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Reflection

3 Dec

I learned a lot about the impact media can have on us throughout the semester. I definitely have gained new perspectives by learning about the various ways media can influence us. I have been exposed to media my entire life, but have never really analyzed it before in such depth. For example, when we discussed race in the media, the article “May the Circle Stay Unbroken: Friends,” caught my attention. Friends is one of my favorite television shows and for that show to be critiqued in a way that was negative, it challenged my views of the show. I would have never looked at that show in that way because I’m white, and my best friends happen to be white. I never saw anything out of ordinary with the show. I definitely can see what the author is arguing, but I felt this critique was a little too much for an entertainment show. However, this did open my eyes to the variation of characters in shows that I watch. I do think there should be more racial variation with characters; it would add more depth and interest to shows.

My favorite part of the class was the blog posts.  I think it was a good way to apply the concepts we learned to the outside world.  Application is the key to every class we take here at college.  We want to know how we can apply the knowledge we have to our everyday lives.  We were able to also bring in our own interests by choosing shows and articles that we found interesting to us.

By learning about the impact of media on others, and myself, I have come to the understanding that media has a larger impact that I ever imagined. I realized this as we read about various articles and discussed these ideas in class. For example, we discussed thin ideals for women, which has a proven effect on the way women view themselves and others. Because of what is displayed to us over and over again in the media, we recognize only one standard of beauty. The media has a great influence on us all and this means we need to be aware of critiquing all of it. We need to educate people to be aware of the presence media plays and how we can evaluate it so that it doesn’t have a negative affect on our lives.

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The Banana Campaign

24 Nov

The Banana-eating social media campaign was the campaign that I came across and decided to write about on the blog. This campaign was started during a soccer game when Dani Alves, a soccer player for FC Barcelona, picked up a banana on the field that was thrown at him by an opposing fan and he simply picked it up, peeled it, and took a bite before continuing the game. From this started a campaign against racism. Other players including Neymar, Mario Balatelli, Sergio Aguero, and Luis Suarez posted pictures of themselves eating bananas in response. Some sources say this campaign was planned originally for Neymar who had previously been racially abused during the Catalan derby. This campaign, also called the “we are all monkeys” campaign, exploded and spread globally so that many people posted pictures of themselves taking a bite out of banana. They are addressing racism because they are trying to make the point that we are all the same, we all came from the same place and we are all monkeys. They are using the strategy of celebrities to spark interest among fans and all people to show their support against racism. They are using Twitter, Facebook, and other social media cites to create a stand for this negativity that still exists in the world today.

Critical Race Theory applies to the banana campaign. CRT deals with examining the relationships between race, racism, and power from an institutional and legal perspective. CRT recognizes that racism is engrained in society, which makes it applicable to the banana theory because we need to change what has been engrained in our society so long. The banana campaign tries to promote awareness and change to end racism. It’s a stand against it, and every stand that is made against racism is step in the right direction to reject racism in society.

It is debatable whether this campaign is effective or not, and if it is effective just how effective it proves to be. Personally, I think this campaign proved to be effective in the ways that it could be. It went viral, by fans of the players on the team but also by others. For example, the president of Brazil Dilma Rousseff even offered support for this campaign online. It is creating awareness that racism still exists and that people intend to make a stand against it. However, this campaign did not prove to be completely successful because after you take a picture of yourself eating a banana, now what? Most people are probably not going to do anything more about the negativity that still exists with racism. This campaign will pass, just like most social media campaigns do. That explains my opinion of prosocial media overall. I think it is a good source of promoting awareness and getting people to take action in the short term, but overall does not prove successful in the long run.

GCB

27 Oct

The show that I chose to watch is called GCB. In this show, Amanda, a widow with two kids returns home to Texas to live with her mother because she has no other choice. Previously in high school, she was the popular girl who ran the town. Now however, she discovers as she returns to her hometown that four girls who she used to push around run the town now. News spreads quickly to Sharon, Carlene, Cricket, and Heather about Amanda’s return. She meets them again when she attends church on Sunday, as well as their husbands which she knew two of them from high school. She tries to find a job but doesn’t have luck until she finds a bar hiring a waitress. In addition, she is having trouble finding a home for her family because Heather, the real estate agent, has been showing her homes that are awful and in horrible locations. The episode ends again in church where Amanda has learned the evil game that the girls are playing against her to get back at the person she was in high school.

The character that stands out to me in this show is Carlene. Carlene is the wife of a wealthy oil businessman, as well as a member of the church choir. She makes numerous references to God to appear as a christian. However, her attitude and actions in the show make that hard to believe. She interacts with the characters on the show as a goody two shoe christian who praises and lives the way of Jesus. For example, she gossips constantly with her three other girl friends. When her husband suggests she shouldn’t tell Sharon that she saw Amanda kissing her husband earlier that day, she says in a snotty way “If I know something and don’t tell her, am I breaking a commandment?” Another example is simply that she wears a big metal cross on her neck, displaying that she lives her life as a Christian. Amanda received a gift card from an expensive clothing store which Carlene takes when she is at her house. Carlene shows the other three girls this and they tell her that’s stealing. Carlene simply replies that “I did not steal, it’s research.” She is referencing her religion here to clarify that she did not break one of the 10 commandments which is to not steal. She uses her religion to justify her actions.

In the article we read titled “Images of Christian Belief,” Rendleman discusses four different types of evangelical Christian Images that are represented. I think Carlene definitely falls into the Hypocritical category. She “lives” her life as a Christian as I described above, but really she only appears this way. She justifies her actions of gossiping, stealing, spying, and doing negative things to people by saying that it is not really those things. She presents her actions in a different way to make herself feel and appear as a Christian. She is hypocritical of the way Jesus says we should live though.

George Lopez

16 Oct

I chose to watch an episode from George Lopez, featuring a majority latino cast. In this episode, George deals with his 15 year old daughter Carmen, who he realized has suddenly developed breasts. He is worried that guys are going to come swarming at her. The mother, Angie, gives Carmen a talk about boys and then George does too telling Carmen that all guys are pigs. However, Carmen takes this lightly as she comes home with a hickey on her neck. The parents are furious and they end up having her grandmother tell her what it was like being 17 and pregnant, and they also show her pictures of various STD’s and things you can get from sex. Meanwhile, George’s close friend Ernie uses George’s son Max to pick up women.

The character who stands out to me in George, the main lead of the show. He is a working class Latino who is raising a family. He also is portrayed as having a rough and dysfunctional childhood, being raised by a single mom at age 17. There are 3 white characters that appeared in this particular episode. There are two white women whom Ernie and Max interact with. The characters do not mention anything about race, and there are not really stereotypes. They are two single ladies that are interested in Ernie because of the way he is shown as a loving and caring single father, although it is a fake front. The other white character is the young boy who gave Carmen the hickey. He appears to be the typical white jock who is good with all the ladies. He knows what words to say to make girls feel comfortable and special around them. The perspective of the white characters are the least visible as they play very small roles in the episode. What I found in relation to the reading was that George Lopez is portrayed as Casanova in Representing Latinidad in Children’s Television said. Although this is not a children’s show, I think similar concepts can be applied. Casanova stated that there is a “generic Latino” image that includes having light brown skin, brown eyes, and dark hair. This applies to George Lopez and also he uses language that indicates the Latino culture. Turner states in Portrayal of Racial Minorities on Prime Time Television that more Latinos are portrayed as immoral and despicable than whites. I think George Lopez disconfirms this statement because he appears to be generally a moral person. He values his relationships and his children because he has values and morals.

Blog 4: Rajesh in BBT

7 Oct

I chose to analyze the Big Bang Theory because it’s one of my all time favorite shows. I am going to focus on the racial category of people from India, in which Rajesh Koothrappali falls into. The episode that I focused on is called “The First Pitch Insufficiency.” In this episode, Howard Wolowitz is asked to throw out the first pitch at a Los Angeles baseball game, and he struggles with this as he has no athletic talent whatsoever. He ends up using a device he created to throw the first pitch, which ends up being a disappointment as it is very slow. Also in this episode Sheldon, Amy, Leonard, and Penny go on a double dinner date. Sheldon thinks that Amy and his relationship is way better than Leonard and Penny’s, which results in conflict.

As you can see from the summary of the episode, Rajesh wasn’t even mentioned. He does not play a big part in this episode at all, only a side cast person who talks and does little. Rajesh interacts inferior to the other characters in this episode in The Big Bang Theory. For example, in the scene where Wolowitz is practicing his pitches for the big game, Bernadette (his wife) and him do most of the talking. I believe Rajesh says maybe one line in the scene; he just stands to the side and reacts with facial expressions. He’s not the dominant character in any conversation. In this particular episode, there is no mention of Rajesh’s race, but in previous episodes there is mention of his race numerous times. A stereotype of Indians are often that they are smart individuals. This stereotype is enforced here, as Rajesh is a well achieved astrophysicist. However, the four main guy characters are all very intelligent, challenging the singling out of Rajesh as the Indian stereotype. I think another stereotype that is presented is that Rajesh is not good at sports. He makes a comment at the baseball game about the scenery of the game, and is not dressed as we would expect to be normal attire to a baseball game. He wears his usual sweater vests with a colored shirt. However, again besides the dress attire of Rajesh, he compares with his friends because none of them are very knowledgable or good at sports.

I can connect with Rajesh because he comes off as a sensitive, observant guy. He is obsessed with his puppy, and comments on things that would be more stereotyped as feminine. In connections to our readings, Monk Turner states in his “Portrayal of Racial Minorities on Prime Time Television,” that more minority characters are deemed less intelligent than whites. This is challenged in The Big Bang Theory because Rajesh holds academic standards at an equal level to the other three main white male characters. He works at the same university as the other guys, and partakes in intelligent conversations like them. Deggan’s said that shows are successful because of their rich story lines, because it makes it more realistic and there is more diversity. Rajesh comes from India which adds diversity to the show. He has a story that adds to the show as it portrays a rich background.

Class in The Big Bang Theory-Blog #3

24 Sep

I chose to watch The Big Bang Theory. In the episode that I watched, Sheldon is pant-less in a train station. He keeps asking random people for help, to use their phone because all of his belongings were stolen while on his 6 week train trip. He ends up getting taken to the police station where he calls Leonard to come and get him. Leonard comes with Sheldon’s girlfriend Amy to get him at the police station 6 hours away. They have a long car ride back, as many discussions are talked about including why Sheldon didn’t call Amy when he was needing help. Meanwhile back at home Penny prepares for an interview for a pharmaceutical company that Bernadette got for her, and Howard is having a tough time because one of his acquaintances has gotten fairly close to his mother.

Sheldon’s character is who stands out most to me. He especially displays a sense of class in this episode. When the present scene opens with Sheldon wearing a shirt, socks, and only underpants, he communicates to people that he is below a certain class standard. Sheldon usually looks presentable, maybe not the most mature dressed, but being without pants is not something he has ever done before. When he asks strangers in the train station for help, you can see on their faces and by their reactions that they disapprove of Sheldon and want nothing to do with him. They try to avoid him, and all of the people end up scurrying away from him. The cues these strangers get that Sheldon is of a lower class is that he has no pants, and he is begging to use their phones or if they can help at all with anything. He appears helpless and out of the usual. However, Sheldon is actually of higher class. He has a high degree in physics, but even though he explains this to the strangers, they disregard it. If the audience is watching the show for the first time, they would see Sheldon the same as the strangers. With background of previous episodes though, the audience would know that Sheldon is not poor or lacking education or anything that would distinguish him as a lower class.

This scene relates to what we have been talking about in class called class minstrelsy. Specifically, the article we read titled “Consuming Trash: Representations of Poor Whites in US Popular Culture by Portwood-Lacer. Class minstrelsy is when we see people wear clothing that is associated with a lower class. We see Sheldon play this out as he is wearing his white underpants in the train station. Going around in a train station having this appearance is not something we associate with having a doctorate degree, it’s something we associate with being homeless or trashy. In addition, humor is used to keep us from thinking that there are actually people out there somewhere in the world who can’t afford to buy a pair of pants, or some other item that we would deem a necessity.

Women displayed in “Fitness”

15 Sep

I chose to analyze how women are portrayed in advertisements. The video we watched in class was very interesting and pointed out various things that I had never paid attention to before. Therefore I wanted to see for myself if I could see the various gender differences that were explained to appear in advertisements. The magazine that I chose to analyze is called “Fitness.” This magazine is all about fitness for women, including eating healthy, natural beauty, working out and getting fit, including specific workouts to target certain areas. Overall, it’s a magazine that promotes a healthier lifestyle for women. By looking at advertisements of women in the magazine, I found many things. I found women to be looking down, their arms holding themselves, touching themselves lightly, laying down on beach chairs laughing, holding a shampoo bottle, However, I did find some advertisements of women that looked more empowering to me, maybe because they were in fitness poses. One woman was stretching to her side, another woman was running, there were also women who were doing a crunch while on her back, on a bike, Many of the ads that I found in this magazine appeared to correlate with what was claimed in the video we watched in class. For example, it was argued that women are often shown lying down, making them appear weak, vulnerable, and powerless. This was illustrated clearly in the magazine because there were exact ads that illustrated this, specifically one for natural beauty. Also in the video it was said that women are usually touching themselves in advertisements. I saw this MANY times in the magazine. I tried to imagine guys in place of the women in these poses as the video showed, and in my head they looked out of place and wrong. These things I found in the magazine confirmed the ideas stated in the video, that women are placed in certain positions that communicate vulnerability, helplessness, and weakness. However, I also found several women in poses that made the women look more empowering and appear to be in more control. These were all dealing with fitness. These advertisements disconfirmed the video in that women are not always placed in poses that make them seem inferior. I think this is probably because the magazine is about using fitness and eating healthy to become a stronger and healthier woman. Therefore, these advertisements I found in this magazine may not be found in other magazines that do not promote this empowerment by getting healthy. The majority of the advertisements though did confirm what the video had to say about women.

Blog #1 by Ashley Tepe

3 Sep

I have discovered that there is a strong relationship between mass media and perceived reality.  Much of what we see to believe to be our reality stems from mass media.  We are constantly taking in media no matter what we do.  We’re connected to our phones, laptops, driving to school or work we even see media.  The ideas and things that are presented to us through media create the reality in which we see.  We perceive things to be the way they are because of television shows we’ve watched or commercials we’ve seen.  The article we read and discussed in class, “The Message Between the Lions,” is a clear indicator of how mass media creates how we perceive reality.  In this article, some participants were able to easily relate the movie to reality.  They indicated that the movie included racism and social class.  This is a simple children’s movie, but as the results of the studied indicated in the article, some of the participants saw more than just that.  They saw this form of media, and focused on how it applied reality which included their own personal experiences that they had to relate.    

I do see right now how media is a purveyor of ideology.  We take in millions of forms of mass media everyday, which helps us identity and discover our beliefs as people.  Learning about various beliefs and positions create awareness of what’s out there for us.  Not only do we discover our beliefs with the help of media, but we can also become part of an ideology through the media.  There are millions of online groups to belong to, whether it’s something we have previously been a part of such as a political party, or maybe it’s something new you’ve discovered through observing and interacting with the media.