Monday, April 28, 2014

Teens Talk Back

Teens Talk Back
Blog - Research

Happy last blog everyone!!!!! soooooo to begin....I have currently been researching for an hour and thirty two minutes and found this topic extremely hard to research.  I was trying to find something interesting and different to talk about other than our everyday topics but I wasn't as successful as I thought I was going to be.  Everything I am finding is teens talking back about how media affects their looks and health and also how adults view teens so I'm rolling with that... Here is a short video I found of teens speaking their minds about the media, they share with us the negative impact that media has on themselves and their peers and how that controls what society thinks of them.

One girl really caught my attention in this film.  she states, "I think people aren't really given the chance to act how they want to, because everyone is given a label but, we aren't cans of soup, we don't have a proper label" -- "I don't really want to conform to anything, I don't think a social norm is something to aspire to, I think everyone should have the chance to be an individual, because I am not the same as everyone else".

This YouTube film shows you that young teens hate the label that society automatically gives every single one of them, even though every teen lives a completely different life.  If one pregnant teen walked by an older person, that one girl will set a label from there on out for all teen girls to that person. Hormone-raging, sex crazy, drug abusing teen.  Teens feel as though adults look at them and judge them from their first look without giving them a chance to show who they really are.  Although some teens may really act the way some people label and view them doesn't mean every single person acts the same.  Teens today are dying in the inside to just set a knew path for themselves and to make the media look past all the stereotypes and labels that they have been given.

Watching this film and hearing these young girls speak about how they are viewed, I definitely felt some sort of guilt.  There has been times where I have seen a teenage girl and labeled her just by looking at her.  I don't know her story, I don't know what she goes through on an everyday basis, and I sure as hell probably acted the same exact way she was/did when I was her age.  Which reminds me of the Raby article, when one of the young girl states that she believes teens rebel because thats what society expects them to do.  I agree with that statement to a certain extent.  I was once that girl who rebelled because I was always being accused of doing things I wasn't....was it smart of me to do, no.  But I never got questioned again from my parents, and I also didnt repeat the action.

I am not saying teens rebelling is a good thing, but if its harmless and can teach a lesson to society and not automatically stamping labels -  than so be it.  

Here I have found a website, sort of  like a wikipedia but its called "unclyclopedia" about teenagers. This website literally gives a label for every aspect of a teens life....How does this website make you feel?? Any sympathy for the troubles of being a teen today??

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tricia Rose - Hip-hop Culture

Dr. Tricia Rose received her Ph.D from Brown University in American Studies.  Born and raised in New York she spent her childhood growing up in Harlem and the Bronx, which I’m sure intrigued her to focus on studying African American culture and hip-hop culture.  Dr Tricia Rose is most well known for her book called, Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America, which is based on the study of hiphop.  She covers many issues of race, inequality, popular culture, mass media, gender, sexuality, etc.  Another book she wrote is called The Hip Hop Wars.  In this book she basically describes and defends the arguments of why the genre is bad to some, and why it’s still great to others.

These issues she speaks of are about the notion of our society, being a multiracial society, and how we all exchange our ideas about other races virtually.  Her biggest concern is we do not include the subjects and issues we should be speaking of that truly matter.  She stresses the fact that different races and gender do not share lived experiences as much as we think we do, but we all share one thing in common and share the most knowledge in one thing - pop culture. 

The thing I agree most with Tricia Rose would be her concept about rappers including all these sexual slurs and racial stereotypes because they need them to sell.  Also, sexist images, which hip-hop has a lot of, seem to do very well across the cultural spectrum. So sexuality and sexual domination sell. Racial stereotypes sell. The market is more consolidated, which makes it easier for those images to perpetuate themselves.”  These artists at one point used to be very creative in there choice of words and verses, and now they have “dumbed” their music down to what society wants to hear and will buy and they are okay with doing that.  The thing that bothers me the most about hip-hop today is that it used to be so versatile, any age group could listen to it, it was clean (for the most part), but now you have artist talking about rape, shooting each other, blowing coke, using molly, and sex, sex, and more sex.  Their lines are clever, but the word choice is horrific.  I actually get a little embarrassed when they start screaming “pussy”, and “hoes” on the radio and I am in the car with my 70 year old grandmother or mother.  Music has changed and for the worst.  Not all of it, but the majority.  Its sad to see this happen, and I believe violence does come out of music, I don’t think everyone would agree with that, but with all the gang, shooting, and robbing songs, gives some people(weak people) ideas, and makes them feel it’s the right thing to do so they do it.

Just as in Cinderella Ate My Daughter, I believe there was a quote along the lines of “not being able to stop things from happening in society and changing the way people think about things” and people  - all you can do is try your hardest to steer your children in the right direction so they are not effected by the unfortunate changes in our pop culture

After readin this article, does anyone feel differently about hip-hop. And what is your take on violence that you hear in these songs? Do you also agree its bad for youth??

Monday, April 7, 2014

Queer Representation

Queer Representation in the Media

So here is the question I kinda/sorta based my blog on…

Whose voices and interests are being represented? Whose are absent? Who has control over meaning and identity? Is queerness being represented from its own perspective or is it being represented as it appears to an outsider?

Homosexuals( or in this case described as “queers”), once labeled as a minority group, are viewed very differently by society. Though many people think there is nothing wrong with being gay, there are many who still believe it is immoral and unnatural.  Having a sibling who is gay this topic interests me/frustrates me - even thought television shows are not as hesitant as they were in the eighties and nineties to show gay content it is so badly interpreted.

You now are exposed to society and their opinions, how they view, interpret, and feel about homosexual relationships and friendships.  At first when they started introducing gay characters into media, they limited it to strictcly movies and not live television - using homosexuals as comic relief or characters in the background, and now recently their characters are coming more common on television programs as main characters. (Emily, on Pretty Little Liars)

What bothers me the most about this topic is that the only characterization gay actors/actresses get is the fact that they are indeed gay.  They make that the main focus of their role. Why? Because I believe the straight people that make the role for the gay characters in most cases do not have the slightest clue whatsoever what is it like to be gay. To an outsider and the heterosexual community they have a bad habit of labeling, perceiving, and judging all gay characters as overly affectionate, super flamboyant (if male), obsessed with sex, not loyal in relationships, etc.  This exposes an untrue/fake description of homosexuality.  In a way this is a reason why younger people do not express their true sexuality because they will feel they will be judged and made fun of. As American Television continues to evolve, and as homosexuals become increasingly more open about their identities there needs to be a way others are educated correctly about what it is to be gay, and the actual struggles some have to go through in order to love a person of the same sex or even find someone of the same sex that is truthful and confident in their sexuality.  I witness the struggles on a daily basis.

For some reason I link this to the Raby article about discourses, almost as if a person knowingly feels in their heart they are gay from a very young age but they still have to go through so many steps before they feel confident enough to come out and say it.  I personally knew my sister was gay from a very young age, but throughout middle school and the beginning of high school she went through the whole faking straight and denial phase because she didn’t want to do what was considered different form her peers, and not feel unaccepted at the time when she knew.

Heres a quote I found…"Younger lesbians at the beginning of their careers in music are told not to tell anyone that they're a lesbian – that's not commercial," - "You need to present yourself as being fuckable by men, and you'll sell more records that way." …ok so lets be a fake idol to all that look up to us for years on end, and then be a huge disappointment (in their eyes) because your true sexuality finally came out????? How is this in anyway morally correct?

I HATE how “queer” is portrayed in the media, I HATE how people, religions, and society view gay as wrong.  People have the right to emotionally and physically love whom they want, how they want, at anytime in their life that they want -- without being judged. THE END.

How do you think queer is represented in the media?  Accurate or not?  

Ps - On a serious note there are so many suicides and murders due to homosexuality...  One example - I don’t know if anyone has heard of Matthew Shepard but it is completely awful what happened to him. I suggest watching the movie based on his life called, “The Laramie Project”.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Cinderella ate my Daughter : Peggy Orenstein

Cinderella ate my Daughter : Reflection
Peggy Orenstein

While reading this article, I was baffled. The way that this topic was explained and the many different points that were brought to my attention made me really think about the world, society, and how far people will go just to make a buck....or a billion.  I loved the part of this article where Orenstein states; "She is everything I imagined my daughter would reject, would not, in fact, ever encounter or even understand if she did, let alone embrace: the passive, personality-free princess swept off by a prince (who is enchanted solely by her beauty) to live in a happily-ever-after that he ultimately controls". (pg. 12).  This is exactly what happens to every Disney Princess in their story line. The Princess goes over and above to make Prince Charming fall in love with her, even if it was solely based on what they looked like....Ariel went as far as to give up her voice and her life in the sea and her identity as a mermaid to gain a human soul and the love of a human prince to be able to be a part of a "happily-ever-after".  Which brings be back to a quote by Christensen stating; nor do I want them thinking that the pinnacle of a women’s life is an “I do” that supposedly leads them to a happily ever after".  Girls grow up feeling that they need a boy to take care of them to be complete just like they see in these Princesses and other films on television.  

I believe that Orensteins way of thinking is how every parent should when they have a daughter, especially the way the world is today.  Not saying that girls need special treatment, but in times of growing up girls need to be told that they are perfect the way they are. Allowing your child to be exposed to princesses at a young age isnt the problem.  The problem is the story lines, them believing they have to be pretty, skinny, fashionable, popular, smart, just like the princesses in the movies, and on the shelves in the stores.  These young "tweens" think that being all of these things is the only way to make it to their fairytale romance ending and having a boy fall in love with them, or for them to receive the respect from their parents and peers.  Which in turn causes stress and pressure on them trying to fit in to be perfect.  They feel they have to fulfill all these expectations to "have it all".

Another part of this article I found so true is when Orenstein states, "Princesses may confide in a sympathetic mouse or teacup, but, at least amoung the best-known stories, they do not have girlfriends.  God forbid Snow White should give Sleeping Beauty a little support". (pg. 23)  This is something you see within girls in schools today.  The battle of the popular girl groups, girls who think there shit doesn't stink, girls who think they are better than the next.  Similar to the movie "Mean Girls".  Heres a little piece of the film and one situation for an example if you haven't seen the film...Cady is new to her school, becomes part of a group called "The Plastics"..fitting right??, and ends up falling in love with Reginas (one of the plastics) ex-boyfriends.  Regina sees whats going on and tries to steal him back, and in the mean time Cady gives her "nutrition bars" that she explains are all natural and will help her lose weight, but in turn make her gain weight so he wont want to get back with her.  In the movie this was funny, obviously because its not a "real life situation" at the moment, but this is the perfect example of how back-stabbing girls are to one another and truly dont take into consideration how the way they make one another feel, even if they are so-called friends.  I never really knew how cruel girls could be, turning backs and hurting one another. Instead we should encourage each other and not avoid female bonding.

Do any of you have younger daughters, siblings, or children you babysit that are in the princess stage?? Would you consider not  letting them play with certain toys, or watch certain films after reading this article due to the fact that it may cause them to believe what they see is real, and the only way to live a happy life??

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Columbine and other school shootings

Columbine and other School Shootings

Alexandria Serapiglia & Tanya Serapiglia

Timeline of Worldwide School Shootings --- and another TIMELINE

Shootings SINCE Sandy Hook

10 Years later -- the story behind Columbine

10 Worst School Massacres - in the world

10 Worst School Massacres - in USA

Columbine Massacre

Victims of Columbine

Victims of Sandy Hook 

The White and Privileged

School Shootings and White Denial

"White men from prosperous families grow up with the expectation that our voices will be heard. We expect politicians and professors to listen to us and respond to our concerns. We expect public solutions to our problems. And when we’re hurting, the discrepancy between what we’ve been led to believe is our birthright and what we feel we’re receiving in terms of attention can be bewildering and infuriating. Every killer makes his pain another’s problem. But only those who’ve marinated in privilege can conclude that their private pain is the entire world’s problem with which to deal. This is why, while men of all races and classes murder their intimate partners, it is privileged young white dudes who are by far the likeliest to shoot up schools and movie theaters."

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Cycle of Outrage (Reflection) - Gilbert

A Cycle of Outrage
Americas Reaction to the Juvenile Delinquent in the 1950
By: James Gilbert

First id like to start with, I think this was an AWFUL READ.  I hate the fact that society at this time puts a stereotype on all adolescents as being delinquents due to their appearance and/or social class and race.  It is unfair to put a label on adolescents that you don't know but assume they are trouble due to the neighborhood they live in, their clothing, or the color of their skin.  All of this stereotyping, I believe, is the main reason why kids rebel.  They cannot go to school they like, walk down the street in a group, color their hair purple because they like it, wear baggy jeans because thats what they are comfortable in, without getting a label from society.  And also I hate the fact that its focused around pre and post war.  Adolescents then and now will always act and be the same.  THEY ARE FIGURING OUT WHAT LIFE IS ALL ABOUT, with room to make mistakes and still have the time to fix them.

To relate myself to this article and pick out every piece that annoyed me I am going to blabber on a little bit, and hopefully not bore you with my own experiences but this one quote really bothered me, 

"Many parents and experts worried about the youth culture rampaging through large urban comprehensive schools because they associated it more with lower-class values"(pg.18)

Growing up I went to public schools and I absolutely loved it.  My 9th grade year my mother wanted me to transfer to LaSalle due to the trouble some kids were getting into in my high school (even though I wasn't).  Just to please her, knowing I was DEFINITELY NOT going to go there, I agreed to go shadow a friend for two days. I absolutely hated it.  Walking in the halls felt like I was surrounded by cookie cutter robots.  Everyone had to look the same, talk the same, and being in uniform teens had no way to express themselves, it was boring, almost black and white.  Long story short I stayed at Johnston High and I am just fine. And come to find out after leaving high school the majority of my friends (or friends of friends) who went to LaSalle ended up on the wrong path after high school because growing up they had to follow rules and guidelines and never had the time to explore life when teens are supposed to create and express themselves.

To get back to the all adolescents are delinquents due to there appearance really bothers me also. I witnessed it first hand for myself... I had many different groups of friends in high school - girls I played sports with, girls that I became friendly with (and just so happen to still be my best friends), and a group of students that were considered "emo", wore all black, dark lipstick, wallet-chains, and had funky color hair and haircuts.  Whenever I was seen with that group of friends people, even my parents, automatically assumed they were trouble, they didn't do well in school, they were aggressive and hateful, etc..  It just so happens that they never got in trouble, they were the nicest, accepting group of peers I have ever associated myself with.  And Oh Yea!! I left out, they loved rock n' roll - they were not "undisciplined"like society may say they were.  

To close my rambling, why did society even create these movies that showed violence, sexual behavior, and delinquent behavior if they don't want adolescents to act this way.  I believe all that does is open up the door for more of the behaviors that they don't want teens to recreate.  Kids will be kids, you will never be able to change a society as a whole therefore society should not be judged as a whole.

Adolescents act the way they do, due to the fact that they are constantly being told who they have to "become", as Raby said in her article.  They are constantly nagged and told not what to do and once a teen is told they aren't supposed to do something over and over and are completely placed in a bubble by their parents they are eventually going to rebel.  Adolescents need to make mistakes and learn from them, and the ones who don't learn are living the life that was set out for them to live. 

Below is a youtube video that I found a couple weeks ago, some of you may have already saw it.  Its not teens unfortunately but the fact that its elementary students makes it even worse.  If parents, schools, and society want to keep children and teens away from violence and acting in a delinquent manner then why was this so accepted by teachers and parents in the audience??????

It wont let me post it on here I tried 10 times so please click the link and watch :)

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Tangle of Discourses: Girls Negotiating Adolescence

A Tangle of Discourses: Girls Negotiating Adolescence
Rebecca C. Raby

First I would like to start by saying I believe Raby was going in the right direction with her method of research, pinpointing teens at every judgmental aspect of these dominant discourses throughout the years. It was very interesting to see what teenagers had to say compared to their grandmothers and vise-versa.  It opened my eyes to how much pressure and confusion that teens experience in this "panoptic time" - referring to adolescent entrapment.

Getting back to the discourses... Raby focused on five main discourses - "the storm", "becoming", "at-risk", "social problem", and "pleasurable consumption".  The discourse that triggered my attention was "at-risk".  Raby lists the specific risks as, "drugs and alcohol, depression, eating disorders, sexual diseases, and an economy that does not need/want untrained workers".  When i was reading this section of the article it may be off topic but I thought to myself...Yes, teens experience these factors that may lead them to using and abusing drugs, alcohol, and disorders more at this point in life, but I believe that this category as "at-risk factors" shouldn't be labeled as a discourse for "teen" years because people will see many things and go through many experiences and tough times that may lead to any of these "risks" at different points in their life.  

Most certainly teens will feel pressured into drugs and sex as it is their time for fitting in.  I believe the only reason behind it being labeled as "at-risk" is because today it is happening much sooner than it is when i was a teen and they also do not fully understand consequences to their actions of these risks at this point.  As I look back at my own life throughout this stage I will most certainly admit that i definitely juggled with many risks, but most of the time it was to regulate other peoples/friends behaviors.  I wanted to fit it, I wanted to be cool and its unfortunate that it is so much more present today that it was when I was a teen but it is setting them up for life because for some it may not get any easier they may always feel pressured into drugs, and sex but they now can learn from it and find ways to deal with this problem.

Another reason why this discourse will follow teens throughout their lives is because they will always experience depression at one time or another, which for people who cannot handle depression or pressure will fall on drugs or alcohol, and many other "at-risk" behaviors to numb the pain.  Eating disorders will always effect a person who doesn't feel comfortable with their self-image no matter age 13 or 30.  Teens feel more pressured to look skinny and compete with their peers to always look better than one another, but I go out and see 30-40 year old women who still are acting the way they label "teens" act.

Sex will follow teens throughout their life,.. The only difference at an older more mature age is you may be smarter and less "at-risk" to catch STD's or become pregnant.  I believe for boys, sex is much more looked at as a "thing to do"...and we all know that it doesn't stop at the TEEN years.  Girls at this point in life get emotionally hurt by sex because they do it out of strong feelings for a boy, or to feel liked and wanted.  Boys do it because they want a higher number than everyone else.  

Lastly i want to touch base on the economy.  I believe this is one thing that truly affects teens at this stage of life, but at least they are more prepared than we were when we were teens.  They are set up at their prime years - now in high school, just coming into college.  They have the heads up that they need to take things seriously, be successful and get a good college education to get a career and make something of themselves.  "We", or should I say myself didn't feel the need to take high school to seriously because I saw how easy it was for my older cousins/parents to get a job right from high school.  HENSE the why I am sitting as a college student at age 25 here with all of though process was an epic fail.  The economy took a deep nose dive but I wouldn't look at it as a negative thing, I believe this is helping teens to mature faster, and set goals and plans for themselves so they don't have to backtrack through life at a later age.  Yes it causes them stress an pressure to mature and figure out what it is they want to do in life but I almost look at it as an advantage, a push of motivation to be better.

As these risk factors affect teens at a much younger age today, these "at-risk factors" could be reoccurring factors at a later age.  Instead of everyone looking at things in tunnel vision and in a  negative way they need to see that these teens are experiencing and going through everything that they once did throughout life when it became exposed to them. These risk factors will never fully go away.  They will be a problem throughout life.  The mature and responsible adults just learn how to ignore them and deal with them in a less detrimental manner.  

Drugs and eating disorders happen through all stages of life....teen years and adult years.



Do you feel as though these risk factors are the reason for teens to be "maturing" sooner? do you believe that problems caused during this stage will continue to follow them through life?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us : Linda Christensen

Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us
Linda Christensen

“Our society’s culture industry colonizes their minds and teaches them how to act, live, and dream.  This indoctrination hits young children especially hard”. (pg.126)

I strongly believe that young children are affected the most by society because at this point in their lives they are trying to create and conform themselves to the ideal “image” that is portrayed to them.  This is an unfortunate thing because they don’t even know who they are as a person at this age - it is easier for them to see and conform to stereotypes that are displayed throughout media, internet, and other peers in school then to genuinely be the person they want to be.  All children have available to them are a vision of what is right and accepted, they have no room for being able to think for themselves or create an image that is different than the ordinary because at this age they just want to fit in.

“It can be overwhelming and discouraging to find out my whole self image has been formed mostly by others or underneath my worries about what I look like are years of being exposed to TV images of girls and there set roles given to them by TV and the media”.

The media will always conform to a stereotyped image of women.  Girls and women are known to be motivated by love and romance, they are shown less independent than boys, and are stereotyped according to their image such as their weight, hair color, and style. These mixed messages from media make it difficult for girls to convert into adulthood. Most of the time girl’s confidence drops in their teen years as they begin to base their feelings of self-esteem more and more heavily on their appearance and body type, they will try anything to fit in or get close to the image of “barbie”.  I believe this is something that will never change.  It will always affect girls and women who are not as strong willed to be their own person and not care about the ideal female form.  I’ve been guilty for this at one point in my life.  As you get older you then realize what is important and what isn’t. If you cannot be yourself to find whatever it is your looking for than it is simply not worth it.  You should not feel like you have to change to be happy.

“I do not want students to believe that change can be bought at the mall, nor do I want them thinking that the pinnacle of a women’s life is an “I do” that supposedly leads them to a happily ever after.  I don’t want my female students to see their “sisters” as competition for that scarce and wonderful commodity”
(pg. 133)

Cinderella, Cinderalla.  Every young girls favorite childhood movie.  Looking back all my friends and I did were play princess dress up, talk about our princess weddings, and dream of living a happily ever after in our castles with handsome husbands and children to take care of in our own magical worlds.  Looking back its so crazy that we wanted/thought of those things at such a young age. Girls now believe in order to get all of the above their image has to resemble a princess.  How unrealistic especially for young girls moving into the awkward/unknown pre-teen stage of life.  The focus for many young girls has become their appearance and forgetting about their inner substance and many girls compete to be better than their peers….who has the nicer clothes, who is skinner…  Being exposed to these messages of perfection are harmful and negative and the only way they learn this is from television.  Will it ever change?