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Women in Pop Culture

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Essay title: Women in Pop Culture

If Oprah emphasized racial oppression more aggressively, would she be as popular? After reading Tammy Johnson’s article, I believe that answer to this question is probably no. I myself am a fan of Oprah and I believe that she is extremely generous and does more for the world in one year than most people can hope to do in a lifetime. I believe that Tammy Johnson raised some interesting points, but I don’t necessarily agree with her. Does Oprah have to feel obligated to speak about racial issues on her show and in her magazine just because she is a successful black woman that people admire? After all, isn’t it her show and her empire? She should be able to choose topics that she feels necessary, and maybe she doesn’t feel that racism is a topic that she feels comfortable discussing in front of millions of viewers every weekday afternoon. It is her choice. Undoubtedly, as a white woman I have a hard time understanding where Oprah is coming from, but still I can imagine that it would be terribly difficult to be in her position and feel that sense of responsibility to bring up the loaded issue that is racism. No one person should have to feel obligated or pressured into taking on such a large, heated subject that is unquestionably affecting America in such a drastic way. I am not saying that this matter does not need to be addressed directly and immediately, but I think criticism of Oprah for not doing so is completely irrational.

In the article in Kitchen Culture in America, the author discussed the visual portrayal and images of black women in cooking advertisements. I wonder how the ads would have faired if the images of race were reversed. For example, Deck states, “The black cook in four of the ads exudes a masculine energy that attracts the white housewife who, left alone while her husband works outside of the home, feels safe in her Mammy’s care and culinary tutelage” (p. 70). I believe that Americans at this time, and probably in the present, would be confused and turned-off by images of a large, masculine, white woman, teaching a dainty, well-dressed black housewife how to cook. The stereotypes associated with race and class would be challenged to the extreme. The ads are saying that black women are

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