Monday, November 26, 2007
Every young girl has dreams of being a princess and hopes of one day finding her prince charming. Gia begins narrating her life with, "Once upon a time there lived a pretty girl". Most girls and women view "pretty" as tall, thin, and blonde hair with blue eyes. These messages are conveyed in TV commercials, fashion ads, and throughout the media. According to Lakoff and Scherr, "There is a claim that fashion photographs generate enormous dissatisfaction among women because they create unrealistic expectations that most women are unable to meet (Crane, 314). In the movie, Gia didn’t fit in because she was not blonde, dressed like boy, smoked and cursed, and wasn’t lady like at all. You could say she was the opposite of what most typical models are. She displayed more masculine characteristics then feminine, but because of these differences people wanted to photograph her.
The story began much like a fairytale in that she was young girl looking in the mirror with her mother posing, while her mom was saying “you’re such a pretty girl”. But in reality, she was a poor young girl from
This fairytale is a little different than the traditional stories we read when we’re children of the prince rescuing the princess from distress. Instead of meeting a handsome young man, she meets a beautiful woman who she does a naked photo shoot with and falls in love with. It was like love at first sight for Gia. Unfortunately after their passionate night together, Linda was not interested in pursuing a relationship with Gia because she already had a boyfriend. This event seemed to break Gia and after making several attempts to make Linda fall in love with her, she was unsuccessful.
Her handsome young prince didn’t love her. She starts to use cocaine because of her loneliness and hopes that one day she will get “rescued.” She is still on top of the world but isn’t happy because she has no one to share her success with or her love her. Gia’s mother was there some of the time, but wasn’t there when Gia needed her most. Her mother abandoned her as a young girl and then later on after she had grown up. The final straw that broke her was when her agent died of lung cancer. That was the last person she could count on. At this point she turned to heroin to ease her pain. Eventually she contracted Aids and became very sick. This was a turning point and she finally cleaned herself up but it was too late.
Not all stories have a happy ending, and in Gia’s case, she lived the fairytale without the happily ever after. So what messages are we to sending to young girls and women that just because she lived an unhappy life, being beautiful made the struggle worthwhile? “Girls of all ages get the message that they must be flawlessly beautiful and, above all these days, they must be thin. Thus, many girls spend enormous amounts of time and energy attempting to achieve something that is not only trivial but also completely unattainable” (Kilbourne 260). Modeling hasn’t changed since Gia’s reign at the top. Agencies are still looking for the beautiful and thin girl. Fairytales give the image that there is a “prince charming” that will be there for the rescue but in fact is seldom the case.
Kilbourne, Jean. "The More You Subtract, The More You Add."
Crane, Diana "Gender And Hegemony In Fashion Magazines."
Sunday, October 21, 2007
The first photo represents the "real" man, myth, legend Dave Pica and the second photo reveals what an "ideal" Dave Pica would be like. Right now I'm just a poor college student who enjoys hanging out with friends, going out drinking, sports, fishing, meeting women and cars. In the future hopefully I can accomplish being an "ideal" Dave Pica. A successful college graduate with a good job making decent amount of money who can enjoy having nice things, the ability to do things I love, and maybe one day settle down and have a wife.
You could say that I am very into going to the gym playing sports and the usual masculine activities. "At any given time, individual men as well as groups of men are engaged in an ongoing process of creating and maintaining their own masculine identities" (Katz, pg 351). From my collage you can see that I'm a typical masculine guy. "The differences between advertisements for male toiletries and those for female toiletries are marked and, to a certain degree, conform to certain binary oppositions which are generally accepted to relate to men and women" (Kirkhan and Weller, pg 269). Men and women are different and their products that they use should relate to them. Men are masculine while female are feminine. I see nothing wrong with advertising products differently between men and women. If I see a commercial with a women using a shaving cream to shave her legs it's not gonna make me want to run out and buy it. It does not relate to me. Products for males are typically going to have masculine qualities while female products are typically gonna display feminine qualities.
Kirkhan, Pat., and Alex Weller. Gender, Race, And Class In Media. London: Sage Publications, 2003.
Katz, Jackson. Gender, Race, And Class In Media. London: Sage Publications, 2003.
Monday, October 1, 2007
Many toys are marketed specifically for boys and others for girls. For instance Barbie, which is targeted primarily for girls. When searching on toyrus.com for Barbie this is the picture that comes up. The girl looks like a miniature Barbie. Barbie puts the image of what a “normal” girl should look like in girl’s minds. Girls that play with Barbie may get the idea that they should look like Barbie. In reality, Barbie’s proportions are not even close to the average girl. GI Joe is a toy that is specifically marketed to boys. This image was taken from http://www.hasbro.com/gijoe/default.cfm?page=Products/Detail&product_id=20173.
GI Joe is a very popular military action figure. Most of the GI Joe's are male and could give children the stereotype that only men are supposed to join the military. Also, as you can see from the picture this GI Joe is very muscular, as are most of the GI Joe's. Young boys may get the idea they should look like him when in reality very few men look as muscular as him.
The idea that “Environmental cues set the stage on which the power relationships of the sexes are acted out and assigned status of each sex is reinforced” shows how toys can develop a child’s normative gender roles and stereotypes in childhood (Henley & Freeman,85). As a child most of their environment is going to consist of playing with toys. Some toys like Barbie and GI Joe can display negative stereotypes about men and women. Many people say “aww it’s just a toy”, but is it? People don’t consciously think about the effects a toy will have on a child. Toys develop a child’s identity and their ways of thinking, so it’s important to make sure each toy doesn’t exhibit a certain stereotype and encourage children to play with all types of toys, not ones just specifically targeted for his or her gender. Hall uses the saying, “Little boys like playing rough games; little girls, however, are full of sugar and spice”(Hall, 90) , to explain the ideology of masculinity and femininity and how it’s constructed in society. Toys can also display typical masculinity or femininity.
While looking at the age ranges in toys you see that as the ages increase, there is increase in the amount of promotional toys. Younger children play with most of the same toys until they are about five years old. At this point they are bombarded with promotional toys like spider-man, sonic, and Harry Potter. There are a lot less promotional toys until the age of five years old. Children are watching TV more so they are going to see commercials for movies and TV shows and want these types of toys.
The one toy found that was on my child’s list that was gender neutral was a water gun. Most advertising for water guns include both girls and boys. As a child I remember both girls and boys being in all the commercials and also boys and girls in the neighborhood playing with them. In conclusion, I think its important for parents to consider how the toys they buy for their children will effect them and their personality. Some toys can cause children to develop a stereotype or gender specific role, that we as a society need to break away from.
Hall, Stewart. “The Whites of Their Eyes Racist Ideologies and the Media.”
Gender, Race, and Class in Media. Sage Publications, 2003. (89-93).
Lull, James. "Hegemony." Gender, Race, and Class in Media. Sage Publications, 2003. (61-66).