After looking through all my media artifacts, it becomes clear that females are currently overwhelmingly marginalized in our current culture. I believe it to be the fear of women’s liberation that led to the wish to depict women as lesser in popular media. This lead to not only how thin women are “supposed” to be, so that they take up less space, but also to accepted depictions of violence against women in advertising.

By giving females such limited roles to fill, roles that the magazine covers made quite clear, we cannot fully be our complex selves. We are instead supposed to be pretty, smart, perfect hair, face, skin, and bodies. We are supposed to be concerned fully with the way we look, and the way others (especially men) perceive us. I believe to defer us from being concerned about where we stand in society.

As difficult as it was to find texts that go against our limited roles, I hope that they will end up doing some good for feminism. It was interesting looking back at my post about the Dove girls after discussing how neat capitalism related to the Gay, Lesbian, Trans gender argument. Because social struggles tend to become “cool” and “hip”, I see Dove as using neat capitalism in this campaign. By hitching a ride on the social struggles women are having being marginalized in popular media, they themselves are hoping to become “hip” and “cool”. Although I noted the criticism that they weren’t using the ads for the right reasons, only profit, it was interesting to look at it from another perspective.

It was both very interesting and very disgusting looking into why eating disorders exist in young women, and why violence against women is committed.  Looking into how normalized the ads that depicted only parts of women had become (they are everywhere) really put into perspective how media can sneak into your subconscious. It was such a sneaky way of dehumanizing; it did not just come out with it and show women as animals (although there are advertisements like that out there) or say they are less than human. That slow process of dehumanization through showing just pieces of a woman’s body, let alone nothing of her mind or personality, led to the greater acceptance of violence towards them. It reminded me a lot of earlier documentaries we watched in the class where we were convinced that war and the killing of Iraqi’s was alright because they were not human.

It was also very interesting to look into the stereotypes of African American’s that media has created for them. Minorities are so slimly represented in popular culture, and the small amount that they are is usually a very stereotypical view. The three women role models I chose that would be good representations and good women for young black females to identify themselves which all had flaws. What is important to note, is that ALL women have flaws. All people for that matter. This humanizes these women. Whereas models and women in magazines are supposed to keep their mouths shut and look flawless, these women spend their lives hoping to empower others. I hope that in the future we have more role models, of many races, like these for young girls to look up to.

All in all, I think that our popular media has marginalized women, creating standards by which they are to abide by. These standards are put in place to minimize the amount of agency women feel, minimizing the chances that they will act out against the gender oppression they face. I hope that the future holds more strong female role models showing themselves in popular media, and more acknowledgement to women of all different kinds, not just one form of femininity or one way of looking. That way, women can begin to re-imagine the possibilities for themselves, and begin to embrace who they are. This would, theoretically, but a huge dent, if not stop, eating disorders in young women. Then it would be up to the women who now share a sense of agency to fight against the dehumanization of themselves in popular media, hopefully stopping the violence against women at the source. Ohh in a perfect world 🙂 But with more analysis like these, hopefully someday we will get there.

 

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