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Reflection

2 Dec

I remember the first day of class when we went over the syllabus and talked about what was to come throughout the semester. After this day I questioned whether or not I would be able to make it through the course. I am glad I stuck it out because this was my favorite course this semester. Most of the material made me think in a new and critical way, which is very important, especially as a last year college student. As we talked about different aspects of the media such as race and gender and class, I realized how blind I was to all of this and it made me wonder why I never realized any of it. I am now glad that I have some knowledge of how the media portrays certain groups because I am aware of it as I watch television shows and the news, but also because I hope to pass this knowledge on to family and peers. The blog posts were also a good way to get me thinking critically and I like that you allowed us to watch current television shows because it made the activities more fun, even though we were doing an analysis. The readings were probably the toughest thing for me this semester. The page lengths were somewhat overwhelming, but the text itself was the most challenging. Sometimes I would read a few paragraphs of an article and realize I had no idea what I read. I think a lot of this had to do with the fact that I was unfamiliar with the language used in the articles. However, the articles did provide a lot of insightful information and they aided us in the course. I like that you would talk about the articles with us so that we were all on the same page. My favorite part of the course was the globalization portion because I love learning about how media affects different countries and cultures. I wish we had more time to spend on that but the semester isn’t long enough. I also really liked the pro-social media projects because it was fun coming up with an idea and it was interesting hearing other ideas from my peers. It also has gotten me thinking about how I could create a pro-social media project outside of the class. Overall I am very glad I took this course because it challenged me and has transformed the way I think about media and about the world we live in.

EXPOSE..a true representation of women

22 Nov

I spent some time looking for different media campaigns or organizations that counter negativity and I came across one called Expose. Expose is more of a campaign/project that addresses the issue of body image among women. They state on their website that media only represents beautiful, thin bodies with no imperfections, but never celebrates other body shapes or colors or skin types. Expose wants to change this image millions of women see daily. They want to show women all over the world that their body is not wrong, that their body is beautiful and it should be celebrated.

The two people that started this project are Liora and Jes. In 2013 they got together to do a  photo shoot of 68 diverse women, and not just in terms of skin color but also different body types and skin types (tattoos, smooth skin, wrinkles etc). The women were photographed naked and there was no photo-shop needed because Liora and Jes wanted to celebrate the beauty in all these women. After the first photo shoot, they wanted to do another one but make it even bigger. The second photo shoot expanded to 98 women. Currently, Expose has done three photo shoots and plan to continue this project.

The article Upward and Downward: Social Comparison Processing of Thin Idealized Media Images by Triggerman could be applied to this campaign. This article showed that when women are shown ads of other women in the media (with the thin idealized image) they reported more body dissatisfaction. This shows the upward comparison which is we feel less than others or want to be better. If this campaign becomes more popular women may become more satisfied with their bodies because they will see images of real, unphoto shopped women and realize that this is the norm. This article also demonstrated that seeing thin people all over the media affects how we feel and it causes disdain towards “fat” people. This can be combated with the Expose project. I think the project could add in the statistic that 50%-60% of women and men in the US are overweight or obese but only 10%-15% of women and men are overweight on television. This is also a good way to show that the bodies the media shows are are unrealistic and overrepresented.

Also, the idea proposed by Claude Steele that our performance is affected when a stereotype is made salient can be applied to Expose. The media creates stereotypes about women that are not thin and perfect. When we constantly see and hear these stereotypes repeated, we begin to believe they are true and that affects our own self image as well as how we view others. If we show women that we all have different body shapes and sizes, but that they are all equally beautiful, these stereotypes can diminish and we will see ourselves as more beautiful.

I think this campaign is a great idea, but I think it could be more effective. This is the first time I have ever heard about this campaign, and if it were not for this homework assignment I would still not know. I think they need to try and make themselves more known by being more present on social media or getting big time magazines or newspapers to feature an article or a picture that explains the whole concept of Expose. The website states that they have been featured in big time magazines like Cosmopolitan and the Huffington Post, but maybe they should try and be front page material. I love the idea of showing real women and the diversity and beauty of women all around us, but they need to promote this more. If promoted enough, I think it could have a huge impact on current media images of women’s body and it could impact individual women.

I think that prosocial media is very effective and could potentially change norms. The big problem is that the current media outlets we have are so prominent that it is hard to combat them. I think that if these organizations or campaigns keep trying to push to be seen and heard then there will be change. The only problem is that they have to somehow become mainstream and not just be a fad. For example, we hear in the media about race and why black face is wrong when Halloween comes around, but after that it goes away and we no longer see it or think about it. We need to keep putting these positive ideas into the minds of people in our society. If one week we have a campaign about women’s bodies being beautiful, the next week we need another one about why being so thin is dangerous, and then another one about how media images of thin bodies affects young girls and women etc etc. Although this may take time, I think that we need these prosocial media outlets because although they may not have as big of an effect on society as mainstream media, they still have an impact and help move us in a more positive direction

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Franny The Nanny

27 Oct

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I don’t watch television anymore at all however, when I was younger (high school and before) I watched lots of it. I wanted to pick a show that portrayed Jewish characters because I am Jewish and because I wanted to see if television has specific stereotypes of Jews. The show that stood out most to me of having a Jewish character was The Nanny. I watched this show from time to time back when it aired regularly, but I wanted to analyze it for this journal post. In class we talked about Evangelicals and Arabs, but we didn’t talk about Jews so I thought this journal post would be the perfect time to do so.

I picked a random episode. The one I picked is called “Schlepped Away.” I chose this because schlepped is a word that a lot of Jewish people use. The episode was about a vacation Mr. Sheffield planned for him and his kids. Fran (the nanny), Niles (the butler) and Ms. Babcock (Sheffields business partner) were invited to go on this vacation as well. The episode took place during winter in New York and they planned a vacation to go to the Caribbean. The day the whole crew left for the airport there was a huge snow storm. Niles was driving everyone in Sheffields limo, but the roads were so horrible that they were not getting anywhere. Fran suggested that they go to her mothers house so that they could reorient themselves and then get back on the road. When they all went up to Fran’s moms apartment, she told them that the airport was closed due to the bad weather. They all ended up getting stuck at Fran’s parents apartment for the next couple of days. After spending time there, the weather finally cleared up and they were able to go on their vacation.

In this show Fran is the Jewish character. In general she is very loud and talkative which tends to be a stereotype of Jewish women, especially New York Jewish women. In this episode, when the family was planning the vacation, Fran was reminiscing on a trip she took to Miami during the summer. Mr. Sheffield’s kids asked why she would vacation to Miami in the summer because it is so hot there during that season. Fran responded by saying that it was the off season there so all the prices were cheaper. Being cheap is a typical stereotype of Jews and she is portrayed in that way. In another scene when Fran was at her mom’s house, she took the chicken out of the fridge to begin to prepare it. In the chicken she found a love note and it ended up being from her mother’s butcher. Fran got upset but her mom explained to her that she was not cheating on her husband, but she flirted with the butcher from time to time because he gave her a discount on meat. This is another way of showing the stereotype that Jews are cheap and will do anything to save a few dollars.

Moving away from stereotypes of Jews in general, when I looked more at how the religious side of Jews are portrayed I noticed that television makes it known that they are Jewish but they do not usually show them celebrating holiday’s other than Hannukah (which is the least important holiday in the Jewish religion). In this particular episode, you can see that Fran’s family is Jewish because they have a menorah in the house as well as a Jewish star. However, the family is shown eating meat and dairy together (which many Jews do not do because it is against the religion). Not all Jews keep kosher, but in most shows I have seen that do have Jews present never show this side of the religion. All we see from television are the main stereotypes of Jews (like being cheap) as well as them celebrating a holiday that does not have much importance. The television shows never educate audiences about the values of the Jewish religion, nor the customs of the religion. The values in the Jewish religion are actually things like helping those in need, treat others with respect, standing up for fellow Jews, community building and the list goes on. In television, however, we see Jews as being stuck up, cheap, loud (the women)/Jewish American Princess, and being greedy.

In The Nanny we definitely see more of the negative stereotypes of Jews versus the positive ones. Since there is not a big percentage of Jews in this country, when other religions see this representation of Jews, they begin to believe it to be true because they may not know many Jews in real life. Just like we talked about in class, television represents Arabs and Islam in negative ways. Not everyone has an Arab friend to counteract these stereotypes, so they end up believing what they see on television. This is the same for Jews, and for any minority present in television. The Nanny presents typical Jewish stereotypes and although the show is funny and entertaining, it does not fairly depict Jews.

The Game

17 Oct

The Game was a show originally aired on BET (Black Entertainment Television). The show features almost all black characters and is about three football players that play on the same team; Jason, Malik and Derwin. The show focuses on the lives of each of these players and their wife, girlfriend and mom; Kelly, Melanie and Tasha. Kelly is the wife of Jason and she is pretty much the only main white character present in this show. Melanie is Derwin’s girlfriend and Tasha is Malik’s mom/manager.

Back when the show aired I followed it pretty faithfully, but once season three was over I stopped watching. Since it has been so long since I saw the show I decided to watch two episodes focusing mainly on the character of Kelly. The first episode I watched focused mainly on Kelly (Jason’s wife). She had to prepare for his parents coming in town. Jason’s parents, but his mom in particular, do not like Kelly at all which makes Kelly nervous to have them in town visiting. Also, Jason expects Kelly to do everything around the house, not only to prepare for his parents but also to prepare him for the playoffs. Kelly gets really stressed in this episode because she never speaks up to Jason to tell him how she really feels. As a result, she has a panic attack and ends up in the hospital.
The next episode I watched focused more on Melanie (Derwin’s girlfriend). In this episode Melanie finds out that Derwin cheated on her. After breaking up with him publicly, she goes to Kelly and Tasha to ask them to help her get her things out of Derwin and hers apartment. In this episode we see Kelly from a different angle, the friend angle.

In both episodes Kelly is presented as dumb or ditsy. She says stupid things and asks ridiculous questions. In the reading Portrayals of Whiteness in Black Films, it talks about the three different ways white characters are seen in predominantly black movies. In this case, The Game is a television show, but it does have some similarities to how films portray whites. Kelly seems to be a little more awkward when she is in groups of black people in this show. She says stupid things probably because she is conscious that she is the only white one around. When we get nervous, sometimes we say things to try to cover it up, but the things that we end up saying sound dumb. In the episode where Tasha and Kelly are helping Melanie get her things out of Derwin’s apartment, Kelly makes a comment about not forgetting Melanie’s hair products because “black women can’t be separated from her hair products.” This is a comment that a person who is socially awkward with blacks would make. They try to sound like they know so much about a culture, but then end up saying something extremely stereotypical and ignorant.

Another thing that I noticed is that Kelly is a push over in this show. When we talked about Whiteness in class, we talk about how it is associated with power. Perhaps because Kelly is a woman she is portrayed this way, but as a white person she lacks a lot of power in this show. In the episode where Jason’s parents come to visit, Kelly gets ordered around by not only Jason, but his parents as well. She never says no, which shows her lack of power, and she ends up going to extreme lengths to try and satisfy all three of them. This is so opposite of what we would normally see a white character, man or woman, do. Kelly stayed up all night painting the guest room so that Jason’s parents were satisfied. Jason knew that she had worked hard but the next morning when Kelly made his breakfast, he said it tasted bad and if she could remake it. Of course Kelly says yes, even though she is so tired and just wants to rest. She has no power at all.

Switching to looking at the character of Tasha, an outspoken women in the show who says whatever is on her mind, is the one that brings up race the most. In almost every episode Tasha says something that has to do with being black or being white. In the second episode I watched, both Tasha and Kelly were worried about Melanie because she had not contacted them. Kelly said “I hope she isn’t dead” and Tasha responds by saying “They never report when a black woman dies.” In the first episode I watched, Kelly did not show up to Jason’s football game because she had a panic attack. When Melanie said to Tasha “I wonder if Kelly is okay. It isn’t like her to miss a game,” Tasha responds with “She probably ran back to white folks.” In this sense race is very present in this show because of the fact that Tasha and Melanie hang out with Kelly, the white woman of the group. Along with the fact that they make race somewhat a topic of discussion, they also present stereotypes to the audience. For example, Kelly is dumb and a pushover which is somewhat a stereotype of white women. Also, Tasha is loud and a little crazy, which is a stereotype of black women. The black men in the show are either players or cheaters, which a lot of times is a stereotype of black men. However, the characters in this show do develop substance and are all shown as having their own lives away from white people. Deggan talked about how in many shows, white shows, the black characters have no substance and play the black best friend role. In this show we do not see this at all. Each character is fully developed and we see them interact with people in many different ways.

I think that this show confirms what we have talked about in class and read about when it comes to having white characters in a black context. The black characters have a chance to develop their true self and have more substance, like Deggan mentions as well as the reading Portrayals of Whiteness in Black Films. However, in this show I do think that they could do a better job of not having characters be as stereotypical as they are. Yes the show allows the audience to see each character as distinct and different, but these characters carry stereotypes with them which takes away from the idea of breaking away from the white norm.

Latina Lover: Modern Family Gloria

7 Oct

I had never watched the television series Modern Family so I do not know the characters too well, but I will reflect on what I saw in this particular episode. I watched an episode where Mitchell and Cameron are having issues with one being too romantic, Claire and Phil are having a hard summer without one of their daughters because she went away to boarding school, and Gloria and Jay had a conflict about whether the two of them need to dress up/look good for one another.

The character that I want to look at more deeply is Gloria, who is Colombian in the show. To start off she is married to Jay, who has lots of money, and I do not believe that she works. She speaks with an extremely thick accent, she does not seem to be the most intelligent, and her curviness is definitely shown off in the show. In the reading The Portrayal of Minorities in Primetime Television, they talk a lot about the Latinos we see on television. First they mention that Latinos are always more dressed up than whites. I see this stereotype playing out with Gloria. During the show she always wore heels, printed skirts and tops and jewelry. I think that although this could be seen as a positive stereotype, it seems to be more negative. We view Latinas in particular as more superficial because of them dressing up so much. Not only was Gloria dressed up, but her boobs and butt are very accentuated. This also makes us see Latinas as only sex symbols and that they have nothing else to offer but their looks. Mastro and Greenberg also pointed out that Latinos usually have very thick accents in primetime television, and in Modern Family Gloria happens to have a very thick accent. Although Latinos that learn English as a second language have accents when they speak English, not all Latinos have very thick accents. Also, a mistake people in many societies make is that when a person has an accent, we assume they are dumb. In Gloria’s case, I am not sure if she was born in Colombia in the show or not, but not only does she have this thick accent, she also is not the most intelligent character on the show. This leads viewers to believe that Latinos with accents are less intelligent. With Latinas in particular, when we see that Gloria married a rich white man, it makes audiences believe that Latina women not born in the United States are only after men to either get a green card or to gain money from their spouse. In this particular episode, Gloria tells Jay that she likes when he dresses up for her and that lately he had not been doing that. Jay said that if Gloria didn’t dress up for him he would not mind. Of course Gloria took it further than Jay meant. She ended up dressing in raggedy clothes, her hair was not combed and her lipstick was put on sloppily. When Jay told her it was time to go to a work event, she came out looking this way and he tried to act like everything was okay. Once they got to the event, Jay said to Gloria “okay I am going to open the doors, are you sure you want to do this?” Gloria of course did not go through with it, but the interesting part was their conversation after them deciding not to go to the event. Gloria told Jay that they both need to look good for one another, but she also made a comment like “I did not only marry you for the money, even though that was part of the reason. I also married you because you are attractive.” Not once did she mention other characteristics of Jay that made her want to marry him. This portrays a horrible image of Latinas. It is basically telling audiences that Latinas are superficial and have no substance to them. Deggan talked about characters of color not developing true substance in television and that they can become symbols of their ethnicity. Glorias character confirms his statement. Although to some Gloria may seem to have substance, in reality she is just a stereotypical Latina according to our society.

The show also shows Gloria facetiming her family in Colombia and she was speaking to them in Spanish. Then her son Fulgencio walks in and Gloria gives him the ipad and says “talk to your family.” Fulgencio does not want to talk to them, but when he does he says “hola” with a thick American accent. This says two things to me. One, Fulgencio himself feels no connection to his Colombian roots because he is annoyed to have to talk to his family. It also shows that Gloria did not take the time to teach her son Spanish. Because of this, as “Americans” (United States), we begin to believe that American-Latinos should forget their ethnicity in order to be more American or white. This shows that Gloria, as a Latina, chose that the American culture was more significant and decided to only teach Fulgencio this side of him. The white side of Fulgencio won over the Latino side instead of teaching him to feel a connection to both cultures. This shows that being white is better and more important than any other ethnicity.

Whiteness, then, is clearly present in this show because it seems as though the only characters that are not white are Gloria and Fulgencio, who is half white. The white characters do not seem to see themselves as an ethnic group, but they are aware of the ethnicity of Gloria and her family. This shows that whiteness is very present still in this series. Also, in class we talked about Social Constructions, which says the media tells us what race is and what is expected of a given racial group. In this case, the media is laying out for the audience how we should view Latinas and what to expect from them. Unfortunately I see that many people in our society believe the above stereotypes to be true. There are twitter pages dedicated to Latina women and their bodies. They have become nothing more than sex symbols, and seen as only caring about looks and money.

Aside from the negative things we see based on Glorias character, I did notice, like Mastro and Greenberg state, that more Latinos play in lead roles. In this series, although we see the lives of many different characters, I would say that Gloria has a pretty big role. This may be due to the fact that her husband is the father of some of the other main characters, but Gloria still plays a big part in making this show what it is. Also, when she interacts with others there is not too much of a difference between her talking to her son versus her talking to Jay, or at least in this episode I saw no significant difference.

Gloria’s personality is not necessarily one I would see myself connecting to, however I do see myself connecting to her because she is Colombian. I am very fascinated by cultures and especially Spanish speaking cultures. I am a Spanish major and have been studying it for years. I have studied abroad in Cuba, Costa Rica and Peru. I have always wanted to go to Colombia because my old best friend was born there. I would be interested in connecting with Gloria on that level. Asking her how life is in Colombia and finding out what part of Colombia she is from because all cities there have different histories. The television show could depict Gloria differently, as being a smart woman who speaks two languages and has worked hard to make a better life for herself, but instead of showing her positively they make her a Latina that has a thick accent (makes her seem dumb to many Americans), shows off her body and basically married Jay because of his wealth. Majority of Latinas are not this way, but unfortunately the producers of these shows enjoy putting stereotypes on everyone, which in the end effects the way the audience sees these people in real life.

“Blackish”: is class representation in our society changing for minorities?

24 Sep

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Tonight I watched the premier of the new show called Blackish on ABC. It is about an upper class African American family that lives in a neighborhood of whites. Andre Johnson and his wife Rainbow Johnson have four kids that are growing up surrounded by mainly white peers. The kids want to fit into the culture of their classmates, but Andre wants them to hold onto their African American roots. His father also lives with them which is the representation of a person that did not become successful, but lives with his son because he has the means to support him. Since this was the first episode of the sitcom, not all of the characters have been introduced, but I wanted to analyze how the show portrays Andre’s class position.

Andre got promoted to Senior Vice President of the firm he works at, but before that promotion he was already making very good money. Also, his wife is a doctor so they are both very successful. They live in a huge house, have multiple cars, wear new and expensive clothes and the kids get anything they want because their parents can afford it. According to the reading “Media Portrayals of the Poor,” they found that the media over represents the amount of poor African Americans. This means that society, as a result from media, believes that there are a lot more poor African Americans than there really are. However, this television series challenges that finding. This sitcom shows a black family living the American Dream and having all of the same things we would assume white people have. But of course there is always a catch. In the beginning of the show when the characters were being introduced, the producers made sure to add in the fact that Andre and Rainbow were not always wealthy, successful individuals. There is a scene that shows Andre as a boy growing up in the hood, which means to the audience that he was poor and grew up in a bad neighborhood. This then confirms what the article stated. Although Andre has “made it,” he still at one point was poor and living in the hood which confirms societies belief that the majority of African Americans experience that and that people that come out rich and successful are very rare.

As I stated earlier, not many characters have been introduced in the show since this was the first episode, however you can see slight class differences among people Andre works with. Andre walks into work happy because of his new promotion. On his way in he exchanges high fives and fist bumps with some of the black workers because they all appreciate a black man succeeding. A lot of these workers, however, were of lower class. For example, Andre walks by and elbow bumps with the African American janitor. He had on the typical janitorial uniform while wheeling around a garbage can or something of that nature. The class difference is very apparent. Andre has on his nice button up and slacks where as the janitor has on a typical uniform that signifies “janitor.” In class we talked about class category and this is a perfect representation of that idea. Andre is the white collar worker and upper class/owning class, whereas the janitor is a blue collar worker and working class.

Another interesting aspect of this episode/show has to do with class change and class minstrelsy, which we read about in the article “Consuming Trash.” Class change is when someone tries to hide their true self once they gain economic success, but eventually this “true” piece of them slips out. The article brought up Brittany Spears and how even though she was rich, her white trash side came out when we saw her smoking, drinking, and doing other crazy things. In this show, Andre grew up in the hood and talks that lingo, but he hides this side of him when around his coworkers and boss. However, he cannot always hide it because it is still part of him. Class minstrelsy is also a concept we read about in “Consuming Trash,” and it means wearing clothing associated with a lower social class and making it fashion. The reading gave the example of truck hats and wife beaters. In this sitcom, at the end of the show, after much begging from him, Andre finally allows his son to have a bar matzvah party but instead calls it a bro mitzvah party. The party has music and dancing and he and his son are wearing outfits society would label as urban/hip hop associated. They both have on red jackets and red pants with fake gold chains and Adidas sneakers. This was an example of class minstrelsy because it took the clothing associated with urban people and turned it into a fashion that people of upper class wear.

Overall, this show does go against societies typical view of minorities. Andre and his wife have great jobs, are successful, and they and their children live very comfortably. This goes against the media portrayal that the majority of African Americans are poor. However, there are still things that make up for this stereotype being broken, like the fact that we know Andre and his wife grew up in a low class neighborhood with less security and opportunities. As we learned about with Will and Grace, the producers always have to throw something in the mix to make society feel less uneasy about watching shows that break the norm. In Will and Grace it was having Will be masculine unless he was doing something “gay.” In Blackish they show a rich and successful black family, but still make it aware that they were not always rich. They also make us aware that most of the people Andre is surrounded by in his workplace and neighborhood are white. Therefore, our dominant ideologies show us that although Andre has become very successful, it is not usual for this to happen, because most white people are the rich ones and most black people are poor. Only on rare occasions do African Americans get to the position that Andre and his family has reached.

“I don’t do things for the response or for the controversy. I just live my life.” -Rihanna

15 Sep

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I decided to analyze two music videos by the famous international superstar Rihanna. Rihanna is always a hot topic because of her lifestyle and her risky fashion choices. I chose two of my favorite music videos by her. The first one I looked at was “We Found Love.” This music video is about a relationship that is formed around drugs, sex and alcohol. Sometimes the relationship is fun and happy and the couple is in love. However, there are the dark sides to the relationship as well when there is screaming, yelling and physical violence. Rihanna, obviously, plays the girlfriend in the music video and her boyfriend is played by Dudley O’Shaughness. The video shows the couple going out and partying, getting high and drunk and doing crazy things like dancing on a table in a fast food restaurant and stealing groceries. Throughout the video, it is clear to see this idea of patriarchy. For example, in the beginning of the video, Rihanna is trying to learn to skateboard (a sport considered masculine). Her boyfriend holds her hand, as she glides on a flat surface, to make sure she does not fall. This shows that women need men to perform certain activities. Also, Rihanna’s boyfriend in the video is more aggressive and in charge. For example, the video has a scene when the couple is kissing in the bedroom which is obviously leading to sex. The man picks Rihanna up and pins her to the wall, which shows he is strong and in charge. He then throws her onto the bed and starts to undress her. He is the dominant one. He is the doer and Rihanna is done to. In another scene Rihanna and her boyfriend are in the car arguing. The boyfriend is the one driving which also is a sign of power. Men are usually assumed to be the ones driving because they are in charge. The woman typically rides in the passenger seat and allows the man to take charge. Besides this idea of her boyfriend being in charge, Rihanna presents a sexual image of herself. In the video “Codes of Gender,” they talk about gender display which is how we show our gender. In our society, there are certain ways women show their gender in the media, such as self-touching and breathless postures. Rihanna does lots of self touching in the video. She wraps her arms around herself often as if she were giving herself a hug. She also touches her face and her hair as she tilts her head back, which as the video suggests is a powerless position or a sign of giving up. Aside from the poses, Rihanna also wears clothing that show her butt and legs, and sometimes her cleavage. All of these things confirm this idea that women are portrayed as sex symbols, and as being weak. However, at the end of the video, after Rihanna has gone through abuse and hardships with her boyfriend, she leaves him. This message goes against the idea that women need men and are always submissive and dependent. Rihanna ends up being a strong woman that realizes she does not need this guy.

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The next video I watched by Rihanna was “Take a Bow.” This also shows Rihanna leaving a boyfriend for whatever reason, however in this video she portrays gender differently. Firstly, her hair is short which is typically seen as more masculine. She also wears a less feminine outfit, a black tank top and jeans, however she does wear heels which still shows her femininity. She has a nice big home and her ex boyfriend is begging for her to let him in and take him back. Clearly Rihanna is in control in this situation, which is not how females are typically portrayed in media. Rihanna is filmed head on, which according to “Codes of Gender,” is a masculine stance. She also has her arms crossed at certain points of the video which shows she has the power, another way men are typically portrayed. Rihanna is then filmed in a silver Porsche sports car. The car is more gender neutral in that it appeals to both men and women. Rihanna is driving the car as her ex boyfriend walks alongside trying to get her attention. Once again Rihanna is in control. Not only is she saying she does not need this man but she also is the one with more money and higher status. Men are usually depicted as the more successful people in our society, but in this case the man is powerless. Although there is still some self-touching in a few parts of the video, Rihanna pretty much portrays herself as “masculine,” or how society would see a man. After all of the begging and pleading, Rihanna still does not give in to her ex and this shows that women are independent and can be without a man. This video goes against the stereotypical female in our society.

Blog#1 Sarah Moskovitz

3 Sep

The media plays a huge role in our society whether we are conscious of it or not. The media shapes our thoughts and beliefs about many different things like what is right and wrong, and what is normal or unacceptable in our society. Many people, even I at one point, do not realize that the media has a huge affect on how we perceive reality. For example, when I was 16 I watched various reality television shows such as Laguna Beach, Flavor Flav, and Bad Girls Club. I watched these series for a few years and I always believed that these shows were real. My dad would tell me the shows I watched were stupid and were clearly scripted. I would get very upset when he said that because I truly believed that they were real. All three of the shows portrayed women as being nothing more than emotional, drama-filled people, and in some cases as only needed for sexual purposes. These are the messages or ideologies the media is portraying to our society in regards to women. Of course this is only one example of the media influencing how we perceive reality.

 

Another example of media being a purveyor of ideologies is in movies made for children. The article Messages between the Lions brings up a couple of important points about media and how it is viewed in the United States. The author states that Americans do not question mass media because we see it as “nothing more than entertainment” (Rockler). This statement resonated with me because when I finished reading this article, I asked my mom if she thought The Lion King had ulterior motives such as racial components or the representation of a hierarchical system. She expressed that, in her opinion, this movie is nothing more than entertainment for kids with the purpose of teaching good versus evil. My mom’s view, as well as many other Americans, proves the idea that Americans use the transmission paradigm as a way to view media. This means that when Americans view media, instead of questioning it, we accept it as reality. The transmission paradigm is so ingrained in our society that many of us fail to realize that the media is correlated with our perceived reality. However, since media is an unobtrusive tool in our society, it is harder for us to realize that media is a purveyor of ideology.