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Reflection

4 Dec

I will first say I was so eager to take the course because I have only previously been enrolled in one Communication course that discussed media and entertainment which was the Pop Culture course, and heard so many great reviews regarding Media and Identity! I knew actually what I was getting myself into with taking this course and have not regretted it since. I feel as the this course and the topics we have discussed have given me further insight and knowledge on issues of race, gender, sexuality, class and religion. I’m considered to be a pretty conscious person because I feel as for a women, who is African American and comes from a low-income family there is no option but to be and the topics we discussed just expanded that realm.

What most interested me would have to be the portrayals of low-income individuals and the intersectionality of the topics, mainly with the Antoine Dodson, “Media Portrayals of the Poor” ,and “Institutions That Fail” readings plus the Class Dismissed video. In the media especially pertaining to class we view the programs and movies but never question or rarely critique how the framing and depiction of stories effect our ideologies. You really are passionate and have so much knowledge on each topic that we discuss I feel that if I or anyone else did not come out with new perspectives or gained more insight it is because they simply did not want to! Overall I loved the course, continue to be you and how you introduce subjects in the course!

Best,

Kara

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Oh, Holy Tony.

28 Oct

I never really analyzed how religion is portrayed in media because it rarely displayed or when it is introduced we know that about the religious character then it is later sort of swept under the rug focusing more on the plot of the show. When religion is introduced there definitely are not any other portrayals besides the hypocrite, naive characters, incentive and psychotic extremist. My Wife and Kids a vibrant, lively and what is highly perceived as a positive series depicting the black family premiering on ABC’s network does display religion through the character Tony. My Wife and Kids is a family sitcom about an upper-class African American family living in suburbia Hartford, Connecticut with the main characters witty dad Michael Kyle (Damon Wayans), an self-made businessman and wife Janet “Jay” Marie Kyle (Tisha Campbell) focusing on “non-traditional” parenting to their three children Junior, Claire and Kady in a traditional world. In a broaden sense the sitcom Although the show primarily focuses on the parenting it does speak on religion in certain episodes but it sort of the sub-theme. For example Tony Claire’s Christian, emotional but also “attractive” boyfriend taking on the more naive and sexually repressive traits in the relationship relating to his Christianity.

In the episode “The Big Bang Theory,” addressed religion was discussed alongside teenage sex discussion. Although Tony and Claire announced to Michael and Jay that they were thinking about having sex in the season three episode(which does not happen as Tony saw that a Bible that was in a drawer in the hotel room they were going to lose their virginity in was a sign from God, not knowing that all hotels have a copy of the Bible), showed how Tony’s religious character is perceived as dumb. Tony also often sought ways to prove his devotion to purity and to God using extreme measures, such as fasting for eight days and wearing a handmade religious hat to get the approval of God (which backfires). Whenever Claire is breaking up with him or he falsely thinks she has broken up with him, he often uses bible scriptures to justify her actions whether than look at the actual reasons that causes the split.

Girlfriends: The WhiteBread

17 Oct

One of the most profitable television shows starring majority non-white characters, Girlfriends, is often used as an platform for both African Americans and women revising some of the stereotypes of minorities. Girlfriends overall context shows Black women sticking together throughout the relationships and interactions between the four main characters Joan, Toni, Lynn and Maya all being African American and bi-racial women. The show also speaks on sexuality, class, gender roles and race showing of the four very different personalities of the women which I think the perspective would be very different if it starred a main character of a different race taking away the resilience of Black women achieving in LA.

Girlfriends does not feature many white characters within the show with exception of Joan a lawyer in LA, partners in the law firm still showing the dominance over her and majority with owning the firm and Toni’s the ex-professional football cheerleader occasional white boyfriend’s. Toni is the darkest skinned toned character who is evidently proud of her skin tone and race and is not ashamed to tell her white boy toys that she is a “sistah.”  Although the interaction being the group of girlfriends is the stereotypical white man who is often “fascinated” and “shocked” once introduced to black culture.  For example when Toni started to first date her soon to be husband Todd, he was the “whitebread” character who was so intrigued with black culture for example their hair, and Ebonics often asking questions in a comedic view for the audience but was evident that it was his first time really interacting with African Americans. Personally I love that the show is all African American if the codes were changed the dynamic of the show would be different.

Gilmore Girls

8 Oct

When it comes to mainstream TV shows racial minorities are overwhelmingly under-represented with the majority of white actors taking on the major roles. With the few exceptions of shows like Scandal, Ugly Betty and the most recent shows featuring women of color with leading roles but also other characters who are diverse. Although those shows have and are doing well they still do not compare to the amount of dramas that we see with blue-eyed, white skin and fine hair. How can we provide accurate representation of the society we live in with little to zero cultural diversity?  Why when producers and creators add a person of color, they are used only for comedic view or perpetuate stereotypes of brown and black people?

Gilmore Girls being a show that aired on the WB was a show that resonated with a lot of viewers because of drama that centering around a single mother and daughter (Lorelai and Rory) their relationship while living in Stars Hollow, Connecticut which was uncommon to find a show about a single parent.  Unfortunately the show did succeed in that area it lacked cultural diversity and was also criticized for the portrayal of Asian ethnicity.  The character I would like to focus on is Lane Kim, Rory’s Asian best friend, and Lane’s mother the stereotypical mean and strict mother who is also and antique store owner in the small town.  Lane consider to defy the stereotypical Asian teenage girl because she was interested in music more rather than school but was still considered intelligent when need be and of course because her strict Asian mom would nor have it any other way.  Lane’s mother, had an heavy accent and followed customers around the store saying “You break, you buy.” Never developing her character as an Asian woman and entrepreneur living in Stars Hollow outside of that stereotype.

Everybody Hates Chris

25 Sep

The purpose of sitcoms is purely entertainment therefore they do not have the ability to go in depth about certain serious issues, one being the portrayal of media and class in television. A sitcom that I believe demonstrates class is Everybody Hates Chris, a sitcom about and African American family living in the Brooklyn “ghetto” documenting the life experiences of Chris. The plot of Everybody Hates Chris is centered understandably around his family and life experiences and the show being narrated from his point of view. Chris’s dad Julius, is a cost-conscious hard worker who takes on many professions for his family to get by while mom Rochelle, works part-time and is also strict with the family budget and disciplining her children.

Which leads me to Rochelle being the character that stands out to me the most in this sitcom. As I stated before Rochelle is the lead female role portraying Chris’s mom who was determined to move her family away from the projects in “Bed Stuy: Do or Die neighborhood” to a less crime infested neighborhood but is still depicted as a ghetto in Brooklyn. Although Rochelle’s class is easily predicted by her behaviors: loud, rather aggressive and emotional the stereotypical African American mother which are indeed exaggerated for the benefit of the show. Since the show is exaggerated for the audience entertainment we are left with less emphasis on the actual problems African American communities face everyday in reality. One episode in general is when Rochelle was searching for more full-time outside of her part time small real estate office secretarial job to help take some of the burden of the bills off Julius’s back.

The episode showed Rochelle attending numerous job interviews being able to speak very eloquently knocking the interview process out of the park but was not able to receive the job because of her lack in education being denied one by one, in a humorous way of course. This made me think of the “Institutions that Fails, Narratives that Succeed” reading basically explaining how television is credited for having more realistic portrayals of issues than Hollywood and its white “hero” or “heroine”coming in and helping the community. Don’t get me wrong I’m pretty sure it happens but for many African American who are born into working class or poverty are left without resources or networks for them to move up into another class. As society we think that “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” is the end to all problems but don’t ask why some have these problems in the first place?

http://youtu.be/R6kMEDSXfZ

16 Sep

One of my all time favorite television sitcoms is My Wife and Kids a vibrant, lively and what is highly perceived as a positive series depicting the black family often in relation to The Cosby Show, premiering on ABC’s network which ran for five seasons. My Wife and Kids is a family sitcom about an upper-class African American family living in suburbia Hartford, Connecticut with the main characters being witty dad Michael Kyle (Damon Wayans), an self-made businessman who owns his own trucking company and voluptuous wife Janet “Jay” Marie Kyle (Tisha Campbell) a stockbroker focusing on “non-traditional” parenting to their three children Junior, Claire and Kady in a traditional world. In a broaden sense Michael does take on the male role the dominant although Jay is not the typical stay-at-home passive mother the married couple do share androgynous characteristics, but overall Michael is the head of household. Although you can analyze how gender roles are some what shared between other characters that co-stars on the show for example, Tony, Claire’s Christian, emotional but also “attractive” boyfriend taking on the more feminine traits in the relationship. Franklin, an highly intelligent child and pianist but head over hills in love with Kady who is taller than Franklin often bossing him around and him following Kady’s every move. When Franklin first entered the show they portrayed him as “one of the girls” being friends within Kady’s group of friends and taking on passive traits relating to femininity.

I found one episode interesting where only Tony and Franklin are in the scene where Franklin “bitch-slaps” Tony for hysterically crying over Claire, reminding me of the heteronormative discussion in the Gay Characters in Conventional Spaces. Where the discussion is reversed way Franklin telling Tony that no woman wants a “whiny, sniffling weakling.” Therefore Franklin telling Tony to man up which I find interesting because these two characters take on feminine characteristics.

More than entertainment.

4 Sep

When looking at mass media I would always make jokes about how I see race, class, gender and sexuality portrayed. For example in Sex and the City, the movie when Jennifer Hudson’s character, Louise, an African American women from St. Louis moving to New York with multiple roommates while renting designer handbags becoming the assistant to the notable Carrie Bradshaw. Being honest and blunt as I am I would say in a joking manner, “So, why is it that the black woman has to rent handbags!” While always looking for a deeper meaning embedded in the text.

Now after focusing our scope on exactly how mass media spreads our ideas, promotes our ideologies and while maintaining our “natural” thought process it is inevitable that mass media is one main medium that shapes our reality. Mass media is definitely is a purveyor of ideology which I have come to find more academe understanding rather than sarcastic joking criticism especially through the ritual paradigm. For instance as a child I would have never grasp the concept of The Lion King, the impact of reinforcing ideologies through Simba and the other characters and how we inherently view the makeup of the film as just entertainment.

Although the question I propose is why promote ideologies through mass at such a young age while we are still understanding reality and what it means? Is society so afraid of not maintaining the “right” ideologies and understanding of the world we live in that we have to promote how society is and will be so early and blatant? Why is it so important?