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Media and Identity- Reflection

3 Dec

Over the past semester, I have revisited topics that I have already learned about, revisited topics that I am strongly opinionated about, and learned many new things, theories and viewpoints. Being a Media and Identity class, and discussing topics such as race, class, gender, stereotypes, religion etc, I think it was a great thing that we had such a diverse class of students. I know there was a wide array of different religions, several different ethnicity’s, different identities and different races. This being said, we got to experience several different view points, first hand, in class, which was a great learning experience.

One moment in particular that stood out to me a lot this past semester was when we did an in class activity, where we did a survey, circling numbers regarding to things we had or didn’t have growing up. The activity was related to the topic of class and power. If you had a positive number after adding all of your answers together, you were most likely in the middle/ upper class, and were very privileged growing up. This activitiy stood out to me a lot because my results did not fit my stereotype of a white female at all. My results, to the theory of class, should have been around a positive 4 or 5. However, my results were a negative 3. This made me realize that I went against my stereotype. But who else was really gonna believe me? Even if I had told the class about it, some of the students still would have seen me as a rich, white girl, whos parents probably are paying for college. In reality, I’m in a lot of debt due to loans for college because my single mother cant afford my education. My loans are in my name, and I struggle some months just like those who live in poverty. Having $7 to my name after rent, and bumming swipes off of my underclassmen friends.

I think learning more about the theories and topics that we discussed made me happy because I have always been a strong advocate against medias portrayals of people, mostly image and gender identity. Being introduced to class, race and religion in the media though, was a different view point for me, but I learned a lot and actually enjoyed the content. Before taking this course I would have never realized how little native Americans and Latinos were portrayed in our cultures media.  I think it is a shame that all races, religions, classes, etc are not portrayed equally in the media, because our nation is so high on it’s horse about being the “melting pot” yet if you view its media, we are RomCom white folk, white trash, rich whites, or vice-verse, Nerdy Asain’s, violent and rude blacks, etc.

The topics and ideologies discussed in class gave me a new appreciation for the study of media and identity. They forced me to think critically and to see different view points, even when I didn’t agree with them. Being able to practice acceptance of other view points was a great way for me mature my professional self. This class not only taught me about different topics related to media and identity, but it also taught my life lessons. 1.) Different View points are just different, not wrong. 2.) everyone is different, regardless of their race / religion/ skin color. Just because She is black and so is her friend, doesn’t mean they experience blackness the same. 3.) People are made up of intersectionality- meaning they aren’t just a white woman, black woman, asain women. They are a mom, a lawyer, poor, rich, christian, atheist, educated, under educated, etc.

People tend to perpetuate the stereotypes they are given by the media- but what if, as students, we change that together? What if we informed people, gave them the knowledge and the opportunity to learn about media and identity the way we were taught? I wish you the best with your clothing line and I wish that you can truly inspire people through it as well. Keep on teaching on, the world could use a little more culture in their lives.


WWLD- What would Lara do?

30 Nov

Dutch Model Lara Stone, 30 years of age, is a popular Calvin Klien underwear model. Being in many magazines and ad’s she has felt the pressure to be the “ideal woman” and to be the “Ideal beauty”. After having a baby with her comedian husband, Lara finds natural beauty in her POST baby body. Stone states that she was asked, “What is beauty for you?”  Her response left me breahtless- “I just find a lot of things beautiful when you open your mind” I find this very inspiring coming from such a beautiful, talented and popular women. I think it really brings out her morals and strength as a women who is tired of being held to a standard that is not realistic. The issue she is counter acting by doing the unedited photo shoot is self-esteem, media projections / stereotyping of women. The tactic she is using to turn this vision of women into a pro social act, is rebellion- she refuses to have her photos edited so that everyone can see the true beauty that she sees after becoming a mother. Stone stated, “everyone has arm flab and saggy boobs. It’s the way it is.”

Statistics show that media,especially images, effect how young women view themselves. when they see all of the edited images of models and celebrities on tv or in magazines they start holding themselves to standards that are not realistic and setting goals they will not be able to reach. Lara Stone herself said that the weight that she needed to be at after birth was very difficult and stressful to achieve, especially since she had never been told to lose weight before.

However, even though this photo shoot advocates for natural beauty, it is still objectifying women. The article states, “Lara stone wears nothing but red lipstick and a pair of black underpants in her unedited photo shoot.” The emphasis is still on the fact that she is topless in the article title. It is not until you read more into it that you realize that this article really is Pro- women and is going against the Medias Ideals of women and our bodies.

However there is still hope for humanity. Bodyism founder James Duigan had inspired Stone to have the photos unedited by showing her showed that it wasn’t really about that (being topless and perfect) and that it was all about being a mother and having a beautiful baby. I believe that this pro-social media coverage is a good thing for calvin klien. These images will allow their image as an organization increase due to the fact that they are not afraid to have their models unedited and that they even give their models this option- since most places would not allow this sort of act.

Ms Stone pictured in a recent Calvin Klein underwear campaign shot

Practicing the Islamic religion on T.V

28 Oct

The show new girl is about 4 friends who live in a loft together and perform random, mischievous actions together. Whereas they are all similar in some ways, they are all different- bringing diverse personality to the show. The characters are a good mix of Caucasian, Indian, and Black Americans. They all grow and express their religion throughout the series, but one character in particular expresses her religion over an array of episodes and even throughout several seasons.

In the show new girl, Cece finds out she doesn’t have long before she becomes infertile. This scare drives her to find a mature, serious man who is ready to settle down and start a family within the next couple of years. However, instead of going after her normal type- white American men or European men, she goes after a man of her own religion- Islamic. She chooses to do so, so that he grandmother (who raised her) would approve and be proud. This incident then pushes Cece to live out her Islamic religion more and more in her everyday life. She no longer has sex- becomes abstinent- she dresses in the full head dress and robe, and she only goes on dates with men who also practice the Islamic religion. Despite her decisions to live out her Islamic life style, partake in Islamic worship, and participate in traditional Indian rituals, the show did not make fun of or look down upon the Islamic religion. The rest of the characters in the show supported her in her decisions- at least most of them. The only down fall portrayed in the show was that Schmidt was interested in Cece and knew that he did not have a chance due to her only dating Indian men. Her wedding day is when the Islamic religion became a target of comedy for the series. Schmidt being against it- because he is in love with her- plans to sabotage her wedding. He does so by poking fun at wedding guest, calling them terrorist and making fun of their clothing. This example exemplifies the Traditional General-Market News Media and Muslim/Islamic Identity that is talked about in Lasorsa’s article at the bottom of page 5- that Islam’s are immediately associated with terrorism.

“It’s not always as it seems”

16 Oct

Wizards of Waverly place is a show that aired on Disney Channel and is now on netflix. It features a family of Hispanics who owns a restaurant and they live in a town house above the store. The family, except the mother, are all “wizards.” The parents have three children, and the only daughter has a best friend who is white- her name is Harper. With Harper being the only white character in the show, I think it shows a good sense of diversity because the whole Hispanic family treats her as if she is one of their own. However, on Disney channel i have seen an occurring theme that the “white girl” friend is always portrayed as ditzy or annoying. Harper is very outgoing and goofy- always wearing silly outfits, making silly looking arts and crafts and making a fool of her self in public and at school.

I could see this causing issues within Disney channel because she, Harper, is the minority in the show as one of the only white characters, and portraying whites as the minority, even though whites can be very socially sensitive to issues of race as well, isn’t seen as a bad thing when they are the minority. It’s just like if a black man were to call me a honky, and I tried saying I was offended, it wouldn’t be taken as serious as if I were to call a black man a nigger.

I can’t really relate too much to Harper because I have never had a friend group that wasn’t primarily white people. I have had several black, mixed, Asian, and Hispanic friends though.

Be “blackest” version of yourself.

6 Oct


New Girl, a show staring Zooey Deschenel is considered the millennial generations version of the show Friends. There is debate, however, about some of the characters in the show- Winston and Cece. Do these non-white characters bring a sense of diversity, or is their purpose in the show to be objects of humor due to their race? Both view points could be seen equally, where as they are portrayed as “white-ish” Majority of the time, but they are also often used as objects geared toward humor and in some cases, sexuality. There is ony character in the series who always making the race jokes, and that is Schmidt ironically enough, since he is Jewish and in the day the Jewish considered themselves a different race other than white.

Winston- Winston is the black male lead character in the series.  in the first season is introduced as an ex pro basketball player. He moved back to the united states after being cut off from the team and is having a hard time getting back on his feet. Why is it that the first black male we are introduced to in the series is a pro basketball player? Is this trying to play off the stereotype of black men being good at sports, or just coincidence? Also, why is he unemployed for so long in the first season where as everyone else has established careers? Later in the series, Winston is having some trouble being happy and Schmidt, a White- Jewish character, thinks that the solution to making Winston happy again is to help him find his race and culture. Schmidt thinks winston isn’t “Black” enough and tells winston that he is going to help him find his black self- no matter what it takes. Schmidt goes to all sorts of measures such as to attend all black events, talk “black” and even agrees to smoke crack with winston so he feels more at home. Although none of this is actually stuff Winston would do, he plays along to mess with Schmidt, Winston takes Schmidt to the hood and he gets scared. Finally winston tells schmidt that being “black” doesn’t mean all of the things he thinks and that he doesn’t live in those stereotypes.

Cece- Cece is an indian woman who happens to be Jessica Day’s, the lead female character, best friend. Cece and Schmidt have a love connection for a while until it unravels. Although Cece walked away from schmidt, she still wanted a partner and decided to try Indian men so that her family would approve of her marrying within her culture. She attends an Indian Marriage Convention and of course- Schmidt shows up to ruin it dressed in Indian attire, under a fake name that sounds Indian as well. In other episodes He refers to her as an Indian Beauty, also showing his subtle racist comments

below are quotes from Schmidt. In bold are the racist aspects of his humor:

Schmidt: Look, Jess. The truth is I don’t go out on Valentine’s Day. There’s no thrill. All these bars filled with emotionally vulnerable women — I’m like a Dominican teenager playing Little League. It’s just not fair for everybody else.

Schmidt: “Get your crap together, India! (said while at the Indian wedding convention)

Schmidt: I don’t celebrate Christmas. Or, as I like to call it, ‘White Anglo Saxon Winter Privilege Night’

whose that girl? It’s Jess! (New Girl- blog 3)

23 Sep
“I know I’m gullible because a lot of people tell me that and I have no reason not to believe them” – JessNew Girl- a show about a ditzy, clumsy, yet incredibly charming woman who moves in with 3 very different guys who all happen to be great friend. Nick- who is known as the lazy one, unhealthy one and irresponsible one, Schmidt- who is very well off, very organized and OCD about a lot, and Winston- who just got back on his feet after losing a job and a rough break up, with a new job and a new female interest, and works hard for what he has. The show is a comedy of their lives as roommates, and how the use/help each other with certain aspects of their lives- whether it is relationships, work or just around their loft.

The class dynamics present in this show are all over the place. Nick- as I said before, is the irresponsible, lazy one. He is a bartender, so it’s not exactly a “white collar” job. Its part time, and the other half he is drinking himself. He is portrayed as the “lower” of the 4 roommates by not only his job, but his anger issues and family issues as well.

The next level up in the pyramid of their loft heirarchy would be Jess: She is ditzy, silly, clumsy, yet charming. She is a teacher, so she represents the middle class of their loft. she has what she needs, but never is really represented with having more than necessary, but when she is, it is because of her best frined Cici, who is a very well off model with a lot of connections.

The second highest ranked roommate is Winston. He has a white collar job in an office building, and is working to become more successful than he already was. He is the roommate that would be considered the upper middle class, because he works hard for what he has, but he still has some extra money to spend on things such as dates with his female interest, and drinking at the bar, that nick works at, after work.

The upper class member in the loft is definitely Schmidt. Schmidt has inherited money from his Jewish family, and has no need for a job in the show. He is known for his large collection of name brand suits, his nice car, and lending the other roommates money when needed. He however, definitely went through a class change, because several times throughout the series, it flashes back to how him and nick met, when they were both underdogs, no ones and broke college students who lived together in the dorms. Where as nick didn’t advance much upon graduating college, Schmidt sored up the social ladder to upper class. HIs perspective is definitely the most visible due to him having a plethora of name brand, high quality, expensive objects.

Womens Fitness Vs. Mens Fitness

15 Sep

womens fit 1 mens fit

These magazines are used as tips and tricks to looking like the people who are on the covers; whether it be work out routines such as interval running or different ways to work certain muscles, stretches for certain parts of the body or yoga, diet plans; food and liquid, or supplements such as protein powders and pre workout, the person on the front is who we should all strive to be, and use the products they use, according to the media. But can you blame them, sexy sells and it sells products that are associated to the “sexy”. Just from the COVERS of magazines, the media is controling our perception of gender and gender identity. From these two photos, we see the stereotypical woman that media wants us to think when we think of femininity: overly emotional, thin, flirty, blond, skinny, perfect hair (even though shes in workout clothing) Then they portray to us this man: serious, stern, muscular, dominant looking male. Even on the cover of a womens fitness magazine, the girl isn’t pictured as strong, determined, or active. she is still seen as the ideal women. With the man, if this is a magazine for fitness, why not show men who are not as muscular, and who may be working towards gaining muscle. Show men who have struggled to get where they are, just like a lot of other men who had to start from the bottom and rise to the top to gain approval to be a “man” from society.

Blog number one

3 Sep

Write about your newly informed opinion about the relationship between mass media and perceived reality. Right now, do you see how media is a purveyor of ideology? Explain why or why not. Use the readings to support your opinons or provide at least 2 counter-arguments to any of the readings to make your argument. Your entry must be between 300-400 words.

Growing up, my mother always told me that what media and society says is “normal” or “in” isn’t always right. So with this opinion in my head, I thought that I wasn’t being sucked in by media, and that it wasn’t shaping who I was as a person. However, throughout college, i have taken several courses including this one that have proved me wrong. The media shapes not only me, but the world around me, everyday. Last year I lived in a sorority house full of beautiful, intelligent, and strong women, yet I  would always hear them complain daily about not being thin enough or not having pretty enough hair, or that they wish they had longer legs. All of these wishes are symptoms of the socially constructed disease that media spreads to the public. It is shaping our ideology about ourselves and the people around us.

 when it comes to viewing media as a purveyor of ideology, I see it through the lense of the negotiable paradigm- where, if i switch on my critical thinking, i can see the subtle messages the media sends in order to shape us without our consent. However, without tuning in on critical thinking, I view media very transitionally- it is how it is. Rockler explains in the article “message between lions” that she views it very ritualistically. She sees that the producers and authors of the Lion King played out social and economical ideologies- such as hyenas being lower class. Not only did the hyenas portray this in the movie, but they were also played by real humans who would- if seen on the street- would be classified as low on the pyramid of hierarchy.

Another way that media shapes our ideology about our identity is through the cultivation of television shows, news, magazines and more. Romer, in his article named “Cultivation” states that media often uses the cultivation theory and comparisons when it is presented to its consumers. The example Romer used was the news related to crime, and crime based shows, possibly such as CSI. He states that although the crime percentage has been declining since the 90’s, the fear of crime has gone up tremendously. why? Because people are viewing it- on the news, in television, in movies. However, this “cultivation theory” does not only apply to crime. In todays world, we can become cultivated in anything. For example, females are constantly exposed to comercials for skin care products to make you look beautiful and young- just like the photoshoped actress they use as visual- or men are always exposed to commercials such as axe- where when you wear their products on your body you are all of a sudden a God and “pull mass bitches”.

Studying this topic in several classes has made me realize how much of my life and my loved ones lifes Media captures and controls. I believe that in order to defeat medias cultivation, we must educate one another on the topic and learn to fight against the stereotypes media places on society, and be our own, individual persons.