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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

fighting back

I don't know if she's still considered a teenager seeing as though she's well into her twenties now, but the term "teenager" is already vague as it is and I know that she started this years ago, and she played a big role in my desire to become a feminist.

I'm talking about YouTube vlogger Anita Sarkeesian. She has a channel on YouTube titled FeministFrequency, and a website that goes by the same name.

On her channel, Anita covers things like the Bechdel Test - a test that teaches audiences to wonder how well-written a woman is on movies and television. It was the first time I had heard of it when I saw it on her channel and whoa, it opened my mind to how I watched movies and how I viewed female characters. This was one of the first videos of hers that I saw, and it was when I started to wonder what was being fed to me by the media and how I approached it. It was the first time I thought about fighting back one way or another.

A few of my favorite videos ever on the internet were made by her when she started a series of videos called Trope vs. Women, in which she taught her audience the continuous stereotypes that women portrayed on television due to the writing of them by men, or sexists writers. I would recommend everyone to watch these videos because they can teach you a lot about what you watch and how you're watching it. She describes them perfectly and it's just...mind blowing. 

Anita is just one example of the many people that I've encountered on the internet fighting back to dominant ideology. Like I said before, she played a big role in the way I view on the world and inspired me to start fighting back to dominant ideologies that surround me every day. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

masculinity or whatever

Out of all of the texts that we've read for class, I think this one--Adolescent Masculinity, Homophobia and Violence: Random School Shootings by Michael Kimmel and Matthew Mahler--is the one that I identified the most. I'm 'bout to get real personal with y'all, so I hope you can handle this.

I don't think that I've ever fit the stereotypical identity of a masculine boy/teen/young adult/man. Obviously when I was younger, I did certain things that in the end would deem me masculine, but at the end of the day I never got into a fight, I was never good at sports, I never liked sports, I never spoke about girls, I never had a girlfriend, and I was bullied (but not to an extreme extent and it only lasted through middle school - but I had friends that sometimes defended me. Well, not friends but ~peers or whatever.

I thought it was really interesting to read about resilience and what may stop those who are bullied from acting on such extreme thoughts. I had never thought about it, but I know for a fact that murder or harm to others ever crossed my mind. But then again, I've never believed that violence is a good solution for anything, regardless of how many movies I had seen where the only solution was violence. I don't know what to say in terms of this because I think that the way I was raised had a big impact on this. I don't know what the psychology behind this is, but I just have a feeling that something about being brought up the way I did had something to do with the fact that I never had ~bad thoughts about my classmates.

I still don't very much fit the image of masculinity as an adult (lol I'm an adult?), and I could not care less about about that. Something that I think we have to start deconstructing--and soon--is this idea of masculinity and femininity and how these binaries are often the cause of so much bullying in opposite genders. And the thing is that it shouldn't be that hard? I'm not saying it won't be, but I don't think it's impossible if we start teaching kids at a young age.

I don't mean to digress (except I totally do), but I had a problem with this article that I wish to discuss with the class slash I hope you guys can enlighten me because yeah... I did think it was an interesting study, and I'm glad that it focused on masculinity because it IS something that we often overlook. But I felt like this article also discredited mental illness as a whole and I don't think you can discuss one without the other. And obviously family matters as well, but that's not about the "content" as this study put it. I think mental illness is, in fact, part of the content, even if it's not exactly THE content, you know? I think that how young boys see themselves has something to do with their self esteem and how they decide to act on it.

Again, I know that this study is speaking on the CONTENT of the shootings, but something that we have to start talking about in this country is mental illness because this can play a big part of the way a violent teen thinks.

Ugh, I can't articulate what I had thought about while I was reading the article, but I just feel like we can't talk about one thing without talking about the other? I felt like this article should have hit more points. It felt short and rushed and it would have been nice to read about how some of these issues over lapped.

This is nonsense and I'm sorry I wish I could've articulated my thoughts better in order to have a better discussion on it.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

thoughts on final project~

Yo, it's insane that we already have to be thinking about this - didn't we just start this semester like two weeks ago? But I digress...

I had another great idea (how presumptuous of me to think that my current idea is great, right? Whatever I'm awesome so it has to be.) for a final project, but I completely lost track of it at some point between yesterday and today, so I'm rather bummed about it. If anything I'll add it to this post when or if I think of it. On to my idea:

I shared in class what I had in mind, and I really want to make it happen because it's something that I've been wanting to share with people; something that everyone needs to hear about and be aware of because no one seems to take notice of it and it makes me sad.

Like I said at the beging of the semester, one of my guilty pleasures (not guilty because I'm ashamed, but guilty because the shows that I watch on this particular channel are extremely problematic) is watching quite a few CW shows. The three shows that I will be focusing on to try to make a point are: Veronica Mars, The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle. Three of those shows have a person of color as a recurring or main character:

  • In VM, we have Wallace, Veronica's best friend and helpful sidekick. 
(Veronica & Wallace)
  • In TVD, we have Bonnie, Elena's Best friend and trusty (and helpful!!) sidekick. 

(Wow, yeah Bonnie me too) 

  • In TSC, we have Melissa, a powerful witch and another helpful and level headed sidekick (although it could be argued that she's one of the ~main~ characters of the show. 

(Same, Melissa. Same.)

All these characters have something in common: they are all of color, all friends of the main character (they're never the friend, always the friend of (a white girl to be specific)), they get little to no story line throughout the seasons, at some point they are given a poor excuse as to why they're not in an episode without much depth, and, obviously, they are all teenagers and supposedly represent teenagers in the media.

I like to call this the Melissa/Bonnie Effect, because it was when I watched TVD and TSC that I started noticing this twisted trend. For my final project, I want to talk about the Melissa/Bonnie Effect and shine light to the lack of representation of people of color in these shows. I think it's important to talk about something like this because as a person of color, I barely get fair or accurate representation of who I am.

A lot of the time in the media, what we see is something that can potentially shape who we are and what role we play in society (after all, Youth is a Culturally Constructed Category (see what I did there?)). So what happens if we're always the ones who are always the friend of a white folk; and always the ones assisting in tasks and always summoned when we're needed for a task; and only have our stories told partially as if they don't matter as much; and never being as powerful and never being the hero? We grow up with that mentality. I think it could easily influence anyone to believe that they are always the sidekick and never the hero and that our sole purpose is to assist and that's it. I think this speaks a lot to that third course assumption and I'm sure that at some point I can find other things that can relate to the other assumptions, even if I have to dig a little deeper than I originally thought.

I hope I can make this work because I really want to do it.

If not I'll just write about Buffy (◕‿◕✿)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able

I think it says something that I decided to watch the video instead of reading the article, even though I had a mini-internal struggle about which one I should do. I wonder what Mr. Wesch would say about that...

But anyway, I digress (kinda). I decided that this week I will focus on my relationship to the text, and what I have to say about it from a personal point of view.

As someone who's technologically savy (he lied), I come across a lot of stuff on the internet. About three or four years ago - I can't remember - I discovered a little website called Tumblr. At first, I used it as a place to put the pictures I took (I was super into photography at some point, lol). Then it escalated into me "reblogging" pictures of  other people, then it went on to reblogging edits (made in photoshop) from television. Then I started making edits, and gaining followers and making friends. Like, real friends. Friends that understood me and were better at friendship than the friends I did have "in real life". So, I got comfortable with Tumblr and have been on it ever since. About a year or two ago I managed to make into a different side of Tumblr. That was the social justice side.

It started with reading a few posts about media representation of people of color. I resonated with it because, you know, I AM a person of color (surprise!). So I looked more into media representation and started following more people that were doing it and I was like, this is pretty awesome. I'm so for equality for everyone in the media!!

And then I made peace with my sexuality so I started familiarizing myself with queer theory, except that's always been a touchy subject on Tumblr (because some people can't distinguish equality from queer people serving as a form of sick entertainment), so I've managed to separate the two, and that was pretty awesome.

So far in just those two examples I had learned more about human rights than anyone had ever cared to talk about. On I went, and I discovered feminism. It was such different concept for me, because I wanted to be a A Feminist™, but I was A Dude, so I was on the fence about it. But every. Single. Post. That I came across that had to do anything with women empowerment, representation of women in the media, or the rights of women I couldn't help but nod my head or kind of relate to it. Not for myself, but for my mom. I grew up with her and only her, only seeing my dad every once in a while. She is the strongest woman I personally know - she raised two kids on her very own and did everything and has always done everything in her power to make sure we have absolutely everything we need.

I've always seen more strength in females than I see in men. Like. Always. Thinking back, I remember always picking the female characters in fighting games, or racing games, or anything. I've always loved female characters on television more than I do guy characters, and just... I love female empowerment and everything it stands for.

And everything changed when the fire nation attacked (sorry The Last Airbender reference) I first took the gender studies class with Chris and Dr. Bogad!! I can now confidently say that I am a feminist and a misandrist and I love fighting with people about how wrong they are to think that women and minorities don't deserve human rights. Like, fuck off much.

I think this relates to Wesch's speech because I really have learned a lot more thanks to technology and the things that it's able to offer. If we bring technology into the classroom like some of my teachers have in the past, it facilitates learning for everyone in the classroom. In fact, it even makes it more engaging. Sure, it can be disruptive if done right, which is why older generations should be taught to use technology to make the future the opposite of what Wesch said in his speech. Agree or Disagree?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

trigger warning: rape

I just ran into this on the blogosphere and I thought I would share it with the class. This is an anti-rape ad in Scotland:

The Rise and Fall of Tangling Discourses

I don't know how closely the rest of the articles we read this semester are going to be with each other (my assumption is - a lot), but I thought that Thomas Hine's The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager was spot on with everything that Raby discussed in A Tangle of Discourses.

Lets start with the idea of "teenagers as not a quite competent person, beset by stress and hormones" (Hine, 4). In Raby's article, this is also something she talks about. It is only a stereotype that further fules the twisted view that we have on teenagers. In her article, she referred to this as The Storm discourse. And to further prove this particular point, she had one of her interviewees share their thoughts on this and she said that "as a teen, you don't feel like [having sex, being driven by hormones, etc] and I think it's something you don't realize until you get older". But at the same time, I feel like this is something that is so embedded on everyone's brains that as we go through adolescence, we kind of believe it so much that we begin to experience the things that people relate teens to. And at that point we become the things that people bad talk about, even if we all, as human beings will and have gone through that same thing.

One of the discourses that Raby also talked about was the idea of teenagers needing to find an identity - that this is the only thing they strive for, they want independence and they want independence. Is it a discourse if "study after study suggests that teenagers' principal preoccupation is to adapt, to find a place in life"? (Hines, 2). Is this one of those things that we become the things that people always say about us? Or is it truly what teenagers want in life? So, is it a discourse? Or is it a psychological fact that we're bound to experience regardless of discourses? It's a bit confusing to me and I don't think I have quite an opinion on it. But these opposing views are definitely food for thought and a nice discussion!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


You know how sometimes you take pleasure in bad television? Well I took pleasure in this very good, very dense, very long and academic paper. Rebecca Raby's A Tangle of Discourses was definitely an interesting scholarly article, and the research method used was pretty interesting to say the least. 

This week, I'm going to do the ~hyper link~ post, and it could also be an extended comment since Mary touched up on it in her blog post, but I think hyper linking works because it's awesome. 

In any case, when I was in high school, I was kind of a wallflower. And it was an awful time, etc etc etc. Until I found some people who ~~~got me~~~. That's about the time I started listening to darker stuff, in terms of music. And thus I discovered My Chemical Romance (lol i started listening to them because I really liked this girl who LOVED them and it was all very comical). In 2007, the band released a song titled "Teenagers" (as mentioned by Mary in her blog): 

Y'all, you cannot imagine how empowered this song made me feel. I was like, alright, I can deal with this -- this song explains my life, people should be scared of me because I'm a teenager (even though I was super "harmless", whatever that means) and I will tear stuff up! 

And now, having read Raby's article, this songs speaks to so many of the things that she brought up in her writings. Now that I've seen the video after not having watched it for years, I feel almost like this is a commentary on the teenagers are viewed. But to those teens who do watch it, it's not clear. Lord knows that it wasn't clear to me when I first watched it. To tie it in with some of the discourses that Raby wrote about, I'd like to start with the At Risk discourse. One of the things that Raby focuses on with this discourse is the idea of teens being at risk of being the things that people warn them about. In a way, this song kind of alludes to that in the following lyrics: 

They said all teenagers scare the living shit out of me
They could care less as long as someone'll bleed
So darken your clothes or strike a violent pose
Maybe they'll leave you alone, but not me

I feel like this sets up this idea that teenagers should be feared because you just never know what's going on through that head of theirs. This song sets up a picture in my head about an old man standing in his porch with a shotgun, telling the kids to get off the lawn. 

Another discourse that I noticed, but it wasn't in the video as much as the people watching was teenagers as a social problem. The constant regulations placed on teenagers, and the many stereotypes attached to them forces teens to separate from each other. That's when """cliques""" are formed in high school, and it's all downhill from there. The following screencapture was from the video I previously linked: 

I think that's all I have to say on this right now. It was a really big paper and I feel like if I keep going I'll just end up writing a post that's five thousand words. 

SIDENOTE: there's this strange trend going on in television right now that kind of addresses this song and the stereotypes attached to teenagers (those in The Storm discourse).... and not in a positive way. In the television show New Girl on FOX, Schmidt's car's tires get stolen, and the car placed on blocks. And his reaction? "Youths!"

Similarly, 30 Rock on NBC did the same thing, only it was done previous to this episode airing. I couldn't find the video where Liz (the main character) says it, but here's a gif. To set it up, Liz is walking down the streets of New York when she sees a group of teens walking on the other side of the street. She sees them, exclaims "Oh god, youths" and runs the other way. 

Discussions for class:
I know she touched on it at some point in the article, but if you exclude race (and maybe social class too), I don't think you would yield the same results? Like I said, she touched on it before, but from the beginning, there was a part of me that discredited some of the data because of this (or these) two exclusions. But what do I know, I'm just a student~
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