Women and Media: Diet Culture + Special K

 

http://yourbodyisnotabattleground.tumblr.com

My final project discusses the social construction of body issues in the media: with a specific focus on idealization and glorification of achieving thinness in the advertising campaign of Special K commercials “What will you gain when you lose?”; and the hypocrisy of their “More Than Just A Number” and “Shh….Stop the Fat Talk campaign.” My project will focus on the function and primary purposes of the diet industry in these commercials, and how their advertisements project the ideological framework of thin privilege.

In addition to creating a Tumblr especially for this project to better demonstrate my purpose, I created an 18 minute film that I uploaded on Youtube, where I talk about how diet companies such as Special disguise their motives in their advertising campaigns and slogans that are geared towards women. I also define the meaning of thin privilege in our society, as well as its contributions to fat phobia. I deal with my own struggles with body image and equating the food I eat with guilt, so it is extremely important for me to address the pervasive message of these advertisements towards all women.

How can a lowly box of fake nutrition garner such hatred and annoying, ranting banter from me? Watch this video and find out! 

Resources:

http://thisisthinprivilege.tumblr.com

http://www.thefrisky.com/2013-09-04/the-wolf-in-the-cereal-bowl-how-special-k-and-other-companies-co-opt-body-acceptance-to-sell-body-shame/

http://www.feminisms.org/6099/6099/

http://yrwelcome.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/breaking-down-fatphobia/

Links to Youtube videos: on Tumblr.

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Blog Post 5: Sofia Coppola

I was genuinely surprised and bothered when I failed to catch my thought process after seeing the word ‘auteur.’ I correlated that word with its recognized and culturally constructed meaning, and believed that it defined a male director. I thought of Hitchcock, Scorsese, Kazan, Tarantino, etc. Throughout the film classes I’ve taken as a student, we’ve rarely ever delved into a female auteur; and as a feminist and a person intensively studying film and media, I thought it was appalling that I have never studied (in-depth) a female director/screenwriter or ‘auteur.’ Not only did I find it to be unfair that we were being deprived of knowing the contributions female auteurs have made evident in their body of work, but it bothered me that the perceived meaning of the word auteur is just another way of glorifying the work of male directors. Proof of this is located the first sentence of this paragraph.

One female auteur filmmaker that I admire immensely is Sofia Coppola. In every respect, Sofia Coppola has established herself as a director with a consistent visual style and formula, both in the aesthetics and in the narratives of her filmography. For example, I notice that most of her films are very heavily focused on the image rather than the dialogue. She creates stylistically coherent films. “…..Feminist theory is extensive and reflective, receptive of all those nuances of framing, inflection, and particularly authorial viewpoint which intensively concern critics of women’s films…” (92). Her films are associated with a particular genre that most consider to be ‘arthouse’ or indie films. You know, the kinds that you could send into Sundance, Tribeca, or Cannes. I’ve noticed that they each have a particular style contained in both the mise-en-scène, as well as the themes and issues her narratives bring to life on-screen. Three films that in my opinion serve as a shining example of her being an auteur, are The Virgin Suicides (1999), Lost in Translation (2003) and Marie Antoinette (2006). All three films collectively have been created within her personalized vision and contain specific traits. How they are stylistically implemented in those three works are all consistent and any viewer would be able to identify that. Out of all the three, my favorite is Lost in Translation, which is in fact her biggest hit to date, grossing $120 million worldwide and cost only $4 million to make.

lost_in_translation_poster

Critics have similarly picked up on Coppola’s “recognizable visual approach” and the “self-conscious beauty of her films” (Rogers).

What drives Coppola’s work, beyond ambition and the vagaries of moody youth? Look closely at her movies and a surprising answer emerges: From The Virgin Suicides to Somewhere, Coppola’s films are striking for their steadfast, targeted attack on the culture of Hollywood. And although this common thread at first looks incidental to her project, it runs to the heart of her divisive reputation. Coppola’s insider criticism of Hollywood, her disdain for the industry that her own career relies on, leads her into a strange territory between hypocrisy and candor, privileged lament and fearless protest. This indeterminacy gives her work the back-and-forth flicker—and intrigue—of a lure in water. But it also leads her to a site of unusual cultural tension. As both a beneficiary of creative privilege and a critic of it, Coppola has become a lightning rod for authenticity questions more broadly haunting American culture since the last boom era. Her problematic attack on Hollywood is the reason why these quiet and parochially minded movies stick so sharply in the nervous system of their time.

As the daughter of famed auteur Francis Ford Coppola (director of films such as The Godfather Part I and II, Apocalypse Now, The Conversation), Coppola has dealt with being a female director Hollywood, as well as meeting the standards of people who associate her with her father, famed auteur who directed legendary films such as The Godfather Part I and II, Apocalypse Now, and The Conversation. In an interview I watched in a film class I had taken in a previous semester, I recall her father saying that she has had immense amount of pressure on her shoulders. Sofia herself has said that trying to establish her place as someone with a creative vision and situating her own identity completely separate from her father’s is not easy and does not continue to remain easy.

Her films often involve women who come of age throughout the course of the narrative. I’ve noticed that despite a plot, her narrative arcs do not contain an ending or a ‘conclusion.’ Continuity in terms of strong, well-developed story arcs aren’t what she aims to achieve, and her films can often transition in many different directions. This is certainly not a bad thing! In my opinion, life throws a number of curveballs (as awfully cliché as that sounds), and nobody ever has it fully figured out. There are events over the course of one’s life that are never planned out and, stylistically, I think her films certainly reflect off of that idea. Because the protagonists in her films are unformed characters who are facing a moment of transition or life-crisis. Her characters feel lost (i.e. Lost In Translation), alienated, or overwhelmed by the situation, in a world which they feel like they have no control over.

In the three aforementioned films, the female protagonists develop in a coming-of-age theme, where they become self-actualized and realize that they have the agency to change some aspect of their lives they are not satisfied with, despite being in marginalized situations and facing restrictions in their personal lives. Her protagonists are almost all teenagers or  young adults. Her scenes often contend with the use of a handheld camera and ambient sounds that allow the viewer to get into the subject’s personal space; for example, there is a scene in Lost In Translation where  Scarlett Johansson is sitting in the window ledge in looking out over Tokyo. As a viewer, in that single moment, somehow the scene resonated with me more than any really meaningful paragraph of dialogue could ever convey. Being able to connect with a character in a visual prose speaks volumes to me.

From the start, all of Coppola’s films have been image rather than dialogue‑intensive. “I don’t want my movies to feel like movies,” she says. “I want them to feel like life.” If there’s less smart talk than small talk in her films, it’s because she believes that’s how life is. “People don’t really express themselves that articulately in real life.”

With the ever-increasing number of female auteurs in Hollywood these past years as well as their works acclaimed and recognized (but not abundantly) in nominations, awards, critic’s reviews, etc, it’s time to change the word auteur being synonymous with only the male director. This is going to be a steady change in Hollywood, hopefully. She is indeed a shining example of an auteur.

Sofia+Coppola

Bibliography:

http://sensesofcinema.com/2007/great-directors/sofia-coppola/

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/assessment/2010/12/sofia_coppola.html

Redding, Judith M., and Victoria A. Brownworth. “Film Fatales.” 24 Nov. 1997. Web.

Blog Post 4: Alternative Media (Kristine Gaddi)

Undoubtedly television is a media platform that continues and will forever remain as one of the major symbols regarding the progression of representation of different groups and diversity. This medium has undergone transformative changes in diversifying who and what we see onscreen, as well as how fairly and accurately they are portrayed. I thought about ‘power positions’ and ‘power players’ in the industry and though women representation onscreen, whether it’d amount to films with female heroines, all female casts, or women leads in television shows on major networks, these tenets allowed me to look at the meanings of those depictions. It occurred to me how a majority of women that fit into the frameworks of those categories and narratives were white women. Indeed, it is a historical indicator of change for the sudden surge of women who take on these roles, but my issue here is, why exactly is that representation in the different kinds of women we see so limited?

I began to wade through the pools of women minorities who are less equally represented in such lead roles, as well as these women being able to voice the entirety of their own creative input and become leaders in fields that have consistently remained to be male-dominated. So upon reading the prompt for this assignment and seeing the phrases ‘women and minorities in the media industry’ and ‘alternative media sources,’ my mind immediately drew to the power hierarchy in the entertainment industry and positions that require leadership, agency, or a woman taking control into her own hands. Statistically, there has been a subtle increase of writers, producers, directors, authors, etc., in the industry today, but these statistics are not substantial enough to even be deemed significant changes for female representation in Hollywood.

mindy-kaling-cover-ftr

The other night I was watching ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’ on NBC solely because one of my absolute role models (and most importantly someone I’d want to be BFF’s with more than anybody) was a guest on the show. It’s very significant how Mindy Kaling has established her place in an industry largely dominated by white males. Of course, she’s not the typical woman you’d see in Hollywood. Her influence is bred from not only being a director, actress, producer, author, and writer, but as a woman of color and a minority. She’s written, acted, and directed in the NBC series The Office and now directs, produces, writes, and stars her own sitcom show titled The Mindy Project on Fox. She gives a voice and representation on television for  people who rarely see themselves represented onscreen. For someone, especially a female, to have those credentials is incredibly inspiring. What I love about her, is that she is fine with who she is and the media praises that. There is an issue here, however. She is very aware and acutely in-tune with how the industry tries to categorize her. For example, when it comes to body image, she remains puzzled as to why the media celebrates her choice into being who she is and staying true to herself.

It’s easy to simply celebrate Kaling’s statements on body image in Hollywood, but the actress reminds us how ridiculous it actually is when a statement like “I don’t have any use for being any thinner than what is healthy” translates into “I don’t subscribe to beauty ideals.” Kaling showed Kimmel a much-celebrated picture of her in a crop top, and lampooned the bizarre assumption that average-sized women don’t care how they look:“My career has only become what it has out of sheer need, not because I wanted it that way.” I knew if I wanted to perform I was going to have to write it myself.

On her March 31 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kaling discussed the universal praise she earned for telling Vogue “she doesn’t want to be skinny.” People were like, ‘That’s so great that you said it,’ and I didn’t think that was so weird,” Kaling told Kimmel. “Every woman I know feels that way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9nAJ1xNLms

Kaling is vocal and very aware of the ways her gender and ethnic background have impacted her career in the past, but she has never felt the need to define herself by those labels. She acknowledges the backlash she’s received for the media criticism rooted in not incorporating more “diversity” in her show The Mindy Project. While she agrees with this, she also points out the hypocrisy of various media outlets for even pointing that out to begin with. “Would the same be said of a successful, self-confident man? Would the same be said of Chuck Lorre or Lee Arohnson? No — a confident man gets a pass, but a confident woman deserves to be criticized and put back in her place. In an industry dominated largely by white men, Kaling is a threat to the status quo: she’s young, a woman, and a minority. There’s no one else like her in the business right now, which means she has had to work twice as hard and fight to get to the top, and she is no doubt very aware of how much she stands out and how hard she must work to prove herself.”

After the release of the New York cover story, Kaling has become the subject of much internet ire, with bloggers and TV critics calling her a variety of adjectives: smug, too self-satisfied, cocky, “the human equivalent of a retweeted compliment.” But women are supposed to be self-deprecating! How dare she feel confident about her career achievements? (Chitall).

Kaling told Vulture in September, 2012: I never want to be called the funniest Indian female comedian that exists. I feel like I can go head-to-head with the best white, male comedy writers that are out there. Why would I want to self-categorize myself into a smaller group than I’m able to compete in? (Zellinger).

I chose Kaling as a necessary and indeed successful alternative media source, not only because she’s the first woman of color to star, write, direct, and produce her own television show on a major/mainstream television network, but because I became angry that she was being unfairly singled out and held to a higher standard because of her ethnic background. Nobody ever has anything to say about television shows with predominantly white casts, such as CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. They’re rarely or aren’t even asked at all about the possibilities or suggestions of including multi-ethnic characters or the lack thereof.

“I look at shows on TV, and this is going to sound defensive, but I’m just going to say it: I’m a … Indian woman who has her own … network television show,” Kaling said during the session. “I have four series regulars that are women on my show, and no one asks any of the shows I adore — and I won’t name them because they’re my friends — why no leads on their shows are women of color, and I’m the one that gets lobbied about these things.”

She is a woman whose influence is growing larger and larger by the day, and I immediately drew from the ideology of the power hierarchy in the entertainment industry (writers, producers, directors, etc) and how positions that require leadership are severely lacking for women. Kaling defies that and her honesty regarding being an Indian woman in the entertainment industry is certainly important.

References:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/01/mindy-kaling-jimmy-kimmel_n_5070408.html

http://www.racialicious.com/2012/09/20/a-reaction-to-the-backlash-against-mindy-kaling/#more-25279

Kaling, Mindy. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). Random House LLC, 2011. Print.

Final Project Proposal. (Kristine Gaddi)

Here is the blog to where I will be presenting my project, as well as uploading the film I’m going to make:

http://yourbodyisnotabattleground.tumblr.com/

My project will discuss the social construction of body issues in the media: with a specific focus on idealization and glorification of achieving thinness in the advertising campaign of Special K commercials “What will you gain when you lose?”; and the hypocrisy of their “More Than Just A Number” campaign. I will be doing a film that involves me discussing the issue as well as me interviewing several students on their opinions over diet culture in Western society.

I don’t only want to discuss about how the company perpetuates the notion that you aren’t good enough and that you will ultimately find happiness in weight loss if you stick to the diet, but also how they disguise their motives in completely and utterly deceptive advertising techniques. I want to demonstrate the hidden messages these diet companies place in their advertisements, such that happiness is the ultimate goal once you achieve your weight loss efforts. This isn’t the only underlying problem, but is also contained in the methods to achieving that weight loss as well; Special K promotes a strategic 1200 calorie diet, which is certainly not enough to maintain metabolism or nearly enough for a grown woman to survive off from; And from my own personal experience, can lead to disordered eating habits.

On one hand, indeed, Special K promises that you will gain that confidence if you stick to their diet plan but on the other hand they also have run advertising campaigns saying to “stop the fat-talk!” Special K’s main tagline is, “What will you gain when you lose?” This is incredibly contradictory. I’m supposed to realize that I’m worth more than a number and yet you’re still putting emphasis on me losing weight!

I also want to define the meaning of thin privilege and how it contributes to fat phobia. Thin privilege is systematic and reduces each of us to physical aspects, such as waist size, dress size, hip measurement then grants favors, opportunities, or simple lack of punishment when the numbers are low enough. Thin privilege is a social phenomenon that exists as a function of fat stigma, and it exists regardless of someone’s personal experience being thin or fat.

My project will focus on how the diet industry in these commercials and how their advertisements project the ideological framework of thin privilege. Upon dealing with my own struggles with body image, lack of self-love, and equating food with guilt, I believe it is important to address the pervasive message of these advertisements in promoting fat phobia and fat discrimination.

Sources:

http://www.feminisms.org/6099/6099/

http://yrwelcome.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/breaking-down-fatphobia/

http://www.thefrisky.com/2013-09-04/the-wolf-in-the-cereal-bowl-how-special-k-and-other-companies-co-opt-body-acceptance-to-sell-body-shame/

Blog Post 3: Advertising. (Kristine Gaddi)

The functionality of our society, though one could argue not entirely, is based on what influences us. That is the role of the use of media in our culture. Despite it’s ability to inform us and increase our awareness, I tend to find that awareness severely limiting to an extent, so much so that it works in a guise and implants certain ideologies that continue to remain unless we’re able to become active in changing it. The power of advertisements has undoubtedly dictated what the masses accept, often without our questioning. We are barraged with advertisements that aim to sell us a certain product or offer us the opportunity to change something about ourselves. We are certainly affected by it, even if the latter claim that advertisements aren’t necessarily able to convince us so easily. Advertisements are the main player in the marketing game, as its influence in our society is extremely powerful and allows us to become subservient in its deceptions. Advertising relies on existing cultural hegemonies that it creates and sustains, such that it feeds on socially constructed ‘wrongs’ and insecurities that plague individuals in society. We choose to remain stagnant and unaware of these influences because we are led to believe that this is what is deemed to be right and normal, which poses a huge problem that is fluidly generated over and over again by huge corporations that market these advertisements to the public.

I often associate the term ‘profit’ as the end result. In the verse of advertising, all it truly aims to achieve is a profit. Although a profit, especially a successful one, can be garnered with success, scheme, and strategy as its collective components, the means of achieving it are never purely based on truth or for the greater good of all. According to Constructed Bodies, Deconstructing Ads: Sexism in Advertising by Anthony J. Cortese, a successful advertisement campaign can achieve two goals that will result in a profit–> “raise the anxiety level” & “persuade the public that they need something.” The mantra of many advertisements, though not as blatantly obvious as some, have an embedded notion that “You will be happier, content, successful, etc. if you use this to change yourself.” Advertisements rely on making the consumer feel inadequate and inferior. Cortese disseminates many of the techniques utilized by mainstream advertising, which is “constantly bombarding consumers, especially women, with the message that they are inherently flawless – that what they are or what they have is not enough, too much, or not good enough” (Kilbourne, 1989). Let’s examine women’s health magazines and weight loss product commercials as contents that can be drawn out from Cortese’s discussion. ‘Health’ is not even the relevant term here, as these forms of media promote 1200 calorie diets to women, intense exercise regimes along with caloric restriction, and (not to mention) heavily photoshopped ‘fit’ women (often celebrities, trainers) giving their two cents on how they dropped they weight in the shortest amount of time. Don’t forget to read about how much ‘happier’ they are now. In the end, it’s not about health or well-being at all. These gimmicks insinuate that weight loss will make you happier and superior and often equate eating with shame, self-worth, and guilt. The abundance of body shaming is so pervasive and poses a dangerous message. This is the essence of such advertising, which promotes weight loss as being the ultimate key to the door of beauty and happiness.

It has been established in media critiquing that advertising preys on the insecurities of women. Nutrition companies like Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, and Special K are all a part of the diet culture industry that uses a woman’s lack of esteem to their advantage. Insecurities and self-worth are both mutually exclusive terms, and this is part of the given stratagem. When women succumb to these socially constructed ideals of beauty, companies that draw out these advertisements remain in their key power positions. A woman is constructed to be dissatisfied with who she is no matter what she does to become just like the person/people as depicted in those advertisements. Jean Kilbourne discusses this in her study, Beauty and the Beast of Advertising, which concerns women and their representation in advertisements. She says “A woman is conditioned to view her face as a mask and her body as an object, as things separate from and more important than her real self, constantly in need of alteration, improvement and disguise” (122). Essentially, a woman is not supposed to be happy with how she is, and must always change to conform to the idealized version of what a woman SHOULD be.

Becoming active participants in challenging advertising can serve as an alternative way in changing the path of the industry. How about creating ads that appeal to the women in a positive, affirming way that doesn’t shun them from one another? Instead, it could celebrate the diversity of women. I think completely eradicating the pervasiveness of the ‘ideal’ woman (thin, tall, slender, without blemishes, flawless, etc.) is impossible. I’m saying this only because I’m considering how deeply entrenched it is in our current society and how ‘thin’ and ‘fat’ will always remain social constructs. However, in creating advertisements that appeal to woman without separating them from one another and creating dividing lines between what is believed as ‘beautiful,’ and ‘ugly,’ maybe it can certainly diverge the ingrained notion of an idealized beauty. In increasing awareness of this through advertisements that are created in this realm of positivity and acceptance, it could be possible that people in the future will adapt to this. This is why it is crucial to be able to examine media with a critical lens.

What constitutes the effectiveness of ads is how much our culture depends on them to make us ‘acceptable’. The toxicity of these warped messages that draw from our inadequacies precisely explain why it’s critical to disseminate and discuss advertisements in our media landscape. Rather than questioning our self-worth based on what these ads promote, why don’t we question why we’re allowing these messages to dictate who we need to become? We so desperately need to be aware of the manipulative messages these companies send. It is imperative to see the prosaic methods these advertisements use to leech onto our lack of esteem. Realize that it is because of these messages, which enable the pervasiveness of such ideologies in our society. Look at the bigger picture. Be cognizant of them. And most importantly, challenge them.

tumblr_n0hddhYWVD1qigcfzo1_r1_1280

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Citations:

Cortese, Anthony J. “Constructed Bodies, Deconstructing Ads: Sexism in Advertising.” Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2007. 45-76. Web. 7 Mar. 2014.

Kilbourne, Jean. “Beauty and the Beast of Advertising.” Los Angeles: Center for Media and Values, 1989. 121-125. Web. 7 Mar. 2014.

Interesting article I came across regarding an open apology made by a weight loss consultant to all her clients: (Huffington Post led me to this link).

http://www.yourfairyangel.com/1/post/2013/07/an-open-apology-to-all-of-my-weight-loss-clients.html

Ways of Seeing/Viewing: The Male Gaze

 “Male fantasies, male fantasies, is everything run by male fantasies? Up on a pedestal or down on your knees, it’s all a male fantasy: that you’re strong enough to take what they dish out, or else too weak to do anything about it. Even pretending you aren’t catering to male fantasies is a male fantasy: pretending you’re unseen, pretending you have a life of your own, that you can wash your feet and comb your hair unconscious of the ever-present watcher peering through the keyhole, peering through the keyhole in your own head, if nowhere else. You are a woman with a man inside watching a woman. You are your own voyeur.”

—  Margaret Atwood, The Robber Bride

The above quote certainly defines the essence of the male gaze. The word ‘gaze’ categorizes many different ways of looking and viewing (especially in terms of consuming media, advertisements, etc.), but essentially it can refer to who exactly is doing the ‘gazing.’ The male gaze is an acceptable platform on appreciating ‘everything’ that a woman is. It’s seen as the only way women can be looked at with worth or value. It is how women are viewed in modes of sexualization and objectification. A woman’s self-worth is predicated in how sexually desirable she is to the male. As much as it angers me to continue to type about the ways women are situated under the male gaze, I’ve come to learn throughout my consumption of film and media in my daily life to conclude that this supposed ‘worth’ equals ‘success’ for a woman.

According to John Berger, “To be born a woman has been to be born, within an allotted and confined space, into keeping of men” (46). Written in 1972, Berger explains the duality of the male gaze in his article “Ways of Seeing.” Berger extends the male gaze from its origin in European paintings.There is an ideology at play, where women are there solely for the men’s gage and this provides satisfaction for them. Berger says “…….the essential way of seeing women, the essential use to which their images are put, has not changed. The ‘ideal’ spectator is always assumed to be male and the image of the woman is designed to flatter him” (63). This is an engendered idea, as well as a power issue. Who holds the power to someone else? How is the power maintained? A nude is ONLY a nude if it fits the idealizations and fantasies categorized in the male gaze. The article assumes that white males are the main/primary audience; because of this, women are subjected to scrutiny and criticism if they do not fix or hold a candle to the survey of the male gaze. John Berger emphasizes a problem that is currently prevalent in the contexts of mainstream media today. Images of women are depicted in highly sexualized, suggestive, unrealistic, and demeaning matters. We are exposed to it every day. We see it, but are we conscious of it? Or is it so ingrained that we do not realize this oppression?

“There is power in looking.”- Bell Hooks.

The Bell Hooks reading certainly challenges Bergers’. As a black woman spectator, Bell Hooks comes to actualize her point of view by being unable to identify within the survey of the male gaze. This aspect of surveying refers to the traditional white female that is presented in film. It is within cinema where the oppositional gaze is utilized. She first begins her argument from a historical perspective, where she discusses how, as slaves, African Americans were denied the ability to look. The “oppositional gaze” is the way of looking and has been a tenet of rebellion for blacks throughout history. “That all attempts to repress our/black peoples’ right to gaze had produced in us an overwhelming longing to look, a rebellious desire, an oppositional gaze” (Hooks, 116). This provided a foundation for their internal “rebellious desire” to become lit and in turn, came to protest such repression under the male gaze. The oppositional gaze challenged an existence under male gaze as well. “Even in the worse circumstances of domination, the ability to manipulate one’s gaze in the face of structures of domination that would contain, it opens up the possibility of agency.” (Hooks, 116)

Ignoring the racism and the sexism is how a black woman can identify as a spectator. As a result, a type of bond or identification with the women under survey would form. Here is where I discovered that this agency relates to some form of selective consciousness. Black women can alter and change their way of viewing a film in order to grasp it as entertainment. It is all about choice. In choosing not to look too deeply into the context, they are deliberately remaining unaware of repressive and demeaning themes contained in the male gaze. There is a consciousness of how we assess the established representation onscreen.

There are reasons we need feminism. Sexism is one of them. As viewers of cinema and consumers of different forms of media, it is without a doubt that sexism has been so internalized in our society and how we consume it. Sexism is a problem because it dehumanizes the character of another. Gender notions and imposed gender roles are socially constructed. They are both a result of prejudice and the way society looks at a designated group of people. In this case, women are perpetually oppressed. Based on gender and the inherent male gaze, women are automatically assigned characteristics, strengths and weaknesses, etc.

Image

These are images of the covers of various issues of GQ Magazine. This magazine encompasses a perfect illustration of how our society comes to view women, especially those who work in the film and music industry. These people invoke some type of influence on the masses; therefore this is very important to realize the connection between sexuality, female talent, and beauty. It is so deeply rooted in a system of patriarchy and oppression, that we often appreciate these famous women on the basis of their physical appearance.

If you have a problem (and I believe every woman should be) with the way that you’re objectified, realize that feminine standards of beauty are racist, unfair, ridiculous, and unrealistic. It is vital and encouraged to maintain self-confidence and to refuse in not adhering to those standards of the male gaze. But the insecurity and self-doubt that is bred because of what we as females are subjected to is not to be invalidated. As long as we realize it and our conscious of it, that is a good enough start in challenging it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/20/olivia-wilde-women-and-media_n_4825851.html

^ Bravo for you, Olivia Wilde.

Link to my twitter: https://twitter.com/Gaddi_K

Bibliography:

Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. Penguin, 1972. Print.

Hooks, Bell. “The Oppositional Gaze: Black Female Spectators” Boston. South End Press, 1992: 115-131

2/8 ~ Who Do You Think You Are?

Nothing inspires or moves me more than films do. Movies have always been a constant in my life. Even at a very young age, I remember the indescribable connection that would form when I’d watch them and the feeling today is just as strong as when I was a kid. I hope to be able to create my own films, as my interests lie in screenwriting, directing, and producing. The representation of women who hold power in the entertainment business is still scarce. The film industry has consistently been male dominated in the realm of directors and writers, and sexism is still rampant. As someone who aspires to be a part of that league of women in Hollywood who create different forms of media, striving and speaking up for equal representation for females in the industry is what I can hope to achieve for my life. 

I consume media in a constant fashion, which in retrospect calls my attention span into question, as it’s often glued towards my phone screen as I refresh my Twitter or Instagram feed. As a college student who resides in one of the busiest cities in the world, where everything around me is just as fast paced as the wifi speed in the best Starbucks downtown, our media consumption plays a perpetual role in our lives and, in a sense, keeps us in motion. As a Film major with a minor in Media Studies, my consumption of media is unceasing. As I glaringly mentioned in earlier in this post, I am a frequent user of social media networks. I watch so many television shows that it stresses me out trying to keep up with them. Certain forms of media on the Internet also allow me to increase my social awareness; I have various websites I look at daily (such as The New Yorker, Huffington Post, Jezebel, The Hollywood Reporter, Salon, Thought Catalog, etc). 

As a media-maker and consumer, it is important to be aware, not just of what’s going on around me, but how I take in this stream of information. It is without a doubt that news outlets, political journalism websites, opinion pieces, etc. can be misleading. Even in the subtlest of ways, media can be biased, one-sided, untrue, or even racist. Remaining objective is vital. For instance, you should always question. Truth and media aren’t mutually exclusive terms at times if you look at it within a critical lens. Despite such, it is important for us to know how to distinguish the purpose of the media we’re consuming. It is important to be conscious and scope out all sides in our approach. 

This link is about the 2012 Academy Awards and how male nominations dominated the major categories:

http://www.salon.com/2012/02/25/the_oscars_woman_problem/

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