Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pink's "Stupid Girls": Poking fun at Stereotypes


In today’s culture music videos have become a staple for expressing views and opinions. They act as a form of artistic expression to help artists bring their lyrics alive. In many cases they express views about stereotypes, social norms, and express views on hegemony. Hegemony is often seen as the views and ideals expressed by a dominating social group in which they are able to gain and maintain power over a weaker group. In many cases the dominating group is seen as the media in any form. In the music video “Stupid Girls” by Pink she uses her views on femininity and masculinity to express how she feels about the social norms, which are being expressed today. Through the video “Stupid Girls” Pink expresses the ideas of hegemony through expressing female norms, presenting counter-hegemony through Pink’s own beliefs, and trying to break stereotypes by poking fun at them.  

Pink’s video “Stupid Girls” gives the impression that women act in a certain way today due to the societal norms or hegemonic ideals set in today’s society. Pink shows these different female roles and acts as if they are the ideal or accepted version of how every female and young girl feels they should act. The main video portrays the hegemonic norms set out for females, which are later, counteracted by Pink’s actual views on the subject of femininity.

The beginning of the video a young girl is pictured with the depiction of a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other shoulder. I feel that they are depicted to show the difference between the values and norms that are being socially forced on the young girls as depicted by the devil compared to her own beliefs and views that she wants to follow as depicted by the angel. The little girl is then presented to either take part of the hegemonic views that societies set or join the counter hegemonic culture. In Lull’s essay he states his opinions on hegemony and states that, “ The mass media uniquely “introduce elements into individual consciousness that would not other wise appear there, but will not be rejected by consciousness because they are so commonly shared in cultural community” (Lull). This quote explains the idea that Pink’s video is trying to examine the fact that “Stupid Girls” are constantly being pushed into the medias culture and become a model for females to emulate.

When examining the lyrics that she is singing throughout the song she speaks about the social implications that girls today are suggesting that it is important to be skinny, taken care of, and have a dream of dancing in music videos. The music lyrics deal mainly with being accepted by men because they are seen as a dominating body in society.

Examples from the video which show the strive to perfection are when Pink promotes bulimia to achieve the perfect body by cheering on other females when they would vomit by shouting, “Good one” (Pink). Certain scenes that can be viewed as counter-hegemony are when Pink acting as president shows a confident, powerful, and intellectual woman compared to the “stupid girls” she portrays as getting in accidents and walking in to glass doors (Pink). Some can compare Pink’s view of becoming president and playing sports as masculine qualities. Pink states in her lyrics that, “I’m so glad that I’ll never fit in, that will never be me, outcasts and girls with ambition that’s what I wanna see” (Pink). This part of the song shows how girls and women are considered to be different if they go against the norm that, “outkasts and women with ambition” will succeed meaning they will have what it takes to break the stereotype described in the article by Jennifer Pozner. Pozner describes the “Stepford Wife” as the ideal because they are, “ impossibly thin, impeccably dressed and intellectually vapid women exist for no other reason than to cater to their husbands every desire, delivering fresh-baked cookies and midday nookie” (Pozner). In the beginning of Pink’s video the young girl is shown the image of the stepford wife who does not misbehave or get out of line who has etiquette, the perfect hair flip and she is quick to copy her actions.

The music video has Pink acting scenarios in the video, which create a norm, and is shown by the idea that all female celebrities are dumb, hair flipping, and small dog carrying “stupid girls.”  These points are then countered by the montage of Pink as president and a forceful football player. Counter parts are show in an unfavorable light with eye rolling and quickly skipping over them. The point of women taking control is always shown up by the little girl watching etiquette class, flipping her hair and striving the be the ideal 50’s housewife.

The video clearly shows the strive for acceptance by changing ones body to fit the ideal which are created by men. When in competition over a man she flaunts her body compared to the other female, she inflates her boobs and is constantly shown marked up for plastic surgery throughout the video. Many music videos today often show an unobtainable body image often created by the media and male culture. Today’s hegemonic views have created the idea to be perfect and many women strive for this and don’t even realize that they are caught up in these social ideals.

Works Cited

Lull, James. "Hegemony." Dines, Gail and Jean M. Humez. Gender, Race, and Class in Media. London: Sage Publications, 2003. 61-66.
Pozner, Jennifer L. "The Unreal World." Learning Gender (2004): 96-99.
So What. Dir. Dave Meyers. Perf. Pink. 2008.

2 comments:

  1. Excelled:

    An effective aspect of your blog post was when you used different examples and lyrics from the actual video to support how women strive for perfection and how they challenge societal norms. I feel as though this evidence made your argument stronger in terms of showing how Pink expresses female norms, yet counteracts them.

    You definitely made it clear as to what it means to be a woman by incorporating society’s perspective and Pink’s. Also, you excelled in showing how Pink constructs an understanding of femininity through her video by choosing to reference certain images she includes.

    Improvement:

    A certain area of your blog post that could be improved is the introduction regarding your inclusion of the definition of hegemony. I feel as though it would have been more effective if you supported it with a direct quote from Lull. In the future, when you first use a term that has been defined by someone else, quote the person right afterwards.

    Also, you can improve on using in-text citations correctly. For the MLA format of in-text parenthetical citations, you always put the last name of the author and page number of where the quote was taken from in parenthesis. If the author’s name is stated in the sentence with the quote, all you need to do is put the page number of where the quote was taken from in parenthesis.

    Additionally, I think you could have used maybe another quote from both Lull and Pozner to back up your argument even more. Both authors’ works directly relate to your topic, and I think it would have effectively enhanced your post. My suggestion is to look very closely at the readings and pick the most important statements, which you can elaborate on.

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  2. Catherine-
    It's funny that I'm commenting after Alysse because I agree with her feedback!
    It's really important to have a logical sequence of analytical points that you back up with points made by the authors (as opposed to Lull, who defines through theory, not "states his opinions," the ways through which hegemony operates). Additionally, it would have helped to use Lull's definition earlier and then used another author (i.e. Newman) to back up one of your points about Pink's music video. For the next post, try to make sure you have a clear & narrow thesis, with the terms of your piece defined almost immediately (i.e. after the intro paragraph), with an organized paragraph structure, using quotes (MLA formatted) to back up individual points in the paragraph(s) that follow each of your points. If you need more than the two author's (which are a minimum) to back you up, use more than the two authors :o)
    -Jessie

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