Tag Archives: television

Spinach Saves Damsel in Distress

When I was a little kid, I would remember watching Popeye all the time when it played late at night.
As a kid, I remember loving Popeye and staying up super late at night just to watch it all the time.  Some would say that was pretty irresponsible of my parents’ right?  Wrong.  My parents thought that Popeye was great.  They thought he was the type of man I should be like one day and he even influenced me to eat a lot of spinach as a kid.  However, did they let my sister watch Popeye when she was a kid?  The answer would be no.  My sister was told by my parents that she was supposed to watch tv shows for girls.

Now, let’s watch a brief episode from Popeye and see what it says about gender and food.

First and foremost, it is important to note that this episode of Popeye is an adaptation of the famous bedtime story, Jack and the Beanstalk.  In the episode, we can see that Popeye is trying to get three young boys to eat their spinach by telling them the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and replacing the character Jack with himself.  Instead of tricking the giant like in the original story, Popeye saves the golden hen by eating some spinach (which gives him incredible strength) and beats the pulp out of the giant.

Ok, so what does this tell us about gender and food?

It is basically telling children that if they want to become big and strong like Popeye and be able to beat up bigger opponents than you, you should eat a lot of spinach.  Also, in terms of examining gender and food, it is also important to see that this episode/show specifically targets boys.  As we see in this episode, Popeye is telling the story to boys only.  There are no girls in this episode.  This episode and show also tells us a lot about expected gender roles.  In the show, Popeye always has to eat spinach in order to save the female characters.  What this tells us about gender roles is that men must eat healthy foods like spinach in order to become tough and strong.  While on the other hand, women must wait for strong masculine men to come and save the day.

However, let’s think about it rationally.

Does eating  spinach really make someone into a tough person?  The answer is yes and no.  Although spinach is high in fiber, has vitamins to strengthen your bones, and great for your health, it will not turn you into a super tough macho man (Poulos).  And if women REALLY need a good rescue, couldn’t they just eat some spinach too?

I know, Popeye may seem a little outdated for our time but I challenge you to watch children’s movies and televisions today and tell me that these ideals don’t still exist.  And you know what?  This type of mentality totally existed in my family, so who is to say that it doesn’t exist in other families.

References:

Poulos , Rob. “Spinach Nutrition Facts – Health Benefits of Spinach.” Fast Fit Tips. N.p., 2006. Web. 1 May 2012. <http://www.fatburningfurnace.com/blog/spinach-nutrition-facts-–-health-benefits-of-spinach&gt;

s275ironman. “Popeye the Sailor-Let’s Stalk Spinach (1951)”. 17 Jan. 2010 Online video clip. Youtube. Accessed on 01 May 2012. < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Xw7BZ3613M&gt;.

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Binge Drinking is Manly

Now that we’re done with ads and commercials, let’s look at something more interesting and something that many of us do by choice…………..watch television (TV)!

In this post, I’m going to look at a TV show that I currently watch that is short and sweet.  That’s right, this TV show is about 10 min per episode.

Here’s the show:

In this episode, we see that Mordecai (the blue jay) and Rigby (the raccoon) knocked out their boss, Bensen (the gumball machine) by not holding the ladder.  After knocking Benson out, Mordecai and Rigby precede to take him to a party that he was supposed to.  At the party, the ex-boyfriend of the girl that Benson likes is taunting him and eventually challenges him to a contest where they have to see who can last the longest in eating chili peppers.  After the three characters win, they have the champion drink called the “Mississippi Queen” and after taking it, their worlds just spin out of control.

The next few descriptions/POINTS of the episode are pertinent to my argument:

1)      After drinking the “Mississippi Queen” their life becomes super fun and just like a rock n roll song.

2)      They leave the party and their vision becomes blurry.

3)      The friends end up at a coffee shop and order some food but when the food comes the servers are worried and friends end up in a cab.

4)      During the ride, the cab door opens up to the curb as the cab is still driving.

5)      The three friends end up back at the park, and the next morning they are found to be in front of the house and feeling like poo.

My point in this post is…………the chili peppers in this episode were actually supposed to be booze (which implies many other things).  I mean let’s think about, does eating a lot of chili peppers really make you do/feel all those things that I listed earlier?  No, but you know what does?  Alcohol.  Alcohol can impair vision (POINT 2), make people throw up (POINT 4), and even blackout (POINT 5), much like the three characters in this episode.

I wanted to discuss this episode specifically for this scene.  This scene reflective of many men in real life…..or at least in college.  In my experience, men always challenge each other to drinking contests at parties and all it is to show who is “more of a man”.  In other words, drinking challenges are a way for men to prove their masculinity/worth as a man.  However, as both participants will usually drink an excessive amount in such a short amount of time, they usually get to POINT 2,4, and 5.  Also, when reflecting back on what they did, they simply think that it was a funny experience, but what they don’t realize is how this relationship with alcohol can affect them in the long term.  Sure, alcohol can make someone vomit, impair their vision and even blackout, however, there can be many long terms effects as well.  Improper alcohol consumption can lead to a messed up REM sleep cycle, liver damage, brain development, and even sexual performance (Effects of Alcohol on the Body).  When we compare the negatives of overconsumption of alcohol and the pros to proving one’s masculinity, is it really worth it to do this?  I think another question to ask and maybe just for self-reflection is, why do we binge drink in the first place?

 

References:

“Effects of Alcohol on the Body.” Office of Education for Health and Wellness, Johns Hopkins University. N.p., 03 Mar 2006. Web. 29 Apr 2012. <http://www.jhu.edu/health/pdfdocs/EtOHEffects.pdf&gt;.

 

Morecartoonnetwork5. “313 (HD)”. 21 Jan. 2012 Online video clip. Youtube. Accessed on 23 April 2012. < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U9_35Umc00&feature=related&gt;.

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