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Friday, June 3, 2011

Feminine, feminist, or both?

I can't help myself.  This week, I contributed to In Media Res's blog.  The week's theme was an American Idol Post Morten, and I wrote about the declining credibility of female contestants, "From Paternal to Patronizing."  I'd love to hear your thoughts.  The other four essays this week are great, and I think they highlight some interesting issues with the current judging panel as well as the show's overall ideological construction.

This week, I also watched the trailer for the latest Still Killing Us Softly documentary from Jean Kilbourne.  I've long been a fan of the video.  I'm struck by the first comment, "It's getting worse."  In the wake of recent legislation introduced across the nation and in light of my own essay on American Idol this week, I'm more inclined to agree with her than not.  I do know that raising issues like this in my classes is hit or miss.  I can have entire classes dismiss it all and assert that feminism is stupid.  It's no wonder when people are so misinformed.  When I watched the Kilbourne video, I read some comments after where men were going on and on about feminist women braiding their armpit hair.  If that remains the image of a strong women who doesn't sell herself out, then I suppose feminism would be seen as bad.

Raising two girls and writing YA fiction, brings all of these issues to the surface in a much more tangible way to me.  I'm seeing it through fresh eyes, and as much as I came to terms years ago with how to marry femininity and feminism, I realize that as a society, we have a long way to go.  It's giving me pause to think through my characters a little more and to consider my parenting strategies for the upcoming years. I feel a sense of responsibility that kind of scares me, actually.

What do you think?  How would you characterize the image of women in advertising? In reality t.v.? What about in novels/fiction?

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