The old bag.

March 20, 2009 at 10:07 pm (Media and Society) (, )

So as my last and final blog of the year, I will be writing about a very interesting and enthralling topic that is totally “in” right now, and that’s women in media, but more specifically, mature women in media. By mature I do not mean are responsible young ladies, but are old in the eyes of our society. In a world where perfection and youth are dominating our ideas of beauty, this topic is prevalent and current. 

So in what way do media portray women? Well, in the case of young girls, they are surrounded by images of female beauty that are unrealistic and unattainable.  Having role models that are the exact representation of what we consider perfection can make growing up tough because these same role models are non existent and unreal. This can and will have serious and wild impacts on young girls’ self-esteem and confidence. Which is totally screwed up. Those years are when we are the most vulnerable and easily influenced. I remember being 14 and knowing deep in my heart of hearts that I was not pretty, not the way I was suppose to be. I had zits, I was pick, I was as flat as a board, I had fuzzy matted hair, and I was awkward as hell. But really, so were most girls. But as I walked by the magazine stands, it always reminded me that I did not quite look right. To say that I had low self esteem was an understatement! I had NO self esteem, not when it came to my looks, and most of my other friends felt the same way as I did. And that as well is screwed up. We see it as normal and a part of growing up, but does it have to be??? Do girls have to spend hours staring at themselves in their mirror wishing they were Miley Cyrus to have had a proper teenage hood? I don’t think so. I was lucky. I played soccer and my confidence grew from there. However, not all girls have the support to help them grow up and become confident young ladies.

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Once we’ve gone past the awkward age, we get to live it up for a few years, until of course, we are considered old. It is lovely being a woman. So once we’ve gone past the cute and young age, which I think ends at about twenty five, we have the pleasure of being barraged and attacked by the media reminding us that we better get ready, because we are about to get ugly. Wrinkles? Absolutely. Grey hair? Oh yes! Saggy breasts? Yes please. And we also have the pleasure to be portrayed as either a) desperate and in love or b) bitter ex-wife in television and in movies. Beauty ads reminding us of all the expensive and invasive procedures and products that stop the aging process (probably the most natural and beautiful process) bombard us everyday in magazines, television, and billboards. I remember my Lebanese grandmother being the most beautiful woman I knew. Her dark leathery skin seemed permanently warm from the hot Middle Eastern sun. Her long dark tied up in a elegant bun, and her beautiful wrinkles that were evidence of her sweet and soft personality made her exceptional. I think that aging is incredible and I hope that we one day understand that.

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Youth and Facebook

March 20, 2009 at 3:34 pm (Technology in the classroom) (, )

As a teacher, I feel that it is my job to encourage students to become active citizens in our society. I will use my class to promote civic engagement and social justice to teach the youth of our future to be politically, culturally, and publicly aware of what is going on in our world.  These days, with the Internet and all the different media, there are so many outlets for students to use to talk about how they feel and what they want to change. According to the article, the author discusses the popularity of participatory media, but the lack of social engagement from these same teens.  How are we, as teachers, supposed to promote using media to encourage social justice?

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Right now, teens are using participatory media prevalently. Participatory media is defined as media such as blogs, wikis, social networking, podcasts, digital self-portraits,  mashups, video blogs, etc. These media are unique because they are often public on the Internet, and can be shared by many users. In addition, participatory media has the characteristic of uniting and relying on users. Participatory media is important because it allows children to express their ideas using an outlet that can be shared with their peers and youth all around the world.  It enables teens to connect with other users and share their ideas. Participatory media should be used as means to promote social change due to its large repertoire of users.

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So this raises the question: How do we teach teens and youth to use media to be proactive and promote social justice? I think that once we implement so much meaning and weight to something, it automatically turns kids off. In other words, once we make blogging and writing wikis assignments, it takes away from the freedom and looseness that is commonly associated with these participatory media. Once students feel the pressure to produce something that needs to be something in content, they might be discouraged and unmotivated.  I think that it is crucial to encourage students to be critical thinkers, however allow them to do it on their own time and conditions.

Throughout the years, the youth have been mega influential when it comes to changing things and raising awareness. If we look at the recent elections in the U.S. and the effects of the hype and propaganda that was create by the younger generations, we can see how significant youth influence is. Now, we have to learn how to make these same kids channel their influence and power in a positive and monumental way. The kids need to stand up for what they believe in and we have to make them passionate about more than just perezhilton.com or Britney Spears’ latest debauchery. Using the youth power through media to spread positive messages about social justice is the ideal way to use participatory media. Now it is up to us as teachers to make them passionate about and politically aware!

 

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Another bloggy blog blog

March 12, 2009 at 9:56 pm (Technology in the classroom) (, )

Social networking is a tough thing for me to stomach. Although I am an avid user of it and have been for several years, there is a time and place for it. What I mean by this is that social networking, is not, and I repeat, NOT for everybody, and to think it is totally unrealistic. Okay, maybe that sounds harsh.  Social networking is for people…hmmmm…how can I put this delicately, that are mature enough to limit and control the content used and observed. I don’t think that this can be monitored by age, because I think there are FAR too many twenty something’s that use social networking in a negative and harmful way. But it is the way nature runs its course, that, as you get older, you often mature.

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After having read Danah Boyd’s article about social networking and youth, I thought about what she had to say about the public’s view of this recent phenomenon and how this affects youth and our society. Not matter what article I read and how many lectures I attend, I do not buy the whole social networking thing for kids. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of using technology to teach and having the children use technology to learn. I think it is mega valuable in our education system. I am also no dinosaur, in fact, I might be seen as a total hipster, however I have a real hard time seeing the value in having 12 year olds on facebook. Now I’ve always been a bit old school about certain things, but I think that kids, sometimes just have to be kids. And social networking is not a way to be a kid. I think using these sites and outlets are an interesting way to share yourself with other people, and to learn about these same friends. I think the fact that you can choose what people see is a feature that was meant to be used by mature individuals, not some hormone-crazed 13 year old.

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Do you remember being 13 and not being allowed to watch PG16 movie? I remember it not making much sense to me back then. What difference does it make, I thought? I could probably just rent it when it came out if I reaaaaallly wanted to watch it. The fact is that, most of the time I did not wanna watch it once it came out. In other words, that stupid PG16 worked. I remember being 16 and desperately wanting my eyebrow pierced cause I was cool like that, but I needed my parent’s signature and I knew I would never get it. I could have easily forged it, but instead I decided I would 2 years and guess what? I never got a piercing. Partly because I am now deathly paranoid about piercing shops, but also because they discouraged me to do something potentially stupid when I was at my most influenceable and vulnerable age. I feel that social networking sites should do the same. Force kids to get their parents consent. The fittest will find a way to do it, but I think many will decide it’s not worth the effort and will grab a soccer ball and go play outside. 

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