Though many of these artifacts were difficult to think of or come across, I thoroughly enjoyed finding gender representations in contemporary culture. While I still maintain that many interactions do not derive solely from gender, I now have a much broader understanding of how big the role of gender is.

Many of my artifacts come from things I’ve read and seen on YouTube, and while I do repeat some concepts a few times, they are spread across several different mediums.

Because I’m mostly interested in literature and music, many of my findings come from song lyrics, music videos, novels, comics, and reviews. Most of the time, it was difficult to come up with accurate corresponding concepts from the text. Our text does not have a section for gender representation or roles literature, nor does it have anything about song writing or songs outside of music videos. A few of my entries ended up pulling references from multiple parts of the text across several chapters.

I also pulled references from some of my favorite TV shows, movies, and YouTube clips that I enjoy that I happened to find by accident. It could be argued that my artifacts are all, in some way, media-based, but each of them has other components that connect them to other concepts such as workplace, classroom, relationships, genderlects, social movements, and power roles.

Regrettably, there are some artifacts that I was unable to cite.

Few artifacts completely conform to, or completely defy, concepts from the textbook. It’s made me more thoroughly understand that not everything in the real world is as black-and-white as the text illustrates. Where the text will state that “the fighting man” is “aggressive and willing to risk everything” (p. 271), that concept is not true for all men, nor is it true for some men all of the time, and it is not linked to men only. So even though the textbook can make sweeping generalizations about gender, my artifacts (and subsequent analyses) demonstrate that not all parts of all concepts apply, and not all parts of those concepts are defied.

The real world provides a grey middle area that the text does not always account for.

Because many of my artifacts defy what the text claims to be “normal” or “true,” I find myself questioning both the validity of the text’s ideas and the validity of absolute statements. Because gender is individual, there cannot possibly be umbrella theories that accurately describe all gender representations in all people, even if you target only Americans.

This blog is about as diverse as gender representations are. Though it only touches the surface on many textual concepts, I now have a much better understanding of gender roles and gender representation, especially in how they are executed, understood, and defied.

SOURCES: Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Let me just say that if I ever found someone who danced like David Lee Roth, they would be my next date to formal.

Watch Hot For Teacher music video (yes, circa 1984) here.

There is much I could comment on the music video aspect of this, but I wanted to comment on education and gendered learning in the classroom.

Chapter 9 says that “boys are more apt to capture their teacher’s attention,” (p. 230) even though “girls are more apt to want the teacher’s attention” (p. 231). It would appear, however, that in this world the boys desire their teacher’s attention, but do not seem to have completely captured it (except when “teacher needs to see me after school”). Instead, they just reinforce that they are “hot for teacher.”

Chapter 9 also states that “a boy who is ‘good’ or ‘well behaved’ is apt to have his masculinity questioned,” (p. 235). There doesn’t seem to be a large emphasis on masculinity, but we see a distinct difference between ‘well behaved’ and ‘rock star’ in this video. At the beginning, and throughout, we follow nerdy Waldo, who is “momma’s boy” and, for the most part, is quiet. We also have glimpses of David Lee Roth, Edward and Alex Van Halen, and Michael Anthony in the classroom dressed up as bad-boy rock stars. Clearly they are not ‘well behaved,’ but they are the ones who are “hot for teacher” and are inexplicably cool (in a 1984 sort of way). Their masculinity is not questioned. Though Waldo’s masculinity is never quite questioned, when looking at him compared to Van Halen, he certainly does not seem very masculine.

SOURCES: Anthony, M., Roth, D. L., Halen, E. V., & Halen, A. V. (Writers). (1984). Van Halen – Hot For Teacher [Motion picture]. Retrieved May 8, 2009, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0XLKcMoXRE
Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

A YouTube video, being a spin-off of “Mad Men,” shows over-exaggerated male competitiveness in the work place. See “Ad Guys” here.

In this short clip, two men work very well together. When an opportunity to be promoted opens up–and can only go to one of them–they must compete against each other for it. The catch comes when they find out the position is in the Yukon, where no one wants to go, so they begin to compete for who could be least qualified to be promoted.

Chapter 10 describes men in the workplace as “self-assertive,” and “are more self- and goal-centered,” and are “more likely to resort to organizational protocol,” (p. 286). This describes the two men who work together: they are very direct and assertive, they both (in the end) aim for the goal of not being sent to the Yukon, and they both keep notebooks to record/organize their ideas to work together.

Chapter 10 also says that “men leaders aspire to reach the top,” (p. 287) and both of the men want to be promoted. However, neither of them will sacrifice their geographical location for higher merit.

SOURCES: Ad Guys Episode 1 [Motion picture]. (n.d.). Retrieved May 7, 2009, from http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=GAXwaqbRol4&feature=rec-HM-r2
Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

There is an episode in season one of Mad Men where Pete Campbell asks his parents for a “loan” of money so he can put a down payment on a new apartment. (I could not find a YouTube clip for this episode.) He needs to acquire money from his father, but his father replies, “No, I don’t think that’s such a good idea.”

Pete’s father has a combination of power, according to our textbook. Chapter 8 cites different kinds of familial power, such as reward power, “the ability to give you a valued resource,” and legitimate power, “formal position to exert influence,” (p. 206). Pete understands that his father has the ability to give him a valued resource, which is what gives him the most power, but it is also because they are father and son that he has legitimate power.

Pete, however, is extremely uncomfortable asking his parents for money (and even lies about it to his wife later), because Pete is autonomous: “independent and self governing,” (p. 208). The text cites that boys “learn to focus on independence and achievement, concentrate on doing things rather than on communicating in the traditional sense, and come to feel ‘at home’ when maintaining more distance between themselves and other people” (p. 208-209). Pete desires to be independent, but he can’t be because he needs his father’s money. He feels uncomfortable being around his parents and it is humiliating for him to ask for money.

His father humiliates him further–and exerts his reward/legitimate power–when he does not accept Pete’s request. The interaction between Pete and his father demonstrates Pete’s autonomy and his father’s power roles, but the episode accounts for the discomfort of power exertion that the text does not.

SOURCES: Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Mad Men [Television program]. (2007). American Movie Classics. Retrieved April 25, 2009, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2Lw7iS21rs

Today, some friends and I went to the English Rose Tea House in VA Beach. We each had a pot of tea with a scone, fruit cup, soup, sandwiches, and desserts. Everything there was incredibly ornate, petite, eclectic, and aesthetic.


While we were there, we commented that this was only a place we could go with girl-friends: there was no way to get guy-friends to come to the tea house. In thinking about it, it would be “really girly” for a guy to go to a tea house, but it made me ask why?

When chapter 3 talks about verbal styles of gendered expressions, it claims that women “are portrayed as decorative and emotional, are defined by appearance and relationships, and speech is characterized as collaboration oriented or affiliated” (p.63). Everything surrounding the tea house was feminine. It wasn’t just that the walls were pink or that all the china had flowers painted on it; the idea of sitting around and talking face-to-face is a feminine friendship quality (p. 151), the detailed ornateness of the entire tea room describes chapter 3’s concept of women in general, and the petite tradition of everything runs counter to many of the stereotypes for men in this textbook.

Walking into the tea house was overwhelming because all of the walls are decorated with art, hats, and nic-nacs. Each table was ornately set with different china in different color coordination sets. The room was scented like flowers and there was a small fountain in the back corner. It was bright, colorful, and aesthetic. None of these are contemporary masculine qualities. Even though it was overwhelming for me, I can only imagine what it would have been like for one of my guy-friends.

SOURCES: Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

While the 90’s hit show Mighty Morphin Power Rangers borders more on race than on gender, but the gender representations in just the opening credits exemplify typical male/female stereotypes.

View the opening credits here.

Chapter 3 describes language and sex role stereotypes for both men and women, and they can be seen in the set-up for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Chapter 3 says that men “are portrayed as independent and serious,” and “are defined and described by activities and accomplishments” (p.63), and says that women “are portrayed as decorative and emotional,” and “are defined and described by appearance and relationship to others” (p. 63).

So what are the Power Rangers doing? Jason is doing a roundhouse kick. Trini seems to be stretching in a food court, surrounded by people. Zack is bustin’ a move. Kimberly is doing gymnastics while other people watch. Billy is fighting some aliens and winning.

The women were surrounded by people. Even though they were moving, they were around lots of other people, and were more “decorated” (Trini’s hip 90’s outfit and Kimberly’s bright pink spandex). It is evident that their appearance mattered.

The men were all action-oriented. Jason and Billy were being very masculine and Zack was being very awesome. Even though Zack seemed to be hanging out with some kids, all three men were represented as largely independent.

The introduction to the show gives the audience what to expect: five awesome teenagers, but two distinctly feminine teens and three distinctly masculine teens. By playing up the gendered stereotypes in the beginning, the opening credits set a clear, gender-traditional tone for the rest of the show.

SOURCES: Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Levy, S., & Saban, M. (Producers). (1993). Mighty Morphin Power Rangers [Television broadcast]. FOX.

James Brown, one of my favorite soul singers, has a song that definitively explains what kind of world we live in: a man’s world. Through specific illustrations in his lyrics, he defines parts of our world that revolve around what men can do, what men have done, and how others need men for things:

It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World:
This is a man’s world, this is a man’s world,
But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl.

You see, man made the cars to take us over the road,
Man made the trains to carry heavy load,s
Man made electric light to take us out of the dark,
Man made the boat for the water, like Noah made the ark.

This is a man’s, a man’s, a man’s world,
But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl.

Man thinks about a little baby girls and a baby boys,
Man makes then happy ’cause man makes them toys,
And after man has made everything, everything he can,
You know that man makes money to buy from other man.

This is a man’s world,
But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl.

He’s lost in the wilderness,
He’s lost in bitterness

James Brown’s man is the “Man as a Wage Earner,” from Chapter 10’s male stereotypes. This man’s success is in his ability “to earn a good wage” (p. 271). While Chapter 10 takes the lens of “the paycheck becomes a measure of self-worth,” it can be slightly twisted into reflecting man’s ability to dominate the land and water (by roads and boats), to make radical change (through electricity), and his ability to make people happy because “man makes them toys.” It is the ability to satisfy or change through materialism, which is a central theme through both verses in this song. The objective, competitive, and hierarchical nature of the “man’s world” James Brown describes reinforces masculine traits (p. 238).

However, despite all the pride and accomplishments of men in this “man’s world,” James Brown says that it would all be nothing without a woman. It seems to be completely counter to the idea of a wage-earning man, but it raises the question: if a man’s nature is to compete, why would he compete if he had no one to impress?

SOURCES: Brown, J., & Newsome, B. J. (1966). It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World [Recorded by James Brown and the Famous Flames]. On Single [CD]. Cincinnati: King.
Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Even though this wild adaptation of a Jane Austen novel was released on April 1, I have yet to read it (but I really want to). Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith looks pretty awesome.

See a screen shot from chapter 1 here.

From the screen shot (and from a very dependable Wiki-synopsis) we learn that the 19th century propriety of women is in jeopardy because of the alternate zombie-universe. Women, like Elizabeth Bennett, are trained in the martial arts to defend themselves.

This story imposes non-traditional roles to females. In the screen shot linked above, Elizabeth Bennett is fighting zombies. Aside from being completely fictitious, women in the 1820’s traditionally were not trained in martial arts and were not expected to defend themselves in combat (especially against zombies).

What Seth Grahame-Smith is doing is imposing liberal feminism on “historical” characters. Liberal feminism claims that “gender differences are not based on biology” (p. 404). It also claims that “men and women should be treated in a gender neutral manner, and have access to the same roles, rights, privileges and opportunities.” Seth Grahame-Smith adheres to the Victorian-era social rules that mandate men and women are NOT entitled to the same rights and opportunities, but he allows room for women and men to have a level playing field with the use of zombies: when both genders have to be defended, both are able to defend themselves. When zombies attack, men and women suddenly have the same gender neutrality and have the same role in saving themselves. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies brings liberal feminism into Jane Austen’s classic original novel.

SOURCES: Austen, J., & Grahame-Smith, S. (2009). Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Quirk Books.
Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

In Back to the Future, Marty McFly goes from the year 1985 to the year 1955 to help his “to be” father, George, overcome his personal fears and ask out his “to be” mother, Lorraine. Marty is a pretty cool guy (because he’s Michael J. Fox, and also because he wears tight boy-pants before they were “emo”), but his father, we learn, is pretty lame. In a scene close to the beginning of the film, Biff Tannen (George’s boss, and George’s high school bully) wrecks George’s car. George does not stand up for himself. Marty is disappointed in his dad.

That’s the extreme Reader’s Digest version of that beginning scene.

When Marty goes back in time to visit the 1950’s George, he must help George gain confidence and overcome his nervousness (and geekiness), even though Marty does not seem to have those problems.

What this shows is a counter to our text’s theory on parent-child attitudes. Chapter 8 focuses on family, and says that, “boys look to their fathers for clues regarding how to act masculine, and the behavior valued by their fathers gets passed on to them” (p. 205).

However, in the year 1985, George is pushed around, and Biff takes advantage of him. (We later learn that Biff has been doing this to George since high school.) It’s Marty who stands up to bullies and instills confidence in his father. In Back to the Future, the father’s influence over his son serves as an example of what not to do rather than passing behaviors off.

SOURCES: Gale, B., & Zemeckis, R. (Writers), & Zemeckis, R. (Director). (1985). Back to the Future [Motion
picture]. United States: Universal Pictures.
Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

While our textbook does not have much to offer in the way of gender roles in music (not music videos), it does have something to offer for The Role Of Magazines. SPIN is a music magazine with no exclusive gender audience, but that doesn’t mean it is free from gender bias.

Chapter 13 says, “magazines targeted at male and female interests [tend] to contain articles that encourage maintenance of traditional, stereotypical roles” (p.364). So while SPIN is for lovers of music, and not exclusively men or exclusively women, it still can encourage “traditional” roles.

Just look at the cover for SPIN’s May 2009 issue:

Reminiscing of Blondie’s Parallel Lines, No Doubt looks pretty good together–or is it only because of Gewn Stefani? On the cover, Tony, Tom, and Adrian are well-dressed, corporate, and blend in with the background well. Gwen, however, has entirely more sex appeal and stands out.

Even on the cover, their feature article advertises: “Gwen Stefani is solo no mo’: ‘I felt like I was cheating on them!’ ” This points to the woman’s dependence on men in their lives in order to be stable, be happy, or be important.

While I’m sure Gwen would be one of the last people to promote a woman’s dependence on men, her stark sex appeal and her gendered role have been prominently displayed on the cover of SPIN.

SOURCES: Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.