GEND 2217 Media

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Probably most of you have never seen this series, so the premise of Queer Eye is that five gay men, known as the Fab five, make-over a straight man so that he will be more successful professionally and romantically.

A further premise is that these gay men have knowledge and a general concern for beauty, fashion, grooming, home décor and good manners.

The show is further premised on the assumption that—in contrast—straight men have no skills when it comes to beauty, fashion, grooming, home décor and good manners. These assumptions are in keeping with hegemonic masculinity and its attendant ideology (remember, these are “chains of meaning”) that instructs all of us that these are feminine pursuits and that “real men” should have no interest in them. Katz would likely encourage us to be critical of the very limiting depiction of straight men in this series.


Booth argues that the presence of Miles Goff—a young bisexual and trans man—challenges certain assumptions and patterns that regularly appear on the show.

I chose this article, in part, because animated sitcoms are often very queer. For example, in what ways is Stewie on Family Guy depicted as queer?


This short clip from “Homer’s Phobia” will begin to show us some of the characteristics that Padva discusses in the article including camp and gay codes. In terms of depicting and challenging social inequalities “Homer’s Phobia” depicts homophobia in order to playfully challenge such beliefs:

Camp: an appreciation of awfulness, tackiness, exaggeration, over-the-topness, or frivolousness, femininity or “girliness.” Sometimes referred to as “the good taste of bad taste.”

The episode makes elaborate use of phrases and codes that can be easily seen as gay / queer codes:

Bart’s Shirt:
What reads as potentially gay?

Example of queer ambivalence / double coding / polysemic:

Steel mill:

Changing reps: Josh Chan on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Justin (aka J-Smooth) on ANTM

More of the same: Mr. Chow in The Hangover movies


According to Han, how have Asian men been depicted within American gay male culture?

Thoughts? Questions? Comments?  

And Native American women have tended to be represented by Hollywood as:

Cherokee / Sioux actor Valerie Red-Horse said that she was told by a producer that she sounded too “educated” to play a Native American woman. What does this imply?


How does the character of Edward contrast with Jacob?

In keeping with Western fantasies, both desire the white woman.



As Burke writes, “Indianness becomes a product that can be consumed and known, available for cooptation and inhabitation like a costume.”

At music festivals this practice became very popular for a little while:

Example: News media coverage of the Williams sisters drawn from the work of McKay and Johnson (p. 118 of your reader).

In contrast a rare animal reference to white female player was when a journalist wrote the following: “The dying swan [Maria Sharapova] slunk out in her tutu, savaged to death by a giant bird of prey—a Californian condor, if you like” (121). The title said “”Dying swan devoured as giant bird of prey returns” (121). Any comments on this journalist’s characterization?

Russia's Maria Sharapova walks dejected during the ladies singles match against USA's Venus Williams during The All England Lawn Tennis Championship at Wimbledon.


So what are these three base images? And what are their qualities?

The model minority is another ambivalent image that Balance discussed in the article about youtube in our last class and it comes up again in Wang’s article: What is a model minority?

How does the Western characterization of Asian-Americans as “forever foreign” (673) relate to Wallace’s video from last class?

How does Wong play with this assumption in his video response?

“Too Asian”:

I thought that the Top Chef article was interesting because it offered an example where the contestant excels at everything that is valued in the show, yet is supposedly lacking some intangible quality. The judges love French food and techniques above all other. The Vietnamese-American contestant specialized in and excels at French cuisine, yet they critique him week after week for possessing technical perfection, but lacking what?


According to the judges, how should Hung Huynh show that he has this intangible quality? 

How does Huynh integrate the ideology of the American Dream into the finale?

 How might the judges expectations be interpreted as a racialized and even essentialized?

Radway’s research Reading the Romance is outlined on pages 58-68 in your reader.


K/S: Penley, also outlined in part by Jenkins (69-77) in the reader

The activities of these communities of straight women shocked many people who heard about them. Why do you think their activities might be seen as surprising or shocking?


Penley’s work on K/S is a precursor to Melanie E.S. Kohnen’s work on Smallville.

SMALLVILLE (Season 1) Pictured: Tom Welling as Clark Kent, Micheal Rosenbaum Photo Credit: © The WB / David Gray


Example: Melrose Place
Sidenote: Just noticing that two of these actors play moms on contemporary teen TV, specifically Pretty Little Liars and Secret Life of the American Teenager. 

In terms of political economy, how does broadcast television make their money? And if the producer, director, writers and actors created this scene, why do you think the network pulled it at the last minute?
What do you think has changed since the 1990s that means that such controversies are much less common nowadays? Can you connect this to “profit motive”?

Example: Skyfall the movie and Skyfall the song by Adele

Synergy: a conglomerate’s holdings “mutually support one another’s operations” (Croteau, et al., 30). Also, “synergy refers to the dynamic where components of a company work together to produce benefits that would be impossible for a single, separately operated unit of the company” (Croteau, et al., 33).


Jhally traces the history of advertising:

This “’discourse through and about objects’” encourages us to attach cherished values and feelings with products (247).

Example: APTN and challenging the “WD4” rule:


If ideologies are belief systems created by people then people can also change them. Example: the slogan “black is beautiful”

Example: changing representations of trans people