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 Body image 

Should girls wear shoes like those pictured in this post?
Poll ended at Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:55 pm
Yes 79%  79%  [ 11 ]
No 21%  21%  [ 3 ]
Total votes : 14

 Body image 
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Here is your assignment. I hope you will periodically bring your discussion back to the role of the school and the classroom as a place where students are NOT objectified.

1. Watch these three video clips:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7143sc_HbU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ2_lEzLqbI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFK5L_T5KWg

2. Go to our discussion forum.


I have started a topic here with ONE specific question that I hope will encourage you to discuss children's objectification through advertising and the manipulation of (usually female) body images, and the early sexualization of children to sell products. Please feel free to include a discussion of your own experiences. My question is designed simply to start the discussion. The discussion will close next Monday.

Should girls wear shoes like these? Why? Why not?

Image

(I took this from a site that purports to have pictures of Kellie Pickler, a NC native and contestant on American Idol.)


Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:47 pm
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First of all, I think the question may be a bit flawed. Putting the question in extremes makes it difficult to answer. I don't think girls should wear those shoes and I don't think that they should not wear the shoes, but the problem comes from what influences the decision.
If a girl wants to wear those shoes because she likes them and thinks they are nice, then she should be able to make that decision. If she is wearing them because she thinks that it what a girl should be wearing to appear attractive or feminine, then she is choosing for the wrong reasons. To me, the problem is where the decision comes from, not the decision itself.
I think that the latter explanation can lead to a woman being objectified or feeling objectified, whereas if she makes the decision for herself, out of her own comfort, I think she is less likely to feel that way.
I realize that this is an "ideal world" statement and I think it is unfortunate that women feel so much pressure from media too feel like they have to fit into a prefect mold. Unfortunately, the culture we live in perpetuates the stereotype of the "beautiful woman" and forces even young girls to begin trying to fit a mold.

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Timothy M. Joyner


Thu Oct 29, 2009 3:51 pm
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Hi Tim,

I'll grant you that the question is flawed - intentionally. I want to see where people will take the question. Your reworking of the issue is really helpful, I think. I wonder how other people will approach it?

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Gayle Turner


Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:28 pm
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I would agree with you Tim! A girl (or boy) is not being objectified simply through what they choose to wear or how they choose to look. It is the underlying reasons that determine this.
In a bit of a different direction though, we also neglect to inform girls that sometimes the look they are going for (regardless of reason) can be detrimental to their bodies! Whether it be because of an eating disorder or even something as simple as a foot or back problem that develops because of wearing outrageous heels like the ones in the picture! We as a society may feel obligated to let people make their own free choices and express themselves, but it is unfair to let them go on doing so without knowing the consequences first.
When in the classroom, I feel I will definitely look for surface characteristics of a female or male who is struggling with the pressures of society concerning appearance and such. However, I feel it is also important not to forget the smaller things that may marginalize a student. For example, little things like boys discriminating against a "weak girl" in sports or girls not allowing a boy to play dress up because of his gender. This enforcement of stereotypes can be just as dangerous as the media portrayals the students see outside of school! I think we can all agree that whether we are talking about body image or academic performance, the bottom line is we need to stay away from broad generalizations that may lead us astray and harm our students.

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Leslie Wicker


Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:40 pm
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I also agree that individuals should be allowed to choose what they wear based on their own reasoning. However, I feel that all too often people choose to wear what they do because of an underlying, subconscious influence from the media. People from a more remote country look at clothes as a functional part of life and want something that serves that purpose. Here, clothes are a statement of wealth, popularity, sexuality, and an overall sense of "coolness." Not everyone feeds into these ideas, but it's obvious that those who do begin judging others based on these same "rules."

Though school isn't a place where students should be objectified, it is a social institution. Therefore it is almost impossible to remove media influence on appearance without some sort of uniform, and that only works to a certain extent. Nothing is truly black and white, so we just have to sort through the gray area the best we can for ourselves and for our students.

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-Clayton Edwards


Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:50 am
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I feel that it is all about the environment and situation as to whether girls should wear high heeled shoes. I do not think that there is a right answer because there are so many different reasons a young girl might want to wear shoes like this. I know that when I was a young girl, no more than 2, I was dressed in tiny little dress heels to go to church. I do not feel like I was being objectified or exploited. As I go older, my heels got bigger, but it was never a conscious thought to wear them. If anything, I just wanted to be like my mom and grandmother. If another little girl wanted the same pair of shoes to be like a tv star, it is hard for me to say that that is wrong and I was right. I don't think that the shoes are the problem, I think that it is the control and influence that the parents either want or have. The bottom line is that some one has to buy the clothes that children wear and that reflects the medias influence on the parents as much as the child.

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Courtney Dunlap


Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:25 pm
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As far as a school situation goes, I think that, like Clayton said, school is a social institution and it is difficult to remove outside influences without a strict dress code or uniform (which I oppose). I think the best option for a teacher in a classroom is to address it if it becomes a problem among other students, such as if teasing or name-calling occurs, but otherwise let it runs its course. Students should be able to dress how they want without fear of how their classmates think of them. Whether that is idealistic or not, I think it is important to not involve ourselves, as teachers, in every minute aspect of our students lives.

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Timothy M. Joyner


Sat Oct 31, 2009 10:15 pm
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I feel like the question is flawed in a way that excludes all other questions that surround the clothing that people choose to wear. It is an individual’s decision on what he/she uses to adorn his/her body. But the question that may be raised by one's outward appearance is "why choose any particular article to wear?" I feel like in asking that question we are entering a deeper topic, for one's reasoning for their dress can open up numerous other issues.

I completely agree with the concept and interpretation that Tim began. The reasoning behind a female or male's decision of what to wear should come from their own "convictions" and "excitement" about the clothes that they wear. If an individual is wearing a particular outfit because it fits her/him well and helps express his/her personality then there is nothing wrong with wearing it. On the other hand, if someone decides to wear an outfit due to the idea that the outfit "makes her/him beautiful or attractive" than the issue lies within the belief and the foundation of the belief. Often, I believe, people allow the media to influence their idea of beauty. It is much easier to allow someone else the control over our mind then the narrow down our beliefs and stand by them. Though I feel that previous statement is flawed, it still rings true in society as a whole.

If, as future teachers, we are going to make a difference in this world of visual pleasures and media stimulation then we must inform our students of the influences of media. We are all products of a media generated society and we must decide for ourselves what path to follow.

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Rachel Lowman


Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:58 pm
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I think the question as to whether these shoes should be worn is controversial. When I began to ask myself this question, I took into account the note at the bottom of the picture, (I took this from a site that purports to have pictures of Kellie Pickler, a NC native and contestant on American Idol.) Kellie Pickler uses these red high heels in one of her songs (Red High Heels). The lyrics to this song both advocate for women's rights and strength as well as objectifying them. Therefore, there are positives and negatives to these high heels. (At least, metaphorically).
Girls do have the right to choose what they do to their bodies. While this is a good thing, it unfortunately can lead to negative behaviors as well. Ultimately it is beautiful that people have the right and ability to become who they hope to be. The question really is, what do people do with this opportunity.

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Rachel Thompson


Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:22 pm
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I don't feel that girls should have to wear these shoes if they don't want to! However, I feel that if they like them and think they are comfortable in them and can walk without breaking their neck and want to wear them then they should be able to.

I thought of this similarly to Courtney. I remember as a young girl being dress up and put into little girl heals to go to Church. As I got older my hills also got bigger. I still usually wear hills to Church. I don't wear my hills to Church because I feel like I am supposed to but instead because I like them.

I don't think that girls should feel like they have to wear these hills to be popular or accepted. I also don't think that they should wear them to promote themselves in a sexual way. Unfortunately I do believe that the media makes girls feel that they are supposed to wear certain things and to look a certain way to be accepted.

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Jessica Thompson Llewellyn


Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:31 pm
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A girl should be able to wear those shoes as long as it was her own personal choice. I think a person should be able to wear what he or she wants to as long as they are doing it for themselves and not others. They should not follow the crowd just because something might be in style. I do not think you can specify whether a person can wear something or not. It should be their own personal choice whether it be because they are copying what everyone else is doing or wearing it because they like it. I believe this is a tough question to answer because it can be taken in so many directions. People should be allowed to wear something as long as they are doing it for the right reasons.

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Laura Marie Absher


Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:36 pm
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I personally would not be comfortable in shoes that high or that red...but I do think that people are entitled to wearing whatever they want as long as it covering parts that are not publicly indecent. Shoes like those are usually worn to make a statement. Girls who wear those types of shoes want to be seen, and maybe to make themselves look taller. This could play into the body image issue since they are an article of clothing possibly used to make a girl feel more confident in her height, or so that her pants are not too long to wear.

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Mallory Bendig


Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:00 pm
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I think that a girl should be able to wear whatever she wants to as long as it is appropriate. There are always limits to what is considered appropriate or not, but concerning personal style she should be allowed to choose.
Clothes, shoes, and accesories are just like anything else in the fact that everyone is different and have different likes and dislikes. Some girls may love to wear heels where as others like tennis shoes. That is just personal preference and I think if a girl truly like them then she would wear them.

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Kylie Elizabeth McKinney


Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:08 pm
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So I think that a girl should be able to wear these heels if she wants to. I mean I feel like if a boy wanted to go out and wear the most manly thing he owned why can't a girl wear something she feels is girly? I agree that girls have been very persuaded by the media as well. I hate that many girls have been brainwashed to believe that to look like a "real woman" you have to wear outfits like this. Also I feel like you have to look at the source of this picture and see that Kellie Pickler is actually getting out of a heartbreaking relationship. So she is actually talking about these shoes being liberating.

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Dewey Bustle


Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:32 pm
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A person is entitled to wear whatever they want to wear. It’s not just exclusive to a lady; a man should also be able to wear whatever he wants to wear as well. If this girl wants to wear red heels, then there shouldn’t be anyone stopping her. I personally wouldn’t be comfortable in them, but if these shoes are her style, then go for it! The world is full of choices and the media influences our everyday choices, subconsciously and consciously. Often times the media affects our choices in negative ways. I personally don’t see a problem with this person wearing red high heels. Now, if it were a little girl I would probably have a different response.


Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:35 pm
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I was intrigued by the youtube clips on body image and sexuality being imposed at an early age, but at the same time, its been an issue for a long time. I wish that more light being brought to it would mean the world and those in charge of advertising actually striving to portray more acceptable image and lifestyle. Our society is all about pointing out problems, and not changing. I want to see magazines and movies with people that are different in shape and size. Promoting diversity would in this way help to give those looking at these images and the status quo to feel more comfortable about being in their own skin. With their being other motives though, this can be difficult, because sadly, profit is what many people care about. We have industries, such as the tobacco one as mentioned in the Slim Hopes video, that target individuals, especially girls, with smoking being an outlet for food desires, and thus remaining a better, smaller size. Their ads are occupied with small girls smoking. There is a certain look that now, people are trained to recognize as "the" look. According to this clip also, this look is one that only 5% can be born into, and that no diet or exercise could actually ever achieve on a person. What was shocking to me was the statistic of fourth graders on diets, whether that was twenty years ago or today, it would still be the same if not more, I'm sure. When children that young decide they need to be altering their body in some kind of way for society, that says a lot about what we, as a culture, expect of people and their looks. The "So Sexy, So Soon," clip was less about thin, and more about the image of sexiness, still another threat, for what are we promoting. It is true I think that kids at much younger ages are getting ideas for their roles as their specific gender, and then how to look for others. Little girls get dolls with scanty amounts of clothing and little boys are forced to play with gender specific toys that from the get-go have been labeled as okay for masculinity. If they aren't exposed to ideals of being tough and macho, then something is wrong with them. One of the things I liked about this clip was that it proposed some ideas for countering the sexulaization. Parents, instead of engendering rebellion with saying "no," should watch what their kids are watching, being aware of ratings, and open the road to communication with them. This is important because kids will be spending much of their time with other influences, their peers, and should be able to feel as if they can talk with their parents. Finally, "Beauty Mark," was valuable, because it showed that some people are looking for the mechanism of control in their abuse of their use of food, whether it be in limited or unlimited ways. The girl that was training stated that at one point she asked herself what it was that scared her so much of being fat. It really poses the question of how any of us get to be that way, or have this be a main concern. The idea of our society and culture making us, whether we be boys or girls, slaves to a certain image or standard, is really quite frightening and should be brought to the forefront of issues addressed.

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Erin Camden Basham


Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:05 pm
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I forgot to address the question as to whether or not girls should wear those shoes pictured. I feel that if they are not worn to insinuate or imply sexiness or a message, and worn purely as a a preferential look, then they would be fine. Sadly, though, there will always be people that look at them on girls and think that those girls wearing them must behave or be certain types of girls because of previous set examples. If you look at any kind of shoes with the idea of, "those are fun and pretty and I'd like to wear them," not because of any stigmas attached, then shouldn't it be completely fine to wear them as part of your outfit? Not covering up with enough clothes would be more of a problem.

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Erin Camden Basham


Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:11 pm
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I am a firm believer that women should have the freedom to be the person they choose to be. I also feel that our society needs to do all that it can to prevent the objectification of girls. My constant concern and question is where the line is between the two, and I feel like this question is particularly pertinent when it comes to the classroom. I want to encourage my students to explore who they are, but my hope is to do that in a way that strengthens their character. The issue of the red heels is not whether or not girls should be allowed, encouraged, or discouraged to wear them. The motivation behind why a girl would choose to wear the heels is what should be considered. This idea can be applied across the board for girls and their clothing, make-up, and hairstyle decisions. Like the videos discussed, girls are getting their images of what they should look like from the media and they are using any means possible to mirror what they see in ads and commercials.

Girls need a safe environment to figure out who they are free from potentially harmful influences. My question is how can the classroom be this safe place? As some of my classmates mentioned, exposing students to diversity is an important factor in creating an individual's image and world outlook. The language use in the classroom as well as the content choices can be huge influences as well. Allowing girls to see and experience people and cultures that do not suggest objectification gives them the ability to see that there is more out there than what they are constantly being bombarded with in the American media culture. Girls should see every possible angle, and they should be given the freedom to choose, free from pressure, who they will be. If they then choose to wear red high heels, that is completely their decision to make.


Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:15 pm
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I feel that there is a common idea among the responders that it isnt about the shoes, it's about the girls thinking that they have to wear the shoes in order to fit in or look good. There are a multitude of reasons that a girl might want to wear these shoes (they're cool shoes) but if the girl feels like she needs to wear the shoes that is where the problem arises. Like everybody else i feel that the shoes are not the problem, it is the outsiders who are telling these girls that they need to look a certain way in order to fit in and be accepted. It is disgusting the way media portrays young girls and i think that the reasons for wearing the shoes are the problem. Girls should be able to choose what they want to but the influence of the media is unfair and disgusting.

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Jackson Gibbons


Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:55 pm
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I agree with Jackson. It seems like we can all come to the conclusion that it is not the actual shoes that are the problem, but rather the social implications behind them that cause controversy. If a girl likes red high heels because they are comfortable and appealing to her, then she should wear them. If she chooses to put on a pair of red high heels that she can hardly keep her balance in simply to attract attention and to be accepted in society, then she should probably grab a pair of tennis shoes instead. It is certainly ok, or permissible, for a young girl to wear heels as high as she wants and in whatever color she wants, but what is not ok is the fact that society and the media oftentimes trick girls into thinking that wearing certain things or behaving certain ways determine their value in society.

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Brooke Estridge


Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:15 pm
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