Friday, March 30, 2007

Creating Beauty To Get A Man

This collage displays how in the Disney movie Cinderella it is portrayed that in order to get a man to fall in love with you, you have to look and dress pretty. According to Helen Brown, the former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, “To get into the position to sink a man it was not necessary that a woman be beautiful, but she had to know how to create an illusion of beauty” (Humez, 120). In Cinderella, it is not until she gets dressed up that a man falls in love with her. Before that, when she is dressed just as a peasant girl, she does not get the attention from any guys. The collage shows this by placing Cinderella without makeup and a dress and other girls who are made up on the left and then in the middle I placed the different items that are used to “create the illusion of beauty” and then on the left shown what would be the result according to Brown.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"Beauty and the Beast" and Masculinity Norms

My topic is gender representation in classical Disney movies. I chose Disney movies as a way to analyze gender and popular culture because they are very popular and almost everyone has seen at least one Disney movie and most Disney movies have two main characters, a male and female. These characters portray roles of the different genders in society through popular culture.

In the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast, there are two main characters, Belle, and Prince Adam, who was turned into the beast. The Beast disseminates both hegemonic and counter-hegemonic messages. In the beginning he is a very coldhearted man. When the old lady knocks on his door in the middle of the night and seeks shelter from the rain in his castle, Prince Adam refuses her request and sends her back out in the rain, which is why he gets turned into the Beast. This shows the male normative as being without emotions or compassion. Phil Petrie says, “One of the roles men play is that of the rational being devoid of strong emotions.”
[1] The Beast has no emotions which is why he did not feel badly about turning the old lady away.

Throughout the movie the Beast must change to in order to lift the spell off of the castle. He must make someone love him. In the movie, he tries to make Belle fall in love with him. He changes over the course of the movie into a more compassionate man with strong feelings for Belle. In the end, he makes her fall in love with him and the spell is lifted off the castle. This shows the opposite of the normative view of men in society. Men are not supposed to display their emotions; they are supposed to be strong and emotionless. The Beast must show emotions to have the spell lifted.

The Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast, is a part of popular culture because it is a very popular movie. It displays hegemonic and counter-hegemonic messages about men. It shows men with and without emotions. It is helpful in understanding popular culture.

[1] Phil W. Petrie, “Real Men Don’t Cry…And Other “Uncool” Myths,” Essence, (November 1982) 222.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

24 is just a TV show - redux

I’ve done a couple of posts about the TV show “24,” and how the right has mistakenly interpreted it as an endorsement of the Bush administration’s least defensible policies. As it turns out, I might have been a little hasty.

Jane Mayer has a fascinating piece
in the latest issue of The New Yorker about the politics of “24″ and its creator, Joel Surnow, who, I was surprised to learn, describes himself as a “right-wing nut job.” For reasons I’ve already described, some of the arguments conservatives find support for are misplaced, but in at least one key area, “24″ is, rather intentionally, making an argument sympathetic to Bush and his backers. The issue, of course, is torture.

The grossly graphic torture scenes in Fox’s highly rated series “24″ are encouraging abuses in Iraq, a brigadier general and three top military and FBI interrogators claim.

My response:

“24” is just a television show. People should keep this in mind when watching it. While this show may portray some Americans views on politics and other issues, its torture scenes should not be taken seriously because it is just fiction. Military personnel cannot take this as a guide on how to interrogate people. What happens in television shows is not applicable to real life. While the military does deal with interrogation, it cannot apply what they have seen on “24” to their interrogations, even though it appears that some people do. People do not take other televisions shows, like “Desperate Housewives” as a guide to life and they should not take “24” as guide to anything either. The torture scenes, just like the rest of the show, are there to provide entertainment.