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Lecture 11

Lecture 11 - Gender and Race: Identity Politics in Popular Culture

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Linda Mc Nenly

The Cool Culture Soul Machine: The Anthropology of Everyday Life Lecture 11 – June 12, 2013 Gender and Race: Identity Politics in Popular Culture Outline for today’s lecture: How is gender (and race) performed in popular culture? - Ideas about masculinity and femininity - Debate: Playing with ideals of femininity and sexuality: empowerment or perpetuate hegemonic discourses and stereotypes? Concepts: gender, identity; - Postmodernism and performativity (Judith Butler, feminist and performance theoretical approach) - Essentialist vs. Social constructivist perspectives of identity Examples: Old spice ads, music videos, hip hop artist Nicki Minaj “Image Based Culture”: Advertisements, Media, and Music Videos - Jhally, Sut (2002); Dreamworlds 3 video clip (you tube) o Starts the article by challenging us to think critically about our everyday life and what we consider normal o Much more difficult to be more critical of our western society o Main point: we live in an image based culture (evident in all forms of popular culture, and media) o He described how advertisements used to be textual based (just information of what they were trying to sell o Now advertisements now incorporate imagery, representations of people o Representations of ideas of what we consider to be real life, reflecting certain type of social values of family structure  narrow view of what real life is - Calls advertisements a “Discourse through and about objects” (328) o It is also a discourse (through objects) representing culture life, values o Power of the media to presents a certain view of society o Social values and attitudes, but o Present particular (skewed) image - Implications on “gender identity” o The way we understand gender identity, gender roles o How toys present a specific way of how boys and girls should behave (especially through advertisements - How do reveal the “real” veiled by the ads? o Use imagery, other voices, learn production, and transparency o How do we reveal that the real world of substance in popular culture? o Ie. the dove campaign highlights “real women”, and essence of what is being done to give an alternative idea of social life by using imagery Gender and Race in Media Essentialist vs. Social Constructivist views of Identity (including gender and race) The Cool Culture Soul Machine: The Anthropology of Everyday Life Lecture 11 – June 12, 2013 - Essentialist: identity is fundamental to a person and unchanging, core of identity is not effected by culture - Social Constructivists: identity is not inherent; it is produced within certain cultural and political circumstances. A process whereby multiple narratives of identity are expressed within broader social and power relationships o These relationships are invisible, so identities seem natural or essential - Gender identity diversity o Is a social construct Example 1: Old Spice Advertisements: - What is masculinity? o In terms of the old spice commercials: The equation of you’ll be a man = you’ll be successful o A “ladies man”, getting the women, getting a career – type of powerful man o Men are portrayed as athletic, muscular o The music of each advertisement represents masculine traits of seductive, powerful, animalistic (in a sexual way) - How has the idea of what masculinity is changed from the 1970s ads? o There is an obvious difference o In the modern commercials, advertisements are more of how to please a women and her needs are to ultimately get the girl at the end o Where is his well groomed, still can cook, still the strong guy o The modern advertisements are addressing women, perhaps suggesting expectations of what are the ideal masculinity o A parody of masculinity, where there is somewhat a change in role, where we laugh at this guy who could do everything and through this humor, it is making a statement about current gender roles (where women do influence a man a lot now) What is gender/feminit
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