Friday, July 15, 2011

Gender Studies and Magic Wands

Today's objective was gender and sex and women in the media and technology. When Kisa announced that we would be studying and discussing this, I was very excited. I find gender studies to be very interesting and I wanted to learn more.

Before we started the topic, we got in groups and discussed the readings from Wednesday and Thursday night. My group consisted of Selena, Cynthia Z., and D'ara. Based on the readings, each group got two blank fliers. On one of the fliers, we titled it "Act Like a Man", and then the 2nd paper was titled "Be Ladylike." We listed qualities of each and then drew a box around those qualities. Outside the box, we listed the names that men or women would be called if they did not express these qualities. We then went around the room and checked the different groups fliers. I thought it was interesting how they were all similar. As a class, we concluded that society judges others subconsciously, which is horrible because we can say we want to stop judging so much but we do it all the time. 

After the discussion, we watched a film. The video was filmed at Northwestern University [in Chicago] and the speaker was Alice Dreger. She provided lots of information about humans and genital studies, along with interesting facts:
  • A man was born with male genitals but was internally female. Doctors figured this out when he was nineteen that he as menstruating internally, which caused many medical problems for him.
  • In Berlin, a female runner was falsely called out for "being a male"
  • Humans share 90 percent of DNA with chipmunks 
  • According to Alice, the "Founding Fathers were racist and sexist, but at the same time, they were great. They rejected supernatural ideas and were interested in naturalism. They were setting up the [future] Civil Rights movement."
  • There are those who have a penis but a uterus and ovaries inside of their body, or a partly formed penis/vagina, or a vagina with testicles in their body 
After lunch, we watched another film called "Killing Us Softly (Version 4)" - it was utterly fascinating and my favorite film of the day. The film is about ads that a woman named Jeanne Kilbourne that completely degraded women:
  • The average American sees about 3,000 ads a day, such as ads on airplanes, buses, bus stops, in the market, on vending machines, etc. America is all about subconscious marketing 
  • Ads sell more than products - they sell a vision of sex and love
  • Women never have any scars, blemishes, or even pores in advertisements 
  • 20-30 rounds of retouching are done by photo retouchers with a client. There was a clip where a woman sits in a makeup chair, gets her makeup and hair done, takes her photo shots, gets retouched, and then the camera zooms out of a billboard ad. 
  • Breasts are used as a way to market anything. Some girls even get breast implants as graduation presents. 
  • One version of how breasts are used to advertise something that has nothing to do with breasts: "Too flat, too big, too far apart....etc....but at least these hair products can get your hair the way you want it with these products!" 
  • Horrible fashion statement: "The more you subtract, the more you add."
  • Fewer than 5 percent of women look like the retouched women in magazines 
  • Women are bombarded by diet product ads. 90 percent of dieters gain that weight back in 5 years if they continue to use diet pills and/or marketed diet plans 
  • Women are typically bent over in a strange position in model shots, whereas men usually stand/sit in a dominant position 
  • When men are objectified, they are stronger and powerful, whereas women are objectified as fragile and vulnerable 
  • Men are exposed to masculinity equaling violence and to be insensitive 
  • Ads eroticize violence. When you link sex with violence, it is the most dangerous ad. Some ads seem to depict murder as well. 1/3 of female murders at at the hands of their male partners.
I thought the movie was great. I learned so much about advertising and marketing; I'll definitely think about this the next time an ad comes up.

We had a fun activity a couple of hours after class; the Brownies got to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Movie 7, Part 2! The film was suspenseful and amazing. I enjoyed it a lot. It was a great film and a great way to wrap up the series.

1 comment:

  1. Like I wrote on Mariko's post from this day, the inclusion of the video about intersex people is a new addition to the class, and I'm really glad to see it! About 1 in 2,000 babies is born visibly intersexed, which is pretty high. Society erases the existence of intersex people and makes people think that it's some freak occurrence that's "wrong." Sad.


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