Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Disposable Woman

1. The first reason the author gives as to why Charlie Sheen's abuse of women does not receive the same criticism by mainstream media as other abusers, is because he is a white male. Even though stars like Lindsay Lohan and Chris Brown have had scandals less outrageous than Charlie Sheen's, they face more career suffering and anger from the public because Sheen's race and gender allow the media to portray his actions as comical, rather than dangerous. Due to the fact that he is a white man, we are taught believe he is "safe," and most people just accept this generalization. When the media reports on Charlie Sheen, they refer to his antics as those of just a "bad boy" or a "rebel", enforcing this stereotype that he is just a rowdy hollywood jokester, and not a real threat - or criminal - doing something wrong.  The second reason the author states about why Charlie Sheen's abuse has not gotten much negative discussion is because of the woman he abuses. The women who have reported being abused by Sheen all fit into a certain category - they are not very well known, they definitely show-off their sexuality, and many of them are "sex workers." The image these girls give off is not one that is valued by the media or most people, therefore making us unsympathetic to what they have experienced. Because of the way Charlie Sheen is portrayed and the way his girlfriends appear, we make the assumption that it's okay for him to treat these women like that, since they are not worthy of more respect - at least that's what the media is subliminally telling us.

2. a) Reality TV portrays men who behave badly in a similar way to how the media portrays the antics of Charlie Sheen. When guys on TV get drunk and treat women badly, it's considered a joke. The media tells us that it's normal for men to act this way, and that their actions are simply funny. They also condone this message by showing their out of control lifestyle, and then never showing the consequences of it, teaching men that if they act outlandishly, there's no punishment for that in our society.

2. b) However, reality TV portrays women in a very different way than it portrays men. Whenever women behave badly, they are shown in a negative light, making them look stupid, immature, and often "slutty". Women don't have the same free pass that men do in the world of television - they are held to a higher standard and when they make mistakes people believe that they should just know better, quite the opposite of men. A great example of this double standard is shown on the hit series Jersey Shore. The Situation can go out to clubs, drink a lot, pick up girls, and he looks totally cool. When he's excessively drunk and has a "one night stand" with more than one girl, no one thinks about the disrespect of that situation, all they think is that he's the man! However, when Snooki or Sammie get involved in similar activities, they gain a terrible reputation. They are thought of as "wild party girls" and "whores," even though they are doing the exact same thing as many men on reality TV shows are known for.

3. This constant representation of "bad boys" on TV makes it easier for the public to accept Charlie Sheen and quickly forgive him for what he's done. Because we see these out of control guys so often in the media, and never being portrayed in a negative way or receiving consequences, we naturally get used to the acceptance of this behaviour. We have become so accustomed to it that the bad "shock value" has worn off and we are just waiting on the edge of our seats to see Charlie Sheen's next hilarious outburst.

4. a) The problem with reality TV is not only the way it portrays men vs. women, but also the way it promotes extreme violence and sexuality as "the norm." It shows the public that excessive drinking and constant partying are just part of "real life" and glorifies the outcome of this behaviour. In addition, besides just condoning it, the reality genre shows these attributes and actions as necessary, since in the end of most shows, a prize is often rewarded, showing this dramatic entertainment and behaviour will provide you with either monetary gain, or "happily ever after," (see marriage proposal picture from the Bachelor) completely ignoring the real consequences of this behaviour and this societal mindset.

4. b) I definitely agree that this is a problem. Reality TV producers, and the media in general, see one purpose - money. They focus all their attention and ideas around what will sell, and not what has good quality or messages. With this idea in their head that success is measured monetarily, they are forgetting how many people idolize behaviour seen in the media. Producers need to remember that the public, and the teenage generations especially, are extremely affected by what they see in the media, and that constantly giving us bad ideas will have a long-standing effect on the people we become and the behaviours we exhibit.

Image sources:
http://www.blogger.com/goog_441287871
http://www.blogger.com/goog_441287871
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1298856/Jersey-Shores-Snooki-steps-frog-slippers-series-kicks-off.html

Monday, March 14, 2011

Celebrity Causes

One celebrity who has been in the news often is Jenny McCarthy, a self-proclaimed activist for austism. Her son, Evan, was diagnosed with autism at two and half years old, but cured by age seven, and ever since, she has stepped up as the face of austism, not only in terms of awareness, but with her new method of "curing" autism. She has started the foundation Generation Rescue (http://www.generationrescue.org/home), which is an international movement of scientists working together to research the developmental disorder that affects 1 in 1000 people worldwide.
Personally, Jenny McCarthy has not only founded this organization, but also is responsible for travelling around the talk-show circuit to promote her books and seminars on the idea she strongly believes in - that autism is a curable disease and that factors in childhood are what cause it. She has had many controversial theories about what makes a child develop autism, and has urged parents to follow her special diet for children, as well as delay manditory vaccinations.
 
By doing all this publicity, Jenny McCarthy is creating the preferred reading that she is a caring and loving mom, looking out for other mothers across the nation and preventing them from experiencing what she had gone through until she "cured" her son of autism. She wants to be seen as someone who is very knowledgeable on this topic, and is using her celebrity status to gain people's trust in her ideas. This social cause also makes Jenny seem more down-to-earth, because she is showing everyone that she struggles like many parents do, and that her life is not always perfect. By fighting so hard for beliefs on autism, we get the idea that Jenny McCarthy is strong-willed, caring towards children, experienced & educated on autism, and most of all, a mother like anyone else.       
However, the oppositional reading to all her work can be taken in a very negative way. It is no secret that Jenny is much wealthier than the average mother, so with nannies and top doctors, it might be unfair to say she has struggled with autism in the same way regular people and those with financial difficulties have. Her constant pushing of her theories make Jenny seem in denial of the fact that autism does affect a lot of people, and by brushing it off a curable disease, she can offend a lot of people whose children will suffer from autism their whole lives. Also, Jenny's points on stopping the vaccination can make people feel guilty, because if a viewer's child has autism and they received the vaccines (which are approved by doctors), she is essentially blaming the parents for causing their child's autism.
I think that this message that Jenny McCarthy is sharing with the world is not a positive one. It's great that her son has been "healed," but I think she needs to face reality. Her ideas are only giving people false hope, as they are based off of unreliable research, and have not been accepted by most health practioners for a reason. She acts in a manner that can be dangerous, because by following her "recovery plan", children may actually not receive the nutrition they need in their diet, and the illnesses they can catch from not receiving vaccines can be fatal. She creates the illusion that she is trained in autism treatment, but really she isn't someone to trust on this topic. She should think more carefully before she shares her ideas and take responsibility for the fact that she is role model to others and not a doctor.

Image Sources:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tumblr

Instead of adding to the Images page of Dizzy Up The Girl, you can see all the pictures I post on my new tumblr site, lissx.tumblr.com. Check it out!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Celebrity Branding

A series of ads starring Mila Kunis for make-up line Urban Decay.



A video showing Mila's image as celebrity.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Never Say Never



Nothing against the Biebs, but I couldn't resist posting this.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Oscars - Dresses Decoded

As Craig Ferguson accepted his Academy Award for Best Documentary, he began his speech with the line, “Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that three years after our horrific financial crisis caused by massive fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail, and that’s wrong.” The room loudly applauded, with the camera cutting to shots of our favourite celebrities proudly nodding along with this statement, powerfully acknowledging how outraged they feel at their nation's current economic crisis. A little ironic, right, considering that the privately funded Oscars spend about $42,000 on just champagne and that each guest attending receives a gift bag valued to around $75,000. Is Hollywood really about the art anymore, or is the main focus of the entertainment industry's biggest night really just a chance for some of the most attention-seeking stars to show-off their lavish lifestyles?

One of the best way celebrities can flaunt their stardom is on the red carpet. Today, Oscar "pre-show" coverage interviewing dressed up stars on the red carpet lasts almost as long as the dragged out awards themselves (by the end of it, if I had to hear "who are you wearing?" one more time, I swear I was going to pick up the remote and switch to the Raptors' game). But this year, I paid a little closer attention to what my favourite stars were wearing, because unbeknowst to most, what you were wear to the Oscars says a lot more about you than just who your favourite designer is.

Natalie Portman: Baby Bliss
To put it bluntly, Natalie Portman is knocked up. She can act like she's blissfully happy and completely in love, but the truth of the matter is (at least in my opinion) she's not. In interview after interview, her smile is painted on as she utters the same seemingly scripted words: "I am so happy." Maybe I'm crazy, but I just can't believe her. Wisely, the dress she chose for this year's event was sweet and girly, accompaned by natural and light make-up. It showed minimal cleavage and no back or leg, which for a Hollywood vixen was a very timid and surprisingly unrevealing choice. I think Natalie chose this dress to try and play down her sexy image and start her quick change over into an innocent actress who is starting up a family.
Jennifer Hudson: Confidence Queen?
As most people know by the many commercials she has starred in, Jennifer Hudson has recently lost a ton of weight (and even if you didn't know, I'm pretty sure you'd notice by her skin tight, low cut, tangerine gown). This dress that Jennifer chose to wear definitely stood out and made a statement, but honestly, I think she chose this type of dress because she is not yet comfortable in her new body and needed the attention and reassurance of others to gain confidence. Losing weight is not easy, and though your body may change, how you see yourself can still remain a struggle for many. Although Jennifer kept a big smile on the whole night, she didn't have her usual big personality and diva-like confidence on display. I think she chose this type of dress looking for compliments about her body and to get her feeling good about this new look.

Mila Kunis: All Grown Up
Lately, Mila Kunis has been working hard to shed her young girl image and head more towards the glamour and sex appeal of the matured starlet. Starting out in show business at just 14, Mila has always had natural beauty, but this dress choice shows she wants to be seen in a different light. It is very low cut with sheer fabric all down the sides for flaunting her enviable body. This style parallels with her recent acting choices, starring in Black Swan and the upcoming movie Friends with Benefits, both very intense and sexual roles. This dress was very memorable and got Mila on to many best dressed lists, accomplishing her mission of transitioning from child star to dramatic goddess. 

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