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Reflection

3 Dec

Honestly, coming in to this class I took it because it sounded like we would be watching a lot of movies and talking about how different characters were portrayed in a very basic light and exploring how to break those stereotypes. Boy was I wrong, this class turned out a lot more work intensive than I imagined and while it isn’t a bad thing it caught me by surprise. Some of the readings were very interesting while others (mostly the ones with a lot of statistics that I didn’t understand) kind of floundered and were just there. The topics we discussed from race,religion,gender and many more gave a very well rounded view of how these topics were portrayed not only IN media but BY the media. Some of the stuff we talked about like the lack of diversity represented in movies or specific stereotypes being cast for movies is something that I notice more and more as I watch TV and films. The pro-social media project was by far the best part of the class. Getting to work with our classmates to create projects with free-reign surrounding pro-social projects in media was not only fun but what I felt taught me the most about the topics. Actually applying articles and different theories we talked about in class in a creative way was eye opening especially with the groups that really went out and searched for creative and practical ideas that hadn’t been done before. All in all the class taught me a lot and has given me the knowledge to look for specific issues in media.

In terms of the topic of media and identity I wasn’t really sure what to expect coming in to the class. I figured we’d watch movies and shows and look at magazines and newspapers and then periodically look at the characters and figures in the news and talk about how they were portrayed and how different theories applied to that. Clearly my view on the specific topic was very narrow and needed to have something fill the void. I loved learning all the different theories and applying them in the readings. Stereotyping seemed to me the most reoccurring theme in this as all these groups are portrayed in the way that people in power want them to be perceived. I wish we had looked at and compared other media outlets like Bollywood and other places in Europe and see if the stereotypes still existed and then applied theories to that as well.

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Special K: More Than A Number

24 Nov

1. The campaign I chose to talk about in this blog was Special K’s “More than a number” campaign. This campaign’s mission is to help women rethink what defines them and promote that the number that measures your size does not measure your beauty. It was first presented as a commercial (attached at bottom). In the commercial you see a bunch of women walk in to a jeans store and essentially start shopping. Then it cuts to women looking for the sizes and realizing that there aren’t any sizes on the jeans and then an employee walks up and asks to measure them which in a public place can be embarrassing because of the way society perceives women who aren’t a certain size. The twist in this however is that when each lady is told her size it isn’t a number it’s a positive adjective like “radiant or strong”. The women respond in such a manner even saying things like “not seeing the number is so freeing” and even more importantly “to feel amazing, that is what makes a woman truly beautiful”.

2.Obviously the class discussions around this topic are structured around how women perceive themselves based on what they take from the media. This “body image problem” is right at the center of society right now. Women starve themselves and strive to follow not what they consider beautiful but what society and the media portray as the perfect amount of body fat or luscious booty. The fact is that most of the time the images people strive for are photoshopped or touched up to reach that level of beauty that has been pushed on society by the media and the famous people around the world. The study that was conducted by Marika Tiggemann on “Social comparison of thin within media images” was conducted to see how women would respond and process differently to images that were considered thin. The study found that social comparison was what made women have body dissatisfaction. This directly correlates with the campaign that “Special K” is doing. Women are viewed as certain sizes and can;t space that stigma and at the end of the day the things that make a person who they are isn’t what they look like but it’s their personality traits. I also have to attribute the “Thin ideal” not only to the media but to members of the opposite sex as well. While the problem may stem from the media the opposite sex has only enhanced it because they view the thin ideal as what is socially acceptable or what is “hot”. This campaign itself only address women but men as well can be subconscious about their weight and it is only heightened by what is considered thin or beautiful. In the film Code of Gender it talks about how women in the media are shown in sexualized and submissive positions and this is the acceptable view of women in the media. While I don’t agree with a lot of what the film stated the one thing that women especially can’t get away from is the thin ideal being the true measure of sexy and this in itself is what the campaign is meant to fix because anyone no matter how big has qualities about them that make them beautiful people.

3. I think this campaign will succeed not only because it’s a huge issue right now but, because it address the issue in a very unique and positive way. They don’t come at the viewers in an aggressive way but more in a way that exemplifies what people should be feeling and how people should perceive themselves. Pro-social media is extremely important in society because it promotes change and with all the changes that happen everyday trying to make media portray positive things instead of negatives can only help.

Media

Rugrats

29 Oct

The show I chose to talk about in this blog is the older show Rugrats from Nickalodean. A few of the rugrats are actually of the jewish faith and every so often there are episodes based around explaining the jewish holiday that is taking place around that time of the year. The one I want to hit on today is the Passover episode that played and was played for me in school every year at the time of that jewish holiday. Passover is the story of the exodus from Egypt and the rugrats put themselves in the roles of each of the main characters of that story and creatively present the story to younger kids. Tommy Pickles, who is the main character in the story actually in many episodes shares the fact that he’s jewish however, in this episode it is exemplified. His grandparents are also very stereotypically presented as Jewish Grandparents in the way they act and look. Part of the implications here are that the writers may themselves be jewish and i think that part of those statistics that were discussed in class saying that women write more women in as main parts may apply here to Jewish writers doing the same.

This is a story, all about how, media got flipped, turned upside down

17 Oct

The show I am going to talk about is the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The Fresh Prince features Will Smith as the main character as well as the rest of the “Smith” family as supporting characters. The Smith family is a very well off family living in one of the most expensive communities in the world; Bel-Air. They perfectly exemplify just about everything we talk about in our class. Both Carlton and Vanessa act like the high-end (white) characters that we expect from high class. They act as though they have never encountered someone who isn’t a part of their class and Will being from a lower socio-economic class is a hug he culture shock for them. One of the best examples of this is from an episode where the whole family goes back to Philadelphia and Will takes them to a hole-in-the-wall cheesesteak shop and they almost appalled. They are also extremely un-sure of how to act but eventually they almost revert back to what the black stereotype is supposed to be and start chowing down and can’t get enough of the cheesesteak. Will on the other hand refuses to show whiteness except when he wants to get something out of the father or mother. He embraces the stereotype that he is viewed as and it almost always is there for comic relief. Will not only embraces the stereotype but he makes it his own and gives the stereotype an educated comic and different view from the gangsta stereotype he starts the show with. I identify with him because I try not to live up to a single stereotype and I try to be my own person. I don’t typically conform to the people around me and I think that is a unique trait both him and I share.

The classic example of Class Dynamics Revamped

24 Sep

One show that my girlfriend and I watch together is “Once Upon A Time”. The reason I say in the title that it is a classic example of class dynamics. The classic prince meets lower class girl and she becomes princes story is evident in almost every fairytale ever which is the basis for the plot line of “Once Upon A Time” It is specifically pointed out in the show in the second season when much of the story takes place in the grungy more mysterious Neverland. The character of Peter pan and his lost boys are the characters I want to focus in. Peter pan runs neverland and the twist of this story is that he’s very evil in his ways. The thing that makes this so interesting however is that even though peter basically owns neverland his power isn’t shown through by the clothes he wears or where he lives. the way his class is shown is through his actions. You see throughout the season that he is clearly the dominant “white male” class that is prevalent in more class structures. The lost boys are submissive and while part of that is the fear that peter can kill them they are also attracted to how he carries himself.

Blog Post #2: Swimsuit edition

15 Sep

The code of gender movie in class really irritated me. The video talked a lot about modeling and how the women who were put in specific positions showed that women were lesser people and that the positions had hidden meanings. The fact that they were trying to say that women laying in specific positions meant they were portraying themselves as submissive is just ridiculous. Case and point women are in these positions because they are specifically pointing out the things they are modeling. And in a lot of cases these positions that have been come to portray sexiness, are what sells, no subconscious meanings behind them. I want to hit on a classic portrayal of “sexiness” which is the sports illustrated swimsuit edition. Let’s be honest here the audience they are really trying to reach are males and not so much trying to sell these swimsuits. In saying that however, I don’t believe that these models are put in to specific positions to portray weakness or a submissive nature. I truly believe that they are put in specific positions to show off their physique and keep men interested in the edition.

This brings up another question however, are we objectifying women? Also the question of if society is putting forth an unattainable image of what sexy should be? The answer to the first question is no. These women are professional models, they have signed up to show off their bodies and model clothing,shoes etc… That leads us to the next question of presenting an unrealistic image of what sexy is. This is a very complicated question. Every man or woman has their own view of what is sexy is. Society has determined a general view of it and while it may be an unrealistic image it is not unattainable. Obviously not every woman in the world has D-cups and I think that the swimsuit edition shows that fairly well. They have girls that are all relatively the same waist size but they do vary in cup size and there is diversity. They cater to an audience and they run a business.

Blog 1 Kevin Saeks

3 Sep

Mass media in today’s culture is inescapable. You cannot go a day without experiencing mass media. On our phones, laptops, and in newspapers and the television mass media is literally everywhere. That would be why it is called “mass” media. Mass media also shapes the way people in todays society think and perceive reality. It provides us not only with the current and “trending” topics, but also in some cases tells us what we “should” wear and how we “should” look. Not everyone perceives the messages the media puts out the same way. The greatest example I’ve pulled from our class related to that fact was when we watched the trailer for the movie shark-tales. I’ll be honest, I don’t 100% remember watching the movie when I was younger, however I remember loving the movie and wanting to watch it over and over again. Now obviously when I was a kid I wasn’t looking for an underlying meaning but when we watched the trailer and talked about how the social class structure in the movie represented the social structure of modern society I was blown away that it was apparent in the movie and truly conveyed that in a way. In showing that the sharks (mafia) were the higher end of society along with the fish played by Angelina Jolie, and that the lower class fish, wore chains and had a care-free sort of life, the social structure showed itself. I definitely believe that media is the purveyor of ideology although I do also believe that some people read way too much into “hidden meanings.”

Blog 1 Kevin Saeks

3 Sep

Mass media in today’s culture is inescapable. You cannot go a day without experiencing mass media. On our phones, laptops, and in newspapers and the television mass media is literally everywhere. That would be why it is called “mass” media. Mass media also shapes the way people in todays society think and perceive reality. It provides us not only with the current and “trending” topics, but also in some cases tells us what we “should” wear and how we “should” look. Not everyone perceives the messages the media puts out the same way. The greatest example I’ve pulled from our class related to that fact was when we watched the trailer for the movie shark-tales. I’ll be honest, I don’t 100% remember watching the movie when I was younger, however I remember loving the movie and wanting to watch it over and over again. Now obviously when I was a kid I wasn’t looking for an underlying meaning but when we watched the trailer and talked about how the social class structure in the movie represented the social structure of modern society I was blown away that it was apparent in the movie and truly conveyed that in a way. In showing that the sharks (mafia) were the higher end of society along with the fish played by Angelina Jolie, and that the lower class fish, wore chains and had a care-free sort of life, the social structure showed itself. I definitely believe that media is the purveyor of ideology although I do also believe that some people read way too much into “hidden meanings.”