lunes, 4 de mayo de 2009

Reflection #06 LAst thoughts on race, gender and media

This class has certainly helped me to understand and achieve a different view on American media products. As soon as I saw that a race and gender media class was being offered at OU I thought that this could be my only chance to take this class from an internal point of view about how American society works and what it is build up on.


At first, I never thought that all the prejudices regardding race that I’ve seen on TV or film were actually so present in nowadays American soicety. But the thing is that if these products are being made, there must be some reason to do so. From this point until now, I’ve really learned how important it is on a multicultural society such as the US’ to fully be aware of how individuals act and react in relation to the racial/ethnic/social “group” in which the media puts them in order to be able to try and understand how these products affect their everyday lives. And so somehow, the way in which African Amercians, Latinos or Asian americans, amongst others, are portrayed is simply the way they’re expected to be, image which in my opinion (from living in the US for a short period) is certainly erroneous.


However, this is not just a problem here. Spain has its own racial/ethnic/gender stereotypes which are commonly shown in the media and which are unfortunately widely spread as a cultural joke in Spanish society such as gypsies or gays. But the fact that it is such a controversial issue in the US makes me want to go back to Spain and make people aware of this, and try to avoid it from expanding, especially now that inmigration is part of our society’s development.


Regarding, gender, I had never thought of gender in relation to race before. I must admit that I had never heard of magazines, beauty products or ads launched for specific races such as African American women because they’re not even a minority (yet) from where I come from. However, I believe that this is more than a discriminatory kind of product, a necessary one as people with different physical features need different products and that is just a fact. Nontheless, when it comes to advertising products which are common for anybody despite their race/gender I was really impressed on how stereotyped the media can be. Ever since we had to write that blog on advertising I started noticing how Black families are used for insurance and health ads but not as much within family based ones about food, for example. It is to me a very subtle way to continue to discriminate ethnicities and this is not helping equality at all.


Hopefully, this class has broadenned my mind not towards thinking lets be equal, but to realise that society is not equal. It may sound sad, but many people live unaware of racism and machism in the media simply because it is subtile or because they aren’t aware of this modern way tagging or labelling us as both products and consumers.  


Finally, I would like to add that at first I did not really liked the idea of using a blog but it is actually a very good way to encourage the whole class to participate and allow the flux of ideas and communication amongst us. It is also a very effective way of allowing everybody to participate, especially if you’re shy and don’t want to talk in class, you always have a chance to raise your voice and be heard through a blog. At the same time we can easily and fast see what other classmates are thinking and doing for class. I certainly reccomend this system in such a big class because it enables all of us to become closer even if we never get to talk face to face, in fact even people form outside can take a look. And who knows, maybe we have already made someone react about the issues we’ve talked about in class.


Personal reflection #5 Racial stereotypes in advertisement


1. Clio aired April 4th 2009 (Spain)/ Modern female stereotype:

This advertisement was aired for the first time today in Spanish television to advertise a new car from the bran Clio. It stereotype modern women caucassian women as powerful using their sexuality in order to get what they want. This female scares this man through a threatening sexual situation who’s trying to buy the car in order to be able to get it for her. It portrays the feminine figure as devious and having no qualms to stepping on others for her own interests. It also shows the other side of women, as being jealous while men are easily manipulted by them. Ii shows males in a non controlling situation role. In fact the main character is feminized with his accent and words as he repeats exactly what he would have heard in the advert and so he seems to have hardly any control over his own decisions. The other male is there just to serve the customers and has nothing else to say. They’re not in charge, women are. Unlike i happens in american advertisement, no black characters ever protagonise automobile adverts because it makes no cultural reference to its cultural background.

2. Carrefour aired March 11th 2009 (Spain)/ Modern female non-stereotyped (physically):

Apparently women are taking over the control powers in Spanish culture and are used in this spot to talk abou how they will achieve to beat the economical crisis. They are not portrayed are archetypical housewives but they are still related to house clening products and fashion. Nontheless, the women shown are of a variable range of ages and and sizes which is a nice change for female portaryal as they are usually imaged as perfectly fit and pretty young women.

* Puntomatic aired November 27 th 2007 (Spain)/ Male stereotype:

Nontheless, talking about non-stereotyped genre roles I would like to incluye this older TV advertisement used to encourage men to contribute in the household. The lyrics sang accompany the images shown.


Pablo woke up, got his laundry done, and survived
Paco discovered something new: laundry is no longer a suffering
Now all of them know, underwear doesn’t wash itself
Don’t you see it’s not that bad?
You don’t even have to let go the remote control
These men can do it...
Then so do you, and you, and you...

Everything said is anti-machist message, even a very strong feminist viewpoint regarding male attitudes and capabilities at home. Nontheless, I believe that the mage of the dancing men is not ridiculing males, but feminizing them and iot may give the wrong impression o males whio watch it by making them believe that if they allow women to laugh at them and fllow their oders they will loose their masculinity.

3. Generalitat de Catalunya February 2009 (Cataluña, Spain)/ Racial integration or discrimination?

Racial issues don’t arouse as many as many polemics as polemic as linguistic issues in the different areas of Spain. Since the dictatorial regime, many autonomical communities were prohibited to use theirr mother tongue and forced to speak Spanish, now many of those communities are trying to remeerge the use of these languages by forcing education to be taught in Catalonian and even campaigning by fomentingits use on every aspect of life.

Unfortunately, they are lately aiming these advertisements towards inmigrants as one of the biggest and most increasing communities in Spain. Most of them are African, Asian, South Americanfrom different countries of Eastern Europe, especially Romania. These match most of the stereotypes present in the American culture, as seen in class.

The main characters of both the poster and the spot are portrayed by inmigrant people with certain characteristical physical features who are speaking or being spoken Catalonian. The song implies that if newcomers learn the local language (rather than or besides the official Spanish language) they will have it easier to integrate into society. And so just as Latinos are represented in the US, inmigrants in Spain are suggested that assimilitaion is the best way for them to fit into the local culture. Nontheless, speaking this language will only enable them to be able to communicate within this community and not in the rest of the country.

Nontheless, it suggests to the local people that they shouldn’t judge people’s knowledge of their language for their appearance (racial/ethnical) and they should approach them inthis language. Somehow this suggests a message of integration but it doesn’t bare in mind that 80% of Spanish citizens do not speak it either.

*Cola-Cao aired in 1962 (Spain)/ Black male stereotype (from fascist Europe point of view):

This is an example of racist advertising during the dictatorshi in Spain. Its jingle became increasingly famous during the 50’s on the radio and the TV version was made, it remmained the official song of this product during more than 30 years as even I heard it on TV when I was a child and unfortunately know the lyrics as most of Spain’s population.

It is one of the many ads that portrayed black people steretypes as being ridiculized and degraded. It fits the comic and coon stereotype except for the fact that he is represented as a happy looking black worker in the jungle working for white little rich kids, and all of the different men represented in the cartoons who are expecting to drink their hot cocoa in the morning. This protrayal of race as a classist division of mankind is obviously an example of the basis of the dictatorship encouraging arian racial superiority by making reference to other cultures and create patterns of representation which frame people’s perceptions of social opportunities for black people by reinscribing the differences. This promotes prejudiced attitudes towards other racial or ethnical features people and sets cognitive limits that prevail in today’s society as the people who grew up within this social context exposed to this type of commercial antiracial messages are less keen to interact with new coming inmigrants.

PRINTED: Magaziness & others

4. Female aimed magazine covers (April 2009 editions)
When it comes to gender aimed products race is an issue that arouses always. Women of color may be less prevalent than White women in ads but the fact is that this month half of the magazine covers that I’ve checked up show African-American females under titles such as Vogue. And not only on US editions, but in the international versions of these numbers. What it is also true is that they are pictured with light skin through soft lighitng and straight hair. Only the magazine Ebon, aimed to African-American cconsumers especifically reinforces Beyonce’s afro features as her hair.

According to the readings, White beauty standards prevail because advertisers assume that White consumers will not buy a product. However i believe that this ratio representation of beauty is slowly decreasing in favour of at least one minority. Still I have found no Latinas, Asian-Americans or American Indians in these magazines but after the ones portrayed it is more probable to find Latino icons in their pages.

5. Male magazine covers (April 2009 editions)

There’s a difference in the way male magazines sell themselves as all of the female ones had women in their cover, but not all male aimed magazines have faith in men buying them when there’s another man in the cover. And so half of these magazines show women in their underwear. The most explicit one is the spanish magazine Interviú which mught seem an erotic magazine but it isn’t it just sells its self by using female sexuality as a bate for men to buy these. This also stereotypes the target male as being easily manipulated through the use of sexuality rather than intelectual.

The magazines protagonize by men have mainly male black figures such as Will smith in their covers, this prooves that in some areas consolidized male actors have challenged and beaten the stereotype of the Uncle Sam portrayal. In fact these men are shown as powerful, confident and successful unlike the steretype.