Tuesday, September 18, 2012

To Cover or Not to Cover: Race

     This week and last week's reading have raised many questions within my mind.  I find that the way the book covers both gender and race in the media to be confusing.  First, in the chapters about sexism, the book expresses how women in the media are often covered only in certain topics.  It goes on to explain that women are rarely pictured as professionals in their field, especially politics and economics, which poses problems to how people view women.  However, the book then includes a quote on page 46 that says electing a woman means getting a "leader who will be paying more attention to education, to quality of life."  I was a bit frustrated and confused by this quote because while it supports powerful women it continues to follow the trend that women are best suited and strongest at supporting only certain topics.  Health and education can be seen as "women's" topics and I found that this quote distracted me from the good points made in the chapter about the lack of women professionals in the media.

      Then continuing on to the readings about racism and racial balance in the media, I found myself still questioning some points made.  As a woman who is half Asian and half White people most often view me as Asian.  However, I primarily see myself as an American.  It does not bother me that more news stories don't focus on Asian people. This is because I tend to feel that news stories focus more on events and issues that are affecting the world and America which includes people of all cultures and races.  I do understand that the specifically African American focused stories are covering specific issues as opposed to addressing how these stories impact and reflect the African American community. However, I do not understand the counting of  how many stories directly relate to a certain race, because as I said earlier, many other stories are covering America as a whole with all its races.  Because of this I feel that covering specifically one race more can actually have a negative impact because it shows separation and inequality from the other stories. Overall I believe this book points out many unacknowledged biases, but there are still points covered that I disagree with or have yet to understand completely.

Monday, September 10, 2012

African Americans, Democrats, and Gay Marriage


    This week I read an article that covered a lot of issues this class discusses.  The article came from the Catholic News Agency, and although it was presented in a very journalistic way, I felt that the organization did not maintain a balanced and unbiased perspective.  The article covered an African American pastor who said that Democrats do not work for the black interests. He also went on to say that African Americans are still struggling in the US and that the legalization of gay marriage "would be detrimental to he African American community." This means that the post not only affects the idea of race but that it also touches on religion and sexuality. The article did not even attempt to present another side to the argument and only covered the beliefs of the pastor.

     I had a hard time accepting the jump in this article from saying that the Democratic party was not helpful, to saying that gay marriage would damage families. Although I could follow the pastor's argument it seemed to represent a very narrow view point without considering how other African Americans, either Democratic OR Republican, felt about the issues presented.  This example did however provide a counter balance to the seemingly common coverage in the media of African Americans as only being Democrats. As a general whole it seems to me that the media has yet to really find a balanced coverage of African Americans' role in this election and in those of the past.  It is very often that racial minorities are lumped into a political category which is not the case. This is yet another area that the media still shows its lack of balance and diversity.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Women's Magazines: Are Models an Issue?

I read several articles about women in the news before I came across this one.  This article discusses a German magazine, "Brigitte," that is considering changing its policy on only using amateur models.  I was especially interested in this article because I am invested in learning about how the media affects women's body image. I feel that women are depicted in a non-sexist way in this article and that it relates closely to the issue of how the media, other than news, can affect women. When insanely skinny and "gorgeous" women make up such a small percentage of the population it is easy for me to see why the woman described in this article say they can not identify with the extreme looks of professional models.  The article did not, however, give examples of women who were ok with or encouraged the use of professional models in the magazine. I feel that because of this lack, there was a generalized view that all women would rather see "real women" in magazines as opposed to professional models, which is not necessarily true. 

The use of specific looking models IS a gender issue however because it can give the impression that the model look is one every woman should strive for. Another thing that really interested me about this article is that no male perspective was given on the issue.  All the people quoted and referred to were woman. This makes sense since the magazine is for women only. However, because it was a trendsetter in making the change to amateur models its change back could prevent other magazines for men and women from following its lead.  The magazine defends the potential change because amateurs are harder for photographers and stylists to work with.  To me though, this  argument points out, even more, the faults in the media's depiction of women. If models of other shapes and sizes are that much harder to work with, that only continues the stigma that women are supposed to look a certain way.