Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Men can experience labor pains now too

I saw this video circulating around social media today and so I would like to share this here:

The video is pretty funny, enjoy!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Reader's Opinion on the New York Times

Dear All,

I know I am not taking part of this class anymore, but I found this on the paper yesterday and I thought it was important to share it. Check it out:

Also, there is this campaign that it is very relevant to this course. It reflects the representation of women in advertising:

These are important pieces for current students to reflect. Piece out!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Double Standards of Body Image for Asian American Women

I stumbled upon this article that someone posted on Facebook and probably the best article I have read in awhile that really spoke to me and I hope to you too.

In our class, we learned that stereotypes are not created equal. One of the stereotypes is that Asian American women are all naturally very petite or skinny. It seems like a good stereotype but what about the other Asian American women who don't fit into this margin?

In this article, Noel Duan writes about her struggle with her body image and to be 'naturally' perfect. She writes about the double standard body image as an Asian American woman and the cultural difference about weight issues. By American standards, she is considered naturally petite with her 5"1, 100 pound body frame but by her Asian standards, she is considered fat. In American culture, it is rude and unfathomable to bluntly call a family member or relative fat but in Asian culture, it happens and they say it not to be rude but because they believe they mean well and if they care about you, they will let you know if you put on some weight, or a lot of weight.

In my own personal experience as an Asian American woman, I definitely notice the double standards of body image. I fit into the stereotype of being naturally thin and stuffing my face all day with food. In both American and Asian standards, I am thin but the the reaction isn't the same. In Asian standards, I don't need to gain or lose a pound of weight and praised for my thin body frame. In American standards, I'm told I could use a burger and put on some weight. Growing up, I have struggled with being bullied for being skinny and constantly called anorexic and other things which was very hurtful and never true. Even fitting into the stereotype of being 'naturally thin' was never easy and have myself struggled with body image issues.

Why Do Women Attack Other Women On Their Weight?

This is Kelsey Williams, a Oklahoma City Thunder cheerleader.

She made headlines about two weeks ago, and it was not because of her dance moves.

A CBS Houston sports blogger, Claire Crawford wrote a piece on the website with the headlines, "“Is this chick ‘too chunky’ to be a cheerleader?” Crawford wrote, “The Rockets looked terrible in Game 1, but some say they weren’t the only bad-looking people on the court."

Crawford made more comments about Kelsey's body image in comparison to other cheerleaders on the team and defended her actions saying,"We’re not trying to be ugly. We are just discussing what men like in women, specifically NBA cheerleaders."

Kelsey Williams responded to the wide media attention she was given on her weight on her twitter account by staying classy and thanking everyone for their support and kind words to her. 
Crawford's piece received a lot of backlash from people and the article was picked up by multiple other news outlets and other blogs in response to her article. I don't understand, why a sports blogger would think it is appropriate to attack Kelsey Williams on her weight. Did she really think that people would react and respond kindly to her article and there would be no backlash? How could CBS Houston allow this article to even get posted on its website in the first place in the sports section? But mainly, what is the purpose of even writing this in the first place? 

The article have since then been taken down on the CBS Houston website but you can most likely find a copy posted on other websites and blogs. I thought Crawford's piece was so unnecessary and inappropriate that any well-respected journalist in the business would never write such a piece. But she did. Was she trying to get attention on herself? Did she or the CBS Houston chose this topic to bring in ratings?

I think some people would argue that it is a win/win situation because Crawford successfully gained attention and ratings on the site and Kelsey got tremendous amount of support as well as landing television interviews and "fame" so no one got hurt.

This topic made me think about our class discussion of women in the newsroom and the video we saw in class about the Fox News commentator who dumb herself down on air. I find what Crawford wrote to be disturbing and damaging to many young girls out there who are fighting body image issues. Crawford is a sports blogger and when she only write about sports and she probably doesn't get any recognition for what she does or attention on her writing. There aren't many female sports bloggers in the business and I'm sure they don't get the respect that they should get all the time.  Is there a difference in if Crawford wrote this piece or if a man wrote this?

Reflection number 2

In this week's reading, I learned a lot about the transgender community which I did not know before. As we have learned in many of the other readings, I realized that there is diversity in all classifications of women including transgender women (and men for that example).

I had never really thought about the uneven distribution of exposure for FTM men, but after reading the articles, I was surprised to realize I don't know of a single one in the media. Whereas with MTF, I could think of restaurants dedicated to MTF women or cross-dressing men, TV shows and celebrities.

 In San Francisco, there is a restaurant called AsiaSF, where you order a prefix meal, and MTF transvestites/transgender individuals basically perform a drag show. All of the performers are Asian as well. It is really common for bachelor/bachelorette parties to attend, oftentimes not letting someone in on the fact that these are all men. Anyways, there is nothing comparable that I am aware of for the opposite.

During the readings I was somewhat overwhelmed by the terminology, and I realized that the way which someone would want to be referred to is a very personal decision. I think that asking someone shouldn't be offensive. I hope that by trying to maintain the terminology and asking them what they would prefer would come off as the most respectful. Similar to the way we lump far too many ethnicities, countries, languages and individuals under the umbrella term "Asian," we also do the same for gender, lumping too many people under the two binary categories of "male" and "female." While I may not be able to remember all of the terms, I will be more careful when using the terms, and will try to get consent from individuals as to what they would like to be called instead of making jump decisions for them.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Reflection #2

As we didn't get to discuss the readings for this week, I thought I would talk about them in this reflection. I, for one, was not very familiar with the terminology and discourse surrounding transgender and transsexual people in our country. However, I was aware that a great deal of people, not only in our country, but the world, experience feelings of discomfort in their own skin due to their assigned gender from taking a few Psych classes. But I found the information in the readings quite eye-opening and informational.

This is certainly not a topic that is discussed in our country or our media with a great deal of ease. And as we learned in the articles, that is partly because of the way the media portrays trans men and trans women. Like the other cultural groups that we studied this semester, trans men and trans women are vilified in our media. Movies portray them as the evil-doers, or the silly, harmless characters - never allowing the public to form their own opinions on whether or not to accept this group of people. Because they are different, they're depicted as an "other," people who are not like us and cannot be like us. And as I was reading, I kept asking myself what it must feel like to not be comfortable in the gender role you were born into - to feel like you are truly a member of the opposite sex, trapped in a body you don't feel comfortable in. Add to that a society that forces you to maintain your given role anyway, or be ostracized, and it's heartbreaking.  I'm glad to know a bit more on the topic through these readings, and to have gained a better understanding of the way we view trans men and trans women, and a better understanding of my own opinions about them.

Media Moment: Ex-Girlfriend Target Dummy

I was watching the news this evening and they did a story about these target dummies that are very obviously supposed to be women. The news report I saw simply stated that there was outrage over these dummies because they were female targets, who bled when shot, and in further research I learned that they have been termed "Ex-Girlfriend Target Dummies." I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say that the above image is horrifying. As if constructing target dummies to be women wasn't enough, they were apparently very popular sellers on Amazon, who have recently pulled them from the market. The National Rifle Association was also criticized by activists for using these dummies.

There are no redeeming qualities about this story, nor is there anything okay with having dummies that 1) are so degradingly constructed as women 2) are supposed to act as a stand-in for an ex-girlfriend. What were manufacturers thinking?! This doesn't just send the message that acts of violence against women are okay, it encourages it. And it scares me to know that there are still people, and national associations who didn't see anything wrong with this before they were criticized.

What do you make of this situation? Do you think that there is any reason or excuse for these dummies that might justify the manufacturer's, or the buyers' thoughts?

Reflection Two

Last week we watched a film called "The Celluloid Closet," I found this film very interesting. Before taking this class I never put much thought into how the media subliminally tells us how to act and react to people who were different. This film was very eye opening and showed the ways homosexuals were being portrayed in movies, if they were being portrayed at all. The few roles that had homosexual characters had them portrayed as either killers, seducers, or killed at some point in the film. Another aspect of the film I enjoyed was the historical shift of homosexual representation through time. Homosexuals were being portrayed in film (more so in Europe) and then the Legion of Decency came into affect and the only way to have a homosexual character was to be able to subtly relay that message to the audience.

I found it shocking to see how the myths of homosexuals were  being perpetuated and more importantly how they originated in the way they were represented in film. One actor in the film mentioned that he would prefer negative representation over no representation. These representations perpetuate these myths but also allow a homosexual audience to identify with a character. As someone who had people in movies that looked like them, I find it very sad that there are many people who have difficulty seeing someone like themselves in the media.

Reflection 2

Last week's topic on sexuality in the media was very interesting in light of all of the media coverage of NBA player Jason Collins coming out, opening conversations about gays in the public sphere. When we watched the video Celluloid Closet last week, I was surprised that the sexuality of gays was present in the black and white films. I was disturbed with the portrayal of gays as films as with many of the other films we have watched in class. In our class discussion, the question of whether or not it is better to have bad representation or no representation at all still hangs over the class discussion every week.

In this case, I think it is better to have bad representation of gays than no representation at all. In the film, one of the commentators said that she would search for any discreet signs to show the character was gay even though that may not have been the intention from the screenwriters. By having no representation of gays in the media, it would be dangerous because it would be justifying the invisibility of many gays out there like they don’t exist. The media reflect the society’s culture and so having visibility of the gays in the film industry is very important for the millions of gays out there who look for someone they can identify with, even if the character is a bad guy/woman.

In this week’s reading, “News Media Suck at Reporting Transwomen”, I was really shocked about the violent attacks from gay men towards the transwomen. I assumed that the gays and transsexuals would generally get along and know that they are on the same team to fight for rights, equality, against prejudice, etc. I am curious to know why there is such a lack of solidarity in the LGBT community towards the transsexuals and since this was written back in 2009, if it had gotten any better. Amongst the many different women we have studied in class, transwomen have to be, in my opinion, the least visible and represented in the media. However, I do think that very slowly, more people are exposed to transwomen in the media because there is always a “shocking” story on a talk show or in an interview about a transwoman who feels like they are trapped in the wrong body.

Reflection #2

Focusing on our most recent week, which i'm not sure if we will get to discuss in class, of gender and sex categorization I realize how oblivious I was to the self-identification of a good portion of society. The identity terms "trans women" and "trans men" where usually flipped in my head and I never sought out to correct them because I don't come into connect with people that identity in either way, so I subconsciously took them out of existence all together.

Along with that, the terms intersex, genderqueer, and gender-variant where unknown to me until reading the assigned chapters in Whipping Girl, and now I believe I have a deeper understanding of the trans discourse. Furthermore, the idea of sex and gender being genital-centric in most discussion was something I hadn't thought about. This along with the text on transsexual representation in media really struck me and helped increase my media attentiveness and literacy; when the topic of transsexuals only being represented as deceptive and/or pathetic I had a hard time trying to disprove this. As of today I still can't think of any film or direct show where a transsexual isn't placed to be deceptive in order to "gain" straight men.

dress codes & rape culture

Recently came across this article which addresses school "slut-shaming" in which schools ban female marketed clothing on the bases of them being inappropriate or "distracting."

This kind of discussion usually brings to mind the underwear vs. beachwear dichotomy where both of these outfits are essentially the same, but it's all about the location you wear them for most people.

The part of the article that got to me the post was:

"4. A kindergarten student in Georgia was forced to change her “short” skirt because it was a “distraction to other students.” It’s hard to imagine that a kindergartener’s outfit could be “a distraction to other students,” but a mother in Georgia told locals news there that her daughter had been outfitted in someone else’s pants — without parental permission — after the principal deemed the skirt the young girl was wearing too short.” The girl had apparently wore the skirt, and accompanying leggings, just one week before without incident."

Where do you think the line should be crossed when it comes to school-friendly clothing?

Media Moment: Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Explains Why He Hates Fat Chicks

This article is truly sickening and is a prime example why women have such bad self esteem. The CEO comes straight out and says that he doesn't want fat chicks wearing his clothes. The only people who can wear his clothes are those in the "in" crowd and obviously only thin pretty girls can be in the "in" crowd. Even the ads for Abercrombie give off the same message, that thin is in by showing a model where her ribs are quite visible. The store only carries up to a L in women's but yet carries up to an XXL in men's to accommodate for large athletes. Why are these double standards still allowed? and why are women subjected to such harsh messages? Have you ever noticed a lack of larger sizes offered at stores?

Reflection 2

I enjoyed watching "Celluloid Closet" last week because it discussed the different ways that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are portrayed in Hollywood. One of the main ideas that the film had was that homosexuality is often treated as something to laugh, pity or fear. It is very saddening that homosexuals are being treated as lesser beings.

One of the moments that stuck to me was when one of the gay men interviewed said that he was fine with being gays being portrayed negatively because he is just concerned with them being represented. It did not matter to him that they were being degraded and I find myself not agreeing with him. I think that I would rather not have any representation than be represented very negatively. I remember that the professor posed that question in class too a couple of weeks ago and the class had somewhat of a 50/50 split.

Media Moment 3

I found this video a few weeks ago, and thought it would be a good fit for our class. In this video, the hegemony is switched from being heterosexual to homosexual. This is the story of a little girl who realizes she isn't homosexual like all of her society and is criticized for being a "breeder."

Many of the comments said they didn't believe that homosexuals faced these types of difficulties anymore in 2013. What do you think? Does this type of oppression and homophobia still exist?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Class Reflection #2

For this class reflection I wanted to talk about the discussion we has as a class about "unruly women," as well as women in comedy.

In class, we discussed that being "unruly" entailed being loud, obnoxious, and "unfeminine." We talked at length about Roseanne Barr and Margaret Cho. Both of these women can be considered unruly due to their "loudness" and "potty mouths," but what was most surprising was the fact that weight was a central factor in determining the "unruliness" of a woman.

This is because being "unruly" is synonymous with straying from the feminine norm, and what could be more "unfeminine" than being overweight? Being overweight is constantly associated with laziness, gluttony, and poor hygiene, when in all reality being overweight is something that can also be inherited and have nothing to do with eating or exercise habits. So why else is "fatness" associated with being unruly? Because being overweight does not comply with the hegemonic idea of what "beauty" should be. In the eyes of this culture, beauty is thin, and being this is associated with femininity. It goes without saying that if you take away the thinness then by default the femininity also goes away. Someone in class brought up the fact that Chelsea Handler is crude and loud yet she wouldn't fall under this same category because she is thin.

I also want to bring up the point that someone in class brought up: is the only place for unruly women in comedy?

It seems as though women who stray from the feminine norms are looked at in a way that can only be acceptable to laugh at. People are threatened and offended by women who do not conform to the expectations set for them by men. Therefore, they are not taken seriously. These are serious implications for just simply not conforming to a certain appearance or attitude.

I also want to mention something else we brought up in class which the fact that "unruly" men are taken completely seriously. Men such as Rush Limbaugh for example are unruly and still get taken completely seriously and are respected (well, atleast by republicans...)

Reflection 2

I found last weeks readings and this weeks having so many similarities that struck me.  Perhaps the biggest was this idea of being a "man or woman" and what they means in relation to the other.  Celluloid Closet said "there was no sin like being a woman" so when a man was dressed up as a woman, it is seen as comical and no taken seriously.  I think this relates directly to the way trans women are viewed.  They are neither seen as truly male or female, regardless of how they live their life or surgeries they've had.  Society finds it entertaining that a man would want to fill a woman's shoes.  It is the entire opposite with trans men.  Of course everyone wants to be like a man.  It's almost as if they are seen as smart because they are choosing to live life as the "better" gender.  This for some reason does not threaten the idea of masculinity.  In a way, it boosts masculinities ego and supports is being dominant. 

Another point is how the concept of being a "real woman" is tied to abilities for reproduction.  I think this is part of why trans women are viewed with such stigma.  Females have always been tied to their ability to reproduce, and many have felt that is a woman's sole responsibility in life.  If a male comes into the picture as claims he is a woman, it contradicts the primary definition of what a woman is. This is how femininity is challenged.

As if we don't have enough to "compete" with - ROBOTS - The NEW IDEAL WOMAN

Just as we are beginning to get a grasp of all the different structures our identities are built on in the shaping of our relationships with men and other women. We now have a new ideal who seems very threatening in our ability to match up. I mean come on, she isn't even HUMAN!!!

TRANS-HUMANISM -  the NEW threat to womanhood?

Her face and body will always be perfect, she will never tire, she will laugh at all your corny jokes, she'll never grow old, she will do what ever you want, and she can protect your car from bird shit.

Us humans are NO MATCH!

Media moment: Amy Schumer

This poster for Amy Schumer definitely caught my attention this week. It made me think of the discussion we had in class about female comedians. For one, its hard to argue that this poster is NOT sexualized. We talked in class about how most female comedians are sexualized if they fit the hegemonic ideals of what beauty is. Im not familiar with Amy Schumer's comedy but from what I can gather she would be considered "unruly." I mean just look at the title of her show its called "Inside Amy Schumer." If thats not suppose to invoke some sexual thought, then I don't know what is. Its also hard to ignore the fact that the focus of the poster is on her breasts. Granted its supposed to be comical because the show is supposed to be about "a series of embarrassing episodes," but I cant help but think this just reinforces the over sexualization of women in comedy.

In all honesty this poster really just shocked me. it was one of those moments where I was like, "how can they get away with this?" I know that they blurred out her actual breasts but to me it still seems extremely inappropriate.

Were you guys offended by this? Do you think that it reinforces the stereotype of women in comedy being over sexualized? Let me know what you guys think.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Media Moment: Danish TV show that critiquing naked women

I saw a UK gossip site posting about this Danish show a couple of days ago and I didn't really pay attention to it at first because the site wasn't that credible and I thought the show is fake. Apparently the show is very real and it airs on a Danish channel called DR2. The premise of the show is that a judge named Thomas Blachman, a Danish Simon Cowell, and a guest would critique a naked women in front of them.

The show has received outcry from people allover the world. Blachman's defense is that he wants to "stir discussion about the aesthetics of the female body without allowing the conversation to become pornographic or politically correct." I tried watching the clip but obviously I can't understand Danish so I have no idea what him and the guest is saying. Blachman also says that people are being "ungrateful" to him and they should appreciate that this type of show is on.

I don't even know what to say because this is really upsetting. Women are already objectified enough and there isn't a need for this type of show. I don't see a point in critiquing someone else's naked body.

What are your reactions to this?
Does this show serve any actual purpose?
Does anyone speak Danish and can tell what the men are saying?

Media Moment: 1-800- DIVORCE

I’ve seen this ad multiple times on the subway and it made me think of a possible media moment. The ad is obviously for a divorce lawyer but what caught my eye was the use of a female hand reached out. The long tips and painted nails give the idea of someone who pampers themselves. While I may be stretching in trying to get something out of this ad I thought it was used as a way to perpetuate the idea that women are just out for money. The reached out hand looks like it’s waiting to be handed something, money. What do you think the subtext of the ad could be? Am I stretching when reading into the meaning or do you agree it could be used to perpetuate the idea of a gold digger? Would it have the same affect if it was a male hand?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Adam Carolla Thinks Women Aren't Funny

I saw this thought this was exactly what we were talking about a few classes ago.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Media Moment: Comedians

I see this ad on the uptown side of the 6 train in the 86th street station. 
This is such a perfect example of the women in comedy that we were speaking of the other week. Before even looking at the visual aspect of the ad, we can look at the shows title.  "Inside Amy Schumer" is so blatantly sexual, it's ridiculous.  I think there is already an assumed  female audience becasue women will want to see her since there are so few female comics.  Their main goal is to bring males to watch, hence the title.  "Inside" insinuated the believed ideal place a man would want to be, inside a woman.  Now that we look at the image, we see her in what appears to be a dress.  The dress itself shows the advertisers playing up her femininity.  Obviously the only way she'll be given any attention is if she's feminine.  The dress is also comedically lower than it should be.  It is unclear as to whether she is aware of this or not in the context of the ad.      If we read it as she is unaware of it, it helps equates females with ignorance and being dumb and unaware of their surroundings.  If she does know about her neckline, it shows how willing she is to flaunt her sexuality and use it to attract men.  Every part of this ad places females, particularly female comics, in a position below men.