Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Roles for Gender Roles

Media is a function of advertising; media serves the interest of adverting but whose interest does advertising serve? Does advertising serve the nefarious and ubiquitous “They”? Are They at the helm of this powerful social apparatuses which defines the relationships and interactions of everyone within a society? If this is so then who are They and how can they be stopped?

It turns out that “They” is really more like “It” and It is Capitalism. Capitalism is a highly adaptable system and has no loyalties other than to itself and its continued existence. Our current social racial and gender assignments and representations are a construct of an archaic Victorian perspective that is no longer representative of our heterogeneous composition. These puritanical views of heteronormative social assignments have gone through so many revisions in its attempt to remain relevant that they are becoming threadbare and transparent. Its time for a new dialogue on gender, race and sexuality in our society, our current paradigm no longer suffices in our borderless age of globalization. Once Capitalism realizes this it will, by its very nature, have to shift its current allegiance with the current patriarchal ruling class to the next iteration of our evolving social composition.

I found a few advertisements that are starting this reexamining of race, sexuality and gender. Marc Jocobs has a series of print advertisements for women’s clothing and accessories that are intended for his female customers but are modeled by a man. This blurring of the heteronomative prescribed roles of male and female models and male and female consumer goods serves as a wonderful catalyst in a new evolution of gender roles. While some may view this as Danae Clark would, as a commodification of the agency that is beginning to become present in the homosexual and intersexual world, I believe that it is an important step forward. We will always be working within the framework of Capitalism and it only works if there is a perpetuation of this system, which lies in its continued growth through profit.

Gloria Steinem faced this problem of working within this framework of capitalism and found how difficult it was unless her primary motivation was profit. We must make this new conversation on sexuality profitable and the current views must be made unprofitable. We are beginning to see this shift in not only the fashion industry, which tends to quickly commodify marginality, but in industries that have a more glacial approach to change. I found a link to a commercial which speaks about changing old views towards sexuality, presented through the exchange between a transgender female and an older gentle man. I was shocked to see that the commercial was for a bank. This is clearly an example of advocacy advertising, I can’t believe that a bank really cares about the transsexual movement. Regardless the agenda behind media the message it is still a strong impetus for new discourse on sexuality.

Spot with transgender woman.

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