For my final project I choose to focus on media as a whole and write a journal, similar to that of the gender general that was assigned to us earlier in this course. I wanted to emphasis how much we are bombarded with regarding social media. Media surrounds us in our daily lives whether we like to believe it or not or put limitations on it. As stated from the film Miss Representation, “an American teenage on average spends 31 hours a week watching TV, 17 hours a week listening to music, 3 hours a week watching movies, 4 minutes a week reading magazines, and 10 hours a week online”.
Today while watching TV I came across a Walmart commercial, advertising a grill that is currently on sale. Its target is men which normally one would not question. The commercial has the men standing in the yard with nothing around them clearly feeling awkward in not know what to do or to talk about. The grill then appears and automatically the men having something to fix their problems and uncomfort. This is displaying a gender stereotype that men are the ones supposed to be grilling and also that they cannot converse with each other unless there’s something like this to do.
While sitting in Next Door Bake Shop, waiting for my breakfast for the morning before heading to class I came across magazines on the coffee table in front of me. I picked up one and below is one of the various sexist advertisements printed amongst them. From the first look one would never be able to guess what the ad was trying to sell, only from the text can you determine this. The picture below is of Miley Cyrus advertising a brand of lipstick found in a 2016 publish Glamour Magazine. This picture clearly shows Miley placed in a sexual position with little attention put on her lips. This is another example of how sex sells products.
While driving on the Highway in West Virginia I drove past a billboard sign advertising Harley Davidson motorcycles. This picture below is not the exact advertisement that I saw myself but very similar to it, rather the one I passed had three women in the picture surrounding the bike. This is an advertisement that I could not prevent seeing while driving. This suggests that women are sex objects and that Harley Davidson’s attract women like this, encouraging men to buy them.
MTV, a primary Television show in showing music videos of current hot billboard songs is something that anyone could come across if they have cable. Below I have shared one music video that displays sexual content and an unrealistic depiction of what society labels as attractive females and males. The girls of Fifth Harmony are dressed in bikinis while the men are shown shirtless coming out of the ocean water while singing provocative lyrics. Videos often show both women and men sexualized. There are tons of music videos I could have chosen from that depicts this exact thing. Often in current day music day videos African American women are more likely to portrayed as having more white characteristics while African American men are portrayed to hold the stereotypical African American characteristics and roles (Conrad, Dixon, and Zhang, 2009). This video is a great example of this.
Today on the radio I took the time to listen intently to the lyrics being sung in the songs that I heard. Even though my drive to class and back is not long but is enough to be exposed to such crude and sexist lyrics. Here are some portions of popular songs that one would hear on the radio today. I purposefully choose to mention these songs in my project because of the portrayal on men and women. For women they portray them as needing a man and doing anything for them even though they know they should not, needing attention and reassurance on their own identity. The sexualize women and make them seem as though they are waiting around for a man. The last song lyrics portray men as, “hypersexual, misogynistic, and violent”, which is typically found in rap music (Herd, 2014).
I Hate U, I Love U- Gnash feat. Olivia O’Brien
Still missing you
And I can’t
See the end of this
Just wanna feel your kiss
Against my lips
And now all this time
Is passing by
But I still can’t seem to tell you why
It hurts me every time I see you
Realize how much I need you”
Work From Home (Feat. Ty Dolla $ign)
“I ain’t worried ’bout nothin’
I ain’t wearin’ na nada
I’m sittin’ pretty, impatient, but I know you gotta
Put in them hours, I’mma make it hotter
I’m sending pic after picture, I’mma get you fired
I know you’re always on the night shift
But I can’t stand these nights alone
And I don’t need no explanation
‘Cause baby, you’re the boss at home”
Don’t Mind-Kent Jones
“African American for sure
I told that baby coming rock a rodeo
Every time I come around, man, I go for broke
She gives me desktop til I overload
Now, baby, you gon’ go where you supposed to go
‘Cause I ain’t got time for you every day
She said she got a man keep it on the low
I said he don’t speak English, fuck he gon’ say (aye)”
Before packing up my apartment to leave for the summer I had some friends over and we decided to play Guitar Hero, a popular (or once was) video game. In the video game one can create their own band, having a choice of characters and instruments to play and then being able to pick a song. Below is the choice in female characters to pick from. Almost every single female character is dresses in attire that depicts them as sexual objects. As shown in another classmate’s final project for media representation they chose to focus on video games and how women are portrayed in them.
It is much harder to come across advertisements that we are exposed to and be able to detect right away the stereotypes that they hold against men. Below this is a great example of how men can be a target of sexism and gender stereotypes. There are few words yet the hold a greater meaning. Men are thought of as bad listeners and this ad promotes that. The advertisement is for a brand of hearing aid.
Overall I found this project to be very insightful and made me more aware of how much sexism is portrayed in our culture through social media. We already have a big enough problem with the among of time children spend in front of social media and thus we are unable to prevent the exposure they have to all types that are so embedded in our society. No what what type of media whether on TV or the radio or billboards on the side of the highway, one is and uncontrollably exposed to the sexism and stereotypes present for both male and female alike. What intrigued me the most is how often I listen to music, like many others and pay little attention to the lyrics being said and when I do often times I find myself disgusted yet I will continue to listen because I think the song is catchy. This happens to be the case for all of the songs that I have mentioned above in my project. According to the article “Conflicting Paradigms on Gender and Sexuality in Rap Music: A Systematic Review”, written by Herd, the content of music lyrics has a significant effect on adolescent’s attitudes and understanding of topics regarding sexuality and gender. Men to this dominate the media and women often are the ones who are the victims of sexism but it is not only in the media that they are experiences these sexual differences but also in the criticism they receive, the education, marketing culture and so on (O’Neill, 2002). We are bombarded with media in all aspects of our daily lives in our American culture and most would not think twice about the hidden message that lies within. There have been people who study the impacts media has on us and our attitudes we hold. If we want the world to change how we view gender inequality and sexism then one would be smart to start with media and how we depict people and support these issues.
Conrad, Kate, Travis L. Dixon, and Yuanyuan Zhang. “Controversial Rap Themes, Gender
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Fifth Harmony, and Ty Dolla $ign. Work From Home. Fifth Harmony. 2016. MP3.
Gnash, and Olivia O’Brien. I Hate U, I Love U. Gnash. 2016. MP3.
Guitar Hero- Female Characters. Digital image. Deviant Art. Guitar Hero, 2016. Web. 2 July 2016.
Harley Pin-up Marisa Miller on Why She Loves Bikes. Digital image.Motorcyclenews.com. Harley Davidson, 17 Aug.
- Web. 2 July 2016. <http://images.mcn.bauercdn.com/upload/271217/images/540×360/04harley-
Herd, Denise. “Conflicting Paradigms on Gender and Sexuality in Rap Music: A Systematic Review.” Springer Link.
Springer International Publishing, 21 Nov. 2014. Web. 02 July
Jones, Kent. Don’t Mind. Kent Jones. 2016. MP3.
M.A.C. Glamour 2016: Print.
“Music Videos – Top Music Video Premieres.” MTV Music Videos. MTV. 2 Aug. 2016. MTV Artists. Web. 02 July 2016.
Newsom, Jennifer Siebel. “Miss Representation.” Youtube. Youtube, 20 Jan. 2011. Web. 12 June 2016.
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Owen, Craig. Widex: Listen. Digital image. Ads of the World. Ads of the World, July 2009. Web. 2 July 2016.
Walmart. ISpot.tv. Web. 02 July 2016. <https://www.ispot.tv/ad/AKbh/walmart-summers-with-walmart-fourth-of-july-