The Reclamation of Culture in Reality TV By Elise Edwards

In my academic life, I spend a lot of time thinking about issues of race, gender, religion and cultural production.  In my free time, I watch a lot of tv.  At times, the two interests converge, and I’m fortunate to have this community and forum to share the thoughts that come from it.  A couple months ago, I started revising a paper I’d written a few years ago about the issue of cultural imperialism and in that process, I recognized that there had been a subtle shift in television programming that features black women.  In the wide and ever-expanding reality tv genre, there are many shows that cast a black woman as a villain (the black bitch) or sexual object.  But there are other shows that present alternative, positive images of black women as caring, capable, professional, and talented.[i]   I’ve also noticed that several shows seemed to be overtly designed to combat the lack of positive images by celebrating the passions, skills, and abilities of women of color.  I am encouraged to see black people claiming an active role in their own cultural production. The act of creating is self-affirming, and when used by marginalized peoples, it can be a source of empowerment to counter their mistreatment.   In Art on My Mind: Visual Politics, bell hooks states, “It occurred to me then that if one could make a people lose touch with their capacity to create, lose sight of their will and their power to make art, then the work of subjugation, of colonization, is complete.  Such work can only be undone by acts of concrete reclamation.” [ii] Continue reading “The Reclamation of Culture in Reality TV By Elise Edwards”

Mistaken “Miss Representation”: Women in the Media and Necessary Comprehensive Conversations By Jaji Crocker

This post is written in conjunction with the Feminist Ethics Course Dialogue project sponsored by Claremont School of Theology in the Claremont Lincoln University Consortium,  Claremont Graduate University, and directed by Grace Yia-Hei Kao.

Jaji Crocker received her MFA in Creative Writing from Northwestern University, and is now pursuing a dual degree at Claremont Graduate University, studying for her PhD in English and MA in Religion.  Her research interests and approach are innately interdisciplinary as she explores the evolution of the ethics buttressing and changing religious philosophies and practices in North America and the Middle East, as well as the evolution of the theological imagination and feminist influences in post WWII American literature.  Jaji continues to write fiction and teach creative writing.

Last week, a program graced the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) entitled “Miss Representation.”  The piece discussed the damaging influence of the media on the psyches and behaviors of girls and women in North America, pointing to the media’s hypersexualized representation of women, emphasizing women’s bodies and clothing rather than their intellect and voice.  The message being, a woman’s message – the words she speaks – doesn’t matter; it is trivial and cute and even, sometimes, dangerous. Continue reading “Mistaken “Miss Representation”: Women in the Media and Necessary Comprehensive Conversations By Jaji Crocker”

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