The music video “Timber” by Ke$ha and Pitbull starts off with a bunch of men carrying Ke$ha in a worshipping way, perceiving that they are beneath her. This is definitely different than most music videos when the women are half naked dancing around the guy singing. However, when Pitbull starts singing, that is exactly what happens… A crowd of half naked girls surrounds him. But, what is really strange is that throughout the video, whenever it flashes back to Pitbull there is a girl on him, but when it flashes back to Ke$ha she is posing alone, or with girls.
It seems that society expects that the man should be seduced by a strip tease from all of the women in the video. Today, most music videos have the male singing and a group of girls strip teasing for him. During the twentieth century, the practice of strip teasing was greatly decensored. But the question remains: Does this show male dominance? Some people, like Dahlia Schweitzer, argue that strip teasing gives women power over men. She argues that the women “are clearly in charge” and that “By removing her clothes, the stripper disrupts years of patriarchal hegemony” (Schweitzer 2000, 72).
Schweitzer, Dahlia. 2000. “Striptease: The Art of Spectacle and Transgression. ”Journal of Popular Culture 34(1):65–75.
Is the current stigma accurate….Is it woman’s work to tend to the children, or is it also part of the manly duty? This question is something that many families reflect or object. There are different categories of work that are necessary to maintain a family household. Housework, is defined as cooking, cleaning, and home repair. Child care, on the other hand, “is attending to the physical needs of a child — dressing a child, cooking for a child, feeding and cleaning them,” this does not include recreational activities such as reading or playing (Belkin, 5).
In a family where the father works and the mother stays home, the average care the mother spends on the child is 15 hours and the father spends 2 (Belkin, 5). However, in a family where both parents work, the average hours the mother spends caring is 11 and the father spends 3 (Belkin, 5).
The most convincing factor that the stigma of women as the child carers still holds is that the numbers have not changed over 90 years! Think about it…. since the days when women tended to the fire and the men hunted. The ratios are still the same. “Where the housework ratio is two to one, the wife-to-husband ratio for child care in the United States is close to five to one.”
Belkin, Lisa. “When Mom and Dad Share It All.” NY Times. 15 June 2008. Web. 01 Dec 2013.
When someone is called “beautiful” what does that really mean? Is there an ideal look for everyone? Society puts pressure on everyone to achieve this beauty. We watched a documentary on the creation of advertisements in class. There is actually a huge process in editing photos, whether it be the skin tone or cheek bones, or even putting features of multiple people into one “ideal” person to star in the ad.
The most shocking thing to see was the before editing and after editing photos of known celebrities and that they really are no different than the normal person. Their original pictures were fixed, the skin, eyes, waistline, you name it! “Photos of models and movie stars are often so doctored that they end up looking drastically different from the subjects they are supposed to reflect and as a result, women believe that the “perfect” body and face really do exist.” In February 2003, Kate Winslet’s cover showed a very slimmed down body and the editor admitted that the photo had been “digitally altered.” But why all of the lies and all of this effort? Who is the judge of beauty? Why does there have to be one “ideal?”
Hesse- Bieber, Sharlene. The Cult of Thinness. 2007. https://genderandsociety2013.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/hesse-biber-selling-the-body-beautiful.pdf.
Britney Spears–empowering or insulting?
“You want a hot body, you better work. You want a Maserati, you better work.” Britney Spears’s new song Work Bitch is a new wave of controversy. The lyrics are all about putting in work to make it to the fast-lane lifestyle. The video has sexual outfits and scenes alluding to racy behavior. The music video certainly got the UK’s attention, being banned within a week. Fox news reported that it is a “stab at her own gender.”
However, is the meaning of the song empowering?
Susan Bordo believes “Today, however, the well-muscled body has become a cultural icon; working out is a glamorized and sexualized yuppie activity.” Heather Locklear, a promoter for Bally Matrix Fitness Centre believes “ You exercise, you diet, and you can do anything you want.” I agree. I think that the song in general is inspiring. The sexualization is a bit much in the music video but the overall message works. Being physically fit and a woman can feel very empowering. Having the ability to do certain things and achieve goals such as earning a large salary, or losing weight is evidence of success. The song lyrics encourage the listener to work hard because things such as these can be achieved if the listener is willing to put in that work.
Bordo also believes that “the body has become a symbol of correct attitude. It means that one cares about oneself and how one appears to others, suggesting willpower, energy, control over infantile impulse, the ability to shape your life.” I could not agree more. Society has centered success around appearance, and as unfortunate as it may be, it is the truth.
Bordo, Susan. The Slender Body. https://genderandsociety2013.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/bordo-reading-the-slender-body.pdf.
McKay, Holly. Fowx News. 2013. http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/09/17/britneys-back-with-another-bitch-song/.
Dannon Birth Control on the Bottom
This Dannon Birth Control on the Bottom video is a parody taunting the countless ads on television that are directed toward women. All of the ads, whether they are about yogurt, birth control, healthy foods, or anything else bring different cultures of women together in an unrealistic way. The way media today presents the commercials makes it seem that things such as yogurt, birth control, and being thin are only things that matter to women. The video emphasizes that women are extremely emotional and talk about their problems 24/7.
This video rejects the concept that women are natural enemies and that there will never been solidarity between them. In order to build a feminist movement, Bell Hooks supports that this must change. He explains that women are divided by sexist attitudes, racism, class privilege, and a host of other prejudices. He believes that “sustained women bonding can occur when the divisions are confronted.”
However, this video parody disagrees with Hooks point of view and shows that today, society views all women as a collective party, and perceives them as an inferior group that is emotionally unstable and dependent on the male gender.
Hooks, Bell. “Sisterhood: Political Solidarity Between Women”. Feminist Review. 1986.
Are Women the Lesser Sex?
Biologically, men are stronger and produce more testosterone than women. In terms of sporting events there are men’s championships and women’s championships. Throughout history, men have always taken the powerful leadership positions. Today, there has not even been one United States president that is a woman. Whether it is the media, entertainment, or generally our society, women are perceived as the lesser sex.
The song “Macho Man” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AO43p2Wqc08) really says it all. In Anzaldua’s artice he supports that the word “macho” was a result of hierarchical dominance of males and came from oppression, poverty, and low self-esteem. This term is derived from “machismo” meaning strong and able to protect women. At the time, it almost portrayed that women were so inferior that there was something wrong with them.
“You’re nothing but a woman means you are defective” (Anzaldua, 83).
Do you think society is doing enough to even out the reputations of each sex? Will there be a female president soon? Are you too now singing the Macho Man song in your head?