Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Women in the Election?

           While watching the debate this week, with TCU alumni Bob Schieffer moderating, I began to wonder how the debate is affecting women specifically. I easily found an article by the Huffington Post discussing how the different candidates approach, and are perceived, by women.  With debate over contraceptives and diversifying the work space, women are definitely an important part of the race.  The article discusses how women can affect the outcome of "swing" states, especially with the gap between the candidates being so narrow. Most of the topics discussed about women are social and economic issues. As a woman I feel that what these candidates think about women's rights and abortion directly affects me. This article was pleasantly fact based and I felt that although it focused on women, it did not use gender specific terminology in its details.  

     The article featured a quote about how women tend to be more moderate and fluid in their voting, softly supporting a candidate.  Although this seems like a bit of a generalization I definitely feel as though I fit into this category.  I consider myself a moderate and have switched between the candidates I support in the upcoming election a couple of times.  Although I am fairly certain about my vote now, my support remains supple and able to change. I believe this is actually a strength of some female voters because it allows people to move across party lines for a personal decision as opposed to supporting one party no matter the candidate. Watching the debates I felt personal connections to Romney and Obama when they discussed their relationships with women in the family and their wives.  I believe that they are just as able to make unrealized sexist comments about women as the media is, and when they speak honestly and personally it shows character.  I am looking forwards to future female candidates with the hopes that the way the media talks about women in the election and women voting changes to become more balance.

Link to the article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/22/obama-women-voters_n_2000259.html

Monday, October 15, 2012

"The New Normal"?

     This week's reading about LGBT issues interested me greatly.  I grew up in California, where one of my mom's best friends is a lesbian with a long term partner.  For as long as I was old enough to understand the relationship, I never found it odd or gave it much thought. However, as I grew older I was made aware of the negative social views about people who consider themselves part of the LGBT community.  I participated in events at my high school like Day of Silence which allowed people, gay and straight, to come together for an hour of silence that represented the silence endured by many people who are afraid to say they are LGBT. Through this time though, it never really occurred to me how the LGBT community was affected by the media beyond new coverage of "gay rights" and marriage equality. Reading about all the changes in 1997 about LGBT images in the media made me realize just how recent these changes have been. The fact that this has all happened within my lifetime makes it seem even more surprising because I am used to reading about changes that happened before I was born, which is a lot harder to relate to.  

     Having read about this I began to think about Modern Family (2009) and The New Normal (2012), which are television shows that feature a gay couple as lead roles or main characters.  The title of the show "The New Normal" really says a lot about the media's relations with the LGBT community.  It took till this year to make a show that focuses completely on the life of a gay couple and the title of the show even identifies this idea as something "new." The show itself really plays off stereotypes about the gay community and society in a comical way.  However, as we have learned, the media affects society and society affects the media.  More shows and movies featuring LGBT characters means that in the past years LGBT relationships have become more accepted in the public sphere. However, the stereotyping still means that there is a lot to be changed for equal LGBT representation in the media. I have yet to see a positive and non-comedic role of a transgender in the media, with the exception of some murder mystery shows.  Although changes are being made for equal and fair representation, I do think that it will still be some time before we see more changes of LGBT representation in the media. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Just Another Asian Woman in a White Male Society

   I am the product of an Asian man and a White woman but in my exterior features I much more strongly present Japanese characteristics.  I have often been put into the category "that asian chick" which has always put me off because the media has honestly shaped me to believe that white is the standard, which is the culture that I most often relate to. I remember just a year ago I saw Breakfast at Tiffany's for the first time and was completely thrown off by the intense asian stereotype combined with the fact that the actor was not even of asian decent. This made me realize just how rare Asian people are in the media.  Because of this I chose to include photos of the only Asian actors I could think of off the top of my head.

(George Takei, one of the most recognized Asians in television)

     Because of all this, this week's reading struck a personal note for me.  It is hard to empathize with another group when you have never really walked in their shoes.  However, when I read about Japanese in the media, I immediately feel a connection despite my distance from the Japanese culture.  I was interested in the article about Japan because it struck a familiar note with me.  Although it has been a long time since I have traveled to Japan I recognize the stoic stereotype that comes with the culture.  I have actually felt before that this idea has caused people to quickly forget about the tragedies that have damaged the country in the past. Although I agree that this stereotype is more positive than the stereotypes assigned to many other cultures, I can see where this can still be damaging. Japan is the victim, like many other minorities, of many stereotypes in the media, especially those assigned to Asians in general.  This generality is also a fault of its own because the different countries of Asia all have distinctive cultures. I think that because Asian stereotypes tend to be more positive they become better established and less argued even though they are not OK.