The Grandeur of Awards Shows

The glitz.  The glamour.  The flashing lights.  The sparkling dresses.  The classy tuxedos.  The red carpet.  This is the grandeur of awards shows, a time when celebrities gather together to acknowledge the best in their field.  Awards shows, such as the Emmys or the Academy Awards recognize the talent of all professions within the acting/show business world: the Emmys has an award for best lighting; the Academy Awards has awards for best sound mixing and special effects; and of course, no one can forget the importance of best actor or best actress in a lead role.

The 2012 Academy Awards pulled in aroud 81.0 million viewers during its primetime Sunday airing.  What is it about celebrity awards shows that pull in so many viewers each year?  Perhaps it is the musical numbers; perhaps it is the emotional speeches the awards winners always give; or maybe it is simply the natural sense of appreciation for extreme talent.  This was the case in point for the 2012 Academy Awards.  That year, a black-and-white, old-style film entitled “The Artist” was up for a very large number of awards.  In an era of iPhones and Twitter and electronic zombification of the masses, “The Artist” won five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actor in a Lead Role, Best Costume Design, Best Directing, and Best Original Score.  The actor who won for Best Actor, Jean Dujardin, was not even well-known in America at the time – in fact, he was the first French actor ever to win the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role (IMDb: Jean Dujardin biography).  Personally, I had never even heard of the film.  Now, some critics argue that the organizers of shows such as the Academy Awards are stuffy, white, old men and that the public does not get enough say in the determination of who gets what award.  These worries assume that the organizers of the Academy Awards have no idea what they are doing; one has to remember that being a critic is a JOB for those people.  And, if you’ve spent your whole life perfecting a skill such as that of critique, you probably are adept at such a skill.  I have the utmost respect for the people who decide the winners of television awards.  Needless to say, The Artist deserved every award it won.  Why?  It excelled the most in each of those categories.  Sure, personal bias is somewhat inevitable (what exactly does “Best Actor” mean, after all?).  However, as they say, only the most fit shall survive.

For your viewing pleasure, here is a clip of “The Artist”, taken from Youtube.

Plus-size Models are Not Plus Size

Recently, I read an article on People.com that referenced an interview with plus-size model Robin Lawley.  What I was expecting to see before clicking on the link was a medium-set woman with bigger curves talking about being model.  What I instead saw was a svelte woman with small curves.  According to the article, in the U.S dress size “measuring system”, Robin Lawley is somehwere between a 12 and a 14.  The average American woman today is somewhere between a 12 and a 16.  The implication here is so obvious it’s sickening to me: according to U.S modeling agencies, average women are plus-size and toothpicks of women are the “depicted” average.  Robin Lawley looks like a perfectly healthy, happy, slightly curvy woman to me, as are most American women.  She is hardly plus-sized – she’s normal.  The concept that American modeling agencies continue to press on the American populace, that most women are too thick and that looking starved is the way to go, is revolting and regressive.

Now, it’s no secret that an unfortunately high percentage of adults in the U.S. are obese (especially in Mississippi, for example).  However, the ideal goal of Americans desiring to lose weight should not be fitting into a dress or outfit with a 20-inch waistine.  American modeling agencies are still severely lacking in the area of promoting health and fitness over arbitrary size numbers.  To be fair, there has been some progress, such as Dove’s “What Makes You Beautiful” campaign, but overall, the profession of modeling is still all about big boobs, curvy thighs, small waists, and visible ribs – a nearly impossible combination of traits for the average American woman.

Robyn Lawley is absolutely inspiring to me, because of her fearlessness and her devotion to changing the way America, and the world, looks at women.  However, I also completely agree with her dislikes about the modeling industry: ““I hope I’m one of those people that if it doesn’t keep getting better, I will switch careers,” she says. “I can see myself really enjoying opening restaurants, doing cooking shows.” (People.com (personal interview)).  The fact that she has a backup plan in case her modeling career goes awry shows to me that Lawley is one of the few models who has managed to not get entangled in the web of visual and emotinal deceit which the profession of modeling has undoubtedly created.  So, in short, Robyn Lawley is a plus-size model who is not plus-size.  She is a real woman with a real purpose in life.

The Wrongness of Yoga Pants

You see them in the halls.  You see them in class.  You see them on the street.  You see them in the malls.  They’re conspicuous, they’re obvious, they’re revealing.  The identity of this presence belongs to no other than the article of clothing known as yoga pants.  I declare that the question of whether or not yoga pants should be allowed in school should be considered mainly on the basis of their distracting qualities, especially towards the male species, and also on their contributions to social stereotypes.

First of all, an important point that needs to be is that  yoga pants are very revealing – they stick tightly to the skin and often show underwear lines.  This is distracting for both male and female students.  The typical heterosexual male is, simply put, glued to this kind of revealing clothing.  Yoga pants arouse the natural male sex drive and increase dopamine levels – unfortunately, yoga pants also decrease the amount of male attention spent on learning and studying in class.  I concur that yoga pants contribute to America’s falling behind in the “education race” (Collegiate Times, 2o11).  Yoga pants are also distracting for females – they encourage oftentimes unwanted attention and strengthen the view of females as sex objects – yoga pants practically showcase the buttocks.  The real question, though, is why the distraction of yoga pants in schools is an important consideration when debating whether or not to ban yoga pants in American schools.  The simple answer is: the fact that yoga pants distract is critical to consider because yoga pants have an indirect, yet significant, impact on test scores that determine the success of American schools.

Part of reason yoga pants are distracting in American schools is because they help enforce sexual stereotypes that have been around for centuries.  Yoga pants encourage the view of females as sex objects and aid in the belief that females are of inferior status.  Simply put, yoga pants iterate the idea that the most important quality of a female is her physical appearance.  Psychalive.org provides a great point on the subject: “The media is guilty of exploiting the differences between men and women and of exaggerating the stereotypes to sell products. Sex is treated as a commodity to be exploited for profit.”.  While obviously a bit extreme compared to the argument that I am presenting in this blog post, Psychalive.org is correct.  The American media, taking advantage of the yoga pants fad for economic profit, is in the process exploiting the sexual stereotypes present for men and women – namely, that women are valued for their bodies and men only care about women because of their bodies.  If someone is considering whether or not to ban yoga pants in a school, they do need to consider the sexual stereotypes yoga pants exploit, because the allowing of yoga pants in schools has detrimental, regressive effects on the fair balance of human society.  And, of course, the display of females as sex objects, rampant in at least my own school (personal experience), is extremely distracting: to put it in layman’s terms, it is hard for the student populace to concentrate on standardized tests when there are butts hanging out everywhere.  The physical transparency of yoga pants is a dominant creator of the distraction present in American schools.

In short, the considerations that need to be weighed most heavily when deciding whether or not to allow yoga pants in American schools are the distracting nature of yoga pants and the sexual stereotypes which yoga pants exploit.  These considerations are the most important because they limit educational success (for example, the falling test scores of American schools compared to the rest of the world), and because they break down the standards for sexual stereotypes – yoga pants encourage the very same sexual ignorance and oppression that figures like Susan B. Anthony worked so hard to improve upon.

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