Pornographic mainstream media

January 28, 2009 at 12:51 PM (Objectification, Pornography, Uncategorized)

Pussycat Dolls

“Sexy Can I” lyrics by Ray J featuring Yung Berg (Edited)

*Please take note of lyrics set in bold representing pornographic language

Sexy can I
Yeah, Yeahhh
All we wanna know is….

[Chorus:]
Sexy can I, just pardon my manners.
Girl how you shake it, got a n**** like (ohhhh)
It’s a kodak moment, let me go and get my camera
All I wanna no is, sexy can I.
Sexy can I, hit it from the front,
then I hit it from the back.
know you like it like that.
then we take it to the bed, then we take it to the
floor
then we chill for a second, then were back at it for
more
Sexy can I, just pardon my manners.
Girl how you shake it, got a playa like (ohhhh)
It’s a kodak moment, let me go and get my camera
All I wanna no is, sexy can I.

[Young Berg:]
Lil mama, it’s ya boy Youngin
G5 dippin, lui vuitton luggage (ay)
Gotta love it, ya boy so fly
All the ladies go (ohhh) when a n***** go by.
Gucci on the feet, Marc Jacob on the thigh
She wanna ride or die with ya boy in the shi.
That’s right, so I let her kiss the prince
so boyfriend, she ain’t missed him since.

[Ray J:]
Sexy can I, just pardon my manners.
Girl how you shake it, got a playa like (ohhhh)
It’s a kodak moment, let me go and get my camera
All I wanna no is, sexy can I.
Sexy can I, keep it on the low.
Got a girl at the crib, we can take it to the mo-mo.
You can bring a friend, or you can ride solo.
Let me get my camera, so we can take a photo.
(Oh,ohh,ohh) Now look shawty, look shawty.
Baby when we make love it’s like, (Oh,ohh,ohh)
(I don’t know what your man is like but shawty all I
want to know is)
sexy can I.

Sexy can I, visit you at work
When you sliding down the pole,
no panties, no shirt.
Then you climb back up the pole,
then you drop and do the splits.
How you make that booty talk
,
Baby damn, ???
(Oh,ohh,ohh) Now look shawty, look shawty.
I make it rain in the club like (Oh,ohh,ohh)
(I don’t know what your man is like but baby all I
want to know is)
Sexy can I

Sexy can I, just pardon my manners.
Girl how you shake it, got a playa like (ohhhh)
It’s a kodak moment, let me go and get my camera
All I wanna no is, sexy can I.

Young Berg:

I don’t care who’s ya boy hittin, or who Ray’s melon
When I give it to her, i know that she ain’t tellin’
See i’m a go getta and she a go getta
You already know she…
(Sexy can I)
Sexy can I sing for you red-eye
Fresh out the pool no towel
just let it air dry.
And if you ain’t .. tonight
Man you can watch that tour bus go by

[Chorus:]
Sexy can I, just pardon my manners.
Girl how you shake it, got a playa like (oh baby)
It’s a kodak moment, let me go and get my camera
All I wanna no is, sexy can I.
Sexy can I, hit it from the front,
then I hit it from the back.
know you like it like that.
then we take it to the bed, then we take it to the
floor
then we chill for a second, then were back at it for
more
Sexy can I, just pardon my manners.
Girl how you shake it, got a playa like (ohhhh)
It’s a kodak moment, let me go and get my camera
All I wanna no is, sexy can I.

Paris Hilton"The Hills" stars

Meredith Levande wrote in Women, pop music, and pornography, “Pornographic images are everywhere, but they did not magically appear. They are becoming increasingly corporate and are part of a larger business model. From the auto industry to wireless services to hotel accommodations, pornographic imagery has crept into the mainstream because it is owned by everyday companies.”  It is so easy for large companies, including The Big Six in media ownership, to sell pornographic images in the mainstream media, because they control all of it. With all of the convergence in ownership that happed in the Bush Administration, independent voices are unrepresented. Thanks to Britney Spears’ marketing campaign, we are left with young pop stars bridging the gap between “sexy” sixteen year old starlets and child pornography. Thanks to the Spice Girls, we see a pseudo-feminism backlash to actual feminist artists, in the “girl power” movement. The Pussycat Dolls are shown above straddling motorcycles, half dressed, with the word “domination” printed above the photo. This photo was the front cover for their 2008 album entitled “Domination.” With the back arching, and male fantasy of “doing it” on the back of his bike, it is clear that there is no girl power going on in the photo, only oppressed women using pornographic images to sell their album, and declaring to teen girls everywhere that “porno-chic” is cool.  The newly banned PETA commercial scheduled to air this Super Bowl Sunday, screams porno, and introduces a new fetish; sex with vegetables. The commercial could be put in the soft-core porn category, but it is not as shocking as some viewers may believe. Although the “objectification” of vegetables is “OK” (i.e. rubbing a pumpkin on a model’s vagina) these images are not new. Remember Paris Hilton’s Burger King Commercial anyone? Yes, that one. It makes you ask, were these testosterone driving Super Bowl Fans only turned off by the lack of meat? Would this advertisement be OK if it were women rubbing t-bones and porterhouse all over their breasts? Nearly naked women and meat…now that sounds like a man’s fantasy.  Another play into a man’s pornographic fantasy in mainstream media is the whole pseudo-lesbian theme. Not real lesbians, just really close “hot” friends willing to get it on a little to turn on a man. These images are everywhere. We even see twins being portrayed as lovers (think Budweiser and yes, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen).  Not only is this misogynistic, but can anyone say incest? “The Hills” stars, Heidi, Audrina, Lauren, and Whitney graced the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine in a photo that tries to balance the line between playful girlfriends, and playing in to the pseudo-lesbian fantasy.  We see Audrina who has in fact posed nude pushing up her hair gazing into the camera pelvis grazing Lauren’s rear, and Heidi standing almost on her toes (invisible stiletto) sticking her rear in to the camera’s main focus. All are wearing cute pajamas and panties making one question, “is this what my girlfriends and I are supposed to do at slumber parties?” Unfortunately many underage girls think that, thus donning the same attire and taking snap shots for their myspace.com pages.  These images are not going away, they are only getting worse.

            Thank you to Paris Hilton for being the obvious.

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Social Challenges

January 21, 2009 at 11:34 AM (Gender Norms and Expectations, Homosexuality, Uncategorized)

This week we will examine five images of sexual imagery being used as social critique or challenge.waygay

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The first image we see is an advertisement from Abercrombie and Fitch. Although there is no way of knowing for sure if this is a homosexual couple for not, the two men portrayed as laying around the house in a relaxed way. The gaze of the men looks to be directed at the male viewer, as this advertisement was found in the men’s clothing section of the 18 years-old and over catalogue. The shirtless man cuddles in closely to the clothed man. The both have mischievous smiles on their face which makes me wonder what exactly they were up to before lounging.  Rugby?  Probably not. Abercrombie and Fitch has made an effort to include pictures of couples of all sexual orientations, including a lesbian wedding photo in their clothing catalogue.

The Pink video has been revered as being one of the only pro women music videos that both celebrates female sexuality and transgresses the norms of it. While Pink may be a beautiful and sometimes scantily clad singer, the video “Stupid Girls” pokes fun at other young Hollywood starlets who compromise themselves for fame and fortune. Like the website Suicide Girls, Pink confronts the norms of male expectations. She makes fun of plastic, blonde, fake-breasted women and tries to show the little girl in the beginning of the music video that there is a power a woman can hold by being beautiful, smart, and athletic. Pink continues to challenge social norms of female sexuality while singing about girl power on her latest album.

The third image is from the Gay Times, a magazine published in the United Kingdom. Both images were posted in the Tube (London’s metro underground transportation), but one was banned. Both images suggest interracial male sexuality, but one was banned. Perhaps there was too much touching, and the fact that his hips were glued to his partner’s side gave him a personality, like a longing for one another. The second picture, which was allowed, only shows a man reaching behind the other man taking away affection, love, caring, and personality altogether. The man in front has a wide stance and a look on his face that declares “this is just a sexual image; I do not care about the model behind me.” While the touching of bodies, and face from the first image, show more than fashion. It shows a relationship, which was ultimately banned.  At least the Gay Times tried to challenge social norms.

The second video is from Bjorn Borg, a fashion designer who declares “Love for All” in her gay marriage friendly television advertisement. The ad features a church and wedding going on but does not allude to it being a male-male marriage until the final kiss. Not only is it a gay marriage, a female priest leads the ceremony. Bjorn challenges the norms of organized religion by saying, “love for all” and that women can be spiritual leaders also. While an ad like this has yet to make it to the United States, it is available for Americans to view on the internet and hopefully Europe will set the tone for acceptable sexual behavior on television; “Love for all.”

Bianco, a shoe company often features gay friendly advertisements in European catalogue and on the internet. In this photo, two women embrace one another on the edge of a bed. Although it transgresses norms of just hetero couples featured in ads, there are no shoes in the photo, and both women are barefoot.  I am not sure the advertisement exactly advertises anything they are trying to sell, but it is a step in the right direction. I say this because; these two women are not portrayed as pseudo-lesbians gazing in the male direction. Instead, they are portrayed as a couple that spends quality time together, and the soft touching of each other’s legs suggests a comforting relationship.

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“Objectified” vs “Empowered Sexuality”

January 13, 2009 at 9:22 PM (Feminist Theory, Objectification, Uncategorized)

What is the difference between images that objectify an individual in the media, and images that portray empowered sexuality? Let me define in my own words each concept before examining this weeks five images.

  • Objectified: The process of disregarding and depersonalizing a being, or a group of beings by making the subject nothing more than an object.
  • Empowered sexuality: Not to just fulfill a male fantasy (or other sexual partner, regardless of sexual identification) but to fulfill ones own sexual desires, images, and confidence. Could charge the sexuality of an individual, or group (often the oppressed group).     

Let us examine the next five images before analyzing them.

 

 

 

Tyra Banks for empowered sexuality

Tyra Banks for empowered sexuality

 

Barbi for empowered sexuality

Barbie for empowered sexuality

 

Marilyn Monroe for empowered sexuality

Marilyn Monroe for empowered sexuality

There are two objectified women portrayed above, and three sexually empowered women. Let’s look at the empowered images first.

 

             Model and television show host, Tyra Banks faced scrutiny for gaining weight after retiring from the modeling industry. She proclaims on the front of the People Magazine that she “still feels hot.” She is in a traditionally male stance, with legs apart showing her strength, and wears a one piece red swimsuit. Red signifies a lot of things, but here it stands for power and strength. She wears minimal make up, hair down, and no jewelry. The image of her stands in front of a white background, white signifying purity. Tyra’s image tells us that she values strength and confidence as beauty and empowered sexuality

 

            Barbie may not be a real woman, but many little girls aspire to be like her and have since the 1959. She is an unrealistic model of a woman’s body, in fact when replicated into a life size form, she falls over from having too big of breasts for too tiny of a body. But with the different waves of feminism Barbie has been updated to correlate with the lives of real girls and young women. During the third wave of feminism in the 1990’s Barbie started to own her own cars, mansions, make friends, own shops, etc. The Barbie in the image is part of the “I can be a….” collection. This Barbie is the “I can be a swim instructor” in the image. But Barbie can also be a “pet doctor” a gymnastics coach, a SeaWorld animal trainer, and the African-American Barbie has a culinary television show. All of these careers suggest either practicing, or perfecting a sport, learning leadership skills, and going to college. Little girls have more to look forward to in life than just being a hot roller skating babe now.

 

            Marilyn Monroe being chosen to represent empowered sexuality may come as a shock to some. Her entire career she was objectified as a sex symbol by the men that owned her contract. However in this picture she is photographed reading James Joyce’s novel “Ulysses.” This is both a lengthy and difficult read, especially for the nations bubbly dumb blonde. However Marilyn had an intelligent side, but the media decided that was not part of her marketing package. This photo was taken as a candid by a photographer walking through a park. Although Monroe still has lips open to a sexual pout, and does not look too comfortable, the fact that she let someone publish this photo shows her empowered sexual side. Monroe’s intelligence was more empowered than any nude shot she ever took.

 

            Beyonce was featured in a Direct T.V. advertisement in 2008. The video uses the age old “sex sells” theory by having her flaunt what her mother gave her. When we think of upgrading our cable we do not associate it with the images in this video. Beyonce is dancing in a tight gold dress, laying in sexually suggestive poses with the camera from the male’s perspective (on top of her, looking down) on top of piles of gold, and has a necklace in between her glossy lips that says “Upgrade.” During one dance scene Beyonce air “tickles” a man’s genitals, suggesting pleasure. Does upgrading our cable include this golden fantasy, and even sexual pleasure? I think not.

 

            Kate Walsh was used for the same reason as Beyonce, just for selling a car. The Cadillac, which is traditionally driven by the ultra successful Mary Kay sales women or those about to die, has a new mission: Sex the car up! The shifter is the cliché phallic symbol horny production nerds like to throw in, but Walsh’s language says it all. Her voice has a deep, soft, sensual tone as she dismisses important things like the navigator, and asks “when you turn your car on, does it return the favor?” She then pushes on the gas peddle with her stilettos, and revs the engine during the “climax” of her acceleration.

           

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Welcome

January 6, 2009 at 4:36 PM (Uncategorized)

Welcome readers,

  This is  a blog that fills a requirement for my communication 410 course at Portland State University, entitled “Sex and Media” taught by professor Jil M. Freeman. Each week I will examine five images/artifacts that are easily accessible to all ages that contain sexual imagery and messages.. The images will not be pornographic. In fact I would like my younger siblings to be able to read it, and learn from it. Although the content may be based from readings provided in a 410 level college course, the basic message is translatable for the use of educating youth (anyone under age 18 lets say). The artifacts will include lyrics, video clips from film, magazines, and so on. However none shall be so obvious, such as Maxim, Playboy, etc.  I hope to critically analyze each artifact and provide an academic perspective on sex in the media from the past, and today. If you wish to respond, please do so in a safe way that excludes any hate speech including but not limited to: racism, sexism, or homophobic language.

 Enjoy, and please by all means, feast your eyes and expand your mind!

-Brittany Dohman-Henning

PSU Senior and Communications Studies major

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