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Racism. Inequality. Privilege

24 Oct


What I took away this evening hearing Tim wise speak was a better understanding of privilege.  Privilege is invisible, not only white privilege, but any dominant group enjoys an obliviousness to the lived experiences of marginalized groups. I also learned a lot about systemic racism, how policies that have long been set in place sometimes have racialized effects. Since polices such as these have always seemed to be in place it is often perceived as normal. Fixing the problems that these policies cause is difficult because in a legal sense it is a situation that the courts do not have the power to change.

Many topics that Tim Wise covered were rebuttals to commonly heard when the topic of racism or inequality is brought up. Mr Wise, explained how as Americans, we tend only to acknowledge the parts of History. Many marginalized groups have been oppressed in our history, Blacks, Latinos and Asians alike.

The election of a president of african american decent is a frequent fact called on to support the idea that Racism is dead in America. This type of “individualistic assessment” can be considered a fallacy of logic as one successful outlier is no where near proof that racism has been eradicated.

“I’m not prejudice, i have friends in marginalized groups” Counterexamples Mr. Wise used for this  point really resonated with me. it struck me as a great thought process (at least for males) to actually examine the Privilege we enjoy. heterosexual males create partnerships with women, marry them and become interdependent. HOWEVER that does not exempt them from sexist dispositions.  as males, the need to empathize and understand the experience of women is never really felt.  the same example can be applied to all other instances of privilege, and inequality.


Grey’s Anatomy

12 Sep

grey's anatomy

Topic: Femininity

Summary: I have watched all 9 seasons of the prime time show Grey’s anatomy. This show explores the life of a young woman named Meredith Grey who with a host of others begin a journey of life through their medical residency all the way through their medical fellowship as doctors.  Though the focus is on Meredith Grey as watching the beginning season opener I focused in on one particular character named Christina Yang. Christina Yang is a student right out of medical school who graduated top in her class, fights and works hard to maintain the title of being the best among the “elite” in her field of work.  Coined, the first day as the intern with possibly the most potential, she is also dealing with the fact that her determination, passion, and admiration about learning is intimidating and not easily welcomed.

Analysis: Although Christina Yang is given this dominant role you begin to see the internal struggles within this character who navigates in a dominant ideological society (white, dominant, capitalism) (Banjo Notes) especially in relations to the medical field and overcomes adversity. Where i begin to analyze this character and episode from an oppositional perspective is the fact that Christina Yang is a female that displays what may be  considered in society as very dominant or “masculine” characteristics such as emotionless, assertiveness,and  competitiveness. Where as her other female colleagues display characteristics such as affection, sensitivity, perkiness and which may be associated with “female” characteristics. Christina Yang only operates effectively in her role because she, unlike her colleague izzie does not display more feminine characteristics that made be perceived as weak or oppositional to the dominant ideology.

Conclusion: This episode suggests that femininity does not fit into the dominant ideology and to do so would fail to fit the criteria of a dominant perspective.

The Girl Who’s Scared of Clowns

11 Sep

I decided to analyze an episode of America’s Next Top Model: Cycle 20: Guys vs. Girls.  This is the first time in ANTM history that they have had male contestants competing with female contestants.  In the episode, The Girl Who’s Scared of Clowns, we have 11 models left. 5 girls and 6 guys. At the end of the show, that was narrowed down to 9, with 4 girls and 5 guys still in the running.

Masculinity: All the male models are expected to act masculine in their roles on the show and as they take their pictures during each week’s themed photo shoot.  Cory, who is openly gay, has been told in his previous photos that he acts too feminine and he needs to bring out his masculinity.  Last week, he got top photo because he had to do a photo shoot where the women dressed as men and the men dressed as women.  Another example of masculinity shown was when they were prepping for their photo shoot and the guy who runs Smashbox Studios tells them they will be doing nail art.  He says that “I know you guys don’t normally paint your nails… well maybe some of you do” and the camera immediately zooms in on Cory and he blushes a little.  Cory has to ask the photographer, Franco Lacosta, if he looks too girly and the photographer says “no that does not look too girly. I don’t want you to look to girly. I want you to look like a man.”  Also, during the challenge, in which they had to create a Flixel picture, Phil was not satisfied with having Kelly tell him he needed a new shirt because he decided to cut the sleeves off the shirt he originally chose.  As a result, he throws a rock at a fence, breaking the fence and causing his team which included Chris, Cory, and Jiana to finish last.  The boys played two pranks on the girls.  The first was them taping their possessions to the wall while they were in the shower and another was when they placed clowns in their room knowing Renee and Kanani was afraid of clowns.  Also, during an earlier makeover episode, Phil is shown getting a weave.

Femininity: All the female models are expected to act feminine in their roles on the show and as they take their pictures during each week’s themed photo shoot.  In this episode, Phil was told that his picture “looked way too feminine.”  Also, during clips of them in the house, they show the girls and their interactions with the guys.  Jourdan was mad at Jeremy because he was always trying to get up under her.  He tried to apologize to her, but she just ignored him.  Nina also is giving Chris the cold shoulder because of comments he said in house this week.  Jiana noticed this and Jeremy tells her “and you wonder why nobody likes you in the house” because of the way that she carries herself.  A prank gone wrong causes Kanani to not be able to focus on the photo shoot and as a result, she is sent home.  Kelly Cutrone has been called many things: rude, nasty, etc. She refers to herself as the “power girl” because she tells it like it is, similar to most people that work in the fashion industry.  She has been shown to be very rude and verbally abusive towards the models. In cycle 18, Louise, a British model, told her off for being rude to her.  Chlea, who was eliminated in episode 4, told her off as well.  To Kelly, anyone who stands up for themselves is being rude.

Sexuality: Most of the models on the show identify as straight. Kanani has a daughter, Marvin is shown in earlier episodes to be a “ladies man” by always flirting with the female models.  Jourdan says that she has a boyfriend outside of the show.  Jeremy admits to having a crush on Jourdan. Cory is openly gay.

Final Conclusion: ANTM is doing something big by having male models compete with the females. However, it shows us that male models should still act masculine and female models should portray themselves as feminine.  The modeling world is not meant for everyone and ANTM shows us the ups and downs of the modeling industry.

Below, are the pictures that Tyra chose as the best photo for each of them.  You can be the judge and see if they are acting their role.

Call out order: Jourdan, Marvin, Cory, Chris, Don, Renee, Nina, Jiani, Phil
Eliminated: Kanani & Jeremy

“Real” roles

11 Mar

While writing these blogs I’ve really noticed more and more gender specific roles in the media, television, music etc. Everything has stood out more because that’s what we’ve had to look for, but it happens when I’m just watching tv now. I notice that women are in stereotypical roles and I also notice when they are displayed as overly aggressive and violent and even when they arent played in either and seen as professionally natured. It’s very interesting to notice all these things before I just was ignorant to the fact that it was occurring. The blame gets thrown on Hollywood and these major labels and companies and conglomerates, but the blame should be on the consumer us. Just like we blame government officials for policies but we put them into office, we fuel these stereotypical huge films. We want to see the sexy women the ripped guys, even though public opinion say’s there’s an outcry for change it doesn’t occur.

Gender roles have changed over time but the inequality between simply men and women is still evident. Just take a look at the highest grossing films out they mainly include men and women in stereotypical roles. Every now and then a major movie comes out where these roles or avoided, but it doesnt happen enough. It will be interesting to see what happens and how long it may take for these “real” roles to become the norm.


9 Mar

Doing these ideological analysis blogs have really taught me a lot. It is one thing to sit in a classroom and learn about things that you can apply to the real world; it is another for the class to go one step further and make you apply what you have learned to real world examples. That is what this blog has taught us to do and I think it makes me retain the material more because of it. It also has helped me see how much of the stereotypes and mis-representtations we have learned about in class are still present in the real world; and not just the stereotypes and mis-representations about women. These blogs have also taught me to look at media with a more critical eye.

The portrayal of women in the media follows society’s stereotypes about women. Women are often portrayed as infantilized or in a position of submission. It is often said that sex sells and this definitely stands true for women. They can often be seen in advertisements and commercials wearing skimpy clothing, lying down, and touching themselves. As it was put in our notes, “women are placed on display for the pleasure of a male-dominated society.” In television shows, women are seen as the blonde bomb shell, femme fatales and there is often the dilemma of the virgin-whore complex. Women are generally not taken seriously in the media and if a woman is in the position of power, comments are often made about her acting like a man.

However, this is not always true. In shows that are made by women, such as Grey’s Anatomy, these stereotypes of women are trying to be broken so women can break out of the mold society has placed them in.  In Grey’s Anatomy, Meredith’s mother was seen as one of the best doctors to ever have worked in the hospital. In movies such as Colombiana, even though it was made by a man Zoe Salanda plays a woman who becomes an assassin after she witnesses the murder of her parents. Women can break out of these molds in which they are in a movie or television show just because they can draw an audience with their sex appeal. Look at television shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sarah Michelle Gellar played a high school student who hunted vampires and saved the world.

If there is going to be a change in how women are portrayed in the media, the change cannot come from one direction. Actresses need to stop accepting roles in which they have to demean themselves and women as a gender. Producers, writers, directors, photographers, etc., have to stop making advertisements, television shows, movies, etc., in which women are used as props instead of an actual well developed characters with a storyline, emotions and a true purpose. As consumers, we have to stop accepting women being portrayed in this way. Stop endorsing these images by buying the products and seeing the movies. Write letters to let the industry know that you are not okay with the way women are being portrayed. The industry makes what they think will sell and what they think the public wants. If we can get a big enough voice and let them know that we want real women, we will eventually be able to make a change.


9 Mar


As a reflection, the portrayals of gender in the media go right along with societies expectations. Not sure what comes first, societies behavior or the medias’ portrayals… if the media just plays monkey see, monkey do or if we’re the monkeys doing the seeing… Its all pretty much a blur still. But one thing that is clear that if there’s a 1 its man, and if there’s a 2, its women. Men are seen the driving force in our culture and it seems as any everything in the media is catered to what men want.

Prescriptions for Change and Growth: Im not sure how we as a society could go about this change. For our prosocial media project we did a presentation of an idea, similar to the “go green” movement, this would be an alternative approach to present women in the media. By encouraging all modes of entertainment to “de-sex” the images they present, it may serve as the first step to changing the way in which women are presented. I think it has to be a goal of everyone, the clothing lines, designers, movie and video producers, song writers etc… My implementing and just providing an alternative way, a new way to be cool and popular… by trying to show that our society values other things like intelligence and purity… maybe just maybe this”alternative approach” attempt would serve as the first step in a new direction. Again Im not sure if this would even be realistic, our culture is so submerged and heavily rooted in its hegemonic way of like I dont even think people, at first glance into our culture, see a need for a change. If they were to get that magnifying glass out, or just take this class however, I would bet that they too see room for improvement.


9 Mar

Throughout the quarter I have written blogs on gender and sexual identity. Although I found them to be tedious at times, I understand why we had to do them and I have learned a lot. I have learned a great amount about the media and how it portrays certain groups in the media. I have looked at women and men and how they are portrayed, as well as the gay community. There were findings of intersectionality between gender identity and sexual identity. For example, in regards to women, they are looked at as sexual objects for men and at times they aren’t looked at as anything but that. These two categories were challenged in various media forms such as television, film and print. The things that we studied in class really helped me to learn how to look at these forms of media in a skeptical way and see how each gender was sexualized. In order find growth, I think that these issues should be addressed. Men and women should not view one another as merely sexual objects. As humans, we are more than that. We are smart, funny and have actual personalities and I feel that the media doesn’t always portray that. Women aren’t supposed to be funny, but when I reviewed the movie Bridesmaids, that proved to be wrong. Women aren’t supposed to just laugh at men, we can be funny and have intellectual thoughts too.

Overall, I have found the issues in the media to be extremely interesting and I have come to realize how much the media influences our ideals.


9 Mar

This past quarter, I chose to look at gender identity and how it is reflected in various media outlets-television, film, print, etc. I found it interesting to take a different perspective while watching rather than just mindlessly following the hegemonic ideals. I tend to already view the way men and women are portrayed in media with a skeptical eye. Although I did see information we learned in class highly reflected in media-such as women being very sexualized and in a more submissive role, while men are more powerful and dominant-there were other aspects I felt we didn’t look into as deeply. For instance, while women were definitely more likely to be sexualized, in most of the media I viewed, the men were highly sexualized as well-especially in media directed in towards women. I feel this issue should be addressed as well if we are interested at all in equality between the sexes and how they are viewed. If we want women to not be constantly portrayed in a submissive, weak, sexualized role, then the best thing to do to equalize is not to put men in the same role of vulnerability. I think there can be an appreciation of both the beauty of men and women without them being almost naked.

I did enjoy observing gender identity in the media, don’t get me wrong, but I found it difficult to find new ways to talk about the same thing this whole quarter. It may have been different had not all the media appealed to the hegemonic ideal and portray men and women virtually the same way in all media. But I would have found it interesting to observe other identity issues throughout the quarter to broaden my awareness of how deeply rooted our views have become based on media portrayals.

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!


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.