English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Author: Sanjot Singh

Rap or Race – Which Unites More?

In Episode 8 of Season 1, Eddie is excited to meet Phillip Goldstein, another Asian-American, in hopes of bonding over their potential similarities. However, it turns out their similarities are very slim but much of the school staff forces them to be together because they assume the two boys would get along based on their physical similarities. The episode is trying to argue that even if certain people share a race, they still have many other characteristics that make them unique. The show continues to emphasize this theme by presenting Phillip as the “stereotypical” Asian kid who is sophisticated and plays the cello. Eddie, on the other hand, is the complete opposite with his affection for rap music.


Soon after they meet, Phillip and Eddie realize that they do not have much in common and this results in them not being very fond of each other.

Though it seems like the two boys could never get along, that changes after Phillip lies to help Eddie go to the Beastie Boys concert. Even though, Eddie is not like the typical Asian child, a consistent theme within the show, him and Phillip are still willing to have each others’ back due to their similar circumstances. The show is simultaneously arguing that even though race is not a defining factor, it can still be a unifying characteristic within a community. However, after Phillip ditches Eddie, Eddie has to reevaluate what he is looking for in a friend. Like Jason Howard mentioned in his blog post, the show continues to revolve around the idea that  “Eddie is not entirely Asian, and not entirely American, but has pieces of his identity within both cultures”  which leads Eddie to form a bond with an African kid over music. Ending the episode like this argued that even though race is a common unifying factor, it is not the only.

Fresh Off the Gender Representation

Episode 7 of Season One of Fresh Off the Boat is called “Showdown at the Golden Saddle” and is about Eddie trying to get the neighbor, Nicole’s, attention. Compared to the previous episodes in season one, this one gives much more agency to Nicole. Nicole is no longer just a character that reacts to Eddie’s remarks but now also interacts with him. Though Nicole is a more developed character in this episode she is still portrayed as a prize, mostly due to her appealing physical appearance. This is reasonable as the whole show is supposed to be from the perspective of Eddie who is still a young boy.

The show still does a good job of incorporating other active female characters such as Jessica and her best friend Honey.  Jessica is the alpha of the family who always makes significant decisions that impact many of the other characters. As Eddie said in this episode, “The tough guy in my family had always been my mom” referring to Jessica. Not only is she a prominent female character, Jessica also facilitates the representation of Asian Americans. Even though the whole show revolves around race representation, Jessica is a prominent character that holds up certain stereotypes while dismantling others.

Even though the show does a really good job of representing the male and female genders, it does not have much gender spread beyond that. There have been zero characters so far that identify with a gender other than these two. However, it is still early in season one so there is a possibility that such characters will be represented later on.


These iconic nicknames show how Jessica is represented as an equal with Louis.


Fajita Man Brings Home The Bread

Episode 6 from season 1 of Fresh Off The Boat is called  “Fajita Man” and revolves around the theme of hard work. There are multiple different arguments this episode makes about hard work but the most prominent is that first generation children have to work twice as hard for the same reward, a video game. This is consistent with the theme of the the show in general, the challenges of immigrant families in America. When Eddie asks his parents for money for the new game, they do not just give it to him for free like the other children’s parents, and instead they make Eddie start working at the family restaurant in order to instill a good work ethic in him. This reminds me a lot about my children, similar to Eddies’ parents my parents also made me work at the family business. And just like Eddie I too despised having to work and envied the other kids that would get “free hand outs”, but eventually I too realized the true satisfaction of hard work.

Another argument the episode makes about hard work is regarding how it is instilled. Eddies’ farther grows to realize that he does not have to be harsh on Eddie like his father was on him. It is true that that approach did result in Eddie’s father a hard worker, but it wasn’t till he talked to his mother that he realized that approach significantly deteriated his relationship with his father. So in order to perserve his relation with Eddie, Eddie’s farther attempts to use a more amicable approach. The show argues that it is possible for parents to teach their children good skills without burning bridges. Overall, the episode is very consistent with the theme of the show in general, overcoming adversity as a family.

Eddie’s mom is also consistently exemplifying a strong work ethic by juggling her career and job as a mother

Fresh Cinematography in Fresh off the Boat

This blog review is about the cinematography and direction of episode “Success Perm” from Fresh off the Boat. The show starts off with a conversation between the mom and dad and when they are expressing their love for each other the directors used a close up shot of their hands and then panned up to show the children’s reaction in the background which really helped the viewers feel the vibe of the scene. The montage in this episode implements a bunch of quick shots and then is immediately juxtaposed by the long shot of the parents when they finished and got perms. The lighting in this episode is mostly bright lit to reflect the warmth of the house that was prepared for the visitors. The show also uses zoom effects in order to show intensity and seriousness in particular scenes. This episode, compared to the previous ones uses a lot more pans to show the shift in reactions from the parents to the children. Every time the parents express their love for each other the camera pans to the children showing disgust. Whenever the grandmas come into the scene, they are shown from a low angle shot to express their dominance and wisdom over their children and grandchildren. During the restaurant shots, the scene was introduced with a wide angle of the whole restaurant to show that the restaurant was actually completely empty. And during the conversations between the people sitting at the dining table, there would be quick shots going back and forth so that the viewers actually felt as if they were part of the conversation. Overall, the show does a great job of direction and cinematography in the sense that the viewers always feel immersed in the show.

Long shots and bright lighting like this exemplify the success that the parents are trying to project.

Women in the Wasteland: Annotated Bibliography

Sanjot Singh

Professor Wilson

English 1102

18 September 2018

Works Cited

Engstrom, Erika. “Looking through a Gendered Lens: Local U.S. Television News Anchors’ Perceived Career Barriers.” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, vol. 44, no. 4, Fall2000, p. 614. EBSCOhost, prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=3983041&site=ehost-live.

This source is the complete report of a social science experiment that discovers what women in the television industry believed to be their greatest hindrance in their career progress. The report begins by providing a background of gender in broadcast and quotes people such as Lumsden (“Women who wanted to succeed in the male professional world had to leave their feminine selves behind” ). The survey results concluded that both sexes do share some perceptions in terms of balancing work and family life, however there is a stark difference in career barriers. The source is extremely valuable since it provides exact quotes of some of the responses to the survey. (“Women are supposed to appear attractive, perhaps even glamorous … the men just have to look trustworthy”). The greatest barrier for men was the lack of networking and support groups due to the competitiveness of the business and the fact that they were not necessarily a minority. This source offers a lot of tangible data and charts which also proves it to be valuable. For young women, the greatest barrier was physical appearances while for older, more established women, the issue was being a mother. Another striking point was the mobile nature, where women would defer career progress for the sake of their husbands while men who participated in the survey made no similar remarks about their wives. This source also cites multiple previous studies form the past (Wood (1994), Holland (1987), Sanders and Rock (1988)) and builds upon them by claiming that in order to achieve gender equity on television we need broader gender equality first.


Finneman, Teri and Joy Jenkins. “Sexism on the Set: Gendered Expectations of TV Broadcasters in a Social Media World.” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, vol. 62, no. 3, Sept. 2018, pp. 479-494. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/08838151.2018.1484292.

This source is a report for another research experiment which is actually inspired from Engstrom and Ferri’s 2000 study which is another one of my sources. This makes both the sources more valuable because they build upon each other. This study further proved the conclusion that Engstrom and Ferri arrived at, which was that there is a definite double standard for women in television journalism, especially in terms of physical appearance. Finneman and Jenkins actually take into consideration modern age technology to realize that social media has exacerbated the situation by serving as “another avenue to “correct” rather than challenge gender norms”. A pervasive concern (90%) brought up through the survey was the rise in criticism through social media and the lack of support or policies from news outlets to address these concerns. “The #MoreThanMean video represents one of a series of recent incidents calling attention to the inappropriate remarks and double standards women in broadcast face.” “this study considers how female and male television journalists describe viewers’ expectations for gender performance— or what viewers believe to be “correct” appearance behaviors for broadcasters.” This report also cites other credible sources with quotes such as “beauty and appearance are central to American culture” (Meltzer, 2010, p. 50). Overall, this report is very valuable because it not only reflects the recent opinions of journalist but also the viewers of television.


Press, A. (2009). Gender and family in television’s golden age and beyond. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 625(1), 139-150. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0002716209337886

This paper explores the development of the image of women on television from pre-Golden Era to the current generation of television. Women were portrayed as more independent and living nontraditional family lives in the 1960s but then in the 1990s in hand with the counter-feminist actions, television began to relapse back to the traditional house wife depiction of women. However, amidst the third wave of feminism, women are represented in various more races and sexuality than ever before. The article also makes strong connections between themes prominent in tv and the american culture, “ television’s depiction of gender and of the family has been influential in American” using sources such as Coontz 1992. I found this source to be valuable because it discusses relevant TV shows such as Sex and the City which makes the argument relatable. This article acknowledges that there is greater diversity but there is still a emphasis on the traditional form of “beautiful women” as lead roles.


Lauzen, Martha. Boxed In 2017-18: Women On Screen and Behind the Scenes in Television. Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, 2018, pp. 1–16, Boxed In 2017-18: Women On Screen and Behind the Scenes in Television.

This source is part of an annual study conducted by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University. They have collected and published data for the last 21 years, making this project the most comprehensive record of women in TV. What makes this source especially valuable is the fact that it not only collects data of the women that are on camera, but also explores the behind the scene employment as well. The research made many claims including “68% of the programs considered featured casts with more male than female characters in 2017- 18.” and apparently there has been a decline in the percentage of speaking character that were women. Overall, the report provides a great amount of quantified data which reflects that women have made significant progress in television but there is still much room to improve.


Bock, M. A., Cueva Chacón, L. M., Jung, H., Sturm, H. A., & Figueroa, E. J. (2018). The faces of local TV news in america: Youth, whiteness, and gender disparities in station publicity photos. Feminist Media Studies, 18(3), 440-457. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2017.1415950

This source provides evidence that hints that women are held to a higher standard than men when it comes to broadcast television.  The authors acknowledge that there is significant criticism that the “burden” to look good is unevenly placed on women anchors, and then conducts research examining over 400 photographs to analyze the characteristics of both male and female reporters. They considered many factors from hair color to age. The research concluded that minority broadcasters are “held to a white standard of beauty”. This source is also valuable due to the breadth of factors that were included in the research.


Perlman, Allison. “Feminists In The Wasteland.” Feminist Media Studies, vol. 7, no. 4, Dec. 2007, pp. 413–431. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/14680770701631612.

This source is particularly valuable since it investigates the activism of the National Organization for Women, which is a very prominent and influential organization to this day. In the early 1970s, the National Organization for Women began to take action towards television reform. The report hones in on the organizations efforts to improve representation of women in broadcast television. The source not only argues that the National Organization for Women challenged the entire structure and stigma of broadcast but also “lay claim to women’s civic membership”. Overall, this source is valuable in understanding the implications that NOW had on the industry and the American culture as a whole.

Upcoming Asian Rapper: Eddie Huang

My first review blog is about the first episode of season one of Fresh Off the Boat. I was really impressed by the writing in the pilot and it gave me a great first impression of the show. The entire show is actually based on a book written and based on the life of Eddie Huang. According to IMDb, Eddie Huang was one of the most prominent writers of the show along with Nahnatchka Khan who is also the creator of the show. The show does have voice overs that are done by Eddie Huang himself. The narration is used as a frame for the show and only comes on at the beginning and end of the episode which emphasizes how the episodes are like memories and the narration act as intros and summarizations at the end. This voiceover is significantly different than the one from Jane the Virgin where the narrator gives explanations throughout the episodes. Another interesting aspect of the show is that the episodes are generally flashbacks of the past while the voiceovers are in present time.

The writers kept the script very genuine and included grammar mistakes in the dialogues of the Mom in order to highlight her accent and emphasize her immigrant characteristics. The dialogue acknowledges racism and instead of conforming to it it attempts to undermine it by presenting it from Eddie Huang’s perspective. The repetitive use of colors such as “white” and “black” to describe races continues to make the dialogues seem realistic especially from the perspective of a kid in middle school. Silence is also implemented effectively, both to induce comedy after characters say jokes and to dramatize arguments. The writers used the repetition of Eddie saying “your never on my side” to his mom to reflect how he feels like an outsider even in his own house. However, what stands out most about the writing is the constant references to rap music, which really allows you to relate to Eddie. Overall, the show had very thought out and relatable writing that has me itching to keep watching!

gotta go fresh off the boat GIF by HULU

Me running to go watch the next episode

Adventures of a sOpHoMoRe bY cReDiTs

Hey guys! Its ya boi Sunny Singh, back at it again with another youtub- I mean blog post. I’m a Mechanical Engineer and I am expected to graduated in 2022 but we all know that’s probably not gonna happen.

This is actually my first English course here at Tech, but I am super grateful that I got such an interesting theme (television and feminism) instead of the history of snails or something. I did take AP English Language and English Literature in high school and those really helped me hone my oral communication skills through the various discussions throughout the years. I feel most adept at communicating verbally because it allows for actual conversations and allows both persons to express their first and most natural thoughts on a subject. However, the element that I struggle with most is written communication. I feel that my ideas get lost in my thoughts before I am able to get them down on paper. This results in my writing being all over the place and simply not flowing. And besides not flowing I feel like writing is also the form of communication that I am most afraid to initiate. I don’t know what it is exactly, but maybe the thought of actual words being written down with pen and paper makes the ideas seem so permanent. I think this psychs me out because I feel like it must be perfect and then I end up not writing anything. So, I definitely hope to work on improving that element of communication this semester but I also want to refine my non-verbal skills because I feel like they can be a major sign of respect or disrespect so it could never hurt to make them better, or well try to at least.  

I was a very inconsistent TV fanatic in high school but I will say this last summer before college I did attempt to redeem myself. After dinner me and my brother would watch a few episodes of Gotham before going to bed and some nights those “few episodes” will turn into half a season and a bag of Takis mixed into a bowl of popcorn for the perfect spice-to-butter ratio. I prefer comedy and action TV shows but generally I will start a TV show, binge watch up to the latest season, forget about it, and then start over again with a new series.

I have chosen to review Fresh Off the Boat, which is basically about an immigrant kid trying to fit into American culture. I picked this show because I find the premise of the show to be extremely relatable and I think Randall Park is just hilarious. I’m excited to start watching and can’t wait to see what underlying messages the writers try to poke at through the comedy of the show! 

How I feel about getting to watch another TV show for class

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