This week my blog will not be focusing on my readings and findings, instead a colleague of mine from the course. This week I will focus on Jennifer Combs’ blog, but specifically her first entry entitled “Empowerment vs. Objectification.” The link to Jenny’s blog is: http://www.stmjc.blogspot.com/
In regards to Christina Aguilera, it is not about what she is trying to do, remember intent does not matter. Throw intentions out the window. Instead, her image is molded, created, and owned by her record label. The analysis of this photo and her image does not come down to Aguilera as an individual. If she was an independent artist she could create her own image entirely. Instead the analyzing her as a product is necessary because she is under contract. What she sings, what she wears, how she dances and poses for photos all comes down to her record label. Her label observes how her competitors in the pop market are portraying their (Britney, Jessica, etc) image and take it to the next level. When the artists’ voice is taken away, this is when they are objectified. Aguilera’s image was drawn out, like a blueprint, molding, tested, and then set out to the market. Similar to a car, or a hairdryer; both objects, the root word of objectification. Her mold is set, and then she conforms. There is not an empowering voice, there is no voice. Remember that when a person is silenced, he or she is up for objectification.
The graffiti art is difficult to analyze, but Combs was brave to do so. Although I must disagree that the graffiti art is not absolutely empowering. I question who is objectified in this photo, the mother or the recipient of the poem? How do we know that the writer/artist was using this public space as a medium for expression and creating conversation around his or her piece? Is it possible that what he or she did was empowering? The correlation between R Kelly and the graffiti art unfortunately weakens the argument because the two subjects have no common ground. Instead of trying to use an R&B artist to strengthen an argument, why not look at other art? How has controversial art made its way into main stream media and advanced careers? It is possible that taking a leap for an artist is simply empowering. There were no names or photos represented in this art, so I would argue against objectification and say that his poem represents empowerment.
Oh the Coors Light twins. First of all, they are featured in a “light” advertisement. Most of the light beer commercials we see are geared toward women. Beer companies expect that only women that drink beer are concerned about counting the calories and that men could care less. I would argue that every individual for him or herself. Some men obsess about their image more than their female counterparts, and vice versa. It would more concrete of my colleague to take a stance on this particular photo instead of just leaving it as the fact that anyone can argue that is can be either objectification or empowerment. Instead, look at the correlation between pornography and advertisements in popular culture. A popular theme in the adult film world is the girl on girl DVDs. Remember that those women are being viewed through the male gaze and they are pseudo-lesbians. What about this photo caught attention from America? Of course the twins were the spotlight, and therefore it is important to analyze the notion of male fantasy including incest. The women themselves could argue it is empowering to pose for Coors and use their bodies for marketing purposes. But when you throw intent out the window, it leaves us with the correlation between pornographic images and mainstream media that includes latent incest messages. Whether or not the advertisement “worked” or not as my colleague argues is irrelevant. What is relevant is the analysis of the advertisement and how it reflects the cultural expectations in the United States.