Thursday, June 01, 2006

Final Study- Grey's Diverse?

Grey’s Diverse?

CORPUS:
I am going to be analyzing the ABC T.V. show Grey’s anatomy. I watched episode five of the first season.

LITERATURE REVIEW:
I looked a lot at the study we were handed in class by John Fiske. His study analyzed the codes of television. He breaks the coding into three different and distinct levels. He says that we, in real-life do this coding without even thinking about it. Therefore, when a writer sits down to write a show he uses the same system he or she uses in real life to create a scene or character. However, this often time results in stereotyping because the codes are shrunk down in the mind of the human. He also explores how things like lighting, camera work, music and editing play a role in how characters and scenes are depicted. He says that the camera angle and/or the lighting in a scene can determine how the scene and/ or character is viewed. In the study he discusses things like distance between people. By convention we feel that if a person is closer than 24 inches to you, they are being intimate or hostile. So, they are either a threat or they are a potential “partner”. He explains how T.V. uses these conventions to relay a message to the audience.
Fiske recalls Gerbner’s work, which was on how television reflects how people perceive reality. He points out how characters on T.V. are picked for a specific reason. They fill a certain ideology that people have of certain types of people. Basically, they know what the audience wants to see.
“These codes and the television codes which bring them to the viewer are both deeply embedded in the ideological codes of which they are themselves the bearers.”
Basically, Fiske’s study tells us that everything in a show down to the type of tree used in a scene is intentional. Everything is meant to evoke a feeling. Whether it be sympathy for the hero/heroine or hate for the villain.

The levels are as follows:
Level One- “reality”, This includes appearance, dress, gesture, make-up, expression, speech
Level Two- representation, This includes camera, lighting, editing, music, sound
Level Three- ideology, This includes things like individualism, patriarchy, race, class, materialism, capitalism

RESEARCH QUESTION AND METHODOLOGY:
How are the characters on Grey’s Anatomy depicted and how do these depictions differ between race and gender?
My method will be to do a content analysis of episode five of season one. I will look at the race and gender of the nine main characters and their rank in terms of profession. Then I will take note of how each character is depicted. Since it’s a medical drama, I will look at who performs the surgery, assist and who just has a passive roll in the OR. I will also look at the success and failure of the surgeries and who is performing those surgeries that fails and those that are a success. Also, I will look at the relationships among the nine main characters.

FINDINGS:
First I want to give a list of the characters along with the gender, race, and rank/ profession in that order.

Richard Webber- male, black, chief of surgery
Preston Burke- male, black, attending
Derek Shepherd- male, white, attending
Miranda Bailey- female, black, resident
Meredith Grey (title character)- female, white, intern
George O’Malley- male, white, intern
Alex Karev- male, white, intern
Izzy Stephens- female, white, intern
Christina Yang- female, asian, intern

I’m going to report my findings in the form of a narrative. I want to discuss what I found while watching episode five. The episode starts out with Meredith discussing how hard it is to grow up and how much responsibility we take on as we get older (she is doing this in a voice over). She has to take care of her mother who has a mental disease. She rushes off to the hospital because she has her first chance at assisting in a heart surgery. In the surgery, which Dr. Burke performs while she assist, she makes a mistake. She thinks that she may have punctured the patient’s heart with her nail. She leaves the surgery worried and George comes in and comforts her. This a rare case where the male is the submissive character. He seems to like Meredith and is very submissive to her.
In the next scene the interns are planning a party in honor of Izzy’s boyfriend coming in town. Izzy is the main organizer. She just happens to be the pretty blonde girl. Which might be seen as stereotyping the blonde as the party girl. Also, Izzy patient through out the episode is a guy who can’t “poop”. Then, in the next scene we see that Alex and Derek are assigned to the guy who has a back problem and has become addicted to pain medicine. I have to wonder why Izzy get the guy who can’t poop?
Back to Alex, he is an abrasive progressive male. He shows no emotion and is depicted as the typical “heartless” male. He is the stereotype.
Next we are introduced to a relationship among the main characters. Christina and Burke are dancing around a possible love connection. Burke buys her coffee and Christina acts reluctant to take it. This makes her the dominant one in the pair.
Next we are introduced to a patient who ends up having a towel left in her body from a surgery performed by Burke five years ago. The surgery to remove the towel is performed by Webber and Bailey assist him. Christina is the one who realizes that Burke was responsible for leaving the towel and is conflicted because she is told by Bailey not to say anything. However, when Burke comes out and tells the Chief on his own she rewards him with sex.
Meredith and Burke’s heart patient then goes downhill and Meredith shouts out that she thinks that she may have punctured the heart. She shows emotions in the heat of the moment and is unable to control her out burst. Burke has to save the day and take the lady back into surgery to repair the heart. The surgery is successful. The chief comes in and says that they are going to have a meeting to determine exactly what happened.
Again, George is there to tell her that everything will be fine. Christina on the other hand tells her the harsh truth which is that it might not be okay.
The party is the conclusion of the episode. There are a couple things that I noticed about the party. First of all, Bailey is the only non-intern who attends the party. And Christina is the first one to get up on the table and start dancing. Also, in a game of strip poker between Meredith, Christina and George, George is the only one who ends up taking his clothes off.

CONCLUSION:
I want to point out some things that I found interesting or alarming.
First of all, the fact that Izzy is the one who got the patient who was having bowel movement problems. I’m drawn back to Fiske’s idea of ideology and that a character reflects society’s preconceived idea of certain people. In the show she is the pretty, peppy blonde. Is this how they view the blonde? Only able to deal with issues with poop? Yet, at the end of the program she sort of negates that when she chooses her career over her boyfriend. Here she becomes the progressive female.
Another thing is the idea that Christina rewards Burke with a sex romp in the break room. Is that what men value as a reward? She starts out as the dominant one but then becomes submissive.
Then there’s the issue with George, the submissive male. The exception to the rule. He is a sympathetic, considerate and nervous all the time. His character is the opposite of Alex’s character who is abrasive and progressive.
Another situation in the episode that stuck out to me was the one with Meredith and Burke and the heart patient. When she goes into the meeting with the Chief and the lawyer, she can’t really hold her own. Burke, again, has to swoop in and save her. While she is for the most part a progressive character, she still needs to be rescued by a man. Although I will say that maybe it’s because Burke is of higher rank than her and would have more of an impact with what he has to say.
Overall, the show is one of the most diverse shows on television. They have a good distribution of race with in the cast and how they rank. I did notice thought that all the very high up characters were male. And Bailey, the only female, ends up on the same level as the interns when she goes to their party.
Here are a few links that I found in my research that discuss Grey’s Anatomy and their gender and race depictions.
http://www.thewhitehouseproject.org/v2/press/2005/December/20051211-baltimoresun.html

This is about interracial relationships on television:
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/tv/259341_tv14.html

I used the study by Fiske, the episode from the DVD and the links above.

The Hills

We all know that MTV is going to crap but, the new show "The Hills" is just one step closer to complete crap! I have to admit that I do get sucked into watching shows like "Laguna Beach" and "Made". But, "The Hills" only made me mad. It brought me no guilty pleasure! There were many stupid scenes but there were two that stuck out. The first was when the lead character and her roommate go to their new school to meet with their new dean. The roommate goes in there and acts like a moron. There is no other word to describe it. The dean asks her what her high school experience was like and she responded by saying the she never went to class and all she ever did was party and shop. I'M NOT EVEN EXAGGERATING!!! I promise. If I could find a transcript of the show I would put a link to it. Then the dean asked her to tell her about her career aspirations and the girl said that she wanted to do PR and that she wanted to be the cool party planner girl. The dean asked if she was willing to work hard to get there because it takes a lot to get there and she said that she just wanted to go right into being the organizer and that she would never work as a sales person in a retail store. (I take a personal offense to this since that's how I'm making money while I'm in school!)
The next really bothersome scene is when the lead character goes for her first day at her internship at Teen Vogue, The first thing that they do is bring in their stylist and critique what the girls were wearing. Then gives them a speech about since they are a part of Teen Vogue that they have to look great ALL the time.
The thing that really bothers me about this is that I would like to work for a magazine and this is not a good view for anyone to have of the magazine production society.

gay male portrayal in media

I said this in class but I just think that gay men are most of the time seen in a negative light. Even in things like Will and Grace. As much as that show kind of broke the mold for gays on television, Jack's character ,and Will's much of the time, is always looking for a new man for purely superficial and sexual reasons. Also, I have to point out the Queer as Folk seen we saw today. What straight couple in a movie have we seen have a conversation like that? Yet, we constantly see gay couples have these conversations. Six Feet Under is an excellent example. The gay couple in that show are indeed in a "real" relationship yet, they deal with infidelity on a show to show basis. Usually the reactions from the two in the relationship is just of little disappointment. Alwost as if they had only gotten a bad grade (That's a bad analogy but I can't think of anything else). Are we setting a standard for gay men and in return making it okay and acceptable to be sexually promiscuous? Also, are we reinforcing the idea that gays shouldn't get married and that their love isn't valid? I think so...

Abercrombie catalog

One arguement that I have always had is with the way that Abercrombie advertises. They have this catalog that you can't buy unless your 18 yet their target audience is ages 12-25. And in that catalog the models are not wearing clothes. So, what are they advertising?!Do they really think that they are so elite that their clothes speak for themselves. Yet, all their clothes say Abercrombie and Fitch in huge letters. Also, when you get into the actual interworkings of the retail stores, they discriminate on looks. They have a system of ranking people A B C according to how they look. I thought for sure that this was a myth but I asked a guy who used to work there and he said that it's not writen policy but it's apparent that they do it. For example, C people don't work on Saturday. Is this really what we want our kids representing and idolizing? I know I don't. I found this article about how some of their shirts were stereotyping asians and basically saying that whites are better.

http://www.pbs.org/weta/washingtonweek/voices/200204/0423tshirts.html

hot mom contest

This is in regards to a class we had at the beginning of the week. The conversation ceased before I could get to saying this. But, a friend of mine entered a "Hot Mom" contest about 6 months ago put on by the Russ Martin Show. All she had to do was send in her picture and then show up on a certain night to participate. Well, we went to support her (not that I agreed with the whole thing) and I was quite surprised at what I saw. There was women ranging from 21 to 60!!! That's right 60. Well, the contest started out with the women talking baout their selfs and their kids. Then they moved to the talent portion of the contest. This is where things got interesting. The first lady, who was 40 something, stuck a sausage all the way down her throat proceeded to do that over and over simulating what could only be a blow job. The place erupted with men yelling "yeah!!!". I was disgusted. Well, then the youngest girl got up there and did a "dance". She pulled a guy up on stage and basically humped him. And she was clearly three sheets to the wind. Well, then my friend got up there and she balance a glass of water on her head. Everyone thought this was boring. The host even said come on, do it with your shirt off. And I was so proud of my friend when she responded, "I'm a mom!". She then walked off stage and said she was going home. YEA FOR MY FRIENDS!!!! I think it was dumb to even enter but it says a lot about her that she knew to quit.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

crash and stereotypes

I didn't get a chance to say this in class but I wanted to point out how Crash is one of the only movies to use stereotypes to actually break them. The movie starts out defining social stereotypes, i.e. the young black male being a "thug". But then they break through the surface of those stereotypes and get to the heart of who these people are showing that they aren't one dimensional. Okay, that was it.

wedding rings

This weekend some good friends of mine got engaged. They have been dating for about 8 years so it was a great thing. The ring was well worth an 8 year wait. WIth that said, I have to stop and ask myself why I feel like that. That is honestly what I thought when I saw the ring. Am I really that superficial? I hope not but, I can't say that I've never looked at engagment rings and said the bigger the better. I'd like to think that if I were to get a not so great ring (which I don't have the definition for that), that I would be just as happy. Although, once my boyfriend said he was going to propose with a rock as a joke and when I told my mom that, she made a good point. She said, "If he gave you a rock as a token of his love for you, what does that say about his love?" And I have to say I agree. I know that we have been conditioned to want a big ring when we get married but I would be interested to know what started that. Perhaps I'll do a little research and get some links up here....

i'm a slacker.

This is just a preface to the series of blogs I'm a bout to post. I have been making notes about what I want to blog about and have just now gotten around to posting them. So, here they go and I promise that I'm not that much of a slacker!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Findings:
Women in the ads of three women’s fashion magazines were mostly depicted as being sensual, having classic beauty, feminine and trendy. And most of the ads in the women’s magazine used women to sell and/or market their products.

Previous study summary:
In the previous study by Basil G. Englis, Michael Solomon, Richard Ashmore (“Beauty before the eyes of the beholders:”, 1994, Journal of Advertising) they used a scale of how beauty was depicted in fashion magazines that included the following: classic beauty, feminine, sensual, exotic, cute, girl next door, sex kitten, trendy. They did a content analysis of six different fashion magazines and three men’s magazines and found that the types of beauty were not evenly distributed across the magazines.

Most important foundation literature:
The main study in the article was the most important for my study because it established the scale of types of beauty. That gave me a good system to base my study off of. The study found that magazines such as Glamour and Vogue had more sensual/exotic and trendy depictions of beauty while magazines like Cosmopolitan and Glamour had more classis beauty/ feminine depictions of beauty.

Corpus and Method:
I used three different women’s fashion magazines (March 2006 Cosmopolitan, October 2005 InStyle, and Jan 2006Vogue) and did a content analysis using the same scale for beauty as the previous study used. I only looked at full-page ads and only coded the women in the ads. (Most were women anyway.) I then reviewed what types of beauty were most prevalent in each magazine.

Findings:
Cosmopolitan magazine had mostly Classic beauty/ feminine depictions of beauty and coming a close second was sensual/ exotic. Vogue had mostly classic beauty/ feminine and trendy depictions. InStyle depictions were mostly classic beauty/ feminine and sensual/ exotic. Most of the high fashion ads in these magazines had women who were placed in sensual positions suggesting sex. And another thing found is that women were used in most ads in all three magazines no matter what they were selling.

Conclusions:
The findings were somewhat predictable. Although I did expect to see more sexual ads in Cosmopolitan. But, it makes sense that InStyle would have many ads where beauty was depicted as classic beauty/ feminine. The most interesting finding I think was that high-fashion ads used mainly sensual depictions of beauty. The suggestion of sex was strongest in ads for high-end fashion products like Escada. A study examining just high fashion ads would be interesting. I’m not sure how you would code it but some sort of qualitative study could be used. Also, if women are used to advertise men’s products to men, then why are men not used more in ads targeted at women?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

missing women coverage

As a continuation of the conversation in class.... I really think that the coverage of white women compared to the coverage of women of other races (i.e. hispanic, african american) is not equal. A good recent example is Natalie Holloway. The coverage on her was catapulted into the realm of ridiculous. But, I think that the reason is that the story that went along with her disappearance was intriguing and entertaining. It left people wanting to know more. This "all- American" girl wasn't so great. She made bad decisions. It's just like when a family that everyone thinks is like the Clevers suddenly break up and all the dirt comes to the surface. With all that said I don't thinkn that the missing half Hispanic half African- American woman was any less important. The only way I can think to break it down is that, Latoya meant no less to her family than Natalie did to hers. COSMOPOLITANISM!!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

prisoners of war

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,956255,00.html

the next two links are to articles that explain how the military used her story and her as a symbol of the war.
http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30200-12920562,00.html
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,89528,00.html (note that this article comes from the fow news archive, just keep that in mind)
First in terms of appearance, all I can find is people describing her as "waif-like", blond and small. And as for her actual appearance, she is all of those things. The pictures look as though she's a small woman.
There was tons of coverage on her. A lot of the coverage focused on how the military blew her rescue up to be a much more heroic thing than it actually was. There is speculation that the rescue was actually staged and that's why there is actual footage of it. This conveliently came at a time when there was, and there still is, great opposition to the war. Perhaps the military knew they needed something positive in the news and with Jessica gone, they saw an opportunity.

Now when it comes to Shoshana Johnson, she was much more tight lipped about her whole experience. She didn't follow in Jessica's footsteps and look for movie and book deals.

this link takes you to a page explaining how Shoshana was to recieve a much smaller pension when she was discharged than Jessica did.
http://www.snopes.com/politics/military/shoshana.asp

this is a good article about how Shoshana was ignored in the big media picture. also explains how people suspect there is a race issue.
http://www.commondreams.org/cgi-bin/print.cgi?file=/headlines03/1108-01.htm

I wouldn't dare try to explain why the military does what it does, but I have concluded that they are a lot like the media. They know what people want to hear and see. They felt like people needed a story of heroism at the time so that's what they gave them. It's just one more reason that we can't trust anything we're told about the war. Therefore, we'll never know what's really going on over there. Which makes it really hard to form an opinion.

Monday, May 15, 2006

women in the media

question of the day... is it that media subject women in advertising or that they know their audience that well?
i think that's it's a little of both. when we were talking in class about ads for cleaning supplies and how they always use women as their subject it's hard not to get a little offended. especially when looking at ads for the same products, but in the 1950's. women look so spineless and weak. like all they can do is cook and clean. but in all reality, who is the person USUALLY doing the housework? women! there's no way around it. they may be working wives and mothers but at the end of the day their husbands probably aren't doing a lot of cleaning. and advertisers know that. so, they aren't just using a stereotype that they know is a lot of times true and exploiting it to sell their product. they dont care how it makes women as a whole look. as long as they sell their swiffers, they're happy.

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