Sunday, April 27, 2014

Teens Talk Back-Hyperlinks

Did anyone know there was a petition online that asked the editors of Seventeen Magazine to publish one spread each month of an unaltered image of a real person?  You can click here to view the results of the petition!  This petition was started by a group of teen girls wanting the magazine to publish and print real photographs of diverse girls without the us of photo editing or enhancement.  The girls were victorious in their endeavors and got Seventeen to not only apply this to one spread, but they agreed to not make any changes to any of their models!  The same group of teenagers tried to get Teen Vogue to do the same and they refused.  So the teenagers took a different approach and started a protest to get products such as Neutrogena and Tampax to stop advertising in Teen Vogue Magazine.  The teenagers are relentless and are great role models not only for teen issues but amazing leaders. Click here to view the video about the Teen Vogue protest.  Below is a picture of the teens protesting, one of the signs reads, #keepitreal in reference to Teen Vogue.

Neutrogena, Tampax, and Clean & Clear: Stand With Teen Girls!

"Let's Make Halloween About the Boo not the Boobs" is the catchy title to a blog on the Teen Voice Magazine.  This online magazine is composed of numerous blogs written by teens, for teens.  This blog post was about a teenager's resentment about how slutty Halloween costumes are.  She takes a Disney Snow White costume and describes how this costume evolves for every age bracket from girls to women.  First, she describes the costume for young girls as unaltered and still princess looking, for teens, the costume appears to become shorter and a little more fitted and for adult women, it is short, corseted and advertised as, "A Sexy Snow White" costume. I found this blog to relate to our discussions in class and our texts about the princess culture. We can see that the culture of the girly princess is promoting sexuality in females.  Little girls may get mixed messages at Halloween when they see their older sisters or even mothers dressed as their favorite Disney princess but in a much sexier outfit.  I copied and pasted this quote from the teen's blog.  I think she sums up her point about her rant on sexual consumes: 
"These overly sexual costumes imply that it’s only our physical appearance that matters –and we all know we have more to share than cleavage. We’re open-minded, individual girls who should be wearing creative, innovative costumes – and that doesn't mean giving the impression that our one goal in life is to become a stripper or Hugh Hefner hanger-on when we grow up."
Lastly, an Advocacy Committee lead by teen ambassadors Benjamin O'Keef and Cali Linstrom meet with Abercrombie and Fitch following a protest in Chicago by the Committee.  The protest was focused on getting Abercrombie's attention to reconsider its position on size limitations.  The teens met with Abercrombie and Fitch and expressed the following concerns:
  • There are no sizes above size 10
  • They need to eliminate size 0
  • More individualization of teen body types
  • Reduce blatant sexualization of its ads and expand choice of models
  • Consider diversity training for its employees
  • Support their organization (Proud2Bme) and become a leader for anti-bullying and diversity
Abercrombie listened and will take into consideration the concerns and suggestions of the teens.  Click here to watch a summer commercial by Abercrombie and Fitch and you will see the teenagers have an excellent argument!

Some thoughts for class, how can we get teens to use their voices to stand up for themselves and go against mainstream media?  Should schools have programs, clubs or classes offered to teach kids key leadership skills?  What gives these teens the drive to push and be bold like this?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Hip Hop Controversies

Writing Freely~

Dr. Tricia Rose is a professor at Brown University who studied sociology and American studies.  She is an internationally respected scholar post civil rights era.  She has published many books such as The Hip Hop Wars what we talk about when we talk about hip hop--and why it matters.  Dr. Rose is a phenomenal speaker who is very passionate about how hip hop music has evolved.  For example, she refers to hip hop as being in "gravely ill" and not officially dead but buried by contemporary hip hop that has been "dumbed down" in order to sell.  She argues how society knows hip hop today as rap that demoralizes women, dominated by violence and crude sexuality.  She also argues through lecture of the way race and stereotypes are portrayed primarily through hip hop.  
lblack noise
I found it very interesting when she spoke about her days on the basketball courts where people would freestyle on a B-side cassette and who ever had the most creative lines were the next to play.  Personally, I had never thought about where hip hop came from.  I understood how black blues during the 1930's helped shape country music in the 1950's through the 1960's paving the way for artists like Hank Williams Sr and Johnny Cash.  I can see how the concept of "dumbing down" today's hip hop is the only way to sell records.  Music all around seems to have taken a "cheaper" route.  I think the foundation of hip hop music needs to be talked about more! 

This leads me to my next topic.  It is a side note.  I was looking at Dr. Rose's other publications on her website and noticed she published a rare oral narrative about the history of sexuality of black women.  It is a topic I feel is not talked about publicly.  In relation to the topic of hip hop where not much is known about black women's sexuality besides their sexual desire and sense of ownership by men who are rapping, more needs to be understood about the culture of black women.  Dr. Rose's book, Longing to Tell, may be open society's eyes to a cultural understanding of black cultural sexuality.  The description of the book describes taking the reader into the testimonies of black women to break the silence of society's perceptions of black women as sexual beings.  
longing to tell
Looking at these cultural aspects to teenagers, this brings me to the past reading by Raby when the Tangle of Discourse is discussed.  It sounds like the way hip hop today is being displayed as teenagers as the social problem.  For example, Dr. Rose argues the misconceptions that rap songs today promote violence, substance use and sexuality.  The pleasurable consumption discourse can be applied to these ideas as well, for teenagers are the target audience for these songs as the lyrics and videos appeal to teenagers.  
Who or what is responsible for this shift in hip hop music?  What does this say about artists such as Jay-Z and 50 Cent who modify their philosophy as an artist and conform to less than standard music?  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Canada's Centre for Digital and Media Literacy

The theme to these texts, focuses on how media produces, legitimized or de-legitimatizes gay and lesbian people.  I found the timeline of the evolution of the portrayal of homosexuality in film interesting:

  • 1890's-1930's- They were portrayed as comedic, "sissies," and "floppish"
  • 1930's-1950's-The Hays Code required no every homosexual characters, so characters displayed this through behaviors and mannerisms instead.
  • 1960's-1970's- Portrayals in film were negative from dangerous,k violent, predatory or suicidal 
  • 1990's- Improvement was made in portrayal,  showing that viewers enjoyed films with gay characters such as Birdcage.
  • 2005- The lucrative aspect of gay films was confirmed with Brokeback Mountain.  
Clearly we can see the positive evolution of homosexuality in film over a century, but perhaps the other key issue in queer representations in media is there is still a great deal of stereotypes in the marketing.  Marketing can be a powerful tool for the gay/lesbian media, but there is also a serious challenge when it comes to the negative aspects of marketing.  For example, the text talks about Pink Dollar Marketing which claims to help.  Below I have looked up and posted examples of the three types of ads still using stereotyping when involving homosexuality in ads:
1.  "Ads that feature queer people marketed to heterosexual mainstream"

In this Expedia commercial, a father talks about his struggle with acceptance of his daughter marrying a woman.  He accepts and understands the situation and flew out to California.  

2.  "Ads that target queer people on behalf of companies within the heterosexual mainstream"

This is a commercial for Bertolli Oven Baked Meals that won an award by GLADD fro being the most fair, accurate and inclusive representation of LGBT communities affect their lives.  In this commercial, it shows two gay men at dinner.  One is so impressed with the pre-made meal that he fantasizes about being at a restaurant and his gay lover snaps him out of his fantasy.  It shows them in their living room sitting at a coffee table eating their dinner.  

3.  "Ads produced by queer oriented companies for a  queer demographic"

These homosexual artists are in business together and sell  paintings and clothing that makes bold statements such as the t-shirt below.  

These are the gay designers Adrian and Shane

This text reminded be of last week's reading, "Cinderella Ate My Daughter."  The aspect of the Disney Princess franchise sticks out the most as stereotyping in multiple ways to set a culture of little girls believing a fantasy.  The stereotypical message of the Disney Princess is little girls must be beautiful, bait the man and give up important values and morals to run off with the prince. When looking at the LBGT message in stereotypes is that gays are used as a shock value in commercials.  For example, the text refers to a ad where a heterosexual male is caught behaving in a homosexual way he is embarrassed and has to explain it away.  Also, homosexuality is portrayed as not being the main character but always the supporting character of a heterosexual main character.  The homosexual character is not portrayed as having any relationships or love interests.  This is clearly very similar to Disney Princess Culture where images and stereotypes are set  unrealistically.  

My final question would be where in media is homosexuality most shunned?  In my opinion, it appears that films have helped bring homosexuality into a new light and celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres have been role models.  Not being a TV watcher, I am not sure how much homosexuality or innuendos are on mainstream commercials.  It would be interesting to see where the gaps are in the media and why they are occurring.  

Monday, March 31, 2014

Orenstein: Cinderella Ate My Daughter-Reflection

When reading about the idea of the Disney Princess hype I was struggling to wonder why I did not fall victim into that phase.  Being a child of the 1980's, I knew what Disney movies/characters were, but had no desire to watch Disney movies or be that kid who wished to go to Disneyland.  When reading this excerpt, I genuinely felt sorry for the children who base their play around the fantasy princess.  I was relived with the fact that research has suggested that playing princess does not damage self esteem or dampens aspirations among young girls. The thoughts that came to my mind were all of my 30 something year old friends on Facebook who are mothers of yong daughters idolizing them and placing a picture of their daughter dressed as a princess or in some Disney attire and making it be their profile picture.  Also, those same mothers creating a photo album on Facebook with tehir daughters dressed as princesses in strollers with the caption, "Lexie is counting down the days for our trip to  Disney."  Personally, I found that I agreed with the author.  It was reassuring to hear about another mother the author mentions who allows her daughter to know who certain characters are from Disney, but she doesn't allow her daughter to know the failry tale aspect of Disney characters.
This excerpt reinforced some main ideas from a previous reading in the GEND 364/550 class validating what Christensen claimed about media's hidden messages about gender identification.  Going back to this reading, Christensen stated, "Children's cartoons, movies and literature are perhaps the most influential genre "read."  Also when referring to Cinderella and other fairy tale role models,  Christensen states, "Cinderella is to get her man.  Both young women are transformed and made beautiful through new clothes, new jewels, and  new hairstyles."  This is parallel to Orenstein's mentioning of how mainstream media emphasizes the importance of females to be pretty and sexy.  She also explains how teens and college girls who hold conventional beliefs (such as believing the subliminal messages Christensen claims Disney gives to young girls about their roles in society as a female) are less ambitious, more likely to be depressed,  less likely to enjoy sex or insist a partner to use condoms.

As a child, I did not have any interest in baby dolls, Disney or Cabbage Patch Dolls, however, I was a Barbie girl!  Reading Orenstein's analysis of what Barbie represented helped me to understand why I didn't fall into the princess or being a mom fantasy. Growing up, I did not want to be the dependent person I saw my mom being.  Instead, I was focused on being the first person in my family to graduate high school and college and to obtain a career that would build my independence.  This is what Barbie represented! As Orenstein put it, Barbie was childless, had casual dates with Ken, she had careers and represented an independent woman hood.  This was attractive to me.  I did not play "Barbie goes to the mall."  I was very realistic.  My Barbies lived in a house full of furniture and a BMW and a Ferrari, went to work and dated multiple Ken dolls.  I was content dressing up barbie for dates, coloring her blonde hair with red, blue, green and yellow food dye.  She also boasted ear cartilage piercings where I stapled the top part of her ear to look like a bar piercing.  I also used a push pin from my mom's sewing kit as a nose ring.  I added pen or Sharpie to her eyes for intense eye liner. My Barbie represented an independent woman who expressed her self in different ways.  This is why Barbie was my doll.

My question relating to this article is how did Barbie lose popularity when her representation was so empowering for young girls? I realize in the reading, Brats took over representing adolescent attitude and fashion statements.  Again, this shows the need of little girls to live in this unrealistic fantasy world that there is biased importance in fashion, motherhood and being a wife.  Barbie allows a child to use their imagination.  Perhaps the problem is Barbie is too independent and young girls are not taught or led by example of what independence is.  Rather, it appears to be much easier to play mommy or the princess rescued by a prince.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Problem Behavior:Gilbert -Quotes

"Adolescents were snagged on two separate and opposing principles:  one tending toward greater, prolonged  dependency upon parents and children's institutions, and the other encouraging greater autonomy and responsibility." (p. 17)

This quote is explaining the two different roads adolescence are torn between.  One road is to still be the teenager living under the roof of their parents and going to school. This means doing all the things that a teenager should be doing such as living at home with their parents, following rules and living as a typical American family.  On the other hand, the other path would be taking the road that creates a status of a teenager as an independent young adult.  Such as working, earning their own money to purchase cars and other material items that represent an independent teenager.  Also, teenagers on this path would marry earlier, initiate sexual relationships earlier, look and act differently and behave hostile and act criminally.  This all illustrates the delinquent aspects of the teenager.  This quote is illustrating the two paths teenagers can take which are very opposite from each other.

"...1956 sociologist Pitirim Storokin in his book The American Sex Revolution, argued that American culture had become 'sexualized.'  This dramatic dangerous revolution, he continued, had dire and physical and mental effects." (p. 21)

This quote is illustrating the impact on the American family culture from the post war shift towards sexuality. An example was how Elvis Presley was moving too provocatively on television, resulting in just one of the aspects of rock and roll music that was blamed for corrupting the teenagers.  Also, parents began to prohibit children and teens from listening to rock and roll music, dancing and certain radio shows and films.  The blame that caused teenagers to behave in a delinquent way was blamed on these shifts in American culture.  As a result, the author states there was an increase in premarital sex and marriages happening at a historically early age.

"The new film Code suggested that abortion could be mentioned but, of course not justified." (p. 189)

This is an explanation for the ongoing struggles and numerous edits for the 1958 screen play Blue Denim. It was created into a film but faced a lot of controversy based on the requirements for the new film code in regards to abortion.  The film expressed the importance of communication between generations and focuses on the consequences of the miscommunication.  The 15 year old boy gets his girlfriend pregnant which shows how he failed to listen to the consequences of teenage sex.  The solution is for the girlfriend to have an abortion and this was refused to be recorded.  The plot is changed where the girl "mentions" the abortion but does not go through with it and the story ends with the young couple getting married and living through their mistakes.

Thinking about this reading, I found it interesting to see the unfolding of the revolution post war.  I see many similarities to teenagers today.  They do act like young adults, they do have premarital sex, experiment with drugs, dress and act different, talk different and carry an independence about them.  Sex in the media has evolved more than ever with teen pop icons becoming sex symbols.  Looking at how cultures change and trends change my question would be what sociologist predict will be the next trend for teenagers?  Are they going to become young adults much sooner?  Or with the pressure of college and careers keep teenagers less delinquent?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Raby: A Tangle of Discourses: Girls Negotiating Adolescence (Hyperlinks)

For the following five discourses of adolescence I have put together some links to help illustrate my personal interpretation of how I believe these discourses relate to the real wold:
 The Storm:
Although the article describes "The Storm" as being the part about adolescence that parents brace themselves for, the blame seems to shift to the teenager's hormones.  It appears according to the article that this is where the teen is going through a turbulent and emotional stage and with the hopes of the transition into adulthood will bring a more calm and rational change.  Also the article is noting that during this time of life, there are physiological changes that are linked to puberty which effects abstract thinking.  Again, this is where teenagers are exploring different feelings and trying to identify them as individuals.  In the video link below, I have posted a teenage girl on the extreme side of the storm.  She uses intimidation, threats and violence to gain power and a sense of self.  In the Dr. Phil clip, she brags about bullying an overweight girl in her school to the point she never returned back to school while showing no remorse for her behavior.  She has punched her mother and threatened her life as well.   This is where I feel teenagers may be put into the category of being violent or "stormy."  Although this is an extreme case and there are other factors obviously other than hormones that is causing this behavior, when people think of the "stormy" teenager they think of the teenager that is disrespectful, bully and failing out of school.  

Becoming (The Promise):
The article describes the teenager as becoming in the terms of becoming an individual by self discovery and identify formation.  Raby describes teenagers doing this through trial and error and how making mistakes as teenagers can be easily dismissed and blamed for being a teenager.  IT appears the author is trying to make the argument that it is better for the teenager to make the mistake during this time of their life \rather than as an adult with more substantial consequences.  As teens further try to find themselves, they are more likely to do more self destructive things to define themselves as an individual.  
Something that comes to my mind regarding teenage individuality expression is the increase of popularity of body art.  The ABC article I have posted describes the increase of popularity of body art among teenagers despite the laws in most states where individuals must be 18 years or older to receive tattoos.    The article refers to a study done by where 15% if parents would allow their teenagers to receive a tattoo and 30% are undecided but open to the idea.  In addition to this study, the article also states a survey from 2010 indicates that 40% of people ages 18-29 have tattoos and 1/2 of them have at least 2-5 tattoos.  To me this is an example of teenagers experimenting with trial and error that may have drastic permanent implications.  Regrets of tattoos and/or body piercings later on in life may pose a problem that may be costly to the individual to fix.  
At Risk:
An aspect of the "at risk" adolescent I would like to focus on is when the author refers to the the student experiencing stress and pressure which the author claims to be greater today than ever before.  Looking at responsibility in teens for academics, there is pressure to graduate high school, get good grades in high school in order to go to college and score and pass the state standardized tests.  In the movie, Race to Nowhere, the documentary follows and interviews students as they meet the pressures of being a student in modern society.  Some districts in the film have reported increase of suicides among students possibly due to the academic stressors and pressures.  
Social Problem:
Raby's representation of teenagers becoming a social problem today is summed up in one phrase, "they're getting worse."  This refers to the problems with teenagers today and how they are not the responsible young adults in training as the article by Grace Palladino, Teenagers states.  I have included a link to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey that compares Rhode Island Teenagers behaviors regarding depression & violence, substance abuse and sexual activity. Compared with 2007 and 2011 data, opposed to popular assumptions the following social risk activities have decreased physical fighting, dating violence, smoking, alcohol abuse, binge drinking, multiple sex partners and sexual activity in general have declined.  However, there was an increase in unprotected sexual activity, cocaine use and marijuana use.  I thought this was interesting to see the data on social behavior and see that there has been a decline and perhaps they aren't "getting worse."
Pleasurable Consumption 
Raby portrays youth as the target for marketing and the largest high consumer group.  The problem with this is, teens aren't spending their own money but using their parent's money to keep up with purchases of the latest trends for technology and clothes.  Teenagers are very impressionable.  I have included the commercial for the store Aeropostale.  It is titled, "Fall in Love."  It shows a teenage girl going to school and as her outfits change, she gets more and more noticed by peers and a potential love interest.  This sends the pressuring message to teens that you will be accepted and admired by the clothes you wear.  Thus again sending the wrong message to teens as a form of pleasurable consumption.  
Thoughts for class:
Out of the 5 adolescent discourses, which seems to have the most impact on our society?  Personally, as a health teacher my focus is on the social problems and risks of teens.  As a health educator, my job is to teach students the skills they need to be informed healthy consumers and make better choices regarding their behaviors.