The working class is practically nonexistent in mainstream media. If anything, the women typically represented are the middle class women who are seeking out careers, where as working class women are rarely depicted. Alongside of these missing representations, this article also expresses that the representations we do see, tend to reenforce stereotypes of middle class males who are the the educated, white-collar workers and that the working-class males are “dumb, inarticulate and old-fashioned.” A prime example of this is the television sitcom series Roseanne, whose plot line focused around the Conners who were an American working class family struggling to get by on a limited household income. It has been considered one of the first shows to portray the blue-collar American family with two parents working outside the home. Though they address critical issues, they still received the image of the stereotypical working class family, with the father being a mechanic, come home from work, have a beer and watch TV kind of guy.

Media representation is the platform where “the cold war” of class struggle is fought out on even in our efforts to believe that we have achieved classlessness in the United States. However, I don’t think it takes much looking around to see that classes are evident and seem to be getting more evident by the day. With our economy forcing college graduates into job they are overqualified for and as a result getting significantly underpaid, we are seeing a greater dived between the upper class and the lower class. The middle class dwindles and the richer get richer and the poorer get poorer. It makes me wonder if there will be an elimination of the middle class if our economy continues in the direction its going. Central components of the daily lives of the large majority of a national population are treated as somehow not worthy of media attention. According the the LA Times, “America’s working-class majority has never received publicity in proportion to its numbers. It enjoyed a brief modishness following its “discovery” by the media in 1969.” If we aren’t being presented with the real story and acknowledging the working class who is an essential part of keeping our country running, how can we work to create solutions that are so greatly needed in these times of economic hardship.

John Lennon’s “A Working Class Hero” [Lyrics]

When I was growing up, whether my mother was dropping me off or I was catching the bus for another day of school, it never occurred to me how much media was going to try to expose itself to me in those next six or so hours. Now, if you’re thinking my choice of words, “expose itself to me” almost gives a sense of violation, as to say my innocence to a degree was at risk or that I was vulnerable prey, you saw where I was going with this next post. Whether we want to face it or not, our youth are being whisked away to environments where they are a fixed audience for advertisements and media influence. Bradley J Porfilio Ph. D. from Saint Louis University, Assistant Professor of Educational Studies and Paul Carr  Ed.D. from Youngstown State University, Assistant Professor of Educational Foundations discussed this as a an example of critical media work and how they “attempt to reinforce and extend their students’ media literacy skills,” making them aware of what media surrounds them.  They noted that students receive critical messages through commercialized newscasts, such as the advertisements and banter packaged as “news” by Channel One. It is stated that over 8 million youths and their teachers must watch each day in the US. With their students, they reflected upon the slogans and messages that are put in front of them either on classroom walls, billboards, as well as logos and images on clothing worn by their classmates. After seeing how many media outlets seek to impact them on a daily basic, the students took serious thought about the “socially-mediated nature of their childhood.”

The video above give us a glimpse and an overview of how serious the impact of children’s exposure to advertisements and media can be and problems that have evolved from overexposure of such images.

In surveys taken, “watching television” was ranked as the activity most youth like to do the most. This leaves the door open for marketers to reach our youth through that exact medium because they know they have the audience. This isn’t just any audience, this is an audience that “is an irresistible target. Its sheer size and homogeneity in terms of basic tendencies makes young people the primal focus of television, print and Internet strategies.” It is believed that mass media ‘influence’ has engendered irresponsible consumption, materialism and individualism in today’s youth.  Sociologists refer to this as a ‘mediated’ culture wherein the media both reflects and creates a definitive way of life.

If we take this discussion further and delve into a global perspective of how media is influencing our youth, we can look at how Ghana faces these challenges as well, who’s youth is being flooded with strong, constant images through advertising and are being giving false ideas on what it is to be a “young adult,” centered around the use of alcohol and having sex. “Now if you consider how often the youth are subjected to the idea that you need to look perfect, be thin, use violence and drink beer, the bitters and smoke Rothmans etc. it is a powerful and effective influence or it would not be such big business.”

So when it comes to our Youth and your children, who’s spending more time with them? You? Or the media?

Economic Representation On TV

Posted: April 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

It been a long time coming that we’d finally begin to see TV programming reflect the stories of everyday people who experience economic struggle in one way or another. Like myself, many seem to being saying that enough is enough with the MTV Cribs, My Super Sweet Sixteen, ABC’s Dirty Sexy Money, and other shows that place a great amount of emphasis on greed, frivolousness,and excessive amounts of wealth being treated as if it were pocket change. Tracy Morgan tweeted, as seen on the right, that watching MTV Cribs “makes him feel better about downloading music off the internet.” We are made to feel that we are taking food out of the mouths of these artists who flaunt their millions around when we download music “illegally” or for free.  But then, the everyday American is getting up everyday for work, making far less money, just trying to make ends meet in order to provide  for themselves and their families. Yet, there’s still such a lack of representation of these stories, the common stories. What I want to see and what I feel many members of our society want to see, is a reflection in the everyday economic struggles that challenge American homes on a daily basis, highlighting more simplistic lifestyles versus the extravagant and often wasteful lifestyles of the rich and famous.

Above, comedian Dave Chappelle, does a parody of MTV Cribs.

ABC's Dirty Sexy Money (2007-2009)

ABC has acknowledge an increase in shows depicting a struggling economy. Their hit TV show Desperate Housewives began to work in some economic portrayals into their storylines like the example of the women working in a pizza shop who says, “When times get tough, people do without things like pizza.”  Pop culture expert, Elayne Rapping, gets it right when she says, “These aren’t the days of ‘Dallas’ and ‘Dynasty.’ That kind of opulence doesn’t work anymore, even on TV. So, shows about the over-the-top lives of the filthy rich are going out of style.” Craig Tomashoff, TV Guide’s executive editor, further supports this movement of economic representation through television shows in saying that “There’s a reason ABC killed ‘Dirty, Sexy, Money…It’s all about extravagance and excess. Considering the current economic climate, people have really rejected it.”

There’s one problem though in trying to depict the actual economic situation that we are presently dealing with. This problem centers around the lag time between production of new shows and the fluctuation of the economy. It takes an extensive amount of time to develop scripted shows, but so often by the time the show reaches headlines, the headlines have already changed. For example, in the waiting of prime time shows to address the financial collapse for 2008 and its effects that it had on everyday people, by the time you’d start to see it hit the TV screen, you’d most likely be ready to hear and see of its turn around. As we deal with this lag time, its still a step towards getting our stories represented instead the stories that the media wishes to tell.

Class 21: Assignment

Posted: April 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

After looking and reading through the Mobile Your Idea Factory blog, I found there to be a lot of relevant information to the topic that I’m leaning towards for my own blog, as well as my outside interests relating to my career goals in marketing. Because the global youth is the most highly targeted demographic by marketers, we are able to learn a lot about the demographic by they way it gets represented in media outlets. For example, in the very first post at the top of this blog, seen on the right, is a meme that describes the different way we observe typical teenage girls. Despite how the blog commented on it, calling this, “The misconception around the lives of Teenage Girls,” in my opinion, to some extent, each box’s representation has some truth in it. For marketers and for people in general, this proves to be very interesting because depending on which product is being sold and what the audience is, any of these become the logic behind targeting the demographic.

Looking at this blog with a designer’s eye, I think it lacks a lot of the basic visual elements that create an intriguing page; one that makes me want to continue scrolling through. It lacks breaks in the text, color, variation, and images in a scattered layout. More elaboration teach posted topic would be nice too. Some suggestions that I’d make would be to increase the size of the font and change the font to something more enjoying to read. I think that the blogger has a good topic and concept going with this but it has room for improvement.