Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Don't Want to be a Stupid Girl

I found Butler's points about gender and performance interesting, as well as the fact that people are constantly changing and identity isn't fixed. Although all these points are fairly obvious as you read them, it wasn't until I did read them that I started to critically think about them and how they apply, especially in media. This made me think about how from birth our gender identities are fixed, with baby blankets (blue for boys, pink for girls) to the toys that are supposed to be for girls vs. boys; i.e. Barbies and dolls for girls and toy trucks and action figures for boys. As we continue through high school we become even more separated, from classes that are predominately female (home economics) and predominantly male (wood shop). It isn't until we're older that we become aware of the distinctions that are made.

Helping us along the way of fixed gender identities is the media, from television shows to movies to advertisements, that tell us how to fit into the gender norms of male and female. Disney movies and television shows such as Power Rangers and Thomas the Train help show this separation. Advertisements as well show how men and women are supposed to act, such as with this clip which shows many good examples of advertisements that define gender for men and women.

To fix this Butler calls for a challenge to fixed gender norms by causing "gender trouble," by suggesting "that existing gender forms could [be] undermined through parody" and "she welcomes any alternative performances of identity," using dressing in drag as an example. This made me think of Pink's music video "Stupid Girls," where she pokes fun at girls that go along with the norm with such things as body image, and challenges girls to fight against these norms to become president or play in typical male sports.

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