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Epic

5 Mar

Project X is a movie about some no-name high school kids who throw a party. Thomas is turning 17, but his parents are leaving him home alone for the weekend to go on an anniversary trip. His best friend Costa is arranging an epic birthday bash for Thomas to make a name for himself at school. Little does Thomas know that the 50-person party he is expecting is nowhere near what Costa is planning. Costa sends out texts, Facebook messages and spreads the word around school. With every message he send, Costa adds the phrase “girls must dress sexy.” When the party starts, people begin arriving in packs of 5 and 6. Before they know it, Thomas’ back yard is full, the DJ is playing music and people are having a great time. The party seems to be incredible until a neighbor comes over and threatens to call the cops. After a physical altercation, the cops are called. Thomas and Costa are able to deceive the officers and the party rages on.  More and more people arrive and the party starts to get out of control. There is dancing, drinking and smoking. People are jumping in the pool, but the rule for the pool is “all girls must be naked.” The birthday bash rages on until all hours of the morning until the SWAT team scatters everyone and a crazy drug dealer with a flame thrower starts burning down all the houses in the neighborhood. When Thomas’ parents return from their trip and see the house is half burnt and their Mercedes is in the pool, Thomas is grounded for eternity, but Monday at school he is applauded for the epic weekend.

 

Project X is a high school boy’s dream. I won’t be surprised if there are more raging high school parties than normal after this movie. The problem is though the girls in this movie. There is no male nudity in this film, but in every scene there is at least one topless girl, if not several. They are jumping into the pool, swimming or just “hanging out.” These girls don’t look like any high school girls I have even seen. All of them look like models and are very well endowed.  Girls who go with their boyfriend to see this movie are going to be uncomfortable and think that this is what their boyfriend wants, and inevitably feel even more self conscious than they already do.  The director doesn’t leave any type of girl out. There are black girls, brunettes, blondes, red heads, but there are no curvy girls. These girls are all thin, with disproportionately large breasts and have a gorgeous face. How is this a good thing to show teenage boys? This movie is rated R, but teens and young men still watch it. The girls don’t say much in the movie, and only have a couple lines. The lines they do have are praising Costa or Thomas. No girl has a major role in this film. Costa, Thomas’ best friend is the worst. He keeps saying things like “I need to get laid” or commenting on a girl’s looks and whether or not she is worth anything to him based on her looks.

 

Project X is a movie all about partying, which is tons of fun. Who doesn’t like a good time to let off some steam after a week of school? But, this film makes women feel self-conscious and gives men a false idea of what a woman looks like. The director definitely plays into the male gaze in this film. Nothing about Project X appeals to a woman.  I can appreciate a gorgeous female, but this movie takes it to the extreme. Between the degrading statements, nudity requirements and absolutely no lines with substance, this movie is completely unfair to women. It seems in this movie, women are merely someone to sleep with, and have no opinion or thoughts.

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Ma! Can we get some meatloaf?

25 Feb

 

Wedding Crashers. Almost everyone has seen the movie. It’s slightly hysterical. Two best friends “crash” weddings by acting as if they are related to some distant family member.  They each have their own tactics on “how to get the girl.” John and Jeremy always seem to have a great background story at every wedding they attend.  There’s more to wedding crashing that meets the eye though. The two men have a strict set of rules they adhere too.  At the end of their “crashing season” John and Jeremy hit the biggest wedding of the year, the daughter of the Treasure Secretary. This wedding is rumored to be the social event of the year.  Checking out their prey, John and Jeremy set their sights on two of the bride’s sisters, Gloria and Claire. Jeremy seduces Gloria, which he quickly finds out, was not his brightest idea of the evening. While Jeremy is trying to hide from Gloria, John is falling head over heels for Claire, however, Claire has an high maintenance boyfriend. Gloria invites both men to an extended weekend party on the lake, and setting aside all the rules, John accepts. During the weekend on the lake, John and Jeremy endure a rough football game, a hunting accident and seduction by other family members.  Everything seems to be going well until their true identities are revealed. Claire and Gloria stop speaking to them, they are sent home and threatened with restraining orders.  After some tireless efforts though, Gloria and Jeremy as well as Claire and John all end up together.

 

I understand the stereotype that women at weddings are always desperate and looking for comfort. The other stereotype is that women all plan their weddings from a young age and when they haven’t met “the one” by a certain again we all get depressed.  This kind of annoys me, especially in this movie. I know that this is just a satirical view of reality, and may be slightly exaggerated, however, Wedding Crashers depicts women as gullible, desperate, with low self-esteem and no values.  John and Jeremy use a few charismatic tactics to woe a woman to sleep with them and then disappear. This movie glamorizes the lifestyle of sleeping around and makes it seem acceptable to prey on innocent women.  It seems with one sweet gesture, whether it is a dance with a flower girl, or making balloon animals, women will throw themselves at any man. Are women really that sad about being single? We have fought for equal rights and to be independent financially and in the work place, but this is how we are portrayed, as desperate women just looking for a man to make everything better.  When John and Claire end up together, and Jeremy and Gloria get married, it doesn’t reiterate that true love conquers all, it shows that it’s okay to deceive a women and she will still be with you.

 

Wedding Crashers isn’t a directly sexist movie, but dig a little deeper and I see several issues with the way women are portrayed.  Like most comedies, no one really sees the underlying problems with the plot.  Movies such as this one are aimed at white males, excluding much of the population. I am usually a huge fan of Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, but in this case, not so much. There are a lot of funny quotes from this movie such as “stage five clinger,” but overall this is not a movie that I want to watch over and over again.

 

 

Let’s Make a Baby

23 Feb

I love watching a great “sitcom.” Today’s sitcoms are a little different then what the used to be, but there are some pretty funny ones out there on television right now.  My favorite one has to be Modern Family. On this week’s episode, Phil is trying to sell a gorgeous house to some of Cam and Mitchell’s gay friends, but he has shown them the house five different times. Claire and Phil leave their kids at home alone on accident. When Claire realizes that they are unsupervised, she panics and rushes back to the house, only to find a clean kitchen and the kids playing cards at the table. Claire is so proud of the kids for being responsible while she and Phil were out of the house. Gloria is mad at Jay for tricking Manny into playing football and Cam and Mitchell are trying to adopt another baby. In order to celebrate the sale Phil made, Phil, Claire, Cam and Mitchell go out to dinner but consume way too much wine.  In their intoxicated state of mind, Claire offers to donate her eggs so Cam and Mitchell can have a baby of their own. The next morning, Claire has an epiphany and realizes how ridiculous the idea was.

I enjoy watching “Friends” re-runs. They seem to never get old.  The episode that was on the other night was “The one where Chandler goes to Tulsa.” In this episode, Chandler falls asleep in a meeting at work and when he wakes up, he tells his boss that he will move to Tulsa.  When Chandler breaks the news to Monica, she almost faints.

The issues I have found myself having with Modern Family lately that I really haven’t noticed before are the portrayal of Haley and Alex. It was especially evident in this week’s episode. While helping Claire clean the kitchen cabinets, Haley, Alex, Luke and Phil are discussing Claire’s insane hearing ability. Haley then states, “she’s like a seeing eye dog, their other senses are more in tune, wait, the dogs aren’t blind, are they?”  I am not sure why one daughter must be the “dumb, pretty one” and Alex has to be the “kind of cute, nerdy one.” This portrayal of young girls is troublesome. Haley can’t be smart because she is pretty and popular. I am sure many teens view this series because it airs at a decent time during the week. The teen girls see the differences in Haley and Alex and believe that pretty girls cannot be intelligent. The other problem is that Haley always comments on Alex’s lack of a boyfriend, or any male friends at all. Haley blames her lack of boys in Alex’s life, because “boys don’t like girls who are intelligent.” Statements such as that, can also affect teenage girls who watch the series weekly, or even once. It seems that every episode has some comment or joke regarding pretty girls versus smart girls

In the “Friends” episode, when Chandler announces that he has to move to Tulsa he states, “Monica, we are moving to Tulsa.” He just assumes that Monica will leave her job and move with him to a different state. This is not fair to Monica. The assumption makes it look like her career and everything she has worked for in the cooking world doesn’t matter. Later in the episode, Monica comes to terms with moving to Tulsa, until she calls a headhunter to help her find a job.  During her conversation with the headhunter, Monica finds out that a world-renowned chef as asked for her specifically. The executive chef job is the job of her dreams and something that she has been wanting for years.  Monica at first denies the job offer because “she has to move to Tulsa, because she loves her husband.” I don’t think it’s fair that Chandler expected to move across the country without a discussion.

Although “Friends” is no longer airing, I think the episodes are still relevant today. Many women still follow their husband’s jobs no matter if it is the right thing for them to do or not.  I see all these issues in the shows, but I still enjoy them. These portrayals of women are probably not purposeful; they probably just make for some good television. I think writers should be a little more mindful of the way they are showing women and men in sitcoms.

Aside

I have just rec…

3 Feb

I have just recently become addicted to Criminal Minds. I have been in love with crime shows for years now, and have noticed a continuous pattern. In this week’s episode, the BAU team is hunting an un-sub who is taking blonde women, torturing them by ruining one of their five senses and then murdering them. The man is partially mentally challenged and often visits his brother who lives near by.  The BAU team creates a perfect profile, but cannot seem to find someone to fit the profile. The un-sub is idolizing is brother’s wife, whom he had a crush on when he was in high school. The last girl he takes is his niece because she was the one who reminded him most of her mother. Luckily the BAU found the girl and saved her before any true damage could be done.

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The problem I have with crime shows and Criminal Minds in particular, is that the women are dressed in a masculine fashion. Their pants are not hip hugging and their shirts are loose and high-necked. They are also always wearing a blazer. The men in the show however are seen wearing jeans and more casual wear. I am not suggesting that these women walk around in skirts, 6-inch stilettos and low cut shirts. These women are badass crime stoppers not sex symbols. But, I think a healthy combination of the two would make for better role models.  I personally want to see a woman who is feminine, but can kick some butt when chasing an un-sub. It would be utterly inspiring to see more of this on television; woman who has it all, because it is completely possible.

 

I think there is a healthy balance to be had between sexy and professional. We see it in the stores like Gap and J.Crew. I just wish it could be more prevalent on television though. Fashion of police women on prime time is not a huge issue, but by changing their fashion, women may become better role models. Seeing women of power, women viewers wouldn’t feel compelled to dress in less clothing to get attention, or more clothing to be taken seriously.

 

 

Scantily Clad

28 Jan

 

Group: Gender

 

Much like commercials, I skip over the advertisements in most magazines. Part of the reason is that I am really not interested in what they are trying to sell me, and I probably can’t afford some of the items either. The other reasons are that I don’t feel the need to look at half naked women or the need to look “prettier, younger, more natural.” I like the way I look, thank you. I am guilty of loving gossip/fitness magazines though. Although not very believable, it’s hard not to look at the latest celebrity misstep/break up/hook up and whatever else is going on over in Hollywood. It’s a sad guilty pleasure.  I do love working out, that’s where fitness magazines come in.  I always love finding the healthy recipes in the back. So, against my will, I combined some guilty pleasure with passion and I took a look at the advertisements in Fitness Magazine, People and Shape. 

 There seemed to be more ads in these magazines than articles, so there was plenty to look at, and when I say plenty I am not just referring to the scantily clad women featured on almost every other page.This one for the Showtime series “Shameless” is actually quite shameful. There you see it, dead center, a young woman, soaking wet, in barely enough clothing. (I do not watch the show, so I am not sure what exactly the plot line is) What I do know though, is that this advertisement letting the reader know when the show premieres is definitely playing to the male gaze. All of the other characters (AKA the male characters) are dressed in mute colored clothing, dark blues, grays and greens. But, the young lady is in bright red, directing your eye straight to her first. I have to say this is a little inappropriate.  The marketing team for the show it seems wants to appeal to male viewers. The way she is standing also sexualizes her.  She is partially blocked by the hydrant, leaving some mystery in her appearance, but I think excites people more, because they want to know what is behind the water.

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 The other ad I noticed was one found in Women’s Fitness. Allow me to preface this analysis with the fact that I absolutely love football. It’s a gladiator sport. I enjoy watching it, following my favorite team (The Cleveland Browns) and the whole atmosphere of a game. Now, I also have a lot of respect for Drew Brees and I understand that he is just doing his job. But, the Nyquill and Dayquill advertisements featuring him are slightly sexist. Sure, he needs to feel well to take a couple tackles and lead the Saints to the playoffs. He is a talented quarterback, but, what about us women? We get up every morning and need to get stuff taken care of too. Why don’t they feature a “mom” tackling her full time job, family and social life, or Serena Williams having to get up to train for the next tennis competition? Although the Drew Brees ad doesn’t show women half way clothed or in a compromising position, it doesn’t show a woman at all, so how are we supposed to relate? Drew Brees and football players are not the only people who have a tough schedule.

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I don’t look at advertisements often, but by doing so, I am able to get a new perspective and a need for change. These two commonly seen ads that I have mentioned aren’t even the biggest problems, but they are problems nonetheless.  No one sees advertisements like these as a problem though because they are so prevalent throughout pop culture. Advertisements are getting more racy in order to catch a reader’s attention, because much like me, a lot of people skip over the ads. When marketing firms are planning out ads, their first thought it not, what does this portray of the gender? Is this sexist? The only thing that is on their minds is the bottom line, what will get their brand noticed in a sea of other ads and how can they increase profit. I understand this thought process, who doesn’t like money? But where does it stop? 

“We Went Viral”

22 Jan

Group: Gender

 

Summary:

 

As usual, I was laughing hysterically at this week’s Modern Family episode.  Although there were several parent groups offended by the content of the show, I found the episode to be fantastic. Lily, the adopted daughter of Cam and Mitchell, learns a new word.  The episode is controversial because Lily’s new word, is the “F” word.  Mitchell is appalled that such a word could come out of his daughter; Cam on the other hand is finding this development hysterical. Meanwhile, Claire is preparing for a debate against her running opponent in the race for city council. Phil and the kids are helping her prepare by asking questions, reacting and giving her pointers on how to behave on stage. During the debate though, Claire’s opponent cites personal information about Phil, turning the debate into one huge spectacle. Jay and Gloria are going through some problems of their own, as the rest of the family seems to be falling apart as well. Jay’s new puppy seems to be attempting suicide by jumping into the pool.  Jay believes Gloria’s hate and jealousy for the new puppy is causing her to jump.

 

Analysis:

Although there are several examples in this episode of gender inequality, this week’s focus is on the commercials. Let’s be honest, everyone hates commercials. Some of them are terrible, others are obnoxious and most are fake.  Watching all the commercials this week, was painful to say the least.  Commercials that were shown during Modern Family target people of all ages. There was the Pizza Hut commercial, and the one for Best Buy and one for Verizon, all of them promoting some kind of family oriented activity. The one that stuck out most to me though, was an AT&T commercial that I have seen several times, and I have never liked it.  This particular commercial features a couple at dinner, presumably on a date.  The woman attempting to converse with her significant other, but he seems distracted by something. The woman asks is he is checking the score, and the man denies anything and pretends to be paying attention. The tag line of the commercial is about AT&T’s 4G network. I have never liked this commercial because it sheds a terrible light on women.  The woman is nagging and annoyed at the man about him checking the score. How is this ok? I understand wanting to be on a nice date, but not all women feel this way about sports. So why portray it this way? The common misconception is that “Most women” would rather make their significant other go to dinner and miss the game. This is not true of all women, which annoys me.

 

Response:

I personally am a huge fan of going to a sports bar to watch a game. I understand that all women do not enjoy sports, but this commercial groups all women into this stereotype. This is one of the issues I have with advertising and marketing.  I think that they use this type of marketing though because it will capture a man’s attention and it’s easily relatable. Most men have probably been in this situation, but that doesn’t make the stereotyping of women ok. 

Egg-drops, seminars and the whole song and dance!

13 Jan

Group:  Gender

 

Summary: This past Wednesday, as most Wednesdays, I viewed the always-hysterical Modern Family on ABC at 9:00. In this episode, Luke and Manny must design a container that protects an egg from a one-story drop for a school assignment. They plot against Claire and Jay in order to have them take over the entire project. This plot leads to an all out, drag out competition between parents for the best egg drop container. While the competition is happening, Phil is orchestrating a seminar for first time homebuyers with his new real estate agency.  Since Claire is pre-occupied, Phil asks Gloria and Haley to assist him at the seminar. Phil requires the two ladies to practice the seminar during a dress rehearsal right before hand. There is down time between the rehearsal and “the big event”, so Gloria takes Haley to a salon for a little pampering. Little did they know, while they were being well taken care of, Gloria’s car was being towed away, making them completely miss Phil’s seminar. Amongst all the insanity, Mitchell and Cameron are attempting to convince a young girl that they are the perfect parents for her unborn child through a terrific “song and dance.”

 

Analysis: When Claire tells her husband Phil that she cannot assist him at the seminar, he immediately gets on the phone with Gloria. This phone call that takes place before Claire can even get her sentence out insinuates that Claire, the mother of his children, is easily replaceable. Although the writers probably didn’t intend this to be the message, it has the potential to be viewed this way. On the other end of the phone, Gloria agrees to help Phil out. Her immediate enthusiasm about helping Phil at the seminar allow the audience to assume that Gloria has nothing else better to do during the day. It seems as if she is able to drop everything and be at Phil’s every beck and call.

 

Response:  On the surface, it may seem that Modern Family is a great portrayal of all types of identities. There is the gay couple, the interracial couple and a “normal” family. But, when looking below the witty humor and hysterical satire of the show, viewers see that the women of Modern Family can be seen as sub-servant. I absolutely love this show, and enjoy viewing it every Wednesday, but taking a critical view of this series allows me to see some major issues with the plot.