In becoming a good cultural critic, I think it is first off most important to remember that advertisers main purpose is not to make you feel good about yourself, what your doing, or how you look, but to MAKE MONEY! Advertisers could really care less about you, the consumer, as long as they are a sufficient income. When critically analyzing ads whether they are in magazines, billboards, TV, or the radio one needs to see past the models showing 7/8th's of their skin on their body and the perfectly symmetrical face with airbrushing from head to toe. The truth of the matter is, the majority of the population cannot resist all of the images that are being forced on us every day or our lives. Companies are smart, they know you to target anyone they want to based on what makes everyone different: gender, sexuality, social, political position, economic status and education.
I found the point in Susie O'Brien and Imre Szeman's piece "Popular Culture" interesting when they were talking about how the media has challenged negative representation to make it seem more positive. They point out the fact that the term "coloured", which has been abandoned as a description of racial minorities, has been changed to "people of color", which is now deemed acceptable. People accept this term since it emphasizes personhood first and race only secondarily. This term can now be used in a kind of way to state racial equality, since they are acknowledging that people of color are indeed people. While this simple slight change in wording is probably overlooked, it is really in fact genius. With this, I think it is important to not fall into the idea that our society has eliminated racism as an issue. The ability of the media to influence through TV, could have dangerous effects on society. The "Politics of Representation" points this out with examples like the TV show 24, where racial profiling became more widely accepted.
As I read through Bell Hooks, "The Oppositional Gaze", I could never quite come to terms with what they were saying. Stating that all attempts to repress black peoples' right to gaze had produced an overwhelming longing to look, a rebellious desire, an oppositional gaze, did not really set well with me. I really don't think that in today's society, black people look at media different because of their roots from slavery. I mean really through evolution I don't know how many families actually have ties to slavery in the first place, so this theory wouldn't even apply to those families, correct? I could be totally off with this assumption but it is just where I went with the article. I really think in today's society, whatever race one might be, there are models, ads, and brands out there targeting them. I guess in my eyes, I do not see how black women have an oppositional gaze, but maybe class tomorrow will make me realize this is not the case.
Finally, I just wanted to say I loved the BitchFest text! It was so great, it was like reading my own thoughts to be honest. I can't wait to read more of those!