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The Woman In Black

1 Mar

Summary 

Arthur Kipps played by Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe, is a lonely lawyer who is still grieving from the death of his wife who passed during childbirth. As a result, his career is in jeopardy and he is sent to a small village to sort things out. In this village he notices the townspeople are trying to keep him from learning their tragic history of the woman in black. Upon research, Kipps learns that this woman had her son taken away from her by her sister because she was criminally insane.  The woman is very spiteful and writes her sister how unfair she is being treated. Her son ends up dying in an unfortunate accident and the woman in black blames everyone saying they could have saved him if they wanted to. As a result, she kills her sister and self and comes back to terrorize the lives of happy families by killing their children. If a child sees the woman in black, they will commit suicide shortly afterwards.  

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Analysis

There were no positive portrayals of women in this film besides Daniel Radcliffe’s wife who never spoke and dies five minutes within the movie.  All other women were insane or victims of the woman in black. I also noticed that the woman in black only kills one little boy and goes after numerous young girls for her revenge although she had her son taken from her. I would think she would come after young boys instead. I noticed in horror films that directors often use children as scare tactics and this film attempted to do the same.  Also, I noticed the negative representation of the word “black” and how its always used to represent something negative. This is not just in horror films like The Woman in Black or Black Christmas but everywhere. If you even look up the word black in the dictionary, the examples they give are never positive.  

 (1): very dark in color <his face was black with rage(2):heavyserious <the play was a black intrigue> dirtysoiled <hands black with grime>(3) thoroughly sinister or evil :wicked <a black deed> b: indicative of condemnation or discredit <got a blackmark for being late> connected with or invoking the supernatural and especially the devil <black magic>a: very sad, gloomy, or calamitous <black despair>b: marked by the occurrence of disaster <black Friday> characterized by hostility or angry discontent :sullen<black resentment filled his heart>

I hate that our society still associates negativity with the word “black” and I couldn’t help but to notice it yet again with the title of this movie and how there were several crazy women but no crazy men.

Response 

I didn’t particularly care for this movie. I didn’t think it was scary and TRUST ME, I’m generally scared of virtually everything. I was disappointed in Daniel Radcliffe because he usually does such a great job in all the Harry Potter movies. I hope he can break away from the expectation myself and other movie watchers hold of him and not be like some of the other actors we talked about in class that are can’t escape rom their roles like Jaleel White (Urkel).  

The Woman In Black

1 Mar

Summary 

Arthur Kipps played by Harry Potter’s 

For Colored Girls

26 Feb

Summary:

In For Colored Girls, there are a number of Black women ranging from age, size, and complexion who all experience different personal conflicts such as rape, abortion, abandonment, and infidelity. Jo played by Janet Jackson is a very successful, serious and mean spirited character who’s husband is having affairs with other men behind her back.  Juanita played by Loretta Divine, teaches safe sex at a local clinic but ironically deals with a man named Frank who keeps leaving her to go back to his wife.  Tangie is a extremely promiscuous woman who pretends to be happy with her lifestyle and has never dealt with the issues with her mother Alice, played by Whoopi Goldberg.  Alice is a hoarder and apart of a cult- like religious group.  It is through her religious practices and erratic behavior that she brings pain to her daughters Tangie and Nyla. Crystal is a hardworking woman in an extremely abusive relationship who constantly ignores the signs which leads to very drastic and horrific measures

 

Analysis:

As the title suggests, this movie was made for Black women. Being a Black woman, and in this case a part of the dominant group, it is easy to identify with many of the characters.  However, from the oppositional view, one might say that For Colored Girls is a man-bashing movie that depicts Black men as dangerous, selfish, and thoughtless creatures. The only good representation of a Black man in this movie was played by Hill Harper, a cop and Keri Washington’s husband.  He was helpful and understanding about his wife inability to have children due to a mistake from her past and he assisted in helping find a man who raped and violated one of the women as well. Other than that, the Black men were malicious, rude and violent.  It is true that Black men are capable of doing such crimes and behaving in such ways; being a Black woman and having plenty of sisters and friends to tell the stories, I have either witnessed or experienced the majority of the pangs that the women in For Colored Girls felt. At the same time though, through my twenty- one years of living I can confidently say that not all Black men are like this at all.

 

Response:

I really enjoyed this movie, despite the fact that it may portray Black men in a negative light. It was very thoughtful and put together extremely well. Part of the reason for this is that the movie is based off of  Ntozake Shange’s play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf  but Tyler Perry still did an excellent job along with the cast and crew.  There is a thread of truth to every stereotype in my opinion and that’s something for Black men to think about.  I don’t think it was Tyler Perry’s intention to make Black men look bad but rather to get them to step back and think.

 

Dream Girl vs Reality Girl

18 Feb

Summary

This week I watched The Hard Times of R.J. Berger and 30 Rock via Netflix, two very different shows.  R.J. Berger is a nerdy, unpopular teenager who can never seem to catch a break. On the last two episodes I watched, RJ and his overweight best friend Miles are looking for dates to the Winter dance but aren’t having any luck due to their lack of popularity.  RJ finally concludes that he’ll ask his friend Lily, an overweight, hypersexual girl who’s been obsessing over him for years. Miles discourages this because he says Lily is “disgusting” and instead encourages RJ to find someone “hotter”. RJ is approached by his dream girl Jenny who asks him to the dance and is torn. He doesn’t want to hurt Lily’s feelings but Jenny is the girl of his dreams. Just when RJ decides to tell Lily he’s choosing Jenny, Lily gets hit by a school bus. RJ feels guilty and horrible while everyone else jokes about the situation, telling rude jokes about Lily’s weight and appearance. In the end, RJ ends up spending the night in the hospital with Lily and they lose their virginitys to one another.

In the 30 Rock episodes I watched,   Jenna is criticizing Liz for focusing too much on work and not enough on herself and encourages her to be more ladylike.  Liz does her best to take this advise, but ultimately chooses to just be herself. Meanwhile, Jack and the nanny are stuck with taking care of his newborn while his wife is out on business.   Jack doesn’t seem to mind this so much at first until she is held hostage  by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il . Jack convinces his ex Condoleezza Rice whom he rudely broke up with over text,  to help him get Avery back.

lily    jenny

 

condi  

 

Analysis

It was no surprise that Lily would be portrayed in a grotesque and pathetic manner due to her size.  As we discussed in class, the public often view an overweight woman as disgusting while overweight men are viewed as funny.  It was interesting that RJ still choose Lily over Jenny because it was “the right thing to do”.  When being criticized by Miles about Lily, RJ responded “Yes, Jenny is my dream girl but Lily is my reality girl”. This seemed to mean that RJ knew that he wouldn’t be able to realistically do much better than Lily because of his own status,  but at the same time RJ could have been with jenny if he wanted to. The characters from 30 Rock seem to go against the standards we often see on TV shows to a certain extent. However, Jack did ultimately feel the need to “rescue” his wife, implying that women will always need help from men.  Jack acknowledges Condoleezza’s power but still uses her so he can go after his wife who fits in a lot more with society’s standards of beauty than Condoleeza.

Response

I don’t really watch these shows too often to judge whether the characters are always like this or not nut it seems like they would be.  There are points in both shows that kind of go against the idea of  hegemony but there are more that support it. All the same, they seem like pretty good shows that I wouldn’t mind watching again.

 

The Manipulation of Women

3 Feb

Summary:

This week, I watched two of the latest episodes of Family Guy via Hulu. In the first episode, Meg, the overweight, unattractive daughter of Peter and Louis Griffin, turns 18 years old. No one shows up to her birthday party which is typical because she’s also unpopular on top of  everything else.  Quagmire, Peter Griffin’s best friend, shows up and gives Meg a cheap gift in an attempt to try to seduce her. Meg is ecstatic because someone finally gives her some attention. Peter spend the remainder of the episode trying to avoid Quagmire from taking advantage of his daughter while Louis insists that they have to let her explore because she’s an adult and it never works when you try to tell a girl what to do. When Lois sees that her husband is right he asks her if she will admit that all women are stupid.   The second episode I watched was called “The Blind Side” and starts off with Peter’s mentally disabled boss being fired. He is replaced by an attractive, deaf woman whom Peter tries to immediately seduce.  Peter tells his friends about his new boss and they host a “Disabled Ladies Night” at the bar in hopes that these women would be desperate enough to sleep with them.  Brian comes on to a girl and finds out she is blind. They go out on a nice date but Brian later finds out that his date doesn’t like dogs. He spends the rest of the episode deceiving his date that he’s a loving and caring man by tricking her into thinking he took her to Paris and making her believe that he fought off imaginary guys who were ironically trying to “take advantage of her”.

 

                                             

 

Analysis:

These two episodes (and probably all those before and after) view women as being unintelligent and easily fooled, particularly less attractive ones like Meg and diasabled ones like Brian’s date.  Meg  is unwanted and often mistreated and this is why Quagmire comes onto her. There is a stereotype that women who have low self esteem are easier than those with higher ones. Quagmire stated several times throughout the episode how easy it would be to “get” Meg.  Brian on the other hand did not know in advance that his date was blind, but only saw a pretty face. However, as soon as he found out, he spends the rest of his time finding ways to trick her and manipulate her as if she were stupid just because she was blind. I also find it interesting that Peter, who is married openly flirts with women but his fidelity is never questioned.  Family Guy is notorious for poking fun of all racial, class, sexual, size and gender identites but instead of giving off the message that this is not okay, they promote it.  To some, this is a great thing that will help us as Americans get over our differences. To others, all this does is perpetualize our differences.

Response:

I used to really be into Family Guy when I was a teenager in high school but as I’ve grown older, I view it as more raunchy and inappropriate with every episode, not to mention I seldom laugh at any of the punchlines anymore.  I used to be the kind of person who viewed Family Guy as helping us get over our differences but now I feel like it just makes us ignorant. The point of view is generally told from that of a middle-class, married white man which represents all four of the dominant ideologies (white, patriarchy,capitalism, and heterosexual). As we discussed in class, because this is the dominant, privileged group, there isn’t much one could say to get under the skin of someone in the dominant group as opposed to those in a marginalized group.

The Power of Hands

29 Jan

Summary:

Generally when I look through magazines, there always seem to be the same kind of advertisements: skinny women in submissive poses. I can’t deny the fact that I did find the same kinds of poses in Redbook and Allure but I think I noticed a bit of a difference in the February edition of Ebony magazine. I noticed that Ebony had a variety of women ranging from thick to skinny and that their skin complexions ranged as well. Some were in the traditional submissive poses and exposing a great deal of skin but some seemed to go against this kind of docile ideal. Perhaps it’s just me, but I feel that maybe times are (slowly) changing!  The January edition of Allure and the February edition of Redbook share several of the same advertisements only with different models including OPI Nail Polish, Covergirl, and L’oreal .  Allure’s OPI featured rapper/entertainer Nicki Minaj fully dressed in her always eccentric outfit but using her hands to emphasize her very tiny waist.

Redbook’s OPI  ad had a woman sporting the exact same pose.

Both of the women are completely covered but I find it interesting that they both seem to be selling the product with their waists at the same time. Ebony had a Glaceau Smart Water advertisement featuring Idris Elba (aka Dr. Banjo’s Boo) and his posture, gaze and the way he held the bottle all screamed “masculinity”.

In the same magazine, there is a Vlisco ad that features a fully clothed Black woman but is rocking the same pose as the other two women bringing out her figure.

Analysis:

Its interesting that all three of the women are showing little to no skin but that they still seem to be selling their products through their bodies.  It’s almost as if the advertisements are saying “If you don’t have a small waist/nice body you can’t wear our product”.  After watching the video on poses and sexuality I noticed that what they said was true about the female hand versus the male hand in advertisement.  The women’s hands are lightly touching their figures but still send out very strong messages. On the contrary, Idris had a tight “manly” grip on the water bottle and you rarely if ever see women using their hands in such a strong way as if they’ll hurt themselves from doing so.

Response:

Although these women were emphasizing their figures , I still feel like they did so in a very tasteful way.  They’re not dressed inappropriately and all appear to give off a sense of strength.  There’s nothing wrong with being beautiful and humbly letting the world know. My exact sentiments go towards Idris Elba in the Smartwater ad.  I don’t feel like he is exuding hypermasculinity but instead just the right amount. He appears intelligent and strong in the ad and he most likely is. Case in point, ther’s nothing wrong with showing off what you’ve got especially if it’s done in an unobtrusive way.

“You Just Mad Cause You Ain’t Suck the RIGHT Dick!”

20 Jan

Summary:

This week on Love and Hip Hop season 2,  I noticed that the show not only centers around gender identity but sexual identity as well.  The episode starts off with an altercation between Chrissy, Jim Jones’ fiance and Yandy, Jim Jones’ former manager. Their fight was ultimately over Jim and Yandy could not understand why his loyalty lies with his fiance and not her. Throughout this week’s episode there was a great deal of gossiping, disloyalty, talking about each other behind each other’s back, and ended in a fight between Kimbella and Erica. Erica doesn’t respect Kimbella because she has pictures posing like this :

 
 
and she basically feels like she had to have sex and perform fellatio with numerous guys to get to where she is now.  Ironically, Erica has pictures of herself in all sorts of magazines that look like this:
 
which is like so much more respectable and anything but hypersexualized right?  Kimbella comes to Erica’s birthday party to confront her about running her mouth and brings her friend Somaya, who had nothing to do with the situation and probably was just thirsty for air time. Erica insults Kimbella again about her using her body and sex to get ahead. Somaya bravely responds “You just mad cause you ain’t suck the right dick”. The fight was pointless but  each one left feeling as if they had accomplished something.  The commercials that were featured in between this episode include: – Proactiv Solution, Mobwives DVD, Schick Quattro razor for women, H&R Block, Chronicle the Movie
 
Analysis/Application
 
Yet again , the women on Love and Hip Hop fed into all the stereotypes people associate with Black women. They were disrespectful and rude to one another, referring to each other as bitches, whores and sluts. They center their lives around their men and they are money hungry. It irritates me that oftentimes one of these women hates and/or dislike the other for essentially being her clone.  Both Kimbella and Erica claim that they are not using their bodies to get ahead but look at theitr pictures.  They are both positioned in very submissive and suggestive poses and its not like it was only one, they have several.  Some of the commercials are geared towards women such as the Schick Quattro, Mobwives and Proactiv solution although Proactiv is and can be used by all genders. In only the Schick Quattro commercial was there a lot of skin exposed but its only because it’s a commercial about shaving…right?  The Mobwives DVD reminds the viewet that if they like the stereotypical drama concerning sexuality and gender in Love and Hip Hop then they’ll absolutely love Mobwives. Mobwives is another VH1 show that is just like Love and Hip Hop only it has more fights and is centered around Italian women to my understanding.
 
Response
 
Its no surprise to me that there was yet another fight on this show.  It just annoys me that whenever these women fight, its typically for someone behaving as they have behaved. Erica doesn’t like Kimbella because she had to “suck dick” to get ahead but Erica poses in very submssive ways that are very suggestive that she may have performed the same acts to get where she is. Neither one of these girls are talented. They can’t sing, they can’t act, they aren’t musicians but wwe know who they are because of who’ve they been with and who’s child they’ve had. Great accomplishments. Thinking about it makes my head hurt.    
 
 
 
 

“If You Really Love A Man, You’ll Go through ALOT!”

13 Jan

If you love a man, you’ll go through a lot. . Since the beginning of time, many women constantly find themselves sacrificing for the requited love of a man. We’ve all witnessed or experienced it. We dress nice and smell good so that we’ll be pleasing in his sight. Several of us will cook and clean if it means that he’ll stay around more frequently.  Numerous women have been known to  fight and/or disrespect another woman if we fear we might lose him to her. We oftentimes have their children with the false assumption that this will oblige him to be more appreciative and committed to us. Many of us will even put up with disrespect and infidelity in hopes that one day soon he’ll realize that we’re all he ever needed from the start. All for the love of a man. But is it worth it?   The majority of the women from VH1’s Love and Hip Hop season 2 would respond ” absolutely YES”.  On Love and Hip Hop, we see several beautiful Black women who are or have been involved with rappers of either great or decent caliber. The majority of these women have made a trade of their own ranging from personal stylists to models to managers. But they all seem to hold one important thing in common–their desire to be wanted and loved by their good, Black men. And really, who can blame them for that? We all want to be loved and it certainly doesn’t hurt when your lover is well off..but at what cost?

Summary
This week on episode 8, rapper Jim Jones’ new fiance, Chrissy celebrated the rather nontraditional marriage proposal from her beau with family and friends. They have been dating for roughly seven years and Jim finally popped the question and gave her a long awaited ring. Chrissy proclaims with tears in her eyes, “You can’t make a man do what he don’t wanna do..you have to make him realize…”. Meanwhile, Kimbella, who happens to be an archenemy of Chrissy’s, has lunch with her mother and expresses to her how resentful she was towards her for years for not being a suitable mother. Kimbella tells her mother that she spent too much time fighting and dealing with her father than being a good support system for her children. Kimbella’s mother boldly exclaims, “If you really love a man , You’ll Go Through A LOT….I did the best I could and I had to have done something right….look at how great you turned out”. Kimbella was hestitant at first but nods in agreement. The final character  that episode 8 focused on was Emily. Emily is the mother of rapper Fabolous’ son and has been involved with him for nine years. Unlike her best friend Chrissy, Emily never got the ring and left Fab to basically “teach him a lesson”. In this episode, Emily is expressing her desire to reconcile with Fab, although he was blantantly disrespectful to her and cheated on her with numerous women over the past nine years, not even stopping to take a break during her pregnancy with his son.

Analysis/Application

Without a doubt, there are many young women who are watching this show that still admire many of the cast of Love and Hip Hop. We view the dominant  groups’ perception of reality as most real which in this case include  heterosexual, rich women. Some will watch this show and believe that although fighting for the love of a man is hard work, in the end its all worth it.  However, when you really examine the show from a ritualistic point of view, these women are upholding the ideaology that men are superior to women. None of these women really need a man to survive because they have their own money but they have convinced themselves otherwise.  They all want to be respected and loved but realize its a price that comes along with that which includes getting their feelings hurt, waiting for years, infidelity,and  heartbreak. Whereas little to no sacrifice is being presented by the men on this show. Even though Jim Jones proposed to Chrissy and openly confesses his love for her, they both will admit that it took A LOT of work for them to reach that point. This representation serves the rappers benefit (Black,rich men) because it ultimately portrays that they can get away with virtually anything and still have the love of a woman.  If any of the rappers’ lovers/girl friends decide to walk away, they can easily be replaced by the next aspiring model or stylist. 

Response

Although it might seem like I’ve been very critical of Love and Hip Hop , I actually love the show! It’s entertaining although I know it makes women look bad to some.  Since watching the show I have lost some respect for Fabolous when I used to be a die hard fan.  It was not really a huge surprise at how inconsiderate he was but at the same time it was. I personally do agree with the quote Kimbella’s mother says because love does require a great deal of sacrifice and it’s never easy. However, I do believe that it should be a sacrifice from both ends of the spectrum. A man should sacrifice just as much as his partner. I understand though because of the gender roles in our society, that many men don’t sacrifice to the same degree or level that women do, but settling is never a good idea in my opinion.