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Reflection on Class Identity

9 Mar

I think this blog assignment was very interesting and eye opening. I chose to discuss class identity within the media and I think it has really shown me a different side to media and the storylines that are typically followed.

Both TV shows and movies did a great job of addressing class identity, and not always in a positive way. I think that the TV show Grey’s Anatomy addressed it well but I also believe that it was not always a realistic portrayal. This was not necessarily a bad thing since it was obvious to the audience that the directors were not always trying to make a realistic storyline but tried to keep it fictional in order to simply entertain.

One assignment that really made me reconsider the way class identity is portrayed in the media was the movie In Time. Even when I watched the film the first time I really gave me a different perspective on how class is an important part of our society and that many don’t always realize what it may seem like to some. For example, in the movie, the upper class were treated as royalty and they were kept separate from everyone else, as if they were on their pedistle. To lower class, that made them feel worthless and inadequate, which is low members of the lower class and even middle class of our society may feel everyday, even in situations most of us may not take so seriously.

Discussing class identity also made me be more aware of stereotyping and priming. When we learned in class how people feel that they’ve been stereotyped into a less important group they will then care less and actually believe they are worthless, I thought about class identity and how stereotypes can force that feeling upon people. Priming also came to mind because of how class identity is portrayed in the media. Even though the stories are fictional and it’s obvious, such as Grey’s Anatomy, priming still occurs because they’re creating schemas for people and then they have misperceptions of what that situation may be like in reality. This is definitely difficult to handle, specially if this occurs in a hospital.

I think a great way to work on how class identity is portrayed in the media is to give it a more realistic spin. Don’t allow so much drama to happen within a show that it results in someone slapping their boss or treating their employees like trash. I think if this behavior was stopped in the media then it would not occur in real life which would result in less appearances in media. The way things are portayed in media and then enacted in real life is definitely a continuous chain. I believe in order for their to be change you have to pick a spot and start there and media is definitely a great start, especially TV and films.

Reflection Blog

9 Mar

For this Media and Identity blog assignment, I decided to closely follow and study Class Identity in media. It proved to be a very rewarding and enlightening study, because I learned a lot about how different classes can relate or disagree in certain situations shown through media. Through ideological analysis, I was able to see and differentiate different class struggles through watching TV shows like ‘Revenge’ and ‘The Office’, movies like ‘The Horde’ and ‘Tower Heist’ and magazine advertisements. I found there to be a lot of intersectionality involved in class identity, meaning that there is usually another classification struggle like gender identity or racial identity. For the most part, when class identity stereotypes are challenged, it results in some pretty interesting entertainment. For the poorer class representation in media, it usually results in the stereotype of being less intelligent or having more struggle in their lives, and they in turn feel sorry for the more privileged class, because their lives come with an entirely different set of problems. In order for class identity to change, there will need to be shows and movies and advertisements that push the boundaries of who represents what class.

Overall, I enjoyed this blog and pushing myself to find new distinctions in a topic I had to discuss for 8 weeks. It helped me to look at these shows in a new thought-provoking way, and I will most likely continue to look for these distinctions in future shows I watch.

Reflection

8 Mar

My conclusions about the ideological analysis is that is has really helped me understand and see different techniques used in the media. In this blog, I focused on gender and class identity. I feel that the media really focuses on the stereotypes of women, families, and didn’t class types. The wealthy class is categorized as arrogant and dumb. I once focused on the show Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and I feel people categorize them as arrogant women who shop all day. While there is a lot of shopping, they are still real people that have everyday problems. I feel the show really gives an idea of how hard women do work and they all have made a living in one way or another. I feel the media industry has grown but there is still more room for growth in the aspect of respecting women. There are more TV shows and sitcoms showing the power of women but I still think there is the stereotype women cannot work hard. I enjoyed the blog to be able to look into the shows I watch and really break them down. When I analyzed the show Modern Family, I really liked seeing the 3 different families that all bring something different. It was not just about your typical white American family. There was the American family, the gay couple, and the couple with a white male and latino women. It really showed the different cultures but showed how they can all come together. I enjoyed the diversity and how they would all combine their lives. I believe that is important in the media because there are all types of families and couples in our society. I think it is important for people to connect with their TV shows, magazines, and all media.

Bridesmaids

3 Mar

Summary:

Bridesmaids is a comedy and basically the female version of The Hangover. It is about a group of bridesmaids who try to make Lillian have the best time up to her wedding. But it’s not all pleasant, the road to matrimony is quite rough. Nothing goes as planned and all the girls have different personalities, which sometimes clash. Annie is the maid of honor and her life has always been off track, but she still wants to make everything perfect for her best friend, even though she has no money to spend she lies about it. Everything ends up being a disaster and Lillian and Annie get into a fight through all this drama of jealousy and pressure. Although in the end Lillian and Annie have a talk to resolve and apologize for all that has led up to the wedding and it ends on a happy note.

Analysis:

Lillian’s sister-in-law, Helen, is a very wealthy and beautiful woman; you can tell by how she dresses,how she speaks and her manners. Throughout the movie she has always done one better than Annie. She uses her money to make everything so spectacular and pristine. Annie hates this and is jealous of how perfect Helen is and how she does everything right. Annie just doesn’t want to lose her best friend. She tries to organize a trip to Vegas for Lillian’s bachelorette party they end up having to come home because of Annie drunken behavior on the plane. It wasn’t Annie fault because Helen had given her a sleeping pill which didn’t mix well with the alcohol. A lot of situations in this movie Annie is obviously totally broke but still spending money in order to be the best maid of honor. This makes me think of society and how people act like they have money but really don’t. They try to play it off this way because they don’t want to be embarrassed about it. Especially when there is another girl who actually has money. It feels like you are always being compared to them and feeling insecure about not really owning up to the truth. I also think that Helen tries to use her money to show off to Lillian that she can step up and take the place of Annie’s maid of honor position. This is what I find interesting; Annie who basically has no money because she lives with her mom and can’t afford anything, but Annie has the highest rank at the wedding because she is the maid of honor. She has superiority over Helen in this situation and this is what Helen is jealous of. I found this very interesting.

Another example was when they were in the bridal store getting ready to try on bridesmaid dresses and Lillian trying on her gown. You could tell that the employee was judging them based on her facial reactions. She was mostly judging everyone but Lillian and Helen. You could just get a vibe that she though they couldn’t afford anything in there. In society I feel like when you go shopping to some places the employees won’t bother to come ask you for assistance because they don’t think you can afford anything anyway. But the funny thing is that even though someone might not be dresses in high class fashion doesn’t mean they don’t have money. Or I feel like if someone looks like they are of a lower class, employees might walk over and ask them if they are “finding everything okay?” They might pose this question to make them nervous about stealing something.

Response:

Bridesmaids can show you that friendship is stronger in comparison to a sister-in-law with money. Lillian didn’t really care about all the stuff Helen did for her, she just wanted Annie with her by her side to celebrate it. It does pose this lesson. Whether it was meant to be or not. Even though Annie’s life is destroyed, she has a great personality and still tries to make things better with Lillian and Rhodes. I think Helen has a more timid personality but I think it was that she was jealous of the bond Annie and Lillian shared. I like how during the wedding they put all differences aside and just had a great tie singing to “Hold On”. I now notice and think about class, race and gender when watching movies and shows on television that I never thought about before.

In Time, In Society

2 Mar

Group: Class Identity

Summary: I chose to watch In Time, which was released in October of 2011, stars Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wild and Cillian Murphy. The plot of this movie is based in the future where everything revolves around time. Everyone stops at aging at 25 and in order to continue living they work for time. If you run out, you die. The storyline follows Will Salas, a 29-year-old low class worker that is given time from a wealthy man over 100 years old. When Will (Timberlake) is accused of his murder, he rebels against the wealthy and controllers/distributors of the time. Seyfried’s character, the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in the world, teams up with Timberlake and the movie continues with a lot of action and romance.

Analysis: The movie In Time revolves around class identity and the entire point of the movie is about class level and privilege. Amanda Seyfried’s character, Sylvia, and her entire family are the wealthiest in the district, which means they have an unlimited amount of time. They can use this time just as they would money, so they’re living in a lavish home with many materialistic objects. Timberlake’s character, Will, however, is the opposite. The country has been divided up into districts and Will lives in one of the poorest most underprivileged districts. It’s very noticeable throughout the movie as they move from one district to another, which is similar to crossing a boarder, that they have been divided base on class level. They travel from the wealthiest to a more middle class and then the ‘dumps’.

It’s a very extreme portrayal of class identity and how it plays out in society but it also seemed like fair way to explain how it may be perceived to some members of our actual society. For example, in the movie, time is like money and they can spend it, invest it or blow it. For members of our lower class, time may have that value to them. People in our society that could be struggling with many responsibilities other than being able to work or maintain the ‘American Dream’ lifestyle could feel that they’re always running low on time and that’s what causes their struggle. This is why I believe the lower classes view of reality is defined as most real because the entire movie in itself is like a metaphor for their reality. Also, the reality of middle and lower class is portrayed as the most common, because there was only one district in the film that consisted of the wealthy. This, I believe, is pretty accurate because in our society the middle and lower class definitely out number the upper class.

I think the upper class definitely benefits from the representation, but so does the lower class. The upper class is displayed as prestigious and beautiful, which can be a good boost of ego, but that’s the only benefit in this film. They’re also portrayed as selfish, greedy, oblivious to actual hardship and vain. This puts a negative viewpoint of what the upper class is and who they can be, when in reality, they may not be those things. Few obviously know but the film had a very stereotypical twist on the upper class.

The lower class benefited and also did not. One example of how they did not benefit was the way many members of the lower class district were portrayed as criminals and addicts. Just as the upper class, these stereotypes may be accurate but that could be because of how frequently they are portrayed that way in films. The lower class was benefited because the film showed the underdog conquering and winning in the end. Granted it is a fictional story and did not follow a realistic storyline but, regardless, Will defeated the strong and that is enduring and motivational.

This is why I also think the audience would interpret the decisions made by the designers of this film in a positive way. It is always nice to see the good guy come out on top in the end with the ‘riches’, girl and happiness. It’s also even nicer when the good guy is someone most viewers can relate to and have a connection to.

Response: I think this movie was really interesting, fun and worth watching. I would even watch it again just for the entertainment. But as a good representation of the theories were learning in class, it’s adequate and it works, but just as other movies and shows I’ve watched for this assignment it’s painfully obvious it’s fiction and that makes me aware of how it cannot be entirely accurate for representing our society. However, it also makes me aware of how influential our society is so, therefore, we’re being strongly influenced by fictional movies that that’s contributing to our society in a negative way. We’re trying to become something we either can’t be because of laws and norms or we’re striving for something that is unrealistic and unsafe. I think it’s becoming difficult for our society to differentiate between entertainment and something to aspire to.

Tower Heist

2 Mar

Summary

I watched the movie ‘Tower Heist’ starring Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Tea Leoni and Gabourey Sidibe this week with some friends. The movie starts out following Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller) as the manager of a high end residential apartment complex in New York City. He is the kind of manager who knows all the tenants by their first name, as well as the little things that help to make their lives easier. He really values his relationships with the tenants, especially his relationship with Arthur Shaw, a big time financier. One day, Shaw gets arrested by the FBI for fraud. Initially, Josh thinks it’s a mistake, but upon further investigation, he realizes the employee pensions’ that Josh asked Mr. Shaw to handle, are gone. Thus ensues a very funny plot surrounding a motley crew of characters as they attempt to steal back their pensions from Mr. Shaw.

Analysis/Application

In this movie, you are dealing with people of all walks of life. You have the main character Josh, who has lived a very straightforward life, and lives his life by the book. On the other end of the spectrum, you have Slide (Eddie Murphy) who is a criminal Josh knows from childhood. The group enlists Slide to help them think like criminals, and so they have someone on their team who actually has experience stealing something. The rest of the group is made up of other employees at the tower building and Josh’s brother. You also have Mr. Shaw, who is the quintessential form of a hegemonic, old, very rich, white male. It’s an interesting turn on who is deemed the “bad guy” in this film. Usually, the people stealing are labeled the bad guys, but in this case, it’s more of a Robin Hood scenario. They are stealing what’s rightfully theirs, and Mr. Shaw (the rich, white male) is the bad guy. The movie also shows a lot of how different classes interact with one another through the funny situations they get themselves into, and how the different members of the group react.

Response

This movie was very funny and entertaining, but I enjoyed the underlying messages revolving around class identity and the sort of “flip” the character roles took compared to the usual stereotyped roles. It was interesting that they had an old, rich white male play the bad guy, and a band of unlikely people bond together to become friends and the protagonists in the movie. There was a lot of intersectionality involved as well because out of the two female leads, one was a blond haired, blue eyed tough as nails CIA agent (Tea Leoni) and the other was a heavyset, energetically hilarious black maid who worked at the Tower (Gabourey Sidibe). Both very strong female roles that bent the stereotyped rules a little bit.

Do all teachers have a bad side?

2 Mar

The movie from 2011 that I chose to analyze was, Bad Teacher. This movie is about a gold digger, Elizabeth, who is dumped by her wealthy fiancé and has no option but to get a job. She gets a job as a middle school teacher. She is not quite cut out for this position because she drinks, smoke marijuana, curses, and shows movies in her class so she can sleep. Elizabeth’s goal is to get breast implants. Once she learns there is a $5000 reward for the teacher whose class does the best on the state test. She immediately starts teaching her class well. Then, she finds the man who keeps the state tests. She lures him with her sexuality and tries to sleep with him. But she doesn’t have to, because she drugged him. Once he passes out, she steals the test. Elizabeth starts to show more interest in the school gym teacher who is a good guy. Towards the end of the movie, Elizabeth realizes that was she was doing is wrong. At the beginning of the new school year she tries to mend her relationships and become a better teacher, without cheating.

In this movie, I found the reality of Elizabeth to be most real. We all have these perceptions that teachers are like God. We believe that they do not drink and they are always on their best behavior. Everyone knows that feeling when you see your teacher outside of school and it is kind of and awkward moment. I think Elizabeth’s character is most real. She is showing a gender identity of a female teacher that is not often portrayed or seen. I think this identity serves the younger class. It serves the teens that only see their teachers as punishers or heartless people. Only sometimes does a person really connect with a teacher on a deeper level. I think the audience is interpreting this movie as a comedy but also that teachers are humans too. They go out with their friends and have families. They experience real life as well.

As a student myself, I find it hard sometimes to see a teacher as a normal human. For me, my professors are put on a pedestal because I am learning from them. I get advice and knowledge from them. So when I see them out or doing something outside of class it is kind of weird. I am only used to seeing them in one environment. In this movie, I think it gives an audience a sense that teachers learn from students as well. And teachers are normal people that go through life with struggles too.

Class Identity = The Notebook

24 Feb

Group: Class Identity

Summary: For this blog I chose to watch The Notebook, which was released in 2004. The Notebook is a fictional film based on Nicholas Sparks best selling novel. The story follows the love story of a lower class man, Noah, and an upper class woman, Allie. The movie spans from the beginning of their relationship as young adults having a summer romance throughout the time they spend apart before finally coming back together, forever.  Ryan Gosling plays Noah and Rachel McAdams plays Allie; Ryan and Rachel had impeccable chemistry while on set and it shows in the film, as it’s difficult to remember it’s not a true story.

Analysis: Class identity plays a strong role in The Notebook. It’s evident from the moment Noah and Allie’s characters meet, because he is a lower class worker that lives at home with his father and she is the daughter of a very wealthy family, preparing to leave for college. The movie takes place in the 1940s, and Noah mentions to Allie’s family at one point in the film that he only makes 30 cents an hour, to which Allie’s entire family has a notable reaction to, especially her mother.

Allie’s family is not happy about her relationship with Noah throughout the entire film, until the very end. Her mother even calls Noah ‘trash’. The movie, in my opinion, makes a realistic portrayal of how life was in the 1940s and that, even still today, having a relationship with someone of lower status is typically not acceptable and frowned upon. Also, in particular at the time period this movie is based in, it is even more of an issue when the man has less money because he is expected to take care of the woman and supply her with all that she needs.

The reality I believe was portrayed as the most believable and real would actually be nearly all of the characters. It was a very realistic portrayal of the class identity situation, except that they ended up together in the end. Personally, I don’t believe in reality there would have been such a ‘happily ever after’. However, the way Noah’s life as a worker in a lumbar yard who joins the army and then comes back to still live in his hometown was very realistic, as well as the way Allie went onto school to become a nurse and then becoming engaged to a man of money.

The representation doesn’t supply a very realistic and real benefit except as entertainment. As I said, they end up together happily ever after and, as much as everyone loves a happy ending, the reality of that happening may not have been as likely. This is why I believe the sole main purpose of this film was to entertain, encourage hope and to promote the ‘all you need is love’ mentality, and this is also how I think the audience interprets the storyline. It’s a fictional story that was made for entertainment but also maintained a fair amount of realistic accuracy.

Response: I absolutely love The Notebook. It’s a movie that I have seen countless times and it’s a classic, in my opinion. I also think it was definitely made as a fictional story just to entertain and that even though it sticks fairly well to a realistic plot it still was not made to make a statement. Class identity in this film is extremely noticeable because that is what the story is built upon and I believe it’s a fair portrayal of what class identity can be.

The Horde

24 Feb

Summary

For this week’s blog assignment, I decided to watch and analyze the movie The Horde. The Horde is a fictional film made in 2009 featuring a cast made up of gangsters, cops and zombies. The movie starts off with a taste of revenge, showing the cops we follow at a funeral for a fellow cop and making plans to go ambush the gangsters who killed him. During their surprise attack, they are foiled by a loud landlord and the gangsters are able to suppress the attack and take the cops as prisoners. While they are interrogating and torturing the cops, a zombie apocalypse breaks out. The group doesn’t realize until it’s almost too late, and they are able to escape to the roof of the apartment building, where they have a clear vision of everything that has occurred. Here, they realize that if they are going to have any chance of making it out alive, they will have to join forces and combine their manpower. Thus ensues a classic zombie film filled with blood and gore, but also with an interesting combination of people relying on basic survival instinct to survive.

Analysis

This film is a zombie movie, so it contains a lot of scenes that are dominated by gore and blood and violence. But, this movie has a strong underlying plot that revolves around class distinctions and how that can immediately go out the window when basic human survival kicks in. We first see class identity at the very beginning, when there are clearly two different identities; cops and gangsters. They are very clearly distinguished by their demeanor and loyalties. Then, when all life is threatened and they team up, that distinction goes right out the door, except for strained occasions within the group. The leader of the cops and the leader of the gangsters are the most calm throughout the movie, I believe because they feel a sense of camaraderie with one another because they both identify as leaders. The different class identities also comes into play in one particular scene, when the group is separated by a zombie attack, and the two groups go their separate way except for one of the cops who gets situated with the gangsters. He is excluded and mocked. Then, at the very end, there are two survivors. Aurore and Ade, a cop and a gangster. Aurore ends up shooting Ade for what he did to their friend at the very beginning of the movie.

Response

I really enjoyed this movie. While it was a scary movie with zombies, I really paid attention to the plot because of the strain of the relationships and how it caused everyone to find common ground. It asked for people to protect others that they normally wouldn’t under any other circumstances. It also showed a lot of true colors between the groups, it was ironic in the end who could be depended on and who could not. The class identity differences in this movie were extreme, but they blended under extreme circumstances

The Notebook (2004)

24 Feb

Summary: “The Notebook” is a true love story about how Noah and Allie met by ready through his notebook. There are times of love, loss, fights and then finally being together again. The story takes place in the present and the past time. Noah tells the story in the present day and they both relive those memories from the past. Because Allie suffers from Alzheimer’s she doesn’t quite remember the past and she doesn’t realize the story is about her and her husband Noah. There is a time through the movie where Allie remember and they spend at least five minutes together dancing and talking before she forgets who he is and her past life. Throughout the movie there is a class distinction between Allie and Noah. Allie is a privileged young lady and her parent have a lot of money. On the other hand Noah’s life is the opposite. He has to work and you can tell by his attire that he is of the working class.

Analysis: At the beginning of the movie Noah and Allie meet at a carnival. Noah is very driven young man and wants to know who this new girl is. Allie doesn’t want to take interest first of all and doesn’t want to bother with some working class boy. But Noah is one who keep initiating speaking to her and such. This situation back in the 1940’s was a time when there was a distinction between lower and middle class, it wasn’t intertwined. By that I mean the lower class and the upperclass being friendly with each other and hanging out. Because why would you bother hanging out with someone who can’t meet your needs?

Another example was when Allie’s mother told her about the love of her life back when she was a young lady. She took Allie to the coal mine and showed her the guy she fell in love with. She just didn’t want Allie to make a mistake and basically through her life away for that. She wanted Allie to have the best in life and her current fiance would do that for her. She was trying to say that there wasn’t anything that Noah could give her that her current fiance would because he wasn’t rich. I think that Allie’s mother really did love her first love and wanted to be with him, but when she met Allie’s father and knew he was of upper class status and who she loved, she knew she would have a better life. I know Allie’s mom had her best interest in mind and it was up to Allie from this point on to make her own decisions. Sometime you have to follow your heart and not follow the money, because money can’t by love. I think Allie’s mother exhibited social cognitive theory through Allie. Because in the end when she drops Allie off at Noah’s she give her his letters and comes to a sense of acceptance. Her prejudice is reduced by the information that Allie has given to her mom about Noah and all the things he had done for her and said.

Allie’s father treated Noah like he was nothing. He told him that he needed to leave Allie and try not to get back into her life. This was when her and her family were moving away from Seabrook because she was just their for the summer. Allie has to leave and each day Allie was gone, Noah wrote a letter saying how much he missed her and loved her. Allie never received the letter because her mother hide them all (later returning them to her). Her dad just knew Noah was worthless and didn’t want Allie to be with him because there was no potential. This scene is filled with a lot of emotion because Allie and Noah are torn apart in such short notice. I think her parents, her dad especially would do anything to keep that Noah away from Allie. I feel like her treating Noah as a peasant and he didn’t even really know him. It is like discrimination and stereotyping. Having preconceived thoughts about what people like him do and how they are. All of these thoughts which were wrong, as the audience can see. In this scene I feel like Noah has low self-esteem because of her fathers actions. I think Allie’s dad exhibits the information gap between the lower and upper class. He thinks that Noah doesn’t have the power, knowledge or advantages as the upper class because he isn’t exposed to as much as he is.

 

Response: I think the “The Notebook” does a great job of showing class identity because there are two sides of class between Allie and Noah. We all learn a lesson in the end that money doesn’t matter and that love is much more important. You have to follow your heart and think for yourself and what you want and don’t let anyone else’s opinions interfere to chance your decision. Through this movie we see the working class as determined individuals who are striving for a better life but it just might take longer. We are all the same individuals but just in different environments. We work, have families, we love and care. The only distinction is money, but once that is out of the equation then were all the same, human.