CategoryAdvertising/PR

#MediaQuickies 5

#LikeAGirl

Some people watch the Super Bowl for the game, I watch the Super Bowl for the ads. While some Super Bowl commercials were hilarious (minus Nationwide’s depressing depiction of childhood deaths), others were inspirational like this Always ad:

Kudos to Always for taking advantage of  the 100+ million viewers at its finger tips and choosing to promote gender equality. By asking the audience when did doing something “like a girl” become an insult, this commercial begins to deconstruct gender stereotypes that have been mediated to us. And to my #LikeABoy hashtag users? Take several seats- Beyoncé already told ya’ll who runs the world.


#IssaRaeissarae

I’ve been following this talented natural beauty, comedian, actress and writer since her YouTube series “Awkward Black Girl.” According to this Indiewire.com article, HBO is moving ahead with a pilot order for “Insecure,” a comedy project that focuses on “the awkward experiences and racy tribulations of a modern day African-American woman.”

I am interested to see how Rae will transition from an internet sensation, to the realm of television. Hopefully, she will maintain the awkward, black voice that I first identified so closely with four years ago.


#FreshOffTheBoat freshofftheboat08

THIS. SHOW. IS. HILARIOUS! On Wednesday night, ABC aired a two-episode premier of its new show “Fresh Off the Boat,” which is loosely based off of celebrity chef and food personality Eddie Huang and his book Fresh Off The Boat: A Memoir. According to NBC News, This is the first network primetime show to feature an Asian-American family in 20 years!

To my delight, the first episode effortlessly addressed the racism that Asian-Americans encounter from both black and white people in a classic lunch room scene. The plot also touched on the pressure of cultural assimilation.

Needless to say, I will definitely be watching this show religiously!

5 Things My Double Major Taught Me

My double major in journalism and communication studies taught me…

1. Everything has an agenda

In school, I learned the term “agenda setting.” This is the idea that the media doesn’t tell a passive audience what to think, instead, it tells an active audience what to think about. With this said, everything that is mediated to you is framed to fit a particular viewpoint for a specific purpose, so don’t let sensationalized news stories prevent you from logically connecting the dots to form a larger context.

2. There’s a method to this madness

I’ve learned so many  theories about how people interact with each other and media that I can’t watch T.V. without having flashbacks of test questions. And just when I thought I was dodging numbers by choosing a journalism major, I was forced to take an Ad and PR research course that introduced me to the world of  research, charts, graphs, and standard deviation.

With this said, don’t underestimate the power of advertising or the media. There are tons of theories and research backing it up.

3. Minority representation sucks but stereotypes are easy

While in school, I took two diversity in media courses. These two courses reiterated something I already knew: minority representation in the media sucks. But why is this? It’s easier to use short cuts to developed characters. stereotypesUnfortunately, these short cuts often come in the form of misinformed stereotypes.

From my studies and observations, the best way to combat these misrepresentations is to counteract them with mediations of your own story.

4. The media is a representation, not a reflection, of our society

With a reflection, what you see is what you get. When you look in a mirror, there is only one version to be reflected back at you. But a representation is something depicted in a particular way and can have several versions. This is why, when it comes to media, it is important to remember that what is being mediated is not a reflection of society but a version of society representing a particular viewpoint. The question is whose viewpoint is being represented, and whose viewpoints are missing?

5. Social media has been a game changer

Social media is changing the game. No longer does traditional news media have a monopoly over the flow of information. Thanks to social media, anyone can create and spread news. But don’t be so quick to dismiss traditional news outlets. They still come in handy when twitter randomly decides to kill someone; traditional media is great at verifying the credibility of news.

As traditional media fights to stay afloat in the flood of information produced by the digital age, it has adapted to new forms of spreading news. You will often catch news outlets interacting with their audience via hashtags,mentions and Instagram photos.

Conclusion:14797_773199266026301_2207319795754274446_n

In retrospect, after condensing 4 years of college into five key points, it seems as if my accumulation of almost $30,000 in debt has been worth it…nahhh.

 

 

Mediating Body Image

A few weeks ago, UNC’s campus rec hosted a body image campaign called Body Beautiful. It partnered with Embodydrake Carolina and Carolina Dining Services during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week to raise awareness about unhealthy body image.  To promote the campaign, the hashtag #uncbodybeautiful was used. Posters and signs conveying the following message “Love your body. Change the conversation. #uncbodybeautfiul,” were placed in gym facilities. These posters featured celebrities such as Drake, Ryan Gosling and Portia de Rossi encouraging students to love who they are.

Although these posters were meant to encourage healthy body image, something about them was unsettling. After much thought, I realized it was because these posters were using a premise that is often mediated to us: celebrities are our standard of beauty.  Therefore these posters were relying on an inherently self-judging premise to support the claim that if Drake says “Hey girl, you look good,” then it must be true. This underlying, hidden message seemed counteractive to Body Beautiful’s purpose.

Later that week, I learned about Aerie’s Spring 2014 ad campaign, which features unretouched models, meaning they are not airbrushed or photoshopped. Considering the media has played an integral role in perpetuating unrealistic standards of beauty, I thought it was great that a lingerie line was acknowledging the negative impact the media has had on society’s perception of female beauty. In an industry that profits off of promoting an unattainable image generated by computer software, here was a company standing up and saying, “we want to show our models in all their real and unretouched glory!”

aerie

Excited to share this revolutionary movement with friends, I posted an article about the Aeire campaign on Facebook. However, the response I received from one friend was unexpected, yet appreciated. She posted the following article as a response: “The Revolution Will Not Be Screen Printed on a Thong.” Although campaigns like Aerie’s begin to interrupt the monotony of mediated “skinny girl” images, it also creates a new standard of beauty. In the article my friend posted, the author questions whether this new standard, although attainable, is still “catering to female insecurity.”

Both of my experiences with the Body Beautiful and Aerie’s campaign reminded me to always stay on my toes and to question why. In the Body Beautiful campaign, why were celebrities used to tell me I’m beautiful and to love my body? In the Aerie campaign, although the models had not been retouched and were supposed to represent “the real you”, they still did not have cellulite, stretch marks or blemishes, all of which I have. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad campaigns like these are working to address issues related to unhealthy body image. Acknowledging  that beauty is constructed is the first step to deconstructing traditional ideas of beauty. However,  it is also important to  be aware of the new assumptions being made when old assumptions are being challenged. #StayWoke


Va-Va-Voom


While watching the Oscars on Sunday night, I thought of the perfect blog topic when I saw a commercial for Sophia Vergara’s Rooms To Go collection. Immediately, I thought about the hypersexualization of Latinas in the media. I pointed this out to my best friend as we sat together on my futon watching the Oscars. She seemed slightly annoyed and began to explain how she thinks it’s unfair to criticize Vergara for showing off her curves and being presented as a sexy Latina.

“Women should have a right to be sexy if they want to and express their sexuality,” said my friend.

I told her I agreed, but my issue wasn’t that Vergara was presented as a sexy Latina in a short, tight dress with high heels, and literally grrr’ed to explain how she likes her furniture. My issue was the overused image of the sexy Latina; it is often the only representation of Latina women I see in the media.

Last semester I took a class called Latino/as in the Media. In class, we discussed the hypersexualization of Latinas and the affect it has on media audiences. For non-Latino/as whose only exposure to Latinas is media representations of this group, they may think that all Latina women are sexy and voluptuous. And what do these types of images do to Latina women who feel like they have to fulfill these stereotypes? Hypersexualized media images can affect their self-esteem, especially young Latinas, by confirming the old stereotype that woman’s main worth lies solely in her appearance.

Not only is the hypersexualized depiction of Latina women in the media, stereotypical, it also over-simplifies a diverse group of people. For example, Vergara mentioned in an interview that when she first started auditioning for American acting roles, they didn’t know where to put her because she was a blond Latina; directors were used to casting women that looked more Mexican. So it’s no surprise to me that she is now featured on Modern Family as a brunet. All Latinas are not brunet, Mexican, and sexy.

With all of this said, I think it is important to question the assumptions that are being made in the media when it comes to the roles minorities are casted in. With this commercial, it was assumed that because Latinas are sexy, a commercial that features a Latina should be sexy too. This was no coincidence. If we are going to be completely honest with ourselves, how often is it that you see sexy furniture commercials? Think about that for a moment, and while you do, I’ll be busy writing my next blog post. In the meantime, leave your comments below! I’d love to hear what you all have to say about this commercial!


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