Plastic Surgery and Women

 

Women and Media Final Project:

I discuss the social issues of women as the primary target audience for plastic surgery. Women are on all or most advertisements for plastic surgery. You rarely (and I mean rarely!) see men on campaigns related to plastic surgery. Young girls are surrounded by female plastic surgery campaigns or female beauty standards (different societies have different beauty standards) that encourages them to think about plastic surgery. The tactic of media and plastic surgery market is to construct beauty standards and use of words that relate to perfection is to sell and increase capitalism. No one is perfect. Beauty is not something seen, but felt from deep within. Don’t morph into another beauty standard. You’re born like no other.

________

Resources:

“Life in plastic is not fantastic for the real-life Barbie: Ken look-alike who spent $150,000 on cosmetic surgery dresses up as drag queen version after branding female rival ‘a total fake’.” Mail Online. Daily Mail Reporter, 13 Nov. 2013. Web.

Maley, Catherine. Cosmetic Image Marketing. 2007. Web.

Mulvey, Laura. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.” Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. Eds. Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen. New York: Oxford UP, 1999: 833-844.

“Plastic Surgery: Should Advertising For It Be Illegal?” Huff Post Women. The Huffington Post, 15 Mar. 2012. Web.

“Plastic Surgery Worldwide: Which Countries Nip And Tuck The Most?” Investopedia. Stephen D. Simpson, 24 Jul. 2012. Web.

Random History. 2007. Web.

“The pursuit of beauty: what compels women to go under the knife?” The Telegraph. Louisa Peacock, 22 May 2013.

“These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America.” Business Insider. Ashley Lutz, 14 Jun. 2012. Web.

“The 13 Worst Plastic Surgery Ads In The World.” BuzzFeed. copyranter, 21 Mar. 2013. Web.

“UK plastic surgery statistics: breasts up, stomachs in.” The Guardian. Simon Rogers, 30 Jan. 2012. Web.

“10 Coolest Plastic Surgery Ads.” Oddee. Garce Murano, 23 Aug. 2012. Web.

Advertisements

Post #5: Eléonore Pourriat’s Short Film, Opressed Majority – Tammy Lo

Every single human being in this world sees from different perspective. Men have always had the power to create films freely because it is a suited role for them. From the beginning of the women and media course, we have been speaking about mass media being controlled by men and television and advertisements are created from a male’s perspective. Often in mass media, we view women in the perspective of male directors or creators. There is little room for the female perspective because even if a women director successfully execute a project, she will still be targeted for being a women. It is wrong to criticize a piece of work base on the gender of the director. After reading about Catherine Saalfield and Debra Zimmerman, it reinforced the importance of women’s role in making films for others to reason from the female perspective. Catherine Saalfield represents female empowerment through her openness of her sexuality and her films. She focus on films involving activism and art. Saalfield is determined to show people the truth and demolish any stereotypes or assumptions people make at first thought–for example, her work on the HIV community. Often media shows one side of a story, but Saalfield displays the other side—not a negative side but a positive side by accommodating the HIV segments with dance, music, and digital art. Saalfield says, “the targets need to stop being so single-issue focused.”

Women Makes Movies is the world’s largest nonprofit organization that encourages women to create films. Debra Zimmerman points out that the content of the films women make are far more imperative than the art or graphics put in the video. These films are more personal than Saalfield’s films because she represents a whole group of people rather than a single idea of an individual. After I read about films by women, I connected the readings on publications that allow the public to post videos—such as YouTube and Vimeo. There are very few female directors that get credit for their work and are barely recognized in media. Representations of women by female directors should be the more accurate than by male directors. It is important for female to continue to make films for the public because we need perspectives from both the male and the female.

I watched an English version of the French short film, Oppressed Majority (Majorité Opprimée) on YouTube created by Eléonore Pourriat. Eléonore Pourriat is a French female filmmaker that received a lot of attention for her film, Oppressed Majority (Majorité Opprimée). Opressed Majority represents a matriarchal society, where society’s standard roles of men and women are switched. Men experience sexism, sexual violence, and treated with negligence. Some everyday situations that females deal with are reciprocated to males in the film–cat calling, doing “maternal” chores like taking care of children, victim blaming, gang raping.

Pierre is the male protagonist that deals with harassment in the matriarchal society. His wife Marion jogs bare chested, while Pierre was taking care of their child. Pierre brought the child to the daycare. The teacher was a male named Nissar, and like the other men shown in the film, he wears a balaclava and clothing that covers them up. Pierre does not wear not a balaclava and he is wearing bermuda shorts and button-down tee-shirt. Feeling liberal, he unbuttons a couple of buttons on his tee-shirt. From then, he is verbally harassed by a gypsy woman sitting on the sidewalk. He then walks into a tight street with an alley. A gang of women sexually harasses him by touching his genitals and grabbing his breasts. At the police station, the female officer filing his reports show little concern as she is seducing one of the male colleagues. Marion victim blames Pierre for dressing like he is and showing skin after he was showing his pain and emotions. As Marion walks to the car that was parked far from the police station, Pourriat transitions the matriarchal society to the patriarchal society when Marion hears voices of men cat calling her.

Pourriat did represent the power dynamics between living in a matriarchal and patriarchal society, however I find she included representation of oppressed Muslim women. Pourriat displays a religious connotation when Nissar wore a balaclava because his wife ordered him to wear it. She represented Muslim women who are oppressed and are ruled by men with little to no freedom. It is Pourriat’s vision that she felt the need to portray Muslim women and the dominance of Muslim men, although I don’t think it was necessary to target a specific culture because her message of inequality between women and men. There are some hidden power dynamics between the French and their ethnic descents.The main characters, Pierre and Marion are both blonde, while the women that harassed Pierre were of darker features—dark hair. It is Pourriat’s vision that she felt the need to portray Muslim women and the dominance of Muslim men.

Eléonor Pourriat’s approach to this film, she says, “It is the complex of castration. The worst fright of men. I wanted it to be not so realistic but frightening.” The short film is based in a feminist French society where a man, Pierre is sexually assaulted, harassed, gang raped—touched in places he didn’t want to be touched by a group of women. Pourriat wanted Pierre’s wife to “not imagine, not to sympathies, not to be able to feel what he feels. So often when women get assaulted, people say it’s their own fault. Even close people.” Men often don’t know what it’s like or understand how women feel when they are cat called or assaulted. Situations of inequality are more understanding when the opposite sexes switch roles and when they are displayed visually, in this case Pourriat did. I never understood how authority and media can make a decision to victim blame the female of the way she is dressed for her sexual assault by the male. Why are women always the gender that is expected to morph into patriarchal society? Men need to learn to control their raging hormones and understand equality. Pourriat’s work displays the most horrific events that women deal with men on a daily basis to show the public of how women are humiliated and objectified.

Eléonore Pourriat’s Oppressed Majority:

 

 

Image

________

Citations:

Eléonore Pourriat’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/eleonorepourriat1

Cocozza, Paula. “Oppressed Majority: the film about a world run by women that went viral.” The Guardian: The Women’s Blog. A List Apart Mag., 11 Feb. 2014. Web.

Redding, Judith M., and Victoria A. Brownworth. “Film Fatales.” 24 Nov. 1997: 67-70 and 262-265. Web.

Post 4: Oprah Winfrey and Motherhood – Tammy Lo

In The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women by Susan Douglas and Home Truths: Photography and Motherhood by Susan Bright together displays a dichotomy between colored mothers and white mothers. The media constructs stereotypical images of what a good or bad mother is. In response to these readings about motherhood, I decided to conduct my research on Oprah Winfrey and her founding the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.

Susan Douglas’s piece provides statistics of more white mothers under welfare than black mothers. Media chooses to manipulate and construct black mothers as the image of welfare. Media represents mothers under welfare as bad mothers and outsiders of society because their intentions of being under welfare is to cheat the government and hardworking citizens’ tax money to support colored mothers for their laziness, drug problems and materialistic objects. The myth of welfare mothers are represented as corrupt women who are not supporting their children instead their children are supporting them.

Susan Bright’s book includes Dorothea Lange’s photograph, “Migrant Mother”, which was an iconic image of the Great Depression. The white mother in “Migrant Mother” was Florence Owens Thompson and despite being poor, she was praised for being “a woman who keeps her family together no matter what”. Her gaze away from her children was made positive and interpreted as if she was looking into or thinking of her children’s future. Media delivers a message that poor colored mothers are not healthy, while poor white mothers are healthy because they are telling a positive story of progression. While women are often deemed weaker in media, colored women or minorities are further looked down upon as the others that need (not want) public assistance.

Oprah Winfrey, the name speaks for her accomplishments as an African American woman in media. While all women are look down on in society and media, Oprah represents the African American community and women. She started from the bottom to rising to the top as a respected and admired female global media leader, philanthropist, and public figure today. She is an extremely influential self-made figure who overcame her shaky past—raped by male relatives, running away, and giving birth at a young age—though the infant died. Oprah is the founder of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in Henly-on-Klip, South Africa. Her school of 53 acres opened in January 2007 after 6 years of construction that costs $40 million.

Oprah as a mother figure to girls or as young women call her “Mom Oprah”, she created this boarding school so underprivileged girls with potential to excel will have the opportunity to become bright leaders. Many young South African girls live in a society that is fighting poverty, AIDS, rape, disease and death therefore education is much delayed. South African families with financial problems are left to keep girls working in the field and send boys to school as it is part of their cultural norms to value boys. Oprah is a firm believer that education for girls is the key to many doors and lead to women empowerment, and equality. According to The World Bank, a country’s growth in education for just girls will increase its overall per capita income and the fertility rate drops, which will then lower HIV infection cases and infant mortality. Oprah’s project to provide education to young girls is positive because education is a human right that every child should have access to. This will allow young girls to know what education is and teach future generations the value of education. Education for girls will improve South Africa.

Oprah Winfrey is a successful, strong, black female viewed as a mother figure that worked hard for everything she has and gives back to others. She encourages young girls to become strong, educated, and independent women. Media represents the welfare mother as a black mother who is lazy and neglectful to their children. But the media’s representation of the poor white mother is one that cares for her children’s future. Oprah is an African American that destroys media’s constructed images of motherhood because she never had children, she is definitely not lazy, and she is a recognized philanthropist encouraging children and caring for their future. The positive results and successes of the girls that attended Oprah Winfrey’s academy will show the world the power of education and women.

Oprah Winfrey:

Image

 

Image

Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother”:

Image

________

Follow Me On Twitter:

@tammyahmeelo

________

Citations:

Bright, Susan, and Meredith Michaels. Home Truths: Photography and Motherhood. London: Art Books Publishing Ltd, 2013. Print.

Douglas, Susan, and Meredith Michaels. The Mommy Myth: Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women. New York: Free Press, 2004. Print.

Francis, Enjoli. “Oprah’s Academy for Girls to Hold Its First Graduation.” ABC News (2012): Web. 4 April 2014.

Hanes, Stephanie. “Oprah’s academy: Why educating girls pays off more.” The Christian Science Monitor (2007): 2. Web. 4 April 2014.

“Oprah Winfrey.” achievement. American Academy of Achievement: A Museum of Living History, n.d. Web. 4 April 2014.

Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. Version number. The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation. Web. 4 April 2014.

Final Project Proposal – Tammy Lo

Media’s Role In Female Aesthetic Surgery

My upbringing on what beauty is not what I see in the mirror every morning. It is acceptable for parents to not verbally say one is beautiful, but it is different when your mother hypnotized by the television picture and vocally praise the beauty of the screened figure, in which, often is a Caucasian female model. I believe that the words parents decide to use towards their children are immensely critical and affect adolescents alike. My mother would say things like, “There is not one ugly Caucasian.” I, then ask, “Eastern Asians are beautiful too, no?” She responds, “No, extremely few.” The repetition of her compliments to the beauty of Caucasians becomes a problem because she never once told her children they were beautiful. I was left to criticize myself, and I believe we are the harshest critiques on ourselves. From a very young age, she pinched my nose softly to visualize it being smaller, and still ridicule my body by staring or laughing at me when I walk by her. By high school, I’ve come to believe that I have a flat, wide, large nose, a large face, a fat body, and on top of all that, terrible acned skin. I experienced a sense of insecurity and self-esteem issues where I thought I was unattractive, but it didn’t affect me too much—I was just a homebody. I became interested to Korean media—Korean Pop music, Korean drama, and Korean culture. I noticed how “perfect” the actresses and actors were. My research led me to the artificiality of most Korean actresses. They often opt plastic surgery that reconstructed their appearance and changed their identity completely. That is when the way I viewed South Korean women on television changed—first reaction is my critique whether they are plastic or not plastic.

My project will be a short film addressing South Korean media’s influence on women by imposing a rigid constructed ideal image of beauty. The ideal image of the female beauty is shared by Eastern Asians: Chinese, Japanese, South Korean, etc. In the perspective of a South Korean woman, the ideal image of a woman is one with double eyelids, large eyes, high-bridged nose, small nose, small face, V-shaped face, youth, white skin, and thin figure. My focus will not be on the paleness and whiteness of the skin or the thinness of the body because it is considered South Korean culture, but I intensely research on media’s obsession with beauty that leads women to opt plastic surgery or the nip and tuck process of beauty. By publishing this film, I hope to cut the media umbilical cord that feeds females discouraging beliefs of an existing beauty standard, and I want to encourage young girls and women to appreciate their being. Young girls should never have to start thinking of saving money in a jar for plastic surgery. This subject of plastic surgery and beauty was a large part of my childhood growing up, so, I would like to share a small segment my story on appearance and thoughts on plastic surgery. This project will be supported by videos and images—ranging from celebrities to extreme identity transformations. Korean media often give lead drama roles to beautiful women—it was beauty they were selling.  This leads girls and boys to want to be that character and opt plastic surgery to be beautiful in order to achieve that romantic life portrayed in television. Media ridicules female personals about their appearance because it is either they are beautifully artificial or if they are ugly, then they say they are a face of a comedian. Comedians are commonly known to be ugly and not attractive because their funny appearance is compatible to their humor. Talented individuals must be balanced with their features. Media often fails to deliver dangers of aesthetic surgery—(Pictures of failed surgeries, which can lead to greater health risks such as depression.)

South Korea is the plastic surgery capital of the world. Thousands of dollars are spent on surgeries, skin care, and hair care—even the government sees plastic surgery good thing as it is aiding tourists to visit South Korea for potential operations. Plastic surgery may have become part of South Korean culture—students graduate from high school and their parents present them plastic surgery as college gifts.

 

Favored Leading South Korean Actresses (Praised for their beauty):

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Links To My Research:

Korean Female Body Image VS American Female Body Image Represented In The Media

http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1329&context=gs_rp

Korea’s Plastic Surgery Obsession Is A Glimpse Into The Future

http://www.businessinsider.com/korea-is-obsessed-with-plastic-surgery-2013-5?op=1

What’s A Korean Beauty?: Comparing Cultural Constructs

http://seoulbeats.com/2013/08/whats-korean-beauty-comparing-cultural-constructs/

South Korean High Schoolers Get Plastic Surgery For Graduation

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/06/south-korean-high-schoolers-get-plastic-surgery-for-graduation/277255/

Japanese Model Spends More Than $100,000 On Plastic Surgery To Look Like A French Doll

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2319427/Vanilla-Chamu-photos-Japanese-model-spent-100k-plastic-surgery-look-like-French-doll.html

Plastic Surgery Craze Takes Dangerous Turn

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/05/28/asia-pacific/plastic-surgery-craze-takes-dangerous-turn/#.Uy0SL61dWRN

South Korean Parents Forces Children To Get Plastic Surgery

http://www.vice.com/gr/read/south-korean-parents-are-making-their-kids-get-plastic-surgery

Beg plastic surgery parody

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=264nb9wX0Qo

VICE documentary—some prefer natural while some prefer artificial

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wWKjxxM6q8

(aus) journeymantv—plastic surgery, want to be like kpop idol

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCKShGLyeK0

SPH razor—singaporeans + kpop, look up to westerners

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EW6TuG9WHc

plastic surgery

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/05/the-k-pop-plastic-surgery-obsession/276215/

NY times—sk surgery comes out of the closet

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/04/world/asia/in-south-korea-plastic-surgery-comes-out-of-the-closet.html?pagewanted=all&_r=2&

gangnam-style nip and tuck draws tourists to south korea

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-29/gangnam-style-nip-and-tuck-draws-tourists-to-seoul-s-beauty-belt.html

let me in reality show

http://myseoulsecret.com/2013/12/11/let-me-in/

Man Sues Wife For Ugly Children (Hoax)

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/11/handsome_man_sues_attractive_w.html

________

Final Proposal (More Images):

+Word– Final Proposal

Presentation:

+Power Point– Media’s Role In Female Aesthetic Surgery

+PDF– Media’s Role In Female Aesthetic Surgery

________

Follow Me On Twitter:

@tammyahmeelo

 

Post 3: Advertising – Tammy Lo

The world is fueled by consumerism and capitalism, which leads to advertising tactics to encourage people to buy and sell. Constantly surrounded by the mass media and technology, advertising is an unavoidable part of media that refers to the ideology of the male gaze – in terms of images, sexism, racism, and power dynamics – to objectify women and use them as commodities for capitalism.

The male gaze is the ideology that women are viewed as objects in the eyes of men, and women exist in favor and pleasure of men. Advertising in vast mediums supports the male gaze because the images of women as sexualized objects or victims of violence are displayed.  In Beauty and the Beast, Jean Kilbourne writes:

“Advertising images do not cause these problems, but they contribute to them by creating a climate in which the marketing of women’s bodies – the sexual sell and dismemberment, distorted body image ideal and children as sex objects – is seen as acceptable” (125).

In commercials, runways, and print ads, the female body is a mannequin or an object used to sell another object. Certain clothing styles are made to exemplify parts of the female body – short skirts or short shorts to show legs, crop tops to show midriff, tight clothing to outline silhouette of the body, and or low-cut tops to expose cleavage. In print ads, the female body parts are zoomed in on, as shown in the Tom Ford for Men ads. Referring to the Tom Ford for Men ads, the female is nude because she is art, and nudity pertains to the absence of identity. If she has no identity, then she is an object, and since her body parts are exploited, blown up for the male gaze, she is sexualized, and putting these two subjects together, she is a sex object.

The images of the female as a sexualized object have a subliminal message of sexual violence. In Constructed Bodies, Deconstructing Ads, Cortese says: “Advertising not only makes this sexual genre of violent abuse tolerable but also unmistakably glorifies it. Sexual violence has become romantic and chic instead of being seen as grievously contemptible” (72-74). Images of sexual violence in advertisements are modeled by the male touching the female in an aggressive, dominant, and or inappropriate way, as shown in Fig. 3.65 (73). It may be misinterpreted that it is acceptable for the male to touch the female in this fashion. The greater ratio of men to women in advertisements is a message of gang rape and sexual violence, as displayed in the Dolce & Gabbana fashion ad:

Image

In the Dolce & Gabbana ad, there are four men and one woman. Three men are watching the man pinning the woman down in a sexual position. This glorifies rape culture and sexual violence because the female is an object of perfection, and the men are an image of attractiveness. In reality, rape and sexual violence is the interpretation of women as sex objects. It is the stripping of the female identity and using her body for the male’s sexual pleasure. After, the female’s body is discarded (murder or negligence) like an object. Advertisements that deliver these glorified messages of sexual aggressive behaviors towards the female need to be considered because advertisements contribute to the actions of the public – not only persuading consumers to purchase, but also giving the acceptable idea of glorified sexual harassment. The harassment is often committed by men, which makes them dominant since they control the way women feel.

The female is blonde, blue-eyed, thin, and symmetrically proportioned figure that represents beauty in advertisements. Advertisers promoting this standard of beauty are racially discriminating people that are not the female described. They are telling the public that if they do not look like the female (Candice Swanepoel) below:

Image

then they are ugly and unworthy, so they should buy this product to at least feel good about themselves. The decision-makers and advertisers are mostly white males that decide what is beautiful. This representation of perfection and beauty has become the beauty standard because the public has come to believe it is, as a result of constant bombardment of these ads of perfect beauty. The beauty standard is not natural, but learned through mass media, and detrimental to vulnerable young girls that are in the process of developing and vulnerable women. In The Media and Body Image, Wykes and Gunther say this message: “stay young, slim, and sexy if you don’t want to stay single” (212) is implanted into the minds of females. Women has learned to believe that they must look good for men and to someday be married, so they self-annihilate themselves.

The sexual objectification of women and the beauty standard is found in popular culture. Female celebrities present themselves through media and must look their best in the public eye.  In Shakira’s Can’t Remember to Forget You music video, she wears multiple revealing outfits and flaunts her body. She represents Eve in one of the shots as she ascends from the water with her nude body and hair over her chest. Popular culture is influential, and if girls see their favorite artists flaunting their bodies or wearing revealing clothing, they will too. There are magazine spreads that compare celebrities’ no makeup faces to their make-up faces, and this is negative. Women will see the comparison and think they need to buy make-up because it is apparent that the make-up faces are more appealing to the eye. Advertisements should deliver positive messages that include all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities. Popular culture is powerful, hence, female and male celebrities should coalesce to create a campaign or music video like, 2010’s We Are The World 25 For Haiti music video that helped promote awareness after the earthquake in Haiti. This project should remind young girls and women that they are beautiful just the way they are and to love and accept who they are. Troubled females should realize that there is no such thing as perfection and this can help them realize they are unique and beautiful through the message in the form music. The Dove Real Beauty Sketches commercial is a moving way for women of all shapes, sizes, age, and race to understand that one is too critical upon oneself. This is brilliant way to tell women they are beautiful because they are themselves and no one else.

 

Dove Real Beauty Sketches:

dove nice

Image

 

Eleonore Pourriat creates short French film, Oppressed Majority, about a feminist society:

 

We Are The World music video:

 

No Makeup/Makeup:

Image

Image

________

Follow Me On Twitter:

@tammyahmeelo

________

Citations:

Cortese, Anthony J. “Constructed Bodies, Deconstructing Ads: Sexism in Advertising.” Provocateur: Images of Women and Minorities in Advertising. Lanham: Rowand and Littlefield Publishers, Inc, 2008. 45-76. Web.

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

Wykes, Maggie, and Barrie Gunter. “Conclusion: Body Messages and Body Meanings.” The Media and Body Image: If Looks Could Kill. London: SAGE Publications Ltd., 2005. Web.

Post 2: On Ways of Seeing/Viewing – Tammy Lo

The male gaze and the oppositional gaze are ideas linked to the power dynamics between men and women, and white supremacy and colored women, respectively. The male gaze is the objectification of females in all forms of mediums and aesthetics. The male is the dominant gender because he is in control of looking. The female is viewed as an aesthetic – a piece of art that is looked upon. In Laura Mulvey’s Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, she states:

“In their traditional exhibitional role women are simultaneously looked upon at and displayed, with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness. Women displayed as sexual object is the leit-motiff of erotic spectacle …she holds the look, plays to and signifies male desire.” (837)

The female traditional nature is less aggressive, which automatically makes them less dominant. In the past, women were prohibited to wear certain clothings and to show skin. In rebellion, to cut loose from regulations constructed by men, women smoked, showed skin, and developed their own style. Women are naturally concerned about their presentation and looks. Women want to feel liberated and confident, and establish themselves through clothing, shoes, makeup, and hairstyles. Also, the female may want to attract a male’s gaze for potential mating by looking her best.

The male gaze is a pervasive form of vision in popular culture because female celebrities have pressure to be beautiful in the public eye. In red carpet events, male celebrities often wear simple, clean cut suits, while female celebrities are glamorized with elaborate dresses of top designers, fine jewelry, hair and makeup. They are used to advertise products (clothing and jewelry), like mannequins (objects). Once again, the female is used as a visual canvas. The female celebrity has adopted the male gaze to their advantage by purposely enforcing objectification to the audience to promote their work. Miley Cyrus is a great example of objectifying herself through her sexual actions and outfits to attract audience, controversy, and sales. She either wears skimpy clothing, is nude, or flaunting her assets. Her controversial music videos: “Wrecking Ball”, she was nude on a wrecking ball, and “Adore You”, she was on a bed (as if she was under the covers) touching her body and rolling around. Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” music video featured half-nude females as the fully-clothed males watched. There is a dichotomy between nudity and nakedness. In Ways of Seeing, Berger differentiate nakedness from nudity: “To be naked is to be oneself. To be nude is to be seen naked by others and yet not recognized by others” (54). We can call the examples, nudity because we neither know everything about Miley Cyrus nor the women in Robin Thicke’s music video.

The oppositional gaze is white supremacy over black people through looking. Oppositional gaze has developed from the history of white owners and black slaves.” There is power in looking” (115) as Bell Hooks argues in The Oppositional Gaze. Slaves were prohibited from looking as consequences proceeded. Daring to look is an act of rebellion against the whites. Novels represent white supremacy and the powerless blacks. During the time of slavery in southern United States, Harriet Beecher Stowe published Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It revealed how horrific slavery was and the forceful white owners were. For Harriet Beecher Stowe to shine a light on how abusive and vicious white owners were, she had to represent the white owners with power and the blacks vulnerable and without power.

The oppositional gaze caused me to think about a few things that I have encountered. In Asian culture, there is a fixed line between the old and the youth – the youth must not look directly into the eyes of the old when scold at. I’ve also learned that staring into someone’s eyes targets their weak spot, which reveals their uncomfortability, nervousness, and intimidation. As an American with Chinese descent, I experience a lot of Asian stereotypes through various mediums – television shows and movies. I agree with “I could always get pleasure from the movies as long as I did not look too deep” (121). Often, I have to not watch it from a critical perspective and put down my guards in order to enjoy the segment. What makes stereotypes comical? I believe it is the representation done by someone of another ethnicity that cause it to be funny.

The male gaze and the oppositional gaze are pervasive and has developed because it began in the early days of our history. History can’t be changed or manipulated as it is in the past, and history is constantly accumulated to the present.

 

Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines music video:

http://www.vevo.com/watch/robin-thicke/blurred-lines-unrated-version/USUV71300526

Tom Ford for Men ads:

Image

________

Follow Me On Twitter:

@tammyahmeelo

________

Citations:

Hooks, Bell. “The Oppositional Gaze.” Black Looks: Race and Representation. Eds. Boston: South End Press, 1992: 115-131.

Mulvey, Laura. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.” Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. Eds. Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen. New York: Oxford UP, 1999: 833-844.