Friday, March 1, 2013

Artifact Analysis I: Jenna Marbles, Role Model?

She’s blonde, super attractive, thin, and everything that is portrayed by the media as “hot,” but she doesn’t care.  She makes fun of it.  She’s crude, swears a lot, and is dead-on hilarious about most things, but she doesn’t give a crap if she offends you.  She’s Jenna Marbles, entertainer and video blogger, and she, in my opinion, is a great representation of smashing down boundaries between what is acceptable and not acceptable for a girl to behave like.  Jenna Marbles calls things like she sees them, about gender and other things related to this class, and she promotes monogamy and non-sluttiness, but her only visible downfall is sometimes dressing in a manner that objectifies herself.
Jenna Marbles represents women in a very carefree, not serious light.  She makes fun of things that society sees women as, by creating video blogs every week.  She is strong and independent and has very distinct opinions, which she voices very clearly.  All of these things, in my opinion are good traits for role models to exhibit.  Somewhere under all that sarcasm, serious messages emerge, mostly about respecting yourself and the skin that you’re in.  Her brutal honesty is something I admire very much as well.
I know in class we talked about taking back words like “slut” and “bitch” and using them to empower women.  Though her overuse of these words can lead some to believe that she is using them in a derogatory sense, I believe that she is doing just the opposite—using them to empower the womanly gender.  She swears like a sailor in her videos, but I think it’s nice that she shatters the “proper little well-mannered woman” pigeonhole.  She has been known to advocate against the whole double standard of women being sluts for embracing their sexuality, while men are just being men, which I also find to be role model-worthy. 
She repeatedly goes on camera with no makeup on, completely unashamed of herself.  She leaves up old photos on her Facebook page so that no one forgets where she came from, and who she is underneath all the “hoochy makeup” and skimpy clothing.  I find this to be admirable, because so man girls nowadays won’t go anywhere without a pound of makeup, as if they are afraid people won’t like them.
During her “Things I Don’t Understand About Girls Part 2: Slut Edition”  video, she basically advocates for monogamy, telling girls crudely to respect themselves and their bodies, and to not let guys take advantage of them while their drunk.  I was impressed by this video in that it’s a good thing for young girls to hear…that they don’t need to sleep with everyone to be cool or to somehow validate themselves as worthy of something, because they are worth way more than some one night stands and another notch on their lipstick case.  I don’t think we hear enough advocating against sluttiness from females today, so mad props to Jenna for doing so.
My only real complaints in terms of how she represents women, are how she dresses sometimes, and the fact that she gets drunk on camera a lot when a good portion of her fans are teenage girls.  I’ve found pictures of her in my searching for this paper, where she is as scantily clad as they come, without being outright naked.  My guess is that she’s 100% aware that she’s inadvertently becoming a sex symbol, but I still wish that she would be more aware of the fact that she’s becoming a modern-day role model for younger women.
Jenna Marbles responds to depictions of women by using them as punch lines for her video blogs.  She frequently makes her video about how she perceives society’s depictions of women, and she jokes about it, which I think is awesome.  I apparently have the same sense of humor as her, but some people might take it seriously and get offended.
I think that Jenna Marbles unites women by not taking our gender seriously.  Her video about girl crushes tells girls that it is ok to admire other girls, and it doesn’t always have to be sexual.  I think it’s nice that she talks about admiring other girls, instead of being jealous of them and catty. 
She also responds to some men’s depictions of women in certain situations by making fun of them drastically.  Like, for instance, a Turkish author wrote an article about the Olympics and how the women all looked like men, and she defended her gender with this video: .  Now, sometimes she gets bad reviews because they say that she uses gender stereotypes too much in her humor, but I think she’s more or less making fun of gender-typing.

Now, I realize that this paper has been mostly me arguing with myself as to whether or not I consider her a good role model.  Parts of me want to be like, “Shit yeah, she’s hilarious!”  But the mother of a daughter in me is like, “Hmm, do I really want my daughter growing up to idolize people like this?”  The answer is yes.  I’d rather have her idolizing some potty-mouthed girl who doesn’t take life too seriously and promotes monogamy than some trashy actress that has serious drug problems, or pop stars that admittedly sleep around.  It’s not just me…I found this blog entry from some random person in the internet world who sees what I see in Jenna Marbles:  I think that we all need to embrace our genders for what they are, like she does, without putting hard definitions to them, and accepting people no matter what they identify as.  If we could all just bond over comedy, the world might be a better place. 


  1. I just want to start off will saying how much I love Jenna Marbles! She really is the spitting image of what the media portrays as “hot”. Even thought she’s attractive she films herself without makeup or her hair done because she could care less what anyone else thinks! She should be a role model instead of those models with unattainable weight and beauty. I agree completely with what you said about her being a great representation and how she recreates the boundaries. She mocks what society creates as the norm.
    I disagree with your complaints about how she represents women. Sometimes she may dress inappropriately and get drunk, but Jenna is a grown women and she should be responsible for the age of her audience. As bad as that sounds she doesn’t create those videos directed toward a certain group. Therefore if too young of kids are watching her videos their parents should be help responsible. She is a grown women and she should be able to dress and act the way she pleases without being judged or criticized.
    In the end I completely agree with you that she is a good role model. Jenna mocks the normality created for women by society and creates new attainable boundaries. She may have a mouth on her but at least she sends the message to be yourself and not care what others think or say about you. And in the end that really is the key message to living happy.

    1. Look up Jenna Marbles on Google Images, the reread what you wrote.

  2. I just wanted to say I am really glad you did a blog on Jenna Marbles. I absolutely love her videos. I was thinking about writing a blog about it, but I was concerned if she is more helpful or harmful. But I completely agree with your views.
    One thing I do not like about her is how she slut shames sometimes. During her Things I Don't Understand About Girls Part 2: Slut Edition. She says that she has tons of friends that are sluts, but that does not mean it is okay to call them sluts.
    I love how she makes fun of gender stereotyping, such as What Boys Do in the Car. In this video she talks about how guys have to drive stick shift to be a “man.” Most people I know that identify as males talk about that they would like to have a stick shift car. Also she jokes about having bad road rage. I rage more than anyone I know.
    Then of course she did a video What Girls Do in the Car. She pointed out that girls always sing in the car and do not even realize it. I am totally guilty of it as well as my male friends. She also talked about putting make up while driving. I absolutely hate when people do that. And I know guys who put chap-stick on while driving.
    Overall I love Jenna and I think she is a better idol than most celebrities these days.