Monday, November 29, 2010

Sarah Palin's Reality Show

            Does this reality show help people see her in the Oval Office? The reality shows Sarah as typical American mother but also alluding to her political platform in subtle and not so subtle ways. Palin is becoming the “type” that now represents successful women and successful politics. She is not the typical “wife” you would find from the feminist theory. Palin gets down and dirty on a fishing trip and even clubs a fish to death.
            Sarah Palin is not the typical “hockey mom” but she is a… Giving birth to and raising five children while she has gone on to be Mayor, Governor, and vice presidential candidate of the Republican party earns her the nickname “barracuda” for toughness in athletic competition. She is definitely not the feminist theory stay home mom that only cooks, and cleans. Palin is not redefining the feminist ideal but many say she is “a kind of multi-function iFeminist for the postmodern woman” (Kay). Being the typical stay home mom is irrelevant to Palin but love of family, community, and country is what guides her political career. Palin is a typical concern parent and showed this with daughter Willow, as she would not allow her guy friend to go upstairs. She cares and has concerns for her children like any other American mom but at the same time represents what would have happened to American women without a feminist revolution.
            Feminists are angry and criticize Sarah Palin’s lack of experience as a substitute for their panic over her indifference to feminism. However, Palin is a real and strong women that is highly successful and is at the same time is a mother to her five children. She is the new postmodern women of America.

Kay, Barbara. "Sarah Palin, a feminist revolution without the feminists." National Post Inc. 10 Sept. 2008. Web. 
"Inside Palin's Reality Show." BLTWY: 10 Nov. 2010. Web. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

American's Hate Towards Illegal Immigrants

            Illegal immigration into the United States is substantial in scale and millions live here currently. Sadly, Americans have historically hated immigrants and this is because they believe they are too different in terms of religion and economic status. As a result, American’s believe they do not want to assimilate and become Americans. This is a huge political issue right now as many Border States are making efforts to enact new immigration laws.
Illegal immigrants and legal immigrants have gone through a lot of discrimination and dislike from citizens of the U.S. because of their cultural differences. American’s feel protective over their territory and are cautious of anyone who threatens their culture and heritage. However, the problem that has become a huge issue is the disempowerment of immigrants. They are discriminated because they have crossed illegally even if they are good people trying to live a better life. I found an article about a 24- year-old businesswoman from the Dominican Republic and she gives her testimonial about how since high school she has had limitations. She has struggled through her years being in America and all because she came here illegally.  She should not be punished because of her parent’s decision to bring her to the country illegally. The article also talks about two promising students that are discouraged from advancing to college because of their parents’ decision of bringing them to American the wrong way.
I do not agree with illegal immigrants but I don’t think it is fair that children are being punished because their parents brought them here. I disagree with punishing these women who want to succeed and make a better life for themselves and their family. These woman want to go to school and become something they never could have become in their homeland. This is argument goes along with the Marxist perspective in which “society has power structures that privilege   some groups while placing others in a relatively disadvantaged position” (???).  American’s are disempowering immigrants because they were not privileged enough to be born in America.
This is a huge issue America is dealing with today and I never realized how much American’s have discriminated illegal aliens. To some degree I believe we should be strict and lenient at the same time because some people crossing have good intentions and only want to have a second chance to live happily ever after.

Brummett, Barry. "Varieties of Rhetorical Criticism." In Dimensions of Popular Culture. Tuscaloosa, AL. University of Alabama Press. 1991. Web.
Sacchetti, Maria. "Illegal immigrant students tell of lost opportunities." The Boston Globe. 26 Nov. 2010. Web.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Walmart Wishes You a Merry Christmas

            Since 2007, there has been a controversy on retailers marketing Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas recognize all the holidays and religions. However, this year Walmart has decided to bring Christmas back into its marketing after several years of ‘Happy Holiday.’ They are even changing the name of their seasonal decorations department to ‘The Christmas Shop’ from ‘The Holiday Shop.’
            They are not scared and are ready to boost sales during the holiday season this year after all the religious and other group’s boycotted retailers. The world’s largest retail chain will have an in-your-face Christmas theme this year. So, will this offend other religions? In my opinion I don’t think so because America was founded on freedom of religion. Walmart has every right to promote Christmas and I don’t think it offends people of differing faiths. Walmart is still selling other religious holiday decorations but they are just changing their marketing strategy.            
            People of other religions might be offended and feel like stores are not respecting their culture. This is because of the culture-centered theory and the ‘Happy Holidays’ was the umbrella expression including all celebrations. However, in the U.S. one cannot use force or law to make someone say something or not say something if he or she desires otherwise. The majority of the U.S. population is Christian and they celebrate Christmas. So, what is wrong with retailers wanting to promote Christmas marketing to make more profit?
            I believe that this will always be a huge controversy but other religions will not be offended in my opinion. Walmart is not opting out all religions and are still selling different Holidays cards and decorations. They have every right to promote Christmas and will still be respectful to all of the other holidays.

"Wal-Mart opts for 'Christmas' marketing." Associated Press. 15 Nov. 2006. Web.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Muslim Stereotypes in the Media

            Recently an Islamic organization uses San Francisco’s Muni buses to educate people about the Islamic religion. The organization has been posting advertisements outside of the buses that has a phrases like “why Islam” with a phone number below. The ads will appear on approximately 170 Muni buses and 10 cable cars (“Bus ads aim to shatter Muslim stereotypes). The goal of this is to help non-Muslims learn more about the religion and culture in hopes to remove the negative stereotypes.
            Muslim’s have been labeled and defined as terrorists, fundamentalists, fanatics and people that hate America. This has become the stereotype for Muslims because the media misrepresents their culture. In Hollywood films, Muslims are never just ordinary people. They are seen as terrorists that want to destroy America and ever since 9/11 people have associated the Muslim group to any terrorists acts. The reason they do this is first its entertainment and brings in profit but because most image-makers do not have the religious background or cultural background to understand Islam. 

            National media is guilty of this as published an article stating, “Muslim terrorist tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner packed with 300 people just moments before landing” (Mangalji). The Islamic faith is being portrayed through in mainstream media, as the terroristic acts are committed in the name of Islam. This is not true but that is not what the media is telling American’s to believe. The word Islam comes from the Arabic concept of “salaam,” or peace (Mangalji). However, America is giving a distorted view of the culture and are not educated enough about the culture so, we believe what the media portrays.

             It is important for American’s to be educated because of the culture-centered theory. Before making assumptions about a culture, one must explore and become educated. It is important to be respectful of other cultures and make sure one fully understands the culture before making claims that could be offensive. Media does not do this and make a mockery out of the Islamic culture.
            Americans don’t realize that the Middle East is one of the most misunderstood, misperceived, and stereotyped regions of the world. This is because we are not educated enough to understand their culture. So, in my opinion putting the ads on the bus is a great idea and will help non-Muslims understand more about the religion.

"Bus aim to shatter Muslim Stereotypes." San Francisco News, 19 Feb. 2009. Web. 
Mangalji, Shamsa. "National media distorts image of Muslims."The Rice Thresher. 29 Jan. 2010. Web.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Real Housewives Of...

            Did you ever notice that every The Real Housewives of… shows only follows the lives of very wealthy women? This series follows the lives of “relatively affluent, bourgeois housewives and professional women in the suburban or urban areas of several American cities” ("The Real Housewives Of..."). There are six different versions of the series starting in Orange County, New York City, Atlanta, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Beverly Hills. The concept and title of the show come from the television series Desperate Housewives. What happened to the typical middle class housewife?
            In the show of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, the women have some serious money. The women in this show are very strong and successful women. However, they do not match up with the “perfect housewife image.” Character Adrienne Maloof-Nassif has an obsession with plastic surgery and is a part owner of the Sacramento Kings and Palm Resort in Las Vegas. However, majority of the women in this show are surgically blessed and have had work done. These women are sexy, rich, and full of drama.
            The media has found the plastic, sexy and fake as the new housewife? I think the show should follow women of middle class and more relatable to Americans. The traditional American housewife should not have the image of plastic surgery addict that spends more time gossiping and making appearances than being a good example for their children. This goes against the typical feminist theory of a housewife that cooks, cleans, nurtures their family, and does everything for their kids and family. The women in these series have $100 million mansions, maids and nannies that do everything for them. This is not what the media should be presenting to the public and is all just for entertainment. What has the world come to?
            This series is more about the lives of the rich and famous rather than the “real housewife.”  I believe this is a distorted representation of mothers and wives today. I agree that women should be able to work too but the way theses women live their lives and act does not put them in the category as a good mom or a perfect housewife. Spending $50,000 on a tea party for their daughter’s fourth birthday is over the top and plain ridiculous.  

Ram, Archana. "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills': Meet the Cast." Entertainment Weekly. 20 Nov. 2010. Web. 
"The Real Housewives Of..." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 19 Nov. 2010. Web. 

The Royal Engagement

            This week Prince William and Kate Middleton, girlfriend of nine years, announced their engagement. Prince William shocked the world when he gave his mother’s engagement ring. He gave Middleton the blue sapphire and diamond engagement ring that belonged to Princess Diana in 1981. William stated about giving the ring to Kate, “My way of making sure my mother didn’t miss out on today” (Bates). By giving Middleton the ring, in my opinion, puts a lot of pressure on her.

            However, the media keeps referring to Kate Middleton as the commoner. I did not like how the media labeled Kate Middleton as the commoner because she was raised middle class. Indeed, she is marrying into the royal family and has the potential to become the sixth Queen Catherine. This is an awful nickname the press has put on Middleton and her family. Kate Middleton’s family fortune is from an online company they established selling party bags and other paraphernalia for children’s parties. They are a very normal and middle class family but the press does not reveal this to the public. This is because of the Marxist theory, “… the notion that material conditions and economic practices shape the dominant ideology about who ought to be and ought to not be empowered” (Sellnow 71). The press does not like empowering someone of middle class who is about to marry into the royal family.
            The media has made it clear that William and Kate have both been socially mobile but in opposite directions. William was raised in upper class and Kate was just an ordinary child from a middle class family. Many believe she won’t be able to handle the responsibilities and everything that comes with being royalty. Not only are people worried about her being a princess and all the paparazzi but will she be able to survive marrying in to this dysfunctional family. She is getting a lot of media attention and in some of the articles I read she is seen as a style icon in waiting. Middleton is beautiful and the public is beginning to adore her. Beside what some of the media is saying some say that she is giving the monarchy a better chance for long-term survival. 
            In my opinion I don’t think it matters that Kate Middleton is a so-called “commoner” because she is someone people are going to look up to. She is handling the paparazzi and media better than Princess Diana ever did. They are look like equals rather than two people forced together to protect a dying dynasty and they are in love unlike Charles and Diana. The media is so focused on what she came from rather than reporting on the amazing and beautiful person of Kate Middleton. So, who cares if she is a middle class woman who is a genuinely good person and is more than capable in being the Princess of Wales.

Bates, Stephen. "How 'commoner' Kate Middleton Won Prince William's Heart." UK News: The Guardian. 17 Nov, 2010. Web.
Chancellor, Alexander. "Why Kate Middleton Is the Perfect Choice." UK News: The Guardian. 19 Nov, 2010. Web.
Sellnow, Deanna D. "A Marxist Perspective." The Rhetorical Power of Popular Culture: Considering Mediated Texts. SAGE Publications, 2010. 71-88. Print. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just Bing It!

            Gossip Girl is known for their high fashion and their fabulous life in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York. This CW show is known for their blatant product placement. They get all their latest gossip through text message. However, Gossip Girl is starting a new trend, “just Bing it!” Characters are making references to Bing.
            Gossip Girl has a deal with Bing and the show is getting the phrase “Bing it!” out even if some viewers aren’t buying it. Microsoft is pushing their newly revamped search engine Bing pretty hard these days. I have noticed in some of the episodes the characters have been using Bing as their main search engine. In episode 18 season 3, Blair Waldorf’s mother Eleanor uses the phrase “Just Bing it” while in a bout of computer search frustration. It is interesting how this move by Bing is clearly a direct jab at Google and an attempt to turn the word Bing into a verb as Google did. This is a good move for Bing because viewers of Gossip Girl are a very media and advertising aware bunch. The show is continuing to make references to Bing throughout the show. Even Jenny Humphrey uses the Bing browser to foreshadow a pivotal plot point.

            This product placement technique can be referred to Psychoanalytic criticism theory. People don’t realize when they are watching TV shows that they are also being advertised to in sneaky ways. By referring to the Bing search engine, viewers and fans of Gossip Girl will want to use it because most viewers want to be just like the girls in the show. According to Brummett, “The most powerful signs are those that offer people a chance to return to that original state before we knew ourselves to be separate beings” (173). This is used in advertising products and is very successful.
            Gossip Girl has made “Bing it” the new trend and many people are tweeting about it. This product placement technique has gained more users as Gossip Girl characters get really into Bing and even using it as a verb. Now are you going to try to "Bing it"?

Brummett, Barry. "Varieties of Rhetorical Criticism, Part One." Rhetoric in Popular Culture. Third Edition. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, 2011. 145-176. Print.
Schwartz, Josh and Stephanie Savage. Gossip Girl. "The Unblairable Lightness of Being." CW. 2010. Television. 
Sullivan, Danny. "Yes, People Do Say "Bing It"-- Barely." Search Engine Land: Must Read News About Search Marketing & Search Engines. Third Door Media, Inc, 18 May 2010. Web. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Perfect Housewife

           However a perfect woman may seem, on the outside to her neighbors, all women have secrets that are much darker than anyone realizes. Desperate Housewives seems to show women that they are not alone in their struggles. The show presents all the choices that women have to make, whether it is stay-at-home wife or a divorce. Suggesting that we all have to be careful about the choices we make in life as this show portrays the underside of an everyday American dream. The women are empowered, feisty, and sexy as they provide lots of drama for the show. Many women go through some of the things that each of the housewives is going through like wanting the perfect family.
           One of the wives from the show, Bree Van de Camp is the perfect housewife. The way she dresses and how she is always looking her best and there is never a hair that is misplaced. Out of all the wives, Bree is the one that strives for the perfect family. This is hard for her to accomplish because her son is gay, and her daughter gets pregnant. Also, her husband Rex has a heart attack while having an affair with another woman. However, she is able to maintain the perfect wife image while dealing and coping with her family issues. She represents the perfect housewife image but on the inside she is suffering from he choices she made. She is known for her cooking, making her own clothes, and for doing her own gardening, and for reupholstering her own furniture. She’s the perfect wife and mother. Bree Van de Camp, would be put in the category of a cultural feminist perspective. This is the traditional woman that cooks, cleans, sews, and mothering their children. Bree represents the traditional women stereotype and a caricature of Martha Stewart.

            Desperate Housewives portrayed real domestic struggles and relationships between neighbors and lovers. This show paraded women suffering the same torments, affairs and anguish as the characters, suggesting that Housewives were psychotherapy for them. 

Bree van Kamp

"Bree van Kamp." Photo. June 2010. Google Images 2010. 
"Andrew Van de Kamp." 19 Sept. 2007. YouTube. 4 Nov. 2010.
Cherry, Marc. Desperate Housewives. ABC. Television.