This 2007 ad from Snickers was one of the most talked about commercials from the 2007 Super Bowl. In the commercial, two male mechanics work under the hood of a car, when one pulls out a Snickers bar and puts it in his mouth. As if in a trance, the second man, overcome with temptation, bites the other end of the bar. The men simultaneously chew on the bar until it is gone and they have inadvertently kissed. To counteract this, they feel they must “do something manly” -- they rip their shirts open and put out chest hair as they let out a primal scream.
This ad is for Mattel's limited edition Moschino Barbie, and opens with a young boy with a mohawk stating, "Moschino Barbie is so fierce!" Moschino is a high-end designer fashion label originating from Italy. This ad resulted in the Moschino Barbies being sold out within a few hours on November 9th 2015. The ad received a lot of positive feedback from people on social media and on media outlets as it was praised for being ground-breaking with a diverse cast, and featuring the first boy to promote Barbie. Although Mattel produced the video, it is not an official advertisement. Jeremy Scott, Moschino designer, was the creative director of the commercial and is passionate about having toys advertised to kids of all genders. This issue hits close to home for Scott as he can relate to his own experiences growing up playing with Barbies, having an interest in fashion, and being bullied and teased for not fitting into socially accepted gender norms of other boys.
That’s Gay ws a recurring segment on Current TV’s satirical news show, infoMania, in which writer and performer Bryan Safi explored issues of gay representation in the news and popular media. In this episode, Safi explores the “gayngel” – an increasingly popular subcategory of the common “gay BFF” stereotype. In reality and scripted television and film alike, a “gayngel” is a gay character whose flamboyant behavior provides badly needed distraction or comic relief to the main characters, but whose personhood aside from that role appears to matter very little.
This trailer is for The Mask You Live In, a 2015 documentary that explores American masculinity. From the creators of Miss Representation, a film that exposed and challenged the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions, this film includes interviews of educators, researchers, and young men talking about how masculinity is constructed, represented, and policed from a young age and throughout adulthood. Contributors to the film discuss how harmful and damaging comments like, “Be a man!” “Grow some balls!” and “Get laid!” can be in shaping how boys and men learn to express or withhold expression of certain emotions like vulnerability, fear, and anger, and highlights the potential isolation and mental health issues that can arise from these gendered restrictions and expectations.
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.