Content Analysis Guidelines
Select three television shows or two movies depicting gender, race and class. Write a study on the media’s impact of how race, class and gender are viewed in American society.
Analyze the tv shows/movies based on gender, race and class. What family dynamic exists? How do the tv shows influence women? (self esteem, self image)
Take notes while you are watching television shows and note your observations.
How might these tv shows/movies impact the viewers/audience? How do these tv shows/films impact you as an individual? How do these tv shows/movies influence society?
Television Shows Review
Blacki-ish, an American comedy-drama, has addressed the issue of race in bold ways. A number of episodes address race and the issue of minority groups (especially African Americans) in fundamental ways. In Season 2, Episode 16 (titled “Hope”), the issue of race takes center stage. The episode features the Johnson family gathered in the living room and watching the television amidst some chitchat. The family is watching a fictitious news item but which is all too familiar with the harsh realities of the world the children are living in. The news item is about race and police brutality, a contentious topic in the contemporary America. In the news item, the discussion is about a white police officer facing trial over the alleged murder of an African-American teenager. Dre (the kids’ father), along with Ruby and Pops hold the notion that the kids should know the harsh realities of the world, while Bow (the kids’ mother) opts for a nuanced approach.
The setting of the episode is in an affluent suburb and reflects the events in the current decade. The episode exemplifies the challenges that black families go through in the recent times. Although the news item is probably fictitious, it mirrors the current happenings in the American society where blacks have experienced firsthand police brutality. Dre, their father, insists on letting the kids know about racism and police brutality. His wife, Bow, is apprehensive of this and tries to hide the reality from the kids. In his opening remarks, Dre notes that in the early period (1980s), it was quite easy to hide the cruelties from children. His father, Pops, would simply shout, “Turn the damn TV off, boy.” Due to the internet and increased news coverage, Dre asserts that it is virtually impossible to keep children from all the negatives in the world.
The episode revolves around the extended Dre’s family. Dre is happily married to Bow, who is also from a similar racial background. The kids’ grandparents, Pops and Ruby, are present in the living room. Apart from the prosecuting attorney on the TV, all the other cast members are black. The entire show predominantly revolves around their conversation in the living room. The use of black cast helps in delivering the message to the audience on how black families experience racism. In using a black cast, it is possible to show how they feel about racism and how it affects them. Bow sends the children to the kitchen in an effort to prevent them from hearing the conversation. However, the children can hear everything they are discussing. The reality is that no matter the efforts to protect their innocence, they will one day come face-to-face with racism and police brutality.
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The Haves And The Have Nots
This TV show highlights the issues concerning gender, race, and class. Episode 1, Season 2 of the show titled “Playing in the Deep End” focuses on issues such as servant-master relationship, race, class, and gender. The setting is in a suburb, and in particular Jim’s house. The movie is set in the current decade. The episode begins with Katheryn trying to wash a stain from her clothes. However, she is sobbing amidst the efforts to remove the stain. Hanna, a house cleaner, tries to console Katheryn but she turns her down. Meanwhile, Candace, Hanna’s alienated daughter, corners Jim in his study and makes demands for money. Candace is involved in multiple scandals, including having an affair with Jim. She is willing to do anything to get what she wants. She disguises the affair by pretending to be a law student who is interested in the types of cases being handled by Jim. Unfortunately, Wyatt discovers the affair between Candace and his dad, leading him to confront her openly.
The issue of class is evident in the episode. Hanna, the new maid and her daughter Candace are from the lower social class. Hanna is a poor maid working in Jim’s house. Hanna suffers from poor health but she is determined to ensure that her children overcome poverty by working hard and despite her poor state of health. While Candace is still poor, she is determined to do anything to get rich including blackmail. She has set her eyes on Jim, a successful lawyer, as her target. She leads a promiscuous lifestyle and engages in underhand dealings. When she realizes that Jim lives in a posh house, she makes threats for more money. Jim is determined to get rid of her but is unable to do so. This is partly due to his weaknesses and her conniving ways mainly through sexual advances.
Sex And The City
The major theme covered by the TV show is gender and feminism. This TV show starts with a voice from Carrie Bradshaw, a young woman who recently moved in Manhattan and working for a popular news firm. Carrie tells the story of a journalist named Elizabeth who falls in love with a charming young man. After two weeks, the man cuts links with Elizabeth who wallows in heartbreak. Carrie ponders why there are so many “great unmarried women, but no great unmarried men”. Carrie seeks to demystify such issues affecting the society. Towards the end of the episode, Carrie declares that, together with her friends, they would begin to have sex like men. The episode shows that just like men, women can achieve sexual freedom and independence. The TV show goes against the popular culture and creates the notion that women too can use men as sex objects.
The TV shows are similar in that they all reflect issues affecting the modern society. The TV shows are quite different in that they explore varying themes. ‘Black-ish’ focuses on the issue of race as exemplified by the recent incidences of police brutality towards the blacks. ‘Haves And The Have Nots’ focuses on the issue of social class in the society. The TV show enables readers to parallel living in wealth and in poverty. ‘Sex And the City’ focuses on gender. The TV show is an attempt to demystify feminism and show that women can do things just like men.
Black-ish. Directed by Kenya Barris, Peter Saji, and Scott Weinger, produced by Anthony Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, 2016.
The Haves And The Have Nots. Directed by Tyler Perry, 2013
Sex And The City. Written by Darren Star, 1998
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