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Full-Text Articles in Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication

The Racialization Of Us Health Care Reform: The Case Of Gold-Plated Cadillac Health Plans, Emily West Jan 2013

The Racialization Of Us Health Care Reform: The Case Of Gold-Plated Cadillac Health Plans, Emily West

Emily E. West

The term “gold-plated Cadillac health plans” became nationally prominent during John McCain’s run for President in 2008, and high-premium insurance plans continue to be called “Cadillac plans” today. The metaphorical phrase “gold-plated Cadillac” defines health care as a consumer and even a luxury good; implies that owners of these plans are irresponsible, wasteful healthcare consumers; and evokes the stereotype of an “out-of-control” African American consumer. The history of the Cadillac brand and of gold-plated Cadillacs in particular in popular culture demonstrates the salience of these associations. The use of this phrase in recent health care reform debates is considered ...


Hegemonic Masculinity On The Sidelines Of Sport, Laura A. Grindstaff, Emily West Jan 2011

Hegemonic Masculinity On The Sidelines Of Sport, Laura A. Grindstaff, Emily West

Emily E. West

Nearly a quarter of a century old, the concept of hegemonic masculinity as developed by R. W. Connell remains both influential and contested among gender scholars. In this essay, we use our research on coed cheerleading in the United States as a springboard to explore the bounds and limits of hegemonic masculinity as both cultural script and analytic construct. Cheerleading constitutes a public stage for ‘doing gender’ in ways that highlight normative, taken-for-granted notions of gender difference; consequently, we use cheerleading as a vehicle for asking under what circumstances and to what degree heterosexuality remains central to the enactment of ...


Hands On Hips, Smiles On Lips! Gender, Race, And The Performance Of Spirit In Cheerleading, Laura Grindstaff, Emily West Apr 2010

Hands On Hips, Smiles On Lips! Gender, Race, And The Performance Of Spirit In Cheerleading, Laura Grindstaff, Emily West

Emily E. West

Cheerleading has long been synonymous with “spirit” because of its traditional sideline role in supporting school sports programs. In recent decades, however, cheerleading has become more athletic and competitive - even a sport in its own right. This paper is an ethnographic exploration of the emotional dimensions of cheerleading in light of these changes. We argue that spirit is a regulating but also flexible concept that is deployed in order to manage and uphold ideologies of emotion, and that these ideologies are central to how cheerleading reproduces racialized gender difference. On the one hand, the performance guidelines for spirit stabilize the ...


A Taste For Greeting Cards: Distinction Within A Denigrated Cultural Form, Emily West Jan 2010

A Taste For Greeting Cards: Distinction Within A Denigrated Cultural Form, Emily West

Emily E. West

Greeting cards are a denigrated product category in the United States, and yet consumers use them at high rates across taste formations. Consumers with relatively high cultural capital place a premium on originality in their self-expression, hence greeting cards present a consumption problem because they are a mode of expressing the self through mass-produced means. Based on interviews with 51 people, I show that consumers with higher cultural capital are more likely to prioritize card design over sentiment; select smaller, simpler designs and sentiments; prefer cards that are handmade, look handmade, or remind them of fine art; and are more ...


Expressing The Self Through Greeting Card Sentiment: Working Theories Of Authentic Communication In A Commercial Form, Emily West Jan 2010

Expressing The Self Through Greeting Card Sentiment: Working Theories Of Authentic Communication In A Commercial Form, Emily West

Emily E. West

As mass produced vehicles of sentiment, greeting cards draw attention to the use of socially constructed codes for communicating, even feeling, emotion. This paper describes the results of interviews with fifty-one greeting card consumers, focusing on what makes greeting cards ‘personal’ for them, despite their mass-produced nature. Consumers negotiate their relationships with pre-printed sentiments differently depending on whether their allegiance is stronger to an expressive individualist understanding of authenticity or a ritual perspective, and these allegiances tend to reflect cultural capital. Specifically, suspicion of pre-printed sentiments is common among people with higher cultural capital, while this is the feature of ...


Reality Nations: An International Comparison Of The Historical Reality Genre, Emily West Jan 2010

Reality Nations: An International Comparison Of The Historical Reality Genre, Emily West

Emily E. West

When 1900 House (Hoppe, 2000) premiered in the UK in 2000, a hybrid television form was born that would spawn spin-offs and imitators over the next several years in several other countries. These series place people in historical settings, asking them to leave their 21st century lives behind, and live within the material and social constraints of the past for a period of three or four months. For this chapter I examine a sample of seven historical reality mini-series that aired between 2000 and 2005 in English-speaking countries, ranging from four to eight episodes each. As existing scholarship on the ...


Doing Gender Difference Through Greeting Cards: The Construction Of A Communication Gap In Marketing And Everyday Practice., Emily West Sep 2009

Doing Gender Difference Through Greeting Cards: The Construction Of A Communication Gap In Marketing And Everyday Practice., Emily West

Emily E. West

Greeting card communication reflects the highly gendered division of both emotional and domestic labor in American culture. It’s generally thought that American men do not take as much responsibility for sending greeting cards as women, or display competence in this mode of communication, and both survey data and field work with greeting card consumers confirm this overall pattern. For many women, greeting card communication is part of a feminized habitus that includes kinship work as well as routine provisioning for the household. For men, taking an interest in greeting cards can seem like discrediting behavior for heterosexual masculinity, and ...


Mass Producing The Personal: The Greeting Card Industry’S Approach To Commercial Sentiment, Emily West Oct 2008

Mass Producing The Personal: The Greeting Card Industry’S Approach To Commercial Sentiment, Emily West

Emily E. West

The greeting card industry manages the challenge of mass-producing images and texts for use in interpersonal communication through both specific production techniques and narratives that “make sense” of this seemingly paradoxical task. The mass production of the personal is negotiated in the processes of writing sentiments and creating designs, as well as in identifying sending situations for cards. At Hallmark, the approach to creating emotional, relational communication for anonymous others is captured by the phrase “universal specificity,” which suggests that people’s emotions are essentially universal, and that the industry can meet the nation’s social expression needs by customizing ...


Cheerleading And The Gendered Politics Of Sport, Laura Grindstaff, Emily West Jan 2006

Cheerleading And The Gendered Politics Of Sport, Laura Grindstaff, Emily West

Emily E. West

Cheerleading occupies a contested space in American culture and a key point of controversy is whether it ought to be considered a sport. Drawing on interviews with college cheerleaders on coed squads as well as five years of fieldwork in various cheerleading sites, this paper examines the debate over cheerleading and sport in terms of its gender politics. The bid for sport status on the part of cheerleaders revolves around the desire for respect more than official recognition by athletic organizations; cheerleaders recognize the prestige associated with sport, a function of its historic association with hegemonic masculinity, and they claim ...


Scolding John Q.: Articulating A Normative Relationship Between Politics And Entertainment, Emily West Jan 2005

Scolding John Q.: Articulating A Normative Relationship Between Politics And Entertainment, Emily West

Emily E. West

The 2002 hostage drama John Q. triggered a discussion among journalists, the public, and the policy community about the proper relationship between politics and entertainment. In this debate the criteria for good journalism and good political discourse were frequently invoked to evaluate this Hollywood film. This discussion, which spilled out of the film criticism pages into news and commentary pages, shows how public sphere models of political discourse are privileged even though they may not be a good fit for fictional media. John Q.’s success in triggering public discussion and awareness about health policy issues seems to illustrate DeLuca ...


Selling Canada To Canadians: Collective Memory, National Identity, And Popular Culture, Emily West Jun 2002

Selling Canada To Canadians: Collective Memory, National Identity, And Popular Culture, Emily West

Emily E. West

Two media endeavours, the Heritage Minutes and the CBC documentary Canada: A People’s History, hope to serve as a corrective to Canadians’ lack of interest in their history and to bolster national identity. However, the producers do not want to appear propagandistic in a country where there is conflict about what the shape of the nation should be. They accomplish this by appealing to the “on the spot” authority of journalistic representation and the emotional immediacy of dramatic story-telling. They also emphasize the multi-cultural and multi-perspectival nature of Canada’s past. However, ultimately these efforts exist within a larger ...