November 2012 Archives

Johnson & Starr "Old Growth Media..." Blog & DQ

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I've read about the demise of newspapers for the last 6 years and am still wondering when they're finally gonna kick the bucket. Not hoping, but just waiting. I've come to realize that, with the help of the Steven Johnson article that newspapers will not become extinct, they will just evolve with the changing media culture. I used to have Starr's mindset, thinking that the sky was falling, it was the end of intelligent and responsible journalism! That's a bunch of crap. I think it's becoming the exact opposite in fact. If anything, there will be more responsible journalism with eyes and ears everywhere. Now, there are so many different ways that the news is brought to us, including newspapers, whether it's through blogs, vlogs, twitter, or an established old growth news outlet. It's actually kind of becoming frustrating to incessantly hear about the demise of the future. I don't agree, there will be more accountability and higher quality and more representative journalists bringing us the news. I'm not saying that some really good journalists won't lose their jobs as the news evolves because that's already happened as Johnson points out, but I sincerely think that we're headed in a great, exciting direction.

These articles reminded me of the ones we read earlier in the year about our decreased attention span and how it's becoming harder to read long books because of the Internet. While I do agree with this, one of the positives they pointed out in the article is that young people are able to learn a lot through the Internet because they're learning to read different sources and process the information really well. I think this is perfect for news stories because that's essentially what they are: Short bits of information. I think that the Internet had some negative aspects but I think one of the most positive aspects is the immediacy and delivery of news.

DQ: Do you think that the we're headed into a desert or lush forest as Johnson described? What are some signs for a desert/forest? Where do you get your news from and how do you get it? I'm curious to see what sources we trust and think about if those were even available to access before the Internet.

Starr/Johnson- Blog/DQ for Monday

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At first I didn't really see how Steve Johnson's or Paul Starr's articles were going to impact me in any way, but after a few paragraphs in Johnson's, I was really intrigued, and I went right into Starr's and I forgot I was even reading the articles for class. It was pretty interesting, and saddening. Print media is something that I want to consider for a career, but after reading these, is it worth it? Will I be able to get a job, or hold one for very long? When Johnson looked back on his college days, it reminded me of when I talk to my mom and we compare our college days. It's crazy how much things continue to change!! It makes me think I should make a turn off my path and look into different careers, something more reliable.
Even though these articles were written on the same topic, I got a different feel from both. (Is that wrong?) When I was reading Starr's article, I feel like he was almost questioning any kind of positive outlook. For example, he talked about "the non-market collaborative networks on the web," which could be "an alternative way of producing information as a public good." He makes a good point as to why this can potentially fail. He says that these "entries" on the web rely on other sources, the writers are "parasitic" because they "feed off the conventional news media." He also says that online sites usually give more opinion than factual information. Both of these things are scary, our information will be less and less accurate, true, and unbiased if we lose newspapers. Starr made a good point too when he said, "But without a local newspaper or even with a shrunken one, many other people will learn less about news than ever before." He said it was better than me, but that's kind of the scary thought I am talking about!
Johnson talks about "two worst case scenarios" which are: the newspaper business disappearing and that important information is going to disappear with them. He says that the web brings out more perspectives, and that it is the "new growth" of old media. He also seems to be arguing against what Starr says when he writes, "But no reasonable observer of the political news ecosystem could describe all the news species as parasites on the traditional media." Either way, Johnson came off as more optimistic. What do you guys think? Do you think that the change is positive or negative? Do you agree with either Starr or Johnson?

Everything New is Old Again

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Here's my blog/discussion question from yesterday. Didn't want to give anything away before class!

In her introduction she lays out her key points and gives some background information. She is focused on analyzing how sports have, in the past, and still continue to shape our technology/media structures.

Putting it simply, Victoria wants to convey to the readers that sports, especially the NFL (National Football League), have two qualities that make it the "epitome" of network-era television when it was in it's prime, and that sports have encouraged networks with econommic & technological troubles to use sports to bring in a mass audience for their networks.

Some of the main points that she brings up are:
1) Sports programming is unpredictable, it's not always featured during primetime. It also is live, so when it goes over it's expected time frame is interrupts primetime.
2) Sports on TV has been something that introduces new media technology.
3) Sports on TV is "ideologically safe." I think this means that sports on TV won't create/reinforce a negative ideology **ASK PROF B4 CLASS.**
4) Viewing rituals are often communal and public, meaning you want to watch them with friends rather than at home all by yourself. I agree with this, it is more fun to share success than to have it alone. Who do you High-Five after the Timberworlves score? My kitten doesn't high-five..
5) Water-cooler aspect: it's what a lot of people talk about it at work, school, etc, so if you want to engage in conversation you have to watch it, live.
6) Sports are the only thing that has had such a big impact between the network era and the post-network era.

- network era: "the big three" ABC, CBS, NBC 1952-mid 1980's
- post-network era: when there became a wider range/more channels and so on

DQ:
1) Do you think there should be some kind of title 9 for broadcasting when it comes to sports? What's wrong with girl sports? Isn't this just reinforcing the dominant male society?

2) Since football clearly plays such a big role in television, hypothetically, what do you think would happen to television if it suddenly stopped? No teams renewed their contracts... just BAM, bye-bye football.. ?

Brent Stensrude Blog

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Victoria Johnson Blog


So the author is saying that sports and sport programming dominates our culture, that it is a symbiotic US cultural institution. And she also says how it is equipped for the pre and post network eras, it receives and develops all the new technologies as well as some other things that it receives. I was kind of confused on what she was trying to argue I guess. I agree with her about the attention and perks sports receives but I what was her reasoning behind this? Or concern? At the end she mentioned women's sports not getting any attention. I wasn't sure if that was the answer to the so what question. She mentioned women's hockey, which by rule has no hitting, fighting, contact. That is basically what hockey is. That's the culture and a huge part of it. If you can't hit in women's hockey I couldn't see it being watched. I think that sports and the competition that surrounds it is what makes people so excited and love it so much. People identify with "their team" and feel excitement and joy out of it. You cant get that with anything else really. It never gets old because its always new and live.

Everything Old is New Again Blog and DQ

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I have never been a huge sports fan but I do enjoy watching or attending games on occasion. Although I do not like sports, they are a huge part of American culture and will continue to have several million viewers in the future. I never realized just how much money sports make and cost for television networks. This article didn't even mention how much money is made from sports merchandise through advertising.

The main argument I received from this article was that although there are new ways to watch sports via other mediums besides the television, there are still 4 major networks that control all sports media: Fox, ABC, HBO and CBS. I didn't realize that these networks figured out ways to make watching sporting events in the comfort of your home an almost better experience than watching the game live. This is concept is just crazy to me although I understand that sporting venues can only hold so many people so the television networks must make the viewing experience at home worthwhile. What does sports television have more viewers than other types of television? Why does American culture value sports so much?

Johnson: Sports TV for Multi-Platform Era (Blog and DQ Post)

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I'll admit, I wasn't very excited to read this article because I am not a huge sports fan. Thus, I don't watch that much sports TV. However, Johnson made some very insightful points in this article that I actually found very interesting.

Overall, I think she did a great job explaining how different sports TV content is because it is so ever-changing and important to our culture. Before reading this, however, I had never really put much thought into the unpredictability of sports programming and how difficult that must be to plan! I really liked her main thesis that the hybrid quality of sports programming make it the "epitome of network-era television" and allow networks to capitalize on its "inherent multi-mediated...properties" (p. 123). This forced me to appreciate the breadth of options sports give media creators when presenting the material. I don't know of any other subject that can be so widely distributed on different mediums with such success (except maybe for politics, but only during elections).

Q: Johnson talks about the ability to be spread to multiple media platforms as a positive property of sports. Do you think there are any negative implications of having sports everywhere? (Having a boyfriend, I can think of a few....)

Q: Just because I don't know much about this, where does Fantasy Football fit into all of this? Is FF just another commodity of the NFL used to promote viewership? What are the positive/negative implications of giving fans this fantasy?

DQ and Blog

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I found this article to be very interesting and very relevant to our society today. Sports are such a large part of American culture, and quite honestly, certain sports, teams etc are sometimes even ways in which we describe a particular person. I intern at a sports marketing agency and the countless ways each and every day we are able to incorporate sports into something new that we haven't done before simply amazes me. As a girl, and not an overly avid sports fan, I always used to look at it with a "who cares" attitude, but the more that we look at it in relation to the media in general and where they meet each other is amazing to me and I think Johnson hits it spot on in his article.

DQ: Do you think that sports programming can define someone's overall self? If so, do you think that this is due to the way that sports programming has been incorporated into media so heavily today?

Johnson Sports DG and Blog

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I was very excited to read this article because I am a huge fan of sports. Growing up in minnesota I am attached to all the teams here, the vikings, the timberwolves, the twins and others. In this article Johnson proposes that media has a huge part in sports and i completely agree. You can't watch any sports team with out it leading to some sort of advertisement. You watch the Vikings play football and they clearly point out, "this is the mall of America field' this has now advertised for the mall. You watch the twins play and you get hit with advertisements about target because they play on target field. Never mind the fields they play at, the commercials for other products during breaks in the game is where they throw tons of advertisements in cause they know how many people watch these games. Now supporting the article, I think every big named network has a show for sports because its what the people want to see. They also have these shows because its different from news, or TV shows, there are variables that can cause other teams to win and to lose and this is why the viewers watch. This is also why the networks and media love sports because we are all suckers for it. ESPN presents news on sports all year round, we watch it everyday, the media around sports has gotten to be the way it is because of us, the viewers.

DQ: Do you think the media around sports will ever go away? Do you think it ill lessen?

Victoria E. Johnson states, "While sport provides some of the most quintessential network-era programming, it increasingly also produces and engages in a context characterized by a 'circulation of media content' that 'depends heavily on consumers' active participation' within which 'consumers are encouraged to seek out new information and make connections among dispersed media content." I find this statement to be exceptionally true, because sports are literally everywhere, whether it is via audio, video, or alerts being delivered to your desktop and mobile device. Sport programming truly does represent a symbolic and actual "Bridge" between network-era practices and post-network realities. Think of how sports are integrated through an individual's life - whether it is by video games or participating in online fantasy leagues. Furthermore, the viewing rituals are integrated into an individual's life as a social and public activity. Think about Monday Night Football (MNF)- a lot of friends want to watch it together so they may have a few people over at their house, or go to the bar for a few beers. By watching the game on TV, or even attending it live, can make a fan truly feel like part of the community. Overall, I thought this was a very well articulated article on behalf of Johnson and I do agree with mostly all of her points. The sports era via network is very powerful and shared amongst a large target audience, and I don't think this will be changing anytime soon. The target audience is just going to get better, and the sports network will only become more powerful.

11/28 DQ

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Johnson explains that not only has sports been a long time "watercooler" subject, it has developed into a multi-million dollar business for television. However, many of these sports are focused on male sports--because of the large audience it pulls. Johnson poses a question: why is there limited focus on women sports, i.e. women's soccer? I too wonder why; is there something different about women's sports that is not as attractive as men's? What exactly is it about sports, specifically men's sports that makes it so interesting and able to reach out to a mass audience? How can other genres of television use this to increase their audience [loyalty]?

Johnson DQ and Blog

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The main thing I noticed about Johnson's article was how a lot of what she talked about seemed to tie in with the collaboration of sports teams and media conglomerates and advertisers. She gives the example of how much each network pays for rights to broadcast sports. The more sport-centered a network is (like ESPN) the more they end up paying. But they are reimbursed by the heavy demand in advertising for these networks because of the fact that sports are widely accepted and watched in America. Since the new media platforms have been developed (like youtube, mobile, laptops, etc.) other than television, networks have discovered more ways to make money from advertisers. Johnson writes about CBS partnering with Pontiac to sponsor the CBS Sports NCAA Tournament Channel on YouTube. Now, the car line is associated with the signified messages that are implied with NCAA.

Advertisers often associate themselves with certain characteristics by sponsoring teams. In this way, whatever view one has of the team, that view is transferred to the sponsoring brand as well. My discussion question is this: Do you believe that when a team or celebrity does something immoral that it reflects on the brand? Can you think of examples of this?

Johnson DQ

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In her article, "Everything New is Old Again", Johnson discusses how sports is not only a large part of the media, but that it has been around for decades. My question for everybody is, what do you think is the importance of maintaining tradition in television? Johnston talks about post-era demonstrations of sports represented in the media today, but do you think that it is necessary to continue these traditional aspects in the future?

Johnson Blog and DQ

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In Johnson's article, he talked about how sports have played a very prevalent role in the media. It has become something that is consistent and the sports programming that was on a select few networks and stations, is now a main focus and can be viewed on many of the major stations. According to Johnson, sports programming and the topics they speak about have become more relevant to popular culture, therefore make a lot of sense for other stations to take advantage of. It has become consistent which shows that it appeals to a diverse type of audience and will be viewed in high-demand. As with other topics, sports programming has also created its own segment of viewers in a sort of community. This makes up for a portion of the viewers, but the programming is watched often by a wide variety of others. This makes the sports to be so successful and a constant story to run because the networks know that it will pay off. Many stations and networks now have jumped on the bandwagon of adding either a whole station just for sports programming or at least having a segment for it. This is a smart decision because they are able to reach many more viewers. I think this is because sports are easy enough to connect to. They make it easy to be able to follow teams and stats so many consumers use it as a past time. With it being such a dominant thing, it makes sense that it also dominants the media.

DQ: Do we think that this really is a problem? We even see sports dominating is more local and even university outlets as well, so do you think there should be more of a focus on other topics or is it fine to have something that the nation can "bond" over?

Blog and DQ for Johnson, Everything New is Old Again

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Living in a state with no professional football team, or basically any sport team was a total bore to me. Moving to Minnesota totally changed that, I saw sports everywhere, on billboards, hats, mugs, my college, tv, phone cases, and so much more. As for sports broadcast, we can obviously see that is everywhere. Sport will never die down because it will "constantly be producing new material." I like how Johnson started out with mentioning the Olympics then of course America's most watched sport football. I can say for myself, I will agree with the notion of watching sports on our mobile devices is a very recent breakthrough in media spreading, yet is growing very fast. I am evidence of this myself. During the 2012 London Olympics, I used my smart phone to follow almost every medal and specifics regarding my country and even downloaded the app for the Olympics. News about sports will never end because something that just happened will be old news once someone makes a better catch, once someone places gold, makes a new record, or even has a really bad foul. Regarding sports, the new materials soon becomes old and our fast paced media allows this to happen. Before our new "era" and all these developments, were we rarely able to watch this portable sport with us everywhere we go without data on our smartphones, nor could we know who won gold, or made a touchdown, other than through the radio. So as we see instant replays and follow the sport programming blow, we should be glad to see how fast we can see updated material. The funniest line I believe Johnson says is that watching the sport online is better than actually "being there." There are so many advantages being at home, because of the media. We love those instant replays, those close ups, slo-mo's, and almost everything else our own humans eyes ad brain can't do in real life at that very moment when that football is being caught! so my DQ is this, how much better can Sports Programming get, what improvements (either necessary or not.) can be made and is there anything else we can compare to this?

Blog and Discussion Questions on Johnson

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In Victoria E. Johnson's article entitled "Everything New is Old Again", Johnson talks about how sport programming has effectively been able to capitalize on both the past network-era as well as the post network-era. Johnson states that first purpose of her paper is to "examine sport programming's historic and continuing synchronicity with network-era television practices in two primary ways: by tracing the form's centrality to institutional branding, differentiation, and claims to continued cultural relevance; and through the example of the foundational role of the National Football League". Johnson then goes on to state that sport programming networks have "with remarkable regularity across media history, times of economic crisis and technological transition have encouraged networks to stake their institutional identity on sport". For Johnson, sports programming has been the one type of program that has always been in demand and important to wide and diverse audiences. Additionally, Johnson seems to think that sports programming networks have effectively been able to broadcast to audiences in both a past network-era era, as well as a post and current network-era. Sports programming has effectively been able to construct communities as broadly communal and individually based.

The question is, do we agree with Johnson? Is this something that we should be concerned about? Is this something that we should consider important? Why?

Blog and DQ for "Everything New is Old Again"

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In is very evident that the media we consume everyday has a very good amount of sports. This article points out that sports are everything when it comes to the "big" media/news items. I completely agree with this. Sports are one of the only things in the media that have different outcomes on a consistent basis. That is what makes sports such a new-worthy topic. It does not matter if it is in-season or out sports will always dominate the news circle. One topic I thought was very interesting in Johnson's article was when he was talking about how major networks team up with pro leagues. I thought the part about HBO first getting involved with sports in the early 70s started the "super-station" phenomena that we are a part of today. Now almost every major media producer have some sort of sports network. For example Disney has ESPN and General Electric (NBC/Universal) owns VS network. I think that this is pretty interesting to think about. Now in order for your station to become one of the best you must also have a sports network to accommodate to the millions of fans.

DQ: Do you think that there will ever be a genre of media as big as sports? If so, what do you think it will be/is?

Williamson Blog and Discussion Question

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As I was reading over Judith Williamson's articles, I found her argument very easy to relate with. I have never really thought about advertising in the sense that a person ends up buying not only the product, but it's reputation in the world as well. Sure, we often discuss how people are simply paying for the "name" or "name brand" of things, but we never really discuss the status that comes with it. For example, when a person buys a Coach or a Luis Vuitton bag, they really are paying to have that label shown on themselves and on that item. Sure, they might be nice bags, but they really don't hold your stuff any better than a bag that someone could get at Target or Khol's. The same can go for other products- many generic brands have this problem. Essentially, that Cub brand q-tip that you buy would do the exact same job as a Johnson&Johnson q-tip..but we still end up buying the Johnson&Johnson. Why? Possibly because it is a trusted brand that has been around for ever; but more than likely, it's because Johnson&Johnson is well known and popular. People want so badly to fit in that they will spend unnecessary amounts of money on products just so that other people will look at them a certain way. On top of that, the way in which a company advertises their products also plays a major role in this. Take, for example, an Armani suit. When you see a commercial for that suit, what you can expect to see is a man-probably a business man- dressed in said suit, with a briefcase and a gorgeous car. They will probably show him leaving his six-figure salaried job late at night and driving in his fancy car to a swanky bar in the city. Only to meet a beautiful woman in a gorgeous dress for a cocktail. It'll probably include low lighting and some sort of jazzy/ritzy music. Looks pretty good, doesn't it? Now think about a suit that someone could pick up at Kohls. For one, is Kohl's ever going to have a commercial just for a suit? No. And when they do include suits in their commercials, it will probably show one or two men- in different colored suits. Standing against a white background with bright lighting. They'll probably be smiling just like in a cheesy catalog and chances are it'll show up for maybe 2 seconds with a sale price in the bottom corner. Now, which suit would you want to be in? What life do you want to be pictured in? I'm guessing Armani. And that's how they do it. When you buy a product, you buy it's reputation- specifically the reputation that the company made for itself.

My question for the class is:
Who determines what companies are expensive and luxury and swanky? Do we really think the brown LV on the Luis Vuitton bags is a gorgeous pattern? I'm guessing not. So who decides which products are going to be considered the high class ones that everyone wants? And why do we want ever so badly to fit in with that stigma?

Also, here are my ads for today:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcdFxtZiGGY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4XG6sbSQ4M

11/27 Blog and DQ

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Judith Williamson argues that most products in advertisements are "useless" until a sign or meaning is given to them to evoke people to purchase the product. She goes on to say that signifiers only succeed as signifiers because people know/understand what they symbolize. However, Williamson does not mention how these symbols or signifiers affect different audiences. Would a person from a certain demographic interpret the advertisement in a similar way that a different person from a very different demographic interpret it?

Although advertisements use signifiers that are universally understood as either "luxurious" or "glamorous" or "feminine," others may not interpret the Tyre ad the same way that Williamson described it in her book. I for one did not even link the jetty with the tyres at all. The jetty itself is a jetty. However, after reading Williamson's book/article, I can understand her point. Which makes me wonder: do advertisers really sit around and just plan these type of things? Are there really people out there who try to find symbols or signifiers for products to sell to the "common people"? Of course the answer is most likely yes, since Williamson continues to prove this with her various dissection of advertisements. It just amazes me that this never really mattered, and perhaps still does not matter, until I read this article. So, are there people who are offended by ads because of this symbolization/signifiers/signified in advertisements? Or has it simply become something so mainstream that we just look past it and do not even realize it?

My Ads for tomorrow

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Judith Williamson Blog and DQ

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Judith Williamson brings up interesting points in her chapters about advertising. The one I found most relatable and most understandable was the one about differentiation. This is something that I have always been aware of (brands have targets for a reason) but it was interesting to learn more about it. I always knew that multiple companies produced different brands; people like options. Williamson described how the different perfume brands were differentiated by using the example of using Catherine Deneuve and Margaux Hemingway. Catherine Deneuve and Margaux Hemingway are viewed in extremely different ways. They represent different signifiers. Catherine Deneuve is viewed as a classic beautiful woman and Margaux Hemingway is seen as a strong tomboy. By using these two well-known women to differentiate their brands from each other, the brands are able to create an image for their perfume. Chanel 5 is signified as classy and Babe is signified as strong and thus appeal to these women. These examples remind me of the many different kinds of deodorant commercials there are for the same brands.

This one is a Degree commercial in which a woman is going out in an elegant black dress so she wants to make sure her deodorant isn't going to mark her dress. The woman is beautiful and classy and this woman is the signifier for those characteristics. This brand "Degree UltraClear" is now associated with these signified characteristics. In addition the actress, Margo Stilley, is known for starring in a racy British film so in this way, Degree is able to present their product in a sexy manner not only by the content of the commercial but by the signifier, Margo Stilley.

This one is a Secret commercial from 1999 which uses Molly Culver. This commercial is very informative vs. the previous commercial which was less informative but also used a mini plot. Molly Culver is an American actress who models and has been featured in many films. In the show she is best known for V.I.P., she is a bodyguard to celebrities. By using Molly Culver in this ad, Secret is viewed as strong but also feminine as Molly has also had roles as a mother.

This topic brought up a few questions for me that'd I'd like to ask. Do you think that when brands use celebrities to represent their product that they are cutting off a part of the population who don't know who this person is? Or are they making a correct assumption that the market they're targeting will most likely know who the celebrity is? On the side of those who might not know who the celebrity is, do you think the context that the woman is in sets a good enough stage for the audience to understand the message anyways?

DQ

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Do you think that advertisements are something that companies should invest as much money as they do in? Are they that much more effective than other forms of creating interest in your product as not all people connect with them the same way?

Judith Williamson Blog and DQ Post

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So my internet went out and my original blog and DQ post got deleted, but I'll try to remember the jist of it....
Because I've taken and Intro to Mass Comm class before, I had been exposed to most of Williamson's theories about advertisement (signification, meaning-making). However, I did find her discussion on Differentiation very interesting. Once a consumer understands the ad for a product and identifies with it (because the advertiser did a great job on getting them drawn in), the consumer is then allowed to choose that product and has to continue to compare it with other similar products (and their advertisements) in the future. It is the advertisers job to make their brand/ad different enough to, as Williamson says, create an "image" that is recognizable, memorable, and strong enough to create brand loyalty.
One company whose advertising has definitely differentiated itself through advertising in my mind is Target. When I was growing up, Target ads felt kind of frumpy to me; they seemed like they were targeted at homey mom type people. However, in the past few years, I have noticed that Target's commercials and print ads are much more lively, bright, use fun music, and are witty/clever. This new image of Target has helped it pop out to me in my mind when I pick where I want to do my shopping. Now I think of the ads and envision myself going to a fun, hip, bright store, not just a place my mom goes to pick up stuff.
Q: Can any of you think of ads/companies that have stuck out to you over time and have thus sufficiently differentiated themselves against competitors to make a loyal consumer? Or have any taken a bad turn in advertising that has made you turned off to a product/company? What elements of Williamson's article, other than Differentiation, can you identify in these good/bad ads?
Q: This is just a random question about advertising in general. Do you think that advertising will soon reach a point where it is just too plentiful and unique (especially with the amount of advertising degree-holding people there are in the market) so that consumers are virtually unsusceptible to it? Have we reached that point in some ways?

-Laura Smith

11/26 Decoding Advertising DQ

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In this article Williamson talks, along the lines of Roland Barthes, about the relationship between people and values, saying that advertising acts as an intermediate system that makes values from different aspects of our lives and the product being advertised, interchangeable. She also discusses the idea that advertisements try to make people buy into them by making them feel as though they do not have happiness without the product or service be advertised. As I read this part of the article I couldn't help but to agree, because the vast majority of advertisements both in the past and today, aim to win viewers over by making them feel as though they will not be completely satisfied with themselves, if they do not have this product.With all of the hundreds of advertisements that I see on a daily basis, I rarely come across one that really resonates with me and persuades me. I attribute this to the fact that I am so heavily bombarded with advertisements. Do you think advertisements are generally effective for most people or do you think that people are generally immune to establishing a real connection with them?


11/26 Judith Williamson: Discussion Question

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As Judith Williamson states, "Advertisements are one of the most important cultural factors moulding and reflecting our life today. They are ubiquitous, an inevitable part of everyone's lives: even if you do not read a newspaper of watch television, the images posted over our urban surroundings are inescapable." I completely agree with this statement, and I believe advertising truly does have an immense influence upon many different individuals. It was also interesting to hear Williamson's point Williamson regarding to how advertisements make certain properties mean something to us. For example, if you own a Toyota Prius, not only is it fuel efficient, but also a person is viewed as being green and/or eco-friendly. When it comes to advertisements whether they are for vehicles, make-up, or simply promoting beer, do you believe viewers put much thought as to what the meaning behind the advertisement is? Why or why not? Do you look at advertisements prior to making a purchase, and believe it is reliable enough? As an individual, which advertisements do you find most effective? (Radio, TV, print, billboards, etc). Why do you think one is more effective than the other?

Williamson Blog & DQ

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I connected with some of the points but I don't understand/agree with some of her dissections of some of her examples. I think she's reaching or looking in to it too much when she examines the object's connection with other objects and the creation of meaning through that. Maybe I just don't understand it. But I definitely agree that advertising is rooted in the culture, that meanings are specific for particular societies, classes, and periods of history. Advertising now would not work in the 1950s. If it doesn't relate to the audience's culture, it's not gonna have much of an effect. It needs to be directed towards something they can relate with so meaning can be communicated to them.

Also, it's amazing how much advertising has changed with the Internet too. With Facebook releasing consumer's information, advertisers are able to pinpoint possible customers. It's popping up everywhere you click, literally. It has become so in-your-face on websites like Yahoo! where it takes up the whole screen and hard for you to click away from it. It's going to be interesting to see where we're headed with advertising and how it will affect us and our kids.

DQ: Do you agree with the author's analysis of advertisements and the object's relationships with the consumer? And do you think that we're too saturated in advertisements and are there serious effects from over-saturation?

Brent Stensrude Decoding Ads

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I agree with Judith Williamson when she says advertisements are selling us more besides consumer goods, that they are selling us ourselves and that we use manufactured good as a means of creating class differences. I found a few ads for Harley Davidson motorcycles because I thought it related well to totemism. There ads differentiate between certain groups of people/consumers. They also try to sell much more than just motorcycles, or try to sell other things with their bikes, such as freedom or patriotism. My question would be is it Harley that is selling this and getting people to "want" this lifestyle or like this look? Or is Harley conforming their own look to meet that or their consumers? Back in the day the bad ass rough biker guys with tattoos road motorcycles and it was cool to be a biker. Did Harley take that image and run wanting to be the best brand for that social class? And nowadays tattoos and motorcycles are much more mainstream yet Harley sticks with the rough bearded lone ranger.

Williamson Blog Post + DQ

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I am the discussion leader for this article so for my blog post I will provide a summary of Williamson's key points as well as some follow up questions for the class.

Williamson begins her analysis by pointing out the terms that will and will not be used in her discussion. "Content" and "form", she mentions are unhelpful to her argument because conveyors of messages are not things. These words are instead replaced with the terms "signified and signifier." The signifier is the object or physical thing we see combined with the signified which is the idea this object represents. Together they inseparably form what we are most used to as a sign.

*She also points out that there is a requirement of a targeted audience in order for this correlation to be possible. The meaning of a sign does not exist until meaning is transferred from one to the other.

The next portion Williamson talks about is how advertising has a mythological nature which is referred to as Referent Systems. Basically this means that ads take a combination of signs from "external reality" and alters them to create a different set of signs that are reflected from the product. I understood this to be how brand awareness is created-eventually we as the audiences begin to see this as a natural process most likely because it is constant and consistent.

Overall, Williamson argues that buying a product is like buying a status in the world: buying a product buys you happiness. You can not buy happiness by itself so therefore advertising provides an answer to how we can obtain it in our lives.

Also, I will give a basic overview of the four processes Williamson discusses in regards to how ads work through subjects. (These are the four processes you all used when analyzing the ad you brought in).

1. Creating the meaning of the ad can't take place without our unconscious actions that transfer meaning between signs. The ad relies on our referent systems and cultural codes to create meaning so that we can in turn interpret it.
2. We can be created by an ad or interpellated by it. Basically this means that an audience member views the subject on screen as themselves, creating a unique/ideological exchange.
3. We can also create ourselves in the ad so that we can experience someing imaginary or an illusionary feeling. We lack whatever the subject in the ad has so we therefore desire to be him/her.
4. Lastly, we take meaning from the ad after having first creating the meaning. We are forced to think about the world around us in terms of individual consumption. (In comparison to thinking about the production of the items we buy).


QUESTIONS

How effective do you think advertising is today in regards to how we interpret the meanings? Do you think the media has become too cluttered with ads?

Do you think that we can only subconsciously interpret advertisements that relate to us?

Where do you think the future of advertising is headed? How will companies continue to market to consumers in our changing world?

Williamson Article & DQ 11/26

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Williamson's article Decoding Advertisements had me thinking of ways in which I am influenced by advertisements. Admittedly, I buy fashion magazines just for the ads. I find them appealing because the designer's clothing is featured in these advertisements through a different type of media, as seen previously on a runway. The ads either portray an ideal brand image or create a scenario in which the clothing would be worn.

Oftentimes designers use expressive imagery to entice the viewer of the ad. Overt sexuality is most commonly used to create attention surrounding the ad and its intention, creating social awareness of the brand.

Another example of expressive imagery used in fashion advertisements is gender role-playing. This example often plays off the idea of sexuality but creates itself a type of secular identity between two types of individuals. Masculine ads are portrayed in a manner that makes the man in the ad seem gritty and violent. This man could be surrounded by scantly clad women with a drink in his hand, a ' la James Bond. Or the man represented in the ad holding a gun appearing to have a rough exterior. Femininity in fashion ads is shown through women behaving in ways that they appear demure, coy, and doll-like. Women are shown lounging on a fainting couch in their evening gown or appearing lost in though walking through a garden. Gender roles are represented in these ads to differentiate the physical differences as well as the social differences expected from each sex.

The imagery displayed in fashion advertisements are used to invoke emotions, to cause a sensation, and to create opinions through criticism. I cannot think of one ad that I viewed that I did not have an opinion on. With out a doubt the fashion industry has mastered the way advertisements persuade.

DQ: Will there ever be a time when advertisements do not have the power of influence over our society? I wonder this because our society currently is inundated with advertisements wherever we go and whatever we do. Could there be a chance that our society will become numb to all of this imagery we are surrounded with?

Karim Blog and DQ Post

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I found Karim's article very relatable and applicable to my life. Through several of my jobs, I have been fortunate to have met people from many different countries and cultural backgrounds and have been able to ask them about where they came from.

I have found one distinct difference in how others speak about their countries of origin and how I think about mine (the US). Out of everyone I've met, they speak about their home country and people as a very homogenous place and culture. For example, several of my Korean friends told me how rare it is to see white people where's she from and that she rarely ate anything other than Korean food. My Irish friends told me just how "Irish" (drinking, laughing, easy-going) people actually are in Ireland and that he's never met people like that here.

I believe this homogeneity relates closely to Karim's discussion of multiculturalism, and actually, it quite disproves his argument that multiculturalism is everywhere. His early statement of how nations were created to surround a certain ethnic group more aligns with those that I've spoken with recently.

Q's: Is it possible that because America was created as a "melting pot" that we have always been confronted with the benefits and challenges of multiculturalism? And because of this, we see it strange that other countries are just now incorporating it? Are we viewing other countries' cultures through an already multicultural lens?

I am not trying to say that the whole world is segregated into culture groups or that I think my friends are racist at all. They just told me how it is. I have, myself, been to other countries where I've seen elements of multicultural acceptance, but never as prominent as in the US.

Overall, interesting article! Very relatable to the American story!

In "Nation and diaspora: Rethinking multiculturalism in a transnational context," Karim opens up the article with a very interesting point: "Multiculturalism has redefined the nation as compromising a culturally pluralist population." Karim states how the telephone, internet, satellite television and other media help construct a web of connections among these 'transnations' enabling them to maintain and enhance their cultural identities.

As Karim seeks to explore the conceptual placement of multiculturalism within the nation-state and the strong emergence of global diasporic linkages, she suggests rethinking of the policy within a transnational context. Karim divides his arguments into subsections of nations: transnations/diasporas, diasporic cultures and global structures, globalizing from below, diaspora's media, and reconceptualising multiculturalism in the 21st century. In my blog entry, I will be elaborating on diaspora's media and reconceptualising multiculturalism in the 21st century.

The diaspora's media main challenge they face is in reaching their audience who has spurred ethnic media. This implies the edge of technology adoption; for example, obtaining VCR's prior to another country. This specifically reminds me of the DVD market within the United States. The idea of the DVD players began in 1994, but was not officially released into the market in Japan until 1996. It was in the following year, 1997, that DVDs were released into the market in the United States. It really makes you think why this happened, whether it is a technological advancement and/or cultural differences within the markets. Furthermore, Karim brings up the concept of diasporic programming. I am Hispanic, and it was interesting to read about how Univision and Telemundo are available on almost every cable system in Latin America. Both of these networks have a growing number in the United States, which makes me happy to hear. It's always nice to hear news about what is happening back in different countries, whether it is your place of birth or you have relatives/friends there, or are just simply interested.

The receonceptualising multiculturalism in the 21st century states how diasporas have grown significantly in recent times, with extended families, friends and even coworkers settling in different countries and/or continents. Having friends outside of the United States, it is always refreshing to maintain in touch with friends I made while I was studying abroad in Europe. Prior to the onset of the Internet, this would have been a much more difficult process and I am thankful that my foreign friends are just an e-mail or a Facebook message away.

These two points lead to my discussion question: Do you believe multiculturalism is an ongoing issue in not only the media, but in today's world as a whole that we should be addressing more? Why or why not? Does multiculturalism and diasporic culture have an advantage or disadvantage in certain situations? Could you specify some situations it would be an advantage or disadvantage to be multicultural?

DQ and BLOG 11/19

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I found this article to be quite interesting as I always find readings more interesting when there is an opportunity to put yourself in the shoes of the article. As I have been an American citizen my entire life and I also haven't really left the country very much, I think that its interesting to bring up the idea that norms are so different from country to country. Which seems more like a "duh" comment, but when you really think about it, it's amazing how different places are. I am pretty confident that if I had to relocate to another country I would feel very weird and out of place. Its obvious that this is happening in America now more than ever and I feel like this was really proven during this years presidential election.

DQ: Do you think that Americans will begin leaving America more often to live other places rather than those from other countries moving to America in the future?

Karim, "Nation and Diaspora"

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Karim argues that with technology today, such as the telephone, internet and satellite television, a web of connections has been constructed, enabling trans nations to enhance their cultural identities.

My question for everyone is, do you agree or disagree with the idea that technology has helped developed connections and identities? Or has it altered the way we see others in comparison to the way transnational cultures were connected in the past?

Blog and Discussion Questions on Karim

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In Karim H. Karim's article entitled "Narion and diaspora: Rethinking multiculturalism in a transnational context", Karim talks about the effects of multicultural and ethnically pluralist populations in migration accepting states within the transnational context. Karim also talks about how various nation-states are coming to be re-conceptualized "in accordance with transnational media, transportation, commercial and social links of its residents". For Karim, many nation-states now have citizens who have many different multicultural backgrounds. Because of this, the transnational contexts are changing, causing us to rethink how multiculturalism is affecting nation-states, government, and people.

The question is, do we agree with Karim? Is this something that we should be concerned about? How do these ideas affect nation-born citizens versus migrated citizens? What are the positive and negative consequences of having such a diverse multicultural population? Does this cause people to lose their ethnic identities? If so, how can we prevent this?

Blog and DQ for "Nation and Disapora"

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I am leading the discussion tomorrow so I will keep this short. This article was a very interesting read. The idea of disaporas is something I have never really thought of before. I think that this is because I have always lived in the same nation I was born in so I never really thought about what it is like to live somewhere else. Personally, I thought the most intriguing part was when Karim is talking about how immigrants can never fully adopt to the new culture. No matter what they will always have some of the same values that they grew up with during their formative years. Pretty weird to think about if you ask me. I guess I have always thought that it is rather easy to pick up the values of citizens. It would be very cool to watch and analyze the lives of people who move to a different country later in their lives. This would give you an idea about how difficult or easy it is to become part of a different society.

DQ: Do you think that multi-layered people will eventually become the norm and single-nation individuals will become the minority?

DQ:

Karim blog and DQ

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Karim's article "Nation and Diaspora", brought up some interesting points. He talked about the presence of a melting pot. I think that is definitely a good point to make. We have many different cultures found here and I think that is what makes this place so special. It does however make the people who are in different groups feel somewhat disconnected because they do not have a strong connection to this culture, but not necessarily to their culture back home. He also brought up another point about multiculturalism and how it lies within the state lines rather than a global thing. It was interesting to me how many different other policies were taking the back seat because it was all just categorized as multiculturalism. I'm not sure if I understand correctly what Karim was getting across, but what I think he was saying was interesting for sure.

My question is with the presence of multiculturalism, do you think it should be something the government should address to have a diverse culture? Or not? And if so, do you think it should be at state, or national level?

Heroes & ASL

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I feel very strongly on this topic, especially the deaf "disability." I love learning about the Deaf culture, and I know a lot about the history, which, by the way, is fascinating! I think that having knowledge on the history, how deaf people live today, and how they feel about these labels led me to find Riley's article especially appealing.

On 358 (page 2) Riley says, "People with disabilities have always been sensitive to being stared at rather than embraced." One, I think this goes for everyone, disability or not, when we feel insecure, and people stare at us, it's annoying.
Anyway, one of the lines on 361 (page 9) Riley says, "I would add that the media are complicit in this construction of disability because it defines the ways in which people with disabilities are "regarded," enforcing stereotypes that prolong the "domination" (Charlton's term) that has kept the community down." More confusingly at the end of the paragraph he says, "In case of disability, domination is organized and reproduced principally (mainly) by a circuitry of power and ideology that constantly amplifies the normality of domination and compresses difference into classification norms (through symbols and categories) of superiority and normality against inferiority and abnormality."
Here are just some thoughts on how to change this: (Obviously these are not ways to fix anything, just some thoughts.)

1) Teach our children differently.
It is interesting to think about when we were in kindergarden, we learn that "People are born with five senses: hearing, sight, smell, touch, and taste." Why don't we ever get taught later, maybe in grades 2, 3 and 4) when we have better abilities to understand slightly more abstract concepts, that some people are born without one, maybe even two, but that doesn't mean that they are bad, wrong, or stupid. They are unique, just like you may be unique because you have one parent instead of two, you're an only child, you're good at sports, you're good at school, or anything. But actually...

2) Let's teach our children differently... WHEN THEY ARE TODDLERS! :)
Before school, before they are "exposed" to these "disabilities" in person. Media structures our beliefs, right? Right. And it is important to instill good morals and beliefs in our young ones, right? Right. So how about instead of having a show like Dora the Explorer, teaching Spanish, have a show teaching ASL! Then instead of our children having a little bit of education on a subject taught in many schools (Spanish), they will know some ASL, helping them communicate with the other children in their classes (since many schools for the Deaf are being shut down, they will be forced to go to public schools). This would also help them gain awareness, therefore they would be less likely to see them them as "different" in a negative way.

3) But then there are those people who...


On 365 (page 16) Riley says, "Reaching the deaf and hard of hearing circle has always proven to be one of the most difficult media challenges, in part because of the debate over the linguistic autonomy of American Sign Language, which purists would say excludes English-language publications."

Here's a little history lesson for anyone who isn't aware:
(I'm not saying it's bad if you're not aware, it's not your fault, this isn't taught to us!) 



Sign Language is only about 200 years old, it was brought to America from France because we (Americans) did not have any way to communicate with the Deaf. The biggest thing separating ASL and English is grammar. So we would say, "I want to drink milk now," and if you sign it correctly, it is in a different order, "Now drink milk I want."

Maybe it is because ASL hasn't been around for that long, so it hasn't had time to grow and change into a more "English" way, but regardless, giving the Deaf a way to communicate is such a gift! We should be happy, and also treat them the same because they are Americans! Let's stay positive :-)



I know this article isn't only about ASL, and I didn't mean to turn it into a history lesson, but these are topics that I have a passion for :-) And I like giving others knowledge on it! I know it would be nearly impossible to include every "disability" in the media, but maybe slowing including some in children's shows would help build knowledge for the future generations!

Do you guys think that this is something that could happen, or a good idea?

11/19 Blog and DQ

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I found this article interesting because it reveals several things about Americans. One is that just being American does not mean that the product will be liked. The Americanness of Barbie did not translate to success in India because the Barbie did not represent traditional Indian values and didn't look like any Indian girls either. From the skin color, to hair, to her clothes, it wasn't indicative of it's target consumer at all.This is important to understand for Americans that our values don't always line up with others. The messages we send need to be thought of carefully and thoroughly.This goes for globally as well as locally, people cannot be painted with a broad stroke.

It reveals transnational feminism as well and the positives and negatives of products like Barbie. Barbie promotes liberating aspects but can promote sexism as well. Products like Barbie that come from America need to recognize, absorb, and negotiate with local culture. By being more culturally aware will benefit the products and promote the values in the foreign cultures as well.

DQ: Is the example of Barbie and one-time deal or can you think of other products that have failed with different culture because of its inability to recognize their values? And in what other media examples do we see transnational feminism?

Riley Article DQ

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In the article "Heroes of Assimilation: How the Media Transform Disability," Riley quotes an example of the benign misrepresentation from an activist's point of view:

"Most despicable are the telethons 'for' crippled people, especially poor, pathetic crippled children. These telethons parade young children in front of the camera while celebrities like Jerry Lewis pander to people's goodwill and pity to get their money."

My discussion question centers around this quote. How else do you think television programs and the media should seek out financial help for these needy children? From this activist's perspective, it is obvious that what is happening right now is offensive so I am wondering what are some other approaches t.v. should be taking?

11/12 Blog Entry & Discussion Question: Becker

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I found Becker's article to be very interesting. Before reading this article, I had honestly never heard of the "slumpy class" itself. I know what 'slumpy' is on its own, but I had never heard the two put together. Just for clarification purposes, the slumpy class means: Socially Liberal, Upwardly Mobile Professionals One piece that I found to be the most interesting was the topic of "affordable" liberalism. It is in this context that Becker calls gay-themed television "affordable" for the slumpy class, which means that it offered an opportunity to affirm one's open-mindedness, to consume cultural diversity, without having to think about ongoing economic inequality, or support policies that sought to address economic inequality, such as affirmative action or welfare. Do you agree with Becker in which the slumpy class correlates with "affordable" liberalism? Why or why not? If not, which other points do you think correlate better with the slumpy class? Can you think of any other points besides the ones Becker brought up? Lastly, when thinking of gay television-themed shows, do you believe it is for pure entertainment, or is it mirror characteristics towards the gays themselves?

Charles Riley's "Heroes of Assimilation" immediately caught my eye with its opening statement, "One in every five people on the planet has a disability and, because of that, is shamefully misrepresented in the fun-house mirror of the mass media." For most, disability is a very sensitive subject whether it be feeling uncomfortable about the topic itself, or knowing and having an important person in your life that is disabled. I completely agree with one of the very first points Riley makes, in which in today's publications, programs and films dedicated to people with disabilities present such twisted images. Furthermore, people with disabilities have always been sensitive to being stared at rather than embraced, which is true even in today's world, not just through magazine ads or films. Some say it is natural instinct to stare, but as my own personal opinion, I feel as if it is very rude to stare.

I really enjoyed reading all of the different topics that Charles Riley covered while explaining how the media transform disability: pinpointing the target, the politics of representation, the consumer model by the numbers, the common cause and the passing lane. In my blog, I will cover two of the ones that struck me as most interesting: the politics of representation and the passing lane. The politics of representation provides us with the early legislative history of disability policy, as well as certain Acts that have been passed by Congress in regards to disabilities. Within this section, James Charlton, a Chicago-based activist wrote something that truly caught my attention, "Disability is socially constructed." What James Charlton means by this is that if a particular culture treats a person as having a disability, the person has one. Secondly, the category "disability" includes people with socially defined functional limitations. I am not someone who can exactly say who is disabled and to what certain degree. However, it was shocking to find out how deaf people themselves insist on not having a disability. The second section I found interesting in Riley's article was the passing lane section where it speaks about those who refuse to be identified as disabled. This isn't due to 'being in denial' as society might deem it to be, but rather because they have the right to privacy and also fear discrimination. I completely with this statement because I would not want to be discriminated against and be treated differently just because

The media can have negative effects while misrepresenting certain individual's ways, in this case, individuals with disabilities. Do you believe there is a different (perhaps more positive) way that the media could represent disabled individuals? If so, which ways? Do you believe that the media currently represents disabled individuals pretty accurately or not? If not, is it something we should be worried about? To what extent? Also, throughout the article (and my blog), I found myself stopping and asking--is it "being disabled" or "having disabilities"? Do you believe there is a difference between the two? Should there be a more concrete and clear (perhaps universal) definition of just one or the other?

Blog Post and DQ on Heroes of Assimilation

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I thought this article did a good job of shedding a light on and putting into perspective, common representations of disabled persons in the media. I liked how Riley talked about the role that economics plays in the misrepresentation of people with disabilities in the media, pointing out that the image makers/ decision makers should ultimately be held responsible and even scrutinized for such misrepresentations. In addition, I found the section of the article titled "How the Media Transform Disability" to be significant from an economic standpoint through it's use of history in economics, such as the social security act and the Americans with Disabilities Act which helped bring the issue of disability discrimination in the workplace into light. Riley made a good point that although the ADA sought to drift away from the medical model, it still managed to split the world into 2 categories: disabled and non-disabled. The medical vs. social models of media and disabilities was definitely one of the main underlying arguments of Riley's, in which he argues that the vast majority of problems in the representation of people with disabilities can be traced to the medical model.

DQ:
I found it interesting that broadcast companies, magazine companies, etc. see Disability as an input as opposed to an outcome, in which they serve a demographic that can be used to measure what type of readers/ listeners they will attract. Riley acknowledges that although "decision makers" should be sensitive to their disabled audience, it is in their best interest to worry about reaching the largest audience possible Do you think the Media Industry is generally insensitive to its disabled viewers? If so, do you think it is justifiable given their job requires them to target demographics? What are possible ways of getting around bad representations of disabled people in media?

DQ and BLOG 11/13

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In reading this article, I had to think of instances in which shows I watch where they even have characters that had disabilities, and there weren't that many, however, I did think of the movie Forest Gump, and I actually kind of felt bad for people who do have disabilities because I can't imagine how it isn't remotely offensive to them as well as their families. I know that if I had a sibling or any sort of family member who suffered from a disability I would find it very hard to not be offended by someone who is considered to be "normal" imitating their interpretation of their disability, which in my opinion is usually extremely amplified.

DQ: Do you think its controversial to have actors and actresses act as though they are mentally challenged, or do you view it the same way you view it as them acting normally?

Heroes of Assimilation DQ

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Currently the media has put more of an emphasis on people with disabilities, and their abilities to live normal lives. My discussion question is: With a more positive reinforcement from coming media sources will the disability community be able to "blend" into society more seamlessly? --Being that the media influences our society's opinions.

Heroes of Assimilation

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Disability is a touchy subject for many people. It can be awkward to talk about. This being said, it's interesting to take into account what the media says about disability. In the article, there were a couple individuals who explained that "disability" is a broad term. Some might think an individual has a disability, but the individual would disagree. Personally, I do not like to assume that anyone has a disability. It's not always easy to tell, and even if one can "tell" that a person has a disability, the person in question might feel 100% non-disabled.

This article made me think of a certain coworker of mine. He has limited use of one arm and walks with a limp, but other than that there is nothing about him that severely impairs his life. The other day he was assisting a customer who was a transgender female. After the customer was out of earshot my coworker turned to me and said "Isn't that person disgusting?" I said no, but I didn't want to get into a conversation with him on the subject any further. With all due respect to everyone, I wondered why my coworker would say such a thing about a person, when he has experienced the same treatment because he is noticeably "disabled". Is the media perhaps telling disabled people to treat people who are "different" in a negative way, just like they may sometimes be treated?

Blog and Discussion Questions on "Heroes of Assimilation"

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In Charles Riley's "Heroes of Assimilation", Riley talks about disability, and particularly how it pertains to civil rights, the media, disability assimilation, and various media audiences. Riley argues talks in depth about several different topics, but I found it very interesting when Riley talked about the two primary portrayals of disability in the media. Riley claimed that disabled persons are usually portrayed one of two ways. The first presentation is of a disabled individual that we should have pity on and feel sympathy for. The second is a presentation of the disabled person who is, as Riley says, a "supercrip". These people tend to be disabled individuals who have overcome the limits of their disability to go on and achieve ambitious goals. When reflecting on this, I found it to be very true, and struggled to think of a time in which I could personally remember a disabled person being represented differently within the media. I also found it very interesting when Riley talked about what it means to be disabled. Riley claims that over a 50 million American are disabled, and that this is a huge audience for media companies. There are, however, many different kinds of disability. This variety, in turn, affects how well disabled groups can be assimilated. Unlike race and gender, disabilities are harder to share share and unite simply because of the vast variety of them. I found this very interesting, and when reflecting on it, it helped me to better understand why civil rights movements that involved gender and race gained so much traction, while disability civil rights did not gain the same attention. As Riley says, disabilities are much more broad and varied, and this therefore makes them harder to assimilate.

The question is, what do we think about this? Do we agree with the Riley's interpretation of disabilities? Is this something that should have more attention in our culture? How else can disabled groups be portrayed in the media? How can we draw more attention to disability through the media? How much should we be concerned about being a voice for disabled people? What are the implications?

11/14 DQ

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To me, it seemed like Riley was trying to explain that being "disabled" or having a "disability" is just so broad; regardless of how the media attempts to portray disability(ies), there will always be someone who dislikes or claims that it is discriminating against disabled persons. It seems no one can win, regardless of whether the media genuinely wants to help the cause. Therefore, should there be a universal definition or understanding of "disability" or being "disabled"? Will this help solve this issue? But then how do you overcome the issue of reaching everyone who most likely has very different views on the matter?

Blog: Heroes of Assimilation

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I thought Riley's article on people with disabilities was quite interesting. As I (and I imagine most people in our class) do not have a disability, I found it really interesting to see it from a different perspective. In our culture, disabled people are often pushed to the side and are not considered as equal beings. They are taken care of, but that's where the care for them ends. Because of this, I feel like people with disabilities are almost somewhat of a forgotten culture. The truth about those people, whether their disability is physical, social, mental, or whatever else, is that they are people. They are intellectuals and deserve to be heard out rather than just passed around the different systems within society. Another thing that I found to be quite interesting about this article was to not only look at people with disabilities as a culture of their own, but to then take it one step futher and look at it as a social construction. One of the best parts of the article, in my opinion, was when Riley asked the question about whether it is the person being disabled within our society that makes us treat them a certain way-thus them behaving a certain way back, or if it is society that gives them the constricting label of being disabled and then only allows for them to act freely within a certain set of guidelines. I think it would be fascinating to see what it would be like to live in a society where there were no pre-determined social constructs and to see how people with disabilities act and how those without disabilities react and interact with those people. I do agree with the fact that the media does impose a certain impression of disabled people onto members of our society. There is definitely a "token" individual actor/actress that is chosen for those roles and they are always dressed the part. They are often very cliche- being in a wheelchair or being blind or deaf. But, again, being on the outside of this community, I have never thought about it this way before. I have never considered that those individuals are often tossed to the side and either forgotten about or treated like a burden. But as we grow up possibly not around disabled people, the only knowledge that we will have about them comes from the TV or movies/media. This portrayals are often so off that our society does not learn how to deal with them. This is was makes those interactions feel so uncomfortable. I think that if this subject was not treated as such a weird taboo (which really does not make sense, since they've been around forEVER), then those with disabilities would not be singled out quite as much and would not be treated so differently. In reality, they should be treated like each and every one of us.

Discussion question: What do you think the media really could do with disabled people to change this trend of being so cliche and discriminatory while at the same time including them in programming and raising awareness?

Blog and DQ for "Heroes of Assimilation"

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Riley makes a lot of different points about disabilities and the media throughout his article. However, one point Riley makes really stuck out to me and made me really think hard. It was when he brought up how the media exploits certain disabilities to exploit them for the money earning potential. When I first read this I didnt really know what to think exactly. Were people really abusing their power as producers and exploiting disabilities for their own personal gain or were they actually doing it for a bigger cause? After really looking at it I could not really come up with a straight-forward answer. Sure, some people who speak in the media come out and support disabilities. Yet, I think that this is just to help build the support of the causes. For example, Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers came out with a series of commercials to help support the Duchene's Disease (spelling may be off). Then you have the other side of the argument. Are producers of television shows incorporating disabled characters to help build awareness or are they actually just doing it for the ratings. Again like I stated before I dont really know the answer but I believe it is your own opinion. Anybody who watches a show like say "Malcolm in the Middle" which has a boy in a wheelchair in it can say its for either one of those two reasons. Personally, if I had to decide which one I think that it is, I would have to say it really matters what type of show and situation it is. I know its a vague answer to have and kind of "skips around the bushes" but I truly believe that there really isnt anyway to find out unless you ask the person/s themselves.

DQ: What do you think about this idea: Do you think that people who endorse/incorporate/etc. a disability in the media are doing it for their own personal gain or are they doing it to enhance involvement within the topic?

Heroes Of Assimilation Blog & DQ

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As I read RIley's article on Heroes of Assimilation, I noticed many true aspects. Before even reading the article, the title alone gave away how and why media is negatively related to those with disabilities. It mentions the economics aspect, meaning that disability is poorly used for money making reasons. This may be fully true, or some part not true, There are many media texts out there who include disability to gain the audiences' attention. Of course Riley mentions, (which I totally agree with, the more severe and obvious disabilities rake in the leaves. This is how economics control everything. Through money making, you'll gain power and through media in a very strong and effective way. In this sense, Riley is saying how the media misuses disabilities for economical power. The more people may be guilt tripped by this ad or any form of media text regarding disabilities the more "successful" that media text has become. Yet Riley says that no disability story is successful in media because its pure misuse. He also mentions to not blame us the audience for being "gullible" into this show, but yet the producers, those who are behind the scenes. As the society defines disability, it gradually leaves out the uncommon ones, and goes unnoticed. This makes it really sad to see that anyone with the smallest disability (either they choose to be proud of it or not) go unnoticed just because the world doesn't recognize it as a disability. As we follow the politically defined version of disability is helps rule what is true and not, yet the media should not exaggerate these definitions keep them as realistic as possible.


DQ- Media likes to include some aspect of a disability, perhaps to allow the disabled to not feel left out, however it seems like reverse psychology, it can be misinterpreted. Those who are disabled in the media text is exaggerated and can actually make people who feel the same way feferent because of its poor imagery. Do you believe that media in general with poor disability representations make a disabled audience (or even the non disabled offended?

Funny "Vote No" Video- Please Watch!!

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http://www.mediaite.com/online/collegehumor-offers-surefire-incentive-to-support-gay-marriage-those-gay-men-will-marry-your-girlfriend/

This video reminds me of the idea of just a lot of things we've talked about in class. Maybe things like the Straight Queer idea or homophobia in Becker's article.

Pretty funny.

It's also a satirical ad promoting Vote No in a way other than using love. Yay!

Heroes of Assimilation Blog Entry & DQ

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Becker DQ/Blog

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Okay, first, my boyfriend and I were flipping through the channels last week and settled with Seinfeld, oddly enough, it was the episode Becker talks about! Since I watched it before, I just kind of thought about "How Gay Stays White..." and then just let my brain rest and watched. Anyway, just one of those coincidences. :-)


Back to the article. So I found it pretty interesting, at times I got confused but I tried really hard and I think I did a good job of keeping my mind on track haha. One of the things that jumped out at me was toward the end when Becker said, "Being gay-friendly could give Slumpies the thrill of edginess precisely because it involves transgressing social norms; accepting homosexuality implied that there was something that needed to be accepted." I feel like this happens a lot with anything controversial. I am not trying to down-play any kind of issue, but sometimes I feel like people, whether they truly agree on a "political" issue or not, want to express that they are advocates because it's "the cool thing to do." I remember being in middle school (granted this was in the year 2002) but it was a really big issue growing up to "be unique," and this carried on all throughout high-school (until I became the weird home-schooled freak). And sometimes, even I was guilty, of siding with a political stance because 1) I honestly didn't have an opinion, probably due to lack of knowledge on the subject and 2) I didn't want to admit that I didn't have knowledge, or "didn't care" because that wasn't cool. So I ended up going with what society told me was "cool." (Whatever that was) Kind of like on page 200, first sentence in the paragraph "Despite.... was still a relatively exceptional marker of just how open-minded one was." So it's like, it's "cool" to be open-minded. I don't know, maybe I'm way off. But it's just something I've thought about before and the end of this article turned on that lightbulb again. Anyways.... I know this article was more in depth than that, but being that this quote was toward the end (page 202), it kind of stuck with me and my brain started to wander off again... oops. And I really hope I am not offending anyone, or anyone thinks I am an idiot. Maybe there is a better way to explain it. Or maybe I'm just fake. But I think sometimes when you're in middle school and the popular people decide that they care about something like recycling, or being nice to the not-so-popular-kid (i know that's not political, but you know) and even though I thought they were dumb, I made my own "unpopular" group of friends, so I was seen as cool and nice and open just like the popular kids. (Society) .... I'm starting to confuse/lose myself here. Shoot. I feel like Laura can understand that :-)

Anyway, when Ron talked about "Queer Straights" and that whole bit, it made me think of the term "metrosexual." And that is my discussion question. (Sorry this blog is on two totally different sides of the spectrum) Where does "metrosexual" stand with "Queer-Straights"? Are "metrosexuals" then "Straight-Queers?" Just a silly thought, maybe?

Becker Blog Post and DQ

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I enjoyed reading this article because I felt as if I related to it a lot. I was raised as a conservative but as I've grown and made my own informed opinions I realized I was more libertarian. I am very socially liberal but fiscally conservative so I found the article very interesting. I was especially intrigued of Becker's description of the Slumpy class. They show off their education and open-mindedness by supporting gay-rights and watching gay friendly material on TV. I was interested in Becker's perception of this. I hadn't thought of someone representing themselves as well-informed and educated by being gay-friendly and it made me wonder where the idea came from. In my opinion, I concluded this meant that if one is more educated they are more likely to base their opinions and viewpoints off of fact rather than someone who refused to educate themselves on the subject and therefore, most likely, has a skewed close-minded perception of social issues.

It got a little more confusing after Becker concluded with saying that Seinfield's idea of displaying two heterosexual men who are uncomfortable with homosexuality but also homophobia was genius because it's relatable to the Slumpies because they feel the same way. I wish he would have delved more into this idea because I felt he went off on a whole other tangent when he stated that in the conclusion. Throughout his article, Becker talked about how Slumpies are gay-friendly, educated, open-minded and love being this way. When he made this other statement in the conclusion it somewhat contradicted what point he'd been making. It was almost as if saying "even though Slumpies are publically gay-friendly, it's only skin-deep. They're actually still uncomfortable with the idea"

Do you think that Becker could have omitted this statement or do you think he meant something else by it? Do you think it changes his argument at all? Do you think Becker has illustrated an accurate portrayal of a Slumpy?

11/12 DQ

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DQ: Do you guys think that it is more socially acceptable for women to be gay rather than men, especially on television? I always feel as though more people are okay with women being together over men.

Becker Blog and Discussion Questions

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As I read through this article, I found it to be very interesting. One of the main reasons being that I could relate really well with what was being talked about. Since I was born in the 1990's, I could understand and follow what Becker was talking about. I could almost place myself back during that time to understand it better, even though I was a child at the time. To begin my post, I feel as though I need to say something about the vocabulary used in the article- particularly the term "slumpy" or "slumpies". To me, the term itself sounds like an incredibly derogatory term. It just sounds distasteful. The irony in that is that the people who are said to be "slumpies" are those who are trying to do better for society. The people who specifically try to be more politically correct and professional. It was hard for me to make a connection between the two. At the same time, I found irony in the fact that "slumpies" were striving for equality and political correctness and yet they were being called and referring to themselves as slumpies. If they are classifying themselves with some clique-y term..are they not doing exactly what they are fighting against? The article itself, though, I thought was pretty interesting as well. What blows my mind every time is the fact that these things happened and were widely accepted less than 20 years ago. They were the norm at the time. And the change that happened to which we now have more queer television shows as well as shows that use the transgendered or queer gaze was less than 15 years ago! That was within our lifetime! Although not all equality issues, especially those involving queer culture, have been solved, they surely have come a long way in such a short period of time.

My question for this article is: If we can do these large of movements within such a short period of time, what else would you like to see happen during the next twenty years or so?

And can someone try to explain the term slumpies and where it came from?

Becker article blog post + DQ

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It was interesting reading this article because Becker references shows that I was familiar with all growing up. I definitely agree with what he says about the increasing popularity of using homosexuality as a centered theme in plots. After reading this, it will be interesting to look for the types of examples he refers to in television today in comparison to reruns that were shown in the 90's.

I also think reading this article played off well with the recent election and the marriage amendment. Becker mentions how people starting become more familiar with the idea of gay expression, and it is now even more so prominent. People are more aware of homosexuality in the media not only because of the campaign, but because of the results of the voting. It shows that times are changing, similar to how Becker describes changing times in 90's t.v.

Lastly, I think that it is a compelling argument for Becker to say that "it
was useful to certain viewers for whom watching prime-time TV with a gay
twist was a convenient way to establish a "hip" identity." I can relate to this with almost anything in the media that is different because it makes me feel cool to be unique and experience something that is not normally on t.v. (How many 90's viewers felt about homosexual television shows).

DQ: What do you guys feel about gay television today- do you think that it is "out of the ordinary" to turn on a television show and see homosexual characters? Or do you think that it is very normal, or as if television broadcasters are over pushing its exposure?

Becker: Gay-Themed TV and the Slumpy Class

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I've watched many of the popular shows that were mentioned in this article, so I'm more than aware of the impact they've made in our society. However, I was not aware of the reasons for the political motives and economic incentives behind the gay-themed TV shows until I read Becker's article.

The Becker article explains that the "SLUMPY class" consists of, "Socially liberal, Urban-minded professionals". What Becker means by this is that people who accept gay and other "edgy" social groups do so to help justify the evolution of their young adult liberal perspectives in to the quest for economic comfort in their middle-age.

Recognition of these social groups by the networks and the advertisers has also tapped into a large demographic of people with disposable incomes that want to support advertisers that support their causes. As these businesses are more successful, networks can charge more in advertising fees. This has been proven to be a win-win situation. Fiscal conservatives can still be seen to have a liberal edge, networks bring in more advertising dollars, businesses that advertise during these shows gain more supporters and social groups on the fringes of society gain more acceptance through the repetitive use of plotlines involving these groups.

Becker: Gay-Themed TV and the Slumpy Class (Blog and DQ Post)

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Being a child of the 90s, I found this article extremely intriguing and relatable. I have heard the term, "politically correct," before, but I never considered that there was a time not too long ago where that kind of thinking did not exist. Going through school, I was always taught to use inclusive language and pick my words and actions carefully as not to offend anyone. Little did I know, these teachings were being developed and tested on me and my peers.

I think Slumpy is a weird term. I really don't understand why it has to be that word to describe an affluent, socially/politically-tolerant person. Regardless, it is very clear to me now there that was this social class of people called Slumpies who are socially liberal but fiscally conservative. I had never really been able to make a solid identification of this class or people who held these values because I was so young when witnessing them (Bill Clinton, Seinfeld, etc.). It feels good to see it and have it explained to me in such a clear way!

Another thought that came to mind was that our Media Literacy class was possibly a product of the PC culture of the 90s. I'm not sure when classes like ours began to pop up in colleges in America, but I feel like our class is related to that movement. Yes, we are not always focusing on being inclusive or PC in our language, but that fact that we are so closely analyzing media for elements of political incorrectness tells me that we are trying to be more accepting of diversity in our consumption of media. This closely aligns with how Becker lays out the 90s slumpy trends.
Q: Do you guys see our class as related/a product of this 90s PC/slumpy movement?

I really like that Becker ties in Bell Hooks' idea of "eating the other." I think this movement and Hooks' ideas are totally related and I just think it's cool.

I found Becker's description of Queer Straights (p. 203) to be particularly interesting because that idea was never something that crossed my mind as existing, nevertheless, having its roots in politcally-tolerant trends of the 90s.
Q: How did you guys react to the idea of Queer Straights? Do you know of any examples of this trend around today?

Pretty much throughout this whole article, I just kept relating it to the word "hipster" of today. I know hipsters are generally thought of as dirty, glasses-wearing poor young people, but I totally know of a class of affluent hipsters (more J. Crewy) and I feel like they stemmed from the Slumpies in Becker's article. The J. Crew hipsters of today remind me of the Slumpies beause of their liberal views as well as their desire to live comfortably and consume a certain type of products (Apple products, coffee, ride 10-speeds, etc.) I don't know if that was a huge leap or if that made sense (or if it was even PC, sorry if it was rude!).
Q: Do you guys see any evidence of evolution of these PC or ultra-tolerant Slumpies of the 90s in our culture today? Examples?
p.s. I love J. Crew, so please, no one be offended.

All in all, loved this article and will probably write my next paper on it! :)

Becker Blog and Discussion Question

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I found the Becker article to be very interesting. I never realized the background behind how gay television became so readily excepted in American society. When I was born in the 1990's, is when people started to realized their needed to be more diversity acceptance. This was shown through a variety of different social programs in the US that sent the message of inclusion and affirmation of differences. According to the article, universities were on the forefronts of these messages through admission policies, course requirements and ethics codes. This is very clear to me after all the classes I was required to take and how I was admitted to the university.

The section I found the most interesting in the article about how words or phrases are considered PC or politically correct. I think PC was created in order to sound inclusive to all without offending. I have always found phrasing things in a politically correct way to be hard to do for a few reasons. First, at a certain point, being PC just gets away from what a person or thing truly is. There are only so many ways to say someone is black, African American or African. Also, a word or phrase can still offend someone even if it is said in a nicer or different way. This came up when a person in class asked if it was ok to use the word queer. I am a big believer in not offending people with my words but sometimes being PC is a little too much.

Another example that comes to mind of being PC, was in elementary school when they called a Christmas party a holiday party. Clearly it wasn't a holiday party because there was no Hanukkah or Kwanzaa elements. Why can't they call it a Christmas party when that was clearly what is was? Do people believe that being politically correct toward other cultures is necessary? What would America be like if we were not politically correct when it came to different cultures?

Becker Blog and DQ

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Before reading this article, I had never thought about this topic from the stance that Becker portrayed. I found this article also very interesting considering that it is only 6 years from when he wrote it, and there are already major changes throughout the country including here in Minnesota. He goes into detail about many groups and their views on politics and ideals. In the 90's it was a time of a neoliberal era where being socially liberal and financially conservative were becoming the popular position. He goes on to talk a group that he names the "Slumpy" class. Throughout the whole article he mentions this class and how their frame of mind was a big reason why many ideas in the American culture and media were changing. Throughout the 90's we saw an increase in gay television and media, and up until this point I did not really understand why. Basically as Becker explains it was because of the competition for the quality audience. The network audiences were diminishing so the companies were resorting to niche marketing. This targeted the upscale, 18-49 demographic hard. The reason they thought this specific niche would work is because this demographic, the Slumpy class, wanted to be more hip. They celebrated diversity and the free market while also supporting multiculturalism and political correctness. Increasing the gay material on television was an easy in for this class of people to show their open-mindedness. Thus, the edgy more risky shows became more popular and there was a multiculturalism shift.
Being straight, white, middle-class, or a male was seen to be boring and dull. This is interesting to me because many of the people who were in this Slumpy class fit in these categories, but they wanted to be different. It was no longer how they could fit in, but rather how they could stand out. As a result we saw a big jump in the amount of gay material we saw not only on television and advertising, but in education programs and companies.
Something towards the end of the article, that I wish Becker would have expanded more on was how to the Slumpies it was easier to take on and embrace the gay culture rather than to deal with the issue of racism. With the increase of gay material we saw an increase in the invisibility of black characters on television. I understand that issue is a hard thing to accomplish, but it has been an issue in our country for a much longer time so it was started to analyze why they didn't embrace that.
DQ: Why do you think it was easier to embrace the gay community rather than deal with the issue of racism that has been so prevalent in our country for so long?
Do you think the Slumpies are hypocrites for keeping most of their same ideals, but picking up a few new ones just to be different?

11/12 DQ and Blog

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Becker stated that accepting GLBT had become a trend in the 90s along with tackling racism, sexism, and class. She mentions that Slumpies were taking on a more "Politically Correct" way of life, meaning (as I understood it), they were using terms and leading a life that would not subject anyone (or anything) to feeling inferior. According to Becker's article, it seems the issues she focuses on, or at least how people at the time approached these issues, seemed like a trend.

Merriam-Webster online dictionary states that a "trend" is "b. a general movement, c. a current style or preference." This means trends are short-lived and only last in the moment that it is popular thus it quickly becomes outdated. Yet, I see that this "trend" is on-going, does this justify that what Becker mentions is a "trend" of the 90's is in fact not a trend after all?

At least in my opinion, we will always have things because it exists or at least what it is directly dependent on exists. What I mean is that racism will always exist (despite attempts people may make to say that America has successful "triumphed" racism) because there is race, just as there will always be sexism because different sexes exist. It is just something we cannot escape.

How then can Becker say that wanting to triumph over racism, sexism, or even classism be a trend? How can leaning towards allowing gay-rights a trend? If you were to ask me, I would say that it is in fact not a trend because it is always a part of our lives. Furthermore, Becker mentions that this trend was so significant that television shows were hopping on the bandwagon to somehow incorporate gay culture in their networks; i.e.. television shows like Will and Grace, the Timberland ad Becker mentioned, and etc.

So, do we still see these things happening today? Or is it just another quick resurgence of a trend that television shows like Glee and voting "NO" for the marriage amendment during the 2012 elections are occurring and gaining popularity? What does this say about us as a society? As a country/Americans? Will this lead into another era of "Slumpies' trends" or will it become a norm/classic?

Gay TV and Straight America Blog & DQ

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One of the issues or tactics I 've come to discover from this class and this article is how powerful words are. The definition of words heavily persuade people and one of the tactics for opposing the other side is to define a word. Examples of this can be seen all over the place but one that we talked about in class is the word Feminism. Another, which was featured in this article is PC, or Politically Correct. In general, these examples embody positive ideas, equality for women and being culturally aware/sensitive of others. But these words are hijacked to the point where the word is taboo. The opposition creates a definition of the word that's inaccurate not true to its real definition but once it becomes accepted by the public, the new definition overtakes the real one.

Another issue I noticed in this article is the media's materialistic portrayal of the gay community in the 90s. Judging by their portrayals you'd think that being gay meant being affluent. And although there's statistics that back that up, it creates a stereotype. The lack of representation of lower class gays like we talked about earlier in the semester translates to their lack of power. And I'm not very sure that we've changed much. I can't think of much representation for this group in America. This leads to my Discussion Question: Are there any media representations of lower class homosexual persons? And what kind of effects does that have for them and for the rest of America?

BLOG and DG Towards Queer Television Theory

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I found this article really interesting. Aaron presented the reader with this multiple avenue approach in which she breaks down the queer television theory into for components. 1) is the Queer and Now in which he explains that this experience usually takes places through the eyes of a gay character portrayed in this form of media. This is done to connect us. the people reading the article. I felt this avenue was very understandable and I agreed with what was said about it. The others such as Sweet Queer After and Queer re I didn't understand as well. I read over them and they were not to difficult but I just couldn't fully put it together. In the end I felt this article was written very well to a subject that can be felt very passionate towards. My DQ is which avenue do you think was the most compelling and why?

11/7 DQ

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From Michele Aaron's article, one thing I found interesting was when she mentioned how "queer television" or shows usually incorporate/scream "straight." Or rather, the show's "straight" community is usually seen as the "worst," meaning the queer in the show is seen as most "normal." Except what is meant by "normal?" Should we have such a term as "normal?" Must a show, especially a queer show, portray it's queer [society] as "better" or as Aaron puts it, "more normal," than the rest of the troupe in order to succeed or penetrate the mainstream audiences?

Aaron Article

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I have not yet had the chance to watch "The L Word" or "Six Feet Under" but from what I've heard of them from friends, and from this article, I hope to get the chance soon.

This article made me think about what "queer TV" I have seen. I can't say I've seen much. The only show I can think of that has a main character who is gay is "Will and Grace". It is one of my favorites. I think it definitely used homosexuals for profits though. The character of Jack is one of the gayest characters on television. Surely his ridiculous amounts of flamboyance upped the ratings a bit and did good things for the network.

I have had this question in my mind for a long time: will gay TV ever be the norm? By "gay TV" I mean television shows featuring gay characters as main characters, or not main characters. Today it is still a big deal to have a TV show with anyone gay in it. Will there eventually be a sitcom starring two gay characters that people will enjoy watching NOT because the characters are gay? Will audiences/producers/etc eventually stop giving it a second thought?

Michele Aaron starts out her article with stating its aim: "To scrutinise the relationship between 'queer' and 'TV', not just between sexual dissidence, say, and popular culture but, more importantly, between the specific critical position and this specific media experience."

For clarification purposes, I just want to reiterate the three avenues Aaron emphasizes on throughout her article. Aaron maps out the three avenues that queer television has begun to do so:
1. "queer and now" - involves that critical exploration of contemporary texts that are deemed queer either in terms of the sexuality of their creators or audience, or through a 'gender-play' suggestiveness of their content
2. "sweet queer-after" - similarly attends to the queerness of television makers and viewers but does so as a retroactive or, an archaeological project (Sullivan 2003).
3. "queer re:" - questions the queerness of the medium - of the technology, and of viewing - itself.

For the most part, I understood this article, but could not necessarily relate to it because I have never seen The L Word or Six Feet Under. However, reading previous articles regarding the transgender and male gaze helped me understand this better. When it comes to topics like such, including the queerness, I feel as if it is prominent in different outlets of media, whether it be through TV, advertisements, magazines, etc.

When it comes to Aaron's third avenue, "queer re", do you believe queerness in the media was more prominent a few years ago than it was today, or vice versa? Can you think of examples to back up your answers? (Besides The L Word and Six Feet Under).

Towards Queer Television Theory

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In Aaron's article, "Towards Queer Television Theory: Bigger Pictures Sans the Sweet Queer After", she argues that there are four major components that make up "queer" television. They are:
1. Queer and Now
2. Sweet Queer After
3. Queer re
4. The extraterrestrial

I thought this was a pretty interesting article to read, and the author did a very good job of explaining her theory. I have seen several shows that have gay characters but I had no idea that they had so many different characters. One show that the author referenced was Six Feet Under. She mentioned how one of the main characters sexual identity influenced the show and the character itself. I have never seen the show before, so I'm very interested in watching it in class. I believe it will help put the author's points into perspective. The show that came to mind while I was reading was Modern Family. This sitcom features an extended family and includes stories about everyone's lives. Two of the main characters are Mitchell and Cam and they are a gay couple with an adopted daughter. If I were to put it in one of the subcategories above, I believe the show would fit into "queer and now." I think this because it looks at what it is to be a contemporary member of the gay community. Overall, this was a thought provoking article that helped me understand a little more about the gay community in the media. I'm hoping that tommorrow's class will help to explain it a little better however.

Do you believe that the gay community is accurately portrayed in today's media? If not, in what ways is it inaccurate? Also, how has the portrayal of the gay community changed over the years in television and movies?

Blog and DQ Post: Aaron, "Towards Queer Television Theory"

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This article was a little more difficult to understand than I anticipated. I felt like the whole beginning portion until she dives into each of her points was incredibly vague and full of non-sense rhetoric. Just saying.

However, I did appreciate her points. First I agree with her argument that in the 90s, queerness was used as a marketing and profit ploy. I've always felt a little weird about the show Queer Eye because it seems like it exploits an intrinsic part of someone (sexuality) as "different", useful, and therefore entertaining.
Q: Why do you think this kind of "theft of queerness" is deemed acceptable and entertaining?

I am still pretty confused when Aaron writes, "New Queer Cinema." I get that it was something that she had written before, but I don't really understand what it was about or what it means when she continually references it.
Q: What does this mean? What's so new about it and how should I think about NQC in comparison to other cinema?

I really liked Aaron's breakdown of the show Six Feet Under. I've never watched it, so I'm excited that we get to tomorrow! It is really cool to me that this show is able to feature queerness without it being its main focus, or even a focus at all. It's as if the gaze of this show has no sexuality. Everyone is just who they are, and the gay characters' sexuality is not the focus of their character like we see in so many other shows (Glee, Queer Eye, etc.)

Lastly, I was also a bit confused on her discussion of the shift to home viewing. I understand what she's saying, but I missed her overall point on how this affects queer TV.
Q: Can anyone help summarize this last portion for me?

Can't wait to screen the show tomorrow!

Yay elections!

Blog Post: 11/7

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In her article "Towards Queer Television Theory", Michele Aaron discusses her opinions on how queerness is viewed and portrayed in the media. She does this by breaking the media/queerness in the media into four subclasses, or avenues. Each has different characteristics and each strategy fulfills a different message. The first and by far most popular avenue she mentions is the "Queer and Now" approach. In this approach, the media portrays the queer person or persons through either his or her own eyes and perspective, or through someone else' eyes that is in the same position. The main point of this avenue is to allow the audience to fully connect with the queer character and to identify with them. It allows the audience members to grow a sense of empathy and closeness not only with the character them self, but also with the idea that the character is queer- allowing viewers to sort of take a walk in the shoes of the queer person. I'm not sure if this is the most commonly used form of expression of queerness in media/cinema, or if it seems as such simply because of how easily it is identified. Either way, I personally believe that this is by far the most influential technique. The idea is to build the relationship between character and viewer and then to force the viewer to develop that empathy for the character and his or her situation.
The other three approaches, being "Sweet-queer after", "Queer-Re", and "Extraterrestrial" were actually pretty confusing to me. From what I understand about the Sweet-queer After is that the approach is not used in creating media, but rather in watching and interpreting it. I think this technique is used more to analyze how media and cinema were BEFORE people began analyzing it the way they do today. In doing so, however, we are able to see the purest form of expression of queerness- that being queerness that was not intentionally put there. I think that some of this can definitely be a stretch, but some of it is more than apparent in film. Queer-Re and Extraterrestrial were extremely confusing to me. As far as the Queer-Re goes, I could only identify it with what we learned about the transgendered/gendered gazes. That movie and media watching is all about the experience and not just about what we see on the screen- that all attributes come in to play and have influence over how we view and interpret things. And finally, extraterrestrial confused me mostly because I felt like it was trying to set queerness in the media completely aside from everything else. That in a way, it was trying to highlight something but at the same time, say that it was completely normal and nothing to be highlighted. I'm not quite sure about this one.

For today, I suppose my discussion question is about that- the extraterrestrial point of view. What do you guys think that Aaron was getting at with this view? Why would the queer community want to ever use an approach like this to get their point across? Does this only accentuate something that they (meaning queer community) have been striving ever so hard to make normal?

Blog and DQ for Aaron's Article

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Aaron's article was a very interesting article to read and analyze. The layout of the article involves three initial "avenues" then she address a fourth avenue later in the text. They are broken down by "Queer and Now", "Sweet Queer-after", "Queer re", and finally "extraterrestrial". I thought that she brought up very interesting ideas. The first avenue probably made the most sense to me because when looking at the homosexual cinema scene it does seem that a majority of the films are being produced to reflect and show the audience the creators sexuality and how it has affected them. For some reason as I was reading this section I could not help but relate it to when we discussed the "transgender gaze" and the reasons why the creator's made the films.

The other part of Aaron's article that made me really think was how she kept bringing up the "Aids era" and relating it to the current "queer television". Personally, I have never really thought about this idea at all, probably because I did not live through the "Aids Era" so I do not have to much of a background. Yet, her arguments did seem to make sense because even while looking at a current program like Modern Family. In the show there are two of the main characters, Cam and Mitchell, who are happily married. Instead of the show being subtle about the same-sex marriage they are right in your face about it. For example Cam is a former football player who is extremely flamboyant about his sexuality. This proves her argument that queer television is daring and defiant.

Discussion Question: Aaron made a lot of very interesting points regarding "Queer Television". Do you think that after reading this article you are now going to view TV programs differently and understand the messages more, or will this not affect the way you view shows like Modern Family?

Aaron Discussion + Question

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I am the discussion leader for this post. (Which is why my blog post this week is a basic summary of the reading). I will read over some of Aaron's points and then open the floor with my two open ended questions below.

The aim of Aaron's chapter is to scrutinize "the relationship between queer and TV."
She summarizes three avenues that this relationship can take including the "queer and now" (with New Queer Cinema that either reflects the sexuality of the creators or through the gender roles of the characters), the "sweet queer-after" (with relooking at classical television in history) and the "queer re:" (with the questioning of the viewing experience in general). Later she brings up the fourth avenue, the "extraterrestrial" that represents the queer community operating independently from television.

Aaron's approach in her discussion emphasizes queer as an intervention or political strategy versus marking some high point of gay. The history of homosexuality in what Aaron repeatedly describes as the "Aids era" is what keeps queer television daring and defiant in New Queer Culture.


So I would like to open up a basic discussion about what you thought about the article.

What point(s) do you think Michele Aaron wants us to take away from her discussion of queer television?

How well do you understand the relationship between queer and TV after reading this?


Michele Aaron DQ 11/7

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One of the author's points I found interesting was her assertion that the pway we watch TV has changed how we view TV. Because of the private nature we can view things we're more open to the "different" interpretations and messages. What do you think of this? And how, if at all, has the emergence of mobile devices affected our view of queer media?

Brent Stensrude Masculinity

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The overall message in this essay seems to be that media and advertising normalize male violence and portray violence as "masculine". Katz goes on to talk about the relation between males, and power, control, and violence. Through a variety of advertising, music, military, sports, etc Katz says that we expect men to be "manly" (strong, aggressive) While yes, men are generally physically larger than woman (because we are an animal species in which males typically grow larger than females, just like gorillas at the zoo) there are other reasons beyond this that get men into thinking they should be strong. We have talked a lot about how men are responsible for the way women want to look and dress. Because it is a male dominated society people say that women think they need to look the way men want them to. Well I say, same with men. In general, I would say it's safe to say women want physically fit, toned, attractive men. It isn't pure size but its our cultures addiction to physical appearance. Just like men think women should have a petite hour glass shape, women seem to want men to have a the triangle shape, with broad shoulders and defined muscles so men buy into the advertisements for muscle growth etc. Men are forced in our society to feel like they should be "ripped" and strong just like women are pushed into thinking they should be thin and buy make-up. When it comes to the act of violence itself, Im not quite sure. I agree with Eminem in that young males grow up idolizing his violent messages, I would disagree with the point about the Norwegian Cruise saying "Rape is a desirable past time" and that real men have always enjoyed it. Um, no. When it comes to films, is it really the violence we like? or is it the action? The action that can only be developed through the use of violence, car chases, explosions, and gun shots. I would not say that sports advertising is disproportionately involves football players. Seems to be athletes of all kinds. Do we use large football players in ads because they are "manly"? or because our culture sees professional athletes as icons, a person to look up to? America idolizes the easy life style and money that athletes receive. Football is a physical game in which you need large muscles to beat the other team, so naturally football players are large. Just like good swimmers are long and slender.

"Masculinity" Blog Post and Discussion Question

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The themes of this article were, "The angry, aggressive, White working-class male as antiauthority rebel (21st-century version); violence as genetically programmed male behavior; the use of military and sports symbolism to enhance the masculine identification and appeal of products; the association of muscularity with ideal masculinity; and the equation of heroic masculinity with violent masculinity" (p. 352). I found each theme convincing in the depiction of modern imageries goal is to equate manliness with violence, power, and control. These encouragements and attempts of brainwashing only prolong the progress of disassociating gender in terms of capability. I think it is important to examine advertisement and the message being given via the text because it is laying the cultural foundation of the next generation.

On a side note, I found the intro to be interesting. The author discuses the racial representation in the media. Richard Dyer argues, "White power secures its dominance by seeming not to be anything in particular; "whiteness" is constructed as the norm against which non-dominant groups are defined as "other" (p. 350).

Discussion Question:

Has the ideology behind the images of masculinity changed over time? In what ways? And if so, how can we begin to change the association of violence with masculinity into a human characteristic and less gender associated (or racially associated)?

Katz Blog & DQ- Masculinity

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Reading Katz' article on Masculinity stated the unintentional obvious. It was nice to see the examples of the rapper Eminem and how true all the facts stated were. I have never come to realize that sure there is a lot of femininity and issue with it, but has anyone ever thought of masculinity issues? (DQ) So perhaps a male may not want to look like crazy built, go around with only violent looks on his face, with a very built body, yet this is exactly what the media portrays. Just like how most females are portrayed, (and we all complain about) not all men may want this violent looking male attire as well. Katz gives many advertisement examples of how excessively masculinity is portrayed. For example of the yelling face on an album cover, people in military outfits, niche's, football, and sport like environments. All of these advertisements make is seem that all of this "incorrect" masculinity is "okay." As people (mostly younger boys) look towards these commodities and become influences by them, they receive the message that masculinity is violence and that is okay. They can work towards this goal because the media says so. So as many people know that this form of masculine advertisement is incorrect, why is it not going away..

11/15 Discussion Question: Katz

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I found this article to be interesting, especially because it is taking a new perspective focusing on men.

My discussion questions are as follows: Do you believe violence needs to be used in all advertisements to provoke men (specifically middle and upper-class white males) into buying a product, whether it be a pair of boxers or a new exercising equipment? What is the effect in violence being used in these advertisements for the most part? Do you believe men mostly think about the product itself, instead of the idea of violence? Between 2011 and now, has the grey line between masculinity and violence become more or less promiment? In which ways?

Katz Blog and DQ

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As i read Katz's article I constantly thought of multiple examples for each point he made. His article was pretty straightforward and I was particularly interested in the section "The Association of Muscularity With Ideal Masculinity." Katz talks of Alan Klein who saw the rise in bodybuilding as a link to male insecurities. This is interesting to me because I have guy friends who have told me how hard it is to be a guy because almost all depictions of men in the media and advertising show that the man with the muscles and good looks will be the successful one. Therefore, men who either don't have time to build muscle or are not interesting in building muscle will get nowhere in life. When I try and think of examples in advertising in particular in which a man who is not built is admired I can't think of much. The only example I can think of that a 'non-masculine' man is admired is when he has a certain product that makes him popular with others.

One type of advertising that I kept thinking about during Katz's article was a recent type where a football player is accompanied by male, unrecognizable actors who do not display the type of masculinity that the football player has. Previously, an athlete would help sell a product by endorsing it in a commercial. At that point, the view belonged to the audience, as the athlete usually spoke to the audience. With the other type where the athlete is accompanied by normal people, the view is shifted to that of the unrecognizable actor. Now, the athlete speaks to that character and the commercial suddenly has a plot in which there is an encounter between a masculine, muscular athlete to admire and a relatable, average-looking character who is now used as a medium through which the audience can look up to and respect the athlete.

Although this example still has an audience viewpoint, this Pizza Hut commercial uses the masculine athlete, Aaron Rodgers, and two average men.

My discussion question has to do with this recent shift in viewpoint in commercials with athletes. Do you think that by portraying the audience as this less masculine, average figure, it is helping the brand that implements the idea? In these commercials do you think that this is meant to show that you are supposed to admire the athlete?

Advertisers have also found ways to market masculine power to middle- and upper-class also instead of just working-class. Katz gives the example of Saab who marketed a muscle car to upscale target by calling one of their cars "the muscle car with a social conscience." So even if a wealthy man was not muscular (and therefore not masculine), he could portray the image of a man who is by driving a car that is normally driven by masculine men.

This article was very interesting because there aren't a lot of literature that deals with masculine issues rather than feminine issues. This was the first article I had ever read that dealt with the problem of masculinity portrayal in advertising.

On the other hand, here is a commercial in which Aaron Rodgers is unrecognized by the other characters and is ridiculed when he claims to be an athlete.


Katz Blog Post + DQ

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I agree with Katz point of view about the negative impact of mass media on people's perspectives and identities. I especially think this is true for younger generations because they are constantly being exposed to older heroes (usually fictional) which causes a role model effect. However, if these heroes are using violence as a way of being dominant and heroic, this creates an image to all men that aggression is effective and masculine. Violence in the media is a common debate today, but it is especially interesting how Katz related this to only males because for the most part they are the ones who demonstrate the use of guns, fights and murders.

The other area of the article that I agree with is that we should be changing the violence in the media. Not necessarily eliminating it, because a lot of stories rely on violence as a way of expression. However, I do think that the media can normalize what we see in regards to violating women, showing gory kills and tormenting innocent people as a way of entertainment. If these types of acts were less exposed, I believe we would see a change in how males view the world/themselves.

DQ: Do you think that the primary concern of violence in the media is the exposure to young teens? Or do you think that it is negatively affecting all ages of men, which is not only a psychological problem, but a crime problem as well? (In other words, does exposure to violent men in the media affect boys more than grown men.)

11/5 Katz Blog

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I connected with a lot of points in this article. One of the biggest ones is the obsession with violence in the media, mostly film. We love big blockbusters where awesome exploding special effects take presidence over intelligent scripts (most of the time). And these action movies are dominated by men, especially the uber-popular comic book superhero movies. But I think it has started to branch out more in the inclusion of women. In the past ten years, we've seen movies like Kill Bill, Resident Evil, and Sucker Punch where the action hero is female. I think these movies have contributed to Feminism's cause but in the same instance contributes to America's obsession with violence.

In talking about Feminism, I think Feminism needs to focus a lot on what media messages to males are. It seems counter-intuitive but I think it would help a lot with the goal of equal rights. By breaking down the media messages sent to men such as violence and misogyny, refocus of these messages can help create a more positive atmosphere for males, especially young males, to learn. Males consume a lot of media, specifically action movies and video games. I'm not sure what the best solution is but I can definitely see that there's a problem.

Blog Post: 11/5

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As simple as this sounds, I really enjoyed that this article was about men and masculinity. Too often, feminists and feminist authors only focus on females and how the world/society impacts women. I feel like this gives feminism a bad reputation because it simply highlights the ideas that feminists are men hating females seeking revenge and to completely go against all femininity expressed/imposed by society. Since feminism really seeks to obtain gender equality rather than getting revenge on men, I think that these stereotypes only hurt the main cause behind feminism itself.

One of the things I found to be the most interesting was the idea that men easily face the same amount of pressure within society and the media that women face- just in different ways, obviously. As women are pressured into looking a certain way and buying certain products, men are pressured into acting a certain way and always fitting into the MANLY mold. Men not only have to be strong, masculine heroes, but they also have to express violence towards other men. They are not only given power (since men clearly hold power in society over women), but they are also asked to fight for their right to have power or to keep it over other men. On top of all of this, men are ALSO asked to look a certain way. Generally speaking, a man cannot buy a single hygiene product or article of clothing without having a buff, half naked man flaunted in their face. Yes, the same is true for women in this case, however the point is to show that women are not the only ones facing this issue.

Another issue that the article focuses on is the idea that men have to strive so hard to be men. To explain further, men are not allowed to simply BE and BECOME men. They have to not only be taught how, but they also have to do everything in their own power to show that they are men and far from female. No man is free to grow on his own or to become his own person. If a particular man likes to dance? No. Not okay. What if he likes to sing or play the flute? Never. He could never express any of these desires or enjoyments. They are not manly enough- he is not allowed to like them.

I guess my question here would be: Why, if men are born so superior to women (since we're so incredible different) and are far different from women, do they have to strive so hard to prove to themselves and to every one around that they are of the male gender and they know it? Why do men have to try so hard just to be recognized as the gender they were born in? And if they stray from that, why do they all of the sudden become more feminine? Who gets to decide what defines male and female to society?

Blog and Discussion Questions on Jackson Karz

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In Jackson Katz's article "Advertising and the Construction of Violent White Masculinity", Katz talks about masculine violence, and particularly masculine violence "of the mass media in producing, reproducing, and legitimating this violence". Katz talks about how normalized white male violence has become in media and advertising. Katz also talks about the persistent images of masculinity in the media, and particularly images that show that "'real men' are physically strong, aggressive, and in control of their work". Katz goes on to state that these messages and images "requires consistently reasserting what is masculine and what is feminine...To equate masculinity with violence, power, and control". Katz then goes on to talk about several recurring themes in advertising targeting men. Katz states three specific themes which consist of "the angry aggressive, White working-class male as an antiauthority rebel; violence as genetically programmed male behavior; the use of military and sports symbolism to enhance the masculine identification and appeal of products; the association of muscularity withe ideal masculinity; and the equation of heroic masculinity with violent masculinity". Katz then talks about each of these recurring themes individually, providing examples from Eminem to "Clinique for Men". Katz concludes her article by calling for an examination of areas "where violent masculinities are produced and legimated", saying that "this will help us to understand more fully the links between construction of gender and the prevalence of violence, which might then lead to more effective antiviolence interventions".

The question is, how are these messages of masculinities affecting our young and adolescence males? Should be concerned? Is this something that is normal, particularly for men to feel a resonance with violence, or is this something that is largely produced by the media? How is the media affecting how men view their own masculinity? How is the media making men more violent? Is the media encouraging violence? What are some of the ways that we can encourage antiviolence interventions?

11/5 DQ and Blog

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I found the things that Jackson Katz talked about quite interesting, his approach to masculinity in media has never really occurred to me before; perhaps because I, like most people, have become accustomed to these media messages? For example, I found his explanatioisn of Eminem quite interesting, especially since he used Eminem as a "contradicting" source of masculinity.

According to Katz, Eminem expresses a form of rebellion that really is not rebellion in young [white, male] teenagers. However, I feel that Katz failed to see that Eminem for most people is seen as completely different. I understand where Katz is coming from, his explanation supports his argument that Eminem is sexist and violent, however even some feminists like Eminem, but not for his "sexist" or "violent" behavior. Take my sister for example, she claims he expresses the concerns of the lower class quite well. His violence is not towards women or lower class suffering people but rather the traditional,upper-class peoples of society. This is her reason for buying into the Eminem brand (although personally I've always disliked his sexist tacts.)

Another thing that interested me was Katz's argument about how Clinique, a feminine brand, in one ad attempted to use a universally known violent and masculine symbol to get male (masculine) buyers to buy to their product. This reminded me of the male (masculine) brand, Axe. The entire brand is based on masculinity and achieving masculinity that women just cannot ignore. In one commercial, beautiful, sexy women (almost warrior-ish) are seen running somewhere. They come in droves and audiences are wondering why they are running like animals, almost at competition with each other. Then we see a rather normal man spraying himself with Axe on an island. The women run at him, these almost masculine, warrior-like women all want this man because he is spraying Axe. This brand has also moved into the women market as well with a new line called "Axe for Her." The same concept is used for women, saying that they will get undivided attention from men if they wear Axe. Instead of meeting disapproval from women, Axe is rather welcomed by both parties.

So, if both parties readily accept this masculine and violent behavior, is it bad that the media continues to portray this image? Or is it that most people, both male and female, just see ads as exaggerated forms of what is true so they continue to accept them?

DQ 11/5

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I found this article to be especially interesting as it is taking on a new perspective that we haven't dealt with too much in this class yet. My question is mainly directed at males, but suppose you are looking to purchase a product, does the person whether it be a celebrity, athlete, etc., really affect your decision to purchase it or not? I know that there have definitely been times that I have been affected by the celebrity/public figure endorsing a product, both for better and for worse!

Blog and DQs: Katz on Masculinity

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As a woman, this was a very interesting article to read. I was able to see into the pressure from the media that men may face every day.

The first thing that stuck out to me in the article is on the bottom of page 349 where Katz writes,
"Although, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (1999), approximately 86% of violent crime is committed by males, newspaper and magazine headline writers continue to use degendered language to talk about the perpetrators of violence (e.g., "kids killing kids")."
This is the first time that we've encountered someone pointing out the lack of gender being recognized in the media, nevertheless, the male gender. So far, we've only looked at how much gender is focused on, but never how it is shoved under the rug with degendered language. I'm glad we're talking about this or I probably would not have noticed!

The above idea goes along with this next quote from page 350:
"...masculinity, like Whiteness, 'does not appear to be a cultural/historical category at all, thus rendering invisible the privileged position from which (white) men in general are able to articulate their interests to the exclusion of the interests of women, men and women of color, and children.'"
Katz is making the point that masculinity and Whiteness are simply not considered realms to be explored, explained, critiqued, or analyzed. It's like overt masculinity and Whiteness are the "norms" people base other judgments upon and therefore require no further criticism.
Q: Why do you think this is? Why has "obvious" masculinity been an obvious, yet invisible norm until now?

I appreciate that Katz goes into such detail in analyzing specific ads representing masculinity. However, this article is a bit dated.
Q: Do you guys think that the representation of violence's relation to masculinity, or masculinity in general, has changed since Katz wrote this article? (Consider recent TV shows that include gay men, music artists, other ads that you've seen, etc).

Q: If you don't think it's changed much and the link between violence and masculinity is still invisible and unchallenged, how do you foresee it changing or people realizing it's there? Or do you even think it needs to change or be realized?

Blog and DQ for 11/5

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I found this article to be very interesting. Most people realize that violence seen on the TV encourages people to do violent things because it makes socially acceptable to do so. I never thought about how advertisements have the same affect. According to the article, historically symbols of masculinity are associated with potentially having power over another person, like having big muscles or an angry face. Creators of advertisements use these symbols to cell products to men by sending the message of "if you use this product, your masculinity is still intake."

In my life I was trying to think of examples of male products that have advertisements like this. The first example I thought of was Axe body spray commercials. These commercials always seem to involve some average looking man that is being followed by woman in a sexually way and ends with a tagline of being dangerous. This makes it seem like in order to attract women, a man needs to be dangerous and violent and that axe can make them that way. Why do advertisements use violence to sell products to men? Why is violence associated with masculinity? Why would a man today still feel like he needs to prove his manliness?

White Masculinity Blog and Discussion Question

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I thought this article was very interesting, more specifically, the examples that Katz used to make his articles, were very interesting. The article brought up different points that I had not really considered regarding violence and it's link to white masculinity, and the role that the link plays in advertising. The use of military and sports symbolism to enhance the masculine identification and appeal of products in advertising was a key takeaway from the article, especially considering that he begins the essay talking about how the 9/11 attacks brought about a new conversation about violence and domestic problems in the United States. Using the strong military men and muscular football players as a symbol of what is patriotic and masculine is extremely prevalent in our society's advertising techniques. Katz even brings the concept of the male/female gaze into this when he talks about the controversial Joe Camel cigarette ads of the 1990s that use cartoon images to lure young people into buying their product suggesting that violence is cool and that by smoking these particular cigarettes they can get a sexy blond woman to gaze provocatively at them. I also thought his example of the Clinique commercial that depicts the football player in full uniform running towards a white woman in a dress holding a cake insinuating that she bought him 'Clinique Happy' cologne for his birthday, was interesting. I notice that a lot of commercials today do just that: they take products that we normally associate with women (such as the Clinique perfume line) and turn them around and give them a masculine appeal.
What I thought was probably the most powerful and interesting about the article was when Katz discusses artists such as Eminem, Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit, all of which have rap/song lyrics that are extremely violent and misogynist, with graphic music videos that not only sexualize women, but degrade them. These artists rebellious behavior encourages their young male fans to go against the status quo. However, as Katz points out, the advertisements featuring these artists do exactly opposite of what they preach to their fans, they make their fans buy into them and purchase them. I thought that was very interesting.

This article clearly emphasizes the media industry's tendency to link masculinity to violent white men, but in the conclusion the author makes a point to bring up Feminists' historical tendency to focus on women's representations when studying the social construction of gender. Katz admits that we are moving into a post 9/11 era that has pushed us to shed a light on the representation of men in media to more fully understand the links between the construction of gender and violence. He then goes on to conclude the article by stating that understanding the links between the construction of gender and the prevalence of violence, might then lead to more effective antiviolence interventions. Do you agree with Katz that we are headed in the right direction towards less violence by focusing more on men's representation in media? What type of antiviolence interventions do you think would be the result of better understanding the links between gender and violence?

White Masculinity blog and DQ

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I had never really thought about an underlying factor to violence, but after reading this article Katz brings up some interesting points that I somewhat agree with. It made me think about all the violence that I can think of in real life and also in commercials, movies, and TV. While I was able to think of some that involved women, most that came to mind were ones dealing with men. Katz talks about how the mainstream advertising has set to normalize male violence. It is not necessarily meaning that all men are violent, but rather that violent behavior can be considered masculine. I found that very interesting and I do agree that our society would see it that way as well. A point that I found very interesting was when he talks about how not all men can be in control of their work, so they need some way to feel dominant and like they are in control. The easy way for them to get that feeling is to use their body to attain power and size. I think that small insecurity that males might have is definitely something that could lead to being more physical and powerful. It makes sense to compensate for other areas that aren't necessarily as strong. Another thing I found to be true in most media is that masculinity is associated with violence whereas femininity is associated with passivity. The man is usually the one to be the dominant force or role in most of the action or violent movies, and the woman is usually there to make the man look good in his role. I don't necessarily think that is the best way about it, but it does make for a good plot line.

The author never really touched on the violence that happens in every day life, but do you think all these messages that are being sent out about being masculine and "violent" are changing the way men think and allowing them to think violence is okay? Does it change the role of being the protector to more of a dominant force, or does it enforce the protector role?

White Masculinity Blog&DQ

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This article was pretty interesting, especially reading it from a female point of view. To me, this article was almost like the counterpart to how we have been looking into how the media shapes women. I'm glad the guys in this class now have a chance to have something to read that is more relatable! :-)

On page 350, Katz writes, "This chapter is an attempt to sketch out some of the ways in which hegemonic constructions of masculinity in mainstream magazine advertising normalize male violence. So basically, it is media that is constructing this view and it is become accepted by our society. Katz also makes a good point by saying that violence is a quality that most people view as masculine. And he uses Thelma and Louise to point how that when women are portrayed as violent, it "touches a chord." (I think what he is saying here is that when women are violent there is usually a surprise factor, saying, "yes, this is out of character.") -?? Any ideas on that?

I liked that on page 351, Katz says, "These cultural heroes first rose to prominence in an era in which working-class White males had to contend with increasing economic instability and dislocation, the perception of gains by people of color at the expense of the White working class, and the women's movement that overtly challenged male hegemony." I feel like this kind of relates to the way that when some women feel insecure about their place in the world they reach out toward sexual power to maintain their place in society. It's something that they feel like they can hold onto (both the men and violence/women and sexual power). There are also points that Katz brings up such as advertising and violence, movies and violence, etc. I guess my discussion question could be connected to this blog... So for the guys in this class, do you think that there is a way for advertising to get your attention without the use of violent masculinity? If so, what does that look like? And just a thought for us girls, do you think all ads need to be super girly in order to sell us make-up and stuff like that? I mean, I wouldn't buy the make up if it made someone look unattractive... hmmm interesting interesting.

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