Another day in the life...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Bad girls are shameful, Bad boys are adored: Final Project

I decided to do a study about the bad boys and the bad girls of two daytime soap operas to see what is was that made them "bad." I wanted to see the difference between the bad boys and the bad girls of soaps. Were they "bad" because they had many sexual relations, because they were "evil," because they were rich and powerful, etc? Is there a difference between the character of a bad girl versus the character of a bad boy? How are they viewed and is one more acceptable than the other?

Corpus and Methodology:
I decided to narrow my study down to two soap operas: Passions and Days of Our Lives. I did a case study, focusing on two main bad boys and two main bad girls of each soap opera. I analized their clothing in each scene, their interaction with others, and their basic personality characteristics. By studying these categories, I was able to judge why the character was "bad" and then I was able to break down those three categories into male and female, giving me a clear understanding of the difference between the bad boys and the bad girls.

Summary of Findings:
On Passions, their are several bad girls, but the two that stand out the most are the mother-daughter duo of Rebecca (the mother) and Gwen (the daughter). Rebecca and Gwen are two of the most deceitful characters on the show. They are both very pretty and very manipulative. Over a two week period, Gwen was scheming against another woman in 96% of her scenes and Rebecca was scheming against another woman in 91% of her scenes. In the other 9% of Rebecca's scenes, she was either having sexual fantasies or hitting on a male character. In the other 4% of Gwen's scenes, she was with her husband. In 93% of her scenes, Gwen was dressed in a suggestive manner, usually showing a lot of cleavage. In 100% of her scenes, Rebecca was dressed in a suggestive manner. Personality-wise, both women are manipulative, liars, sneaks, and generally unpleasant to be around. Niether character are well liked by a majority of the other characters on the show.
The two main bad boys of Passions are Alistair and new character Spike. Both characters have alledgedly been involved in several murders and they are both rich and powerful. Niether of the characters are particularly attractive. Both men are ordering around or intimidating females, especially women in 100% of their scenes, but despite that fact, both characters still have women in their life who respect them and obey their orders. In 100% of their scenes, both male characters are dressed demure, usually in a nice, suit or suit-like outfit. Personality-wise, both characters are mean, rude, violent, dangerous, smart, and conniving. They are surprising liked by some of the characters.
On Days of Our Lives, the two main bad girls are Kate and Sami. Both woman are beautiful and smart, but are mostly known for their manipulating and lying. Over a two week period, in 91% of her scenes, Kate was dressed in a suggestive manner. Sami was dressed suggestively in 94% of her scenes. In 100% of her scenes, Sami was scheming against someone. Kate was scheming in 98% of her scenes. Personality-wise, both women are catty, manipulative, crazy, and determined. They are hated by most other characters on the show.
The two main bad boys of the show are Victor and Alex. Both men are older and not very attractive. They are liars and have proven to be dangerous to their enemies. In 97% of his scenes, Victor is plotting against or mistreating someone. Alex is doing the same in 99% of his scenes. In 100% of both men's scenes, they are dressed demure, usually in slacks and a button up shirt. Personality-wise, both men are liars, manipulators, and basic scandrals. They surprisingly still have the adoration of a few of the other characters on the show.

The bad girls of soap operas are bda because they are scheming, conniving and usually seen as sluts. They use their sexual appeal to get what they want. They are disliked by most other characters, especially other women on the shows. They have a negative portrayl for the most part. On the other hand, the bad guys are given respect and even sometimes admired for their scheming and lying. They can sleep around and it is seen as being perfectly acceptable. So the bad guys are actually somewhat good, even though they participate in the same activities as the bad girls, who are looked down upon. It is another example of women being misrepresented and objectived in the media.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Who's most important?

I was watching this episode of Without A Trace the other day and it reminded me of our discussion about Jessica Lynch and Shoshanna Johnson. On the episode. there are two people missing: a rich, white teenage girl and a poor, black teenage boy. The whole episode focusing not only on the invsetigation but on the sad fact that the media gives absolutely no coverage to the missing black boy, only to the suburb-living, blonde teenage girl.

It's sad actually. Why is it that a missing white girl will grab the medias attention so quickly and yet if someone of another race, or sometimes even a white boy barely get a nod from the media? Aren't their lives just as important?

At the end of the episode, one of the missing was found alive and one was found dead. Any takers on who lived?

Thursday, May 25, 2006


"Men demure and "manly" in men's magazines, sex objects in women's magazines"

Short summary of findings:
Men in ads in a men's magazine are usually dressed well in suits and nice clothes or they have the "rugged" look and are participating in something "manly" like playing a sport, doing physical labor, etc. In some cases, they were both demure and participating in a "manly" activity and in few cases they were portrayed in a suggestive sexual manner. Men in ads in a women's magazine were frequently used in a suggestive sexual manner.

Corpus and method:
My corpus comprises all full-page ads featuring men in the December 2005 issue of Esquire and in the May 2006 issue of Lucky. The method is quantitative and qualitative content analysis, where the male(s) were found in each ad and coded as demure, participating in a "manly" activity. Further analysis was used in cases where males fell into both categories or neither category.

Esquire magazine included 51 full-page ads featuring men: 20 were demure, 13 were participating in a manly activity, 16 qualified for both categories, and 2 were portrayed in a suggestive sexual manner.
Lucky magazine included 18 full-page ads featuring men: 4 were demure, 3 were participating in a manly activity, 2 qualified for both categories and 9 were portrayed in a suggestive sexual manner. Both magazines featured about the same amount of full page ads, but Esquire had far more ads featuring men. Many ads in Esquire featured men playing sports or participating in physical labor but only 2 ads in Lucky featured men in "manly" activities and both ads were men on motorcyles with a woman on the back of the bike.

While there were some ads in the women's magazine where a male was portrayed as demure or "manly," males were more likely to be portrayed in a suggestive sexual manner. In the men's magazine, men were rarely featured suggestively, but were more frequently portrayed as nicely dressed, rugged, and had one or more females surrounding them. A larger study could be done with several different men's and women's magazines to see if this is the case accross the board. A study could also be done to see how men are portrayed in A-sexual magazines in compared to men's and women's magazines. It would also be interesting to compare women in a men's magazine to men in a women's magazine to see if men are as frequently portrayed in a sexual manner as women are.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Crime in the news..why the bias?

It is pretty sad to watch the news these days. It's all about corrupted politics and women killing their children, but even more frequent on the news are stories of crime. Shootings, drug busts, murders. These are the images that fill my head, and the sad fact of the matter is its biased in a way that most people don't even realize, or if they do realize it, they just ignore it.

How often do you watch the news and see stories of drug dealings and domestic disbutes and other crimes involving African-Americans, Hispanics and other non-white races? Now compare that to those same topics applied to whites. Shocking, eh? Why is it that in the news, movies, and tv shows, people of non-white races are more prone to be shown committing these crimes? Why is it that African-American males between the ages of about 14 and 35 are portrayed as thugs who bring drugs and violence upon society?

It's pretty ridiculous if you think about it, especially because most news stations, movie producers, and tv execs know exactly what they are doing. They know they are acting upon this stereotypical bias and they don't seem to care.

Some people have no shame.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Race Gender in Media...Take One

Yesterday was the first day of my Maymester course. It was kind of crazy actually, after arriving an hour late and desperately trying to catch up, but it turned out alright in the end. I have to say, I really enjoyed talking about the stereotypical mom. I've always found it to be an interesting topic because I have both a mom and a stepmom, one who works all day and one who works out of the home. The idea of these two groups, stay-at-home moms and working moms, being at war is pretty ridiculous. I guess it's just another example of how the media has the ability to creat or overexaggerate certain conflicts. Sometimes it seems like thats just yet another black spot on the integrity of today's journalism. It's sad really.