There are plenty of songs where singers (men and women) sing about unrequited love due to the parent(s) not understanding their partner. But there’s an overwhelming amount of songs where it’s the girl’s parents that are the "problem." She either has to runaway from them, sit quietly waiting for her prince to come, or her lover fights with her parents on her behalf. This can be attributed to the long-standing view that women are her parent’s property, only to be sold off as a burden to another man. Women were only valued if they were virgins and chaste, if they ruined that chastity out of wedlock, then they were subject to sever punishment or outcaste from society as a worthless. Thus, a woman’s parents would keep short reigns on their daughters to control her sexuality and their personal freedom. Though we have come a long way from these feudal practices, remnants of seeing women as property of their parents are rampant in today’s pop songs. There's some sort of romantic notion that a parent’s overprotectiveness could somehow equal love, rather than seen as a problem of adultism and sexism. Not to mention, women are only seen as desirable when the answer is no (whether it’s coming from the parents or themselves), which adds to rape culture. It tells others, that when a woman says no, she really means yes, and to chase after her (literally) more than ever.
I’ve been known to despise The Big Bang Theory (BBT). I originally liked it and watched the first 7 seasons with pleasure, but at a certain point, I realized that it was actually making fun of nerds rather than championing them. It also just turned in to Friends except they were “nerds.” However, there is one commendable aspect of the show that I discovered recently. I decided to watch the newest episode of Season 10 and I was surprised at how much the show has changed. Not just the premise and plot, but also how some of the characters and comedy has changed. The laugh track is still annoying, but some characters that I thought would never evolve did, while other stayed the same. The comedy is now more grounded in making jokes about each other rather than racism and sexism (though themes of that still run rampant throughout the show). I think what makes BBT everlasting and a staple in over 19 million viewers lives is how much the actors put into the characters, as well as the writers. Each character has their own profile. There’s no guessing game to who the character is. We know their likes and dislikes, their insecurities, and their strengths.
Can I just say that we’re more comfortable thinking of Jennifer Garner (essentially a 13 year old in a 30 year old body) in a thong than talk about menstruation? We could have taken the opportunity to talk about puberty and what it’s like to be an adult woman, but instead we see her/imagine her in "sexy" underwear? I guess that’s just because women are constantly being seen as sex objects, and periods are “gross.” All women really want to do is wear thongs when they get older, right?
The newest episode of CBS’ sitcom, Superior Donuts, recently aired an episode ridden with jokes about Asian women's' butts and Asian men being “tiny.” All of these jokes were said by the black main character Franco, who of course can’t be racist because he’s black, EH WRONG. Like I keep saying, just because you’re discriminated against doesn’t mean you can’t discriminate yourself. In fact, a lot of people who are underprivileged also have privilege, which blinds them to the fact they too have unconscious bias. Also, like I keep saying, CBS and other major cable networks, as well as Netflix (I’m looking at you Kimmy Schmidt), please STOP THINKING IT’S OKAY TO MAKE ASIAN JOKES. Not to mention Franco wore a Chicago Blackhawks jersey in one episode without making any mention that the Blackhawks logo is racist. Native American people are not your mascots.
A while ago I wrote a blog entry about if you can’t have one with out the other. For example, you can’t have a show about racism, such as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, without fat shaming, sexism, and homophobia. One always needs to compensate for other in order to create “comedy.” And to relieve white male viewers. But for the female viewers, they’re just that much more uncomfortable, unless of course they laugh along with the guys because they’ve internalized the patriarchy so much they don’t realize what’s going on. Anyway, this applies to another show that is much more recent, the ABC show, Speechless.
“I love interacting with Asian people. They’re so wise, knowledgeable, polite.”
CBS doesn’t know how to write east Asian characters, and I’m not even talking about 2 Broke Girls, I’m talking about Superior Donuts. Though I can stand the show, there are some extremely cringe worthy parts. The basic blonde woman, Maya, they use in order to show how our generation is making everything so PC and “difficult.” She’s even used to show how ridiculous fighting for feminism and racial equality is. “Donut holes really symbolize vaginas.” She’s well intentioned and I agree with a lot of what she says (not that quote, but other ones about how it’s sexist to call women “baby” or “honey”). But she’s made to sound so ridiculous and the other characters don’t like her that we in turn are told not to like her. Next, there’s Fawz, who’s an immigrant from Iraq. He’s a pretty solid character, but he too falls into being racist and sexist. But at the same time, he acknowledges that he’s racist, which is good, but he just doesn’t care. There’s also a female chauvinist pig white female cop, a Jewish white donut store owner, and a black male cop, but I wont get into right now. Lastly, there’s Franco, an African American guy who actually gives some really poignant points when it comes to racism and police brutality. And that’s the episode I’m going to talk about today. For all the shows flaws, it does talk about racism when it comes to Arab people and African American people. However, when it comes to Asian American characters the show falls extremely flat.
So, I got into HBO’s Westworld recently by a friend’s recommendation. When I first started watching the show I thought, why choose the Wild West? That’s so random. But as time went on I began to understand the setting more and more.
My mom constantly brings up struggles that people living in impoverished conditions face in order to make the people around her, and herself, feel more grateful for what they and she has. “Whenever you think you have it bad, just think about the people who walk bare foot in carrying heavy logs on their heads in [insert 3rd world country/continent named here]. It really puts things in perspective.” That reminds me of the aphorism parents say, “There’s people starving in Africa, you better finish your food.” My mom (and other people) uses “third world problems” to make her feel better and rid herself of white guilt. It helps her cope with her own “first world problems.”
I’ve written before that I don’t like sitcoms. Mainly because they rely on a laugh track to make unfunny things, funny, and use manipulative music to make you feel things, you’re not actually feeling. Another reason I don’t like them is because they usually get their laughs from stereotypical characters (either racially or by sexuality, or gender), and the jokes are based around these marginalized “others.”
21 year old college senior. English major. Adopted from China as a baby living in the US ever since. Feminist and kill joy with a cause.