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Bom Chicka Wah Wah! May 17, 2007

Posted by jsaffold in commercials, male gaze, Pussycat Dolls, sex sells, sexuality, stereotypes, tv.

Early this morning, I was dreaming about being on an airplane and the person next to me kept saying “Bom Chicka Wah Wah.” And then I woke up and realized that there was one of the new Axe deodorant spray commercials on t.v. and it was entering my consciousness and incorporating into my dream. See it for yourself… (more…)

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.

What do Jessica Lynch and Meg Ryan have in common? April 27, 2007

Posted by rachaelg in Courage Under Fire, in the news, Jessica Lynch, Meg Ryan, new york times, stereotypes, wartime politics, women in the military.
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In today’s New York Times, Michael Delong’s Opinion article, Politics During Wartime, immediately reminded me of our class discussion of Meg Ryan in Courage Under Fire.  Delong’s job (like Denzel’s in the film) was to find out what really happened before Jessica Lynch became a prisoner of war, while politicians urged him to just award her a Medal of Honor. (more…)

Don Imus Controversy April 11, 2007

Posted by erinsull in race, sports, stereotypes.
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I don’t know if people have been following the Don Imus controversy but its big in the sports world right now. Basically on his show “Imus in the Morning”, he described the Rutgers basketball team who just played for the national title as “nappy headed hos”. This is obviously offensive on so many levels. He has apologized as public figures are known to do after making stupid racist/sexist comments. Mel Gibson and Michael Richards taught us all about that earlier this year. It has sparked a pretty intense debate with some, like the National Association of Black Journalists and Al Sharpton, calling for his immediate firing while others cite free speech and say there should be no consequences. What he got was a two week suspension. Espn.com has already gotten 1,000 reader comments about this controversy. It has people talking.

There are many more editorials and player/coach/fan reactions about this on espn.com. I recommend giving it a look.

One thing to note, ESPN did a poll asking whether Imus should keep his job. The majority of voters said he should…

Female Power: Standing in Masculinity’s Shadow April 10, 2007

Posted by kblack10 in Girl Power, La Femme Nikita, stereotypes, Tomb Raider 2, Working Girl.

Women have long been thought of as strong, matriarchal characters, but from the films we have watched in class, it is apparent that as time progresses, the actual “power” that a woman can posses is always in relation to power already existing in their male counterparts. In Imitation of Life, Annie is seen as a strong character because, aside from the issues with her daughter, she manages to take on the “male role” in a rather unconventional “family”. While Annie did not necessarily adhere to typical profile of the strong female as being attractive, beautiful, and catering to the idea of the male gaze, her character proves that there is far more to being a strong woman than appearance. For that time period when the ideal family consisted of a working father, doting wife, two children and a puppy, Annie represented the fact that a woman can not only raise, but also run a family just like the stereotypical ideal husband. The movie Working Girls displays a break through in girl power for its time because (more…)

the oppressed working-class woman March 12, 2007

Posted by sindhub in bad girls go..., class, race, stereotypes, the color purple, Thelma and Louise, theory, Working Girl.
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So I noticed that most of the movies we’ve been looking at have dealt with the problem of the oppressed working-class woman, e.g. The Color Purple, Working Girl, and now Thelma and Louise.  Actually, let me rephrase that–it’s more that the men they’re oppressed by are working-class.  From Mick in Working Girl to Mister in The Color Purple to the truck driver (can’t get a more blue collar occupation than that), the men from the ‘masses’ are almost unanimously brutish, abusive, piggish, boorish, and explicitly sexist.

 This got me thinking of the Walkerdine article, “Subject to Change without Notice: Psychology, Postmodernity, and the Popular.”  She spends a lot of time talking about how ideology about the masses/the working classes has always thought of them as of inferior intelligence, of a more primitive mindset, and how they can only be transformed by ‘upright’ middle class values (Protestantism, hard work, gumption, etc.).  So the portrayal of the men of different classes in these movies is truly disturbing to me for this reason.  It seems a little bit too easy (more…)

the eroticized minority body March 1, 2007

Posted by kelly in bodies, race, stereotypes.
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considering our discussion of sarah-jane and the idea of the voluptuous, curvaceous, and sexual black woman, i thought it would be interesting to take a look at theSaartjie Baartman image of “Hottentot Venus” otherwise known as Saartjie Baartman. She was “exhibited” and “travelled around England showing what Europeans considered her “unusual” bodily features, thought to be typical of Hottentots. Her exhibitors permitted visitors to touch her large buttocks for extra payment. In addition, she had a sinus pudoris, otherwise known as the “tablier”, “curtain of shame”, or apron, a reference to the elongated labia of some Khoisan” (wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saartjie_Baartman). While she was considered unique at the time, her image has come to represent the common stereotype and portrayal of black women. You can read more about it here.

The Revenge Narrative February 20, 2007

Posted by kelly in Female Power, stereotypes.

I just wanted to quickly address the idea of the reveng narrative in female empowerment stories. Last semester I wrote a paper on female suicide bombers and found that despite evidence to the contrary, the actions of female suicide bombers were almost always attributed to revenge or other personal motivations, while male suicide bombers were usually said to have acted out of belief in a certain ideology or on behalf of their country/group. While this may have little to do with the films we have been studying, I think it’s interesting that any time a woman is empowered, it always has to do with something personal, and she is always acting out of emotions. In the case of Suzie, Neve Campbell’s character in “Wild Things,” despite her intelligence and desire to be wealthy and successful, her actions are attributed to her avenging the murder of her boyfriend. Once again, the idea that women are ruled by their emotions is enforced. A woman is only “evil” or powerful when she is acting upon her maternal instict to defend or avenge her loved ones, or perhaps even herself (in the case of “All Bad Girls Go to Hell”). Society refuses to believe that a woman can be as cold-blooded or calculated as a man for her own selfish reasons, there has to be an explanation within her supposed inherent nature as a caretaker and lover, not a fighter. Perhaps this is a tactic utilized to protect ideas of masculinity or male power. The revenge narrative essentially denies women the agency and responsibility men are given (or blamed for) in their crimes. I hope this makes sense!

Also (please excuse the pop culture reference):

I wanted to just suggest that you guys watch Justin Timberlake’s new video. It’s interesting because it depicts his girlfriend cheating on him (widely believed to be yet another portrayal of Britney Spears) and then the subsequent death (or perhaps murder) of her. These two events follow each other very closely and it seems that simply because the girlfriend is able to gain some power over him (using her sexuality and by cheating on him, with his best friend, which no doubt makes him seem less in control, she has gained power over two men and severed their male bond) she must die. She takes on the role of the femme fatale and in order to save his masculinity, Justin has to kill her so that he is not defeated by a woman. It kind of astounds me that there has been no real public outcry over how insane and ridiculous this video really is. I hope you’ll all take the time to watch it if you haven’t already seen it. I tried to embed it below…not sure if it worked…