January 22, 2007

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly....

For me there are so many levels of positively and negatively portrayed images of women in mainstream media, whetere it be in regards to body image, social status, gender roles etc. I've come to realize that women are, more or less, sexual propaganda to attract an audience, even if the product/program has nothing to do with women or sex. The images I feel that best fit into that category and are most detrimental to women are: Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears. The reality of it is that these two celebrities are no longer people, but merely images being molded by a sub-culture of inhumane expectations. Jessica Simpson made millions and millions of dollars for acting like a complete moron week after week. I think most people would agree that she is not as stupid as she has been told to appear. What kind of message does that send to any woman, but even more importantly young women? You're only as good as you look? Simpson even got a contract with "Chicken of the Sea" tuna fish for her complete failure to grasp the concept behind it, and I just think it's incredible she is endorcing a product and she doesn't even know what it is. The sad thing is that we all have our moments of stupidity, hers are just being cut and edited so it appears as though her life is one big moment of inept behavior. Britney Spears on the other hand is one publicity stunt after another, from a teeny bopper role model, to a divorced mother of two, she has successfully spanned the spectrum of identities. The problem being that little girls want to be just like Britney, regardless of her false claims of abstinence and lack of taste and integrity. To know that you are a supposed idol and small children everywhere and still dress and act the way she does is, in my opinion, a complete lack of respect for the power she could have done something positive with. I guess that leads me to my positive influences in mainstream media, those being Angelina Jolie and India Arie. I understand that my Jolie choice may be a little controversial considering the time she spent in the media with Billy Bob Thornton, exploiting their sexcapades nationwide, but I do feel like she has transformed into and elegant combination of mother, provider, humanitarian, partner, etc. She uses her fame to fund and exploit third world countries struggling with hunger and disease. Her time in the media with her late husband was replaced with images of her with her two adopted children and her acceptance in the UN and participation in missionary efforts. Recently she has decided to move to New Orleans with Brad and the rest of her family. She found a clever way to use her fame to follow her to a place that really needs the attention of the media, and the world. Angelina has shown women of all ages the importance of being a person, and built a credible career and reputation. As for India Arie, she has also participated in many humanitarian efforts, mostly in Africa to fight the AIDS epidemic. Arie has also written many songs about the stength, power and beauty that all women posess regardless of their external comparisions to super models and the majority of Hollywood. She constantly reiterates the need for love of yourself and how that in turn will help you love others, her message surpasses the gap between genders which shows women that we are all one in the same. We are all people.A positive image for anyone, but I think really aimed towards females.