Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dark Phoenix Stuff

As everyone prepares for their X-essays, I thought I might share a blog/essay I wrote on Dark Phoenix Saga. It's mostly stuff I lectured about in class, but you might find it interesting both as a model essay/blog post (it's more informal than I expect your essays to be) and as a continuation of a discussion of gender in the X-Men. You can find it here:

And you're more than welcome to continue the discussion at HTMLGiant or here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

As I was looking for the general public’s opinion of female superheroes online, I stumbled upon a website that was very thought provoking. The article talks about the recent debate about the role of females in the comic book industry. It also discusses the portrayal of men and women in comics, and shows a few clips from Joe Philip’s gallery of iconic male superheroes. His gallery portrays these male superheroes with “blatantly provocative poses and outfits as female superheroines.” The article stated that DC comics redid their staffing and left only a small percentage of female writers and artists (which is why this debate occurred). I think this article is important because it shows the counter example of sexuality of women (in the form of sexualized men) and shows how the images are almost laughable! The way the men are dressed seems like they came right off of a men's underwear add, not from a comic that people of all ages read. The article ends with a question that we have talked about briefly in class: Would more women read comics if guys were drawn sexier? What do you think of these images?

Sunday, September 25, 2011


In the new movie The Dark Knight Rises, Catwoman will reappear on the big screen. This time she will be played by Anne Hathaway. Unlike Catwoman's past costumes, this one is not strategically torn or skimpy. Catwoman dons a full body suit, and doesn't show off the usual cleavage. (
However, her new suit is skin tight. Hathaway reported that it took "three people and a lot of mental preparation to get her into the costume." ( That seems like a little much. If a suit has to be tight enough that a woman can't even get into it, to be attractive, then why do it? Is a sexual image really that important? And what of the message that that suit is sending to women everywhere? Anne Hathaway was thin and beautiful before she became Catwoman, but she had to work out for the movie so that she could be even thinner and more toned to fit into an "unforgiving" costume. Superwomen are meant to be looked up to, but why is it that the only women that the media gives us to idolize are so impossible to mimic. We need to be forgiven a little. Our heroes and actresses need to be forgiven a little for being slightly less than whatever "perfect" is supposed to be.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Behind Every Great Man There's A Great Woman?

For some reason this phrase popped in my mind and I looked it up in google to see what would come up. I found this: . Here it says that it was first adopted as a feminist slogan. I doubt today that feminists still support this slogan.
Relating this to heroes and heroines in comic books: It never really seems this way for heroes and heroines. Heroes and heroines usually handle their problems by their own. They, most of the time, do have weaknesses to certain people but they are usually not getting help from them. It usually ends up with the hero or heroine helping his or her love. We don't really see the beloved somehow standing behind our hero or heroines and supporting him/her.
For example, Clark Kent, loves Lois Lane but he is not Superman because she is "behind" her. She doesn't necassarily help Superman in doing what he does. She is a motivation for Superman, but I haven't witnessed her openly motivate him or tell him something which made Superman a better at what he does.
I think the same is also true for Wonder Woman and Agent Tresser. She is Wonder Woman on her own. She indeed does have a weakness for him but I don't think that he is a force supporting Wonder Woman in what she does.
I don't think neither Superman would be less of a Superhero without Lois nor Wonder Woman less of a Super Heroine without Tresser.
Like I stated I don't have the best background in comic books but what I've seen so far is that this quote is not valid for heroes and heroines.

Role Reversal in Smallville

Since it was mentioned earlier this semester in class, Smallville has become my new obsession. I started watching about two and a half weeks ago and already am about to start season 3. As I was watching Episode 19 of Season 2 (Precipice), I felt parts of it really connected to what we had been talking about in this class. In the episode, Lana Lang gets assaulted by a group of drunk customers in the coffee shop she runs. As always, Clark is there for the rescue. But Lana is finally not okay with always having to be saved and tells Clark, "You're always there to save me, I just wish for once I could have saved myself." So she decided to start learning self defense and karate. At the end of the episode she gets back at her assaulter by beating him up all on her own. The roles are reversed for them and Lana, feeling good about herself says, "It's not every day that Lana Lang gets a chance to save Clark Kent."
I liked seeing Lana finally start to be able to take care of herself. Throughout the rest of the show, she is in constant state of needing to be saved- always the damsel in distress. But one thing that really bothered me was that Clark was annoyed that Lana wanted to learn to take care of herself. He was worried that she would get overconfident and get herself in trouble. I thought it was really offensive that he would want to keep her in a state of such dependance for protection. He should be happy that she is learning to take control and protect herself and become more independent. Another thing that bothered me was after this brief blip of girl power, Lana goes right back to being a defenseless girl in the next episode, needing to be saved by Clark. She doesn't retain any of the new control had had gained. Though I was really happy to see Lana finally become a stronger character in this episode, I was disappointed to see how it all ended up.

The Power of Fear

Can superheroes feel fear? With their sky high strength and courage, it seems that superheroes rarely experience the crippling thing called fear. Even though fear isn't generally seen as a good thing, I wish it would appear more frequently in the comic world, for a couple of simple reasons. Fear is something we can easily relate to (as normal human beings), and furthermore, seeing our favorite superheroes and superheroines overcome fear is always highly satisfying.

Take page 16 of Rogue #3 for example: Gris-Gris throws his voodoo powder onto Rogue, causing her to "cower in fear" for a few precious moments. Even though it was disconcerting to see a typically spunky Rogue looking so vulnerable, I felt that this scene was the first and only scene in the entire Rogue miniseries that I was truly able to connect to her. My heart reached out to her, and I found myself cheering her on more vigorously than I had before the encounter took place.

Additionally, even though fear can render many incapable of completing tasks successfully, our superheroes and superheroines always have it in them to eventually overcome their fear, developing into stronger and more respectable individuals along the way. On the page following Rogue's confrontation with Gris-Gris, she gathers her determination and breaks free from the trap of fear that Gris-Gris put her in, proceeding to kick the baddies' asses. The message of "crush your fear" that Rogue sends is inspiring and easy to believe in, making her a very relatable superheroine, whereas a "fearless" superhero will never be as realistic of a role model.

In the comic world, fear is a lesson to be learned, not something to ignore.

An Increase in Entertainment's Women Who Kick Ass

Just as comic books began as a primarily male-dominated culture, so did the portrayal of these super-characters in television and movies. While yes, there were scattered programs, like our coveted Buffy the Vampire Slayer, until the past decade, there were far fewer opportunities for superwomen than supermen. In an Entertainment Weekly article about Comic-Con, Elizbeth Mitchell (star of Lost and V) discussed how the increasing output of the sci fi genre was opening up more opportunities for women in kick-ass roles. With shows like V, Lost, Fringe, as well as productions of Cat Woman, Bat Woman, Tomb Raider, Mitchell tells how women are gaining more of a place in the world of entertainment. Even in the younger generations with the new release of the Hunger Games movies (following their publication as books). The Hunger Games features a girl as the leader of a revolution in post-apocalyptic North America. Katniss Everdeen, the protagonist, is the sharpest shooter, and literally fights to the finish defeating 11 men in the process (and then does it all over again in books two and three). This was all while a boy was holding her hand and verbally rooting her on.
In the article, Mitchell talks about how in Fringe, there is a similar role reversal. The women is out doing the "tough stuff," while the male sits in the kitchen. One thing I did not receive overly well was when Mitchell said "Olivia was the man," referring to Anna Torv's leading character on Fringe. This sadly echoes the inherent nature in pop culture where kicking ass is a man's duty and when a woman is the tough one, she is not a tough woman, she is "the man." Though, admittedly there is the same stereotype in reverse, when people describe a man who works in the kitchen as "the woman."

Superheroines of the New 52: Sexually Liberated or Sexual Objects?

I just read an article called "The Big Sexy Problem with Superheroines and their 'Liberated Sexuality'" (link above), and it was a fascinating take on the new superheroines in the comic book world. It discusses many of the characters of the New 52 series that we're all starting to read for class, and I was surprised by many of the images from the comics that were shown in the article. For example, this picture of Starfire from the new "Red Hood and the Outlaws":

Women have been pretty sexualized in some of what we've read so far, but really? Is this entirely necessary? This frankly looks more like porn than an actual comic with an actual story. The article discusses as well how this particular character is known for sleeping with a lot of guys (whose names she often doesn't even remember), but it is all meaningless and emotionless. It doesn't seem like she is "sexually liberated" by taking on this role; as the article's author, Laura Hudson, writes: "This is not about these women wanting things; it’s about men wanting to see them do things, and that takes something that really should be empowering – the idea that women can own their sexuality – and transforms it into yet another male fantasy. It takes away the actual power of the women and turns their “sexual liberation” into just another way for dudes to get off."

The new Catwoman in just as bad - the article shows the first page of the new first issue:

As you can see, we see shots of her breasts, her bright read lingerie, and her tight leather-clad behind before we even see her face. I agree with Hudson's statement that this is no way to connect with a character for the first time. It gives readers the idea that the first thing we need to know about a woman, even a superhero, is what her body looks like.

This new take on women in comics is completely different from the old depictions of them. Although women have been somewhat sexualized in comics for years, it has never gotten this bad. And before, women seemed like real people even when they were "sexually liberated" - they could still be strong heroes even though they were sexy. As Hudson said in the article, "I’m on board with the hot ladies; part of what got me into comics back in the day was being a 12-year-old girl who looked at strong, beautiful characters like Rogue and Jean Grey and Storm and wanted to be like them in large part because they were so sexy and confident and had exciting romances. Those books managed to offer characters that I’m certain appealed to men as well, but always felt like people instead of window dressing." But clearly, this new portrayal of comic book women is just too much.

This is not what comics should be. "Superhero comics are nothing if not aspirational. They are full of heroes that inspire us to be better, to think more things are possible, to imagine a world where we can become something amazing. But this is what comics like this tell me about myself, as a lady: They tell me that I can be beautiful and powerful, but only if I wear as few clothes as possible. They tell me that I can have exciting adventures, as long as I have enormous breasts that I constantly contort to display to the people around me. They tell me I can be sexually adventurous and pursue my physical desires, as long as I do it in ways that feel inauthentic and contrived to appeal to men and kind of creep me out." I feel bad for the girls of today who have only these kinds of comic book characters to look up to. This is a sad regression from what superheroines are supposed to be like.

(I know it's a long article, but if you have time to read the whole thing, it's worth it.)

The Most Empowering of Them All

I just wanted to say that so far out of everything we have read that Rouge was my favorite, simply because it had the most empowered women out of all of the comics I've seen. Rouge has her relationship with Gambit, the only real male role in the mini series, but she is not obsessed with him. She also has her past relationship with Cody that she has to work through, and by the end she realizes that she can finally move on. It takes someone really strong to move on from something such as putting the boy you love into a coma for the rest of his life and accept that the past is the past. The villains, Bella Donna and Chandra, are both also women. The men in the story get bounded and gagged by the women, which is an interesting turn of events since the opposite is what usually happens. Rouge, who cares deeply about both men, fights for them and keeps fighting even after her powers get taken away. She doesn't even give up when she gets stabbed in the shoulder. I think she is a true superheroine. She's strong, she's independent, and she does not give up. She does not wear a skimpy little outfit, yet she is still considered beautiful by the men in the story. Even the villains had full body outfits on. I liked this comic best because it shows women as strong and capable, and at the same time doesn't exploit them at all.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Beguiling Seductress: A "Must-Have" in Comics

The article "Top 10 Comic-Book Vixens" discusses how the sole purpose of an overwhelming amount of female characters is to torture men. Worst of all, this article basically sums up these women's powers as strictly sexual. Familiar faces from the list are: The White Queen, Mystique, Catwoman...and surprisingly Jean Grey [Dark Phoenix].

Noteworthy Excerpts:

#1 Dark Phoenix:"Each time Jean came back [Cyclops] fell for her hard. Then she would die and destroy him all over again...[making him] the unluckiest SOB in the Marvel Universe."

Note: By failing to mention the complexity of her powers, the author totally misleads the reader into thinking that this Dark Phoenix is synonymous to Jean Grey herself, not to mention that it totally plays off Jean's sacrifice of dying to save the world as unfair to Cyclops. (Hmm what's more important, Cyclops' feelings, or the fate of the universe?...) Jean Grey doesn't belong on this list, especially not at #1.

#4 Catwoman: "A prostitute, a bimbo, a seductress...truly gained greatness [when] the normally paranoid Batman let [her] into his bed and into his cave. You go, girl!"

Enough said...

#5 Mystique: "The shape-changing mutant can fulfill your every fantasy."

Note: This sounds like the author's trying to get someone to rent a prostitute. Also, in the picture of her is a gun with the barrel awkwardly shoved in the back of her pants (phallic symbol).

#6 The White Queen: "A cold, manipulative, power-mad seductress...has the confidence to wear lingerie while teaching a classroom full of 15-year-old boys."

Note: Is that really your definition of confidence? Also, in her picture the White Queen is in one of the most suggestive positions and the skimpiest outfits of the four listed here.

A motif of women in comics is having one of them cast as "the femme fatale." Overall, this article had outrageously sexist synopses for these women characters, but unfortunately, since the women in these comics are already over-sexualized, I can't really argue that these interpretations (save Jean Grey) are totally off-base. It's ridiculous that this seems to be a necessity in comics; female characters whose sole purpose is to be the conniving sexy villain who ensnares the virtuous male heroes into traps. I understand that to be a hero, you need a nemesis, but I don't see why it's necessary for (at least one of) the nemeses to always get this role. Another thing, why is it always the women's fault that men fall under their spell...I think the men deserve (at least) a little blame for being so hopelessly naive time and time again.

Adult Entertainment?

After reading the first four chapters of Promethea, I began to realize that many comic books are really not suited for kids. Although Promethea is by far the worst out of all the comic books we read in class, most comic books contain characters with revealing costumes and dialog with crude language. This is surprising to me because before this class and before reading comic books I thought that comic books were geared towards kids and young teenagers. However, after reading comic books I would say that many of them are geared more towards older teenagers and adults.

Promethea especially contains much harsh language including "bitch" and "lesbo" and depicts many sexual scenes. I know that I would not like my children reading this comic book. The problem is that many parents probably do not know what is inside these comic books. Many parents think that all comic books are geared towards children like I at one point thought, and many parents would just buy any comic book thinking it was fine. However, with what these comic books contains, the target audience of many comic books is adult males.

It is interesting to me that many comic books are geared towards adults because before taking this class I always thought it was more of a young man's interest. Comic books have so much more to offer than I thought and comic books can stay with you all your life. Children interested in comic books are able to read them for years to come as the comic books mature with them. The comic book industry is truly fascinating and not just filled with childish stories but with much more complex material.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Whose Angels?

This Thursday the new TV show "Charlie's Angels" will be premiering on ABC. The show, like the movies, will feature beautiful women who made some kind of mistake, and were "saved" by a mystery man named Charlie. Now they are "angels of justice". But they aren't just "angels", they're "Charlie's Angels". The name never comes without the possessive apostrophe. These women are definitely smart and kick ass, but their purpose is to do this man "Charlie's " bidding. They have never met this man, yet he's their "savior" and boss.

The women are accompanied by another man for all of their missions, Bosley. Now, the angels are definitely the heroes, not Bosley. But he is always there. He is, simply, their chaperone. Why do they need him at all? One answer is that he is one of the original classic characters and they can't eliminate him. But this is the 21st century. Characters are cut all of the time. The angels have always been fine on their own, and aside from the new muscles he has in this version, he doesn't bring a lot to the table.

The video "Behind the Action of Charlie's Angel's" that pops up on the show's website may be more interesting than looking at the show itself. In the video one actress talks about her favorite part of being an angel and says "Who doesn't want to do that *flips hair while holding up the symbolic charlie's angels finger guns...flips her hair a couple more times* you know? Who doesn't wanna swing your hair around and and be a fun girl?" So her favorite part of playing a superheroine is looking hot and flipping her hair. I'm sure she's not the only one. But it seems sad that her favorite thing about a supposedly strong empowered woman is her girly qualities.

Dear third wave feminism,
You still have a lot of work to do,

Girls and Rap

IN honor of B.o.B's recent visit to Cornell University I decided to write about the phenomenon of female rappers and what they represent. I've noticed a stark divide among female rappers and how they choose to portray themselves. That is to say they either display overtly sexual tendencies a la Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj or are completely asexualized a la Missy Elliot and Da Brat. This oddity occurs for a very simple reason. Each type of female rapper is trying to appeal to their male audience, but in different ways. Sexualized female rappers appeal to a man's inner lustful desires while providing entertaining music, and desexualized female rappers appeal to a man's pack mentality aka she becomes one of the boys. Interestingly enough neither archetype tries nearly as hard to appeal to their female fanbase. Are men simply a more lucrative audience or are they quite literally giving in to "The Man" they ostensibly fight in their music?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Feminism, Evil?

When I was doing some research on feminism for the class, I encountered this website.
Although I was aware of how feminists get lots of criticisms for being radicals, it was my first time actually seeing this obvious and blatant hostility (even though it was through a website). I do not consider myself a feminist, but looking at this "attack" on the overall body of women made me upset. If you think about it, it is pretty natural for a group of people sharing same ideas to gather and pursue their interests... except for the fact that people had to come up with the name "feminism" and call a group of people, who happened to be women, fighting for their basic rights (at least for the first and second waves) "feminists" and radicals. Obviously, the website I looked at had a very distorted view of Christianity and religion; however, I do think that the concept of "virtuous" women as obedient, non-promiscuous, and passive beings has been accepted as a social norm overtime...

If it were men fighting for their rights to be educated, rights to receive financial support from government as a single dad, and rights to get paid equally without discrimination, would people call them radicals and condemn them for being "absurd"?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Girl Power in Music

As I was trying to think of something to write my next blog about, I was messing around on Google and Youtube, typing things into the search engines to see if anything interesting came up. As I was typing in "Girl Power" it suggested "Girl Power Songs". I decided to check it out. Google came up with many lists of songs that supposed to be empowering for females. There was everything from "Respect" by Aretha Franklin to "U + Ur Hand" by Pink. I even found a book all about that focuses on how women have been more empowered through music since the 1990s (seen here on Amazon called Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music-- This got me thinking, what makes a song a "girl power" song?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hotel School Real Estate Club

Last week I went to the first meeting of the Hotel's School's Real Estate Club since it interests me. When I was there I noticed that among, approximately 20 people, the female population was about 4. I also observed that out of these 4, only one would be considered the regular white american women, the rest were either Asian or of Asian descent. I don't know why this is the way it is, because I don't question it much. It just seems normal that Real Estate interests boys more and maybe if there is a foodie club the girls would outnumber the girls. Do any of you have an idea why some subjects would be packed with girls while others are almost all-guys?

Hysteria... the movie?

As I was thinking about a topic to write about, the song "Hysteria" by Muse began playing on my itunes. So I figured that I might as well do research on it. According to, hysteria is "A psychoneurotic disorder characterized by violent emotional outbreaks, disturbances of sensory and motor functions, and various abnormal effects due to autosuggestion." As far as the lyrics for "Hysteria" go, they might refer to the female hysteria of the 1800s. The last few lines say "And I want you now, I want you now. I feel my heart implode. And I'm breaking out. Escaping now. Feeling my faith erode." All the lyrics (including the last sentence for some religions) hint that they might be about an orgasm. The "feeling my faith erode" is relevant to some religions that shun sex except for procreation, since sex isn't supposed to be for pleasure. Another article I found was about the Toronto film festival. Tanya Wexler is an American director who showed her newest movie at the Toronto film festival. And it's called "Hysteria." Quite coincidental. There's not much information about this movie out yet, but it's supposed to be a romantic comedy. According to the article, the movie is about female empowerment and the opportunity to have choices. Here's the link to the trailer on youtube. It seems really funny. I also thought that it was very coincidental that Cornell recently had the "I love female orgasms" lecture. I feel like I've been hearing more about female orgasms in a completely serious and open context than ever before. Does this mean that our culture is becoming even more open about sex? If so, how will this influence our future and change our values?

Danger: Men Working

Has anyone else noticed this sign above the Risley Dining entrance? Every time I pass by it, it bothers me. There are so many anti-feminist implications here, I can't help but rant about it. For one thing, it obviously states that women aren't construction workers. This is clearly untrue; there are plenty of female construction workers out there. Even if they aren't working on this particular building, the sign negates their existence. Also, it seems to imply that the reason women can't be construction workers is because of the "danger;" women are vulnerable, and can't handle a job such as this. Maybe I'm reading too far into it - it is only a sign, after all - but this is a perfect example of the stereotyping of women that we've been discussing in class. Just as female superheroes are never as strong as the men, this sign demonstrates the generally accepted view that women are never as strong as men in real life - certainly not strong enough to work in construction.

Witches: Wicked or Misunderstood?

Picture a witch.

If you imagined something similar to the above picture, I'm sure you're not alone. I feel like the word "witch" has had a negative connotation since (pretty much) forever, and with all the hysteria involved in witch-hunts and witch burnings in Europe and North America centuries ago, shouldn't the popular "wicked" witch image be justified? I don't think so.

I've been fascinated by magic since I was a toddler, so I never understood why witches--supposedly brilliant at magic--were often depicted as evil, mean, and possibly green. After all, don't they have "superpowers" just like our beloved superheroines from Marvel and DC have? Even though there is plenty of "good" witchcraft (say, healing, protecting, or seeing the future), the "bad" witchcraft gets ten times as much attention.

Thankfully, over the past few decades, the concept of the "good" witch has become more and more popular, what with the release of popular books and shows like Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Harry Potter, and Wicked the Broadway musical. Even so, the idea of the wicked witch is much stronger and widespread, as it is firmly rooted in centuries of witch fright and witch panic. Can witches still be considered superheroines?

America the Beautiful

A while ago I had watched this documentary called "America the Beautiful" which tackled how we view plastic surgery, modeling, and looks today in society. The trailer is here: and the full documentary is actually free on Hulu here: It is disturbing to see how many people obsess over looks these days and when forced to give a "why" they can't even answer. The young guy in the trailer wants to look for a "slender girl... why I couldn't even tell you why" and needs to get a six pack but doesn't even know what the importance of it is. It's ridiculous that people obsess over airbrushed images and want to attain something that the model doesn't even have. This brings me back to that statue of Wonder Woman we discussed about in class, where the Khunds had to "pretty [her] up a bit." We all thought that the statue was not very attractive, but the Khunds perceived it as attractive and did not appreciate Wonder Woman's slender frame. Are we obsessed with these idealized images simply because the media feeds it to us and we view it as the "norm"? Could we explain WHY something is beautiful, or do we just label it as such?

Friday, September 16, 2011

An "Uncanny" New Depiction of the X-Women

Rightfully titled "Now X-Women Can Be Bimbos Too", Graeme McMillan's article discusses her opinion of the depiction of the X-Men women in issue 500 of Uncanny X-Men. To sugarcoat this obviously outraged message, McMillan expressed disappointment in the fact that this new cover of these women deprive them of the one quality that made them unique: that they didn't play the "stereotypical sexpot role no matter what." Now, the X-Women are literally dripping with flagrant sexual allure; especially in their suggestive poses that are far from the action scenes we saw in "The Dark Phoenix Saga."

Top Row: Storm and Rogue
Middle Row: Psylocke* and Emma Frost
Bottom Row: Kitty Pryde and Dazzler (all L-R)

McMillan notes that "this particular image kind of flattens out the character of these characters." The women in X-Men were like no others in comic books; the women weren't dressed to allure (save Emma Frost and the other "evil" women), women were shown to be more powerful than men (Jean Grey), and compared to most comics, I believe that they were treated more like equals (which was especially well displayed through the X-Men's "teamwork" dynamic). But this one image totally contradicts all of these powerful depictions of the X-Women. As Graeme McMillan said, "Would it have been too much to have just had [them] looking kick-ass instead of looking bimbo-esque, really?" I'm asking myself the exact same question...

*Totally irrelevant note but Psylocke is a character that unexplainably acquires the telekinetic abilities of Jean Grey (just a little fun fact)

The Truth...discovered on facebook

Yesterday, as I was sick and facebooking all day, I came across a new game added to facebook, the Sims. I used to play this game often when I was younger and I decided to check it out. I was creating my own personal Sims character and I began to realize how even this video game is brainwashing people into believing that skinny and big boobs are the only way to go. The Sims that I was playing on facebook does not let u choose a body type; you are skinny and perfect, as everyone "should be." I remember on the other Sims I used to play you could choose a body type, but most people still chose the "perfect one" as I always did too.

I feel as though many people play this game to escape their imperfect lives and create for themselves a perfect world with a perfect body and the perfect husband. The funny part is that no one has a body like those on the Sims. You can't get married within an hour and you cannot easily obtain the perfect job. I will admit that I grew up playing this game and I used to think that one day my life could be like the life of my Sims character. However, with all the time that I wasted playing with my imaginary life, I missed out on my real life. While I was preoccupied with the Sims, many other children are preoccupied with superheroes. At first these things are fun and entertaining and maybe give you something to work towards but too much obsession with being perfect is not good. Wonder Woman's perfect body is only one problem. There are millions of other things influencing people and this is the way it will always be.

While reading comic books, people should be more concerned with the good these superheroes are doing instead of the way they look. In real life, Wonder Woman's costume would not be able to stay on her while she was fighting, flipping and jumping. The reason why Wonder Woman's costume is so revealing is to attract audiences who read comic books for the images and to make more money. It is a shame that the real reason for superheroes can not be preserved but instead all of these superficial factors are introduced just to make the comic books sell. Money is probably the biggest problem with these comic books. If money was not such a big factor then maybe superheroes could go back to saving the world with more comfortable clothing.

Eating away your feelings... or not

So, while I was commenting on someone else's post, I thought about the idea of eating disorders and decided that I wanted to look into it a little more. According to, "as many as 10% of girls and women in the US have eating disorders." Also, around 50,000 people with some type of eating disorder will die because of it. While there are some genetic reasons and physical reasons for eating disorders, a lot of girls develop them because of tv and magazines. They see all of the models and actresses looking picture perfect, no matter what, and they want to be like that too. They can never be skinny enough, or pretty enough to please themselves, so they starve themselves, or make themselves sick to try to change it. It's horrible that society has come to that- to girls having to look picture perfect. Boys rarely, if ever, feel the need to look perfect like girls do. Even here around Cornell on a Friday or Saturday night, when I see a group of people going down to college town, the girls are all in little skimpy outfits while all of the boys are wearing jeans and t-shirts. It's sad that society has come to making girls feel this kind of pressure to the point that they make themselves sick over it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Killing Us Softly

During our last class, we discussed the issue of women's portrayal in media as well as society's consequent pressure on women to be perfect. Even throughout the comics we have read, all the female characters had a seemingly perfect body, all having attractive features. Regardless of what one's views may be on this idea, I'm sure we have all experienced some sort of insecurity at one point or another in our lifetime. Regardless of what this insecurity may have been or what may have triggered it, whether it was the model being portrayed in advertisements or the perfect character in a comic, I think we can all agree that the feeling of inadequacy, imperfection, and ultimate failure that resulted from such insecurities really, really sucked.

If you have an extra 45 minutes to spare, I would highly suggest you take the time to watch these following clips because we've all been there:
Part 1:
Part 2:

Throughout these videos, Jean Kilbourne (the speaker) updates her Killing Us Softly series, reexamining how she believes advertising distorts the ideals of femininity. She does so in a humorous, but very accurate way that allows one to see the link between pop culture and sexism, eating disorders, and gender violence. In pointing out these relationships, Kilbourne doesn't "bash men" or the companies who's advertisements these are, but continues in her attempt to launch a movement to promote media literacy as a way to prevent these very problems.

Do you agree and think our society has a problem with what it deems as ideal? Have you seen this through the comics we've read thus far? Is there any way to escape such ideals that are seemingly everywhere? And do you think creating videos such as this one truly helps educate society and brings about reform, or is it just a waste?

So, the next time you're staring at an an ad or reading a comic in another FWS feeling guilty for not having such perfect abs, such silky hair or such clear skin, remember that "failure is inevitable because the ideal is based on absolute flawlessness, and the most important aspect of such flawlessness is that it can not be achieved. No one looks like [the person] in the ad - not even the [person, him or herself.]"

Monday, September 12, 2011

After our conversation on Thursday about why girls have long hair while boys have short hair, and why girls play with dolls while boys play with trucks, I searched online to see if there were any studies relating to the distinction between sex differences. I found an interesting article about a study that provided "the first evidence of a nonhuman animal in the wild that exhibits sex differences." The study followed chimps and watched how they played with sticks (the chimps form of dolls). They use these sticks to mimic childcare, and female chimps play with the sticks more than the male chimps do. The researchers "defined stick play among chimps as holding or cradling sticks, bark, small logs or vines, often tucking a piece of wood between the stomach and the thighs." From this article it seems that these sex differences are imbedded in our DNA. Does anyone find this strange or have any articles that counteract this one?


Tyra "Porkchop" is America's Next Top "Waddle"

In class we talked about how surprising that a role model like Wonder Woman making insulting jabs at her opponent's weight. Although ,it's inexcusable for anyone to judge another person, it's become somewhat of a norm for people to degrade people because of their weight- regardless of the ridiculousness of their insults.
Anyone remember this? Back in 2007, this was the big "scandal"...Tyra Banks gained 30 pounds! And even worst, the press has an unflattering picture to prove it. really. Note that Tyra Banks is 5' 10" and 161 actually HEALTHY weight compared to the 130 or so pounds she used to be in her modeling days. So why is the press tearing her down and calling her "Tyra 'Porkchop'" and "America's Next Top Waddle" over this?

It's because as a woman, especially a model, society holds expectations for you to be always underweight, always beautiful, and always "picture-perfect", everything else is considered unacceptable. In retaliation to these standards, Banks took a stand for women and herself with the famous lines "Kiss my fat ass!" on her talk show.
Tyra Banks strives to exhibit a wider variety of feminine beauty and tear down such typical stereotypes through having contestants of various shapes and sizes on her show, America's Next Top Model. She also advocates for the idea of more than one type of beauty in talk show. When these hateful attacks, judging her own appearance were made, she was the epitome of her own cause when she remained self-respect and confidence in her own body.
Such gender expectations tear women down everyday, filling them with thoughts of great inadequacy and self-hate, driving them to do unthinkable, damaging things to their bodies. I appreciate that Tyra took this stand, and is true to her cause for universal beauty, but I feel as though this problem needs to be addressed one day at a time, and it will take a lot more people to follow in her example before a permanent impact is made.
However, these progressive steps make little to no impact when we have the media perpetuating these perceptions of women being objects whose values decrease based on how sexy and fit they look. It's a shame that allegedly progressive steps for women's rights, like Wonder Woman, still can't help but to simultaneously put women down based on superficial ideas.

Video of Tyra Taking A Stand (video is 1 minute 30 seconds)

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