Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Reflection 1: Representation in the media

We've been focusing on the mis-respresention of minorities in the media, but also women as a whole. I had to remind myself that although minorities clearly appear less in popular media than Caucasian women, the media forces ideas of conformation onto all women in other ways beside skin color or religion. I wanted to reflect upon our discussion and readings from the third week because they have been the building blocks of our current discussions.
The third week we discussed the articles “Stuart Hall and Cultural Studies” and "Inventing the Cosmo Girl" and I thought about these readings specifically when I saw a blog about this Maxim image, which I had seen a few years ago. A friend of the blogger mentions something about shaving and how it only became a societal norm a century ago. She says, "if one were to dig just an inch deep into the origins of what is considered ‘girly’ as of this moment, he would see cunning marketers of previously unneeded products all the way. A screaming example: shaving one’s legs etc was not introduced as a norm till about may be a century ago or so, and for thousands of years before that femme fatales did just fine a la naturale. So it’s all a matter of taste and culture." I know this is a fairly simple statement but it reignited the ideas presented in the third week's discussion/ readings. Hall states, “in the case of our Cosmo woman, the surface meaning is a woman, but the reason that image was put together in the way it was has little to do with being a woman, naturally speaking (page 4).” In the Maxim image it seems the Cosmo woman would be the bikini-clad "cured" feminist. In class we spoke about the given meaning vs. the true meaning, the Maxim image brought me to these ideas since there is an agenda in creating a feeling the woman on the far left is somehow unfeminine, while the one on the far right is perfect. The discussion from the third week brought up these ideas, which have continued to appear in more recent discussions when we speak about who controls the media that's often presented to the masses. Ultimately, powerful men (mainly white) and politicians or industry producers play a part in controlling advertisements and media, and they are the ones who would benefit from all women not questioning their roles. By leading women away from "dangerous" thoughts about cutting off penises to more simplistic thoughts about sexy cars, societal roles won't change and men can remain the dominate sex. The discussion from the third week, as well as more recent discussions, have continued to enforce my thoughts that the media producers are mainly men, and therefore we don't see as many powerful women in mainstream media productions.

1 comment:

  1. It's interesting to see the idea of 'what is feminine vs. what is not' again, this time in the category of the producers. I wonder, on the flip side, who it is that controls the ideas of what a 'true feminist' is? (A woman who stands up for abortion, etc.) What do these (possibly) conflicting producers have to gain from having a set of individuals viewing a woman either a t'rue feminist' or a 'true, feminine woman,' and no shades of grey in between?