Sunday, July 29, 2007

Girl, Interrupted

1. Girl, Interrupted is about Susanna, a recent high school graduate who attempts suicide and is placed in a mental institution in the late 1960's. Based on a true story, the movie follows Susanna throughout the course of her stay at Claymoore, a mental institution. While she is there, she begins to see herself as she truly is, and also how she wants to be.

2. The majority of the cast is female, because the mental institution is seperated by gender. Aside from the women in the institution, women are shown as very strong. One of the doctors is a woman, and the nurses are also all female. This film addresses many issues women face (depression, anorexia, etc). It also addresses ways to deal with these issues through therapy. I think the film is empowering for females, because seeing others go through the same pains may not be exactly comforting, but at least you don't feel so alone.

3. I think parts of the film refer to feminist issues (Valerie is a black nurse in a primarily white hospital), but it isn't the main point of the film.

4. I personally love this movie. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. I am very interested in psychology, so I suppose that is how it relates to my personal experience.

5. Resources:
a. Girl, Interrupted - the book the movie is based on

~Samantha Powers~

Baby Boom--posted by Marisa Aguilera-Wells

Diane Keaton plays J.C. Wiatt in Baby Boom, a movie about a woman who realizes, after inheriting a distant cousin's 14 month-old daughter, that life is not all about work. J.C. works 70-80 hours a week in New York City as a Marketing Manager at the high-profile company Sloane, Curtis & Co. This hard working woman who proclaims to "live, eat and dream" her job lives with her equally work-consumed boyfriend Stven (played by Harold Ramis) and appears to have a relationship that's as exciting as a business meeting. J.C., nicknamed 'The Tiger Lady' at work, has just received notice that she is up for partner! As she is given the good news by her boss, Fritz Curtis, she is questioned about her capabilities as a partner because she is a woman. He reminds her of the sacrificies that she would have to make as a woman, and that if she did make partner, motherhood would ont be possible. After hearing his concern, J.C. confidentally exclaims, "I know what I need to do to make it."

That night she receives a Trans-Atlantic phone call from England notifying her that her very distant cousin has died and she has been listed in the will as the only relative, therefore is entitled to an inheritance! A static-filled line cuts the phone call short and J.C. assumes that what she has been left is money. J.C. arrives at the airport the following day to sign for her inheritance only to find out that it's not money that she's been left, but a 14 month old little girl named Elizabeth! What's so incredibly funny is that you see right away that J.C. has obviously never been around babies, and has no idea how to handle this little girl! So, she spends the rest of her day juggling Elizabeth and her all-too demanding job. She decides immediately that in order to maintain her life, she must give the baby up for adoption. She eventually does meet with the prospective adoptive parents within the week, but you can read from the body language up through this point that J.C. has actually grown to like her new role as 'mom'. As she begins to sign over Elizabeth to the adoptive parents at the agency, J.C. makes a decision to keep this new baby in her life and attempt to keep up her working career and motherhood.

Of course, motherhood isn't in the cards to fit in with her current life. J.C. loses her job, her boyfriend, and her life in New York City in record time and makes the decision to leave NYC once and for all for a quiet, slow-paced life on an apple orchard farmhouse in small town Hadleyville, Vermont. J.C. realizes very quickly that it's a bit too slow-paced for her and begins to make apple sauce baby food (from her large apple orchard) to take up her spare time. This hobby soon turned into a large business, as J.C. uses her marketting knack to sell her fresh baby food products to stores across the country! In the midst of all of her work towards her new company, 'Country Baby', J.C. also meets and falls for the local veterinarian, Dr. Cooper. This story comes full circle when her old company in New York, who was so anxious to get rid of her after she entered motherhood, wants to market and own of piece of her booming and up and coming business for millions of dollars. J.C. sees a wonderful opportunity to reclaim her old life and proudly takes a meeting with her old colleagues to discuss the marketing of her company! Now, you're probably ask yourself the questions... does she take the offer? Does she decide to leave her new life behind for the life that she pursued so vigorously before? You know what? I'm not going to tell you! You'll have to find out for yourself! Let's just say that it's a great ending!

Although sugar-coated with laughter, this film immediately addresses the misconception that women are to stay at home and be mothers, and if they do decide to enter the workforce they have to give up a family life. J.C.'s boss, Fritz, directly says that a man can do both, because he has a wife at home to take care of the children. J.C., however, is told that she must choose one or the other, and balancing work and family in such a fast-paced world is impossible. But, although the film exposes this misconception about females in the working world, it also manages to show J.C. as an empowering example to all women across the U.S. In the end, although men had told her she would be unable to, she manages to balance work and motherhood- and she does it on her own terms. She battles against the big-wigs of the corporate world and wins!

I would most definitely consider this film a feminist one. It makes light of the situations women face every single day as they transition between working and motherhood. It poses the question that women ask themselves as moms: Can I do this and work at the same time? If I do, will I be giving any less of myself to either? This movie says, yes you can. Women can do anything.

Baby Boom is honeslty one of my favorite movies of all time. When I found out I was pregnant with my son (and working full time for the Air Force), I found peace in watching this movie. I saw the struggles that J.C. went through at her high-profile, demanding company, and how she realized that motherhood and a partnership just wasn't realistic. Although she is a fictional character, J.C. helped me to recognize as I neared my son's due date that even though it maybe wasn't best for me to be a military mom, I could instead be a mom who works in a company more suited to family life. Sounds kind of like her story. So here I am, not even one year later, and I have left the military and am gaining an education in order to find myself a job that suits both my son and I! It's definitely possible to find a happy medium at work and home-life... and although the transition may be hard, I believe it's worth it in the long run!

Here are 3 resources to answer any of your questions that you may have about this wonderful film!

Posted By: Marisa Aguilera-Wells

Stepford Wives Kevin Syphard

The Stepford Wives is about a small community where all the women are housewives doing anything they can to please thier husbands. These women act like the model housewives. Then the new family in the nieghborhood found all these wives have been replaced by robots. The husband wanted in where the wife was finding a way to stop it. This movie has to do with feminism because it shows how men think thier wives should act. They do all the household chores, cook, take care of the kids with no complaints. The wives also cater to thier husbands every need. It shows women in a way that thier role should be at home. The movie deals with the issues of gender by showing women that they should obey thier husbands. I do not feel the movie empowers women. For most of the movie they are pretty much thier husbands slaves. Anything their husbands want they do. I think the movie itself is a good movie. It is a scifi movie so I cannot really have any personal experiences. In my opinion that is not how i would want my wife to be. I like independence. I do not believe she should have to rely on a man to do stuff for her. I would like a girl who could take care of herself and have her own friends not waiting around to see if we are going to hang out or not. So personally that is not the life i am looking to have.

Thelma and Louise - By: Brian Miller

1. Give a one-two paragraph synopsis of the film. What is the film about? What are the most important things that happen in the film? Condense the information so that someone unfamiliar with the film can get a sense of what the film is basically about.

The movie is about two women, Thelma and Louise, who want to go on vacation in order to get away from their everyday lives. Shortly after they leave for this vacation, they stop at a bar to get some drinks. Thelma starts to flirt and dance with a guy who then proceeds to get her drunk. After she is so drunk that she feels like vomiting, the man takes her outside and attempts to rape her. During this part, Louise comes out and points a gun at the man’s head and tells him to let her go. The man lets Thelma go and then continues to mouth off to Louise saying things like “Suck my dick!” Louise tries to make the man apologize, however he refuses. Louise then shoots him saying that that is no way to treat a lady. They then proceed to run from the scene of the murder. During the rest of the movie, these two women run from the cops and continue to make men treat women right. When they ran into men that treated them wrong, they made them pay for it. An example of this is when they blew up a semi truck because the truck driver was talking dirty and making obscene gestures towards them. The moral of the story seemed to be that you need to treat women fairly or else they will turn and fight you in the end.

2. How does this film deal with issues of gender? How are women and/or girls represented in this film? Do you feel that the film gives a positive or empowering representation of females?

This film deals with issues of gender through men seeing women as nothing more than sexual objects. These women combat these stereotypes through being strong, independent women who will stand up for themselves. I feel that this film gives a positive and empowering representation of females because they were the strong characters in the movie, while the male characters tended to be weak minded and viewed women as sexual objects. This movie portrayed that women had their own feelings and needs. In the beginning of the movie, it showed that Thelma was supposed to stay at home in the kitchen per order of her husband. She grew out of that role as soon as she left for this “vacation” because she said that she was tired of just sitting in the house with nothing to do.

3. Do you consider this a “feminist” film? Why or why not?

I would consider this a feminist film because these women were fighting for all women. They were fighting for women not to be talked to like they had no feelings and it also portrayed these women as strong and independent women.

4. What is your personal opinion of this film? Did you like it or not? How does it relate to your own personal experience?

I personally enjoyed this film. There was a lot action and humor all of the way through it. I cannot really relate to this film because I have never been in a situation anything near what these women went through.

5. Please provide 3-5 resources (articles, books, websites) where readers can learn more about this film.


What's Cookin by: Blake Romp

The movie that I choose was not very intersting to me. I really did not get into it so I do not have much to say about how I liked it or not. It was basically about fourhousholds who celebrate Thanksgiving together and they bring some of there frineds with them. There is a lot of ethnic differences that take place during the movie. There is a lot of tension between the families and the children. It is crazy how they were able to have them all at one place at the same time.

I think the women were not treated very well in the movie. I felt that they were disrespected throug out the movie. I felt like the males dominated them and did what they wanted with them. I really did no consider ths a feminsit flim. Myabe becuase I never got into the flim enough to undertsand the whole thing. It is hard for me to discuss it because I did not liek it at all. I thought it was a like "Christmas Vacation" but a bad version of it becuase that was a funny movie. i did not like how all of these things came up at the dinner table liek a gun, an affair, and so on. Those are weird things to discuss at a family dinner table. Sorry i do not have a lot to say but i picked a bad movie i guess

"Set It Off "Film

Set It Off is a movie about four African American women who are best friends, from the ghetto of Los Angeles, who decide to plan and conduct bank robberies all for the sole purpose of wanting better for themselves and their families than the opportunities available to them in what they view as "racist" Los Angeles.
her parents are deceased so she acts as a parent to her little brother until he is shot and killed by the police due to mistaken identity. As a result, she (Stony) begins to lose control of her life and joins her friends in bank robberies.
Frankie- a stylish bank teller who gets fired from her job due to suspicion of conspiracy to a robbery that occurred while she was on duty. So she ends up working at a janitorial service with her friends, who influence her to rob banks with them.
Cleo- a lesbian who wants nothing more than to customize her classic car and is solely motivated by greed to rob banks.
Tisean- single mother to her son, struggling to make ends meet. She can't afford a babysitter for her son so she brings him to work with her, which results in an accident happening where her son swallows something poisonous. As a result, the child is taken away from her by Child Protective Services until she (Tisean) can afford to hire a babysitter. This situation propels her to join her friends in robbing banks.
Key Parts In the Film: After successfully conducting their first bank robbery, the women make it a trend rob other banks in the Los Angeles area, all the while being investigated by a detective. While casing a potential robbery target, Stony finds romance with a wealthy Harvard-educated bank executive named Keith. Keith genuinely cares for Stony, despite her lifestyle, and begins to expose her to his way of living, hoping that she will change her ways. Stony's feelings for Keith are equally the same as his feelings for her and finds herself slowly beginning to fit into his lifestyle. Unfortunately though, the police soon discover that her and her friends are responsible for the bank robberies, forcing Stony to leave town and her and Keith have no choice but to go their separate ways after her friends are killed in a police chase during their last robbery at the bank that Keith works. In the end, Stony cuts off her braids, symbolizing a new beginning of her life, while still mourning the loss of her three best friends and her little brother.
I think that this film dealt with the tribulations and emotions that many African American women, living in poverty, face on a day to day basis- wanting better for themselves and their families, struggling to survive in a hostile society, being stereotyped and mistreated based on their low income/lifestyle, etc. Many people dont realize how much harder it is to reach success in society as an African American woman and this movie shows that. Although, I don't think this movie gives a positive representation of women nor do I really consider this movie a "feminist" movie, I did think this movie was very good. The movie seems to focus more on issues of racism rather than issues of feminism, but it still is a meaningful movie that still could be incorporated into some of the issues of feminism and I recommend those of you who haven't seen the movie to go see it.
~Angelica Blue
To learn more about the film, "Set It off," you can go to these three websites-

What's Love Got to do WIth It

The film What's Love Got to do With It is based on the life of Tina Turner. The movie shows her as a young child and how her mother left her with her to be raised by her grandmother. Tina's grandmother passes away and then she goes to live with her mother and her older sister, this is where things begin to change for Tina or Anna Mae (her birth name). While attending a club Tina sings a song for Ike Turner who really likes her and wants to make her his lead singer and this is exactly what happens. Ike and Tina end up becoming an item and things are great in the beginning, Tina is a big hit, they have their first child and they are in love. Things begin to change after the birth of their child, Tina was tired and did not feel up to performing, although Ike did not physically abuse her at the time, this was the first time when he used verbal abuse towards Tina. From then on out, whenever Ike felt that Tina was defying him or just whenever he wanted to, he beat her regardless of who was around. A major turning point in the film is when Tina tries to kill herself by taking a lot of pills. While in the hospital, an old group member (member who left the group because Ike hit her) visited and told Tina that she was still her friend that that she could come and stay with her whenever she wanted. After Tina's recovery, she decided to visit her, when she arrived she got an awakening. Her friend introduced her to Buddhism which gives her the strength she needs to break away from Ike. Finally, Tina does just that, while in a limo, Ike begins to beat Tina but this time she fights back and protects herself. When they arrive to the hotel, Ike takes a nap and then Tina makes a run for it...she leaves Ike. From this point on Tina exhibited the strength and courage needed to protect her as well as her children. While going through her divorce she says that she wants nothing from Ike except her name and that is all she got. After the divorce, Tina still had to deal with Ike's threats towards her and her children but that did not stop her, she formed a rock 'n' roll grouped and continued to sing until she retired.

This film deals with issues of gender by placing males above women, although the movie was about the life of Tina Turner, Ike Turner treated all of the women around him with little respect and he even hit one of them without thinking twice about it. On top of this, the men that were in Ike's band, friends, and even business associates said nothing about his treatment towards Tina or any other women. The women in the film are represented as sex objects, and punching bags. In the beginning of the film the movie does not give a positive or empowering representation of females, but when Tina begins to find herself and realize that she can do better this image begins to change. I would have to say that by Tina leaving although all of the odds were against her is very empowering and positive.
I do consider this to be a feminist film because feminism is about bringing to light the issues that women face and trying to eliminate the issues at the same time. Feminists believe that unequal treatment occurs because our society is male dominated, and this is what occurred in the film. Ike dominated Tina, he was able to do by threatening her, abusing her and controlling her. Personally, I enjoyed the film. I really admired Tina's strength as well as her courage, she survived 25 years of verbal, physical, sexual, emotional, and financial abuse. I also admired her ability to move forward, she did not allow her past to determine her future, she knew what she wanted to accomplish and she did it without Ike. This film does not really relate to my personal experiences because I have never been placed in the situation that Tina was in. Tina had a lot of people against her including her own mother and I just can't relate. Overall, I think that this is a good film, I think anyone who watches it can gain some type of strength from Tina because she was such a strong woman.

Remika Marshall

Helpful Links:
What's Love Got to Do With It the film,1257,1995,00.html

Mona Lisa Smile – Leah Christian

The movie, Mona Lisa Smile, was released in December of 2003. The movie is based around the life of Katherine Ann Watson, played by Julia Roberts. The movie takes place in 1953 at Wellesley College which is an all girl’s school. A graduate of Berkeley, Watson longed all of her life to teach at Wellesley. So, when a position opened for an Art History class, she perused it until she was successful. Watson was not at all encouraged to teach an Art History class; in fact she was steered away from it. None of the faculty at Wellesley was happy or encouraging of Wellesley, including her prospective ‘love’ in the movie, Bill Dunbar played by Dominic West.

During the 1950’s every young girl dreams of getting married, having children, and being a house-wife. Watson dreams to change all of that. Being a single middle-aged woman, she tries to put a spark in her students’ eyes. She believes that they can be and do to accomplish their biggest dreams. Watson’s most outstanding, and outspoken women are played by Kirsten Dunst (Betty Warren), Julia Stiles (Joan Brandwyn), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Giselle Levy), and Ginnifer Goodwin (Connie Baker). Betty believes that there is no other way to go about life except to be a married woman and house-wife. Half way through the semester, Betty gets married. Joan is a pre-law student but plans on getting married after she graduates. Watson helps her apply to law school, which Joan had never even considered. Giselle is a free-spirit and constantly looks for ‘fun’.

During the entire duration of the movie woman are displayed as people who are only capable to do one thing: get married. This movie is entirely based on the fight and feminism movement. Although this movie displays women to only be married and to be house-wives, during this time, that is all they were allowed. It is hard to believe that about 60 years ago, women could not even apply themselves in the work place around the nation. To watch this film is a wake up call: we, as women, have come so far. Without women, like the one played by Julia Roberts, America would not be the way it is today. Women would still be expected to stay at home and cook and clean and take care of the children.

I would defiantly consider this film a feminist film. From the very second the movie started, it portrayed the hard work and dedication that every woman has within herself. This movie promotes all of the feminist movements that have occurred in the past and the ones that will occur, hopefully, in the future. From the very first sentences spoken from Watson, there was a sense of hard work and dedication that every women of the feminist movement has always displayed.

Overall, I love this movie. Every time I watch it I am reminded of how much times have changed. Although I can not exactly relate with the situations that these women were put through, I know that the women not long before me, such as my grandmother and great-grandmother, struggled through tough times like these. Although this movie is slightly depressing, it is a very good reminder of what reality was. I would recommend this movie to everyone to see. There are a lot of very good lessons and mistakes to learn of.

Written by; Leah Christian

To learn more about Mona Lisa Smile, you can access these sites.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A League of Their Own~ Tiernay Tilford

A League of Their Own is based on the true events of the All-American Girls Baseball League created when American entered into World War II. Several major league baseball executives got together the idea to form an all women’s baseball league while the men were away. The movie was surrounded around the story of two sisters, Dottie and Kit, whom grew up on a farm in Oregon and was recruited to Chicago to try out at Wrigley Field for the AAGBL. The sisters are put onto the Rockford Peaches, and the movie follows them throughout their story of the trials of women’s baseball.
During the season the star player of the Peaches, Dottie, is put in an uncomfortable situation with her little sister and asks to be traded. Come that night it is found out that Kit is the one being traded and the war begins. Bob, Dottie’s husband ends up returning from was and that signifies the time for Dottie to head back home. Yet, she can’t stay away from the “World Series” for long. The series is the Peaches against Kit’s new team the Belles ends up tied at game 6 yet after a confrontation at the plate between both sisters, the Belles come up on top. The movie ends with all of the ladies returning years later to the site of the game where a brand new AAGBL museum has been built and you are overcome with a sense of the ending of an era.
The main issue of gender in this film is the entire story of the 50’s and women trying to find their voice in a world of dominant men. These women playing baseball were extremely talented yet men still felt as if it was necessary to put them in skirts higher than the knee as their uniforms. This film did not give a strong sense of empowering women; even though the entire movie was based around a “women’s” baseball league you can tell how seriously men took the idea by naming the league the All-American GIRLS Baseball League. Then when recruiting for the league it was emphasized that men find the most attractive talented players instead of just the extremely talented. It was just a mirror of how women were being treated in the 1950’s during the movie women were never shown underdressed, without nylons or misbehaving. Also, it was a league requirement that all the women went to charm school because only “ladies” were allowed to play baseball.
I don’t consider this a feminist film at all, because there was no empowerment of women to be found. Yes, I say it could be considered feminist for the fact that women were leaving the home during a “housewife” era to go off and do something they enjoyed, play baseball. Yet, those women weren’t allowed to do so until their husbands left and only when pursued by men to play. Also, they were still dominated by men while playing, such as not being able to wear pants or having to go to charm school.
My personal opinion of this film changed a lot when I watched it for this class. I have loved this movie and its story for years yet when I watched it this time I grew even fonder of it. By viewing this film for our women’s studies class I was able to pick out things that I never noticed before and my appreciation of the All-American Girls Baseball League grew even more.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Mean Girls

The movie Mean Girls was released in April of 2004. It follows the life of Cady Heron, a girl who was homeschooled for the first sixteen years of her life, but is now being thrown into the world of high school. She does not know anyone when she starts school, nor does she understand any of the rules about high school, like asking the teacher for a pass to go to the bathroom. Luckily she meets two people, Janis Ian and Damian, who befriend her and offer to teach her the ways of the school, like where her classes are and where not to sit in the cafeteria. Janis and Damian tell Cady about the “worst people she will ever meet: the Plastics.” The Plastics consist of Regina (the Queen Bee), Gretchen, and Karen and they are the most popular girls in school who get anything that they want. Janis hates Regina in particular because Regina spread horrible rumors about her in junior high. On the second day of school, The Plastics invite Cady to eat lunch with them because she’s “really pretty for someone who was homeschooled.” The Plastics make an extension to their invitation, asking Cady to sit with them for the entire week and start dressing according to their standards, like wearing jeans only once a week. Cady is reluctant, but Janis and Damian encourage her to befriend them so they can learn all about Regina’s secret ways and then sabotage her.

Janis, Damian, and Cady start plotting ways to sabotage Regina. They try to steal Regina’s boyfriend from her, ruin her good physique by feeding her Kalteen bars, and by turning her two sidekicks against her. Through these plans, Cady begins to hang out with the Plastics a lot, quickly taking on their identity. She begins to become obsessed with her looks, constantly looking in the mirror and wearing all the designer fashions like the other Plastics. She constantly talks about Regina, the Queen Bee, and begins to emulate her by wearing the same “initial” necklace. Quickly Cady becomes a Plastic and is no longer just a spy for Janis and Damian. Eventually all three plans against Regina work, and she is no longer the Queen Bee, Cady is. Cady throws a huge party for all the popular people to come to, but forgets to invite her original and real friends, Damian and Janis. When Janis finds out, she clues Cady in on the reality that she is “cold, shiny, hard Plastic.” Later, Cady is nominated for Queen of the Spring Fling Dance. She attends the dance and actually wins the crown, but she doesn’t accept the title. She actually breaks the crown in half calling it “just plastic” and giving out little pieces to everyone at the dance, making everyone feel like royalty. She explains to everyone that life isn’t about a crown and popularity, it’s more about loving yourself and cherishing your true friendships. In the end, everyone becomes friends, the Plastics are eliminated, and the issues of popularity are no more.

During the majority of Mean Girls the girls are represented as catty, backstabbing, vicious, and slutty. They are shown constantly obsessing over clothing and make-up and they are shown constantly talking about everyone else, even going so far as writing about people in a “Burn Book.” The girls are shown more as puppets on a string then as real human beings. They do not follow any of their own ambitions for fear of what the Queen Bee, Regina, will say and they are not shown thinking about anything else but popularity. The movie follows Cady, who starts out as an average teenage girl, but quickly becomes obsessed with her looks like the rest of the Plastics and obsessed with what other people might say about her. She doesn’t even join the Mathletes, a math club, because it would sabotage her popularity. Throughout most of this film the issue of gender is clear: females are to look and act like Barbie dolls. Intelligence is not encouraged, looks are. Overall, at first the film seems to give a negative representation of females, as purely puppets and not living and thinking human beings, but by the end of the movie it gives a positive and empowering message. It teaches girls to realize that popularity means nothing. It doesn’t get you anywhere, but in trouble. Talking about people and writing about them in “Burn Books” doesn’t make you, the gossiper, and pretty, smarter, or better than anyone else. It also tells girls that winning a stupid “plastic” crown at a dance doesn’t make you any better than anyone else either. That crown should be given to everyone because everyone can be a queen. Loving yourself comes from the inside, not what people think about you on the outside.

I do consider this a feminist film by the end of it, but at the beginning I would have to say it is anti-feminist. This film features all the common stereotypes about teenage girls: they’re sluts, all they care about is their looks, like are obsessed with popularity, and that you have to be skinny and gorgeous to be popular. The Plastics walk around in midriff-bearing tops, short shorts, and have flawless skin. We all know that these are not realities. In my high school, shorts and skirts had to be below the finger-tips, no midriff exposure was allowed, and we couldn’t even wear tank-tops. At the beginning, this film was buying into every stereotype and telling girls that they needed to change who they really were in order to have friends and be popular. It was also showcasing teenager girls backstabbing each other in the name of men and popularity. Although the beginning of the film seems anti-feminist, by the end I really think it gives a great feminist message. Cady learns that life is not about popularity after she realizes all the people she has hurt. Her last speech at the Spring Fling dance is the most moving. She even breaks the crown marking her Queen, and gives pieces to everyone, saying that everyone looks like royalty. At the very end of the film, the Plastics break up and popularity ceases to exist. Even Regina lets go of her “Barbie doll” life and becomes a Rugby player. By the end of the film, girls should feel empowered to love themselves for who they are and realize that popularity is not all it is cracked up to be, which is a solid feminist message.

I personally love this film. It is one of my favorite movies of all time. I think it is funny and it very well-written and performed. I’ve seen this movie a million times and I still laugh-out-loud. I don’t think that this is a film that is meant to be taken too seriously. It is a comedy and it should be viewed as such. I think all of the actors had a lot of fun with it and made sure to take it lightly. The movie is definitely a far-cry from real high school. Like I said earlier, most high schools have strict dress codes and students would definitely not be allowed to wear some of the outfits that the Plastics are shown wearing. The film doesn’t relate too much to my own high school experience because it is such a far-cry from real life, but I guess some of the aspects of popularity are the same. My graduating class did not have people who were too much more popular than others because we went to a small school and everyone pretty much knew everyone else, but the girls that were the “most” popular I guess you could say, were like the Plastics in some ways. All of the boys in the class wanted to date them, they always had parties, and they really didn’t hang out with anyone but each other. They sometimes “accepted” new people into their group, but eventually someone was always thrown out. Overall, I think Mean Girls is a great film and everyone should go and see it!

Check out the following resources to learn more about Mean Girls:
1. Mean Girls. Dir. Mike Waters. Perf. Tina Fey and Lindsay Lohan. DVD. Paramount Pictures, 2004.
2. "Mean Girls: the Official Site." (
3. "Mean Girls Trailer." Yahoo! Movies. (,2980783-300-rnv-s.5791064-125603,2980783-300-wmv-s.5791186-125603,2980783-56-rnv-s.5791058-125603,2980783-100-rnv-s.5791061-125603,2980783-56-wmv-s.5791062-125603).
4. "Mean Girls." Wikipedia. (
5. Wiseman, Rosalind. Queen Bees and Wannabes. 1st ed. Crown, 2002. 1-352.

By: Katie Hartigan

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Boys Dont Cry~ Emily Chumbley

The 1999 film "Boys Don't Cry" by Kimberly Pierce is based on the true story of Teena Brandon (or Brandon Teena). It is about a transman (born a female) who lives his life and identifies himself as Brandon Teena. After falling in love with a girl named Lana, Brandon moves to Falls City, Nebraska. Even though Brandon and Lana become sexual, Lana is still unaware of his biological sex. Brandon becomes good friends with Lana's friends including Candace and ex-convicts Lotter and Nissen.

Soon after, Brandon was jailed for forging checks. He was put in the womens section of the jail and since Lana bailed him out, she wanted to know the truth. Brandon told her he was born with a birth defect and would soon get a sex change. Lana confessed her love for Brandon and said she didn't care what was wrong. It wasn't too long until her friends found out. Lotter and Nissen expose Brandon in front of everyone by violently ripping of her clothes in front of everyone so all his privates were showing. Soon after, Lotter and Nissen take Brandon to a meat factory and rape him (or her-however you like to say it). Even though the two warned Brandon to not report it, Lana convinced him otherwise. After finding out Brandon had reported it, Lotter and Nissen went looking for Brandon and ended up shooting and killing him and their friend Candace (brandon was staying at candace's house).

Gender issue is pretty much what the whole movie is about. Brandon was have a "gender identiy issue" as he stated in the movie. Even though Brandon seemed to know he liked women and wanted to be a women, there was no question about it. A man "traped" in a womens body is not something many can understand or even accept. Brandon happened to be someone that was hard for society to accept and he looked downed upon just become he was "different". All the women in the film are treated like worthless meat to these men. Lotter and Nissen order around Candance and Lana throughout the whole movie. Lotter seems to have a crush on Lana and seems to control her. They treat Brandon like one of the boys and as soon as they found out he had female parts, they raped her. They made Brandon say "I know, this is my fault, I deserve it." This film does not show women in a positive light. The only positive women I saw in this movie was, Brandon for realizing she was really a he and embracing it. Lana for not caring what Brandon was. She got to know him before she knew his gender issue. That shows character and she isn't afraid to admit it. Lana tries to stand up for Brandon to Lotter. Other than that the women in this movie are treated like crap and are portrayed as girls who follow the bad boys around.

No, I do not consider this a feminist movie. Brandon hid who he really was and in the end he was killed either way. If he would have embraced who he was and stood up for everything he believed in, he might have never gotten mixed in with those people. But then again, being afraid of being killed because of his gender issue might be the reason why he kept it to himself.

Even though the movie was sometimes hard to handle or hard to watch, I liked it. It wouldn't be my choice of movie to watch all the time because it is depressing and to know it is a true story doesn't really help it. The director did not beat around the bush and made everything real and graphic. The film gives people a slight look into the lives of people who are going through something like Brandon is going through. Yes, the graphic scenes of the rape and murder was hard to watch but knowing that someone was treated like this simply because he/she was not like everyone else is just awful.

Emily Chumbley


Monday, July 23, 2007

Support Gender Equity Awareness in NYC!!!

Support Gender Equity in New York City with GGE on the 28th of July!

The following was retrieved from the Girls for Gender Equity, Inc website:

Second Annual NYC Festival for Gender Equality
Connect! Create! Educate!

(Brooklyn, NY - July 11, 2007) "That's some nappy-headed hos there." - Don Imus, White/male/67 years old (4/4/2007) "What up, ho? You got di*k suckin' lips." - Unknown, Black/male/teen (5/16/2007)

We can't forget that we fight for gender equity because women have the right to be safe and respected, whether the violence comes from a national radio host or a teenage boy we pass on the street. Girls for Gender Equity is proud to organize the Second Annual New York City Gender Equality Festival on July 28th 11am - 6pm at Von King Park in Brooklyn, NY Featuring performances by artists including singer/songwriter Pamela Means, hip hop artist Carlethal, Women's Project theater group, and spoken word poets Urban Word NYC, the Gender Equality Festival is a free public event for education, networking, resource sharing, community interaction, arts and recreation that is open to New Yorkers of all ages and genders.

"Despite it raining, over 200 people attended last year's festival. Everyone came because they recognize the importance of equity and justice for people of all genders. We're here to build a movement based on cooperation and coalition building, and to create a world where girls and women can live self-determined lives," said Mandy Van Deven, Associate Director of Girls for Gender Equity.

Over 70 community organizations will participate, offering workshops on a wide variety of topics - responding to street harassment, zine making, HIV/AIDS, self defense, youth leadership, online activism, responding to police violence, reproductive justice, and more. "NYC must come together to let everyone know we will not tolerate discrimination or abuse against girls and women in any form, any time, anywhere," says Oraia Reid, co-founder of RightRides. In addition to the activities, free food and prizes will also be given out to those who attend.

Posted by: Marisa Aguilera-Wells

Website source:
(July 28, 2007 * 11am - 6pm)
Download Press Release (DOC / PDF)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

1) How is the girl/woman represented in the ad? How is her body and/or sexuality used (or not) to sell a particular product?
The woman is being as being sexy. Her body is being used to sell a bra. It is saying this bra will accent her breasts and you can get more of what you want. The one part says Planning to talk her husband into a cruise. Therefore, it gives the idea more guys will notice you and pay better attention. Most women are always looking for a way to get what they want or hold a guys attention so if this bra can do that then they would be likely to buy it.
2. Do you think this ad is offensive to women? Why or why not? What kind of ideologies of gender and sexuality do you think are contained in this ad? What is the dividing line between “sexy” and sexist?
I do not find this ad offensive. It is selling a bra so there is a point for her to being half naked. It isnt like they were selling a toaster or anything they were selling underwear. I think it passes the ideals that you have to be sexy to get what you want. A guy would be more willing to listen to you if you were half naked. These are not necessarily good ideals to pass on. In this add they passed to line when they added the phrases below about talking to her husband about the cruise. The add would have been just sexy then. Now they make it looks like this is how a girl needs to look in order to get something from her husband.
4. How does advertising affect body image issues for girls and women? Do you believe that the advertising industry has a responsibility to promote more diverse images of women? Why or why not?
I think the advertising affects the body images for girls and women. The woman in the ad is very skinny. I think it show that is what people prefer. Advertising should have a responsibility to promote diverse images of women. Maybe then we would not have so many cases of weight issues in the female world. I also think that it has even started to affect men as well. Guys and weight issues are also on the rise somewhat. Therefore I believe the media needs to promote more diverse images all together. So many teens fight wieght issues everyday and maybe by showing a diverse group of people then they will become more comfortable with their body.
5. What kind of activism can people take part in to protest and/or oppose advertising imagery that they find offensive or harmful to women and girls?
I think women need to write into the company the ad is promoting and the adverstising company that came up with the campaign. They need to flood their offices with millions of letters. If the item is not an everyday need then maybe go as far as boycotting the item. I think letters and emails would be an effective way of getting the point across though. It has to go not just the company the product is made by but also the people making the ads. They believe sex sells therefore you would have to show through numbers that some things will not be tolerated

Victoria's Ugly Secret

The ad that I have chosen to critique for this weekend's blog entry comes from the store Victoria's Secret, which most know is in the business of selling mainly lingerie. The pages of their catalogues are filled with half-dressed women displaying beautiful lacy bras that promise cleavage and panty-line-free thong underwear. Usually the models that I have seen in these particular ads have been well known models that ooze a certain amount of confidence that projects off of their catalogue pages. What I see in this ad is a young girl who actually seems to be exploited more than anything else. I almost want to compare this ad to a very sad pornographic film where all you want to do is creep into the television and save the young women from the fate of the movie. The big bad Victoria's Secret company usually uses a number of top ten supermodels to prominently display their goods. Here's the exception though... with this particular target audience being younger than usual (16-18), they have instead chosen an unknown and frail teenager to sell their sex to other young girls who don't know any better.

Let me introduce you to the ad. This is V.S.'s new "Sleep & Lounge" sweats line and what we have here is our model showcasing a number of items from their active and lounge wear. This girl appears to be starting college and is in what looks to be her college dorm room- wearing a sweatshirt that says 'Pink University' and some message shorts displaying 'Phi Beta Pink' across her rear-end. I believe that in this ad she's supposed to represent very young women across the country beginning school this fall. This company is using this girl's sex appeal to sell these products (although I see absolutely no sex appeal emminating from her thin frame, all I want to do is feed her a sandwich).

I believe that this ad is ABSOLUTELY offensive to women and especially young girls. Women around the age of 18 are most vulnerable as they leave high school and enter college. It's the time in their lives where they are trying to figure out who they are as people, and exploring the world (usually) on their own for the first time. So, when I ran across this ad on their website, I was absolutey horrified! Why are they using such an obviously under-weight model to sell these clothes when they know that their audience is susceptible girls and women? Are they trying to say that this is how you are supposed to look as a young adult? Let me say that what I don't see in this ad is even a hint of sexiness. I believe that this company is masking it's real message to women. The message that you are supposed to see at first glance is that Victoria's Secret clothing makes women sexy. However, subconciously they want women to see this image and have it play into their physical insecurities. The adjectives I would use to describe this ad are these exactly: naive, young, submissive, weak, and to be taken advantage of. I never see any men portrayed in this light when looking at advertisements, and I'm unsure why this company would like to showcase these negative images as an example for girls and women.

This ad is absolutely anti-feminist. What's upsetting is Victoria's Secret could sell as many products with ads that promote women empowerment and strength. Instead, at least in this particular series of ads, they are subconciously encouraging weakness. These are the exact kinds of ads that affect and distort the body images that women see of themselves. They are instilling in people the belief that this is what the world finds sexy and appealing. That if you do not fit this mold, you don't fit into the society that Victoria's Secret deems beautiful. Victoria's Secret is a company that serves solely women. Why, then, is it not promoting healthy images for their customers? What are they gaining in promoting weakness to their clients? Women have a responsibility to show companies like Victoria's Secret that we will not tolerate this display and portrayal of women as presented in the ad above!

Posted by: Marisa Aguilera-Wells

Blog Entry #3 – By Chris Martin

Blog Entry #3 – By Chris Martin

The advertisement that I have chosen to critique is an ad that comes from the well known store, Abercrombie and Fitch. They have always been known for their sexual advertisements in their catalogs and posters in their stores, feeling the sexier they depict themselves, the better their clothing will sell. The story is no different here when it comes to this particular advertisement. In this ad the woman is being shown with a man coming on top of her and making out with her. He is also letting his hand slide down in between her legs like he plans to take things much further. The woman in this ad is clearly being shown as sexual, and stereotypically most people would look at this ad and think that the woman is being shown as a slut or whore because she is in the front seat of a car looking like she is getting ready to have sex with some guy. But Abercrombie seems to be trying to show that if you wear their clothing that they sell, then you will be able to be like this couple, they are (barely) wearing Abercrombie clothes and it seems that because of this it means they are going to be attractive to others leading to sexual acts like this one.
Personally I do think that this ad is offensive to women because I know that women stereotypically get stamped as a whore on them if they are seen being sexual with a guy, even though it is just natural to be this way. Also, most of Abercrombie’s focus on where they sell their clothing to is the younger/teen generation. So having advertisements like these only seem to push even more that our teens and even pre teens should be starting to be sexual as early as they can, because if they see it in these advertisements by these good looking models, then clearly they should be cool like them and do the same things. I think the dividing line that is in this ad between sexy and sexist is when the guys hand is beginning to go down between the girls legs. The ad could be sexy if they were just kissing, because kissing is sexy and it is not seen as “dirty” like a mans hand between a woman’s legs would be. With the guy having his hand starting to go between the woman’s legs, that is when it crosses the long into sexist because now it seems to be showing the woman as being “slutty” because she is clearly ready to go along with the act.
I think that this ad is certainly anti-feminist because the ad is clearly not giving the woman any power that she rightfully deserves. It is depicting the woman as almost being helpless with the man coming over to be on top of her and control their actions. She is clearly willing in the advertisement but she does not seem to be controlling the situation much at all, it is the man who is being dominant and has the power in the particular scenario. If this advertisement were depicted through feminist’s eyes, I think that the woman would not be shown as being the “piece” that the man is about to indulge on. I think if they were not being shown in a “dirty” place like the front seat of a car, but rather maybe in a field where they could both be close and shown to be sharing a kiss and a hug, with neither being the dominant in the situation.
Advertisements like this, especially Abercrombie’s, affect body image issues greatly for men and women I feel. Because every single man or woman that is shown in one of their advertisements are shown as having the perfect bodies, bodies that not many men or women truly do have. But if they do not have these types of bodies that are being shown, then they are not as good as the others like those in these ad’s. I do think that the advertisement industries do have a responsibility to show a more diverse array of women, but at the same time I also think people need to understand that those who are shown in the advertisements are all models, who a lot of time don’t even have the actual bodies that are shown in the magazines, because computer imaging has advanced so much that they change how the bodies even look anyways. It is a rather deceiving tactic.
I personally think that people can take action against places like Abercrombie and how they attempt t sell their clothing is by simply not buying the clothes. If the companies see that people are disgusted with the way their company is advertising and that they are losing business because of this, then things will change. But until something like that happens, they will continue to keep “selling what works,” and that is sex, and sexy model bodies with their clothing on them.

Trophy Wife

To be honest I have no idea what they are try to "sell" in this ad. This women is giving impressions to other women that they should be a man hott little house wife who will wear little dresses and cook for him all day while looking beautiful. She has a dress on that someone would usually wear going out to a party or to a wedding. Not for cooking. She has her make up on and hair done like she is ready to go out. She has a huge smile on her face as if all she loves to do is cook. They are using all of these images to help sell the product.

I do think it is offensive towards women. I mean honestly, I do not mind cooking, but you will never catch me wearing anything like that while doing it. I understand some women do love to cook. This add gives of the vibe that this is the way women should be and this is all they are good for. They need to be some mans trophy wife and they are suppose to just cook for their man and look good doing it. They could have done this ad in a complete different way and not make it so sexist. They can still have a women cooking and serving a dish but not have her wear a little dress, with lots of makeup and a huge flower in her ear. The ad might be selling more the way it is becaus sex sells. But it just makes it offensive to women. If they had an "average" women on there, it might not be so offensive towards women.

This ad is anti-feminist. They ad goes against everything feminist believe in. Women are independent and shouldn't have to be anyones trophy wife. Women can amount to alot more things than just cooking and looking good. Sure we can do that too. But this ad just makes this woman look like she is the happiest person in the world to cook and serve someone else. Not to mention she is a skinny gorgeous blonde. Which gives off the vibe to women that not only do you have to cook and serve people, you have the pressure of being a skinny gorgeous blonde and thats the only way you will be happy.

This ad does affect body image for women. The women in this picture looks like she is serving cookies. Yet the women in the picture probably does not even eat the cookies because she is so skinny. She can cook and serve someone but because she has the pressure to be skinny she cant eat any of what shes serving. I think the advertising industry has a huge responsibilty to promote more diverse and realistic ads. Body image is such a huge social issue in this country and the media and ads are a huge part of the problem. If ads start becoming more diverse maybe the tides will start to change and body image issues will start to get better.

I believe the most activism that can be done against these products is to not buy them and try to get other people to not purchase them. Women should not follow the messages these ads are saying. I mean this is a free country and they have the freedom of press but they wont advertise anything that wont sell. So our job is to not let these advertisements sell their products and make a bold statement saying these ads are NOT okay!

Emily Chumbley

Sex Ad: By Blake Romp

From a male's point of the, the female looks to be the dominant person in this ad becuase she is on top of the male. I think mosyt people would label her as "skanky" or other words like that. If the guy was on top I do not think he would be labled the same becuase guys do not get labeled liek women do with actions like this one. I think her body is being used as a sex symbol. The ad to me says if you where Tommy Hilfiger then you will be able to get females like this and get them in the bed. It is all about the "sex" in this ad. They want you to feel sexy wearing these clothes. I look at these ad being a males ad. But if you really study it it is the women who plays a key role in the ad. We all know that sex sells, so the women is being used to let us know that this clthing line will allow you to get beautiful women on the beach only if you wear this clothing line. If the women was not in this ad it would not be good at all. The female puts some flavor in the ad. I think women are being used wrong in this ad becuase she is the domaint person in this ad just becuase she is on top of the male. It looks like this femal wants this man becuase of his clothing and not becuase of his looks. I think women are misrepresented in a lot of the ads they are in becuase "sex" sells and they spiece up ads.
I think it is more of an anti-feminist ad. To me it looks like they are promoting sex. Most ads do that. I think the main part of this ad is the female and the beach. Becuase people fantaise about being on the beach with a beautiful female and having her. This is exactly that. What is funny is that some poeple think that they can buy this clothes and it will help them get women becuase this is what the ad is about. If they had a guy walking on the beach by himself with Tommy Hilfiger on it would be the same as this ad but not sexually. I think this ad promotes sex and that the females are the one who is asking for it. With her being on top it allows the audiences to see that she is the one who is asking for it. If the male was on top it might be a different story but the ad then might be like a perfume ad for women so that they male was chasing the female. I think the more they promote diverse ads the more people think that it works for whatever they are advertising. I think a hughe problem with ads like this is that young girls and boys see this ad and think that it is right what they are doing in the ad. I think boys will get the idea that they can be like the guy in the ad and get all the girls when really all the ad is doing is telling the audiecne to purchase Tommy Hilfiger clothing. I do not think that "sex" ads will never stop becuase we all know how "sex" sells and they are right that it does.

Blog Entry #2 - Crystal Fitzthum

I know that this is very late. I had some health / car issues, but here it is:

Andrea Dworkin was born on September 26, 1946 and passed away on April 9, 2005. Though she was born in the United States of America, Dworkin traveled to the Netherlands and married an anarchist that she had become involved in. Shortly after their marriage, the abuse began. Afraid for her life, Dworkin left her husband and was left homeless, turning to prostitution for money to survive. It is likely that these experiences caused her to become a radical, feminist writer who “wanted instead to write books that were fire and ice, wind sweeping the earth… that, once experienced, could not be forgotten (Memorial).”

Dworkin is well known for her stance on pornography. She felt that pornography “degrades women, discriminates against them as a class, and incites men to sexual violence (Answers).” Upon returning to the United States, Dworkin brought with her the feminist movement in a radical way. She wrote several books, including Woman Hating, which was written with Ricki Abrams, Pornography: Men Possessing Women, and Intercourse.

Later in life, Dworkin met a feminist named John Stoltenberg. After living together, she married Stoltenberg. Though she openly stated that she was a lesbian and Stoltenberg stated that he was gay, the two were life partners and loved each other. Their marriage was not public because they knew that people would not understand it.

Dworkin died in 2005 at the age of 58. She had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. This had started long before the problems began, and she tended to blame her homelessness and other problems early in life, while many others blamed her obesity. No matter the cause, Dworkin achieved much for the feminist movement and wanted to be remembered “in a museum, when male supremacy is dead. I'd like my work to be an anthropological artifact from an extinct, primitive society (Wikipedia).”

As previously stated, her greatest achievements were her writings. Though her writings were the most important aspect of her feminist work, Dworkin also attempted to gain freedom for women though the government. In 1986, she successfully convinced officials to pull men’s magazines, such as Playboy, from the shelves of most stores. This decision was later reversed, though it was an accomplishment that she was able to convince them to do it in the first place. She also did work in Canada to get pornography banned for its oppression of women.

Dworkin dedicated most of her life to the feminist movement, fighting for equal rights for everyone. Her opinions were considered radical for both left and right-winged people. Because she claimed to be a lesbian, many right-winged people did not care for her, and because of her views on pornography, many leftists disagreed with her. Despite this, her work against pornography was great. Pornography is degrading to women and was a worthy cause to fight. I think that she opened the doors to many other females who may have been afraid to let their opinions be heard. Her voice in her books and her actions through the government were loud and strong, giving other women the courage to fight for their rights and freedoms.

I had not previously heard of Andrea Dworkin, but I think that it would be interesting to read some of her books. While I don’t agree with her view that all sexual intercourse between man and woman is degrading to women, I do think that pornography is degrading. I think it would be very interesting to read some of her books and to learn more about the things she accomplished in her life. I think that her works can help me to better understand my feelings on issues like pornography.

More information and sources can be found at the Andrea Dworkin website as well as the following sites:

Blog Entry #3 - Crystal Fitzthum

Just a quick note before I copy my entry: The video advertisement I am talking about can be seen at any GameStop or EB Games store. We are supposed to play them any time that the store is open. Also, I for some reason can not get my paragraph indents to save, so I am going to space out the paragraphs. Sorry.

I work at EB Games in the Sandusky Mall, and the store is required to run a program on the television that advertises upcoming games, music videos on their soundtracks, and other information about video games. There are two main hosts in the video, one being male and one being female. I think that the video sends out both positive and negative images about women.

The woman in the video is a thin, attractive woman. She talks about video games with her co-host, and actually has some video game knowledge. While I think that her slim figure is used to attract males in the video gaming world, I think that it is positive that the program portrays her as having a lot of knowledge, sometimes more than her co-host. The overall purpose of the video is to peak the interest of customers so that they spend more money in the store.

For the most part, I think the ad is positive. The negative aspect is that the company felt that they had to hire what society considers attractive. I also think the advertisements are positive in that they portray a woman as being very knowledgeable in the video game world. I know that many women do have knowledge when it comes to games. I’ve worked in the store for a year and a half; I have to know something! Still, most men who play games feel that women are non-existent when it comes to games. I couldn’t even begin to tell the number of times I’ve heard, “You don’t even play video games, do you?” or, “Wow, you actually play games?” While EB Games and GameStop are using the host’s attractiveness to peak male attention, I also think that they are sending the message that women can play video games and even know a little bit about them.

I would not consider the advertisement to be offensive. As I stated previously, it does give the positive image that women can be just as knowledgeable as men in an area where they are often thought to know very little. The woman doesn’t dress overly “sexy” as it is a program for all ages, so I don’t think it crosses the line of being sexist. I would consider the ad to lean more toward being feminist since it shows that women can know a lot about games.

I think advertising, movies, and television programs are the primary source of many women’s ideas of body image. At a young age, girls see images of slender women who are portrayed as being extremely sexy. This is reinforced over and over again, both throughout childhood and adulthood. This can sometimes lead to mental problems, including eating disorders. In some cases, girls who feel that they fit the images will pick on others who do not.

I think that both the advertising industries as well as society as a whole have an obligation to change the way ads portray women. The advertising industry uses images of young, sexy women because that is what society wants and expects. I think that there are more ads with older women, but most of these ads are for beautifying products, such as age-defying lotions. People need to demand more diverse, positive images of women before anything will change.

What can people do to aid these changes? Write to advertising companies. Share your opinions on the negative images of women with friends. Gain a complete understanding of your feelings and why you feel the way you do about the advertisements so that when you do make an argument against advertising agencies, people will be able to understand why you feel the way that you do. Too many people try to make an argument without fully backing up what they are saying. In order for people to listen and understand, we must first understand. People simply need to make their voices heard, both to each other and to advertising agencies.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

1. How is the woman represented in the ad? How is her body and/or sexuality used (or not) to sell a particular product?
At first glance, the woman appears to be admiring the man for this amazing rescue. But when you read the caption under the picture, you see that the woman is in fact the hero. Her body and sexuality are not used to recruit people to the coast guard. While she is leaning on the man in a seemingly submissive way, she has her hands on him rather than his arms around her. He is not acting possessively or protective towards her. He does have his arms crossed and appears a little smug, but he is leaning his head slightly towards her, which makes him appear more proud than smug.

2. Do you think this ad is offensive to women? Why or why not? What kind of ideologies of gender and sexuality do you think are contained in this ad? What is the dividing line between "sexy" and sexist?
I think at a glance this ad could be construed as offensive, but upon further study, it is clearly not meant to be offensive. The ad slightly breaks a gender barrier. Typically, men are seen as strong, more the "military type" you could say. Women are seen as delicate and fragile. This ad creates a balance of the two in the woman. She is attractive, but she doesn't look like she puts much effort into her appearance. Even though it's a black and white picture, she doesn't look like she's wearing make-up, and she isn't dressed in typical "woman" clothes. Because of this, I wouldn't necessarily say this is a "sexy" portrayal, nor is it sexist. I think it is a strong, confident portrayal of women, and confidence is sexy. The ideology presented in this ad is that women can be women and heroes and role models. The woman is showing affection to her boyfriend, but not deference. She is in the coast guard, and this is where the cross-over is made.

3. Is this ad feminist or anti-feminist? Justify your answer.
This ad is a feminist ad for many reasons. The woman is not portrayed as a sex object, not submissive to a man in any way. Yet at the same time, she remains feminine. She represents a blend of what feminists want (equality) and what women are more naturally (pretty but not slutty, independent yet devoted and loving).

4. How does advertising affect body image issues for girls and women? Do you believe that the advertising industry has a responsibility to promote more diverse images of women? Why or why not?
Advertising affects body image of girls and women all the time. It is estimated that 1/1000 teenage girls suffer from anorexia, and the majority of them are from middle- and upper-class families (they would have more access to media). The mortality rate of this disease ranges from 5-10%. For bulimic girls, the percentage is higher. The only reason anyone would put themself through such torture is because the person is made to feel inferior. In terms of the media, young girls are made to feel fat and ugly. Every day, we are bombarded with images of tall, thin, "beautiful" women. And the majority of us regular girls don't look like that. But because we are shown that these women are sexy, we feel that this is how we should look too. You see ads where the "beautiful" girl is with an attractive guy, but an ad with a regular girl generally shows how to use make-up to make her look like the "beautiful" girls. The advertising industry needs to realize that cases of anorexia and bumimia have gone up, as has suicide. Some girls become so obsessed with how they look and when they can't make themselves look like a model, they feel like they have nothing to live for. Magazines promise all the time to use a variety of models in a variety of sizes. And they usually do (on one or two pages). Most of the models in these magazines are stick-thin. (magazines that are aimed at women should be trying to either entertain or educate women, not make them feel inadequate.) Almost every magazine for women has at least one article per issue about how to lose weight. How to look better. How to look younger. How to be pretty. If the media were instead telling women that they are beautiful and worthwhile, body image would improve significantly.

5. What kind of activism can people take part in to protest and/or oppose advertising imagery that they find offensive or harmful to women and girls?
Most importantly, people should not buy or use products made by these companies, because by doing so they are supporting the company. By supporting the company, they are supporting the message that the company sends. They should seek out alternative products that either do use a variety of models in a positive manner, or buy products that are off-brand, as they are less likely to advertise at all. Women can put away the curling irons and hair straighteners, the fancy skin-tightening or improving or whatever creams (that don't do anything), and the make-up. At least sometimes. Some women like to do their hair and make-up, and that's fine. But they also need to be able to see their beauty without the make-up. And men need to compliment women (especially their girlfriends or wives) no matter how she looks. Of course, if you're in a relationship and you aren't attracted to her unless she's all dolled up, you probably shouldn't be together. Women also (and this is a hard one) need to stop looking for validation from others. We need to be confident in how we look and who we are, no matter what others think.

~Samantha Powers~

Nike Advertisement

First, I would like to give everyone a brief summary of the advertisement. Although you can see it, I will give my perspective of it so everyone can see where I got the basis of my critique. To begin, I would like to say that this is a positive advertisement that comes from Nike. The ad showcases Maria Sharapova, who is the highest-paid female athlete in the world and is the second-ranked tennis player. The ad states, “Just a T-Shirt, the way Maria is just a tennis player.” This as is being sarcastic; of course the shirt is not just a regular shirt and of course Maria is not just your average tennis player because she is the second best in the world! Nike is stating that their product is brilliant, just like Maria Sharapova.

Maria Sharapova is depicted in this as in the same way that you might see her out on the tennis court. The hair by her forehead is sweaty and she is wearing little to no make-up. Her back is turned to the camera and her muscular arms are showing. She is wearing the T-shirt being advertised and her breasts are not showcased whatsoever. She has a fierce and determined look on her face. She is shown holding a ball, perhaps a soccer ball. Her female attributes, like her breasts are not being used to sell this product. She is not wearing excessive make-up either. Nike is not using her body to sell this T-shirt. They are using Maria obviously because she is a magnificent tennis player, not because of her looks. Nike is using Maria as their spokesperson because of her athletic ability and her well-known accomplishments as an athlete.

I do not believe that this ad is offensive to women whatsoever. This is meant to be an empowering ad for females. I think the ad is trying to say that as a female, you can be sweaty, muscular, and an athlete and still be beautiful and successful. It is saying this because Maria is muscular, she a well-accomplished athlete (even better than many male tennis players), and she is not afraid to get sweaty. This ad is telling the female population that we too can be sweaty like men and even be more successful than them if we stay determined. This ad breaks through the gender and sexuality boundaries that we normally see in advertisements featuring women. Maria is not showcased in tight clothes, her breasts are not exposed or even accentuated, and she is not wearing a ton of make-up trying to make her resemble a Barbie doll like we so commonly see in advertising.

The dividing line between what is “sexy” and what is “sexist” is in the eye of the beholder. Someone, whether male of female, may look at one advertisement and think it is “sexy”, but someone else may look at the ad and think it is too risqué and possibly “sexist”. I would have to say that this ad portrays Maria and all women that are athletes as sexy in a tasteful way. Maria looks great in no make-up and a loose T-shirt; she does not need to be all “dolled-up”. Other people may look at the ad say that it is “sexist” because she is shown with sweat on her forehead, which could allude to sex. I think that view is a little extreme because I think that this ad is clearly empowering for all females, especially female athletes. We do not need to wear make-up and tight clothes to be happy, successful, and beautiful.

I believe that this ad showcases feminism in all its glory. It is such an empowering ad. I love the tagline because it is glorifying the many accomplishments of a woman athlete. It says, “Just a T-shirt, the way Maria is just a tennis player.” Obviously, Nike is giving the utmost respect to Maria. She is not your average tennis player and certainly not your average girl. She has broken records and won many titles. She is not your average girl who will settle for being a housewife. She has her own dreams, goals, and ambitions, all of which she follows everyday. She does not care if she is sweaty, if her body has more muscle on it than a man, or if she has big breasts for a man to stare at. She is her own person and this ad is letting all females know that we can be whatever we want to be. We can even be athletes in a male-dominated area. Maria is shown holding a soccer ball. Usually men are showcased participating in sports and playing with balls, but not in this Nike ad. Nike is letting the world know that even women can play sports and be great at them.

Advertising has a huge effect on body images for girls and women. We come in contact with advertisements more times than I can count throughout a day, and if each ad is telling me as a woman that I need to be skinny and pin-thin then I start to believe it. Every clothing ad that I see features skinny girls and I don’t mean your average skinny. I mean stick-thin, with not an ounce of fat to be found. I see advertisement with thighs on girls that are about as wide as my arm and that’s not healthy. This makes girls think that in order to even be able to wear “cool” clothes they have to be super skinny. If more ads featured females of all sizes, especially more average-sized girls and full-figured females, then I believe that many girls would not be as self-conscious about their bodies. They would know that they are not alone in this size and shape and that there are clothes out there that can fit their body type. The advertising agencies and companies need to feature these diverse images of women. It is only fair that we stop neglecting the reality that we live in. The reality is that not very many females look as skinny as the models in ads, so why not have models that look like the average female? Maybe the company would even sell more of their product that way because the people viewing the ad would feel like the company respected their size and therefore the individual may be more apt to purchase the product. We cannot keep letting advertisements drive our females into bulimia and anorexia. Those are medical problems that could be fixed if advertisement would just showcase the image of the average body.

If people would like to see the negative advertisements towards women stop, then they need to boycott the products that feature this negative advertising. If people would stand up and say “NO!” to the companies that showcase women in sexual positions or with super-skinny frames, then maybe they would listen and make more realistic advertisements. I don’t just mean a couple little grassroots political movements either. Those groups are not going to get these companies to listen. All females and males need to join together and tell these companies, “ENOUGH!” If enough people write letters and boycott the companies, then they will listen and they will have to change their advertising techniques. Although we need to let the companies that have negative advertisements know that they are wrong, we also need to let the companies that are advertising correctly and positively towards women know that they are doing a great job, much like this Nike ad. Getting companies to change their ways will not be easy, but if we all put up a fight, there could be a change brewing.

By: Katie Hartigan

For more information on this advertising post, please check out these references:
1. "Glamour Magazine." (
2. "Maria Sharapova." Wikipedia. 21 July 2007 (
3. "Maria Sharapova Nike Commercial." Advertisement. 21 July 2007 (
4. "Maria Sharapova Official Site." (
5. "Nike." Advertisement. Glamour June 2007.
6. "Nike Women." Nike. (,nikewomen#l=nikestore,nikewomen).

Body as a Tool

Although this picture is sexually exploiting the woman, it is sending the message that women can use their bodies to get attention in the classroom. 1.) This woman is represented as a tool, a tool to get whatever she wants, whether it be by her using her body or by the clothes she decides to wear. Her body is used to sell this product because it's sending the message that the things you wear determines how you will be heard. 2) I do believe that this ad is offensive to women because it is devaluing everything about them except for their bodies and the clothes that they put on their bodies. Although, I do feel that it is offensive I also feel that many may not see it that way. I say this because many people don't know or even understand the struggle oppression that many women had to face. This ad would be a smack in their faces because it goes against everything that they fought for. In the past, women were viewed as weak, only good for beaing children, and looked at as sexual objects. And they were unworthy of getting an education because of these reasons, so when ads like this exist it reinforces those old beliefs. I do not see this ad as sexy but as sexist. As I stated earlier, this ad is reinforcing old beliefs, beliefs that many may still have today. This ad is saying that women can only get attention with their bodies and not through their hardwork and determination and I believe that many feel that this is true. I have heard on a numerous of occasions, people saying that a woman only got that job because of her beauty and not her brains...well this may be true to a certain extent but their are many beautiful women in the workforce who are also smart and dedicated and worhty of her position.

3) I would have to say that this ad is anti-feminist for many of the reasons that I stated above. This ad is placing more emphasis on what the woman is wearing than the fact that she is in school (according to the ad) which to me sends females the wrong messages about what is important. To make things worse, this ad was placed at college campuses where hundreds of female students could view it. I think that women already have enough challenges to face in a male dominated society especially when they are trying to get an education, and this makes it even harder for them to succeed. In addition, feminism is all about uplifting women in general, informing them that they can accomplish and have the right to accomplish anything that they want and this ad is the exact opposite. 4) Advertising affects body image for women because it's everywhere and the images that are portrayed on these ads do not not represent the normal female body. And this is what is so damaging about these ads, they send the wrong message, which contributes to a lack of self worth and self esteem, which can contribute to an unhealthy way of living. I think that the advertising industry really needs to evaluate what they are doing and how it is harmful to our young population as well as to older individuals. So many women have been brainwashed to believe that they need to look like the size 2 model in order to be beautiful and that is not true. I personally feel that if ads are going to exist than their should be ads that represent everyone. I hardly ever see ads that represent women of Asian decent for example, this could lead these young women to want to be something other than Asian because they lack representation. 5) I think that the activism has to first take place at the industry level, by this I mean with the women or companies that put out these images. Many are aware of the affect that these images have on young women and because they are aware they need to make a change. I also think that strong women who are secure with themselves should play an active role in ending these ads because they are really hindering our young women, it is a shame that so many women have low self-esteem because of these images.

Remika Marshall

Herbal Essences - By: Brian Miller

1. How is the girl/woman represented in the ad? How is her body and/or sexuality used (or not) to sell a particular product?

The woman in this ad is shown in the shower using Herbal Essences body wash. Her sexuality is used in a way that shows if you use this body wash, the experience is orgasmic. This is done through the “Turn H20 into H2OHHHH” typing on the side of the advertisement. Her body language could be telling the reader that it is fun using this body wash. It is defiantly using sex to sell this product. I think that it is very interesting that they used the slogan, “A totally organic experience.” The word organic is very similar in spelling to orgasmic.

2. Do you think this ad is offensive to women? Why or why not? What kind of ideologies of gender and sexuality do you think are contained in this ad? What is the dividing line between “sexy” and sexist?

This ad could be offensive to some women. For example, some women may find this ad offensive because of the lack of clothing this woman is wearing. Another example would be that some women may find this advertisement offensive due to the hyper sexuality displayed.

3. Is this ad feminist or anti-feminist? Justify your beliefs.

I believe that this ad is anti-feminist because it shows that you have to be skinny in order to be sexy. Feminism is about the equality of all women. It is also anti-feminist because it depicts women as nymphomaniacs. Herbal Essences is notorious for this form of objectification and dehumanization of women.

4. How does advertising affect body image issues for girls and women? Do you believe that the advertising industry has a responsibility to promote more diverse images of women? Why or why not?

Advertising plays a big role in body image issues for both young girls and women. It does this through the image of the woman being naked in order to be sexy. It also shows women that in order to be sexy you must be skinny. Women will then develop an eating disorder to choose extreme dieting and exercise in order to achieve this body image. I believe that the advertising industry has a responsibility to promote more diverse images of women because women can be sexy in all shapes and sizes. They do not have to conform to this image that skinny equals sexy.

5. What kind of activism can people take part in to protest and/or oppose advertising imagery that they find offensive or harmful to women and girls?

People can refuse to buy products that they find the advertising imagery to be offensive to women. People can also write letters to the company saying that they found that advertisement extremely offensive to women everywhere. Another possibility to protest against these advertisements is to sign petitions saying that the following people will not buy your product until the company stops offending women in their advertisements.