Monday, April 18, 2011

Extended Comments: Twilight Talking Points 10.

In Alexis's blog she has some very strong feelings on Twilight.  I also have some strong feelings about the movie and New Moon.  In coming into the Twilight movies, my vampire experiance was Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I was a very big fan of that show and knew more than one independent female from that show.  When I first so Twilight that background influenced greatly into how I view Twilight.
   Bella starts off as a seemingly independent girl. She wears the jeans and drives a beat up truck. In the book she is described as accident prone.  Right away that is a weaknesses that seems to be a driving force in getting her mixed up in all kinds of situations.  Alexis points out that Edward is constantley swooping in to save her from dumb female decisions. For example she goes off by herself in downtown Seattle and is met with a group of thugs in an alley.  Here comes the knight in shining armor Edward in his fast car. 
   I also notice how he is always emphasizing his strength. He is dangerous and cannot possibly control himself.  I have seen New Moon too and the same thing happens with Jacob.  Edward leaves and Bella just can't handle things without him.  She is rebellious and jumps of cliffs and Jacob comes along to save the day.  In this one the focus is more on Jacob who is constantly saying how he can protect her and offer her what Edward can't.  Bella can't have her own life without a guy showing her how to live and being her guide.
  I have heard the argument that Edward represents and earlier time as well.  It seems though in New Moon Jacob is a modern teenage boy but still contains some of those antiquated characteristics.  He goes back to the Native tradition that may be a part of that.  Also Mike the normal jock is portrayed as being kind of clueless. 
   It always bothers me too to see that Twilight has become so much of an phenomenon.  How much of this has to do with the looks of the males?  The actors constantly have their shirts off and are revered off screen.  Also I am uncomfortable with the ideas of love that it is sending.  I am bothered that Bella is so quick to want to give up her family, and a future to become a vampire.  He is really controlling, always knowing her whereabouts, and watching her as she sleeps.   Love is not shown as an equal partnership.  The female gives up things while the male gains.  I too don't want girls believing in these antiquated ideas of romance.
 I too cannot think of a real positive role model.  The most dominant female is Victoria who is the villain.  Why does being dominant and in control make a female character the villain?  The character of Alice seems like she could be a more positive  role model.  Even her thought is under watch from the male vampires.  There really is not a true positive role model.  I love the video that Alexis posted as I posted it near the beginning of this class.  This shows a good comparison of Buffy and Twilight.  Now I am curious about Vampire Diaries.  I have not seen that but I wonder where that fits in as I know it is popular too.  Buffy had Angel but she could stand up to Angel and kill him when she needed to. I think you saw Angel's side and symphasized with him.  She does have Giles as her guide but she also relies on her instinct and actually fights.  Willow is shown as a bit weak in the beginning of the series but she grows into a strong female character as well, with the help of witchcraft.  What is the appeal of Vampire literature and movie to teenagers?  How does this compare with the popularity of Harry Potter and those movies?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Talking Points 9: Hyperlinks: “How Being a Good Girl can Be Bad for Girls”, “Alice and Wonderland, and “Atalanta”

Hyperlinks:  “How Being a Good Girl can Be Bad for Girls”, “Alice and Wonderland, and “Atalanta”
                In the Tolman article the author discusses the war between being a good girl or a bad girl.  It is interesting that she describes the good girl as being “passive and threatened sexual objects” and the bad girl as “being sexual agents.. acting on their own sexual desires”.  The bad girl is portrayed as deviant and threatening.  Being a good girl seems to lead a girl to be easily taken advantaged off under the pressure of fitting into the ideal, virginal teenager.  Teenager girls are getting so many mixed messages on sexual behavior.  There are the Disney girls that have a good girl image on the shows, but behind the scenes display some bad girl traits.  Miley Cyrus’s Vanity Fair controversy comes to mind.  People freaked out because she was breaking that good girl image and showing that she may have some of that sexual agency.  The media portrayed that as being something threatening to teenager girls.
In this blog by a author that claims that she was trying to get sexual attention for men, because who else was she doing that for.  Much of the media was critical of her while not thinking of the person who is a fifteen year old still figuring it out.  Being a good girl can make it harder to make mistakes or just have life lessons without the criticism, and when teenagers are holding these girls that are the same age to higher standards it is even more challenging to stay with the good girl image all the time.  Being comfortable with sexuality is not a bad thing.  

  In Alice and Wonderland, a girl growing up in the Victorian era is set for marriage.  Remembering the earlier movie makes it even more interesting.  She seems to have forgotten Wonderland and is only keeping it in her dreams.  In the movie she goes back to her childhood adventure as an adult. It is similar to the original with the crazy characters of Lewis Carroll's imagination.  I think this movie is interesting because the main villain is a female.  I notice that the villain female characters in texts are often dominant and contain some male characteristics.  I think of Sue Sylvester too. 
 Neither of them have men in their life.  Is that a commentary on what being a bad girl does?  They are alone but not lonely?  Although Sue has had some sensitive moments she seems confident and never backs down.  As you can see she is insulting, rude, and mean.  Despite that she is one of my favorite characters on Glee.  I think looking at the villain characters is an interesting look on the bad girls/ good girls dichotomy.  Maybe it is a commentary on where being defiant and assertive gets a girl.  Alice at the end is rewarded and does not get married.  She does get to see the world.  Like Atalanta, she gets to live a happily ever after and the viewer sees hope that she will be happy.  The butterfly appearing is symbolic of who she can be. 
  Atalanta is a free willed women too.  Her father is too set in tradition in a changing world.  Many teenagers are going through this.  In this episode of Degrassi Alli is a Muslim teenage girl who is dealing with the conflict between her parents wanting tradition and her wanting to be like the teenage girls.  She was in previous episodes found to be sexually active and towards the bad girl ideal.  Once her parents found out she was sent to a all girls school where despite trying to be a good girl, is feeling torn.  This is a conflict that her brother also faces wanting to date non Muslim girls.  With Atalanta she is comfortable with travelling and not wanting to settle down. She wants to be smart and assertive.  This is a positive image for girls. It will be interesting to see what is in Alli's future.
  A summary video is Christina Aguilera's "Can't Hold Us Down"   This video seems to summarize well a lot of what Tolman's article said.  The idea of a women getting called a whore for being perceived as being sexually active and the man being praised is often seen in the world.  She is dressed and singing about the "bad girl" image, but it is seen as a positive thing. 

Points to Share:  How does the media portray the villains and the hero?  How does that relate to the Tolman article?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Another possible idea

I was thinking more about ideas and I thought about I was and still am a big buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, and this could be a project.  Comparing it to other similar shows like Vampire Diaries or Twilight could be something that could be explored.  THis show was one of the first shows that I saw showing a lesbian couple in a natural light.  Despite the vampires in witches there are a lot of the teenage idealogies that can be found in it.

Final project ideas for media project

  For the final project I seem to have a lot of possible ideas.  I like the analyzing movies through different decades ideas.  I mentioned Degrassi before in blogs but that could be something.  Their is the Degrassi that started in the 2000's.  Their is also an earlier version from the 1980s.  From this one show the past and the present could be compared in the themes and portrayels of teenagers. I would find it interesting to track down the old version.  Also some characters show up in the present version as parents or the principle.  Even in the 2000s it shows a big range.  Students move through Degrassi like a revolving door and new characters are introduced.  This has many of the recent episodes. 

Another idea I had was looking at music.  A lot of the class has been looking at tv shows and movies.  Music is another way that teenagers are being portrayed.  What are teenagers listening too and what kind of ideas are they sending.  We looked a bit at hip hop.  Maybe we can look at other popular music.  Artists like Taylor Swift and even Justin Bieber are really popular with the teenagers.  Some of the music and videos could be analyzed.  We could look at popular songs from the late 90's teen pop boy band explosion.  Analyzing the patterns could be very interesting.  with itunes it would be very easy to get the songs.

I am open to working in a group.  Some of these ideas could be a part of anything, 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hip Hop Talking Points 7: Hip-Hop and the Corporate Function of Colonization


      In Jared Bell's "Hip Hop and the Corporate Function of Colonization, the main argument is that the corporate center of what is distributed is controlling how hip hop is getting out there.  "These developments can only be understood in the context of a continuing process of subjugation in which media play a primary role in suppressing dissent."  This is basically explaining that media plays a major role in suppressing the other.  Those that are on the outside of pop culture are ignored.
     The first thing he mentioned was the increasing of postal for magazines.  He also mentions the charging of per song royalty fees.  This was the only piece that I wasn't quite sure how it led to control.  Independent radio stations would pay more for songs but independent artists that are not signed might benefit from having a way for them to get some royalties.  I know a lot of record companies are doing things like this because they are dealing with illegal downloading. 
    It then talks about censorship with Interscope and Young Buck. I was curious about other artists on Interscope Records.  From wikipedia: (
Looking at this list which also includes Eminem and 50 Cent many of those artists have gotten away with much worse stuff.  There is a lot of anti female and anti gay lyrics in those songs.  Fuck The Police may have been a polically driven song.  Even Lady Gaga is on this label. I can't really picture someone telling her not to record a song because it has lyrics dealing with being transexual or gay. It is interesting to think that the record label is controlling what can be put out there and what can't.  Different artists are associated with different thinks.  Maybe Eminem and 50 cent have been told no, or maybe they are just making the sales.  How does money figure into this?
   Also I thought of the company I work for Walmart.  Walmart is known for censoring music before it is sold on the shelves.  It is not just hip hop but heavy metal and rock acts like Green Day that fall victim to that.  I am not a big listener of hip hop but I know that a lot of it is poetry and the lyrics mean something.  I can't help thinking about the 1960's when the protest movement was going on.  Was anyone censoring Bob Dylan or other musicians at that time. Hip Hop is the almost the modern day equivelant to that.  It is the way that teenagers relate to the world outside and learn to question authority.  Questioning the authority, in this case corporate America, is something that people do not what to do.  If we have seen in Egypt and other places in the middle East, it is the way that social change and growth happens. 
Points to share:  Does Hip Hop relate to other movements in earlier decades?
   Is it a money issue or a media control issue?
  Is there any other ways that corporate media controls the content we hear and see?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Talking Points Blog 6: Glee


Glee is a show about a group of misfits that join together in a glee club.  I am a big fan of the show and watch it regularly so it tough to check myself out of the ‘fan’ part and analyze it.  I connect this show to Grinner’s article that showed the SCWAMP ideology.  It does enforce a lot of the pieces but challenges them.  A majority of the characters are straight, but Kurt is a prominent gay character.  He is fairly stereotypical and likes designer clothes.  He deals directly with a bullying situation in the episodes we saw.  One of the interesting things is that it deals seriously with Kurt’s situation but the females get a different treatment.  Santana’s character has experimented with Brittany but it is not really a focus, until two weeks ago, but I won’t spoil it.   Also we have yet to see Rachel’s two gay dads.  That could be an interesting dynamic but it is almost ignored. Straightness is still seen as the norm.
                The characters don’t really talk about religion in these particular episodes.  It is assumed to be Christian though as the wedding is a traditional wedding.  There is an episode in which religion is dealt with and explored, but even there Christianity seems to be the norm.  Surprisingly two of the main characters Rachel and Puck are Jewish.
                Whiteness is also enforced as most of the characters are white.  There is one African American character and a few of other minorities.  This I wonder if it is realistic to the setting.  Lima, Ohio seems to be a small town that may not have much diversity.  Mercedes is an interesting character as she seems to have the big voice and diva attitude that is sometimes attributed to an African American female in pop culture.  While being a diverse character she is still portraying a stereotype.
                There is a boy in a wheelchair that deals with a lot of hardships surrounding his wheelchair.  This is dealt with a bit more in the focus in other episodes, but he is portrayed as someone who always needs help.  I do think that this is one of the few portrayals of a disabled person in a television show.  I compare this to Jimmy in Degrassi.  Although he is now known as Drake, he was a teenager who got shot and paralyzed and spent the rest of his high school life in a wheel chair.  He deals with changing his dreams in a different light. 
                Also all the characters are American but I think that is realistic as it takes place in America.  Santana is Latina so it would be interesting to see more of her and others heritages.  Much of the music they choose is American or British groups that made it big in America. In the music they can display the American dominant ideology.
                Lastly maleness is dominant.  Kurt being feminine is seen as a weakness.  The male leads dominate in their relationships.  The cheerleaders are dumbed down.  Even Tina falls into this.  Rachel is the lead female and is constantly shown as confident and determined and sometimes a bit cocky.  Still she falls in love with Finn and almost loses that piece of her.  Mercedes is a strong female character and is a little insecure but confident. 
                Glee is a show that I enjoy watching and it is interesting to think of it enforcing these ideas.  I still think that it is showing a lot of differences and displaying them in a unique way but it is showing the dominant ideology.  One of my favorite things of the show is the music, but even that can show the dominant ideology.
Questions to share:  Is there any comparisons you can make between Glee and Degrassi, in how characters are portrayed?
                                       Is there a way to accurately portray differen

Monday, March 7, 2011

My Media Autobiography by Melissa Martin

Here is my media blog.  I have never used a movie making program before. I used Camtasia Studios.  Here we go.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

From Knowledge to Knowledge-able Talking Points 5: Connections

“From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able” by Michael Wesch
                In this article Michael Wesch discusses the advent of technology and social media.  Many teachers shy away from technology and try to keep it away from students. This article shows how it can be useful.  Teenagers are surrounded by social media.
                I made connections to the Croteau piece called “Media and Ideology”   The social media is a new way to enforce dominant ideologies.  Before it was television writers, authors, and musicians, now anyone can do this.  Any person can express their views on a blog or their facebook page.  In research people can read different viewpoints and develop their own views.  They can interact with people on the other side of the globe.   
                I also thought of the Raby piece.  The lives of teenagers are more open than ever through facebook.  Teenagers can be who they want to be online.  Sometimes it may be fictitious representations of them.  Educators can enforce these ideas.  Wesch talks about multiple choice and teachers emphasizing memorizing.  Now teachers can make use of internet research and allow students to find different perspectives to be brought in.
                  For many it wasn’t until college when people are exposed to different religions and different ideas about the world.  Now that can come earlier.  There are a lot of questions that have no right or wrong answers.  Teachers teach to dominant ideologies but students are exposed to so much more.   Critical thinking and teaching media literacy is more important.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Turning Points blog: Quotes from A Tangle of Discourse.

The article “A Tangle of Discourse” by Rebecca C. Raby, the definition of a teenager is discussed.  The article uses interviews from teenage girls and their grandmothers to show how the image of the teenager has been defined. Teenagers have been described as becoming, in a storm, at risk, social problem, and pleasurable consumption.
                “Most fundamentally, there is a contradiction between the idea that as a teenager you are coming into yourself, identity, and at the same time, every action that you take or thought that you express is framed as an inevitable feature of adolescence.”  (17)  This quote is a good summary of what this article proves.  Teenagers are constantly doing things that are being judged.  They are constantly told their actions are silly, and part of this time.  They are risk takers or they are materialistic.  Teenagers are generalized despite their individual actions. 
                “I think it’s a tough world, and they haven’t got much discipline”.  (15)  This quote came from one of the Grandmothers describing the behavior of teenagers.  This goes right with the image of being a social problem.  Blame is put on the parents.  Sure there are rude teenagers but there are also rude adults. Because it is a teenager that is rude the whole population of teenagers automatically is.  This is something I hear about a lot, especially with cell phones and texting. Teenagers text a lot and this is often seen as rude when they are doing it while in conversation or at the dinner table.  This is considered a part of the storm.  Technology has changed things for adults too as many adults have issues with their cell phone matters.
                Another quote I found interesting was, “Observing that many parents face mid-life at approximately the same time that their children become teenagers, Steinberg contends that jealousy loss, abandonment, powerlessness, and regret are triggered in adults.” (7)  This says that parents are raising teenagers when they themselves are dealing with life changes. Maybe the way teenagers are represented are the perceptions of adults going through these emotions?  These make things look differently.  It is interesting to think about many parents being of the baby boom generation and going through the 1960s.  Teenagers today might be considered out of control, but the Hippie culture of their youth was risky as well. It is important for adults to reflect on their own adolescence and remember what they went through.,21428,c_teens,00.shtml

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Turning Points 3: "Unlearning the Myths that Bind us"

                In the article “Unlearning the Myths that Bind Us” by Linda Christensen, the works of media surrounded children and its influence on them is discussed.  Christensen argues that the television, movies, and children surrounding children influence them and become parts of their mindsets. The hidden racism, sexism, and ideals found in these pieces of media are repeated and engrained into the brains of children and influence their own ideals and dreams of the future. 
                Christenson uses a lot of references from Disney movies to back up this claim. The Disney princesses always being stick thin is a big example. If you look at Cinderella or The Little Mermaid the heroines are always super skinny with a big bust. This definitely influence girls already surrounded by a world that tells them what to look like.  Also the racism is constantly present.  When looking at older movies it can be argued that the time period is the influence.  When Snow White was released the nation was in a depression and women were mostly at home.  It was only a few years later that world war two happened and many had to work.  Snow White always annoyed me because she seemed uneducated and just sat around waiting for the prince.  Even movies from the 1990s to now still contain a lot of racist and sexist ideas.  I always liked Mulan when I was younger because she seemed like one of the stronger ones. Even she had to get a guy at the end. It is hard to find a Disney Movie with a single woman or man and see them stay single. 
                I have noticed recently Disney has been finding success with movies about inanimate objects or animals like Wall-e, and the Toy Story franchise.  They can hide the stereotyping easier in these movies.  Toy Story 3 has little relationship stuff and focuses on friendship and growing up.  Disney also came out with its first African American princess Tiana from The Princess and the Frog.  Still the Disney Company reinforces stereotypes in shows like Hannah Montana which could be an example of a modern day “Disney Princess”.  Being a pop star is a sure sign of success.  They did end the series with the lead choosing college over stardom so maybe there is hope.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Turning Points 2: Hip Hop Has No Color

               In the article “Hip Hop has no Color” the author looks at Save the Last Dance, seemingly a good multicultural movie, and reveals its true meaning.  Looking at the movie I can see a lot of what the author is talking about.  The African American Characters are in stereotypical roles and the white girl is in her role.  This is set in a poor neighborhood and it might be realistic that this is the lifestyle that the characters deal with. The attitudes and behavior of the characters are what is stereotyped.  The females are jealous, angry, and one is a teen mom.  The males are involved in crime.  The intellectual characteristics are diminished.
                While this movie was made almost a decade ago, I see a lot of these ideas presented in media recently.  It is difficult to find a movie with African American characters in the lead. When they are it seems they are stereotypical roles.  I think of the Tyler Perry movies with the angry black females.  The popular music is the rappers that show over-sexualized females.  I see it in reality shows too.  VH1 is filled with the dating shows like Flavor Flav in which females seem to fit into the stereotypes.  I think we are seeing this kind of thing with other minorities too particularly the Latino population.  There are many people that are African American and Hispanic that go to college and are successful.  The only shows that I can think of are The Cosby Show, Family Matters, and even George Lopez. 
                I think also the white characters are stereotyped as well.  It is tough to find white characters dealing with poverty.  Only in the last couple years with Teen Moms, Secret Life of An American Teenager, and even Glee are white teenage moms shown.  It seems like in many movies with white characters the families have money and can afford to go to Georgetown, and Julliard. Stereotypes are often emphasized in the media.  Save the Last Dance is a good example of how the dominant ideology can be reinforced.
               I also thought of the movie Freedom Writers which MTV also was involved in.  Some of the ideas of Gunner's article could also be applied to this movie.  This movie shows a minority culture including asian and Latino communities.  A lot of the movie has a basis in the real life struggles of teenagers as it is based on a  true story.  Gunner talks a lot about the stereotype of blackness in Save the Last Dance but I wonder how much the author knows about the reality.  A lot is caused by poverty and being held back in society by language barriers, and economics.  These two movies do have some real life truths in it.  What is the ideal Asian, or African American, or Latino or caucasion?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Turning Points 1- Media and Idealogy

           Media and ideology is something that is closely related.  This reading discussed the scope of influence that ideology has on media and likewise the relationship between the media and the public.  According to this text, media outlets help to define the world and are models for appropriate behaviors and attitudes.
            The high influence of the media on the world is something that is difficult to argue against.  People growing up today have more forms of media around them than any other generation.   This reading discussed the scope of influence that ideology has on media and likewise the relationship between the media and the public.  According to this text, media outlets help to define the world and are models for appropriate behaviors and attitudes.
            The high influence of the media on the world is something that is difficult to argue against.  People growing up today have more forms of media around them than any other generation.  We have access to news stories in seconds.  It is interesting reading this article that was written in the early 2000’s how much technology has advanced since then especially with facebook and youtube.
              This reading suggests that the creators of the media market are spreading dominant ideology through there means.  Reading this I thought of the Disney Channel image.  From the girl who is a normal teenager by day and a rock star at night to shows about teenagers living on a cruise ship, the media is presenting an image of the teenagers.   There is not much minorities on these shows and it looks like most characters are well off.  These actors are treated as ideal role models by parents and when they do something wrong and breaking the Disney mode they are almost vilified.
            On the opposite end we have shows like Jersey Shore, marked to the 18-24 age groups that show young adults partying and having a lot of sex.  It is almost like this form of media is presenting this age group as partiers and not really caring about real world stuff.  Thinking about it teenagers and young adults are not just seeing images of what they should be but what adults perceive them to be.  They are either virginal or innocent, or out of control and sexualized. 
            The idea of different groups of population ruling through the media is interesting.  I think in this moment it is very interesting to see what is happening.  I am a big fan of Glee and it is interesting to see a show that has different cultural groups, body types, gay characters, and characters with disabilities.  It displays these characters in a realistic light as outcasts trying to fit in.  This kind of thing is apparent in music too with Lady Gaga and Pink creating anthems for the outcast.  It is showing that there are challenges to this power and there are victories.  Thinking about the influence of ideology and the media is interesting and raises a lot of discussions.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Introduction to Me

My name is Melissa.  I am a ELED major with a concentration in special education.  I am going to be student teaching in the fall.  My semester is going good so far despite all the class cancellations and snow days.  When I am not in class i work at Walmart in Cranston.  I also enjoy playing with my puppy named Buddy.  I enjoy reading and going to the movies during my free time.  I am excited to be taking teenagers in the media and hope to learn a lot and gain some new insight on the influence of the media.