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Madeline’s Reflection

3 Dec

Prior to coming into this class I had taken multiple classes on the media and its impact on society, I also have a brother who works in the movie industry as a director/producer; that being said I felt that I had a strong knowledge on the subject coming into the class. I truly believe and still do believe that the movie, film and entertainment industry is just that, entertainment. This class did open my eyes to some of the moral wrongdoings that have been seen in the industry but I do believe that just like anything times are changing and most of the things we were shown were outdated. A lot of good points were made in this class about race, gender and etc. but I also felt that there was a lot of negativity aimed towards the entertainment industry. Having a brother that works in the industry and I also have interned in the industry I felt insulted at times when the industry that I love and strive to work for was continuously bashed, when yes there have been times that they have made mistakes but to me the good outweighs that bad. The entertainment industry cannot be defined as good or bad, its up to the viewer to decide that. That being said I see the points that were made in this class and I will look more closely and critique different methods in the industry. I enjoyed hearing about your insightful viewpoints on what you think of the media industry and learning about all the theories was interesting to me. Overall thank you for presenting a class that made me think deeply about the subject matter, I can tell that you are passionate about what you do and thats refreshing to see these days among professors. Good luck with next semester and the semesters after that!

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Blog 7 {{Kind Campaign}}

24 Nov

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The Kind Campaign is a program that is working to put an end to childhood bullying specifically among young girls. This program is run by two girls who witnessed bullying at Pepperdine University. The Kind Campaign girls travel across the nation and visit with middle schools. At the Schools they have an assembly to address the issues of bullying and share their stories. Along with the school tours they also directed a documentary about ending bullying which they show at the assemblies as well.

According to their website the movement addresses bullying in three ways; 1. “You Are Not Alone” They first tell the girls that they aren’t alone and that many people are bullied. This doesn’t make their situation any less bad but it does give the opportunity to reach out and stand up to others together.  2. “Let’s Be Real For A Second” In this section they address the blatant fact that everyone wants to be liked. Where boys typically bully others physically girls will typically bully each other through words. These are vicious acts that sadly have become societal norms. 3. “It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way” This is the last part of the movement and in this part they invite people to join them in the fight against bullying. They invite each person their to join their social network platforms.

I think that this campaign is very successful they have had three national tours along with receiving recognition from Dr. Phil , change.org and the New York Times. Not only that but one of the founders Lauren Parsekian is married to Aaron Paul from the hit show Breaking Bad. Being married to him has shed light on the company and all that they are doing to end the vicious cycle of bullying among young girls.

Blog 6 {{Secret Life of the American Teenager}}

27 Oct

The Secret Life of the American Teenager is no longer on the air but at one point it was ABC Family’s most viewed TV program among their more mature teenage audiences. This show followed the lives of multiple high schoolers going through things that their parents would have never expected, including the main character getting pregnant at band camp. One of the main characters on the TV show, Grace Bowman, was portrayed as the typical christian white girl who was involved in the religious groups at school and believed in staying pure and true to herself all through high school. However, as the show went on you learned about her struggle with high school temptations and what her church was telling her what was sinful behavior and what wasn’t. This led to many inner struggles with her character. In the article “Images of Christian Belief,” Rendleman talks about the four different types of evangelical Christian Images that are represented, Grace definitely falls into the naive category during the first few seasons but later into the series she starts to drift away from her christian values in secrecy while still promoting and judging others who in her mind were “sinners”. This in turn causes her to fall more into the hypocritical evangelical christian category. One example from the TV show is when her Dad is killed in a plane accident right after she has sex with her boyfriend. She believes that God is punishing her for having sex so he killed her father. This is a prime example of Grace’s naivety. I don’t think that Grace’s character was in anyway bad but I think that her character portrays a more realistic struggle of what teens, that grew up in a strict religious household, are going through today. Many teens like Grace are unsure of how to act when they are exposed to the diversity of the real world and can come off as hypocritical and naive.

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Blog 5 {{That’s So Raven}}

16 Oct

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I chose to do the TV show That’s So Raven because it is a family show that focuses primarily on a upperclass African American family, living in San Francisco. The show’s main character is Raven Baxter and each episode documents her daily life as a growing teenager and psychic. Raven is your typical teenage girl, she loves fashion, boy bands and hanging out with her friends. Every girl that watches the show is able to relate to her regardless of race. She doesn’t act in a way to ‘portray whiteness’ and she doesn’t ‘act black’. She has two best friends on the show, one is a black male and the other is a white female named Chelsea. Chelsea is one of the few white characters in the entire series. Chelsea’s character is the funny best friend who is a huge advocate for the environment. She also tends to be a bit on the slower side, she is the character that doesn’t think before she speaks. She tends to be the comedic relief in the show. Along with that, Chelsea defies all stereotypes of white privilege. Chelsea is the poorer character on the show and Raven is her wealthy friend. Chelsea plays the humorous best friend that is solely there to make the audience laugh, this is a role typically played by a black actor.

Disney channel made an impact with this TV show because Disney channel is such a popular TV channel to young children. This show exposed children to the reality that whites aren’t always the main actors and characters. This show also showed that families of all different races can lead happy and normal lives. The show shot down stereotypes that are often seen in other shows, showing that being a minority makes you less than the majority.

Blog 4 {{New Girl}}

7 Oct

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New Girl is one of my all time favorite shows on television right now. Not only do I relate to the main character Jess because of her awkward quirks but I also have a friend group similar to hers. Jess’s friend group is actually very diverse, she has her best girlfriend Cece who is Indian then she has her three roommates, Nick who is white, Schmidt who is Jewish and then Winston and Coach who are both black.

This show covers such a large spectrum of races and also has a great script. This show, I would say, supports what Mr. Deggans said during our Skype conference with him, he said that shows aren’t automatically better because they include multiple races, but they are good because they have good scripts and good actors. He was saying that producers should include multiple races because its the right thing to do but also because it shows a more realistic view of reality which in ultimately creates a better end product. Jess and her friends live in Los Angeles, which is one of the largest and most diverse cities in America. The producers and screenwriters did a good job of capturing what the average friend group in Los Angeles may look like.

The characters in this show don’t mention their race, which I think is good because in real life people don’t go around mentioning race. I don’t go around pointing out that I have a black and indian friend so why would they do that in the TV show? If anything the characters embrace their heritage. Cece almost got married in one of the seasons, since she is Indian they had a traditional Indian wedding in the episode. Nothing about that episode was stereotypical or negative. I honestly was happy that they showed her having an indian wedding because it showed that even though Cece is Indian-American she still embraces her heritage and culture. In May the Circle Stay Unbroken: Friends, the Presence of Absence, and the Rhetorical Reinforcement of Whiteness, Phil Chidester said, “At first glance, most of today’s television content would seem to be wholly silent on issues of race to be largely free of overt racial content or even of more implicit messages about race,” (160). This to me is very accurate because on the TV show they never once mention the races of the characters because as people we can see that she has a diverse friend group, we don’t need it to be pointed out. However, they may not mention the race of the characters but they make sure to embrace the culture of each persons race. Whether it be Cece’s wedding or Schmidt discussing Yom Kippur or Hanukkah.

Overall I would say that New Girl is a widely successful show that provides an accurate look at a group of friends in a diverse city. The show has a good story line and focuses on the friendships rather than the races, which I think is a pretty accurate look at today’s society.

Blog #3 {{Gossip Girl}}

23 Sep

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I chose to observe the show Gossip Girl. This show follows the lives of teenagers living in New York City. The show primarily focuses on two girls who live lives of luxury on the Upper East Side. The show, even though it has ended, was a drama and aimed towards teen girls. The show had a strong following for all of its seasons on the CW.

I want to focus on two of the characters, Blair Waldorf and Dan Humphrey. Blair is your queen bee of the Manhattan Elite. Blair is an only child and lives in a luxurious mansion on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. She attends a costly private school where everyone worships her. She is constantly strutting the streets in couture and carrying the latest handbags. Blair has never and will never work a day in her life. She got into an Ivy League college because of her connections not because of her grades. Dan Humphrey is the exact opposite; he is poor and lives in Brooklyn. He also attends the private school but on scholarship. Dan is a hard worker and is happy with who he is. He isn’t concerned about his position in society because he knows he will work his was to the top. Blair loathes Dan’s existence, mainly for the sole fact that he is poor and below her in society.

Based on the summary I provided Blair would consider Dan to be “White Trash”. In the article Consuming “Trash”: Representations of Poor Whites in U.S. Popular Culture Stacer defined white trash as “the label given to an American subculture, whose members are thought to be characterized by poverty, violence, shame, racism, criminality, immorality, laziness, ignorance, poor health and hygiene, and of course, whiteness.” Dan in Blair’s eyes shouldn’t be associated with because he is poor and her association with his ‘type’ would be degrading to her social standing. When Blair does spend time with Dan, she treats the situation as a charity case. In reality when people watch Gossip Girl they relate more with Dan than Blair. Blair lives life of the 1% whereas Dan is a middle class citizen with a dad who is a blue-collar worker. Dan is just like the normal American working to make a living, he is the prime example of living the American Dream that we discussed in class. He will work his whole life in order to make something of himself and even in then he will still face barriers that Blair will never have to face due to her societal status. Blair is an example of a girl who suffers from affluenza, another term we brought up in class. Blair is the typical girl that will get away with anything and everything because she has connections and wealth.

In conclusion I think that Dan and Blair are two prime examples that let us see the strong divide between the rich and poor in society. It is something that we so often refuse to admit exists but it is very prominent in todays culture whether we want to believe it or not.

 

Blog no. 2 {{Revenge}}

14 Sep

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One of my favorite prime time shows is Revenge. This show is about a girl, Emily/Amanda, who comes back to East Hampton after many years to right the wrongs that were placed against her father. She is the lead in the show and has a conniving and sly personality that makes her enter into the Hampton’s social scene without a second glance. This is exactly what she needs in order to get back at the people who took away the life she once knew and locked her father away in prison where he died.

The character I wanted to focus on is the main one Emily. It is becoming more common to see women in the lead of a show nowadays but not every show portrays women the way that Revenge does. What I really like about her character is that she is so strong willed and persistent. She knows exactly what she wants and she is going to get it.

This show actually, in my opinion, plays off the fact that women are supposed to be inferior to men.  In the show you can see that all the men are successful hedge hunters who work in Manhattan and live lavishly in the Hamptons. The women in the show are all stay at home, never work, always look pretty and constantly gossiping. Which is exactly how men think women should act. However, the women on this show are anything but innocent, especially Emily. In each episode you learn new things about her and each of those things are skills that she uses to plant her Revenge on the people who deserve it. Emily knows that as a women she should act a certain way to fit in with society but she is so smart and good at acting that way that no one in the town knows that she is plotting her retaliation against the town. Her character “falls in love” with one of the male leads by doing things such as acting innocent and pretending to need protection. She knows that if she acts this way it will eventually bring her closer to her enemies. Rather than coming to town and right off the bat acting dominant and upfront she  plays behind the submissive, innocent mask that women are thought to abide by. So in a way this show goes against the movie we watched in class but it also plays along with it. Revenge in a twisted way shows its female characters in a weaker light that the men think they should be in but in reality the women are the stronger characters who are simply acting the way men think they should to get what they really want.

Blog One by Madeline Fisk

3 Sep

My opinions on the relationship between mass media and reality has always been the same, so far this class has yet to change my views. I believe that that media is out to entertain the public; I believe that there are motives behind certain shows and movies. I don’t believe that all motives are bad; typically they are created or thought of based on the ideologies of the public. In the article Between the Lions I was somewhat infuriated, I felt as though people were trying to make drama from nothing. I don’t believe that The Walt Disney Company was setting out to fulfill racial stereotypes. Regardless of your race when you watch that movie you relate with Simba. A five-year-old African American boy and a five-year-old white boy are both going to relate their lives to Simba. The students surveyed in the article had very much that same response as I did. “Throughout the interviews, students argued that it was ridiculous to assume that the producers intended the film to contain messages about gender, class, race or (in response to Newberger) poor people. Because the producers did not intend this, argued the students, then the messages were not in the movie.” (p. 11) I could not agree more to this statement, I believe that mass media is produced today based solely to entertain. I feel that if a producer wants draw upon a certain race, gender or social class they will do it blatantly. I think that most of the time people try to assume messages from media that aren’t there only to cause the controversy that shouldn’t be caused.

To conclude I believe that there is a relation between mass media and ideologies, whether the viewer wants to see it as positive or negative that is up to them. There is no way possible to create media or entertainment without looking upon the ideologies of the public. As discussed on day one of class we, as people, tend to be attracted to things similar to us. Producers and creators in the entertainment industry have the job job to create media that will attract to all people.