MIT 2375 - GREAT Final Exam Notes.docx

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Western University
Media, Information and Technoculture
Media, Information and Technoculture 3201F/G
Susan Knabe

MIT 2375- Sexuality and the Media Week 2: Sexual Differences  Pleasantville o Women are passive and submissive o Sex linked to daner  How do we understand the relationship between sex and gender? o Biologically given vs. socially constructed o Why is gender important?  Wilchins (Queer Theory, Gender Theory) notes that:  Gender is a language, a system of meanings and symbols, along with rules, privileges, and punishments pertaining to their use – for power and sexuality (masculinity and femininity, strength and vulnerability, action and passivity, dominance and weakness ). p. 35  S/he notes that the way in which language works to create meaning by excluding and separating (we know we are male by knowing that we are not female) imposes a binary system of meaning  Two sex model o Understanding of men and women as wholly different based on anatomy, but this was also understood through changing ways of understanding the roles of men and women – complementarity of male and female bodies and social roles  Hegemonic Masculinity o RW Connell: “the configuration of gender practice which embodies the currently accepted answer to the problem of the legitimacy of patriarchy, which guarantees (or is taken to guarantee) the dominant position of men and the subordination of women” (p 77) o Private Dicks -- clip  Emphasized Femininity o Complement to hegemonic masculinity - Femininity which accommodates the interests and needs of hegemonic masculinity  Decoding Feminity: Ad’s and Their Teenage Readers - Currie o addresses media messages about gender and femininity and attempts to look at how young girls actually read and make sense of messages about gender and sexuality in advertisements o What she found was that girls were actively engaged in challenging material and representations that they had some experience in relation to but were likely to revert to hegemonic ways of understanding situations that they did not yet have experience in  Tits n Ass n Porn Fighting - Attwood o looks at how the media operates as a hegemonic site through which discourses of sexuality operate to normalize and naturalize specific ways of being in the world (and vice versa) – through lad mags o women’s body is the feature of magazines – checklust of activities in the bedroom – sex is something to do to feel attractive, maintain relationships, and control men Week 3: Popular Culture & Sexuality  Pleasantville & Crank: examples of hegemonic gender o Mens bodies should be machines o Women are submissive and disposable o Sex is a need for the men  Full Monty o Gusy turn into strippers – scared men to take clothes off up front of other men because of homophobia – “girls take your clothes off”  Popular Culture Constructs Sexuality: Gamso (little reading) o -- link between framing (and normalizing of) sexuality and policy – Janet Jackson’s boob – specific assumptions about black sexuality and black female sexuality are being drawn on and perpetuated – plays into policy decisions etc.  Effects of Images of African American Women in Hip Hop on Early Adolescents – Stephen & Few o Incitement to discource o a site through which racialized sexual scripts for women are perpetuated o 8 stereotypes: golddigger, dyke, gangster bitch, etc. Week 4: Sexuality & Culture – Porn-chic, striptease culture – McNair, Tyler, Gill  “the incitement to discourse”: Role of discourse in production and regulation of “sexuality” o Confessional as model for how we talk about sex both historically (priest, MD) and currently (media) o Media as modern day confessional which makes certain kinds of sexualities appear and circulate o Clips from Truth or Dare o like films structured around the confessional aspects of sex and sexuality put in place forms of control or surveillance – and that in doing so they participate in the “spiral of power and pleasure” which is at the heart of discourses about sex. o Important to look for the way political, social and cultural ideas about sex are naturalized in discourse  Pornographication and democratization o Representation linked to democratization (installs a kind of repressive hypothesis) - Limits of democratization  Classy sex and the aesthetics of mediated sexuality o Sex as both authenticity and artifice (relate to pornography) o Way in which women are positioned as sexual consumers and sexual subjects – women as sexual consumers (lingerie, Kylie Mingue, Fifty Shades of Grey)  Sexual Citizenship o Debate about sexual ethics framed in terms of sexual citizenship o New politics of intimacy, everyday o Rethink public and private – new forms of citizenship in relation to private  Modern and post modern narratives of sexuality – have both now o Modern Narratives  causal, linear, sex is a clear category of “truth,” reiterates one discourse about sexuality  idea that sex needs to be controlled/managed (Tyler) o Post-modern Narratives  more uncertain, variable, self-conscious, more likely to incorporate a variety of different sexual possibilities, complicates and makes available a number of discourses around sex – blurred line between fact/fiction, public/private  denaturalization – supermarket of sexual possibilies (tyler)  How does an intersectional analysis of advertising images like the “six pack”, the “midriff” and “hot lesbians” complicate both a public morals understanding of sexualization? (Gill) o midriff is not passive alike early ads o hot lesbians are very postmodern o six pack: Abercrombie – man marks hegemonic masculinity and pictures with beautiful woman  What are Gill’s concerns about McNair’s argument that increased sexualization leads to a “democratization of desire” and increased gender equity?  McNair: Striptease Culture o Porn can be fashionable o Porn-chip is the representation of porn in noon-pornographic art and culture – pastiche of – consumer sex – self revelation and broader sexualization of mainstream culture Week 5: Sexulization of Media & Heterosexual Script  Porn Chic vs. Stripease o Porn chic references the movement of images, ideas and concepts associated with pornography into the mainstream. Striptease culture in part refers to the overwhelming prevalence of sexuality and things sexual in our culture (porn chic is one example), but also the belief that sexuality is central to our understanding of who we are as individuals and as a culture - the notion that somehow we can know the truth through the exploration of sex and that during the 1980s - now our culture is defined by the ways in which we constantly talk about intimate and private aspects of sex within the public sphere -- striptease here is in terms of how we reveal who we are through talking about sex, and the ways our culture enables this (celeb sex tapes, sex scandals, talkshows, Oprah, selfhelp books, etc).  Democratization of Desire o Porno-chic and role of porn in mainstream indicates an ideological shift within debates about sexuality and sexual politics o Extension of commodification of sex and sexual consumption to women and sexual minorities – marketplace becomes more open to sexual diversity  Assertion is that our culture, and especially our visual culture, is increasingly sexualized and that this is either: o a cause for grave concern because this trend is dangerous and degrading (point of view from many moralists and some feminist critics) o a cause for celebration because this trend is a sign that we are becoming more open to all representations of sex and thus both more mature and there is a democratization of desire o Both of these understandings of it are problematic - Sexualization isn’t homogeneous and singular - Race, class, gender, sexuality, age and ability all impact who and how sexualization is produced in our culture  Theoretical perspectives of researchers shape how we assess sexual content on TV o Cultivation Theories  Amount of sexual content - Look at how often and what types of sex appear because the more sex that gets seen, the higher the expectations of viewers and more likely they are to engage in activity o Social learning theories  Context under which sexual behaviour occurs and consequences which it incurs - o Scripting Theories  “sexual scripts” which determine what constitutes sex and sexual situations – “blue print for socially sanctioned romantic and sexual encounters”  Sexuality is learned by absorbing attitudes about sex that are available through “sexual scripts” which determine what constitutes sex and sexual situations and provides different approaches to these situations – both social and context impt  Kim et al  What is compulsory heterosexuality? o Unwritten but codified and compulsory conventions of interaction o Political in nature and reproduces patriarchal structures o Systemic rather than individual o Discrete social processes work synergistically to produce male dominance and female subordination  Dominance of male sexual drive  Denial or denigration of female sexual pleasure or agency  Objectification of women  Threat of violence against women  Heteronormativity o Normative heterosexuality  Institutions operate to support and reinforce heterosexuality  Implicitly force us to conform to or confront hegemonic notions of heterosexuality in relation to identity formation (we have to choose who we are in relation to these norms) o Way in which heterosexuality is implicit within various institutional structures  Media as public space which is a de facto site of heterosexual privilege o Relationship between heterosexual script and the production of a “heterosexual imaginary”  “a belief system that relies on romantic and sacred notions of heterosexuality in order to create and maintain the illusion of well being” Chrys Ingraham  Kim et al. o Four specific elements of the heterosexual script  Sexual double standard  Sex as Masculinity  Good Girls  Courtship strategies  Masculine courtship strategies  Feminine courtship strategies  Attitudes to commitment  Masculine commitment  Feminine commitment  Homophobia  Male Oriented Homophobia  Appropriation of Female Homosexuality o Also the Six Pack, the Midriff and the Hot Lesbians all are part of the Heterosexual Script that Kim et al identify in relation to prime time TV  Two examples of the way that heterosexual script (female courtship strategies; good girl role) has material (real life) consequences for young women  Scripts emphasize that women are objects of someone else’s desire, not subjects of their own, and that the route to power for women is through their ability to control men sexually (Agent Provocateur ad)  Because of the good girl/bad girl dichotomy prevalent within our culture, we render girls’ desires unspeakable and our culture reinforces sexual norms of female sexuality by making the expression of women’s sexual desire (being desiring subjects not desirable objects) problematic (implication for rape prosecutions, sex ed)  Sexual Ethics abd Young WOmends Accounts of Heterosexual Casual Sex: Melanie Farvid o Casual sex : uncommitted Week 6: Violence Against Women  Rape Myths: o Myths circulate because they reinforce “believed” truth in spite of lack of factual evidence to support claim o Resonate on a cultural level o “generalized and widely held beliefs about sexual assault that serve to trivialize the sexual assault or suggest that it did not occur” 288 (Prevalence) o “refer to false beliefs and stereotypes regarding forced or attempted sexual intercourse and the victims and perpetrators of such acts” 730 (Television Viewing)  TV Viewing and Rape o Just society (good/good; bad/bad); violation of personal rights needs to be severely punished but most of assaults go unpunished, therefore they are not serious in the first place; “people have a powerful incentive to maintain rape myths as a way of bringing predictability and control to otherwise random events” – internalizing rape myths protect us from either being vics or perps o Demoralize vics, bolster perps, shift blame to vic, decrease reporting, not susceptible to rape because we are not like them (slut shaming)  Franiuk “Prevalence and effects of rape myth in print journalism” o Basics of the Kobe Bryant case o Conditions under which rape myths circulate o High % of articles perpetuated specific rape myths – tied to he said/she said nature of course (no external evidence) o Victim characteristics - Promiscuity & Mental illness o Perpetrator characteristics- Respectability & Race  Tracy Owens Patton “Katie R
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