Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Want to do me a favor, Friends?

Hey ya'll!

So, recently I found out two favorite shows of mine have not been renewed for the next season (despite a strong, devoted fanbase). We're trying to show the network the support behind the show, so I was wondering if anybody would be kind enough to sign this petition. It'll take you less than a minute and I'd really appreciate it!

(Yeah, they're animated programs, but they're also some of the best quality works on television at the moment, and if you get a chance you should check them out: Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series).

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Blog Post Numero Uno: An Argument of Media-Sized Proportions

Croteau’s “Media and Ideology” argues about the importance of media and the ideologies surrounding it. The author first explains that there are various definitions of ideology, including but not limited to those used in everyday language as well as those used for academic pursuits. In regard to the media, we are examining its depictions as a collective, not on in individualized basis. As such, s/he asserts that we analyze this ideology for better understanding ourselves and society as a whole. Croteau goes on to discuss how people utilize the media for their own purposes and thus it becomes a scapegoat when the messages it’s forced to purport offend people’s own opinions/ideologies (or ways of thinking).

Next, the author discusses the idea of dominant ideology, and whether or not the media is culpable in its spread. Because each person possesses his or her own opinions, the media is viewed as controversial and people argue that it is being used to further specific ideologies that offend others, such as (for reasons that are still unfathomable to me) homosexuality, abortion, and capital punishment. Ultimately, Croteau’s argument comes down to the idea that ideology normalizes behaviors.  For some, this causes fear, because their delicate sensibilities are offended when they see two girls kissing on television, and they are afraid that if people realize there is nothing wrong with it, it will become a normal part of daily life (as it should. Side note: my blog, my opinion. Deal with it).

Finally, this ties with Croteau’s argument on hegemony and what people consider natural or unnatural. The idea of hegemony comes from Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, who claimed that ruling groups can retain their power through force, consent, or some combination of the two, and operates at a “common sense” level of thinking. As such, our expectations for social life come from the things we believe are “natural.” Croutea brilliantly debunks this notion with examples that society once believed (and in some cases still believes) are natural: that women are better nurturers than men, that “you can’t fight city hall,” and that “moderate” positions are more reasonable than “extreme” positions. Ideology that is considered “natural” gains a form of legitimacy that makes it difficult to usurp. S/he makes note that racism, homophobia, and sexism are born from these “natural” beliefs that some people (white heterosexual males) are better than others.  Thus, what society believes is natural is the foundation for hegemony; and, luckily, hegemony is not unchangeable.

Thus, from this I take away that although media can be used as a tool to normalize images (for both better and worse), it can also be utilized to make change. For example: while watching Glee, a relative of mine who previously seemed a bit uncomfortable with homosexuality found herself ultimately rooting for “Klaine” (Kurt and Blaine, a gay couple), something she wouldn’t have done prior to watching the show. As such, her views have progressed to slightly less prejudiced on that subject, and I maintain hope that this type of development will continue. Despite its many flaws, shows like Glee can be helpful in breaching and devilifying concepts that certain groups consider “unnatural” and normalizing it for the masses. While it may occasionally drop the ball on subjects that could really use better spotlighting, shows like Glee could lead the way for normalizing things (like homosexuality) that really should already be normalized in popular culture, because, seriously, why is this still an issue? Although it may not have been Crouteau’s point, I am entirely in favor of tricking people into realizing their opinions are bigoted and illogical through use of the media. (Yes, this did turn into a very mini-rant. Certain subjects set me off. Don’t get me started on certain government legislation on related subjects. Trust me).

Friday, January 25, 2013

Do you really want to ask me questions? Because it often turns into a rant. Really. It does. This is your warning.

Hello folks,

So... for those of you who don't know, my name's Julie. I am a libra. I enjoy long sprees of browsing on my laptop and....

Oh, wait. Not where I was intending to go with that.

Anyway, during break I visited my alma mater, Hogwarts, with some of my fellow alumni. By which I mean, my friends and I visited Harry Potter's Wizarding World in Orlando for the first time and did, indeed, dress in our Hogwarts robes, because we are all wonderfully gigantic nerds. I, of course, was a Slytherin; another of my friends a Gryffindor, and another was a Ravenclaw. Our two other friends did not wear full robes, but did wear Slytherin scarfs. Everywhere we went people asked where our Hufflepuff was. We casually mentioned something about an unfortunate accident that we had no part in (we don't actually have a Hufflepuff, or at least, not one who could attend with us). 

(Here's a pic of me stupefying one of my friends. I was dueling for my honor. I had no choice.)


Another large portion of my break was consumed by marathoning Teen Wolf with my friend/s and then recing fanfictions to each other. Because, yes, apparently that is what I do. But it was sort of a way of socializing! We did, you know, read together (literally, all of us hunched over a single screen in our hotel room in Orlando) and chat about our readings. It was like a book club. Sort of.

Moving on. Even before becoming a Women's Study minor I wanted to take this class because it sounded fascinating. In fact, it falls directly into my line of interest. My central focus in regard to my major (Sociology) is gender (and race and sexual identity/orientation) and the media; in fact, for my directed study I am studying gender and racial/ethnic depictions in DC comic books. So this class actually metaphorically kills two birds with one stone (metaphorically, I emphasize, 'cause I don't, you know, actually kill birds. Ew).

When I'm not in class or working on various projects, I read (recreationally, books, fanfiction, and comic books), talk to my friends, and interact with various other family members and friends. I also cashier at Walmart (-groan-) on the weekend, despite it being a powerhouse of capitalist greed and a representation of what I consider one of the major flaws of our country. And, yes, this whining does transfer over to my work when I'm actually cashiering, because I have zero qualms about informing my customers of my opinion on the subject, nor of indicating that, as it is merely a job to put me through college, that I do heavily criticize the corporation. My store, however, is not evil on an individual basis; the people who work there are perfectly friendly, kind people. Simply that it is a part of a much larger, much more corrupt enterprise. Alone it is fine, but because there are many it is simply too powerful.

So... that turned into a rant. Oops. Warning: never let me spiel about anything. It turns out like this, basically every time. It's not pretty.

And now you're semi-introduced to me. I look forward to getting to know everybody! :)