TLC – His Story

I’m on a TLC kick, and have been for like a month, and I just noticed what the lyrics were in one of their lesser known songs. It’s not an outright allusion to a specific event, but I think it’s a nice little “girl power” song you can jam to. 🙂




So I was procrastinating doing my homework via Facebook just a few hours ago when I stumbled upon somebody sharing this link. I think you should all take a quick gander at it as it is both adorable and stereotype-shaking/stereotype-shifting.

Exploitation of the Body in Commercials: Male vs. Female

Last week, I was in the library with my friend, working on some Spanish homework while my friend was writing a paper about advertising and subconscious messages in advertisements, when one of our guy friends came in the study room we rented. We started to have an innocent conversation about random things and my friend brought up the topic of her paper, and somehow that turned into a whole argument about women in advertising between the three of us.

Our argument was that when women are used in advertising, it can be to an unnecessary and extreme point/level, as this commercial blatantly supports.

When me and my friend watched this video, we felt uncomfortable, but our guy friend was all for it, of course. I showed them this video, but our guy friend felt uncomfortable. His words were, “guys aren’t supposed to do that,” referring to the zesty guy wearing the cooking apron and the maid apron, as well as the “showing a little leg.” He didn’t understand that’s how we felt about the girl in the tiny bikini barely eating a burger and being oogled at for 30 seconds as advertisement for Hardee’s. At least with the Kraft Zesty dressing commercial, the tone was light-hearted and sexualized in a comical way. For the Hardee’s commercial, the tone was over-sexualized and made me and my friend uncomfortable. Like, I legitimately felt dirty after watching. I just wish some guys, (like my friend), would see the extreme sexualization and exploitation they’re (sub)consciously advocating.

Ever since the discussion of where the majority of cuss words come from, they stick out a lot more, especially with “pussy” being used to insult someone, (usually a male), as a synonym for wimp or something of the nature. And I want to say something… but I just don’t.

And just yesterday, my female friend was talking to one of our guy friends, and she called him a “girl” for some reason I can’t remember right now… But it (was in a derogatory fashion/had a negative connotation)! That’s all that matters! But back to the point, I was a little disappointed that my friend had used “girl” as an insult, which lead me to realize that I use the phrase “I’m such a girl.” I usually say that when I get upset about something happening, and then I’ll tell a guy, and he’ll just be like “okay…” It makes me feel like I’m overreacting, and so I’ll play it off like “I’m such a girl,” “I’m having my emotions again.” I don’t want to say it, but I’m not at a point in my feminism-ness where I can stand up and do confrontations. (It also doesn’t help that I’m not much of a confrontational person.)

Are our perspectives really that different?

Today, my learning community went on an outing in Forest Park. It was just the usual shenannigans of the bunch until about halfway through, a few minutes after everyone got their free Chipotle. A woman came off the bike/walk path and started walking towards our group. At first I thought she was just passing through, trying to take a shortcut, and smiled and nodded at her as I would when I saw any other older black woman, as I feel I can relate to them. I was going back to my burrito when I noticed she was hanging around a bit longer than expected. She was looking, (although others in my group used the word staring), at us, hovering around us, (others used creeping), and the majority, okay the lot of us felt uncomfortable. (Others because they felt she was being really creepy and suspicious, and me because I just wished she would’ve said something or explained why she was hanging around us.)

After a few more seconds, my RA spoke up to her, saying hello. The woman asked what our group was doing, and my RA said something along the lines of “Our learning community is just enjoying a nice day in the park/taking a break together/etc.” The woman says that it’s nice and shows her approval by nodding, especially when my RA brings up that we’re going to college at SLU. Without any further questioning, the woman continues, saying that she’s actually trying to “get back into [it/that],” (she probably meant college/education), and that she’s writing a thesis on bonding, that she’s observing our group bonding. She sticks around for another minute at the most, casually talking about bonding while mostly trying to “observe.”

As soon as she leaves, about half of the group voices how they felt suspicious of her. They said she couldn’t have been writing a thesis because she didn’t have a notebook on her, that she was just legitimately creeping on everyone. I said nothing, didn’t laugh, and tried to focus on my burrito Upon the second or third time the lady was brought up, my room addressed that she maybe didn’t have a notebook because she was out exercising, (which she was obviously doing both before and after she stopped by to “observe” our group), and wasn’t out to observe or collect information. The others acknowledged this suggestion, but quickly brushed it off, continuing with their opinions she was in fact creeping on us.

It might have been the black female in me that made me sympathize–okay, it most likely was–with this woman. I couldn’t help but wonder if she wasn’t a black woman, but instead was a white woman that wasn’t “thick,” didn’t have the smaller afro she had, didn’t speak the way she did, (not ghetto, but not “white” either), etc., would she have been accepted and not been accused of “creeping?” She might have, but not to the extent that my floormates made it.

I’m not saying this to accuse my floormates of racism, but to point out subtle judgments based on stereotypes that we subconsciously apply to the world around us. Also, I understand that I may seem like I’m taking it to an extreme, but I am very sensitive to other black women. I can’t help it as this is one of the topics I am most passionate about.

In class today, when we were talking about objectifing women in media and whatnot, I was really wishing that I had the link to the video because it completely tied into the conversation. And with the controversial music video of Beyonce’s we watched, it really fit in with what we were talking about. I’m still going to share it on wednesday, if that’s alright, but I’m also going to post it for today.

I am extremely opposed to the objectification of women. It upsets me how people always say “oh wow, she looks beautiful,” or “she’s really sexy” when they see a scantily clad woman in an advertisement. Sure, she looks beautiful and sexy, but she also is being used. Sexiness in men is portrayed by usually by a male with a buffer build (abs, pecs, biceps, etc.) and/or wearing a suit or something else classy. However, a “sexy” female is portrayed usually by the subordinate, objectified barely clothed/naked female using or modeling with the subject of the advertisement or the media being displayed/viewed.

“Saving Private Ryan”

I was watching the movie “Saving Private Ryan” with a few people from my floor late last night, and I couldn’t help but notice that throughout the movie, all the male soldier characters, (minus one miniscule character), try hard not to cry. Tom Hanks’ character was under a lot of pressure as the captain of the rescue mission, and when he couldn’t take it anymore, he wandered away from the group to cry over the two deaths his team suffered, the stress of being in charge of such a mission, and all the trials that come with being in the military. Tom Hank’s character, Captain Miller, even went so far as to look over his shoulder a couple of times, to see if anybody was watching him or if anybody could see him crying. After he felt he was composed again, he went back to his team and they moved on with their mission. And when Private Ryan was informed that all three of his brothers were K.I.A. (Killed in Action), he only let one or two tears fall. Most of his response was focused on not the pain and saddness he probably felt after he heard the news, but rather that he couldn’t leave his team, “the only brothers (he had left).” Most people probably felt that his response to his brothers’ deaths showed how strong he was, how “well” he could take the news. I on the other hand felt he was holding back for two reasons: because he was in front of his superiors and fellow soldiers, but also because he was in front of fellow men and he didn’t want to be viewed as weak.

Watching this movie, I couldn’t help but refer back to Tony Porter, and the “Man Box,” and how men are so trapped in it, that they can’t let others see them cry, or see them “weak” and “vulnerable.”

Dressing Up

Now I’m not one for dressing up usually, as I can be very lazy when it comes to my appearance, but after being in college, I’m starting to think I should take my appearance more seriously. Not to attract the opposite sex, but to fit in to the social norms; the social norms that girls have a bunch of clothes and shoes, are supposed to be very fashionable, are practically professionals at doing their makeup. None of the above apply to me, and every moment that I’m around all these other girls, I start to not like what I have more and more. As a girl with only jeans, shorts, and one dress but no shoes to wear with it, I feel inadequate. I want to “change my ways.” But I don’t know how, and I’m too scared of being rejected to ask for help. (Also, I don’t want to waste all my money on clothes when I could and should be spending it on food, dorm & hygiene necessities, etc.)