Thursday, August 5, 2010

"I Can Be... Barbie." - A Look Into the Effects Barbie Has On Young Girl's Body Image.


When it came time to buy my younger cousin Tiff a birthday present, I had no idea what to get her. I decided to go to a toy store for some inspiration, hoping something would hit me. I hadn’t been in a toy store in a while, but nothing much had changed since I was young. Marketing had created a segregated toy store where boy’s toys were on the left, and girl’s toys on the right. It was so clear what these advertisers were trying to do; to sell more products, the companies followed the social norms that differentiated girls and boys. Girls were “pretty in pink” while boys were “rough and tough.” To reinforce these norms, the toys themselves were even different, not only the packaging. Boys had action figures, tool sets, model cars, and sports equipment. Girls, on the other hand, had dolls, tea sets, dress up clothes, and stuffed animals. Ignoring the obvious messages that the marketing industry was trying to send to these young children, I continued on with my pursuit for Tiff’s present. I rounded the first aisle in the store and was overwhelmed by the hot pink and sparkly boxes: it was the Barbie aisle. Barbie was one of my favorite toys as a young child, but I never thought much into the marketing or the social values that Barbie embodied. What kind of messages was she sending to young girls? Sure she was successful, intelligent, and pretty, but her unobtainable body was not a good image for girls to want to emulate. With body measurements of 39”/19”/33”, she’d be 6 feet tall, weigh around 100 pounds, and fit into a size four dress. The culture we live in promotes a thin body image, and what a better way to promote this to young girls than through their toys. 

Barbie’s image is by no stretch of the imagination a bad body image to promote to young girls. Mattel, the creator of Barbie, would argue that girls do not try to emulate Barbie and rather just play with her for her clothes and shoes, but Jean Kilbourne would argue differently. Kilbourne writes in her article that, “… girls are not just influenced by the images of other girls. They are even more powerfully attuned to the images of women,” (259). Women, such as Barbie, portray a fake and unobtainable image of beauty. No girl could ever naturally grow into Barbie’s proportions, so Barbie also unintentionally promotes body modification. Barbie’s message may have started off positive, showing girls they could be whatever they wanted to be, but her unrealistic body has created a disproportioned sense of beauty in today’s adolescent girls.

Being a pop culture icon, Barbie can also send any message she’d like. Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber touches on this media control in her book entitled The Cult of Thinness. She explains that, “As ‘guidelines about how to behave, young adolescents may be particularly susceptible to popular media stereotypes, especially those values and ideas presented by entertainment and fashion industries as a vital element of ‘youth culture,’” (189).  Basically saying that due to Barbie’s overpowering role in today’s culture, she controls young girl’s idea of the perfect body. Even with her demented proportions, Barbie still sends the message that “thin is in.” What an idea to be sending to young girls; you can do anything if you’re thin and pretty.




Work Cited (Quotes) 

Kilbourne, Jean. “The More You Subtract, the More You Add: Cutting Girls Down To Size.” Gender, Race, and Class in Media. Eds. Gail Dines, and Jean M. Humez. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications Inc., 2001. 258-267. Print.

Hesse-Biber, Sharlene Nagy. "Becoming a Certain Body." The Cult of Thinness. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press Inc., 2007. 108-130. Print. 



Work Cited (Pictures) 


“R4474_BARBIE VINTAGE CAREER DOLL (ASTRONAUT).” Online Image. 2010. Pink Ponytail Presents- Collectible Barbies. August 5, 2010. [
http://www.pinkponytail.com/Products_2006.html]

“1999workingwoman-171x300.” Online Image. March 29, 2009. The Next Woman. August 5, 2010. [http://thenextwomen.com/2009/03/29/career-barbie-now-50-is-on-a-mission-and-advocates-girl-power/]

“Barbie’s-New-Career.” Online Image. February 15, 2010. Your Funny Stuff. August 5, 2010. [
http://www.yourfunnystuff.com/2010/02/15/barbie’s-new-career/] 

“07topmodel.” Online Image. January 2, 2008. Cosforums. August 5, 2010. [
http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?p=5468466] 

“barbie41-300x249.” Online Image. June 20, 2010. Feminist Fatale. August 5, 2010. [http://feministfatale.com/2010/06/doll-parts-barbie-beauty-and-resistance/]

“Barbie-Logo-.” Online Image. January 17, 2010. Common Sense with Money. August 5, 2010. [http://www.commonsensewithmoney.com/2010/01/play-barbie-pink-ticket-part-chance-win-coupon/]

“barbie_store3.” Online Images. December 26, 2007. Hype Desire. August 5, 2010. [http://hypedesire.blogtv.uol.com.br/comportamento?p=6&ID_TAG=0&idBlog=5]

“tattoo-barbie-7616.” Online Image. March 6, 2010. Tiny Prints. August 5, 2010. [http://blog.tinyprints.com/general-information/you-tell-us-totally-stylin-tattoo-barbie/]

“barbie-logo_112813a.” Online Image. May 16, 2010. News of the World. August 2, 2010. [http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/promotions/811695/-Wersquore-giving-away-Barbie-I-Can-Be-packs-each-containing-four-dolls.html]

“6a01156e9cba4c970c0120a927c008970b-popup.” Online Image. March 11, 2010. Geek Out. August 5, 2010. [
http://daily.gay.com/entertainment/2010/03/want-mad-men-barbies-by-mattel-1.html]

“Pink-Barbie-Shoes.” Online Images. Princess Buy Costumes.com. August 5, 2010. [http://www.buyprincesscostumes.com/barbie-pink-dress-up-shoes.html]

“ctr.” Online Images. Barbie Girls – The World of Barbie. August 5, 2010. [
http://www.barbie-girls.co.uk/Barbie-Accessories.html] 

“barbie-pink-w500.” Online Image. May 13, 2010. Modern Vespa. August 5, 2010. [http://www.modernvespa.com/forum/topic65408]

“barbietwins.” Online Image. September 18, 2007. Available for Panto. August 5, 2010. [http://www.availableforpanto.com/2007/09/big_brother_twins_barbie_girl.html]

“ barbiecopy.” Online Image. November 23, 2009. Between the Sheets Women Revealed. August 5, 2010. [http://womenbetweenthesheets.blogspot.com/2009/11/im-barbie-girl.html]

“mr_9146464104b576.” Online Image. February 22, 2010. Shine, August 5, 2010. [http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/parenting/stop-the-madness-six-year-old-girls-wish-they-were-skinnier-815847/]

“4427-dcc barbie.preview.” Online Image. November 27, 2007. Buzz Sugar. August 5, 2010. [http://sugar-sports-fans.buzzsugar.com/What-your-opinion-cheerleaders-841032]

Nicolas, Harmony. “Clear.” Online Image. 2008. Red Bubble. August 5 ,2010. [
http://www.redbubble.com/people/dalaiharma/art/1392267-2-barbie-girl]


* Just a note: the websites are in brackets rather than "<>" because it wouldn't show up in the blog.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Miley's Been Tamed: Blog Post 3

Miley Cyrus - Can't Be Tamed

video


This student-created production is covered under the Fair Use codes US copyright law. Specifically, Section 107 of the current Copyright Act and Section 504(c)(2) cover the educational-basis of this video production. The production is intended to be a transformative remake, aiding in both student and public media literacy.  The use of copyrighted material is in the service of constructing a differing understanding than the original work, which according to Section 110 (1) (2), is to be treated as a new cultural production. This student-production is in no way limited to the protections provided by the Fair Use codes stated above due to the many other sections of the current US Copyright Act, which also include the principles of Fair Use.



Please refer to Fair Use principles when re-posting, quoting, and/or excerpting the video-production posted here.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Blog Post 3 - Option A - Can't Be Tamed

Can't Be Tamed - Miley Cyrus
Redone by Rachael Werner & Friends

video


This student-created production is covered under the Fair Use codes US copyright law.Specifically, Section 107 of the current Copyright Act and Section 504(c)(2) cover the educational-basis of this video production. The production is intended to be a transformative remake, aiding in both student and public media literacy.  The use of copyrighted material is in the service of constructing a differing understanding than the original work, which according to Section 110 (1) (2), is to be treated as a new cultural production. This student-production is in no way limited to the protections provided by the Fair Use codes stated above due to the many other sections of the current US Copyright Act, which also include the principles of Fair Use. 


Please refer to Fair Use principles when re-posting, quoting, and/or excerpting the video-production posted here.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Louis Griffin: The Feminist Model

               Over the past century, the image of women has changed significantly.  No more is this apparent as in today’s media portrayal of females.  On Fox’s hit animated sitcom Family Guy, Louis Griffin portrays a stay-at-home mom who cares for her three children and cleans up after her husband’s shenanigans.  While Louis may not be the ideal representation of a progressive feminine figure in the twenty-first century, she does, nonetheless, frequently show positive feminine traits.  A wonderful mom to her children, a loving wife to her husband, and a strong conviction to do what she wants shows a woman who is comfortable with who she is and happy with what she does.  Contrary to this, there is one episode in particular where Louis shows the uglier side to her feminism.  In the episode “Model Misbehavior” Louis follows her lifelong dream of becoming a super model.  After sexually exploiting herself to market a convenience store, and giving into peer and societal pressure thus conforming to a standard of beauty, Louis realizes that the beauty industry is not for her.  This episode is of particular interest because it show’s Louis in a darker, albeit feminine, way. 

                From a young age, Louis wanted to become a model.  Even though Louis is only an animated character, her aspiration to become a model from so young can be seen in today’s adolescent girls.  As the media becomes more and more integrated into young children’s lives, the societal roles for each gender becomes engrained at an earlier age.  Newman supports this idea stating, “Early on, children begin to acquire knowledge about gender through socialization” (54).  Society sets a standard of how both genders should act, play, and even what dreams they should have for the future.  Young boys are told to play with cop cars, fire engines, and building blocks, reinforcing a stereotype that men should be policemen, firemen, and engineers.  Young girls, on the other hand, are told to play dress up and care for their dolls, implying that women should be obsessed with beauty and want a family to take care of.  Louis’ lifelong dream to become a supermodel can be viewed as a prime example of how society’s engraining of femininity at a young age truly influences the ambitions and career goals of women.

                Louis’ femininity can also be seen when she starts modeling for the local convenience store.  Rather than portraying her as a mom in the ads, she is sexually exploited to sell the products.  Newman would describe Louis, in this scene, as the “exhibited” woman; “The seductive sex object displayed in beer commercials, magazines, advertisements, video games, prime-time sitcoms, and soap operas” (91).  This stereotypical image portrayed by the media, albeit feminine, is a poor representation of who women really are.  In today’s world though, as well as in the imaginary one where Louis lives, the flaunting of female sexuality is part of what it means to be a woman.

                After realizing that her career has reached a plateau, Louis needs to find an edge to keep her in the fashion industry.  Her solution: take diet pills to the point where she looks emaciated.  Sadly, according to Naomi Wolf, the diet industry has become a “$33-billion-a-year” industry (124).  Part of the uglier side to beauty and femininity is doing whatever it takes to reach the current standard of beauty.  More often than not, this standard is not obtainable by any mere woman.  Knowing this, the beauty and fitness industries thrive on the notion that women will continue to try to reach it anyway.  Wolf reinforces this idea explaining, “[The beauty industries] have arisen from the capital made out of unconscious anxieties, and are in turn able, through  their influences on mass culture, to use, stimulate, and reinforce the hallucinations in a rising economic spiral” (124).

                Louis also satirically covers the “skinny issue” comparing her ribs to a model friend’s ribs and then telling her friend to play her ribs like a xylophone.  Although only a ploy by Family Guy to get a laugh, the main message beneath the joke is disturbing.  The competition to stay the skinniest and the acceptance of it are all but too real.  Newman supports this notion saying, “The ultra-thin, media-driven standards of beauty continue to be an ideal that many young women are willing to starve themselves to attain” (93).  The depressing realization that skinny is becoming a new trait of what it means to be beautiful and thus redefining the feminine image today may cause psychological and medical problems for these women in the future.

Louis’ transformation from house wife to super model is a view at the other side of what it means to be feminine.  Rather than the nurturing and caring side to her feminism, an image emerges of a sexually and beauty driven Louis Griffin.  Giving into the competition of the beauty industry, Louis portrays a scene all too familiar nowadays.  Young teen girls obsessed with beauty to the point where they starve and exploit themselves just to feel attractive and desired.  The idea of what it means to be feminine is ingrained in young girls mind’s from the media at earlier and earlier ages these days.  It comes as no surprise that one of Louis’ lifelong dreams is to become the ultimate embodiment of what it means to be a beautiful, and feminine woman.  There are many ideas of what feminism are, and in this episode, Louis shows another side to her femininity.






 Work Cited


“Model Misbehavior.” Family Guy: Volume 2, Season 3. Writ. Steve Callaghan. Dir. Sarah Frost. 20th Century Fox, 2005. DVD.

Newman, David M. "Manufacturing Difference: The Social Construction of Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality." Identities and Inequalities: Exploring the Intersections of Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 2007.  30-70. Print.

Newman, David M. “Portraying Difference: Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality in Language and the Media.”Identities and Inequalities: Exploring the Intersections of Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 2007. 71-105. Print.

 Wolf, Naomi. “The Beauty Myth.” Women: Images & Realities, a Multicultural Anthology. Eds. Amy Kesselman, Lily D. McNair, and Nancy Schniedewind. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 2006. 120- 125. Print.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Blog Post 1: Link Hunt

March 19, 2010

http://media.www.oxyweekly.com.media/storage/paper1200/news/2010

/03/19/Opinion/Gaga-And.Keha.Champion.New.Feminism-3891972.shtml

Lily Rowen

Oxyweekly.com


March 6, 2010

http://primetimetv.suite101.com/article.cfm/family-guy-and-feminism

Robert Loughney

Suite101.com


April 12, 2009

http://www.salon.com/books/reviews/2009/04/12/gurley_brown

Laura Miller

Salon.com


January 1, 2009

http://womansrights.change.org/blog/view/could_a_song_by_akon_help

_thwart_gender_based

_violence_in_west_africa

Jen Nedeau

Womansrights.change.org


December 2002

http://www.gamestudies.org/0202/kennedy/

Helen W. Kennedy

Gamestudies.org