April262013

Chelsea Handler is a Pretty Bad Ass Chick, Beating Down Hegemony Right? Well Not So Much…

   

    

          Who hasn’t heard of the Chelsea Lately show right? The widely successful show offers an incredibly unique spin from the normal nighttime talk show we have become accustomed to with funny, middle aged, white men such as Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon, or Conan. And then came Chelsea Handler who is a complete 180 from the expected late talk show host for starters she is a woman…an attractive woman who is hilarious, a tad raunchy, and comically able to hold her own against her male peers. Chelsea is an author, talk show host, producer, and actress whose success is largely due to the fact that she seems to deconstruct the notion of what it means to be a woman and be successful. Women are typically not looked upon or applauded for being crude, loud, blunt, strong, and funny individuals but Chelsea not only embodies all of those qualities, she has made a name for herself through those qualities. Now it seems pretty cut and dry that Chelsea Handler and her show would do nothing but disrupt hegemony completely, but if you began to look closely the show doesn’t disturb hegemony nearly as much as it would seem to at face value. And in reality the show is layered with several hegemonic themes that reinforce the dominant ideas of society.

Hegemony is the power that one group holds over another group and the factors put in place to keep the groups with power in power. James Lull explains hegemony as the “dominance and subordination in the field of relations structured by power. But hegemony is more than social power itself; it’s a method for gaining and maintaining power” (33). A hegemonic theme that holds a great power in our society is this ideal standard of beauty, which is white, thin, able bodied, heterosexual, and sexually available which are all characteristics Chelsea Handler has. Being deemed attractive by societal standards is probably one of the most important hegemonic prescriptions because it is easily noticed, highly critiqued, and highly emphasized so it makes it extremely easy to marginalize groups of people who don’t fit into these categories and therefore have no power. The Chelsea Lately Show would not be as popular as it is if she wasn’t funny and traditionally attractive, think about if the show would be as successful if Chelsea (still just as funny) was African American, a lesbian, overweight, or all three. Would her show still be on the air? Would she be as accepted by the public? Would she even have a show in the first place? In the introduction of Linda Mizejewski book Pretty/Funny Women and Comedy’s Body Politics Funniness, Prettiness, and Feminism she explores this idea of “pretty funny” saying ““The major premise of Pretty/Funny is that in the historic binary of “pretty” vs. “funny,”  women comics—no matter what they look like—have been located in opposition to “pretty,” enabling them to engage in a transgressive comedy grounded in the female body—its looks, its race and sexuality, and its relationships to ideal versions of femininity.  In this strand of comedy, “pretty” is the topic and target, the ideal that is exposed as funny” (4).” Saying women comics have an obligation to be pretty first and being funny is just sort of like a favorable secondary trait, and you cannot be a successful funny women unless you are traditionally pretty. So even though Chelsea Handler seems to be the strong fearless late night talk show host who says screw hegemony she supports (maybe to no fault of her own) the biggest hegemonic theme in our society of being attractive, which allows her a sense of privilege and success that she might not have attained if she didn’t fit into societies standards of beauty.

            Being beautiful is only half of the way Chelsea Handler and The Chelsea Lately Show reinforces hegemony, the show and the comedic style of Chelsea Handler is not a novel approach it has been used by women comics to break on to the comedy scene for years. The Chelsea Lately show infuses the idea of the grotesque and the carnivalesque woman into one late night talk show. The grotesque woman is usually associated with very masculine qualities such as dirt, filth, food, sex, and drinking making her not the object of male affection, but the carnivaleque woman fits more into normal feminine roles but often times is over the top or dramatic when on display…well don’t both of these sound like Chelsea Handler on her show and the guest women comics she has on her show. In The Unruly Woman: Gender and the Genres of Laughter Kathleen Rowe explains the grotesque and carnivalesque woman normally is laughs at herself, creates order by dominating men, maybe old and not willing to disappear, and normally has whorish or lose behavior (31). Throughout the Chelsea Lately Show it is very easy to see these themes Chelsea makes fun of herself constantly, controls and belittles Chuy, speaks on her sexual experiences, and Chelsea is almost 40 years old which in Hollywood is old. But the point is that neither of these comedy styles is new for women look at women such as Rosanne, Ellen, Melissa McCartney, Rebel Wilson, Wanda Sykes, Tina Fey…all of them use one of these styles, these styles allow women to be successful and non-threatening to their male peers which reinforces the notion that we live a male dominated society where women are allowed to succeed but not at the expense of or in favor of men. The Chelsea Lately Show at first glance seems as if it is breaking down the barriers of hegemony for women but when examined closely the show uses prescribed antidotes that have been launching the careers of women in comedy for the last decade, and these antidotes allow men to maintain their dominance both in comedy and society because it portrays women as controllable and meek and women defiantly don’t need any more of that. 

Go to Arron’s Blog to see the counter argument!

April242013

Unit Post: Teenage Pregnancy and Purity

            Even though its 2013 women still seem to have this extreme importance tied to their virginity where it seems men do not. You always hear about whether a woman can wear white on her wedding day and girls getting abstinence rings from their fathers, but have you ever heard a guy asked if he could wear white at his wedding and “really mean it” or seen fathers slapping purity rings in their son’s finger. We live in a male dominated society that basically allows men to have as much sex as they want, whenever they want without any fear of persecution. But women on the other hand have an extremely regulated sexually identity with little room to explore their sexual selves, and if women do explore their sexuality they often times get (mis) labeled as whores. Does that seem fair that my male counterpart gets to explore his sexual self while I’m ridiculed, forced, or bullied into staying pure?

            The importance put on women and virginity shows that our male dominated society still dominates that way women look at themselves and their sexuality. This idea of purity balls (a formal dance where fathers and daughters pledge to each other that the daughter will be pure till marriage) and purity rings seems aimed more at control of women’s sexuality and not this wholesome idea of purity, because if purity was the main focus then fathers and mothers would preach the importance of purity to both their sons and daughters. But in most situations purity balls/rings are given to daughters by their DADS in hopes that they will save themselves for their HUSBANDS, and the daughter is just caught in the middle of the two men as if her only purpose is to please the men in her life and she has no say in the matter. And I understand fathers wanting to protect their daughters but it shouldn’t come at the expense of the daughters say in the matter and the freedom to make her own decisions. I have no problem with virginity or purity balls/rings as long as you’re the one making the decision and you know you have other choices and if YOU want to save yourself for marriage I have no problem with that, because it’s your decision. 

April232013

Unit Post Supernatural Sexuality: Team Edward, Team Jacob, Team Bella?

   

  Twilight is responsible for millions of teenage girls wanting to fall in love with a blood sucking vampire who at any given second would love to do nothing more than suck the life out of you…literally. And how could we forget wanting to have an animalistic best friend like Jacob who for the most part seems pretty normal…except for when he turns into a freakishly large wolf and also might want to kill you. Under any other circumstances falling in love with a vampire and having a wolf best friend would seem like a pretty bad deal, but thanks to Bella, Edward, and Jacob this phenomenon of “supernatural sexuality” is so “hot”. Supernatural sexuality allows for an escape from the much regulated sexual world we live in, into a fantasy world that can often be very dangerous (explaining the vampires) but to the same token very exciting. And this world of supernatural sexuality is everywhere with the vampire theme leading the way with movies like Twilight and shows like True blood and The Vampire Diaries. So thanks to Twilight the vampire craze seems here to stay for a while…but what is Twilight really telling us?

Well for one Twilight says what society has been telling us for a very long time, and that is that women are weak and they need a man or in this case men to one feel protected and to be complete. Throughout the movie Bella is forever getting herself into horrible situations (with vampires and other humans) that she cannot get herself out of unless Edward or Jacob intervenes and saves the day, which does nothing but reinforce the idea of a poor weak woman being rescued by the strong brave man. Secondly Bella is nothing without a man, in Twilight: New Moon when Edward breaks up with Bella, Bella falls into a deep dark depression until she befriends Jacob and Jacob starts to like her…all the sudden Bella isn’t depressed anymore. This idea does nothing but tell women that they need a man and having a man will make them happy. Lastly Twilight tells us that all men are beast! For both Edward and Jacob are uncontrollable, aggressive, dominating creatures whose only real focus seems to be to control Bella. So maybe we should focus a little less on whether we’re team Edward or team Jacob and start being Team Bella because she is really getting the short end of the stick here. 

April212013
mobilehomecoming:

Love forever!

Could you turn your back your back on your son because he was gay? Could you hate him because liking another man is something you don’t understand? Could you discriminate against him and treat him differently? Because I know I couldn’t, and because of that there is no way I can treat anyone’s else’s son that way. If you wouldn’t look into your child’s face and say it…how can you justify looking into someone else’s and saying it as if they don’t have feelings too. So maybe we should try loving other people’s children the same way we would love our own children, and look past how different they are or how much we don’t understand them and just look at the simple fact they are human beings.

mobilehomecoming:

Love forever!

Could you turn your back your back on your son because he was gay? Could you hate him because liking another man is something you don’t understand? Could you discriminate against him and treat him differently? Because I know I couldn’t, and because of that there is no way I can treat anyone’s else’s son that way. If you wouldn’t look into your child’s face and say it…how can you justify looking into someone else’s and saying it as if they don’t have feelings too. So maybe we should try loving other people’s children the same way we would love our own children, and look past how different they are or how much we don’t understand them and just look at the simple fact they are human beings.

April202013

Mini Media: 50 Shades of…your mom and Magic Mike.

 

Does 50 Shades of Grey really make women act like this… probably not but I do these pictures have a purpose other than being funny. The pictures are able to show what books like 50 Shades of Grey and movies like Magic Mike are able to do for women sexuality, by giving women a green light to talk about sex publicly because they now have mainstream media to guide their discussions. These discussions can include everything from sexual fantasies to masturbation which women have often been warned not to talk about with anyone but their significant other because its not “lady like”. Well 50 Shades of Grey pretty much throws the notion of lady in the streets, freak in the sheets out the window and says women its okay to like and talk about sex…now start talking!

April192013

Unit Post: Claiming Sexuality- 50 Shades of Grey

Oh how I love me some “50 shades of Grey” over the summer I became totally obsessed with the trilogy…reading all the books in less than a week. The books offer a look into the world of BDSM and sexuality in general through the female perspective of Anastasia. The mainstream success of these books among women of all ages shows that women have sexual desires (shocking I know) but not only that but women want to take control of their sexuality and if given a platform like 50 Shades of Grey they will openly discuss their sexuality. Often I feel like women have to repress their sexuality because being openly or aggressively sexual is a mans characteristic, so women feel forced to hide their desires, fantasies, and sexual selves especially in public and “50 Shades of Grey” offers women a realm to express themselves sexually. But with anything it’s important to remember Anastasia is only one perspective of female sexuality and its important to remember that for both men and women. Because not all women like men like Christian Grey who are super controlling and “50 shades fucked up” and not all women are into BDSM or want to be “subs” or “doms”. So men it is not okay to treat women as submissive because Christian Grey does it and women you do not have to like BDSM because Anastasia does. So although “50 Shades of Grey” does seem to offer a mostly positive experience for women there are some possible negatives but either way the book and its carnal theme seem to be hear to stay…so I guess the only question is if a movie will be made and who will play Christian and Ana?

12AM
everythingyntk:

Brittney Griner: “It really wasn’t too difficult, I wouldn’t say I was hiding or anything like that. I’ve always been open about who I am andmy sexuality. So, it wasn’t hard at all. If I can show that I’m out and I’m fine and everything’s OK, then hopefully the younger generation will definitely feel the same way.” [via LA Times]

Well you go Brittney Griner! I imagine that coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender is already hard enough..but being in the public eye would probably make that decision even harder. So I do commend Brittney Griner for opening up about her sexuality and hopefully opening doors for other athletes who are struggling with their sexuality and wish to come out the closet. I especially hope it will help male athletes because there is not one openly gay player in MLB, the NFL, or the NBA and I find it very hard to believe that not one player in those leagues identifies as homosexual. But unfortunately I think Brittney Griner admitting she is a lesbian will only increase the stereotype that all female athletes are lesbians and obviously that is not true, so one athlete being herself automatically stereoptypes the rest of her peers…what a catch 22. 

everythingyntk:

Brittney Griner:
 “It really wasn’t too difficult,
I wouldn’t say I was hiding or
anything like that. I’ve always
been open about who I am and
my sexuality. So, it wasn’t hard at all.
If I can show that I’m out and I’m fine
and everything’s OK, then hopefully
the younger generation will definitely
feel the same way.”
[via LA Times]

Well you go Brittney Griner! I imagine that coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender is already hard enough..but being in the public eye would probably make that decision even harder. So I do commend Brittney Griner for opening up about her sexuality and hopefully opening doors for other athletes who are struggling with their sexuality and wish to come out the closet. I especially hope it will help male athletes because there is not one openly gay player in MLB, the NFL, or the NBA and I find it very hard to believe that not one player in those leagues identifies as homosexual. But unfortunately I think Brittney Griner admitting she is a lesbian will only increase the stereotype that all female athletes are lesbians and obviously that is not true, so one athlete being herself automatically stereoptypes the rest of her peers…what a catch 22. 

April182013

blackfemalemodels:

Throwback Thursday Spotlight: The first black supermodel, Naomi Sims (1948-2009). 

At the height of the Black is Beautiful movement, Naomi Sims became the first black model to appear on the cover of Ladies’ Home Journal. She is credited with having challenged wide-held beliefs of beauty as she went on to leave her mark on the world of fashion. 

After retiring from modeling, Naomi went on to create very successful collections of wigs and cosmetics for black women. She also wrote an advice column in Right On! magazine for teenage girls. 

A true pioneer for black women everywhere and one of the most successful models of her time, Ms. Sims died of cancer in 2009. However, her legacy will live on in the hearts of us all forever!

Ive always had this crazy infauation with models: their style, grace, and confidence, and I remember when I was little (like 3 or 4) I used to look through my moms Victoria Secret magazines and point out which models I wanted to be. Naturally I wanted to be the the models who looked like me…leaving my only options as Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell, because they would be the only black models in the magazine. It did strike me as odd that there were only two black models in the entire magazine, but those two black models might not have even been there if it wasn’t for models like Naomi Sims who paved the way for models like Beverly Johnson, Grace Jones, Tyra banks, Naomi Campbell, Tyson Beckford, and Chanel Iman. So it’s only right that I pay homage to the first black supermodel.

10AM
Violence kills and we have the power to change it, but bigger than we have an obligation to change it because no one should have to lose their life because of domestic abuse…men or women. No one wakes up violent it is taught through images and ideas of what power is…but violence does not equate to power, and no one should have to lose their life at the hands of someone else who is trying to be “powerful”. 

Violence kills and we have the power to change it, but bigger than we have an obligation to change it because no one should have to lose their life because of domestic abuse…men or women. No one wakes up violent it is taught through images and ideas of what power is…but violence does not equate to power, and no one should have to lose their life at the hands of someone else who is trying to be “powerful”. 

(Source: domestic-violence-awrness)

1AM
fuckm3ifimwr0ng:

Relevant Reblog: Not Enough | via Tumblr on We Heart It. http://weheartit.com/entry/58678430/via/AtomicAngelica

We live in a society that bombards us with images and ideas of what is the “perfect” appearance, and then sells us the objects needed to obtain this perfect appearance. But what they fail to mention is that this “perfect” appearance doesn’t exist, so you could buy all the makeup, surgery, diet pills, etc and you will still never look like the ads you see in the magazines. Which can leave you feeling quite inadequate and nothing should have the power to make you feel like that! 

fuckm3ifimwr0ng:

Relevant Reblog: Not Enough | via Tumblr on We Heart It. http://weheartit.com/entry/58678430/via/AtomicAngelica

We live in a society that bombards us with images and ideas of what is the “perfect” appearance, and then sells us the objects needed to obtain this perfect appearance. But what they fail to mention is that this “perfect” appearance doesn’t exist, so you could buy all the makeup, surgery, diet pills, etc and you will still never look like the ads you see in the magazines. Which can leave you feeling quite inadequate and nothing should have the power to make you feel like that! 

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