Let’s hope they can get it passed soon!
The Mindy Project is a new show that aired on Fox this fall. I was first inclined to watch it because it stars Mindy Kaling, who used to be a cast member and writer for one of my favorite shows, The Office. I think this show is my nominee for best new comedy this season. It is about Mindy, an OBGYN, and her relationships with the people she works with, is friends with, and her dating mishaps. It is set up like a zany rom-com, and this is why I think I like it so much. Mindy is a ridiculous character, who doesn’t really seem to care what others think. The show is very funny, and I think those who like New Girl will really like it as well.
I am not generally an avid consumer of celebrity culture, but occasionally I slip and go to the dark place that are celebrity gossip magazines. I know this topic isn’t as popular as it was a year or so ago, but I think that the commentary the media had on the way Shiloh Jolie-Pitt gives a great example on our obsession with celebrity culture and the ways we dress our children.
There have been countless celebrity gossip magazines that have published articles regarding Shiloh’s short hair, or her “tom-boy” clothing, or that she choose to wear her older brothers’ hand-me-downs. I find it sad, although not surprising how much criticism Angelina and Brad Jolie-Pitt have gotten from the media. This highlights the obsession we have with celebrities and how deep are parasocial relationships go with them, that we think we are so close to them that we can criticize their parenting methods. It simultaneously brings to light how obsessed our culture and media is with girls dressing feminine and boys dressing in masculine clothing. When people stray outside of these norms, we get very upset. I remember reading articles comparing Shiloh and her sister, Zarah, and how they would applaud Zarah for being a girly-girl, and wonder why Shiloh wasn’t more like her sister. I find all of this disturbing and sad.
Recently, I have noticed the media has laid off Shiloh and her clothing. When her hair was cut even shorter, there were articles that simply called it her “signature cut”, rather than calling it a boy’s haircut. Angelina has been quoted many times stating that Shiloh likes what she likes, and that is okay with her. It seems that now that Shiloh has been cast in a “tom-boy” light, the media is now okay with the way she dresses. To me, it seems that the only way society could became comfortable with Shiloh’s clothing choices now that she has been categorized. I think that this also taps into our discussion about homosexuality a bit. We only seem to be able to discuss or accept homosexuals in our media when they fall into stereotypical roles that we accept. To conclude this jumble of thoughts, I think that Angelina letting Shiloh make her own choices in wardrobe was great. The more we encourage children to simply be themselves, the quicker we are going to see change in society.
My mom grew up on a farm, and was raised with three older brothers who never wanted to play w dolls with her or dress up with her. She spent her time playing with trucks in the mud. My mom was also a teenager during the ’60’s feminist movement, and I think these factors had a large impact on how she wanted to raise my sister and I. My mom dressed me for much of my infant and the early stages of my toddler life in gender neutral clothing. As I started to hit ages 4-6, Disney began popping out these movies that created what we call “Princess Culture”. She has always told me that she never was into any of the “ultra-feminine” clothing for my sister and I, but she says that once I saw one of these movies that was the end of it. My favorite thing to watch were the Disney princess movies. I had the princess night gowns, the barbies, the stuffed animals, the books, the whole nine yards- and I loved it all.
Now that I am older, I still have a place in my heart for those movies, but I often reflect on the impact they have had on my life and many others like me. I consider myself a feminist, yet sometimes I catch myself saying, thinking, or doing things that completely contradict or at least test my feminist beliefs. For example, as I stated in class, I feel that the princess culture has embedded the thought in me that I need to marry one day, that all my accomplishments will be for nothing if I don’t marry. This is not something that I truly believe in, but I catch myself saying things like that imply that it is what I believe. This upsets me because it puts unnecessary pressure on myself and many other girls in our society to be married at a young age. It also gives us this idea that in order to be happy, we must find a man that thinks we’re the most beautiful girl in the world. The “princess culture” puts the idea into young girl’s heads that the key factor to finding a “prince charming” is to have a perfect body, long hair, skimpy outfits, and a beautiful voice. There are very clear repercussions from teaching girls that these are the important things in life. There is a list that could stretch around the world of insecurities girls have because they don’t view themselves as beautiful enough. This mentality encourages young children to forget about smarts, as long as you can find a boyfriend, nothing else matters. If you can’t find a boyfriend, you better change yourself to get one. Industries like plastic surgery, make up, clothing all fuel this “princess culture”. You got into Harvard? Awesome, but you know Aunt Pam is going to follow up that question with, “Do you have a boyfriend?” I would like to say that I am cured, free, or above this “princess culture”, but I am not. I am a victim of this harmful mindset, as are many other ’90’s girls like me.
This video discusses issues of sexism in a commercial that speaks about the dangers of sexting.
This is Tavi Gevinson’s TED Talk about her website Rookie, and her relationship with feminism. She talks about the struggle for teenage girls to find media that gives an accurate portrayal of what their life and they themselves, are really like.