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?