Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sexuality Equals Femininity in Female Action Figures

In today’s society, constructs that dictate how men and women should act have been introduced to young people through many mediums.  Marketing is one such medium.  The marketing of dolls, in particular, sends multiple messages to young girls like my little cousin, Lanette.  For example, dolls more popularly termed “action figures”, which are generally of a more violent nature, can instruct a young girl how she can have stereotypical masculine qualities while maintaining her femininity.  The message sent is that if girls want to be violent, it is acceptable as long as they emphasize their sexuality.

The messages sent by the way the products are marketed encourage girls to be someone they are not.  Lanette is not able to be her own person.  Instead she is encouraged to be someone that society values.  “The culture…urges girls to adopt a false self, to bury alive their real selves, to become ‘feminine,’ … (Kilbourne 259).”  Therefore, if girls want to be valued in society they are encouraged to emphasize their sexuality.

For Lanette, she is encouraged to compensate for her hypothetical lack of femininity in her personality in the form of flaunting her physical femininity.  This can be seen in “Image Based Culture: Advertising and Popular Culture” when Sut Jhally says, “In advertising, gender (especially for women) is defined almost exclusively along the lines of sexuality (253).”  When gender is defined by sexuality, a woman can act however she wants as long as she shows an amount of skin that is proportional to how masculine she is. Most of these woman “action figures” are displayed in a pose that most accentuates their unrealistic curves.   Hawkgirl, for example, has defeated her share of evildoers, but she also has giant breasts and shows almost all her cleavage.

Works Cited:
Jhally, Sut. “Image Based Culture: Advertising and Popular Culture.” Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Text- Reader. Eds. Gail Dines and Jean M. Humez. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publication Inc., 2003. 249-257. Print.

Kilbourne, Jean. “The More You Subtract, the More You Add: Cutting Girls Down to Size.” Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Text- Reader. Eds. Gail Dines and Jean M. Humez. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publication Inc., 2003. 249-257. Print.

Revoltech Fraulein: Queen's Blade Cattleya Action Figure.” Amazon.com. amazon. nd. Web. 5 August 2010.

DC Direct Blackest Night: Series 3: Green Lantern Arisia Action Figure.” Amazon.com. amazon. nd. Web. 5 August 2010.

DC Universe Classic Cheetah Figure.” Amazon.com. amazon. nd. Web. 5 August 2010.
  
"Mattel DC Universe Classics Hawkgirl Figure.” Amazon.com. amazon. nd. Web. 5 August 2010.

"Tomb Raider: Lara Croft 12-Inch Action Figure.” Amazon.com. amazon. nd. Web. 5 August 2010.

"Fraulein Revoltech #002 Rin Tosaka Action Figure.” Amazon.com. amazon. nd. Web. 5 August 2010.

"Fraulein Revoltech: Hoshii Miki No.009.” Amazon.com. amazon. nd. Web. 5 August 2010.

"DC Universe Classic Donna Troy Figure.” Amazon.com. amazon. nd. Web. 5 August 2010.

1 comment:

  1. Christian-
    Overall, nice job on this project!
    Your main issue here was just one of clarity and wording. I understand what you're arguing and illustrating because:
    a. the wording is not super-unclear
    b. we discussed this project during my office hours, so I knew where you were headed with it.

    The main issue you seem to be arguing (aka your thesis) is that girls are shown an avenue for femininity in action figure-marketing, specifically located in sexual objectification and violence.
    The clarity becomes an issue that may impede understanding by your audience in sentences like this set:
    "This can be seen in “Image Based Culture: Advertising and Popular Culture” when Sut Jhally says, “In advertising, gender (especially for women) is defined almost exclusively along the lines of sexuality (253).” When gender is defined by sexuality, a woman can act however she wants as long as she shows an amount of skin that is proportional to how masculine she is."

    The word "this" always needs a reference point. What's the "this" that you're referring to?

    Aside from that, great work!
    :o)
    Jessie
    See SOCS rubric on Assessments for my grade-specific feedback.

    ReplyDelete