REPRESENTATIONS OF TRANS/GENDER AND SEXUALITY

Discrimination, terror, rejection and even confusion are present everyday within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community (LGBT). It was not long ago that homosexuality was considered a disease by doctors and crime by the government (Benstoff 2009). Since the passing of same-sex marriage on June 26, 2015, the nation has slowly been accepting the true meaning of happiness and love for all. Films like Broke Back Mountain, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and even shows such as Glee and Will & Grace have significantly emerged into progression and the acceptance of gay lives in mainstream media (Benshoff 2009). Yet the perpetuating the idea that homosexual people are considered “deviant” and not “normal” in society is still immensely apparent (Benshoff 2009).

Naomi Gordon-Loebl, a writer who lives in Brooklyn, shares her several encounters of people questioning and even asking if she is a boy or girl. In her article “Even Lumberjacks Deserve Lotion: Gender in the Locker Room,” she shares her fear and struggle of keeping a low profile to avoid being kicked out of the women’s locker room. She states, “There are people, real people, many of them, who think we are freaks…” and these are the people who make the lives of LBGT miserable and taunting. Unfortunately studies have even shown that LGBT people have higher suicide rates than those who are heterosexual people. She ends her article with an aspiration to have joy and pride, without being embarrassed or ashamed for whom she is. Although Gordon-Loebl is not the only person who has been terrorized by her own community, Caitlyn Jenner was ridiculed and judged by the entire world. As an Olympic winner back in the 1970’s, Jenner was easily considered a national hero for his heterosexual masculinity and strength. Caitlyn Jenner shocked and confused many audiences when she came out as transgender, yet sparked awareness and much more support for the LBGT community. But before Jenner came out to the world, she hid her identity behind closed doors and continued to dress as man for many years. This supports the notion of many LGBT people who are “scared straight” (Benshoff 2009) in order to be accepted and avoid panic and fear from others. While most are proud and very outspoken human beings, there are hundreds of lives within the LGBT community who are trapped in the conception of fear and scrutiny. Rejection from their family, friends, and society have created a harsh world for these lives who only want to fulfill happiness and find their identity.

 

Benshoff, Harry. “(Broke)back to the Mainstream: Queer Theory and Queer Cinemas Today” in Film theory and contemporary Hollywood movies. Ed. Warren Buckland. New York: Routledge, 2009.

Gordon-Loebl, Naomi. “Even Lumberjacks Deserve Lotion: Gender in the Locker Room” The Toast: LGT. 7 March 2016.

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RACE/GENDER

 

“When the content of the media plays on negative racial images, even if these themes are ridiculed, prejudiced persons interpret the message as supporting their bigoted attitudes rather than rejecting or changing them.” (Wilson et al., 48)

Prejudice and racism will always be depicted in the news and media no matter how much society has progressed. When the news offers coverage on minorities instead of the White majority, the term “non-whites” take place as “problem-people” conveying the false reality that every problem in society is due to “non-whites” (Wilson et al., 136). Throughout news history, any threatening issue against White-America is broadcasted and delivered to audiences who already have absorbed the idea that non-whites, such as Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and Asians are a threat. Attitudes amongst these racial groups are unfairly insensitive and very racially depicted on the news.

Over the weekend, many people were either devastated or ecstatic over the Bronco’s win of the 50th Super Bowl, as well as keeping this year’s half-time performance on the tip of their tongues. There is never a time Beyoncé is afraid to dominant and shine on stage. She took stage during half-time to perform alongside Coldplay and Bruno Mars, but it was her performance alone that created such uproar for right-wing conservative media outlets, such as Fox News. Beyoncé’s newly released single “Formation,” which depicts an empowering image of the brutality of police towards Blacks. The song contributes to the hashtag movement #BlackLivesMatter (Kerr-Dineen) as well as her own pride and self-love of being an African-American woman. Despite the fact that February is Black History month (or the fact that Beyonce has a great PR team), Fox News deliberately bashed her feministic and empowering performance stating that it promoted oppression towards police (Kerr-Dineen) whom only protect lives and ensure safety. In America’s history, Blacks were the definite objects of fear and threat despite how brutally harsh they were treated for the ways in which they attempted to fight for full civil rights. They insist that the performance was offensive and politically afflicted with the Black Panthers Party and its strong militia due to the way Beyonce and her back-up dancers were dressed. Fox News reporter states that “Beyonce dressed up in a tribute to the Black Panthers, went to a Malcolm X formation. And the song, the lyrics, which I couldn’t make out a syllable, were basically telling cops to stop shooting blacks!” (Kerr-Dineen). Not only that but Fox News, notorious for being racially biased, contributed to their existing platform stating that Beyonce’s performance was a “rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement” (Kerr-Dineen). Fox News inaccurately portrayed Beyonce, a strong, proud Black woman, as misusing her fame to send a message about the ongoing issue of racism in the news media during a weekend where it should have been about football, and only football.

Kerr-Dineen, Luke. “Fox News Slams Beyoncé’s ‘outrageous’ Super Bowl Performance.” For The Win. USA Today, 09 Feb. 2016. Web. 11 Feb. 2016.

Wilson, Clint C., Félix Gutiérrez, and Lena M. Chao. Racism, Sexism, and the Media: Multicultural Issues into the New Communications Age. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 2013. Print.

Native American Representations

I chose to compare theways.org video “Powwow Trail- Keeping the Beat” and the song from Disney’s Peter Pan. The song comes after Peter Pan and the gang save Tiger Lily from the pirates. This particular song is even called “What Made the Red Man Red.” The song is basically saying the Native American man was kissed by a woman and blushed until he was red and now their people are forever red-skinned.

I wanted to compare this with the Native American Reel video because it talks about a young man who participates in the dancing and culture of a powwow. He speaks about his people’s traditions and mentions the fact that there are numerous nations within the Native community who speak different languages, look different, and have many walks of life. The Powwow’s are a way to bring the communities together and they are open to the public so they too can learn and admire the culture.

He mentions the fact that he goes and dances in order to encourage the younger generation to participate in the traditions and culture too. These both fit with the “Myths and Stereotypes about Native Americans” reading by Fleming because the number six myth talked about is about how Native children do not come with the innate knowledge of their history from birth. They too must be taught the traditions, languages, cultural practices, and ideals of their people.

In Peter Pan, the sign language used to speak to Peter and the way Peter is allowed to wear the sacred feather headdress seems misrepresented. But the readings have brought the point that Native Americans are generalized as one large nation and of the same race. But, there are countless nations within nations and languages and cultural beliefs that can vary from just a few miles of distance.

The feather dresses and the pipe passed around and smoked in Peter Pan may be generally similar to real-life tribes, but the song even says “no matter what’s been written or said; now you know the story of the red man.” This points out that false teachings and traditions can be passed on and believed just as easy and true traditions and there are countless Native American stereotypes that have become mainstream.

Asian Misrepresentations

Asian and Asian Americans are a nearly-invisible group when it comes to representation and presence in media/Hollywood, despite their being the fastest-growing ethnic group in the U.S. since 2010. Hollywood’s brief and sordid interest in making Asian-themed movies during the early 20th century involved depictions and representations of Asian people that were inaccurate at best, and disparaging at their worst. The most common and ill-conceived portrayals during that time were of Asian men as sexual deviants or, conversely, as asexual eunuchs, opium drug-lords, gangsters, and evil masterminds. Asian women were portrayed almost in opposition of their male counterparts; they were usually the exotic seductress, cunning mistress, or love interest who repudiates her culture and ethnic identity to assimilate to white society (Marchetti, pp. 2-5).

What’s more, many of the Asian roles were not even portrayed by actual Asian actors or actresses, but by white ones. “The practice of white actors playing Asian and Asian American characters were not scarce. When such characters did exist, a convention of yellow face ensured that they were played primarily by whites (Ono Pham, pg. 45).” Thusly, the earliest imagery many people had of Asian people were actually of white people performing explicit yellowface, which allowed them full control of the way the character was conveyed. The image of Mickey Rooney in explicit yellowface as “Mr. Yunioshi” for Breakfast at Tiffany’s has provided yet another unsavory Asian archetype manufactured by Hollywood. His exaggerated yellowface that featured his taped eyes, balding head and cartoon-like buck-teeth did not paint a pretty picture of Asian men. “Mr. Yunioshi functions as comic relief, especially through his unrealistic desire for Ms. Golightly. His broken english, excessive clumsiness, and implausible sexual fantasy are there for the comedic pleasure of the non-Asian audience (Ono Pham, pg. 49).”

Furthermore, these images are generally devoid of historical, cultural, or racial substance. This is largely due to their being the creation of white writers and filmmakers, who had no genuine knowledge of the East and its vast array of different cultures, societal structures, languages, religious standings, and political systems. “White media producers have created imaginary and derogatory fictional representations of Asians and Asian Americans, while Asian and Asian American actors simultaneously are virtually excluded from writing or playing such roles (Ono Pham, pg. 46).” Keeping Asians out of the industry, even in Asian-themed films, has only made it more difficult for people to accept real Asians into society because of their lack of exposure to authentic Asian people that are relatable.

Postmodern representations of Asians have not changed much, in spite of the relatively forward-moving trajectory of almost all other groups. There have even been recent instances of yellowface, such as Alex Borstein playing “Ms Swan” on MadTV, or Eddie Murphy as “Mr. Wong” in Norbit (Ono Pham, pg. 52). It seems as though everyone is allowed to have a laugh at Asians, at the expense of Asians. Consequently, alienation and vilification of Asians in Hollywood has cemented their roles as “the others” in the U.S. on and off the screen.

Works Cited

Marchetti, G. (1993). Romance and the “yellow peril”: Race, sex, and discursive strategies in

Hollywood fiction. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Ono, Kent A., and Vincent N. Pham. “Media Yellowface “logics”” Asian Americans and the

Media. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2010. 45-62. Print.

The Persecuted Pilgrims: America’s Oppression of the Latin Community

Ace Campaign with Sofia Vergara - Press Conference

The United States has been embroiled in a prolonged hate/love/hate relationship with the Latina/o community, especially the Mexican community. Although the nation has happily embraced a great portion of Latin cuisines and some of its diverse cultures, there remains an almost palpable sense of animosity towards Mexican and Latina/os by the Anglo-American population. Early depictions of Mexicans on television and in movies would paint a largely negative image of the entire Latin and even the Hispanic community. Prior to the advent of Hollywood archetypes and as early as the late 1800s, depictions of the slovenly immigrant wearing a sarape and reposing underneath a cactus with a sombrero over his face for shade became the unwarranted spokesperson for all Spanish-speaking immigrants. The image still remains, though now it is not widely accepted as truth. Modern representations differ greatly for Latina/os, but at a price: low visibility in the media.

Post-Hollywood images of Latina/o people have changed to be a little more accepting, but that might only be due to the sparse amount of representation. This is not for the lack of entertainers or talent from the Latin community, but rather the lack of Hollywood casting agents willing to hire them for leading roles. A popular image of Latina/os that comes to mind today are basically any photo of Sofia Vergara — a beautiful and alluring Colombian actress who embodies Hollywood’s archetype of the feisty Latina temptress. But even this image is a very narrow and one-dimensional trope that is meant to represent Spanish-speaking women only.

The reason why an image of Latina/os in the media is hard to conjure up is due to two pervasive realities: one, the Latin community is rife and brimming with more diversity in culture, dialects, beliefs, races, heritage, and nationalities than any singular image is capable of representing; and two, Hollywood is replacing their Latina/o talent with Anglo-Americans/Europeans — even for specifically Latina/o roles. One arena that Latina/os have not been excluded from, however, is in broadcasted segments dedicated solely to one controversial topic: immigration.

“Latinos comprise just 1 percent of news stories. When they do appear on camera, it’s not as an anchor in a suit with coiffed hair but on the background video feed as a criminal or in relation to illegal immigration,” says Weston Phippen in an article for The Atlantic. The media’s refusal to cast Latina/o actors in Latina/o roles is a blatant insult to the Latina/o community. To invite them only to speak about immigration issues is blatant disregard for them as anything more than an expert on immigration. Why is this so bad? If one takes their representing a voice for the Latina/o community at face value, then of course there is no other candidate for whom to adequately speak on behalf of Latina/o population on the topic. The problem lies in the fact that audiences will continue to associate real images of Latina/os in America with the topic of immigration itself. That means, Americans who hold the sentiment of all immigrants being “illegal” will likely equate any Latin-looking person with that very sentiment — hence the imperative need for more diverse and visible Latina/o representations in Hollywood.

-Dotty Liao

Representation of Blackness

Instagram Photo

“Much of the post-Civil War literature paints a negative image of black people designed to reinforce institutional and social racism. Many of the accusations against Black integrity that emerged during Reconstruction are now too familiar: laziness, slow wit, loose standards of morality, fondness for alcoholic beverages, and so on” (Wilson, Gutierrez, Chao, 58).
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I felt like this image was very relevant to both the assignment and in real life. It covers multiple aspects of the course, but mainly that Black people have been and will continue to be painted in a negative fashion. The same rhetoric that was used to create racial divide in the Reconstruction-era is being recycled by figures such as Donald #drumpf in order to perpetuate this form of systemic and cultural racism.#donalddrumpf #blacklivesmatter#perpetualracism #fayettevillenc #fiatoa

week 5

Critics claimed the show was harmful because Rodriguez’s jokes were seen as ridiculing Mexican American culture. (Wilson, Gutierrez, Chao; pg. 89)” #trump #closetheborder #whiteamerica#georgelopez #racialdiscrimination #Baca

I came across this on the web and and I couldn’t just put his comment on here , I had to include the whole conversation. The reason I tied this quote to this image is because, George Lopez is a great Latin actor who had a big voice, being a comedian, actor and strong to his racial/ethnic backgrounds. The fact that the lady said “take our country back” gives a guess that she means from the “Mexicans” and to close the border in a sense. But the fact that George Lopez replied is no shock so much, I mean look at his sitcom, which does make jokes about stereotypes of the Latin culture, and yet it is now welcomed within his show. But it’s “okay” because he is Mexican and his show is based on the idea of being “dad less” as some stereotypes are made among the Latin culture. He is a hard worker, who worked in a factory, for not that good of money, and even when he is manager, he is working for the owners, 2 Caucasian males who make him do all the work. The show has also had episodes getting closer to racial problems but what if this show wasn’t a sitcom and George Lopez wasn’t a comedian and a well respected actor among his culture? Would this show have been terminated because of the way he makes fun of his culture? Would the jokes still be harmful?
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Latino Representation

Mexican

  • “Cruelty was not the only negative trait the scribe to Mexicans. Cecil Robinson, in his 1977 book “Mexico and the Hispanic Southwest in American Literature”, caught a cold the origins of several stereotypes, which began to appear in Anglo writings before and during the U.S.-Mexican War. During that war American naval Lieutenant H.A. Wise wrote that Mexicans were “beyond comparison The laziest and most ignorant set of vagabonds the world produces” (Wilson II, Gutierrez, Chao, 59).

    I really enjoyed how this picture actually tackles several different negative aspects when considering the relationships between Mexicans and Whites. However for the sake of this assignment, I will be focusing on the “lazy” stereotype that is portrayed onto many Mexicans, both documented and not. From the reading, it is easy to recognize the inaccurate representation of Mexicans, which then results in a stereotypical belief that supports the hateful motives and institutionalized racism such as the Arizona Immigration Bill and Donald Trump. When In reality, some of the most hardest working people in this beautiful country are the Mexican field laborers. And for those that claim that this mass wave of immigration is taking away jobs from Americans, I can only laugh and reference this image, because the types of jobs that Mexicans are stereotypically stealing are jobs that the average American would never even consider. #makedonalddrumpfagain

  • #adaywithoutamexican

  • #estasloca

  • #sleepymexican

  • #fiatoa

Native American Representation

Dawes

“Initially the English colonist decided to convert the natives to Christianity in an attempt to assimilate them while the process of creating a European-style society was underway. Religious conversion was eventually seen, however, as an impossibility, and the colonists rationalized that the natives had to be removed as a barrier to the “civilization” of the continent” (Wilson, Gutierrez, Chao, 56).

To put this picture into context, the document known as the Dawes Act of 1887 essentially gave President Grover Cleveland the power to divide and ration out Native American lands to individual natives. Essentially, this policy was put in place to “kill the Indian, save the man”. By stealing and then redistributing the natives’ land, the white man was displaying absolute control while providing “incentives” to assimilate, resulting in the uprooting of the Native American lifestyle.#dawesactof1887 #thevictorswritehistory #whitelikeme #killtheindiansavetheman #fiatoa

Beyoncé’s Superbowl Controversy in the Media

Beyonce_Black_Panthers_rtr_img

Beyonce during Super Bowl 50, at Levi’s Stadium. (Matthew Emmons / USA Today)

 

A controversial issue in the media right now is that of Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Sunday performance this past weekend. The superstar performed her brand new song “Formation,” which references the “Black Lives Matter” campaign as well as gives a tribute to the Black Panthers with similar looking costumes. She received major backlash from many media outlets, a major one being FOX News, in these past couple of days. One of the most noted adverse reactions was from former New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani criticized Beyoncé for calling out the very cops who protect her everyday. He said because she is someone of such stature and fame, she is heavily reliant on outside forces such as the police to keep her safe and therefore should not be turning her back on them. The “Black Lives Matter” campaign rides heavily on the issues of police brutality and the shooting of harmless African American people just because of the color of their skin. Much of their crusade is to defeat racist ideals within law enforcement and politics. I commend Beyoncé for using her immense power across the nation to highlight a real world issue of today. She will not be the one to stand back, she feels the need to advocate for what is right because of the immense fame and platform that she possesses. “The media often disregards women as leaders and are more likely to portray them as individuals rather than groups, victims instead of heroines, and sexual figures as opposed to thinkers” (Wilson, Gutierrez, Chao, pg. 145). After her performance, Beyoncé was seen as an individual standing out for a certain cause, while she is not the only one speaking on this matter. What made her performance so controversial was that she is not usually one of such fame to take major stands on controversial issues. Because she is such a megastar, someone that virtually people of all cultures like and listen to, her stance on the topic made her different to other superstars. Also, because of Beyoncé’s immense beauty and physique, she is not often seen as a political activist and thinker of today, she is seen as a hyper sexualized woman, not capable of any real and deep thought. Society thinks that someone with that mount of beauty cannot be capable of critical thought and activism.

While many did not feel it was her place to advocate her stance on such a controversial matter, I think that her usage of the Super Bowl halftime show stage was an ideal place for her message to be seen across not only the nation, but all around the world. With more than one million viewers, Beyoncé’s timing was perfect. As she released the very powerful music video the day before the Super Bowl it set the stage for what she would be doing next. The timing of her performance and videos were remarkable, because she had surprise released the music video the day before it was something that was already influencing the media heavily.

Although she is using her extremely powerful image and persona to stand up for a good cause, many people are not happy with they way things went about. The performance was viewed to more than one million people in the world, and many do not agree that what she did was all right. One woman who is married to a police officer posted on Facebook that she felt that Beyoncé’s call to action was unnecessary and that she was offended by her actions of calling the police force out on such a large scale. There has even been a hashtag going around the Internet calling for a Beyoncé boycott. But I think the real problems of their argument are that Beyoncé is not calling out the policemen in a militant way. She is stating that they are held to a higher standard of protecting people and the peace. She is pointing out that there is corruption that needs to be fixed within the problem. All Beyoncé is doing is asking the police force to do their job of protecting people. Just because she is telling them to do their job does not mean that she hates all police force and wants them gone forever, it means that she wants them to do their job just as she does on a daily basis. But where people do not understand is that she is not attacking the police force. They are making her out to be a violent extremist ready for war. But that is simply not the case, the Black Panthers, which she paid homage to were not bellicose either. The Black Panthers were there to protect their own selves from the harm of others. I believe the real reason that many media outlets portray Beyoncé and the Black Panthers in this derogatory way is just simply because they feel threatened by a force unknown to them. By militarizing both the Black Panthers and Beyoncé in the media, certain media outlets like FOX news are trying to cast a certain negative light on the two. Mayor Rudy Giuliani said “I think it was outrageous … The halftime show I thought was ridiculous anyway. I don’t know what the heck it was. A bunch of people bouncing around and all strange things. It was terrible.” But while Giuliani claimed to not know what was happening during the performance, why is he alleging that she was trying to tell cops to stop shooting blacks. If he could not understand the performance, how does he know that that is what Beyoncé was expressing through her production.


 

Sources:

Kerr-Dineen, Luke. “Fox News Slams Beyoncé’s ‘outrageous’ Super Bowl Performance.” For The Win Culture. USA Today, 09 Feb. 2016. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.

Wilson, C. C., Gutiérrez, F., & Chao, L. M. (2013). Racism, sexism, and the media: Multicultural issues into the new communications age (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.