Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Blog assignment #1, part 2

In terms of Masculinity this show also reveals a lot of what we value as a society. In this particular episode the only male object of analysis is Sharon's husband and his behavior towards her beauty. In the show he is overwhelmed with happiness by her transformation. This reaction is loaded with insight into the concepts of masculinity and femininity. Although her husband would probably not be considered incredibly attractive, it is not a mutual makeover. Sharon uses plastic surgery, makeup, and fashion, to make herself the best looking person she could be yet her husband does not change at all.

This is not a chance occurrence, most participants on this show are females. This reveals that it is more acceptable for women to undergo a complete physical transformation because it is important for women to look their best, while men remain unchanged without worry.

Again this shows the emphasis of beauty in regards to women, and the importance of the physical in relation with femininity. In these terms, women are shown as being the inferior to men in that it is more acceptable to them to change themselves in order to please their spouse. The pleased reaction of men once a women has undergone such a radical transformation shows the emphasis men place on the physical attractiveness of their partners. Perhaps this is men looking at women as an extension of themselves?

Lastly, in relation to the Kate Bornstein Quiz that was taken in class this topic relates greatly to the fact that women score lower just because they were women. (Again, women are categorized as being inferior to men) Masculinity defines men as being more powerful, less emphasis on physical beauty, and worthy of changed in order to be pleased. Because my blog is based around Family Guy, check out this clip that relates to the topic.

Blog assignment #1, part 1

After watching an episode of “Extreme Makeover” I couldn’t help, but be appalled at what I saw. The episode was one where the contest, a woman who had locked herself away in order to undergo a total transformation, was revealed to herself. A funny concept, isn’t it? Being revealed to ones self? You would think you would be the only person you would not have to reveal yourself to; unfortunately our society has taken an ugly turn in regards to what we value morally and as entertainment.
The episode I watched was the 5th episode of the 1st season. A 27-year-old woman named Sharon was the subject of the show. The wife and mother for three children talked about her poor self image and living in the shadow of her “much prettier” twin sister. To solve her physical inadequacies she underwent rhinoplasty, a chin implant, breast augmentation, and teeth whitened and straightened.

As if going through this process was not painful enough to watch the most unbearable part of the show is the reaction of the subjects’ family. A woman, barely resembling what she once was, in presented to her family. They all wait in anticipation of Sharon’s return and upon seeing her are so thrilled they are brought to tears by her beauty.

What messages do shows of this nature send to the viewers about the concepts of masculinity and femininity in popular media? What kinds of images does our society portray as beautiful. Young girls growing up are giving dolls to play with that portray the “ideal.” Although the image of Barbie was always a bad model for young girls, the idea of that model being attainable is even scarier. “… Barbie demonstrates that femininity is a manufactured reality. In entails a lot of artifice, a lot of clothes, a lot of props…” (Dines, 95)

Shows of the “Extreme Makeover” nature provide a vehicle for women to obtain this unnatural sense of beauty. Plastic surgery, impossibly toned bodies, big breasts, white teeth, and clear skin shape the definition of beauty in our culture. These shows promote images of women that epitomize this sense of femininity and show the reactions of their loved ones being pleased. These shows are more dangerous than the “Barbie image” little girls used to have, because our culture is now creating the opportunity to become real life Barbie Dolls.These shows put completely emphasis on the way women look- they need to be pretty, in shape, and fashionable. They need to be trimmed with all the right accessories and be willing to undergo what ever necessary to obtain this definition of femininity. After all beauty is pain, right Ladies?

Extreme Makeover images

work cited:
Dines, Gail and Humez, Jean M., eds. Gender, Race, and Class in Media. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2003. 95.