Archive for January, 2011

having a wee little chat

This weekend, as previously mentioned, I got started on my video documentary. I felt that the easiest way to start would be to ask a woman how she felt her gender is portrayed by the marketing and media people. Seeing as there are very few females I know who will talk to me for long periods of time, I started by talking to my girlfriend. She had a ton to say, and I recorded the whole conversation however, she requested that the conversation not be put on the internet, so I will not be posting it, even though I thought it was pretty interesting.

One of the first things my girlfriend said was that it wouldn’t be fair if just men were used in ads today. I felt that was a very simple statement and yet a very intelligent one. I would have not ever in a million years thought about that. Advertisements and commercials have been around me my entire life, they have always had both men and women in them, I could never imagine a world without both male and female actors/models in ads. My girlfriend brought this up, and then moved on to mention how Tommy Hilfiger has been accused of, and I think admitted to, being a racist. Tommy only uses white models in his ads.

Only the whitest of the white for Tommy

Obviously sexism and racism are a little different, but she still had a point. Using only men in ads and using only whites in ads are very similar. I mean imagine a world where the ads on TV were directed towards men, it would kind of suck wouldn’t it? Especially if you’re not a man. I think that was her point, and it was a very good one at that.

Our conversation moved away a bit and more into groups of ads. She claimed that there are certain groups of advertisers, or certain products that get advertised, that portray woman in the wrong light. One of her main examples was the fashion industry, which did not come as any surprise to me at all. The fashion industry shows perfectly crafted and stunningly beautiful women in their ads. Yet this perfection is literally impossible for anyone to achieve, the amount of unnatural work that goes into ads and commercials makes it impossible for anyone to look like a model, without using photoshop at least.

seems about right...

We then moved onto other industries, including beer and alcohol and house hold cleaning products, and then again ended up back at fashion. It was a circular conversation. When asked about women and power and things of that nature, my girlfriend seemed to think that all women want to be sexy, or attractive, it is just the way we as society define what is deemed attractive and sexy that is the problem.

sexy?

We as a society have created this desire to be thin and have perfect skin and breasts and basically an unachievable perfect body is the essence of being sexy. We need to change this, and the first place to start would be advertising.

We looked at a few other things, and we even attempted to figure out what a woman needs to be powerful in western society. I will talk about that a little later, but the main point I arrived at from talking to my girlfriend, and the one I found most interesting was about the effects of negative press versus positive advertising. What I mean is that my girlfriend, when she found out about Tommy Hilfiger being a racist stopped wearing his clothing. This is something that she obviously deserves some recognition for because Tommy is a pretty popular brand, one that she had a few (probably expensive) articles of  clothing from. Tommy obviously did not advertise the fact that he is a racist, it was something that just leaked out. As a matter of fact, I’m sure if Tommy had had any control over it, he probably would have preferred that the world not find out about his supremest feelings. However, I then brought up the Dove campaign for beauty. This was something my girlfriend had obviously seen and heard about, and yet she used Ivory soap. I found this a little strange. The fact that the negative media surrounding one thing could cause someone to stop wearing certain popular and expansive clothing, and yet the positive advertising around a two dollar bar of soap, was not enough to get someone like my girlfriend (someone who clearly cares about her world and how she effects it) to change. I just would have thought that if one could give up wearing a one hundred dollar sweater, switching to a two dollar bar of soap would be easy. I guess I was wrong…

this is very complex stuff

Anyways for now that’s the end. I’m going to end with a video. Here you go… The frog bit is really the only bit you need to see

BABES! BABES! BABES!!!

The dreaded video project. I have, as you may know, done a video project in the past for a Strangelove class. I’m not going to sugar coat it, that last video was sub-par. So my goal for this semester is to make a much better video. I’m not blaming anyone who worked on the last video, I just realized this week that we did not give ourselves nearly enough time to properly produce a good product. I figured this weekend, because I have Saturday off work, I should get started. This way I will give myself plenty of time to actually edit and come up with a fully finished and creative product.

So lets get started here… The syllabus mentions something about the video having to be about women in society. Which indeed make sense because the first book is entitled “Enlightened Sexism” and even though as soon as I read the title I’ll admit I wasn’t exactly hooked. Only because I have taken courses in the past where the professor has been a hard core feminist, and although there is technically nothing wrong with that, however claiming that “all sex is rape” is maybe taking it a little too far. I understand that the statement “all sex is rape” is very controversial, it’s a statement that according to many sources (not going to lie here, mostly Wikipedia) says was misinterpreted. I’m not sure how you could ever interpret such a phrase but those who have read Catherine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin apparently did. I’ve gotten off topic here. Essentially all I’m saying is that I have no problem with feminism, as a matter of fact I support it, I just would have preferred not have been forced to study it for a semester. However, that was the old me… I found Jesus! No wait that’s not it at all. Again off topic, it’s really late. Anyways the old me would have not have been a huge fan of this book, however I promised myself I was going to do all my readings for lecture this semester, and because of that I had to read the first few chapters of the book. Believe it or not, I enjoyed it, it is fantastically written.Just thought I would put that in there because to be honest I don’t have any idea where I’m going with this right now.

Right the video! I’m doing my project on women in advertising and how they’re seen by society. I would question whether society has really progressed any since the 60’s feminist movement. I know we no longer see ads that look like this…

I actually really enjoy cooking, just FYI

But we still see women in advertising as a lower and more discriminated against gender. The only difference is that in today’s society we hide it a bit better. or do we?

I dare you to go on Google images and search "beer ad" I DARE YOU!

Really? That’s what came out of the countless generations of feminism and fighting oppression? This is my argument, this is what I would like to look at in my video. I realize it’s a broad topic right now, but it’s still a work in progress, and good things take time, so be patient please. Until next time this is my video post goodbye. The Australians really know how to sell beer, which I find a little funny because from what I’ve been told I wouldn’t imagine it being too difficult to sell beer in Australia.

P.S. Be sure to click on the link to the “found Jesus” thing, it made my day, fantastic piece of work done by those individuals.

Round Two

So this is the first blog of a new semester. I am going to have to change the title of this blog, because it is no longer about “New Media” but instead is now about “popular culture”. The class is taught by the same professor as the previous class, it’s just a new semester and therefore a new topic of discussion for blogging.

The text book “Enlightened Sexism” by Susan J. Douglas is seriously hilarious. I use these two terms together in a different way than is the norm. I mean that the book is serious in terms of its’ subject matter, but the way the author discusses and describes the subject is hilarious.

I have only read the first chapter of the book but I can already say I am going to like it and find it fascinating. One of the main things I enjoyed about the first chapter is the way the author tells of the culture in and around the years I was born. I have taken history classes and I know (for the most part) what was going on in the early 90’s when I was born however, what I didn’t know was how people and society felt about the issues at hand during my early youth. I had heard of all the TV show’s the book speaks of such as 90210 and Melrose Place I just did not realize how much they meant to some people and how they defined an entire generation in society. So I found that particularly interesting.

Also I did some research on a magazine the author speaks of entitled Sassy and I was amazed to find that people still long for it to make a triumphant return to publishing. There is a Facebook page and multiple archives of issues that people have set up that you can visit and read the articles. I found the articles interesting enough, and I understand why so many people (mostly young women) would fall in love with them. But I got to thinking and I wondered if Sassy would do so well in today’s world? What I mean is, there are millions of woman on the internet right now, writing articles and blogs with the same passion and style as the good people  at Sassy Magazine. I feel that maybe the only reason the magazine did so well was because there was no internet at the time of it’s publication, there were no woman (other than those working at Sassy) who were able to write about things like feminism, and have it reach the amount of people the internet does. For example do a Google search on the word feminism, it pulls up approximately eleven million results. Meaning that with the internet now  in our society and empowering literally anyone  with a connection, people have the ability to write about what is important to them, whether its feminism or Bruce Willis being a space whore. The only reason, I feel, the writers of Sassy did so well for themselves is because they invented a magazine that was different from the  typical magazine  at the time, however their magazine is the same as countless websites on todays internet. Sassy was an inspiration perhaps for countless websites today.

Feminist or not, you have to admit it looks pretty cool

That’s it then, that is my question to you for now. Do you think the magazine would have been as successful if it had tried to publish in today’s society? I’m going to be honest it feels good to be writing again, that Christmas break was beautiful, but my God my brain was turning into mush I think. I don’t have a video to end this blog with like I have done in the past, but I have a picture, one that is of things to look forward to in the future. Summer will come, and this semester will end, and everything will be relaxing and fun again, but for now there’s this.