Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Outside Connection Two

As I've mentioned before I am an AVID Pinterest user...mostly of the Humor section (:

As I was searching the other day I found this picture...
I didn't see the original ad but I wish I had.  It is about time advertisements begin to show diverse families.When people began to boycott...they retaliated with two dads instead of two moms...clever.
I am a toddler teacher at an early learning center...a very ritzy, upscale, expensive as shit one at that (and it's the only downfall of my job)  Well let me tell you, when a new student started who had two moms it was the ONLY thing the other teachers talked about for days after our annual "Ice Cream Social".  Why?  Because it's still not what society considers to be "normal"...which is why the JCPenney was boycotted as well.

Vagina Monologues--very very delayed

So I know I'm really delayed posting this.  I didn't think we had to post a blog about the Vagina Monologues if we went--I thought we had to write something about so I was all prepared to like hand in a typed thing about my "experience" or show proof that I went or something.  Nonetheless, this is extremely delayed and I apologize.

I did go to Vagina Monologues back in February (the Friday night performance...the 15th) and I was really excited about it.  I took my sister, who at the time was 17, her best friend who is 16.  My older cousin came...she's 25 and her friend who is also 25 came.  I'm not sure how the topic came up but I was telling Brooke a couple weeks ago in class that my sister's friend (16) was so...I don't even know the right word to use haha...nervous? confused? misunderstanding of the whole thing?  And that is why I took them.  I thought they should be exposed to what is going on in the world, I thought it was time to open their eyes to something bigger and more important than their stupid iPhones...I wanted them to see what it is like to stand up for something.  After taking GEND 200 last semester with Chris and Dr. Bogad my perspective about life in general has changed--while my sister and her friend sat there jaw-dropped and nervous the whole night I sat there feeling empowered.  Later when we went to dinner I asked what bothered them the most---my sister's friend basically said she felt awkward, she felt "weird" talking about her body like that.  I however, felt that it made me feel less awkward thinking of and talking about my body and my vagina.

I guess you can also say I felt a lot of school pride that night-- that we go to a school that, although isn't 100% accepting of everything and everyone still allows us to express ourselves.  I say this because my cousin who came with me is a Providence College Alumni ('09 maybe?) and she was so excited to see Vagina Monologues because her senior year it was supposed to be performed at PC.  However, because PC is a Catholic university, it was cancelled due to it being "conflicting teachings" or some lame excuse like that.

I hope even though my sister and her best friend were uneasy about the experience, they at least learned something...and with my sister being a student at RIC this upcoming fall there's plenty of time to make sure I open her eyes REAAAAAALLLLY wide to the rest of the world outside of her phone (;

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Talking Point Eleven: Teens Talk Back

The first thing I did when beginning my search for this blog was Google-ing "teens talk back" and like Julie mentioned in her blog most of the entire first page of results is several parenting websites--how to talk to your kids, how to control your teenager, how to deal with your rebellious teenager etc.  

However, the very first result that came up on my search was Teens Talk Back Videos  This website was full of videos teenagers had made regarding their opinions and experiences with issues such as: cyber bullying, social media, friendships, meeting people from the internet, posting inappropriate photos online, relationships,  broken promises etc.  Basically anything a teenager may have to deal, these teenagers have posted a video for it.  There's this preconceived idea that teenagers don't care and have no opinions and that issues like this do not concern them.  However, this website proves otherwise.  This website shows that teenagers are interested in what goes on and (unlike adults may think) can carry on intelligent conversations about serious issues.  They have opinions and teenagers relate to other teenagers.

I also found this Dear Abby news article as I was searching. In her letter to "Dear Abby" this teen girl was talking about conforming to her parents religion.  However, I thought the way she said "I don't understand why adults tell me to be an independent thinker, to embrace myself, and then put me down for not conforming. Why is it outrageous to come to your own conclusions, speculate, challenge accepted ideas..."  This girl is absolute correct.  Parents and society are always trying to tell teenagers be who you want to be, express yourself...just do it in a way that fits into society's norm.  You want to to challenge the accepted idea?  Sure! Just don't challenge it publicly where you'll be considered outside of what is considered "normal" or accepted.  The girl then goes on to say that parents want their children to smile and nod and be that "normal" accept all society says so they can have the "superficial satisfaction" of saying they raised their child correctly when all the while the parent is being challenged and nothing is really as it seems.

I think sometimes "adults" forget that they were once teenagers (which ties into our course assumption: teenagers are not some alien life form.)  Adults move on from that "phase" in their life and forget that they once lived through and faced the same challenges.  Technically at 20 I'm considered an adult but I look back at "being a teenager" as if I still am one.

Comments for Class:
I'm interested to see what everyone else found.  I'm interested to see if others found the same results I did, parenting websites and such, as the first results.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Outside Connection One

I've been home in bed for the past two days with some really, really nasty version of the stomach bug...I can barely move (that's why I wasn't in class yesterday).  So I have no interest in watching television but I have been on Pinterest and I found this picture that immediately made me think of the Pilot episode of Glee.

In the Pilot episode when Mr. Schuester is telling the principal he'll take over Glee Club, he is explaining to him that it is important because everyone feels invisible (and then lightens it up but throwing in "that's why everyone has a Myspace.")  When I saw this picture it made me think back to this scene because although Mr. Schu was throwing in the Myspace comment for humor, it has some truth behind it.  Teenagers often do feel invisible and feel like no one is listen and feel that what they are saying doesn't matter (which can be related back to Hine's article as well).  Teenagers often go to social media as their outlet for expressing themselves--they write because whether or not anyone is listening it's getting out there.  Teenagers are always looking for a way to be heard whether it is through social media or music or art or graffiti.  They write to tell what they cannot verbally say or what they are trying to verbally and just cannot find the words.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Talking Point Ten: Glee!

I would just like to note that before today I had never watched Glee before (besides the media artifact that I believe Jacki, Eian & Tyne did) so I know nothing about the show or the characters (although I did do a brief "background check" on all them so I could become better acquainted with their character lines/stories.  After watching the Pilot I was like "I want and need to watch more I need to know what happens!"  Well, then I watched Never Been Kissed and Furt and some things really bothered me and I was like WTF how could a show like this even be on television; hmmm maybe not.  We'll see though; I haven't actually decided if it's going to become my guilty pleasure or not haha

Episode One: Pilot
In the pilot episode it was evident that McKinley High School was/is filled with stereotypical "cliques."   When Mr. Schuester meets with Coach Sue to recruit some of the cheerleaders to New Directions she tries to explain to him "the way this school works"--you have your jocks and your popular kids (the football players and the cheerleaders) and then you have your nobody's and she tells him that the glee club is basically way below the nobody's.  Coach Sue tells Mr. Shu that "children like to know where they stand" and if he tries to mix groups it just won't work. **I found it amusing or ironic I guess that throughout the episodes the students are reffered to as kids or children---they're in high school, they are teenagers**  I related this back to Thomas Hine's article the Rise and Fall of the American Teenager.  The argument Hine was trying to make was that teenagers feel like they have no definitive place in the world and that adults do not allow them into society or the work force and social classes so they have no choice really but to find their place in their own environment--high school.  Teenagers are always looking for their place in the world, especially in high school.  They need to feel like they belong somewhere.  Like Mr. Schuester said, everyone feels invisible.  
I have to say I was disappointed with Finn in this episode.  In the beginning when the football was 'preparing to throw Kurt into the dumpster' Finn had this look of remorse on his face and he just looked like he wanted to stop the situation but was too afraid of standing up to his friends and losing their respect as their leader--being a leader is exerting your masculinity .  Instead, he took the bystander role and let them throw a kid in the dumpster.  Maybe it's me over-thinking but I found it ironic that the show chose to throw the gay character in dumpster--almost as if they were trying to portray the message that gay characters are waste/trash?  Finn chose to be a bystander yet scenes later you hear him explaining how he's not afraid of being called a loser and how he feels trapped inside his body wanting to be more than what he is.  I found it pretty ironic that the song he's caught singing is Can't Fight This Feeling Anymore by REO Speedwagon:
And I can't fight this feeling anymore, I've forgotten what I started fighting for

Episode Two: Never Been Kissed
This episode is where I started to have some problems.  For one, Karofsky is the biggest bully I've ever seen and the cheerleader who made the "million gay jokes" was completely uncalled for and somebody should have called her right there.  Everybody wanted to defend Kurt but why didn't anyone step up right there?  I thought the ZERO TOLERANCE HARASSMENT POLICY at the other high school was awesome--my high school had that, actually I believe it is a city policy.  I remember my superintendent coming at the beginning of every quarter to give a speech at an assembly and he would always start it off by saying "if there is one thing I hope you remember from school it's this: every student has the right to come to school free from harm and worry."  Hearing that four times a year since 6th grade and it really is the only thing I think I can remember exactly.
 There was a part in the episode where someone said (I don't remember who or in what context, sorry) if you're gay your life's just going to be miserable.  Well it seemed to be that Krofsky who was struggling with who he was the most miserable.  I believe what Blaine said to Kurt is true about refusing to be the victim and not letting the bully or bullies run you out although I know that is easier said than done.  Like the girl who just stood there in the one scene when Krofsky pushed Kurt into the locker--do something.
There was bullying also towards the teachers in this episode which I connected with our Course Assumption Teenagers are not some alien life form.  When the football uses the coach's "ugliness" basically to "cool off" during make-out sessions with their girlfriends it hurts her feelings when she finds out.  As Mr. Schuester explains, everyone is scarred by high school and students forget that teachers have been there--teachers were teenagers too and they too have feelings.  The football team didn't realize her feelings were being damaged and hurt; they were using another's insecurities as a way to raise themselves up.

Episode Three: Furt
Alright.  There was absolutely no reason why Finn couldn't stand up to Krofsky and defend Kurt.  Sam who kept trying to argue that being on top meant that you didn't get made fun of and nobody called you a loser defended Kurt.  But Finn, his soon to be step brother, was too worried about losing the respect of the football team and losing his position at quarter back and his place at school to defend "the gay kid."  He felt his masculinity would be compromised by defending Kurt by losing others respect he would lose his sense of masculinity.  I thought it was awesome when Kurt's dad called Finn out about not defending him.  I have to admit, I did tear up at the wedding when Finn told Kurt that he was his brother and he would defend him until the end and he danced with him and all that lovey brother stuff--but I'm a sap for a good family story anyway. 
 I also found it awesome when Finn told Kurt he was the strongest man (or some variations of those words) he knew--Kurt, in my opinion, is more of a man than Finn.  Kurt has courage and strength.  He stood up to Krofsky, he knows who he is and is proud of himself and he refuses to be the victim anymore.  He is not afraid to be him whereas Finn is still shying aware, afraid of losing the respect of others.

SO Krofsky was expelled, GREAT! and then he was allowed back in school.  Why? because no one witnessed the act because that is how it works.  And that is all I have to say about that because it pisses me off to no end.  My sister was bullied for her weight, that's how her eating disorder started and nothing was done.  My cousin was bullied when she came out as a lesbian, nothing was done.  My cousin is presently being bullied so bad she hid in the bathroom everyday until she just stopped going to school all together--and still nothing is being done.  

I found this video on YouTube, I thought it went with this week's texts. 
 These teens were all bullied to the point of suicide.

Plot Misses on Glee?
I found this blog while I was searching Glee, it focuses on Never Been Kissed.  I thought it was pretty interesting.

For Class:
Other than these three episodes I don't know much about the show so in class I would like to find out more about the overall message Glee sends and if these three episodes are a representations of the show overall.  I would also like to talk about what it means to be a "man" in the context of this show.

p.s. I also apologize for the long post, I guess I had a lot to say haha

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Talking Point Nine: Hip Hop (Reflection) Tricia Rose

The reading this week was a little different for me simply because it was completely new to me.  It is a topic I've never really discussed or studied before so in a sense I was kind of out of my element I suppose.  Nonetheless I thought Tricia Rose's Q&A with TIME Magazine and her YouTube were both really interesting.

The extent of my knowledge of the Hip Hop community is small; I never really listened to hip-hop occasionally I'd like a song but I wouldn't say I was a Hip Hop fan....except for Tupac, I loved Tupac & Notorious B.I.G haha.

I'd like to point out that I thought it was really important that Tricia Rose made it a point in her Q&A to let TIME magazine and its readers know that no one is right about hip-hop and that her book The Hip Hop Wars takes on all sides of the arguments.
--I thought it was awesome that right off the bat she was letting her readers know that there was no clear, definitive conclusion or right answer and that as an author she was not going to take a single stance on the matter but show you all the different stances and sides of the argument.

During her interview she talks about the "underground" in reference to the hip hop community:
"That's why they call it the underground-because it is in fact buried.  But it's not dead; it's an underworld.  It's like the Matrix, an alternative world that has its flaws but is part of a living force."
She's talking about the underground in reference to commercial hip-hop being dead but having a rich world of hip-hop (the underground) that is still very much alive...flawed but still living and thriving.

I also found it really interesting that hip-hop wasn't always the rhyming it is today, that it had political content in it such as education, learning about one's history, asking questions and making better choices to try and better yourself and change society.

In one of her Q&A's Tricia Rose talked about (in a nutshell) images that sell.  She explains that sexist images, sexuality, sexual domination and racial stereotypes can found throughout hip-hop culture and why?  because they sell.  The people in charge of these images have the power to portray people of color in such violent, stereotypical ways and portray women as objects because they can...because it is the view people are forced to have of people of color so it sells so it becomes financial gain and those in charge gain and maintain power.

For Class:
I'd like to talk more about the images found in hip-hop culture such as sexist images, sexuality, sexual domination and specific racial stereotypes.  I'd also like to discuss why hip-hop has also been seen as such a violent culture.  Because this topic was so new to me I am really interested to see what everyone else thought of the Q&A and the YouTube and everyone else's thoughts on hip-hop culture.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Talking Point Eight: Masculinity, Homophobia & Violence; Kimmel & Mahler

For this reading I decided to do a Connections and Extended Comments blog and try (I feel like this article had a lot of great points and I don't want to miss any) to make connections with Thomas Hine's Rise and Fall of the American Teenager and Linda Christensen's Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us as well.  I felt like this article could relate to past articles but a lot of you brought up really good points that I wanted to work with as well.

As Linette pointed out in her blog which Julie extended on, socialization plays more of a role than biology does in the construction of masculinity.  I agree that it is much more than your biological make-up that makes you an aggressive person--I believe your home life, the environment you are brought up in, your care givers etc all have an affect on how you turn out--boys and girls.

For example, Jess wrote in her blog about how Kimmel used the example of violent video games, music, television etc.  Teens see the violence in these games and on television and get this idea in their heads that it is suddenly okay for them to go to school and do this.
This reminded me of Christensen's article.  On the first page of her article she writes "Our society's culture industry colonizes their minds and teaches them how to act, live and dreams.  This indoctrination hits young children especially hard." (126) This is Christensen's secret education.  Teens are picking up on this secret education in these games and television shows and music videos and wanted to go out and recreate what they are being taught.  They're not grasping that those depictions are not real life (as Jess explains in her blog).  However, violence in video games, on television etc is not always the Kimmel writes there is no real significant solid proof.  

Hine's main argument is that teens do not "fit in" in society or in social classes, they do not fit in the work force etc.  This results in them constantly and continuously looking for a place to fit in.  Because of the constant search society is losing them to whatever group is willing to accept them first (Hine sees this as a problem-in-the-making")  When teens feel unaccepted then have a tendency to lash out for attention.
For example, Jess wrote in her blog about the boys who committed the shootings were "victims of endless bullying and 'gay-baiting'."  All of these boys were tortured by their peers and classmates and like Jess says---the classmates show no remorse for how they treated these boys.  Jess points out that we are only human and we can only take so much before we break and as I said above, lash out.  I agree--a person can only take so much verbal, physical, mental, social...abuse of any kind before enough is enough.  Not that by any means that is justification for a school shooting.

For Class:
I'm interested to see where others stand on whether socialization plays more of a role than biology does.  Also, I didn't write about it in my blog simply because it just wasn't a point I chose to touch on but boys & their emotions.  I'm curious to see where everyone stands on that & the issue Jess and Daury raised about mental illness