Search results for hook up

Previously we’ve posted on the sexy makeovers recently given to Dora the Explorer, Strawberry Shortcake, Holly Hobby, and the Sun Maid.  Here we have three more.

Lisa Frank

Andy Wright at the SF Weekly recently posted about a new look for Lisa Frank art.  If you’re a woman in your 30s, like me, you probably remember this art vividly.  As Wright describes it, it “…was a branded line of school supplies consisting of Trapper Keepers and folders that looked like they were designed by a six-year-old girl on acid.”

When I was a kid, Lisa Frank didn’t include any people. But today it appears that they’ve added, well this:

Wright: “I have to wonder if little girls actually are more interested in bizarrely proportioned nymphets dressed like sexy hippies than a righteous day-glo tiger cub.”

Trolls, now Trollz

Remember Trolls?  Growing up, I remember them looking something like this (source):

But apparently now they look like this (source):

Cabbage Patch Kids

This is a vintage Cabbage Patch Kid from 1983 (source):

This is the front page of the website today:

They still make “Classic” Cabbage Patch Kids, but now they also make “Pop ‘N Style”:

Lisa Wade, PhD is a Visiting Scholar at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming Introduction to Sociology text. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Jersey Shore has come to end, we’re (genuinely) sad to say. We know we had fun. But is it possible we also saw something, dare I say it, subversive about beauty, gender and sexuality? I think so.

A panel discussion on the show and “Guido culture” at Queens College yesterday (you read that right), included New York State Senator and Jezebel heroine Diane Savino, who knows from stinging cultural analysis.

[Savino] explained, “‘guido’ was never a pejorative.” It grew out of the greaser look and became a way for Italian-Americans who did not fit the standard of beauty to take pride in their own heritage and define cool for themselves.

When she was growing up, everybody listened to rock; girls were supposed to be skinny with straight blonde hair (like Marcia Brady on “The Brady Bunch”); guys wore ripped jeans, sneakers and straggly hair.

The 1977 film “Saturday Night Fever” marked a turning point. “It changed the image for all of us,” Ms. Savino said. As Tony Manero, John Travolta wore a white suit, had slicked short hair, liked disco music and was hot. “It was a way we could develop our own standard of beauty,” she added.

In the same way, Virginia Heffernan writes in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine, Italian-Americans in the Northeast originally disdained their own accents until movies like “Mean Streets, Saturday Night Fever, Working Girl and, of course, Taxi Driver.” Those representations, she says, led to a “hammy” reclamation of an identity that had been mirrored back to them through Hollywood. These were second and third generation immigrants, who had mostly reached the middle class but maybe didn’t feel wholly a part of the mainstream, who telegraphed their identity through stylized symbols like Italian flags and red sauce that felt potent but no longer limited their social mobility.

That goes for the ladies too. Female beauty that took on a showily “ethnic cast” was distinct from what was already being sold. As Regina Nigro recently put it on The Awl:

We (I) laugh at bon mots like “You don’t even look Italian!” (the insult that Sammi “Sweetheart” flings at the blonde blue-eyed “grenade” …) but, ridiculous as it is, that assessment betrays a value system: Skinny blonde pale WASP princesses are deemed not attractive when measured by the JS aesthetic. And this seems curious and laughable to us.

“You don’t even look Italian!” is crazy funny but is the underlying judgment (dark hair/olive skin/Italian-looking = pretty; the inverse = not pretty) any worse than any other standard of beauty? It’s an alternative perspective, one that I suspect is so funny partly because it is so unfamiliar.

Of course, there is plenty about the Jersey Shore sexual aesthetic that is broadly familiar. The worst insult is to call a woman fat (or a “hippo”); big, exposed boobs are a baseline requirement, and the men are judged by the attractiveness of the women they acquire. (The other guys repeatedly mock The Situation about the looks of the women he brings home; Ronnie taunts him that he hasn’t brought home a girl anywhere near as pretty as Sammi).

And yet it’s oddly refreshing how much artifice itself is celebrated, with everyone participating mightily, and openly, in becoming the ideal Guido. No one is just born one, or supposed to make it look effortless. There are communal visits to tanning salons and unblinking references to fake breasts, and everyone takes hours to get ready. Vinny describes a girl admiringly: “Fake boobs, nice butt, said she was a model.”

Heffernan, writing about regional accents being reinforced by the show, uses Sammi as an example: “Every part of Sweetheart’s identity – including her skin color, which on the show is not an inborn marker of ethnicity but a badge of achievement (in the tanning bed) – is the product of intense calculation.” And Heffernan didn’t even get to Sammi’s hair extensions, which are brandished for emphasis.

No character more desperately self-produces than The Situation and his third-person pronouncements. Men are not inscluded [sic] from all this ritual artifice. In the last episode, J-Woww practically goes into heat when she sees some “juicehead gorillas” on the beach, and she lists “Human Growth Hormone” among the attractions. This, by the way, leads The Situation to mumble defensively, “Big is out and lean is in.”

That’s because on The Jersey Shore, men’s bodies are just as scrutinized as women’s, and their beauty rituals are as elaborate, expensive, and time-consuming as those of the women. Maybe even more so — in addition to blowouts, tanning sessions, and agonizing over which appliqued shirt will set them apart from the gelled masses, they spend hours at the gym, something we never see the girls do.

As much as the cast performed all this around the clock during the show’s taping, the audition tapes seen here and in the video below are even more extreme, mixing ethnic calculation with the general famewhoring savviness reality producers have become accustomed to.

Looking at this through what we know now: Sammi calls herself a “hookup slut” but aside from a few flirtations, turned out to be conventionally monogamous on the show. Vinny, in straight-up costume, claims he has to take off his pants “to really show you the magic,” but turned out to be the mildest-mannered cast member, one who unashamedly adores his doting mother. Underneath playing to the producers, though, is a more personal kind of construction, and a more particular one. And ironically, although the cast members’ self-creation was one of the most entertaining parts of the show, some underlying sense of unembarrassed authenticity, even wholesomeness, made it most worth watching.


Irin Carmon is a reporter at, from where we’re super pleased to have borrowed the post below. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, The Village Voice, and others; more information is at

If you would like to write a post for Sociological Images, please see our Guidelines for Guest Bloggers.

Nora R. pointed out a Navy Facebook page that presents female members of the Navy as ground-breaking women who redefine femininity. The photo:


Here’s the text below the photo:

Applauding women who define life on their own terms. Intermingling the stereotypically feminine and masculine. Women in the Navy are amongst those paving the way in redefining femininity in the 21st Century.

I think it’s fascinating that they refer to feminine and masculine characteristics as stereotypes, rather than simply saying they mix feminine and masculine traits (thus accepting them as meaningful categories).

I went over to the Navy page on women from Facebook. Another image:


Some text from that webpage, which again emphasizes equality, empowerment, and the idea that ideas about gender are stereotypes, not accurate beliefs:

What’s it like being a woman in today’s Navy? Challenging. Exciting. Rewarding. But above all, it’s incredibly empowering. That’s because the responsibilities are significant. The respect is well-earned. The lifestyle is liberating. And the chance to push limits personally and professionally is an equal opportunity for women and men alike.

The notion of a “man’s work” is redefined in the Navy. Stereotypes are overridden by determination, by proven capabilities and by a shared appreciation for work that’s driven by hands-on skills and adrenaline. Here, a woman’s place is definitely in on the action. And women who seek to pursue what some may consider male-dominated roles are not only welcome, they’re wanted – in any of dozens of dynamic fields.

Besides equal pay for equal work, you can also look forward to the opportunity for personal development in the Navy. Take advantage of the chance to learn, grow, advance, serve and succeed right beside male counterparts – sharing the same duties and the same respect.

Farther down there’s this paragraph:

Spending time with family and friends. Going shopping. Getting all dressed up for a night out. As a woman, you’ll find there’s ample time for all of that in the Navy. Time when you’re off-duty. Time for the everyday things and the “girly stuff.” What you do as a woman in uniform may not be considered typical, but the life you lead outside of that can be as normal as you want.

I think the message there is partially that you don’t have to give up all the things associated with femininity if you’re in the Navy, but also the implication is that in the Navy you’ll be empowered and liberated to break stereotypes that you won’t be able to do as much in the outside world, where you may want to act more “normal.”

We’ve posted before about the use of female empowerment to sell products (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). In all of those instances, liberty or empowerment comes through simply consuming the right thing, whether it’s Virginia Slims, a better cleaning product, or a pre-packaged food item. It’s a completely superficial use of the idea of women’s liberation. In this Navy campaign, however, some very real advantages are promised: equal pay for equal work, respect, equal opportunity at work, the ability to enter “what some may consider” male-dominated fields.

Of course, that doesn’t mean all of these things happen. For instance, the Navy can say women are welcomed into male-dominated roles; that doesn’t mean the male soldiers are going to be thrilled and welcoming. After all, 26 female Navy members reported being sexually assaulted by fellow sailors in 1991. But the book The American Woman 2001-2002 lists the Navy as the branch of the military with the second-lowest levels of gender discrimination (after the Air Force; not surprisingly, the worst branch is the Marines) and says that after the 1991 Tailhook incident the Navy undertook major efforts to deal with gender discrimination. According to the book the Navy has “the largest number of women moving into nontraditional occupations” (p. 163). Women are allowed on combat vessels, while the Army still does not allow women in combat positions.

I don’t know. I have to say, this seems to be more of a sincere effort to recruit women by focusing on equality and skills than most I’ve seen, in which empowerment is depicted as taking on “masculine” roles or characteristics, and in which the idea that they are masculine isn’t questioned as a stereotype. I know many people will say that getting more women into the military isn’t necessarily a great advancement. But just as a marketing effort aimed at women, this is one of the more interesting ones I’ve seen, since it highlights specific types of equality (pay, etc.) as opposed to some vague idea of “liberation” and challenges the femininity/masculinity binary.

UPDATE: Reader Samantha C. says,

You know, I was all over this until the bit about “as a woman, you’ll totally still be able to go shopping and dress up tee hee”. And calling that life that of a “normal woman”. I just really hate those interests being universally assumed of all women.

I think it’s an excellent point.

Genderkid sent in a link to a story in The Morning News about the Teen and Transgender Comparative Study, an art installation by Charlie White at the Hammer Museum in L.A. A description from the story:

The series is a correlation of two stages of transformation, pairing teen girls (12-14) with like adult [transgender] male-to-female…

More from The Morning News:

In the images in White’s series, both figures are blossoming into womanhood, though each along a different path. As observers, however, we have been taught to view the subjects in much the same way: with sheer terror.

For just as the original 1950s Invasion of the Body Snatchers warned of Communism’s impending doom, and stories of men with hooks were concocted to frighten young girls from riding in cars with boys, so often have Hollywood summer comedies acted as cautionary tales for the male who would cast his desire toward either the pubescent or transgendered woman. Because in the right skirt or the right application of makeup, each has proved alluring to our hero…

Indeed, both sexy underage girls and transgender women who “fool” unsuspecting men are often portrayed as threats to (straight, adult) men. The “Lolita” figure is long-standing, and portrayals such as the Ally McBeal plotline in which a man falls in love with a transgender woman without knowing she is trans present the possibility of men being “fooled” into having sexual or even long-term romantic relationships with a transgender woman. Both teen girls and trans women are threatening and can get a guy in trouble.

Of course, we’re more accepting of one of these types of trouble than the other, and we shouldn’t be surprised that trans individuals who are “discovered” may face dire consequences for “fooling” men who have an intense investment in a rigid type of heterosexual identity and fear ridicule by peers, such as the three men who killed a transgender teen in California. (And I don’t mean to imply here that women don’t ever feel uncomfortable with or attack trans individuals, but the murders I’m aware of all included male perpetrators.)

Anyway, it’s a pretty fascinating set of images. Thanks, genderkid!

UPDATE: Commenter EGhead says,

This analysis also neglects that society insistently refuses to acknowledge transgendered women as women, even though they are, while insistently acknowledging girls as women, even though they aren’t.

Fair enough–I think that’s a good point.

Gwen Sharp is an associate professor of sociology at Nevada State College. You can follow her on Twitter at @gwensharpnv.

In this series I have offered five explanations of why people of color are included in advertising. Start with the first in the series and follow the links to the remaining four here.

I am now discussing how they are included. Already I have shown that people of color are often whitewashed, that they tend to be chaperoned by white people, and that they are often subordinated through placement and action

In this ninth installment, I illustrate how, while interracial friendships are frequently pictured, interracial relationships are very rarely pictured.  Look closely, who is (hooking up) with who?

Also in this series:
(1) Including people of color so as to associate the product with the racial stereotype.
(2) Including people of color to invoke (literally) the idea of “color” or “flavor.”
(3) To suggest ideas like “hipness,” “modernity,” and “progress.”
(4) To trigger the idea of human diversity.
(5) To suggest that the company cares about diversity.

How are they included?
(6) They are “white-washed.”
(7) They are “chaperoned.”
(8) They are subordinated through placement or action.

Declare Yourself, “MTV’s official voter registration partner,” has a new series of print ads up featuring Jessica Alba. I think they’re selling electrical tape…or maybe violence against women. Possibly kinky bondage play? Oh wait…they just want us to vote. Click picture to view it larger. [Discussion of campaign found at Guanabee.]
Jessica Alba wants rescue her?
Jessica Alba wants rescue her?
NEW! Thanks to Marcello, who, in the comments, provided a link to the rest of the ad campaign, which contains more equally problematic images of celebrities with their mouths violently sealed by fish hooks, ribbon, staples, etc. Here’s another disturbing one of an African-American man with a ball gag made out of an eight ball:
African-American man in gag.
African-American man in gag.


This particular image reminds me not only of kinky sex toys, but also of the harnesses, manacles and other devices designed to suppress and humiliate enslaved people.

About the Site

Sociological Images is designed to encourage all kinds of people to exercise and develop their sociological imagination by presenting brief sociological discussions of compelling and timely imagery that spans the breadth of sociological inquiry. Please friend us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterTumblr, or Pinterest.

Sociological Images is used as a source by a wide range of news organizations and are routinely cross-posted at high profile news and opinion sites.


We have been reviewed favorably in Teaching Sociology and Visual Studies, featured in an academic article at Teaching in Higher Education. The blog received the 2015 Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award from the American Sociological Association. We have also been granted awards from The American Sociological Association section on Communication and Information Technologies, The Pacific Sociological Association, the University of Minnesota Department of Sociology, and the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching.


Editor and Principal Author

Evan Stewart is an assistant professor of sociology at University of Massachusetts Boston. He earned his MA and PhD in sociology from the University of Minnesota and holds a BA in political theory and social policy from Michigan State University. His research on political culture, public opinion, and religion and secularism has appeared in journals such as Social Forces, Social Currents, and The Sociological Quarterly. You can follow Evan on Twitter, or visit his website for a curriculum vitae, teaching information, and more.  

Founding Editor and Contributor

With Gwen Sharp, Lisa Wade founded Sociological Images in the summer of 2007. She remained the principal writer and editor of the site until the September 2017.  She earned a BA in philosophy from UC Santa Barbara, an MA in human sexuality from NYU, and a PhD in sociology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is now a tenured professor at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Her most recent book, American Hookup, is described as an open-minded, compassionate, and unflinching account of the new culture of sex on campus. She is also the author of the bestselling textbook Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions, with Myra Marx Ferree, and the co-editor of Assigned, a book about life with gender. She is currently working on what she hopes will be a rousing, tide-turning take on the introduction to sociology textbook. You can join Lisa on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. Or, you can visit her website for her curriculum vitae, syllabi, information on public speaking, and more.

Founding editor

Gwen Sharp co-founded Sociological Images with Lisa Wade in 2007 and was a principal writer and editor for the site until 2012. She earned a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is currently an Associate Dean at Nevada State College. She developed the sociology minor at NSC and taught Principles of Sociology, Gender and Society, Racial and Ethnic Conflict, Social Stratification, Sex and Social Relations, and Popular Culture. Dr. Sharp won the 2012 campus award for Teaching Excellence at NSC, and in 2014 received the state-wide Nevada Board of Regents Teaching Excellence Award. You can visit her website for more.

Other Associates

Tristan Bridges served as the Sociological Images Guest Editor from January 2017 to March 2017. He is an assistant professor in the sociology department at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  His research is primarily concerned with shifts in the gender identities and practices of young men and how those transformations relate to contemporary gender and sexual inequality. You can visit his website, his blog, or follow him on Twitter.

Our regular contributors have included Philip Cohen of Family Inequality, Martin Hart-Landsberg of Reports from the Economic Front, and Jay Livingston of Montclair SocioBlog.

Our student interns have included Javier Quiroz (2013/2014), Laura Bertocci (2012/2013), Norma Morella (2011/2012), and Lauren McGuire (2010/2011).


WHY: In an era where people face fake news and post-truth politics, the sociological imagination is more necessary than ever. It is also easier than ever for us to share what we learn about the social systems that shape our world. Researchers are flocking to social media, people are making their data beautiful, and, as always, a good image is often more effective for getting a point across than all the citations, repetition, or jumping up and down and saying “really I swear” will be.

We hope this blog encourages all kinds of people to exercise and develop their sociological imagination and that, between all of us, public discourse will increasingly include a sociological lens with which we can all learn about social processes, critique social inadequacies, and design functional and equitable alternatives.

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