Women and the Media: The Influence of Magazines, and such...

Friday, March 30, 2007

Why This Topic? Take a Look

Assignment (post) 3

Darling Charles

My blog is created to shed some light and gain some insight on the way America depicts beauty and the ways in which women’s looks have been revamped. Because of the constant nagging from the media to be thin and sexy at all times, American culture has made it so that it is nearly impossible to for a woman to feel good about herself. I always examine this through what I read in magazines (specifically ads) and books, what I hear when I listen to music, and what I see when I watch television. It always baffles me to see women go to extreme lengths to fit in and to follow the norm that others have deemed appropriate. I chose the blog as a site to analyze gender and pop culture in an effort to better understand why and how so many factors and ideas are devoted solely to women’s figure.

I decided not to focus on one single topic to analyze, but instead chose to disseminate this idea by combining the main sources that portray women in idealistic form. When it comes to music, there seems to be this huge line that female artists are not even allowed to cross. What I mean by this is that in songs, there is this sort of unwritten rule that female artists are only supposed to sing about getting their hearts broken, or some other form of relationship woe. Female performers are also told that sex sells, which may call for them to portray a strong sexual image. When we look at the opposite side of the spectrum, we notice men are sometimes allowed to speak of women however they may feel in their music. This may include having close-to-nude women in a music video, or lyrics that simply degrade women.

When it comes to television, focusing on reality, I have noticed that the pressure to be thin is the greatest. On one episode of “Making the Band,” Diddy, the creator of the show, tells some of the female contestants that they need to lose weight in order to even be considered for a position in his band. As expected, the girls went out and lost the weight in an effort to gain favor in Diddy’s eyes, which in the end did not lead to a position in the band. This is one of a million examples and cases where women were subject to change their appearance in order to gain acceptance.

Now ads. Magazines are pretty much what a lot of people use to keep up with the latest trends and current events. I do not oppose magazine reading at all, but the influence that comes with not just reading a magazine, but actually using it as a means to guide one’s lifestyle is where the issue begins. Women are mainly the object used to attract men and even other women to read magazines. In one case, Gloria Steinem wrote in her article, “Sex, Lies and Advertising,” that “carmakers draped blondes in evening gowns over the hoods like ornaments,” (GCRM 224). This mere act is appalling. It makes one stop and ask why women? In Steinem’s article, she also mentions that men are usually the ones in authoritative positions, even when it comes to women’s magazines.

I am aware that not everyone will interpret this topic(s) as I interpret it. When it comes to music degrading women, some may say that not every song is written to attack women, or that certain songs only apply to a certain types of women. As for reality television, some may say that if a woman would like to succeed in the entertainment industry, then she definitely has to appeal to her audience, which may mean lots of skin exposure. And finally, some may say that women should be the ones rejecting jobs for ads that degrade the female population. All of these views are debatable, and I plan on analyzing some of the possible reasons why things are the way they currently are.

In order to understand pop culture as a whole, people have to start integrating all of the things that make up pop culture. What better way to do this then to analyze three of the most influential aspects of American culture? Before I started to truly analyze these issues, I had my own opinions of the topic, but I have come to learn that my opinion does not mean anything when it comes to real analysis. Since my topic does have a multi-layered power dynamic, there still remain many dimensions to dissect.