Ehrenreich, "The Silenced Majority"; Chyng Feng Sun, "Ling Woo in Historical Context"; and Raymond, "Popular Culture and Queer Representation"


Please post your discussion questions about the three readings for Monday below. As you read, the following questions should guide your note-taking:

1) Why, for Ehrenreich, do representations matter? Can you think of examples that demonstrate the way class--and especially working class--operates in media?

2) Why does Ehrenreich take issue with the term "tacky"? Can you think of examples of media that are relevant?

3) How does Chyng Feng Sun contextualize the hyper-sexualization of Asian women in dominant US culture and media?

4) Why does this context matter? (What examples does the author offer?)

5) Raymond argues that contemporary representations of LGBTQ identities in popular media involve a reinscription of heterosexuality and containment of queer sexuality. What does she mean?

6) What does Raymond mean by heternormativity? How/where do you see heteronormativity operating in media and everyday life?


I'm going to address #5 and then formulate some questions of my own; the Raymond piece is the article that I will be discussing for Monday. In the beginning of the article, Raymond discuses how mainstream television that casts gay characters will often times “reinscript” the show to contain queer sexuality, which appeals to more of a tolerable, heterosexual audience. This tactic is often achieved using more comedic and light-hearted plots that manipulate the characters/setting to allow heterosexual viewers to return to the comfort of dominant straight culture. In these circumstances gay characters will be found commonly interacting with straight characters, not like in dramas, which often involve depressing plots of struggling coming out issues or abandonment. Nowadays, mainstream TV casts a plethora of GLBT characters and seems to be as Raymond puts it, “light years” ahead of film and in some cases real life too. My question is how has homosexuality in the real world made an impact on sit-coms that star GLBT characters, and on the flip side, how have shows, like Modern Family impacted our the way our generation views homosexuality? How has each started to break down the barriers of “heteronormative” behavior and attempt to enhance tolerance? Queering television, as Raymond calls it, has been able to gradually appeal to a wider ranged audience every year. We’re in the progressive social stage for equal rights, but we are not there yet, because if we were, we would see more films cast GLBT characters, and we would have gay marriage in all 50. What’s in store for television and film down the road?

Ehrenreich is fed up with the stereo types placed on the working class. The class that essentially make up 60-70 percent of our population. My eyes were opened when reading her essay about the limitation at which we see media. One example she gives is when she talks about talk show hosts having upper/middle class citizens coming in to talk about health care and minimum wage instead of talking to the people that it actually affects. Why do you think that we are not apt to hearing the working classes important voice? Do you feel as though it will ever change or that we will see a difference when including the working classes opinion?

The term "tacky" that is used by middle-class to describe the lower class is a way to different themselves to all others. My example is that Chinese or ABC are potraied as silly and stupid in different drama and films. The one I remember is in the Transformers III, and the Chinese in it was super stupid even when I look at him. But the way he portraied show how the producers and investors taste and they totally don't want such a so says as "lower class" people to ruin their "white, middle-class" game.

Ehrenreich states that 'tacky' is a word used by the middle-class to describe lower class people. She takes issue with the term because it reflects a sense of classism. My question is this: Do you think her idea of what would constitute a 'utopia' could ever actually exist in our society? She seems to offer a series of complaints about the nature of how we relate to one another and view one another, but doesn't offer a realistic way of changing that. How much of our society's ideas on race and class is actually constructed by media and corporations? I understand they control a fair amount of the messages that are mass produced and sold to the public, but don't many of those messages exist because someone, somewhere thought it on their own anyway?

People at the top of the social pyramid have to control the society for smoothness and efficiency. It prevents to appear problems. Generally speaking, high levels who were in the top 20 % manage a powerless commoner, and their sadness and agonies are reported by press. What else we don’t aware? We don’t care about distress of the lower classes, and we delude ourselves into a pretense that in process of time’s problems is getting disappeared in process of time. The problems. It looks like that broadcasting secretive about their a dark side. They distract them mind from their problems.

Ehrenreich makes some useful observations and points in the short article. However, I feel some of his points are simplified (as would be expected, it is a relatively short piece and you can't fil it too full of one idea). For example, the idea that stereotypes and prejudices are "marching" on due to lack of contact and communication. I fell like a lot of that comes down to personal responsibility. It isn't the media's job to make people see things different ways or think different ways. It comes down to the individual. Does anyone else share this opinion or a version of it?

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This page contains a single entry by zimme313 published on September 26, 2012 2:35 PM.

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