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16 Dow 4973 qxd 6 11 2006 1 42 PM Page 298,298 Gender and Communication in Mediated Contexts. that race and gender are social constructions and democratic societies Cultural studies. underscores their centrality to the processes scholars have devoted considerable atten. of human reality Working from it compels tion to studies of media audiences institu. us to understand the complex roles played tions technologies and texts This chapter. by social institutions such as the media privileges textual analyses of media that. in shaping our increasingly gendered and explicate power relationships and the con. racialized media culture This chapter struction of meaning about gender and. explores some of the ways mediated com race and their intersections Byers Dell. munication in the United States represents 1992 In addition we draw considerably. the social constructions of race and gender from research employing various feminist. and ultimately contributes to our under frameworks Generally our critical review. standing of both especially race 2 of literature from the past two decades. Although research on race gender and demonstrates the disruption of essentialist. media traditionally has focused on under constructions of gender race and sexual. represented subordinate groups such as identities,women and minorities this chapter dis. cusses scholarship on media representations,of both genders and various racial groups. Therefore we examine media constructions Black Feminist Perspectives. of masculinity femininity so called people and Media Representations. of color and even white people 3 On the of Black Women. other hand given the limitations of this,chapter and the fact that media research on. race has focused on African Americans we A feminist critique is rooted in the struggle. devote greater attention to blacks but not to end sexist oppression We employ femi. at the exclusion of the emerging saliency nism as a multidisciplinary approach to. of whiteness studies which acknowledge social analysis that emphasizes gender as a. whiteness as a social category and seek to major structuring component of power. expose and explain white privilege 4 relations in society We believe media are. Our theoretical and conceptual orienta crucial in the construction and dissemina. tion encompasses research that is com tion of gender ideologies and thus in gender. monly referred to as critical cultural socialization We acknowledge feminism. studies Numerous theoretical approaches and feminist media studies tendency to. have been used to examine issues of race privilege gender and white women in par. gender and media but we contend that ticular over other social categories of expe. critical cultural studies represent the most rience such as race and class hooks 1990. salient contemporary thinking on media Dines 1995 Dines Humez 2003 Black. and culture More important unlike most feminist scholars have acknowledged the. social and behavioral scientific research neglect which women of color specifically. most critical and cultural approaches to black women have experienced through. media studies work from the premise that their selective inclusion in the writings. Western industrialized societies are strati of feminist cultural analysis hooks 1990. fied by hierarchies of race gender and Bobo Seiter 1991 Valdivia 1995. class that structure our social experience Black feminism positions itself as critical. Moreover cultural studies utilizes inter social theory Hill Collins 2004 and is not. disciplinary approaches necessary for a set of abstract principles but of ideas that. understanding both the media s role in the come directly from the historical and con. production and reproduction of inequity temporary experience of black women It. and for the development of more equitable is from this perspective that we begin our. 16 Dow 4973 qxd 6 11 2006 1 42 PM Page 299,Gender Race and Media Representation 299.
discussion of black female representation in Queen fell in line with traditional stereo. the media typing of other bi ethnic characters as beau. Much contemporary academic writing tiful yet threatening inherently problematic. has criticized mainstream media for their and destined for insanity p 117 Larson s. negative depictions of African American 1994 study of black women on the soap. women Bobo 1995 Hill Collins 2000 opera All My Children found the show con. 2004 hooks 1992 Lubiano 1992 sistently embraced the matriarch stereotype. Manatu 2003 McPhail 1996 Perry In fact the image of the black woman as. 2003 Challenging media portrayals of oversexed fantasy object dominating matri. black women as mammies matriarchs arch and nonthreatening desexualized. jezebels welfare mothers and tragic mulat mammy figure remains the most persistent in. toes is a core theme in black feminist thought the media Edwards 1993. Author bell hooks 1992 contends that Black feminist thought also challenges the. black female representation in the media way some media outlets run by black men. determines how blackness and people are engage in misogynistic depictions of black. seen and how other groups will respond to women Burks 1996 notices the saliency. us based on their relation to these con of hooks s phrase white supremacist capi. structed images p 5 Hudson 1998 and talist patriarchy in many black independent. Hill Collins 2000 2004 both advance the films She explains that black independent. notion that media images of black women cinema is not necessarily free of the dominant. result from dominant racial gender and white male heterosexual hegemony that has. class ideologies Furthering hooks s discus succeeded at one point or another in colo. sion of representation Hudson 1998 nizing us all p 26 Several cultural critics. argues that these stereotypes simultane have focused their studies of black female. ously reflect and distort both the ways in representation on majority produced and. which black women view themselves indi directed Hollywood films Bobo 1995. vidually and collectively and the ways in Bogle 2001 Holtzman 2000 hooks 1992. which they are viewed by others p 249 1994 Many other media scholars have. The study of black female representation is focused their analyses on the way black film. informed by whiteness studies and accord makers depict black femininity as part of a. ing to Dyer 1997 the only way to see trend that Burks 1996 argues leaves main. the structures tropes and perceptual habits stream white Hollywood producers free to. of whiteness is when nonwhite and above construct the black female image in any way. all black people are also represented they like and to reach a larger viewing audi. p 13 ence in the process, Scholars have studied black female repre Black female scholars Wallace 1990. sentation in a variety of media contexts and hooks 1993 both have written exten. Meyers 2004 used discourse analysis to sively on the work of black writer director. examine the representation of violence against Spike Lee s portrayal of black women. African American women in local TV news Hooks contends that while Lee is. coverage during Freaknik a spring break, ritual held in Atlanta Georgia throughout uncompromising in his commitment to. the 1990s Her study concluded that the create images of black males that chal. news portrayed most of its victims as lenge perceptions and bring issues of. stereotypic Jezebels whose lewd behavior racism to the screen he conforms to the. provoked assault p 95 Orbe and status quo when it comes to images of. Strother s 1996 semiotic analysis of the females Sexism is the familiar construc. biracial title character in Queen Alex tion that links his films to all the other. Haley s miniseries demonstrated how Hollywood dramas folks see p 14. 16 Dow 4973 qxd 6 11 2006 1 42 PM Page 300,300 Gender and Communication in Mediated Contexts. McPhail 1996 continues hooks s argument representation of racial difference it was. and argues that Lee s films subscribe to oblivious to the ways gender and class inflect. essentialist conceptions of race and gender race Byers Dell 1992. that reify the same ideological and epistemo Much academic writing has focused on. logical assumptions that undermine both historically situated negative portrayals of. the representation of race and gender in black women and the most recent theoreti. mainstream media p 127 According to cal trend in black feminist media scholarship. our Brooks H bert 2004 study of Lee s is the representation of black female sexual. Bamboozled he creates female characters ity in the media Hill Collins 2004 Manatu. who become defined by the men in their lives 2003 Perry 2003 Sexuality is not dis. We claim that although his films fight to cussed in reference to sexual orientation but. challenge racist frameworks within the mass to how popular culture has commodified. media and society they simultaneously per the black female body as hypersexed Some. petuate sexist norms as they relate to black theorists Guerrero 1993 Iverem 1997. womanhood Although Spike Lee is not the Manatu 2003 contend that black women. only black male filmmaker who perpetuates are portrayed only as sexual beings and. negative representations of women he has not as romantic characters as indicated by. garnered the most attention by cultural crit Halle Berry s Oscar winning performance. ics This is an area of study that requires addi in Monster s Ball It has been argued that. tional work as African American filmmakers she played an oversexed jezebel and tragic. are moving from the margins of independent mulatto at the same time Hill Collins. films to the center of multibillion dollar stu Others assert that the habitual construction. dios and networks that are run by heterosex of a subversive woman s sexual image may. ual white males thus potentially contributing come to define women culturally Kennedy. to black women s oppression 1992 Nelson 1997, Prime time television has tended to While the black jezebel mythos is not. confine black female roles to white models new to film and television studies it has. of good wives and to black matriarchal found a home in music videos Much as. stereotypes Byers and Dell s 1992 analysis black music of the 1950s was repurposed. of characterization in the CBS workplace by the industry as a new category called. ensemble Frank s Place demonstrates that it rock and roll and made its way into subur. was no exception to this trend Their study ban white homes popular culture today. provides an excellent example of a feminist draws heavily from the cultural produc. textual analysis of the intersection of race tion and styles of urban Black youth Hill. and gender from a cultural studies perspec Collins 2004 p 122 It is within this. tive Despite drawing inspiration from the black cultural production reworked. situation comedy s association with the fem through the prism of social class that the. inine the series worked from a distinctly sexualized Black woman has become an. masculine perspective Although Frank s icon in hip hop culture p 126 A theory. Place presented a fairly wide range of repre of the body and of how black women are. sentations of African American men it objectified as sexual commodities fuels this. provided a much narrower range of repre debate that has become popular in acade. sentations of African American women The mic circles Within this context three pri. attention it gave to inequities in skin color mary research interests have emerged the. and class was rarely afforded to its female objectification of black women s bodies for. characters Instead feminine beauty was the voyeuristic pleasure of men Hill. related to light skin straight hair thinness Collins 2004 hooks 1994 Jones 1994. relative youthfulness and middle class sta the impact of sexual representation and. tus Despite the show s conscious attempt ideal Westernized body images on young. to illustrate the social ramifications of the black females Perry 2003 and black. 16 Dow 4973 qxd 6 11 2006 1 42 PM Page 301,Gender Race and Media Representation 301.
female sexuality as a symbol of agency sexualizing racial difference and thus. Gaunt 1995 Hill Collins 2004 Rose constructing its others as sites of savage. 1994 sexuality p 45, The objectification of black women s In line with theories of the body that say. bodies in hip hop music videos according the mass media promotes images of an. to Jones 1994 is particularly disturbing ideal body type Perry 2003 explains that. because these videos are produced primar the messages these videos send to young. ily by black men Edwards 1993 argues women about their bodies are harmful. that music videos play into male sexual She argues that the beauty ideal for black. fantasies and that the notion of the black women presented in these videos is as. woman as a sex object or whore is always impossible to achieve as the waif thin. placed in opposition to the image of black models in Vogue magazine are for White. woman as mammy Hooks 1994 warns women p 138 In addition to the black. that while feminist critiques of the misog body ideal of large breasts thin waist and. yny in rap music must continue and that round buttocks presented in videos many. black males should be held accountable for of the black women featured depict a. their sexism the critique must be contextu Westernized beauty ideal of lighter skin. alized She continues long hair and blue or green eyes Edwards. 1993 takes the concept of a beauty ideal, Without a doubt black males young one step further and contends that the black. and old must be held politically account women featured in music videos exem. able for their sexism Yet this critique plify physical characteristics of the tragic. must always be contextualized or we risk mulatto According to hooks 1994 racist. making it appear that the problems of and sexist thinking informs the way color. misogyny sexism and all the behaviors caste hierarchies affect black females She. this thinking supports and condones contends,including rape male violence against. women is a black male thing p 116 Light skin and long straight hair con. tinue to be traits that define a female as, Most academic writing on this subject beautiful and desirable in the racist white. focuses on black men s portrayals of black imagination and in the colonized black. women but we argue that the music videos mindset Stereotypically portrayed as. of hip hop artists who are not black follow embodying a passionate sensual eroti. a similar misogynist formula in which cism as well as a subordinate feminine. scantily clad women surround the artist in nature the biracial woman has been and. a poolside hot tub or nightclub setting remains the standard other black females. Latino artists Fat Joe and Geraldo other are measured against p 179. wise known as Rico Suave and white, artists Justin Timberlake and Vanilla Ice all The other side of this discussion about neg.
fall into this category substituting Latina ative sexual imagery concerns black female. and white women s bodies for black ones sexual agency Hill Collins 2004 notes. This discussion becomes more salient as that many African American women rap. white centered visual music outlets such as pers identify female sexuality as part of. MTV and VH 1 dedicate more program women s freedom and independence. ming time to hip hop culture and create late p 127 maintaining that being sexually. night programs designed to show so called open does not make a woman a tramp or a. uncut and uncensored videos that make ho which is a common term placed upon. clear references to the culture of strip clubs women in hip hop Rose 1994 demands. and pornography As Fiske 1996 con a more multifaceted analysis of black. tends Whiteness is particularly adept at women s identity and sexuality within rap. 16 Dow 4973 qxd 6 11 2006 1 42 PM Page 302,302 Gender and Communication in Mediated Contexts. music while Perry 2003 asserts that any concerned with otherness The global other. power granted to female rappers based in media terms is always paired with the. upon their being labeled attractive in con West as its binary companion Furguson. ventional ways limits the feminist potential 1998 Shome 1996 explains that when. of their music whiteness is comfortable in its hegemony it. constructs the other as strange or different,and itself as the norm Drawing from Said s. MULTICULTURAL FEMINIST study of Orientalism Heung 1995 says. PERSPECTIVES AND MEDIA The power of the colonizer is fundamen. REPRESENTATIONS OF tally constituted by the power to speak for. ASIAN LATINA AND and to represent p 83 Furthering the. NATIVE AMERICAN WOMEN discussion of an East West binary the West. is portrayed in the media as active and mas, Acknowledging Valdivia s 1995 asser culine while the East is passive and feminine. tion that feminist work has focused on white Wilkinson 1990. women as ethnic and race studies have Though the number of female Asian. focused primarily on African Americans we characters represented in the media espe. seek to include other women of color in cially television is miniscule the way they. our analysis of stereotypic female represen are portrayed in the media is crucial. tation As we stated in the beginning of this because stereotypes of underrepresented. chapter our analysis relies primarily on people produce socialization in audiences. black women as that is where the majority that unconsciously take this misinforma. of scholarship on race gender and the tion as truth Heung 1995 Holtzman. media focuses However we agree with Hill 2000 Thus the portrayal of Ling Woo. Collins 2004 that many of the arguments Lucy Liu s character in the television series. made previously about black women also Ally McBeal garnered much scholarly. apply to women from India Latin America attention Although Woo breaks the sub. Puerto Rico and Asia albeit through the missive china doll stereotype she is the epit. historical specificity of their distinctive ome of the stereotypical dragon lady when. group histories p 12 she growls like an animal or enters a scene. Asian women and Latinas are often por to music associated with the Wicked Witch. trayed in the media as the exotic sexualized of the West in The Wizard of Oz Sun. other as well According to Tajima 1989 2003 She is knowledgeable in the art of. Asian women in film are either passive sexual pleasure which is unknown to her. figures who exist to serve men as love inter Westernized law firm colleagues with. ests for White men lotus blossom or as a the exception of Richard Fish her white. partner in crime of men of their own kind boyfriend who experiences it first hand. dragon ladies p 309 Pursuing this lotus Patton 2001 explains that the Woo char. blossom dragon lady dichotomy Hagedorn acter is particularly detrimental to Asian. 1997 argues that most Hollywood movies and Asian American women not because. either trivialize or exoticize Asian women the oversexed seductress reifies existing. If we are good we are childlike submis stereotypes but because she is the only. sive silent and eager for sex And if we are representative of Asian women on televi. not silent suffering doormats we are demo sion besides news anchors and reporters. nized cunning deceitful sexual provo leaving no one else to counteract this pro. cateurs pp 33 34 minent mediated stereotype p 252, Much academic writing surrounding While it is difficult to propose more. Asian female representation in the media work on Asian female representation when. is steeped in postcolonial theory and the number of females in the media are. Orientalist discourse both of which are sparse an obvious place to begin would be. 16 Dow 4973 qxd 6 11 2006 1 42 PM Page 303,Gender Race and Media Representation 303.
to look into production studies to find out Hill Collins 2004 calls this color blind. what producers are looking for in casting racism and explains that the significance. an Asian female Can she not play a detec attached to skin color especially for. tive or attorney on one of the three Law women is changing She argues that in. and Order series Can she be a strong and response to the growing visibility of bira. funny mom on an Asian American sitcom cial multiracial Latino Asian and racially. And is she just as discontented with her ambiguous Americans skin color no longer. suburban life as white women such that serves as a definitive mark of racial catego. she could be considered for Desperate rization p 194 This notion of hybridity. Housewives That popular program has a or Latinidad defined as the state and. Latina and has added an African American process of being becoming or appearing. character for the fall 2006 season but it Latino a Martinez 2004 Molina Guzm n. features no Asian women as of this writing Valdivia 2004 Rojas 2004 is gaining. Although most of the academic litera scholarly attention However as a social. ture regarding black and Asian media rep construct it lends itself to an essentialist. resentation focuses on historically situated group identity instead of acknowledging. stereotypes this does not hold true for difference between Dominicans Mexicans. Latinas While there has been some refer Cubans and Puerto Ricans all of whom. ence to Latinas being portrayed as exotic epitomize Latinidad Estill 2000. seductresses Holtzman 2000 as tacky Latinas are also finding a place within. and overly emotional Valdivia 1995 and the music world and as with black women. as the hypersexualized spitfire Molina their sex appeal is played up heavily in. Guzm n Valdivia 2004 the majority their music videos Shakira and Jennifer. of literature on Latino a representation has Lopez are some of the most visible who. focused on men Jennifer Lopez has made have enjoyed music acting crossover fame. her mark in Hollywood but her films have One of the most common tropes surround. both reified stereotypes of Latinas as ing these and other mediated Latina hyper. domestic workers Maid in America 2003 sexualized bodies within popular culture is. and broken them when she has played tropicalism Aparicio Chavez Silverman. roles that are not ethnically marked The 1997 Martinez 2004 According to Molina. Wedding Planner 2001 Gigli 2003 Guzm n Valdivia 2004 bright colors. Monster in Law 2005 In these roles how rhythmic music and olive skin fall under. ever Lopez is always paired with a white the trope of tropicalism and sexuality plays. male love interest and because she rarely a central role Dominant representations of. plays characters true to her ethnicity Latinas in music videos place emphasis on. except of course when she played a maid the breasts hips and buttocks Gilman. a role that emphasized it she becomes an 1985 Molina Guzm n Valdivia 2004. assimilated character who does nothing to Negr n Muntaner 1991 Desmond 1997. negate Latina stereotypes Molina Guzm n calls the Latina body an urbane corporeal. and Valdivia assert that Lopez is most often site with sexualized overdetermination as. allowed to perform whiteness which ren cited in Molina Guzm n Valdivia 2004. ders her seemingly raceless and cultureless p 211, Garc a Canclini 1995 contends that While not enough academic research is. the contemporary experience of Latinas conducted on Native American media rep. which also holds true of other populations resentation we would be remiss if we did. shaped by colonialism globalization and not mention two studies that examine how. transnationalism is informed by the com Native American women are portrayed. plex dynamics of hybridity as a cultural Portman and Herring 2001 discuss the. practice and expression as cited in Pocahontas paradox a historical move. Molina Guzm n Valdivia 2004 p 214 ment that persists in romanticizing and. 16 Dow 4973 qxd 6 11 2006 1 42 PM Page 304,304 Gender and Communication in Mediated Contexts. vilifying Native American women They masculinities to reinforce the notion that. argue that Native American women are ideals of manhood vary by race and class. viewed in the media as either strong and across time and cultural contexts Dines. powerful or beautiful exotic and lustful Humez 2003 p 733 Cultural studies. and that both images have merged together focus on white masculinity as the invisible. into one representation through the stereo norm and to a lesser extent on black men. type of Pocahontas While Ono and and black masculinity as deviant works. Buescher s 2001 study on Pocahontas to reinforce the conception that black is. examines the commodification of products the trope for race Nakayama 1994 Yet. and cultural discourses surrounding the another intellectual movement inadver. popular Disney film they also assert that tently may have contributed to this notion. new meanings have been ascribed to the ani,mated figure thus recasting the Native. American woman in a Western capitalist CRITICAL RACE THEORY AND. frame p 25 Ultimately Pocahantas is no MEDIA REPRESENTATIONS OF. more than a sexualized Native American BLACK MEN AND BLACK. Barbie Both Portman and Herring 2001 MASCULINITIES. and Ono and Buescher 2001 agree that the, Pocahontas mythos is particularly harmful Critical Race Theory CRT emerged. to Native women because of the way this from critical legal studies in the 1970s as an. historical figure has been exoticized by intellectual response to the slow pace of. media discourses that emphasize her rela racial reform in the United States CRT. tionship with her white lover John Smith places race at the center of critical analysis. and traces its origins to the legal scholar,ship of Derrick Bell Richard Delgado and.
MEDIA REPRESENTATIONS OF Kimberl Crenshaw who challenged the. RACIALIZED MASCULINITIES philosophical tradition of the liberal civil. rights color blind approach to social justice, Research on gender and media tradition A central premise of CRT is that racism is. ally has focused on questions about women an ordinary fact of American life Although. and has been conducted primarily by CRT occasionally probes beyond the black. women In fact as noted above the focus white binary of race it privileges African. on gender in media studies has come mainly American experiences Much of the critical. from feminists However in recent decades edge in critical race studies is provided by. the study of gender has expanded to include a combination of legal feminist multicul. studies on men and masculinities Connell tural social political economic and philo. Hearn Kimmel 2005 Feminist schol sophical perspectives Delgado Stefancic. arship also has produced a proliferation 1999 Despite CRT s focus on legal studies. of whiteness studies that include increased and policy we would expect that the field s. research on white masculinity and to a search for new ways of thinking about race. lesser extent white womanhood This work the nation s most enduring social problem. interrogates gender identities and perfor eventually would include media Unfortu. mances while exploring how masculine nately media studies scholars have not. forms relate to patriarchal systems Mas consciously employed CRT and few criti. culinity is defined broadly as the set of cal race theorists have devoted detailed. images values interests and activities held attention to media institutions and their. important to a successful achievement of representations 5. male adulthood Jeffords 1989 quoted Herman Gray s 1995 1989 work. in Ashcraft Flores 2000 p 3 We agree shares many of the assumptions of CRT. with calls to refer to these gender roles as His ideological analysis 1986 of black. 16 Dow 4973 qxd 6 11 2006 1 42 PM Page 305,Gender Race and Media Representation 305. male representations in prime time situation construction of black masculinity that is. comedies argues that television s idealiza neither tokenistic nor predictable p 223. tion of racial harmony affluence and indi Conversely Clockers demonstrates the fail. vidual mobility is not within the grasp of ure of the white male homicide detective. millions of African Americans In the Rocco Klein to develop an in depth under. 1983 84 television season four programs standing of African American life mainly. Benson Webster Different Strokes and The because of his insistence on performing as a. Jeffersons provided an assimilationist view tough cop who resorts to a desperate use. of racial interaction that emphasized indi of physical violence racism and tough talk. vidualism racial invisibility and perhaps in order to reassure himself of his unshak. most important middle class success The able masculinity p 225 Nevertheless. ideological function of these representations MacDonald claims that collectively these. worked to support the contention that in texts teach viewers that masculinity is a com. the context of current political economic plex idea that coexists with various other. and cultural arrangements all individuals complex ideas such as class and race and. regardless of color and gender can that these complexities are increasing being. achieve the American dream On the other portrayed in media culture. hand such representations subsist in the Byers and Dell 1992 in their study of. absence of significant change in the overall representations of masculinity and feminin. status of African Americans in the United ity across numerous characters in Frank s. States Gray 1986 Place argue that its most important contri. In an article on another genre of prime bution to television programming in partic. time television the so called real life crime ular and American culture in general was. series formerly labeled as reality crime the construction of new ways of represent. shows Hogrobrooks 1993 argues that this ing African Americans Byers and Dell con. type of programming contributed to the den textualize these constructions of masculinity. igration and dehumanization of African of race in Frank s Place in the historical rep. American males p 165 Hogrobrooks resentations of African American males. quotes a news director who acknowledged where racial and gender hierarchies function. that young black men the unwitting to reinforce each other Such imagery can be. media darlings of the explosion of traced to slavery when black manhood. America s real life prime time crime could not be realized or maintained because. programs are in reality victims of char of the slave s inability to protect black. acter assassination by a greedy television women in the same fashion that conven. industry hungry for higher and higher tion dictated that inviolability of the body of. ratings p 167 the White woman Carby 1987 quoted in. MacDonald s 2004 analysis of depic Byers Dell p 196 Further the historical. tions of homicide detectives in television and images of the shuffling Uncle Tom the ani. film represents the more recent focus in malistic savage positioned as a threat to. media studies on masculinity and race white women and the childlike Sambo. Specifically she illustrates the ways in which function to exclude black men from the cat. both the police drama Homicide Life on the egory of true men. Street and Spike Lee s film Clockers high Unlike the new black male constructed. light the struggle of various men to come in Gray s analysis of 1980s sitcoms Frank s. to terms with their own masculinities Place made the struggle over race and gen. MacDonald argues that these texts offer der highly visible The lead character Frank. new potential for men of different races Parish propelled the series to simultane. to reject traditional stereotypes of masculin ously confront African American male. ity p 221 She commends Homicide s two stereotypes and to participate in the con. black male detectives for offering a cultural struction of the new man Byers Dell. 16 Dow 4973 qxd 6 11 2006 1 42 PM Page 306,306 Gender and Communication in Mediated Contexts. 1992 p 196 Despite the absence of the The lower class sexually impotent. Uncle Tom stereotype Frank reinforces the White man in Hustler cartoons is thus. caricature of the ignorant ineffectual not an object of identification but rather. Sambo while his education and drive chal of ridicule and serves as a pitiful. lenge this stereotype Frank s character also reminder of what could happen if White. invoked the image of the sexually aggressive men fail to assert their masculinity and. black male without representing a threat allow the black man to roam the streets. to white women Perhaps most important and bedrooms of White society Dines. by displaying feminine attributes such 2003 p 459,as nonaggressive behavior and sensitivity. Frank like many white male characters Dines points out that although racial cod. challenged essentialist macho notions of ings of masculinity may shift depending on. masculinity Ultimately Frank functioned as socioeconomic conditions black masculin. a site for the interplay of characteristics tra ity continues to be constructed as deviant. ditionally defined as masculine and feminine Orbe s 1998 semiotic analysis of black. and offered a way to envision a new black masculinity on MTV s The Real World. masculinity In this sense Frank s Place focuses on the imagery and signification. and to a lesser extent Homicide Life on the processes surrounding three black males. Street appears to be exceptions to most featured throughout the six seasons in. media portrayals of black masculinity the so called reality unscripted series The. Dines 2003 focuses on the image of the images of the three black men work to sig. black man as a sexual spoiler of white wom nify all black men as inherently angry. anhood in cartoons in Hustler a hard core potentially violent and sexually aggressive. porn magazine She locates such depictions Orbe argues that when such images are pre. within a much larger regime of racial repre sented as real life they function to reinforce. sentation beginning with The Birth of a the justification of a general societal fear. Nation and continuing with Willie Horton of black men p 35 He also argues that. which makes the black man s supposed sex what is notably absent from the six seasons. ual misconduct a metaphor for the inferior are any considerable representations that. nature of the black race as a whole Dines signify Black masculinity in a positive. p 456 This racist ideology claims that fail healthy or productive manner p 45. ure to contain black masculinity will result in Equally important the mediated images. a collapse of the economic and social fabric of black masculinity on The Real World. of white society Specifically Dines draws on represent a powerful source of influence. the work of Kobena Mercer in analyzing because they are not presented as mediated. how the depiction of black men as being but as real life images captured on camera. obsessed with the size of their penises is Martin and Yep 2004 demonstrate that. one example of how the dominant regime black masculine performances in the media. of racial representation constructs blacks are not restricted to black males Drawing. as having bodies but not minds Mercer on the work of Orbe and others that locate. 1994 quoted in Dines p 456 Hustler car black masculine identities in angry physi. toons construct a world populated by white cally threatening and sexually aggressive. working class hustlers and losers where behaviors and discourses Martin and Yep. black men possess two status symbols that utilize a whiteness framework to examine. white men lack big penises and money how the white rap artist Eminem has been. However Dines maintains that it is not presented in the media Whiteness refers to. white men as a group who are being the everyday invisible subtle cultural and. ridiculed just lower working class white social practices ideas and codes that dis. men a class few whites see themselves as cursively secure the power and privilege of. belonging to regardless of their income White people but that strategically remain. 16 Dow 4973 qxd 6 11 2006 1 42 PM Page 307,Gender Race and Media Representation 307.
unmarked unnamed and untapped in constructed category of power and the. contemporary society Shome 1996 desexualized or effeminate Asian male. quoted in Martin Yep p 230 One stereotype works in conjunction with depic. prominent feature of whiteness is that it is tions of Asian women as ultrafeminine sex. universal which makes it seemingly devoid ual objects used by white men to emasculate. of race and culture Therefore whiteness Asian men Consequently Asian American. studies also pursue strategies for both men are redefined as an angry threat to. marking and naming whiteness and expos American culture Feng 1996 However. ing white privilege Martin Yep 2004 the ideological and power relations embed. p 230 Eminem exploits one privilege of ded in the intersections of race gender and. whiteness the ability to appropriate aspects sexuality warrant greater attention in cul. of other cultures in this case black mas tural studies. culinity And as Martin and Yep note Nakayama 1994 addresses this void by. although black masculinity is not an essen examining Asian and white masculinity in. tial unified or monolithic category in hip the Hollywood film Showdown in Little. hop culture which includes rap music it Tokyo He identifies ways that white het. represents anger violence and sexual aggres erosexual masculinity is recentered and. siveness Eminem manifests these features argues for the importance of spatial rela. in both his lyrics and mainstream media tions in constructing identities The vulner. representations ability of white heterosexual masculinity is. apparent in the wake of the emasculating of,the United States in Vietnam and its. MEDIA REPRESENTATIONS inevitable multicultural future Nakayama. OF ASIAN AND NATIVE demonstrates how racial and homoerotic. AMERICAN MEN tensions are used to fuel the fire that. breathes life into the cultural fiction of, Research on media constructions of race white heterosexual masculinity p 165. men and masculinity exemplify the black One additional study Locke s 1998. white binary of racial discourse prevalent in analysis of comedic representations of. contemporary discourse in the United States Judge Lance Ito from episodes of The. Unfortunately few studies examine Latino Tonight Show disrupts the black white. or Native American males in the media duality of race so common to critical media. Thus we know considerably less about con cultural studies Locke uses John Fiske s. structions of masculine identities within notion of racial recoding to read Ito s. groups of men who are not white or African inscrutability as a racial signifier consistent. American One exception to this trend comes with the legacy of coding Asians in popular. from research on Asian American masculin culture as people who pose a threat and. ity Historically portrayals of Asian and who keep their motives and means hidden. Asian American men seldom is any distinc Locke reads another skit on The Tonight. tion made in mainstream American media Show that ridiculed Ito s child as exposing. have been restricted to motion pictures the threat of a racially compromised. These films represented men of Asian descent future the daughter as the freakish misce. as threatening foreigners Fu Manchu genated offspring of Ito and his white. Americanized detectives Charlie Chan American wife p 252 Even as Locke s. laborers and laundry men and most recently analysis points to the show s stereotypical. as corrupt businessmen and martial artists visual coding of blackness as an explana. Most often these men are not seen as possess tion of how the show desires race p. ing traditionally dominant masculine charac 246 he compels scholars to consider such. teristics most notably sexual prowess important issues as how binary racial dis. Sexuality like race and gender is a socially courses contribute to what constitutes the. 16 Dow 4973 qxd 6 11 2006 1 42 PM Page 308,308 Gender and Communication in Mediated Contexts. racial how media texts code a variety of Brief all focus on an ultimate site of. racial groups and ultimately how these white masculinity where whiteness mas. codes work together within a larger sphere culinity and nationhood converge Shome. of racial discourse p 369 In these films the subtheme is that. Scholarship on representations of Native of one bad white guy who is outed by a. American males is scarce but the novel The good white guy who saves salvages and. Indian in the Cupboard and the film of the restores the Presidency and the people. same name have received some scholarly p 369 Another inflection of this theme. attention about Native American masculin occurs when whiteness is conflated with. ity and paternalism Taylor 2000 argues nationhood and is marked as being threat. that the image of the Indian as the savage ened and tortured by aliens e g Air Force. a paternalistic role for the White protago One and Independence Day The common. nist and an auxiliary role for the Indian Hollywood strategy of depicting others as. as the faithful sidekick all reify existing aliens is significant in this context. stereotypes about Native American males because White nationalized masculinity as. While Sanchez and Stuckey 2000 agree symbolized by the Presidency is first repre. that the movie was an improvement over sented as being oppressed and weakened. the book they disagree with Taylor and by aliens and through great violent strug. assert that The Indian in the Cupboard gles that tend to constitute the major plot. challenges hegemonic codes and demeaning action of these films it recuperates and. stereotypes In line with Hall s encoding salvages itself p 370. decoding model Sanchez and Stuckey pro Ashcraft and Flores 2000 also examine. vide a negotiated reading of the film and Hollywood film for ways in which masculine. argue that the casting of Native American performances offer identity to middle class. actors and consultants both lends authentic heterosexual white men Specifically they. ity and provides a resolution to the tension analyze discursive performances in two. between paternalism and interdependence films Fight Club and In the Company of. p 87 Men that provide identity politics to,white collar men p 1 Each film s dis. course laments the imminent breakdown of, MEDIA REPRESENTATIONS the corporate man over civilized and emas.
OF WHITE MASCULINITY culated by allied obligations to work and. women p 2 To restore the beleaguered, As the previous discussion illustrates the corporate man the films re turn to civi. fundamental delineation in media research lized primitive masculinity wherein the. is between the dominant normative white hardened white man finds healing in wounds. heterosexual and middle class masculinity p 2 Ultimately this tough guy obscures the. and subordinated masculinities The crisis race and class hierarchy in which it resides by. in white masculinity is perhaps the most overtly appealing to gender division. overriding feature of constructions of dom As much of the research discussed above. inant masculinity and the most common indicates both whiteness and hegemonic. response to this crisis is violent behavior by white masculinity do not appear to be cul. white men Katz 2003 tural historical categories thus rendering. Shome 2000 uncovers the way in which invisible the privileged position from which. the crisis of white masculinity is marked and white men in general are able to articulate. negotiated in contemporary film One dom their interests to the exclusion of interests. inant theme that of the presidency or the of women men and women of color and. U S government in crisis evident in such children Hanke 1992 p 186 Masculinity. films as Air Force One Murder at 1600 whether black or white must be uprooted. Independence Day Dave and The Pelican from essentialist thinking that understands. 16 Dow 4973 qxd 6 11 2006 1 42 PM Page 309,Gender Race and Media Representation 309. gender as well as race class and many from racial power structures that privilege. other constructs of personal and collective white people Rockler 2002 p 416. identity not as biologically determined or Many cultural critics Bobo 1995. subject to universal laws of science or nature Clifford 1983 hooks 1990 have called. but as products of discourse performance attention to the unequal power relations. and power inherent in the ethnographic enterprise and. The research discussed above utilizes a to the objectification of the subject in. variety of methodological and theoretical ethnographic discourse Bobo Seiter. frameworks to examine intersections of 1991 p 290 Thus they argue the notions. race gender and media This chapter has of gender difference deriving from ethno. focused on one of the more prominent per graphic work with all white samples in. spectives social constructivism in which current circulation are reified and ethno. media texts images and narratives are seen centric leaving voices of women of color. as intimately connected with broader social unheard unstudied untheorized p 291. relations of domination and subordination While some authors did devote some time. Although studies of representation fuel to studies of ethnic media audiences Katz. the majority of this chapter we would be Liebes 1985 leading this call to include. remiss if we did not include a brief discus women of color in audience research was. sion on audience reception studies Jackie Bobo 1988 1995 and her central. work The Color Purple Black Women as,Cultural Readers which first appeared as a. Audience Studies single study and later became a book In. this book Bobo 1995 studied how black,women negotiate meaning in two film texts. The 1980s saw an emerging interest in The Color Purple by white male filmmaker. reader audience studies especially relating Steven Spielberg and Daughters of the. to women s genres such as romance melo Dust by female filmmaker Julie Dash Bobo. drama and soap opera Some of the works discovered that despite The Color Purple s. were Ang s 1985 Watching Dallas patriarchal nature black women found. Radway s 1984 Reading the Romance ways to empower themselves through nego. and Hobson s 1982 Crossroads The tiated readings of its text. Drama of a Soap Opera In fact McRobbie Lee and Cho 2003 looked at Korean. 1991 was one of the first scholars to look soap opera fans in the United States and. at how young girls negotiate meaning examined why they preferred the Korean. through magazines While they did not to the American variety The authors con. specifically look at gender cultural critics cluded that despite arguments of cultural. John Fiske 1987 and David Morley imperialism third world audiences like. 1980 have conducted several studies on to watch their own cultural products. audiences and television On a similar note Lee Cho Two recent audience studies. Rockler s 2002 study of both African on women of color may indicate a. American and European American inter resurging interest in this line of scholarship. pretations of the comic strips Jump Start Oppenheimer Adams Price Goodman. and The Boondocks revealed blacks oppo Codling and Coker 2003 studied how men. sitional readings of the comics through the and women perceived strong female char. terministic screen of race cognizance In acters on television noting that women. contrast to African American readings that were more accepting than men of the pow. underscored the relevance of racial politics erful female characters and that African. and oppression white s interpretations Americans related better to the strong. were produced through the terministic characters than did whites Rojas 2004. screen of whiteness that deflected attention argues there is a lack of information on. 16 Dow 4973 qxd 6 11 2006 1 42 PM Page 310,310 Gender and Communication in Mediated Contexts.
how Latinas consume popular culture and races and ethnicities into one homogenized. how they interact and respond to Spanish group ignores the cultural diversity that. language media p 125 She addresses the characterizes human difference. point echoed by Latino a scholars Desipio The multitude of studies on African. 1998 Rodriguez 1999 that little or no American representations far outnumbers. attention has been paid to Latino audien those on Asians Latinos and Native. ces as subjects of academic research She Americans The dearth of representations. examined how immigrant and nonimmi of these races ethnicities represented in. grant Latinas from Austin Texas evaluate mainstream media makes it even more. and negotiate the content and representa difficult to examine constructions of these. tions presented in Univision and Telemundo cultures Studies of media institutions and. the two largest Hispanic networks in the their production and encoding processes. United States Rojas 2004 p 125 As the could provide invaluable insights into our. U S population includes more native understanding of the ways the intersections. Spanish speakers this type of bilingual of race gender and sexuality structure. bicultural research becomes more signifi media content We must continue to dis. cant to communication studies Although mantle the black white binary that persists. these studies vary considerably by topic in shaping our understanding of race. collectively they point to some of the One avenue toward this end is Critical. important ways race and gender identities Race Theory which we briefly discuss. influence struggles over meaning Further above but which deserves additional atten. while the audience studies cited above have tion from media scholars Beyond changing. provided a strong foundation for future the way we look at and study race Critical. research women and especially men Race Theory s more complete understand. from nonwhite races still remain sorely ing of human difference offers enormous. underrepresented in ethnographic audience potential for understanding our multicul. studies tural world Media scholars must join schol. ars from education and political science and,sociology who have broadened this fast. Directions for Research growing field from its roots in legal studies. Critical race scholars have made an impor,tant step in this direction by embracing crit. With the world becoming more multicul ical race feminism and critical white studies. tural racial there must be further study And critical race theory s critiques of essen. regarding the malleability of ethnicity tialism and challenges to social science. depending upon the role being played As orthodoxies are compatible with the. Hill Collins 2004 points out in her discus premises of critical cultural studies. sion of Halle Berry blackness can be Another stream of scholarship that we. worked in many ways As noted in the case discuss above also deserves more critical. of Jennifer Lopez skin color or ethnicity work Hip hop culture is a central contem. is not a marker of racial categorization porary arena through which to examine. Actresses like Jennifer Beals who is black mediated intersections of race and gender. usually play characters that lack racial While cultural studies have a tradition of. marking although she currently portrays a examining the cultural engagement with. black woman in the Showtime series The L various forms of music hip hop culture as. Word This trend has continued into movies constructed in the media and popular cul. like the remake of Guess Who s Coming ture epitomizes many of the contemporary. to Dinner 1967 titled Guess Who 2005 tensions within U S media culture along. which starred Zoe Saldana a Latina who the lines of race gender class sexuality. plays a black woman Lumping together regionalism and age Beyond the misogyny. 16 Dow 4973 qxd 6 11 2006 1 42 PM Page 311,Gender Race and Media Representation 311. and heterosexism prevalent in hip hop ideologies about Native Americans started. culture scholars must remain vigilant in by whites p 159 She argues that compa. resisting hip hop s repeated allusions to nies that use these images are trying to. certain racial and gender authenticities As build an association with an idealized and. an international movement hip hop culture romanticized notion of the past through the. can shed light on postcolonial struggles and process of branding p 160. a so called global economy that relegates Finally mediated representations of. more than a third of its citizens to poverty sports constitute a particularly fruitful arena. and economic despair for scholarly study of the intersections of. Critical cultural scholarship on the inter race and gender Some work has incorpo. sections of race and gender in advertising rated the study of sport within broader cul. also deserves further development The tural studies themes such as media and. images narratives types of products pro consumption McKay Rowe 1997 and. moted and stereotypical portrayals i e cultural critiques of race relations Boyd. black families advertising Popeye s chicken 1997 Other scholars have drawn from. or Asian men shown as the office computer critical cultural studies to analyze the mean. whiz in both print and electronic advertise ings of race gender and sports in specific. ments are in need of critical study In addi media texts For example Cole and King. tion audience interpretations of ads remain 1998 analyze the ways the film Hoop. understudied One notable exception is Dreams reveals cultural tensions about race. Watts and Orbe s 2002 analysis of and gender in a postindustrial post Fordist. Budweiser s successful Whassup ad and postfeminist America Pronger s 2000. campaign They examine how spectacular examination of the suppression of the erotic. consumption by the African American and the narrowing of the concept of mas. Budweiser guys is constitutive of white culinity in mainstream gay sports asks who. American ambivalence toward authentic wins when gay men embrace the very cul. blackness p 1 Spectacular consumption tural forms that have been central to their. describes an important process whereby historical oppression The most relevant. the material and symbolic relations among stream in this research is the work that ana. the culture industry the life worlds of lyzes the variations in media coverage of. persons and the ontological status of cul women s and men s sports as well as con. tural forms are transformed in terms gener structions of race and gender in sports. ated by public consumption p 5 Their Before concluding we turn briefly to this. textual analysis of the Budweiser True literature, commercial focuses on a site where gender Not only do female athletes receive a frac. and cultural performances are conditioned tion of the coverage afforded to male ath. by sports and spectatorship with masculin letes but the traditional trappings of. ity and blackness emerging as key themes in femininity fashion motherhood beauty. this setting Watts and Orbe argue that the morality and heterosexuality characterize. campaign constitutes and administers cul their constructions Messner Dunbar. tural authenticity as a market value p 3 Hunt 2000 Messner Duncan Wachs. In terms of spectacular consumption the 1996 Banet Weiser s 1999 study of the. force of the pleasure of consuming the other development of the Women s National. is both directly and paradoxically tied to Basketball Association WNBA examined. the replication and amplification of so the gendered and racialized meanings that. called authentic difference p 3 surround both male and female professional. In a related vein Merskin s 2001 semi basketball players She finds that the WNBA. otic study of Native American brand names, and trademarks explains how advertising has strategically represented itself in such.
uses pictorial metaphors to reinforce a way as to counteract the American.


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