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Blog Post #5: Glee

7 Nov

Summary: Glee has been the TV program that most strongly advocates realistic body types represented, and more importantly, having a positive self esteem and self-worth.  In one particular episode, Rachel considers getting a nose job.  She has the stereotypical Jewish nose, and wants to have a more demure nose to fit the stereotypical view of beauty that she sees.  The glee club comes together and ultimately convinces Rachel to embrace the thing that she hates about herself and view it as a gift.  The episode concludes with a rendition of “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga and features each character wearing a shirt that displays what they dislike most about themselves.



Analysis: Throughout the many seasons of Glee, and in this episode particularly, the characters deal with issues that many teens go through in real life.  Emotional Competency Theory states that children look to their environment to learn how to manage emotion, and further more, children look to TV programs and other media outlets to learn how to react in certain situations.  If a young girl watching this episode hated her nose or ears or stomach and wanted to surgically alter them, she would hopefully come to the conclusion that she should embrace her individualities because that is what makes her strong.  Glee does a great job of giving kids good messages, when thought of in light of the Emotional Competency Theory. 

Conclusion: Glee is a great example of pro-social media because it showcases real representations of teenagers and provides good role models for them to look up to.  Glee also does a good job of illustrating how teens should react in certain situations. 


Blog Post #4: Tim Wise (video)

23 Oct

1. I watched the video of Tim Wise speaking to a group from Google.  There were a few important points he touched on that resonated with me.  He mentioned that the common thought in America today is that we live in a post-racial era.  Wise sighted the election and re-election of President Barack Obama as a main reason people give for this chain of thought: because we have an African American man as the highest-ranking individual in our country, racism has been eradicated.  Wise goes on to say, however, that this is not the case.  Just because a country has elected a female head of state doesn’t mean that all women in that country have equal opportunities.  The conversation about white supremacy and racism is still a relevant one, according to Wise, and I completely agreed with him.  The next point I found interesting is Wise’s point on how to best identify and evaluate existing problems.  Wise states that in order to identify whether or not a racial issue exists, we have to ask people who are experiencing that problem every day, and go from there.  The problem cannot be solved if we are asking a man to define what sexism against women means in the workplace, for example.  A third point I found interesting was Wise’s suggestion on how to begin having these important conversations.  He suggests that we must let go of bigotry and let go of the fact that noticing racism or sexism and doing nothing, or even being racist or sexist in an aspect of one’s life, doesn’t make one a bad person.  Once this ground is reached, Wise says we can begin to have conversations about how these situations happen, why they happen, and what to do about it.

2.  One of the questions during the question and answer portion was particularly interesting to me.  A Google employee was describing the “brogrammer” culture that existed in the field of technology and that it has almost become a preference between different workplaces; by that, he meant that some companies strive for more diversity and that others embrace the “brogrammer” culture.  I had never heard the term “brogrammer” before, but thought it was interesting that a term was used to describe a stereotype that many people probably have.  When I think of an employee for a technology company, I imagine Mark Zuckerberg and his equivalent.

3. Personally, I agree with a lot of what Wise discussed.  One of his points was about interviews, specifically with job and college admittance interviews.  He stated that we like to believe that in an interview setting, we can objectively evaluate people based on information they provide us with and how they verbally respond to questions.  Wise combats this point by reminding us that we are all biased and cannot simply filter information like computers.  I thought this was an extremely relevant point, especially as someone who has been going through interviewing processes lately for internships and organizations.  If I could have asked Wise a question, I would have asked what he would suggest doing in order to become more objective and unbiased during interview situations.

Blog 3-The Suite Life of Zack and Cody

2 Oct

Groups: Whites and Asians


The Suite Life of Zack and Cody was a TV show on Disney Channel in the early-mid 2000s geared towards children and preteens.  The pretense of the show is that twin boys, Zack and Cody, live in the Tipton Hotel with their mother who sings in the night club.  There are a cast of other characters, including the manager, Mr. Mosby, candy shop salesgirl, Maddy, and heiress to the hotel, London Tipton.  



Pictured above: Maddy and London

In this episode, titled “Odd Couples,” there is a group of National Merit Scholars visiting the hotel.  London develops a crush on one of them, but is too stupid to know how to talk to him. She enlists the help of Maddy, who is a brilliant student and extremely hard worker.  She is lower class than London, and because she works for her father, technically London is her boss.  Maddy decides to help London, but they aren’t able to pull the scheme off.

Analyzation: As a child, I remember thinking London was a typical entitled girl who didn’t have to work for anything.  This is counter to how every other Asian is stereotypically portrayed in the media.  There are countless shows in which the Asians are the nerds, the tech-guys, and the ones that solve the crime or problem at the end.  In Suite Life, however, London is responsible for the majority of the shenanigans on the show.  Maddy is the technical minded one who covers up for most of London’s problems.  Maddy’s looks also run stereotypical to the character she plays.  She is a petite, white, blonde-haired girl who works extremely hard for her money and is intelligent.  

In the show, it is as if Maddy and London’s looks and characters are switched based on what is typically in the media: the blonde-haired, white girl should be the hotel heiress and the Asian girl should be the hardworking, intelligent one.  Considering London’s character is based on Paris Hilton, this is not surprising.

If we examine the article “Themes of Whiteness in Bulletproof Monk, Kill Bill, and The Last Samurai,” the author discusses a theme in all of the three movies they examined.  The white characters master the Asian arts, in this case, martial arts.  If we apply this theme to Suite Life, it shows London seeking help from Maddy in order to master “intelligence” and allowed her to fit in with the National Merit Scholars.  

Conclusion: This episode of the Suite Life of Zack and Cody runs agains the stereotypical portrayal of white and Asian characters in the media.  It also contrasts the theme discussed in Tierney’s article about white characters mastering the Asian arts.

Blog 2: New Girl

23 Sep

Group: Upper Class/Working Class

Summary: I watched the “Menzies” New Girl episode.  The episode focuses on Jess’s job search.  She was recently fired from her teaching job and cannot pay the bills, causing her roommate Schmidt to turn off the gas in protest until she is able.  Schmidt is the ultimate corporate snob–he is constantly wearing suits and attending high class events.



Analysis: Throughout the episode, the differences between working and upper class are highlighted.  When Schmidt is nagging Jess to pay the bills, he says many things reminiscent of the capitalist ideology the American Dream.  In class, we learned the American Dream is all about working diligently to rise up the social ladder.  Hard work is valued, similar to the Protestant work ethic.  When Jess explains that she has had difficulty finding work because the school year already started, Schmidt declares he is shutting off the gas.  When the others protest, he states “that’s called tough love. No more handouts” which is exactly what the capitalist ideologies explain.

Nick is one of their other roommates, who works as a bartender.  He constantly wears hooded sweatshirts, jeans, and a grumpy expression on his face. Despite the fact that he is steadily employed, he is rarely shown working.  They always make fun of him because he never has any money to spend; the roommates chide him as being the “poor” one.  I find it odd that he is stereotyped as the poor one when he is never seen working.  


By comparison, Schmidt is rarely shown at work.  The few times he is, it is highlighting one of his romantic flops or a career move.  I find it interesting that the directors and producers never show any of the main characters at work, yet scapegoat one of them as poor and the other has a surplus of money, seemingly for doing the same amount of work.  This is counter-intuitive to Schmidt’s degrading comments in response to Jess’s unemployment crisis, which promote the American Dream.  By contrast, the amount of time he is shown at work is equal to that of Nick and Jess, sending a confusing message to viewers. 

Conclusion: Despite the fact that the roommates are shown working an equal amount of time, Schmidt is clearly upper class and Nick is clearly lower class.  This is shown through the way they dress and act.  This episode gives the impression that the main distinction between classes is the amount of money they have, not the effort they put into work, negating the concept of the American Dream.

Blog Post #1:

11 Sep

Group: Femininity

Summary: For this assignment, I watched an episode from the third season of Grey’s Anatomy.  It aired on February 1st, 2007 at 10 pm on ABC and is called “Wishin’ and Hopin’.” I chose to watch this episode because it was written and directed by women. In the episode, Meredith’s mom, the renowned surgeon Dr. Ellis Grey, becomes lucid after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for several years.Ellis suffered a heart attack at the nursing home, and so Meredith accompanies her to the hospital. There, the majority of the attending surgeons and interns are wrapped up in taking care of a cancerous patient who’s blood is discovered to be toxic after an entire operating room loses consciousness.  


Meredith and her mother argue over decisions Meredith made in the past five years. Unfortunately, Ellis slips back into her memory loss before they are able to make up, leaving Meredith feeling guilty.  

Other miscellaneous plot lines are updated throughout the episode.  Dr. Miranda Bailey, a fourth-year resident, and one of her interns, Dr. Izzie Stevens, open a free clinic with the money left from Izzie’s deceased fiancée. Dr. George O’Malley and Dr. Callie Torres enter the free clinic and tell their coworkers they got married in Vegas.  The four attending surgeons, Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd, Dr. Mark “McSteamy” Sloan, Dr. Preston Burke, and Dr. Addison Montgomery, are currently in intense competition to be the next chief of surgery. At the end of the episode, we discover that Dr. Cristina Yang and Dr. Burke are engaged to be married.

Analysis: One of the first things I noticed about this episode is the stark difference in how women on the show dress.  All of the interns and residents dress in light blue scrubs, no matter their gender.  The women pull their hair back, almost as if they are trying to discard all feminine characteristics in an attempt to be taken more seriously by their male counterparts.  



Dr. Montgomery, on the other hand, has already asserted her intelligence and capabilities and is an attending surgeon.  She is always dressed more feminine than any other character on the show. 



Dr. Montgomery is wearing a low-cut dress and has her hair and makeup done.  The over-feminine appearance suggests that the directors and producers are attempting to highlight the differences between Dr. Montgomery and the other attending surgeons.  She has made it clear that she is a dominant presence in the race for chief of surgery.  Take a look at this dialogue:

Dr. Sloan: “Aren’t you gonna get in there? If you want to be chief, you have to fight with the big boys.”

Dr. Montgomery: “Oh, I intend to fight like a girl. I’ll let them kill each other and then I’ll be the only one left standing.”



Dr. Montgomery breaks dominant ideology in one specific instance in this episode.  The four attending surgeons have to figure out how to finish the surgery on the toxic patient.  While Dr. Burke and Dr. Shepherd are getting into oxygen suits, the patient begins to wake up.  Dr. Montgomery takes action and runs into the operating room to inject more anesthesia.  She barely makes it out of the room before collapsing from lack of air.  Dr. Montgomery broke gender norms by taking control of the situation instead of standing by, helpless.

Dr. Montgomery’s portrayal of a strong, ambitious woman benefits young women watching the show.  She is an excellent role model and example of a woman who is comfortable with herself and confident in her abilities.

Conclusion: One of my favorite aspects of Grey’s Anatomy is the amount of strong, diverse, female characters on the show.  Dr. Montgomery retains her feminine appearance while asserting herself and acting as a strong doctor.