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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.

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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

Reflection

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.

This is the END!!

3 Mar

I learned a lot from doing these blogs for class. I learned that stereotyping and sexuality is really a huge problem when it comes to movies, advertisements, and television shows. These blogs have really opened my eyes to what people are producing and putting in the media. You can really tell who the writers are writing for. The audience is everything, and the audience has the power to say what they want to see and what they don’t. But the problem is that people are standing up and speaking out about what is wrong with the media, for instance why are the writers type casting certain roles. Also, I learned about a lot of theories, but my favorite was Social Identity Theory. The theory was about we learn from what we see. Which I do totally agree with because people need to put positive things out there, so others can learn to do more positive things. Overall, I really did love this class and the blogging. But now I cannot look at advertisements, television and movies without analzying it!

Bridesmaids

2 Mar

Summary:

For this week’s blog I watched the movie Bridesmaids. Annie is a romantically unattached failed bakery owner who fears she’s losing her best friend Lillian when she becomes engaged. Annie’s anxiety seems to become worse when Lillian grows close to Helen, a wealthy and beautiful new friend who quickly gains control of planning the bridal shower and bachelorette party for Lillian. Annie is supposed to be Lillian’s maid of honor, so she feels threatened. On the other side of the storyline, Annie is a “booty call” for a rude man named Ted. She ends up developing a flirty relationship with an Irish cop named Rhodes after he pulls her over one night assuming she’s drunk. Annie’s low self-esteem begins to sabotage the possibility of love.

Analysis:

The main storyline involves a friendship being torn apart and brings up issues of self-esteem in women and how they let men treat them. Helen threatens Annie because she is wealthy and beautiful. They argue the entire movie and are extremely competitive with one another. Helen always tries to upstage Annie. I feel that Helen was threatened because Lillian and Annie have been friends their whole lives. Women are always threatened by one another, even in the “real” world. When a friend finds another woman that becomes their best friend, the old friend tends to feel left out and alone. The women in this movie were extremely funny and entertaining to watch. The producers portrayed these women and the ways that they think in a way that will be interesting to watch for any viewer. Women aren’t meant to be viewed as funny, they are supposed to just laugh and agree with whatever the men say. These topics really relate to gender identity. Annie lets Ted take advantage of her, even knowing that he doesn’t want a relationship. She puts Rhodes on the back burner and quickly realizes that he was meant for her. Women let men take advantage of them too often. We should be able to view relationships the same way as mean do, even if society doesn’t agree with it. This correlates with sexual identity.

Reflection:

The movie discusses sex and relationships throughout the entire plot. I really liked the ideas that the producers had for this film. They portrayed women as comedic characters and discussed topics like sex, which aren’t usually the main topics of comedies featuring mainly women. It really has given an identity to women that we usually don’t see in today’s film. All women have self-esteem issues but it shows that we can all have a different outlook on life.

What Are We?

2 Mar

Summary:
In the movie “No Strings Attached” Emma, played by Natalie Portman, and Adam played by Ashton Kutcher have an odd relationship. Adam wanted to have sex with a stranger after his girlfriend left him for his father. He had ran into an old friend, Emma, from camp, who wanted nothing serious just someone to have fun with. Throughout the movie Adam started falling in love with Emma, but Emma pushed him away and only wanted the sexual relationship with him. The two lovers decided to go their seperated ways due to having nothing but sexual desires in common. This led to the both of them feeling lonely and depressed. Being a very easy movie to predict, Emma found herself lonely and only wanting Adam. After telling everyone she was okay with being alone, she realized she did love him the way he loved her. **SPOILER.ALERT** After all this time being friends only for physical purposes they realized they are perfect for each other and begin to actually date.

Analysis :
This is actually a very non intelligent movie. I watched it for the sexual identity that is all throughout the movie. The sexual identity in this movie is between Emma and Adam. Adam sees Emma as the first girl in the very beginning who he touches. After many years apart they find themselves older and living in the same area. So when Adam wants sex he goes to Emma. After a few times tables turn and Emma is only using Adam for sexual favors. Emma begins to only see Adam as strickly that, sex. This gives Adam an identity of a play toy for Emma throughout the movie. In society women are looked at as sexual objects and portrayed as the one chasing the guy until he falls for her. This movie goes against that and makes the woman lead the one playing the male and the male chasing after the girl, acting more like a female in the relationship. The movie shows a different side that guys are not the only bad ones playing games when it comes to relationships.

Response:

I did not like the movie itself but did like the moral behind it, well the moral I took from it. Girls are always bashing about how they can never find a good guy who wants anything more than a sexual relationship. News flash!! It’s not just guys who only like the physical aspect of relationships, girls do the same thing and guys say the same things girls do.

Be my bridesmaid??

2 Mar

Summary: For this blog post I am analyzing the movie Bridesmaids that came out in 2011. The movie was about a young woman named Annie who is the maid of honor to her best friend named Lillian. Annie is a little nervous about the wedding because to her it signifies that her best friend will be moving on without her. And it makes her realize that she has been in the same position since her bakery burned down years ago. Well as the wedding planning continues she meets the other bridesmaids Helen, Becca, Megan, and Rita. They get into some funny situations along the way to the wedding. And while this is going on Annie finds love with a local cop named Nathan.

Analysis: During the movie you can see so many stereotypical representations. Megan is a butch woman who is presented as bisexual, and a bit of a brute. Annie is a plain jane type of girl who you would never look twice at. Helen is presented as the beauty queen of the bunch. Rita is the oldest woman out of the group who is desperate for time away from her family. Becca is the most emotional out of the group who is very afraid of being single. And Lilian is the neutral person out of the group, she is the middle ground between Helen and Annie. Helen and Annie have this unspoken battle going on for Lilian’s attention. They say little side comments, and do certain things that they know the other person wouldn’t like. The audience would define Annie’s reality as most real because she is the most down to earth. The audience will feel her pain about losing her best friend because we have all felt that kind of pain before. I think the audience would find this movie and it’s representations hilarious because we can all find at least one of these characters in our lives. This representation benefits everybody because this movie is purely taking a jab at every stereotype it possibly can.

Response: I love this movie, it is like the woman’s version of Hangover! I thought it did a really good job of putting stereotypes in the movie without it being to offensive. And the writers did a really good job having us notice the stereotypes but in a comical way. I think that there is a attribute of each of these women in somebody. I would definitely watch this movie again.

Two Funny Shows!

18 Feb

In this week’s episode of “The Office” half of the office takes off to Florida for a month for a team building exercise/project. While this is going on, one of the bosses gets demoted to become the receptionist. Although everyone thinks he hates it, he secretly loves it. While in Florida, half of the gang is being led by Jim and Dwight. Dwight who is already power hungry strives to be the best canidate to be selected for Vice President by the speaker Ellie. Dwight is at war with Todd for this position, and Dwight fights through an appendicitis to stay and fight. I also watched this week’s episode of Parks and Recreation where Leslie and her boyfriend her campaign manager are approching the Police Cheif for a contribution for her campaign. While this is happening some of her co-workers are getting together and recording a song for her campaign. Annie and Tom finally make it official to begin dating, and Leslie’s ex-boyfriend states that he is still in love with her while at dinner with her current boyfriend.

During these two episodes you see women who are in a powerful position still holding dear to thier sexuality and their gender identity. In The Office Ellie who is the speaker for the project in Florida uses her sexuality to push Dwight and Todd into more of a competition. Because they think if she flirts with them then they are ahead of the other person in the competition. And when the boss gets “demoted” to the receptionist for the day he loses some of his masculinity because he becomes more “domestic” like a woman. He is decorating and cooking for the office all while he is answering the phones. Multitasking like the sterotypical woman should. In Parks and Recreation you see in the beginning Annie telling Tom how the relationship is going to be and him being compliant because he really likes her and doesn’t want to lose her. Leslie uses her smarts and whit to get the police cheif to contribute to her campaign. She also is very powerful when she tells her ex-boyfriend that she no longer has feelings for him but still flirts with him at the end of the show. The audiece would think that these episodes would be refreshing to see because they show women in dominant positions and men respecting them while they are still holding on to thier sexuality. We would find that the main women Leslie, and Ellie reality to be most real because people can relate to them the most plus the episode focuses on them. These two episodes benifits women because it shows that women can be powerful and hold onto thier sexuality.

Watching these two episodes were really funny to watch. I think that it shows women in a different light. It shows that we do not ahve to be dependant on a man, and we can do things just as good as them. It was a good alternative to see because usually you see women battered, broken or overly sexual in television now a days. It was interesting to see how balanced their identites were in these episodes even though they do play on stereotypes.

Love is in the Air

17 Feb

Summary:

This week I watched an hour-long episode of Glee and two episodes of Say Yes to the Dress. Glee was Valentine’s Day themed. The whole episode revolved around relationships and love, obviously. Everyone it trying to get a date for Sugar’s Valentine’s Day party. Say Yes to the Dress is a show on TLC that involves women going to get dresses for their big days.

 

Analysis/Application:

In this episode Brittany and Santana are completely open about their relationship. They kiss in the hallway at school and the principal calls them into the office because of their PDA. Santana points out that Rachel and Finn made out in the middle of the hallway and that it wasn’t fair that they got in trouble for a peck. She believes that the only reason they got in trouble was because they are lesbians. This is revealing that being gay is still not fully accepted by our culture. They end up getting past it and still display their affection in public. They eventually don’t care what other people think and look past the double standard at school.

In Say Yes to the Dress various women come in to purchase wedding dresses. Many women are in heterosexual relationships and find the perfect dress for their weddings. There was a gay couple that came in and each of them were extremely open about their partnership.

 

Response:

I thought each of the shows were very entertaining and interesting to watch. I think I took a more dominant approach this time because I am starting to realize that the media under represents the gay community. I feel that gays should be able to love whoever they want and shouldn’t be ashamed of it. I love that Glee has two gay couples and that a show like Say Yes to the Dress had a gay couple on. This impacts me personally because I have two friends that are gay. One is extremely open about being gay, but her partner is very afraid about what other people will think about their relationship.

Family Guy: Full Broadcast Analysis

4 Feb
Q: Haven’t I written about Family Guy before?
A: YES!
Reason: It is a great show!
Better Reason: Earlier, I had posted two separate blogs. Once was specifically about the program content of Family Guy and the other was specifically about the commercials during the time slot, and this post will serve to combine these aspects for a single holistic perspective.Summary
I watched one hour of TV on Wednesday (2/1/12) from 8-9pm and viewed two episodes of Family Guy in a row. The first episode of Family Guy only contained three explicit references to sexuality. There were two during the program and one during the commercial. The second episode contained nine references during the program and two during the commercials.

Family Guy 1
Video

-Peter takes art classes with nude male models and keeps asking if he should be drawing the penis.

-Peter produces a play, in which he stars, and there are women in bikinis acting as distractions to Peter (from completing the play’s mission) as well as being his reward for finally overcoming evil (in the play).

Commercial
-Axe spot, where people stop what they are doing so that they can come close to one another seductively (even strangers).

Family Guy 2
Video
-Quagmire attends an open interview for a church organist, but he goes in and (as the audience assumes from the mass screams from behind closed doors) he shows them his ‘organ’.
Herbert, the pedophile, sings “I Know What Boys Like”.
In one of the hypothetical cut-aways which Family Guys is famous for, Stewie walks in on Jesus bathing, and Jesus touches himself seductively then uses water to wash the suds from his skin for Stewie’s viewing pleasure.
-A priest’s sermon is about a fictional Biblical passage that discusses masturbation.
-A girl which Peter finds attractive drives up next their car and acts flirty. Since she was in the lane with oncoming traffic, however, a truck hits her and there is a large explosion.
-Stewie, being cross-dressed to avoid detection, decides he doesn’t want to eat any cake since he is afraid it will “go straight to [his] vagina.” He then states, “That’s what girls worry about right? Having big vaginas?”
-A straight, macho-man sticks out in a figure skating competition when he boasts about his performance and hits on a female judge.
-A cut-away shows ‘Old People Porn’, which shows two elderly people talking, then forgetting what they were talking about.
-Peter brands a male cow with a hot iron, and the cow enjoys it. He screams in pleasure at the pain and eventually puts a gag in his mouth and asks for more.

Commercial
-The same Axe commercial plays again.
-A trailer for “This Means War”, a new movie coming out, shows Reese Witherspoon being unable to choose between two men, and she wants a competition of who is better at sex to be her deciding factor.

Analysis/Application
The first episode clearly had less sexuality in it than did the second episode. This is very interesting since the first episode was actually from one of the early seasons while the second episode was from more recent seasons, which would possibly reference an increase in sexuality throughout the seasons. It would be a good study for someone to analyze sexualized content in Family Guy over time.
The sexuality in the first episode was very ‘in-your-face’ (penis jokes, women in bikinis, etc). The Axe Body Spray commercial was interesting since the entire point of the body spray is to increase attraction between people. In this spot, people drop everything they are doing, even in risky situations, just to find a stranger to get close to. Axe, then, uses sexuality and pleasure as a selling point.
The second episode contained much more sexuality. Also, the sexuality is more complex. For instance, Herbert the pedophile uses man-boy attraction as a musical fun point, when in reality, pedophilia is a serious and negative sexual practice. Of course, Family Guy is not promoting this, but instead this reveals that Family Guy doesn’t have any boundaries when it comes to sexuality, and will do whatever it takes for shock value. To continue the shock, Family Guy even sexualizes Jesus. Jesus bathes in front of Stewie and eventually uses water to wash the suds off of him, which shows his nude body to Stewie (which is not shown, but assumed). Family Guy took pedophilia to a whole new level!
Both of these scenes use soft-tempered men to express attraction that is against the societal norm. In the figure-skating scene, however, a straight man expresses hypermasculinity by hitting on a judge (which is over-compensation for being in the ‘girly’ sport). Family Guy is making the argument that to do feminine things is not acceptable, and if it must be done, you have to firmly establish masculinity.
The segment about ‘Old People Porn’ is 1) hilarious and 2) interesting since it brings up a concept that people avidly avoid, sexualization of the elderly. The elderly deserve sexual pleasure just as much as everyone else, but Family Guy argues that it is not their lack of desire, but their lack of mental and physical ability. In this segment, they eventually forget what they were talking about and so sex never happens. Again, attraction is the main selling point, not physicality (which is more reminiscent of the first episode).
To further use shock, Peter brands a cow with a hot iron, and the cow sexually loves the pain in a BDSM way. This pain for pleasure is considered to be a small minority of people, but certainly does arouse the individuals who subscribe. Here, attraction is not at play, but pleasure is.
The older episode of Family Guy emphasizes physical attraction, while the later episode of Family Guy focuses on pleasure and attraction (as a generalized concept).

Reaction
I was very surprised to see the sharp increase in sexual content over time. I knew that Family Guy was sexual, but I figured that it was always as sexual. I also found the diversity of sexuality to be interesting. There was pedophilia, elderly love, BDSM, etc. As interesting was the lack of normative sexuality! It seems the only thing which appeals to the masses are sexual images of things which push the societal boundaries of acceptance.