Friday, April 20, 2007

Feedback from Lauren P, Author of "Nooch's Net Nook"

All of your blogs provide thorough and concise analyses of "The Office" and the gender stereotypes present in the show. In your blog entitled, "Violence as a Technique of Social Control in 'The Office,'" you present a solid thesis, and continue your analysis by providing multiple detailed examples from various episodes; you manage to remain concise and clear throughout the entry.

I enjoyed your most recent blog entry, "Violence as a Technique of Social Control;" the topic of analysis was specific and original. In your analysis on violence in "The Office," the reader learned how gender stereotypes are directly connected with social controls such as violence. For your final blog post, you could analyze other specific aspects in "The Office" which are connected with gender stereotypes. You could also compare how gender roles and stereotypes are enforced in the show, and how it compares/contrasts with the real business/office environment.

Your topic is the subject of analysis in all posts, with the exception of the post about "Girls Next Door."

Your blog posts reveal that you are well-informed on your blog topic. Your detailled examples infer that you have watched the episodes, most likely for entertainment. You also mentioned that it is one of your favorite T.V. shows in the post, "Hegemonic Messages in The Office."

Your blog posts are entertaining and insightful; you present your theses for each post clearly and concisely. You focus on gender as your primary category of analysis; however you also analyze sexual stereotypes such as in "Gay Witch Hunt." I like how you acknowledge stereotypes like these in addition to gender stereotypes.

As I have already mentioned, all of your posts are concise and clear. You never stray from the argument you are trying to make in your post. In "Violence as a Social Control," you clearly present the thesis, and then support your thesis by presenting examples of both physical and verbal violence.

The sources you cite are revelant to your blog topic, help to further prove and solidify your arguments in each of your blog posts.

You use quotes from a broad range of course readings from the semester, showing your ability to draw from articles of various subjects, and then tailor it to apply to your own blog topic.

In your most recent post, you use a quote by Kupers; I thought that this quote in particular clearly supported your argument. It is difficult to find quotes from the sources that directly apply to our blog topics. I feel that you successfully utilized the sources provided.

I thought it was great when you also focused on discrimination and stereotypes other than gender, such as the discrimination of homosexuals in "Gay Witch Hunt" and the subordination of males by males, such as the situation between Michael and Dwight. It shows that you remain open minded and are analyzing your topic not only through a gendered lens, but through other lens as well.

I didn't find anything about your blog to be confusing; I feel that your blogs always get right to the point without straying from your thesis.

You're really great at providing examples from the show that vividly depict the essence of your argument. By providing these examples, the reader can comprehend your argument better.

Your blog is great, but maybe you could post some more video clips of the episodes that you mention in each of your posts. It may be fun and insightful for the reader to view the clip before or after reading your analyses. Also, maybe you could ponder over whether "The Office" is enforcing or mocking stereotypes, or both.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Blog Buddy Work With Lauren P, Author of "Nooch's Net Nook"

1. Where has your Blog buddy shown strong analytical work (be specific—is it a particular post, a type of analysis, a site for analysis that seemed to click more so than others, etc)?

2. How could your Blog buddy use this strength for the final Blog post and presentation?

3. Think about the following statements in relation to your Blog buddy’s Blog and then provide feedback on each area (constructive praise/criticism):

The Blog is on a topic that has been clearly evident in the Blog posts throughout the semester

The Blog is on a topic that seems to interest my Blog buddy

My Blog buddy’s topic is one that has produced a good set of posts that were analytical used gender as a primary category of analysis

The posts make analytical arguments. The posts are understandable and each post logically outlines and supports the argument presented. The posts were clear, provided insight, evidence, and analysis to connect the topic with the assignment for each of the posts

The sources cited in each post are relevant to the topic and help to aid the understanding of the argument and/or assisted in proving the argument.

The quotes used illustrate a broad range of course readings throughout the semester.

The quotes were clear and succinct; additionally, the material was presented so that I could differentiate the Blog buddy’s ideas from that of the author cited.

4. Finally, complete the following:

I thought it was great when you...

I found it confusing when you…

You’re really great at…

I wish you could focus (more) on/alter/edit/explain/expand on/etc these three things…

(Basically, when you read the Blog posts, what do you wish your buddy had done differently, more of, etc?)

Friday, April 6, 2007

Violence as a Technique of Social Control in "The Office"

“The Office” often portrays violence as a technique of social control. Whether they are physical or verbal, violent actions are frequently used as tools to gain superiority and make others feel subordinate. These tactics are employed especially by Michael Scott, who is the manager of the office. He commonly uses verbal violence against his employees to boost himself up in the hegemonic hierarchy and keep them below him. In one episode in particular he uses physical violence to accomplish this same task.

Verbal violence as a tool for gaining social control is evident in many episodes of “The Office.” This verbal aggression is portrayed mostly through Michael Scott towards both male and female employees. One example can be seen in the Episode, “The Alliance,” in which Michael discusses a party with the party planning committee, which is made up of three of his female employees. During this discussion he refers to them as his “party planning biatches.” In doing this he is using verbal aggression to subordinate them, and therefore gain social control over them, in two different ways. First, he is identifying them as his. He is bringing to light the fact that they are below him in the hegemonic hierarchy, both as females and as his employees, and are therefore his property. Second, he refers to them as “biatches,” something other than human, something below himself. In referring to them as both his property and something less than human, he is making sure they know that they are his subordinates and he has social control over them.

Other examples of verbal violence can be seen on several occasions when Michael uses terms like idiot and stupid to put down Dwight. As his second-in-command, Dwight is closest to Michael on the hegemonic hierarchy of the office. Therefore, to maintain social control over Dwight and make sure that he stays below him, Michael needs to constantly use verbal aggression to put him down. Calling him stupid no doubt makes Dwight feel subordinate, which is exactly what Michael intends to do. He needs to make sure that Dwight knows that he is well below him on the hegemonic hierarchy.

Another technique of social control that is portrayed in “The Office” is physical violence. Physical violence as a technique of social control is especially evident in one particular episode, entitled, “The Fight.” In this episode Dwight brings his karate belt to the office to let all of the employees know that he can physically dominate them. As a result, everyone starts to tease Michael, saying that Dwight is tougher than he is. This causes Michael to feel that he is physically subordinate to Dwight, and consequently his social control over Dwight is challenged. To regain control over Dwight by proving that he can physically dominate him, he challenges Dwight to a fight. They go to Dwight’s dojo to prove once and for all who is tougher. Michael ends up beating Dwight, and Michael returns to the office feeling physically dominant, while Dwight returns feeling subordinate. After having his physical domination challenged, Michael needs to prove that he is stronger than Dwight. In accomplishing this he maintains social control over the office by showing his physical toughness.

Verbal and Physical violence are often used in our society as techniques of gaining and maintaining social control. As Terry A. Kupers states, “Free men do a lot of toughening, too. If it is not the physique it’s the mind, or it’s the reputation or the financial empire, but men are always building something that they believe will keep them off the bottom of the heap, out of range of those who would ‘shaft’ them” (Kupers, 500). This toughening is frequently portrayed on “The Office,” as is evident in the previous examples. To stay on top of the hegemonic hierarchy, Michael uses both verbal and physical violence towards his employees. Through these tactics he is able to maintain social control over the office by making others feel subordinate.


Kupers, Terry A. (1992). “Homophobia in Straight Men” from Revisioning Men’s Lives: Gender, Intimacy, and Power. Guilford Press.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

"Diversity Day" Clip

Here's a clip from the episode, "Diversity Day," which I discuss in a previous post, "Hegemonic Messages in 'The Office'."