Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rape is a "So-Called Crime" In a Male-Dominated Culture

Roman Polanski- A Rapist Getting Off the Hook?
By Brianna Savoca

On "The View," Whoopi Goldberg says movie director Roman Polanski's guilty rape plea is "not a rape-rape." Studio executive Harvey Weinstein says Polanski's rape case is a "so-called crime."

If you have not heard the story, Roman Polanski pleaded guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 32 years ago in Los Angeles. Before he was sentenced, Polanski fled to France.

According to many public figures and celebrities, Polanski should be handed a get out of jail free card. Reality check- Rape is NOT monopoly.

Rape is a serious crime against women. Polanski's punishment should not be shrugged off after 30 years, while he roamed freely around Europe. What kind of message are we sending- It is okay for a 44-year-old man to have sex with a 13-year-old girl?

He was a mature adult, over three times her age. He needs to be held responsible for his actions, regardless of his credits as a director or the tragedies in his past (many have sympathy for his murdered wife.) It is extremely unfortunate his wife was murdered, but he RAPED a 13-year-old.

However, American culture praises hyper-masculinity, and the justice system riddled with sexism, seems to carelessly undermine the seriousness and gravity of rape. Rape is a crime of power and domination, and it should not be taken lightly as there are victims who suffer harsh repercussions post-rape.

Hopefully Polanski enjoyed his 32-year-long European holiday. Did he remember to send postcards to his poor 13-year-old rape victim?

He probably forgot about her, just as the rest of the public figures supporting Polanski seem to have forgotten her too.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Megan Fox- Just a PRETTY Face on Saturday Night Live
By Brianna Savoca

Megan Fox hosted the season premiere of Saturday Night Live last night. The SNL writers clearly exploited her appearance and sexuality in every single of her skits, reinforcing the power and value our culture places on beauty.

First, Megan introduced the show in tight, see-through black dress. The 23-year-old actress joked about nude pictures on the internet she "could not remember taking."

Once the SNL skits began, Megan played the role of a sex hotline commercial representative, a ditzy flight attendant, a sex therapist's living prop, a russian mail-order bride, and a tight leather enveloped biker chick. One of the skits even joked about how she was "just pretty."

The SNL writers never gave Megan a role with any substance. In other words, Megan was only a body, or a pretty face in every single skit. The SNL writers never even considered the woman has a brain as well.

After reading multiple Megan Fox interviews and watching Fox on numerous talk show interviews, she carries herself as an intellectual with confidence. Oftentimes when asked about her appearance, Fox diverts the conversation and quickly changes topics.

While Fox's reputation for being a sultry, sexy, beautiful actress and even said to be the next Angelina Jolie based upon looks alone, the media needs to give her credit for being a person with a brain and not just a pretty face.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" Music Video

By Brianna Savoca

Popular country-pop crossover artist Taylor Swift's award-winning music video for "You Belong With Me" exhibits the harsh realities of the politics of pretty.

Taylor Swift plays a duel role- the blonde, curly-haired, simple, geeky, girl next door in the band AND the dark-haired, pretty, popular cheerleading captain. At the start of the video, blonde band geek Taylor envies the relationship between her handsome neighbor and the brunette cheerleading captain.
Taylor describes all the aesthetic differences between the two in the chorus:
"She wears short skirts, I wear t-shirts, She's cheer captain, and I'm on the bleachers..."
Taylor basically insinuates throughout the song that the only thing the cheerleader has is looks. Still, the boyfriend seems to be choosing looks over substance.
Click HERE to watch the video.

While this is just a music video, these situations occur in high schools, colleges, bars, the workplace, and almost any social setting around the country.
People formulate opinions and base social interactions and relationships often on looks alone. Substance and personality may matter eventually, but in general, people judge others primarily on their first impression of their appearance.
Why else would we have the colloquial phrase "Love at first sight?"

So how do the Politics of Pretty play out in Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" music video?
Despite the fact that the video shows the connection between blonde Taylor and her handsome crush as friends, he does not seem to notice her as a potential girlfriend until
blonde Taylor gets a makeover.
Taylor shows up at the high school dance without her big glasses, wearing a sparkly white dress and makeup.
Now the boy next door finally takes notice.
Once again, it is appearance over substance, a.k.a. the Politics of Pretty.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Who has more power- the UGLY DUCKLING or the SWAN?
By Brianna Savoca

Getting ready for the day was very easy. I washed my face, put on my glasses, and got dressed in under 10 minutes.

I wore my hair natural, in loose waves, put on a plain black shirt, flip-flops, and grey shorts, and I left the house without a speck of make-up on my face.

My first stop of the day was Baker Center for coffee. A woman cut me in line, probably because I was dressed very inconspicuously. One of my classmates even walked past me without saying hello. I rarely wear my glasses, so I wondered if he did not recognize me.

The girl at the coffee counter was friendly in comparison to a group of sorority girls outside. I asked them about their fundraising

event, and one seemed annoyed and irritated with me for asking.

It was a very hot day out, and sweat caused my glasses to keep slipping down my nose. Personally, I felt dorky and self-conscious, so I opted to switch my glasses for sunglasses when I took my dog for a walk.

The dog brought me a little bit more attention, especially since she is a tiny maltese puppy. Two girls stopped to pet her, and a couple guys

asked about her breed.

Later on that night when I took the dog out, there was a tall, attractive man outside with a maltese too. When I asked about his dog, he immediately mentioned it belonged to his girlfriend’s family. Since he rapidly informed me he was attached, I had to wonder, did he not want an ugly duckling flirting with him?


It took about an hour longer to get ready today. Styling my hair and make-up took a lot of time and products. It’s expensive to be “pretty.”

I went back to Baker Center for coffee, meeting my boyfriend along the way. He immediately complimented me on my appearance, as I rarely wear dresses and heels to walk around campus.

The girl at the coffee counter politely took my order, and another guy complimented my dress, made my drink, and made small talk while I waited. Being overtly friendly, he told me to have a great day. With the extra attention and confidence boost, I couldn’t help but think today would be better than yesterday.

Drinking my frappucino on a couch on the first floor, I caught the guy across from me staring. To be honest, I definitely felt pretty. I never usually dress up unless it is a special occasion, so it was sort of empowering feeling attractive.

Men held the door open for me as I walked around town. Women complimented me on my dress and shoes. I noticed tables of men checking me out when I walked past. People definitely stared at me more.

When I got back to my apartment I took the dog out, and a group of men were loading an SUV in the parking lot next to the patch of grass where she goes. They all watched me, and as the car was pulling away, the guy in the passenger seat stuck his head out of the window and yelled, “You’re looking very hot!”

At this point, the attention got borderline obnoxious, so I stayed inside the rest of the night.

LOOKING BACK on my experience, there are positives and negatives for both days.

Obviously, an attention-hungry woman should wear high heels, a dress, and glamorous make-up. On the other hand, I cannot say you will be taken very seriously.

If a person wants to blend in with the crowd, it takes little effort. Being average takes little time or thought.

However, I lacked confidence. I noticed the way I carried myself was different. Since no one seemed to notice me, I was not my usual friendly self.

My ugly duckling day was simple and ordinary, and a little bit boring. In order to live an eventful life, isn’t it nice to get noticed on occasion?

I received plenty of looks on my swan day, but it took a lot of time and effort in preparation. Plus, it is extremely expensive to keep up on your appearance, considering the costs of massive amounts of make-up, hair products, clothing, jewelry, purses, shoes, etc.

Still, there was a sense of empowerment which came along with looking good. I felt strong and confident. It was certainly an ego-booster. But did I feel more like a person or an object?


Definitely the swan.

Let’s face it- we live in a looks-based culture where appearance matters. Parents teach their children good grooming habits. Men and women perform daily beauty rituals to look healthy and attractive. People spend billions on beauty products and cosmetic surgeries every year.

From a young age, children judge their peers based upon looks. The kid with wild, frizzy hair and glasses sits alone at recess because other kids think he looks “weird.” However, beauty queens and homecoming kings are often the most attractive and popular students in school.

People habitually choose their friends, dates, and significant other often with a heavy emphasis on appearance.

People who are deemed PRETTY and ATTRACTIVE by society will have more POWER.


Any social interaction where looks, attractiveness, and beauty play a role in decision making are examples of the politics of pretty.

People who are deemed pretty and attractive by society will have more power. This power will help them accumulate more resources over their lifetime. Based upon political science theory, pretty is a tool used to gain wealth, privelege, and higher social status.

Although it is a metaphor, the world is full of swans and ugly ducklings who interact with each other throughout their lives. These social interactions create a power structure which governs the way people treat one another. Oftentimes, the swans receive better treatment.

It might not be fair, but there are certainly benefits to being “pretty.” While people who emphasize appearance are often scorned and called superficial, there is no denying the power of pretty.