31 May 2006

Stereotypes...

Although we talk about stereotypes everyday in our class, I couldn’t help but notice a very dominate stereotype that I deal with daily. I spent the entire day moving my stuff out of my apartment today, and I just couldn’t let the boys do all the work for me. I just have this underlying notion that men can’t do things as well as women can. Where did this feeling come from? My mom is one of those anal-retentive types and I remember her always doing things for my dad when I was younger. She went out of her way to oversimplify daily tasks for my dad… seems like we can always find things to blame our parents for!

30 May 2006

Final Project!!!

“They don’t need men or do they? A content analysis of female characters in TV sitcoms.

For females in print ads: http://delcarpio.blogspot.com/
For females in movies: http://hmm0013.blogspot.com/

”Two-sentence summary of findings:
In TV shows created for women, female characters were portrayed as strong, opinionated individuals, while the female characters in TV shows targeted towards men were very passive and quieted in their semi-stereotypical roles. However, in the androgynous TV shows, female characters took on traditional roles for our amusement, in which they obeyed numerous stereotypes.

Summary of the previous study:
The previous study, incorporated together on
http://www.girlsinc.com/ic/page.php?id=3.1.12, contains many different case studies and facts that all tie into this idea of how female characters are portrayed in the media. The first study conducted by Dawn Currie (“Girl talk: Adolescent magazines and their readers”, 1999, University of Toronto Press) reveals that the number of female characters in the media does not directly correlate with the 51% of female population in our society today. Women are much accounted for in reality, than on our TV sets. Next, a study by Children Now (“Fall colors: How diverse is the 1999–2000 TV season’s prime time lineup?”, 2000, Oakland, CA) discovered that 83% of women depicted in TV shows are typically in a relationship, dating, or married. Nancy Signorelli (“Reflections of girls in the media: A content analysis, a study of television shows and commercials, movies, music videos, and teen magazine articles and ads”, 1997, Children Now & the Henry J. Kaiser Family) found that female characters were more likely to be shown in a traditional role, rather than an established occupation, in which they had great responsibility, worked with men, and made important executive decisions. In each particular case study, the numbers and representation of women in the media has slightly improved, but should this slight improvement be enough to satisfy women in our society today? These studies all clearly indicate that the answer to this question is no because women have worked had to get where they are now, and the media should indeed reflect their accomplishments and achieved status in our society.

Its most important foundation literature and how it relates to your own project:
The study conducted by Nancy Signorelli (“Reflections of girls in the media: A content analysis, a study of television shows and commercials, movies, music videos, and teen magazine articles and ads”, 1997, Children Now & the Henry J. Kaiser Family) is the most applicable study used by the previous content analysis because it examines favorite TV shows among young girls. This previous study depicted women as both positive and negative role models, however, the majority of popular TV shows portray women in very stereotypical roles concerning their appearance, personal life, and occupation. These unorthodox stereotypes deceive young women into rearranging their priorities and their self value. Also, this study reminded us not to get sucked into some of the storylines and plots of these shows, but to examine the actions of each female character in order to determine her cultural impact.

Corpus and method:
My corpus encompasses 30 minute sitcoms viewed by men and women. I viewed three very different shows, one targeted towards women, Sex and the City, one targeted towards men, South Park, and one targeted towards both sexes, Everybody Loves Raymond. The method I used consisted of both quantitative and qualitative content analysis. Each female character that appeared in the show for longer than 5 minutes was coded first by their gender, and then for their age demographics. I also used descriptive analysis in order to identify their occupation/role, relationship status, clothing, and behaviors. The coded categories for each female character were taken from the above content analysis (http://www.girlsinc.com/ic/page.php?id=3.1.12).

Findings:
The female characters in each of the three shows were portrayed extremely different. First, in a show that I absolutely love, Sex and the City, each of the five adult characters are in some type of relationship. However, I coded two of the four main characters to have a progressive role. Keri, who is a columnist, is in love with Russian artist. He has asked her drop her life in New York and move to Paris with him. Although Keri is portrayed as a independent woman throughout the who, she agrees to move with her lover at the end of the show. Even though her character knows absolutely nothing in regards to cooking or anything else in the kitchen, I coded her as traditional, because she quits her job, clings to her lover, and ultimately leaves her entire life to move for a man. Charlotte was also played a traditional role is consistently shown cleaning, looking for love, and is extremely upset that she cannot become pregnant. Samantha, a progressive, only needs men for sex and is very independent. She now has a serious boyfriend, but never focuses on him. Instead, she is passionate about her career and her “little-big problems,” as I like to call them. Miranda, another progressive, is a very outspoken working mom. She may not be the most nurturing mother of friend, but you can rely on this character to always speak her mind. I found it very intriguing that female characters in a women’s TV show were shown as strong and independent on the surface, but the more you analyze them, the more they begin to take on stereotypical roles in which they are dependent upon men.
A TV show primarily targeted towards men, South Park, contained only two female characters in the episode I watched. Neither of these characters played a significant role, and as you may know, none of the main characters in South Park are actually female. Lucky me, this happened to be an episode in which they introduced insignificant, very forgettable female characters. The first character, Penny, came to the four main characters because she had lost her precious teddy bear and needed these boy detectives to find it for her. She was a very young, innocent looking girl, wearing pig tails. The girl was young enough so that the male characters wouldn’t be attracted to her. After the boys found her doll, she was dismissed from the episode. The next female character was a much older lady, who looked like anyone of our grandmothers. She needed the boys to find her freshly baked pie that had been stolen. She wore her purple bath robe, served her husband, and always had a pleasant attitude. So, to keep it simple, men rule in men's TV shows.

During the 30 minutes of Everybody Loves Raymond, a TV show targeted towards both sexes, the two main female characters took on very traditional roles. Debra, an adult housewife/mom is depicted as always having a positive attitude. She is that loving mom/relative who tries to understand you when everyone else has given up on you. This character constantly shows her love for her family through her individual care for each and everyone of them. Debra’s main responsibilities are to cook, clean, watch the kids, and maintain some type of order and balance in their lives. The comic relief is introduced with her mother-in-law Marie who continually nags and insults Debra (pick up on that stereotype?). Marie, the other main female character, is also a housewife/mom who is always doing depicted as serving others. If she isn’t doing laundry, then she is cooking of baking, all while receiving grief and sharp jabs from her lazy-ass husband. Marie is always ready and willing to take of her sons. She seems to take pleasure in serving the men in her life and feels as if Debra should be more like her. In these androgynous shows, the female characters seemed to share the amount of air time with the male characters, but the females are normally depicted in very stereotypical and degrading roles.

Conclusions:
This mini-study directly correlates with the previous studies. I did indeed discover that women are dressed differently and displayed in an inferior manner compared to their dominate male counterparts. When comparing the different TV shows directed at various audiences, the uniqueness of these female characters is incredibly different. As mentioned in the beginning of my post, more information about women portrayed in other media (movies and magazine ads) can be found in my group members’ blogs. Are women displayed as less independent and in more stereotypical roles in TV shows targeted towards men? In shows like South park, targeted towards a male audience, female characters seem to be very passive and play very insignificant roles. Therefore, the male characters can dominate these precious 30 minutes, while the female characters are used for decoration of progression of the storyline.

My movie date on Saturday

Ok, so I didn't want to be a total nerd on Saturday night when I went and saw X-Men III at the Movie Tavern. In attempt to reserve my image, I left my notebook at home, and consequently didn’t take notes on every character. However, I did pay attention to the women in the movie. Mystique, who only played in this movie for the first part, was as usual, dressed nude--- well, she wasn’t completely nude, she was painted. Then, the next two main characters were both women. Storm was the leader of the “good guys” and was played by an African-American actor. She didn’t have as much power as other characters, but was portrayed as “having it all together.” Jean, the other leader was played by a white actress, but she just seemed psycho to me. She couldn’t handle all of her power, killed many important people, and in the end killed herself. I thought it was interesting that the white woman had more power than the African-American woman, but these two women seemed to have more power and prestige than the men in this movie.

Butting heads as usual: My boyfriend pointed out to me, after reading my blog, that these two women weren’t originally in power. They had men commanders, and later in the movie became the person in command, due to the lacking power of their former commanders. Thus, maybe women are needed to finish the job, or do the job right.

24 May 2006

My mini study

“Trailer trash or not: sexual depiction in movie trailers.”

Two-sentence summary of findings:

Men were used more frequently than women in these current movie trailers, and the only category that women were depicted more than men was the young adult category. The sexuality in these trailers was kept to a bare minimum, and I only found suggestive sexual behavior in five of the twelve trailers.

Summary of the previous study:
The previous study by Oliver and Kalyanaraman (“Appropriate for all viewing audiences? An examination of violent and sexual portrayals in movie previews featured on video rental”, 2002, Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media) reveals that sex was used in over half of the movie trailers, averaging out to 1.51 sexual scenes per minute. In this study, the films that were likely to contain sexual content were those that were rated R. There was almost a 2:1 ratio of men in the trailers versus women, and the majority of the characters were adults or young adults.

Its most important foundation literature and how it relates to your own project:

The study conducted by Greenberg (“Media, sex, and the adolescent”, 1993, Hampton Press) is the most applicable study used by the previous content analysis because Greenberg examined the sexual content in R rated movies. This previous study depicted women as the main contributors of sexuality in movie trailers, affirming that sexual content is prevalent in the media.

Corpus and method:
My corpus encompasses all the current movie trailers that coincide with the movies now showing in our local Cinemark theater on 23 May 2006. These theatrical trailers (no teasers were used) were coded from Yahoo Movies. The method I used consisted of both quantitative and qualitative content analysis. Every character that appeared in the trailer for longer than 10 seconds was coded first by their gender, and then for their age demographics. I also used descriptive analysis to reveal any sexuality that was used in each trailer.

Findings:

The majority of the characters (32 to be exact) in these 12 trailers were male, while 21 were female, and 14 were coded as others. The dominant demographic fulfilled by a male actor was adult (30-65 years old), while most females descended into the young adult role (16-29 years old). Surprising, I only found five instances of sexuality in these trailers, and even these were kept mellow. The majority of these scenes were kissing, however in a scene from the trailer for “Goal! The Dream Begins” the main character, a young adult male, is captured in the shower, in which his entire midriff and upper-body is exposed. “Mission: Impossible III” pushed a little farther with its trailer, in which the main character, Tom Cruise, a young adult male is shown undressing a young adult female.

http://movies.yahoo.com/trailers/

Conclusions:

This mini-study directly conflicts with the previous study. I didn’t find the reoccurring theme of sex in these trailers to be as dominate as the prior researchers. The sexuality in the trailers I viewed was very minute, and when it did appear, it only captured the audience’s attention for a brief moment before the scene changed. A larger sample of movie trailers, with different ratings, and at different times of the year could be coded to investigate any reoccurring trends of sexuality or explicitness of women. Is sex more prevalent in rated R movies? As we can see from my sample, I didn’t code any rated R, so maybe that is where all the sexual behavior thrives. Also, a larger selection of trailers would have provided more data to compare the different roles men and women portray in movie trailers.

23 May 2006

Can I ever handle kids?


So, today my hate for video games was intensified. I think they are a waste of time, and I even did a big project last semester about gamers. I wanted to understand this phenomenon and why it is sweeping through America. My boyfriend is a gamer, and like I said before, I hate video games! When we have kids, is he going to want to play video games with them? Of course he is! Hell, that’s what he wants to do when he grows up. I came home today and I told him that our kids would not have their own TVs or computers and I didn’t want them playing video games. Jordan brought up a very interesting argument. He said that kids who play video games have better hand-eye coordination and higher IQs. It got me thinking… if I rule out video games, then I will probably have to rule out certain music, movies, and books. I was exposed to “mature” things when I was younger, but my mom was always there. We talked about disturbing things, and the idea of right and wrong was always instilled in my mind. When it comes down to it, I don’t think we can shelter our children from the media completely, and I don’t feel like we should. Our jobs as parents is to give them a firm background, good morals, and the ability to reason so when our children see these things, they can identify them as wrong or right.

22 May 2006

Does mommy really know best?


It seems like every parent sets high standards for their children… okay, that may seem like a stereotype, but hear me out. Our discussion in class today got me thinking about where parents may get these principles. In my personal life, my mom rides my ass about everything. If I make good grades, then I am not thin enough. Don’t get me wrong, my mom is an amazing mother, but this phenomenon seems to carry into other moms as well. My friends always tell me that their parents treat them the same way and expect so much from them. I think that even if we were to get rid of advertising, or at least the way it portrays women now, we all would still feel the need to be “perfect.” Our parents would pass it down on us, and I think that no matter how hard we fought it, we would pass it onto our children, and so on (everyone is shocked the day they discover they are more like their mother than they thought). We only want what is best for our loved ones, and this “perfectness” seems to be the best we have at this time.

18 May 2006

Just wondering...

I wonder who the first person was that made our world unequal. If we look back in history, it seems as if there was never a time when everyone was treated equally. People always had slaves or thought of themselves to be better than others. This decision, whoever started it, now effects me. Being a woman, I fight so many stereotypes and prove daily that I don't fit certain gender roles. Will my kids have to worry about this issue? Will their children fight to be equal in a world that may ridicule them? What happens when certain minorities become the majority? Then we whites get the harm/hurt/judgmental treatment that we have given to minorities? Or, will the minorities remember what is was like in that position and work for an equal civilization?

17 May 2006

I AM WOMAN!


I feel so powerful, mighty, and driven today! My name is Megan, and I am a woman! The past couple of days of class we have talked about minorities and the media, but I feel like we should ignore race and ethnicity (which be the way are two different things) and women should stand together. I’ve found that when we talk about minorities and their struggles, many people turn to me and tell me that I am white woman; therefore this struggle doesn’t affect me. HELLO---I’m a WOMAN! I’m strong, independent, hardworking, dedicated, a big dreamer, so why do I make $0.76 for every dollar a man makes? What makes a man more qualified? Does he deserve that whole dollar more than me? Seventy-six cents may not seem significant…

If a man makes $50,000 a year at his job, I, a woman, would only make $38,000.
Wow, that 24 cents sure adds up quickly.

I think this explains the stay-at-home-mom phenomena. Why would a woman go out and do a job, when her husband can go work and make way more than her. Why should women bust their butts in such an unfair industry? Oh yea, hoo-ray, it’s a lot better than it used to be, but is that good enough?

I want to work in an environment where no one looks at my skin color, cultural background, or even my gender. Just look at my work… if I can’t cut it, fire me! If I do a great job, reward me… LET ME BE EQUAL!

16 May 2006

Women POWs




After receiving the topic for today’s post, I found myself a little embarrassed because I had never heard the name Shoshanna Johnson. (I will be the first to admit that I don’t really follow or keep up with current events.) After looking for her picture one the Google images, I began to rack my brain in order to understand why this woman’s case wasn’t as public as Jessica Lynch’s. Shoshanna is a very attractive woman (since we learned yesterday that 60% of a person’s interpretation of an individual is by physical appearance alone) and what looks to be like a decorated officer. I was also blown away when I discovered that these two women (Lynch and Johnson) were captured together. It blows my mind that Johnson didn’t get equal attention to her amazing story. Johnson is a single mother who endured gunshots to her ankles, and was the only POW who suffered gunshot wounds. I can’t imagine the fear and pain she must have experienced. When she was rescued, it seems as if all the media attention went straight to the blonde white girl. I honestly cannot imagine how this must have felt for her.

I was absolutely furious after reading a shocking article that I found online (http://www.cutv.com/johnson.htm) which explains how Johnson, Lynch, and the rest of their convoy managed to survive. Johnson’s father Claude, a retired Army Sergeant, issued a challenge to the Iraqi people and government to “not act like the animals the world believes you to be.” With the efforts of Johnson’s father and Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Iraqi people kept them alive so they could be rescued by American soldiers. So, instead of ignoring her, Johnson and her family should have been praised and glorified. Maybe America’s media needs to take the advice of Claude Johnson.

When researching Jessica Lynch, it is amazing to see how each story varies dramatically. In each article it states that she was the only survivor, which clashes with the details of every article about Johnson. Some say she suffers amnesia and cannot remember any of the details, some say she was shot, and some say… well they all seem to say something different. This article,
http://who2.com/ask/jessicalynch.html contains a quote that I think I might be beginning to agree with.

“Some have suggested the rescue raid itself was a propaganda stunt staged to boost the morale of U.S. forces, perhaps at the behest of officials in the George W. Bush administration. Others have said the news media simply got the story wrong from the get-go.”

Whatever the case may be, I find myself very upset with the outcomes of the media coverage. We are over in Iraq fighting for equality, and we can’t even grant that to those that are fighting.






15 May 2006

Our first day of class

I thought it was really interesting that in our classroom context everyone was extremely against stereotypes. We were able to identify certain ones and depict how absurd they are, but no one was brave enough to bring up the fact that these “awful” stereotypes are what actually make us laugh while we watch our favorite sitcoms such as Everybody Loves Raymond. We sat in our safe, closed classroom environment and ridiculed these harsh assumptions of men and women, but I am willing to bet $10 that at least half of us went home, sat on our couch, and cracked up to these “politically incorrect” jokes.

This was the best example I could find...
http://www.tv.com/media_player/414/4/viewer.php&context_type=101&context_id=240#video-414