Blurred Lines: Exposure of Nudity and Emphasized Femininity

Cultural Hegemony refers to an influence or a power that gives dominance to a specific group of people or country who manipulates the culture of the society. In this case, cultural hegemony would refer to a dominant and influential group on others. The media that I want to concentrate on is Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, a hit song on Billboard Hot 100 that received harsh criticisms after the music video hovered around due to its hints of male dominance and sexual objectification of women, which I have identified from its lyrics and music video.

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Click to view: Unrated Version / Official Music Video

Blurred Lines’ music video by Robin Thicke includes a lot of sexual representations and nudity of women. I reviewed both unrated and the official music video, for I thought it was important to look at both music videos because it was both published on YouTube, which means that it was already exposed to the audience. In this technology advanced generation where pornography is easily accessible to teenagers and even children, it is highly likely that their audience will include viewers that are under the age of eighteen. Thus, it is important to reassure what is being presented and perceived by the audience.

 The unrated version of the music video includes a number of women dancing in nude tone thongs. The womens’ breasts are fully shown and the ‘nude’ tone thong gives an effect that implies nakedness to the audience. I think it is important to look at the silky spotless and hairless body that are being presented here. In media, it is interesting to question that, even if they had not worn their thongs, would they have shown the pubic hair on women’s body? Or would they wax it? I would go with the latter choice because the majority of our society thinks that body hair could give a manly and unsanitary image of a person, specifically for a woman. The publicity of pubic hair or body hair in general was mentioned in the second posting of our blogs. According to Gothamist, American Apparel Mannequins are presenting pubic hair to the whole public. It is depressing to see that this image is seen as abnormal. And so, if this was the case in this music video, I would highly raise a hypothesis that to give a sense of emphasized femininity, their pubic hair would be waxed. Also, due to the music video’s excessive nudity, it is easily observable that women are being extremely objectified and sexualized. It also displays male dominance over women because the men, fully dressed in suits, are in the position of choosing the naked, ‘attractive’ women, who seem to be putting much effort to sexually seduce the men in the video. Furthermore, the only yet a major difference that is observable between the unrated and the official video is the added piece clothing of the women in the official music video. Why are men dressed in suits when women are barely wearing any clothes? It is important to question if this is an acceptable imagery to be shown to the audience of various age groups and gender, because it leads to a significant misconception about gender roles and the superiority of a specific gender to another.

Women who were chosen to cast in this music video are highly attractive according to the society’s beauty standards. They are beautiful bright skin toned, tall, have a perfect body shape and are overall very attractive. However, one thing to notice is that women in the music video are trying to appeal to the men, which as mentioned in lecture, is described to be the emphasized femininity. Emphasized femininity is a term that refers to form of idea and femininity that women must comply with the needs and desires of men. Therefore, in order to meet the needs and desires of men, women are being sexualized. Being in the position that emphasized feminism must be diminished for there is no need for women to live their lives for the men’s standards of beauty and satisfaction, I contend that this image portrayed in the video is highly misguiding. Emphasized femininity itself is highly rooted to male dominance, and since the audience for this music video varies in age, this music video is not acceptable to be presented, especially to audiences in the younger age group.

            In conclusion, various portrayals of men and women in the media are socially constructing the gender roles, as well as the standards of how women should act and look like in front of men. In the beauty aspect, this is why TV programs like the Swan is appearing to change the women’s faces in order to fit into today’s society. Also, due to the frequent exposure in the media in regards to the ideal body shape of women, many women become sensitive to how they look and strive to lose weight in order to be considered attractive.  As mentioned in lecture, Killing Us Softly portrays a good image of how we are blind to the process of women being sexualized in media. It is despondent to see that these sexualized, unreal imagery of women is being standardized by the society. Moreover, Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines arises a major issue of such illustrations, where women are being chosen rather than being able to choose. In this process, women are being sexualized with bare minimum clothing. This is an aspect of cultural hegemony since the sense of male dominance and the sexualisation of women is strongly appealed in the music video.

Carlson, Jen. “Photo: American Apparel Mannequins Now Sporting Full Bush.”Gothamist. Gothamist, 26 Jan. 2014. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.

Thicke, Robin. “Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines Ft. T.I., Pharrell.” YouTube. YouTube, 20 Mar. 2013. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.

Thicke, Robin. “Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines (Unrated Version) Ft. T.I., Pharrell.”YouTube. YouTube, 28 Mar. 2013. Web. 19 Apr. 2014

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L’Oréal: Beauty for All.

Beauty for All, is an advertisement made by L’Oreal, promoting that everyone has a chance to be beautiful and L’Oreal will be the aid for low confident individuals to be beautiful. However, what is beauty and what defines a person to be beautiful? Will someone look in the mirror after using L’Oreal products and suddenly gain loads of self-confidence?

Beauty is for everyone and it is hegemonic in daily life. Media takes a huge part in defining what beauty is and it is problematic since majority of the people believe that beauty is based on an individual’s outer appearance. Big eyes, high nose, small face, clean skin without any scars or blemishes, white toned skin and skinny. This is probably how majority of the people defines women who are ‘beautiful’. (I believe that the word ‘beautiful’ has its own femininity attached to the meaning of the word. It is highly unlikely to call a masculine men ‘beautiful’. Therefore, I am going to pass explaining what society defines beauty in men). Some people who do not meet the standard points of beauty goes through plastic surgery, diet products and many more aids to push themselves it into line of beauty constructed by our society. Furthermore, there are TV programs such as The Swans, which shows criticism publicly on individual’s appearance before the surgery and praising after the surgery. The term beauty is slowly becoming another adjective to describe only the outer appearance.

I believe it is the same deal for beauty as it is for gender, gender is constructed by the society and majority of the people tries to fit their child or themselves into these two unchangeable boxes. Similar for beauty, there are set boxes for what society think is beautiful, and many people try hard to fit themselves into these boxes regardless of their gender, race or their identity. This is a little problematic because our standard beauty is rooted from a western popular culture and media. Regardless of their race, majority of the people tries to change themselves in order to look like a beautiful Caucasian women. Everyone should realize that everyone is beautiful just the way they are. To show another point of view, Dove produced a similar advertisement to promote that women usually have lower self-perception than who they truly are. Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches, is a similar advertisement to promote and boost women’s self-perception by sketching what women think of themselves and what others thinks of that women.

But why is beauty so influential in our daily lives? It is hard to say that beauty is not a big part of opportunities offered in life. It is true that people are given different chances and opportunities depending on how they look and how they are reflected on other’s perception. That is probably the crucial part why individuals cannot give up being beautiful to someone’s eyes. People define themselves as ugly or have lower self-perception just because they don’t fit into the standard what our society has set us in. But I believe that both companies, L’Oreal and Dove is trying to tell us that everyone is beautiful and there is no need for us to fit ourselves into the boxes that society has set for us.

Overall, L’Oreal did a great job delivering the overall message, but it is true that they haven’t taken other confounding variables into consideration. L’Oreal presented an advertisement titled Beauty for All, however, after I saw this advertisement, I wondered, is L’Oreal really offering beauty for all the individuals? My answer is no. L’Oreal presented an advertisement featuring varieties of ethnicity and age but that was all. If L’Oreal hoped to target ‘all’ the customers in our society, the advertisements should have considered many different factors that makes up beauty, such as different gender identities, more varieties of race, different types bodies and faces.

 

In conclusion, I believe that although beauty is a powerful factor in life and society, it should not be the hegemonic factor when it comes to interacting with other people. Dove advertisement was just an extra piece that I found was more convincing than L’Oreal. I personally believe that L’Oreal should have modified their true message to one that is more applicable to many other identities around the world, because they say they are promoting ‘beauty for all’ but in the video, the people who were getting self-confidence from their product were people who pretty much met the standards of beauty in society. On the other hand, regardless of how people look in Dove’s advertisement, their true message is to boost their customer’s self-perception and confidence. Overall message of both advertisements are great, but it would’ve been more amazing and agreeable if L’Oreal could have considered more variables when it comes to their customers. Also, it would have boosted their qualities in message if they did not focus too much on the outer beauty of individuals.

 

 

Dove Real Beauty Sketches. Doveunitedstates, 2013. Web. 31 Mar 2014. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=litXW91UauE&gt;.

Peter, Lindbergh, dir. Beauty for All. L, 2014. Web. 31 Mar 2014. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McCUVz-5Ygc&gt;.

 

The Gay Best Friend

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G.B.F, Comedy, Directed by Darren Stein.

          The Reelout Film Festival gave myself a great chance to increase and enhance my knowledge and a chance to look back at myself on homosexual identities. I was attracted to the high school background of this film and when I found out that this film was centered on the struggles of homosexual identities, I purchased my ticket without any hesitations. G.B.F, an acronym for Gay Best Friend, is a great movie that shows a precise reflection of what high school life is centered in today’s society and possibly a great solid example of how homosexual identities are represented and treated. The film G.B.F. deals with the struggles of teenage homosexual identities on surviving the high school life and challenges to change perspectives of people who view homosexual identities differently or as an object, this film greatly achieved on the objectification of gay identities.

          G.B.F is a very classy, adorable, enjoyable and light film focused on the events between homosexual identities and the three queen bees of the school, the perfect blonde fashionista Fawcett, the drama-club glamazon Caprice, and religious princess Shley. In the beginning, the two homosexual identities in the film, Tanner and Brent were trying to find the other gay friends of their own on their mobile app, when on the school ground making a gay best friend became the new trend and the ultimate standard to be the prom queen of the year. LGBT club uses the same application to track down gay people in the school and leads Tanner to come out. Tanner being the first to come out in school, the three queen bees start their work to ‘possess’ Tanner to be their best friend.

          This film deals with the intersections of homosexuals and the stereotypes that were upon their identities. Moreover, I realized two evident factors that were clearly presented in the film: unbelievable amounts of societal stereotypes placed on homosexuals, objectification and the different looks upon homosexual identities, the important vocabulary I used in the previous paragraph is the word ‘possess’. Knowing that having a gay best friend is the new ‘trend’, the three queen bees tries to possess Tanner, the first gay to come out. Fawcett, Caprice and Shley were clearly showing their shallow knowledge of homosexual identities. “Wanna go sip extra-large low fat ice coffees and talk shit about people?”, “that was like 4 texts ago”, my personal favorite quotes from this film, and I find this a great example of how the society thinks of homosexuals because society has a stereotype that gay men are girlish and feminine. Gossiping, texting quickly and sipping extra-large low fat ice coffees may be my own stereotypes, but is a common action done by females. Adding on, other quote such as ‘we will totally gay you over” is a clear evidence that the society has a clear image of how gay men should look dress and behave like. Also, my point on objectification of gay men were clearly shown in these quotes: “Maybe everyone secretly wants a G.B.F.” everyone ‘wanting’ a G.B.F. How can you possibly ‘want’ a person? It feels like they are classifying gay men as a fashion accessory that they can always take it by their sides. However, this was clearly summed up in the film, “It seems that many of you girls are treating Tanner as more of a prize to be won than an actual person.” clearly and enough said.

          Some people may find this film a danger to the society because this film uses humor as a tool to emphasize the problems of homosexual identities and I also do really find this as a problem, but on the other side of thought thinks that if they didn’t use humor, I don’t think this movie would’ve got a good attention from the ‘straight’ people. Some people have a very good knowledge on how homosexuals live everyday of their life, but it is clear that some people in society are not. On my opinion, types of films such as G.B.F is targeting audience who are actually not too familiar with the reality of gay men but full of stereotypes. Therefore, having a high school background struggling on relationships is a great topic that most teenagers can relate with and especially using humor to emphasize stereotypes can give some people a chance to look back on how might they have acted and thought the same of homosexual identities. Though this film used a lot of humor to emphasize homosexual stereotypes, I don’t think it is a danger to the society because the film actually cleared up that those stereotypes are wrong and negative.

          The ultimate message in this film is that society is treating homosexual identities differently compared to heterosexuals. Some societies ban gay relationships and puts on stereotypes and regulations on one’s sexual desires. When someone identifies themselves as ‘gay’, some people will soon look at that person with a stereotype. And this is the major problem of our society when we are the same people after all.

          As I identify myself as a ‘straight’ person, my experience with Reelout Film Festival was very enjoyable and educational. It was a great opportunity to look back at myself and my thoughts and stereotypes that I had towards homosexual identities. This was a first time that I participated in a cultural event like the Reelout Film Festival, and I felt amazing because everyone in this screening room was accepting of other identities and careful of stereotypes. I sometimes feel very uncomfortable in social events because some people are extremely rude and unconscious of their word choices such as “that is so gay“. However, knowing that I am in a place full of people who are similar to myself, I felt very safe and accepted. Even if I am not one of the homosexual members of this society, I felt accepted, and I believe this is what everyone should feel in every circumstances and events of their lives. 

 

Stein, Darren, dir. G.B.F.. School Pictures, 2013. Film.

 

Wussification of Men in Today’s Society

When we try to get rid of stereotypes of certain gender, it is always brought up again to people’s attention. Nick Adams the author of American Boomerang was invited as a guest to talk about wussification of men. Nick Adams pointed out that it is difficult to be a real men in today’s society. However, what does it truly mean to be a ‘real men’? His statements and talks are way too generalized, because in some situations, men still have more dominance than women. I believe that feminism’s true goal is to neutralize the power between men and women to have equal power and privileges in any circumstances. Since Nick Adam seems to be talking behalf of all men, I want to ask, do you think men in today’s society is being ‘wussified’? The word itself is so offensive to all men, and saying that wussy men are a threat to today’s national security, he has made a big mistake.

Is it difficult to be a true men in today’s society?  And what does it mean to be a real men? North American societies have the standard of what real men should be like, American societies require men to be the masculine, strong, independent, and powerful and many other positive characteristics. Nick Adams generalizes his points on how all men are suffering from the over power of feminism today. He also points out that due to women’s power it is uncomfortable for men to make his own decisions. However, are these statements all true? I do not think so, because even today, we can easily see more male successors than female successors, we mostly have a male dominant workforce and government and laws are also dominated mostly by men. How can we possibly say that women are now possessing more power than men? Or, how can we say that all men are being ‘wussified’. A true men should be able to make wise decisions on their own and know how to take their own responsibility. However, Nick not being the ‘real man’ himself, he says that this is the result of feminism.

Again, feminist’s true goal is to equalize and neutralize the power between all genders, especially between men and women. If feminists are trying to gain more power than men, then he is right on the fact that feminists are on the wrong track, but, this is not true. Some sociologist say that feminist mothers are trying to abolish patriarchy and establish matriarchy, thus, feminism is a problem. However, I strongly disagree because in today’s highly competitive society, it is hard for every men to succeed. What is the very first reason that patriarchy was established? Patriarchy was established naturally as men had the power and ability to feed and support their family. But today, we can see a lot of families exchanging responsibility roles to organize the family and so forth, it is purely up to the one who has the ability to feed and run their family. Therefore, it is perfectly normal to have a family leader who is not a father.

Clayton Morris raised a question that brought myself into a big confusion: “how can we raise our children as boys and girls without fitting them into these stereotypes?” What a great question, but sadly, this is self-contradicting since Nick Adams is trying to strengthen and solidify stereotypes of how men should behave and look like. That being said, would people like Nick Adams be happier if all women were always under men’s power and control? At the same time, Nick Adams is also solidifying how women should behave and perform their tasks. The history has changed and we are living in a new generation where both men and women possess equal chance to succeed in society. Thus, it unnecessary for Nick Adams to talk about how each gender should perform their given gender roles.

In conclusion, he says that wussy men are a threat to national security since they cannot win, and America is all about winning, and so, it is pivotal for the health of the national security. However, I want to lastly say that we cannot always live in a society that is male dominant. All genders should have the equal rights to succeed and raise a family without any problems that he has raised. This seems like a problem just for himself since men are not wussy, and even if some people are a little bit feminine, Nick Adams does not have the right to criticize or judge their identities. I want to say that people who are unable to accept changes are the threat to national security rather than wussy men, because they are not flexible of their fixed mindsets of male dominance and gender stereotypes.