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Wrinkles are Wonderful!

7 Nov

               I believe pro-social media can potentially have a huge impact on overall media. Throughout the past twenty years or so, we have already seen subtle changes happening in the media due to movements and organizations that have voiced their objections towards inequities within society. Such as the movement on women’s rights. Or the dove campaign that advocates for natural beauty. I believe the dove campaign as made enormous strides to counter the stereotypical photo shopped images that are seen in ads across the board. Through their ads and commercials, they are bringing back natural beauty that exists in every one of us. One ad that particularly caught my attention was one where they had a picture of an elderly woman and next to it you could either mentally check the box next to “Wrinkles?” or “Wonderful?” Day after day we hear of woman going under the knife to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Day after day we are watching commercial after commercial about different creams that also attempt to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. With campaign ads such as the one below, I believe it is a start to a shift from how wrinkles are portrayed. Every image the Dove Campaign for Natural Beauty portrays sends a very strong message. Their overarching message they want to send is to, “Imagine a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.” With campaigns like these, I believe they can truly empower the everyday woman. I believe with enough ad placement and movement within their campaign to minimize the unrealistic portrayals, beauty may one day be seen in a different light. I do not believe that one campaign can change the way we think about our body image, but I do believe it can get the ball rolling. If they are to empower one make-up industry to jump on and sell make-up for the purpose of maintaining natural beauty, then maybe more influences can be made. The power that pro-social media can provide to counter current negative images and influences in media is very strong to a certain extent. I do believe that it is something can be improved but more effort and support needs to be put into it. I also believe that it is something that needs to slowly become consistent in more and more media outlets. For example, with the dove campaign, maintain their advertisements but include more natural beauty in TV shows, movies, the face of organizations, the cover of magazines, and so and so forth. It has to start with one campaign, but it should end with an army. 

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Finding Truth in Reality: A Tim Wise Reflection

1 Nov

While listening to Tim Wise speak about “white privilege” there were a lot of moments where I had to take a step back and really take in what he was saying. The facts, statistics, opinions, and observations that Tim made in that hour were shocking, and nonetheless something that continuously needs to be pointed out again and again and again until the reality of it really starts sinking in. I’m not saying I’m oblivious to the reality of white privilege and the effect it has in our culture, especially here in Cincinnati. What I am saying is I may, in fact, be in denial regarding the reality of racism, sexism, and privileges. I say this because after hearing his speech, I was surprised by the exact facts and stats that were shared, but I wasn’t surprised in the sense that, you know what, it makes sense. Those statistics do happen, the stories are real, the facts are called facts for a reason, and those points make it a reality that our society shouldn’t be in denial about anymore.

When Tim started talking about the Fourth of July and how we have been celebrating it year after year after year, asking isn’t it enough? Can’t we just get over it? This is something that I did not and do not fully agree with. This is the day our nation became independent from Great Britain and if that did not happen, we would not be where we are today. It is not simply a celebration of white privilege, although it can be skewed that way in which we saw Tim skew it. It is a day to celebrate our nation’s freedom. It just so happens that our nation wasn’t completely free upon its day of independence… We give one day to celebrate this, as we give a whole month to celebrate Black History Month. I do see his point, I just feel as though he was stretching it a little bit.

Aside from that, there were other interesting facts that Tim had to share that I did agree with. When he started talking about talking about the problem, the perspective he put it in was very interesting. The idea that simply talking about it makes it happen, is very comical almost. Simply because we all know, or most of us do, that just talking about a problem, doesn’t make the problem happen, or fix it. This is a very intelligent yet obvious and very strong point he made. You could tell because the audience was getting very excited and laughing when he was talking about this. But it made me think, if we know that talking about it isn’t going to provoke the problem, why aren’t we talking about it? Why aren’t more people standing up for what they believe in? For what they want to see change in?

There was a story he shared that really did surprise me. As I was sitting in my seat listening to a man that is younger than my parents, talk about his experience of witnessing the first integration of blacks in 1971 into his school, I was a little shocked. I understand dates and time, but hearing it from a young man who experienced full on institutional racism, makes it hit home that much closer. It really puts it into perspective about how long ago these things were happening. Or really, how not so long ago these things were happening. It makes it hit home how these things are still happening, and how they will continue to happen until something or someone will change these occurrences.

Tim Wise’s whole entire presentation was really incredible. Some of the statistics that he shared with us such as a 25-29 year-old white man will earn the same, if not higher, income than a 50-54 year-old black man who has a quarter century more experience than the white man who practically just walked in the door. That is amazing. It is sad. It’s a statistic. It’s a reality. It’s truly unfortunate how this has become a white privilege to be earning more doing the same job, but I believe it’s simply a white man privilege. As a woman who is going to be entering the workforce, I am going to become the statistic of that white woman who earns about 25% less than the man sitting next to me. But maybe it is just a white privilege. As Tim stated, the likelihood of a person of color to even be employed is half (Asian Americans) to two times (African Americans) less likely. So maybe it’s just my denial regarding the issue at hand.

After sitting through his presentation, I feel as though I walked out of that room and left my denial behind. He is right, it wasn’t a Muslim who set off the bombs at Boston. The war on drugs isn’t about drugs. It never has been about drugs. It’s not about White people. It’s about whiteness. It’s about dominance. It’s about privilege based on a screwed up systematic idealization. It’s about inequality and ignorance to the subject. It’s about a society whose demographics are shifting every year and if things remain the same, we are setting ourselves up for failure. We have already set ourselves up for failure.

This whole discussion very simply applies to what we have been talking about in class. It applies in the sense that media has been a crutch to these statistics and facts. What I mean by that, is that the media has essentially reiterated these stats. The article that looked at Afrocentrism and how the article’s findings discovered that Afrocentric features are actually being enhanced in articles relating to crime and violence. Within our society, we fall victim to the biased and stereotypical news that we watch and read. Media is defining our culture. Media has created the racist and sexist stereotypes we see today. Okay, well maybe they haven’t created them but they certainly keep them alive.

The Clashing of Racial Stereotypes

3 Oct

Summary I chose to once again analyse the television show, Parenthood, which airs on NBC at 9:00. The show is about a family, the Bravermans, who go through many wonderful and stressful experiences together. Zeek and Camille Braverman are the parents of four now-adult children, who are very different from one another. Adam, the oldest, is a working class man who has been trying to obtain “The American Dream” all while raising a family of five. Sarah is a divorced, low-working class, and unstable mother of two, who has moved her family back home in with her parents. Crosby, once a careless bachelor, has recently changed his life around after discovering he is a father. Lastly, Julia, an upper-middle class lawyer, has the definition of “The American Dream” family, as she is the breadwinner for her family of four. Each family faces real life problems and triumphs, and each family finds a way to deal with various situations.

As I was watching previous episodes from the older seasons, I came across one tonight that really caught my attention. In the episode, “Damage Control,” one of the main things unraveling in the plot is the relationship between Haddie and Alex. Haddie is the daughter of Adam and Christina. Alex is an African-American teenager who is working in the homeless shelter that Haddie had recently started volunteering in. In this episode, Haddie has been spending a lot of time with Alex, but lying about it to her parents, saying she has been hanging out with her other friends. Her parents find out and Adam shows up to the homeless shelter to invite Alex over for dinner with the family. At dinner, Alex explained basically his life story and his past to his parents. Essentially, he is eighteen-years-old and emancipated, living on his own. His mother passed away a few years back, and his dad became an alcoholic. Growing up, he explains how his family was very poor and that’s how he came to work at the homeless shelter. Alex also explains how he is a recovering alcoholic, who is attending AA meetings, and celebrating six months sober.

Another part of the episode covers how Drew, who is Sarah’s son, had been sneaking beer behind their back. Sarah had found out and gave both her children a talk. The father of her children is an alcoholic and Sarah was worried about her kids falling down that same addictive path.

Lastly, one other part of the story focuses on Crosby. At this point in the season, Crosby is dating his child’s mother, Jasmine. Jasmine is African-American, and their child, Jibar, is half-black. In this episode, they announce that they are getting married.

 

Analysis Throughout this episode, there were many things I noticed regarding race and conforming and not conforming to certain stereotypes. First off, this show goes against the popular belief that media creates a pool of negative stereotypes for people who are of a racial minority. The fact that Crosby is marrying a successful African-American, is proof to defying that belief. It happens in too many prime time television shows, where African-Americans are seen in broken and dysfunctional families.

Another instance where they defy this stereotype, is when Alex comes out for dinner with Haddie’s family. When Alex comes to the door, Haddie’s autistic brother blatantly points out that he is “black.” His parents immediately correct him and tell him that that is rude and that he shouldn’t be saying that. Alex kind of laughs it off and responds by saying, “I’m actually more brown.” Not many times in television are people put in their place and corrected. But at the same time, this almost gives proof to how media portrays race. The fact that Max made snap judgments about his race by looking at his skin color proves how naive people can be.

Even though there are a few instances where the show goes against racial stereotypes,

there were instances where they were practically preaching them. When Alex is describing his past and his current state, is pretty much that stereotypical definition of other African-Americans in other media outlets. Alex essentially describes himself as a poor, alcoholic, who came from a broken family, and who is trying to get his life together. This is a large stereotype that black people tend to have. Obviously this is not the case, but they still showcase it and are putting that bad name towards African-Americans. What makes it worse, is after the dinner, Haddie’s parents tell her that she can’t see him anymore. They believe Haddie is too young for that, even though they are only a few years apart in age. They believe he was a very nice kid but they essentially don’t want Haddie mixed up with his lifestyle. This ban from seeing Alex is coming from two white people who grew up in a great family and who have been living the “American Dream” their entire life (in the show that is). The whole show is based around the Braverman family and how close they are and how they overcome so many obstacles together.

I really believe this show, at some points wants to speak out against racial differences and reduce the minority. But at the same time, in some of the scenes, their actions are speaking louder than their words.

Conclusion I believe the show, Parenthood, attempts to speak out against racial stereotypes in some instances, but still in others the show portrays race in very stereotypical ways that continue to put a bad name towards various races that live in the minority in media.

Parenthood: Giving realistic portrayals of various class standings, one episode at a time.

24 Sep

Summary:

I chose to analyse the television show, Parenthood, which airs on NBC at 9:00. The show is about a family, the Bravermans, who go through many wonderful and stressful experiences together. Zeek and Camille Braverman are the parents of four now-adult children, who are very different from one another. Adam, the oldest, is a working class man who has been trying to obtain “The American Dream” all while raising a family of five. Sarah is a divorced, low-working class, and unstable mother of two, who has moved her family back home in with her parents. Crosby, once a careless bachelor, has recently changed his life around after discovering he is a father. Lastly, Julia, an upper-middle class lawyer, has the definition of “The American Dream” family, as she is the breadwinner for her family of four. Each family faces real life problems and triumphs, and each family finds a way to deal with various situations.

As I get ready for the season premiere, I have been watching last season’s episodes. In the episode, “Because You’re My Sister,” Julia and her husband are planning to finalize an adoption for a child they have brought into their home and family. Crosby and Jasmine struggle to make Jasmine’s mother feel welcome in their home as they give her a place to stay. Sarah is trying to choose between two guys, both of whom she has fallen in love with. Sarah also celebrates the fact that her son was accepted into Berkeley, the first out of her family to go to college. Lastly, Adam and his wife Christina celebrate as they find out Christina is cancer free after a year of battling it.

Analysis:

As discussed in class, there are many television shows that provide an image that living “The American Dream,” or meeting the standards of the upper class are the only ways to be successful. It is believed that with these portrayals, it is creating a capitalist ideology, saying that American’s should follow The American Dream, and that obtaining wealth and power creates a sense of happiness. With these portrayals, media is implementing thematic framing, showing the audience an unrealistic and/or glorified way of life, thus influencing their perception of reality. This is done by making fun, or giving bad names, of the lower and working class in shows such as The Drew Carey Show. It’s also done by creating lives of people who live within unrealistic standards, like in shows such as Friends. If you really think about it, what kind of middle-aged group of friends with low-paying jobs like acting and waitressing can afford to live where they live. Even Chandler and Ross’ careers could realistically barely be able to afford that type of lifestyle in the heart of New York City.

Parenthood is a show that ignores these stereotypical, unrealistic portrayals of how the media portrays most families on television. Parenthood brings in characters from all different types of class standings, anything from the working class to upper class. The best part of it, is that these various class standings are all represented within one family, the Braverman family. We have Sarah, who never went to college, gave birth to two children from an alcoholic, unreliable father, and had to move back home after divorcing him. We have come to know her as the hopeless romantic, who can’t get her life in order. In this episode, it shows her family celebrating Drew, who is her son, who was accepted into Berkley. Even though Sarah fits into the working lower-working class, it shows that people can still be happy and successful when living up to this class’ standards. Whereas in most other shows, such as Honey Boo Boo, this type of life is seen as “not good enough” and gives a bad name to the lower, working class citizens. This show proves that success isn’t measured by wealth.

In the same episode, we have Adam who is a working class person raising three children, all while his wife was diagnosed with cancer. In an earlier season, Adam was rising to the top of his company, moving closer to “The American Dream” when all of the sudden the company was given a new leader, and he lost his job. Adam represents that working class family, who is constantly struggling to stay afloat in times of economic troubles. He really exemplifies the idea that just because one doesn’t obtain “The American Dream,” it doesn’t mean they didn’t obtain their dream. Media can give an unrealistic framing to this by showing people who don’t make it to the dream, completely fail, which is not the case at all.

Conclusion:

I believe the show, Parenthood, has realistic portrayals of every class standing, proving that media does not always give the glorified (not to mention unrealistic) depiction that wealth and power are everything, and that to be happy or successful, does not mean you have to be living the “American Dream.”

Blog Post 1: Gender

11 Sep

Group: Sexuality

Summary: I chose to interpret the television show Trophy Wife which airs on ABC at 9:30. The plot revolves around an ex-party girl, Kate, turned wife and step-mom to three stepchildren from two different ex-wives, when she marries Pete. In the episode “Pilot” there is a scene where the stepson’s teacher calls in his biological father and mother to discuss an issue. Pete, the biological father can’t make it because of work so Kate goes in for him. The biological mother of the boy is a very uptight doctor who is very stern in the upbringing of her children. The teacher called them in to discuss a story their son wrote, that was very sexual and borderline an erotica story. The boy described licking a tattoo until it glistened and the shape of a girls breast. The biological mother started to patronize the new mom, Kate, and blamed her saying the story was about her because she is so young and attractive and “fits all of the qualities.” At the end of the episode, the entire family is standing in a room together and the stepdaughter’s friend walks in. She is young with larger breasts and a tattoo on her ankle, an exact description of who was in the story. In fact, this is the girl who the son was referring to in his little erotica story and not Kate.

Analysis/Application: When Kate arrives at the school to meet with the teacher, the camera’s angle while she is getting out of the car is somewhat suggestive and sexualizes her as a young mom. As she is walking up to the school, a student checks her out and calls her a “MILF” as she passes by. Within this scene that lasted about seven seconds, I’m already shaking my head at how the show has sexualized Kate. They put her in a little skimpy outfit with heels and the moment she is called a “MILF” a million other assumptions are running through the viewers eyes about her character. Specifically based on the role-schemata surrounding a young, attractive, third-wife to an older man. This scene begins to reinforce the ideology that women are sexualized and become objects to men. It reinforces the ideology of a MILF and every single mother to Stacy.

Kate and the biological mother are sitting in the teacher’s room and the teacher begins to read the story to the parents. The story is essentially an erotic story about the boy interacting with a girl in a very sexual manner. The boy talks about licking tattoos and grabbing breasts, both of which fit the description of Kate. The biological mother scolds Kate and blames her for being the object of the story, again sexualizing her. This again reinforces the ideology that women become objects to men within the Western society. This emphasis on Kate and her sex appeal may have meant to have been a joke in the comedy show Trophy Wife, but it reiterates the ideologies of young, attractive mothers and how their image is undermined in society. In the end, the assumptions the biological mother made about Kate were wrong, and the boy was actually referring to his sister’s friend.

Conclusion: This episode suggests that young, attractive, divorced mother’s have a certain stigmatize and ideology to them that is sexualized within the Western culture, making them sex objects within our society.