Sc2220 lecture 6 2012

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Lecture 6: Gender and Popular Culture

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Sc2220 lecture 6 2012

  1. 1. Eric C. ThompsonSemester 2, 2011/2012
  2. 2. Wiki Contributions Please make your wiki contributions for the first half of the course by TODAY (Feb 16, 5pm). Please BACK-UP YOUR WORK! If you experience system failure or crash, you can email the contribution to your tutorial instructor… But please attempt to post it to the Wiki first.
  3. 3. Midterm Feedback Please complete the IVLE “midterm feedback” survey. You can find in listed as SURVEY under SC2220. Your responses are anonymous. Your feedback is very helpful to me in making adjustments and improving the lectures and tutorials for the second half of the term! Thanks! 
  4. 4. “The Hijab Challenge” 16 February 2012 (Today) Sponsored by the NUS Muslim Society Our committee will be stationed at a booth outside the Central Library for the whole of Thursday (16/2), and staff and students of NUS will be invited to try on hijabs* for however long they would like, to have a feel of wearing the hijab as they learn the different ways of styling it, as well as learn the reasons behind the covering of the head for women. (*Free hijab provided!) For more information: http://www.wix.com/nusmsiaw/iaw2012#!hjiab-challenge
  5. 5. Where We Have Been… History of Gender Studies Sex/Gender Distinction Becoming Male or Female  Gender socialization; paths to learning gender. Gender Systems  Masculinity/Femininity  Gender as systems of beliefs and behaviors
  6. 6. Where We Are Going… Gender in Popular Culture  Gender in Advertising  Popular Culture (TODAY) Gender in Social Relations  Gender and Power  Gender and Work Gender, Here and Now  Gender in Singapore
  7. 7. Where We Have Been… History of Gender Studies Foundations of Gender Studies Sex/Gender Distinction Becoming Male or Female How we become gendered. What gender is… Gender Systems 1. Systems of Belief and Behavior. 2. What we do, not what we are.
  8. 8. Where We Are Going… Gender in Gender in Popular Culture art, literature, language, pop ular culture. Ideas, beliefs about gender. Representations of gender. Social structure, Economics, Gender in Social Relations Politics, Power. Gender in Practice. Applying Gender Studies to… Gender, Here and Now Singapore Your own life
  9. 9. So Much to Cover! “The scope is pretty large, perhaps a tighter scope would be better?” (IVLE Feedback comment) SC2220 is a Survey Class… an overview of an entire field. Other, more narrowly focused courses include:  JS2228: Gender and Sexuality in Japan  SN2234: Gender and Society in South Asia  EN3244: Gender and Literature  GE3206: Gender, Place and Space  PH3217: Women in Philosophy  PS3237: Women in Politics  SW3206: Gender Issues in Social Work Practice  And many more…
  10. 10. How do I apply this knowledge?Immediate Application Lifelong Application How do I write an essay  How does gender affect for the final exam?! my life? To be discussed more in  Drawing connections, the latter part of the lecture-to-lecture. course.  Questions and “food for thought”.
  11. 11. Today’s Lecture… Masculinity and Femininity in Traditional and Popular Cultures Fathering (Chopra) Change over Time Race and Gender Sexuality and Power  Male Gaze  Female Tease?
  12. 12. “Retrieving the Father” (Chopra) Revising Feminist views of Masculinity “Absent” Fathers  Father as provider and authority; not caregiver Kopo’i – Father Love  Traditional Cultures Fathering in film.  Popular Cultures Chopra is arguing:  For diverse fathering  Father love is masculine and distinct from “mothering”
  13. 13. Transitions Through Time and Space Masculinity and Femininity are constructed differently in different times and places. Two Examples: Traditional Cultures; Popular Culture Traditional Cultures: “Where Have all the Trans-Gender Ritual Specialist Gone?” (Peletz 2006, Current Anthropology) – See Lecture 4 Popular Culture: Hollywood Images of Masculinity in the Late 20th Century – Today’s Lecture…
  14. 14. Hollywood Images of Masculinity 1970s: Clint Eastwood: Independent, Solitary Figure (High Plains Drifter 1973, Dirty Harry 1971) 1977: Luke Skywalker: The New-Age Spiritual Male 1993: Falling Down: Hegemonic Middle-Class, White, American Masculinity Hegemony in Crisis  Struggling to come to terms in a changing world.  Vigilante (“Dirty Harry”) is now the Bad Guy. 1999: “Fight Club”: Reclaiming Masculinity
  15. 15. Falling Down: Notes and Reflections Crisis of Hegemonic Masculinity: White, Middle- Class, English-speaking, Middle-Age, American Family-Man “I’m the bad guy?”: The world turned upside-down. Intersection of Gender, Race, Class, Age Falling Down in Singapore?  Chinese, Hokkien-Speaking, Middle-Class, Middle- Age, Singaporean Family-Man?  Is there a “crisis of masculinity”?  If so, how does it play out?
  16. 16. Fight Club: Notes and Reflections Fight-Therapy (Masculine) vs. Talk-Therapy (Feminine) Lack of male role models (divorce culture, absentee fathers, “Our fathers were our models for God. If our fathers bailed, what does that tell us about God?) Problematic relationships with women (single mothers; dysfunctional heterosexuality) Struggling with symbolic status competition and identity (“you’re not your f***in’ khakis”)
  17. 17. Gender, Race and Masculinity The Green Hornet 1966-1967 TV series, with Bruce Lee as Kato 2011 Movie, Jay Chou (pop star) as Kato and Seth Rogan (comedian) as Green Hornet Who is the leader? Who is the sidekick? Who “gets the girl”? Does Hollywood produce “Asian” masculinity?
  18. 18. “Stupid Girls”
  19. 19. Second & Third Wave Feminism Pink “Stupid Girls”  “Second Wave” Feminism  Rejection of “Emphasized” Femininity  Gain Power through Competing with Men (“What happened to the dream of a girl President…”) Spice Girls “Wannabe”  “Third Wave” Feminism  Assume Equality/Status as a Given  Gain Power through leveraging Femininity and Sexuality (“If you want to be my lover, you have got to give…” i.e. you get sex if you do what I want you to do.)
  20. 20. Imagery, Representations & Power The “Male Gaze” versus the “Female Tease” How are women represented in popular culture? What sort of power (and vulnerability) do pop culture representations create?
  21. 21. The Male Gaze Women are subject to “the male gaze” through advertising and in public spaces. Gender/feminist theorist argue that the male gaze operates as a form of harassment, discipline and control. Women subjected to the male gaze must learn to control their own bodies in public.
  22. 22. The Female Tease? Third Wave feminist argue that women should assert themselves sexually as a form of power. Does the “female tease” reverses or contests the power of the “male gaze”? Example: Pussy Cat Dolls
  23. 23. Traditional Themes of Feminismand Gender Studies:• Double Standard for Women: – The “Madonna/whore” complex – Patriarchal culture expects women to be both chaste (Madonna – the ‘virgin Mary’) and sexually available/promiscuous (whore); creating a difficult double standard for women to follow.• Objectification of Women as Sex Objects. – The “male gaze” as agent of objectification.• Oppression of women by patriarchal culture.
  24. 24. “Third Wave” Feminism• From 1990s• Reaction to “Second Wave” Feminism – Largely assumes that women do have or should have equal status. – Rejects the de-feminized and de-sexualized image of “bra-burning feminists”• Represented in Popular Culture by the Spice Girls as a “Girl Power” Pop Group. – For example “Wanna Be” (“If you wannabe my lover, you gotta get with my friends…”; Priority of girlfriends over boyfriends.)
  25. 25. Pussycat Dolls• “Girl Power” Group, very much in the mold of Spice Girls (but taken to a greater extreme?).• About the PCD (according to Wikipedia):• Formed as a Burlesque Troupe, 1995-2003.• Gained notoriety after 1999 Playboy pictorial.• Re-cast as Musical Group, 2003-Present.• Debut Album (PCD): 2005.• Second Album (Doll Domination): 2008.
  26. 26. “Don’t Cha”(PCD’s First Hit Single)• “I know you like me. I know you do. That’s why whenever I come around, she’s all over you… And I know you want it. It’s easy to see. And in the back of your mind, I know you should be **** me.” (**** = “home with me”; “holdin’ me”; “f***in’ me”; different versions)• “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me… a freak like me… fun like me”• “Fight the feeling. Leave it alone. ‘Cause if it ain’t love, it just ain’t enough to leave a happy home…”
  27. 27. “StickWitU”(Second Hit Single)• Chorus: “Nobody gonna love me better. I must stick with you forever. Nobody gonna take me higher. I must stick with you.”• The lyrics suggest a sexually intimate (heterosexual?) couple. (“We’ll be making love endlessly. I’m with you. Baby, I’m with you.”)• The video portrays an intimate (but not sexual) friendship among the women in the group – especially overcoming struggles and having a long history together.
  28. 28. “Beep”(with will.i.am)• will.i.am: “It’s funny how a man only thinks about the (beep). You got a real big heart, but I’m lookin’ at your (beep). You got a real big brain, but I’m lookin’ at your (beep)…”• PCD: “I don’t give a (beep). Keep lookin’ at my (beep)… Every boy’s the same, since I been in the seventh grade. They’ve been trying to get to me. Trying to hahaha, hahaha…. I keep turning them down… You’re too aggressive.”
  29. 29. “Buttons”(with Snoop Dog)• “I’m telling you loosen up my buttons baby. But you keep fronting. Say what you going to do to me. But I see nothing…”• “Typical. Hardly the type I fall for.”• “You say you’re a big boy but I can’t agree. ‘Cause the love you said you had ain’t been put on me.”• “I can see that just like most guys your game don’t please.”
  30. 30. “I Don’t Need A Man” (Self-explanatory)• “I see you looking at me. Like I got something for you. And the way that you stare. Don’t you dare. ‘Cause I’m not about to, just give it on up to you.”• “I don’t need a man to make it happen. I get off being free. I don’t need a man to make me feel good. I get off doing my thing. I don’t need a ring around my finger to make me feel complete. So let me break it down. I can get off when you ain’t around.”
  31. 31. “Wait A Minute”(with Timbaland)• Timbaland: “Girl, why you do me like that? You take all my money, can’t even call a player back?”• PCD: “Boy, why you trippin’ like that? You think cause you’re tricking you get it just like that? . . . Baby please, I’m fine, I’m not one of these hoes. Chasing dreams not diamond rings. So don’t call me no more . . .”• End of song… PCD: “See I don’t want your money. . . Wait a minute. Uh, yeah, you can give me that back.” (Keeps the keys to the Cadillac.)
  32. 32. PCD Themes• Masculinity; Men are… – Useless – Interested only in sex – Too aggressive AND Not aggressive enough – Expected to please and provide for women• Sexuality – Women can get what they want through sex/desirability. – Men should please women sexually (but women need not please men). – Positive portrayals of aggressive female sexuality. – Negative portrayals of aggressive male sexuality. – Overcoming the “male gaze” (that objectifies women). – Asserting the “female tease” (as a form of power)?
  33. 33. PCD Themes (Cont.)• “Girl Power” Bonding (most notably in the odd disconnect between the lyrics and video for “StickWitU”)• Female-Female Competition – “Hoes” give men sexual satisfaction in exchange for material things; PCDs just take without “giving it up” (?) – Simultaneously deriding and empathizing with the “not hot” girlfriend (“Don’t Cha”)• “Gynearchal” Double Standards for Men? – “Aggressor/Loser” Complex? (vs. “Madonna/Whore”) – Men as sexual subjects (agents; seeking what they desire) are rejected as aggressors/predators (e.g. “Beep”); men who are not aggressive enough when a woman desires it are losers (e.g. “Buttons”).
  34. 34. What to make of the PCDs?• So what, it’s just a pop group? (True; just like “Advertising doesn’t effect me!”)• Is the “Double Standard” a big deal? – Some think so… – Warren Farrell (The Myth of Male Power) has argued since the 1980s that men, not women are “oppressed”. – Less extreme, Susan Faludi (Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man) argues that post-feminist America sends confused, conflicting messages to men and provides no positive models of masculinity for them to follow.
  35. 35. What to make of the PCDs? Is the Double Standard a big deal?  On the other hand…  Place PCD in a broader context of R&B/Rap/Pop and broader American/Western pop culture.  Rap is dominated by masculine sexuality (having enough “bling” to get sex from “hoes”).  PCD’s assertive sexuality can be seen as one way to deal with the excessive power of the “male gaze” (by leveraging the “female tease”).
  36. 36. Problem of Sexuality and Power “Dancing on the Mobius Strip” Bernadette Barton, Gender and Society, 2002 Barton studied the experience of women who worked in strip clubs. She examined whether women felt empowered or disempowered through the experience. For most women: initially they felt empowered. However, the longer they continued working the more disempowered they felt; both because of age and because of long-term objectificaiton. Only a few women were able to maintain feelings of empowerment over the long-term (these were the at the high-end of the profession and able to make it a career they controled). Recall: “Killing Us Softly” – advertising presents young women with a questionable sense of “empowerment”.
  37. 37. Gender, Power and Imagery What are the implications for gender and power relationships?
  38. 38. Gender, Power and Imagery What are the implications for gender and power relationships?
  39. 39. Gender, Power and Imagery What are the implications for gender and power relationships?
  40. 40. Gender, Power and Imagery What are the implications for gender and power relationships?
  41. 41. Final Questions to Ponder What are your favorite movies, television programs, or music? What do they “teach” you about how to act as a man or a woman? What do they teach you to expect from the opposite sex? What do they teach you about what is ok or not ok in gendered behavior?

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