Sunday, February 21, 2010

Coming of Age with the Internet, McMillan & Morrison

McMillan and Morrison talk about the role of interactive technologies (i.e., computers and/or internet) and the influence it has on each member of the family, in their study entitled “Coming of age with the Internet” McMillan and Morrison compare different generations of family members and their familiarity and uses for the internet. In one instance one of the participants named “Brian” speaks about how the internet and interactive technologies have profoundly influenced his life. Brian states that because of the information he has received on the internet he no longer chooses to eat red meat and has chosen to buy foods that are entirely organic. In today’s society, information has become readily available to us with just a click of a mouse. This makes it exceptionally easy for us to make informed decisions about all aspects of our lives including, what we know about the world around us, who we listen to poetically, musically, politically and what we eat or chose not to eat. Just last year I wanted to know exactly what ingredients were in my Strawberry yogurt. After researching this for just a couple of minutes, I found out that Cochineal insects are used in some yogurts, other dairy products and even cosmetics to create a crimson carmine-colored dye which is used for food coloring. Since that day I have stayed away from any food product which has carmine as an ingredient.

Another common theme that was brought up within the text was the idea that the Internet has now made it easier for families, particularly those in faraway states to stay in touch. Having family that live in various other countries, I understand that the internet and other interactive technologies such as Facebook and MySpace can serve as a tool for staying in touch with our loved ones; however, I believe that it has also taken away from our ability to have interpersonal relationships with others. The internet has been beneficial in the respect that it gives us another outlet to communicate with family members and friends but, it has diminished the value of using other more personal and antique ways of staying in touch with others such as, calling them or writing a letter. In the study there was a participant who stated by communicating with someone over the Internet we lose on some of life's precious moments and the ability to use self-expression for instance, hearing someone's voice or laughter etc. I was even shocked to hear some individuals say that if it weren’t for the internet they would not talk to their parents as frequently. I found that to be incredibly sad and unfortunate.

From reading this article, I have come to realize that Americans as well as individuals from all over the world have lost some sense of reality. Adults as well as, adolescents have neglected to engage in recreation activities with friends by participating in sports and other outdoor games in favor of staying inside to play computer generated video games with a person halfway around the country. Everyday teens are spending hours on chartrooms creating suedo names and an assortment of alter egos so that they can somehow fit in or gain acceptance from others, often feeling that who they really are isn’t good enough. Much like the ideal showcased in tough guise, that a male adolescent has to be or act tough to gain acceptance from one’s peers at school. The Media has taught us to believe that our personal characteristics, ideals, beliefs and values that shape who we are, is not sufficient. So instead, it invites us to tell falsehoods about ourselves so that we can sound more appealing to others. It is true that most grandparents and parents are not as technology savvy as the younger generations in their own family then again, I believe that this is a good thing because they are not as easily influenced by the media and all of its bells and whistles. So I ask the class, when has it become okay to favor a friend in the virtual world for a real one?

  • Here is an episode of True Life on MTV, it is called "I Live Another Life On the Web" It is about three young women who have made up alteregos on the web that are completely opposte from themselves. The sad thing is that these girls, especially one in particular believes that nonody understands her except for the friends that she has in the virtual world.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Tangle of Discourses: Girls Negotiating Adolescence, By: Rebbecca Raby

After reading A Tangle of Discourses: Girls Negotiating Adolescence by Rebecca C. Raby, I came to the realization that stereotypes that classify today’s youth as moody and rebellious transcend the Western Culture. In this study Raby is on a quest to explore what people thought of adolescents while they were experiencing it. In the text she talks about discourses which are defined by her as a set of meanings, metaphors, representations, images, stories, statements and so on that in some way together produce a particular version of events’ (1995, p. 48). In her work, Raby states that many of the discourses, representations, meanings and metaphors regarding teenagers are often manipulated by power. This statement directly correlates to the discussion we had last class about how people in power dictate dominant ideologies in the media.

When talking to most adults they tend to refer to their teenage years as the best years of their lives but I tend to disagree many teenagers are bombarded by images in the media of what is accepted in. When walking through the hallways of most high schools we see many adolescence with expensive clothes, purses and accessories. Rabi calls this pleasurable consumption; however I believe that adolescent’s these to gain acceptance from their peers. Individuals who cannot afford the latest trends are often ridiculed and cast as an outsider. An individual’s adolescent years are fundamental in discovering one’s identity, beliefs and values’ combining this with the inevitable peer pressure that adolescents face it’s no wonder that they are sometimes misunderstood. With adolescent years acknowledged as a period of self reflection I understand why the media places so much focus on capitalism and the image of perfection.

My question is the same as Amanda’s? Which is: Is Adolescence viewed as biological, and how is adolescence and discourse viewed within our society, not only by women but men as well?

I Found this video of My Chemical Romance, and their song called "Teenagers" that explains how teenagers are often misunderstood by adults in today's society.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Assumptions of the Course: Teenagers in/and the Media

Youth is or a culturally constructed category
When looking up the definition of youth I came across several interpretations that try to explain what it means to be an adolescent in today’s ever-changing culture. According to, youth is defined as:
· a young person (a young man or boy) young:
· young people collectively; “rock music appeals to the young”; youth everywhere rises in revolt”
· the time of life between childhood and maturity
· early maturity; the state of being young or immature or inexperienced
· an early period of development; “during the youth of the project”

Impressions of adolescents are constantly changing in today’s culture. As stated in the assumptions of youth and conceptual framework of our syllabus "race, class, ability, gender, sexuality and size intersect and interrupt the category of youth". When discussing intention vs. implication and dominant ideologies in our society during class we talked about how the media portrays certain characteristics as acceptable across various cultures. We conferred about how being a straight, christian, white, able-bodied American male who owns property are individuals with a certain amount of power in today’s culture because those individuals meet the “status quo” so to speak.

Teenagers are not some alien life form
Although I concur and understand that we have all been teenagers at some point in our lives, I don’t necessarily agree that we are the same person we were as teenagers. Granted as we become older our life experiences shape who we are and what journey through life we decide to take but, I do not agree that we remain the same individual. I, for example am not the same shy insecure individual that I once was at the age of thirteen. I am more confident and accepting of who I am. In my experiences in working with adolescents and young adults I am aware of how tough the period of adolescents can be on young adults and therefore, I listen to their concerns without judgment because I understand how these issues affect them in this stage of their lives.

Media Matters
Media is everywhere, influencing various aspects of our life. Television, magazines and advertisements showcase images of incredibly thin women that compel women to feel insecure and dissatisfied with their bodies and or self image. What many individuals, adults and teens alike neglect to consider is that the images portrayed on the front cover of some of America’s most popular magazines have been altered to imitate perfection, even though there is truthfully no such thing as perfection. What would be ideal, however, is for teenagers and young adults to be aware of these technologies and learn to analyze what they perceive in the media and filter what is realistic and what isn’t. I believe that television; magazine and billboard advertisements should display more positive and realistic imagery of beauty and acceptance for who we are regardless of our flaws.


Here is a video I found about how all facets of the media affect women’s body image and their interpretation of beauty in today’s culture.

Here is a Dove commercial that encourages our culture to promote positive imagery of beauty and self-esteem within our media.


Definitions of youth on the Web: Youth. Retrieved February 12, 2010, from