In “Home Truths” by Susan Bright, we explore how motherhood is represented in media as well. It stays stereotypical and controversial. We see Demi Moore’s pregnant cover on Vanity Fair in 1991 being censored and covered from the neck down with paper on most U.S. states’ newstand. We see working artist Katie Murray, who had to exercise on the Gazelle machine to lose baby weight and hold her children and take care of their needs. It’s apparently a polar opposite for women to have a successful career path and be a good mother at the same time. There are long standing debates on whether its right or wrong to breastfeed publicly, formula milk vs breast milk, and feeding on demand vs feeding on the clock.
Angela Zhang, a high School student who devised potential cancer cure that made the headlines in the beginning of 2012, is an example of a positive representation of young women in media and science that I enjoyed. She took home “a check of $100,000 from the national Siemens science contest, and now it has been suggested that her research could lead to a potential cure for cancer.” She began reading on “doctorate level work on bio-engineering when she was a freshman.” By her sophomore year, she was able to work in the labs of Stanford, and by junior year, she was doing her own research. (Perle). “She tested her nanoparticle system on mice, and was thrilled to find that the cancer tumors almost completely disappeared.” “When she’s not working in the lab, Zhang, who is the daughter of Chinese immigrants, is like any typical teenager. She loves shoes, and in her free time, she kayaks, hikes, and reads as much as she can. She said that one of the items on her bucket list is to read every novel on the Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels list.” (Polland)
She appeared on Ted x Teen Talk : https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=jlpf0KgJU6o
Besides talking about the obvious genius, hardworking and determined student that she portrayed, I am very happy about her feature on the Ted Talk, Huffington Post, CBS news, etc. She had received positive media representation on a science and medical research advancement, and her character outside of it. I liked how they stated the fact that she is a typical teenager who loves to have adventures as well as read literature.
Instead of reality TV shows like 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom, why don’t they start producing documentaries and shows about these amazing teenagers or students finding medical cures? Jenelle Evans from Teen Mom 2 “gets paid $75,000 a year and her mom gets paid $65,000: she calls her an overpaid babysitter.” “She also gets a lot of gift cards to places like The Olive Garden from MTV as a bonus payment.”(Hawks). Don’t know why Zhang has only been rewarded $100,000 over a teen reality star for $75,000 a year just to appear on a show because she’s young and pregnant.
It is successful and necessary to have a story similar to Zhang as an alternative to mainstream media source. The role of gender in this story is to represent young women in a positive educational way. I believe the focus on outstanding achievements by girls like Zhang should be more common than the girls in reality TV shows.
Hawks, Asa. “How Much Money Do the Teen Moms Make? New Report – Starcasm.net.” How Much Money Do the Teen Moms Make? New Report – Starcasm.net. N.p., 30 May 2012. Web. 06 Apr. 2014. <http://starcasm.net/archives/158568>.
Perle, Elizabeth. “Angela Zhang, High School Student Devises Potential Cancer Cure.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 15 Jan. 2012. Web. 06 Apr. 2014. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/15/angela-zhang-high-school-_n_1207177.html>.
Polland, Jennifer. “This Brilliant Teen’s Research Could Lead To A Cure For Cancer.” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 10 July 2012. Web. 06 Apr. 2014. <http://www.businessinsider.com/this-teenager-might-cure-cancer-2012-7>.