Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Final Project_ Jin S. Kim (Revised Ver. 9min32sec)


Asian Americans are a minority group of the American population. Popular media exposure to Asian Americans lacks portraying actuality/reality of Asian Americans.  Especially, Hollywood is unfair and destructive in its portrayal of Asians. The goal of this video essay is to demonstrate stereotypical, archetypal and often negative characteristics are imposed on Asians in Hollywood movies. There are clear indications that such media characterizations are reinforcing misperceptions and misrepresentation that are manifesting in real life.

Movies from the early century have been successful in portraying this stereotypical version of the Asian woman. Many of popular films do not reflect the true individuality of the typical Asian American living in America. In Hollywood films, Asian Americans often characterized such as ‘China doll’ (Inferior and subordinate to whites, hypersexual, exotic, overly feminine and eager to please), ‘Dragon lady’ (seductive, untrustworthy, female version of the Asian bad guy), or ‘Women warrior’(strong, independent, often is a hero). Lastly, through the video essay I intend to provide the very meanings and implications of media representation of Asian American women in both negative and positive ways; and also to explain the relationship between reality and the media world.


Xing, Jun. Asian America Through the Lens: History, Representations, and Identity. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 1998. Print.

Larson, Stephanie G. Media & Minorities: The Politics of Race in News and Entertainment. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. Print.

Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. London: British Broadcasting Corp, 1972. Print.

Tung, Jennifer. Asian 'It' Girls Say So Long to the Dragon Lady. The New York Times
May 21, 2000, Sunday.

Chin, Jean L. "Psychotherapy for Asian American Woman Warriors." Women & Therapy. 30 (2007): 7-16. Print.
Nam, Vickie. Yell-oh Girls!: Emerging Voices Explore Culture, Identity, and Growing Up Asian American. New York: Quill, 2001. Print.


Rob, Marshall. 2005. Memoirs of a Geisha. Columbia Pictures, Dreamworks and Spyglass Entertainment.

Cook, Barry, Tony Bancroft. 2004. Mulan. [United States], Walt Disney Home Entertainment.

Goldberg , Leonard.2000. Charlie's Angels. Columbia Pictures.

Margaret Cho interview:

Hawaii Five-0 (Kono's Biggest Hits):

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Twerking Final Project

Twerk That

What they Taught us


 Its known by many that Latina women are stereotyped as a sex symbol. When describing a Latin celebrities, the term " spicy, sexy, hot, beautiful" seems to come forth. Ive always wondered why that is. The truth is being its not the celebrities that bring forth these qualities. I wondered for its birth because most of the Latina women that i know are in fact exposed to sexuality. I Theorize that there is one person to blame.....MOM. its the way we have be oriented into this world. My mother along with all my Latina friends mother have been sexualizing us since young because of a belief they were raised with. My video explores that belief.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Diablo Cody Post 5 (I know it's super late)

Diablo Cody is an American screenwriter, producer and director. She first became known for her narrative blog “The Pussy Ranch”, and her memoir Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper both  discussing in detail her year working as a stripper. Later, Cody achieved critical acclaim for her debut script Juno , winning awards such as the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, the BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay, the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay and the Writers. He success was almost like an instantaneous Cinderella story that skyrocketed her to celebrity status; something unseen for many Hollywood writers, especially women.

 Juno made her an in-demand writer in Hollywood, and she followed it up with two more films (Jennifer’s Body, Young Adult), a TV show (The United States of Tara), and much uncredited rewriting work.  She is currently working on her next film, called Paradise, which will be her directorial debut. 

Her film Juno dealt with the controversial topic of teenage pregnancy, and was actually her first screenplay. She claims that when she wrote it, she didnt know how to write a movie, which adds to the charm and appeal of the film overall. "I thought, I’m going to enjoy myself as much as I can. I was just having fun, and you can hear I was having fun. And in a way, I was having too much fun, if that makes any sense. I needed to be pulled back a little. When I watch it now, the dialogue seems very self-indulgent and undisciplined. But that’s one of the things people like about the film, so I can’t argue."

Although she did not direct this film, she was also able to be heavily involved in the filmmaking process of it, which is also a rarity for many writers. She has not yet fully taken on auteur until production of her film Paradise. Cody has said that she writes from both personal experience, and in ways that reflect real life and people. She also uses her writing and films as a platform for women and feminism. “I like talking about women’s issues in film, and feminism. I think a lot of women don’t like to do that. It’s usually, “Can we please turn the conversation back to my work?” For me, it’s an important part of who I am. I feel like so much of the reaction to my work and to me is connected to the fact that I’m a woman, so I can’t avoid that conversation. A part of my career is that I am a woman and I’ve committed myself to writing roles for women. I cannot separate myself from that and say, “Oh, can we please just talk about my work?” That is my work

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Telenovelas - Spanish Language Soap Operas- Effect on Women and Society


This project is a study of Spanish Language Soap Operas or “Telenovelas” and the effect on society and particularly in women.  We will see how women are portrayed and the stereotyping occurring in this type of drama produced for television.  We will also study their influence on behavior and general conduct.

We will also consider views on body image and how sexuality is sold through these mediums.  The study is based in programs either produced in the United States as well as in Latin American countries and which are viewed via Satellite or Cable Television and packaged for consumption in the USA and over 100 countries in the world.

Besides stereotyping, we will also study how Patriarchy is ingrained in the viewer, defined gender roles and its effect on women.  It is intended for the education of women but will serve as a tool to inform society in general.  

This project contains still images in the form of a PowerPoint.


Essay - For Hardcopy:

Telenovelas-Spanish Language Soap Operas Effect on

Women and Society

For centuries women have been accosted, denigrated, ostracized, objectified, ridiculed, stereotyped, taken advantage of, dehumanized, sexualized, used as a punching bag for male rage, rejected, broken, forsaken, denied their rights, used and abused.  We have also been the victim of Sexist Advertisements; anything under the sun needing to be sold is usually done through a woman catering to the eternal “Male Gaze.”  Ads, films, television series, magazines, daily journals, newspapers, cosmetic firms, the fashion industry, even the car industry, have all influenced how women are perceived today.  Our inherent human rights violated, we have been forced to perform specifically defined gender roles to satisfy society.  In Latin America the Telenovelas craze, is a perpetrator which has been charged with permanently conditioning the minds and behavior of unsuspecting women.  It perpetuates Patriarchal values and subliminally yet aggressively changes how women perceive their gender.

Telenovelas are broadcasted, during Prime Time, from Monday through Fridays and they total 100-200 episodes.  After the conclusion they are re-transmitted again during morning and late night hours. They have reached as far as Eastern Europe where many of the Mexican Telenovelas actors are as popular as their own celebrities.  Chances are that as you are reading this page there are several Telenovelas from Mexico, Brazil, Colombia or Venezuela being broadcasted in several languages all over the world. 

These series are part of a cultural phenomenon in Latin America.  The usual plot centers on the Cinderella Complex; a beautiful, almost angelical, woman from the country side, lacking education, very poor, who falls in love with a wealthy, successful gentleman, member of a powerful elite family. The antagonist is the mother in law, an ex-girlfriend or a family member.  Typical theme is love, betrayal, loss.  There are narratives focusing on the narcotic industry which glorify the drug cartel leaders; as in Pablo Escobar el Patron del Mal (Pablo Escobar an Evil Boss) a prominent Colombian drug lord and Reyna del Sur, a powerful female cartel leader.  

Another example is  “Sin Tetas no Hay Paraiso” (Without Big Breasts There is No Paradise); where women also mingle with drug cartel members and alter their bodies through surgery in order to please the men running these organizations.  Others are written to emulate Beauty and the Beast or the Ugly Duckling finding identity through beauty as in Betty la Fea, (Ugly Betty) which was first produced in Columbia, then Mexico and then adapted for the United States as a television series by Salmak Hayek.  Ugly Betty has also aired in Hindi on the popular soap opera Jassi Jaissi Koi NahinThere are also children Telenovelas like Mundo de Juguete, (World of Toys), Luz Clarita, Carrusel (Carousel), and Carita de Angel (Angel Face).  These children series are strangely and surprisingly popular with adults.  

Although the children series seem innocent and harmless they also contain the hidden messages we hear in Telenovelas produced for adults.  Telenovelas reinforce conduct through hidden messages in the storyline.  In these series viewers are being told “you are not valuable unless you have a partner, love is forever, you can do anything for love; lie, cheat, steal, Jealousy is part of love, women must be well groomed at all times; even when they wake up in the morning and your value lies in your beauty.  It also conveys pretentious realities which are, if not impossible in real life, almost unattainable.  Things like a woman having not even an elementary school education marrying a college graduate with a doctorate degree.   This builds a false expectation in women and some actually wait for a prince charming to come along on a white horse and make everything o.k.; this is a reinforcement of the patriarchal system.

By being constantly exposed to these shows women become vulnerable to the patterns of conduct being conveyed.  Viewers copy the dress code, manners, behavior, speech patterns, and even the way they relate to the opposite sex.  Typically they become dissatisfied with their bodies and seek to produce changes through surgery, anorexia and/or bulimia in order to achieve the ideal body type represented in the Telenovela they are watching.  In Making Movie Magic, Bell Hooks states “Strong texts work along the borders of our minds and alter what already exists.  They could not do this if they merely reflected what already exists.”  This is a clear and powerful indication that when women are exposed to images they are being directly influenced and learn discontentment with their body among other things.  It is also a declaration of how images become a role model for women.   

In The New York Times article “Flattery Will Get and Ad Nowhere”, Pamela Paul states “Apparently it doesn’t take much to make a girl feel plain.  Just looking at an object intended to enhance beauty makes women feel worse about themselves, according to a study from the April 2011 issue of The Journal of Consumer Research.  The study looked at how women responded to an image of something depicted in an advertisement and a simple photograph with no advertising context.  According to the authors – led by Debra Trampe, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands – advertised products, unlike unadvertised products affect both whether and how the viewer thinks of herself afterward.  In other words, an image of the high-heeled shoe in a stylish advertisement is likely to trigger a sense of inadequacy”. This was so well communicated by T. Adams, in the Observer, October 26, 2003 in the following statement “Each one of us has a complex lifelong relationship-with our body.  We exult in it, feel betrayed by it and given the chance, would change some aspect of it.”
Telenovelas also impact language use of its viewers.  Latin America use the Spanish language in different ways since words used in one country have a different meaning in others.    My friend Maria, born in the Dominican Republic, an assiduous Telenovela viewer, particularly those of Television Espanola Internacional, a Channel from Spain seen in New York, has been linguistically influenced and is now using words such as “grifo” (water faucet in Spain) instead of the typical word she learned in her country of origin which is “llave” and “ordenador” for “computadora.”
To demonstrate the influence of Telenovelas across Latin America and Latinos in the United States the BID s El Banco Ineteramericano de Desarollo (Interamerican Development Bank-BID) held a study centering on Global Vision in Brazil on Telenovela viewers and concluded as follows.

BID Study on the Influence of Telenovelas on Women and Society:

“This paper has explored the effect of television expansion on the pattern of marital dissolutions in Brazil over the period 1970-1991. Building on the empirical strategy used by La Ferrara, Chong and Duryea (2008) to study the impact on fertility patterns, we focus here on divorce and separation rates. Our analysis draws on the experience of a country where television viewing, and in particular soap opera viewing, is extremely widespread and cuts across social classes. We find that exposure to modern lifestyles as portrayed on TV, to emancipated women’s roles and to a critique of traditional values was associated with increases in the share of separated and divorced women across Brazil’s municipal areas. Our findings have potentially important policy implications for developing countries and confirm previous research by Jensen and Oster (2008), La Ferrara, Chong and Duryea (2008) and Paluck (2008), which suggest that media programs have the potential of targeting specific groups at low cost and may be employed as a public policy tool.  This paper focuses on fertility choices in Brazil, a country where soap operas (novelas) portray families that are much smaller than in reality, to study the effects of television on individual behavior. Using Census data for the period 1970-1991, the paper finds that women living in areas covered by the Globo signal have significantly lower fertility. The effect is strongest for women of lower socioeconomic status and for women in the central and late phases of their fertility cycle. Finally, the paper provides evidence that novelas, rather than television in general, affected individual choices.*Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil By Eliana La Ferrara*,Alberto Chong**,Suzanne Duryea**, *Bocconi University and IGIER**Inter-American Development Bank.  Inter-American Development Bank, Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID) Research Department, Departamento de Investigación, Working Paper #633 Fertility study.” 

On their Fertility study the following was concluded “This paper focuses on fertility choices in Brazil, a country where soap operas (novelas) portray families that are much smaller than in reality, to study the effects of television on individual behavior. Using Census data for the period

1970-1991, the paper finds that women living in areas covered by the Globo signal have significantly lower fertility. The effect is strongest for women of lower socioeconomic status and for women in the central and late phases of their fertility cycle. Finally, the paper provides evidence that novelas, rather than television in general, affected individual choices.*Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil By Eliana La Ferrara*,Alberto Chong**,Suzanne Duryea**, *Bocconi University and IGIER**Inter-American Development Bank.  Inter-American Development Bank, Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID)

Research Department,Departamento de Investigación,Working Paper #633 Fertility study 


Bibliography – Works Cited






Alejandra Matus   http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/culture/telenovelas.htm





Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil By Eliana La Ferrara*,Alberto Chong**,Suzanne Duryea**, *Bocconi University and IGIER**Inter-American Development Bank

Inter-American Development Bank

Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID)

Research Department

Departamento de Investigación
Working Paper #633

Our Time,Our Story: Black Women, Beauty, & Sisterhood

Saturday, December 7, 2013

We Don't Just Make Cupcakes -- Girls In The Kitchen

It has long been a joke (and a harsh reality) that a woman’s place is in the kitchen, with cooking being just one of our “womanly duties”.  After years of slaving over the oven and gaining some real culinary skills, we’ve more recently decided to venture into the professional cooking world.  Yet despite our experience, as soon as we stepped foot into the professional kitchen, we were suddenly considered incapable of making fantastic food.  But somehow men, most of whom can’t even navigate their own home refrigerator,  have the had the ability to  rise to become masters of the trade.  Some of us women have cooking in our blood and have the earned the right to be acknowledged for our talent.

I take this issue very personally.  

I’ve always enjoyed cooking and baking.  As soon as I could walk, I was toiling around in the kitchen, so it wasn’t a surprise when I decided to make it a career of it.  What was a surprise (call me naïve) was how difficult it would be to thrive in the culinary industry as a female.  I subconsciously knew that it was a field dominated by men, but  I was more confident in my skills than I was concerned about sexism, so I didn’t expect it to be that much of a struggle.  But, sure as the sun rises, I was slapped with some unavoidable situations that many females meet when they decide to make cooking their career.  Here are just a few of the situations and stereotypes a female deals with in the culinary industry:

Being belittled.  For me personally, it’s a given that people are going see me as diminutive because I’m short girl who bakes cakes, so it was natural for the men around me to see me as the little kitchen sprite-- like a Keebler Elf  (I’ve been called that several time.  Offensive, yet still amusing to even me).  What I didn’t like was being treated like a frail, old lady.  This doesn’t only apply to me.  How many times have I seen a guy rush over to help a female co-worker lift a heavy pot or reach something way above her head when she is perfectly capable of doing so on her own.  We’re girls, not crippled.  

Yet once you prove you’re mentally and physically capable of holding your own, you risk being labeled as a bitch.

    “If they [female employees] acted too masculine, such as brusquely giving orders like men chefs, this could get them labeled ‘bitchy’ and undermine their authority.”  Feminist Kitchen

And if you’re a bitch, then you’re the enemy.  The concept of teamwork goes to hell, the kitchen falls apart and guess who’s to blame.

Sexual Harassment.  This one’s obvious.  Professional kitchens are almost completely devoid of appropriate professional behavior so sexual harassment is “tolerated” to some degree since everyone is harassing everyone-- all “in good humor”, of course.  So this blurs the line between the jokes and serious offenses.  If a woman really is offended, she could complain, but it’s likely that the higher ups are aware of the ways of the kitchen and don’t care so long as the food is good and customers are happy.

I recently found out a restaurant in my own neighborhood, Juventino (owned by Juventino Avila) has been facing its own sexual harassment scandal. Former female employees have claimed:
“The food is seductive, but behind this restaurant’s charming façade lies a toxic work environment where employees are publicly berated...and young women are subjected to unwanted sexual advances behind the closed and locked doors of Juventino’s office.  Juventino, however, has consistently refused to acknowledge or take responsibility for his actions.” Huffington Post
That’s pretty typical behavior for management.  
Underlying belief that female chefs aren’t creative or deserving of recognition.  This just doesn’t make any sense.  There is no scientific evidence that men have better culinary intuition or taste than women, so why do they get all the praise?  There’s a complete disconnect;  how can a women be an expert cook in her own kitchen but inept outside of it.  Consider this: At the 2009 James Beard Awards (arguably the industry's biggest night-- it’s like the Oscars of the culinary world), only 16 of the 96 nominees were women; 2 of the 16 women nominated actually won.  The theme of the night was “Women In Food”.  Ouch. Clatl.com
Side note: “Women account for approximately 20 percent of respondents to the American Culinary Federation's 2011 salary survey. Surveys in 2010 and 2011 by StarChefs reported similarly low numbers, with 396 female respondents in 2011 compared to 1,325 men”  The Nest
Clearly women need more of a presence in industry to prove that they’re every bit as, if not more, capable of thriving than men.

And it’s not false recognition or fame were after.  We don’t all aspire to be talking heads on The Food Network who have little to no culinary experience.

Or who have a decent amount of experience but are really only successful because they're easy on the eyes.

Or just teach people to half-ass a recipe because they’ve already knocked a few back and don’t feel like putting in the work.

It’s just about being exceptionally good at what you do and getting credit for it.


My Little Media Book: The ABC's of WWW for Children and Adults

Without a doubt, media and technology have transformed childhood. Today’s children are spending more time with more kinds of screens, at younger ages. A recent study found that children 0-8 years spent an average of 3 hours a day with screens. While video games and cartoons/movies are still uber-popular, Internet has played a major role in the digitalization of their free time. And it is the social aspect of the WWW that draws every young and young-at-heart to it.

Like us, internet-active children are focused on their friends. Among many others, Danah Boyd, a media professor at NYU and a principal researcher at Microsoft, suggests that they use social network websites to connect with people they already know from school, church, activities, etc. They mimic their “offline behavior” online and do the same childish things we used to do back in the days, just using a different platform. So instead of panicking about lost childhood years we, as educators, have a critical role to help them navigate social media safely and intelligently.

Rather than thinking about how we can protect children from the bad things on the Internet, we need to ensure that they are equipped with the tools they need to not only safely navigate the Internet but to benefit from the good it offers. That requires us to think in a different way than we are used to. It is no longer only about protecting them; it is about empowerment and lifelong education so that they can take full advantage of all the new media has to offer. So like we teach children about values like fairness, honesty, and integrity we need to provide them with similar values for the online world.

The media literacy book(let) I created as the final project  does exactly this – it offers a fun and simple way to begin the conversation about the rules of digital media, the benefits of WWW as well as the necessary precautions to ensure a safe environment online. My Little Media Book is intended for internet-active children (the younger the better) and their parents and educators. It covers topics such as online privacy and “netiquette” and provides months-worth of research and resources to further explore the issue. Resources for children include educational online games about social media, online marketing techniques used by advertisers, and online ethics.  Because of the nature of its subject, it is as interactive as a book can get – with a board game inside and a space for notes/drawings.

Selected Resources/Works Cited:

S.C.A.R Magazine.

Hello world! Welcome to S.C.A.R. magazine. This is the title I chose for this magazine not because the magazine will focus on gnarly scars, but because it’s an acronym. It’s an acronym for: Secretly Caring About Reactions. I chose this acronym for specific reasons. A scar is something visible that is left behind by past injuries. In most cases the scar eventually fades away, but traces of it will always remain. While most people might stay insecure about it, some will go on not caring. This way of thinking can be attributed to emotional scars as well, and like a cut we care or feel anything until we see it. This was my concept – most people don’t think about social issues until its right in front of their faces. We secretly care about reactions, and we don’t realize until it’s brought to our attention. This is the reasoning for the title. I ultimately decided to host the zine on tumblr. It provided a host that would be able to live on after the class. I originally wanted to exclusively include unisex content. I wanted to provide an alternative to publications that perpetuate gender roles - publications that dictated what’s acceptable for men and women to wear. However as I search for content I found other things I wanted to include, and the project evolved from that. I found that a lot of the things I originally intended to include didn’t make the cut, and new sections came to be. While it was initially a blow to my ego, since most of my own content didn’t fit into the new direction. (At least for the time being.) That being said S.C.A.R eventually evolved into a space where I can share content (activism, information, video, articles, art projects, etc) that present ways to dispel social norms.

 Without further adieu...

Project Feminist Masculinity

For my final project, I chose to create a short video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eD4ne5fUO0M&feature=youtu.be (the first I've ever made, so forgive the quality) to get a discussion started about masculinity, patriarchal manhood and what it is doing to our boys and men. Furthermore, I would like for this video to be a call for change from both men and women regarding this very rigidly and statically defined, patriarchal notion of manhood.

I am a victim of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a man. This man too was a victim of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of another man. And the cycle probably goes back and has been perpetuated for too long now. I am also a child who grew up in a physically violent household, one in which emotional terrorism was such a constant that when I finally became an adult and didn't experience it on a daily basis from my partner, I rejected him. He was not "man enough" for me. He was too emotional and sensitive for me and that is exactly what I told my patriarchal female friends who quickly understood my dilemma and agreed that it was for the best.
What were the qualities deemed "not man enough"? Too emotional? Empathy. A desire to talk problems out rather than subject the other person to emotional terrorism, physical abuse and worse.
Why did I think this way and why did so many of my educated friends think so too?

"Man Up" defines patriarchal masculinity
bell Hooks in The Will to Change: Men Masculinity and Love, claims that the crisis facing men is "the crisis of patriarchal masculinity"  and that it is both men and women who "participate in this tortured value system (31, 33). She goes on to argue that "patriarchy is the single most life-threatening social disease assaulting the male body and spirit in our nation...yet, most men never think about patriarchy-what it means, how it is created and sustained...there is no mass concern for the plight of men" (hooks, 17, 30).
Meanwhile, everyday in the U.S., men are more and more violent (physically and sexually). They are the violent abusers of themselves and others. According to nomas.org, 90% of violent physical assault is by men. 95% of domestic violence and 90% of child sexual abuse is committed by men. They are too often also the killers of themselves and others: Over 85% of people who commit murder are men. Patriarchy has not yet satisfied, has not left them feeling whole and they've taken to committing suicide in record numbers or otherwise perpetuating and inflicting the pain they cannot express on those deemed weaker. And still, given our society's patriarchal definition of manhood, violence is equated with a natural will specific to men on the basis that there is a "biological connection between having a penis and the will to do violence" (55).
Terrence Real calls violence "boyhood socialization" and argues that the way we turn boys into men is through injury, by pulling them "away from their own expressiveness" (60). He goes on to argue that it is disconnection which defines masculinity. bell hooks argues this point further, stating that the "first act of violence that patriarchy demands of males is not violence towards women. Instead, patriarchy demands of all males that they engage in acts of psychic self mutilation, that they kill off the emotional parts of themselves" (66). For this reason it is essential that we STOP explaining away violence by insisting on a biological male instinct bent on abusing.
Tony Stark must always protect Pepper
In this sense, our current notion of patriarchal masculinity makes our men emotionless, violent dominators in a constant power struggle. Not adhering to these very static definitions of manhood would be shameful and embarrassing for men since other patriarchal men and women would quickly enact rituals of power that would make him get back in line. hooks tells us that "men simply do not get that love and abuse cannot go together" and then questions "why should they" since everywhere in our media and our popular culture, the message is the same, where there is intense passion, violence is almost inevitable (67).
In our top 20 movies of 2013, 14 had a singular male protagonist and most of those protagonists were men going on journeys that involved going to war, fighting a battle and appearing heroic by fighting alone and away from home.
Robin Thicke glorified for being a sexual predator
If men aren't angry and violent, then they are portrayed as men obsessed with sex and constantly on the prowl for the sexual object that is woman. See Robin Thicke's music video, Blurred Lines. OR any advertisement, billboard, tv show, etc. There is this perception prevalent in patriarchal culture that men NEED to have sex extremely frequently. If they don't, he will be led to sexual violence and misconduct. Because, in our media and our society, the notion that 'he's gotta have it' is so prevalent that we truly believe as hooks points out that "a man deprived of sexual access will ultimately be sexual with anybody" or he will "act out...go crazy" (78). In this way, we once again excuse away sexual violence. When in reality, sex is merely a way of reinforcing the patriarchal male dominator model and in doing so reaffirming male selfhood.
If we look at our movies, tv shows, ads, social media, etc. the messages are all the same. Man is expected to be a certain way and there is very little, if any, room for deviation of that patriarchal norm. When asked questions such as "what are the qualities of a real man," "how are men portrayed in the media," "when is it appropriate for a man to cry in public," and "have you ever told anyone to 'man up,'" the answers overwhelmingly align with the images we see in our mainstream media.
Meanwhile, our men are killing themselves, each other and women in alarming numbers. We can sit here and keep saying that 'real men' are supposed to be tough, strong, dependable, breadwinner, etc. We can keep telling them to 'man up' and negatively equate it to being the opposite of a woman. We can even tell them it is never appropriate for men to cry in public and that they shouldn't be victims. The fact of the matter is, they are. And we, as patriarchal men and women are helping to reinforce those notions when we should be embracing men. We should be helping them understand why 1 in 6 males are sexually abused before the age of 16. We should be telling them that over 70% of males don't report abuse at the time it occurs and that they should not be ashamed to. Instead of calling Ed (who told his story in Victims No Longer: Men Recovering from Incest and Other Sexual Child Abuse) gay for being forced to give his older brother blow jobs at the age of 10, we should be encouraging more men like Ed to come forward with their stories and do away with this notion that men aren't men if they are victimized. Instead of accepting Chris Brown's story that he lost his virginity at 8, we should be working towards a world in which Chris Brown doesn't need to make up stories about his sexual prowess and excessive manhood but instead would be talking about his rape openly with no negative ramifications.
I hope this will be a call for change. A call for Feminist Manhood over Patriarchal Masculinity. A call for a definition of man that does not abuse, hurt and kill men and the rest of us.
Works Cited:
  • hooks, Bell. The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity and Love.
         New York: Washington Square Press, 2004.