Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Women in the Media: A Reflection

Often at the start of class, we'll begin our weekly discussion of the readings by breaking down the traits discussed of a particular class of women. Many of them are stereotypical or are poorly used to define a set of women based on what the media tells us these women are like. What's interesting to me, more so than the lists we compile, is that we tend to affiliate each trait on the whiteboard with each and every famous woman who we've listed on the other side of the board. What this indicates, at least to me, is that popular culture is often one dimensional, especially in the United States.

The United States is not a nation made up of one class, race or creed. Each and every day, we're surrounded by people of all shapes, sizes and colors in school, at work, on our commutes… and yet, that diversity has yet to resonate with those who are making the media we consume. Every Spanish housewife on TV looks like a Sofia Vergara ("Modern Family"), an Eva Longoria ("Desperate Housewives") or a Constance Marie ("George Lopez"), all slim and beautiful, loud and outgoing. Every white girl on a TV sitcom fits the anorexic-like model made famous by the female cast of "Friends." The list goes on.

Yes, this is a very general critique, and yes, we've discussed it in class before on a number of occasions, but our weekly use of the whiteboard, and the way we mix and match traits, has me thinking about these generalizations more and more. It became even more obvious how little certain types of people are shown in TV and film when my classmates and I found it difficult to point out prominent Asian women in the know. Our list during last week's class was feeble, but not shocking. Still, even with a lesser amount of names, the lines we connected all intertwined. We connected almost every trait with every actress, and that's telling of a substantial problem in Hollywood.

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