Category: Institution


Decommodified, Deinstitutionalized, Unconstrained, Globalized

As a final lecture, I thought this was a pretty good one. Well organized and the points were well made. The key terms were: alternative symbolic economy, Expanded normative debate, expanding expressive capabilities, toxic parody, indellible memories and the market censor depoliticization of context.

A statement said in class is that television and music videos have become more and more sexualized. I couldn’t agree with Mr. Strangelove and Madonna more. I was actually discussing the new Keri Hilson music video entitled “The Way you Love me” and Keri who is usually known for being very classy and decently clothed in her videos, is now gyrating and grinding in panties in front of and above the camera lens. It leads me to question when is “too sexy” for a music video. Lady Gaga was just as scandalous in her “Alejandro” video. To be honest I think that these videos are more in the soft porn genre then music videos at this point. But I do remember a decade ago maybe female artists would have the camera focused on cleavage, that progressed/transgressed to cameras focusing on their curves or their behinds and now its gone to the point where women are opening their legs with panties on infront of cameras. Like how far is too far? And do people realize the target audience for these artists, its usually young teenagers, and that this can have an effect on overall promiscuity and the perception of the role of women in society.

Another topic covered was that of individualism. The argument was made that previously or in traditional society our personality was buried, and today the modern individual is less institutionalized in terms of religion and by two trends, de-‘sacredization’ and capitalism. I argue that we are just as institutionalized as before, but this time by different things. For example we are still highly influenced by our education system. We are also highly influenced the media system and the power holders and gatekeepers who dictate what we shall see and when we see it. We are also highly influenced by consumerism and materialism, these forces are so big that they can inspire poor people to buy things they can’t afford and don’t need in order to look cool or feel equal to others in their social circle.

Who we are significantly depends on what they tell us.

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The Place of Women in New Media

Throughout history, women have been considered a subordinate group. There is a hierarchy in colour and gender in all societies. We live in a patriarchical culture where men are dominant. White men contain most of the wealth and power within almost every aspect of our society. In terms of media, White men are most of the directors and screenwriters, the producers and CEO’s. A man gets paid more money for doing the same exact work as his female counterpart. Here in Canada a woman makes .70 cents to every dollar that a man makes. There are clear discrepancies of equality and oppression facing women and minorities in everyday life.

The media does an overall good job in reflecting the attitudes and socialization of our societies. The media objectifies and is misogynistic towards women. According to Bell Hooks who is a Black feminist, she argues the misogynist men and white male supremacists work to maintain their own position. I completely agree with this as well, I work for the government and one of my white male co-workers wouldn’t fill out the self-disclosure form because he believes it discriminates against “the white male”. Like give me a break, and get over your own insecurites.

I believe that human beings are products of their society, so that if young girls are taught to act and behave in certain ways, they are likely to do it. It is also a normalization process, for example if you live in a certain culture where it is common for women to become nurses as opposed to doctors, you will have more women aiming to become nurses. Not because they are not intelligent enough to become doctors, but because they are doing what is expected of them.

In Youtube, some women act toward the objectification of women, and other women fight against it. There are some women who make videos on Youtube where they are naked or almost naked, and are objectifying themselves in hopes of attracting the male gaze. While you have other women who are probably more educated, and fight for women’s empowerment in society. Youtube becomes a dialogic medium where people are able to combat each other’s opinions on a women’s place in society. A woman’s self-identity is being defined by the culture.

We use videos to challenge the dominant meaning and also to reinforce them. The representation of everyday life is reflected in everyday media. There is a new meaning system where meanings will come from the internet. As well as the internet knowledge gained off sites like Youtube, reflect your average person, recanting their actual opinions, it is usually not scripted, so it reflects the actuality of what a person’s thoughts are. As opposed to the censorship seen on television, or on television there is a tendency to say things that are politically correct so as not to offend people.

Diaries-Video Diaries and Self Presentation

Confession used to occur mostly in an institutional context such as the law or church. Previously it was done towards authority. Confession is important as a normalizing process where one repents what you did because it doesn’t fit in with societies expectations. The internet is deinstitutionalizing confession by removing the authority factor from it. It is releasing the abnormal.

As the internet releases the abnormal, the way that we construct what is real in society is changing.  The more real vs. the more constructed. The unitary self vs. authentic pluralism.

When we create new contexts we create new opportunities for the self to emerge.

John Bodrillard: The death of meaning, losing touch with the real and the hyperreal.

Fictionality of theory and the factuality of everyday life. We often mistake our ideas for reality itself. What we think is true might actually not be, a perfect example are generalizations and stereotypes of others. We are also concerned with the individual structures which influence our lives. The internet is possibly changing peoples perception on reality because if we change the medium, the message is changed.

It is bad that 39% of kids think information online is always correct. Because anyone can publish anything online. And it is possible that there are going to be further implications in the future, with the new generation of children online.