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Obama Family Obsession, The Huxtables, and the Black Image on the Screen by Nordette, on BlogHer. I enjoyed following her links to YouTube clips of "Room 222" and "Julia"!

The Obama win didn't happen just because of a TV show, but it's possible America's acceptance of the Obama family and an African American as President of the United States may be correlated to the image of African Americans changing in fictional media. Our images shifted from slave, mammy, maid, butler, cook, clown, thug, drug-addict, pimp, hooker, rapist, drug dealer, and parasite on both the small and big screen to teacher, police officer, military leader, lawyer, doctor, judge, patriot, hero, and President of the United States.

Our transformation from more negative images to more positive images did not happen accidentally. African-American actors, directors, producers, and professors with the help of sympathetic white professionals in the entertainment industry worked hard to get positive images of African-Americans on the screen, and frequently attempts to present a better image met opposition.
Elsewhere, badgerbag  has suggested starting Reddit, Delicious and other forums/tags/whatever to give more attention to links and sites on the topic of gender and media (including our own). I also had a recent conversation with Melissa Silverstein from Women & Hollywood and some other women I hope will be joining us here about using Twitter, Facebook and other social networking services for the same purpose.

These are good ideas; they're how an awful lot of people have boosted their traffic through the roof, gotten their ideas out and made money if their sites are set up to do so.

LiveJournal pretty much launched Hathor. StumbleUpon has been really good to us, too. We've made the front page of Reddit once, and got 20k visitors in one day. 

As far as I know, the trick with these services is that you need a lot of people reading the recommendations you make. That's where we can help each other.

How about it? Who's willing to work together to form little groups on services like these and help promote our sites and our causes?
I heard a fragment of a discussion recently about whether women are better off fighting for equality on their own, or joining with other marginalized groups. This is something I'd be interested in hearing your views on.

The approach we've taken at Hathor was to narrow our focus to gender in the media, but since many (perhaps even most?) women fall into other marginalized categories (various races, sexual orientations, physical and mental ability levels, socioeconomic classes), it's impossible to truly fight for "women" without including all the groups so many women find themselves members of. We don't focus entire articles on stereotyped portrayals of men, but we do mention male stereotypes when they appear in media we're reviewing for the female characters. And our analysis attempts to include all the "isms" that apply to a particular female character.

What's your philosophy? Your approach?

New people, introduce yourselves!

New people joining us, please feel free to introduce yourself so we can start getting to know each other! 

Hi, I'm Jennifer and...

...I'm a former screenwriter who quit the trade after being advised by professors and industry professionals that my stories had to be about white straight men, and my other characters could be "strong" but not strong enough to distract from the gloriousness of Mr. Whitey. Even if the sheer bigotry hadn't offended me, there was another factor: Mr. Whitey's stories have been done to death! I don't even enjoy watching movies that are all about men and all about white people. Other human beings are fascinating! Variety is the spice of life! 

Screenwriting doesn't actually pay all that well (it can, but not for the majority). I'd pursued it for that remarkable chance to earn my living at something I loved. Under the industry's restrictions, it wasn't fun. I opted to take earn my living in a less stressful field that didn't require me to compromise my values. And then I started blogging reviews of TV and films with regards to their treatment of women and gender at my website, The Hathor Legacy. The site quickly became a group blog, as it turned out many people shared my views passionately enough to write about them.

While we try to keep the site focused on gender in the arts, we do try to include other issues of exclusion (race, orientation, ability, etc.) since obviously those affect many women as well. We share a personal concern not just for bettering women's lot, but for nudging the world closer to truly equal opportunities and rewards for everyone. We try to keep the politics, feminism and academia on the site light, partly so it will be accessible to a wider audience, but also because we want to convey that these are everyday issues that concern everyday people watching their TVs and wondering why there aren't more women they can relate to.

Welcome to Media Women

Women who work in the media (web, TV, books, bloggers, whatever) need to network with each other. Join this community to share ideas, get advice, become acquainted with some wonderful women and keep each other up to date on what we're doing. We only have two rules here: don't be a jerk, and don't share members-only conversations with outsiders.

To join us, you'll need to sign up for a free account with LiveJournal (or OpenID). Then, click here and follow the instructions.  

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