I live in Toronto. A city that prides itself on its level of diversity. Everywhere I look I see faces different from my own. And I think it is beautiful. However, I worry that this diversity is not the ‘reality’ in the media. I do not see my reality in news, TV shows, commercials or movies. This seems ironic because so much media content is based on true events and/or so-called reality based TV.
What I view (on news, TV shows, commercials and movies), and presumably that from which children learn, are stereotypical roles based on race, gender, religion, ability and sexual preference. I worry for us that in our busy lives, we unknowingly further discrimination by endorsing certain shows and movies.
I am from a generation which I previously believed were endearingly called the ‘conspiracy theorists’. A generation who questioned content and utilized a critical lens to deconstruct images. However, I am not sure how many people critically analyze ‘entertainment’ quality.
I do understand that TV shows and movies are produced for entertainment purposes. A strong and resounding period. BUT, I also fully recognize that these mediums do much more than provide in-the-moment entertainment. I would suggest that the images seen in the media have a much larger and long lasting impact than merely entertainment. I believe media plays a role in perpetuating discrimination and stereotypes.
I worry that I am implicated in upholding or reinforcing discrimination. I worry that a lot of us are implicated. I worry that no one is questioning the studios who produce our viewing content. I wonder what they think of us? The masses of us that do not inform them of desired content. The masses of us who continue to allow studios to produce ridiculous content that monkeys would not like. What do they think when they are making millions of dollars from our sales? Are we stupid? I sincerely hope not.
Am I alone in these thoughts? I hope those of you out there will respond.
REVIEW: The Big Bang Theory
I recently began watching this show. It is absolutely hilarious. The writing and actor portrayals are top notch. I have missed this type of sitcom and only realized this once I began watching. Where did these kind of sitcoms go? Oh, right… the spots were filled because someone needed to find a spouse with a rose, or win some money by eating bugs, or decorate their new home.
Anyway although I find this show immensely amusing, something was nagging me. From a critical analysis point of view (POV), I wondered… where are the women? This show centers around four men. Uh-hem, I should say four very intellectual and smarty-pants men. Why couldn’t there be four smarty-pants women? Is it because there is gender discrimination and people are less likely to watch four women who are smart?
I should clarify. There is a woman, a neighbour. She’s blond, beautiful, but not smart. Moving on. Three of four main characters are Caucasian. The fourth man is South Asian. He has an accent. The character is from India. Hmm, he couldn’t be a American-born individual? He had to be from another country? Why? Wouldn’t it have been interesting if someone else was from another country and had an accent? Like Russia maybe? Why is the assumption that the only racialized person be NOT born in America and have an accent. Too simplistic compilation of characters. Yuck.
I doubt I will ever attempt an analysis of reality based TV. Snore, snort, Yuck. I will always watch a TV sitcom over reality TV. This is NOT a suggestion to do away with the show or others like it, but instead recommendations for writers and casting agents moving forward.