Friday, June 02, 2006

Final Project


Cartoon Chaos:

Today, content that is used in films can be very offensive and stereotypical to its viewers. As I analyzed the movies “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and “Cool World” it was interesting to find out how female characters are used as sexual objects for arousal of men and how different races were used offensively to help paint certain scenes. After watching these films, I began to understand the importance of how to be aware of the usage of content and the way it possibly can potentially be perceived by its audience. Not only can it be offensive and discriminating to adults of different race/gender, but it can also be very harmful for the children that are along for the ride. These movies both included females with unrealistic bodies who use their sexual appeal to get what they want, along with the men who obsess over them, and also animals with stereotypical accents and action roles.


Corpus:

I used a qualitative content analysis to depict the stereotypes that are portrayed in the 1988 film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the 1992 film, Cool World. I looked for sexual content and stereotypes within these films that the creators used to depict a certain image with these characters. I also determined the type of dress of the women whether they were demure or partially clad. Do these creators gorge in the opportunity to take the stereotypes to the extreme? Also, what types of codes do they use to send particular messages? My study looks to uncover these stereotypes and sexual content.

Research Questions:

Do movies with real life and animated content, use cartoon characters as an opportunity to cross the line with stereotypes that deal with gender, race, or ethnicity?

Do the male human actors in the movie cast all inhibitions aside to gain the affection of a female cartoon or obtain a sexual encounter?


Method:

I watched “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and “Cool World”, which are two films that include animated characters along with real life characters. I analyzed these films looking for depictions of race, gender, dress styles, and accents. I also used parts of John Fiske’s “Method of Coding” system to determine certain codes used in these depictions of stereotypes. I also used Dr. Henry Giroux as a basis for reference to analyze the demeanor of speech of characters used to represent a specific race, gender or ethnicity.


Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Characters:

Jessica Rabbit-Female
Dress-Partially clad, provocative red dress, perfect complexion and hair.
Body Type-Slender waste, curvy bust line and butt, thin, with long legs.
Character Role-Jessica Rabbit plays a very seductive role, which seems to drive men bonkers. When she enters the stage every man is drawn in by her sexual aura. Jessica uses her sexual appeal to get what she wants from any man she wants. In an early scene she is caught, although married to Roger Rabbit, she participates in a game of “patty cake” with Mr. Acme. The movie portrays Jessica Rabbit as an unfaithful woman who uses men to get what she wants.

Deloris-Female
Dress-Demure, very conservative
Body Type- Average figure, well-kept, fair complexion,
Character Role-
Deloris plays an attractive middle-aged woman who works as a waitress/bartender. She is tough as nails, but has a sweet spot for the leading male role in the movie Eddie Valliant. In a few scenes, Deloris is shown as being submissive to Eddie as he yells at her.

Eddie Valliant-Male
Dress- Demure
Body Type- Out-of-shape, bad grooming, unattractive
Character Role- Eddie plays a detective who gets caught up in a toon conspiracy. He battles with his loss of his brother with the help of alcohol, but finds a way out of the bottle by pulling himself together to save the infamous Roger Rabbit.

Gorilla Bouncer-Male
He’s a frightening character with a black man’s voice. He stands very tall with dominant facial characteristics; big head, flaring nostrils, and evil eyes. His character seems to be one who has a very short fuse.

Donald and Daffy Duck-Male
Donald and Daffy go back and forth arguing and in the midst of the argument one could possibly hear racist remarks. White (Donald) vs. Black (Daffy) fight vigorously on their pianos.
Baby Herman-Male
This character is a dirty old man stuck in a baby’s body. He has no respect towards women and smokes cigars through his entire showing.

Weasels-Male
This wild bunch of laughing gangsters speak with an Italian voice, often trigger happy with the least bit of sense. Judge Doom (the villain) controls them as if he was the “Godfather”.




Cool World

Characters:

Holli-Female
Dress-Partially clad, big breast with a small waist and thin legs. She is dressed very suggestively while exposing a lot of skin in white lingerie, white stockings and high heels.
Body Type-Thin body, long legs, with a curvy bust line and behind.
Character Role-Holli has a dominant role where she controls the cartoon characters. She is an untamable fantasy of desire among the cartoon characters of Cool World. In the movie she is a creation of Jack Deebs, the creator of Cool World. Jack created these characters and fictional world while in jail. He creates Holli to satisfy his desire of a sexy companion. With the She is the biggest obsession of her creator, Jack Deebs, the creator of cool world. He draws her as a companion to aide in passing lonely time as a convict in prison; she is also created as the epitome of the perfect female that is desired by Deebs and many other males.

Frank-Male
Dress- Demure.
Body Type-Handsome, Well-Groomed
Character Role-Frank is an undercover detective which is played by Brad Pitt. He is a smooth and confident officer who is very sexual and commands the sexual desires of the female cartoon characters.

Street Thugs-Male and Female
This group of street thugs roams the dark urban streets of Cool World. This group includes a gorilla, a chimpanzee, and other types of orangutans which portray a threatening role by using crime, violence and foul language.


Discussion/Conclusion

After watching both movies and analyzing them each, I uncovered many stereotypes that were blind to me before this assignment. These two movies used women as sexual objects used for arousal of men. I also found that there were definitely noticeable depictions of race and accents used to represent certain ethnic groups.

I found similarities shown in each of the movies. The female cartoon characters, Jessica Rabbit and Holli were both dressed very suggestively, with their sexy long legs, small waists and flawless complexion, they used there bodies and sexual charm to coax the male characters into forgetting about their own agenda and focusing on theirs in quest of sexual desire. This answers the research question I asked about male human actors in the movies casting all inhibitions aside to gain the affection of a female cartoon or obtain a sexual encounter with them. The supporting women actresses in the films are the totally opposite. These women are average attractive women that these men seem to be attracted to, but they seem to be overly-infatuated with an unrealistic image of a woman. This can be compared to how men view women today. On the cover of magazines, on TV or in motion pictures; these women are few and far between. They begin to receive a false image of what women are supposed to look like and begin comparing them to normal everyday women.

As for racial/ethnic depictions of characters and speech, there were obvious examples. In both movies African Americans voices were used for violent gorillas, chimpanzees and other orangutans. The portrayed these gorillas to be violent and foul-mouthed. This goes back to how many of the crimes we see on television today usually show black people committing them, or the constant reminder that blacks lack intelligence as gorillas and chimpanzees do. In “Roger Rabbit” the bouncer is suggested to be a stereotypical nightclub bouncer. Whenever I go out to nightclubs, these are the types of bouncers I see, usually huge black men, with gigantic muscles. Another example was the gang of weasels in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”. The weasels were stereotyped as Italian mobsters who are brainless and trigger happy.

When I was finished watching these two movies I began to see more and more of what Dr. Henry Giroux found in his studies with Disney. I’m confused how the creators of these films fail to realize the impact this offensive material can cause controversy with their audiences. Even though they may feel it’s all in good fun, they are just adding to the racism and stereotypes that surround us all today. If we are to ever minimize these issues of discriminations and stereotypes which are placed upon us, we must try to improve the quality of content we create, and most of all, when using animations it’s imperative that we be careful of the audience most at risk… our children.


Sources:

The Effects of Television Cartoons on Sex-Role Stereotyping in Young Girls:
Emily S. Davidson, Amy Yasuna, Alan Tower, (Jun., 1979), Child Development, Vol. 50, No. 2 pp. 597-600

The Girls in the Cartoons.
Streicher, Helen W. (1974) Journal of Communication. 24: 125 - 129.

Introduction to Communication Studies
Fiske, John (1990) Second Edition: pp.68-69

The Mouse That Roared: Disney and the End of InnocenceRowman and Littlefield Press (1999) El ratoncito feroz: Disney o el fin de la inocencia Madrid, Spain: Fundacion German Sanchez Ruiperez, (2001) A Korean language version was published in 2002.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Tracy Everbauch

After listening to what Tracy had to say, I can empathize with the women in the newsroom and the struggles they face to further their career. When she told me how much women outweigh men in the field of journalism, it was hard to believe that they're aren't more women of power in the newsroom. She also talked about how unfair it was for a man to get promoted so quick, while a woman can work so hard and barely get a thank you. It's easier for men to relate to the head honcho because men are more comfortable discussing certain things with other men. Women have to dig deep and find out what these head honchos are interested in and do everything in their power to get in their face with it. It will be their little way of "sticking it to the man."

Gays in the Media

The video we watched in class today showed how the media portrays gay men to be flamboyant, girlie men that walk around like "my little pony" with their pinkies up. In the video , I saw that "coming out of the closet" seemed to be an issue that was repeated over and over. They also stereotyped these gay men as only wanting one thing... SEX! In the Queer as Folk scene the two men talked about arrangements as lovers. They set out guidelines for their relationship. " You can sleep with as many people as you want as long as its only once" for example. There wasn't any talk about the use of safe sex in this conversation between the two. With all of the diseases out there today I believe it's in poor judgment to show these careless portayals. Is this the message the media wants to send about gay men? It's certainly the way they are portrayed to me in the media. As time progresses, gays and lesbians are becoming more and more accepted everyday. So if we are to co-exist with these persons' sexualites, I believe if there is any chance of stopping gay bashing, and hate crimes or misjudgment, then the gay community needs to present itself in better light and be more aware of the way they are perceived.

Bamboozled

In this intense satire flick, Spike Lee makes a point that when people hit rock bottom, they will do anything to gain a higher social class. This movie showed how two street entertainers (maintain & Sleep and Eat) were fed up with working for spare change, and decided to give up their pride by poking fun at their own race to make the big dollar. So, After reaching their goal of success Mantan & Sleep and Eat realized that they sold themselves out to get to this level. Once their hunger was satisfied they begin to realize the height of their situation. I believe this point relates to a lot of us in everyday life. When you start a new job you will do almost anything to make your superiors like you (Ass Kisser), and even after being treated poorly people will still put up with rude comments or unfair distribution of work to further themselves in a company. But one can only kiss up for so long, because people sometimes realize that all of this sucking up is getting them nowhere. So what do they do? They blow up and tell their bosses to go you know where. So are you as a person willing to give up your values and beliefs to get yourself further along in life, or will you do what's right when the time comes to decide. "To each his own".

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Music or Garbage?

I have a very diverse taste in music. Music is very powerful, it can make you happy, sad, excited. I try to listen to music that has a message or that contains substance. Country music is whiney, techno makes you move, classical makes you fall asleep, rock pumps you up and rap makes you say hmmmm. I'm a fan of Rap and Heavy Metal, I enjoy the rythm of the beats and the way it makes you move, and the way it makes your rock. But as I have listened to these genres over the years alot has changed.
Rappers such as Eminem and 2pac rap about life experiences or current topics, though it may be controversial at times, at least it sends a message, even though it might be the wrong one. Groups such as Pantera and Marilyn Manson scream negativity that can also send the wrong message. The rap I hear today seems to have swayed the opposite way. I believe rap has lost sight of where it really came from. Rappers rap about their cars, clothes, jewelry, guns and their hoes without sending any kind of positive message or any message at all for that matter. This can have a very negative effect on its listeners, and among these listeners are teenagers and young children that are easily influenced. Heavy Metal causes its listeners to be violent, hateful and create devil worshipers even.
I think artists need to be careful of the message they are capable of sending and teaching to their audiences. Our youth have ears too and they may have a tougher time than adults when deciding what is right from wrong. If these artists want to wrap shit in a cd case and sell it, be my guest, but the only thing they're doing is causing more corruption and violence for the future.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Crash

Growing up we are taught certain things about our society. Things to watch out for, things that are dangerous, and what we can be comfortable around. In the movie Crash, we are given a taste of many different scenarios of racial discrimination, prejudices, and unfair treatment that occur in today’s contemporary America. The older we get and the more we experience, the more we think we know about those who surround us. These pre-conceived opinions of people make it difficult to outrun this dark, monstrous cloud of stereotypes and misconceptions that follows them continuously. For instance, even though the locksmith (Michael Pena) who seemed to be a loving, hard-working father, still finds himself stereotyped because of his appearance, as a gang banger. An example that proves to us that some stereotypes can be wrong is that of the film producer (Terrence Howard). His outside appearance would lead you to believe that he’s a normal black person, but he was the total opposite. He spoke like a white person, worked and associated himself with white people. The film takes the viewer through twists and turns. The way you think a character will eventually end up, isn’t always the case in this film. We can never be sure of how we should view others. The only truths we have to go on are what we have been told or things we’ve seen. As long as there is crime, corruption, and racism, there is always room for stereotypes upon race/ethnicity.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Stereotypes

Stereotypes are all around us. On TV, in the news, and in the whispers of people walking down the street. Stereotypes are almost always seen as negative, but in many cases they can be used in a positive since. Whether it's competing for a job, or trying to make friends at a new school, stereotypes play a major role in deciding how one is viewed among others. If you're from Texas, does that mean you're a hillbilly redneck? If you are an Asian, does that mean you're a math nerd? For example, if we are walking down an empty street late at night and come across three elderly people wearing expensive jewelry and walking with canes, we may not feel as threatened as if we came across three dirty homeless people wearing rags. Why is this? This is because we make generalizations. These generalizations have their roots in experiences we have had ourselves, read about in books and magazines, seen in movies or television, or have had related to us by friends and family. To improve ourselves as people I believe we should still create our own opinions about certain issues or people, but we should also not be close-minded to the fact that these stereotypes are not always true. Before pre-judging someone, get to know them or find out about them first. Also, avoiding certain experiences in life because of what people say, is limiting you as an individual in making decisions and discovering the truths for yourself. Think before you speak.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Frontline: Merchants of Cool


Finding what's in style with teenagers is an ongoing struggle amongst marketers today. With so much emphasis being placed on boosting profits, marketers can sometimes loose sight of how their marketing can affect this younger generation of consumers. These young teenagers are like a sponge, anything they read about, watch, or hear has the capability to create outrageous trends among teenagers. Marketers search through malls, streets, and schools on the quest for what's "cool". With the excessive amounts of violence and profanity out there today, parents will have to keep an extra close eye on what their children are being exposed to. As these researchers continue to warp the minds of these younger consumers, the worse off the following generations will become, spiraling downward in a tornado of wasteful purchases and false perceptions of what is really "cool".

Video Games & Children


With all of the violence and sexual content in today's society, many parents are so busy with the involvement of their own lives, that they forget the most important factor of it all... Their children. I believe it's imperative that parents carefully monitor what games their children are exposed to. Not only the games at home, but games of friends or siblings. How can parents protect their kids from this content? They must research the games before purchasing them, and get with parents of the other children to make sure they are aware of the issue as well. If children want to play video games, make sure it's something educational or of substance. Another factor that can become a problem with video gaming and children, is the amount of time the children spend playing these games. If children spend all of their free time experiencing a virtual world, they can miss the reality of their own.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Mini-Assignment

Men’s Health vs. Stuff


Findings:

As I began flipping through these two magazines, it was interesting to find that even though both magazines appeal to men, the ads from each magazine are quite the opposite. Stuff had many ads of women that were full of suggestive clothing, and the ads for men were almost all demure. Men’s health, being the total opposite, used men in almost all of their ads in demure style. It used very few women in a suggestive manner in their ads, and at all for that manner.

Previous Study:

The study I used to re-create my own was the article Beefcake and Cheesecake, Spring 1999 (Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly: by Carstarphen, Lambiase, Morgan, Reichert, Zavonia). This study presented information on a study which provides earlier research by assessing sexually oriented images of men and women in magazine advertisements in 1983 and 1993.

Most Important Foundation Literature:

I used coding to determine the organization of my ads by grouping them into gender type and style of dress. After reading the study initiated by Artermio Ramirez, Jr., which is titled Sexually Oriented Appeals (Sex in Consumer Culture, Ch 9) I felt it was very appropriate for the study I conducted.

Corpus and Methods:

In this examination, I looked at full page ads in Stuff and Men’s Health magazine from the June 2006 issues. I did a quantitative & qualitative analysis, which I used to code the groups of gender and dress category.

Findings:

After examining both magazines I found Stuff magazine included more ads with women as the main emphasis, rather than men. The women used in Stuff were almost always used as sex objects in a suggestive manner to sell the product at hand. The men that were used in Stuff were all demure, with the exception of one.

In Men’s Health it was the total opposite. Almost all of the ads were of men, used in the demure style, with one partially clad. The few women in the ads of Men’s Health were dressed demure and partially clad. From the table below you can tell the strong difference between the two magazines, and how women are used compared to men in the ads.

Stuff
7 Men
8 Women
Demure: 4-women 6-men
Partially Clad: 4-women 1-man


Men’s Health
9 Men
2 Women
Demure: 1-woman 8-men
Partially Clad: 1-women 1-man

Conclusion:

Both of these magazines appeal to men, but have totally different advertising. To no surprise the women in the ads seemed to be used as sex objects to sell the product in a suggestive manner. There are definitely an unequal number of partially clad dressed women in Stuff magazines compared to men. Men are definitely outweighed by the women in Stuff’s ads, but Men’s Health totally flips the advertising around and uses men in demure dress as their main emphasis of the ads, with the use of very few women. So, from these distinctions, you can tell that Stuff magazine thrives on arousing males to advertise in their magazine. Men’s Health gets my applause for not falling into the trap of sex sells everything. These two very similar magazines have completely different advertising methods. Which is better? We will leave that up to the readers.