Friday, June 23, 2017

Alexis Jones

I am SO conflicted about this Ted Talk. On the one hand, I think Alexis Jones makes a lot of very important points regarding masculinity. Even though men are on the privileged side of the dominant ideologies about gender, they are still enlisted in the dominant ideology since birth, and need education and support to unlearn a lot of that. They also are under a lot of pressures of toxic masculinity, which is a problem. However, I don't find making feminism palatable to men to be particularly important. I think men should act like guests "at the table," and it is not women's jobs to make them comfortable there. I also have a problem with the idea of needing to make rape about specific women in order for it to matter. Men should know that rape is terrible without being asked "What if it was your sister?" Women's lives and ownership of their bodies should matter when they're strangers, too. Not because they're somebody's daughter, somebody's sister, or somebody's mother but because they're somebody. I don't think Alexis was arguing against this at all, but there was something about her framing that made me uncomfortable. Maybe it's just frustrating to me that it's impossible to educate men without super catering to them, or that it seems like, at least with the men she spoke to, they won't even think about it without someone hitting them with a picture of their teenage sister and reminding her that she's one of us too. This is definitely going to be in the back of my mind as a reminder in terms of my own points of privilege.


For this post, I chose to do a reflection.

What's interesting to me is that, as I am reflecting on this text, and specifically the idea of adults thinking they know what youth are like because they once were children themselves,  I am drawn to reflect on my own experiences as a young(er) person...which kind of proves the argument. What I am remembering, though, is being immensely frustrated whenever I was talked down to or expected to act a certain way because of my age. I honestly remember watching the news with my parents, in which they were talking to and about a six year old who was "adorable," and turning to my mom saying something like, "You know, most six year olds don't talk that way. I'm six, but I don't talk like a baby, because six isn't a baby. It's like they don't think we can be smart because we're not grown-ups." This extends into teenage years as well, and honestly I still feel it as I'm turning twenty and watching Baby Boomers try to figure out millennials. This contributes to the discourse of teens as an alien life form, something Bogad challenges and we try to challenge in this course.

Here's a video that relates to the Orenstein reading but shows young people voicing their own opinions.

Orenstein and Douglas

Extended Comments

For this post, I decided to do an extended comments on Leena's blog post.

In her post, Leena mentioned Orenstein's point about parents not discussing gender-based differences in toys and media with their children, and said that she thinks this will lead to naivety as they get older. I agree that not talking about this can be damaging. Parents may think they are protecting their children from gender inequality or even taking a feminist stance by not talking about what effect gender has on life experience, but this is no different than the "I don't see color" approach to race and racism. Ignoring the systemic messaging about gender does not erase systemic messaging about gender, it only leaves young people without the tools to critically analyze it.

I was also interested in Leena's comment about the Spice Girls feeling empowering when she was younger but weirdly sexualized as an adult. It makes me curious about what is more important- the way something is presented or the way it's internalized. If you felt empowered, does that make it empowering? I imagine this is a fraction of the conflict Douglas felt when she heard the Spice Girls in her own house.


For this post, I chose to do hyperlinks.

A lot of the concepts in "A Tangle of Discourses" were extremely familiar, which I guess is kind of the point. I chose hyperlinks to highlight where I have seen these discourses outside of this class (spoiler: it's everywhere). For that reason, I'm going to go through each discourse and link an outside text!

The Storm:
Okay we talked about this video the first day of class, but it drives me crazy (pun only sort of intended). Raby describes the storm as a discourse of teens being hormone-driven, out of control, and wildly unpredictable. Even though this commercial is over the top, I don't remember it being particularly shocking.

This one annoys me the most because the reason this video came to mind is that we watched it in my Psychology class in high school to describe adolescence and define moratorium as a necessary stage. Which, according to Raby, isn't true. Isn't it cool how we just learn whatever?

At Risk:
Did anyone else have Stay on Track at their middle school? Because DARE with police officers wasn't enough to keep us away from drugs, but DARE 2.0, this time with fully uniformed National Guard people, would definitely work.

Social Problem:
Raby talks about this discourse as teens being a threat to the rest of society (which of course they aren't a part of). I was reminded of this song, which was made for a teen audience in response to this discourse, but check out the text at the end of the video.

Pleasurable Consumption:
There's too many serious links for this so instead I'm leaving this one.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Media Matters

When I was younger, my family watched a lot of sitcoms about (SCWAAMPy) families. A lot of these shows, like Reba and 8 Simple Rules featured families with two teenage daughters. Every single time, one daughter was pretty and the other was smart. Along with a LOT of other media, this set up a mutually exclusive complete dichotomy for me; I had to be smart or pretty, and definitely couldn't be both.  Since people told me I was smart, and I didn't look like the type of pretty that was represented, I accepted my fate as "smart (inherently un-pretty) teen girl." It's a thing on shows now, too.

Smart Sister or Pretty Sister, both have that "teen attitude."

Bonus points for the smart teen also being
angsty and the pretty teen also being pregnant.

As a fifteen and sixteen year old, I watched a lot of Skins. This show, made in the UK, had teens on the production team, and was meant to be "realistic." Of course, it was over-the top and showed a lifestyle of constant partying that I could not relate to at all, but it also had a young lesbian couple that was given as much attention and respect by the show as its straight pairings. Even though it was at times problematic, it was still relatable and featured representation of serious issues faced by people, including teens, like metal illness, homelessness, sex, and family and relationship issues.
These two were/are so important to me.

Parents!! Shield your kids!!!

As I moved through my teens, I was constantly looking for things I could relate to, or that were "different" (challenging the dominant ideology).My Mad Fat Diary wasn't perfect, but watching it was a step in changing how I thought about teens and beauty in general.
A teen who doesn't meet traditional beauty standards, has a love interest who definitely does, goes to therapy in every episode (!!!!!! And it is good for her! Pretty sure I have never seen another show that shows this), and is a sexual person, which isn't made into a joke or mocked because of her gender or size. Also, turns out the guy she's talking about here is gay, and they later help each other with their respective love interests and love each other platonically and it isn't weird that she was super into him before.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

About Me

This was supposed to be my first post and the fact that it isn't is also included in my "about me."

Hi, I'm Jess! I'm a YDEV major entering my junior year (weird). Here's some stuff about me:
I work here!
I also work here! (It's part of Burlington)
I used to work here!! (and I miss it)

Pup #1 (in CT)

Pup #2 (in RI)

I do clubs and stuff sometimes!
More than one of them!

Small Me (I now have a tattoo w morning glories!!)


I like plants but I am bad at growing them!!

Croteau- Quotes

For Croteau's "Media and Ideology," I chose to do a quotes post.
“Ideology is related to concepts such as worldview, belief system, and values, but it is broader than those terms. It refers not only to the beliefs held about the world but also to the basic ways in which the world is defined. Ideology, then, is not just about politics; it has a broader and more fundamental connotation” (160).
Croteau began this section by stressing the importance of explicit clarity when discussing the meaning of ideology, and is trying to create that here. He returns to this concept of ideology as a way of defining the world throughout the text, specifically in regards to what is “natural.” He argues that dominant ideology is sometimes expressed as common sense, the "natural order," or "just the way things are," a language choice that eliminates the possibility for questioning or change, because nature is perceived as beyond human control.

“It may be interesting to ruminate over the underlying ideology of a popular movie...However, this inquiry will move from party conversation to serious analysis only if we think more carefully about the patterns of images in media texts, rather than analyzing one film in isolation. At its best, ideological analysis provides a window onto the broader ideological debates going on in society. It allows us to see what kinds of ideas circulate through media texts, how they are constructed, how they change over time, and when they are being challenged” (164).
This passage demonstrates how media is most influential and important as a whole, not in individual examples. Media acts as a system, and, like other systems, has power in its overwhelming patterns. Croteau is arguing that in order to truly analyze the relationship between dominant ideology and media, we must consider the system of media over specific cases. In my own opinion and experience, I find it hard to talk about any system without breaking it into specific examples, and find that I better understand concepts that I can put into terms of my own life. This passage is a reminder to bring those examples back to the larger systems at hand and understand the power in the pattern.

“In short, Gramsci argued that ruling groups can maintain their power through force, consent, or a combination of the two” (165).

Here, Croteau calls on the argument of Gramsci to propose that media is a way of creating a culture that consents to structures that give power to ruling groups. This ties into the argument of “natural” from earlier, since media is used as a tool to create the illusion of ruling group power being “natural” and right. I would call this a combination of force and consent, although it does not involve any physical threat, or at the very least, I would not consider it informed consent (which is consent, right? As far as I know, consent involves knowing you have another choice, but maybe this is only one form of consent, since the text describes consent as being “won.”)
Not exactly....

Points/Questions for Class:
It was interesting to read about the United States in a way that feels like an outside perspective, or similar to the way we read about other societies (page 166). Not sure exactly what my point is here honestly, but I might like to talk more about whether we are "consenting" to media/dominant ideologies.