“You is smart, You is kind, You is important”- The Help

It’s annoying that people fail to recognize the value of self esteem and how important it is for people to have. In “The Social Animal” by Elliot Aronson he references an experiment done by John Nicholls in which Nicholls found that “While boys had learned to protect their egos by attributing their own failures to bad lucky, girls took more of the blame for failures on themselves.” Reason being that girls struggle with low self esteem more than boys because of mass media. The National Eating Disorders Association reported that one out of four TV commercials send some kind of “attractiveness message” which tells viewers what is and what is not attractive. A few years ago Dove launched a campaign aimed to raise self esteem in young girls. They made a  short film called “Evolution” where they brought in an average looking woman, sat her down and took her through the process of a photo shoot and all that is altered and tweaked to make that brilliant billboard girl that women aspire to look like. The flawless girl who radiates a look of beauty and confidence, a look that doesn’t exist. They then launched an advertisement of 6 curvy women in their bra and panties. Women’s reactions to the video were all mostly positive saying things like “It was nice to see real women, rather than an anorexic robot.” the advertisement was both inspiring and honest but it took hits when men began to make insulting comments, one man saying that “he didn’t need real people selling him things.” He fails to realize that the photo shopped women act as a role model for little girls. The more they are exposed to these “perfect” models the more they begin to think something is wrong with them because they don’t look that way and while the amount of exposure to advertisements sky rocket, little girls across the country suffer from low self esteem. The idea of self acceptance is a foreign concept as media constantly encourages improvement and enhancement. According to surgery.org in 2012 “women had more than 9.1 million cosmetic procedures, 90% of the total” and also that “The number of cosmetic procedures for women increased over 252% from 1997.” It’s interesting that as the amount of advertisements we’re exposed to raises so has the amount of cosmetic procedures, most likely accredited to the fact that women think they need to be the spitting image of these photo shopped models. Aronson, with the help of his colleague David Mettee collaborated research and made a prediction that “people with high self-esteem are more likely to resist the temptation to commit immoral acts.” This is one of the reasons it’s important that people have good self esteem. Mass media, especially advertisements need to find a different way to represent women rather than just the innocent, vulnerable, quiet, shy and kept to themselves yet attainably sexy, photoshopped, false image that they continually lean on.


Works Cited
Aronson, Elliot. The social animal. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman, 1972.
“ASAPS.” Statistics. 07 Apr. 2013 <http://www.surgery.org/media/statistics&gt;.
“The Dove® Campaign for Real Beauty.” The Dove® Campaign for Real Beauty. 21 Mar. 2013 <http://www.dove.us/Social-Mission/campaign-for-real-beauty.aspx&gt;.
“National Eating Disorders Association.” National Eating Disorders Association. 07 Apr. 2013 <http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/&gt;.


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Don’t say the ‘F’ word


What’s wrong with being a feminist? In the voice of Edwin Starr, ABSOLUTELY NOTHIN’! A feminist is in the most simple and straight forward definition a person who believes in equal treatment of men and women. However prominent male figures in society such as Rush Limbaugh have morphed the meaning, distorting its true value and the twisting what a feminist’s purpose is. Limbaugh has even gone as far to coin the term “feminazi” making a feminist out to be a man-hating, crazed beast out to ensure that women run the world. His term is in no way accurate. Frankly we have feminist to thank for women’s rights to vote. Recently, Katy Perry was asked if she were a feminist, appalled she made it very clear she was NOT. This had feminists asking “What’s wrong with being a feminist?” It’s vital that women and men understand that there is nothing wrong with being a feminist. The negative connotations associated with it need to end. A blogger recently spoke out on the cyber abuse that some of his female friends were experiencing. He wrote out his female friends were speaking about the same important issues to female as he was but the responses were drastically different. While men commented encouraging “Great insight” and “Way to speak up on an important issue” the women were getting copious amounts of comments with heinous messages from men that were threatening rape and calling them stupid. This blogger thought it was wrong that his pieces were getting such high praise while he watched other men tear his female friends to shreds. In “The Social Animal” by Elliot Aronson he has a chapter called “Mass Communication, Propoganda, and Persuasion” which magnifies the importance of the source of communication. Aronson describes the effect credibility has on humans to be influenced by information. In one example he describes a black communicator verses a white communicator, both giving the same information and recording the students influence. They found that prejudice played a huge role in the amount that the students were influenced by each communicator. Aronson’s experiment ties in with the blogger and his experience with his female friends. Even though the male and female bloggers shared the same perspective and were writing on the same issues people were responding negatively to the women because of their prejudice. This type of prejudice and male figures such as Limbaugh who bash females speaking out on issues is why people are afraid to say the ‘F’ word.  Feminist aren’t “obnoxious women fighting for abortion rights” it’s women who believe that men and women should be treated as equals.


Works Cited
Aronson, Elliot. The social animal. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman, 1972.
Rudman, Chelsea. “”Feminazi”: The History Of Limbaugh’s Trademark Slur Against Women.” Www.mediamatters.org. 12 Mar. 2012. Media Matters for America. 26 Mar. 2013 <http://mediamatters.org/research/2012/03/12/feminazi-the-history-of-limbaughs-trademark-slu/186336&gt;.
“Tumblr.” Feminazi. 26 Mar. 2013 <http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/feminazi&gt;.
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Dominance, Dominant, Dominate 

I’ve read countless times in a number of books that it is nature for men to hold dominance over women. Tossing the idea around in my head like a circle of children tossing a potatoe, it’s an idea I’ve had a difficult time completely grasping, but instead have constantly fumbled it around clumsily. I think that it’s because I have a negative assosication with dominance. I hear or see the word dominance and I think abuse, discrimination, sexists, control. Below I have posted the definitions of both dominance and dominant.


1.) The state of being dominant


1.) a : commanding, controlling, or prevailing over all others

 b : very important, powerful, or successful

A quote I read in The Handmaid’s Tale that I associated with the main characer being controlled by dominance.

“All you have to do, I tell myself, is keep your mouth shut and look stupid. It shouldn’t be that hard.”
— Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale)

Though this quote may seem exaggerated it is almost nature to think this way. A constant fight between men and women for control and in more or less words dominance has gone on dating back to the beginning of time. After Eve was tempted and took the bite of an apple she in a way seduced Adam to do the same. She had given into temptation but Adam had given into her, trusting her instead of God, whereas God wants us to put all of our trust in him. Unable to recall my sources at the moment I have read somewhere to “marry the man that loves God more than you” Real love is trust. As The Bible tells Eve and Adam were cast out of the Garden of Eden. The beginning of male dominance can be said to be nature because Adam was created before Eve. Man before woman. Another argument is that Eve cursed women for all of time as Genesis 3:16 reads:


New International Version (©1984)

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”New American Standard Bible (©1995)
To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”English Standard Version (©2001)
To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

New Living Translation (©2007)
Then he said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”

and the most recent:

International Standard Version (©2012)

He told the woman, “I’ll greatly increase the pain of your labor during childbirth. It   will be painful for you to bear children, “since your trust is turning toward   your husband, and he will dominate you.”

I found all of these on Bible.com under parallel translations. It’s interesting how the language has changed and instead of using “rule over you” the most recent uses the language “he will dominate you.” Now to be clear on what we’ve just read I’ve also included the definition to dominate:

 1: rulecontrol
2: to exert the supreme determining or guiding influence on
3: to overlook from a superior elevation or command because of superior height or position
4: a : to be predominant in
 b : to have a commanding or preeminent place or position in

I’m beginning to come to the terms that there is a place for dominance between men and women as the bible also reads:

Ephesians 5:22-23

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.” (Bible Study Tools)

While there is dominance between a husband and wife it is a different type of dominance than we are dealing with in our current state of society. While wives are to be submissive and obey their husbands the bible also says:

Genesis 2:22-24

Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.  The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, ‘ for she was taken out of man.”  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

“And they will become one flesh” the joining between a man and a woman in a marriage is sacred and I think that the bible verses have helped me to disassociate myself with my negative connotation with the word dominance.


Works Cited
“The Claremont Institute – Why Males Rule.” The Claremont Institute – Why Males Rule. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2013.
“DominantAbout Our Definitions: All Forms of a Word (noun, Verb, Etc.) Are Now Displayed on One Page.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2013.
“Genesis 3:16 To the Woman He Said, “I Will Greatly Increase Your Pains in Childbearing; with Pain You Will Give Birth to Children. Your Desire Will Be for Your Husband, and He Will Rule over You.”” Genesis 3:16 To the Woman He Said, “I Will Greatly Increase Your Pains in Childbearing; with Pain You Will Give Birth to Children. Your Desire Will Be for Your Husband, and He Will Rule over You.” N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2013.
“Marriage Bible Verses.” BibleStudyTools.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2013.
“Share Book Recommendations With Your Friends, Join Book Clubs, Answer Trivia.” Goodreads. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2013.
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Whose perogative?

Picked up The Handmaid’s Tale by Margarette Atwood and began reading the back when instantly I began to reflect on the battle between men and women for control. In a society where men have always had control over women where is it that women search to fulfill their need for control?

The back of Handmaid’s Tale reads “In the world of the near future, who will control women’s bodies?” It goes on to give a short summary of the book in which it describes the handmaids as only being valued for their ovaries.

Is the need for control an unavoidable psychological trait of all humans or is it developed from traumatizing experiences?

Okay, whoa. No words for what I’ve just read in The Handmaid’s Tale.


This passage especially disgusted me. It’s found in Chapter 16 on page 120 and the first sentence is

“The ceremony goes as usual.”

Then goes on

“Above me, towards the head of the bed, Serena Joy is arranged, outspread. Her legs are apart, I lie between them, my head on her stomach, her pubic bone under the base of my skull, her thighs on either side of me. She too is fully clothed. My arms are raised; she holds my hands, each of mine in each of hers. This is supposed to signify that we are one flesh, one being. What it really means is that she is in control, of the process and thus of the product. If any. The rings of her left hand cut into my fingers. It may or may not be revenge. My red skirt is hitched up to my waist, though no higher. Below it the Commander is fucking. What he is fucking is the lower part of my body. I do not say making love, because this is not what he’s doing. Copulating too would be inaccurate, because it would imply two people and only one is involved. Nor does rape cover it: nothing is going on here that I haven’t signed up for. There wasn’t a lot of choice but there was some, and this is what I chose. “


The bolded part of the passage reminded me of a recent episode of “Lie to me.” where an army woman had said she was raped by her platoon commander. When she was pressed to testify she was convinced that she wouldn’t be believed because she never really said no but she was forced into it because if she did not have sex with her commander he would make her drive lead convoy in Afghanistan which is the most vulnerable convoy and most susceptible to be killed by bombs or land mines. They had explained a term that has recently been introduced into military terminology known as Command Rape. Command rape is rape that occurs when a commander commands his comrade to sleep with him in which he/she can’t resist because their life is in the hands of the commander and where he places them.

The passage in the Handmaid’s tale corresponds to this rape because she knows if she doesn’t have sex with him, she can be killed.

I happened to google search a documentary that was suggested and found the website MissRepresentation.org, a campaign that derives from the documentary that reveals mass  media’s influence on America. This will be a wonderful source for me to use as I continue with my research.


The website covered their goals and missions and one of them was to counter Hyper masculinity. I’m not familiar with Hyper masculinity but Dictionary.com defines it as an adjective 1.) pertaining to or characteristic of a man or men and 2.)Having qualities traditionally ascribed to men, as strength and boldness.

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I think it’s vital for me to understand what  exactly the sexual revolution was and all of it’s aspects so I can better understand when the portrayal of women in media began to change. I’ve checked out a book from the library called The Sexual Revolution by Gary E. McCuen and David L. Bender. I’ve taken a few quotes from Chapter 6 that I feel connect well with my topic.


“While women are treated as sexual objects our sexuality is defined by male society.”

This was an interesting line and it made me realize that men hold much of the defining aspects to a woman’s sexuality. Are it the men that are behind the advertisements or are these female editors?


“Sexuality in our society is intimately related to the roles assigned to men and women. The man is expected to be aggressive, strong, virilie and self centered,…while the woman is expected to be self sacrificing, passive, docile, weak and responsive to men’s initiatives. These roles ensure the oppression of women by men in a heterosexual relationship…”

It has become evident that instead of concentrating on just the revolution of women that I need to identify the Male society’s revolution and changing roles. Therefore I’ve also looked at  Danger- Men talking by Stuart Chase.

Lines that caught my eye:


“The mass media deluge is only one of many problems facing the world today. Other major problems seem also to arise from modern science and technology”

—–Really want to do some research into innovations in modern science and technology, I still believe it would be an excelent SEP topic.———-

Back to business though.


“For many readers, the heaviest sheaf of messages during the day for interpretations will be from the TV screen.”


“The average U.S adult will spend 10-15 years of his life watching TV. ”

“The children spend more time watching TV than they do anything else, except sleeping; some opinion polls show that small youngsters like commercials best. 

P. 50

“TV is replete with pictures; some newspapers give more space to women’s underwear than to the news. The populatr magazines have so many ads in four colors on stiff paper that it is very difficult to keep one’s mind on a given article or follow it to page 94- which is exactly what the advertisers want. Skip the ideas. Buy our product.”

The following pages touched on “kinesics” which I need to look into more but is the study of bodily gestures. This is something I’ll need to research when picking apart women’s body language in different advertisements.

Another book I flipped through was Media by Peter M. Sandman, David M. Rubin and David B. Sachsman and marked the chapter Broadcast Corruption but haven’t had enough time to truly explore it. Lastly, the librarian has finally located The Handsmaids tail for me so  I plan on starting that tonight. Maybe, I’ll update this post later on but who knows.

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The Image of a Woman

On a first attempt I searched on my kindle for the book Handmaid’s Tale — Margaret Atwood and it was not listed. I then went to the library and asked the librarian if she could locate the book for me. While the book is in the library it is currently misplaced and I was assured that they would search for it and contact me when it’s been found. I really do not feel like buying it. So while I wait for my peice of literature I’ve began doing some other research. I picked up a book from the library called The Social Animal by Elliot Aronson. There was an entire chapter on self esteem which I thought was impairative to see just how important self esteem is since media has such a strong effect on the self esteem of women. Here are a few quotes I’ve highlighted and written down.

Importance of Self Esteem P. 162

“Our commitment to a particular course of action can freeze or change out attitudes, distort our perception and determine the kind of information we seek out.”

“People with high self esteem have more dissonance to criminal or cruel acts”

“People who believe themselves to be schlunks expect to do schlunky things. In other words people with low self esteem will not find it terrible difficult to commit immoral acts because commiting immoral acts is not dissonant with their self concept.”

After reading that I looked up the definition of dissonance and found that it is “a lack of agreement; especially; inconsistency between the beliefs one holds or between one’s actions.”

All of these quotes point out the importance of one’s self esteem.

Page 125 of Arsons book says ” We do not process information in an unbiased manner. Rather, we distort it in a way that fits our preconcieved notions.”

That quote alone makes me connect to the peice we read at the beginning of the year “Loss of the Creature” I probably am going to research the cognitive part of processing information such as advertisements.

I also checked out a book called The American Magazine a book that covers the history of magazines. Some useful quotes I found from that are below.

On womens magazines:

“Early and often, they raised the consciousness of their readers educating them on women’s role in scoiety throughout history.”

“Their primary function was helping the reader with her duties as mother and homemaker.”

Comparing the primary function to the role of womens magazines today there’s a huge difference.

More images I’ve located to use as evidence in the luxury items category.

Disclaimer: Explicit images not meant for all viewers


Armani Ad

Dior ad for perfume


Dolce and Gabbana ad suggests male dominance




Works Cited
Aronson, Elliot. The Social Animal. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman, 1972. Print.
Janello, Amy, and Brennon Jones. The American Magazine. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1991. Print.
“Advertisingfarkas – Home.” Advertisingfarkas – Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2013.




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