Tag Archives: media representation

Budweiser Black Crown and the Male Gaze

This short video advertisement for a new label of Budweiser beer, titled “Black Crown,” uses women’s body parts to sell its beverage product. The advertisement opens with the camera perspective starting at a woman’s feet, shown walking in strappy black heels. The camera pans up the woman’s slim, shiny legs to reveal the bottom half of her body wearing a shimmering dress while one arm holds two bottles of Budweiser Black Crown. The entirety of the advertisement’s length mimics the heterosexual male gaze, which serves to objectify the female body. The woman portrayed in this advertisement is not portrayed as an individual, but simply as a body or a pair of legs. Drucilla Cornell suggests that any material where “women’s body parts… are exhibited such that women are reduced to those parts” is a form of the subordination of women (Cornell 3). This advertisement reduces a woman to her body parts to draw attention to and sell a beer label.

This advertisement seeks to sell Budweiser Black Crown as a more luxurious beer label. The dressy outfit of the woman portrayed in the advertisement, the sleek packaging of the beer, and the muffled background music in the video all work to create an environment of indulgence to sell the product. Ultimately, the fragmentation of the woman’s body and focus on her legs exemplify how her sexual desire is used to sell Budweiser Black Crown while demonstrating the male gaze for the advertisement’s targeted male viewers.

Sources:
Cornell, Drucilla. ““Introduction” in Feminism and Pornography.” 2000.

Beauty – Is there such thing as free choice?

“We provide the ultimate solution for Asian women who seek to become the ideal beauty”

These Uniface Masks promise to give women “a lifetime’s worth of confidence…to satisfy today’s beauty standards”. It may sound ridiculous but this funny concept is not far from the normal standards of beauty that encourage women to disapprove of themselves.  “Giant anime eyes, long lashes, a high nose bridge, and narrow chin and cheeks are all in one product.” Although the product is a joke, these are often the features women aim to attain when altering their appearance with products and plastic surgery in order to fit into perceptions of beauty. Mainstream media’s beauty standards constantly encourage women to alter their appearance in some shape or form. “The ultimate solution” indicates that there is something wrong with the appearance of women and their appearance must be fixed. Women so often do not have the free choice of being themselves and feeling comfortable with their natural aesthetics because standards do not allow women to be satisfied with their looks. Do we have a free choice in our aesthetics if they are only acceptable when followed by the mainstream standards of beauty? Especially if such standards are not aligned with what women actually look like? This also reminded me of a video I viewed on YouTube that displays a woman posing during a photo-shoot and the after effects of the image once altered in Photoshop. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17j5QzF3kqE While viewing the video one can see the huge amount of editing involved in order to change the woman’s features to fit the ideal. In the beginning she looks like a normal person but the subject changes drastically to reflect the perfect body and face. There are no free choices available for beauty if only certain looks are normalized. The UniFace Mask also reveals how industries love to profit off of women’s insecurities. As mentioned by Kilbourne, the media sells only one option of what is beautiful and it is often profitable for business when we feel bad about ourselves (Kilbourne 55). If industries are profiting on women’s insecurities then ours choices of expressions are narrowed because women will only want to conform to the ideal.

Take a look at Uniface Mask: http://www.unifacemask.com/#!Home

Book source: “Buy This 24 Year Old and Get All His Friends Absolutely Free” by Jean Kilbourne

Lily Allen’s “Hard Out Here”: Racially questionable feminist pop

In her comeback single, Lily Allen satirizes the standards with which the music industry and society pressure women. The video opens with Allen on a surgery table defending her body to her male manager and doctors who say she let herself go (“Um, I had two babies”). The song goes on to discuss about the pressures on women to be thin while having a booty, being able to cook and be beautiful.

A highlight of the video is Allen’s balloon banner, a la “Robin Thicke has a big dick” in the casually sexist rape culture-promoting anthem that is “Blurred Lines, which here reads “Lily Allen has a baggy pussy.” Lily Allen certainly does not care what men think of her or her body.

But perhaps this is exclusive “white girl feminism,” because while Lily Allen is asserting the difficulties of being a woman in a male-dominated world, she still surrounds herself with women of color who are subjected to the same objectification that that men do. The women of color twerk and dance sexually, get champagne poured on them and get money thrown on them. I get that Allen is intentionally put in the “male” role, but it leaves me questioning the video in terms of race. Because even if it is satire, it is still an outlet for the continued ogling by men at these sexualized and objectified colored bodies. Is this “ironic” piece just racist? Because Allen is essentially accessorizing black bodies like Miley Cyrus does while tearing down what popstars like Cyrus deal with in the industry.

In terms of raising issues of gender inequality, this song succeeds, but many have seen it as racially insensitive. In the end I think that it is all satire, given Allen’s penchant for severely biting sarcasm. Unfortunately the music industry does use women of color as booty-shaking objects, and while I think this knowingly pokes fun at that, it still leaves me a bit uncomfortable. I would love for someone to respond.