Heather's Blog

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Final Project!!!!

Are Women Given Respectable Roles in Film?

Review of literature:

In the article Image of Women Over Time by Jaclyn Piltch it discusses how in many movies women are required to use their sex appeal to capture the role that they are playing. In A League of Their Own, women are exploited when the men are sent off to war. The women are shown wearing short skirts to attract more viewers to the games. When the war is over and the men come home, the women are expected to quit and return to being housewives. In one movie produced by the league the women are shown playing ball and then pouring a cup of tea. They treat women like they’re just a substitute for the “real” game while the men are gone. The older sister in the movie leaves the game when her husband returns. She goes back to wearing an apron and pouring tea for her man. Her little sister continues to play until the end. Of course she is not as beautiful as her older sister and she never reaches the popular status that her sister obtained. Women still uphold a beauty image and sex appeal in order to be appreciated as athletes. Successful women athletes are characterized as being more masculine. So men are applauded for their athleticism while women are given a “manly” image. In Blue Crush, the lead role is focused more on her sex appeal than her athletic ability. She is given the front cover of a surfer magazine based on her looks not on her ability as a surfer. This article focuses on women athletes but the same goes for women in any film roles.
The next article I’m going to discuss is from Sex in Consumer Culture edited by Tom Reichert and Jacqueline Lambiase. The article is Using Sex to Sell Movies: A Content Analysis of Movie Trailers by Mary Beth Oliver and Sriram Kalyanaraman. This article explains how the content of the film are portrayed in the trailer. Women aren’t only viewed as sex objects in the movies but in the trailers as well. Trailers only have a brief time to capture your undivided attention. So sex appeal is the main method they use to reel you in. This article suggests that sexual portrayals are common in movies especially when it involves females. The units of analysis consisted of the movie preview itself and individuals who had dialogue and appeared at least three times in the preview. Animated and non-animated characters were used but 98.2 % were human characters. The coding scheme consisted of sexuality, demographic characteristics, MPAA ratings and genres. Two graduate students were involved in the coding process. The research proved the concept of “sex sells” to be relevant. The previews in this sample had an average of one sexual scene per minute. Although men and women were portrayed in sexual scenes, women were responsible for about one-third of the sexual scenes. For example, in the trailer for Empire Records, the main focus is of a girl dancing around in a mini skirt in front of a mirror. Most of the scenes focused on female sexuality. The more women in the trailers the more sexual scenes were used. Targeting young male viewers has become the main objective of trailers. A concern with the sexual content in movies is that it can have a negative impact on female viewers. It can cause them to have a negative view of the movie. The patterns of portrayal associated with gender are consistent with those in different media. These other media include advertising and entertainment. Signorielli, McLeod, and Healy’s content analysis is one example of sexual portrayal of women in MTV commercials. This content analysis showed that more women were likely to be shown as very attractive, physically fit and the main object of focus. Women were the only ones in these samples to be wearing sexy or skimpy clothing.
In Lois Smith’s study she discusses the topic of stereotypes. Many current television programs show how “women are underrepresented” and are stereotypically different and nurturing while males are shown as “active and aggressive”. Gender stereotyping is an example of how the media advertises their marketing strategy. In 1997, Dr. Lois Smith, professor of Marketing at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, did a study of gender differences in advertisings. His results showed that, “women were still more likely to be shown in the home, as product users rather than authorities, and as spokespersons for home-use products including food, household items, and body care” (Smith, 1997). No matter how far women come in this world it seems as though the world only wants to view as sex objects and stay-at-home moms.
I chose to do a qualitative content analysis of three films. I chose a “girly” movie, a “manly” movie, and one in between. The three movies I chose were: 2 Fast 2 Furious, 13 Going on 30, and The Life of David Gale. I chose the main female characters in each film and analyzed them by the following codes: appearance, voice, behavior and job or profession. I wanted to see if the role of women changed as the target audience changed. Were women give respectable roles in each film? Or were they only give respectable roles in the films targeted towards women. I also wanted to evaluate the sexual perception of the women in these films. In my coding I describe how they’re dressed by the following categories: demure, suggestive, partially clad or nude. Some women fell into a couple of categories during the movie. Although I only watched 45 minute clips of each film. I have general knowledge of all three films from past viewings.
Data obtained and discussed:
In 13 Going on 30, Jennifer Garner changes from a 13-year-old girl to a rich and popular 30-year-old magazine editor at her dream magazine. The whole movie is based on her goal to get her love interest and best friend. During the 45 minute clip that I viewed Jennifer Garner comes stumbling out of her room in lingerie and then is pushed into a cab with nothing but a rain coat and her lingerie on underneath. Through the whole clip she changes into little party dresses and skirts. It’s not until the very end that it shows her in jeans and a sweater. Her voice is bubbly and her thoughts her random and confused. She is very clumsy and spastic in the beginning but then she turns into a smart and respected woman. Is this a respectable role? She does end up getting her article published in the magazine but not after her idea is stolen from her rival and best friend. This movie depicts women as conniving and needy. In the beginning of the movie when Jennifer Garner is still a young girl she is treated very harshly by a mean popular girl. This mean girl who tricks Garner later becomes her best friend. Garner throws out her inhibitions for a friend and her new dream job. This depicts women as materialistic. It takes Garner until the end to realize that she has not become the real woman she wanted to be.
In The Life of David, Gale I analyzed the character that Kate Winslet portrays. Kate Winslet is a white and demurely dressed character. Throughout the film she is emotional and determined news reporter. Her whole crew doesn’t believe in her. The only reason she’s assigned to interview David Gale is because he requests her and her only. It seems like she’s doing a good job investigating the incident until the end when you realize it was all a setup. Therefore she’s almost made out to be a fool. So she’s not portrayed in a sexual manner yet her hard work is gone down the drain in the end. So in other words, the woman was chosen so she could be manipulated.
In 2 Fast 2 Furious, Eva Mendes is the Hispanic, exotic undercover agent. Mendes uses her sex appeal to trick the bad guys to let her know their secrets. She is then approached by Paul Walker and of course, she falls for him. He almost blows her cover too. But, Paul Walker and Eva Mendes work together to capture the bad guys in a drug scam. But of course the main focus turns to their sexual attraction to each other. Throughout the whole clip she is dressed suggestive and at times she is dressed partially clad.
Even when women are given the main role in a film they are depicted as sex objects or fools. They are easily manipulated and fall short of the main role in the end. In all three types of movies the male roles ended up on top.
Images of Women Over Time:


Articles discussing women stereotypes:


Images of women stereotypes:


Links to other studies related to women in the media:

For females in print ads: http://delcarpio.blogspot.com/
For females in TV sitcoms: http://meganr-megan.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Final class

Well I must say that I have enjoyed this class more than any other college course. And I've been here for a long time. I could actually stay awake for a 4 hour class better than a 1 hour class. I just want to say that I appreciate a professor who knows what she's talking about and can reach us and get us to interact. So farewell!!


I love how our visitors today were so honest with us. I keep hearing over and over how having a family is hard in this business. But that's ok because it just reassures my plans to put a family on hold. I admire them for sticking it out and doing the whole family thing and their career. They worked hard to get where they are and admit it's not easy.

My sis had her babies

Well, I really can't write anything about class because my twin sister just had her twin girls! That's right...I'm an aunt. But here's the catch. My sis was only 6 months pregnant. She's been in the hospital for 2 weeks now because her water broke early. But this morning her placenta broke loose and she bled a lot. They had to rush her to the operating room and take the babies. Her and the babies almost didn't make it. The girls weigh around a 1lb 1/2. Presley may not make it through the night and I haven't even finished my project. So how can I focus when my little nieces are in danger?! But I'm gonna start in the morning. I've been at the hospital for 9 hours!! And I'll be there all day tomorrow. Oh wait I can't be because I have to finish this project! Ugh! What am I going to do?????????????

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


I love this movie. I think it points out every stereotype there is out there. And the movie keeps your attention by appoint movie stars to the characters. It is kinda blunt and in your face. But that's reality. I think that movies try not to follow some stereotypes now. But this movie doesn't try to pretend that it's not there.

Race in Disney films

Ok, so I understand how you can think that when a character is dark in color that he is associated with black people. I could go both ways. When I imagine evil things I think of a dark place. Not a dark person. Therefore I see why the bad guys are always dark because they're supposed to be creepy. I just think that sometimes people dig for racism.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Mini Study

“Men are still demure”

Two-sentence summary of findings:

Men in alcohol ads in two women’s magazines were either demurely dressed or partially clad. But they were mostly demurely dressed.

Summary of the previous study:

The previous study compared magazine advertisements in 1983 and 1993. They found an increase in sex appeals. Both genders were displayed more explicitly but women were more explicit than men.

Its most important foundation literature and how it relates to your own project:

The most important literature relevant to my study is the work of Soley & Kurzbard (“Sex in Advertising,” 1986, Journal of Advertising). They used the categories: demure, suggestive, partially clad, and nude. This study found that women were found in a more sexually suggestive manner in 1984 than 1964.

Corpus and method:

My corpus included all full page ads for alcohol that included men. All ads were found in the June 2006, issue of Vogue and the June 2006, issue of Cosmopolitan. I used the qualitative and quantitative content analysis. The men were coded for the way they were dressed.


Vogue magazine included 3 ads for alcohol: Two of the ads depicted the men as demure; 1 ad depicted the man as partially clad.
In Cosmopolitan, there were 4 ads coded: All three men were dressed as demure. Both magazines had men and women in the ads. The majority of the men in these ads were depicted as demure.


Although some of the ads depicted men as partially clad, the majority of the ads depicted them as demure. This proves that nothing has really changed in ads that depict men. Women are still the main focus of sexy ads. Maybe if more ads were looked at we could find men more explicitly depicted. I wonder if this means that men are the main consumers of alcohol and that’s why women are dressed more provocatively in these ads.

Monday, May 22, 2006

My Super Sweet 16

It's amazing to me how many bratty little girls there are in this world. I know that networks edit the crap out of reality shows. But, geez! If I was a parent no way would I condone such a tv show. Hopefully one day I make a lot of money to be stable and support a family. But I feel like when parents agree to these shows they're throwing all of that down the drain. Big deal, you can buy your daughter a Mercedez for her birthday. She is now a brat and will treat you like crap on tv in front of the whole world. What does that say about your parenting techniques. If I ever talked to my parents the way that these girls do I would've been grounded my whole life! Nevertheless it is entertainment and it works. I know it does because I'm totally against disrespecting your parents yet I'm a guilty consumer.

Sex in ads

Big deal. I think sex does sell. Obviously it works or we wouldn't be talking about. Everyone acts like it's such a devilish act. I don't understand why. Plus most of the ads that are that provocative to fus about aren't widely used. Let's face it...guys like it, girls like it and it reaches the target market head on. I like seeing pretty women and good looking men in ads. It's easy on the eyes. lol I look at it as a positive thing. Looking at those models assisted in my persistence in staying in shape after I graduated high school. They push me to stay healthy. Overweight isn't healthy. Not every girl is going to go throw up their dinner just because they see pretty models. That's why we get an education...to learn better.

We bring it on ourselves?!

Wow...Didn't this topic create an uproar in class. I understand that everyone has their right to their own opinion but some people didn't. I just sit back and listen. I understand how girls look in the eyes of some people. But, we only think the way we do because of the materials shoved in our faces everyday. And to be honest I don't think that's such a terrible thing. I like dressing up, shopping and getting my hair done. Why not?! Who's to say what is socially correct. I mean what's wrong with wanting to feel pretty and confident. I get up every morning and pick out an outfit, straighten my hair, pick out jewelry and spray on some Chanel perfume. And you know what? That whole process sets my mood for the day. It's just like if I go out the night before and I feel like crap the next day. I don't focus as well, I don't talk much and I don't take good notes. That's kinda how I feel when I just roll out of bed and go to class. So if we bring it on ourselves, then fine. I don't care. Bottom line is I'm happy with my choices.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Everywhere I turn I'm hearing the same thing in the news. The main topic here lately is about the african american stripper that allegedly got raped by three lacrosse players. I think it follows what we discussed in class today. The three players are white athletes and the stripper is an african-american. Although she is the alleged victim the only coverage I've seen is of the three boys. The news hasn't really discussed the rape in detail. I haven't even heard anything that she has said. I wonder if she was drugged or drunk or what.?!

Monday, May 15, 2006

1st Class

Today's class was very interesting. I'm surprised the four hours didn't feel so bad! The part that interested me the most though was about the magazines. Some people in class were saying that magazines like Maxim and Cosmo. had the same things in them. And some people didn't understand why people like them. I like Cosmo. I buy that magazine at least every other month. The article may be based on the same topics. But I think they're funny and interesting. They always have a section on what guys think and how to interpret what they say. What girl doesn't wanna know what guys are thinking?