“Amusing” Sexism

Sexism and the discrepancies between genders is a recurring topic in American Studies. As Susan Douglas points out in her book Where the Girls Are, in today’s society “it’s okay, even amusing, to resurrect sexist stereotypes of girls and women.” The video “Ending Women’s Suffrage” illustrates this humorous approach to sexism.

The makers of the video are attempting to demonstrate the deficiencies in education at supposedly prestigious schools while also making fun of girls who are mistaken about the meaning of “suffrage.” This video supports Douglas’s claim that feminist issues, regardless of the time period, can be seen as “amusing.” It seeks to show the ignorance of female students; however, the sample of girls in this video is misrepresentative of the general population.

Is there a lack of feminist history and the study of women rights in American education systems?

Today’s Definition of a Beautiful Body

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Most retail advertisements geared towards women include models with an “ideal” body. They all seem to have bodies that are abnormally thin. The definition of a beautiful body has become hegemonic in modern society as one which is perfectly skinny.

In a 1950’s advertisement, a company promotes products enabling women to gain weight, which is contrary of what most women strive for today. It includes a woman who states that “Men wouldn’t look at her when she was skinny.”

Advertisements reflect popular culture and can illustrate what society’s interpretation of beauty is. Today, girls grow up surrounded by the image of an ideal skinny figure; they are raised with the notion that if they are more thin, then they are more beautiful.

What made the hegemonic idea of a beautiful body become its polar opposite? Do you predict the definition of beauty will ever return to it’s original state?