2007 tv pilots May 16, 2007Posted by sindhub in "the gaze", motherhood, opting out, race, The TV Set, tv, women in television.
I was looking at TV pilots for the 2007-2008 television season, and I was struck by how many pilots related to ‘girl power,’ especially the idea of a supermom who balances work and family. It’ll also be interesting to see how many of them actually get picked up by the networks, and if the number that are picked up is proportional to how many were created. Here are some examples (there are probably a lot more, but I thought these were particularly relevant):
- Mr. and Mrs. Smith: based on the blockbuster movie
- Cashmere Mafia: “Sex and the City creator Darren Star is back to New York in this new dramedy pilot, about four female executives, friends since college, who support one another through the trials and tribulations of work, family, and everything else life in New York City throws at them.”
- Women’s Murder Club: “A series of mystery books by James Patterson was the inspiration for this new series, which tells the story of four women who work together to solve some of the most confounding murder cases out there. Their jobs as a homicide detective, a medical examiner, a newspaper reporter, and an assistant district attorney give them a formidable range of skills, and their strong friendship provides basis for the teamwork that’s necessary to crack each case.” (more…)
Teenage Pregnancy April 30, 2007Posted by Melissa in abortion, controversy, in the news, Keisha Castle-Hughes, motherhood, race, teenage pregnancy, Whale Rider.
I just saw a story on People Magazine’s website about Keisha Castle-Hughes and the recent birth of her child. The actress just turned 17 in March and has been dating her boyfriend (20 years old) for the past three years. While reading the story, I was shocked to realize that this is the first time I have ever heard of any teenage pregnancy in the celebrity world and more shocked to feel that this is a story the website should not be covering. Teenage pregnancy is a huge “problem” in the United States, and to see the magazine cover the story in such a nonchalant manner really bothers me. People Magazine claims to cover the stories of relevant people, both in Hollywood and Old Town, USA, and while addressing the stories of “people that matter” the magazine does nothing to address relevant social issues. Though the birth of a child is a happy occasion (and big money in the news) I can’t help but feel that it is wrong to celebrate a child bringing another child into the world. I guess what is so bothersome is that when teenage pregnancy is usually addressed its done so in terms of how the “problem” effects Black and Latino communities, and now we see a wealthy actress- who should fall into the same category as the other teenage mothers- being celebrated for having the same “problem.” By publishing the story I feel the magazine is saying its okay if a teenager has children so long as they can pay for them. I’m interested to know how other people feel about the trivialization of such a relevant social issue?
Feminism and Race April 29, 2007Posted by Melissa in 9 to 5, betrayal, competing feminism, female relationships, feminism, gender, race, Set it off.
With the exception of a few films, the movies we’ve seen exacting the “female revenge narrative” have all been dominated by white women. Though the lack of women of color in this genera of films may speak to a larger societal context, I want to look at the influence of the feminist movement on minority communities as expressed through film. Last semester, I worked on a research project delving into the world of the Chicana Movement, which came about at the tail end of the mass Chicano Movement. I was shocked by what many of the women and scholars of the movement had to say with regards to the larger feminist movement that was beginning to rise in the late 1960’s. I was stunned by the overwhelming reaction against the feminist movement. Largely seen as a white woman’s battle, Chicanas in the mid 20th century viewed themselves in direct opposition to the larger women’s rights campaign. Unlike their white counterparts, the Chicanas were faced with larger societal inequalities because of their race. Though I have not studied the gender dynamics in the Black community, I can not imagine it being very different than those within the Chicano community. Women of color faced, and to some extent still do, a double oppression and as such can not be so fast to damn society because of their sex. The question that comes to mind with observation, is whether being a woman or being Chicana is most important. (more…)
Girlfight, A Clockwork Orange, and the fringes of society April 12, 2007Posted by sindhub in A Clockwork Orange, class, Girlfight, imagery, race, the state.
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I just wanted to make some comments about the imagery from the beginning of Girlfight. I was struck by how unabashedly dismal and bleak everything in Diana’s world was presented; the movie made no pretense, from the very beginning, about who Diana is and what her world is like.
In particular, I thought the very opening scene that we looked at in class bore an unusual similarity to what I know Stanley Kubrick used in a lot of his films–the image of the main character looking up at you with determinedly unsympathetic eyes. One example is from the opening scene of A Clockwork Orange (warning: there is some violence towards the end of the clip, and I apologize for the poor quality [it’s a video of the movie being showed on TV] but it was the only one I could find that didn’t remix the scene with different music)
There are some similarities between the characters of Alex (the guy the camera is focusing on at the beginning of the video) and Diana. Namely, (more…)
Don Imus Controversy April 11, 2007Posted by erinsull in race, sports, stereotypes.
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I don’t know if people have been following the Don Imus controversy but its big in the sports world right now. Basically on his show “Imus in the Morning”, he described the Rutgers basketball team who just played for the national title as “nappy headed hos”. This is obviously offensive on so many levels. He has apologized as public figures are known to do after making stupid racist/sexist comments. Mel Gibson and Michael Richards taught us all about that earlier this year. It has sparked a pretty intense debate with some, like the National Association of Black Journalists and Al Sharpton, calling for his immediate firing while others cite free speech and say there should be no consequences. What he got was a two week suspension. Espn.com has already gotten 1,000 reader comments about this controversy. It has people talking.
There are many more editorials and player/coach/fan reactions about this on espn.com. I recommend giving it a look.
One thing to note, ESPN did a poll asking whether Imus should keep his job. The majority of voters said he should…
Maddy April 2, 2007Posted by jenniferlewk in Princesses, race, Set it off.
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Set it Off made me think about a different angle of the scarcity of the female protagonist: the even rarer appearance of the minority female protagonist. From Snow White onward, girls far too infrequently are able to see a strong minority female on the screen. Hopefully, Disney’s new black princess, Maddy, will serve as the impetus for change. Maddy will be the princess in the upcoming film, The Frog Princess. As sales of Disney princess paraphernalia gross over 3 billion dollars yearly, the introduction of Maddy can have a huge positive social impact, unless of course Maddy merely enforces the status quo and embraces prevailing stereotypes concerning black women.
the oppressed working-class woman March 12, 2007Posted by sindhub in bad girls go..., class, race, stereotypes, the color purple, Thelma and Louise, theory, Working Girl.
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So I noticed that most of the movies we’ve been looking at have dealt with the problem of the oppressed working-class woman, e.g. The Color Purple, Working Girl, and now Thelma and Louise. Actually, let me rephrase that–it’s more that the men they’re oppressed by are working-class. From Mick in Working Girl to Mister in The Color Purple to the truck driver (can’t get a more blue collar occupation than that), the men from the ‘masses’ are almost unanimously brutish, abusive, piggish, boorish, and explicitly sexist.
This got me thinking of the Walkerdine article, “Subject to Change without Notice: Psychology, Postmodernity, and the Popular.” She spends a lot of time talking about how ideology about the masses/the working classes has always thought of them as of inferior intelligence, of a more primitive mindset, and how they can only be transformed by ‘upright’ middle class values (Protestantism, hard work, gumption, etc.). So the portrayal of the men of different classes in these movies is truly disturbing to me for this reason. It seems a little bit too easy (more…)
Standards of Beauty/Perceptions of Black Women March 2, 2007Posted by Melissa in beauty myths, Kiri Davis, race, video.
I found this great video after watching a news report a friend sent me about standards of beauty among young Black girls. Kiri, 18, reconducted an experiment originally executed in 1950’s in which children were asked which doll (the Black or the white) they would like to play with. What she found was that regardless of the “progress” the same standards of “good” and “bad” still permeate. It is particularly painful to watch at minute 4:30 when a girl (more…)
the eroticized minority body March 1, 2007Posted by kelly in bodies, race, stereotypes.
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considering our discussion of sarah-jane and the idea of the voluptuous, curvaceous, and sexual black woman, i thought it would be interesting to take a look at the image of “Hottentot Venus” otherwise known as Saartjie Baartman. She was “exhibited” and “travelled around England showing what Europeans considered her “unusual” bodily features, thought to be typical of Hottentots. Her exhibitors permitted visitors to touch her large buttocks for extra payment. In addition, she had a sinus pudoris, otherwise known as the “tablier”, “curtain of shame”, or apron, a reference to the elongated labia of some Khoisan” (wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saartjie_Baartman). While she was considered unique at the time, her image has come to represent the common stereotype and portrayal of black women. You can read more about it here.