Thursday, October 14, 2010

Finding Meaning in Sonic Ads

             This week my Professor assigned us to pick an advertisement and evaluate it by using the visual perspective theory. This theory involves analyzing visual images and finding meaning.
             I found that the Sonic ads of the married man and wife were very stereotypical. There are many different ads but I found two that I really thought was funny but also portrayed the stereotype that men are buffoons. In these humorous commercials the wife is empowered, as the husband looks dumb. In the ad called “sonic chicken you don’t know what you like!” shows a perfect example of the stereotype that woman control their husbands. She tells him to choose what kind of chicken they should eat and he named off a bunch and disagreed with all the choices. Then the empowered wife tells him what they both will eat and didn’t care that he didn’t want that. He disagrees but then responds in sarcasm that he was wrong and doesn’t know what to eat. As she goes “you don’t know what you like” which gives the perception the women are wiser and know more then men. He looks like a buffoon and a push over as he allows his wife to control him in this way.
            This showed the stereotype that men listen to their wife and just agree that everything they say and do is right and they are wrong. The other Sonic advertisement was even worse and made the husband look ignorant. He tells his wife he is waiting for his hot fudge shake to cool down and she tries to explain to him that it is indeed a hot fudge shake but it is not hot. He looks dumb as he responds that you need to have someone explain it to you and she says only you. This just proves my point that married men are stupid which relates to the visual pleasure theory in the fact that we see this as funny and normal. 
            Media has influenced the way we see marriage and draws viewers to see this as humorous. By making audience laugh this brings pleasure as they enjoy watching a married couple argue and watch the husband makes a fool of himself. But, this is normal comedy and we see this on television and movies all the time.

Sonic Chicken Ad
Sonic Hot Fudge Shake Ad

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Culture Centered Perspective of the Middle East

The theory that worked best in analyzing the movie Sex and the City 2 is culture-centered criticism. This perspective works because the four girls travel to the Middle East, as they have to follow the rules of their country and respect their heritage. The culture centered theory 
“understands that look from one culture from another requires caution about the claims that one makes and an awareness that the culture being observed might well see itself and its own artifacts differently” (Brummett 148).
In the movie it shows the Middle East culture through the Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte’s eyes. The women are trying to understand their culture and adapt but with very little effort. However, Miranda makes a bold effort to respect the Islamic culture throughout the movie as she brings along a book with her to study. The women do not respect the culture instead of realizing they were they were guests of the country and acted like the country was a place to play Arabian themed dress up.

The majority of Americans are oblivious of the cultural values of the Middle East. Movies portray Muslims as controlling, violent, and repressed. Sex and the City 2 depicts Muslim culture as sex-phobic, repressed, and backwards from American culture. This view is distorted from the truth about Muslim culture. Women from Abu Dhabi are not what movie-makers make them out to be and as women “covered in black from head to toe, they appear as uneducated, unattractive, and enslaved beings” (Shaheen). In the movie women did wear burqas and veils. However, they did have a common ground with the girls love for fashion. Carrie notices veiled Muslim women who had decorated her head dress and quips with gold trim. These women are re-defining their tradition for themselves, as their dress is a proud statement of their religion.

The girls blatantly disregard respecting the culture of Abu Dhabi and wear flashy clothing and make jokes about the women. Like when Samantha says in the movie that they don’t want women to have a voice. Throughout the movie the women try to get Samantha to cover up but she disregards them and dresses inappropriately. Her actions in the movie are offensive and inappropriate.  

The Muslim men are perceived as controlling and angry. As the “negative images are sometimes perceived as real portrayals of Muslim culture, which come back to afflict Americans of Arab heritage” and women as repressed with no voice (Shaheen). This is just the way the four women view the culture but shows “the impact the screen images have on Arab and Muslim identities” (Shaheen).

Hollywood's Muslim Arabs by Jack G. Shaheen

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Discovering Culture in Sex and the City 2 Movie

            A media artifact that I plan to explore for the next couple weeks is the movie Sex and The City 2.  In the movie the girls go on a luxury vacation to Abu Dhabi with all expenses paid. However, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda go against the culture clash in the Middle East.

            The girls’ style and attitudes contrast with Muslim society and Samantha faces the most conflict. Samantha is detained for having sex on the beach and claims they were only just kissing. She offends many of the people and was asked to leave the country immediately. People were throwing things at her and yelling at her because she had offended their culture.

            Women in Abu Dhabi are free from certain restrictions that are placed in more conservative Arab states. So, women visitors can dress as they would do at home but have to be modest. Including covering shoulders and no cleavage in respect of their culture. Islamic culture does not allow women to wear bikinis or other revealing clothing. Samantha disobeys all of this and wears clothing that reveal cleavage, shoulders and stomach.

            In my term paper I plan to expand on this using the culture-centered perspective of the Middle East. This movie shows the significant difference between the culture in the U.S. and in the Middle East. It is important to respect the other culture while your there. This movie is a humorous interpretation of women not respecting the country they are visiting.