What’s Sex Got To Do With… The Disney Channel?

Upon going home for Thanksgiving, I spent the majority of time in my house with my 10 year old sister. As a mode of compromising, we would spend part of the time watching the shows she wanted to watch, then the sows I wanted to watch. We probably watched at least five DIsney Channel shows a day.

Watching these shows as a kid, you are unaware of the true plot, implications, and meaning of situations and dialogue in the show. After watching these shows as a college student, it has become evident that all these children that star in the shows are over sexualized and the content of the show lends itself to heteronormative ideals.

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 9.18.22 AMScreen Shot 2014-12-01 at 9.24.51 AM

There are multiple times throughout the shows where there are subtle sexual jokes and innuendos present; some are ever extremely inappropriate, yet it goes unnoticed by the viewers because they are far too young to understand. Also, if one of the characters in the show is in a relationship, it is a very standard, stereotypical, and heteronormative relationship that is to be expected of any typical American teenager.

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 9.16.46 AMScreen Shot 2014-12-01 at 9.22.11 AM

The fact that all of the of the relationships featured in these shows are so heteronormative is curious, especially  considering the strides that have recently been made in the acceptance of homosexual relationships. Thinking about why this could be, it seems as if displaying a homosexual relationship in Disney Channel for young kids to see would be “inappropriate,” and many parents would probably not approve. Also, it would be far too “controversial’ for the executives of Disney to do such a thing.

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 9.14.50 AMScreen Shot 2014-12-01 at 9.19.57 AM

Why do you think it is that there are no other relationships displayed in Disney Channel shows rather than the heteronormative ones? Do you think that there ever will be any other types of relationships displayed? Why do you think it is that sexual innuendos are often included in shows?

Advertisements

What Sex Got To Do With….Final Post and Reflection?

Before taking the course, I braced myself for a course that merely discusses sexual intercourse/sexual assault and how those elements impact society in general. I was definitely not prepared for the depth of the concepts, where ideas of sex were linked to heavily conceptualized theories like Marxism and Essentialism. From discussing LGBT politics to discussing the idea of asexuality, a common theme always seemed to resonate with me: heteronormativity is a concept that has a profound effect on our everyday life. It is a concept that we too often see and hear, yet it has become so apart of everyday living that it only has become apart of the norm.

 

This concept has been greatly engrained into our heads throughout the semester, but it was during a specific excerpt by Kristen Barber that I started to find a link between the construction heterosexuality and the power that ultimately comes with it. She states that “sexuality is a social construct…hetero-sex in general is a mechanism by which men dominate women…in order to understand the subordination of women in the United States, one must analyze the practice of heterosexuality (NSS 45).” Another excerpt of our reading discusses expectations based on gender, where males are expected to maintain a masculine composure while females are expected to act in a feminine manner. Moreover, it largely expected that these two gender roles come together to form a companionship hence the male and female relationship is the most suitable way to fulfill this expectation according to society. In this aspect, this expectation perpetuates the ideologies that are established by heteronormativity.

 

When turning on different movies or watching different shows, it has become extremely difficult for me to not notice how the media highly favors heterosexual relationship and almost marginalizes gays and lesbian relationships. The latter relationships are not seen as the ideal “American dream” family, and this only fosters an environment that sees being gay or lesbian as inferior. For example, in the most popular love story films, men and woman are considered perfect according to the expectations of society. In “the notebook”, for instance, the male has a hyper-masculine personality that seems to only compliment the feminine female character. In “the vow,” these same gender roles are maintained throughout the entire film. These movies, in essence, contribute to the socially constructed idea of heterosexuality and what defines a man and woman in a relationship.

 

Love movies are not the only source of heteronormativity in the American society. As aforementioned in an earlier post, advertisement adds to the idea of what constitutes an ideal straight man’s sexuality and straight woman’s sexuality. We often see fit men who have an immense amount of sex appeal surrounded by females with perfect skinny bodies because that’s societies overall perception of an ideal heterosexual male.

 

So why is this such a important concept in our society? Because it is a concept that surrounds us everyday and, sadly, sexuality is indeed something that determines people’s worth in the American culture.

 

The moral to the story is that this class changed my life. It is not life changing in the sense that I am able to walk away with a large body of knowledge, but I am also actually able to see the concepts come to life on a daily basis. I am actually able to see how heteronormativity is played out and im

The Girl Code

Slam Poetry has the unique ability to get a point across without holding anything back, while also being entertaining to the ears. In “Girl Code 101”, Blythe Baird accomplishes both aspects of slam poetry. She begins by describing actions some of us may have seen, girls and women using their looks, their bodies, their gestures to get things or get out of doing other things (such as the mile in gym class). These actions are often described in negative connotations, yet Baird suggests these actions are calculated acts for survival. She suggests these acts of survival come out of years of being told we are not good enough for academics or sports, from years of our looks being commented on by anyone who wants to, from years of being made to feel less worthy. These years of being put down lead to an acceptance that this is the way, the only way, for women and girls to survive in this world. Our feminine behaviors are drilled into us out of fear and years of being told we are lesser. Baird claims that femininity is act taught to girls by the society we live in. Baird goes on to call out for female role models known for more than just their body and ability to have a child, role models that will teach women and girls to stand up for themselves and their worth instead of getting by on their looks and politeness as females are often guided into doing.

Baird’s ideas fall right in line with sociology’s perspective on sexuality. Sociologists suggest that sexuality is not inborn, but that it is a product of society. This idea of social constructivism of sexuality applies to gendered behavior as well. Based on our biological sex society expects us to act certain ways, and trains these behaviors into us as early as possible. Whether this entails giving young girls Barbie dolls and young boys trucks or teaching young girls to be polite while expecting boys to “be boys” through aggressive behavior, the lessons of our youth stick. Barbie dolls teach us that girls wear dresses and skirts, girls are taught to be polite to a point that often makes them timid women. The Barbies and Polly Pockets given to young girls teach them that looks, beauty, and being a size 0 are what will get you far in life. Females are influenced by what is shown to them as the “proper” way to behave, and this creates a socially constructed idea of the female character. When talking about this I am always reminded of a scene in Huckleberry Finn, in which Huck dresses up and acts as a girl in attempt to avoid being found. Huck meets many people, but the only person who realizes his ruse is an older woman. While it may not be explicitly stated, it is obvious through Twain’s description why it was only a female who could tell that Huck was not a female. As females, even more so in that time period, we are trained to act feminine in such a precise way that leaves males oblivious to the act, so that no male could identify Huck as they had never experienced the training to behave as a woman.

While it is true that in our current time period there are many female role models who defy these conventional images of femininity, these women are often beaten down and told (very publicly) that they are lesser women because of their refusal to fit gender stereotypes. Women and young girls may also grow to believe that they need to fit accent aspects of their gender (such as their body) in order to get ahead in positions dominated by males. On my high school debate team, the other girls on my team and I were well aware of the disadvantage we were at simply due to our gender. Studies have shown that those who are taller, those who have deeper voices, those who are male are believed to be smarter and have their opinions given more attention just from these factors. We were well aware of these studies, we knew we’d be given less attention because of our gender. We also knew that there were ways to make people look at us, and hopefully hear us. This led many girls, especially the more inexperienced debaters, to intentionally dress in shorter skirts and more revealing tops in attempts to gain favor with the judges (other high school students). We were told, by scientific studies and the world around us, that females are noted for their physical appearance and not their brains. And at times, we allowed ourselves to believe that this was accurate and play into the stereotypes and act the part of the polite, only valued for appearance female.

Gender stereotypes follow us wherever we go. Both males and females have socially constructed stereotypes they are expected to follow, but tackling the issues caused by both stereotypes would take more than one post. How have you seen these stereotypes follow you throughout your lifetime? Are there any particular incidents you can think of in which gender stereotypes were taught to you, whether directly or indirectly?

 

What’s sex got to do with…the hot babysitter?

All of you were children yourselves at one point and a large portion will eventually adopt or have children of your own. Think back to your childhood to a time when you had a babysitter who was not a family member. What did this babysitter look like? Was this person a male or female? How old was he/she?


For most, this babysitter was a female who your parents may or may not have known beforehand. It pretty unlikely that your image of a babysitter is a male because the media and society generally portray babysitters, nannies, and other child care providers as women. Why? Are women instinctively better care providers? Is there some reason to NOT have a male babysitter?


According to this article in the Washington Post, most people are afraid to hire a male babysitter because, statistically speaking, males are more likely than females to be pedophiles. While this may be true, not ALL non-females are child abusers and some females are. Interestingly, the article never talks about men being incapable of caring for children, and suggests that this idea is a huge problem.

“Here is the real problem when we err on the side of statistics. By telling the millions of men that they cannot be trusted with children, we are reinforcing gender stereotypes at school, at home and at work.”


According to Essentialists, your sex and gender are inborn. Basically, it is a natural part of who you are and, because of this, women are born to be more caring, sensitive, emotional, and feminine while men are born to be strong, resolute, logical, and masculine. On the other hand, Constructivists say that your sexuality and characteristics are socially constructed by the culture in which you are raised. Basically, women are taught to be caring, sensitive, emotional, and feminine while men are taught to be strong, resolute, tough, logical and masculine (Seidman, 3-17).
So, which is it? Are women naturally more competent care providers? Are they trained to be care takers? Or perhaps, men and women are equally capable of caring for children, even with the very different socialization they undergo? The media tells us that men just cannot be trusted to do a good job in films like “Daddy Daycare”, “The Pacifier”, and “Mom’s Night Out” and never shows us men competently caring for children.  This sexism hast to stop.


This sexism extends far beyond child care into all aspects of society. Men are more likely to become doctors while women become nurses. Most engineers are men while most teachers are women. Even when women cross over into male dominated fields such as being a college professor, they are generally paid less than their male counterparts for the same work. Why?

Purity, Pollution, and TRAP Laws

Morality: the principles discerning good behavior from bad, from what is right and wrong. For many, morality is centered around discourses in the church, within the family unit, or within other social institutions. Typically seen as a positive thing, shared moral values helps create a norm among a community, and allows it to run more efficiently (socially, at least). However, what happens when morality from individual to individual differs? When it comes to morality, particularly sexual morality, some groups of people get put on a pedestal, while others are shamed and humiliated for their sexual “deviances”. Recently, discourses of sexual morality have made their way into legislation and, subsequently, into the courtroom where debates over abortion and contraception, among other topics, have erupted. Continue reading

The “O”

What do we know about orgasms? Do both males and females experience them? Are they purely physiological? What social stigmas and implications do orgasms hold? …And why are they such a hot topic of discussion??? Here they appear in a medium of pop culture:

 

cosmo_cover pink_june-2010

Continue reading