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What Is Popular Culture? Are women Seen As Sex Objects More or Less Than In The Past?

Do the fisherman catch anything at First Street Pier?

Walk along the First Street Pier these days. The fishermen (and a few women) are tossing their lines out. Each person has their own rock. It must be prime season, because the number of people fishing at certain times is substantial. Saturday I asked one of the fishermen how many fish were being caught—I hadn’t seen any.

“Four today. One about twelve pounds. Salmon,” he said.

Also recently spotted a line of photographers in the marina.

I watched the film, Miss Representation, about the objectification of women, I saw a lot of disgusting stuff that I wouldn’t otherwise watch, though I know it’s available.  T & A taken to the max. The message wasn’t different than what women objected to in the Sixties—as part of the women’s liberation movement.

I have granddaughters. I thought about how things are for them as teenagers as compared to what it was for me. It’s better by any way I have to measure. If other people did something—touched them or said something inappropriate—they know they can speak up. Not so in my day—sexual harassment was not even recognized. Title 9 has given girls more opportunities. If they play basketball, they can play the whole court! We played half. I could go on.

Part of what struck me as I thought about the film was that popular culture has changed significantly. With hundreds of possible channels to watch, guess what—people are watching different stuff!

Similarly with music, people listen to what they like. I don’t even know what popular music is anymore. When we watched television, listened to records, and the radio, well, we all sort of knew what the popular songs were.

The last popular hit I can think of is Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You. That song became the best selling single by a female artist in 1994.

I think that reality TV was what put me off the networks. I moved away and have never moved back, though I still like sitcoms and watch Seinfeld, Fraser, and Sex in the City as reruns. Mostly I watch PBS—I like Doc Martin and Foyle’s War, plus Frontline, and The News Hour, to mention a few.

So, when I’m shown a portrayal of popular culture, as I was in Miss Representation, I think, well, that’s a part of our culture, but not one that I really pay much attention to anymore. Johnny Fernandez, the man on the panel who had his family along, was probably embarrassed to have his daughters see some of the images on the screen, because he said, he and his wife just don’t let that stuff in on a regular basis.

I think that’s what we all do—it’s good that we can. It also means our culture is more diverse than ever.

Julianne Mann September 26, 2012 at 08:10 PM
It was great to see you Sunday. Even briefly. It was my first day out - recovering from surgery. Reason I could not attend Miss Representaton. From what you write, I realize it's reality but prefer not to see. Blind? Sometimes need to be. Take care, hope you have a beautiful day.
T. Gunter September 27, 2012 at 01:53 AM
On the fishing note: A certain sea lion is benefiting quite a bit, as he snatches away plenty of angler's opportunity to boast that they landed one.

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