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Norma Jeane Mortenson aka Marilyn Monroe was the sexual icon of her time, and ours. Marilyn Monroe has been known as the sexiest woman ever to live and even described as “true beauty”.  As the story of her discovery goes, she was spotted by a photographer while working in a factory during WWII and soon became a high ranked model and actress. From her humble beginnings as a brunette to her award-winning movies as a blonde bombshell, she became one of the biggest popular culture icons of all time.  Her influences, so big, have had an effect on many more pop culture icons like Andy Warhol, Madonna, Lindsey Lohan, Lady Gaga and countless others.

Not only has Marilyn Monroe influenced people, she has also created trends through discourse.  From her famous Chanel No. 5 line, “What do I wear to bed? Well, Chanel No. 5, of course”, to her flowing white halter dress over a subway grate, her influences can be seen nearly everywhere today. The mass circulation of her styles, quotes and attitude creates an entire trend of Marilyn Monroe. People everywhere wear similar styles and even dress up as Marilyn for not only photo shoots and movies, like Lindsey Lohan, Scarlet Johansson, and Michelle Williams, but people try to embody the trend that is Marilyn Monroe with simple things like a hair cut, dye and style.  The platinum curls and bright red lipstick is a Monroe trademark and will not soon be forgotten.

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Marilyn is the ultimate woman in our society and that has not changed in the last 60 years.  She’s curvy, beautiful, and bubbly.  Everything a woman should be in America.   Scarlet Johansson compares herself to Marilyn in Elle magazine when she says,”I’m kind of a signature blond, I’m curvy, I’ve embraced my femininity and my sexuality.” She also had her own successful career in which she often chose over relationships, a strong, individualistic characteristic valued by American society.   However, she was often mischievous.  Often using sexual innuendos which, along with her looks, helped her climb to the iconic level she still holds. For example:

“It’s not true that I had nothing on. I had the radio on”

 “Sex nature and I believe going along with nature.”

                                                                                                 -Marilyn Monroe

There is no doubt that Marilyn Monroe has an influence on gender in women in a similar way that Barbie has an influence on gender in young girls.  In fact, Barbie and Marilyn have many things in common.  For example, after her discovery, her modeling career took off only after her hair was colored blonde, of course.  She also was rarely caught without high heels, much like Barbie.

“I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot.”

                                                                                                  -Marilyn Monroe

We see how culture has reflected its ideals and values through Barbie as well as Marilyn Monroe.  Barbie and Marilyn were both created through discourse to represent the values and ideals of beauty in American through the blonde hair, make-up and attire.

After an all too short life-time, Marilyn Monroe tragically died in 1962.  Although Monroe is no longer physically with us today, her handprints in pop culture and on the sidewalk in Hollywood will forever remain.


-Brittany Polacek

Mad Men has become arguably the most successful drama in recent years (they’ve one the Best Drama Emmy every year they’ve been on the air). Other networks are beginning to capitalize on that success and create their very own retro style dramas. In the last year alone we’ve gained The Hour (BBC), Pan Am (ABC), and The Playboy Club (NBC)!

The Hour is basically Mad Men but with British journalist (and damnit it’s actually really good), Pan Am is basically Mad Men but with stewardesses and The Playboy Club is basically Mad Men but with Hugh Hefner. Unfortunately, they all glorify a time period when misogyny, racism [stories that are still barely being told at all because most of these shows have been completely white-washed], and homophobia were considered a-okay behavior. [This is not to say that these shows aren’t good from a story telling standpoint. Mad Men and The Hour especially have even created really wonderful dramatic roles for female actresses. It’s just that they’re also very problematic.]

These shows package the sexism as “empowering” their women – they have jobs, they make their own money, they get to travel the world! But they still have to do it while being leered at, hit on and discriminated against by men. They’re not really empowered at all. And, as it was in that historical period, no one faces any consequences for their misogynist behavior.

We as audience members see blatant displays of this kind of behavior and we’re appalled by it and yet we’re still tricked by all the beautiful people wearing pretty vintage clothing and smoking wherever they want that we accept it. Enjoy it even. These shows are using a technique that FeministFrequency calls “Retro” or “Ironic” sexism:

“Modern attitudes and behaviors that mimic or glorify sexist aspects of the past, often in an ironic way.”

The writers/creators know that we know that what we’re seeing is racist/sexist/homophobic, yet because everything takes place at a time when people got away with these behaviors there’s no critique or commentary being made about how damaging they are. And they are damaging.

You can argue that “it’s in the past!” We’re learning about our history! It’s teaching us how bad it was back then and it doesn’t have an effect on society now! But it does. [Not to mention that if you really wanted to learn about these periods in our history, you could also go pick up a book]

These shows mirror a scary trend in the backwards way our society/government has been treating women in recent years. (Think of all the laws attempting to pass and are being passed restricting women’s rights to birth control, cutting funding to Planned Parenthood, redefining rape, making women pay for their own rape kits, decriminalizing domestic violence. The list goes on and on.)

[Written by: Dayln Grossklaus]
[I would like this to please count as my final graded blog entry]

Where do I begin? Tonight I was informed that Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was going to be on TV.  I never really knew what it was but I had heard about it; I guess it’s a pretty big deal.  As I was sitting in my dorm room, everyone else had it on their TV’s too, as if it were a Packer game.  Everyone was raging on Facebook saying how excited they were.  So, instead of viewing a movie, I decided to watch the show to wrap up my blogs about gender roles and stereotypes in shows and movies.I love modeling (although I definitely don’t do it, haha) and am extremely addicted to America’s Next Top Model, so I can appreciate what the girls were going through on that stage tonight. However, if I were to point out the gender roles expressed on the show, it makes it harder to appreciate.  First off, the girls are (obviously) wearing almost nothing, with the most covering clothing being a VERY push-up, push-up bra and skimpy underwear. Secondly, they are to make a pose at the end of the runway, which generally entails a very flirtatious and provocative facial expression. Plus, these girls are strutting down that runway in skyscraper heels, I swear! Gotta give ‘em a little credit for that, haha. 

So, men and women alike all over America had free access to what could be considered very inappropriate images.  Some of these girls were barely 20 years old, making me feel a little uncomfortable since there were a few younger than me (which seems crazy… mostly because I think I would too young for that kind of thing).  My point is this: the show began at 9 and aired on CBS— what about little kids? I never went to bed until it was about 11 each night since I was in about 4th grade, and I know I’m not the only kid who did that.  So we’ve got a bunch of possible 8 year olds watching these girls as either their role-models for who they want to be or for who they want to date. Great.

Here's a much more conservative picture... wait, aren't they trying to sell bras or underwear... or anything people can buy at the store? Hmm...

This leads me to my next point.  During some of the breaks, commercials were played that showed interviews of the Angels (the models in the show that represent Victoria’s Secret).  They showed them in the famous “pink robes” that were opened enough to see the push-up bras and far more chest than anyone under the age of 18 should be seeing.  What struck me as funny was that they were trying to relate to young girls and families by talking about dreaming big, the way they grew up, and how they got to where they are now.  I found this a bit demeaning to the girls and to girls like myself. Could they not have expressed their dreams and talked about their childhoods while fully clothed? Hmm…

One of the Angels in the famous "pink robe"

During other commercial breaks, it was very clear that the intended audience of the show was for men. I found it a little humorous how obvious they made that; I’d thought they’d balance the product placement a little better.  There were continuous commercials about action shows, and about buying something from Vicky’s for your girlfriend since it is the greatest Christmas gift (I thought that was funny because I bet a lot of people actually will now). There were a few “girly” commercials about body lotion and whatnot, but I found the more dominantly male audience insinuation to be stronger. This tells me that the people in charge of the show thought men all over would want to freely ogle at these women, so they catered the commercials to them.

Finally, I saw what was on Facebook after the event. The results were shocking to me.  There were at least 50 posts about the show, probably half female and half male.  The female portion was literally saying things like “Oh, never eating again” and “Getting a gym membership on Thursday!” and “I wish I had a nice body.”  The male half was saying “Looks like I found a taste in fashion tonight” and “Women have the twilight movies, men have the Victoria’s secret fashion show.”  I found that this very much solidified the stereotypes of men and women; women want to be pretty and skinny, and will do almost anything to get to that point, while men want to look at women as freely as they please.  It was really sad to see all the girls posting about how fat they were and whatnot. The show seemed to instigate this universal feeling of unhappiness within the girls; they’re supposed to be drop-dead gorgeous, stick-skinny, toned, tan, tall, and able to walk in 30 inch heels to appear beautiful to men.  Overall, I actually enjoyed the show, because like I said, I can appreciate it. However, I do wish that some things could be tweaked in order to make it less stereotypical and less available to young audiences.

I didn’t post any of the show on here due to the fact that some people might find within it a slight level of inappropriateness, but I’m sure it can be found on Youtube or elsewhere if you are interested!


Written by: Molly Farley

My last entry discussed the characters of “That 70’s Show” and the gender roles that they portray throughout the series.  Though they can be seen as harmful if children watch the show, or even as offensive, they can also be seen as a form of satire and therefore can be humorous. However, when watching episodes of the show, things may get a bit more offensive than anything else to a strong feminist or to someone who is strongly opposed to any kind of stereotype for any gender.

The 10th episode in season 8, called “Sweet Lady,” was full of gender roles and stereotypes.  Jackie wants to get a job working for an anchor on the show “What’s Up Wisconsin” and needs Fez to pretend to be her “boyfriend” to get the job; this is because she needs someone to be on the interview with for Valentine’s Day.  At the interview, Fez tries to trick Jackie into kissing him (since she has the pressure of being live on the air and getting a job under the anchor).  Eventually, against her will, Jackie kisses Fez so she won’t be heckled anymore.  This portrays men as pushy, and women as being easy to give into physicality if it means being unbothered in the future.  Also, in the show, it is perceived as funny; if people are watching, they may perceive this type of situation to be humorous and therefore acceptable in reality.

Later in the show, Red (one of the main character’s father) is getting a present for Kitty (the mother).  When he shows up without a present because another character stole it, Kitty has an emotional outburst.  She gets so angry that she yells at Red and then storms out of the room with a threat.  I thought this was an awful portrayal of women, seeing as it made Kitty look extremely materialistic and overdramatic when she stomped out of the room. 

The final example of stereotypical gender roles was in a scene where one of the characters, Donna, was being asked on a date by another character, Randy.  Being the feminist of the show, she had asked him out earlier in the episode, but he said that he was actually going on a date with another girl.  He later surprises her with a candlelit dinner.  When she asks why he lied, he goes on to explain that he is “kind of a traditional guy” and likes to do things in the traditional manner, which means he would have had be the one to ask her out.  She seems completely fine with this, and enjoys the rest of her date with Randy. This is exactly why I think the show missed the target on defining a character as feminist; if she truly were, she would not have just let that go.

There were many other examples of stereotypical gender roles in the episode, such as Jackie fighting very immaturely with two other women (suggesting that women cannot logically handle a situation and must be catty in order to solve it), and also when the anchor says that she’s “missing the only thing every woman needs to feel good about herself” – a man.  All of these examples point out the stereotypes America has given to women and men, thus influencing our thoughts about our human counterparts and the way we may treat them or let ourselves be treated.

I don’t have a lot of pictures or clips or anything for this post, so here’s a clip of Kitty’s obnoxiously hilarious laugh:


Written by: Molly Farley

I have always been a huge fan of the television show, That 70’s Show.  It’s incredibly funny, the actors are great and it gives a look into a small Wisconsin town in the 1970’s, what’s not to love? There are several episodes throughout the eight seasons dealing with gender roles and expectations, gender stereotyping and second wave feminism. 

For example, Donna’s mom, Midege joins a feminist group called, “Feminist Warriors” and also takes a few women’s study classes. As we know, during the 1970’s second wave feminism was in full swing and allowed women like Midge to take classes, join feminist groups and teach their daughters, like Donna, the fundamentals of feminism.  

There are also a couple of episodes I find very interesting as far as gender roles, expectations and stereotyping are concerned.

The first one is episode four from season one.  The episode is titled, “The Battle of the Sexists”.  Throughout the episode we see many accounts of gender roles and stereotypes.  For example, at the beginning of the episode, Hyde, Eric and Kelso are sitting in the basement discussing and comparing the size of a few girls’ breasts.  This is pretty stereotypical for a highschool boy or a group of guys to be talking about. Also, in the episode, Red, Eric’s dad is out of a job and has been attempting to fix various things around the house despite the fact they are not in need of fixing.  This, also can be seen as stereotypical for a man to want to work and without a job, a man goes crazy and has to be doing or fixing something.  Along that same note, since Red has been trying to fix things that aren’t broken, Kitty, Eric’s mom is upset about Red trying to fix things because he ends up making them worse.  In the episode Kitty refers to the things Red is “fixing” like the dryer, as things she needs, uses and loves.  This also struck me as extremely stereotypical.  Because Kitty is a mother and wife in the 1970’s she must love her appliances that she uses to do daily chores?

Go to 5:17-6:08

Go to 7:49-9:33

Another episode that is very amusing and relevent to our class is titled “Baby Fever”.  In this episode, Eric is impressed at Donna’s motherly skills and they each imagine their future together with children.  First Eric imagines Donna at home with two babies and he comes home from work. Then Donna imagines Eric at home with the babies while she comes home from work (wearing professional clothing).  This is so interesting because of the stereotypes in both scenarios. Eric just assumes Donna would be staying at home with their children and Donna assumes opposite. Watch the clips and see what you think.


Go to 1:35-2:35


By: Brittany Polacek 11/7/11

When a typical American between the ages of 15 to about 30 hears the name “Fez,” the immediate reaction may be a smile, a bit of laughter, or a sudden outburst of conversation regarding everyone’s favorite sitcom, “That 70’s Show.” This show seems quite harmless, seeing as it now airs on Nickelodeon (generally a children’s network) quite frequently. After viewing just one episode—though I’ve seen almost all of them, twice—while keeping gender roles in mind, I think its assumed “harmlessness” could be endangered. I will do one post focusing on simply explicating the characters and their gender roles, and my next one will explain a particular episode. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the main characters in the show:

Eric: That awkward but awesome friend. The only thing I really have to say about Eric is that much of the time, he expects Donna to be a traditional teenage girl; he wants her to submit to him, have sexual relations with him, marry him, and raise their children at home. He is not a jerk about it and actually does push against many stereotypes about men, but he definitely falls into the category of stereotypical man in a relationship.


Hyde: The jerk in the group who has a conspiracy theory for everything. He has a general dislike for people which others respect by staying out of his way (I find this to be a “masculine” thing, therefore a stereotype). He is sarcastic, dry, a bit of a loafer, and takes strong interest in girls and alcohol. He embodies the typical male teenager; however, if these traits belonged to a girl, I feel as if it would not be seen as funny or acceptable.



Fez: The foreign exchange student who wants on every girl alive. He frequently lies and tricks girls into getting intimate with him. He acts childish and immature most of the time. Again, something that I think people would feel uncomfortable with if Fez were a girl.



Kelso: The foxy town idiot. He portrays how “good-looking” men should look: tall, muscular, perfect smile, white, etc. Throughout the series he also shows that good-looking people are constantly given opportunities simply based on their faces and bodies; he is successful without trying. Talk about “white privilege!”






Donna: The only feminist or person concerned about feminism in the show. Though she has big dreams of becoming a journalist someday and tends to defy much of the “typical woman,” she proves that TV shows are, indefinitely, fallible. Despite her shiny future, Donna is constantly collapsing under the pressures of sexual actions with her boyfriend, Eric. She is never truly happy unless she’s with Eric (or, in later episodes, with other men); their relationship seems to always at its best when they are having sexual relations. Furthermore, she is called “Hot Donna.” She is tall, skinny, blonde/red-haired, and frequently presents herself in a “sexy” way (i.e. not wearing a bra). I think they really missed the target on making a character with feminist ideology and “different” dreams.




Jackie: The stereotypical female everyone stays away from. Jackie is extremely materialistic and narcissistic. She thinks that beauty defines not only herself but her life as well in regards to social and financial status. She is always hooked up with a guy, and the audience is consistently reminded who she is “doing it” with. She is promiscuous, unfriendly, and only cares about herself. I feel that this is the way many men view women; they see them in their worst light, and Jackie’s character does not help to dissuade them from these stereotypes. (Sorry about the vulgar in the GIF, but it’s perfect!)


Though I do love this show, there is much to be considered when watching. Since it is shown on such a renowned network, it is easy for young children and young adults to learn the stereotypes and “expected roles” that it portrays. The men are generally inconsiderate and objectify women, while the women do generally find themselves as these objects of sex. Furthermore, it portrays the women as average, since there is nothing “radical” about any of them (TV Show Hit List). As for the men, the stereotype of “men are pigs” is deeply enforced in this show. Yet, amidst all this, everyone seems okay with it. Personally, I think that this is because the show can use the excuse that it was set in the 70’s where things truly were much more traditional. However, kids don’t take that into consideration when watching TV shows. On a last thought, I can appreciate this show very much, because it can make fun of the way society is; therefore, it can be seen more as satire than as enforcing certain stereotypes when an adult mind is viewing it.

Written by:  Molly Farley

Website Cited: – TV Hit List

My roommate wanted to watch all the Twilight movies because she has never seemed them, and she commented on the objectification of men in New Moon.  My roommate is a feminist and brought up the idea of women being objectified.  Some other people that live in my dorm stopped in and joined in on our conversation.  After a night of talking, I feel my friends are complacent with the place of women in society and they don’t have many complaints except they think that men objectify women in most situations.  This really got me thinking about how women are viewed in the media.
That in TV for example women are portrayed as sexual beings and look pretty.  That they are a supporting role to the male roles and if a show is has a leading role be a woman, she is a super strong independent woman, who isn’t effected by anything in their surroundings.  Or that in movies women are damsels in distress and need saving or help from something.  That women and in magazines and advertising are dressed in skimpy clothes or laying in a seductive position to get a man attention because a man wouldn’t pay attention to the commercial if it were just a women in a turtle neck sitting down.  Overall that women are nothing more than a beautiful sexual person.  I think women objectify themselves.  First and foremost if a women is in any commercial, tv show, or movie and didn’t say no to doing something objectifies herself, then it’s her fault and her fault alone.  No one is forcing women to do this.  Secondly women are directors of movies or screenplay writers for tv shows.  So to say that men objectify women is incorrect, because women objectify themselves.
Let’s just look at music.  Men use women in their videos in bikinis to lounge around and look pretty.  Women will wear next to nothing and dance provocatively.  People get upset about his and think that rap music is so awful because it’s broadcasts women in a negative way.  What about the women who do it to themselves.  I love Beyonce, but she has on a leotard in multiple videos of hers, at her concerts she wears leotards as well.  She has her hair done up big and elaborate makeup as she struts around in a leotard and heels.  Her single ladies video; it’s simply 3 women dancing provocatively in a room in no clothing.  Britney Spears and the Spice Girls, when I was young I thought that I would be just like those artists.  I remember throwing a fit because I couldn’t have Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time outfit for Halloween.  I think about it now, and these women just put themselves out there and sex symbols.  Not saying that women need to dress conservatively, but a little clothing is nice.  Rarely do you see men in a music video running about half dressed.  It just doesn’t happen.
Personally I think that women play into being objectified.   They don’t take steps to prevent it and it gives a negative connotation to how women should act.  This just sets up how the gender role for women and how they should act because of how they are perceived to the public eye.  Society complains that women are viewed sexually, but no one takes the steps to change it.

Janell Alston