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Monday, November 12, 2007

Blog Post #4: Gia Option - Bodies for sale! Embodied Cultural-Material Products of Sexuality and Beauty (Due November 27th)

Blog Post #4: Gia Option (Due November 27th)

Diana Crane’s "Gender and Hegemony in Fashion Magazines" (citing Kellner’s argument) contends that the hegemony in fashion magazines and the interpretation of the images by the audiences, is ultimately defined by a hegemony of conflict (as opposed to homogeneity and sameness underpinning the hegemonic depictions of beauty).

Using the film Gia, your analysis should address one of the following options using the notion of hegemony through conflict as your method for analyzing the film:

Option 1
Analyze Gia through the genre of the fairy tale

Gia’s narrative throughout the film has the distinctly fairytale-styled tone and form. Instead of understanding Gia as the antithesis of a fairytale, analyze the film as the quintessential fairytale (like a fable with a human cast of characters and a fairytale that proposes conflicting messages about gender, sexuality, and beauty).

You might first wish to focus on the fairly tale narrative in the background of the film-- and where Gia’s narration veers off the path of the normative tale, as well as where Gia’s tale seems to conflict with the depictions that are shown simultaneously in the film.

Given the formulaic plot and style of fairytales, you don’t need to specify a particular fairytale for this option. Fairytales and fashion magazines highlight cultural ideals for two distinct age groups of women; however, they’re not two distinctly different messages. If you understand Gia as a success story (given the idealized notion of "woman" in the context of popular culture and specifically the representations in the film), how can you rethink the dominant notions of success & "happily ever after" as gendered constructs? What are the messages sent to women and young girls?

Option 2
Analyze Gia within the framework of property/intellectual property

Using both the examples and context of Gia, in what ways can "property" be defined (multiple formats and multiple definitions). What does this set of definitions illuminate about the notion of intellectual property? How can this concept be understood as a gendered construct of property?

  • What could be considered property? How do competing definitions of "property" result in conflicting notions of "ownership"?
  • How can intellectual property be (re)understood in relation to gender, class, race, corporate interests, advertising, media, etc?
  • Analyze the conflicting notions of property and ownership of this sort, and how it illustrates power and empowerment.
  • What does your analysis illuminate about "conventional" legal definitions of intellectual property?
  • How does Gia’s modeling career illustrate hegemony through conflict when viewed through the concepts of embodied ideals and property?
Similar to the issues of "reality TV" and Workout, Gia is a fictionalized biography; therefore, it may be useful to remember that this depiction is not entirely fiction, but that we can never know (as the audience) what Gia did/didn’t experience during her life.

Angelina Jolie plays Gia Carnagie, who was considered the "first supermodel" (by the makers of the film, but clearly not everyone...i.e. Janice Dickenson) in the US and the film is a fictionalized depiction of her life. Keep this categorical grey area in mind when analyzing this film as a cultural text.

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