Archive by Author

Empowered Girl Alliance- Blog 5

5 Nov

Seventeen and Cosmo Girl have combined forces and generated the Empowered Girl Alliance. This alliance sets girls on the right track when it comes to understanding and processing what media can actually do to a young girl’s mind. This group focuses on the need and want for these young girls to have similar characteristics and actually want to become these characters that are typically the mean popular girl.

Through the social cognitive theory, these young girls are viewing the popular mean girls as potential models because it is a realistic application. The stories and television shows that encompass a young girl’s media are reflected in their actions they then act on. This is what the Empowered Girl Alliance is trying to prevent. The amazing thing about this organization is that it is not limited to only young girls. In fact, a more powerful movement involves adults as well. One thing that I really think is an important aspect is for these young women and teenage girls are to be working with adults and really to feel like their role in this support group is important. I feel like if it were only a group for kids, it would not be something that the girls would want to take as much pride in. However, this group transforms young girls into media thinkers and are treated and respected like a young adult. That to me shows to the girls just how important this topic is. It also shows the girls that this is not an issue that will go away once you mature.

This group serves as a counter because it provides positive social interaction that girls need in their lives, especially at a time when media seems to shape minds. The goals of the Empowered Girl Alliance are to: make girls healthier, stronger and happier with themselves.

This group is typically girls and young women from ages 13-17 who meet on a regular basis. Through this group, the girls are set to an exchange program where each girl will be paired with a role model that is an adult. These adults are there to serve as a positive influence in these girl’s lives, talk with them, learn with them, and discuss potential issues that a girl may be having with her life, her confidence or self-awareness.

Many times, girls think that they are getting enough support and encouragement through their group of friends; however, I believe this may even be the most harmful effect of media. Girls who spend a lot of time together often engage in the same media, who then act on the media and potentially display the social contact theory after identifying with a character. At this point, it seems like a vicious cycle where the girls feed off of themselves as merely replicas where change is difficult to do and even more difficult to detect.

Lastly, another fantastic idea through the Seventeen Empowered Girl Alliance is their ability to use media to the advantage, show the girls that media will always be with us, but also show how to take media for what it is and uncover the true values that each girl has is what is important. The girls are able to go online and sign petitions for themselves as a reminder to stay true to who they are. In one section of this website where girls are reminded about a healthy body image, they can sign a pledge to be healthy and happy. A list of about 30 bullet points that overall mention important parts to being healthy:

Eating healthy

Accepting the changes in their bodies

Accepting that beauty is more than looks

Size does not define you

You are beautiful the way you are


Those are just a few to mention. The girls can read these, and pledge their name as a promise to stay true to themselves. All girls are able to sign this, but an important message within this is that celebrities can sign this too. What is more powerful than a strong media figure pledging to be happy in her own skin.

Social groups that encourage a healthy body, mind and spirit, especially in the cases of media are especially crucial at a young age when especially young women tend to develop a negative self image about who they are becoming. In a world where media cannot be regulated fully and negative messages cannot always be blocked, providing these young girls with the education and the knowledge needed to understand then potential harm in these messages is crucial.

Tim Wise

23 Oct
  1. Listening to Tim Wise speak, I was captivated by his stories and his upbringing and really the ideas that make him decide to be the anti-racist activist he is today. After learning of his upbringing and his classroom set-up at a young age, and learning that in that classroom, he was the minority was surprising to me. On thing that surprised me was the way he described those classrooms. I am so shocked that even as late as the early 1960’s that the segregation of schools was still very active. While I understand that it was and is still not great, I was surprised with the statistics showing that even in a time when the schools were not segregated totally with black schools and white schools, that the schools inside of themselves were segregating the students at a young age, and placing white students in accelerated programs, and black students in the regular or even lower classes. To me, this was the most shocking that the education, while it may be in the same school, was racist and beaming with white privilege for students who are not even old enough to know what privilege means.
  2. Closer to the end of Tim Wise’s speech, the topic of health care and government came up. While I realize that this in itself is a controversial issue, there are topics that I did not completely agree with. I feel like he did not show honest depictions of people taking advantage of the government funds- white or black. I think that as a whole people in general- not specific to any races- especially in this time with the economy being how it is- will take everything they can from the government that the government is willing to give. I agree that the government needs to eventually get to a place where people are not in complete shock, are not in an economic whole, are not thinking second to second about their life if they are temporarily unemployed, but I also think that until we get to that place, sometimes it is hard to see the good in all of that. I think that most of what he was saying made sense to me, but at the same time, I have had personal experiences at a grocery store, where people stand outside offering $100 worth of food stamps for $50 cash. I think that as a whole what he was saying is correct, and I agree with him based on the state that the government can potentially put people in, and in theory that is what the government should do- pick people up and give assistance when they need it. However, I think that understanding a most realistic approach to just graze the surface that sometimes people- all people- can abuse that.
  3. I feel like everything that he mentioned in his speech applies to what we have learned in class. He mentioned an advertisement in the New York Times that discussed the new jobs that are being offered in our country, and also mentioned that half of these jobs will go to the recommendations made by current employers. This goes hand in hand with the scenario given in class about the boy who did not do well in school but was set up with a job because of the social connections he had with a company. Another main idea that was a reoccurring theme was the idea of whiteness. He made such an impacting statement that showed that he did not have a problem with white people- he loves white people- the problem lies within the whiteness. The power of whiteness and the idea of whiteness is a theory that we have been able to apply to each topic in class whether it is class, gender, films, advertisements, capital, or any other group. This idea of whiteness is the cause of the racism and the oppression that everyone deals with today because it is the idea that whiteness is the ‘right’ race and that being white gives you privilege. Dealing with gender and race, Wise pointed out my favorite idea of the night, emphasizing that just because our president is a man of color, just because he is half black, does not mean we have solved the racism in our country. Similarly, just because another country has a woman in high power position, that does not mean that country has no issues on sexism. More specifically, dealing with media effects, I feel like the Limited Effects can be applied here, especially in relation to the 1960’s finding that 2/3 of white people believed that black people had equal opportunities as white people at that time. Because of the media, because of the people we rely on, what we hear and what we see everyday is how we see our society. Since the public, or even bigger, the political figures or celebrities or anyone in the media felt like talking about racism was unnecessary, most white people probably believed from that, that the issue of racism was somehow resolved. 

Django Unchained: The Chains on Race

1 Oct

Summary: The film Django Unchained tells the story about a slave who lives in the south and is separated from his lover, Broomhilda. Django is ‘saved’ from slavery as Dr. Schultz comes to claim him in order for Django to help find three men that Dr. Schultz is looking for because he is a bounty hunter. Dr. Schultz promises Django freedom after his services are provided. In the end, Django fights for his life and meets extraordinary situations on Mr. Candie’s plantation where he finally meets back up with Broomhilda, the woman he wants to marry.

Analysis: Django Unchained is a movie that made me aware of racism in film, and how obvious the hidden nuances are. This movie is a movie that is uncomfortably comfortable. This film takes place at the time of slavery, a black man and his lover are separated by their owners (they are slaves) and finally, a white man who claims he is a dentist, Dr. Schultz, who is actually a bounty hunter, ‘saves’ Django in order to find a few men that he is looking for. Instantly, in a time when looking back, white men are particularly frowned upon for their inhumane treatment of African-Americans, the main character, Dr. Schultz, is made to look like a hero. His charismatic personality and his promises of Django’s freedom instantly make him look like a hero all while he is still claiming ‘ownership’ of Django. This supports the idea that most films are not written for non-white. The story, that is meant to tell the story about slavery and a specific slave and his life, is turned around to highlight the importance of Dr. Schultz, and Django just happens to fit into the picture. “ The field is replete with examples of research that focuses on the ways in which such fare may shape and reinforce both white audiences’ perceptions of the racialized Other and of marginalized audience members’ perceptions of themselves as raced beings” (Chidester, 158).

This film so obviously crosses the lines of symbolic racism to obvious/ in your face racism in the scene when the Ku Klux Klan is searching for Django to kill him. The group is all set to go, each on their horse, wearing their new white hoods, made by a member’s wife. Suddenly, this group that is typically looked at as a less than human, starts complaining and joking about their new hoods. Laughter and jokes are placed in this scene that instantly makes these members human again, and not just that but likeable characters! This supports the idea that whiteness is something that is embedded in films, takes power and decides who specifically has the power. This idea that practical implications makes the audience connect shows the idea that even a group of people who should be hated for their horrible treatments of other people and their extremely racist viewpoints, can not only be accepted in a movie made in current times, but shows that this group inflicts comedy!

One theory that was not applicable in this film was the idea that whiteness and the power carry through. Django, in the end of the film makes it through each struggle, meets up with his lover, Broomhilda, and rides off into the night with his horse. Another point that was not seen in this movie was the idea that “Still, few researchers have considered the extent to which consumption of racialized media products might speak to and reinforce white audiences’ perceptions of themselves as white people and of whiteness as a subject position of stubbornly enduring power and privilege in contemporary U.S. society” (Chidester, 158). Later in the movie, the audience ‘meets’ Calvin Candie, who is a wealthy plantation owner in Mississippi. Initially, Candie is presented as a very wealthy, spiffy dresser, with extreme southern hospitality. Candie is a villain who does not use any of his force to cause harm. Instead of physically hurting any of his slaves, he enforces his power to make them fight each other.

This film fully supports the idea that whiteness is a theme in today’s media that still portrays power and an upper hand to those who are white. These clear themes throughout this movie presented by: the film not exactly being about Django being unchained instead of the journey of Dr. Schultz, the idea that groups like the KKK are actual people and people who (besides their views) can be similar to people we know (they display the boy next door kind of persona), and that villains who are clearly villains, live a lifestyle that is high-class and live a life of privilege all while harming those who are viewed as ‘less than him’.

In the video attached, the KKK is about to attack where they think Django is staying for the night. This clip shows the power of whiteness and the attempt to make this inhumane group personal and human all while providing comedic relief for a group that is so arrogantly racist.  (Please excuse the language)

Conclusion: This film shows the power of whiteness and the situations that the privileged are placed into (Mr. Candie’s plantation and wealth), and the accommodations that African-Americans were forced to adjust to because of their lack of power (slaves).


T-Bag and the “Trailer Park Trifecta”

20 Sep


In an episode of Prison Break (Season 2 Episode 17) “Bad Blood”, Theodore “T-Bag” Bagwell who is one of the escaped prisoners at Fox River Penitentiary takes a hostage family back to his home in Alabama, where he has flashbacks to his childhood. T-Bag walks through his childhood home and is slapped with the realities of who he is today, and how ho got to be that way. Each room that T-Bag walks into, he remembers who happened. In the living room, his dad and friend are laughing about how the other is stupid. T-Bags dad mocks the fact that T-Bag enjoys reading the only book in the house, which is a dictionary. Then, T-Bag walks to the bedroom where horrific images of sexual abuse took place. The family that T-Bag has hostage is his ex-girlfriend (who was his girlfriend before she knew he was a convicted criminal) and her two children. At the end of the episode, T-Bag ties them all together and leaves the house. Later it is revealed that T-Bag called the police to send someone over to save the family, as he is already far from the house.


From this show, it is obvious that T-Bag suffers many psychological issues as well as a lack of education. Revealed earlier in the season, Teddy is the result of incest and rape after T-Bag’s father raped his own sister (who was mentally challenged).  In this episode, T-Bag flashes back to when he was just a boy, sitting in the living room with his father, and his father’s friend, listening to the two discuss work. As the two are talking, their grammar and word structure implies a lack of education. Based on the “Consuming Trash” article, the way the household of T-Bag is set up matches the “white trash” description that includes: uneducated, poor, racist, immoral and criminality.  While the prison that T-Bag escaped from was in Illinois, the home that he grew up with was in the south, specifically Alabama, which is also explained in the “Consuming Trash” article that poor whites who lived in the south were labeled with the same racist stereotypes that connect with the “poor white trash” characteristics. T-Bag’s dad is holding a gold can of beer in his hand during this episode which links back to the video we watched in class that also highlighted a framing used in other television shows that show what people in poverty or who are in the working class are like. One thing that I noticed that did not match with the current articles and videos was the fact that as a child, T-Bag was smart, and would read the dictionary. Although T-Bag had a life filled with sexual and physical abuse, T-Bag had high hopes for himself, which eventually crumbled as he continued to live the life in the paths of his father. T-Bag showed potential for a positive future, which is not typical in framing of poverty. One thing that I thought was interesting was the way T-Bag’s dad would talk, his English was so broken, his language was incorrect, and his accent was so thick that it was almost impossible to fully understand what he was saying. This leads me to believe the audience for this show were people who did not speak like this, and who spoke proper English who would be able to point out just how ‘improper’ his language came across.  In the video attached, a tribute clip of T-Bag’s character, (time 4:35), C-Note, another inmate says “You know, your parents must be so proud of you man, I mean, hitting the trailer park trifecta, racist, pedophile, and stupid”.  In the article “Media Images of the Poor”, Bullock explains that thoughts that are associated with those in poverty being racist derived from this media framing of the poverty that show people in poverty displaying racist attitudes, remarks, and actions.  Overall the feeling that was portrayed in the episode that flashbacks to T-Bags childhood in Alabama is very closely linked to the articles and class discussions about how the media frames poverty and the working class to have similar and tasteless values and actions.



This episode suggests that people in the working class, especially in the south are uneducated, have no goals and are criminals. This episode reinforces the common stereotype of how “poor white trash” is pushed on those, who are (sometimes) southern, poor, uneducated, and “less than” a person of a higher class status.

 Ali Kremchek

It Means Nothing?- New Girl

11 Sep

New Girl- Table 34

I chose to analyze the show New Girl to look at the way a show that primarily follows the life of a young woman, reflects sexuality throughout the show. The episode begins with Nick and Jessica lying confused in the bed together. Both awkward about a kiss that had happened the previous night, they both go on their way for the day and meet with their friends separately. Jessica meets her girlfriends and rattles on about how she does not have feelings for Nick, although the kiss did have meaning. Later, all of the friends, including Nick and Jessica are gathered at an Indian Dating Event where Jessica accidentally reveals to Nick that the kiss meant something. Quickly, she tries to cover up her accidental reveal, but Nick is persistent on Jessica repeating the fact that the kiss that the two of them shared meant something. Throughout the episode, couples are paired at the Indian Dating Event, ironically, Nick and Jessica are paired. Convinced that the games that are meant to show how strong a couple could be together would be a complete fail, Nick and Jessica pass with flying colors, shocking both themselves and the friends that they came to the event with.

From the beginning, the visual images of sexuality displayed throughout the show are visible and highly recognizable. Instantly, the audience sees the aftermath of a steamy kiss between Nick and Jessica that took place in the previous episode and shows Jessica waking up the next morning by Nick’s side. Jessica rushes to her friends house to discuss exactly why this is wrong, which is showing that sexuality is something that our culture needs to explain, and turning sexuality into more of a mind game, instead of taking sexuality for what it is. Fast forwarding to the Indian Dating Event, Jessica reveals to Nick accidently that the kiss had meaning, and Nick pesters Jessica to repeat that the kiss meant something. This is showing that sexuality is not just a feeling or something that is present in today’s culture, but it is something that needs to be clearly defined. No longer is it normal to have sexual feelings with no clear goals, ideas, and ‘rules’ of what this sexuality is. Later, when Nick and Jessica are paired up to preform tasks that are likely to foreshadow the strength of a relationship, the two exceed expectations, and are surprised. From this, I am surprised they are surprised because it is clear that both of them have a chemistry together and are sexually attracted to each other, so if in fact the games will help determine couples who would work well together, there is no question that Nick and Jessica should preform with excellence. The sexuality portrayed in this episode suggests that sexuality must be something that two people mutually agree upon, and something that can’t happen unless someone is open to admitting true feelings. It is clear that sexuality is something that is an uncomfortable topic for two people to discuss in the clear, while the physical act of displaying sexual favoritism may be easier.

Conclusion: This text shows that identity is formed through the approval of others and how others are able to connect with you and define relationships.  

Below are clip pictures of the episode to see the chemistry and sexuality between Nick and Jessica, along with visual evidence of a strong friendship that is comfortable enough to be great friends, but completely shuts down when sexual feelings and emotions are involved.