Archive by Author

Mirror Mirror On The Wall…

13 Nov

Summary: According to the article Intriguing Ads Tell Young Girls: ‘You’re Not a Princess’ and ‘Life’s Not a Fairytale’ Feminism from an unlikely source By Rebecca Cullers on Adweek.com, a small Catholic college-prep academy for girls in Kentucky is working on a prosocial ad campaign of their own, with agency Doe-Andersonthe, the main idea being, “Life’s Not a Fairytale.” Their campaign basically is promoting the independence of women from society’s dominant ideology that men rule the world we live in and women need them to be okay in life. Mercy Academy is working towards instilling the ideas using some of these images:

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If you look carefully at the bottom of this second image, you will see a more in-depth description of what the academy hopes to accomplish with the education they provide: As a woman, being able to overcome obstacles by themselves without needing a mans help. This helps promote women’s self esteem and at the same time the idea that it is possible to overcome life’s obstacles, whatever they may be, without the help of a “prince”.

Analysis: While this campaign is targeted towards their students, it is going viral on the web and I really like that as it reaches a larger audience. Focusing on their main targets however, who this campaign is aimed at, is their female students and I believe it will be received well. It focuses not on a societal norm, but pushes one of the “dominant norms” of men being the end all be all power holders in society. If I was a student of theirs looking at this, I know I would be more empowered to try harder in school so that I could go on to develop a career and be able to take care of myself. It picks on the 1950s era idea that women are to be at home cooking, cleaning, and raising children while being dependent on their husbands who go out and work and make the money that the family depends on. As the adweek article hints at, that ideal life is still being pushed by some to be the life women should lead and Mercy is trying to address that and I believe they are definitely off to a good start. 

Conclusion: I believe the main take away from this article and campaign is that, dominant ideologies should be pushed, especially by girls in this case, and they should never let what society says is the ideal hold them back from accomplishing things in life. 

Truth is Truth

24 Oct

No matter who it comes from, are the words Tim Wise spoke that really resonated with me. That having been said, nothing Tim Wise spoke about really surprised me as much as things that he said helped open my eyes. When he was speaking about black history month and history in general and how people in the black community are constantly told to, “get over it” or “why are we still talking about this?”, he turned the tables around to the dominant white society and brought up the importance of the fourth of July. While I don’t remember his exact words, he said something along the lines of- You here white people telling people in the black community to “just get over it already, it happened so long ago!”, but you sure don’t see them forgetting the fourth of July that happened well over 200 years ago! No, they are out there setting off fireworks dressed in red, white and blue. But that’s because that part of history lifts them up and wasn’t negative for them. He also brought up the current day Tea Party group-saying that that is also hundreds of years ago, but you don’t see people telling them to just get over it already! But a lot of people, including me, don’t realize that and I’m glad it opened my eyes to that. 

Another point he made, that I liked, touched on the kinds of people who are racist-or I believe that’s what it was. He spoke about how the types of people who are racists come from a broken, low place in some way-just as the people are who join gangs and other similar groups. There is a brokenness in them. While I have scraped the surface of thinking about that maybe once or twice in my life, like I’m sure many other people have done, hearing it last night helped it really sink in. 

The last point I will bring up that he touched that I enjoyed and again made an impression on me is, when he brought up that just because you have black friends, doesn’t mean you are not a racist-just as even though a man might date a woman, does not mean he is automatically not a sexist and the examples really could go on forever. I feel like some people just simply would never make that kind of very simple connection unless someone exposed them to it, just as Tim Wise did the other night for me and so many other people. 

With all that being said, recalling everything that was said, there’s nothing I can say I disagreed with. And how could I, because everything he was saying was a fact. None of it was his opinion, except when he was asked to give it after his speech.

As far as his speech connecting with what we are learning in class, Critical Race Theory definitely connects. Part of his speech consisted of him speaking about 4/20 and how it is basically a national “holiday” for mostly white kids to smoke weed openly and proudly. He spoke about how white kids who celebrate this day will do it out in the open with little or no fear of having police approach them, let alone arrest them. However, he said, if black kid were to wear the same clothes celebrating the culture around smoking weed or do the same activities as white kids out in the open on 4/20 there would be a different outcome. Basically what he was saying is that race is political, not biological. 

Overall I really enjoyed his speech and he brought up some great points and views

Shameless and It’s Diversity

3 Oct

Summary: Shameless is an hour long show on Showtime and will be going into it’s third season this coming January. It is a show about a very low income family who enjoys breaking laws and other risque things, and their friends, living in Chicago.

Analysis: The cast is refreshingly not all white, but it is darn near close. The family includes a mostly absentee mother, Monica and a father, Frank played by William H. Macy, who abuses alcohol and drugs and is also mostly absentee, yet is some how involved in the children’s lives in every episode. The rest of the family consists of six children. Fiona, played by Emmy Rossum, is the oldest, who in the most recent season, gained guardianship over her younger siblings and keeps the house running as she is the one who pays the bills with as much help from her younger siblings as possible. Then there is ‘Lip’, who represents the Einstein of the family and the hope of escaping the life of poverty they have known all their lives. Ian is the gay one in the family and struggles with his sexuality, especially being a military hopeful. Debbie is the next in age, and is a red headed mature individual for her age yet some how finds a way to surprise the audience by defying stereotypes of a “normal” little girl. Then there is Carl. Carl is without a doubt the biggest troublemaker in the family. If it can be made into a weapon, it will be made into a weapon and used by him. If it can explode, it will be exploded by him. If it can be stolen, most cases it will be stolen by him, and if there is a curse word or any inappropriate behavior at all it will be done or said by him, etc. and he is only roughly the age of 11. Then there is Liam. The African American child, the biological son of both Monica and Frank, as proven by a paternity test in one of the seasons. Among other characters and races represented on the show, there is a baby born by one of the main actresses of season 1 who turns out to be asian and has down’s syndrome. Then there is Fiona’s best friend V or Veronica who is African American and she is in a long term relationship a white man, and her mother also makes many appearances in the second season. In the first season there is also a main character, who is a muslim and owns his own store with his white wife who converted to being muslim for him. Other than main characters, there is just one appearance of another race that I can recall and that is a police officer who is a partner of another main character and I only remember seeing him in one episode. 

After examining the main characters, and looking back on the article May the Circle Stay Unbroken: Friends, the Presence of Absence, and the Rhetorical Reinforcement of Whiteness, I can thankfully say that it does not follow suit with the T.V. show Friends where there is a closed circle of one race (especially in a major city) and does not perpetuate the hegemony of white dominance through the absence of other races. While this show does not appear on a major T.V. station, it is seen by many people and I believe it is taking a step in the right direction with diversifying the cast, not only racially but also by taking a look at sexuality issues and people with medical issues. Though Shameless does do a good job of not portraying an all white cast, it does portray a predominately white cast, which goes along with the idea that predominately white casts are preferred. 

Conclusion: While taking into account 2 seasons of Shameless, I would have to say-while mostly complying with class notes that most narratives are not written for non-whites and instead people of color must fit into a white narrative, Shameless is trying to break out of the “norm” of having all white casts and white narratives, through including people of other races in main character roles and focusing whole story lines on them. 

Dexter

24 Sep

Summary: I chose to watch the series finale of Dexter. This show follows the life of a blood spatter analyst in the Miami Metro Police Department in Miami, FLA. Dexter is the main character, who along with his job has been living a second life. He is a serial killer, yet only kills people who are guilty of committing a crime or crimes of their own and does it in a way where he does not get caught. Deb is his sister and is also on the police force. Last season she discovered what he does and has been trying to come to terms with it ever since. Hannah is Dexter’s girlfriend who is also a serial killer, but has actually been to jail for her crimes and is now under an alias as she has a reward out to anyone who can bring her in. The season finale continues struggles from the previous episode where Dexter, his son, and Hannah are trying to flee the country to go to Argentina and start a new life. Many complications are in the way of this happening, such as a private detective trying to capture Hannah, a hurricane coming and the airport shutting down, and his sister Deb getting shot and almost dying as a direct result of things that he did and left unfinished and Dexter must deal with all of these. The show goes back and forth between Deb’s recovery and Hannah trying to make a break for it while Dexter tends to the unfinished business of killing Deb’s shooter. 

Analysis: This show chooses to look at a blood spatter analyst at a police department along with the other people of the department. It’s interesting that they chose to make the main character, who is a serial killer, an employee of a police department. While he is doing what I would determine a “professional service”, as not just anyone can become a blood spatter analyst, usually people working in a police department are looked at as a whole as public servants or working class. Looking at the characters and going along with the thought Dexter is a step up in the class ranks, it is portrayed on the show by him living in a nice condo with a water view, an suv, a full size boat that he pays to keep docked so he can use it whenever he wants and to dump bodies, and is also able to pay for a full time semi-live in nanny. He also speaks properly and dresses in a put together manner. The step up in class ranks is also portrayed specifically in this episode where, after they have Deb’s shooter in police custody, Dexter(who has already turned in his resignation and finished with work at the department) while carrying his badge, refuses a police escort, and tells the employee at the desk that he is going to collect DNA samples and proceeds to enter his holding cell. Dexter and the shooter are being filmed of course by a security camera but it does not record sound. Dexter goes in with the intention of killing the man and provokes the shooter to pick up a pen and stab him with it. Dexter is stabbed in the shoulder and pulls out the pen and stabs the shooter in the neck which ends up killing him. When reviewing the video Dexter’s boss and another cop turn to Dexter to ask why he went in there as his job had ended and it was the man who almost killed his sister. Dexter replied that his job wasn’t officially over until Friday and that he wanted to make sure the case was handled without mistakes and look the shooter in the eyes. The two cops who are friends of Dexter’s and Deb’s look at each other and say it was obviously self defense-even though no one gave him orders to go in there and do that and his employment with the department was technically done. While there are a few ways to look at that, it is interesting that he got off with such little drama and questioning and fits in with the hegemonic power structure that people with a higher class ranking have more power and also it’s about who you know. Looking at the other cops on the show, Dexter’s boss Angel worked hard all his life and when he wanted to retire from the police department was able to do so and open his own bar and restaurant, shedding light on the Protestant Work Ethic capitalist ideology. In a previous episode this season, there is a boy who is suspected of being part of a woman’s murder. This probably yielded the best example of the whole series showing the power the upper class holds. In one particular episode where people are getting more and more suspicious, the head of the department who is very good friends with the boy’s family-who happen to be very rich-tell’s the cop on the case specifically to back off because of the family’s wealth and importance and insinuates that if he does not back off that he will be punished.

When looking at the stereotypes of what it means to be working class like we saw in class Thursday, such as drinking beer instead of fancy cocktails, watching sports on the tv instead of going to fancy parties and partaking in conversations about scholarly subjects, and not doing much to better themselves such as exercising or reading, it is evident in this show. Deb is only ever seen drinking beer, along with the other cops including her brother. All they seem to do in their off time is sit around an socialize at a small family dinner or out at a bar. Besides the occasional upper class suspects, the upper class is not really looked at in the show. I would say the show deals more with working class and middle class people, which goes along with the class notes stating that tv presents more images of the working class. 

Conclusion: I would have to say that Dexter seems to take a look at the advantages of the “working class” in the situation of working in a police department and interestingly shows how power is distributed among the different ranks. 

Blog 1: Desperate Housewives

12 Sep

Topic: Femininity

Summary: I decided to watch an episode from Desperate Housewives, written by an man,

on Netflix which normally aired at 9 pm every sunday. This episode was the 14th in season 7 out of 9. Like in all Desperate Housewives episodes, the show follows different story lines of all the housewives. In this particular one, Bree deals with the newly discovered fact that her younger boyfriend has a seven year old child and tries hiding it from him. Lynnette’s story line focuses on her mother trying to get a foot into her new husband’s will and meanwhile dragging Lynnette’s family into the mix of dealing with the unpleasant man. Susan is dealing with being the victim of a violent mob and needing a kidney transplant. And finally Gabby is the one that has the storyline that I am most pulled to when thinking in terms of Femininity. In episodes leading up to this one, she learns that her first daughter, Juanita, was switched at birth and with the help of a lawyer she finds her real biological daughter, Grace. She brings Juanita to the park to meet some “friends” who happen to have a daughter the same age, Gabrielle’s real daughter. Through the next several episodes, we see Gabby struggle with trying to hide her strong feelings for Grace while having her over for play dates, to Gabby being forced to say goodbye when the government learns that Grace’s parents are here illegally and they must flee. Gabby goes through the traumatic event of basically losing a daughter, and not being able to bring her up for fear it will hurt Juanita, and goes into severe depression. She finds comfort however, in an extravagant doll that looks like her biological daughter and treats it as though it is real. This extreme behavior almost gets her and her husband killed during a car jacking in which she refuses to get out of the car without her doll, who is strapped into a car seat, even with a gun pointed at her. Her husband has to physically pull her out of the car kicking and screaming. Now, in this episode, Gabby is forced to deal with her problem and her husband Carlos tells her she needs to go to therapy. She goes and ends up hating it yet lies to Carlos so that he thinks she’s going three days a week. Carlos finds out and drags her to the therapist and forces her to go. The episode ends with the new husband of Lynnette’s mom dying and her mother inherits millions, Bree’s boyfriend learning of his son and accepting him, Susan not getting her kidney, and Gabby actually benefitting from going to therapy and talking about her troubles. 

Analysis: In this episode, Gabrielle’s problem is the main story and given the most air time. During this episode it is made evident that Gabby is too weak to deal with the loss of her daughter while her husband is keeping his cool and is unaffected. Gabby is so affected that she needs therapy to deal with it, while her husband goes about his regular job and in addition does Gabby’s chores. After learning about her ditching therapy to go to a spa, he drags her out of the spa and tells her she is going to therapy. Gabby is much smaller than Carlos and when at the therapist’s building she cannot just walk past him and leave. Carlos’ powerful masculine presence is further portrayed when, instead, Gabby says she has to go to the bathroom and tries to escape through the window, avoiding dealing with Carlos totally. While I believe Desperate Housewives does an alright job at evening the playing field by showing strong female leads such as Bree and Lynnette, in this episode, the male ego is served the most. The representations in this episode conform to the dominant ideologies of favoring males through having them be the most in control of their feelings. 

Conclusion: This episode suggests that to face their problems and solve them, women need the help of the man in their life.