Womens Studies

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analyzing media for gendered content and narratives.

identify one manifestation of women’s activism and empowerment, specifically that which is realated to depictions of women in media.

Your response to the following assignment should consist of two parts.

The first should be a paragraph or two addressing the question below. It should demonstrate your understanding of feminist critiques of “beauty culture”, and your ability to describe one of the key theorists’ work in response to this issue (i.e. Johnston and Taylor, Naomi Wolf , Jean Kilbourne, Kiri Davis).

The second should exemplify some of the criticims you summarize through the presentation of media you have researched yourself. This can include a still image from an advertisment (TV, internet, magazine, newspaper, etc.) or moving images (i.e. advertisements on YouTube or other video sources). So for example, if you choose to address the question below by exploring Kiri Davis’ concerns about how oppressive beauty standards can be to teen girls of color, you should present an image you found depicting or exemplifying the problem with “white beauty culture” and make clear in your discussion of it (1-2 paragraphs) how you see it relating.

Assignment Question

“Beauty”, as a concept, is widely accepted to be subjective and open to interpretation. We often hear the cliche “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Why, then, do many feminist theorists argue that the notion of “beauty” in our culture has come to oppress women? What do they say about how and why beauty oppresses women? This is a broad question that you should make specific by focusing on an answer presented by one of the theorists commenting on this issue. Your answer should demonstrate your ability to summarize their ideas and arguments. 

After offering commentary on one theorist’s work, present an example you have found on your own supporting or illustrating her critique. Where is the example from? What is your analysis of it (i.e. “messages” about gender, beauty, race, power, ‘value’, privilege?) Why does it fit into her discussion?

Two video link:


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