Prof. Frenchette SP2013
CM 384- Reading Response #3
Politics, Race, and Gender in the 21st Century
Have you ever sat down lately and watched comedy central’s new shows? They have now apparently entered a “new” era of comedy where nothing is off-limits and the jokes are funnier than ever. We can laugh all we want, but the fact is that these types of shows are inside millions of homes. Day by day they reinforce these stereotypical ideals within our society in order to keep their order of race, gender, and sexuality. “The current media landscape is even more hostile to context than in the past. Marketing experts know it is more profitable to pander to biases than to oppose or challenge them” (Muwakkil). It has been discussed that the white male is the dominant group and this is another example of reinforcing dominance, not by force, but through ideas. If comedy central isn’t making a crude racial joke, chances are they are either bashing on women, or harassing gays. “In addition to the drops registered among writers and directors, employment for women was also down among program creators (18%) and producers (37%)” (Margulies). In an age of supposed equality for every race, gender, and sexuality we are still regressing in important areas such as these. This can be fixed, but issues such as these do not appear threatening when packaged in a neat box with the comedy central “seal of approval”. This seal of approval means that the dominant group is spared while other groups are ridiculed and laughed at. If there’s overweight or even average women on comedy central it is almost guaranteed that there will be a witty comment that makes overweight women unaccepted. This type of media supplement may seem harmless, but it is rendering many women victims of artificial depression, to the point where the idea is permanently fixated within the mind. “Those messages, they wrote, ‘are so pervasive and powerful that even the most loving support of those closest to us provides only limited protection against them’" (QMI AGENCY). Not only is the media making women conform to the idea of thinness and sexual appeal, but they also portray ideal women as literal perfection.
A major issue is that we as society are gullible and believe much of what we hear, even when we do not know where the idea came from. “People aren't blind to this issue - but while the vast majority know advertisements are airbrushed and they are therefore chasing an impossible dream, it still hurts” (SWINSON 8/6/11). This unattainable goal creates a never-ending trial while simultaneously fulfilling the interests of the dominant group. “Almost a third of women say they would sacrifice a year of life to achieve the ideal body weight and shape, and almost half of girls in a recent survey think the pressure to look good is the worst part of being female” (SWINSON 8/10/11).
To compound the previous issue: women’s thoughts, concerns, and ideas even on an expressive medium such as the world wide web are either repulsed or are negatively controversial. “About 400 million people around the world visit Wikipedia on the web every month…only 16 percent of new editors joining Wikipedia during 2009 identified themselves as female, and those females made only nine percent of the edits by the editors who joined in 2009” (Scientific Computing). Sites such as Wikipedia is where the next generation of adults shape their realities, and the gender bias will continue to favor males and persecute females at this current rate of equality deterioration. It has now gotten to the point where women are actually eager and willing to coincide with a meticulous brand of femininity that has been deliberately shaped by male governed media. “In the process, young women calibrate, for better and for worse, what kind of female traits are most likely to ensure success in a male-dominated world” (DOUGLAS).
It is widely evident that sexual attractiveness has become of utmost…