Sunday, December 16, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Battle of the Sexes

The new MTV reality dating show A Shot At Love With Tila Tequlia is said to be the ultimate battle of sexes and goes where no dating show has gone before. This MTV show is different and more eye-catching then The Bachelor or The Bachelorette because it is about the hot bisexual cyber chick, Tila Tequila, trying to find true love. Tila is tired of being hurt by both men and women and is looking for love. She does not know if at the end she will be lesbian or straight. According to MTV, other shows as well as certain musicians and actress, such as One Tree Hill or Madonna, have flirted with and somewhat embraced it but bisexuality was still the “stuff of winks and nudges.” Tila Tequila hopes to thrust this taboo into the spotlight and prove to society that flaunting your sexuality should be... “fun.” However, this seems to be such a popular show not because finally bisexuality is becoming accepted by society but because Tila, an ideal feminine “subject” parades around in sexy scandalous outfit as 16 “boobalicious” lesbians and 16 “manly” hot men follow behind. Who will society fall for- the men or the women?

The Vietnamese bombshell is popular for her scandalous photos in Playboy and Rolling Stones, modeling on top of hot cars at model shows as well as even being the spokesmodel for Nintendo. However, she is most known for her impact on the cyber world of society. Tila Tequila has over 2 million friends on one the internets most popular website, Myspace; creating a whole new social world across “cyberspace.” Men and women of all ages are just obsessed with her. With society’s ever changing definition of femininity, Tila fits and actually resembles the most current status of femininity- porn starish and sexual. As the media portrays that feminine figure as super skinny yet big-boobed and breasted as well as overtly sexual, women find themselves looking more up to women such as Tila Tequila and playmates such as Holly from the Girls Next Door rather than Hillary Clinton or Condaliza Rice. Women want to have Tila’s sexual drive, her perfect butt and breasts, her hour-glass shape and even he “perfect smile.” Girls learn from these reality shows that what is most important about them is their perfume, their clothing, their bodies, their beauty. Women are feminine through the cloths they wear, the perfume they spray on and of course their outer beauty-their body. According to Jean Kilbourne “their ‘essence’ is their underwear” (Kilbourne 260). To be feminine, women must hold an “essence” like that of Tila. On the MTV website they have a blog for Tila Tequila and one girl who was only thirteen said that she looked up to Tila and wanted to be just like her. Only thirteen and looking up to a porn star rather a women about to possibly be the first female president.

Tila says she likes the soft touch of a women but the rough aggressiveness of a man. So if a man was too much of a “mamma’s boy” or if a woman was “too butch” they would be sent home. However, Tila has kept one “butch” lesbian and has kept one “scrawny foreigner” amongst a batch of “lipstick lesbians” and “macho men.” Danni is the butch lesbian and through out the show she seems to have developed a very unique connection with Tila Tequila. Unlike her relationships with the 15 other lipstick lesbians, Tila really enjoys Danni’s company and already considers her a “friend.” Is this all Danni the firefighter can be- a “friend.” On the other sex, Domenico, the silly Italian is always there to make Tila laugh. She doesn’t seem to have that love connection with him, however, he continues to make it through elimination just for laughs. Besides those two, the rest of the girls are mostly blonde and all have big butts and boobs while the other 15 are white males with “hot bods.” Through the first few episodes the black men and women slowly got eliminated because they just didn’t have that “special connection” with Tila. It is now halfway through the show and every single woman and man is white. She is very comfortable with sexuality and seems to use her sexuality as her guide to love. In the very first episode, Tila made all 16 girls put on their sexiest outfits and based on the sexiness of the outfit and “naughtyness” of their presentation, she decided who would be sent home. The girls with revealing lingerie or sexy cat outfits or just had mini cards covering their private parts made it through the first elimination. However, the girls who went for laughs over sexiness again just didn’t have that “special connection.” In all the episodes so far Tila has sexy revealing outfits for every activity that they did, such as a hot ref uniform for the “bi-athalon.” She provided outfits for the girls and guys to wear through out the competition too. For example, in the most recent episode, Tila has the girls and guys team up together in sponge bathing suits (obviously the girls are in thongs and the men are in speedo like suits) to wash off Tila’s very dirty cars. The guys who couldn’t do pull-ups on the car while they cleaned it with their “manlihood” were sent home and the girls who couldn’t wash the windows well enough with their boobs and butts as water poured down their bodies also did not make the cut. She also bunks them all in one giant bed, like one big orgy and even has a sex chamber with a stripper pole and tons of sex torture/pleasure toys. And going back to the collage below, Cosmopolitan defines sexy as having a “built- in stripper pole,” your own blog/webpage and even naming a man’s penis. Tila Tequila seems to fit that perfect and is falling more and more into that role model position of society’s new femininity- sexiness.

Even though this is suppose to be a “reality” show, there are many parts of the episodes that are probably influenced or “tweeked” by producers. The sixteen lesbians are always portrayed as bitchy, back-stabbing, slutty bitches. The producers probably love that 16 lesbians are living with each other because what does that mean- girl on girl hookups, “cheating” on Tila. For one lesbian she was kicked off the third or second episode because not only did she hook-up with a man but also another lesbian. Tila said she was too much of a player and was playing with her heart. However, nor the male or other girl that she hooked up were sent home. It was ok for the guy to kiss a girl because hell she was a lesbian. According to Jennifer Pozner’s Unreal World, because reality TV portrays women as whores, the networks can be considered their pimps, providing men with sexy singles (Pozner 97). In this case, MTV provides men with a chance to have a famous bisexual as well as 16 hot lesbians to flirt with. The girls always bring the catty drama to the episodes. The guys bring the over aggressiveness and roughness to the episodes. The prime example is when Ashley, a jealous southerner, lashes out and physically hurts another man after he finds out he is going home. Tila likes the girls for their emotional sensual side and the guys for their strength and testosterone however; she doesn’t want too much emotion or too much power. Pozner also said that producers love to deprive the cast from contact with the outside world and then ply them with alcohol as well to push them to unleash their “petty grievances” (Pozner 98). The cameras seem to follow the girls who walk around the house in thongs and bras and are always the first to catch the drama. They love to focus on Tila’s “prime assets.”

When you visit websites about the show, they all end there report with good luck wishes to Tila in finding her right man—or right girl, as if society is rooting for the men. Is Tila searching for her true love or society’s true love? The world will find out soon if she found her Mr. Right or Ms. Right.

Work Cited
Kilbourne, Jean. “The More You Subtract, The More You Add: Cutting Girls Down to Size.” Gender, Race, And Class in Media: 258-260. Gail Dines and Jean M. Humez. 2003: 2nd edition.

Pozner, Jennifer. “The Unreal World.” Learning Gender:96-99. Henley, Nancy, and Jo Freeman. “Becoming a Women in Our Society.”Learning Gender: Chapter 2.

“A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila.” MTV website.1-3. <>

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Ladies, TODAYS’S THE DAY TO GET NOTICED! How you may ask? It is all about GLAM and IMAGE. SUCCESS for women is now about GLAM. Years ago femininity included being slightly overweight as sexy as well as pale skin and big fluffy dresses that covered women from head to toe. However, that definition of femininity has changed drastically through the numerous generations, although it always seems to focus on a women’s appearance. In just the 19th century femininity went from conservative stay-at home moms to hippie rebelliousness to disco sparkle half tops to crimped hair and leggings and finally to glam. Glam is what society defines as the new femininity. The magazine, Cosmopolitan, says “19 million women just went GLAM…the future is glam.” Glam consists of the new 5.5” heels, the now available in stiletto camel cigarettes, lip glosses, a hot pink dress and of course whatever HOLLYWOOD IS WEARING. As society falls more into the mindset of heteronormativity as well as classifying women by their physical appearance, women desire that “perfect image,” which is now glam. Women want to be considered “feminine” so badly that they beat themselves up mentally and physically. They are trying so hard to portray society’s changing definition of femininity. Women begin to desire to be appealing to society. Women desire to have men want them as well as to be accepted and therefore desire the glamorous identity even if it means getting a new hairstyle, losing 20 pounds or putting layers of “exfoliating” cosmetics to their faces. According to Anastasia Higginbotham’s, Teen Mags: How To Get a Guy, Drop 20 Pounds, and Lose Your Self-Esteem, “the pretty girl who knows how to play the game wins the prize. The “prize” being older, cooler, all-star boyfriends” (Higginbotham 93). Unfortunately, this game continues through out a women’s life. Magazines seem to support criticisms society has for women wanting to express their individuality. A women for example, who is gay or a tomboy, wouldn’t fit into the current femininity status, glam, because she doesn’t present herself to fit into popular society. Magazines portray that new “glam identity” and millions upon millions of “BODY BEAUTIFIERS” to create this “person.” They offer women thousands of tips to become “THAT GAL” (notice in the second collage) in the ad that every man desires. Naomi Wolf stated in her piece, The Beauty Myth, that “beauty objectively and universally exists. Women want to embody it and men want to possess women who embody it” (Wolf 121). They also influence women to use sexiness and looks to achieve money, work, men, etc. Magazines follow the life and fashion of young Hollywood and provide young teens how to “look” like Hallie Berry or dress like Kirsten Dunst. These young beautiful actress are looked upon as the “it” women. If you follow their style then you have a good chance of becoming “glam.” Their “looks” and styles are there to help you concoct your new sexy identity. However, women must understand what is SEXY from SKANKY and therefore fashion DON’TS are provided as well. If you look at what Cosmopolitan calls sexy, you will see a hot pink dress right above naming your guys penis as the top things. Sex is a big part of our feminine identity. The feminine look is starting to become more and more pornish and is normalized by society. Magazines see it “normal” to provide sex positions as well as “blended orgasm tips” helpful for women to be successful in our sexual society. Women want to look sexy for men because women want to find that movie love. That love you crave after watching The Notebook or the Cinderella Story. They will buy the perfume, eternity, because it represents love, a special bond, compared to the cheaper store-brand spray. Women prefer the perfume or make-up that portrays men lusting over the woman in the magazine advertisements because it brings their deepest desires of sex and love. A women’s new identity in society is glam. Viva glam. So look at this collage above, see all the tips, values and items that come together and create “glam”- hot pink dress, luscious platinum hair, golden stilettos, flawless make-up and of course a SKYY vodka martini. She is GLAM. And you could be glam too. Go ahead, make yourself DELICIOUS.


Higginbotham, Anastasia. “Teen Mags: How to Get a Guy, Drop 20 Pounds, and Lose Your Self-Esteem.” Learning Gender:93-96. Henley, Nancy, and Jo Freeman. “Becoming a Women in Our Society.”Learning Gender: Chapter 2.

Wolf, Naomi. “The Beauty Myth.” Female Beauty:120-125. “Gender and Women’s Bodies: Chapter 3.

"That Gal"

ladies and gentlemen....i know present to you .... "That Gal"

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Toy Socialization

Jillian Limone
October 1, 2007
Gender and Popular Culture
Blog Post 1
“Mamma I Want That Toy”

Toys, toys, toys! It can be so overwhelming sometimes. Toys are what every young child wants- Bratz, barbies, action heroes, building blocks, dress-up trunks, trading cards, arts and crafts, board games, legos, video games and the list could go on and on for pages. Toy stores are like the never ending Santa Christmas list. They seem to just have everything. You walk into today’s toy stores such as KB Toys and there are isles and isles of shelves, all full of toys. When you shop online the pages never seem to end when you click on the toy section. But why are the isles in stores color-coded; pinks and pastels for girls, blues for boys? And why are there categories online that designate “girl” and “boy” pages? Why do TV shows seem to “glitzify” girl’s toys and “masculinize” boy’s toys? And why are today’s toys growing up too fast for our children?

You always know when you hit the Barbie isle at the toy store. It is the bright pink pastel isle. I remember when I was young, right when I got into Toys R Us (my favorite store) I just looked for the pink isle because I knew that is were I would find all those beautiful dolls. I thought Barbies were what girls played with and trucks and building blocks are what boys played with. On TV you never ever see boys advertising Barbie dolls because god forbid if a boy owned a doll. Today; however, there isn’t just Barbies. There are Bratz, celebrity dolls and even nurturing dolls. According to Lull, more and more commercials are “normalizing” young girls to be the stay at home moms, the nurturers (Lull). For example, on the Toys R Us website there was a whole category under girls’ toys labeled nurturing dolls. The dolls were called “Lil mommy doctor” or “Lil Baby Check-up Center,” which included a complete doctor kit. When they displayed pictures of the set it always included a young girl taking care of the baby. Other dolls included the cabbage patch kids and each doll came with a bottle and kids book because it was the young girls “job” to feed and read to these baby dolls. Just like Barbies, the Bratz dolls have that perfect hourglass body shape, a delicate face with luscious lips and big blue eyes, long straight (usually blonde) hair, big boobs, a bootylicious rear and long slender legs. These Bratz dolls also had the stylist hip clothes and loads of glitter make-up. Even the celebrity dolls, such as the Hannah Montana doll, were designed in that “Barbie body” and not even close to what the actress really looked like. Girls see these “Malibu uberfigures” and try to mimic the look (Gilman 73). These young girls see the dolls wearing pounds of make-up and hip hugger jeans and therefore do that to themselves. When I was young, the dolls never came with make-up and we didn’t even think about blush until high school. Now all the Bratz dolls come with make-up and glitter so you can “be just like you’re my-size bratz doll.” Related toys included “My little Princess Dress Up” and “My first Purse.” I mean obviously girls are going to have purses when they are older so why not start them early. Girls as young as 10 are wearing belly-shirts and cover-up because that is what is “hip” in today’s society. These dolls are growing up fasting then the child which is causing young girls to think it is ok to skip a few years of their childhood. Society is classifying young girls as objects to look at through its toys and commercials.

In class we were given note cards which stated a child’s name or description and what he/she played with. I had an eight year old boy named Moe. Moe like to play with three things- action figures, sports cards and water guns. These are three things society again “normalizes” as boy toys. As I looked up action figures on the websites I found that just like barbies, action figures had a specific body structure. All the “good guy” action figures had gigantic, way out of proportioned muscles, stern faces and weapons of all kind. However, most of the “bad guy” figures were either extremely thin or extremely overweight, had distorted gross faces and as I heard a young boy once say, they “had the shitty bad weapons.” I even found a Homer Simpson action figure that had weapons as arms and again huge body muscles. Young boys see their movie or TV heroes, such as Spiderman, as action figures with large muscles and therefore believe a hero is someone with big muscles. The same time girls become interested in make-up, boys become interested in guns and having the perfect “action figure body.” Fat and ugliness is then distinguished as bad and evil. No young boy wants to look like the “bad guy.” I thought it was interesting that they did have a girl action figure. Finally a girl with power! However, that is not the case. This girl action figure was big boobed, wore a revealing bikini which somehow had weapons attached to it, had some muscle tone but again had the hour-glass body and was portrayed as the good guys “woman.” The action figures portrayed masculine hegemony. The women action figures were lower then the men and were extremely “sexified” so a young boy wouldn’t feel bad if he had a girl “doll” because hell look at the huge tits on it. Guns represent great power as well as maturity. Young boys like that power of a “gun” in their hand. My boyfriend goes clay shooting with his dad and older brother all the time and I remember asking why he liked it. He said he liked the power and that he felt like one of the older guys. With more and more violence pouring into our society through media, water guns and cork guns become more accepting and popular amongst young boys toys. Even though these toys can be dangerous and represent violence, parents seem to have no problem buying them for a gift. Boys are constantly judged by their ability and competitiveness in sports (Messner 122). Collecting sports cards is seen in society more “normal” amongst boys then girls. Just like young boys were told the key to acceptance is “winning” in sports, collecting cards was the same. It wasn’t about learning the players of each sport but instead about who had the best cards; the most expensive cards. According to Michael Messner’s article, boys want to live up and be better then their “role models” and hold all the school records and maybe even one day have their face on the front of an expensive trading card (126-127).

When I clicked on the toy websites I found a similarity run through them all. Each site had categories. You could tell which categories were “designated” for girls and which were for guys. The media has great authority over society, influencing views, ideas and even identities (Kellner). For example, Toys R Us website has pictures of only boys in the action figure category, building blocks, bikes and ride-ons, video games, trains, sporting goods and even science discovery. These are the categories that are thought to be for boys only. For girls, the categories included arts and crafts, dolls, pretend play and dress up, and music. These toys were for everybody’s “little princess.” What was strange was there was one category called “differently abled.” That was Toys R Us’s way of saying “toys for disabled children.” The toys are all very simple and to me kind of boring. As I was looking through the toys I saw there were no dolls or racecars or “complex toys.” I got the impression that they didn’t think disabled children could handle all the make-up that comes with dolls or put together a log cabin. Society seems to accept these categories in everyday life. Today it is considered weird if a guy likes playing with dolls or if a girl likes playing with racecars. But why? Why has our society allowed the media to hold so much control over our true identity as a unique individual?

Our culture, our society, our personality, our development, our identity are all manipulated and influenced by the never-ending media.


Gilman, Susan Jane. “Klaus Barbie, and Other Dolls I’d Like to See.”Learning Gender: chapter 2:72-75. 2000.

Kellner, Douglas. Cultural Studies, Multiculturalism, and Media Culture. Gender, Race, and Class in Media. 2nd edition. (2003): 9-19.

Lull, James. Hegemony.Gender, Race, and Class in Media. 2nd edition. (2003):61-67

Messner, Michael A. “Boyhood, Organized Sports, and the Constuction of Masculinities.” Journal Of Contemporary Ethnography.12 (1990): 120-137.

* all pictures were taken from the Toys R Us website