14 September 2008

Nudies are Neato!

Heterosexual women are the usual subjects when discussing body image, as exemplified by women's magazines, TV shows like How To Look Good Naked, and the renovated Dove ad campaign. But it's not an exclusive problem. 

Every[body] has their issues.

The most recent issue (1015) of The Advocate interviews twenty-two LGBT men and women in a segment called "The Naked Truth". Every interviewee immensely reveals all in their photographs and their interviews. Claiming likes and dislikes, the nudes tell their stories via their bodies. An African American man admits to idealizing white features of the Ken doll. A transwoman wishes she had a smaller frame. A fan of The L Word said she's never going to look like those femme bourgeoisie lesbians. This piece allows discussion of body issues relevant to the LGBT community. The people portrayed are not over-sexualized (like most LGBT bodies in pop-culture). Their nudity is easily taken seriously and provides a sense of honesty and a place for communion.

11 September 2008

India Vogue Crosses Class Boundaries

In relation to the fashion debate from the last post, here is a great article in NYTimes criticizing India Vogue for depicting pictures of lower-class Indians with designer clothes. Here is an example from the magazine:
"a child from a poor family modeled a Fendi bib, which costs about $100"
The argument from the editors of India Vogue was that they were using real people, not models (which would normally be celebrated) and people shouldn't take fashion "too seriously". Are we also not supposed to take the people depicted in the photos too seriously? Considering the magazine doesn't identify the people 
 in the photographs (only the accessories), maybe we're not. The article sited that nearly half of India's population lives on less than $1.25 a day.

Again, I would like to ask...how do you feel about these images?

"A man models a Burberry umbrella that costs about $200"

09 September 2008

American Apparel Reports: Out of Afrika

Thanks, American Apparel for giving me a perfect example of cultural appropriation. I know a lot of us have felt good spending money at American Apparel because all of the clothes are made in the U.S. But how do we feel about these images?

07 September 2008

Choke Trailer Makes Me Gag

I keep seeing this ad on the internet and every time I see it, I cringe.  I have not read the novel, so I don't know the content of the film other than what I have seen from the preview. I almost wish the movie was about a giant who eats people and not a middle-aged man's sex life.

Any other thoughts about this image?

06 September 2008

Patriarchy Land

A book review written by Wesley Yang for the New York times critiques sociologist Michael Kimmel's new book titled Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men. His new analysis of young men reveal the concern that they are not "growing up" (i.e. obtaining a career, starting a family) in rates as fast as women are. He believes it is the stereotypical activities of college-aged frat boys (video games, sex, beer, etc.) stunting the men of the future.

The article states "boys are all taught the 'Guy Code' -- a set of crude injuntions ('boys don't cry', 'don't get mad, get even,' 'bros before hos,' 'size matters' and so forth)". Oh, so you mean...PATRIARCHY? Guy code decoded is sexism! I won! What is this avoidance of terms like patriarchy, misogyny, and sexism* when it is so vividly the subject matter and the root of this particular problem?! "Guy Code" certainly plays it down, makes it socially acceptable, and hands it some innocent cake.
I do value Kimmel recognizing masculinity as not " 'hardwired' but rather 'coerced and policed relentlessly by other guys." He blames homophobic nature of masculinity that cracks the whip to men falling out of traditional male roles. Homophobia is a valid argument, but fear and hatred of women is at the core of anti-gay sentiments as well. And just to let you know...traditional gender roles equals PATRIARCHAL gender roles.

Analyzing what is wrong within fraternities, "gang rape" is casually mentioned as an "occasional occurence." Oh! So sexual assault only happens a couple of times a year? Violence against women should be at the center of this discussion. One in four women will be sexually assaulted during her academic career...that's not an occasional occurrence. 

Yang's critique of Guyland is that Kimmel "recapitulates too much lurid old news like the Glen Ridge rape case and Spur Posse" and how "it's absurd to use the same cultural dynamics to explain both gang rape and sports talk radio." Sexual violence is not old news and that "cultural dynamic" you're looking for is sexist, misogynist patriarchy.

Yang ends the article with an excerpt from the book on the shocking tale of casual sex occurrences of fraternity boys. I don't think the worry should be about safe, consensual sex and be in awe of how "girls are willing to do that" nowadays. They should only hope it is of the girls' will.

*Edit:  I want to make it clear to readers that I am criticizing Yang's article in the NY Times rather than Kimmel's actual work. A Kimmel reader has informed me that his work often times does talk about sexism and that his ideals are pro-feminist.