Media tagged Behind the Camera

Shackles of Sex: Stereotypes of Latinas in Film

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"Shackles of Sex: Stereotypes of Latinas in Film and Media" is a short documentary created and directed by Jessica Beltran. It concerns the problem of Latina stereotypes in the media. Beltran singles out the “spitfire,” the “female clown,” and the “dark lady,” as three prevalent Latina stereotypes, and argues that these stereotypes are characterized by negative traits such as hypersexualisation, lack of education or intelligence, and laziness. For Beltran, these stereotypes are problematic as they are negative representations with no actual basis in reality, and they are limiting to Latina actors and Latina women generally. In response to these problems, the documentary suggests that Latinas would like to see themselves reflected in the media through new stereotypes – as intelligent, heroes, bankers, educated. In order to achieve this change, it is suggested that viewers boycott networks they find offensive, as well as learn to be critical viewers of media.

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Simon Cowell - Best Comments

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Simon Cowell is a music executive that has been a judge on reality shows such as American Idol, the X Factor, Pop Idol, and Britain's Got Talent. He is known for being rather nasty (or brutally honest) to contestants on his shows. This clip is a montage that has been put together compiling Simon's snarky comments to contestants during auditions for these shows, making criticisms, often very mean ones, about the singing and talent abilities of these reality TV hopefuls, even once commenting on a woman's large mouth.

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The Last Airbender - Movie Trailer

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The Last Airbender is a live-action adaptation of the popular animated cartoon series Avatar: The Last Airbender. The film quickly gained negative publicity due to the controversial casting of the film’s main characters - white actors were cast in the roles of characters who were Asian in the original animated series. There was a significant backlash among members of the Asian American community and others concerned about the marginalization of Asians in media. The fact that the director of the film, M. Knight Shyamalan, comes from a South Asian heritage, provided an additional layer of complexity to the controversy. 

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This is What Happens When TV Writers’ Rooms Aren’t Diverse

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This 2015 video from Aisha Harris at online news, politics, and culture magazine Slate.com uses scenes from popular U.S. television shows to illustrate how people of color continue to be represented stereotypically and as peripheral minor characters in television shows because the roles and characters written for them are created by predominantly White writers. The video points out a range of stereotypical tropes such as the token minor or first to get killed off Black characters (such as T-Dog in The Walking Dead), or one-dimensional token Black, Latino, or Asian sidekicks (such as Winston in New Girl, or George from Law & Order: SVU), or servants (such as Rosario in Will & Grace, or Sum in Sex and the City) in contrast with complexly portrayed White characters in the same shows. There are also the exotic, sexy Latinas with a foreign accent (such as Gloria in Modern Family), or emasculated Asian male foreigners (such as Raj in The Big Bang Theory or Han in Two Broke Girls) who serve as the comedic relief because of their foreignness, which in turn makes the White characters look better and reinforces that they are what is “normal.” The video also connects these limited and damaging representations with how they affect viewers’ perceptions and behaviors in everyday life. At the end, the video creators argue that while some shows are now getting better at depicting people of color in leading roles (such as Grey’s Anatomy), it is because the writers and producers behind the show reflect diversity and include people who actually know what it’s like to live as a multi-dimensional person of color.  

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Tyra Banks - America's Next Top Mogul

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This clip is an interview with Tyra Banks conducted by ABC News’ Cynthia McFadden. The lead-in to the interview describes Banks’ rise from a one-bedroom apartment in South Central Los Angeles to her current status as a wealthy “supermogul.” Banks’ two personas are introduced: a supportive “self-esteem queen” on her daytime talk show, and a harsh “princess of pretty” on America’s Next Top Model. Banks’ tells of overcoming racism to break into the modeling industry, and proclaims that her mission in life is to expand the definition of beauty. The video shows her dramatically criticizing journalists who made disparaging marks about her weight and deriding a woman for bleaching her own and her children’s skin. Yet at the same time, Banks admits that she always wears a hair weave or wig, and that she has likely been successful in modeling due to her light-skin and “anglo” features.

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