For my group presentation on Feminism and Gender studies, I worked with Djinji, Ashley, and La Tiere. We all read through the material and then discussed with each other which theorist we could like to cover. It worked out perfectly, because we all had particular interest in a different theorist. We kept in contact through email and text messaging to go over what activities we had come up with to engage the class in a discussion. It was really important to us to stay away from ‘lecturing’ or simply presenting the material to the class. Instead, we decided to assume that everyone had indeed read the material, so that we wouldn’t spend too much time summarizing the information, and actually relate it to something the class can connect with.
The theorist I covered was Susan Bordo, focusing on her book Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body. My main goal was to find a way to engage the class through the use of something they could relate to and wouldn’t find boring. I came up with the idea of a game called “Guess the Celebrity.” Basically, I showed ‘unflattering’ pictures of headless celebrities and had the class guess who they were. Then I revealed who the celebrity was, as well as the photo shopped version of the celebrity in the photo. The game turned out great, because the class was actually participating and trying to guess who the celebrities were. There were also a few ladies in the class that were particularly good at the game. In her book, Bordo focuses on the impact of pop culture and how culture is a metaphor for the body. She focuses on how women obsess over attaining what is defined as the ideal female body, and how they resort to things such as plastic surgery and obsessive dieting. I also showed pictures of celebrities before and after plastic surgery, to make the point that the ideology of the female body that our culture defines for us, and the women that we look up to, are not even real. This related back to the game about photo shop.
After the game and pictures, I covered the main points about the impact pop culture has on women and their quest for the ideal body. The response from the class was amazing, and I never imagined they would have so much to contribute. There was always someone eager to answer the questions I asked. In fact, there was so much discussion, I was not even able to cover all of my points. I thought this was great, because the point was to engage the class in a discussion, but I also felt rushed, and I wasn’t able to cover as much as I would have liked on the negative effects trying to reach the unattainable beauty, such as hysteria, agoraphobia, and anorexia. I was going to focus on anorexia, especially its existence in the modeling industry, because most young girls look up to models as the ideal of what they should look like. I also worked on a slideshow that showed actual supermodels that suffered from severe anorexia and bulimia, and I was a little sad that I wasn’t able to show it because I think the sad and disturbing images really drive the point home, and brought up that there are even supermodels that have died as a result of starvation.
Overall, I felt that my part of the presentation went better than I could have hoped for. I was able to engage the class in a conversation, and relate my theorist’s ideas to things they were familiar with and could relate to. I wasn’t expecting so much class participation, but I’m really happy that everyone got involved, and I felt that I had accomplished the point of the effects pop culture has on our view of what is the ideal body.