Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

21 Jan

Hauna Dawkins

Group: Gender

Summary: Extreme Makeover Home edition airs on the ABC network during the primetime television hour segment. On this show, a family is chosen, based off their usually less fortunate circumstances, to have their house rebuilt to a dream home that one could only wish for. The Gibbs family was chosen and last week I wrote about part I and the role gender played in the show and how it played into the concept of the show and how it was presented by the producers. This time its part two of the show, I will watch how again gender is represented; if male dominance is still prevalent throughout the remainder and also note the commercials and see what role they may play.

Analysis: The way in which the males and females on the show were represented goes exactly with the concepts we discussed in class. The way the women were presented in the show; weak and dependent. There was one scene where the designers were discussing aspects of the house that would appeal to the different members of the family. For each of the sons the designers had come up with a concept for them to make money to help support the family. For the son who liked fishing they made him storage area for his bait, and introduced the idea that he could sell some of his bait and fishing materials. And then the other son who like fixing motorcycles, they made him a shed shop where he could make, fix motorcycle parts  for himself and they also introduced the idea that he too could use his interest to help support his family. However for the mother the design crew discussed an area outside that would have a hot tub where she could “relax and relieve stress”.  This just reminded me of how men and women are presented in the media, the males on the show were presented as the providers, the strong, powerful … and the woman was catered to making her be the weaker, soft, submissive being of both sexes. On the surface; the dominant reading of all this would be that the designers were just catering to the interests of the family and that there is no underlying interpretation that exists. From the oppositional stance, you can see how one would beg to differ.

I also noticed that the female interior designer would use words to describe objects with adjectives that would usually refer to beauty. At one point she said “see how gorgeous this wood is” and also “this is a beautiful grandfather clock”. Both of these phrases clicked in my brain… the designer who is very pretty, blonde, tall… it all ties into the media being influential. The fact that she is beautiful, dressed nicely, long hair etc..and then the words she chooses to describe these objects that could have been described by any other adjective, to me is just another form of subliminal repetition. We discussed in class that the media is influential and in this instance, not only is it visual providing the illustration, but it’s also repetition because you see it and hear it as well. Double whammy.

Noting the one commercial that stood out to me was a brief commercial about a new show that is going to be aired on ABC called Suburgatory. This short commercial reinforced all the stereotypes we talked about in class about how females are represented. The young high school girls, wore frilly pink shirts and tight short skirts, wore make up and lip gloss and I even caught her twirling her hair! Sex was selling in this commercial and reinforcing the idea that less is more. The males in the commercial were dressed regularly, exposing minimal skin while one of the main characters was the one wearing the provocative clothing and had long blonde hair.  This short commercial tied into our lecture content, because we were just talking about how yes women can play major or lead roles in the media but they also have to be half naked. Also this teenager in this commercial wasn’t in a swimsuit, the mini skirt, and cleavage was enough to get the point across.

Response: I don’t know how I feel about the way women are represented. I’m still trying to evaluate if its really a big of a deal, or if it’s a big deal and we as a society need to tend to it in a more appropriate way. Some things on television are over exaggerated, but I think it’s a direct reflection in some ways. I feel like, of the three interpretive codes I am exercising the negotiated one, because although Im aware of these issues are in the media but I just accept them…for now.


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