White Masculinity Blog and Discussion Question

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I thought this article was very interesting, more specifically, the examples that Katz used to make his articles, were very interesting. The article brought up different points that I had not really considered regarding violence and it's link to white masculinity, and the role that the link plays in advertising. The use of military and sports symbolism to enhance the masculine identification and appeal of products in advertising was a key takeaway from the article, especially considering that he begins the essay talking about how the 9/11 attacks brought about a new conversation about violence and domestic problems in the United States. Using the strong military men and muscular football players as a symbol of what is patriotic and masculine is extremely prevalent in our society's advertising techniques. Katz even brings the concept of the male/female gaze into this when he talks about the controversial Joe Camel cigarette ads of the 1990s that use cartoon images to lure young people into buying their product suggesting that violence is cool and that by smoking these particular cigarettes they can get a sexy blond woman to gaze provocatively at them. I also thought his example of the Clinique commercial that depicts the football player in full uniform running towards a white woman in a dress holding a cake insinuating that she bought him 'Clinique Happy' cologne for his birthday, was interesting. I notice that a lot of commercials today do just that: they take products that we normally associate with women (such as the Clinique perfume line) and turn them around and give them a masculine appeal.
What I thought was probably the most powerful and interesting about the article was when Katz discusses artists such as Eminem, Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit, all of which have rap/song lyrics that are extremely violent and misogynist, with graphic music videos that not only sexualize women, but degrade them. These artists rebellious behavior encourages their young male fans to go against the status quo. However, as Katz points out, the advertisements featuring these artists do exactly opposite of what they preach to their fans, they make their fans buy into them and purchase them. I thought that was very interesting.

This article clearly emphasizes the media industry's tendency to link masculinity to violent white men, but in the conclusion the author makes a point to bring up Feminists' historical tendency to focus on women's representations when studying the social construction of gender. Katz admits that we are moving into a post 9/11 era that has pushed us to shed a light on the representation of men in media to more fully understand the links between the construction of gender and violence. He then goes on to conclude the article by stating that understanding the links between the construction of gender and the prevalence of violence, might then lead to more effective antiviolence interventions. Do you agree with Katz that we are headed in the right direction towards less violence by focusing more on men's representation in media? What type of antiviolence interventions do you think would be the result of better understanding the links between gender and violence?

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This page contains a single entry by Ally Unger published on November 4, 2012 1:12 PM.

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