Thursday, September 26, 2013

Media Moment 2: "IT IS NOT FOR WOMEN"



The entire TV commercial can be seen HERE
Are women not worthy of certain products? Once again, the media has cancelled out women's right to equality, excluding an entire gender, and encouraging man to carry an image of arrogance to deserve their place in social spheres. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

'Real Housewife' Melissa Gorga's New Book Advocates Marital Rape


My Friend posted this article on facebook. It's about this reality star's new book where she provides a type of handbook in keeping husbands happy. Based on her personal experiences with her husband Joe.

Here's an excerpt:
"Girls don't poop. Me, never have. Never will. It just doesn't happen. Or, that's what Joe thinks! We've been married for nine years, and he has never once seen or smelled my business. How have I pulled this off? I don't do it when he's around or awake. In an emergency, I have my ways of pooping so he won't hear, smell, or see. It's a challenge."


Men, I know you think your woman isn't the type who wants to be taken. But trust me, she is. Every girl wants to get her hair pulled once in a while. If your wife says "no," turn her around, and rip her clothes off. She wants to be dominated.
Women don't realize how easy men are. Just give us what we want.



http://jezebel.com/real-housewife-melissa-gorgas-new-book-advocates-mar-1371722729

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

HONY Captures A Common Misconception


Everyone was telling me their ethnicity. (From right to left: 'Jew-rican,' Puerto Rican, African-Cherokee.) When it came around to the girl on the left, one of her friends said: "She's just a white girl." 

To which she responded: "I'll have you know my great grandfather eloped with a Gypsy maid!"
The HONY (Humans of New York) Facebook page is one of my favorite instant media outlets, in terms of how I'm able to get a better look into the lives of diverse New Yorkers around me in the form of stunning portraiture.

A few days  ago, HONY photographed this group of friends. They each told their ethnicity to Brandon, the man behind the camera and the work of HONY. However, the three 'ethnically diverse' friends on the right labeled their friend on the left as "just white." This really bothered me, because I feel that there is such an emphasis on the idea of the minority that anyone who is white is dismissed as being "just white." I'm making the point that no ethnicity is more important than another, and we shound't dismiss one because of the color of that person's skin.

This makes me thing of scholarship essays for students in college, as well. Many organizations that give out scholarships provide for minorities, or what they believe to be the minority. When I had to apply for college, the common joke around me was that everyone wished they were Native American or Chinese, because then at least they'd get a shot at a scholarship.

What do you guys think? Is the idea of "just white" a dismissal of the cultural background of an individual? And what do you guys think about the idea of a white student with scholarships?


Here's the direct HONY like, by the way:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=524599920947446&set=a.102107073196735.4429.102099916530784&type=1&theater


Mexicans and New Yorican

In response to todays discussion:

Lem espressed her feelings about growing up Greek in America...I understand what you mean because I am New Yorican, which basically means my parents were both born in Puerto Rico and I was born here in New York. Growing up I thought that was a term my father made up but Puerto Rican culture classes has taught me that is actually an identity. Anyway, in Junior High School, i went through a few fights with my fellow Puerto Ricans who didnt believe that i was Puerto Rican because I am very light skinned, I was "too nice" and Puerto Rican girls are usually bitches and have an attitude, which i dont. They also said i spoke too properly to be Puerto Rican, I didnt use slang.

The other thing i wanted to mention was prejudice and stereotypes can be created through a persons particular experience.  For example, My nephew had a bad experience with some Mexican boys in his high school. Due to this, he goes around saying he hates Mexicans, i personally get mad every time he says it because my best friend/sorority sister is Mexican and she is amazing! I tried to express to my nephew that that is a very awful thing to say and that he should rephrase it to hating some of the boys in school or if he must use race, say he hates the Mexican boys in his school. Unfortunately, my sister told me i was wrong for teaching him this because she has taught him to speak his mind and that is that. My nephew is now 15 years old and if my sister continues to let him think this way, it may turn out to be a more disastrous situation when he is older. It hurts me to hear this from her and to allow him to continue to make these statements and assumptions about a certain race, just based off of his "one single story".

Am i the only Latina bothered by this?

I found this in the Latina magazine and i find it insulting. Not only did they only show her lips and neck only in this photo but the actual text also says "For latinas..." I can name a few latin women whose first priority is not to put on perfume and they are fine without it.

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/0/?ui=2&ik=13565c5e6d&view=att&th=141522469b6f8569&attid=0.1&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P8ftFvG-lks-3MUu9jWUyU2&sadet=1380062769197&sads=KgwHbW5AxtshQ0AZX3QWUkWuF94

Media Moment 1: What exactly is bebe selling boobs, sex, or clothes?


When I stepped off the 49th street subway station this ad immediately caught my eye. I knew I had to take a picture for my media moment since this ad is ridiculous and only proves that clothing doesn't need to be worn for clothing to be the thing being sold/advertised.
I can't say I even understand how this relates to clothing and not just sex. Are they trying to appeal to working women who have 9am to 5pm hours? I see what they did switching it from 9am to 9pm, but I can't say I understand the point for a clothing company to emphasize hours when you may not even be wearing clothes.

Also, is she actually getting what she wants, or is it the man who is getting what he wants?

Media Moment 1. Judah Felder

Stop Telling Women to Smile is an art series by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. The work attempts to address gender based street harassment by placing drawn portraits of women, composed with captions that speak directly to offenders, outside in public spaces.
I Find this Media Campaign  to be extremely effective  as a dominant peice of reading and visual representation. 
In the world where we are tied up by media and advertising  that is consistently degrading and objectifying woman, this series gives simple and powerful  truth to how woman should, and should NOT be treated. 

http://stoptellingwomentosmile.tumblr.com/












Media Moment, Juicy J - Stay Trippy album artwork


The hip-hop community has not been shy in exploiting women in everything from songs, to music videos, to their album artwork. This particular album, Stay Trippy by Juicy J, was released last month. The album caught my eye on iTunes and I figured it was a perfect example of this exploitation of women in hip-hop and rap. The only thing "trippy" about this photograph is the colors splattered everywhere aside from that I would say the album artwork depicts a disheveled and nude woman subservient to Juicy J and she clings to his leg. However, Juicy J is completely clothed, even wearing sunglasses and has a bottle of champagne in his hand.

The image seems quite disturbing to me, more so than other media examples of women one could find in hip-hop. Many music videos or images of are women who are also nude but most likely partying with the rapper or dancing. This women however looks desperate, weak, and is completely stripped of everything.

My question would be why depict a woman like this? How does this representation of women benefit Juicy J opposed to the more common representations of women in hip-hop and rap?

Media Moment - Miley Cyrus "Wrecking Ball"

At least Miley didn't twerk in this video. The song "wrecking ball" is a balad, more of a love lost type of song. Somehow though, Miley Cyrus finds herself half naked straddling a wrecking ball. People are too easily shocked in my opinion, in the day of the internet and extremely short attention spans, it seems that shock value is the way to go for many musical artists. Lady Gaga has used shock value as her main business strategy thus far and it seems to be working out for her. Miley has now turned to shock value to further her career as an "adult". First the twerking video surfaces on the internet, then her debauchery at the VMA's and then this video. It all seems too planned out to me to just be a former child start lashing out at her innocent past. In the video Miley licks a hammer seductively before being shown naked on a wrecking ball swinging around the room.

Media Moment, Contradiction On The Catwalk


The usual occurs on almost every Sunday morning. Slide out of bed to be welcomed to a cup of porridge and green tea at the Kitchen table. Moments later, my sister in Italy calls and we carry on with our 6 hour conversation about all things pop culture and fabulous.

Well this particular conversation presented the discussion of fashion, which delights both of us. But this time, my sister was enraged. Being a model she took offense to Alexander Wang's Spring 2014 Ready-To-Wear Collection. Obviously, none of us our blind to the blatant racism in fashion.

Wang's fashion show, which I wasn't particularly impressed with, and I am not the picky type. We both found it interesting how the clothing was very reminiscent of Urban culture, especially when the models are strutting or stumbling to classic Hip-Hop music.

What made her so  angry was he or whoever, selected only two black female models out of what, thirty women! Really? Especially as the clothing combined with the music, and on top of that, having famous Black individuals sitting in the front row. He didn't even have many Asian models, and he's Asian!

I loathe that so many fashion shows are monochromatic. Beauty exists in every shape and size but to only present woman of one color is beyond fashion Faux-pas. Get it together fashion because prejudice is tacky.



Media Moment, Miley Cyrus Twerks, Appropriates, Dehumanizes

Okay, I know this is a little old, but when tasked with coming up with a "media moment," I thought little else would do.

Here, for your viewing (dis)pleasure, is the twerk heard 'round the world:

Get More: 2013 VMA, Artists.MTV, Music, Miley Cyrus

Now, the story of how I came to eventually see this video is a media-soaked tale in itself. I was on Facebook, minding my own business, not watching the Video Music Awards because awards shows in general freak me out a bit. It was then that I saw a deluge of status updates about Miley Cyrus--some defending her, others chastising her, and others still just trying to get their bearings in this brave new world. I hadn't seen this sort of rabid posting since the last presidential election.

Like a cynic, I ignored it.

Fast forward to the next day, and I check CNN.com, hoping for an update on the Syria situation, but I'm instead greeted by a giant picture of Miley Cyrus with a link to an equally large article about her butt. Fine, I said to myself, I might as well take a look. That was my first peak down the deepest and most catastrophically messed-up rabbit hole from which I'm still trying to recover.

Things haven't been the same.

Well, maybe that's not quite true, but I do think that Miley's performance has a lot wrong with it, especially in terms of cultural appropriation and the theme of systematically dehumanizing black women that runs throughout the performance. This might strike some as odd, because most media outlets in the aftermath of Twerkgate seemed more focused on the radically sexual nature of Miley's performance, her tongue, and her outfits, ignoring how much of the performance was racially charged. Most of the discourse I encountered was something along the lines of, watch this girl who was in the public eye as a thirteen-year-old get practically naked and shake her ass around--crazy, right? I'm looking at you, CNN. But when I first watched that video, that was the furthest thing from my mind (at this juncture in my post, it's necessary for me to inform you that far more eloquentintelligent, and erudite responses have been written about this issue). Cyrus's use of black backup singers, an easily recognizable trope in pop music performances, troubled me greatly, because they're dressed up as teddy bears, or, you know, objects. That's dehumanization. Miley then goes onto give a mock rimjob to one of her big-bottomed backup singers. It comes of as synecdoche--taking the part for the whole--as Miley reduces this singer to little more than her rear end, and in case you didn't click the links above, I'm going to go ahead and quote a line from a blogged response to Jezebel's ignoring of the racial implications of Cyrus's performance, one that has stayed with me since:
Here's the thing: historically, black women have had very little agency over their bodies...By bringing these "homegirls with the big butts" out onto the stage with her and engaging in a one-sided interaction with her ass, (not even her actual person!) Miley has contributed to that rhetoric. She made that woman's body a literal spectacle to be enjoyed by her legions of loyal fans.

I can't really say it any better than that. I think there are other things wrong with this performance (Don't even get me started on "Blurred Lines"), but this particular issue is what I really wanted to talk about.

I guess my question is, what are your thoughts on how race is portrayed in this video?



Media Moment, "Ad for Calvin Klein for White Briefs"

I think what bothers me the most about this advertisement is the fact that Calvin Klein is trying to sell white briefs, and yet we cannot even see the briefs the male model is wearing. The reason being is because the female model is covering the product. What was the photographer thinking? How is the company supposed to sell the briefs, if the person looking at this advertisement can't even see them on the model? At least the woman is (almost) decently clothed in the advertisement, considering their body language is way too sexual.

Media Moment #1, "American Horror Story: Coven" Poster

A couple of weeks ago, I was riding the subway home one night on my way home from class, and I was taken aback by this poster I spotted as the subway stopped at a nearby station. It's advertising the upcoming third season of "American Horror Story," the hit FX anthology series.

Each year, FX has done a marvelous job marketing the series, both through print and televised advertisements, but this one particular poster caught my eye unlike any other. In it, three women in bright red lipstick have their mouths opened wide as a long snake unrealistically makes its way into all three of their mouths. Without giving it much thought, it was clear that there lied phallic undertones, although it's hard to imagine that the marketing team behind this image was trying to be cryptic. The marketing team is clearly trying to make something sexual out of this, as the actions here would make anyone think of oral sex.

Sex sells, and linking your show to an image that looks very much like a sexual act is a way of capturing the attention of media consumers. I don't watch "American Horror Story," but this ad clearly captured my attention. The question I pose, a question that has often been posed before, is whether it's acceptable for images like this to be on display where children might be exposed. Is the image cryptic enough to guard children from its sexual undertones, or is it too on-the-nose? You be the judge!

Media Moment # 1: Lena Dunham's Selfie


This article "See Lena Dunhams offensive selfie from 2007"  is a part of the project We Think Alone a piece of a larger exhibition On The Tip Of My Tongue. The exhibition is commissioned by Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall a privately funded exhibition venue.

"On the Tip of My Tongue is a series of events and unique projects as well as an exhibition in the usual sense. It includes artworks that point away from the site of the exhibition itself, towards other virtual or parallel existences and experiences. Its intention is to actively expand the structures that surround the usual exhibition situation, and deliberately work with the artworks included, so as to unfix or destabilize the categories of time and space. It aims to trigger situations and experiences that linger as if “just out of reach,” to generate encounters that keep growing – in thought and through conversation – long after each actual event has ended." ( http://wethinkalone.com/about/ ).

We Think Alone is a project by Miranda July. This project is a compilation of 20 emails over 20 weeks from actors Kirsten Dunst and Lena Dunham, writers Etgar Keret, basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Fashion Designers, sisters and  founders of Rodarte Kate and Laura Mulleavy, to name a few. These emails were written prior to this project. Miranda July describes this project here stating, "How they comport themselves in email is so intimate, almost obscene — a glimpse of them from their own point of view. WE THINK ALONE has given me the excuse to read my friends’ emails and the emails of some people I wish I was friends with and for better or worse it’s changed the way I see all of them. I think I really know them now. But our inner life is not actually the same thing as our life on the computer — a quiet person might !!!! a lot. A person with a busy mind might write almost nothing. And of course while none of these emails were originally intended to be read by me (much less you*)  they were all carefully selected by their authors in response to my list of email genres — so self-portraiture is quietly at work here.  Privacy, the art of it, is evolving. Radical self-exposure and classically manicured discretion can both be powerful, both be elegant. And email itself is changing, none of us use it exactly the same way we did ten years ago; in another ten years we might not use it at all." ( http://wethinkalone.com/about/ )

I originally chose this article because the word "selfie" was in the title. The selfie has become the staple photo for most social networking platforms and a great pass time for someones boredom. Seriously though, a phone just came out with a button on the back of the phone for the sole purpose of the selfie. The next reason was because of Lena Dunham, actress, writer, director and creator of HBO's hit show Girls. Her show has been described as Sex and the City for the younger generation and "hipsters" alike, and has a huge following among young girls and women. I don't think her selfie was offensive. It just made me think about someone in her position and why she would choose to send that email?  I thought this article touched on some major issues happening in the heavily mediated world we live in today.  The selfie being a minor issue and sexting, through text, email, and snap chat a larger issue. After reading the above statement it made me think of these questions:

 What should be kept private?

How would you classify private?

and 

Do you think the selfie is an intimate portrayal of ones self or just monotonous? 

- Raquel Fortunato


Media Moment, Target Women by Sarah Haskins

Comedian Sarah Haskins created a web series back in 2007 entitled "Target Women". This was something I watched years ago with a friend and had a few good laughs and then completely forgot about. The series popped back into my head when I was thinking what kind of ads to search for when writing our class's first paper.



She created a lot more of these and even had a 'super special' which can be found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mmqwsj27fNA.

These videos are amazing because Sarah Haskins uses comedy to expose the double-standards and absurdity of advertising targeted toward women. She has episodes that focus on chocolate, skin care, doing laundry, and even pooping (she focuses on food products that have high fiber). Her 'Super Special' even starts off with her claiming to be the perfect woman because she lives her life as advertising tells her to. Within the first five minutes you see how she jokes about the irony of the perfect woman being that the perfect woman is someone who HIDES her imperfections. The series discontinued in 2010, and I believe there is so much potential for this to continue on in some form. I am a huge fan of this because it uses the same method that shows such as The Daily Show uses: bringing comedy to topics that are not only serious, but are often overlooked.

My question is:
Is it helpful or harmful to make jokes and make light of the same advertising that reinforces the myths and stereotypes of the 'typical woman'?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Media Moment: Defined Lines



Being a dancer I am a huge fan of a song with a great beat, Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke being one of them.  Over the weekend I was sitting in my friends apartment and she said she had to show me something she had seen on the internet earlier in the week. She showed me this video.  I thought it was awesome how this group of girls went right back at Robin Thicke and made a parody of his video and song.  We talk about in class how women are degraded in so many advertisements and movies in the media today.  The Blurred Lines music video is an example of just this.  By these women making this parody they turned around the gender roles and probably made a lot of people uncomfotrtable.  

My questions for you guys are:


Did this video make you uncomfortable? Why or why not?

Did the original Blurred Lines music video make you feel uncomfortable? Why or why not?

What lyrics in this parody song stood out to you?

Sincerely, 
Great beat, but not so great meaning
Megan Urgiles




ps...above is the original Blurred Lines music video if you hadn't seen it already!

Media Moment: Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot Begins Her Hunger Strike


Beginning today, September 13th 2013, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of the Russian feminist punk protest band Pussy Riot begins her hunger strike. Through reading the article I'll link at the end of this post, one can see issues behind the patriarchal, sexist and down right human right abusing captivity happening within the Mordovia camp within Russia. Tolokonnikova goes into detail about her forced slave-like labor at a sewing machine (a traditional feminine task), forbidden general hygiene upkeep and limited eating and sleeping availability. Tolokonnikova has decided to starve herself for change. I hope we can all agree that change is certainly needed.

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/sep/23/pussy-riot-hunger-strike-nadezhda-tolokonnikova

Media Moment: "Dare to whisper," ladies


That's right--dare to whisper, because whispering is such a difficult thing to do. In this society, it's so much easier for a woman to actually speak her mind. Right?

This is the Mabelline ad that I found in Nylon Magazine that I brought up during our last class. It think it is a perfect example of Kilbourne’s argument that the media enforce the idea that women should be silent. The words “dare to whisper” are literally written across the woman’s face. This instantly sent up red flags for me, both because of the message and because of the fact that her face is physically obscured by this message.


For women, silence is linked to seductiveness. In reality, however, what values and norms are perpetuated and reinforced by this idea?
It works to keep women subservient to the powers that be. It is not considered “normal” for a woman to be outspoken, loud, and provocative--these are largely considered to be “masculine” traits. An outspoken woman? This threatens the existing power structure, so such a trait has to be repressed. And the media do an adequate job of doing just that, through this advertisement and countless others, by linking docility to sexiness. Silence is frequently portrayed in the media as mysterious and therefore a seductive trait for a woman to possess.


Furthermore, the fact that this ad is marketing a product that is applied to the lips amplifies its effect in enforcing the idea of silence as a standard of femininity.


The copy on the right of the picture further enhances the emphasis on silence. Take note of the words/terms I’ve bolded. It reads:


“The secret? Pure sheer pigments in a smooth, light gel. No heavy waxes, no heavy oils. Just a soft kiss of color and shine.”


The idea is about making the woman feel “light” and “pure,” rather than “heavy” (and impure?) In other words, soft, docile, and ultimately unimposing to the will of the hegemonic power structures that work to keep us subjugated.
I think that this ad also hinges on this idea of the ways in which media links appearance to personality. Time and again it is suggested that only way for a woman to get ahead is to use her looks, not her brains. Although the media frequently bombard us with the idea that our appearance is the most important thing about us, this also endows us--all of us, not just women--with the ability to use our physical appearances as tools to challenge dominant norms, values, and power structures.


What are some ways in which one can take control of their physical appearance and use it to their advantage?

Is it possible to reclaim makeup and other “feminine” accessories in ways that assert, rather than undermine, our identities as powerful beings?

- amanda fox-rouch

Media Moment: Naughty Leopard

http://feministing.com/2013/09/23/halloween-is-around-the-corner-so-of-course-this-naughty-toddler-costume-is-being-sold-at-walmart/
Naughty Leopard Halloween Costume being sold at Walmart
Halloween is just around the corner so stores are getting ready and stocking up on costumes. I came across an article today about a toddlers costume. At first glance this toddlers costume looks like a cute costume for a child to dress up in but when you read the name of the costume, "Naughty Leopard" things seem... wrong. At first I thought that maybe the use of the word naughty was referring to some children's naughty nature but I'm sure that something like this would not be happening with a young boy. Naughty Ninja Turtle? Naughty Pirate? I don't think so. It almost seems humorous when the same situation is applied to the opposite sex. Another thing that adds to the idea that this is deliberate is the listing for this item on Walmart's website (below). They took out the "Naughty" and instead put "Leopard Child Halloween Costume". The description also uses some different wording "This cute Halloween costume would be great for your little one." Hmmm. There is also a corset-style part on the top of this dress with see through sleeves that just seems unnecessary. This also looks nothing like a leopard aside from the frilly leopard pattern on the top and bottom and the cat-like ears. This is similar to a lot of the adult costumes on the market that don't exactly make sense.
Image of costume listing on Walmart website
Item Description for Naughty Leopard on Walmart website
The name "Naughty Leopard" suggests that this isn't just a cute kid's costume (which is probably why Walmart omitted it on the website so sales don't drop) and sounds more like something that you would find in the adult costume section (and even there it's an eyesore). There are usually a lot of stupid and/or offensive costumes for adults and teens but rarely have I seen one for toddlers. I chose to post about this because for quite some time now I have felt that young children have been increasingly trying to act more like "adults" at younger and younger ages as years go on. Part of being an adult woman includes living up to the standards of "femininity". This makes me think of the sexualized images of girls that I see on Disney channel and how these images seem to be more and more common. As these images become more common I feel as though I see more young girls adapting traits of how they think a woman is supposed to act, one of the those traits being "sexy" which is a part of "femininity". With this, I wonder if the sexualization of women is beginning to spread to images of younger girls. I wonder, at what age does this start? Do you think that women are becoming sexualized at younger ages? If so, how could this stop, what are the steps towards ending this?


See the original posts about this: Consumerist, Feministing


-Isabelle Staicu

Media Moment "Miley, You're a Good Girl"

”How dare she try to use sex to sell pop music….”
Miley Cyrus’s performance at the VMA’s this year was a little shocking, to say the least, and yes I admit that I was one of those people slut shaming her for a week, saying that she was trying too hard, etc. 
And you know, the fact that she may be trying too hard (and the fact that it was all a publicity stunt which I still think is genius), is not her fault. Jon LaJoie, a comedian, explains it all in his song “Miley, You’re a Good Girl”.
Though he claims it to only be comedy, he brings up such a good point in the chorus:
“We want topless women in our music videos
We want pop stars acting like they’re in a porno
We want it and we always get what we ask for
But when Miley does it we say “Oh my God No!!”
And the last two lines of the second verse:
“And we’ll be cool with videos with women prancing around naked
And it won’t be sexist as long as the song’s a number 1 hit”
So I guess what I’m saying is although I don’t particularly like Miley’s constant twerking or her need to stick her tongue out every five seconds while wearing barely any clothing, I can’t say that she’s an awful person for doing it.
Thoughts?
Confused and Concerned, 
-Ashley K. 

First Media Moment: Miley Cyrus brings a twerking little person onstage in Las Vegas while performing 'Wrecking Ball,' slaps her behind

HEY classmates and fellow bloggers,

I saw this picture in one of those free newspapers you get at subway stations and wasn't even surprised. about this after Miley's VMA performance I think her standards of what is appropriate to do at concerts and on TV have fallen drastically. The thing is, that Miley's new single "Wrecking Ball", has an interesting and relate able topic. She sings of being in a destructive relationship which, I feel like, most of us have experienced. A relationship in which one puts in all the effort and emotions and is left standing alone. I like that message. But then her video is so incredibly unnecessarily sexual that I can't take her or her message seriously. This performance once again proves my point.
Do you guys think that in order for former Disney stars to break out of their "innocent" child they need to go to this extent? Is that really necessary? Is this what people want to see?

I hope not..
 -Isabel V

Media Moment, "Marlon Riggs- Ethnic Notions-Video" --Tenzin

This is a documentary that i watched last semester. It provided an excellent illustration of how media is manipulated to serve the purposes of the privileged and how it changes when social order is disrupted. In this documentary by Marlon Riggs, we are introduced to the various caricatured persona of the black person during the approach of the civil war. I want to focus on the persona of Mammy.  


Mammy was the character found in all Southern homes. She is the happy serving, docile, loyal and protective presence in the White home. Her physical traits are that she is overweight, her hair is always covered with a bandana, she does not possess fragility or beauty. In essence, she is stripped of her femininity. The documentary explains, Mammy would never be evoked as a sexual being so she wouldn't be seen as a threat to the mistress of house. Her image would be incapable of being desired by the master. With regards to her relationship with black men, she is the controller. She has the upper hand in the family while her male counter parts Zip Coon and Sam Bone are depicted as buffoons, lazy and child-like but nonetheless docile. These characters were all in the defense of slavery.
 
As long as these images were perceived in the way it was depicted, the plantation system was seen as a good program where everyone supposedly lived happy lives.
However, the portrayal of the black man in the media changed when slaves began to become emancipated. The media began to revert back to depicting the black person as a savage and began a program to instill national fear of the "black menace". Increasingly the once child-like Sam Bone became rapists who were in pursuit of White virgins as seen in Birth Of a Nation. The media set out to state that the emancipation of slavery was a big mistake. It justified racial violence and led the country to a racial hysteria. The mythology found in these new images of these characters told everyone that they needed to revert back to the plantation system where the 'brutes' were controlled.

Brief Reaction:
I chose to post this because it is a great example of how media is used to depict a certain ideology and how easily it can transform.

Question:
Are there any changing attitudes that you have noticed in the media lately?

Media Moment, “Cumming: The Fragrance”

                                

After watching a commercial for actor Alan Cumming's fragrance, I instantly thought of the American Apparel advertisements that were shown during class. The first ad featured a woman in a provocative position. She is seen laying down with her legs spread while wearing only a leotard. The other ad displayed a man in the same position that the woman was posed in with his legs open. The male version of the ad expresses a comedic nature to it because men are rarely objectified by the media in this way. This essentially makes the man version a parody. 

The commercial for "Cumming: The Fragrance" expresses this similar concept in that Cumming is presenting himself in the same way that women are often shown throughout many media platforms. The objectification of women is extremely prevalent in ads for products such as perfume. In this commercial, Cumming objectifies his own body. The ad is overtly sexualized containing multiple close up shots of Cumming's body as he speaks in a whispered tone of voice. One shot in particular shows him taking off his pants much like countless ads that have this same action performed by a woman. This can be seen as a way of challenging gender norms that are expressed by the media. 

Cumming stated on his blog that he believed that the commercial would be “great to shake things up a bit and challenge people’s perceptions of celebrity endorsement.” In addition, he also said that all of the print ads were created specifically based off of old advertisements. The imagery for his fragrance was taken from a 2000 Yves Saint Laurent Opium ad that featured a woman named Sophie Dahl. See below: 


Some ideas to think about:

I do not condone the objectification of any person whether they are a man or a woman. However, do you think that there will ever be a time when the objectification of a man will not be seen as a joke? 

How is Cumming bending gender norms?

Do you think that the technique used for the commercial and print ad was a marketing tool to draw in even more consumers? 


Kaitlyn Harrington

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Media Moment: "Granting Rapists Custody Rights"

photo via flickr.

Recently, multimedia platform and publication VICE, which prides itself on its investigative journalism, published a piece titled, "Massachusetts Might Force a Woman to Share Parental Rights with the Rapist Who Impregnated Her." The article touches on a case where a man at age 20, raped and impregnated a, then, 14 year old girl. "Convicted of rape and sentenced to 16 years probation" and court-ordered to pay child support, this criminal is now fighting for visitation rights. In response, the mother of the illegitimate child is battling to prevent this from happening.

However, "Massachusetts is merely one of 31 states that do not have laws precluding men from seeking custody for children born as a result of rape." In a world where statistics revealed from "Centers for Disease Control & Prevention report[ing] that one in six women in the United States have experienced an attempted rape or rape, and [where] rape has been called the most underreported violent crime in America," are women's rights not held to a higher authority as rights that apply to the general public-- or, less gender-specific, applying to all of mankind?

Should rapists be given the privilege to become a father to their unintended child?

I chose to post this because it reminded me of the rape "joke" Daniel Tosh had directed towards a female audience member at one of his comedy shows last year. When the woman retaliated to the request of a rape joke to be performed by Tosh via another member of the audience, Tosh had blatantly posed the question, "Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her..." (via the Huffington Post, 7/2012).

Are men held less accountable for their actions? Daniel Tosh remains in show business, successfully at that, even after his telling of rape jokes on more than this particular occasion referenced above. Was Tosh trying to assert his power as a man over the female "heckler?" Laughing along only condones the oppression of women with sexual violence. Because it is told in a "comedic" setting, does this allow comedians a free pass to bring humor to all serious issues? Can "rape" be less offensive (to men, but more offensive to women) when used as a punchline because it is to this day an unresolved, yet widely unpunished and seemingly forgiven crime? Do these jokes about violent, sexual assaults and going unpunished give less weight to the crime, making it seem less harmful by society? Therefore, when a woman is actually raped like that of in the Massachusetts based article, do jokes have a subconscious effect on society; letting a man who had no intention of fathering a child with the woman he assaulted and victimized now be granted a privilege of joint custody instead of being punished?

Further readings: Here is the account of the girl who was the target of the Daniel Tosh gang rape "joke."

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Media Moment, First Indian Miss America

Reactions to First Indian Miss America on Buzzfeed

While I do not watch the pageant when I heard that, Nina Davuluri, an Indian-American won I was pleasantly surprised because the "Miss America" stereotypical image is basically a thin, tall, "white" girl with blonde hair and blue eyes. The feeling didn't last very long however, beacause the next day I read on Buzzfeed the various reactions that were tweeted about the pageant. I was shocked to read very racist comments ranging from misindentifying her as an "Arab" to saying that Miss America is for Americans and apparently that is only the white race. I became interested with the history of the pageant and found out that till the 70's non-white contestants were not even allowed to compete and since then there have still only been a few winners of African American descent. Growing up in history class one thing that was always emphasized was that America is a "melting pot" and people of all religions and races are accepted. We have all assimilted with each other and our respective cultures but I wonder if maybe the definiton of beauty is still not diverse? Is beauty still essentially "white"?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Media Moment, "Shrinking Woman"


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQucWXWXp3k

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)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Media Moment #1 New Makeover for Merida from "Brave"

As we were talking about children's media in past lectures, it made me think of a popular Disney movie called, "Brave." The movie was highly praised and acclaimed for showing the princess Merida as an independent and realistic person to young children. She didn't sit around like the "damsel in distress" in the movie. The inspiring message in "Brave" was that girls don't need to fit in with society's expectations of them. So, Disney decided to crown Merida as the 11th Disney princess. However, instead of keeping her how Pixar animators created her, they gave her a "makeover" that made her look more glamorous and even took away her bow and arrow, which I would say is her symbol of strength and independence. They gave her a makeover that made her look like a Barbie. This media message is just not right because we should show kids that they don't need to sit around and be pretty to be successful or in most Disney princess movie's case, to get a man. It falls upon parents to raise their young girls to be independent. However, how much of an impact do you think these mixed messages about young girls appearances have on children when they watch media ? Does anyone think that there is nothing wrong with the new image of Merida? Why or why not ?

http://www.marinij.com/millvalley/ci_23224741/brave-creator-blasts-disney-blatant-sexism-princess-makeover

Media Moment "US Weekly Cover and Its Message"





This weekly celebrity and entertainment issue caught my attention. The selling line "Tortured by her body" captures the very essence  of what the media is constantly promoting to their audience and reveals its contradictory message. While the media promotes unattainable standards of beauty, it is the media itself criticizing Kim Kardashian for feeling ashamed of her body, even after loosing '30lbs in 2 months'.

We have fallen into a never-ending cycle: not even the 'role model' that the entertainment  business creates are able to keep up with the expectations that they demand. Consequentially, celebrities are forced to hide from the public eye. As a result, the media creates even more pressure for renown people to either obtain a perfect shape or live through the shame of having a normal post-pregnancy body.

All of this happens while consumer women absorb the idea of pregnancy as equivalent to a 'Tortured' life. We have transitioned to a society in which having a family is actually handcuffs to a woman, and only single, child-freed women can be hot, glamorous, and happy. Sure women have the right to determine whether motherhood is the right choice for them and have a myriad of valid reasons to decide against it. The question is how deep does the representation of pregnancy and motherhood in the media influenced their decision.






Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Media Moment 1- Derewko Torres




The black in white image is from the 4th Trimester Project, this interested me because the image is projecting reality, how most women look like after birth. I choose the article with supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio to contrast what people and even women themselves expect to look like after birth. Does anyone feel that the photo is effective in changing how certain people feel about post birth bodies?

Hello

Bikini Kill - Double Dare Ya

We're bikini kill and we want revolution
Girl-style now!

Hey girlfriend,
I got a proposition
Goes something like this:

Dare ya to
Do what you want
Dare ya to
Be who you will
Dare ya to
Cry right outloud
You get so emotional baby

Double dare ya, double dare ya, double dare ya
Girl fuckin friend
I double dare ya
I triple dare ya
Double triple fuckin
Double fuckin dare ya

Don't you talk out of line
Dont go speaking out of your turn
Gotta listen to what the man says

Time to make his stomach burn
Burn, burn, burn, burn
(double dare ya)

Youre a big girl now
Youve got no reason
Not to fight
Youve got to know
What they are
'fore you can stand up
For your rights
Rights-- rights--rights? 
You have them, you know.