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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mary S. Newman - "Portraying Difference" (Chapter Three) 71-103

Mary Shaw
September 14, 2007
Gender and Pop Culture (WGS220-05)
Newman - "Portraying Difference: Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality in Language and the Media" (Chapter 3, Pages 71-103)

- While society bases difference on things like race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and class, the language we use and the symbols we employ perpetuate and point out these differences in our daily lives (Page 71).

- Symbols, although arbitrary and wholly human created, can have a very powerful affect on our thinking and emotions (Page 72).
- Language is gendered, sexual, racial, and ethnic, meaning it reflects these different aspects of society and changes according to changes within each category (Page 76).
- The media plays a very significant role in the way we look at things, dividing the world into very "us and them" categories, based on race, sex, sexual preferences, and class (white, middle class, heterosexual, middle class males are the most common actors and audiences, yet they are rarely, if ever, scrutinized and torn apart so thoroughly as those who don't fit into these specifications) (Page 87).

- Implied: The author writes to inform people of the way in which symbols and language (most notably those used in the media) promote racism, sexism, and elitism, in the hopes of making people care more and getting rid of the gendered, racial, ethnic, and sexual language.

- Since the act of naming things is what creates a very divided society, we must learn to stop categorizing based on names and start treating all people equally, whether this means helping those who don't get help (ex: those wielding little or no power) or exposing those who remain hidden behind the media and tricks of language (ex: those who run the media and hold a mass amount of power in society) (Page 103).

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