Archive by Author

Reflection

3 Dec

Before taking Media and Identity, I had taken classes previously that dealt with pop culture and the media as well as gender and the media. Because of these classes, I had a pretty good knowledge about the media’s impact on society. However, I was not aware of the way race and religion is shown through TV, movies, and music. That’s why I took this class, because I wanted to learn more about the media’s effects on our identities.

I definitely believe I have seen a new perspective in the way I look at things now since taking this class. There were theories and ideas that I never even thought about that affected me because of the way media portray them. I now look critically at television shows and movies to see how race, gender, religion, etc…are shown. Even in music I can identify elements of race or class or gender through the lyrics and music videos that I would have never considered before.

Since I am more aware of these issues now, I know how they can have an impact on people. I believe I am more well-equipped when talking about sensitive issues and seeing how the media affects each and every one of us. Now that I understand these issues, I need to do my part to help make sure that I treat everyone equally, and that the media does not tell me how I can and cannot act.

Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths

24 Nov

The organization that I chose to describe is Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths. It was started in 2006 by Pantene as a place where people can donate their hair to be made into wigs for cancer patients. Similar to Locks for Love, however Beautiful Lengths donates their wigs for free, since many cancer patients are paying so much in medical bills. This program has given over 24,000 wigs to patients around the country and is a leading partner with the American Cancer Society. Many communities and schools hold Beautiful Lengths events where hundreds of people donate their hair at once, many who make the cut because of a loved one.

Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths Website

The theory that I believe is applicable to this campaign is Emotional Competence Theory, which allows children to look to their environment to learn how to manage emotions. There are many children in our country who suffer from a form of cancer, or another disease that causes them to lose their hair. Several of them look to their environment to see how other children react to their situation, which is usually negative and causes the children to feel sad and embarrassed. Since Beautiful Lengths has become so successful, they are able to provide wigs for these children so they don’t have to feel sad or embarrassed by what they are going through. It gives them a chance to feel like a normal, healthy child again and feel confident in themselves.

I think this program is extremely effective and will continue to be for many years to come. I believe that the strategy they have used has been helpful, allowing friends and family members to donate together at an event so they don’t have to do it alone. The people who donate know they are doing it for a good cause; giving adults and children hope to feel beautiful again.

I believe prosocial media campaigns and programs are a great thing. They bring people back to reality and show them that we need to help one another out. The majority of them are very successful, and I think they are a great cause that everyone should contribute to! Even I took part in a campaign. I donated my hair to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths about two and a half years ago. I always wanted to donate my hair because I felt that it was a good deed, so I grew my hair for almost three years, and then I made the cut. Afterwards I felt so proud of myself for donating my hair to someone in need, and I loved the program I was giving to. I think everyone should find a campaign they believe in and help turn negatives into positives.

Donating my hair!

Donating my hair!

The Nanny’s First Christmas

27 Oct

The show that I chose to analyze is The Nanny which was a hit show during the 90s. The show is about a single dad Maxwell, who hires Fran (a Jewish woman) to be the nanny to his three children. Throughout the six seasons, we see how Fran has a huge effect on the Sheffield household and they consider her to be part of the family, even before she marries Maxwell. The episode that I chose to critique is called “The Christmas Episode” which is about Fran’s first time celebrating Christmas and her first time celebrating with the Sheffields, since she is Jewish and does not celebrate the holiday.

In this episode we see the children talking about what they want for Christmas. They reveal to Fran that their father has a lady named Edna who is the personal shopper for Christmas; she goes out and buys all the gifts for the family. Fran is appalled that Maxwell does such a thing since he’s supposed to be a good Christian and buy gifts that come from the heart. Maxwell eventually agrees with Fran and goes out to buy the entire family and household staff thoughtful gifts without the personal shopper.

This is similar to Rendleman’s idea of the hypocrite. He believes that some people like to say they are more religious then what they actually are, and then wind up doing the opposite or the thing that they are not supposed to do. Examples would be Jewish people saying they are keeping kosher (not mixing meat and dairy) and then eating a cheeseburger. In this case, Maxwell who teaches his children Christian values and makes them attend church on the holidays does not buy his own gifts. In this sense it shows that he is a little selfish and is worrying more about his career then getting gifts with meaning for his family.

Eventually Maxwell overturns his original plan to have his personal shopper buy the gifts because of Fran. Her family experience and religion while growing up taught her that the thought a loved one puts into a gift is more important than a personal shopper. Maxwell adopts this idea and becomes a better man because of it.

Don’t Be Tardy For The Party!

18 Oct

The show that I chose to analyze is The Real Housewives of Atlanta. This show is all about rich, black women who are married or divorced, and living in Atlanta. The show is featured on Bravo, and is part of a series of different cities in The Real Housewives show. It has six seasons, so it is clearly a success in the reality TV area. The episode I chose to watch was during the second season, and is called “Better Tardy Then Never.”

In this episode we see two of the main charcteres NeNe (who is black) and Kim (who is the only white character) get into an argument. Kim wants to record her song “Don’t Be Tardy For The Party” without NeNe as her producer. We see NeNe and Kim argue throughout most of the episode, and most of the season in fact. Kim is a tall blonde woman. She is very headstrong, but is not the smartest at times. She is very into fashion and money and would do anything to keep it. NeNe on the other hand is a hard working woman. She also enjoys fashion and money but enjoys working as well. She is very stubborn and often buds heads with Kim and other characters on the show.

The characters do mention their race quite often and support their stereotypes. Although many of them work hard for their success and push the limits of women stereotypes, they definitely align with their black stereotypes. Some include paying a lot of money for their weaves, wearing tight clothes, and fighting. However, even the white character, Kim, includes herself in these activities. She stands out the most to me because she tries to blend herself in with the other black characters instead of trying to be her own person.

Even though Kim and I are of the same color, I believe I relate more to NeNe. She is strong-willed and works hard for what she wants. I believe I am the same way, even though I enjoy the finer things in life, I work for what I want.

Emma Goes to Storybrooke

13 Oct

The show that I chose to analyze is Once Upon A Time. It is a popular series about fairytales and how their stories are all intertwined. There are many characters throughout the show, and they each have a different backstory. The show is unique because it jumps from the magic world to the real world. The episode that I will analyze is the pilot, which is the very first episode.

In this show there are different class positions. We see the town mayor Regina, and the town’s pawn shop owner, Mr. Gold, to be at the top of the classes. In the middle we see a teacher Mary Margaret, a doctor Mr. Whale, and the town’s favorite diner owner, Granny, to be in the middle class. Then we see the rest of the characters towards the bottom of the totem pole. In this episode, since it is just a pilot, describes how the main character Emma gets to Storybrooke, Maine. She finds herself in a strange place and doesn’t realize yet why she is destined to be in Storybrooke. We meet several characters and learn a little bit about their background stories from going back and forth from the magic world to reality.

Emma is the character that stands out the most to me. She is tall, blonde, and beautiful. She comes to town in a little yellow Volkswagen Bug that is very beat-up looking. She is wearing a t-shirt, jeans, boots, and a leather jacket. We learn that she does a lot of dirty work and had a child when she was a teenager out of wedlock. Although Emma looks like she is from the upper class, she has been living as an orphan her whole life and has had to support herself throughout her 28 years in reality. When she meets her son who brings her to Storybrooke, she meets the rest of the people in town.

She has no money, no place to live, and yet feels compelled to stay in Storybrooke just a bit longer. Throughout the episode, we see several days pass by and she doesn’t change clothes. She wears the same things and continues to act the same way, confused as to why she is in Storybrooke; and uncertain about her son’s belief in the magical world. Eventually Emma gets a job as the town Sherrif and starts to make some money and wear new, clean clothes. She eventually looks like she belongs in the town, instead of looking disheveled and somewhat homeless.

Diversity Day in The Office

7 Oct

The program that I decided to write about is NBC’s The Office. This is a well-known program that many love and enjoy! The series is based off of a company in Pennsylvania called Dunder Mifflin, who sells paper. There are multiple characters throughout the seasons that make up the office crew of the show. The episode I watched was “Diversity Day” which was all about a diversity conference that was held at Dunder Mifflin. It was because of a report to corporate about racial harassment in the office. Because of this, the group I chose to analyze from this show is the white/Caucasian characters.

The majority of these characters are very simple and interact with everyone in the office area. They treat everyone with the same respect, regardless of race. These characters don’t mention their race because it usually isn’t relevant to the episode. They talk more about work, office gossip, and their personal lives. Race is never really a topic. But, I would say there are a few stereotypes. One of the main characters in this episode who is white, depicts the racial stereotype that his race is superior to other races. We also see an office romance start to bloom between two white characters, that displays dating outside of their race as negative.

The character that I analyzed in this episode, is the main character Michael Scott. He is the manager of this specific department of the company. Michael Scott is a very bold character. He has a lot to say and also does not have a filter. In this episode, the diversity speaker that comes to talk to the office employees comes in because of a remark made by Michael. He did an inappropriate impersonation of a Chris Rock skit, and his employees filed a complaint to corporate. Throughout the episode we see Michael make many racial remarks.

One includes laughing at the diversity speaker whose name is Mr. Brown and also happens to be African American. Another incident is during Michael’s one-on-one with the camera when he decided he wanted to be the new diversity speaker for the day after Mr. Brown left. He made everyone in the office wear a sticky note on their forehead with a race/religion and they had to help each other guess who they were. Michael stated “I didn’t have anyone be an Arab because I thought it would be too explosive.” Remarks like these are what make Michael Scott an example of his ignorance to racial awareness.

After watching this episode and analyzing the main character Michael Scott, I believe I don’t have any connections with him. I was always taught to be tolerant and kind to all races and would never say something crude about someone’s race to their face. I myself, growing up as a minority in my area understand what it’s like to be on the opposite side of the dominant group of people. Because of this, I have learned to treat people with respect and kindness.

Mistresses

24 Sep

Mistresses is a primetime TV show on ABC airing on Monday nights after the Bachelorette. It’s a popular series that follows the lives of four best friends who live in California. All four of them have very different jobs and social and economic classes, but have continued to stay friends since their college days. Mistresses shows the problems that each character faces within their personal lives, and how their friendships with one another can get them through anything. Eventually we see each character become a mistress and how they deal with the consequences.

One character is particular that is known as the main character is Savannah “Savi” Davis. Savi is a lawyer at one of the top law firms in her area. She is married to a chef named Harry who considers her his world and is not of the same social class as Savi. They live in a beautiful house in the suburbs, but don’t have any children. Harry wants to have kids and Savi wants to wait until she lands her dream job as partner at the firm. After the tension continues between Savi and Harry over having children, we see Savi start to have a closer work relationship with one of her coworkers. Savi has an affair with her coworker Dominic and becomes pregnant. This leads to Harry and Savi getting a divorce and we watch Savi try to put her life back together after shattering pieces.

Harry, Savi, and Dominic

Savi’s character is not the type that the audience would expect to cheat. She went to college, has a great job, had a happy marriage, caring friends, and impeccable fashion. It seemed like she was the one person on the show that really had her stuff together. Savi was the most relatable character to most people because she worked for her success and showed the “American Dream” we all aim for. Because of Savi’s job and hard work, we can see that she is upper middle class. Her and her ex-husband Harry had a large house; she drove a nice car, and always had beautiful jewelry on. We assume that she made more money than Harry, who owned a small, upscale restaurant that was quickly failing.

However, money and power never seemed to be an issue in their relationship. Savi and Harry kind of switched the typical roles that are shown in a TV series, but it created a new dynamic and focused on Savi being a strong-willed, hard working woman. Overall, it is an empowering show and really displays the different social and economic classes between the different characters.

A Genie Turns To Candy

15 Sep

Christina Aguilera, a popular singer with killer dance moves and a powerful voice. Her fame took off when she was just a teenager, and her legacy continues even today. Everyone knows Christina, and everyone knows her songs. Her fun, upbeat music makes everyone want to dance and have a good time. However, does Christina Aguilera fulfill a certain gender role as a top selling artist? Let’s take a closer look!

Aguilera’s first hit was “Genie in a Bottle”, which describes her as a genie that needs to be let out of her bottle to make her man’s wishes come true. The music video takes place at a beach house, where Aguilera is dressed in risqué clothes (for the 90s), with chunky heels, midriff showing, and hair sleek and cool. Her dance moves are sexual and she is only dancing with the males around her. She poses every so often laying on the beach, standing with her knee bent, or letting her gaze drift about the area. As we saw in the movie Codes of Gender, women are portrayed in the different poses stated above, showing weakness and vulnerability. In addition, Aguilera’s lyrics are also sexualized displaying the idea that she is an object that a man can use.

Later in Aguilera’s career she came out with another hit called “Candyman” which had a 1940s big band sound. This music video takes place in a dance hall as well as a diner. She is wearing clothing that represents that era, but is more form fitting and revealing. Similar to her first hit, Aguilera is dancing provocatively and sexualizing every pose and facial expression. She has both women and men dancing with her but dressing at their specific genders. In this video we can see Aguilera as a more mature singer, especially with the lyrics of this song, one line referring to her “panties drop”, and other sexual innuendos.

Our reading suggests that there are certain stereotypes that go along with race, gender, class etc…The example used in the reading was the video of Antoine Dodson saying “hide yo kids, hide yo wives” and portraying a young, flamboyant, homosexual male. I think this reference applies to Aguilera’s videos and image as a young, sexy, talented, white female artist. There are assumptions that if you are in the Hollywood spotlight and are of a certain gender or hold a certain job that you are to look a specific way, and that way only. Christina Aguilera not only displays this, but embraces it as well. We see how she continues to portray this image and be a role model for teenage girls. I think it is important to look for these stereotypes in our everyday lives to see how they are impacting Generation Y.

Blog #1 by Devra Silverman

3 Sep

Originally my opinion about the relationship between mass media and our reality was not much different from my peers. I knew the media had an effect on the way they portrayed news to society, but I did not realize how much it affected our daily lives. After becoming a more critical thinker in college, I have been able to see how the media, with the help of pop culture, can truly change the way we look at a situation, culture, product, etc… Because of this, the media is definitely, in my eyes, a purveyor of ideology. Without the media’s help, ideas and beliefs would not be shared as quickly as they do. One simple and subtle way that ideas are released to the public is through movies.

In our class we read an article regarding how the mass media portrays ideologies through movies. In The Message Between the Lions, the author points out the fact that each of the characters in The Lion King are categorized into different groups based on the way they act and talk. The hyenas were known as the lower class, while the lions were known as the higher class because they ruled the land. This goes along with the transmission paradigm, which allows us to critically look at the media through cultural lenses, and affects adults more than children. However, if a small child watching were watching The Lion King, they would most likely be following the ritual paradigm, which does not look though a cultural lens. In other words, it is what it is. The kids watch the movie and that is it. There is no critical thinking for them because they have yet to discover how the media can twist and transform messages into our everyday lives.

As we can see there is a powerful relationship between the mass media and our reality. Without the mass media imposing their ideas and beliefs on society, we would be forced to form our own opinions because there would not be a biased or untruthful source giving us information. In a way the mass media is a necessary evil that impacts our lives whether we are paying attention or not.