A New Form of Representation or Depictions as Usual?
Chapter 9. Who Is She Repping?
WHO IS SHE REPPING?
Earlier we discussed La La Anthony’s written piece on her racial identity. La La decided to release her essay in response to several questions about her racial identity; she was often asked if she were Black. She confirmed that she was Latina. But the fact that La La was often questioned about her ethnicity is an example of how racial ambiguity and social construction of race are factors when studying and discussing women of color.
After researching reality television dating shows, Dubrofsky (2011) concluded that reality television shows often cast racially ambiguous members, whose ethnicity or racial background is not easily discernible. More specifically, racial ambiguity refers to participants who are not labeled as a specific race on the show. In these situations, the individuals’ appearance can be construed as one or more races even if he or she is not actually a member of the race(s) that viewers attribute to them. If a woman in a reality television show “is not marked physically as a woman of color, the series can represent her ethnicity in a mutable fashion” (Dubrofsky, 2011, p. 31). Regardless of the race these ambiguous characters claim or identify with, producers are able to use these women to “signify several women of color” (p. 32). Viewers then see the ambiguous women as a representation of their specific racial and ethnic groups (Dubrofsky, 2011; Ono, 2008; Valdivia, 2005). ← 105 | 106 →
La La’s essay...
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