Author Archives: kbrouwer46

About kbrouwer46

My name is Kirsten Brouwer. I am a senior at Calvin College and studying organizational communications. This blog discusses various readings through my Gendered Studies and Communication class.

“you drive me crazy”

Book: The Exile of Britney Spears- A Tale of 21st Century Consumption

Author: Christopher R. Smit

 I really enjoyed reading this book because it brought to mind a whole bunch of ideas how gender and communication of Britney Spears is so a apart of the American culture. One quote I found in the book that I thought to be intriguing was “ We don’t have a word or concept that neatly encompasses what has happened to this woman.” The actuality of it all is that the culture doesn’t. We continually to see events in her life for a moment and then it passes by. We are not fully engrossed in a specific tragedy of a moment of hers. Britney has definitely become a pop culture celebrity where everything around her is consuming the individual she is. Specifically we owe this to the media and how the media has targeted events of Britney which has made her who she is today. The way Britney Spears body is analyzed throughout the book shows how the celebrity culture life has become a life that is constantly being destructive. The media allows society to focus their own lives on events of others that slowly diminishes  individual. Smit quotes, “ the end result of all consumption is excrement: we seek out our consumables, we consume, we digest, and we defecate. Our whole culture has become a culture of constant consuming where we only focus our lives on things that will make us feel more satisfied. I believe that when a culture focuses their attention on lives in the media, like Britney Spears, it makes us feel better about ourselves. We feel this way because we are looking at rich, famous, and hot celebrity that has crashed and burn. It  makes us “normal” people feel much better about ourselves, just how all this consuming of the western world makes us feel better about ourselves. Britney Spears is exactly what Smit quotes., “ all of these consumables start as splendor and end as less than that.” Britney started as the innocent pop star who drew in so many teens across the country. However as began to become more consumable it became exhausting leaving her with exposed body parts, broken family, and bad relationships.

 Links:

1)      http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20012207_20012195,00.html

This is the article that PEOPLE Magazine released when Britney Spears shaved her head bald. I believe this article tells us a lot about Britney Spears and who she had become over the years. How much the consumer able world has affected the lives of such a celebrity pop star that ends her up in rehab.

2.) http://vigilantcitizen.com/latestnews/britney-spears-is-on-tour-and-is-still-under-mind-control/

This article is interesting on how as Britney Spears continues her tours her new provocative look gives society a new outlook on how her music has influenced her as an individual and brings that to a whole new level.

3.) http://www.nowmagazine.co.uk/celebrity-news/381873/britney-spears-goes-crazy-again

Again this is another article out of thousands that directly portray Britney as crazy. That her life as a celebrity has gone from innocent to evil.

Questions:

1)      What do we believe are the main reasons that pop stars slowly become more propagative over time?

2)       How do we believe Britney will continue to develop in the next few years?

ICTs dangerous impact on domestic violence today…

Article: Domestic Violence and Information  Communication Technologies

Author : Jill P. Diamond, Casey Fiesler, and Amy S. Bruckman

Throughout this article the authors focus primarily their attention on the domestic violence that is created through ICTs today. Some of these include the internet and cell phone devices. They have made a huge impact in how domestic violence is becoming more of an issue among women. These tools that we use every day are being used inappropriately and can threaten women’s lives. They allow men to become more stalkish towards the victim and allow more control over their actions. Therefore this creates a dangerous fear among women causing them not to leave the abusive relationship. One of the theories that is brought up in the article is called the Feminist Standpoint Theory. Here the authors state, “ The theory specifically critiques a dominant view of epistemology, and acknowledges that knowledge and experiences are situated. Although the history of standpoint theory was to reflect a “women’s” viewpoint of the world, more recent incarnations of the theory are based on intersectional viewpoints of race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, and culture.” The viewpoint is how the victim as a women experiences and handles the situation and that her own viewpoints are based upon these different classifications. For my Marketing class we were assigned to Safe Haven Ministries. Our main focus throughout this semester was to create more awareness to the Latino and African American communities who are dealing with these sorts of situations and do not know how to seek help. Safe Haven Ministries has actually a special tab on their website that when clicked is linked directly to Google. This is a benefit for the women who are seeking out help because if the abuser of the relationship is nearby it is convenient for the victim to hide what she has been looking at. It actually erases the history of ever visiting the site off the computer. Types of tools like these are helpful when ICTs can be easy to track people down. It can create even more harmful situations for women as they could be treated more harshly because of their attempt in reaching out for help.

Links:

1.)    http://www.safehavenministries.org/

This link from Safe Haven Ministries shows us the “ Quick Escape” button that is very beneficial for their organization and how this has helped young women.

2.)    http://www.ywca.org/site/c.cuIRJ7NTKrLaG/b.7515807/k.2FF8/YWCA__Empowering_Women_Eliminating_Racism.htm

This links shows how the YWCA is using their goals of empowering women and eliminating racism to help prevent the causes of domestic relationships in women today. It shows the mentoring programs that are offered and how the empowerment of women can help them leave their abusive relationships.

3.)     http://www.ncadv.org/

This link is the ncadv website which is a coalition made for violence against women. On their website is a documentary video that is very helpful in explaining their goals as an organization.

Questions:

1)      With fast growing technology will domestic violence continue to become worse?

If so, how as a community of believers can we help  prevent ICT tools becoming more abusive?

zine readings…

Zine Readings

No Better than Apples

Author: Kate

Straddling The Line: White Salves, Trafficked Women and Other Victims at the Border

Author: Robin Hustle

                In the reading “No Better Than Apples”, it is broken down into different little “stories” one might call it. They are very poetic in the way she expresses distinct feeling in the way she talks about herself or a person she is close to. Some of them she writes about are thinks that one might no mention in an appropriate conversation and some of her writings are very emotional and sensitive to what she is feeling. Many of these stories are filled with distinct illustrations of sickness and care, being on the road with her band, her relationships with her mothers and father, natural disasters etc. Each of them she talks about are in short but powerful illustrations.

                In the small blurb about sex trafficking, Robin Hustle focuses on the concern for particular women in this case in the sex trafficking industry. These women are working this way to pay off debts that might have built up in either factories or agriculture. Robin speaks out that these women need to have more awareness about job opportunities rather than prostitution with their bodies. They need to be looked at then just selling themselves as sex slaves where in their case it is doing more harm than good. With the increase is big cities and media trafficking has been a main focus with migrant workers. Robin quotes, “ It developed at a time of rapid urbanization, mass waves of immigration, and a growing number of women in the workforce as a tool to reinforce ideas about race, sex, and sexuality.” Robin points out that instead of addressing the needs of these very women people are more likely to criticize for their wrongs. Once these women are trafficked they are seen as an individual who has lost all her dignity towards life and instead. just a worthless piece of shit. In 2000 an Act was passed to help with these trafficking women by offering them temporary aid. What I believe Robin is speaking out to is that we need to address these needs of women who are hurting. Rather than stereotyping them as useless victims of prostitutes. Instead of reinventing what we might think as the needs for these mythic victims we need to realize that these are needs of a lot of women across the country and they need to be confronted appropriately.  

Links:

1.)    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xyqjv-pj8yw

This clip shows from Taken the disturbing dangers of trafficking among women. In this specific movie the daughter of a CIA is taken and sold as a sex slave. This particular clip also emphasizes staggering statistics about sex trafficking in the country and how much of a billion dollar industry it has made in the market today.

2.)    http://www.mlive.com/living/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2010/09/human_trafficking_exploitation.html

This is an article from MLIVE in 2010 about a victim of human trafficking right in our own backyard. It shows that it is happening in places that we might not think these types of situations are occurring.

3.)    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2011/05/sex-trafficking-201105

Vanity Fair just published this surreal article just last year about trafficking among Americans. Below I posted a quote from the article of a young women who spoke out about her experience. It shows us that even women today are being ridiculed by men.

 

“He called me a stupid bitch … a worthless piece of shit.… I had to tell people I fell off stage because I had so many bruises on my ribs face and legs.… I have a permanent twitch in my eye from him hitting me in my face so much. I have none of my irreplaceable things from my youth.”

 

Questions:

1.)    Why has this issue of prostitution become more of an issue today more than ever?

2.)    What is the best way to address these problems among women today?

how feminism has changed those of the 21st century…

Book: The Rise of Enlightened Feminism – How Pop Culture Took Us from Girl Power to Girls Gone Wild

Author: Susan J. Douglas

Chapters: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

  1. 1.     How has the experience of feminism changed in the last 10 years?

The experience of feminism the last 10 years has changed dramatically. As Betty Friedan puts it is has been “ the problem with no name”. Women today are all about empowerment. They believe they can be whoever they want to be and are not scared in trying so. Today this generation is looked as the girl power generation where girls all over the world believe that they can be just as good as men and should not be discriminated for anything. They have learned not to take shit from anybody. Through these chapters that Susan writes about she focuses on how women have gotten where they are today but yet how they are still being discriminated and how this movement of feminism is being looked at a lot closer. Susan quotes in her book, “ What the media has been giving us, then, are little more than fantasies of power. They assure girls and women, repeatedly, that women’s liberation is fait accompli and that we are stronger, more successful, more sexually in control, more fearless, and more held in awe than we actually are.” This quote right here that Susan identifies is exactly what the generation in which women are living in right now has become. We believe that women can be CEOS, run for president, or be a part of church without being discriminated. Women through feminist movements are doing everything in their power to become who they want to be.

 

  1. 2.     How have these changes effective communication (interpersonal, mediated, institutional?)

How the changes of feminism come about throughout the last 10 years has dramatically changed the way of effective communication. Through interpersonal communication it has allowed women to identify with one another in the way they perceive themselves. The media has influenced women all over the world by the way how women should dress, wear clothes, make up and the roles they should become. We can identify with other women by the way they identify themselves. In today’s generation women have been able to express their own individuality way more than they did before which has created a whole new dimension in the way women can express themselves in today’s generation. Media has also established this new girl power revolution through movies such as Mean Girls, Clueless, Sex and the City to name a few. When girls are discriminated for their looks or other attributes they look to each other for help. Women today are more liked to stand up for their selves which empowers others to do the same. Even song artists to day such as Taylor Swift has been empowering young women across the globe for years now. She allows young girls to identify themselves with her through love and the troubles of men. This type of communication I believe is the most powerful for women as it allows them not to feel alone. The communication with women has become so much more effective and even though it has been positive through artists, like Taylor Swift,  it has also become a negative as well. An example Susan J. Douglas points out in through Victoria Secret. Victoria Secret uses women as not only objects but a way to communicate to women that this is how women should look and what men really want. However, this is hurt girls around the world where this is not the reality and starving yourself is not what will make you become the life of a Victoria Secret model and that is how the institutional society has become to perceive women through media communication.

 

 

 

  1. 3.     What communication events came to mind while reading? Be specific about the context here and the usefulness of your illustrations?

A communication event that came to mind while reading was in chapter 4 when Douglas discussed how the movie Clueless became a huge girl phenomenon. It allowed girls and women in America to gain empowerment through the things they indemnified themselves with and the products they used. The movie communicated to women that if you buy the right products, wear the coolest clothes, girls will become the forefront of culture and will be able to hand anything that comes between them. Through this movie it allowed more movies such as Legally Blonde, Miss Congeniality, and Mean girls to identify what girls were really all about. In some ways it was a good thing and in others it didn’t perceive them in the best way. For example in the movie, Mean Girls, the way Caty was much more of a tom boy and wanted to become party of the popular crowd showed to girls that it can really hurt relationships. It told girls around the world that they didn’t have to be part of the “popular crowd” to identify with their own sex.

Links:

1.)    http://www.beautyredefined.net/victorias-secret-a-do-it-yourself-guide-to-objectification/

This article talks about how Victoria Secret has become a do-it-yourself guide for women all over the world as a means of identification.

2.)    http://taylorswift.com/media/videos/32261

I thought this Taylor Swift 20/20 interview with Catie Couric was really interesting. She talks about how she uses her music to express herself and how she doesn’t even look to the media with what is being said yet uses her own unique ways that girls yearn to identify with.

3.)    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8_POt2KlfQ

what I like about this clip from Mean Girls is that is effectively communicated to Regina that rules are rules and that sweatpants are not allowed on Mondays. This communicates to other girls around the world that these types of situations are not taken lightly and can really hurt others.

Discussion Questions:

1.)    How will the role of feminism possibly change throughout the next 10 years?

2.)    Has communication through events such as media and movements been more beneficial than in the past? Or will it continue to become worse as the years progress?

” Her Body, Himself”

Article: “ Her Body, Himself” excerpts from Men, Women, and Chainsaws.

Author: Clover

Clover in this article discusses in depth how gender and sex have become a key  identifier  among horror films. What Hollywood has seen over the years is that these low budget horror film movies can create an enormous profit by the way viewers are able to feel attached to the scenarios. These horror movies are used towards gender and sex in particular. Clover identifies in the article that when women attend these horror movies they take a long their significant other. In other cases and group of guys go to these movies to cheer on what the killer has done. However the overall questions Clover wants to solve are, “ what in the story is crucial enough to warrant the price of admission, and what the implications are for the current discussion of women and film?” Many of these horror films possess sexual attitudes. In some cases a women will be murdered naked and they will show vividly in the movie her naked body on the floor in a pool of blood. Another instance would be Sally in the movie the Chainsaw Massacre. The movie shows that she survives all the way through escaping showing a much more masculine move on Sally. Directors of these horror films think much deeper into the meaning of the film than the just the horror it shows. Director Tobe states, “ Cinematic intelligence becomes more apparent in every viewing, as one gets over the initial traumatizing impact and learns to respect the pervasive felicities of camera placement and movement.” The director wants the viewers to appreciate the creativity of the film by capturing horrifying experiences and having people learn from them. Clover states that, “ slasher films present us in startlingly direct terms with a world in which male and female are at desperate odds but in which, at the same time, masculinity and femininity are more states of mind than body. “ I think Clover presents itself a very excellent point here. That the roles of the actors in these slasher film give us viewers a distinct perception of who each individual is and how they relate to society today.

Links:

1)      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=az5NDvQ41ys

This is a movie clip from Chainsaw Massacre. In this clip we can identify how the role of Sally speaks to gender and sexual terms.

2)      http://retroslashers.net/sex-fiends-drag-queens-gender-and-sexuality-in-the-slasher-film/

This author of this article discusses how that slasher films presents itself as men’s fear of feminism.

3.) http://cerisia.cerosia.org/slasher/appeal.pdf

This article, “ The Appeal of Horror and Suppense” by Mary Beth Oliver and Meghan Sanders discusses the emotional and gender aspect of slasher films and how what the entertainment industry does to pull us into this types of films.

Questions:

1)      Will there ever be an extent to which the horror of a movie will affect its showing in theatres?

2)      What are some specific sexual attitudes that we notice in horror films today?

gender media…

Book: Gendered Lives: Communication, Gender, & Culture

Chapter 11- Gendered Media

Author: Julia T. Woods

Particularly in this chapter Wood discusses the effects of media on the society today. More specifically she focuses on how women relate to it compared to men and how much their individual world view is affected. Several men and women in the chapter expressed that they don’t believe mass media such as internet, television, electronics, etc. have shaped who they have become as an individual. They believe they themselves agreed to what they liked and have adapted to. Girls in a sense however use media much more in the sense of building relationships with one another. As Wood states in her book, “ Girls and women also perceive social media as allowing them to express themselves.” This tells me here that mass media is effecting them much more than they might think. Men on the other hand see media much more as entertainment. I personally think in some sense it becomes much more of an easy way of communicating with one another than by actually building relationships. Wood also discusses how media presents gender in different ways. One way she states is that, “ media underrepresents women.” Mass media tends to accentuate the typical stereotypes of men and women by the way the media portrays the individual. Wood mentions in particular that on television most men are scene to be very aggressive, independent, and in charge. Where women on the other hand are portrayed to be very involved with fashion, shopping, hair, makeup, and emotional states. However the media has begun more and more to represent women as sexual objects. More and more we see movies and television with more sex scenes than ever before. Not only that but the amount of crude humor that has evolved over the last decade is just outrageous and very degrading to women. Personally I believe that media affects everyone more than they know. I know it definitely affects me. An example would be Pinterest. Pinterest has become the most famous website that shares ideas, trends, and so much more. I believe Pinterest has been a huge factor in the way girls especially see themselves today. It’s either they need to be skinner or have cuter clothes that they can’t afford. Yes, there are some great ideas that Pinterest has to offer but I have even noticed from my own experience that the things that Pinterest has to offer are just wants that I can’t afford. Pinterest is becoming an attractive site that advertisers can reel in a lot of sales from what mainly girls are seeing.

 

Links:

1)      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOIDsT3pQEI-

 

Lil Wayne is talks about his own life in this Mountain Dew commercial. He is expressing himself through a soda drink that most men relate to. It is a much more masculine ad that focuses on the man becoming who he wants to be and communicating it in an attractive way.

2         ) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npFBRp716Qw

Here I have posted the movie trailer of Confessions of a Shopaholic. Why I have chosen this trailer as one of my links is because the entire trailer focuses on how one girl identified herself with shoes, clothes, make up, and hair. It portrays exactly how the society sees women. The movie in itself represents to women and girls all over the world that money does buy happiness and we become engulfed in these types of materialistic things.

3.) http://www.parentstv.org/PTC/facts/mediafacts.asp

This link is from parents TV. It provides very interesting facts on how much media affects children and especially the upcoming generation. If focuses primarily on the media of TV and how much TV has become a necessity in many people’s homes around the country.

 

Questions:

1)      Do you believe that media will continue to perceive women as “sex objects “ in the future?

2)      Has mass media actually benefited our society today or not?

women and the world

The Paradox of Martha Stewart

Goddess, Desperate Spouse-Seeker, or Feminist Role Model?

Author: Jennifer Newens/ Fall1996

Newens validates some very interesting points when talking about Martha Stewart. A women who has made a multi- million dollar business on being a so called “housewife” without a ring on her finger. Many people today associate house wives as the stay at home, “ homemaker” while the husband is the bread winning role of the family and the children are off at school. However, Martha Stewart has identified herself with so many women across the globe that I believe this stereotypical image of a housewife has been changed. As 60 minutes defined her as a more masculine character however I believe she drives women all over America by the commitment and drive she has to herself no matter if one is married or not. I think one of the biggest point Newens tries to make in her article as she states is, “ She shows her fans- male, female, straight, gay, married, or single- that daily household tasks can be enjoyable, and maybe even a little glamorous.”  She has become such an inspiration to so many people around the world no matter who they are and inspires them to become their own individual.

 

Another article I read was similar in topics when it comes to feminism and the way genders have relationships with one another….

In Re-Mission

Why Does Redbook want to Keep us On our Backs?

Author: Amy Harter/ Spring 1997

I found this article very surprising on the notion of sex and particular the missionary position.  Redbook has been a popular magazine that target women and in particular married women to men. What I found out to be that this is a very biased magazine when it comes to women and their deep longings they have for men. The article deeps down into discussion on the importance of the “missionary position” in regards to sex. It primarily focuses on why women enjoy this position more than others. Well there are several reasons. One of the reasons being that when women are laying on their backs they are not so insecure about their body and what is hanging. Secondly, it focuses on what they want from their man, the way their body is positioned attracts a man and Redbook really emphasizes it. What Redbook is trying to imply is that the “missionary position” is feminine. Women are better looking and it is cool again. However many people disagree with Rebook because it primarily just focuses on men and women and their usual routine that women want. They aren’t basing sex on individuality and making it your own but knowing what you want and making it known to the man. Harter quotes. “ Good sex is about knowing what you want and being assertive enough to get it.” Here she simply states that good sex is up to the individual, don’t let Redbook fool you on what you want as a women. Harter ends with “It’s about being anywhere you want to be.” I believe she ended it well by implying that it doesn’t matter what people say about sex, do what you like and be done with it.

Links:

http://www.themarthablog.com/

Martha Stewarts Blog- which I LOVE

http://www.redbookmag.com/love-sex/advice/making-love-3

Here is an article that talks exactly what Harter talks about in her article on the missionary position.

http://shine.yahoo.com/love-sex/sex-secrets-women-wont-share-with-each-other-2401423.html

Here what real people are saying about sex and the ways sex have influenced their relationships with their partners.