Hollywood Beauty Part 3: Media Influence on Femininity

21 Dec

Welcome to the 2nd. article in our five week series on Women in Hollywood.

By Littlebells

In Hollywood Beauty: Part 1 & Part 2 articles, we have discussed how Hollywood defines beauty in both men and women.  What the media tells us how we look determines our overall happiness and success in life.  Our discussions have included aging, the impact it may or may not have on an actor, and how aging of an actor could influence the average persons own body image.

Today we will look at the influence and impact media has on femininity. Not only are girls and young women affected, but young boys and men also are affected in how they think women should look and behave. Below is a video entitled Miss Representation. It is written, directed, and produced by Jennifer Siebel Newsom. The message of this film is,

“…our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader…”[1]

Click here to watch video.

When it comes to video games, approximately 38% of female characters are dressed provocatively, 23 % baring cleavage or breasts, 31% exposing thighs and midriffs, and 15% exposing their bottom.[2]  Women are also used as sexual objects to sell a product along with using vulnerability to portray a possible victim of violence.  Included below are very informative and yet disturbing articles that I encourage each of our viewers to read:

Sex and Relationships in the Media

 Economics of Gender Stereotyping

In Genesis 2:18 God said, “It is not good that the man (Adam) should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”  God then created Eve. It did not say He would make a woman to be a slave, a sex object, a dumb-dumb, or a maid for man.  There are gifts given to women that men do not have.  One of the greatest gifts given to women is their femininity.  It is not found in the name brand clothes one wears, the latest hairstyle, or color of nail polish.  Femininity is found in a woman’s spirituality, sensitivity, graciousness, dignity, integrity, radiance, knowledge, inner strength, creativity, intuition, and zeal for life.   It is not up to the world to decide who we should be.  There are many women in media who display these qualities: Cate Blanchett, Phylicia Rashad, Barbara Stanwyck, Taylor Swift, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Degeneres, Kate Winslet, Tina Fey, and J.K. Rowlings, just to name a few.  And it is the blessed man who recognizes these qualities and helps to promote them in the women with which he surrounds himself.

Unfortunately the media isn’t going to change its image on women anytime soon. However, each of us can take a stand to be a better example and foster a more positive image of women amongst our youth today.  Hopefully LIH will be able to visit the issue of media’s influence on masculinity in the future.  This is a topic that is not just limited to women.

If you are interested in seeing the full-length feature of Miss Representation, please visit www.missrepresentation.org for screenings in your area.

 Please join us for a discussion Thursday 12/22/2011@7pmE/12UTC

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43 Responses to “Hollywood Beauty Part 3: Media Influence on Femininity”

  1. Open Book December 21, 2011 at 1:04 PM #

    LB!

    Great, Great article. I found it interesting in reading the second article u provided in your article. Regrading the economics of gender stereotyping that HW is blaming the continued use of stereotypes on International audiences.

    I would be interested in hearing what Ozzie and Sony has to say about this statement. Are International audiences more interested in seeing sex and violence in films?

  2. Comic Relief December 21, 2011 at 8:18 PM #

    LB,

    Thanks for taking on such a tough topic. 51% of the population is a hard number. I won’t argue, but I’ve always heard the percentage of women was larger.

    I imagine we’ll get a chance to talk about this during the discussion, but I’m beginning to wonder what we can do about this when so many in Hollywood don’t think there’s a problem.

    See you at the discussion…

  3. Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 7:15 PM #

    At 157.2 million the margin of females in the United States isn’t that much larger than men at 153.2 million. But after 85 the margin is gigantic though I’ve heard this gap is starting to shrink. I wonder whether gender parity is any better at the Senior Citizen’s homes.

    • Littlebells December 22, 2011 at 7:18 PM #

      I’m going to ASSUME yes considering women outlive men, most of the time. What’s sad is that even though there are more women, we don’t see the numbers in the work force.

      • Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 8:13 PM #

        I think the reason the gap in life spans is diminshing is more women are in the work force. I can’t prove this, but I think I heard this.

        If possible I will try to research that later.

  4. Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 7:15 PM #

    Filling in for Open Book:

    Hi Everyone!

    Welcome to our discussion tonight! Please jump in anytime.

    • Littlebells December 22, 2011 at 7:17 PM #

      HI CR,

      I have a comment awaiting moderation. haha!!!

      • Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 7:58 PM #

        Sorry,

        I can’t release it.

        • Littlebells December 22, 2011 at 8:01 PM #

          That’s ok, just know that it lists some really good websites to empower girls/women! 🙂

  5. Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 7:17 PM #

    We’re obviously waiting for LB. So I will start talking and may she or someone else will break in soon.

  6. Littlebells December 22, 2011 at 7:19 PM #

    CR,

    As a man, what is your opinion on the way women are portrayed? And I should also include girls, and teen girls as well.

    • Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 7:40 PM #

      Hi LB,

      Sorry should have refreshed.

      • Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 7:42 PM #

        To answer your question…

        During the documentary trailer from your article “Miss Representation” a number of women discussed the way women are represented physically yet not intellectually. I happen to notice this a lot In contemporary movies. Movies like “Hugo” and “The Ides of March” have women in them but the women don’t really do anything other than react, or look pretty yet their actions rarely help move the narrative along in any constructive fashion.


        This strikes me as complete fantasy because women in my life always do things that impact events, the environment, and the world around them.

        • Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 7:43 PM #

          sorry this always happens, heres the second clip…

          • Littlebells December 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM #

            Great examples, CR!

            Yes, I have found it extremely frustrating when a woman’s role in a film is just “scenery” and a light hearted distraction.

            One of the reasons I love Shirley MacLaine is because she takes on roles that have substance and give out doses of advise and wisdom. She’s not some wall-flower character. I am no means a fan of all her films, but I think highly of some of the films/roles she has chosen in her career.

            I think I have shared this clip before, but I feel this part in the film represents a strong woman who is full of love and compassion, but isn’t afraid to be a squeaky wheel to get things done.

            • Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 8:05 PM #

              I think this is an excellent example. Thank you, I see the women in my life playing the same roles.

              • Littlebells December 22, 2011 at 8:07 PM #

                Why do you think a lot of women are afraid to stand up for themselves morally and intellectually?

                • Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 8:28 PM #

                  LB,

                  I really don’t know why. They seem to in the real world yet Hollywood doesn’t really seem to want to represent that aspect of women’s real lives.

                  Here’s Chloe Moretz doing the interview rounds, obviously a very thoughtful girl, the movie doesn’t really rely on this brain at all. Everything unearthed in th movie is shared with another male character as though she has no intellectual gifts of herself own.

                  • Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 8:32 PM #

                    Sorry: …of HER own.

  7. Littlebells December 22, 2011 at 7:25 PM #

    Also, What women in media do you think truly define the epitome of a positive role model for females? Are their any film or television roles that are empowering to women?

    • Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 7:47 PM #

      I think women should answer whether women are empowering to them.

      In the real world these women are empowering to to me:

      Women who change history:
      Inventors:
      Ida Rosenthal: The bra
      Ruth Handler: Barbie
      Madame C.J. Walker: Hot comb/ hair straightener

      Political Activists:
      Eleanor Roosevelt: Populist activist
      Ella Baker: Civil Rights activist
      Rosa Parks: Civil Rights activist
      Gloria Steinem: Women’s’ Rights Activist

  8. Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 7:51 PM #

    Though inspiring, most of these women give you the impression that women only act when they are doing things that directing address women. All of these women prove differently:

    CNNMONEY: 50 MOST POWERFUL WOMEN IN BUSINESS
    http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2010/fortune/1009/gallery.most_powerful_women.fortune/4.htm

    Top Ten:
    1. Indra Nooyi:
    Chairman and CEO: PepsiCo

    2. Irene Rosenfeld
    Chairman and CEO: Kraft Foods

    3. Patricia Woertz
    Chairman, president and CEO: Archer Daniels Midland

    4. Angela Braly
    Chairman, President and CEO: WellPoint

    5. 5. Andrea Jung
    Chairman and CEO: Avon Products

    6. Oprah Winfrey
    Chairman: Harpo and OWN

    7. Ellen Kullman
    Chairman and CEO: DuPont

    8. Ginni Rometty
    SVP, Group Executive, Sales, Marketing, and Strategy: IBM

    9. 9. Ursula Burns
    Chairman and CEO: Xerox

    10. Carol Bartz
    President and CEO: Yahoo

  9. Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 7:56 PM #

    In your first article, “Sex and Relationships in the Media” there is a quote;

    “Provocative images of women’s partly clothed or naked bodies are especially prevalent in advertising.”

    LB, why do you believe these images are circulated a frequently as they are?

    • Littlebells December 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM #

      Good question CR. Let me think about it. Also thank you for providing your lists of accomplished women.

      • Littlebells December 22, 2011 at 8:20 PM #

        Well, after thinking about it, I think it goes back to sex sells and if “If I use this product, I will look just as sexy as her.”

  10. Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 8:03 PM #

    Lb,

    In your second article, there is another quote:

    “All advertisers are chasing the elusive 18- to 34-year-old male market. Little wonder that the starring role in two-thirds of TV situation comedies is played by a young man.”

    If women make up half of the population why not seek out there attention?

    • Littlebells December 22, 2011 at 8:16 PM #

      Wow CR, another fantastic question that I really don’t have an answer. I feel like I should conduct a field study and get viewers opinions. Why do women like lifetime? And I’m asking that as a woman who finds it comedic!

      It would be interesting to find out what type of show women in that age bracket want to see. What genre attracts them? I know there are many who don’t like soaps and cheesy romance but like to be intellectually stimulated, but I can’t speak for them.

      Personally, I like seeing women play roles that any man can play: Detective, surgeon, philosopher, constructor, CEO, etc…

      • Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 8:30 PM #

        “Personally, I like seeing women play roles that any man can play: Detective, surgeon, philosopher, constructor, CEO, etc…”

        Beleive it or not, a lot of men find this sexy also.

        • Littlebells December 22, 2011 at 8:32 PM #

          I do agree, and hopefully more will speak up in HW to promote these roles!

  11. Littlebells December 22, 2011 at 8:29 PM #

    Another element besides film and TV is the music industry. Women are degraded in lyrics and videos. It use to be more blatant in lyrics but now it’s been beautifully crafted by innuendo. Young kids are singing songs about sex and drugs and not even realizing it because of the terms being used.

    I am thankful for young singers like Taylor Swift who aren’t dressing or singing about degrading or adult themes.

    • Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 8:39 PM #

      LB,

      You say you like Taylor Swift. I remember at one time there were a lot more women’s concerts for women artists. If I remember right women were the predominant audience.

      Off the top of my head I’m remembering a range of women who made a lot of this music; Indigo girls, Salt ‘n Peppa, and many many others.

      Do you think we need more of these events and artists?

  12. Littlebells December 22, 2011 at 8:32 PM #

    CR,

    I am afraid, I need to cut it short this evening. However, until my other post pops up, I wanted to leave these websites:

    http://www.girlsforachange.org/
    http://believeinbeltifi.webs.com/aboutus.htm
    http://sheheroes.org/2011/02/10-websites-we-love-that-are-helping-empower-girls/

    Perhaps with enough women increasing their inner strength and self-wroth we can begin to see better female roles, less racy advertisements, and an overall appreciation for women.

  13. Littlebells December 22, 2011 at 8:33 PM #

    CR,

    I am afraid, I need to cut it short this evening. However, until my other post pops up, I wanted to leave these websites. Perhaps with enough women increasing their inner strength and self-wroth we can begin to see better female roles, less racy advertisements, and an overall appreciation for women.

  14. Littlebells December 22, 2011 at 8:34 PM #

    http://www.girlsforachange.org/

  15. Littlebells December 22, 2011 at 8:34 PM #

    http://believeinbeltifi.webs.com/aboutus.htm

    • Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 8:44 PM #

      Those are great web sites. I don’t know if this in an innovation, but if I were parent I would really be glad I could rely on those sites.

  16. Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 8:55 PM #

    I’m sorry if it seemed that I stumped you earlier, actually this liberation practice really needs executed by women and men together.

    I wanted to provide what I think may be an example of this. After Twilight it appeared that Katherine Hardwicke was fired without giving her an opportunity to direct a movie with CGI in it.

    In “Little Red Ridinghood” it appears that Leonardo Dicaprio gave her that opportunity. Hope I’m right. this seen has a CGI sequence.

    • Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 8:56 PM #

      sorry for he bad spelling.

  17. Comic Relief December 22, 2011 at 8:55 PM #

    See everyone later.

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