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.