This article was super hard for me to follow, It wasn't that I was disinterested but rather how it read was tough. When I first saw that the author was going to be breaking down Forrest Gump, a movie I enjoy very much, I got excited because I could relate and recognize key points to the movie. When she started to break it down, I then began to realize I was wrong. Her view points of the movie to me were outlandish and I felt she over analyzed a lot of things about this movie. I believe some things she claimed about the movie, like the government aspects are true but the other claims sort of lost me when I began going through them. I did find her points of what the face of america is interesting. I believe the face of America has changed and always will be changing, not that she asked if it has, but how she portrays it I believe it will inevitably change. Overall I found this article interesting, just hard to fully follow and fully allow my self to fall into it.
October 2012 Archives
Overall, I thought this article brought out some great points about citizenship and what it means to be "American" that I had never thought of before.
I especially enjoyed the author's discussion on the movie, Forrest Gump. I always knew this movie was commenting on history, but I never realized what these comments were. Probably the most striking point that Berlant made about this movie was what political message Forrest's intelligence level sends. On pages 180 and 181, Berlant points out that Forrest is named after a founder of the KKK. I was pretty shocked when I read this, but Berlant goes on to explain why the writer did this. Berlant writes, "What does it suggest that these nostalgic, familial references to nationally sanctioned racial violence are translated through someone incapable of knowing what they mean?"
Q: This is the question (Berlant's from above) I would like to pose to our class, as well, about this section. I have my own ideas that maybe the writer only intended to be ironic and point out the idiocracy of being so racist, but I'm not sure. What do you guys think.
Also, another idea popped out to me on page 199. Berlant writes:
"Throughout the text the problem of immigration turns into the problem of abject America: we discover that to be an American citizen is to be anesthetized, complacent, unimaginative...for the attainment of safety and freedom from the anxiety for survival...."
It never occurred to me that the American dream could be to be boring and safe. Yes, I've realized my goals are boring and safe sometimes, but I never equated them with the dreams of others. But stepping back to look at it, maybe our dream is stagnant and unchanging. Maybe it is more exciting and hopeful to view your possibilities in America as an immigrant.
Q: What do you guys think of this quote and Berlant's idea of the safe American citizen? Do you think this is true? Depressing? It is changeable from either the citizen or immigrant side?
What did I just read?
This article was so confusing! What I got from it, though, was basically about the hierarchical structure of society especially with politics and wealth. When concerning different racial groups, the author makes it very clear that she believes the way in which society treats those who are not white is very wrong. That minorities are not given chances. And I think that what she is getting at with this is that the media reinforces these ideals within our culture. When talking about the political side of the media and these influences, I think the main point was about how, since this is continually reinforced through politics and the media and the combination of the two, everyone in society just assumes it as fact. Nobody protests it. In a very Marxist way, she is almost promoting "fighting against the man". Because, as the media teaches our society certain social norms, it is what our kids grow up learning. How in the world do we expect equality or for this discrimination to ever end if this is how we're raising our future leaders? Along with that, our media is distributed all over the world. So not only are Americans being influenced by this, but other countries are as well. And we're essentially making ourselves look bad if other countries do not agree with that. Sorry for the rant. On a deeper level, I think that one can take the authors point about this inequality in the media and apply it to many other things such as disabled people, homosexuality, gender, etc. This level of discrimination is only going to remain if we reinforce it to all citizens through our media.
The author also touches on the idea of welfare and gender inequalities in the media. To start, her argument on gender inequalities follows as all the other ones we have already read: women and their bodies are being exploited as use to sell products. SEX SELLS...etc. But I thought it was really interesting when she talked about welfare and the use of government assistance. The thing that intrigued me the most was her argument on "welfare queens". I do think that the welfare system in the United States has gotten out of hand. People are taking advantage of it and personally, I do think those people need to be called out on it and get in trouble. It's wrong for them to make enough money to support themselves but still use government money because they want to spend their own money on crap that they don't necessarily need and be handed free things. Another rant, sorry.
I guess my main question for discussion would be about these "Welfare queens". Do you guys think they're doing something wrong? Do they need to be punished? Can you think of any way to weed these types of people out of the system?
Although I found this article to be a bit hard to follow based its fluidity this is what I could take way from it --
Berlant took examples from different media text and explained the situations in which they shed light on the topic of racial identity, and more specifically being "homogenized white". Which is described as white people who share a common background with no discernable distinction of diversity-- also known as the "New Face" of America.
The politics behind the topic of racial identity can be dizzying, throwing us into a circles of confusion. I think that this issue is better understood by the example in the article of the Michael Jackson video "Black or White". In this video national images are referenced and create its own narrative, straying away from the storyline that hints at racial conflicts of the contemporary U.S. The overall message of the video being, "Love transcendence of the violence of racism, locating itself in the stereotypes and forms of intelligibility that characterizes national cultures." The take away from this video is a powerful message, but is it powerful enough to go against the "New Face" of the nation. The theme of interracial acceptance is prevalent in both. However, in the music video the people represented seemed to retain their own national identities, which goes against the "New Face" of America's political policy.
[DQ] After reading this article and understanding further what the face of America means, I have to pose the question, "So what?" Is it really all that bad that we, as a nation, will eventually all become one, as in one nation under God... (You get the drift)? Or will losing our cultural identity due to quasi-amnesia destroy meaning behind being an American, where we currently take pride in being a melting pot of culture & diversity?
Susan Douglas' "Girls Gone Anti-Feminist" article was interesting because I never thought of feminism in this way. It is very ironic in the sense that we, America are all pushing feminism yet using more media to actually now portray more "anti feminism." Douglas makes a clear point by mentioning many different types of reality shows such as America's Next Top Model, Flavor of Love, My Super Sweet Sixteen and more. These kinds of shows spit in the face of the work of how much feminism was pushed till today. These reality shows seems to make it a joke of how a majority of women are only interested in their looks, have power due to their appearance, sex appeal and more. This more so also convinces the society, or at least the audience who watch these show of how these show portray that we females are "defined by our bodies." As media portrays this, perhaps it is just history repeating itself, and we are falling into the fall of how we females are only defined by our appearances. Thought not a major feminist myself, shows like these are a joke and I never in any way watch these shows in support. These shows should merely be taken as an entertainment purpose and not portray that all females are like these people and decrease these kinds of shows.
This was another article that was a little difficult to really get the full understanding of what she was saying. I was a little confused in the beginning when she was talking about personal life and political being one in the same. I did agree however that there is a way the news and media portrays real life that is somewhat inaccurate. They show it in a way that there is an immediate political emergency and that all hell has broken loose. The media does not choose to show the parties in the good light, but rather it seems they would rather show them at their extremes. This is an inaccurate description and portrayal, just like when riots or things occur that could get violent, it is blamed on the people heading the operation rather than the police that will use the brute force. This could be causing a fall in political activism and even political roles. If I am correct in understand Berlant in this part of the article, then I think the way that is depicted needs to change.
Why is it so popular for the media to scrounge up the dirty details and broadcast all the bad things about a candidate instead of presenting accurate information? Is it because of America's love to be entertained?
Berlant's "The Face of America and The State of Emergency" was a very well written article. One of the subsections I found most interesting was the "Making Up Nations (2): "A Melding of Cultures." This section provides the audience with insight regarding immigrants to the United States and how it has "no privacy, no power to incorporate automatically the linguistic and cultural practices of normal national culture that make life easier for those who can pass as members of the core society." I thought it was very interesting to read how the immigrant is defined as someone who desires America. I don't necessarily agree with this point. Studying abroad this past spring semester, there were so many immigrants all over southern and western Europe. I took a class on immigrants while studying abroad and most immigrants were there to work. I believe this is the same when it comes to America. Most immigrants come here to work as well to maintain a living, possibly find schooling, and whatever job they can land. I believe there are the very few cases where women migrant from their husbands, but I believe those were certainly more common back in the day, not necessarily in today's world.
Overall, Berlant brought up very interesting points and provided a very well descriptive insight of the topic of immigrants and different reasons applying to the concept of immigrants. I agreed with some of Berlant's points, but also disagreed with some as well.
Unfortunately I found myself occasionally getting lost/ confused while reading this article. However, the main arguments the author makes are interesting and necessary to consider. There were a few key sections that stood out as interesting and offered me a new way of looking at something. The first, and very simple, section was still in the introductory stage of the article. The author describes the "imaginary citizen" that was invented in 1993 by Time magazine. I had never heard of this "women" that was computer generated as representation of citizenship, but found it interesting to hear about. The second section that retained my attention and contemplation was during her analysis of the film, Forest Gump. Although it has been a while since I have seen that movie, I know I never gave recognition to the idea of Forest being dead while going through the motions of life. That from the early years of his life until the end he was obedient to whatever direction that was given to him.
I feel as though our society is on the edge of a black hole and all we do is circulate the same negative, angry, biased emotions while we are waiting to fall in. Once we fall in we will never be able to climb out, I don't think. As insightful and thought provoking this article was I sadly do not think it will help change anything substantial in our culture and I do not see it changing anytime soon.
Race, religion, gender, age, sexual identification and preferences, class, ethnicity... ect. are all heated social issues in America. What suggestions, if any, would you give to the next president on how to improve relations with these highly debated issues?
Right off the bat one thing that made this article very confusing. For example in the section that talks about Forest Gump she brings up various scenes throughout the movie. As she is doing this she is giving us her opinion on what the directors of the movie were trying to show the audience. A specific example of this is when she is talking about Jenny and how she was abused in the 1960s. Berlant claims this was meant to show the darker side of the 60s. Personally I have scene the movie and did not pick up on this at all. I believe that Berlant is merely trying to make the reader believe that she has a higher sense of reality and her opinion is the right opinion. IT IS A MOVIE NOT A DOCUMENTARY. As I kept reading the article Berlants main point started to become more clear to me. She disagrees with how the media portrays the minority to the American public.
Overall from what I interpreted from the article Berlant seems to want unrealistic things to become reality. I could not tell throughout the article if she was trying to claim the media was being racist or overcompensating to much and becoming racist. She bashes certain articles for being "xenophobic" or being written by a white, non-immigrant, male for being. While it seems to mean she is being just as ignorant herself by writing an opinion article talking down on different opinions.
My discussion question arises from the section about Forest Gump. I am sure multiple of you classmates have seen the iconic movie. With that said do you agree with the Berlant's views on the movie or do you think she was trying to make non-existent points?
So this article caught my eye, and I thought it was pretty interesting! Just thought I'd share!
This was another article that I found difficult to get through, but there were a couple things that stood out to me. The first was at the beginning of the article. The part that said America has "welfare queens" and employers who refuse to pay a living wage. A "welfare queen" is someone who gets financial government assistance (even if they have a job), and they can sometimes make quite a lot of money. I personally know one of these people. A former coworker of mine gets government assistance, has a low fixed rent, and has a job. She also has rented out parts of her living space to people and has charged at least double what her fixed rent is. She gets government assistance because she is a single mom.
The other thing that struck me was how political and complex the movie Forrest Gump is. Perhaps it has been too long since I have seen it, but I did not realize the movie goes deeper than the average movie of today.
This article was pretty confusing but I thought it made some pretty good points. In "The Face of America and The State of Emergency", the author, Lauren Berlant, informs us that is her opinion that the non-white and "people who do not fit into social norms" are not being treated right in America. She goes on to say that people who criticize people on welfare should look more closely at their situation. Berlant says that in many cases these people work in terrible conditions for little pay and benefits. She also has the opinion that organizations like F.A.I.R. are masking a class war in the United States. These things are all interesting but I think her main argument is that the women in America are being objectified. Her example of this comes from an article in Time Magazine. It creates an imaginary citizen or "woman" says that this person is a nameless, computer-generated heterosexual immigrant, and the figure of a future core national population." I have never read the article so I don't really understand this statement or how it can be labeled a woman. It seems that she believes that women are being objectified today. I can see where she is coming from. They are used to promote products and pose for pictures because of their good looks. I'm not sure if this was what she was trying to say because her style of writing was really confusing, but thats what I got from it.
Feminism has gone a long way in the last 50 years. Is it possible for the ideals of Feminism could be fully embraced in American culture within the next 20 years?
In this article Berlant talks about how the feminist maxim "the personal the political" has reversed into the primary guiding maxim "the political the personal". I was a little confused by this and was wondering what he means by it and why it matters? After he brings up this point he talks about how this shift has made politics more personal and how "character" issues are more important than ever. Berlant even uses the example of how being independently wealthy and heterosexual, as in the case of Mitt Romney, is marked as an index of personal virtue. Do you agree that issues of character in the public life of politicians are considered more important now than they were in the past?
I thought this article was very interesting despite how confusing it was. The author made a lot of good points about several different issues of representation that we have discussed in class, such as race, class and gender problems, and how they are represented both publicly and privately in America. He made interesting points about citizenship and how there has been a transformation in America from a public form into a space of intimate privacy. He talked about the important role that "character" plays in politics, using examples of politicians such as Mitt Romney who are struggling to perfect an image of themselves that the American public will be satisfied with.
I thought Berlant's use of both examples in media and in politics were effective in getting his point across and I especially enjoyed his analyzation of the character 'Jenny's' role in Forest Gump. However, although his use of the movie to bring about arguments of the public and private issues of representation are interesting, I found them to be very confusing. For example, in his discussion of Jenny from Forest Gump, Berlant talks about her public and private traumas and incorporates the political conditions of the 60's to strengthen his argument, stating "To add insult to history, the film seems to locate the bad seed of the '60s in the sexual abuse of Jenny by her alcoholic father. It is as though, for the family to be redeemed as a site of quasi-apolitical nation formation, the pervasiveness of abuse has to be projected out onto the metropolitan public." I'm not quite sure where he is going with that and what he means? He goes on to clarify that Jenny's private trauma becomes public and that it is redeemed when she has sex with Forrest but doesn't really explain in why and why it matters?
-Do you think the roles portrayed in Buffy are overly feminine?
-Do shows like Buffy actually undermine women rather than empower them?
-Do shows like Buffy seem to mock women by showing them in ultra-feminine versions of traditional male roles?
-Are these female roles really acting as positive role models for young women?
-How can we realistically change this pattern of disrespect/mockery?
Elana Levins brings up the question of feminism and the role(s) it plays in today's society through her exploration of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. She brings up three forms of feminism: 1970s feminism, post-feminism [feminism], and third-wave feminism; as Levins explains, both post-feminist feminism and third-wave feminism are results of 1970s feminism. So, post-feminism takes up a position of feminism that thinks the goals of 1970s feminism has been achieved, thus a "collective activism" is no longer required but rather it now comes down to individual choices. Third-wave feminism on the other hand borrows from both "forms" or "genres" of feminism in that it takes the belief of collectivism in order to achieve its goals (1970s feminism) and the reliance of femininity of post-feminism. In this, Levins explains that third-wave feminism embraces the idea of contradiction as its main belief or mover.
So, I wonder which form I hold? According to Levins' explanations, I guess I would be categorized as a "third-wave feminist" since I do hold some feminist views (especially when it comes to work equality between men and women) but also still love being "feminine." I hold conflicting roles such as a traditional Hmong daughter--often suppressed by traditional expectations of daughters--and the role of an American [female] college student--able to freely express myself.
Levins explanation of Willow becoming physically and mentally more mature is also rather interesting. She explains that Willow becomes more physically attractive, but because she is a lesbian, this physical beauty is not for men, but for herself. This definition of "individualism" resonates post-feminism, and is yet another thing that I seem to resonate. Or at least, I have noticed this in many women of today. What I mean is that women of today seem to hold a view of beauty, or wanting to "look good" for themselves rather than for men. So, I wonder what this makes today's generation of women? Are we all "post-feminists" or "third-wave feminists or should we be defined as a new form of feminism as Levins predicted in her conclusion? What role does physical beauty play in feminism if it is not for "the self?"
Susan Douglas makes a very interesting point in her article "Girls Gone Anti-Feminist". Although she points out some good aspects of those who are "enlightened sexism", I couldn't help but be distracted by her constant use of interjections that implied the dialect of a valley girl. I think that the topic of her article is to prove that falling into the media trap of empowered sexiness isn't how girls should interpret these depictions. Douglas tended to refer to valley girl speech when she was referencing something that stereotypes females. I feel that Douglas is using this the wrong way. When she is telling us to beware of how the media wants us to feel about feminism and she plays off of the stereotypes it doesn't really reinforce her ideas.
The article in itself was an interesting read. I've always had the thought process that a girl can do whatever she wants with her body. If revealing it gives her confidence then so be it. This article didn't change my opinions but it did make me rethink things. I think no matter how women act, we will always be judged. It is historically referenced that we are the submissive gender and therefore we should follow the expectations others have for us. Any woman in power is rarely taken seriously unless they display masculine qualities. However, if a woman does this, she is called a bitch.
My discussion question works off of Douglas's "enlightened sexism" theory ("now that they "have it all," they should focus the bulk of their time and energy on being hot, pleasing men, competing with other women, and shopping"). Do you think that "enlightened sexism" is actually how the media purposely encodes their messages? Or do you think that it is solely how Douglas is decoding them? Can this be interpreted as a women feeling confident or displaying her success by spending her money on things? Are men exhibited in a similar way in the media but interpreted differently?
I used to watch buffy when I was younger and do not remember to much about it just that she was pretty cool and killed all of these different types of monsters. My question is do you feel they should present a women in this way? Cause I do, I feel they should be able to have the same roles a man could play. Do you think these roles can be sexist? And why so?
DQ: Do you think that it is possible for women who are viewed as already beautiful and appealing to males to be taken seriously in roles such as Buffy? The male gaze seems to be so set in stone that it's often times the first thing that people vocalize is the way a woman looks. Do you think that there is any way that this can be changed over time? If so, how?
To me, this article raised a lot of interesting points. I had not thought about this topic in this specific way before, so it was cool to apply her points to popular shows and film. She states how many people think women are doing just fine, that we should not be complaining because we have finally made it. While I know that that is not entirely true, I never took the time to really think about it. With the examples she gives such as the pay rate for women, I began to realize that we have a skewed idea of how women are actually doing. I think it is a touchy subject because it hones in on one side and one side only, but I do think it is important to talk about. Like when she talks about the enlightened sexism and how the media plays a large role in that, it really made more sense. The media wants us to believe that now that we have won, we can rest and go back to embracing the "girlyness". I think the issues that women face are very striking and should be addressed, but I also think that the men are sometimes left in the dust. Yes, as a woman I am appalled by some of the things woman are being portrayed as, or how some things are marketed, but men also have their own issues and I think we shouldn't lose sight of that. With that being said, I do agree with Douglas when she says people like the different shows for irony. Being ironic makes it interesting, and because it allows the viewer to be the judge and and even mock it. Having that power I think is something that women want, so they buy into it. Even with just that it is not hard to see that the media is not a direct mirror of our society, but rather of a distorted view. They will make it for the audience with the hope of support and sales. Interesting how it can all tie into our capitalistic society.
Although I never really watched the Buffy series while growing up, I found this article to be very interesting. I enjoy how Levine lays out her arguments and provides readers with very clear examples, even for those who haven't really watched the show like myself.
Levine's article looks at the differences between feminism and femininity. There were two very interesting points brought up in the article that caught my attention and are aimed towards my discussion question. The first quote was stated by Debbie Stroller, the editor for the third-wave 'zine BUS: "It's as clear to us as it is to RuPaul that fashion is a costume, that femininity is a masquerade..." Such third-wave thinking refuses to link conventional feminine frills such as nail polish, high heels and lipstick to some kind of "natural" femininity.
The second quote is stated by Levine: "Buffy is perhaps most distinctly an emblem of third-wave girlie style in the ways these traditional markers of girlish femininity are combined with those more frequently associated with the masculine."
My discussion question is: Do you believe Buffy's style is more so third-wave girlie, or stereotypically girlish, or do they equally balance each other out? In which ways?
For this article, I have decided to ask a clarification question this week. I have watched Buffy before and understand on the surface what Levine discusses in her article. However, I would like to better grasp what third wave feminism means in comparison to new feminism/ post feminist views. This was brought up in Levine's analysis and I was confused what exactly these terms represent.
In Elana Levine's "Buffy and the 'New Girl Order'", Levine talks about television's representation of the New Woman and how she is changed by feminism. Levine claims that these characters in television now have to find a way to balance their "newfound feminism and inherent femininity" in today's world. Levine goes on to talk about how these representations of the New Woman are created and received by audiences. The question is, do we agree with Levine? Do we agree with Levine's understanding of today's female characters in television as individuals who have to balance their femininity as well as feminism? If we do, what are the real world implications of this? How do we expect real women to balance their femininity and feminism? Is this something we should care or be concerned about? Why, or why not?
"According to enlightened sexism, women today have a choice between feminism and antifeminism, and they just naturally and happily choose the latter because, well, antifeminism has become cool, even hip."
Douglas explains that being a sex object, from a female's point of view, is liberating which is why we are seeing anti feminism (especially in the media) is growing more popular. This is specifically true in "reality" shows such as The Bachelor, The Hills and America's Next Top model, as Douglas mentions. These types of portrayals of women are entertaining to watch and surprisingly reach a large target of female viewers. It's almost a contradiction that women get upset with the way our gender is represented in society but are willing and wanting to watch television shows that do just this but to the extreme.
I have also noticed, since starting the feminism section in this course, that there are a surprisingly large amount of male leads in television/films versus female. I in fact enjoy many more shows that use a male lead, which is some could say is a way of demonstrating anti-feminism. Whether or not it is a legitimate argument, I just believe that males have more credibility as actors (specifically in crime or comedic shows) over women. I also think that the reason there are more male centered shows is because men are much more willing to watch t.v. that relates the most to them, while women are willing to watch both. I do take interest in "Girl Power" themes, but I also want to be connected to everyone (including my guy friends/dad/boyfriend/brother) by watching shows like Dexter, The Office, Breaking Bad and Workaholics.
In Susan Douglas' "Girls Gone Anti-Feminist", Douglas talks about how women's current self-empowerment and self-esteem are being eroded due to enlightened sexism within the media. Douglas talks about how the media largely promotes equal rights for women, but, at the same time, promotes hyper-sexism. Douglas argues that the media bombards women with the hyper-sexual message and advertisements that take power away from women. For Douglas, women are encouraged to attempt to be lusted after by men and envied by other women for their respective attractiveness. These sorts of messages, however, cause women to only be viewed for their sexuality, rather than other important traits like personality and intelligence. This view, in turn, causes women to have power taken away from them, rather than have power added to their empowerment and self esteem. Because of this, Douglas would argue that women are being treated as second class citizens.
I personally found Douglas' article to be very interesting. I am not sure that I agree with Douglas that the sorts of hyper-sexism messages in the media are reversing the clock and causing women to become second class citizens, but I do believe that these messages should be a potential cause for concern. I did, however, agree with Douglas in that this enlightened sexism is very ironic. It is very ironic to see because the sorts of hyper-sexist messages we see in the media are clearly making a distinction between men and women, and also how men and women should look and behave. I think that this could potentially be a cause for inequality between men and women, as well as men and women's rights, but it is something that should be investigated further.
The question is, do we agree with Douglas? Is this hyper-sexism in the media taking away women's power and affecting their self esteems? What are the consequences of this loss of power for our society and culture? What do women think about these hyper-sexism messages within the media? Is it something that they wish they could change? Are these messages really leading women towards becoming second class citizens? If so, how much of this can be attributed solely to the media?
First of all, I really enjoyed how Susan Douglas' "Girls Gone Anti-Feminist" article started out with the Spice Girls moment. It immediately grabbed my attention, and made me think how powerful the term "girl power" really was around the 90's era. As the articles transitions into the fantasies of power subsection, it took me by surprise that only 13 years ago, attorneys, CEO or surgeons weren't in the top five professions for women. Today, I can think of several female CEO's off the top of my head: Marissa Mayer of Yahoo!, Denise Morrison of Campbell Soup, and Meg Whitman of HP.
Susan Douglas brings up an interesting point with stating, "What the media has been giving us, then, are little more than fantasies of power. They assure girls and women, repeatedly, that women's liberation is a fait accompli and that we are stronger, more successful, more sexually in control, more fearless and more held in awe than we actually are." For those of you who don't know what fait accompli is, it means 'an accomplished fact.' I agree with this statement to a certain extent. I agree that while holding positions such as CEO or president, women are deemed as extremely successful. However, what about everything we see in the media? As Douglas says it herself, the sexual power is much more gratifying than political or economic power.
With that being said, Douglas brings up the next point that proves such gratification. She brings up the concept of 'enlightened sexism' which "sells the line that it is precisely through women's calculated deployment of their faces, bodies, attire, and sexuality that they gain and enjoy true power - power that is fun, that men will not resent, and indeed will embrace." Enlightened sexism is something that we see almost every single day in the media. It speaks of the exploitation of female sexuality. Today, the media proves this concept to be true by shows such as The Bachelor, America's Next Top Model, the Hills, and Gossip Girl. Each of these shows offers irony. I completely agree with Douglas' argument on this and am guilty of viewing previously stated shows and sometimes mocking them, or just loving them as a guilty pleasure. As a young woman, I am aware of how these shows differ from my ongoing status, but it is still very easy to get sucked into watching them.
Overall, I agreed with Douglas' statements in "Girls Gone Anti-Feminist." I never really thought about how enlightened sexism yields to irony within the media and shows that I watch myself. Therefore, it was very interesting to make a correlation between the two, and become aware of how we easily get sucked into the "media' funhouse."
When I first looked at this article it made me kind of nervous. Something about the small font made me think that it was going to be another article that I hardly understood, but I was wrong! Thank goodness. In Levine's article, she looks at the difference between feminism and femininity. I found in interesting, (especially since I read this after the "Girls Gone Anti-Feminist,") that one of her main arguments was whether or not femininity has to be sacrificed in order to be feministic. Levine defines femininity as women's "caring and nurturing qualities, their conventionally attractive appearances."
Levine starts out by talking about the different "types" of feminism and how Buffy the Vampire Slayer "has contributed to the debates over the meanings of feminism and femininity in a post feminist and third wave context as much as it has borrowed from them." Levine also talks about how BTVS correlates with the multiply positioned identity. I feel like I can directly relate to this as I am one of those people who says, "I am a feminist, but.../I'm not a feminist, but..." Toward the end of this section Levine said, "This way of thinking is post-feminist because it 'defines feminism as no longer necessary because it already has successfully secured access to equality and choice for the middle-class white professional and/or family women.'" Maybe this is why I feel like I can relate?
So to me, I feel like even though this article was an easy read, I'm still stuck. I guess my discussion question would be (if we are open to these tomorrow) "Is BTVS feminist, or not feminist at all? If so, what kind of feminist do you consider it to be?" With that said, I think that feminism is almost like religion; and in the far future there is going to be feminism denominations. You know!? haha
The article based off the television series Buffy the Vampire slayer defines feminism and gives a great example of the character Buffy in the show. The main character, Buffy is a very strong feminine girl as well as a strong slayer of vampires. she concludes the best representation on strong Femininity. As Levine describes how television should more represent the "new girl order" which is a strong feminine character, I can see how television is changing over time. We all did have a feminism issue in the media, but as media changed, there are many more shows where the main character is a strong female, in the mental or physical sense. As a more new show we can use the character Buffy to represent how more females should be portrayed and how much stronger we have become. When I think about the media representing strong femininity, I am very much reminded of Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft (Tomb Raider), or Kate Beckinsale in Underworld or Van Helsing, Mulan in the movie in Mulan, or Sookie in True Blood. Although some of the acts are unrealistic (but same goes for strong male characters in movies as well), the strength that these female portray is very influential. Although we females in this real world may not be assassins.... but we can have other forms of strength. We can become 20th century feminists and show more of a side as to how we can be females yet strong at the same time.
DQ- I am personally a huge fan of female centered violent movies (ex Electra, Lara Croft, Underworld, Aeon Flux, Resident Evils, Kill Bill and more, but my brother bashed on my and said no females are like that in real life.. So i thought to myself are there real assassins in real life, (I'm pretty sure there are) and if so who thinks there are more males than females? As the media is portraying strong movies (such as Munich, having an all male cast assassin, with one female assassin to kill off the first of the main characters, shows a form of flip in the movie.. ) which leads us to the similar topic of how females are used in sexual ways of completing their tasks.. in this case was to kill someone.
I really appreciate this article, as well. It seems just as real and relatable for me as Levine's article. Similar to what I mentioned in my previous post, this article helped me realize why I could have such pro-female ideologies in the political sphere, but still be willing to watch hours of Say Yes to the Dress or Pretty Little Liars. I like Douglas's idea of Enlightened Sexism. She describes it as selling, "...the line that it is precisely through women's calculated deployment of their faces, bodies, attire, and sexuality that they gain and enjoy true power- power that is fun, that men will not resent, and indeed will embrace." Having someone say it out loud like this was a bit shocking, but helpful for me to realize. It's true, the media is telling us that it is through our appearance that we will gain power, and that men will "respect" us for how great we look and that this will only advance us more. I hadn't really been able to admit this to myself before this, but I'm glad I have.
This leads into my favorite aspect of this article: her discussion on feminist irony. Once again, this sections called out a certain revelation in me. I finally realize why I love watching all of those shows (dumb reality shows portraying young girls as really stupid and superficial)! Yes, I can usually relate to them on some level because they are about girls my age doing things I'm familiar with. But the fact that I claim that I would never do what they're doing and that I am so much smarter than them gives me satisfaction in watching these types of shows.
But I am left with a question: Why do I want to watch shows like this to prove that I'm better than other girls? Is this need a reflection of femininity or just a lack of confidence in my generation?
After reading Douglas's article, I will definitely try to be more self-monitoring when I turn on one of these shows or look at a female magazine. I need to try to understand what it is I enjoy about them so much and if it is healthy to keep up the habit.
While I have never watched any of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer I have definitely heard of it over the years. The other talks about Buffy being a feminist but also how the character of Buffy says she hates the word and it makes her think of a women that doesn't shave her legs. On pg 311 the author says that Buffy's feminine characteristics and traditional interest in boys and cheerleading contradict with her masculine work of vampire slaying. What does this mean exactly? Because she does a "mans work" or slays vampires that means she should be ugly? Or shouldnt act like a girl? To me the point of it is to show the post-feminism idea that women can do the same work as a man? The majority of shows, whether they cast male or female, they will cast good looking characters because attractive people are the people that viewers want to see on tv. Buffy's "two identities" the girl and the slayer, defines feminism and femininity but does Buffy and the show seek to reclaim girl culture? I happen to agree with the third wave perspective; I believe. I don't see why just because a woman is a feminist or Buffy is a feminist that she cant be cute too? Her markers of femininity do not define the identity of the character. A shows man concern is about making money and getting good ratings to continue. If the show wants to address feminism they still need to do it with a character that will be appealing to the audience. If they picked, what the author says is a typical stereotype of a feminist I wouldnt believe many viewers would stick around very long.
I really liked this article! I think I personally align with Levine's stance on feminism, or rather, the third wave, as seen in the Buffy show. I realized over the past few days of class that I am much more pro-female than I previously realized. However, I was also pretty confused because I have grown up very girly (dance, theater, singing) and I genuinely like products or activities that are deemed only feminine (make-up, dresses, shoes, TV shows, etc.) Thus, I felt contradiction in whether I can stand up for women's rights in politics, but go home and paint my nails. I think Levine's article really helped me realize that this contradiction is not only okay, but expected and already discovered in the "third wave" of feminism.
Levine describes this third wave as seen in Buffy in the fact that Buffy is very powerful and dangerous, but gets excited about wearing a new dress to prom. One of the ideas that stuck out most to me from this article was on page 170 when Levine writes, "...Buffy downplays the New Woman's gender as the central facet of her identity in favor of a more multiply-positioned identity that sees gender as fundamentally intertwined with other axes of social experience." When I read this, I immediately knew that that was how I felt about feminism and femininity in general.
It is impossible to ignore gender (unless you only see the world through a transgender gaze as in that movie we learned about in a previous article). But gender is not what defines us, it is just one element that helps shape her worldview.
I don't think that all of femininity is a product of the mass media because there are many common traits of females across the globe who come from different cultures and media realms. And I think that Buffy is just being the girl she is in how she looks and thinks about boys, but not letting the "female passivity" myth control her so she can slay vampires and stuff.
Q: Do you think that femininity is created from the media?
Q: How do you think femininity is acquired/learned/rejected?
Q: Do you think characters like Buffy (pretty and powerful) pose a threat to feminist empowerment, or are we beyond that era so much that we've now realized femininity is acceptable within a feminist worldview?
Also, I was a bit confused about the difference between post-feminism and the third wave. Could we maybe clear that up a bit in class?
I found this article to really enlighten me on my own view of feminism. I think I would be the person who is "over it" and I live my life the way I want regardless of the facts. I can relate to the "girl power" because of growing up in the 90's. I think a good song that represents how women would be "Can't Hold Us Down." This song, to me, represents antifeminism and how it has become "cool, even hip." It talks about women using sex and men to get what they want, which is to be viewed as equal with men. However, I think it is really important for women to want the political and economic equality, not the purchasing or SEXUAL power.
Here are the lyrics, do you guys agree??
So what am I not supposed to have an opinion
Should I be quiet just because I'm a woman
Call me a bitch 'cuz I speak what's on my mind
Guess it's easier for you to swallow if I sat and smiled
When a female fires back
Suddenly big talker don't know how to act
So he does what any little boy would do
Making up a few false rumors or two
That for sure is not a man to me
Slanderin' names for popularity
It's sad you only get your fame through controversy
But now it's time for me to come and give you more to say
[This verse reminds me of the men who talked so disrespectfully about Hilary Clinton and Sarah Palin.]
[This is the chorus]
This is for my girls all around the world
Who've come across a man who don't respect your worth
Thinking all women should be seen, not heard
So what do we do girls?
Shout out loud!
Letting them know we're gonna stand our ground
Lift your hands high and wave them proud
Take a deep breath and say it loud
Never can, never will, can't hold us down
So what am I not supposed to say what I'm saying
Are you offended by the message I'm bringing
Call me whatever 'cuz your words don't mean a thing
Guess you ain't even a man enough to handle what I sing
If you look back in history
It's a common double standard of society
The guy gets all the glory the more he can score
While the girl can do the same and yet you call her a whore
I don't understand why it's okay
The guy can get away with it & the girl gets named
All my ladies come together and make a change
Start a new beginning for us everybody sing
[This is the part of the song where I feel like they are wanting equality for only sexual power.]
Check it - Here's something I just can't understand
If the guy have three girls then he's the man
He can either give us some head, sex a roar
If the girl do the same, then she's a whore
But the table's about to turn
I'll bet my fame on it
Cats take my ideas and put their name on it
It's airight though, you can't hold me down
I got to keep on movin'
To all my girls with a man who be tryin to mack
Do it right back to him and let that be that
You need to let him know that his game is whack
And Lil' Kim and Christina Aguilera got your back
Anyways, I used to love this song. Now I can see how it is good that these artists are fighting for equality, but it's not good that they are fighting for the wrong kind of equality.
I was never a big fan of Buffy the Vampire. For some reason I found the show unrealistic because it was about a popular cheerleader type that would fight vampires and other demon like creatures. How could someone so delicate and feminine looking fight off demons? After reading this article, I understand now that this image of a very feminine woman fighting off demons (or overcoming other obstacles) was what Elena Levine describes as the image of a New Woman. According to Levine, the New Woman comes from Third Wave Feminism and post feminism ideas that has an emphasis on the female appearance and being a fierce woman while also having confidence issues.
I can see how these multiple messages from this TV show can influence girls and young women. In many ways, the TV shows messages remind me of the multiple pieces of advice a woman could hear about dating. People say you should be confident but not arrogant, be sexy but not slutty and relate to the man but not too emotional. Why are there so many guidelines woman need to follow in society? If woman are equal to men than why did the media need to create the image of the New Woman?
As a girl growing up in the 1990's I can definitely relate to the theme of "girl power." It was in the movies I watched, like Mary Kate and Ashley and the music I listened to like the Spice Girls. As I was watching and listening to all these things that led to girl power, at a young age, I never made the connection that girl power had anything to do with feminism. I was too young to even know what that word was, yet I was still affected by its message.
According to the article, most of these movies, shows and songs I listened to involved girls or young women overcoming some kind of difficulties in a masculine way while still presenting themselves in a feminine way. From what I remember this messages gave me hope that I could overcome difficulties in my life while still looking feminine. The media was showing symbolically that women had overcome many obstacles of inequality since the 1970's but in actuality they have not. Women are still paid less than men and do not hold as many positions of authority. Why would the media sent a message that women are now equal to me? What kind of gain does society get from portraying women as equal to men?
I really liked this article, I thought it brought up some good points. One is there's a big difference between saying that a woman can become President and a woman ACTUALLY being President. Just like when Obama became President, I had a discussion with my African-American Professor and how much big a victory it was for him to be reelected. Was it going to end racism? Of course not. But he said he could finally tell his children that they could one day be president and actually believe it. I think that the cause for equality for women is similar. Women have more freedom than previous years but that doesn't mean equality has been achieved, this very clear when reading some of the Statistics Douglas brings up in her essay. I think it's dangerous to say we're past Feminism now.
Another point I agree with is the section titled "The irony of it all." In my opinion, pretty much all reality shows are garbage that actually detract from the efforts of Feminism. A lot of people use the excuse that it's entertaining to watch the train wrecks on the different shows but by watching and making these types of shows popular you're giving power to that message. I think media literacy comes into play here too. By understanding what reality television is and being aware of the underlying messages of female degradation, you'll most likely come to the same conclusion that I did: Most reality television offers very little substance and corrupts the progress we've made so far. There are so many shows out there that offer significant substance and written intelligently, it's up to us to make the decision about what kind of values we truly hold.
There were parts of this article I agreed with and others I disagreed. One of the parts I connected to was about Gellar's hate for the word Feminism and what Feminism actually means. I think a lot of people hear the word and think of radical Feminists burning bras and stuff. But really, being a Feminist is believing that men and women should be equal. I think more time needs to be spent on discussing the actual meaning. I think a lot of people would soon realize, like me, that they're feminist and won't be opposed to that label. Once there's more of a shift in the culture's perceived meaning of the word I think, it will become a more widely accepted idea.
One thing I didn't really like about this article is the critique of Buffy as being too girly. I think it actually helped that she still possessed some traits that the audience could better connect with. By doing this, you're making her more accessible to mainstream media while still delivering the Feminist message. Also, it shows that Feminists aren't just the "hairy legs" that was described in the article and I think more people would be receptive to someone who they can identify with. Otherwise the "hairy legs" idea make it seem more of a foreign idea and scarier (which sounds absurd) for a lot of Americans.
This kind of has to do with what we've talked about the last couple of weeks in class. Like Sex and the City and Buffy, do you think women can be portrayed as "sexy" without compromising Feminism and building into the Male Gaze?
Ashley Judd's article focuses on how a 'puffy' appearance sparked a viral media frenzy. There are many articles out there that speak about dehumanization in the media, especially towards women. However, Ashley Judd's article was very interesting to me because unlike many others, Judd put the audience in her shoes in really explaining how the media has treated her. She speaks about how she is painfully aware of the conversation about women's bodies, and how it frequently migrates to her own body. Another interesting aspect about Judd is how she has stuck up for herself, which not many celebrities do.
Furthermore, Judd raises a point about how it actually doesn't matter if we, as women are aging naturally, or resorting to surgical assistance. I completely agree with Judd in saying that there is no winning here as women. In today's society, you will be judged no matter what. It's quite sad that our bodies are a "source of speculation, ridicule and invalidation." However, this is something that I don't see changing anytime soon, especially with all of the alterations simply in photographs of celebrities, whether they are overly airbrushed or thinned out. Overall, Judd's article was excellent and right on target.
I found the interview with Jennifer Newsome to be thought provoking. Although at times she rambled on for a bit to long, overall I thought she seemed like a good spokesperson for Miss Representation and the advocate for women's voice. I like that she encouraged the ambition aspect of the talk instead of simple putting down us, women, for not being a larger percentage in the political world.
At times I thought Newsome was unfair with her accusations. For example, she says that the only things being promoted through media is sex and violence. While I agree that both of those are the large majority of media, they are not simply the only things being projected. Another seemingly harsh moment was the discussion over the term self objectification. The term is referring to present day women overly focused on ourselves and because of that we are taking away our ability to participate in leader/power roles. Again, I see where she is coming from I just do not agree that it is only in todays media; and that because of this supposed narcissistic behavior women do not hold powerful positions in the United States.
Newsome takes a stance as a consumer and encourages all consumers to support that we as a society should only encourage so called "good" media and advertisement, and that no longer should our society allow any sort of "bad" media (i.e. beauty product advertisements).
Do you think it might be a bit hypocritical for Jennifer Newsome to be arguing against the "bad" media when as an actress she took part in creating such media?
This article shows to me and the readers a lot of what people and especially women already feel is portrayed through the media. Women are judged and inspected to the T when they are associated with press. I know the most recent thing I've seen in the media dealt with Christina Aguilera and her weight gain, when to me, she is gorgeous. The normal human perceives these women as normal women but the media breaks them down into being thought of as larger and "Fat". I love what Ashley Judd does here for her "Puffy Face" appearance. She sticks it to the media and shows what a women should look like.
My DQ is: Do you think that Ashley Judd's appearance and act has done something to help change the medias views and how they make us feel women need to look a certain way?
In reading the article on Ashley Judd, I found myself feeling really upset. Celebrities and those in the media today literally always have the public eye on them. And often times, the "public eye" comes from pictures taken of them. What does this do? It puts focus entirely on the appearance of these people. It doesn't matter what kind of things they might be dealing with, or how they are feeling, because they are only portrayed through the pictures that get taken of them. Along with that, many paparazzi photographers aim to take "bad" pictures of these celebrities. It's as if they/we want to see them at their worst so that we can pick at everything of theirs. Is a woman not allowed to have a bad day, just because she is a celebrity? We don't always have perfect hair and makeup days, but it's expected that celebrity women do. Why is this fair? On top of that, there is the concern of weight which ways on almost all female celebs. Whether they gain or lose weight, it is obvious in the media, and they're criticized either way. There is literally nothing that any of them could do to take this pressure away. They will never be good enough.
Can we really blame the public for having these views, though? It's really the media that are portraying these people. And the public only sees what the photographer wants to come across through their lens. The only impression that we get on these people is through snapshots of them at their best and worst- literally nothing in between. What does this say about us as a collective people? We don't care at all about what these celebrities are really like. We never even try to look beyond the impression given by the media. Along with that, does this mean that the media is what makes a person- especially a celebrity?
I think the emphasis of outer appearance on female celebrities is incredibly wrong. It is in no way healthy for them or for how we think as a people. On top of that, there is the inequality between the standards held for women and men within the media. Women have a much more strict set of rules and guidelines to follow to be seen as "normal" and "acceptable". Why? Why do women have such a large set of rules and men do not? Especially since men were the ones who originally owned and produced the media?
Is there any way to get away from this overbearing sense of women having to look a certain perfect way to be accepted? Would this trickle down from celebs to the general public- allowing women to just be who they are and not try to look a certain way?
This topic is something that I see in every day life. It can be very evident to see that a woman's appearance is a high priority when it comes to "rating" her. This might be someone you just pass on the street, have an interview with, or even someone you haven't seen in a little while. The woman's appearance is very critical and is judged very harshly. I think that Ashley Judd was very bold to come out and talk about the events that occurred. As she stated, before she would just let all the comments and articles go, but this time was different. It finally got to her and stung like never before. Someone's reputation is so valuable and held very highly to that person. It is hard to watch something like the fact they look a little older, or they gained a few pounds to get in the way of really seeing who that woman is.
I got the same vibe from the interview with Newsom. She wanted to try and portray women more accurately in media because so far it was far from what the real world was like. We get these images in our heads of the "perfect" person and what a woman should look like that when they don't meet those expectations something must be wrong. Everyone has something to bring to the table, so it shouldn't have to be based on appearance. Making up stories will not get anyone anywhere either. It just makes a larger media web of lies.
Why is our society so infatuated with beauty? Is it because it is what sells? Being under the media's eye constantly would be very stressful feeling like you always have to look your best and be in the best shape. How would you feel if that was your life? Would you shrug it off and not care what they say, or would you address the issues to keep a good name for yourself?
While I thought that Judd's points in the article were clear and emotion filled, I also found myself wondering if it was completely necessary of her to "slap media in the face."
Is it really so wrong for people to assume that celebrities (especially wealthy ones like Judd) have had plastic surgery? Do you think this might have anything to do with the fact that women have insecurities and therefore make assumptions about others to make themselves feel better? These are questions that I think should be considered after reading this article because I, myself, think that celebrities who choose to live in the spotlight have to know that it comes with being talked about (both positively and negatively).
It's a tale is a old as time. For decades women, as well as men, have been put under a microscope and scrutinized for their appearance. Ashley Judd's article sheds a light on the ways in which the media criticizes her every move. The "puffy face" criticism the Judd received brought the most attention and proved the media strives to point out a fatal flaw in all of use, whether it can justified or not.
Constantly female celebrities are accused of gaining weight or looking pregnant when they're not (maybe they were wearing an unflattering dress that day). This critical mentality also effects women in our society who are being compared to the female celebrity. Women in the media are made to look; ethereal, untouchable, and unattainable. It's no wonder when women in our society try so hard to achieve the unattainable they find it impossible. There is no real person who can even come close to the unrealistic images the media portrays. And when women do succumb to desperate means of obtaining the unobtainable, i.e plastic surgery, they are shunned from society because they had work done, as if others had never thought about it themselves.This game of hypocriticalness is exhausting. The envy and spite behind the backhanded comments given by media media sources to the celebrity women, such as Ashley Judd, are sickening.
Basically, what it all boils down to this that women (& men too) have set these unrealistic standards for themselves, by influence from media images, and they will do anything necessary to try and obtain them. All of this criticism that we are exposed to comes with a price, that is self-worth. (DQ) Are we willing to risk our own self-worth to make others happy about the way we look?
Vogue September Issue 2012
Is this a sign of too much retouching?
This article really hit home for me. I think most people can feel her pain with her feelings of betrayal. I think too, most people can understand the feeling of getting talked about and judged... even from close "friends." Along with the other readings this week, this article also plays into my recent study into The Bachelorette. I realized that most people who watch the show do so for entertainment, and to feel better about themselves. They enjoy watching other people fail and get put down. Which is exactly what the media did in the tabloids to Ashley Judd and many others. I see the problem as the fact that there HAS to be controversy. Without controversy, there is no climax. So my discussion questions would be, if the media was not always putting people down and what not, would they even exist? Would people still buy the magazines if they were stories that were all rainbows and butterflies? If they were they all consisted of happy stories, would the celebrities get upset because the media is portraying their life as "easy" which in reality it isn't? After spending over a week at my grandmothers house where there is no internet and still a house phone... it made me feel like I was completely out of touch with reality. The first thing I did when I got to the airport was purchase a celebrity gossip magazine. I feel like it is sad that for me to feel in touch with reality, I have to read magazines that don't even tell the truth.
In Ashley Judd's article, Judd talks about the misogynistic objectification of women. Judd claims that "we are described and detailed, our faces and bodies analyzed and picked apart, our worth ascertained and ascribed based on the reduction of personhood to simple physical objectification". Judd goes on to call for a changed in the ways both men and women are viewed. Judd says that this sort of objectification "affects each and every one of us, in multiple and nefarious ways: our self-image, how we show up in our relationships and at work, our sense of our worth, value, and potential as human beings". For Judd, this is a much more serious issue than simply being criticized for a "puffy face". For Judd, this objectification is not only detrimental to our self-image, but also to our self-worth and even potential as human beings. This is an issue that needs to be brought forth to the front of public knowledge and changed. Judd claims that "The insanity has to stop" because this sort of objectification denies "the full and dynamic range of their personhood."
Personally, (especially after reading this article) I tend to agree with Judd. She makes a very persuasive argument to her audience. She is able to put her audience in her shoes to help them realize just how detrimental this sort of critical objectification can be. Furthermore, she makes it clear just how dehumanizing, as well as personally detrimental, this sort of critical objectification can be to an individual's personhood.
Judd goes on to ask her audience important questions that really make her readers think. Judd asks her audience a series of questions, saying, "Why was a puffy face cause for such a conversation in the first place? How, and why, did people participate? If not in the conversation about me, in parallel ones about women in your sphere? What is the gloating about? What is the condemnation about? What is the self-righteous alleged "all knowing" stance of the media about? How does this symbolize constraints on girls and women, and encroach on our right to be simply as we are, at any given moment? How can we as individuals in our private lives make adjustments that support us in shedding unconscious actions, internalized beliefs, and fears about our worthiness, that perpetuate such meanness? What can we do as families, as groups of friends? Is what girls and women can do different from what boys and men can do? What does this have to do with how women are treated in the workplace?"
I really admire that Ashley Judd stood up to the media for the horrific things that they have said about her, as many people in the spotlight don't, in such a classy, intelligent way. She gives us the background on her career in regards to things in which people in the media decide to post about her, and goes on to say how she steers clear of it and simply doesn't classify it as "any of her business", which I find interesting. But when it was finally brought to her attention by her friends and family that it was time for her to take a stand against the people who were writing these harsh/untrue things about her in the media, she decided to.
Ashley Judd is a beautiful, far from fat actress who was destroyed by tabloids making false accusations of cosmetic work that she had done, and their personal opinions (negative) about the way in which she looked. She re-hashes some of the comments that were posted about her stating how untrue they are and how she is disgusted by how interested the media is with tearing someone apart based off of their looks, women specifically.
This goes on to raise questions about if men only view women as objects and assess their value off of the quality of their looks, and how the media just needs to end this ridiculous conversation valuing people solely off of their looks rather than their talents, intelligence, etc.
DQ: Do you think that the pressure in which media is known to put on stars both musicians, actors/actresses, etc. makes people in America shy away from sharing their talents with the world due to their personal fear of being torn to shreds in the public eye?
Way to go, Ashley Judd! I'm so happy she wrote this. A lot of celebrities get very worked up over what is said about them, and I admire that she normally doesn't. I also admire that when she does decide to respond, it is done so very intelligently and eloquently.
What struck me as the most surprising was that the writers of those mean comments were overwhelmingly women. Q: How could we do that to each other knowing how hurtful it would sound if we were to hear it about ourselves? What would motivate women to do such a thing? But after thinking about it, I'm not that surprised because I know that women can be brutal to make themselves feel better, but why would they be this crazy?!
I guess I'm also wondering if it is worth it or admirable for a celebrity to respond to criticism in the media these days. Do you think their responses change anyone's mind or can take back the photos or mean comments? Can anyone think of how we would ever stop this perpetuating cycle of feminine criticism?
After listening to Newsom's interview one thing stuck out at first. American teens consume 10 hours and 45 minutes of media a day. This seemed like an astronomic number at first and there was no way it could be true but after she gave examples it all made sense. I think it is really insane how much media teens consume and how much of this media shapes the way we think. The media especially affects teenage girls. Newsom also states in her interview that women comprise only 3% of the media while they represent 51% of the population. I can now see why there are feminist stances that want a change.
In respect to the other articles we have read this week I think that this interview falls right into place. All the articles point out all of the faults that our society currently has in regards to woman. Whether it is the pay grade difference or the number of women in media compared to men there is somewhat of problem occurring. Personally, I do not always agree with most of the feminist stances on certain topics but I do admit that there should be more women in the media. Also, I think it would be very helpful for the American teenage girls to see more "real" women in the media. Right now a vast majority of women in the media are all made out to be the perfect person, tall, skinny, curvy, and long blonde hair. In reality there are not to many people in the world who look like this. My question for the class is; What do you think will be the turning point in what Newsom calls "the war on women"? Will this happen in the near future or will it always be an issue?
The article about Ashley Judd from The Daily Beast focuses on women's body image and how it is marketed. The author made it a point that women are constantly scrutinized and evaluated by not only the media but people everywhere. She goes on to say that other nonphysical characteristics are thrown by the wayside. I believe that the author makes some very interesting points in this article. The main focal point in this is the actress Ashley Judd. She had recently gotten the media's attention for being "puffy". In my opinion she looks completely fine. It was actually pretty shocking to me that people will make such a big deal out of a slight weight gain. The first thing I thought about when reading was peoples' ignorance. They don't know any of the factors that might have influenced this slight change. Media members just look for any small reason to write a story. This really isn't a subject I read into too much outside of class. I knew women who are regularly in the spotlight were judged but I didn't know it was to this extent. I also thought it was interesting that the author didn't read any articles about herself. She said that she didn't care about or want to know anyone else's opinions of her. In a world highly influenced by appearance, this was a rather refreshing notion.
Do you believe that media scrutiny is more prevalent today than it was in years past? If so, what factors do you think have contributed to this?
Towards the end of Ashley Judd's message to the media and viewers, she brings up the fact that the speculation over her puffy face was initially brought to light by women and even goes so far to say that women are equally responsible for the media objectifiying them and portraying and analyzing them in a way that is ultimately degrading, do you think this is true (that women are equally to blame) for how they are thought about and viewed in the media and society as a whole? Judd also suggests that we look more closely at the source of our views and attitudes about women and puts out the question "what can we do to shed these beliefs?" So my other question is, do you think there is something to be done about how the media covers stories about women's bodies that could possibly help with the issues of representation we are seeing in media today regarding women or do you think they are inevitable?
After reading the Ashley Judd article she spits in the media's face (not literally) but defend her femininity quite well. It has always bothered me that the media love to criticize women, even if it is unintentional. Honestly nothing has changed, let alone for the better, it actually has gotten worse, . This article I recall reading the beautiful Kate Winslet hating on being excessively photo-shopped for a GQ magazine cover. I personally looked a the image myself and thought she looked great to begin with (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_X1LEcoIFI1E/TL9xzPN-3wI/AAAAAAAAAAM/LI-UJVwJ7T8/s1600/GQ.jpg) You can look for yourself as well. I mean why does the media photoshop? Obviously to make things look better by lifting, coloring, erasing, cutting and so much more. For the beautiful Ashley Judd why do they only mention her puffy face now? She defends herself by stating the most obvious, such as her age coming into play. We humans obviously age with appearance as we age even if it is sad to say it is reality. The media compares her from the 1998 movie to her face today and we can only say that she will look different, everyone does. The society/ media just expects so much from females today, not only their face, but their entire body as well.
DQ- Why are men not bashed for their puffy faces, their wrinkles, their bellies, and such?, or at least if they are, it is so hidden and cared for much less. Why are women who gain 25 lb a bigger news story than a man gaining 25lb?
The Ashley Judd article was very thought-provoking and forward. I really enjoyed it and thought she made a lot of interesting points regarding the attitudes that media has about women and their role in society. She is initially confronting the media as a whole, but her message is definitely geared toward both women and men and challenges them to take action to stop the negative speculations and depictions of women in society. I thought she introduced her argument significantly well by giving us a summary of the issues she was going to cover and by giving us a background of her views on women in the media, saying that she makes a conscious decision not to read and to disregard things that are said about her and more specifically, her body by the media. However, she then went on to say that the recent speculation and multiple accusations (accusations even made by people she has done charity work with) about her "puffy appearance" this past March were worth confronting and shedding a light on.
The five different instances in which her "puffy face" was the subject of criticism in the media, made for an excellent opportunity for her to discuss how issues such as patriarchy, physical ohbjectification of women, misogynist conversations about women, and how women are equally to blame for the prominence of these issues. I thought Judd did a great job of ending her argument and confrontation in a thought-provoking way by using her thoughts to urge people to start a new conversation that asks WHY these issues are so common in the media world and what we can do about them as a whole.
Reading Judd's article and listening to Newsom's podcast, it's clear that women are in a position to evoke change. Newsom said that women make 86% of household consumption decisions. In hearing this what are some practical ways women can change the perception of women in media?
I was repulsed by the Ashley Judd article. That people attack celebrities when they don't look absolutely perfect is absolutely unfair. Celebrities are people too. We all have our "bad hair days" and such. I agree with Judd on the fact that women have internalized patriarchy. Women are too concerned about how men think they look. If a woman looks "bad", whether it's the result of a zit or major surgery to repair a serious problem, no one should make any assumptions, because one never knows the reason behind everything.
How can we rally women against this automatic criticism of appearance? I would think that since women don't like it when they are judged based on their appearance, they wouldn't do it to each other.
Brasfield raises the question of "Are the views presented by Sex and the City representative of a hegemonic discourse or do these views represent socially construction, apolitical perspectives?" Which view do you believe the shows represents more? Do you think it represents a different view aside from the ones stated?
Sex and the City Between the five levels Brasfield speaks about (hegemonic feminist practices, racism and ethnocentrism, sexism and patriarchy, heterosexism and homophia, & class exploitation), do you think there is one that is extremely dominant in Sex and the City? Which one and why? Or do you believe they all balance each other out?
Lastly, do you think the concept of hegemonic feminist practices is an ongoing issue we should be truly concerned about, or do you find it more so to be entertainment within the series?
-Within the realm of successful business women, it seems as if only one style is widely accepted as "beautiful". Why is this? Who determines what this image of beauty is?
-Why is beauty linked to success? Can someone who doesn't fit this image of beauty be successful? Or does one simply BECOME beautiful with success?
-Why do we feel like we have to convert those who aren't this image of beauty TO this image of beauty in order for us to be comfortable with them being successful or in the business world?
-What would happen if men were held to the same standards as women?
-Why do we not criticize men on what they wear, yet both men and women judge women on what they wear and how they look?
-Is it possible, in our society, to be successful and not fit the image of beauty determined by society?
I found Rosalind Gill's article easy to relate to and interesting. I agree with her argument that post feminism's main focus is the female body. In my life, examples of this are various clothing and makeup advertisements directed towards women and TV shows and movies that portray the "ideal" woman. In her article, she describes the show What Not to Wear as an example of a TV show that critiques a woman's body and wardrobe. When I lived at home and TV was more readily available, I would watch this show constantly. I related to the women on the show getting a new makeup and wished I were one of them. I never realized that this show had a hidden message of even if you are considered an ordinary or average woman, you still can change and be closer to the "ideal" through a makeover.
After this makeover, a woman is seen as attractive, successful, confident and happier. How does beauty lead to success and not hard work? Why does society want us to think this way? Why can't a ordinary or average woman be successful?
I think Rosalind Gill brings up a good point in her article that "feminism" has generally been focused on the sexualization and objectification of women's bodies. I can see and understand her reasons for this: such shows as What Not To Wear really do scrutinize and bully "ugly" girls or "distasteful" women and [fashion] magazines such as Cosmopolitan or In Shape do not help either. In general, Gill is right when she says that today's "empowered" woman is in fact an excuse for objectifying women.
At least my understanding is that Gill is saying media encourages women to be "beautiful" or "sexy" for themselves, not for men. Again, I completely understand and see where she is coming from: magazines and TV shows/news shows definitely do nothing to disprove this argument. Despite the fact that I do understand and see why she would think this "independence" or "being pretty for yourself" action is just an excuse for encouraging objectifying women, I do not think that this is necessarily a bad thing.
Encouraging women to do things for themselves instead of others is a good thing (and a step towards "equality"), it is just that currently the form it is being accomplished is not very good. I do not think that there is nothing wrong with a woman feeling good about herself or feeling pretty. If something makes her feel pretty or good, then by all means, I think it is a wonderful thing...however, the media has thwarted this into something I think is quite nasty: encouraging extreme makeovers or surgeries in order to feel good. This form or "feeling good about yourself" I think is horrible and is exactly what Gill explains is an excuse for objectifying women.
Perhaps the reason why this is so horrible is because, as Gill mentioned, only women are the ones being objectified or singled out. Men really are not encouraged to care about their appearances as much as women do. Also, men are generally not the center of attacks when it comes to beauty flaws or mishaps. However, this seems to be largely a "Western" (or even an American) issue...in many Asian countries such as South Korea and Thailand, men care just as much about their appearance as women do. There are makeup products for men and fashion critiques of men just as there are for/of women. So, do you think if Western cultures--specifically American--were to adopt such a "principle" or media portrayal, would this view of "objectifying women" be changed? Would people still think women are being objectified or will they simply find different evidences that women are still being objectified? (NOT that I disagree that women are being objectified.)
Overall, I think I understand Gill's perception and explanation of post feminism, and I agree with it for the most part. However, there were some areas where I don't think she gives women enough credit.
For example, she describes women as so longer being the sexual object, but the desiring sexual object. I can see where she is coming from that women are no longer portrayed, at least all of the time, as passive but rather as seductresses working for their own pleasure. However, I just don't think that all women are portrayed this way in media. Actually, I think most women in media are not portrayed this way. I don't think Gill is giving women or media producers enough credit that maybe women are not only focused on sex.
Because I'm the discussion leader on this article, I don't want to give all of my questions away. But in relation to what I mentioned above, what do you guys think? Do you think Gill is exaggerating about women as desiring sexual objects?
Gill also describes post feminism as a balance between individualism and neoliberalism. Here's a definition of neoliberalism from Google: a political orientation originating in the 1960s; blends liberal political views with an emphasis on economic growth. I guess I'm a little lost in her connection of neoliberalism and post feminism. How does economic growth relate to post feminism? Can someone help me out here?
Also, just curious, were anyone's ideologies regarding feminism, anti-feminism, or post-feminism changed or deepened by reading this article?
I have never seen the show "Sex and The City" but after I can understand why it was an extremely successful show. It was really cool to see how the writers incorporated all the different feminist, class, and other issues that were around at the time. My discussion question is do you think that the show actually did have a lasting affect on anyone in terms of changing their views?
In Rebecca Brasfield's article "Rereading Sex and the City", Brasfield talks about the hegemonic feminist practices in the HBO television series "Sex and the City". Brasfield goes on to talk about how these hegemonic feminist practices are shown on the show through such issues as racism, ethnocentrism, class, and sexism. Brasfield states that "'Sex and the City' provides an excellent example of how hegemonic feminism looks, how it thinks, and what it does". Brasfield also goes on to ask the question: "are the views presented by 'Sex and the City' representative of a hegemonic discourse, or do these views represent socially constructed, apolitical perspectives?" So, which view is the show representative of? Also, do we agree with Brasfield? Do we agree with her statement that "Sex and the City" represents hegemonic feminism? If it does, is this something we should be concerned about? What are the affects of marginalizing certain groups as "Sex and the City" does? If hegemonic feminism practices are dominant on the show, which practices are being left out? Which groups are being marginalized? Should we be concerned about these marginalized groups? What do we think?
I can't say I have ever watched even a single scene from Sex and the city, but I have heard of it over time when people talk about it or reference it. From this article it sounds like a goldmine of things to analyze concerning gender, race, and beyond. At one point the author makes a point where she says the character of Samantha "Conveniently adopts the color-blind standpoint, Samantha's character avoids appearing racist by erasing the racial dimension of his identity." What if someone genuinely meant they did not focus on skin color? Is that possible do to in our society? But I don't see how that can give her a racial tone, what if samantha would have addressed the fact that he was black up front and said something like." I like that he is black." Then would the author be saying she is racist because she only likes him for his large penis or some other stereotype?
By Ashley Stopperan
I have been a frequent viewer of the show, Sex and the City, and agree with many of the points that Brasfield brings up in her article.Specifically I find it interesting how, "again and again, nonwhite characters are tokenized for stereotypical story line purposes" (p 134). This is evident in many of the episodes where workers, neighbors and lovers are ethnic (in comparison to the four main characters who are white) only to enhance the conversations in the show. Brasfield brings up several examples of this, such as a stereotypical Chinese worker or a thick accented Russian man, both written into the script to make the show more interesting.
I find this to be common in many television shows and films, where the main characters are all white and the "additional" characters are not. This may work for adding diversity to the cast, but can also be extremely degrading to nonwhite viewers. I personally believe that when people are being used for their race to portray a certain image, they should be given vital roles and not just lines that revolve around their culture. (For example, Grey's Anatomy uses a very diverse cast and does not designate racial comments or story lines to the nonwhite characters).
My discussion question for the reading revolves around this topic and how people feel about the use of racial characters in shows like Sex and the City. Do you believe it is okay to include cast members such as the Russian man (who Carrie doesn't want to date because of his accent) into story lines based on their culture or would not including them be considered discrimination? Or do you believe we need to see more integration of nonwhite characters in the main story lines?
I definitely agree that our culture's obsession with sex has hurt women. They have progressed for seen as objects through the male gaze, but they still are reduced to that realm because it "suits their best interests." I think that's magnified in the show "Sex and the City" which we read about. Shows like that make it seem so important to look as sexy as possible all the time. It leaves no room for reality and definitely has negative effects. I couldn't believe that there are shirts like the ones mentioned in the article being advertised to girls. That's pretty crazy. And I know it's up to the parents but the fact that things like that are being made with young girls in mind is pretty disturbing.
Also, when reading about media's relation to sexualization and objectification of women, I think of TV and movies but I forget about magazines' role. Almost every fashion magazine picks apart women. They leave women no room for error, they create this standard of perfection when to be human is really to be flawed. It's so overwhelming, it feels like we'll never get to a point where sexual objectification will not happen. The only way in my mind is if there's a conscious effort by the people. But that will only happen if everyone reads articles like this and thinks objectively about the media around them.
-Can you think of any specific movies that you've seen that have included/used a transgendered gaze? I certainly could not think of an example of that.
-Can the transgendered view only be seen when contrasted with the traditional male gaze in the same movie?
-Is there any way to film or produce a film that does not take a gaze or is not at either extreme end: male or transgendered?
-Can we only take the transgendered gaze as being victim to the male gaze?
-Will trans people in film always have to be shown as victimized by the male gaze? To take the transgendered gaze, do we have to see a trans person as being the victim of the film?
-In trying so hard not to stand out, are trans people/is the trans gaze only highlighting the trans culture/community as different even more?
From what I understand, the term transgender gaze is a blur between the lines of gender and the biological sex of an individual. This article confusingly explained three examples from movies that contained transgender themes. Each example contained the struggle for normalcy, passing as the desired gender, and elements of escaping one's past to create a more promising future.
The theme of passing gave me a more of a clue as to how the transgender gaze work.
Passing is describe as masking who you really by striving to become someone who is perceived to be more desirable. The transgender gaze works through passing. Such as the characters in the movies passed as the opposite gender. The more these characters interact in the movie the more real they become.
The transgender gaze and the male gaze to me are completely opposite sides of the spectrum. The male gaze only looks at women for sexual pleasure, where as the transgender gaze looks at the opposite sex for approval through passing. Yes the transgender gaze does contain elements of sexuality, but it is not sexualized. Unlike the male gaze looks at the attractive parts of a woman and objectifies them.
I believe the reason why we are taking a look at both transgender gaze and male gaze is to realize that the way we are shown messages in media affect the way we interact with people and view them. [DQ] Which makes me wonder, who is promoting male or transgender gaze, society views or the media?
While reading Judith Halberstam's "The Transgender Look" article, I thought to myself: I don't think I've ever seen a movie where there is a transgender character present, including the ones stated. Therefore, prior to this, I had never really thought about the transgender gaze; I've only thought of the male gaze more so.
Halberstam identifies the different treatments of the transgenderism that resolve these complex problems of temporality and visibility. The one I found most interesting was the second mode, which involves "embedding several ways of looking into one, the film deploys certain formal techniques to give the viewer access to the transgender gaze in order to allow us to look WITH the transgender character instead of AT him." I agree and understand Halberstam's point, but I think it's really difficult for an individual that isn't necessarily accustomed to the concept of the transgender itself and the gaze to look WITH the transgender character. Since I have never seen the movies Halberstam listed within the article, I thought I could relate to this article and tie it back to the Gay 90's, a gay bar/dance club. The Gay 90's hosts past and present "Drag Queen" nights every week, where transgender individuals are present. For an event live like such, I think it would be very hard to apply Halberstam's mode of looking WITH the transgender character instead of AT him. After all, the performing transgender is right in front of you, so you are looking right AT him/her.
My discussion question is: Do you think the second mode that Halberstam speaks about is easier to apply within films or in person, such as live events like the Gay 90's Drag Queen nights? How do you think viewers would react to transgender films in today's society if more were out there? How would you react yourself? Would it be a positive or negative reaction, or would you not really care?
What exactly is considered a "transgendered gaze" or "male gaze" or even a "female gaze?" Mulvey's article kind of explained the "male gaze" as almost sexually objectifying women or taking on a "voyeuristic" form of women. I assume that is the key: the "gaze" is what view the audience gets to see from. Except Judith Halberstam says that many transgendered films, such as Boys Don't Cry still either utilize a "male gaze" or "female gaze" and not really a "transgender gaze" even though the film "hero" is a transgender. So, is simply manipulating the "view" to be from either a male/female/transgender considered either a "male/female/transgender gaze" or is there more to it than that? Is simply "seeing" from the view of the transgender character in a film considered the "transgender gaze?" Or would sexually objectifying or viewing somebody (typically a female) in a voyeuristic way, despite coming from a man or woman or transvestite/transgender, still considered a "male gaze" because of the characteristic of the gaze? (Recall, Mulvey's explanation of a "male gaze.")
I was really confused by this article but my question is to the ladies, do you feel the things that Mulvey is saying? Would you like women to be portrayed in different ways and which ways would you want?
Before I read this I was confused on what exactly it was going to be about but then I instantly got interested when the article brought up the transgender look in movies I've seen before. One of the movies I am very familiar is Boys Don't Cry. I've seen this movie a few times and what really struck my attention is how I view it now after this article. It was said that in the movie they show her as a very masculine character to give us this representation of the male gaze but at the end of the movie for some reason he changes it to feminine and give us a female gaze which then changed the whole view of the character, at least for me. I feel like the director felt he needed to do this, because the transgendered character is not portrayed in to many movies. Which leads to my DQ...
Should there be more movies with transgendered characters? I truly feel there should be but I cannot personally think of to many movies with transgendered characters. Do you know of any?
The Transgender Look was a very interesting article to read. Prior to this I can honestly say I have never really thought too much of the transgender gaze. One of the most interesting parts was when the author was talking about the movie "By Hook or By Crook". Not only did the movie take on the transgender gaze but it also showed it in the homosexual world. To me this was very interesting because first off there really are not that many movies produced in Hollywood that even are based in the homosexual world, let alone with a transgender gaze. One of the most memorable quotes from the article was when Halberstam was discussing the movie "Boys Don't Cry". She says, "The transgender gaze becomes difficult to track because it depends on complex relations in time and space between seeing and not seeing, appearing and disappearing, knowing and not knowing." At first I had to sit and think for a little bit about what she really meant by this. Then after I read it a few more times it became a little clearer to me, still a bit confusing, the transgender gaze is really a mix of both the male and female gazes yet completely depends on whose looking upon the gaze and how the actor/actress is depicting his/her character. Overall I can honestly say I enjoyed the article and it really made me sit back and think.
The entire article focuses on what I think are the three main transgender movies in cinema. Yet, personally I have never heard of any of these movies prior to this article, of course, they could be very popular. So I ask, Do you think there will ever be a major blockbuster that is written in the transgender gaze or do you think major film studios are afraid to go that direction? If you think that there will be in the near future, do you think it will take place in the heterosexual realm or the homosexual realm?
In the reading, it was said that when a transgender character comes into the picture the audience then has to reorient themselves in the films past and future. I understand it could be difficult to look outside the normal gender role, but are our thoughts geared two ways - man or woman? Do you think we will always have to reorient our thinking, or will this one day just be an option that comes to mind right away?
I personally believe that Judith Halberstam's article "The Transgender Look" was one of the more confusing articles we have had to read for class thus far. It relates to how people people perceive the body images presented by Hollywood. It also looks at the inflexibility of transgender characters. In this article, Halberstam looks at two movies. They are "Boys Don't Cry" and "The Crying Games". The author states that in these movies the transgender character was able to remain attractive, much to the audiences surprise. I thought the article became a little more interesting towards the end. In one paragraph, Halberstam states; "What would a transgender film look like if it did not punish the transgender subject for his or her inflexibilities and for failing to deliver the fantasy of fluidity that cinematic audiences desire?" This was a little confusing but I perceive this as meaning that people in transgender roles do not necessarily know what the other gender could be thinking. They may be coached by the opposite gender but they will really never know. I really don't have any sort of experience with this subject though, so I could have interpreted this wrongly.
Do you believe that people in transgender roles lack the flexibility that Halberstam refers to? Can you think of any examples that might negate this claim?
Judith Halberstam uses many examples of mainstream media and how they portray transgender. She uses The Crying Game and how the transgender character, Dil, is used to distract from the political aspect between Ireland and England. This is slightly reminiscent to Laura Mulvey's article and how she was referring to how the female is displayed in the media: as a supporting character. Halberstam references Mulvey's views in her own article as well. Halberstam points out that in The Crying Game, one of the characters, Fergus is punished not for deceiving Dil but for his troubles with the IRA. She also points out that Dil is to be punished for not telling Fergus about her male genitalia rather than Fergus being punished for not telling Dil about her ex-lover.
Do you think this is an accurate example of Halberstam's point of the Transgender view?
By Ashley Stopperan
In The Transgender Look, Halberstam expresses that:
Understanding what is being said here takes a couple more times of reading but I think this is something worth discussing. With transgender characters, like in Boys Don't Cry, do you think the way the film is set up helps the audience relate to the character or do you think it is a unique/ complicated process for one to interpret, like Halberstam says?
In other words, does creating a film revolved around the transgender gaze give the audience the perspective of the transgender, the public (a girlfriend for example) or neither because it is about understanding the film as a past, present future story?
I would like to start by saying, yes, I am slightly confused. Yesterday it seemed like basically everything we view as an audience will have the male gaze. Even music videos with a man rapping or singing will have women all around him to construct the male gaze and hold viewers attention. The author talks about how every film needs a feminine and masculine role and how when audiences get to the theater they are already expecting that. Do people think this is accurate? Personally, this made me think about my own trips to the theater, and yes, I guess when I sit down to watch a movie I naturally assume the heterosexuality of both the male and female characters. I never stop to think, I wonder if this character is gay or transgender in real life or character? I have never watched a film where half way through a character turns out to be transgender, it would catch me off guard for sure. She goes on to say that even gay or lesbian actors portray straight people. Is the author saying that even in films with transgendered characters we still see them as heterosexuals (creating the male and female gaze) then later in the film, when we realize the character is transgender, something usually happens taking eyes off of the transgendered character?(Like dying) Films typically only have a transgendered gaze for a short period of time and only when this affect is brought through use of sympathy or empathy? Do we agree that we are very limited in what we will be able to see or what we expect to see when we go to the cinema?
After our discussion in class yesterday, I had no clue how film could be shot through any other gaze than the male, not even the female. That's why I was particularly interested to see how Halberstam would describe a transgender gaze in cinema. I haven't seen any of the three movies described in this article, so my only opinion of the movies is based off of Halberstam's descriptions. Nevertheless, it appears that the last movie, By Hook or by Crook, is successful in employing a transgender gaze because it reveals a new world void of the focus on heterosexuality.
Halberstam goes on to say that the other two movies, "rely heavily on the successful solicitation of affect - whether revulsion, sympathy, or empathy...." However, the directors of By Hook or by Crook explain that, "This is a movie about a budding friendship between two people. The fact that they happen to be queer is purposefully of the point. If you call them something, other than sad, rambling, spirited, gentle, sharp, or funny...you might call them 'butches.'"
I guess I just have one big discussion question about this reading because it is the main thing running through my head after reading it. Viewing these opposite approaches of showing sexuality in cinema leads me to the question, do you think it is cinematically possible to evoke the romantic emotions described in the first two movies without using the heterosexual, male-dominated gaze? I only ask because it doesn't sound like the third movie, with a proper transgender gaze, pulls upon these human emotions that are so commonly linked with (heterosexual) romanticism. That is not to say that transgender people cannot feel romantic emotions, but how would you show true romance on the screen (not just lust) without having a male-oriented gaze? It seems to me that an element of difference must be present in order to believe two peoples' attractions. If difference is not identifiable, the viewer may not believe the romance. I hope this makes sense and does not offend anyone! It is definitely not intended to.
In this article Judith Halberstam states: "The transgender film confronts powerfully the way that transgenderism is constituted as a paradox made up in equal parts of visibility and temporality: whenever the transgender character is seen to be transgendered, then he /she is both failing to pass and threatening to expose a rupture between the distinct temporal registers of past, present, and future." I thought this was interesting in relation to movies that do not expose the transgender as being transgendered until after they have fooled us into believing they are properly/normally gendered. Do you think there is something to say about the structure of movies and the transgender gaze and how we interpret them (i.e.films that do not reveal the characters transgender identity until later in the film)? Do you think the transgender gaze is accepted in today's society as a form of interpretation or do you think people still use the male/female gaze when analyzing transgender characters?
I found this article to be very unique. Although I have seen movies and television shows that impersonate cross-dressers, I realized after reading this article that I have seen very little shows and movies that deal directly with transgendered people. I thought Halberstam did a good job of using 3 films that center around issues involving the "transgender gaze", to illustrate the role it plays in media. I thought Halberstam's analyzation of "Boys Don't Cry" was very effective. I especially found it effective when she used it to touch on some of Mulvey's points about the male and female gaze. Halberstam discussed how the film "Boys Don't Cry," reveals the ideological content of the male and female gazes, and allows the audience to look at and examine the homo/hetero binary in cinema and the male/female binary in cinema.
Halberstam also effectively brought up Mulvey's arguments of "lack" by discussing the movie "Boys Don't Cry" and how it exemplifies the main character Brandon's "lack" as a transgender. I thought it was interesting when she said "The transgender gaze becomes difficult to track because it depends on complex relations in time and space between seeing and not seeing, appearing and disappearing, knowing and not knowing." That statement made sense to me because in many movies involving a transgender character, the character is often portrayed at first as being normal or as Halberstam stated "properly" gendered, often leaving the viewer confused and shocked when the characters transgendered identity is revealed. We have to think back to the film's beginning and look for signs that the character is transgendered and then reanalyze the film entirely.
It was pretty interesting reading how these three movies portrayed transgender persons and how they gave access into the transgender gaze. I think it's important to realize that these movies are attempting to give the audience an inside look to a world that not many have experienced or even thought of and hopefully open their eyes to others' struggles. I also found it fascinating that in both Boys Don't Cry and The Crying Game that the directors of the movies didn't really understand their own transgender characters. It highlights the fact that it's such a rarely explored point of view and that it's a complex issue.
Also, I found it interesting how By Hook or by Crook took a different approach to depicting the transgender gaze. Instead of taking place in the straight world, the movie only focuses on the queer world and embraces its uniqueness. I think that this is important in constructing the transgender gaze because like the director Silas Howard said that when they didn't see any representation out there they "represent it for what it is -- something confusing and lovely."
I thought this showed the importance of media literacy as well. Especially when breaking down the movie Boys Don't Cry . If you don't understand the multi-dimensions of media literacy, you'd miss out on a lot of the implicit messages of the movie. Like when the author was describing when Brandon was about to be "outed" and the sanctuary in Lana's room and the representation of the bathroom. I think those all have to with actively understanding media.
One of my questions I had was what's the most effective way to represent something in the media that's underrepresented? Is it most effective to show the transgender gaze in a straight world like in Boys Don't Cry or The Crying Game? Or in a queer world like By Hook or by Crook? Or are both interpretations necessary?
Do you think that Mulvey's reading is disregarding women's true opinion of men, and perhaps that they are similar to that of men, however it's just not advertised as often in films solely due to comical and romantic appeal?
Reading through this article made me think, "Are ways in which women are portrayed in the media in 1978 (when this article was written) similar to how women are portrayed now in 2012 or have their roles evolved? I, myself have noticed plenty of films that portray a women as a heroine rather than a damsil in distress. And the ways in which women are objectified in film are usually to the characters advantage, she usually uses her femme fatal to lure men in and get her way. Is this change enough?
In Laura Mulvey's article on the exotic portrayal of women and heroic portrayal of men, she typically references older Hollywood films to demonstrate/justify her argument. However, I still see such portrayals in modern Hollywood films: women are still objectified, specifically sexually, and men are still dominantly heroes "rescuing" her from this objectification...of course this "rescue" only changes her to become solely his.
Despite the growth society has undergone, it seems such sex-objectification of women cannot be overcome. Even in commercials we see only "sexy" women modeling as spokespeople for products. This points to a truth that society and people enjoy seeing/watching (as Mulvey puts it) beautiful people.
It is no wonder that the beauty industry in America makes tons of money each year...Mulvey's argument presents an explanation for such a success. That is that sex sells. It is perhaps for this reason that women and little girls grow up wanting to become beautiful and/or sexy. They purchase ridiculous products to make them more beautiful and are constantly staring at themselves in mirrors.
But unlike Mulvey's argument that the mirrored image of the self is an "alter-ego" of perfection of the self, I believe most women today believe the image in the mirror is a representation of their true self. Often, women are dissatisfied with what they see in the mirror--this is not biased to just women since there are plenty of men who probably feel this way as well. The mirror image has evolved into a self we wish to change and most likely can change with products such as foundation, eyeliner, circle-lenses and etcetera.
Which then leads me to my question, or rather a concern: how can we change this view of self into a positive view instead of a negative? Often people see a negative image of themselves in the mirror, do you think Hollywood is to blame with all the representations of what a "perfect" woman should be like? Is this representation, as Mulvey attempted to explain, harmful towards our youth since many, in my opinion, seem to grow up so fast (take Tiaras and Toddlers for example)?
By Ashley Stopperan
My question is directed towards the critics of Mulvey's article. Do you think that people (both females and males) would be as interested in films if the scenes were from the perspective of the woman? In other words, would the film industry be successful if it portrayed men as the desired ones and women as the more dominant characters?
I know there are examples of media pieces that use this type of portrayal but I am curious why people think having the females be desirable is such a bad thing in fictional movies.
By Ashley Stopperan
Mulvey's main argument in "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" is that Hollywood narrative films use women in order to provide a pleasurable visual experience for men. She brings up many accurate points that I do agree with. Such as, the fact that the woman is always the "reifying" gaze, not the bearer of it is true for many classical films I have seen and studied. I think the main reason for this is because it is easier for the audience to relate to a scene where the female is more vulnerable than the male, simply because of traditional standards.
Mulvey's point of views on the cinematic gaze also remind me of other areas that we studied in class such as the working class. Females are depicted as the stay at home mothers in many shows and films, while the male handles the finances. The wives are always desirable to men when they come home from work. I understand exactly how Mulvey describes women because females, even today, are still represented as good looking and skinny. (Also relating to our other discussions in class about the ethics of pornography).
In Laura mulvey's visual pleasure and narrative cinema it was interesting to see how she brings in the psychological aspects of pleasure and sex. When we think about cinema today, most usually it will always contain some form of sex or a romantic story. If there is one hot character, they most usually have a hot partner. She specifically writes about the focus on women as sexualized characters. I can see where she places the female character with the power, either it be that the man is the main character.Usually the man becomes the hero, or completes some form or mission all for the lady, or a lady character is the reason that everything goes bad. The female character has the power because she controls everything, unintentionally. For example, Ryan Gosling in the movie Drive takes up a crazy job for a female character he just met, is almost all the disney movies a man does something crazy and almost unrealistic just for a "princess" and so on. They are simply and object in the film the man must win or gain. Sometimes as a girl myself I find it had to believe that a guy would go so far for a simple girl, either it be fictional or non fictional. So as women are objectified they still hold power, because it is the mans number one desire (at least in most movies today)
DQ; Although women are so objectified of their sexual aspects and what they can "supply", yet I think the same goes for men, as men are puppies for men, we women are generally the same, we want their romance, their gentleman features, and classic tall dark and handsome features, in movies when we see females as the main character they also can drop everything in beat for men. Do we allow these movie plots somewhat control our societies views on relationships? and to what extent.
Do you agree with Mulvey and her psychoanalysis of the narrative cinema?
In "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" the author describes the ways in which movies are appealing to us. Mulvey talks about psychoanalysis, the humane form and women as an image in the article. What do these ideals mean to you? Do you find yourself in agreement with Mulvey?
In the article "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema", Mulvey frequently mentions that we live in a phallocentric world. Phallocentric refers to something that is centered on men or on a male viewpoint, especially one held by entail the domination of women by men. Mulvey demonstrates that phallocentricity is inadvertently expressed in films by the different "looks". The first "look" is the actual events that take place in the film, the second "look" is act of looking at something (voyeuristic), and the third "look" is the act of being looked at (narcissistic). Mulvey describes the last two as men being the one who look and women being the ones who are looked at. She solidifies this by provided examples of several films where the woman's role is that of a supporting character. She exists only as a motivator for the male protagonist. If she did not serve the purpose of a motivator, she would add nothing to the plot structure of the film.
I have noticed in films and television that the woman is often sexualized no matter what her role is. However, in the television show Firefly, one of the protagonists, Zoe, is displayed as an independent woman who is just as fierce and skilled in combat as the main male protagonist, Malcolm. I've seen many episodes of this show and not once was there a reference, jokingly or seriously, relating to the fact that she was a woman. In the show, Zoe is married to a man who rarely engages in combat but is an extremely skilled pilot. I think this is one of the most equal representations of gender I have seen in a television show.
Phallocentric films are everywhere but once in a while there are representations in the media of very equal gender roles. Do you think that films that display phallocentricity (or men as lookers and women as the looked-upon) are a cause of a phallocentric reality or do you think we have a phallocentric reality because of films that display this concept? In other words, do you think some women feel the need to be exhibitionists because it is their nature or because that is how they are frequently portrayed in the media? And do you think some men feel the need to look at women only in a sexual manner because it is their nature or because that is how men are portrayed in the media?
In "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema," Mulvey brings up an interesting point: "The magic of the Hollywood style at its best (and all of the cinema which fell within its sphere of influence) arose, not exclusively, but it one important aspect, from its skilled and satisfying manipulation of visual pleasure." However, she talks about this in regards to the central place of the image of woman, and not man.
My discussion question is: Do you think that the thrill of seeing the human form of a woman and a man is still a sexual imbalance in today's society, or is it still more so geared towards women? Why do you think it is that only women are simultaneously looked at an displayed as an erotic impact, and why not men as well? Do you think it has to do with the media itself or the public's opinion? Why?
I found this article to be very confusing, yet interesting nonetheless. I have came across some of Mulvey's main points in some of the psychology and philosophy classes I've taken in the past. One of the points Mulvey made throughout her article, under psychoanalytic terms, was that the woman finds meaning in her sexual difference or "the absence of a penis," and that castration is "essential for the organization of entrance to the symbolic order and the law of the father." She then went on to say "Thus the woman as icon, displayed for the gaze and enjoyment of men, the active controllers of the look, always threatens to evoke the anxiety it originally signified." My question is, do you think that people in today's society unconsciously define the meaning of a woman through their sexual difference? If so, do you think it will always be this way?
This article talks about how transgender people are portrayed in film. One example of a film the article gives is Boys Don't Cry. I have not seen this particular movie, but I have seen a documentary about Brandon Teena, the transgender man who was brutally raped and murdered simply for being transgender.
Films about transgender people portray transgender people in two ways. One, the transgender person is alone in the world, and two, the transgender person is a member of a community of other transgender people. Why aren't filmmakers making films about transgender people who have support from a heterosexual person of one gender, or a whole community of heterosexual, one-gendered people? Are all movies about transgender people based on tragic real-life stories?
Because of the way this article was worded, I found it confusing. I recognized the Freud bits from a past psychology class. I don't know for what, but I know Freud was largely discredited. When was this article written? Does the author's tying in Freud work, or is she using discredited work?
This article also made me realize that there is a lot about cinema I still don't know and don't understand. I work in a movie theater, so this article makes me wonder how deep filmmakers go in their movies, and what elements of films go right over my head.
Wow, what an article! I have only taken one Psych. course (which was in high school), so I have limited knowledge of Freud and the psychoanalysis behind sexuality, so this article was pretty eye-opening.
I really enjoyed how Mulvey broke down the two types of looking. Those were ideas I had never thought of before, but that I agree are true. I can also see how both types of looking are primarily owned by males in cinema. However, I can think of several films with powerful, female protagonists where Mulvey's theory is technically wrong: Tomb Raider, Juno, Black Swan. But I guess, thinking about these films, the female body is definitely sexualized.
DQ: Do you guys think that Mulvey's view of men getting to look at women in both ways, always holds true? Is it changing as film evolves?
Also, I don't know if I necessarily agree with or understand Mulvey's criticism of the female body as a threat: "her lack of penis, implying a threat of castration and hence unpleasure" (Mulvey 840). I get that females can be described as the sexual different one because we are always "lacking" or a constant representation of the void of something else through menstruation or childbirth. I just don't get her thought that women pose a fearful threat of castration to men, resulting in a fetish....
DQ: What do you think of Mulvey's idea of the "threat of castration" as a fetish for men in film? Agree/understand/disagree?
A random last thought:
DQ: How do you all think this plays out in regards to homosexuality in general and in the world of cinema? Mulvey's ideas are restricted to the heterosexual relation between male and female. What do you think she would say about homosexuals watching films or being a part of films?
This article was a little confusing at times because of the wording she used, and also because I don't think her message was easily displayed. I was able to make some sense out of it though. She talked about how the woman was seen to be part of a patriarchy where the male is top. This leads me to believe that she thinks the woman in film is just an object. She is there to serve a purpose and represent an image that the male is able to look at. She goes on to talk about how the Hollywood film reflects the culture in which it is based. Meaning that viewers get pleasure from films that include these types of images and films that do not include these will not be as successful, and people will lose interest. An interesting point she makes is about how film satisfies our pleasure of looking at other people. I didn't think of it this way before but there are many reasons we want to see a film that can be unconscious to us. For example we can look at people in the film and either feel powerful because we are able to view them as objects which is when we seek pleasure, or we can look at a character and identify with them. We can look and imagine ourselves in their position which is a great way to get attached or involved in a film.
Also, in many films, the woman is still seen as the icon. They are there to help the story along, but not to make things occur. It's like they are on display for everyone to see, rather than to be an important part of the film. I somewhat agree with Mulvey, but at the same time I do not think woman are always portrayed as an object (at least in my opinion). I think it is very prominent in films, but is not the case for every movie.
DQ: What about the other spectrum? Do you think there are films in which the male part is portrayed as the object? If so, what films? Or do you think the woman is always somehow incorporated as being this sex symbol and object?
This article was very hard for me to understand. At first I did not really understand how a woman could symbolize so much in a movie setting. I understood how a male can get pleasure from looking at an attractive women but how does that translate to another object? Also, why does the media create things based on a male dominant society? Do female's have a "female gaze"?
As I read through this article, I was fairly confused as to what the point of it was and how it was connected to the media, to be entirely honest. I understood the references to feminism and the oppression of women especially with such important use of the phallace. But I was confused on the information in the beginning about the comparisons of male and female form and body parts. The easiest comparison that I could make to this article is a book by the name of Crash. If any of you have read the book by J.G. Ballard, you would probably understand what I mean. The main character in the book develops an unnatural fetish for vehicles and car crashes. I won't get in to much detail, but basically the man can only satisfy his deep sexual need by partaking in things involving vehicles, especially crashes. The way in which the author of this article talks about cinema and the media is very similar to that of the man in the book. He talks of our human connection to the cinema as well as our almost Freudian sexual attraction to it. The author graphically (in a G-rated sense) describes how the cinema's features of being dark and separating all persons makes for an intimate response and feeling that we begin to crave. That we can get lost in this state and feelings almost as if lost in intimacy. The author also hints at film as being somewhat of an extremely soft-porn in that it allows us to watch the female body and "highlights a woman's to-be-looked-at-ness". Again, touching on the inequalities of male and female form in the media.
My discussion question for this is:
Do you buy this argument? Do you think the cinema has become sort of a soft-porn showcasing male and female bodies (female more so than male)? Do you think that as humans we become encapsulated by the sexual and/or intimate at the cinema, making us crave it more?
I'm a little confused as to what the author is saying about "Women as image, Man as bearer of the look." Is she saying that the woman will always be displayed as a sexual object when there is a hero? And what about films with heroines as the lead protagonist? Do we think that the heroine is still portrayed as a sexual object?
After reading this article I started thinking about the U.S. racism and how they differ from outside of the U.S. Is it in our natural instincts to be racist or is it taught to be embedded into our American culture? What would stereotypes be of white males assumed outside of the U.S.? Would they be as expressed?
The reading, "What's Your Flava", by Sarah Banet-Weiser discusses the different ways in which the media utilizes race in many different ways. Weiser begins by introducing an example regarding toys that were made by Mattel, dolls called "Flavas", which featured a few different toy dolls of different skin tones, leading consumers to believe that they were all of different races. These dolls were fashionably dressed and possessed other items making them "cool" such as a boom-box in hand and a street scene backdrop, making this sort of urban persona seem like the popular, trendy thing to do. It can be argued that this is giving people of ethnicity a negative wrap for being associated with being cool by being a part of this street, hip hop culture, rather than what white people may normally be portrayed as in the media.
Weiser is basically stating how it's fantastic that media outlets are including different races in different ways in their products, advertisements, television shows, etc., however in some parts this has also given people of color this image of urban, hip hop association which takes away from the real message and value.
DQ: This is just my opinion, and I know that it all seems too easy when just speaking loosely about it, but don't you think that since it has been established that segregation of all kinds regarding race is over in the United States legally, and hopefully by most on a personal level as well, that issues of race and the ways in which they are represented is almost just nitpicking at small details and the idea of seeing a black girl in a hip hop setting shouldn't necessarily be viewed any differently than a white girl in a hip hop setting? I believe that this is the underlying problem in which race issues today stem from.
In Sarah Banet-Weiser's essay "What's Your Flava?", Weiser talks about how "postracism" and "postfeminism" are twofold subjects. Weiser states that it is her first goal in her essay to "explore how these two issues (of postracism and postfeminism) of contemporary America media function together as a productive kind of tension or ambivalence". Weiser's second goal of the essay is then to "examine how the contemporary definitions of postfeminism and postracial culture are framed around generational differences". Weiser uses the example of the television show "Dora the Explorer" to help ground her claims. The question is, do we agree with Weiser? Should we care about her message? Do we think that the media consumerism of postracism and postfeminism are good for our culture? Or do we think that these functions of media culture are negative? Should we be concerned with postracism and postfeminism media culture? What are your thoughts?
In the Thea Lim's article "Mixed Race Mess: Alicia Keys and Unthinkable Interracial Dating", she explores a music video by Alicia Keys. The video is centered around a white male and a black female who are a couple. It portrays them in many situations over many years. I thought the music video and the article for several reasons. The first, as the author pointed out, is that black people are the ones that were upset with the interracial relationship. I personally have no problem with interracial relationships but it's pretty clear through this video that there are people out there who still do. Furthermore, it always seemed that white people had more of a problem with them in movies I've seen. It's very interesting to look at this from a different perspective. Next, Lim brings up the misconstrued idea that interracial relationships are in some way "ant-racist". I have never even thought about it and frankly it doesn't make sense. It is almost as if people believe that just because you are dating outside of your race, you are in some way protesting racism. I always thought of it as people not letting the beliefs of others phase them. They are with who they are with because they like them. They don't see color, only qualities. Finally the author mentions that Key's does not display here own ethnicity properly. She said that she doesn't think it is right for her to portray her family as solely black in her video when she really has a white mother. I really think Lim is overlooking the message in this video. Keys is simply acting. It's a story to help open people's eyes and I don't have any problem with the way she went about it. Overall I think it was a really interesting article. I have never seen this music video before and to be honest, I would have never thought about it so critically without reading the article.
Do you think in certain areas of the United states interracial marriages are thought of differently than in other areas? Also, are these thoughts common throughout the rest of the world?
Last weeks and this weeks discussions of racism has really made me take a second look at the way in which I view our society and the people in it. This week's article, "Alicia Keys and Unthinkable Interracial Dating" has enlightened me in the ways in which some media images perpetuates the ideologies of racism.
The author, Thea Lim, breaks down Alicia Keys' video "Unthinkable" to explain the negative ways in which she's portraying her people. The first thing pointed out is that fact that the black people in the video are shown to be prejudice through their extreme emotions against this interracial couple. However, history proves this to be an inaccurate portrayal of racism, more specifically in the 1950's flashback. In the1950's black people found it extremely difficult to live amongst the white communities due to the lack of acceptance and extreme racism found in the white communities towards the black community.
The second point she made is the misnomer that anyone who embraces interracial relations and dating is exempt from being racists. Yes, it does show willingness and acceptance between racial groups, but that doesn't mean that these individuals will never be completely anti-racist. She also mentions that dating people who you racially prefer can be difficult to discriminate the reasoning behind "only" dating a certain group of people, people should date because they like an individual inside and out, & not for the color of their skin or their cultural differences.
The third point that she made is that Alicia Keys and Drake, who wrote this song, are interracial themselves. To make a more of a statement Alicia Keys left out this element in the storyline. Had she included this in the plot perhaps there would have been more of an acceptance between both racial groups. Or there could have been more of inner turmoil included in the plot, showing years of struggle with social acceptance. Either way Alicia Keys is neglecting a part of who she is, and this is not what the video was meant to represent.
It seems to me that media images of interracial couples perpetuates only negative views. And while videos like this one try and give out a message of awareness towards the issues of rasism, the message is often lost due to the mixed views our society has on race and its culture.
DQ: Have personal or external views on race effected your personal relationships? Since we all know that racism will never disappear completely, how do you think it will evolve and to whom will it concern?
Bell Hooks' "Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance" article brings into context the idea of "the Other," or in other words a black person. While reading the article, I found myself comparing and contrasting to both pre and postmodern blackness within films. Between then and now, I feel as if not much has changed in movies when referring to or stereotyping a black man and/or woman.
One section that really caught my attention was when Bell Hooks' stated, "In its earliest stages, rap was 'a male thing.'" Hooks speaks about how the public story of black male lives was narrated by rap music, speaking directly to and against white racist domination. I believe that is true up to this day. You have rappers rapping about the government and being in jail. However, Hooks present a valid point when she states that whites look at the "Other" as a conquest, something very exotic. I think this point is true in today's world too (real and via films). One perfect example that came to mind while reading this section of the article was the movie "O," a 2001 American drama film, and a loose modern adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Othello." After making a the winning shot in a basketball game, Desi, the main character in the film who is a white, blonde woman, is immediately attracted to Odin (O) for his dark skin, and "Otherness" ways.
With that being said, my discussion questions are as follows: Do you think we should acknowledge the ways white women desire pleasure, such as "erotic longings" (Hooks 438) as racism within films, or is it simply just a natural preference? Should we be concerned that white woman portrayed as liking the exoticness of a dark skinned male is even racist at all? Why or why not? Why do you think these stereotypes continue to come up in films even in today's society? Lastly, is your opinion of the "Otherness" and racism in general derived form the media or from your own natural instinct?
Every time I see an interracial couple, I wonder how people judge them on an everyday basis. After reading the article, "Mixed Race Mess: Alicia Keys and Unthinkable Interracial Dating, " I learned that people believe that interracial dating was a way to end racism. This idea sounds really silly to me. I never once that by me dating a black man (which I have) would end racism ideas. Where did this idea come from? Why do people believe that interracial dating with end racism? How does interracial dating end racism? Do other mixed raced celebrities feel the same way as Alicia Keys does on this issue?
By Ashley Stopperan
I am choosing to write a discussion question on this article because I thought that the author, Lim, was extremely passionate about the topic and brought up some interesting (and debatable) points.
I am having a hard time believing that this video "lets a lot of us down." My question is that do you think the video was actually favoring the blacks vs whites in regards to interracial coupling? Or do you disagree with this author's post and think that the video is simply portraying a story from a young black girls' perspective in the 40s?
I read all of the articles, but I am most drawn to talk about Alicia Keys' video and the discussion Thea Lim poses about it.
When I was watching Keys' video, I definitely thought the way Lim did. I thought Keys had gotten it wrong and was completely backwards in her historical view of mixed-race relationships. I also knew about the Emmet Till case, so when I saw that Keys was showing black men and family members being angry about their daughter dating a white boy, I thought it was stupid and incorrect.
But then I remembered a scene from the movie Hairspray (we should watch that!!!) where a black woman told the white girl that she was especially angry that white women were taking "their men" because white people already take a lot from them in the first place. It is possible that this is how the black people in Keys' movie felt about this dating situation.
Also, I thought that maybe the black family and friends were trying to protect the girl from running into problems in the future or causing problems for their whole black community. This is also reflected when Lim touches on this possibility the Louisiana judge would not allow an interracial marriage for the sake of the well-being of their future children.
-Do you guys think that Alicia Keys was just not thinking about the races of the people getting angry in this video and their historical accuracy? Do you think maybe she experienced this with her own family and she wanted to show it here?
-Or do you think more along the lines of the possibilities I posed above that she chose these the races of these people not out of ignorance, but on purpose to show another side of history?
-And going along with that last question, do you think Keys is deliberately showing black people in an angry, racist view to bring to light a truth that only she could know is true? (Not saying I agree that it is, just wondering what you think.)
Sometime we as a society give off the wrong messages. It all ties into the encode/ decode concept in media and seeing how we "perceive the message." Thea Lim in the Mixed Race Mess article criticizes that perhaps Alicia Keys doesn't realize how far our country has come along and just took a step back in developing it. Since interracial relationships (somewhat) been a more accepted custom and become a little common than usual, for Alicia Keys to go and make a music video like that makes her seem unaware of this development. This makes me think about how we view racism today. What I mean is we try to look for racism when it sometimes even not there, or at lest trying to prove it wrong (Alicia keys in this music video in this case.) If there is no issue to begin with, we the audience go looking for one and create one in our heads because we are so used to it. For example a show with a full white cast, people complain about why there are no colored actors, and a show with one colored cast, that specific character may have some negative features, that we complain about and point our fingers to racism. Even if it is obviously not there, people assume racism is still scapegoated. Do you think there will ever come a time when a usually racism bound group is no longer pointed their finger towards? When will there be a time when having a full white cast is okay, with everyone?
In this article Thea Lim talked about the black freshman male she encountered who likes to date outside of his race. One of the reasons he stated for dating outside of his race was that dating outside of your race was a good way to end racisim. Lim obviously found his reasoning to be weak stating that people should "Date someone because you like them inside and out, not because a) you have a racial preference or b) you think that dating out will end racism when you have little beige babies." I think this example plays into Lim's overall theme for the article, which is that anti-racism will not fix racism. Lim even goes so far as to say that "The idea that interracial relationships are anti-racist, and having a mixed race family will fix racism is not only naive; it may even go hand in hand with racial fetish."
Do you agree with Thea Lim that by labeling interracial relationships as a form of anti-racism we are ineffectively attempting to put an end to racism? IS there a way to get around the idea of anti-racism in order to effectively address discrimination against interracial couples or is it inevitable? I would even go so far as to say that interracial relationships are not that big of an issue to people today, do you agree?
The last condition stated is that she can choose a bandaid in a color that more or less matches with the tone of her skin. I never would have thought about that. If something as small as a bandaid can still show some effect from privilege, what more is there that we don't even think of? How do things get so embedded in our culture that most of us overlook, or don't even take the time to realize why it is still that why and why we haven't changed it?
Something I've noticed about all of these articles is that they all talk about who is portraying who wrongly. Nick is portraying Dora wrongly, Alicia Keys is portraying interracial couples wrongly, etc. I don't recall any of them saying anything along the lines of "do you remember this show? This show correctly displayed the life of an African-American." In actuality, is it possible to portray a minority correctly? The Cosby Show creates a rich black family and people complain that they're "too white". Create a show that represents a poor black family and you've got stereotypes. Almost the same thing goes for women. If a woman is represented to have power and independence, there has to be a counteracting force like a buffoon husband. But if a woman is represented to be a timid housewife, she is seen as a sexist representation. I don't know if there are ways to accurately portray any race or sex without including stereotypes. A while back most minorities weren't even included in television. Now that they are there are complaints that what is represented are stereotypes; no matter what angle they are presented from.
I've noticed that no matter how you represent a person in the media, someone is going to dig through it and interpret it how they want. I think the media should cater to their target market and if that's a diverse market then they should have diverse material. I think the biggest thing that sets stereotypes in media is presenting the fact that this person is different from another person because of their race. That is something the media should avoid when presenting races. There are times though, when a television show or a book has to portray a character a certain way to fit the stereotype to make the plot understandable.
My discussion question is this: Do you think that media should use stereotypes in television shows to make a point? Or do you think they should just drop racial profiling in the first place?
I thought that Thea Lim made some very strong points in her article. It was a very interesting take on mixed race dating and what it actually means. At first I was under the assumption that she agreed that mixed race dating can lead to less racism but then the article took a turn when she started stating her points. Personally, I believe that the best point that she made was how people should date based on what they see on the inside and outside of their partner. That is exactly how it should be.
One thing that came to my mind while reading this article is kind of scary. The question was; Why is interracial dating even a topic of speech anymore? In my life I try to not even bring up the color of peoples skin when I first meet them. It is 2012 and we have a black President, clearly racism is not nearly a big enough concern. In my opinion, the best (possibly only) way to get rid of racism overall is just to forget about it. Instead of judging someone initially because of their skin color focus on their personality then make your assessment. Whatever color of skin they have should not matter, what matters is how that person conducts themselves.
DQ: Do you think the issue of racism will ever go away? Or at the very least not be a prominent topic? If so, how and when?
There were a few points in this article that I found really... well, I liked the whole article.
1) "Date someone because you like them inside and out, not because a) you have a racial preference, or b) you think that dating out will end racism when you have little beige babies." -Um, she is hilarious. But on a serious note, I can't imagine dating someone solely based on the color of their skin. Let's look a little deeper into our partners, shall we?
2) This goes more with my discussion question, but I found the author's "3) Mixed Race Masquerading" really intriguing. Which is really all I have to say because I want the classes input, so,
Why do you think Alicia Keys and Drake both hide their "mixed roots" in the video? Do you think that they know the deeper meaning they are putting out there with the video? Also, does anyone know if it was Keys' idea to make the video this way? Hmmm...!
When reading about white and male privilege it reminded me a lot about positionality. If we better understand our background and who we are especially in the context of where we live I think we'll better understand our advantages and/or disadvantages. One thing I'm curious about is that it seems like minority groups are the ones being disadvantaged. Do you think if these minority groups were the majority would we see different privileged groups? Or do you think that white and male privilege is rooted so deep in the U.S. that it wouldn't make much of a difference?
The article about Alicia Keys' music video titled "Unthinkable" had one line in it that struck me. It was the bit about how people should be with someone romantically/intimately because they love them and not because of their race. I agree with this completely. I would never choose a partner based on their race. I've had friends, acquaintances, and many other people ask me what race I prefer when it comes to romantic partners. My answer is always the same. I find people attractive for many reasons, but race isn't one of them.
What are people's reasons for choosing partners based on race?
In The Whites of Their Eyes, Stuart gave 3 examples then went on to say while these have faded you can still see such and such.. in the media. This confused me because the shows that we watch presently, in my own opinion, do not seem to be anything similar to the show Roots, or All In The Family. If African Americans were not in the media at all, there would be huge problems, everyone would be called racist, but then the author talks about how even though a "good and honest liberal" makes a show with black people it still turns out to be some form of racism. Do we agree with the author? Do we think the white mans ideologies come out in everyday media while still involving African Americans in the show/media or as possibly a lead character? The double vision of the white man.
In The Whites of Their Eyes: Racist Ideologies and the Media, it shows us a lot about what does and doesn't get noticed for the racism and stereotypes in media. My discussion question is, why do we see only white men being racist? Isn't that stereotypical and racist in its own way?
Stuart Hall gives a concise but in depth argument towards racism in media. His argument is that racism in the media is a repercussion from ideology. Hall uses the term ideology to "refer to those images, concepts and premises which provide the frameworks through which we represent, interpret understand, and "make sense" of some aspect of social existence" (p. 204).
Hall prompts three important notes about ideology in order to understand the presence of racism in media. The first is "ideologies do not consist of isolated and separate concepts, but in the articulation of different elements into a distinctive set or chain of meanings". I interpreted that as culturally acceptable ideologies are created through the communication of various characteristics of an abstract idea that once connected create an overall meaning. The second important thing about ideology, stated by Hall is "Ideological statements are made by individuals: but ideologies are not the product of individual consciousness or intention". The third and last understanding of ideology was stated as, "Ideologies 'work' by constructing for their subjects (individual and collective) positions of identification and knowledge which allow them to 'utter' ideological truths as if they were their authentic authors" (p. 204,205). Media plays such a crucial and defining role in our society. Media is intended to demonstrate a realist understanding of our past and present day society. Because of this and the power of influence it hold on our society media controls how we present ideologies to the public. Therefore, media is controlling the "real world" cultural outcomes.
With these three understandings of ideology Hall discusses the "overt" and "inferential" racism present in our media. "Overt" racism is when an occasion presents itself to bias give coverage or attention to a person, issue, or argument in order to discuss racist policy or view. "Inferential" racism is a naturalized event or situation discussing race which ultimately ends up giving an unconscious and unrecognized assumptions towards a particular race. Hall gives many base-images of racism in media, such as, the slave-figure, the native, and the clown or entertainer. Although in todays media the stereotypes are blended a bit more, Hall think these images have been reworked and rooted in todays modern images; that the racist ideologies are "just below the surface".
- Was societies racism developed because of ideologies in media or did humans natural
define racism (unconsciously from natural instincts) creating ideologies that support racial stereotypes then depicted through media?
- Is the idea of "primitivism" given as an excuse for racist stereotypes in media or is it actually apart of evolution and the human species?
In his article, Stuart Hall explains racism in the media by using the idea of ideologies. In fact, he sort of defines this racism as a group of ideologies about a group of people shown in the media. He first breaks the racism itself into two categories: overt and inferential. Overt, being wide open for everyone to see, and inferential being the unspoken and naturalized representation of race. Basically, overt is very obvious racism while inferential is not. Hall also talks about the idealized representation of colored people in the media. He also explains the different idealized roles that people of color hold in this type of media. The first being the familiar "slave figure." The second, "the native." And the third, being the "clown" . I guess in reading the article, I felt as though some of these ideologies were true, but some media really try to steer away from them.
In all of this, my question is, do you think this overt and inferential racism really does still exist? If so, why do we continue to form to these stereotypes and give good ratings to the shows with them?
By Ashley Stopperan
The attention and intense curiosity that Hooks describes of white people toward the black culture is very much brought out in the media today. There is a definite sexual curiosity among races but also a fascination of different lifestyles.
My question that I would like to discuss this week is how has our generation changed the way this inner racial activity is perceived? It is evident that a black and white couple is no longer frowned upon as it once was years before. Why do you think this has changed? Do you think the media has affected how we view inner racial marriage?
In Stuart Hall's article, "The Whites Of Their Eyes", Hall talks about racial ideologies. Hall begins his article by defining ideology. Hall lists three criteria for ideologies. First, Hall states that "ideologies do not consist of isolated or separate concepts, but in the articulation of different elements into a distinctive set or chain of meanings". Hall then states his second criteria that "ideological statements are made by individuals: but ideologies are not the product of individual consciousness or intention. Rather we formulate our intentions within ideology". Hall's third and final criteria for ideology is that "ideologies 'work' by constructing for their subjects positions of identification and knowledge which allow them to 'utter' ideological truths as if they were authentic authors". After defining ideology for his readers, Hall goes on to talk about overt and inferential racism. Hall claims that overt racism is open, and occurs when a spokesperson is trying to elaborate an openly racist argument or view. Inferential racism, on the other hand, is much more naturalised, and is oftentimes considered to be a "set of unquestioned assumptions" about racist ideology. Hall then gives several examples of inferential racist ideologies in the media, whether it has been the Native slave girl, or the black, childlike slave. These racial ideologies, according to Hall, oftentimes have a "primitivism, savagery, guile and unreliability" just below the surface. Although racism isn't seen as explicitly within in the media as it has been in the past, Hall claims that these racist ideologies are generally right below the surface. These ideologies, and negative racist connotations, are still present, although they are not as explicitly stated.
The question is, do we agree with Hall? Are there still strong views of racism and racist ideology in the media? Do we agree with Hall that these explicit racist ideologies have faded over time, but there are still very strong implicit racist ideologies within the media? If we do agree, is this something that we should be concerned about? How are these implicit racist ideologies affecting us and our culture?
"Racism" according to Stuart Hall is defined in media within the means of a certain ideology. He explains how this relates to the ideology of racism in media since the media is a source where race is "articulated, worked on, transformed, and elaborated." Hall then explains the recurrent portrayals of of these racist characters in media texts: the white man is usually always portrayed as noble and awesome whereas the minorities are usually portrayed as devoted to him/her or cunning and evil. I can see where Hall is coming from since even today we still see this common "idea" in many texts. Many Hollywood movies now may consist of a few minority sidekicks but the main hero/heroine is usually white.
Which reminds me of what my brother once said to me, "Hollywood would not make any money if the main character did not feature a white man." I guess this is because this ideology, as Hall mentioned, is embedded in our minds as true. Furthermore, "many" people can "relate" to this hero easily since it is understood that this ideology is "true" or "realistic." So, I guess what my brother meant was that racism is still very much alive in our so called "civilized" and "advanced" society. Perhaps we cannot escape this ideology?
Perhaps it is too hard to escape racism? It will always exist because there will always be people who believe they (or their "race") are better than everyone else. To be honest, even if we were somehow able to escape from the current racist ideology, wouldn't another one just replace it? Can we really ever be rid of racism and such racist ideologies?
bell hooks includes some films for examples in her essay to make her point that there are many examples in the media that portrays white supremacy. The view point she takes is not that of obvious racism though; hooks points out that whites look at the Others as a conquest, as something exotic and worldly. hooks includes movies like Heart Condition, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, Hairspray and others. Can you think of specific examples in advertising when Otherness is used?
After reading both assigned article for Monday I wondered; Are we taught as a society the definition of race, or is it in our human nature to define? Also, do stereotypes play into the way we define race, and if does-- is it justifiable to do so?
I was looking online for some more examples of "eating the other" and I found this article. It is really interesting. Especially about how it is subconsciously done..! Anyway, just thought I'd post if anyone else is interested!
As Bell Hooks writes about Eating the Others: Desire and Resistance, she brings into context many movie typed to show a desire for the "colored" life. If you think about this, even in our developed society today, it can sometimes be considered even more racist. If racism is ever portrayed in a movie, it is usually done very clearly. Hooks refers to a move, Without You I'm Nothing, where a white person envies a colored, but at the same time can joke about them too.
I actually looked into this movie and it was made in 1990, about 22 years ago when racism in movies were not so profound. The genre was a comedy/ musical. None of the descriptions I looked into mentioned the story of the envy of a colored female life. Hooks gives the description of some scenes and mentions that the black woman in the film isn't even identified, with no name, but just an image that the character constantly compares herself with. As films are trying to "resist" racism, they don't do it in the strongest, best way.
A movie I can recall is a cheer leading movie where the actor Hayden Panettiere is transferred into an (almost) all black dominant school and has a very rough time. This was released in 2006, so about 6 years ago and even then as they try to portray a flipped role, where white is the minority and slight racism towards the white instead of black, we can still only flip the roles and see the definition of racism being White towards Black. As I watched the movie I didn't think of racism towards Whites but simply replaced their faces.
DQ- I think that any racism movie (even if roles may be flipped, and it is majority on minority) people will never forget the reason of the racism definition. As movies are continued today, When will be ever be able to forget about the history and make a movie without the viewers being reminded of Racism towards the minority?
Stuart Hall's "The Whites of Their Eyes: Racist Ideologies and the Media" article brings up the familiar base-image of "slave." Hall states how a slave-figure can be dependable and loving in a simple, childlike way or can also be unreliable, unpredictable and undependable. Do you think films today still provide the familiar base-image of "slaves" today, or not? If so, are films portraying "slaves" as dependable and loving or unreliable and undependable more so in today's films? If not, in which ways have you seen producers shift gears within films when it comes to slavery? Is it a positive of negative shift?
For tomorrow's reading, I took a lot of interest to the "Eating the Other" article by Bell Hooks. My eyes were definitely opened to many ideas of racism in America that I had never thought of before. There were also elements of Bell's description of the Other that I did not understand.
For example, on page 427, Hooks writes, "Most importantly, it establishes a contemporary narrative where the suffering imposed by structures of domination on those designated to make the Other over in ones image but to become the Other." I don't get this!
DQ: What do you guys think the above quote means? Why would a suppressor want to become the Other?
My next thoughts were around Hooks' discussion of the Yale white males he (she?) observed talking about sleeping with women of different races which, "represents a progressive change in white attitudes towards non-whites" (Hook 426).
DQ: I don't know if I agree with Hook's point that these men were sleeping with these women to "lessen" the gap between whites and non-whites (which Hook also explains is perpetuating racism). I feel like these guys were just being straight up racists by believing that sleeping with (and dominating) women of other races makes them more exotic and worldly, thus even more white supremist. What do you guys think? Agree or not?
My next comment is about Hooks' explanation of the film, "Heart Condition." Oh my goodness, this sounds like the worst, most racist film ever! I couldn't believe that this was a mainstream film! Hooks goes on to explain the old practice of "eating the Other" was when a white person would eat the heart of a primitive/native person to gain their spirit. As weird as it sounds, this reminds me a lot of how music has evolved in America completely out of African rhythms. I took a History of Rock and Roll class as a freshman, and almost all American music stems from Blues which stems directly from native African beats/musical ideas. To me, it's like white musicians "ate the heart" of African music to use it in their new music. I don't know if this makes sense to anyone else but me.
DQ: Can you guys think of any other way or example of whites using expertise/traditions of non-whites to create something? Even more, to create something that whites claim as their own?
That's all I've got for now! Looking forward to our class discussion!
In this article Hooks stated "When the dominant culture demands that the Other be offered as sign that progressive political change is taking place, that the American Dream can indeed be inclusive of difference, it invites a resurgence of essentialist cultural nationalism." After reading this section of the article I couldn't help but to think of President Barack Obama, the first African American President in the history of the United States. His 2008 campaign centered around the ideas of "hope" and "change" and his Presidency was extremely monumental for African American history. Do you think that progressive political changes such as Barack Obama's Presidency is essential to breaking the boundary the "the other" and those who "dominate" them? Do you think the idea of "the other" is a commonly held belief among the majority of Americans or do you think it is ingrained into our subconscious but not thought about consciously?
In "The Whites of Their Eyes: Racist Ideologies and the Media", the author describes the racism in today's media. Do you think that most racism goes unnoticed or is it pretty obvious to viewers? What needs to be done to stop this?
I had to read over this article a few times in order to fully understand Hall's ideas. Although very dense, the article had some good ideas about how racist ideologies are present throughout the media. I found the distinction he made between overt racism and inferential racism to be especially interesting and relevant to media literacy. Being able to distinguish overt racism from inferential racism is important to being able to interpret a media text for what it is. For example, I watched a Tosh.0 skit recently that portrayed black people as being bad tippers at restaurants, an example of overt racism. A movie such as "Say The Right Thing" by Spike Lee, is an example of both overt and inferential racism, because it portrays black people in a common stereotypical way by having the setting in a semi-rough neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY in which they were looked at as subordinate to the white pizzeria owners and chinese store owners.
I also could relate to Hall's second "thing to be said about ideology," which he states as "ideological statements are made by individuals: but ideologies are not the product of individual consciousness or intention. Rather we formulate our intentions within ideology." I think it's very interesting that we formulate and interpret media unconsciously because it is so heavily ingrained into our subconscious.
In addition, I found Hall's third point about ideologies to be very thought-provoking in which he stated: "...ideologies "work" by constructing for their subjects (individual and collective) positions of identification and knowledge which allow them to "utter" ideological truths as if they were their authentic authors." I found this statement to relate very well with Hall's other article "Encoding/Decoding" in the sense that each person has a different level of interpretation of a media text depending on their circumstances and their identity. For example, a lower class individual is not going to interpret a text about a wealthy family the say way that an upper class individual is because their ideologies are different.
By Ashley Stopperan
Stuart Hall definitely had some interesting point of views in regards to how the media portrays the ideology of race. I gained a better understanding of what an ideology actually means (or represents) with his three "rules":
1. He explains that ideologies must come in a set or chain of meanings, not just an isolated concept. (for example, the meaning or ideology behind "freedom")
2. Hall also claims that ideologies are made by individuals but not a product of the individual's consciousness.(They work best when we are not aware of the statements that we are formulating)
3. Lastly, ideologies only work when the subject can feel like an authentic author and have positions of identification.
The media, as Hall describes as the central/dominant way of ideological production, is constantly presenting and producing social images, ideas and descriptions of how the world is. I think that although it is a wonderful asset to have this type of gateway into the world, it is also unfortunate that we can build ideologies (or representations as we discussed last week) based upon how the media portrays race.
Hall also defines two types of racism, "overt racism and inferential racism". Overt racism is when people or the media openly speaks or addresses any "racist policy or view". (Something that would be seen on a documentary or news program). Inferential racism is a fictional representation embedded within the plot of a media form. I notice this within characters on t.v. or in movies, especially the ones described by Hall. (Slave figures and isolated white figures)
My take of this article is that it is very clear and accurate. I believe that Hall maintains a very neutral point of view when informing readers about ideologies, which made the article more credible and informational.
In the media there are several images of racism toward Black men and women. The depiction of Black men and women that I see the most is of the native. This portrayal includes a Black men or women in a primitive scene usually dressed without a shirt on or in animal print or without a shirt on. Sometimes they are even photographed as looking animalistic and in cages. Why this image is so popular among the Black artist community? What are some examples of this portrayal?
The beginning part of this article seemed a little confusing to me, but as I read on the concept became more clear. I think Stuart Hall did a good job in explaining what he meant and using examples to back it up. The first statement that really intrigued me was when he talked about how ideologies tend to disappear from view and become more of a naturalized state. I had never thought about it this way, but I agree that race is already a natural, given thing, so racism is the next step in that naturalization. It has become a "take-for-granted" ideology. Even different shows that try to address the issue of race, might be sending unintentional messages that go against the purpose of the show. The issue of race is something that many people view as something so naturalized that they don't even question it anymore. They just assume that it is going to be apart of the culture and media that it doesn't strike offense like it so often should. The whole basis of the article I think was saying that we need to be better prepared. Racism is a real issue and with media being a large outlet for racist material, we need to evaluate how to combat the issue. It is a fine line to cross, and people usually would rather stay within their comfort zones, but things need to change. People need to know that it is not/should not be a naturalized thing.
How do we change that? Is there a certain class we should aim towards to first see this is not okay and to spread the news to others? Do we sit back and allow the television producers to finally figure it out, or do we just let them continue to use updated versions of the base images Hall talked about? We saw how class can be a large part of a TV show, do we think sometime down the road race will not have to play such a large role?
In today's society I am not naive to think that racism does not exist anymore but I was only aware of the overt type of racism. Overt racism is when a person is openly negative towards Black men and women. The media clearly can not show this type of racism but instead shows "liberal and humane ideas about 'good relations' between the races, based on open-mindedness and tolerance"... Instead the media shows inferential racism which involve situations that are presented as fictional or factual that have racist premises and assumptions.
In the article, "The Whites of Their Eyes", by Stuart Hall there are several examples of depictions of Black men and women that originate from racist premises. These depictions include the slave figure, the native or the entertainer. I want to explain the native depiction in more dept. As a native, Black men and women are portrayed as primitive and in need of civilization. An example of the native image in today's society is the way black artists are photographed in magazines and even on their album covers. Many of these artists are photographed without their shirts on, in animal print or even in cages. Before reading this article, I did not even realize just how many racist messages there are in the media.
This article by Stuart Hall explores racist ideologies and how the media is responsible for them. The media spews out negative stereotypes without really trying. Hall wrote of black people and Native American people. Black people are portrayed as violent criminals (the evening news is always filled with stories of black robbers, drug dealers, etc), or slaves, or mammies. Movies featuring Native Americans shows them to be spiritual, and yet barbaric. These negative stereotypes were created long ago, but they still emerge today.
The prisons of today are filled with black people. Native Americans are known to have serious problems with alcohol and suicide. Slavery and the seizing of Native American land are commonly known causes of the problems both races still face. But how much can the media be blamed? It still has few positive stories to show the public. Can anything be done to reverse the damage? If so, what could be done?
I think one of the more interesting, and understandable, ideas brought up in Halls article was after he addressed inferential racism, addressing three stereotypical roles/characters. These were:
1) The "Slave-Figure", who Halls describes as "Devoted and childlike, unreliable, unpredictable, and undependable." However, this character is not only in media about slavery, and it is not a role always played by African-Americans.
2) The "Native" Hall describes as the character who runs in the wild and is free, but also a "savage" type. This person, (I think, but this area confused me a bit) is the one who threatens the "isolated white figure."
3) And the "Clown" or "Entertainer", Hall describes as the person who is putting on a show for "The Others" (Who are "the others??") and the character we laugh at or with. We admire the "entertainer" by we are "put off" by the "clown" because of the stupidity.
I realized that in any show I watch, there are definitely these three characters. Do you think that Hollywood views these three characters as a necessity in their productions? Is it "the same" as the way story-lines (plot, rising action, climax, resolution, etc.) are essential for productions of movies and novels? Also, do you think that, since ideologies CAN transform, maybe Hollywood will produce movies without these roles?
I'm not sure if I am understanding Hall's article correctly, but hopefully I am. I read it a few times and this is what I ultimately got, if anyone has anything to say about it, PLEASE COMMENT AND CORRECT ME! :-)
What Hall discusses in this article is, basically, how the media produces representations of our social world by using images and portrayals. He also got into ideologies. From what I got, there are some serious key factors when discussing ideologies. Hall defines "Ideology" as "a term to refer to those images, concepts and premises which provide the frameworks through which we represent, interpret, understand, and 'make sense' of some aspect of social existence." Hall continues with talking about how ideologies are not "separate concepts" but different "elements" joined together to form a chain of meanings. Then he goes on to talk about how individuals make ideological statements, but actual ideologies are not what we intend. We make these statements subconsciously because it was what we have grown to know. These are our "unquestioned assumptions" about things in the world, i.e. why it is the way it is. Next he talks about how different ideologies work in relation to how we identify certain "groups" of people. Hall also talks about how ideologies change. He points out that since it isn't one individuals thought that makes up an ideology, it is a "collective process." I found this read to be very confusing, it is kind of like when you are a kid, you wonder why the sky is blue. However, that can be proved by science. But when you're a kid, you just have no idea and you keep thinking about it. This paper just makes my head spin round and round about why I group certain people and things together, what form of media influenced my thoughts? Am I influencing a negative ideology that is being circulated throughout my peers subconsciously? Anyway, hopefully I'll have all my thoughts figured out by Monday!
In the article, the author says that "In its earliest stages, rap was 'a male thing'" and that "Domestic space, equated with repression and containment. as well as with the 'feminine' was resisted and rejected... As a result, much rap music is riddled with sexism and misogyny." With the popularity of rap and the steps taken to further Black's social position, do you think a step needs to be taken to remove the sexism and misogyny in rap music today? Do you think it ever will? Or is it going to be part of rap forever?
I agreed with many of Hall's points in "The Whites of Their Eyes" article. I especially liked his point about media's relation to racism. He says, "They [media] are also one place where these ideas [about race] are articulated, worked on, transformed, and elaborated (205)." After reading the articles in this class so far and just being an avid media consumer, I've come to realize that media is a place where ideas are tested and played with rather than a place that uniformly presents one message. And with the advancing technology and outlets for media I think that media we'll become even more wide open in the diverse messages it creates.
I also agreed that stereotypes are created and often strengthened in media too. His examples of the "slave-figure," "native," and "clown" are especially true.I agree that they've faded a bit but you can still see traces today. I'm interested in seeing how the movie "Django Unchained," which is about a slave's vengeance, tackles these stereotypes. And if the characters will resemble the primitivism aspects that Hall described.
In reading over the "Class Dismissed" article, it was clear to me that there were a few stereotypes being portrayed in these forms of media including class. My questions on these stereotypes are: Why do you think we portray these classes or genders the way we do? What started these stereotypes, and in our ever changing culture, why are they sticking? Who says that working and middle class families really do act the way they do on television, because there is a reoccurring theme among the way they're portrayed? And finally, the idea of women in certain roles as making progress comes up. Because the use of women in these roles of power is often used as satire, do we really think that women have progressed and are being viewed differently because they're showed in the media in these roles?
The article "class Dismissed? Roseanne and the Changing Face of Working-Class Iconography" was very interesting to me. Back in the day I used to watch Roseanne, well at least a little bit, I would always see it on TV back in the day and never was to interested in it. But after reading this article I see the significance of it and how it was a change in the working class image. In the article, Bettie stated that people could really relate to Roseanne and thats what was a big change. I feel like people could relate to male buffoons but in Roseanne it seems like people are more able to connect and I got that out of this article.
Roseanne was all about working, she loved her family but also loved getting away and this shows that the female is also apart of the working class. It is not just white males but females also work hard to feed there family and I think this is what the sitcom went for.
My DQ: I haven't been watching to much Tv lately and don't know many sitcom shows at the moment. But my question is should there be more sitcoms with a working class women? Because I feel if there were I could know of one or would have heard of one.
Apologies for the late post.
According to the reading, Bettie explained that there was a certain "type" or "class" portrayed for either working-class or middle-class families. This is that middle-class folk are usually portrayed as almost up-scale and always thin/slender. Working-class on the other hand are usually portrayed as rude, ill-mannered, and/or fat (or bigger). So, does belonging in a certain class, either working or middle-class, determine your behavior? Are you more likely to be "classy" if you are middle-class than if you are working-class? Furthermore, why does television choose to portray people as such for each class?
In Julie Bettie's article, Class Dismissed, she discusses the role in which class plays in television sitcoms and how it is usually the normal scenario for the man of the house to be the breadwinner for the family and to more or less takeover all aspects of the way that their family functions, leaving the wife to be in charge of things such as cooking, cleaning and getting the children off to school, all in a somewhat perfect fashion. Bettie discusses how the show Roseanne was one of the first hit sitcoms to go against this idea of normalcy that captivated viewers before, really going against the odds.
Roseanne, the main character, is a loud, hardworking woman who tells it like it is to her family as well as those around her. She is really trying to make it on her own in supporting her family as best as she can without the help of a male figure in her life. Her kids sass her and she sasses them right back to put them in their place. Roseanne discusses in one of the provided interviews that she doesn't view class as something having to do with the dollar amount that you make but whether or not you are actually out there working full time, and that is what she believes it means to be a part of the working class in America.
Roseanne all in all defies what television series have instilled in our minds that the man is the breadwinner and head of household. She proves that women are equally as capable and qualified to do the job. This show also proved that a woman can have a leading role in a comedy while still driving in a large audience and being a hit show.
DQ: While reading this article, I began to think about what I personally thought the American dream was, and I immediately though about a 4 person family, husband, wife, son and daughter and the husband going off to work everyday holding a steady job to support his family. However, this article sheds light on the fact that this may not actually be the American dream for everyone. Wouldn't you argue that women are more of the general audience for 7PM sitcoms, furthermore there should be more shows that display powerful women making it for their family on their own, perhaps living their own American dream?
By Ashley Stopperan
On the new hit television show television, Madmen, all of the female characters are portrayed as stay at home moms. Peggy is a great example of someone who may compare to Roseanne in the sense that she has earned a position in the working world as a female.
Do you think that television today is doing a good job exemplifying how women have succeeded? Or do you think female characters are still being portrayed as stay-at-home mothers who put their husbands first?
By Ashley Stopperan
In the article Class Dismissed? Roseanne and the Changing Face of Working-Class Iconography, Stanley Aronowitz is quoted saying that "in mass media culture there are no longer direct representations of the interactions among workers on American television. Working-class representations disappeared, for the most part, with the unfortunate Archie Bunker stereotype." (125). Roseanne seems to prove this idea wrong, as Bettie points out, but there is definitely still a strong representation in television today about American workers.
Julie Bettie points out that Roseanne accurately reflects the new face of the working class and that it is because she is a female character. I find it interesting how the market seems to favor women workers over men because of their vulnerability and their family ties and obligations.
Roseanne's unusual demographic focus and feminist themes created at the time a very different type of representation of the working class. I think that this may be happening today in regards to homosexuality because television is now steering somewhat away from the normal portrayal of families and couples by integrating more homosexuals in shows. They are especially being represented as successful (for the majority) and I think this could tie back to how Roseanne changed the way women were/are portrayed.
In Julie Bettie's article "Class Dismissed?" she speaks about how class experience is also infected by gender, through its portrayal of women's roles as the family's status producers (92). She identifies the differences between class culture through consumptions ranging anywhere from home décor, clothes, and makeup. Do you believe all symbolic boundaries of class are identified through women's consumptions or not? Do you think this is a good depiction of women's role within the status of a family? Why or why not? What are the consequences of making such assumptions when it comes to such symbolic boundaries? Are they positive or negative? Under which circumstances?
In the article "Class Dismissed? Roseanne and the Changing Face of Working-Class Iconography" the author, Julie Bettie, explores the role of class, race and gender American sitcoms. This article was interesting to read. It had a similar message to the last one we read in regards to role of the average working class man. However, this one was very different in one major way. It wasn't investigating the lead role as a buffoonish man, but rather a woman. It was centered on Roseanne and she was a woman who was unlike any other on TV at that time. The first thing that really stuck out to me in this article was a quote by Roseanne herself. This quote was in regard to the original male writer and it said "he could not get it into his head that a woman was the main character and she was not passive. He couldn't understand that the female could drive scenes, that the family functioned because of her, not in spite of her." Today we see women in empowering lead roles in television series such as Bones, Sex and the City, Grey's Anatomy and several others. However at the time this was a new concept. It's strange to think of such a major shift in the last 25 years. Another area of interest that was brought up quite frequently in this show was economic struggle. Bettie says in her article that this may be a major reason that Roseanne was successful. It offered something that a large number of Americans could relate to. This series was completely centered on the struggles of the average American working class family. They use comedy in ways that most other sitcoms didn't. An example of this is when Roseanne was five minutes late to work in one of the episodes. Her manager said that she would be docked five minutes pay to which she responds "wow that's almost 30 cents. Here's a dollar, I'm going to the bathroom." In many sitcoms around that time, the lead characters were middle-class. This most likely meant they were paid on salary and a situation like this would never come up. Overall, this was a really interesting look at the role of women as working class lead roles in American sitcoms. However, it seems today in that non-animated TV series the working class is less common. In most series in the last 4 years, the individuals are middle class and college educated. Do you think that there will be a return to the trend of working class families in sitcoms? Or is it possible that because the amount of people that attend college has increased, we will not see this? Finally, how do you think Roseanne has impacted women's roles in television today?
This article was very interesting and brought up a lot of points that I have never even bothered to think about. According to Bettie, Roseanne had a lot of appeal to those who had the most in common with the show. They liked it because it was real and didn't pretend everything about life was perfect. This summer I worked in a factory where we sewed harnesses and I worked with a lot of women who reminded me of Roseanne. Working ten hours a day I couldn't escape their complaints about money, their husbands (or lack of) and children. Shockingly, many of the women loved going to work if it meant a little time away from their family. Like the article said, the factory I worked in consisted mainly of women and minorities. The higher-ups were mainly white males. It's surprising that sitcoms today still portray the white working-class male when a lot of working-class consists of women and minorities.
Unlike the article though, I noticed many of the women I worked with dressed nicely and had the culture of middle-class even though from what I heard from them they constantly had money problems. The first time I came to work I wore crappy pants and t-shirt because I was told the work would be dirty. And it was. But never-the-less, I saw the other women wore nice blouses and pants and earrings and necklaces. They knew the clothing would get dirty but they wore these clothes anyways. Bettie claims that those who are working-class have a working-class culture and don't try to be middle-class. I don't believe this is true. I think there are many families out there who, no matter how much they make, they'd like to believe (or make others believe) that they make more than they actually do. I think they display this by their clothing and purchases.
My discussion question is this: What do you think Roseanne meant when she said, "[working-class] is a culture"? Do you think many working-class people would agree with this statement? What is the working-class culture and are white males still portrayed as being a part of this culture on television today?
The issue of class was really a main focus of this article, and the fact that women could relate to Roseanne because she was doing the same things they do in their own lives. My question though, is are we okay with that portrayal of women being strictly working class (even if it is a majority)? Are we okay with the continued use of that stereotype, or do we think the media should portray women and men in a more "can-do", "you will be successful" role?
Although, I can't say I have really watched any of these shows the author writes about, I have seen small portions of a lot of the shows as I was growing up. But I thought there were a few interesting things in the article; the part that says, white working-class man as head-of-house, may be replaced by images of white working-class women and black working-class men. I guess mainly because I believe it to be true but I had never really noticed it. That tv is portraying everyone with house maids, and lots of money and both parents are doctors and lawyers. Do we think that this class inflation could lead to worsening issues or stereotypes? I also liked the quote from Roseanne about whether working class is simply about how much money you make and she goes on to call it a culture. I'm from a small town and I agreed with this a lot, it made me curious as to if others agreed with her? I feel like a large portion of people who have lived in larger cities there whole life where there is a lot of money they would just picture someone who is broke when they picture someone who is "working class".
The Bettie article that we read for this week made me realize why the fan base to the show Roseanne had such a following. The author explains that this show is relatable to many people due one aspect of the show, the social class of the workingman, or "blue collar". In which case, she further explains that it's the "pink collar" comedy and storyline that really draw people in.
The term "pink collar" kind of seems hilarious to me being that the social class of "blue-collar" is further broken down into "pink-collar" which includes gender stereotyping. The work of a blue-collared male is explained to be hands on and labor intensive such as a job as a mechanic or a construction worker. The work of a pink-collared female are jobs such as a hair shampooer at a beauty saloon or a waitress. There is no fair comparison between the two working class sectors, the only comparison that can be made is that the sole purpose of working these hands on jobs are to provide the means necessary in which they need to survive.
Survival I think is another key theme that Bettie touches on in the article. She pulls an excerpt from an episode of Roseanne that deals with the situation that Dan, Roseanne's husband, buys new shoes but her daughter, Becky, also need to buy a new dress, instead of telling Becky she can't buy that dress because they can't afford it, she makes Dan return the shoes he bought so that Becky can buy the dress. This is an example of surviving within one's impoverished means. This theme rings all too familiar for the working class. And even in today's society appeals to so many people, who despite all of their efforts, can not make it to the top to obtain "The American Dream".
DQ: Why is it quite often the case in our society that we always root for the underdog? Is the underdog position the most realistic adaptation of "how life really is."?
I had a few questions going through my mind as I read this and I'll just get to it:
1. Does anyone think that the negative perceptions of white, working class women were enhanced because of this show? Or do you think that people with negative perceptions of this class were changed in a positive way making them more accepting and less judgmental? Definitely draw on personal perception if needed!
2. What kind of political/cultural events do you think caused the creation of a show so focused on the working class woman in 1988?
3. Do you think this kind of show would have worked if Roseanne was not so strong-minded and outgoing? Aka, could SHE have been the bumbling fool in the family? Why or why not?
To start off, I gained a lot of respect for the show, "Roseanne" as well as its creator, Roseanne Arnold. Whenever the show came on when I was younger, I usually changed the channel because I wasn't interested in the characters, their stories, or the humor; it seemed stupid to me. However, after reading this article, I feel bad because I feel like the exact middle-class "uppity" person that looks down upon these shows because of the class represented. Whether or not I was aware of that at the time I changed the channel or not, I realize it now and I'm the one left feeling stupid. I now see the strong, well-realized and fully-actualized political goals of "Roseanne." Its main goal was to give pink-collar mothers something to relate to. It is also attempting to make their struggles known and perceived as a normality and not something to look down on, but something to notice and accept as okay. Although I don't relate a lot to this show, this article has definitely made me appreciate it and want to watch it more to see the elements Bettie discusses.
One, I think that Roseanne is a great example of why the "working-class" should not be represented by just a white male.
Two, It seems to me like there isn't one solid definition of "the working-class." And in our class during discussion, Liora asked us what we thought someone who was "working-class" was like, and we all had different answers. Therefore, I think that the three social-classes should only be defined somewhere like UrbanDictionary.com and should be used by humans as adjectives to describe people.
Three, I think my conclusion is that there are way to many things that go into the working-class: gender, income, job, race and/or ethnicity, health, etc. There is way too much room for conflict and confrontation. Two things I dislike. So let's just put this whole problem somewhere else.
So my question is simple: Who do we blame?
Do we blame Karl Marx for making a confusing theory out of it? Or do we blame the Industrial Revolution for forcing nature-dependent people to work in the city?
In the article "Class Dismissed?" Bettie describes how the main stereotype of a working class culture as "white men in industrial occupations." Initially I too thought of a white man working in factory but than remembered a class I took last semester that made me think otherwise. This class was called Jewish Women in the United States. In this class, we discussed the many ways that immigrant women were involved in the garment industry and took a big role in organizing the labor movement. Besides in this class, I had never heard how many women worked in the factories and their involvement in the labor movement besides the triangle shirt waist factory fire.
After being remembering this class, I really appreciated how the author of the article brought up an example of a TV that involved a working women. Although this show portrayed a woman in the working class, the stereotype of her and her family being lower class or even poor was still there. This also was the case for Jewish women working in the factories in the 1900's but I could imagine deemed more true. Why is there still an associate with working class as a lower or poorer class after all this time?
In the article Fred, Ralph, Archie and Homer, the article describes the working class being under-represented and portrayed as buffoons. This representation comes from the ideology that the working class requires "supervision and managers and professionals are intelligent and mature enough to provide it. Although working class as seen as needing supervisor because the hierarchical structure in companies, why are they seen as immature and dumb like children? Why do people find it working class males acting dumb funny?
Julie Bettie's main concern in the article "Class Dismissed?" is not only issues about representations of the working class in television sitcoms such as Roseanne,
but whether or not we associate different stereotypical representations of media with them and if that effects our view or interpretation of the media text as a whole. For example, she uses the quote from the fictional character Roseanne Conner, from Roseanne, "Well, they've been sayin' it for years, but now it's official. We're poor white trash," to strengthen that argument. Bettie even uses the example of The Cosby Show, and raises the question of whether or not the use of the Huxtable family to portray a middle-class black family affects our ability to view the show as a representation of class or as a representation of race. My question is, does it matter whether or not we interpret a media text as a representation of class, gender, or race? This article uses many quotes from the creator of the show to justify her intentions, Does it matter whether or not we interpret the text as the creator intended us to?
In Julie Bettie's essay "Class Dismissed? Roseanne and the Changing Face of Working-Class Iconography", Bettie touches on several different subjects in the working-class iconography including race, gender, family forms, and class formation. Bettie tells her readers that she thinks that "working-class representations are becoming less frequent...if we continue to utilize white- and male-centered concept(s) of class". Bettie goes on to express her concern that she is cautious as to "how this rethinking of class would manifest itself". In her final notes, Bettie claims that a cultural analysis is needed "that will not permit gender and race to conceptually replace or dismiss class, but that will study the historically shifting intersection of their political meanings and cultural performances". My question is, what are the consequences of shifting or misplacing classes? Is this something that we should be concerned about? Obviously Bettie thinks it is, but why? What are some of the benefits and negatives of not showing or having a misportrayed class in media?
Bettie wraps up the article by discussing the different perceptions about class and race and that we need to have a cultural analysis that even have to do with gender or race. With that being said what do you think will be the "turning point" that produces this change?
Going off of what we discussed in class, do you think that Roseanne's depiction of the working class woman is a good representation or do you think it created a stereotype? What are the negatives that could arise from her depiction?
In the article Butsch explains a lot of interesting things but he also talks about the effects the executives have on these middle class working man sitcoms and how they control what they put out for people to see. My question is, do you think the executives and producers believe that there isn't another story plot that would make money and attract viewers? Cause I could name a few now that have better plots then other older sitcoms. Also, will the sitcom with the middle class dad who is not the brightest bulb of the bunch ever go away?