A perfect woman? Impossible…

As a society, we love the media. Sometimes it seems like entertainment is the only reason to live. (Grey’s Anatomy…Hero’s…come on!) However, sometimes we have to question certain myths and stereotypes that arises that inevitability affect our society. Dr. Mary-Lou Galician’s text, “Love Sex & Romance in the Media,” once again focuses on a stereotype that has affected our society for ages.

“To attract and keep a man, a woman should look like a model or a centerfold.”

Courtesy from Maxim.comIn entertainment, there are beauties galore. From the fashion world, to movies, TV, book covers … even the hand models for lotion. It’s a huge stereotype that has affected real-life relationships and self-perception resulting in hazardous health and depression.

According to Dr. Galician’s text, “Unrealistic Playboy-style pictures of attractive women can have attitudinal and behavioral effects on men and on their real-life relationships. Real women can’t measure up to these seemingly real fantasies.” Unfortunately, this also affects young girls who feel they have to grow up to a certain irrational standard of beauty. On the flip-side, young males are also depicted as having to always have muscular body-builder bodies as oppose to feminized male physique.

Dr. Galician did a survey at Arizona State University on this particular question. Very few men or women agree that woman should look like a model or centerfold to attract and hold a man. As a result, within those small percentages men are far more likely to agree (around 15%-compared with only around 3% of the women).

Courtesy from USATODAY.com

Photo on the left by By Bru Garcia, AFP/Getty Images. USATODAY .com said the picture is of models who were to wait backstage during a Madrid fashion week. The Madrid fashion show, which ended Saturday, banned overly thin models, saying it wanted to project beauty and health. Organizers said models had to be within a healthy weight range.

USATODAY.com wrote an article asking if thin models warped girls’ body image. An excerpt from the article said, “The promotion of the thin, sexy ideal in our culture has created a situation where the majority of girls and women don’t like their bodies,” says body-image researcher Sarah Murnen, professor of psychology at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. “And body dissatisfaction can lead girls to participate in very unhealthy behaviors to try to control weight.”

For the folks that absolutely have to look like the cover model or the actresses on TV, there are actually self-help websites, blogs, books that say, “How to look like a Model.”

One blogger posted several pictures of celebrities without their make-up trying to prove how powerful make-up can be. This posted received a comment from an anotomyous blogger who said,

“Totally true. Plus a good hairstylist, good lighting, and good photography can make anyone look, if not glamorous, at least arty. When I was a kid, my father did some professional photography (really high quality stuff). He made everyone look beautiful or, for those with atypical proportions, visually striking. And I still use some of the tricks I picked up during a brief modeling stint 30 some years ago. Even now, I can look much “hotter” than I really am, though it takes more effort than I usually care for.”

Another blogger from NYC posts her own experiance. She wrote, “I wish I could believe that appearances don’t really matter, but we all know they do.” She goes on and mentions an encounter with a friend who constantly apologized for not looking as “hot” as she used to. She wrote, “After eighteen years of marriage, the wife of this ridiculously ripped man kept prefacing sentences with, “I know it’s hard to believe, but I was a catch when he found me” or “I used to be much thinner”. She felt like she had to apologize to the world for her appearance, even though she had found a beautiful man to love her. Now, no one rolls out of bed looking perfect.

Nicely put.

After the recent post, Cristina, a blogger, posted a comment in reaction to what I had to say:

Comment: “Gee, well…. it’s really hard. But I’ve started to accept my body, even though I can’t say it out loud, I just think I do. I’ve suffered from Anorexia since age 14 (I’m 27 now and recently entered treatment last June) and sure the media does tell women how they should look and how it will make them happy and crap. But it’s all a lie.”

Here’s my question to Cristina’s response:

Q: I’m glad you are in treatment and started to accept your body. If you don’t mind me asking, was one of the reason why you suffered from Anorexia as a young girl due to what you saw from the media?

America and the New Times … all rolled into one

Amazing how the last few weeks have been for the media in United States, huh? I would like to start off by saying I intern at the Phoenix New Times and am proud to see all this jazz go down in history.

Courtesy from Phoenix New Times The media are all around us, and most of the times we take the media for granted. One example of a medium would be the press. Just recently, the Phoenix New Times published a cover page article titled “Breathtaking Abuse of the Constitution” last week on details from a secret grand jury proceeding, knowing full well it would be illegal to do so. (The title says it all, doesn’t it?)

Writers and founders of the Phoenix New Times, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin wrote in the beginning of the article, “It is, we fear, the authorities’ belief that what you are about to read here is against the law to publish. But there are moments when civil disobedience is merely the last option. We pray that our judgment is free of arrogance.”

In a nutshell, Sheriff Joe Arpaio sued the Phoenix New Times for publishing his home address in 2004 online since it is illegal in the state of Arizona to publish a law enforcement officer’s address Web. Since then it has escalated to both executives Lacey and Larkin being arrested after publishing details of a grand jury investigation, including a subpoena demanding information about readers of that paper’s Web site going back more than three years.

What’s interesting is the response our society has to this case since it was made public.

According to EditorandPublisher.com, “Many member papers of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN) are now providing links on their Web sites that inform readers to online sites which list the home address of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. They say they are doing this in solidarity with the Phoenix New Times.”

Every news medium is talking about freedom of the press, and interestingly enough, those who have never read, or have not supported the New Times have shown their opinions too.

Courtesy from courier-journal.comSome comments from the New Times article were:

“I was never a loyal reader to New Times, but this whole issue will make me the most loyal reader you have. I’m going to spread the word!”

“I support New Times 100% on this, and I am a conservative Republican. …. I was never a loyal reader to New Times …”

This reader has officially changed his political party (almost):

“I am a Republican and past supporter of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Sadly, I also voted for Andrew Thomas in the last election. Sorry. (Voted for Dan Saban for Sheriff, though, phew!) I think the song from The Who best describes how I feel right now: “Won’t get fooled again”. Who am I voting for in the next election??? Anybody but Joe Arpaio and Andrew Thomas. That’s who!”

It’s interesting to see some people actually change their views based on one article they have read and from what they have learned from the news and online.

One blogger agrees how our society revolves around the media. She wrote, “We live in a fascinating world. It is a world of constant technological innovation, a world where the culture is created by creative advertisements and information is accessible with the click of a button. Media drives our economy, provides entertainment and supplies access to information. It plays an important role in our daily lives and influences the choices the make in whatever we do or buy.”

Male superiority is reinforced in the media…

 

 

To reflect on our society’s couple relationship is to see the new modern era of equality, open mindedness and communication. But with the new will always come with at least some of the old.

Dr. Mary-Lou Galician at Arizona State University also stated another common stereotype in her textbook, “Sex, Love & Romance in the Media,” that said:

“The man should NOT be shorter, weaker, younger, poorer, or less successful than the woman.”

A quote Galician pulled from Late Nite with David Letterman:

“Well, I can wear heels now.”

-Nicole Kidman, discussing her split from Tom Cruise

Galician speaks of the myth for male superiority in romantic relationships and how in our mass media, the myth is reinforced even in nonfiction entertainment forms like the news: A news anchor “couple” is practically always an older man with a younger woman. They’re hardly ever the same age, much less an older/younger man duo.

Interestingly enough, Galician did a survey with her Love Quiz with male and female university students and by a 4:1 ratio (80% disagree/20% agree) both sexes deny they believe in male-female inequality in relationships.

Typically as the sand in the hourglass fades away and new ideas and thoughts are brought up, old traditional views, such as the male superiority would fade and equality would reign.

Surprisingly, it’s the opposite.

Based on Galician’s survey, she found that the Generation Xers were more likely than the older Baby Boomers to believe in the stereotypical myth. She gives credit to our current forms of music videos, which tend to portray patriarchal couple ship and objectified females.

Male donmiance? This picture is just a photo I found. By analyzing the photo, the couple seems happy. To look closer, the male is sitting higher than the female, holding her all while looking straight at the camera. As for the female, she is crossed leg with her arms crossed and looking up at him, almost for approval. It’s just a photo, but these are the types of pictures in our media that displays male superiority instead of the ever searching equality.

This photo is actually from someone’s photo album (who I believe is a photographer) and purposefully posed this couple to show male dominace.

The photographer, Andre, wrote, “This is a great photo of social commentary. Its a classic pose, one that shows male dominance over his woman and that the woman knows her place. The man with eyes looking forward, arms around his property, tells others to back off. The woman, whose head is tilted up and eyes gazing on her man, shows that she is OK with being the subservient one. If nothing else, the artist has suggested his view of Man as King is alive and well in today’s society.”

Media Literacy … Disney … now Barbie?

Based on the last post on how Disney has affected our society, there was a few questions on how I would educate the youngin’s on media literacy if I had the chance.

 

Question:

How would you educate all those little girls who want to be Disney princesses? Would you teach media literacy in junior high or high school? Would you try to change how Disney and the media portray females?

My Opinion:

As a young girl, I honestly would not understand any media literacy, or ethics my parents or anyone in society would teach me. I would probably let my child/student/neighbor/etc. roam free with her imagination and just be young.

As for when I would teach media literacy, I would teach it in high school most definitely. Why wouldn’t I teach this particularly valuable subject to the little junior high schoolers? Probably because they would not take the subject seriously and would probably not retain any of the information. As for the high schoolers, they’re older, have an idea of who they are, what they want to be, plus maturity does play a factor. I believe they would take to the subject much better than the younger crowd. Unfortunately, what with the typical low high school budget, I wouldn’t be surprised to NOT see any media literacy class being taught anywhere. (Just like all those “unnecessary” music classes being cut … )

As for the last question, “Would you try to change how Disney and the media portray females?” I would make the audience aware of how the media do affect our society, and Disney would be an obvious example. I would not necessarily try to change how Disney themselves intentionally portrays females … but I would point how the similarity to how real-life situations match coincidently to the Disney stories we have all come to watch and love. Though I would point out how the media as a whole (TV, movies, comics, books etc) does portray females, I would point out the many different categories women play on TV (I haven’t mentioned the different ethnics either yet … ) and how many young females in our real-time world all wish they can be like those fictional characters they see on TV.

Example:

'80s Barbie

There is an article I read and some show I saw on TV that featured a 40-year-old woman who always looked up to Barbie as her role model … and finally became one. She underwent 31 operations in 14 years to become a living Barbie doll … Read the CBS article titled, “Becoming Barbie: Living Dolls, Real Life Couples Becomes Models of Plastic Perfection.”

After reading that article, ironically back in 1997, Mattel chose to redesign Barbie to better reflect our society. According to Mattel, she underwent the ultimate plastic surgery. Complete with slimmer hips, wider waist and yes … smaller bust.Read the BCC News article titled, “Barbie undergoes plastic surgery.”

Le Reflection … the why.

I’m fascinated about how the media affects society. From music to TV, the news just anything. Our society is so tuned to the tube, we forget what reality means. That’s what my blog will be about, a reflection of society…our society.

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