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Reflection Blog- Crista Brown

3 Dec

Before taking this course I had no idea what I was getting myself into, not in a negative way. I knew we would discuss how media portrays racism but I wasn’t sure about the other social issues (religion, sex, class, etc). I had never watched a movie or television show and dissected it into social problems that we discussed in class. I always just watched it for entertainment and left it at that. But now when I watch television there is a part of me who watches for the portrayal of race, class, class, sex, etc) as well as entertainment. After the first day of class which was also the first day of lecture, I thought that I would find myself becoming offended by the comments other students made. This was true for a few topics. Hearing students of a different race comment on how they see African Americans (almost always in a negative light) would bother me but that is just because I was not prepared for it. For example, when we discussed race in The Lion King and someone mentioned how the hyenas were supposed to be African Americans, I was offended. By the end of the course I have learned to not become offended because everyone has their own opinion and I represent myself and who I am as a person, not how people see me. I must say I have gained a new perspective on the way I look at the media. Before entering the class, I already had the idea in my head that the media only put out there what they think is going to sale. However, I don’t think they intentionally make these stereotypes to hurt people, but to sale, and make money. It is what the people want. This course has definitely confirmed that thought. I really enjoyed the Prosocial Media Project because it was interesting to see the different ideas groups came up with to address a social problem, it gave me a chance to see how everyone else felt about the problems and what they personally would do ti address it. Overall, I am really happy I took this course because I now have a new perspective on the way the media portrays us. I have a stronger view on this which was once just for entertainment.


Stop Bullying: Speak Up- Cartoon Network

24 Nov

Cartoon Network has launched an Anti-Bullying campaign for children and teens. Since Cartoon Network is a media outlet and television channel that is directed towards children and teens, and bullying is something that occurs in the lives of children and teens, the two go hand in hand. The campaign targets youngsters of elementary grades through early middle school. Cartoon Network’s year-round “I Speak Out” website provides information resources for kids, parents and educators, all of whom may be primed to intervene when a bully strikes, but may not always know the best way to take action. Joining in the outreach are partner organizations including Boys and Girls Clubs of America, 4-H Clubs, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Federation of Teachers and the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention.

The concept of intersectionality, I think, is applicable to this campaign. As discussed in class, intersectionality is the generalized and predisposed beliefs about groups of people. The theory suggests that we have multiple layers, some of us experience oppression in different ways. We may be bullied as children and teenagers because of our race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Some people are bullied for different reasons, thus, experiencing oppression in different ways. The Social Effects of Gender and Sexuality is another concept I think is applicable to this campaign. Stereotyping based on your group that you belong to is a big part of bullying as well, against women, African Americans, gays, etc.

Honestly, I think the program is a great idea and I do think it will be effective. Bullying is a big issue in elementary ages and middle school and be implementing this campaign it gives children the correct. It can help children determine what needs to be done to stop this. Being a bystander is not a good idea but at the same time, no one wants to be known as a snitch. The campaign gives ways the to stop the bullying.

Desperate Housewives

27 Oct

Desperate Housewives is a show about 5 women who are all housewives. They are all friends and live on the same street. They each portray themselves as perfect little housewives living their “American Dream”: a stay at home mom married to a man who works and is the provider for the family. While the husbands are at work the women all hang together gossiping and such about what’s new in the neighborhood.

Underneath the portrayals of the perfect lives the women have, behind closed doors, there are lies, secrets, and family drama within each of the households. On the show, the women go to Mass every Sunday and try to make themselves look like they live these perfect Christian lives. However, one of the women was having an affair. Another was harboring a secret about her passed in which she killed someone. One of the women also was known as the neighborhood slut who always tried to sleep with someone else’s husband. They go to mass to learn the Christian life but they live these lives that are not very Christian like. In the reading Images of Evangelicals in American Film, the popular stereotype that was found among Christians was that a character is sexually repressed and unaware of mainstream culture. I do not think this is confirmed in this show because the show involves so much sex that it completely becomes the main issue of these women’s lives.


17 Oct

The show Girlfriends which is now off the air, is about a group of 4 black women who are all best friends living in Los Angeles. They do absolutely everything together. Joan is a lawyer, Maya is Joan’s assistant, Toni is a real estate agent, and Lynn is the friend that hasn’t exactly found her career yet. She struggles with her own identity because she is adopted and has not met her biological parents but later on the series she does. Each woman has their own struggle whether it is with men, their job, etc. The characters in this show are all black except for a few, Toni’s husband Todd, and Joan’s boss, Mr. Sweetleson. Mr. Sweetleson plays kind of the “ignorant” white man who makes slick stereotypical comments to Joan and other black lawyers at the firm. However, they have no choice but to respect him because he is “the man” and of higher authority. I think he is seen as the “whitebread” in the show because he isn’t knowledgeable of the African American culture but he tries to act like he is by making those comments thinking he knows what he is talking about. In class we discussed the man, the wannabe, and the whitebread when it comes to whiteness. The “whitebread” being the one who is socially awkward and tries to fit in but does not because they are so oblivious to the culture and doesn’t realize it. Todd, Toni’s husband is a white, Jewish man. The group treats Todd as if he were any other man. They don’t disrespect him in any way nor do they mention his race a lot. Toni’s mother,however, does the complete opposite. She makes her comments about him being Jewish and wanting her grandchildren to grow up as a Christian “washed in the blood of the lamb” as she would say. In the Deggan reading, we read about how blacks are often  characterized as the supporting role or the black best friend. In this show, I can’t really apply this because the 4 women are best friends and have substance to their characters.

How to Get Away With Murder

7 Oct

The show I chose is How to Get Away With Murder. This show comes on ABC on Thursdays at 10pm. This show is about a Law School professor who is also a defense attorney who, with her group of students, becomes involved in a mysterious murder plot. The first few episodes have shown the group of students at the crime scene while showing the cases the defense attorney handles so its only right to assume that Professor Keating will end up finding out about the students later in the series and then possibly defending them in court maybe? We will see…

Out of the group of students, one of them is an African American female, Michaela. She is very intelligent, always on her toes, and has a come back for almost everything anyone says to her that may be out of line or something she does not agree with. One thing that I have noticed about African American females in television is that they are sometimes sex symbols for men. They play the girlfriend or the mistress a lot. However, some shows have African American women as businesswomen, wives, etc. In this show I like how Michaela is portrayed as intelligent and not the one to take any nonsense. There is another character, Wes. He is among the group of law students as well and is a part of the murder. He is an African American male in Law School. That should be enough said right there about him. A young black male portrayed as intelligent and one who will not back down. He is seen as hard working and very dedicated to school. These two characters interact with the rest of the group just as everyone else does. They never mention their race in the show and the typical African American stereotypes are not expressed in the show. In the reading Portrayals of Racial Minorities on Primetime Television, Monk-Turner talked about a study that was done and discussed how the roles and behaviors of African Americans  were generally negative characterization and were the laziest, least respected, and provocatively dressed. I do not see this observation in this show at all. All the African Americans in this show are portrayed as intelligent and hard working. There is no slacking from any of them. So, I believe the claims made in this reading are disconfirmed by the characters.


24 Sep

Blackish is a prime time television show that comes on ABC on Wednesday nights. Tonight was the series premiere of the show. Among the cast is Tracee Ellis Ross, Anthony Anderson, and Laurence Fishbourne. The show is about a black family who is in the upper class living the “American Dream”. The wife is a doctor and the husband works for a big time company as the Senior Vice President. They have 4 children who are all attending a private school to receive a better education. These characteristics of the family imply that they are a part of the upper class. The parents earn their money by working at their professional jobs. They live in a large house, drive nice cars, and are able to afford to send all 4 children to private school. The upper class is also referred to as the “white collar” class . The character that stood out to me the most was the main character, Andre, played by Anthony Anderson. He is also the narrator of the show. He describes the rituals, traditions, etc of his family from his perspective. He explains his thoughts that are on his mind through narration.

The “American Dream” is definitely shown in this show. We learned this to be the freedom to pursue happiness without socio-economic barriers. I think the characters in this show have confirmed what we have discussed in the readings. We are responsible for our own success or failures.

Ciara- Like a Boy and Can’t Leave Em Alone by Crista Brown

15 Sep

The two music videos I chose are called Like a Boy and Can’t Leave Em Alone by Ciara. In the Like a Boy video, Ciara portrays men basically as dogs. She tells the story of how men act in the eyes of women in relationships. A line in the song is “What if I had a thing on the side, made you cry? Would the rules change up or would they still apply?” This line goes to show that women think it is a double standard in relationships. There seems to be some things men are allowed to do that women should not be doing. This is in and outside of relationships, single or taken. In the video Ciara is dressed very masculine, baggy pants, scarf on her head, etc and playing the role of a man in society to tell the story then goes to being dressed very feminie and is talking to the man portraying her boyfriend and she is telling him that how is acting is unacceptable and he has this look on his face as if he is careless and Ciara is just nagging. The video basically is an anthem for women because sometimes we feel men are the reasons for relationship issues. In the Can’t Leave Em Alone video, Ciara shows the IDEAL man in a relationship. 50 Cent is also in the video and he plays this man. One of the lines in the song is “Ima hustler, baby, I provide by any means.” This shows the man as the provider, the one takes care of the woman. In the video, Ciara is in love with him and there are some scenes where they become intimate. The two videos show 2 different perspectives of how a man should be in a relationship, through a woman’s perspective and a male. In the video we watched in class, Codes of Gender, femininity is seen as submissive, powerless, and dependent. Whereas, masculinity is seen as powerful and independent. In Ciara’s Like a Boy video is shows the powerless and submissive traits in femininity when she is dressed very feminine and seems like her boyfriend is just not listening to her. He doesn’t care. But when she is dressed as a boy she seems powerful and can easily get her point across just like in the Can’t Leave Em Alone video 50 Cent plays the powerful role, the provider in the relationship.

Blog #1 Crista Brown

3 Sep

I think there is a positive correlation between mass media and our perceived reality. This is because everywhere you look, there is media. We experience the media all the time whether it is on television, social networks, billboards, radio, etc. I am not sure if the radio is as big a channel of communication as it once was before technology and other channels of communication came around such as social networks but it is still used. Unfortunately, what we see in the media seems to have a big affect on what we think is real and what isn’t. For example, all of these “reality shows” we watch can easily influence what we see reality to actually be. People don’t understand how scripted these shows really are, which takes away from the “reality”. It is not real if we have someone telling us how to act and what to say when the cameras are rolling. After all, those kind of shows are for our entertainment alone. The high ratings keep the shows going.

Right now, we are learning about how media is a purveyor of ideology. I have always felt that way about t.v shows and movies. I notice a system of beliefs such as racism, social class, etc being represented in movies all the time. However, in class we discussed a reading Messages Between the Lions which introduces the traditional and ritual paradigms. The reading talks about the actual message of The Lion King (traditional paradigm) and the cultural context of the Disney movie (ritual paradigm). I had never thought of this in a Disney movie because, to me, it is just a children’s movie and I don’t think young children would be able to dissect the movie and think of it in terms of racism and social class. The author states that students claim different racial groups are represented in the movie along with social class. When I think about it, this is very true. The movie does indeed do this. It shows the social hierarchy from the very top (Mufasa and his wife as head of the kingdom) to the very bottom of the food chain (scar and the hyenas). However, the traditional paradigm of this movie is simply just a young cub growing up and finding his way back to where he belongs. That being said, I definitely think there is a relationship between the mass media and what we see and what we perceive as reality.