Sunday, January 31, 2016

Core Reading Post #2

The concept of stars, image and consumption of them has become increasingly interesting to me especially in the past 2-3 years because of the queer rights movement. With a higher acceptance of gay marriage and a *somewhat* opened acceptance of other queer identities, I think we’re beginning to see a larger percentage of that reflected in widespread culture. Different societal expectations like domesticity, monogamy and heterosexuality are getting broken down on a mass scale. Though we’re nowhere near portraying an accurate reflection of the queer experience (if there even is one unified queer experience), we’re seeing now, more than ever, a higher representation of different identities that aren’t constricted to the traditional western form. 

Something that stood out to me in the Dyer reading was when he referred to the ‘Independent Woman’ archetype. Given the book was written in 1979, it’s evident that SO much has changed regarding our expectations of females in larger society. But even if he’d written this in 2010, the transformation of the female identity would still be explosively huge, as so much has changed. He mentions how society clings to different characteristics tied to genders - and how ‘for whatever historical-cultural reasons, certain characteristics are associated with one gender rather than the other…[and] attempts to alter this...both frees people from the constructions of gender-roles and yet does not utterly damage their self-identities’ (55). Dyer mentions stars like Joan Crawford (who has broad shoulders), Katharine Hepburn (who is uniquely ‘tall’ for a woman), Barbara Stanwych (who has a ‘tough face’) and Bette Davis (who has a ‘strutting walk’), and it got me thinking how constraining these structures are. So by western belief systems, Joan Crawford and Katharine Hepburn, even though they were born female, still weren’t considered traditionally desired because of their bone structure? With so much conversation and evolution of our perceptions of sexuality and gender changing today, I think our perception of “classic” beauty is broadly changing. Ruby Rose is one of the big names/images that stands out to me because she’s still considered a sex symbol, but not for the classic long hair / clean look. She really embraces her androgynous energy and is killing it! Same goes for other queer celebrities who don’t fit into the standard mold but are still considered beautiful - ex.: Laverne Cox, Samira Wiley, and so many others...

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