Friday, May 4, 2007

Final Post: Audiences & Understandings

Disney movies have a wide range of audiences, from young children to adults. Because there are so many different audiences, the understanding of these movies varies. To find out how different people interpreted Disney movies, I talked to people from an assortment of audiences.

Young children are very impressionable; therefore Disney movies help mold their views on life. When little girls watch Disney movies about princesses, like Cinderella and Aladdin, they want to be just like Cinderella and Jasmine. After my cousin watched Cinderella, she said that she wanted to grow up and be a princess and live in castle with a prince and live happily ever after. Young children interpret Disney movies as the way real life is. They believe that is actually real and not a fairy tale.

Teenagers understand Disney movies differently than young children. Since “they are in the process of learning their values and roles and developing their self-concepts,”[1] Disney movies help mold how they view themselves and their values. Unlike young children, they do not believe that the movies are real, but they do model some of their values and what they can do after the movies. From the Disney movie, Aladdin, adolescents learn that stealing is ok when it is from the rich to feed the poor.

Adults’ understanding of Disney movies varies from both young children and adolescents. Their interpretations of these movies are different because they are in a different place in their lives then young children and adolescents. They have already developed their values and their self-concepts. Adults are much more capable of understanding that Disney movies are just fairy tales and do not reflect real life. They view Disney movies as just a form of entertainment and many adults do not think much more into them.

The many different viewers of Disney movies produce a variety of understandings of these movies. A person’s interpretation of a Disney movie depends largely on the stage of life they are in. Young children are developing their views on the world, so they take the movies as how the world works. Adolescents are forming their self-concepts, so Disney movies mold how they view themselves, and adults mainly view them as solely entertainment. The different phases of life affect a person’s understanding of Disney movies.

[1] Jean Kilbourne, “The More You Subtract, The More You Add,” Gender, Race, and Class in Media, ed. Gail Dines and Jean M. Humez (United States, 2003) 121.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Feedback from Mark, Author of ""These pretzels are making me thirsty"... "

In response to the first two questions, I think your strongest analytical work came in both your posts about Disney movies. Both these posts seemed to have more convincing arguements than some of your other posts, and both raised some interesting questions regarding their messages. I really began to think about the messages they might send to the intended audience; children. It shows how people are exposed to certain ideas at a young age, and grow up thinking nothing of it. I think that for your final blog or presentation you should focus on another Disney movie, because they seem to be filled with the most interesting topics of analysis.

In response to the third portion...
- It seems to me that the weakest part of your blog is that you do not have one clear, concise topic. Since you do a nice job analyzing Disney, it seems to me that it would have been more advantageous had you made this your topic from the beginning. I think you may have gotten more feedback and/or traffic this way.
- Despite the lack of one topic, each topic you chose to write about was definitely of interest, and part of the large realm of popular culture that would interest many other people as well.
- I think you did a nice job of sticking to topics that dealt with gender throughout each post, and most of the posts were very analytical and made some strong points.
- As mentioned above, I feel that most of your posts were very analytical and did not attempt to make a stand or take one side. The only post where I thought you let your opinion show was the one on "24" where your arguement was that it is just a show.
- Nice job using a wide range of appropriate sources, but be careful that these sources and/or quotes used are conveying the same message you are trying to make. I ran into some problems in my blog with this as well.
- Also, I thought you did a good job of being sure to cite each quote and made it very clear what source you were using and when you were using the author's words as opposed to your words.

And last but not least...
- I thought it was great how you brought up some interesting topics to analyze in Disney movies (as I've mentioned a few times already).
- I found it confusing in a few of the posts when you tried to tie in the readings with your personal analysis. Just be sure to choose quotes that clearly support what you are trying to say.
- You're really great at picking topics that are relevant to today's popular culture, making your posts interesting topics to most people who visit your blog.
- Again I apologize for sounding repetitive, but I think you brought up some nice topics of analysis when dealing with Disney movies, and I wish that you would have chosen this as your particular topic sooner. You still have time though, and I would suggest focusing on this topic for your final blog and/or presentation. All in all, I think you did a nice job with your posts and the overall appearance of your blog....Nice work.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Blog Buddy Work With Mark, Author Of "These pretzels are making me thirsty"...

1. Where has your Blog buddy shown strong analytical work (be specific—is it a particular post, a type of analysis, a site for analysis that seemed to click more so than others, etc)?

2. How could your Blog buddy use this strength for the final Blog post and presentation?

3. Think about the following statements in relation to your Blog buddy’s Blog and then provide feedback on each area (constructive praise/criticism):
  • The Blog is on a topic that has been clearly evident in the Blog posts throughout the semester
  • The Blog is on a topic that seems to interest my Blog buddy
  • My Blog buddy’s topic is one that has produced a good set of posts that were analytical used gender as a primary category of analysis
  • The posts make analytical arguments. The posts are understandable and each post logically outlines and supports the argument presented. The posts were clear, provided insight, evidence, and analysis to connect the topic with the assignment for each of the posts
  • The sources cited in each post are relevant to the topic and help to aid the understanding of the argument and/or assisted in proving the argument.
  • The quotes used illustrate a broad range of course readings throughout the semester.
  • The quotes were clear and succinct; additionally, the material was presented so that I could differentiate the Blog buddy’s ideas from that of the author cited.

4. Finally, complete the following:

  • I thought it was great when you...
  • I found it confusing when you…
  • You’re really great at…
  • I wish you could focus (more) on/alter/edit/explain/expand on/etc these three things…

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Mother Figures & Disney Movies

For this blog post, I chose to analyze Disney movies in relation to motherhood. Many of the Disney movies do not have what is considered a traditional mother, but they do contain mother roles in other forms of characters.

In the Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast, there is no traditional mother, but Mrs. Teapot acts as a mother towards the Beast. She gives him advice on how to interact with Belle and how to change to become a more compassionate caring person. Keeping the members of the household in order is another one of the ways that she acts like the mother of the household.

The Little Mermaid, another Disney movie, also has a nontraditional mother figure. Sebastian, the crab, is put in charge of taking care of Ariel by her father, Triton. He is responsible for making sure that she attends the events she is supposed to and that she doesn’t get into any trouble, which is generally what mothers are thought to be accountable for. Triton also makes Sebastian liable for Ariel’s safety, much like a mother would.

This concept is also shown in Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, in the Kim Wilde section. The girl is walking down the street and the Women’s Branch of the Guardians of the Revolution stop her and wants to arrest her for being improperly veiled and because she wasn’t dressed the way the thought Muslim women were supposed to dress. They can be seen as a kind of mother figure in a very nontraditional way. They are trying to protect the girl and makes sure that she behaves properly, which is what mothers do.

These different forms of popular culture show us that mother figures don’t have to be the traditional view of a mother. Mother figures can come in many forms. It doesn’t matter whether a person is male or female, they can still take care of people the way a mother is usually thought of doing.

Marjane Satrapi, “Kim Wilde,” Persepolis (2003).

Friday, March 30, 2007

Creating Beauty To Get A Man

This collage displays how in the Disney movie Cinderella it is portrayed that in order to get a man to fall in love with you, you have to look and dress pretty. According to Helen Brown, the former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, “To get into the position to sink a man it was not necessary that a woman be beautiful, but she had to know how to create an illusion of beauty” (Humez, 120). In Cinderella, it is not until she gets dressed up that a man falls in love with her. Before that, when she is dressed just as a peasant girl, she does not get the attention from any guys. The collage shows this by placing Cinderella without makeup and a dress and other girls who are made up on the left and then in the middle I placed the different items that are used to “create the illusion of beauty” and then on the left shown what would be the result according to Brown.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"Beauty and the Beast" and Masculinity Norms

My topic is gender representation in classical Disney movies. I chose Disney movies as a way to analyze gender and popular culture because they are very popular and almost everyone has seen at least one Disney movie and most Disney movies have two main characters, a male and female. These characters portray roles of the different genders in society through popular culture.

In the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast, there are two main characters, Belle, and Prince Adam, who was turned into the beast. The Beast disseminates both hegemonic and counter-hegemonic messages. In the beginning he is a very coldhearted man. When the old lady knocks on his door in the middle of the night and seeks shelter from the rain in his castle, Prince Adam refuses her request and sends her back out in the rain, which is why he gets turned into the Beast. This shows the male normative as being without emotions or compassion. Phil Petrie says, “One of the roles men play is that of the rational being devoid of strong emotions.”
[1] The Beast has no emotions which is why he did not feel badly about turning the old lady away.

Throughout the movie the Beast must change to in order to lift the spell off of the castle. He must make someone love him. In the movie, he tries to make Belle fall in love with him. He changes over the course of the movie into a more compassionate man with strong feelings for Belle. In the end, he makes her fall in love with him and the spell is lifted off the castle. This shows the opposite of the normative view of men in society. Men are not supposed to display their emotions; they are supposed to be strong and emotionless. The Beast must show emotions to have the spell lifted.

The Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast, is a part of popular culture because it is a very popular movie. It displays hegemonic and counter-hegemonic messages about men. It shows men with and without emotions. It is helpful in understanding popular culture.

[1] Phil W. Petrie, “Real Men Don’t Cry…And Other “Uncool” Myths,” Essence, (November 1982) 222.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

24 is just a TV show - redux

I’ve done a couple of posts about the TV show “24,” and how the right has mistakenly interpreted it as an endorsement of the Bush administration’s least defensible policies. As it turns out, I might have been a little hasty.

Jane Mayer has a fascinating piece
in the latest issue of The New Yorker about the politics of “24″ and its creator, Joel Surnow, who, I was surprised to learn, describes himself as a “right-wing nut job.” For reasons I’ve already described, some of the arguments conservatives find support for are misplaced, but in at least one key area, “24″ is, rather intentionally, making an argument sympathetic to Bush and his backers. The issue, of course, is torture.

The grossly graphic torture scenes in Fox’s highly rated series “24″ are encouraging abuses in Iraq, a brigadier general and three top military and FBI interrogators claim.

My response:

“24” is just a television show. People should keep this in mind when watching it. While this show may portray some Americans views on politics and other issues, its torture scenes should not be taken seriously because it is just fiction. Military personnel cannot take this as a guide on how to interrogate people. What happens in television shows is not applicable to real life. While the military does deal with interrogation, it cannot apply what they have seen on “24” to their interrogations, even though it appears that some people do. People do not take other televisions shows, like “Desperate Housewives” as a guide to life and they should not take “24” as guide to anything either. The torture scenes, just like the rest of the show, are there to provide entertainment.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Femininity & Masculinity in "The Girls Next Door"

In the reality television show, “The Girls Next Door,” some of society’s ideals about masculinity and femininity are portrayed through the different characters, especially in Season 2’s first episode, which was about Hugh Hefner’s birthday. Hugh Hefner is the main male character on the show and is therefore depicted as the normative for men. He has three girlfriends, Bridget, Holly, and Kendra. Although these girls are different, they have many similarities which are shown as what the ideal woman should be.
Bridget and Holly are two of the main characters in “The Girls Next Door.” They both have long blond hair and are in shape. Although they are both physically fit, they are concerned with their weight and one of them goes on a diet to make sure she stays skinny for her striptease for Hugh Hefner’s birthday present. These girls are never seen doing anything intellectual and their hardest task of this episode was to figure out what to get Hugh Hefner for his birthday.
Kendra is Hugh Hefner’s other girlfriend. She is the sportiest of Hugh Hefner’s three girlfriends. She is the more active one and she also likes to party a lot. Kendra differs from the other girls in this regard, but she also shares many of their attributes. Thin with long blond hair, Hugh Hefner’s three girlfriends portray the image of the ideal girl. Not all girls are naturally born with this look, but many of them still strive to be like this. In the article “Inventing the Cosmo Girl: Class Identity and Girl-Style American Dreams,” the author, Laurie Ouellette, says “”new looks” created with wigs, false eyelashes, tinted contact lenses, fake beauty spots, false toenails, false fingernails, nose surgery, padded bras, false derrieres, and fake jewelry were recommended.”
[1] This magazine gives girls ways to become like the “ideal” girl, like the girls in “The Girls Next Door.”
In “The Girls Next Door,” Hugh Hefner is depicted as the ultimate man. He has three girls, is the head of a major company, and is very wealthy. In this episode he threw a huge party with many celebrities and girls. This show portrays Hugh Hefner as the “ideal” man and as a result of this; many men and boys want to be just like him. My friend’s younger brother watched this show once and he wanted to be just like Hugh Hefner because of his wealth and the mansion.
“The Girls Next Door” television program influences people’s views on femininity and masculinity. Hugh Hefner and his three girlfriends, Bridget, Holly, and Kendra, come together in a form of a kind of “family.” The characters in “The Girl Next Door” show to society what the ideal man and women are; how they look and act. The different girls portray slightly different, but very similar ideas on femininity and the main male character, Hugh Hefner, displays normative definitions of masculinity.

[1] Laurie Ouellette, “Inventing the Cosmo Girl: Class Identity and Girl-Style American Dreams,” Gender, Race, and Class in Media, ed. Gail Dines and Jean M. Humez (United States, 2003) 121.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

It talks about how a writer at the Wall Street Journal credits "24" with having realistic scenarios

This is about a website that has a list of items needed to become like Jack Bauer