The On-Screen Portrayal of Younger Brothers

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

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

Max in Max & Ruby

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

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

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

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

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

Matt in Lizzie McGuire

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

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

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

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

Cartoon Lizzie expressing her dismay to the audience

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

Harry in Freaky Friday (2003)

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

Learning Moments

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

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

Works Cited

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

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

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

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

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

Works Consulted

“Annoying Younger Sibling.” TV Tropes. Web. 20 May 2018. <http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AnnoyingYoungerSibling&gt;.

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

Women Introverts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

amelie-poulain-audrey-tautou

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

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

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

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

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

Work cited:

“Plot.” IMDb, IMDb.com, www.imdb.com/title/tt0211915/plotsummary?ref_=tt_stry_pl.

“Plot, Daria.” IMDb, IMDb.com, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118298/plotsummary?ref_=tt_stry_pl.

“Gilmore Girls (TV Series 2000–2007).” IMDb, IMDb.com, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0238784/.

Duca, Lauren. “8 TV Characters That Explain What It Means To Be An Introvert.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 7 Dec. 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/28/tv-introverts_n_4163257.html.

@maiasz, Maia Szalavitz. “Q&A: Q&A With Susan Cain on the Power of Introverts.” Time, Time, 27 Jan. 2012, healthland.time.com/2012/01/27/mind-reading-qa-with-susan-cain-on-the-power-of-introverts/.

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

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

 

The Importance of Brotherhood

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

MEDIA 2

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

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

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

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

MEDIA 3

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

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

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

CONCLUSION

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

LEARNING MOMENTS

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

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

 

Works Cited

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

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

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

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

Coles, Prophecy. “Sibling Relationships.”

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

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

 

 

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

There’s a Problem in Hollywood…

 

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

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

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

 

The Culprits:

Ghost in The Shell

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

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

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

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

 

Aloha

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

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

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

 

Doctor Strange

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

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

Above: The Ancient One: His Character versus Her role

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

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

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

 

That’s not it: A Look at Statistics…

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

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

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

 

Conclusion

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

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

 

Learning Moments

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

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

Works Cited:

Smith, Stacy et al. “Inequality in 700 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Gender, Race, and LGBT Status from 2007 to 2014.” Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative. https://annenberg.usc.edu/sites/default/files/MDSCI_Inequality_in-700_Popular.pdf 

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

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

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

 

Single Black Mothers

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Other clips are not so funny, the set up,

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

Precious

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

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

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

Another misconception:

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

 

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

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

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

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

Monsters Ball:

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

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

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

Learning Moments:

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

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

Cite:

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

Director: Paris Barclay

Producer: Keenen Ivory Wayans

URL: http://j.mp/1JbABsT

Title: Precious

Director: Lee Daniels

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

URL: https://youtu.be/dVUflz0HwUk

Title: Welfare Queen

URL: https://youtu.be/HaqtefEK7fo

http://ssw.umich.edu/about/history/br… http://scholarship.law.upenn.edu/cgi/… http://www.npr.org/2016/08/22/4902454… https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/w… http://www.salon.com/2015/09/27/ronal

Title: Angel Adams, Mother of 15

Dec 28, 2017 –

Title: Monster Ball

Director: Marc Forster

Producer: Lee Daniels

URL: https://youtu.be/p_-Zm_G8cBI

 

 

 

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

 

The Representation of Arabs in Pop Culture

arabs in pop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

themummy

Figure 2. The Mummy (1999)

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

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

 

Work Cited

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

 

  • Medhat, Noha. “9 Of the Worst Misrepresentations of the Middle East in Western Pop Culture.” StepFeed, 12 Dec. 2016, stepfeed.com/9-of-the-worst-misrepresentations-of-the-middle-east-in-western-pop-culture-4083.

 

 

  • Nittle, Nadra Kareem. “Common Muslim and Arab Stereotypes in TV and Film.” ThoughtCo, Aug. 23, 2017, thoughtco.com/tv-film-stereotypes-arabs-middle-easterners-2834648.

Computer Magic

 

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

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

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

Mr. Robot: eps1.0_hellofriend.mov

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

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

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

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

Silicon Valley: Minimum Viable Product

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

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

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

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

The IT Crowd: Yesterday’s Jam

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

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

 

Comparisons

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

My thoughts

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

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

Some Interesting Commercials

Works Cited

Primary Sources:

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

Esmail, S. (Writer), & Oplev, N. A (Director). (June 24, 2015). eps1.0_hellofriend.mov [Television series episode]. In I. Srubshchik (Producer), Mr. Robot. Universal City, CA: Universal Cable Productions.

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

Secondary Sources:

Doctorow, C. (2017). Mr. Robot Killed the Hollywood Hacker. MIT Technology Review, 120(1), 100-103. Retrieved May 3, 2018, from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=9&sid=49f6f303-5691-42aa-9e2d-97c2141b0e5a@sessionmgr4007&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ==#AN=120167143&db=aph

Vlad, J. (2011). Hacking Hollywood: Discussing hackers’ reactions to three popular films. Journal of Media Research, 4(2), 95-113. Retrieved May 3, 2018, from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=6&sid=07e3df48-0416-4023-81c4-949aa95bc2fe@sessionmgr4009&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ==#AN=62035696&db=ufh

Lai, L. (2017, August 22). HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ and Stereotyping. Retrieved May 13, 2018, from https://medium.com/@mediaversityrev/hbos-silicon-valley-and-stereotyping-b81e0a9275e0

 

The Evolution of Asian American Identities and Representations in Popular Culture

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

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

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

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

Link to (On Capitol Hill, Asian-American Representation in Pop Culture Is on the Agenda): http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?&id=GALE|A453420116&v=2.1&u=s1185784&it=r&p=ITOF&sw=w

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

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

Link to (The Korean Wave and Asian Americans: The Ethnic Meanings of Transnational Korean Pop Culture in the USA): https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10304312.2014.986059?scroll=top&needAccess=true

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

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

Retrieved from: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0411008/

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

Link to (Lost IMDb): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0411008/reference

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

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

Link to (Influences of Culture on Asian Americans’ Sexuality): http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=6773782&site=ehost-live.

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

Work Cited

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Godfather and Guido Effect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References

Adams, Guy. “Shadduppa ya Stereotype! Italian-Americans Fight Back.” Independent,   Independent, 1 Jan. 2012, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/shadduppa-ya-stereotype-italian-americans-fight-back-6283808.html.

Coletta, Charles, and Donald McQuarie. “Gangsters, Guidos, and Grandmas: Italian Americans in Twentieth-Century American Popular Culture.” Dissertation Abstracts International, 2000. Portland State University Library, stats.lib.pdx.edu/proxy.php?url=http://search.proquest.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/docview/304585921?accountid=13265.

Gambino, Megan. “What is The Godfather Effect?” Smithsonian, Smithsonian Institution, 31 Jan. 2012, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/what-is-the-godfather-effect-83473971/.

History.com. “The Mafia in Popular Culture.” History, A&E Television Networks, 2009, http://www.history.com/topics/the-mafia-in-popular-culture.

PBS. “European Emigration to the U.S. 1891-1900.” PBS, Educational Broadcasting Corporation, http://www.pbs.org/destinationamerica/usim_wn_noflash_5.html. Accessed 19 May 2018.

Troyani, Sara. ““Guido” Culture: The Destabilization of Italian-American Identity on Jersey Shore.” Italian Studies Multicampus Research Group, vol. 4, no. 2, 2013. Portland State University Library, search.library.pdx.edu/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=TN_escholarshipqt1m95s09q&context=PC&vid=PSU&search_scope=all&tab=default_tab&lang=en_US.

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

The Side We See

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

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

The Side We Don’t

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

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

22 Jump Street

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

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

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

Neighbors

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

 

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

Happy Death Day

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

So What?

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

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

“The Top Party Schools in America”

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

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

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

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


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

The Aftermath

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

Wrapping it All Up

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

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

… and here’s the reality

Learning Moments

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

Works Cited

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

Flanagan, Caitlin. “Death at a Penn State Fraternity.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 9 Nov. 2017, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/11/a-death-at-penn-state/540657/.

Kaufman, Ellie. “Police Investigating Possible Hazing Death at LSU.” CNN, Cable News Network, 15 Sept. 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/15/us/lsu-student-hazing-death/index.html.

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

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

Murphy, Kate. “A Night of Drinking Ends in Death at Miami U.” Cincinnati.com, Cincinnati Enquirer, 23 Feb. 2017, http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2017/02/22/night-drinking-ends-death-miami-u/98265040/.

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

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

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.

The Female Stigma of the Military

When you think of a woman in the military what do you think? Are they strong? Are they weak? Are they suitable for the work that they have been assigned? Well, I think yes, I am strong and I am absolutely suited for the military and for my job in it. I strive to be a better soldier and a better leader. Many people seem to judge the military and the women in it for many different reasons. A common thought is the motherly, overprotective idea that because you are in the military you are more likely to be sexually harassed, which sadly is true.

To be in the military as a female means that you will face sexual advances from all sides, especially as an enlisted female. One of the main tensions in the military is that it is a difficult profession with a lot of increasingly hard demands physically, mentally, and emotionally. As a human being in that specific environment there needs to be an outlet in order to not be compressed by all of the difficult situations that we have to face on a daily basis. One of the many ways that military members do so is to inject humor into every aspect of their lives. There is a fine line in between humor and sexual harassment which has at length been discussed at least once a year in specific briefings that every unit in the military receives.

The statistics of people in the military getting sexually harassed is outrageous. Even though the numbers show a very large figure, it is known that many people who are involved in such circumstances do not act or do not discuss the situation and, in order to keep their rank, they do not acknowledge that there is a problem at hand. The majority of my frustration at the chain of command or the people in charge are not taking a proper, firm stance on the matter and the fact of the reports that go unnoticed. The differences that are shown in this article Baldwin, J. (1996). Female Promotions in Male-Dominant Organizations: The Case of the United States Military, is the idea that because of a certain rank or status, the individuals involved are urged to keep silent, even at the expense of their own personal well-being. This is a different ideal than the army I choose to sign my life to. I have known instances of grievances happening, but have also known that they have been handled with the individual’s welfare as the main point of concern, by lower enlisted and by high ranking officers. This amount of care is extremely important especially when concerned with the care received by enlisted personnel and officers. Officers issues or grievances are unfortunately, sometimes swept under the rug as discussed in this article.

As a person in the military I feel it is important to note that since this article has been published, quite some time ago, all military branches and commands have felt the need to address the issue and make the problem more commonly mentioned, with yearly briefings and more strict standards and regulations. The emotional support that people in the armed services are provided are especially important and well versed. The mental health and physical safety of all parties involved are important and taken into consideration. The idea of safety is of key importance to the different branches; luckily, the command has become increasingly aware of the issues that have arisen and has taken charge. Another one of the main issues is that it is not just a female problem, it is a problem in general. Females are not the only ones who are sexually harassed, males are also sexually harassed and it is also not all done by the opposite gender.

There has been a disconnect between the enlisted side and the officer side. There have been some articles that have shown that the officers get a different treatment than the enlisted. The officials who decide what the punishment is for the perpetrators are the officers, therefore there are special circumstances for the officers versus the enlisted. As seen in this article the “Sex, the Army and a Double Standard” there have been a lot of different scandals that have dealt with the higher ranks of the military and have brought careers to an end. The ideals of the military have to change, luckily in recent years there has been a great importance placed on the needs for reform in the policies surrounding this issue.

Another thought would be that the female is less suitable to be in the military because of the physical differences between males and females. In the movie Meagan Levey, the first part of the movie is shown some of the backstory to Levey going into the military. She wanted to make something of her life and to prove to herself that she was made of stronger stuff. One of the first major struggles that is depicted in that movie is Levey’s urge to get a K-9. Even though she is an MP (Military Police) she still needs to prove that she is capable of handling a K-9. The physical aspect of this feet is very challenging for Levey and she establishes that she is a hard motivated and diligent marine. Levey has to prove that she is physically capable for all of the work that she needs to do in the military and with her dog. The military is obviously physically demanding and in order to advance in any rank or status you need to show that you are physically up to the challenge of dealing with more responsibility.

These two stigmas show the importance for females to remain in the military. Females need to prove to themselves and others that they are not just a sexual harassment case and they are not just a female who can’t pass their physical fitness tests and therefore cannot rank up and pursue their careers. Females in the military should be proud to be in such a noble profession.

Bibliography

 

Meagan Levey, 2017. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4899370/

 

Baldwin, J. (1996). Female Promotions in Male-Dominant Organizations: The Case of the United States Military. The Journal of Politics, 58(4), 1184-1197. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/stable/2960156

 

Thompson, M. (1998). Sex, the army and a double standard. Time151(17), 30.

 

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.

Jews in Media: Laughing with us or at us?

Reflections on Research

Through my research into the portrait of Jewishness in popular culture I have discovered a lot. The most important thing I took away from my research is that Jews portals differ vastly depending on the creator and whether they are Jewish or not. A classic example of a show created by Jews is “Seinfeld”. The humor is unquestionably Jewish, and it does not use its characters Jewishness as the butt of its jokes. The characters Jewishness is not the shows source of humor. There is more of a overarching theme of humor in the absurdity of life and Jews happen to be the stars. Compare this to “New Girl’s” sole Jewish character Schmidt, you can hardly go an episode without an inappropriate Jewish joke. The punchline makes fun of Jews. Humor around the Jewish character has no nuance, he is a Jew and Jews are ridiculous and funny. The following Jewish jokes from season four alone:

  1. “You’re really sexy for a Jew.” (Episode 9: “Thanksgiving IV”)

Schmidt receives the awkward compliment during an intimate encounter at his “Bangsgiving” Thanksgiving party. A young woman he’s getting close to on the couch makes the casual observation, causing him to ask: “Wait, what?”

  1. “Has anyone ever told you you look like a Jewish Kennedy?” (Episode 12: “Shark”)

Power-hungry local politician Fawn Moscato compares Schmidt to playboy President John F. Kennedy in a bid to win his affections. She may have a point about his chiseled face and hairstyle, but she follows up by saying: “I hope not, because that would be offensive.”

  1. “I’m having my teeth shaved by a 25th of an inch. Fawn thinks that I have the teeth of an immigrant. She says every time she looks at me, all she can see is Fievel Mousekevitz singing ‘There Are No Cats in America.’ Those little mice Jews.” (Episode 20: “Par 5”)

Schmidt explains that Fawn, who is now his girlfriend, has some pretty exacting standards for her significant other. Fievel Mousekevitz is the animated star of the 1986 film “An American Tail,” which tells the story of a family of Russian Jewish mice who immigrates to the United States to escape anti-Semitism.

  1. “How do I look? How Jewish? I mean like good Jewish or bad Jewish?” (Episode 1: “The Last Wedding”)

Schmidt nervously questions the quality of his Jewish appearance after spotting his crush at a wedding. His friend Nick refuses to answer, thinking the question sounds like a trap.

  1. “It says here we need a murder of peppercorn and — some of that flat Jew bread?” (Episode 17: “Spiderhunt”)

Schmidt is stirring a strange sauce that Nick is concocting from an old family recipe. Matzah seems to be among the obscure ingredients called for in “The Sauce,” though Nick’s family clearly didn’t have Jewish roots.

  1. “When we’re in public, let’s just tone down the Jewish thing, OK?” (Episode 12: “Shark”)

Fawn censors Schmidt after he uses the word “schmendrick” (Yiddish for “stupid person”) in casual conversation. So much for her digging the Jewish Kennedy vibe.

  1. “You Jewish?” (Episode 22: “Clean Break”)

In undoubtedly the most awkward Jewish joke of the fourth or likely any season, guest star Jack McBrayer (aka NBC page Kenneth in “30 Rock”) asks Schmidt out of the blue if he’s Jewish. The two stare silently at each other for several seconds waiting for a laugh from the audience. Not every joke can be funny.

 

The show is written and directed by non-Jews, their perspective on Jewishness is strictly from the outside looking in, there are no insights on Jews or Jewish culture as it really is. The humor is clumsy and without subtlety, laughing at Jews rather than with them. These tasteless minimizing jokes are all too familiar to me as a Jewish person. Jokes like those in “New Girl” give people permission to be insensitive about Jews. Anti-semitism is seen an a different light as other forms of discrimination, seen perhaps as something that is a non issue. It seems to me that people think anti-semitism is a thing on the past and thus something that can be joked about, this is far from the truth. Anti-semitism did not begin or end with the rise and fall of Nazi Germany. Starting in the fourteen hundreds Jews were slaughter is mass during the Spanish Inquisition. Jews had to fight to become naturalized citizens across Europe. Charles Dickens, literature’s darling, called Oliver Twist’s money hungry murderous villain merely “The Jew”.  Jews were lynched in the south. To this day Jewish community centers are under constant bomb threat and Jews are victims of hate crimes in this country. After Trump was elected the PSU Library, my work place, was vandalized with swastikas. I was one of three Jews in my graduating class in high school and was subjected to untold numbers of holocaust jokes and other anti-Semitic jokes. The difference between “Seinfeld” and “New Girl” in regard to Jewish jokes is the former makes Jews feel seen and understood, we can laugh together at the absetdaty of it all, wharas the ladder make Jews the laughable other and normalizes anti-semitic humor. A dangerous thing to do even in this day in age. We do not live is a post racial society. Anti-semitic jokes trigger trauma, feelings of otherness, and fear.

Takeaways from the class

On a different note I’ve one of many aha moments that I had throughout the class came to me after watching Sharyl Attkisson’s Ted talk on astroturfing. So many instances of corporate manipulation became clear after hearing the talk. Attkisson said, “First, hallmarks of astroturf include use of inflammatory language such as “crank”, “quack”, “nutty”, “lies,” “paranoid”, “pseudo”, and “conspiracy”. Astroturfers often claim to debunk myths that aren’t myths at all. Use of the charged language test well: people hear something’s a myth, maybe they find it on Snopes, and they instantly declare themselves too smart to fall for it.” So many instances of this rhetoric sprang to mind. I’ve witnessed a multitude of snarky facebook posts where the poster announces they are too smart to fall for a so called myth and calling out those who are stupid enough to believe it. People are pit against one another, the facts are no longer the focus of the debate Attkisson explains further in her talk: “And most of all, astroturfers tend to reserve all of their public skepticism for those exposing wrongdoing rather than the wrongdoers. In other words, instead of questioning authority, they question those who question authority.” In reality the “myth” is the truth coprite interest wanted to hide. Their campaigns have been so successful that the truth has been obscured and ordinary people tout their rhetoric as a badge of their intelligence. As annoying as this is to me, the real villain here are the corporations that invest ridiculous amounts of money into astroturfing to trick people. If the country was not the tool of corporations these practises would undoubtedly be criminal acts. Democracy is a lie if people don’t have access to unbia information.

Another memorable source was the video series on advertisement, “Ways of Seeing” by  John Berger. Berger uses advertisements and oil paintings as his evidence. I found his logic and examples disturbingly similar to the marketing world of today. Like the oil paintings of old and when Berger was producing his series, modern advertisements purposely erase the means of production that are too often exploitative, and invite you into a perfect world. The oil paintings of the past did not show how the wealthy amassed their fortune through the exploitation of indigenous peoples and African slaves. The same is true of today’s advertisements. There is no hint of the people that produced the goods advertised, the labor market is outsourced and the manufacture, of clothing especially, is done in unsafe sweatshops. The people that produce our goods are often living in extreme poverty, but they are made invisible by advertisement. Something that I think has changed from the time Burger produced his series is the appropriation of political causes for profit, advertisers will use any “hip” cause if they can make money off of it. In the heat of discontent after Trump’s election Pepsi put out an advertisement depicting protesters and riot police setting aside their differences and sharing a Pepsi. The protest shown was a mix between a BLM protest and an anti-Trump rally without political signs. It was a despicable display of neoliberalism making a complete mockery of the reality of police brutality and Pepsi’s history of exploiting black and brown people. As Berger states: “What happens out there happens to strangers, whose fate is meant to be different from ours.” We are taught to disassociate with people suffering in other places, their lives are far off and only hypothetical. We are meant only to relate to the dream like world of advertisements, and we do. I can relate to this feeling, the suffering people are so far away and our paths have never and likely will never intersect. They are hypothetical to me as an American. Worst than this, our consumer culture has lead to the exploitation of people and the degradation of their homes. Advertisements and mass media both causes and numbs us to human suffering. It is the means to our end of consumer goods. Berger suggests the possibility of glamour makes us complicit in the world of consumerism. We are willing to toil and exploit in the hopes of gaining fame and happiness. What we want in not “spray”, but the image that is sold to us. We want the impossible dream. I feel like advertisements have robbed us, they replaced valuing who one is with what one has.

Work Cited

Abrams, Nathan. The New Jew in Film: Exploring Jewishness and Judaism in Contemporary Cinema. Rutgers University Press, 2012.

David, Larry, writer. Seinfeld. NBC.

Manwithaplan999. “WAYS OF SEEING (final episode – advertising) 1/4.” YouTube. March 09, 2008. Accessed February 27, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmgGT3th_oI.

Meriwether, Elizabeth, writer. New Girl. FOX.

“7 strange Jewish jokes that prove ‘New Girl’ is the anti-‘Seinfeld’.” The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. January 05, 2016. http://www.jpost.com/Not-Just-News/7-strange-Jewish-jokes-that-prove-New-Girl-is-the-anti-Seinfeld-439443.

TEDxTalks. “Astroturf and manipulation of media messages | Sharyl Attkisson | TEDxUniversityofNevada.” YouTube. February 06, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bYAQ-ZZtEU.

Women in Today’s Sports

Ashley Doyle
Women in Today’s Sports

When starting this course and having to think of a proposal I wanted to take a different approach and think of something that maybe people haven’t thought to write about yet. What I came up with was lately women have been taking a stand and speaking about, and how our role is starting to change today. Ways that were easiest to explain for me would be through sports. Throughout the years in women’s sports athletes and coach’s roles have really shifted. Through current events of what happened between the USA gymnastics trainer and gymnastics, the Missouri softball coach and his players, and women in the coaching world. Coaches have been 180118094521-01-larry-nassar-0116-super-tease[1]having to adjust to this generation with approaches of different coaching styles. Women have gotten the courage to start to speak out. Toward issues they feel should and need to be addressed.

Larry Nassar became the USA Gymnastics trainer in 1997. From 1997 to 2004 only 3 cases were brought to high authority figures attention, that Larry Nassar was assaulting gymnastics. Authority figures like coaches and professors were approached about the issue and never did anything about it. For 20 years Larry Nassar remained the trainer and was assaulting young athletes. Until 2015 investigation finally took place on the abuse Nassar had done to 156 victims. After one year of investigation, Larry Nassar was convicted. But why did it take so long for Nassar to be put behind bars. It hit me that girls and women who were training in the Olympics had trained their whole life. I did farther research on this subject and spoke to a woman who had been on the Olympic softball team and found articles about Olympics and women on the Olympic teams.

What I found was how there is one top USA team and then following them is about 10 different USA teams. The top team is the team who see on TV representing the USA. Then the other players on the “younger” or team below are all reserves. Waiting for their chance to get on the top team. So, if one falls due to injury or leaves for other purposes, a reserve will replace that athlete. How it went for the young girls and women training to one day being on the National USA team, was they had reputations to keep and you don’t want your reputation or the respect that people have for you blown. If this were to happen where women would speak up about Nassar their shot at going to the Olympics may or was blown. If you spoke up about anything you were not going. This wasn’t the only sport where if you were to speak up about issues or problems you were not going to the Olympics this happened. Nassar had a lot of respect by his coworkers, peers, and the coaches of the gymnastics team. Why it took so long for him to finally be convicted was because of the fear of women and young athletes thinking they were not going to make it to the Olympics also his reputation was far greater then any of the athletes. He made athletes aches and sores go away, he helped those athletes. The gymnastics took his abuse because it was what they had to do, was keep quiet. To make it to the Olympics.

For 10 seasons Coach Earleywine of the Missouri softball program had a winning record every year, and in the softball, world was a high well-respected coach. In his final two seasons coaching at Missouri his coaching methods and styles were questioned by players and the athletic department at Missouri. The article that I had found talked about how Earleywine had been a well-respected coach, but in his 2015season players approach Athletic Director Mack Rhoades, saying how Earleywine had been verbally abusive toward players. Within the same season right before the college world series players protested for almost a whole week. Expressing how they would not play for Earleywine until changes were made. Within those six days Earleywine had voluntarily entered counseling. After the season came to end seven players were set to transfer. Including their number one pitcher Paige Lowery who became an All-American in her next season at Oklahoma, and his All-American shortstop. Earleywine was under investigation leading into the 2016 season he had been suspended from violating Level III infraction, by offering a prospective student athlete before August 1st. But not for his actions in the previous season. By the end of the season Earleywine had been fired. So, why was Earleywine’s coaching style excepted 10 years ago but in his last few years not excepted? It is due to how Earleywine did not evolve with the generation and who players are today.

“Coaches 10 years ago were aggressive and demanded work from their players” (Kellie Wilkerson 2004 USA softball team player). Reading and listening to what Kellie Wilkerson had to say about her playing days to her coaching days, she expresses how this generation expects intent results, and we expect our coaches to teach us everything. Where as back when she played in the early 2000’s, it was like background softball, where today is computerized softball. This is for every other sport as well. What I collected from articles and observing sports and this generation is we are in ways babied. We don’t know how to handle situations where we are yelled at or how to deal with conflict. This is no bash on my generation it is just information I have gathered and observed. One reason Earleywine was had no problems in his early years of coaching, then leading into his final years he had problems was the way that this generation works. Earleywine did not adapt to this generation either. He did not change his ways with his coaching style and how he approached his players with fixing problems and learning situations. The way Earleywine approached situations 10 years ago the same way he did in his last years, 10 years ago it was excepted.

In the history of coaching there has only been one women who has coached the opposite sex. Teresa Philips was the head coach for Tennessee State men’s basketball team. She only made it has a head coach for a collegiate men’s team for only 3 years. Before taking over as the Athletic Director. In the coaching world most coaches are men, throughout all of DI-III and NAIA, only 40% of a coaching staff there are women. Only 23% of women coaching are head coaches. These numbers are really shocking to me, because when I look at it the relationship from players to coaches it completely different from when it is a female coach to a male coach. Someone told me once that being a female coach we connect so well with our players because we walked your path. This made sense to me    femalecoaches[1]because being coached by both females and males, both being good coaches. I see what she is talking about sometimes, female coaches know what do to in some situations that sometimes male coaches do not know how to respond or do not feel comfortable talking about.

Kate Ryan and Stacey Leasca wrote the article “Let’s get to the bottom of why Male and Female Coaches are treated differently.” Both Ryan and Leasca were collecting information on gender bias in college sports. One piece that stood out to both was that female coaches face harsh biases while male coaches did not. What they observed was that male and female coaching styles were not the same when it came to coaching women. They felt that male coaches were not connecting as well to their players as well as female coaches were connecting with their players. Observing and comparing coaching styles from men to women. Seeing how players responded to their coaches, when the team was in a certain situation. One thing that they wanted to address was this was not bashing male coaches, but they saw differences. One major point that they addressed was also coaches not adapting to this generation, how coaching nowadays is a lot different than awhile back. Being aware with who their player might be as a person, or who they are dealing with in certain situations.

That bring together all three of these different topics is the Me-Too Movement. Women are starting to advocate for themselves when they know something that has happened to them is wrong. Women standing making a difference for themselves and others around them. But I feel that where the Me-Too movement comes into effect was the case on Larry Nassar. He had assaulted 156 women for so long it finally took one person to finally go to the police and say something to the police. With the other 2 pieces, I feel that the Me Too can also be involved because women athletes were tired of being verbally abused. Plus, females deserve their place in the coaching world. It has been stated in articles that women coaches have better connections with their players, plus women deserve their chance at coaching. These three articles really helped me understand how the world of sports is and what it is coming to today. How it is such a business, and, in some cases, you must know the right people to get jobs of keep your spot on a team. I feel that it is good that women are starting to take a stand from knowing what is right and wrong in the sports world and in regular society. But cases have risen in the past few years relating sports and behaviors from people and I feel that it has risen in result of the Me-Too movement.

Work Cited
“Let’s Get To The Bottom Of Why Male And Female Coaches Are Treated Differently.” GOOD, 28 Dec. 2016, sports.good.is/articles/gender-bias-college-sports.

Tod Palmer <a href=”mailto:tpalmer@kcstar.com” title=””>tpalmer@kcstar.com. “Mizzou Softball Coach Ehren Earleywine Expected to Return in 2017.” Kansascity, The Kansas City Star, 18 Aug. 2016, http://www.kansascity.com/sports/college/sec/university-of-missouri/article96482547.html.

Hobson, Will. “USOC, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State Answer to Congress for Larry Nassar Scandal.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 13 Feb. 2018, http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/usoc-usa-gymnastics-and-michigan-state-answer-to-congress-for-larry-nassar-scandal/2018/02/13/371ad944-10f5-11e8-9065-e55346f6de81_story.html?utm_term=.b42ff879af82.

Kellie Wilkerson- PSU softball coach, 2004 USA Olympic Softball Team, Mississippi State Softball
Meadow McWhorter- PSU softball coach, Mt. Hood Softball Coach, Jacksonville State Softball

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

Millennials

I worked at a shoe store for a few months, and one of our bestselling brands happened to be Skechers. The Skechers brand is known for comfort and are very popular with older customers. My coworkers and I were all pretty young, and we’ve had a few instances of older people being rude to us simply because of our age. This puzzled me because we’d be doing everything in our power to make a successful sale. What exactly sparked this negative attitude?

I wanted to know…

How are Millennials represented in mainstream media?

ABC’s Selfie:

The show centers around Eliza Dooley, a 20 something, social media-obsessed pharmaceutical sales representative. Her whole life revolves around her online presence, she’s a micro celebrity. After embarrassing herself by throwing up in front of all her coworkers, Eliza realizes that fans and followers do no translate into real life friends. After the incident, Eliza barricades herself in her apartment, and no one comes to her aid. In an effort to ‘re-brand’ and make herself more likable, she enlists the help of her coworker, Henry, a successful marketing wiz. Henry has to teach Eliza the all basics, such as how to look people in the eyes when she talks to them, strike up small talk around the office, and when to put down her phone.

Henry’s character describes Eliza as a “vapid, despised, social media-obsessed narcissist”. In this show, Eliza represents the stereotypical Millennial, however the personality is cranked up a few notches to add for comedic effect. She fits many of the typical Millennial traits like always being on her phone, not knowing how to actually talk to people, and prioritizing her online brand over her real life image.

 

Speaker Jason Dorsey Shares How to Market and Sell to Gen Y:

This artifact is a recorded video of Jason Dorsey giving a presentation instructing an older generation on how to successfully sell to Millennials. He begins his presentation by emphasizing the importance of the Millennial generation, as we are the generation with the most spending power, surpassing that of even the baby boomers.

He also goes on to point out the lack of communication skills of millennials. He uses an example, saying you can call a millennials 5 times, and they will not pick up, but if you text them, they will respond (even if they’re driving). Dorsey blames the lack of communication skills on being tech-dependent. We are not tech-savvy, but tech-dependent. Millennials don’t know how technology works, despite not being able to function without it, it makes us tech-dependent. Knowing this difference is how to attract Gen Y to be potential buyers, claims Dorsey.

If it’s not unique, it’s not something we want. Dorsey concludes that millennials come off as entitled because ‘we’ve been saved by our parents’. He claims that the diversity that exists within the millennial generation is due to people being raised in different environments, such as rural areas versus urban areas. It is difficult to market to such a diverse group of people, which is why other generations see us as entitled.

 

Why do these stereotypes exist?

Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation By Joel Stein

Joel Stein is a former humor columnist for Time Magazine. The article “The Me Me Me Generation” was a cover story in 2013 and garnered Stein quite a bit of negative attention.

In the article, Joel Stein points out a few negative traits the Millennial generation carries. He then goes and breaks down why such labels were formed.

Narcissism?
The narcissism exists because in the 1970’s, everyone thought it was a good idea to boost their children’s confidence, by telling them how special they were. As a result, it created self-centered kids.

Laziness?
The explanation for millennials being so slow to move out or putting off buying real estate is simply because we are a cautious generation, afraid to take a step before analyzing our alternatives.

All this information relates to my primary sources because it affirms the stereotypes projected onto millennials. The stereotypes are basically surface-level to understanding why millennials act the way they do, and much of it has to do with growing up with technology and having to take calculated steps due to all the career and life choices available.

 

Goldman Sachs Infographic

This secondary source is an infographic about the millennial lifestyle, spending, and investing habits. It focuses on the trends of millennials. It summarizes that due to technological change, that some industries have gone through change and some disruption. The statistics state that millennials are slow to buy big-ticket items such as cars and homes due to the ‘sharing economy’. The sharing economy includes the rise of renting real estate and car sharing services such as Uber, Lyft and Car2Go. With an adaption to the ‘sharing economy’, the article explains why the housing market, for example, is not as appealing to millennials, with less and less of us prioritizing buying into real estate. The reluctance to dabble in real estate is attributed to the fact that millennials have less money spend, and as a result renting living space has become more popular.

Conclusion:

Turns out, there is some truth to the common Millennial stereotypes. All the research points towards the notion that as a generation, we are a product of our environment. The narcissism is contributed to the way we were raised. The entitlement stems from our diversity. Our ‘laziness’ is due to the fact that Millennials don’t have too much money to spend, instead turning to the ‘sharing economy’ for alternatives. As cliche as it sounds, we’re just misunderstood.

 

WORKS CITED

“How to Market and Sell to Millennials.” Performance by Jason Dorsey, How to Market and Sell to Millennials, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlRm07–_zA.
Kapnek, Emily. “Selfie-Pilot .” Selfie, season 1, episode 1, ABC, 30 Sept. 2014.
“Millennials Infographic.” Goldman Sachs, http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/millennials/.
Stein, Joel. “Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation.” Time, Time, 20 May 2013, time.com/247/millennials-the-me-me-me-generation/.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

To Thrift or Not to Thrift: Is Never a Question

Introduction

I thrift for joy. The glee I feel while thrifting is a combination of several factors: I am a consumer; I get pleasure from wearing or having something entirely unique; my daily creative outlet is my clothing choices; and I do not have the budget for first-hand clothing. These features about myself become important when considering the external nature of clothing and that it is highly visible; because of this, my clothing choices contribute not only my personal identity but also to my ascribed identity. The aim of this research project is to locate and study some of the ways that media and popular culture have contributed to how my identity is perceived. To illustrate my discoveries, I will comment on three examples of how thrifting is represented in popular culture from primary sources followed by three summaries of secondary source analyses of thrifting. A common theme of the artifacts detailed here is relationship thrift-shopping has with money and commerce. The opinions and perceptions of this relationship comment on my personal identity and how I feel people have reacted to my ascribed identity. It is my opinion, supported by this analysis, that my identity as a “thrift shopper” has shifted positively in recent years and this shift has been reflected in popular culture. These examples will illustrate that thrifting still exists in popular culture as primarily as a money saving tactic, however there is evidence that this could be challenged soon if it already hasn’t already.

 

Methods

            This research was approached with the purpose of finding how my personal identity reflected in popular culture. Because of the niche nature of thrifting in popular culture, I was limited in my possible sources. The sources I selected emulated in some way, the popular theme of money and economy.

Further research is suggested into the relationship of gender and thrift shopping, as well as the connection of environmentalism and conscientious consumerism to thrifting. 

Results & Analysis

            This section includes, first, a summary of the subgenres identified from the primary source research, and then a summary of the second sources and the analysis and personal reflection.

Primary Sources

“The Woman American”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8z6wQxbGS8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pE0Y54_OBX4&t=185s

(The Crittenden Automotive Library, 2016)

(twinklez1985, 2010)

American Thrift is a product placement promotional short film produced by the Jam Handy Organization in 1962 for the Chevrolet division of General Motors. The purpose of this film is a commercial, and it’s audience is American consumers of automobiles in the 1960’s. The film is acknowledged as “A Tribute to the Woman American” and chronicles the trials and tribulations of thrifty women in American nuclear families in the 1960’s. The film emphasizes the resourcefulness of the woman American as a positive feature. She, the woman, is tough and resilient yet generous. This film celebrates thrift as a way to promote Chevrolet’s economical mass-production manufacturing which they deem as thrifty as well.

Though this film is a commercial for all intents and purposes, it is also an interesting insight into the historical perception of thrift. The very intentional promotion of thrift as a positive ideology suggests to me that there was a negative association the film intended to dispel. This is impossible to learn for certain, but there has always been the notion of poverty and scarcity associated with thrift.

I found myself reflecting on how I perceive my own economy of thrift while watching this film. I have never been in the position to shop first-hand retail and am almost certain that even if I was, I would likely still shop thrift for the same principals I listed in the opening paragraph. I haven’t always had this conviction however, and there was a period where I longed to not be thrifty. This film allowed me to feel comfort in my ingenuity and resourcefulness through thrift. 

Thrift Shopper for Profit

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RAKWj2CJMQ

 

(SPIKE, 2010)

Thrift Hunters is a reality TV show on Spike about two men Jason Smith and Bryan Goodman, who make a profit reselling thrifted items on eBay. The purpose of this TV show is that of entertainment. The episode selected for this analysis featured Smith and Goodman attending a community garage sale. The reoccurring theme in this episode is that of negotiating. The thrifters are attempting to lower the prices on the items they plan to resell and the sellers in several occasions do not yield to them. The show ends with the Smith and Goodman stating how much money they spent at the garage sale and how much they anticipate charging for the same goods on eBay.

This show represents a potentially negative interpretation and facet of thrifting. In the realm of thrifting there exists a contingent of individuals who attempt to exploit the economical and cheap nature of second-hand for personal gain. These individuals taking advantage of the system, make access to reasonably priced interesting goods difficult.

Often while thrifting I have encountered individuals that I associated with this trope. At an antique mall in Newport, Oregon I had a conversation with a person who owned a small vintage store in Portland. This person commented to me that the prices of the items at the antique mall were great because they could easily mark them up 300% and still sell them.

 

New Generation of Money Savers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK8mJJJvaes

 

(Macklemore LLC, 2012)

Thrift Shop is a 3 min 55 sec comedy hip hop song released 27 Aug 2012 by the duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz; and had internet success with 1,156,535,618 views as of 12 Feb 2018. The music video was filmed in several thrift and consignment stores in Seattle, Washington. The audience was likely young music listeners and hip-hop fans. Its purpose is for entertainment.

The music video features crowds of people dancing and seeming to have a good time while wearing clothing the viewer assumes came from a thrift shop, the connection the viewer makes is associating young famous people with second-hand clothing and items. There are many references to other popular culture events like R.Kelly’s sheets and sneakerheads that are embedded in the lyrics. There are many lines about money in the song, many about saving money but there is a prominent segment from 2:34-2:51 where the lyrics seem to be mocking expensive designer clothing.

This song and video came out when I was in high school, which proved to be a very formative for me. At the time of its release, I was attending a generally affluent school and I was still choosing my clothing in an attempt to reflect a wealthy lifestyle I did not live. Macklemore’s lyrics and outrageous dancing, though not my personal style in music, did resonate with my deeper desire to dress differently. Watching as Thrift Shop gained prestige in popular culture, I began to feel liberated and validated.

Secondary Sources 

Thrift shopping: Combining utilitarian thrift and hedonic treat benefits (Bardhi & Arnold 2005) is the first article I identified about thrifting. This paper was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Consumer Behavior. This paper is a small scale ethnographic study of five thrift stores in the Midwestern United States. The authors were writing in opposition to a theory put forth by Miller in 1998 in the book Theory of Shopping (in Bardhi & Arnold 2005). Miller argues that thrift and treat work in opposition to each other. Bardhi & Arnold (2005) suggest the opposite, from their research on the patrons of the five thrift stores, they suggest that the intersection of thrift and treat is thrift shopping.

The second source outlined here is an article titled 25 Famous Women on Thrift Shopping (Ma 28 Dec 2017). The article is a compilation of quotes from 25 women celebrities. Some of the quotes, notably from Winona Ryder and Eva Mendes, are anecdotes about a time in the celebrity’s life when they wore something publicly that was from a thrift store. Others are about the “thrill” of the hunt, Lorraine Kirke calls it “scouring.”

The last source is a IMDB user review of the Netflix TV series Girlboss that was posted on 29 Oct 2017. The username of the author is shrpalodhi and the title of the review is A story about a Spoilt kid, who has no sense of ethics and is kind of an awful person. This show is loosely based on the story of Sophia Amoruso, the owner of the online retailer Nasty Gal.

This review is generally negative, giving the series an overall rating of 2/10. Most of the review is about the main character’s flaws, for example: “Within the first 5 minutes of the show, the main protagonist has become so detestable to me that I am actually rooting against her.” The review has several more comments along these lines. Halfway through the review, the author comments on the premise of the show, which is the main character’s ascension into online vintage retail success. The reviewer shows disbelief and shock in the character’s ability to sell a jacket for $650 on eBay, which is the catalyst for the online marketplace she created.

Analysis

Although 1962 is very far from the world I operate in today, some of the points made in American Thrift (The Crittenden Automotive Library, 2016; twinklez1985, 2010) resonate with me. I am a resourceful woman and I feel pride about it. It is difficult to overlook, however, that this was a promotion for a car company, and it seems as if the advertisers were attempting to associate their product with the ‘woman American’s struggle.’ I also have difficult feelings about the perspectives presented by Thrift Hunters (Spike 2014) and Girlboss (shrpalodhi 2017), as both leave the viewers with a sense that there are individuals in the world actively looking to exploit the thrift world for profit. I did find myself represented and amused by Bardhi & Arnold’s (2005) conclusion that thrift shopping provides a hedonic benefit. Lastly, I felt comfort and validation from Macklemore’s Thrift Shop (Macklemore LLC, 2012) and the 25 celebrity women who commented on thrifting, all positively (Ma, 2017).

Conclusion

            How people interact and perceive another’s clothing choices is ultimately a comment on perceived status and wealth. The connotations and associations with regards to thrifted clothing are highly context dependent and variable among different groups of individuals.

One interesting interpretation of thrifting’s success in recent years came from my partner, who is a conscientious consumer and by extension, an avid thrift shopper. He perceived the popularity of thrifting as connected to how fashion is constantly revisiting previous styles. For most, haute couture is financially unavailable, so fashionable people with limited budgets depend on recycling styles found in the time warp of some thrift shops.

In every artifact I found about thrift shopping in the popular culture, as well as the commentaries about thrift shopping in academia, the theme was money. The connection and feeling about the money shifted from the thrifty American woman in the 1960’s out of necessity to the pride Macklemore exuded for finding bargains in 2012. This shift is potentially an indication of change, which I perceive positively. Allowing thrift shopping into the mainstream validates the creative and economical choices of many individuals in society. In an world that is increasingly ravaged by consumerism and capitalism, it will be important thrifty individuals to be given a place.

I have always been fascinated and interested by clothing, this investigation into my identity via clothing inspired an anecdote with which I will conclude this analysis.

When I was in sixth grade, the most desired piece of clothing was a $60 Hollister logo sweatshirt, of which many of my peers each had several. For Christmas in 2007, my parents gifted me a green zip up hoodie with the Hollister logo embroidered across the breast. The second day after we returned to school, one of my friends spilled a particularly oily packet of ranch on the sleeve. I never could remove the stain. After all the yearning and devastation, I donated the sweatshirt to Goodwill, where hopefully it was reincarnated as a thrift find, starting another cycle of life. 

Learning Experiences from the Course

           Civic Online Reasoning

At the moment of writing this, I am less than a month away from graduating with a degree in Applied Linguistics; which is a science that is largely concerned with research acknowledging what has come before it. All of this is to say, I have read and analyzed many papers published about studies, many of which came from “credible” institutions like Stanford. While reading the Civic Online Reasoning study (Wineburg, McGrew, Breakstone & Ortega, 2016), I found myself shocked, annoyed and even slightly offended. Feeling attacked in this way colored my interpretation of the research in a way that demanded pause and examination. The self-examination and reflection calmed me down, and allowed me to sort through the fact that the researchers were more than likely not intentionally belittling me, instead they were documenting a phenomenon they had previously noted in an academic environment. The external evaluation lead me to conclude that research institutions like Stanford, are not perfectly objective by default, and that some allowance should be more for new areas of study like the internet.

Overall, my initial and subsequent reactions to this study were an experiment in patience, understanding and processing.

Hollywood

                                   

Lupita Nyong’o (left) and Kumail Nanjiani (right) at the

90th Academy Awards, $ March 2018 (“Oscars 2018”).

“Some of my favorite movies are movies by straight white dudes, about straight white dudes. Now straight white dudes can watch movies starring me, and you relate to that. It’s not that hard. I’ve done it my whole life.”-Kumail Nanjiani

Of the course blog discussions, I personally found the discussion on Hollywood movies to have been the most enlightened and engaged. My peers’ comments were ablaze with realization and deconstruction. Hollywood movies being identified as under-representational is not an original idea to this class, however, it was made a reality by the comments of my peers. Many of my class mates, including myself, seemed to be analyzing the films from a new perspective that left some people longing and some people seemingly upset. It was incredible to be in the middle of such an engaged group of individuals, and although many things in the media and popular culture today are dire and upsetting, the sentiments echoed by this class was encouraging.

References:

Bardhi, F. & Arnold, E.J. (2005). Thrift shopping: Combining utilitarian thrift and hedonic treat benefits. Journal of Consumer Behavior, 4(4), pp.223-233. Wiley. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/doi/10.1002/cb.12/epdf

[The Crittenden Automotive Library]. (2016, Oct 3). American thrift (Part 1) [Video File]. Retrived from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8z6wQxbGS8

Ma, J. (2017, Dec 28). 25 famous women on thrift shopping. Retrieved from https://www.thecut.com/2017/12/quotes-from-25-famous-women-on-thrift-shopping.html

[Macklemore LLC]. (2012, Aug 29). Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Thrift shop feat. Wanz (official video)[Video File}. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK8mJJJvaes

[Oscars 2018] [image]. (2018, March 4). [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/entertainment/article/Oscars-Kumail-Nanjiani-and-Lupita-Nyong-o-Vow-12728092.php

shrpalodhi. Girlboss. (29 Oct 2017). The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 18 Feb 2018 from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5706996/reviews?ref_=tt_urv

[SPIKE]. (2010, Dec 17). Thrift hunters: A garage sale on steroids [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RAKWj2CJMQ

[twinklez1985]. (2010, Dec 17). American thrift part 2 (1962) [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pE0Y54_OBX4&t=185s

Wineburg, S., McGrew, S., Breakstone, J. & Ortega, T. (2016). Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning. Stanford Digital Repository. Available at: http://purl.stanford.edu/fv751yt5934

 

 

 

Arab stereotypes in popular culture

Mahdi saad

UNST254A

 

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.

Portrayal of the modern Native American

All of my life, I have always been very proud of my heritage. My family always encouraged me, and always made sure I felt strong and confident in who I was. It wasn’t until I started school that I started realizing that I was different, and that was brought on by parents, teachers and the other students. I also realized at a young age that, because I am not white, people feel as though they have the right to guess my ethnicity, or ask rude questions. It’s routine at this point that when I meet someone new, they ask my name and then “what is your ethnic background?”

Particularly with older people, often I get asked if my family “lives on the rez”, or if they have tipi’s and this really shows how little most people know about Native Americans. To a startling number of people, we are often thought of as very backwards, as though we haven’t caught up with the rest of the world in terms of advancement. I’m also meant to have all the answers to questions, such as if it is offensive to have an ‘Indian for a mascot” (Graduated from Philomath High School, “Home of the Warriors”) and then be told that I should be proud because I am being depicted as “powerful”.

Image result for washington redskins native american

Native Americans are nothing more than a brief history lesson from middle school to most people, and are so often disregarded by the general public. In almost all movies where Native Americans are featured, they are only depicted in historical movies and they often are just an inconvenience to the main characters. Considering how I hate old westerns, I had a very limited selection of movies to watch growing up. There was Pocahontas, Spirit, Brother Bear, and Peter Pan; and a majority of these are not positive representations. That is why I decided to do my blog post on Native Americans in media.

Picture

I have decided rather than just limiting myself to the depictions of Natives in Film and TV, I thought I would also incorporate different aspects of the media that they would be in, such as news or events. To start off, I think a good place to start would be Native Americans in the news. The two major topics that are often thought of the use of Natives as mascots for sports teams, and the Dakota Pipeline. For background, a major controversy is the sports team called the Redskins, that uses the face of a Native American as their mascot. There are largely differing opinions, a pretty stark contrast between Native opinions and ones from non-native descent. In a poll done by Washington Post, they stated that 9 out of 10 Native Americans did not find the name offensive. While on the other hand, they only surveyed around 500 people, many of whom had no tribal affiliation.

Image result for washington redskins native american poll

In a blog called Native Appropriations, ran by Dr. Adrienne Keene, she talks about the many things wrong with this survey. To start off with, it’s important to note the fact that despite many studies, tribal council votes, and the voices of actual Native Americans saying how offensive this is, Washington Post still felt the need to run their own personal poll. The reason this is so discouraging, is that it just gives fuel to those who want to silence the voices of those who are being disrespected. In an interview on NPR with a representative of the Oneida Indian Nation and CEO of Oneida Nation Enterprises by the name of Ray Halbritter, he is quoted as saying

Anybody who believes in doing what is right knows that you shouldn’t use a slur against someone. You shouldn’t say a name to somebody else if they are offended by it, even if it’s not defined as a slur, and this is defined as a slur. And you can’t change that. No poll in the world is going to change the fact this is a dictionary-defined slur that our people are subjected to on a daily basis.”

The second example that I wanted to use is issue of the Dakota Pipeline. To give a little bit of backstory, the Dakota Pipeline was a construction project that was started in 2016 and spans 1,200 miles across South Dakota and Illinois. There was a massive protest that went on for months, and the reasons for it were varied. From an environmental perspective there was a lot of outcry (which is for another time), but there was also backlash for this project from the Sioux tribe too. The reason behind this is because the project was moved from Bismarck, which is a highly populated, higher income part of the state to the edge of the Standing Water Sioux Reservation. Not only does this violate several federal laws that are put in place in order to protect land that is federally known as theirs, it is also detrimental to their only water source.

Image result for dakota pipeline native american

The last form of media that I am going to mention is how Natives are portrayed in TV and film. There are many older films such as Dancing with Wolves, Pocahontas, Peter Pan, and the like; but I’m going to focus more on modern examples. The first being Ken Hotate, which is a character is the TV show Parks and Recreation.

Ken Hotate is the tribal elder of the Wamapoke Tribe, and his character is introduced because the annual harvest festival is taking place on Native American burial grounds, and he asks for it to be moved. After saying that there isn’t anywhere to move the festival that wouldn’t be offensive, because of Pawnee’s bloody history, Ken then subtly threatens a curse on the festival to scare them. This ends up working, and the festival gets a lot of bad publicity and the characters are stressed throughout the whole story arch.

Related image

I think that watching these episodes is better than explaining, because it was a satirical way of portraying Native Americans, but was done well. Not only did they get an actual actor of Native descent, they took a lot of the stereotypical tropes and showed them as what they are; which is completely ridiculous.

The second example I chose was John Redcorn from King of the Hill. The reason I chose to discuss this character is because he is portrayed just as a modern Native American would be, and he brings up a lot of issues that are faced. He is also known for calling out ignorant remarks that are made, and educates the others. He is not a perfect character, along with my other example, but I think that is what makes it much better.

Related image

 

Conclusion:

Analyzing these sources has made a realize a few things; and those are that in the real world, there is still a lot of progress to be made. In an article written by William Gallo titled “Native Americans: A Forgotten Minority in US Presidential Campaign”, they are said to be the most marginalized group in America, but not many people know that. The struggles that are faced by Natives are swept under the rug, and are extremely misunderstood, and there is so much more to write about. It wasn’t enough that almost a whole race of people were taken out by genocide, but the remaining are completely disregarded and disrespected.

The example that I chose to use in this essay were meant to differ a bit, because I did want to show not only the real world examples, but also a couple of media examples that I do like. So while I could have focused on the negative representations such as Pocahontas and Dancing with Wolves, I chose not to for the sake of not being redundant. Those are used widely in different essays and works, so I wanted to incorporate a few that I remembered from my favorite shows.

The reasons I love the characters Ken Hotate and John Redcorn is because I do relate to them; I have a lot of the same thoughts that are voiced in these show. They bring up issues within the government, ignorance towards their cultures, racism, and disrespect from peers. I do hope that I did bring more awareness to this topic, because it was difficult for me to articulate. This was an excellent learning opportunity for me, because I am used to my family and I responding to this subject more along the lines of this image.

Image result for funny john redcorn

Learning Moments:

I think that the biggest learning moment for me this term was the text called “Inequality in 700 Popular Films”. It really put into perspective the lack of representation of any ethnicity other than white, and it gave me the idea of looking in any examples with Native Americans, because in this text they are not even listed or they are less than 1%. I knew that there weren’t many spaces with accurate portrayals of those of my ethnicity, but I never knew the extent of it.  I’m happy from doing this project, because in the process I did learn more about my own heritage.

 

Sources:

 

Rosenstein, J. (2016, May 31). How Do Native Americans Really Feel About the Washington Redskins Nickname? Dont Use the Phone. Retrieved February 27, 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jay-rosenstein/how-do-native-americans-really-feel-about-redskins-nickname_b_10199688.html

 

Native American Leader Responds To Washington Post ‘Redskins’ Poll. (2016, May 21). Retrieved March 01, 2018, from https://www.npr.org/2016/05/21/479001688/native-american-leader-responds-to-washington-post-redskins-poll

 

Natives Against Redsk*ns. (2017, June 21). Retrieved March 01, 2018, from http://nativeappropriations.com/nativesagainstredskins

 

American Indian Issues Are Marginalized. (2017, November 10). Retrieved March 14, 2018, from https://www.theodysseyonline.com/american-indian-issues

 

Gallo, W. (2016, March 15). Native Americans: A Forgotten Minority in US Presidential Campaign. Retrieved March 14, 2018, from https://www.voanews.com/a/native-americans-forgotten-minority-us-presidential-campaign/3236468.html

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.