Monday, April 23, 2007

The Various Audiences of This Blog

When I first started this blog project I had one idea and audience glued to my mind. My main target was to illustrate how women were portrayed through modern media. It seemed quite simple really. There are two types of women in the media, I told myself, the women that are overtly sexualized or the women that are “moms” only. However, what I did not realize was the connotations that came with this very bold statement.

The first confrontational subject in my blog posts is the idea that a housewife is a demeaning job. For many, “in one sentence Mama sums up the dominant culture’s version of legitimate female expectations” (Lipsitz, 45). Of course this is not always true but it may seem that I voice this opinion through some of my blog posts. I am merely exemplifying the fact that women are commonly put into this category with few alternatives. Some audiences may see this as a good thing. Wouldn’t you rather be put into the housewife category than the slut one? But this is precisely my point. Why does there have to be two extremes?

Although I do seem to adopt the Madonna-Whore dichotomy as my main theme in this blog project, I do seem to talk about the whore end a lot more, something I would have changed if I could do this project over again. This is probably the more challenging of the two subjects because it challenges women’s rights while defending them. For example, when I analyzed “The Girl’s Next Door” it may have seemed like I was offending a woman’s right to choose her career. Many people may see this example as liberating and a step forward. Another example is the “Pretty Woman” reference I make. A different audience might see my criticism as an offense to women all around the world who are trying to make ends meat.

These contradictions and confrontations have probably been the most difficult part about writing my blog posts. But as you can see, they include both ends of the extremes. I challenge conservative mind set as well as liberal. What I have tried to keep in mind is that no one way of thinking is right or wrong. I think the most important thing about these blog posts is the fact that they do have the power to question both sides. It illustrates that everyone is the blame for any problems that exist in today’s society and not one person, source of media, or political party is to blame.

  • Lipsitz, George. "The Meaning of Memore: Class, Race, and Ethnicity in Early Network Television". SAGE Publications.

Anthony's Comments

1. Where has your Blog buddy shown strong analytical work (be specific—is it a particular post, a type of analysis, a site for analysis that seemed to click more so than others, etc)? Katelyn’s s strongest analytical work in my opinion came in the form of a blog post. The post about prostitution in movies, not only was it written well but she had information to back up what she was saying and it made her blog topic even more concrete.
2. How could your Blog buddy use this strength for the final Blog post and presentation? I think if Katelyn brings out another point as strong as the prostitution in movies that her final blog post should be a very easy one to write. She seemed to do her research very well and should have no problem writing the final blog post and giving a great presentation if equipped with all the right facts.
3. Think about the following statements in relation to your Blog buddy’s Blog and then provide feedback on each area (constructive praise/criticism):
The Blog is on a topic that has been clearly evident in the Blog posts throughout the semester… I believe that Katelyn’s topic is a very good one and has been obvious in all of her blog post from the first post till present.
The Blog is on a topic that seems to interest my Blog buddy… I think that Katelyn is very interested in her topic, she seems to have a strong feeling toward this topic and would like to see a change in the way women get treated in many movies.
My Blog buddy’s topic is one that has produced a good set of posts that were analytical used gender as a primary category of analysis… Yes Katelyn has done a great job with her posts… I feel that all of them are analytical and done well… some have a better topic and therefore standout more but all of them are done with careful analysis and gender is the primary category of analysis throughout her blog. The posts make analytical arguments.
The posts are understandable and each post logically outlines and supports the argument presented. The posts were clear, provided insight, evidence, and analysis to connect the topic with the assignment for each of the posts… In my opinion, I am no professor but I understood each post, I believe that all of the arguments were all analytical, she did sometimes have an obvious opinion towards one side… but I think we all do.
Each post was understandable and followed a outline which was very easy to read. Katleyn made her post clear and full with evidence to back up her claims. All her post were cited and connected with her blog topic perfectly.
The sources cited in each post are relevant to the topic and help to aid the understanding of the argument and/or assisted in proving the argument… As I said before, I guess I jumped the gun. All her cited sources seemed to flow with her work very well. She did her research very well and it paid off for her when she wrote her blog posts. The quotes used illustrate a broad range of course readings throughout the semester… I believe that quotes she used were very good and meshed very well with her blog post. I don’t know if that means she read the whole book or if she understood each reading but it did help her post look and sound so much more analytical and better overall.
The quotes were clear and succinct; additionally, the material was presented so that I could differentiate the Blog buddy’s ideas from that of the author cited… The quotes were clear and succinct and was presented as being a quote that was not hers. The quote that stands out the most for me is the Jean Kilbourne one from the “The More You Subtract, The More You Add” writing. It read, “the glossy images of flawlessly beautiful and extremely thin women that surround us would not have the impact they do if we did not live in a culture that encourages us to believe we can and should remake our bodies into perfect commodities”. It was in reference to the “Girls Next Door” blog post and I thought it made that post so much better.
4. Finally, complete the following:I thought it was great when you...wrote about prostitution in movies. I felt that this post was your strongest all around. It helped solidify your blog topic. It was well written and came with good back up evidence. I found it confusing when you…I guess when you switched up her style and went from movies to more of main line media with the Ana Nicole piece. It did not confuse me but it just took a different path I guess. None of your post were very confusing I felt that they all were easy to read, but If I had to chose one I would chose the Ana Nicole piece. And not because of the way it was written just the path you took. You’re really great at… providing unique evidence to back up her claims and using good quotes to help your argument. I wish you could focus (more) on/alter/edit/explain/expand on/etc these three things… On the different types of discrimination and treatment that women receive in different movies. I wish you could of expanded more on your blog topic or made it obvious that you were talking about women in movies or women in the media. Even though movies are a part of the media the media has more outlets then just movies. Other than that I enjoyed reading all your blog post and I genuinely enjoy your blog topic and cant wait to see what you write about in your final blog post. If you construct the final blog post just like you have done with your previous post, the prostitution in specific you should have no problem.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Anna Nicole in the Media

First Page Photos of Anna Nicole on Google Images
Anna Nicole Smith has often been characterized as a gold digger, a sexy playboy model, a fat lost case, and a dieter’s revolutionary icon. However, not once, until recently, did I even know she was a mother. Her reputation that had been created by the media is so phenomenal that even her death was tabloid news. Think about that, her death was so disrespected that it was featured in scandalous print.

Anna Nicole had two children, one that recently just passed away, and one that was just recently born. Her life as a playboy model was long down the drain yet every picture you see of her in news articles is of her when she was a playboy. While searching google images for her picture, I came across loads of naked pictures and not one of her and her children. I even came across a mug shot of her from years ago before one picture of her children popped up.

Another issue that has become automatic with the association of Anna Nicole is the idea of her weight. One article’s description of her clandestine pregnancy was “Does Anna Nicole Smith Have a Bun in Her Fluctuating Oven?” Even the mere mention of motherhood like characteristics was shot down with her portrayal by the media.

Once I did find out that Anna Nicole was indeed a mother it was due to her untimely death. It was not, however, due to the fact that the children were mentioned out of sympathy and respect. Her children were only referred to out of mockery and ridicule. Her son was referenced to when talking about rumors of a drug overdose which he had died from and her daughter was mentioned when talking about her “unknown” father. The fact that Anna Nicole’s word was not taken as truth about who her daughter’s father was is absurd and shows how desperate the media is for any given scandal.

Recently discussed in class was Courtney Love’s portrayal as a mother in media and how the world views her. One quote that coincides with Smith’s situation was “Love’s flaunting of her sexual nature rails against normative definitions of mothers’ sexuality” (Ladd-Taylor, 329). I am more than convinced that this very same characteristic, along with others, has condemned Anna Nicole as a mother for years simply due to her depiction through media.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Movie Collage

"Sexism in film takes form in all shapes and sizes including violence, humorous, blatant, or subtle. Women are often seen as childlike, dependent, housewives, or as simpleminded sex objects" (Wubet).

Here are a few examples of major motion pictures where women are exploited in one way or another. In "Grease", Sandy changes her mannerisms and the way she dresses to impress Danny. In "American Beauty", Angela is put into the stereotypical "whore" status even though she is a virgin solely due to her sexual appearance. In "My Fair Lady", Eliza is swayed into becoming a true "lady" and changes her ways completely for society's acceptance. Looking at these last two examples, the "Madonna-Whore" dichotomy is truly exemplefied. These examples only constitute a very small piece of a vast array of popular and influential movies out there. There are many theories as to why these gender stereotypes actually exist such as "that it is men's awareness of just how powerful women can be that has created the attempts to keep women small" (Kilbourne, 262). Regardless of origin, the fact is they do exist and in a very strong form and worst part about all of this is the fact these stereotypes come in so many shapes and sizes. They are not limited to surfaced ideologies and their inferential characteristics take them to a much deeper and darker level. In a world where women are constantly receiving mixed messages it is almost impossible to obtain true identity and individuality.
-Terrefe, Wubet. "Sexism in TV, Advertising, and Movies".
-Kilbourne, Jean. "The More You Subtract, the More You Add". "Gender, Race, and Class in Media". Simon and Schuster. 1999.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Prostitution in the Movies

Look at any given movie, magazine, or T.V. show and you are exposed to an influential array of overt sexuality, unhealthy dieting, and much more. Unfortunately, this combines to create a world constructed of a working Hollywood utopia and a realistic nightmare, and every woman is at risk. This blog's goal is to point out the inferential racism that is so prevalent in today's Hollywood. Since the glamour of Hollywood is so appeasing to the media, every female is suceptible to the stereotypes that come with it.

When one looks through the history of Academy Award winners, the proof of degrading female representations only increases. "A large number of actresses have also won (or been nominated for) the top acting (and supporting) awards for portraying hookers (girls of the night, party girls, whores, call girls, madams, etc.) or loose women (mistresses, promiscuous ladies, etc.)" (Dirks). The largest group of females to win an academy award was this genre. It cannot be completely condoned that women are winning awards for their roles as prostitutes and hookers. Perhaps it is only a movie and women aren't being influenced by these movies, but how can one be sure? I am sure girls all over are taking these roles more seriously than expected.

One popular motion picture that comes to mind is "Pretty Woman". Of course you might argue that this is a movie that liberates women and shows that anyone can prevail. In a sense, this is true as the leading role goes from rags to riches in mere weeks. However, once you view this movie in a deeper manner, what seems very obvious changes quickly. In the movie, "Vivian" rises up and rids herself of her prostitute career, but how did she get there? She does it by prostituting for a rich man and "falling in love with him". This movie certainly does challenge hegemonic norms by telling the story of a prevailing prostitute but at what cost? It also reinforces the stereotype that she would only have been able to do this with the help of a rich man.

What kind of message is this sending out to the world? On the surface it may seem utopic and a true heroin story, but not everyone may interpret it this way. Doesn't this movie tell young girls that the only way to succeed is through the help of a man? Or maybe it reinforces the idea that the only way to get a man's love is the flaunt their stuff? Some people may only dismiss this as "just a movie" but it is much more than that. This movie, along with many others, along with many other sources of Hollywood, reinforce these stereotypes daily.

In almost every home across the nation the television is a staple when it comes to necessities. Vulnerable children and distressed teenage girls watch movies and T.V. shows daily and sexism is prevalent in both forms. However, the dangerous part about it is the fact that it is inferential sexism. You won't see a television show where a husband demands a woman for his dinner, but you will see actress after actress win awards for their roles as housewives. The sexism out in the world is becoming more and more subtle which makes it much more difficult to stop.

Dirks, Tim. "Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences". "Best Actess". 1996-2007.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Hollywood and Cheating by Mary Siever


Last night I was watching “Insider” (yeah, yeah, I know, trash TV, but we only have basic cable and nothing else remotely interesting was on and I had to fold laundry) and of course they were all in an upheaval about Christie Brinkley’s husband cheating on her. And one correspondent remarked (after mentioning that Halle Berry’s boyfriend had cheated on her), “If Christie Brinkley’s husband and Halle Berry’s boyfriend cheat on THEM, what hope is there for the rest of us?”

That brought me up short. So basically, drop-dead-Hollywood-beautiful women shouldn’t have cheating husbands? The reason men cheat on their wives is because they don’t fit some sort of attractiveness ideal (or that was the thought)? Not from what I can see. What they are also saying is that it is the WOMAN’S fault when her husband cheats. Now, I know that sometimes there are contributing circumstances where both spouses have a role to play in what went wrong, but to make a comment that a man is less likely to cheat because his wife is a gorgeous model completely overlooks an important factor. It is the husband who has the problem, not his wife. When men cheat it is because of issues they have, not because of a problem their wives have. Even if they blame their wives for whatever reason, it is not their fault. It is the person cheating (ok whether this be a husband or a wife, I know I am focusing on husbands, but that’s because of the remark the correspondent made. I would have to wonder if she would have said the same thing if the roles had been reversed).


I am creating a similar blog to yours for my gender in media class. I think it is very interesting that you pointed this factor out and I never would have realized this even though it seems so obvious. It is definitely true that people always gawk over why a woman was cheated on and not why the man cheated on the woman. I mean you would never hear or see a person talking about how a man gets cheated on even if he is amazing looking.

I believe this relates to my blog because I think it very much adds to the portrayal of women in Hollywood. It makes it seem as though all there is to women is their looks. If it were about beauty then I think it would be obvious that no one would leave a gorgeous women. There evidently must be more to women than their appearance and Hollywood simply isn’t acknowledging this.

Monday, February 26, 2007

“The Girls Next Door” and its Social Influences

In the reality show “Girls Next Door” the media uses the Playboy playmates as a perfect way to depict society’s stereotypes and inferential sexism. Not only is it a derogative show towards women but it condones other societal problems as well. From disregarding emerging anorexia to the overt representation of inferiority, it all seems to be available for you in this one reality T.V. show.

One of the first issues with this show is the portrayal of women in explicit sexual manner when women around the world are told to be meek and inferior. It is one thing to tell these playmates to fight for their rights and do what they want and another thing to put them into a position where freedom leads to their own weakness and ultimately being called a “slut”. In reality, who is going to take these women seriously after this show is over? All they are going to be judges as is inappropriate and blatantly sexual, which leads into my next point.

Why is it that all women must be put into two categories when portrayed through media, either the vixen or the homemaker? In a way, this T.V. show does both by not only placing these women in a position where they are completely dependant upon Hugh and his enterprise but they have to degrade themselves, whether they think they are or not, society does, in the process of becoming this sort of twisted homemaker.

It is also quite obvious that this show illustrates male dominance and all that comes with it. It kind of reminds of me of harems from ancient times where the man is surrounded by his beautiful women. In all seriousness though, Hugh is in his 80’s and he still has twenty year olds on his arms, and in his bed? Tell me what the likelihood of that would be if the roles were reversed.

Not only does this reality series have issues with female prejudices but it also creates a subgroup of prejudices as well. It creates the idea that all blonde bombshells are dumb and will act in such a way, and there are many out there who suffer from this. Not only that, but the complimentary group suffers as well. Women without perfect bodies and maybe even a darker tint of hair are seen as unattractive and perhaps ugly.

There are also other gender associated societal problems involved as well. In the episode shown in class, one of the playmates was “dieting” and fed herself raw vegetables for dinner. She also associated this act of starving herself with trying to be healthy when it was clearly the opposite. This will have serious influences on teenage girls, because surprising as it is one must doubt Hugh or any other male character will ever be viewed dieting, who are engaging in far riskier health behavior in greater numbers than any prior generation (Kilbourne, 259). This reinforces the idea that “the glossy images of flawlessly beautiful and extremely thin women that surround us would not have the impact they do if we did not live in a culture that encourages us to believe we can and should remake our bodies into perfect commodities” (Kilbourne, 260).

In the end, all of these problems would mean nothing if there were not a clear predicament that they caused. Unfortunately, there is a mass crisis involved with these prejudices and stereotypes portrayed. They influence today’s generation and generations to come and everyday more and more minds consume the ideas that come with them. Who is going to tell Mary that it is ok to be average weight? Who is going to stop Jenna from wearing provocative clothing, why can’t she wear it, they did? Is it fair that Erica will grow up in a world where she is labeled dumb just because she is blonde? The truth is, there is an entire world of women, all ages, and sizes being manipulated with the labels and associations that come with this reality series and many others. The only way to eliminate, or at least lessen the sexism that is existent in the world is to eradicate any such means that produce it.

Kilbourne, Jean. "The More You Subtract, The More You Add". Dines, Gail. Gender, Race, and Class In Media. Sage Publications, Inc. Thousand Oaks, California. 2003.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Interesting Links

Interesing Statistics
This site provides interesting statistics and equally as interesing questions on the woman's role in Hollywood and the discrepancies between men and women.
Analyzing Society with the Growth of Hollwood
This article analyzes and compares how the stereotypes gender and other class ideologies have evolved or stayed the same with the exponential growth of Hollywood and its enterprises.
"Club Mom" Supports Lindsay
This article recognizes the fact that, while it may seem irresponsible for Lindsay Lohan to have gotten into another car accident, the paparazzi may have been the cause of it or the others. Of course this is not mentioned in local media which allows them to get to degrade and invade another incident in the life of a female "screw-up".
Should We Blame them or the Media?
This article seemed very interesting because it addresses the issue of role models. It is seemingly obvious that Paris and Brittney may not be the best women to look up to for children and tweens, but whose fault is it that they are? Wouldn't there be less "prostitots" with less female exploitation in the media in the first place?
An Example of Women's Freedoms Being Used Against Them
This article is the epitome of what this blog is against. In this article, the author uses female star's actions, their own rights and freedoms, as a reason and the cause for mysogyny.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Female "Stardom" Presented by the Media