Thursday, April 29, 2010

Object Lessons- Romance, Violation, and Adolescent Sexual Desire By: Deborah Tolman

The reading by Deborah Tolman, entitled Object Lessons -Romance, Violation, and Adolescent Sexual Desire was my favorite piece of literature thus far. I think that it is extremely important to talk to young girls about their feelings as young adolescents, and the needs, questions or concerns they might have with regard to their sexuality. Contrary to the belief that young women must remain tight-liped about their desires and human anatomy, I believe that it is important for people to be educated about sex so that they can make an informed, conscious decision about their sex lives rather than to rely on the word of their peers, myths, magazines or other forms of media to get the correct information in regards to sex . Likewise in addition to being educated about our own sexuality (our human anatomy, sexual desires, raging hormones and sexual norms- what is considered "normal" anyways). We should also informed about the human anatomy, sexual needs, desires, raging hormones and sexual norms of the opposite sex. I agree with Tolman when she explains that by speaking to boys and girls about girls' entitlement to their sexual desire, we demand a rewrite of the romance narrative in which girls will be sexual subjects rather than sexual objects."

Growing up, sex was never really talked about in my family. It was known that girls should wait until marriage to engage in intercourse with their husbands. Instead of forcing the idea of abstinence on today's youth. We should teach them the importance of accepting ones sexuality and that sexual desire is a normal part of human nature and that it is normal. Being raised in a prodominatley portuguese culture i was never lectured on the "birds and the bees" and the importance of our bodies and how they are supposed to be used. We were always told to be "good girls". Whenever, I was curoous about this topic i would often talk to friends but even then their were always those teenage myths about the fact that boys have sexual desires that girls are not supposed to give into. In the words of Rachel from Glee, "girls think about sex just as much as men do".

In addition, to being educated about our bodies I think its important for girls to learn that it is okay to say "No" and really mean it. We are often taught that sex is bad, and is merely for a man's pleasure. That is simply not true and can often be damaging to the adolescent perception of sexuality. Its no wonder that more and more individuals are finding it difficult to let loose and to truly be intimate with their partners. I agree with Sammantha, my classmate in saying that we need to explain to adolescents that they can be loved for their inner beauty as well as their outer. They need to be informed on how it is natural and that they need to love themselves before anyone else can love them back.

Miller-Teens and the Social Media

Miller's literature regarding New Media, Networking and Phatic Culture was both interesting and hard to understand. In this text Miller discusses how the internet and its various purposes has changed. The author explains how the internet and its numerous functions have expanded and changed over the years, more noteably in the years of 2004-2006 to preesent. Miller discusses how the internet has become a way to sustain relationships as well as an avenue to form and build friendships and relationships alike.

Through the years, I have become an avid internet user using it to check my e-mail and stay in touch with family and friends via my facebook page. However, I still consider myself to be a digital immigrant in some ways, as I do not twitter, neither did i regularly maintain a blog (up until this class that is). Although i know we live in a society that is constantly changing to cater to the technological advances of our world, i was suprised to learn that 93% of teens ages 12-17 are online. I thought that number would be much lower. Then again, the demand to keep up with our countries technological advances are huge and are increasingly important in present day.

When reading the text further, Miller speaks about blogging. In the literature Miller talks about how blogging is a "process in which communities and personal relationships, social forms and commitments are less bound by history and, under globalization, space, are free to, and perhaps forced to actively contruct their own biographies and social bond"(Miller 388). Though i agree that technology and its various purpoes are important especially if we want to compete with other nations in regards to employment and other impoant facets of life, I do find our obsession with Media and technology to be a little disconcerning. I think that the Media (Internet, texting blogging etc. has made it easier for us to become more impersonal and has diminished our ability to build strong interponsal relationships with people that we have contact with on a day to day basis. It is also worrisome because individuals have allowed the internet to become such a vital part of their lives that they may become more vulnerable to personal invasion of privacy. Let's face it some individuals post comments incessantly about their day (especially on sites like myspace and facebook) saying things like " about to take a shower". Why is it so pertinent to know for people to know about ones personal hygiene? Yet, i was still more suprised (rather in shock), when reading that "most teens restrict access to their posted photos on the internet at least most of time. While adults restrict access to the same content less often" (Miller, 4).That is something i truly can't wrap my mind around and probably will never understand. How can parents expect their children to be more vigilient of their use on the net when they don't hold themselves accountable to the same criteria?

Furthermore, I believe that Miller would agree with McMillian and Morrison in stating that the internet and/or has made it easier or allowed us to stay in contact with family and friends (or with people whom we wouldn't have much contact with otherwise. However, i do feel that we all need to be more vigilient of the things we decide to post, tweet or share with other as well as the people we decide to let in to our inner circle especially with the recent occurances of cyberbullying and stalking among teens and adults.

This is a funny video i found about facebook, called Man in the Box it illustrates how social networking can impact our lives. explicit language is used. Please be advised.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fast Foward

The Preface of Fast Forward by Lauren Greenfield is an introduction to her book entitled Fast Forward which gives us a glance in to the lives of child and Adolescents from L.A. particularly those who reside on the West Side. In documenting the lives of these children and adolescents she was able to get to know them, what they like and dislike, their goals and aspirations, whom they aspire to be and how the media and popular culture has influenced the way in which they both live and view their lives. Throughout the text Greenfield discusses the loss of innocence and how youngesters particularly those in Hollywood are living life on the fast track and feel pressure to grow up rather than to enjoy the virtue of childhood. As one teenager said, "You grow up really fast when you grow up in L.A. It seems like everyone is in a rush to be an adult. It's not cool to be a kid."

In Lauren Greenfield's article she stated "Like young people everywhere, L.A.'s teens are greatly influenced by the television and films they watch, the magazines they read, and the music they listen to. If anything, Hollywood's proximity amplifies its import and influence. At the same time, the experience of L.A. teens has inspired many popular media products, such as the television series Beverly Hílls 90210, the movies Clueless and South Central and countless music videos. Through their influence on mainstream media, L.A. teens help create the trends and attitudes that reverberate among international youth. The relationship between Hollywood and the teens growing up in its shadow epitomizes the modern dialectic between kids and media, reality and fantasy". I found this article to be intriguing and I too, was on a quest to discover how different facets of the media and popular culture affect youth who grow up in Rhode Island as well as neighboring cities and towns. While conducting my own photo project I visited schools, arcades and several shopping centers to get a greater insight on how trendiness, fame and fortune have become synonymous with popularity.

I believe that Greenfield would agree with Raby's text which discusses teenage discourses. One of them being the discourse of pleasurable consumption and how adolescents and popular culture are essential in assisting an individual to discover their identity, beliefs and values. Greenfield examines this discourse in her photo project citing its significance of how materialism, money and the journey for "perfection" drastically effect how youngsters are percieved by their peers, as well as, themselves. In her photo project Greenfield documented as young adolescent female who was undergoing rhinoplasty. Lindsey 18, describes how she didn't feel like she was "good enough" and was insecure about her body image about the procedure. During the interview she also said "Out of my ten close friends, I think six of us got something done". Greenfield's portrayal of the subject illustrates how popular culture and the obsession for the perfect image have cost us to lose sight of true beauty and self acceptance, in the respect that sometimes our flaws are what make us who who are, making us unique in a world that is so absorbed in creating carbon copies to hollywood celebrities.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Unlearning the Myths that Bind Us

Linda Christensen, author of "Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us" does an impecable job at breaking down how our culture manipulates the way we as human beings should act, live and dream as we go about living our daily lives. The media whether it be though television, magazines, books, advertisements, billboards or newspapers have a target audience that they want to appeal to as well as a message that they want to convey, these messages whether it be subliminal or conscious hold a "secret education" that corporations want to instill in the minds of all people both women and men alike; particularly in teenagers. Even though the depiction of sexism, racism and classism are portrayed in many portals, especially upon the reflections of many popular children's books and movies. One aspect of the reading that intrigued me was when Christensen stated that "Many students don't want to believe that they have been manipulated by children's media or advertising. No one wants ro admit that they've been "handled" by the media. They assure me that they make their own choices and the media has no power over them -as they sir with Fubu, Nike, Timbelands or whatever the latest fashion rage might be" (Christensen p.3).

I found this reading to be forthright and relatable to both the illustrations depicted in the media and the influence or pertinence it has in the life of children. I particularly liked when Dorfman, had his students watch old cartoons and characterize the characters and the role they played on the show and/or film. It made me take an in-depth look at my favorite Disney films such as Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, to see what kind of messages are being represented? In retrospect, i know acknowledge that Disney classics are no stranger to stereotypes and hypocritical morals. By my own experience and some research on youtube, i have come to accept that Disney's representation of what is good and beautiful coincides with the current media depiction in that a women must be fair-skinned, thin and have a large bosom to be considered attractive. I have yet to see a character with a disability portrayed in a Disney film. What kind of message is that sending to young children about self-acceptance, inner-beauty and diversity? What's even more conventional is that in most if not all disney movies, the princess or lead role must always be saved and or end up with her male counterpart, almost as if to say that a woman is not self-sufficient or valued if she is without a man. These details are sending children and adolescents the message that they are not appreciated just as they are.

I agree with Christensen in saying that to simply turn off the t.v. and walk away isn't enough we must teach our children to analyze, question and critique the media so that they can be aware of the conscious or subliminal messages that our embedded in children's book and feature films. We must not give in to the igorance and orthodox views of popular culture which encourage and engage individuals to concur and accept the inequalities displayed in the media. We must educate others around this topic and shed light on these issues. So I ask the class, how early should we be educating our children about the conscious or subliminal message that are widely depicted in the media and how must we begin to act so that the public can gain knowledge of these perceptions and depictions and become more accepting or receptive to more diverse representations in the media?

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Media- What is it telling us

I have to say this assignment was really interesting and made me consider how media effects my life. When I googled Media Literacy, i found that it has a variety of meanings. By definiton Media Literacy is a repertoire of competences that enable people to analyse, evaluate and create messages in a wide variety of media modes, genres and forms. It can also means to gather, access, consume, evaluate, make sense, create, produce, repurpose, understand, share, communicate, think critically, think creatively, and act responsibly.

When reflecting on this assignment, i immediately started to pondering about how the media affects my own life. Today's youth and young adults are constantly bombarded by messages and images from television, magazines, advertisements,newspapers computers etc. Adolescents are also constantly faced with decisions about what clothes to purchase, phone to buy, music to listen to and what social network to join. In addition to these decisions, adolescents are also influenced by their peers, because like all of us they want to fit in. To fit in adolescents sometimes feel that they have to conform to popular culture; neglecting their own personal identities- what they value and like for the latest fad.

When watching a video on Youtube called " Advertising and Teens, a young lady mentioned that billbords, magazines and advertisements have effected her especially after starting to shop at Abercrombie. When asked about whether the advertisements/window displays inticed her to shop there, she non-chalantly admitted yes, the cute skirts. Another teen said that the media has a relatively high influence on teens. She continues to say that there is definitley some appeal in being different, out there and funky. Music she says, is a subtle but prominant source of media that is very persuasive to her and her fellow classmates. So i pose this questions to the class, does the media and/or celebrities influence you? If so, at what age do do believe we should educate young children such as, our daughters, sons, sisters, brothers and cousins about media literacy and to critically analyze the images that are all around them?


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Glee-The Journey through Adolescent Discourses

While watching the pilot episode of Glee I went through a rollercoaster of emotions from being entertained to being utterly disgusted. The show is another illustration of how stereotypes and discourses are part of the dominant ideologies of our culture. It also demonstrates the prevalence of cast systems in highschool and how these systems are responsible for formulating your identity as an adolescent. For instance, Finn is white popular quarterback who enjoys to sing but is hesitant to be is true self for fear of being cast as an outsider, Quinn is a white female who is slender and has blonde hair. As the captain of the Cherrios, she exhibits an arrogance about her which tells us that she is the ultimate "Queen Bee," Kurt is the stereotypical gay male who is ultra femine and only wears the best in fashion, Rachel is a pretty girl who's insecurities compel her to be a profectionist on her her journey to aspire for fame and fortune and live up to the expectations of her parents,Tina C., portrays the edgy bisexual rebel who is struggling to fit in and find her own identity, Mercedes, plays the outspoken African American female with a attidude and a killer voice and finally there's Artie who a kind-hearted, fun loving male who has a physical impairment. Though Artie is a gentle sole he is constantly bullied thoughout the first episode by many of peers and often times finds that he must have to prove himself to everyone around him.

Although, the show tries to emphasize the stereotypes and discourses about minorities it does little to demonstrate how we as a society need to move away from labels and become educated on how these social issues/problems are effecting our youth. Eventhough the show is so blantly exagerated i find that it will not be enough to draw people's attention to the issues and pressures teens undoubtedly face in their everyday lives such as racism, capitalism, disability, body image, bullying, drugs, profection and social networks. Glee brought to light how the need to conform and reglate has become so important to some individuals, in one clip of the episode the principal is talking to Mr. Shoester about the glee club and how they can no longer rehearse in the auditorium because he was offered more money by AA to hold there weekly meetings there. Mr. Shoester pleads with him to give the Glee club more time and the principal agrees to do so but not before making a remark about how he is very weary that they will succeed do to the small number of participants in the club and that one is the "C" word for disabled. In another scene Rachel snubs Mr. Shoester for giving a solo to a guy in a wheelchair. In the same instance, Artie replies that it enhances the irony of the performance.

All in all, i feel as though Glee does not emphasize these issues to cause conversation but to just provide entertainment youth as well as become popular culture. Until the Media can broadcast a show which deviates from the popular culture and common stereotypes we will never lever learn to respect and accept diversity and direct our attention to the social issues young people are now facing....As Rachel makes so clear on the pilot episode " Fame is the most important thing" and that is still the message that dominant culture wants to persuade us to believe.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hip-Hop is not dead its just forever changed.

Hip-Hop, Mass Media and 21st Century Colonization and “Hip-Hop and the Corporate Function of Colonization” are columns written by Jared A. Ball, Ph. D. The writer converses about how hip hop has lost its cultural meaning. When I think of Hip-Hop I think of rhythm which allows the individual to express their feelings and emotions freely and with ease. Ball states that “capitalism has caused hip hop to become fraudulent” because executives, directors and stockholders have inhibited musicians from utilizing their creativity in order to capitulate to the needs of mass media and popular culture.

Jared Ball claims, that artists are often times held in poverty so as to create conditions of desperation, he goes on to say that “black people must sell their labor cheaply and/or will be willing to conform themselves to the needs and of an elite in order to succeed”. What I wonder though is, is the sacrifice of relinquishing your values and beliefs really worth all the fame fortune? I believe that at time individuals get caught up in the lure of the rich and famous lifestyle that they lose themselves and their motivation for perusing a career in the music industry in the first place.

True Hip-Hop talks about real-life experiences, in the song Changes by Tupac Shakur, Tupac speaks about poverty, racism and political struggles. Today, we hear rappers and Mc’s rapping or singing not about real life experiences and the desire for a better world but instead their lyrics are filled with greed, dehumanizing and degrading women- talking about sex in their pursuit for money. In addition to the monotonous and non-sense lyrics, hip-hop has not only lost its roots but its rhythm as beats are now being replaced by voice altering devices. As artists get consumed by fortune and greed and producers compel musicians to conform to the pressures of popular culture we are moving further and further from the true meaning of hip-hop, sacrificing influential positive role models for negative influences who make their income off of degrading individual self-worth.

Old Hip-Hop

Current Hip-Hop