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G.I. Jane Fights Gender Roles

September 28, 2011 1 comment

G.I. Jane is one of the most memorable feminist films ever created. Demi Moore plays a woman who is selected by a female Senator to enroll in the Navy Seals. Throughout training, nearly 60% of participants (typically men) fail to graduate. When a female steps up to the challenge, no one expects her to succeed.

This film is a representation of the ideological social structure of gender roles in American society, which believe that women cannot succeed on paths traditionally sought by men.

When Jane makes it part way through the rigorous training program, government officials become afraid of her success. Ultimately, the superior power is in opposition to the development of her female power. Her strength contradicts female stereotypes, and could catalyze a change in the American hegemonic masculine ideology.

Ironically, the female senator—who originally elected Jane into the program—attempts to jeopardize Jane’s reputation by hiring a journalist to frame Jane as a lesbian. Thus, both males and females are threatened by a change in the ideological system that constructs the expectations of male and female societal roles.

Croteau says,

“Sexism rests on the assumption that men and women, by nature, are suited to different and unequal tasks” (160).

Yes, women and men are wired differently—physically, communicatively, emotionally…but by how much? How vast are the differences in male and female capabilities? As part of the American (and world wide) views, women are politically, domestically, professionally, and socially inferior to men.

As Croteau exposes,

“more than half—52%—of news stories in the United States reinforce traditional gender stereotypes through ‘generalized, simplistic and often exaggerated assumptions of masculinity and femininity…46% of news stories in Europe reinforce traditional gender stereotypes, and 81% in news media in the Middle East” (157).

Those gross representations have helped to normalize stereotypes and expectations of women.

However, within the 90’s decade there was a tremendous fleet of feminist films that rocked the U.S. box office:

Elizabeth (1998) Epic, Based-on-a-True-Story; The Piano (1993) Drama; Erin Brockovich (2000) Based-on-a-True-Story; G.I. Jane (1997) Drama; Dangerous Beauty (1998) Based-on-a-True-Story, Drama.

Interestingly, these films follow close behind the release of the 1980s Vietnam and War films, which,

“were part of a larger process of ‘remasculinization’ of American society, another key component of the ideology of the Reagan years, in which a masculinity defined by its toughness is reasserted in the face of the twin threats of the defeat in Vietnam and the growth of feminism,” (169).

Just ten years earlier the media was reacting to the rising voice of feminism by stifling it. Then, within a few years, the media realized the idea of feminism was marketable and would appeal to the majority of audiences attending the box office.

There are numerous factors that play a role in the shifting ideology of gender roles. Studying the representations of males and females in media, and how biases are framed, can help us to understand the ideologies that construct our realities, and how those ideologies have changed over time.

-Morgan Tilton

Blog #2: G.I. Jane Fights Gender Roles

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a more progressive take on Blog #2

September 22, 2011 1 comment

I decided to do an idealogical analysis on a more progressive cultural bias. I have chosen to pull my analysis from the TV shows “Gilmore Girls” and “Reba” and from the movie “The Devil Wears Prada.” All three of these choices highlight a strong female role. Lorelai Gilmore is a single mom that ardently protests getting help from her well-to-do parents. Reba is a divorced woman with a crazy family life, but she is still a strong head to her household. Miranda Priestly is a wildly successful Editor-in-chief of a popular fashion magazine in New York City. All three of these women portray a sort of “hero” for women in our society. I believe that these three media examples show the bias of our culture towards feminism and a “turning of the tables” as it were.

In the past, there was a strong male presence in media. The father was the head of the house and provided for his family. A strong male figure was almost deemed necessary to achieve a “happy” family dynamic. These examples I have chosen are an entirely opposite viewpoint. Each example shows the woman as the successful figure. This is a fairly accurate depiction of where culture is heading–or at least where it is being led.

The ideological analysis of these clips is that even progressive biases such as total feminism is quite easily portrayed in media. It is an example of how truly varied “reality” is in the media. Media has the power to influence you to believe that women are capable of being successful and solely providing for their families one hour while convincing you, in the very next hour, to believe that every woman really does need her “prince charming” to ride in and save the day.

 

Clips used:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chUfzxDdVQ0 Reba

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNLvCWvy2f0 Gilmore Girls

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYKOvIFue-g The Devil Wears Prada

 

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Ideology in Reality-TV

September 22, 2011 1 comment

Television has the power to shape our perceptions of reality and the world around us by affecting our attitudes and certain ways of thinking. As in this day and age, the genre of reality television is one of the highest grossing, fastest growing, and most popular genre of shows on the air and it being almost impossible to turn on the television and not come across some kind of reality television, I decided on looking at the dominant ideologies presented to us through different kinds of reality television programs.

By looking at reality-TV shows like Survivor, The Amazing Race, The Biggest Looser, The Bachelor or America’s Next Top Model, two major ideological views seem to stand out: the belief that competition is the key to success and the perception of a certain body image as beautiful. Amongst others, shows like Survivor and the Amazing Race reinforce the idea that life is nothing but a competition that we continually engage in with each other. In the end it is always one person that wins – it’s about the survival of the fittest. In shows like The Biggest Looser, The Bachelor or America’s Next Top Model the two ideologies are combined. To be the winner of the competition and to be perceived as beautiful one has to comply with a certain body image which especially applies to women. Women are beautiful if they are thin, wear fashionable clothing, and date the right man.

The ones ultimately benefiting from imposing these ideologies on the viewers are the business people trying to sell us things we don’t really need just to stay in competition with our friends about who has the coolest and newest stuff as well as the tons of beauty products and fashionable clothing that are supposed to make us the most beautiful of all.

The dangerous thing is that the ideologies promoted through reality-TV are very powerful on us which has to do with the title “reality television” itself. Including the term “reality” suggests to viewers that what they see is a completely genuine and unbiased presentation of “real” life with “real” people. Viewers are therefore able to relate to these people and identify with them even more than with people from scripted television programs which makes the effect of the promoted ideology even stronger.

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Andrew Neely Blog #2

September 22, 2011 1 comment

Andrew Neely

Three movies that show black individuals as victims and white people as saviors are: Freedom Writers, Radio, and The Blind Side. Each of these movies shows black people as poor, uneducated and generally incapable until a white person intervenes. In Freedom Writers Hillary Swank plays a white teacher who comes to a predominantly black neighborhood where test scores are bad and kids are all but incapable of writing. With her help, the school turns around and its black students become successful. The movie, Radio, shows a poor black boy who is in need of guidance and a white man is his answer. Finally The Blind Side shows a poor black youth who needs a wealthy white family to find success.

These movies perpetuate the idea that white people are saviors and black people are inherently victims or helpless. This is of course not true because people of all races can be both impoverished and successful. Other movies show powerful partnerships between black and white people such as Remember the Titans.

These films benefit white people, particularly rich white people, and make them seem more powerful than they actually are.  These inaccuracies could easily be fixed by putting some minorities in positions of power, just as they are in real life. They could also have white people in impoverished positions because this is another important part of reality. Each of these movies reflects part of reality and yet somehow distorts it by placing whites in the position of a savior. It is unfortunate that things are presented this way but they are still a massive improvement over the stereotypes formally shown in the media.

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Media Diary Blog

January 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Friday 1/7/2011

11:00 AM- 12:00 AM

  • Went on Facebook
  • Checked e-mails
  • Watched TV
  • Watched Degrassi DVD
  • Texted Friends
  • Listened to music on internet
  • Call mom  on cell phone
  • Surfed Internet
  • Read news on internet
  • Played games online
  • Watched live prank call show online

Saturday 1/8/2011

10:00 AM- 11:00 PM

  • Went on Facebook
  • Watched TV
  • Watched movie on Netflix
  • Texted Friends
  • Skype friends
  • Listened to music on internet
  • Call friends
  • Surfed Internet
  • Played games online
  • Played video games on PS2
  • Used Google maps
  • Listened to iPod on train
  • Watched YouTube Videos

Sunday 1/9/2011

11:00 AM- 12:00 AM

  • Went on Facebook
  • Texted friends
  • Watched TV
  • Listened to music on internet
  • Read article online for class

Monday 1/10/2011

12:00 PM-6:00 PM

  • Texted Friends
  • Watched TV
  • Listened to Jango
  • Watch videos on YouTube

This log really made me see how central media is to my life. I use media at least once every hour in one way shape or form, from being on my laptop to surfing on my mobile phone. I am really unsure how I would function especially on the weekends without it. I use media for entertainment purposes much of the time. But along with that I feel it can also be seen as personal interaction because I use my cell phone to communicate as well as internet through IMs and Facebook. Media is a big thing for me because it calms me down and puts me in a relaxed state of mind. I watch TV a lot and I also listen to music a lot because these are two things that relax me.

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Media Schedule

January 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Friday

10:30am:Woke up checked my phone for text messages, checked email and facebook for important messages and friend requests

10:45am: Looked on espn.com for the latest sports news, while watching espn on television

11:30am: received a text message from the coaches about practice and lifting schedule for the day

12-4pm: Watched television and played on computer and phone

7:45pm: returned a text message sent by a friend

Saturday

7:30am: Woke up, checked phone for text messages, and checked email

11am: Checked phone again for text messages, responded to one from mother

11:15am-4pm: watched various sporting events on television, while checking phone for text messages

4-5:30pm: listened to music on mp3 player and youtube while watching television

5:30-7pm: texted friends while watching television

Sunday

11am: Woke up and checked email and phone for important messages

12-5pm: Did homework for various classes on the computer and checked blackboard, email. Turned off phone so I wouldn’t get distracted. The only time I turn off my phone is when I need to get work done

5:05pm: Checked phone and replied to 3 text messages

5:10-11pm: Watched television and chatted with people on facebook

Reflection: Most of the time I use the Internet to check my email or to check facebook. I also use the Internet to read about important news stories and I always check my phone just in case I get a text or call from friends, family or coaches. I also always check my email just in case I get an important message from school. I use the Internet and technology to help stay in touch with the world and what’s going on. If I didn’t have technology then I would be lost. I depend on technology everyday.

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Media Journal

January 13, 2011 Leave a comment

These are my interactions with media from Friday through Monday:

Friday: Watched SportsCenter in the dining Hall for 30 minutes in the morning. Used my laptop to get research on a project for 3D approaches during studio hours. I talked to my friend from my high school on the phone for 45 minutes. Talked to my dad on the phone for 25 minutes. Went to Jazzman’s to get lunch and texted 4 different people about tonight’s plans. I talked on the phone with my mom at 11:00pm for a half hour.

Saturday: Woke up and played XM radio on my laptop while cleaning my room. Skied in Breckenridge, and used a “Go Pro Hero” video camera that straps you your ski helmet. Used cell phone multiple times while calling other people to meet up at Breck. Watched CNN while eating in one of the chalet’s.

Sunday: Made a video using iMovie of the footage taken while skiing in Breckenridge the previous day. Went to Church in the Evans Chapel and went on facebook on my phone on the way. Finished up homework and Played Call of Duty for 45 minutes before getting ready to go to bed.

Monday: Used iPod when I went to the gym to workout. Used my laptop to record part of the journal entries. Typed part of my English paper for an hour and a half, using Microsoft Word and Blackboard.

Last week, around Wednesday, I misplaced my phone. It was really frustrating because I knew the vicinity of where it was: my dorm room. I kept searching but for some reason I still could not find it! I ended up not finding my phone until 36 hours later. Through this time, my memory was refreshed on the reliance I have on my cell phone. Contrary to the way a lot of teens may respond to this situation, I actually experienced somewhat of a freeing feeling not having to respond to texts and make phone calls. I found that though facebook and emails I could still contact the people I needed to contact and I could function. However, the main issue was being able to get a hold of someone when I was out and about on campus. The cell phone is definitely essential for me to have throughout my day in order to stay on top of things. Over this period of time that I spent recording my use of media in a journal, I realized again that I use my cell phone throughout the day. I found that besides being in class (which is what the majority of this time was) was the time where I would be using a form (or multiple forms) of media without even realizing it. I’ve always known Facebook was a huge part of my life and definitely was up 90% of the time that I have my laptop open. I seem to only watch the news on television when it is presented to me. I never found myself turning on the TV in my dorm room and going to a weather channel or a popular news channel. I never looked at one newspaper. All of the time spent staying up on the news (especially sports) was either on TV or on the internet such as espn.com or nba.com. It was eye opening to actually pay attention to my use of media, because it really is a huge part of my life.

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