Friday, May 29, 2009

Gendered Consumer, "Quinn's gift of gender socialization"

Marcelo Rivera

Gender and Pop Culture

Dr. Jesse Gamble

May 27, 2009


Gendered Consumers

            The excitement that toys bring to a child’s life is a fundamental part of a kid’s childhood experience. Toys are a production of pop culture, they can influence socialized distinctions between genders. Socialization occurs, as Newman states, “through a process were people learn to act in accordance with the rules and expectations of society” (pg. 108) Children from a very young age begin to develop and take roles in these expectations that society has set forth. Pop culture, whether we would like for it or not, plays a part in raising our children.  Parents can play a big part in socialization of their children with regards to the way that they treat them, for example the kinds of gifts they provide to them As Newman describes in chapter four’s opening scenario, even when parents attempt to shelter their child from gendered distinctions (in this situation toys) it is inevitable; gender socialization has such a powerful and vast presence in our everyday world.  Toys are amongst the first few items pop culture utilizes to teach kids the ideal distinctions between boys and girls.

My sons dream gift is Nintendo’s Wii, once of Nintendo’s most recent successes that took the video game market by storm. The Wii uses sensor to capture the motion of the gamer and interprets it into the videogame making it a more physical videogame console than others available in stores. The funds I have available in my account ($232) are not enough to buy my son the gift he desperately seeks. I decided to take into consideration what his favorite pastime is and incorporate this into the gift I will be giving him. Quinn is a very athletic kid so I decided to center my gift on all various kinds of sports.  I created a list that is well rounded, and chose the items that fit my son’s personality (and I also must keep in mind that he is 6 years old) the best while sticking to my budget. Also since I had giving him an Xbox 360 the previous Christmas I will take advantage and utilize this console so he does not get tired of it and makes it go obsolete (can be viewed as a substitute for the Wii) The items are as follows: Fight Night 4, NBA Live 09, a Nerf N-Strike Long Shot CS-9 Package and a laser tag game.

As I began to shop for my child Quinn, the distinctions in toys for boys and girls jumped out at me. Society creates a norm that men must be aggressive, strong, and athletic.  Men tend to majority of the time lean towards sports (watch, play, etc) or violence (movies, shows, games, etc). Walking through the a Toys R’US conscience about the idea of socialization can drastically transform your shopping experience an innocent act of giving to becoming and activity that will aid gender distinctions.  What I noticed was that Toy’s R Us breaks down aisles in regards gender distinctions (some not all). The items I was shopping for were in close proximity to each other and any item around it was meant to trigger a male’s attention.

Fight Night 4 is a videogame that allows a gamer to compete in a boxing match as the boxer of their choice, in any weight. Many would argue with me that a boxing game would not be the ideal gift for Quinn but I beg to differ. We now live in the 21st century; kids have endless amounts of resources that can expose them to violence. I believe that by protecting and sheltering a child they will lack the capacity to understand an act of violence (for example a fight) but instead by allowing them exposure while addressing the issue to them, a positive lesson can be learned (fighting is not good nor justified). Since this video game only presents the gamer with the option of choosing a male boxer, the child might be mislead. The child might believe that boxing is only a male sport (majority of the boxers in the sports are male but not all), which we all know it is not. The male child might also believe that it is justified for a boy to get into a fight instead of a girl further creating a dichotomy between a female and a male. This issue as I mentioned earlier, can be addressed and clarified by a parent.

NBA Live 09 is a basketball game that is released on a yearly basis with updated rosters and new features that previous games did not have.  This game is very aesthetically appealing to kids due to the reality factor in the game. The videogame also during game play allows for an option that gives you pointers on how to set up defensive and offensive plays. The game can help a child who has an interest in the sport educate himself on how to read and manage a playbook.   This can come in handy if in the future a child practices the sport with a team. Gender distinction can also be accredited to this game. Since none of the teams have any female basketball players, a child can believe that this is a male sport.  Newman warns, “The gender messages in such games may have a detrimental effect on boys’ attitudes toward girls and women and on their conceptions of appropriate male behavior (91). They might also get the idea that due to physical nature of the game, females are not interested or even worse allowed to play. There are no videogames with WNBA rosters in them and even if they were available I believe a boy would not find much interest in it. Taking part in a competitive sport can then be personified as screening masculinity.

The Nerf N-Strike Long Shot CS-9 Package consists of 3 separate toy guns or blasters/rockets as Nerf describes them. The bullets are made of foam so that when someone is shot no harm can be done to them. All of the Nerf advertisements show boys enjoying themselves and having a swell time shooting one another. I did not see one Nerf packaging or advertisement that showed a female playing with the toy. When kids now think of a criminal or a officer (someone who uses a gun) either or who carry a gun they will now jot down in their memory that having a gun is a male trait.  It further demonstrates the association of violence, hostility and power. The person with the gun in this situation has all the power and can take out their aggression with an act of violence by pulling the trigger. Although being shot by a Nerf gun can harm no one, mentally a child can develop his opinions about the idea of carrying a gun.

The final gift I will be looking at is a standard Laser tag set for more than one person. The laser tag set consists of a vest that is activated when shot by the gun (a laser triggers the vest). When the person is shot the vest will light up and a sound will go off. Eventually, after being shot numerous times the vest turns off and you are declared “dead.” This goes on until there is one victor. Quinn will be able to have friends over, which I assume will most likely be boys, and fulfill every little boys daydream (being able to shoot at one another without any of the negative consequences such as death) in a stable environment.

Toy manufacturers take advantage of gender socialization in their particular market.  Generally, girls begin to take interest in toys such as Barbie dolls, which creates this predisposition that women have a tendency to focus on their physical appearance (pop cultures definition of beauty).  Boys take interest in games such as 1st person shooters, sport related games (sport video games, etc), and violent RPG (Role Playing Games). Gender distinctions become more progressively profound in games that are rated higher due to its content. The gifts I have bought my son will in fact contribute to gender socialization, but then again most popular toys will too. Pop culture has made it impossible to shelter their child from gender socialization, I just do not see any way around it.



Work Cited Page

Newman, David M. “Learning difference: Families, Schools, and Socialization.” Identities and Inequalities: Exploring the Intersections of Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality. Philadelphia: The McGraw-Hill Company, 2005. Print.

Newman, David M. “Portraying Difference: Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality in Language and the Media.” Identities and Inequalities: Exploring the Intersections of Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality.Philadephia: McGraw-Hill Company, 2005. Print

Nintendo Wii. WebTV Wire. Retrieved 29 May 2009 from


Fight Night 4. GameStop. Retrieved 29 May 2009 from


Nerf N-Strike Long Shot CS-9 Package. Retrieved 29 May 2009 from


Laser Tag Set. ToysR’US. Retrieved 29 May 2009 from


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Blog Post 2- "Sex Sells”- Characterizing Gender With The Use of Advertisements

Marcelo Rivera

Gender and Pop Culture

Dr. Jesse Gamble

May 21, 2009

"Sex Sells”- Characterizing Gender With The Use of Advertisements

Advertisements are nowadays found in every place we lay our eyes upon even if we do not realize it. Marketers must constantly reinvent themselves and stay on top of the newest trends that will attract their potential customers attention. Sex has been utilized in advertisements as a mechanism to sell products by creating and defining what the ideal male and female should look like.  By establishing a definition of what the typical “female” would look like (for example in the collage you see mostly females who are young and in particularly good overall physical condition with make up on) advertisements are able to revolve their product around the idea that by purchasing their products this ideal look can be reached.  Advertisements have realized that “sex sells”, their profit margin is evidence to that. By creating an image of what a beautiful and sexy female should look like in our society, advertisements have illustrated and set the bar for that gender.

Popular magazines such as Esquire and Maxim have their covers graced by model like celebrities who help the magazine lure in potential costumer with the use of their image of sexuality. They use what Sut Jhally describes as the image system to sell their product. Sut Jhally states, “In the image-system as a whole, happiness lies at the end of a purchase” (252). Human satisfaction is easily disrupted with the use of ads. Everyday, constantly, there are new products being created that are better then its predecessor.  The spread of image-based influence can be seen in ads for Giorgio Armani’s line of underwear. David Beckham who is well known around the world has become one of the main models for the Armani underwear line. They use his sexuality to attract costumers. Many of the times they have him posing with a female model in a very risqué and sensual manner, she is also posing in her lingerie. They are both laying in a bed implying an indirect feeling to the potential customer that they can and will be able to do the same by using that product, the satisfaction possible by purchasing this product.

Women are fed the interpretations of the advertisements idea of what a beautiful female is suppose to look like and began to believe that in order to look beautiful they must attempt to look like one of the models in an advertisement. We as a society must be able to distinguish that the advertisements use this misconception of beauty to earn profits and that beauty is no defined by being skinny, wearing make up, dressing well, or getting all the guys/girls. This is just a one sided view of what beauty actually is, it creates a false impression that being beautiful is directly correlated with sexuality. As Naomi Wolf states, “The beauty myth tells a story: The quality called beauty objectively and universally exists. Women must want to embody it and men must want to possess women who embody it” (121). Women who do not fall into the criteria of beauty that an advertisement or many popular magazines have perpetuated will feel insecure (their ability to look good enough to obtain a man) and this can lead them to try drastic measures to achieve that kind of beauty (bulimic in order to lose weight, for example).


Work Cited Page


Jhally, Sut. Image-Based Culture Advertising and Popular Culture. 1. Washington: Washington Times Corporation, 1900. Print.

Wolf, Naomi. Beauty Myth. 1. New York: Anchor, 1992. Print.


Victoria and David Beckham


Carmen Electra


David Beckham


Dutch Maxim


Megan Fox – Maxim


Keeley FHM


Megan Fox GQ


Scarlett Johansen




Keyshia Cole




Stacey Dash


Friday, May 15, 2009

Scrubs Analysis

Marcelo Rivera

Gender & Pop Culture

Dr. Jessie Gamble

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Scrubs: Analysis of JD

In the primetime realm of sitcoms, Scrubs challenges hegemonic ideals with their diverse yet interconnected variety of characters. John Dorian, better known as JD, is the show’s main character whose personality tends to be categorized as feministic and frowned upon by various cast members. He finds himself in many scenarios’ that allows the viewer, if correctly understood, to question his deviant behavior. A mentor to John Dorian, Dr. Perry Cox, constantly reminds JD in his rants of how abnormal his mannerism usually tends to be. On almost all occasions, JD is not given the full respect of Dr. Cox that he truly feels he deserves and is instead is identified by a vast amount of female names.

In Patriarchy the System, author Allan G. Johnson states that “It is about defining women and men as opposites, about the “naturalness” of male aggression, competition, and dominance and of female caring, cooperation, and subordination (Johnson 94). Dr. Cox sees John Dorian as fragile, naïve, girly, and irritating. He verbally assaults JD because he looks down upon his feministic mannerisms. By calling JD names he tries to imply that he needs to be more of a man because that is the norm. One can interpret his point of view to be the same as societies’. Society has set a standard as to what men are expected to be. We are taught at a young age that boys are supposed to be tough and rugged. Acts of emotion should be limited, which is not the case with JD who tends to want to give and receive affection from those he looks up to and loves. On nearly every episode JD and Turk (his best friend) find themselves being affectionate to one another, which leads to Turk’s wife, Carla Espinosa, to question who Turk actually loves more. A notoriously catchy duet sung by JD and Turk entitled  “Guy Love” symbolizes the affection that male friends can have for each other and usually is seen as a feminine quality. Throughout the song they hug and speak of how they each truly feel about each other (care for one another, etc).

In Portraying Difference, author Newman explains the ability for a symbol (word), in this particular case a slur, to “create and enforce social inequalities.” (Newman 75) Gender referenced slurs such as whore or slut are used to depict a females who have had various intimate partners. On the other hand men are praised for their increasing amounts of sexual partners. It is a assessment of their masculinity that provides other men ( in this situation Turk) with a visual idea of how  number of sexual relationships. They [Turk and JD] tend to ask each other if one another “hit it yet” and if the answer is yes, they praise each for that accomplishment by giving a hand gesture of their approval. 

Using the same scenario, we now examine the affects of the same actions from the female’s point of view. In Scrubs, Elliot Reed is a doctor at Sacred Heart Hospital (just as JD) who tends to have commitment issues and has not settled down for a good deal of time. She jumps in and out of relationships, even canceling her own wedding because she is uncertain of what she wants. Elliot is very open about her sexuality; she tends to brag about some of her sexual encounters with the characters of the show, such as nurse Carla Espinosa. In one scene of the episode, Elliot is observed kissing a man who has their child admitted to the hospital (the kiss occurred while the kid was sleeping right next to his hospital bed). The father of the kid had stated that the “mother is not here” which led Elliot to believe that she was no longer in their lives. The man was actually being literal, he meant that his wife was not actually present at the moment and stepped out somewhere. Later in the episode the wife returns and has been told the news by the husband, she confronts Elliot stating that she has special treatment for “whores”, she in fact was insinuating a physical altercation would occur. The men came out of that this scenario unharmed and was proclaimed the victim. It is an uneven playing field for women and men, norms have been set in society that cannot be easily eliminated and forgotten about.

Ideally, men are assumed to enjoy various activities that women are considered to lack experience in, such as sports. Keeping this design in mind, JD who lacks much interest in any sports feels that he must in order to connect with his best friend [Turk] and his father figure [Dr. Cox] have some type of background knowledge to affirm that he in fact follows and enjoys sports. On certain occasions JD is pictured at a bar ordering his favorite drink the “Appletini” or simply put an apple martini. He deviates from the normal assumption that all men enjoy themselves an ice-cold beer after a long day at work. JD has on many occasions stated that he simple does not like the flavor of beer and rather have a drink that is much more “fruitier” tasting. In another occasion JD is faced with a emotionally wrecked Dr. Cox (after three of his transplant patients die after a medical error) who is dwelling over a bottle of brandy. JD takes a cup full of the brandy and tries to drink it to no avail, in a sense trying to imitate his mentor’s masculine trait (men are into heavier drinks that do not have a fruity taste). JD is a perfect case study of how feminine traits in a man can be scrutinized and punished for not fitting the norm that society has stipulated.

Work Cited Page

Newman, David M.. Identities and Inequalities. 1. McGraw-Hill, 2005. Print.

Johnson, Allan G.. It's Not Just about Gender. 1. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1997. Print.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Gender and Pop Culture Blog # 1 (Links to 5 topics chosen during class) By
Title: Digest » Bourne Co. v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. | Harvard Journal of Law & Technology

By: Sapphocrat

Title : Media Matters: This Week’s Despicable Anti-Gay Lies from O’Reilly, Hannity, Robertson, et al.
Title: Che Guevarra isnt a good guy
By: Pro (
Title: Nas: 'Out of control' O'Reilly racism worse than any rap lyrics
By:David Edwards and Nick Juliano


By: Mack Greenz
Title: Blog7 Family Guy

Link to main gender & pop culture blog

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