English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: Women in Television

Examining the Role of Women in the Labour Force According to the Ideals of Fresh Off the Boat

Within this episode, Jessica attempts to leave her life as a stay-at-home mom behind and join the workforce as a realtor. However, after her first attempt at the realtor licensing exam, she realizes that re-entering the workforce will be a much tougher nut to crack than she originally believed. One of the main challenges Jessica struggles with is her inability to accept the fact that she was a stay-at-home mom and has to cope with the struggles of others like her who have difficulty entering the work force. The difficulty within switching between the roles of motherhood to worker have long been a key issue in the battle for women’s equality within the labor market.

Jessica often aims to be the best at what she does, but she gives up easily when she faces opposition.

As the episode continues Jessica pretends to have earned her realtor license so as not to lose the respect of her husband, family, and friends and struggles with the concept of heavy competition within the workforce and her desire to avoid the label of stay-at-home mother. After hiding from her family and friends to pretend to be working she realizes that she will only be fulfilled once she has begun to work and is able to compete with the other realtors in the area.

Naturally this transition is one that must be balanced while Jessica maintains her duties around the home. It is her responsibility to both maintain her children’s grades and academic standing as well as to cook and clean around the house, which places a large amount of strain on Jessica. Due to her desire to work hard and to be better than everyone else however, she is able to overcome these barriers and maintain a healthy work-life balance that is often strained when beginning a new career. This episode highlights the difficult transition of women into the labour force as well as the rough odds of a woman being successful in the labor force when burdened by a family.

Sitcom Cinematography in Fresh Off the Boat: Similarities and Differences

From the first glance, Fresh Off the Boat may seem to be shot similarly to most sitcoms, going so far as to have an establishing shot over each new location, but in reality there are several key differences between how Fresh Off the Boat is shot and other sitcoms that we are all familiar with. For this post I will review season 1, episode 3: The Shunning. In this episode the show begins with an expositional recap of the show that highlights Luis’s struggle to run a restaurant and Jessica and Eddie’s struggle to overcome their otherness in the community. This recap consists of quick shots of dialogue that help to reinforce the ongoing conflicts between Eddie and his peer group, and Luis and his restaurant.

Similarly to most sitcoms, a lot of the comic and dramatic action unfold in a common gathering area, in this case, a living room. Early in the episode Jessica visits with the other neighborhood wives to shoot the breeze and discuss an upcoming block party. The camera zooms in on the character who is talking at the given moment but it keeps a wide enough shot to include the surrounding characters, which helps to reinforce Jessica’s overwhelmed state as she tries to blend in with the neighbors.

(The Huang parents while still being shot together are given a wide enough shot to convey both their body language and a full background.)

The dialogue between two characters in a sitcom will usually switch camera angles to focus on the character who is currently speaking in the show. In Fresh Off the Boat that is most certainly the case but the camera will also include the shoulder or back of the person being talked to, so as to give a sense of their presence in the dialogue. This practice reflects the shows overall tendency to rarely depict the Huangs by themselves. Since one of the focuses of this show is to portray the struggle of members of the Huang family to fit in, most of the show is designed to feature interpersonal interaction rather than individual experience.

Women in Sports Media, and the Culture of Sexism Around Such Media

1. “Young Women Talking Sports and Careers: A Glimpse at the Next Generation of Women in Sport Media”

Staurowsky, Ellen J., and Jessica DiManno. “Young Women Talking Sports and Careers: A Glimpse at the Next Generation of Women in Sport Media.” Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal, vol. 11, no. 1, 2002, pp. 127. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/loginurl=https://search.proquest.com/docview/230677630?accountid=11107.

In this peer reviewed report, we get a glimpse of how rapidly the number of women in sports media is increasing. The report argues that everyday more and more undergraduate female students pursue careers in sports media. However, the report claims that the number of overall women in sports media continues to be small. Furthermore, the report focuses on the struggles that began with this exponential growth of women in sports media, and that these undergrads face. Most of the struggles include sexism, sexual objectification, and overall their parents’ opinions. On the contrary to what can be imagined, these undergrads are often more supported by their fathers than by their mothers. The true value of this report is that it focuses on women who are not yet on a sports media career, but rather are studying to be in one. Furthermore, this report is based on surveys, therefore we get the accounts of the struggles these women had to face.


2.””there’s no Sex Attached to Your Occupation”: The Revolving Door for Young Women in Sports Journalism.”

Hardin, Marie, Stacie Shain, and Kelly Shultz-Poniatowski. “”there’s no Sex Attached to Your Occupation”: The Revolving Door for Young Women in Sports Journalism.” Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal, vol. 17, no. 1, 2008, pp. 68-79. ProQuest,  http://prx.library.gatech.edu/loginurl=https://search.proquest.com/docview/230686521?accountid=11107.


This report is part of a longitudinal study that focuses on why the longevity of women careers in sports media are so short. This report focuses on the barriers or difficulties young women face in the first two years of their careers in sports journalism. This report focuses on three main themes found. The first is that being a woman is more of a disadvantage than a barrier in sports journalism. Second, that sports are mostly a man’s world. Third, beginning a family, or beginning to have family responsibilities will often end their careers. The report also touches on the topic of women being discriminated based on their gender in this career. I believe this study is very valuable because it focuses on women who are beginning their careers and are typically very young. All the women interviewed were in their early and mid-twenties. Furthermore, this study is valuable because it shows how women in sports media careers often feel satisfied with their occupation.


3.”The Current State of Women Print Journalists: An Analysis of the Status and Careers of Females in Newspapers Sports Departments.”
Miloch, Kimberly S., et al. “The Current State of Women Print Journalists: An Analysis of the Status and Careers of Females in Newspapers Sports Departments.” Public Organization Review, vol. 5, no. 3, 2005, pp. 219. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/loginurl=https://search.proquest.com/docview/207467220?accountid=11107, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11115-005-3499-y.

This report is focused on women working in the sports department of their newspaper. This study is focused on four main things. First it focuses on the demographic makeup of the sports department overall. Second, it studies the job status of women regarding the sports department. Third, it focuses on the reasons for entering pursuing this career and field. Lastly, it gives some advice for women who might choose to follow this field. The study showed that most women are happy with the tasks they receive in the workplace. The study also indicates that most women have gone through discrimination in their field. The study also suggests that many women felt they had to provide coverage to female sporting events than the men in their departments. The value of this study is that it mainly focuses on print media, therefore it can provide a different and more specific viewpoint than the others. Furthermore, this study focuses on demographics, so we can see how different cultures correlate to different factors in sports print media.

4.”Aiming for More Air Time Debate Picks Up on Women’s Place in Sportscasting.”

Martzke, Rudy. “Aiming for More Air Time Debate Picks Up on Women’s Place in Sportscasting.” Usa Today, Sep 07, 2000, pp. C.1. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/loginurl=https://search.proquest.com/docview/408826855?accountid=11107.

This article focuses on the debate of women and men on the topic of women getting more air time in sports coverage. The article shows the two sides of the debate. One that thinks that more could be done to improve and increase the role of women in sports media and thinks that progress can be made in a faster way. It also shows the other side of the coin. The one that thinks men are more qualified than women to be sportscaster. Or which simply thinks that men who have been very long in their positions should not lose them to women. The article also shows several important times in this debate. Like when women have lost important positions in sportscasting. Or how now, one fifth of all sportscaster are women. I believe this source is valuable because it shows the counterargument to our argument. I believe it is always helpful to know counterarguments. Furthermore, this article includes important times in the timeline of women as sportscasters.


5.”Doris Burke has Game.”

Scheiber, Noam. “Doris Burke has Game.”ProQuest, Apr 28, 2018, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/loginurl=https://search.proquest.com/docview/2031679342?accountid=11107.


This short article focuses on Doris Burke, the first female to receive a normal job as a sports analyst in a major broadcasting agency. Doris Burke is an NBA analyst. This article focuses on her relationship with mainly NBA players, coaches and staff. Normally, women sportscaster or analysts are very discriminated by the players, or coaches they have to cover. However, the relationship Doris Burke has with most NBA players does not show this. The article shows how although, she is not discriminated as much as other female sports analysts, she still suffers some discrimination. One of the biggest examples is how coaches or player apologize for cursing when she interviews them. This article is very valuable for two main reasons. One is that it a specific case study which focuses on one of the better-known women sportscasters, and first NBA analyst. The other reason is that this article gives an example of how even women who are at the top positions in sports media continue to be discriminated.

6.”Women Detail ESPN Culture of Harassment.”

Abelson, Jenn. “Women Detail ESPN Culture of Harassment.” Boston Globe, Dec 15, 2017. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/loginurl=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1977013607?accountid=11107.

This is an article that focuses on the harassment women experience at one of the major sports networking companies, ESPN. The article mentions harassment experienced by women in the broadcasting agency. Some of the things they experienced were unwanted shoulder rubs, or other forms of physical contact, being rated based on their looks by their male colleagues, unwanted sexual propositions, etc. Furthermore, the article shows the insecurity of women sportscasters in their jobs. Many women recall hiding pregnancies or having short maternity leaves to keep their jobs. The article shows that the sexism problems at ESPN run pretty deep into their roots. Furthermore, they detail some legal allegations against the broadcasting giant. However, ESPN is quick and steady to claim that they do not support a culture of sexism in their workplace. This is a very valuable source because it shows the true working conditions women face in sports media. Furthermore, it is very important because ESPN is one of the biggest sports broadcasting agencies and employers.

Taking a Quick Peek at the Writing Behind Fresh Off the Boat

Looking at the pilot of the show, “Fresh Off the Boat” the characters are introduced to an entirely new environment, Orlando, Florida, and must all adapt to the suburban lifestyle all while attempting to blend in with a largely white community. Furthermore, Eddie has to try to fit the expectations set for him despite considering himself the “Black Sheep” of the family. The opening scene opens with Eddie trying on expensive clothes and his mom promptly denying him said clothes. This is when we are introduced to our narrator, the real life Eddie Huang, as he explains his frustration at his mother’s lack of understanding of department stores. Within the first minute of the show, the narrator’s lines already establish one of the key conflicts that recurs throughout the show: Eddie’s understanding and acceptance of American culture vs. his family’s vexation and resistance towards it.

(Eddie tries on some posh clothes that don’t quite fit into his mother’s price range for shopping.)

The next key scene immediately follows as Eddie flashes back to his road trip as he moved from Washington DC to Orlando, Florida. In this scene, the narrator quickly, but blatantly describes the characters in the family and his relationship towards them. He establishes that his father bought into the American dream, that his mother was hard on him, and that both were worried about him, after which, he quickly dismisses the other members of his family. This dismissive words of the narrator helps to reveal Eddie’s sense of separation from his family and his feelings of being an outsider. As the episode progresses, the narration becomes less frequent and the character’s dialogue begins to take more significance in the episode. A key distinction to notice in the episode is the dialogue of the white characters being illogical yet patronizing whereas the dialogue of the Huang family being straightforward and personal. During most scenes with white characters interacting with Eddie the characters will struggle to speak to him due to the fact that they expect him to speak little or no English. Whether it be tourists in DC who slowly as for directions to the “W H I T E   H O U S E” or teachers who do not know how to pronounce his name, Eddie establishes the general lack of understanding towards Taiwanese culture in specific, and Asian cultures in general.

The episode wraps up with an epic showdown as Eddie’s parents duke it out with the principal of his middle school. After discovering that Eddie started a fight because a student called him a “chink” Louis Huang berates the principal following with Jessica accusing the principal of ignoring the bullying problem in his school. This scene ultimately reveals Eddie’s parents true feelings towards their son and their understanding of how difficult it is to fit into the whitewashed town of Orlando.

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