Red John’s Demise: Why is The Mentalist Afraid to Use the M Word?

By on Nov 26, 2013 in Gender in the Media | 5 comments

Warning: Spoilers Below Patrick Jane finally caught and killed Red John on Sunday. Spoiler alert, turns out it was the sheriff all long! Honestly, I had mixed feeling watching the episode. I love the premise of The Mentalist but lately I found the plot developments too predictable and even excruciatingly cheesy. This last one was aggravating in various ways. In some ways the big reveal was too quick and all the stumbling blocks Jane had to surmount just to finally do the deed too contrived. Of course, some woman in black is going to walk into the chapel right before Patrick is ready to deliver the final gun shot. And of course, that woman is going to be Red John’s accomplice, even though Patrick, for all his alleged brilliance, won’t realize it until she’s trying stab him with a knife. Give me a break! But what really pissed me off about the episode is that Patrick...

The Power of Ads, Photoshop and Fake Beauty

By on Oct 6, 2013 in Gender in the Media | 0 comments

When it comes to living up to unrealistic beauty ideals, “failure is inevitable.” So says feminist legend Jean Kilbourne…and common sense. Or so it would if our eyes could avoid the multitude of sexist and impossible imagery thrown our way everyday. Check out these shocking videos and see for yourself how women face an uphill battle against dehumanizing ads, sexual objectification and the greatest evil of them all, Photoshop. Killing Us Softly Are Women fully human? These ads say no. Photoshop: The Perfect Lie Of course, I’ve known for a long time that all the images I see in magazines are photoshopped. But I didn’t realize just how much. No wonder gender equality hasn’t come easy for us. Main image courtesy of

Stop Slut-Shaming Miley…Sexualize Men Instead

By on Oct 4, 2013 in Gender in the Media | 2 comments

Miley Cyrus and her now infamous MTV Video Music Awards performance and Wrecking Ball music video are making headlines again, this time thanks to supporters who are pushing against what they see as slut-shaming by uptight prudes. The New York Times has two pieces defending her honor, The Pro-Miley Backlash and Get Back, and Just Let Miley Cyrus Grow Up. Both make some good points, primarily that Cyrus is young and just trying to explore and express her sexuality. I get it.  How many of us did the same thing when we were blossoming teenagers and young adults? I may not have gyrated in front of thousands of people wearing a nude bikini and creepy foam finger, but I certainly went through my own awkward phase. During high school I tried to impress my fellow drama nerds by sensually singing “All That Jazz” from the musical Chicago – okay, more like growling through it....

The Link Between Media Violence and Real-Life Aggression

By on Sep 24, 2013 in Gender in the Media | 0 comments

In high school my psychology teacher asked the class whether we thought violent music contributed to violent crime in the real world. His question was prompted by the increasing number of school shootings taking place across the country, in particular the Columbine Shooting that occurred on April 20, 1999. News organizations later reported the shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, were fans of Marilyn Manson’s goth music and possibly  were even inspired by his dark lyrics to carry out their massacre of 12 high school students and one teacher. Many other media pundits, however, said the theory was a load of crap. My classmates and I agreed. We reasoned other psychological and social factors were to blame for Harris and Klebold’s descent into madness and bloody vengeance (indeed, it was later determined Harris was probably a psychopath). I opined dark music could have an...

Hollywood’s Woman Problem in Action Films

By on Jun 24, 2013 in Gender in the Media | 2 comments

UPDATE: This post also appeared on on Sept. 23, 2013. In my previous post, I explained how serial killer shows provide catharsis for viewers. They are a safe way for fans to release their pent-up aggression. The same goes for Hollywood action films. Everyone wants to feel like a badass once in a while, and for most people the only way they can is by zoning out in front of a big screen and losing themselves in a spy or gangster shoot ‘em up film. But here’s a little known fact: it’s not just men watching these flicks. Women love action films, too. It’s a lie that we would rather watch rom-coms instead. At least, I know I certainly did when I was growing up. I devoured films like the Batman franchise, Indiana Jones and Star Wars up until college when my interest began to wane. Guess why. Because it was then when I finally realized these films weren’t being made for me...

The Daily Fail: How Britain’s Daily Mail Fails Women

By on Jun 24, 2013 in Gender in the Media | 3 comments

UPDATE: This post also appeared on on Sept. 10, 2013. The Daily Mail is the world’s most visited news site. Its popularity surpasses even that of the NY Times, which is frightening if you stop and think about it. Millions of readers apparently consider this anti-immigrant, sensationalist, lowest-common denominator tabloid a reliable source. But even if you can ignore the site’s frequent racism and Islamophobia, its blatant sexism will smack you in the face. Or not. You see, that’s the problem with the Daily Mail. Sometimes its sexism is repugnantly obvious and sometimes it’s just subtle enough to slip under the radar.  But the Daily Mail’s misogyny always ends up infecting the subconscious thoughts of readers, and those sexist biases end up lurking in people’s minds for years to come. It’s like reading a schizophrenic newspaper....