March 2013 Archives

Girls Gone Anti-Feminist (EC article)

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This article began by introducing and discussing the strength of the 90's allstar female band, the Spice Girls. While I was growing up, I looked at these girls as role models, inspiration, and really great music. Looking back on it now, I did not realize how powerful their messages were, as they discussed the importance of respect towards women. When discussing shows today such as Bad Girls Club, Susan J. Douglas stated, "But even this fare was presented as empowering, because while the scantily clad or bare-breasted women may have seemed to be objectified, they were really on top, because now they had chosen to be sex objects and men were supposedly nothing more than their helpless, ogling, crotch-driven slaves." As she discussed here, women now are choosing to be the object of a man's attention, it is purposeful. Women in Playboy or Maxim know exactly what they are doing and how they are presenting themselves to man and society, and it is their choice to do so.

Although this is true, Susan Douglas goes on to discuss how this really only pertains to sexual power, while in reality, political power is much less gratifying and reachable for women. She goes on to say, "Enlightened sexism is a response, deliberate or not, to the perceived threat of a new gender regime. It insists that women have made plenty of progress because of feminism-indeed, full equality, has allegedly been achieved." Susan says that this is the idea media conveys as a fantasy of power, but in no way does it relate to professional or political power. It only is reliable when discussing whether or not a woman is being conveyed sexually or lustfully. Although many females enjoy this sexually attention in the media, it gives very little chance for a serious outlook on women in our economic and professional life styles and choices.

Girls Gone Anti-Feminist (EC article)

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This article began by introducing and discussing the strength of the 90's allstar female band, the Spice Girls. While I was growing up, I looked at these girls as role models, inspiration, and really great music. Looking back on it now, I did not realize how powerful their messages were, as they discussed the importance of respect towards women. When discussing shows today such as Bad Girls Club, Susan J. Douglas stated, "But even this fare was presented as empowering, because while the scantily clad or bare-breasted women may have seemed to be objectified, they were really on top, because now they had chosen to be sex objects and men were supposedly nothing more than their helpless, ogling, crotch-driven slaves." As she discussed here, women now are choosing to be the object of a man's attention, it is purposeful. Women in Playboy or Maxim know exactly what they are doing and how they are presenting themselves to man and society, and it is their choice to do so.

Although this is true, Susan Douglas goes on to discuss how this really only pertains to sexual power, while in reality, political power is much less gratifying and reachable for women. She goes on to say, "Enlightened sexism is a response, deliberate or not, to the perceived threat of a new gender regime. It insists that women have made plenty of progress because of feminism-indeed, full equality, has allegedly been achieved." Susan says that this is the idea media conveys as a fantasy of power, but in no way does it relate to professional or political power. It only is reliable when discussing whether or not a woman is being conveyed sexually or lustfully. Although many females enjoy this sexually attention in the media, it gives very little chance for a serious outlook on women in our economic and professional life styles and choices.

Girls Gone Anti-Feminist (EC article)

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This article began by introducing and discussing the strength of the 90's allstar female band, the Spice Girls. While I was growing up, I looked at these girls as role models, inspiration, and really great music. Looking back on it now, I did not realize how powerful their messages were, as they discussed the importance of respect towards women. When discussing shows today such as Bad Girls Club, Susan J. Douglas stated, "But even this fare was presented as empowering, because while the scantily clad or bare-breasted women may have seemed to be objectified, they were really on top, because now they had chosen to be sex objects and men were supposedly nothing more than their helpless, ogling, crotch-driven slaves." As she discussed here, women now are choosing to be the object of a man's attention, it is purposeful. Women in Playboy or Maxim know exactly what they are doing and how they are presenting themselves to man and society, and it is their choice to do so.

Although this is true, Susan Douglas goes on to discuss how this really only pertains to sexual power, while in reality, political power is much less gratifying and reachable for women. She goes on to say, "Enlightened sexism is a response, deliberate or not, to the perceived threat of a new gender regime. It insists that women have made plenty of progress because of feminism-indeed, full equality, has allegedly been achieved." Susan says that this is the idea media conveys as a fantasy of power, but in no way does it relate to professional or political power. It only is reliable when discussing whether or not a woman is being conveyed sexually or lustfully. Although many females enjoy this sexually attention in the media, it gives very little chance for a serious outlook on women in our economic and professional life styles and choices.

Response to Ashley Judd Article

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I have to commend Ashley Judd for speaking up and out against the media's vicious accusations. Not a lot of celebrities have taken the time to set the record straight after being put under the same microscope regarding appearances. I thought it was interesting how she said that she doesn't read any interviews that she does now because I don't know if I could be that strong. Not that I'm saying that I would care what anyone thinks of me or that I'm insecure about myself in any way, but I don't think I could be in the public eye and be that famous, and not read those things. As the saying goes "curiosity killed the cat". Something Ashley Judd touched on was the fact that the media assumes she has had work done because of the simple fact that she has come to look a little different after years and years have passed (for example, she looks different now than when she filmed a movie in 1998). In my experience, when I get sick, I'm sure my face gets puffy. As I age, I may not develop wrinkles until I'm well into my 50's or 60's because everyone is different. And you can be damn sure that I will end up looking different than I do now in 15 years. With that said, I think that it is sad that the media feels the need to point out all the imperfections of someone and barely, if ever, points out the good qualities. I also think it's sad that because she didn't stay a size 2 her entire life, the media considered her fat at one point and implied that her husband would leave her based on that single physical appearance. We are taught by our parents that they will love us no matter what and that looks don't matter, but we are also exposed to the media that only portrays petite people and says that you should be skinny and pretty. It makes me sick to think that we live in a world where women are held to such high expectations, and yet men don't get treated with half the scrutiny that women do.

Discussion Question: It would seem obvious that what Ashley Judd did was courageous and definitely a positive thing. However, as odd as it may seem, do you think it would be better for women to ignore the media, ensuring they don't care what other people think of them, or do you think every woman who encounters this scrutiny should speak out against it?

This article got my attention right away, because being a '90's kid' myself, I absolutely loved the Spice Girls growing up and to this day my friends and I listen to the song "Wannabe" as a sort of party anthem. However, looking back, I do feel that they were contradictory in terms of what they wore and what they sang about. In the "Fantasies of Power" section, I thought it was very interesting that the top 5 professions that women have held over the years has not even changed. They still include secretaries, teachers, and nurses. I've definitely noticed the trend that women have been portrayed as having higher up professions in television and movies. A clear example is "Sex and the City", and even one that we watched in class. Carrie Bradshaw is a successful writer, Samantha Jones has a powerful public relations position, Charlotte York is an art curator/ stay at home wife, and Miranda Hobbs is a lawyer. Portraying women like this even though they are still paid less and considered less than men can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Yes, it may be a little unrealistic right now, but it can also encourage women to go out and strive to be that successful. Like Susan Douglas says in her article, "Feminism thus must remain a dirty word, with feminists stereotyped as man-hating, child-loathing, hairy, shrill, humorless and deliberately unattractive lesbians." Overall, it remains true that feminism is a dirty word, and will most likely stay that way for a long time, if not forever.

Girls Gone Anti-Feminist Response

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I thought Susan Douglas's article was very interesting and enlightening. I agree with her that feminism is now a dirty word, and that often people do not want to be associated it. As I was thinking about it, I thought about how sometimes I cringe when people say my opinions make me a feminist. Unfortunately for women today, our media climate is not supportive of feminist ideals.

I thought it was interesting that the media makes it seem that women are in power and have strong and prominent jobs in the industries. By doing this, they make it seem that there is not a problem and that women and men are equal, when really this is still not the case. Just this year I found out for the first time that women only make about 77% of what men make. I think this relates to what Douglas says; I was not aware of this gap because the media always shows women in strong roles in the workplace. Douglas calls this "enlightened sexism" saying that it is okay to show female stereotypes because they are completely equal with men.

She also goes on to say that when women are represented in the media, it is done for marketing purposes and to try and sell products in conjunction with consumerism. This thought that for women, having power is having spending power, is very sad to me. As a woman, I want to value more than simply the ability to buy things that will supposedly make my life happy and complete.

Douglas also rejects post-feminism and says that it is all enlightened sexism in our media today. She asserts that women in our society think that we are equal to men and thus can embrace our sexuality and be a sex object to men. She says that being a sex object is embraced and often desired by women in our society. I agree with this sad fact, as many young girls sole mission is to catch the attention of the boy in class and the commercials on TV market makeup and tight clothes to girls at a young age. She also states that with enlightened sexism has come a rise of makeover shows, wedding shows, and parenting shows.

She calls for women to be wary in the media we consume and understand what the possible outcomes of this could be and that we need to stop buying into everything that the media produces for us. I agree with Susan on this fact, but unfortunately think that not enough women will read this article and be challenged to address the problems with women in the media.

DQ:
As women, what else can we do to try to get the media to better and more accurately represent females in the media?

Response to Judd Article and DQ

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Judd's response to the articles written about her in regards to her "puffy face" is a logical action in my opinion. We've spoken several times in this lesson about how the media emphasize a woman's worth as only being as strong as how good she looks. This concept is always a little tricky because I can understand how outrageous it is to comment or criticize every single fault whether it be a woman's outfit or what her face looks like without makeup. On the other hand, I am just as guilty as anyone when it comes to purchasing magazines that feature candid celeb photos, and I do enjoy watching post-award ceremony gossip surrounding who wore what dress better than someone else.

I don't necessarily believe that we woman watch these shows and read these magazines solely to laugh at celebrities, but perhaps more so to make ourselves feel a little better. Celebrities represent glamour and are often some of the more good-looking people in our society, so when we see these people with normal faults we can feel a little more self-assured. It seems that the problem has gone too far to the point where we take these criticisms and place them on ourselves. Suddenly, young women and girls begin to relate true beauty with physical perfection and end up trying to seek unreachable standards. I think the solution to this can only be on an individual basis. Buying into this sort of commentary on celebrities isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as one understands that these reports are sensationalized, and not meant to cut down any one person to be less beautiful or significant.

Discussion Question
Judd mentions in her article that the criticism of her face was started by other women. Taking this idea one step further do you believe that the trend of criticizing women's physical appearance was also started by women?

Slaps Media in the Face

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I, and I think many people, could not agree more with Ashley Judd's response to the media regarding her "puffy" face. Ashley Judd is a distinguished actress who is known for her good looks. She notes in "Slaps Media in the Face" that she very rarely pays attention to the media because they never have true or nice things to say about her. That puzzles me, why is the media always trying to embarrass or make celebrities look bad? They are accomplished people that should be celebrated for their contributions and instead the media is continually trying to bring them down, always looking for some sort of flaw. It is nice to see that Ashley Judd actually responded to this and noted that yes, she does look a bit different than she did 14 years ago when she filmed Double Jeopardy and that it is possible to be her age and look the way she does without having work done. I applaud Ashley Judd for sticking up for herself as well as other actresses who are bullied by the media. It is nice to see though, that Ashley chooses to ignore the media instead of becoming consumed by it. She knows what they are going to say about her and that it is most likely false so why would she read it? Ashley Judd does what I think most celebrities should do and ignore the media all together.

DQ: Why does the media constantly criticize celebrities? Do we try to bring them down to a more normal level that we are on? Are we jealous of their status?

DQ: Why is it acceptable for the media to comment on a women's looks when it is none of their business? What gives them the grounds to do this and why do some people back them up?

Miss Representation

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I really enjoyed listening to this discussion. I think it was a really good fit into this weeks readings about feminism and post feminism. What I really enjoyed about this discussion is that this film is really trying to promote and endorse having positive female remodels in the media, instead of always portraying women as inferior to men or showing all of women's insecurities. These negative and oppressive ideas of our culture and women in our culture are very unhealthy to young girls and young women growing up. I think that often times young girls will want to act like the women they see on television. So, in my opinion, it is crucial for our society to really look at the media messages we are putting out there and what kind of message we want to be sending to adolescent girls and young adult women.

Miss Representation

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I really enjoyed listening to this discussion. I think it was a really good fit into this weeks readings about feminism and post feminism. What I really enjoyed about this discussion is that this film is really trying to promote and endorse having positive female remodels in the media, instead of always portraying women as inferior to men or showing all of women's insecurities. These negative and oppressive ideas of our culture and women in our culture are very unhealthy to young girls and young women growing up. I think that often times young girls will want to act like the women they see on television. So, in my opinion, it is crucial for our society to really look at the media messages we are putting out there and what kind of message we want to be sending to adolescent girls and young adult women.

Podcast Response

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I thought this podcast was very interesting. While it highlighted some very pivotal points I thought the overall message of this clip was media literacy and how it needs to be taught wide spread. This connected to the main point of our class which is having an understanding of media literacy and how to apply it. Society needs to start focusing on more than just the bubble we live in and find our place within this media society.

The podcast talked about the importance of women representation in the media. How girls (and boys) see sex and violence in abundance because it sells. This causes women to not see women in leadership or power roles and those that lack ambition. This leads to girls who have low self-esteem and eating disorders because the media is constantly objectifying women. The podcast was saying we need to enlighten society with what the media contains in abundance, that being sex and violence. But ultimately need to show the population it is the corporate power controlling the population's media viewing.

Discussion Question:
This clip touched on some major themes we have discussed in media literacy. That being the population need to be media literate. That women are mis and under represented in the media. That the media conglomerates control all the power. And that the drive to change this comes from the viewing population. Out of these main ideas which one do you believe with activate the change by addressing it and why?

Girls Gone Anti-Feminist Response

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I thought this article was great and mostly agreed with it. I'm not entirely sure that I agree with Douglas' stance on "enlightened sexism" and "fantasies of power". She makes it sound as though these media products that depict powerful women are detrimental because they make it seem like the feminist battle is over and won when this isn't the case. I disagree with this because I find that shows like Buffy and Legally Blonde tend to make me feel empowered and encourage me to work harder. However, on most other points that she made, I agreed with this article. I'm really troubled by the rampant anti-feminism in our society. When women want to say something that might come across as feminist, they often preface the comment with, "I'm not a crazy feminist or anything, but..." This is a dangerous way of thinking. After reading the article, I scrolled down to the comments section and was pretty appalled by what I saw there. It makes it perfectly clear that the feminist battle isn't over. This is especially obvious with comments about how feminism is about taking privileges away from women because in the past they were treated as betters and now they are treated as equals or how if women truly wanted to do the right thing, they would stay home and take care of their husbands and children rather than working and having children at 35. It was even more appalling that many of these comments came from women who were self-proclaimed anti-feminists. There is definitely a problem with this picture.

Girls Gone Anti-Feminist Response w/ Discussion Question

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When Susan Douglas talks about enlightened sexism, she addresses the question of why media texts such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xena and Legally Blonde are actually detrimental to the feminist movement. In the article she says the consequences are, "These demanded-and-delivered, delicious media-created fantasies have been driven by marketing, and they use that heady mix of flattery and denigration to sell us everything from skin cream to glutes-toning shoes."

So even though these women protagonist are "in power" they are still being exploited for monetary gains. Now, enlightened sexism being this notion that men and women are now on an equal playing field, thus making if okay to portray the stereotypical image of women as sex objects, materialistic and so forth because it's done with power. Susan calls this amplified objectification as well as dual exploitation.

I find this intriguing because there are women who a would argue both sides of this. One side agreeing with Susan that enlightened sexism very objectifying. The other side might argue that there IS power in women being sexy or hot in her own right; furthermore, being sexy or hot isn't thought to be the ONLY means of power, but is certainly one of them.

Discussion Question: When Susan Douglas is critiquing enlightened sexism, she says, "True power here has nothing to do with economic independence or professional achievement: it has to do with getting men to lust after you and other women to envy you." Is it possible that True Power is found in all the following: economic independence/professional achievement AND being beautiful/hot in a woman's own right? Or is it just one of the two?
**Hint: Think Beyonce

Week 9 - "Girls Gone Anti-Feminst"

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Susan J. Douglas' article "Girls Gone Anti-Feminst" was a very good read and easy to follow. Everything she talked about made perfect sense. Her idea of "enlightened sexism" was insightful and I mostly agree with it. The false sense of empowerment to women today is overwhelming and I believe that both women AND men need to be aware of it and understand the complexities surrounding it. The "power of choice" that is now given to women does not make women equal to men, but the messages from media are transmitted this way. Throughout history, a women's body is not seen as their own but as an object to conquer, acquire and own. So this new "power" of choosing to be objectified or not is seen as liberating and transferred as female empowerment. But just because women choose to portray themselves in a sexual manner doesn't mean that they are still only seen for their bodies. She can be liberating with her sexuality, but society will still call her some mean names regardless if she's highly educating and/or making her six figures on her own. But if she doesn't give it up readily or dress "sexy", she's seen as uptight and a spinster. Women can't win. This new power of choice only amplifies sexism because it's all about the choice to be objectified sexually. But how can you not feel the female empowerment from the shows where women are portrayed as the heroine? They are so bada**!!!! What girl wouldn't want to be just like them (Buffy, Elle from "Legally Blonde", etc.)? I love watching shows like this where the female lead is so cool and got it all together = independent, strong, successful, all while still being "pretty/sexy". It's like the whole package. These are very mixed messages so how exactly are we suppose to decipher it and take it in?

How do we move away from all of this? Media has hyped up the new "female empowerment" and social rules that have been around for so long make it hard to move forward. Should we even ask for more?

Response to Girls Gone Anti-Feminist

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The post-feminist notion is that we've already made so many incredible strides as a society towards equality between men and women... so much so that it's finally okay for girls to be "girls" (whatever that means). This hyper-girliness described in the article is prevalent throughout today's most popular reality television series and advertisements. It's almost as if girls are objectifying themselves. There's a sentiment that taking charge of ones own sexuality now means: I'm acting submissive and dressing and acting in a way that will attract the male gaze but it's still a feminist act because I'm choosing to do so. I'm not sure on this one. Are women dressing/acting in these ways that reflect the unrealistic expectations placed upon the female gender because this is actually what makes them feel powerful or beautiful or is there something else going on here? There's been this creepy correlation between media texts widely depicting women as finally having achieved high positions in our culture and the increased pornification of our mainstream society. What's up with that? We have more powerful women in our television shows and movies-- crime fighters, doctors, CEOs, heroines, attorneys etc. but we also have The Bachelor, girls gone wild, Playboy, and a disgusting variety of reality shows featuring women as nothing but babbling bodies who are loved or hated only for the way that they look with no actual insights into who they really are as people. I'm afraid that these powerful woman fantasies aren't actually reflecting the way that women are received in our society yet. We are making moves in the right direction, but are we really there yet? Absolutely not. Girls acting are these anti-feminist ways likely because they are seeing such actions throughout our media in combination with the problematic assumption that we have actually risen to a point of equality with men.

Discussion Question: What steps will we actually have to take within our media and society to bring women on an equal playing field with men? What still has to change?

Girls Gone Anti-Feminist Response

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When Susan Douglas talks about enlightened sexism, she addresses the question of why media texts such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xena and Legally Blonde are actually detrimental to the feminist movement. In the article she says the consequences are, "These demanded-and-delivered, delicious media-created fantasies have been driven by marketing, and they use that heady mix of flattery and denigration to sell us everything from skin cream to glutes-toning shoes."

So even though these women protagonist are "in power" they are still being exploited for monetary gains. Now, enlightened sexism being this notion that men and women are now on an equal playing field, thus making if okay to portray the stereotypical image of women as sex objects, materialistic and so forth because it's done with power. Susan calls this amplified objectification as well as dual exploitation.

I find this intriguing because there are women who a would argue both sides of this. One side agreeing with Susan that enlightened sexism very objectifying. The other side might argue that there IS power in women being sexy or hot in her own right; furthermore, being sexy or hot isn't thought to be the ONLY means of power, but is certainly one of them.

Discussion Question: When Susan Douglas is critiquing enlightened sexism, she says, "True power here has nothing to do with economic independence or professional achievement: it has to do with getting men to lust after you and other women to envy you." Is it possible that True Power is found in all the following: economic independence/professional achievement AND being beautiful/hot in a woman's own right? Or is it just one of the two?
**Hint: Think Beyonce

Miss Representation Response: Two Thumbs Up

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I liked this one. I found that this text was perhaps one of the more interesting assignments of the class. Jennifer Siebel talks about alot of interesting things in this podcast; one of them being this idea of making money off the insecurities of women. Until I heard this podcast, I haven't yet thought of it like that. There is so much money in telling girls/women that they are not good enough.

While I am not completely sure of Jennifer's solution, I feel her ambitions are genuine and steadfast. She reminds the audience that women are much more than the sexual objects the media depicts them as and more importantly, women have a serious place and purpose in our society. I especially liked how she talked about important it is to get MEN to understand these concepts as well as women. Jennifer is serious about collaboration and reaching out to more partners.

The message I got out of this podcast was THERE IS MORE TO WOMEN.

Girls Gone Anti Feminist

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The "Girls Gone Anti-Feminist" article was a great read. It was attractive because it was straight-forward and easy to understand for almost anyone. One of my favorite assertions of the article was the idea of enlightened sexism. It differs from the idea of "post-feminism" which is good, because it is more clear about what is actually happening in society. Sexism still exists and is a huge problem in our society, and even more so the media. Women are not seen as having and achieving power in the same when men do. Women are shown has having power because they look a certain way and can buy certain things. The article states: "...the images we see on television, in the movies, and in advertising also insist that purchasing power and sexual power are much more gratifying than political or economic power." The media tells women to stray away from the "ugliness" of feminism and getting power in a masculine way; instead, they are to use hyper-femininity to get power. This is very un-satisfying and concerning to me because the media masquerades this fantasy of men and women being equal, but they aren't- not even close.

Is it possible to regulate our media to show different images of women? Can women achieve power in the same ways as men, even without giving up their femininity? Is there a problem with the women who choose to stay home?

Girls Gone Anti-Feminist Response

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The one thing that really stuck out in this particular article was the section where Douglas talks the irony between feminist ideas and the popularity of shows like MY Super Sweet 16, America's Top Model, and The Bachelor. And this is an idea I have been thinking about while we discussed feminism in class and in reading the assigned articles. How do shows like these, where women voluntarily present themselves in these stereotypical ways (emotional, materialistic, weak, passive) affect the efforts of feminism and the attempts to break through gender stereotypes? I am not in any way trying to say that women in general bring it on themselves or that feminism is a waste of time, I am simply posing the idea that these shows may be causing us to take a step backwards. I know that the shows are edited and produced by what are probably primarily male media makers, but when women decide to make a living out of living up to the stereotypes feminism has tried to put to rest, what are the consequences? This thought stems from the idea Douglas makes in the article about how media has taken steps to portray women as more equal in the workplace with higher position jobs and more success, but at the same time shows that exploit women, particularly these types of reality shows where women actually compete for a place and in doing so often aid their own exploitation. She claims that these shows are depicted as empowering because women are shown as in control and powerful, particularly in a sexual way. This leads into my discussion question...

Discussion Question:
At one point in the article while talking about shows where women are often sexually exploited but are choosing to participate, like The Man Show, Maxim, and Girls Gone Wild, Douglas says that these shows can be shown as empowering to women because, "while the scantily clad or bare-breasted women may have seemed to be objectified, they were really on top, because now they had chosen to be sex objects and men were supposedly nothing more than their helpless, ogling, crotch-driven slaves". Is this really empowering at all? Is showing women as in control in a sexual manner really creating any sort of equality or simply reaffirming the sexist ideas that women are sexual objects and beings? How does this type of voluntary exploitation by women affect the goals of feminism or the fight for gender equality, particularly if some people interpret it as a way of showing women are in control?

Sex And The City Response

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Before class on Tuesday I was a little overwhelmed by all of the information and examples in the article by Gill on postfeminism, but the screening of Sex And The City in class really helped me to grasp the concept. I hadn't seen more than one or two episodes of the show previously but I knew the individualistic, single woman attitude the show was famous for creating. But one major thing I noticed and took away from the screening in class on Tuesday was the amount of contradictions in the show when it came to feminism, post feminism, and gender roles and stereotypes in general. The first was the main character Carrie's seemingly proud, strong, single woman attitude who is proud of her career and even claims to not need a man and be successful on her own. But in a matter of seconds she does a complete 180 and becomes emotional talking about how she just wants love and ends up really only being happy in the arms of a man at the end of the episode. Same with Samantha who apparently was a character who balked at the idea of monogamy but then changes when she meets a man and becomes happy and monogamous by the end. This back and forth between portraying women as strong and independent but also passive and dominated by men and the idea of relationships is somewhat confusing to me in the sense that I wonder what the media makers think the idea they are portraying is or what they want us to take away. Obviously they are sticking to long assumed gender stereotypes and showing male dominance, but in a show like Sex And The City that began as a show claiming to be about single, strong, career focused women and their lives in New York, what does it say that they all end up having lives revolving around men, sex, and relationships? Doesn't this go against everything it seems they were once trying to do? Is this because this is what we have asked for and come to expect from society or is there some sort of agenda? I found watching Sex And The City to be a great conversation starter and a very insightful example even if the article claims it is overused because it has the best examples of feminism and postfeminism and demonstrates the complexity of it. This episode really made the think about what is being portrayed about women.

Miss Representations

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feminism.jpg

The representation of females has been a controversial subject throughout the history of the media. The film Miss Representation staring Jennifer Siebel Newsom tackles the miss-representation of teen girls in the media. As stated in the podcast interview with actress Jennifer Siebel Newsom, media is selling sex and violence to girls to the point that they are so narrow minded that they do not view another world other than girls being used for sex and violence. Teen girls do not see any women in power or leadership, which is expressed in an astonishing statistic that women make up only 18% of people in political power, yet women make up 51% of the population. Teen girls are instead taught their values are their youth, beauty, and sexuality by seeing it in the media, which results in lowered self-esteem, lower confidence, higher depression rates, eating disorders, and a low level of ambition. As a result, women spend so much time self-objectifying themselves that they do not have any other time to contribute to the world they way they should.
There's no doubt that something needs to be changed in the media to represent women as equal to men. An additional fact from the podcast interview tells us that teens consume 10 hours and 45 minutes of media a day. A DAY! Just to put that into perspective, a typical high-school day consists of 7 hours. Now, I think it would be great to start dedicating a class to feminism in secondary schooling to teach teens at an early age that sex and violence ARE NOT values of girls, but imagine if the media did that too. The mistreatment of women would be abolished in less than 5 years since teens watch/listen to so much media! And being abolished in 5 years is saying a lot considering how long feminism protests have been going on, starting with equal rights to vote. The media holds the power to change how girls are viewed, treated, and self-perceived. We, as consumers, need to help this process along by only consuming those medias that promote this type of message to get rid of the media that sells sex and violence.

Topic Question: What do you think would be the best way to change women miss-representations in the world today? Whether it is through media or not.


This school got it right!

"Gender gap widest with high-paying jobs" CBS

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Extra Credit Post "Anti-Feminism" Article

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Girls Gone Anti-Feminist

First of all, I would like to say that I really love how Douglas rejects the term 'postfeminist.' During the last class, I thought the term was confusing (the word itself almost sounds like a type of feminism), and I now see that it's dangerously misleading as well; it implies that feminism is at the root of the degrading portrayal of women in media when sexism is the true root. I think Douglas's term 'enlightened sexism' is a much clearer and more appropriate way to describe this problem.

Having said that, the ideas developed by Douglas are really important and visible in today's media. Enlightened sexism, she says, assumes that since the work of feminism is considered "done" it is okay for women to present themselves as sexual objects and emit the "ultrafeminity" once considered sexist. It assumes that women have successfully achieved equality with men, but this is grossly untrue; women continue to earn significantly lower wages than men and hold fewer positions of leadership. While women are portrayed as having power in media, this power comes from their bodies, their sexuality and their ability to attract men.

Enlightened sexism runs rampant in the film He's Just Not That Into You. One of the storylines features Scarlet Johansson as a yoga instructor who uses her body to lure the attention of a married man played by Bradley Cooper. Though Johansson is indeed the protagonist (which seems to reflect female power), all of her power really comes from a man. She is an aspiring singer, and Cooper is a businessman at a music production company. She has an affair with him, and he helps her get a record deal. She achieves success in the industry, but that success is dependent upon the help and attention of a man.

And actually, as I write this post I am listening (embarrassingly) to the song "Bossy" by Kelis. The lyrics are, "I'm bossy. I'm the bitch y'all love to hate. That's right, I brought all the boys to the yard. That's right, I'm the one tattooed on his arm." This is supposedly a powerful, empowered woman singing, but all of her power comes from men! And the attention they give her. And the competition it sparks between her and other women. Postfeminism is everywhere!

Sex and the City Response

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I was actually really excited to write about our screening in class on Tuesday because I've watched every single episode of "Sex and the City" at least two or three times and haven't really even thought of the post-feminism portrayed throughout it. The most obvious example that came to mind for me was the story line between the characters of Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big. Carrie and Big have been on and off again throughout the entire series and it is clear that Carrie loves him and is willing to plan her life around him. He leaves her at least twice in the series and in the series finale they finally get back together. However, this event comes right after Carrie breaks up with her boyfriend in Paris after declaring that she has friends, a job, and a life back in New York and that she doesn't need a man. Low and behold, right after she makes this declaration, she falls into the arms of Mr. Big, making her a hypocrite in a way. She also happens to get slapped in the face in the heat of the moment by her 'ex-boyfriend' and when Mr. Big finds out, he says that he "is going to kick his ass". However, Carrie says she does not want to be saved and I think it is interesting that someone in class said that she just didn't want to be saved in public, she wanted to be saved in private. It's just another example of the fact that women are portrayed as helpless or needing a man to save them/ complete them.

Discussion Question: Have television shows, movies, or other media become better at portraying women as stronger and more independent? Or since it has seemed to work for ratings and viewers, has it gone the opposite direction; portraying women just as sex objects?

Extra Credit article

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The most interesting part of this article, probably because I've actually never read or heard anything that targets this particular viewpoint was when the author discussed the irony behind enlightened. She states that "Irony offers the following fantasy of power: the people on the screen may be rich, spoiled, or beautiful, but you, oh superior viewer, get to judge and mock them, and thus are above them." When I read that, I couldn't help but feel guilty of thinking that way while watching certain TV shows. One of my favorite networks used to be BRAVO and that was full of shows that embodied numerous different aspects of enlightened sexism. For example, the million dollar matchmaker, where this incredibly judgmental women harsly interviews women, tells them they're ugly and that they need to change how they dress and do there make-up before and even act differently before they can "meet the millionaire" that they hope to start dating. I'm not going to lie, I totally watched the show A LOT, and every time I found myself judging not only the women who were willing to change everything about themselves for someone they hadn'nt even met, but also the matchmaker who thought she knew everything about everything and basically made money off of telling women how they were inferior. This article really made me think about these shows I watch and a lot of times, thinking THANK GOD I'M NOT THAT PERSON...

Girls Gone Anti-Feminist

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I totally agree with the point that media have contributed to making people have fantasies of female power. Many women who are described as succeeding women have high position of their jobs, wealthy, and having outstanding ability but sexy and beautiful. I do not understand why when media express women's power, more sexual power should be included than political and economic power. That is making a gap between the reality and the fantasies. In the article, it is mentioned that marketing use female fantasies - for example, selling cosmetic products. The advertisement and marketing strategies in media incite enlightened sexism. These media content makes women care their appearance such as face, hair, or body shape more. However, I do not think that their desire to have more attractive appearance and their make-over are against feminism or stimulate enlightened sexism. I think that the first source providing such sexism can be media. Sometimes, media provide women with fictional ideal woman. Also, media tend to portray like that woman should have ability and good body shape together, and that make woman perfect. According to the interview with Jennifer Siebel Newsom, such situation is very institutional, so education is important for young girls. Does education have power to change such phenomena when still media portray women in the way?

Sex and The City

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The show describes professional and successful women's stories. Before, I did not have any other thought about the way to portray women. Especially the episode that we watched in class on Tuesday clearly dealt with women. First, women too depend on men. The fact is accepted that women can consider relationship with men or love as important more than men. However, Carrie Bradshaw's case describes that she too much depend on men. Although she had enough high social position and has her own fame, she followed her boyfriend by giving up her. The result that she gave up her party and followed him was that she just had to wait alone. Later she realized that she had her own life, and she was one person but she depended on another man, Big, again. Of course, the theme of the show is about love but it is not necessary that she found her another love when she realized that she wanted to be herself and had her own life.
Also, there is a tendency that it is portrayed like that woman could have perfect life when they found prefect love. Even though they were already succeeded and professional, it is portrayed that their lives were not perfect when they had any conflict with their partner or men.
This show really stimulates kinds of sexism. According to the interview with Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Susan Douglas's article, sexism stimulates women to consume. Like other media content, the show shows various desirable female items. Their clothes, bags, or beautiful make-up might affect many women, especially young women according to the interview.

Girls Gone Anti-Feminist Response/DQ

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Susan Douglas talks about feminism today and how enlightened sexism has created fantasies of female power in the media. From the Spice Girls to The Closer to Lady Gaga, "girl power" is shown as a reflection of reality. However, Douglas argues that these fantasies of power are trying to say, "Hey, now we're all equal. No need for feminism anymore," when the reality is misogyny is alive and well and women are still paid less than men. Douglas writes, "Now that women allegedly have the same sexual freedom as men, they actually prefer to be sex objects because it's liberating." That is enlightened sexism's view. It's hard to tell if that is, in fact, true. If women and men were all just as "sexually liberated," what would society be like? Would there be more objectification of one gender or would it be more equal? Is some objectification actually liberating for women (and/or men)?

Sex and the City Response

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It seems to me that the Sex and the City episode we watched has brought up this whole issue of media telling women or showing women that they need a man to rescue them in order for them to find happiness. Now I'll admit, I don't really know shit about the show, so some of these things I saw in the episode may be in a different context. But it seems to me the women in the show all get what they want. They find happiness (through love, a child, etc.) and it seems like they have the control over their lives. Carrie breaks up with the Russian Guy and decides not to bend over backwards for him all the time, then successfully stops the other guy from punching him, saying she doesn't need to be rescued. Samantha finds someone who she loves and loves her back, and he flies out from God-knows-where to tell her that. Clearly she's got a hold on his heart. Brunette Girl finally gets to have a child and Red Head impresses the Old Lady (I didn't understand that whole story line). But in all, the women are only portrayed as needing a man because maybe that's what they want. The men clearly need them, too, if they're going to risk assault charges or get on a plane or have a panic attack if their girlfriend isn't at their art show or go through the tedious adoption process. It seems like love, caring, and needing is being mistaken for "rescuing." Plus, I don't know if the writer(s) of the show is male or female or if there are some of each, but clearly the show speaks to a lot of women.

Girls Gone Anti-Feminist

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The main focus of the article is based around the idea that the media is actually surpressing gender equality, which I found very interesting. The media has been constantly assuring women into believing that they are stronger, more powerful, and more successful than they actually are. Douglas states that they are achieving this by over representing women as having completely made it in areas such as their professions, their sexual equality to men, and their financial success. She continues to point out that the images we see in the media, such as television and advertisements, also persuade the audience that having purchasing power and sexual power is much more gratifying than having political or economic power. "Instead, the wheedling, seductive message to young women is that being decorative is the highest form of power - when, of course, if it were, Dick Cheney would have gone to work every day in a sequined tutu" (Douglas, In These Times). The goals of feminism that it worked so hard to achieve are under the illusion of being complete because the media insists that they are. When, in reality, the media is selling sex and materialistic views and twisting them together to make today's young women feel like they are at a completely even playing field. I think this is very unfortunate, but it's also brilliant. Not because I am anti-feminist, but because of how well it has persuaded young woman into believing that they need endless amounts of products and material to promote sex, or in their minds power. My favorite part of the article was the part that had to deal with irony. Shows such as "My Super Sweet 16" make you grunt in disgust at these rich and spoiled kids who are lavished with gifts, and because they are on the screen you get to mock and judge them. Everyone has done this, I've done this. "Viewers are flattered that they are sophisticated, can see through the craven self-absorption, wouldn't be so vacuous and featherbrained as to get so completely caught up in something so trivial. The media offers this irony as a shield" (Douglas, In These Times). The media gives women the so called fantasies of power to make them believe they have completely made it as a gender, and to hide this they offer shows you can easily see through and make yourself proud that you can see the over the top purchasing and sex power. Really awesome article.

Sex and The City

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I've seen pretty much every episode of Sex and the City and after learning reading a few articles and our discussions in class about feminism and postfeminism, I realize that there is a lot of underlining themes happening in the show that I seemed to have overlooked in the past. If post feminism takes into account what feminism worked to achieve, I think that Sex and The City is a perfect example of postfeminism in our society. All four characters are leading lives that have been made possible by the feminist movements; they're all independent and very successful professionally, however despite that, in almost every episode they are obsessed with talking about relationships with men and the show pretty much revolves around them finding fulfillment within a relationship. That example alone demonstrates one of the main ideas within the idea of postfeminism. It seems that all the hard work women of this era put into being successful and taking advantage of the rights women have earned as a result of feminism, is ultimately an attempt to attract men and take on a more traditional role of finding a man and being in a relationship in order to be happy.


Postfeminism and Sex and the City

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Going back to our discussion in class yesterday, I thought we brought up a good point as to how the series of Sex and the City finishes for the character, Carrie Bradshaw. The show portrays that Carrie's life is now complete because she has found the love of her life. It is portraying that a woman's life is not complete until she has found a man which ties right into the Gill's article on Post feminism. Gill's article highlights how in the media today, especially television and magazines, women are never good enough. They are constantly being picked at to improve somehow. Some examples included are in the magazines that women need to know how to be perfect as a friend, daughter, girlfriend, professional, etc. There is always room for improvement and we apparently should never think we are satisfactory. We are encouraged to know things from the "right way to text message" to the "right way to tweez our eyebrows." Having put that all into perspective, it is ridiculous to see all the pressure and suggestions that women are subjected to and the very few number for men.

Although the show Sex and the City is about the four characters and their relationships, it shows good examples of how women do sometimes cater their lives to men and sacrifice their own. It was difficult to watch as Carrie ditched her own event, which was a big deal for her, to support her boyfriend who ended up leaving her alone anyways. This seems to be a common theme among women who want to please their significant other even if it means giving up what they want. In another situation, although Samantha really didn't want Smith to sleep with other women, she was afraid to come upfront and say it, which may have disappointed him. It's not until the end that she admits it and she never really does come out and say it blatantly. Charolette however makes her own decision to stay at home and take care of her children while Harry goes to work and makes the money, another very common theme among women today. I think women in the media need to be portrayed as stronger individuals and maybe show the men making their own sacrifices every now and then. The lack of strong-minded women in the media does not reflect well on us as a society.

Girls Gone Anti-Feminist

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The article does a great job of highlighting how although people (in my opinion, mostly men) like to say that women have made it. We have defeated the inequality between men and women and everything is dandy. We, as women, know this is not true and the article as the evidence to back it up. Yes, we have made great strides especially in the last ten years with the up rise of women taking on major roles in society. However, women are still making a significantly less amount of money than men and the number of men CEO's to women CEO's is outrageous. It is interesting to mention that in media today, many plot lines that star women have something to do with women overcoming the inequality as if it is a fantasy or extreme situation. Although women have come a long way in the equality battle, there is still a distance to go until we will truly be equal on all levels.

Something that stuck out to me in this article was the mention of the "bump patrol." This is a small mention that could be talked about for pages. The media especially is obsessed with the "bump pattrol." The second a woman is married, for example Kate Middleton, she is on bump patrol. It is as if women are expected to reproduce any minute after they are married and I'm sure they feel a great deal of pressure from the media, it's almost as if they are asking "Why don't you have kids yet?" as if it is everyone else's decision. It is comical to me that anytime a woman who could possibly be pregnant (eg. many women) is touching their stomach in public (something many people probably do multiple times a day), it is splashed all over the media that she is expecting. I think the media needs to back off unless a woman openly speaks about expecting or wanting to expect a child because frankly, it is none of their business until the woman or couple choose to publicly announce it.

Sex and the City and Post Feminism

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In class on Tuesday we watched an episode of Sex and the City as a media example for post-feminism in relation to Gill's article. Part of the class discussion touched on the idea that in order for a woman to get what she wants, she needs to be rescued and the use of material objects will help along the way. In the end Mr. Big, the rich hero, comes in and saves poor Carrie from her expensive suite in Paris. My question and elaboration isn't so much focused on the obvious notions of Sex in the City in relation to post-feminism, but why does this keep happening? It has been the same story spewed, to women, time and time again. "We need things to feel happy!" "We need a man to be happy!" I know this is a part of a long engrained history, but we can't get away from it. There is a similarity here as we discussed about race and its portrayal on television. It is rare that it is handled well if at all without perpetuating some stereotype or some other implication in its portrayal. On both subjects we have a double-edged sword. No matter the representation, it just isn't right! Our history has had many turning points in both cases where obviously politically, things have changed, but socially we are stuck. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. You can change the rules, but not everyone is going to follow them. Here is where the media steps in and has taken varying directions. They choose what they want portrayed and how, but with anything there is some sort of a backlash. It is an endless circle that I can only see being resolved in time. No big leaps are going to be made, but the more discussion there is and the closer these topics come to the surface, the easier it will be to advance into a more distinct form of equality.
Discussion Question: Do you think television is perpetuating acceptable ideals about women to women? Why or why not? What changes, if any, do you think should take place?

Girls Gone Anti-Feminist

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Susan Douglas' article "Girls Gone Anti-Feminist" discusses a variety of cultural fair that attributed to how our society has taken a turn on feminism. I was interested in her discussion about how a feminist became viewed as a "hairy lesbian" and not really about the core values. She discusses constantly the role the media images play and how they are a distorted version of reality emphasizing and deemphasizing what they feel is most important. Because the media plays such a heavy role, of course this idea of the grungy 70s mentality is what has been carried over as the symbol of feminism. I also appreciated her discussion of the consumption of trashy television that perpetuates this "anti-feminist" image. I have found myself asking the same question as to why so many of my educated peers, at times including myself, consume this type of media. Her reasoning is the simplicity in feeling superior to these wealthy, spoiled, rich kids. They have so many issues and make so many mistakes that the audience finds itself with a "knowing smirk" on their face about the humor of it all. They have so many issues and make so many mistakes that the audience finds itself with a "knowing smirk" on their face about the humor of it all. Personally, I feel that in discussion of this type of media, reality television and the like, many who consume it will discuss it for the humor of how idiotic the "characters" will act, but in reality it is something else they are attracted toward. Sure, some may actually solely be in it to laugh at them, but I feel like there is something numbing about watching these programs. It is fluffy and easy to consume where somehow the audience member may feel enthralled with the piece.
Discussion Question: Do you think that the consumption of these media that include an anti-feminist attitude can survive existing in a society where equality is a constant discussion in media? Do these programs perpetuate further the idea that women are okay with being viewed as objects and their power comes from their sexualized nature?

Gill's Postfeminism

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I quite liked this article by Gill and think it's a topic that really needs to be discussed. This idea of postfeminism has the potential to erode a lot of the progress of the feminist efforts of the past and I think that Gill touches on this a couple of times. This is especially true when she talks about how over-sexualized women are and how they are made to think that this makes them more powerful. I think it's interesting to consider that men clearly don't partake in this sort of behavior such as wearing shirts that read "fit chick, unbelievable knockers" or its male equivalent.

Another thing I thought about when reading this was her discussion of "chick lit". I have often felt that this separation of chick lit has made it seem as though books that are written for women are somehow less valuable. I also feel that this label is often applied to books that aren't written for women simply because the main character is a woman. I saw this a lot with The Hunger Games wherein a young girl is chosen to fight to the death against a number of other young people. After reading it, I thought it was excellent but had a tough time convincing my male friends to read it because they felt that its intended audience was clearly tween girls. This could not be further from the truth as is obvious to anyone who has read the book, and yet this misconception still thrives. The chick lit label is dangerous in the sense that it suggests that some books are less universally valuable than others.

DQ: Is postfeminism degrading the efforts of feminists who fought for women's rights and power in the past? How can we maintain the power that comes with postfeminist thinking without losing all that we've fought to earn?

Gill Response & DQ

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This article was very interesting in the sense that it argued feminism to be best understood as a distinctive sensibility, made up of a number of interrelated themes. These themes are: femininity is a bodily property, the shift from objectification to subjectification, an emphasis upon self-surveillance, monitoring and self-discipline, a focus on individualism, choice, and empowerment, the dominance of a makeover paradigm, and a resurgence of ideas about natural sexual difference. Through explanation of each theme, Gill uses media examples. The theme that I related with most was the femininity as a bodily property section. Gill talks about how magazines for women are constantly focusing how women's bodies-how they can look younger, feel better, look hotter, more toned, etc. The magazines are constantly scrutinizing and dissecting public figures and celebrities. For example, I was at the grocery store over the weekend while I was checking out, I noticed just about every magazine cover had Kim Kardashian on the front with big headlines talking about Kim's huge pregnancy weight gain. To me, this is ridiculous to scrutinize a woman's weight when she is pregnant with her first child. I remember when Jessica Simpson gained a lot of weight during her pregancy and the tabloids are still talking about her and updating the world if she gained or lost 5 pounds.
This article points out that although there is this idea of feminism in the sense that women have a "can-do girl power", women still are portrayed as sexual objects and undergo extreme scrutiny in media texts. While men are hardly if at all ever scrutinized in the media.
DQ: After reading this article, what did you agree with and what did you disagree with? Do you agree with the author's points? Which ones? Do you think that it is completely the media's fault for these notions about women? Or are women somewhat to blame for these media stereotypes? What do you think postfeminist media will look like in 10 years? Will it be the same as it is today as described in the article? Will it be different?

Gill Response & Discussion Question

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I found Gill's article on postfeminism very interesting and informative. Feminism is usually a term I associate to positivity and empowering women, but after the article I realized that the postfeminist culture has almost turned this around on women. Gill points out that there is a disagreement over what postfeminism is, and in order to understand better, she applies our current media. Gill states that posfemenist features in our media are: bodily property, subjectification, self-surveillance, individualism, the makeover paradigm, and sexualization of our culture.

I found her section on femininity as bodily property to ring very true. I agree that today, the female body is considered one's main source of identity. And it's not just any body, it should be a fit and "sexy" body. Our media regulates women's bodies much more than they regulate men. If a man has grey hair or wrinkles, it often gives him status and respect, where if a women has it, she is letting herself go. I also think Gill is accurate with the over-sexualization of our culture and our youth. Young girls are advertised clothing and makeup at a very young age and taught that they should flaunt what they have. A frightening example of this is TLC's "Toddlers and Tiaras". Girls are now being taught that they should desire to be a sex object, so it seems more like a choice, rather than society subjecting women.

DQ:
Do you think the postfeminist media culture has weakened or strengthened sexism in our society? If so, how?

Rosalind Gill's article was a refreshing read on postfeminism. We all have an idea about what it is, but the actual definition of the movement is hard to define. She mentions more than just the objectification of a women's body or the male gaze (which we hear a lot about but are we actually doing anything to shift it away?). Instead she describes postfeminism as a "sensibility, made up of a number of interrelated themes" (165) which does include the objectifying of the female body, but also the reinvention and maintenance of the female body as a source of empowerment for women and the "natural sexual difference" of a female body overall.

What was most interesting to me in the whole article was the discussion about how there seems to be some success in the feminism movement because the male gaze no longer controls the female body -- women control the male gaze by using their sexuality as a power over the man, "leaving him wanting more" (173). I too, thought this was female empowerment until really analyzing the process of it all (make up paradigm, self -surveillance and discipline, etc.). This is seen as female empowerment but it also seems to be an illusion in the sense that women are still low key being objectified in media.Their bodies are still being used as an object, and this time as the subject of power, but nonetheless, still seen as a sexual object and subject. Yes, women are maintaining their lives and choosing how (inside: emotionally and outside: physically), but at the same time they are constantly being told how to do so from all sorts of various media outlets. So at the end of the day, women are still being told what to do within social norms in which men approve. In other words, I don't feel that the postfeminism movement has lived up to all the hype.

Discussion Question: Even if women had the same rights as men, would they (could they) ever be considered as equal genders?

Gill Response and Discussion Question

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As Gill states in her 2007 article, Postfeminist Media Culture, "It seeks to argue that postfeminism is best thought of as a sensibility that characterizes increasing numbers of films, television shows, advertisements and other media products" (148). She chooses to analyze a different side of media, rather than shows such as Sex And The City, in order to gain a deeper understanding of these effects on our gender focused society. One thing Gill mentioned in this article was the importance of differentiating between objectification and subjectification of gender differences. Going along with this, Gill states, "...surveillance of women's bodies constitues perhaps the largest type of media content across all genres and media forms. Women's bodies are evaluated, scrutinized and dissected by women as well as men, and are always at risk of 'failing'." (149). Being that media is one of the most commonly used and expressed parts of our culture, this is wrong in so many ways, and a perfect example of the objectification of women. Our postfeminist culture has focused so much on a woman's body or sexual features that women and girls today are always focused on their own personal desirability of being an attractive heterosexual female. This idea has progressed so much over the years that our society has such a distinct idea of beautiful and attractiveness within a culture. This article then goes on to say, "Moreover, it simply avoids all the interesting and important questions about the relationship between representations and subjectivity, the difficult but crucial questions about how socially-constructed, mass-mediated ideals of beauty are internalized and made our own" (154). According to this idea, we are beginning to form our own opinions of what we think is beautiful. Ideally, this will continue improving and our society will eventual have no emphasis or control over feminism and individualism.

Discussion Question: why does this seem to only occur for women instead of men? Do you feel media is beginning to equal out the playing field among genders and objectification of men is becoming a problem or more common as well? Will media ever learn to avoid topics of the sexualization of females?

Gill Response and DQ

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The right article this time :)

Gill describes the characteristics of the post-feminist era that we have found ourselves in recently. Some of these characteristics range from the overall sexualization of women to a renewed sense of empowerment that comes from being a woman. The impression I received from the article is that feminism is not dead, but rather has become more passive-aggressive. Women aren't fighting Capitol Hill, or questioning normal gender roles, but rather fighting sexual injustice through embracing femininity. One way women are doing this is through women's emphasis on doing things to please themselves, not men. Women are dressing up, putting on makeup, and treating themselves to the spa all to make themselves feel better. I find this observation to be true for myself and many women I know. They dress up because it makes them feel confident and creative. As Gill says, women of the past didn't dress up to please men, but today's focus on the self presents some hope that women are living their lives the way they want to, rather than living their life to meet the desires of their fathers or husbands.
One observation that Gill made that I thought was less progressive for women was the focus of the media on women's physical bodies. The irony is that everyone knows that it is wrong to scrutinize physical bodies so strongly, yet the judgment has become more and more pervasive. Even the Today show this morning acknowledged how wrong it was for the media to poke so much fun at Christina Aguilera's weight, yet the celebrate women for having great bodies. This is less progressive because of the continued focus on women as only sexualized objects who exist to please men. There are some glimpses of hope in this trend as women become more aware of how men view them and are embracing their sexualization. Gill references women wearing t-shirts that flaunt their chest. Hopefully, as women embrace their own version of femininity and act to make themselves happy we can make more strides in social equality.

Discussion Question:
Gill mentions that the era of the sexual objectification of women has given way to women dressing and acting in a sexualized way to objectify themselves because it affirms the liberation of women. Women now dress and act in a certain way because they know they are the object of affection, which gives them their own sense of power. Do you think the behavior of objectifying oneself is liberating and powerful, or more demeaning to women?

Gill Response and DQ

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Gill's article focuses on creating a new understanding of postfeminism which can be used to better analyze the products of our culture. "It seeks to argue that postfeminism is best thought of as a sensibility that characterizes increasing numbers of films, television shows, advertisements and other media products" (Gill 148). She believes that the idea of postfeminism being thought of as a sensibility will better contribute to analyzing postfeminism media. The article then goes into the features of postfeminism under the notion that it is to be thought of as a sensibility. One of these features I found interesting was the sexualization of culture, referring to the heavy emphasis about sex and sexuality across all media forms and to the increasingly frequent erotic presentation of women's and men's bodies. Gill points out that girls and women are, "interpellated as the monitors of all sexual and emotional relationships" in popular magazines, and men "are hailed as hedonists just wanting 'a shag'" (Gill 151). This idea stuck with me, and I agreed with it. Popular magazines, especially those targeted for women, have the word sex littered all over their covers with revealing celebrities taking up the rest. They bully the reader to take their advice in sex, relationship, and beauty tips. The sexualization of culture is completely evident in these situations, and Gill's statement that girls and women are the monitors of all sexual and emotional relationships is dead on.
Another feature of postfeminism as a sensibility is self-surveillance and discipline. Gill makes note of the fact that monitoring and surveying the self have always existed in the performance of successful femininity, but then argues how these things have dramatically increased in the present moment. Also, the extensiveness of surveillance over entirely new aspects of life and intimate conduct. I completely agree with her argument that in today's time there is no aspect of life for women that isn't under surveillance, however, I disagreed with one thing. "However, what is so striking is how unevenly distributed these quasi-therapeutic discourses are. In magazines, contemporary fiction and television talk shows, it is women, not men, who are addressed and required to work on and transform the self" (Gill 156). Women are definitely more addressed in the media to work on and transform the self but that doesn't mean men are completely immuned to this surveillance. I bought the latest copy of "Esquire" last Saturday at the airport to have something to read on my flight, and it was chalked full of this surveillance solely targeted at men. What I should wear, how I should cook, what drinks to buy at the bar in different situations, how to appear more confident to women, and it was all worded in a way to make me feel lesser of myself if I didn't live that way. Women are more scrutinized and more addressed to transform themselves, but that doesn't mean men aren't at all.

DQ: Will the features of postfeminism as a sensibility ever shift and be more directed towards men?

Response to Gill

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Gill's article is an interesting look at postfeminism and what she describes it to be. She talks about postfeminism as being "a distinctive sensibility, made up of a number of interrelated themes" (p.147). She first talks about postfeminism in the media culture and how it is a critical object in which she seeks to examine what is distinctive about contemporary articulations of gender in the media. From there she breaks that down into the different components of the critical object of the media culture which include a shift from objectification to subjectification; a focus on individualism; and a resurgence in ideas of natural sexual difference. The one that struck me the most was that of femininity as a bodily property. It struck me the most because it is something that I see everyday in today's media. She mentions that in today's media the "possession of a sexy body is presented as women's key source of identity" (p.149). She describes the body as a source of power in which the woman uses it to conform to other judgements of female attractiveness. She brings up how much females are scrutinized even in shows that are meant to make a woman feel good like "What Not to Wear." This seemed especially important because it seems that the media is trying to move away from the constant judgement and image that a woman's body needs to be a certain type to be successful, but by trying to do the opposite it seems the media is only reinforcing the stereotype of a certain woman's body type. She also talks about how women are represented and targeted in sexualization by using the Playboy bunny icon and other sexualized products in mainstream advertising and usage.

Discussion Question: Can you think of any other shows or media texts that subject women to scrutiny of their bodies besides the ones mentioned in the article?

Gill Response & DQ

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Gill's article describes postfeminism as a sensibility with various elements. For example, the media defines femininity as a bodily property. Women's identities depend on their possession of a sexy body rather than on other characteristics. Media fixation on the female body has contributed, Gill says, to the sexualization of contemporary culture. What most caught my attention was Gill's discussion of the sexualization of young girls. She says that media presentation of children is becoming more and more sexualized. Contemporary media culture "promotes female children as its most desirable sexual icons" (151). This discussion made me think of the Abercrombie and Fitch controversy from a couple years back. In 2011 the outfitter introduced a padded, push-up bikini top in its children's line. It produced advertisements showing girls as young as seven years old wearing the provocative top. I think the media's treatment of girls that Gill discusses is an incredibly serious problem. When girls are presented sexually in the media, it makes them think of themselves as sexual beings before they are developmentally ready or even educated about sex. It also sends an extremely inappropriate message to men; the media may make men think it's okay to think about young girls in a sexual way. This article makes me realize that the decisions made in media can have tremendous implications; sexual presentation of young girls in the media, for example, could potentially lead to increased molestations and rapes.

Discussion Question: How does the postfeminist portrayal of women differ from the portrayal described by Mulvey (who says that women are passive objects of the male gaze) ?

Jennifer Newsom Response, DQ

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One quote that struck me was Jennifer's general thesis in that women are only valued for their body, and sexuality, especially in pop culture. The first thing that came to my mind when I heard this was the trend of Oscar-award winning actresses who have won Oscars for roles in which the women were nude in one or several scenes of the movie. I couldn't help but think that Jennifer's quote about women only being appreciated in their jobs because of their sexuality plays into the decision to award women for roles in which they undress. Nineteen women alone have won Oscars for scantily-clad roles, not even including women who were just nominated. Conversely, only two men won Oscars after stripping down. While these roles are often considered artistic, and in some cases very necessary for the message of the story to be told, I believe that the unbalanced distribution of these roles speaks to some implications on society. On a small scale, aspiring actresses see this statistic and feel they have to objectify themselves and sexualize themselves in order to not only get jobs in Hollywood but also to be respected as artists. On a larger scale, all women who consume media can see these films and feel the subliminal message that a naked woman is a respected woman who wins awards.

Discussion Question: One of the callers on the podcast said that the problem of portrayal of women in media can't be changed consumerism alone, in that we can't force media producers to change just by refusing to watch or buy their products. If we can't change the way media producers work by affecting their wallets, then how can we as consumers have any impact on big media conglomerates?

Laura Mulvey's "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" is a complicated piece of writing focusing on a concept that we as viewers of cinema experience so regularly that we hardly even notice that it's happening. This idea of "the male gaze" is introduced, a phenomenon first and best exemplified by old Hollywood films in the 1930's, 40's, and 50's. There is a discussion of the dominant perspective shown in such films as exemplified by the camera. The camera often mirrors the point of view of the male protagonist, representing the active male who is gazing upon a passive female subject. Mulvey introduces the idea of scopophilia (pleasure in looking at a person as an erotic object), and the pleasure we get from being looked at as well. Mulvey ties in the subjects of pleasure in gazing/being the subject of the gaze into many of Sigmund Freud's theories. Freud discusses the voyeuristic tendencies of children (such as the uncensored curiosity in a child about things that adults understand as inappropriate things to watch or ask questions about). The female subject of the gaze posesses a certain "to-be-looked-at-ness". She is looked at and displayed, and always crafted as a fantasy catering to male desire. The woman is only seen in the context of her male protagonist counterpart. She is there to serve him but has no other purpose beyond fulfilling his fantasies and desires and being a subject of spectator (or audience) gaze as well. The female image said to be seen as a castration threat... this is something I would like to discuss further. What exactly does this mean? How is the passive female a castration threat? This is one of the more difficult articles we've read through in class. I'm interested in the concept and can recall many old movies I've seen where there is an obvious fetishized female passively receiving the active male's gaze. She is a beauty who completely stops time. Is this still happening today or are women becoming more active in their roles in modern film? How has the concept of the male gaze been updated to fit the norms of today's films?

Discussion question: Does this concept of the male gaze still exist in Hollywood cinema or is this simply a film technique from the past? How do we see these ideas playing out in today's films?

Mulvey response and DQ

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Mulvey first introduces us to the idea that cinema has yet to sufficiently bring out the importance of the representation of the female form. She then states "the function of woman in forming the patriarchal unconscious is two-fold, she first symbolizes the castration threat by her real absence of a penis and second thereby raiser her child into the symbolic." I think what she means by this is that women are unconsciously and cosistantly portrayed as characters where there biggest developement of their character and the reason they are playing the part is due to one of the two-folds of either just being a woman or raising a child instead of developing a character like you would with a male character. I agree with this, however, I do believe there are characters out there that represent a character with depth and not just as a woman. One thing that really got my attention while reading this article is the woman as image, man as bearer of the look section. I thought that this was interesting to think about how woman are portrayed more as an image and when marketing to an audience full of men they are sometimes portrayed as a sexual image. Where a man is portrayed as the bearer of the look. By this I believe she means that men career a certain personality or have a certain feel to their character when women are unfortunately misrepresented as just an image in the show.

DQ: What are some roles played by women that go against the grain of the common image of women in film pointed out by Mulvey?

South Park

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In class we brought up an interesting notion about South Park and its ability to get away with such overt discussions of a variety of considerably "taboo" topics. I think dissecting the reasons why a show can get away with something like this brings something important to light. The way they deal with the topics are extremely self-reflexive and constantly put in the form of a joke. Think about comedians and how they may present a joke. Some feel they can take it to this level of pointing out something that may be off beat. I think about Dave Chappelle and his jokes about race. If he merely was just stating these things in a dramatic form, they would be taken seriously, racist, and would be seen as a scandal. The humor that coincides with the program gives it the ability to talk about things that are much more serious. Another element that softens the blow of a distinct comment on one of these topics would be that fact that it is a cartoon. Cartoons conjure up ideas about Saturday mornings in pajamas while a coyote chases a road-runner or a little yellow bird stating that he thought he saw a "putty-tat." Cartoons are simple and South Park has that distilled in their design. All of the characters are made up of simple shapes, flat colors, and their legs don't extend when they "walk." This simplicity in design and humor allows the program to take full advantage of such a wide range of topics and give them the ability to make a statement about the state of our society.

DQ: Would you say there are any other elements that make South Park an acceptable forum for social issues?

Laura Mulvey isn't complex, she's real (DQ included)

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I really liked this reading...a lot. What was initially a foggy read eventually became a clearer one. She's talking about the scopophilic instinct and the infamous "gaze," among many others. Like the title reads, Mulvey kept it real. Hollywood has had damn near no respect for women. I like to think of examples when reading articles like this and one of the media texts that hit me was Baywatch. What better example of a show demeaning women characters by making them sexual objects to their male counterparts and to the traditional male "gaze." The males in this show had what Mulvey called "glamorous characteristics" that are "not those of the erotic object of the gaze, but those of the more perfect, more complete, more powerful ideal ego.."

Discussion Question: Is the scopophilic instinct (pleasure in looking at another person as an erotic object) being used in today's media texts more, less or barely at all? Explain.

Girls and South Park

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I was really interested by these screenings in class. I had heard so much about Girls but never seen an episode of it, and I'd seen that episode of South Park a number of times. The juxtaposition between the two shows was really interesting given how different they are. I think that this episode of South Park is pretty insightful. It's interesting how the creators of South Park have such power to create discourse around things that might otherwise not be discussed. This in spite of the fact that they're really just 2 white guys writing a raunchy animated comedy show. This topic is especially important to think about too. I feel like it's commentary in and of itself that the Colorado school's one black student is named Token Black. I don't think it's just a joke, but rather a commentary on the state of our entertainment media. It's interesting to think about Token with Girls because what you see in Girls really is a token black character who was forced into the show due to criticism over the lack of diversity. I would be very interested to hear what Trey Parker and Matt Stone have to say about this. I also liked how this related to last week's readings. As mentioned in class, one of the most interesting parts was where Stan said that it was all okay because his dad had apologized to one man and Token was mad at him because that man was not "the emperor of black people". It was interesting to think about this comment with the reading where it was discussing how a white person would never be expected to speak on behalf of their entire race or would be considered to be representative of an entire race.

DQ: Do you feel that the inclusion of a black character on girls added diversity to the show? Is it more or less representative of Manhattan and the life of a typical 20-something as a result? What would Trey Parker and Matt Stone's commentary of this be?

Mulvey Reading

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After reading this article, I was a bit confused on Mulvey's main point. However, when I was reading it, I started to think of media texts where I have seen what Mulvey is talking about. And I am not sure if I am right, but I will give it a shot. For example, there is a Sex and the City episode where Samantha is interviewing for a job and she knows she is the most qualified and best person for the job. However, the interviewer offers her the job if she will co-partner with a man because males are more accepted in the business world. Another example I thought of was my mother. My mom has been a lawyer for over 23 years. When she first started out, there were not many female public defenders. I remember she always told me she kind of had to dress like a man in regards to the kinds of suits she wore. Now, it is quite different, women are much more widely accepted in the business world. But I do think that when a woman acts or dresses in a certain way they can be taken more seriously, especially by males.

My DQ is what do you think needs to change in our society for this portrayal of women to completely go away? Will it ever?

Mulvey & DQ

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Mulvey's article was very complex, but I will do my best to give my understanding and an adequate description. In her article she begins by bringing in Freudian psychoanalytic theory. Specifically, she talks about the scopophilic drive/instinct in which people find pleasure by looking. Most commonly in film, pleasure is had by looking at women (ie the male gaze). Men are seen as the powerful people who have agency, but women are objects. Women must be seen in these ways because according to psychoanalytic theory, women are a threat of castration to men. In order to lesson this threat women must be fetishized and objectified. Cinema and film are avenues for women to be looked at and made exhibitions. Even in the way people watch in the theater promotes this pleasure in looking: the darkness of the theater isolates viewers from their neighbors and they often are watching through the male eyes.

DQ: Is there room for a change in the way society looks at women in this patriarchal society? Why is this subject (male) and object (female) contrast important in understanding media?

Mulvey Response

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While reading Mulvey's article I was trying to be both a supported and somewhat of a devil's advocate. I found myself thinking about and criticizing examples that objectify women and use them as a desired object or visual for men, and I also thought of examples where the women is depicted as extremely strong and independent in a heroin-esque sort of manner. I know Mulvey is focused on men feeling dominant or masculine and objectifying women, but I feel there is almost a sense of overcompensation in films battling these ideas and portraying women as over the top, completely independent and strong, and equally as unlikely as always being in distress. This led me to think about these two extremes and what is then being portrayed as a "normal woman". This may not be Mulvey's main goal or point, but as a women, when I was reading her article I couldn't help but try to think of an example where a woman is portrayed as neither a sort of damsel in distress or an overly feministic, against the grain sort of character. What is this telling us is normal? As women, what are these extremes telling us to be? How much do we buy into these images?

Though Mulvey is talking about the way women are portrayed in relation to men's responses and images and making them feel masculine and dominant, I would argue that women have grown accustomed to or enjoy this sort of view as well. We are either being saved by a strong handsome man or we are kicking ass as a strong, independent female. I think each of these are a sort of fantasy or desired scenario for a lot of women. I think women continue to be depicted this way because both genders have come to enjoy it and are accustomed to it, not only men. While there are obvious critiques of gender inequality and showing women as helpless or objectifying them, it is a major aspect of entertainment. I am not saying it is right, just that I think it is true.

Discussion Question:
Do you think women have grown accustomed to or even accepting of the way they are portrayed according to Mulvey? Would changing the "gaze" or perspective of entertainment cause it to lose or gain popularity? From who?

I think a lot of people would agree with me if I say that I found this article to be very complex and dense. She starts off by laying out the psychoanalytic theory, which basically means that human behavior is governed by irrational forces and the unconscious.In this case, finding visual pleasure on television (and other media) through women. I thought it was interesting to hear that the cinema offers two possible pleasures, but yet they contradict one another, I didn't even catch on to it until she pointed it out. One has to do with finding pleasure on the screen because you are separating yourself from them, but the other has to do with finding pleasure on the screen because you identify with it (it is 'mirrored'). I also liked how she compared the works of Hitchcock and Sternberg, people who come out with two different productions of the same idea. In the end, the message is clear and forefront; women are put on the screen for visual pleasure, whereas men are seen as the heroes who hold power and control a lot of decisions.

Discussion Question: Do you have any ideas as to where these portrayals came from (i.e. film, books, stories, other media)? It seems like this reading was written a while ago in terms of the examples given and words used. Therefore, can you think of any examples that combat these portrayals of women and men in the media? Is it something that we have backed away from at all since the first time women and men were first portrayed this way?

Week 8 - HBO's "Girls"

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I really enjoyed reading Kareem Abdul-Jaabar's media critique on the show. I have never heard of the show until this class and maybe during break I will start season 1 to see what all the big fuss is about. The points he brought up were interesting, especially about how the guy characters are more interesting than the girls.

I also feel that Lena Dunham responded positively to the criticism that her show lacks in diversity. Race is a sensitive issue and one that main stream media does not like to bring to the limelight. People do need to understand that "Girls" is a show that happens to have their main cast as all white females because that is all that the writer knows. She says that it's based on her experiences, so it's only natural that the characters were written as Jewish or WASP...and white. It makes sense to me so I don't understand what the huge fuss is about. Why should she have to compromise her life experiences on her show that is based on her experiences because someone else doesn't relate to them? I would rather watch the show and know that the scenes were actually based on real life experiences. As an Asian-American woman, born in the United States, I am sure her and I (or the characters on the show) did not go through life with the same exact experience. It may be similar, but it wouldn't necessarily resonate through me. If she writes in a character of a different background in which she has no knowledge of the experience that that particular culture goes through, it will be the same stereotypical character that has been shown on media already. You cannot fabricate something that you don't know; it won't seem authentic and it will raise controversy with the audience who know the "real" story. If someone wanted to see an accurate portrayal of themselves on a television show, why don't they go write a script and pitch it? Why wait for someone else to write your life experiences when they never had the same experiences? That's not fair to them. And then you as an audience will get upset because it is not accurate.

DQ: If Lena and her team were to "write" in characters of different ethnic backgrounds, would that really solve the criticism of lack of diversity on the show? Or would it just enforce more stereotypical characters and open another door for more critique?

"Girls" is Okay, Shallow and Ignorant but Okay

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So after listening to the interview, reading Kareem's blog and even watching the pilot episode, I've concluded that Girls is just alright-watchable. It is a fairly shallow and ignorant group of female characters. I do agree with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: the male characters seems to have more depth to their personalities. Moreover, this show is LACKING diversity in every way. Whether we're talking about race, class or even class. I thought it was funny how Lena acknowledged this problem as important but refuses to truly address it. She said she thought about it.

To me, it's not necessarily bad that there aren't any people of color in the show but it's the lack diverse personalities and ideas that makes this another One Tree Hill. The problems of the main character, Hannah, isn't representing our generation or any generation for that matter, it's mainly something for privileged white women. Unfortunately, this is not a theme that most people can relate to.

Here's the good news, Hannah trying to figure herself out IS something that people in their twenties can relate to. The show is kind of funny, awkward, witty and slightly poetic. Yes, there's an absence of race in the show but there is still potential to do better. In the interview, Lena said that she was excited about including more diversity into the show. Who knows, i might keep watching to see how she pulls it off...

Girls Response & DQ

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I watched the first episode of Girls and for whatever reason, I just couldn't get into it. However, I have lots of friends that love the show and I know that it's taken our pop culture by storm and claims to be the voice of our generation. I think Girls is special because it's written by a 24 year old who went through these same experiences. For this reason, Girls is more real than most other TV shows.

But, for claiming to be a real and honest TV show, Lena is getting criticism for not having enough diversity on the show. I don't think it means that Lena is ignorant, as the show is based on her own life experience and she wanted to make it as honest as possible. Adding diverse characters to the show wouldn't be true to her experiences. However, at the same time I can see the negative implications of not having diversity in her show. My initial thought is that she is excluding a complete audience of people that aren't represented in the show, but then in Kareem's article he states that the majority of her audience is men: people who are not stars in the show. The criticism also got me thinking, what is the big deal if an African American woman was starring as one of the main characters? Is it really not possible for an African American woman to have the same life experiences as a White woman? I agree with what Kareem says, that sometimes adding diversity in shows can be completely fake and unnecessary when they plays stereotypical racial roles like the "token black friend". But knowing this, it sounds like Lena is in a lose-lose situation. If she adds diversity to the show it's considered fake, but if she doesn't add diversity she's considered ignorant.

DQ:
Do you think forced diversity in TV shows is helping to alleviate racism in America or does it just draw more attention to skin color?

Girls Response and DQ

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Although I have never seen an episode of "Girls", I have heard a lot of people talk about it and can understand the appeal it has. I thought that both Lena Dunham's response to the shows criticism and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's article on the show were well done. First, I liked how Lena Dunham responded to the show's criticism with her intentions of writing solely about her own experiences. "And this is a hard issue to speak to because all I want to do is sound sensitive and not say anything that will horrify anyone or make them feel more isolated, bud I did write something that was super-specific to my experience, and I always want to avoid rendering an experience I can't speak to accurately" (npr.org). She didn't directly apologize to the lack of diversity in her show, but wanted it to be known that she was sensitive to the subject and didn't want to create anymore conflict. I really liked how she wasn't very apologetic because she acknowledged the fact that her writing was focused on her experiences. To write a show based specifically on your experiences is very brave, and I think if she added more diversity just for the purpose of adding more diversity would have come off artificial and fake. Dunham touches on this by saying she always wants to avoid rendering an experience she can't depict accurately.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbars article on "Girls" brought up some excellent points as well. I found his points in what the show is telling us compelling because that is what our class really has focused on. We've been learning to peel back the surface of the media and figure out the underlying messages. He argues that "Girls" is telling us that females of the 21st century in their twenty's world is mostly white. "I don't believe that people of color, sexual preference, or gender need to be shaken indiscriminately into every series like some sort of exotic seasoning" (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Huffington Post). He uses this statement to emphasize that the use of a black character in the season after the show was criticized for being too white seemed like a forced effort just to add some color to the show. In his view, "Girls" is telling us that females in their twenty's world is primarily white, but isn't he also advocating for Dunham's writing that is focused on her experiences? People of color, sexual preference, or gender need to be indiscriminately put into every series so it can avoid criticism on lack of diversity. I agree with his point that if a story calls for a black (or white) character, then great, but don't forcefully integrate them into it for the sole purpose of diversity.


DQ: Should the show "Girls" continue to be primarily white because it is written specifically based on the writer's experiences? Should every show make an effort to include some sort of diverse aspect even if it is out of the show's context?

Girls

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I think something interesting about Karim Abdul-Jabbar's article in the Huffington Post is the question of why he is someone who is writing about this show at all. There has been such a a flood of criticisms and praise for Girls and it is natural due to its content. Reflecting on what he wrote was interesting because he seemed to just want something more from the show that a fan would feel similarly. I'm a big fan of the show and have written an extensive paper about hitting its target market, which I feel it does. Karim Abdul-Jabbar is emoting something that I feel myself about the show in the simplest of terms. I agree that the effort to add a character or another race seemed forced. The characters do all have the qualities he discusses, but also in that way that he describes as "annoying" I feel that they are dynamic in that way. I do feel like a lot of them have qualities that are not great, but I think that is something Dunham is interested in. I feel like many women have so many sides and what she perpetuates in that show is something familiar to me. The show is on HBO, it is created for a market that is relatable. I just think that it gets so much criticism draws in a variety of viewers to expand and think critically about various aspects of the show.

Abdul-Jabbar states that while Girls is trying to be the voice of their generation they project "a safer more mousy voice" than other cult hits in the past. Would you consider this "type of voice" as projecting too little for what Dunham is aiming?

Girls Response

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Although I have personally never seen the show "Girls", it seems like something that potentially could be a very popular series. As stated in the article, the use of one African American character does not qualify as racial diversity within a series. Because these shows are compared to the reality, it seems necessary that various ethnicities be present in order to demonstrate the actuality of our society. Although this is the case, Lena Dunham stated that she incorporated what she was familiar with and had experience with in this series. Because she did not have many experiences with African American or other races, she did not provide characters in "Girls" for them. One other point I found to be very intriguing regarding this show is the popularity among men rather than women. This article stated, "56% of the show's audience is male" (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). This statistic shocked me, because it seems to be a similar show to Gossip Girl in my opinion, which has a very dominantly female audience. It occurred to me that this difference in audience may be due to the fact it is an HBO show and is not produced on television, therefore there is a much wider range of content that can be shown in it, especially sexual content.

After analyzing this show and the article, I decided to ask the question: do you think it is smart of Lena Dunham to keep "Girls" running the same manner it is now with little racial difference or do you feel she should begin incorporating other ethnicities simply to please the media?

Girls Response and DQ

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I've never seen an episode of "Girls" because it doesn't really seem to appeal to me. However, I did respect what Lena Dunham said about not trying to write in more diverse characters or "token" minorities because it wouldn't be true to her experience. I agree with that. Why should she have to write about something that she doesn't really know about? If you only have white friends, you only have white friends. That's your experience. There's no point in writing in the token "black friend" or stereotypical, broken English-speaking "Asian guy" just to meet the race quota. Having diversity for the sake of diversity is almost more offensive or, at least, very formulaic sometimes. I respect that Dunham didn't try to speak to something in her life that wasn't authentic or specific to her own experience.

Do you think she should have given in to people's complaints about the show not being diverse enough by saying she would have more diverse characters in the next season? What does this say about the current state of race representation in media, specifically television?

Girls

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I totally agree with that Lena Dunham and Karrem Abdul-Jabbar's opinions. What I mean is that all series of the show did not have to include all kinds of races as characteristics. Of course, the shows can reflect the reality. Therefore, if TV shows do not include various kinds of race, there could be problem related to the media effect - for example, younger people who watch the TV programs unconsciously ignore different kinds of race. However, in this case, Lena used her experiences as sources of the show. Since the show reflect the reality surrounding her, it is not necessary include people of color unrelated to her experience. She did not exclude other races such as African American or Asians with any other purpose. I think that no all people face various kinds of race every day. This is depending on each situation. Why casting various kinds of race became a responsibility? Is it some sensitive reaction for casting?
That is portrayal of younger adults female's stories, which made younger adults sympathize. They are not perfect yet. Also, these points can make the series funny and make people sympathize more deeply. Why they seem to be perfect and nice?
Of course, this situation can make some stereotype about their culture. I am not sure whether these are stereotypes of younger adults' culture or their reality.

Girls

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I think it was very important to have prior knowledge to the television show Girls before listening to this article. I have studied in previous media classes for its content however the fact that the cast was white never reached the discussion. This fresh perspective provided critiques a new way to address the show. In the interview Lena Dunham addresses that she is well aware of all the criticism she had been receiving. However, I thought it was interesting that they one criticism she was taking into consideration with the content of her show was the white cast. She calms she will be revamping by adding new characters (of color) into up coming season and episodes. While I applaud her I do not understand why she needs to change her program. It is based upon her real life events and persons in her life. I don't believe she needs to change this when other shows have not received this same feedback. I thought she handed the interview well composed but it will be interesting to see if anything changes. It was also an interesting perspective that a black male, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, saying that there doesn't always need to be a balanced in racial profiling.

Discussion Question:
What is it important to show balance in race minorities, when Dunham exemplifies other minorities' representation in the series? Do race minorities need to be represented in each series or can shows address other topics, such as sexual orientation?

"Girls" Whiteness Response & DQ

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In her interview, creator of "Girls" Lena Dunham responds to criticism that her show is too "white" and excludes minority races. Her response, I think, is extremely appropriate. She says that she wants to create the most honest and real stories possible, and she does this by drawing on her own experiences. She is half-Jew, half-WASP, so she created these types of characters in "Girls". Her most authentic stories necessarily feature white characters because whiteness is what she knows personally. I think she's right to want to avoid "tokenism" in casting. Karim Abdul-Jabbar's blog post points to this problem as well, which he suggests is worse that not featuring minorities at all. When a single black character, for example, is introduced in a white cast, it can seem really artificial and forced. I drew a connection between Dunham's response and an earlier reading by Richard Butsch called "Ralph, Fred, Archie, and Homer..." This article highlighted that the reason that television features mainly middle class characters is because that it what the creators know best. Butsch writes, "The vast majority of producers grew up in middle-class homes, with little direct experience of working-class life" (580). Like Dunham, they draw on their own experiences. This makes me think that maybe the problem of underrepresentation on television doesn't lie in the shows themselves, but rather, in the creators. Maybe if there were more minority television producers, they too would portray their own experiences, and would thereby lessen the whiteness in today's media.

Disc. Question:

Which do you think is worse:
Not featuring minority characters at all (rendering them invisible in society)
OR
Featuring them but inaccurately representing their experience?

Response to Girls and DQ

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I think the criticism towards Girls regarding race is interesting considering the writer and plot of the show. On the one hand, the lack of black characters is noticeable because there seems to always be at least one African American character in TV shows today. On the other hand, the show sounds more progressive for women and because of that I wonder how necessary it is to address race in addition to having such a female-centered plot line. I think if the show addressed issues facing young women in the city trying to make ends meet and find long-lasting relationships and took on issues of race portrayals, then the show would take on a whole additional segment of controversy. That being said, I don't think there's any excuse to not at least have some diversity in the show. I think Lena's response was well said because she stuck to maintaining the honesty of the show. She clearly stated that she was most comfortable with telling stories that were true to her and she didn't want to overstep her writing by going into a story that was unfamiliar to her. Now that the show has a following, I agree that she can step out of her comfort zone a little more and engage in stories from a different perspective. I think Lena did a good job handling the criticism and if she can put together a second season with more diversity that doesn't feel forced together, then she will have proven herself as a thoughtful writer who can create stories about people beyond just female characters.

Discussion Question: I was really surprised to hear that 22% of the audience for girls is men over 50 years old and how 56% of the audience is men in general. I had assumed that with a name like "Girls" the show would be viewed mostly by women. Do you think demographics of any show should influence the writers to gear more the show's content to that particular group of people such as men over 50?

Response to Girls and Abdul-Jabbar Blog

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I understand that in this day and age, minorities should be more widely represented in the media. Lena Dunham, creator of the hit HBO show Girls, has been criticized for the lack of minorities that she has written into her show. Lean defends her show by saying that the show is based on her life and her experiences and is actually very real when compared with her own life. With that, that is the basis and story line of the show, clearly if she had little experiences with minorities in the time of her life that the show is based on, I don't think that they should need to be written in just to check that of their lists that there is a minority on the show. I agree with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar completely when he says "I don't believe that people of color, sexual preference, or gender need to be shaken indiscriminately into every series like some sort of exotic seasoning." If a minority character is not relevant in the story, they don't need to be mentioned just to make some people feel better. Dunham said herself that she writes the show from her point of view and it would almost be incorrect of her to try and write and story from an African American's perspective because she wouldn't know. I do think that there are many areas of media where there should be a balanced representation of races however, in this situation it doesn't seem necessary since the show is based on Dunham's life and experiences. However, I do applaud Dunham in that she says she would be open to writing in some minorities, if it fit the story line and they seemed relevant.

Lena Dunham is a very gifted and successful writer and actor but above all things she is very young as well, 26. I feel that with her young age, she is an easy target to be knocked and criticized, especially by her superiors, for her work, causing her to have to defend it. I think she handled the situation with poise and grace and proved herself.

DQ: In which areas of media do you think that there should be a balanced represention of race, gender, etc? In which areas do you think that is acceptable to have a dominant representation?

Response to Girls

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When I watched the Golden Globes this year and Lena Dunham won for best television series for a comedy I got the vibe that this was incredible that she had won. I've never known what it's about, but I've heard about it. Lena Dunham's acceptance speech gave me the vibe that she has been shut out by critics for her good work. The interview definitely helped me understand more about the show and what it's about. I think it's interesting to hear Lena's perspective on the show...that she is drawing on her own experiences and how she has lived her life. I also think that it is a show that could relate to a lot of young 20 some year old women because I think many women live in a white privilege society so what they see in the show is relate-able to their own lives. Young women like this also end up living with their parents and getting help to get by right out of college, like Lena has because we live in a society where it is difficult to get out of college and be successful right away and many parents don't completely cut their children anymore. She mentions how she's gotten to where she is because she has put herself out there and just keeps trying which many can relate to and should follow that example because she seems to be a positive role model. I also think it is important that she brings up the generation difference that she sees with her dad and how he said you should show your work right away, because it is something that you can see this difference with many aspects, including race.

It is brought up that the show is very white. Lena answers this question by explaining that this show is basically a reflection on the experiences that she has had in life, which is mostly white and that it's supposed to be an honest show. It's interesting to hear that because she has incorporated a black character that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar saw as a forced story line. He also says, "I don't believe that people of color, sexual preference, or gender need to be shaken indiscriminately into every series like some sort of exotic seasoning." I found this interesting because it is coming from an African American man who doesn't seem to be overly bothered by the whiteness of the series and even mentions that a black neighborhood doesn't necessarily need white characters. It was just another way of looking at race and the whiteness of the show.

Discussion Question: Lena Dunham mentions that she is going to remedy the race issue and introduce new characters into the next season. Is this a wise choice or will it seem too forced? Also, do you agree with Abdul-Jabbar's viewpoint that there doesn't always need to be a balanced racial profile?

Response & DQ for McIntosh Article

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I think it's interesting to think about the things that we have in our lives that are granted to us just because we were born the way we were. So much of our lives we get things or have things taken from us solely on the basis of what we look like or what class we were born into. I've often scoffed at white men who complain about things such as affirmative action for "taking opportunities" from them. Unfortunately, it seems to be common for white people and men to simply expect certain things whether it's on a conscious level or not. I felt guilty reading through McIntosh's article and realizing how many more things I've gotten in life solely on the basis of my race. These are things we don't even notice most of the time as white people. There's so much privilege granted to us that are not based on merit or accomplishments, it's appalling. But what can be done to change this? These things are mostly taboo to talk about because of the discomfort it creates. I certainly felt uncomfortable just reading this article and there wasn't even discourse involved in that interaction.

Discussion Question: What can be done to make discourse surrounding this topic more acceptable? This is not a problem that can be resolved without an ideological shift and that cannot occur without serious discussion and thought put into topics like this. How can such a change be made?

White Knapsack

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I feel that Peggy Macintosh's article is right on the money when when talking about the issue of race inequality. She states, "White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks." She emphasizes that these privileges are not distributed equally or shared by individuals of every race. I agree with her statement because although our country claims to have equal opportunity for everyone, sadly that realistically the case.

Discussion Question: What are some examples of race inequality we see in our society today?

Peggy McIntosh is dead on!! & DQ

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For me, this article was mostly review but I really liked how she compared white privilege to male privilege and even heterosexual privilege. I think is it very important to make those connections because in doing so, we're able to label the problems and work towards eliminating these social constructs. Also, I think it is super important for people to know that they are benefiting from an oppressive system.

DQ: McIntosh defines white privilege as an "invisible package of unearned assets.." What do you think? Is this concept preposterous or would you say that you are a beneficiary of white privilege? Why or why not?

Living with Unrecognized Privilege

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After reading Peggy McIntosh's article, I began to think about how I have pretty much lived my entire life without even recognizing all of the power and privileges I hold because of the color of my skin. I thought it was really insighful when she said, " White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, assurances, tools, maps, guides, codebooks, passports, visas, clothes, compass, emergency gear, and blank checks" (p.8). Reading through all of her personal accounts of how she has white privilege in her daily life was astonishing to read, and I could relate to all of them. I began to think about the experiences I have had in my own life. The first thing I thought about was the schools I have been to throughout my life. I have gone to private, Catholic school my whole life and when I think about it, there was hardly any racial diversity at my schools. And then for high school, I went to an all girls school, so there was even less diversity. We only had one African American girl in the whole school. I also started thinking about a time when I experienced the reverse of white privilege. When I was studying abroad, I took a trip to Istanbul, Turkey. In Istanbul, I was definitely in the minority in being white. I did not speak the language, I was American, white, and not Muslim. It was not so easy for me to do all the everyday things I do so easily here in America, for example Peggy's #5 when she talks about not having to worry about being harassed when she was shopping. I was always on my guard. So, I think that Peggy's points and argument is very valid in the United States, but I think it would be different in other parts of the country.
DQ: Even if we as a society break our silences about these denials surrounding privilege, will that really be the sole change we need in order to redesign our social systems? What else would we need to do? How long will it take for change to sustain reality?

Response & DQ for McIntosh Article

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In her Article, "White Privilege and Male Privilege," McIntosh writes about her experience as a woman combating male privilege as a way to explain her experience with her own given white privilege. She begins by discussing male privilege in the scholarly places as well as the world. Men have certain standing and credibility that is given to them on the basis of their sex, not their merit. Although men will concede that there is sexism in curriculum, many of them won't make room for women. They also deny that that their privilege is comes from systematic and institutionalized norms in society, but that it comes from the importance of the work of men. McIntosh then uses her frustration with male privilege to reflect on the white privilege she has been given in her own life. This part of the article was particularly interesting to me because she had to take on the role of the oppressed (as a women in a male privileged world) to be able to understand how her own privilege (being white) is enacted in society. I appreciate her personal interaction in both of these arenas, being the oppressed vs the oppressor.

DQ: McIntosh also brought in the idea that, "white identity...give[s] [her] considerable power to choose whether to broach this subject and its trouble." This is an important acknowledgement made that people in power to do not have to address the trouble of their own power, but they should. Why is it important for McIntosh to take on the role of the oppressed to be able to examine how her own white privilege can be viewed as oppressive to people of color? What would it mean for others to do the same?

Response to McIntosh article

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As a woman I have grown up with the realization that men receive many privileges over women. Although we have grown as a society over the years, and women have become recognized in the work field, men still remain dominant. Men get away with many things that women cannot such as physical confrontation and sexual relationships. For example, if a man gets into a fight and punches are thrown, it's considered normal because men are aggressive and are expected to be able to defend themselves. When women get into a fight and slaps or punches are thrown, they are considered to be trashy and unsophisticated. Another example is that when men sleep with multiple partners it's not considered a big deal, but when women have multiple sexual partners they are quickly labeled a "slut" or a "whore".
When McIntosh started to make the comparison between male privilege and white privilege, I felt embarrassed because I have never really noticed the privileges I have been granted solely because I am white. Later in the article McIntosh makes a list of special circumstances and conditions she experiences that have been made to feel are hers "by birth, by citizenship, and by virtue of being a conscientious law-abiding "normal" person of goodwill." (pg. 96) After reading the list I felt disgusted because things such as having your neighbors be neutral of pleasant towards you, shouldn't be privileges. The items that McIntosh mentioned should be basic rights granted to everyone, not "privileges".
Although it is hard to talk about the fact that women and minorities are faced with more obstacles and harder lives, we need to talk about it. The fact that we avoid the topic (because it's uncomfortable at times) just brings more complications; complications such as how it appears to be hard for mass media to create a show with a leading character of color. My question is: Why does it appear so hard for mass media to have a leading character that isn't white? Aren't viewers mainly interested in the developing storylines of the characters, so why does it matter? Because quite honestly I would still want to know who the mother is in How I Met Your Mother even if Ted Mosby wasn't a middle-class, white male.

White Privilege

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Men have unconsciously thought of male domination. However, they try to deny their male privilege. Like the male privilege, white privilege is carried unconsciously by white people. They usually said that some parts of racism can be reveal by individual experience, but the writer points out that this has been systemic institutionalized - for example, through school system. The privilege system is misleading people's thought. The privilege status implies a status that most people want to have. It is described that people who have privilege are lucky, and it is inherent. School does not teach about consciousness of white privilege well. This can make more people do not recognize their consciousness of their white domination. However, they should know that they have been affected by systemic institution such as school.
Media can also teach about white privilege. Where people can easily be affected related to white privilege? What kind of media content, or theme?

Reaction to McIntosh's article

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In her article Peggy McIntosh discusses the privileges and protection, which in hindsight are not really earned but instead normalized, that whites have in society. She also puts this into terms of men and the male privilege. I thought it was interesting how she described her own experiences being white and being protected by her "whiteness" and the opportunities she says it gave her. At one point she refers to being white and part of that race culture as part of the "main culture" and that it made it okay to ignore or be oblivious to happenings outside of that culture because she felt protected by the whiteness. In the article she says, "I could measure up to the cultural standards and take advantage of the many options I saw around me to make me what the culture would call a success of my life". It is as if she is defining a completely different cultural or separation that her race provides her with. A majority of the reading is a list of ways race (white in this case) protects people, men in particular, from certain hardships or made life easier.

I thought the most interesting part of this article was when McIntosh talked about how being white helps by opening doors and "one's life is not what one makes it; many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own" (99). I somewhat agree with this statement when it comes to setting someone up in certain situations, like when she discusses how she believes that as a white woman she would generally have no problem renting a place to live or medical/legal help. But I think there is such a thing as character and hard work. Just because a door is opened for someone does not mean they have to take it. While it is unfair, saying her life was great or protected because she is white was still a choice. As a white woman, having these privileges pointed out to me makes me want to reevaluate how I got to some of the places I did in comparison to others and see how many doors were opened for me due to race. I felt a little frustrated while reading the article because it felt a little to me like she was saying everybody who is given these opportunities takes advantage of them without acknowledgement, and I don't know if that is really true anymore. People are becoming more aware of race and more in favor of equality and I don't necessarily think that one's entire life is determined by doors opened for them, especially just due to race.

Discussion Question:
At one point in the article, McIntosh says "one's life is not what one makes it; many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own". Do you agree with this statement? Is it an overstatement to say that race makes this big of a difference in being able to set up one's entire life for them?

White Privilege

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It has been said time and time again that race is an invention that has been embedded in our minds across many years. When we see a particular race depicted in the media, it fits a particular stereotype or notion that has become so commonplace. In addition to our discussion from Stuart Hall's article concerning the roles that are played out, specifically by African American people, in differing ranges of media. McIntosh is discussing something similar, but the other side or this argument of race that deals with the idea of white male privilege. Whether they choose to see it or not, this notion is extremely prevalent in all aspects in the life of the white man. The list that is compiled about conditions the white man doesn't have to worry about, more or less, concern the idea that "if something is wrong with me or something surrounding me, the issue will not be blamed or be a concern raised by the color of my skin." In my Italian class we are currently learning about racism against immigrants who go to Italy. They are in very early stages of integration because immigrants are now just starting to stay in Italy and go on with second generation children, etc. Racial comparisons to how race and racism is dealt with in the United States compared to Italy is extremely interesting. They are definitely experiencing overt racism, even in the media politicians will refer to immigrants in derogatory terms. The dominance is similarly held among the white people. Being a white Italian man or a white American man leaves them in the best situation in respective countries.

Will there ever be power that isn't dominantly held by the white man? Will the power ever be even distributed? Can race become something that is not a factor in the activities and ideals we take a part in?

White Privilege Response and DQ

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McIntosh talks about privileges of whites and males that go unacknowledged and how they are so accustomed to these privileges that they don't even notice them or consider them privileges. She goes on to say that obliviousness about white and male advantage is ingrained in our culture. This gives the impression that there is equality for all. I think there could be some change in the future with this attitude or lifestyle, but the feasibility of creating awareness and attitude changes of a whole country looks dim, at least for the near future. This shift towards being aware of privileges and attempting to balance the skew in racial/gender advantages could take a long time.

Is this even possible (because it has been this way for a LONG time)? What could people do to remove get rid of different privileges between races, genders, and classes? Do we even need to give up certain privileges?

White Privilege and Male Privilege response and DQ

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Peggy McIntosh first points out that being a white male is advantageous while being a woman or person of color can put you at an unearned disadvantage. She talks about how white males are willing to admit that women and people of color are at a disadvantage but notes that they try to avoid stating that they are at an advantage. I personally have not thought about this too much but when I do think about it, being a white male, I can definitely agree with McIntosh. She points out how men support and will work for improving women's status but refuse to lessen their own status. She came to the conclusion that men's oppressiveness is mostly unconscious which I think is correct. In the middle of the article she points out 46 daily ways in which being white has given her an unearned advantage over other races. All of the points she makes to me are valid and mostly unconscious. She concludes that there is such a thing as white privilege. She also points out ways in which having a husband immediately improves her status. I have never thought of this before. After thinking about it and reflecting upon it, I do believe that what she says is very valid and just simply for a woman to have a husband that will improve her status. It is the sad truth that America is not exactly free to everyone as some individuals don't have equal opportunity.

DQ
McIntosh points out that many men are unaware of the unearned disadvantage women have. What are some ways to raise the awareness of male privilege and white privilege when most of the people that are in charge of the media seem to be white males?

I have actually read this article once before in a class called Sex, Class and Race at The New School in New York where I transferred back from. And we ended up spending two class periods discussing this piece. There's so much to say! Especially in my very diverse classroom which was composed of mostly white students but included a variety of different races and ethnicities, the topic was a bit touchy but inspired some amazing conversation. Most of what we talked about surrounded one thing: why is it that we are SO uncomfortable discussing the realities advantage and privilege? Everybody knows that women and minorities receive certain disadvantages in our society, but when it comes to privileges that men and white people get simply because of gender and race, it's like we can't stand the idea! I'm not sure whether it's guilt, or a desire to just avoid the topic completely because recognizing an advantage that some of us did ABSOLUTELY nothing besides being born to earn is tough. It's hard to hold an awareness about the fact that life is harder for women and racial/ethnic minorities. Talking about these things is the first step to doing something different. Mclntosh mentions that because she is white, she has the privilege to choose whether or not she pays any attention to these ideas about advantage/disadvantage. People of color are not so lucky. This reality smacks them across the face multiple times a week. This is something our society as a whole must become more comfortable with talking about in order to make any significant changes in how we are treating each other. The list of advantages made my skin crawl the first time I read it last year, and it was just as traumatizing the second time around. But you know what? White people need to see stuff like this! I almost feel like we need billboards for white privilege detailing all of these advantages so people can notice them and be aware of them every day. Of course our culture would be to scared to see this kind of thing, but maybe some day. There are so many other privileges that go along with other majority groups... life is just plain easier if you're white, male, and straight. If not, there are going to be some struggles. I hope we get a chance to read these lists aloud in class and come up with real life examples when we've experienced advantages/disadvantages as a group because of our race, gender, sexual preference, class, religion, etc.


Discussion question: Mclntosh says, "White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, assurances, tools, maps, guides, codebooks, passports, visas, clothes, compasses, emergency gear, and blank checks" (95). Let's unpack this statement. Can we think of some specific examples of advantages whites have over minorities that Mclntosh might be trying to exemplify through metaphors here?

White Privilege and Male Privilege Response and DQ

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This weeks reading of Peggy McIntosh's "WHITE PRIVILEGE AND MALE PRIVILEGE: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women's Studies" brought up some very interesting ideas that I had never thought of before. Recognizing male privilege was something new to me, not because I have never thought that being a male has its unearned privileges, but because of her idea that males are taught not to recognize male privilege. This is the same with whites, they are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege. "My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will" (McIntosh 96). This was my favorite passage of the reading because I really agreed with it. Throughout my education I have consistently been taught to see myself as unique, as an individual, and what dictated me being a good person were my values or moral will. It made me think why wasn't I ever taught that being a white male gave me unearned privileges? Was it because my educators thought I would abuse this knowledge, and wouldn't ever question why? This idea of white privilege and male privilege being unearned and unfairly advantaged should have a place in our education system. Being taught not to recognize these things only fights the progression of society.
However, there were a few things that I disagreed with, or wasn't sure how McIntosh came up with it. I liked how she identified the daily effects of white privilege in her life because it gave it more credibility to me, but some of the things she identified didn't make sense to me. For example #17, "I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color" (McIntosh 97). I have never thought or have been taught that talking with my mouth full could be dismissed because of my color. I have been taught that talking with my mouth full is simply bad manners, and its unpleasant for whoever you are talking to. Why would she assume that her doing this and not having people put her down for it was linked to her color? Did she ever think that maybe they were being polite and didn't want to make her feel embarrassed by calling her out for it? This made me feel like she was creating the unfair advantage of being white simply because she was trying to.

DQ: Would including the recognition of white privilege and male privilege in our education system have a positive effect on lessening or ending such unfair advantages?

Response to: White Privilege and Male Privelege

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I've always understood the privileges that men receive over women. Physically, they are stronger and society seems to the think they are smarter. Growing up with three brothers, I experienced minor forms of sexism in my own home when my brothers were able to do things that I was not, such as cross the street by themselves. However, I have never really noticed the privileges that I have been given because I am white, which makes me almost feel like I take them for granted. But, I do not think that these should be treated as "privileges", the numbered conditions that McIntosh outlines are simple human rights that everyone deserves. I do not believe that just because other races don't receive these conditions (although they should) that they should be considered privileges to whites, as if we are so lucky that people don't judge us. As humans, we have our own rights to live where we choose, be treated with respect, have our opinion respected, etc. It's unfortunate that these basic rights are taken away from some people.

In opposition, there are things that I do feel fortunate about with being white. In another Communication class of mine, we spoke about female hair and how it can be very diverse among races. We also spoke about how it is typical for African American women, especially celebrities, to change their natural hair or wear a wig to look for more like Caucasian women's hair. This lines up with McIntosh's point 12 where she states that she can go into any beauty shop and they will be able to accommodate her hair. I take for granted that I am able to do the same and forget that women of other races do not have that luxury, however it is not a societal thing, it's natural. I think that our country has come a long way in regards to civil rights and racism however, regarding point 26, there is still a dominance Caucasian presence in books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and magazines. As discussed in class yesterday, it seems that there is rarely a main character that is African-American and if so, the rest of the cast is mostly, if not all, white. At this time, other races may have rights and are treated fairly, however there are still underlying issues of inferential racism and the lack of mention or exposure in media and the items listed above.

DQ: Will society ever come to a time where everyone is treated equal across genders, race, class, sexuality, etc? What needs to happen for society to reach this place of equality?

The Whites of Their Eyes Response

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In Stuart Hall's article regarding ideologies in the media, he makes it clear that the media has been key in not only spreading these ideologies, but also creating and producing them. It is only natural for people to believe what they may see on television, especially if it is a part of their everyday lives. Like Hall states in his article, 'the processes work unconsciously, rather than by conscious intention" (Hall 235). When Hall began his discussion on the "grammar of race", I could immediately think of some connections. First off, when he described the familiar slave figure, I thought of the movie "The Help". That movie was based on the maid's point of view during the civil rights movement. So although it is not about slaves per-say, it is about a race that is discriminated against and has an outstanding character that is a loving, devoted, caretaker. There is also another character that is unpredictable and goes against her "master" by baking her a pie that happens to be made with feces. The other base image, that of the "native", can be seen in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest". At one point Captain Jack Sparrow is taken captive by the natives of an island, who are portrayed as cannibals and savages. Thirdly, there are the clowns and entertainers. Immediately I thought of actors such as Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell playing the same, funny roles they always have. The reason they keep playing these roles is not only because they are really good at it, but because they constantly sell and make money. The thing that all of these images have in common is the fact that they are all reinforced by the media.

Discussion Question: I remember watching an interview with Morgan Freeman about why he hates black history month. He said that blacks should not be singled out, that the only way to stop racism is to stop talking about it. Do you agree with this solution? Do you think that if the media stops portraying these stereotypical ideologies of race, that the ideologies will change?

The Whites of Their Eyes Reflection

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The Whites of Their Eyes, written by Stuart Hall, discusses the concept of Ideology. "...the media's main sphere of operations is the production and transformation of ideologies" (89). This article was further broken down into three sub categories while then touching on different forms of racism. The first point is made in stating, "First, ideologies do not consist of isolated and separate concepts, but in the articulation of different elements into a distinctive set or chain of meanings" (89). This concept encourages us to create an alternative meaning for said articulation. Next, he declared that these ideological insights come from the individual, but without the intention. We declare these ideologies by discussion, helping us better understand our social interactions. Finally, Hall stated, "...ideologies 'work' by constructing for their subjects positions of identification and knowledge which allow them to 'utter' ideological truths as if they were their authentic authors" (90). This article then went on to discuss the differences between inferential and overt racism, both of which analyzed the varying ways racial relations are talked about in the media.

For me, I had a very hard time understanding this article and the major points of it, or how the correlated to one another. From what I am able to gather from this article, I have decided to focus my discussion question on the idea of racial discrimination in the media. Hall stated, "...every word and image of such programmes are impregnated with unconscious racism because they are all predicated on the unstated and unrecognized assumption that the blacks are the source of the problem" (91). After reading this statement, do you feel there is a way Media can eliminate this unconscious negative outlook they portray or is it unchangeable?

The Whites of Their Eyes Reflection

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The Whites of Their Eyes, written by Stuart Hall, discusses the concept of Ideology. "...the media's main sphere of operations is the production and transformation of ideologies" (89). This article was further broken down into three sub categories while then touching on different forms of racism. The first point is made in stating, "First, ideologies do not consist of isolated and separate concepts, but in the articulation of different elements into a distinctive set or chain of meanings" (89). This concept encourages us to create an alternative meaning for said articulation. Next, he declared that these ideological insights come from the individual, but without the intention. We declare these ideologies by discussion, helping us better understand our social interactions. Finally, Hall stated, "...ideologies 'work' by constructing for their subjects positions of identification and knowledge which allow them to 'utter' ideological truths as if they were their authentic authors" (90). This article then went on to discuss the differences between inferential and overt racism, both of which analyzed the varying ways racial relations are talked about in the media.

For me, I had a very hard time understanding this article and the major points of it, or how the correlated to one another. From what I am able to gather from this article, I have decided to focus my discussion question on the idea of racial discrimination in the media. Hall stated, "...every word and image of such programmes are impregnated with unconscious racism because they are all predicated on the unstated and unrecognized assumption that the blacks are the source of the problem" (91). After reading this statement, do you feel there is a way Media can eliminate this unconscious negative outlook they portray or is it unchangeable?

The Whites of Their Eyes Response

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Stuart Hall defines ideology and how the media is the main vehicle of producing ideologies. There are many different ideas and ideologies elaborated on through the media, as many media channels have different conceptions of race. Hall defines different terms of racism; overt and inferential. Overt racism means that there is coverage of a variety of opinions and arguments regarding racism or race representation. Inferential racism means that representations of race are created to seem real and natural.

Hall goes on to explain three different types of figures that African Americans are commonly portrayed as in the media. The figures are; slave-figure, native, and clown. The slave-figure is not just in films or productions that are about slavery; it is a character or is devoted and loyal to a master but is capable of doing bad things. The native is portrayed as very primitive and savage. The clown figure is used to entertain the others often times at the expense of that character. I think this last figure is the most common in media today, as there is usually a black character in movies or tv shows who is outspoken and jokes around.

It is not just African Americans that are misrepresented in media. On another side of this issue, I watched a documentary called "Mean World Syndrome". The film touched on how often times people of Hispanic origin are portrayed as the bad guys in movies and are almost always the criminals and robbers. The film also talked about how now there is almost a reverse effect for African Americans, and they are commonly portrayed as upper-class, highly educated, and play roles of established and influential people like doctors and lawyers. The film said that there was a lack of average everyday African Americans represented in media, almost as if saying; racism against African Americans is not a problem in the US anymore. It's interesting to see how this has changed.

DQ:
Do you think the media has broken some of these figures/roles that African Americans play, or are they all still commonly used today? Is the US media progressing or regressing in terms of representing different races and classes in your opinion?

Whites of Their Eyes Response and Discussion Question

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Hall's article touches on three important aspects of ideologies: that they are not consisted of isolated and separate concepts, they are not the product of individual consciousness or intention, and that they work by constructing positions of identification that allow them to present ideological truths as if they were absolute truths (89-90). I was interested in the last aspect that Hall presented because I think it remains true to this day that we portray certain groups of people based on what we believe is the only way to present them. Hall describes this on page 91 as "inferential racism", when we portray characters based on unquestioned assumptions about what it means to be a person of that group. For instance, how Latinos seem to be consistently cast into roles that involve them as violent gang members. Clearly, not every Latino person is a member of a gang, but our ideologies continue to accept this representation.
What we see less often, yet is still present, is what Hall refers to on page 91 as, "overt racism". Since 9/11, we recently have adopted the representation of Muslims as a group of people who can only be radical terrorists. The Showtime show "Homeland" presents this "overt racism" when the lead analyst tells his coworkers to only focus on "dark-skinned" suspects when trying to catch a known terrorist. This characterization of people from the Middle East continues throughout much of our news media as well, and we accept these characterizations as true because of recently formed ideologies.

Discussion Question
African Americans have become more represented in today's TV shows than in the past, and many of these characters are wealthy, well-educated figures such as doctors or lawyers. Some argue that this portrayal of African Americans isn't helpful to race relations because it gives the impression that African Americans are doing better socially and financially than ever before when this is sometimes not the case. How then should the media portray African Americans and other minorities in TV if portraying them as well-to-do people is just as unhelpful to race relations as stereotyping these characters?

Response to Hall-"The Whites of Their Eyes"

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Hall does a good job of laying out what is important to understand ideologies before he dives into his main point. I think it's important to understand that ideologies consist of a chain of meanings, as he puts it. Many times I think people think that an ideology is a specific viewpoint and this isn't quite right to understanding the term and how it relates to the media. Then he mentions that ideological statements aren't from individual consciousness, but from within ideology itself. We take in what is around us, the ideologies around us, and then make our conclusions and statements. Lastly he brings up that ideologies "work" by using their positions to construct what people say, like ideological truths. I think this is especially important because we see this in our media today with nearly everything to do with our culture. We see how hard it is to break free from the ideologies that are constantly circulating around us.
He then addresses racism in the media and how ideologies have created and influence the things we see represented in the media in regards to race. He mentions that much of what we see has racist premises and brings up the "grammar of race" which is images that we see that are still misrepresented in today's media. The slave-figure is still seen as either the lovable "Mammy" or the fieldhand who could turn at any moment. I think that we still see this in society, but usually it usually seems to be more subtle, such as having an African American maid in the house, kind of like in Monster-in-Law in which the mother (Caucasian) of the son who is getting married has an African American assistant who is really funny and plotting against her which is a trace of all three images Hall mentions. Hall brings up the base-image of the "native" and the "clown" or entertainer that used to be more boldly represented. Now he says that much of what we see is just traces, but I do believe it still has a great impact on what is represented and seen in the media. The media may not directly address those of other races in as these images directly, but it is often seen in movies and television shows. I think the most common of these images may be the "clown" because I think often when we see these subtle racist images portrayed there is a lot of comedy around them. It is a difficult ideology to change because it has been around for so long.

Discussion Question: Can you think of any media texts that portray the three images of "grammar of race"? Can you think of any media texts that try to disprove or dismiss these images?

Stuart Hall's article begins with an explanation of the construction and transmission of ideology. Hall explains that a single concept--like freedom, for example--can function within multiple ideologies depending on how we articulate it. In order to change an ideology, we must "break the chain" of meaning to which it is currently fixed and "rechain" it to another. Hall says that ideologies are created collectively, not individually. The media play a significant role in the creation of ideologies, specifically racial ones. Hall says that the media construct a definition of what race is, and this definition has been so naturalized that we no longer question it. The media portray minorities as "slave-figures", "natives" and "clowns", all of which portray a certain savagery and ambivalence. These media images are juxtaposed with ones of "civilized" white men. Hall says that although the unrefined images of minority races were more explicit in the past, they have not disappeared. Their traces remain in today's media. Blacks are still the scariest crooks on cop series and the primitive druggies on Starsky and Hutch. This article proves once again that our media has not undergone as much of a transformation as we think it has. Though we see more minority representation in today's media, Hall shows that the meanings and stereotypes associated with minority races have stayed largely the same.

Discussion Question: Our society seems more accepting of racial minorities than it was in the past, so why do pejorative images of these groups continue to appear in our media? I'm sure many modern producers aren't explicitly racist, and yet they continue to produce these images. Why? How can we relate this to what Hall says about the deeply embedded nature of ideology?

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