Friday, May 18, 2012

Media Moment: "MAKERS"

The class is Women and Media for a reason, it’s where we’ve identified, analyzed and looked critically at how media perceives women. I think MAKERS.COM, a video initiative supported by AOL and PBS and presented by Simple (a skincare line) is a wonderful tool to hear from trailblazing women we see all the time, or may not even have heard of at all.

The videos are truly inspiring- some are relatable and some may change your perspective on things. Each woman interviewed tells of family, background and present-day stories that have shaped her into the woman she is now. It’s intriguing to get such different perspectives from different religions, cultures, occupations, lifestyles etc. I also think that since we’ve become such a YouTube generation, the way in which this initiative is set-up with full videos of the speaker, viewers are able to see their reaction, their facial expressions and feel the emotion in their voice making it a real and impressive interaction.

Many images in the media about men are terrible and show a side that isn’t worth paying attention to. What I’ve wondered was would there be serious backlash had there been a website created for boys, preteen and young guys to hear from successful men? Is there a website like that now or will there ever be one? 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Class reflection

Reflecting on our last class, I was impressed with everyones projects. My favorite was about the music industry and its exploitation of women. I also found this other video that digs deeper into this matter. I feel it starts from the top, the people who are in charge need to present a new attractive way than exploiting women.  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Media Moment: It's Not 'Childless', It's A 'Choice'

Recently I came across this article by Carol Hartsell of the Huffington post highlighting her outcry against those that pity and refer to her as being childless. Hartsell says' that she is also not...

"monsterless, RV-less, ferretless, wingless, third-nippleless, portmanteauless, Ryan-Seacrestless, crippling-sense-of-self-loathingless and teaching-certificateless..."

And thus by placing these labels on her It dismisses the fact that not having children is ultimately a choice that for Hartsell is one that should be respected. This article reminded me again of one of Sam's comments on how in our discussion about Gay and Lesbian rights the case of choice over genetics is often dismissed yet still needs to be considered. Hartsell argues that...

...almost every woman you know has been socialized from the time she was in diapers to believe that she is supposed to have a child of her own...

So consequently one can imagine that how within the LGBT community genetics can be used as a means of socializing with factual and tangible support. So while the case is being made for genetics within the LGBT community can it be argued that leaning to heavily on genetics can actually cause repercussions for those who feel that it is a choice, one being that they have even made? 

Rachel Maddow on the Wendy Williams Show

          About two weeks ago while working, I heard the name Rachel Maddow and looked up and saw Wendy Williams on the TV introducing Rachel Maddow. At first, I was like where do I know that name from then I realized we had a whole class discussion on her!

          Here is the clip of Rachel Maddow on Wendy Williams. From watching this I saw how comfortable she is in her own skin and how open she is about her story of "coming out." They also mention and show her high school yearbook photo. I just found it great to see something we talked about in class being mentioned on TV and I thought I'd share it with the class! 
          My question is why do you think Wendy decided to show Rachel Maddow's yearbook photo? Was it necessary? Do you think the impression of those watching changed after seeing it? 

Media Moment: "S**t Spanish Girls Say."

My media moment is about a YouTube video titled Shit Spanish Girls Say. I chose to post this because we watched 'sh** white girls say to black girls' in class. This video made me think about the stereotypes that these videos are reinforcing. Yes, they are all funny, but at the same time some people use these videos as a means of putting others into a category. I've also noticed that all of these videos have become seemingly popular because the main character has take on gender role of the opposite sex.

Why are these videos funny? Is it because they contain some truth as well as some over exaggeration? Do you think if it was a Spanish girl that was playing the gender role of heterosexual female would have impacted how many people viewed this video?

Media Moment: "Liquid Plumr Double Impact."

I saw this Liquid Plumber Double Impact Commercial  and this gave me an immediate pause. I found this so wrong on so many levels. I felt like the advertisers that came up with this were taking the whole idea of a desperate housewife and making it into a super sexual commercial. The fact that they played on the word "double impact" by having two plumbers enter her house is really weird, especially because they are hyper-masculine. The housewife character seemed very sexually excited as you can see from all her facial expressions. At 0.28 she flings herself around and sticks out her tounge.
The next image is then her pushing the snake into the toilet while the two plumbers stand behind her and watch. How do you think this impacts the image of housewives as desperate for sex? Do you feel that commercials like this create stereotypes in the minds of married men?

Reflection on class discussion:Transgender Women

I learned a lot from the class discussion we had about Transgender people. I now understand that a transwoman is a man who has chosen to live his life as a woman. The class discussion also helped me eliminate the preconception that a transperson always wants to undergo an operation to change their sex. The conversation opened me up to a lot of things that I have seen that I never really questioned. Like why do I always imagine a transperson as a man dressing as a woman and why not the other way around. 

I had mentioned a video of  a Latina, more specifically Puerto Rican transwoman named 'Mauricia'. The video is titled Love Match: Mauricia I  , it is a  parody about a 'transexual from the Lower East Side' who is making this dating video because she needs someone to 'pay for her tits.' I feel like I love the way he talks because he especially captured the way a lot of older Puerto Rican women sound when they talk. I loved this video when I first saw it and now I wonder if it's just because he was representing Puerto Ricans and transwomen. This video has an estimate of 2, 600, 000 views and I am beginning to question why. All the comments are quotations of what she says, for example:

im a woman living inside what use to be a man's body, thats god's mistake thats not my fault, that jesus christ mess up.. he made a mistake.. but i need science to fix that shit!
Dasss it!!!! LMAOO

I really love that he says he wants to go to Brazil because 'dey not so stuck up on this shit." When Mauricia says that she is referring to the homophobia she experiences in New York. Is it better for the trans community to have any kind of exposure or do you see videos like this as harmful?

Media Moment: "Against Me! Singer Comes Out as Transgender"

Earlier this week, singer of punk band Against Me!, Tom Gabel, revealed to Rolling Stone that he is transgender and will undergo surgical procedures to become a woman. Gabel, who has lived privately with gender dysphoria for years, will be taking the name Laura Jane Grace. This announcement spread quickly, surprised many music fans, and even caused some issues with website coverage of the news. Since this is the first time a major rock star came out as transgender, many blogs and music websites were unsure on how to react and were careful with their wording and use of pronouns. One website that did not react sensitively to the announcement was popular indie music site Stereogum. In their article "Against Me! Frontman to Change Genders," the writer uses an extremely condescending tone to present the story. Here's an example: 

"Well, here’s something I don’t think anyone saw coming. Tom Gabel is the frontman and founder of Against Me!, one of the best punk bands currently in existence. But he isn’t going to be Tom Gabel much longer. He’s currently planning to begin living as a woman, and he’s changing his name to Laura Jane Grace. This is apparently a real thing. More below."

Wow. Although the site has been known to be snarky at times, a quote like "This is apparently a real thing." is extremely unnecessary and disgraceful. After reading that one short paragraph I did not think the article could get any worse. Of course I was wrong. The article continues with a quote from Gabel about undergoing electrolysis. "He says he’s been living with gender dysphoria for years and that he (she, I guess?) feels the need to talk openly about it, since no major rock figures have done this before."

He concludes the post with an even more upsetting comment: 

"So: Good for her? I guess? My main takeaway from this, beyond the obvious surprise, is that I’m hoping Gabel’s hormone treatments won’t change her inimitable bleat of a voice."

Of course, this offensive post angered many readers, which you can read in the comments. I understand that many music blogs have snarky tones and attitudes but using that in an article about a singer's inspiring announcement is unjust.                                                                                     (Article Link)

What are your thoughts on how Stereogum handled Tom Gabel coming out as transgender? Do you think this article's tone resulted from the writer's unfamiliarity with transgenders or personal opinion?

Media Moment: "Scarlett Johansson: My Sexuality Is Boring"

"Scarlett Johansson thinks her striking good looks are a 'by-product of being curvy', but she tries not to think about her natural beauty because she finds it 'boring' to talk about."

Scarlett Johansson plays Black Widow in the superhero movie The Avengers, but claims to find her own sexuality ‘boring’ and tries not to think about it. When Johansson is asked how she feels about her looks she says, “I think that’s just a by-product of being curvy. I never think about it, except when I get constant questions in interviews about sexuality. I really have nothing to say about any of that stuff because it’s so boring.” In the film, Johansson had to wear a skin-tight cat suit to portray Black Widow, but she’d rather explore her character’s ‘dark past’ than her alter-ego’s sexual power. 
I came across this article when I was skimming news headlines and thought it would be a great media moment to generate conversation. I think all superheroine characters should represent more of there badass characteristics and spend less time on there sexuality. I think the perpetuation of these films in the media that flaunt sexuality just fertile soil for the insecurities to flourish among women.

''When I met with Marvel they agreed that there's not really been a good female superhero movie and they wanted to get away from that overly sexy superheroine thing.''

Why do you think these superheroine characters rely on their sexuality and being posy and sexy as opposed to being a badass?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Media Moment: "Gloria Steinem, a Woman Like No Other”

“We’ve not seen another Gloria Steinem because there is only one Gloria, and someone with her combination of conviction, wit, smarts and grace under fire doesn’t come along every day.”
                                                                                                            –Susan Faludi

      I was looking up articles about Gloria Steinem, after Oprah called her the face of the feminist movement. In this New York Times article I learned that Steinem was the recipient of Glamour magazine’s lifetime achievement award claiming that she “was to women’s movement what martin Luther King Jr. was to civil rights: the galvanizer.” She has been a lone revolutionary since the 1970’s at the time when the Senate was first debating the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment when she was 36 years old. In her lifetime there has not been another Gloria Steinem or anyone trying to take her place for that matter. She has been the singular voice of opposition on feminist issues. However a few critics have opposed and claimed that Steinman is NOT the best leader for this movement. One critic says;
“This movement needs a different kind of leader,” Ms. Martin said. “It doesn’t create stars.”
Question: Do you agree with the critics that Gloria Steinmen is not the “right” face of the feminist movement? Is there such a thing as a right leader? Do you think that her race may lead people to believe that feminism is only for the privileged?

If you would like to learn more about author, lecturer, editor and activist Gloria Steinmen, visit her website to become inspired and get more involved in what you care about!

Media Moment: “Patricia Krentcil, Tanorexic Mom, Gets Her Own Action Figure”



       I’m pretty sure you have all heard about Patricia Krentil, the mother who was accused of putting her 6 year old daughter in a tanning bed and was arrested for second degree child endangerment. Her picture has gone viral, and has continued to be for a rather long time. Krentcil has even been banned from NJ tanning salons! I came across a more recent article which proves that this scandal has gone so far that has made a customized action figure call the “Tanorexic Action Figure” selling for $29.95! Patricia Krentcil is now best known as “Leather face!”

Question: Do think this story would have been as popular as it is, if Krentcil was a man?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Media Moment: "Hillary Clinton: Being Vice President Is Like Being First Lady"

“Being a vice president is kind of like being a first lady,” she told the New York Times' Mark  Leibovich. “You are there to support and serve the president. There is no job description.”

     The first time I read this quote, I didn’t think these words could have possibly come out of Hillary Clinton’s mouth! I have always seen Clinton as a strong and admirable woman, which some may call a great role model. Hillary Clinton has had a lot of success in pursuing her political ambitions that she’s had since she was a college student at Wellesley, yet she has been subject to a lot of criticism on her every move for being a woman. However this quote has been portrayed in way that falls under gender stereotyping of what women do; which is serve other men. In truth, what Hilary Clinton was really saying is that Joe Biden needs to get his act together and DO his job!
Question:Would all of you agree that this quote has been blown up and twisted into something it really is not?

Media Moment," Vogue Editors Launch Healthy Model Initiative"

Browsing through the living section of, I come across this recent posting stating that Vogue Magazine, the one with ridiculous advertisements featuring models that appear to be on the eve of reaching puberty, plans to initiate a campaign against underweight models. Starting in June Vogue will enforce their pledge by limiting their tolerance towards curve less models. I personally think is a great idea that needs to be implemented by other major publications. Fashion magazines and other media are an important part of the culture of thinness. Females are concerned that they are overweight, even if their weight is appropriate which can result in the development of eating disorders.

Why do you think females are dissatisfied with their bodies? Is the media to blame? Does ethnicity make a difference in women’s body dissatisfaction?

Reflection on Class Discussion: Transwomen in the Media

Reflections on Class Discussion: Transwomen in the Media

            This class discussion has allowed me to see how the media represents transgendered women, while continuing to understand gender. The term transgender is an umbrella term for an individual who chooses to use and identify with the umbrella term, and cannot be given by anyone other than themselves. Transgender also refers to people who reassign their sex from which they were born with; female to male, male to female. This umbrella term covers numerous identities including; drag queen/king, transsexual, bi-gendered, gender bender, two spirit (N.A community), gender queer, cross dresser, pre-operative, post-operative, or intersex to name a few.  

            I feel that as humans we need order, which is why there is a separation of gender in which there is no room for people who exist outside of these boundaries. Gender automatically labels boy/girl as strong/weak which is much like semiotics where gender has a prescribed meaning. However, intersexed people have challenge the term gender and have introduced a whole new reality.

            In learning that the word “transsexual” is a working definition I realized that it is much like our own identity in which things are always changing and can never have a concrete and final definition. As for transwomen in the media, the policing of gender identification and their underrepresentation are a form of oppression, in which the media has painted a world for us so different from the one it ought to reflect. The oppression of transsexuals further exacerbates the divisions present in our society, making us less and less powerful.

                                                                                                        By Stephanie Gomez

Media Moment: Transgender woman in Spiritualized video

Despite the fact that Spiritualized is still one of my favorite bands, their newly released video perpetuates the longstanding myth of  sex-working transgender women. Not only does the video feature "Jane" performing an array of sexual favors, and glorifies the "dress-up" aspect of transgender culture, but it also covers a whole lot of gruesome violence towards the protagonist. Some may argue that the video advocates for an awareness of present violence in the transgender community. However, it goes on without saying that not all transgender women are prostitutes, strippers or escorts. This video seems to justify violence towards these women due to the dangers in their position as a sex workers. Also, the fact that the director featured a black transgender woman, rather than a white one goes on to show yet another stereotype and advocate not only homophobia but racism. The video documents the protagonists' black family, and finishes off with a protagonist's young brother using a pistol to kill Jane's attacker.

 Question: Would the video be as successful if the protagonist was white, and if the director did not emphasize the "dress up" of the transgender culture?

Media Moment: "Chelsea Clinton's Childhood: No Pizza, Cartoons on Weekdays"

This article called "Chelsea Clinton's Childhood: No Pizza, Cartoons on Weekdays," discusses Chelsea Clinton's days as a teen and the media restrictions that former President Bill Clinton and the First Lady Hillary Clinton implemented for her. She said she only "secured precious permission" to watch her first hour-long program, "ER", as a teenager, but spent "hundreds of hours" playing old-school computer games like "Oregon Trail" and "Carmen San Diego" with her dad." Not only did her parents restrict the amount of media consumption she was allowed to have, but they also limited the amount of media exposure that of Chelsea. 

There are a lot of children whose parents allot them a certain amount of media consumption, the parents are onto something, right? If the former President and famous people restrict how much TV their kids can watch, they probably know the effects that it can have on their children. I don't know how to go about this situation, but I do feel that the less media consumption that kids have, such as watching TV or going on the internet, the better people skills they will have. What is your take on media consumption and children?

Reflection on a Class Discussion

We watched the 1st pilot for "All American Girl" in one of our classes and I really  enjoyed it. I have never seen a clip of this sitcom before, but felt that I can really relate to it as an individual when I saw it. I believe some viewers were angered by this show, possibly due to stereotyping. But I have come to realize that no show or movie will ever make everyone happy, there will always be some criticism. I think in another class discussion we talked about how some people are more okay with a director of a movie or tv show being the same race as the actors because they would have a better character portrayal. I think that statement came from an article we read, but I can't agree with it totally either, as I have seen some people being disappointed in movies that Tyler Perry has made, even though he shares the same color as his actors. Also, if you think of stereotypes in movies or tv, it's usually there for humor, but to a certain extent of course.

Reflection on a Class Discussion

This Dove ad called "The Evolution of Beauty" was shown in class by Melissa  who did a presentation on beauty. Her presentation was nicely done as it was very personal and kept our attention. This video is to show society that anyone can be a model as this model here was digitally altered through the transformation shown. Media is what drives people to buy certain products or feel a certain way if we bought those products and it is so powerful that it makes women think that they are never good enough. It's so hard for women to not have these image distortions of themselves if they are always exposed to ads that promote perfection. Through this video, we learn that no one is perfect, not even the models.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Media Moment: "Guess What? Women Buy More Movie Tickets Than Men"

I was browsing the web the other day and stumbled upon this article and it really stood out to me, especially as I am an avid moviegoer and always wanted to work in the movie industry. When I saw the title, "
Guess What? Women Buy More Movie Tickets Than Men," I said to myself, I've have to check this out. Melissa Silverstein, who wrote this article picked up this fact from the MPAA site where they have annual statistics, and currently from 2010-2011, women make up 51% of moviegoers vs 49% of men. Based on these stats, Silverstein goes on to say that "The future is female."

 So my question is, why do you think women go to the movies more? If women is the future market, how do you think this may affect advertising? Have you seen more ads catered to more men or women based on these stats, or no change at all?

Media Moment:NewCastle Sexist Commercial

The above commercial is yet another example of how women are used as nothing but sex symbols camouflaged as sales pushers in the advertisement industry. Although, in the pasted video, NewCastle fails to feature an image of a woman, but rather shows to explain why they're focusing on the brew master's hands throughout the whole commercial. That reason being, is because this brewmaster is "Not an attractive woman". Now, some major issues and concerns arise from that statement. Firstly, the fact that women do not deserve a position in the entertainment industry or within the media sphere unless their body image is pleasing to the audience, or to the ruling power of white, middle-class, male.  Secondly, it reinforces the idea that women who hold the position of power and prestige, as seen in the ad, can't be simultaneously intelligent and attractive. This leads me to a point that this commercial creates a division between women's body and mind, where one exists completely separate from the other. An intelligent woman does not deserve a position on the television and is stripped of her sexuality, while an attractive woman is illustrated to have jello for her brains and is constantly seen on everyone's platinum screens as a driving factor for sales.
Question: How have desexualization of professional women changed over time? Has there been a progress?

Reflection on our class discussion

In our last class we discussed our project for the final paper in our groups. I thought each paper topic we presented in our group was very unique. One topic was about how women are treated in the music industry which is great because we discover the things that go behind the scenes of the industry. My own topic is dealing with middle eastern women and the media and the way they were treated before. Each idea allows us to understand how the media is so powerful and exposes women.

Reflection on class discussion

In our last class, we were put into groups to talk about our thesis for Project 3. Coming into class with our thesis already written helped my group stay focused. For me, being put into smaller groups was very helpful because I was able to listen to any criticism about my topic in a more thorough way. Everyone of my fellow group members helped me, whether it was offering me specific details to include my thesis or where to find more scholarly sources that will help enhance my presentation as a whole. I feel that coming in organized with a goal and being able to help eachother with outside ideas one wouldn't think of on their own is something that should be implemented for every project. It was a very positive experience! Thanks team! 

Reflection on Class Discussion: Group Work

Having formulated my thesis earlier in the week, I had an idea of what I wanted my paper to be about but I didn't think I could get many sources on the topic (or many scholarly sources). My thesis was to be about transwomen in Thailand and how the gay community are somewhat combined into one subjective group. After working with Paulina, Tiffany, and Sudeesh, they helped me in finding another topic to write about, one that would have great background material and sources to feed off of. I think working in groups helps the students bounce ideas and information off each other. Incorporating this in future classes, future students of "Women in the Media" would be able to socialize on a common topic and help each other in understanding the topic more constructively.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Reflection on class discussion: Workshop groups

Today, we had ample time to go over and workshop our thesis in small groups. I found myself very frustrated having to pick my own topic for the final paper. Sometimes I like when professors allow us to choose our own topics for research analysis, but sometimes I also prefer a set paper topic. I came into class today with a very bland outline and an idea of what I wanted to write about, just didn't know how to construct it. After we spent the majority of class time working in small groups to help one another with our outlines, I found myself headed for success! 
First of all, I love working in small groups. I find working together with classmates gives me a substantial amount of room for growth. Sometimes, I find it easier to work in small groups, and discuss amongst each other, than it is to have a full-blown conversation in class. I suppose it's different for everyone. 
I really like the way Sam had us come prepared with an outline to class today. Not only did it make us jump-start the process of our final papers, and avoid procrastination, but also I found it super beneficial to work with Nora, Rennie, and Stephanie. All three ladies helped me tremendously to focus my paper, lead me in the right direction and make sure I was set up properly, in order to explain what I intend to, correctly and efficiently. I am looking forward to researching my topic in depth, and finding sufficient sources to support my thesis. I am also looking forward to finding a screening of a film this week that relates to women, so I can earn a little extra credit!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Media Moment, "Gender Discrimination"

In Missoula, Montana authorities were failing to aggressively investigate sexual assault reports; citing more than 80 reported rapes there during the past three years. There have been 11 student-related sex assault cases that have surfaced in the recent months. The federal investigation is focusing on complaints that local law enforcement has failed to properly investigate and prosecute sexual assaults on women in Missoula due to gender discrimination.
I was watching CNN News this evening and came across this story. I found it very disturbing that these cases are not being treated properly because of gender discrimination. It just makes me weary of law enforcement. They’re supposed to be like ‘big brother,’ always watching out. This story makes me wonder, if authorities are beating around the bush about sexual assaults on women, what else have they been getting away with? I guess there is no end in the near future to gender discrimination.
I really liked this quote, “The investigation comes in the midst of an election year in which women’s issues have moved to the forefront as candidates seek to burnish their credentials among female voters.”

Why do you think this case was brought to light specifically in the media, when there is gender discrimination happening all the time, everywhere?

Reflection on Class discussion: Gay Lesbian Transgender

One of the lingering thoughts I had after these last couple of classes revolved around Prof. Feder's statement after our first session on the LGBT community. She had brought up the question of what if being Gay or Lesbian was a choice and not necessary rooted in science. So what if people decided that they wanted to be Gay or Lesbian. Does the idea that science can possibly explain a person's sexual preference diminish the power of choice an individual has? This notion stuck with me the last couple of weeks and has challenged how I am viewing and engaging in this topic with others. By leaning to much on the hope of science to provide justification for the LGBT community I think people are missing the mark as to the central point of discussion which is diminishing an individuals freedom of choice. When we start to lean more towards this side I believe the playing field in conversation becomes more balanced even for those against rights for the LGBT community. Science in my opinion does not solve or settle the dilema of persons personal convictions about this discussion and thus more universal language and methods should be considered, and equality of choice I believe is one of those routes.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Media Moment: Transgender Women in Iran

Being that last week in class we talked about transgender women I was curious to find about the transgender community in Iran. I was surprised to find out that it is something that is well known in the country but a open secret in the Iranian society. Because homosexuality is against the law in Iran people prefer to get a sex change. According to islamic clerics transgender is not "banned" in the Koran therefore it is deemed acceptable to has given a lane for people who are gay to get a sex change. A video I found on Youtube showed the hardships of being transgender. Current TV interviewed young people discussing how their parents had a hard time accepting them. Some even considered suicide.

What are your thoughts when the government makes being gay illegal and transgender acceptable? Do their need to be programs in Iran to educate the youth about people who are transgender?