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.