Natural Disasters of the Digital Age: Conclusion

In conclusion I learned a lot more about Hurricane Irma than I knew just from following the daily news when it was occurring. Looking back I feel as if the articles and information being released about Irma that gained a lot of traction were typically numbers such as how many deaths or the amount of monetary damage created by the storm. Those same articles I think drew even more comparison to other hurricanes such as Katrina than articles I read for my individual study. For my individual study I really wanted to look at these individual groups and see how the media portrayed them and how much this portrayal continued after the storm. For some groups such as pet owners I was shockingly surprised to see how little information was available about families evacuating with their animals and how that went over in emergency shelters. The only information I could really find was about their abandonment and subsequent adoption. For this specific group I think the media attention brought needed awareness to a cause but failed to highlight issues that could arise within emergency shelters which was more of what I was interested in learning about since I feel that dynamic is under reported.
For the homeless and elderly groups I found the information relating to them to be very much about bringing up issues but not having an actual resolution. Claims were made for both groups of being treated unfairly or blame put on there care givers but those subgroups then say the blame then falls back on the government due to how they were regulating things such as evacuation plans and how to designate different groups. Overall I think the research I did into families had the most articles wrote about it and tended to offer up feel good news. While the other 3 groups I looked at focused on the abuses they suffered the articles on family mentioned these issues while still showing a happy ending and leaving the reader with hope for others.
I think media coverage helps more than hinders during disasters such as these by bringing awareness to different causes and showing people ways they can help such as by opening up their homes to evacuees or adopting an animal abandoned during the storm. Sadly, I feel like the media does not give the updates that they should and it became difficult to find a lot of information beyond September and it seemed as if few people were still following this story. While I understand the reasoning behind not lingering too long on one topic I think topics such as natural disasters warrant more updates since the issues they left behind will be experienced by many for years and the media can do better in helping the public to remember before we make the same mistakes again.

Natural Disasters of the Digital Age: Families

Probably the most common of those impacted by Hurricane Irma is families. This group can encompass all of the previous groups I have already discussed with their being homeless families, families with elderly grandparents, and families with pets. This is compounded by the fact that families could be dealing with having to evacuate with multiple small children, children with special needs, and all of the groups mentioned above. While travelling in groups can be safer due to everyone working together I can also see the ability for more issues to arise if there are only 2 parents to be responsible for the care of multiple small children, animals, and grandparents. There is also a possibility of separation from your family that can bring additional hardship during these already difficult times.
During my research I found the articles about families to be the most relatable to me and as if they were written differently than articles about the previous groups I have discussed. I also found more mention of disabilities in the articles about families and the difficulties of evacuating when you have small children with illnesses. One article told the story of Latoria McKelvey and her son Evan who has cerebral palsy. She explains how her son can only eat through a feeding tube and need breathing treatments multiple times daily. While at first she was panicked due to being unsure of how she could care for her son during the hurricane she soon was relieved to find that a nearby school was being setup as a center for those with special needs in order to get that part of the population the care they needed (Hassanein, 2017). I think this article did a good job of showing the real life emotional and physical struggles of these storms and is relatable even to those who may not have disabled children because it can still inspire reflection of “what would I do if that was me?” I think these articles really bring to life the seriousness of hurricanes and tend to make people more sympathetic by opening up their minds to helping the cause.
Other mentions of families are the feel good stories put out by many news sites. One example of this was the story of Eugene Connor and Michelle Cox and their 5 year old daughter Cynthia who were located in the US Virgin Islands during Hurricane Irma and were dealing with the flooding of their house when they received a phone call from an unknown number from a man claiming to know their landlords and be able to help. The man, John Parr, drove through the storm with heavy rainy and winds so strong they blew over trees in order to help the family evacuate. While the family was thankful for the help they now have to deal with the issue of rebuilding their lives while also having troubles obtaining basic needs such as food and water in this destroyed areas (WTVR 1, 2017).
Continuing on the concept of a feel good article there are also people who have had experiences with other natural disasters such as hurricanes and remember what it was like for them during that time. They have sympathy for others struggling with these issues and take it upon themselves to try and mitigate those problems. I found this in the form of an article where they interviewed multiple people who were housing displaced families due to Hurricane Irma. Some of them used a Facebook group called “Hurricane Irma Lodging for Evacuees” in order to advertise their homes to those in need. Many of those in the article discuss how they lived through disasters such as Hurricane Katrina or they were veterans of the Gulf War and could relate to that want for survival (WTVR 2, 2017). The article also discusses how people would open up their homes to not just the families but also their animals. This article was originally posted September 7th, 2017 during the storm so it could have been used as a tool by other evacuees to see the options available to them and bring awareness to those who were able to house evacuees of a way that they could.

Sources:
Hassanein, N. (2017, September 10). Fleeing Hurricane Irma: A special needs family, and a survivor of Katrina and Harvey. Retrieved December 4, 2017, from
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/09/09/fleeing-hurricane-irma-special-needs-family-and-survivor-katrina-and-harvey/650499001/

Stranger risks life to rescue family during Hurricane Irma: ‘We would’ve been dead’. (2017, September 16). Retrieved December 4, 2017, from
http://wtvr.com/2017/09/16/eugene-connor-saved-st-thomas-us-virgin-islands-hurricane-irma/
http://wtvr.com/2017/09/07/people-across-country-open-their-doors-to-hurricane-irma-evacuees/

People across country open their doors to Hurricane Irma evacuees. (2017, September 07). Retrieved December 4, 2017, from
http://wtvr.com/2017/09/07/people-across-country-open-their-doors-to-hurricane-irma-evacuees/

Natural Disasters of the Digital Age: Pets and Pet Owners

Pet owners during natural disasters such as hurricanes I find to be some of the most controversial of topics and typically have a decent amount of coverage ever since Hurricane Katrina in 2004 in which many people chose to stay behind for reasons such as the inability to take their pets to emergency shelters with them. I myself own a Shetland sheepdog and would find it incredibly difficult to leave him behind to suffer and possibly die to a hurricane while I myself escaped. While many people feel the same way I do and could not imagine leaving a pet behind to save themselves and would try to find different accommodations, others may not have the ability to take their pets with them or may not care enough to try. As with my 2 previous entries on the homeless and elderly, people sometimes must be reliant upon others to help them, and difficult decisions will have to be made in order to keep them safe, but this time it may not be humans that need saving instead it is your pet. In my personal experience I have heard multiple points of view what to do with your animals, specifically dogs, during a disaster. These range from “leave them behind, save resources for real people not animals” to “I can’t leave them behind they’re a part of my family.”
Due to this conflict I often see especially in posts and comments by everyday people on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, I was genuinely shocked to find very few articles discussing pet owners and the issues they face during the storm. Many of the articles I did find were related more to the abandonment of dogs and what happens with them afterwards. Specifically in Tampa Bay, Florida the SPCA took in more than 80 dogs, cats, and other animals during the time surrounding the hurricane while also evacuating over 50 animals in their facilities to other facilities in order to accommodate the surge in animals (Allred, 2017).
While many animals were abandoned at shelters, others were abandoned in their own yards tie to trees and unable to escape the flooding. Authorities claimed to possibly be pursuing felony charges against those in Florida who left their dogs chained up and abandoned (Rossman, 2017). After I read this article I could find no other mention of charges being brought up that were not from initial articles written in September so I could not find if anyone was ever charged. While no one may have been charged for leaving their animals behind, some animals rescued during Hurricane Irma have a chance in a new loving home. Most of the articles written about pets revolve around agencies in which you can adopt and animal that was abandoned during Irma. These animals are being transported as far away as Massachusetts to animal shelters to in hope be given to loving homes. This includes 30 dogs and 70 cats (Hager, 2017). While this specific article is from September I have seen articles through November talking about adoption so the media may not be covering the story of animals fully but they are using their ability to reach wide audiences in order to have these animals adopted.
Sources:
Allred, A. (2017, September 15). SPCA reunites animals with pet owners after Hurricane Irma. Retrieved December 3, 2017, from
SPCA reunites animals with pet owners after Hurricane Irma
Rossman, S. (2017, September 11). Dozens of dogs abandoned, left unable to escape as Irma bears down. Retrieved December 3, 2017, from
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/09/10/dozens-dogs-abandoned-left-unable-escape-irma-bears-down/651030001/
Hager, C. (2017, September 14). Pets Displaced By Hurricane Irma Ready For New Homes In Massachusetts. Retrieved December 3, 2017, from
Pets Displaced By Hurricane Irma Ready For New Homes In Massachusetts

Natural Disasters of the Digital Age: Elderly

The elderly have long been a prominent talking point when discussing those living through natural disasters such as hurricanes and Hurricane Irma is no exception. As the elderly often need assistance to do daily tasks, they have physical ailments, and they can be more susceptible to sickness and the heat it is no wonder that often times the elderly often reported to have died during hurricanes. I vividly remember Hurricane Katrina and the devastation the storm left while most victims to the storm being the elderly who are unable to evacuate on their own. Due to not being able to evacuate themselves their safety is very much in the hands of their caretakers but do they also make the right decisions? If the time comes and they realize they chose wrong, is it too late?
During Hurricane Irma the elderly continued to be one of the most covered topics due to previous hurricanes and the catastrophe that resulted from them. Florida was the location to take the brunt of Hurricane Irma is made worse due to the fact that 1 in 5 people in Florida are aged 65 or older. Due to this it adds more pressure to relief efforts such as in regards to health care since the elderly are more likely to need assistance and with such as high population it could create a strain on the system (Santora, 2017). Hurricane Irma sadly was the end for some of the elderly of Florida Hurricane Irma produced flooding and led to power outages that lasted for days. For groups such as the elderly that may be in nursing homes and need 24/7 care or are sickly are reliant upon having those amenities such as electricity and when they lose them things can take a turn for the worse. With storms like Irma places such as nursing homes may be told their structure is good enough they don’t have to evacuate all of their patients but sometimes they realize too late they are not as safe as they thought.
This can be seen within a nursing home in Naples, Florida after Hurricane Irma. 8 patients died under their care after they lost electricity. The nursing home claims they made multiple 911 calls for help, attempted to fix their electricity, and followed and emergency plan. Regardless, their license was revoked by the AHCA due to failure to keep their patients safe (Sarkissian, 2017). Articles such as these bring to light the issues that those who are responsible for others wellbeing must face. In this instance it is hard to know without further investigation if fault lies within jus the nursing home for being reckless or on the state who was not able to provide that relief in a timely enough manner to safe lives. By these being discussed in the media I believe it allows the reader to see multiple points of view and realize the issues experienced during these disasters do not always have an easy path to follow while people also try to make sure it never happens again.
Months after Hurricane Irma hit, issues being dealt with by the elderly are still mentioned in the media. State and federal officials have created a program to give food stamps to the elderly and disabled who do not typically qualify for these services. While it is good in that these services are available the article argues that in order to receive these food stamps the elderly and disabled would have to stand in lines that are hours long (Swisher, 2017). I find this article to be a good example of the media where you have to portray both sides and neither is completely wrong or right but it opens up discussion on how situations as these can be resolved in the future and make the process as efficient as possible.
Sources
Sarkissian, A. (2017, September 20). Irma nursing home deaths: Owner rips Florida move to stop Medicaid, ban patients. Retrieved December 2, 2017, from
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/09/20/irma-nursing-home-deaths-owner-rips-florida-move-stop-medicaid-ban-patients/687438001/
Santora, M., & Fountain, H. (2017, September 08). Long a Refuge for the Elderly, Florida Is Now a Place of Danger. Retrieved December 2, 2017, from

Swisher, S. (2017, November 05). State officials seeking alternatives for elderly, disabled needing Hurricane Irma food stamps. Retrieved December 02, 2017, from
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/florida/fl-reg-food-stamp-changes-20171103-story.html

Natural Disasters of the Digital Age: Homeless

The homeless are a part of our society that I feel many wish to push to the side and pretend as if they don’t exist. It is during natural disasters, such as Hurricane Irma and subsequent hurricanes, that we are met with ethical questions such as what level of interference we have on those that are reliant upon public spaces and services such as homeless shelters and what control we have over their actions in these spaces. Clearly staying in your car or on the streets during a hurricane is not a safe option due to flooding and moving debris. This is made even more dangerous when it is not just grown adults but young children who may not be able to swim or if they can they will probably not be able to withstand such strong currents. If you have a private residence and choose to stay there during a storm it is unlikely public officials would know and make you leave. But if you are on the streets or in your car it is much more apparent and those public officials such as police officers need to decide what duty they have to these people.
The best example of homeless people portrayed in the media during Hurricane Irma was related to many homeless being detained by police officers against their will. This took place in Miami, Florida and is legally allowed under Florida’s Mental Health Act of 1971 as described in an article by the Huffington Post that allows for, “ police and government officials to involuntarily detain individuals who may have a mental illness or could pose a significant threat to themselves or others. The law requires “clear and convincing evidence” that individuals detained under it are in danger,” (Waldron, 2017). The article also describes how they are allowed to be detained for up to 72 hours but any time beyond that must be court ordered. This law was used to detain 6 homeless people and get them off of the streets prior to the hurricane hitting. Before anyone was actually detained, police and non profit groups scoured the city going to known homeless locations in an effort to get the more than 1,100 homeless off the streets and into designated storm shelters. Ultimately these groups brought more than 500 people in while leaving the other 600 unaccounted for due to time restraints and the hurricane quickly approaching though it is likely they found some kind of shelter themselves (Waldron, 2017).
While the previous instance and the article about it paint officials in a good light and show them trying to help the community, officials in other parts of Florida did not deal with the situation in the same way. In other parts of Florida such as in St. Augustine the media has brought to light ways in which the homeless were treated unfairly during Hurricane Irma. While in the previous article the officers did what they did in order to save lives here it is not to clean cut. Here it is claimed that when a homeless woman named Shelby Hoogendyk went with her husband and 17-month-old child to a hurricane shelter they were forced to wear yellow wrists bands indicating they were homeless while also being separated from those that were not homeless. The article paints a much different picture of homeless in Florida during Hurricane Irma and describes how many homeless “were turned away, segregated from the others, denied cots and food, deprived of medication refills and doctors’ visits, or otherwise ill-treated during the evacuation” (Dearen, 2017). The claims were refuted by the county sheriff who stated there was no discrimination and yellow bands were used to differentiate between those with special needs and those without though Hoogendyk and other homeless say that they never claimed to have special needs.
While both of these articles were written in September near the time of Hurricane Irma I looked to see if the media was still covering issues faced by homeless due to Hurricane Irma. I found uplifting news about the creation of tiny houses to be used in order to help with the homeless after Hurricane Irma. The idea for these houses originally came after seeing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and they are being marketed as a cheaper option than trailers to FEMA (Wadlow, 2017). While the article may not go into specific details about the life of homeless after the hurricane you can see that the media is still following the story and showing possible solutions to a problem while also allowing for peoples voices, such as Hoogendyk, to be heard.

Sources
Kennedy, J. D. (2017, September 29). Yellow wristbands, segregation for Florida homeless in Irma. Retrieved December 01, 2017, from https://www.yahoo.com/news/yellow-wristbands-segregation-florida-homeless-irma-150556939.html

Waldron, T., & Murdock, S. (2017, September 13). Ahead Of Hurricane Irma, Miami Detained Homeless People Against Their Will. Retrieved December 01, 2017, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/miami-detains-homeless-irma_us_59b7f7e8e4b031cc65ccf70b

Wadlow, K. (2017, October 22). Could these tiny houses -and we mean tiny – house the hurricane homeless? Retrieved December 01, 2017, from http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/florida-keys/article180276711.html

Natural Disasters of the Digital Age: Introduction

For my individual study I will be looking at the recent natural disaster, Hurricane Irma and the subsequent hurricanes Jose, Katia, and Maria. When analyzing these events I will be looking specifically at two factors: how the storm is portrayed in the media over time and how people living through the storms are themselves portrayed in the media and how living through a natural disaster in the digital age plays out amongst different subgroups. My specific focus will be on how the hurricanes impacted the United States with some mention of other areas hit. The subgroups I will be analyzing are: children and their parents, the homeless, pet owners, parents of small children, and the elderly. I picked these groups because I think they are common groups to be portrayed in the media during natural disasters and there will be a lot of information regarding them.
For the main part of my individual study I will be researching the different subgroups listed above and their relation with the media. For the entries I will do research into each of these subgroups and collect data on them then analyze it. I want to look specifically at how each group is portrayed by the media during this storm, how the portrayal continues after the storm is over, and looking at previous storms for more context. Once I have analyzed the information I will write about 3 to 5 paragraphs on each group during this storm. For each entry I will use at least 3 sources to guarantee a variety of portrayal.
At the end of my individual study I will write a brief reflection of 3 to 5 paragraphs discussing what I have learned from my research. I hypothesize that the most sources will be from the days during and immediately after the disaster with few follow-ups months later. I think this is an important topic to look into because media has become such a large part of our lives and I think it has created a population that is very much about quick information and what is ‘cool’ at the time then forgetting about those same issues later. I think it is very easy to care about what happens to someone immediately after a tragic event, such as hurricane, but I think it is difficult for many people to continuously care for months afterwards and help. I think looking into how different groups of people are treated and portrayed in the media after these disasters lends a more personal feel to the paper

Morgan’s World: The Reflection

When I started off with this project I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do and if there was really anything in the 90s teenage girl category that I would find entertaining while also being able to find a lot of information on. After thinking about topics such as Pokemon and video games I eventually decided on the concept of “Television and the 90s Chick.” I thought with this idea I could go back and look at some of my favorite television shows growing up and analyze them in ways I never did when I was younger while also including some shows I had never even heard of before until the Console Living Room meetings. Over the course of this semester I analyzed 13 different 90s television shows by watching either full episodes or clips depending on what I could find that was streaming for free or that I already had access too such as through Netflix and Hulu. I also wrote a paper though at the time that I am writing this reflection it is not completely done.
Some issues I encountered during the semester included finding good clips/episodes of all of the shows. Since I was running a blog I wanted the videos to be easily accessible to those reading my blog and I also didn’t want to download episodes such as through PirateBay. I was originally going to provide television shows to run on the TV in the Console Living Room but due to issues with that not working I didn’t do that. I had nothing else to provide to the physical room so all of my work was done digitally. For some of the television shows I looked at I didn’t find a lot that I thought was applicable to the research I was doing and towards the end I started to think about what other shows I could’ve done that may have been more cohesive. Looking back on my blogs I found All That and Clarissa Explains it All to be the most boring that I looked at and offered the least amount of incite when looking at both the show and scholarly articles on the show. I originally included those shows because they had been suggested to me and I had seen them on lists of popular 90s shows but they didn’t add much to my research. After analyzing shows such as Buffy, the Vampire Slayer I started to see a lot of references to Xena: Warrior Princess and I thought to myself “why didn’t I do this show? I loved this show as a kid.” So if I were to go back and do it again I would update the list to fit more of the girl power, feminist narrative my blog posts started to fall into towards the end.
In regards to the scholarly articles, I found a lot of good sources for what I was talking about. I hadn’t realized prior to this semester how much work had been done on 90s television specifically on girl power and feminism in shows such as The Powerpuff Girls, Charmed, and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. I was also interested to find articles that claimed shows such as Sabrina the Teenage Witch helped to subordinate other women since I had never even thought about it in that way.
Writing my paper so far has been surprisingly easy since by doing the blogposts I found a lot of sources that meshed well together. I also started to really think about what I specifically wanted my final paper to be on while I was doing the blogs so it helped to shape my point of view and help me look for parts that would fit in well. For my final paper I am discussing everything I learned through my analysis and showing what previous research has to say in regards to the influence television had on girls in the 90s such as through girl power and dealing with serious issues to help educate the viewer. For my paper I am not using all of the shows due to the fact it would be too long and I wanted to only use the shows that were the most cohesive. As of now the paper is mainly focusing on Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, The Powerpuff Girls, Sex and the City, Charmed, and Beverly Hills, 90210 since all of these shows had a strong focus on girl power and dealing with issues relevant to viewers.

Morgan’s World: The Final Paper

When many of us think of 1990s television we are filled with nostalgia for the past, millennials longing for a childhood that no longer exists. Television shows such as The Powerpuff Girls, Sister, Sister, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer bring back memories of wanting to be witches, have superpowers, or find a long lost twin. But what else did these TV shows teach us as we grew older? In this essay I will be analyzing the popular 90s television shows mentioned above while also including other hits of the 90s such as Sex and the City, Charmed, and Beverly Hills, 90210. During my analysis I will be looking at trends such as girl power, feminism, and how these shows taught lessons through their storylines. By looking at all of this I plan to see how 90s television shaped the generation that watched them while having a specific focus on girls who watched these shows. Some questions I plan to answer are: Did 90s television aim to impact a certain demographic? What was their intended impact? Was this impact successful? What part did feminism play in 1990s television? What kind of issues were commonly discussed in 90s television and why? Can we trace the impact that 1990s television left to current society?
When originally given the constraints of 1990s teenage girl I wondered: “what topic can I do that will be interesting but also have a considerable amount of resources available?” While I am no longer a big fan of classic, cable television due to the creation of streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube that give a more personalized experience I was a big fan of a cable television during my youth. Many of the shows discussed in my research were shows I watched growing up in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Prior to this paper I ran a blog in which I analyzed 13 different 90s television shows by watching episodes/clips available on YouTube or Hulu with one show a week. During this time I discovered many concepts and sources that I had not known about prior to this project so I started formulate ideas during this process of my research. Currently I have 13 blog entries with each one being about a different television show that is approximately 500 words long so I will be building off of that original research in this paper.
As I started to look for different literature about popular 90s television I found many that encompassed the general ideas of the new normal, feminism, and life lessons/morals to be learned. The first show I analyzed that I found an appropriate application to everyday life and realism was Sister, Sister. In TGIF: Thank Goodness It’s Family: Family Messages in ABC’s 1990s Friday Night Lineup by Kourtney Hanna Smith she first introduced me to the idea of Third Wave Feminism Movement and its influence on 90s television and culture by using Sister, Sister as one of her main examples. In this article Third Wave Feminism is described as, “Third wave feminists were urged to take on feminism in a new way in with themes of inclusion, multiplicity [of diversity in the forms of race, class and sexual orientation], contradiction, and everyday feminism,” (Smith, 2015). The author also puts into perspective the necessity for studying television,” Collectively, television family relations are purposive, that is, they achieve outcomes expected of families such as limitation and resolution of conflict, successful socialization of children, and effective management of day-to-day life. However, such portrayals of family life can be misleading, causing unrealistic positive or negative views of how family life functions or how the world works. Inaccurate depictions in fictional television programs can shape cultural views of the world. Because of these inaccurate fictional portrayals, research is necessary to study television’s effects on human thoughts and behaviors,” (Smith, 2015). This inaccuracy of portrayal and the need for accurate portrayal places the need for realism and different points of view to be important parts of television. This is applied to Sister, Sister through the use of realistic problems teenagers might have and the author describes, “Many of the themes and lessons in Sister, Sister’s early episodes deal with adolescence trials and tribulations. Physical appearance and dating woes dominate the girls concerns, from needing dates for the school dance, to being afraid of having a pimple.,” (Smith, 2015)). Real life issues such as these make the show relatable to everyday girls who are watching at home and can then see the process of events after Tia or Tamera respond to the event. This can be used as a learning strategy for young viewers by analyzing what they are watching subconsciously.
Other literature included discussion on Sex and the City in Sex and the City: A Postfeminist Point of View? Or How Popular Culture Functions as a Channel for Feminist Discourse by Fien Adrians and Sofie Van Bauwel. The description of feminism in television is continued in a more adult show. Here the author notes that the original creators never intended for Sex and the City as a feminist but that in both academic and media formats it has evolved to represent contemporary feminist ideals. This reading specifically places Sex and the City in the postfeminism era that is described in different ways with some finding it to be a marketing technique done to suck women in to buying what the seller is selling through empowerment while others claim that it is meant to be a balance between feminism and femininity (Adriaens and Van Bauwel, 2011).). The authors support that Sex and the City falls under the second claim and that it blends together feminism and femininity in an interesting way for audiences. Aspects of postfeminism such as consumer culture are a common trend in Sex and the City with it being described in the show as, “By consuming, the female protagonists develop their identity. Public citizenship is constructed through the notion of woman as shopping citizen. Not only goods and services are consumed; men can also be situated within this process of commodification. Men are presented as consumption goods for women to buy, consider, fit and return (when not considered useful),” (Adriaens and Van Bauwel, 2011).). When looking at trends such consumerism in television shows it brings us to ask ourselves, “to what extent does the viewer pick up on it and does it change their habits or ideals?”
While I have discussed literature on realism and feminism as tools in television I now move on to intentional live lessons. The best example of this is Beverly Hills, 90210. During my early analysis of this show I assumed it to be very vapid and superficial but as I did research and watched it myself I soon found that it offered advice to the audience on how to deal with serious, real life problems such as sexual assault and economic status. As I started doing research on this show I quickly found a quote by the creators of the show a quote from Aaron Spelling that says, “We have a sign up here that says when you do issues, and God knows we did forty-one issues on 90210 alone, ‘Don’t preach, teach.’ Say things in a way that young people understand them,” and another quote from producers of the show was, “We hope that we can have some impact a) to entertain, and b) when its over to get them [teens] to think about what they have seen, for maybe about five seconds. That was always our goal, just five seconds. And the fact is, it seems that our impact is a little longer than that,” (Magee, 2014). These quotes put the whole show into a different perspective for me. Shows such as Sex and the City did not intentionally include feminist dialogue yet had them anywhere but Beverly Hills, 90210 intentionally put specific storylines, dialogue, and events into their show with the hopes of impacting their audience. Because they did this it allows for more inspection of the reasoning and I think also offers a stronger impact to the resulting media since they created it with specific intentions in mind unlike Sex and the City where things can be found but were not always done intentionally.
For the main part of my analysis I will be combining previous literature on the subject of feminism, life lessons through media, and realism through media along with trends found on scholarly sources about these television shows and my own viewing of the television shows. This is very much what I previously did for my blog posts but more concise and with those three specific points in mind. The shows I analyzed for my blog were Full House, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Friends, Sister, Sister, Saved by the Bell, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Beverly Hills, 90210, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Clarissa Explains it All, All That, The Powerpuff Girls, Sex and the City, and Charmed in that order. While all of these shows had an impact on society for this analysis I am interested in those that deal with feminism, life lessons in media, and pieces of realism in media the most since they are the most common trends among them and also have the strongest impact on female viewers. Because of this I will be mainly focusing on Sister, Sister for its realism, The Powerpuff Girls, Sex and the City, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer for their feminist messages, and Beverly Hills, 90210 for life lessons and morals that can be learned from watching show though this part can also be seen in the analysis of the other shows..
To start off my analysis I will be looking at realism and the attempt for television to be as encompassing of reality as possible and I will be looking at the show Sister, Sister and the possible impacts this can have on an audience. In Sister, Sister we see, “traditional family values of love, friendship, togetherness, and instilling the importance of hard work and education in children,” (Smith, 2015). The concept of family and love is pervasive among television aimed toward a younger, family friendly demographic. Sister, Sister uses this preconceived notion to shift away from the norm of a nuclear family to allow room for blended families such as the one featured in the show to also be considered normal among viewers. This is used as an example to show the viewers that even though they may not have a family that is the typical mother, father, and children setup that it can still be a loving, normal family. This concept can also be applied to shows such as Full House that deal with the struggle after losing a spouse and features three grown men trying to raise three little girls after the death of their mother. By television providers producing shows that deviate from the norm it broadens what is considered normal in both television and real life.
Moving onto feminism in 90s television I will be first looking at Sex and the City. As I previously mentioned postfeminism was not intentionally added into the show but is a theme among it nonetheless. The show focuses on the career goals and romantic relationships of four women living in New York City. I previously mentioned consumption as a trend among postfeminism. In Sex and the City the women consume men in a similar fashion that many say men consume women: with little regard to the relationship toward sex. In the show, “Women are thus allowed to use men to fulfill their needs and desires. Although consumption seems to be an important topic, it is often mocked and represented with a little irony. This ambivalence and contradiction is typical for postfeminism (that is, situated within the postmodern tradition),” (Adriaens and Van Bauwel, 2011). ). Another aspect that is notable in Sex and the City while also playing a large part in other television is fashion, “Phenomena such as The Spice Girls and Madonna prove that fashion can be a symbol of power and a source of pleasure: Dressing up equals fun, fun equals empowerment’. The process of getting power by means of the body, the image or fashion, is often called “fashion feminism.” Sex and the City offers a lot of attention to fashion and fashion articles. References are numerous: Valducci, Gucci, Dior, Prada, Boss, etc. Fashion and the act of shopping in general are represented as funny. Characters receive power for their fashion sensitivity, the power ‘‘lesbian’’ for example: ‘”The power lesbians, they have it all, great shoes, killer eyewear and invisible makeup.” Identity is acquired through fashion,” (Adriaens and Van Bauwel, 2011). While some forms of feminism claim that femininity is in direct opposition of feminism, Sex and the City shows that they can coexist especially in the form of fashion. Fashion is used as a form of empowerment to women and postfeminism allows women the choice to be who they want to be. This is expressed in Sex and the City through consumption and fashion but also the strong women it is based upon. This example helps to show women viewers that their value is not intrinsically based upon their sex lives and that they can be as free as the men depicted in the show are and it shows how lesbians are seen as powerful without a man and are something to aspire towards.
Next up is The Powerpuff Girls, while vastly different from Sex and the City in regards to the demographic they are appealing to and the storylines, they are both remarked as feminist works. Girl power is a common theme in the show, “The Powerpuff Girls occupy a space more closely related to the “contested terrain” of Riot Grrl third-wave feminism because they reclaim and reinvent girlhood by insisting on the simultaneity of femininity and power. They are indeed cute little girls and do all the things that little girls are “supposed” to do, but they also repeatedly demonstrate more physical and mental strength than all of the men and almost all of the women on the show. They must negotiate between their opposing identities as little girls and superheroes, and they do so fairly well—most of the time at least. But it is in these difficult moments that they most clearly gesture toward the contested and transformative space of feminist agency,” (Hager, 2008). It is through this approach of non-sexualized, strong girls that the show is creating the idea of girl power to their audience. Since this show was most popular among a younger demographic it gave children the chance to see females be seen as strong and relevant members of society while still having girlish, cute tendencies showing that they do not need to be like males to have those characteristics.
The final show to look at for feminist trends is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy is often considered the iconic woman warrior of 90s television, paving the way for future generations of strong females. This show was created specifically for womens empowerment, “Whedon’s Buffy character first appeared in the 1992 high-camp film, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, reflecting both the screenwriter’s attraction to gothic horror stories and film and his anger at the omnipresent reality of male violence against women: “This movie was my response to all the horror movies I had ever seen where some girl walks into a dark room and gets killed. So I decided to make a movie where a blonde girl walks into a dark room and kicks butt instead.” While Whedon and executive producer of the TV series, Gail Berman, see their program as supplying role models for young women, Whedon is also attempting to reach young men: “If I can make teenage boys comfortable with a girl who takes charge of a situation without their knowing that’s what’s happening,” Whedon insists, “it’s better than sitting down and selling them on feminism,” (Early, 2001). While he is not directly saying Buffy is a feminist show it is implied through is comparison between watching a TV show about a strong woman or being schooled on feminism. Buffy is a great example of feminist ideas being displayed in television for consumption by both girls and boys. The girls become more comfortable with the idea of being strong, independent women and the boys become more comfortable with women and do not feel threatened. I think Buffy is one of the prime example of 90s television that aimed to raise of women and making it a norm in our society.
The final show I will be analyzing is Beverly Hills, 90210 for its aim to help viewers intentionally. This is also a trait that can be seen in Buffy the Vampire Slayer since both creators made decisions during the creation and run of the show to give the show substance and application into everyday life through empowerment and advice. While I have previously mentioned the way in which Beverly Hills, 90201 wanted to speak to its audience instead of preach at them with the content it showed, during the creation of it writer Darren Star, “remembered the network asking him to write “a high school show that had never been done before. It had to be honest and thoughtful and treat its characters with respect. There have been shows in that vein on TV about cops, about doctors, about lawyers—about everybody but teenagers,” (Magee, 2014). It is through this show that an attempt can be made to breach the gap between teenagers and adults and speak with them about issues such as sexual assault and teen pregnancy in a way that is nonjudgmental and allows the teens to learn from characters on a TV show. Television such as this was created with the intention to fill these gaps and probably helped many young teenagers out, especially teenage girls, who were dealing with these issues at the time and did not know how to deal with them. Shows such as this give an example of a path that can be taken by viewers while also working as a moral compass for the viewer when looking at the show but also real life.
In conclusion, I did not find quantitative data that showed the impact that 90s television had on society but that was not really what I aimed to do. Through analyzing these shows I was able to discover how feminism played a part in their development and viewing while also looking at other aspects such as making television more relatable to the viewer by showing real life situations and by addressing controversial issues to help guide the viewer if they ever come across them themselves. My viewing and analysis of these shows makes me believe that they were successful in trying to educate the public and empower women. Many girls during the 90s had strong, free females to look up to ranging from the cast of Sex and the City to The Powerpuff Girls thus creating a passage for females of all ages to view content that empowered them. Postfeminism is a common theme in many of these shows and can be seen still developing in society today possibly due the media consumed by girls of yesterday.

Sources
1. Smith, Kourtney Hanna. TGIF: Thank goodness it’s family: Family messages in ABC’s 1990s Friday night lineup. Thesis. Middle Tennessee State University, 2015.
2. Hager, Lisa. “”Saving the World Before Bedtime”: The Powerpuff Girls, Citizenship, and the Little Girl Superhero.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 33.1 (2008): 62-78. Project Muse Web. 26 Apr. 2017.
3. Adriaens, Fien, and Sofie Van Bauwel. “Sex and the City: A Postfeminist Point of View? Or How Popular Culture Functions as a Channel for Feminist Discourse.” The Journal of Popular Culture 47.1 (2011): 174-95. Wiley Online Library. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.
4. Early, Francis H. “Staking Her Claim: Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Transgressive Woman Warrior.” The Journal of Popular Culture 35.3 (2001): 11-27. Wiley Online Library. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.
5. Magee, Sara. “High School is Hell: The TV Legacy of Beverly Hills, 90210, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” The Journal of Popular Culture 47.4 (2014): 877-94. Wiley Online Library. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

Charmed to meet you

We’re finally on the last blog post of analyzing 90s television and I’m charmed to say that my last blog is on one of my families favorite shows ever: Charmed. Here we have another television show that only caught the tail end of the 90s with it running from 1998 to 2006. This is another show that is a little different from the line of children and teen shows I have previously featured but adult oriented shows also have great influence on teens and that holds true for the 90s. For those who aren’t familiar with this show it is similar to Sabrina, the Teenage Witch in that it revolves around a family of female witches living in the human world. I’ve found during my analysis that shows geared toward audiences that are late teens and up such as Beverly Hills, 90210 and Sex and the City include much more serious issues in them that aim to help their viewer while shows such as Sister, Sister deal with gentler issues such as internet safety. I find that holds true for Charmed as well in which it deals with death of family members, anxiety and isolation, and raising children.
The scholarly article I looked for this blog was Why Teen Television Appeals to Women by Rebecca Feasey. In this article she analyzes the demographics most popular with Charmed (16-34 year old women) and how it is most popular among a mature audience. She also notes common trends in the show such as that sisterly bonding is the main focus when in many other shows it focuses on the alone female or the female with her male love interest but here female family is the strongest bond of all. The author also discusses similarities to Sex and the City. She also notes that the sisters are very different from each other and that if they can overcome their differences to have a such a strong bond than the show can use this to help situate it in contemporary feminism. Discussion on second wave vs contemporary feminism and the impact that has on television in regards to dress choices of cast is also mentioned and the article regards female fashion choice in Charmed as an application of contemporary feminism.
Charmed was a difficult show to find full episodes or long clips of on YouTube so this clip will be my point of reference when looking at the show. Here it features the sisters bickering about using their powers while Phoebe talks about “the age old question of who approaches who” when discussing a handsome man sitting across from her at the bar who then comes up to talk to her. Here we see the girls talking about gender norms when interacting with a romantic partner.
While doing these blogs I found many applications of feminism to television ranging back to second wave feminism to third wave/contemporary/postfeminism and that many different terms seemed to be applied to the time period in which I am studying.

Sex and the City

While I never watched Sex and the City as a child (what parent would allow that) I learned to love it during my teen years when it started to run on E! The show ran from 1998 to 2004 so it only really got the tail end of the 90s though it has left its mark on pop culture all the same. For those who have never watched, since I know it is pretty different from the kid and teen demographic most of the shows I have discussed so far, I will give some background. It follows 4 women in New York City and each them has there own distinct personality trait. Carrie is the ringleader of the group, a journalist who writes a popular sex column. Samantha is the self proclaimed group slut but also a strong yet sexy business woman. Charlotte is preppy and wants to have a family while working in an art gallery. Finally Miranda is a strong willed lawyer who is the brains of the group. While all of the women have strong careers and personalities they also have very active romantic/sexual lives. The show basically follows all 4 women through theIR trials and tribulations regarding work and love in the chaotic city of New York.
I have been a fan of those show for years so I am very familiar with issues dealt with in the show but anyone wanting to look at some of the scenes I will insert a clip here which shows the relationship between her and Mr. Big. Throughout the series Carrie and Mr. Big have an off and on again relationship with Carrie often wondering why she is not good enough for Mr. Big after her marries a much younger model. While they eventually end up together the path to that point was very rocky. While Carrie and the other women long for physical intimacy and lasting relationships that doesn’t make them weak. Many times throughout the series Carrie or one of the other women take control of situations and are seen as strong role models such as when Samantha has cancer or Miranda cares for her ill mother in law. The show does a good job of showing real life struggles women may have such as the ones previously mentioned but also marital struggles leading to divorce, cheating, and infertility. I think Sex and the City is similar to Beverly Hills, 90210 in that it deals with real life problems and tries to help its viewers understand that everyone goes through these things without being preachy.
The scholarly article I read for Sex and the City was Sex and the City: A Postfeminist Point of View? Or How Popular Culture Functions as a Channel for Feminist Discourse by Fien Adriaens and Sofie Van Bauwel. In this article the authors assert that Sex and the City is a product of postfeminism. The authors describe postfeminism, “For many scholars, postfeminism is created by media and the advertising business to increase sales by means of using empowered representations of women in their campaigns,” though they later describe their own point of view as, “Postfeminists are against the totalitarian disposal of traditional female gender roles by feminism; personal choice is the central concept. If a woman chooses to stay at home for her family, that is her choice, and this choice is equal to the choice of choosing a career.” The article also describes personal female pleasure, a prominent point in postfeminism, as a common aspect of Sex and the City and that the women take control of their sex lives and initiate, accept, or decline at their leisure.