Analysis of Susan Bordo´s Beauty (Re)discovers the Male Body Essay

Analysis of Susan Bordo´s Beauty (Re)discovers the Male Body Essay

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In the essay “Beauty (Re)discovers the Male Body,” author and philosopher Susan Bordo discusses the history and current state of male representation in advertisements. While using her feminist background, Bordo compares and contrasts the aspects of how men and women are portrayed in the public eye. She claims that there has been a paradigm shift the media with the theory that not just women are being objectified in the public eye, but also men too. Since the mid-1970s, with the introduction of Calvin Klein commercials, men have started to become more dehumanized and regarded as sex symbols. In a similar fashion to how Bordo describes gender, race plays a similar role in the media. People of all different ethnicities and cultures are being categorized into an oversimplified and usually unfair image by the media over basic characteristics.
Bordo’s thesis can be shown in many common examples of modern media and advertising. For example in the animated television show The Simpsons, creator and writer Matt Groening uses satire as a means of addressing these stereotypes of gender and race through exaggeration of certain distinguishable traits and personalities of characters. Yet simultaneously, the stereotypes that are reinforced by some members of the show are then unexpectedly broken by others to show the viewer how much the media can alter one’s own opinion.
In The Simpsons, the son of the protagonist, Homer Simpson, is a ten year old boy named Bart. He is the type of male that works hard to try to make women like Bordo spill coffee all over a table and go “weak in the knees” at first sight (191). Like a model in a Calvin Klein poster, Bart is constantly offering himself up to the gaze of those around him. Instead of monitoring hi...


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... believe in a stereotype while at the same time disproving it and making sure that it is not true for all the people of that particular race.
After twenty five seasons, The Simpsons continues to be an influential show. With animation as a medium, the writers use satire to point out the stereotypes the media generates. In some instances, they take a stereotype and push it to the extreme, like Apu and his eight children, and other times they go against the social norms, like Lisa being a strong independent woman. Through this the viewers are reminded just how much say the media has in their perception of others and how they are constantly making judgments of any entire group of people based on the characteristics of some. I do not think that stereotypes will ever cease to exist, but I do believe that it is important we, at the very least, are aware of what they are.

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