Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Media Does Not Define Me

To me Girl’s Studies is about looking at how young girls are socialized in our patriarchal society. When reading the online article from Women, Girl’s and the Unfinished Work of Connection: A Critical Review of Popular Culture, it starts with how girls have been treated unfairly in our institutions and it continues on until adulthood. Girl’s Studies were started out of women’s concerns that the younger generation was not being taught what they needed to survive and prosper in the world they are living in. Why aren’t girls being taught the same in school as boys, and why are they not being encouraged to take classes that are traditionally dominated by males?
Popular Culture is one reason why Girl’s Studies so important. “Media commodification centers on conventional images of beautiful white, rich youthful slender frminine girls” (Driver). If you don’t fit into this category you are considered an “othered, exotic, or erased altogether from view” (Driver). What about all the other girls? The ones with different skin tones, and the tomboys that are forced to think that they need to be like that or something is wrong with them. It is so important that we change the message so that our young girls don’t feel inadequate because they cannot measure up to the role models they see on TV, in movies and as muscicians.
Anne-Marie states that being queer has made her relate and disaccociate from”mainstream media’s insensitivity.” It seems that there is a lack of good role models for girls in general, but even more so if you are queer. Anita Hill writes that girls are most influenced by schools, health care systems, organized religion, and American popular culture. I never really thought about how much we are infleunced by pop culture until I started taking classes about women. So if what are girls are learning is from these four things, then maybe it is time to change those four things! How is the question I feel keeps coming up in Women, Girl’s and the Unfinished Work of Connection: A Critical Review of Popular Culture. I feel like there are more questions brought up than answers, and maybe this is because we never looked at the younger generation to be the ones that could change things. The same reason that Third Wavers tend to dismiss the older generation of the women’s movement, I believe we have neglected looking at how to change the very things that start the process of socializing girls. I do like Harris’s statement at the end about how this struggle about girls has the ptoetial to unite us.
Imagine how confusing it must be to open up magazines in which the girls do not look, act, or think like you do? Wouldn’t you start thinking that something was wrong with you? Isn’t this the case for both quuer and non-queer girls? Non-queer girl’s could not possibly live up to the ideal beauty queens that are pertrayed in the media, and queer girls usually only get to see the exaggerated examples of other girls who are queer.


mhendrix said...

Hi Jo-Anne,

I really enjoyed your post, you and I focused greatly on the media’s influence on girls. We have to break out of this mold that only classifies white, slender girls as beautiful. I love how you stated “ It is so important that we change the message so that our young girls don’t feel inadequate because they cannot measure up to the role models they see on TV, in movies and as musicians.” The funny thing is that these role models do not even meet the standards, as many of them are PhotoShopped on the cover of every magazine. I think it is a constant struggle for girls to open up magazines and not relate because they will never see themselves as beautiful enough and that is what is leading to anorexia early in life and even the high suicide rate among younger girls. I can imagine how much harder it is for a queer girl to relate and feel as though they fit in, because they already feel abnormal in a sense. Check out this video is VERY eye-opening!

~Amanda W. said...

Hi Jo-Anne,

I actually quoted the same quote about "media commodification". I absolutely agree with you that the ones that are left out are very varied.

It is DEFINITELY time to start changing the media. I was so excited a couple years ago when Dove started their "real women" campaign. While it was not perfect, they purposefully chose women who were not 6'+ and size 0.

I was talking with a woman friend of mine the other day about Hollywood and what it does to people. Two actresses we used to really love were Kate Winslet and Renee' Zellwegger. They were great actresses, they were beautiful and they looked normal and healthy. It is sad to me how much they have changed and what must have happened to them internally to make them decide they needed to fit the "mold". Both of these women are now so thin, they do not even look healthy- nor do I find them attractive anymore. I can't even watch them now.

What kind of example do women like that set? Kate Winslet became an enormous star, as she was. This could have given hope to SO many girls and young women. But she had to change to fit Hollywood. Imagine when the women that succeed as "normal" women, remain "normal" women. What positive effects that will have....

~Amanda W.