Thursday, March 1, 2007

"The Girls Next Door" Part 2: An Analysis of Masculinity

Hugh Hefner is the major male character throughout the show. Hugh Hefner is the owner of the Playboy mansion and creator of the Playboy magazine. Hefner, at the age of 80 has three different girlfriends that all live with him in his home. In this episode the three girls struggle to find birthday presents for him because they feel he already has everything. Hugh Hefner illustrates male dominance as a concept of masculinity. Hefner appears to act more like a fatherly figure around the girls, while the girls appear to be more childlike during their conversations with him. Hugh Hefner is also significantly older than the three girlfriends and possesses control of the money he provides for the girls as well.

Hugh Hefner’s display of the concept of masculinity may be closely related to the article “Real Men Don’t Cry…And Other ‘Uncool’ Myths” by Phil W. Petrie. In this article Petrie describes the inability for men to express their feelings and the need for men to be in control of their emotions. It also discusses the ideas of control when Petrie believes that men should be in control of women. “Wasn’t that what she really wanted from me as head of the household- control? Wasn’t Freud correct when he proclaimed that our anatomy was our destiny (that is our genitals determine our behavior)?” (Petrie, 222) Hugh Hefner seems almost emotionless in this episode of the “Girls Next Door.” He seems to be in control of his three girlfriends in terms of his age, power, and money.

“The Girls Next Door” is a reality show that exhibits many different concepts of both femininity and masculinity. When these concepts are presented on television and through the media they may send messages to young viewers about how they should act or what they should look like. The girls featured on the show demonstrate many of the same qualities of remaining thin, dieting, and being over sexualized while the men of the show present characteristics of control and power. Overall, the show seems to poke fun of these concepts while also making them some of the main focuses of the program.

Petrie, Phil W. "Real Men Don’t Cry...and Other "Uncool" Myths." Essence (1982): 221-226.

1 comment:

Jessie said...

Michelle- the issues you bring up in your intro are great! Therefore, avoid using the third person "one" (i.e. "one must consider") when writing. The great ideas are yours, so own them--you can certainly use the word "I" and claim ownership of your ideas! It may seem odd to write this way at first, but you'll find that you can make assertions easily and the writing becomes smoother and easier for the reader to understand.
The choice of using body image and femininity is a great focus- the intro should reflect this subject a bit more specifically; also, when you write about Kendra, she does deviate from the norm by overtly complaining about the dress--this type of verbalization can be seen as an action that conflicts with the norm of self-sacrifice for beauty, which is characterized by a silent form of suffering...she's not doing it quietly!
Try breaking up your paragraphs, such as the one where you site Kilborne, and make sure you integrate your quotes into the sentence.
Overall, you present a lot of great ideas, but there are just too many to tackle in one post for one assignment (this issue seems apparent in the second part, "masculinity," which was more than you needed to cover after the first part). Try looking at one aspect and delve deep into the chosen topic. There are numerous messages being disseminated in this series, but not all are the normative messages...look for the ways that the show conflicts with hegemonic norms too.