Has anybody heard of this?
Monthly Archives: May 2013
With all our discussions about Jennifer Lopez and exoticism of the Latina body, I can’t believe she didn’t come to mind earlier, but Felicity Schaeffer-Gabriel’s discussion of beauty alongside marriage migration in Colombia immediately made me think of Gloria, from the sitcom Modern Family. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the show, Gloria, played by Sofia Vergara, is a Colombian woman who is married to an older, white, American man, Jay Pritchett. Jokes about her marriage to Jay often play with the idea that beauty, “has become a resource for women to access transnational circulation of goods, lifestyles, marriage, and migration”, the underlying assumption being that Gloria’s decision to marry Jay must be motivated by his U.S. citizenship and his money.
Gloria’s body is also the subject of much attention and commentary. If “a curvy, non-slender Latina such as Jennifer Lopez in 1998 can be viewed as either deficient or threatening”, then Gloria certainly falls on the threatening side. Jay’s adult daughter Claire, who is very thin and blond, occupies a very different ideal of beauty than Gloria. She frequently expresses jealousy with regard to Gloria’s voluptuous body and the male attention it receives. This interestingly places a white woman’s beauty in opposition to and competition with a Latina beauty. While Gloria is highly sexualized and the object of the white male gaze, Claire is generally portrayed as uptight. While the men in the show are infatuated with Gloria’s appearance, the women resent it. The beauty and sexuality of the Latina body are presented as superior to those of a white woman.
Claire’s husband Phil, notes in the following clip about Gloria’s pregnancy that, “anyone could do it with Gloria”, implying her universal sex appeal. In the same clip, Claire is ecstatic about Gloria’s pregnancy because it means Gloria will “get fat”, thus reducing some of that appeal.
P.S. (On a somewhat unrelated note) We’ve talked a little about the perception that beauty and intelligence are mutually exclusive, but while I was reading about Gloria I came across another debate: Can women be beautiful and funny? Even restricting myself to normative beauty standards, I can think of plenty of beautiful female comedians. This article names a few:
1. Felicity Schaeffer-Grabiel, “Calenas and Pliable Bodies: Mobility through Beauty and Marriage”, UC Santa Cruz: 6.
2. Mary C. Beltran, “The Hollywood Latina Body as Site of Social Struggle: Media Constructions of Stardom and Jennifer Lopez’s ‘Cross-over Butt’”, Quarterly Review of Film and Video 19, (2002): 82.
Here are some interesting finds from Jezebel over the past few days.
Here is a link looking at racial roles in cartoons, specifically Doug from Nickelodeon:
This second link is a response from editors of a beauty site to the Dove beautiful campaign:
Sorry I forgot to post this earlier in the week. Here are Anita Sarkeesian’s videos about Lego Friends. They give a pretty good overview of the product and marketing, and the problems with both.
I went ahead and watched all of the They’re All So Beautiful episodes, which you can find here–they get more interesting, in my opinion. However, the focus remained on heterosexual couples throughout the series, with the exception of a comment in the first episode that “rice queen” is a term used in gay communities for someone with “Asian fever”.
I would be interested to know if “Asian fever” exists among gay people about as much as it does among straight people (or more or less). Maybe that topic is covered in the full-length documentary, Seeking Asian Female, that’s associated with They’re All So Beautiful, but since I can’t access that film, I relied on the OK Cupid by-race response rates instead.
In contrast Asian women receive the most replies from men of any group:
At the end of that article, there was a link to information on same-sex OK Cupid response rates. That post shows that the rates at which men reply to Asian men vary all across the board:
But women reply to Asian women at a very high rate (while Asian women are picky about who they respond to):
According to that OK Cupid post, “Asian lesbians are in demand”, much like their straight counterparts. Yet none of this explains why “Asian fever” is so much more commonly directed towards women.
Is it because the submissive and docile traits stereotypically associated with Asian people are considered more attractive in women than in men? That may be true of physical features, at least: an Asian woman pointed out in the third episode of They’re All So Beautiful (at 2:24), “When a woman has chinky eyes, it’s called exotic, but when a man has chinky eyes, they’re chinky.” It may come down to the idea that general “Asian” characteristics more appealing in women than in men, but there may be (and likely are) other factors at play here as well.
One drawback to relying on the OK Cupid data rather than hearing about this behavior in documentary format is that this data doesn’t tell us anything about others’ responses to “Asian fever” amongst gay people. Is it found similarly creepy by those around the couples in question? Are many lesbians candid about their preference for Asian women?
Here are a few links to interesting and somewhat-relevant articles that I’ve come across recently and wanted to share with you all:
In light of our reading on how race affects the responses you get, both in person and online, check out this article about The Mindy Project’s plethora of white romantic interests: http://jezebel.com/mindy-kaling-only-makes-out-with-white-guys-on-the-mind-504732390
This post addresses the connotations of virtue and “modesty” attached to physical and behavioral presentation: http://thefeministwire.com/2013/05/why-the-concept-of-modesty-disgusts-me/
This article about/profile of three female artists who helped develop ideals of female beauty through their work painting pinup girls is pretty interesting (but long): http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/female-artists-who-shaped-the-american-dream-girl/
At other points in class, we’ve briefly mentioned Beyonce and how some of her appeal may stem from her light skin and “feminine” roles; this author tackles some of that too, but writes that “ultimately, the policing of feminist cred is the real moral contradiction”: http://bitchmagazine.org/article/all-hail-the-queen-beyonce-feminism