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Reflection

3 Dec

I don’t really know why I decided to take Media and Identity this semester, but I’m glad I did. I found that I was able to connect with a lot of the material on some sort of level. I also found myself sharing the content and readings with my brother. My brother is gay and he really seemed to be interested in the information that we looked over in the Gender and Sexuality in the Media section. Seeing his reaction really opened my eyes. In all honesty, all the content that we learned about in the course opened my eyes. It really shows how the media affects us on a daily basis and how we perceive identity. I enjoyed the lectures because I felt that I was able to learn more about the topics that way. When we would have class discussions, I was really interested in my classmate’s thoughts because everyone has a different opinion. You were able to see where they were coming from and hear about the experiences that shape their opinion. I wish we were able to have more time dedicated to each topic and really dig a little bit deeper. Overall I really enjoyed this class and I would honestly say that I have learned a lot about how we view our identities and how we view and process others identities, especially in the media. It’s always nice to come across a class that really makes you think about things that you deal with on a daily basis and how information can change the way you look at different situations and content.

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GLAAD

24 Nov

The organization that I found that counters negativity is GLAAD. GLAAD works with different news sources to bring people’s powerful stories from the LGBT community that help build support for equality. When news outlets provide wrong information, GLAAD is there to correct the information and advocate for fairness and accuracy. GLAAD addresses equality, self-esteem, and stereotyping. Their goal is to help members of the LGBT community and nonmembers come together and really fight for equality and end “labeling” that is so common today. A topic we talked about it class was stereotyping. Stereotyping is defined as, “generalized and predisposed beliefs about groups and people,” (Banjo lecture). GLAAD wants to illuminate stereotyping, especially in the LGBT community. According to the article Gay Characters in Conventional Spaces: Will and Grace and the Situation Comedy Genre by Kathleen Battles and Wendy Hilton- Morrow, “Before Will & Grace first premiered GLAAD (1998) applanded the representation of Will and his more flamboyant sidekick, Jack, as “different types of gay men- both of which are valued within the community.” Given the negative stereotypes of gay men that have been part of television since its earliest years, the two gay characters on Will & Grace can be considered progressive,” (pg. 89). I think that GLAAD’s strategies and what they fight for is very important. I think the way they handle situations is effective and really helps people understand the LGBT community. There will always be people out there that won’t change their opinion, but in this day and age people are more open and are willing to understand and accept the LGBT community. I think that their strategy will work and I think it will continue to work because they really believe in what they stand for and they won’t let anything discourage them. They will fight until they achieve their goal. I think that prosocial media is an excellent way of helping raising awareness to issues that exist. We want to bring positive light to issues are help reduce the negativity that seems to follow them. I think that prosocial media can really help demolish the negativity. Yes it will take time but it is worth fighting for and there is nothing wrong with wanting to make the world a better and more understanding place.

7th Heaven

27 Oct

A show I remember watching while growing up was 7th Heaven that aired on The CW. My parents thought that this was an appropriate show for my brother and I to watch Sunday evenings because majority of the story line involved life lessons and displayed strong Christian values. 7th Heaven follows the Camden family through ups and downs. Eric Camden, the father, is a minister who really tries to direct his family in the right direction and help them through difficult decisions. Eric’s wife, Annie, is a stay at home mom that also helps guide their children down the right path. Eric and Annie had seven children throughout the series. Their children were named after significant biblical figures. Although the show focuses on strong Christian values, there are events that challenge these values. I think that this is what made 7th Heaven interesting and showed us as viewers that just because you believe in a religion doesn’t make you superior to others who believe in different religious. It proves that we all make mistakes and we go through rough patches, but we are all human and that is just how life works sometimes. Even though Eric is a minister he doesn’t force his beliefs or values on anyone that believes in a different religion. He does try to help his family and gives advice but doesn’t really “preach” to them, just tries to direct them throughout different situations that audience can relate to. In the reading Images of Evangelicals in American Film written by Todd Rendleman talks about evangelical Christians and how there are portrayed in films. A film that I am familiar with that Rendleman talks about is Saved! He states, “Saved! is a satire aimed at narrow-minded Christians, using its weapon the values of a more tolerant brand of Christianity…. By the end of the movie, mainstream Christian values have not been overthrown, but demonstrated and embraced,” (pg. 287).  This statement reminds me of how 7th Heaven is portrayed to its audience. The Christian values throughout the show are not toppled by other factors that 7th Heaven possesses and they are established in a very subtle but effective way.

The Boondocks

17 Oct

I found it really hard to find a show that featured majority non-white characters. A show that I came across on Netflix was The Boondocks that runs on Cartoon Networks Adult Swim. I have watched a couple of episodes but not by choice. The Boondocks follows an African-American family, the Freemans, that live in a predominate white neighborhood in Chicago. From the episodes that I have seen, it was pretty clear that the writers wanted the Freemans to come off as gangster, less educated and up to no good. The characters have negative attitudes and seem to always find themselves in some sort of predicament. Another thing that stood out to me was the interactions between the Freemans and the white neighbors. There are obvious stereotypes displayed throughout the show. In the episode “Granddads Fight”, Granddad is humiliated by the fact that he got beat up by a blind man. Although the blind man was black, Granddad still had choice words about the situation and the man. The language was very hard to understand and the words used weren’t words that the white characters used.  I don’t really connect with the Freemans but I do connect to the white neighbors. I live in the suburbs and it is a predominately white community. I believe that people believe that all white people live in the suburbs in their perfect houses and don’t have any problems. The truth is we are all equal. We all have problems and deal with different situations daily. According to the article Themes of Whiteness in Bulletproof Monk, Kill Bill, and The Last Samurai written by Sean M. Tierney said, “First, whiteness is ‘‘a location of structural advantage, of race privilege. Second, it is a ‘standpoint,’ a place from which White people look at ourselves, at others, and at society. Third, ‘whiteness’ refers to a set of cultural practices that are usually unmarked and unnamed,” (608). I think the writers of the Boondocks really portrayed the white neighbors the way these “themes” were described. Stereotypes are what make TV shows and people watch these shows not only for the purpose of entertainment but also subconsciously indulging in these stereotypes.

Scandal

7 Oct

Scandal is one of my new favorite prime time programs on ABC. Olivia Pope, portrayed by Kerry Washington, is the main character is this “political thriller” series. Scandal follows Olivia Pope’s crisis management firm located in Washington D.C. We also follow character stories about how Olivia helped them in the past as well as follows stories that come from the White House. The character that really draws me in is Olivia Pope. Olivia Pope is an African American women working in Washington D.C. and runs a crisis management firm. She interacts with the other characters in Scandal in a professional manner. She seems to be on her “A” game majority of the time and the fact that she is African American never seems to come up throughout the series. I haven’t seen any stereotypes but maybe Kerry Washington makes Olivia come off a strong and independent women to show that Olivia deserves her standing and she has earned everything that she has. I connect with Olivia Pope in the sense that I feel like I need to be strong and independent and prove to people that I have earned everything that I have in my life. It is very important to me that people understand that I am a hard workers and I want to show that I am a professional. In the reading May the Circle Stay Unbroken: Friends, the Presence of Absence, and the Rhetorical Reinforcement of Whiteness, Phil Chidester said, “At first glance, most of today’s television content would seem to be wholly silent on issues of race to be largely free of overt racial content or even of more implicit messages about race,” (160). I agree with this statement for several reasons. Personally I don’t feel that race is brought up in television today. I feel that people are more interested in the story lines like the one that Scandal brings to the table instead of being concerned about the different races of the actors and actresses.

Wisteria Lane

24 Sep

One of my favorite shows of all time is Desperate Housewives and I find myself watching episodes over and over again because I am obsessed with the story line, the characters, and pretty much everything about it. When the series came to an end I knew that I wouldn’t find a show that I loved as much as I had loved Desperate Housewives. DH followed the ladies who lived on Wisteria Lane and followed their crazy lives. The main characters were Susan Meyer, the hot mess with lots of baggage, Lynette Scavo, the supermom who gave up her career to take care of her growing family, Bree Van de Kamp, the “perfect” housewife as so it seemed, and Gabrielle Solis, the supermodel that was dropped into the suburbs. It was very obvious to tell the different characters class status by their clothing, houses, cars, and the way they and their families acted. Gabrielle was the most obvious about her class position. The directors and producers made her out to be the most careless about flaunting her money. She always wore designer clothes and drove the nicest cars. She also didn’t have a job so she spent her days shopping and visiting the spa and pretty much spending money anyway she could. A quote that stood out to me in the reading Consuming “Trash”: Representations of Poor Whites in U.S. Popular Culture by Laura Portwood-Stacer was, “there is a persistence across time in the representation of the ideal white American self, which is constructed as good-looking, powerful., brave, cordial, kind, firm, and generous.” This quote made me think of how people have called others “white trash” just because they didn’t seem to meet these expectation of the ideal white American. Although Gabrielle is a Hispanic American, she is beautiful and powerful in her own way. I remember watching episodes of Desperate Housewives and seeing Gabrielle looking down at people for their appearance and the money they had and it made me think about how there will always be this standard and people will always be judging others no matter your ethnicity or background.

The Blacklist

15 Sep

One of my favorite shows to watch is The Blacklist on NBC. Raymond “Red” Reddington is an ex-government agent that has been one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives. He mysteriously surrenders to the FBI and agree to help them catch others on the most wanted list but on one condition, He speaks to Elizabeth “Liz” Keen. Keen is FBI profiler fresh out of Quantico and seems to have no connection to Red whatsoever. Within the show The Blacklist there seems to be more male characters than female characters. The character that I’m drawn to is Raymond Reddington has brown hair, is about 5’10, and weights about 190 lbs. He has been on the FBI’s most wanted fugitives list for almost 20 years until one day he turns himself in. The way he presents himself makes you think that he has a hidden agenda and that is the case but it’s not the hidden agenda you were expecting. The way that Red is portrayed you think he is the bad guy and is just screwing with the FBI for entertainment, but as the story unfolds you start to realize that your opinion of him starts to change and you notice that he does everything for a reason. After reading Judging a Movie by its Cover, I realized that the producers of The Blacklist didn’t portray Red as a macho hunk that all the girls want to be with. They portrayed him as the intelligent and mysterious character which draws in all types of viewers. We as viewers aren’t always looking for eye candy. Sometimes we are looking for a story line that will keep us interested and appearances are a bonus. Don’t get me wrong, there are some shows out that that have captured my attention with the cast alone but I think the way that The Blacklist has been presented goes against the grain and gives more than just a pretty face.

Blog #1 by Savannah Norris

3 Sep

The relationship between mass media and perceived reality can be identified in almost anything we look at nowadays. Sometimes we don’t even realize that our perception is dictated by what we read, hear, and watch on a daily basis. Media is an outlet to get thoughts and ideas out there and to allow people to become familiar with ideas that differ from their current perspectives. Media has always been a purveyor of ideology in my opinion. Media, in a sense, tells people about information that is out there and makes that information available to everyone even if you are looking for it or not. Media is all around us. We have computers, phones, tablets, and other devices that update us about everything that is going on around us. Media makes us aware of what is going on in our world today, and in reality we are always looking for something new to emerge ourselves in. There is also the fact that everything that is out there for us has a message. There are messages that are straight forward and direct and then there are “hidden” messages that you can interpret any way you desire.

After reading Messages between the Lions, I started to think about this concept that there are messages behind movies and shows that one wouldn’t think about unless it was pointed out to them. Messages between the Lions talked about different opinions about Disney’s The Lion King and what people thought the underlining messages were. Before reading this document, I looked at The Lion King as a children’s movie that I watched growing up. I looked at it as just a film created for entertainment. When reading over the questions that were given to participants in a study I started thinking about the underlining messages that could be possible within the Lion King. I even went a step further and started looking at other movies that might have underlining messages. In my opinion, in the end it really depends on your thoughts and opinion about messages and how you perceive media and reality.