Spotlight stereotype?

I was bothered by the selected responses to The Signal Spotlight question, “What is your favorite movie of all time?” in the Sept. 17 issue. The responses were gender-stereotyped. One male cited an action film because it is “badass” while one female chose her “favorite love story,” a Disney film, and the other female chose a romantic comedy. Only one of the four responses could be classified as gender-neutral.

I do not mean to criticize the people for choosing these as their favorite movies. However, I find it difficult to believe that in the entire College student body, the editor (or whoever is responsible for this piece) was unable to find responses that didn’t seamlessly fit the gender stereotypes.

The selection of these responses is a manifestation of the epistemological framework that shapes the way our culture thinks and acts, and it is laden with stereotypes that encourage us to place people in certain groups and think about these groups in a particular way. Proliferating stereotypes makes it more difficult for individuals to confront them, stunting any progress toward a universal understanding of each other.

Responsible journalists and responsible journalistic organizations should be cognizant of the way they portray these stereotypes, whether intentional or not, and should challenge themselves to confront them so they can fulfill their duty to serve society fairly, truthfully and nonexclusively.

Becky Bernot

Palin’s qualifications disputed

I find it to be absurd someone as educated as Brian Hackett can be so complacently ignorant when it comes to Sarah Palin. After reading his editorial, one would think Palin was some sort of hockey-watching super mom, who saved Alaska from “politics as usual.” This is not the case. Palin is an extremist and a liar. She claims to have “said thanks but no thanks on that Bridge to Nowhere.” For those of you who aren’t aware, Alaska was to receive more than $200 million to build a bridge that served a few hundred people.

Originally, Palin campaigned for the bridge, and even held rallies with the inhabitants who would be served by it, saying the name “Bridge to Nowhere” was insulting to the town it would serve. However, when the media caught wind of the bridge, it became a national issue and Palin withdrew her support. (She also kept the $200 million Congress gave Alaska to build the bridge). Not quite “thanks, but no thanks.” She is also admittedly ignorant on what the Bush Doctrine is (just watch her interview with Charlie Gibson), and McCain supporters have been quoted as saying she has foreign policy experience simply because Alaska is near Russia (Palin didn’t even have a passport until 2007).

She also doesn’t believe in evolution or global warming, even as the sea ice covering the Arctic (her supposed backyard) is covering less and less area. Palin, along with many other Republicans, derided Obama’s work as a community organizer. Community organizers get kids off drugs, help boost morale in downtrodden communities and do indispensable good for people in need. People who help communities like this should be applauded, not derided. When the media brought up these points, or when Palin showcased these points through her own interviews, the McCain campaign said, “Gov. Sarah Palin won’t subject herself to any tough questions from reporters until the point in time when she’ll be treated with respect and deference.”

The American people have a right to know about the candidates, and if McCain doesn’t want media scrutiny he shouldn’t have picked Palin. Palin also has said a pipeline in Alaska, as well as the Iraq war, are God’s plan, and for years attended a church that believed the end of days is near. Sounds like a person I want to be a heartbeat away from becoming the leader of the free world. Oh yeah, and she made women in her town pay for their own rape kits. But good call Republicans, keep on truckin’.

Patrick M. Bieger