Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Final Project- Show Me What You Know

Final project: Show Me What You Know

GEND 354: Teenagers in/and the Media

Lauren Veyera(me) & Nicole Connolly 
Our final project is an analysis on Freedom Writers- We chose option 4 ( DO ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO DO TO SHOW ME WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED IN CLASS.) 

Click here ---->   FINAL! 


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Teens Talk Back

Resisting Representation: Teens Talk Back


After researching online, there are different ways teens talk back to the dominant images that are available in mainstream media. Teens have a lot to say when they get to represent themselves.  Something that I came upon many times while researching was, self-image/ media influences.  Media, social and peer pressures influence the way teens see themselves. Self-image issues can lead to eating disorders, drug and alcohol use, cutting, bullying, etc., which relates to what was said in Croteau’s reading, Media and Ideology, “one of the principal reasons why media images often become controversial is that they are believed to promote ideas that are objectionable,”(162). I discovered a great site, which is all about the YES (YOUTH EQUIPPED TO SUCCEED) nonprofit organization helping equip teens to succeed by educating them through young speakers.  I noticed that teens use social media to talk back on the issues on how they are represented. These social medias included Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, etc.  “The media give us pictures of social interaction and social institutions that, by their sheer repetition on a daily basiss, can play important roles in shaping broad social definitions. In essence, the accumulation of media images suggests what is “normal” and what is “deviant”,”(163). Unfortunately, young teens are typically portrayed in the media. They are hypersexualized, reckless, and cliquey. The media creates these false images of teenagers that can ultimately influence younger girls into believing that this is the standard. Certain images can effect a young girl's self-esteem and self worth.   

While looking at different blog posts, youtube videos, and websites, teenagers talk back a lot on how they are being portrayed as a whole, and how the unrealistic images are being seen as normal, when in reality it is not. Something else I found interesting while researching was the Spotlight, digital media and learning website. CHECK IT OUT! I am posting one of the “webisodes” link, I found from the Spotlight, which explored how youth are represented in the media and how young people can use media more effectively to spark change in their communities. Do you think teens are talking back as much as they should? 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hip-Hop Controversies - Tricia Rose

A) Reading: Hip Hop Controversies [Tricia Rose]

[I have chosen to freely write this week]

B) As seen in the linked biography, Tricia Rose is an internationally respected scholar of post civil rights era back U.S. culture, popular music, social issues, gender and sexuality. She is well known for her book, Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America, which talks about the emergence of hip hop culture. This book was considered a foundational text for the study of hip hop. Rose has written other books such as The Hip Hop Wars, which she argues that fans and detractors alike have offensive arguments about why the genre is bad and why it’s great. She writes as both a fan and a social critic. Rose has taught at different schools, and is currently a professor of Africana Studies and the Director of the Center of the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University. Rose argues that the record industry is not selling music, fashion, or television, but selling blackness. She states that that it is a very particular concept of blackness that has little to do with real people and everything to do with violence, drugs, sexism, materialism, etc. Hip-hop artists may be getting rich, but at what cost? Could it be the messages that are being sent to younger people watching? This reminded me of Orenstein’s Cinderella ate my daughter, when talking about princesses. “Princess” “has not only become the fastest-growing brand the company has ever created, it is the largest franchise on the planet for girls ages two to six,”(Orenstein, 14). Just like hip-hop music, no matter how horrifying the images and lyrics are, it sells. Even though the Disney princesses gave out certain images, negative or positive, and even though it could “damage girls’ self-esteem or dampen other aspirations”, since it was making money, production kept happening. “Who doesn’t love nail polish with flower appliqués? Who doesn’t like to play dress-up now and again, swoosh about in silk and velvet?,”(Orenstein, 21). For young teenager boys, why wouldn’t they like hearing about getting girls, getting money, etc.? I feel that this reading was really relatable to what Tricia Rose talked about in her video and question/answers from Time magazine.  

After watching the YouTube clip… I felt that she was a wonderful speaker! She has opened my eyes to matters of inequalities in our popular culture. I liked the part where she talks about how we don’t share lived experiences nearly as much as should. She gave the example of how people say “I have two friends that..”. We ALL have friends of different backgrounds.. We exchange most cultural knowledge through pop culture and feel we know each other thru it, when in reality that is not exactly the case. She gave the example of the time one of her colleague called her “shorty”. She asked questions such as, who taught them that? Where did they hear that? She said it’s like an MTV moment gone wild! I agree that we need more cultural knowledge and literacy on hip hop culture. This reminds me of Croteau’s,  Media and Ideology, when talking about the medias images. “One of the principal reasons why media images often become so controversial is that they are believed to promote ideas that are objectionable,”(162). Media images, such as hip-hop music, can display behaviors and lifestyles that may neglect people who are different from the “norm”, as Croteau explains. The media can “normalize” certain behaviors/social relations, which may be problematic. 
After reading the article from Time..
I agree with Tricia that radio is killing hip-hop, and artists need to take more responsibility. Hip-hop has changed drastically, and does not sound like it used too. I like when Rose said, “There is an incredibly rich world of hip-hop that has been literally buried. I tell my friends and students, That’s why they call it the underground- because it’s in fact buried. But it’s not dead; it’s an underworld.” I have noticed in many recent “popular” hip hop songs that violence and sex are what is being talked about… in negative ways. The artists make themselves look sexist, and create negative images. Do they do it because they know it sells? I literally cannot even listen to most of the hip-hop music because it is so bad.  The tune may be great, but the lyrics are terrible.  When an artist can’t go one line with out saying, “bitches”, we have a serious problem. There are many talented artists out there that do not need to “dumb his/her music down”, as Rose puts it. It makes me sad that artists are doing this just beacuse it sells!

C)What are your views on hip-hop today? Negative? Positive? How has it changed? Why?

Check out my link: Thoughts?!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Queer Youth Readings

a.  Canada's Centre for Digital and Media Literacy 
(Queer Youth Readings)

b. I chose to write freely this week on the four texts, though it is kind of a reflection too. Starting with, Queer Representation in the Media, the key issue that this text rose are the negative portrayals of queer representation. These may include  sissies, butch, fag, and the list goes on.  The negative portrayals remind me of something from the reading, Cinderella Ate My Daughter. "When I was growing up, the last thing you wanted to be called was a "princess": it conjured up images of a spoiled, self-centered brat.."(19). There seems to always be stereotypes for people, no matter their sex, age, race, class, etc. Sadly, it seems that there is no escape from stereotypes. 

 The media can give inaccurate representations of how queer people behave, what their desires are, points of view, etc. The media may just give images of what gets the ratings good reviews, rather than actually portraying a more realistic image.. which may actually be really hard because everyone has their own representation of themselves. In the media, gay men can be represented as extra feminine and lesbians as extra masculine. Can you think of shows that portray this idea?

 In Queer Representation in Film and Television, the key issues are pretty much the same as the ones found in the media, since television and film are forms of media anyways. In television and film, there are often stereotypes being portrayed by actors/actresses that are not accurate, and this is key issue that the readings mention. In film and television, it often seems that queer representation can be seen as a negative thing, when it should be seen as something positive, especially since teenagers are the majority watching films and television series. If queer representation was presented in a more positive way more often, maybe it would give queer teens more confidence in being who they are, and knowing that it’s okay to be outside the "norm". This was another key issue in the readings.  This reminds me of what Croteau stated in Media and Ideology. "Media sell both products and ideas, both personalities and worldviews; the notion that mass media products and cultural values are fundamentally intertwined has gained public acceptance,"(161). This piece by Croteau relates extremely to the readings on queer representation in the media. "The implications of our popular media images and the apparent lessons they teach about society,"(162). Media images can become controversial because they can possibly promote ideas that are objectionable. These images can also suggest what is "normal" and what is "deviant", which can be especially problematic in the queer community. Something that I found to be problematic from the reading was when it talked about how queer media does not rely on queer people being the intended audience, or that queer people even be affiliated with a cultural product in any way other than as consumers. What did you think about this when you read it? As seen in the reading, Hollywood can give out negative depictions of homosexuality, and the portrayals that some Hollywood films portray may marginalize and silence the queer community. In many television series and films, those who identify as queer feel like they have to be embarrassed or keep their homosexuality a secret or hidden from friends and family. This reminds me of the HBO series, looking

   Another issue that the text raises is how Hollywood in the past has presented homosexuality as an object of ridicule and laughter. Homosexuality was even portrayed as being dangerous, violent, predatory or suicidal. I find it quite disturbing that networks on television were willing to feature queer characters as long as the shows drew high ratings and if they generated profits for advertisers. Some shows that were mentioned in the readings included Will & Grace, Glee, etc. In Pink Dollar Marketing and Queer Representation in Advertising, one of the key issues is that companies continue to employ negative or restrictive stereotypes of queer people in order to give there ad campaigns an edge. Advertising can also put queer people into certain stereotypes, just like the media, films, and television. The ads can be problematic and represent homosexuality as a punch line. In the reading, it is seen that mainstream companies such as McDonald’s, are courting for queer dollars. In Strategies for Engaging with Queerness in Media, one of the key issues being talked about it whether or not queer characters, situations, and themes are being balanced.

C. What was your overall reaction to the readings? Do you believe queer representation in the media/films/television have been accurate? If so what? If not, why? 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cinderella Ate My Daughter - Connections

a.     Article name: Cinderella Ate My Daughter

Author: Peggy Orenstein

b.     I have chosen to do my post on CONNECTIONS

I have chosen to connect Orenstein’s article with Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us and Getting Older Younger.  I wanted to start off by talking about Orenstein’s article, Cinderella Ate My Daughter.  In the article, the author states, “Princess, has not only become the fastest-growing brand the company has ever created, it is the largest franchise on the planet for girls ages two to six,”(14). At such young ages, we are already brain washed into playing and needing or wanting to have the “hot” toy that’s for sale and whatever is “popular” at the time. This relates greatly to the reading, “They’re Getting Older Younger”.  Teens are heavily influenced by what they see in the media and get whatever is being mainstreamed, just as these two-six year old children, and will buy the product no matter the price. The items may include clothes, accessories, babies, American girl dolls$$$, etc.). Both the teens in that article and the children mentioned in Orenstein’s, are driven to keep up with the latest products and styles that are being marketed. In Christensen’s piece, Unlearning the Myths That Bind us, she talked about how in our society’s culture, the industry has a major impact on our minds and how it teaches children and teens how to act, live and dream. That part of the article relates greatly to Orenstein’s piece, especially when she talks about when she visited the Fisher-Price showroom. “The preschool girls’ section was decorated with a banner on which the words BEAUTIFUL, PRETTY, COLORFUL were repeated over and over (and over) in pink script,”(51). While on the other hand, the boy’s section was in blue, and the titles held words such as energy, heroes, and power! I find that pretty disgusting those these were the words chosen for girls and boys. Boys should not think they are the only ones who are capable of power, and girls should not think that all they can ever be is "pretty'? It gives young children the wrong idea of what reality and LIFE really is.  This relates to what I mentioned early in Christensen’s piece; children are taught what roles they can and cannot hold, what they can and cannot do, how they should and shouldn't act, etc. These are distorted views/images that are being displayed for young viewers. . ..\/

The piece got me so aggregated, and it makes me nervous on how society is going to be when I have my own children one day. I want them to make there own decisions, and play with whatever toys they want to play with, and not be pressured into what the media is advertising and telling us how to act and who to be. “Outside, on the streets of Manhatten, it was the twenty-first century, but the scene here in toy land was straight out of Mad Men, as if the feminist movement had never happened,”(51).  In Orenstein’s piece, I found it interesting that one of her daughter’s friends asked her why her helmet wasn’t pink, and since it wasn’t pink it wasn’t a girls one. I agree with the author when she states, “Would other girls view her with suspicion-even exclude her- if she did not display the proper colors?,”(39). Peer pressure and bullying are starting at such a young age and continues throughout teenage years and adulthood. Although these articles were focused on different topics, they all seemed to coexist in many ways that I mentioned throughout the blog post.

C.  Some things that I would like to discuss in class are, what was your overall reaction to the piece? Do you feel as though you were affected by princesses, barbies, bratz, etc?
(negative or positive)
Are boys the ones who are more limited? (Orenstein mentions this on page 22).
Check out the hyperlinks- reactions?

Friday, February 28, 2014

Museum of the American Project ~ Bullying

TOPIC: Internet Bullying vs. "Traditional Schoolyard" Bullying

Group members: Jessica Harrow, Heidi Samayoa, and myself (Lauren Veyera)

Six potential sources.. found blogs on the topic to be really interesting!

first source

second source

third source

fourth source

fifth source

sixth source


Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Cyle of Outrage ~ Quotes

a) Name: A Cycle of Outrage : America’s Reaction to the Juvenile Delinquent in the 1950
Author: James Gilbert

b) I chose QUOTES

The first quote I have chosen is on top of page 12. “Look focused on this visual confusion, claiming that the new adolescent subculture of the 1950s looked aggressive, even if not all youngsters were on the way to becoming criminals. Interpreting their new habits required special insight and knowledge; for example, an understanding of the special new language.” As time goes on, the looks and attitudes of people change. This change may be different for each individual, and each individual may have a different experience depending on your race, class, and the time period and location of where you live.  Today we have an idea in our head of the looks of different people…. This includes “goth”. “prep”, “tom-boy”, etc. Each individual has a different vision of what look is “aggressive” or not. People are being judged and put into stereotypes just by the way they look/dress.  This whole topic of “looks” reminds me of Raby’s reading, and the five discourses that she went over.  Throughout our teenage years, we go through different changes and experiences, good and bad, and are risk taking and experimenting. We should not be judged by the way we look by peers and by the older generations, as seen in Gilbert’s reading. When Gilbert talks about the interpretation of new habits require special insight and knowledge such as an understanding of a new language, it makes me think of our generation. With social networking and other types of media, we learn a new form of language that we use in our day-to-day lives. For example, my grandpa would never text me and say “yolo” or use the abbreviations such as LOL, TTYL, LMAO, BRB, ETC. Do you think language is changing with time?

The second quote I have chosen is at the bottom of page 13. “On top of curiosity and worry came the increasing recognition that teenagers had a major impact on the shaping of American popular culture.” I believe this is pretty much talked about throughout the whole article by Raby, and even throughout the previous articles that we have read thus far in the course. It is clear that teenagers DO have a major impact on the shaping of American popular culture.  Changes occurred such as clothing, hair, music, dance, behaviors, etc., mentioned at the bottom of page 14 due to TEENS.  Teenagers have had a MAJOR impact on society and the world! 

The third and last ((LONG, SORRY!) quote I have chosen is in the middle of page 17. “From the middle of World War II into the 1960s, adolescent behavior changed abruptly and distinctly in several categories: sex and marital behavior, work habits, consumption, and attitudes to peer institutions. Much of this new behavior emerged from high schools, which, after World War II, became the universal mold of teenage culture. How to evaluate this institution, of course, depended upon the eye of the beholder. But to many observers, adolescents were creating their own world characterized by a premature adulthood.” Throughout the article, it talks about the changes teenagers were going through as time went on and as different events were happening throughout the media, such as Elvis Presley.  Due to teenagers rebelling against their parents, like many teens do today, high school authorities started banning certain clothing and haircuts. This is even present in some of today’s high schools. I remember girls in my school being sent home because of short skirts or short shorts, or if our shirts were too small or showing too much skin. Did anyone have similar experiences in school? As seen in the reading, adolescents were creating their own “premature adult culture”,(Gilbert, 22). They were creating their own new styles, new appearances, and new culture.

C.  ^^ I posted the questions(s) after quote one and three! :)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Tangle of Discourses ~ Reflection

a)    Name of text- A Tangle of Discourses: Girls Negotiating Adolescence
Author of text- Rebecca C. Raby

b)   I chose the REFLECTION option

I really could relate to the five discourses of adolescence stated in this article, which included the storm, becoming, at-risk, social problem, and pleasurable consumption.  Everybody may have a different experience with how they experienced their teenage years. I first want to relate “The Storm” to my early teenage years. “This metaphor is used to describe an essentialized, ahistorical understanding of adolescence in which teens are inherently inclined towards experimentation, risk taking and uncertainty,”(431).  In the media, I was always taught that my teenage years were the best years of my life. As seen in the reading, this culture celebrates and idolized YOUTH.  I don’t know about you but I feel that my teenage years were not the best! These were the years that our bodies were changing, there was a lot of self-exploration/self-expression, all different types of experimentation was happening, bullying was occurring, SEX was happening, people and friendships were changing, and life was getting harder and really confusing at times. I just turned 20 in November and can already say being in my 20’s is much better than being in my early teens! My teenage years honestly stunk! In the reading, Raby mentions that adolescence “offers the luxury of making mistakes,”(434). I believe in this statement because we are in a stage our life where we can do and try different things and not worry about the consequences as much as we would in adulthood. We are in a sense, “allowed” to make mistakes.  The “at-risk” discourse makes me think about high school and it does relate to me.  There was a major concern for risks mentioned in the article, which included drugs, alcohol, depression, eating disorders, sexual diseases, etc.  When I entered my freshman year of high school, I was not expecting people to be already having sex and doing drugs. I felt like my innocence was stripped away from me as soon as I went to high school, and I was only 12! I felt so much stress in high school due to all of the pressures that I was starting to deal with. I wish I could go back in time and hang out with a different crowd. Did you guys have any similar experiences?!  What about dances? I was not expecting high school dances to be so disturbing. Due to people literally having SEX on the dance floor, our school created a new rule, which stated: If you BUMP AND GRIND, YOU CROSS THE LINE. We had so much supervision! This relates to the reading when Raby talks about prom….
“The prom is marked as a coming-of-age rite in which young people are expected to temporarily act more like adults (coupled, dressed up, refined). Yet proms are also highly regulated spaces, with a strong presence of teachers’ authority, and many rules to suggest that the students’ fling with adulthood has to be closely monitored and that not all that adulthood has to offer is really open to the students,”(439).  We are being taught independence and that teenage hood is a time of self-discovery but then on the other hand we are being hovered by the authority /older adults.  Being a teenager can certainly be a confusing and irritating time. I felt like this article relates to Unlearning the Myths That Bind us by Christensen. Our society’s culture industry teaches us how we are supposed to act, live, etc., and this is one of the many pressures that adolescents face, as mentioned in Raby's reading. 
c. Something I would like to talk about in class is the expectation(s) teenagers have by adults. We are told to be responsible and act like adults, but at the same time the adults are regulating us and treating the teens like children.
( mentioned on the bottom of page 438-439)