April 2013 Archives

Response to Johnson

| No Comments

Johnson brings up some good points and picks some good examples to how our delivery of news and media has evolved since the 1980's. One of the examples that stuck out to me was his comparison of the 1992 election to the 2008 election. I was only two years old in the first one so it is difficult for me to even remember what the election was like or what resources we had available. However, I was eighteen for the 2008 election and did realize the major resources available such as the Internet and YouTube. I'm sure there are a number of significant events that could be compared from the 1980's to present day that have changed a great deal. In my experience I think just award shows in general. Now, when I watch the MTV Movie Awards or the Country Music Awards, it is all about social media. It heightens the experience for the view because they feel more connected to the show by being engaged. One example is for the Country Music Awards when they have the viewers text in or tweet who they think should win Entertainer of the Year, it gives viewers their own decision and voice to decide. They also encourage viewers for many shows to tweet their thoughts or opinions as the show goes on. Technology and the evolution of media has significantly changed in the past decades however, I think for the better even though we may not realize it yet.

DQ: What are some ways to better introduce society to the new ways to access media? For example, how do you teach a baby boomer how to read the news on their iPad?

old growth media

| No Comments

t really seems as if there are two completely different outlooks when it comes to future media; those who are excited for the advancements to come and those who believe the quality of journalism will decline due to the accessibility of a general platform of information. The internet has changed everything from business, to personal connections, to the way we even think. I read a study that said people today think 10% faster, multitask almost twice as much, and speak faster than we did even twenty years ago. That says a lot about how we will dissect information and also poses the question of what type of information will we find important and what does this mean for the future? One reason I found this topic so interesting was because the future is something that we cannot escape from, in the sense that something will change. I don't have a strong enough understanding of the human and its evolution practices to give a strong opinion as to how media will evolve, but I can say with confidence that it will happen very soon. The world will be a completely different place ten years from now. I would guess that there will be a greater difference between 2012 and 2022 than there was from 2002 to 2012.

response and DQ to Johnson's article

| 1 Comment

Johnson opens the article by telling us stories of how he used to get his information from the media in the late 80's and early 90's. He notes that there was a big increase in 1993 and with the internet people were getting there information quicker than ever. Instead of receiving one magazine per month he can read several articles about Mac uploaded daily. My favorite point by Johnson comes in the second section when he states that the internet doesn't cover news better but rather it covers it faster. I think that comment is spot on, with things like twitter and blogging sites nowadays you can get your news seconds after it breaks and even before T.V. breaks it. When talking about politics he noted that has changed as well. When he followed the 1992 election the only medium left from when he followed was crossfire. This goes to show how much our media in politics has changed drastically. Johnson says that we will look back upon the old growth media and think of it as a disguised desert that was a rain forest of news. Johnson concludes that there will be more content and information than ever. I thought it was extremely interesting that he said that the newspaper audience was growing. I found this article overall a good article that was insightful as he narrated us through his experience of watching technology within the media grow.

DQ: Johnson states that the newspaper audience has slightly increased recently. Do you see this as a continuing trend or do you see the internet diminishing the audience of the newspaper over time?

Old Growth Media & the Future of News: Response & DQ

| No Comments

I really enjoyed reading Johnson's article on the future of the news industry. As a Journalism student, the topic of the future of the news and the impact of media technology is a major point of focus in many of my classes. Johnson starts the article by bringing us back to the late 80's when he had to wait for the newest edition of Mac World to come out to his bookstore. This waiting for information is something that my generation has not really experienced, because we all have smart phones, laptops and can Google. In the 90's the news climate greatly changed with the introduction of the Internet.

Now, in 2013 we have access to so many different news sites and sources for information. It has caused many traditional newspapers to go out of business and convert their business model to focus on online access. Johnson also says that there is a worry about the future careers of war reporters and investigative journalists. While we have no shortage of news bloggers, will they really take on those two roles and travel to report on news?

Johnson also discusses how technology has changed political news. Especially in the 2008 election, we saw a change in news coverage. Candidates were taking to social media to give reach consumers and update news stories. Johnson says this fear that the traditional news model is failing has caused worry that it will result in the loss of local news coverage. Personally, I disagree with this statement. I don't read the local newspaper and I get plenty of local news coverage by following community organizations on Twitter and watching local news stations.

A point that I do agree with Johnson is his statement on people's ability to navigate through diverse and cluttered news ecosystem. Not all people are well versed in reading news online and could fall prey to satire news and fake news stories. I also think that because anyone can publish stories online, fact checking and following multiple news sources is now necessary.

DQ:
What do you think is the future of news? Is it justified to be afraid for the future of news journalism, or is change necessary and unstoppable?

'Goodbye to the Age of Newspapers' Response & DQ

| No Comments

Before reading Starr's article, I was well aware that newspapers were becoming a thing of the past and are largely being replaced by other news sources like the Internet. I didn't think too much about it, assuming that newspapers were just one more thing to be eliminated on our path to complete technology dependence. I never stopped to consider how serious this transition really is and the profound implications it has on our society and even our democracy. Compared to alternative news sources, newspapers have traditionally covered more types of stories, partaken in denser investigative journalism and helped us control corrupt tendencies in both government and business. In the past newspapers had the money to send many reporters to investigate government action in Washington D.C. as well as cover important events overseas, but the majority can no longer afford this. Starr says that one of the first things to be cut has been international news, and though I understand the financial reasoning of focusing on local news, I consider this to be an extremely serious problem. Our world is becoming increasingly interdependent; every day we become more closely and closely intertwined with other nations around the world, culturally, economically, politically, etc. The decline in newspapers and international news means that we don't even know what we don't know; it keeps us from being the globally active and aware citizens we should be in this day and age. I think the Internet is simply too free and open of a forum through which to share news; while on the one hand it's good that we can all contribute to the web, on the other hand I think there need to be stricter standards of what can be called "news" on the Internet.


DQ: What does Starr mean when he says that newspapers have traditionally served as "local market intermediaries"?

Response to Johnson's article

| No Comments

Johnson's article is about change or development of media coverage. In the past, we cannot get information about Apple daily or fast, especially about information about Apple products. Nowadays, we can easily get much the information about Apple products. This is because many bloggers post information that they got and review or critical opinions about Apple products. As well, there are many information channels where people find information; social networks, official sites (for example, Apple own official site), and multiple magazine and specialized news coverage. People can get more detailed and exact information as well as people can get information only that they need or want. Author mentions that this is like the ecosystem. Current system is the circulation of information, which is new model of media ecosystem while old system was top-down models of mass media. Current circulation of information make diverse and interconnected world, with a system of flowers and feeds. In politics, I can easily feel that politic issues are very difficult for me. However, as I used blogger's interpretation and people's opinions on Facebook, I can understand about a political issue or a political candidate. As author mentioned, I like the fact that this new information ecosystem is based on old media, which is the traditional and professional news coverage. I think that other systems can be a guide for who want to find any specific information quickly or feel difficult to understand about the information that they want to accept. However, the new formats of conveying information are not all. The most important and primary information come from professional news coverage. Also, I believe that trained, educated, and professional people make, provide, and filter information, so news should be stable forever. I really like the word: the circulation of information. I think that from now, any part of source of information should be stable not disappear - such as, local news (the author's example).
Do you think that really interconnected system of information can improve mass media? I am curious that there is really a possibility that newspaper, or news, can be disappear. If so, how? What can be replaced with old systems of source of information?

Old Growth Media and The Future of News

| No Comments

When discussing media literacy, it is important to examine the channels through which media reaches its audience. With the power of the internet and the use of social media, the way we experience everything has changed. Steven Johnson discusses the way we get the news now compared to what it once was before this state of extreme inter-connectivity. The mode at which growing numbers of the population receive the news has changed from appointment television news stories and newspapers to every topic of remote interest being discussed on the internet. Johnson discusses the panic for the impending doom for professional journalism. I think it is interesting that he brings up the "panic" nature of what's going on because I agree with him that the future will still be a sound environment for professionalism on the news front. There is a frenzy to who will report what story, where is the best place to get information and the arguments against a complete shift to internet news. Johnson discusses the sudden nature to which the internet came to swallow our livelihood. Although there has been a spring in a particular direction, our media driven culture will find a way to even things out, but in the meantime there will be these constant panics from all angles of news media.

DQ: What type of news media do you prefer? Would you rather sit down in the evening or morning to watch the news, read a newspaper, or go online? What specifically do you like about this method of consumption?

Response to Starr and Johnson

| No Comments

Starr's article seemed to be fairly familiar in that I've heard these arguments and statistics before. Over the last few years, especially there has been a decline in print newspapers and there has been an increase in web activity and more and more newspapers have moved to online, but usually charging. I know that some websites will only allow you to view so many articles for free before you have to pay. The web has become such a prominent thing in our lives that I think it's interesting to think about having to pay for web-based news. Every station has a different article or spin on a story and I think there is a hunger to read every opinion we can. We are a very opinion based society to begin with. The web definitely doesn't have it all though. It was brought up that many people still rely on their local newspapers for those local stories. I completely agree with this. My parents get our daily town newspaper. It definitely has a more personal feel to it than say, even the Star Tribune. I will often look at it online since I am not home to look at it, but it doesn't quite include everything that is in the paper so I still actually prefer the paper. There are often times small bits about the town and such that isn't put on the web. Anyone who is from a small town, especially, could agree that it can be entertaining to look in the daily police and ticket logs...that's how we found out my Dad got a seat belt ticket once! (He didn't tell us beforehand). The web does allow for more opinions to be heard because you can often comment on a letter that was sent in-because they post them online-more easily than having to write into the paper all the time and potentially your response not getting published.

I think that it is important to keep newspapers around because not only do people often times prefer a hard copy of something to read, but it is a staple to many. Many people have to have a newspaper to read, especially the older generations. I think it's important to step back from the hustle and bustle of the national news and take a look at your local stories and economy. I think newspapers will be around for a long time and it will take a lot to get rid of them.

Discussion Question: "Newsweek" was a popular magazine that merged with the online news and opinion website "The Daily Beast" back in 2010 and stopped printing December 31, 2012. Do you think this is the start of many newspapers and magazines going to strictly digital or will it be a dying trend that will eventually just lead to more hybrid subscriptions of print/digital?

Response to Starr

| No Comments

The subject of newspaper has been one to observe over the past few years as the era of mobility has evolved. There are several factors to argue why newspaper will remain a medium of news and why it will not. I think that newspaper for sure will be around for the next twenty years or so because the largest demographic in the United States right now, the baby boomers, such as my parents are only used to getting their news physically every morning on their doorstep. Although more and more people are becoming technologically friendly, I think that this demographic will for some time still be a proponent of the newspaper. However, this demographic will age and eventually the age of the newspaper will deplete if not become nonexistent. It comes with the evolution of anything take music for instance, there was the record, next the cassette tape, next the CD, and now iPods. These changes and advances are inevitable and companies need to roll with the punches. I do agree with some of Starr's comment however in saying that by retrieving news online, people tend to miss out on key stories and political news because they have the ability to bypass that news and get to what they prefer. I also think this can tie into the fact that we are becoming reliable on technology for everything that we need. I myself can say that I get a lot of my news from my iPhone whether it be from Twitter or the USA Today app. The changing of traditional media to a technological force is inevitable and society and the news companies will just need to adjust to this.

DQ: What do you think are some more re precautions to having completely digital news in addition to a lack of knowledge of political news and a greater reliance on technology?

Starr Response and DQ

| No Comments

Paul Starr's article is an interesting look at how the economic downturn and the increasing use of the web have resulted in the death sentence for newspapers. I was particularly interested by Starr's analysis of why the news industry is hurting and his views towards possible outcomes and solutions.
One statistic that caught my attention was how Starr mentioned that, "resources for journalism are now disappearing from the old media faster than new media can develop them." I always assumed that even though the print newspapers were declining, that the internet reporting would have generated enough revenue to outweigh the lack of readership. I figured that any reporter that lost his beat on one category could just pick up a new topic and write about it online, but that is apparently not the case. It makes sense, though, as I read the article because my generation has certainly become used to "free" news on the internet where we can read about a story online without having to pay a subscription fee. Even though these websites likely gain a good amount of online readers, it makes sense that they can't generate the same kind of revenue that newspapers used to be able to.
According to Starr, the outlook for newspapers is pretty bleak. He mentions in his article how the stock market all but abandoned newspapers by decreasing their investments almost 80%, and newspapers have been trimming down their staff for several consecutive years. The one solution that Starr mentions that could be interesting to see is if newspapers focus on "hyperlocalism" where newspapers write stories about the immediate local area. My hometown has a newspaper like this that is printed once a week and focuses primarily on the cities of Maple Grove and Osseo. I believe this paper has been successful because it is a great opportunity for people to read about their own neighbors, rather than about total strangers. The local paper has been so successful that the journalism in Maple Grove has expanded to include a monthly magazine as well. I don't think this is a fix-all for newspapers in general, but it may be an increasing trend.

Discussion Question:
One of the main concerns that Starr brings up is that if there are no financially independent newspapers, then we open ourselves up to more government corruption. Do you think this is a likely result of the downturn in newspapers or is it a panic over nothing?

Dave Zirin

| No Comments

The media examples from Dave Zirin concerning our discussion of sports and its correlation to politics struck a few chords in me. I have never given sports much thought because I have never been a big fan and haven't experienced or known much about the culture. Zirin's argument made sense in his statements concerning how sports can not distance themselves from politics. What I found most striking in terms of these media examples and Johnson's reading was the connection sports have to nationalism and, in turn, the armed forces. In the first video we watched an athlete was claiming that he was a warrior and the sports arena was a battlefield. He stated that if you didn't hurt the enemy (the other team) they would just get you first and that there is not sympathy out there. There is obviously a fascination with violence in the general population's consumption of media and sports are almost like a reality TV version of the violence we so often expose ourselves to. Sports are the only medium through which it becomes okay to inflict pain on another human being. The setting is controlled and there are enough rules so that it isn't a free for all, but it still seems like it is very much about the violence. Then the claim to nationalism and the example used in the video where the military men were on the field and the announcement stated "if you would like to join the armed forces, visit our booth." They make these connections subtly and constantly. There is this underlying idea of nationalism that comes into play for all sports media, but it is not discussed often and sports media wards off the direct statements pertaining to their political connections.

DQ: Is this installation of nationalism within our countries sports teams okay? Does it help the media survive? Are the messages the audience receiving positive or negative in this regard?

Johnson Article Response

| 1 Comment

I've never really been much of a sports fan. I can watch soccer or sometimes tennis, but most other sports bore me. With that said, I completely understand where Johnson is coming from in this article. I feel this need to be up to date on the big things happening in sports despite my lack of interest because I don't want to feel excluded from conversations about these events. Johnson talks a bit about this "water cooler" aspect of sports viewing.

I feel like sports are so universal and that's part of what makes them so interesting to study. You don't need to speak the same language to participate in sports viewing. You don't need to understand the culture of the country the players are from. You just need to understand the rules. Thus, sports have the potential to be a site for multicultural interaction. With the advent of new technology, this universality has expanded even more. It's easier than ever to interact with sports and to find all of the sports related content you could ever dream of.

DQ: How do you typically interact with sports related content? What types of new media have you used for sports viewing? How do you feel that the medium changes the way you experience sports?

Johnson article response and DQ

| 1 Comment

Johnson began the article by talking about the interest in sports on both sides of the market, which makes complete sense to me. Having played sports throughout my life I can see why media companies continue to buy the rights to sporting events. They are usually safe t.v., aside from the Janet Jackson incident that Johnson points out, sports are a family friendly event. And as long as there is a market and an audience for sports companies will continue to purchase the rights. Sports are a big enough media medium that there are multiple television channels that deal strictly with sports. Johnson talks about how sports have been crucial to the success of superstations on cable. I completely agree with her statement as events like the super bowl draw a huge crowd. She talks about the hybrid quality of sports which was an interesting take to me. I agree with her because she makes a great point about how unpredictable sports are. That is one of the greatest things about sports, anything can happen. This reason is the same reason that the NCAA basketball tournament has become such a huge deal, because anything can happen in the tournament. Overall I found the article to be one of the more interesting articles this year, due to my fondness of sports.

DQ: As Johnson pointed sports have been in the media for a long time, how long will we continue to see sports as a medium? Do you see them being around forever?

Johnson article response and DQ

| No Comments

I thought the introduction to this article was really interesting. Johnson began by discussing the attraction of sports to both the producer and consumer. She stated that the 'old-entertainment' appeal of sports television has allowed for network stability because viewers constantly tune in because there has always been high demand for sports television and always will be. This is very evident when I think about how sports bars and living rooms arecked full of people and why so many are intersted in this game, when they could be doing or watching something else. I feel like the uncertainty of the outcome of the games results in a competative aspect, adding to the excitement of watching sports.

Johnson introduced the idea of "water-cooler talk" or "highlights" as part of the appeal of sports television. As I read this, I began to think about how prevalent this 'highlight' coverage is becoming outside of the realm of sports. Our news coverage has begun to operate in this 'sound bite' manner by providing constant coverage on almost anything. We are quickly given pieces of information and then they move onto the next topic. I thought this article is very interesting in terms of how it describes the correlation between sports and network television.

Do you feel that these ideas transcended from the realm of sports? Why are we so interested in receiving highlights rather than in depth news coverage?

Everything New is Old Again

| No Comments

I really enjoyed reading this article. I love all things sports. I have played sports all my life and have grown up watching them on television and in real life. The article was interesting to me because the author talked about how sports have so many different platforms and have all this "new" media. I am currently pursuing a new media minor, so I am very familiar with this term. There are so many new platforms to access sports. Mobile applications, twitter, live streaming, online news, and many more. I do agree with author when she says "Formally or textually, through both visual and aural means, sport programming has regularly been the site through which new modes of television technology, aestetics, and the address have been introduced, and by which viewers have become familiar with and been encouraged to adoupt new technologies and applications" She goes into talk about HDTV. I can relate to this because when I think about the people I know who watch sports, they would never watch a football that was not in HD. The picture is just so much better than a regular screen and so important when viewing a game on television. Johnson also talks about how watching the game from home is "ironically better" than being there. I think there is some truth to this statement. The home viewer has everything they need at home, good sound, multiple views and angles from the game and they always know what's going on. However, it is not the same experience fans get being at the physical game and seeing things "live".
I do not think that watching the game at home will ever replace people going to games. Humans have been watching sports for hundreds of years, the architecture of the arena is modeled after the colosseum. Americans love to watch sports physically in the moment and it will always be a favorite American pastime.
DQ: What other possible technological advancements can you see being made in the future in regard to the sport industry? How will that change viewership at home and physical presence at sports games?

Response to Johnson article

| 2 Comments

It happened just last month. I was gearing up for my weekly show. I had been looking forward to it since last weeks episode left me on the edge of my seat, wanting more. I made sure to have most of my homework done, made some dinner, got into my comfy clothes, sat in front of the television, flipped to the channel (5 minutes before the start time) and found the channel airing a March Madness game that was only in the first half. In the article for today, Johnson discussed my very problem of live sporting events interfering with "regular television flow". As frustrating as it can be, it demonstrates just how important sports are to networks because of the fact that they hold such a large audience.
With the emergence of smart phones and the way that audience members are attached to them, networks had to get creative in order to keep the attention of their audience. It's amazing how sporting events incorporate social media into the game. This winter I attended a few Wild Hockey games and at each one they told spectators to post everything from pictures to their seat numbers on social media. They even gave away prizes to a percentage of audiences members who posted things to social media regarding the game.
Some sporting events have gone even further. For the summer Olympics, NBC created an app that was host to articles, videos, highlights and competitor bios. During the games, there were even commercials showing people using and watching videos with the app which reached out and obtained even more users. With the app and the almost constant coverage of the Olympic Games, people were bombarded with the event.

DQ: With every sport creating apps and reaching out to mobile audiences, will mobile and online news/sports coverage get rid of television broadcasts of sporting events? Or are mobile apps bringing in more viewers and creating a larger sports audience?

Response to Johnson

| No Comments

Johnson's article is definitely that can be interesting to nearly everyone because sports has been such a large part of our culture and media. I have always wondered how much the sports industry makes in our media since it is so large. It was intriguing to find out that FOX offered $1.58 billion to the NFL for rights. It seems a little ridiculous to me that the NFL makes that much just on media coverage alone.

One thing brought up was the problem that comes along with "live" sporting events on television and how it interferes with "regular television flow." I can agree with this completely. I know myself along with my mom get very annoyed especially around March Madness time because our regular shows are nearly always delayed. I don't mind so much when it is some sporting even that I like to watch, but this is just evidence of the networks reaching out to their audiences...many people who want to watch many sporting events, especially basketball and March Madness. I also think it's important to look at how sport being such a large part of our culture has such a large holding in our media. Through this article I think it is important to take away how many trends and ideas about our culture get such a strong hold in the media and how hard it is to change. I think often times something we see in our culture that has such a strong hold in it will transform into the media because they will try their best to sell us what we want...whether it be sports or women (as we have discussed how much they are sexualized).

I also thought that when she discussed how technology has changed how we view sports hit home. I don't get the channel that the Wild or Twins are on (FoxSportsNorth) so I go to my phone or the internet to keep up on what is going on. I think she brought up a good point that media outlets are able to expand who they reach because of the changing technologies and how we access what we want to watch.

Discussion Question: Will there always be a strong hold on sporting entertainment in the mass network-era or do you think there will be a falling out? Why?

Johnson Response & DQ

| No Comments

Victoria Johnson's article titled "Everything New is Old Again" is about the changing media climate and content delivery of news, in particular sports. Johnson starts out her article by referring to sports as "water-cooler talk". This means that sports are a topic of public interest that will engage consumers in a collective way. She says that the circulation of media is now changing to instantaneous circulation with the presence of notifications and news information online and to our mobile devices. Like NBC did in the 2008 Olympics, companies are having to come up with ways to keep conversation going after the events air on television. They did this through the use of video streaming online and news to mobile phones. The 2008 saw remarkable viewership ratings for NBC because of their online and mobile viewership.

Johnson is quick to point out that sports news has constantly been the innovator is news circulation. She says that in TV, sports are hybrids because of scheduling, viewing rituals and the fact that they are considered to be communal in comparison with intimate. She says that as sports circulation is becoming more mobile and online, it is being more tailored to an individual instead of community.

DQ:
Do you think mobile and online news circulation will ever completely overtake the need for television broadcasts?

Johnson's article

| No Comments

nJohnson's article is about the coverage of sports and about sports channel in the U.S media history. First interesting point is that many Americans really like sports. This makes me think about how many of them are big fan of sports games? Networks penetrate that point. Of course, I agree that brining sports to television were beneficial to both broadcasting business and big sports fan. Bring sports to television has contributed to network stability, and also audience could get convenience in watching sports game through sports channels. I also have experiences that I watched "highlight" of sports game through sports channels. They repeat the highlight all day. This was because I could not sit in front of a television on time. Also, I could watch news about various sports game for short time. Nowadays, there are many developed devices such as smart phones or tablet, which allow people to use internet and watch sports or get information about sports game. The interesting thing is that when people watch sports game on television, they can feel a part of community while they can feel individual when watching sports game on other devices. People tend to watch sports game together. I felt it when I went to sports bar. When a big match of football game, many people go to bar and watch together. Although there are many other devices, television showing sports game is still powerful medium.

Currently, networks make apps or other systems on-line for their sports channels. In order to make people feel united or part of a community, what they should promote? How development of other mobile devices for broadcasting sports game can be part of culture?

Johnson Sport Television Reading Response

| 1 Comment

Johnson's article "Everything New is Old Again" focuses on the unique dynamic of sport programming. She refers to sport programming as the last vestige of "mass" broadcast television with shared cultural value because of its "water-cooler talk" content. Its something everyone shares and watches because its what everyone talks about, making it a shared cultural value. The reading examines sport programming's synchronicity with network-era television practices from past and present by its centrality to institutional branding and claim to cultural relevance through the critical role of the NFL shaping the business of television sport. Also, it explores the unique "hybridity" of sport television between network-era and post-network era audience appeals. "Sport programming represents a symbolic and actual "bridge" between network-era practices and post-network realities. It represents a unique hybrid or articulation between network television's traditional role as the site of "mass" audiences, communal, national spectacle and the post-network era's characteristic proliferation of content" (Johnson 116). What this means is that sport programming connects the past with the present. It continues the network-era's (past) traditional role by bringing to together mass audiences to watch its programming but it also incorporates the post-nework era (present) by incorporating new media (i.e. internet and mobile devices).
Sport on television really began to increase in the 1960's with the emergence and success of the National Football League or NFL. The Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961 made the unbelievable exponential increase of sport television possible, it allowed professional sport leagues to broadcast all of their teams as a package to a network or networks. When the NFL merged with the AFL to create what is now the NFL as we know it, they split their television package with CBS and NBC. ABC got in on the action in 1970 and created one of the most popular football broadcasts to this day of Monday NIght Football. Today the most popular sports programming station, ESPN, was launched in 1979 and was purchased by ABC in the early 1980's. "ESPN's early and continued intertwining with ABC calls attention to the ways in which sport content and the business of television sport, historically, have connected network-era practices and industry "players" to post-network practices and entities. From the early beginning of sport television the so-called "bridge" created by Johnson between the network-era and post-network era could be seen. Once FOX emerged on the seen of sports programming with a major sport broadcast rights contract, Johnson argues was necessary for the post-network transition to begin. The "hybridity" of sport television can be seen in its terms of scheduling and viewing rituals that are often communal and public rather than domestic and intimate. In terms of scheduling, its unique in its unpredictability to overlap or stretch prime time's borders and its main events usually exist outside of prime time. Its viewing rituals being communal and public, meaning its common for groups of people to get together and watch sports together, date back to the network-era. When people would go to movie theaters to watch major news events, or important speeches. However, its been the main source of introducing new modes of television technology and applications (HDTV, fantasy football), which makes it the poster child for the post-netowork era. This highlights its hybridity. "Sport is both the epitome of network-era spectacle and communal "event", as well as ideally predisposed to being parsed out in small "bytes" of information or highlights and news alerts best suited for miniaturized technologies" (Johnson 123). It puts traditions of the past and combines them with traditions of today, it is the perfect media to condense into a tweet, or short video on your phone. The television of sport thus is our last major shared cultural value. It continues to construct community by bringing society together while introducing ways of new technology to be shared and individually experienced.


DQ: Is Johnson correct in saying that with the amazing new technology of sports broadcasting that it is better to watch on television than actually be there?

Response to Johnson Article

| No Comments

I actually got kind of excited just by reading the title because I am a huge sports fan! I love basketball, football, and baseball (I even work at Target Field). In fact after reading one of the first sentences regarding 2008 being one of the strongest years ever for sports television, I automatically patted myself on the back for my contribution. No matter how much our world becomes technologically based, I find it hard to believe that sport "television" is being consumed and discussed off television. I'm definitely not surprised by the fact that video streaming and other internet options have become popular, but it is shocking to read that it is a fact and that people would prefer it that way. After all, don't quite a bit of people (men in particular), fit the stereotype of needing to be home to watch "the game" because it's not the same if you record it or watch it somehow later? On that note, it is obvious that "within the business of television, sports is hybrid" in more ways than one. Take scheduling for example. If you watch a lot of sports, you can usually guesstimate how long a game will last, but you can never know for sure how long it is going to be. Baseball for example, has nine innings and usually lasts about three hours. However, if the game is tied by the end, they are forced to go into extra innings, making the game longer. Just last week my sister and I were getting ready to watch "The Amazing Race" on CBS but a basketball game ran late so it didn't start on time. Another way sports are a form of "hybrid" television is the fact that people tend to learn about the new technologies while watching them. These days your cable provider provides different channels in HD, what is the next step in technological advance? I don't know, but i'm sure sports will be one of the first areas to introduce it to us.

Discussion Question: Do you agree that when it comes to television, sports is a perfect example of a "hybrid" genre? Is this a good thing, will it motivate you to watch more or less?

Johnson Article & DQ

| No Comments

Johnson discusses his idea of Traditional Media and what the current state of news media is today, which he would suggest is a "Rainforest." In his article he responds to the current frenzy of people being concerned about the disappearance of newspapers and other traditional sources of media. He argues that in order to understand the media moment we are currently having, we need to look back into the past when we never would have been able to understand the present day. Johnson says we have more information than we have ever had in the past, and can get it at lightning speed. Although the way we receive media/news is changing we have way more and also have the ability to filter it to what is relevant to us. I think it is a nice convenience to be able to see what we want to see when we see it, but I also think we should be conscious to not filter everything out because we wouldn't have a diverse spectrum of news and information. I also think his point at the end leaves room for pause because he says if people aren't mature enough to be their own media experts and filter the real from fake they will need to use someone to do it for them. This is also dangerous because who is in charge of making that decision?

Who is qualified to be a media filterer? What are some of the dangers of being able to have a personal filter on everything you see?

Johnson Sport Response & DQ

| No Comments

I will start this response very honestly: I really don't like sports. Really. In fact, just reading the title of Johnson's essay made me sigh a little. But by the end of the essay, I was so glad I had read it! Ever since I can remember I have been baffled by the popularity and success of sports television, and this essay relieves some of my confusion. Though many of its references went straight over my head (what the heck is the difference between the NFL, AFL, NCAA?...so many acronyms!), Johnson's essay highlights the profound importance of sports in America, reminding me that no matter how much I may want to avoid it, I simply can't if I really want to understand media in this country. I now understand that sport television's power comes from its ability to fit into both the network era of TV and the post-network era. That is, while it continues to function as a "larger-than-life community spectacle", sports television is now also an individual experience, as it is more and more frequently consumed via the Internet, hand-held mobile devices, etc. The only sporting event I've ever really consumed (albeit still minimally) is the Olympics, and my experience definitely corresponds with what Johnson describes. When Michael Phelps was going for his gold medal record, it seemed like everyone was talking about it. Definitely a hot "water cooler" topic. So when I started watching him on television I felt like I was a part of this community, part of the "American pride" group rooting for a star athlete. The experience also became individualized, as I occasionally followed Phelps online on my computer and cell phone. Of course, with its rights to Olympic coverage NBC was benefiting from all of my consuming behaviors, something I never thought of at the time. This piece, like many of our other readings, highlights the corporate, profit-driven base of all media. Even for someone who doesn't like sports, it is an important read in that it contributes to our understanding of sports media's profound power in America.

DQ: Johnson writes, "Sport and network television are particularly symbiotic US cultural institutions. They appear uniquely apolitical and are simultaneously our most visible indicators of whom and what are most valued within contemporary US culture" (133). Taking into account today's sports media content, who/what are we being told is important in our society? Unimportant? Why does this matter?


read article here

This article relates really well to our conversations on race.

-Liora

Grewal Response and Discussion Question

| No Comments

Grewal's article began by discussing the international marketing of Barbie, specifically in India, and how she was initially created as the "traditional" Barbie which is a white/American doll. Because this doll did not sell well in India, they placed her in a Sari to represent her home as India. She goes on to say, "The doll suggests that difference, as homogenized national stereotype, could be recovered by multinational corporations that the national could exist in this global economy" (186). The company quickly realized that in doing this, it increased consumption, production and circulation internationally, which in return, increased investment in Barbie. In order for this product to be mass produced and accepted through out India and to young females, it needed to be dressed as something familiar and known to them. This idea was emphasized in the article by the concept of Transnationalism and economic liberalization. Based on the location, culture, and many other factors, the product needed to be altered in order to fit their desires. This idea Grewal explained allowed for a larger target market for the doll and allowed for the distribution at many other locations towards many other cultures and people.

Grewal proceeded with acknowledging the effects and truth in global marketing agencies and how different countries are recognized for production of specific products. "Global brands clearly have national stereotypes, such as blue jeans from the United States and electronics for Japan, and these symbolic affiliations are powerful in a globalized world where national identity becomes a marketing tool" (803). This focuses on the idea that every part of the world has their strengths and relies on others for the production of other necessary materialistic items because they are stereotyped as being the dominant creator of those products. Touching back on the Barbie idea of the impacts of the "traditional" white Barbie, does this idea create more separation and tension between countries/cultures by specifically tailoring each product to each country or is this the most beneficial way to market a product?

Extra Credit Grewal Response/DQ

| No Comments

In "Travelling Barbie," Inderpal Grewal talks about Mattel's marketing technique of its famous Barbie doll in India. Barbie originally didn't sell very well in India because it was too white or Western and didn't appeal to the people of India. But through "transnationalization," Mattel marketed a new Barbie that still looked like the classic doll but was wearing a sari. It was sold as a white traveller that felt at home in India. Grewal shows how Mattel tapped into certain markets of travelers and children, and was able to sell the new Barbie at airports, hotels, and tourist attractions. This mixture of cultures was a success and strengthened national boundaries by making citizens view themselves in a more global context.

I understand that this can be seen as a good thing. It appears to unify different cultures and globalize the identities of citizens. However, I worry that it is another way that the U.S. and other Western cultures are trying to influence the East. I know that Japan has become very Westernized through pop culture and a lot of words spoken in Japan are just Japanese pronunciations of English words (especially when dealing with American technologies, sports vocabulary, music, etc.). So I'm wondering, is this Barbie example of transnationalization really a good thing? Does it globalize us or is it another way to Westernize or "whiten" other countries?

Grewal, Traveling Barbie

| No Comments

Grewal's article said about how the Barbie affected Indian consumer subjects and brought transnationalism; transnational localizing products in India. The Indian version of Barbie has white female appearance like original Barbie including body shape, bright skin color, and hair color but wears Indian traditional clothes. Grewal said that this is result of economic liberalization policies in India. Indians still want to keep their traditional things such as sari and red bindi. Therefore, original Barbie could not be sold well first time. Also, to access young Indian girls, more familiar appearance was needed. Therefore, combination of two cultures was needed. That could be target marketing. Mattel showed a success way that a market of a product can expended internationally. I also have an experience that I played such kind of dolls when I was young. The appearance of the doll was white female like Indian Barbie but wore Korean traditional dress as well as Western style dress. I think that that was very great idea because this could catch both original concept of products and familiar form of products to the local people. Transnational localization made me remind Korean McDonalds. The some items in the menu are different from the United States. Some burgers are combined with Korean traditional food such as "Bulgoki Burger," which is Korean traditional beef food.
Like this, there could be various sorts of products as transnational localizing products in many countries. Did they all succeed? Also, is it always beneficial? This is because companies should advertise each advertisement for each product in each country.

Johnson Response and DQ

| No Comments

Victoria Johnson gives an interesting interpretation of sport viewing in The U.S. She spends some of her article describing the history of sport coverage and the birth of the 24-hour continuous sport news channels. Of this historical section I thought the history of FOX was interesting in how it grew to be a major NFL broadcaster. I had never noticed how FOX airs the majority of Vikings football games during the fall until Johnson brought up FOX's history. I thought the strategy of outbidding CBS for NFL rights was genius for FOX. The network was newly created and not bogged down with continuous prime time TV lineups, yet it needed something powerful to bring in audiences. With the NFL, FOX could advertise its shows to millions of additional viewers that would otherwise never had heard of the shows. This section was a very interesting summary of smart strategy.
The next section that caught my attention was when Johnson writes, "Particularly when at its most 'event' worthy, thus restore the medium to its network-era identity as a venue for simultaneous connection across demographic communities and time zones... (252)" This reminded me of my Communications class from last semester where we discussed the increasing amount of narrowcasting in today's media. The era of mass broadcasting and the idea that one show can reach the same proportion of viewers as the classic shows from decades ago has mostly disappeared in terms of primetime. Yet, sport, particularly football contradicts this trend since millions of viewers will schedule time out of their evening and plan on watching the event live. Often, these events will take place at the same time on the east coast as the west coast, giving way to a completely shared live American experience. Perhaps this provides some hope for viewers who long to share a connection with each other through media. As for now, sports maintain their power as the popular "water cooler talk" of today and represent one of the few remaining widely shared broadcasts.

Discussion Question: The article brings up several new ways in which sports are consumed today. Whether it is online, on a mobile phone or tablet, or through a cable connection, how do you most prefer to watch sporting events?

Grewal Response & DQ

| No Comments

Having grown up playing with Barbie dolls, I really enjoyed reading this article. I particularly liked the history of Mattel and Barbie in India. Grewal talks about the global consumer and how Mattel positioned their product in India. I was really interested in the fact that Mattel sold the typical white Barbie in India. In addition to the typical Barbie they also sold a typical Barbie dressed in Indian garb with a red bindi on her forehead.

When Barbie was first introduced in India it did not sell well. Grewal attributes this to multiple reasons. For one, the toy industry in India is very small and considered a risky investment. Mattel was one of the first companies to advertise toys to families in India and in a sense had to create the whole toy market due to a lack of major competitors. Mattel basically tried to create consumerism in India, by segmenting the audience based on genders and personal goals. However, they struggled to solely target the consumer child because they couldn't separate them from their families. He states that Mattel operates their business on the assumption that all children, regardless of location, are naturally drawn to toys.

I also was very interested in Grewal's discussion on how Mattel plays up stereotypes with Barbies. Some of these stereotypes were an English Barbie dressed as a lady and a Jamaican Barbie dressed as a maid. He also says that instead of using culturally specific names, they use names that can be understood and pronounced universally. I wasn't very shocked with these stereotypes, as I know that Barbie is an inaccurate representation of the female body, but I was still surprised that they got away with producing these dolls.

DQ:
What are the negative effects on young people from selling Barbies that play up ethnic stereotypes? Does this relate to our discussion of misrepresentation of females and minorities in the media? If so, how?

The Super Bowl and other major sporting events

| 1 Comment

Early in the reading of "Everything New is Old Again" the major sporting event, the Super Bowl is mentioned and how different television companies have the rights to various sporting events. Why does CBS have the Super Bowl? What doe ABC have the NBA Finals? Why does NBC get the Olympics? Watching these major sporting events throughout my life, I have never asked the question until now as to how does each television company win the rights to these major events and is there rules as to how many you can broadcast due to fairness? I'm not a die-hard NFL fan but I will watch the Vikings. It never occurred to me that only AFC games are on NBC, only NFC games are on CBS, and Monday Night Football is always on ABC. These companies pay millions and millions of dollars to be able to broadcast these events but it does make sense, when they broadcast the programming, they get to choose whichever advertising they want to provide to the viewers. While watching the Super Bowl this year, it was almost overwhelming with the amount of CBS television shows that were constantly being advertised during the commercials. The same goes for the Olympics and NBC shows but that lasts for a few weeks. I wonder if there is a limit as to how many major events one can broadcast and that ties into major award shows as well such as the Oscars and the Grammys. Are there certain regulations they have to follow when airing major events? I think that it would only make sense for the sense of business to spread out these events among the major networks.

DQ: Should a television network be able to dominate all other channels with the acquisition of major events?

Heroes of Assimilation

| No Comments

In Riley's article "Heroes of Assimilation" he discusses disability, particularly how it pertains to civil rights, disability assimilation, media and media's different audiences. While reading the article, I found Riley's two primary portrayals of disability in the media very interesting. One way that people with disabilities are often portrayed is in a way in which we feel that we should have sympathy and pity for them. Another way that individuals with disabilities are portrayed is in, what Riley calls, a "supercrip" role. Someone in a "supercrip" role is when a disabled individual overcomes the limits that their disability holds and goes on to achieve great things. Riley's discussion of the two main portrayals of individuals with disability helped support his argument that the media is far behind in portraying those with disabilities accurately. I really enjoyed his discussion on the differences between the medial perspective and the political perspective when it comes to talking about those with disabilities and determining those who have disabilities.

Do we agree with Riley's interpretation of disabilities in the media? What other ways can disabled individuals be portrayed in the media?

Response to Seinfeld Screening.

| No Comments

I found the Seinfeld screening so enlightening that I had captivating conversations with my coworkers about the idea of being homophobic and "masculine" yet accepting of homosexuality. On one hand, Jerry and George are saying, "Not that there's nothing wrong with that" and on the other hand, George is willing to have sex with a woman just to prove how not gay he is. Talk having the cake and eating it too. And of course homosexuality is misrepresented in this segment with stereotypes but that's to be expected. The media is essentially saying, "Let's show the country how accepting of Gays we can be without being too gay." This is backed up by showing homosexuals in passive roles. The main thing I got out of this was the notion of being accepting and homophobic at the same time. interesting.

Riley response and DQ

| No Comments

In the article, "Heroes of Assimilation," the author describes every type of disabled person on television. He thinks of all these portrayals as bad stereotypes, because they show a disabled person who lives normally "despite" their disability, one who is depressed because of their disability, or one who "overcame" their disability. No matter what, the disability is an obstacle, and something that makes the person "not normal." I liked was how the author used the phrase the "last minority" in describing people with disabilities although they make up a major part of the American population. No matter what part of the world you are from, if you are a disabled person you're devalued in society regardless of your race, sex, or gender. The media has explored issues of identity dealing with race, sex and gender but have mostly ignored giving light to the identity the disabled person. Rarely do they show a disabled person in the work place, at a bar, etc. Why do you think this is? Why is being disabled so taboo in the media and in society even though disabled people make up 54 million of the U.S. population?

Heroes of Assimilation Response

| No Comments

"Consigned by the arbiters of what is published or produced to a narrow spectrum of roles, from freaks to inspirational saints, lab rats or objects of pity, people with disabilities have not seen the evolution in their public image that their private circumstances have undergone in the aftermath of political and medical progress over the past four decades" (1).

This opening quote was enough to make my heart sink. As the sister to an incredibly wise and beautiful lady who has mental disabilities, this article really hits home for me. People with disabilities truly are the "last minority" and it is incredibly unfortunate how often issues of people with disabilities fly right under the radar. They are hardly ever depicted, and when they are, it isn't for their astounding innocence or bright smiles. They are a problem, a joke, something to gawk at, something incredibly foreign that inspires a fear of the unknown. This is hard to write about. If you do not personally know somebody with a mental disability, this is a particular subject that you will not fully be able to understand. The depiction of disabled people in the media is absolutely problematic for many reasons. The first is underrepresentation, and the second is the negative associations that do arise when they are portrayed in media texts. The most unfair part about the representation of people with disabilities is the fact that for the most part, this group is unaware of how they are being portrayed to the rest of the world and thus cannot always advocate for themselves in the matter. The media goes out of its way to construct images of people with disabilities in such a way that the purpose of these characters is to stand out as different, "crazy", out of control, or humorous. There is hardly ever any effort to identify positive traits or similarities with these characters. This may be due in large part to that lack of awareness. Because people with disabilities cannot advocate for themselves as often as the rest of us can, the media has the power to decide how they want to portray their actions and their meaning in this world. I just think it's disgusting and incredibly unfair. The movie, "The Ringer", is an example of this type of cruelty to me. Despite the fact that this movie was created in part by actors with mental disabilities themselves, the film still capitalizes on making jokes out of various actors lack of mental capabilities or confused reasoning. People with mental and physical disabilities are severely underrepresented and wrongly portrayed within our media. I could go on for pages but this article really illuminated the reasons behind these portrayals for me and I hope to see some sort of positive progress in the representation of these people within my life time. This is a subject more people need to stand up for and protect in place of the people with disabilities who cannot always defend themselves.


Discussion question: What representations of people with disabilities in the media are familiar to you? Do you believe it is fair to exploit the differences of those with disabilities for comedic/entertainment value? Why does our media automatically jump to these types of representations?

Modern Family and Friends

| No Comments

I really liked the screening we had in class on Tuesday. I've not seen many episodes of the show, but I found it to be pretty funny so maybe that'll change. I'm going to blog about both Modern Family and Friends because Friends has been mentioned a number of times in class discussion. In Modern Family, these gay characters are presented as being affluent, white men. One of them has a very stereotypical representation in that he's overly dramatic, interested in fashion, and "feminine". The other has a less stereotypical personality although their relationship is still pretty par the course particularly in terms of being in a long term relationship that's very desexualized. I do feel that the stumpy class would be interested in Modern Family based on this screening.

Friends has been mentioned a number of times in class as being not very politically correct based on making a number of jokes about homosexuality. While I agree that their jokes are sometimes inappropriate, I don't feel that Friends is being given enough credit in terms of their presentation of gay characters. In the first few seasons especially, there are two gay characters that feature very prominently: Carol and Susan. Carol is the mother of Ross's child so she's kind of a big deal. They are presented as being excellent and committed parents, they have a wedding ceremony, and they are often presented as being sexual beings who are very sexually attracted to each other. Susan is considered to be just as much one of Ben's parents as Carol and Ross are. I think that this is a very positive representation of homosexuality especially for the time. So, yes, there are some jokes about homosexuality, but there are also two very positive representations of gay characters.

Discussion Question: With a show like friends, we hear a number of jokes made about homosexuality, but also witness some very positive representations of gay characters. Do these things outweigh each other? How does this representation compare with that found in Modern Family?

Riley & DQ

| No Comments

Heroes of Assimilation is an article that discusses the media's role in creating the identity of disability and people with it. There have been great advances, although not enough as much as we should have, in the role of people with disabilities in society. Riley points out that the media is far behind even the small strides that we've made. He also discusses the difference between the political perspective and the medical perspective when talking about and determining who is considered disabled. In the political perspective it tries to have a narrow focus of what is constituted as disabled because it will cost less. The medical perspective focuses on physical ailments/challenges. I like how it was pointed out that disability should be more of spectrum than either you have it or not (the we/they dichotomy). It was also fascinating to talk about how people with a disability are displayed in media. It only makes money when the disability can be seen, or turned in to the sad-crip/super-crip stereotype (which makes me kringe even to think about using the word "krip).

If disabled people are such a large part of the population, why aren't they more highly represented or marketed to? Why don't people care more about this?

Riley's Article

| No Comments

I thought this article was very moving. Throughout most of the article, the author talks about how underrepresented people with disabilities are, how they do not get enough credit, understanding or limelight in the media. Riley talked about when disabled people do get attention from the media, it usually are only people associated with wheelchairs or when Opra talks about "miracles" on her show. Riley says, "Right behind the telethons in terms of mass appeal are the "miracles" trumpeted by Opra Winfrey or other television producers bent on delivering the nightly wow factor". However, towards the end of the article, Riley says, "Although we were in the lookout for ways to build this consciousness of common ground and expand the disability family, not all people with disabilities shared our views." This is saying that while the author was so concerned with getting people with disabilities exposure in the media, the reality is that "not everybody likes you to speak for him or her". Riley said it was embaressing to have people hand back a free copy of the magazine offered to them when they realized its premise. I think this is true. I think we have journalists and other people in media that are writing and covering disability stories, when they have no idea what it's like. They are writing something from their point of view, with no real insight to what it is like to live with a disability.
DQ: How can we facilitate more media coverage/exposure to people with disabilities that is authentic and at the same time inclusive of all disabilities?

Reaction to Riley's Article & DQ

| No Comments

I actually found this article to be really interesting. I liked the way that Riley made a distinction between disabilities in a medical or technical way and then the social and political way in which we use, see, and present them. He says there is a misrepresentation of people with disabilities. I took this article as him saying that we kind of construct what it means to be disabled socially and politically in different contexts, and it often places disabled persons into one of a few stereotypical categories. He says that the media can sometimes add to the stigmas or stereotypes by "defining the ways in which people with disabilities are regarded" (345). the confine the stories to certain places or times creating a sort of isolation or estrangement. This kind of creates two groups, those who are disabled and those who aren't. I found this article interesting because even in the examples of disabled person in media I can think of I can see the separation. Even in the movie Forrest Gump that we talked about a few weeks ago, I can see how he is shown as being so different and the audience can and does often feel bad for him. I think that Riley makes a lot of good points in this article.

Discussion Question:
At one point in the article, Riley mentions a Barbie doll released by Matel in the 1990s that was a doll with a wheelchair and mentioned that this could be seen as progress to help the estrangement between the disabled and non disabled and how they are portrayed. Can you think of any other examples since then that have done, or tried to do the same? How much of a difference do you think it has made?

Modern Family

| No Comments

I feel like today, as homosexuality is becoming more accepted that television shows would want to steer away from the stereotypical gay characters. However, Modern Family seems to highlight these stereotypes in a large way. The two men remind me a lot of the gay couple from Desperate Housewives, Bob and Lee. Their flambouancy is brought out mostly through their friendship with Elizabeth Banks, they are her token gay best guy friends. When Elizabeth Banks, who clearly should not be getting married, tells the two men that she is engaged, they ask all of the typical gay men/best friend questions that one would ask a bride. However, it is ironic that when she tells them she is getting married, she instantly asks if that's alright even though they can't get married themselves. I wonder if someone that is producing the show wasn't trying to get some sort of message across. Throughout the episode, the two male character continue to drop "typical" gay comments and fall into the sterotype. Now that homosexuality is more widely accepeted, it would be nice to see more than just the flamboyant gay character on television.

DQ: Why is it when homosexuals are becoming more widely accepted, television feels the need to still portray them in that flamboyant stereotype?

Reactions to Modern Family

| No Comments

I thought Tuesday's discussion was very interesting because I thought I had a lot of insight into it. What I mean by that is, I absolutely love the television series "Will and Grace"; I have the entire series in a box set and have seen every episode at least twice. Therefore, when I was reading Becker's article, all I could think of or relate it to was "Will and Grace". However, after our screening of "Modern Family" and our discussion that followed, I don't think I grasped the full concept. I didn't think Will from "Will and Grace" conformed to Becker's views until I realized that even though he may not fit every aspect to a tee, he definitely falls into the realm of the stereotypical gay portrayal. Will is a lawyer, who honestly at first glance seems straight, but once you hear him tell things about himself you realize he is how everyone on God's green earth might already view him as. He hates sports, dreams of falling in love and getting married, is successful, and loves to shop. However, after watching "Modern Family" and having our discussion, I think this show ("Modern Family") is challenging the media norms, even though it seems to portray some of the typical, gay stereotypes. I think one point that was brought up was interesting and it was about how in this show, the quirky, crazy family is the one with the straight couple, but the put together family is the gay couple. I think more media should try to portray gay couples/ people as more put together, instead of just the stereotypical and easily described characters we see in the media today.

Discussion Question: How can 'disabilities' be incorporated into movies and television (media) without using stereotypes or generalizations?

Reactions to Disability in the Media

| No Comments

This article drives interest in me because I have a younger brother with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). I understand first hand what it is like to try to get him to (a.) physically do things, or even remember to do those things and (b.) listen to you when you are talking to him. It fits the definition of a disorder perfectly; a prevention that alters or disrupts your day-to-day activity. Yet, Riley makes a great point when talking about who deserves to have the title "disabled". To make a long story short, it's a crapshoot. If you're disabled, pick a model or approach and hope you fit in with that category. This is the first main problem. Each model/approach defines people with disabilities differently. To some you're considered disabled, but to others you aren't. To me, it is one big mess!

Before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) came into effect, which was signed by the Bush administration in 1990 including physical and mental disorders, society decided what was deemed worthy as disabled and what wasn't; in other words who was deserving and who was undeserving. Many people automatically think of physical disorders when describing disabled individuals, such as individuals with cerebral palsy or spinal disorders, and using a wheelchair or crutches as a symbol. But what about the people with mental disorders such as ADD or alcoholism/drug addiction? Are those disorders "undeserving"?

The Social Security Disability law or SSDI, which is used for insurance and benefits, is still separate from the ADA when diagnosing disability. These laws are stingy at best when considering people for disability benefits by using the medical model, which attempts to cure or rehabilitate disability and only includes those who show deviation from the norm (whatever norm means) and totally unable to work due to disability, clearly stating that mental disorders are undeserving. Now, I understand the difference between a physical and mental disorder, but who/what makes one more deserving than the other?

Furthermore, the media does not help the situation by only portraying people with disabilities either as tragic figures who lost or suffered in their life leaving society to feel "sorry" for them, or triumphant individuals who overcame all odds to achieve their goal or some sort of obstacle. All in all, most media leaves out mental disorders completely and, when included, often portray them as negative or them being the blunt of jokes (Byron 'Buster' Bluth from Arrested Development, Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones, and countless other characters who are negatively portrayed for addictions such as Jolene Barnes in Nashville).

Discussion Question: It seems enlightening that disability is at least making appearances in today's media, even if not all forms of disability is covered. Yet, the disabled characters that star in shows are portrayed by actors that are not disabled. Is this demeaning for the disabled community? Does the integrity of the moral or ethic principles in the show change for you?

Response to Riley

| No Comments

People with disabilities could be a source for journalists. That was because social movements and political changes made it was impossible for them to succeed in various areas such as business or music. Of course, I think that since people still have old thought about impairment and stereotypes about people who disabilities, - Social Security disability law defined disabilities based on medial model approach - their success story can be more special and valuable for many audience, especially who do not have disabilities. In this article, the Riley said that media still divide the world into people with disabilities and people without disabilities. When media says the stories about people with disabilities are special and difficult based on medial standard, the media contribute to making discrimination. Also, media has power in shaping perception about some people in the way they want. Therefore, media focus on more impairment defined medically than defined by ADA. This is because it will make their stories more special.

Media more and more focus on right of people with disabilities, which is positive change in media industry and society. However, I thought that I have watched documentaries showing stories of people with disabilities. Riley said that people with disabilities become one of the important audiences to media industry. Can such stories attract them and affect positively? Regardless of profit, should media contribute to eliminate old thought of impairment?

Modern Family screening response

| No Comments

Following up on what Becker was talking about the slumpy class, I think it is obvious that Modern Family is targeting today's slumpy class. As we discussed in class the slumpy class appears to be a little different. I agree with the comment that the group is older, however I think it is more spread out now that it previously was. The group as a whole seems to be an older group but I think that there is still a good portion of people in their mid to low twenties. I found that the episode was targeting the slumpy class because the variety of families that are on the show allows members of the slumpy class to relate to the family that they want to associate themselves with. I think that most of the slumpy class will relate to the family with the son and two daughters, I am drawing a blank on the name. I think that most of the slumpy class will relate to them because they seem to be the most "normal" family. I think that they relate to them and just kind of write off the gay couple since it is a comedy. If the show were not a comedy I feel that the gay couple would be much of a controversy. By that I mean it would stir up a conversation that is vital to creating a norm with gay couples on tv. I personally don't think about more than identifying that the couple is gay. To me it is just another couple that happen to be the same sex. The broadcasting companies still have a hard time depicting normal gay couples. I think modern family is doing a good job at trying to normalize it but I do think it will take time and multiple tv shows depicting normal gay couples and not just couples made to make the audience laugh. I think the slumpy class is very liberal and will have no problem transitioning between these if the major corps can get it rolling.

Becker Response/DQ

| No Comments

Becker's article discusses the significant increase of gay material during the 1990s on television, notably popular sitcoms. Network executives seemed to believe that including gay characters and gay-themed episodes was an effective marketing strategy. It was still kind of a taboo subject, with half the population during the early 90s being against homosexual behavior. But it was a success. Becker uses a Seinfeld episode to help analyze the Slumpy class' attitude toward homosexuality. Becker writes, "The viewer's ambivalence toward homosexuality and the imperatives of both political correctness and heterosexuality fuel their nervous laughter" (p. 207). It's a funny episode because Slumpy viewers can identify with the anxiety expressed by Jerry and George. I think it's pretty interesting that there always seems to be a need for heterosexual men to reaffirm their straightness, whether or not they are supportive of homosexuality. Is this attitude kind of changing, both in real life and on television shows? Are straight characters/people getting less worried about being thought of as a homosexual?

Riley Response & DQ

| No Comments

I appreciate the distinction Riley makes between the medical model of disability and the political model. He says that while the disabled community has taken great strides in recent decades in protesting discrimination and affirming their civil rights, the media is lagging behind in its representation of them. The medical model to which the media subscribes focuses on the physical aspect of disability, portraying disabled people as either objects of pity ('sadcrips') or objects of awe ('supercrips'). Very rarely does the media depict disabled people as the active citizens that they are. Riley argues that the media's representation of disability is a case of "facilitated communication" that leads to inaccurate and misleading content. Many media creators are able-bodied people who do not really understand the true experience of disability. And the creators who are disabled themselves are so focused on trying to impress their editors/finding success that their stories get similarly exaggerated and jumbled. While I read this article, I thought of the movie I Am Sam which tells the story of a mentally disabled man (Sean Penn) whose daughter is taken away from him. At first I was thinking this movie might represent a counterexample to what Riley was saying because the disabled father is portrayed as a politically active citizen; throughout the movie he passionately fights for his rights as he undergoes a long, arduous court process to get his daughter back. However, upon further consideration I realize that he still fits within the traditional medical model because throughout the entire movie the audience is made to pity him and feel sorry for his disabled state. And even when he does try to defend himself in court, his disability keeps him from doing it well; he starts crying and becomes hysterical on the stand. Therefore, I think Riley's ideas about the medical vs. political models of disability representation hold true in this media text as well as others.


DQ: What does the author mean when he says there is a "pecking order" in the disability community (16-17)? Why do you think the media frequently choose wheelchair users as the token person with a disability instead of people with mental disorders like Alzheimer's or dementia?

Seinfeld

| No Comments

I have been thinking a lot about the media examples used in relation to Becker and his discussion of the 'slumpy' class. I do think that this particular episode and it's factors relating to the discussion of gayness on television, but I don't think it was completely dead on in terms of specific assumptions related to the slumpy class. I feel like the components of Seinfeld, although it is a show about "nothing", are much more complex than what Becker is claiming. Although the presentation is given in a humorous manner, as is much other discussion involving the gay community on television, the direction of the program is different from what the slumpy class would be attracted toward. Although it does have some ideas that seem progressive, it doesn't exactly mirror the description Becker is giving as what the slumpy class resembles. I just feel as though the dynamic of Seinfeld is much more than the description Becker gives instead of just the singular aspects to which he points out relating to his argument.

DQ: Do you think the slumpy class is important to mention what discussing television? Does this semi-vague group need to be noticed? Why or why not?

Response to Becker

| No Comments

This concept surprised me and tested my understanding of representation in the media. I was under the impression that US media was just starting to come around to the idea of minorities represented in television shows. I thought the US media was in a stage of enlightenment with representation, this stage also addressed political correctness. Political correctness was a heavy subtext through out this article when discussing this first wave of minority representation in the media. However, the first wave of minority representation in the media was in the 90's according to this article.

"Between 1994 and 1997, well over 40% of all prime-time series produced at lease one gay0themed episode" (Becker, 2006, pg. 185). These shows walked the line between political correctness and addressing this new rising culture of creativeness. Suddenly in the 90's it was hip to be creatively different than mainstream, and even gay or lesbian. The shows that represented this new emerging image got all the buzz and viewership, thus creating an environment where they continued to address minorities.

Becker addresses a class called the slumpy class that is composed mostly of bay boomers and generation Xers. This class way being pushed aside for the "creative class" which I mentioned above. This creative class processed very progressive attitudes towards sex, gender equality and the environment. Due to this rising class it is not surprise to me that gays and lesbians were such a niche segmented market in the 90's.

Discussion Question:
"In the early 90's marketers quickly realized that multicultural difference would be profitably commodified, packages, and sold" (Becker, 2006, pg. 194). Multiculturalism was introduced by the rise in the creative class, but did it stay a trend and niche market in the media because of advertisers ability to turn it into a commodity?

Becker Response & DQ

| No Comments

I thought Becker's article "Gay-Themed Television and the Slumpy Class" was really interesting. In the article he examines how new social classes like the Slumpy and BoBo classes rose in society because of US media. Becker states that in the 90's American TV became obsessed with incorporating homosexuality in prime-time TV. He states that "over 40% of all prime-time network series produced at least one gay-themed episode, nineteen network shows debuted with recurring gay characters..." (185). He goes on to attribute this rise to targeting the "Slumpy class" who were affluent people who wanted more daring programming.

He goes on to describe the Slumpy class and how they used homosexuality on TV to make a "hip" identity. This class watched homosexuality on TV to show that they were supportive and to make it seem like they were hip, politically correct, and open-minded. This fits with Becker's description of this class being fiscally conservative, yet socially liberal. He also goes on to say how marketers began to recognize and target the slumpy class and the idea of "consuming culture" came into play. Becker says that marketers used cause-related marketing tactics as a way to get people to buy their products and feel as if they are giving back to the world or being tolerant of different cultures. The Slumpy class thought that they could buy these products in order to try and change themselves and be viewed as progressive and open. He also asserts that they likely consumed their culture to try and "reconcile their privilege." Becker goes on to say that while gay culture was becoming more accepted into society and gaining public support through television, other minority groups like African Americans were not. Instead, they were being narrowcasted on TV.

DQ:
Do you think this dominant politically correct attitude has changed since the 90's? If so, how or how not? Does this PC attitude effect how minorities are represented in prime time television today?

Becker Response and Discussion Question

| No Comments

It is very interesting to analyze and acknowledge how the Media has changed their gay presence in television shows over the past 15 years. As Becker stated in the beginning of her article, famous shows such as Seinfeld from the 90's began incorporated gay characters or themed episodes. Even in this example of Seinfeld, numerous characters felt the need to clarify that they are not gay, but went on to say they fully support people who are. They believed and knew this would be a strong strategy to open their target market and encourage an equalized society, which began this idea of a more open and accepting television environment.

Becker goes on to discuss the ideas of Slumpies, Bobos, and the Creative Class. The term Bobos describes the new hippie-like, educated class that has a relaxed attitude towards gay presence on television. This term was introduced by David Brooks in 2002, so we can only imagine how much more the presence of this class has increased in our society today, now ten years later. Richard Florida then goes on to analyze this idea of a "creative class". He goes on to say, "twenty-three million 'creative professionals' - problem-solving workers in knowledge-intensive industries like high-tech, health care, financial services, and business management where education and creative thinking are important" (189). According to him, the presence of our gay community is becoming much more important, acceptable, and dominant in this creative class. This "Slumpy class" refers to the baby boomers and Generation X'ers who were educated enough to encourage this shift in the Media.

Although education has always been a part of our culture, these colleges and universities seem to be one of the driving factors in this societal shift of acceptance towards our gay community. This idea is what led me to my discussion question: This article got me thinking, why did this outlook on gay presence on television shift significantly in the 90's and become a much more predominant and important part of Media?

Becker Response and DQ

| No Comments

Becker's reading was very interesting to read, and although it gave a large amount of information, I felt like I got a lot out of it. The article focused heavily on the examination of the social class Becker created known as the Slumpies, and how the sensibility of this social class gives a better understanding to why gay-themed broadcasting dramatically increased (viable narrowcasting tool?) in the 1990's. Along with Becker's Slumpy class, he gives two other social class examples--Brook's Bobo class and Florida's creative class--which are extremely similar to the Slumpy class to give a historical context to help better understand network executives idea of a hip quality audience. The Slumpy class comes from what Becker calls the Socially Liberal, Urban-Minded Professional, and defines the Slumpy sensibility as "a socially liberal, fiscally conservative political position" (Becker 187). Brook's Bobos are short for bourgeois bohemians. "According to Brooks (2000), Bobos constitutes a new and expanding educated class for the information age and are distinguished by their unprecedented fusion of a bohemian antiestablishment spirit with a bourgeois pursuit of material security through a solid work ethic" (Becker 188). Florida's creative class comes from his study of labor statistics and census data, and came from him identifying the increasing role of information and creativity as the main factors of economic growth. "Members of the creative class, he claims, tend to hold what political scientists call "post materialist" values; their economic security often translates into progressive attitudes toward sex, gender equality, and the environment as well as an overall interest in lifestyle issues" (Becker 189). The article continues to explain that in the early 90's our culture was very focused on cultural difference, and multiculturalism became something Americans wanted to have, Becker says that multiculturalism and diversity gained a new currency. With things such as Clinton's campaign focusing on contemporary debates on the importance of diversity and a similar strategy in MTV's then new reality show "The Real World", the term politically correct arose. "In this environment, "politically correct", was a ubiquitous adjective--a convenient buzzword used to identify someone or something perceived to be sensitive to multicultural sensitivity and specific positions on issues like abortion, environmentalism, and gun control" (Becker 193). I thought this was really interesting because topics such as gun control and environmentalism are still very prevalent today. Also, I was only a couple years old when the term politically correct came about but have always been taught to have this multicultural sensitivity, so it was really cool to read about its origins.
Becker says that celebrating the value of diversity, or the difference of the marginal, was a signal of one's open-minded nature as well as one's social position as a highly educated and upscale individual. Through these positive indicators it is easy to see why network executives saw great value in gay-themed broadcasting. Through gay-themed broadcasting, networks' could be viewed as having an open-minded nature and as being an upscale corporation, things that were becoming increasingly important to Americans (or Slumpies, Bobos, and the creative class). "As it came to be constructed in the 1990s, homosexuality was a particularly pragmatic fit for Slumpies looking to find an affordable politics of affirmative multiculturalism" (Becker 200). The major networks are constantly looking for giving their audience what they want to see to keep their rankings high, and if a dramatically increasing number of people were viewing homosexuality as good way in celebrating multiculturalism, then the increase in gay-themed broadcasting in the 90's only makes sense. This article was very informative and fun to read.

DQ: Is the multicultural sensitivity in our nation ever too sensitive? If so, in what topics? Are there multicultural topics in our culture in which we should be more sensitive to?

Response to Becker

| No Comments

I think it's interesting to think about the explosion of the gay-themed television back in the 1990's that we saw. I was young and didn't really think about the gay material I was seeing. Looking back now it does appear that many shows would bring up gay references and jokes in their material. Just this past Thursday in class it was brought up that in the 90's Friends had many gay references and how towards the end of the show that wasn't really there anymore. Today, it makes me think if much has changed in general about television. Yes we have some shows that have a gay lead and it's not a deal to have gay references, but in one of my favorite shows, Supernatural, the two brothers are often mistaken as being gay and have many jokes about it. I've thought about it being a reference to the idea that gay should be more mainstream and is seen as a normal thing, but after reading about Seinfeld and how Jerry has to be defensive about how he isn't gay I think maybe the show could be stuck in the 90's era when it comes to gay television and the way gayness was represented.

What I found most interesting about this article was the term Slumpy. I found it interesting that he uses it as a reference to the "Socially Liberal, Urban-Minded Professional (Slumpy) class and the neoliberal political climate...." He talks about why televised gayness seems to be constructed by a specific culture with one hand being based on a business strategy that was trying to draw in a certain audience that is upscale and wanting something "edgy" to watch. As usual it does seem to come down a business strategy and how there is always a place to look for money making and if it seems the audience wants to see more gay material because they may find it interesting or entertaining.

Discussion Question: There are some shows that seem to be addressing the comic relief that is often seen behind gay material by starting out with a gay lead and not making as many gay references...but has this evolved from the material in the 1990's? If so, how? What audience may business strategies be trying to reach today?

Response to Becker Article and DQ

| No Comments

Upon reading the article by Becker I initially found myself frustrated with his assertions about the Slumpy culture and its connection to the presentation of gays in media. Becker points out several characteristics of what he observes to be a new evolution of baby boomers in the '90s. Becker notes how Slumpys and Bobos, "reconcile their hippie idealism with their yuppie self-absorption (188)." To begin, Becker seems to condescend this group by referring to them as Slumpys and Bobos as if they are childish or ignorant. He seems to continue his mocking tone when describing Slumpy sensibility as being obsessed with different cultures and focusing their purchasing power on items that have been marketed to represent equality and environmental protection (195). On page 188 he connects the increase in gay characters on TV as the Slumpys way to, "painlessly... affirm their open-mindedness." These sections seem to serve the purpose of ridiculing a class of people for trying to make strides towards social equality.
Becker connects his assertions about Slumpy sensibility to the rise in TV shows featuring gay characters, gay plots, or gay jokes. As we learned last week from Joyrich's article and what she referred to as, "enlightened sexuality". One of the aspects of enlightened sexuality was the inclusion of at least one gay character in every show to serve as the educator of straight people. Becker believes this was a logical minority to include in programming because it was a "model minority" in how the GBLT community appeared to be financially well-off and easily integrated into society (188). I agree with Becker on this point based on what we have learned so far about GBLT representation and the media's focus on white, middle-class, gay men. I thought Becker made a good point on his interpretation of gay characters in shows is when he mentions the very fine line between celebrating gayness and celebrating gay stereotypes. Just like in every other show, gay stereotypes can sometimes be used to create humor, but these stereotypes still perpetuate characteristics that are not representative of the whole group. While I don't agree with Becker's tone regarding Slumpy culture, I do believe he is right in his observations about the representation of gays and lesbians as the chosen minority in many shows.
Discussion Question: Becker points out how, "In the early '90s, American culture seemed unusually preoccupied with difference, specifically cultural difference." Why do you think this spread of fascination with culture difference didn't encourage more shows with main characters who were minorities?

Response to Jackson Katz

| No Comments

Katz focuses more on mainstream American magazines ads in the 90's. He addresses this notion of the "angry, aggressive, white working-class male as anti authority rebel." Advertisers have sought to use the men who fit this image to promote their products. For examples, he uses Kid Rock, Limp Biskit and Eminem. He argues that three individuals promote a type of rebellion for young males and that their homophobia and misogyny is actually extremely conservative and traditional. She discusses how male aggressiveness and dominance have been portrayed as "historical proof" by advertisers.

I have to be honest, I didn't really appreciate how Katz addressed Eminem. I can understand how the rapper's work can and will come off as misogynistic and homophobic, but at the same time I recognize a thing we refer to as sense of humor. As an avid listener of Eminem, I do know that the extreme material Katz is speaking of is mostly derived from a funny skit or plot. If one doesn't think that it's funny, then that's their opinion but there is a reason why he has sold millions of albums. In the Hip-Hop community, he is a respected legend. Some would even consider him a poet. So for comedic purposes, I don't see the need for many limitations (although there are some) on who get's talked about. Everybody can and should be a target.

My Response to the Invisible War

| No Comments

I really took a liking to the Invisible War documentary, so much, that I finished it later that day. The thing I liked most this films and many like it is that puts America's culture under a moral microscope and forces people to examine just who we are. I say we because everyone has to deal with the culture in one way or the other. As it pertains to this film, the viewer gets a better understanding of how women are treated in the military. The trials and tribulations one faces solely based on their sex.

I am seriously astonished when viewing the Invisible War because if it wasn't bad enough for women just as citizens in the country, the military now takes everything to another level. To be brief, my overall impression of the film is recognizing the cause of what's going on in the military as being a country or societal issue. The military can't be on an island by itself. The way I see it, the Military is merely a bundle of masculinity and male hierarchy. How? Because it has been accepted by most.

Epistemology of the Console - Joyrich

| No Comments

To be quite honest, I found Joyrich's article a bit challenging to read. From what I gathered, her main focus was on television and how it constructs society's knowledge on sexuality. Joyrich looks at homosexuality and sees it as encompassing a central division that serves to structure the larger societal knowledge of individual difference. I thought that the opening example of the practical joke played on Rosanne (that her brother was gay) in a Rosanne episode was extremely offensive. I don't think that that is something that should be joked about on public television, especially not a show that had such popularity like Rosanne did. Joyrich argues that television is a "crucial site for exploring the logic of the closet" and that portrayal of homosexuals on television needs to be more accurate. Currently, television often portrays lesbians as desirable and as a sexually interesting object for men to view.
I thought that Joyrich brought up interesting points regarding the treatment of homosexuality being 'closeted'. One of the most interesting points made for me, was when she commented on how homosexuals have now become the stock-character in television. It made me wonder if this is a step forward to accurately portraying homosexuals on television or if it is more of a hindrance. Overall, I thought that Joyrich made some good points and arguments but that they got lost in the larger context of what was going on in her article.

Discussion Question: This article was written in Spring 2001, have there been any clear areas of change or progress in this 'closeted' treatment? If there has been changes are they positive changes or are they just superficial changes?

Epistemology of the Console Response

| No Comments

Like others in the course I found this article's density hard to comprehend but intriguing. This issue of representation has been a hot topic recently for our country, not just in the media but everyday life. Joyrich discussed the growing relevance and representation of sexuality on television. I thought it was interesting for her to open with Roseanne's portray towards sexuality. It made me wonder why shows that depict the working class family pioneered these ideas on television. While we have now seen a strong present in other classes, this idea is still under represented across the board.

I have noticed that gay characters are becoming more mainstream characters on television shows. However, they are shown through their struggle of coming out. The television show also represents how others react to their friend coming out, sometimes representing a false reality of this transition. Joyrich states how television controls our views on homosexuality in how they transmit and transform it. I feel what happens on the media models our view on this topic in the outside world. Overall it was a very insightful topic and article.

Discussion Question:
With all the new policies and politics surrounding homosexuality being put into place, how do you think this will affect media's representation of it?

The Invisible War

| No Comments

This screening was so interesting. It's absolutely appalling to think about the prevalence of rape and sexual assault in the military. I couldn't believe that I'd never heard anything about this issue. It makes sense that this would be an issue given that rape is all about control and dominance and the military is made up of people who are very powerful and yet have very little control over their lives in terms of always having to follow orders. I can see why rape would be so much more prevalent in such an environment than it would be in the civilian world. It also makes sense that with a small likelihood of being punished for your actions, these people would see little reason to not participate in these vile acts if they're already inclined towards them. I agree that it's disgusting that they don't have a third party justice system available to them. However, I don't know that I'd agree that the media's depiction of masculinity is a huge factor in this. I think that it may be slightly influential, but I think it's more about the lack of control that many of these men have over their lives and their desire to assert dominance.

Discussion question: How does the prevalence of victim shaming influence the perception of rape in our culture?

Invisible War Screening & DQ

| No Comments

Before coming to class, I was aware of the mistreatment of women in the military- a particularly male dominated field. I, however, wasn't aware of the large number of rapes and sexual assaults against females and males within the military. I was appalled with how these crimes are dealt with- or rather swept under the rug. In military culture, everyone only complains up the chain of command if there are problems. In the rape cases, women have to talk to their commander who may or not be the perpetrator and it is up to their discretion as far a if it becomes reported and how people are punished. It was also noted in the screening that if a commander reports up his chain of command that there has been rape or other incidences of misbehavior, it reflects poorly on them. This was the part that really hit me hard and made me very upset. They way it is structured, does nothing for victim advocacy or support. In this modern era, how is the military so far behind? Unfortunately with such an elite part of our government, I do not believe that change will come from the outside. Change must come from within the culture that it is necessary. I'm proud of the women that spoke up, and the men that have supported them.

DQ: How long do you think the changes in the military will take to happen? Why can the military get away with these types of schemes and cover-ups at the same time maintaining their image? Should the government get involved with this and make laws for within the military?

Invisible War Response

| No Comments

After watching the portion of "An Invisible War" in class yesterday I was left in shock with several worries and questions. I had only heard of a select few cases of these military sexual assaults and was flabbergasted by the huge number of cases and reports discussed in the video. I was appalled by the schemes and efforts to cover up these crimes and could not believe that the military and American government would let these injustices happen, especially seeing how common it seems to be. The first thing that shocked and angered me was the fact that the person working on the side of the military and in turn aiding the cover up and blame for these acts is a woman. I understand that this is probably a strategic move on the part of the military to have a woman defending them on the issue, but I was really surprised by the fact that a woman was willing to do the job. I understand that these assaults happen on men as well, but I am reacting in the context of the video and the victims seen. It angers me that a woman is the one who claims to be trying to help by producing bogus prevention videos and is even placing blame on the victims. I'm not usually one for such a strong importance on gender division and taking sides, but it sickens me that a woman could see these numbers and victims as a woman and still fight against them.
One other thing in particular that bothered me during the video was the section focusing on congress and the courts. I remember seeing a clip of a congress member saying how every year the military claims they are going to do something to stop these behaviors and how they have no tolerance, but nothing seems to be happening and they end up in the same place. But then congress shot down a bill that would allow third party decisions and justice systems to help stop the injustices and cover ups. They seem frustrated by the issue and then don't take the opportunity they are given to take action against it. I feel that it is the responsibility of anybody who has a chance to help but the justice system didn't live up to that expectation. It seems like the issue just gets tossed around and nothing gets resolved.

DQ: Why does it seem to be so difficult to get the government or parties outside of the military involved and willing to help? Is it more important for the military to be united and happy even if that means sweeping these horrible issues under the rug or for there to be justice even if that means threatening the image of our military? Whose responsibility is it to fix this problem and bring justice if the military is not willing or able?

Joyrich Response and Discussion Question

| No Comments

Although this was a relatively difficult article to read and entirely comprehend, I found the subject matter very interesting. In today's society, I personally feel the understanding and appreciation towards homosexuals has become much more well-known and accepted. When reading this article, I discovered insight into the prevalence and distinction between sexual relations on television shows. Joyrich discussed the difference between gay relationships in men versus the portrayal of lesbians, and how homosexual tendencies between women is normally geared towards and desired by men.

One part of the article I found very interesting was the reference to Ellen in saying typically homosexual characters do not have much recognition in the Media. This article was written in 2001, and since then, I feel the Ellen Degenerous has become a major hit, and I personally really enjoy watching it. Even such shows as Modern Family, where a gay couple contains some of the main characters of an extremely popular sitcom.

Joyrich goes on to say how television controls our vision of homosexuality in how they transmit and transform it. We discover the relevance of sexual desire and interpretation in how homosexual and heterosexual are portrayed in the Media. She went on to say, "Another way of putting this would be to restate the obvious point that sexual identity is different from sexual desire - and perhaps nowhere are they more different than on television, given the industry's attempts to define sexuality as product while retaining its simultaneous anxiety around sexuality as practice" (451). There is quite a distinction between these two focuses, and it is something television has control over entirely.

After reading and interpreting this article, I have decided to focus my discussion question on the idea of television modernization regarding homosexuals. Do you feel television shows and series have improved their interpretations and portayals of homosexuals since this article was released or do you feel this is still a common problem in the Media today?

Epistemology of the Console

| No Comments

First off, I would like to talk a bit about The Invisible War from Tuesday's class. I was so blown away by the portion we watched that I ended watching the entire thing start to finish last night. I couldn't believe the treatment and what happens in our military. It was also interesting that this hasn't been more widely broadcasted to the public. I hadn't heard of anything about this trial or lawsuit until class on Tuesday. It's shocking.

This article by Lynne Joyrich was definitely a challenge to read. It is something that is definitely worth reading though because it looks at how gay and straight people are represented on television and the understanding of what we read as "gay" on television. What struck me the most was, "Ellen marks an absent center within a field of knowledge, indeed marks the way in which that knowledge is always absent from itself." To me this seems to be telling me that there seems to be knowledge that we think we know about, but really don't. Within the overpowering heterosexual representation in television there is minimal gay representation that seems to be like an empty hole in this knowledge of ours. It makes me think about what we see today on television and if any of our representations have changed in how gayness is represented on television. Do we seem to more directly address gayness or is there still a questioning, guessing, and a representation of gayness as a way to show that other characters are heterosexual? When I think of this question I think of "The New Normal" and how it is directly meant to address how gayness is normal and it shouldn't be overshadowed, hidden anymore. I think this is a step in the right direction in getting the representation of gayness out there instead of hiding it in a closet. I think it is important that the show addresses how the gay population should be better represented and as a known normative to the heterosexual representations on television.

Discussion question: In Joyrich's article she brings up that "knowing" gay characters of the 1990's are comparable to many African-American characters of the 1980's and still today. Why is it that the minority representations take so long to become more mainstream in our television and media? Is there a resistance to change and why would this be?

Joyrich Response/DQ

| No Comments

I found Joyrich's article rather challenging to read, although at the same time very interesting. Before I started reading the article, I admittedly had to look up what epistemology meant because she used it so often, to which I found means "the theory of knowledge". Her article focused on how TV constructs society's knowledge on sexuality, in particular homosexuality. She starts with describing a scene from Roseanne where a practical joke is played to make Roseanne believe that her brother is gay. She goes on to say that television makes homosexuality seem both desirable and dejected. She says that often when lesbians are seen on TV it is seen as desirable and filmed for men.

She then dives into how society knows and detects that we are seeing homosexuality in television sexuality and says that TV is the mode that both "transmits and transforms" this understanding and knowledge. She says that the audience understands sexuality by: inferring sexuality, conferring sexuality, enlightening sexuality, and disclosing sexuality. Throughout these examples she uses different case studies. She talks a lot about Ellen and how they disclosed her sexuality throughout the show through subtle hints. I was most interested in her comment that homosexuals have now become the stock-character in television.

DQ:
What other examples can you think of where a television character's sexuality is revealed on TV? Do you agree that GLBT characters are now the 'stock-characters' in television? Why or why not?

The Invisible War Response/DQ

| No Comments

After watching The Invisible War in class, my eyes were opened a lot more to the horrible things that go on inside our "prestigious" armed forces. I have seen plenty of examples of U.S. troops on the news involved with committing war crimes overseas (obviously it's not a large percent and I'm not hating on the men and women who defend the country), but didn't realize the extent of the crimes that were being committed just within the forces. I had heard some stories in the news of rape cases but never knew just how many of those cases didn't even see the light of day. I was disgusted by the fact that many high ranking officials were just sweeping these charges under the rug. The documentary also really put things into perspective with the statistics showing how few soldiers were actually punished for their crimes compared to how many reports were filed. The film also made me wonder (even though most of these cases involved men assaulting women) if this is the major reason why there aren't nearly as many women in the military, navy, etc. as there are men. If I were a woman, I know I would be very worried about joining the army after hearing about these allegations. I also wonder: If more women were members of our armed forces (so the ratio of women to men was about equal), would this problem go away? Or if more women were of higher rank, would this problem become even more exposed and would there be more just action taken? But I was also thinking: What drives these men of "honor" to commit such horrid crimes? Is there a certain mentality being taught by men with authority, or were these soldiers raised a certain way? Obviously, there is no concrete answer and a discussion about this issue could go on an entire semester. But I'm just trying to wrap my head around the root of this problem. What is causing these soldiers to do this?

Discussion Question

| 1 Comment

If media were to change the construct of our most prevalent superheroes, would ideas about masculinity and femininity change? How would these superheroes take form? How would they be considered "super" and a "hero"? Or, rather, do we need the structures that have already put in place? Why or why not?

The Invisible War

| No Comments

I was really shocked with the media example, The Invisible War, given in class yesterday. I think the dynamics of the system to which the marines and army abide are awful. There is something about the correlation with our society as a whole and the difference in treatment of men and women in specific fields. This battle-driven avenue would be considered some of the "toughest" work. When strength is involved, it is considered a "masculine" activity. The idea behind masculinity and femininity say it all. A definition of masculinity reads, "having qualities traditionally ascribed to men, as strength and boldness." and one of femininity being "the quality of being feminine; womanliness." The fact is that we have these structured roles that explain how a man is traditionally supposed to be and how a woman is traditionally supposed to be. So when we put a woman into a male structured, and dominated, force such as the army or marines, there is an outlier and it is the woman. Although these forces are about coming together to protect (another masculine trait) they are fighting a war within which the documentary is so rightfully named. These ideas about gender roles are put in a contained situation where the population is within the male majority. And because they have their own system at work about how to deal with the mention of rape, they are able to maintain control and power in this way.

An introductory statistic in this article was alarming: it's reported that 86% of all violent crimes are committed by men. It's an unfortunate fact that people are going to find ways to identify with characters in the media and reproduce their actions. The media, in turn, reflects society and this becomes the vicious continuous cycle of violent media. Many claim that it's what people want to see. All too often, constructions of masculinity in the media are depicted by characters who are seen as strong and powerful, or good protectors, if they are involved in violent acts. Even the violent bad guys are still seen as "cool" these days. It's interesting that the media almost always creates action heroes exactly the same: white, male, tall, strong, powerful, aggressive, and violent. We have Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Captain America, and the list goes on and on. I appreciated how the article took a look at these big, aggressive, violent super heroes and how they become the models of "real men" or masculinity for young white males along with touching on the "angry, aggressive, white working-class male" as an anti-authority level who is almost more attainable for men and more easy to replicate. Men in the media definitely don't get as much attention as women do. There needs to be more of a concern within our culture about the ways we are portraying men as well.


Discussion question: Men in the media who are seen as powerful and attractive are also often aggressive and violent in their behavior. Why do we reward men in our society for portraying this very limiting version of masculinity and ignore other types of portrayals? Why should we have to equate heroic masculinity with violent displays of masculinity?

kats: response and discussion question

| No Comments

I think that the article by Katz displays what advertisers play on to attract the attention of males. I think alot of the points brought up were stating the obvious. Males historically are more violent she has statistics to back that up. I don't think that we can fault advertisers for realizing this using it as a way to reach customers. I do think as a result it trains males to think that maleness means violence but I don't think that it trains adult males I think that it could train little boys. The men I know don't go out and beat someone up after seeing a Jason Statham movie.

What needs to change for advertisers to stop targeting men in a violent way and
what is an appropriate way to represent masculinity in advertising and movies?

Katz DQ

| No Comments

Discuss the differences in the way in which an audience receives violent female characters (Charlize Theron in Monster, for example) and the way in which it receives violent male characters.

Katz article response

| No Comments

I love how this article shifts the focus to men; It seems that so much of media studies centers around demeaning portrayals of women while overlooking the fact that men are equally influenced by the media and often suffocated by restrictive portrayals of masculinity. The article highlights the media-enforced link between White masculinity and violence and provides various examples--mostly magazine advertisements--that encourage men to see their bodies as instruments of power, dominance and control and to use them to validate their masculine identities. They show violent images (even pirate rape scenes!) and sell them as images of masculinity, convincing male consumers they'll be "manly" if they buy the product. I see on the blog that a few students said the article wasn't convincing because when they see violent media, they don't feel the urge to be violent. While I could say the same thing, I don't think it's right to shrug off the article so quickly. The reason media is so powerful is because we don't notice that it's affecting us! While we may not feel the urge to go shoot someone after an action film, its violent images are encoded in a very important way into the way in which we see the world and our roles in it. A violent film tells us (even though we don't realize) that to be a man means to be physically powerful, dominant and muscular. It tells us that those who don't subscribe to this image aren't "real men." I think there's a serious problem in the common comment that people make: "There's nothing wrong with that." There's absolutely something wrong with it! We're so used to these types of media, and they have become so natural, that people (dangerously) don't realize their powerful influence or stop to question them. Whether we want to admit it or not, violent media perpetuate violence. Especially when violence is portrayed as masculine, it sends the message that violence is an acceptable practice with which to exercise a masculine identity. It affects all of us in an important way, and even though most people don't actually commit this violence, I think it's safe to say that media significantly contribute to the violence that does occur in our society (Think of the recent increase in school shootings ...which continue to be committed by MALES).

Response to Katz

| No Comments

Katz's article "Advertising And The Construction Of Violent White Masculinity" focuses on the ways in which mainstream magazine advertising normalize male violence through its constructions of masculinity. This article wasn't for me. I found it to be very opinionated, and thought some of the arguments just weren't convincing. The article and I were off to a shaky start from the very beginning, if you choose to write a piece about advertising normalizing male violence through its use of masculinity, please don't use the 9/11 terrorists attacks as an introduction. "Commentators in the print and broadcast media frequently observed that these extraordinary events were without precedent in American history. But although the scale of carnage on September 11 was certainly unprecedented, horrific violence on American soil is hardly a new subject" (Katz 349). Don't downplay the media's reaction to 9/11 to lead into your topic about male violence, it was the worst attack in the history of our country and devastated millions. There is a reoccurring theme in Katz's article involving males advantage in physical size and strength, which results in male appeal to violence. The first mention of this was in Katz's reasoning of why the muscular action star first became popular in the 1970's-80's, with actors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. Katz contributed this to the increasing competition for White working-class males in areas such as economic instability, and the perception of gains by people of color in the working-class. "For many males who were experiencing unsettling changes, one area of masculine power remained attainable: physical size and strength and the ability to use violence successfully" (Katz 281). Personally, I've never watched a violent action film and felt a desire, or sense of self pride (which Katz argues with images of masculine aggression and males on page 352) in its use of violence. I'm watching it because I'm bored and want to be easily entertained. I don't know, maybe I'm just an ignorant white male, but I don't agree with it. Another use of males advantages in physical size and strength contributing to violence involved men's feelings of insecurity in their masculinity, being vulnerable in the economic sphere, and having uncertainty about how to respond to challenges of women. "But, in general, males continue to have an advantage over females in the area of physical size and strength. Because one function of the image system is to legitimate and reinforce existing power relations, representations that equate masculinity with the qualities of size, strength, and violence thus become more prevalent" (Katz 356). The advantage of physical size and strength in males is something nobody can control, its just always been the case. What I don't understand is where violence comes into play, advertising equates qualities of size and strength because it helps reinforce existing power relations in their ads, but all of a sudden violence is thrown in there just because. There is no specific example after that statement either, only statements that ads with football players and military men signify this intended violence in males. Yeah, article just wasn't for me. I'm in a weird mood.

Response to Katz Article

| No Comments

I thought this article would be pretty interesting from the start because I was in a communications class last semester that did a whole unit on the correlation between television and violence. I also possess a pretty strong opinion on the subject for the simple reason that I am very media literate, since I would say that I watch quite a bit of television and movies. My favorite genre happens to be horror and suspense. For example, my favorite television shows are "The Walking Dead", "The Following", and "Bates Motel". My favorite movies consist of the classics; "Friday the 13th", "Halloween", and "A Nightmare on Elm Street". All of these shows and movies consist of plenty of violence, murder, and heavy content. However, I have never felt the need to act in the same way as any of these characters. In my class last semester, we watched a movie on why media violence is not as big of an influence as people may think (on both genders). I think it is safe to say that media definitely portrays men as being strong and powerful, especially over women. It was evident in the very first article we read regarding feminism. Therefore, even though feminists may think these portrayals must stop, they can also be a good thing. I don't mean men should be violent towards women, but I think portraying men as a "knight in shining armor" is perfectly legit. Almost every little girl has that Cinderella fantasy that their Prince will come and save them and they will live happily ever after. I don't think it's entirely a bad thing for girls to feel protected by men, and I also don't think that it is bad for men to feel the need to be protective and strong. I'm not saying women are helpless and aren't capable of violence or power, I'm just saying that most women tend to be soft spoken and polite, unless they have a good reason to be aggressive (being attacked or physically/ verbally abused). Therefore, I can see why the media feels the need to portray men as strong and even violent, while women tend to be portrayed as dainty and non-threatening.

Discussion Question: I think the topic of violent white masculinity is almost a case like that of the "chicken and the egg". We all know the debate of which came first; the chicken or the egg? In this case, I think we need to ask ourselves about how the violent white masculinity portrayal came along. Was it really the media that started/ continued it, or is it constantly in the media because it is what they are truly seeing men act like? So what started it, men or the media?

Response to Katz

| No Comments

This article reminds me a lot of a discussion that was had in one of my other Comm classes in relation to gender roles. From birth, genders are very clearly defined, babies are either associated with pink or blue. From then on, they are treated differently in many ways according to gender. For example, according to society, boys do not cry, they do not show feelings, they are touch and manly. Boys play with cars,legos, and action figures. Girls can cry, show feelings, play with dolls, etc. Society paints the picture as to how each gender should be and what they should like/do. I think that this depiction at a young age translates to the advertising world later when men, especially white men, are portrayed as aggressive, strong, and masculine. They have told us what masculine is and it makes men seem almost dangerous or hostile. A good example is that of the Clinique cologne ad. It is understandable that Clinique is a women's ad however, the male in the ad needed to be portrayed as highly masculine and running in order to make it seem that he is "manly" enough for the cologne.

I also found the Abercrombie and Fitch example to be very interesting. I remember shopping at the store when I was a preteen and a teenage and my mom used to get upset due to the rique photographs and marketing techniques in their stores. It's funny that Abercrombie and Fitch sells the image of their stores by showing models with very little clothes on, and clothes are their main product.

DQ: Men are clearly protrayed in advertisements to be tough, rugid, and masculine. What are some examples that don't portray men like this? Is this a problem?

Kartz's article says about masculinity. As dominant group just become norm in society, masculinity can be a just norm and does not have any category for it in society. "Masculinity does not appear to be a category at all, thus rendering invisible the privileged position from which men in general are able to articulate their interests to the exclusion of the interests of women, men and women of color, and children" (p.280)
Men have taken a dominant position in our community for a long time. Therefore, advertising has made much effort to attract them by appealing violent image to men. One of the ways seems like manhood; advertising define manhood. Such hegemonic representations of violent and power image in advertising normalize male violence. Advertising make people feel enhancing their masculinity when people buy the product. Violent behavior is gendered male, typically considered masculine behavior. Film industry also contributed to dominant masculinity. Many men and young male kids watch violent content movie such as hero films or violent sports films. In addition, advertising often uses historical event or content as one way to appeal violently even genocide or gang rape scenario. This can make people thinks that men were originally violent and aggressive, which characteristic means power for them. Men want to make difference from women and try to react against the challenges of women in social relations. Therefore, they more focus on power, violent, muscles, and bigger size. Media including advertising use such phenomena too.
I think that men's obsession with violence and power as a meaning of masculinity is their psychological problem from losing their superior position in the modern society, and society can understand that in some ways. However, I also agree that such advertising is inciting the phenomena that male more like violent content in media, and there are more violent content in media. When people watch advertisement, they do not think deeply about the advertisement. Therefore, they would accept the violent content itself. More and more violent behavior comes to be considered as masculinity. The more serious problem than often exposure of violent content can be that what is being sold is not just "violent," but rather a glamorized form of violent masculinity (p.287).
DQ: Do you think that expressing power, size, and violence for masculinity in advertisements for products unrelated to masculinity such as business insurance firm can be persuasive? "an ad for business insurance firm Brewer and Lord uses a powerful male body as a metaphor for the more abstract form of (financial) power" (p. 286). Also, do you have an experience to be attracted by movie advertisements showing highlights of violent scenes? What did you have thought about it? Did you think that a man's violent behavior in the movie was masculine? Still, do men have the stereotype like they should be powerful, and violent behavior is gendered behavior?

Katz Article

| No Comments

For me, reading Katz's article was very informative. After reading it, I realized that I never really paid much attention to the advertising and images that the media puts out of men. After reading the article, I realize more clearly that we need to pay attention to the depictions of men just as much as we do to those of women. I think I sometimes forget how big of an audience of men that the media plays to. Men are constantly engaged in some kind of media, and the media has a huge part in why our society has certain stereotypes of men. For example, on television always portraying "macho" characters or "heroes" such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, etc. We idolize males with nice bodies such as Ryan Gosling or Robert Pattinson, etc. A lot of who males look up to at a young age are sports figure and athletes. They are taught at a young age that is what they should look and act like. After reading this article, I think that the media needs to change how they portray men just as much as they portray women in the media, maybe then the social constructs we hold about gender will change.
DQ: How did this harmful advertising to men and women start? Who started it? Our society or the media?

Jackson Katz's article was sort of an opener for me because I have never thought much about the construction and the complexities that went into creating the "violent white masculinity". The image of the "macho man" has always been prevalent in media and the idea makes sense biologically (think cavemen) -- men are bigger than women and they must be stronger to protect the women and hunt to feed, theoretically. But the violence that is portrayed and associated with masculinity in mainstream media is the main concern because it "normalizes male violence". Young boys grow up with the idea that in order to assert their masculinity they need to be muscular, strong, aggressive and violent, and with this image and attitude they will be able to get what they want and dominate. The reading showcases this example using the rise of Hollywood's creation of the "cultural hero" from "action-adventure films of White male icons such as Arnold Schwarzeneggar...Bruce Willis", and the James Bond character as well. What do these "heroes" have in common? They are white, good guys who save the world by using violence (actually murdering lots of people) and causing destruction wherever they go, using their muscle power (size), strength and aggression in order to obtain their goal, and of course in the very end, they always get the beautiful, sexy girl who they "save" from the evil guy. If this is what young boys are seeing, it's no wonder that they think it's okay to go out into the world angry and shooting everyone/thing to get what they want. Yes, one can argue that these are only movies and are not realistic portrayals of life, but if a young boy has been conditioned with this image throughout his whole life, it will have an effect on how he links violence/aggression with masculinity. The reading makes a point that male violence in society is increasing and should have the same scrutiny/close examination as to why it has become so as there has been for representation of women in media. By decreasing the gap between gender differences (i.e. men are aggressive and women are passive) or blurring gender roles, society might be able to communicate to one another better and move forward towards equality not just for men and then just for women, but for people as a whole.

DQ: Do you think with the increasing image of the more sensitive "Beta" male in media that this will decrease the violent notion of masculinity and somehow change the concept of the "Alpha" male or do you think it only helps to enforce the stereotype of the "Alpha" male by allowing a comparison/contrast between the two stereotypes?

Masculinity in the Media

| No Comments

MW2.jpgKatz's article on violence and masculinity shocked me in a way that it did not center it's arguments on video gaming, and didn't really talk about how video games enhanced and supported violence and male power at all, other than a few short mentions. Maybe video gaming was not as big in the world when this article was written as it is today, or maybe it was just being introduced into the mainstream media market, but when I think of media influencing masculinity and violent acts I immediately think of video games such as Halo, Call of Duty, and Grand Theft Auto. These video games target young adolescent males and preach that it is cool to be violent, abuse women, and steal cars. They award players for getting "head shots" and terrorize neighborhoods while beating up people, often women, with bats and crowbars. I believe these games influence kids and young adults more than ads, movies, music, and television programs because it allows the players to physically do that action through a controller. They are essentially the character on the screen. Whereas in ads, movies, music, and television programs, where the same message is being portrayed, they are viewing the acts, not necessarily doing them. Nonetheless, each media source is influencing male violence and masculinity by having muscles, guns and power.

I think it is also important to note that, as the article states, 9/11 was the event that put the media into the spotlight having influence in violent actions, but this form of media has been around long before the terrorist attacks in New York. How bad does it have to get before someone looks at what causes these violent crimes? This kind of media should have been stopped years before. Now I'm not saying that the media was the reason for the attacks on 9/11, nor am I saying that they even had an influence on the extremist group that organized the attacks, but what I am saying is that it is clear that this type of media that portrays guns and violence does not help the cause and may even promote violent acts in the future. If media continues to target the male audience through this form of masculinity, it is important for the viewing population to understand the difference between Hollywood and reality, and not try to copy these Hollywood stunts.

Discussion Question: Since the media was inadvertently blamed for the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and other violent acts throughout American history, do you think the media's promotion for masculinity has become better or worse within the last 10 years? If it has become better, how so? What has changed? If it has become worse, why haven't commentators in the media done anything about the issue of violence in the media after this controversial topic of masculinity came into light after 9/11?


I found this clip awhile back that makes fun of, yet defines how violence in video games effects males in everyday life. (CAUTION: contains explicit language)


Katz Response and DQ

| No Comments

Katz article on White male masculinity was particularly interesting in regards to how the media have changed their portrayal of men in recent decades. One of the most interesting points in the article is about how the portrayal of the violent white man wasn't a common theme until after the feminist and racial rights movements. With this correlation, Katz is saying that men developed a more masculine image of themselves to take the power back from the increasing legal rights of minorities and women. As I was reading this article I had just seen the movie "Zero Dark Thirty" and I saw some interesting commonalities between this article and the movie.
In the movie, countless people are killed by the explosions and gunfire of violent males. While these males were not always white, it goes to show Katz's theory that men are often burdened with the tasks of violence in movies. What was interesting was the role that Jessica Chastain played in comparison to all of the men in the movie. At points, Chastain is the only woman in a room full of men, yet she holds her own and even pulls out some attitude to show her expertise on the subject of where Bin Laden is hiding. In one scene, ironically, Chastain is perhaps the most violent character as she calls to blow up the entire compound as opposed to sending in soldiers. She is willing to risk the murder of innocent children in the compound for the sake of getting the most wanted terrorist of the time. I think this is significant to show not only a woman who is in charge but a woman who is willing to use deadly force. While the best way to relieve issues is not with violence, if violence must be used then it may be a good thing that we are relieving men of the burden of feeling as if they have to be the violent members of society.

Discussion Question: Do you believe that the media is the main source to blame for what seems to be an increase in mass shootings executed by white males in America?

Black or White

| No Comments

The Face Of America Response

| No Comments

Not my favorite article. I thought there were Interesting ideas especially connecting Forrest Gump to America's history with such things as the Civil Rights and KKK. Though, I am not sure I buy into what the Author is selling. I actually grew up watching Forrest Gump, but this level of analysis confuses me. I agreed with pretty much everything mentioned about there being a patriarchal society in the movie portraying women in sexists ways and what different characters (Jenny, for example) represented. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this.

Hopefully today's discussion can enlighten me.

Miss Representation

| No Comments

I really enjoyed the film Miss Representation that we viewed in the past two class sessions. I believe that the film was a great attempt at creating a conversation about the issues and could help get things moving. I found it interesting how different it was to hear the facts that Jennifer Siebel Newsom gave and then actually see them on screen. To me, it made the information more powerful and noticeable. I also enjoyed hearing Newsom discuss in her podcast where she got her inspiration to make the documentary and why she believes the representation of women in media needs to be changed. Because of her deep connection and motivation for change, I felt that the documentary was given more power. Her words and the way she delivered the information motivated me to want to change the depiction of women in our media. In order to change this image, I feel that we need to have more women directing and producing content. It was astonishing to heat that the majority of what we see and hear, about 97%, is decided upon by men. After fighting for women's rights and outnumbering men in population, women are still at the disadvantaged? It doesn't make any sense to me. Why is it that women have to embody unattainable aspects, such as small pores, big boobs, straight, white teeth, and a slamming body to get widely recognized in the media? Why is it that women in power, such as Hilary Clinton or Sarah Palin, are either torn apart for being too much of a "ball buster" or for being too sexy? I completely agree with Newsom on that fact that we must start teaching children at a young age to be media literate. It is important for them to realize that what is depicted when it comes to women is not accurate and not okay. I think that we, as a society, should take what Miss Representation touched on, and start making movements towards change.
DQ: What is the next step after teaching our children to be media literate? Where do we go from there? What actions will be most affective?

The Face of America Response

| No Comments

I wasn't crazy about this article. It felt unfocused and rambling. The author seemed to not know what point they were trying to make. The section written on Forrest Gump was the part that seemed most cohesive, although it was an overlong discussion of the film. Thus, I'd like to spend my blog post discussing Berlant's interpretation of Forrest Gump.

I didn't see Forrest Gump until I was 16 or 17 years old, and even then I only saw it because it was referenced so often that I felt I was being excluded from cultural references that I reasonably ought to understand. While I did like the movie, it did occur to me that it was overly simplistic as a representation of American history at that time. I was not as impressed with it as I expected to be, but that's probably a result of how much it was hyped. I did not reach the same conclusions that Berlant did, although I certainly did not scrutinize it at that level. I agree with Berlant's interpretation of the character of Jenny. Although Jenny is represented as being strong willed, she is seen as a damsel in distress in need of rescuing. We are supposed to pity Jenny and hope that Forrest will be her knight in shining armor. This directly conflicts with Jenny's own views of herself and her goals. The movie altogether presents a very strongly patriarchal society wherein women need to be protected lest they use their sexuality in manipulative ways or in ways that lead to their own suffering. It was also interesting to think about Forrest as being representative of "the ideal American". He exists to stand in for the people and that's why he's present in so many national events. This is particularly interesting when we think about how atypical Forrest is. His IQ is below average, he is never manipulative, and he follows orders without thinking. Who he is as a human being isn't representative of humanity on any level and yet he is the stand in for the people of the United States. This strikes me as very curious.

DQ: What do you think about the exclusion of the Civil Rights Movement from Forrest's story? What does this mean when thought about from Berlant's perspective of Forrest as the idealized American?

Miss Representation (documentary)

| No Comments

After listening to the podcast with Jennifer Siebel Newsom talking about her inspiration for making her documentary, and why the representation of women in the media is important and needing a change-- I couldn't wait to watch the actual documentary. I heard her list off many of the facts in her podcast, but it was something about seeing it that made it real. The most shocking thing I heard in the documentary was that 97% of what we see/hear is made by men. Women make up 51% of the population, and yet men, have a huge advantage on the messages that our seen by the world. Many of the other facts/statistics were also concerning, but I want to focus on the idea Jennifer Siebel Newsom brings up the idea of gendered media literacy education. She talks about how it should be taught at a younger age because young girls are consuming huge amounts of media. For example, young women under the age of 30 consume 10hrs 45min of media per day. Unknowing where the media they are looking at is coming from, they are taking messages as truth and being subjected to the male perspective. Women see themselves how men see them, and men see themselves in their own eyes.

What can we do to bring media literacy into elementary ed? What are some of the solutions to changing who creates/controls media?

Response to Miss Representation

| No Comments

I thought that the film was a good start to what they are seeking. I think the it did a good job at getting the conversation going. The part of the film that had me most shocked that Women are treated poorly was the Hilary Clinton and Sarah Palin part. You have two polar opposites both running for high positions within our government. Both qualified in my opinion. Nobody wanted to talk about Hilary's stand on health care instead they were talking about how "bitchy" she sounds or how she isn't the most attractive woman in the world. When it came to Palin she was constantly mocked and ridiculed because her voice sounds like a ditsy blondes would. She was impersonated on many shows and it quickly went against her as the population did not know what should stood for but rather had an impression that she was under qualified and not intelligent. That was the part of the film that caught my eye the most. It is also very alarming that women seem to have to be a "perfect 10" to get on T.V. and that is sad to me because it is very unfair. We are not seeing some of the best actors because they are not thought to be easy on the eyes and that isn't right. I think that Miss Representation does a good job of getting the ball rolling when talking about giving women equal opportunities no matter what they look like.

DQ: If talking about and gathering some steam is step one, than what is the next step we must take to give everybody a truly equal opportunity?

Response to Berlant

| No Comments

I thought that Berlant's article was very interesting but a little dense and took a while to fully grasp. It was a little hard to follow but I managed to pick out a few sections and ideas that I found the most interesting.
I thought the author did a great job of putting his ideas about America, history, and meaning in the context of Forrest Gump because it was relatable, at least for those of us who had seen the movie. The analysis of the film was a real eye opener for me. I was not aware the character Forrest Gump was named after a KKK founder, and Berlant explains the political and historical motivation behind this and what it represents that these violent historical references are "translated through someone incapable of knowing what they mean" (80). I have seen Forrest Gump numerous times and never had I interpreted the film with such a strong political and historical significance and in a way irony. This makes me wonder and try to think of other examples in which these types of messages or representations are present.
Another thing Berlant's article talked about that I found interesting was the idea about presenting conflicts and protests, specifically those between different publics about national society and those about citizenship or a sense of nationality, are actually sometimes made worse by being shown in mainstream media. He says this is because they are in a way dehumanized or have their "personhood" taken away because of the contrast shown between groups and the focus on negative aspect and suffering. He also puts this is the context of politics and the idea of portraying a left and a right wing. I guess this is something I had always seen but never considered that the presentation of the conflict and the idea that it is making these groups seem less of humans or at least less of citizens or part of society is heightened by this attention rather than helped. He does contrast this with what he calls a long history of "media legitimation of orderly national protest", but he mentions how that only helped to create the idea of a patriotic class and idea of what it means to be a part of the group. These portrayals of such separation of groups and that being a bad thing or not being part of the "face of America" was an interesting point in the article for me.

Ashley Judd Response/DQ

| No Comments

I thought Ashley Judd wrote this article quite well. The part I found to be really interesting was when she wrote, "Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate...It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it. This abnormal obsession with women's faces and bodies has become so normal that we (I include myself at times--I absolutely fall for it still) have internalized patriarchy almost seamlessly. We are unable at times to identify ourselves as our own denigrating abusers, or as abusing other girls and women."
I like that she isn't pointing blame on one gender, but rather saying we as a society in general are the cause of this problem. Both men and women do things that degrade each gender. I also thought it was interesting when she mentioned that boys and men are equally ridiculed and objectified based on the norms of masculinity. Individuals aren't seen as belonging to their respective gender if they don't fit into the roles that society has placed for them. Girls need to be girly or men need to be manly. Like she said, it "den[ies] the full and dynamic range of their personhood." This article also reminded me of an episode of SNL when Nassim Pedrad played Arianna Huffington on Weekend Update. I don't remember everything from the bit but one of the lines/jokes she said was, "Nobody hates women more than other women." I laughed but is this true to an extent? Are women their own "denigrating abusers" like Ashley Judd mentioned?

I found this reading to be very well written, but a little more difficult to understand than most of our readings. The aim of the essay, according to Berlant, explores both positive and negative aspects about the transformation of 'the normative citizenship paradigm'. The positive being to seek out the moments of universal optimism within the transformation of normalizing national privacy, and the negative being to explain how unconventional public lives and mass mediation have become to be viewed as bad in the political public sphere. What I enjoyed most about the article was his analysis of Forrest Gump playing into the 'citizenship's extraction from public life'. While I was reading the section analyzing Forrest Gump I kept saying to myself, "Man, this guy is media literate.", because I have watched Forrest Gump more times than I can remember and never once picked up on anything Berlant pointed out. I realize that I've never watched the film with the transformation of the normative citizenship paradigm in mind, but, wow, it sure was persuasive. What I thought was most interesting was when he contributes the movie's ability to make sense to two technologies of the 'gullible central to contemporary American life'. The first technology called "morphing" made it possible to put Forrest Gump into major national news footage from the past three decades. "The technology's self-celebration in the film borrows the aura of Gump's virtuous incapacity to self-celebrate: the film seeks to make its audience want to rewrite recent U.S. history into a world that might have sustained a Forrest Gump" (Berlant 184). Berlant also explains that Gump's genious lies in his incompetence to be racist, sexist, and exploitative, and this is meant to be his virtue. So what the film is trying to do is make its audience want to rewrite recent U.S. history into an imaginary world where a man exists in it that doesn't have the mental capacity to be sexist, racist, or exploitative. When in reality recent U.S. history does exist with sexism, racism, and exploitation. From my understanding, the transformation of 'the normative citizenship paradigm' plays a role in the film Forrest Gump through its message of living an unconventional public life will make you unsuccessful, and living an ignorant passive life will make you successful.

DQ: Can you think of any more recent films that contribute to the views of the political public sphere?

Ashley Judd

| No Comments

I feel that the snippet about Ashley Judd and the media really illustrates the large problem that is constantly being experienced for women in and outside of the media. Women in the media are picked apart for everything they do, good or bad. Judd refers that regardless of the considerably "good" or "bad" stuff, it is all fanciful and never truly positive. The idea that she has to be speculated upon that she may have had plastic surgery or that she is gaining weight are just idiotic when it comes down to it. Why this speculation? Living in a male dominated culture and having the media exemplify that as well can be disheartening for women. Celebrities, in particular, are held to unrealistic standards of beauty. So then the seek out a way to obtain or maintain beauty and will sometimes go to drastic measures. When they do, that's when they are scrutinized and the cycle just won't end.

Discussion Question: How do we begin to change the scrutiny? Is there anything we can do as the population that consumes the media? Or is it all in the hands of the media-makers?

Judd Article

| No Comments

I really liked this article. I have always liked Ashley Judd as a person and as an actor. This article shows how strong her character is and that she is not afraid to speak up about something that is an important issue in our society. A line that really spoke to me was when she said "This abnormal obsession with women's faces and bodies has become so normal that we have internalized patriarchy almost seamlessly". This spoke to me because it's true. The obsession that our society has on outward appearances is abnormal. And what is even more disappointing is that the people that are condoning and affirming this way of thinking are mostly women, at least in Judd's case they were the ones who started promulgating it. It is sad to think that we live in a society that bases looks more heavily than on the content of one's character. We are diminishing our self-value and dignity when we focus so intently on superficiality. Then article states that this is not only an issue for women, but for men too. Men can be equally "objectified and ridiculed too". I agree with all of Judd's points, and that this affects everyone and if we as a society do not start talking about it and making changes, it will just keep spiraling out of control.

DQ: How can we change the way the media acts in regard to this fixation on looking perfect? I think articles like this help, but do we really have any control over the media? Is there hope?

Ashley Judd Response & DQ

| No Comments

Ashley Judd's article was very self-reflective and insightful. Instead of lashing out at the media, she was poised and articulate, making her argument even more convincing. Her mission was not to make the media apologize for calling her fat, as she has clearly learned to disregard the false accusations of the media. Instead, she calls to action all women and girls to realize the sexism and objectification that is happening today in our media.

Judd states that because of the sexism in the media, we are made objects and our self-worth and person-hood are diminished. She makes an excellent point that not only does the media over analyze the female body, but they also pit women against each other and make it a competition between women. I think as females we need to recognize this and question the media more often, and follow Judd's example by not basing our self worth on what the media values.

DQ:
If more celebrities like Ashely Judd spoke out against the media's sexism towards women, would it fix the problem? What other celebrities have you seen address the media in this way?

Girls Gone Anti-Feminist Response

| No Comments

The article Girls Gone Anti-Feminist is about how the media has influenced women's lack of power in the world (through job placement, salary pay, cultural views, etc...), yet it still makes women appear that they are equal to males by creating "fantasies of female power". The article focuses on how power is achieved in present day through enlightened sexism, which tells young women to become "hot" through the media's eyes so that men will lust over them and other women will envy them, which also sounds a lot like self-objectification to me. Girls are forced to follow what the media says in order to gain social acceptance, however embedded feminism and enlightened sexism, give women power in one hand and take it away from the other. Women are trapped in the media's "funhouse" where the media controls what we talk about and what kinds of people deserve admiration, respect, and envy. The author writes to argue against the media to fight for true equality between men and women and the importance of wariness in the media.
This article is interesting to me because the way women have been portrayed in the media over time has been a major influence in feminism, resulting in a struggle-some road to travel in order to gain power in the U.S. and feminism and the role women play in the world today is still a controversial topic, especially in their portrayal in the media.
This argument goes further in the movie Miss Representation and actress Jennifer Siebel Newsom's podcast interview, which brings out specific details about woman suffrage in the U.S. including the make-up of women in political power, the values of teen girls, which are taught through the media, and the effects of these values. It is important to know and understand how feminism came to be through the media and what it is like today. It should be taught that women still DO NOT have equal power to men, despite their gains in the feminist movement.

Ashley Judd Response & Discussion Question

| No Comments

Ashley Judd seems to be a saint when discussing obstacles for women as they face body criticism from the media. Because she is an actor, she is in the spotlight very often, and constantly faces feelings of anxiety and disappointment with her own body. She emphasized a new outlook towards media that is one many celebrities should try, "I do not want to give my power, my self-esteem, or my autonomy, to any person, place, or thing outside myself. I thus abstain from all media about myself" (Judd). Even though Ashley was saying this, she clearly was strongly affected by the media comments when she did decide to listen to what they had to say. The media attacked her figure, even as a size 8, her face, and the idea that she possibly had work done just because she did not have wrinkles on her face yet. One idea Judd proposes is that females need to stick together in order to beat this phenomenon. She goes on to say, "I ask especially how we can leverage strong female-to-female alliances to confront and change that there is no winning here as women" (Judd). As strong as this sounds, in my opinion, it will not be strong enough to end this problem as a whole. This idea is what directed me towards my discussion question.

DQ: How can we as a community work towards ending this negative media attention towards female bodies? Is there anyway we can eliminate it completely, or has it become to second nature and expected from media?

Judd response & DQ

| No Comments

Ashley Judd is a rock star. Really. I admire her more than I can say for writing this article. She adopts a strong feminist voice in an era in which--as we discussed last class--the word "feminism" has (undeservingly) become dirty and in which most people are afraid to speak out. Judd takes a stand against the sexualization and dehumanization of women in the media in general and specifically against the backlash she herself received after appearing on television with a puffy face. It's simply sick how much the objectification/disrespect toward women has become such an significant part of our culture, so much so that all of us--women and men alike--rarely realize when we are participating in it and reinforcing the existing sexist system. There are entire celebrity gossip columns and television shows devoted to dissecting and criticizing the female body, pages and hours devoted to sexist-enhancing garbage. So many stars will do whatever is necessary to "make it" (including sexualizing themselves), which makes viewers continue to view them as plastic bimbos. That's why it's SO refreshing to read Judd's article, which reminds us that actresses are real women with real respectable qualities and talents. I think it's so important for women in positions of influence--actresses like Judd, for example--to use this influence to spark positive change in the media's representations of women and to try to remedy the dangerous dehumanization that has characterized the media for so long.

DQ: The media continuously claim to be "giving us what we want." This seems to imply that we want to see stereotypically "beautiful", skinny, small-pored, long-legged actresses on television and in film. Do we really want this? How do you think the public would respond if the media incorporated more unconventional representations of women (for example, by using stereotypically "unattractive" actresses)?

Ashley Judd Slaps Media

| No Comments

The opening sentence was very powerful in my opinion. This idea that this conversation about women's bodies is happening all over the USA and two, it is used to control and define us. Women contribute to media and in larger scale society through their personal appearance vs. our voices or potential. In other words we are no longer humans with values but pretty objects to look at. It was painful and frustrating to read this article and learn how strongly it is affecting women we look up to in the media. How women celebrities are ripped apart and judge supports this idea of the objectification of women. You do not see men being depicted in the same way in the media.
I think this problem is huge and by Judd standing up for herself it shows her followers they can do the same - most of those young women.

Discussion question:
What is the real solution to this problem? Should we abstain from the media to avoid a false representation of ourselves?

Girls Gone Anti-Feminist

| No Comments

The accuracy of this article was alarmingly spot on. I didn't realize how the media was displaying women until I read this and watched a few hours of TV. I thought it was funny out the article says we as viewers pat ourselves on the back for seeing through medias messages - however, even being a woman I didn't notice this. Going into the work for in a month, doing "mans work" being a sales representative, I have sad to hear I will only earn 80% what a male will my first year. This is sad because I, like the rest of the population, believed we were past this issue. However, the article states the problem: "This, then, is the mission at hand: to pull back the curtain and to note how these fantasies distract us from our ongoing status-still, despite everything-as second-class citizens."

The article claimed we only get our power through objectification called enlightened sexism. The power is having men lust after you. Women tie more value with purchase/sex power then political/economical power. All these false realities are produced by the medias portray of women and our oblivious minds to believe it and buy into it. These shows about make overs, models, fake books, babies, matchmaking and motherhood are the medias display of women's values and place in society. I believed the battle of feminism was over and resolved however, I feel it is spiraling into an even deeper problem.

Discussion Question:

Does this new topic of enlightened sexism hide this currently battle women have being second-class citizens? Or had this new idea fueled the need for another women empowerment movement?

Ashley Judd Slaps Media

| No Comments

I think that many famous women are suffering from media in the way of focusing on their appurtenance and sexual objectification. Media analyze women's bodies and report detailed but distorted information about their bodies. Everyone including both male and female have an interested in women's bodies. In such situation, she seems to be so wise because she has an ability to ignore the reaction of the media. I read several interview with female actors who did not read their interview or articles about them. Actually, I also have an interest in articles about their bodies or faces. This is vicious circle. Issues related to women's bodies and face delivered by media make public has interest in that, and then they would get hurt from being dehumanization and being hypersexual objectification. Then, their suffering would be a source of coverage by media. Also, media made them invest in keeping their beauty, which led them to have plastic surgery or eating disorder. Since they are famous, their stories can affect many other women, especially young women. More and more women would think that their visible appearance is more important, and they would accept that other criticize their appearance and degrade themselves. In my case, when my close younger brother joked that I got more wrinkles by getting old, I accepted their saying without any criticism. Media make such situation naturally phenomenon. Women also cannot recognize that media make women sexual objectification and slave of appearance. Her nobleness against the attitude of the media should be praised.

Can such ideal famous women who can fight against the media change the attitude of younger women? While they can think that the women are awesome, they might still keep themselves as victim of media.


Ashley Judd Response

| No Comments

I never heard this story about Ashley Judd, but I find it interesting to read her reaction to a criticism of her appearance that blew up over the news. I think it's important that she discusses the 5 main criticisms and her defense to each one because it allows for the reader to see the cruel and absurd ways in which people (especially other women) critique the actions and physical appearances of women. I do believe that there has been a development in the way people view women, as she points out. Far too often women are objectified and there is a need for women to be thin and have the perfect body. I first became aware of this when I took a PSEO class in high school where we discussed how much women were objectified and looked at several advertisements that demonstrated this. Look at models, there is such a "need" for a specific body type and size. And what percentage of women are actually that size? Are like all the thin body, in shape actresses we see on TV? I've heard the percent, but I know it is minimal. There is just too much of a focus on what we see in the media, for many women to feel comfortable with themselves and not worry about what others look like.
What I found most interesting was that she says that we have an "abnormal obsession with women's faces and bodies has become so normal that we...have internalized patriarchy almost seamlessly." I think this is incredibly true. As I've mentioned above, everything seems to be about appearance now which leads to this thought. We see it so often in the media and don't always think about it, that I can see how it has become internalized. The media is mostly controlled by men and the media market is trying to attract men, because we know they don't watch as much as women, but how do we do that? By objectifying and sexualizing women...patriarchy. It's interesting to think about these things after you're educated on them.

Discussion Question: Why do you think our culture has transformed society into something that is so focused on others' appearance that there is a need to have a something such as Ashley Judd's face, be a headline on national news? Could it be personal or political gain that individuals are looking for? What would they get out of constantly analyzing, sexualizing, and objectifying women?

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2013 is the previous archive.

May 2013 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.