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Intersectionality of Race and Gender in Popular Culture

Final Project NCLC 347

Mona Moud

on 8 December 2015

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Transcript of Intersectionality of Race and Gender in Popular Culture

Intersectionality of Race & Gender In Popular Culture

Male Domination/Patriarchy
In Parks and Recreation, a main male character named Ron Swanson is very passive. He has others do things for him, especially females. Out doorsy things and meat are a few of his favorite thing in life. He is committed to making sure that nothing gets accomplished, and only likes the simple pleasures of brunettes and breakfast foods. He is a true "Made in America" stereotypical man. Feeding off of that, he is stubborn but willing to give good advice when needed.

Leslie Knope is a driven, "do it all" feminist. Although her character is strong, she is also blonde and disty. The writers gave her insecurities, but portrayed them in funny ways to poke fun of the media's usual portrayal. She has a love for her town of Pawnee, Indiana and a love for those in it. She even created "girls only" groups because Ron Swanson's group was boys only. She felt that young girls were being left by the way side and not being given the chance to grow into competent young women.
Mona Mahmoud
Sexism/Policing of the Body
/Internalized Oppression
The show’s creator, Jenji Kohan, has stated that Piper’s character is accessible to a wider audience (because of her Caucasian race). Kohan called Piper her “Trojan Horse”, because the character allowed her to tell a variety of stories while still appeasing the general public.
While this stance may be practically true, it’s disheartening to think that a show needs a young, white, conventionally attractive lead to appeal to everyone. Though several African American women and Latinas are represented, Asian women and middle easterns are notably absent.

African American Women- On one hand, it portrayals the power of Black women performing spoken word poetry in jail, attempting to capture experiences of prison life as empowering. On the other hand, Black culture is shown as a superficial hedonism when the women hold a “rap battle” to celebrate the release of a fellow inmate. The show’s portrayal of Black culture on the surface appears comprehensive and varied, but in actuality unites in deploying representations of Black culture as primarily emotional expression for the pleasure of the show’s white audience.

Orange is the New Black
Shannon Violetti
Tammy Swanson, Ron's ex-wife in Parks and Rec, is hypersexualized. Being a librarian, she breaks the stereotype of all librarians being single, old women. She is often found "whale-tailing", or showing her thong, when Ron is around. This is done in hopes of seducing him and getting him to marry her again.

Her character pokes fun at what the media has done to females. Her character, however, shows how women cannot turn off their sex drive when around that certain someone. She is married to Nick Offerman in real life, so making her part of the show was just for fun.
Aziz Ansari plays Tom Haverford in Parks and Rec. Leslie Knope (main character) automatically assumes that he is from a middle-eastern country because of his skin color, but he is really from Bennettsville, South Carolina and considers himself a redneck. Leslie also asks him for Latin names of plants, so he gives rappers names because he does not know Latin. His character also has an entitled attitude of "this is America, I want it now", just because of his skin color. People think that he is not born here, especially Leslie, so they assume he is just here for the "American Dream".
Dona, an African American women in Parks and Rec has to overcome many things. Because of the way she talks, people automatically think that she does not live in a nice area or make decent money, despite the fact that she works in the same office as every other character. People are shocked when they find out that she does not listen to rap music often and also drives a mercedes. Just because of her skin color, writers and the other characters portrayed her as being low income or insubordinate.
Tanita Holmes
Overview & Main Characters of Modern Family
Modern family is a show which depicts the life of an unconventional family. The head of the family is Jay Pritchett who is married to a Colombian wife, Gloria. Gloria has a son who acts older than his age, Manny. Jay has two children Mitchell & Claire. Mitchell and his partner Cameron are a gay couple who decided to adopt a Vietnamese baby. Claire is married to Mitchell and they have three kids.Although the family is diverse and has many complex identities the show makes a mockery of many assumptions and stereotypes society has today.
Overview of Orange is the New Black
Overview of Parks & Recreation
Overview of One Tree Hill

Show how popular culture shows the intersectionality of race and gender
Show which identities are represented and underrepresented in tv shows and to what extent
OITNB- Gender
The ways in which OITNB focuses on women rather than men seem to be linked to stereotypically gendered ideas about who can be a victim and who can't. The few male prisoners who are shown on OITNB are presented in almost aggressively stereotypical ways. OITNB represents the men in prison to be "super-predators" while women in prison are, often, innocent victims, doomed by circumstances and their own painful but touching character flaws. OITNB underlines this most clearly in its flashbacks, where we see each inmate’s life-story as a tragic melodrama (a significantly gendered genre) leading to prison.
For the most part the characters land behind bars because of a tragic lack of love. Taystee is a foster-child who craves a mother; Suzanne is a black adoptee of a white family hungry for affection and acceptance; Morello is a stalker fixated on romantic love; even the nun, has a story framed around her failure to connect with Jesus in her heart. The backstories don't really focus on systemic injustices. Instead, they show how individual weaknesses lead the women to prison. A woman in OITNB goes to the bad when her impulse for love is prevented.

One Tree Hill (OTH) Is a series based off of high school kids, focusing on 2 half brothers named Lucas and Nathan Scott. Tree Hill is a fictional town in NC, where the greatest admiration to all comes from the basketball team; The Ravens. Both brothers have completely nothing in common other than their love for basketball and of course their dad, Dan Scott. Dan Scott is a former Basketball Star at the school both brothers attend. He abandoned both Lucas and his mom Karen for Nathan and his mom Deb. Nathan Scott is the handsome popular basketball star who was always pushed to be the best from his number one supporter, Dan. He lives up to what i beleive to be the typical sterotype of popularity in high school. Lucas on the other hand was raised by his mom who supported him as much as she can with the cafe she owned. He loved basketball, but would only play in public parks, making his talent on the court unnoticeable. He always kept his distance from Nathan, but as soon enough tried out for team, and was placed on what was is known to be " Nathans Team" We now see the intersexualities between both sides and their friend groups which includes what it means to be categrozied as tutor, cheerleader, jock, black, and so on.
This is the story of Piper Chapman, a woman in her thirties who is sentenced to fifteen months in prison after being convicted of a decade-old crime of transporting money to her drug-dealing girlfriend.

Give a brief overview of four shows in popular culture
Point out how stereotypes and assumptions of different identities are portrayed in well know tv shows.
-Nathan lives up to the typical male based stereotype of a basketball jock where his character includes him to be unintelligent, arrogant, and conceited but who’s social status exceeds, making every girl want to be with him anyways; especially cheerleaders. Although this is an undesirable trait to have in a person, it is ignored due to the social norm of the ideal American model of athletes. He also continues to play his part by dating the captain of the cheerleading squad
(Remeber the name Nathan Scott)
Leslie Knope is a burrecrat in the Parks Department in Pawnee Indiana. She meets a nurse named Anne Perkins, who is upset over a vacant lot that her boyfriend got hurt on. They are then faced with challenges with budgeting, unruly community members, and unhelpful Parks Department employees. Tom Haverford is Leslie's right hand man, while Ron Swanson is the head of the department and does not do anything. He is opposed to government in any form.
Underlying Stereotypes & Assumptions of Modern Family

- Fiesty, sexualized, gold digger, Latina woman - Gloria
- American, white, middle class, stay at home mom- Claire
- The overly feminization of atleast one partner of a gay couple- Cameron
- Assumptions that all Asian's can relate to Vietnamese Lily- Cameron
Who's Represented & Who's Not Represented
White middle class & upper class families
White stay at home mother
Columbian stay at home mother at the expense of a white man
Vietnamese baby

Not Represented
People that are poor or have a low income
People from the middle easy
The spectrum of the LGBT community
Is a tool used to analyze multiple identities and show how they are interconnected and complex. Bromley
Conclusions & Now What?
Black people, people from the middle east and poor people are still underrepresented in the media.
Popular culture represents identities that are underrepresented in a stereotypical ways
Diverse TV writers, directors, executives & etc.
Characters that show more complex identities and move away from the typical narrative
Confrontaton of stereotypes in popular culture
Maintaining the hierarchies of privilege
Families largely function in ways that ultimately reinforce the status quo.

Now What?
Modern Family
Let's reject the single narrative
Typical High school Stereotypes
Nathan Scott: Dumb Jock. Popular because he is the star of the basketball game. Attitude= Thinks he's better than everyone else.

Lucas Scott: Loner/ outsider- Not popular

Haley James: Typical Nerd. Tutor girl. Not popular b/c she's a nerd.

Brooke Davis: Slutty Cheerleader. Popular because she is the head of her cheer squad. Attitude= Spoiled, bossy, dumb

Peyton Soyer: Rebel Cheerleader. Best friends with Brooke Davis meaning she too is popular.

Basically everyone else other than white.

Adichie, Chimamanda. "The Danger of a Single Story." Online video clip.

YouTube. YouTube, Jul. 2009. Web. 7 Oct. 2009.

Bromley,Victoria. Feminisms matters: Debates, Theories, Activism. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press, 2012. Print.

Feiler, Bruce. What Modern Family’ says about Modern Families. New York Times, Jan. 2011. Web. 1 Dec 2015.

McDonnell, Ashley. Reflection of Reality:Modern Family. n.p., Mar. 2013. Web. 1 Dec 2015.

Modern Family: The Complete first season. Writ. Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan. Dir. Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan. Lloyd-Levitan Productions, 2009. Web.

Grandpre, Lawrence. "Orange Is the New (Anti) Black." LBS Baltimore. Leaders of Beautiful Struggle. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

Schwahn, Marc, prod. One Tree Hill. Wilmington, North Carolina, 23 Sept. 2003. Television. -Dec 2015

"Nathan*Scott // Remember The Name." YouTube. YouTube, 21 Feb. 2014. Web. 5 Dec. 2015.

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