Friday, August 6, 2010

Blog post 4: Living up to the Standards of Heroes


When looking and discovering what activities an eight year old boy take part in I came across that many boys play with action figures. These action figures are usually from their favorite TV shows or movies, allowing them to bring the character to life in their imagination. A common theme that came across in all the different kinds of action figures was that they all were covered with extremely large muscles. The boys playing with these toys may want to be like the “heroes” they are playing with both physically and character wise. The chances of any eight year old boy ever looking like the toys he plays with creates a unrealistic self image that cannot be reached causing the boys to become victims of our societies standards.

Even at an early age boys are exposed to what a man should look like according to society. Their toys show that men should have washboard abs, be valiant heroes over evil, be with beautiful women, and love their country. The quality of their toys that stands out the most is the physical aspect.  Research done by Hesse-Biber shows that,”…20% to slightly over %50 are trying to “bulk up.” Many spend time in body work because they link body image to success in their peer group relationships with both genders” (195).  This proves that boys want to look like the action figures they used to play with.

Katz states that, “Muscles are markers that separate men from each other and, most important perhaps, from women.” This shows that boys that have muscles like their toys are not like a girl which at a young age is the worst thing to be thought of for a boy. Katz also says, “The discourse around muscles as signifiers of masculine power involves not only working class men but also middle and upper class males” (356). The idea and influence of the idea of muscles equal masculinity and power is embedded in all races and classes. This is easily shown in the toys because many times the heroes are masked not showing their identity which allows for young boys to make them what they want them to be.

Works Cited

Hesse-Biber, Sharlene Nagy. The Cult of Thinness. 2nd Ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Katz, Jackson. "Advertising and the Construction of Violent White Masculinity: From Eminem to Clinique for Men." Gender, Race, and Class in Media: a Text-reader. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2003. 349-58.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

blog post 3: Remix

This student-created production is covered under the Fair Use codes US copyright law. Specifically, Section 107 of the current Copyright Act and Section 504(c)(2) cover the educational-basis of this video production. The production is intended to be a transformative remake, aiding in both student and public media literacy.  The use of copyrighted material is in the service of constructing a differing understanding than the original work, which according to Section 110 (1) (2), is to be treated as a new cultural production. This student-production is in no way limited to the protections provided by the Fair Use codes stated above due to the many other sections of the current US Copyright Act, which also include the principles of Fair Use.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blog Post 2: Analyzing a Subversive Music Video

The video and song by Beyonce “If I Were a Boy” describes what a woman would do if she were a boy in a relationship. The norm in media outlets shows a man cheating on the women and not being truthful with her, while the woman does no wrong and loves and cares for the man with everything she has. The first two thirds of the video goes against hegemonic ideas and shows Beyonce getting too close with another man. This image subverts hegemony in society and the image portrayed by women in music videos.

The video opens up with the man making breakfast for Beyonce’s character. This is a rare thing to see in a patriarchal society and goes against the norm. Also her character is shown as a police officer while her husband works in an office. In most media productions a man is usually shown as the police officer and the woman would make him breakfast which is the typical hegemonic belief. Lull defines hegemony as, “Dominance and subordination in the field of relations structured by power. But hegemony is more than social power itself; it is a method for gaining and maintaining power” (61).  The social group that normally holds power over women is men. This as explained earlier in not the case in the video and continues in the video.

As the story goes on Beyonce’s character is shown making arrest, drinking and making jokes with fellow police officers, and flirting with her partner.  While her love interest is shopping for jewelry for her, getting his calls rejected by her, and denying advances from his attractive secretary.  Typically the woman is seen as the victim in a relationship and being taken advantage of. Lull states “Dominant ideological streams must be subsequently reproduced in the activities of our most basic social units-families, workplace networks, and friendship groups in the many sites and undertakings of everyday life” (62). This shows how normally the dominated group or women are put down in a wide range of social settings and must conform to fit in. Beyonce in the video does the opposite and she is the one in control and the man is the non typical victim.

These examples of the female character in a hip-hop video going against the hegemonic society but also go against what the music industry thinks of women. Cole and Guy-Sheftall discuss when talking about music say, “…the music frequently communicates a general hostility , distrust, and disregard for black women as anything other than atomized body parts and sex objects” (102). In the video the woman isn’t taken advantage of and is further proved when the video changes

After Beyonce’s character is seen getting real close with her partner by her significant other and they have a discussion the roles change and Beyonce’s Character is the one left in the dark. The video changes and the man is the cop and has a female partner and Beyonce’s character is the one making breakfast. Even though the images change and go back to being what a patriarchal society looks like, the lyrics change saying how the man will wish he did not lose what he wanted and that he will never be a better man because he act like a boy. Cole and Guy-Sheftall help explain this by saying, “It appears that too many of our young men are blaming young women and treating them as part of the problem, rather than as cherished lovers and potential life partners” (100). Beyonce reinforces this in her lyrics and is trying to change the hegemonic structure in our society and the women are seen in the world of hip-hop.

Beyonce in the song and video subverts hegemonic norms and how women are seen in hip-hop. She starts by being the one in control and doing things that men are typically depicted as. She breaks the mold and shines a different light to some ideas. She then is reversed back into a typical role of being the one taken for granted but still is seen as a strong character and tries to change the way women are seen in media culture.

Works Cited

Beyonce. “If I Were a Boy.” I Am…Sasha Fierce. SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT. 2008. Music Video.

Cole, Johnetta, and Beverly Guy-Sheftall. "No Respect: Gender Politicts and Hip-Hop." Women: Images & Realities, A Multicultural Anthology. 4th ed. McGraw-Hill, 2006. 99-105.

Lull, James. "Hegemony." Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Text-Reader. Eds. Gail Dines and Jean M. Humez. Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage Publication Inc., 2003. 61-66. Print

Friday, July 16, 2010

Blog Post 1: The D.E.N.N.I.S System

The show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” follows a group of friends who own a bar in south Philly and their wild antics. In season five episode ten one of the characters, Dennis, explains his system for, “Getting any chick’s undying love and devotion, for life.” He wittily names his fool proof plan the D.E.N.N.I.S. System. The acronym breaks down his method of conquering the opposite sex in a very patriarchal way that is conniving and is motivated by physical relationships.

The D in the D.E.N.N.I.S. system stands for demonstrating value. Dennis gives the example of picking up a prescription for his nonexistent grandmother from an attractive pharmacist. This is a different approach to picking up women because like Newman says, “Hollywood leading men were square-jawed, rugged, not particularly chatty, violent when necessary and unemotional” (93). Newman continues with, “…a new generation of leading men who are more thoughtful, sensitive, and emotionally available” (93). Since women are not used to seeing this Dennis argues it make them want to love him more.

The next step E is for Engage Physically. He does this by asking her out to a restaurant that is always closed so he can cut to the chase and bring her back to his house and eventually his bed. This step to him is the point of no return for the women because after having sex the women will naturally start to depend on the man.

The next letter N, is for Nurturing Dependence.  Dennis creates a fictional angry neighbor who threatens her but he is there to protect and comfort her. The woman is now living under patriarchy because she is scared.  Johnson proves this by saying,”…the notion that women are weak and men are strong, that women and children need men to support and protect them.” (95). The idea that the women must be protected by men and can’t do anything without them is continued in the next step.

The second N stands for Neglect Emotionally. This is where Dennis just completely stops seeing and talking to the woman. He also brings back the angry neighbor but this time he isn’t there to protect her. Dennis claims this will cause her to question her self worth and esteem. Because the woman thinks she lost Dennis she will believe what Ponzer says when talking about what girls take in from television,”…only the most stereotypically beautiful, least independent women with the lowest carb diets will be rewarded with love, financial security and the ultimate prize of male validation” (99). Now that the woman is upset and depressed Dennis takes the second to last step.

The I is for Inspire Hope. Dennis does this by going to her window and apologizes by saying he was scared because he thought she was going to break his heart, and continues by saying he loves her and needs her. This goes against all the norms for masculinity, but is just part of the scam. He does this to make her think she has broken through his tough exterior.  So after they “bang” Dennis slips out into the night and Separates Entirely to finish out the acronym. This shows that Dennis is only into perusing this woman for sex and proves Newman’s point that,”…men in prime time comedies to be depicted as rude, crude, sex crazed, sexist, childish, egotistical and stupid” (94).

Dennis uses his system to get what he wants from a woman and then is out of the picture. His system causes him to go against some common beliefs of masculinity, but in the end his motives are what is commonly thought of as masculine. Since he decribes it as this is what men do it further proves that we living a patriarchal society.

Works Cited

"The D.E.N.N.I.S. System”. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. By Rob McElhenney. Perf. Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson, Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney, and Danny DeVito. FX.  November 19, 2009.

Newman, David M. "Chapter 2 and 3. "Identifies and Inequalities: Exploring the Intersections of Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2007. Print

Johnson, Allan G. “Patriarchy The System An It, Not a He, a Them, or an Us.” Reconstructing Gender: A Multicultural Anthology. Ed. Estelle Disch. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 2008. 91-99. Print.

Pozner, Jennifer L. “The Unreal World.” Women: Images & Realities, A Multicultural Anthology. Eds. Amy Kesselman, Lily D. McNair, and Nancy Schniedewind. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 2006. 96-99. Print.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Brainstorming and Link Hunt Assignment

Why Does Nike Still Have Roethlisberger On Their Roster?
 April 23, 2010
Is Soccer a Racist Sport?
June 30, 2010
Henna Kathiya

April 20, 2010
Lance Burri
Female Athletes Shafted Again 
6 August 2005

Jim Tressel: 'Everybody is Important'
March 3, 2010
Michael Daniels