RSVP, New York: Reality Bites Back reading Nov 4, PARTY & Tweet-up Nov 10! (And more.)


Hey New Yorkers: are you looking for something fun and politically relevant to do after the election dust dies down? (Yes, I’m voting today…and so should you. Soapbox moment over.) Well, here are two options for you — I hope to see you at one or both of these exciting events.

Option #1: the intellectually stimulating choice…

THURSDAY, NOV. 4: My first official book reading for Reality Bites Back!

Time: 7pm (through 8:30 or 9-ish)

Place: Bluestockings, 172 Allen St, Manhattan (nearest subway: F to 2nd Ave) (212) 777-6028

Co-hosted by WAM!NYC (the local chapter of Women, Action & Media) and Women In Media & News (the media analysis, education and advocacy org I direct), and supported by

Paradigm Shift

(scan down page).

Why is reality television built on such blatant gender and race stereotypes? Why are women and people of color represented so harmfully, and with so much bias, in popular culture? What is “Frankenbite” editing, how many hours of tape are shot for every hour of reality TV aired, and how much cheaper is it to produce a reality show than a scripted program? Is it true that networks are simply “giving people what they want,” or is reality TV really the result of media consolidation, media economics, and stealth advertising?


VIDEO LAUNCH: Reality Rehab with Dr. Jenn


Today, in conjunction with the official release of Reality Bites Back, I’m

excited to debut a satirical book trailer and webisode series, “Reality Rehab with Dr. Jenn“– where all your favorite reality TV stock characters come to get deprogrammed:

In addition to the trailer, I’ll be rolling out seven webisodes, one for each character. The first webisode follows The Desperate Bachelorette (modeled after shows such as The Bachelor, Tough Love, Married By America, Joe Millionaire and more). When we first meet her, she embodies reality TV’s stereotype about single women as weepy, pathetic losers who can never possibly be happy or successful without husbands, mouthing lines pulled directly from actual quotes from some of these shows, such as “I don’t want to die alone!” and “I would be a servant to him!” By the end of the webisode, her media literacy therapy has helped her realize that, in fact, she has a full life, a great career and a lot going for her, and she can wait for a truly fulfilling relationship, rather than grasping for romance with any randy dude who’ll snog her for fifteen minutes on national TV.


Denver Post: Reality Bites Back is “an entertaining and sharp-eyed takedown”


In a review today titled “Reality TV’s messages get a smackdown from feminist critic’s book,” the Denver Post’s Joanne Ostrow calls Reality Bites Back “an entertaining and sharp-eyed takedown” of reality television that “unpacks the political and commercial agendas behind the genre.” In this, the first review in a major U.S. newspaper, Ostrow writes, “Pozner has delivered a savvy, not-too-academic analysis of a form that’s not a just fad — and one that’s eating up more and more of the TV schedule”:

What do you see when women volunteer to be made over, dressed, styled or surgically enhanced to be “hot” on TV?

What do you see when a bevy of single women fight over a bachelor they’ve never met, competing in front of multiple cameras for a ring from the handsome prince?

When Jennifer Pozner eyes reality TV, she doesn’t see simple time-wasters or guilty pleasures. She sees a retrograde political force, “a pop-cultural backlash against women’s rights and social progress.”

Pozner, a feminist media critic and founder/director of Women in Media and News, has written an entertaining and sharp-eyed takedown of the form, titled “Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV” (Seal Press, $16.95).


Readers Gallery: Reality Bites Back scarier than skeletons and Fox News?


How much do I love your enthusiasm? Your pictures keep rolling in, showing that Reality Bites Back readers are a diverse group — women and men, kids and adults, and people from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds and geographic regions. I particularly enjoy the way some of you seem to be having fun with this Readers Gallery community. For example:

It takes a lot to scandalize someone whose work regularly has them negotiating with local politicians in Washington D.C. Nevertheless, here’s historic preservation expert

Kristen Harbeson at the Capitol, shocked–SHOCKED!–by what she’s reading in Reality Bites Back:

Kristen Harbeson, astonished, at the Capitol

As it turns out, Kristen can’t figure out what aggravates her more: sexism and manipulation in reality television… or anything at all on Fox News:

Kristen Harbeson is almost as annoyed by reality TV as by Fox News

Just outside Los Angeles, professor Melanie Klein’s son, Atticus, wonders which is scarier: reality TV “Frankenbites” (see page 27 in the book, or read my explanation in this Macleans interview) — or little curly-haired skeletons?

Atticus Klein wonders which is scarier, reality TV or skeltons?

If our Twitter conversations have told me anything, I predict that Danielle’s raised eyebrows hint at both the bemusement


New York City, NY – 10/22/10


Who
Spark Summit: workshop
When
Friday, October 22, 2010
1:30pm - All Ages
Where
68th St. & Lexington Ave
New York City, NY
Other Info
Join Jennifer L. Pozner (Reality Bites Back; Women In Media & News), Andrea Quijada (Media Literacy Project), and Jamia Wilson (Women's Media Center) for an interactive media literacy discussion at the SPARK! Summit on the sexualization of girls in the media. Our session will look critically at how women and girls are represented in the media, and cover how representation is directly correlated with who the decision makers are. We’ll explore what you can do to change the conversation with media literacy, advocacy and action! For more information, see: http://www.sparksummit.com/

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Reality Bites Back at SPARK Summit: Challenging media sexualization of girls


Quick reminder: if you’re in New York City, Hunter College is the place to be today, as media literacy activists, media makers, youth educators, girls’ rights advocates, scholars — and, importantly, girls themselves — will be coming together for the SPARK Summit (Sexualization Protest: Action, Resistance, Knowledge).

On behalf of Women In Media & News, I’m thrilled to be presenting tomorrow during the “Shining a Light on Sexualization in the Media” workshop, along with Andrea Quijada of the Media Literacy Project, and Yana Walton and Jill

Marcellus of

the Women’s Media Center. Andrea will be conducting an interactive media literacy game, we’ll show a Spark Summit-produced video about sexualization (including many clips from reality TV shows), after which I will discuss sexualization in reality TV–in particular, stereotypes about women’s sexuality, the differences in how hypersexualization of women of color plays out, how to watch critically.

Media personalities including Geena Davis and MTV’s Amber Madison will be speaking, as will WIMN allies such as Samhita Mukhopadhyay of Feministing, sex educator and young feminist leader Shelby Knox, Emily May of HollaBack, the WMC’s Jamia Wilson, and many others.

See the SPARK Summit agenda.

There’s still time to register.


New York City, NY – 09/27/10


Who
Ladies of the Left: White Women Talk White Privilege, Progressive Media, AntiRacism
When
Monday, September 27, 2010
6:30pm - All Ages
Where
Brecht Forum (map)
451 West Street bet Bank & Bethune
New York City, NY
Other Info
White privilege, notions of power, challenging white America, talking tough personal truths dealing with the work of undoing racism, asking how much stronger progressive media can and should be.
Come on Out. Hear a Personal, Professional, Historical, Institutional Perspective. And be heard.
...
Power Panel, Monologue, Q&A

Join Us. Come Out. Take Part.

Admission: $10

Laura Flanders - New York Times Best-selling author, Host of GRITtv, the daily show on MNN (Ch 34) and CUNY-TV (Ch 75.) www.grittv.org

J Love Calderon - Author, Educator, Activist; Editor 'Love, Race, & Liberation: Til The White Day Is Done

Jennifer l. Pozner - Founder & Executive Director of Women in Media & News

Margery Freeman - Educator and Activist; organizer and trainer with The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond & The Anti-Racist Alliance

Moderated by:

Esther Armah - International Award winning Journalist, New York Radio Host Wake Up Call & Off The Page WBAI99.5FM & Playwright.

THIS IS AFROLICIOUS : THE PROVOCATIVE, POWERFUL EMOTIONAL JUSTICE ARTS & CONVERSATION SERIES.

TONIGHT: Livetweeting America’s Next Top Model Cycle 15, 8pmEST: Join me on Twitter @jennpozner


OK, it’s official: my summer reality TV fast (a needed respite after sending the Reality Bites Back manuscript off to my publisher) is over. To mark the occasion, I’m going to be livetweeting analysis of the season premiere of America’s next Top Model, Cycle 15 — yes, 15 — tonight at 8pm EST. (UPDATE: Full feed of the livetweeting session below.)

Long-time readers of my other blog (WIMN’s Voices, the group blog of Women In Media & News) know that I’ve monitored this series since it debuted, often to horrifying results. Not surprisingly, then, ANTM features quite often throughout Reality Bites Back, in chapters on body image, race, and product placement advertising and media economics. But the show also has the distinction of being the only reality series of the decade to get its own chapter in the book: “Ghetto Bitches, China Dolls, and Cha Cha Divas: Race, Beauty, and the Tyranny of Tyra Banks.” Let’s see if tonight gives us a glimpse why…

Send your questions, comments and snarky hashtags about gender, race, beauty, product placement, manipulation, Tyra Banks’ batshit crazy antics, and anything else ANTM-related to @jennpozner on Twitter, or post your questions to the comments section below. (You can connect to my Twitter feed by clicking on the blue “t” icon on the sidebar at the right of this page.)