IMG_954

The appearance of Reeses Pieces in “E.T.” increased Hershey’s profits by 65% following the release of the film. “Toy Story’s” Inclusion of an Etch a Sketch boosted its sales by 4,500% and Mr Potato Head  by 800%. This those how powerful product placement is. Advertisers pay to place products in movies, tv shows, music videos, and even celebrity contracts. In this way it influences us by associated people and entertainment we like with products, causing us to be be more likely to buy those products. Like if you were an individual who loved Jame Bond, and you saw that in real life you could buy his watch, or even more crazy, his car – it would be even greater motivation to purchase them.

Product placement is very powerful in that it is not always in your face. It can influence your subconscious, or even just raise awareness to you of a product you didn’t know existed before. I know from experience, that before I learned what product placement was – I didn’t even notice when those brands were inserted into entertainment. But my subconscious did, and I would usually go out a buy a donut or spend my night drooling over a designers clothes.

Postmodern In Entertainment

This post maybe a little gushy in the sense that I am so in love with Adventure Time as a forewarning.

Adventure Time has created a beautiful innocent show that presents heavy subject matter in a light and sweet way. This show is postmodern in the sense that it ties very modern concepts into a tv series that is supposedly designed for kids. Yet it covers very serious subjects, like nuclear warfare that destroyed the earth, being a young male with a dream to be a princess, and body image issues. Yet the characters and cinematography is so beautiful, bright, and refreshing – you are simply, joyously entertained.

The Theme that Adventure Time represents the most is opening the discussion about our generations ideals on good and evil. Were are entering a time where those lines are being questioned and approached from a new perspective. We are developing new ways and opinions about what is good/bad. The lighthearted perspective that Adventure Times takes this new mindset, is by not having any real main villain. Every bad guy has a real tragic story that was out of their control why they turned out evil. It delivers that unexpected emotional punch that causes the viewers a moment of pause, if they are old enough to catch it.
Another way this show is post modern is the way that not only their villains are complex, but all their character have crazy character development. And even better, they have entire episodes dedicated to gender swapped versions of the character – leading to one of the best forms challenging gender roles.
The final point about postmodern Adventure Time is that it is a show advertised to kids, but definitely intended for young adults. There are jokes about women using their feminine charms, Jake the Dog got his partner pregnant, and discussions on how physical to be in relationships. There is very adult subject mattered throughout the show, but still is intended for younger crowd. Thats why I believe it has such a big following. When adults watch this show they get the nostalgia of being a child, while being entertained with adult related jokes.

This advertisement speaks volumes to me right now. I have two baby nieces at the ages of 1 and 2. And it is very interesting to me to watch how their parents are raising the two little girls. There is such a huge difference in the toys, shows, and clothes that the parents dress them in compared to my nephew. And much to the annoyance of their parents, I often voice my opinion of the gendered influence on their small kids. Fewer than 3 in 10 in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are women. From early on in life, girls are targeted to be pink mommy princesses. They are raised to become consumers of frills and babies. their early exposure is all toys that have nothing to do with engineering. This commercial I believe is a great example breaking down that narrow-minded advertising to young girls.

One of the most powerful lines is in the beginning where the young girls sing “You think you know what we want, girls. Pink and pretty it’s girls. Just like the 50’s its girls.” Its the consumer culture telling parents what their little girls want, and then the little girls grow up, thinking that they belong in that box. Creating and endless consumer cycle that can only be broken by advertising and representing a wider range of toys and styles for both genders – There is a way to entertain children without labeling gender differences.

Self-Survalence

Self Surveillance is where one is constantly policing and watching themselves, and how they do that is through comparison. In this study of male vs female visual attention pattern, we can visibly see that women spend a significant more amount of time with the ad first of all. I believe this could be for several reasons. First of all the men spend a quick glance at the chest and and lower half, where as the women spent a noticeably longer time on the breasts, stomach and even down to the gentiles and upper thighs. This is a great reveal to show how much women are watching and surveying themselves. As they  look at this ad, it is constant comparison, as they see the girl and compare themselves to her – do they measure up? Are they as pretty as me? Am I better or worse looking? Is this what males desire? Etc. They spend time looking at the stomach area where men barely skim over.

Then there is the surveillance of the advertisements actually words, women spend much for time reading the products being sold. This interest could be sparked by the the desire to be like this photoshopped model,  they want to learn about the product. Self Surveillance has a very powerful effect with advertisement. Constantly being in a world where you are surrounded by people watching you, comparing you to others – leads you to do the same to yourself, making sure you will measure up when they turn their head to you.

One thing I do find refreshing is the males observation of the females face – both the males and females spend an equal amount of time studying the face of the model. Now for the women the intense study of the face is more to compare looks once again, but for the men – it is clearly just to enjoy the beauty of the model. Granted this is a male-gaze based advertisement, but it still was nice to see that what still is valued over a perfectly photoshopped body – is the face of the female.

For the sake of dipping into fresh material besides just talking about advertisements, I will be using comic books as my source to discuss the Male Gaze on women. Comic books are extremely clear examples of the Male Gaze in action. I have been reading comic books since I was a young girl, and in today’s society – although not as common – women have become involved in the world of comics. Yet it is still very very heavily written for only male enjoyment. The female characters are secondary to the plot, and really they are simply there to show off their body in their spray painted costumes.

One of the best examples is DC Comics reboot of their female superhero Starfire to attract a new market. The re-vamp worked, almost 2 million people started reading her comics. The problem is, their new market did not include any women. Starfire is an all-powerful alien from another planet who just happened to spend the majority of her time either naked or in a bikini, and didn’t feel the need to know the names of men she has sex with.  She literally was introduced as a pair of breasts with her head down in a submissive pose, completely there to serve the male gaze. She is there for the pleasure of the men around her. In the comics, they focus on her body and how she uses it – every pose is for the male viewer, even when she is fighting to save the world or her own life, every panel is a shot to admire her curves.

DC Comics tried to justify this insane level of nearly pornographic images under the guise of “I am strong and empowered and therefore I love being naked and stared at”. This industry is nearly an endless pool of examples of how women are so subjected to the male gaze. The side effects of this type of media representation are definitely prevalent in both males and females. Males who immerse themselves with these types of ladies have gained an unrealistic view of women on how they should act and look – comic books basically are drawing Barbie dolls for men. And women feel those expectations in their appearance to become that idealized beautity.

starfire 1 red-hood-p10 Starfire_-_New_52 1682054-comic_starfire12 2017319-starfire_by_blondthecolorist_d4alvow 593px-Starfire_Titans_01

Mass media has several different ways of influencing its viewers into believing and buying into their product or message they are selling. One way of Propaganda is subliminal perception. The theory was parodied on an episode of the office, where Michael attempts to seduce a women with sexy pictures of other men, as well as himself and leaving short “quick” slides with the word SEX in bold. Now it was hilarious, and it also was a great example of what subliminal advertising is. Their goal is to reach the viewers subconscious mind, without them even realizing – the perfect way to attain social control. Victims without even realizing they are victims.

Mass media has been used by several organizations to create a social control. They use propaganda images, words and presentations to influence the way we are thinking, feeling, and desire. If they want us to feel the need to buy a certain product to fit in, or to instill the logic that women need to look a certain way to be accepted into society. The best way propaganda works, is when you are not aware of it.

When trying to find real life advertisements that used this form of mass media social control form of propaganda – I found something that shocked me, but probably shouldn’t have. It was a famous advertisement of Bush against Al Gore – where they use the same exact technique that Michael in the Office used, they took the word Bureaucrats – and changed it so RATS flashed across the screen.

rats1

Now of course there is no law protecting us against subliminal messaging so when this trickery mind-control commercial was discovered, it created quite a stir – but there were no consequences for those actions.

How could there not be a law that is protecting us viewers from this kind of blatant propaganda? This is a direct form of deceit. The advertisement wants to influence so directly – to literally control and change our minds, but do it without us realizing it. They want pure blind mushy minds to mold to their message, total social control.

skyy-vodka-ad-g2052

“The Practice of Looking” pointed out an idea that I had not thought of before, that how things get introduced/accepted into society is when a “certain discourse of science, law, technology, and modernity” made its integration into society possible. Now sit and think about this. There are so many examples to back up this concept. In the world of science, hundreds of scientific facts were ignored or called crazy, until individuals in society were at a point with their religious beliefs where they actually could consider these new theories as facts. Or in the world of fashion – the outfit that I wear to school shows more skin than the underwear women used to wear 100 years ago. So there is an evolution in society – we just have to be slowly introduced and integrated into these changes.

But what does that say about the way society appears to be evolving currently? Rolling Stone recently published a study about how the representations of women and men have become more sexualized over time – women significantly more than men.  The researches looked at the covers of Roling Stone magazines since 1960 to present. They documented a 47% increase in men sexualization, 89% of women sexualization increase. Their study on advertisements had even more dramatic percentages. This shows the power of  a male gaze based culture. The society that embraces displaying women in a way that is solely for a mans pleasure – and nothing pleases a man more than sex.

david-and-victoria-beckham-fragrance-795543rolling-stone-cover-volume-1075-4-2-2009-blake-lively-and-leighton-meester

What this is showing is that popular media outlets care do not care as much about showing musicians/actors or a bottle of perfume, as they do showing men and women ready for sex. This is a narrowing of representation of what women are capable of – if all society presents for the viewer are consistent images of women ready for a great time in the sack, how much of it will seep into individuals thought processes? How much will be begin to believe that all women want is for you to sleep with them, and how many women will start believing that all they are valuable for is their looks? To be a sexy piece of arm candy? Now it isnt bad for women to present themselves as sexy – but media loves to show girls as sexy and passive. That females are these objects for someone else to enjoy, essentially an object for gazing.

As our society continues to evolve and become more and more open to the idea of sexualization in advertisements and media – how far will be too far? How bad do the consequences of these types of images have to be before we start valuing a different trait – or become “ready/open” as a society?