Presentation on theme: "Popular culture & The Media"— Presentation transcript:
1 Popular culture & The Media A WOMEN’S STUDIES PERSPECTIVE
2 What is Popular Culture? Popular culture is the entirety of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are preferred by an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture; especially western cultureConnecting Pop Culture to Sociology:According to reflection hypothesis, the media only gives the public what it expects, wants or demandsMedia content mirrors the behaviors, relationships, values and norms which are most prevalent in societySymbolic annihilation refers to the media’s traditional ignoring, trivializing or condemning of women and other minoritiesThis sends the message that they do not matter and their views are unimportant“if she can see it, she can be it” – Geena Davis Institute on Gender in MediaPerspectives of gender in popular culture are spread: verbally, physically, symbolically
3 CONNECTING POP CULTURE & SOCIOLOGY This is a graph showing the screen time of Avengers characters and the number of toys the characters had depicting them What does this graph tell us? What key idea from the last slide does it represent?For toys: The black widow just beat characters who were not featured in the movie (ie super Skrull)Many hulk prop toys and action figures, even though he was featured less than the black widow in the film. There were no black widow propsMost of the black widow toys were from LEGO, were expensive and not accessible to all to low income families. She was also featured in a few value packs that included figurines of all the characters
4 PERSPECTIVES & Theories ON GENDER IN MEDIA & POPULAR CULTURE When considering gender from a media theory perspective, gender representations are a result of a combination of what the media sends and what we make of it, both accepting and resisting different messagesHegemony theorists argue that media supports the status quoOthers claim that audiences are not just passive receivers but they can reinterpret what they see based on social position and backgroundFeminism saw pop culture as a construct that was subservient to the desires of the male psyche – essentially a male plot to maintain control over women’s minds and, especially, bodiesEarly archetypes were likely “sexualized cheerleaders” or “motherly homemakers”The sexualization of women’s bodies also paradoxically played a critical role in liberating women from the previous constricting roles – thus controlling the male psyche rather than being controlled by it*Is the sexual display of women’s bodies exploitative or transgressive?* madonna
5 How would you view women in media if you were a woman? A man? Gender as interactionAn individuals perception of what gender is and how it should be represented (visually and behaviorally) is created and maintained through interactions with peers…within the framework of popular cultureAlthough the production of most pop culture is done by a few corporations, peers within social networks (not only the online kind) can act as significant others who enforce popular cultures standards of genderInterpretive communities are consumers of popular culture whose common social identities and cultural backgrounds (nationality, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion or age) inform their shared understandings of culture in patterned and predictable waysHow would you view women in media if you were a woman? A man?Women and men are part of different interpretative communities
6 The male gazeThe male gaze is the idea that women are portrayed in art, advertising and on screen from a man’s point of view – as objects to be looked atFetishism and commodities take on a new meaning – What is this meaning?Women become a commodity to be consumed
7 General representations of GENDER IN MEDIA & POPULAR CULTURE Stereotypes are simplistic generalizations about categories of people.Emerge from dominant groups to affirm dominate ideology (sexism, heteronormativity)They are not true, may be rooted in a seed of truth and are believed because they are taken for granted as common knowledgeNormalcy in media and pop culture are disproportionately*WhiteMaleUpper middle class (affluent)Relatively young (for women in particular)Trim and fitEurocentric definition of beauty* This has been slowly changing in the media but it is a very SLOW process
8 Gender in television Television is the most important media socializer Americans spend 33% of their leisure time watching television – this is more than any other leisure activity (socializing with others only comes in at 7%)Women watch more television than menAdults watch more television than childrenChildren spend more time watching television than any other non school activityTelevisions effectsResearch suggests television viewing may affect an individual’s self evaluation as well as more general perceptions about genderJudgments about the content of a programs plausibility is related to viewing frequency.Heavy viewers tend to judge programs (and gender stereotypes within them) as more realistic than light viewers do
9 Gender in television Prominent messages in television Women are less important than menThere are fewer women than men on prime-time television (39% of all major characters are women)Women's characters are less authoritative (played by women who are younger, less mature than the male characters)*85% of female prime-time characters are in their twenties and thirties, 12% are in their forties and 22% of male primetime characters are in their fortiesThese young female characters are typically thin and physically attractiveGenerally, males are given more leeway in their appearance. 48% of women on television, compared with 16% of men are thin or very thin* The mindy project – she is a young doctor, all the males she works with in her office are represented as older and more mature
10 Gender in television Changes in gendered depictions in television Females are more likely (than before) to work outside the home, be strong and independent women who rely on themselves to solve problemsMales are more likely to be shown as ideal husbands and do their share of housework. They are still less likely to be show doing it vs. women (1-3% of men are depicted doing it, 20-27% women are depicted doing it)Still the sameWomen still are portrayed as being preoccupied with romantic relationships, defined by their marital status or occupation and using romantic charm to get what they want**insert clip /trailer of the mindy project
11 Gender in television: Lifestyle/Reality Lifestyle / Reality TelevisionIt is argued that the denouncement of taste and behavior and heightened accentuation of gendered activity by participants is often central to these programs (bachelor, bachelorette, say yes to the dress, what not to wear)Humiliation and highlighting of women’s imperfections often occurWhat Not to Wear: degradation of participants based on not conforming to gendered expectations of dress and unrealistic beauty requirements represented through popular culture. Degrade woman -> show her how to confirm to beauty expectations through consumption of products -> introduce her as “new and improved”
12 Gender in Television: Sports & Sports broadcasting Encouragement varies by sport and whether the sport emphasizes grace or powerWomen’s in sportsCosmetic fitness is continually emphasizedStill threats of homophobia and being labeled a lesbian due to athletic participationMen in sportsSport images and language often glorify heroic manhood based on being a warriorPopular culture has all but erased the existence of gay men in sportsWho are the lead sports broadcasters on the evening news? Who are the assistant sports broadcasters?
13 Gender in Television: Sports & Sports broadcasting *Includes 12 mixed events in 2004, and 10 in 2008Fig. 8.1 Number of Summer Olympic Events open to women and men.*
14 The avengers: a gendered breakdown of screen time and toy production Gender in filmIn family friendly films, there is only 1 female character for every 3 male charactersThe avengers: a gendered breakdown of screen time and toy production
15 Gender in Film: Cop films Female heroes have become more common within certain storylinesUndercover work heightens the career / family tensionSerial-killer profiling relies on heroes’ experiences with violence against women (not a film but consider Olivia Benson in Law & Order: SVU)*Women tend to remain rookies, work alone and remain incorruptiblePlotsStruggles for power on the job tend to remain dominated by male charactersDetective plots are disproportionately female* Olivia Benson was a product of her mothers rape. She has also been raped and therefore feels a need and has an intrinsic ability to hunt and punish those who commit crimes against women
16 Gender in Film: slasher films VictimsMostly women or girlsUsually sexual transgressors (inappropriate sexual behavior)Boys die because of their mistakesGirls die because they are girlsMales deaths are often quicker and shot further away with less detailFemale deaths are often filmed at close range in more graphic detail and last for a longer period of time“Final girls” portray strong female charactersKillerHas questionable masculinity – often with psychological or mother issues, a virgin or sexually inert, can be transvestite or transsexualMurder by plunging the blade of a knife into a woman is phallicViewersMales are the dominant audienceHow does the dominant audience of slasher films and methods/types of victims relate to the male gaze?The audience is mainly male and thus they are turning their male gaze on women and their victimization and objectification portrayed within the film
17 Gender in film: teen movies Represent two contrasting valuesCraziness represented by sex, drugs and rebellionYouthful innocenceSince the 1950s, there has been an increasing obviousness of sexual desire in the action and dialogue of and clothing in teen filmsTeen films act as a vehicle for socializing teenagers to the norms and values associated with gender as depicted by popular culture
18 Gender in film: Children’s Film The industryFemales working behind the camera are associated with films that depict higher percentages of female charactersStudios may feel more comfortable allocating “female-oriented” stories and scripts to female writers and directors thus there are a higher percentage of females in stereotypical female situationsBurt and ernie?
19 Gender in film: Children’s Film Burt and ernie?
20 Gender in music & music videos Gender representations associated with music and music videosThe straight, hardcore rapper and/or R&B artist vs. Frank OceanMale rock stars vs. female rock stars*Scantly clad background dancersObjectification of females by male musicians (lyrics and videos)Some critics suggest that viewers “censor” out the images and lyrics with which they disagree and accept the ones that they believe are positive for womenOthers argue that videos show contradictory images of women and sexuality, some of which resist sexist and racist stereotypes and present radical visions of strong women…and some don’t do this at allRap and Hip-Hop musicThere are debates over hip-hop music for its often misogynist and racist lyrics. Thus while the lyrics may challenge some oppressive dominant ideologies (racism), they affirm other oppressive dominant ideologies (sexism)For rap music and all music, media executives (mainly male) work as gatekeepers. They are therefore capable of keeping misogynist representations of women but often don’tHave professor wonser jump in with examples from the hip-hop film he likes to showHow many male rock stars can you name off? How many female rockstars can you name? Why do you think you can name more male rock stars?Are they popular female musicians rocking out and or performing or acting out male fantasies in their videos and music?Have you ever heard someone say they don’t like female lead singers because they sound whiny?
21 Gender in video gamesVideogames are male dominated in the consumption and production arenasPortrayalIn video games, women and girls are largely invisibleWhen women and girl characters do appear, they are sexualized through their clothing, behavior and body shape (Laura Croft: Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy X2)Female characters are passive and supporting figures - they are prizes to be won and princesses to be savedMale characters are active protagonists – they experience and create adventures
23 Gender onlineResearch indicates online communication is mitigated by gender and other social factors such as age, income, educational attainment, status and type of messageOnline communication mirrors in-person conversation stylesWomen’s s are longer and more detailedWomen use more emotions and intensive adverbs (>.< and really, very)They are more supportive and agreeableMen make stronger assertions and use profanity, insults and sarcasmThe internet for sexMen (56.5%) were more likely than women (35.2%) to surf for sexually explicit materialsMen were more likely to look at pornographic sites and masturbate while women were more likely to engage in cyber-sex with an online partnerExplanation: Women use communication to build social connections and rapport with others wile men use communication more functionally or instrumentally
25 Gender online Children and teens Girls between 12 and 16 are the fastest growing internet usersIt is thought that girls in particular may thrive online because they may be more likely to rise to positions of authority than in the physical world (prominent blogger, high number of twitter followers, tons of Facebook friends, highly ranked answers on yahoo answers)Allows for safe demonstration of technological knowledge (HTML, blog monetization) without stepping outside of gender expectations related to girls being good at navigating technologyEnables a new dimension of bullying, predominately acted out by girls, masked by the computer screenEnables access to communities promoting harmful ideologies such as anorexia (“thinspiration,” pinterest)Internet usage incites moral panic, especially for girls, in which girls are viewed as passive users of the internet and readily available to be taken advantage of by predators. This likely stems from societal discomfort around girls using technology
26 Gender onlineHow can “thinspiration” ideals represent negative images to women and girls?
27 Gender in THE WRITTEN WORD NewspapersSeek mass appealMost stories written by males, for males, focusing on males or male centered issuesMajority of the staff and owners of major newspapers are menWhen women are on staff they tend to seek out males for comment and view males as “experts” in subject areas – like their male counterpartsWomen trivialized in the stories that do not focus on themFemale attorneyPetite blondeDr. Christensen, wife of…Feisty grandmother
28 Gender in THE WRITTEN WORD MagazinesSeek a targeted audienceMagazines they tend to promote normative representations of their targeted genderWomen -> makeovers -> you are flawed, buy this stuff, improve yourselfMen -> learn and become well versed in finance, business, technology, sports, hobbies and sexThe cult of femininity in which femininity is depicted as narcissistic, self absorbed and concentrated on one’s appearance, occupational success and success in love and relationships, is usually promoted in women’s magazinesA focus on sex is prevalent in adult and teen magazinesWomen’s magazines tend to discuss sex in terms of interpersonal relationships; whereas men’s magazines objectify and depersonalize sex
29 Gender in THE WRITTEN WORD Why do you think most women are freelancers? What about most men being analysts?
30 Advertising & consumerism The average American sees more than 37,000 ads on TV per year *Advertisements are met to sell products associated with a lifestyle and thus sell the lifestyle“Advertisers portray an image that represents the interpretation of those cultural values which are profitable to propagate”*For men the message is to buy a particular product to get the “sweet, young thing” associated with it, for women buy the product in order to be the “sweet, young thing”Sexism in AdvertisingSubtle: models posesStereotypesWomen: decorative, youthfulLolita syndrome: advertising’s increasing use of children, especially girls in sexually exploitative waysFettishism and commodities take on a new view when considering the male gaze*This number may have decreased with the prevalence of Netflix and tivoWho has $ to spend? who is marketed to?Include a link to axe body spray commercial
31 Advertising & Consumerism: dove The literal text of the ad reads “real women have real curves;” implying that Dove wants to celebrate those curves. The ploy is transparent. The real message is “improve yourself, buy Dove products because they can relate to you and your body”Contains the Cinderella subtext (regular girl to princess) of making over a regular woman into a Dove model
32 Advertising & Consumerism: Behavior Big White WeddingsTaking husbands last nameFathers “giving away” daughters at weddingsPlastic SurgeryIndividuals (women and men) who may feel like they do not have control in their life will often try to control the one thing they feel like can, their physical imageConsumption as a Method of “Correction”If you purchase or use these products you will be younger, prettier, happier, more male, more femaleConforming to the photoshopped standard
33 Westernization & Americanization Because of the prominent spread of American pop culture around the world, many non-western countries are acquiring western gendered stereotypes and beauty standards.