Julias Soc 240 Blogging and thoughts

a qwriting.qc.cuny.edu blog

Archive for April, 2010


Eliott Erwitt

by Julia


Getting Serious [Extended Research so far]

by Julia
My final project is mainly supposed to be about women in music videos, but while I was in the process of doing research, I thought it would be interesting to talk about the images of women projected in music videos in regards to skin color. I visited beauty supply stores and interviewed sales persons, not to mention looked through isles and iles of skin bleaching products. I visited my local beauty supply first which is in a mixed neighborhood I came across products like Bright and White. And Clear Essence. I found that a lot of the products had words like ‘corrector’ or ‘white’ in their names which left me with the general impression that the correct skin color to have was fair skin.

At one point in time it was very rare to see a dark skinned lead female in a music video. I think that speaks directly to the issue of skin bleaching and lightening. Popular music is dictated by what consumers find attractive and ultimately what patriarchal society finds attractive. During my research I stumbled upon a website for a series of products under the name ‘Claire Blanche’ everything from skin whitening pills to creams and facial wash is available in this product line. The line is also claiming to be only for the use of treating hyper pigmentation. But with a before and after gallery full of users who are shades lighter it is safe to say that they are not using these products correctly.

The issue of skin whitening is actually so common that I could have focused an entire research project on it and still had information to spare. During my interviewing process one of the main questions I asked was how much money women spend on makeup and personal upkeep per month I got everything from $7 to $320 per month. Keeping these extreme numbers in mind it is safe to say that media plays a part in the way women view themselves. Music videos can serve as a mirror of what is expected of everyday or average women. Ultimately this is sending out the wrong message. Another part of my research had to do with viewing music videos from different atists and paying attention to the roles women played in them. I chose to pay close attention to three artists one was Dr Dre. The video I chose to watch was ‘The Next Episode’ I chose this particular one because of its lyrical content, message and view of women.

A frame from 'The Next Episode'

This frame depicts a woman as a stripper and the lyrics go on to demoralize and objectify women with such lines as ‘go home with something to poke on’ Women are also refered to as ‘tricks’ which is slang for prostitute.  While it is understood that music videos are strictly for entertainment value the ways women are portrayed go beyond entertainement and as I stated earlier in regards to skin lightening have a direct effect on how the general public views women.


The Girl in the Video – GETTING SERIOUS

by Julia

A promo from the E series 'Candy Girls'

P Dionne, Stephens, April L Few (2007) The Effects of Images of African American Women in Hip-Hop on Early Adolescents’ Attitudes Toward Physical Attractiveness and Interpersonal Relationships 56, (3,4) 251-264 Retrieved from Springer Link Database

I wanted to use this journal article because it seemed to really hit the nail on the head concerning my argument. Stephen’s and Lew attack the different meanings of African American sexuality and stereotypes in regards to hip-hop music help to showcase the number of variations and expectations music places on women. Stereotypes such as the Baby Momma and the Gold digger, help to segregate women from each other in terms of images and also help divide them. The images of women in the context of hip-hop music give viewers and men a false sense of what it means to be an African American woman in a larger sense. The preceding becomes problematic because when viewers and consumers of this type of music are introduced to real world settings they are seeing real live women and not the fantasies they are used to. Conflict arises here, because the objectification these women in a fictions setting makes it seem appropriate to treat women like sexual dumping grounds.

Sauceda, L. , 2004-08-14 “Honey Girl Versus Video Hottie: Black Female Sexuality and the Politics of Respectability” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Hilton San Francisco & Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel, San Francisco, CA, Online . 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p109931_index.html

Women in music videos are important because they actually serve as role models for young girls. While these women are portrayed in a negative light, the reason they can be seen as role models is because they offer these young women something to aspire to. On the flipside of this, these same girls may act dress or strive to look like these women but not realize the real message they are sending out. Its natural to want to emulate the things you see on television but when a teenage girl is being referred to as a ‘tramp’ as a result something is wrong. If a person is led to believe that a certain type of behavior is correct and is  being punished for it then the system and what it means to be a young girl in a situation like this has been set up to sabotage their development.  This thesis is important to my research because it deals with the other side of what it means to  be a female viewer or a woman in hip-hop culture. The women who are in these music videos were at one  point young women themselves, so I think its important to examine the other aspect of women in these  videos. The female viewer and the lead or the supporting actresses in these videos are  just as important as their male  counterparts, however on a larger scale they are also part of their own communities and have separate lives outside the music industry. The two women ( the consumer verses the active participant) is something that  becomes interchangeable because these same viewers  can easily be in the same place as the women they strive to envy

Kubrin, C. and Weitzer, R. , 2007-11-14 “Misogyny in Rap Music: Objectification, Exploitation, and Violence against Women” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CRIMINOLOGY, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Atlanta, Georgia Online . 2010-03-12 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p200347_index.htm

I chose to use this last article in my research because misogyny is something that’s still prevalent in rap music today. Some times it  can be hard to spot, but if you pay attention the signs  can be seen  in things like champagne bottles being unloaded on women, fire hoses and the like. Artistic expression is one thing  but when this same expression begins to degrade women, there’s a problem.  There have been more recent examples such as Tip Drill or Pursuit of Happiness one deals with using a credit card and female genitalia as  currency. This video is about five years old so it is safe to say that the ideas and the messages are not that outdated. Violence against women seems to be something that is  normalized in rap music, for a last  example there is I Poke Her Face which deals with violent oral rape of a stripper. The  place of women in these  videos also has a lot to do with how they are treated. Strippers are degraded while lead women are showered with love and attention. Skin color also plays a key role in treatment.

Since my project will generally deal with the ways women are portrayed in music videos, my real research will start with extensive viewing of different types of music videos. I do not want to focus on just hip-hop and rap since rap is not the only genre of music that objectifies women. I will also be conducting interviews of people both within and outside my family. For those outside of my family I will interview and survey people between the ages of 20 and 50 years of age. I decided to keep the age range so open because music and its messages are both universal. Music can affect you no matter how old you are or what background you come from so I will also try to interview men and women from different backgrounds. My research will not stop with this, in my time off from school an episode of TYRA concerning skin bleaching caught my attention. Another active part of my research will include going into local beauty supply stories to take records of the different types of beauty products women use in order to achieve an image. The way women look in music videos are often directly related to the types of roles they play in the music world. A last part of my research will include the photographic aspect of the work. Overall there are many aspects that are often neglected in this type of media. I will not try to cover everything, but paint a significant picture of what it means to be a woman in the hip-hop environment

As far as ethical considerations go, while doing my research I will not interview anyone under the age of 20. When I enter beauty supply stories before I start my fieldwork I will let the store owner and employees know that I am doing a research project. I imagine it would be easier for me to conduct my research by not revealing my intentions. People are less inclined to share information once it is going to be used on some sort of public level; however I will be as honest as possible to maintain the integrity of my project. There will also be an option of opting out of the interview or survey process, in case the subject I am working with is uncomfortable they will also be allowed to drop out of the process with no questions asked. A final step in my process along the lines of ethics will be all participants signing a consent form. Getting their consent will ensure that all information used is allowed and doesn’t compromise those I choose to talk to during the interview or survey process.


The ‘Yes Men’ – In class Assignment

by Julia

In class blog assignment

4 -12 – 2010

What is the main goal/objective of the organization or group? in what ways do members try to achieve their goals?

The goals of the yes men are to make their audiences aware of what is really going on around them. They try to achieve their goals, by impersonating their competition as well as mocking them.

from their self-presentation on website, how do you think this group is organized and makes decision?

This seems like a particularly laid back group. They also don’t seem like they are trying to  be taken  seriously. Based on the video, they  act more like comedians than media activists.  Emphasis  is placed on news and the issues


Getting to Know Your Eyes

by Julia
Thursday April 1st I paid a visit to the library. After returning from vacation I asked my mother to drop me off and proceeded to wonder around. The air quality and the temperature seemed different the floors had grey carpet all over them and if you went further into the library, you would find a computer station as well as an adjacent help desk. The children’s section of the library has always been interesting to me because it looks more like their own little world, than a section within something larger. I chose the library because I love to read and as far back as I can remember reading has always been encouraged in my family. For the most part saving the children’s section of the library, people kept to themselves. Entering and leaving the library, the people I saw were either having quiet conversations on cellphones or returning books. Some, ignore the no cellphone rule only to be corrected by someone at a help desk or the main check in/out area.


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