Saturday, March 31, 2007

do you have love for...


Coming directly out of Pop Culture from rap group Public Enemy, Flavor Flav became the icon he is through VH1's show the Surreal Life. After his failed relationship with Brigette Nielson he decided to use his Celebreality status to find the love of his life. Thus Flavor of Love was born. The set-up of the show is not too much different from other Bachelor-esque reality shows, the only primary difference being that the majority of the contestants and the leading man are black. This race factor is not to be taken lightly, as VH1 plays off the show as the image of a hip hop lifestyle. Flav, a 48 year old man, is living in a completely loaded mansion, with 20 young girls clamoring after his affections.

The gender roles in the show are strictly fitting to the standard binary of women as subservient and devoted to their man, Flav, who is in the position of power over their actions. The ladies, however, when alone with each other, are shown as bickering, attacking, and backstabbing. In the context of the show as a comment on society, the obvious power given to the male character of the women, a hegemonic norm in today's world. Another example would be the sexual undertones in the gender roles. For example, the acceptance of Flavor Flav's polygamous relationship with the women in his house, yet the disapproval of Season 2's Nibblz sexual openness, reflects society's disapproval of female sexuality but regularly writes off male sexuality with a "boys will be boys" attitude.

On the flip side of hegemonic norms in the show, I Love New York, where twice cast aside Tiffany Patterson, is set up with her own show to find love. New York is now put into the position of power surrounded by men for her to control. New York gets the chance to "act like a boy" without fear of judgement or disapproval she defies the gender norms set into place with Flavor of Love. One must keep in mind that Flavor Flav remains seated in the position of power in the business sense, as executive producer of the show, and is creating his own reality empire using the girls that he "eliminated" from the competition over his affections. With "I Love New York" ending on Monday, April 2nd, Flav is jumping into the emptying spot in the nation's TV schedule with "Flavor Flav's Charm School for Girls" where several of the former members of the show are competing to become the most ladylike. The areas for analysis of a man never seen without his grill on sending away women to learn etiquette are almost too glaring to be taken seriously.

1 comment:

Jessie said...

You raise several very interesting issues in this post about race, gender, sexuality, and power. It would be helpful if you could clarify at points such as, "This race factor is not to be taken lightly, as VH1 plays off the show as the image of a hip hop lifestyle. Flav, a 48 year old man, is living in a completely loaded mansion, with 20 young girls clamoring after his affections."
Who takes the race factor lightly? Is it because it's pop culture and it's generally written off as without merit? It's unclear if you mean the aforementioned issue, or you're assuming that race is taken lightly (whether in the show or by most viewers, etc) for another reason.
There are a few points in your post where you start to lose me as the reader b/c I'm unable to follow the sentence-
"In the context of the show as a comment on society, the obvious power given to the male character of the women, a hegemonic norm in today's world."
Stick with one point of analysis and you'll be doing well with your posts, it's bound to get difficult to write when you're covering two shows, multiple topics, and then try to link them back to a concrete piece of text from the course.
I can see that you're watching the show and seeing a ton of really important issues unfold before you in this supposedly silly celebreality show :).
Your ideas and observations are great, which is why I think focusing on one, and then really pulling apart that one issue will be very helpful for your analytical writing.
-Jessie