Thursday, January 31, 2013

Who's to blame?

Hey you guys. I found this photo when I was looking at pictures of cats and thought I'd share it with all of you lovelies. Let it soak in. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Media & Ideology (Reflection)

As a student majoring in Psychology, I can't help but be skeptical and overanalyze everything. Representation of certain groups of people in the media has been a huge area of study in the psychological field, especially since technology continues to grow more and more advanced. This article by Croteau explains the significance of ideology in the media, focusing on Marxist ideas of what ideology means. Marxists believe that ideology means "belief systems that help justify the actions of those in power by distorting and misrepresenting reality." This definition is applicable to American society because as a country, we are largely ruled by corporations who are in control of what types of media get distributed to the public. In reality, young adults are flawed, average weight, average heighted individuals who are all unique in their own beautiful ways. According to the media (some TV shows and commercials), all young adults are 6'1", stick figure thin, brilliantly intelligent and have pearly white teeth. This is not reality. This is an example of those in power (corporations) misrepresenting reality and giving vulnerable youth self-esteem issues.

In the paragraph describing ideology as normalization, Croteau explains how modern social norms are articulated through media. What is seen as "normal" and "deviant" are shaped through various media texts and images, pushing out anybody who goes against those norms. He says that popular media, like television, has a tendency to display a narrow range of behaviors and lifestyles which marginalizes people who are "different". Media portrays people as cookie cutter versions of the same socially constructed boring "average". This paragraph really caught my attention because growing up as a social reject due to my involvement in the hardcore/punk lifestyle classified me as "different". I always felt out of place in society, but I liked it that way. The whole punk movement began as a social revolution to go against expected social norms and spit in the face of society and traditional values. I had a huge pink mohawk, tattoos at 15 years old, safety pin facial piercings, and I tended to hang out at underground D.I.Y. shows in abandoned warehouses. The media would always gross me out because the people represented in television, commercials and catolougues were the complete opposite of me, and I felt such a pull from peers and family to change. "It's just a phase," my parents would always say. This is an example of the strong social influence that mass media has.

(FOR EXAMPLE): Here is a hyperlink showing you the kind of clothes YOU should be wearing according to mass media... Victoria's Secret PINK Collection.

Here is a hyperlink showing you the kind of clothes that no mass media text or television show tells you to wear (but I'm obsessed with it.).... I'M YOUR PRESENT (designs by Kelly Eident)
^^^ SUPER CUTE, handmade, legit clothes that are unique and amazing and every penny goes to the local artist! and there are CATS on everything!

I also enjoyed the segment about hegemony and how it describes "common sense" as assumptions we make about social life and on the terrain of things we accept as "natural" or the "way things are". Croteau says that common sense assumptions are socially constructed, and I undoubtedly agree. Some commonsense assumptions that mass media teaches us are assumptions like, "you can't be a male AND a female", "women don't have as much sex as men do", "people don't have happy and fulfilling lives occupying abandoned warehouses". Mass media attempts to brainwash us into thinking of things in terms of what is "natural" and "unnatural" and these definitions are always changing as time goes on.

Here is an example of a "natural" heterosexual couple:

Here is an example of an "unnatural" homosexual couple:


In the next class, I'd like to discuss the concept of hegemony and give some examples about what I think the media is trying to portray as "natural" and "unnatural" and I'd also like to hear what other people think about this concept as well. What about sexual orientation? What does mass media have to say about that in terms of what is "acceptable & natural" and what is "tolerated & unnatural", etc? I think it will be interesting to hear peoples feedback.

-peace in the middle east