Sunday, April 29, 2012

Media Moments: Women See Worrisome Shift in Turkey

I recently read this article on the New York Times website called "Women See Worrisome Shift In Turkey" by Dan Bilefsky. The story covered the life of Turkish women. Gokce, a 37 year old mother of two who has been living on the run for 15 years. She ran away because of the abusive relationship she was in with her husband. Throughout that time her husband stabbed her brother to find out about her whereabouts. WHen she went to the police for help the police told her to go back to her husband. She even claimed to have heard an officer advise him to break her legs so she could not escape.

Last year a bill was passed that extended compulsory education to 12 years but allowed home schooling after the first eight which encourages the practice of child brides.

My question is, in the struggle to find women's rights for all. How does one attack the issue of women's rights in the middle east? Many of the existing governments have conservative ideologies and perfer women to play their role in society.

Media Moment: How Women Are Portrayed in Hip Hop Videos

I saw this video on Youtube called  "How Women Are Portrayed in Hip Hop Videos" in this video industry insiders gave the harsh reality about the images seen in the video. Record executive Irv Gotti said "It is what it is, this is entertainment. The man who is picking up garbage everyday comes home and wants to be entertained." The video further went into how females in the early 90's began to become exploited. A trend in hip hop which started with a few women in a video became dozens of women around one rapper.

My question is, do you think this is only entertainment? Should artists and directors be held to a high standard?

Friday, April 27, 2012

It's Your Gender Stupid

1.      The bottom line of "Its Your Gender Stupid" is that gender is simple and complex at the same time.  When we say gender each person has relatively the same visual and definition as to what gender means.
Gender is a universal category of people that crosses all languages and cultures.  It may mean male and female (sex) to some while it is also behavior.  There are also social and cultural norms for gender.

Question: Is it possible to not categorize people by a gender? Why are gender norms constructed by colors, etiquette, and public appearance? Even by the things we like and do not like?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Media Moment

When I saw this on TMZ I had an eyebrow raising reaction. It was weird to see the description for an actor be worded that way. I posted this video because of the light skinned aspect of "FHALT-P". I honestly felt like the world thinks dark skinned people are ugly. Hegemony or not, feeling threatened or what ever else. Dark skin in our society is equated to ugly.

What do you think white people think about the way dark skin looks? Do you think they find dark skinned people (meaning people that are not tanned white or mulatto) unasthetically pleasing like the lists compiled on

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Reflection on Class Discussion: Gender and Sexuality

Reflections on Class Discussion: Gender and Sexuality

            This class discussion made me think a lot deeper about the way gender and sexuality is represented in the media, and to what extent. This discussion helped me distinguish between the terms; sex, a biological characteristic vs. the term; gender which refers to a cultural programming or a social construct of what it means to be feminine or masculine. In other words, men are not born masculine, in the same that women are not born feminine, instead we are taught to identify ourselves as belonging to either group and, at the same time naturalizing gender.

            The media conflates with its representations of gender; therefore we assume things about characters when we come across them in real life. The media creates and perpetuates these stereotypes as a way of categorizing homosexuality; however it is not that simple. The separation of gender is both a mythical and social construct that creates an ideal female, and an ideal male expecting everyone to fall under these categories flawlessly. Homosexuality breaks these barriers with a sexual orientation which isn’t as clear cut as many would like.

            What stood out the most to me in this class discussion was the lack of lesbian representation in the media. It seems that the media is careful in its selection of characters portrayed which are for the most part heterosexual, thus supporting heterosexuality; a normative standard which all women are expected to live by. Lesbian women are seen as the Other, as a result of gendering created by man, the oppressor. As mentioned in “The Invention of Heterosexuality,” homosexuality wasn’t removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s list of psychological disorders until 1974, which is surprisingly recent. Homosexuality is therefore still a newly acknowledged category that the media is probably not prepared for. From this discussion I came to the conclusion that the marginalization of lesbians in the media illustrates the inadequacy of our traditional way of thinking about sexuality and sexual orientation that does not give room to other groups.

                                                                                                                By Stephanie Gomez

Media Moment, "Jessica Perez"

I heard about this on Elvis Duran and the Morning Show this morning, and thought it would be a perfect media moment. It would have greatly complimented our class discussion on Latina women a couple weeks ago, but now that we are knowledgeable of the topic, you should all be able to comment with great scholarly insight and being able to facilitate discussion with classmates on this media moment. 

If I would have seen the name 'Jessica Perez,' I would have assumed Latina. If I would have seen Jessica Perez and didn't know her name, I would have made an ASS out of U and ME, because I wouldn't have affiliated her with being Latina. I think it's great that she wants to revamp this stereotype about Latina women being dark hair, brown eyes, and tan skin because of the perpetuation of images in the media. Perez is a native Spanish speaker from Costa Rica, with blonde hair and blue eyes. I don't blame her for being tired of the endless criticism of not having the typical characteristics of Latina women. I was able to make an interesting observation by spending six weeks in Spain over the summer. Most Spanish people from Spain are white, fair skin tone, lighter hair, and even lighter eyes. I was totally perplexed when I first arrived, and didn't realize the diversity of the Spanish people, because of these preconceived stereotypes I had prior to my arrival. People from Spain are some of the most beautiful people I've seen.

1. Do you think the media should start representing the diversity in Latina women? (ie: blonde hair, blue eyes)
2. I found it interesting when Jessica mentioned she would never be hired as a Latina girl on set. What are your thoughts on that?

Reflection on Class Discussion: Women, Class and The Media

Reflection on Class Discussion: Women, Class and The Media

This class discussion got me thinking about how media texts play a big role in defining and shaping how society views social class. I think that the media has such a power over us since we are constantly being exposed to it on a daily basis, and subconsciously we include these perceptions into our lives as a way of "keeping up to date" with what is socially accepted.

The most interesting and provocative question was "What is your definition of class vs. what is the dictionary definition?" It has become increasingly difficult in the United States to categorize people within the two extremities of either the upper class or the lower class. I feel that many people do not fall under these categories, where maybe some workers can earn more than an owner of a small company. It might be more useful to classify Americans according to their socioeconomic lifestyle. However, class is such a delicate and uncomfortable topic to discuss which can create tension between the two groups; upper and lower class. In class we identified the upper and the lower classes with specific characteristics that drew a line between the two socioeconomic lifestyles. We described the lower class with; abandoned homes, overcrowded homes, and struggling to support their families, and the upper class with; expensive homes, owning several cars, and financially stable.

            From this discussion I came to the conclusion that class defines the upper class as the economically privileged who enjoy luxurious lifestyles, and are least affected by economic recessions, on the other hand the lower class is economically oppressed with limited chances of upward mobility. The class system fails to include members of the middle class, who can be defined as being of a better economic standing than someone in the lower class however may never reach the luxurious lifestyle of an upper class person. Class is certainly a very changeable category where any economic recession can place you at either extremity.

            Capitalist ideology is what has perpetuated in the media as the American dream in which every family owns their own house on their own land. The media takes on the role in keeping the lower classes “in their place” at the mercy of the upper-class. The media convinces people that everyone has an equal chance in this country, although these ideologies are only designed to serve as a basis for the economic security of the upper class through the perpetuation of the capitalist ideology.
                                                                                                                     By Stephanie Gomez

Monday, April 23, 2012

Media Moment: "Neil Patrick Harris: Television’s First ‘Straight’ Character"

 After our class discussion on Gender and Sexuality, I was curious to look up some articles regarding gays playing straight roles. Since I love the show "How I Met Your Mother" starring Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson, I went looking for articles to find out what people had to stay about a gay man playing a straight role. This article "

  "He may be playing straight roles, but Harris is still playing the caricatures that are usually  reserved for gays on screen. They are overly-sexualized, bedding down with any pretty
 thing that comes by. They love drugs, partying, fine clothes, and loose women men. Then there is the sad sack whose love is going to destroy him, who will end up with nothing. There is usually singing involved. That's why Barney is "straight" in name only. He is a gay stereotype that has been fooled into thinking he likes the ladies."

After reading that comment, I said "Wow, I've never looked at it in that way before." But these are pretty interesting observations, especially the description of  "oversexualized" and "fine clothing" associated with Harris' character on the show. It was also mentioned, that in earlier episodes on HIMYM, viewers didn't want to see a gay man "play a reformed slut who gets serious with a woman." Currently, Harris' character in season 7, is in a committed relationship, so I am curious to see if Barney will end up in a committed relationship, when the show eventually ends. But I guess we shall see...  In the mean time, I would love to hear what anyone has to say in response to Moylan's question, "Do you think America is ready to see a gay man in a committed heterosexual role on network TV?."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Media Moment, Gender Pay Inequality

WOW!! Uh, offensive, unjust, inaccurate, mirrors EVERYTHING we’ve touched on in class, over the course of the semester?! I THINK SO! 5Jobs Where Men OUTEARN Women the Most. 1.) Sales Consultant – Difference in Pay: 27 Percent 2.) Real Estate Broker – Difference in Pay: 23 Percent 3.) Recruiting Director – Difference in Pay: 20 Percent 4.) Portfolio Manager – Difference in Pay: 15 Percent and 5.) Chief Executive Officer – Difference in Pay: 15 Percent.
Now, tell me what you think about that! It’s obvious that gender discrimination and gender pay inequality in the work place is still very much existent. In 2010, the Census Bureau recorded women’s earnings to be 77.4 percent of men’s. Experience and education are still playing a vital role in the work force between men and women. This is just UNFAIR. I don’t know WHAT we have to do for some equality around here! I wonder if the perpetuation of ‘men’ being the dominant, masculine norm in today’s society has anything to do with it? Maybe gender pay equality starts with the media?
This quote sparked my interest:
“Bardaro says this gap may be attributed to personality traits and putting in extra hours, an area where males may have more flexibility due to fewer responsibilities at home. ‘Even though in today’s society many families are taking a more balanced approach to raising children and household chores, women are still bearing the brunt of the work,’ she says.”
Do you think men are monopolizing these high-paying careers because women have more responsibilities at home and are less lenient with there availability? 
Even in today’s society with both men and women taking a more balanced approach at home, do you think that will help women climb the gender pay totem pole?

Media Moment, "Aphrodisiacs"

I found this video on Yahoo the other day, just as I was about to sign in to check my email. I chose to post this media moment because I felt it mirrored our class discussion the other day on Gender and Sexuality. The video is about Aphrodisiacs: 5 Foods to Spice Up Your Sex Life. Food historian Francine Segan introduces five aphrodisiacs at the Museum of Sex in New York City, that is thought to work and talks about why. In the video, Francine talks about the first aphrodisiac, garlic. After explaining how garlic stimulates blood flow in the body, she ended her sentence with, “essential for penis erection.” She also insinuates throughout the segment that all these aphrodisiacs enliven ‘males.’ (Do keep in mind that the interviewee is a woman) She further explains how Antler Tea is an ancient aphrodisiac that ‘men’ would drink, and how Casanova the Italian lover would use different foods to get women in the mood. Not until the end, did Francine suggest that Good & Plenty licorice candy has been used for arousal in both ‘men and women.’ I just found the whole bit quite interesting, in terms of assuming the normative sexual relationship. The segment just presumed heterosexual relationships were the standard when explaining the five foods that are used for inducing sex. This is a piece of media that perpetuates the ideology of heterosexual relationships. Media such as this just reinforces men and women sexual relationships and hinders the opportunity for homosexual relationships to further blossom.

Do you think aphrodisiacs really work?

Do you think there should be more segments like this but used in more of a general context, as to not isolate any other sexualities?

Media Moment: Pro-anorexia ‘thinspiration’ photos shouldn’t be banned from social media

This article "Pro-anorexia ‘thinspiration’ photos shouldn’t be banned from social media," gave me pause when I came across it as I felt that media has a big influence on how people see their self-image. Celebrity news magazines is one good example of how media has a big impact on society, especially about what's "in" and what's "not," or what is defined as beautiful. Television, radio, magazines or online publishing sites can control most of their content when it comes to publishing, but the opposite is true for social media sites. 

There's a word called "thinspiration" out there which the article defines as "Glamorous photos of very skinny women, together with admiring captions, might arouse self-loathing in women, and thereby inspire self-mortification, and in particular anorexia."  According to the article, this became an issue when "An exposé of “the hunger blogs”—pro-anorexia, or pro-ana, chronicles that approvingly feature photos of emaciated bodies—ran in February on the Huffington Post." As a result, social networking sites, Tumblr and Pinterest has banned such content from being published on their site as they did not want to promote anorexia In addition to this issue,  Alexa Chung, 28-year-old Britsh TV personality, recently posted a picture of herself on Twitter, which was criticized and labeled as a thinspiration because of her knobby knees.

Currently some pro-ana refugees are using Facebook as a platform to express their ideas, so my question to you is, how do you feel about some social media sites trying to prohibit images/ideas that can potentially promote anorexia? Do you think it's the responsibility for the social media sites to control content like this or do you think people should be free to post what they like? I would also like to point out that, for an image to be labeled a "thinspiration" is relative unless the caption explicitly states something that promotes anorexia, but then again, it's especially hard  when people post images and write comments about trying  to lose weight for the summer to hit the beach.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Reflection on class discussion: Gender & Sexuality

I thought the class discussion on gender and sexuality was informative and interesting. The documentary clips from The Celluloid Closet made me realize how media's offensive depiction of gay people began so early on in television and film. As the class discussed lesbian roles that came to mind I noticed that although media has progressed, there is still a huge lack of lesbian roles available. I also agree with my peers who mentioned that media has a very black-and-white view of gay and lesbian. The lesbian characters that are presented in television and film either fit the "butch" stereotype or "lipstick lesbian" stereotype. Of course it's impossible that every lesbian in the world identifies within just two categories. I think this is important to change in media because this perpetuation of lesbian stereotypes influence people's perceptions. One of my closest friends is a lesbian and she has told me about countless moments where people have responded to her with ignorant comments. This ranges from: "really? you don't look like a lesbian," "So do you suddenly hate men now?" and "Are you going to start listening to Tegan & Sara then?" The stereotype of what a lesbian "should look like" has been created throughout media and continues with the characters that are continuously presented. If you are unfamiliar with the musicians Tegan & Sara, they are sisters/ Canadian indie duo who happen to be lesbian as well. The fact that these women are lesbian shouldn't mean that every lesbian must be a fan and avid listener as well. I think these stereotypes will continue throughout society until media makes a change by including lesbian roles that do not fit the "butch" or "femme" categories. The class discussion taught me about the stereotyped notions and under-representation of lesbians in media. Perhaps, in time, lesbian and gay roles in film and television will become more common and accurately portrayed.

Reflection on class discussion: Gender & Sexuality

I found our class discussion on gender and sexuality very interesting and entertaining. The discussion helped me to become more aware of gender and sexuality in the media. It’s mind-boggling to think how obtuse my knowledge was on the topic and how much it perpetuates in the media. I love doing the exercise in the beginning of class about what comes to mind, what we think of, and what female women in the media represent in terms of whatever topic it is we’re discussing. It really helps me get a visual and home in on how these women are truly represented. When we watched the thirty minute clip on the Celluloid Closet, I found the way men and women were depicted implicitly and explicitly so unique. I found it intriguing that men were portrayed with more femininity and women were represented more masculine. I agree with VIktorsha’s comment about femininity in men threatening the patriarchal society. Men have always been depicted as the ‘bread winner’ and the one that wears the pants in the relationship. With the influx of flamboyancy in gender and sexuality, I think it strains this idea of men being masculine and powerful. I think because of these schemas, people form these ideologies that there needs to be a ‘butch’ or ‘femm’ in a relationship. In the reading, “What is Gay and What is Not,” the section, ‘Being Homosexual Is a Choice’, I loved the quote… “I think I’ll be gay. I can become a member of an oppressed minority, have restrictions placed on my life, imperil my relationship with my family, be exposed to bigotry, hear myself referred to as sick and perverted, be discriminated against by my religion and my government, be assaulted verbally, psychologically, and physically for merely existing.” That quote just affirms my thoughts on a person not choosing to be gay, but discovering they are. Great discussion topic, really enjoyed it!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Discussion Points for Betty Berzon's " What Is Gay and What Is Not"

I chose to present this article because I feel that it relates to everyone, whether they like it or not. Living in a society surrounded by gay people is not something that we can avoid as many of us have family members, friends, co-workers, or famous people who we know in the media, are gay. It's not easy for many people to just come out of the closet as I know a close friend who still hasn't, but I know that if more and more people do, then maybe eventually society can come to accept it. And if you think about it, living in a modern society, you would think discrimination and misconceptions about gays would be an old thing. Hopefully, the media can educate Linkpeople and change the way how some feel and think about homosexuality.

Information about the article:

The article “What is Gay and What is Not” discusses how being gay is not a choice, it is something that is predetermined at birth. Gay people are no different from heterosexuals except for their sexual orientation. There are
so many misconceptions such as common myths that people have for gays and
the only way for society to realize that gays are just like straight people, is if gays are more visible in society. And by keeping oneself in the closet is to succumb to being “undesirable” or “inferior.”

Bottom line:

There are many misconceptions that society has about homosexuality. And the only way to overcome it is the increase of their visibility in society.

Questions for the class:

1. The presence of more gay people in the media can definitely help society to ease into accepting them, but do you think there is also a disproportionate amount of visibility of gays oppose to lesbians in the media? If so, do you think that being a lesbian is more acceptable in our society?
2. Do you think the media currently stereotypes gays and how can the media change that?
3. Is there any one particular individual in the media who you think has paved the way for gays?
4. Are there any other common myths that you have heard about being gay, which wasn’t covered in this article?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Media Moment: Is Rachel Dratch Too Ugly for Hollywood?

I recently came across an article on the Huffington post web page that discusses, what I believe to be an interesting topic of discussion in light of our recent look at Roseanne. Rachel Dratch has been widely seen on TV and film, mostly known for her career on SNL. Though even on SNL Dratch was placed in more character type roles such as "Debbie Downer" rather then "attractive" lead type roles that co-star's such as Tina Fey were placed in. Since then Dratch as the article points out has had difficulty finding work in lead type roles, having unsuccessful pilot shows and even losing her lead role in 30 Rock to the vivacious and seemingly more physically attractive Jane Krakowski....

"I am offered solely the parts that I like to refer to as The Unfuckables. In reality, if you saw me walking down the street, you wouldn't point at me and recoil and throw up and hide behind a shrub. But by Hollywood standards, I'm a troll, ogre, woodland creature, or manly lesbian..."

 In the article, columnist Torie Bosch argues that despite the evidence to support Dratch being victimized by hollywood, an effort should be taken to consider that Dratch's acting style might just not be for everyone. 

"Delightful as Dratch is in interviews and in her book, there is something uncomfortable about this framing. If we accept the premise, that Dratch hasn't cracked Hollywood because she isn't good-looking enough, then there would seem to be a feminist obligation to support her, to buy all her DVDs, go to her movies on opening night, protest the studio heads who reject her..."

Bosch continues with her case even asking herself despite her support of Dratch if she is "betraying feminism if I say Im not a huge Rachel Dratch fan?". Yet looking at Roseanne as a model for a progressive character type for the image of women in the media, can Dratch's situation warrant her response to Hollywood's framing of her? After reading this article I was torn as to my feelings and position, because while I would love to take a feminist position and full out support Rachel Dratch as a victim of Hollywood misogyny I also can easily take a more observant role of her talent. This though seems a tad bit naive considering how we've seen women portrayed in the media across all races as sexualized attractive beings. It is also naive then to consider Bosch's position or as an audience do we embrace both outlooks on the subject?    

Friday, April 13, 2012

Media Moment: Mitt Romney's "War On Women"

     On the first full day of the presidential campaign trail, governor Mitt Romney declared that there is a "war on women" after many women lost their jobs during President Obama's term. According to Toby Washington's article on the daily mail, he said "Romney sought to address a starting gender gap that he needs to overcome if he is to win the White House." On the first day of his campaign in Connecticut Romney said " Oh there is a war on women lets bring him back to the fact that it is the real war upon women that has been waged by his economic policies." Mr. Romney plans on making this issue a primary issue going into this presidential campaign.

     According to the Romney campaign the Obama administration has caused the loss of 92 percent of women's jobs. However, according to Toby Washington he says that it is "a standard characteristic" to see women lose their jobs after a major downturn because it is part of the cycle.

    My question to the class is, do you think Mitt Romney has a point? Is there a "war on women"? Is this more of a political agenda or a real issue being raised here?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ashley Judd criticizes predatory press in a new article

Ashley Judd

In an article which appeared this week in the Daily Beast, an online-only subsidiary of Newsweek, actress and philanthropist Ashley Judd responded forcefully to speculation that she had gotten plastic surgery.  According to Judd, the steroids prescribed to combat a recent illness in March caused her face to look a little puffy, and tabloids and ragsheets in the US and Great Britain quickly pounced on her appearance, saying she looked terrible and commenting that she must have "had work done." Even the Huffington Post jeered that her "pillow-face" looked "blotchy, red, and plump" in a video hosted by a thin, primped, decidedly non-blotchy young lady. While such celebrity reporting is common fare for many magazines and television programs, Judd's articulate written response is refreshing, angry, and admittedly unusual.  

Showing enough courage to own the F-word, Feminism, in her rebuttal Judd indicts what she calls the partiarchal assault on women's bodies that takes place in the media.  She breaks down the assumptions that underlie the comments made about her appearance and how they are tied to skewed conceptions of female value in society.  She explains pointedly that "The assault on our body image, the hypersexualization of girls and women and subsequent degradation of our sexuality as we walk through the decades, and the general incessant objectification is what this conversation allegedly about my face is really about." She concludes the article in an uplifting and activist manner, calling for media makers and consumers to "Join in—and help change—the Conversation."

What do my classmates think about an actress calling out the press for being overly critical of her appearance? Would it change the Conversation, as Judd terms it, between media makers and consumers if both expressed disgust with the current media climate as it relates to objectifying women? Or is the power of cosmetics/dieting/gym membership advertising too strong?

Transsexual Miss Universe Discriminated Against

The 23-year old contestant Jenna Talackova was disqualified from  Miss Universe competition after she released to the public that she underwent surgery to become a female. The owner of the pageant,  Donald Trump disqualified Talackova claiming that she was not a "natural born woman." He was later criticized for his statement, and the contestant was readmitted to the competition, assessing the only requirement stated on the Miss Universe Canada website is that to enter, women must be a Canadian citizen and between the ages of 18 and 27. Despite her acceptance back into the contest,  Donal Trump failed to deliver an apology to Talackova, stating that "There will be no apology whatsoever. And frankly, if she competes, that's wonderful, and if she doesn't want to compete because maybe she thinks she can't win, that's fine also. I couldn't care less." This news story really infuriated me,because it demonstrates an ongoing homophobic and transgender discrimination around America and around the globe. The fact that someone can't compete because of their prior sex, is absurd. It's unfortunate that the majority is still unable to grasp the differences between sex and gender, and that one should have the freedom to identify freely as a member of any group if she/he wishes to do so. 

My questions to the class:
Do you think that the guidelines for the beauty pageant should be reevaluated and apply to all demographics? Do you find that Talackova's public release of her prior sex will serve to her disadvantage in the competition?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Media Moment: "Sarah Palin co-hosts NBC’s ‘Today,’ pokes fun of herself by reading newspapers, writing notes on hand"

I came across this article “Sarah Palin co-hosts NBC’s ‘Today,’ pokes fun of herself by reading newspapers, writing notes on hand”on the Daily News website and it caught my eye. This article takes me back to the class discussion we had the other day on the news clip about Jon Stewart calling out on Gretchen Carlson for "Dumbing Herself Down.”

So 4 years later after the 2008 Presidential Election, Sarah Palin is brought on the Today Show, and she pokes fun at herself, do you think she’s doing it just to please people? She is obviously an intelligent woman, who otherwise wouldn’t have gotten as far as to being the Republican Party nominee for Vice President in the 2008 presidential election if it wasn’t for her credentials, right?? Either way, do you think the producers of the Today Show asked her to poke fun of herself or that was Palin’s decision?