Friday, September 20, 2013

Media Moment, "Shrinking Woman"

This is a video of Lily Myers performing her poem "Shrinking Woman," in which she talks about how her family has shaped her role as a woman in society, and how gender roles have impacted her own identity.

After reading "Inventing the Cosmo Girl," and Jean Kilbournes article "The More You Subtract The More You Add," I recalled this recitation of Lily Myers poem, "Shrinking Woman." While at the surface, you could interpret this poem simply as a description of her mothers struggle an eating disorder and how gender roles have shaped her identity, I think Myers has much more to say about how women are indeed reserving their own power in society. She talks about not feeling entitled to food, how eating disorders and negative view of food seem genetic, and all as a result of culture and family that surround her. The difference between herself and her brother is most stark, and shows how different things are expecting of different genders. While men are taught to grow, woman are taught to absorb and feel smaller.

Even though this isn't necessarily an example of mainstream media, I think it speaks volumes to why media has grown such different approaches between displaying men and women. Did any part of this video make you recall things that Kilbourne talked about? Think about culture as reflected and reinforced by advertising, and how this can lead to a false self or split identity. What does it mean to be feminine? Part of me thinks that, unfortunately some of the things Myers describes in her poem are shaping femininity today (Silence, constant apologizing, feeling small and reserved). Also, Myers discusses how her family has shaped her role as a woman in the world, but do you think that advertising and pop culture are indirectly shaping her identity as well?

"Just as she is entering womanhood, eager to spread her wings, to become active, empowered, independent - the culture moves in to her down to size."

-Jean Kilbourne (pg 11)

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