Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Britney's Mental Breakdown

As can be seen by this picture, our princess of pop is on a personal hiatus from the music world, trying to rebel in every way possible, from marrying K-fed and having kids with him, to partying like a "rockstar" and shaving her head. Normal Behavior? Please feel free to leave constructive comments and add to the analytical discussion i have tried to establish. Thanks xx Jess

Best Non-News Stories of 2006

A little NPR Broadcast about non other than Britney Spears!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Britney as a Gender/Pop Culture Icon

Britney Spears, once an innocent, virginal 16 yr old on the top of the Pop Music World, seems to going through a rough patch, growing up way to fast for anyone around her, whether those people should have a say in what she does (like her husband and/or mother) or not (like the public, who tend to judge and assign labels rather than analyze and delve deeper into the life that is Britney Spears). Living her life in the public eye certainly has taken some obvious tolls on her self confidence/self worth, and as she continues to grow and discover herself, she seems to be rebelling in extremely odd ways. By using a few well known examples of Britney's behavior, I will try to look into the world that is Britney, and connect this as I see fit to the concept of gender and media in the celebrity/reality-obsessed society that we live today.

As a Celebrity, Britney possesses everything a girl could need or want, if you were to look at her from outsider's perspective, and not under the microscope she is currently viewed under. Our obsession with celebrity has come to a point where it is making other people a life living, namely the paparazzi, who will do anything they need to to get that “one shot” of Jayden James or Britney with her sons, which is still not out on the market yet. With her enormous success as a singer and mega-pop-star, with merchandise and things of the like, she has far surpassed any challenges in the consumer world she ever faced. Owning 3 homes, a handful of cars, and a 24 hour entourage/security far surpasses the typical goals of an upper-middle class living.

In a piece by Laurie Ouellette entitled “Inventing the Cosmo Girl; Class Identity and Girl-Style American Dreams. She surmises that female sexual desires are linked to a males potential for upward mobility. However with Britney this is not the case. Due to the fact that she can do and buy what she wants when she want, the financial and class mobility is not an issue for her. She is free to fall in love with anyone she chooses. Kevin Federline, not being of either high class standing or in a financial situation to care for both of his families, has nothing to offer Britney but the love and devotion she deserves. However, his inability to do this substantially has led her to try and “fix her marriage” by having children, once again deepening her ties to this man who in no way has tried to help her before. On the other hand, Ouellette points out that “female sexual desirability is linked to the cultural codes of the working class prostitute.” Britney does this very well for K- Fed, running around without underwear, and rebounding like it's her job, personifying the prostitute image that she has tried so hard to work off.

K-Fed by the way is coming out looking like the dad of the year, and not passing judgment just commenting, anyone who leaves their kid's pregnant mother to date a Teen Pop Queen must know that they will be labeled as a gold digger and a user, sorry K-Fed. NOW WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MING WOULD THINK THAT GETTING MARRIED AND HAVING KIDS IS A REBELLION? Apparently everyone and their mother, or at least the writers and editors of weekly celebrity magazines such as Us Weekly and Star, who help shape the opinions we as a society view these larger than life figures. Getting married and having children in most situations should be the happiest times in a woman's life, not something looked under a microscope and judged/analyzed by the entire country (and even world). Having every photo published, court papers released, and random video's showing up on YouTube of a private night in a hotel room in some random country.

Finally, Britney is a HUGE pop culture icon, making her a mainstream phenomenon, and thanks to her booming music career and unpredictable life decisions she has made, she continues to capture the publics attention whether they want to admit it or not. Trivializing the things that one is going through in their life is not only wrong, but adds another dimension of craziness to her life. BY being a controversial topic in the pop culture relam today, we simply cannot dismiss the flood of gender related and pop culture related information she is giving us on a nearly daily basis. Britney is and will continue to be a huge influence in gender and pop culture/media issues simply because she is a good looking girl with lots of money and celebrity status, and hopefully she can conquer her demons, and come out on top with another huge album soon! Lets Go Brit!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Politics of Plan B

Wednesday, March 7th, I attended a lecture given by Dr. Susan Woods, formerly of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration, focused of the politics and controversy concerning Plan B, otherwise known as the morning after pill.

She explained in great detail the circumstances surrounding the issues with approving Plan B, as well as the circumstances surrounding her subsequent resignation from the FDA. She said that never in a million years would she even ponder the though of resignation, especially over something as common as what is essentially high dosages of birth control.

She talked about all the different types of drugs that had been given and tested on pregnant women, and how these women were later removed from virtually all scientific trial studies due to the unknown negative effects the experimental drugs might have on the fetuses. These drugs include thalidomide, and DES (diethylstilbestrol) which was used to prevent miscarriage in women late in their pregnancies.

The issues surrounding Plan B in particular stretch as far back as the early 60's, when birth control first became available with a prescription during the self help gynecology movement that spread fast and vast across the country. Unknown to most, Plan B was simply a higher dosage of birth control medicine, comparable to taking 6, 8 or even 10 birth control pills at once. Although they were not designed to be used this way, doctors could prescribe a patient to take this many pills from her pack in order to prevent pregnancy from occurring. The largest misconception people have to date regarding this line of drugs is that once taken, it DOES NOT KILL A FETUS!!!!!! It simply prevents ovulation, making the fertilization of the egg impossible.

(By the way, the FDA's sole job is to approve products that are safe, effective, and correctly labeled, to make sure they are in compliance with numerous food and drug laws, and products within their grasp include things such as cosmetics, microwaves, and breast implants, to name a few.)

Once enough people knew about this little secret to the birth control pill, many were willing to use this as a last resort method of preventing pregnancy, the only down side to this method is, if not taking within the first few hours/day/days at the latest, it will not work.

Make a long story short, there was way too much controversy about what age groups this drug should be available to and the prescription/over the counter status, and it was in limbo for way to long. What is puzzling to me is why the FDA was so reluctant to approve it, when so many people are on the pill to date, who can follow the “unsafe” method of the morning after pill if they know about it.

The lecture itself was very informative and interesting, and provided me with great argumentative material. Granted I have no knowledge prior to this about birth control and Plan B, other than my own personal experiences, but thats ok

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Class Blog Topics~ feel free to comment if i spelled your name wrong or you have updated/changed your topic!

Name Blog Topic

Jessica T, Britney Spears
Jessica B, Family Guy
Jessica B, 24
Amanda G, American Idol
Melissa Z, Flavor of Love
Erin D, America's Next Top Model
Darling C, Women in all media
Amanda D, Emo Music
Spencer H, The Office
Lauren P, Da Ali G Show
Katelyn R, Hollywood Female Ideology
Michelle L, Adverts related to Viewers
Devon M, Beauty and the Geek
Jennifer M, None Yet
Melissa M, Oprah
Leo M, Gender and Anime
Kristin C, Gender, Desperate Housewives
Alexandra A, Gender Representation in Ads
Pat D, Family Guy
Kristian E, Gender, Professional Sports
Kyle G, South Park
Tara B, South Park
Mark B, Seinfeld
Dan G, Scrubs
Nicole U, Grey's Anatomy

This is old, but I thought I might add it anyway

Come on brit, think about your kids! lol

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Americas Next Top Model: An Analysis of Feminine and Masculine (or lack there of?), and their Respective Norms

As I sit in front of my T.V., flipping through the channels, Tyra Banks at her fullest and most voluptuous (wow she looks good!) catches my attention while steppin' with Phi Beta Sigma, Fraternity Incorporated, shouting commands at 15 somewhat pretty girls, all wearing army fatigues and wife beaters sporting "ANTM" across the chest. Some have long hair, some have short hair, but they all have one thing in common. The courage and drive to be critisized to no end about everything that shouldn't matter with regard to a healthy self image; their looks.

This aspect of the particular reality show i chose to analyze completely encompasses what the "ideal" feminine prototype should be as according to our current standards of living and consumerism.

The masculine component of this post is much more difficult to identify and define, simply because the masculinity (or lack there of) is portrayed much differently than what would be expected (if it can be seen by the lay couch potato at all.) In fact those you would expect to be masculine (the only men involved in the show, whom include Ms. J Alexander and Jay Manuel, both of whom happen to be homosexual) act more towards the feminine ideal rather than the masculine ideal, most if not all of the time.

Although this show seems to be geared towards women, considering the majority of advertising and product placement focuses on consumer goods that would typically appeal to the "modern-day housewife" aka tampons, makeup, std vaccines, teeth whitening gum, hair products, and every day tips to please your man better (do they really think we don't know how to do that?) The fact that there are pretty girls (or what the "high fashion" world considers to be pretty aka prepubescent boy ((ewwww))) prancing around in little outfits appeals to the male sex drive, which is a common factor in most TV shows and advertisements geared towards men. It's hard to notice but every once in a while a SUV commercial or Insurance scam will peep through every once in a while. Typically TV shows that have middle class white men as their target audience have exceeding amounts of image based advertising, focusing primarily on sex, followed by sports, violence, and cars for example. (Fiske)

It is obvious that this show is searching for the ultimate feminine woman and basically using her to sell and/or endorse products, which can be connected to the idea that there is a need to sell increasing amounts of "nonessential" goods in a comprehensive contemporary marketplace (Jhally) . She will be an idol of all idols; with all the necessary qualities and characteristics to be a great, wonderful, chameleon, liked by everyone, all the time, no matter what.