Blog Post

Feminism growing because of the Media

Ashley Chou

Professor Ashton

English 110

November 24, 2016

            Some women that are known in society as celebrities have identified themselves as feminists. However, just because they say they are feminists, it doesn’t mean they act as one. One example of a celebrity that has caught the spotlight due to her father is: Ivanka Trump. The media is one of the main reason why women are treated so poorly and unequally. Throughout the five articles used in this essay, they will show how the media is able to influence feminism on the public, though some may think they are feminist but with the information gotten, it doesn’t seem they are. Many celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Beyoncé takes feminism as a subject that should be taught to the public. Especially throughout this year’s election when many celebrities have come out to support Hilary because of knowing she is a big advocate for women’s rights. Trump has won most electoral votes and won his seat as president of the U.S for the next four years. Gaga started to protest by standing outside of Trump Tower in NYC holding up a sign that says “Love Trumps Hate.” Lady Gaga is one celebrity that fully sticks to her belief that as Trump takes over as president; women, especially young girls, will be affected by men superiority.

            There are top celebrities such as Emma Watson, Kesha, Beyoncé, and Lady Gaga who stand up for what they believe in: equality and fair treatment. Emma Watson first got off at a wrong start, confusing people with her actions while saying she was a feminist. She did a beauty commercial that signified women to look one way. Later, when people started to hate her for it, she knew what was doing wrong. She stopped taking jobs with companies that want a specific look and apologized for the misunderstanding:

‘it was a big mistake for Watson to lend her face to a Lancôme "skin brightening" cream in 2013. Never mind the question of whether someone with a passion for equality should be shilling for the beauty industry at all--it was distinctly un-Hermione-like behavior.” (Penny, 1)

Another celebrity that has made big news is Kesha. Kesha held allegations towards her producer for raping her while she just started out as a singer. She was brave to be able to put in court the details of her rape and seemed genuinely hurt by how she was faced with it. She has come out to show other girls that it’s the right thing to stand up for yourself. Her action of coming out and trying to sue her producer for rape makes her action as what a feminist should do. Whether she identifies herself as a feminist or not, her actions has influenced many young girls and women:

“Kesha is doing feminism in the bravest and most important way she can--by refusing to "save" her career by dropping her allegations against her producer. With that simple, brave act, she is inspiring an entire industry, and millions of women and girls to take a stand against abuse.” (Penny, 2)

            Other celebrities that has made it to the list of feminists is Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. In the beginning, Lady Gaga had showed part of her feminist side by protesting at Trump Tower in NYC. Trump was a candidate for the next president of the U.S, that showed he didn’t care for women and apparently had attacked a former pageant winner for becoming “fat” after her win. Lady Gaga is known for her outrageous clothing and how she presents herself on stage. She doesn’t care what others think about her and supports girls to let them be true to themselves. This is shown in the article, “You and I”: Identity and the Performance of Self in Lady Gaga and Beyoncé:

“Though she uses multiple personae as part of her shows, Gaga separates these characters from Lady Gaga, her primary performance identity, and uses them to make statements about society. Gaga's alter-egos allow her to voice ideas about other genders, communities, and even herself.” (Kumari, 7)

“Lady Gaga is able to productively use this alter-ego to produce an ultimate self.” (Kumari, 7)

While Lady Gaga challenges on how we look and present ourselves to the public, Beyonce gives young girls the idea of being confident in their own bodies. Beyonce at first didn’t identify herself as a feminist, but as time goes by and she starts to influence not only young girls, the idea of empowerment and confidence: “She wants to motivate audiences toward female empowerment, but she also empowers herself in the process.” (Kumari, 5) Both celebrities influence many young girls who in the future are able to change social norms and have women finally get their equality, showing we are not weak or unimportant: “On the other hand, Lady Gaga's alter-egos offer a chance to break and reinvent social norms through her theatrical performances.” (Kumari, 7) They also influence the idea by using the media which is why we have many movement laws that is able to protect some issues, including rape culture.

            However, not all celebrities out there are all feminists even though they say they are. For example, Ivanka trump says she is a feminist by saying she wants to have a conversation with women celebrating the fact that we’re multidimensional, and not cut from the same cloth, that success varies between each person: "What I wanted," says Ivanka, "was a conversation with women celebrating the fact that we're multidimensional, we're not all cut from the same cloth. The definition of success varies dramatically between each of us." (DePaulo,3) She also believes she is an advocate for women’s rights and women’s issues, like childcare. Child care is the largest expense for households and she believes it’s not sustainable or appropriate. So does she approve of abortion or not? Because apparently her father, Donald Trump is planning to defund planned parenthood, which would cause single mothers to not be able to live a harder life, trying to make money. They would have to fed another person but also with the gender unequal distribution of pay, these mothers would need to work even harder.  With the information she is giving to the public, it seems that she is not a feminist, but says she is herself. “So is she a real feminist?” "Yeah, I am. Absolutely." (DePaulo, 3) These problems have been put out to the public because of the media. Many people support feminism and gets favored by the public, especially young girls.: “The flashy lives of celebrities seemingly in control of their image and their lives and exhibiting sexual excitement and power are intoxicating symbols for teen consumers.” (Gibbons, 2) The media only showcases how women should act, and look, which causes teens to want to be a certain way:

“Her final chapter considers contemporary media that, amazingly, continue to show considerable conflict about women traversing work and home. The result is a rich compendium of material and analysis that makes an important contribution to the study of media and society and the role gender plays.” (Gibbons, 4)

Because of these teens admiring these celebrities, they get influenced by how these celebrities showcase feminism: “Teens' admiration for the image of a self-directed, independent woman informs their ideas about feminism as well, Zaslow says. For them, feminism means self-determination: chart your own course, execute your plan.” (Gibbons, 3)

 The “women in need” image came from the media where it offers a reductionist image of women, and leads to the naturalization of the woman-victim relationship. Soon, because of these celebrities influencing the change of social norms, a new filed research is within cultural studies, celebrity studies:

“The study has two objectives: to present the potentialities of the analytical model built around the concept of "ethical witnessing" -which can be applied to different audiovisual genres [01]- and to apply the model to the study of public figures and their feminist movements and fights against gender-based violence. The field of studies known as "celebrity feminism" places us on the discussion of post-feminism as media sensibility” (Fuentes, 2)

These celebrities are able to contradict society and change how we look at women in a different way, where they want equality. They are able to influence teens that are unsecure and soon those teens will be able to change social norms.

           Women in society has been looked a certain way because of how the media has advertised us as. These celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Emma Watson, and Kesha has showed the world to stand up for equality. That women should be treated equally as men. Also what we wear doesn’t mean were looking to be “raped.” Saying it is the women’s fault for dressing in a way that allowed her to be raped. Women used to be pushed aside from our problems with men, but now we must stand up for what is right to be treated equally. Because of these celebrities being able to change the minds of young women, social norms are beginning to change. Hopefully, these young women will be able to change social norms in the future. From these celebrities being able to spread feminism, a new cultural studies had emerge, called celebrity studies. Though we see that some celebrities aren’t giving the right idea of feminism, there are many others that actually do.

Works Cited

1. DePaulo, Lisa. "Growing Up Trump." Harper's Bazaar, no. 3646, 09, 2016., pp. 576http://queens.ezproxy.cuny.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.proquest.com....

2. Gibbons, Sheila. "Comparative Essay: Girls, Women & Media." Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, vol. 88, no. 4, 2011., pp. 858-861http://queens.ezproxy.cuny.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.proquest.com....

3. Kumari, A. (2016), “Yoü and I”: Identity and the Performance of Self in Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. Journal of  Pop Culture, 49: 403–416. doi:10.1111/jpcu.12405

4. María José Gámez Fuentes, Emma Gómez Nicolau, and Maseda G. Rebeca. "Celebrities, Gender-Based Violence and Women's Rights: Towards the Transformation of the Framework of Recognition?"Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, no. 71, 2016., pp. 833-852doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.4185/RLCS-2016-1123en.

5. Penny, Laurie. "I'd like to apologise for Emma Watson. I used to see her sitting on her own at the bus stop in Oxford." New Statesman, 8Apr. 2016, p. 23. Literature Resource Center,go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=LitRC&sw=w&u=cuny_queens&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA451939614&it=r. Accessed 10 Nov. 2016.

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