March 2013 Archives

Blog post week 9

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This weeks discussion I found to be the most intersting yet frustrating of all the weeks. It both fascinates me and worries me that we live in a society that is so overwlmingly involved with the male perspective and male power. The ideas of the feminists movements and what it is to be "feminine" are so lost in transaltion that we have allowed oursleves to conform to sociietal needs and wear cute/ sexy clothes, or be "fun" in order to not challange the male power role. Because who would want to challange that? I mean come on, how can we possibly live in a society where rape ( such as in the Steubenville case in Ohio) be seen as the womans fault because she was "dressed provocatively." So should all women be affraid to wear even somewhat "sexy" clothes in fear that this may give off the message that they would in fact like to be raped? i apologize for the cruedness but that is absolutely absurd. How has our society got to such a point where the womans voice and actions are so belittled and scrutinzed that the males doing the raping are seen as the victims?
Well, because as we saw in the video, our entire lives (as females) are based highly on the male views and the power of the white male. We not only learn how to dress by them and how to act, but they also have the control over political issues surrounding women such as birth control and abortion rights- so why wouldnt they use this power on television. A woman raped? no. Two boys who are victims and will lose their future because a woman provoked rape upon herslf? sure. Because they have the power they can change the story headlines and focus on the boys, which furthers the issues of equalty and yet again puts the male in a good light, and muffles the womans voice.

-I apoligze for the somewhat rant.

Please post your discussion questions on Katz, "Advertising and the Construction of Violent White Masculinity" below. Use the following questions to guide your reading:

1. Katz begins his essay by pointing out the historical absence of attention to masculinity--and more specifically, class-conscious attention to masculinity--within discussions and debates surrounding gender in mass media, though recently this has begun to shift. What, according to Katz, are the consequences of this inattention? Why does he believe masculinity needs to be addressed?
2. What, in your view, are some areas in which masculinity ought to be addressed? How might this be done?
3. What does Katz understand as "hegemonic masculinity"?
4. What are some of the symbols that circulation around this concept in advertising? What are the cultural narratives in which hegemonic masculinity operates? Where do you see some of these narratives operating in your own experience with media?
5. What are some examples of images of hegemonic masculinity?
6. What do you think are the consequences of the circulation of these images?

Blog Post Week 9

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The topic of feminism is so interesting to me. I feel as though there is so much more ground we could have covered but did not have the time in class to do so. I think that the way women are treated in this society has improved a lot I can admit that, but we still have a long way to go. Gill references the female body as a women's identity, the look, the clothes and her weight being common topics. In the DVD we watched in class (I know it was a bit bias) it displayed some of the many things "power" females have to deal with, where as men in the same category don't have too. A woman is often compared to a man in many ways when it comes to being able to do a job, or be a certain way. Hillary Clinton for example, who is always heavily criticized before she ran for office was even more torn down by the media once she ran for presidency. I find it so wrong the way women are treated in cases like that and I am just wondering when this will change? When will a women be president, or will she ever get to be? I don't see why women cannot do the same jobs as men do, when they are perfectly able. I find myself thinking about the documentary "Half the Sky" a women's right movement that is taking place all around the globe. Saving women in other countries from the atrocities happening to them in their country. Empowering women to have a voice and "reach for the sky."

Blog Post Week 9

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I am having a hard time grasping why it is taking so much time and effort for women to be treated fairly. I personally believe we are all different and those differences should be respected as there are certain situations where levels of fairness are uneven. For example, in the documentary we watched in class, women share somewhere around 6% of the total broadcasting ownership AND they get paid 77 cents to every dollar a man makes. Why? How did that happen and why is it still in existence? That is not fair, even though the amount of work that may be required in a job is equal amongst men and women.
I have witnessed too many women talk about being treated fairly, then become upset when a man doesn't open the door for them, or pay for a meal, for example. If you wanted to be treated equally, then shouldn't you open doors for men and pay for the meals too? You can't have the best of both worlds.

Blog Post Week 9

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Last semester in a different Comm class we watched a video similar to the documentary we watched in class on Wednesday, and how the media portrays women in politics. First off I feel Ed Schutz's comment on how if any female politican had the same reaction that John Boehner did that they would be heavily criticized for it was spot on, and says a lot about the way that we view women in politics. I also had the thought about how one interview talked about how Hillary Clinton was often criticized for her looks because her attackers couldn't attack her record, because she had a good one. I started thinking this in contrast to Sarah Palin who was the complete opposite. Sarah Palin was constantly being celebrated for her looks, and I wonder if this is because she did not have the experience that Hillary did.

Blog Post Week 9

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The video shown on Wednesday raised two good topics about femininity and sexual power such as Hilary Clinton and Sarah Palin. It's interesting how politicians look down on Hilary Clinton when she is one of the most powerful and 'masculine' (and feminine) women in the country. How does the U.S secretary even compare to Sarah Palin? I think this just explains how highly women are sexualized in the media and that even through all the grass root action women took place in history, women are yet seen to be unequal to men. One of the questions I raised in class was if feminism really did allow women to gain and achieve full equality and is this statement is a contradiction?Especially if we look at enlightened sexism and how the media represents women today. Has anyone ever notice how television talk shows only hire "good looking" women to be their host? And that you don't see an average educated women on t.v? Because of the fact that women are highly sexualized in the media, it seems to me a women's appearance is also an important factor in our work system. Which I find pretty much sad. And as the video showed, Sarah Palin was able to gain her popularity over Hilary Clinton through her good looks and her ditzy personality which also reminded me of the characters in the Spice Girls.

Week 9 Post

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This week's discussion got me thinking about many different things...some I got to say in class, and some I either decided to keep to myself, or someone else brought it up. One of the things we were discussing was the female dress, how looking beautiful and sexy can be a matter of self-expression, but maybe that's done in a way to impress men, or look hot to men. I remember on Monday discussing the Steubenville case in Ohio how "the clothes she wore provoked them" in making the sexual acts against her. I even remember either last year or in the fall, there was a post on the internet site "reddit.com" of an upskirt photo, of a girl on campus, and I remember seeing comments of how women were afraid to wear anything skimpy or cute in being scared of attracting the wrong attention from men. I also see in movies, or documentaries, how when women get sexually assaulted or raped, they wear sweatershirts all time, no make-up they don't want to look pretty to feel violated again. It bugs me because I want women to dress pretty, and try to impress the boys and overall have a beautiful outfit to wear and show off to the world. I know somedays I'm just wearing t-shirt and jeans, and sometimes don't care what I wear, but sometimes I'll want to dress in a nice shirt to impress women, and everyone around me. I think women should be able to do that too and not be worried about men trying to turn her pretty outfit into something slutty, or inviting sexual attention. It's the double standard we have in society that men can wear something nice and it's whatever, while women wear something nice and it's taken as slutty, or sexually inviting. Today's media is customized around the sophistication of men, and the sexuality of women, to be honest, I don't have a solution to be able to fix it, and I agree that it's not fair, and it shouldn't be that way. But again, I think it'd be a drastic change, that I just don't have the solution to answer and create it to be actually equal.

Blog Post Week 9

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This week's articles were a good addition to the previously brought up issues of women in the media. With the article I did discussion leading in, the idea that there is an idea that women have gained all of what they need to drive for, was interesting and needed to be elaborated more on. The idea of enlightened sexism was that women didn't need to worry about warding off old stereotypes, they could in turn embrace what they used to want to forget. That whole idea made me think about many shows and music groups who take on different forms of feminism to get rid of the whole 1960s-70s feel if bra burning feminism. For people to grasp a different definition of what feminism can look like seemed to open up how women define themselves. Whether that image was a better or worse representation, the fact that women could have different outlets outside of the housewife. The main thing I pulled out of this week's reading and discussion was how the definition of what a woman is and how feminism functions in the world is a constantly changing discussion.

Blog Post Week 9

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I see the two previous posts noted that the men in the class had the most to say about the feminism topic. This is interesting, because I noticed the same thing! I was curious, and I don't know why I didn't ask in class, but what do the ladies in the class think about this weeks discussion? Do they agree with the idea posed that we are living in a post-feminist culture? I surely hope not. Women are being objectified today much less in certain lights compared to history, but also much more in other ways. For example, women are allowed to work, vote, and be normal US citizens, that's obvious. Today we also see huge strides in the types of jobs women have, and the number of women working. The change to me is the huge boost in objectification on television, advertising, and movies. This is easy to see, and I wonder when the next feminist movement will come to stop, change, or do something to this trend.

This week was overall fairly straight forward. I really was interested in the film we watched on Wednesday, though. I had never really taken a look into how women are being treated when they acquire power. I was a bit surprised to see the lists on top websites about the "top 15 sexiest politicians" or "hottest news anchors". That's obviously going to happen on the internet, but to see it on pages like MSN and Yahoo! was a bit strange. I also was interested in the patterns they pointed out with Sarah Palin vs. Hillary Clinton. Saying that Palin went further in the race because of her looks and charm may be easy to say, and it could be very true, but let's take that observation with a grain of salt. Palin was only running alongside John McCain, whereas Clinton was running for President. I'm only assuming here, but most Americans are probably much more considered with the President rather than the vice President. Maybe America, not me, was just not ready to see a female President?

Blog Post Week 9

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This week was much less talkative than usual when it came to the class discussions, and I was surprised at how the guys in the class actually had the most to say about about the feminism topics. Despite the discussion, I found the clips we watched to be very interesting but not new to me. I have had a few classes in the recent past where I have seen videos very similar to the one we watched on Wednesday. However, the effect of sexism and political women in America was something I had not really been exposed to. I remember the buzz about Sarah Palin's attractiveness and now it seems a lot more degrading after watching that video clip. As far as the topic of feminism itself goes, I think it is a huge part of our country today, and I have always supported the feminist movement for the most part. I believe that there are still many aspects of the country that have a long way to go before satisfying the movement. The media tends to make it seem as though the women of today are treated equal, and they don't suffer from mistreatment in the workplace like they used to. When in reality women are still making significantly less money than men, and still working many of the same jobs. Douglas' article touched on this, and I remember a different article from last semester actually including statistics on the matter. All in all I found this week to be somewhat of a review, but nonetheless interesting and important because it is after all an issue affecting the women of our country.

Blog Post #9

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For such an important topic, I found it curious that our discussions during class were so dry this week. The topic of feminism and post-feminism hold much relevance in society, and I thought it was ironic that the people who were speaking out about these topics were the men in our class. Ladies- we definitely have something to say, why didn't we speak up? Was it that we have so many of our own ideas/struggles/ experiences that we were too scared to not bring any of it up? For me, the first day of class Heidi asked us to vocalize a type of media that you like, and a type of media that you dislike. I spoke up about how much it bothers me that women are objectified in today's world. Still, I was one of the many that held their tongue during this weeks discussion. In reality, one of the most demeaning things to me is seeing fellow women demoralized in the media just because they are female. Especially women in power like the ones we saw in the documentary. Someone brought up after the viewing that it was the same for them because of their nationality. Yes- we are all victims in this harsh world, but there is a clear division that we've been learning about that is strictly portrayed in the media. The fact that majority of what we see on television is backed predominately by men makes me feel like a drone, and as though we are just served scraps of information that people put together to veer our perceptions of reality. My main issue, is that we speak so much of the issues that we don't seek any solutions. How do we combat this issue? Or, is it possible to diminish this perspective? I'm not sure, the only thing i feel that I can do is be aware of these patterns in society and choose to ignore them.

Blog Post Week 9

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Douglas's talks about how in today's society women still are behind men in equality. The media portrays women as weak and just a sex symbol. Even when women that are powerful and has made it up the latter they are still criticize for being weak and should just stay home take care of kids and cook. The movie Miss Representation shows many examples that even when women are in power they are weak. My friend worked in a male dominated field for years and every time she was sent to regional and national conferences for work she and the few women there, would be seen only as a sex symbol to the guys. She told me that many of the women there were told to go home and take care of the kids and cook and clean that this job was only for guys. I thought that this was very disturbing especially now a days. When working for her company the guys there treated her fine, it was only when she went to these conferences that she was treated badly nothing could be done about because they were told that they would look into the issue. Even though my friend and the few women that worked hard to become equal with many men in that field they were not acknowledge as equals.

Blog Post Week 10

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The Susan Douglas "Girls Gone Anti-Feminist" article stood out most to me this week. It is clear from the media today that Douglas is correct in stating that the message being sent to women is that "being decorative is the highest form of power." So, in other words, women are being told that they should strive to be like models and attractive female celebrities rather than like female world leaders. Even when women do achieve these positions of power, many second-guess their abilities. Like in the Miss Representation documentary that we watched today when they were discussing how some people questioned whether Hilary Clinton would be emotionally strong enough to handle being President. I think it was pointed out in the documentary that no one would ever question a male candidate in that way. It is surprising to me that in the 21st century, there are still some people who question a woman's ability to lead based on sexual stereotypes.

The concept of enlightened sexism is unfortunate. Douglas's point of how enlightened sexism tells women that they should focus on shopping, pleasing men, being hot, and competing with other women because they now "have it all" is an interesting attack on post-feminism. I cannot say whether I agree with Douglas's assessment because I do not know enough about post-feminism to do so, but this point that she makes about sexism being at the heart of post-feminism is intriguing. I definitely do not agree with the belief that women who pose in magazines like Maxim are in a position of power due to the effect that they have on men. The effect that these women have on men is not one that inspires respect from the men reading the magazine. If anything, rather than putting these women in a position of power, as some argue, these magazines portray women as nothing more than sexually desirable objects with little, if any, real substance.

Gill, Brasfield, Douglas, Week 9

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In thinking more about the Spice Girls after the discussion today, it occurred to me how the ideology of Girl Power, and the Spice Girls specifically, can be viewed completely as market driven, inventions of media producers to sell an image of feminism that is inherently sexist. Beside the fact the images of the Spice Girls are totally sexualized to fit a hegemonic construction of beauty, if you look closer at the construction of their image as whole, you can see how simplified, and shallow their representations are - and there are five of them!
To me this reads as a low risk, high return model of market based capitalism operating in the pop music world, and I view the use of feminism particularly problematic, because they are so ridiculous that they can easily be dismissed.

The screening of Miss Representation helped me better understand the connections made by Rosalind Gill between neoliberalism and postfeminism by correlating the attack on 2nd wave feminism by the conservatives, the deregulation of media and advertising, and the withdrawal of the state from social provision with the rise in postfeminist ideologies, thus producing an environment of enlightened sexism.

The film exemplified how the hegemonic feminist narrative is problematic because even when a woman reaches a level of power in our society like Sarah Palin did during the 2008 presidential campaign, she is still scrutinized based on a male construction of femininity. By sexualizing Palin, her achievements are delegitimized, and her value as a politician becomes based on her ability to satisfy the male gaze. In some ways her sexuality was used to sell the Republican platform under a postfeminist guise.

Blog Post Week 9

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I found this week's topics about feminism and the post-feminism era to be very enriching and thought provoking. In the beginning of the week, we talked about some media examples that showcased the views of post-feminine culture through neoliberalism and hegemonic feminism. "What Not to Wear" was a great example of showing the views of femininity, or using the women as bodily property in media and in day-to-day lifestyle. I think it is becoming increasingly common for women to change their bodies and the way they look to better fit into what society perceives "beauty" as. Since the people coming on "What Not to Wear" are nominated by friends or family, it almost seems as if they are forced to change their appearance for society's acceptance. Sometimes, seeing the contestants, I wonder if they are actually following their own desires, and whether or not the transformation is truly making them "feel good" about themselves inside and out. In the documentary we watched in class today, I found it to be pretty controversial in hitting a single viewpoint, when in fact, there are multiple ways to look at the issue. I agree that it was made to pull on the emotional sides of female viewers, while opening the eyes to all viewers of the issue that is somewhat hidden. I think some of the quotes from the media were taken out of hand, but the statistics about the leaders in large corporations as a majority of males verses females is very true, and is not misinterpreted. Women are still struggling to hold higher positions in companies that used to be predominately held by men. Today, they are still held by males, and it will take a long time for the equality of women in these positions to become a reality. I would love to see more of the documentary to gain further insight and learn about the entire picture as a whole.

Please post your comments to Douglas and (optional reading) Levine below. Use the following questions to guide your reading.
1. What, for Douglas, is "Enlightened sexism"?
2. What are some examples of this phenomenon of "enlightened sexism"?
3. What do you think are the consequences of it?

4. How does Levine characterize postfeminism?
5. How does Buffy the Vampire Slayer participate in the discourses of postfeminism and in the shaping and reshaping of feminism and femininity at present? How does her discussion of Third Wave Feminism fit into this? And Anti-feminism?
6. What, for Levine, can Buffy tell us about the meanings of feminism and femininity at present? What does Levine think about this? What do you think about this?
7. Do you see these discourses operating in other shows?

Week 8 Post

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Ya know? I thought it to be an interesting week in terms of the reading. Monday came along with an essay I've read before in another class, we talked about rear window which is like the easiest discussion when it comes to "male gaze" and was feeling good about discussion. Then came the transgender gaze piece and with movies I've never heard of, and a tough concept to wrap my head around. It's amazing to think about how immersed we are, (Or at least me) in a way of culture and design that I have been living with my whole life, that certain concepts as this are almost impossible for me. It's like how Matt made the comment way back about how it's difficult to understand anything until you are actually walk a mile in their shoes. That's how I felt about our discussion on Wednesday...I've just been so immersed in black and white, left and right, up and down. That when it comes to gray areas...I just don't have a way to grasp the concept

Please post your discussion questions to Rosalind Gill's "Postfeminist Media Culture" and Rebecca Brasfield's "Rereading Sex and the City" here and using the following questions as a guide:
1. What, according to Rosalind Gill, are the characteristics of postfeminism?
2. What are some media examples in which you see these themes operating?
3. What, in your view, are the consequences of the way these themes appear in media today? Do you feel that you experience their consequences? How so?
4. What does Brasfield mean by "hegemonic feminist narratives"?
5. What are some examples of such narratives at work in Sex and the City?
6. What are some other examples of media in which you see these narratives operating?
7. What, in your opinion, are the consequences of the operation of these narratives in media today? Do you feel that you experience their consequences? How so?

Week 8 Blog Post

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After our discussion on Wednesday after reading the Halberstam piece got me thinking about something that we covered in a literary criticism class I took last year, where when talking about analyzing works through a gay/lesbian/transgender approach we discussed the idea of gender being more of a social construct than anything. This then got me thinking about how this last summer the lead singer of on my favorite bands Against Me! came out as being transgender and was going to start living life as a woman. Despite this big life change she is still married to her wife from before the decision. Her wife said that she was in love with the person she is and not her gender. I was wondering what people think about the idea of gender being more of a social construct in today's world.

Week 8 Blog Post

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Laura Mulvey wrote about something I never really thought about until now in terms of the male gaze and the power he holds with his look. Granted her essay was written over forty years ago, I am curious as to what she would say about the male gaze in today's cinema. It's as though the male gaze isn't as powerful as it was in the 40's and 50's for the films she analyzed. It's like women know that men look, therefore they play to that knowledgeable advantage to get what they want. This is just something I have seen lately in film and I wonder what Mulvey would say about that. Would she agree with my analysis or try to argue it?

Blog Post Week 8

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Although I felt this week's readings were challenging and a little difficult to comprehend clearly, I learned a lot through class discussion and defining all terms. For Mulvey's reading, she focused a lot on the "male gaze" and how it is portrayed through films, especially in the earlier 20th century. This goes along with our previous discussion on colonialism, and the male white dominance seen in America in earlier centuries, and still today. As a watch older films, I will begin to focus in on how the male gaze is representing by the language they speak, the position of their body, and other body language they might portray in the film and upon women. As we discussed if a "female gaze" is possible, I think as the film industry develops and expands upon the ways they portray men and women, it could be possible very soon. As for the Halberstam's reading, I am not too familiar with the concept of a "transgender gaze". I have seen another movie based upon transgender characters called "Transamerica" a few years ago. The movie stars Felicity Huffman, who begins to remissness upon her journey of changing genders before her final surgery of becoming a woman. She learns about parts of her pass, such as fathering a child, that raise conflict upon her decisions. I think that it is truly difficult to understand what "transgender" means, and how Halberstam tries to give the "gaze" a place in film. I also enjoyed the analysis Halberstam made of Mulvey's piece. I think his critics on her strong viewpoints of the existence of a single gaze in movies could be easily argued as we progress in society. I think it is always enriching to see critics challenge each other's viewpoints to strengthen their own argument, and make us rethink established concepts.

Blog Post for Week 8

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From this week's readings, I got to become a lot more reflective about how transgendered bodies are seen through the lens of the typical audience of Americans. I find it interesting how in Mulvey's piece, she speaks about the gaze and how that effects women regardless of whether they embrace the gaze or not. The way the gaze functioned, especially in "Rear Window" was eye opening for me as a woman to see how females are portrayed in film and other media forms. I also found that with transgendered people, the gaze can function to "pass" transgendered bodies into a form that the typical audience views as "normal" or as "passing" for those transgendered bodies. In Halberstam's piece, I found her ways of describing heteronormativity to be very helpful even though I was already comfortable with the term as well as other types of jargon dealing with transgendered people. Her piece is really nice for that group of people viewed as the typical audience. The whole article was a very informative way to view the struggle of transgendered people on screen and in the media. In reading the articles for this week, I realize that there is a large disparity of representation for transgendered bodies on the film and when they are represented, they come off as a male or female who is gay and dresses up as the opposite sex. The ambiguity of their being is automatically pinned down as something everyone can understand which is not what all transgendered stories are. The difficulties surrounding all of these issues seem to not have a way of resolving until people realize that there aren't definite answers for transgendered bodies in such a binary society.

Week 8 Blog Post

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This weeks readings about the different type of gaze was pretty hard to follow. Especially Halberstam's article about the transgender look. I never saw any of these movies, so it was tough to related to it except for when she mentions certain scene it in the article.I think that the transgender gaze is very helpful in way that it helps educate people through movies on how these type of people struggle with being who they are in society. It was interesting that producers uses certain tactic such as camera angle or bring back a ghost form to show the different gazes in the movie. I thought Mulvey's article was interesting because I never thought about her analysis of female characters in cinema are used as sexual objects and mainly there for male to base their fantasies on only. There are a lot of movies out there that does this and I wonder why this exist? If the movies are flipped and there is a female gaze does that movie still do as good as the male gaze one?

Blog Post Week 8

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This weeks readings had a lot to do with the idea of "the gaze". I am quite sure that many of us have experienced this idea when we watch movies, television shows, or even see an ad on the side of a bus. It is also probably very true that many of us have learned what the gaze was from other classes. In other classes I have had, we have spoken strictly over the idea of the "male gaze". This to me is obviously the most recognized form of the gaze. We see examples of the male gaze everywhere. I immediately think of the Hardees commercial with Paris Hilton eating a cheeseburger. She is obviously objectified in this advertisement, and many would argue that the burger and her are just about on the same level of objectification!
What I haven't really experienced until this year was the idea of a "female gaze" and also the idea of a "transgender gaze". Both of these occur in media, I can now see, but I just have been unaware of their existence until recently. The idea is very similar to that of the male gaze, meaning, according to Mulvey, that in film women are typically the objects, rather than the possessors, of gaze because the control of the camera (and thus the gaze) comes from factors such as the as the assumption of heterosexual men as the default target audience for most film genres. This is basically what the female gaze is, but in reverse. The main difference that I see, however, is that the female gaze isn't exactly objectifying men in the same way. Men are no doubt objectified, but they are not nearly as vulnerable as women. We looked at an advertisement in class by Calvin Klein. This advertisement showed a basically naked man wearing only underwear. In any other commercial with a female model, she would be probably rolling around on a bed in vulnerable positions giving the male viewer the idea that they have power over her. This ad was very different because I honestly don't think that's the idea. The man shows dominance over his audience. The light is dim, and you can see that he won't let anyone beat him. He even starts doing some athletic things, like running.
All in all this week was interesting to learn some new perspective on the gaze.

Blog Post #8

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Wow. Today's reading was really confusing, yet really interesting. I found it difficult to wrap my head around these "gazes" that we've focused on this week. The Presentation on Monday was particularly interesting mainly because It opened my eyes to something I hadn't recognized before. This "male gaze" that we focused on is such a prominent theme in today's media texts. I can't think of one show where cameras don't structure in on women's beauty or sexuality. Because we see so much of this, Halberstrom makes a statement that women automatically key into a "transgender" gaze. This, i found to be very confusing. To me, I felt that this meant that women apply the concept of heteronormatism to the scene, and feel uncomfortable. It's kind of weird that these contexts appear to be so uncomfortable and forbidden since now, we live in a world where transgenderism, heterosexuality, and bisexuality is widely accepted in specific parts of the world. Going back to Mulvey's piece, this "look" or to be looked at is such a descriptive way to analyze media texts. Many of the tv shows today promote voyeurism, and i think its pretty widespread. Finding fantasy amoungst looking at someone, and finding pleasure in it just makes me think of "peeping toms". I really wonder if this is something that we invented, and exacerbated throughout the media world. For example, I've been thinking about whether or not this type of fetishism would exist if we didn't showcase the "male gaze" so prominently. The "male gaze" is sexy. The camera's focus on women's bodies, lips, hands, chests, and suddenly, people in our society find all of these attributes on women sexual. Also, I think that this camera tactic has made it appear that all women are this sexy all the time, and now this is how women are looked at in real life. Not that people didn't find these attributes sexy in the first place, but it's like the camera is showing people where to look on bodies. I find these ideas of gaze really interesting, yet hard to understand.

Blog Post Week 8

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I found Halberstam's reading an essential piece in understanding how media can go beyond gender identity in our society. Although I do agree it was a confusing reading at first, some of today's discussion made it more clear about what it means to live in a culturally constructed society known as the "Third Gender". One key point I saw in the the movie "Boys Don't Cry" is when transgenderism is rejected and when issues of violence and crime is subverted into the hetrosexual matrix. As our society is slowing beginning to accept transgender, gay, lesbian or the bisexual community, I think it is interesting that even children face gender ambiguity at an early age and that it's not just something someone experiences growing up, it is also biological issue. And when we live within culturally fixed norms where different gender roles are expected, we are "caught off guard" when we see these norms being violated. As Halberstam also states "Representations of transgenderism in recent queer cinema have moved from a tricky narrative device designed to catch an unsuspecting audience off gaurd to truly independent productions within which gender ambiguity is not a trap but part of the production of new forms of heroism, vulnerability, visibility and embodiment". (Pg. 186) Overall, transgender cinema has proven and shown that transgenderism is a struggle for cultural acceptance and that it is an important issue we would have to be faced despite the cultural norms.

Week 8

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I found this weeks disussion of heteronormativity and how it may relate to he transgendered gaze. Today discussion over the Judith Halberstam piece I found to be the most helpful (although the most confusing) is trying to understand what the transgendered gaze is and how it is often subverted to become he heterosexual gaze in order to make he audience more comfortable. Ambiguity is not something that Americans are particularly comfortable with, and at any point in any media,, or everyday lives, we atempt to make sense of people and ease our anxieties by putting them into neat little boxes. The media world is especially guilty of this. It is so hard to make a movie or tv show from a trangednered/ ambiguos gaze because i is hard to relate to the majority of the population.
With that being said however, I have a much more optimistic view on the transgendered gaze in media similar to Halbersam and think that it is important that more movies try and make this attempt to truly erase the hetero gaze from a media source, more then just a few moments here and there where tese roles are temporarily shifted.

Blog Post Week 8

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This weeks discussion and readings were both complicated to absorb initially. I went into class having a hard time really grasping what the authors meant in their texts. I found that Halberstam was more difficult for me to understand. Finding out that she goes by both Judith and Jack really confused me more. From class I think I understood that she immersed herself in the work she was doing and chose not to identify with a certain gender. We often label people as boy or girl and people who try to not be label as one or the other we often label them incorrectly. With things like "gays, lesbians, bi's or transvestites." When really in many cases they are not any of these things. The media example used in class today was "Boy's don't cry." I personally have never seen it but it was very interesting. It seemed it could also confuse you even more if you did not understand the underlying messages in it. Its something that I hope to watch to get a better idea of this transgender point that Halberstam tries to make. I too agreed with the "I love you man" movie example being another context this could be applied to. He was not gay, he just identifies better among women then men.

Mulvey, Halberstam Week 8

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I found this week's discussions and readings useful in understanding the structure of heteronormaty in cinema. Mulvey points to concrete examples of how the male gaze operates to objectify women in cinema, and how the female identity is constructed by its difference to the male. I find her theory that the male gaze finds its agency within the confines of the cinema interesting in how it relates to the aesthetic structure of cinema as being moving images of light on a central screen to be experienced in the dark theater. The male gaze is an exchange on an individual level without judgement from the others around you.

In understanding Halberstam's transgender look, I find it useful to think of the gender and sexuality spectrums as being true continuums. No beginning and no end. I think that we tend to think of the gender spectrum as being polarized between male and female, and the sexuality spectrum as being polarized between heterosexual and homosexual, and that every individual exists somewhere on either end, and that those that are in between are considered bi-sexual.

The reason I feel that this is problematic is that these identities tend to be locked in place, and located within a heteronormative structure. If we think of these identity spectrums as continuums, and thus fluid, we can better understand that an individual needn't locate themselves in any one place across the spectrum, simply within the continuum.

Halberstam, "The Transgender Look"

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Please use the following questions to guide your reading and notes on Halberstam's view on the filmic gaze:

1. How does Halberstam's analysis differ from Mulvey's? How does Halberstam view the transgender look?
2. Can you think of examples where this look operates in other movies/media?
3. Does Halberstam see possibility in what she calls the transgender look? What do you think of this argument?

Mulvey, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema"

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Please use the following questions to guide your reading and notes on Mulvey's view on the filmic gaze:
1. How does Mulvey view the concept of the gaze in 40s and 50s Hollywood cinema?
2. Can you think of examples in which women's bodies are coded as "to-be-looked-at" by a gaze coded as heterosexual male?
3. Does Mulvey see any possibility in Hollywood film? Or is it all destined to repeat patriarchal fantasies? What do you think of this? Are there alternative readings of these Hollywood films?

Week 7 Blog Post

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I guess I've always been moderately oblivious to the racialized connotations that exist within certain media texts. My assumption for my lack of awareness perhaps stems from the diversity within my family and circle of friends. My uncles, aunts, and cousins vary in ethnicities, as do my friends. I think the only nationality I'm missing is Armenian. Race has been a topic amongst myself and my friends and family, and its as though we all stand within the same viewpoint that race is never going to disappear. It is obvious that we look different, but aside from our appearance we are all the same. If I were to look at my statement through Benet-Weiser's eyes, I would liken my family/friendship connections to that of the Flava dolls, just without the Urban outfits.
I think the Flavas dolls are a great idea to spread diversity and help to promote awareness that there are other ethnicities in our world, but I disagree with the style choices of these dolls. From my experience, few and far between "urban" residents dress in the "hip" fashion. I mean, to each his own, but I thought the clothing style for these dolls was a little too extreme.
It is reassuring to see that we as a country are continuing to move forward in a multicultural aspect, by incorporating varied races through television characters, toys, and advertisements. Having diversity in the media broadens the minds of the young to understand that there are different cultures and ethnicities throughout our world.

Blog Post Week 7

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I found this weeks' readings to be very interesting when dealing with how race is portrayed to us as younger children. I had heard things about Disney movies before, but seeing that video that put them all together was really eye opening, it's really easy to view those movies differently now that I'm older than when I was younger. Even some of the clips were from Disney television shows, so when compared to what was written about Nickelodeon shows like Dora the Explorer, it shows that some production networks are trying to move ahead and show diversity in a politically correct way and some are still stuck in the past.

Blog Post for Week 7

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In this week's readings both Hall and Banet-Weiser made it a point to go into depth on the issue of race and how media acts upon how race is displayed in culture. In Hall's article, the way he goes over overt versus inferential racism was very eye opening because of all of the examples of how race is portrayed in media. By taking a step back and realizing that so many characters in shows from today as well as older shows always have certain 'stock' characters who display a certain role, whether it be a raced role or a role that displays a certain personality. Banet-Weiser's piece was really interesting as well because it combined how race is displayed in media with how the feminine body ties into race. Since so much of her article deals with how all of this affects children, I began to think about how I viewed race and gender when I was younger. While it's hard for me to remember what I thought exactly, I remember not really noticing a difference between all of the races that were in shows when I was little. I watched the show That So Raven a lot when I was in elementary school and in that show it follows an African American teenaged girl who has many friends who all don't necessarily fit into her race classification. I never thought about the group of friends Raven had when I was growing up and I never thought about the implications of having a multiracial group of kids as well as a female lead in a show. That all seemed like unimportant issues when I just watched the show as entertainment when I was 9 or 10, but now it seems interesting in the sense that I didn't register those images as different. I really thought the images in the articles were interesting because of how it displays the effects of how ideologies are formed and how people come to realize what they are watching to fall into those ideological groups.

MPR Piece on Race and the Term "Urban"

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Just thought that the class would find this interesting:
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/03/07/social-issue/urban-state-of-being

Hall, Banet-Weiser Week 7

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This week's discussions and readings are especially useful in understanding how ideologies surrounding race operate in post-civil rights american society. Hall's theories of overt and inferential racism help us recognize racism when we see it in the media (and reality), and Banet-Weiser's postfeminism discussion gives perspective on how we arrive at contemporary representations of race in the media, and the examples presented in class exemplified the concepts well.

I think that the discussion surrounding Dov Hikind dressing up as a black basketball player was key in identifying how racism can be overt. Hikind, clearly views his impersonation as being natural. I view his actions and response to be racist, but also from a postracial ideological form. He views the black basketball player as a singular identity, but his acknowledgement of race is essentialist, and his decision to link "the basketball player" with the "black" suggest that he views this image as being something that can be consumed, separate from structures of racial identity. I view his actions in lieu of his activism work opposing anti-semitism, as reinforcing his racist ideology, because it demonstrates that he does not acknowledge the social-political history of race in America as being connected struggles for identity that Jews have endured throughout history... What an unfortunate incident!

Blog Post Week 7

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Hall's piece was interesting in the way that media plays such a dominate role in creating what race is on TV back then and now. I think in today's society we don't see much of it any more like Hall mentions, but I agree with him that it represent race in different ways by adjusting to the modern time. For instance, how blacks are portrayed as cunning and glamorous crooks in TV shows instead of slaves and natives are much more civilize but they still possess some kind of barbarism and savagery. Banet-Weiser's article was focus on race and feminism. It is interesting how the show, Dora the Explorer was created to focusing on diversity and gender role. I think it is great that the show is breaking away from the typical dominate race and male lead character in having a diverse cast of characters and lead female character. I think it would really help the kids in our society today to grow up and not focus on race or gender issues. Although our kids are in a much more diverse society and having these shows focus on race and gender I believe are just a temporary fix and that the race and gender discrimination will always be there. We cannot erase history.

Blog Post Week 7

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Over the last week, I enjoyed our discussions based on the Hall and Banet-Weiser pieces focused on representing race in media. In Hall's article, I specifically enjoyed our analysis of whether certain clips in media are considered overt racism, an opening racist argument that advances the racist policy of view, or more of an inferential racism, a largely unconscious and naturalized assumptions about a race. I think our country has progressed away from many overt racist scenes and actions in our media texts; however, I still see a lot of inferential racism continuing to be present today, whether it is the characters portrayed in a text or essentializing certain aspects about a race or culture in the media. I think we are moving into the post-racism age/post-feminism, but the underlying viewpoints will always be there, and cannot be avoided. I think when we try to become "politically correct" about some inferential racism, we are actually making it worse, and limiting the exposure of different cultures and their values in the media we see today. When reflecting upon the final discussion question, I also was struck by how people in predominantly white places, such as here in Minnesota, can "become inward" about other races. I grew up in a town that was predominantly white, and only about a dozen people in my graduating class of 350 were from a different race. Growing up, I was not very culturally diverse, and hence saw others kids that were different from me as "outsiders" and in a way inferior to me even as a young child. The only images I could relate to other races with were negative stories on the news, or history movies we watched in class. I think positive media images could have changed my viewpoint of others from a young age. TV Shows, such as Dora the Explorer, are helping kids become acquainted with other cultures from a young age, and presenting the idea that we are all the same and should be treated this way. I'm glad I have been exposed to many different cultural experiences since then, but feel it could have been even more beneficial if starting from a young age.

Blog Post #7

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Blog Post #7

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Blog Post Week 7

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This week was another where I could only come Wednesday, so I will discuss what happened that day. In class on Wednesday we discussed the reading, "What's your flava? Race and post-feminism in media culture". This article brought to light some of the further racist meanings in our media texts.
Every week I discover something new about this subject, and it really makes me feel like I was completely oblivious before! The article talks a lot about how children are affected by racial meaning. This ties into our own lives especially. I feel like our age people are really the last people to see the very end of all white shows, or at least that's what it feels like.
I remember when shows started to actively try for diversity, and it was obvious! If we look at shows like the Rugrats where all of the main characters are white, we are able to see that they weren't really caring too much about diversity when they drew the characters up. This wouldn't fly today. Every new cartoon has a multitude of culture and race from Dora, of course, to every Disney channel show. You even see kids in wheelchairs from time to time.
When we were very young, the shows that were playing really didn't pay too much attention to diversity, unless the show was making pushes for it like the Cosby Show. I think it's obvious to see today the changes that are occurring in our media texts.

Blog Post Week 7

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In "The Whites of Their Eyes" Stuart Hall makes an interesting point in his discussion of how TV shows deal with issues of race. One thing he says that I have never had the impression of is that the shows dealing with racial issues (conflict) all imply that black people are actually the source of the problem, and although the assumed intent of these shows is to promote positive race relations the message that is actually being sent is that black people (who usually represent the race being discriminated against) "are the source of the problem" and that almost all TV shows that address race include this hidden message. This article does not look to have been published in its entirety in our textbook so it is possible that Hall goes into more detail on this point. At the beginning of the semester we talked a little about racial stereotypes seen on TV and in movies. This reading gives some good examples of racial stereotypes that have been seen in media repeatedly through the years. He also brings up an intriguing point about how the ways race is portrayed today include vestiges of the older representations.

In Banet-Weiser's article she uses The Cosby Show as an example of a cultural breakthrough. This show was unique in its portrayal of an upper-class African-American family. In this respect it was a cultural and racial breakthrough. It is good to see cartoons like Dora the Explorer become mainstream hits with children. Nickelodeon's commitment to diversity in its programming is very commendable. One key point that Banet-Weiser makes is what likely enabled Dora to become such a popular mainstream cartoon: Banet-Weiser says that the aspects of Latino culture incorporated into Dora are put into the show in a "safe way" in order to "not alienate" white audiences. Race does not seem to matter as much in our society as it used to, and hopefully this will lead to white Americans being comfortable and accepting of shows like Dora that introduce children to other cultures.

Blog Post Week 7

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This weeks readings and discussions focused more or so on race in the media as well as post feminism. Hall described in his article two types of racism. "Overt racism which are those occasions when open and favorable coverage is given to arguments, positions and spokespersons who are in the business of elaborating an openly racist argument or advancing a racist policy of view (Hall 91)." Inferential racism as those apparently naturalized representations of events and situations relating to race, which have racist premises and propositions inscribed in them as a set of unquestioned assumptions (Hall 91)." I found both these terms interesting, I haven't really thought about inferential racism that much. I don't like how in our society today we bring everything to be about race. Anything someone says or does will turn in to a racist slur or joke. Don't get me wrong some people take it to far and do act in a racist way, but not everyone. I think unconsciously we may say or do things that could be considered inferential racist. We discussed things about the article by Banet- Weiser, with feminism and race in the media. I think when it comes to race in television The Cosby Show and Dora the Explorer are great examples. The world today is much more diverse than it was 50 years ago. The need for diversity among children is huge, were teaching them to live in a diverse world with different ethnicities and races they will not know any different. I think its great that we have an education spanish show for children, I would like to see more in the future.

Blog Post Week 7

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Wednesday's reading focused more on how race identity ties in with media advertisement and consumerism than it did about issues of post feminism in our society today. Although Banet-Weiser points out that post-feminism such as Dora and Flava dolls, being the new representation for women, is one of the example "cause" of why we begin to loose and forget the values we had in the past when women faced discrimination, I felt that she forgot to acknowledge why shows like Dora the Explorer, toys like Flava Dolls or like American girl Doll is made necessary in the culture we live in. Just as it was "necessary" to make a show like The Cosbys in the early 90's to bring a "positive image" to the African American culture. Sure race is a main issue in our country and it is certainly a sensitive topic to talk about but it is also important to think about how "cultural capital" can bring a positive view to our society on race, diversity and equality. Certainly it is important to incorporate both race identity and gender identity when looking at the relationship in media context but I had trouble understanding two sides to her argument; Post-feminism and Assimilation and how it becomes a "problem". She states "That is, when a media audience is "empowered" by images of race and gender, there is no linear connection to empowering communities" (217). As discussed today, it is actually the opposite of her argument. Children today are more accepted to play with dolls who look like them or look different than they do. Shows like Dora on the other hand does help bring diversity into our culture. Children learn from an early age that accepting different cultures and race is a normal thing. But course as Benet-Weiser also state that it may face stereotypes and we may forget our long history of discrimination but what I feel is most important is to embrace diversity and bring in a new representation to the American culture. And that is exactly what we've already been doing.

Banet-Weiser, 'What's Your Flava?"

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Please use the following to guide your reading:
1) How does Banet-Weiser use the terms "postracial" and "postfeminist" in her article? What do they mean and how do they operate? Why are they important to analyze?
2) How does the trope of Hip-Hop operate ideologically, for Banet-Weiser?
3) What does she mean when she uses the phrase "cultural capital"?
4) How does she elaborate the definition of postfeminism and how do toys like flavas participate in this ideology? What is the role of irony in postfeminism? What is the role of the concept of "empowerment"?
5) How does Banet-Weiser define the "postracial" or "urbanized" (213, 216)? What are some media sites in which she sees it operating? What kind of ideological work does it do (214-215)?
6) What, for Banet-Weiser, is the problem with the prefix "post"?
7) How does all of this relate to the market? Why is this a problem, for Banet-Weiser?
8) Banet-Weiser argues that Dora the Explorer is an example of a postracial text for it represents "difference 'taken into account' yet not necessarily acted on. Challenging racist stereotypes by creating a new one fit for the current political and cultural economy, Dora operates as part of a strategy that motivates a commercially defined notion of diversity" (222). What are the consequences when profits, rather than other social aims, drive the representation of diversity? What might be some alternatives?

Hall, "The Whites of Their Eyes"

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Use the following to guide your reading post your discussion questions below:

1. How does Hall understand ideology (89-90)? Where does it come from? What does it do? How do we inhabit ideology?

2. What does Hall mean when he describes media as "part of the dominant means of ideological production" (90)?

3. What does Hall mean by "overt" racism? What does he mean by "inferential racism"? Can you think of a media example in which each one operates? (91)

4. What are some tropes of inferential racism that Hall mentions? What tropes of inferential racism have you noticed that Hall does not address?

5. What does Hall mean by "the grammar of race" (91-92)? What are some of its elements?

6. Hall describes the recurring figures of this "grammar of race" as deeply ambivalent, a kind of "double vision of the white eye through which they are seen" (92). What does he mean by this?

7. What are some present-day media examples in which inferential racism, in Hall's terms, operates? Are there "grammars of race" that you have observed in media that Hall overlooks?

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