Is Jezebel 's Online Advice Column Essay

Is Jezebel 's Online Advice Column Essay

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Dominant representations of how the world should be, and how people should behave permeate the world in which we live. Hegemonic representations sexuality and gender play a significant role in how people are told to behave and see themselves. This paper aims to argue that Jezebel’s online advice column Friendzone does more than offer terrible advice to its naive readers: it propagates status quo acceptance of hegemonic practices and beliefs, doing little to break the insidious distribution of powerful mainstream beliefs. In this way, a website that advertises themselves as a break from mainstream media for women, are no more than a continuation of the same media, written by women.
In one column, Jezebel’s Sara Benincasa responds to a woman who expresses her trouble getting along with other women. The woman communicates that she finds other women to be boring, as she does not want to talk about “babies or clothes or makeup or dating or diets or weddings” like her female counterparts (Benincasa, 2014). There are several issues to this woman’s question, the first and arguably most important being her reinforcement of the gender binary (Newman, 2012). The woman is expressing her concern that she has only two options: spending time with fellow women and being made bored by their rapport talk and interests, or spending time with her boyfriend’s male friends, and being able to participate in what she considers to be stimulating conversation about “business and gaming and sports” (Benincasa, 2014). Through this, the inquirer is defining male and female interests as mutually exclusive while simultaneously privileging male companionship as the superior choice (Newman, 2012). The questioner also describes that she does in fact have female f...


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...ert knowledge works in such a way that particular knowledge acquires the status of fact based on the power of those who constitute it. Although Sara Benincasa’s advice does not warrant the same power as a mental health professional’s would, her opinions hold true to a large number of readers. Therefore, it can be said that there is a danger in her not taking certain issues and getting to the reasons for why they exist. A man is homophobic because society dictates that he police himself to be truly masculine, a woman believes that strict binaries exist between women and men, preventing her from forming relationships with other women and another woman is told to conform to the scripts of heteronormativity to achieve her full self. When the media does not challenge hegemonic beliefs, they give power to dominant worldview, and deny expression of any deviation from that.

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