Culture Jamming Assignment
For the four part submission of the Culture Jamming assignment, please see below. Each deliverable is marked by a subtitle.
1. Original Advertisement:
2. Brief written analysis of original ad:
Throughout the course of Module 1, it has become evident that globalization has posed numerous impacts on the intersectional framework of gender – along with other social realms (i.e. race, politics). For instance, the development of neoliberalism (in essence free economy, private property rights, free markets) has allowed 21st consumer culture to flourish, perpetuating the domination of corporate ideals. This is the issue that I would like to address with my culture jamming, whereby magazines – the very center of advertisements and corporate images, illustrate extensive social issues in our world today. Much of these advertisements are derived from corporation goals and objectives, thus ensuring effective consumption. Similarly, this cover also depicts problems brought along by globalization, in which feminist issues are largely focused in the Eurocentric perspective and neglects other relative transnational frameworks. As seen in the ad, most individuals would view the cover as sexually degrading, yet most would not see that it assumes all women to be a similar economic status – when that is not the case at all. Hence, ads like so also ignore the possibility of other correlating problems, such as financial standing, political rights, and others.
The original cover features slogans advertising sex, romance and fitness tips, emphasizing the existing gendered, unrealistic stereotype of women – in which women are considered to be only desiring a life of love and family. The small feature on health and fitness (i.e. the cover’s statement of “kissing body hang-ups goodbye”) enhances the unrealistic image of women, whilst continuing the assumption all readers are of the same economic class. Intellects alike Zizek state that consumerist culture in modern capitalism also attempts to bring together anti-capitalism + capitalist realms. This is shown here, where Cosmopolitan is seemingly campaigning for ethical causes. Another issue with the cover is lack of consideration towards women in diaspora, which may be considered a form of internal domination from the North to South (as conveyed by Gayatri Spivak).
The social implications are countless in adverts, magazines and covers – much of which is rooted in the process of globalization and the impacts brought along with it. I believe this cover – when ‘jammed’ effectively portrays these dilemmas, and showcase how globalization shapes intersectional frameworks.
3. Jammed Advertisement:
4. Brief Written Analysis of Jammed Ad:
As my final culture jam, I took the existing magazine cover from Cosmopolitan and decoded the underlying social issues derived from globalization. My goal was to make the cover look as visually similar to the previous example as possible, which would thus invoke a sense of reality and portray the subtleness of consumer messages the general public is accustomed to seeing everyday.
Throughout the course of producing this visual artefact, I focused on emphasizing how globalization (specifically economic processes) brought along messages that perpetuated consumerist goals. For example, I transformed the headliner from “274 shoes” to “Buy shoes”, revealing the corporate message to purchase more when there are more options made available. This is the consumerist culture brought along by neoliberalism, as well as the ideology that by measuring economic success, one would measure the success of feminism. In essence, this may be due to the argument of internal colonization and continuous domination of North to South (global to local, or First World to Third World) as noted by Chandra in “Revisiting: Under Western Eyes”. Chandra states that politics and economics (as well as other social ideals) are inherently entangled in feminist work, yet much of hegemonic feminism fails to realize this. This is very much the case here, as the magazine assumes all readers to be at a level of economic stability and desire the stereotypical wants of the North. Thus, lacking a transnational framework of local contexts – as a process of globalization. Similar to Zizek’s ideas on consumer ethics (another result of globalization), I also framed Cosmopolitan’s attempt to report on a rape scandal as appeal to the same notion. In turn, perpetuating continuous consumption by appealing to audience sympathy.
As aforementioned before, one key issue I wished to highlight was the dominance of hegemonic feminism throughout global corporations. As the cover illustrates, much of the brand is focused in creating an ideal, professional, romantic, wealthy and fit consumer, creating an unrealistic image of women. This could be seen as a result of Eurocentric feminism and its widespread globalization throughout the world. Hence, there is a need to recognize transnational perspectives and their local/historical contexts.
Consequently, much of my culture jam is based on the understanding that consumerist, corporate culture is focused on enforcing an existing hegemonic feminist ideal – neglecting other transnational ideals as it is very much globalized.