Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Best and Worst Dressed from the Emmys

“Cojo’s Best and Worst Dressed Emmy Picks” http://www.etonline.com/news/2008/09/65835/

The idea of “best” and “worst” dressed is completely absurd, due in part to the fact that fashion sense is completely arbitrary, evidenced by the completely conflicting opinions of people over who was best and worst dressed at the Emmys. I looked at a couple different articles, and some of the same people who someone said was worst dressed, someone else said was best dressed. It is also almost always women who are subject this critique, because women are the ones who are supposed to have a fashion sense. Women also have more preassure on them to wear something unique and beautiful. Men are expected to wear tuxes or suits, which are extremely basic, and it is both difficult to go wrong or to be unique wearing a tux. But, women are expected to go all out. They get criticized for wearing dresses too short, too long, covering too much, not covering enough, dresses too sparkly, dresses too plain, wearing the “wrong” color…the list goes on and on. It seems almost impossible to wear an uncontroversial dress, even if someone wanted to.
In this particular critique, this man, Cojo narrated his best and worst Emmy picks. He chose 5 best dressed, and 2 worst dressed. All seven people are women, with only two are women of color, Sandra Oh, and Eva Longoria Parker.
Cojo is a very flamboyant man, and regardless of whether or not he is gay, he has the “gaze” down pat. He has a sexual comment for most of the “best dressed” women, referring to Teri Hatcher as “butter,” saying he wanted her to “melt all over” him, and complementing her on the feminineness of her dress. For Sandra Oh he calls her “smoldering,” and said that her black lace dress had a feel of “naughty underthings,” which was a completely unnecessary sexualization of her dress. Next he talks about Mariska Hargitay and how she is a “woman” who has “curves for days,” saying she turned her dress into “pure sex.” Christina Applegate and Marica Cross he did not so blatantly sexualize, saying only that Applegate looked “phenomenal,” and Cross’ dress was “so right.” Why couldn’t his other commentary been equally admiring, but without the sexualization?
Heidi Klum, one of the “worst dressed,” who went out on a limb by wearing a sleek dress with a cape, he asked “why so covered up? Why the cape? Are you auditioning for the next batman movie?” calling her outfit choice “a scandal, a shame.” He seemed especially mad because she is a model, and she was wearing something he thought was atrocious. This leaves no room for women who are trying to be totally unique in their choice of dress. For Eva Longoria Parker, the other worst dressed who was wearing fringe, he denounced her for the fringe, and said that “fringe says to me ‘do you want a lap dance?’”
This goes back to the whole idea that women can only look nice if they look sexy, if men want to have sex with them just from looking at them. There is nothing wrong with people stating their opinion about other people’s clothes, but to equate sexiness with beauty and to only judge women, and only judge them on how sexy they looked to you, is unnecessary and absurd.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ad analysis


I happened to catch part of this ridiculous advertisement on the TV in CafeMac , and later found the whole thing on youtube. The ad is for a color cream to be applied to grey facial hair, and these two men visit this other man in “rest home.” The rest home, is, naturally, staffed by nurse/cheerleaders, (I counted at least six standing sexily in the background). The ad is obviously directed at men, not only because it is a product for men, and the constant reference to “men,” but because of the copious amounts of scantily clad cheerleaders. It is also focused around football (the man in the rest home is a football star), which is a male-dominated sphere. I understand that cheerleaders and football go together, but it is such a blatant effort to use women to sell a product, I was disgusted.
The first the audience sees of these girls is a straight-on view of a girl who is bent over, giving the audience a cleavage shot. She quickly bounces up, puts her pom-pommed hands on her hips and perkily asks “hello, may I help you?” This is the only line any of the girls have, the rest just stand around. All the girls are very thin, wearing a short skirt and a bra-like shirt, with flowing long hair. The men are the ones who are doing, the women are very passive and supportive and flat. The three men in the advertisement, two interviewers and then the one they are interviewing, do all the talking, and appear in the foreground pretty much the whole time (except for the cleavage shot in the beginning), with out-of-focus cheerleaders in the background.
After the man gets out of the rest home due to the magic powers of the anti-graying cream, he is back on the football field, but not playing football, instead he is surrounded by a crowd of cheerleaders. At the end it says “he scores!” but again, there is no football playing going on. It says “he scores” when he is surrounded by jumping, smiling, bouncing, half-naked girls, suggesting the double-meaning of the verb “score,” and suggesting that by using this hair-coloring cream, you too can “score” with hot cheerleaders.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

XC on course discussion

I suppose this is based of of question 15:
From the age of 15-18 my family went through divorce, bankruptcy, and jail. These were all intense and crazy individually, and they all made me think. All of these events were events that I always knew happened to other people, and to other people's parents, but never to me. My family used to be middle-class, respectable, we live in a primarily white suburb of St. Louis. My school was pretty mixed between privileged white kids and then black kids from the city. So, I was used to being fairly normal for my school (except for the fact that I was born at home, my family doesn't beleive in shots, and we have chickens, but that's another story). Suddenly, I could relate to all the other kids with divorced parents. Suddenly having a parent who is a felon didn't seem to be that big of a deal. Suddenly having money was a big deal.
These three events shaped my worldview and my own identity. I have a middle-class background, because my family used to have money, and most of my relatives working-middle or middle-class, so I can relate to and understand everyone coming from a middle-class family. But, I also know what it's like to be well below the poverty line, to not be able to afford going to the dentist, and to have to watch how much we spend on groceries.
For most of my childhood, I had two parents who seemed to have a decent-enough relationship, and we were all a relatively happy family, so I know what that's like, but I also know the shittyness of divorce.
I didn't realize how much illegal activity my dad did until late in highschool. So, for most of my childhood, being a felon meant that you were a horrible person who did horrible things, so I recognize that mindset. But, now, I realize that there are all types of crimes and all sorts of reasons for doing them, and not of all the "criminals" are criminal.
These three events have caused me to be caught in between all these different worlds and all these different attitudes. They caused my white-middle-class privilege to be called into question, and they made me feel more understanding based on class rather than race.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin
Although I strongly disagree with pretty much everything that Sarah Palin says, and I was disgusted and disturbed by her speech, a news clip that I saw on Feministing made me pity her and feel protective over her. I suppose it mostly boils down to her being a woman, and how I can somewhat relate to her as a woman, and when men totally objectify her, I am going to defend her even if I am passionately against her being in office. The news clip is from CNBC, which is a fairly large station, if I’m not mistaken. Donny Deutsch talks about how amazing she is and why , and it is disgusting. It is a response to her speech, and starts out with a fellow newscaster asking Donny if he thought that her speech was “an example of how to sell a woman in power.” That right there is worrisome. Selling women? Are women once again simply chattel in a man’s world? Do you sell a man in power? Can you?
However it goes on. The first thing that Donny says is that he thought it was amazing, and said he wanted to “equate Palin with a product.” He says that if you want to “sell” the idea of a woman in power, what should you include? Comparing her to cereal, a nice little “nutrition facts” list pops up, saying all the “ideal ingredients” that a women in power “should” have. This list includes “supermom” which is not horribly sexist, except it reinforces the double-standard of women, where we have to be mothers as well as executives, vacuuming the house while simultaneously doing paperwork. The next item on the list is “sexy.” This is so fucking absurd I don’t even know where to begin. The idea that a woman has to be “sexy” in order to be successful. Not even simply beautiful or attractive, which could conceivably be traits that people might prefer in any leader, but “sexy,” meaning she has sex appeal and men want to have sex with her. Why don’t men have to be sexy? I don’t really think McCain is terribly foxy, but there have never been any questions over whether he is sexually desirable enough to run for office. Next on the list is “perfect age,” saying she is old enough to have experience, but young enough “to have that physical appeal.” This is extremely agist, and insinuating that older people can’t be physically attractive. Then comes “lioness,” which is comparing her to an animal, and kind of strange, he doesn’t really back it up much, except referencing the “pitbull with lipstick” joke, and asking “who wouldn’t want a lioness protecting their cubs?” Next is “funny,” “real,” “rock solid,” “feisty,” and “smart” which could arguably be desirable traits in any leader. He goes on to say that Hillary only had two or three of these traits (maybe because these traits are incredibly shallow and sexist), and that for a woman to succeed in power, you have to “sell” her as a woman. He also said that Hillary didn’t figure it out because she “didn’t put a skirt on.” I don’t even know how to articulate my reaction to that.
He says that “this is the new feminist ideal” which is also a ridiculous comment, because no feminists I know support her, and how/why does he have the authority to say what is and is not the “feminist ideal?” He says that “women want to be her and men want to mate with her.” This is an incredibly crude and offensive term, and again comparing her to an animal. He does get a “oh, Donny!” from his fellow female newscaster, and laughter from his fellow male newscaster for this remark, but all the newswoman says is “I don’t want to hear about mating,” and when Donny defends the remark, saying it is some sort of primal urge, she doesn’t press it. He says that this is a lesson for women in business, as well; “don’t try to be a man, be a powerful woman,” which may be empowering, except for his idea of what a woman should be. His fellow newswoman mentions “MILF,” and seems to be annoyed with him, but doesn’t actually stand up for herself or for Palin. He ends by saying “I want her watching my kids, I want her laying next to me in bed.” This gets a reaction from his fellow newspeople, though again they end up laughing.
I have been so angry with Palin for so long that it’s kind of reassuring to know that some part of me will still stand up for her as a woman even if I don’t agree with her politics.


When I attended the March on the RNC on Monday, September 1st, I saw some groups and people that I was familiar with, such as the Radical Roosters, and some groups I had never seen before. One new group that I saw was CODEPINK. Before the big march they were milling around the capitol lawn, all dressed in pink, handing out stickers saying “make out not war,” and “make bridges not enemies.” Later I saw the crowd of pink-clad people up on the main stage speaking, and during the march I passed them and noticed several huge puppets and a large group of people. When I got home I looked them up, and although they only started six years ago, they are well-established.
CODEPINK started with a group of women who strongly opposed the Iraq war, and their name is a comment on Bush’s different levels of security (code red, yellow, orange, green, etc). Now their efforts include avoiding war with Iran, helping Iraqi women and children, helping Darfur, and closing Guantanamo. The group includes both men and women, but they are “particularly eager” to see women, the “guardians of life” speaking up against the war.
Obviously due to its name, stickers, and puppets, CODEPINK is quite a jolly group of lively women who use unconventional methods to get their message out. The simple act of each member dressing in bright pink is enough to catch the eye of a passer-by, and who doesn’t want a sticker that says “make out not war”? CODEPINK has traveled to Pakistan and Italy to work with women against wars, and has held numerous rallies, protests, and vigils throughout the nation. Four of them were arrested on Wednesday for trying to climb under a fence after police told them to leave.
They visited the DNC as well as the RNC to make their anti-war stance known to all politicians, not just Republicans.
After Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans managed to get into the Xcel Center , tried to disrupt Palin’s speech, and were then arrested, numerous newspapers ran articles about the incident. The Minnesota Independent wrote a short article which included a written statement by CODEPINK media contact Jean Stevens. The San Francisco Chronicle included remarks by Benjamin, detailing rough handling by the police. The lovely and ever-popular Fox News mentioned the incident, but said nothing about the women, and used the verb “escort” when explaining that the women were forcibly removed from the building. The verb “escort” has an almost positive connotation, and definitely does not imply any sort of violence. This upholds Fox News’ anti-liberal slant, which does not dare the taint the image of the police. This progression makes sense: the independent media gives the most information, with statements direct from the source, while the more conservative media does not give all the dirty details.
CODEPINK is a jovial group, but they can be at least as tough as any other protesters, and have no problem getting arrested.

· FOXNews ,“Protesters Try to Make Most of Republican Convention,” Fox News. http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/09/04/protesters-try-to-make-most-of-republican-convention/ 9/4/08.
· Birkley, Andy, “Four Members of CODEPINK Arrested,” The Minnesota Independent. http://www.minnesotaindependent.com/7318/four-members-of-codepink-arrested. 9/3/08
· Marinucci, Carla, “CodePink at the RNC: The Tradition Continues,” The San Francisco Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=14&entry_id=29807. 9/4/08