Monday, September 13, 2010

Follow Up: Responding to Sterling's Post (9/13/10)

In Douglas' chapter, "Castration Anxiety," she discusses a 1992 scandal in which a 17-year woman named Amy Fisher shoots the wife of her lover, Joey Buttafuoco (a man in his later 40's). Douglas talks about how this affair "insisted that we take sides, invited us to be the morally superior judge, while asserting that the whole mess was much too tawdry--beneath us--to follow (63)". This statement reminded me of what had previously read in her Introduction as well as what we've talked about in class concerning shows like Laguna Beach, Jersey Shore, and the like. Almost everyone watches a show like this...a show that they might consider their guilty pleasure. Part of the appeal of these shows is that we enjoy making fun of them and the people and drama within them. We like feeling like we are superior to these people--whether it be morally, mentally, or emotionally. We would never behave the way they do, think they the way they do, talk the way they do. Nevertheless, we can not take our eyes off of these shows, their characters, and their incessant drama. Just as we are by these "reality" shows, Douglas claims that people were simultaneously entertained and empowered by the Amy Fisher scandal: "viewers could be shameful voyeurs, titillated by the videotapes, and then upright moral guardians, condemning either Joey or Amy or both" (63). The important question is whether the absorption of this media influence subtly, even if we insist that it does not.

In her chapter titled "Warrior Women in Thongs," Douglas discusses how many of these sexy, crime-fighting females used their sexuality and femininity to seduce and trick their male enemies and thereby gain power over them. Douglas claims that the resulting message is that "true killer power comes from hyperfemininity" (93). I mentioned this in class the first week, but this reminded me of how the women in Homer's "The Odyssey" are portrayed. In this epic, the only way in which women gain power is ultimately through their beauty, sexual appeal, and seduction powers. I think this is a very bad message to send to women. It does not in any way confirm that women are equal to men. Women should not have to use their body and looks to get what they want. There's nothing wrong with being beautiful and sexy, but when this is a woman's true source of power, this is a huge problem.

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