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March 4, 2009

Sexy?

While I was looking for ads about women on YouTube I came across this one... appropriately(?) titled sexiest commercial. To start I think that this ad is representative of a lot of advertising today in which you rarely see the product they are advertising. Instead you see "sex" selling the product. This ad is suggesting that they have made an mp3 player so small you can put it down your pants while you work out and I'm guessing still be comfortable doing various exercises. As she works out, she changes the music that is being played. I had to watch twice to figure out where the product was and that the music changed as she moved her legs.

I'm not sure who would find this sexy while working out. Personally, if I am working out I don't want something down my pants. This ad, along with selling a product through sex, plays into what society wants us to believe is beautiful. Beauty is a small/fit white woman, with blonde hair, who doesn't turn red while working out, and has a gentle glow of sweat. It would be interesting to know who panasonic was trying to target with this ad. I am assuming they were attempting to attract young women with the small size of the product, however this commercial probably appeals more to a male audience.

Chocolate Myth?

I'm sure you have all seen this commercial before. I know it's focused around a guy, but the articles we read describe the women's stereotypes which are portrayed in this video. This perhaps presents a black beauty myth for men. Blackademics.org says "Axe’s product statement is clear: through Dark Temptation, any average-Joe white guy can go from being milk dud to a chocolate stud". This statement refers to what in society affects women's perception of attractive men. It assumes that our culture projects that blackness is super masculine, and that our women need to be with the ultimate, most masculine man. The women in the video automatically crave the "dark chocolate" man, and lust over his manly, sexual perfection. The ad reflects today's standards for attractive men (which have been accepted by women), subjecting male viewers to an unrealistic male beauty ideal. It's interesting to apply the beauty issue to the other side, as well.

-Danya

LV JLo- updated

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I think this Luis Vuitton ad plays an empowing role reversal for women of color and women in general. Rather than the ad following what many other high fashion ads have done in the past (subordinating, sexually objectifying, and silencing women) this ad is silencing the man and putting the latina women in the controlling powerful position. Not saying that we should objectify men but at least the woman (J Lo) is shown as the dominating, powerful and pretty person in control. This ad (fairly new) really shows an innovative way of branding LV to women. LV is for the business women, woman in power, AND the sexy women. The sexy woman does not always need to be drapped over the man and the woman in power does not have to inherit masculine qualities to be in control.

oh...Yes, I think I would have notived this ad before because I've done a couple papers/projects about women in the media. I know this ad is not the perfect example of how real women are but it's a lot better then an anorexic women dressed in see through black lacies with tape over her mouth promoting some sort of man jeans or cologne.

March 3, 2009

Blog 5

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After our discussion of Barbie's I decided I'd take a look and see what kind of Barbie's Mattel is making now a days since I've been out of the doll stage for awhile, in particular I was looking for black Barbie's just to see what kind of image Mattel is trying to put out there. There were 2 dolls that I was amazed by. The first one was lingerie barbie??!! What is that all about? There are so many things wrong with this image I don’t even know where to start and she’s supposed to be an African American Barbie, to which to me she doesn’t look it. This is not a doll that I want my 5 year old niece, who is obsessed with Barbie, even remotely near!

The next Black Barbie I found was a “model” Barbie. The interesting thing….they used modelmuse™. This is something that they use to “carve” out attributes such as better cleavage, collar bones, etc. The minute I saw this picture my eyes went straight to her midsection. Before I even read about modelmuse™ I knew they’d done something to make her thinner, because she’s a model.

I loved my Barbie when I was a kid, but they were nothing like what they are today. It makes me frightened for my niece and for any other young girl, black, white, asian, or hispanic, that this is the doll that they will be given to play with and to emulate. The subliminal messages that Mattel is obviously putting out are outrageous.

No Negative Body Images for Black Women?

All right, first I want to apologize for my lack of knowledge with blogging. I have no idea how to insert images into these blogs, so I am going to put a link to the ad I found :

http://www.brandspankingnew.net/img/headers/lil_kim_lachapelle.jpg

The ad is a picture of Lil Kim posing nude, decorated as a Louis Vuitton bag. First of all, she is being objectified as a PURSE. She is not even supposed to represent a human in the ad. I think that is not clever at all, but disugusting. Second, she is completely naked except for a hat, that I assume is only supposed to make her more like a Louis Vutton bag than a human being. Her pose and gaze are extremely provocative, showing her as hypersexualized as a black woman. I think that it definitely breaks the Black Beauty Myth that Riley wrote about because Lil Kim's body image is unattainable without money and surgery. Lil Kim has had breast implants, a nose job, skin lightening, and a tummy tuck, making the image she presents extremely unrealistic. After finding this ad of Lil Kim, I searched any images of Lil Kim, and today she has had so much surgery that she is unrecognizable from the women she was even in this ad, much less when she started out in the music industry. ( http://www.dabeatshop.com/Celeb%20Mugshots/lilkimmug1.jpg ) I think I still would've noticed the ad because it is quite unexpected and so objectifying to all women. Apparently sex does really sell, no matter how demeaning or unattainable the sexual images are.

EDGE girls

I saw this ad playing (with the sound off) at the gym a few weeks ago. Unfortunately (unfortunately for this assignment, fortunately for the world), the version I saw doesn’t seem to be available anywhere online, but the short version can be found paired with another clip here:

(I’m referencing the first one of this pair). The difference between this clip and the one I saw at the gym is that the images in the clip I saw of the women spraying each other lasted longer, and were more graphically sexually suggestive.
I was really surprised at this ad, since the foam spray is such an obvious metaphor for ejaculation. The women’s reactions to the spraying foam are gleeful and sexual, at once taking pleasure in being dominated (and disrespected) by the foam spray (male ejaculation). It seems kind of explicit for television, but I don’t see many ads nowadays, so I don’t really know what the norm is.
The ad also features a current cultural standard of female beauty, depicted by unrealistic women with supermodel bodies and perfect skin. They are scantily clad so that we see their every curve. Again, an ad for a product uses sexual bodies to sell it, with the message that by using this product, you can get at a bit of this sexuality yourself.
From my perspective, it is humorous and ironic that an ad so heteronormative and macho-masculine features a metaphor that can be interpreted more broadly as the pleasure and presence of semen on a man’s face. (Thinking about it this way makes the ad a little bit easier to take).

UPDATE: The first video was deleted off Youtube mysteriously (I have a conspiracy theory- that video had been available for nine months.!!!) But here is another version, which someone has added some "screams and whistles" sound effects to. Kind of obnoxious, but you'll still see some of the original footage.

Black Beauty

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I honestly don't think I would have noticed this image before discussing the readings from last week. It is easy to point out stereotypical images of black women, those that hypersexualize and those that portray black women as unaffectedly flaunting their "curves." This image may be problematic, but certainly not in the same (outwardly offensive) way as the aforementioned images. However, there is still something going on that may be easy to overlook. This magazine, quoted as "one of the leading magazines in the world on Black hair and beauty," a "must-read for any woman of color" by Magazine Express website, seems to conflict with stereotypical images of black female beauty. As we can see, the cover of this magazine introduces articles about cosmetic surgery and "the size zero debate," which doesn't seem to fit the myths about black beauty that Riley talks about in her article. Instead, we learn that some black women might care about their body image, and strive for something other than (or smaller than) curves and "meat on their bones." The woman on this magazine cover is very beautiful, however, her beauty conforms to a Western, or "white, middle-class, heterosexual" ideal of beauty (thin nose, doe eyes, etc.). She appears very thin, she has flawless skin and rosy cheeks, she is doused in makeup, smiles with perfect teeth, dressed in a feminine pink color and pearl earrings. Not to mention her hair is perfectly slicked back into a neat bun. This image is not necessarily good or bad, but it does challenge a common stereotype (or myth, in Riley's words) about black female confidence and positive body image, and realizes that black women may struggle with the same insecurities and body image issues that white women are stereotyped to have.

Hungry MAN!

I found this Hungry Man advertisement to be really interesting because it manages to degrade women without even having a woman present, and at the same time promotes the "macho" stereotype of men.

I once read that being "feminine" is one of the worst things somebody can be, and I don't remember where I read this, but the author theorized that this may be one of the reasons that gay men are generally more victims of gay bashing [both in media and physically] than gay women - because there is the stereotype that gay men are more "feminine". Also the reason why boys are likely more criticized to play with "girl" toys than girls are for playing with "boy" toys. Since I read this, I've kept this theory that "femininity" is one of the worst traits that someone can have and have seen how that is reflected in the media.

The video shows the three men in a "macho" line of work - construction it seems... and look how funny it is that they're drinking pink and orange beverages! haha! Seriously, who thinks these things up? Argh. And then they all go to the bathroom together because that joke NEVER gets old.

Obviously, the "you are what you eat" comment after being called "ladies" and the expression on the men's faces shows us that being feminine [or rather, the media's definition of feminine] is HORRIBLE. And that they should change their behavior IMMEDIATELY, by no longer drinking juice [seriously?! It's juice...] and instead heating up a frozen dinner [well, duh, we all know men can't cook, right?]

I'd also like to point out that any woman at the same "level of attractiveness" for lack of a better phrase as these men would never be put in a commercial promoting ANYTHING.

And I'm really glad that the men can eat the sodium-loaded, artery-clogging fried chicken and pale starchy vegetables. They CAN eat like men [fatty, unhealthy foods] because they are MACHO and MANLY, but women don't dare touch that type of food because that would be unfeminine. Seriously, would you ever see any commercial promoting women [and not men] to eat an unhealthy meal? Well, I guess the whole "chocolate" craze geared toward women... but they usually use words like "indulgence" and "treat" for those, implying moderation... anyway, I just thought this was ridiculous.

Another Fallen Victim

When scrolling through an "Esquire" magazine searching for either offensive or empowering ads for women, I found that the most offensive ads were the high fashion ones. Designers such as: Dolce and Cabbana, Gucci, Dior, and Cesare Paciotti all presented women in their ads as weak, sex objects. First in Cesare Pacoitti's ad, they use a scene evoking a gang rape and reeking of violence against women. In an interview, NOW Foundation President Kim Gandy said, "It's in Esquire, so they probably don't think a stylized gang rape will sell clothes to women, but what is more likely is that they think it will get them publicity. It's a provocative ad but, can't it be a provocative ad that empowers women instead of degrading them? We don't need any more violence." In Gucci's ad, it attempts to demonstrate a woman's "place" in the world by sitting at the man's feet. She has a weak and helpless expression on her face, while the man above her stands tall and confident. In Cesare Pacoitti's ad, there is a picture of a fallen (dead) woman who is in a very elegant white gown. The ad says "Another fashion victim--literally", it appears. Designers sure do love to show off their clothes on fallen women. By using fallen women it can insinuate a couple different meanings: those women are weak, that women need to be that flimsy or skinny, and finally, that we should look good at all times, even if we're dying! Lastly the Dior ad, is a picture of a woman looking like she is having an organism. The ad says, "Dior Addicts". Dior proudly uses the themes of addiction and death to sell lipstick, under the impression that the tactic is edgy and original. By putting these ads in magazines, women as well as men get a completely wrong impression of what is sexy. In the Dolce and Cabbana ad, the four men huddled over the woman with their hands all over her, is not right. This reinforces the idea to men that three somes and "Train" (where several men have sex with one woman at the same time) parties are hot and sexy for both parties. This also sends the message that men should over power women physically and emotionally. The woman in the ad looks fantastic, but she has an impression on her face that is luring the men in as if she wants to be held down. Young women will see this and think that’s what they can do to get guys attention, and inviting them to be exploited. Over all these ads are completely offensive and send the wrong message in every aspect to women and men.

Blog 5

My brother does a lot of graffiti, and he actually found this image and posted it on his facebook. When I saw it I was appalled, and told him to take it down. It's an add for Montana spray paint, in which a girls has the head of the can shoved in her mouth and there's a line of "white paint" dripping down the side. Of course the image is suggestive of oral sex. I found this highly offensive, when I saw it last week, but I think I would have found it this way before taking the class too. Of course, the most obvious thing wrong with this add is the sexual objectification of the woman in it. Indeed, in almost all the adds I see everyday with women in them, women seem to be reduced to and conflated with sex, and it's almost always I woman used to garnish a product with sex appeal. I think the objectification is even more underlined when women are interacting with other objects, rather than people (although some of the most violent ones are the ones with both men and women in them). In reference to graff. advertisements in particular (my brother buys a lot of graff. magazines and I read them too) I notice that pretty much the entire magazine is written for and aimed at men (which I've always pointed out when my brother and I argue about the 'level playing field' of graff.) with women used as figureheads, or objectified through advertisement. It seemed to me that these women were being used in a man's magazine only for the gratification of men.

Thank god for budweiser... go Bud

Ok... I was searching through youtube and I found this short video for budwieser lingerie search and this reminded me of all the ducille article we talked about. The women showcased pretty much are just like real live barbies. I was pretty offended by the way the women were portrayed in this video. When they interviewed the contestants the way they responded reminded me of the stereotypical "blonde" response... it kinda made me want to hit my head against the wall a couple of times.... and some of them were just obviously playing to the camera and saying the kinds of stuff that "men" would like... This reminded me of why I don't watch "E!" and I hate those girls gone wild videos and commercials... I normally would just avoid these kinds of material but it just seems to offend me more and more....

ps. the host can't act... you really can tell she's going off of a script...

Apple Bottom Jeans

I found an image of an advertisement for the Apple Bottom jeans. The woman pictured in this advertisement reflects our discussion of the black beauty myth. Although the woman is gorgeous, she has the "typical" big butt to perfectly fill the Apple Bottom jeans. Not only does this image stereotype black women as having big curvy butts, it degrades women in that they are inferior to men. The woman is pictured topless, with her arms wrapped around the superior and dominant male figure (Nelly). The image, with the intended purpose of selling womens' jeans is overly sexual, stereotypical of black women, and degrading to all women in general.
http://www.feyaccompli.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/03/AppleBottomNelly%20for%20Cover4_sm.jpeg

This advertisement was found on the cover of Mad Flava magazine, which has a predominately African American readership. This also reinforces the black beauty myth amongst people of both black and white skin colors. The black beauty myth is known (and many times considered to be true) among people of all colors.

I was just surprised at how risque the photo was. This advertisement portrays a negative image of all women in general and in particular, black women. I probably would have noticed the picture as being degrading to women even before discussing the topic in class. However, I wouldn't of probably connected the picture to the black beauty myth before our discussion of it.

Trends in Sexist Advertising

I found this article on the huffington post about themes in advertising that are degrading to women. The themes are bondage, rape, sluts, girl on girl action, and cum shots. The article has convincing examples of each. While I am fully aware that "sex sells," it's astonishing how these ads seem to show that it's the only thing women are worth. I really wish that advertisers were more creative than, "Let's show hot women in risky situations!" I have a confession to make... For, pretty much all of high school, I had a subscription to InStyle Magazine. I loved it. I couldn't read InStyle anymore once they started running those horrible Dolce & Gabbana rape ads. One of the main reasons I loved this magazine was because it was so thick and it was mostly ads. The ads were my favorite part. The colors, the make up, the clothes, photography. Ads can be artistic! There is definitely an artful and tasteful way to show off products, I just don't understand why some have to be so offensive. There are some people that can find just about anything offensive. I had a particular affinity towards the bold colors and outfits of bebe ads, but I could easily imagine someone saying that her dark eye makeup promotes violence against women.
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Negative Images.

I came across these two images of women negatively, and unrealistically, being portrayed in ads:

anorexic Pictures, Images and Photos

anorexic Pictures, Images and Photos

These images are in fact, for lack of a better word, frightening. These images are giving women a negative message. In mean come on, who honestly looks like this? It is ungodly healthy and something women should never strive to look like or become. These images sort of go against Riley's piece, "Black Beauty Myth." Although these images do not depict women of color, they do reinstate the fact that most women strive to be thin in order to be accepted. It was noted in Riley's piece that black women care apparently do not care about body image and have realistic role models such as Halle Berry and Tyra Banks---women who have more realistic bodies.

It is interesting to note how many ads I came across that had a tall, blonde and skinny model as their main focus. I even found and ad of a woman's posterior used, covered by a see-through green sheet. What was this ad selling? A CHAIR. Since when did these images have anything to do with the product itself? Let's face it, sex sells. Men don't want to look at other men in ads, but instead, gorgeous, thin women who are appealing and attractive.

I'd like to see more realistic women in ads today. Although the Dove commerials and ads are used, you never really see a curvy woman used.

Blog 5

I'm having trouble finding a link to the article because I read it in the print version of Bitch magazine. The article is titled "The Brave Ones—Rape-revenge films have evolved since the days of exploitation films like I Spit on Your Grave—this new breed has Teeth." The article we read this week by Marinucci about Buffy the Vampire Slayer discussed how Buffy uses violence to bring about social change similiar to how the women in these rape revenge movies use violence to end sexual abuse. Also the assigned reading brings up how everyone expects women to be passive so it is more controversial when they "kick ass" and use violence. Some of the examples listed in Bitch magazine of kick ass characters I thought used their violence in an empowering way while other examples like the Movie "Teeth" I thought were overly violent and punished excessively. I had read this article before this class. I'll keep looking for a full version of the article but for right now all I can find is the Table of Contents from the edition of Bitch that the article was printed.