Friday, April 17, 2009

Well, it looks like this is my last post for this class. I don't know if I'll continue this blog but I'll do another one eventually. After this class I'm sure I'll be "giving in" to a lot of things or else, as Vegor says, I'm an idiot ;). I don't think of myself as technologically savvy at all--besides email I have a facebook account and that's pretty much it ha. Especially in my generation I need to keep up on the times; I'm sure I'll start using Twitter and then wait for the next thing like we discussed in class. This kind of knowledge wasn't necessary even just years ago, and our parents didn't have to worry about the internet, but that is where our world is headed. EVERYTHING happens on the internet, because of the internet, for the internet, etc. and even though with my "media fast" I didn't feel like I missed too much, I can't afford to not keep up!

It's been a great semester everyone! Have a great summer :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Culture Jamming

I really liked the chapter on culture jamming and it's concept...Errin brought up the point that culture jamming is putting reality back in the place where unreality currently resides. It's amazing how readily we accept this "unreality" constantly from the media, and it's only when we see advertisements such as the ones from Adbusters that we truly realize how unrealistic these ideas and ads really are. The AdBusters website ( talks more about the aim of culture jamming and has links to all of their magazines, which are all pretty interesting. I also found this clip of the founder of AdBusters magazine on CNN talking about American consumerism and "Buy Nothing Day" instead of "Black Friday" like we discussed in class.

Friday, April 3, 2009


I went to the Mormon Beat session of the Mormonism in the Public Mind Conference which featured four representatives from different newspapers talking about mormonism in the news. The rep from the Boston Globe was talking about the role the internet is playing in newspaper circulation, since people can just look online for any news. The influence of the internet has hurt circulation, but he thinks that even though some newspapers will cease to exist, newspapers won't altogether cease to exist.

One of the most interesting points that was brought up was that blogs are being used in the newspapers. I guess I didn't realize that blogs are public domains; I guess I'm like the other people they were talking about who think all their little chats are private. The reps were talking about how they use blogs to determine what people are talking about and what they are interested in. The thing that surprised me the most was that they actually quote some of the blogs for stories, if they feel that the sources are reliable and have credibility and are academic based. I think it's crazy how our seemingly "little chats" to one another can provide newspapers with material, and that blogs can be a credible source of information. Who knew?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Going Green

The other day we were discussing the question, how do we know if corporations really care about the values they are marketing (such as recycling) or if the choices they make are based on monetary gain? I was at Disneyland over spring break and I saw the common theme of "going green", and they coupled it with Kermit the Frog; they had all sorts of merchandise plastered with Kermit the Frog and the slogan Go Green. On one hand, Disneyland has always had recycling cans so that makes me think they have always had that value, but I wonder if they are "jumping on the bandwagon" of going green for a little more profit. I don't know. But let me bring up the non-profit organizations. Their very title suggests that they aren't in it for the money...what is their motivation? Could it really be their values? Anyone?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Did somebody say McDonalds?

Just sitting here in my room I could probably count about a hundred logos...Chap Stick, Disneyland, UVU, Jansport, Silver, DVD, Pepsi, etc. When we were kids, even before we could read, we were able to recognize tons of logos; we knew that the golden arches = chicken nuggets. This was mostly thanks to television, and the food and toy marketers who targeted us, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I think it would be awesome to have a company that millions of people could explain who you are and what you do as soon as they see your logo. Especially with logos such as the Nike "swoosh," it's just assumed that the general public knows what that represents. Then there are logos (even ones with words) that aren't as easily recognized. For example, when the drink goyin was new and first started advertising, the only thing that would be on a sign or a billboard would be that name. I finally googled it to see what it was, and did the same thing with Orange Soda. I think that sometimes being mysterious is a good marketing strategy, until your company or product becomes more well known. But just for some more examples, I think most of the following logos are ones that are quickly and easily recognized, almost "common knowledge."

Closing Remarks

Here are some of the comments I was going to make in class this past week and didn't get a chance to :) Just a last word on gender roles and race representation in the media before we move on. A few classes ago, Errin was talking about driving up to Salt Lake and noticing how different races were represented on the billboards; they really aren't. We discussed that maybe this was because the advertiser's target market is the population majority in this area. The other day I was driving to Provo from Spanish Fork and I noticed a sign for the Provo Towne Center Mall that said, "Welcome to the mall, mom." and another sign for a carpet cleaning service that said something to the effect of "Clean Carpets, Happy Women." If I wasn't in this class I really wouldn't have thought anything about it, but my first thought was, ok with these advertisements the mall is targeting "moms" and the carpet cleaning billboard could be targeting men by saying they're wives will be happy if they get the carpets cleaned, because it's assumed that they women already naturally want they're carpets cleaned but it's the men who are holding them back. My second thought was what is being said about women through this advertising? How are they being represented? These signs could be saying that all women are shopaholics and "clean freaks", and that being a homemaker and a mom is their primary gender role.

We also discussed different TV shows and what percentage of other races are represented in the casting of these shows, and what roles they play. I couldn't help but think of Survivor, and how every season they seem to have x number of black people, Asians, and men and women. Sometimes when I watch these shows or see certain advertisements (for example, the promotional materials for UVU) I feel like the producers are trying to meet a "quota of diversity," whether this is the case or not. I know our community has a lot of diversity, but sometimes it feels like this diversity isn't represented accurately.

Someone also made the comment this week about an actor not being cast because of the color of his skin, despite his experience. I started thinking about a case that I think is just the opposite of this. In Much Ado About Nothing, Denzel Washington plays the part of Don Pedro and the part of his brother (illegitimate brother) Don John is played by Keanu Reeves. Obviously, the two aren't brothers, but in a discussion I had with a friend, she said that Washington got the part not because of the color of his skin but because he's a great actor and played the part of Don Pedro well.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Before I watched the hip-hop documentary, I had never thought of hip-hop being a culture. I just thought of it as a style of music--one that I like. Even though I've recognized that the lyrics are mainly about sex, drugs, control, violence, criminal activity, domination, objectification of women, etc., I think I've been desensitized by it and it really never occurred to me that these things they rap about really happen. I was born and raised in Utah county, and I have never been exposed to anything like that and it's really hard for me to imagine that kind of lifestyle, where people just accept these activities as "just the way life is".

The only experience I've ever really had with different cultures and colors is when I went to Manhattan a couple months ago with a friend. When we arrived in the early morning and got on the subway, we were the only white people and the only females on the train. I don't consider myself racist, but I've never been in a position like that before and all of the sudden I had some stereotypes running through my head and I could feel the same things being directed toward me. Me and the people on the subway looked different, we talked different, we dressed different, and we probably had very different backgrounds. You can't help but notice people who are different from you, culturally and people of other colors-which is a good thing! I don't think we should be blind to color. But there's a difference between that and being racist. But the thing is, I don't know how to change people's thinking. I don't know how to fix racism, but we as society need to figure out how to recognize and embrace differences, and work on a ways that will maybe help fix the "system".

Friday, February 20, 2009

bell hooks

After starting the book, Black Looks: race and representation, by bell hooks, I decided to do a little research on hooks to learn more about her background and why she writes the way she does. There was a lot of information, and I just took some of the paragraphs that talk a little more about her views and experience with racism, feminism, and “white supremacy.” I really enjoyed finding out a little more about this author. I think the last paragraph really says a lot about her; it's kind of a long post but very interesting.

Born Gloria Jean Watkins, September 25, 1952.
Her pseudonym, her great-grandmother's name, celebrates female legacies and is in lower case because "it is the substance of my books, not who is writing them, that is important."
"Politically, our young mother, Rosa Bell, did not allow the white supremacist culture of domination to completely shape and control her psyche and her familial relationships." The author further described how this role applied to mothers in black communities in general: "Black women resisted by making homes where all black people could strive to be subjects, not objects, where we could be affirmed in our minds and hearts despite poverty, hardship, and deprivation, where we could restore to ourselves the dignity denied us on the outside in the public world."…

As a student at segregated public schools such as Booker T. Washington Elementary and Crispus Attucks High, hooks was taught by a dedicated group of teachers, mostly single black women, who helped to shape the self-esteem of children of color. …

The neighborhood where she grew up provided young Gloria with the affirmation that fostered her resistance to racism, but it also provided her with the negative and positive experiences that would shape her feminism, which she discussed in the essay "Ain't I a Woman: Looking Back": "I cannot recall when I first heard the word 'feminist' or understood its meaning. I know that it was early [in my] childhood that I began to wonder about sex roles, that I began to see and feel that the experience of being 'made' female was different from that of being 'made' male; perhaps I was so conscious of this because my brother was my constant companion. I use the word 'made' because it was obvious in our home that sex roles were socially constructed--that everyone could agree that very small children were pretty much alike, only different from one another physiologically; but that everyone enjoyed the process of turning us into little girls and little boys, little men and little women, with socially constructed differences."…

"I eagerly responded to the fervor over the contemporary feminist movement on campus. I took classes, went to meetings, to all-women's parties." But one of the significant weaknesses of that women's movement quickly became apparent to her: "It was in one of my first Women's Studies classes, taught by Tillie Olsen, that I noticed the complete absence of material by or any discussion about black women. I began to feel estranged and alienated from the huge group of white women who were celebrating the power of 'sisterhood.'"

That initial disillusionment would eventually fuel hooks's major contribution to mainstream feminism--her critique of its persistent racism. In "Feminism: a Transformational Politic," she translated that early experience in Women's Studies into broad political insight: "Within the feminist movement in the West, [there exists] the assumption that resisting patriarchal domination is a more legitimate feminist action than resisting racism and other forms of domination." It became hooks's main work to change that assumption. …

"Moving from silence into speech is for the oppressed, the colonized, the exploited, and those who stand and struggle side by side a gesture of defiance that heals, that makes new life and new growth possible. It is that act of speech, of 'talking back,' that is no mere gesture of empty words, that is the expression of our movement from object to subject--the liberated voice."


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Do you want to be fat or do you want to be skinny?

After class the other day when we were talking about the themes of normalization, we watched a clip in one of my other classes that made me remember some of the points we had discussed. I couldn't find the clip, and I've never seen the movie but I'll do my best to try and explain the situation. In the movie Little Miss Sunshine, there's a scene where the family is in a diner, and the little girl asks what "a la mode" means. When she's told it means "with ice cream on top" she is excited about her choice. Her dad (I'm assuming) starts asking her questions like, "Do you know what ice cream does to you?" "Do you want to be fat or do you want to be skinny?" "Are the girls in Miss America fat or are they skinny?" The little girl looks so confused and so hurt and disappointed.

The reason this clip made me think about our discussion was because we talked about some bodies being deemed as "normal", and if your body doesn't look like these bodies it is "abnormal" and in need of correction. Who has deemed the "skinny" girls on Miss America to have the normal bodies? And why is the father of this little girl teaching her that she should believe what the media is portraying to her about how she is supposed to look, before she even thinks of that on her own? She's just a little girl, and she should be able to have her ice cream without worrying about getting fat and viewing her body as her enemy.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Boys and girls, er, ladies and gentlemen...I mean men and women...?

Ever since we had the discussion in class on Monday about being aware of how you're referring to other people, I've been really attentive to how people address other people, and even how I do. I noticed so many times where people would say "girls" instead of "women" or even "kid" instead of "man," so I started writing them down :) I didn't take offense to any of this, they're just interesting observations. Here's the list of things I heard and the context they were said:

" that gentleman back there said..." --Professor in a class. (I pictured a man in a tux standing in the doorway rather than a student sitting in a desk with a sweatshirt and hat.)

"Me and my girls!" --Photo album on Facebook of several female college students, over the age of 18.

"...this kid that worked with me..."--Student in my HR class, talking about a man who wasn't very responsible. I found it interesting that he called this man a kid because of the childlike characteristics he had.

" guys..." --President of a club conducting a meeting. The room was mainly women.

"It's not called girl-talk, it's called women-talk when we're this age." --My roommate :) When one of our friends said he'd let us get back to our "girl-talk."

" this kid, well, this guy..."--Professor. It was funny that he kind of corrected himself.

"...he's 24 years old, he's a big kid." --My friend, talking about another friend.

Sometimes it feels weird to be "correct" in terminology, but this past week I just think it's important to be aware of how we're labeling or grouping people and to always just try and be respectful of people's age, gender, etc.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Where the men are

Since we've been reading about "where the girls are" in the media, it's been nice these last few classes to also talk about the media's role in men's lives and men's role in the media.

After we watched the movie "Tough Guise," I watched a news clip in one of my other classes about a man who beats his wife. In an interview with him and some other men they all talk about how men are supposed to be violent; that's how they see "real men" act and so that's how they feel they need to act. When we discuss these things in class, I think it's easier for us to separate the media from real life and think that we couldn't be sucked into something like being violent because that's what we see on TV. But there are many things that sink into us as we consume media, most of it subconciously. I think it has a greater effect on young people, because a lot of times they don't know any better. And sticking with just males in the media, that's why we see little boys running around with fake swords, fake guns, and lightsabers, playing cowboys and indians, and acting like "men." That's the definition they get and that's what they want to be and so that's how they are going to act.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Stupid Girls

"American women today are a bundle of contradictions because much of the media imagery we grew up with was itself filled with mixed messages about what women should and should not do, what women could and could not be" (Where the Girls Are, pg. 9.)

After reading the introduction and first chapter of the book and having our discussions in class about the relationship that women have with the media, I thought of Pink's song Stupid Girls. Here's the link to the music video:

First of all, how perfect is it that the video starts out with a young girl watching TV and imitating the women she sees by flipping her hair? Then, an angel and a devil appear on the girl's shoulders, representing a "good" girl and a "bad" girl. When I saw this I thought of the discussion about the myth of individualism and personal choice; the shoulder angels representing that the young girl only has two extreme choices; she can be "good" or "bad," stupid or smart, pretty or ugly. Obviously that isn't true.

Another theme of the song is the competition that girls have with each other, like we talked about today in class. At one point in the video, Pink is at the bowling alley with a guy and notices that he's watching a girl in the next lane with a super short skirt and her cleavage hanging Pink pulls this little string under her arm and her bra inflates to a ridiculous size, and her date starts talking to her again.

The question still is why does the media portray girls as having to act certain ways and do and say certian things and use their looks and bodies to get noticed? Like the song says, "maybe if I act like that, that guy will call me back..." no wonder the little girl at the beginning and many women in society are confused about all the contradictory messages constantly being thrown at us. I think Pink's video is funny because of the truths it shows, with a little exaggeration.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

For COMM 2010, all the students are doing blogs about the media and society so here goes!

This week at school there has been many MLK Commemoration speeches, discussions, and presentations, and I attended the panel discussion about civil rights and the media. When I think of the term civil rights, the issue of race automatically comes to my mind. At the panel discussion yesterday, Albert Jones said that RACE IS NOT THE POINT. He quoted Dr. King's speech and told us that the point really is to look at people for who they are individually. He also was talking about the newspaper he founded, Diversity Times, and he was saying it works because people appreciate diversity. I was thinking about the last presidential election and that at one point, one of the candidates was black, one was LDS, and one a woman. The media ate that up, and the citizens did too. David Scott said that it's our obligation to allow people to do and say what they think, and then minorities can be brought into a new light so that everyone will have more understanding, respect, and tolerance. Civil rights will always be an issue, but obviously times are changing, and hopefully the media will play a positive role in Obama's goal to have "a nation united in purpose."