Monday, February 22, 2010

Blog #6- Cosmetic Procedures

Cosmetic surgery has drastically changed over the years, and in today’s age it is hard to believe that cosmetic procedures were once used mainly for those involved in an accident. According to Gimlin, “Until recently, patients were most often men disabled by war or industrial accidents.” I think cosmetic surgery became centered around women because women started to be more critical of their bodies. This pressure to look perfect has stemmed from the media and from images of Hollywood celebrities who are walking advertisements for cosmetic surgery.

I think cosmetic surgery is a way for women to fix the “imperfections” of their body instead of accepting their body for the way it is. Cosmetic surgery has allowed women to avoid finding the beauty in these imperfections. I feel that cosmetic surgery has become way too casual in our society. I think it makes our society look very vain, especially with the rising number of unnecessary procedures such as lip injections. When I say cosmetic surgery makes America look vain, I am referring to those procedures that people get solely for enhancing their looks, not procedures for those involved in an accident. The overwhelming number of cosmetic surgery procedures that have taken place in the United States says something about the level of insecurity Americans feel in regards to their body.

In Hollywood, the number of celebrities that have had cosmetic surgery done is far greater than those who have not. Cosmetic surgery is treated like a normality that every celebrity must have done in order to be successful.

Jennifer Grey, who played Baby in the movie Dirty Dancing, had plastic surgery done to her nose after playing that role. According to, “In a recent interview for Channel 5 (UK) she said that having plastic surgery to her nose was the worst mistake she had ever made. This was because she was no longer recognizable as the girl from the film Dirty Dancing (1987), just somebody who looked a bit like her.” This is one of the rare occurrences in Hollywood where people treated her plastic surgery negatively, because she looked like a different person.

The second example is Hollywood’s negative reaction to Heidi Montag’s multiple cosmetic procedures. These procedures left her looking like a completely different person, and there has been a lot of negative feedback concerning her current look.

The third example is Kate Hudson’s recent breast augmentation surgery. Many people have had mostly positive feedback about her surgery because the breast implants were not that much bigger.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Blog #5-Gender Stereotyping inToys

I think that toys today still remain very gender-based. Girl toys are generally “girl” colors such as pink and purple, and boy toys are usually blue or red. After visiting, I noticed the blatant gender-based advertising for girl and boy toys. The text underneath the Girls’ Toys link read, “From Barbie to Dora and more, the most popular girls gather here.” This statement assumes that all girls like to play with Barbies, and that they aren’t popular unless they like these types of toys. Once I clicked the Girls’ Toys link, I noticed that the majority of the toys were pink kitchen sets, baby dolls or Barbie dolls. When little girls are playing with kitchen sets and baby dolls, they are likely to act like “grown-ups” since these are toys that real grown-ups use. According to a study conducted by Campenni, “The toys found to be most appropriate by both parents and nonparents for girls included items pertaining to domestic tasks, beauty enhancement, and child rearing (e.g. makeup, jewelry, kitchen set, vacuum cleaner, stroller, and cradle).” Women are expected to perform domestic tasks, and if girls are already “playing house”, then they are likely to fulfill this role of domestic housewife.

Upon looking at the Boys’ Toys on, I noticed the same gender-based toys were being sold. The majority of the toys I saw were toy guns, trucks, and Legos. According to Campenni’s study, “For boys, sports gear, male action figures, vehicles, building items, plastic bugs, and attire for traditionally male occupations were rated most appropriate by both nonparents and parents.” Parents expect their children to play with gender-based toys and it is considered unusual if children want to play with cross-gender toys.

As a child, I enjoyed playing with Barbie dolls, American Girl dolls, all kinds of arts and crafts, and my kitchen set. I especially enjoyed playing with Barbies because I played Barbie “soap opera” and acted out grown-up scenarios. I also enjoyed playing “house” because I felt so much older when I cooked for my imaginary family. In retrospect, when I played “house” I was playing as if I were a real housewife. It’s amazing how something like a toy can define gender roles. I think it is important for children to be allowed to play with cross-gender toy. My parents bought me a Gameboy, and it was also one of my toys even though it was meant for boys.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Blog #4-Pop Culture and Feminism

The repeated, general ideas I found from the reading are how pop culture has affected the women’s movement and also how feminism is depicted in the media. The reading also makes an interesting assessment of the “male gaze” and how images of women in the media are “social constructed” in the way that men would see them. This in turn “affects how women understand images of other women on screen.” One shocking, but true detail in the reading was the statement, “Without pop culture’s limited images of women, many actual women in the real world might not have been inspired to fight for more and better representations of themselves.” Although this statement is borderline offensive, it makes a valid point that sometimes it’s better to be a rebel with a cause.

The ideal of female beauty functions as a form of social control, because women feel like they can’t escape the constant feeling of never being good enough. According to the article, “She is forced to concentrate on the minutiae of her bodily parts, a woman is never free of self-consciousness. She is never quite satisfied, and never secure, for desperate, unending absorption in the drive for perfect appearance is the ultimate restriction on freedom of mind.” This quote illustrates perfectly the feeling of entrapment that women must deal with on a daily basis. This limits women’s choices and lives, because they feel that they must conform to the body image that the media portrays as normal. This image is far from normal, but women will starve, surgically enhance and moisturize their bodies to death, sometimes literally, until this image of perfection is obtained. Women feel that they don’t have the freedom to eat what they want and just be themselves, because it won’t be good enough in the real world.

Blog #3-The Feminine Mystyique

The feminine mystique is the notion that society has made women feel that they must "adjust to the feminine role" and continue to live with the problem that has no name. Both men and women promote the feminine mystique, but the advertising industry is one of the main culprits guilty of exploiting women. According to Friedan, “Ads glorify her ‘role’ as an American housewife–knowing that her very lack of identity in that role will make her fall for whatever they are selling.” It is the American housewife who suffers, because she is sucked into these advertisements and must buy all the food, drug and beauty products advertised in order to fulfill her role in the home.

Friedan was a magazine writer, and she delved into the true meaning behind women’s dissatisfaction with their lives. She could sense the problem, not as a reporter, but as a suburban housewife herself. She understood the problem that had no name once she started interviewing other housewives. She realized through these interviews the psychological effect society had on these women, and how it had altered their lives.

Feminism has made significant strides in minimizing inequalities, but it continues to be an ongoing battle. Women continue to analyze body images in the media and realize that they will never look like that. In a way, women are feeling a different “problem that has no name” regarding body image. This problem is that women continue to feel dissatisfied with their bodies, even if they know that images in the media are not realistic. I think feminism is definitely held hostage to “the beauty myth,” because society is telling women that there are always improvements to be made concerning their body image.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Blog #2

Body image is the personal conception of how we see our body and how others react to it. I’m studying this topic to better understand how the media contorts the image of women into something that’s no longer human. I think it’s important to study this topic so I can learn how to help reverse this phenomenon that continues to spiral out of control.

There are three waves of feminism that women in the United States have experienced. According to Amelia Richard, “the first wave fought to establish women’s right to be citizens-to vote, own property, divorce and inherit money. The second wave’s agenda was to elevate women’s status to that of men.” The third wave has continued the fight for equal status for women. Body image is the third wave issue that women struggle with.

The standards of beauty have changed dramatically over the centuries. It was once considered beautiful for women to be overweight because it signified wealth and status. As the centuries progressed, the ideal body image for women was to be thinner and thinner. If you were overweight you were considered either lazy or an embarrassment to society.

A body outlaw is a rebel with a cause, willing to step outside their comfort zone to expose people to a body type that has practically disappeared from the cultural imagination. I think Jordin Sparks is considered a body outlaw in pop culture today. She has curves and looks healthy and doesn’t conform to Hollywood’s standards of the perfect pop star.