Thursday, August 5, 2010

Catching that Boy's Interest

While shopping for a 5 year old male, there were three common toys that were popular: star wars action figures, legos, and transformers. For one reason this was not surprising because "Children's imaginative play has become the target of marketing strategy, allowing marketers to define the limits of children's imagination" (Jhally 254). All of these toys are ultimately enhanced with the child's imagination. another reason this was not surprising is that it is clear child audiences are segmented by gender, even at the young age of 5. Targeting children by gender at such a young age can form them into gendered consumers for a long period of time. By marketing action, violence, and power, companies define what a young boy should be looking for in a toy.

Katz says that "Stressing gender difference means defining masculinity in opposition to femininity." (351). Violence, power, and control are equated to masculinity, so this is why star wars action figures, legos, and transformers are marketed towards young boys. As you can see in the collage, almost every transformer and star wars action figure has a weapon, which appeals to the violence aspect of masculinity. Even the picture at the middle of the collage of the lego man is holding multiple guns and a few grenades. Many ad campaigns for these types of toys send a message that says violence is "cool" and "suave". There are also many star wars lego figures that hold weapons, because they are very popular. Young boys have the power to control these toys whether it be transforming a transformer, erecting anything they want from the legos, or fighting enemies with the star wars action figures. They also have the power to use their imagination with these toys.

It is very advantageous for some of these companies to form these young boys into gendered consumers. For example, a young boy growing up playing with a star wars action figure will probably buy the video games a few years later, and then a few years down the road they may want to purchase some type of star wars themed strategy game. You will notice when shopping for a boy or girl that boy products are defined by action and conflict elements while girl products are defined by emotional attachment and maintenance elements. This is why Jhally says creating gendered consumers is "making it difficult for boys and girls to play together because marketers have created a growing divide between the two genders" (254).

Jhally, Sut. "Image-Based Culture: Advertising and Popular Culture." 1990. Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Text-Reader. Ed. Gail Dines & Jean M. Humez. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2003. 249-257

Katz, Jackson. "Advertising and the Construction of Violent White Masculinity: From Eminem to Clinique for Men." Gender, Race, and Class in Media: a Text-reader. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2003. 349-58.

Friday, July 30, 2010

"Sex Room" (real mix) REMIX

This student-created production is covered under the Fair Use codes US copyright law. Specifically, Section 107 of the current Copyright Act and Section 504(c)(2) cover the educational-basis of this video production. The production is intended to be a transformative remake, aiding in both student and public media literacy. The use of copyrighted material is in the service of constructing a differing understanding than the original work, which according to Section 110 (1) (2), is to be treated as a new cultural production. This student-production is in no way limited to the protections provided by the Fair Use codes stated above due to the many other sections of the current US Copyright Act, which also include the principles of Fair Use.

Please refer to Fair Use principles when re-posting, quoting, and/or excerpting the video-production posted here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Not That Girl

"If I were a boy..." is a famous song written by popular music artist Ciara which discusses the difference between men and women and social constructs of their responsibilities in their respective gender roles. In America there is an explosion of music videos which exploits women for their sexual appeal and portrays the man as the dominant character. Look at the lyrics as some of the songs such as, "Throw it in the bag", "Sponsor", "OMG", and so on. Our culture is continuing to suppress women as a face of intellect and covering their face with a veil of sexual intensity. This culture of hegemonic ideologies is very prevalent in our society because of the image social media attempts to depict. Women have marched for rights to vote, gain equal salaries, and benefit from the from the same education networks and one must wonder when they will stop having to succumb to sexual exploitation? Hegemony is the prevailing force over a less powerful group allowing for exploitation, oppression, and tyranny. Britney Spears, who has since matured from her bizarre hair cut, has tried to subvert against misogynistic ideologies in her video "Womanizer".

Her video "Womanizer" shows Britney in an array of different outfits showing the "gender-specific" roles of a career. Such as in the beginning of the video she is cooking breakfast for her stage lover and he is in the nude reading the paper as if he does not care. She must slave to meet all of his needs. When she throws the egg down on his plate he takes out his cell phone and begins to check he plans for the day showing no signs of gratitude or appreciation. This is clearly a woman working for her man with no such pay except a relationship. In another setting this would be called indentured servitude. A slave is at every call of the master while only receiving a place to sleep and eat while they pay off a debt or they are working to pay for their keep. She goes against this norm by pretending to pour coffee in this cup while singing the lyrics talking about how she will not be womanized.

In the article "Hegemony", James Lull says that "Dominant ideological streams must be subsequently reproduced in the activities of our most basic social units-families, workplace networks, and friendship groups in the many sites and undertakings of everyday life " (62). Lull is suggesting that one is dominated when they are continually put down or placed into a dominant based setting in which the victim feels as if they must either be complacent to the domination, or they must conform their own ideologies to fit within the social norm. Spears is going against this pedagogy and showing her man that she will not be another trophy wife or late night office meeting.

The second scene in which we see Spears rallying for the strength of women is in her workplace setting where she again is playing the "gender specific" role of a woman secretary being scoped out by the men of her office like a tiger stalks its prey. Her dance moves continue to push the man away and she she throws him on the copy machine saying she will not be womanized. She has a more argumentative attitude in this scene fighting against the will of the man. The man sits down and reaches for her waist and again she pushes him away, allowing him to see that she will not be domesticated with dominating morals or be forced to join the current of the normal social wave. "Those who uncritically follow the dictates of media culture tend to 'mainstream' themselves, conforming to the dominant fashion, values, and behavior" (Kellner 10).

Kellner is suggesting that those who are uneducated outside of the social media stay withing the box of the social media in which the only option is to conform to the shape of the box. The walk, talk, and fashion of the media dictates the actions and behavior of the women and as stated early, the actions depicted are clearing a non subversive role for women. Spears, "Who you trying to front, I know just what you are" is claiming that the man is not sly in his quest to try and be on the side of the female. Spears is aware of the charisma game and she is not following the rules, she wishes to be her own woman and not be womanized.

The third scene has Spears acting as a waitress where she says, "say it how you wanna, but I'm never gonna fall for you", directly stating the fact that people may try to spin the truth of taking advantage of woman but she will not fall for that trap. She is letting the male know that she is above the dominant media culture and he can have the education, job, charisma he wishes, but she will not be subjected to exploitation. Spears is allowing herself (in the scene) to become physically close to the man and then pushes him away almost as if she is toying with his emotions. She understands that the man wishes to have her her, but she will not let that occur because she knows the history of his past endeavours. Kellner addresses this when he discusses Gramsci's model of hegemony and counter hegemony "the project was aimed a social transformation and attempted to specify forces of domination and resistance in order to aid the process of political struggle and emancipation from oppression and domination" (Kellner 11).

Throughout this video Spears is demonstrating she is the driving force behind the liberation from oppression because she has been in the waters with it and now she is against. Spears was a popular pop star who started out as conforming to the hegemonic ideologies of women. But now, to be womanized is not on her personal agenda of career aspirations and she can make the strive for accomplishments with the accommodation of sexual exploitation. This video portrays Spears in a new light going against the great and being the golden wheat which shines in a music field dominated by misogynistic ideologies.

"Womanizer". Dir. Joseph Kahn. "Circuis". Britney Spears. 2008.

Lull, James. "Hegemony." Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Text-Reader. Eds. Gail Dines and Jean M. Humez. Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage Publication Inc., 2003. 61-66. Print

Kellner, Douglas. "Cultural Studies, Multiculturalism, and Media Culture." Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Text-Reader. Eds. Gail Dines and Jean M. Humez. Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage Publication Inc., 2003. 9-20. Print

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ari Gold, IS THE MAN

Anyone who has ever watched "Entourage" could never forget the character Ari Gold. Ruthless, relentless, and determined are some of the only words that could describe this very successful CEO. Ari Gold brings to the table an array of hegemonic ideologies of masculinity. He's in a very powerful position, and is aggressive, opinionated, oppressive, and does not stop until he achieves his goals. Throughout Season 7,, Episode 2 of Entourage, Ari's character can be associated with patriarchy. Ari Gold is a perfect example of what it means to be masculine.

In Season 7, Episode 2, Ari Gold will not stop until he gets what he wants, as always. Ari was trying to strike a deal with Jerry Jones and the NFL to sell their TV rights. Over the phone call, Jerry Jones calls Ari a "Persistent little fella", which Ari confidently responds that he has not became what he was by ever giving up. Throughout the episode, Ari is confident, cocky, and feels like he is always in complete control when dealing with Jerry Jones. Eventually Ari is told that he would not be able to sell the TV rights, but he would be invited to the NFL owners meeting with the possibility of him bringing a new team to the NFL. This news would be EVERY man's dream, and the steps that Ari takes to achieve this outcome portray a masculine way to go about things.

Newman states the hegemonic ideology that male characters are much more likely to "occupy leadership roles, act aggressively, give guidance to or come to the rescue of others, express opinions, asks questions, and achieve their goals" (90). Ari's role throughout this episode fits just about each and every one of those characteristics. Ari is the head of one of the largest media agencies and approaches every situation aggressively until he achieves his goals. When negotiating with Jerry Jones, he even says that you want me to sell those TV rights when Jerry was questioning him. Ari also has no problem expressing his opinions whether they be rude, degrading, or just flat out wrong, especially when they are directed towards his employees.

Ari Gold also has a very oppressive personality, not only towards females but to just about everyone he has a conversation with. He displays patriarchy in that he feels he has the authority over every person he encounters. When Lloyd, one of his gay employees, tries to talk to him, Ari just cuts him off immediately and tells him if he gets rid of the person who wanted the conference call he would make him queen. In another part, Ari is supposed to be spending time with his wife, but ends up clearing his schedule. He then talks down to his wife and just drops her off at the store and heads back to the office. Whey Lizzy asks to sit in on the meeting with the NFL, at first he simply said no because he said "what do women know about the NFL".

Patriarchy is most often equated with men, which is shy Ari is portrayed with an oppressive personality to represent masculinity. It seems that Ari devalues women down to basically sexual objects. This is apparent when Ari says to his wife that he would rather look at nude photos of the artist of the chandelier that they were going to buy. Again, when Ari received the news he may become an owner of an NFL team, the first thing out of his mouth is that he was going to make Lizzy a cheerleader. The common ideology is that cheerleaders wear very little clothing and are there for the men to enjoy while at a pro sporting event.

Johnson says there is patriarchy, especially "gender oppression because men want and like to dominate women and act out hostility towards them" (91). Ari always acts very hostile towards Lloyd, Lizzy, and one of the other female employees in this episode, and many other women and gays in other episodes. Ari has the power to dominate because he is the CEO, and clearly does participate in Patriarchy. Johnson also says that "to live in patriarchy is to breathe in misogynist images of women as objectified sexual property valued primarily usefulness to men" (97). This statement definitely represents the mentality of Ari towards women which is an ideology of patriarchal men. Ari may not seem this way towards his wife in this episode, but in other episodes when Ari and his wife get into an argument, it always ends in Ari making a move to have sex. It seems Ari may be incapable of loving women without "mentally fragmenting them into breasts, buttocks, genitals, and other variously desirable parts" (Johnson 97).

As you can see, Ari gold of "Entourage" fits many hegemonic ideologies of what it means to be masculine. he does not overtly display emotions; he is very aggressive, and ruthless. He is a man with great power and uses his authority to conquer any obstacles in his way. Ari's quest to own an NFL team is every man's dream, which is why I think the producers brought the NFL into the picture to attract more male viewers. Ari will continue using his masculine characteristics to achieve any goal he desires. Ari Gold, is the man.

Ellin, Doug, prod. "Entourage" Season 7 Episode 2 "Buzzed" "Entourage" HBO. 11 July 2010. Television.

Newman, David M. "Chapter 2 and 3. "Identifies and Inequalities: Exploring the Intersections of Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2007. Print

Johnson, Allan G. "Patriarchy, the System: An It, Not a He, a Them, or an Us". The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy. Temple University Press. 1997.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Link-Hunt for Blogs

Saints & Sinners: Lil Wayne vs. New Orleans
Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is it Sexist to Ogle Male Athletes
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Jennie Thunder

TelevIsm: The Offensive Olympics: South Park

Wednesday, June 9, 2010
RMJ (Rachel McCarthy James)

Misogyny's Last Frontier: Feminists and the iPad

Wednesday January 27, 2010
Gourmet Goddess

Disturbing Eminem Leak feat. Rihanna

Monday, June 14, 2010