May 10, 2007

Extra Credit- Cleaning Products

Last night I was flipping through channels and a commercial about the new windex was on. Two birds are sitting in the tree watching a women clean the patio door window. She cleans it with the new streak free windex, after cleaning the window her husband tries to walk outside without opening the door. The birds in the tree start laughing, as the women goes back and wipes off the mini-mark her husband left on the glass. The window is being cleaned by a women because thats what women are trained to do. When I was growing up and even to this day my mother made me clean the bathroom which required cleaning the mirrors with windex. My brother would only have to empty the garbage and occassionally mop the floor. But I already knew when I cleaned the bathroom, I had to clean the sink, toilet, tub, mirrors, sweep, and mop the floor (moms idea of things being clean). If the mirror in the bathroom was dirty she would call me to clean it off or if I was in the bathroom and noticed that the mirror was even a little messy I would clean it off. Getting out of the shower the mirror would always be foggy, my mother and I would always wipe the mirror off with a towel whenever we got out of the shower but everytime I went into the bathroom after my father or brother took their shower the mirror would still be foggy. I also wondered why they never cleaned the mirror. My father told me that certain jobs around the house are for women and others are for men. Like what I wondered, is cleaning dishes for women, taking out the garbage is for men, cleaning the bathroom for women, basically anything dealing with cleaning around the house is geared towards women. Most commercials advertising cleaning products or cleaning in general feature women using the products. I have even seen commercials about cleaning guters featuring women.
As women we are locked into the sterotype of being clean.

May 9, 2007

Killing Them Softly - Blog # 8


The documentary film Killing Them Softly looks at women's images in the media. Viewing so many negative
images of women is a very powerful statement about the way that advertising portrays women. I found It
disturbing, because of the disregard for women as real people. Advertising uses women to sell products,
and to reinforce gender norms. There are so many advertisements for beauty products, and it shows the way women are being influenced to try to achieve the ideal beauty standards. Women are usually presented in either a passive or overly sexual way. The effect of using sex to sell products is that it portrays women as objects. This makes it difficult to see women as equals, and may be a factor in the violence towards women. Because advertising is everywhere, it is impossible to not be exposed to it. For gender norms to change, it will be
necessary to challenge the way that women's images are being portrayed in the media.

May 8, 2007

Older Women

In "Post-Salad-Days Women Agree: They Want 'What She's Having', Dinitia Smith states that until
recently sex and the older woman has not been talked about very often. This seems to reflect the views that
society has about age. The media focuses on youth and appearance, and older women are almost invisble.
If they are found in the media, they are not represented as active and passionate people. They are also not
thought of as attractive. Our society values perfection, and older women do not meet the ideal standard of
physical beauty that has been defined for women. Their value to society seems to be as caretakers for other
people. This limited view of older women also does not include seeing them as sexual beings. In addition, they are not valued for their intelligence and life experiences. It is difficult to find older women that are positive role models.
I found the films "Something's Gotta Give" and "Canender Girls" that Smith mentioned to be positive portrayals
of older women. Both films presented the idea that women are attractive andl vital as they get older. The
actesses that were in these films looked their age. The message that these films promote is not an idea that has been shown very often before, and it really causes us to look at the double standard of aging. These films are valualbe because they have started a dialogue about aging. Feminism can have a positive affect on this movement. It looks at the problems that women face in society, and supports them living full lives.

May 7, 2007

Extra Blog - Cleaning Products

Television commercials for cleaning products overwhelmingly feature women as the house cleaner. Society’s norms say that women are the cleaners and commercials usually target them; cleaning is a ‘woman’s job’ no matter how difficult, dirty, messy, etc it is. When I came across this commercial:

I thought it was interesting. Granted, it does feature a man talking about cleaning products when most commercials do not. However, the interesting part is that the advertisement is for a cleaning product that does all the ‘dirty’ work for you. The product is supposed to dissolve the mess to make for an easy clean-up. Interesting that this is featuring a man as the spokesperson. Is it telling us that men can clean when they don’t have to get their hands dirty? That men can do the cleaning only when it is easy? Certainly good questions to ponder…

Extra Blog - The Stepford Wives

I enjoyed the 2004 version of The Stepford Wives more so than the 1975 version. Although I am not sure if it has to do with the portrayal of the story or the lack of real seriousness in the later version, both do well portraying ‘women’s roles in society. The characters were better known in the 1975 version and the 2004 version was more ridiculous and ‘fluffy’. The newer version was more enticing to me because it was so overdramatic; I was drawn to actually try and figure out what was trying to be addressed. I believe the newer version speaks to society’s view of women: brain-washed, and the men: club-goers. Although women do have their ‘outlets’ for being surrounded by other women, men have numerous occasions to do so. Women have a long way to go, even today, to become true equals to men.

Girls vs. Girls

I think one of the most devstating phenomenons between women is this idea of competetion that begins at a very young age. From about middle school on we are trained to compete with one another: to be the prettiest, the skinniest, the most popular, have the most boyfriends etc. And while we are busy trying to attain all these goals that oure competetion can't we are creating a wider and wider gap that is going to be nearly impossibly to bridge. I understand that the idea of sisterhood can be a little over played and can aim to homogenize a group of women, based on their phsical or sexual attributes, but I think there is a level of connectedness that we can create in our differences that will be ncessary in the fight against a subordinated position in the world.
The Mean girls movie was about just this...it showed how viscious girls really can be in the name of popularity. It was a dog eat dog world in the movie much in the way it is in hallways across america. Through our actions we are perpetuating a never ending cycle of discontinuity, as well as our own subordination because we are continually living up to these bitchy stereotypes attributed to us by others, namely the opposite sex. It is as though this behavior is used to entertainment purposes, no matter what size the audience, and in any attempt to gian some of that attention girls are willing to eat their own. Charm School, Flavor of Love, Real World, THe Inferno and the list goes on, all exhibit examples this type of behaviro that is attached to the female identity, and is sending a message to girls and young women, that the only way tog et ahead in the world is to defend yourselves while hurting other (women.)
Abuse like this leads to self-hatred and perpetuates the idea that the only way to avoid being the victim is being the perpetratior, where it is necessary to be thin and beautiful and heterosexual, otherwise you have no other choice but to identify with the "otherness" attributed to any other characteristc that doesn't fit into that feminine box we are so readily getting placed into. So there are many steps to terminate our own behavior as well as eliminate the expectations of our gender and therefore our identity. WE need to reclaim our own identity as women and not live up to these inappropriate standards set forth for us by men and broader patriarchal social systems.

May 5, 2007

The ANTM photo's we discussed

Alright, so I am a little embarassed to admit that as soon as I was done with everything this semester I went on to youtube to watch what I missed on America's Next Top Model (ANTM) which is the entire eighth season. I ran across the episode where they did death poses and I am shocked at the remarks the judges panel gave them about their poses, just watch... oh and I thought it kind of tied into the advertisements that promote violence to women like we heard discussed in the short film Killing them softly. Instead, this was playing off the stereotype of women acting "catty" and commiting violent acts on eachother instead of men being the abuser. Still it portrays women as the victim. Very very negative, Tyra!!!

Beauty products that no one needs

Lash Jewels is a gel formula packaged in a flow-through pen supplied by Mitsubishi Pencil Co. (Taiwan). The pen has a nozzle tip, and the product is dispensed when the pen is clicked. The gel comes up through the pen, forming a little bead on the pen’s nozzle-shaped tip. The user touches the tip of each eyelash with the pen. “It leaves a clear droplet on each lash,? says Sharon Garment, vice president of product development at Revlon. Garment has been influential in developing many of Revlon’s new products launching soon.

The "eye lash crystals" come in four different colors. http://revlon.com/ProductCatalog/ProductDetails.aspx?CategoryID=3&SubCategoryID=10&ProductID=55

After seeing this, my only question is Why?

Beauty blogs have no answer. Neither do I.

Society and Age-Extra Credit

“ One morning, you wake up. You’re 40…but you don’t look it. This morning give yourself a gift: many more years of youthfulness. Thanks to the age control ingredients in Clarins Advanced Extra Firming treatments, your skin maintains it’s firmness and radiance longer. Happy Birthday. It’s a fact. With Clarins, life’s more beautiful.?

The photo that goes along with the tex is a white woman, no wrinkles, with a big grin on her face and finger on top lip. The woman is lieing in bed, facing you, and the photo is black and white.

It is obvious that it’s still considered a woman’s job to be beautiful. In addition to all the other things we are expected to do, we must strive for perfection. If we want to look like that model, we must buy the cream.

It’s so hard to believe that at 40, women are considered old, aged, and all those other nasty adjectives. Whereas men are still “in their prime?. If men aren’t married by 40, they still get called a bachelor. If women aren’t married by 40, well, they get looked at strange. I worked with a woman who was in her 50’s or 60’s and I remember her telling me she wasn’t married. I was shocked almost, but then after I had worked with her for sometime I realized you don’t need to be married to be happy. She was a wonderful woman who filled her time with other things like volunteering and doing good for the community. I used to be greatly influenced by society and the norms of it, but now I realize that at age 50,60,70, and up we’re older, but we’re not old, used up, etc. We may have wrinkles, we may have all the other things that come with old age. Society can call me an old hag if I’m not married. I’ll just reply ,“ Well, I’m happy this way, and that’s what counts.?

May 3, 2007

Extra Credit- Lisa Simpson (cont'd)

There was one point that we touched on but never actually went into detail in our group presentation that I thought is interesting. We talked about Lisa being so young and yet with so many ideas and concerns about the world around her, what 8-year-old thinks like this? The idea is that Lisa Simpson is the personification of the feminist movement. The feminist movement itself is pretty recent and all things considered, it is not very old itself, yet this does not make it any less significant or valid. I also thought that if she were symbolic of the movement than what does this mean of the people they surrounded her with? Her father, Homer would be the stereotypical dominant male chauvinist, while her mother, Marge is symbolic of the housewife from 40s – mid 70s set on doing nothing more than pleasing her family and running the house. Bart, her older brother, would then symbolize the immature “boys rule? attack on the feminist movement. Her younger sister, Maggie, always has a pacifier in her mouth so she never speaks. Maggie symbolizes the up coming generation of young girls who don’t have a voice yet. So the Simpson family is made up of characters in our society (I say characters because they are generalized or stereotyped). Let me know what you would have thought had we talked about this?

May 2, 2007

Extra Blog-Battle of the Sexes

A few weeks ago in class we were discussing the Womens Movement and the famous tennis match in 1973 between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, dubbed 'The Battle of the Sexes'. I was going to comment unitl Sara stated that she was not born until the following year and I decided not to offer my thoughts at that point. Needing to do an extra blog, here goes.....I was 12 years old in 1973 and remember the tennis match well. In those days there were only 4 channels here in the Twin Cities; ABC, CBS, NBC, and an independent station. This game was played and televised live on one of the major networks during prime time in the evening. Our whole family gathered around the television for the big event. My dad was totally outnumbered being that my brother wasn't home at the time and many more females then males were in the house. Of course we women were rooting for Billie Jean big time. There was a lot of hype leading up to this match and Bobby Riggs was really shooting his mouth off prior to it. He was a tennis star during the 1940s and was in his mid 50s when he challenged Billie Jean who was at the top of her game at this time. She won easily and really shut him up. Bobby Riggs was known as being a male chauvinist pig and it was a huge triumph for women when she won. We all shared in her victory and it is something I will never forget.

May 1, 2007

Nine to Five

The film Nine to Five uses comedy to deal with serious issues that affect women in the workplace.
It shows the inequality and sexual harassment that has always existed. It looks at the way that
companies have protected men, so that they have not had to experience any consequences for
their actions. The desperate situation that the lead characters find themselves in reflects the lack
of power that women have had in the past. They are no women that are higher up in the company
that they can get support from. The female office supervisor was aware of the problems that existed, but
was part of the male sytem of power. One thing that stands out about the era that the film represents is that
that there is no dialogue about womens' rights. The film offers a sympathetic view of what women
encounter in the "pink-collar getto".

The film made a strong argument for change. Because it shows the realities of women in the
workplace, I think that it is a feminist film. While conditions have improved for women today, they are
still not being promoted at the same rate as men. Also, women still do not earn the same amount of money
that men do for the same work. Daycare and split shifts have not been implemented at most companies.
Sexual harassment can be difficult for women to prove. There seems to be a myth that women have
attained equality, but there is still more progress that needs to be made. Womens' issues do not receive the
attention that they should be getting. The film brought up important issues, and seeing it can help women
determine what still needs to be done.

April 30, 2007

9 to 5

I love 9 to 5. I have loved it since I first saw it, and for the same reasons many of you probably do. Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, women taking over the office and holding their arrogant ass of a boss hostage? Really, what more do you want? I read the article we were assigned that analyzed the film, and while I found some parts accurate, I really didn't agree with the statements she made about the film not really being a feminist flick, and about the film being more of a girl-power type thing. Let's remember, "girl power" sprouted out of feminism (AND had government funding). Just because the feminist agenda was not displayed prominently in the lower right corner of the screen does not mean that it didn't have any feminist undertone. I thought it had lots of them, actually. Dolly Parton's character is continuously hit on by her boss, who wants her to be his mistress. She loudly and without apology refuses, and goes home to her husband at night complaining about it. What more could she do? She said a couple of different times in the film, "I need this job!", so she obviously wasn't going to do anything that could get her fired. She wasn't about to tell off her boss in plain words and get herself fired, so instead she and the other office ladies got together and figured out how to make their workplace better, and how best to get it through their boss's head that they weren't about to put up with his bs. Good things happened for all of the women as a result of their efforts: Dolly Parton's character got to leave her job and become a country western singer. Lily Tomlin's character got to be promoted to a bigwig executive. I don't understand what's not to love about 9 to 5: as a comedy, it did the best job of putting feminism out there that it could.

April 23, 2007

Media Notebook reminder

Remember, your media notebooks are due this Thursday. I am reposting this link to the assignment.

Comediennes vs Comedians

Personally, I have found that female comediennes can either be really really successful because or really really not, and I think the reason for that is that you already have a strike against you being a woman, in yet again a mans' world. Most women that are considered funny really play off the antithesis of a feminie stereotype and go balls to the walls (no pun intended. ) There is usually something really raunchy about their humor, that adds a shock value, unexpected from the docile female.
Three of my favorites: Margaret Cho and Paula Poundstone, and Sara Silverman. All of which are extreemely loud and outwardly obnoxious by your everyday standards of femininity, but fit right it on the stage trying to make people laugh. It's their disregard for the rules that makes them funny, and at the same time makes their efforts to squish those stereotypes something that can be more widely received. Often times their humor is really just relaying the facts, with a quick witted, completely hilarious delivery, that makes it funny, that in any other setting might reflect an unapproachable man-hating attitude, that is so nicely off-set by their willingness to laugh at themselves and some of this world's current situations that seem absurd when delivered by a comedienne, but in its most real form, is true.
In the end what makes most women funny is their ability to laugh at themselves, and make light of a situation that will otherwise oppress them, unless their willing to not play victim to that role. These women are strong, crazy, but most of all just really funny ladies who can hold their own in a career that isn't considered feminine.