Pop-Culture | Posted by Kinder L on 08/25/2015
How Television Continues to Normalize Eating Disorders
“Please don’t hurl too much, because if you get any thinner I’m gonna start looking fat,” Brooke, the head cheerleader in the show One Tree Hill, nonchalantly says to her best friend in an early episode. It’s unclear if her friend really is bulimic, but regardless, viewers learn that purging isn’t the issue — making your best friend look “fat” is.
Even young viewers are targeted: The seventh episode of the Disney Channel show Shake It Up portrays a model who, in awe of the two thirteen-year-old main characters, declares that she “could just eat you guys up! You know, if I ate.” The entire cast laughs. Refusing to eat is normalized, not raised as a point of concern or serious issue.
The truth of the matter is …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Lexi V on 08/18/2015
How ‘The Bachelorette’ Proves Slut-Shaming Is Alive and Well
Ok, I’ll admit to watching an episode or two (or six) of The Bachelorette this season. For those who haven’t watched, the show focuses on one woman’s quest to find a perfect match among a group of male suitors. Like The Bachelor — the show on which this one is based — she eliminates men every week until she finds the right partner. As a feminist, I certainly have many issues with the show, but one of the biggest (and perhaps most prominent this past season in particular) is the intense slut-shaming the Bachelorette faced.
Slut shaming has been evident in past seasons, but when Kaitlyn Bristowe, the star of this past season, decided that she wanted to have sex with one of the contestants, she faced a …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Aph Ko on 08/11/2015
It’s 2015. Why Is Male Nudity Still Funny?
“There’s a big problem in Hollywood today,” Kevin Bacon says at the start of a recently released video. “In so many films and TV shows we see gratuitous female nudity, and that’s not okay.”
While raising this excellent point (albeit one feminists have made before) seems like a promising start, it quickly becomes clear that this is not an earnest message, but a satirical PSA.
“It’s not fair to actresses and it’s not fair to actors,” Bacon continues, “because we want to be naked, too. Gentlemen, it’s time to free the bacon.”
This video thus joins a legacy of efforts to capitalize on the pervasive double standard in the entertainment industry in which men’s naked bodies are funny while naked women are sexual objects to be exploited. While …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Aph Ko on 07/27/2015
Rihanna’s ‘BBHMM’ Video and Our Resistance To Black Women’s Subjectivity
Rihanna performing BBHMM live at the 2015 iHeart Radio Music Awards.
As anyone even mildly interested in pop culture likely knows, Rihanna recently dropped a new music video for her song Bitch Better Have My Money. I found the video itself interesting, but honestly found the critiques of it even more so. Many of these critiques demonstrate that mainstream culture still doesn’t know how to meaningfully engage with black women and the popularity of the work they create. Specifically, it seems that critics of black, female artists try to understand their work through the lens of static theories that reiterate racist tropes, and which produce prescriptive, limiting understandings of their work. We’ve seen this with panic over Beyoncé’s feminism, shock in response to Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda album cover, …
Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Saskia G on 07/21/2015
What Misty Copeland’s Success Reveals About Race In The Arts
Misty Copeland in an Under Armour commercial
Misty Copeland made history on June 30th when she was promoted within the American Ballet Theatre, becoming the first African American ballerina to reach the rank of Principal Dancer after being the second-ever black soloist in the traditionally white ballet company. Considering that almost all principal ballerinas around the world have historically been white, Copeland’s promotion is an immense achievement in an artistic tradition that still largely favors pale skin and extremely thin bodies.
Copeland rose to fame amid circumstances that, for elite ballet, seem at odds with her success. She took her first ballet class at her local Boys & Girls Club at 13-years-old — a relatively late start — and lived with her single mother and siblings in relative poverty …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Kinder L on 07/16/2015
How One Anti-Body Shaming Campaign Actually Reinforced Beauty Standards
I have a mole on my right cheek. As a child, it was the physical feature about which I felt the most insecure. For years, however, my mother insisted that what I considered a flaw was actually a “beauty mark.” Thanks to her persistence, I eventually realized that my mole is not something to be ashamed of, but part of who I am. I slowly learned to love this beauty mark and ultimately discarded my life goal of getting it removed as an adult.
I recalled this experience when I learned about a recent social media trend called the #DontJudgeMe challenge. This challenge simply required that individuals post pictures of themselves appearing as ugly as possible — by drawing flaws onto their images or purposely applying grotesque makeup. …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Natalie H on 07/9/2015
‘Miss USA’ Switched Networks, But Should It Be Retired Altogether?
Miss America 2014.
NBC recently dropped the Miss USA Pageant, but the pageant quickly found a new home with cable network REELZ. However, it seems like this could have been a good time to stop televising the pageant altogether — and probably should have been.
Although the pageant often highlights the fact that it provides scholarships to its contestants and is thus an academic opportunity, this argument is undeniably incompatible with the contest’s emphasis on beauty. If the pageant is truly a contest of academic achievement, appearance should not factor into whether or not participants receive a scholarship or have any chance to enter the so-called ‘academic’ competition in the first place. How does the way one’s body looks in a bikini relate to their academic capability?
What’s more, the …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Aph Ko on 06/29/2015
“Hot Girls Wanted”: White Respectability and the Erasure of Men
Hot Girls Wanted — a new documentary produced by actress Rashida Jones — follows five amateur porn actresses between the ages of 18 to 25 and details their experiences filming porn and living together. While the documentary’s subjects spoke freely, it seems like the filmmakers still crafted the work based on their preconceived notions about porn: Namely, they chose to portray the young actresses as innocent, exploited victims. The film fails to present the possibility that these women have any agency, erases the experiences of women of color in the industry, and arguably most problematically of all allows the men that drive the demand for this industry to remain invisible.
The character whose narrative anchors the film, Tressa, exemplifies this victimized narrative. Tressa is coded as white (although …