Banet-Weiser, 'What's Your Flava?"

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Please use the following to guide your reading:
1) How does Banet-Weiser use the terms "postracial" and "postfeminist" in her article? What do they mean and how do they operate? Why are they important to analyze?
2) How does the trope of Hip-Hop operate ideologically, for Banet-Weiser?
3) What does she mean when she uses the phrase "cultural capital"?
4) How does she elaborate the definition of postfeminism and how do toys like flavas participate in this ideology? What is the role of irony in postfeminism? What is the role of the concept of "empowerment"?
5) How does Banet-Weiser define the "postracial" or "urbanized" (213, 216)? What are some media sites in which she sees it operating? What kind of ideological work does it do (214-215)?
6) What, for Banet-Weiser, is the problem with the prefix "post"?
7) How does all of this relate to the market? Why is this a problem, for Banet-Weiser?
8) Banet-Weiser argues that Dora the Explorer is an example of a postracial text for it represents "difference 'taken into account' yet not necessarily acted on. Challenging racist stereotypes by creating a new one fit for the current political and cultural economy, Dora operates as part of a strategy that motivates a commercially defined notion of diversity" (222). What are the consequences when profits, rather than other social aims, drive the representation of diversity? What might be some alternatives?

6 Comments

The term "cultural capital" is used in this essay to describe the way in which a television network represents a multitude of races and genders. This strategy enables networks such as Nickelodeon to label themselves as diverse because they showcase a variety of races and cultures. I see this "cultural capital" idea at many universities and colleges around Minnesota, as well as throughout the United States. It seems as though being "diverse" and having multicultural opportunities available to students at these colleges has become a priority. This whole idea of being "diverse" is kind of humorous to me, because people act like they've never seen a different ethnicity before. At what point is this world going to understand that we may look different, but that doesn't make a person who they are. Race and culture are never going to disappear. I guess I'm looking for a response as to why people make race such a big deal. People are people. We were made exactly the same way, we all have similar behavioral and biological characteristics; we just don't share the same outer appearance.

Before reading this article I had never heard of the term "cultural capital" and after learning what it was, I have been able to think of many examples. The first two things I thought of were channels like nickolodean and the Disney channel. They have many actors and actresses of different genders and races on all of their programs to display their diversity. Also, universities are a prime example of cultural capital as they also like to display the diversity of their student body. My question is whether or not channels like Disney and universities use cultural capital to their advantage to make more money, or purely just to keep things equal and fair? I'm leaning towards the money side.

When reading what Banet-Weiser had to say about Dora the Explorer and Nickelodeon going for diversity on their shows, I couldn't help but think of the Disney video that we watched in class on Tuesday. Instead of the caricatures that we saw in the old Disney cartoons, shows like Dora and Go Diego Go have characters that teach young children about other cultures. Going off of question eight proposed above, I'm curious how people perceive this, as a way to change the way diversity is portrayed on television or if they are just doing it for profit

On page 220 Banet-Weiser points out that use of a a strategy on Dora the Explorer of being "racially specific, but ethnically nonspecific." Im a bit curious as to why this matters so much. Would it cut down the viewer population so much if they flat out said where Dora was from, instead of generally speaking of the Latino culture? Are there any children's shows with racially diverse children who also clearly identify with a certain ethnicity as well? I cant think of any off the top of my head, but I don't see why they wouldn't be just as successful.

In the reading, Banet-Weiser asks, “Given the contemporary representational context, what are the consequences when race and gender becomes cultural capital.” Cultural capital refers to non-financial social assets that can be used to leverage social mobility. What are examples of how (and where) cultural capital is created, and what are the consequences?

This reading brought to light the not-so-hidden meanings behind words with the prefix "post". I have just never thought of them too deeply. Post anything just implies that it is over, or that it's goals have been accomplished. Why then, did the term come into being? We all know that ideas of racism and feminism are a long way off from being "accomplished".

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This page contains a single entry by zimme313 published on March 4, 2013 10:17 AM.

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