Media Representation of Race, Class and Gender

The mass media is an influential institution that helps shape society’s ideas about race, class and gender. Many aspects of the media, such as film, television, books, and print advertising reproduce stereotypes and reinforce inequalities. Our project focuses on these representations of race, class and gender in the media.We analyze the depiction men, women, race, class and sexuality in the media.

Friday, November 17, 2006

sexuality in todays media

Recently I read several articles covering various topics about sexuality in the media. I stumbled across many cultural views concerning media and its sexual influences on today’s society. I was shocked at how blatant women were targeted for the exploition of their sexuality. Sex Education out side of the school the authors Keller and Brown (2000) relate the media as being obtusely irresponsible concerning the types of images the media portrays in today’s American culture. Concerning themselves with profit margins and marketing tactics they have almost completely extinguished social responsibilities. It is the author’s beliefs that today’s media excels in depicting the potential for and the infatuation with sex rather than the consequences. The media institution prey on the insecurities of middle and working class women and men alike. By portraying images of glamorous life styles using scantily dressed women and rich well dressed men. About one in 11 programs show the risk of STD’s (sexually transmitted disease) and there are almost no programs that depict unplanned pregnancies. The overall idea this article is that the media exerts immeasurable amounts of energy in to educating today’s youth on how to, where to, the pleasure of having and the glory behind being sexy, yet gives no reasons and offers little support in abstaining from sex. The education and ramifications of having unprepared sexual relations is completely circumvented in to days media. These cleverly disguised advertisements highlighting sex is a class and gender issue in that the media is using degrading images of women.

objectifying them and selling products to the unsepcting working and middle class portraying the illusion that this projuct will make you pretty and happy.
family planning perspectives (255) Sex Education out side of the school Vol, 32 #5 2000

Pepper Schwartz (2000) writes extensively on the subject of sexuality in today’s media.
It is his opinion that today’s media portrays a more liberated sexual America yet still place moral and ethical prejudices on those who partake in premarital sexual acts. Schwartz bullets problems on pg 2 of his article, focusing on the discriminations of both men and women. He outlines the contradictions of media and congressional agendas in that media promotes homosexual sexuality yet the government will step in and dictate the rolls either gay or lesbian parents will have in their children’s lives. Among many other topics in this article the author talks liberally about political discrimination in the elections he make a great point about dole and bushes campaign being supported mainly by there sexual relations by reminding his readers about Dole being a Viagra poster boy and Bush’s not to distant bad boy reputation but also goes on to point out discriminative ideologies of our culture and it’s the beliefs that women are biologically too incompetent to even run for political positions. But I have to ask my self while I’m reading this article is sexuality in the media targeting everyone the same or is it mainly focusing on a specific audience. As I read further I came to realize that these topics were clearly a class prejudice. With highlights on simulated intercourse in soap operas, surgery press coverage’s of celebrities, I came to realize that these were shoved in the faces of those who had time and money to watch, absorb and fall victim to. Sure we see these things in the evening prime time programming but the working class has little energy time or money to really become involved in these cultural practices. Schwartz does support this subject but spend more time discussing the ever evolving taboos behind sexuality in the media and how it will affect our society in the years to come. It is Schwartz’s belief that we as a culture will absorb these taboos as a cultural norm and will they will eventually depressurize hot topics like nonmonogamy and homosexuality.

Contemporary sociology, Creating Sexual Pleasure and Sexual Justice in the Twenty-First Century (219) , Vol. 29, 1

As early as the 1920’s the music industry has been using women and sexuality to sell and promote main stream music and their performers, But not until the early 70's has the black culture entered in to music media as prominent figures targeting the youth and the modern hip hop culture. Yet this seemingly ethnic and racial breakthrough apparently has a two-faced out comes. In the Article “Where My Girls at?” Emerson (2002) depicts the deceptive nature of this type of attention given to black females in this quickly evolving hip-hop generation. In one hand we see successful, beautiful, seemingly independent women performing on stage and in the modeling and acting fields, then in the other hand were seeing them objectified and portraying “sexy” being subservient and exposed. The author did extensive research in the music /hip-hop video industry focusing on black female performers and found that out of hundreds of videos an overwhelming number of them shown a one dimensional woman and in many video identified the artist by primarily showing her body parts. Emerson goes on to explain how the one-dimensional woman in the media is shown as flat, not being multifaceted but are reduced to being sex symbols and this is seen even more so prevalent in the African American pop culture.
Gender and society (135) Vol, 16,1 2002

Although our culture has made giant leaps in ethnic and gender equality it still places certain stereo types on women portrayed in the media. As Bogerdus (1998) writes in his article Modern Mass Media and the desires in making of American consumer culture the objectifying of women in media advertisement is not a new concept. He carefully documents many advertisements dating back to the 1800’s pointing out that the socially constructed ideas seen in todays media have evolved from earlier images targeting and degrading women. He uses corset advertisement from the late Victorian era to show how women were used to promote clothing by exploiting women’s sexuality. posing women in an open non-private manner many company’s have stolen the personal identities of women and exposed there private sexual nature. Bogerdus goes to say that “women did not accept jobs in advertisement with the intention of exploiting other women and subsequently getting ahead of themselves, but on first glance earlier advertising women seemed to have done just that.” The over view of this article seems to focus on the fact that women have been manipulated throughout the last few generations to believe that men will not be interested if they in some way don't objectify themselves or promote their own sexuality.

Sexuality in the media is an institution ever evolving, adapting and catering to the desires of society. Ethnic awareness is increasing in American culture, the women rights movement and minority groups like NAACP have helped to contribute to human right and equality. Yet, we are still seeing the media taking advantage of many week and underclass citizens. Today’s media has preyed on women minorities, it seems more so than any other group minority group. With the rise of sex in advertisement, the exploitation of women seems more excepted in the modern household. But we are still noticing that color blind racism is being used everywhere in the media. Perfect well dressed submissive women selling tile cleaners for the bathroom or the hot scantly dressed women selling perfume and lingerie. Even though women rights activists have struggled to break the old fashion depiction of dependant and submissive women, women are still mainly portrayed in the media as house wife and sex objects.

Representation of women in the media-By Amelia

The representation of women in the media based on race, class and gender have many issues that are being delt with on a daily base. These summary's come from a vatriety of articles that I choose. The summarys talk about Forum on the feminist and the media, Crossing the Great Divides, race, class, and gender in the Southern womens organization, Feminist and its cultural consesus and Media images, feminist issues.
Forum on the Feminist and the Media
Leola A. Johnson
In this article Kozol, Rhode, and McDermott map out positions that are consistent with a long tradition of work among academic feminists on the media representations of women feminist. Feminist academics have been critical of the news and entertainment media since the earliest days of women movement. They also had a extremely hard time getting a fair hearing from the media. News organizations were very slow to grasp the importance of the movement, but with help from the inside and outside of the newsrooms finally the press treated the movement with more respect.

Crossing the Great Divides Race, Class and Gender in the Southern Women’s Organization, 1979-1991
Barbra Ellen Smith
This article talks about the mutual interaction and interdependence of race, class, and gender and how that creates political dilemmas for feminist activist. How can we create coherent, inclusive political movements when the very oppressions we seek to dismantle also divides us internally? Was the question asked and answered by exploring the history of the Southeast Women’s Coalition (SWEC). Gender is insufficient to effect political unity among racially diverse women, but that a “politics of solidarity” based on an appreciation of intersections of race, class, and gender could be possible.

Nancy Regan Wears a Hat: Feminism and its cultural consensus
Catherine R. Stimpson
In this article it talks about how in the late 1960’s feminist began to share a cultural consensus about the representation of women. Like every word, “representation” is a stew. A scrambled menu, it serves up to several meanings and can be presented in many ways, visual, verbal or aural. Think of a picture of a hat, now think of the sentence “Nancy Regan”, in her hat, is a proper woman”. For the past years feminist thinking about representation have been broken apart. This fracture is both cause and symptom of the larger collapse of a feminist cultural consensus. Meaning, first that the dominant, and dominating, representations of women and the misrepresentations are often by literature, the media and art. Second that women needed to confront these misrepresentations. Third that the representation of women had become far, far more diverse if it was to be real. Forth women had a way of judging the legitimacy, accuracy and cogency of the representations of women and fifth feminist were to insist on the connections between the private and the public.

Women in Media Debated
In this article the women discussed their expectation from the media. Mater says media ignores the reality that women are “half of this life” as men continue to be focus point while Tanriover points out at the low number of news on women in political newspapers. At the BIA News Center other debates were stated. Mater says men always come to mind when preparing news, while Dogan debates we must distance our selves from male expressions and Yuksel says homosexuality connotes male models. These are some of the problems in the media that were discussed on Nov.5. This group meeting was moderated by journalist and wrier Ipek Calislar in Istanbul.
Media issues, Feminist issues Deborah L. Rhode
In this article it talks about a central concern that has always been how the media reflect and recast feminist issues. Over the last quarter century, much has improved in press portraits of feminism, feminist and gender related issues. Yet much still needs to be improved. For example the way the media gets to choose to present (or not to present) as news about women and how they characterize (or caricature) the women’s movement. Also how journalist’s standard framing devices of selection, exclusion, emphasis, and tone can profoundly affect cultural perceptions.

Alexandra K-S: The Media Representation of Race


Throughout history, the media has been perpetuating and sometimes challenging popular ideas of race. The majority of information about ethnic minorities is communicated through the mass media. It is an important social structure that can socially construct stereotypes that are reified as the norm in society. These articles examine the influence of the mass media, and its representation of various races. The first article discusses racial and ethnic stereotypes in television and movies. The second article looks at how black women are portrayed in magazine advertisements. The third examines local television news and its influential stories about race and crime. The fourth analyzes international sporting events on television and the portrayal of race, ethnicity and nationality. The last article discusses black imagery in popular media and why negative stereotypes about black men are formed.

“Ally McBeal” and Her Homies: The Reification of White Stereotypes of the Other
By Tracey Owens Patton

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This article examines how women and ethnic minorities are stereotypically depicted in the popular television show, Ally McBeal. The author, Tracey Owens Patton, contends that the representations of ethnic minorities and women on the show are negative. She also argues Ally McBeal is an example of how these stereotypes are frequently portrayed and maintained in the media as a whole. Patton discusses the history of the representation of ethnic minorities in the media. For example, many African American women in the media have been portrayed as a “jezebel,” who is defined as a “scheming, shameless, betraying, or evil woman. When used for an attractive black woman, this is a derogatory reference to her alluring ways, regarding as tempting white men” (244). Patton explains that one of the main characters on Ally McBeal, a black woman, is continuously depicted this hypersexual stereotypical black woman. She is constantly juxtaposed in scenes to Ally, who is depicted as an intelligent, White, angelic, virginal, delicate character—the typical stereotype for White females. Moreover, Patton discusses how black men are also over-sexualized and are often portrayed in the media as a predator, and someone whites should protect themselves from. On the other side of these stereotypes, however, are the depictions of Blacks as an “Aunt Jemima” or “Uncle Tom.” On one hand we have these oversexed, violent depictions of Black men and women, but on the other, we have sexless, obedient, nurturing portrayals of African Americans. Aunt Jemima, the black woman on the front of pancake boxes represents this stereotype. She is the mammy figure commonly depicted in older films such as Gone With The Wind. Uncle Tom is the male version of Aunt Jemima, who is typically portrayed as a White sympathizer and a submissive. Patton argues that an African American character on Ally McBeal is depicted as an Uncle Tom. She also examines the way in which Asian women are stereotypically portrayed. One of the characters on the show embodies the stereotype of Asian fantasy women—a seductive temptress and an skilled in eroticism.

Advertising In Black and White: How and Why Perceptions of Difference Shape Magazine Advertising

By Cheraine Stanford

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This article looks at how advertisements in magazines differ depending on the target audience. Specifically, the paper examines the differences between advertisements for the same products in two comparable magazines for middle-upper class young women. The first magazine, Glamour, has an audience mainly consisting of White women, whereas the second magazine, Essence, has an audience mainly consisting of Black women. The author of this article looked at the type of advertisers who employ target advertising, the ways in which they change ads to reach a Black audience, and what the consequences are. Today, advertisers try to avoid racist representations of Blacks. However, according to the author, that does not mean advertisers do not depict Blacks stereotypically, rather, they simply depict ethnic minorities in more implicit and moderate ways. Moreover, some stereotypes of minorities are so embedded in American society, that advertisers view many representations of Blacks as natural or “normal.” For example, Neutrogena ads in Glamour and Essence are very different. The advertisements in Glamour market face cleansers and healthy skin-make-up, whereas ads in Essence market body oil. Part of the text in the Neutrogena body oil ad reads: “you’re feeling sensual, soft and silky.” This is a typical stereotype that Black women are extremely sensual and sexual, and it dates back to the beginning of media advertising. The author argues that these “associations of sensuality and sexuality with African American women are so ingrained that they seem natural.” So, Neutrogena advertisers may argue that it is only natural that black women would want to view an ad for body oil because it will only improve their continuing sexuality. The author contends that advertisers are not necessarily overtly racist, but they are simply trying to reach a Black audience. She argues the only way they know how to do so is by using popular stereotypes.

Where You Live and What You Watch: The Impact of Racial Proximity and Local television News on Attitudes about Race and Crime
By Franklin D. Gilliam Jr.; Nicholas A. Valentino; Mathew N. Beckmann

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This article examines the relationship between racial proximity and racially stereotypic crime news and attitudes about race and crime. The researchers found that when they were showed racial stereotypes in the local news, whites living in homogenous neighborhoods supported more punitive laws to deal with crime, communicated more negative stereotypes of Blacks, and felt more isolated from Blacks as a group. Whereas Whites from heterogeneous neighborhoods were either not influenced by the stereotypical depiction of blacks, or they went so far as to support less punitive crime laws, less negative stereotypes and felt closer to blacks as a group. Researchers attribute the reason for these differences in large part to the media. Today, the majority of racial groups are geographically segregated due to social, economic and political factors in society. So, White Americans who live in all white neighborhoods often lack direct, personal everyday encounters with ethnic minorities. Thus, they frequently depend on “whatever information they may have at their disposal” (757). This information is commonly acquired from media reports, specifically from local television news, which has become the main source of public affairs information. Moreover, the researchers of this article explain that local television reports are often dependent on “crime news script” in which minorities are portrayed as the violent perpetrators and Whites are depicted as the innocent victims. It only makes sense then, that if many Whites are relying heavily on local television news to provide them with information about non-Whites, they are more likely to produce negative stereotypes and support more punitive regulations against minorities.

The Portrayal of Race, Ethnicity and Nationality in Television International Athletic Events
By Don Sabo, Sue Curry Jansen, Danny Tate, Margaret Carlisle Duncan and Susan Leggett.

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This study examines the way in which American television depicts athletes of various race and ethnicity when covering international sporting events. The researchers looked at stories, metaphors, production practices and framing methods and whether they differed based on the race, ethnicity or nationality of athletes. The study analyzed various international sporting events between 1988 and 1993; these events include the Olympic Games, the Pan American Games, and the Goodwill Games.
The researchers of this study found varying results. First, they found that sports productions tried to present racially unbiased treatment of all athletes. Sports television producers and comments seemed to make an attempt to treat athletes equally, even though their efforts were not always successful. There were several visual images during the events showing racial and cultural diversity, such as a black athlete kissing a medal, an Asian runner, and a white female gymnast. Moreover, producers chose athletes to be interviewed from a variety of different races and ethnic backgrounds. The researchers did not find a relationship between the race and ethnicity of the athlete and the probability of the athletes being interviewed.
Furthermore, researchers’ analysis shows that Black athletes were not depicted negatively. Blacks were less likely than any other racial or ethnic groups to be discussed in terms of their physical attributes. Actually, Black athletes overall were the least likely to be negatively viewed and discussed by commentators. The authors of this article believe that many media professionals have reacted to previous criticisms of negative treatment of blacks. Sports television producers and commentators have developed a “heightened sensitivity, maybe even a guardedness” when it comes to negative depictions of Black athletes.
However, the researchers did find that Asian athletes were frequently represented stereotypically. Commentators often referred to Asian athletes’ as unemotional traditionalists who are very hard-workers and obsessed with achieving success. Asian athletes were much more likely to be discussed in terms of their physical characteristics than Black or White athletes. Moreover, the researchers also discovered that although Hispanic athletes were represented positively, it was normally in physical terms. It seemed that commentators, like with Black athletes, were more aware of discussing Hispanics in a positive light; however, like Asian athletes, commentators were significantly more likely to discuss Hispanics’ physical attributes than Black or Whites’ physical attributes.
The authors of this article also point out that ethnic minorities were significantly underrepresented as sports commentators. Although racial and ethnic minorities were frequently shown as athletes, there were far more White commentators than minority commentators. The researchers also discussed that the television reporting indicated a National Bias. In some ways, it seems only natural when reporting at international sporting events to take more pride in your nation. However, the researchers discovered some disturbing bias. For example, when commentators talked about athletes from Communist or former Communist countries, they often described these athletes as cheaters, machine-like, merciless and unemotional; whereas athletes from the U.S. and from countries allied with the U.S. were depicted as warm, fair and compassionate.

“Black Male” Imagery and Media Containment of African American Men
By Helan E. Page

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This article argues that many of our beliefs about the competence and ability of “black males” come from the portrayal of African American men in the local and national media. The author contends that black male imagery is viewed through the “whiteness of our natural seeing I/eye”, meaning the national media is influenced and run by white people (106). When the imagery is filtered through this White eye, it guides the national audience to associate black men’s physical appearance and behavior with negative stereotypes. This in turn, protects and reinforces white privilege.

It seems to me that even today, in a supposed era of “equality,” the media continues to represent ethnic minorities negatively, and whites as the dominant norm in society. Since the media is such an influential mechanism in shaping people’s ideas of what or who is accepted in society, this institution must take responsibility for its actions. Even though ratings soar for local television news stations to show “crime news script” of violent black men and innocent white victims, the stations must look at the damage it is creating by producing stereotypes and racisms. Moreover, the audience must take responsibility for their passivity in accepting the ideals the media spouts.

Males - race, class, and gender in the media

Males Represented by the Media by Patrick Holmes

Males in the media can be depicted in many different ways. In the articles below there are a few different scenarios on how the mass media shows some differences the social race, class, and genders of males.

African Americans males in the media

African American males are degraded everyday in media, as we know it. “Contemporary media, particularly through extreme gangster rap music, reality crime shows and newscasts, have essentially defined crime and given it a black face, despite statistics that paint a different picture.” There are statistics that show more Caucasian males using cocaine then African American males. Yet you see reality police shows where 90 percent of the patrons are African American and you listen to extreme gangster rap music, which is often very derogatory towards black women; yet is purchased largely by white suburban males. The myth of the black rapist, for example, was used to justify lynching and to keep African Americans in a vulnerable position, in the days of slavery; Has is gone away since then, or are we still a little skeptical when we see an African American alone on the streets? Could it be primarily from the media representation? The answer is most likely YES.

-Representation of African Americans in the media is a pretty cruel ordeal. It is true that you see African Americans at their worse when you watch cops for instance, but there are all different races on these shows. I think the media goes out of its way to represent African Americans in a demeaning way. Black males are always the topic of the newscast whenever it was one of them, who committed murder. Look at O.J Simpson he was in the news for months on months, and still is to this day over that trial!

Gay Men on TV

In the last couple of years, there has been more representation of gays on TV then ever before. Although there are a couple gay sitcoms on television and it is becoming more politically expectable, why is there not more out there? ”When you look at primetime's dismal lack of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ) characters — combined with the continuing under-representation of people of color, gay and straight alike — it's clear that the broadcast networks have a long way to go before they accurately reflect the diversity of their audience and our society.” A breakthrough in Gay media is a show called Will and Grace, showing the lives of two gay men, living in New York. It is politically expectable for them to be openly gay. “Not only is a show like this good TV, but it can foster acceptance, dialogue and respect, that gay men deserve.” Before this show gays only had minor supporting parts, but this show took it to a whole new level and made it ok for two gay men to be the lead roll.

-Everywhere you look on TV now a days there is some sort of homosexual show. Weather it be on MTV, BRAVO, E, or even a sitcom about it; they have definitely got their voices heard and let the TV executives know that they want to show their stories. It doesn’t seem so wrong anymore, it is just something that people live with on a day to day basis.

Wealthy Males Portrayed in Movies (enough)

A struggling waitress meets the guy of her dreams at work and after some dating they decide to get married. Five years and a daughter later, the woman finds out that her husband is cheating on her. Her husband is a very successful and has a lot of support from the town because he is in a political position. The husband ends up being a wife beater, with no remorse about it, because he knows she will not leave him. He knows no one will believe her story and who cares if they did; he had a lot of money more then likely could get out of it, no problem. The husband nearly kills her many times, before she has finally had enough. The woman tries to go to the police but no one will believe her because of her husband’s clought he holds in the town. She finally runs away with the child. The husband searchers her down with the aid of a police detective and some goons, but she escapes again. She knows there is no way to get away from him unless she takes his life. That is exactly what she did, she set it up so it looked like he was trying to kill her because she wanted custody of the child and then took his life.

-There are many movies like this, which the wealthy man beats his wife, and there is nothing she can do about it because no one will believe her. Is this how it is for all wealthy men, they feel they have all the power, most likely not, but I’m sure there is more then one of the out there who does feel this way. Who feels they can get away with anything because they have so much money. Look at Bill Clinton for instance, no only did he commit adultery, but he also lied under oath and had no remorse about it.

Fat Lower Class Sitcom Husbands

On ABCs series “According to Jim,” you have your typical beautiful trophy wife, who once was a cheerleader. Then you have your not so equally good-looking husband; definitely not the quarterback she was expected to marry, but more of a fat slob. It is a TV sitcom ritual that spouses are ill-matched look wise. In the current sitcom today, several shows pair extremely attractive women, who are often shown wearing low cut tops and tight jeans suitable for a Maxim photo spread, with TV husbands who are not only not studly, but downright fat, and a couple who are not only not ugly outside, but are ugly on the inside, too. In “the King of Queens” A hot successful woman is the wife, while you have a husband who is a big fat lazy unsuccessful guy, who likes to drink and watch football all day long.

-This demonstrates a good representation of poor men in the sitcoms media because the typical working class guy is overweight, and doesn’t have many cares in the world. Drinking beer is not only an addiction anymore it is a pastime for them; something that can be done with the buddy’s on a daily basis to have a good time.

Wealthy men in sitcoms

There are a few shows that really depict the life of the wealthy man, those shows are “Darma and Greg,” and “Gilmore Girls.” Both of the Grandfathers in these shows are very successful, yet they have no say. They both go to work everyday and make all of the hard-earned money for the family; living in nice mansion, going on numerous trips, and having many maids, yet it is the wives that take care of everything. Both of the men seem very submissive, as if they have no spines. The women in their lives have all the control and arrange everything. Wealthy men seem to just work and allow all the rest to be left up to their significant others. There was an example in Darma and Greg when the husband (bread maker) wanted to retire from his law practice and become a shoe salesman. He could definitely afford to do so but after a little pressure from his wife, they decided it wasn’t the best idea. She made him feel bad for wanted to become a shoe salesman instead of a successful lawyer, even though he was ready to retire. He had no say on what he could do with his life, his wife basically controlled him.

-In some instances I feel this is true, my grandparents are wealthy and it seems like my grandmother has all the control. She deals with all the money situations and doesn’t like it when my grandfather makes a decision without her. It is possible that most wealthy men don’t want to deal with the nagging and fighting like middle or lower class do so they just become spineless.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Class representation in Sitcoms: How they affect our perception on society.

Class Representation in Television Sitcoms
By Joshua Simone

The representation of class in the media is a powerful tool in shaping the mindset of how society should operate. For this project our subject was the media representation of race, class, gender, and other social categories. The articles below are focused in a particular area of media, Television. Not just television, but specifically TV sitcoms. Before reading the articles I formulated some questions to help me glean information about class representation in TV sitcoms. Does class representation have a visible impact on the public? Is there an equal amount of sitcoms accurately representing different social classes? Why would sitcoms focus on certain classes and not others? These are only some of the questions I came into this assignment with.

“The Working Class Sitcom Returns”
Jaime J. Weinman

This article is about a new sitcom coming to HBO and other networks called “Lucky Louie”. The article talks about how this show will be unlike other popular sitcoms today because it is about people with real money problems and are really a working class family trying to make ends meet. The writers of the show have looked back on shows like “All in the Family” for inspiration to capture the feel of a working class family and how to show real problems working class families face today. The article really focuses on the writer’s needs and wants to create a show that can talk to and bring entertainment for those who are struggling in the working class
I like this article because it shows how class representation in the media impacts those who watch it. The fact that some writers want to really capture a feel of a working class family and want to display that on television. In the article the writers for “Lucky Louie” was not only going to make it like All in the Family but will use the same filming techniques and will not make a “flashy” show. The writers have a plan and I get the feeling from this article that the writers want to promote a class consciousness and show the people there still is a working class.

“Class dismissed?
Roseanne and the changing face of working-class iconography”

Julie Bettie

This article focuses on the media representation of social classes in America. Bettie says that the working class does not exist in the mind of T.V. media. Bettie focuses out Roseanne as the last great depiction of a working class family where the mother is the sustainer of the house and keeps everything together, parents work, family problems, financial problems, and other factors that really tear at working class families. Roseanne also showed the woman as a lead figure in the house and was conflicting with the feminist movement. Roseanne showed how a woman in the working class lived and the responsibilities and duties that she has. The impact that Roseanne had on T.V. viewers started to bring about class consciousness, the working class could no longer be hidden away into the poor pockets of society. People who watch the show loved the show but also hated it, because it was and is a portrait of how the real world works.
I remember watching Roseanne as a child with my parents. It was one of their favorite shows. I never understood why because my parents always talked bad about them and told me to never be like the people we see on the show. Looking back I now see why they liked it and used it as an example for me on how not to live. I come from a working class family and the struggles that the Barr family went through were very similar to our own.¤tResult=01642472%2bap020039%2b02a00060%2b0%2cFFFFFF03&

“The Simpsons
Atomistic Politics and the Nuclear Family”

Paul A. Cantor

This article focuses on the social structure of the Simpson’s family. I like this article because of the “in-between” state that the Simpson family is in. They are stuck in between working class and middle class. Homer works, Marge (his wife) is a homemaker, Bart (son) is a trouble maker, and Lisa (daughter) is a very gifted and talented young lady. The whole show seems to be a mockery of the 1950’s “Leave it to Beaver” show. This article points out the pure devotion of the Simpson parents to their children. That Homer lacks all of the qualities that our culture sees as what a good father should have, but is there for his wife and his children. Homer is devouted to them above all else and even though he is stupid, crude, lazy, and insensitive he is there for his family. Marge is also interesting showing what a middle class woman is like. The author explains one episode where Marge jumps onto the feminist movement and another where she is attacking a cartoon show for being to violent. These are the “typical” things that a mother would do in middle class family. The show makes fun of the traditional barriers of social class and shows qualities of all of them that we can identify with.¤tResult=00905917%2bap010113%2b01a00030%2b0%2cFFDF01&

“A Show about Nothing: Seinfeld and the Modern Comedy of Manners.”
Pierson, David P

This article is about the comedy placed inside of a sitcom about the social norms of society. Pierson goes on to talk about how Seinfeld shows what really goes on behind the scenes of the unwritten social codes of life. Seinfeld’s main characters are middle class and seem to have no responsibilities to anything. The author goes on to describe that since they are in this unique state they can push and break normal social barriers and make it look funny. The article shows how the social barrier and norms are broken by these middle class people who have no fear in revealing the social hypocrisy.

“A Working Class Protest”
Television Week

This article is about a protest that was held outside of a BBC America building. The protest was about BBC america’s cancellation of a T.V. show “EastEnders”. The television show was a close to accurate depiction of working class life. One man in the article was quoted saying, “American television has never dealt with working-class life seriously. The closest it ever got was 'Roseanne,' and that was a sitcom”. The article didn’t take a stand but it shows that there are people who do know and care about the lack of accurate representation of classes on T.V. in America compared to other countries.

“The Americanization of Molly:
How Mid-Fifties TV Homogenized The Goldbergs (and Got “Berg-larized” in the Process)”
Vincent Brook

This article shows the evolution of how social class was depicted in the media from the 30’s to the 50’s. The article is centered around a radio show called “The Goldbergs” that later turned into a T.V. sitcom. The article points out the consumer aspect of The Goldbergs. When the show first started it was a working class Jewish family living in a small urban apartment trying to survive. When the radio show started it appealed to many because the majority of listeners were in this class bracket. The show was a picture of their own lives so they could identify. The article goes to show as the majority of America started to move up the class bracket so did the show and it eventually moved to television. The article points out the amount of product placement in the show to get people to be consumer driven just like the Goldbergs. The Goldbergs and other shows of its time started to help make the homogenized middle class where everyone would copy what was on T.V. as a standard of middle class living. (Beat the Jones’ next door!) The article also points out the change toward the last years of the show that Molly Goldberg also left her working lifestyle and was taught that a women’s place was in the home. The article concludes that though this one T.V. show did not start a revolution but it and other shows of it’s time contributed greatly to the classless middle class.

After reading these articles I was surprised at the results. The representation in the media is primarily pointed at the middle class as being the normal way of life. It was also very interesting to read in the “The Americanization of Molly” how consumerism was closely tied into the television shows. It seems that sitcoms in themselves are not the problem or the driving force, but are a tool of the greater push for our society to be consumers. The impacts that the sitcoms have on the general population is that the working and poor classes are a thing of the past like their shows on television, but they are not. I liked to read about the reemergence and the push to bring a national class consciousness of problems in our society. Sitcoms can expose social problems just as comics can draw government problems out; both ways are a safe bet to bring about awareness and also to shed light on the so called “problems of the past”. Now after doing this assignment I look more into shows that I see on television. What is their angle? Is that proper representation of different social categories? What are they trying to sell me? It is time to move from the naivety of our childish past and really look into what culture is telling us to be, whether it is subconscious message or intentional we need to be on guard.