Study finds TV can decrease self esteem in children, except white boys

If you are a white girl, a black girl or a black boy, exposure to today’s electronic media in the long run tends to make you feel worse about yourself. If you’re a white boy, you’ll feel better, according to a new study led by an Indiana University professor.

Nicole Martins, an assistant professor of telecommunications in the IU College of Arts and Sciences, and Kristen Harrison, professor of communication studies at the University of Michigan, also found that black children in their study spent, on average, an extra 10 hours a week watching television.

“We can’t deny the fact that media has an influence when they’re spending most of their time — when they’re not in school — with the television,” Martins said.

Harrison added, “Children who are not doing other things besides watching television cannot help but compare themselves to what they see on the screen.”

Their paper has been published in Communication Research. Martins and Harrison surveyed a group of about 400 black and white pre-adolescent students in communities in the Midwest over a yearlong period. Rather than look at the impact of particular shows or genres, they focused on the correlation between the time in front of the TV and the impact on their self-esteem.

“Regardless of what show you’re watching, if you’re a white male, things in life are pretty good for you,” Martins said of characters on TV. “You tend to be in positions of power, you have prestigious occupations, high education, glamorous houses, a beautiful wife, with very little portrayals of how hard you worked to get there.

“If you are a girl or a woman, what you see is that women on television are not given a variety of roles,” she added. “The roles that they see are pretty simplistic; they’re almost always one-dimensional and focused on the success they have because of how they look, not what they do or what they think or how they got there.

“This sexualization of women presumably leads to this negative impact on girls.”

With regard to black boys, they are often criminalized in many programs, shown as hoodlums and buffoons, and without much variety in the kinds of roles they occupy.

“Young black boys are getting the opposite message: that there is not lots of good things that you can aspire to,” Martins said. “If we think about those kinds of messages, that’s what’s responsible for the impact.

“If we think just about the sheer amount of time they’re spending, and not the messages, these kids are spending so much time with the media that they’re not given a chance to explore other things they’re good at, that could boost their self-esteem.”

Martins said their study counters claims by producers that programs have been progressive in their depictions of under-represented populations. An earlier study co-authored by her and Harrison suggests that video games “are the worst offenders when it comes to representation of ethnicity and gender.”

Other research is starting to show the impacts of other kinds of entertainment sources, such as video games and hand-held devices. It indicates that young people are becoming creative at “media multitasking.”

“Even though these new technologies are becoming more available, kids still spend more time with TV than anything else,” Martins said.

Interestingly, the young people were asked about their consumption of print media, but the results were not statistically significant.

Martins conducted the research while she was completing her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, as part of a larger longitudinal study done with her co-author, Harrison. They sought out certain school districts in Illinois because of their diversity, but African-Americans were the predominant minority group.

Inconceivable!

Reminds me of when I was just a little XtremeCaffeine, and I used to watch TV shows that were aimed for a very different audiences - The Cosby Show, Desmond’s, Sesame Street - just to get my hit of non-white folks on TV.

(Source: sparkamovement, via existentialcrisisfactory)

tigressunlimited:

oofanater:

yet they still go back to that asshole. fuck you!

No, fuck you. If I have to read another one of these bullshit things, I will start kicking and punching everyone like I’m a kid at a hardcore show.
Maybe she isnt interested in “another guy”? Just because they’re friends & he treats her well doesn’t mean she has to drop everything and fuck him because of it. And how the hell would you feel if you found out someone was your friend only because they were hoping to get in your pants? Let’s grow up, people. Damn!

tigressunlimited:

oofanater:

yet they still go back to that asshole. fuck you!

No, fuck you. If I have to read another one of these bullshit things, I will start kicking and punching everyone like I’m a kid at a hardcore show.

Maybe she isnt interested in “another guy”? Just because they’re friends & he treats her well doesn’t mean she has to drop everything and fuck him because of it. And how the hell would you feel if you found out someone was your friend only because they were hoping to get in your pants? Let’s grow up, people. Damn!

(Source: 9gag, via october-eightyeight)

feministsuperpowers:

subconciousevolution:

</patriarchy>

I’M GONNA MAKE IT, I’M GONNA MAKE IT.

feministsuperpowers:

subconciousevolution:

</patriarchy>

I’M GONNA MAKE IT, I’M GONNA MAKE IT.

(via tankgrrrl)

subconciousevolution:

Men are the EMPOWERED majority, yet women are the MAJORITY.

subconciousevolution:

Men are the EMPOWERED majority, yet women are the MAJORITY.

(via musicalsandshityo-deactivated20)

Harry Potter and the Complicated Identity Politics

feminismistheshit:

J.K. Rowling subtly critiques, yet ultimately hews to, a fantasy script dependent on stereotypes culled from real-life racism.

What are the politics of Harry Potter? The rift in the magical world described over the course of J.K. Rowling’s epic pits the young wizard and his companions against the terrorizing, fascistic Lord Voldemort, who seeks to “cleanse” the wizarding community of “mudbloods,” those witches and wizards born into non-magical families. Parallels to the Holocaust and other genocides and apartheid regimes are easy to draw.

[…]

But Rowling’s ideology cannot simply be described as anti-racist, for as strongly as she condemns racially-motivated violence, Harry Potter remains a classic work of fantasy. And fantasy is a literary genre intent, above almost all else, on the reassuring order of classification and categorization, of blood lines and inheritances.

Though we’re meant to abhor Voldemort’s obsession with “pure” blood lines, father-to-son inheritances are crucial to fulfilling Harry’s destiny as savior of the magical community. The “Deathly Hallows” referred to in the title of the seventh book are three medieval magical objects made by pureblood brothers and thought to allow their owners to avoid death. Toward the end of the book, Harry learns he is the rightful heir to one of the hallows and can access the two others as well. So the boy wizard tasked with fighting the pureblood ideology is himself a descendent of one of the most prestigious families in magical history. The plot device is too conventional to be ironic, and fits squarely within the fantasy tradition of ascribing high-born histories to even the most humble heroes. Think of Aragorn in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

Like Tolkien, Rowling depicts a variety of magical species in addition to human wizards. Tolkien unabashedly racialized his magical beings; Tall, pale Elves spoke a beautiful Latinate tongue; little Hobbits were simple, fun-loving, loyal folk; and dark-skinned “southern” human tribes sided in battle with orcs, savage creatures no better than animals.

Rowling’s world isn’t all that different. A magical species called Veelas are high-born, fairy-like creatures who seduce men and possess unnatural, silvery-white beauty. Over the course of the books, the young wizards do learn to respect house elves, a species in slavery to human masters. Yet even in freedom, the elves’ personalities are depicted as fundamentally servile. A rather pathetic elf named Kreacher feels his subordination so keenly that when he fails in tasks assigned to him by Harry, he beats himself to a pulp. We’re meant to feel sorry for Kreacher, but elves have no agency—they owe even their liberation movement to humans.

The position of women in the narrative fits this vision of prescribed social roles and hierarchies. Harry’s heroes—his school headmaster, godfather, and various magical sporting figures—are all men. His dead mother, the Muggle-born Lily, is portrayed as the source of love and sacrifice in his life, while his late father, James, was daring, brash, and heroic. The books do strike some blows against gender stereotypes, portraying brave female warriors, a number of uncommonly cruel and violent female characters, and, of course, Harry’s best friend Hermione, a heroine because of her ability to turn academic acumen into practical magical solutions. But on the whole, Rowling’s wizarding society conforms to boringly conventional gender roles. Dads, like the loveable Mr. Weasley (father of red-headed sidekick Ron), go off to work while steadfast moms stay home cooking, cleaning, and rearing large families. Magical education doesn’t begin until the age of 11, so witches are also tasked with full-time parenting and educational responsibilities over young children, Rowling clarified for a curious reader at her website.

The best window into how Rowling subtly critiques, yet ultimately hews to, a fantasy script dependent on stereotypes culled from real-life racism is the acrimony between humans and goblins, an important plot device in book seven. Goblins in the series are humanoid beings (they can mate with people) skilled at forging metal and protecting valuables. Harry and Ron distrust goblins, but the naïve Hermione reminds them that wizards have been cruel to goblins throughout history, provoking bad behavior from the creatures. Against his better instincts, Harry cuts a deal with the goblin Griphook: In exchange for help in obtaining a magical object deep with a protected vault, Harry will give Griphook a valuable medieval sword he has inherited. But Harry soon learns goblin ideas of ownership are different than human ideas; while people believe they own an object once they pay for it and can pass it to whomever they like, goblins believe a valuable object must be returned to its creator—often a goblin—upon its purchaser’s death. Thus, Griphook steals the sword from Harry without fully upholding his end of the bargain. The ultimate judgment is that whole categories of creatures, even those whose blood is intermingled in the human race, cannot be trusted.

Of course, one could make the argument that Rowling is “color-blind;” her minor characters sport a variety of ethnic names—Anthony Goldstein, Parvati Patil, Cho Chang. But even as Rowling attempts to neutralize race by presenting a diverse cast of young wizards, she creates a world in which some beings are born into stereotypes they cannot overcome and that render them inherently inferior. This is, unfortunately, par for the course in the fantasy genre, in which pretend humanoid species have too often been used as a cover for our reactionary assumptions about different types of real people.

The hierarchical, patriarchal undertones of the fantasy genre will likely be lost on children caught up in Harry’s quest to defeat the evil Lord Voldemort. The series is great fun, and I wouldn’t deny anyone the pleasure of reading these books. But the politics of Harry Potter, while broadly anti-authoritarian, are far more complicated at the level of individual identity, and cannot be described as progressive. Perhaps this is why science fiction is ultimately a more radical genre than fantasy. While fantasy looks backwards for its myths and mores, sci-fi looks forward. So here’s hoping the next J.K. Rowling washes her hands of Tolkien and, perhaps in her next series of books, popularizes Madeline L’Engle instead.

(Source: aliveforalittlewhile)

Keep Your “Chivalry” To Yourself, Please.

mimidigi:

I have been told by some that Feminism is a silly lifestyle to participate in, that it is riddled with hypocrisies.  The specifics have varied, but one of the more interesting ideas is the “chivalry” argument. “You want equal treatment, but you still expect a guy to pay for your meal!” I hear.  Not true.

I do not expect a guy to pay for my meal all the time.  I do sometimes, but it has nothing to do with his sex.  In my opinion, the person who did the asking out should pay.  If a man asks a woman out to dinner, it should be his treat.  If a woman asks a man out, she should pay the bill. I have taken my boyfriend out for coffee, ice cream, lunch, and lots of other awesome dates on numerous occasions and he has done the same for me.  Sometimes we go splitsies because neither of us are really rolling in dough at this point, but that’s always agreed upon beforehand.  Being asked on a date implies that the one asking is “taking you out” and will pay for it, and no one is forcing the man to do the asking. 

I have the same philosophy when buying a drink for someone.  The way I see it, buying someone a drink is a way to spark a conversation.  Something about this person has caught your eye and you’d like to talk to them more, so you buy them a drink.  It’s not a contract, you don’t have to go home with the person, hell, you don’t even have to keep talking to them if it turns out you don’t click well.  I’ve been in a monogamous relationship for a few years now and I have paid for others drinks and have had them bought for me.  If the person offering seems cool, I don’t turn it down, but I don’t let myself believe that I have to do anything more than talk to this person, if even that!  In fact, the first (and only) time I have ever actually slapped someone was on my 21st birthday.  A guy who had bought me a few drinks began insisting that I should want to have sex with him.  I asked why and he said, “I bought you drinks, you have to be attracted to me!”  I slapped him in the face (albeit I was a little tipsy so that may not have been the best approach). So in short, no, I don’t expect anyone to buy me drinks because I am a woman.  If you think I’m cool and want to get to know me better over a drink, awesome.  And if I think you are cool enough for me to dig into my sparse wallet and have a conversation, then I’ll do it.  But none of this has to do with gender.
 
Then there is holding the door open.  I do this for people all the time!  If they have a lot of bags and can’t open the door themselves I will help out.  If someone is just really close behind me and the door would slam in their face if I let it close, I’ll swing it open a little harder so they can scoot in after me without getting hit.  And in the same way, I expect someone to hold the door open for me if I’m burdened with stuff and have a hard time with it on my own.  Once again, nothing to do with gender.  It’s a simple courtesy.
 
I once met someone who really believed in the whole “chivalry” deal.  He stood up when a woman entered the room.  He pulled out chairs for us when we sat down at his table.  He winked at us and called one friend a “clever girl” when we made good points in class.  And guess what?  We hated it.  Absolutely hated it.  It was impossible to discuss  anything with him because he would always dismiss my (and other women’s) arguments with an air of “oh how cute, you’re thinking.”  His misogyny was so hard to combat because he shielded it with the guise of chivalry and politeness.  At one point I thought I might be crazy.  I thought he might just be a nice guy and I was reading into things, so I asked around and everyone agreed with me.  No one liked being treated like they couldn’t handle themselves, or that their well thought out opinions were just adorable because it was being said by someone with the suffix “Ms.” attached to their name.  
 
So to answer those who complain about this perceived hypocrisy among feminists, I expect nothing more from you than simple politeness.  The same politeness you would give to any human being.  I ask that you listen to me when I talk, because I listen.  I expect you to help me out when I’m struggling because I would help you.  Treat me the way that you would want to be treated, not because I’m a woman, but because that’s the right thing to do. 

(Source: marpotish, via stfuetiquetteblogs)