My friend Matt M. let me know about this video from The Second City Network that nicely sums up some of the disturbing messages about love, dating, and gender in animated movies such as Beauty and the Beast. Enjoy!
…only two of the guys, Justin Bieber and Nick Jonas, were even in the age range for reading the magazine, ages 12 to 19. What I found weirder, though, is that the largest groups of males featured in the article fell into the two oldest age ranges. This means its possible that the oldest male hottie, Charlie Bewley, could have fathered the youngest targeted Seventeen reader, age 12, when he was 17 years old.
Here’s the data based on an N of 13:
Men and women do marry asymmetrically, with women, on average, marrying men who are taller, more educated, who make a bit more money, have a bit more status, and are a bit older. The average age of marriage for women is 25 and the average age for men is 27. So this is some evidence of early socialization to this idea.
But there’s more…
Not to be underestimated, Keiles asked the question that is on all of our minds: What percentage of hot guys are vampires or vampire-adjacent?
Andy Wright at the SF Weeklyrecently 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):
With the exception of the t-shirt (which only masquerades as gender neutral), in the U.S. clothes are designed for women or men, but never both. Department stores and retail stores (unless they sell only men’s or women’s clothing) have separate men’s and women’s sections in the store. There is no option to buy clothes, one must buy women’s or men’s clothes.
This is even true for children’s clothes. One might make the argument that adult males and females have different bodies (an argument I might argue with), but we can’t say that pre-pubertal children do. Nevertheless, the cultural rules that require boys and men to dress differently than girls and women make such a clothing line seem impossible.
Well, Evie sent in an example of a UK clothing company trying to do the impossible. The company, Polarn O. Pyret, explains:
Our unisex collection (UNI) consists of clothing that is based on situation and function rather than on gender. As a clothing manufacturer, we want to make it our responsibility to offer an alternative to clothing that is based on gender. There is really no reason to design different models and fits for small boys and girls since there is no great difference in the way their bodies are shaped. We have taken an overall approach to unisex clothing, and consider not only color but also pattern and fit.
Evie’s attention was drawn by this ad in a store window:
Their website, you’ll notice, doesn’t have the regular “girls” and “boys” section seen ubiquitously:
This company is nice evidence that the-way-it-is isn’t the-way-it-has-to-be.
UPDATE: Mary and Cheryl pointed out that, if you click on “babies” or either of the “kids” tabs, you get the option of “boys,” “girls,” or “uni” (unisex) lines. So the company isn’t making a principled stand here. They’re still willing to take the money of parents who want to dress their kids in gendered clothes, but they are offering an alternative for those parents who don’t. It’s pretty telling that even this strategy — offering a unisex line alongside girls and boys lines — is so rare.
Magazines profit from ad sales more than they do from newsstand sales or subscriptions. From a business standpoint, the essential purpose of magazines (or television, or radio) is to round up a group of similarly demographic’d consumers that advertisers can easily target. I figured that the advertising content might have something to say about what the average Seventeen reader is imagined to be like. In the 171 page issue, there were 91 ad spaces. Here is how the content broke down:
So… mostly, as Jamie puts it, “stuff that makes you look better.” Jamie then broke it down by advertisements for products and ones for experiences:
I’m not heading toward any sort of conclusive argument with these graphs. Just thought it was an interesting exercise to explore how low the bar is set for Seventeen readers when it comes to what advertisers think will interest them. Products advertised definitely skew more toward tangible than experiential, and more toward short-term use than long-term investment. It would be interesting to do a similar data sample with the Economist or the New York Times. Wonder if this way of thinking is something that applies to all demographics, or mostly just teens.
This two-minute clip from Toddlers and Tiara’s (a reality show about child beauty pageants), sent in by Dmitriy T.M., is a great example of how mothers teach their daughters that beauty hurts… and that pain is a price they should be willing to pay:
Last week I posted photos of the Justin Bieber/Kim Kardashian photoshoot for Elle. I compared it to my earlier post on the sexualization of Jaden Smith. In both I argued that we accept the sexualization of boys at younger ages than girls, seeing it as adorable and proof that they are sufficiently heterosexual and masculine rather than that they are in danger of sexual exploitation.
Yesterday Rob W. sent in a photo that I think illustrates this point well:
Who is the adult woman wearing this shirt? That’s Karissa Shannon, who is dating Hugh Hefner.
Imagine, if you can, if this were an adult man associated in some way with a famous producer of pornography widely known for dating groups of much younger women, and that adult man’s shirt had this same message but about two teen/pre-teen girls (or, for that matter, imagine a famous gay man wearing this exact shirt). And then imagine the concern and horror that would ensue, the apologies through the man’s agent, and so on.
A short google search did turn up a post (re-posted in several other places) calling the shirt inappropriate, but given that Shannon is referred to as “sloppy seconds” in it, I’m not sure how to take it (since “sloppy seconds” reaffirms a sexual double-standard itself). A lot of other sites, on the other hand, found it adorable and/or funny, and asked readers to weigh in on Team Justin vs. Team Jaden.
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