Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Part 2 Analysis of "The Girls Next Door"

“The Girls Next Door” also creates very powerful concepts of masculinity and reveals apparent double standards in relationships between men and women. Hef is an eighty year old man worth billions of dollars and holds a prominent position in the mass media. Hef is praised for his success as the founder and editor-in-chief of Playboy as well as being the ultimate womanizer. If a woman founded a magazine displaying nude pictures of men and went on to live in a mansion with three boyfriends at her request, would she be treated with the same respect and admiration as Hef? I don’t think so. If a woman was to do what Hef does she would be classified as a whore in today’s society and would be looked down upon by women instead of praised the way Hef is by men. Hef who wears a velvet and silk bathrobe everyday, living in a mansion with servants to do his work and three women at his beck and call represents ideal masculinity.

In one of the episodes, his workers are seen packing his clothes for him prior to boarding a private jet, preparing his meals, and making sure every detail is perfect for their boss. Hef’s girlfriends however are shown packing their own small suitcases and loading them into the trunk themselves. The girls have their own bedrooms (except Holly who shares one with Hef) and show minimal affection towards Hef with the exception of a small peck on the lips every now and then. There is no apparent chemistry between Hef and any of the girls except a noticeable one way adoration of Hef from Holly. This proves that Hef’s girlfriends are merely disposable objects of pleasure for him.

Hef has had numerous previous girlfriends who come and go with his request. As the busty blondes grow older Hef simply replaces them with younger and more naive women and his empire continues to build. Do these girls honestly believe they will be taken seriously in the real world when they don’t want to be an eighty year old man’s sex object anymore? Hef’s secretary however who is probably in her seventies has been working for him for years. She is elderly and in no way resembles Hef’s idealistic female, proving she is not a disposable object of sexuality to him but a woman who he respects which is why she is still part of his life.

There is an apparent approach of situational sexuality displayed in “The Girls Next Door” as Holly, Bridget, and Kendra alter their personalities according to the circumstances. When the girls are shown alone they’re focused on their personal activities and interests but when they’re with Hef or in a party atmosphere the focus changes to nudity and overtly sexual displays. One of the episodes focuses on Hef’s birthday party where naked, painted women walk around, everyone’s drinking, the girls are wearing close to nothing and the men are enjoying all of it.

Bridget’s mother and stepfather visit the afternoon before the party and Bridget doesn’t eat lunch with them because she wants to look skinny for the striptease she’s doing for Hef. You would think her parents would want her to eat and especially not want her to do a striptease but in actuality they tease her about how delicious the food is that she can’t eat and watch her strip! How can’t her parents feel uncomfortable about seeing their daughter in a g-string and pasties knowing that the provocative performance is for an eighty year old man?

“The Girls Next Door” represents very normative views of beauty and the importance of success and wealth in today’s culture. Hegemonic definitions of femininity and masculinity and the portrayal of sex and gender are apparent in just one episode of this derogatory series.

Kilbourne, Jean. "The More You Subtract, The More You Add". Dines, Gail. Gender, Race, and Class In Media. Sage Publications, Inc. Thousand Oaks, California. 2003.


Anonymous said...

I love self empowerment, unfortunately, thats not what this is.

Allow me to sum up all of this nonsense for you. So, you can stop watching TV altogether, and relax with something much less life-complicating.

Though, I'd suggest also digging a hole and hiding your head therein, if you think any of this will save you from this "double-standard".

Or, offer you some ultimate perspective on it. On both counts, this website, especially this blog entry, will achieve neither.

Heres a tip from my observations: there SHOULD be a double standard (or more plainly put two 'standards').

We're dealing with two, very different things: men & women.

There is more genetic difference between the two as a species, then say either with any chimp of the same sex. Scary, huh?

Women have long sought equality with men, despite this being not only ill advised, but entirely impractical, and pointless. It ultimately suggests women think they are not as valued either amongst themselves, or by men as well, which is untrue.

Women and men have equal value to the species... just for different reasons. And these reasons needn't be inter-change-able.

Men will never view women as they do men, nor will women themselves view other women as they do men.

This is a very good thing.

Gender is the result of a great deal of "self-improvement" done by the life on this planet. Sex was evolved to introduce entropic deiversity. Thats all too natural.

Another reason this is probably a waste of your time: "nature" dictates the conditions and under its watchful eye opted for such a thing as different sexes. Do you think you have a better way of dealing with a need for entropic diversity then all of nature?

Because you must, if you think there is some apparent reason to wash away those millions of years of dependency, that have been built into these genders, on each other.

It is this simple...

In some respects women are a more efficient model, while in other areas they are deficient. The same is true of men. And then, only more so, as we look at individual men or women.

However, these conditions are favorable, as it takes the pairing of multiple and different beings, to result in a new life for our species.

This allows for diversification.

If those women didn't want to do what they doing, they wouldn't do it. As you can see by the countless examples of women who have not gone to live with Hef. And if you didn't think there was something to all that, you'd also likely ignore it, as these other women have.

So perhaps you should quit your quest for studying all the world around you, and look instead, inside yourself.

Jessie said...

The anon post scares me!

Jessie said...

You chose a really great just needs to be integrated into the sentence.
Also, your introduction and your approach to the topic is very clear and direct. However, the clarity of the intro leads me to believe you'll be evaluating some of the counter-hegemonic strands of the episode of this show. It sounds like you're introducing the women on the show as though they're inaccurately categorized by virtue of their appearance and the show; however, this thread of writing is dropped and you pick up the more hegemonic understanding of the show and tie it into the toxicity of image for teenage girls.
As the reader, I was very impressed with this first 2/3 of the first part, hoping you'd continue it in the 2nd part. It's not necessary to include masculinity by default (b/c you included femininity in your analysis). Instead, I'd like to see you expand on the reading of this episode that you started in part one.
Part one is an excellent example for your starting point for the next blog post. Try to avoid getting off track with your original take on the subject when you support your ideas with the evidence found in the quote. If you try to find a quote that really supports YOUR ideas and not try to fit the paper to the quote you found, you may have more success with maintaining your original ideas throughout the entire article. Overall this is a very strong first post, just remember to be confident in your ideas and let the citations support you (not vice-versa :o).

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