Essay Topic:Critical analysis of racial stereotypes in popular culture

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Critical analysis of racial stereotypes in popular culture. For this assignment, you have a choice: you can either focus on stereotypical representations of racially marked female bodies, or you can examine alternative representations of racially marked female bodies. You only need to choose one perspective to write on. Here is what you need to do in both instances:

Choice One: Stereotypical Representations of Racially Marked Female Bodies

Choose a popular culture medium (hip-hop music, or any music video and genre, film, (fashion) magazines, Netflix TV series, etc). Focus on how racially marked female bodies are represented. You do not need to focus on representations of black female bodies; rather you are encouraged to look for stereotypes of other racially marked female bodies (such as Hispanic, Asian, Middle-East, Eastern-European). Write a short critical analysis (3 pages) explaining how and why those representations are stereotypical, and what stories do they tell about those cultures. Here are a few questions you can think of while writing your paper:

  1. How is the racially marked female body represented? Is it sexualized, objectified, reduced to a particular body part?
  2. How is the racially marked woman portrayed or depicted in the context of your chosen medium? Is her identity respected, or degraded by portraying her in hypersexualized tones?
  3. How is the racially marked female body positioned in relation to the other bodies? Male? Female? White?
  4. How are issues of class, privilege, power constructed in relation to your subject?
  5. Does the story of your subject resonate to other stories you see/hear in popular culture or in your everyday life? If yes, what messages does it send? If no, do you think it has the potential to become a trend?

The above questions are just guidelines for your analysis. You can choose to focus on some, or you can even add more to ensure you have a critical analysis of how racially marked female bodies are stereotypically represented in popular culture. Remember to write your analysis in an academic format: namely, with a thesis statement (in which you state your main argument and explain (briefly) how you will develop it; one or two main ideas (from which you can develop others) and a conclusion. If you are using academic articles, make sure you use a consistent citation style (APA, Chicago, MLA throughout your paper. You do not need to use any academic articles, documentaries or critical discussions for this paper, since I am interested more in your interpretation of the chosen subject. Yet I strongly encourage you to also read, whenever possible, any academic material written on your chosen subject or topic, in general. That way, you can have a more informed opinion of your subject.  Please remember to use a formal academic structure: introduction, thesis, main body of argument(s) and conclusion. There is no limit of how many academic sources you can use or list. Any citation style is fine, as long as it is consistently and correctly used throughout the paper. Submit your paper at the end of the week, along with the link, or title of the video, film, etc, used.

Choice 2: Alternative Representations of Racially Marked Female Bodies;
Choose an alternative representation of a racially marked female body (in a medium of your choice: film, photography, or any other visual art, TV series, MTV, etc). You do not need to focus on a black female body; rather you are encouraged to look for other examples of racially marked female bodies (such as Asian, Hispanic, Middle-East etc). Write a short critical analysis (3 pages) of how and why the image chosen offers an alternative representation of the female body. Here are some questions that you might consider while writing your paper:

  1. Who is the artist/writer/producer and what is the context in which the image is represented? Does it matter if the artist /writer/producer is a female or a male? Does his or her race matter?
  2. In what ways does the image represented offer an alternative representation? (Is the woman empowered? Does she take control of her sexuality? Is she allowed to have an identity, to be a subject, rather than an object?)
  3. How are relations of class, power and agency portrayed?
  4. Is that representation in dialogue with a historical, cultural memory, which it tries to open up and reclaim differently?

The questions listed above are just some guidelines you might want to use. You do not need to answer to all of them (or answer to them in any particular order). You can definitely think of others that would enrich your analysis. Remember to write your analysis in an academic format: namely, with a thesis statement (in which you state your main argument and explain (briefly) how you will develop it; one or two main ideas (from which you can develop others) and a conclusion. If you are using academic articles, make sure you use a consistent citation style (APA, Chicago, MLA throughout your paper. You do not need to use any academic articles, documentaries or critical discussions for this paper, since I am interested more in your interpretation of the chosen subject. Yet I strongly encourage you to also read, whenever possible, any academic material written on your chosen subject or topic, in general. That way, you can have a more informed opinion of your subject.  Please remember to use a formal academic structure: introduction, thesis, main body of argument(s) and conclusion. There is no limit of how many academic sources you can use or list.

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