Thursday, May 29, 2008

Scott Baio is 46 ... and a mess.

Reality TV has become the dominate programing in our society, flooding homes with "real" versions of cultural normalities. Having a reality TV show based on the life of one person, has allowed some celebrities to legitimize their place in Hollywood and a forum to portray how they deal with life. Often the impression left behind is not taken seriously, and the celebrities are manipulated through editing and scripting to enact in a way the media needs them to be.

The celebrity reality TV show "Scott Baio is 46 and pregnant" follows star Scott Baio through his trials and tribulations of marriage, pregnancy and responsibility. The season prior examined Baio's hesitation toward commitment with the help of a life coach, and after successfully coming to terms with settling down, after accepting Baio's proposal, his fiance Renee tells him she is pregnant. These are all but happy days for Baio.

This episode is the first of the second season, entitled "Emergency Meeting", shows Baio running away to be alone after finding out the life changing news, in his attempt to get away he has a panic attack in the parking lot, freaks out on the valet, and breaks into his country club. Once settle among the golf carts, Scott asks his trusted friends to come meet him for an emergency meeting, where he continues to freak out with friends, and is warned to make sure Renee just was not trying to "trap" him.

When watching the episode many areas for analysis become present. As mentioned previously Baio acted out violently as an expression of excitement, fear and anguish. These actions show that Baio is acting in a "masculine" way. Baio relates to his gender category and celebrity lifestyle that socially permits him to act as a
nonrelating, fast paced playboy, a lifestlye that he was socialized into as a child star (Newman). With women chasing him his entire life, he does not understand the concept of stopping or chasing a woman himself. He displays violent reactions to situations, and is always worry about who he is without all the "skirt chasing".
Baio expresses his hegemonic norms of affirming his concerns with friends who reinforce his gender dominant tendencies. There is the idea that the women is going to trap him in a commitment of marriage and children. The reactions from the friends are ideas that have been created through social and cultural impact, what the author Newman refers to as contructionality which is how humans define and categorizes situations through life experience and humanities interpretations.

The shows entertainment value is based upon watching Baio react irrationally to the struggles of life. This would represent the idea of as "governing at a distance", which examines the relationship of reality TV and governmental ideals in everyday life, "how reality TV diffuses and amplifies the government of everyday life, utilizing the cultural power of asses and guide ethics..." (Ouellette and Hay, p2) The views enjoy watching Baio have more anxiety then his pregnant fiance, she tries to govern him behaviors, the psychiatrist tries to guide him, and his friends try too, all while he himself is analyzing his own behavior. This brings up the thought, is what he showing to be his feelings real? If they are, who says that he should be forced to act a certain way? Or are his actions simply created by the media company in order to draw viewers in to help Baio deal too?

This brings us to the idea of power in the media, not just how the media has on society as a whole but rather how the media affects our own rationale. Again this brings back up the idea that Baio's behaviors should not be his fixed way of being. When interpreting the issues of power, Baio battles with the ability of self governance, to chose to fix "abnormal behaviors" through a false sense of freedom and the pursuit of becoming the ideal member of society, or in this case in terms of commitment and fatherhood. That struggle is really what the whole show is based around, how is Baio suppose to be acting and dealing with life.

In conclusion, there is little certainty that Scott Baio took into consideration his audience when reacting to life, or if he at least considered the thought of social responsibility when lashing out. It is highly doubtful, but one thing is certain, Scott Baio is pregnant, and his actions and interpretations of life are not only being filtered to television viewers, but also the next generation of Baios'.

-Ouellette, Laurie. Hay, James. Better Living Through Reality TV. Blackwell Publishing. 2008.
-Newman, Chapter 2 & Chapter 4.
-Scott is 46 and Pregnant. VH1. Season 2: Episode 1. Video

(From top to bottom)
#1. "Scott is 46 and pregnant.

#2. Scott and friends.

#3. Scott and Renee.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Women, Are you confused about who you should be? Dont worry just pick up a magazine and see!

When open a magazine you are instantly bomb-bared with advertisements and it doesn't have to be a man's magazine to be full of images that objectify women. With the media obsessed with the idea of "Sex" as a tool of profit, advertisement companies will go at great lengths to pimp out these sexualized imagines. OF course, not all of them are not as obvious as other but it's hard not to get the message. 

The collage and images above are representations of females being portrayed in advertisements. Every ad places the women in a way that represents the way they are being used to sell a product with  sexual undertone. Some examples make women sexually aggressive in a demeaning way, some portray women as dumb, as a sexy maid, nothing more then pieces of a body (to be stuck in a shoes as seen above).

The more aggressive idea can be seen in advertisements for a bra, which in the tag line emphasis that if you buy their product you will never have to pay for another drink again. The Revlon ad refers to women as the aggressors with only animalistic thoughts. Then there is the portrayal of women as innocent, dumb, and looking to be controlled. Or women as a victim, as in the Dolce & Gabbana* ad where it looks like a gang rape is about to take place, or the Sean Combs perfume ad, where the women looked to be at the mercy of the man. Seeing the ads in magazines, especially as a young girl only put more emphasis on the role that women take in society. A sexual victim housewife who is dumb to be exact.

According to the Hesse-Biber book, "The Cult of Thinness", images of unrealistic women in the media, leave girls and young women the a false sense of femininity and what it means to be a girl in our society. Images of thin and sexual women create this idea that in order to be apart of the "Cult" you need to fit these images. Women who are over weight are view as lazy and unmotivated, the total opposite of sexy (Hesse p17). A woman's worth is measured in how many men she can attract in one day (Hesse p22). 

Although it may seen like a stretch that advertisements could have such an effect over our lives but we spend more time looking at negative advertisements in magazines, on TV, and everywhere else they can put them, then we do positive images. And it is having a horrible effect. Women adapt these "rituals" of unhealthy weight loss, consumerism, and exercise just to be considered a women (Hesse p16). In the article called "Reinventing the Cosmo Girl: Class, Identity, and Girl Style American Dreams", the author examines the influence of women's magazines have on their target market (single working women between 18-34 years old). The magazines instruct women how to dress at work, how to date, and flirt properly to attract a man. A girls identity it formed by this information they are reading and by the advertisements they are seeing. Girls learn how to create an illusion of beauty, and as they master it, where does the illusion end and who we really are begin?

In conclusion, girls are getting a strong message about who they are suppose to be and boys are getting the message of what they should expect a girl to be. With these ideas being reinforced not only are women losing self expression but men are getting nothing but the illusion of a woman. Open a magazine and see for yourself, are you being sold by sex?


*All the images are from

Hesse and Biber. The Cult of Thinness. Chapters 1-4. Oxford University Press, Inc. New Work. 2007. 

Oullette. "Reinventing the Cosmo Girl: Class, Identity, and Girl Style American Dreams." p116-128. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"My Scene" it your scene? (try 4)

"My Scene" Barbie, is it your scene?

When you think of Barbie, some imagine an icon of femininity, while others reminisce of her as a favorite childhood toy but today’s Barbie and friends have come a long way since then. The Barbie of today reflects different aspects of pop culture from her hair style, occupations, and dress. Barbie, however doesn’t always represent the best image of women. In particular, “My Scene” Barbie, one of the many lines made by Mattel, Inc comes with multiple themes and corresponding outfits. In particular the “Let’s Go Disco” doll comes with a ruffled mini skirt, high heels, and a belly baring trendy top. These outfits are so barely there, they would make the original Barbie blush.

In the second Chapter of Newman’s book, he examines this idea of cultures effect of young girls. The theory of constructionism states that gender is a result of culture, not biology (Newman 36). This means that gender takes on roles given to us by society, from broad terms of being labeled male or female, to influencing personal decisions, like taste in music, and clothing. An example is the color association between pink for girls and blue for boys implemented at birth. From these ideas, children coming to grow within these gender roles through adulthood. Girls are constantly met with concepts given by the media, through commercials on TV, to the toys they play with. Also traditional ideas are reinforced in the media, for instance girls should be concerned with their appearance and home life, this idea is again cemented in minds through products and toys focused on their female consumers. The Barbie that is in the constant hands of our youth is a direct interpretation of how we should be, but you don’t realize this as a child, you can’t differentiate between your own opinions from what given.

“My Scene” Barbie was introduced to the US toy industry by Mattel Inc. in 2002 and is marketed to young girls between 6-11 years old. The Barbie doll line initially consisted of three main characters with a single look, but as of 2008 there was an additional forty more themes and a multiple of characters. Each character expresses the new theme through their clothes, but not their faces. Every doll has a flashy eye makeup, a blank wide eyed stare and nothing more then a pout. This could easily leave a young girl with the impression that it is more important that I express myself through clothes and then through facial expression. Clothes that are made by cultures expectations, forming girls to choose from clothes that don’t represent a personal expression but a cultural expression. This need to buy and consume is a part of our culture taught to children at such a young age, an idea argued by Lipsitz. He examines how commercials influence children to consume, a market that has expanded further with the internet. Children are constantly being fed ideals, through TV, internet, in school, with their toys, and friends it is an overwhelming situation.

Further the main characters are made of stereotypical ideal examples of race, a blonde with blue eyes as the main friends, a strong loud light skinned black friend, a quiet, submissive Asian friend, and a fiery red head who could also be Hispanic. Although these stereotypes are not blatantly seen when looking at the dolls but it is less subtle in the animated version of the characters. This is an example of accepted racism or “inferential” racism as described in “The Whites of Their Eyes” by Stuart Hall. Which states that it is a form of racism that is allowed because its so subtle its almost unnoticed because of how much it is seen.

Barbie is preparing girls to be adults prematurely, and over sexualizing them. For instance, the name of the line “MyScene” is written very similar to “Myspace” ( which is an online social network geared to adults. My Scene Barbie line has an online site that is set up almost exactly like the adult site, providing videos, downloads, an online store and games. This allows for the transition from “innocent” to an unprotected all the easier. A scary thought because of the ability for young people to work myspace unregulated and unprotected from predators not found on

Barbie is not a simple toy of child’s play but rather a direct medium of society ideas for a gender role. For a younger girl deriving her identity from My Scene Barbie alone, would interpret the need to be beautiful, hide behind a face of makeup, a constant consumer, non expressive, and dressed provocatively. I look back now on the Barbie dolls I once cherished, in a new light, it’s hard to imagine who I would be if there was no influence.

**To Check out a MyScene Episode go to:


Image 1. Amazon.con May 20, 2008.

Image 2. May 20, 2008.

Hall, Stuart. The Whites of There Eyes: Racist Ideologies and the Media. Gender, Race,

and Class in Media. Sage Publications Inc. 2003. p 89-93.

Liptsitz, George. The Meaning of Memory: Family, Class, and Ethnicity in Early

Network Television. Gender, Race, and Class in Media. Sage Publications Inc.

2003. p40-48. Mattel, Inc. 2008.

Newman. Chapter 2. p 36-37

Monday, May 12, 2008

class blog**