YouTube Video: Ali G on Feminism!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Final Blog Post: Audiences and Ali G

Audiences are the people that watch television shows or movies. There are various groups that watch these aspects of the media, and have contrasting interpretations and opinions on the media content; these various groups include genders, ethnic groups, and general viewers sharing different opinions. “Members of distinct genders, classes, races, nations, regions, sexual preferences, and political ideologies are going to read texts differently, and cultural studies can illuminate why diverse audiences interpret…in various, sometimes conflicting ways.” Much of the content on the Ali G Show is extremely controversial. However, the show is meant to be a comedy, so much of the scandalous content is overlooked due to the fact that it is all in good humor. Even so, various groups in the audience experience different reactions when watching the Ali G Show.

The first group that comes to mind is women. Speaking from personal experience, I feel that women are affected differently than men while watching the Ali G Show and internalizing the messages the show is conveying to the audience. As one can see after reading previous blog posts, women are frequently the source of ridicule and harassment. Ali G and Borat are constantly making fun of women throughout the episode. For example, in one episode Ali G jokes that one bad thing that could come out of sex with a woman is a relationship. Borat is constantly making jokes that humiliate and degrade women. For example, he frequently discusses his beautiful sister, who happens to be the number one prostitute in Kazahkstan. Also, both Ali G and Borat interview feminist scholars on two different occasions. They succeed in humiliating and angering the women they interview by asking them offensive questions and making sexist comments such as stating women cannot drive well.

While all these jokes about women are supposed to be amusing, for a woman, it is offensive, even for those women who do find it funny and laugh along. I, for example, watch the show and laugh at the many jokes made about women, but then on second thought, I realize how degrading they are to women. It would be less offensive if I knew that the audience definitely did not agree with the stereotypes being enforced in the show. But in reality, society finds truth in the stereotypes from which the female jokes on the Ali G Show sprout. Stereotypes such as women are bad drivers, or are a pain to deal with in a relationship, or are mere objects of sexual desire, are all stereotypes that manifest our culture to this day. Therefore, these jokes, while they may seem harmless to the male audience, the female audience still finds them to be an attack on their gender, even though at surface value, they too find the content amusing.

Another group of audience that may interpret the Ali G Show differently than other groups of audience is different ethnic groups that are the source of mockery. For example, Jews are constantly made fun of by the character Borat. What is interesting, however, is that Sacha Baron Cohen, the creator of the Ali G Show, is Jewish himself. So while this may be of some consolation to Jewish audience members, the truth is that the jokes made can be considered offensive and hurtful to Jews. However jokes about Jews appear to be more satirical than joke about females. For example, in one episode, Borat goes to a bar located in Tucson, Arizona. He sings a karaoke song about Jews. The lyrics were as follows: “Throw the Jew down the well, so my country can be free, you must grab him by his horns, and then we’ll all have a big party.” The people in the bar begin to sing along with Borat, and the scene is amusing, not because of the offensive song, but because the people in the bar look like complete fools blindly singing along to this ridiculous song. But an episode like this could be interpreted as either extremely degrading to Jews, or as a mockery of those who blindly believe that Jews are not good people.

The two final contrasting groups of audience differ in terms of simple opinions about the Ali G Show. There are those who believe that the show should be taken for face value; it is a controversial, yet hilarious show that should not be viewed through an analytical lens. While it indeed discusses risqué subject matter, such as females, sex, ethnic groups, drugs, etc., people should not feel threatened by these stereotypical, sexist, racist jokes. However, on the other hand, there are those who feel that shows like this are enforcing stereotypes that are damaging society. These stereotypes that society is trying to overcome, such as racism and sexism, are simply being reinforced and internalized by society once again like the Ali G Show. I find myself somewhere in between; I feel that responsible members of society can watch a show like the Ali G Show and be able to laugh at the jokes made, but be able to draw the line between jokes in a satirical show and reality. But it is true that many members in society cannot be trusted to successfully draw this line between television and reality.

Kellner, Douglas. A Cultural Studies Approach.

Feedback from Spencer H, Author of "The Office and Popular Culture"

You show strong analytical work when you discuss gender and hegemonic norms as seen on “Da Ali G Show,” as well as in the Borat movie. You use great examples from these two sources to discuss and incorporate very relevant course readings.

You could definitely use this analytical strength for your final Blog post and presentation. Gender and hegemonic norms have been key topics in this course, and they are also key topics found in “Da Ali G Show.” One possibility would be for you to find one overall message related to gender that you feel is most prevalent on “Da Ali G Show.”

Your topic is clearly the center of all of your posts, except for the “Girls Next Door” post and the first collage.

It is clear that this is a topic that you are interested in. You use many examples from both “Da Ali G Show” and the Borat movie in your posts, which shows you are very knowledgeable of the topic. You also mention in “Ali G, Hegemony, Counter-Hegemony, Oh My!” that you watch the show for entertainment.

All of your posts are very well thought and clearly presented. You use gender as a primary category of analysis, backed up by relevant readings, in all of your topic-related posts.

All of your posts make clear, analytical arguments. You even analyze your collage and the “Borat 101” post that you responded to. The posts are well constructed and clear, and you always use evidence from the show, movie, and course readings to connect “Da Ali G Show” to the post assignments.

The sources you use, being both the show/movie and relevant course readings, are all clearly relevant to the topic being discussed. You use many examples from these sources in each of your posts as evidence of your arguments.

You use a broad range of course readings to provide quotes for your blog, and in several Blogs you use multiple course readings.

Your quotes are all clearly placed within your arguments, and it is easy to tell when you are referring to a source and when you are proposing your own argument.

I thought it was great when you put up the video of Ali G on feminism. It’s a very funny clip from the show and it’s also very relevant, as you analyze that interview in “Ali G, Hegemony, Counter-Hegemony, Oh My!”

I found it confusing when you responded to “Borat 101,” because it seems like you go off on a somewhat of a tangent and stray from responding to the post.

You’re really great at analyzing “Da Ali G Show” and the Borat movie from a gender perspective. Your arguments are always backed up by examples from these sources, as well as course readings.

You’re really great at analyzing “Da Ali G Show” and the Borat movie from a gender perspective. Your arguments are always backed up by examples from these sources, as well as course readings.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Blog Buddy Work with Spencer H, Author of "The Office,"and Popular Culture

1. Where has your Blog buddy shown strong analytical work (be specific—is it a particular post, a type of analysis, a site for analysis that seemed to click more so than others, etc)?

2. How could your Blog buddy use this strength for the final Blog post and presentation?

3. Think about the following statements in relation to your Blog buddy’s Blog and then provide feedback on each area (constructive praise/criticism):

The Blog is on a topic that has been clearly evident in the Blog posts throughout the semester

The Blog is on a topic that seems to interest my Blog buddy

My Blog buddy’s topic is one that has produced a good set of posts that were analytical used gender as a primary category of analysis

The posts make analytical arguments. The posts are understandable and each post logically outlines and supports the argument presented. The posts were clear, provided insight, evidence, and analysis to connect the topic with the assignment for each of the posts

The sources cited in each post are relevant to the topic and help to aid the understanding of the argument and/or assisted in proving the argument.

The quotes used illustrate a broad range of course readings throughout the semester.

The quotes were clear and succinct; additionally, the material was presented so that I could differentiate the Blog buddy’s ideas from that of the author cited.

4. Finally, complete the following:

I thought it was great when you...

I found it confusing when you…

You’re really great at…

I wish you could focus (more) on/alter/edit/explain/expand on/etc these three things…

(Basically, when you read the Blog posts, what do you wish your buddy had done differently, more of, etc?)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Borat: All Publicity is Good Publicity?

The Ali G Show has certainly experienced its share of the media limelight since its debut on HBO in 2000. With its racy content and original twist on the typical comedy show, the series has received a considerable amount of publicity; the show has won six television awards and continues to be aired on HBO due to popular demand. The Ali G Show exploded into the mainstream media with a bang when Borat made his first appearance in theaters with his big screen movie, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.” Before its premiere in theaters, the Borat craze permeated the newsrooms, entertainment channels, and movie reviews in both magazines and newspapers. Borat’s movie was considered a “must-see” by many aspects of the media; critics raved about the hilarity of socially challenged foreigner Borat traveling across America and learning about U.S. culture, while making a fool out of both himself and others along the journey. However, while Borat’s movie was praised feverishly by many at first, later on, these same aspects of the media began to express contrary opinions. After the movie’s release, news stories about Borat continued to appear on television, in newspapers, and online. However instead of hearing about how funny Borat was, news stories about lawsuits and controversy began pouring into the newsrooms. The Ali G Show has seen both good and bad publicity, you know that old cliché: “all publicity is good publicity.” Despite controversy in the media over Borat, there are still plenty of American fans who’d give him a “high fiiive!”

Ian Youngs, entertainment reported for BBC News, discusses the controversy over Borat’s movie, particularly focusing on hegemony and the degradation and humiliation of women in his article “How Borat Hoaxed America.” The bold heading in the online article reads “Borat…is expected to score a box office hit by offending and humiliating real Americans in a new movie.” The news in this particular article is inferring that Borat is offensive, “shocking and provocative.” By simply looking at these bolded headings, the reader can sense the negative opinion this reporter, and the media in general, has toward Borat. In the movie, Borat interviews three female members of the Veteran Feminists of America. These women are unaware of who Borat is; they are told by producers that they were being interviewed for a documentary aiding third world women. However, as the article continues to explain, Borat begins asking questions that are blatantly mocking the member’s causes. Borat discusses his country’s advances; women now only have to walk three steps behind men as opposed to ten steps in the past. He asks the three members how he could contact Pamela Anderson, and at the end of the interview requests that the women lift up their shirts. As you can imagine, this comment called for an immediate end to a humiliating interview for these three women. By the description of the interview relayed by Youngs in the article, it is obvious that the BBC news is frowning upon Borat and the insulting and humiliating ways he succeeds in making America laugh.

The article repeatedly calls those who were interviewed by Borat for the movie “victims.” This one word is overflowing with negative connotation; a victim is someone who is threatened, harassed, or attacked. Interviewees like the three feminists were verbally harassed and mocked. Their beliefs and opinions about their cause were threatened, while their credibility as a legitimate organization fighting for the well-being of third world women was attacked for all of America to see. In this particular interview, women in general were mocked and humiliated; Borat’s statement about women’s brains being smaller than men’s, for example, infers that he believes the myth that females are not as intelligent as males, hence they are inferior. Also, his request for them take off their shirts emphasizes and further enforces the already established stereotype of females being mere objects of sexual desire. Young’s choice of words therefore helps to convey the overall reaction of BBC news and media in general. From this article the reader can see the shock and disdain the some aspects of the media wished to express concerning the controversial film.

Borat’s interview with the three feminists is especially controversial in that it indeed enforces the already established mindset that feminist are something of whom to make a mockery; feminists today are still considered extreme, man-haters who are eccentric in their beliefs about gender equality. This interview only made it seem funnier to make fun of feminists. In Marisa Ragonese’s article entitled, “Riot Grrrls Castrate Cock Rock in New York,” we see how society finds it acceptable to attack the beliefs of feminists. On a popular New York rock station, talk show hosts ridiculed the feminists protesting about the absence of female rock artists on the air. The day of the protest, dj’s allowed a protester to talk about their cause, only to make fun of their cause after the representative left. The feminist protesters provided the rock station with plenty of negative things to say about feminists (Ragonese).

As one can see after reading Youngs’ article and this analysis, the Borat movie and its portrayal of various stereotypes, especially those concerning gender, is the primary reason for the abundance of press that it has received since its release. Controversial issues are what make the news and media thrive; Borat’s movie is prime material for the news and media to scrutinize through a somewhat gendered lens.

-Miss Nooch

Ragonese, Marisa. “Riot Grrrls Castrate ‘Cock Rock’ in New York.”

Youngs, Ian. “How Borat Hoaxed America.” BBC News.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Collage: The Winsome Women of the Ali G Show

Men often feel that their masculinity is threatened by the intimacy and commitment a serious relationship with a woman entails. “Sexual relationships are games in which women are seen as opponents”(276). Therefore, some men view dating as a sport, and “scoring” or having sex becomes an act of winning, not a sexual act involving emotions and love. It is internalized in men as adolescents that sex is power. “Scoring” results in “man points” in the realm of masculinity. This mentality results in the objectification and degradation of women. Women are objects in which men can achieve and win through sexual exploits. In the Ali G Show, women are often portrayed as objects of sexual desire. For example, in each episode, there are brief intermissions between skits where women dressed in bikinis or extremely tight leotards dance provocatively, either with each other or with Ali G. In addition to this visual example, Ali G frequently comments on women and the complications they create. For example, in one clip, Ali G states that in addition to contracting herpes or “the clap,” another risk one takes when engaging in sexual activity is getting involved in a relationship. The belief that women are sex symbols is blatantly portrayed in the collage. In many photos promoting the Ali G Show and his movie “Ali G Indahouse,” some women are posing in positions inferring sexual acts, while others are simply arm (or body) candy for Ali G. As for Borat, the bottom photo is a picture of the premiere of the Borat movie; women dressed up as peasants from Kazahkstan are pulling the wagon carrying Borat. The top photo, also one from the movie, is of Borat and his sister, “number one prostitute” in Kazahkstan. The rest of the photos are pretty self-explanatory...

-Miss Nooch


Sabo, Don. The Myth of the Sexual Athlete.

Photo Credits:

Ali G, Hegemony, Counter-Hegemony, Oh My!

The Ali G show is the essential jackpot for analyzing gender and popular culture. The hit HBO series is composed of skits and interviews conducted by three characters: Ali G, the urban, British macho character, Borat, the Jew-hating foreign character from Kazakhstan, and Bruno, the gay Austrian character obsessed with fashion and celebrity gossip. These three entertaining personalities are all played by British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, creator of the Ali G Show. While this entertaining show and its controversial topics of discussion have received positive feedback from the majority of its viewers, many viewers and critics scold the series for its severe political incorrectness concerning issues like gender, race, and religion. I have watched most of the episodes for the purpose of entertainment. Now, as a student in Gender and Popular Culture, I am ready to watch these episodes yet another time through the lens of gender.

The Ali G Show relays multiple messages to its audience concerning hegemony. The discussion of females in various interviews and skits constantly emphasize stereotypes prevalent in today’s society. For example, in one particular episode, Ali G interviews a professor of Women and Gender Studies about Feminism. Ali G asks the professor if she would feel safe with a woman flying a plane; he explains that women easily get distracted by thoughts about other things. Ali G infers that women are poor drivers and operators of machinery. He also infers that women are too emotional to function and carry-out actions that men are considered to excel in because they don’t let emotions interfere. This idea of sex-segregated activities and occupations is internalized at childhood, according to Michael Messner, author of Boyhood, Organized Sports, and the Construction of Masculinities. Men feel that certain activities, whether it is occupations or sports, like in the article, should be reserved for men only; this misogynist idea is conveyed through Ali G’s comment (127). This interview overall is a mockery of feminism; during the interview, Ali G confuses feminism with lesbianism. This mere slip-up is actually a big slap in the face for feminists and women alike. Society’s ignorant members have formed the stereotype that feminists are “butch” or lesbians that hate men. Through this comment, he is reaffirming this established stereotype of feminists. In another episode where Ali G is attempting to publish an erotic novel, Ali G explains the risks of engaging in sexual activity, one being a relationship. In Myth of the Sexual Athlete, Don Sabo discusses how in sexual relationships women are viewed as opponents (276). Intimacy is frowned upon, especially among young males. Also, in an interview with a publisher, he refers to his girlfriend as “Me Julie,” or if said properly, “My Julie.” While this is merely a subtle reference to his girlfriend, the fact that he uses “my” infers possession, like his women is his property. During a pro-life demonstration, Ali G interviews a young man who claims he is a virgin; Ali G laughs at him in disbelief. This reaffirms the popular trend that the younger a male is when he loses his virginity, the more accepted he is among other males. Don Sabo makes the point that young males feel the need to boast about their sexual experiences; it is like “winning points,” for being masculine (275).

While Ali G is constantly making hegemonic comments in his interviews and skits, both subtle and blatant, the show surprisingly conveys a number of counter-hegemonic messages as well. This is partly due to the face that the show is a form of a satire. For example, Ali G’s character is an exaggerated mockery of the stereotypical urbanized macho man; Ali G doesn’t speak proper English, his style of dress is simply ridiculous (goggle sunglasses, a do-rag, yellow baggy jogging suit, “bling”), and he is constantly misusing and confusing words with others (monogyny/mahogany, feminism/lesbianism, Mormon/moron). This satirized portrayal of this typical masculine figure is contradicting hegemonic messages. Also, during the Feminist interview, Ali G asks if there will ever be a Female Prime Minister; the woman tells him that there has been one. He is clueless when it comes to politics of his own country, while the female is worldly and knowledgeable about a topic of interest that stereotypically is solely a concern for men. A final example in the show that conveys a counter-hegemonic message is Ali G’s confusion concerning feminism and lesbianism. While this also served as a source of hegemony, it also shows the stereotypical male’s failure to understand the concept of feminism.

The Ali G show is unique in that it both reaffirms and challenges social norms and stereotypes concerning gender. The examples of hegemonic messages in the show mentioned earlier generally reaffirm these stereotypes about females. However, depending on the viewer, one can argue that even the examples previously mentioned do not reaffirm, but emphasize and satirize the irrationality behind these gender stereotypes. In my own opinion, I believe it could be interpreted either way; it depends on the viewer. For example, a young teenage boy watching the show would internalize the degrading female stereotypes and consider them true. However, a knowledgeable college student aware of the falseness in these stereotypes would interpret the hegemonic comments as simply satirical. But it seems that majority of viewers would simply find it funny, yet not necessarily realize that the female stereotypes touched upon in the show are false and degrading. Therefore the majority of society is unconsciously exposing themselves to and internalizing these stereotypes, condoning their presence in American popular culture.

-Miss Nooch


Messner, Michael A. Boyhood, Organized Sports, and the Construction of Masculinities.

Sabo, Don. The Myth of the Sexual Athlete.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Borat 101- Adrian

"There’s been some talk in the cab of late about Borat the movie. For me, the character Borat is simply the consummate idiot, a crasser Jerry Lewis. I can’t wait to see the movie and from the trailers it appears his character repeats the style of his TV routines, albeit with a flimsy premise.

However whilst many regard Borat as the most ‘wrong’ movie ever, i.e. totally non-politically correct, strangely, many vocal adherents of political correctness are willingly subjecting themselves to the movie and loving it.

Last night an inner city passenger around forty years of age revealed she had just seen Borat. When I asked her what she thought of the movie she expressed an opinion prevalent amongst various reviewers. ‘Well, it has a huge cringe factor’, she explained, ‘but it’s an important satire on deep-seated American racism and sexism’.

This is what puzzles me about acceptance of Borat’s humour from otherwise hyper-sensitive viewers. Previously I hadn’t seen social commentary in Borat’s TV skits, on the Ali G show. He was basically having a bit of fun by foisting his ridiculous character upon unwitting subjects, a la Norman Gunston. That he could be so audacious in public is what I found hilarious."

-Excerpt from Borat 101

I agree with Adrian's analysis in that Borat’s movie is not a film produced with the intention to inform and expose society to the perils of gender, racial and religious stereotypes. It simply is a film that thrives on the controversy it creates over its scandalous, yet entertaining content. In a society obsessed over political correctness, Americans are attracted to the risqué jokes and stereotyping that are generally considered taboo to talk or joke about. However, like Adrian mentioned in his blog, people feel guilty about finding racist, religious, and sexist jokes entertaining. By society, particularly the media, altering the purpose of the film, stating that the movie’s purpose is to expose the ridiculous stereotypes that Americans accept and believe to be true, guilty Americans have a legitimate excuse to laugh out loud at the movie. I suppose I am guilty of this as well; when I watch the Ali G Show, I laugh at the controversial jokes, but I know they’re wrong and hurtful toward the groups of people they make fun of.

When jokes are directed towards women, I feel uncomfortable and sometimes even disturbed by the messages these jokes send to other viewers, especially those who do believe in the female stereotypes. For example, in the movie, Borat is surprised to learn that women have freedom America; a man needs consent to have sex with a woman. The American man finds it amusing when Borat is surprised and disappointed by his response, as if he too finds it disappointing. Also, the wedding sack scene degrades women in that Borat believes that it is perfectly humane to trap your prospective spouse in a burlap sack and go get married. Yes, these two scenes are extreme and exaggerated, and Americans can probably recognize the absurdity in Borat’s beliefs. But what about the scene where Borat suggests that women aren’t as smart as men because their brains are smaller during his interview with feminists? First of all, this statement is sadly accepted to be true by many Americans. Second, this scene mocks feminists and the rights to their beliefs. Society frequently associates the term feminist with extreme, psychotic, men-loathing, women already; Borat’s ridiculing of these female scholars is a slap in the face to females and feminists alike.

-Miss Nooch

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Cosmopolitan Collage: The Message Behind the Ads

The assignment: Create a collage of pictures and/or phrases embracing the female stereotypes concerning beauty, sex, fashion, etc. The pictures and phrases in this collage were clipped out of Cosmopolitan, a magazine that is highly acclaimed by American women for its beauty, fashion, sex, and lifestyle advice. The primary focus is on femininity; this is not only portrayed in its articles and spreads, but also in the advertisement throughout the magazine. These advertisements send many messages about the female stereotypes Americans have accepted to be true. Take a look and tell me what you think:

-Miss Nooch

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"The Girls Next Door" and Gender Stereotypes

Gender identities and norms are adopted and expected to be followed by society’s members. These expectations are instilled at birth; for example, when a baby is born they are immediately dressed in one of the two colors that correspond with their sex, blue or pink. Gender roles are enforced in the home, school, and work place. While these environments provide the foundation in which gender roles are created, there is one aspect of society that emphasizes gender roles on a much greater scale: the media. Reality television in particular depicts ideal gender characteristics. The Girls Next Door is a television series that gives America a glimpse of the glamorous, lustful lives of Hugh Hefner and his three prized Playboy bunnies, Holly, Bridget, and Kendra. Viewing this show through a gendered lens, one can identify both male and female stereotypes created and emphasized through the characters; some of these stereotypes are somewhat true, in that males and females today still accept them to be true, and therefore conform to them.

The Girls Next Door contains an abundant amount of content that emphasizes, and perhaps slightly exaggerates the female stereotypes of today’s society. First, there are physical stereotypes. Beauty plays a major role in the image of the ideal female. A beautiful woman has more power in the eyes of the media and society than a plain, unattractive woman. The Playboy bunnies portray the ideal female physique: thin, voluptuous, blond-haired women. These three characteristics alone epitomize what the ideal woman, according to the media, should look like. Also, the ideal woman is well-kempt and feminine; her outfit is girly and accentuates her curves, makeup, hair, and nails are religiously tended to, and her poise and aura reeks of femininity. In The Girls Next Door, the three women sport platinum blond locks, sexy, tight-fitted outfits, dainty shoes, and dolled up faces and manicured nails. Another physical stereotype that thrives in this reality show is the idea of women as sexual beings and objects of lust. While this show is quite the extreme when it comes to lust and sex, the stereotype still lingers in society. In one particular episode about Hef’s birthday, the first scene is a clip of Kendra dressed up in a dominatrix outfit with a whip in her hand. What does this say about the woman’s role in society? Is one of their main roles to act as eye candy for males?

Next there are mental and emotional stereotypes. In The Girls Next Door, women are portrayed as ditzy and giggly; women cannot handle stress as well as men. For example, Bridget is practicing her burlesque strip tease from inside a birthday cake for Hef’s birthday. In the scene, she giggles and screeches, expressing her woes and fears about the strip tease: Bridget squeaks, “I’m so nervous!” Bridget’s mother is seen giggling at the sight of her daughter stripping down to pasties and a g-string. Also, one of the “serious” problems that arise in the episode is Kendra’s dress is too tight, and it is therefore extremely uncomfortable for her during the party. These scenes degrade the woman, depicting the woman as one whose biggest concerns in life are unimportant and silly. Also, the manner in which a woman handles situations is by giggling frantically and carrying on. Women can be mistaken for being downright stupid in this episode; Bridget exclaims to the camera that her favorite thing to do is stripping. Kendra spends several minutes dancing provocatively in front of her mirror, obsessing over how great her backside looks; soon she states that she is bored and walks away from the mirror. During the party, Holly cannot remember how to get to the peacock cage in the backyard, simply because the party tent is in the way of her usual path. This three examples do not create any positive, endearing images of a female; from these situations, one could gather that women lack a decent attention span, are forgetful and dopey, and have difficulties thinking, and would simply rather use their beauty as opposed to intelligence. According to Jean Kilbourne, author of Can’t Buy My Love, this seemingly lack of intelligence and overload of ditziness may be a result of attempting to hide their true selves in order to become more feminine. Young women feel the need to “dumb down” in order to appear flirtier, cuter, and more appealing to men.

In addition to these stereotypes, women in The Girl Next Door are portrayed as delicate and dainty. Bridget’s mother and father visit the mansion for lunch; as the father scoffs down his lunch, Bridget and her mother, slowly pick at their salads, careful not to be sloppy or give the impression that they actually have an appetite. Weakness as a female characteristic is conveyed in the scene where Holly can’t slide open the peacock cage door; she complains that she is too weak. Females often strive to “appear off-balance, insecure, and weak”(Kilbourne 265). Also, for the most part, women on the show rarely talk about anything of true substance; discussions generally concerned their outfits, their appearance, or other petty subjects. Bridget’s mother was fairly quiet at the lunch visit, with exception of her comment about how the carrots in the salad looked good. The idea that women say more with their appearances than with their words can be gathered from this show. Kilbourne claims that women are taught that saying less is more; is it attractive for a women to be silent, mysterious, and to talk softly. Finally, there is the stereotype that woman are concerned with beauty and physique to the point of obsession. Bridget claims she wants to be “super healthy” to look good for the strip tease; she does so by eating practically nothing. Kendra obsesses over herself in the mirror when she tries on her new corset dress. The message that in order to be considered beautiful, one must be thin is causing psychological harm to women, especially girls; Self-objectification, the tendency to consider physical attractiveness to be more important than being healthy, is a serious issue among women. (Kilbourne 260).

While this show focuses largely on female stereotypes, men are also branded with the typical characteristics associated with masculinity. For example, sometimes men are portrayed as having a large appetite, being sloppy, and possibly having a beer gut. Bridget’s stepfather is filmed scoffing down his chicken Caesar salad and guzzling down beer after beer, while enthusiastically commenting on the warmed chicken on the salad. The producers don’t forget to add the stepfather belching at the end of the scene as well. Males in this show are regarded as the dominant leader, the one in charge. Hugh Hefner is the man of the Playboy Mansion; he has control over these three girls. He cares for them, pays for their expenses, and has them at his disposal. A specific example of Hef playing the role of leader is when he leads the girls to the peacock cage because they don’t remember how to get there. This scene also emphasizes how men are portrayed as smarter and having more common sense than women. One other stereotype of males that bluntly degrades females is the belittling attitude and behavior men toward women. For example, when Bridget appears in her strip tease outfit, her stepfather catcalls at her. This demeaning type of behavior degrades a woman to a mere object of lust and beauty.

These various stereotypes, while they are extreme due to the nature of the show, reign true to a certain extent in today’s society. There is no doubt that women have come a long way in breaking down the many stereotypes society has imposed. However, many still thrive in the various aspects of media. Media reinforces false stereotypes, resulting in a misled society that is still attempting to overcome the gender obstacle.

-Miss Nooch

Kilbourne, Jean. "The More You Subtract, the More You Add." Can't Buy My Love. Simon & Schuster Publishing, 1999.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

BOOYAKASHA! Blog Topic Determined

Good evening fellow classmates,

After much thought, I finally decided on a topic for the nooch net nook blog: Da Ali G Show. Anyone who has even seen a snippet of the controversial HBO television series knows that this show is chock-full of gender, ethnic, racial, and religious stereotyping and degradation. I personally find the show amusing, but almost feel guilty laughing at the scandalous and sometimes appalling jokes made by any of the three characters on the show, all played by British actor Sasha Baron Cohen. Women are one of the main topics of discussion in many episodes. In addition to Da Ali G Show, I will also blog about the Borat Movie, starring Borat, one of the three characters on Da Ali G Show. This movie is an overdose of political incorrectness: all taboo subjects are touched upon, or feverishly groped. There will surely be plenty to blog about this semester.

All for now, toodles!

-Miss Nooch

  • A scholarly article criticizing the many controversial aspects of Da Ali Show, including misogyny: Voice of the Turtle
  • The Blog of an Uzbekistani! his feelings on Ali G and Borat, a character despised by the Uzbekistan people: Thoughts of Uzbekistani
  • A blog community dedicated to social change; this particular blog focuses on Ali G: Z Net
  • Another blog about Borat and his hit movie about the Cultural Learnings of America: Borat 101

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Hello, all . My name is Lauren Pannucci, aka Miss Nooch. Not too sure about my blog topic yet, but I'm thinkin' about it! Some thoughts:
  • MTV: Next, Room Raiders, Super Sweet Sixteen. I find these shows, err quite... intriguing?
  • Music: Big fan of indie and alternative would be interesting to analyze and compare different genres of music and the messages they relay in their lyrics.
  • Flava Flav!: Flava Flav and New York would provide plenty of blog material concerning gender and pop culture.
All for now... Happy Super Bowl!

-Miss Nooch