3-4 pages, a cover page, and reference page (just the book reference is fine) in either MLA or APA format
Media Watch vs. Real Life
Name of the student
Media Watch vs. Real Life
Watching television uninterrupted, especially movies and shows, is a rather entertaining and relaxing moment. Most people watch for relaxation and entertainment purposes without evaluating, analyzing the media images portrayed, and issues related to gender. For instance, in movies, we all want to know the storyline. Still, we do not deeply see and analyze the roles portrayed by different genders, among other representations, including body image, cultural representations, themes, and diversity. Sut Jhally argues that media is a common tool in the marketplace that has been used to commodify and sell the image-based system with numerous feminist critics and influences including gender roles, body image, sexuality, and normalizing social constructs on beauty ideals, the body image, gender differences, and inequalities (Jhally, 2018).
I found time on Monday 20 July 2020 from 1 pm to 3 pm, where I watched a movie titled “Welcome to Acapulco,” a 2019 film. I can describe it as a comedy and thriller film, Mexican in origin revolving around governmental conspiracy and cartels. Throughout the movie, I could count at least 6 women and over 10 men characters in speaking roles. All these characters were above 40 years, although two, a woman and lead actor, could be categorized as younger. The characters were diverse, including one Asian and many Hispanics and Latin from Mexico and whites from the USA. I did not see people of color playing any role. The representation and display of men and women are different. Men are portrayed as the heads and powerful as the storyline includes a male senator and many male leaders of organized crime groups. Men are always serious about going on with their businesses, such as killing, fighting, and orchestrating schemes. They are portrayed as metrosexuals with muscular, athletic bodies to supplement their killing nature. Women, on the other hand, are displayed in a combination of submission and rising powerful characters. Among the six women, two women are portrayed as strong fighters who kill men and are as good with guns, killing, and fighting as men. Two other women include the senator’s secretary and an air hostess. The rest two play the roles of a femme fatale involved with powerful men in the country, such as the senator and leaders of cartels. They are sexualized, live in luxurious apartments and life, the central role being sexually trapping men, acquiring information, and selling it for money to fund their opulence lives. Sadly, some of the lead male characters and leaders of the cartels kill them.
The life and images displayed in the movie represent what happens in our societies in real life and among institutions, including the government conspiracies and role of private entities such as cartels in facilitating these conspiracies. However, the validity of this argument is based on intuitions and diverse theoretical foundations, such as conspiracy theories we read about. Secondly, in terms of gender roles and stereotypes, the film is a replica or representation of real-life, especially concerning the gendered aspect of economic inequalities and gender roles. In the movie, actresses are countable to being only six, while men are overrepresented, an issue prevalent in real life. For instance, in an Independent post, it showed that women representation in the film industry was worsening. In a study conducted, only 35% of films included 10 or more females in speaking roles, but 82% of the movie had at least 10 actors in speaking roles (Michallon, 2019).
Women are assigned roles such as being airhostesses and secretaries as socially constructed, hence, promoting gender stereotypes. However, the movie tries to challenge this belief and social ideologies or stereotypes by placing women as strong fighters who defeat men in terms of strength hence promoting hyper-femininity. In the real world, this is a struggle among many institutions as women representation in leadership and political positions is still low but trying to rise or thrive. Sexualization of women is also a notable observation in the film, especially among the women in non-speaking roles such as those displayed in bikinis in beaches, swimming pools, and the two femme fatale. In the scene where one of the femme fatale is killed, she is portrayed naked and shot mercilessly in a bathtub by the senator’s bodyguard stating that she had seen his face and knew much information concerning his shady dealings. Men in the film are mostly fully dressed and in the swimming pools are portrayed with well-built and masculine bodies (Wood, 2019).
In the real world, this is not entirely the truth; many women are resulting in self-destructive measures related to eating disorders and cosmetic surgeries to look like the ‘perfect’ thin body types, sizes, and shapes show in the film. This is an image-based system and representation of women’s desires, which is different in the real world even though portrayed on screens. In reality, women struggle to comply and meet the beauty standards and body image created through disastrous and unhealthy means (Scranton, 2013). Surprisingly, men, on the other hand, use this body image as a motivation to result in healthy exercise and nutrition or diet regimes and plans to acquire that masculine look and build up to complement their masculinity and patriarchal nature. The bodies of men and women characters portrayed in the film are not how they look in real life, only for a few (Tiwari & Kumar, 2018). However, the larger population has to deal with media and constructed societal pressures to look like them.
Finally, the environment portrayed regarding flashy and luxurious lives associated with organized crime organizations and femme fatales is an image-based concept and different in real life. The cartels live in opulence, huge mansions, the femme fatale in luxurious hotel rooms with designer clothes and lipstick, shoes, and travel in expensive cars and planes. In real life, this is different, as we see many real-life femme fatales living in nothing close to the picture portrayed. Some women are even objectified and subjected to domestic violence, including having their bodies as carriers for drugs, ‘packages,’ or sex objects (Connell, 2009). At least in this film, the concept changed, instead of a woman carrier for the ‘package,’ as habitually done, a man was used instead. In real life, opulence and crime is not a luxurious life for everyone, and if it provides luxury and comfort, it is short-lived.
The film uses a combination of both conventional and modern feminist conventions. It switches the traditional gendered cognitive abilities, gender roles stereotypes, and violence. Violence against women is minimally portrayed and switched with maximized hyper-femininity, where the lead actress is empowered with strengths abilities that challenge dominant ideologies surrounding masculinity. Concerning gender roles, I was impressed by the switch up developed; however, I would like to see changes in the representation of women in speaking roles and leadership roles. Instead of 35%, an increment of about 75% should be incorporated. Moreover, more films should adopt the changing and dynamic nature of characters, both men and female, without showing aspects of ‘reverse discrimination.’ Finally, the body image and beauty standards constructed should be changed to reflect plausibility, however, there needs to be a balance of the changes as the entertainment aspect must be maintained. Many people rely on this image-based system to find utopianism, which helps eliminate issues of depression and psychiatrist disorders.
Connell, R. (2009). Gender in a World Perspective, Second Edition. United Kingdom: Polity Press.
Jhally, S. (2018). Image-based culture: Advertising and popular culture. Gender and Women’s Studies: Critical Terrain, edited by Carla Rice and Margaret Hobbs. Women’s Press, pp. 327-335. Print.
Michallon, C. (2019, February 19). Representation of women in films is getting worse, new study reveals. Retrieved from Independent: https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/women-in-film-representation-female-protagonists-2018-mans-celluloid-world-study-a8786616.html
Scranton, P. (2013). Beauty and Business: Commerce, Gender, and Culture in Modern America. New York: Routledge.
Tiwari, G., & Kumar, S. (2018). Psychology and Body Image. A Review. Shodh Prerak, Vol 5, pp; 1-9.
Wood, J. T. (2019). Gendered Media: The Influence of Media on Views of Gender . Communication, Gender, and Culture , pp: 231-244.
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