Image and the Body

Week4Illustration2.jpgImage and the Body

After watching the Gender as Spectrum video this week, I decided to post a photo of a car in the driveway of my neighbor’s house. They gave me permission to do so and I blacked out the license plate for safety reasons.

I tend to make visual assumptions about gender when I really think of it. I never mean to be disrespectful about it, but I admit that I think everyday activities or objects can either be masculine or feminine. For example, if I were watching a football game I would normally say it is masculine because of all the hard hitting and rough play. However, this does not mean it cannot be feminine as well because women can play the sport too. Another example I can think of when I was growing up is figure skating. I always saw one or two boys skating with a dozen girls. I always thought it was a feminine sport and thought the boys were acting “girly”. However, just because females dominate the sport of figure skating does not mean that it is a feminine sport. When I think about it more, many things in life should be neutral gender rather than one or the other.

A car was the first thing that came to my mind when I thought of an object or thing that was “neutral” based. I believe a car is neutral based because it can come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. A car is something that can be made neutral based on the appearance. However, in the eyes of society and many people, cars can be seen more masculine and feminine. For example, a car that is jacked up and very sporty looking would probably be viewed as more masculine. A car that has soft and light colors with a sunroof would be viewed as feminine. Furthermore, in relation to cars, trucks always seem more masculine and these companies tend to target males. I have to say, Ford stuck out in my mind immediately when I thought of a masculine object. For example, Ford commercials always have the tagline, “Built Ford Tough”. They seem to be targeting males, but it does not mean females cannot drive them or use them for working purposes either. That is why I would have to say the average looking car to someone could be viewed as neutral gender.

When I encounter someone who does not seem distinctly male or female I do feel a little uncomfortable. I think it is because of the uncertainty that comes to my mind and the idea of wondering what is going through their minds when they are looking at me. However, I would say these feelings have dropped off over time. Growing up in my generation, I have learned to accept anyone for who he or she is or what he or she looks like. I have grown an appreciation for people that do as they want so that they can feel comfortable living out each day to their fullest. I would say that another person’s looks are not as important to me as they used to be. If a male or female wants to dress opposite of their sex then go for it! If a male wants to grow his hair out or a female wants to cut their hair short, then go for it! As a society we need to start accepting people for who they are and not let our visual cues get in the way. If we can do this, then the world can continue to grow in a happily diverse nation.

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4 thoughts on “Image and the Body

  1. Hey Tod,

    I agree with your post, things shouldn’t be gender specific, there are so many reasons not to judge someone just because they drive a masculine car or a feminine car. A car is a car and if you want it to be big with beefy tires or you want a small punch buggy that is bright pink, by all mean’s you should be allowed to drive it and not feel judged. I know how you feel when you encounter someone who isnt male or female it can be hard to figure out them but with time i have become far more accepting and understanding of them.

  2. Like with vans, they are typically viewed as mom’s van, right? Trucks are (were?) guys’ choice of automobile. Seniors preferred Park Avenue, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, or any other sedans. Times have changed somewhat because I am seeing more and more men driving vans and women driving trucks. I think the automobile marketings are becoming smarter by doing their sales to all drivers wishes, desires, and preferences, not by the makes of their cars that are on their lots.

    Right now I think there is a car that is a dream car for both genders… Tesla.

  3. While I agree that the average vehicle on the road appears gender neutral such as the image you have posted, I believe that there are many vehicles and OEMs that target different groups and different genders specifically. Although this happens on a regular basis, I don’t think we should assume the truck we see for example outside Home Depot with a lift kit and over-sized tires is driven by a male. But we do, just like we assume the little yellow Volkswagen Beetle parked outside the craft store is driven by a female. We very often associate the color and type of car with a male or female driver depending and our assumptions are often incorrect. I drive a little gray Nissan Sentra and often get judged for the size and lack of masculine features the vehicle has, but the car I drive does not represent myself and the type of person I am at all.

  4. Using vehicles are a great example, for many years there have been cars that have been seen as more common for a particular gender, but I feel that now this is less true. I think that a big component to this thought of vehicles such as vans being women cars, or trucks being for men comes down to how the particular type of cars were being marketed. In today’s car market, these vehicles are being marketed less towards genders and more towards personal situations such as families with small kids.

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