Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Movie: Trust

After reading “A Girls Life Online” or “Katie.com” I stumbled across this article in Slate. A new film entitled Trust was released on April 1st in select theatres. Directed by David Schwimmer, it is the story of a 14-year-old girl who is seduced into having sex with an older man who lied to her on the Internet. Afterwards, her family has trouble coping, kids at school bully her and she even tries to commit suicide. Aside from the suicide attempt the story seems strikingly similar to what we read a few weeks ago. I think it is interesting that the director was hoping to promote a message of safety on the Internet and yet the movie is rated R so I’m sure there are a number of parents who will not want the kids watching it. It is rated R because of the rape scene which I’m sure is more than disturbing.

On the day of the release, Schwimmer did a chat with the LATimes. You can replay the chat here.

Misrepresentation or no representation in the Media

After reading Lynne E. Edwards, “Victims, Villians and Victims” one idea really stuck with me and I wondered to what extent it was actually true. In her article she talks about how youths voices are often replaced by “official sources” in news articles. Let me take you back to a section in this essay:

The power to legitimate self and source is an area of concern, however. The frequent selection of official sources marginalizes ordinary people as potential sources, and the people most often marginalized are youth. Sadly, the sources frequently missing from news stories about youth and crime are youths themselves, an omission that leads to their frequent misrepresentation in news. Rather than including youth as sources in stories about them, law enforcement officials and experts are often cited, providing explainations for why youths commit crime, get pregnant or any number of other issues associated with them. Even when youth do appear in news stories about juvenile crime, the predominant speakers are “white male adults”. This absence of youth as sources in news stories is particularly ironic at a time when journalists are beginning to identify juvenile suspects by name.”

Shortly after this assignment, I stumbled across an extreme case where there was a lack of youth’s voice in an article and extreme misrepresentation of the entire situation. The original article which was posted in the New York Times is entitled “Vicious Assault Shakes Texas Town”. In this article, the author explains how the town has been “rocked” by the rape of an 11 year old girl by 18 young men. The incident was discovered because of a video taken and passed around of it. In the article there is no mention of the effect that this might have on the girl and one quote even goes so far to state that “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.” There was mention that this girl dressed like she was in her twenties and also question of where her mother was.

I think that the article by Roxane Gay in the Rumpus does a good job explaining the horrid reporting techniques of the event. It also goes on to explain “rape culture” in the media.

Monday, April 25, 2011

We Wanted Other People to Learn from Us.

Chapter 8 in Girl Wide Web 2.0 really spoke to me. I found it breathtaking that such a rural place could pick up on blogging with such little amount of computer use. I have already talked about, and agree with the author that blogging is a way to empower youth to document their lives, but I find it unbelievable that universities are having to coduct studies to see how blogs could be effective in university settings ( obviously, they can be an effective tool because we are using it here!) Sure, blogging has been used to adolescent teenage girls to write  their life stories. Like the author states in this chapter "... girls blogs were ofthen monolouges rather then discussions, and more like to offer intimate details of the girls lives" and then continues to say that the girls blogs were " more like paper journals" (pg 164) but I think that when given more direction, blogging in a university can be a helpful tool to push students in the right direction and also it becomes a tool for peer teaching and group learning. I think it is beautiful that these young girls in Africa find it helpful to be able to blog about their disease. It is important for them because they do find it hard to talk to the kids at school about it because of fear. It also gives the students who are not struggling the opportunity to read from people who live in this situation everyday, and may increase empathy for these stong young women. I really enjoyed this chapter!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jammy Whammy

About-Face.org may sport the catchy line "Don't fall for the media circus!" but unfortunately, they've been duped as well.

The organization seeks to expose the "toxic media environment" which contributes "to a host of girls' and women's ills, including low self-esteem, depression, persistent anxiety over weight and appearance, extremely unhealthy diets and exercise regimens, and eating disorders." In a portion of their website they have sections entitled, "Gallery of Offenders" and "Gallery of Winners." In the Gallery of Offenders, ads for companies such as Diesel, Calvin Klein, Marc Jabos are turned "about-face" and commentary directed at subverting these campaigns is written alongside the original ad. The second section, "Gallery of Winners" addresses only one ad campaign - Dove:
gallery of winners
Dove, Unilever's largest beauty brand, challenges the concept of beauty in popular culture in their newest Campaign For Real Beauty. They gathered information from 3,500 women in several developed countries to find correlations between beauty, body image and the media. Thank you Dove. Write Dove's Campaign For Real Beauty and tell them how much you appreciate their efforts: or call them at 1-800-598-5005

If I could insert a buzzer sound here, this is where it would be. Thank Unilever? Are they serious, or is Dove their latest donor? Let's get things straight. Unilever is the British-Dutch global consumer marketing products giant, the largest producer of ice cream and frozen novelties in the U.S. Unilever's brands sold in the U.S. include Breyer's ice cream, Ben&Jerry's ice cream, Klondike ice cream bars and Popsicle products.

Now do you get why DOVE ads are promoting fuller-figured models? It has nothing to do with using their "powers to bring issues regarding natural beauty into the forefront of popular culture by creating a successful campaign celebrating real beauty." No. This, again folks, is all about profit. Could the women at About-Face really have missed this point? I find it a bit disheartening, considering the whole of the website is quite wonderful and positive for girls to explore.

According to Unilever's own website, they proudly boast "More than half of Unilever's revenues come from food. We produce a wide range of everyday household staples such as tea, margarine, mayonnaise, pasta sauces, olive oil, soup, stock cubes and ice cream. Our brands include Lipton, Flora, Becel, Blue Band, Hellmann's, Knorr, Bertolli, Calve, Magnum and Cornetto." Not only do they sell food, but in addition to DOVE sell brands such as Ponds, Axe, Sunsilk, Vaseline, and an array of other brands selling personal products such as soaps, deodorants, etc. and home care products such as detergents and household cleaners.

It is interesting that About-Face lists the book "Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugle Side of the Beauty Industry" on their resources page. The author, Stacy Malkan, is a spokeswoman for the "Campaign for Safe Cosmetics," is the lead consumer coalition in the United States, pushing for federal legislation of the cosmetics industry. On it's opposing side is the $50 billion a year cosmetics industry, led by companies like Procter & Gamble, Revlon, Estee Lauder, L'Oreal, and Unilever. Right now, the status quo is - self-regulation.

Malkan argues that personal care products like shampoo, conditioner, aftershave, lotion and makeup are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration FDA or any other government agency. It is perfectly legal and very common for companies to use ingredients that are known or suspected to be carcinogens, mutagens or reproductive toxins in the their products, she says. The World Health Organization (1964) concluded that 80% of cancers were due to human-produced carcinogens.

Some other facts that may lead you to rethink your health and beauty regimine:
Xenoestrogens are compounds that have estrogenic effects and differ chemically from ancient, naturally occurring estrogenic substances produced by living organisms. Their potential ecological and human health impact of is under study (Korach, 1998) and speculated to be the cause of issues such as breast cancer, breast cysts, ovarian cysts, abnormal paps, endometriosis, premenstrual syndrome, irregular periods and heavy menstrual bleeding, and endocrine disruption causing developmental, reproductive and tumorigenic effects (Smith and Spangler).

Xenoestrogens are found in pesticides, lotions, detergents, plastics, foods and more - for example BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole). This is a common food preservative found in processed foods. Also hormones used to help turkeys, pigs, chickens and cows grow bigger and faster (and produce more meat) include xenoestrogens. Organic meat does not. Other examples, sunscreen that contains 4-MBC, and paraben-containing lotion.

For an extensive list visit: http://www.organicexcellence.com/we-xenoestrogens.php

"Knowers," Not Victims: Repositioning a Discourse Beyond the Digital Divide

It seems very appropriate that I would close this class with an examination of possibly the most subjugated knowledges we have encountered this semester being unearthed and disseminated through the use of digital media. As you may have noticed, my primary qualm regarding the content of this class has been that girls seem to be lost within a discourse of adults commenting on and theorizing about the content of their lives and experiences. This particular chapter is the obverse of that idea in that while it is still adults summarizing the actions of girls, girls as cultural resistors in themselves, especially the South African girls with HIV, create a discourse that transcends the need for an overriding force which can speak for them. Rather than forming insular communities for identity construction, like the message boards on gURL.com or the fan-fiction forums examined earlier in the semester, this is a transgressive discourse that was created to reach across artificial boundaries created by place and put a human face to a global problem, retooling the previous images to enact substantive change.

Recognizing that Western girls see a huge gap between themselves and girls in impoverished parts of the world who are continually subject to gender violence and the possibility of life-changing diseases, blogging about one's experiences, becoming "knowers" through demonstrating experience, democratizes both parties by allowing them to reflect on sameness rather than difference. HIV/AIDS seems like a very monolithic, faraway problem when a person is young, economically and socially privileged, and living in a part of the world that does not count the disease among its foremost problems anymore. It has been managed and contained, thusly becoming much less threatening than it once was, yet continues to be in other parts of the world. In offering human voices, especially young voices, this problem goes beyond its location to become profoundly relatable. These girls want others to learn from them, and if we can transcend difference, they have a lot to teach us.

I find it especially promising that the researchers were just as concerned with how the girls would construct themselves if given the opportunity to reflect on their lives through these mediums outside of a structured setting. In this case, they would have the opportunity to present themselves in an unmitigated, and more importantly, unmediated fashion, and they are clearly excited for this opportunity. Furthermore, the chat transcripts included reveal their desire to be a voice for their community. This article is probably one of my favorites because the majority is reflection from the girls themselves. So little of this book has engaged active participants in reflection on their circumstances and their willingness to learn and capacity for involvement says so much about the potential of this curriculum. Their concerns are universal (health, employment, community, family) and in reading about how they are able to use blogging to articulate their more abstract problems, it becomes apparent that new media truly can bring about important, macro-level change in our increasingly fragmented world.

Unsung Modern Day Heroines

It seems that blogging has become the epitome of adolescent culture and their speaking up! Fortunately, blogging facilitates interaction with other users, personal expression which cultivates a learning space shaping online identity among users. This is best exemplified when the author states, “adolescent girls' blogs provide one entry point for examining how the activities of girls are renegotiating boundaries” (Kearney, 161). Conversations through mediums like Facebook chat, IMing and of course blogging as brought a personal conversation to an exchange of ideas on national issues. In the text when girls were talking about HIV and AIDS you can see how much of these issues really concern young women. “Gender violence” is something made to life outside of a textbook (even though it kind of was lol) and into their daily lives. African teens made it their objective to make others aware of their experience and sufferings so that others may learn that this topic is still a major concern because of its common misconceptions. I applaud these young women for using technology to spread their personal experiences to bring about awareness. Even though blogging can create an online voice without having to view the actual viewers, it takes tremendous effort to have to allow one -self to be vulnerable and honest. You can sense the drive that these adolescents have to make a difference and to create a change. This often makes me confirm my own thoughts about how adults usually undermine adolescents. While they are at a transitional stage in their life, their minds are developed far more than what they’re given credit for and I think this exemplifies how adolescents, even globally have opinions and feelings about today’s controversies. It’s still unfortunate that this is still a current issue in this part of the world, however if awareness is the start then our generation of young women are off to a great start. They are like unsung heroines; through their daily actions they lead and it’s amazing to see how subtle a difference one person’s experience can make to others. It really humanizes or puts a face to current issue.

Makeup or Film making?

In GMM the patriarchal system of commercial filmmaking is discussed in great detail. The author gives several explanations for the lack of female participation in filmmaking. The first reason is because the equipment needed to complete such a job is very expensive and therefore was rarely exposed to kids in their youth. However, over the years community and school programs have implemented media education programs and made the production industry more accessible. Still, the classes and workshops have much higher enrollment percentage for males than females. This is another reason why girls are less likely to be an expert in film. Andrea Richard, author of Girl Director explains the male dominated world of production with this statement “I Think it honestly doesn’t occur to girls that they can be a film director. The possibility has never even been planted in their heads, because its so off limits through cultural and gender stereotypes.” While I agree that the notion of being a female director may not be encouraged by a child’s teacher or parents, I have to confess another reason why I think girls prefer to be in front of the camera rather than behind it.

I am really excited to discuss the art of film making and television production because I happen to work for a production studio myself. I am the head makeup artist for WXEL studios in West Palm Beach Florida. Here, they film television shows, infomercials, commercials, and morning announcements for local colleges. I absolutely love doing makeup at the studio because I get to meet all sorts of people and also watch the behind the scenes production. This week’s reading brought up an interesting perspective when viewing the world of film making as patriarchal. All of the film crew and staff that I work with are men. The only females that are ever on set is me, the makeup artist, and the director’s wife who sometimes is the host of the show. While I do advocate the feminist view that says women should have equal exposure to media education, I personally would never want to take on that job and I would pick my girly job as a makeup artist over director any day. I think there may be certain cultural standards that stereotype filmmaking as a male hobby, but I also think it has to do with differences in gender preferences.

How I see it is, if a group of both girls and boys were allowed to pick one class to take and the options were filmmaking and makeup artistry, the majority of females would pick the makeup and the males would choose the latter.

Here are some pictures of me at work doing makeup and in the studio while the (guys) are filming!

Girls have power

Things like film have such a huge, profound effect on girls and yet, as Chapter 4 of Girls Make Media touches upon, girls and women simply are not prevalent in the filmmaking field. I found it interesting that even though video equipment is expensive for girls and boys, boys outnumbered girls 10 to 1 when polled on owning a video camera. I personally agree with Andrea Richards in her belief that part of the reason for this is that many girls don’t even think it is possible for them to film or become directors and that the thought has not even been put into their heads due to inherent societal sexism (192, Kearney). I was really interested to read that part of this may be because of the idea that directing is considered masculine because of the amount of control, leadership and sometimes aggression a director may possess. Although these ideas are still entirely sexist as is the notion that a woman cannot garner the same sort of leadership skills, it was interesting that this may be the source of the disparity between men and women in the film industry. On page 202 when other film related industries are discussed, it’s noted that guitar shops are male terrain, and that females are rarely hired. This struck home with me and I can absolutely attest to this. When I was purchasing and learning to play guitar in middle school, every single time I went into a guitar or music shop it was almost as if the employees acted like I shouldn’t be there. It made me feel terrible, and discouraged my entire learning process. Even know, when I go into music shops with my boyfriend, employees automatically direct their attention towards him as if he has to be the reason we’re both there! On page 230 Kearney discusses the fact that although there are women creating films, much of the ones discussed are indeed created by white women. Race becomes a problem in other avenues of feminism, so it only makes sense that it would be a problem here as well. Can feminism really be a movement for equality if certain races and ethnicities are left out? I personally feel this is a really interesting issue to explore. As far as the conclusion of the book goes, I enjoyed that it was optimistic yet still realistic about girls. Although Kearney mentions that boys still dominate so much of our lives, girls have power and it should not be underestimated.

I really enjoyed the blog about the South African girls blogging about AIDS as well. Reading excerpts from the blogs the girls write was so powerful, and I think it is so amazing that girls half a world away are using blogs as a means to teach people, especially since they are so adamant to have other people learn from them. It was amazing to read about how the girls actually benefited from their blog writing as well (174). As Lungile said, it can be easier to talk about things like AIDS on a blog than it is in person, and the blogs allowed them to share their feelings without fear of being judged or scolded. I really just loved the idea of how much the blogs helped them and how eager they were to help others. Finally, the Jammer Girls article was so interesting as well, and I think the notion can have another option besides “good” and “bad” girls is wonderful. I really agreed with the article in saying that the internet is more active and allows girls to interact and negotiate the world while magazines don’t do much other than provide girls with preconceived notions of what they “should” be. I thought the article was the perfect ending to our class, since it really brought home the fact that girls have the option to do things that are outside of what they are expected to do.

Happy Easter!

            Sadly there are people out there who believe that young children and adolescents don’t have much insight or much to contribute to matters because of their age and lack of life experience. I believe this can be an opinion of pure ignorance at times because it seems to me that children and young people can have better insight into things than adults. They are able to absorb more with an open mind and therefore, they are able to give appropriate feed back. In the chapter appropriately entitled “We Wanted Other People to Learn from Us: Girls Blogging in South Africa in the Age of AIDS” we learn about young girls that are plagued with many issues in their young lives and are able to find some comfort, release, advice, and confidence through the use of blogging. They were taught how to use blogs and how to occupy a digital space in a way to be beneficial to their lives and their community. Throughout the chapter we see constant references about how young girls can state their opinion and post questions or comments on the blogs that they cannot communicate in a one on one setting. In an interview with one of the young girls she was asked about her communication on the blog. The interviewer said, “ …Some people said during this project it was easier to talk about the issues of HIV on the blog. Was that the case for you? It’s easier to talk about HIV on the blog than to talk about it outside the blog?” and the young girl replied, “Yes. I think many communities still don’t understand HIV and still don’t understand that we should talk about HIV and AIDS so when you talk about it on a blog, nobody sees you.” This is a profound statement for me because a young girl feels like she is making a different by drawing attention to a much-needed issue. These blogs help give girls a voice.  In addition it gives young girls hope that they can help their community and contribute to making it a better place.  Students gathered in a focus group and stated “they felt as though their words would have an impact on a greater audience.” (P 161). It is amazing to me that a technological community can have such an impact and help make a difference in the world.

Teenagers Can Push Back Boundaries

Adolescent and teenage girls have become one of the largest groups
of bloggers in the U.S. In their quest to express themselves through peer interaction by blogging, they are discussing the changes they undergo, and their personal experiences in their transition stage from adolescence to emerging adulthood. Thus “adolescent girls' blogs provide one entry point for examining how the activities of girls are renegotiating boundaries” (2.0 p.161). Young girls’ blogging on the internet have shifted the boundaries about their personal lives from national to worldwide. In America, adolescents and teenagers have always been stereotyped in a negative way but with the creation of social mediums such as Instant Messaging, MySpace, and Internet blogging, they can emerge as an inspiration to their peers who are ravaged by HIV and other AIDS related illnesses in other parts of the world.

Young girls and teenagers in rural South Africa between the ages of 15 -19 have been one of the largest groups of people in that country to be hit by HIV and AIDS. “It is estimated that over 60% of all new infections occur in youth between the ages of 15 and 25, with young women being infected earlier and at higher rates” (2.0 p.162). If there is any need for an intervention to protect these young women, it has to be now, and the young women who bear the brunt of these sufferings must be able to have a voice. While in the United States, adolescents and teenagers are empowered to have their voices and opinions aired, young girls in South Africa might also be able to benefit from such form of internet blogging. It is basically about enabling these young South African girls to have a personal, “reflective and critical discursive space in contexts where they would otherwise have little voice” (2.0 p.163).

The world would be a much better place if people are in a position to understand the sufferings of others. According to Brandi Bell (2007), when girls blog, it is like “private writing in public spaces” (2.0 p.164). When young South African girls blog, they do not only have a South African audience, but also a worldwide audience, especially an audience of young people in America. Through Internet blogging, the young South African girls can be likened to “Youth as Knowledge Producers,” (A project group based in KwaZulu-Natal) because they would be in a position “to create a more youth-centered approach to knowledge production and behavior change in the context of HIV and AIDS” (2.0 p.165). Information technology has enabled young people to interact with their peers, and to push back boundaries, not only locally, but also worldwide. Teenagers who are suffering with HIV and other AIDS related illnesses in South Africa are able to find their own voice. It is time that they speak for themselves.

From boyfriend huntin' to music lovin'

Upon reading the conclusion for Girls Make Media, I was wishing there was more to the book because I wanted to keep reading, learning and identifying with what was being said. One thing that was talked about in a bit of detail that struck home with me was how girls are socialized to not be interested in instruments that make loud sounds and that through the instruments that are geared towards girls are the instruments that are softer sounding, harder to hear. I had never made the connection before that even through music; women are pointed in the direction of oppression. When Kearney goes on to say that “They are pressurized to get a boyfriend. The search for romance can devour their time, better preparing them for the role of fan than for that of a musician.” It made me think back to when I first got involved in music. The only reason I got into playing music in the first place was because I was looking for a boyfriend and was interested in the drum captain. I thought he was “so cute!” and that if I learned to play drums and got on the drum line that he would notice me. Well, I guess it turned out to be a win-win situation because I ended up dating him for a year and I also really got into music. I became the leader of the bass line, would set up practices, lead songs, etc. It really got me into music and wanting to learn more. My boyfriend was supportive of me wanting to learn more about drums, how to care for them, change drum heads, transport them, the difference between types of sticks and so on and so forth. I learned so much from the guys who were on my drum line and fortunately for me, never experienced any problems. They loved that I was into it, was productive and passionate about what we were doing as a group. They didn’t see me as “one of the guys”, especially because I was dating one of the guys, but I was treated as “just a girl” either. There was respect amongst us and camaraderie, it was fantastic. Luckily I also had an awesome older brother who played the drum set and guitar and got me into learning those things too. He would sit with me and we would practice for hours just messing around, learning new songs and trying to figure music out. I also had a group of guys I hung out with who were in a rock band who loved to teach me things when we hung out. Not because they were trying to impress me, but because they genuinely loved music and wanted to share the knowledge that they had for this thing they were passionate about. Reading this last chapter of Girls Make Media really made me realize that I was so fortunate growing up. I had music that was “masculine” readily available to me, I had my mom’s camcorder that I used on a daily basis for fun to film random things my friends and I did and I even made my own books out of the arts and crafts materials that my mom would buy for me. Reading this chapter made me realize too that I want to work with girls more, to encourage them to do things that seems to be deemed for “the guys” and to give them the opportunities that I had when I was growing up.

Girls and Blogging for Education!!

I was always aware of the HIV and AIDS epidemic in South Africa, but after reading the statics in Chapter 8 of 2.0 “We Wanted Other People to Learn from Us” it was heart-wrenching to learn not only does South Africa have the most HIV number of people in the world, it also has the most AID orphans 2.3 million – along with young women between the ages of 15-19 as being the most vulnerable – these statistics are heart-wrenching.

Blogging allows the girls to share their stories and enables girls far and near to learn from their experiences, their emotions and day to day living in the rural villages in South Africa. – I think young girls would be more interested in hearing about this information from their peers – they can better relate to someone their own age, when it comes to sexuality. Girls all over the world have the same issues at that age, ie –HIV, teen pregnancy, peer pressure, drugs, etc. The girls in South Africa rely on blogging to allow the world to see the issues of living in South Africa. It allows them to “vent” where they would ordinarily not feel as expressive “speaking” about the problems. I see blogging as a positive for these girls – and especially a positive for girls (and adults) reading their blogs – it absolutely can be used as a learning tool. Whereas here in the US we glorify teen pregnancy with television shows – the girls in South Africa are blogging about the reality of what can happen, with regards to violence, the threat of AIDS and HIV.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Week 14 and 15

Chapter 8 in Girl Wide Web 2.0, “We Wanted Other People to Learn from Us: Girls Blogging in Rural South Africa in the Age of AIDS”, was a authentic reality check to me because it’s amazing to see the immense power the internet has in our country as well as these third world countries and the jeopardizes they face on a regular basis. These girls are able to blog about issues such as HIV and AIDs which I’ve learned affects so many young girls, compared to young boys. The idea of blogging allows a way to vent and as the book said “make public issues around gender violence”. Blogging allows these girls to personally describe, narrate, and illustrate their life with feelings, emotions, and communicate to others. The key factor that sets it apart from just journal writing is the fact that they are communicating their worries, and life to others who choose to listen and participate. These girls in Africa rely on this kind of communication to make people aware of the suffering their lives constantly experience. It is really sad that issues such as these are still as bad as they are especially with the type of technology at the hands of young females.
In “Making an About-Face: Jammer Girls and the World Wide Web” the article gets into a lot more detail on how the young females generate their identity, an important factor on how they get their information across. However the criteria listed in the article seemed to differ incredibly to the information the girls in Africa choose to communicate. The author of this article lists questions such as do I look fat, am I worthy, does he want me, etc as making up a girls internet identity, especially into the two categories of being a bad girl or a good girl. I feel this differs entirey from the girls in Africa who are blogging about their lives, and how they have dreams and hopes to fulfill while they battle a life threatening illness. Technology has a way of pointing out cultural differences.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Girls, Girls, Girls! week 15

Throughout history, women have been regarded as beautiful sex objects to be desired by others. This can be observed through artifacts found from all around the world in addition to stories that have been handed down for centuries. It's no wonder that feminism has been such a difficult challenge through the years. With the cultural norms set in place for so long, change takes time. It's almost like women were asleep acting out the roles of the attractive, subservient, passive woman, performing her domestic duties. Once changes began to unfold, they awoke to the fact that they do have the ability to create new ideas and expectations of the female gender within our society.

Those who create the circumstances to incorporate these changes will impact generations to come. Some of these impacts have gone unnoticed but helped set the path for others to follow. I just saw a trivia question which read; "Who was the first woman candidate for the U.S. presidency?" The answer was Victoria Woodhull and only 19% of the people got this question correct. She was a woman 100 years ahead of her time. She ran for president in 1872, nominated by the newly formed Equal Rights Party. Even though laws prohibited women from voting, nothing prevented them from running for office, she possibly she set the bar for Alice Paul who changed the course in history allowing women to vote.

Girls have not been encouraged by our society to partake in various subjects such as computer sciences, IT fields, and the music and film industries. This is mainly due to the male dominant populations that control these industries. This dominance creates barriers for equal gender opportunity. Within the film industry many regard creating a film as a craft that is to be learned while working through the years thought of as an inherited profession. Many feel that women could not produce movies that would create much revenue such as a romance from a feminist perspective, whereas men produce violent, fast pace, sexy box office hits. Film producer, Kathryn Bigelow proved this theory wrong, she is the ex- wife of well known producer James Cameron ( Avatar) and was the first woman to win the a 2010 Oscar for Best Director. The title of that movie was "Hurt Locker" which by they way, a realistic war movie about deactivating bombs in the Middle East. It is fast paced, very violent, and contains foul language. Although more women are in the film industry today than in the past it is still a struggle. This could be attributed to the diffusion of feminist ideology, the increased accessibility of inexpensive video technology, and the introduction of more media education programs for youth (GMM 191). In the past ( and still much of today), women were cast as the sex symbols adding to the decoration on the set appealing to the eye and not considered being placed behind the camera. These ideas are changing due to the above mentioned but unless the opportunity is given to these girls and technology is readily available, they will not pursue these areas of interest. It is because of these extraordinary women and their accomplishments that girls can excel in these gender dominant careers.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hate crime linked to social networking

Rutgers student kills himself after video of him and his partner is streamed by his roommate and posted online. This is absolutely terrible and I can't believe some of the comments saying that it is NOT a hate crime or was the fault of the student.

Silicon Sisters Launches First iOS Game, Made By Women For Girls

Maybe this should be a new direction for video games--not necessarily gendered, just different approaches and options to "play." I don't know that we should continue this whole "boys want to kill" and "girls want to shoot" generalization but rather provide varied opportunities for gameplay.

Silicon Sisters Launches First iOS Game, Made By Women For Girls


Blogging about HIV as an educational tool

The chapter “We Wanted Other People to Learn From Us: Girls Blogging in Rural South Africa in the Age of AIDS” gave me fresh insight into how I might conduct a workshop for young women about digital literacy. The girls in this case study were teenagers in South Africa, most of whom had never used a computer before. The fact that they could even learn to blog over the course of a few days is remarkable in itself and although their language was fairly simplistic they were still able to convey a message of hope. Through the use of blogs, the girls drew attention to the issues of HIV transmission, AIDS, and teenage pregnancy. I think the most poignant moment of the interview was when Lungile was asked what she thought about blogging for an audience. She said, “Because…um…I cannot start to-if I am HIV-positive, I cannot tell my friends in school like “Guys, I’m HIV-positive.” So if I go to a blog and write about those stuff, other people like…um…other children from school who, who hate people HIV-positive, maybe they can go to the blogs and learn about HIV-positive, HIV and AIDS and…learn that they should not discriminate people that are HIV-positive. They should love them, respect them, treat them as equal people, ja” (176). The girls expressed concern that some of their fellow students are HIV-positive but will not admit it, which creates a danger for the other students. Girls in Africa, especially between the ages of fifteen and twenty four, are put at a high risk because they’re not able to protect themselves from abuse. In addition to worrying about HIV transmission, there was concern expressed about teenage pregnancy.
This study took place in Africa but it just reminded me of the lack of sexual education we receive in this country. Sex ed usually takes course over the span of a couple weeks where we learn what a penis and vagina are and about some sexually transmitted diseases. Statistics are rarely given and teenage pregnancy is ignored in favor of “abstinence.” Abstinence education does not discourage young people from having sex, if anything it puts them at a disadvantage because when they do start having sex they’re ignorant about contraception and the risks they’re taking. I wish that when I had been in sex ed it would’ve been more involved and asked students to view sex and sexual health from a critical point of view. The education we actually received was nothing more than an overview, a chapter in a health book which also taught us the food pyramid and proper hygiene. I think sexual education is much, much more important than it is made out to be in school. I know part of the reason for the rushed course is teachers’ embarrassment over talking about sex. Schools should either train experts or contract knowledgeable people to come in and talk to students or even better offer sex ed as a half semester course like “Life Education.” Parents, as well, need to get over their hang-ups about educating their children. The kids who are at the greatest risk for early pregnancies tend to be the ones who were the most sheltered and knew the least about sex. The sex education I received did not prepare me for the experiences I faced as a young woman. The forum of blogging would be a great tool because it allows students to talk freely about sex. I think that we really need to open up the youth forum on sex because we do have problems with STDs, sexual assaults, teen pregnancy, and abortion. Teenagers and young adults take so many risks already. It is unfair to deny them the education to protect themselves from potentially life-threatening diseases and pregnancy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

From Spin magazine:Beyonce's Hot Girl-Power Anthem Leaks

Beyonce (Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
Beyoncé is still in the studio working on her fourth solo album, slated for release later this year, but the pop star's first taste of the record has leaked online. Head over to Rap Radar to stream the new track "Girls (Who Run the World)."
On this cut, Beyoncé improbably takes the martial drum beat from Major Lazer's "Pon de Floor" and turns it into a rousing girl power anthem similar to "Single Ladies" and "If I Were a Boy," although this is far rowdier than any of those tracks: it's bolstered with all sorts of synth squiggles and raw chanting. "Who run this mutha?" Beyoncé cries. "Girls! Girls!"
As has been previously reported, Beyoncé's new album may find the pop star teaming up with indie hot shots (which isn't a shocker considering she's been spotted with husband Jay-Z at Grizzly Bear concerts). In addition to Diplo's side project Major Lazer, Sleigh Bells and Odd Future have reportedly hit the studiowith the singer.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Blogging for Education

It was very interesting to read the article “Ch. 8: We Wanted Other People to Learn from Us: Girls Blogging in Rural South Africa in the Age of AIDS” (2.0) For my Digital Analysis project I did a similar thing. I blogged about the topics we discussed in class and related them to a typical high school experience that I like to call the new age “virtual high school.” I believe that there are a lot of things in today’s technology world that people are unaware of. There are many things affecting the children today, both good and bad. I believe that people need to learn about this so they can be better prepared for these good and bad effects. This is much like the blogs the girls did in South Africa. They believed that they needed to spread the word of the dangers that affect them so people could be better prepared and prevent the horrible things like AIDS that have been affecting them.This idea of using the blog to inform a greater audience of dangers coincides with the idea presented to us in Girl Wide Web 2.0, Chapter 8. The girls in South Africa formed blogs to inform the world about the issues of gender violence and HIV and AIDS. When the girls who were writing the blogs were asked about their reasoning behind the blogs they said “they felt as though their words would have an impact on a greater audience, inspiring others to change at-risk habits and views about other practices they otherwise felt uncomfortable discussing openly.” (Mazzarella, p.161) While the issues I presented have not yet reached a global audience, I did get to present these issues to an audience other than our class and to spread the idea to people I know will continue to discuss these issues and work towards fixing what they can.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tween e-shoppers..whats the big deal?

I found this week’s reading to be especially interesting because I have witnessed some of the effects of gendered advertisements online. One of the topics discussed in Instant Identity is about IM advertisements, and IM robots. I have to admit, although it is extremely annoying to have these little boxes popping up all over your screen, the advertisers that place their promotions online are very clever for finding all of these discreet ways to sell their products. Almost any website that you visit on a computer will have an ad located somewhere that you can click to lead to their page. Sometimes you accidentally click the ads and then get frustrated when your browser turns to another page. This technique is not only tricky, but very effective in getting people to notice an ad. This reminds me of another scheme that companies use on the internet to capitalize on human error. I learned this technique from my website designer who helped me make a page for my makeup artistry business. The process is simple: A company owner picks a popular term or phrase that people often search online, such as “celebrity” and they type the word, misspelled, into their website’s browser search engine (which is where you input the words you think people will use when locating your site, in order to make it come up on google). You type the word incorrectly because people very often type one letter incorrectly, and then get a whole new group of search results. Therefore, your website will pop up whenever someone misspells that word, they don’t even have to be looking for your company, but the search engine will lead them to it. For example, I utilized different variations of “Make-up artist in Florida” for my search engine terms. Since I am allowed to use up to 300 words, I misspelled Florida (flrida) in order to catch the consumers that left out one letter.

I do a lot of my shopping online and I must admit to falling victim several times to the clothing that a given website is suggesting I purchase. I feel like the styles portrayed on a catalog’s model are in season and fashion-forward. Only recently did I begin purchasing items online because I am so busy with school and work that it makes it easier for me to skip a visit to the mall and order what I need in the privacy of my own home. This chapter talks about clothing websites targeting a new demographic of teenage girls. Although it may raise some concerns, I think that it is not only harmless, but essential for tween-targeted companies to advertise online. Why should they be left out from internet advertising just because their crowd is not old enough to drive? I believe that tweens shopping online should not raise an eyebrow unless they have their own credit card that they can use to actually buy stuff. In this case, it would be the parent’s fault for giving them such a form of funding. I actually believe that shopping online for tweens may be less dangerous than shopping inside of a mall- where strangers lurk and have access to young children. Although I found this week's reading to be enlightening, I cannot help but ask: Whats the big deal?

Teens and Tweens as Commodities

I knew about Alloy when I was a tween and teen. Like Kathy, I would consider myself a consumer who was more interested in receiving a catalog and didn't engage in more of the interactive aspects that are especially prevalent today. I think I only bought maybe one item from Alloy, but at that time in my life perusing Seventeen and Delia's and Alloy catalogs and going to the websites was a hobby, more or less.

Back then, I thought about sexy clothes as a way to express myself and almost as a right of passage as I was entering a stage where I was "becoming a woman" (which always seemed to be strangely quick and easy-- 'just like that?'). I think I was more concerned about what I was putting on my body . Reading the text now I do see how inorganic and manipulative marketing to teens and tweens really is. I agree with others who see it's business advantage and that Facebook is basically a similar medium but the marketing tries to customize to each profile. I think by presenting this notion of there being nowhere to go but where other women have already been (objectified with sexuality expectations and an emphasis on domestic roles) just because you're growing up, so subtly executed and casually pressured, is very scary. It reminds me of a scene in the movie Minority Report when the main character (Tom Cruise) walks in a metro train station and the advertisements are scanning his retinas and calling him by name to get his attention.

I think the scariest part is how casually gender differences are treated in society. Buying pink toys for girls and   encouraging girls to be consumers because that is "what girls like" is a powerful and bold thing to impose on someone. It allows girls to channel things like emotion and a sense of community into consumerism. Making a store into a magazine is the most effective and most damaging thing AM&M could do. In my opinion, it is definitely a darker side of the virtual world. In fact, I was discussing why Facebook marketing works for everyone when an established and well-liked company like...say... Mama Millie's (Jamaican restaurant near UCF) because instead of being aggressive and manipulative, having to find niche's that pertain to girls' insecurities and desires for belonging, it creates a two-way street. An online bizarre is formed where the community can tell producers and community can exchange feedback and appreciate a sense of role in the community rather than tricking or bombarding someone with what they think they will buy into.

That got rant-y toward the end, but maybe that's a good thing?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Girls getting bombarded

Girls and advertising has become an extremely interesting issue to me, as I often consider how certain advertising methods are affecting girls. Its interesting to note that in these advertisements, a lot of the times girls aren’t even the ones being targeted. For instance, girls aren’t really going to be buying cars or houses yet they will still be bombarded by advertisements regardless. I was really interested to hear about how IM robots can be used in this matter, because I remember talking to IM robots when I had an AOL screen name. I was always so excited and in awe about these interactions that I didn’t even put it together that I was being sent advertisements through them. I find it almost insulting now that this bots would use shorthand and IM abbreviations in order to get girls to relate to them. To me, this is somewhat exploitative albeit effective advertising. Social networking has taken this all to a next level. As the book mentions, Myspace allowed regular people (namely aspiring musicians) to advertise themselves and essentially get famous based on these solicitations alone. On top of this self promotion, a plethora of companies and corporations place large, flashing advertisements throughout the website. It was interesting to note that many girls aren’t really buying into all of this advertisement. If anything, girls feel indifferent or annoyed with these bombardments. They definitely generalize and group all young girls together, regardless of the fact that they are individuals. They assume that all young girls use shorthand and emoticons when typing and emulate the same, for example. Companies hurt themselves as result because girls really have such varied interests and their advertising does not cater to this fact.

I also really enjoyed the Alloy article, and found that things like the design and style of your websites makes a big difference in being popular. Alloy.com got popular because it was styled after a magazine. Essentially, girls got the same kind of content they would get in a magazine without paying and with the benefit of more communication. Sites like Alloy essentially create an entire bubble of a community where girls can turn, whether they want to read about celebrities, get makeup tips or communicate with other girls virtually.

Tweens in the market.

What better group to target then Tweens in the market. they have no bills to pay and are just looking for a place to spend their allowance.Websites like Alloy that offer not only a place to shop, but also a place to look up celebrity gossip, horoscopes and advice about boys really attract these young people.Can you blame them for wanting to really dig deep into an untapped market? Selling the latest fashion trends to these girls could be looked at as exploiting them, and maybe it does push girls to think that they have to look a certain way or think a certain way. But as far as the market strategy is concerned, they are doing exactly what they are aiming for, which is giving girls a place to "feel comfortable" and a place to chat with others, a community some may say,to get advice and read up on all the latest news. And at the same time,suggesting some really cute clothes they should buy. I have to say that someone mentioned on a blog that by selling these clothe to young girls, they are helping them "transition" from girls to young women, and "sexualizing" them. I have to say I cant agree with this. If you look at a lot of the clothing on this site, there isn't much that is overly revealing or "sexy", it isn't like they are being show lingerie.Teens are supposed to go through a stage where they start growing up and becoming young women, and the website hits the nail in the head with their marketing strategies.

Terri Senft's Videotaped Responses to Your Questions

Hello Virtual Girls students!! Here are some links to Terri Senft's replies to your questions/thoughts about CamGirls. She was so generous with her time and ideas that I would be thrilled to see some of you post video replies to her. Not required but strongly encouraged. Let me know what you think! Leandra

(from Terri)

Hi Leandra,

Please thank your students for their wonderful readings, their thoughtful comments and their great questions. I've read everything they've written on the blog, and have tried to grab selected questions  (working as well with the list you provided). 

I have seven videos done. Hoping to get the rest out of the way this weekend. Would be delighted if any students wanted to make video responses of their own, this semester or next time you teach the book.

Click links for short (under 8 min) videos on each of the following:

1. Are people more honest offline or online?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqT926CV85w

2. Can you have sustainable friendships online? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aui1G0Kuh9U

3. What should be the role of the net in "real" activism offline? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDTABtF4Ox8

4. How well do you think your viewers know you? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38eOYrMAkvs

5. Why are all the camgirl sites devoted to porn now? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OegULy8_jrM

6. What about pre-teens and young teens who want to become camgirls? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tpou2qudeMo

7. Can you speak about creating "safe spaces" for women and others? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opTRvGwxwTk

Freeze time!

While all of the readings in their entirety were interesting this week, there was one issue that kind of jumped out to me and made me think a bit more than the other things that were talked about. In 2.0 on page 267 the author says “…coming of age, something that is sold to girls as empowering.” This can be verified by younger girls dressing like they are 20 years old, in movies like 13 going on 30, etc. Now, to me, this in an interesting occurrence just because of the small age range women are supposed to try to fit eternally in to. We see these younger girls trying to look like women in their 20’s, dressing certain ways, talking about issues a younger child wouldn’t be heard talking about, yapping away on their cell phones. But then, when we look at the opposite spectrum, we see older women a lot of the time trying to act like younger women, again dressing as a 20 something year old would normally dress. So, while this article was talking about young girls trying to be more mature and fit this ideal woman that the media is portraying, could it really just be that society only wants to be interested in women who fit the niche of the 20 something year old, female hottie? We rarely see men trying to look younger or young boys trying to look older and that’s because they are more accepted at all ages of their lives. Women are only attractive and wanted it seems while they are in their “prime” for reproducing. There we have it again, the main purpose of a woman… to reproduce. So obviously the only tie one should want a woman is when she is at her peak in being able to fulfill her societal role of producing babies.

Tweens & Everything in between

Target marketing or "niche" marketing as it's sometimes called can either be helpful or a hazard. When done right, target marketing on the internet can help companies completely advertise to a targeted demographic. Thanks to pop ups and ads, web pages have become billboards for companies to get their products out to people who frequent different sites. And no matter how old are how young you are surfing the internet, 9 times out of 10, your favorite site will have an ad on it, if not more than one. Nowadays ads have evolved from just "click here" images to audio messages, and motion graphics. And while some companies consider this a good way to reach their target audience, I don't know if there are many people who go to the internet to find out about new products being offered from big money companies they already know of. In the text, Shayla Stern refers to these ads as "moving pictures and flashy gimmicks users may click on". And I for one have never really purposely clicked on an ad, but I have on accident. Which brings me back to the point of tracking traffic for these ads. Usually these companies find out how well their ads are doing by the amount of clicks they receive, but how accurate can that be? I know I'm not the only one who has clicked on an ad by mistake. There are so many ads out there that end up just being distracting, but in the case of ads geared towards adolescent girls, (ie: clothes, make up, modeling) we find out that although they are being heavily targeted, they aren't buying into the ads. And rightfully so, because at the end of the day, these huge corporations really know nothing about the young audiences they target their products to. They are completely out of touch with the personal aspect of the consumer, and they believe that these mass advertisements will help them in their plan towards success. Generation Y as it's called seems to be the money market for these companies. These teens are using IM platforms to communicate, and they use the web on a daily basis. It's pretty clear that these marketing tactics used don't get the job done, but who knows what it does to the psyche of young adolescents. Changing the perception of Generation Y is as easy as it looks, but we can't completely leave it up to these corporations to taint the minds of the young future. The younger generations use the internet to communicate, now more than ever, and at the sam

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Commodity Fetishism and Tween Culture.

Tweens as consumers were, until recently, a relatively untapped market. Teenaged girls are extremely easy to market to and have been since the dawn of consumer culture, but manufacturing an "aspirational identity" for the in between stage of adolescent development is basically more the product of my generation and beyond, rather than a well-established, historical cultural paradigm. Girls have been reframed through their desire to be women, to develop into more evolved versions of themselves, so there is never full presence in their actions, but rather, a desire for something that will prove largely unattainable as time goes on, since it is modeled by celebrities, rather than peers. The creation of the celebrity is, in fact, contingent on what marketing conglomerations think girls will read as "cool." This is evidenced in Alloy's section on "Daily Gossip" and the pervasiveness of young Hollywood (Mazzarella and Atkins 272). However, what strikes me here is that the identity constructed by websites like Alloy is hardly what I deemed "cool" as a tween. Even when I read texts that were marketed to me, there was always an edge of corniness to them (the abbreviations for words, the entire culture of it), and there's a very complicated relationship between how sexualized young girls are expected to be, within reason, while they're conversely insultingly infantilized. I did actually read those Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books, and they weren't awful, but that was never the product of being marketed to, as much as my complete, unabashed love of bookstores. I forced my parents to take me to Borders nearly every weekend because I could not read enough, and certainly not only from the Young Adult Fiction section. This conceptual, idealized image of the 11-13 year old girl is, in my experience, a myth, or when it isn't, it directly corresponds with social constructionism. The question becomes this: what came first, tween yearning or the image of the yearning tween?

One possible panacea that I see to the overabundance of forced consumerism vis-à-vis product placement is that the parental guides to morally objectionable material on television or in movies that are readily available on the Internet now sometimes include reviews of the amount of product placement or nudges towards consumer ideals, as this is considered very obtrusive or even offensive. This poll, conducted by The Guardian, even seems to suggest that this brand of brash marketing is uniquely American in its scheme, which honestly, I find quite sad. I'm aware that parents cannot shield their children from all brands of lifestyle construction, which can often be very damaging to their ways of forming their own personalities without the influence of culturally imposed heteronormativity and gender constructs, but efforts can be made. This perspective on girls is too cynical to me, that the only way to accrue social capital is through consumption of goods and services that make one more desirable to boys, and eventually, men. Resistance to it may prove unrealistically idealistic, but working in that direction can't possibly be anything but positive.

eh...just "x" it out

            If implemented correctly, marketing can be the difference between a successful or failing business venture. When advertisers tap into their target markets and are able to measure their success by an accurate reading of “traffic” through their websites companies can make money in droves. However, whether you are a teenager or a grown adult, more often than not the ads that cover the top, bottom, and sides of your web pages become more annoying rather than helpful. Within the text of chapter five we see the author Shayla Theil Stern, discuss the “moving pictures and flashy gimmicks that users may click on”. Companies believe that they can accurately measure the success of their advertisement based on how many clicks there were that brought users to the web pages. I don’t believe this is fully accurate because many people click on these web pages by accident. Another idea that was a topic within the chapter was the idea of “bots” or “chat robot/chatterbots” that work through programs like AIM. These are different interactive technological counterparts that engage in chat sessions with consumers or people with questions on a variety of topics. While some people might think this invention is a good idea, I believe that it would be more beneficial for the consumer or user to do his or her own research on any given topic. Some companies probably believe this saves them the manpower of having to staff someone behind the computer screen; the conversations might not have an organic flow to them. What it comes down to is that these ads appear to be more distracting and annoying rather than helpful and time saving. When I am on a specific web page or when I pull up a blank page to compose an email I rarely ever pay attention to the ads that trim the pages. On the flip side as I try to look at the reason behind such advertisements I understand that many web pages are made possible because of these advertisements that off set the costs it takes to run and public sites. Therefore, I can understand why such ads exist, but I find it hard to see these ads as helpful, especially to teenage girls. I know that this is a popular market to reach in the advertising world. Young females are very into their appearances, popularity, and building their persona. It should be vital that advertising companies posts ads that are helpful to young girls, rather than harmful. This is where digital literacy is very important for young girls and where they need to know the difference between garbage and the good stuff. 

-Melissa King 

What Would Howard Zinn Think about Virtual Girls as Consumers?

"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem." - Howard Zinn

In Girl Wide Web 2.0, Sharon R. Mazarella and Allison Atkins present"Community, Content, and Commerce." In particular, they discuss Alloy.com which was begun in 1996 as a "media platform to reach hard-to-reach young consumers..." Wait a minute? Is it just me, or doesn't this already sound like a crock?

Mazarella and Atkins note, this is a day and age when "actual physical spaces for youth (e.g., parks, acitivity halls, and so on) have disappeared." Instead, "virtual spaces have become welcoming spaces for the young as they combine entertainment, advice, friendship , community, and shopping" (266). Ah, now I get it -- and so does Alloy. Girls are online -- and they just so happen to be spending lots of money. Girls ages 8-14 spend $51 billion dollars a year, consuming mostly that which promises to give them self esteem in the form of appearance - beauty products, fashion, etc. Little do they know Alloy Marketing is spending more than 3X as much to keep them believing the consumerist lies that keep them buying and eventually segue them into the $175 Billion teen market. So while they may promote themselves as being "friendly and understanding social space for young girls," this is obviously not the case. Their forums and articles are simply a ruse, with the ultimate goal of doing exactly what their co-founder Matt Diamond says in the first place, target young girls as consumers "and act as a conduit for corporate America" (264).

Good ol' Corporate America. America's corporate and political elites now form a regime of their own. Remember those thieves Zinn talked about -- yep, you got it. The poor are the majority and always have been. If you are living in a situation of poverty or near-poverty, you are the norm. Corporate America wants you to believe just the opposite. In industrialized nations like The United States being poor carries with it an onus of shame and despair because capitalist societies place value only on productive individuals, and the image of ‘a good life’ that is promoted in countries like ours is not simply one of having enough to eat and wear and a warm place to live. The acquisition of possessions far beyond basic needs is promoted as the difference between happiness and misery. In the Western World, it may even be more psychologically stressful to be poor because all media and societal norms so heavily promote ideals of wealth that are beyond the reach of the majority. And I am speaking of adults carrying these ideals and burdens -- imagine what it must be to be the child navigating through life deciphering the value of her beliefs and actions. Obviously, corporate America, corporations like Alloy.com DON'T CARE.

I think girls today need Alloy.com as much as we need to see another Charlie Sheen interview. What a shameful enterprise. I suggest showing tweens this instead:

The New Generation Y

Advertising and marketing companies have been targeting their audience for years - however in this day and age - their marketing strategies are at their fingertips..(literally) I thought it was interesting to learn that Yahoo's BPNordstrom "IMvironment" doesn't have any sort of Imvironment that is geared toward boys and shopping at all- it is geared to only girls and creating an image for the young girls. I was glad to read.."still, despite this ever-pervasive push to sell products to adolescent girls, they are not necessarily buying." (109) I think the ideologies of what these advertises present to young girls have not changed over time at all - they create images and stereotypical ideas of what the "perfect" girl should look like..(buy this outfit and look great)...and as before, it remains the same as today - all these ideologies do a disservice to young girls. The only difference today is how the images find their way into the hands of the young girls. Before it was print models looking "perfect" in the teen magazines and today it is the computer.

Alloy biffls!!!!!!

When reading through the assigned readings there was so much talk of Alloy.com and how it was such a big influence in consumerism for teens and tweens that it had become a question of whether it had been a social site fused with shopping. I had to check it out and explore it for myself and I had to admit there was quite a bit to be engulfed in. At first glance, it does seem to be a brilliant marketing tool for companies, like the texts explain however as I read further into the articles It makes me question, what the message behind this glorified magazine is? Sites like Alloy, expose advertisements about the latest gossip, TV shows, popular books that undoubtedly shapes a predictable consumer. However I feel that there is a bit of deception here (like all consumerism) the site claims to target ages 12-24 but majority of its viewers are ages 8-14; also known as tweens. While I can’t argue about the definition or the creation of this word, it describes the transitional period of children questioning and creating an identity. Advertisers and marketing experts are very crafty and while I’m not completely blaming them for taking advantage of their product placements, it seems unfortunate that yet again we’re putting more emphasis on trying to be the ultimate feminine persona. “Much of what they sell are products promising to facilitate the transition from girlhood to womanhood, products that often result in prematurely sexualizing girls. On the other hand, I’m a bit curious as to why parents giving their children so much purchasing power to be able to afford their identity through clothes and accessories and never-ending fads. “Tweens (young people aged 8-14) in particular…spend $51 billion spent of their own money each year and influence an additional $170 billion on them each year….similarly AM+M teens, a third of whom carry a credit card, ‘a force in consumer spending, part of a highly influential $175B consumer market.’” I understand that tweens and teens were once an underrepresented and unrecognized force but its astonishing to see how much teens influence the consumer market. It seems that so much goes into making a "..stylish,.... pop culture savvy and.. boy crazy" Alloyer. Additionally the only benefit from this is that it does seem to close the gender gap between online literacy.Boys are still described as the well to do gender among the two however girls are creating more of a "best friend culture" and with terms like biffl (best friends for life) its no wonder. Tweens have found that space to communicate and flourish but I'm precariously and maybe idealistically asking, can we ever create honest space for young women? It seems all this oversexing communicating is only furthering the ideal stereotype about women and I know we can't pretend to overlook the obvious trends and questions that tailor to a teen's life but I'm starting to think that we don't give enough credit to teens, they wanted to be treated like adults in their six inch heels and modern well to do totes but could they really handle looking at what happens beyond the moment of 21? What plans does she have for herself after prom and what's life like when you pay your first bill? Maybe I'm being a little melodramatic... lol

The New Generation Y

We are asked at the beginning of chapter 5 in Instant Identity, “are the girls (teens and tweens) buying the empty vessels of popular culture that the corporate companies have out there to do so with advertisements and pop-up?  In their choice of products to advertise on their IM platform, it seems they have little interest in specifically targeting the adolescent population with their advertising and pop-up banners.  This might be because the generation that uses IM most prevalently, Generation Y, is often consumer savvy and technologically adept than the generations before it, so the companies that deploy IM messenger services have developed other ways to insert advertising more subtly into the technology (I.I. pg. 96).  This surprised me because I figured the main people that actually pay attention to pop-ups and advertisements would be the Generation Y.  Some subtle methods they use have been to offer its IM users the use of icons that can be placed on their IM window next to their log-in name – a fun, graphic articulation of taste or identity.  This is how hegemonic forces link consumerism and patriarchal discourses in this new space – and it seems to be working in a certain degree: early statistics on this means embedding information within the advertising on IM demonstrate that this type of ad has already shown moderate success with users clicking on the ads at a much higher rate than on typical banner advertising.  If this is the cultural ideal that girls are being “sold” – and, if the statistics are accurate, apparently buying into, to a certain extent, then we can expect the stereotypes and cultural expectations of girls as shallow consumers to continue well into this new digital age, even in a medium where they are actors in creativity in its context.  This somewhat undermines the notion of encoding/decoding model that assumes that consumers buy into dominant meaning that advertisers intend them to take from an advertising text, clearly, the audiences often resist or even ignore the messages sent from advertisers to suit their own needs (I.I. pg.99).  In my opinion, I believe that it’s great that this new Generation Y is smart enough to, for the most part, ignore the media advertisements on computers.  If we can continue this then maybe we can all help young women’s self-esteem stay positive and they can come to realize that the media isn’t always the right people to follow.   Do you think that the media has a positive or negative affect on Generation Y?