Fighting with the Sky

Posts Tagged ‘gender norms

I keep seeing trailers for the new movie She’s Out of My League (which can be viewed here).  Movies like this really irritate me.  Women can date someone who is less attractive than them and it’s because he’s a “nice guy.”  But guys never date (in movies/tv) a woman who is less attractive than them.  And if they do, they try to make them over so that they are more attractive (I am thinking She’s All That type movies).  Even in movies where a man is deemed to be “slumming it” and dating someone “below his standing” (as in movies where a rich man dates a poor woman), the woman is still very attractive.

This trend is evident in looking at popular actors and actresses as well.  Male actors who are less attractive can get by with being funny or a good dramatic actor.  But there are few examples (yes, there are some, but not many) of female actors who is not physically attractive but is still popular because she is an amazing actress.

This doesn’t really leave a lot of hope for real life.  In real life, it’s not questioned as much when an attractive woman dates someone less attractive, because that guy must be a “nice guy” and “treat her right.”  But a man who dates someone who is less attractive than him is almost always questioned by friends, coworkers, even family.  How can an attractive man date someone who looks like that?  She must be good in bed…

*Note: in this post I am mainly talking about heterosexual relationships.  I know that that is not necessarily fair of me.  But the trend that I see in movies and tv usually tends to deal with heterosexual relationships.  And this probably has to do with the limited number of homosexual relationships that are accurately portrayed in pop culture.  And I am talking about heterosexual relationships because those are the kinds of relationships that I am most familiar with personally, both in my experience and experiences of friends.

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With the Olympics almost over, I have to admit that I have kind of become obsessed with Johnny Weir.  I think he’s pretty awesome and not only because he says things like this: “I think masculinity and femininity is something that’s very old fashioned.”  And not just because he does routines to Lady Gaga.  But because he is also an amazing figure skater, which is often overlooked in news coverage of him.

So why wouldn’t I love the latest installment of Current TV’s “That’s Gay” which focuses on Johnny Weir.  Please watch:

As some of you may have noticed, I had a little problem this weekend.  My blog was hacked and I couldn’t even get into my dashboard.  But thanks to the amazing meloukhia, my blog is back and almost entirely squared away.  I still have to work on the sidebars a little bit and address some minor things here and there.  But all in all, I’m back.

And I know I didn’t get to do a Wednesday link love this week as I was busy on Wednesday in addition to not feeling too well.  So here’s an extra long link love for the entire week!

Zero at the Bone: The Thirteenth Carnival of Feminists

Equality 101: Thoughts on the “Politics of Correction”

“How can I help kids gain fluency in Standard English – the language of power – without obliterating the home language which is a source of pride and personal voice?” – Linda Christensen

Gender Across Borders: Welcome to the Hip Hop, Resistance, and Feminism Series

This series focuses on hip hop and its interactions with patriarchy, racism, and other forms of oppression — both within and outside the mainstream pop world. From Nicki Minaj and gender-bending to resistance movements in Mali, this series reveals the varying faces and voices of hip hop.

I’ve really enjoyed this series from Gender Across Borders and this “welcome” post has links to all of the posts in the series, so make sure to check them all out!

Girl W/Pen: POP GOES FEMINISM: Deciphering Island Patriarchy: Finding Feminism in Lost

Lost has often presented ‘gender outside the box’ characters, suggesting being human is more important than being a masculine man or a feminine woman. After all, when you are fighting for your life, ‘doing gender right’ is hardly at the top of you priority list.

Small Strokes: On Body Image: Men and Advertising

Men suffer from body image issues just as women do, often as a direct result of the bombardment of images from the media. You’ve got your total binary here: men in commercials, movies, and TV shows are either super awesome ladies’ men with washboard abs and sweet sports cars or doofy husbands incapable of doing much of anything.

leap-year-movie-posterSo I saw Leap Year a week or so ago.  I really like Amy Adams and even though the movie looked to be pretty predictable and cheesy (which it was), I thought I would give it a try.

But the whole premise of the movie was all about gender norms.  Anna has been dating this jerk cardiac surgeon for four years (I think) and she was expecting him to propose before he went to Dublin on a business trip.  But he didn’t.  So she decides that she is going to go to Dublin to propose to him.  Sounds fine, right?  She wants to marry this guy and if he’s not going to ask her, then she’ll ask him.  But the only reason that she is doing this is because of an old Irish tradition where a woman can propose to a man on leap day…once every four years.

It’s still pretty standard, even today, for the man to propose to the woman.  But it’s not unheard of for a woman to propose to a man.  But this movie is telling us that women are not allowed to propose to men except for one day every four years.  A man is the only one that can propose marriage because it is the man essentially “buying” the woman with a diamond ring.

And this guy that she wants to propose to really is a jerk.  He doesn’t really care about Anna (Amy Adams).  He ends up proposing to her when they finally meet up in Dublin, but it turns out that it’s only to get an apartment (the tenant committee only wants married couples living there, apparently).

So it’s really no surprise that Anna falls in love with the guy, Declan, that she hires to drive her to Dublin once she gets to Ireland.  A bunch of horrible things happen to them that, of course, bind them together and they end up falling in love and getting engaged at the end of the movie.

As with most “chick flicks,” Leap Year also promoted the idea that a woman cannot live, cannot have a complete life without a man.  As Anna is flying to Dublin and they hit some turbulence, she starts freaking out about not wanting to die before she gets engaged.  She doesn’t feel her life is complete without that ring on her finger and a husband to call her very own.  Even in the end when she realizes that she doesn’t want to marry Jeremy, the jerk cardiac surgeon, she still ends up engaged to Declan because a woman’s life is not complete without a husband.

It is a good thing that she made the decision for herself that she didn’t want to marry Jeremy and didn’t enter into a marriage that she knew she wouldn’t be happy in just because she thought it would be the “right” thing to do.  That’s a good thing.  But the movie as a whole wasn’t really promoting the idea that women should make their own decisions.  Not at all really.  Leap Year told us women that men should make all the decisions about the relationship and how fast or slow things should be taken, especially when it comes to marriage.

It was a cute movie, though.  And there were definitely some entertaining moments, especially in all the the “trouble” that Anna and Declan got themselves into on their journey to Dublin.  And staring at Matthew Goode (Declan) for an hour and a half definitely wasn’t a bad things.  I would say that if you enjoy chick flicks and Amy Adams doesn’t annoy you (like I know she does for some people), I would suggest renting it when it comes out on DVD, but I don’t really think it’s completely worth the money to see it in the theaters.  Just my suggestion.

I can’t quite place it, but I have hated the Kleenex “Get Mommed” commercials ever since they started.  They bother me.  And then I went to the “Get Mommed” website just to see what it was all about.  It’s kind of worse.

But let’s start with the commercials.  There’s obviously a lot of emphasis placed on motherhood.  The voice-overs and slogans play off of the attention that a lot of mothers give to their children when they are sick.  I mean, when I’m sick –really sick, not just the sniffles — I want my mom there to take care of me.  When I’m not at home when that happens, I usually call home multiple times a day.  But not all mother-child relationships are like that.  And it plays off the idea that only women can be nurturing.  Why can’t dads take care of their kids when they are sick?

But the commercials themselves show mothers cooking, playing with, and taking care of random people who “choose” them to be their mother.  That’s not really taking care of them when they are sick.  That’s just choosing random women to be their mothers.  For some reason, I’m offended by this.  I can’t quite place my finger on it directly, but I know that it bothers me.

And then there’s the website.  The website relies heavily on racial stereotypes.  There’s the large black woman with a big personality, the latina with a big family, the rich white woman who wants everything perfect.  The website not only has all of the things that are wrong with the commercials, but also adds in racial stereotypes to make it “funny.”

Just in case you haven’t seen the commercials, I have added one of them here:

women_sex_book_01So the other day at work I discovered a book titled Why Women Have Sex.  Everyone seemed to be pretty amused by the title and were having a good laught about it.  But it made me a little uneasy.  After doing some further research, I determined that the full title is Why Women Have Sex: Understanding Sexual Motivations from Adventure to Revenge (and Everything in Between) by Cindy M. Meston and David M. Buss.

Now I haven’t read this book and all I really did was thumb through it, but it still bothers me.  Apparenlty the book contains a list of over 200 reasons why women have sex.

Apparently women can never have sex because they want to, there has to be a deeper reason behind it.  And I’m offended that “revenge” is one of the reasons that even made the title!

I hate that women’s sexuality has to be explained away and have a reason behind it.  Where is the book Why Men Have Sex, too?  Society thinks that men can sex at the drop of a button, they want sex all the time…but women have to have a logical reason.

I don’t want to comment on the book too much because I haven’t read it.  But I have the feeling I don’t want to read it either.

Sorry I have been kind of slacking on my weekly features this week.  The change in weather towards the chillier has made me feel like hibernating.  Hopefully I will be back in full (or at least more) force next week.  But to keep you up to date, here are some of my favorite posts over the past couple days.  As always, don’t forget to leave links to what you have been writing/reading!

The Fifth Carnival of Feminists is up at Zero at the Bone — and I’m featured!

Keep your “boyfriend jeans” away from my four year old [Feministing] – what gendered clothing and applying relationship norms to clothing means for children.

Today marks the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Many blogs have written some great pieces and interesting facts in honor.

What if you don’t want a bundle of joy let along a man to call your own? [Professor What If…?] – babies and hetero relationships are not a choice but a cultural imperative.

Books: Sexism in America [The Undomestic Goddess] – a great book review and look at a talk by the author.