Tag Archives: ideology

Photoshop Frenzy

My piece of online media is from Upworthy. The video displays a woman during a photo-shoot, and how Photoshop is used to transform her body into something other than her own. At the beginning of the video, the young woman has no make up one, and is half naked. Hairstylists and make-up artists do their work and create a completely different person. The lighting is then changed so that the woman looks longer, leaner and thinner. Then Photoshop comes in to play; making her eyes bigger, neck longer, legs longer, and so much more. The final product is no longer the same woman. She is edited and airbrushed.

In terms of ideologies, we can see through this picture, the nature of the how the world views beauty and women. It’s the ideology that we need make-up and styled hair, airbrushing and Photoshop to be beautiful. And if we don’t have any of that, we aren’t worthy of being beautiful. This piece of media illustrates how our society is obsessed with external beauty, rather than internal.

The stereotype that women aren’t beautiful in their natural, untouched skin is a stereotype portrayed here. This has a huge effect because women, and young girls need to love themselves just the way they are; yet with Photoshop, an unrealistic view of a woman is portrayed. This has a huge influence on young girls, going through puberty, who are growing up and want to be seen as beautiful. This video shows them there is only one type of beauty, and if you don’t fit that mold, then you aren’t beautiful. This has huge consequences, such as self-esteem issues, eating disorders, depression and others.

Another problem is that the woman is topless. Her chest is hidden, but this video glamorizes taking off ones clothes to the public. It shows that you need to take your clothes off to receive attention from men, the world, etc. This is a problem, because it’s a show of disrespect for yourself. Everyone deserves respect, and every body should be sacred, and shouldn’t be showed to the whole world. Being that exposed, in my opinion, shows a deep lack of self-esteem and confidence. You don’t need to take your clothes off to be beautiful; it’s possible to love and be proud of your body, without revealing too much to everyone else.

http://www.upworthy.com/see-why-we-have-an-absolutely-ridiculous-standard-of-beauty-in-just-37-seconds

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Who Runs the World?

With almost 200 million views on YouTube, Beyoncés Run the World has become a viral video hit, as well as a powerful vector of ideology and hegemony. This mass media text is an excellent example of underlying societal power. With prevalent underlying themes of post-feminism and heteronormativity, Beyoncé’s hit embodies mass media’s hegemonic grip on popular culture.

When the song was released, many hailed it as a powerful assertion of female empowerment. And with the main line a declaration that girls run the world, it would appear that the beliefs expressed are a step forward for women everywhere. However, upon closer inspection, it is apparent that the song is rich in post-feminist thinking. The song speaks of the power of women, but according to the song, the way in which women hold power in society is through their sexual appeal. This can explicitly seen in the music video of the song, which features scantily clad women provocatively dancing as a crowd of men stare in awe. The lyrics mirror this. For instance, the line “My persuasion can build a nation. Endless power, with our love we can devour. You’ll do anything for me” is a clear implication that the way women hold power is with their bodies. In this way, the song is an example of perceived power playing into the idea of perceived sexual equality better known as post-feminism. Not only does this text, exemplify post-feminist ideals, but it also plays into society’s unseen heteronormative and patriarchal.

It is not hard to see the upholding of heteronormativity, the invisible ideology which normalizes heterosexuality and marginalizes queerness, in Run the World. The music video illustrates a world in which men are perplexed by women, and women alone. Along with women solely addressing men in the videos, the lyrics also depict a heteronormative scene.  Lines like “Boy I know you love it” and “strong enough to bear children” maintain the status quo of male and female relations as normative. Furthermore, heteronormativity can be seen in the illustration of conventionally feminine and masculine dancers in the music video. Of course the portrayal of only conventionally attractive people in the music video comes as no surprise when the lyrics speaks of sexual attractiveness as the key to female power.

Beyoncé’s song may take a stand for women in society, but in the ways that it does this, it merely reaffirms hegemonic ideals. The post-femininity expressed shows a belief in equality, while under the surface, the sexual objectifying tells a different story. Coupled with the heteronormativity and exclusion of marginalized groups in the expression of power help to paint a picture of the subtle, yet powerful role of hegemony in society.  Run the World is also a prime example of how hegemony adjusts to fit cultural evolution. The post-feminism beliefs in the song reflect this in the fact that the power of women has been recognized at this time, but the power given to women is only that of a sexual nature.

The consequences of this, and other media texts like it, is that those in power are able to maintain control of underlying ideologies with the cooperation of those they oppress. In this way, media texts function to serve those who control society, allowing them dictate what we think and believe. This is dangerous because it means that the few people in power have a great deal of influence over the masses. While this is not inherently bad, there is potential for that power to be used in a way that is far from good for the people. As a society, we need to realize this and be more conscientious in own beliefs and what we experience through the media.

Sources

A-Z Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/beyonceknowles/girlswhoruntheworld.html

Feminist Theory: http://0-fty.sagepub.com.bianca.penlib.du.edu/content/7/2/255.full.pdf+html

Gender and Education Association: http://www.genderandeducation.com/issues/what-is-heteronormativity/

Ideology: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz3YNMPMNzU

Media and Society

Post-Colonial Studies- Emory: http://postcolonialstudies.emory.edu/hegemony-in-gramsci/

Vevo-Beyonce: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=run%20the%20world&sm=3

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriarchy

Women of Wall Street?

Recently on Upworthy.com I saw a fake movie trailer for a female version of the new hit film “Wolf of Wall Street”, named “Women of Wall Street”. The movie was very well made and I thought nothing of it being offensive or anything like that. Yes, I knew it had lots of inappropriate scenes and some were even degrading, but I just let it go because after all it’s a movie.

Watch the clip here

It wasn’t until after I watched the spoof “Women of Wall Street” that I started critically analyzing it and slowly seeing how many underlying stereotypes it reinforced and the ideologies that were presented. It all starts with the character- they were literally all men, except for the prostitutes and sex figures, those were women of course. By representing the entire corporate world as men in the movie, they were reinforcing the gender stereotype that men make the money and women stay at home. Not only were they saying women stay at home, they also hinted that IF women work at all, it isn’t work that required their brain, but their looks.

This movie has the underlying ideology that looks are what matter in our world and that possessions and appearance are what’s important in life. He flaunts his possessions throughout the entire movie and that is his main focus, money and women. It also reinforces the ideology that partying is a way of life and a goal-worthy thing in life. Another big faux pas of the movie is the representation of ethnicities in the business world; the movie reinforces the idea that only older, Caucasian men make it in the corporate world.

I realize this movie is based off of a true story and that’s the argument for why they have only white males as main characters, but by reinforcing these norms and saying that they are acceptable is a down side of the media. Obviously we want to try and make movies and such as real as possible, but we only choose to represent a fraction of the world’s happenings and that fraction tends to be only the one percent of the world. Having a movie like this reinforces bad stereotypes and ideologies and makes it seem as if they are okay. What kind of message does that send to our kids?

While watching the spoof trailer, I couldn’t take it seriously, not just because it was a spoof, but also because I’m not used to women playing the “big” guy. It was weird to see her flashing her money, drinking lots and being unsatisfied with your income (even though it’s a lot). Why is it okay for a guy to act like this and the film to be nominated for an academy award, but when a girl does such things, it seen as ridiculous. Gender stereotype comes into play here big time and I would argue it’s a bad thing.