Monday, April 28, 2014

Teens Talk Back

Tavi Gevinson- Reflection

I know we listened to this young girl speak in class, but her talk has resonated with me and I think she is an amazing young woman.

 Tavi Gevinson is an American writer, magazine editor, actress, and singer.  Gevinson came into the public at the age of 12 because of her fashion blog, called Style Rookie.  Her blog featured photos of her, at eleven years old, in distinctive outfits and her opinions on the latest fashion trends. Given her blog success, she was invited to attend New York Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week.  Later, in 2011, Gevinson decided to stop writing primarily on fashion, and focus on writing about issues impacting teenage girls, through the voice of herself and other teenage girls.  At the age of fifteen, she founded the magazine, Rookie Magazine, which is aimed at issues surrounding teenage girls. 

In her Ted talk, she discusses the influence of media in portraying teenagers and young women.  She discusses how women are portrayed in these two dimensional aspect, like cat woman.  These expectations carry over to women and as a result, women are upset they are not able to achieve this "image" brought about by the media.  The media has however portrayed some women that have weaknesses and flaws, and as a result are relatable.  However, teenage girls are not represented in this way.  Shows most recently do not show teenage girls in a relatable way like the show Freaks and Geeks.  The media has taught teenage girls that they cannot be smart while also being pretty.  They can't take an interest in fashion unless it is geared towards approval of men.  This image produced by the media is similar to the argument stated by Raby.  Raby states that five discourses: the storm, becoming, at-risk, social problem, and pleasurable consumption have been constructed by the media.  The goal of her magazine is to show that teenage girls are also dimensional and that it is okay to still figure out who you are during this time of your life.  I think it is amazing that Gevinson has created such a resource for young teenage girls.  I am also impressed with her, and her views of social media and teenage girls.  It is normal to hear adults discussion of this topic, but for her to be able to eloquently speak on this topic and to have a voice is great.  Teenage voices in general are not as "loud" as adults voices are, and I find it impressive that Gevinson has used her popularity to express such flaws.  The important thing I take away from Gevinson's talk is that through her magazine she is able to express to teenage girls that it is okay to not be "perfect" by the standards of the media.  Her magazine is an outlet for young girls to use when going through this transition of high school, boys, and etc.  My question is where was someone like this when I was going through high school and puberty?

To view more on Tavi Gevinson and her view on feminism and teenagers, visit this site

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hip Hop Controversies-- Tricia Rose

Type: Freely

Tricia Rose, born and raised in New York City, is a scholar of the post civil rights era black U.S. culture, popular music, social issues, and gender and sexuality.  She is most known for her book called Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America.  This book, is considered an important text for the study of hip hop, which is now an entire field of study.  Tricia Rose also has written a book called The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop-And Why It Matters.  In this book, Rose discusses the role hip hop artists have in shaping racial images, along with gender images.  In addition, she also explores whether or not hip hop causes violence and whether or not it is sexist. The biggest concept she discusses is whether black culture in hip hop undermines black advancement.  Rose doesn't only discuss the negatives of the current state of hip hop, but also discusses the positive.  She believes that hip hop should reflect a more meaningful culture, politics, anger, and sex, than the way it is portrayed now in sound and video.  What interested me about Tricia Rose's discussion of hip hop was how today, hip hop is created for the mere purpose of selling albums.  She comments that Jay-Z has "dumbed his music down" in order to sell record.  The content of hip hop is surrounded by  economical profits.  Similar to the article Cinderella Ate My Daughter, the market behind princesses is one in which companies have taken advantage of in order to make sure it is sold to young girls.  Hip hop music in general is created in a similar fashion to make sure it is also sold.  In today's market, companies are not concerned with stepping out of the box, but are concerned with whatever can be sold for economical profit.  My question is, what does this say about society?  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Queer Youth Readings

Canada's Centre for Digital and Media Literacy

The main issue of this week's reading, is the portrayal of queer representation in the media.   In order to address this issue, one must look broadly at society and understand that as a society, we are very judgmental.   From our first glance at someone, we already have a per-conceived notion without actually meeting the person.  This is largely due to the stereotypes our society has developed.  These stereotypes vary from gender, age, race, and etc.  Social media in general can give inaccurate representations of anyone: the Latino man in a movie that is portrayed as a drug dealer, or a blonde, blue eyed girl portrayed as a "princess".  The representation of queer people is no different.  In the reading, "Cinderella Ate My Daughter", the Disney franchise markets the princess characters in a very stereotypical way.  These Disney Princesses are girls that are beautiful, slender, graceful, and all are waiting for the perfect man to sweep them off their feet.  Similar to the Disney Princess stereotypes, queers are also portrayed in a stereotype that is incorrect in reality.  Often times, the media is not concerned with displaying accurate representations of people, but are considered with getting people to their shows, or receive high ratings.  Focusing on the queer representation in the media, men are often portrayed as very feminine, where as women are portrayed as "butch". 

Here is a clip from the TV show "Modern Family" that portrays both a gay couple and lesbian couple.  What stereotypes can you see? 

I believe that on all levels, it is inappropriate to display stereotypes through the media that are offensive and negative.  There has been a change throughout media that shares positive queer representation, but the problem now is the stereotypes the media has chosen to use.  My question is how do you see incorrect queer representation being stopped?  Is there a yes or no answer?  


Friday, March 28, 2014

Orsenstein, Cinderella Ate My Daughter


This author, Orenstein, argues that the industry of Disney princesses has a bad gender behavioral influence on girls.  Orenstein first starts out with a personal experience, pertaining to her daughter's imitation of Snow White.  Her daughter, Daisy, was "lying on the ground, her arms folded corpselike across her chest, her lips pursed, her expression somber" (12).  Her daughter was imitating Snow White when she ate the poison apple and now was waiting for the right prince to kiss her and wake her.  Orenstein describes her distaste for Disney princesses and the message they send to little girls.  As a result of these messages, the dilemma girls face in general are- they can succeed in school, play sports, get jobs, be mothers, but in addition must also be concerned of their faces, weight, clothing, pleasing men, and etc.  Orenstein then goes on to describe other doll like figures, such as the American Girl.  Mothers in general are happy with the message these dolls bring, but to the girls they are not so much concerned with the story behind the dolls, but the clothes they can dress these dolls in and the play-sets they can buy.  I believe Orenstein is blaming these fictitious figures for the possible influence they lay on girls.  But in the end I don't think even Orenstein knows how much of children's behavior is "truly inborn and how much was learned" (53). 

Orenstein mentions a couple times in this article, that there are plenty of girls that even though they grew up on Disney princesses or other doll-like figures, they grew out of this stage and became doctors, lawyers, mother, and more.  I disagree with Orenstein that the blame for this gender inequality should be blamed on Disney princesses; I believe this inequality stems from our history.  Before women were considered "equal" to men, women were similar to these Disney princesses- waiting for a men to "save" them.  However, I would have liked to Orenstein to expand upon the topic of women now a days having to be accomplished, yet also be conscious of one's looks, and etc.  Similar to Orenstein, it is hard to measure how much of this social media has played an effect on girls, in terms of how it has shaped their life.  As seen by Christensen, we see the role these fictitious figures play on girls in terms of sexuality, race, and body image, but does it have that much of an effect on girls in what to pursue in the future?  Does it actually stop girls from wanting to become a doctor, to then just focus on beauty and wait for a man to marry her and take care of her?  I personally am skeptical of this amount of influence, as I grew up on Disney princesses, and don't believe these fictitious characters have influenced me in a negative way. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Museum of the American Teenager Project

Internet Bullying VS. "Traditional Schoolyard" Bullying

Group Members: Jessica Harrow, Heidi Samayoa, and Lauren Veyera

Six Potential Sources:


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Gilbert, A Cycle of Outrage: America's Reaction to the Juvenile Delinquent inthe 1950s


The quote I want to focus on is, "teenagers lacked a sense of the line between good fun and delinquency" (Gilbert, 12).  Gilbert discusses that society's attention was focused on adolescents as looking "aggressive".  I disagree with this comment.  Your teenage years are for you to figure out who you want to be; this means that it is okay to experiment and to express yourself, for example through how you dress.  What I believe this article fails to mention is the affect post World War II had on society in general.  After War World II, the industrial world boomed; with this said, there was a huge focus on materialistic items.  Adults included, wanted to have the best appliances, great houses, and etc.  There really wasn't as big of focus on these materialistic items prior to World War II.  This given, teenagers had a whole new world open to them.  So to automatically associated adolescents want to express themselves with delinquency is not right.  Coming from my own teenage experience, I went through many phases in high school, specifically how I dressed.  I personally was faced with pressures from girls at my school, my parents, and the media.  My freshman year I was probably the preppiest kid around, wearing bright polo shirts.  However, as time went on I figured out how I wanted to express myself by the time I was a senior in high school.  Even now, I believe my style has changed and how I express myself has changed as well.  But this ability, to express oneself however one may like, is also the beauty of being a kid.  One's adolescent years are meant for this ability to change.  These adolescents do not have the responsibilities adults do.  It is unfair to make adolescents look a specific way-almost like adults, when they are not there yet.

In addition, part of what I am confused about in this article is the topic of premarital sex.  Gilbert discusses that premarital sex was a worrisome topic of the teenage culture and more focus was put on it.  However, Gilbert mentions that "sex habits among American young people had not rapidly changed; instead public opinion had begun to catch up with practices initiated decades before" (Gilbert, 22).  My question is, why now were people focusing on premarital sex if it had been around for decades.  If this was a common practice, and there was not an increase in these practice, why now with the public opinion and worry? 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Tangle of Discourses: Girls Negotiating Adolescence by Rebecca C. Raby


"Youth today are courted as a high-consumer group, and are modelled in the media as the ideal age, with teenagehood constituting the onset of 'the best years of your life'" (437).  

This quote is found under the discourse, pleasurable consumption.  In general, pleasurable consumption is a relatively new concept in which came about after World War II.  World War II gave rise to industrialization and specialization, which allowed for an expansion of the marketplace.  Companies soon realized that the young people had a strong influence on the family's spending, so focused their advertisement on this demographic.  Drawing from previous texts, in Grace Palladino's book, Teenagers, Palladino  agrees that teenagers are now a targeted group of the media.  The media, realizing how powerful it is, encourages teenagers to define themselves through their appearance and other superficial objects. Because this age group is one filled with insecurities, the media "helps" through advertising products and brand names that will ease these insecurities.  In addition, teenagers are also a big target for the media, because many of these teenagers are not spending their own money and have that free time to be exposed to trends.  

"The tension between dependence and independence..." (439)

 I believe this tension is truly apparent as a teenager and the line is often blurred.  The example used in this article is Prom.  Prom is supposed to be a coming of age event, where teenagers dress up and look refine (adult-like), however are regulated by teachers in a confined area.  Teenage years are often defined as adolescents learning how to be independent and adult-like.  I have found that in my own experience, I was expected to try new things and be independent, but was at the same time regulated by parental instructions that this coming of age idea was nonexistent. There are few opportunities to demonstrate these qualities, which strengthens Raby's statement that there is tension between dependence and independence.  

"She defines the mood as 'different' but not necessarily bad, and links this difference to the context of starting high school and dealing with its demands" (441)

The biggest misconception of being a teenager is that teenagers become moody.  Many times, this misconception comes from parents.  After interviewing a teenager girl of the age of 14, the girl herself is able to describe what is meant by her change of mood.  It is true, that the demands of high school are extremely difficult to take on.  In general, there is a lot of pressure being put on high school students; students from day one are pressured to fit in, get good grades, look forward for the future i.e. college, participate in extracurricular activities, and etc.  This is a huge amount of stress that is put on kids.  So for people to generalize that teenagers are moody is incorrect at best.  

Although this article did interview grandchildren and grandmothers and examined these five discourses of adolescence, I don't believe I gained any new information.  As this article did interview two different age groups, I believe it would have been more informative if it examined the evolution of teenagers.  Times were different when these grandmothers now were teenagers and vice-a-versa.  The five discourses that Raby described: storm, becoming, at-risk, social problem, and pleasurable consumption, I believe are concepts that most people are accustomed to.  I don't know if it was just me, but I wish there was new information surrounding the concept of teenagers.  

An Evolution of Teenagers