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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.

Washington D.C. Madam May 4, 2007

Posted by Melissa in bad girls go..., careerwomen, controversy, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, gender, general considerations, in the news, new york times, news stories, politics, sex sells, sex trade, sexuality.
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I just read this article in the New York Times about Deborah Jeane Palfrey, a “suspected madam” running her business in Washington D.C. I’m not sure how I feel about this just yet, but I thought it was something important we should open up to discussion. More thoughts on this to come later…

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.
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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…)

Elitism in the Feminist Movement May 4, 2007

Posted by Melissa in class, college, competing feminism, controversy, ECCSF, Female Power, female relationships, general considerations, Girl Power, Harvard, Higher Education, in the news, Ivy league, Judith Rodin.
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I just read an article that described the recent gathering of female presidents of the top Ivy League universities and their discussion the changing roles of women in education and the administrative side of college politics. The group, including Judith Rodin- the first woman to lead an Ivy institution, stressed that in spite of the progress, there was still a lack of women represented in the faculty and a lack of gay, black, and Hispanics in leadership roles. While nothing in the article really surprised me, I am struck by the elitism inherent in the gathering. Only Ivy league universities were asked to attend this meeting, leaving female leaders at smaller schools and public universities out of the conversation- ergo feeding back into the problem of the lack of socio-economic diversity they also complained about during their conversation. (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…)

Cosmo Magazine May 1, 2007

Posted by Melissa in bitch, bodies, careerwomen, competing feminism, controversy, cosmo, general considerations, Girl Power, Helen Gurley Brown.
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I had a conversation with a friend recently when I let slip my secret obsession with Cosmo Magazine. Over the next 30 minutes she berated me for buying the “trashy” magazine and wasting my money on nothing but useless information (mostly advice about the body, sex, and relationships for the career woman). On looking back at the conversation I can’t help but feel bothered by such harsh criticism of a magazine I feel deserves much more credit than it currently receives…. (more…)

Alias and Humanizing People April 30, 2007

Posted by andyw in alias, Ethics, Female Power, feminism, gender, general considerations, jennifer garner, marketing gender, Power, The Human.
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I want to advocate that Jennifer Garner can be subversively read as a human being, and not as a female character.

lindamc made some good points about how the episodes purposely showed Garner as soft and feminine. She explains that there is a strange cycle (more…)

Women and Crime April 1, 2007

Posted by Wasik in 9 to 5, general considerations, Set it off, Thelma and Louise.
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When watching Set It Off, I couldn’t help but see the comparisons to 9 to 5 and Thelma and Louise. Although this movie was made a lot more complex with its problematic class and racial themes, I think that the story of women turning to crime to solve their problems/gain revenge against the men who have wronged them because they have no other way out is similar in all three cases.

However, the women in Set It Off seemed to have much more agency than (more…)

What is it about Cinderella anyway? March 7, 2007

Posted by erinsull in general considerations, Working Girl.
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From the first frames of Working Girl (the crowded Staten Island ferry carrying the workers to the elite part of the city) it is clear that class issues are going to take center stage. We learn early on that Tess is a working class woman who has scrapped together and education. She has big hair, gaudy jewelry and an accent she feels she needs to overcome to get ahead (the now familiar Eliza Doolittle scenario). Despite all this (and of course her “bod for sin”) she has a “head for business”. Every review I read of the movie referred to it as a modern Cinderella story. So this story has a familiar pattern but what exactly is this story trying to say about class relationships, particularly when it comes to women? Throughout the movie all those who underestimate Tess (Catherine, her boss in the beginning) because of assumptions they made based on her class are left humiliated. So I guess it can be seen as the don’t judge a book by its cover cliché, that we shouldn’t assume that class and intelligence and business savvy are correlated. Still, I’m having trouble buying that the movie is really saying something more general about how we see the lower classes. Tess is presented so clearly as an exception to her class. We are shown that Tess has more going for her then the rest of her Staten Island crew; she is smarter and more driven. This is why she deserves the high-class life and the high-class man.

Jack sees something different in Tess that he falls in love with, just as Prince Charming falls for Cinderella because she has something different from the rest of the maidens at the ball. There is something about their class that makes them so alluring, something that a simple external makeover can’t hide. In her review for the New York Times Janet Maslin states that Tess has “an unbeatable mixture of street smarts, business sense and sex appeal”. A Washington Post review commented that Tess was “Equal parts vulnerability and fiduciary pluck”. Yes Tess has got the smarts and she knows it but something about her station in life makes her humble, vulnerable and skeptical of her worth. This is in a direct comparison to the brazen, self-assure; high class all her life Catherine. This vulnerability makes Tess somehow more feminine in the eyes of Jack, for instance when he sees her at the bar and comments that she “dresses like a woman, not like a man thinks a woman would dress if he were a woman”. She oozes an overt sexuality that is not present in the uptight and polished Catherine, the woman Jack is desperately trying to leave. This is evident in their body shape as well; Tess is curvy and sensual, while in the end Catherine is ridiculed for her “bony-ass”. Maybe its an East Coast thing but I had it indoctrinated in me growing up that high class woman were covered up, proper and streamlined, which can often be seen as rigid and almost masculine. In Tess Jack sees that femininity and sensuality he has been missing in his high-class world.

This Cinderella cliché is a prevalent one in depictions of females and class in popular culture. It is the working class girl with the heart of gold whose brains elevate her past her class. Still because of her class she is somehow more feminine and alluring, maybe because no one has taught her not to be. Pretty Woman, which came out just two years later, is a lot in the same vain. A more modern Cinderella could be Joey Potter from Dawson’s Creek, I admit rather important example in my adolescence. Joey was the girl from the wrong side of the creek whose smarts elevate her out of her “rough” background (her Dad is a drug dealer after all, and her sister has a child out of wedlock). Joey’s insecurities prevent her from realizing how beautiful and alluring to men she is. I know it is a rather silly example but I think the fact that it appears in everything from Oscar nominated films, to late 90’s teen melodramas shows how prevalent the Cinderella scenario is.

The HPV Vaccine March 6, 2007

Posted by kelly in bodies, general considerations, in the news, news stories.
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Today’s New York Times has an article on the HPV vaccine that can be found here. While I’m sure many of you have heard about the debate surrounding it, for those of you who don’t here’s the gist of it: the vaccine is proven to protect women from the types of HPV that make up roughly 70% of HPV-related cervical cancer cases. HPV is more common in men than women, and is most often spread to women from men. Cervical cancer accounts for 240,000 deaths a year. So, what’s the problem? Some organizations are opposed to the vaccine because they believe it encourages promiscuity and premarital sex amongst females. An article in TIME says, “The New Scientist in Britain quoted the Family Research Council’s Bridget Maher warning that ‘giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex.” I find this just a little bit outrageous. Since when did other people’s ideologies take precedent over my own health? Would we really be having this same argument if this was a vaccine to prevent cancer in men? How is it that people still feel that they have a right to rule over women’s bodies? The idea that the vaccine would give women a “license” to engage in premarital sex suggests that we have no agency of our own, we need permission to have sex. It is as though these people are in favor of STDs as a way of curbing women’s sexuality. Furthermore, these organizations are willing to deny women a vaccine against CANCER simply in order to maintain the old-fashioned ideals of chastity, virginity, and repression.