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?