Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Motivational Televison?

Both of the articles this week focused on different elements of the "poor, dumb, White trash" stereotype used in the media. While Butsch explains this phenomenon from a Marxist perspective, citing cultural hegemony as the basis of this stereotype, Price examines it from an audience perspective, claiming that cultural interpretation of the real life American working class affects the representation of the working class portrayed in the media.

While Butsch's argument is valid, and most likely true, I believe that the continuation of the use of these stereotypes in the media is mainly attributed to the fact that the audience is consistently willing to indulge in these stereotypes. Price claims that "our capitalist society teaches us that we all get what we deserve -- the rich and the poor". The constant focus on programs including smart and sophisticated middle to upper class citizens is partly due to ambition on the part of the viewer - most people want to watch programs that inspire them and make their own goals appear easier to achieve.

In recent years, many reality shows have fueled the "working class White trash" stereotype. Usually, they incorporate a potential chance for these characters to gain monetary compensation or social status by, for example, marrying someone of a high class, or by becoming famous. There are many examples of this, but VH1's "Rock of Love" first comes to mind - this show deliberately depicts women in the "white trash" stereotype as they compete for the heart(this is debatable) of Bret Michaels. However tacky as this may play out to the majority of the audience, there is a sense of ambition, as these characters compete to raise their financial and social statuses.


  1. aaay....
    It is probably too shameful to admit it
    but I used to watch Rock of love whenever I came across it...
    its just soooooooo simple that no thought is required to watch it:)

  2. ahh this is the epitome of white trash. Even though Bret Michaels has money and belongs to the upper class, I think he's still considered to be white trash based on his clothing, hair and behavior.

  3. Brett Michaels epitomizes the saying, "money can't buy class."