March 24, 2010

Feminist Frequency releases "Too Many Dicks"

Filed under: Media,Media Gallery — Tags: , , , , — Melanie @ 10:13 am


Feminist Frequency’s latest post critiques the hyper-masculine and hyper-violent world of video games with remix.


March 17, 2010

Would Hollywood ever make "He's Out of My League?"

We think not.

I loved Fredrika Thelandersson’s post at Ms. Blog on She’s Out of My League, the latest male comedy/fantasy flick. No, I haven’t seen it. Along with so many other films, this one will have to go straight into my Netflix que. That’s mommyhood, people.  Mommyhood=Netflix.

But, honestly, I don’t think viewing it is a prerequisite to this particuar post.

To start off on a positive note, Thelandersson blogs about the film’s surprising exploration of contemporary masculinity despite the “standard guyfest” advertising. I love that. According to Thelandersson’s post, the film explores male insecurity, male friendship and a gender change-up that has the female hottie earning more money, holding more power and, obviously, being more attractive than her goofy male love interest.  Good enough.

But, its the last part of this post that interests me:

Reading the narrative in these ways turns the movie into a rather refreshing piece of pop culture, carrying the message that strong women can continue to be strong rather than weakening themselves to fit traditional gender roles. On the other hand, have we not seen enough big-screen male losers being desired by perfect women by now? The chances for the roles to be reversed–the “loser” being a woman who nabs the successful guy–are slim to none (unless, of course, she’s a prostitute!).

It’s precisely this male fantasy of the geeky, awkward, less attractive male pursuing and snagging the hot, possibly successful, female hottie without losing said geek status and awkwardness. This is a perfect example about the feminist complaint and critique of representations of men and women in the mass media: the double-standard. We see it all the time. It was one of many reasons I couldn’t stand 2005’s Hitch. I mean, really, Kevin James and Amber Valletta? That pissed me off. You’re telling me you can be short, stout, overweight and missing a neck and still hook up with a friggin’ supermodel based on charm and wit alone? Well, in the real world that might happen if you’re carrying a thick wallet and/or have an impressive stock portfolio.

But, in films or real life, the reverse scenario would never happen nor would it be considered as the basis for a film, even a comedy. If some variation is offered, the woman always transforms into a more culturally pleasing version of her former self. You know the drill: the glasses come off, the hair comes down and her wardrobe shrinks from overalls to teeny skirts and tops. Said transformation is not a requirement for the male geek, even those missing a neck.

Girls and women have to be hot to land the hot guy. End of story. We’re constantly bombarded with endless images and messages reminding us that without flawless skin, toned abs, thighs, legs and butts, and large breasts that stay perky no matter their size or age, we are not going to land the hot guy. Shoot, we probably won’t land the no-neck, awkward geek. The ultimate message remains that we must embody the culture’s beauty standard or we will lose value and eventually become invisible (and we’ll definitely remain single).

So, yeah, I dig the exploration of contemporary masculinity. It’s important. It truly is. But I’d like to see Hollywood tackle the “beauty and the geek” scenario honestly and accurately without turning the awkward, “unattractive” female character into a caricature. Will we get that story? Hmmm. I doubt that it will happen any time soon and that sucks.


March 1, 2010

I am a hungry, pizza-eatin' flower

Filed under: Gender,Media,Media Gallery — Tags: , , , — Melanie @ 7:43 pm

Gendering food is a common angle in TV commercials: the woman eats salads, the man craves steak. I actually like this Cici’s commercial because it pokes fun of the usual stereotypes.

Click here and here for older and more detailed posts from me on gender and food.

February 25, 2010

Another Facebook Gem….

In line with my previous post about facebook groups, this one popped up recently: “Reasons when it is acceptable to punch a woman in the face.”

Here is their list:

1. talking too much
2. disagreeing with anything you say
3. burning your food
4. not washing up
5. being on her period
6. being on her period and still coming to see you
7. talking bout other guys….even her dad
8. taking off her make up
9. leaving the kitchen
10. leaving the bedroom
11. refusing a threesome
12. telling you to stop pushing their head down… when
they give you head
13. not knowing the offside rule
14. not knowing the offside rule after being told too many
15.not allowing you to have sex with their mum/sister
16. killing banter
17. out drinking you
18. making stupid baby noises
19. being on either team Jacob or team Edward
20. refusing anal
21. breathing
22. when your football team looses
23. wanting attention during a cod session
24. asking you to make her a cup of tea
25. thinking their in control of the relationship
26. when ur angry and need something to hit
27. when you wanna try out your new kung fu move
28. wearing clothes indoors
29. asking you to go down on her
30. when they fish for compliments
31. when they make you watch chick flicks
32. expecting to get paid for
33. trying to help make this list (foook u becky)
34. having an opinion
35. crying for no fucking reason
36. weighing more than you do
37. calling you a woman/pussy
38. giving you a stupid nickname
39. forgetting to shave
40. not swallowing
41.having a 4 finger bucket
42. taking more than 20 minutes deciding what to wear
43. being taller than you
44. bitching about people you dont even know
45. looking at you funny
46. complaining that she’s cold…. wear a hoodie bitch
47. being a feminist
48. asking you to finish her off once ur finished..
49. calling the police when you hit her…bitch should learn
50. for being a woman..
51. saying they love you
52. when she is in range
53. When she reads this and wont have sex with you for
54. When she asks to be and admin
55. bitching about facebook groups…. get back in the
56. when you got 99 problems but a bitch ain’t 1
57. Whenever she talks without being questioned
58. when she sends you a friend request…. i don’t want to be your friend, but you can go make me a sandwich 😛

1. when she’s pregnant…..punch her in the stomach

How about #33?! Becky, I would really like to give you some relationship advice!

I’ve actually heard men say things like, “Well, if she hits me first then she wants to be treated like a man.” Or, “She just wouldn’t stop antagonizing me.”  We saw a very good example last year when Rihanna became the poster girl for domestic abuse. Unfortunately, her celebrity didn’t lend a hand to constructive and progressive movement on domestic abuse which is the leading cause of physical injury to American women between 15 and 44! Most of the media coverage consisted of talking heads insisting on giving Chris Brown a break and lengthy argument about whether or not she provoked him. Provocation or not domestic abuse is never excusable because he is (a) male (b) provoked (c) inebriated or (d) famous. When we continually normalize and excuse domestic violence it makes people like the guy who created this facebook page (who I’d venture a guess may be a fan of Chris Browns) think that it’s ok and humorous to abuse and degrade their partners.

Additionally, men who do not participate in this kind of behavior have to step up and become role models for the young men who only have the Chris Brown’s and Howard Stern’s to look up to. Jackson Katz stands as a leader in advocating that domestic abuse is not a woman’s issue (for older posts including Katz, click here and here). If 4 million women are abused per year then the chances that it will affect someone you know are very high. The chances that your girlfriend or your sister or your mother has been abused are very high; that isn’t a woman’s problem…..that’s a national crisis.

February 19, 2010

An unhealthy diet of "chick flicks"

Harding’s piece at Salon’s Broadsheet was inspired by one man’s attempt to “understand” women. How did he conduct this bit of anthropological research? By ingesting 30 “chick flicks” in 30 days. I can only guess that this endeavor nauseated him as much as McDonald’s greasy fried bits nauseated Morgan Spurlock in a similar challenge in Supersize Me (afterall, these films are as unhealthy for you mentally and emotionally as the Golden Arches’ fat-packed, artery clogging menu offerings are for your heart, intestines and colon).

As Harding points out, few films are directed by women and Waters, the man seeking to understand the female creature, only watched 8 female-directed films out of 30. She also calls out the heterosexist and “white” roles and story lines. The point being, uh,  not all women are white, not all women are straight. And, of course, the primary goal in the bulk of these films is marriage (preferably in Vera Wang). Last, not all women want to get married and many who do, want a divorce.

I’ve copped to my sick addiction to romantic comedies and “chick flicks” on numerous occasions.  With that said, I’ve actively employed my media literacy skills in deconstructing and examining these messages. Yes, I watch too many of these homogeneous films that recycle the same characters and plots time and time again. But, I am able to recognize the fallacies, stereotypes and sexist remarks while most theater (or Netflix) patrons do not. They ingest these images, roles and messages over and over from childhood to adulthood and these messages become normative, expected and unremarkable. Men come to believe that women are unintelligent, self-absorbed creatures seeking a ring and a baby. Women learn that this is what they should aspire to as a goal and the way to achieve that is through expensive and time consuming beauty practices. They are led to believe that this is what will land them the relationship they’ve dreamed of since girlhood when they’d scrawl their crushes name all over their notebooks.


February 14, 2010

Real men eat cupcakes

Filed under: Gender,Media — Tags: , , — Melanie @ 10:03 pm

Butch cupcakes, that is. Lest you or anyone forget you have a pair of testicles and a penis between your legs, you can eat the “manly cupcakes for manly men.”


February 12, 2010

The Man-tage

Filed under: Gender — Tags: , , — Lani @ 12:15 pm

Men making fun of masculinity will always and forever remain one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Especially, these men…..

Culture jammin' ladies take a stand

Filed under: Gender,Media — Tags: , , , , , , — Melanie @ 10:08 am

There’s been plenty of discussion on the pervasive Super Bowl sexism this week but a few ladies decided to take action and subvert the message of male oppression and anxiety. The original ad, which appeared in’s list of “Best and Worst of Super Bowl Ads,” appears first and is followed by the culture jammin’ response that went viral yesterday.

May 20, 2009

Contemporary Masculinity

Filed under: Gender — Tags: — Melanie @ 5:51 pm

Here’s an interesting piece on the changing definitions of masculinity and the increasingly complicated ways in which men navigate this gendered terrain.

This pressure paradox creates difficulties for today’s men. On the one hand, they face new expectations from women who are now achieving financial independence and are seeking attractive and sensitive, rather than rich and stoic, partners. On the other hand, men also must face their buddies, who may label sensitivity and careful grooming as homosexuality.

April 17, 2009


Another ad featuring a naked woman and a fully clothed male. This time it’s rapper Kanye West and his model girlfriend, Amber Rose. This is a tired, boring, played out theme in advertising that objectifies women and consistently portrays the female form in a state of undress or near undress.  Rarely, do we see ads in which the men are nude, with or without a dressed female in the picture.  It just doesn’t happen.

What are young girls and women learning about the culture’s view of the female body when all around them images of teen girls and women are scantily clad if dressed at all. Viewing this phenomenon through George Gerbner‘s lens of cultivation, the building and maintenance of a stable set of images that reinforce one another and collectively construct reality, girls grow up  in a  culture in which it is not uncommon and is actually expected that girls and women will be highly sexualized objects.

This doesn’t even take into account the body language in this photo that reinforces stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity.  The strong, active and in-charge male with the passive female.  In fact, Amber Rose doesn’t even appear human.  She’s more of an accessory.

We see these themes in advertising time and time again.  So, it’s not this one ad.  It’s the countless ads that reinforce these themes over and over and over and over….

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