BLog 5- Judy CHicago

Judy Chicago

Nothing is more sacred than profound knowledge but when it comes to bringing truth to the light, it can not only bring up so many questions in finding the answer it cannot only  free you but it can expand your universe as a result. You might wonder what I mean by this,  Well Judy Chicago give us a meaning to with her artwork. Judy Chicago is a feminist artist  she is well known for her collaborative art installation in the Brooklyn Museum “The Dinner Party” in which I personally saw and love it. It a feminist art work it a ceremonial banquet arranged on a triangular table with a total of thirty-nice plates setting.This art piece is a celebration to all the women’s in history that have fought or argue to make the recognition of women

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A vaginal is a woman’s sexual and reproductive organ. which is important to male and female  As I observe in exhibits the table is set in a triangular form each side of the triangular had a colorful art painting of the inner vaginal,other side outer vaginal and finally a 3D vaginal. It a ceremonial banquet with thirty-nine place settings, which is commemorating an important women from history.On the floor times there the names of 999 women inscribed in gold on the floor tile which are on a triangular shape as well. It a very dark installation with little lights. This installation would be consider a feminist art-piece and how it helped empower women and helped them be seen as more than an object or somebody who is just there to take care of the home. Now let’s talk about how woman are seen today and how a few, or as I like to say, Many things have changed since the last few decades.  For example, today, women have more choice and power than ever before. Instead of shaping their lives as just wives or mothers, the role of women today have increased in fields such as health, law, government, and business. 

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Judy Chicago also had meaningful art work one of my favorite is Womanhouse, created in Los Angeles by Chicago and Schapiro with the students of the Feminist Art Program, the first female-centered art installation. The exhibition was an instant sensation and its reverberations continue today. Birth project is an installation to celebrate woman’s role as mother. She also publish her first book, Through the Flower which is about her struggles to find her own identity as a women artist.A continuing project of Through the Flower, Birth Project art has been and is being gifted to museums, university galleries, birthing centers and hospitals as part of Through the Flower’s mission of introducing Feminist art into the culture

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Judy Chicago is feminist activists that is educating the public with different ways artwork and the publishing of a book. People take thing for granted and not giving value to the things they have in everyday life. Relating back to my intro the exhibit brought light to the viewer of all the women in history and globally having a representation to their voice within their countries. Also you could say it helps cement an artistic legacy and artistic home for many feminist artist by the display that are present. It elevates and cultivates knowledge in artistic ways.

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Work Cited

http://www.judychicago.com/gallery.php?name=Birth+Project+Gallery

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_Chicago

http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/dinner_party/

http://www.biography.com/people/judy-chicago-9246631#awesm=~oCQSYUGuNfzUgK

Post #5: Eléonore Pourriat’s Short Film, Opressed Majority – Tammy Lo

Every single human being in this world sees from different perspective. Men have always had the power to create films freely because it is a suited role for them. From the beginning of the women and media course, we have been speaking about mass media being controlled by men and television and advertisements are created from a male’s perspective. Often in mass media, we view women in the perspective of male directors or creators. There is little room for the female perspective because even if a women director successfully execute a project, she will still be targeted for being a women. It is wrong to criticize a piece of work base on the gender of the director. After reading about Catherine Saalfield and Debra Zimmerman, it reinforced the importance of women’s role in making films for others to reason from the female perspective. Catherine Saalfield represents female empowerment through her openness of her sexuality and her films. She focus on films involving activism and art. Saalfield is determined to show people the truth and demolish any stereotypes or assumptions people make at first thought–for example, her work on the HIV community. Often media shows one side of a story, but Saalfield displays the other side—not a negative side but a positive side by accommodating the HIV segments with dance, music, and digital art. Saalfield says, “the targets need to stop being so single-issue focused.”

Women Makes Movies is the world’s largest nonprofit organization that encourages women to create films. Debra Zimmerman points out that the content of the films women make are far more imperative than the art or graphics put in the video. These films are more personal than Saalfield’s films because she represents a whole group of people rather than a single idea of an individual. After I read about films by women, I connected the readings on publications that allow the public to post videos—such as YouTube and Vimeo. There are very few female directors that get credit for their work and are barely recognized in media. Representations of women by female directors should be the more accurate than by male directors. It is important for female to continue to make films for the public because we need perspectives from both the male and the female.

I watched an English version of the French short film, Oppressed Majority (Majorité Opprimée) on YouTube created by Eléonore Pourriat. Eléonore Pourriat is a French female filmmaker that received a lot of attention for her film, Oppressed Majority (Majorité Opprimée). Opressed Majority represents a matriarchal society, where society’s standard roles of men and women are switched. Men experience sexism, sexual violence, and treated with negligence. Some everyday situations that females deal with are reciprocated to males in the film–cat calling, doing “maternal” chores like taking care of children, victim blaming, gang raping.

Pierre is the male protagonist that deals with harassment in the matriarchal society. His wife Marion jogs bare chested, while Pierre was taking care of their child. Pierre brought the child to the daycare. The teacher was a male named Nissar, and like the other men shown in the film, he wears a balaclava and clothing that covers them up. Pierre does not wear not a balaclava and he is wearing bermuda shorts and button-down tee-shirt. Feeling liberal, he unbuttons a couple of buttons on his tee-shirt. From then, he is verbally harassed by a gypsy woman sitting on the sidewalk. He then walks into a tight street with an alley. A gang of women sexually harasses him by touching his genitals and grabbing his breasts. At the police station, the female officer filing his reports show little concern as she is seducing one of the male colleagues. Marion victim blames Pierre for dressing like he is and showing skin after he was showing his pain and emotions. As Marion walks to the car that was parked far from the police station, Pourriat transitions the matriarchal society to the patriarchal society when Marion hears voices of men cat calling her.

Pourriat did represent the power dynamics between living in a matriarchal and patriarchal society, however I find she included representation of oppressed Muslim women. Pourriat displays a religious connotation when Nissar wore a balaclava because his wife ordered him to wear it. She represented Muslim women who are oppressed and are ruled by men with little to no freedom. It is Pourriat’s vision that she felt the need to portray Muslim women and the dominance of Muslim men, although I don’t think it was necessary to target a specific culture because her message of inequality between women and men. There are some hidden power dynamics between the French and their ethnic descents.The main characters, Pierre and Marion are both blonde, while the women that harassed Pierre were of darker features—dark hair. It is Pourriat’s vision that she felt the need to portray Muslim women and the dominance of Muslim men.

Eléonor Pourriat’s approach to this film, she says, “It is the complex of castration. The worst fright of men. I wanted it to be not so realistic but frightening.” The short film is based in a feminist French society where a man, Pierre is sexually assaulted, harassed, gang raped—touched in places he didn’t want to be touched by a group of women. Pourriat wanted Pierre’s wife to “not imagine, not to sympathies, not to be able to feel what he feels. So often when women get assaulted, people say it’s their own fault. Even close people.” Men often don’t know what it’s like or understand how women feel when they are cat called or assaulted. Situations of inequality are more understanding when the opposite sexes switch roles and when they are displayed visually, in this case Pourriat did. I never understood how authority and media can make a decision to victim blame the female of the way she is dressed for her sexual assault by the male. Why are women always the gender that is expected to morph into patriarchal society? Men need to learn to control their raging hormones and understand equality. Pourriat’s work displays the most horrific events that women deal with men on a daily basis to show the public of how women are humiliated and objectified.

Eléonore Pourriat’s Oppressed Majority:

 

 

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Citations:

Eléonore Pourriat’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/eleonorepourriat1

Cocozza, Paula. “Oppressed Majority: the film about a world run by women that went viral.” The Guardian: The Women’s Blog. A List Apart Mag., 11 Feb. 2014. Web.

Redding, Judith M., and Victoria A. Brownworth. “Film Fatales.” 24 Nov. 1997: 67-70 and 262-265. Web.

Director Neema Barnette: “Woman art thou loosed on the 7th day”

The film director that I chose to focus on is a well-respected African American film director by the name of Neema Barnette. Barnette is the first African-American woman sitcom director, and was the first African-American woman to get a three-picture deal with Sony. In 1990, she founded Harlem Girl Productions Corporation. I was introduced to Barnette’s film “Civil Brand” in the year 2009, after working on a high school project that focused on female prisons. Ever since that time, I have been intrigued with Barnette’s work after learning that she has directed successful projects that I grew up watching such as “The Cosby Show,” and “7th heaven.”

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On May 8, 2012, Neema gave the opening speech at the American Film Institute’s Hollywood showcase for its Directing Workshop for Women. Neema had been selected for the workshop in the early 1970s, she was living in harlem at the time, experiencing harsh living conditions and was chosen to take part in an intensive training program that she said changed her destiny in life. During an interview with popular urban site “AllHipHop.com,” Neema Barnette describes her journey as a director and she states that her job is not only to be a filmmaker, but it is also to be a storyteller. “I got into film because I feel its one of the strongest social and political tools we have…because it was a ‘mind molding’ art,” is an quote from Barnette during the interview that illustrates her love for film. She thoroughly and continuously showcases examples of auteur through her films and television shows. Making sure that she is always the major creative force in all of her projects is what makes her the successful director that she is today. Although it was not always easy for Barnette to be able have the control and allow her work to be seen as a personal stamp of her directing abilities, she never gave up. After watching the interview, I learned that Barnette struggled to make a name for herself in the film industry. Although her projects were exceptionally constructed, she states that Hollywood was simply not interested in the type of plots that she wanted to focus on.

 

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I decided to explore the film “Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the Seventh Day,” (2012) in which Barnette took much pride in directing. The plotline revolves around the kidnapping of a six-year-old daughter an upscale New Orleans couple, and over the course of seven days they begin to uncover secrets about their past that could rip their marriage and lives apart all while trying to find their daughter. One of the major themes in the film is women empowerment. The main character of the film illustrates great strength, and it drives home an important point that women are indeed the backbone of their families. When watching the movie a year ago, I remember a scene in which the main characters husband asks her “Were you a hoe?” During that scene I felt as if the director was trying to illustrate the many issues that women go through in terms of having to uphold a certain image, and also having to prove her sexual innocence to a man in order for him to consider her a worthy woman.

 

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Neema Barnette identifies her role as auteur in this film by deciding to direct the film after initially feeling as if the storyline was not one that she seemed interested in. During an interview when being asked the question “How did you get involved Women Thou Art Loosed: On The 7th Day? Did it come to you? Did you fight for it?” Barnette answered by stating, “Well, the producers called me up and said they had a script and they weren’t interested in doing it. I read the script and I said, “hell no!” I didn’t want to do the movie.” After rethinking it, Barnette than became the major creative force for the film. She began to re-write the scenes and the roles of the characters. Barnette created a character illustrating a poor black woman whose child is also missing in the film. She wanted to show the difference between poor blacks and blacks with money, and the distinction in social classes. The poor black woman whose daughter was abducted in the film couldn’t even get her little girl’s picture in the news, while the rich couple was able to make a few phone calls in order to get thousands of people to help with the search for their child. One of the ways that Barnette constructed her ideas for the film was by arranging a meeting with the writer of the movie. After talking with him she stated that she began to find out some of the things he was interested in saying in the script, which helped her visual many elements that she wanted to showcase throughout the film. After visualizing many scenes for the movie, Barnette than began to think about certain actors that she felt would be a best fit for each of the roles. She phoned them up, sent them the script and waited for an answer from each of them. During an interview, Barnette discusses how she went about choosing one of the characters for the movie and she gave an in depth description of the process:

I wanted Nicole to play a role in another movie I’m doing. I found her when I looked at American Violet. I said, ‘who is this sister?!’ She was brilliant. When this movie came up, I presented her and they were like, “no, she’s not this, she’s not that.” I fought so long and so hard for Nicole. Finally, they gave in and let me tell you, it was the best move they ever made.

When I went for Nicole, I went for a quality young actress who was brilliant and they maybe wanted a different kind of look. They finally were happy that I did get her. She’s one of the most brilliant people on that movie. She turned that sucker out! You hear me?! She is fabulous and I knew she would be. When I called her, I let her know that I would allow her to do things with the role that she wanted to do. I think she’s going to be one of the best new actresses to tell you the truth. Let me tell you, she’s smokin’ hot in this movie! Just like we knew she would be” – Barnette

 

By giving the actors/actresses the option to have input on the roles that they were chosen to play definitely showcases how open minded she is when directing a project. I feel as if the process that she used in picking actors and actresses for each role allowed her to fully take control of the project. It is very evident that Hollywood’s directors tend to make a film in their way, or in their vision and when this is the case people learn things from films and this is why it is important to recognize who is the person who wrote the screenplay, who is the person who is directing this film. After reading Maggie Humm’s “Author/Auteur: Feminist Literary Theory and Feminist Film,” I began to think of one of the ideas stated in the article. In regards to films, the signature of product varies significantly depending on the gender of the interpreter (Humm). In this particular film, this theory was showcased numerous times. Due to the fact that Barnette is indeed a woman, the roles and scenes that she decided to incorporate into the film definitely showcased an unmistakable personal stamp of the director. When speaking about the film, Barnette states, “I wanted the African American female character in the film to be a hero. If she can pick herself up once, she can do it again, and everybody has flaws, everybody falls down.” With this being said, the film definitely portrays a personal reflection of the way that Barnette see’s herself and how she sees many other African American women worldwide.  Literature and film shape society. Maggie Humm expresses concern over the failures of film’s interpretations on novels by saying, “While more than half of all commercial films have literary origins, the coupling of auteur/author or literature/film is continually contested.” (Humm, 90)  If women are in charge of making these films, society would be able to view more of situations from womens perspectives.

After raking in $1.3M at the box office,the movie received mixed reviews when it was released. Many critics believed that it was very melodramatic, while others believed that the drama and suspense is what made the movie great. Many of Barnette’s projects are viewed as being socially- and politically-charged, while also being projects that often defines the narrow stereotypes of African-Americans usually depicted in entertainment. I believe that Neema Barnette is one of the best female film directors in the business, and I feel that her films will continue to tell stories that need to be told to the world.

 

 

Works cited:

 

Humm, Maggie “Author/Autor: Feminist Literary Theory and Feminist Film.”

 

Perry, Clayton “Neema Barnette: Harlemite Speaks On Being the First Black Female With a Major Studio Deal.” 16 April 2012.  26 April 2014.  <http://allhiphop.com>

 

Martinez, Vanessa. “Exclusive! Neema Barnette Talks “On The 7th Day” Re-Writes, Casting Nicole Beharie + New Film on Boy Reincarnated as Dalai Lama.” Shadow and Act. N.p., 13 Feb. 2012. Web. 26 Apr. 2014. <http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/exclusive-neema-barnette-talks-on-the-7th-day-paff-premiere-upcoming-projects-more&gt;.

Blog Post 5 – Catherine Saalfield’s Sacred Lies, Civil Truths (Jose C)

Highlighted in the Film Fatales reading, filmmaker and activist Catherine Saalfield is an auteur that stood out to me. Her work, often having a political edge to it often explores the experiences of women and homosexuals. Her approach to her work is that of an artist and an activist. Seeing that filmmaking is “the most efficient, creative and satisfying form of activism” [1], much of her work discusses the power of politics and social movements on the lives of women and homosexuals.

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Blog Post 4: Alternative Media (Kristine Gaddi)

Undoubtedly television is a media platform that continues and will forever remain as one of the major symbols regarding the progression of representation of different groups and diversity. This medium has undergone transformative changes in diversifying who and what we see onscreen, as well as how fairly and accurately they are portrayed. I thought about ‘power positions’ and ‘power players’ in the industry and though women representation onscreen, whether it’d amount to films with female heroines, all female casts, or women leads in television shows on major networks, these tenets allowed me to look at the meanings of those depictions. It occurred to me how a majority of women that fit into the frameworks of those categories and narratives were white women. Indeed, it is a historical indicator of change for the sudden surge of women who take on these roles, but my issue here is, why exactly is that representation in the different kinds of women we see so limited?

I began to wade through the pools of women minorities who are less equally represented in such lead roles, as well as these women being able to voice the entirety of their own creative input and become leaders in fields that have consistently remained to be male-dominated. So upon reading the prompt for this assignment and seeing the phrases ‘women and minorities in the media industry’ and ‘alternative media sources,’ my mind immediately drew to the power hierarchy in the entertainment industry and positions that require leadership, agency, or a woman taking control into her own hands. Statistically, there has been a subtle increase of writers, producers, directors, authors, etc., in the industry today, but these statistics are not substantial enough to even be deemed significant changes for female representation in Hollywood.

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The other night I was watching ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’ on NBC solely because one of my absolute role models (and most importantly someone I’d want to be BFF’s with more than anybody) was a guest on the show. It’s very significant how Mindy Kaling has established her place in an industry largely dominated by white males. Of course, she’s not the typical woman you’d see in Hollywood. Her influence is bred from not only being a director, actress, producer, author, and writer, but as a woman of color and a minority. She’s written, acted, and directed in the NBC series The Office and now directs, produces, writes, and stars her own sitcom show titled The Mindy Project on Fox. She gives a voice and representation on television for  people who rarely see themselves represented onscreen. For someone, especially a female, to have those credentials is incredibly inspiring. What I love about her, is that she is fine with who she is and the media praises that. There is an issue here, however. She is very aware and acutely in-tune with how the industry tries to categorize her. For example, when it comes to body image, she remains puzzled as to why the media celebrates her choice into being who she is and staying true to herself.

It’s easy to simply celebrate Kaling’s statements on body image in Hollywood, but the actress reminds us how ridiculous it actually is when a statement like “I don’t have any use for being any thinner than what is healthy” translates into “I don’t subscribe to beauty ideals.” Kaling showed Kimmel a much-celebrated picture of her in a crop top, and lampooned the bizarre assumption that average-sized women don’t care how they look:“My career has only become what it has out of sheer need, not because I wanted it that way.” I knew if I wanted to perform I was going to have to write it myself.

On her March 31 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kaling discussed the universal praise she earned for telling Vogue “she doesn’t want to be skinny.” People were like, ‘That’s so great that you said it,’ and I didn’t think that was so weird,” Kaling told Kimmel. “Every woman I know feels that way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9nAJ1xNLms

Kaling is vocal and very aware of the ways her gender and ethnic background have impacted her career in the past, but she has never felt the need to define herself by those labels. She acknowledges the backlash she’s received for the media criticism rooted in not incorporating more “diversity” in her show The Mindy Project. While she agrees with this, she also points out the hypocrisy of various media outlets for even pointing that out to begin with. “Would the same be said of a successful, self-confident man? Would the same be said of Chuck Lorre or Lee Arohnson? No — a confident man gets a pass, but a confident woman deserves to be criticized and put back in her place. In an industry dominated largely by white men, Kaling is a threat to the status quo: she’s young, a woman, and a minority. There’s no one else like her in the business right now, which means she has had to work twice as hard and fight to get to the top, and she is no doubt very aware of how much she stands out and how hard she must work to prove herself.”

After the release of the New York cover story, Kaling has become the subject of much internet ire, with bloggers and TV critics calling her a variety of adjectives: smug, too self-satisfied, cocky, “the human equivalent of a retweeted compliment.” But women are supposed to be self-deprecating! How dare she feel confident about her career achievements? (Chitall).

Kaling told Vulture in September, 2012: I never want to be called the funniest Indian female comedian that exists. I feel like I can go head-to-head with the best white, male comedy writers that are out there. Why would I want to self-categorize myself into a smaller group than I’m able to compete in? (Zellinger).

I chose Kaling as a necessary and indeed successful alternative media source, not only because she’s the first woman of color to star, write, direct, and produce her own television show on a major/mainstream television network, but because I became angry that she was being unfairly singled out and held to a higher standard because of her ethnic background. Nobody ever has anything to say about television shows with predominantly white casts, such as CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. They’re rarely or aren’t even asked at all about the possibilities or suggestions of including multi-ethnic characters or the lack thereof.

“I look at shows on TV, and this is going to sound defensive, but I’m just going to say it: I’m a … Indian woman who has her own … network television show,” Kaling said during the session. “I have four series regulars that are women on my show, and no one asks any of the shows I adore — and I won’t name them because they’re my friends — why no leads on their shows are women of color, and I’m the one that gets lobbied about these things.”

She is a woman whose influence is growing larger and larger by the day, and I immediately drew from the ideology of the power hierarchy in the entertainment industry (writers, producers, directors, etc) and how positions that require leadership are severely lacking for women. Kaling defies that and her honesty regarding being an Indian woman in the entertainment industry is certainly important.

References:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/01/mindy-kaling-jimmy-kimmel_n_5070408.html

http://www.racialicious.com/2012/09/20/a-reaction-to-the-backlash-against-mindy-kaling/#more-25279

Kaling, Mindy. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). Random House LLC, 2011. Print.

Motherhood and Media (Jacqueline Amjadi)

These days, the reality that women face as mothers is not a new or unusual one. Just as women are made a spectacle in their femininity, sexuality, and work ethic before motherhood – once they become pregnant, it is not a private nine months, but rather a public forum for judgment.

As Susan Bright points out in her piece Home Truths, there is a “climate of maternal guilt that swirls around contemporary culture (12)”. The expectation of a good mother is someone who gives up everything for her child. There is either good mothering or bad mothering – no in between. In turn, that means you have either succeeded or failed as a woman. A fairly new aspect of motherhood in the media is the prevalence of social media and outreach. According to website ‘The Motherhood’, ninety-two percent of moms take information learned online and share it offline. This shows the potential for growth and tales from all walks of life, yet the portrayal of pregnancy in the media is still a very white and privileged one.

The celebrities who saturate all forms of (Western) media are mostly white, attractive, and incredibly wealthy. They continue to perpetuate this standard throughout their pregnancies – which of course makes those watching even more self-conscious. What is hidden are their personal trainers, and full team waiting to nip and tuck as soon as the baby’s first cry.

In contrast, Douglas’ Mommy Myth addresses the Welfare Queen. The Welfare Queen is a minority woman with many children from different men. She is dependent upon food stamps but abuses the system – buying luxuries instead of necessities. She is overweight, lazy and irresponsible and of course passes this attitude onto her children.

The Welfare Queen was an image created and injected into the media in order to keep minorities failing, instead of confronting the issue of those in society who need support and assistance. In fact, there are many mothers on food stamps who are white – yet this is mindboggling to those who associate welfare with the struggling Others of society.

 

Douglas, Susan J. “The War Against Welfare Mothers.” The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women. N.p.: Free, 2004. 176-202. Print.

Bright, Susan. “Motherlode.” Home Truths: Photography and Motherhood. N.p.: London, 2013. 1-63. Print.

“Cause Marketing: What Makes Moms Go Social.” The Motherhood. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.

“The Motherhood Effect: Cooper Munroe & Emily McKhann at TEDx.” The Motherhood. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.

Seidman, Ellen. “12 Ways Social Media Has Transformed Motherhood.” Babble. Disney, 24 Jan. 2013. Web. 6 Apr. 2014.

Post 4: Oprah Winfrey and Motherhood – Tammy Lo

In The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women by Susan Douglas and Home Truths: Photography and Motherhood by Susan Bright together displays a dichotomy between colored mothers and white mothers. The media constructs stereotypical images of what a good or bad mother is. In response to these readings about motherhood, I decided to conduct my research on Oprah Winfrey and her founding the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.

Susan Douglas’s piece provides statistics of more white mothers under welfare than black mothers. Media chooses to manipulate and construct black mothers as the image of welfare. Media represents mothers under welfare as bad mothers and outsiders of society because their intentions of being under welfare is to cheat the government and hardworking citizens’ tax money to support colored mothers for their laziness, drug problems and materialistic objects. The myth of welfare mothers are represented as corrupt women who are not supporting their children instead their children are supporting them.

Susan Bright’s book includes Dorothea Lange’s photograph, “Migrant Mother”, which was an iconic image of the Great Depression. The white mother in “Migrant Mother” was Florence Owens Thompson and despite being poor, she was praised for being “a woman who keeps her family together no matter what”. Her gaze away from her children was made positive and interpreted as if she was looking into or thinking of her children’s future. Media delivers a message that poor colored mothers are not healthy, while poor white mothers are healthy because they are telling a positive story of progression. While women are often deemed weaker in media, colored women or minorities are further looked down upon as the others that need (not want) public assistance.

Oprah Winfrey, the name speaks for her accomplishments as an African American woman in media. While all women are look down on in society and media, Oprah represents the African American community and women. She started from the bottom to rising to the top as a respected and admired female global media leader, philanthropist, and public figure today. She is an extremely influential self-made figure who overcame her shaky past—raped by male relatives, running away, and giving birth at a young age—though the infant died. Oprah is the founder of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in Henly-on-Klip, South Africa. Her school of 53 acres opened in January 2007 after 6 years of construction that costs $40 million.

Oprah as a mother figure to girls or as young women call her “Mom Oprah”, she created this boarding school so underprivileged girls with potential to excel will have the opportunity to become bright leaders. Many young South African girls live in a society that is fighting poverty, AIDS, rape, disease and death therefore education is much delayed. South African families with financial problems are left to keep girls working in the field and send boys to school as it is part of their cultural norms to value boys. Oprah is a firm believer that education for girls is the key to many doors and lead to women empowerment, and equality. According to The World Bank, a country’s growth in education for just girls will increase its overall per capita income and the fertility rate drops, which will then lower HIV infection cases and infant mortality. Oprah’s project to provide education to young girls is positive because education is a human right that every child should have access to. This will allow young girls to know what education is and teach future generations the value of education. Education for girls will improve South Africa.

Oprah Winfrey is a successful, strong, black female viewed as a mother figure that worked hard for everything she has and gives back to others. She encourages young girls to become strong, educated, and independent women. Media represents the welfare mother as a black mother who is lazy and neglectful to their children. But the media’s representation of the poor white mother is one that cares for her children’s future. Oprah is an African American that destroys media’s constructed images of motherhood because she never had children, she is definitely not lazy, and she is a recognized philanthropist encouraging children and caring for their future. The positive results and successes of the girls that attended Oprah Winfrey’s academy will show the world the power of education and women.

Oprah Winfrey:

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Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother”:

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Follow Me On Twitter:

@tammyahmeelo

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Citations:

Bright, Susan, and Meredith Michaels. Home Truths: Photography and Motherhood. London: Art Books Publishing Ltd, 2013. Print.

Douglas, Susan, and Meredith Michaels. The Mommy Myth: Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women. New York: Free Press, 2004. Print.

Francis, Enjoli. “Oprah’s Academy for Girls to Hold Its First Graduation.” ABC News (2012): Web. 4 April 2014.

Hanes, Stephanie. “Oprah’s academy: Why educating girls pays off more.” The Christian Science Monitor (2007): 2. Web. 4 April 2014.

“Oprah Winfrey.” achievement. American Academy of Achievement: A Museum of Living History, n.d. Web. 4 April 2014.

Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. Version number. The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation. Web. 4 April 2014.