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December 23, 2008

Comments

Carolyn

Ack!! I hate the world!! There are so many good and decent people out there. But all we see on TV is the bottom of the barrel of society because it's supposedly entertaining.

Wendy

Justine, I think this is such a great question--why ARE people so entertained by the humiliation of women? I have my answers of course but I'd be more interested to hear other people's . . .

Gretchen Fagan

I recently wrote a blog post titled "MTV (still) stands for Moron Television" though I think you titled it more accurately. In addition to the shows you mentioned they are coming out with one specific to men titled "Bromance", it is patterned after the Bachelor, etc. yet in this case a poor (well actually he's loaded), "lonely" boy is looking for his "best dude" to hang with. The competition is full of hazing as men (or are they?) compete to win this guy's heart as his "go to guy". Just another example of men acting like boys, as if we needed another.

FYI, this was not meant to be a rant against men, I happened to know some great ones, one being my husband, another my dad. We just see so many examples of moronic behavior by men (as well as women, including moms!), it is as if being lazy, immature and hostile to women is seen as normal. Can we get some shows that raise the standard of male and female behavior in society today??? Probably not from MTV.

I.

To quote Fulton Sheen from his 1952 book World's First Love (p181):
"In Christian days, when men were strongest, woman was most respected. As the author of Mont. St. Michel and Chartres puts it:
The twelfth and thirteenth centuries were a period when men were at their strongest; never before or since have they shown equal energy in such varied directions, or such intelligence in the direction of their energy; yet these marvels of history -- these Plantagenets; these Scholastic philosophers; these architects of Rheims and Amiens; these Innocents, and Robin Hoods, and Marco Polos; these crusaders who planted their enormous fortresses all over the Levant; these monks who made the wastes and the barrens yield harvests -- all, without apparent exception, bowed down before the woman."

A page earlier Fulton Sheen writes:
"When man loves woman, it follows that the nobler the woman, the nobler the love; the higher the demands made by the woman, the more worthy a man must be. That is why woman is the measure of our civilization."

Philip

That is so true. It's part of the reason I stopped watching mtv. However it's not just limited to women. There's a lot of misandry on tv shows and commercials. The men are always portrayed as being bumbling idiots. Ex: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqff8HDFnkw

Rofigo de la Mancha

Hey Justine,

Just go with "mephitic" television, okay? I looked for synonyms of poisonous that started with "m" to fit your intentions. It's actually a synonym denoting a poisonous _stench_, but I think that still works lol

The point, is that it wouldn't hurt to lay off the man-bashing, okay? It's effectively misandristic (guy-hating) to constantly find/look for all these "all the media wants to do is make women out to be objects for men" things going on.

Yes, they SUCK. But they suck for guys, too. It validates a lifestyle that eventually hurts us. Sooner or later, though, after we've all gorged ourselves on gratuitous T&A, we'll get sick of it. Have you ever had a conversation with people who watch this stuff? They don't actually take it seriously, so don't fret so much.

The problem is that sensationalizing it makes it stronger. If it feeds on negativity, yelling at it to stop just makes things worse. It creates an "us and them" phenomena, further alienating you from making the desired impact.

If it was Toronto's MuchMusic, I'd go talk to Leah Miller. Is she "hot"? Yes, but she's actually a pretty modest person and speaks up when guys are pigs around her.

Oh, and btw, the dating shows are the extreme results of tradtional dating standards. When women don't do the "hunting", all they can do is compete with one another to be picked. This results in excessive attention to physicallity, since its the first thing a potential mate sees. It's like your resume, if it doesn't even look good at first glance, it gets tossed (and those that look better at the first glance, get preference to the exclusion of others). For guys, its income/station/stability, instead of looks.

Sandy

Justine is not man- hating-- these programs are in their potrayal of men as the lowest common denominator to appeal to. If you really thought these programs are no big deal then why bother to comment? Sounds to me like you enjoy them!

Jez

I absolutely agree. Which is why I stopped watching MTV and went to Food Network, where no one cares because everyone loves to eat!

I think that the worst part of it all is that MTV is the fakest network. It really is, and young women who are still growing up will watch these shows and think that this is what real women do, this is how real people live their lives. And it's entertaining, ( I used to watch them, I know) because it is so awful and cruel. I especially hated that show "Next" because women were just seen as bodies to the males choosing. That's most of MTV for ya.

Justine K

Yes, I'm certainly not trying to be a "man-hater", quite the opposite really. I'm defending both genders, simply suggesting that shows on MTV airs shows that often portray women as airheads and men as players or "guys having fun" (Bromance being the perfect example). This is NOT reality as we know it, well at least not the only type of reality- but it IS what is being emphasized on MTV. So being the infrequent television watcher that I am, I could choose to not watch MTV and ignore it's very existence. However, I'm choosing to voice my opinion because although everyone knows MTV is stupid (for the most part; I'm sure there are exceptions), the fact that these shows are still being made means that there is an audience. And conscious or not, this audience is constantly being fed negative messages around how to perceive/treat women and men, based on biases that are thankfully being changed in society. Imagine if MTV started highlighting shows about teenagers treating each other with respect! Some would say that it would lose it's entertainment appeal, but then maybe it's this idea of what is entertaining that needs to be changed?

Jessica

I agree with everything Justine and all have mentioned above, except the one guy. It's not man-hating it's just the american culture nowadays that's wrong. Women should not be treated as objects and man shouldn't be seen as jocks and jerks. They're just stereotypes and people should be able to get past them. I personally get really mad at those shows that she's talking about and refuse to watch them. Oh well, I guess they make money...

Priya

Hey Justine, I totally agree - it's unrealistic to assume that not acknowledging the trend of oppression will make it go away - in fact it is given more power by the refusal to take it seriously, as the images and ideas become ever more omnipresent. Popular culture is a powerful force and should be questioned rigorously.

Deara Okonkwo

Justine,

I commend you for being a high school student who speaks up for what she believes in. A rarity nowadays do we find young girls confident in their beleifs let alone having any.

In regards to your post, I am not really a fan of TV period but I have come across those shows when flipping through channels and I agree with your perspective. I also believe that these shows are harmful to the men as well, perhaps not as directly, because they indirectly encourage and teach them to treat women this way and this only perpetuates the misogyny.

I think that in an effort to resolve this issue we need to get more programs like yours (redefining positive images of women) where kids spend most of their time. For example, youtube, myspace.

My hope is that the word about this organization can spread. I can play my part and tell the children of my community and youth based programs about what you all are doing. Moreover, if any of you stops in a LA, you all are welcome to visit.
Here is my main website.
www.dededancsetudio.com

Keep up the good work,
Deara

Rofigo de la Mancha

Sandy,

I comment because tasteful provocation is useful on a forum like this. I stand behind issues as guy, and that means offering opinions that may be offensive, but no less valid.

I enjoy those shows for what they're worth... which is decidedly not much. That, and I rarely watch TV these days anyway.

Justine,

No, you're not a misandrist. I do understand that, and that your post wasn't as well.

In regards to changing the programming... let me ask you this: how long before you can't stand watching anymore Full House?

When I was a kid, I basically started to reject after-school-specials type shows. They felt fake. However, they DID provide positive messages. Now turn that around and what you get is today's programming. The benefit of it is that if you "reject" it, you make the choice of rejecting something that's bad for you anyway.

If something positive is put on the air, but is then seen as "cheesy" (and kids can sniff that out like blood hounds), you'll have a rejection of something healthy.

If you wanted to do something, try doing a letter writing campaign. Request that they (MTV) change their programming to relfect a generation of women who don't deserve to be treated the way they are in those shows.

An additional public boycott of the channel might also work. The majority of music stations' viewers are female (assumption here, but as a guy, I find too many MTV/Much Music shows/commericials too "chicky"), which means that a loss of female viewers is a big thing.

Wendy

Hmm, I think I understand what you're saying Rofigo, but I don't accept that writing is "doing nothing" and only boycotting counts as action. If Justine hadn't written her blog for example, then we couldn't have been discussing the various ways to respond.

Writing definitely counts as action in my book-- but of course, as a writer, I guess you could say that I'm a little biased!

Tom Babcock

Hi Justine,

Have we always wanted to be embarassed or to watch others embarass themselves? From The Gong Show, the Dating Game, and The Newlywed Game to today's "reality" TV! The is still thought-provoking TV to watch, though oft times it seems the thought the producers are trying to produce is not the one I am willing to provide. I sort of think that comedy and drama show, in spite of their formulaic manner, have a lot to offer, do a decent job in raising legitimate moral issues, while still being emtertainment at their roots. So I simply refuse to watch the "reality" TV. It is not that they are Shakespeare or Tennessee Williams, and sometimes they try to hit their message home with a sledge hammer, and they often challenge our "willing suspension of disbelief", yet they can provide insight into human nature and human follies without requiring people to personally make fools of themselves.

And let's face it. There are always books just waiting to be read. The wonder that is always apparent in Wendy's blog is that irrespective of what is being fed to us on TV, the world is still full of people like Justine who want to put some thought into what they watch, or into how they interpret what they are shown.

Melanie

Hi Justine!

My name is melanie, and I am a jr. in high school in louisiana. While I agree with most aspects of your letter, and find myself disgusted at some of the shows on MTV, there are a couple of things I wanted to bring up. First, shows like "Next" and "Parental Control" go both ways - with girls picking from five guys on a bus, and with girls choosing from guys her parents have chosen for her. Also, the most expensive "Sweet 16" show of 2007 was a guy - he spent over a million dollars. While girls are more commonly seen on the show, guys are often on there. Yes, I have watched MTV. I think, at times, it gives a healthy dose of reality to see that I could have turned out like those teens if I weren't raised in a good Christian home, as I was.

I also wanted to bring up a show that you didn't discuss - "Made". For those not familiar, this is a show that pairs teens with a 'coach' to help make them into something they aren't - athletic girl who wants to be a model, shy guy who wants a first kiss. While there are some positive aspects, like giving them confidence for the future, the overall aspect is that how God made us (fearfully and wonderfully) isn't good enough to get accepted in life. If that doesn't degrade teens, both male and female, what will?

Headless Unicorn Guy

Just go with "mephitic" television, okay? -- Rofigo de la Mancha

That's an insult to skunks & skunkettes (Mephitis Mephitis) everywhere!

And this surprises you?

MTV, whose only remaining music videos are "Slap dem hos around!" Gangsta Rappas?

MTV, who originated the modern Stupid Reality Show?

And as for the "Sweet 16ers" (i.e. ("I'm out-Paris Hiltoning Paris Hilton!"): When South Park dedicates an entire issue to parodying you, it is NOT a complement. And as for the role-model you're trying to be so much like, South Park got her, too.

Emily O

Hey Justine,
I completely agree with you, that women are being completely mistreated in the media, and something needs to be done. I also think that man-hating is not the word I would use for this situation. Media-hating... maybe, and rightly so... but definitely not man-hating. I agree that men are being misinterpreted by mtv, not man-hating feminists. It's mtv that portrays men in general as being appearance-centered, and woman-dissmissing (yes yes, I know its not a word). I think what Justine is trying to say here, is that that attitude catches on, particularly with the younger generations, and it's ultimately poisonous to them. Things need to be done to cut this vicious cycle, and I appreciate Justine's effort to begin the fight.

Sue

Hey Justine,

I too am a senior in high school - in Toronto,like you - and wholeheartedly applaud you for standing up for what you believe in. I made an attempt at it before my whole English class (I did a presentation on Wendy's 'Girls Gone Mild,') but sadly, not many teens are willing to listen. It's wonderful that you have received so many responses to your speech, but I have not, because the students in my class are either indifferent, jaded, or stubborn.

I have also conversed with a boy friend of mine on this issue, but the conversation ended simply in his laughing outright at my views, which he termed, "Too traditional - too unrealistic."

I am sure that I'm not the only one with these problems, but I won't give up 'spreading the word' - not when there are people willing to listen (I don't mean those in my English class, but those on this website :) ).

So, in short, I agree with everything you've said and still hope for a better life - a better future. Everyone deserves it - both men and women.

jani

Amazing article, really agree. What scares me is that people honestly are so surrounded by this type of thing that it becomes normal.

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