Another Introduction to the Op-Ed? Why Not!

Like many of my classmates before me, I have chosen the well-known and well-respected op-ed for my next experiment cycle. While I’ve skimmed what seems like a million and a half op-eds, I never really knew its conventions before I got to class. As someone who pushes her opinion whenever she feels it necessarily, you’d think that this would occur to me way before this class. But, y’know, you just sort of accept things as the norm, and move on, without really questioning how they work or why you like them.

The op-ed’s founder, Herbert Bayard, stated,

“It occurred to me that nothing is more interesting than opinion when opinion is interesting, so I devised a method of cleaning off the page opposite the editorial, which became the most important in America … and thereon I decided to print opinions, ignoring facts,” 

and if that ain’t me, I don’t know what is.

Op-eds stand for opposite editorial. Op-eds are often given from an individualized perspective, whether it be from the voice of a community, or an individual ready to go all in on a topic (I stole that quote from Wikipedia, the opposite of an op-ed). A majority of op-eds are written by individuals not affiliated with the medium to which they submit the op-ed. Ideas and conversations that may not always be brought up on the front page have the chance to make a real impact. With the internet being as popular as is it (wow, shocking observation, Briana), it’s not surprise that the op-ed has taken off in these past few years. Our society places a lot more faith in individual opinion now than it has in the past, or at least from what I’ve seen in my short, short lifetime.

Op-eds are usually shorter, and contain quick facts to help give its audience context for the topic. Titles are short, witty and attention grabbing, without being insanely click-baity. The topics are relevant, and gives readers something to think about. Although most sources say op-eds range between 500-800 words, I agree with what Olivia said in class: they can definitely be way longer. Points are narrow, and have a lot to do with the writer. Obviously, mine would start out with talk of how I fell into the trap of the male gaze (a huge part of me also thinks this has to do with my fascination of classic Hollywood’s standard of beauty, my own race, and my opinions on beauty…which…is messy…but makes for a good read, probably).

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Me, after reading the Burkett piece

After reading an extremely controversial op-ed by Elinor Burkett, I felt it was my civic duty to tell you what I think about the male gaze, the feminism that comes with it, and how our society is helping dismantle it (or making it drastically worse). I’m currently trying to find movies to use as an antithesis for the male gaze, and I think a lot of the examples we talked about in class can prove this. But, recently, I also have begun to think music and television are moving a lot faster than movies at doing this, and that’s something to take into consideration. Television and music aren’t bogged down by the “blockbuster atmosphere” that support the male gaze. The industry of music and TV have a larger pools of diversity, in both production and directing, in comparison to movies. Artists like SZA, and series like Issa Rae’s Insecure are making huge strides that push back on the male gaze, and what it means to be a woman in Hollywood. These are mediums (or…genres?) that deserve to be looked at, even if they are different from that of movies.

Maybe I should just pitch my own movie, instead of writing an op-ed…

Although, after reading all this theory, I’m struggling currently to not totally go off about how toxic I think white feminism is to the WOC community. 

3 thoughts to “Another Introduction to the Op-Ed? Why Not!”

  1. You have such intriguing ideas regarding this topic- maybe you really should just pitch your own movie! Otherwise, I think going the direction of an op-ed with this idea is extremely wise. Just from this short blog post I can tell that you already have a whirlwind of great things to talk about in ways that will allow you to insert your opinion in a fitting way. When you say that you’re going to look at movies that might stand as an antithesis to the male gaze, are you thinking of looking at more outdated movies or more recent ones?

  2. Hey Briana! I really liked how you included the Herbert Bayard quote in your post. I have never heard that before but I definitely agree. I would be super interested to read an op-ed of yours, especially after reading the NYT piece you linked to. For your op-ed, I think it would be really useful to include a modern example of a movie/TV show/song that supports the male gaze in addition to an antithesis to it. Are you leaning towards writing one longer op-ed for this project?

  3. Love this idea! I definitely think it would be really cool to go beyond just the film industry and look into music or television. It would help give a more comprehensive look at how the idea of the male gaze (or the rejection of it, depending on what you find) has changed throughout several pieces of media. Would you specifically focus on one of these mediums (television, music, or film) or discuss all of them? Granted, that might be a bit hard to do in an op-ed, but depending on how long it is (I know you mentioned writing a longer one) you just might be able to pull that off.

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