Friday, June 12, 2015

Consuming/Culture: My post conference takeaways

A week ago today I was catching one of Oxford's many buses to Oxford Brookes University to attend the Consuming/Culture: Women and girls in pixels and print conference. When I wasn't at the conference or in my room I spent a good chunk of time taking the bus.
Many of the buses that circle Oxford come every 20 minutes and include free Wi-Fi. I loved that. Buses in the UK have come along way compared to what we have in the United States. While I saw plenty of cars on the road in England, people really embrace public transit and happily use it every day. A noticeable difference from here in the states.

So how was the conference? It was a wonderful experience. Although the trip was "short and sweet," I found it very worthwhile. The two days filled with stories, discussions, and speeches that looked at a wealth of women's issues through an academic and research lens. I was pleased to see I was among a good number of Americans in attendance. I took my fair share of notes. 

One of my favorite presentations was "Filipino women and the idealization of white beauty in films, magazines, and online." Kristin Baybayan Renault research examined and analyzed Filipino's idealization of fair skin and European features. While this topic wasn't new to me, it was amazing to see how the Filipino culture has struggled with this cultural problem since they were first colonized by the Spanish and then the United States. Since being conquered they have adapted the beauty standards of the dominant white culture and use advertising to sell women and girls products that will help them look less "ethic" and more white. Folks, this is a billion dollar industry and Filipinos are just one of many ethic groups that get these messages and are told their ethic look isn't ideal. Have you ever heard of the paper bag test in the black community? It was the first thing that popped into my head as I was listening to Kristin.

A nice spot to relax and read on the Brooke's campus.

I have a few more stories like that I could share, but I won't. Another favorite conference moment was having dinner with Angela McRobbie (See my last blog post for her bio, much of my research was based of her research). The topic of Girls came up and we discussed more in-depth why she isn't a Lena Dunham fan. Her keynote briefly hit on her displeasure of the outspoken show creator. I explained my thesis paper was looking at gender bias and she asked to read it. Yeah, now I need to send it to her asap. 

What's next? Something, just not sure what at the moment. This conference introduced me to new topics and ideas related to women and girls.I'm going to continue to look at gender bias in television and film and how it influences women in society. I'm going to move forward with another study, but am not sure what my topic is yet. Eventually I'll figure it out.