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The End!

9 Mar

Over the past 10 weeks I have been observing gender identity.  It was very interesting to sit down and really think about how women are portrayed on TV,  in movies and in magazines.  I have never disected media like that.  Don’t get me wrong, I think about what I am watching and sometimes pick up on subtle ques but this past quarter I dug deeper and critically analyzed everything I saw in the media.  I have pointed things out to family members and friends that I normally wouldn’t have noticed before.  I think women are portrayed stereotypically overall in the media.  Of course there are a few exceptions here and there but for the most part, women need to demand better roles that portray women realistically and not in the ideology of white men in the upper middle class.  I think that change will happen in the future, I mean look how much media has changed in the portrayals of women in the past 30, 40 and even 50 years.  I’m not saying women are represented well today but there have definitely been serious strides.  With everything that I have learned in 448 in mind, I believe that media (movies, TV, print, internet, music etc) are stuck in the rut of catering to the male gaze.  Women are alway presented in a sexual, vulnerable way to make men seem bigger, stronger and in more control.  Dominant ideologies are always at play, no matter how subtle or bold.  As a media consumer I plan to continue recognizing this misrepresentation of women, in doing so, I will be kept in check with reality and the way media wants you to percieve women.  Women are strong, ambitious, intelligent individuals that don’t need to pose and dress in a sexual way or be submissive to men to get attention in the media!


Tower Heist (2011)

29 Feb

Group: Gender (specifically women)

Summary: Employees at a swank NYC condominium called The Tower, plot to steal back their retirement money wrongly invested by Wall Street billionaire and Tower resident, Arthur Shaw.  Ben Stiller (manager of The Tower) trusted Shaw with all of the employees pension money, little did he know that Shaw abused his power.  The employees find out about Shaw’s wrong doing when he is arrested for clearing out his investor’s $2 billion.  After the arrest, Shaw is place under house arrest in his penthouse at the Tower.  Stiller convinces several other employees- the concierge, electrician and maid- along with a former resident and thug off the street that Shaw has their money hidden somewhere in his penthouse.  After everyone agrees to find the money, they begin plotting and planning.  Eventually the break into Shaw’s condo while he’s at his court hearing and break down a wall where they believe a safe has been hidden.  When the maid successfully breaks into the safe, the find it to be empty! After Stiller freaks out, he begins smashing Shaw’s prized posession, Steve McQueen’s car, which is parked right in his living room.  After a few hits, they come to find that Shaw’s car was actually made of gold! They then “sneak” the car out of the building in the funniest way and eventually get all the employee’s money back.

Analysis/Application: Tower Heist had very little women in it.  The women that were in it were protrayed in stereotypical ways.  The maid that helped to unlock the safe, was a woman.  She was portrayed stereotypically because she was a maid and she threw herself at any man because she was from African and she was trying to get a green card.  This makes women look like they are only capable of cleaning and looking good in a maid’s uniform.  It also portrays foreigners as looking to get a green card, not matter what it took.  The maid was also overweight, so there were a few puns about eating and her size.  Overall her role served to the dominance of white men, because she acted in such a stereotypical way.  However, she did unlock the safe with her skills so that did make women look like they were capable of something other than cleaning.  The romantic interest of Ben Stiller was a woman FBI investigator that was on Shaw’s case.  She was a tall, thin and attractive woman. She broke stereotypes of women because she was an intellectual, headstrong woman.  She was also blonde, but was not portrayed as stupid or ditzy. She began as very straight forward and professional, but as the movie went on she became more and more informal with Stiller.  Eventually they both expressed interest in each other and went on a date.  She broke another stereotype by not having a man to support her, but as soon as Ben Stiller came around she began to break rules at that the FBI held about dating people on their cases.  She confirme a stereotype that women need to be thin and attractive for men to be interested in them. I believe this portrayal made women seem as if they were easily smitten with men and that they were careless about their careers as soon as they found love.  This film represented both genders in a stereotypical manner.  The men had some stupid, irrational moments but overall dominated the movie and the women were given roles to serve as interests to men or as the stereotypical maid.

Response: This movie served the purpose that it was meant to serve, to be entertaining.  It was funny and had plenty of comedic moments.  But when you step back and look at it, every character was fufilling a stereotype.  The electrician was a mexican that was under-educated, the concierge was a dumb guy from the Bronx, the maid was a black woman, he manager was a modest white guy and the Wall Street billionaire was an older white man.  Instead of breaking stereotypes, the characters fumbled together and made it work.  They could have used the “heist” as a way to break the mold and show what each had to offer in a unique way but they didn’t.

Anchorman (2004)

24 Feb

Group: gender (females)

Summary: Ron Burgundy and his San Diego channel four news crews feel threatened when a talented women named Veronica Cornerstone,  joins their team.  The team is overly obnoxious and sexist toward Cornerstone.  They make crude jokes and sexual comments to her all day long.  Burgundy become smitten with Cornerstone, but doesn’t want anyone to know.  When Cornerstone has an opportunity to have a larger role on the network, Burgundy freaks out and ends their relationship.  Eventually they are brought back together during a breaking news story about the San Diego Zoo’s panda giving birth.

Analysis/Application: All of the women in Anchorman dress in a provocative manner, whether they are at a party (throwing themselves at Burgundy) or in a professional setting. Not only are these women dressed scantily, the are also thin,  This image contributes to the “thin ideal” that many women have in today’s day and age.  The movie portrays women as clinging to the men of the channel four news crew, doing anything to have sexual relations with them.  The men just stand around and make off-color and offensive remarks about everything.  The women stand with arms and legs crossed which makes them appear to be vulnerable.  The only women that the channel four news crew interacts with are women that adore them so their idea of women is greatly skewed.  Burgundy and friends make comments of the things they would do to Veronica Cornerstone which are inappropriate, especially in the work place.  There are many moments in which Cornerstone’s comments and puns go over all of the guys heads.  She challenges stereotypes about women because she is intellectual and domineering where as the men seem stupid and ignorant.  I also noticed a lack of diversity. All of the main characters where white Americans.  When Veronica was made co-anchor, eventually the men began to accept it but they still made crude comments and touched her inappropriately.  Overall Anchorman supports men as the dominant sex because of the way that women are perceived and treated in the film.  Veronica Cornerstone challenges many stereotypes for women but she also confirms some too.

Response: This movie is made to make men laugh (predominantly white men) and confirm stereotypes of women.  I know that many people think this movie is a classic comedy that is hilarious, but I think it is ridiculous.  I guess there are some funny moments but mostly it is sexist and just plain obnoxious.  I do not appreciate most of Will Ferrell’s comedy because it usually is aimed toward making fun of women or other groups of people.  Now that I have seen it, I will get when someone is quoting it but I will not join them in laughing.  I think Anchorman is an overrated film on every level.

17 Feb

Summary: This week I watched Modern Family, Cougar Town and Raising the Bar. On Modern Family the big issue was that Cam and Mitch are looking to adopt a baby boy.  One night Clare and Phil went out to dinner with them and had a little too much to drink.  Clare offered to donate the egg to a surrogate so they could have a baby with Cam’s genes and Mitch’s genes.  They were all very excited about it until the sobered up the next morning, and everything got weird.  Eventually the entire family gets in an arguement about it.  Mitch and Clare work it out priately and declare it’s a no go.  On Cougar Town, Jules and Grayson get engaged.  The entire episode, Jules was trying to prove she wasn’t boring or predictable but Grayson knew her every move.  Ellie and Andy try to deal with their unruly son Stane whiel Laurie knows exactly how to handle him.  On Raising the Bar,Roz wound up pregnant. Jerry’s client is not being very honest about a rapist, or at least Jerry can’t tell if he’s telling the truth or not.  Also Bobbi confronts Jerry about how dirty he can be.

Analysis/Application: Modern Family had a few comments about women needing men to have stable lives.  Gloria discusses how she lived a hard life before she met Jay and he started to support her. This makes Gloria look like she is a gold digger or uncapable of supporting herself as well as her son.  On the other hand, the show also portrayed women as dominant.  When Clare and Phil decide that donating one of her eggs is out of question, they try to think of an excuse to tell everyone.  Phil says to just say that he said no, but then they realized no one would believe them. Also when Clare calls Phil when he is with clients, he tells them “it’s the boss.”  This shows women as naggy and dominering, always bossing the men around.  Cougar Town’s Laurie embodied the typical dumb, skanky blonde.  She got in a bar fight with some man’s wife and ended up with an ankle monitor.  This stereotype blonde women in a negative way.  Also all of the women on Cougar Town are thin, almost scarily so.  Laurie has lost a tremendous amount of weight over the past 2 years and looks almost sickly.  Jules was constantly talking about getting engaged and it being like a fairy tale.  This perpetuated the idea that women are obsessed with getting married and that they need men to be happy. When Grayson pops the question, a stereotype is broken.  Andy begins to cry and his wife Ellie holds him.  This makes men seem more emotional which is not traditionally portrayed.  On Raising the Bar Roz ends up pregnant and is left with the burden of the child on her own.  This sheds light on the fact that this happens more often than not.  When Bobbi confronts Jerry about how unsanitary he is, it makes women appear to be nit-picky and OCD while men are portrayed as laid back and unhygenic.  The women on this show are not overly thin, which is appreciated in a world full of stick thin actresses.

Response: All 3 of these shows show that women are still looked at as the weaker sex and that they use men.  Obviously I am looking at them deeper than the average media consumer, but if people really sat down and thought about what they were watching they may stop watching their favorite show.  Also if people really disected everything they absorbed in the media, they may help to put an end to a lot of stereotyping going on.  I am glad that I am learning how to examine the things I see on T.V. because it opens my eyes to things that I used to ignore.  I hope someday that women will be shown in a positive and healthy light in the media.

Modern Endings

3 Feb

Group: Gender (specifically women)

Summary: This week I watched Modern Family and Happy Endings.  The Modern Family episode was a repeat.  Claire started to think about running for city council but was a afraid to fail at the first thing she did outside of the house.  Jay was trying to sell closets to a new, younger guy in the inudstry but the younger guys was not “wowed” enough.  Manny was also having trouble with a school project.  Gloria kept trying to offer her help to all three of them but she was continually ignored.  Also Haley tried to get fake ID’s for her and some friends but got ripped off $900 and kept trying to borrow the money from her siblings.  Cam and Mitch were involved in a hit and run.  Cam tried to chase down the car that hit and ran on them but he could not catch him.

Happy Endings was about Max needing a beard for when his parents came into town.  Max is a homosexual that has not yet come out to his parents.  When they come to visit him Penny usually acts as his fake girlfriend or “beard.”  Penny could not help him out because she had a blind date so Max asked Jane to help out but she refused and told him he needed to come out to his parents.  In the end Jane decides to go as Max’s beard. She was overly affectionette which turned Max’s parents off.  In the end Max came out to his parents with all of his friends around.  They were completely ok with it, his mom even starting thinking about who she could set him up with.

Analysis/Application: The episode of Modern Family had a lot of intersectionality going on.  Gloria, who is Latino dressed very flashy and flubbed a good amount of English words and terms.  She was also disregarded when she told everyone she had the answers to their problems.  In the end though, everyone ended up going to her for advice and help.  Jay used her to help sell the closets to the younger guy in the industry.  Gloria was shown in a revealing and loud outfit sitting on the new guy’s desk showing him the closets Jay had to offer.  Needless to say the guy wanted to buy some closets.  This shows the idea that of male gaze in the media.  Another thing that stood out to me was when Claire went to learn more about running for City Council, she was worried about who would run the house.  This shows that society still looks to the women to care for the family.  Also when Claire ran into her potential opponent he said to her “don’t quit your lack of a day job.”  He was directly offending her because she did not have an actual paying job, which demeans the work that is done inside the home as well as families.  When the men of the family found out about Haley getting ripped off $900 they decided it was up to them to get her money back.  They went out to “take care of business” and the women stayed home, made dinner and waited for them to come home.  This insinuates that men are the more dominant gender and that women need them to take care of things because they are not capable to do so themselves.

In Happy Endings the women were always dressed nicely and looked as if they had the latest fashions on.  This excludes lower classes that cannot afford to dress according to the latest fashions.  When Penny met a man at the bar and learned that his last name was “Hitler” she freaked out.  She began to worry about the idea of her last name potentially being “Hitler.”  This makes women seem petty and clingy.  Her date also paid for their drinks , which is a form of gender display.  The male believes he needs to buys pay because he is the male.  Max’s mother also does some gender display and intersectionality.  Once she finds out Max is gay, she begins to think of which of her friend’s sons that she can set him up with.  She does this because she believes as a mother she needs to find her son a mate.  Max also points out that she is Jewish and is always prying and wanting him to meet a nice guy while doing “Jewish activities.”

Response: I think Modern Family does a great job at representing gender but also breaking boundaries.  It turns stereotypical things into a joke, making light of it as well as making it more comfortable to consider different races and genders doing new things that they are not normally associated with.  Making light of these things opens viewers minds without pushing them too far.  I think that Happy Endings made women look stupid, clingy and obsessed with little things.  I also did not appreciate the way that homosexuals were represented.  The show made Max llook like he was not proud  to be gay and even used the term “gay” in a durogatory way.  I probably will not continue to watch Happy Endings, it is a cheesy sitcom that won’t last much longer.

all magazines have the same ads

27 Jan

Group: gender

Summary: I looked through the advertisements in December 2011 Cosmopolitan,  November 2011 Harper’s Bazaar and January 2012 Real Simple.   They all had several advertisement directed specifically toward women and their “obsession with beauty.”  There were a few ads that did not have women appear in them but were definitely aiming for a woman audience.

Analysis/Application: All 3 of the magazines had ads that had women in little or no clothing. I also noticed that in a majority of the ads that the women looked zoned out and even confused at times.  Whenever they were touching or holding an object (no matter what the ad was for) they were doing it ever so lightly.  Also in a majority of the ads, women were posed provocatively by either posing in sexual stance.  There was also a lot of face touching.  All of these different poses made women look weak or submissive and sometimes downright stupid. Every ad indicated that the people in it had money, maybe not always extremely wealthy but enough to splurge here and there.  Obviously in reality this is not true of everyone that read these magazines. There were also a few ads in Cosmo and Real Simple that were gender-less.  They were probably directed at women but there weren’t any women in the ad.

An ad that stood out to me in Harper’s Bazaar was a Michael Kors ad.  It was a man and a woman at a bar.  The man was sitting confidently, laughing and smiling while holding his drink strongly. The woman was slightly reclined, with a half-smile half-dazed look on her face.  She was holding her drink gently.  This ad made men to appear dominant and strong and women look like all they could do was look good and play dumb, not even laugh at whatever the man was laughing at.

In Cosmo, the ad that really stood out to me was an ad for Pinnacle Whipped Vodka. The ad had a man vacuuming while a woman was lounging on the couch using her computer.  This ad made women look strong but in the same breath, it made them look controlling.  I don’t think advertisers want women to be portrayed the same way that men are in such a dominant manner.  So they made her look like she was being a bitch because her boyfriend/husband is doing the housework (which is traditionally a woman’s job) while she hangs out.  Using the term “whipped” gives the idea that the man was forced to vacuum because his girlfriend/wife is the boss.  This is not a flattering role for women, which further diminishes their role in advertising.

Real Simple was the magazine with the most gender neutral ads on the surface.  But when I looked more closely the ads were for all sorts of food, home products and even animal care.  The ads basically indicated that women were going to buy the product. However, they did not make women look vulnerable, weak or stupid.


Conclusion: Looking through all of those ads was pretty frustrating after learning what I have the past few weeks.  I really dislike the sexual way women are portrayed constantly. I also hate that women in magazines are wearing ridiculously expensive clothing, most women reading those magazine are not able to afford those luxuries but it’s made to look like everyone and anyone can buy them. I do not know how our society came to accept such biased portrayals of the sexes, but I would like to see it change.  Maybe if more people were “media literate” we could see it evolve into a wonderful thing. Though these magazines had different ads, they were all the same thing. Selling to women while demeaning them at the same time.


Gender Sells…Not Sex

21 Jan

Group: Gender (females specifically)

Summary: I watched Modern Family and the commercials this week.  The commercials were for a variety of different products.  There were ads for cars to mucinex to cell phones.  There were also a couple of make up commercials and one ad for a local radio station. This week on Modern Family Claire was running for local office and was slammed in the paper as being to angry and harsh. The family helps to prepare her for a debate against her opponent by pointing out all of her flaws.  Lilly said the f-word and continues to say it because it makes Cam laugh. And Gloria saves the family dog by jumping in the pool fully dressed for a wedding.

Analysis/Application: The majority of commercials had male voice overs. There were also several commercials with no women in them. interestingly enough, out of the 2 beauty product commercials there was a man in one of them and a child in the other.  The Covergirl commercial (which had Gloria from Modern Family in it) had a man it. He was being seduced or lured in by the actresses beauty.  She was dressed scantily and she was batting her eyes to catch his attention.  The other beauty product commercial was with Eva Mendes, it was a shampoo commercial.  Eva was showing a good amount of skin by just wearing a tank top with thin straps.  In the end of the commercial she was running around in an open field with a child which made her seem playful and childlike.  In the state farm commercial the 2 women looked confused or anxious while they were listening to their professor but the two men looked confident and even a little cocky.  In the t-mobile commercial the actress had a pink, frilly dress on and she was holding the phone lightly and delicately. In the end she was holding her body and crossing her legs, making her look vulnerable and weak.  In Modern Family Alex tells her mom before she goes to the debate that people were just saying she was harsh and mean because she was smart.  I thought this was a perfect representation of what happens when women run for political office. Also Gloria was dressed provocatively as usual. I though it was pretty stereotypical to have the sexy woman to jump in the pool with all of her clothes still on.  Also when Lilly cursed during the wedding and everyone laughed, I feel like it made it seem like it was ok for a little girl to curse because she doesn’t know any better. I think this made little girls seem like they don’t know how to behave and handle themselves in important situations. Women probably related most to this episode and it defined their aspect of reality as most real and visible.  It also benefited both sexes because they both had ups and downs in the episode.  I think the audience interprets the show as family friendly (except for Lilly’s cussing) and accepting of many different kinds people.

Response: I thought that there would be more family advertisements, especially for products a mother would need.  I was also surprised that there were far more male voice overs and actors than female, once I knew to look for it, I saw it everywhere.  I think that men and women respond better to a male’s voice in a commercial because they feel they can trust him and therefore decide to purchase those products. I also really liked what Alex said to her mom before the election.  It showed that women are smart and united with one another.  It was definitely one of Modern Family’s funniest episodes to date.

not so modern women

13 Jan

Group: gender (specifically female)

Summary: I watched Modern Family on ABC at 9pm.  Gloria and Haley agree to help Phil with a seminar for work.  They end up getting their car towed and missed it completely.  Phil was upset because the seminar meant a lot to him and it did not go well without Gloria and Haley’s help.  Luke and Manny tricked Jay and Clare into doing their school project by playing on their competitiveness between each other.  Mitch and Cam were interviewing possible birth mothers for their second adoption but ended up accidentally convincing the girl to keep her unborn child.

Analysis/Application: When Gloria and Haley get their car towed after they park illegally to shop and get their nails done, this makes it look like women are bad drivers and can’t park.  It also makes it look like women love to shop all of the time.  Gloria is dressed up, showing cleavage with jewelry to accentuate it.  Haley also looks ultra stylish and feminine.  Gloria tries to hail down a yellow car which is not a taxi.  All of these separate things show women as being obsessed with their looks and unintelligent.  Alex is shown as the smart or “nerdy” sibling and never looks feminine, which further exaggerates that women can’t be pretty and smart too. Clare who is plain-looking competed with her dad and did the same, if not better than him on Luke and Manny’s school project.  The show benefits men as being the one’s that are in charge and smarter than women. I think it also benefits upper middle class families because everyone had trendy, expensive clothes, cars and houses. And that the men work and women tend to the family. Audiences may come to the conclusion that women are either pretty and dumb or plain and smart.  The producers never showed Gloria and Haley doing anything intelligent but they did show them be emotional, so the audience would also take away that women are irrational and emotional.

Response: I personally love Modern Family but when I looked at it for something other than pure entertainment, I was a little disappointed.  I didn’t realize certain stereotypes that were carried out throughout the series. However they do a great job of representing how families are in this day and time. I always thought it was great for showing how different families can be but still be united and supportive of each other. I think I will continue to take a dominant reading of Modern Family and not let this bother me because the show is just too funny not to watch.