TV: Modern Family
DISCUSSION: Lindsey Honig, Danielle Honig & David Faenza
ModernFamily PowerPoint Presentation
The Modern Family tree is clearly diverse ethnically, sexually, and age-wise. It is true that today in the US the traditional nuclear family of father, mother, 2.5 children and a white picket fence is uncommon to find.
Many different factors have influenced the new emerging American family, including increased education and employment opportunities for women (leading to later marriage and childbirth). Traditionally, the stay at home mother had no access to the financial resources of the family (a male’s arena) which made it impossible for women to leave a marriage when experiencing either abuse of some form or simply basic unhappiness.
In addition, the negative stigma attached to children born outside of marriage, although still there, is not as strong as it once was. Due to this social taboo, pregnant women used to be forced into a marriage due to pregnancy. Today women have options; reproductive freedoms afford us the right of choice, thus increasing our lifestyles.
Finally, one of the largest factors affecting the new American family is divorce. Similar to pregnancy, divorce used to be a huge social taboo, ultimately creating a trap for women with no way out. The rate of divorce in the US has actually dropped from its original spike in the postwar period; this is due to changing societal beliefs and cultured expectations. However, marriage in itself has changed due to the possibility of divorce.
There is an increase in co-habitation before marriage in addition to the increased amount of couples who choose to remain unmarried. It is clear, even in the show, that many people experience divorce, if not first hand, through a parent. Although Modern Family addresses many issues concerning the new and different possibilities of American households, single-parent homes should be addressed in my opinion, speaking from a product of a divorced couple.
You introduce a new perspective about this show portraying that it should represent parenting as being that both parents do not have to be in the picture. That’s an issue that is often kind of brushed to the side and not really thought about in portraying families. It is important to analyze the title of this show and know that the interpretation of a “Modern Family” also involves families that do not have both parents bringing up a child in this world. Especially that we are seeing divorce commonly be practiced within our society, we should most defiantly have single parent representations. We should also include these divorced parents as still being included as we define family.
It is true about what your saying that when a women got pregnant in the old times, they had no choice but to live for the rest of their lives with their husband who was either abusive or didn’t care about her. Lately through time, the way it use to be changes but now there are people who married from the same gender like the gay couple from Modern Family who are both men and probably it shows how now United States families are changing like Jay marrying Gloria who is latina, sexy and the way she is. Time is changing in different ways like marrying for culture or marrying from the same gender.
I agree with you that Modern Family should address divorced couples/single parent households and their family. Growing up in a single parent household does change the dynamics of the family unit. It also is becoming quite common in our community, as divorce is becoming more acceptable. Though there are exceptions, it is common for many Latin@’s to be raised by their mothers only, such as myself, and it’d be nice to see a representation of that type of household. I was raised by a working class woman and I made it to the University of Connecticut, so I would love to see a similar story on television. I think it would be a great representation for many minorities in the country and it would bring awareness to the fact that a single parent is not always a bad way to parent children.
I find it interesting that you mention the idea of women and success in your comment. I totally agree that our society has allowed for the growth of women in the work field, yet in this show seems that all the woman are dependent on men and that men are the only ones that are still “bringing home the bacon”. Sofia is dependent on Jay, and yes it is totally accepted that she was previously married and had a child with another man, but instead of making her a strong woman that can be on her own, she had to find a man to sustain her. Same with Claire, she is a very strong woman, yes but she also is dependent on Phil, who is the bread winner. Even in Cam and Mitchell’s relationship- Cam the more feminine of the two lovers, is the stay at home “mom”. Although the show does have great ideals- it still does depict women as dependent on their male counterparts.
The article I found about Sofia Vergara and Modern Family is about how she is TV’s highest paid actress. Compared to other articles about Sofia that I skimmed through–which discussed mostly her curvy body, skimpy outfits, and long legs–this article was actually pretty positive. The author discussed how Sofia “won over American audiences without alienating her Latina roots.” In this sense, she has nearly twice as large of a fanbase as the average American actress. Advertisers use this aspect to their greatest advantage, which is why she endorses major brands such as CoverGirl and Diet Pepsi. This shows Sofia in a very positive light saying that she has created her career targeting multiple audiences and she has been very successful in doing so.
The end of the article does talk about how Sofia’s sex appeal and body image played a huge role in how she got to where she is. Sofia explains how her looks have opened doors for her but she knows if she didn’t have “something else” as well then she wouldn’t be where she is today. I liked her honesty in this regard because there are many actresses that truly believe their talent is the number one thing that people appreciate when it is really their sexiness or attractiveness.
you can find the article at:
I agree with you. I read your article and it seems like Sofia is aware that her looks got her to where she is today. Most actresses would never admit to this and I like that Sofia does because she comes off as not fake and honest. Some people may not think this is fair, but they would do the same if they knew their looks would make them successful. She’s very fortunate in that sense so she’s using what she has to reach her goals.
She also had to change her looks to be successful, though. For example she was encouraged to dye her hair a dark brown to enhance her latina image. Yes her looks were a factor but her looks were developed over time. I’m sure that she has put a lot of work in to making her appearance as it is today besides just things such as hair color. She as a woman, and a Latina woman, no doubt received enormous pressure in the industry that shaped her body image and physical appearance into what it is today.
How do we choose our career paths? We either pick something that is of interest, or we pick something that we are good at. The most successful people are those that can combine their passion and skill set. Sofia seems to love acting, and her talents are her comedic timing and her looks…just like a good memory, some talents are just natural!
I also agree that her admitting to using her body to become successful brings more authenticity to her as an actress and pop culture star. I do not think this applies only to Latinas, as most women in Hollywood must conform and use their body’s to become famous. Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, and countless other celebrities have gone through transformations throughout their careers and have become sex symbols in the process. It upsets me that most women feel the need to conform in order to please “our” standards. I think the relationship between Hollywood and it’s consumers is a two way street where both feed off of each other, creating stereotypes. As consumers, we have the ability to create change but until more people realize that, women will have to continue to rely on their body’s for success.
In a way it is good how Sofia is saying the truth about not lying about how she got to were she is now and probably other actresses would have just lied but instead she said the truth. Sofia made a lot of fans by the way she acts in Modern Family like being all histerical about when she gets mad about people making fun of her accent like the old spitfire of Mexico. Although, I find that the producers too much accent in Sofia’s accent and put a lot of how she acts in the show. It is said that she copied her aunt and mother’s emotions, when they get angry at other people and the way they act with others. Sofia plays Gloria really well and at least she is a honest person who doesn’t hide with lies.
I totally agree with what you say at the end of your post, “Sofia explains how her looks have opened doors for her but she knows if she didn’t have “something else” as well then she wouldn’t be where she is today.” I feel as though she got where she is today because of the way that she looks. Using what she has, she was able to accomplish her dreams, and although her body and sex appeal are where the main attention stand, they did get her where she is today.
The article I found is about Sofia Vergara’s accent in the show. It deals with both the positive and negative reactions to Vergara’s portrayal of Gloria. You can find the article here: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-03-07/entertainment/fl-sofia-vergara-latin-controversy-20120307_1_sofia-vergara-latinas-role-model
Even though many Latinas find it offensive that Vergara exaggerates her accent, a Columbian resident (Claudia Teran) finds that Vergara is more than just her accent. To Teran, Vergara is a role model because they are both single mothers. In fact, Teran says that she wants to look and be just like Vergara.
Grettel Singer, a Miami writer and Spanish-Language blogger, also said that ” It’s very good for a Latino to be doing so well in the U.S. market. That’s what we all want.” I found this particular remark rather offensive. Does she mean that, by default, Latinas cannot do well in the U.S. market and that all Latino actors/actresses should look at how Vergara has succeeded and replicate what she does? What she said seems a little condescending and almost has the attitude of asking Latino actors/actresses to conform to what the U.S. market want. Even though success is a good thing, actors/actresses should have a limit to what they are asked to do (this may differ from person to person). Just because Vergara dyed her hair from blond to dark brown, doesn’t mean that all Latino actors/actresses should do that just to succeed.
What I found most interesting about the article was how it mentioned that Vergara is almost identical to Gloria, the role that she plays. Other than being divorced and being Columbian, even her son Manolo has a similar name to Manny (in Modern Family). Hence, this blurring of line complicates matters when we discuss Vergara. Do we really know her or are we just assuming that she is similar to Gloria–loud and sexy?
Perhaps one of the pitfalls in portraying somebody so similar to the actress is that criticism directed at how the character is written can be misdirected at the actress. Hence, it is important that we take the effort to understand Vergara so that we don’t criticize her for what Gloria is.
Yes we do need to understand Vergara so that we don’t criticize her for her character Gloria. This is a good point because we wouldn’t normally confuse a serial killer’s character with the actor. But since Gloria’s character is similar to the Veragara’s real life personality, it makes it easy for us to get them confused.
I agree about how that it doesn’t have to be like what Grettel Singer said because if you got to the place where you are in is by showing of your body or charms, it means that all latinas has to be like her. Gloria doesn’t lie about how she got into the place where she is now and she uses the things she learned from her surrondings, which made a great actress and in the Modern Family, even though her accent by playing the character Gloria is a too much, still she gets viewers and they love about how honest she is with herself. And in the show, there are alot of different styles of families like jay and gloria, they have different age but still got married. Jay’s son with his partner, who are gay and have a daughter. Last, Claire and Phil who are a typical family with some issues in their lives with their three kids.
This was a good article that caused us viewers to ask a lot of questions. Most people end up idealizing characters that they see on TV or in movies and believing that the actor or actress is inevitably the same person as the role they are playing. When we see Sofia on TV every week, we think we are getting to know her and correlating that sitcom with who she is as a real person subconsciously probably and assume that because this is how she acts on TV and since this role was made for her, that she must be like this, but in essence, we don’t know a thing about her. There is no way you can know about a person’s everyday personality if you don’t spend everyday with them in real life.
I agree, Vergara is playing a role, but because of the frequency of the episodes and the gradual development of Gloria as a character it can make the audience feel like they are actually getting to know Vergara as a person not just her character. I think the fact that this role was fashioned originally after Vergara also makes viewers forget that yes, this role may have been inspired by Vergara but there is a difference between real life and the role she plays. There are always artistic liberties taken when adapting any role, you can see that in biographical movies such as Notorious for example where the point of the movie is to try to portray real life as well and accurately as possible. With liberties taken in movies such as this it can certainly be said that Gloria, although inspired by the real life Vergara, is not the real deal. It is an artistically adapted and fictionally created role for the purposes of entertainment, not an accurate biographical view of Vergara’s real life personality
Violetta I agree with you. This is a common mistake we all make. An actor or actress plays a role or character we don’t like and we automatically decide we don’t like that actor or actress anymore.
It’s difficult to separate what we see on TV or on the big screen from what is reality. Though in some cases there is an uncharacteristic amount of similarities between the two, we as consumers should remember that the actors are playing a role and what they say or do does not represent tier beliefs.
With that said, actors are sometimes cast in roles similar to them simply because it is a good fit. We see this in the case of Sophia in Modern Family. Though the actress and the character she plays have similar accents and lives, we have to differentiate between the two when it comes to real life and reality.
@LatinaMedia. It talks about how the person who plays Gloria is very important in the show because of how Sofia Vergara remembers how her aunt or mother use to yell at her in a way it was funny and serious at the same time, which now in the show it helps her be more latina in the show.
I think this article, as well as how Sofia carries herself are really positive images for her as well as for all Latinas. She does play a stereotypical Latina trophy wife in Modern Family, but it a comedic show. And I think its great that she can bring Colombian culture into a show like this with such a wide audience. She is very successful and has achieved a lot for both herself and her son, regardless of the fact its because shes a beautiful, exotic Latina.
The article I found is about how Sofia Vergara in the show Modern Family takes stereotypes too far. In the article, Sofia actually admits to be playing a stereotypical character and does not mind it at all. She says: “We are yellers, we’re pretty, we’re sexy, and we’re scandalous. I am not scared of the stereotypes.” This is of course not true about all Latinas. Some of those characteristics apply to some more than others so she exaggerating when she describes what Latinas are like.
The show is definitely an exaggeration of a Latina stereotype and that’s why it is so funny. This was my first time watching the show and I thought it was hilarious. I don’t think the stereotypes are meant to offend anymore and they’re exaggerated to create this comedy. Without these exaggerations, the show probably wouldn’t be as funny or do as well. We need to keep in mind that the purpose of the Television show is to make money for its creators. This raises the moral question…is it okay to create a misconception to make a profit?
I first noticed the exaggeration at the hospital scene. The show was making fun of a Spanish soap opera or telenovela. The same way some Latinas get offended by Sofia’s character, the hospital scene might offend some telenovela producers. I used to watch these telenovelas with my grandmother when I was younger and they are so dramatic because people like to watch drama. That’s why we have reality TV. This was my favorite scene because I have watched a real telenovela before and the way the camera was used, their reactions, and acting (close ups, slapping) in Modern Family is a relatable exaggeration to the drama in telenovelas.
“Is it okay to create misconceptions to make a profit”– I think yes, aslong as no one is being hurt or severely offended in the process. Like you stated, Hollwood is all about the money, and if an actress wants to fulfill some stereotypes so we can all have a good laugh and so she can make some money, what’s so wrong with that? It all seems to be in good fun! Also, she’s playing the cards she was dealt.
I also think yes, as long as you are not doing it at someone else’s expense. I do not think Vergara is trying to offend anyone or exploit anyone, I think she is using humor to build a career and that humor gives her the ability to poke fun at the impracticality of these stereotypes in the first place. She is an incredibly successful business woman, and when you think of some of the ways other Americans become successful businessmen/women she is doing it in a much more ethical and moral way than most.
I think you make a really crucial point when you say that the exaggerations in the show are created to make the viewers laugh. The show is considered a comedy and without these exaggerations it wouldn’t be nearly as funny. People often forget that television shows are for entertainment, not to perfectly and accurately depict one’s race.
I love the approach that Sofia took to this interview. I think in a show like Modern Family, that deals with so many types of stereotypes, it is very important for the emphasis on the exaggeration to be prevalent. It is very important to address stereotypes in the media, and while the show is taking a bold and abrasive approach at how they are handling stereotypes, at least they are acknowledging that they are there, and that unfortunately the main purpose is to make a profit.
Through analyzing “Modern Family”, we see how characters represent an identity through their own actions and personalities. Most evident is Sophia’s character in which we tend to focus on a little bit more attentively because of her representation. Sophia’s character is not one that we can simply ignore. She has no problems vocalizing herself and letting her opinions be heard. Although I believe that these characteristics can be represented in a somewhat positive light, I also think that her character expresses them to the extent that they can no longer be seen as being positive. She is representing more than a character in her acting. She is showing the audiences what a Latina acts like and this act does not settle well with many.
Within my source that I discovered, I learned more about Sofia coming across as depicting an almost rather obnoxious identity. It more focuses on how she as a character expresses herself rather than her physical appearance. With learning about Latina’s, we often conclude that they have attitudes which are hard to miss. They come across as being feisty and the way in which they act constantly grabs attention of those around them. While these stereotypes should not always be the same representation, they are. Sophia is someone who does exactly what we exact her as a Latina to do. The article mentions how she is consistently yelling and this is something that is part of her identity. If you brought up her character, people would probably identify her as being loud.
I think that we need to think more about her character and her portrayal of Latina’s. I understand from her perspective she probably does not really care about how she comes across to people or if she’s enforcing perceptions of Latina’s in a bad way. She is making a profit by doing so which is supporting her financially. However, as the audience it is important that we know and understand that she does not represent all Latina’s. But, for many people who do not know this, they use her character as being a voice for Latina’s and their image.
I read the same article as well and I got a different sense from what the author was saying. Executive producer Steve Levitan argues that Sofia as Gloria is merely one representation of a Latina and is in no way meant to be all-encompassing. Additionally, Vergara herself said this is the role (at least in mainstream US media) that she has felt herself most in. She draws inspiration from her home country of Colombia and uses memories of women there as a model. I think that educated people can see this fairly easily, even just from one episode. As we mentioned in class, the fact that all of the characters are extremes draws attention to that very fact. If Gloria was the only exaggerated character, I feel it would be more offensive.
It is still important to note that some people may not realize her character is satirical. This is where things move into a more dangerous territory. Modern Family has such high ratings that one can assume there are any number of people who buy into the show; Gloria must be reinforcing the stereotype, even if it is only for a small percentage of viewers. A positive thing to counteract this, though, is her son, Manny- a Latino who has many different qualities that his mother does not. Overall, Modern Family has been a hugely successful program. Even if they are using stereotypes, they do so in a fairly lighthearted way and don’t seem to intend to offend anyone.
I completely agree with all your points, and like you mentioned, I think it’s especially important to realize EVERY character is exaggerated and very fictional. This show is great for comedy purposes, but it’s still just a show. People know not to take the show Friends seriously because its not realistic but great for entertainment purposes, and I think Modern Family is exactly like that, but people are criticizing it because a minority was brought in. I also am glad the director made it a point to say Gloria’s character is NOT all encompassing because so many people like to pounce on the idea that once a minority is brought into a TV show or movie or any sort of media, its stereotyping and seen in a more negative perspective. I think she’s great at what she does, as well as every other actor on there, and shes a huge reason why the show is such a success. And that’s something to be proud of, especially in the Latino community.
“I think that we need to think more about her character and her portrayal of Latina’s. I understand from her perspective she probably does not really care about how she comes across to people or if she’s enforcing perceptions of Latina’s in a bad way. She is making a profit by doing so which is supporting her financially. However, as the audience it is important that we know and understand that she does not represent all Latina’s. But, for many people who do not know this, they use her character as being a voice for Latina’s and their image.”
I disagree. In the articles that I have read about Sofia, I got the impression that she thinks of Latinas, such as herself, as colorful, loud, and sexy and she sees nothing wrong with this. I don’t think that she portrays Gloria as a loud person to make a profit, but rather because she is drawing from her own personality and other Colombian women that she knows and exaggerating it. It’s true that it’s wrong to assume that all Latinas act like this, but I think in Sofia’s opinion there is nothing wrong with being loud and “colorful.”
It is not necessarily a concern to her on how she is perceived to her audience. However, I understand how she is aware of how she does this and does not see it as being problematic in any way. She does deserve the decision to portray her race in however manner she wants but all I was doing was just making an observation that she is making a profit from doing this. Besides certain characteristics of her characters personality, I think it is more problematic on how she is sexualized as a latina identity consistently. This is seen more as an issue I think than the other issues dealing with personality.
Based on our discussion in class and the article I found, I focused on the relationship between Sofia Vergara’s character Gloria and husband Jay. The article states “While she is overly celebrated as an exotic sex symbol on the show, the main tension of her marriage with Jay lies within age difference and not race.” To some extent this statement is true however, I have to disagree as well. From the episodes I’ve seen, Jay and Gloria have tensions based on the cultural differences and the fact that her accent is so thick and is an exaggerated representation of a fiery Latina woman. They have different perspectives based on how they were raised causing issues and how she was a strong, dominant single mother before she married Jay. I think there are some incidents where they argue based on the age difference and the fact that she is much younger but the majority of tension is based on the differences of cultural backgrounds and bringing her Colombian heritage to the United States.
In addition, Gloria’s beauty is reinforced with each episode along with her thick accent to show the cultural differences between the other characters. I really liked how the end of the article ties together how Modern Family has done a great job of demonstrating racial and cultural stereotypes in a socially conscious comedy.
In reading your article, I noticed this quote that I think summarizes Modern Family perfectly:
“This show has beautifully demonstrated how racial and cultural stereotypes can be utilized in socially conscious comedy. Rather than encouraging the attribution of fictional characteristics to real demographics, Modern Family showcases the humanity of television’s favorite archetypes and challenges the abuse of cultural stereotypes in comedy.”
Modern Family plays into stereotypes, but in a comedic way; it doesn’t add negative connotations to it and I think that most people understand that stereotypes certainly do not apply to everyone. I think it’s great that the producers can have fun with it.
I agree with Stacey’s post about how Gloria and Jay often disagree about cultural aspects not only the age difference. Although the age gap between the two is an issue within their relationship and within the show, the cultural differences are way more prominent in my opinion. You can even see this within the entire family when Claire freaked out in the Halloween episode about how she’s adapted her holiday rituals to include Gloria’s culture.
Are we sure that the “differences” in their marriage are attributed to age difference and different cultural backgrounds? I think it also has to do with the simple fact that there has to be conflict in any book, television show, or movie. In my opinion a lot of this is due to the show’s necessity to create comedic conflict between husband and wife.
From the two episodes that we watched in class, i would have to agree with what you say. One of the first things that I noticed as i watched the show for the first time in class was the age difference that Gloria and Jay have. Gloria looks a lot younger that jay, but like you say it is not one of the main concerns of their issues. In one of the episodes that we watched i remember that Jay and the other actors all had something to say about her accent and how they all understood what she says differently. one of the quotes i directly remember were “I Told you secretary to order you baby cheeses,” but the secretary understood jesus and sent him a box of baby jesus. Understanding the differences in how they were raised and their cultural backgrounds is a big problem in between the actors in Modern Family
After watching the the episode of Modern Family, I thought it was incredible how diverse the characters are on the show. The article I found described how Gloria (Sofia) uses instances in her own life throughout the show. The article talked about how her mother and aunt used to scream all of the time. Gloria seems to scream in every episode which is very true in Sofia’s real life. Sofia said the directors encourage her to scream in every episode, in order to make certain scenes more amusing.
Although it seems she seems to over-exaggerate a little bit with her heavy accent and constant screams, I truly believe that her character is true to her real-life. In my article, http://www.wetpaint.com/modern-family/articles/modern-family-creators-gloria-is-very-true-to-sofia-vergaras-personality– , Sofia says that she could always use a good scream in her own life. Obviously, because it is a sitcom, the little aspects are exaggerated to make the show more humorous and attract more viewers, but it also does portray what Sofia is like on a daily basis. They use her differences (being latina) to their benefit and over-exaggerate on purpose. There is nothing wrong with this procedure especially if Sofia doesn’t mind it either.
I found it very interesting that sofia said the directors encourage her to scream in every episode in order to make certain scenes more amusing. Like we talked about in class, we can really see her character carry out into her real life experiences. In one of the youtube videos that Lindsey and Danielle showed us during class, i remember that Sofia was screaming very loudly with her heavy accents. It was very amusing to watch and it only leads me to believe that it is done for the audience to get a good laugh too. I feel as though it makes the show that much funnier.
Modern Family is a show that uses stereotypes in a satirical way to draw attention to how ridiculous they are. Often times, a show will use a stereotype to create a “flat character” with no development. For example, the housekeeper in Family Guy is a stereotype of a Latina maid. Her character has no development of any kind. Sofia Vergara’s character Gloria in Modern family, however, develops over the series. In the new season she becomes pregnant, turning her from a a Latina trophy wife to a relatable character.
In the public eye however, she is seen differently. News tabloids only make reports on her body, wardrobe malfunctions, and sexuality. In one article I found, titled “Sofia Vergara: I Look Better Naked!”, she discusses wedding plans and her career. The article used only her talking about her body as its main draw. She is seen as a “flat character” in the public eye when she is a person who has more facets to her than being an attractive Latina.
That is very interesting and rather sad, Adam. The medium of a television show allows Gloria as a character to develop and show off different sides to her, such that she is able to transcend the archetype of the hot young latina. However, it is the scrutiny and judgment of the public eye that objectifies Sofia Vergara without allowing a human side to her. This reflects the negative effects media publicity can have on the body image and perception of a woman.
At the same time, I wonder where to draw the line between a woman being objectified and sexualized under the male gaze and her taking charge of and being proud of her own sexuality. Sofia Vergara is very much the latter (from what we see from her interviews, etc.), but how is it different from feeding into a male fantasy/gaze?
Though I watch this show regularly, I never gave much thought to the family dynamics shown in it. I do think that this is an accurate representation of American families today, due to the fact that many different family dynamics are shown in one show.
For example, Claire and Phil have the American family stereotype of a family structure consisting of a mom and dad, still married, living with their three biological children. The mom stays at home while the father works. Then there’s Claire’s brother, Mitch, who lives with his partner Cam, and their adopted daughter Lily. Finally, Claire and Mitch’s father, Jay, is married to a much younger Latina woman named Gloria, his “trophy wife.” Gloria and Jay live with Gloria’s son from a previous marriage.
Each dynamic is vastly different, yet just because they stray from the traditional family dynamic, (shown by Claire and Phil), doesn’t make them any less functional or happy. This show is a great representation of how far we’ve come in the U.S. Today it is perfectly acceptable to stray from the traditional nuclear family as long as everyone is happy and safe. Society is much more accepting of different family structures today than in the 1950’s.
I think that a great aspect of this show is that it strips away the negative connotations that some people might have of non-traditional family structures by providing characters whom are likeable and genuinely seem happy to be together. Thus viewers can see alternative family structures in a positive light and hopefully translate this to being more tolerant of people in real life as well.
In this article, Sofia explains the reason why her character screams so much on Modern Family. In creating the character, when the producers discovered her talent for screaming they wanted to use it to dramatize the character of Gloria. She even goes as far to say that many women in Columbian, such as her mom and aunts, are loud women and she tries to think about her impression of women from Columbia, where she’s from, when playing Gloria. In reality, Sofia says that she also likes to scream, so Gloria is not very different from herself.
I think that since the role was created for her, the producers did give her a fair amount of creative freedom when portraying Gloria. Since she was playing a character so similar to herself, a sexy, eccentric Latina with a thick accent, I think she is drawing from her own personality and dramatizing it a bit to create Gloria’s personality.
Based off of this article and others I have read about her, Sofia seems to believe that many Latinas are dramatic and loud and “colorful” and she doesn’t see anything wrong with it. In fact, she seems to celebrate it and play into that when playing Gloria.
Sofia Vergara is now one of the most popular Hispanic women shown on TV and in commercials. Despite her being a columbian woman both in real life and on the shown that has made it big in hollywood, this article explains how most hispanics are not fans of Modern Family. Of the almost 13 million viewers that Modern Family has, only 798,000 are hispanic viewers (this is less than 6%). It is a shocking number when you learn that there are nearly 48 million Hispanic viewers in television.
This article claims that the reason for such low numbers is that even though these sitcoms want to appeal to the nearly 50 million hispanic viewers, these hispanic viewers in return, want nothing to do with American-English television and focus more on spanish networks. Instead of watching the Modern Family series finale for one season, more Hispanic viewers were watching the top Spanish language show that week, the telenovela “La Que No Podía Amar,” on Univision, which attracted 5.2 million viewers.
Another reason that hispanics may not be interested in these sitcoms according to the article is that there has still yet to be one based on a hispanic family that can be compared to other shows such as “The Cosby show”, meaning ” a show that deals with Latino culture in a way that doesn’t offend viewers with crude stereotypes.”
As far as Sofia Vergaras’ character on Modern Family, many people have mixed emotions. One hispanic woman was quoted saying, “It’s working for her, but at what expense? She’s playing the clueless Latina.” Do you guy’s agree with this? Are you surprised that most Hispanics are shown to dislike the show?
It is important to remember that this show is a sitcom which allows us to see the growth or different characters and their personalities. Gloria, in Modern Family, is portrayed as the sexy, voluptuous Latina. The show, clearly plays into sterotypes, but it also breaks them. Although, at first glance, it may seem like Gloria is just another sly Latina using her looks in an empty relationship, we actually can see a healthy and loving relationship with her and Jay. So although the show points out that, yes she is a sexy Latina who wears form fitting clothes, who is loud, has a temper, etc- all things that we can laugh at- it also shows us the other side of a coin. She seems to be someone that fell in love with a man and because of this a huge stereotype is being crushed. The idea of the money hungry Latina. Yes, she may not have a job, and yes she may have fallen for a man who is really well off, but she seems to be very in love.
I have never watched Desperate House Wives, but from what I have gathered from in class, Eva Longoria’s character is married to a man, mostly for his money. (Please correct me if I am wrong). I think in class we also mentioned the latina wife in the show, “The League” who is portrayed as a empty headed trophy wife. Either way, we can compare the women and actually see the turing point. The idea that Gloria isn’t with Jay just because she is hot and he has money, is something that has always been stereotyped with “hot” latinas. It’s nice to see a show taking a different take on things. Not to say that they don’t comment on other stereotypes, but it was nice to see this one tackled.
The Two Sides of Sofia: Superstar or Stereotype?
This article that I found explores the two sides of the controversy that Sofia Vergara brings to the main screen. Is she a superstar or a stereotype? Is the actress and businesswoman a role model for Hispanic women, or is she helping to perpetuate stereotypes? This article explains how opinions of viewers vary on this topic. A great thing about Sofia Vergara that is exposed in this article is how inspiring she is in her real life. She is a divorced singe mother in real life who overcame many obstacles to rise to the fame of being the highest paid actress on TV and to make Forbe’s list of the top 100 most powerful women in the world (she is number 75). She is criticized for enforcing negative stereotypes about latinas in her loud, sexualized character of Gloria on Modern Family. However this article argues, and I argue as well, that this is simply a role. She is a powerful businesswoman and an inspiring single mother off screen, and on screen she uses exaggeration and humor to draw attention to negative latina stereotypes and to fight against them. A common activism tactic that is used in many women’s movements is the approach of using satire and humor to draw attention to oppressive forces in society. Humor and satire allow activists to be critical of structures such as patriarchy, and a white male dominated society without making people who may be privileged in one sense or another within this society feel personally attacked. In my opinion Sofia Vergara uses this same approach. She uses her exaggerated latina identity to criticize the sterotypes that exist for latinas in society today in a way that gets the overwhelmingly large audience of Modern Family- regardless of gender class and race privileges/ disadvantages they may have- to laugh along with these absurdities. By bringing to light how absurd these stereotypes are, people are able to understand how untrue they are in a way where they do not shut off to the idea by feeling attacked. They can absorb the message because of its humorous disguise, and the three dimensionality of Sofia Vergara and her depth as Gloria serve to further disprove these shallow views/ stereotypes latinas often find themselves labeled with. One great quote that addresses the depth of Sofia further that I found in my article is as follows, “Some Latinas do not think of her highly because of the role that she plays, but that is a role,” Nogales said. “She is not like that. She is a very smart businesswoman. I’d like to have more three-dimensional roles in all programs so we can explore the Latino psyche in different ways, but that’s not reality.” For a TV program, Vergara does a great job playing Gloria, and Gloria is a character that uses a great tactic of women’s activism to challenge oppressive white privileged patriarchal structures and their manifestations in the minds of people and in cultural aspects such as in television and the media.
You make a very good point when you posed the question, “Is the actress and businesswoman a role model for Hispanic women, or is she helping to perpetuate stereotypes?” As a businesswoman, she is a genius. I cannot knock her for being a good entrepreneur that seized her opportunity in Hollywood, capitalized it, and made a living off of it. Specially after all her early marital problems and overcoming all her obstacles, she is definitely admirable. However, I wouldn’t say that she is a role model for Hispanic women, and she is helping to perpetuate stereotypes. Those stereotypes are very installed in the image of Hispanic women. Although these stereotypes are true, society should try to focus on eliminating the stereotypes that marginalize women. Gloria is a constant reminder of them. Sofia has no blame in this. Hollywood is using these traits of hers to make money. Sadly enough, money talks louder than how Gloria’s behavior affects Latina women.
To add on, Vergara even mentions how her character Gloria is much like herself, so in that case, why can’t Vergara play herself on TV? Wouldn’t it be better to play the stereotypes that are true to herself than have to act them out for the sake of a contract? And you say that “Hollywood is using these traits of hers to make money” but doesn’t Hollywood do that in general? It seems as if people try to find something to complain about when really there is nothing to complain about. People would jump on the opportunity to make it in Hollywood if it was handed to them. At least Vergara worked hard to get to where she is today.
I the article that I read in the Huffington Post, Sofia’s character Gloria is in the spotlight for taking a hand at shouting but in a lowered tone. This was a very comical approach to deal with a stereotype of the iconic latina flare of being loud. Through out the series we have instances where Gloria is hot headed and loud, even at times setting out the car alarm because she voice.
I thought it was an interesting thing to spotlight because often times when we think of stereotypes in general associated with latin women, they often evolve around appearance. However, when I really started thinking about it the way that Gloria is depicted as being loud is also very important because it attributes a personality to her that made associate with the fact that she is a “fiery latina”. Tone of voice a very different type of way to classify a person than judging them by their appearance, and that struct me as very appealing. In a recent episode she reinforces the fact that she is not a hothead, she is Colombian.
I thought the idea of her yelling in a whisper brought attention to the fact that it was a personality quirk as oppose to just stereotypical flare.
In the second class discussion about modern family we spoke in depth about not only her accent but also about the stereotypes that each of the characters in this show perpetrates. It is interesting that you bring up the point of her speech and volume of voice as it relates to her Columbian culture, but I do not find this attribute to be connected to her personality at all. However, I think this just creates an ongoing stereotype of her culture. The fact that she is quietly yelling is just another way of showing the negative stereotype that Latina or Columbian women are hotheaded.
When I first watched Modern Family, I remember the Bronze Screen and how an actress was made to play up her accent. I remember how this certain actress would be forced to “act” Hispanic, as if all Latinos had a specific way of behaving. Although Sofia has a thick accent, I am not sure that I like that they are using her as the comical character. Granted her part in the show is great, I feel that they play up the stereotype in order to get laughs. I really hate to go against her because she does a great job and she also has a job, but I have not really favored using stereotypes to get further in life.
My article was about Sofia’s character on Modern Family being pregnant. The article said that her character wears tight fitting clothes in order to show the baby bump. But my favorite part is when the article says, “Gloria’s pregnancy hormones are on overdrive, making her even more hot-headed than usual”.
You make a good point that it is wrong to use stereotypes to get ahead in your career, however, I feel that in Hollywood people don’t really have a choice. And outsiders are going to find ways of criticizing all they want because they can. For an actress in Hollywood, it takes a lot to get themselves recognized and become successful. I think for someone going into the Hollywood scene, they know that and is willing to do drastic things such as emphasize a stereotype if it means becoming successful. It also has a lot to do with what will get them the most money. So people who don’t agree with what Hollywood is about doesn’t have to go to Hollywood and try to become famous, but those who do want that shouldn’t be scrutinized for what they do. It’s a business.
The article about Sofia Vergara that I found talks about the negative stereotypes of a Latina. As discussed in class, Vergara’s character Gloria in Modern Family resembles many stereotypes of a Latina, both negative and positive. This article elaborates on our discussion in class about how Gloria yells a lot and mispronounces words. Although Vergara plays a role that portrays stereotypes of Latinas, I feel that she suits the role in the type of genre that Modern Family is. The show is a comedy and is supposed to portray these stereotypes and Vergara is perfect for this role. The other stereotypes are portrayed just as well, such as the gay couple and the slutty teenager. What I like about Vergara that is mentioned in the article, is that she doesn’t apologize for making the most of her beauty or her accent. She has always owned her femininity and massive sex appeal, which is difficult for most women to be so confident about, especially in Hollywood. She says, “I’m not afraid to work with what I’ve got. I say, if you got this, show this. You’re a woman so dress like a woman! Be proud. Be sexy.” I don’t see anything wrong with her poise and her desire to flaunt her Latina femininity on television. It is what helped her to get where she is now and although some people may want to find reasons why that is a bad thing, many women would probably do the same as her if they had what she had. She says, “I don’t see anything bad about being stereotyped as a Latin woman, we are yellers, we’re pretty, we’re sexy, and we’re scandalous. I am not scared of the stereotypes.” I also read that early in her career she was asked by movie executives to color her naturally blond hair darker so that she would look “more Latin.” I feel that she agreed to this change because it was early in her career and it gave her the push she needed to be recognized.
The article I found explores Sofia Vergara and her “Rules of attraction.” The article mentions how when Sofia was a child, her brothers would always taunt her for being scrawny. This article along with Sofia developing the features she has today explains how her brother’s criticisms helped her to be the woman she is today. Her #1 “rule of attraction” which also happens to be the one that stands out most to me is to “Find your inner latina woman.” She claims, “Latin women are very comfortable with their bodies and their sexuality. We aren’t afraid to show that off a little bit more.” In modern family, Sofia’s curves and big boobs absolutely help to enhance her character. The physical features she has are stereotypical to Latinas, and the show definitely wants to flaunt it to add that Latina spice. Although some may criticize the show for being too stereotypical, I respect Sofia for the way that she acts as it adds to the comedic side of the show as well as its Latina aspect.
In my opinion, I do not think it is fair that Sofia would group all Latina women into this category of body image confidence. Many, if not most, Latina women feel uncomfortable with their bodies, as do most women in today’s society. Not all women feel the way that Sofia may feel, and not all Latinas have this same body type. It isn’t fair for any women to speak for others on a topic such as body image or body confidence. Particularly if she is representing an entire culture or community of women.
Modern Family is not neccasrily the most accurate depection of a “modern family” but its still a step in the right direction. They aim to include different minority groups and fuse them into a “functional” nuclear family. In the article does talk about how Sofia’s success was completely dependent on her physical appearance. Her body was made her able to move forward in her career. Sofia even admits to have her image has paved the way for her to grow in the industry. She also has coe to terms with the fact that without her looks she would have problably not made it in the entertainment business. It was really humble for Sofia to take into account that her “acting skils” alone are not what people ultimately know her for, but her “assets.” Other celebs will problably never admit that and claim that ther fame and fortune is independent of their looks.
Something I already knew was that Sofia is the highest paid Latina actress. Yet it came as surprised to me the first time I had heard this. Its strange because there are a lot of actresses who are taken “more seriously” yet are not worth what Sofia is. How much does appearance factor? How much does talent factor? Atleast in the article they described Sofia’s “assets” as a plus versus a negative connotation about streotypes. Instead of people disliking her for it, they embraced her, and said that it added to her success in reaching a broader audience.
Wow I did not know that Sofia was the highest paid Latina actress! To answer your question, I think appearance does play a factor but then again, there are many other Latina actresses (Eva Longoria for example) who are just as beautiful and has just as much talent. Since the show Modern Family is a comedy and Sofia’s role is extremely exaggerated, maybe this has some contribution? Also, another thing to consider is how since Sofia’s role is really based on herself and she doesn’t do much “acting” is her talent really more significant than another Latina who actually has to change her role as a person?
I agree that Modern Family is not the most accurate depiction of today’s families. I actually didn’t like the episode we saw and thought that it strengthened stereotypes of Latinas and the queer community. It upsets me that Sofia is completely exaggerated, because it does not give America a representation of a true Latina. It kind of feeds off of the negative stereotypes already in place and is comedic, so it works.
In the article that I found for the twitter assignment, Sofia Vergara comments on the question, “Who do you think is the funniest on Modern Family?” Sofia comments with “yeah its me, pick me” When asked, “People Magazine named you TV’s sexiest woman, is that pressure?” Vergara commented while laughing, “No I agree with them.” I believe that both of these comments show how confident and comfortable she is in her own skin being a popular Latina actress. With Modern Family being one of the biggest shows on television right now, Sofia Vergara embraces her Latin heritage to be a funny, loud, and spicy Latina that she uses to her advantage to act out the character of Gloria very well.
After watching the show for the first time, and seeing how Sofia plays her character Gloria, I found that reading these two comments sounded exactly like something that she would say. I also found that as we spoke about in class, her character Gloria can also be seen in Sofia’s real life experiences and they sound like things she would actually say outside of the show.
One of the interesting things that were discussed in the article was the pregnancy of Gloria and the introduction of a baby onto the set. Sofia commented by stating, “We thought it was a great idea,” Vergara said. “It’s going to be hard, plus it’s another baby that we have to deal with on the set, so we’ll see what happens. ” As we spoke about in class, even while she was pregnant, Sofia still embraced her Latina self by still dressing “sexy” and showing off her curves.
The article can be found at:
I watched several interviews with Sofia, and they all praise the show for its progressive character tree and plot line. However, those interviews are in English; I have found other interviews from Spanish channels and news that are a lot more critical.
December 8th, 2012
I completely agree with all your points, and like you mentioned, I think it’s especially important to realize EVERY character is exaggerated and very fictional. This show is great for comedy purposes, but it’s still just a show. People know not to take the show Friends seriously because its not realistic but great for entertainment purposes, and I think Modern Family is exactly like that, but people are criticizing it because a minority was brought in. I also am glad the director made it a point to say Gloria’s character is NOT all encompassing because so many people like to pounce on the idea that once a minority is brought into a TV show or movie or any sort of media, its stereotyping and seen in a more negative perspective. I think she’s great at what she does, as well as every other actor on there, and she’s a huge reason why the show is such a success. And that’s something to be proud of, especially in the Latino community.
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