Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Talking Post #7 (Bittersweet moment)

Teaching the Conflicts: (Re)Engaging Students with Feminism in a Postfeminist World
Meredith A. Love and Brenda M. Helmbrecht
Extended Comments from Mike

Can't believe this is the last blog! I did every type of post except for the extended comments topic so I picked Mike's post to do this post for.

Mike started off his post saying that he didn't feel that this reading really went along with everything we read during this short "semester." But I think I'll have to disagree with him. What Love and Helmbrecht were saying throughout this reading is what we want to get out to the kids. They're basically saying that women need to be empowered and feel like they can be on the top of the totem pole for once. They argue that media although may be trying to set a good example to girls and women to be themselves, they end up contradicting themselves and in the long run they are just trying to get these girls and young women to buy things. They argue "do young women still dream of being world leaders, or have their ambitions been curtailed in lieu of the smaller achievements they can make with their buying power?"
Mike then goes on to discuss the 3 major people and things from media that Love and Helmbrecht use to show the effect media has on girls and young women: female pop culture icon, Pink, Dove's campaign for "Real Beauty", and the film The Devil Wears Prada. 
"We want women to understand that they do have power and agency and that they are strong and capable... we want students to see a difference between feeling empowered because the media says they are, and actually being empowered..."
This quote really explained how Love and Helmbrecht felt about Pink, Dove's Campaign and the film.

Discussing Pink, Love and Helmbrecht say that although Pink has this song about women not feeling like they have to dumb down to be considered beautiful and not being a "stupid girl", they felt like she herself was being exactly who she told the girls not to be. Pink is telling the young women not to worry about image but she's presenting herself "exploitatively and commercially." Love and Helmbrecht said it was a form of resistance to the second wave of feminism
Then they talked about how Dove contradicts themselves. The aim that Dove had through their Campaign for Real Beauty was "to change the status quo and offer in its place a broader, healthier, more democratic view of beauty. Dove has the "real" women as their models and they supposedly don't airbrush or alter the image of any of the models on any commercials, magazines or billboards. Everything is fine and dandy up until now, real women show real beauty, right? The WHOLE campaign becomes contradictory now: the products they sell include "firming lotion, moisturizers, and self-tanning lotion, each of which presumably helps the wrinkled, flawed, and oversized..." If you are going to talk about how these "real" women have true beauty and basically tell us that they are beautiful just the way they are, why try to have products that change that? That's the argument Love and Helmbrecht are trying to bring up.
I must admit, The Devil Wears Prada, is probably one of my FAVORITE movies. It's about fashion and I love fashion but I never took it for what Love and Helmbrecht made me see it as. (Talk about pleasure vs. critique.) What Love and Helmbrecht tries to get us to understand is what the movie is actually saying. Andy, a journalist with no fashion sense accepts a job at Runway, THE BIGGEST FASHION MAGAZINE, although she KNOWS she can do better and deserves better. Miranda, her rude yet fashionable editor. Basically long story short, Andy transforms into this very fashionable women, who loses her friends and boyfriend. Andy becomes the bitch she always told herself she'd never be and Miranda ends up loving her. After looking in the mirror and seeing Miranda in herself, Andy quits the job, gets a low paying job at a local newspaper and gets her boyfriend back. It's kind of a message behind a message. What I had got out of this movie when the numerous times I seen it was that Andy realizes what truly makes her happy and does just that. But what Love and Helmbrect has pointed out is that it's saying that "women can be financially successful only by paying the hefty price of personal unhappiness." Which makes perfect sense. But it SHOULDN'T be like that, and as much as I'd like to think it's not, it is.

Mike did a reflective piece on this post so he didn't go much into those 3 things from media but he ended his post strong and it relates to this reading as well:
"One day Cindy was watching Ellen DeGeneres with her daughter and her daughter said something like "Mom, doesn't Ellen like other women?" Cindy said yes and then her daughter asked her "Could I like another women?" Cindy said to her daughter "If that's who you fall in love with." I think that is the perfect answer to give a little child. It lets them know they have the freedom to choose who they love and they don't have to fear backlash from their parents. That answer can be applied to different situations too. Girls should be told they can be scholars or doctors, while boys should be told they can be gymnasts or dancers. They can be whatever they want to be "if that is what they love.""
At a young age, we tell woman to become cheerleaders, dancers, or whatever girly thing they tell them to do now and we tell our sons to become fireman, athletes, businessmen and all these positions that hold high value. If we can teach girls from a young age that they can do whatever they want and help them to be the best person they can be, maybe it won't be such a surprising thing when we have women in high position jobs or women earning the same or maybe even more then men.

I found this article about women being leaders, thought you guys would enjoy it! 

Question for class:
".. they learned that fewer women hold powerful, decision-making positions in higher education than men and that women tend to earn more bachelor's and master's degrees than men, but hold fewer PhDs. And they were shocked to learn that women who work full-time still earn only 77% annually as much as full-time male workers."
We hear stuff like this all the time! We're given stats after stats after stats about women not earning the same as men in the same position jobs where the women is more educated than he is, but what are we as women doing? We can't forever make excuses for everything in our lives. What can we do as women to change this? This is when an individual change won't be enough but it might just be a start. Would the world be different if women were the dominant sex in the workplace or anywhere for that matter?


  1. Good question. I believe that a strong majority of women within the workplace would in fact bring a change. This relates to my belief that change in the workplace is still transitioning. According to statistics the disparity between pay is still an issue, but as it is now becoming more common for women to hold the positions which were fairly recently male specific, I do believe that this inequality will dwindle away.

  2. I am glad I could return the favor!

  3. the world would of course be different if women held as many jobs as men. As that guy with no teeth from occupy prov said "women need to have jobs with high authority"

  4. I'm sure the world would be different if women were the dominant sex in authoritative positions.But, would it be better? Men do discriminate against women, races, genders, social classes.But, what is to say that women won't do the same thing. I think its best to ask for equity for now, because completely changing the sex that is in control at the moment may bring a slew of problems that were not anticipated. For example women may start hiring only women, or people who look like Brad Pitt,which is the vice versa thing men do now, but it is slowly changing after feminism began more than 100 years ago. If women took over now it would probably mark the beginning of the manly-ism movement. Why destroy a flawed pyramid that took 1000 years to make, when we can make modifications for the accommodations. Just a thought.