Monday, April 16, 2012
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Why do men's magazines have in-depth articles that are not only well written but encompass politics, sports, race and anything gadget related? Whereas on Monday when we analyzed "women magazines," there were some articles but they seemed to leave the depth and breath of writing that the men's magazines had, despite most of the time being misogynistic .
Being coined sexist and/or an asshole for your misogynistic comments seem to be connote that the person as an uneducated dumbass, but its automatically assumed as a joke with the ironic wink or nudge. I wonder if the "uneducated" association comes from the academic setting that pervades Denison's campus or is it an assumption that exists elsewhere in urban cities?
I would like to say that articles like "how to get your girlfriend to let you come in her face" (Gill 211) in FHM are now child's play in comparison to the themes and ideas that porn dictates. You may say, "How can porn be realistically influencing my daily decisions?" Just look at this article. A bit ridiculous but there was an article I was reading the other day (I wish I could find it), but it delves into the idea that porn has shaped men's thinking into expecting absurd sex from women and shaping men's thinking where the first thought is the self (getting off) and then the woman as a whole. I am not saying that this theme hasn't been repeated in the past, rather it has been exasperated by porn and the ease of access that is not available to anyone with a smart phone or computer.
Moreover, men's magazine consistently have better and more useful content than women's magazines, especially in interviews. GQ for example, when they interview the celebrity on the cover person they are hardly ever asked who they are currently dating, or how they stay in shape, or what they eat on a regular basis instead they are commonly asked what music they listen to or what they think of politics etc...real world topics because men's magazines consider their subjects to be real people, or at the very least adults. Women's magazines interviews literally sound like a parent grilling their teenager on what she's doing in her life right now, somewhat looking for a way to get her in trouble (because women are continually monitored by society, a post-feminist sensibility). Just once I want women's magazine to not ask Megan Fox what its like to be a sex symbol or how she stays so thin, and rather what her favorite song is or even better, what does she currently think of the global economy. Women are adults too people!
The words "lad" and "bro" seem inextricably tied in my mind and while men on campuses across the country don't deem there sexist jokes harmful, they can be. What's even more disturbing is that some females have actually begun to take part in this type of humor. Barstool has received a great deal of criticism within the past few months, especially as their Barstool Blackout Tour went across the nation, indirectly encouraging date rape and promiscuity on numerous campuses. Girls can't find Barstool to be despicable simply because "it's so funny, "the stories are so ridiculous," "it's all just one big joke." But is it really a joke?
Barstool's reactions to many feminist groups against the site (or hell, probably just a bunch of girls who are sick of reading rape jokes, watching girls get finger banged in the front row of some dubstep concert, and constantly having to see guys looking at links like "Guess Whose Ass" and "Smokeshow") has been to continually throw more sexist crap onto the web and specifically directing these posts at their haters. This certainly is crossing a line -- if you're undergoing criticism, if citizens are outraged and hurt by the content that is being posted, isn't it time to take it down a notch? There comes a point in time where the "lad" or the "bro" need to realize that while women understand that these are jokes and that they are ironic, that doesn't necessarily make them funny. They still derive from some place that can in fact be truthful in one's mind, and thus hurtful to another.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
I think it is wonderful that men's magazines are being produced, but why do they have to emphasis lad culture? Is the masculine, heterosexual male consumer so skittish of homosexual undertones that magazine for men need to resort to crass humor in order to make connections with an audience? Can we blame social roles? In fact, laddist magazines and media can be categorized as a backlash of feminist movements because the whole basis of the work is "a place where men are free to be the men they are without making mistakes", or in another sense, making a 'safe' environment where they can be as pre-feminist as possible without the repercussions of being called anti-feminist.
Lad mags have sparked some controversy about whether they are genuinely funny or simply offensive and problematic. UniLad was forced to pull a "surprise" rape segment and other lad mags have been called out for offensive segments; however, it is argued that these segments are not intended to be taken seriously and that a unique sense of humor/irony is needed to fully understand them. However, while humor may be present, it may be more harmful than funny.
After reading about the 20th century rise in masculinity present in men's magazines this question makes a little more sense to me. Clearly men became aware of the recent rise in empowered women, in the workplace and at school, and felt they needed to regain some of the control they used to acquire. By objectifying women and portraying them as unimportant sexual objects, I can see how men might've felt they were regaining this lost power.
How they choose to reclaim this superiority, however, is truly appalling. It's unfortunate that women can rise in power through academics and hard work, but men must laugh and degrade women in order to feel more like "real, powerful man."
Monday, April 9, 2012
They sell this ideal fantasy, where if you eat what they say and flirt with the tips they have provided that you will gain this perfect life. They seem to categorize woman into boxes of wanting to be thin, wanting to be in a relationship (if not married) and wanting to be the trendiest person and as also wanting to be successful at her career. Is that all a woman really wants? ( for eg, how should you wear your hair today?) . Popular magazines for a large part are also clearly heterosexist and cater to the white upper middle class population. They also tend to suggest that all women have the same kind of problems. However, we know this is not true, women often find themselves struggling with more serious issues.Gill addresses how magazines often do not deal with systems of inequality or complexities of sexuality but often provide answers for more immediate and trivial problems.
.If we look at magazines that do look at issues of privilege and oppression and the more serious matters, we will often find that they are not as mainstream as magazines such as cosmopolitan or marie claire. Is it necessary then for us to divide magazines up into categories such as advice on sex and relationship and shopping : cosmopolitan, real issues :salon , bitch magazine etc. Would it be too much to ask for one magazine to have everything?
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Regardless though to whatever Gill says, I still find many positives to teen magazines. Not only do they create a common bond between readers, it also has a good mixture of stories, and had that much needed element, of "you're not alone" in your thinking, emotions, etc. They are especially needed in those awkward stages of early teen years. They can also help in immersing yourself in outside culture and news, especially when a lot of young girls aren't flipping through the New York Times or Time magazine. All in all, even though there is much merit in Gill's section on teen mags, it still doesn't account for the many positives there can be for young girls that need these teen magazines.
Friday, April 6, 2012
I regularly buy Glamour magazine and look at their website. I mostly read about the latest beauty trends or what the celebrities are wearing to get fashion inspiration, but I decided to click on the 'Sex and Love' icon (Notice it is not 'Love and Sex'). Before even clicking on the icon, it gives you subcategories, I am guessing in order of importance or what readers read most, but I was shocked to find that the first things it suggest you click on are: 1. sex tips 2. what men want, with romance later down the list. Once you click on this tab, the first three articles are about, "10 Things Guys Think Make Every Woman Hot", "Sex Challenge: Try These Boyfriend-Approved Kinky Things this Weekend", and "Birth Control is Wreaking Havoc on my Sex Life". The first articles suggested to read are exactly the type of discourses Gill talks about when it comes to women's magazines emphasizing pleasing your man, sexual frontierism, and taking charge sexually (192). The studies and refrences that Gill refers to are from over 10 years ago, yet today, we can find the same type of articles recycled for women to read. I especially find it interesting that while these articles suggest that they are about empowering the reader to look sexier and gain confidence, or take charge in the bedroom, they are ultimately all about pleasing your man in the bedroom: "Yet rather than simply coexisting it could be argued that the discourses work together purposively to privilege men's sexual pleasure" (195). Perhaps none of these articles are about postfeminist ideas and are simply about living up to an expectation. How much of this material can be used to empower women and how much of it is used to make us feel as if we have to improve in order to please our male partner?
Maybe magazines need to tell us to be more like Alana, grab your belly fat and own it...
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Monday, April 2, 2012
These posts lead me to thinking about other celebrities today that embody these gender-queer roles. We see more and more high pitched singers becoming famous by way of their unique voices. The Dream's single "Falsetto" was the first that came to mind. Although the falsetto meaning is a little different in this example, we still see a Top 40 song with a high pitched male lead. Another artist who is popular for his falsetto voice is singer/rapper Trey Songz who has made countless singles featuring his range.
However, there is a major difference between these artists and the Glee cast. These R&B examples feature the countertenor singer, yet make it very clear that these artists are straight, and that the music is being sung to women. Most of these songs are highly sexualized; perhaps in an attempt to counter balance the stereotypically feminine pitches. It seems that any radio song you hear with a countertenor male is focused toward obtaining admiration from women. This is where Glee establishes itself as its own program. The songs that are performed by the males tend to use gender neutral language. Although "Teenage Dream" has sexual lyrics, it does not reveal a specific gender. I feel that this is a step toward achieving the ideas of queer theory and is an example that we cannot find in very many other media outlets.
As I read the articles about the Glee characters Kurt and Blaine, I realized that I could not think of a grown male singer that still contained the high Countertenor voice of Kurt. It reminded me of the Italian castrati that were popular in opera for years up until the late 19th century. I looked up the history of the castrati and found that their popularity diminished greatly in the 1700s and it was actually made illegal in Italy in 1870. The popularity of the countertenor singing voice actually developed in response to the decline of male castrati in music. Today, countertenor voices are used in opera to fill roles originally written for castrati characters.
I found it interesting that voices and musical acts similar to Kurt and Blaine’s were popular in the 1920s, a time when pop culture was more open differences than many are today. One could argue that the 1920s was the most accepting time for artists in American history. Additionally, I find it interesting that the voice roles that Kurt most closely falls under had been popular in different cultures for centuries until the Great Depression in America.
Kurt and Blaine are the only openly gay teenage characters that I can think of in pop culture today. Many shows whose primary audiences are teenagers do not address issues of gender as openly as Glee. The popularity of the show, Kurt and Blaine’s relationship, and Kurt’s historically popular voice role shows that today’s culture is ready to be more accepting and ready for the change in pop culture television for teens.
Kurt's character also breaks the sexuality norms by being in a relationship with Blaine. In the first segment of the McCkracken's Glee blogs she acknowledges the success that the show has had in, "recognition and critique of dominant cultural constructions of performance and identity." This is also seen in the relationship that developed in the most recent season between Brittany and Santana. They are a lesbian couple who tackle very contemporary issues surrounding queer couples. For example in the Valentine's Day episode Santana request for the God Squad, a christian singing group, to sing to Brittany, her girlfriend. This not only is controversial because they are a lesbian couple, but it becomes more complicated because it is a Christian. In the end, however, the show once again defies the norms and the CHhistian group sings to Brittany. I was hoping to find a clip of this on youtube, but was unable so I'm including a clip from the last seen of this episode where Blaine and Kurt sing "Love Shack". "LOVE SHACK"