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virtual women May 14, 2007

Posted by sindhub in "the gaze", beer.com, bodies, ms. dewey, sex sells, sexuality, video, virtual bartender, virtual women.
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Someone a while back posted a link to Ms. Dewey, which is an online search engine with a woman named Ms. Dewey who reacts to what you type in, played by actress Janina Gavankar.  It’s kind of weird and obectifying and totally all about the male gaze.  Well, after surfing the internet for a bit, I came upon something even worse: Virtual Bartender 1 and Virtual Bartender 2.  You can place random orders to these ‘beer girls’ and they will act really suggestive (pre-filmed) in front of the camera.

What I kind find of odd about Ms. Dewey and Virtual Bartender is that although they’re all about the male gaze, they’re also about interaction, of sorts, with these virtual women.  But I guess since we’re so separated from them, they’re still just performing, not actually responding and interacting with us.

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Man-mercials May 13, 2007

Posted by ajaramillo in bodies, commercials, football, gender, general considerations, humor, ideology, imagery, NFL, objectification of men, relationships with men, sports, stereotypes.
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    We’ve been looking at many commercials that have strange twists on girl power and examining what they are projecting as the ideal women. But we have been completely ignoring the man-mercials out there! It seems like most of the new macho-resurgence commercials drill into our heads what a “man” is supposed to be… which can be pretty damaging to those men out there that do not live up to the image portrayed in the media. I’m putting up two of my favorites; Old Spice Manly Test, and a Full Throttle Energy Drink ad. Both of them suggest that real men have to do certain things, such as have hairy chests, “do recon work”, and drive monster trucks through suburbia.

These ridiculous expectations for what constitutes a man probably ensure that plenty of guys out there are taking a hit to their self-esteem. This is especially true because most of these commercials run during sports games, where athletes that are often the pinnacle of “male perfection” are on display in front of average joes. It is no small wonder why these manly ads run most often during the SuperBowl or other testosterone-fueled events; ad companies are relying on average, everyday men who feel threatened by the portrayal of perfect male specimens on their screen to look towards their products as a way of boosting their own manliness.

“Girth and Nudity, a Pictorial Mission” May 12, 2007

Posted by ajaramillo in "the gaze", bodies, books, controversy, Fat Feminism, in the news, magazines/photography, sex sells, sexuality.
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I just came across this article in the New York Times about Leonard Nimoy (yes, Spock) and his new book, “The Full Body Project.” His book features nude, obese women in provocative poses.  He says that the project is a direct response to the pressures women face in being a size 2…

“The women are interested in fat liberation. Their self-esteem is strong. They will tell you that too many people suffer because the body they live in is not the body you find in the fashion magazines.”

He also has a show of photographs, and guess where it is… the photographs are on view at the R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, Mass., through June!
So what do you guys think? Is this girl power or just another, albeit very different, form of the male gaze?

veil-burning in somalia May 10, 2007

Posted by sindhub in Ayesha Dharkar, bodies, deception, Ethics, fashion police, Female Power, female soldiers, gender, ideology, in the news, International, islam, modesty, morality, nationalism, news stories, politics, Power, somalia, the state, The Terrorist, wartime politics, women and war, women in the military.
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There have been news stories in the past two days about government soliders in Somalia, which is currently in a state of civil war with explosions taking place recently in capital Mogadishu, taking women’s veils (ones where only the eyes are uncovered) and burning them.  When I first heard about it, I thought it seemed like what happened in pre-1979 revolution Iran, when women weren’t allowed to dress in religious garb in an avowedly secular state ruled by a monarch, but it turns out that the recent veil-burning wasn’t government-sanctioned.  The soliders did it because they wanted to make sure that the women weren’t part of the ‘rebel’ Islamist movement, and hiding bombs or weapons under their veils.

I thought this situation was interesting in its similarity to The Terrorist.  Malli is valued within her organization because she’s a woman, which means that she is underestimated and seen in a de-politicized way, which will enable her to get past security checkpoints–while carrying the ammunition she needs in the basket on her head, and not firewood or whatever the soliders may assume it is, showing that it is precisely her femaleness that allows her to get by–and get close enough to the politician to assassinate him.  It seems that the Somali soliders were concerned that they were letting Muslim women who might pose a threat get by because of their female religious need/desire to cover themselves modestly, and decided to take action, for their own safety presumably.

Something else that comes to mind is how this fits women into nationalism.  (more…)

The fight over the veil May 7, 2007

Posted by Wasik in bodies, careerwomen, controversy, fashion police, Female Power, feminism, ideology, in the news, iran, islam, morality, nationalism, politics, religion, the state, The Terrorist, Uncategorized, women and war.
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[This started out as a comment to sindhub’s post on Women’s Bodies and Ideology, but then quickly became very long so now it is a normal post. But sindhub– thanks for bringing this topic up!]

The debate about traditional islamic dress for women– loosely referred to in Western discourse as ‘the veil’– is probably the most complicated, intricate and endlessly controversial way in which, as you mention, nationalist and religious (though the two are often inextricably tied) movements use women’s bodies to enforce ideology.

In Western media and popular culture, the issue is often presented very one-sidedly, ignoring the nuance involved which has perpetuated this debate for so long. I distinctly remember one episode of “Seventh Heaven” in which taking up the veil was seen as an absolute tragedy to be lamented; throughout the episode, Mrs. Camden was haunted by visions of her daughters veiled and oppressed, and the end of the program featured many of its actors speaking out against the treatment of women in states under sharia law. (more…)

“Female Chauvinist Pigs: Girls gone wild” May 7, 2007

Posted by lindamc in "the gaze", bodies, Female Power, gender, in the news.
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This article from the NY Times discusses, although it is a year and a half old(published september 2005), Ariel Levy’s claims about what women these days are turning themselves into. I found this quote from the article particularly interesting and very much the focus of class discussion the past few weeks: “Our popular culture, she argues, has embraced a model of female sexuality that comes straight from pornography and strip clubs, in which the woman’s job is to excite and titillate – to perform for men. According to Levy, women have bought into this by altering their bodies surgically and cosmetically, and – more insidiously – by confusing sexual power with power, so that embracing this caricaturish form of sexuality becomes, in their minds, a perverse kind of feminism.” Levy goes on to discuss the rise of the number of Olympic athletes that pose for playboy, Paris Hilton, Girls Gone wild, and stereotypes of cartoon men and women. The woman who wrote this article: Jennifer Egan, believes that Levy shapes her examples to fit her theories, and argues that she drew from a small pool of women and girls. What do we think? Do we agree with Levy? Egan does in the end praise the book for posing a tough question: “Many women can buy their own plane tickets and pay their own rent. They can treat themselves. Why, then, do they persist in watching themselves through male eyes?”

women’s bodies and national ideology May 4, 2007

Posted by sindhub in bodies, Ethics, fashion police, ideology, in the news, iran, islam, modesty, morality, nationalism, new york times, politics, Power, religion, the state.
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There’s an interesting article in the New York Times today about the ‘fashion police,’ quite literally, in Iran.  Ever since the 1979 Islamic revolution that made Iran an Islamic state, there have been certain policies about how women should dress in public (modestly, in the chador) that are enforced by the police.  I think it’s important to note that before the 1979 revolution, Iran was an avowedly secular state, which meant that women actually weren’t allowed to publicly dress in ‘modest’ Islamic clothes.  I think this just goes to show that in a state that has a lot of power over its citizens, women’s bodies are one of the tools used to enforce its ideology, no matter how seemingly ‘repressive’ or ‘liberal’ that ideology is.

Here are some of the bits from the article that I found particularly amusing: (more…)

Cheetah Girls- the new spice girls? May 4, 2007

Posted by Melissa in bodies, Cheetah Girls, Female Power, female relationships, feminism, gender, general considerations, Girl Power, marketing gender, Pussycat Dolls, Spice Girls, tween market.
4 comments

During a recent conversation with my little sister, she mentioned that her favorite music group at the moment was the Cheetah Girls. Intrigued, I looked them up online to discover that they were a disney creation, and hugely popular in the tween market. The group advocates sisterhood and girl power, much like the Spice Girls. What is noticeably different about this group however, is that this is the only group that advocates girl power being marketed toward the tween market that is age appropriate. (more…)

PETA: Treating Women Like Meat is OK? May 3, 2007

Posted by ajaramillo in "the gaze", bodies, Ethics, sex sells, sexuality.
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I recently came across an advertisement from PETA that featured one of Hugh Hefner’s “girlfriends,” Holly Madison, completely nude saying she would “rather go naked then wear fur.”  I found it strange that an organization dedicated to the ethical treatment of animals would find no problem objectifying women in their ads. Of course, Holly is not the first person to pose nude for PETA. Pamela Anderson, Pink,and a whole array of other stars also posed for the same ad campaign. Not surprisingly, they were all women. I was wondering if anyone else found this as ridiculous as I did.

I posted some pictures after the jump. (more…)

Gender Equality in Israel May 1, 2007

Posted by Melissa in bodies, careerwomen, controversy, female executives, female politicos, female soldiers, G.I. Jane, gender, general considerations, Girl Power, in the news, Israel, nationalism, Spain.
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I found this article earlier today about the status of gender equality in Israel. I don’t find the statistics surprising, women have been paid (more…)