Monday, December 17, 2007

Magazine: "Absolute World"

Table Of Contents
Cover Stories
  • Real Life: My Penis will Never be the Same
  • Diary of a Shy Male Model: Memoirs of Matt Sour, MODEL
  • Diet Myths: Exposed

Real Life: My Penis will Never be the Same

Ever since I was younger, I have been self conscious about the size of my penis. The worst time of the day in high school would be coming in from gym class and having to “hit the showers” with all the guys in my class. I couldn’t help but wonder, “Is this it? Will it ever grow?” My life got worse when I came to college and met a girl that I really liked. One night when we got intimate, I took off my pants and she put hers back on. I was mortified. Since then, I have been very selective as to who I have exposed myself to, both physically and emotionally. Most girls have laughed at the size of my penis, or made excuses to take themselves out of sexual situations with me. I thought my luck had changed when I met Jessica.* I had just graduated college and was working for a small publishing firm in the city. She was everything I could have wanted in a girl: beautiful, intelligent and passionate. We dated for nearly a year, until I exposed her to my embarrassing secret. Before we got intimate, I explained my history with other girls and the problems that had arisen from our sexual encounters. Being a nurse at a doctor’s office, she explained to me that even though she would always love me for who I was, she knew of some medical procedures that could help me increase the size of my penis and change my life forever. There are two different widely used implant surgeries that are commonly suggested to men with impotency problems. However, there have also been cases, similar to mine, where men get one of these two surgeries to increase the size of the penis. The first implant that she explained was an implant of an inflatable device that could be manually inflated to create an erection and deflated at other times. The second type of implant is called a semirigid implant, which although less expensive, is less commonly used because it is more stiff an thus puts more constant pressure on the inside of the penis.

After setting up a consultation with Doctor Snipper that was recommended by Jessica’s office, I opted for the inflatable implants because they are more natural. The next week was one of the most uncomfortable times in my life, but I thought it would all be over soon and I would, for once in my life, feel normal. The surgery went relatively well, but the recovery was painful and exhausting. For a year, I felt more manly than I have ever felt before. Then, all of a sudden, I started to have pains in my penis. I went back to the doctor, where he conducted X-rays and tests that revealed the complications that resulted from my surgery. The doctor had placed the implants in backwards. The incorrect placement of the implants caused pressure necrosis, or the death of tissue due to loss of blood supply to the cells. The damage was irreversible and the implant had to be removed. He also had to amputate the tip of my penis. Currently, I am awaiting my trial against Doctor Snipper for his negligence in conducting my surgery. Although only 5% of men that have this surgery have horror stories like mine, the risk of having part of your penis amputated is reason enough to reconsider your self image and think long and hard before you decide to participate in a procedure like this. My life has been changed forever, and not in the way I anticipated. Half of my penis was cut off and through all of this, Jessica left me. My life will never be the same again.
*Names have been changed

From the Memoirs of Matt Sour, MODEL
“I’m really a shy guy, but I take my clothing off for money and fame”
Everyone always said I was photogenic when I was growing up and that if I modeled, I would be worth a million bucks. I never even thought about the fact that I could make it a career. After failing out of college, I decided to take their advice. If I couldn’t make it for my brains, then maybe beauty was the way to go. I rented the first two seasons of America’s Next Top Model and took as many notes as I could. Granted, some of the information that I learned was not applicable to a male model, but most of it made sense.
I emailed back and forth with an agent from a top modeling firm. It had taken almost a month for him to respond to my initial email. He was impressed with the snapshots that I had sent him and requested a meeting with me. His first words to me were, “You are so glamour.” I took a step back immediately, a little scared. I knew what glamour modeling entailed. It was the kind of modeling that appeared in high fashion magazines and in advertisements. It also required modeling in compromising positions with female models. I know I am good looking, but the idea of posing with girls scares the hell out of me. My thoughts were racing…. I act like a fool around females. I had banked on runway modeling or even commercial modeling being what I was suitable for. It was going to be very difficult for me to break out of my shell, but it was what I would need to do in order to make it in this business.
My first photo shoot was an emotional disaster. It was for an up and coming high fashion designer whose ad would appear in all the hot magazines. I was to pose in only my underwear. It was hard to deal with only being in my underwear, but I kept telling myself it was a little less than a normal bathing suit. What made it so hard was the fact that there was an extremely famous female model straddling my waist in only underwear as well, no bra. We had to stare into each others eyes and I had to hold her up against the wall using my arms only. It was physically demanding, but not knowing the female and being in such a compromising position was strange. I felt embarrassed about myself at that point. It was an experience that made me feel a little cheap and that my only life skill was being beautiful.
I still feel a mixture of guilt and self-consciousness about being paid for doing something that not only made me uncomfortable and put me in compromising positions, but that I was getting paid a ridiculous amount of money for it. It felt like prostitution almost, the way I was exposing myself for fame. Is it really fair that I take my clothing off and get paid so much? Probably not… I will admit, I do it for the money and the fame. It does not feel great to be only known or beauty, but it provides a comfortable life style. That matters most in life to me. I still act horribly awkward in front of the female models and I most definitely embarrass myself a lot by doing stupid things, but each shoot it gets a little easier, and I get a little richer…

Diet Myths: Exposed
by Nate Haggy

Okay, fellas. The holidays are quickly approaching and Santa's on his way! But we all know he's not the only fatty blob that hangs around during the month of December. Yep, that's right. The pounds are comin to town!
And what are YOU going to do about it? I'm here to help!
Even for the manliest men who want to lose that flub and really mean it, the following diet myths are thrown in their faces over and over again. My mission is to help set the record straight.

So come on boys, 86 the egg nog and leave the cookies to Santa, because HERE.. are the hottest diet myths, exposed.

Diet Myth 1: f you eat late at night, the food turns straight into fat.
Not true. You can certainly snickity snack after dinnertime, just be sure to keep your overall calories under what is appropriate for your weight . Late night calories will get used eventually, yet for the sake of energy, it might be better to eat your calories during the day when your body needs the fuel. Plus, eating consistently throughout the day will stabilize blood sugar levels, so you’ll feel energized and experience fewer cravings. If you are going to snack after hours, I suggest choosing something nutritious and with 250 calories or less. A banana or handful of nuts anyone?

Det Myth 2: Fresh fruits and vegetables are more nutritious than frozen.
Not necessarily. Frozen can be a fabulous option for produce - just avoid varieties with added salt, sugar and sauce. Most people don't realize it but frozen foods are ideal because they are picked at peak ripeness and because most of the nutrients stay locked in. The main downfall in walking down the frozen food aisle is that the fruit and vegetables available there not nearly enough nutrient variability like their fresh counterparts do. Bottom line boys: Buy both fresh and frozen and eat as munch as you can.

Diet Myth 3: Cravings are your body's way of telling you it needs something.
Who proved that?! Cravings are your body's way of telling you it needs something.This has never been proven. You normally crave what you like to eat (or smell or see someone else eating). Also, hormonal changes are sometimes responsible for food cravings. Ice cream and pickles anyone?

Diet Myth 4: Water is always better than soda.
Nope! Check those labels! There are some caloric waters out there. With sexy marketing ploys, it's easy to get sucked in. But come on guys, wouldn't you rather eat 10 sugar cubes or a bag of jelly beans than suck the same number of calories down in a couple swigs of Vitamin Water?

Diet Myth 5: Exercise in the morning burns more calories.
Not necessarily! Studies show that people who exercise in the morning tend to be more consistent with their daily workouts, yet the very act of exercising in the a.m. does not actually burn more calories than it does later in the day. Aren't you glad to know that you'd be just as productive in calorie burning, if not more, with an hour of sex before bed than with huffing and puffing on the treadmill the moment you wake up?

Diet Myth 6: Certain foods, like grapefruit, celery, or cabbage soup can burn fat and make you lose weight.
These are anecdotal stories silly! Where's the scientific back up? It’s true these foods are low in calories, but they do NOT actually burn fat.

Diet Myth 7: You can “save” calories by skipping breakfast.
You bet not boys! Studies report that breakfast eaters weigh less than breakfast skippers. Just make it a healthy breakfast, obvi! So go ahead, grab your banana boys and laugh at those petty Breakfast Skippers, for studies show that they tend to overeat after dinner.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Princess Gia: Beautiful and Happily Never After

Once upon a time there was a very pretty girl and everybody loved her. All who knew Gia saw her as remarkably unique, yet no one saw sight of the future she’d have ahead. Beginning her tale as a young girl with an incredible opportunity, Gia became the star of her very own hallmark tragedy. As an up-and-coming model of the hottest industry in New York City, Gia made her career into something more than, well, a career. Somewhere along the way her career became her life and her life became a fairytale.
With the beauty of an angel and the poise of a rebel, Gia proved that even the world’s most successful supermodel can lose hold of a fairytale. At one point in the film the actress playing Wilhelmina Cooper
said to Gia, “You have the whole world at your fingertips” and she was right. Gia certainly did have all the eyes in the world on her. Yet beauty and fame did not exactly secure for Gia a fairytale ending. The world’s first supermodel showed the history books that beauty is not directly correlated with happiness and that not even angels are made of gold.
Similar to the way the fashion industry manages to make models’ appearances seem natural, hegemony in the fashion industry manages to make the ideologies behind the models appear natural as well. In fact, “fashion has generally been conceived as a form of hegemonic oppression, exerting an obligation to conform” (Crane 314) on women in society today. And, it is at the very hands of hegemony that the media is able to distract its audiences from any oppression the models face behind the scenes. Now more than ever, the media harnesses spectacular ways of hiding the reality that actually exists in the lives of models, twisting it around and in turn, depicting the whole thing as a fairytale.
Girls in society today foster an un-self-conscious awareness of the world which renders them blind to the otherwise-overtly unrealistic perceptions of beauty that these fairytales portray. Hegemony in both magazines and fairytales manage to harness these ideals and moreover strengthen them. The actual conflict lies in the industry’s failure to convey to female audiences even tiny nuances that this ‘beauty’ is, in fact, far from beautiful.
Instead, workers in the fashion industry strive to exemplify models as ‘princess-like’ characters, embodying a complete set of all the components necessary for ‘perfection’. That is, a perfect body, adorned with stunning clothes accompanied by a flawless face. And in deceiving the consumer into thinking that these attributes are the sole elements of perfection, the media goes further in trying to instill a correlation between the models’ ‘perfection’ and happiness. Gia’s agents, like those for many other models’, aim to portray in magazine images of the model, a true success story - not only a beautiful model, but also an ideally happy woman - a princess who, in the end, will live happily-ever-after. Right?
Wrong. Try and recall Disney’s eight famous princesses, each one more beautiful than the next - faces flawless, clothes stunning, castles large. To little girls, these princesses’ lives might seem ‘perfect’, yet as their tales grow a bit deeper, each princess finds herself in a slew of unhappiness. Arielle would like nothing more than to experience life above the sea, Jasmin wants to escape from seclusion in her castle and Belle is on a never-ending quest for true love. Undoubtedly, beauty is something each of these princesses does have, yet happiness is certainly something they do not.
Gia, like any princess in the quintessential fairytale, may appear perfect as she is portrayed in images of the media. Yet in reality, she is far from happy. In fact, Gia’s story is a fairytale turned so grey, that what is being portrayed as ‘beautiful’ is in truth granting her far from happiness.
One quote in the film really jumped out at me. It read, “with a face like that, she doesn’t need a name” (Gia). Referring to Gia and probably thousands of other models in America, a quote like that is targeted towards the public with intent to convince women of all ages that perfect is nameless and nameless is perfect. Girls are left with a sort of ‘moral order’ fixated in their minds on how to look and how to act. In turn, it is the nature of girls to “make comparisons between themselves and the models in the photographs” (Crane 325). Models like Gia and magazines like Vogue neatly present this such ‘moral order’ on unattainable beauty. It is a twisted sense of reality that the media presses into the minds of women, leaving them “inclined to identify with the models and [become] disappointed if they are unable to do so” (Crane 325).
Young girls are “in the process of learning [personal] values and roles of developing self-concepts,” making them “such prime targets” (Kilbourne 258) for distorted perceptions of beauty. Yet it is safe to say that women of all ages are victims of conflicted hegemony embedded in the media. And although models’ identities are masked behind the pages of the magazine and the true nature of their realities are kept out of sight from the viewer, a more significant conflict lies in the fact that girls like me are left blind and believing it all.
A beautiful actress once said, “Life is like a book and a book is like a box. The box has six sides, an inside and an outside” (Gia). So how does one get to what’s on the inside? The search becomes difficult when the media bombards our already warped minds with explicit ideas regarding image and beauty. Gia’s tale presents an utterly messed up case that, through the mastery of the media, was portrayed to the world as the essence of beautiful.
Okay so Angelina Jolie is indeed the most beautiful woman in the world. Yet, unless the words ‘needle’ and ‘dope-sickness’ are written next to ‘happiness’ in the dictionary, I’d say that beauty is far from the true pretender.

Works Cited

Gia. Dir. Michael Cristofer. Perf. Angelina Jolie, Elizabeth Mitchell and Faye Dunaway. DVD. Citadel Entertainment, Kahn Power Pictures. 1991

Crane, Diane. Gender and Hegemony in Fashion Magazines: Women’s Interpretations of Fashion Photographs, 314-332.

Kilbourne, Jean. The More you Subtract, the More You Add: Cutting Girls Down to Size, 258-265.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sex sells... milk?

Whoever coined the term “sex sells” must have secretly been makers themselves of some overtly licentious commercial revolving around or based solely on sexual appeals. Over the past few decades, advertising with the use of explicitly sexual content in advertising has become more common than advertising without. As one of the most powerful tools of persuasion in marketing, sex is an effective way of drawing interest to a particular product. Sexually explicit images and auditory content are commonly used methods by which sellers attract immediate interest of consumers. Yet the reason why “sex sells” is because it manages to successfully hold that interest and allows sellers to present their products in a way that correlates with the consumer’s interests.
One way of describing the powerful role that sex plays in advertising today is - in Tizzy Asher’s words - “heterosexual consumption” (Asher 22). The first glance that the consumer takes at an ad, as well as the lasting effect that the ad has on the consumer, are both contributing factors to the barbaric nature that Asher associates with consumerism. She connects the sex-hungry minds that many, if not most, public consumers have to the use of insuations towards sex in commonplace media content.
Undoubtedly, the use of erotic content in advertising is an extremely effective technique. Yet, one thing to consider when looking at sexuality in the media is the wide realm of taboos and contention that are associated with sex in society today. Sex becomes a bit problematic when used in everyday commericals and other commonplace advertising exposed to the public. It’s sort of a “sellers beware, use at your own risk” type of deal. Yet it is precisely this “code red” attitude that makes outlandishly sexual images and ideas even more intriguing to both the public consumer and the seller.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are yet still, subtle uses of sexuality that are even incorporated into the media. Sex isn’t just limited to visual media; ‘sexy’ lingo and deep-toned commentary are radiated all over the radio and are often coupled with sex visuals to enhance appeal of the ad to the consumer.
An interesting theme in advertising that I’d like to touch on is the use of male bodies. Historically reflecting the realm of Greek architecture, public displays of men have embodied the ideal "athletic young man" for centuries. Dating back to 400 B.C., the public eye has been “obsessed” with a strong, masculine male figure (Bagorio). And it is just these ‘ideal’ male figures that marketers use in much of the advertising that exists today. Toned, hard bodies of both men and women attract consumers’ eyes in all cultures. Though we hate to admit the ‘ripped’ guy in the Calvin Klein commercial looks good, hardly one woman is able to flip past his large, naked ad in the center of a magazine or even close an eye when our sexual connoisseur male-friend pops up on the television.
And this type of sexy photography is just one of the many forms of media that is embedded in all forms of the media. According to Anastasia Higginbotham, the media perpetuates sex to the eye of the consumer in just the right way. That is, articles surrounding sex-insinuating ads and words flashed on the t.v. screen next to nude figures are just as guilty as the sexually explicit images themselves; they oftn encourage the reader to fit an ideal “sexy” persona or conform to the “hot” character of the naked lady on the next page. Either way, it all comes down to the reader and how well he or she can become “absorbed in the rules of the game” (Higginbotham 93) – the rules of advertising.
When it comes to advertising, sexually suggestive images sell just about everything. Yet although It makes sense to use sex in ads for lingerie, men's cologne and even liquor, it hardly seems relevant to use sex in the millions of other products out there that are somehow being advertised with naked bodies and sexual inuendos. I mean, an advertisement for a vacuum, video game or hamburger joint is hardly comparable to a commercial with the ‘Very Sexy’ Angels over at Victoria’s Secret. Simply because The Angels have successfully and rightfully found a comfortable place in the hearts of sex-driven consumers, doesn’t make it right for the naked girl in the milk commericial to flash her fake breasts under a waterfall of dairy. Call me crazy, but that is not even slightly appropriate in my mind.
You still must look carefully to avoid missing the point of an ad like this. Don’t believe me? Take a quick look at the ad with the school girl in who is knealing down. Did you catch the part about the sneakers? Hmm… well it sure fooled me.
All in all, I’ll admit - automobile companies tend to use sex implying slogans in car commercials often. And the use of sexual images in ads for a men’s magazine may skate past by as tasteful. Yet just because sex is a common style of marketing today doesn’t make up for the fact that multimillion dollar companies attempt to induce consumers to want to go out and buy something totally unrelated to sex. My issue is with sexual ads for things like coffee and toilet paper that contain images of two nude people about to have sex. My skepticism has become widely enlarged upon putting together this collage. Perhaps sex does something for those looking to purchase household appliances, but just like a naked lady drowning in milk doesn’t leave me convinced, the implication that a girl is giving a guy oral pleasure just doesn’t do it for me.

Works Cited

Asher, Tizzy. Girls, Sexuality, and Popular Culture. The Feminist Journal. 22-26.

Bagorio, Elaine (2007). Uncovering the Naked Truth.

Gifford, Amy (2007). 15 Ads that Prove Sex Sells… Best? Aha Cafe LLC.

Gallup & Robinson, Inc. (2007).

Higginbotham, Anastasia. Teen Mags: How to get a guy, Drop 20 Pounds, and Lose your Self Esteem, 93-96.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sugar N' Spice and Everything Nice, That's What Girls are Made of... Right?

Natalie Hage
Gender & Popular Culture WGS 220-05
Blog Post Writing Assignment # 1
October 2, 2007

Given boxes filled with jewelry and makeup and closets adorned with dress-up clothes, little girls are bound to be absorbed in a world of fairy tale images of beauty, glamour, and a whole slew of guidelines of how they should look and act. Today’s toy market provides a large and seemingly disturbing variety of gadgets and accessories that, according to society, should define the lives of female youth. Items such as vanities and makeup kits provide little girls with weapons that allow them to mark and mess themselves and not knowingly, reconsider her appearance.
The famous “Pretty, Pretty Princess” game is a prime example of such ‘weaponry’, with its many pieces of plastic jewel mockery and a large embellished mirror, the game idealizes the epitome of what society thinks is female beauty. The makers at Milton Bradley expose little girls to the dainty and exquisite life of a princess and even gives them the tacky crown with which to complete the look. The game not only falls short of a wholesome and educating pastime for young girls, it also fails to see past the picturesque and silenced life that society wants a lady to be destined to. Prior to my toy shopping extravaganza, I came across an interesting article on Publicist, Dipika Mirpuri begins her piece titled “Fun Indoor Activities for Girls” in stating that “most girls love fashion, painting, cooking, makeup, arts and crafts”. Mirpuri then claims that “these girl’s toys will provide your child with challenging and stimulating tasks” (Mirpuri). Immediately the reader, who is usually a mother, falls helpless to the idea that her little girl’s knowledge will be broadened indefinitely if she allows her to dress up and pretend to be a modern-day housewife. Yet what the mother fails to realize is that by doing so, she places her child directly into a whirlwind of material possessions stung by false identities both of which trick her and her daughter into trying to attain a purely feminine image with solely feminine duties. This image leaves a little girl helpless to her own identity and could perhaps leave her “standing before a mirror in all finery and jewels, feeling suddenly ridiculous and miserable” (Gilman 72).
A link titled “Simply Dolls” then led me to a page strewn with an immense image of a half-naked Barbie doll look-alike, cross-legged, sitting atop a stack of gift hat-boxes. The site attests that they display “all kinds of dolls - including fashion, baby and porcelain - to suit any girl” ( Does ‘any girl’ pertain to the thousands of little girls out who are not particularly phased by a Barbie doll or who were not yet exposed to the petite beauty that one exemplifies? Our society tends to single out girls who go against the ‘prim and proper’ image that is associated with a doll, which in turn causes them to accept and conform to this persona, while dually puts them in a terrible position to feel left out if they do not. Assuming that any toy deemed as ‘feminine’ involves a domestic task, beauty enhancement, nurturing and/or looking attractive, we can say the opposite for all ‘masculine’ toys, which are identified as more competitive, aggressive, constructive, conducive to handling, and reality based. This type of gender construction sets highly unequal learning standards for boys and girls, yet even more-so, actually promotes and encourages the gender-specific lifestyle that a child both learns and is entertained by. Even ‘gender-neutral’ toys, such as books and bicycles, puzzles and finger-paints are under question. Even the most neutral past time for active young children, a pair of roller skates, is hardly found without bright pink and glitter embellishments. The most visible role models and dynamic social influence in children’s lives are their parents. And it seems that because the parents are the ones to provide their children with such gender-encrusted paraphernalia, they are the ones responsible for gendering toys in using traditional stereotypical standards when classifying them. Yet, in actuality, it is the problematic toy market that sends both implicit and explicit messages to children regarding their specific role according to gender, and also sets the tight boundary lines that children feel uncomfortable venturing outside of. And when put into a world that demands so much of each and every character, including children, this becomes a large stand still in the growing-up process. As Michael Messner puts it, “gender identity [should be viewed] not as a ‘thing’ that people ‘have’ but rather as a process of construction that develops, comes into crisis, and changes as a person interacts with the social world” (Messner 121).
We need to start allowing children to come into society with duty free hands so that they discover and become products of their own unique identities. They should not feel forced into a world of pink and blue being told what is right and where is wrong.

Works Cited
Gilman, S. J. (1984). “Klaus Barbie, and other dolls I’d like to see”. Becoming a Woman in our Society. 20, 72-74. Messner, M. A. (1990). “Boyhood, Organized Sports, and the Construction of Masculinities”. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. 120-135 Mirpuri, D. (2007). “Fun Outdoor Activities for Girl”. Yahoo!Shopping. 2007. Search: ‘girl’s toys’