Media Diversified: An Appreciation Post

So I think it’s time for a little shoutout. I started this blog a few months now, but, during that time, I’ve come across a handful of blogs that prove to be precious little gems in a sea of thoughts.

One of these gems is Media Diversified. It’s a blog dedicated to diversifying the media landscape. The non-profit organization blog features dozens of writers and academics from all walks of life, from all parts of the world. It’s refreshing that they don’t shy away from any and all topics that interest them – from oppressions of people of color in films to the exploration of Afrofuturism.

I will say that I’m slightly disappointed that they are based in the UK. A blog like this would NO DOUBT have such a positive reception among the ranks of activists and feminists across the US, especially in light of the numerous police brutality videos that have been flooding social media with the help of the American people. With a blog similar to this, the US could definitely see more organized protests and leaders emerge from the depths.

Once you browse through their blog, you’ll definitely want to reblog and share A LOT of the articles you come across. However, they do have reposting guidelines that you’ll want to look over before reposting any of their work.

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Hold the Applause for Patricia Arquette’s Oscars Speech

rs_634x1024-150222210103-634-patricia-arquette-oscar-winnerLast night, the Oscars took a turn into the political realm. From Neil Patrick Harris’ jab at the lack of diversity to John Legend & Common’s acceptance speech, celebs were making bold statements. However, there was one actor whose speech stood out among the rest.

When Patricia Arquette highlighted the unequal pay and rights among women, supporters such as Meryl Streep & Jennifer Lopez visibly showed their solidarity. Women nationwide could have applauded her efforts of bringing income inequality to the forefront of public conversation. The only problem?

Arquette marginalized gay, trans and women of color. 

During a press room interview, she made it clear that “it’s time for… all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.”

Whether she intended to or not, her thoughts opened up a can of worms that depicts two larger issues within mainstream feminist theory: the notion that all women share the same experiences AND the undertones of “I Am Savior.” Not only are these lines of thought dangerous to the validity of feminism, but they invalidate the varying experiences of women who are not  white, middle-class women.

Gay, trans and women of color earn far less than their white counterparts. For every dollar that a white man makes, white women make 78 cents to the dollar,  followed by black women with 64 cents, Native American women with 59 cents and Latinx women at 54 cents. While income equality is a very real problem in the US, Arquette’s net worth sits somewhere between 24 and 25 million dollars, far more than $49,398, the average yearly earnings of American women. Mentioning the need for a living wage would also been a step in the right direction.

As well-intended as Arquette’s answers aimed to be, the “I Am Savior” sentiment reared its ugly head. Throughout history, women of color, gay and trans women didn’t have the luxury of focusing strictly on women’s issues. To say that mainstream feminists have fought for the rights of marginalized women is woefully inaccurate. If that were the case, there would only be ONE feminist theory, not multiple highlighting the need for inclusivity. The “we helped you through your issues, so you should return the favor” undertone only serves to pin marginalized groups against mainstream feminism. Nothing about the way Arquette worded that line shows solidarity within the community of women.

Until we can include the voices of all women, I will respectfully hold my applause.

Are Women Just Uncivilized Without Men?

The world of ladies and gentlemen has been surrounded by allure since its invention by the Victorians. Being regarded by these titles illustrated one’s social status and prestige.

The online fashion company Parisian Gentleman has maintained that same, age old sentiment. With the help of ad agency DLV BBDO in Italy, the company has aired its first commercial in late January. The  spot was one that garnered a lot of attention and people have taken notice of its premise: a world without gentlemen is a world without ladies.

Note: The following video is NSFW for brief nudity.

I have a few thoughts about this, but because I’m an advertising major, I’ll divide my thoughts into two categories.

The Advertising Standpoint

This next sentence is about to alienate a lot of feminists, so beware. With the warning out of the way, I can see the idea that Parisian Gentleman was attempting to portray. While this ad is completely gendered, it’s important to keep in mind that the message is directed TO men, FOR men. With that in mind, I think the ad was successful in that regard. However, I didn’t get the connection between the ad’s message and the purpose of the company. The ad did not inform me of what Parisian Gentleman is. Before looking them up, I thought it was probably some upscale “gentlemen’s club” looking to boost their consumer base.

Now, of course, the whole idea behind ladies and gentlemen is heavily rooted in appearance and behavior to begin with. So, again, they nailed that on the head. I would have just liked to see men at least interacting with the women in the ad instead of having an all-women cast with a tagline at the end speaking to men.

The Feminist Standpoint

Before I get into the issues that I have with this commercial, I will start by saying that it was refreshing to watch a depiction of women that strayed away from the perfectly-polished, makeup-wearing robo women that are all too prevalent in mainstream media. I’m sure the shock value was high for those who aren’t used to seeing women in a more ‘natural’ state.

The only real issue that I have with this ad is the premise itself, that women would be less “ladylike” if there were no gentlemen. Now, it’s easy to get into an argument about semantics, so I’ll do my best to not even go there. If you asked 10 different people on the street what they thought “acting like a lady” means, you’d probably get 10 different answers. However, no matter how you personally interpret the premise, it leads back to the same thought process: that men set the stage for women’s behaviors.

So…what do you think? Did you enjoy the ad or not?