Posts Tagged ‘Gender’

h1

Advertising and Consumer Culture: Postgraduate Symposium

February 15, 2013

“Commercial speech – advertising – makes up most of what we share as a culture…As the language of commercialism has become louder, the language of high culture has become quieter.” – James B. Twitchell, Twenty Ads that Shook the World

Throughout the modern period, advertising and consumer culture have dominated everyday life; moreover, the trappings of commercialism permeate much of supposed ‘high culture’. Commodities clutter the pages of novels from Dickens and Zola to Bret Easton Ellis; works by Joyce and DeLillo are enlivened by advertising jingles and slogans; brands and trademarks pervade the practice of artists from Picasso to Warhol and the visualisation of consumer desire is appropriated and challenged in the work of Richard Hamilton and Martha Rosler.

Whether celebrating or critiquing advertising and consumer culture, art reflects our enduring fascination with them, despite research into the psychological effects of advertising, concerns over the evils of consumerism, and the often sinister nature of market research. The recent television show Mad Men, for instance, has revivified interest and scholarly debate surrounding the power of advertising and the consumer, as well as restaging debates around sexism, truth and the heteronormative ideal. Meanwhile, sociology in the wake of Erving Goffman continues to explore advertising’s uses and abuses of gender, identity and desire. Countervailing against consumerism and advertising’s many critics, theorists such as Michel de Certeau and the critical movement Thing Theory have endeavoured to examine advertising and consumer culture from a standpoint that goes beyond the model of the ‘passive consumer’ or Marx’s account of commodity fetishism.

Topics for discussion may include but are by no means limited to:

– The ways in which advertising and consumer culture intersect with issues of class, gender, sexuality and ethnicity
– Psychological/psychoanalytic perspectives on advertising and consumer behaviour; how identity is created and reflected through participation in consumer culture; the legacy of Freud and Bernays.
– How artists have appropriated the techniques of advertising, or have been co-opted by advertising and commodity culture (Koons, Rosler, Murakami, Kusama and Hirst) -Theorists who have engaged with advertising and consumer culture (Adorno, Barthes, Baudrillard, Certeau, Fukuyama, Goffman, Klein, Marx, McLuhan).
– The use of music in advertisements.
– The formal innovations literature has adopted to create a poetics of advertising/consumer culture.
– Shopping, the rise of the department store, brand names, and their representation in culture.
– Histories of advertising agencies or ‘ad-men’.
– How the importance of advertising in art may challenge the boundaries between high and low culture and/or modernism and postmodernism.
– Anti-consumerist movements (the Situationist International, Adbusters) and strategies (détournement, culture jamming).
– The recent transformations advertising has undergone as a result of social media -The advert as spectacle or ‘event’ (celebrity endorsements, Christmas advertising, product placement, Pawel Althamer’s Real Time Movie).
– Figures who have worked in advertising, either before or during their artistic careers (Fitzgerald, Rushdie, DeLillo, Warhol, Lynch).
– Political advertising and the roles of politics in advertising.

Submissions are now open for the Advertising and Consumer Culture symposium. More info HERE

h1

Gender in Twitter: Styles, stances, and social networks

February 14, 2013

We present a study of the relationship between gender, linguistic style, and social networks, using a novel corpus of 14,000 users of Twitter. Prior quantitative work on gender often treats this social variable as a binary; we argue for a more nuanced approach. By clustering Twitter feeds, we find a range of styles and interests that reflects the multifaceted interaction between gender and language. Some styles mirror the aggregated language-gender statistics, while others contradict them. Next, we investigate individuals whose language better matches the other gender. We find that such individuals have social networks that include significantly more individuals from the other gender, and that in general, social network homophily is correlated with the use of same-gender language markers. Pairing computational methods and social theory thus offers a new perspective on how gender emerges as individuals position themselves relative to audiences, topics, and mainstream gender norms.

Study by a trio of linguists and computer scientists (David Bamman, Jacob Eisenstein, Tyler Schnoebelen) that looks at the gendered expression of language online. PDF HERE
Image above via

h1

Men and women are from Earth: Examining the latent structure of gender.

February 13, 2013

0.10.45 AM

In a recent study published at The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Bobbi J. Carothers of Washington University in St. Louis and Harry T. Reis of the University of Rochester say:

“Although gender differences on average are not under dispute, the idea of consistently and inflexibly gender-typed individuals is. That is, there are not two distinct genders, but instead there are linear gradations of variables associated with sex, such as masculinity or intimacy, all of which are continuous.”

Analyzing 122 different characteristics from 13,301 individuals in 13 studies, the researchers concluded that differences between men and women were best seen as dimensional rather than categorical. In other words, the differences between men and women should be viewed as a matter of degree rather than a sign of consistent differences between two distinct groups.

h1

When Biometrics Fail: Gender, Race, And The Technology Of Identity

January 9, 2013

From digital fingerprinting to iris and retina recognition, biometric identification systems are a multibillion dollar industry and an integral part of post-9/11 national security strategy. Yet these technologies often fail to work. The scientific literature on their accuracy and reliability documents widespread and frequent technical malfunction. Shoshana Amielle Magnet argues that these systems fail so often because rendering bodies in biometric code falsely assumes that people’s bodies are the same and that individual bodies are stable, or unchanging, over time. By focusing on the moments when biometrics fail, Magnet shows that the technologies work differently, and fail to function more often, on women, people of color, and people with disabilities. Her assessment emphasizes the state’s use of biometrics to control and classify vulnerable and marginalized populations—including prisoners, welfare recipients, immigrants, and refugees—and to track individuals beyond the nation’s territorial boundaries. When Biometrics Fail is a timely, important contribution to thinking about the security state, surveillance, identity, technology, and human rights.

When Biometrics Fail: Gender, Race, and the Technology of Identity
by Shoshana Amielle Magnet

Text and Image via BiblioVault

h1

Men, Who Needs Them?

January 3, 2013

MAMMALS are named after their defining characteristic, the glands capable of sustaining a life for years after birth — glands that are functional only in the female. And yet while the term “mammal” is based on an objective analysis of shared traits, the genus name for human beings, Homo, reflects an 18th-century masculine bias in science.

That bias, however, is becoming harder to sustain, as men become less relevant to both reproduction and parenting. Women aren’t just becoming men’s equals. It’s increasingly clear that “mankind” itself is a gross misnomer: an uninterrupted, intimate and essential maternal connection defines our species.

The central behaviors of mammals revolve around how we bear and raise our young, and humans are the parenting champions of the class. In the United States, for nearly 20 percent of our life span we are considered the legal responsibility of our parents.

With expanding reproductive choices, we can expect to see more women choose to reproduce without men entirely. Fortunately, the data for children raised by only females is encouraging. As the Princeton sociologist Sara S. McLanahan has shown, poverty is what hurts children, not the number or gender of parents.

Excerpt from an article written by Greg Hampikian at NYT. Continue HERE

h1

Are we witnessing the decline and fall of men?

January 3, 2013

Ignore the hyperbolic title. Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men and the Rise of Women is filled with worthwhile insights and raises serious questions about the meaning and implications of shifting gender roles. Rosin, an editor at the Atlantic and founder of Slate’s ‘DoubleX’, has emerged as one of only a handful of American writers who has understood the centrality of so-called ‘women’s issues’ to American culture.

Her thesis goes something like this: our society is in the midst of a whole host of social and economic changes that women are benefiting from more than men, and perhaps at the expense of men. It’s a compelling idea, not least because it seems to confirm what many people have observed in the course of their own experiences.

It is not simply that men have lost their jobs, or even that those jobs are gone for good, or that it is mainly women doing the jobs that are now being created. It is more a sense of creeping demoralisation and ambivalence about the future that is as much in evidence in Charles Murray’s discussion of the decline of marriage, in his book Coming Apart, as it is in ‘The Myth of Work/Life Balance’ debate that appeared in the Atlantic last summer.

Excerpt from an article written by Nancy McDermott ar SP!KED. Continue HERE

h1

Gender Visual Dynamics

December 4, 2012

Picture 16

Everyone knows that men and women tend to hold different views on certain things. However, new research by scientists from the University of Bristol and published in PLoS ONE indicates that this may literally be the case.

Researchers examined where men and women looked while viewing still images from films and pieces of art. They found that while women made fewer eye movements than men, those they did make were longer and to more varied locations.

These differences were largest when viewing images of people. With photos of heterosexual couples, both men and women preferred looking at the female figure rather than the male one. However, this preference was even stronger for women.

While men were only interested in the faces of the two figures, women’s eyes were also drawn to the rest of the bodies – in particular that of the female figure.

Felix Mercer Moss, PhD student in the Department of Computer Science who led the study, said: “The study represents the most compelling evidence yet that, despite occupying the same world, the viewpoints of men and women can, at times, be very different.

“Our findings have important implications for both past and future eye movement research together with future technological applications.”

Eye movements are a tool used to collect visual information, which then colors an individual’s perception of the world. Equally, when individuals have different interpretations of the world, this in turn affects the information they seek and, consequently, the places they look.

The researchers suggest that men and women look at different things because they interpret the world differently. The pictures preferred by women were the same pictures that produced the most distinct ‘looking patterns’. Similarly, the pictures with the largest scope for a difference in interpretation – those with people – also produced the largest differences between where men and women looked.

One perceptual sex difference in particular – women’s increased sensitivity to threat – may explain a further finding. People’s eyes are drawn to the most informative regions of an image while also being repelled from areas that carry possible threat or danger, for example the sun. Faces are a paradoxical example of a region that is both highly informative and potentially threatening, particularly if eye contact is made.

While men made direct eye contact with faces in the pictures; especially when primed to look for threat, women averted their gaze downward slightly towards the nose and mouth of these faces. The researchers claim that this may be due to women being more sensitive to the negative consequences of making direct eye contact and will, therefore, shift their gaze downward, towards the center of the face.

Research: University of Bristol. All text via EurekAlert