Just another Longwood Blogs site

The perfect mother, the ideal wife, with a full time job and a rockin’ body; this is how the media has portrayed women and expects them to be, basically super woman.  The way the media portrays women is that they fit into one role and if they violate those norms society views them differently.  The topic I have chosen to discuss for this blog is how agenda setting in the media influences how people view women and how it affects how society views women who stray from these gender and mothering norms.

Agenda setting is how the media chooses what they wish to present to the public based on what they cover and how much they emphasize the importance of that topic.  As quoted in our textbook “Gendered Lives Communication, Gender, and Culture Julia T. Wood states, “as gatekeepers of information, newspapers and news programs shape our perception by deciding which stories to feature, how many represent issues and events, and how to depict women and men.  By selectively regulating what we see, the news media influences how we perceive movements about gender and gender itself.”  This is important because the way gender is portrayed through the media is how society will portray it as well.  The media has even produced shows such as Super Nanny and Wife Swap, according to the article, “Domesticating Politics: The Representations of Wives and Mothers in American Reality Television” that emphasize the importance of good housekeeping and mothering in today’s society by showing the public what they are doing wrong and bringing in someone else or switching with someone else in order to fix it.  Again to quote Julia T. Wood she states, “media generally limit portrayals of women to two opposing types: good and bad. These polar opposites are often juxtaposed to dramatize differences in consequences that befall good and bad women.” So women who stray from these norms of being the perfect wife, mother, and housekeeper they are perceived as bad mothers, for example the recent case that has flooded the news, the Casey Anthony trial.

I’m sure everyone has heard of the Casey Anthony trial, it was almost difficult not to hear about it unless you were completely cut off from technology.  To give a little background just in case you were cut off from the world, Casey Anthony, 25, was accused of murdering her daughter, 2 year old Caylee Anthony.  Anthony did not report her daughter missing for 31 days after she went missing and mislead police four separate times, sending them on a ‘wild goose chase’ to find the body.  The media also depicted Anthony of, “being more interested in boyfriends and barhopping than in caring for her child” according to The New York Times article, “Anthony Sentenced a Four Year Term for Lying.”  According to The Washington Post article, “Casey Anthony trial: The 10 moments that have made the case our national obsession” all of the twists and turns such as, Anthony lying about her nanny, boyfriend, and job, “testimonies show that Anthony had never dated a man she said she had; that a nanny named Zenaida Gonzalez, who Anthony originally said had been responsible for Caylee’s disappearance, did not exist, and that she had not worked at Universal Studios since 2006, despite years of claims to the contrary.” As well as getting a tattoo of “Bella Vita” tattooed on herself shortly after the disappearance of her daughter are all what kept the media frenzy running and the idea of her being a bad mother continuing to change people’s ideas of the case.

This case is a perfect case as an example of Agenda Setting, if this case was not all over the news every single day there would not be such an uproar about the sentencing and the trial in general, I personally do not agree or disagree with the verdict because I was not there to hear every bit of evidence and if they jury believes she did not do it then I trust our justice system, but the media blew up every little scrap of evidence to portray her as guilty and as a bad mother.  According to the article, “Casey Anthony: Witnesses recount Casey’s mothering, lack of emotion” Anthony did not even show emotion as the defense admitted that Caylee really was dead.  This as well as her partying and seems to be lack of caring that her daughter was missing is what the media took and ran with to show the public that she must be guilty because she is not fitting the gendered norms of motherhood.  The public took the media’s idea and believed just because she was not falling into typical gender roles and being a good mother, hey not everyone is fit to be a mother, the public automatically believed she was guilty. Thanks to the media’s agenda setting and the myth of how mothers should behave has led the public to view Casey Anthony is a completely different light even though the jury found her to not be guilty of killing her daughter, just lying to the police.

Living up to the standards of being a perfect mother in today’s society is becoming increasingly more difficult according to an excerpt from the book, “The Myth of the Perfect Mother” many mothers look so forward to being mothers but do not realize how difficult it can really be, the best thing to do as a mother is to realize, “the responsibilities of motherhood can and should be tailored to your intrinsic design as a woman. This will reduce stress, guilt, inappropriate “ought’s,” and frustration in mothering — in effect, providing care for you as a caregiver.” Even if tailoring your mothering does not fit perfectly into societal norms it is what makes you the best mother possible.  Being a perfect mother is even more difficult when the mother also has a full time job in order to help further provide for her family.  In the article, “Caregiving and Female Embodiment: Scrutinizing (Professional) Female Bodies in Media, Academe, and the Neighborhood Bar” authors D’Enbeau and Buzzanell discuss that, “gendered and entrepreneurial discourses pervade the professional world, casting women, mothers, and their bodies as unfit and in need of repair” basically saying that again if they do not fit into the rockin’ body, successful working woman, awesome mother and wife then they are unfit and need to be repaired or upgraded.

This constant scrutiny of women and their roles is getting better within the media, as Julia T. Woods states, “current popular magazines aimed at women provide better coverage than women’s magazines of a decade ago on issues such as managing money, social projects, and obtaining credit. However, they also continue to advise women how to look better, lose weight, appeal to men, cook nice meals, maintain relationships, keep the home clean, and care for the family” so although women are expanding their comfort zone to society, society is still holding women back by continuing to portray these gender roles.  Hopefully in the future women will be able to move even farther out of the realm of these gender roles and hopefully the media will move farther out of this realm as well, but for now even just based on the Casey Anthony case the ideas of that mothers should act and be like is still something that hard engrained on society.

GigiMaybe his grandma died or maybe he lost my number or is out of town or got hit by a cab…
Alex – Or maybe he is not interested in seeing you again.


Just plain and simple and to the point, “He’s Just Not That Into You.”  Yes, yes, yes I know original, a blog post based off of a movie, but it fits right into our Gender and Communication course quite perfectly.  Based on the hit book, “He’s Just Not That Into You” by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo and off the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You” directed by Ken Kwapis, this post is another tribute to girls who can’t figure it out and guys who are not even sending mixed signals.  In Behrendt and Tuccillo’s bestselling book they use their self help techniques to empower women instead of making them feel worse about some guy just not being that into them, they guide women and give them advice about who to keep, how great they are, and who to avoid.  As quoted in an article about the book, “Deciphering Women’s Dating Books” by Ryan Murphy, “Authors Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo challenge their readers to avoid men who: keep them waiting by the phone, are not sure they want a relationship, make them feel sexually undesirable, drink or do drugs to an extent it makes them uncomfortable, fear talking about the future and who are married.”  In the movie directed by Ken Kwapis many of these same attribute that the book is about are used in the movie, and more often than not by the character of Alex while helping the character of Gigi find the right guy.  Alex is a bartender, he sees men and women trying to pick each other up all night every night and he believes he has pretty much figured it out.  Alex tells it straight up, there are no mixed signals, is his main slogan, if a guy wants to call he will.  He is quoted in the movie freaking out, “Why do women do this? Why do they build up this stuff in their minds to each little thing a guy does and then twist it up into something else? It’s Insane!”

As discussed in the very beginning of our Gender and Communications textbook  Julie T. Wood discusses Mark and Paige, both in great relationships but when there is an issue they go about it in different ways.  Mark doesn’t understand how his significant other has to nitpick through every small detail that needs to be analyzed about an issue, while Paige doesn’t understand how her significant other can just go about with day to day stuff if they have an issue.  For each gender there are different types of communication.  Within a feminine relationship there is “closeness in dialogue” for a female or someone socialized feminine a big part of the relationship is talking, and talking through everything.  Within a masculine relationship there is “closeness in doing” for a male or someone socialized masculine more important than talking something out is doing something for or with that person.  Males and Female show their affection in different ways, which is why many ideas that girls misconstrue in their minds are misconstrued because to him he isn’t sending any signal at all, but to her there’s a signal in everything and it needs to be analyzed.  These are the ideas that are being linked back to Alex and Gigi in, “He’s Just Not That Into You” the movie, Gigi wants to talk it all out, overanalyze every single little detail and while she is overanalyzing all of that she is missing the biggest sign, that he isn’t calling, so he probably just isn’t into her.  Plain and Simple. Like quoted from Beherndt and Tuccillo’s book, “A man who wants to make a relationship work will move mountains to keep the woman he loves.  If he’s not calling you to tell you he loves you and wants you back, it should only be because he’s showing up at your new residence to do it in person … if he’s not doing any of that, he may love you, he may miss you, but ultimately he’s just not that into you.  Stop taking his calls and let him know what it’s like to live without you.”

Please enable Javascript and Flash to view this Flash video.

Join the V-Club

“THIS NEXT MONOLOGUE IS BASED ON AN INTERVIEW, I DID WITH A WOMAN WHO HAD A GOOD EXPERIENCE WITH A MAN. (laughing)…

‘BECAUSE HE LIKED TO LOOK AT IT. THIS IS HOW I CAME TO LOVE MY VAGINA. IT’S EMBARRASSING BECAUSE IT’S NOT POLITICALLY CORRECT. I MEAN, I KNOW HOW IT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED. IN A BATH, WITH SALT GRAINS FROM THE DEAD SEA, ENYA PLAYING…ME LOVING MY WOMAN-SELF. I KNOW THE STORY. VAGINAS ARE BEAUTIFUL. OUR SELF-HATRED IS ONLY THE INTERNALIZED REPRESSION AND HATRED OF THE PATRIARCHAL CULTURE. IT ISN’T REAL. PUSSIES UNITE. I KNOW ALL OF IT. LIKE IF WE’D GROWN UP IN A CULTURE WHERE WE WERE TAUGHT FAT THIGHS WERE BEAUTIFUL, WE’D ALL BE POUNDING DOWN MILK SHAKES AND DOUGHNUTS, SPENDING OUR DAYS LYING ON OUR BACKS THIGH-EXPANDING. BUT WE DIDN’T GROW UP IN THAT CULTURE, DID WE? NO. I HATED MY THIGHS, AND I HATED MY VAGINA EVEN MORE … THEN I MET BOB…BOB WAS THE MOST ORDINARY MAN I EVER MET. THIN, TALL, NONDESCRIPT, HE WORE KHAKI TAN CLOTHES. (audience laughing)

BOB DID NOT LIKE SPICY FOODS OR LISTEN TO PRODIGY. HE HAD NO INTEREST IN SEXY LINGERIE. IN THE SUMMER, HE SPENT TIME IN THE SHADE. HE DID NOT SHARE HIS INNER FEELINGS, HE DIDN’T HAVE ANY PROBLEMS OR ISSUES HE WASN’T EVEN AN ALCOHOLIC. HE WASN’T VERY FUNNY OR ARTICULATE OR MYSTERIOUS. HE WASN’T MEAN OR UNAVAILABLE. HE WASN’T SELF-INVOLVED OR CHARISMATIC. HE DIDN’T DRIVE FAST. I DIDN’T PARTICULARLY LIKE BOB. I WOULD HAVE MISSED HIM ALTOGETHER IF HE HADN’T PICKED UP MY CHANGE THAT I DROPPED ON THE DELI FLOOR. WHEN HE HANDED ME BACK MY PENNIES AND QUARTERS, AND HIS HAND ACCIDENTALLY TOUCHED MINE, SOMETHING HAPPENED. I WENT TO BED WITH HIM THAT’S WHEN TH E MIRACLE OCCURRED.

IT TURNED OUT THAT BOB LOVED VAGINAS. HE WAS A CONNOISSEUR. HE LOVED THE WAY THEY TASTED, THE WAY THEY SMELLED, THE WAY THEY FELT, BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, BOB LOVED THE WAY THEY LOOKED. HE HAD TO LOOK AT THEM. FIRST TIME WE HAD SEX, HE TOLD ME HE HAD TO SEE ME. “I’M RIGHT HERE, BOB.” “NO,” HE SAID. “YOU, I NEED TO SEE YOU.” “TURN ON THE LIGHT,” I SAID, THINKING HE WAS A WEIRDO AND FREAKING OUT IN THE DARK. HE TURNED ON THE LIGHT. “OKAY,” HE SAID, “I’M READY, I’M READY TO SEE YOU.” “I’M RIGHT HERE, BOB, RIGHT HERE.” HE BEGAN TO UNDRESS ME. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING, BOB?” “I NEED TO SEE WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE.” “BUT YOU’VE SEEN A RED LEATHER COUCH BEFORE, BOB, I KNOW YOU’VE SEEN THAT.” BOB CONTINUED, HE WOULD NOT STOP. I WANTED TO THROW UP AND DIE. “THIS IS AWFULLY INTIMATE, BOB. CAN’T YOU JUST DO IT ?” “NO,” HE SAID. “IT’S WHO YOU ARE, I NEED TO LOOK.” I HELD MY BREATH. HE LOOKED, AND LOOKED. HE GASPED, AND SMILED, AND STARED, AND GROANED. HE GOT BREATHY, AND HIS FACE CHANGED. HE DIDN’T LOOK ORDINARY ANYMORE. HE LOOKED LIKE A HUNGRY BEAST. “YOU’RE SO BEAUTIFUL,” HE SAID. “YOU’RE ELEGANT AND DEEP” AND INNOCENT AND WILD. “YOU SAW THAT THERE?”, I SAID. IT WAS LIKE HE READ MY PALM. “I SAW THAT,” HE SAID, “AND MUCH, MUCH MORE.” BOB STAYED LOOKING. FOR ALMOST AN HOUR, AS IF HE WERE STUDYING A MAP, OBSERVING THE MOON, STARING INTO MY EYES. BUT IT WAS MY VAGINA!

This is an idea that would really resonant in the eyes of a woman with the ideals involved in the third wave of and the present day feminist movement. Above is an excerpt from the script written by Eve Ensler telling the stories of The Vagina Monologues. According to our text, Gendered Lives: Communication, Gender, and Culture author Julia T. Wood defines the third wave of the feminist movement as including “women of different ethnicity, abilities and disabilities, classes, appearance and sexual orientations.” As presented in our class audio lecture, the idea of the third wave of the feminist movement not only wishes to carry on the ideals of previous movements but also bring in new ideas that anyone can be a feminist, anyone who believes that woman should be equal that men and women should be improving their relationships with one another in able to move forward on this feminist ride. Jen Nedeau discusses many aspects of the third wave of the feminist movement in her article, “Defining the Third Wave” but really completes the article with, “it is still difficult to truly define what the Third Wave is and what it means to women. But one purpose of the Third Wave has been made abundantly clear: to raise awareness of what discrimination still exists and who is out there, ready to face it.” Another idea that is very fluid throughout the present day feminist movement is that you do not have to hate men and have hair legs, all the time, to be a feminist. Being who you are and being true to yourself is one of the most important parts, if being a girly girl in pink and pearls is the way you are most comfortable than be that girl, if being anti-men and not shaving is who you want to be, be that girl. These are the ideas that are causing the present day feminist movement to flourish.

What drew me to the topic was seeing The Vagina Monologues brought up in our audio lecture; the link between being a woman and loving it and the Vagina Monologues became very clear to me when I saw it performed at Longwood a few months back. The Vagina Monologues are a collections of stories from women of all ages, all ethnicity, all races, all sexualities, all types of women from all around the world; telling stories about their vaginas. A really liberating thought if you really think about it, even in our cultures talking about your own vagina is not something you hear on a day to day basis; yes maybe more often if you are a female living with females etc. but more often than not it isn’t a part of a person’s everyday conversation. The idea that Ensler went all around the world liberating women of the secret of their vaginas is such an interesting and ground breaking thing, and something the very much resonates with the idea of the third wave feminist movement. The Vagina Monologues are just a fraction of the work that Eve Ensler has done in the world of liberating women to love who they are, this is evident just looking through her website, VDay.org. These ideas and movements that are going on in the world linked to Ensler’s work is extraordinary; speaking to and teaching women from all over the world about how to love themselves, every aspect of themselves, even their vaginas. Ensler’s work is the epitome of what the members of the third and present wave of the feminist movement wish to instill on the world; for women to love and respect themselves, to be true to who they are, and to show the world that.

Growing up I can honestly say from time to time I did not exactly fit into the gender norm of a little girl.  Yes I still wore pink, and my favorite childhood toy was pink but this toy was not a normal favorite for a young girl to have attached to herself at all times.  Instead of it being a pink Barbie or doll baby of some nature it was a pink Lizard, just a prize token won at a church bazaar but even still a toy in which most little girls may not have chose out of the prize bucket.  According to Julia T. Wood gender norms are the ideas that our society believes to be normal and appropriate for a specific sex.  Although the idea of gender norms has become less stringent in recent history the idea that little girls should play with dolls and act like a lady and little boys should play in the mud and not cry is still something that is very much advocated in today’s society.  Like stated earlier more often than not these gender norms were not something that I really took into consideration.  Luckily my parents were more than open minded and let me explore any hobby that caught my interest and did not find it strange that I preferred a pink lizard over the many Barbie dolls I received at every birthday and Christmas from family.  I guess I would have categorized myself more as a Tomboy than anything else, maybe not to the same extent as Stephanie Theobald but I would much rather play outside in the woods and in the creek with the boys than with dolls or play dress up.  Although I grew up with a younger sister we never really shared common interest, I was much more interested in hanging around with my guy cousins who were all the same age as I was.  I can definitely say that growing up around mostly boys more than likely has an influence on what I was interested in, I wanted to be interested in things they were interested in so they would include me when we were all together.  This also stemmed to me continuing to prefer to hang around with guys even as I entered elementary school and after school day care; I continued to hang out with guys and perpetuate my interests in favorite things more common for little boys.  Micro Machines were all the rage with that aged boy when I was growing up so of course I jumped on boat and began collecting these tiny little cars and the van carrier that went along with it.  To me this was how I was going to continue my Tomboy hobbies and keep hanging out with the guys.  What made me think of this topic originally was actually stemming off of Dr. Naomi’s first blog post pertaining to a mother painting her son’s toes bright pink and the media outcry that occurred.  Although this little boy may have had his toe nails painted pink a time or two does not mean this is going to completely change the way he sees himself as a little boy, I can say from experience even though growing up I would have rather seen myself as one of the guys I can easily say that I am just as feminine is not more so than my little sister who was much more into dolls than cars when we were growing up.  These gender norms may be something society as whole believes that should stay the same, little girls in pink little boys in blue and not the other way around, giving a girl a toy car or a little boy a doll does not mean in the long run they are going to turn out gay or overly masculine; I myself am living proof.

Hello, my name is Rebecca Parker and I go by Becca, I am a rising Senior at Longwood University with a major Communications Studies and a concentration in Public Relations.  I am from Manassas, VA and I am an aspiring event planner, with hopes of eventually exclusively planning weddings.

My experience so far in the field has consisted of a current internship with a small events company out of Arlington VA, Dave Edwards Events, Inc., currently working with a Wedding Planner named Holly Blackett of Zuriana’s Occasions and also currently doing an internship with the City of Manassas Park Parks and Recreation Marketing Department. At Manassas Park as a Marketing Intern I feel as though I have already learned so much I am even helping plan their 4th of July Celebrationfor their county!  Working with Dave has given me a little more of an insider look at all the background planning that goes on for an event, and shadowing Holly at various shows has given me great insight on all the important little things that go on in planning a wedding/wedding like event, not just the big day! Just based on what I have done already this summer has shown me that this is what I want to do and can foresee myself being passionate about it in years to come, although it keeps me on my toes and very busy I do not think I would want it any other way; I would rather be busy than bored.  I have also gained experience with the classes that I have been offered at Longwood including but not limited to, Public Speaking, Organizational Communications, Interpersonal Communications, Conflict Resolution, Public Relations, Persuasion Theory, and Communication Theory.  These classes have given me experience out in the real world having us plan events in the Farmville community, as well as teaching us important skills in how to prepare for the real world and learn how to work with many different types of people.  I would have to say if it were not for my ability to express what I want employers to know about me in an elevator speech manner and to have such a well prepared resume I do not know if I would have been blessed with the opportunities I have been given so far.

We have all experience some type of gender difference in our lives and seen it exemplified in the media and even in the work place, although I am an experience Lifeguard and have been working at the same pool for 5 years now, some males who come in to help occasionally with pump room issues etc. have made passing comments such as, “you got that sweetie, it is an awfully dirty place down here” in reference to our very old, rusted pump room and having to manually do everything to run the pool.  Even though women are supposed to be seen as equals in today’s society but it is comments such as that that shows that we still are not completely seen as equals.  From this course I would like to learn why it is that in this day and age women are still seen as incompetent when half the time we do the job better with more integrity, than a man would do the same job.

Aspiring wedding planner, not aspiring man stealer ;)