Blog #98 – Media Images for Women and Toxic Masculinity
So, we watched Tough Guise 2, a searing film on our toxic masculinity culture, and Killing Us Softly 4, a strong indictment about advertising’s impact on women and girls’ bodies and self-esteem.
Tough Guise 2 doesn’t say that every man is violent, acts as gender police, or strikes a cool pose modeled after black urban images. But it does talk about the epidemic of violence that is conducted by men (77% – 99% of aggravated assault, armed robbery, murder, domestic violence, and rape), and discusses how men are the victims of this violence. Fathers and older males can perpetuate the tough persona by trying to make us tougher or not show emotions in public in order to avoid feeling shame. Men of color are stuck in media stereotypes as well (whether it’s Bruce Lee, Latinos, or Native Americans). One of the things that the film stated was that this latest emphasis on masculinity was that it’s a sign of a culture in retreat, that white males are experiencing more and more economic insecurity and becoming the victims of a p.c. culture and expanding rights for women, people of color, and LGBTQ folks. This kind of explains the spread of “bum fights” and attacks on gay people, but not completely. What is needed, according to the film maker, Jackson Katz, is a less narrow definition of masculinity, one that includes women (see Jack Myers’ article), and also shows a multi-varied and accurate representations of men in media.
Killing Us Softly 4 examines the way media and advertising influence women and girls and normalize what is desirable and accepted (thin, white, blond) even in other countries. What these images do is promote the idea that women and girls must live up to a flawless image, one that can be assembled by computers or trimmed to fit the ideal if the real woman doesn’t measure up. Some of these messages that media and advertising send is that women must be submissive, passive, and silent, and effortlessly perfect. There’s also a huge emphasis on young people having sex, some ads bordering on pornographic. Also, there’s the increasing sexualization of younger girls (see articles below). With an increased exposure to these messages, girls are prone to eating disorders, depression, and low self-esteem. This has become a public health problem that needs to be solved.
- How do the two films crossover with their subject matter? Explain.
- How do both films focus on their issues as public health problems?
- Provide an explanation for at least one takeaway from each film.
Your blog comment should be at least 350 words total by Wednesday, May 31 by class.
Author Jack Myers on Masculinity crisis in TIME, 2016 – http://time.com/4339209/masculinity-crisis/
National Review‘s look at men dropping out of the workforce – http://www.nationalreview.com/article/440849/male-labor-force-participation-rate-drop-about-masculine-identity
The American Psychological Association’s report on the Sexualization of Girls – http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/report.aspx
The Oversexualization of Young Girls – https://girlsgonewise.com/the-over-sexualization-of-little-girls/
What’s Wrong with the Media’s Portrayal of Women Today, and How to Reverse It – https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2014/11/21/whats-wrong-with-the-medias-portrayal-of-women-today-and-how-to-reverse-it/#1ad6585f44c2