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Critical Analysis Paper I: The Media

Critical Analysis Paper I: The Media

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Published by D Hernandez
On the media, for WGS course.
On the media, for WGS course.

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Published by: D Hernandez on Mar 10, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Hernandez 1WGS120Danielle HernandezMarch 7, 2012Critical Analysis Paper I: The MediaIn a society that is struggling so hard to eliminate sexism, racism, and, to an extent,classism and heterosexism
, the media certainly isn’t helping. It is such an enormous and
 powerful force that seems virtually unstoppable. The facts that it is so ingratiated in our cultureand that it is legally difficult to deal with enables it to create rigid stereotypes and norms thatoften prove dangerous.The media affects the way our society perceives sex. It establishes differentiated genderroles and creates the paradigm for sexual allure. John Kimmel explains how media coverage of sports makes it quite obvious that this athletic world and culture is an all-boys club. Sports talk shows on the radio and on television are blatantly misogynist and homophobic. Men can call inand speak their minds and other men listen in. The media becomes an agent for keeping alive the
“good old days” which, as Kimmel stated, were only good days for whit
e, middle-class, men.
These “good old days” exclude and demean women and any feminine qualities in either sex.
Magazine and product advertisements, as mentioned by Jean Kilbourne, always feature men asbeing anything but feminine. They are always standing up, looking dominant, and often directlydominating women, themselves. In video games, men are allowed to live in a fantasy in whichthey use their strength and tendencies for violence to get what they want, to survive, or to win-which often includes explicit violence (physical and sexual) against women. As a result, this ideaof ultra-masculinity becomes a norm for all men. The only problem I saw was that it seemed
Kimmel’s analysis was based more on a large, public, institution perspective
- especially when it
Hernandez 2
came to the concept of the “designated homeworker.” I’d like to believe that at a small institutionsuch as Gettysburg, it’s a lot harder for guys to shirk their assignments. Many classes are small
and discussion-based and if someone else wrote your
 paper for you, wouldn’t the professor  become suspicious that your work is done but that you can’t contribute to conversations?
 On the other side, the media obviously creates a standard for women and femininity.Women are airbrushed, dieted, Botox-injected, and Photoshopped within an inch of their lives.Kilbourne makes an excellent point to bring to attention the fact that not all women can possiblybe model-thin- that it is a genetic trait of just a small minority of women. Not a single woman inmedia images is free of digital mutilation. I know that I am also personally guilt of committingthe Photoshop sin. Not just in artistic photography, but also in (what should be casual) Facebook profile pictures I take of myself, photo-editing is a must. I takemy own face and artificially airbrush it, add make-up, changethe color of my eyes, whiten my teeth change my hair, and
occasionally, I’ve even changed the size of my eyes and lips.And, unfortunately, those photos are my most “liked.”
On the
side, I’ve placed a before and after of one such image that I was
able to edit in about 5 minutes using two free and publiclyavailable programs: Taaz and Photoscape. I also understand,
and always have understood, that I’ve bought into the
ization of women, as well. I’m an avid fan
of the Japanese Lolita fashions that turn
women into girls. This scene’s name is even a direct reference to pedophilia
! With fullknowledge of this, I still enjoy the look it portrays and would, if I was able to afford it and pull itoff, also dress in Lolita garb. I suppose I allow myself this because I know I understand the
Hernandez 3implications it carries. But it is important to never forget that it is images like these that pushdouble binds like those discussed by Marilyn Frye for women into mainstream media: womenshould be sexy but virginal at the same time. This then makes me think to myself- just how muchof this imagery of women can be justified under artistic license? Well, most of it is, which is whyit is not deemed obscene under the law.
Infantilization isn’t just making older women look like children, but vice versa, as well.
LZ Granderson from CNN spoke fervently in regards to small children- as young as 6- being thetargets of anything from push-up bras to thongs that advocate prostitution. He looks pointedlytowards the parents as the cause of this problem just as much as the media. This made me recall atime I was in a mall and saw a girl, about 9 or 10, dressed in Hollister and Abercrombie, donninga Coach
 bag, and texting on a Sidekick (which today, I’m sure, would be an iPhone), while her 
parents, disturbingly,
behind her. Another example can be found in the recent scandal
that rose up around Sketcher’s Shape
-Up sneakers for girls. Commercials advertising thesesneakers were played during times that would target girls as young as kindergarten-aged. Theadvertisement features a cartoon girl and a band that sings: "Heidi's got new Shape-Ups, goteverything a girl wants. She's got the height, got the bounce. She's lookin' good and havin' fun'cuz Heidi's got new Shape-Ups." Despite the fact that it sends a message that girls are never tooyoung to hate their bodies and that these types of shoes have been proven to actually causedamage to your back and legs after prolonged use, they are still sold today.The finally problem that media causes is a creation of an idealized Western aesthetic.Norimitsu Onishi, in Globalization of Beauty Makes Slimness Trendy, laments about how themainstream success of African beauty pageant winner, Agbani Darego began altering the deeplyfounded ideals of beauty in Africa. Once a culture that embraced women with curves and even

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