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Midterm

English 2017 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Cultural Capital, Consumerism, Rhinoplasty


Department
English
Course Code
English 2017
Professor
Nigel Joseph
Study Guide
Midterm

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popular culture master notes
ANOREXIA AND ATTRACTIVENESS
north american obsession with physical attractiveness
women are more targeted with the ideology of beauty
two general categories for judging physical attractiveness
youth: we want to capture the period of youth, covers a huge area of what we think of
as physically attractive
teens are slim, older people losing weight desire to look young
naomi klein - age of aspiration is a seventeen year old’s body
body weight: supermodels are dangerously skinny, fashion slimness has nothing to do
with health
we are constantly inundated with advertisements of beautiful people
we are told that physical attractiveness is associated with success
studies show a correlation between looks and justice in court
typically, an older male judge will come down more lightly on a young attractive
female plaintiff
in north america there’s a tendency to choose attractive workmen to enter your home
pop culture gets blamed for people becoming overly concerned with their appearance
girls aged 12-13 were asked what would make them happier, 46% said losing weight
in popular film and tv, there’s an obvious tendency for attractive people to get attractive
partners, success, money, happiness, etc.
message is that life is better if you’re attractive
attractive people are considered more intelligent, interesting social and have more
influence
contradicted by “blonde bimbo” idea
in pop culture, lead character usually has a blonde friend that is funny, bubbly, silly
we may not believe these things, but we act like it by making ourselves more
attractive
body dysmorphia: people become preoccupied with an imagined physical defect that
others cannot see (i.e. thinking you’re overweight but you’re not)
people with this disorder see themselves as ugly and take extreme measures to
“improve” their appearance
very common in women, getting more common in men
traditionally men in the west were unconsumed with their appearance
changing as men are now becoming the focus of movies (twilight, magic mike)
women are now gazing on men

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men are starting to care more about their appearance
obsession with appearance: obesity is highly stigmatized in north america
children have anti-fat attitudes
conditioned and coerced at young ages to avoid certain kinds of appearances
downward economic mobility of fat people
paintings depict different bodies than the ones we idealize today
renoir’s painting show fleshy bodies and child-bearing hips (full/curvy women)
painters of the past 200-300 years very rarely pained thin women like the ones we
admire today
in 20-30 years we have moved from full figure (marilyn) to stick thin (kate moss)
different cultures have different ideals
in brazil anorexia is a huge problem, you can buy appetite surpassing drugs across
the country
in some cultures more weight means more money
obesity is a sign of wealth because you can afford to buy food
machine civilization
relationship with cards, cellphones, computers
admiration leads to aspiration
we want our bodies to have the same efficiency as our machines
stripped down, sleek (in performance and in looks)
machines are beautiful because of status/money
human body without an ounce of fate is beautiful in the same way as machines
guns - beautiful in america
deadly, but beautiful killing machines
feminism and slimness
women want to pursue slimness to distance themselves from male interest
want to appear more like a man and less like a body-making machine; appear
professional
get rid of characteristics that are associated with motherhood
these women may want to be desirable, but want no physical contact with me
KILLING US SOFTLY
documentary about advertising and women
kilbourne is critical of the advertising industry
argues that the superficial/objectifying/unreal portrayal of women lowers self esteem

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sexualize images are used to sell all kinds of goods
degrade women, encourage abuse
reinforce a patriarchal/sexist society
what she says is true
advertising works because of existing ideologies
black women are often featured in jungle settings as if they are exotic animals
women’s bodies are turned into things/objects
ads sell more than products - they sell ideologies and concepts of love, success,
sexuality, normalcy
objectification leafs to a climate in which there is widespread violence against women
body language in ads is usually passive, vulnerable and very different from the body
language of men
girls learn form a young age that sexualized behaviour and appearances are
rewarded by society
encourages to see this as their own choice, as a declaration of empowerment
nothing wrong with wanting to be attractive
problem is that it is so emphasized for girls that other important qualities don’t seem
necessary
being “hot” has become the most important measure of success: superficial, limited
and unattainable, makes women feel insecure
kilbourne believes we need a lot of activism, education, discussion, and media literacy.
we need to work together to change norms and attitudes. need to think of ourselves as
citizens rather than consumers.
SUSAN BORDO: UNBEARABLE WEIGHT
it’s not enough to make advertising responsible for all of this
consider deeper ideology of how western philosophy feeds into this sense of control
people who come from other areas desire to be like women of the west, even take
extreme measure to achieve these appearances
bordo on eating disorders
female university students are controlling their weight through vomiting
they are more at risk because there are various pressures
determined to be in control of their lives
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