miramax films. Founded by Bob and Harvey Weinstein in the 1970s, this studio went on to produce such films as Cinema Paradiso and Clerks. The studio is perhaps best known for its work with Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman in such films as Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill 1&2. Bob and Harvey Weinstein eventually left Miramax and founded their own company, aptly named The Weinstein Company, where they continued to produce independent films, including teaming up with Tarantino for several more features. Bob and his brother Harvey were shot up to the top of the industry, becoming incredibly influential in the world of film.

On Thursday October 5 2017, The New York Times released an article claiming that Harvey Weinstein has been, for decades, sexually assaulting actresses and paying them off to keep quiet about it. This was a huge deal in the industry, and for me as an aspiring filmmaker. For years Harvey Weinstein had been someone I looked up to immensely. He and his brother had somehow managed to cut through the bullshit of the film world to create one of the most successful indie film production companies in history. Suddenly everything I felt about him had changed.

It seemed after that first story broke, that every day a new person was chiming in with more damning evidence against Weinstein. He was removed from his own company, threatened to sue The New York Times, and offered weak apologies to some of the women he was accused of assaulting. From October 5th to the day of this writing (February 27 2018) new information relating to this story in one way or another has come forward. Yesterday it came out that The Weinstein Company was going to file for bankruptcy. How the mighty fall. This scandal doesn’t stop at Harvey Weinstein either. Many other household names have been accused of debauchery of one form or another. Kevin Spacey was outed as a pedophile, which he pathetically tried to spin as him coming out as gay. Brett Ratner, a famous director and film producer, James Franco, and Louis C.K., to name a few.

One of the things that I think is most interesting and depressing about this entire situation is the fact that this is not a new problem. We now know Harvey Weinstein has been at this for at least two decades, but I had heard at least three years ago that Bryan Singer, the director of critically acclaimed films like X Men and The Usual Suspects, had been accused of sexually assaulting teenage boys and using his wealth and power to avoid prosecution. I am positive that there are countless more predators in the film industry, and most likely every industry with positions of power, and it worries me greatly since I too want to be a part of this world.

I also think that it’s really interesting to look at how people in the industry have been examining the issue of sexual assault and harassment in showbiz. One of my favorite TV shows of all time, BoJack Horseman, contains an episode which tackles just such a scenario. In season 2 episode 7, two of the characters, Diane and BoJack are doing a tour around the country to promote a book. At one of the stops, Diane is asked about a third character, Hank Hippopopalous, a big late night TV show host who has been accused of sexual misconduct by many women who have worked for him in the past. Diane condemns the behavior of Mr. Hippopopalous despite the fact that on the surface he is a beloved television figure. This move sparks a firestorm of hate against Diane (and BoJack by association), for trying to tarnish the reputation of a man with such a good public reputation. When Diane points out that he has been publicly accused, people tend to dismiss her as trying to “get her 15 minutes of fame,” or for trying to falsely accuse him because he’s a successful man. It even gets to the point where Hank personally arranges a meeting with Diane in an empty parking garage after making her think that she would be meeting one of his accusers. He threatens her explicitly and tells her to back off. This is very reminiscent of the way that the public treated Bill Cosby’s early accusers, before his legal issues really took off. This is also the way that people claim Weinstein has acted for decades; either threatening or bribing those who might want to expose him for what he really is.

Another really poignant example of this in realistic fiction is the Netflix show Master of None, created and written by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang. While this show is marketed as a comedy, I would describe it more as an realistic absurdist drama with very clever writing. This show has used its platform as a popular show on several occasions to address modern social issues. One of the key plot points of season two involves Ansari’s character Dev creating a TV show with his friend Chef Jeff (Bobby Cannavale). Throughout the show Dev and Jeff spend a lot of time together, bonding as friends, and promoting their show. In the season finale, it is revealed that Jeff has been accused of sexual misconduct by several of his female employees past and present. This revelation puts Dev in an uncomfortable position when the news drops while they’re being interviewed on a talk show. Dev immediately tries to distance himself from Jeff, but still gets caught up in the drama because of how close they’ve become.

I think Master of None is an especially good example because Aziz Ansari was briefly accused along with a wash of celebrities around the time of Weinstein for sexual misconduct. Specifically, a woman he had sexual relations with said that he did not listen to her when she did not give him consent. However it was later revealed that she never said “no” until he asked if she wanted to have sex in front of a mirror, and then afterwards, they just hungout. Weird, yes, but hardly morally or legally violating. I think this is a very interesting flip side to the current trend.

In the wake of the accusations against these celebrities, the legal repercussions have been, in my opinion inadequate. I understand that it’s hard to compile evidence against such powerful people, especially when many of the accusations against them are from some time ago, or lack concrete evidence outside of witness testimony. However, I think the public rose to occasion quite valiantly. Cultural movements like the #metoo trend have grown both online and in real life. For example at the Emmy Awards, actors dressed in black clothes adorned with pins supporting the people leveling the accusations against the people in charge.

It is in this aspect that I am proud to be a filmmaker, and to see the level of support from some other important figures in my chosen field. It can be hard to remember in times like these that despite the massive amount of negativity and evil, there are still so many good people out there, and that in the end they will prevail.  Hopefully in the coming months we will start to see concrete legal repercussions against many of the accused, I’m sure Harvey Weinstein will be indicted, if for no other reason than popular demand. I also think that this is helping to make those in our culture who were unaware of this problem more cognizant to it, and those who would speak out against it more confident in doing what’s right. Finally, I hope that it will also have an effect on those people who would want to prey on people less powerful than them. Hopefully these people will see what happened and remember that they simply can’t get away with things that they used to, because as a culture we are growing, and while it may seem hard to see the bright side when even your president is a rapist, we must remember: the night is always darkest before the dawn.

Bibliography:

“Harvey Weinstein Timeline: How the Scandal Unfolded.” BBC News, BBC, 12 Feb. 2018, www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-41594672.

Kantor, Jodi, and Megan Twohey. “Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 5 Oct. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/10/05/us/harvey-weinstein-harassment-allegations.html.

Dowd, Maureen. “This Is Why Uma Thurman Is Angry.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 3 Feb. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/02/03/opinion/sunday/this-is-why-uma-thurman-is-angry.html.

Ansari, Aziz, and Alan Yang. Master of None (TV Series 2015– ), Season 2, episode 10, Netflix, www.imdb.com/title/tt4635276/.

Bob-Waksberg, Raphael. “BoJack Horseman.” Netflix Official Site, 22 Aug. 2014, www.netflix.com/title/70300800.

 

Strong Females vs. Dominant Males in Shoujo Anime

Anime like many media products is created to entertain specific audiences. Shoujo in Japanese translates to “girl,” meaning Shoujo anime is anime for girls. This genre of anime has no limitations in plot or setting as they can range from historical dramas to science fiction, but they must capture the attention of their targeted audience of young females. Having a genre that is targeted to females seems like a great idea, as many of these animes have lead female characters that display confident, strong, and independent personalities. From the Journal of Popular Culture, Fusami Ogi stated that this genre is great as it is content for women written by women. It was Shoujo anime that really changed the way society viewed Japanese women. Women were no longer just wives and stay at home mothers, but working with careers just like men.

When watching animes like, Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge or Wolf Girl Black Prince, the female characters can really be made out as role models for their targeted audiences. Yet, the fault in the Shoujo anime is with their male leads. In almost every Shoujo anime that you will watch, the male leads always have an upper hand over the female leads. Whether it be physical strength or mental manipulation, the male characters always have dominance. What this look like in Shoujo anime and what this means for their young female viewers will be covered throughout this blog.

Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge

In my first source, I chose to look at the 2006 anime, Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge, or translated in english to The Wallflower. This anime is about a girl named Sunako, who after being called ugly by the boy she liked, rejects all forms of beauty. Her aunt is determined to transform her into a lady, so she makes the four men who rent her house train Sunako to become a proper lady in order for them to receive free rent. Sunako is not your typical female lead, which makes her even more entertaining. She likes horror films and her best friend is a human anatomy doll. Sunako enjoys being alone and is able to manage herself. Going back to the plot of her aunt wanting to transform her into a “lady,” it sets up this expectation that Sunako would need to become the stereotype of a girl who likes pink, wears makeup, and wants a mans attention, but Sunako being a good friend and overall person makes her a better lady then the other female characters that follow the stereotype. This creates a strong message to the female viewers about what it means to be a lady.

For Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge, the main male lead is Kyohei. Kyohei’s personality is very bitter and negative. He is often described as “God’s gift” for being so beautiful, which is Sunako’s worst nightmare. Whenever she sees his face, she gets a nosebleed because he is too “dazzling.” Sunako, being very dark, makes it her mission to kill him, jokingly of course. Kyohei is the only character in the show who really gets Sunako and often uses her weaknesses against her. He repeatedly saves her from conflicts, like when other characters try to harm her. This follows my observation that although Sunako is this strong and independent character, she can’t beat her opposing male lead, Kyohei.

Wolf Girl Black Prince

My second source, is quite the opposite of the prior as it follows the typical female genre expectation. In the 2014 anime, Wolf Girl Black Prince, Erika Shinohara is the only one of her friends who does not have boyfriend. One day she takes a picture of a random boy and says that is her boyfriend. That boy, Kyoya Sata, ends up being a popular guy at her school. Erika asks Kyoya to pretend to be her boyfriend and makes her life a nightmare by making her into his personal slave or dog, being the meaning behind the title. Erika follows the common female character expectation, as she desires a boyfriend, wants to fit in, and make a man happy. However she does display points of difference as she knows what she wants in a relationship and ultimately ends the torment because she knows that she deserves better. For the audiences, Erika can be character that many young girls can relate to with the pressures of being a high school girl trying to fit in, so showing her actions and how she learns to put herself first is very good of the young girls watching.

The male lead, Kyoya, is just as the title says, a black prince. Kyoya is initially very cruel to Erika, not only by blackmailing her into being his slave, but he plays with her emotions. In episode 5, Kyoya does an entire monologue of how he loves her, only to laugh in her face and say that it was joke. Throughout the entire anime, even after they start dating, Kyoya’s choices and lack of explanation of his actions constantly leaves Erika hurt. He is her love interest and her enemy. This anime also follows the expectation of the Shoujo genre having male leads that dominate over the female leads.

Hana Yori Dango

My last source is different as I’ve chosen to use the live action adaption instead of the anime. The reasoning for this choice being that the live action gained much more media attention globally. My third source is the 2005 drama, Hana Yori Dango or Boys Before Flowers. This drama was the first Shoujo genre product that I watched. The drama really stood out to me and made me admire the Shoujo genre because of the complex plot. The story is about Tsukushi Makino, she is from the working class and ends up attending a school for the rich. At the school she encounters a group of boys known as F4, all wealthy heirs to big Japanese companies. The leader, Tsukasa Domyouji, makes her life hell before falling in love with her. This story structure is very common in Shoujo products, with the poor girl and the rich boy. The difference that this drama had to others is that Tsukushi, which translates to, “tough weed,” is exactly that. Being that her family isn’t wealthy, Tsukushi works multiple part time jobs to help support her family. She also is aiming to attend university after high school and works very hard on her academics. Notably Tsukushi doesn’t take crap from any of the rich characters. Her conflict started with F4 because the were bullying her friend and she stood up against them. The reason Tsukasa finds her so appealing is because of her strong personality. Even he acknowledges that she isn’t like other female characters that just want him for his money. Tsukushi is a great character for the Shoujo audiences because of how tough and selfless her character is. She puts others before herself and doesn’t let negatives keep her down.

In contrast to Tsukushi’s tough personality, male lead, Tsukasa has to beat her. Tsukasa has a similar personality to Tsukushi with the main difference being his class and anger problems. Due to his class standing, Tsukasa often feels very entitled and tortures those who are lesser than him. He initially bullies and abuses Tsukushi, from putting snakes in her locker to paying guys to attempt to rape her. Tsukasa does everything to crush Tsukushi’s positive and strong personality and would have succeeded had he not fallen in love with her. Tsukasa is an example of a crazy level of a male lead possessing more power over the female lead.

What It Means For Viewers

Following the breakdown of the sources, the focus returns to what this portrayal of female and male anime characters means to audiences. A study was conducted to observe the effects the Shoujo genre has a young adults in the U.S (Ramasubramanian 2012). The study hypothesized that viewers creation of wishful identification (WI), or the act of identifying and making ties with a character, would then lead to parasocial interactions (PSI), a relationship that makes an audiences feel as if the characters are their friends. The result of WI and PSI is that the viewer would exhibit personality traits just as the character that they identified with. The study found that female viewers experienced the most WI and PSI with Shoujo characters that portray a prosocial personality (Ramasubramanian 2012). Having viewers identify with the Shoujo female leads is beneficial as these characters are great role models.

Conclusion

Thinking about why Shoujo animes follows the pattern of having male leads that possess more power over their already powerful female leads brings up the question as to what it says about reality. It is no secret that males have been portrayed as more dominant, whether it be in media, careers, or sports. Shoujo would not have been such a big deal when it was created if people weren’t aware of how much media isn’t female dominant. Going back to Ogi’s point of Shoujo being content for women by women, why is it that these women writers are continuing to make men greater in their content?

I believe that Shoujo wants to portray worlds that are relatable and true. We do live in a world that men are more powerful, but we also live in a world where women aren’t weak. These strong female characters are examples of what women are capable of. These female characters are confident, independent, and selfless. As bad and cruel as the male leads are to them, they never let it break them. They stay true to themselves, and that is the greatest lesson that the young girls watching can take away the next time they watch a Shoujo anime.

Learning Moments

From this course, I’ve gained a better idea of what popular culture is and how it affects their viewers. Media is a great thing, we can receive news and entertainment, but we also can receive false information and false expectations and stereotypes. One of the readings we did earlier in the course, “The Urgency of Visual Media Literacy in Our Post-9/11 world: Reading Images of Muslim Women in the Print News Media,” has stuck with me as it discussed the false use of images on news stories. Being the age of social media, I often fall for fake thumbnails. From the readings and discussions we had throughout the course, the greatest lesson I learned is that we must be the ones to filter what media we intake, whether it be finding reliable news sources or understanding the reality of a character than believing how media portrays them.  

References

Watanabe, Shinichi, director. Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge. Studio Nippon Animation / TV Tokyo, 2006.

Kasai, Kenichi, director. Wolf Girl and Black Prince. Studio TYO Animators / Tokyo MX, 2014.

Setogushi, Katsukaki. Hana Yori Dango. Tokyo Broadcasting System, 2005.

Ogi, Fusami. “Female Subjectivity and Shoujo (Girls) Manga (Japanese Comics): Shoujo in Ladies’ Comics and Young Ladies’ Comics.” Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 36, no. 4, 2003, pp. 780–803.

Choo, Kukhee. “Girls Return Home: Portrayal of Femininity in Popular Japanese Girls’ Manga and Anime Texts during the 1990s in Hana Yori Dango and Fruits Basket.” Women: A Cultural Review, vol. 19, no. 3, 2008, pp. 275–296.

Ramasubramanian, Srividya, and Sarah Kornfield. “Japanese Anime Heroines as Role Models for U.S. Youth: Wishful Identification, Parasocial Interaction, and Intercultural Entertainment Effects.” Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, vol. 5, no. 3, 2012, pp. 189–207.

Popular Portlanders

While I grew up in Washington, Portland Oregon has been the place I call home. Upon moving to Portland in 2010, I was exposed to a whole new atmosphere. Life in the city with malls and a river and thousands of people was so unlike my little hometown, and I quickly fell in love. With a vast change in scenery by only driving an hour and a half in any direction, Portland offers a lot to the people who have the privilege to reside within its beauty.

June 2016, High School Graduation

However, the people who reside within Portland, often referred to as “Portlanders”, are perceived by popular culture and media to be people of outlandish and unique characteristics. TV Shows, movies, and music have created a “Portland stereotype” that is recognized all over the nation. These stereotypes include the kombucha-loving, flannel-wearing, bike-riding hipster, or the beer-brewing, tattoo-covered coffee snob and of course, the weird-behaving and bizarre-appearing people who fill our streets and stores.

Now, Portland is growing in popularity and is being recognized as this city of weird and the home of the hipster. Having lived in Portland for almost half of my life, I thought it would be interesting to see how shows like Portlandia and sensations like The Portland Unipiper have painted a picture of Portlanders, and whether these capture realistic aspects of people that I have met in Portland, or if they are playing too far into a fantasy. Upon analysis of popular culture that puts Portland in a spotlight, I believe that popular culture does accurately represent an aspect of Portland’s unique population by reflecting how Portland welcomes and celebrates diversity, even if that diversity is displayed through weird situations.

The first popular culture artifact that probably anybody would think of when they hear Portland is Portlandia. Portlandia is an 8-season TV comedy series that contains parody sketches of what life is like in Portland, OR. The two main actors, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, created the show that first aired back in 2011. (IMDB, Portlandia) The show has become widely popular across the country, being accessible from a variety of streaming services in addition to TV. While the show has grown in familiarity, it has also sparked controversy from those who live in Portland. Portlandia is full of outlandish, over the top comedy sketches that resembles a similar feel to the more widely known series Saturday Night Live. Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, the main actors within the show, take on many different personalities and characters. Some of these characters include feminist bookstore owners, an outdoorsy couple, and hipsters, and resemble different stereotypes that people could expect to find within our city. In addition to the multiple characters, Fred and Carrie move throughout Portland, showing many different locations around town such as Powell’s Books, Downtown, local coffee shops/restaurants, and neighborhoods. From this, the audience can see a lot of real time representation of what different areas of Portland look like. The raw footage from various sites shows the variety in different areas of Portland. (i.e. SE Portland “hipster culture” vs NW Portland high-end districts.)

The stereotypical characters contrasted by the reality of the different locations of Portland is what makes the show more realistic. It puts a heavy emphasis on the differences that exist around town, something that really is true. It reveals all the types characters and how they live amongst each other, all within one town.

Some people, however, look at Portlandia as a poor representation of the people in Portland. The characters from the show are overacted, over the top, and outlandish to further engage the audience and make the show more entertaining. I think it is the addition of the raw material of locations and destinations around town bounced against overacted stereotypes that has sparked the controversies from Portlanders. To those who see it negatively, they believe that Portlandia is trying to present a pure and accurate model of Portland in its entirety but have taken it too far to poke fun at people that reside within those areas. In an article interviewing Portlanders to determine their view of Portlandia and its representation of our city, a native Oregonian and local bike shop owner says that “Hipsters have always been around, but now their highly curated way of life has been given a platform for everyone to see. It’s the absolute worst.” (Cottell) While Justin disapproves of the attention we have been getting for our stereotypes due to Portlandia, he makes a living based on those stereotypes, proving that the things they represent really do exist within our city, just maybe to a slight extreme.

Another interviewed resident, Lisa Ciccarello, explains that Portlandia “wanted to make a caricature of Portland and it did — so much so that now people are flocking here to live” (Cottell) Lisa recognizes that what the show represents is just a slightly exaggerated reality of our city, something that I also observed, and people are coming to be a part of that as they see it as a positive or an attracting attribute. The creation of the Portlandia characters is purely for entertainment and fun, but some viewers are missing that aspect of parody entertainment. With the addition of the actual Portland neighborhoods, restaurants, and popular attractions, paired with these stereotypes of liberal, eco-friendly foodies, we can see a pure representation of Portland and all the things that make it interesting and popular, and the diversity that exists among our residents.

Another popular culture artifact that I thought of when trying to investigate Portlanders in TV was the show New Girl. New Girl is one of my favorite shows. It is funny, quirky, and talks about real problems that young adult women face such as love, job loss, pregnancy, and day-to-day stress (IMDB, New Girl). The main character, Jess, is written to be from Portland, OR, and mentions it throughout the series. I think the reason it makes so much sense for Jess to be from Portland is because she is quirky and weird. She wears bright colors, older time-period inspired dresses, and acts childish at times, by acting oddly and speaking in different voices. The reason this makes sense is because one stereotype of Portlanders is the weird, the over-the-top, and the outlandish identity.

In one episode of New Girl, they travel to Portland Oregon for her father’s wedding, where they flash quite a few recognizable stereotypes of Portland. Besides mentioning the rain and the wineries of Portland, the characters of New Girl mention the “Portland Hippies” and that calling someone weird in Portland is actually a compliment. While I would assume calling someone weird is not much of a compliment, no matter where you are, this represents popular culture’s tendency to highlight the weirdness of Portland.

The final artifact that highlights parts of Portland is more of a social media sensation. He has become more publicly known and is even compared to similar characters across the nation, including NYC’s Naked Cowboy. Portland’s Unipiper is our “Keep Portland Weird” mascot, parading around the city on a unicycle and flaming bagpipes. The Unipiper has started to gain popularity and national attention, making a presence in important moments such as protests, holidays, weather events, and festivals. The Unipiper, shown in the video below, supports the stereotype of weird Portlanders that reside throughout the city of Portland.

While Portlanders receive a lot of attention in media and popular culture, many people disagree with the representation that is shown. We are perceived as hippies and/or freaks, and while the artifacts show this, I think there is a deeper meaning behind just simply us being weird. Similar to The Unipiper, Portland is a city where people are welcome to be whatever they want to be. Whether this means to be weird, a hipster, fitness focused, an up-and-coming barista, or a college student attending a campus in the heart of a city like me, it is all welcomed and celebrated.

Learning Moments from Winter 2018

In Week 3, we discussed issues within advertising and the influence its has on us as consumers. Douglas Rushkoff, a culture theorist, wrote the piece A Brand by Any Other Name- How Marketers Outsmart Our Media-Savvy Children, originally posted in the Times of London in 2011. This article analyzes the strategies advertisements companies utilize to target consumers, and in this specific case, children and younger consumers. This is an issue I had worked on last year in my Race/Class/Gender class, where I analyzed media and advertisements that had directly affected me as a consumer and how it had painted expectations on how I should look/act and what I should buy/do. I looked at 5 issues of Glamour magazine from 2011 to 2012, when I was a teenager and was most influenced by the things I read and saw. I cut out images and words that presented a gender norm or social expectation and compared them to findings that combatted these. The final products are presented below.

From these two images, we can see that magazines present more examples of gender norms and social expectations (left image) than things that defy these (right image.) The extended analysis of how advertising affects its audience and the methods that they use to target consumers through both my previous classes and our work throughout this class has allowed me to be more

Another thing that really stuck with me from this term was in week 5 when we looked at missing representations in Hollywood films. One source from this week, called Every Single Word. In this source, creator Dylan Marron analyzes famous movies and pulls every line from the movie that was spoken by a person of color and puts it into one clip. For the most part, these clips are less than one minute long for an entire movie, representing the lack of diversity within Hollywood films. In one of his videos, he looks at the entire Harry Potter series and all the lines within it that were spoken by people of color. The video was just over 6 minutes long, including the showing of the movie titles. This included actors reappearing throughout the series, and voice actors that were used to voice mythical creatures.

The Harry Potter series, has a total of 8 movies, with approximately 1180 total minutes. Putting this into perspective, it means that 0.005% of the entire series is spent with a person of color speaking. The lack of cultural representation in this movie is alarming, as it is a very popular and widely known aspect of our culture. Watching these videos always stun me, and I have found myself referring to them for both entertainment and educational purposes. Check them out at http://www.dylanmarron.com/every-single-word/ and see if one of your favorite movies is on here, you will really learn from it!

-Brittany Schmid

Works Cited:

Cottell, Peter. “Portlanders Get Brutally Honest on What They Really Think of ‘Portlandia’.” Thrillist, 16 Aug. 2017, www.thrillist.com/lifestyle/portland/portlandia-tv-show-review-portland-people.

dylanmarron. “Every Single Word Spoken by a Person of Color in the Entire ‘Harry Potter’ Film Series.” YouTube, YouTube, 17 Aug. 2015, http://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=378&v=x67OjOLj11g.

ethosandaftermath. “Portlandia bike clip.” YouTube, YouTube, 30 Jan. 2011, www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3nMnr8ZirI.

Jaffe, Jenny. “New Girl Recap: Crush Pond.” Vulture, 18 Feb. 2015, www.vulture.com/2015/02/new-girl-recap-season-4-oregon-wedding.html.

Martin, Patrick. “Here is a video of a man playing flaming bagpipes while riding a unicycle in a Star Wars costume.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 14 Dec. 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2017/12/14/here-is-a-video-of-a-man-playing-flaming-bagpipes-while-riding-a-unicycle-in-a-star-wars-costume/?utm_term=.1856b9db4b3f.

Marron, Dylan . “EVERY SINGLE WORD.” Dylan Marron, www.dylanmarron.com/every-single-word/.

“New Girl (TV Series 2011– ).” IMDb, IMDb.com, www.imdb.com/title/tt1826940/.

“Portlandia (Series).” TV Tropes, tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/Portlandia.

“Portlandia (TV Series 2011– ).” IMDb, www.imdb.com/title/tt1780441/.

Rushkoff, Douglas. “A Brand By Any Other Name – How Marketers Outsmart Our Media-Savvy Children.” PBS, www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/rushkoff/brand.html.

What Influenced Your Perception of Single Motherhood?

For decades, single mothers have been shamed and looked down upon in our society. They are commonly portrayed as inadequate, lazy, and as abusive of the welfare system. Historically, there has not been a positive connotation to the title single mother, and it has only very recently become less stigmatized. Despite the normality of being a single mom, there is not a significant amount of popular culture references to the lifestyle. Although there are few TV/movie single mother plots, the ones that do exist are frequently criticized for glazing over the realities of single motherhood, leading to mothers feeling like they don’t get accurate representation in the media. This representation not only impacts mothers, but is also harmful for children to have their mother’s deal with such harsh stereotypes.

I grew up with a single mother who had three children with three different fathers, and I wanted to focus on the way that I saw stereotypes affect my family and I. My mom was not a single mother by choice, it was very much so circumstantial. Based off of the stereotypes that were attached to single motherhood, I felt a sense of shame and guilt frequently throughout my childhood. I felt like it was a bad thing that we didn’t have a father in the home, and I didn’t understand why my family was ‘different’ than others.

I was the oldest of three, and while my mom was going through college I took on a large responsibility of caring for my younger siblings when necessary. We didn’t have a lot of money, but everything my mom made she gave to us. Any financial assistance she received went towards providing a stable home where we didn’t have to fully see how little she was working with. What was provided to us based off our family financial needs was never used for anything but the purpose of meeting basic needs for us. Many people believe that single mothers abuse any assistance that they are given, or that their assistance is not deserved. For single mothers, that is such a frustrating stereotype because so many single mothers work as hard as two parents would work combined, and that stereotype takes away the credit they deserve.  A common misconception is that single mothers are a driving cause for high poverty rates here in the United States. Single mothers are seen as taking more than they need, or sometimes trying to profit off the financial assistance they are given.

Beautiful portrait of a mother with her two sons outdoors

A show that represents single motherhood poorly are the 16 and Pregnant, and Teen Mom series. These shows follow young mothers throughout their pregnancy and then throughout the children’s lives up until now. Many of these young moms end up single mothers. This show essentially shows what is easily consumed by media. It focuses on the extremes, like the highs and the lows, and it doesn’t necessarily deal with the essence of single motherhood. When watching these shows you get the sense that single motherhood makes your life chaotic and all over the place. It is important that viewers are able to recognize that shows like these are fabricated reality TV, and it is not this raw, unedited show many view it as.

An article I found that works to disprove the claims and ideas that single mothers are a leading cause for high poverty rates in the United States. The article is titled ‘Single Mothers Are Not the Problem’ by David Brady, Ryan M. Finnigan and Sabine Hubgen, and discusses how no group in America is linked to poverty rates more so than single mothers. When the poverty scholars formed a bipartisan panel to write a “Consensus Plan for Reducing Poverty” in 2015, their first recommendation was to promote a new culture around marriage and new norms for parenthood. In response, they prove that single motherhood isn’t the cause for American poverty. Brady, Finnigan and Hubgen recently published a study in the American Journal of Sociology, noting that reducing single motherhood rates does not substantially reduce poverty. They prove that single-mother families are a smaller percentage of society than people assume. It has declined in percentage from 10.5% in 1980, to 8.8% in their last study from 2013. In turn, because single-mother family rates are lower than expected, reductions in single motherhood would not make a large dent in poverty rates. They go on to say that we have high poverty rates because of the way we penalize our four major risks of poverty, which are unemployment, single motherhood, low levels of education, and forming households at a young age. They give examples like if you lack a high school education in the United States, your probability of being in poverty increases by 16.4%, where in 28 other rich democracies, lack of education only increases the probability of poverty by less than 5%. This article simply disproves the idea that single mothers are at blame for the high poverty rates the United States maintains.

Single mothers historically have not had the deserved space to claim what is theirs, and have had to slowly break down the many barriers in the way of their equality to mothers in dual parent relationships. A circumstance that has become a more common occurrence are single mothers by choice. As single motherhood gradually becomes more socially accepted, more mothers have begun to feel comfortable with making the intentional decision to go into single motherhood. An article that touches directly on this is called ‘Doing the Right Thing? Single Mothers by Choice and the Struggle for Legitimacy’, by Jane Bock. She begins the article by mentioning that rates of teen pregnancy, drug abuse, and behavioral problems are higher within in single-parent households than in dual parent households. She also mentions that families run by single-mothers are statistically the poorest of all major demographic groups. The use that information is used to go on to say that single mothers are commonly attacked because of those statistics. Single mother and welfare-dependent have become synonymous. The article notes that there is a new wave of single mothers, who happen to be mid-age, and they have inherited the stigma of their poorer younger sisters. Bock reveals that the new entry of middle-class women into single-parenthood has sparked conversations about whether single-parent homes are ‘legitimate’. The term Single Mother by Choice, SMC, is coined, which is single women claiming their entitlement to make this decision. They acknowledge that this is a way for them to separate themselves from other single-mothers who are represented as the ‘real’ problem. Overall, this focuses on the legitimacy at hand with when a single mother raises a child, and either praises or condemns the single-mothers. In response to this movement, it becomes apparent that those who are able to make this claim are individuals with privilege. It is critical to acknowledge that single motherhood looks completely different for those who are not white.

An example of how different single motherhood can be is shown from the event summarized in the article ‘Foster Care as Punishment: The New Reality of ‘Jane Crow’’, by Stephanie Clifford and Jessica Silver-Greenberg. This is an article about the higher risks African American mothers living in poverty face of having their children removed from their care, likening it to Jim Crow laws. A mother put her child to sleep, and is bathing per usual, and when she gets out of the bath, she is not able to find her daughter. Her daughter was 5, and was looking for her mom and once she couldn’t find her, her daughter Deja headed to her grandmother’s house. When the mom went to the police to receive help with finding her daughter, and bringing her home safely, but instead, authorities removed her daughter from her home, and placed her in foster care. She was then charged with endangering the welfare of a child. There was no benefit of the doubt in this situation. Her child was taken into foster care, and when returned, for these minor infractions, the single mother still had to be in the ‘system’, and remain under monitoring with frequent home visits from authorities. She dealt with stigma and trauma when she was already living in a society that doesn’t support that community of single moms already. The purpose in this article is to highlight how institutional racism impacts single mothers and their children, especially when focusing on the unfair threat of having a child taken away from you if you are a single black mother living in poverty. In this article we see that instead of mothers being seen for their sacrifices they are judged and penalized. Single mothers are often compared to the perfect standard of mother, and when unmet, they become criticized. That idea of perfection is going to hurt less privileged mothers more, as shown in this article.

The enforced stigma around single motherhood is harmful to so many. The common stereotypes that are pinned on single mothers makes me think of the Chimamanda Adichie concept of the danger of a single story. Chimamanda uses the example of how Africans are categorized as starving, poor humans over and over again, and after long enough, that becomes the single story for those in Africa. I see similarities in this because after the continuous labeling of single mothers as lazy, accidental, and welfare dependent, people reduce individual single mother’s stories to one.

Throughout the course of this class I have taken away many tools and skills that can be useful in any environment, including outside of school. We have spent much of this term focusing our attention to issues and topics that provoke thought, while also listening to the variety of opinions and perspective from students in this class. Through the process of critically analyzing sources in this class I have gained a great tool set for looking at issues deeper and more wholesomely. I was able to take a lot out of reading other student’s responses to the assigned material. I feel lucky to have had access to a class such as this, and the online aspect was intriguing because I think we were able to see a really honest side of people. Many people feel more comfortable opening up online, and our weekly assignments were grounds for critical thinking and expressing our honest thoughts and ideas.

References
Bock, Jane D. “Doing The Right Thing?” Gender & Society, vol. 14, no. 1, 2000, pp. 62–86.,
doi:10.1177/089124300014001005.
Brady, David, and Ryan. “Single Mothers Are Not the Problem.” The New York Times, The New
York Times, 10 Feb. 2018, http://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/10/opinion/sunday/single-mothers-poverty.html.
Clifford, Stephanie, and Jessica Silver-greenberg. “Foster Care as Punishment: The New Reality
of ‘Jane Crow’.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 21 July 2017,
http://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/nyregion/foster-care-nyc-jane-crow.html.

The Portrayal of Japanese People in Film and Television

I have many memories of growing up with Japanese culture, but one of my fondest memories was going to Hiroshi’s Anzen, a small Japanese market in NE Portland. It’s been closed for about four years now, but I remember going there almost every week after school where my dad would buy me one nikuman (a steamed bread-like bun) and a bottle of Mitsuya Cider (Japanese soda similar to Sprite). I went to the store so often that a lot of the employees became family friends to me. Since Hiroshi’s Anzen was probably one of the only Japanese stores on the eastside of Portland, it became a hub for a lot Japanese people in the area. It really felt like a little community. Being apart of that community and interacting with a lot of Japanese people had really grown my love for being Japanese. With that being said, I thought it would be interesting to see how Japan and its people are portrayed in popular media, specifically television and film. For this project, I chose to analyze an episode of The Last Samurai, HBO’s Girls, and Lost in Translation.

The Last Samurai

Directed by Edward Zwick, The Last Samurai centers around Captain Nathan Algren. Played by Tom Cruise, Captain Algren is an alcoholic who is traumatized by his actions during the American Indian Wars. He is given the task by Omura, a Japanese businessman, to train the country’s first army in modern warfare to defend Japan’s new emperor from a samurai-headed rebellion. When Algren is captured by the samurai rebellion, lead by Katsumoto, he becomes assimilated in Japanese culture and develops sympathy and respect for the samurai who are angry about the spread of modernization and fall of power of the samurai in Japanese society. Algren and the samurai then develop a bond to face the rising tension between the modernization of Japan and old Japanese ways.

After watching The Last Samurai, it was evident that the movie portrayed the Japanese in need of “of a white man [to teach] the rapidly modernizing Japanese how to honor the past” (Shin). When the film begins, feudal Japan and bushido were the oddities, or things that needed to be changed,  of the Japanese since Captain Algren’s original intent for being in the country was to train Japan’s army in modern warfare (westernize them). As the movie progressed, the modernization of Japanese society became the oddity of Japan. What was particularly interesting about this was that this realization of cherishing Japan’s old ways wasn’t realized until Captain Algren, who represents the west, pointed it out. When the samurai army is defeated by the imperial army, Algren delivers Katsumoto’s sword to the Meiji Emperor. As he does this, he “reminds the emperor that Japan had a great tradition that should not be forgotten. Moved by Algren’s speech, the emperor ends his pro-Western modernization policies on the spot…” (Shin) by saying “…We have railroads and cannon, Western clothing. But we cannot forget who we are. Or where we come from” (The Last Samurai). Despite Katsumoto pleading with the emperor to stop the modernization of Japan, he was unsuccessful. Having Captain Algren easily able to stop the emperor’s policies  shows that the film “is another cliché of the West enlightening the East” (Shin).

HBO’s Girls 

Written by Lena Dunham, HBO’s Girls revolves around the lives of four young women living in New York City. In the episode “Japan,” the writers wanted to give “Shoshanna [one of the main characters from the show] the chance to find herself without the other girls…” (Hanaway). With that,  the writers “crafted a story arc in which… the somewhat timid Shoshanna finds and accepts a marketing job in Japan, which is where the cameras pick up and tell her story” (Hanaway). When Shoshanna makes her way to Tokyo, she is seen waking up in her big and colorful apartment. Once ready for the day, she is then making her commute to work while bubblegum pop like music is heard playing in the background. At work, it’s shown that Shoshanna takes a liking to one of her co-workers. Throughout the episode, Shoshanna is seen interacting with her Japanese coworkers by going to bathhouses, clubs, and a fetish bar.

The Tokyo Nightlife Shown in the Episode

The Fetish Club Shown in the Episode

After watching this episode, I noticed how it seemed to emphasized the eccentricity of Japan and its people by exaggerating only the weird aspects of the country. My assumptions were confirmed in the director’s commentary of the episode as the actors spoke extensively about the wacky parts of Japan like Takeshita street in Harajuku (a district known for its quirky fashion), Tokyo’s nightlife where the people there “were total characters” (HBO 2016), and the fetish clubs. To further that, the actors made comments like “people look costumed, but they are just living their normal life” (HBO 2016) and “… as crazy as it looks, it’s reality there in some ways” (HBO 2016). While emphasising the wacky parts of Japan isn’t particularly harmful, it does present the viewer with the idea that Japan is an ultra weird place even though the things presented in this episode only represent a small portion of Japan.

Lost in Translation

Rewinding to 2003, Sofia Coppola captures the experience of two strangers in Tokyo, Japan in her critically acclaimed movie, Lost in Translation. The American romantic comedy centers around Bob Harris, a washed up actor, and Charlotte, a young college graduate. Bob Harris and Charlotte form a strong bond in Japan,  a country’s “whose language and customs are mysterious to them” (Wheeler 63) and in turn, rediscovering themselves.

Despite beautifully capturing the mesmerizing bright lights of the billboards that illuminate the skyscrapers in Tokyo and the overwhelming size of the city, it felt like the movie also emphasised the oddities of Japanese people. After watching the film, it felt very apparent that there was a huge contrast between the Japanese and American characters in the film. To go more in-depth, it felt like the Japanese characters were made to act very exaggerated in an effort to look weird, whereas the American characters were shown as exhibiting a more calmer demeanor and thus, appearing more normal.  This was notably evident in the scene where Bob Harris is visited by a prostitute. In this scene, the prostitute butchers her l and r pronunciation by saying “Lip my stocking” (Lost in Translation). Unable to understand what she was saying, the two continue to exchange words until Bob realizes that she wants him to rip her stocking. When he is about to rip them, she suddenly throws herself onto the floor of the hotel bedroom and starts rolling around while saying “Don’t touch me, Mr. Bob Harris” (Lost in Translation). Bob Harris is shown looking unamused and confused while she continues to roll on the floor. The stark contrast between the Japanese and American character in this scene is noticed when the Japanese character “ends up on the floor thrashing about as a disconcerted Bob looks on” (Wheeler 64). Besides the prostitute scene, the peculiarities of Japanese people are further shown like “the young boy in the arcade cavorting wildly, the hopeful politician hopping around like a rabbit outside a van driven by his campaign team,… the condescending commercial director imploring Bob to ‘raise his tension,’… [and] the men on the subway reading perverted comic books…” (Wheeler 64).  These strange scenes were “all noted with smug contempt by Charlotte and especially Bob” (Wheeler 64).To further this, a movie reviewer from The Guardian writes that, “The good Japan, according to this director, is Buddhist monks chanting, ancient temples, flower arrangement; meanwhile she portrays the contemporary Japanese as ridiculous people who have lost contact with their own culture” (Day). This exaggerated portrayal of Japanese people can be seen as harmful as this movie is considered a “critically acclaimed” film and with that, can heavily influence the perception of how people view the Japanese. Just reading the YouTube comments on a lot of the clips about the film show how people think the Japanese are weird based on what was shown in the film.

Whiskey Commercial Shoot

Conclusion:

From practically being told how to honor the past of their own culture by a non-Japanese person to acting really weird on screen, analyzing the way Japanese people are portrayed in television and film was interesting to me as I had not realized how foolish the Japanese were being portrayed. Despite the portrayal not being as severe as other groups of people, the portrayal seems to have already influenced society as I am noticing more people generalizing Japan as weird or weak. With that being said, I think it’s   important for the media to accurately portray minority groups as inaccurate portrayals has the “power to impact intercultural relations and on the life possibilities of marginalized groups” (Watt 33). I am fortunate to be able to see through the stereotypes of Japanese people as I grew up surrounded by Japanese culture, but many aren’t. Despite the portrayal of Japanese people has gotten better, I think it could get better.

Class Take Away:

As this class is coming to an end, I thought the most important thing learned is to always try and examine beyond what is presented to you. I think there is a huge “… temptation to view the world in simplistic, binary terms…,” (Watt 33) and you will be presented with content that may not truly “…reflect lived experiences…” (Watt 33). With that, it is very important to keep an open mind and never take things face value as “they have the power to impact on intercultural relations and on the life possibilities of marginalized groups” (Watt 33). A relevant example to this class would be the doltish dad trope. It’s important to see beyond the dad being clueless when it comes to kids because it is a “genuine block to social progress” (Rosin).

Another important thing learned from this class would be from week 1 about the online filter bubbles. I’ve heard about websites using an algorithm to generate interesting content for the viewer, but I was not aware about how different the content would be from person to person. In Eli Pariser’s TED Talk, he showed how one of his friend’s search results didn’t contain content about a big media event whereas his other friend’s search results included it. Learning this is very important, as it will make me more skeptical of my search results and force me to research deeper so I can get objective content.

Works Cited

Coppola, Sofia, director. Lost in Translation. Universal, 2004.

Day, Kiku. “Kiku Day: Totally Lost in Translation.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 23 Jan. 2004, www.theguardian.com/world/2004/jan/24/japan.film.

Dunham, Lena, director. HBO Girls 5×03 Shoshana in Tokyo. | Japan Episode 1/2 62,411 Views. HBO, 2017.

“Girls Japan.” Dunham, Lena, director. Season 5, episode 3.

Hanaway, Tom. “Lena Dunham Brings ‘Girls’ to Tokyo for a Fifth Season Episode.” The Japan Times, 13 Aug. 2015,

www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2015/08/13/tv/lena-dunham-brings-girls-tokyo-fifth-season-episode/#.WoDTnZM-eDU.

HBO. “Girls Season 5: Shoshana Takes Tokyo (HBO).” YouTube, YouTube, 6 Mar. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1saERch9XI.

Rosin, Hanna. “TV and Film’s Doltish Dad Gets a Makeover.” Slate Magazine, 15 June 2012, www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/06/what_to_expect_and_up_all_night_the_doltish_dad_on_screen_is_changing_.html.

SHIN, MINA. “Making a Samurai Western: Japan and the White Samurai Fantasy in The Last Samurai.” The Journal of Popular Culture, Blackwell Publishing Inc, 28 Sept. 2010, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-5931.2010.00787.x/full.

Watt, Diana. “Journal of Media Literacy Education.” “The Urgency of Visual Media Literacy in Our Post-9/11 World: Reading I” by Diane Watt, 2012, digitalcommons.uri.edu/jmle/vol4/iss1/4/.

Zwick, Edward, director. The Last Samurai. Warner Bros., 2003.

 

Yellowface in Hollywood

 Introduction

As an Asian America film student trying to put my name out there for recognition, applying for audition after audition. I noticed one major thing, seeing auditions requirements for “looking for Caucasian male needed” or “looking for Asian American actors/actresses fluent in Chinese.” I found myself sitting there thinking about how about how Asian American actors and actresses in the film industry have been misrepresented and miss treated over the decade. Mass Media through the ages have altered the perception of viewers on how we see Asian American stereotypes from the film industry in today’s society.

Through time one thing that almost everybody often looks past is the competitiveness of the film industry and how hard it is to get a role in general. Not only is it hard to find a role in general there are a lack of roles for Asian American actors and actresses, and the role selection for us (Asian Americans) are often stereotypical which gives viewers a false perception of Asian Americans in general. Through mass media Asian American’s are put under a completely false depiction of our community and we often never get the credit or the time to show on how hard it really is being an Asian American in the industry.

Overused Stereotypes

 

In an article published by Complex written by Nada Kareem Nittle in 2017 talks about the five most overused roles commonly more available to Asian American actors than a normal primary role to a non-Asian actor trying to make their way into the industry. This Article was published on Complex news and talked about five key overplayed stereotyped for Asian American actors/actresses. The first stereotype would be the most commonly used in the early 90s would be the “Kung Fu” master, the Asian American role where they are just only present because of their physical capabilities. One key example for that role would be Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan in practically all of his roles. Following that role would be the ‘Dragon Lady.” Since the early days of film these dragon ladies play as extremely pretty and cannot be trusted. One key example would be the character Lotus Blossom in the film China Doll (1958.) The next following role would be the geeks, often times in shows and movies the depiction of an Asian American character is usually the tech guy/girl or math whiz. An example of the geek role could be found in the film 16 Candles (1984) the character Long Duk Dong plays the epitome of the nerdy Asian guy.  The last two most commonly used roles play more of a secondary role to most films and shows and they are the “Foreigner” and “Prostitute.” These are the more common roles in modern day cinema for example, in CSI shows these Asian roles become easy target.  And well the prostitute role is self-explanatory, notable movies where this role is used “Full Metal Jacket.”  These roles truly are over used but in reality, but what most viewers do not commonly see is the fact that these roles are practically the only roles for Asian American actors and actresses. These roles play a huge misconception of stereotypes towards Asian American’s in the film industry making viewers believe that these stereotypes actually exist in the real world.

 

Losing Opportunities

 

Stereotypes in the media are especially harmful given that the Asian American community is woefully underrepresented on the large and small screens alike. According to the Screen Actors guild, “Only 3.8 percent of all television and theatrical roles were portrayed by Asian Pacific Islander actors in 2008, compared to 6.4 percent portrayed by Latino actors, 13.3 percent portrayed by African Americans and 72.5 percent portrayed by Caucasian actors.” The statistic shows how drastically small the percentage of roles given to Asian American actors compared the vastly incredible amount given to Caucasian actors and actresses. Through that comparison through of percentage a statistic was given and had said that 1 in 8 Caucasian actors and actresses were given a role compared to the 1 in 24 roles given to an Asian American. On top of the lack of roles for Asian American, over the past century abundant amounts of Asian American characters in stories were given to Caucasian actors and actresses. Through the ages Asian character roles have been consistently taken by white actors and actresses. From the most commonly known one as Scarlet Johansson playing the character Major Mokoto Kusanji in the film Ghost in a Shell (2017) A Japanese comic franchise. Or in the film Aloha (2015) based off of the novel where the character Allison Ng a half Hawaiian half Chinese character is played by Emma Stone. The Year of Living Dangerously (1982) the character Billy Kwan was played by Linda Hunt, a middle-aged Caucasian woman during that time. Not only did she play the role of an Asian male in the film she actually won an Oscar for Best supporting actress. Following that the film Remo Williams (1985) the actor Joel Grey born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio plays the Korean character Chiun. Taking a trip back to the earlier days of film, the film series Charlie Chan (1931-1946) the primary lead role of Detective Chan was not only played by a white male but three different white males (Warner Oland, Sidney Toler, Roland Winters) over the two decades of this series.  It is quite astonishing on the numerous amounts of roles that were originally for Asian American actors and actresses were casted to Caucasian actors and actresses.

 

Speaking Up

An article published by the New York times interviews Asian actors and actress Constance Wu, Daniel Dae Kim, and Aziz Ansari. This interview follows each of them and their hardships through the industry. Constance Wu an Asian American actress who speaks on the issue of how Asian American actors and actresses get treated fairly worse in the film industry. She had a lead role in the TV show Fresh Off the Boat, which was highly considered extremely controversial to the Asian American community but to a non-Asian viewer it was a hit TV show and found it hilarious. Using a lot of stereotypes of Asians as humor towards its show. Constance Wu exposes the industry on how Hollywood has made somewhat of a humoring topic to be an Asian American in Hollywood. Although she gets a lot of mixed reviews from the Asian American community on her controversial role, but states by her “I was focused on the task at hand, which was paying my rent.” Following Constance Wu’s segment is Daniel Dae Kim’s moment, the former star talks about his hard ships in the industry even on regards of contracts and wages for filming the hit TV show Hawaii 5.0 on how his white co-stars would get faster treatment in regards to their contracts compared to him and other Asian co-stars. “It was very notable to me when I would see an Asian face on screen when I was growing up, it never really occurred to me how few there were until I saw one.” as stated by Kim in his interview.  Lastly, the final segment of the interview follows Aziz Ansari, the director and lead role in the hit Netflix show Master of None, he stated why he chose to create this show and it was because he wanted to make a show where an Asian American actor was the lead role and did not follow any of the stereotypes that Hollywood had projected them as. When you go into an audition room and you see a bunch of people that look like you, and you start feeling like. I’m not here for me… I’m here because I fit what looks like the person they want.” As stated by Ansari he talks about his actual hardships of the film industry which inspired him to create the first show starring an Asian American as a lead role.

Conclusion

As shown above all sources and examples show the common misconception of Asian actors/actresses in the film industry. The opportunities of roles given to an Asian American actor/actress is drastically lower than a Caucasian actor/actress. The limited number of roles given to Asian American’s often times play to a more stereotypical casting, giving viewers the misconception of Asian American actors and actresses.  On top of the lack of opportunity for these racial roles, Caucasian actors/actresses are being casted for Asian characters taking away from the limited opportunities towards Asians. Mass media has altered the view and overlooked the hardships of Asian American’s in the film industry, we often invisible or the butt of a joke.

What did I learn

Through my research and writing I learned quite a few things about this topic, being a film student, I thought this topic would have been easy to me but I was completely in awe of the research I found. I learned that Linda Hunts Oscar winning performance was her role for playing and Asian Man. Being somewhat in the industry myself I found that even the more notable Asian American actors and actresses still go through the hardships of what aspiring Asian American actors and actresses go through.

Work Cited

Nittle, Nadra Kareem. “Why Hollywood Should Drop These 5 Asian American Stereotypes.”ThoughtCo, www.thoughtco.com/asian-american-stereotypes-in-t-film-2834652.

Hess, Amanda. “Asian-American Actors Are Fighting for Visibility. They Will Not Be Ignored.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 25 May 2016. Web. 11 Feb. 2018.

“Asian Representation and Anti-Asian Racism in Contemporary Hollywood Film.” Asian Representation and Anti-Asian Racism in Contemporary Hollywood Film | Digital Repository, digital.library.ryerson.ca/islandora/object/RULA:725.

Chan, Justin. “Where Are All the Asian Americans in Hollywood?” Complex. Complex, 20 Oct. 2016. Web. 11 Feb. 2018.

Mexican Immigrants Depiction in American Pop Culture

Growing up, I would say that I lived in an area where diversity really wasn’t welcomed. I attended a school of around five hundred students where there was a total of five Hispanic students, my brother and I being two of them. Now, one thing I always noticed was that I didn’t receive the same amount of discrimination that the other Hispanic students faced. I’m not sure why but if I had to guess I would say it had something to do with the way I acted. Often times my friends would say how I wasn’t like the other Mexican kids in school because I didn’t listen to the same music, talk the same way they did, or get the same grades as them. I personally never paid too much attention to it until this last year when I heard President Trump say, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting” (Young). After hearing that, I couldn’t believe that someone who was running for President could say things like that and still find the support of the people. But slowly, as his campaign continued, I realized that it’s the media’s fault for how we are being perceived by society.

When we look at media today we can see that it is not like it used to be. Everything is at our fingertips so as a society were consuming a lot more and being influenced by it in a larger scale. We’re failing to form our own thoughts and ideas, so we often agree with what we see on television, social media, film, etc. What this means is that were blindly allowing the creators behind the media to influence us with their individual views of others. They have the power to attach stereotypes to a select group of people, which can be a good or bad thing. The reason I wanted to look into how Mexican immigrants are depicted in American pop culture was because to me, it seems as though the media is focused on creating a division among cultures by depicting Mexican immigrants in a poor and problematic way.

News Media Representation of Immigrants

While I was going through my research of how immigrants are depicted in the news I found that 39% of Americans acquire their news digitally (Kinefuchi). Meaning that Internet news has become an essential source that informs and organizes the public’s understanding of Mexican immigration. While some may see this as a positive thing, others see it as a way of manipulating the public. Often times news will use strategies such as “Ideology Squares” to pin audiences with or against social actors in the news (Kinefuchi). Doing so allows the writers to simplify the issue for their audiences. However, in a recent study done by Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) they concluded that the voices of immigrants themselves are grossly missing from news media stories about immigration reforms (Kinefuchi). Meaning that the representation of immigrants come from sources who are not immigrants themselves resulting in negative metaphors and framing (Kinefuchi).

One common depiction that was seen across news sources was this idea that immigrants are like pollution. They’re individuals who “contaminate” the “pure” American identity (Kinefuchi). Personally, I have never faced that level of discrimination, but I know it exist. Now, it’s easy to say this is an isolated incident and that not everyone feels the same way, but research shows that over 50% of stories talking about Mexican immigrants mainly focused on crimes, drug trafficking, or violence (Kinefuchi). So, when the majority of the coverage tells you how one group of people are dangerous or criminals how else are people supposed to act towards them? Again, I bring up my question about how President Trump could continue to have support from the people after his remarks about immigration. Well, it’s simple. It’s because the American people agree with him.

Hispanic Image in American Film

When it comes to Chicano/Hispanic representation in Hollywood I’m often left embarrassed. Too often do I see us being depicted as lazy, unintelligent, criminal, and “foreign.” Frank Javier Garcia Beruman, the author of The Chicano/Hispanic Image in American Film, wrote about how, “…the portrayal of Chicanos and Hispanics in film mirrors the image of them fostered by the media” (Berumen). Having learned how the news depicts immigrants it’s no surprise to also see a negative representation in Hollywood.

However, not all films are negative. In the film Under the Same Moon, the directors did a great job at accurately depicting the struggles Mexican immigrants go through to live a better life here in the U.S. The movie revolves around a mother, Rosario, who left her son, Carlitos, in Mexico in hopes of creating a better life for the both of them. The entire movie is about humanizing the experience. It makes you root for the mother, who is facing all of these difficulties to make her son’s life better. What was even more important was the fact that the movie had an almost entirely Hispanic cast. It showed me that the directors and producers understood how to connect to the audience. Not only that but it also showed those who live in the U.S. what immigrants go through in order to live a better life. I also thought the film did a good job of bringing awareness and reminding people just how hard it is to immigrate to another country. It’s not as easy as some people think where you apply and become a citizen within a couple months.

Another detail I found interesting was this idea of the U.S. being viewed as a bad guy throughout the film. Although the movie was largely made for a Hispanic audience, it was showcased across the U.S. So too do something like that and still be well received by different audiences showed just how powerful the message was. I think far too often we see issues like these brushed aside. Even now with all the deportations going on we see how easy it is for people to forget that these individuals have families. I feel if this specific movie was shown to more people today there would be some more empathy for all immigrants.

Why How We Are Represented Is Important

The most important thing that comes out of representation is how it impacts immigration reforms. In my research, I found a study done by researchers from the University of Cincinnati who found that, “Latin American stereotypes have the biggest impact, while perceptions of Asian, European and Middle Eastern people were not strongly linked to immigration” (Fuller). Thus, how Americans view Latino immigrants effects how they feel about immigration policy, and, in this case, Latino stereotypes have a negative impact on immigration, especially on issues such as unemployment, schools and crime.

Another reason representation matters is because of the way the youth perceives themselves. If the stereotypes showcased by the mass media are Mexican immigrants who are criminals that deal drugs and don’t focus on their education, then we can expect the youth to internalize those characteristics. This in turn can affect their character and opportunities for success. For me, it’s important to provide people with role models they can relate too on a cultural level. Not only that but it helps show society that we are more than just criminals. We are people looking for an education to better the life of our families and ourselves.

The reality is that the US is filled with stories of immigrants who have come to the US and found success. So why not focus on those instead of the negative ones? Why not focus on all the first-generation college students like myself who are trying to get a degree and make a name for themselves? It’s something I started to ask myself while doing my research. I began wanting more representation and more movies showcasing what it means to be Mexican American. I can only hope that as time goes on, we can begin getting rid of these negative stereotypes and show representation not just for my culture but all the ones that make up this country.

Works Cited:

Berumen, Frank J. “THE CHICANO/HISPANIC IMAGE IN AMERICAN FILM.” Harvard Educational Review, Jan. 2018, p. 271, hepg.org/her-home/home.

Catsoulis, Jeannette. “Mother and Son, Divided by Border, United by Phone.” New York Times,vol. 157, no. 54254, 19 Mar. 2008 p.8. EBSCOhost, stats.lib.pdx.edu/proxy.php?url= http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=31332770&site=ehost-live.

Fuller, Dawn. “Who “They” Are Matters: Researchers Assess Immigrant Stereotypes and Views on The Impact of Immigration.” UC Magazine, 20 Aug. 2012, p. http://magazine.uc.edu/, http://www.uc.edu/.

HEWETT, HEATHER. “Mothering across Borders: Narratives of Immigrant Mothers in theUnited States.”Women’s Studies Quarterly, vol. 37, no. 3/4, Fall/Winter2009, pp. 121-139.EBSCOhost,stats.lib.pdx.edu/proxy.phpurl=http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=47550444&site=ehost-live.

Kinefuchi, Etsuko and Gabriel Cruz. “The Mexicans in the News: Representation of Mexican Immigrants in the Internet News Media.” Howard Journal of Communications, vol. 26, no. 4, Oct-Dec2015, pp. 333-351. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/10646175.2015.1049759

Young, Jim. “30 of Donald Trump’s wildest quotes.” CBS News, CBS News, http://www.cbsnews.com/. Accessed 15 Feb. 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Classic Californian” and Portrayals of Norcal vs. Socal

As I myself am from California, born and raised, I have found that wherever I travel I am hit with the stereotypical questions like, “Do you live on the beach? Do you surf everyday and say hella?” Yes I do say hella, but no, I am from Northern California. I don’t live on the beach and go surfing everyday. These stigmas associated with Southern California and Hollywood fill most people’s mind when they think about California. Using several various types of sources, I have strived the uncover these stereotypes while attempting to portray the difference between Southern California and Northern California.

Norcal vs Socal

Let’s start with a comical side to this. Northern California and Southern California generally do not get along! For years people have been attempting to separate this areas, creating two different states. I understand there is bias to this but it is interesting to analyze the common thoughts around each of this areas. If you want, you may click on this link and take a buzzfeed quiz on Are You More Northern California Or Southern California? Find out if you belong in Berkeley or Beverly Hills.”

According to my quiz scores: “You got: NorCal

There’s no doubt about it: you belong in the Bay Area. You prefer public radio to music festivals, hiking to tanning, and windbreakers to short shorts. You’re laid-back and in touch with nature, and you definitely voted for Obama.”

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How to be a Californian

“This is what you have to do to really call yourself a Northern Californian.”

An article’s audience based towards people from Northern California or specifically the bay, attempts to humor those with the stigma and stereotypes commonly held by people of this area. I found it easier to list the stereotypes and stigmas presented as I plan to go more into depth regarding some that people who aren’t from California, specifically Norcal, most likely won’t understand.

Stereotypes/stigmas: Democrats, contrast between NorCal and SoCal, Prius, earthquakes, Karl the fog, hella, vineyards, good Mexican food, Californian stop, surfing, marijuana, festivals, protests, plastic surgery, beach bods (Mullins)

First, I’ll begin with some general stereotypes and then go into specifics regarding the comparison between Norcal and Socal. As I enjoy to examine some of the comical aspects of this, I’ll start with the Prius. Living in Northern California, a Prius will be almost every 8th car you see as people here are very environmentally aware, while if you were driving through Southern California you are way more likely to come across expensive cars speeding down to the I-5. California is also well known for its “California stop,” regarding when Californians slightly put their foot on the brake pedal and maybe slow down to 5 MPH, but stopping at a stop sign completely is practically unseen. When people think of California, various things come to mind such as its several festivals and protests, good Mexican food, and earthquakes because of its placement on the San Andreas fault. Specific to Southern California, its representations include Hollywood, plastic surgery, surfing, and much more.

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The identity of a Northern Californian, and their media representation, can be defined by various ideas and items, many that differentiate those representations surrounded by Southern Californians. One of the first thing that comes to people’s mind is the Bay Area and Napa Valley. San Francisco, a city surrounded by water is home to many people of various ethnicities, and holds many popular tourist attractions such as Alcatraz, Coit Tower, Pier 39, and many more. People of the bay are also known for their lingo, specifically their use of “hella,” and this word is now used across the states. The Bay Area has a large presence in popular culture, and many different forms of media representation. For example, Karl the Frog is the Bay Area’s name for its marine fog, and this fog also has a twitter that gives updates on his status. Napa Valley is another known area for its acres of grape vines, vineyards, and wineries. Alongside this, Northern California has one of the best climates for the production and harvesting of marijuana, and this has become even more big as it’s recreational status has just become legal in California. The land and climate of Northern California greatly distincts that of Southern California.

 

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Portrayal in the Media

I found from the text California History, an article called “California and the American popular imagination: using visual culture in California history pedagogy” that I felt really embodied the identity of Californians. It depicted that, More than any other state in the union, California projects indelible images of material wealth, beautiful bodies, exotic landscapes, cultural diversity, and opportunities for personal reinvention. Ideas about California, both present and historical, exist as a series of visual representations consumed through decades of advertising, movies, celebrity culture, and television shows that have, in turn, produced an infinite number of tropes: the California girl, the California tan, the California lifestyle, California fusion cuisine, California soul, and the ubiquitous California look, which might reference anything from lowriders to Pop art to artificial hair color” (Schrank).

 

California in Films

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The Californiacation

A writer tries to juggle his career, his relationship with his daughter and his ex-girlfriend, as well as his appetite for beautiful women. This tv series open by displaying palm trees and the California coast. With the main character wearing shades and driving at a high speed down the road, he portrays an uptight attitude. Southern California is represented through images of the life on the beach and Hollywood. He states living in the “City of angels” and acts as if he is surrounded by famous people everywhere he goes. I found that this show really utilizes the sexualization of women as the main character constantly has a new sexual partner. It’s interesting that in this series, the protagonist meets several girls due to his celebrity writer status. This portrays a common thought about women in Southern California, specifically Hollywood.

The O.C.

A troubled youth becomes embroiled in the lives of a close-knit group of people in the wealthy, upper-class neighborhood of Newport Beach, Orange County, California. I have acquired a statement about the show that says, “Storylines deal with the culture clash between the idealistic Cohen family and the shallow, materialistic, and closed-minded community in which they reside.” First episode depicts two characters driving down the coast, again the presence of palm trees, water, and surfing is shown. The tv series follows a boy who moves from a not so great neighborhood to a prestigious one in Orange County, a very popular town in Southern California. Because he comes from an area that doesn’t necessarily mimic the media’s representation of the classic California, he notices the differences when moving to the O.C., an county depicting how most view California. This place is very wealthy, prestigious, and the characters act uptight. Most of the teenagers are partiers and materialistic. They refer to the O.C. as a ‘bubble’ with trust fund kids.

Entourage

The tv show Entourage, follows a group of actors and their journey through Hollywood and fame. As they are originally from Queens, they soon have to adapt to their new life in Southern California. This show depicts popular views of California and Los Angeles, for example, the characters run into famous people everywhere they go. Similar to The O.C., both tv shows present an outsider’s view on Southern California and therefore tends to portray many thoughts about the aspects of a “classic Californian” and the common stigmas associated with them. This series also depicts an interesting image as the characters become more materialistic and uptight the longer they live in the Hollywood area.

Is there reasoning to these stereotypes?

Popular culture has developed a specific connotation regarding California, like Los Angeles for example, in the way they view the city and its people. I encountered an interesting article in which the author believed that, “This way of seeing became the basis for a new political subjectivity that prized an inclusive white identity among a heterogenous suburban public” (Avila). As I have been examining the identity of a Californian and the representation in popular media, I didn’t think to examine how this stereotype developed. This brought to my attention a larger issue, and how examining past occurrences and events leading up to the creation of stigmas could explain why we have them today surrounding certain areas or groups.

Learning Moments

I found the library tutorial “searching for resources” very helpful, and discovered many of my sources this way. I am now aware of a several reliable online databases I can use to search for information for school and research projects, and I will never simply search google again. I have always struggled to find trustworthy sources for projects so this library tutorial was definitely beneficial for me.

I encountered another learning moment during week 6 when discussing the news. My perspective was broaded when considering things I hadn’t dug as deep into before, such as general news consumption, including the public’s intake and my own. I became more aware of how most sources of news have a particular audience they are trying to adhere to, and use specific strategies to present their information. Alongside acknowledging my lack of news consumption, I also acquired techniques that I can use when reading news information and also regarding searching for appropriate unbiased sources.

 

Works Cited

Avila, Eric. Popular culture in the age of white flight: fear and fantasy in suburban Los Angeles.  University of California Press, 2006.

Cart, Michael. (1983). Life in the fantasy lane: L.A. hosts ALA. (ALA in Los Angeles). Library Journal,108, 1090.

IMDb – Movies, TV and Celebrities – IMDb. www.bing.com/cr?IG=72DAD90D8B6A43518E4CCA8BD22D0FBE&CID=2259C78A 99C96F3A071ECC2198666E90&rd=1&h=EMb72trYGYc6A1Kf7XtPUGIRt76GCrZIhKrV7SQUF8&v=1&r=http%3a%2f%2fwww.imdb.com%2f&p=DevEx,5065.1. The Californication, The O.C., Entourage

May, Kirse Granat. Golden State, Golden Youth The California Image in Popular Culture, 1955-1966. The University of North Carolina Press, 2010.

Misener, Jessica. “Are You More Northern California Or Southern California?” BuzzFeed, www.buzzfeed.com/jessicamisener/are-you-more-northern-california-or-southern-california?utm_term=.kfx0MGqry#.gnYqvGP7y.

Mullins, Jessica. “How to be a Californian: A look at the good and bad stereotypes.” SFGate, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 Dec. 2017, www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Californian-Northern-California-stereotype-8208447.phP.

Schrank, Sarah. “California and the American popular imagination: using visual culture in California history pedagogy.” California History, vol. 87, no. 1, 2009, p. 62. General OneFile,

Gingers on Screen

I was always proud to have red hair, it’s my favorite trait to this very day despite being known as “carrot top” for the majority of my elementary years. I distinctly remember the fourth grade when we lined up as a class after recess and multiple people pointed out my hair being a sparkly red in the direct sunlight. I am from a family of five and my mom, my two siblings and I all have red hair. All growing up we had strangers, particularly older folks, coming up to us left and right to touch our hair and exclaim “Such beautiful red hair!” or “What are the odds all three kids got the red hair?!” as if they had never seen the color red occur naturally and we were an exotic creature in a petting zoo. As the oldest I was able to learn to dodge these people and they’d be forced to grab the hair of my younger siblings as I hid behind my mom’s legs. Even at a young age I’d wonder why these people were so obsessed with us. And as we grew up, the answer became clear. If only 2% of the population has red hair, and there were not many portrayals in the media, maybe they really had never seen this rarity?

So do the gingers on screen do us justice, or do they tell the world we are genetic mutants with a flaming temper known to act rashly? I have looked at three popular movies featuring at least one main character with red hair to analyze what exactly the rest of the world sees when they don’t personally know a redhead. If you’ve seen these movies from beginning to end you may understand instantly and if you haven’t, here’s the rundown.

The Little Mermaid:

Disney Wiki – Fandom

In 1989, Disney let the world have their first red haired princess. Ariel is a porcelain skinned mermaid, the daughter of King Triton, who uses a fork to comb her mass of red hair. This film from “Under the Sea” [1] is another forbidden love story that depicts Ariel’s struggle to find land and her prince charming. Although she has never actually met the prince, her courageous and reckless personality pushes her to do as she pleases. She acts before thinking, she acts on impulse, and she acts despite every one of her friend’s and family’s advice not to. Her rebellious personality is evident throughout the film. Determined to become “Part of Your World”[2], Ariel runs into the arms of the sea witch Ursula. As an audience, we scream, “Don’t do it! Are you crazy?!”, until we are forced to sit and hope that Eric will “Kiss the Girl”[3]. Oh Ariel, why didn’t you listen to your father?
When another version of “The Little Mermaid” was announced just recently, there was confusion and devastation when it became known the mermaid would not have red hair, Ariel is not a Redhead[5]. This reaction showed me that people genuinely wanted the new film to feature the vibrant red hair of the original movie, that the new brunette was unwelcome. So having red hair was a trait that the audience has enjoyed and would have liked to see return to the stage!

Brave:

Disney Wiki – Fandom

In 2012 another ginger princess was introduced. Princess Merida is just as unorthodox as Princess Ariel. She too tries to escape her fate by standing up against her parents. As she defies her mother, the queen, the entire village looks on in utter shock. As Merida takes her stand, she lets her crazy red tresses out from under her cloak and there is an audible gasp because as soon as the villagers see her vibrant hair, they instantly identify her purpose and understand what is going to happen in the following moments. Merida uses the loophole[6] and rebels against her mother as her father watches on the sideline, unsure what to do. Determined to “Touch the Sky”[4], Merida runs into the lair of a witch and gets a spell to change her mom. Instead of fixing the problem, the spell brings a whole other issue into the playing field as it turns her mom into a bear.All of this to avoid an arranged marriage. Oh Merida, why didn’t you just listen[7]?

Brave is the second movie to perpetuate the stereotype that redheads act out when they do not get their way. Merida does not ever appear to get overly angered at her mother and her situation so I would not call Merida short tempered. On the other hand, her frustration is as clear as day.

Harry Potter Movies:

Hindustan Times

The Harry Potter franchise has become it’s own entity to many. The well known trio, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are easy spot. The red-haired Ronald is particularly easy to spot thanks to his red hair and all of his red-haired siblings. In the first film, someone is quick to point this out because he “must be another Weasley”[8]. Ronald Weasley is no Disney princess, but he is just as defiant as them. Ron goes with Harry and Hermione, skipping class, brewing forbidden potions, sneaking out of the common room, and participating in midnight duels. In the last two movies, which was one book split into two movies, Ron goes against the wishes of his parents and decides to return to Hogwarts even amidst the threat of He Who Must Not Be Named. He betrays his parents x2 when he actually skips out on Hogwarts to go horcrux hunting with his pals which was planned all along. Although this was not an act of direct defiance, the disregard for authority was the same. Do you think Molly and Arthur Weasley would have approved of Ron’s destroying horcruxes[9]? Or how about Professor McGonagall? Probably not.

Ron Weasley was a charming boy who grew up on screen in front of our eyes. We watched him move out of the shadows of his many ginger siblings by becoming his own person and making his own decisions. Him and his older twin brothers are quite the troublemakers though, that makes three gingers telling the world that redheads are rambunctious and cannot be reigned in no matter how old they get.

Why These Matter/The Impact/Conclusion:
As previously mentioned, the population of redheads is much lower than any other natural occurring hair color. Here in North America, I could confidently say many people have at least seen one at some point in their lives. But, without knowing a ginger personally, it is easy in this day and age to make assumptions about people based on things we see in the media. With media dominating the lives of millions, those who are underrepresented in everyday life count on the media to portray them somewhat accurately. So, based on these three movies, how do you think you’d envision a ginger person and how would you think they would act given different situations? Block out any previously known characteristics you may have thought of and focus on these three portrayals. If I were to give up my own ginger identity and lose any bias I had, I’d assume a redhead would dismiss any authoritative figures and do as they damn please. Stepping back into my own personal shoes, this is offensive. To assume all redheaded people are too fiery to have respect for their elders is certainly a stereotype I do not fall into. I have been a goody-two-shoes from the very beginning. Although I have known other people whose red hair certainly matches their flaming short tempers, the media depictions did not tell them to act that way, it was simply their nature and personality.

On the other hand, what would have happened if these fellow gingers hadn’t broken the rules? They would never have gotten what they so deeply desired: to be free of the sea, to be free of a husband, to be free of the Dark Lord. From this redheads can also be positively represented as determined go-getters who take nothing less than what they deserve. Now THAT is a stereotype I would be okay with.

Learning Moments:
In week four, when we were beginning to narrow down the identity we would focus on for the this project, I understood why project this could work for any identity under the sun. In a world this big and vast, with as many resources as we have, there is something to take away from every movie, video, blog, newspaper, etc. There is no limit to what the media can tell us about every person/personality. It is up to us as the viewers to filter out the stereotypes and not let our minds be made up by someone else.

In the early/middle part of week seven, shortly after I received feedback on my research analysis worksheet I truly understood what this project was meant to do. For a while I thought I was supposed to simply analyze characters that happened to have red hair and share that similarity with me. I went on to realize I needed to look at the characters in a way to see how their red hair embodies them, speaks for them, or why the redness of their hair was a focal point of the artifact (movies in this case). After this slight epiphany, I was able to weed out what movies I thought worked (Jurassic World), but actually did not. I brought in Ron Weasley as a replacement because in the Harry Potter movies, his red hair is pointed out and represents his pureblood Weasley name.

Works Cited:
1. Samuel E. Wright. “Under the Sea.” The Little Mermaid, Walt Disney, 1989, Youtube.

2. Jodi Benson. “Part of Your World.” The Little Mermaid, Walt Disney, 1989, Youtube.

3. Alan Menken. “Kiss the Girl.” The Little Mermaid, Walt Disney, 1989, Youtube.

4. Julie Fowlis. “Touch the Sky.” Brave, Cobalt Music Publishing, 2012, Youtube.

5. H2BAR Team. “Ariel Is Not A Redhead: Watch ‘The Little Mermaid’ Trailer.” How to Be a Redhead, 29 Dec. 2017, howtobearedhead.com/ariel-is-not-a-redhead-little-mermaid- trailer-movie/.

6. Moss ChopsChannel. “Merida wins her own hand by skill of archery in “Brave”.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWbxhKTbTkA&feature=youtu.be. Youtube. Sep 18, 2013. Web. Accessed Feb 25, 2018.

7. 10Merliah11. “Brave- If you could just listen (English).”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjAMogS92Uw&feature=youtu.be. Youtube. Jan 19, 2013. Web. Accessed Feb 25, 2018

8. hp0nline. “first meet Draco Malfoy.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEnLhKoVJlI&feature=youtu.be. Youtube. Jul 24, 2007. Web. Accessed Feb 25, 2018

9. FearlessPotter. “Ron destroys Slytherin’s Locket HD.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBwe-LenM00&feature=youtu.be. Youtube. Dec 10, 2011. Web. Accessed Feb 25, 2018

Female Athletes in the Media

It is a common perception that female athletes are inferior to male athletes. From not receiving nearly the same amount of pay to also not receiving very much attention as male athletes, female athletes have to face a lot of adversity to make it big. Being a female athlete, experiencing this adversity first hand, it is very frustrating. For example, here at Portland State University, Men’s sports receive more money and more attention than the women’s sports here. An example of this in professional sports would be the Women’s Soccer World Cup having more viewers than the Men’s Soccer World Cup yet the female soccer players were still in a significantly lower pay grade than the male soccer players.

This perception of female athletes being inferior to male athletes is something that has been around for a while. Little by little there have been movies made that are working to break down that perception. Although they are not perfect and still serve some stereotypes of female athletes, any little step taken to break down this perception is a win for us female athletes. Female athletes in movies are often depicted one of two ways. They are either depicted as not being good enough to compete with the fellow male athletes at their school or are depicted as masculine and undesirable in a romantic way.

I chose to take a look at three movies that have a strong female athlete lead. The three movies I chose to analyze are “A League of Their Own” (1992) focusing on Dottie and Kit, “The Little Giants” (1994) focusing on Becky “Icebox” O’Shea, and “She’s the Man” (2006) focusing on Viola. I will delve deeper into what these movies have in common and what is different about them. I will look into how the female athletes are portrayed throughout the movies and how they fall into or defy the stereotypes put in place by society.

Let’s begin.

A League of Their Own (1992)

Image result for a league of their ownIn the spring of 1943, the United States faced its peak of its involvement in World War II. The draft has claimed some of the best players from Major League Baseball, such as Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, and Bob Feller. With so many players being taken away in the draft, Walter Harvey, and MLB team owner, holds an owners’ meeting to determine what they should do in case the American and National Leagues decide that it is necessary to shut down. Harvey appoints the job of finding a solution to one of his marketing gurus, Ira Lowenstein. Some time later, one of Harvey’s scouts, Ernie Capadino, heads to Willamette, Oregon, to scout some females on a farm-based co-ed fastpitch softball league. There he finds sisters, Kit and older sister Dottie. He watches Dottie’s at bat and after she hits the ball into the outfield and scores the two runners on base to put her team ahead he decides that she would be perfect for the new league that they are starting because she is good at softball and her “dolly” good looks. He offers Kit a try out only if Dottie also comes along to try out, Dottie eventually gives in. The sisters and Ernie hop on a train to Chicago but make a pit stop to watch another girl, Marla Hooch, who is raised and coached by her father. Her tryout is held in a gym where she had several hard hits that broke windows while also showing she had patience at the plate, much like Dottie. Her father makes it a point to mention that if she was a boy he would be talking to the Yankees rather than talking to Ernie. When she is finished hitting Ernie finally has a chance to get a good look at her and ends up rejecting her because of her homely looks. This angers both Kit and Dottie and eventually Marla’s father manages to convince Ernie to take her and also apologizes for her looks. He claims that it is his fault that she isn’t “pretty” since her mother died when she was young and he raised her alone as a tomboy. I think it is important to not that this league was called women’s baseball, calling it the “masculinization of women,” and also noting that when playing they wore dresses because it attracted more male attention and viewership than if they were to just wear regular uniforms such as jerseys and pants. Along with this, the girls having to wear dresses while playing, they also had to attend beauty classes where they are graded on their appearance and several girls are given stern suggestions to change their look.

Just in these beginning scenes, there is a lot to analyze. The main thing I noticed in this part of the movie is how they made it a point to point out Dottie’s looks. Ernie could have recruited her simply for her patience at the plate and the ability to hit the ball hard and far, but that was not the case. He states that she would be perfect for the league because of her looks. The point of this is then made again when the three of them watched Marla’s tryout. Originally Ernie said no because of her looks. If it was not for this comment enraging both Kit and Dottie, Marla may not have had the chance to play in this new league. The fact that looks were so important to those running this new league and the fact that the girls playing wore dresses while playing showed the sexualization of female athletes in order to raise viewership numbers. This goes to show that they believed that the girls simply playing and playing well would not gain enough viewership alone so to prevent this they had to play in dresses. The fact that they had to attend beauty classes and were graded and given suggestions on how to improve their appearances also plays towards the sexualization of female athletes in order to gain viewership and attendance to the games. A major positive in this movie is the fact that at the end of the movie a reunion of the women’s baseball players is shown. There is a ceremony held in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for the women involved in the league. It is nice to know that these female athletes are appreciated enough to be put into the hall of fame.

The Little Giants (1994)

A childhood rivalry between two brothers, Danny and older brother Kevin O’Shea, has always made Danny feel inferior to former college football player Kevin. Danny runs a gas station while Kevin coaches the local youth football team. Danny’s daughter, Becky “Icebox” O’Shea, decides she wants to play football but is rejected but Kevin’s team for the sole reason that she is a girl.

Image result for the little giants

This angers both Danny and Becky so she convinces her dad to start a rival football team made up of herself and her boy friends that were also rejected from Kevin’s team. The city can only support one team but Danny and Becky decide to form a team anyway. To prove himself against his brother, Danny begins coaching a group of misfits for a playoff game against Kevin’s team. With the help of four former football stars — Steve Entman, Bruce Smith, Emmitt Smith, and Tim Brow — leaves the team with several tips to create an advantage. Becky develops a crush on teammate Junior Floyd and gets jealous when her cheerleader cousin, Debbie, flirts with him. She decides that she will compete for Junior on equal terms so she throws on some makeup and a cheerleader uniform and joins the cheer team while abandoning her football team. In the end, she realizes that her team needs her and returns to the football team, helping her team reach a victory over the opposing team and the Little Giants become the sole team to represent the city.

Becky being rejected for the sole reason that she was a girl goes to show that many people think that girls are not good enough to play with boys when in fact there are some cases where girls are just as good, if not better, than the boys that they would play with. In my opinion, getting rejected when you know you are better than the boys that you are playing with is somewhat of a compliment due to the fact that it seems like it is turning into more of a self-esteem issue rather than a gender issue. Girls are often seen as inferior to boys so if there is a girl playing with the boys and is noticeably better than the boys it may bring some of the boys’ self-esteem down. Something interesting that I realized while analyzing this movie was the fact that Becky though that she had to put makeup and a cheerleading uniform on in order for Junior to like her back. This action supports the stereotype that female athletes are undesirable because they are often viewed as too masculine. Becky thought that Junior would not like her for who she really was, a very good football player. I feel like this is often a common issue. I have seen a lot of situations where girls “dumb” themselves down in front of a boy in an attempt to make him like her more. I think this is because of the stereotype that males do not like confident females and view them as intimidating. Although this is not always the case, I have seen it more often than not.

She’s the Man (2006)

Viola Hastings plays high school soccer at Cornwall but the soccer program there gets cut. She requests to join the boys’ team at Cornwall but they do not allow girls on the boys team so she is rejected. She decides that the only way she is going to be able to play on the boys team is if she is a boy. Her twin brother, Sebastian, is supposed to enter Illyria, Cornwall’s rival school, as a new student. In a change of plans, Sebastian decides to pursue his musical dream in London providing Viola with the perfect plan. She disguises herself as Sebastian and goes out for the rival schools soccer team, and makes it! At Illyria,

Image result for shes the man

Viola’s roommate is named Duke Orsino. Her skills are not up to par with those of the others on the team so it seems like she is not going to be able to play in the game against Cornwall meaning that she would not achieve the goal of humiliating her goalie ex-boyfriend Justin who told her that she was not good enough to play with the boys. She begins to workout extra with Duke and begins to fall in love with him. Duke begins to fall in love with Olivia, Viola’s lab partner, while Olivia is falling in love with “Sebastian” (Viola). Since “Sebastian” isn’t interested in her, she begins going out with Duke to make “Sebastian” jealous. If this doesn’t seem super complicated already, things get even more complicated when the real Sebastian returns from London earlier than expected. When Olivia sees the real Sebastian, she runs up to him and kisses him which leads Duke to believe that his roommate betrayed him. In turn he kicks Viola out of their room. On the day of the big game against Cornwall, Viola’s secret is outed to Principal Gold. Because Viola overslept on the day of the big game, the real Sebastian ends up on the field playing in his sisters spot. Principal Gold stops the game in an attempt to prove that Sebastian was actually his sister but when Principal Gold pulls down the real Sebastian’s shorts, he and everyone else are in for a big surprise. At half time, Viola explains the entire situation to Sebastian and they switch places again. Duke is still mad at “Sebastian” and refuses to pass the ball. Viola tries to explain that she is really a girl and finally convinces everyone by showing her breasts. The coach agrees to let Viola keep playing, disregarding that she is a girl playing on a boys team. In the end, Illyria wins the game on a penalty kick when Viola scored by tricking her ex-boyfriend Justin.

 

 

 

 

The fact that Viola was unable to play on Cornwall’s boys’ soccer team is very much similar to Becky’s situation in The Little Giants, the difference being the way that Viola went about the situation. Although pretending to be your twin brother seems a bit absurd, it was the only way for Viola to prove that she was good enough to play on the boys team and that gender doesn’t matter. No one suspected that Viola was a girl and no one questioned her soccer skills which just proved that she in fact was good enough to play with the boys. She worked hard to be able to play in the big game just as anyone that wants a starting spot would do. She received no special treatment and earned her starting spot. Although this movie may have given some girls a crazy idea to test out, it also gave them the confidence to work hard to get better and prove some people wrong.

Conclusion

The major similarity in all three movies that I noticed was that the female lead roles all overcame some type of adversity. In A League of Their Own, they had to overcome the sexualization of women playing women’s baseball. Though it seems degrading to play a man’s sport in a dress, these women finally received the same opportunity to play in front of a crowd just like the Major League Baseball players did. At the end of the movie they were inducted to National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and that was a huge step in the direction of female athletes receiving the attention that they deserve. In The Little Giants and She’s the Man, both female leads were rejected from a sports team because of their gender. They both found a way to overcome that adversity and prove to that person that didn’t allow them to be on the team that they were in fact good enough to play on it. All three movies were very inspiring. After watching so many inspiring sports movies that have male leads, it was nice to finally see some inspiring sports movie that had a female lead. I think as time passes by and gender equality is becoming a more trending topic, there are more and more movies that cast a female lead. This is good and inspiring for young females that aspire to become famous athletes. It shows these young female athletes that they are going to face adversity in their athletic career but there is always a way to overcome it.

Bibliography

A League of Their Own. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2018, from

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104694/plotsummary

Little Giants Synopsis. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2018, from

https://www.fandango.com/little-giants-48420/plot-summary

The Little Giants. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2018, from

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110364/plotsummary

She’s the Man. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2018, from

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0454945/plotsummary?ref_=tt_ql_stry_2

The Representation of Mental Illness in the Media

Recently the world has shown significant improvement in accepting the differences within the human race, a variety of stereotypes and false representations have been dissolved on a large scale. However, in the media, there are still stigmas that negatively represent specific identities. For my research, I chose to look at the ways in which mental illness is represented by popular culture media. I found that there are many false portrayals of this identity, and a negative connotation has been cemented into our society. This has led to the widespread stigmatization of people with mental illness. To assume all people with mental illness are crazy or deranged is not only wrong, but it is also extremely ignorant to view members of our society with such a rigid mindset. I investigated primary examples of representations in the media, that further establish these fabrications. I also reflected on a few instances where accurate portrayals of mental illness took place.

From a young age I have seen first hand the casual remarks tossed around in schools, many of which provide a unique look into the individual perceptions of mental illness. It is very interesting to think about the effect that popular culture media has on a young person’s perception. A large majority of the representation of identity is implemented through film, music, tv, and advertising, which could allow for future generations to be incredibly cognizant of the acceptable differences in our society. But it also means that negative or inaccurate portrayals of individuals that currently exist, have and will shape the perception of mental illness one way or the other.

In the article “Exploring Social Factors of Mental Illness, Stigmatization in Adolescents with Mental Disorders.” written by Mahnaz Fallahi Khesht-Masjedi, they discuss the social factors of adolescents with mental illness, and how these factors influence behavior. Their findings include a specific correlation, there is a negative stigma towards mental illness in relation to schizophrenia, affective disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder. Whereas anxiety, hyperactivity, and depression are not represented with the same negative stigma. I found this very interesting and wanted to research these negative correlations further.

I decided to look into the stigma behind affective disorders, specifically bipolar disorder. I came across an article written by Oliver Bonnington, and Diane Rose entitled “Exploring Stigmatisation among People Diagnosed with Either Bipolar Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder: A Critical Realist Analysis.”. They consider the multitude of negative ramifications that stem from social stigmas and mental illness. These ramifications include social withdrawal, rejection, delayed healthcare seeking, hurt and anger, as well as lower self esteem. (Bonnington, Rose. 1.2) Even though these findings relate to mental illness, they are specifically referencing stigmas involving schizophrenia, depression, or mental illness in general. Throughout the article they mention the lack of research involving bipolar disorder stigma.

The study that was organized was intended to shed light on the representation of individuals with either bipolar disorder, or borderline personality disorder. They interviewed forty nine individuals and found some very interesting and unfortunate examples within our society. Interviewees revealed experiences involving pathologisation, normalisation and stereotyping, powerlessness, as well as marginalisation and violence. These experiences varied vastly, but all of them gave me extensive insight into our society, and the negative representations that flow through it.

Thinking back to my early life I remember multiple circumstances where mental illness was displayed as making someone inherently bad. Having dealt with mental illness first hand, while also witnessing family members go through their own mental health issues altered my perception of certain social constructs in relation to stigma. Without going into too many specifics, the idea that mental illness should be shameful was something that I perceived from a very young age. Whether it was from my family asking me not to tell anyone about their mental health conditions, or the subliminal hand of popular culture media affecting how I think about certain identities and characteristics. I’m sure both contributed to the way I have viewed mental illness throughout my life.

Specifically looking at instances where the media has affected my perception of this identity, I see a large amount of representation within cinema. My earliest memory of consciously recognizing the portrayal of  mental illness in film was in the movie Rain Man. This is a primary example of how mental illness is portrayed in the media, and as a young kid it had a large effect on me. The character Raymond has savant syndrome, a condition in which someone with mental disabilities also demonstrates certain abilities well above average. In this case Raymond has the ability to count hundreds of objects at once, while also dealing with severe anxiety when provoked. The scene in the bathroom specifically stands out in my memory. Without knowing anyone with a condition like this, I was very confused about his actions. Something as simple as turning on the hot water set Raymond into an utter panic, and as a kid this was a very revealing and interesting look into someone else’s mind. Even as a fictional character his role in popular culture changed my perspective of the world.

The representation of mental illness in Donnie Darko is a primary source I have witnessed much more recently. Seeing this film two years ago gave me a different insight into the media’s reflection of mental illness. Even though the film could be classified in the science fiction genre, there are still many instances where schizophrenia is portrayed. Donnie, a teenager going to high school in Virginia is showing signs of schizophrenia, these signs include Frank, a subconscious character who wears a bunny suit. He tells Donnie the world is going to end in twenty eight days, six hours, forty two minutes, and twelve seconds. There are many different examples of schizophrenia portrayed in media involving violence, and this film is no exception. In the theatre Frank tells Donnie to burn it down, playing back to the knowledge of what Donnie did when he was younger. Frank also appears in the therapist office telling Donnie he is going to kill again. These are both examples of how mental illness was depicted in Donnie Darko.

I feel as though both of these films portray mental illness in a fairly accurate and respectful way. However it is important to note that even though some cases of schizophrenia and savant syndrome are similar to these representations, not all people who deal with these conditions go though these exact thoughts and actions. Through my research I have realized that it is the responsibility of the viewer to be able to distinguish this notion. If someone assumes all people with schizophrenia want to burn things to the ground, their ignorance is to blame, not the film. This is one of the biggest learning moments I have gathered from this course.

Mental illness has a certain image in the media, many people associate it with a negative connotation and this has led to a cycle of offensive portrayals, and inaccurate representations. Another big lesson I have learned is to keep an open mind. In order to respectfully engage in high level thoughts about our society, the media, and popular culture, it is important to know all you can about the subject. The only way to do this is to accept that you don’t know everything, and listen to all voices with opinions on the matter.
Works Cited

Khesht-Masjedi, Mahnaz Fallahi, et al. “Exploring Social Factors of Mental Illness, Stigmatization in Adolescents with Mental Disorders.” Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research, vol. 11, no. 11, Nov. 2017, pp. 1-4

 

Bonnington, and Rose. “Exploring Stigmatisation among People Diagnosed with Either Bipolar Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder: A Critical Realist Analysis.” Social Science &Amp; Medicine, vol. 123, 2014, pp. 7–17.

 

Johnson, Mark, et al. Rain Man. MGM/UA Communications Company, 1988.

 

Treffert, Darrold. “Savant Syndrome Overview.” Wisconsin Medical Society, http://www.wisconsinmedicalsociety.org/professional/savant-syndrome/savant-syndrome-overview

 

Kelly, Richard, director. Donnie Darko. Pandora Cinema, 2001.

Pilots and Pop Culture in a Post 9-11 World

I began this project with the idea of using all movies with pilots as a starting point.  As I started looking closer to how pilots are portrayed in popular culture, I realized that September 11th, 2001 was a watershed mark for how pilots are represented in film and television.  September 11th, was not just a tragic moment for America, but also the beginning of aviation’s “Lost Decade” (Centre for Aviation, 2011).  The terrorist attacks were the start of a long struggle for the commercial aviation in the U.S., followed by high fuel prices and an economic recession.  For these reason I decided to look at pilots in movies and television post 9-11-2001.  Although there are few examples, the portrayal of pilots in popular culture since September 11th has transitioned from ultra-professional to absurd.

The stereotype for pilots has been fairly constant in pop culture; white, male, cocky, risk takers, wearing ridiculous sunglasses.  The white male descriptor is well deserved as only 4.36% of Airline Transport Pilots, or ATP*, are women according to Women in Aviation (2016).  Minority representation is small as well; in 2014 only 2.7% black, 5% Hispanic/Latino, 2.7% Asian pilots compiled the ranks of ATP rated pilots (Zirulnik 2014).  As for pilot personality, a 2003 study comparing airline pilots and applicants to the general populations found:

“… the type of person that is drawn to the occupation of airline pilot is substantially more reserved, intelligent, emotionally stable, dominant, enthusiastic, conscientious ,bold, trusting, self-assured, conservative, socially precise, and relaxed than is the general population.” (Blackman, Cross, and Wakcher 2003)

Conservative, conscientious, and reserved are traits that counter what the entertainment industry would have us believe most pilots are.  Bold, dominant, and self-assured all fit the stereotypical image.

And the sunglasses, I guess that’s just a matter of taste.

The first example of pilots in cinema that I looked at is in the film United 93.  The movie is based upon its titled flight on September 11.  United 93 is a dramatic (and speculative) recreation of the terrorist hijacking.  I think United 93 was the focus of a movie over the other flights involved in the 9-11 attacks because of the role the passengers played; United 93 makes for a better story.  Despite the resulting crash, the passengers fought against the hijackers to keep the plane from hitting its intended target.  The movie role of the pilots is small. Which is understandable considering the movie is mostly focused on the hijackers and passengers.  The pilots portrayed in United 93 act mostly like real pilots.  The pilots engage in minor small talk, conduct pre-flight inspections, and complete checklist; all normal pilot tasks.  The movie, compared to other aviation themed films, shows a very average flight that most passengers would be familiar with up until the hijacking begins.  United 93, the movie, hits close to the American heart. Both in in time (released shortly after 9-11) and in substance.  United 93 is a somber reminder of the tragedies, which is one reason I believe the pilots were shown with such professionalism and respect.

Sully is a movie based upon US Airways flight 1549, also known as the “Miracle on the Hudson”.  In the actual crash events birdstrikes caused the failure of both engines shortly after take-off, forcing the pilots to ditch the airliner in the Hudson River.  All passengers and crew survived.  US Airways 1549 is one of the rare cases where accident investigators did not list pilot error as a contributing factor in the crash and the pilots are actually credited as a factor to the high survival rate.  The pilots in the movie, played by Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart, display exceptional professionalism, with just the occasional glimmer of humor sprinkled in.  With the flagship joke at the end of the movie; when asked if the First Officer, Jeff Skiles (Eckhart), would have done anything different he responds in reference to the winter conditions, “I would have done it in July.”  Sully is a feel good story since everyone survived, lending to humor being more acceptable to the audience.

A more recent example of pilots in pop culture is shown in the FOX television show “LA to Vegas”(2018).  The show is a situational comedy, so by definition should be more humorously written than the other two examples I’ve given.  There are two pilot characters who fly the same route every week: Captain Dave and co-pilot Alan played respectively by Dylan McDermott and Amir Talai.  In LA to Vegas the pilots are portrayed in a silly manner, completely lacking in the professionalism shown in Sully or United 93.  Captain Dave appears to lack self confidence, but tries to make up for it with inappropriate behavior at every opportunity.  The Dave character, despite wearing an unmistakable pilot uniform, never has the top of his shirt buttoned and his tie is always loose.  Co-pilot (a term loathed by real-life first officers, because it implies that they aren’t actual pilots and therefore less capable than the captain) Alan is a goofy scatter-brain who claims in the first episode he wanted to be a dancer, not a pilot.  During another episode when Captain Dave can’t land the plane, the flight attendant lands, not Alan.  Contributing to the incompetent “co-pilot” image.   Talai‘s character isn’t even listed on the main cast webpage on FOX’s website.  LA to Vegas has most of the typical pilot stereotype jokes: oververt use of aviator sunglasses, ego, inference that pilots don’t actually fly because the planes fly themselves.

The progression from images of no-nonsense profesional to absurd silliness shows how far commercial aviation in popular culture has come since 9-11. In the public eye flying is now not something to be scared of, but something to make fun of.  This shouldn’t be surprising since  2017 is known to be the safest year ever regarding commercial aviation (Ranter 2017).  With more time passing since a major aviation accident I expect the jokes to continue.  As a pilot myself, I’ll take the humor as a complement to the efforts made everyday to keep the sky one of the safest modes of transportation we have.  Now if pop culture could just start shaming people who fly in pajamas…

*The Airline Transport Pilot certificate, or ATP is the highest level of pilot certificate available to U.S. pilots.  An ATP essentially the doctorate of pilot certificates.  Pilots flying for airlines must be ATP rated pilots in the U.S.

 

References

Aviation’s lost decade? 9/11 and beyond. Cause for optimism in the wake of 9/11 changes.

(2011), Centre for Aviation. 3-13-2018

https://centreforaviation.com/insights/analysis/aviations-lost-decade-911-and-beyond-cause-for-optimism-in-the-wake-of-911-changes-58460

Blackman, Melinda C.; Cross, Kara; and Wakcher, Sandra  “Personality Comparison of Airline Pilot Incumbents, Applicants, and the General Population Norms on the 16PF”  Sage Journal, Volume: 92 issue: 3, page(s): 773-780, Issue published: June 1, 2003, Accepted: March 05, 2003

https://doi-org.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/10.2466/pr0.2003.92.3.773

Benzon, Robert P (Investigator in Charge) NTSB Accident #DCA09MA026  (2010)

Current Statistics of Women in Aviation Careers In the U.S. (2016)  Women in Aviation International. 3-13-2018

www. Wai.org/resources/waistats

Greengrass, Paul “United 93” (2006)

Komarnicki, Todd; Sullenberger, Chesley; Zaslow, Jeffery  “Sully” (2016)

Ranter, Harro “ASN data show 2017 was safest year in aviation history” Aviation Safety Network (2017) 3-13-2018

https://news.aviation-safety.net/2017/12/30/preliminary-asn-data-show-2017-safest-year-aviation-history/

Zimmet, Lon “LA to Vegas” FOX (2018) 3-18-2018

https://www.fox.com/la-to-vegas

Zirulnik, Michael L.  “Airlines’ flight decks lack diversity”  The Hill  (2014) 3-13-2018

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/transportation/218401-the-company-isnt-going-to-hire-black-pilots-anymore

Female Athletes in the Media

 

Female athletes in the media

“I want to apologize to all the women I have called pretty before I’ve called them intelligent or brave. I am sorry I made it sound as though something as simple as what you’re born with is the most you have to be proud of when your spirit has crushed mountains. From now on I will say things like you are resilient or you are extraordinary not because I don’t think you’re pretty but because you are so much more than that” (Words).

Women in media for generations have been minimized. Their potential has been looked over, their successes have been downplayed, and it seems as though a women’s appearance is what defines them. This is exploited in the media as far as women’s sports are concerned because everything that they do is sexualized, not only that but they work just as hard as men to be successful athletes and don’t get nearly as much credit. I will be focusing on different movies, articles, and advertisements that give this idea that women aren’t to the athletic standard as men and explain how the media has created an image that women’s accomplishments are only celebrated when beauty is involved.

 

Sports Illustrated

 

Pictured above are two amazing athletes, to say the least. On the left, Lebron James widely regarded as the greatest NBA player of all time. In the NBA, he has won the MVP award 4 times and won 3 NBA championships (Land of basketball). On the right, Serena Williams, she has been named number one female tennis player in the world for the last 250 weeks (Tennis). Both insanely talented individuals who were named SportsPerson of the Year just one year apart from each other, Williams in 2015 and James in 2016 (SportsPerson). Although, both blessed with such extraordinary talent the covers of Sports Illustrated conveyed them very differently. James is holding his trophy being praised for his accomplishments as an athlete, doing the unbelievable which was bringing Cleveland to a championship title. He is dripping sweat after a game, crying holding up an almost unachievable goal that he has reached. You can literally feel the passion that James is portraying, truly a powerful image. Whereas Williams is in a very seductive dress that has nothing to do with her sport. She looks extremely beautiful with her hair, nails, and makeup done in a fitted black dress. If I didn’t know who she was I would have no idea what her purpose is on the cover of Sports Illustrated. That’s honestly incredible because for someone who has been ranked No. 1 in the world for so long you would think Sports Illustrated would say something about that on the cover. The difference between these photos is mindblowing because both of these athletes deserve to be portrayed as powerful, successful individuals. James is accurately portrayed this way while Serena is being glorified for her beauty, not her athletic accomplishments which completely undermines her achievements. These images are eye-opening to me because women work equally as hard for their titles during their athletic career but the only way they would be on a cover of a renowned magazine such as Sports Illustrated is because they’re appealing to the eye. Being attractive is not the only way women are perceived in the athletic realm. Their ability to compete at a high-level is also compromised in the media.

 

She’s The Man

She’s The man is a popular romantic comedy sports film directed by Andy Fickman starring Amanda Bynes. This is a film about a young female soccer player who’s program got removed from her school. When she went to try out for the boy’s team they didn’t accept her because apparently girls aren’t talented enough and can’t perform at the high level that boys do. Instead of giving in she decided to dress up as her brother and tried out for the men’s soccer team at his school. She was an exceptional player and made the men’s team, she ended up being the main reason why they won their championship game. At the beginning of the film, she was completely looked over strictly because she was a girl and her athletic abilities weren’t appreciated whatsoever. This stereotype of “playing like a girl” is really worldwide which is why I originally picked this movie to support my argument. As I went further on in the movie it actually portrayed women how they should always be perceived in sports media which is fearless, capable, and talented. The coach on the team she ended up playing on as a male told her when she tried out as a female that, “Girls aren’t as fast as boys. It’s not me talking, it’s a scientific fact,” the coach tells her. “Girls can’t beat boys. It’s as simple as that (Refinery).” This is a common theme amongst media and the fact that she tried out as a boy, made the team, and was the main part of the reason why they had a successful season counters gender stereotypes proving that women are just as capable.

 

I can relate to the message that this film is striving to convey because I have played volleyball my whole life. Although I compete at a high level it has always seemed like boys sports are the primary focus. The crowds are always bigger, the attention was primarily on them, and they always seemed to think their sports was way more difficult. Different doesn’t mean more difficult. This movie empowers women and gives them the inspiration to be successful in their sport although they don’t get as much recognition for their accomplishments.

 

Microaggressions and Female Athletes

Microaggression and Female Athletes is an article I found in the Portland State database that describes the stereotypes that women face as athletes. After comparing and contrasting all my sources this article just solidified my research and gave me another perspective. The part of the article that really stood out to me was when it says, “victories of female athletes are often attributed to her opponent’s weaknesses, rather than to her abilities, thereby invalidating her skills as an athlete (Microaggression).” I really let that quote sink in because when men are praised for their athletic ability it goes all the way back to when their training has begun. For example, the amazing Michael Jordan, when the media talks about him they go back to all the times he was denied as a basketball player but still he motivated himself to get better and reach his goals. He goes down in history as one of the best because of all of the hard work and drives that he has to be successful but when they talk about women she won because of the opponent’s weaknesses. Not to take away from any of the glorification that Jordan has received because he earned every minute of fame but that statement is so powerful. It just shows how unappreciated women are and for what? Maybe because the media wants men to consistently appear more dominant or maybe because people don’t believe women’s achievements are as valid as men. Either way, the media doesn’t celebrate women’s prosperities nearly as much as they should.

 

The article goes on to say that media doesn’t cover women because that is just not what people are interested in and the media strives to give the people what they want. This just gives women especially those in the realm of sports this idea that they aren’t worthy of attention. Even if you aren’t an athlete, the message that the media is sending to women is that they are not valued as much as men when their accomplishments are truly just as compelling.

Learning Moment

 

The biggest learning moment for me of this course was Week 4: Analyzing primary sources. The video that struck me to choose this topic was the advertisement by Always, “Like a girl.” It was interesting to me to see how people reacted when the director of the clip says “run like a girl” or “hit like a girl.” They mostly did stereotypical gestures like run while lacking the athletic ability or fight like they were hopeless. Some of the girls were literally offended by being told they were doing something like a girl. Then when one of the people being interviewed explained that if someone tells you that you’re doing something like a girl, girl’s should take pride in that because that is who they are. After everyone saw the response of this person’s interview they completely changed the way they did things “like a girl”. They suddenly were empowered and proud to be doing actions like a girl because there is no reason to be doing them any other way. This advertisement shows how in general people view women as a whole. Always was trying to “change the rules” which is a message that should be sent throughout all media. It really made me realize how media portrays women and gives young girls this false idea that just because they’re a girl that they aren’t as athletic, smart, and capable as men and that is far from the truth. My favorite part of the advertisement, the backbone of my research, was when at the end the director says, “Why can’t run like a girl also mean win the race?”

 

“Land Of Basketball.com.” NBA Players: LeBron James Profile and Basic Stats, 2018, http://www.landofbasketball.com/nba_players/j/lebron_james.htm.

Admin. “Serena Hits 250 Weeks At No.1.” WTA Tennis, 7 Mar. 2017, http://www.wtatennis.com/news/serena-hits-250-weeks-no1.

Illustrated, The Editors Of Sports, et al. “Sportsperson.” SI.com, http://www.si.com/sportsperson.

Carlin, Shannon, et al. “Why You Should Watch ”She’s The Man” Tonight.” Shes The Man Movie 10th Anniversary Gender Roles, http://www.refinery29.com/2016/03/105874/shes-the-man-10th-anniversary-gender-roles.

Koivula, N. (2001). Perceived characteristics of sports categorized as gender-neutral, feminine and masculine. Journal of Sports Behavior, 24, 377–393.

Emily R. Kaskan & Ivy K. Ho. Microaggression and Female Athletes. web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=3&sid=8ccdd955-0e24-4c8a-aede-54cd2d81af12%40sessionmgr4006.

Words, Christina’s. “Posts about Rupi Kaur on Words for the Year.” Words for the Year, 8 Mar. 2015, wordsfortheyear.com/tag/rupi-kaur/.

 

Drunk Drivers in Popular Media

As per my submitted proposal, I honed in on my social identity in the aspect of being a male driver. While this title has been a part of my life from the age of fifteen my thoughts about the role within society had been formed years before receiving my driving permit. We see this role in a variety of ways, but the ones that always stuck out in my memory were the portrayals of drunk drivers, which often seemed to overlap. I will be forming my analysis around the portrayal of male drivers and drunk drivers; and more specifically how these identities overlap more often than not when the latter is to be displayed within advertisement, film, and even news media.

additionddriving

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/373306256593191280/

 

By using a mixture of serious and comedically focused primary sources to illustrate the perception of what a drunk driver is I feel that I was able to make room for the underlying explanation, or at least reasoning, that came with my statistic-based secondary sources. Within the Liberty Mutual: Middle of the Night commercial, I was able to show a general base of how even insurance companies, and presumably some families, have presupposed ideas of who is more in need of assistance as a driver, and even going so far as to portray every man within the advertisement as helpless. The interesting thing about this concept, and one that really stuck with me, is that you can see where this kind of thinking comes from if you consider that this could just be an inadvertently demeaning way to point out that men run into trouble with simple tasks more often when it comes to what they are expected to know in terms of gender roles. This was further embedded into my internal questioning while completing this assignment as I looked back on the previous lessons and recalled reading essays about how often the role of the unintelligent father gets used within popular movies and television while female roles within these mediums have continued to expand and progress through the years. This kind of thinking lead me to consider my two film sources of Superbad, as directed by Greg Mottola, and The Hangover, as directed by Todd Phillips. While these two movies don’t necessary center on the same storyline, it’s obvious that some of the themes are undeniably similar; such as the celebration, disaster, and inherent intoxication.

20090603_superbadhangover_560x280

http://www.vulture.com/2009/06/is_ed_helms_mclovins_baby_dadd.html

The first thing I began to notice when comparing these films within the scope of my selected identity was just how little anybody was doing to hide just how much they believed in the trend. The drivers within both of these films that appeared intoxicated during their time behind the wheel were all male; which in it of itself isn’t all that surprising in male-dominated films, but kind of makes you wonder when even the insurance commercial about roadside assistance before your movie about being intoxicated features all of the ‘drivers’ as male too. Within Superbad; the cop referred to as Slater, who’s been driving the cop car with the other officer and the main character McLovin, becomes increasingly intoxicated as the night progresses and eventually proceeds to spin out of control directly into a  streetlight while trying to drift. In The Hangover the illegality and recklessness is slightly more underplayed when Phil, as played by Bradley Cooper, takes the cop car they’ve been given, turns on the siren, and drives up and onto the sidewalk to avoid the very congested traffic in front of him.  And finally, in the Liberty Mutual commercial, we’re introduced to a mother and her son as she explains how the insurance company had helped him when he had gotten stuck with a flat tire at some previous point in time. Along with these, two we’re met with the two younger boys currently stuck; the driver talking on his phone with his father who seems to be getting absolutely nowhere and understanding nothing about how to change a tire. Because this scene even encompasses a total of four males who either can’t even manage to complete a stereotypically necessary ‘man’ task or who can’t properly explain the process, in terms of the dad, it means even more to me in what the commercial is truly saying.

drinking-and-driving-300x393

Now, obviously there’s an issue here, even without yet delving into the statistics; and I believe that Rick Berman’s article entitled Letters to the Editor: Get the Drunks, Not the Social Drinkers within the Wall Street Journal helps to shed some light on why we can’t seem to focus on the actual issue within media. In his article, Berman references the ‘drunks’ in meaning those that would drink beyond what is deemed as acceptable or what could be described as functional. Because this was written at the tail end of the last century, it’s likely that Berman didn’t have the same clarity within the statistics he was able to reference but here in 2018 it’s become quite evident that drunk driving doesn’t necessarily mean that you would be considered a ‘drunk’, or comparably, an alcoholic. Articles such as these seem to obscure some of the objectivity related to simply noting the facts. While he was more than ready to place the blame onto those struggling to control themselves Rick Berman doesn’t seem to even entertain the idea of men dominating the demographic of drunk driving. By not acknowledging the possibility, and coming up with scapegoat answers that would basically boil down to ‘we just need to blame alcoholics more’, he really did society a disservice, whether intentionally or not.

http://www.interventionsupport.com/alcohol-addiction/

According to the statistics from the Substance-related traffic-risk behaviors among college students article within the Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal by Amelia M. Arria, Kimberly M.Caldeira, Kathryn B.Vincent, Laura M.Garnier-Dykstra, Kevin E.O’Grady: there really is a massive imbalance. And this imbalance isn’t just between male and female but also shows itself in that white males were shown to be nearly twice as likely as non-white males and white females to have driven while intoxicated by a substance other than alcohol within the past year and almost three times as likely to have done so than non-white women. The statistics from Driving under the influence by the National Center for Victims of Crime (U.S.), Washington, D.C. : Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime, also supports this data with it’s own finding that three times as many men are arrested for drunk driving as women here in the United States, which they found by use of these FBI-released statistics:

fbistatsduifbistats

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2015/crime-in-the-u.s.-2015/tables/table-33

In my opinion, these concepts of the dumb dad and typically male drunk-drivers only serves to effectively skew the perception and add to the negative magnitude of impact that these roles actually have on society. This is not to say that the numbers don’t support the claim, because they definitely do, but making fun of the issues at hand isn’t going to help anything at all. While realizing that false arguments are brought up to deter from the primary issues, I came to another major hurdle in preparing for this assignment and progressing through this course; and that was in the form of being left empty-handed for ways through which to bring up factual data that shows a particular group of people being most responsible for a negative action or behavior without immediately being struck down as demonizing or just wrong because the idea I’m pushing could be seen as hurtful. In the past I’ve been one to either walk away from any argument when left in this position or to try and skirt the labels of injustice by playing most points of evidence and argument from the position of devil’s advocate. While I do think this sort of communication was somewhat effective in showing people different perspectives, I’m still at a lost for how to be as effective as articles like Berman’s that just entirely obscures what they don’t deem as necessary to discuss and pins down the reader to agreeing with the point you came to the argument wanting to make.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work Cited

Liberty Mutual TV Commercial: ‘Middle of the Night’, 2017

Phillips, Todd. The Hangover. Warner Bros., 2009

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1119646/

Mottola, Greg. Superbad, Columbia Pictures, 2007

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0829482/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Berman, Rick. “Letters to the Editor: Get the Drunks, Not Social Drinkers.” Received by The Wall street Journal , 1 Oct. 1997.

Beck, Kenneth H., et al. “Trends in Alcohol-Related Traffic Risk Behaviors Among College Students.” Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2010, pp. 301–312., doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2010.01232.x.

National Center for Victims of Crime. Driving under the Influence. Revised]. ed., Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime, 2017.

Dancer’s Bodies and the Art Portrayed in Popular Culture

Throughout the history of dance, it has been known to the general public that these dancers have a certain body physique that they are required to uphold. Popular culture portrays these high standards through films, interviews, and critiques on ballet specifically focusing on how stressful it can be to maintain the slim figure and what this can do to a dancer. The creators of these artifacts insert their views of how dancers achieve such a high greatness while also trying to show the dedication and discipline “The Ballet” exudes.

As a former dancer, I know how hard it can be to maintain your health but still look the part. I was on the “fatter” end of the different body types in dance and this always had me questioning whether or not I was a good dancer. Media hones in one this feeling many dancers have and use it to show the struggles and inadequacies they face with body image. The mass media and pop culture portray ballet and dancers in a harsher light, especially recently with the scrutiny against the pressures that productions put on women of all ages. I am a dancer that is portrayed in the opposite light in media, being that I don’t have the ideal physique of a ballerina but, that never stopped me.

 

Where do the pressures of achieving perfection come from in ballet?

Many, including myself, attribute stigmas about body image to the unreasonable pressures instructors of ballet put on the girls performing in productions. Instructors have an ingrained prejudice that a dancer has to be thin with long limbs to be able to gracefully execute different positions and moves. In a study performed by some professors and students at the University of Santa Catarina in Brazil called “Study of Body Image in Professional Dancers: A Systematic Review”, it was found that having dancers identity being built by discipline, aesthetic care, perfectionism, resilience and self judgement stemmed a perfectionism culture that is demanded highly in the dance world. Many instructors are role models for young girls and boys in dance, so much so that the dancers would do anything to please them and make themselves perfect in their instructor’s eyes. This high pressure from instructors is what can bring about stigmas about body types and can also lead to many girls turning to unhealthy habits to make themselves “perfect”.

How are dancers portrayed in pop culture?

A popular example of dancer portrayal in pop culture is the movie “Black Swan” directed by Darren Aronofsky. This movie shows one dancers journey in getting the big lead role in her ballet company’s production of Swan Lake. The main character Nina feels immense pressure from her instructor Thomas to perform perfectly so she can get the lead role. Nina lands the role but is so caught up in being perfect and dancing without flaw that she starts to have hallucinations that lead her down a destructive path. Due to these hallucinations, she almost loses the lead role and in the end, she harms herself because the pressure to perform was too large.

The story that “Black Swan” depicts is not entirely true about the pressures high profile dancers feel in the dance world. Although many dancers feel these same pressures the repercussions are not the same. A majority of the time dancers will turn to self-harm like starvation or over practice to achieve the greatness that they are told to strive but, not many have the sort of psychotic break that is portrayed in this film. The film had a good rating from audiences that like drama/thriller movies but in the dance world not many found it quite as great due to the lack of accurate portrayal of what they do.

On the other hand, a documentary called “First Position”, produced and directed by Bess Kargma, follows young dancers and their journey to competing in the Youth American Grand Prix. The Youth American Grand Prix is a competition where young dancers from all over the U.S compete for things like scholarships and contracts. Kargma herself was a dancer so she tried her best to accurately show what it is like to be a young child in the dance world and what they go through to achieve the perfection it takes to win. This documentary shows six young children journey to competing at the prestigious Grand Prix. A common theme among all these children was that they all had pressures upon them to perform well. Each child had a large dedication to dancing and performing, one so much so that he left Columbia to move to New York City without his family to study. Although these children strived for perfection, they all still struggled and dealt with the pressures of being an adolescence as well. The dancers and ballet, in general, are portrayed in a more positive light in this film as compared to “Black Swan”, although some scenes had some people questioning if it was right for children to be subjected to such a harsh environment.

Both of these films had good ratings and overall performed well but the documentary “First Position”, does a more accurate job of showing what the real pressures and struggles are for dancers.

Why are colored men and women portrayed differently in ballet than white dancers?

At the beginning of the history of ballet mainly white dancers performed due to the racism and prejudices of these time periods. Now more colored men and women are getting to perform in large productions but they are still underrepresented. I am a white female and I noticed just from my classes, companies, and teams I was involved in a majority of the dancers were white. After watching the documentary “First Position” I questioned why African American women aren’t represented in larger ballet productions and why aren’t there that many to begin with.

For centuries ballet has been seen as something that is graceful and something that requires a specific physique. Ballet dancers throughout the years have all been petite, tall and with long elegant limbs. For African American Ballerinas this is not always something they can achieve. Many critics say that African American women, specifically, are too muscular for the classical ballet scene. This can weigh down heavily on them and in turn, make them have to compete harder for positions in productions. This is unfair in many ways for these colored women but, many of them currently are trying to change this stereotype. There are some videos on Youtube and Facebook that show African American women doing ballet in their pointe shoes, incorporating some hip-hop into their technique. This a way for these women to challenge the stereotypes that their bodies are “too muscular” for the ballet by showing the discipline and skill it takes to be able to dance the way they do.

Why does it matter?

For many who don’t dance or have never been involved in the dance world they might ask this kind of question so, why does the portrayal of dancers in pop culture matter? It matters because many dancers start at the young age of three and from then on out they are faced with the pressures to look and perform a very specific way. If pop culture portrayed the different body types in dance in a more positive light, there could be a decrease in young girls and women that harm themselves to achieve “ideal” body physique.

After reading an article in the Huffington Post called, “These Women Are Changing the Way We View Body Love in Dance” by Katherine Brooks, I noticed an overwhelming support from dancers to change the way the world views their bodies. Many of these women didn’t have what media says the ideal body type is and they were okay with that. This is important because the change of body image and the stigma in the ballet world around bigger girls dancing will only come when dancers themselves become confident in the way they feel about how they look.

Dancers come in many shapes and sizes and you don’t need to be thin and tall to dance well, I can attest to this. With growing support and awareness about the stigmas dancers face, more and more women and men will feel more confident in being able to express themselves through dance. This is important because I believe dance is a universal language and for pop culture to be able to portray a large diversity of body types in dance could mean that the way society views dance can change drastically.

Some things I learned:

Through the research process and analyzing different sources I learned how to better look at topics through an objective lens. After seeing both “Black Swan” and “First Position” I was able to compare the importance of pop culture in the role of dancers body images. I was able to read interviews and articles written by other dancers and see how they felt and experienced the immense pressures that come with performing to perfection and what it can do to one’s health. There are many performers out there who are breaking down the stigmas around the ideal body image in the dance world and who are challenging the general portrayal of us in pop culture.

Works Cited

Black Swan. Dir. Darren Aronofsky. Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2010. DVD.

First Position. Dir. Bess Kargma. IFC Films, 2012. Amazon Prime.

“STUDY OF BODY IMAGE IN PROFESSIONAL DANCERS: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW”, Cardoso et. al., Rev Bras Med Esporte. Vol. 23, No. 4. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1590/1517-869220172304162818. Accessed 12 February 2018.

“These Women Are Changing the Way We View Body Love in Dance”, Brooks, Katherine, Huffington Post, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/11/body-image- dance_n_5798654.html

Female Artists Invisibility

Up until the last couple decades, women have been nearly invisible in the art world. Refused to be put in art shows or even taken seriously, women artists have only recently made headway in the art world, and it’s about time. I chose to study the role of female artists, an identity that I’ve always felt a strong connection to. I was raised by two artists and have always had many strong female artist roles in my life, so when I decided to study this identity I wasn’t expecting to discover how uncredited and unrepresented women have been in the art world.

When the critically acclaimed textbook Janson’s Basic History of Western Art first came out, zero out of the 318 artists represented in the book were women, which has only raised to 27 in the most recent editions. [1]  I guess having been raised around so many amazing female artists, I hadn’t been exposed to how divided the art world has been, and how hard its been for women to have their roles as artists taken seriously. When it comes to women artist portrayals in popular culture, the results are slim. Not only are women rarely featured in Hollywood lead roles unless their sole purpose is to keep the romantic plot line going, women being shown as successful artists is extremely rare. From my research, I found that most films involving female artists are biographies about existing well known female artists. Very few roles show women as artists, and when they do, they aren’t successful ones. Typically, the art world is shown in a joking manner when referenced in popular films or TV shows. When actors play artists that are shown as successful, they are automatically shown as arrogant and self-obsessed. When they’re shown as unsuccessful (a more common role), they are portrayed as naive and doltish. Not really a win-win situation. Here’s what I found for roles of women artists in popular media, along with some information on the history of women in art.

 

Lily from How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother is a playful sitcom on the life of five friends living in New York City. Lily Aldrin is one of the two main female characters in the show, and plays a kindergarten teacher and artist on the side. The show doesn’t often focus on her side career as an artist, but when it does it portrays her as a failed one, with unrealistic dreams of success. In an episode titled “Everything Must Go”, Lily and her husband (another main character) must come up with a large sum of money to fix the floors in their apartment. Lily suggests to sell her paintings to come up with some extra money, and ends up selling a piece to a couple. Thrilled, she decides to host an art party to sell more, and calls to invite the couple that bought her piece, only to find out that they only bought the piece for the frame it was in and threw away her painting. In another episode titled “The Scorpion and the Toad”, Lily is moving back to New York after a brief stay in San Francisco to pursue her art.  When first asked about her trip, she gushes about how amazing it was, how she met interesting people and how her art teacher praised her, saying he couldn’t teach her anything she didn’t already know. Later in the episode, we find out that she was lying about all this, and was actually told that she had no talent. In both these episodes, Lily is portrayed as unsuccessful and foolish. Nearly every time she attempts to go further in the art world, she’s shot down and told that she’s not good enough, so much so that she basically gives up pursuing art. This just further emphasizes the stereotype that women aren’t serious artists, and aren’t considered talented by the masses.

 

Big Eyes

Big eyes is a film directed by Tim Burton, that follows the true story of Margaret Keane and her husband Walter. Margaret Keane is an artist famous for her portraits of women with large eyes, who was involved in a legal scandal in the 1960s when her husband was found taking credit for her paintings. The film starts with Margaret meeting Walter Keane at an outdoor art fair in San Francisco, shortly after he proposes and they get married. He then starts marketing her pieces, convincing her that since he is such a great business man, he can actually sell her work, unlike she’s been able to in the past. He starts selling them at a local jazz club, and without Margarets knowledge, tells customers that he painted the pieces himself. He tells her this is the best way, that she can stay at home and paint while he goes out and sells them, because “nobody buys lady art.” [2] This continues, until Margaret files for divorce after Walter tries to hurt her and her daughter following a bad art review. A year later, they go to court to fight over the rights of the paintings. After a lengthy court battle, the judge asks them to both create a painting in court, so the real painter of the big eye pieces can be determined. Walter claims he can’t paint because of a hurt shoulder, and Margaret completes her painting and wins the lawsuit. This movie represents a real life battle between female and male artists in the 60s, and is a perfect example of how uncredited and mistreated women artists have been in the past. The fact that the paintings had to be represented by a male artist in order for her paintings to gain success and to have public praise, shows how little respect the world had for women artists. In an interview done with Margaret Keane regarding why she let her husband take credit for her work, she said, “Back then, women kind of went along with their husbands, didn’t rock the boat, He finally wore me down.” [3] Another aspect of this ordeal that I found interesting was the fact that even though Walter had no witnesses or a lawyer in the court battle, the judge still remained unsure until Margaret literally painted a piece right in front of him. Despite numerous witnesses who backed  Margarets claim, the judge still required her to demonstrate her painting skills. This is ironic because over the decade that Walter was taking credit for her work, he wasn’t once asked to demonstrate his painting skills live, or prove in anyway that he was in fact the creator. The public found it easy to believe that a man was painting these amazing works of art, but required proof that a women was painting the same pieces.

 

Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo

This book is a biography of the inspiring Frida Kahlo, written by Hayden Herrera. I chose this reading as one of my artifacts because of the incredible story that is Frida’s life, and because of the way the book tells it. The book follows her life starting as an ambitious young girl who was full of life and ambition, who gets diagnosed with polio and later endures a terrible accident at the age of 18. Though she lived a life of pain and discomfort, she never stopped producing her art. Inspired by her Mexican heritage, her pieces often reflected the nature and artifacts that were apart of her culture, along with frequent autobiographical elements and self portraiture. The book also covers the well known love story of her and her husband, famous mural painter Diego Rivera, and the tumultuous relationship that came from this. Frida lived a both emotionally and physically painful life, which made her an incredibly strong artist and person. There are many films and novels that tell the inspiring story of her life, but the reason I chose this book specifically was the backlash it got regarding the way Hayden Herrera chose to portray Frida, and the aspects of her life that she left out. Readers accused Herrera for portraying Frida as Diego-obsessed and borderline pity-full, making her out to be a very “stereotypical women” that is so often depicted in popular media. I think Herrera did a great job at showing the struggles she went through in her life, and showing how this led to her being such a creative genius. This said, I don’t find the book to be an accurate representation of the life Frida lived. Herrera ignores the fact that Frida was a invested, gender bending feminist, and revolutionist. Many people claim that Herrera uses personal statements and assumptions far too often, basing her information on Fridas emotions sheerly off popular gender stereotypes, thus simplifying her multifaceted life. Whether or not this biography is the most accurate portrayal of Frida, it doesn’t take away from how phenomenal Frida Kahlo was, and how much she did for female rights in the art world and in everyday life.

 

In conclusion:

I chose these three examples because I wanted to show a range of female artist portrayal. In the first example, Lily from How I Met Your Mother plays a wannabe artist, whose constant negative responses to her work eventually lead her to give up on being a professional artist. In the second example, the film Big Eyes tells a true story on the struggle of being a female artist in the 60s. When she was the face behind her work, no one bought it or showed interest in it, and galleries refused to put her on their walls. As soon as a man takes control, they became a phenomenon, because people were more comfortable and more likely to praise a male artist. The third example is a bit tricky, because while nothing could take away from the pure genius that is Frida Kahlo, the way she is portrayed in the most popular biography written about her takes away from her many revolutionary acts towards feminism and female art, and strengthens the idea that she was boy-obsessed and dependent.

Since then, a lot has changed in our society. But after centuries of neglect, how do we just now start to re-establish and empower female artists so they can finally get the attention they deserve? A recent solution has been an influx of all-women art shows, exhibits that focus on female creators and offer a way to for them to get seen in the art world. These shows are a way to recognize the female voice, and as artist Barbara Kruger said, they’re a way of “playing catch-up, after centuries of women’s marginality and invisibility.” [4] Barbara Kruger is another female artist whose art was stolen without any credit, the streetwear brand “Supreme” took their logo directly from her work, and have been profiting off it for decades. The interesting part about these new all-women shows, is that galleries and art directors are now sensing the trend, and are looking to buy into this new market of showing women artists. The galleries who once wouldn’t allow women artists to be in shows based on the popular demand for male artists and disinterest in female artists, are now using women shows as a sort of marketing scheme to attract more customers. It’s hard to be picky, since the shows are still doing their main purpose which is getting female artists seen and recognized, but it is slightly ironic.

Overall, we’re on the right track. Making up for years of exclusivity in the art world won’t be easy or immediate, but the fact that we have recognized the problem and are taking steps to reconcile are good signs. Hopefully, in the near future, female artists can get the recognition and respect that we deserve, and we can finally have true equality in the art world.

 

Learning Moments

Week 3. I really enjoyed the article written by Douglas Rushkoff on consumerism, titled “A Brand By Any Other Name.” It’s crazy the lengths brands go to market their product, and reading about the marketing strategies companies come up with to get the suspicious consumer hooked was interesting and honestly frightening. It was definitely a reality check, and makes you reconsider the marketing schemes that you’ve fallen for in the past.

Week 6. The article, “News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier” really stuck with me, because it summed up how I’ve felt about news for the last couple years. I’ve always thought it was strange how popular news websites seem almost giddy when something horrible happens, and this article made it clear that they rely on tragic events so they can create a story based on humanizing and dramatizing the event as much as possible.

 

Sources:

[1] Fields, Jill. Frontiers in Feminist Art History. 2nd ed., vol. 33, University of Nebraska Press, 2012.

[2] Burton, Tim, director. Big Eyes. The Weinstein Company, 2014.

[3] Lang, Kevin. “Big Eyes True Story vs. Movie.” HistoryvsHollywood.com, History vs. Hollywood, 4 Jan. 2015.

[4] Sheets, Hilarie M. “Female Artists Are (Finally) Getting Their Turn.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 29 Mar. 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/03/arts/design/the-resurgence-of-women-only-art-shows.html.

 

The Blonde Bombshell and Her Dumb Sister; Unnoticed but Uber-Desireable

Featured

I’ve been a blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman my entire life. When I was a child I had white-blonde hair that looked like corn silk, which eventually darkened to a dirty blonde as I aged. As I grew up, I often looked for blonde women in media because I never met very many blonde women in my real life. I vividly remember seeing and hearing about actresses like Marilyn Monroe (arguably the most infamous blonde in media), Robin Wright from The Princess Bride, and Kate Capshaw from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, as well as other blonde characters in things like fairytales (Goldilocks) (Duncan 20). I was often surprised with myself that I didn’t like these characters much. I always related more to other characters who were brave, smart, or outspoken, rather than the scared, soft, homebodies I saw blonde women play. I didn’t understand why I wouldn’t like the portrayals of people who looked like me until I was much older.

giphy7

For decades, blonde women have been represented one of two ways: as the “blonde bombshell” (overly sexual, extremely attractive, and altogether irresistible to men) or the “dumb blonde” (dumb, ditzy, naïve, and childish). Some classic examples of these stereotypes are characters played by actresses like Brigitte Bardot and Jayne Mansfield (Duncan 20). These representations of blonde women are extremely popular in many different forms of media, but they reinforce some untrue and potentially harmful stereotypes.The first stereotype would be that no blonde woman can be of even average intelligence. The second would be that all blonde women are inherently sexual, promiscuous, and desirable. Many characters play a combination of these stereotypes, which we will see below.

To look at these phenomena I decided to analyze three different media examples that depict blonde women. The sources I chose to examine were a commercial for Nando’s restaurant, Sarah Sanderson from Hocus Pocus, and Phoebe Buffay from Friends. On a basic level, I will be comparing the three sources to see what they have in common and how they differ.  Additionally, I chose three different forms of media (a commercial, a movie, and a TV show) to see how the length of a production influenced these blonde characters and their development. Lastly, I will also be analyzing how the target audience of these sources influenced their character representations.

Source One: “Chips”

“Chips” is a commercial for Nando’s new “bigger, fuller, bouncier double-breasted burger.” Nando’s is an international restaurant chain that originated in South Africa.  The ad features a blonde woman talking on her cell phone while sitting in the restaurant. The woman has large breasts and is wearing a very low-cut top. The woman, who can’t see the french fries on her plate over her chest, calls over a waitress asking about her missing french fries. The waitress turns the woman’s plate around so she can see her food, and the blonde woman, embarrassed, proceeds to make an even bigger fool of herself by drinking her soda in a strange and awkward way. The final frame of ad talks about Nando’s new “bigger, fuller, bouncier double-breasted burger,” while featuring an image of the burger on a table in front of the woman’s breasts.

The blonde character in this commercial has been given very little personality. All a viewer has to base their judgments off of is the woman’s appearance and actions: her presumptuous phone call, blonde hair, large breasts, and stupid questions. In this case, the woman’s character serves as nothing more than a joke and a plug for Nando’s new entrée.

Source Two: Sarah Sanderson in Hocus 

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Hocus Pocus is a movie about three sister witches in Salem, Massachusetts that have been resurrected after three hundred years on Halloween night. Sarah Sanderson is one of the witches, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, who las long white-blonde hair. She is the youngest sister and has a goofy, giddy attitude. She and her sister Mary take a backseat and obediently follow their oldest sister Winifred while they craft a wicked plan to catch children and harvest their youth. The sisters are eventually stopped by the same trio of cunning teenagers, who accidentally resurrected the sisters in the first place, just before sunrise on November 1st. The movie ends happily with the good triumphing over evil and Binx, the cursed guardian of the Sisters who happens to be a cat, finally being able to rejoin his sister in the afterlife.

In this movie, Sarah seems to have two different personality types that contradict each other: childish and overly sexual. Being the youngest sister, Sarah serves as a kind of comic relief by being goofy, childish, naïve, and gullible. This can be seen in instances like the rain scene or amok the scene.

Adding to this attitude is Sarah’s white-blonde hair. Research has found that women with lighter hair are often associated unconsciously with “softness and femininity” (Lynch 30). However, this idea is also seen in the overly sexual and promiscuous side of Sarah. Despite her dimwittedness, Sarah is the sister that is desired by the few prominent adult male characters in this movie. In fact, her dense demeanor seems to add to her desirability. This is seen most clearly in the bus scene.  In comparison, Sarah’s sister Mary is just as dumb and isn’t blonde, but she is ignored by men and not sexualized at all.

Source Three: Phoebe Buffay in Friends

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Phoebe is one of the main characters from the popular TV series Friends, played by Lisa Kudrow. She has long blonde hair and a constant ditzy demeanor. She often becomes the butt of jokes made by her friends, who all seem to accept her strange and silly ways. The TV show features the lives of six twenty-somethings living in New York City in the 1990 ’s and represents the time in a person’s lives when your future might be unknown, but your friends are constant. When pitching the show, one of the show’s creators, David Cane, stated “It’s about sex, love, relationships, careers, a time in your life when everything’s possible. And it’s about friendship because when you’re single and in the city, your friends are your family.” The show aired for 10 seasons, producing 236 episodes. Phoebe was featured in every episode produced and takes part in some crazy plots.

Phoebe seems to be the one character of the sources I’ve looked into that doesn’t relate her hair color to her personality. giphy5Yes, Phoebe is often odd, eccentric, dumb, and gullible, but her hair color doesn’t seem to play a role in this. Lisa Kudrow was cast as Phoebe on her addition alone, not because the show’s creators envisioned her for the role. Additionally, Rachel, another character on the show who’s a brunette, acts more like a stereotypical dumb blonde than Phoebe does. Rachel was spoiled beyond belief (her reform to become a functioning member of society is a major plotline of the show) and was incredibly dumb. In her defense, her lack of smarts was because she never had to work or try for anything she had wanted in the past.

How do These Characters Compare to One Another?

None of the three characters act very similarly to one another. While they do have some traits in common, like a low IQ level, they tend to act very differently. The “Chips” woman might be dumb but her phone conversation, appearance, and attitude suggest that she’s spoiled and self-centered. Both Phoebe and Sarah seem odd or eclectic to a normal person, but while Sarah acts childishly and naively, Phoebe acts like an otherwise normal member of society, save for a quirky personality and some odd habits. The most interesting contrast between these three characters is their sense of sexuality and promiscuity. Both the “Chips” woman and Sarah are sexualized based on their appearance, but Phoebe is not. She’s regarded just like any of her friends when it comes to dating, blonde or not.

How Does the Length of the Source Effect its Character?

The different lengths of these three sources (one minute, two hours, and ten years) really dictate how we perceive these different characters. In the Nando’s commercial, we only have a few seconds to form an impression about the blonde woman, and we’re given no further information about her life, personality, or attitude. As a viewer, we’re forced to make a quick impression about this woman based on what stands out to us: her hair, her voice, and her breasts. When we’re given more time to learn about a character, like in a movie or a TV show, we get to know them and form more honest feelings about who they are. In the two hours we see Sarah on screen, we learn little about her backstory. However, because we can see how she interacts with the people around her, we can form opinions about her based on her actions. We form a deeper connection with her and find more value in her character than a forgettable woman in a commercial. With a TV series like Friends, though, we get to know Phoebe better than most real-life people. Longtime viewers of the show watched Phoebe for years and learned more about her life and backstory than most of the people they’ve met in their own lives. This deep connection allows us to move past the obvious stereotypes we see and the initial assumptions we make. Time allows us to move past the superficial and into the substantial part of a person.

How Does the Target Audience of the Source Effect its Character?

“Chips”

Nando’s designed this commercial to promote their new entrée, which implies their target audience was existing, and to an extent potential, customers. It seems unlikely that Nando’s designed the commercial to target a specific audience, where it’s more plausible to believe that Nando’s just wanted an entertaining (and slightly controversial) commercial to draw in new restaurant-goers. However, you could also argue that they were targeting male customers, as not many women would appreciate the focus of the commercial. Research has found that men high in hostile sexism, an attitude that believes that women try to control men through feminism or sexuality, and benevolent sexism, an attitude that appears chivalrous but paints women to be weak and in need of protection, find sexist jokes more funny and less offensive than others, especially women (Greenwood and Isbell 341). This could imply that the creators of the commercial intended to target a male audience, however, their product (a new chicken burger) isn’t intended just for men.

Sarah

Because Hocus Pocus was a children’s movie, its target audience was, quite obviously, for children. However, the movie also gained a large following with parents, and later the many adults who rewatch the movie each Halloween. This could be due to the light-hearted story the movie presents, but it seems most likely that the mix of childish and adult humor (despite the contradiction of the two ideas) is what led to its popularity. giphy6In this case, I would say that the movie’s target audience might have had some effect on the portrayal of its blonde characters. The creators of the movie wanted to create a movie that was entertaining for kids and their parents, so the subtle addition of crude or sexual humor makes sense. Who better than to serve as this comic relief than Sarah, the youngest (and conveniently blonde) sister?

 

Phoebe

According to Friends creators and directors David Cane and Marta Kauffman, the show was created to appeal “to everyone”. The show’s original broadcasting company, NBC, wanted a popular sitcom that represented feelings and situations everyone had known before, especially when they were young and new to “real-life”. It doesn’t seem likely that Phoebe was created specifically to be a blonde, and most likely happened by chance when Lisa Kudrow auditioned for the role of Phoebe.

Conclusion

By analyzing these three sources it can be seen that the “dumb blonde” joke has become much more than a quick chuckle. This idea and the other stereotypes surrounding blonde women is present in many different types of media in our everyday lives. We take in these ideas subconsciously and often accept them for truth, often without realizing it. While these representations are often funny and entertaining, they do more harm than good. Many children look to the media to see people like themselves, creating role models and idols from strangers and fictitious characters. If all a young blonde girl has to look up to in the media is a dimwitted sexpot, then what will she become later in life? Will these ideas hold her back? Will they create a kind of low standard or ceiling that prevents her from moving forward? Not always.

I knew I could do more in my life than seduce men and clean a kitchen. It could be said that every blonde girl knows this and doesn’t take these ideas to heart; otherwise, we’d have a whole class of housewives with blonde hair and a low IQ. But, wouldn’t it nice if what the media had to say about blonde women could actually help them? That they could feel inspired to do more, to be better, because of their appearance? That they could feel proud of what they have, not defiant against the preconceived ideas society has about them just because of their hair? That they’d never have to doubt their ability to be taken seriously by men, just because of their hair? These are things that no girl should have to worry about in any situation, let alone because of their hair color.

Learning Moments

At one point during the term, our weekly course texts were a series of videos that detailed different tips, tricks, and methods to analyze sources of information. I found that week to be a learning moment for myself because I had never received any kind of formal teaching on these ideas before. Those texts helped me analyze sources and other pieces of information not only for this class but for my other classes as well. Heck, I even used some of these tips while doing some research for my job.

Another week, our course texts presented us with an idea I had never encountered before. We read about instances where the “doltish dad” stereotype had been presented in media. I had never thought of this idea before, and to say it was an eye-opener is an understatement. It made me realize that there are many more of these subtle, almost hidden stereotypes that most people aren’t aware of, as well as the damage they can cause for the groups they feature. It was a great learning experience because I had never considered these things before, which gave me a new way to look at my research as I continued to work on this project

Bibliography

Duncan, Stephen R. ““Not Just Born Yesterday: Judy Holliday, the Red
Scare, and the (Miss-)Uses of Hollywood’s Dumb Blonde Image.” Smart Chicks
on Screen: Representing Women’s Intellect in Film and Television, edited by
Laura Mattoon D’Amore, Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.

Greenwood, Dana, and Linda M. Isbell. “Ambivalent sexism and the dumb blonde:
men’s and women’s reactions to sexist jokes.” Psychology of Women
Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 4, Dec. 2002, p. 341. Accessed 8 Mar. 2018.
Lynch, Maura. “NOT SO DUMB BLONDE.” Women’s Health, vol. 14, no. 4, May 2017, p.
30. Accessed 8 Mar. 2018.