Category: Women and New Media

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.


New Media and Publicity vs. Privacy

We like to be watched for publicity and we like to watch others, even if that means invading their privacy. 91% of children have a presence online by the time of two. When watching the videos of Miley while we were in class, and watching the video of the woman giving birth on YouTube, I was quite disturbed. It is difficult for me to comprehend why a woman would feel it was necessary to film herself giving birth and post that to the whole world. What happened to the wanting of one’s privacy. I do understand that giving birth is a natural process, however I think it can be agreed that filming and posting it online is unnatural. I am also very concerned for Miley and for this new trend of parents posting everything about their children online. In my opinion they are making it much easier for someone to abduct their children. As well as giving a million suspects the ability to have enough knowledge to lure their children away.

Miley and her parents are creating videos that can be used in the future by sociologists, historians and researchers about child rearing practices of our time, and the sociolization practices of our time. Through the videos of Miley growing up, the acquisition of skills are showed. This could be a general reflection of our society, of how parents try to keep their children competitive. It also reflects different social classes and their child rearing practices. More talking and conversations with children will lead to better vocabulary development and thus smarter children.

In terms of privacy, new social media programs reduce our privacy. For example Facebook gives you the option of posting your job history, your city (past and current), date of birth, the highschools and universities you attended, your relatives on Facebook, who you are in a relationship with, your sexual orientation,  and what you look like. It makes things like identity fraud much easier, and it makes it much easier for people to find out any kind of information about you. As you post your photos, people are able to see what you look like, where you shop, where you vacation, who your friends are and the group you hang out with.  It makes it quite simple for anyone to find things out about you. Or even where to turn if they require more information. Another thing is that I remember when the Elliot Spitzer scandal broke a few years back. Newspapers went on the Facebook page of the call girl, stole her photos and published them on the front page of newspapers. If the girl didn’t have a Facebook page, the media wouldn’t have had access to photos to identify her, or would have needed the help of paparazzi’s. As well as should there be something in place that makes the stealing of photos off facebook, especially for malicious purposes or for profit illegal?

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.

Sept 28th’s class

Does the media create a douchebag effect?

Yes I do believe that new media technologies such as the internet, does create a douchebag effect. For example when you read comments made by users on Facebook, or Youtube or even under the artcles in the Globe and Mail website, people will say pretty horrific things. I believe that people say these things because they are hidden behind a computer screen and they won’t face any repercussions or be held accountable for the things they say. It also creates a douchebag effect in the sense that people are constantly embarrassing one another online. For example last week a  sixteen year old girl in Vancouver was drugged and gang raped at a rave. People took pictures of her being attacked and posted them on Facebook. Of course the girl and her family came across these pictures and they said, “Their daughter is forced to re-live the abuse everyday.” Like I can’t understand why people would think it is funny or entertainment to see a girl getting abused and sharing the photos. The only people who should have seen those photos shouldhave been the police.

Another example is my friend made an appearance on the show Jersey Shore, and one of her classmates in her journalism class, made a blog and posted embarassing pictures of her online, and exposed the girl’s personal information such as her school, program of study and workplace. Like why did this person feel the need to go out of their way to publicly embarass someone else online with a bunch of people who probably don’t even know this girl. Especially give away this girls personal information, leaving her to be prone to stalkers. Of course this blog was written by an “anonymous” author.

This class talks a lot about privacy. Dr. Strangelove said, “There is no real privacy online”. I believe this is true because anything that you publish online can be traced back to an IP address, and you will be found one way or another. Anything published on facebook belongs to Facebook. Quite possibly if you delete something off your page who knows if the info actually disappears or if it is stored somewhere on the Facebook servers. I remember a couple years ago when the Elliot Spitzer scandal became rampant in the media and newspapers took photos off the call girls facebook page and published them on the front page of the newspapers. For some reason I highly doubt the newspapers asked the is women for her permission or reimbursed her, for the mass distribution of her personal photos.

Privacy is unequally distributed. Some have it, most don’t. Everything about us is known or can be known. Yes I do agree, but I am sure a lot of people can find ways to disappear off of the radar, or hide things about themselves before it is released.