Tagged: media

Not being on "Team Bublé": Musicians, Gender and Unspeakable Inequalities

  “My buddy here has more bitches that the Oprah Book Club”  “Now I’m not gay, but if I was I would be rubbing this guy’s bald head all night long” Last week, I (along with 2000 other screaming women) went to see Michael Bublé play at the 02 arena in London. The above statements were both made by Michael Bublé as part of his ‘band introduction’. The all-male brass section all had nicknames, funny quips and spinning portraits.The whole section of...

Spare Rib: Life, Not Lifestyle.

  It was recently announced that the radical feminist magazine Spare Rib is to be re-launched in the UK, with an online presence as soon as next month and a print version available in the Autumn. Spare Rib first launched in 1972 out of the 1960s feminist movement and made a point of covering taboo and controversial issues such as domestic violence, lesbianism and birth control, amongst many others. This re-launch has been greeted by many (myself included) with a...

Revisiting the Porn Wars

An exciting new journal is slated for release next year—Routledge’s Porn Studies. The journal, the first of its kind, will focus explicitly on erotic and pornographic materials, as well as sex work generally. As its call for papers makes clear, it aims to include interdisciplinary, intersectional, and global analyses. Such a journal is a brave endeavor because the topic of pornography is an incredibly volatile one in academic and activist worlds. The journal is still a year away from publication...

Why I Won't Shop at Abercrombie and Fitch (and the reason is not the loud and obnoxious music)

  The CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch, Mike Jeffries, is up-front about his marketing and sales strategy: appeal to “cool” and “popular” kids to make the brand distinctive and desirable. While anybody can wear other brands, only those who fit an ideal body type can have the privilege of sporting Abercrombie and Fitch tees and jeans. How does Jeffries achieve this goal? The Abercrombie and Fitch advertisements use models who are “all American” (white and skinny), the stores employ similarly small...

More Musings on Evil: Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality in Media Villains

In a recent post, I discussed a longstanding trend in American (and Western) media of using racial Others to embody evil.  From adult action films to children’s animated features, we can find examples of villains whose malevolent nature is clear from the racial/ethnic stereotypes used to characterize them. But racial stereotypes are not the only stereotypes used to denote wickedness; we can also find many examples of non-normative sexualities and gender performances associated with evil. Importantly, this sexual Otherness is...

The Color of Evil: How American Media Racializes Villains

The History Channel’s miniseries, The Bible, has been lauded by some and scrutinized by others. Recently, some have raised questions about the show’s portrayal of the Satan, specifically the striking resemblance between the character and President Barack Obama (you can read a commentary at the HuffPost). The show’s producers have called the claims “utter nonsense” and insisted that actor Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni’s long record working on religious film sets made him an obvious choice for the role. I’m no mind-reader...

Representing Nude Bodies

In the past weeks, I’ve focused on the normative beauty expectations that govern women’s bodies and bodily habits. I was excited to see a recent article at the Huffington Post on one Minneapolis photographer’s attempt to challenge those norms. Matthew Blum, assisted by his wife/partner, has begun the Nu Project (warning: website NSFW), a multipart photography project in North and South America, in which he attempts to document real women’s nude bodies. All volunteers, the “models” represent a spectrum of bodies—different...

Women, Sexuality, and the HPV Vaccine Part 3

In the past month, I have posted about the feminization of the Gardasil, the vaccine that prevents 70% of Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-related cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts. I started with the historical development and approval of the vaccine and continued with an examination of the research guiding girls-only vaccination strategies. In this post, I will conclude my discussion of Gardasil with some observations about the marketing and advertising of the vaccine, the continued focus on girls and women...

Kansas City Getting Wired: Google Fiber and the Digital Divide

Google is a behemoth of an organization. Most everyone is familiar with its search engine (to the point where “Google” is a now a verb), and of the top 25 most-visited web sites in the world 6 are Google-branded, including YouTube. The company makes much of its money by selling targeted advertisements through its AdWords service, and has been wildly successful doing so. But Google has been busy with some interesting projects that fall outside its traditional role as search...

Summer TV and Critical Disability Studies

Characters with “disabilities” are being more regularly depicted in entertainment media: The lead character of House suffers from chronic pain and walks with a limp; Glee has characters with Down’s syndrome, severe OCD, and mobility restrictions requiring wheelchairs; Perception has a schizophrenic crime-solving professor. And, this coming October, Turner Classic Movies will be showcasing some 20 movies featuring disabilities and disabled characters in a series the channel is calling “The Projected Image: A History of Disability in Film.” While not...

The Attack on Anita Sarkeesian: From Media Analysis to Anti-Feminism and Online Harassment

AUTHOR’S WARNING: This post, and especially the links leading from it, contains images and language that some readers may find offensive or unsettling. Anita Sarkeesian is clever, eloquent, and seemingly fearless, but the recent fame she has achieved is not entirely pleasant. With a B.A. in communications from California State University, Northridge and a Master’s degree in social and political thought from York University, Sarkeesian is thoroughly knowledgeable and aptly qualified for her role as media critic and feminist activist....

Disembodied Racism and the Search for Racist Intent: The Trayvon Martin Case

  The Trayvon Martin case has become a national media event complete with competing individual evaluations, competing definitions of racism and competing blame narratives.  In these “racial events,” Americans propensity for individualistic analysis coalesces with America’s racialized culture in order to produce a mix of individual evaluations and sweeping claims about racial groups and the institutional privileges and disadvantages of different racial groups.  In my experience, this process reinforces many of the flawed ideas about race that sociologists regularly debunk...

Some critical thoughts about "critical thinking"

The two professors sat in front of me, making conversation before the talk. The speaker’s title slide already projected on the wall ahead: “What (if anything) are undergraduates learning during college?” The professors laughed at just how apt they thought the title was: “Isn’t that right?” “Yes, anything, please!” And then the more senior faculty member, a female, returned with a comment that made her junior colleague bristle: “Especially the boys. Some of those boys just try to get by...

Teachable Moments?: The Case of Penn State

I’ve read a lot about the shocking revelation that a former coach at Penn State allegedly molested up to 8 boys and raped at least one.  The story is all the more shocking given the grand jury testimony that points to a possible cover up by Penn State officials.  Indeed, media coverage of who knew what and when has almost eclipsed coverage of the original alleged crimes.  Two Penn State administrators were charged with perjury and amid the outrage the...

Live Webcast of Noam Chomsky's #ICA11 Closing Plenary – May 30 at 12pm EDT

Watch the live webcast of Noam Chomsky’s ICA 2011 Closing Plenary session on Monday 30th May at 12pm EDT! “Democracy, the Media, and the Responsibility of Scholars“ Go to http://www.wiley.com/college/wfn/breeze/index.html?icaonline Chair Larry Gross, U of Southern California, USA Participant Noam Chomsky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA Linguist Noam Chomsky is a trenchant critic of the mass media, which he tackled memorably in his 1988 book with Ed Herman, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. In the years...

Facebook Fatigue and Privacy Panic: Has the Golden Age of Social Media Ended?

For years, we have been deluged with stories about the dangers of online social media.  But in the last several months, a new kind of story has suddenly swept the mainstream media and the blogosphere alike.  This new type of story highlights burgeoning discontent amongst the user-base of social media sites and, at least implicitly, questions whether mass exhibitionism on social media is just a faddish blip on the cultural radar. For example, recent articles discuss how high school students...