Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Monday, February 27, 2012
Another important point that Dr. Kilbourne makes is that in numerous ads, women are displayed as transforming into objects like cars or beer bottles. By doing so we are taking personalities away from these people and labeling them as just bodies. This process is referred to as dehumanization and inevitably leads to violence against those being dehumanized because we no longer see them as people but merely objects.
Overall I thought that Dr. Kilbourne made some intriguing and thought-provoking claims that should be further discussed among groups and communities. If you missed it I would strongly encourage you to watch Killing Us Softly 4, it's on Youtube.
Monday, February 20, 2012
In the article “Little Butches: Tomboys in Hollywood Film”, hatch discusses the qualities and transformations of tomboys in the media over time. Hatch references movies from the last several decades, including Gidget, Bad News Bears, and Annie Get Your Gun. In most tomboy texts, the tomboy undergoes a transformation from masculinity to femininity and heteronormativity. While the transformation usually involves physical appearance, it more often stresses changes in behavior and relationships towards men. It is almost never a question of gender, as the audience can always tell that the character is female (through music cues, fitted “boyish” clothes, undergarments, and other “markings”). These transformations almost always end in the female becoming submissive in one way or another to a man, thus reinforcing the woman’s “place” in heteronormative society.
While reading this article, I couldn’t help but connect the “tomboy” to the show “Whitney!” currently on NBC. In “Whitney!” the main character Whitney is dating a man named Alex. While Whitney is attractive and clearly female/straight, her character is far from heteronormative. She has a low voice, very masculine tendencies, does not believe in marriage, references same-sex relationships/encounters in her past, is very opinionated, is not very emotional… Alex and the other males are feminine and relatively submissive to the three women on the show; the women are all very attractive and currently in straight relationships, but all three exhibit most of the masculine characteristics that Whitney possesses. In this clip, Whitney is challenged to a basketball game with Alex: http://www.hulu.com/watch/298969/whitney-the-girl-can-play#s-p7-sr-i1
This clip is reminiscent of the article we read for today, but also shows many differences in the tomboy model Hatch discussed. In contrast to the "musical cues" hatch references of sweet music, pay attention to the music played when Whitney enters the court. Whitney is clearly feminine, but her attire is baggy, not form fitting, and her demeanor is incredibly masculine. She does not back off to let Alex win or become submissive in any way; she trash talks, insults, and totally schools him on the court. Whitney shows that the woman can dominate, be incredibly masculine, and be athletic without shoving the heteronormative ideals of women down our throats.
Hatch discusses a few possibilities in which the Tomboy phase was used in film through the 50s and the 70s. It seems to me that Tomboys were mostly used as a means of symbolizing prepubescence and girlhood innocence as well as a face for feminism.
Personally, my phase was a little different. I clearly remember wearing black turtle necks with my short haircut (similar to my style now) and playing cops and robbers with the boys in my class on the jungle gym along side my girlfriends. But the moment that any of the boys paid more attention to one of my girlfriends, I was super duper jealous. This means that my Tomboy phase was simply a means of meeting boys and flirting with them without seeming like I actually like-liked them (cause we all know that was icky).
This made me think further.
My favorite quote from this reading is this: "gender is not a product of clothing and hair style alone but is predicated on a set of behaviors that bolsters a system of male dominance and female submission" (79). Which got me thinking about my Tomboy phase in general. Could the Tomboy phase be a normal, socially constructed part of femininity? It seems like it definitely could be.
Here are my reasons. We discussed gender as a social construct, an act that is performed based on our desire to be normal. Yes, the Tomboy phase, according to Hatch, is a part of growing up for young girls before they understand sexual desire, but that wasn't the case for me or my girlfriends in elementary school. No, we didn't understand what sex was yet but the reason we played cops and robbers with the boys was because we inherently wanted their attention. We had crushes. So for me and my friends, and I understand that it wasn't the case for everyone else, our Tomboy phase was the beginning of our desire.
Does this make the Tomboy phase a necessary part of our performed femininity? Let's Discuss.
Also....I understand my experience in terms of Hatch's theory that the Tomboy phase was simply a phase before young women discover heterosexual desire but I do not understand its connection to masculine domesticity. That is something that I would like to discuss further with the class.
Then it hit me! While trying to come up with an idea for a new YouTube video for my weekly channel, my mind thought WWJMD aka What Would Jenna Marbles Do? Now if you don't know who Jenna Marbles is you should basically go find a rock and live under it because that's where you've been for the past 6 months of your life. Anyways I'm posting a video so watch it fall in love, subscribe all that fun stuff.
Ok I'm going to stop now because I'm probably rambling. What do you guys think?
p.s. I realize that this post almost has to do with nothing we read...but I just had to get it out. Sorry Erin!
Sunday, February 19, 2012
When I thought of Hatch's idea that the 1950's tomboy narrative "demonstrates that gender is not a product of clothing an hairstyle alone but is predicated on a set of behaviors that bolsters a system of male dominance and female submission...", a few films in which I remember seeing tomboys represented came to mind. A good example of a modern day 'tomboy' film that challenges this 1950's ideal is the movie Miss Congeniality, in which a woman who has been more 'masculine' and a tomboy all of her life enters a beauty pageant in order to complete a secret FBI mission. The main character is transformed into a feminine woman by being taught certain 'lady-like' behavior, but the transformation into a woman mainly involves her physical makeover--she has makeup put on her, has her hair done, has a lot of waxing done and finally puts on a short sexy dress and a pair of heels to top off the look. Her tomboy character at the beginning of the film is seen as negative and her transformation into a more typically feminine woman is meant to be a positive thing. She also ends up having a romantic interest in one of her co-workers, who now finds her irresistible because of her sexy new look.
I think that the representation of tomboys in films today is much more complex, and there isn't one specific 'tomboy narrative', though I would argue that the tomboy narrative still almost always includes the tomboy having a romantic interest in a male character. An example I thought of in which a tomboy is portrayed in a very positive light is the Disney movie Mulan. Mulan wants to be able to fight in her father's place, so she runs away from home and portrays herself as a man so that she can fight. Mulan's character is very story and independent, yet of course toward the middle of the film, her character falls in love with a strong, masculine man, and her femininity is brought out through her actions toward this man as well as the way she appears physically at the end of the movie.
Kristen Hatch's piece, Little Butches: Tomboys in Hollywood Film, discusses the evolution of the traditional tomboy image in Hollywood movies. According to the writer, the image of tomboys in Hollywood has evolved from a representation of immaturity in young women to a reaffirmation of heteronomativity in our society. Hatch argues that the image of tomboys in Hollywood was used as a representation of sexual immaturity and childhood. The author also discusses the gradual transformation of Hollywood's tomboy into a 'woman' who embraces femininity and heteronormativity is so assured that it serves as as a symbol of the "disciplining of gender and desire" (70).
As I was reading this piece, I found myself relating to the metamorphic process of some of the characters Hatch discusses. I was definitely a tomboy when I was younger. The age gap between myself and my sisters made it almost impossible for us to relate to each other. Instead, I hung out with my male cousins and I adopted their mannerisms over time. I even began to wear my cousin's clothes because it just didn't seem practical to me to try and play with the boys in my 'girl clothes.' Although I do not remember ever having a desire to actually be a boy, I do remember always feeling a lot more comfortable wearing basketball shorts and t-shirts, putting my hair into a ponytail and playing soccer with my male cousins. I was not a big fan of the dolls my parents bought me, but I loved my SEGA and I loved playing Sonic and Mortal Combat video games. I loved running around and climbing trees and I absolutely hated it when my mom would make me play with my girl cousins because I thought sitting around playing with dolls was boring. At the time, I didn't see anything wrong with this. I didn't want to be a boy and I loved the Powderpuff girls.
As I got older, however, my feminine side became more noticeable. I went through a phase when I was about 14 when I wore pink every single day of the week. I didn't do it as a way to declare my femininity, I just became obsessed with the color for some reason. I started fixing my hair a lot more often and wearing a lot more skirts as opposed to pants. Although my outward appearance became more feminine, I still retained a lot of the masculine mannerisms I had adopted from my male cousins. I still played/watched a lot of soccer, I still played video games, I still hung out with the boys, and my mom always commented on my 'boyish-mindset.' Although I have gradually become increasingly feminine, in the traditional sense of the word, it is apparent that I still retain a lot of the more traditional male characteristics in my mannerism, my tendency to cuss like a sailor, my assertiveness, my loudness, etc. I still love to watch sports, I'm still highly competitive and a part of one of the most aggressive women's flag football teams at Denison as an offensive line-woman (and I proudly rock my pink cleats on the field!). All of these things still mark me as a tomboy in my family's eyes, but to me they're simply a part of my personality and I fully accept and embrace that about myself.
We can owe this change of perception to specific media pieces such as the films: Bad News Bears, Paper Moon, and Freaky Friday because they pointed society towards believing that becoming a tomboy is not a fruitful endeavor. If the initial perception of a tomboy was carried over through the decades to our present time, then I believe that the topic of tomboys would not be a form of taboo. A girl who can throw harder than a guy should have the opportunity to pitch on the guys team even if she has to dress up like a guy. Believe it or not, but it happened back in the day-and I was afraid during the ages of 10-12 that one day I would maybe strike out swinging to one of these boy/girl pitchers. But, I'm glad that it is safe to say that those sorts of experiences are unheard of in 2012.
The gender inequalities such as men over women, straights over gays, and whites over other races that are apparent in our society have put a pressure on these types of touchy social subjects. They are the components that fuel the transformation of how the tomboy image is viewed by the public. The growing fear of these sort of queer topics will only worsen the acceptance of tomboys across the population and force the actual tomboys to choose their lifestyles at a quicker pace. People should not be influenced by media on their decision whether a certain type of personality should be judged as moral or immoral. And then again, I don't think that it is too important to worry about these types of things. It is probably just a phase that these people go through. By the time a solution can be drawn up, the person will have already turned in her boy clothes for women lingerie.