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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.

Blog Post #3: Workout Option - Bodies for sale! Embodied Cultural-Material Products of Sexuality and Beauty (Due November 13th)


Blog Post #3: Workout Option
Bodies for sale! Embodied Cultural-Material Products of Sexuality and Beauty

Using the 4th episode of Season 2 of Workout, your objective is to analyze the links and fissures between gender and sexuality. Using one character of your choice (one person as focus; however, interactions with other characters are certainly great places for analysis) your job is to investigate the ways in which the character is portrayed in relation to gendered and sexual identity-based norms, ideals, and stereotypes. Focus your analysis on the multiple (often conflicting) ways an individual ‘character’ disseminates messages about gender and sexuality.

  • Specifically, use the readings to locate and define concepts of gender and sexuality-based norms/ideals/stereotypes.
  • How does the character "fit" the concepts related to normative definitions of masculinity and femininity?
  • What traits are included and omitted when portraying an ideal or non-ideal/pathological masculine and/or feminine subject?
  • How does your character disrupt the relationship between gender and sexuality vis-à-vis stereotypes/norms/ideals about sexuality and masculinity and femininity (i.e. when the "butch/femme" dichotomy is disrupted)?
  • How do these categories of analysis illustrate media constructions of your chosen character and hegemonic norms and expectations when they intersect with gender?
  • Although the show is labeled "reality," don’t get wrapped up in the fake/real issues or the potential ideas and issues of the scripting and editing of the show

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