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Gender and Technoculture Assignment

For those of you who normally subscribe to my blog, this post is for a class I am taking on Gender and Tecnoculture.

Plus Size Barbie and Ken Doll Commutation Test

In this image I performed a commutation test on body image and size. This is also a sort of spoof advertisement, but I originally intended it to be a commutation test. I first downloaded the image of Ken, and then took a picture of the screen for Barbie. I wanted to choose pictures where their waists would be easily expandable, so I chose one with the dolls wearing bathing suits. For my text, I added a description of the dolls, in advertisement form, and a title describing what the dolls were.

Barbie and Ken and all their other doll friends are the epitome of the popular girls and boys. They are skinny, have great hair, and have the most fashionable clothes. Little girls and boys want to play with dolls with whom they hope to identify with, and in some way, look up to the dolls. Rarely, do you see dolls in various body types. It used to be that you couldn’t find ethnic minorities in dolls, but with enough protesting that changed. Shouldn’t Mattel, who reaches so many millions of children each year, promote healthy body images? In class, we talked about how people perceive others based on what they look like. Unfortunately it is still very true in today’s world. It makes me think that in some ways dolls like Barbie and Ken may have something to do with this perception. From the time they are very young, dolls are shoved in kids faces, showing them what they can look like when they are older. Maybe, if heavier, or at least healthily proportioned dolls existed, we would not have some of the same issues today.

White Slave Reward Commutation Test

In this picture I have performed a commutation test on race. I first took a picture of an advertisement for a slave reward I downloaded from the internet. I also took a picture of my screen for the slave woman, and then edited the color and cropped the image. For the commutation test I made the slave in the picture Caucasian to see how perceptions of slavery would change. For the text I erased over the name Jack and put Jane. I also changed some of the wording in the background image to read “white folk” instead of “blackmen” and “white and dark tan” instead of “black and brown,” to better fit the commutation test.

So much of society is based on a hierarchical ranking system, with slaves on one of the lowest pegs. Most people associate Caucasian males as being on one of the top pegs, so what if the opposite was true? Would people associate slavery as being as negative as it was if white men and women were slaves, and African Americans or other Caucasian men were their owners? I personally believe that society would have looked at slavery in a different light if the commutation test proved true. White men have the fortunate advantage of being one of the only non-minority groups. Even white women are one less peg than white men. Seeing a white slave then would be perceived as odd, and less worrisome, because of their already high ranking. For example a white slave would maybe be perceived as working off a debt, or just working in general and would not be perceived as “property.”

Victoria Secret Spoof Advertisement featuring Adam Levine

This was my favorite image that I created, and it is a spoof on a Victoria Secret advertisement. In the original ad, a semi naked girl is posing seductively with the same words you see on the spoof, and the lotions in the corner. I immediately thought of the Adam Levine picture that you see in the image. I took a picture of the screen for the picture of Adam, and then I downloaded the original ad and took the lotions out of the picture, and put them on the spoof. I had to manually create the background from scratch, and I also added all the wording to mirror the original ad.

This image was really engaging mentally as well. In class we talked about how sex sells, and how women are so highly sexualized in todays media and culture.  Very few advertisements use men to sell women’s products, even though women are the ones that are buying the product! It is odd how if a man is put in a sexualized image that it suddenly seems taboo and foreign, which goes back to commutation as well. When women are in sexualized imagery, it appeals to both men and women without women feeling awkward. However, if a man is in sexualized imagery, other men feel awkward looking at a picture of the highly sexualized man. So how is it ok for one gender and not the other? Most of it boils down to the sheer level of exposure that female sexualization in ads get, but that never makes it ok.

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