E-portofolio

As I look back on my experience with popular culture, I can safely say that it has been an immersive eye opening ride. In the beginning I was a little confused on what we are learning. I thought it was a class about movies, TV shows and famous people but it turned out to be a much more than that.

My initial learning goals where to be a better overall writer, but I also wanted a course that is interesting and fun. I had a slow and awkward start since I was forced to sign late for the class, but the teacher and classmates helped me settle in very quickly with their friendly attitude and willingness to offer help. In the beginning weeks of the term, I made more specific goals. I had set goals to be better at sourcing my writing, a better researcher and manage my time properly. The mentor workshop gave me the guide to begin with some group exercises were I showed my strengths and weakness. It was really helpful to engage in conversations with other team members where we exchanged notes of our writing experiences. I thought that communicating would be a challenge since this was an online class but the way the course was set up made it easy for me to post assignments and respond to others assignments. My biggest challenge was time. I could not manage as I thought I would. Since this term is my last as a mechanical engineering student, I made my major specific classes a priority. I could not compromise my time for those classes to work on this one. It was really hard since this class was a writing extensive class and there is heavy reading involved.

I can confidently say that I have gotten better not only in the categories I mentioned but also in other ones. I became A better communicator and learned how to share my thoughts in a safe and productive environment. It really helped that this was a multicultural class. Each classmate brought a deferent approach to writing. It was a real treat to see such diverse writers in one place. Each exercise we had brought significant improvement to my writing. They were very diverse, but on the other hand, plenty of resources were given which really helped. For example, I become much more confident in my interpretation of advertisements in the media. I would say that the most interesting assignment was on week three of the course blog. It really helped me realize how to deconstruct messages in ads. I wrote two prompts, the first was to find an affective ad and deconstruct it and the second was to analyze a cigaret ad while following an analysis technique found on external resources presented to us. Here they are 1:”Since I grew up in the nineties, I saw a lot of Michael Jordan. For those who don’t know him, his is considered on of the greatest basketball players of all time. He was everywhere. TVs, newspapers, magazines, billboards, buses and even on cereal boxes. Here is an ad that he did for Gatorade in the nineties. This ad is one that I think defines how companies utilize celebrity fame to sell their products. It shows Jordan holding a Gatorade and smiling with a large bold text that reads “Be like mike .. drink Gatorade”. In this ad, to sell their product, Gatorade was relating between their drink and Jordan’s fame that comes from his ability. Since it is a sports drink, the audience being targeted here were obviously sporty people. The ad gives the idea that if the best basketball player is drinking Gatorade, then it is got to help regular people up their game. Also, the power of using such a popular figure in an ad is that there are people who would buy it just because the figure that they love is using it. For me effective merchandise ad is one that sells the product, and Gatorade was booming at that time.” 2:“A celebrity, smiling while using an unusual looking cigarette. The people being depicted in this ad are white, middle aged, happy and stylish men. The man’s hand is highlighted using light to direct the attention on the cigarette. The ad uses stylish blue colors matching the stylish clothes of the man. The phrase “Rise from the Ashes” is large to catch the reader’s attention and to direct them to read the smaller info about their product. The smaller text is where the ad closes the deal, it describes how tobacco is bad because of the guilt, the smell the ash and the unnecessary moments where the smoker is forced to leave a place because it forbids smoking. So, the ad is selling happiness, ease of use and relief. The message being used works because those who are new to electronic cigarettes will see the obvious advantages of them in contrast to tobacco.”

It has been an immense learning experience for me. Weather it was writing, working with other people or utilizing resources available. Most importantly I think that my research skills are improved. For an engineering student it is an important skill to have, since our work involves many detailed based research. I really expanded my skills of crafting and honing my writing by utilizing external resources. Writing is a creative skill, but more importantly is having a good argument backed up with a proof of some kind. In the end I am more confident with my writing, communication and researching skills which has prepared me to be more successful in the future.

Arab Muslims in popular culture

Nine eleven 2001 is a day remembered as a tragedy that will never be forgotten. It is also the day that changed the remaining good views that some people had of Arab Muslims and how they are portrayed in popular culture. The popular culture perception forced law-abiding Arab Muslims to deal with hate crimes, racial profiling, discrimination, and bullying; Arab Muslims are mostly commonly portrayed as violent, untrustworthy, and as terrorists. Stereotypes are not always bad, generalizations help us know what to expect when we someone or go somewhere new, but when exaggerated negative images of people override the positive images, it can be damaging.

In this piece, I will discuss how my Arab Muslim identity is being misrepresented in popular culture.

Stereotypes are not always bad, generalizations help us know what to expect when we someone or go somewhere new, but when exaggerated negative images of people override the positive images, it can be damaging. According to study by professor Jack Shaheen of Southern Illinois University, out of a 1000 films from 1896 to 2007 that contained Middle Eastern Arab references, 12 were positive, 52 were neutral, and over 900 were negative. This study shows that stereotypes began even before nine eleven and the event only made it worse.

There are many examples of Arab Muslims being misrepresented in popular culture. In the show South Park which aires on Comedy Central, there is no boundary when it comes to negative stereotypes. In one of the episodes titled “Snuke” a new muslim kid is introduced to the class when suddenly, Erik Cartman, one of leading character of the show, realizes that the kid is a muslim and says: “dude, not cool” then leaves his desk in fear and asks the teacher if he has been checked for bombs. After the teacher denies the fact that not all muslims are terrorists Cartman says:”no, but most of them are…” Even thought at the end of the episode it turns out that the muslim is innocent, the reaction Cartman made is just the kind of stereotype that damages the Muslim identity.

Holy Terror is another popular culture artifact to damage the image of Muslims. In this graphic novel by Frank Miller where heroes join forces to battle Muslim terrorists. In every description I read about the novel, it is always mentioned that the bad guys are Muslims. Not to mention the fact that in some cases of the novel the racism is clear as sun light. For example in a scene where Fixer, a hero in the novel, says to a captured terrorist: “So Mohammed, pardon me for guessing your name, but you’ve got to admit the odds are pretty good it’s Mohammad…” The Fixer then tortures and cripples the man before detonating his explosive belt. Can it be more offensive than this?

 A very popular show called Homeland got a lot of controversy when it came for some of the content that was presented about Arab Muslims. Nicholas Brody is one of the main characters of the show. A US marine who was captured and tortured in a middle eastern country. When he was rescued he returns home as a Muslim. When people found out that Brody became a Muslim, he became the enemy. He was pictured as a traitor leaking information to US enemies just because he became a Muslim. He was kept under surveillance because the government didn’t trust him and thought he became a terrorist. Not only did his country which he served lost trust in him but also his wife. In one of the scenes, his wife yells at him and throws the Quran on the ground when she knew about his conversion to Islam. Personally, I was offended and disgusted by those scenes.

brody praysNicholas Brody praying in Homeland

 In Melissa Biogon’s Ted Talk, she pointed out that 1.72 million people watched season 2 premier of Homeland and this shows how such negative representations can reach large numbers of people and influence them. This kind of shows sends bad that can destroy people’s ability to view Islam as a religion of peace. Homeland sends messages  that show how Muslims are not to be trusted because they are the enemy and are a threat to this country. Judging people should be based on there actions not the actions of others and not by their religion.

 One of the most influencing popular culture artifacts are video games. Arab Muslims are mostly portrayed as terrorists in video games. They are either the evil henchmen or the main threat in the game. One of the games that shows this repetitive stereotype of Muslims is called Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. In this games Arab Muslims are always dark skinned with beards. They are always portrayed as suicide bombers and angry mobsters. The game sold more than seven million copies world wide, which shows the incredible amount of people that have seen the stereotypes in the game. Also, my friends used to play this game online and could not believe that amount of racial abuse that other players would say just because my friends had arabic name tags.

Call_of_Duty_4___The_Bad_Guys_by_MrAhn The Muslim enemy in Call of Duty

 When misconceptions are shown in the entertainment industry some people might not take it serious, but when it comes out of a respected public figure than it becomes much more believable. One example that stood out to me was what Brigitte Gabriel, the founder and president of ACT for America, said about muslims. When asked by Larry Elder in a radio interview if there are moderate muslims who condemn the radicals, she said: ”I call it a practicing Muslim and a non-practicing Muslim. I think it is a better description than moderate and radical. A practicing Muslim goes to mosque, prays five times a day, doesn’t drink, believes God gave him women to be his property to beat, to stone to death. He believes Christians and Jews are apes and pigs because they are cursed by Allah. He believes it is his duty to declare war on the infidels because they are Allah’s enemies. That is a practicing Muslim.” Shock was an understatement to what I felt after reading her statement. I am a practicing muslim and what she said is wrong. How come I am not a violent man who wants to kill innocent people? Because I understand right and wrong and that Islam is a religion of peace.

To me and a lot of other Arab Muslim in the world, we take offense on how our people are constantly misrepresented in popular culture. Being seen as a violent people that are associated to terrorism is a misrepresentation and a generalization. People might say that there are many terrorists that come from Arab Muslim countries, that might be true but in fact there are more than 1.2 billion Muslims around the world and to associate the minority with the majority is ignorant and wrong. Even thought my identity is being misrepresented in popular culture I have to be optimistic that the world is changing and that people are realizing the truth. I wish that we all stand against all types of stereotypes whenever we can, as it has brought suffering, discrimination and misjudgment upon those portrayed negatively.

Bibliography:

Hernandez, Michael. “Holy Terror comic is Islamophobic, says critics.” The national, 25 October 2011. Web. 1 June 2015.

“Cartman meets a Muslim.” Youtube, 9 Spet. 2013. Web. 1 June 20115

Homeland TV show: Homeland.  Showtime . 2011. Television.

Melissa Boigon’s Ted Talk: “Islamophobia: Melissa Boigon at TEDxGallatin 2013.” YouTube. YouTube, 22 September 2013. Web. 1 June 2015.

http://investor.activision.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=289631

https://www.creators.com/opinion/larry-elder/because-they-hate-part-ii.html

My Eportfolio Essay

My initial learning goals were to incorporate what I have learned into my life, educate others on popular culture, develop confidence in what I am saying, and also not to be afraid of speaking up. Throughout the course, I have accomplished just that. These goals would not be possible to reach if it weren’t for a strong mindset, which is my primary strength that I saw in myself.

When it comes to online courses, many people slack off, however I did not. My mindset was simple. As long as I knew the direction in which I wanted to go, I had the motivation and determination to succeed in this course. The other strengths that I saw in myself throughout the term, is being eager to learn and being an effective communicator, which is proven by my blog comments. In response to another student, I stated:

“I agree with you on both prompts. After reading the essay, it came as a complete shock to me that the distinction between “us” and “them” even exists. Not only that, but how much of an impact the media really has on society in defining others. I never realized that it is a bit difficult to have an open mind when this binary tunnel vision of other cultures is engraved into our brains from the beginning. After the 9/11 attack, I saw all Muslims as “the enemy”, in which the media had a powerful influence on my assumption. When I flew on an airplane and saw a guy with a head wrap, I feared for my life because I thought that he was going to hijack the plane. However, I do not see all Muslims as “the enemy” anymore. That being said, intercultural education should be combined with media literacy. The consumption of media allows us to access information that we aren’t able to get on our own. However, the negative part is that the media decides what to share and what to hide from their audience. Whether we know it or not, the media plays a major role in how we view our society.

Secondly, I agree that Asians are a group of people that I’ve seen represented in a similar or one-dimensional way over and over in popular culture media. The most common stereotype with Asians have to deal with the parents. If you are Asian or someone you know is Asian, people assume that your parents are strict. People assume that Asian parents are never proud of their children. For instance, an Asian person could earn his Bachelor’s degree and his/her parent’s will not be satisfied because they could have gotten their PhD. It is portrayed that Asian parents have such high expectations for their children, when in reality this is not true. Personally speaking, I am Asian and my parents do not even know the name of the college that I am attending, nor do they care what kind of grades I am earning.”

I chose this blog comment because not only does it prove my eagerness to learn but it also proves how respectful I am to others, which is very important in communication. When it comes to reading other’s work, I am respectful with my words. I do not reply back to them with just a sentence. I fully give them my thoughts, questions, and ideas regarding their work, which in turn, will help us both. I state why I agree and disagree. In my opinion, communication is important in all aspects of life.

Moreover, although I did not see any challenges throughout the term, being a student, there was an area that I needed room for improvement on. Before this course, as a student, I felt that I was not an active participant in my education. Not only would I be silent when I strongly disagreed with something in a class debate, but I was also silent in previous mentor sessions. However, due to this course, I am a changed person, as I am now an active and engaging student in my education. To substantiate this, take my blog post about the influence of advertising.

“Prompt: How aware are you of the difference between content and ads when you are using the Internet?

In my eyes, content and ads are like words versus pictures, however, I came to realize that I am not aware of the impact that difference can have on an individual. The internet is a globalized machine that not only allows people from everywhere around the world to connect but it is also so common that you don’t really think anything of it. AT first, I thought there was a distinct difference between content and ads. Content was the information expressed through a medium. This could be the words you read in a book or even the words that a person said. On the other hand, ads were the pictures that you saw on a billboard or in a magazine. Ads were the unwanted; they were the pop ups that you had to block or the 15 second video you chose to skip. However, as time progressed, they began to overlap. While viewing content on the internet, more often than not, there are ads on the side. Take Facebook for example. Facebook is a social media site that allows you to connect with your friends, you can see the photos that they post, you can see where they are at, you can see how they are feeling or what is on their mind. However, on the right side column of the Facebook site, there are ads with a headline, photo, and caption. In other words, I am using a medium to consume information about my friends, yet, this medium is trying to persuade me to take a further look into their brand or product. In addition, Facebook hires people to track your interests, and from that, they show only ads that are specifically for you. For example, these research analysts would see that dogs interests me because I would watch dog videos on Facebook, and after that, I would see dog ads on the right side of my Facebook. Moreover, facebook is not the only site that allows ads to influence their content, there is also news websites, dating websites, social media websites. In my opinion, this makes me question what the real message is. What these networks are allowing says a lot about their values. I, like many people, don’t want to read an article and have these incessant ads disrupting the content. Let’s be honest, you would much rather choose a picture with a few words than a paper with only words. Although pictures are more appealing to the eyes than words, at the end of the day, words mean so much more.

Prompt: Do you think advertisements contribute anything of value to our culture? What ads? In what ways?

I think advertisements are more harmful than it is helpful to our culture. Yes we are a capitalistic society which means that producing and distributing good and services is crucial but it seems individuals are uninformed of the power that they hold. We, as consumers, have the power. Advertisements are putting ideas and images in your head, however, you can either accept it or reject it. We, as consumers, may not know it, but every time that we purchase a good or service from a certain company, we are making a statement. We should be asking questions like, what statement does their merchandise make and how does it reflect upon me? Who am I supporting with my purchase? What cause does the company support? Urban outfitters is a perfect example of consumer purchasing power. Urban Outfitters has had a bad rep, from horrible working qualities, to offensive products. Because of that, I choose to not buy their products. My silence is the power. Imagine if people stopped shopping at Urban Outfitters, this would make Urban Outfitters think twice about their values. Not only would they improve working qualities for their factory workers, but they would discontinue offensive products. In fact, they discontinued shirts that had words like “Eat Less” and “Depression” not because people stopped buying it, but because there were many critics. Furthermore, I feel that majority of advertisements depends on external factors for validation. In other words, there is such a materialistic connotation with advertisements. Ads create this ideology of what is normal. Enhancing our looks is a constant message shown through ads. In short, it is all about what we look like, and the ads shown below substantiate this claim.

0

You’ve got Katy Perry basically saying that you can eat potato chips without putting on weight.

1

You’ve got an Estee Lauder model with eyeliner, eyeshadow, foundation, blush, lipstick, and nail polish.

2

In addition, the “Beyond Natural” Jessica Alba is anything but natural due to makeup caked on her.

3

To put the icing on the cake, you’ve got Victoria Secret models in lingerie stating in bold letters that skinny is the “perfect body”.

Overall, when I think of ads, I don’t think of promoting environmental sustainability or charity foundations; values that hold true importance. Moreover, there is a strong correlation of physical appearance and advertisements, which should not be the case. All in all, if we not only took the time to analyze an ad, but more importantly, take the time to question our purchases, that is the value advertising can contribute to.”

Although it might have been much to read, this blog post goes to show how much I have improved as a Student. Not only do I put time into my education, but the effort that I have put into this course is evident from my blog posts.

Overall, the knowledge and skills that I have obtained during this course is something that I will apply from here on out, as it has, and will continue, to benefit me. The most important takeaway for me is how to critically analyze the news. Take for example, my analysis of a news article.

“The article, “Afghanistan Kidnappings: Two Foreigners Missing From Aid Team” include many sources. First, Mustafa Andalib, the reporter. Next, Rob Taylor, the writer. Lastly, Michael Perry, the editor. In my eyes, these sources played a major part in the article, setting the tone for the paper. For starters, the sources are bashing high officials. To elaborate, the article includes this, “Rumours of the abduction of a man and a woman by either insurgents or criminal gangs have circulated for several days, but U.S. and Canadian diplomats said they were unaware of anyone reported missing”. This is crucial because they are basically pointing fingers saying that U.S. and Canadian Diplomats are not doing anything about this issue. To further emphasize this negative perspective, the article includes this “Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs said it was looking into the reports, but gave no confirmation of a missing citizen”. Also including one that hits home, “A U.S. embassy spokesman in Kabul late on Friday said there was no information on a missing American, but diplomatic officials are often reluctant to talk about kidnappings in hope it could smooth the way for negotiations on a release”. These only go to show the hostility towards those high officials who were in charge of the investigation, continuing to point fingers at them.

Furthermore, not only do they bash high officials but as you read you can visibly see the bias of this coverage, substantiating that there is no such thing as objective reporting due to loaded language. In the article, they use terms such as insurgents, criminal gangs, gunmen, abduction, and volatile. These terms speak for itself, they all have negative connotations to them. For instance, insurgent is saying that they are insubordinate or disobedient, when they could have used a term that has a less negative connotation such as “rebel”. All in all, diction matters, and by the choice of words they used, this proves that reporters bring their own biases and views into the story.

Moreover, I think the article in general lacked a lot of information that caused confusion for readers. However, based on tone and diction, poor participation of high officials was their justification for lack of information. Also, lack of information made me question if this was a personal matter, rather than professional. The article bashed high officials more than they talked about the information of the two missing foreigners. For starters, what was the name of these two missing foreigners? How old were they? What was the primary purpose of the trip? All in all, reporters could have included reporter chooses what to include, what not to include, and who they get their information from. Because of this, it makes me question what the true message they want readers to take away.”

The news definitely impacts an individual’s perspectives and actions, and learning how to critically analyze the news, benefits me greatly. I ask questions such as, who are the sources and what are their perspectives? Are significant questions left unasked or unanswered? Do quotes seem abridged or out of context? Are exaggerated or rhetorical claims reported uncritically without journalistic scrutiny? By asking these analysis questions, I am at a greater advantage because I will not fall victim to being misled by the news. 

E Portfolio

My initial learning goals for this term was to be able to communicate better with my classmates and my instructor through online interactions. I have always seen a fine line between being formal and non-formal when it came to communication with my peers online. I found my strengths as being able to communicate with my group mates in our workshops. I felt that it was much more informal and I was able to communicate easier with them. Some of the struggles I came to was replying to other students post. I found myself, some nights, trying to see what I wanted to reply to their post with. I felt that I had nothing to say or that my response was not long enough to be notable. This was an ongoing issue but did become less problematic as the term went on. I feel that I was stuck on a certain way to respond to someone and that really hindered me in being able to piece together a meaningful response. I have plenty of ideas but the formalities and different rules in my mind really made it hard to convey. By the end of the term, I was very comfortable with typing out my thoughts and responding to other students just became easier.

In one of my Workshop post, I wrote that “I feel that I am pretty good at public speaking and working in a group. One thing I know I need help with is writing in general. Especially with larger papers and what not. I foresee this class requiring quite abit of writing so I can already see myself becoming a better writer by the end of the term. Communication through typing has always been an issue and becoming more familiar with it through this class will benefit me when talking to an instructor or doing an online assignment or working with my partners to complete an assignment. “This term given me the chance to really practice my writing abilities. Each week required me to write and I was able to be exposed to different examples of writing done by my peers. These combined gave me what I needed to improve my writing skills. Being able to see what others wrote gave me new ways to go at how I wrote my own responses and assignments. Writing weekly has been something that I am not use to and did prove difficult in the beginning. Writing more often gave me the chance to practice my writing skills more than a few times a term leading to getting more help quicker. I feel that practice does make perfect, so all this writing has aided my ability to get better and improve how I wrote.

I gained a new understanding for what it means to be an advocate. I noticed that I tended to reply on post that I felt I agreed most with. I usually tried to back up their response and really give them support. During week 3 I replied to S Morris-Doty’s post with “I remember the ad you are taking about and I do find it odd with the multiracial dilemma. I like how you brought this up because companies are trying to appeal to more people and a multiracial family is a normal thing. It’s just weird how it’s so unaccepting it is even today. Would people who have problems with multiracial families have problems with families different from theirs? Or is it just the mixing that’s the problem? That is a weird topic and the ads are a good thing to bring up.”  The post was about a multiracial family eating cheerios. I backed up what he had to say and gave him positive feedback about his post.  Most post aren’t like this though. I wish I kept some of my previous entries but there were many nights where I would really struggle to find a way to advocate for someone. I would type a sentence and then erase it. I found some topics to really be bland and I wouldn’t care much at all but pushed myself to find a way to agree with them and applaud what they wrote. I know it wasn’t required to agree with what others but I sometimes just would not know what to write to them.

Some new skills I feel that I obtained from the course would be a better listener and reader. I was also able to convey my ideas better while in this course rather then most classes where I go in person. In the workshop, I was able to convey ideas that I have very deep feelings about to my class mates for discussions. For example, “This is where I will be focusing

– Asian American

-Soldier

  1. How are Asian American soldiers seen as in the general population?
  2. What are people’s opinions on what American Service men and women do?
  3. What are peoples first expectations/ thought when meeting an Asian person?
  4. Are soldier’s good people?
  5. is there a struggle identifying yourself as a soldier in today’s world?”

With the work I did in this class, I was able to better portray myself to my classmates and to really do research that meant more to me then what would be given by the instructor. The Peer review on our essays also gave me the chance to see how others viewed my ideas more in-depth. They gave me feedback and gave me new ideas that I would have never thought of. I was able to showcase my thoughts and then critique them base on what others said about them. This would be very useful in future ventures to be able to make an idea of mine better for everyone and myself.

This class has been a very different course then I am used to. It gave me the chance to be able to look into what I really enjoyed and be able to convey my ideas to my peers and also see what others like me really think.

E Portfolio

My initial learning goals for this term was to be able to communicate better with my classmates and my instructor through online interactions. I have always seen a fine line between being formal and non-formal when it came to communication with my peers online. I found my strengths as being able to communicate with my group mates in our workshops. I felt that it was much more informal and I was able to communicate easier with them. Some of the struggles I came to was replying to other students post. I found myself, some nights, trying to see what I wanted to reply to their post with. I felt that I had nothing to say or that my response was not long enough to be notable. This was an ongoing issue but did become less problematic as the term went on. I feel that I was stuck on a certain way to respond to someone and that really hindered me in being able to piece together a meaningful response. I have plenty of ideas but the formalities and different rules in my mind really made it hard to convey. By the end of the term, I was very comfortable with typing out my thoughts and responding to other students just became easier.

In one of my Workshop post, I wrote that “I feel that I am pretty good at public speaking and working in a group. One thing I know I need help with is writing in general. Especially with larger papers and what not. I foresee this class requiring quite abit of writing so I can already see myself becoming a better writer by the end of the term. Communication through typing has always been an issue and becoming more familiar with it through this class will benefit me when talking to an instructor or doing an online assignment or working with my partners to complete an assignment. “This term given me the chance to really practice my writing abilities. Each week required me to write and I was able to be exposed to different examples of writing done by my peers. These combined gave me what I needed to improve my writing skills. Being able to see what others wrote gave me new ways to go at how I wrote my own responses and assignments. Writing weekly has been something that I am not use to and did prove difficult in the beginning. Writing more often gave me the chance to practice my writing skills more than a few times a term leading to getting more help quicker. I feel that practice does make perfect, so all this writing has aided my ability to get better and improve how I wrote.

I gained a new understanding for what it means to be an advocate. I noticed that I tended to reply on post that I felt I agreed most with. I usually tried to back up their response and really give them support. During week 3 I replied to S Morris-Doty’s post with “I remember the ad you are taking about and I do find it odd with the multiracial dilemma. I like how you brought this up because companies are trying to appeal to more people and a multiracial family is a normal thing. It’s just weird how it’s so unaccepting it is even today. Would people who have problems with multiracial families have problems with families different from theirs? Or is it just the mixing that’s the problem? That is a weird topic and the ads are a good thing to bring up.”  The post was about a multiracial family eating cheerios. I backed up what he had to say and gave him positive feedback about his post.  Most post aren’t like this though. I wish I kept some of my previous entries but there were many nights where I would really struggle to find a way to advocate for someone. I would type a sentence and then erase it. I found some topics to really be bland and I wouldn’t care much at all but pushed myself to find a way to agree with them and applaud what they wrote. I know it wasn’t required to agree with what others but I sometimes just would not know what to write to them.

Some new skills I feel that I obtained from the course would be a better listener and reader. I was also able to convey my ideas better while in this course rather then most classes where I go in person. In the workshop, I was able to convey ideas that I have very deep feelings about to my class mates for discussions. For example, “This is where I will be focusing

– Asian American

-Soldier

  1. How are Asian American soldiers seen as in the general population?
  2. What are people’s opinions on what American Service men and women do?
  3. What are peoples first expectations/ thought when meeting an Asian person?
  4. Are soldier’s good people?
  5. is there a struggle identifying yourself as a soldier in today’s world?”

With the work I did in this class, I was able to better portray myself to my classmates and to really do research that meant more to me then what would be given by the instructor. The Peer review on our essays also gave me the chance to see how others viewed my ideas more in-depth. They gave me feedback and gave me new ideas that I would have never thought of. I was able to showcase my thoughts and then critique them base on what others said about them. This would be very useful in future ventures to be able to make an idea of mine better for everyone and myself.

This class has been a very different course then I am used to. It gave me the chance to be able to look into what I really enjoyed and be able to convey my ideas to my peers and also see what others like me really think.

E portfolio

My initial learning goals for this term was to be able to communicate better with my classmates and my instructor through online interactions. I have always seen a fine line between being formal and non-formal when it came to communication with my peers online. I found my strengths as being able to communicate with my group mates in our workshops. I felt that it was much more informal and I was able to communicate easier with them. Some of the struggles I came to was replying to other students post. I found myself, some nights, trying to see what I wanted to reply to their post with. I felt that I had nothing to say or that my response was not long enough to be notable. This was an ongoing issue but did become less problematic as the term went on. I feel that I was stuck on a certain way to respond to someone and that really hindered me in being able to piece together a meaningful response. I have plenty of ideas but the formalities and different rules in my mind really made it hard to convey. By the end of the term, I was very comfortable with typing out my thoughts and responding to other students just became easier.

In one of my Workshop post, I wrote that “I feel that I am pretty good at public speaking and working in a group. One thing I know I need help with is writing in general. Especially with larger papers and what not. I foresee this class requiring quite abit of writing so I can already see myself becoming a better writer by the end of the term. Communication through typing has always been an issue and becoming more familiar with it through this class will benefit me when talking to an instructor or doing an online assignment or working with my partners to complete an assignment. “This term given me the chance to really practice my writing abilities. Each week required me to write and I was able to be exposed to different examples of writing done by my peers. These combined gave me what I needed to improve my writing skills. Being able to see what others wrote gave me new ways to go at how I wrote my own responses and assignments. Writing weekly has been something that I am not use to and did prove difficult in the beginning. Writing more often gave me the chance to practice my writing skills more than a few times a term leading to getting more help quicker. I feel that practice does make perfect, so all this writing has aided my ability to get better and improve how I wrote.

I gained a new understanding for what it means to be an advocate. I noticed that I tended to reply on post that I felt I agreed most with. I usually tried to back up their response and really give them support. During week 3 I replied to S Morris-Doty’s post with “I remember the ad you are taking about and I do find it odd with the multiracial dilemma. I like how you brought this up because companies are trying to appeal to more people and a multiracial family is a normal thing. It’s just weird how it’s so unaccepting it is even today. Would people who have problems with multiracial families have problems with families different from theirs? Or is it just the mixing that’s the problem? That is a weird topic and the ads are a good thing to bring up.”  The post was about a multiracial family eating cheerios. I backed up what he had to say and gave him positive feedback about his post.  Most post aren’t like this though. I wish I kept some of my previous entries but there were many nights where I would really struggle to find a way to advocate for someone. I would type a sentence and then erase it. I found some topics to really be bland and I wouldn’t care much at all but pushed myself to find a way to agree with them and applaud what they wrote. I know it wasn’t required to agree with what others but I sometimes just would not know what to write to them.

Some new skills I feel that I obtained from the course would be a better listener and reader. I was also able to convey my ideas better while in this course rather then most classes where I go in person. In the workshop, I was able to convey ideas that I have very deep feelings about to my class mates for discussions. For example, “This is where I will be focusing

– Asian American

-Soldier

  1. How are Asian American soldiers seen as in the general population?
  2. What are people’s opinions on what American Service men and women do?
  3. What are peoples first expectations/ thought when meeting an Asian person?
  4. Are soldier’s good people?
  5. is there a struggle identifying yourself as a soldier in today’s world?”

With the work I did in this class, I was able to better portray myself to my classmates and to really do research that meant more to me then what would be given by the instructor. The Peer review on our essays also gave me the chance to see how others viewed my ideas more in-depth. They gave me feedback and gave me new ideas that I would have never thought of. I was able to showcase my thoughts and then critique them base on what others said about them. This would be very useful in future ventures to be able to make an idea of mine better for everyone and myself.

This class has been a very different course then I am used to. It gave me the chance to be able to look into what I really enjoyed and be able to convey my ideas to my peers and also see what others like me really think.

E-Portfolio

Going into this class I was not sure what I was getting myself into. I had some pre conceived ideas of what I though this class was going to be like but those turned out to be not even really close, but I think that is a good thing. I took this class as my last SINQ and I choose it because I always thought of myself as someone who keeps up with popular culture. My previous 2 SINQ’s were somewhat related to my major so I also wanted to take a course that was something completely different. Overall I have enjoyed this class and will be taking away many valuable lessons and knowledge that will be very applicable to the real world and everything that surrounds us.

My initial learning goals coming in for this class were to expand my knowledge on popular culture and really learn what makes up popular culture. As far as my communication goals went, my main goal was to just improve my overall writing skills throughout the course. Of course my final goal was to do well and hopefully get an A in the class. As the term went on I really started to notice where my strengths and weaknesses lied. As far as strength goes I noticed that my strength seemed to be that I was able to connect my life and personal experiences with the topic or issues we would discuss. This really helped because it allowed me to connect myself to the subject and express my ideas more clearly. Here is an example of how I was able to use a personal experience to get my point across.

“1) The essay I found more compelling was The Book Stops Here. When I started reading the article and realized it was about wikipedia I immediately wondered who contributes to the wikipedia pages and why do people do that. To my luck the essay basically answered my question and more for me. I found it very interesting to read contributors say that editing and adding information is like an addiction to them. One thing I took away from this essay was just how much protection is now around wikipedia pages. There seems to be a lot of work that goes in to protecting the pages from vandals/trolls from contributors and I am sure there are many more now, being this essay was written 10 years ago. Me and my friend actually tried to make a wikipedia page about our friend once and the page was deleted within 5 minutes of it going up because it was considered to be not important or substantial information. It just goes to show how you cannot get away with nearly as much as people think you can on wikipedia.”

I think this is a good strength to have because when the reader sees that you have a personal experience that goes along with what you are trying to say it can help them understand as well. My main weakness this class was exactly what I figured it would be. My biggest problem in all of my classes is procrastination and it was no different with this class. I often found myself Thursday night or Sunday night trying to get my work done. Most of the time I get the work done on time and do it well but sometimes it is rushed and I just wonder how much better it could have been if I started way earlier. I am continually trying to work on my procrastination because I know I can improve my writing and overall work much more if I give myself more time.

I think the role in which I greatly improved and gained a new understanding for is a reviewer. In previous SINQ’s and my FRINQ last year we would have to periodically peer review other students work but never to the extent we did for this class. It was always just fill out a form about their work but ultimately the professor’s feedback would be the only one we cared about. In this class we had to rely on our group members a lot for our final blog post and much more input was given on our topics from our group members than the professor or mentor. This really gave me a new appreciation being a reviewer because I realized that people take a lot of stock into what you have to say and your suggestions really are something people look forward to and they actually use them. Being a reviewer myself I really enjoyed the letters we had to write to our group members because there was no outline or sheet to follow directly so I was really able to be free on my suggestions and because I did not have a worksheet or outline it forced me to really inspect the rough drafts more than I would have.

“One thing that is missing, which you stated, is a conclusion. I think for your conclusion you should make sure it summarizes your main points again and connects those points with yourself. It sometimes seems hard to follow what your main points are through your primary sources so summarizing them in the conclusion would be strong. You go so quickly from the positive affect of things to the negative affect that sometimes I got confused. I’m also wondering if it may be easier to talk about all the positives of gaming in the media and then switch and talk about all the negatives. It may make the paper easier to follow and easier to understand the main points you are trying to make.”

That was part of one of the peer review letters I wrote. In my previous experiences with peer reviewing I would not have written anything that detailed or helpful. I would just follow the peer review sheet given to me and write down general ideas. This is a great example of how I improved as a reviewer from this course and a lot of it has to do with the understanding I gained about peer reviewing.

There are many things I will take away from this course and use in my everyday life and future courses. However I think the main thing I will be taking away is just my improved knowledge of being able to identify, evaluate, and analyze sources and knowing where the line is for copyright infringement. I think these will be the things I take away the most because they are and will be applicable in almost everything I do in my life. With technology playing a huge part in our life and the internet being such a necessity it will be very important I know what is a reliable source or something that I can use. This class really cleared up some uncertainties I had on those subjects and I will take and use that knowledge for a very long time. Overall I am happy I took this class because it has taught me a lot about our world today and has been enjoyable doing it.

EPortfolio

Beginning this course, my goals were to engage in some self-reflection while opening myself up in my writing. In the Mentor Educational Background Survey, I identified four goals for the course: Improving conclusions, challenging others’ ideas, opening up in discussions, and to do a bit of self-discovery. Looking back at the last ten weeks, I think I have continued to struggle to be open, but I do see some growth in this area. Throughout the term I worried that I had chosen an identity that was too emotional for me, but it helped me to be more honest in my writing. Also, the identity I chose is often misunderstood, so it forced me to find a way to talk about feminism when I often shirk away from the topic.

In general, I have always been a good communicator, but I would like to feel more free to be authentic without fear of judgment. Avoiding judgement over topics that are important to me, like Feminism, is something I would like to overcome. The work in this course has definitely aided me in doing that. Still having more work to do, I would like to continue to explore my various identities like I have this one.

A role I fell into during this course was advocate. So many fellow classmates made the comment that they did not understand feminism or didn’t think they would choose to identify as feminist. Not wanting to force anyone to say they follow a certain “ism,” I hope I was able to define and describe feminism in a way that did not turn off my classmates from feminism. Boiling it down to the basic principle of equality for the sexes hopefully stripped the topic of the baggage associated with it. Not wanting to appear like an angry, man-hating feminist, yet still wanting to highlight some inequalities between the sexes as portrayed in pop culture was tricky.

In the second and third weeks of the term, we had list our various identities, and the observation I made about my list was that they are all portrayed in a negative, mocking way in pop culture. The thing that connected them all was that each identity felt misunderstood. Reading through the comments of my fellow classmates, I saw that they, too, felt misunderstood.

Staying with the process of self-reflection, and being able to expand on what is found during self-reflection is a skill I’ve been developing during this course. Also, finding ways to connect with people who do not have obvious things in common with me is something we all practiced this term. This skill, connecting with all kinds of different people, is an important skill for about any career.

The first draft of my essay was reviewed by two classmates who both suggested that I add more of “myself” to the essay- how I felt about feminism, and what it meant for my life. Re-reading the first draft, I realized I had inadvertently left out the emotive side of my experience with my identity. Being able to be open and vulnerable is a valuable communication skill this class is helping me develop. I still need a lot of work in this area.

E-Portfolio

E-portfolio

I initially chose this class due to convince. This term I had a very busy schedule and fitting another class would have been very difficult. Whereas an online class was easier to fit in. Out of the three available classes I chose this one for two reasons. First a student recommended it, and second I was actually interested what popular culture class was about. My goals for this class were to keep up with the homework and get everything turned in on time. I am sad to say that I didn’t do a very good job on getting my work done. The main reason was we had different parts of our assignment due on different times of the week. Unfortunately I do not have that much time on my hands. Resulting in me having to do all the work for this class on one day, usually Friday. Going into the class I didn’t know what to expect. Other than the occasional media I didn’t have any popular culture experience and this class really showed me exactly what goes into popular culture and the importance of understanding it. My strengths in this term included weekly blog and responses. I feel that I spent a good portion of my time writing the blog posts, because they were actually interesting to write. I really liked reading peoples responses, many students had really good stuff to say. That is why responding was good, my fellow colleagues showed me a view that I hadn’t considered. Overall I got a lot more out of this class then I thought I would initially get.

I gained an understanding as a reviewer and researcher. Every week we had to respond to posts. With this we review other’s work and tell them our input about the work. I realized at first a lot of responses consisted of simple I like your posts. Then it became a lot more on the line of constructive criticism. Personally I found the responses given to me very helpful. A lot of students brought up great ideas and thought that I never considered. For example growing up in a christen community some things are considered unethical. Some of my posts were driven with this mindset. A student wrote this informative peer review to me. “I liked reading your paper, it was one of those things that’s kind of blatantly open and in your face but that I have never really thought about so I’m glad you addressed it. The first thing I would suggest is for you to read this to yourself out loud, that always seems to help find grammatical errors and run on sentences which I think needed some work. Also, while I understand why you say the comment about everyone liking vodka, I would suggest either finding a way to make it more relevant or to completely nix it because it doesn’t have anything to do with your thesis. Also I didn’t hear much about the “vise versa” that you mentioned at the beginning, so you could add more information on that or just take out that part at the begging.” Alissa Azar, brought up good points that resulted in me changing my essay a little. It was brought to my attention that it is also important to see both sides even if you don’t agree. With the Mirror Blog Post that we did required us to do some research. I have done a limited amount of essays in which I had to completely figure out what to write about. I am used to instructors telling me exactly what to research and what information they want from us. The issue that I have with an essay of this style is I find myself going back and forth and changing my topic multiple times. This makes the writing proses very long and results in me having to make a last minute decision and writing a last minute essay. So overall my research skills have improved.

The biggest thing that I will be able to take from this class is analyzing popular culture. Though out this term we read that popular culture does not portray very many things correctly. Popular culture likes to bring things to the extreme. The ability to see those things and see the reality of it is good to have. I actually really got into the news and reading articles, for the sole purpose of seeing what kind of crap people can come up with to get our attention as consumers. Also the instructor gave up a checklist every week on the items that had to be done. I really liked that idea and I think I will use it in my future class work to keep myself organized.

Andrey Grigoryev

Eportfolio – Adrian Smith

I have always been hesitant toward the popular culture of my own generation, and generally more welcoming of underground influences, but this class really made me stretch my imagination to figure out why popular culture of many different groups of people are so important to understand. Starting out in the class was really rough for me, because it was my first attempt at juggling 13 credit hours along with full time work. Because of this, a huge part of my learning goal was to adapt to the pressure of the workload while still being successful. I feel that the group work was sometimes difficult to stay on top of amidst the other work assignments, but could have been the most motivating had I utilized it properly. Even in lecture based classes I tend to be shy, and less likely to put myself out there. Because all of the prompts asked us to be up front and personal, it took me until Week 3 to jump into the open.

The prompt I first chose asked us to pick key words describing ourselves and come up with potential questions for our mirror blog posts, so I came up with “Queer, White, Male, Athlete, Portlander”. Well, that wasn’t so bad. Immediately I imagined what other people might think about those identities and why. It made it much easier to come up with my questions thinking about it objectively. As soon as I wrote down the questions, all of the ideas came together and a thesis formed. I typed it out immediately so that I wouldn’t forget,

The heterosexual gaze of queer media through mediums such as movies and television continue to perpetuate a stereotypical representation of the LGBTQ community in order to generate profit.”

It was fantastic how it surfaced immediately, almost like when we talk to our friends about something in the back of our mind and it appears as a full blown thought. So this process really benefited in the formation of the entire essay. Just by dedicating to the thesis, it gave me the gusto to move forward in the class. I started making more comments in the blog and within the group. Because I had realized that I was part of a team which did not judge me based off of individual circumstances, I felt empowered to explain thoughts that I may not have had in a lecture based class. One of these examples is my brainstorming on ideas after reading one of my secondary sources, which ended up relating to many different ideas within my essay,

“ When Jenkins uses Hill Colins idea of intersectionality to relate to Ru-Paul’s drag race, it directly correlated to the other sources by discussing power structure of groups. He stated, “Intersectional paradigms remind us that oppression cannot be reduced to one fundamental type, and that oppressions work together in producing injustice. Within a patriarchal society, domination uses differences that are ascribed social meaning to reinforce the power structure of one group over another.” These ideas and specific terminology helped to pull in a more complex and deeper meaning to the full picture for the research analysis. ”

Through this empowerment I came to understand that people care much more about whether you’re there to support them as a team member than they care about passing judgement on your individuality or struggle in the class. This realization has helped me both in work and in the rest of my classes, pushing me to focus on getting the work done as opposed to the possible judgement of those around me. With this momentum, I became a better researcher because I cared about the class more and had the internal motivation to be part of the prompts. An example from the blog posts was from the essay building tools. While I researched all of the tools, I describe the most useful as,

“Sentence Variation, which reasoned how to vary structure and avoid repetition in paragraphs. This lended to the ideas of paragraph development (Unity, Coherence, A Topic Sentence, and Adequate Development) but also provided direct examples of how to keep paragraphs interesting. Only two strategies were discussed; alternating short versus long sentences and varying sentence openings. Both of these strategies address common issues that most writers have to overcome to perfect our overall writing style.”

The Mirror Blog Essay also forced me to become a better researcher by creating a more realized picture of the popularized images that I had grown up with. For example, I had not known that Brokeback Mountain was a short story before it was a movie, and after reading the short story adaptation had an understanding of the contrast to the popular culture version. The movie cover for Brokeback Mountain only showcased the popularized actors. I explained this in short from the blog post,

“While the original short story by Annie Proulx is not represented in popular media, the positive messages on empowerment she meant to present to society were lost in it’s film adaptation which visualized homosexuality as a lifestyle filled with sorrow and shame.”

brokebackmountain

Overall the class has created a better understanding of my role as a student, pushed me to my social boundaries by making my thoughts public, forced me to put hours of research in order to come up with quality results, and taught me a different way of writing which is going to be increasingly more important in my career as a student. Although I am struggling with the challenges of this course, I know that I’ll continue to take popular culture while at Portland State University because it has been very beneficial in my educational experience.

ePortfolio – Maricruz Gomez

•Goals/Strengths

I had many different goals for this course that really applied to my schooling on a general level. I’ve personally always had an issue with seeking out help when I really need it and so one of the big goals I had for this course was to not hesitate to ask questions when I’m stuck or just need clarification and really used my classmates, mentor and professor as a valuable resource. On the other end of this, I also wanted to make sure that I was always clear when communicating something to others and also to be available for questions others might have for me. I really challenged myself to be mindful of my audience and consider who I was addressing and determined how to best communicate something based off of that.

A Role I Improved On

I feel as if there are lot of areas in which I made gains in being a citizen. One of the first things that comes to minds is how to look at things like the media in general and how it is particularly tailored to me or other individuals and usually, whoever is putting forward the type of intentions of the people who put out these media.

A comment I made on a student post in the course blog:

“Although a lot of times I do feel that news articles are working to promote some kind of related agenda, even if only loosely related, I think first and foremost, the news we see on TV for example, are what producers think will be the most compelling which often times means shocking.”

I chose this excerpt because I always used to see the news as merely factual or informative. This class has opened my eyes to things such as the fact that at the end of the day, that most news avenues are trying to win out the others but also to keep their subscribers/viewers/readers which means putting out stories that are exciting or stimulating in someway which is why a lot of stories never make it in major news.

My main comment on the Week 9 blog post also conveys an analysis of why certain stories make the cut:

“I think this article was chosen because it’s an increasing risk for many people and I think there is a slight hope that a greater awareness of the problem will lead to future action. It is newsworthy because it covers a recent, recurring event and something that is still very much a risk for people today.”

I feel like an awareness that everyone in the media has some kind of an agenda was a huge gain for me. It’s something I am commonly either oblivious to or turn a blind eye to which I believe is exactly what allows people in popular culture pass certain messages and oftentimes their biases, under the table. I think this is incredibly important for any citizen to know because it often influences how things are portrayed and can sometimes be intentionally misleading, which means it’s essential that people know how to protect themselves from being misinformed.

• What I’m Taking Away From this Course

I’m incredibly thankful for this course because I do feel like I grew a lot by doing so. Going back to my goals, one of the biggest issues I have had in both my schoolwork and life in general is always hesitating to ask for help when I need it. This is something I really worked on in this course.

In our workshop group, we posted a rough draft of our Mirror Blog in order to get feedback as part of my post I mentioned this:

“I’m sort of unclear as to how much of ourselves we are supposed to insert into the piece as I’m not sure how much we should stick to strict analysis.”

This may not seem like a very big deal, but I’ve never been the type to admit I am struggling with something and so this was a big step for me! It also let my workshop members know how they could most effectively help me in the revision process and they really came through! It made me realize that my peers are usually willing to help and can be a valuable resource if I allow them to be. This is something that I will definitely be able to apply in future coursework and life in general because I am certain I will run into many situations in which allowing someone to help me would be incredibly beneficial.

Another useful skill I gained in this course which I’ve already touched on is being able to analyze different type of popular culture artifacts. I’ve learned that it is incredibly important to not only keep in mind the big picture but also pay special attention to small details.

This is an excerpt from my analysis of an artifact as part of my Research Analysis Worksheet:

“I would like to touch on was the brief moment where the “employer” character mentioned that the “Mexican worker” character should use the garbage bags that were loaned to him…suggested that one, the Mexican worker couldn’t afford his own bags, but also that having his very own bags is something that he clearly wasn’t worthy of since it wouldn’t have cost very much for the employer to just give them to him.”

I found this to be a relevant example because this was a very minor detail in the clip I used for my Mirror Blog post and yet it was very intentional on behalf of the writers of the show and actually carried a pretty heavy meaning that develops the commentary the writers are making on the subject matter. Again, this is important because people should know about the hidden messages in the popular media they consume.

Overall, taking this course has been incredibly beneficial to me and I’m glad I took it before delving even deeper in my field of study as I feel like it will make the process go a lot more smoothly.

Eportfolio

My initial learning goals for this course was to learn how to communicate with classmates via online and to improve my writing and reading skills. Also, another reason was to learn online techniques both for this class and for future courses so that I could fluently use those techniques to communicate with others. For the first three week was pretty difficult to me especially when I was facing online techniques issues, but hopefully I met the professor and our mentor so that I could finish my work. It was a challenge for me when I was making comments on others and analyzing the information from news or advertisements. I didn’t have many experiences on giving comments to other people especially online, but after this class I learned how to leave comments on others and including my opinion on it. For example, I left a comment on week 7: Identifying, Evaluating, and Analyzing Sources.

” Move2: After watching this advertisement I found that they used lots of dark colors instead of using bright primary colors. It makes me think that the purpose of this advertisement is not focus on call my attention to buy this pair of shoes instead is more about introducing the brand and what they are celebrate and how they enjoy this pair of shoes. Also, this advertisement showed lots of wonderful smiles and happiness and what I really like is how they portray freedom. No matter what kind of identities do the people have and no matter where the people are come from, they just have one purpose which is to enjoy the party and have a great time with this pair of shoes. Personally, I like the way they portray their brand and I hope to see more interesting stuff next time.

Move 3:
Pattern1: Freedom
Pattern2: Brands
Pattern3: Smiling faces

Personally, I see the most patterns is freedom. At the beginning of the advertisement two men riding skateboard along the empty street on night. Empty and night gives me a connection of freedom which is mean that no worries about what others people say or think about you just enjoy the time. After that, during the party many people was dancing, laughing, playing games, talking and painting freely on the wall. All these events happened on night and watching their movements and dancing with those pair of shoes it makes me think how do your shoes make you feel. By including all these elements it makes think about freedom.”

Another example was a comment from week 4: The Influence of Advertising.”Prompt 2: I think advertisements contribute gender equality to our culture. Man and Women are portrayed in advertisements and it can attract both women and man audience. Gender and culture always have a close relationship between each other, men is always dominate women so in many people’s view about women might be uneducated, weak, childish and so on. Now, the society is changing and the gender inequality between man and women is getting better. Through advertisements influence people’s views about women and I think this will change the culture. I really like the advertisement that is produced by PANTENE, and I think is target to the women audience. This advertisement is comparing between man and women Culture always present girls as they “can’t” because they are girls when the time past this will influence their self-confidence. Although, they have the ability to do the things that they believe and they can do because of the culture it might limited them to do it. The way that the advertisement present is by first asking “Why women always apologizing” then the advertisement show “Don’t be sorry and be strong and shine” finally women say “Sorry, not sorry.””

I learned how to make a post and analyze a post. It helps me improve my personal judgments and change my view on not include cognitive bias.On the other hand, I chose a role that I improved was a reviewer. I learned a lot from other classmates post and comments. For example: I got helpful comments on week 4 and 5 workshop from my group member in group discussion. From Penny Keough comment was ” I think using TV shows as your primary source will be most helpful. This is because when I think of immigration, I think of a better living, and I developed this perception primarily from TV shows. One TV show that is airing now is called “Fresh Off The Boat”. I feel that Americanized is highly associated with immigration. Also, I tend to stereotype immigrants, them being primarily Mexicans and Asians. However, there are other races but maybe you could research why certain races are associated with immigrants.” With the help of my group members I got many new ideas and I finished my Mirror Blog Post on time. In the past I didn’t think that a group is important and I didn’t think that my group members could give me many great ideas and good comments.

I really learned a lot from this class and classmates. Now, I have a new understanding about media and this class had improved my judgment skills and have a good understanding on how to leave comments on others. Also, now I know how important and effective is the group discussions. Having a group and communicating and making comments respectively on others can improve personal work. With these skills that I learned from the class I become more confident on my future courses both online and face to face. I will apply online techniques on others online classes and will have the confident of using those skills easily. Moreover, I will apply my analyze skills and judgment skills through media, life and other business courses. I will try to not having cognitive bias when I will make decision on something. All in all, I had a great time with this class and I gain many confidence by leaving comments on others and gaining online skills so that I can be more comfortable with online classes. Thank you class!

 

Eportfolio, Chris Wiese

Popular Culture is a very broad term describing many aspect make up a culture.  I came into this class not knowing what to truly expect.  I like to avoid many of the topics that are prevalent in popular culture but then there are many I am a part of.  In the begging of this course I wanted to learn how to communicate in a blog setting for one, and to improve my writing and communication skills.  For the most part I saw more challenges for myself then I did strengths.  Reading and writing each have their challenges for me but the biggest challenge for me was to get my thoughts together to write something smooth flowing and easy to read.  Another big challenge was working in a class setting that was entirely online and involve many forms of multimedia to communicate.  Navigating the online course lead to many instances of confusion and frustration, but by the end of the term I began to understand how it worked and how to contribute to the class as a whole.

As the term went on we were required to respond to several posts and to other student’s posts.  I have had some experience in reviewing other students but it was for architectural finals and projects.  The type of reviewing in this class seemed to be more thorough and involved a lot of reading and written responses.  In the begging my responses seemed very general and I didn’t think to respond as if I were talking to that person.

“I never thought to think about the content itself as advertising. When thinking about the question and ads I immediately thought of pop up ads or commercials in front of YouTube videos. Naturally these are the ones we see the most and we are consciously aware of. We all have our own unique personality or persona, and when we view or browse material regarding these subjects we are probably exposed to less obvious advertising. When I look for new parts for my rifle I often see a myriad of other products that are similar to what I’m looking for which in turn gets me to stay on the page longer and look at the many options. It’s crazy how whatever we look into regarding an interest or aspect of our lives it could be a form of advertising itself.”

I feel towards to end of the class my tone began to change and I think my writing loosened up and began to sound more like a conversation.

This is crazy! I had no idea about this until i read your post, an example of how information travels through different sources. I grew up on the Simpsons and I can understand how this could be such a big story. You mention that this story seems trivial in the grand scheme of things but I figure I could argue against that. If you look at the incredible time span this show has covered you can imagine the millions of people that have been influenced by this shower in the US and beyond. Even though I no longer watch the show I see Simpson’s references all over pop culture. From other cartoons, to live action reenactments of the intro, the scope of the shows influence is immense. When something that has reached so many people, news of a significant change or possible ending is big news. Even though the show might not attract our attention anymore, I imagine it is still better than some of the other stuff that’s out these days.

I feel that one of the biggest skills I learned from this class was how to use different forms of multimedia together.  We were encouraged to post hyperlinks, photos, and videos into our responses and blogs.  This was a technique that I have used in social media such as Facebook posts but never for a written assignment such as out blogs.  It really adds to the story you are trying to tell by giving it more depth for the person to experience.  When talking about a certain topic instead of just explaining it you could provide a link to a video clip so the reader could experience it firsthand.  I was able to use this in my Looking into the Mirror Blog to help explain my popular culture artifacts.

“As portrayed in the show, companionship, friendship, and love can truly heal.  This show takes great strides to show that veterans are people like everyone else.”

In all this class helped me to produce a more clear and concise writing style that began to feel more like a conversation than a plain response.

E-Portfolio

Svyatoslav Zhuchenya

Popular Culture

Sophomore Inquiry

June 1, 2015

E-portfolio

Learning Goals

Going into the term I had very little knowledge of what popular culture really was, I had heard the word many times before but never really looked into what it really meant. As a result I didn’t really have a specific thing that I wanted to learn about pop culture just wanted to see what it was and how it can be useful. To me the class seemed like it could be very interesting because it dealt with essentially all the things that we consume on a daily basis as entertainment or education. As for taking an online course, my goal was to first of all save some time for my other courses but also to improve my communication skills with people that are not necessarily next to me. At first it was a challenge, I saw almost nobody in person but I had to have group conversations, post and reply to other peoples ideas. This proved to be challenging because, the replies to questions were not always instant. There was also a challenge in finding instructions for the course, I am used to a format where the instructor tells you in class what is due and when it is due. With this course it was very different, I had to search for instructions myself on the D2L page. I found that often I would miss something and would have very little time to complete something before the due date. Over the course of the term however, these challenges began to fade I learned how to better communicate with people virtually and I learned how to be more organized and find out information on my own.

Work Example:

One example of a group virtual communication was the mentor-writing group workshops, here students was separated into groups and had dissuasions on various things through the term. Whether it would be peer reviews on each other’s papers or discussions of class goals, each student had the opportunity to give their input and receive other people’s on their own work. This is an example of one of my discussions and some replies to it.

My Post

“I believe that I am good at communicating through writing; I have done fairly well on just about all of my college as well as high school papers and other writing assignments. Others often tell me that I state my points and ideas clearly in my writing, to the point where it is easy to understand. I believe that this also translates into oral communication, especially in a preplanned speech or presentation. This term I think there will definitely be plenty of opportunities to improve communication through writing, whether it is an essay, e-portfolio or the discussion and blog posts. These assignments are writing intensive and are based on communication through writing. I don’t see many options for improvement in communication through speech, graphics, numeracy, etc. This is expected however in an online course. I would like to improve on working in groups this term, although it is a bit hard to accomplish this in this online course, nevertheless it is a very important trait to have and I am starting to see that just about every job or internship values people who have good communication skills, especially in the field of group work.”

“Suggestions (Ground Rules):

1)   Good posts should contain clearly stated ideas; they should be easy to follow.

2)   Each member of the group must post and reply on time, to not hold back other members from completing the assignment.

3)   Feedback should be valid and constructive, not made up because it was a requirement.

4)   Posts should not be deemed incorrect because of contradictory beliefs.”

Reply

“Hi Svyatoslav,

I envy you when it comes to writing, because it is one of my weaknesses. This is one of the main reasons why I chose to take this course online. I feel like it could benefit me.

I agree with you that everyone should post and reply on time. It really is unfortunate if other people can’t complete their own assignments, if we don’t have posts to comment on. I think that is an extremely good ground rule. And I agree that posts should be seen as incorrect. Because a person’s post is a person’ idea, and it’s their thoughts.”

Role Improved

            I have definitely improved my role as a reviewer of people’s papers. In the past I tended to simply correct the grammar mistakes that people made and point out sentences that don’t make sense. This term however I realized that although important, most of the grammar mistakes could be corrected by simply rereading the paper a day or two after writing it or running it through a spelling and grammar checker. In the peer reviews do on the Looking into the Mirror paper I decide to focus more on content and if the paper flowed, versus simple grammar mistakes. I believe this is far more useful. Here is an example of a part of a peer review I did this term.

“…The paper has an intro, body and conclusion. The introduction could be a bit more organized, I would try my best to use that paragraph to summarize the information and arguments that you are going to present, and this way the reader knows what they should expect to hear. The body could also use some work on continuity, I find that some of your paragraphs seem incomplete, lacking a good intro or conclusion; some paragraphs should just be part of the previous ones. Try to introduce the subject of each paragraph sufficiently and at the end of each paragraph, maybe hint at what you will talk about in the next one, but only in the next paragraph provide a full intro to that subject….”

Application of Skills

I will be able to focus my improved skills in my professional life; I believe that as an engineer I will definitely have to communicate with other people virtually whether it would be through email or online forums or other online communication methods. Engineering in particular is a very group work heavy field so I will definitely be taking these skills that I have described further in life with me.

How Popular Queer Culture Puts Us Back into the Closet

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Finding a place for myself within the queer community has not been as much an immediate acceptance as it has been a journey, one widely influenced by the binary ideas portrayed in mainstream media. Growing up as a transgender youth identifying as queer, ideas of gender expression and roles influenced my identity from a very early age. Although my parents were a heterosexual couple, I grew up with popular queer media such as the L Word and other programs involved with Showtime, HBO and LogoTV. These sources did not often involve transgender individuals, and almost never portrayed gender expression along a spectrum, instead labeling characters as either masculine or feminine. As a youth I had failed to recognize that my already very limited selection of role models were projecting the same stereotypes that initially oppressed the LGBTQ community. The heterosexual gaze of queer media through mediums such as movies and television continue to perpetuate a stereotypical representation of the LGBTQ community in order to generate profit.

Queer media has only recently made it’s way into popular culture. In 2000, Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman broadcasted Queer as Folk, the first hour long American drama television series portraying the lives of gay men and women. The series, originally starting in the United Kingdom a year before, followed five gay men and one lesbian couple in what would be perceived as their everyday lives. Where gay culture had previously been represented as non-sexual, essentially platonic relationships (such as in Will and Grace), the show unapologetically showed gay men having realistic gay sex. It approaches non-traditional types of relationships and sexual activity such as polyamory, public sex, underage sex, prostitution and kink in an attempt to reveal the true sex lives of the gay male community. Many of the actors from the show even came out as gay or bisexual during their acting careers. Along with the unapologetically sexual approach to the show, it succeeded in showing some of the realistic struggles within the queer community, such as drug abuse, unsafe sexual activity, sexually transmitted diseases and the effects of homophobia.

Despite the non-compromising approach to sexual activity, the show is binary as far as it’s portrayal of individual characters. The entire cast appear to be younger, white and affluent with only one minor crew member of color who made a two episode appearance. In this way, the show intentionally fails to depict the diversity of the gay community, adhering to the commercial demands of television by creating an image only suitable for a majorly affluent white audience.

queer_as_folk

The Queer Representation in Film and Television article from MediaSmarts concludes that the profit-motivation relationship in television “relies on generating long term advertising money for investors, which means that networks and advertisers are generally looking for programs with as wide appeal as possible. This model may be the greatest hurdle to any minority group gaining widespread and fair exposure on television.” Because of this, Queer as Folk had to limit it’s spectrum in order to gain a larger audience, otherwise threatening to become too controversial to grow in popularity.

Most of the characters in the show are depicted through definitive gender roles, correlating ideas of power in relationship with masculinity, and making the major function of more femininely portrayed characters as sexual objects. While the original audience of the show was intended to be for queer men, it eventually relied on an even larger audience, heterosexual married women. The show gained popularity by focusing primarily on the sexual behavior of the male characters, confining their identities and limiting the complexity in character development which are usually present in shows starring heterosexual characters. In this way, the sexually defined identities of the characters continues to affirm the stigma relating to promiscuity and recklessness which drives more subtle, underlying homophobia. In contrast, the lesbian couple are limited in the expression of sexual behavior toward one another, usually shown in a non-romantic light and eventually relying on one of the more “masculine” gay characters as a sperm donor. In this contrast of masculine versus feminine, masculinity is defined as power and success where femininity represents submissiveness and lack of influence within the community.

The critically acclaimed film Brokeback Mountain, released in 2005 and based off of the short story by Annie Proulx, also correlates masculinity with importance or power in the context of relationships. Brokeback Mountain follows the story of two young western cowboys who are hired by a contractor to work herding sheep together in the mountains of Wyoming, where they find sexual intimacy with one another. Neither men had previous homosexual relationships before meeting one another, and due to the timing of their relationship being from 1963 to 1983 could not pursue a future together as it would have been socially unacceptable to do so.

Although the movie is about the story of the two men together, it most closely follows Ennis, who is portrayed as the more masculine of the two characters. Displayed on the movie cover, he is placed in front of Jack. Both men are played by well known straight white actors Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhall, who are popular sexual figures in the film industry.

brokebackmountain

There are many differences in portrayal of the character development and the relationship of the men between the short story and film adaptation. Jack is represented as the more effeminate of the two men and also the instigator of the initial sexual activity in the film. This character has been interpreted in conservative eyes as the perverse homosexual who taints an otherwise heterosexual man. This idea is exemplified in the initial sex scene, where Jack seems to aggressively pressure Ennis into engaging in sexual activity. Ennis is portrayed as giving in on the basis of sexual need, even then engaging in a non-intimate way and claiming the next day that it was only a one time deal. However, when the men did continue to give in to their desires, the film misrepresents the joy of the men’s relationship by using what seems like a biblical reference of a bloodied lamb after a thunderstorm to represent shame for their continued activities. The short story adaptation left this scene out and instead empathized empowerment with their continued intimacy.

After spending nearly twenty years apart, both men agree to go back to “Brokeback”, the only term referred to throughout the movie as a symbol of freedom from the social constructs that confine them to the conservative Wyoming lifestyle, and is one of the only long term emotional states of being they shared together. During this last encounter, they engage in an argument represented differently in the film adaptation than the short story. In Christian Draz’ critique on Brokeback Mountain, he addresses the difference in conflict between the versions,

“In the story, when Jack cries out in frustration, “I wish I knew how to quit you,” Ennis mutely, shockingly, collapses to his knees, his legs buckling beneath the unbearable weight of the thought that Jack might actually leave him. In the movie, however, Ennis howls, “Then why don’t you?! Why don’t you let me be? It’s because of you, Jack, that I’m like this. I’m nothin’. I’m nowhere.” These words are wrong in so many ways! This self-pitying outburst from the man who has always gotten by on next to nothing? Whose motto has been, “if you can’t fix it, you got a stand it”? … This refutes their mutual hunger, turns Jack into a predator, Ennis into a victim, and their passion into a kind of prison. Worse still, it dangerously suggests that one man can turn another man into a homosexual, literally queering his hope for heterosexual happiness.”

The film creates the opposite effect of the short story meaning by correlating tragedy to giving in to homosexual desires, leaving what could be a normal life behind. Ennis, the more masculinized character, is exempt in part from the critique received by conservative reviewers because he is viewed as having been coerced into sexuality on the part of the more effeminate, queer man. Homosexuality then creates a representation in popular media of imprisonment and failure that can be avoided. While the original short story by Annie Proulx is not represented in popular media, the positive messages on empowerment she meant to present to society were lost in it’s film adaptation which visualized homosexuality as a lifestyle filled with sorrow and shame.

Perceptions of gender roles relating to power are affirmed even in shows such as Ru-Paul’s Drag Race, which are intended to provide a more diverse perspective on aspects under-represented in popular culture within the queer community such as gender identity, sexuality, size, class, race and ethnicity. The activist, actor and drag artist Ru-Paul hosts the reality television show starring drag queens as contestants. These contestants are carefully picked with the intention of having a diverse cast with queens of each status competing in each season. In the show, queens have to use their drag skills to endure challenges in which they prove their drag abilities to Ru-Paul among several other celebrity judges.

The show itself was intended for a queer audience, as it showed on LogoTV, however it also tended to have a large heterosexual female audience as well. The contestants were judged through a gender conforming lens not uncommon in fashion shows such as America’s Next Top Model, which reinforce ideas of external beauty as the only way to be successful as a femininely identified person. When queens did not fit into these particular qualities of what Ru-Paul viewed as ideal drag, they were not able to succeed in the show. Those who express their drag performance in a way which challenges the oppressive standards originally set for women are thus viewed as offensive and shunned from their community. One example is the drag queen Milk, who often times creatively questioned ideas of masculinity and femininity through her performances. After Milk chose Ru-Paul out of drag as the selection of her favorite Ru-Paul costume, she immediately ended up losing the competition. Some other criticisms of the show question whether RuPaul tends to disregards comedic or campy queens, singularly focusing on fashion as her standard for success.

milk-as-rupaul

Despite the nature of the show intending to be a form of activism which spreads awareness and eliminates binary thinking, there has been much controversy after a mini-challenge on the show titled “Female or She-male,” where contestants were asked to identify whether a photo showed a cisgender woman or a former contestant (drag queen) after viewing cropped portions of photos. This has major implications against gender variant and transgender individuals as well as continuing to perpetuate negative stereotypes for drag queens.

While Ru-Paul’s Drag Race plays an influential role in challenging the expression of the LGBTQ community in mainstream media, RuPaul uses derogatory terms and binary ways of talking about the community in order to utilize humor or entertainment and gain popular view. Ru utilizes popular culture figures as judges to rate queens in order to gain popularity and viewers from the non-LGBTQ community which served as a bridge between many different cultures. However, this conformity to the demands of heterosexual media continues to perpetuate stereotypical representations of gender identity and sexuality throughout the queer community.

Because the commercial demands of television still majorly adhere to the heterosexual white community, queer media has to censor its portrayal of the queer community to fit the binary lens which maintains the power status. By limiting the exposure of controversial messages realistic in the queer community, those who fit outside of the popularized images feel pressured to conform in order to feel accepted. Although the increased popular queer media has created a bridge in awareness regarding parts of the community, it still affirms and approves of oppressive notions which keep these same communities in the closet. If queer media were to discard the heterosexual lens which limits us to binary terms, it would lead to empowerment and the deterioration of the invisible barriers which oppress the LGBTQ population.

trainspottingquotes

Works Cited

Bayly, Michael J. “The Wild Reed.” Weblog post. : Christian Draz’s Critique of “Brokeback Mountain” N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2015.

Jenkins, Sarah Tucker. “Hegemonic “Realness”? An Intersectional Feminist Analysis of RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Thesis. The Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, 2013. (n.d.): n. pag. Hegemonic “Realness”? An Intersectional Feminist Analysis of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Web. 25 May 2015.

“Queer Representation in Film and Television.” Queer Representation in Film and Television. MediaSmarts, n.d. Web. 25 May 2015

Brokeback Mountain Movie Cover. Digital image. Ia.media-imdb.com. N.p., n.d. Web.
Garcia, Luis-Manuel. Loren Granic, Gregory Alexander of A Club Called Rhonda. Digital image. An Alternate History of Sexuality in Club Culture. N.p., 28 Jan. 2014. Web.
Milk as Rupaul. Digital image. Businessnewsdaily.com. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/images/i/000/005/629/i02/milk-as-rupaul.png?1396618317&gt;.
Queer as Folk. Digital image. Frontiers Media. N.p., n.d. Web. <https://www.frontiersmedia.com/Pics/Features/11895_queer_as_folk_01.jpg&gt;.
Trainspotting Movie Quote. Digital image. Imoviequotes.com. N.p., n.d. Web.

Eportfolio

My initial learning goal for this Popular Culture class was to learn how to communicate more effectively with others through my writing. I used to be that person where I would respond to comments and discussion posts with general comments and not actually give any sort of useful feedback. During week two discussions I had posted, “For me I think that writing would be one of my greatest strengths. To me writing is more effective because I have always been a quiet person, so being able to write things down is a great way for me to get out all of my opinions and ideas. As a person who likes to write things down rather than communicate verbally, I still feel that I am striving everyday to better my writing skills. Throughout this term I have the opportunity to work on improving my writing with the mirror essay and discussion posts. I feel that by improving my writing skills, it will help me effectively communicate with my classmates in discussions.” Even though I really like to write things down, I still find that I sometimes struggle with my writing. One of my biggest issues was coming up with a thesis for my mirror blog post but with the workshop that we did, it really helped me to be able to formulate a thesis statement easily.

During the week two discussion post, I had also said, “As for communication ground rules, I feel that constructive criticism/helpful feedback, clear and consistent communication is key to group work. General comments that agree or disagree should have something to back up and explain why you agree or not. Posts should also be clear and engaging, allowing readers to ask questions and give useful feedback.” I feel like everyone else in my group were following our ground rules that we had set. Everyone was providing helpful feedback and asking questions either during discussion posts or during our peer reviews. I found this to be incredible helpful to hear feedback, especially when writing up my mirror post draft. Throughout the term, I found that consistent communication with my group was one of my strengths that I’m beginning to develop. I can see this strength as something I can carry throughout my education. Clear and consistent communication and feedback I feel helps everyone in the group achieve great work whether it be in essays or in real life.

As for Challenges, I think for me in the beginning of the term I found it really easy for myself to stay on top of the lecture comments, Posting thoughtful comments on time. But as we neared the end of the term I found myself kind of slipping. I’ve been taking on a lot of things in my personal life, and things got pretty overwhelming. I noticed that I would wait until the late evening to even look at the lectures and post my comments. I found that my posts weren’t all that engaging and that I was just posting just for the sake of having a comment on the lecture. I also found that I wasn’t responding to other’s blog posts as well and it’s a bad feeling when I know I should’ve responded to comments with thoughtful responses and I didn’t.

A role that I improved in is the reviewer role. I used to be someone who would give nice reviews on other student’s essays because I was afraid of hurting feelings or because I felt like I wasn’t all that knowledgeable to give a proper review on that subject. With the two peer reviews that I did this term for Vanessa and Aubree, I felt I was prepared to give a review because Daneen had posted a peer review example and it helped me to write a good review with questions and clarifications for both my group members. For example, I had written in my review for Vanessa, “ A couple of questions came to mind as I was reading through your draft. First, Why do you think Asians are portrayed in this way? And why do you think that viewers are so easily influenced by these portrayals? Do you think it is because we rarely see Asians being represented in the media? Or do you think it is something else? I think that if you answered some of these questions in your draft, it would help you make a stronger point. In your first paragraph you stated, “As a second generation immigrant I always find myself lost of who am I, and what is my self-representation.” Could you elaborate more on this and give a few examples? There are some points in your draft where I get a bit lost and confused. I noticed that you mentioned the TV show All American Girl but then you don’t write anything more about it until the end of your draft. I think that if you had clear paragraphs analyzing each show like you did with Fresh Off The Boat, it would clear up some inconsistencies for your readers.” After writing reviews for Vanessa and Aubree, I now know that my reviews are helpful and thoughtful, not the typical “I liked reading your paper” with no questions or any other constructive criticism.

I had written on Aubree’s final post, “Hi Aubree! I really liked that to chose to write about how ballerinas are depicted in the media. I see this is something that is really important to you! I myself have fallen for the ballerina stereotype, I had grown up thinking that they are pretty, prim, and proper and that this is how all ballerinas acted. I had watched Black Swan before and had noticed that the film is sort of dark storyline wise, but also visually. After reading your post, I feel that this resonates a lot with the other depictions of ballerinas in the media. I feel that consumers of the media don’t know a whole lot about the other aspects of ballerinas, because this is all that they’re shown as. I really appreciate the fact that your post shows that there IS a different side, and that not all dancers are like that. Have a good summer!” I realize now that my reviews can be really helpful to someone who is revising their essay drafts and I will continue to have my reviews in the future be thoughtful and have helpful critiques.

Something I obtained from this course is the skill to critically think and analyze something that has been presented to me through the media. Prior to taking this course, I had not really paid attention to what was being presented to me in the media through things like ads in magazines and television, and how these messages that are being presented shape our culture. I also had not thought of how ads nowadays are getting harder and harder to spot, most of them being concealed as content on your social media timeline. I posted, “At first glance of this question, my initial reaction was “Oh heck yeah I’m aware of the difference between content and the ads I’m seeing”. But upon further thinking, I have come to realize that ads are slowly becoming harder to spot because they can be concealed as any other content in your Facebook newsfeed, etc. For example, Instagram now does something sneaky and has ads that are integrated seamlessly into your feed, disguised as any other post making it harder to spot the ad unless you’re actually paying attention and not mindlessly scrolling through your Instagram. Sometimes I notice it and sometimes I don’t.” The week four lecture had helped me open my eyes on how to spot the difference between what is actually content and what are ads. I think the skill to be able to think critically and analyze a problem to situation that presents itself in the future is something that I will definitely apply to my future work as a physician when coming up with a diagnosis for my patients.

 

ePortfolio

Initial Learning Goals

As I explained in my first blog post for this course, I’ve always found group work to be both the most challenging and most engaging way for me to interact with new learning concepts.

“…Revising collaborative work can be especially complicated due to authorship and personal opinions. In my experience, even grammatical edits in group work can become difficult or impossible when the author feels attached to their original contribution. However, I think the drawbacks of collaborative content production can easily be outweighed by it’s benefits. Whether in small group work like I’m familiar with, or on large-scale websites like Wikipedia, collective intelligence is much more representative of our understanding of topics on a societal level. Group projects in school have always made it necessary for me to reevaluate my own thinking, and I’ve found that one of the best ways to learn is through collaborating with someone whose views differ from my own. Collective intelligence may not be flawless or refined, but it’s certainly more dynamic, unbiased, and flexible than a single expert’s opinion.”

Given my take on both the importance and challenges of group work, I made it an objective at the beginning of the term to improve on my group work skills. I aimed in our D2L discussions to contribute as actively and thoughtfully as possible, and to take each of my group members posts into account—even if they didn’t align with my personal beliefs.

Looking back, I’m pretty proud of how I managed to engage with our group discussions, and am really satisfied with how my classmates seemed genuinely dedicated to the discussions as well. The only challenge I really faced throughout the course was maintaining my own discipline regarding deadlines; I managed to submit nearly all my work on time, but I tend to edit my work, seemingly forever, without feeling like it’s satisfactory and complete. On one hand, I could interpret this “perfectionist” mindset as proof that I care about the quality of my work. On the other hand, though, it makes procrastination a really appealing option. While I only turned in one or two late assignments, I’d still like to improve in that area. I think I can achieve this by embracing rough drafts, and continuing to ask for constructive criticism from my group members.

Becoming an Active Listener

I think I improved most this term in my role as an active listener. Because I made it a goal for myself to consistently participate in the D2L discussions, there was more than one occasion where I read ideas and opinions by classmates that were new to me. Rather than replying exclusively to the people whose opinions I shared, I managed to also ask questions and write responses to classmates whose identities were less familiar to me. Admittedly, this wasn’t a huge challenge—each member of my discussion group was kind and open-minded, and it helped to feel that my own ideas and opinions were being listened to as well. Still, though, I’m confident that I gained a much better understanding of my classmates and their different identities by taking all stories and philosophies into account.

Working to become a more active listener also gave me the opportunity to improve my own work, since classmates often made clever observations about aspects of our reading material that I myself might have overlooked completely. More than once, I found myself replying to classmates not only to explain that I agree or disagree, but also to acknowledge that I’d learned from their point of view.

Excerpt from response to a classmate’s comment on the Course Blog:

“…I didn’t even realize how little information [this article] gave about the two missing individuals. Now that you mention it, this seems like pretty critical background information in understanding the events, especially considering how few details we receive about the investigation. I wonder if the article left out personal information about the missing people because they themselves were lacking the info, or because it could be dangerous to provide the public with personal details in a potential kidnapping case? Or, perhaps the article leaves out this information intentionally to minimize the word count or something. What do you think?”

By asking questions and admitting when ideas were new to me, I achieved more dynamic interactions with my classmates. I also think this allowed me to gain a more complete understanding of the course material by working to view it from my group members’ perspectives.

Knowledge and Skills Gained from this Course

I’ve taken several online courses prior to this one, and I honestly never felt like I gained many skills that would be applicable later in life. Maybe that’s due to the subject-specific work in the courses (Art History, Health, etc.), or the fact that there was no communication aspect between the classmates or with the instructors. Needless to say, this course has been the most constructive and interactive online course I’ve ever taken. On top of being able to bounce ideas off my classmates and revisit topics from their points of view, I feel lucky to have been exposed to material I find genuinely interesting and engaging. Two ideas that strongly resonated with me this term were the topics of expert status in the age of information (Week 1), and media literacy (Week 5). These were two topics that I’d been wanting to explore in an academic context, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on them for class. Because weeks 1 and 5 focused on topics I personally found very interesting, I think some of my most authentic and engaged reflections appear there.

Excerpt from my response to the Week 1 course blog:

“I think we tend to presume that information is, by default, best and most reliable when it’s published by an expert in a book or peer-reviewed journal. Consequentially, it’s very easy to discount blogs and websites as invalid sources of knowledge.”

Response to a classmates comment on the Week 1 course blog:

“I was also really impressed by how dedicated Kvaran is to contributing on Wikipedia. It totally made me reconsider how our society decides who’s an “expert” and who isn’t. On one hand, it makes sense to me that expert status should require qualification, like some sort of degree, to prove how devoted an individual is to their area of study. But, after reading this article, I almost think it shows a more genuine interest when people (like Kvaran) work to master a subject in their free time. I agree with you that this sort of passion for knowledge is honorable and deserves more recognition! I wonder, should he receive the same merit as an Art Historian if he’s read and written about the topic as much as a college degree would require? If not, I wonder what differentiates Kvaran’s knowledge from that of a college grad with an Art History? After all, he probably reads from the same books, and has written enough on Wikipedia to make up dozens of essays!”

Response to a classmate’s comment on the Week 5 course blog:

“I think many people (including myself) are reluctant to admit that they aren’t as aware of world news as they feel they should be. I don’t think I’d be as quick to acknowledge how I’d rather spend my free time watching movies or browsing friends’ blogs than familiarizing myself with current events in distant countries — but now that you mention it, that’s totally the case for me as well. I’d like to be more aware of what’s going on in the rest of the world, but it’s really difficult to prioritize that when I’m privileged enough to choose how I spend my free time. After reading this week’s texts about media literacy, though, I feel a bit more motivated!”

A second response to a classmate’s comment on the Week 5 course blog:

“People probably don’t discuss these major events as much in person, because we all presume that the people around us have already looked at their smartphone and gotten up-to-date. I’ve noticed this pattern to be particularly strong in regard the the recent Baltimore riots. Personally, my ONLY understanding of the events come from what I’ve read online. My Facebook and tumblr feeds are full of news stories and opinion posts, but I haven’t heard a single person at school or in my neighborhood discuss the events aloud. On one hand it’s remarkable that we can all express ourselves and form opinions non-verbally, but this also seems like a very limited way for our culture to interpret events. After all, if for some reason I’d had no internet access over the past week, I’d be totally unaware of the events in Baltimore.”

As someone who regularly communicates and keeps up with current events over the internet, I know the brainstorming and reflecting I did for weeks 1 and 5 (above) will influence the way I use the internet from now on. I’m also glad to have gained awareness of media literacy and critical source analysis, since those skills are invaluable for people (like myself) who want to utilize the web as an accurate source of information.

Looking in the Mirror

Judge Me, Judge Me Not

In early 2011, a conflict began in the beautiful historic country of Syria. Earlier that year there were many anti-government protests all across the Middle East and many think that the conflict in Syria is to be blamed on this and is the reaction of all the anti-government protests. The unemployment rate in this country, and Syria’s ruling dictator are all excuses for The United States encouraging wrath. Bashar Al Assad, president of Syria, took power of the country in 1970 and has ruled a lovely and civil country. Bashar Al Assad is a true Arab leader; he brought change to Syria, and transformed the country into a modern state from his father’s ways of ruling. He is well educated and 97% of the population even voted for him. (BIO True Story). So then, why all the sudden attention at the dictatorship in Syria, if it is not influenced by all the uprisings in the rest of the Arab countries; what could have mysteriously happened to spark so much heat? People can judge easily when they are looking in from the outside, but what they fail to see is how the people in the conflict of choice are feeling, is it not those who matter in the end? I continuously feel the heat from outsiders, many even from people in the same region only other countries, and what they inevitably fail to see and care about is that it should be no ones choice but the people whom of which are actually effected that have any say in how their country is run. I feel this judgment in multiple way every day, and this quite sudden wrath and judgment on my country and myself makes me feel like I have failed in some way.

Many presidents make a tremendous amount of promises before their reign and at the beginning of it, but the presidents who actually pull through with what they say are the ones who make a difference. As Al Assad said he wanted Syria to become more modernized, and his word was achieved by 2001, with “cell phones, satellite television, trendy restaurants and Internet cafes” (BIO True Story), Syria was certainly showing signs of becoming a modern society. A country housing 17 million people needed to bring all of its occupants into the 21st century, and that is exactly what Dr. Bashar Al Assad achieved. I always find a tremendous amount of humor when I see Syria on American news and TV, as it as portrayed as such a third world country. While it may be considered third world, what people fail to see is the life and societal similarities it holds with such a modern country as America.

It is no coincidence that the rest of the world, specifically the United States and Israel, is more riled up about the dictatorship than Syria itself is. This is because Syrian people are not as upset as news anchors in the USA say that they are. In fact, almost 100% of the minority in Syria (Christians and Alawi’s) are supportive of President Al Assad, and most of the majority (Sunni’s) are as well. Now as much as anyone does not want to get politics and religion intertwined with one another, the fact of the matter is that they go hand in hand, so it is both as relevant as it is important. I grew up being a Christian Syrian, and as I am a minority in America, I am still considered to be one in my own country. That sounds like a bad thing, and a lot of the time it is, however the main point is that the Syrian president is a part of the minority as well. Who better to run the country than someone who doesn’t only see the majority, but sees as well as understands the majority?

In 2007, the US general, as well as supreme allied general of NATO, General Wesley Clark said something that drew a lot of attention in one of his speeches: “We’re going to take out seven countries in 5 years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran”- these words that he spoke are words that he overheard someone saying in the Pentagon. (Chossudovsky) The deterioration of the Middle East has clearly been in the plan book for some time now, regardless of who the leader is.

With the effort of outside countries as mentioned before, the country is separating. There has become much conflict between each religion and unfortunately that is the exact weakness that Israel desires. They want Syria to fall apart with the accordance of its religious structure. Their goal is to separate Syria into different sections containing Shia and Alawi, multiple Sunni sections as this is the majority, and even Druze, notice that there is no place for Christianity here. This will guarantee “peace” and “security,” however certainly not for Syria, but for Israel. (Colbert Report). In doing this, they get all the religions of Syria, brothers and sisters and neighbors to fight against one another; divide and conquer.

There is a link between Lebanon, Iran and Syria. This link is made up Shia and Shia Alawi’s. Because the president, Bashar Al Assad is of the minority, he makes the ruling leaders majority part of this Shia link. If Israel succeeds in breaking Syria down and getting a Sunni president to reign, not only will it destroy all the minority religions in Syria, but also it will break the strong bridge that these three countries are standing on, which would not only destabilize Syria, but also farther destabilize Iran and even Lebanon. There is a lot of evidence to the uprising being started by people who are not actually Syrian, and there are even more reasons as to why Israel and America would want to do this. If the American government would quit lying and hiding the truth about what is going on, maybe people could actually see the truth or at least be able to make choices of their own instead of being forced into their opinions. Instead of being forced into thinking Syrians, into thinking that I, am a terrible person. The manipulation of the United States and Israel continues to triumph.

A military theorist and former Naval War College consultant Thomas P.M. Barnett proposed a thesis which soon after became the Pentagon’s new War Map; the thesis states that the primary division in the world today is between two sets of countries that he calls the Core and the Gap. The Core consists of advanced countries that play by the rules and are committed to globalization, which are regions such as Europe, North America, and Japan, plus countries that are committed to getting there: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and some others. The Gap is everyone else: a collection of disconnected, lawless, and dangerous countries such as Colombia, Pakistan, and North Korea, plus most of the Middle East and Africa (Wolfe). The Core is made up of those prosperous sovereign states, which have become integrated into a globalized economy. These countries typically feature a recognized government capable of enforcing the rule of law, which leaves the nations in the Gap to be typically either in a state of anarchy while factions struggle for control or under an oppressive government practicing strict cultural and economic isolationism. It is at the intersection of these two geographical regions where one should expect to see future conflicts (Wolfe). This is, of course, all decided by the United States who just decided it was their choice and call whether or not they approve of the way certain countries are being ran, regardless of how its civilians feels.

In his thesis, Barnett warns that in order for the Core to be safe, the Gap must be eliminated. He states that people who reside in the Core simply cannot live happily enjoying prosperity knowing about the problems going on in the Gap. Now why should this matter if each country and region is minding their business and going about their day-to-day lives? To each his own. Ever since World War II the American military action has confirmed all of this thesis in regards to the Gap; which only means from now and on over the next few decades the United States’ main task will be to shrink the Gap as much as they can and ultimately convert the entire world to the values of the Core.

There is an unspoken notion that America has the power to be correct under any given situation, even when their opinion is unsolicited. America continues to intervene when maybe that energy would be better off aimed towards fixing its own problems. What is it that makes America’s rendering on judgments acceptable? America has its own image for restarting the image of globalization after WWII and aims for “global connectivity” however who is to say that is not their way of convincing American citizens that their way is the right way as they tend to do in all situations.

America lit a spark in Syria and fused it with gasoline. If the Syrian citizens were upset with the way their ruler was ruling they would have spoken up themselves without interference from the USA. The United States claims to care about the well-being and freedom of the Syrians but they would not have intervened had it not benefited them. And they most certainly would not portray us as some uncivilized barbaric Neanderthals if that were so. America has already tried (and for the most part succeeded) to convince its citizens to support their invasions, the next step for them is to persuade the rest of the countries in the Core to take their side and help them in eliminating the Gap. And of course with that goes all the terrible people from the Gap, right?

America’s long-term plan to change the road map of the Middle East is all a part of the Pentagons War Map. They have already started their attempts to take over the Middle East and will be relentless in achieving a world with each and every country honoring the “core values” that the United States kindly pushes towards civilization. Because of this the Syrian uprising is more beneficial to America and is caused and influenced by the likes of the United States. Inevitably it results in people like me, being judged and hated by people for no reason at all other than being born into the “wrong” family.

Works Cited

“Bashar Al-Assad Biography.” Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.

Chossudovsky, Michel, Prof. “Global Research.” Global Research. Global Research, 11 Feb. 2012. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.

Corbett. “Who Is Really Behind the Syrian War?” YouTube. YouTube, 30 Aug. 2013. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.

Wolfe, Timothy E., Captain. “DeAtkine | Divide and Perish: The Geopolitics of the Middle East.” DeAtkine | Divide and Perish: The Geopolitics of the Middle East. UNC, Aug. 2007. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.

e-portfolio

Choose a role in which you improved or gained a new understanding: reviewer, researcher, writer, citizen, team member, teacher, persuader, student, listener, advocate, netizen, or other. Elaborate and give examples.

Prior to registering for this Popular Culture class, I found my self skimming and going over different classes that I need to take. The only reason I chose this class over other ones to begin with is just because of the name of class. I know, don’t judge a book by its cover, but this class just seemed interesting and like nothing I have taken before. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, the only thing I knew we would probably talk about is things that are trending now. I can’t name one area that has improved now that this class is over because I find myself thinking and looking at things differently from many different angles. Whether I am reviewing something, researching, writing, being a citizen or a team member, a teacher, a persuader, a student, a listener, an advocate, a hardcore netizen, and more, I have improved in all these areas and just look at everything through a different lens.

Here I wrote a bit about how practitioners that work at doctors offices get training for communication to work with both patients and doctors. Before this piece it never quite occurred to me the effect of pop culture not just in social gatherings, but professional ones as well.
“I found the health communication certificate, which is through the program that will start in 2016, but it seems to be pretty interesting. While in this program one can learn skills to communicate and work with other practitioners as well as patients. As this field is quite serious and professional it is important for people who want to work and at the very least be taken seriously in this environment to learn the proper ways to communicate and act to move forward and grow. I think what’s the most interesting is that talking and communicating is something we do with people everyday so we don’t know, or don’t see, the importance of these skills.”

Here, again, popular culture is having an effect on something as big as the supreme court.

“There has been a special senate committee created to deal with the issues of the medical marijuana measure. The story is timely relevant as this is happening now and also because marijuana in general has been quite the hot topic for a while now, especially in Oregon so I suppose it falls close to home both physically and psychologically. The committee wants to fight for counties and cities to have power to ban dispensaries so this could ultimately affect quite a significant number of people if it pulls through and more cities and counties decide they do not want to these facilities open and this product to be available in their communities. The majority of the House members on this committee want this decision to be in that hands of the people and decided by voting, and at the same time they don’t want the people who are in need of marijuana for medical purposes to not be able to get their hands on it, which is where I’m left a bit confused because if they do vote to ban dispensaries where would those people who need it get it? It was quite the short article and not too much information. There wasn’t any emotion or humor of any sort as it just went straight to the point. It definitely does matter and does serve a purpose because it is a change that would happen in our community and the decision would ultimately have quite the chain of events behind it both if it did and if it did not pass. It was a little influential in the sense that it seemed they were for this motion, but there wasn’t an essence of persuasiveness.”

This ad was really cool to talk about in class. Of course I see advertisments everyday, but I mainly see that as the target of which the advertisors want to see it. After talking about it a bit and really breaking it down and answering questions that you asked like who was the target and what was the purpose and technique… well it really just blew my mind. They are so clever and so sneaky that you really don’t realize the effect that they have on you.

“Its an ad for Adidas, by Adidas. I think its made for young people directed at all types and sorts of young people from the partier, the skaters, the girls who just want to have fun, the guys who wants dance or guys that want to hook up with girls, dj’s, there is a little bit of everything. It looks like it’s a commercial that shows up on TV and the internet.”

“Whats interesting to me is there almost seems to be an element of “bad.” It immediately starts off showing spray paint bottles with guys doing some street art, going in for close ups on their tattoos and then on them riding the motorcycles which all three symbolize that element. Then it goes to the skateboarding and everyone going to the party where you can see the legs of girls wearing short skirts and shorts and guys dressed trendy. I think its interesting that if you pay attention you’ll notice the people who they focus on wearing Adidas quite bluntly are all guys, it’ll say it in big while letters contrasting on the black t-shirt or zoom in on the mens shoe, yet when it shows the women it’s usually for a different purpose, although they are wearing the brand (at times), you would only see it if you’re paying attention, otherwise it captures your attention in a different way, a more sexual and playful way. Although this ad targets both sexes, I would argue its specifically directed at guys and girls are more of the siren effect in this.”

After briefly discussing where we get our information and how we learn about the news we know about it really occurred to me that peoples views and opinions (on quite significant topics might I add) are all resulting factors on what channel they watched and where they got their information from.
“I get my news online, shocker. I like to control and filter the stories I read and hear about. I get my political news on tayyar.org, I can’t deal with the mainstream political biases on fox and CNN and the liking. I use many different sources though and not all of them are political and criminal, I like to keep up with the Kardashians. JOKING! I had to… I like to keep up with trending topics though. I think consumption of news influences your perspective 900%. People who watch a show and are told Germans are the root of all evil all the time will start to believe it, even if they have never even met one before. It influences everything and anything from political and religious beliefs to racism and fashion sense and taste in music.”

Eportfolio

My original goal for this class was to improve my writing skills. I wanted to be able to make my writing more concise, improve grammar, sharpen researching skills etc. More specifically when it came down to communication in our workshop groups my response was: “It has always been difficult for me to receive critism. I know it is necessary but is always hard to hear. For our mentor groups I hope that we can all be constructive toward one another’s post. When we say that we like what someone has said, we should be able to tell him or her why we liked it. Also if we disagree with one another hopefully we can give our reasoning why we think differently and support our opinion. Since we’re all adults I know that when we disagree we can be polite and constructive in our reply.

Good posts should answer any questions that have been asked in the prompt and any outside information used to back up a statement should cite where that information was taken from. Useful feedback should extend upon the subject that was answered by the original poster; perhaps ask questions to that the original poster did not consider in the initial post. Good participation is pretty self-explanatory. Don’t just say you like or agree with someone. Give an explanation why”.

My strengths throughout the term were 1.) Staying organized and on top of all the posts and other assignments that were due. 2.) Responding to each weeks instructor prompts to the best of my ability, including using the texts for that week in my responses and also using other outside texts to help support my claims. Some challenges were finding secondary sources for the mirror essay. Researching is not a strong point of mine so finding good reliable sources for this assignment was a little bit of a challenge.

For this term overall I think that I made improvements in four of the areas listed. I feel like as a researcher that I have made improvements. I don’t just take a picture, advertisement or someone’s writing at face value. I try to dig a little deeper and find if the story behind the image or the writing is true to the claims being made. This is something that I did not even have the skills to do before, this course has made me much more analytical. The second improvement that I have seen in myself after this course is an improvement in my writing. The tools given to us through the Purdue website, having our own librarian to help, and the aid of our instructor and mentor have helped me to write better. If I don’t know how something should be cited or whatever else while writing I know of tools now that can be accessed to help make my writing the best that it can be. The last two improvements I think that I have made are as a citizen and a student. I think as a citizen now I am better equipped to see passed the tricks used through the media in the news and also in advertisements. As a student I think that I have improved because this class has put me out of my comfort zone a little bit. Having to review another’s work can be a sensitive matter. I am definitely not a perfect writer so having to tell someone else improvements that should be made in their paper is tough for me. But I think helping others find mistakes in their papers helped me to go back and find my own as well when I was revising.

The main skill that I will take with me and use in my everyday life is analyzing and researching potential sources for whatever I am using them for. It is easy to find something on the Internet and just using it to aid in an assignment. But as we all know the Internet has a lot of unreliable things floating around on it. Sometimes we may not even know that something is unreliable until that source itself is researched. In week two we were shown the perfect example of this. The course text was called, The Urgency of Visual Media Literacy in Our Post 9/11 world: Reading Images of Muslim Women in the Print News Media by Diane Watt. In this case on page 36 of the article we are shown a little girl wearing religious clothing surrounded by a sea of black clothing. The cover states, “Why the world belongs to Islam”. The image and words are very ominous. Yet someone did some research and found that this was a day of mourning in Turkey, where otherwise these traditional garments would not be worn. Finding this out really blew my mind, it just made me wonder about every other news article, broadcast, etc. that I have heard and seen in my life. How much of it was true?

Now that I have seen first hand what the media can do to make their viewers swing one way or another on a topic I am much more wary about the information being given to me. I don’t have the time to research every story but these skills for research have made me see things differently. I don’t just take in information from anyone anymore. I looked at it more skeptically.

Adam Al-Holail Portfolio

My goals in taking this course have changed dramatically throughout the term. I came across this course because it was suggested to me by a friend and later on by my advisor. Admittedly I was hesitant to take the course at first and quite frankly intimidated by the subject matter for I have never taken a similar course in my entire academic career. I was born and raised in a society that had never brought popular culture into schooling or academic institution. Not only did the subject of the course feeling intimidating, but also the fact that it was online. This course was my first experience with an online course and it was new. But thankfully I managed to improve on navigating though the website and utilizing the checklist option to organize my time. I remember on the first day of the course looking up what the word Popular Culture meant. I found a vague and broad definition that only brought me more concern. As the course progressed I realized the beauty of the subject was hidden in its ironically broad yet simple meaning, pop culture is movie, its books, its Facebook and YouTube. Without realizing it I have been emerged in this discipline. As the term progressed my goals began to shift from just passing by unnoticed and unscarred and I became genuinely interested in the material at hand. It was about a quarter thought the term is when I began to get familiar with the technology required for the course and the overall expectations from the participating students and I began to relax and take the information in with relative ease. Once I became accustom to the ways of the course my goals became clear, I wanted to truly improve my writing skills and develop a more proper way of communication.

A role in which I improved on and gained a profound understanding in would be an analyzer, in week nine we were talking about analyzing advertisements and ways to look deeper into what was presented to the viewer or desired customer. We were asked to analyze an Adiddas commercial, which I found fun and interesting, was posted and we were asked to make certain “moves” to analyze it. Below is my comment for that weeks lecture:

 

The ad includes many scenes with many details; the details that spoke to me most were the subtle details of the clothes or lighting but rather in the blatantly obvious things that are in the video. The video features several factors to paint their mental image of “originality” in the minds of buyers (us). For example, the music played throughout the video is Beggin’ which was originally preformed by a band named “the four seasons” in 1964. The song was remade many times but most notoriously the hip-hop band Madcon remade it in the year 2007. Adiddas uses this song to bring the old-school feel of the 1967 version and to incorporate the newer hip version preformed in 2007. Adiddas used this song to give a sense of seniority over younger and perhaps rip-off companies that may be rivals. The add uses a mixture of old-school music and modern day looks to give off an aroma that subjects their superior class over other companies.”

 

In the 9th week course I saw myself getting into the subject and working hard and trying to meet the goals and properly accomplish the “moves” appropriately, not only to get the grade but also because I was genuinely interested in the matter of advertisement and analyzing and I realized I enjoyed it.

 

My role as a analyzer improved throughout the progression of this course as well as my role of a researcher. For the mirror blog essay analyzed and looked as myself to find defining adjectives about myself to write and essay about. After picking the subject of male college students I began researching artifacts from popular culture that portrayed Male College students. For the purpose of making my paper interesting I decided to pick movies that would give rise to interesting matters about male college students.

 

 

 

“ The film “A beautiful mind” is a movie based on the story of a young prodigy named John Nash who attended Princeton University on a mathematics scholarship in the year 1947. The movie is about Nash’s journey through college life and the struggles he faces while suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, a mental illness that has many effects on the mind such as frequent episode of hallucinations, paranoia and anxiety. The purpose of the movie is to tell the story of this genius man as a college student and to show the amount of a burden stress and academic pressure can have on even the most intellectual individuals, many claim that the strain and difficulties Nash faced were components that contributed to his mental illness. The audience for this movie is broad because the story is well appreciated amongst many ages and cultures, but I believe the intended audience leans toward younger individuals (between the ages of 20-30) who are in the prime of their academic pilgrimage. The film had its premier on the13th of December in the year 2001. The movie was first showed in Beverly Hills, California and went public January 4th of the following year. “

Before this course my research background consisted of scientific matters alone. This paragraph from my mirror essay shows the role of researcher, although it might not be the most outstanding part of the essay It was a personal accomplishment for me to be able to do something that was once so out of my element. From this course I learned how to remove myself from my comfort zone and venture into new academic territories.

 

In this course I advanced in writing, which will without a doubt be applied, positively to future academic and professional endeavors. Thought this course I expanded my writing experience from what I have become accustomed to. By reading different styles of writing and analyzing each piece I gained some insight into the world of possibilities that come with each new style of literature. This will indubitably be useful in further learning whether in an academic sense or for personal growth.

 

 

 

Adam M Al-Holail

E-Portfolio

Throughout this course I have learned a lot about my skills as well as my weaknesses. Although I came into the course with the weakness of not thoroughly reading, my goal was not only to become a better reader, but improve my writing skills as well. Furthermore, back in high school and this past year of college I had the horrible habit of skimming over required readings and not thoroughly dissecting the content within them. As a result, I wasn’t fully prepared for certain assignments, quizzes and didn’t include a lot of content in my essays. Thus, this affected my college grades, and led me to be disappointed in myself. Getting bad grades doesn’t make me happy, but unfortunately I was so used to skimming over readings in high school and would get decent grades that I didn’t realize till college that this form of reading isn’t acceptable or appropriate. On a separate note, although I have been told I obtain some good writing skills and think of myself as a decent writer, this course allowed me to further my abilities within this area.

Since I set my goals at the beginning of this term, I believe I have come a long way compared to before. First off, proof that intensive reading rather than skim reading has paid off can be viewed in the following example/blog post:
Prompt #1:
“After reading Media Literacy: An Alternative to Censorship by Majorie Heins and Christina Cho, there were several facts and details that stood out to me. The first detail that stood out to me was the fact media literacy was neglected and ignored by the United States until some time ago. This relevant detail stood out to me because I had no idea about this issue before reading this and I also can’t imagine as to why the U.S. would discount this educational approach, especially since it’s beneficial as well as useful. Another detail that stood out to me was the purpose of the curricular project known as “Television Awareness Training” in the year of 1977, because it focused closely on how television represented ethnic minorities as well as presented other issues, which allowed me to relate our classwork in some way since some of us conducted research for our Mirror Blog Essay on how a specific group of people is portrayed in the media. Last but not least, the astonishing fact that the White House decided to release a supporting statement in 2002 was particularly fascinating in my opinion because it was a step closer to having the United States government accept and embrace the approach of Media Literacy and its importance. Overall, all of these facts/details stood out to me because they were alluring to read about and allowed me to receive a better insight regarding Media Literacy.”

Prompt #1 from a previous blog post of mine is a brilliant example that with engaged reading, relevant information can be discovered and understood more clearly. Not only did my improved reading result in much more accurate and longer postings, but it also allowed me to soak information in more easily. Not only was I able to successfully exercise my reading skills, but also my writing skills. Likewise, my writing skills were practiced through the amount of writing we were required to accomplish in this class. Next off, evidence that I believe represent my improved writing skills can be seen in the following example:

“Due to the powerful influence popular culture has made on individuals in regards to race, Hispanic/Latin women suffer several frequent stereotypes. Moreover, instead of properly portraying this group of women, popular culture has instead steered its focus of Hispanic/Latin women towards an inaccurate and negative representation comprised by unreliable stereotypes. Additionally, popular culture has jumped back and forth from stereotype to stereotype, but in my perspective has focused on four particular stereotypes of Hispanic/Latin women: the maid/housekeeper, the women with thick accents, the immigrants, and the attractive teases. Furthermore, it is safe to say that all four of these stereotypes are offensive and degrading to Hispanic/Latin women. In addition, not only are these stereotypes hazardous to a woman’s image, but they can potentially be very harmful due to the fact that these images consist of unpleasant and awkward imagery based on the assumptions created by popular culture. All in all, these ideas can be viewed and understood thoroughly through television shows such as Devious Maids and Modern Family, as well as the film Spanglish.”

In regards to the strengths and challenges I obtained during this term, there are a few. First and foremost, a main strength of mine this term was accomplishing all my assignments either on time or earlier than the due date. Another strength I encountered was being able to take constructive criticism in a positive way because in the past taking this type of criticism has been tough on me, but this class allowed me to overcome the fear and disliking of it because it helped me improve on assignments. However, the only challenge I faced was doing all the assignments. Although I completed every one of them and either before or on their due date, it was tough to try to get everything done early or on time due to the amount of other homework I had not only in this class but others as well along with working part-time. Luckily, I overcame this challenge, but it surely was hard to do at times.

The role I improved in this term was a reviewer when it came to reviewing others blog posts, discussion posts, and mirror blog essays. I enhanced my skills within this role because before this class I struggled as a reviewer when it came to giving others constructive criticism and feedback. This was tough for me because I know that many people can get uncomfortable or nervous when it comes to having someone look over and review their pieces of writing, and my biggest fear was hurting someone else’s feelings, offending them, or making them feel distressed. While the thought of having to do this for others this term was frightening, I overcame my fear and improved by not only giving good constructive criticism and examples to improve, but also words of praise. Proof of improvement in this role can be noticed in the presented example/peer review letter:

“I would suggest looking over the complexity because at first when I read over it I was a somewhat confused as to what your main idea was, which I believe can be adjusted by pulling out some unnecessary sentences and summing them up to make your main point more clear and thorough. Other than that, I think you’re off to a great start and just by making those few tweaks along with any other ones you desire to change, it’ll be awesome and will flow a lot more smoothly.”

As a result of this class, the knowledge and skills I have gained will stick with me for the rest of my life. I will apply my knowledge when it comes to viewing a film, television show or any other form of popular culture since I know what to look for in certain areas of this topic. For example, when it comes to stereotypes/portrayals, I will be able to scope this details out much more easily since I know what to look for. I will also apply skills such as writing and reading when it comes to future classes and assignments within them. Similarly, I will continue using my writing and reading skills for the rest of my life and especially in my dream career which will require both abilities. Overall, this class pushed me to work hard and exercise my talents so that I could perform at an improved level and I am incredibly thankful for that.

E-portfolio

Before taking this course I had very little interest in popular culture and I had very little knowledge of what popular culture was. I also wasn’t a big fan of online courses but after taking this course I realized that not only can I work at home but I can lean at home as well. Through this course I gained and improved multiple skills. I was fairly new to virtual community courses but I managed to familiarize myself quickly with my group and the format of the class. Through the discussions and the activities done in this class, I was able to recognize things about myself that I didn’t before through other sources; class mates and the course content. I realized after the first couple of weeks that the goals, list set in the beginning of the course, needed much improvement.

“One of my strengths in coming up with visual ideas when working in groups. Understanding the problem and collaborating with group members to come to a solution is something that I do well. One challenge that I face is presenting the idea orally to the public. Since English is my second language my word choice is much smaller so getting mu idea across is challenging and is something that I need to work on. This term the mirror blog and a peer review and will definitely help me improve my communication and my writing skills…  In order for a group project to be successful each individual must want to participate. Being able to communicate with one another, providing honest feedback, and not be afraid to share ideas is the key to group work. Also being enthusiastic and letting everyone share their piece will create a successful projects.”

The main goals I set for this term was to improve my communication skills and be able to actively participate in a group, share my ideas, and be able to provide helpful feedback. Also I wanted to improve my writing abilities by writing my making the writing flow more and also make my sentences more powerful by choosing better words. Improving my writing by making my word choice and sentences more powerful was challenging since my word choice is limited. What I felt I did well in was group participation and sharing my ideas. In most blogs I was able to connect with the writers and build on their ideas and concepts. I found this to be my strength. Also, I believe I was able to provide helpful feedback, especially in the mirror blog post, as well as receiving feedback. After receiving the peer review letter form a class mate, I realized my essay was written incorrectly and the way I represent engineers in media is only the negative aspect. After reading the review I was able to improve the essay by showing that even though engineers are most films portray engineer’s negatively, some films show how engineers truly are. This doesn’t only show the positive features of engineers but it motivates others to reconsider their career choices and possibly chose a path in the engineering field.

Throughout this course I improved and expanded on being an effective team member and not only providing advice but receiving it as well. In the peer review a student replied sayingThe Tony Stark reference was a good example as well. However, it seems you may have misinterpreted his portrayal because I do not think “evil” is the right word choice to describe him. The words I think of when talking about Tony Stark is like philanthropist, playboy and hero is the best words, not evil. First of all, he created the suit to save his own life. You could use the example of when his chest gets wounded by his own missile to portray that it is careless to how he got injured due to his own invention. But he learns that his weapons were getting in the wrong hands and harming innocent folk so he shut down its production. He did end up saving the world multiple times so calling him “evil” may not be the best word because he was clearly portrayed as a hero. However, you can use this example as a counterargument as you lack one. Instead of twisting the Iron Man reference you should utilize it as the other perspective to your paper. Tony Stark is a wealthy and very charming man. He does not have that sloppy look like your previous primary sources. Because he can use his own inventions to save the world, it can also inspire young engineers. Iron Man can spark our youth to get into this field because he makes it cool and trendy.” At first thought this seemed wrong but as I thought about the idea of a positive portrayal I found that using Iron Man as a positive source will make the blog much more effective and interesting. I also review another student’s blog and provided similar feedback and gave advice on improving some things to make the blog better and have more meaning. Being able to work with others and accept others ides makes a stronger connection between the group members and makes the class more comfortable.

Throughout this term I not only learned about popular culture but I also learned to write better and be a better group member. The goals we set in the beginning f the term I feel were met by the group.”Over the past term my group has supported these things and replied to post honestly and retuned positive feedback regarding my ideas. Through this  the group often built on each other’s ideas resulting in closer relationships then the first weeks and now we feel more comfortable with each other.” being able to communicate properly with team members can be extremely useful in the future. With the skills I acquired here such as teamwork and writing abilities I will be able to do much more in my future career and job. I will be more effective at work and be more successful when working with other teams. I will also take the knowledge of popular culture and the effects media has on our perceptions and use this information to help make media shape better images of people. It was a pleasure being in this course and working in a group of diverse people.

 

Aleksey Prozapas

 

 

 

EPortfolio Essay

Andrew Sasser
June 4th, 2015
Daneen Bergland
Pop Culture
EPortfolio Essay

The prompt I am utilizing, in terms of the overall theme of this essay, is in regards to my acquisition of a new understanding of myself as a student. As each new school quarter dawns, I find myself in a state of anxiety and preemptive exhaustion as I approach each new line of hoops to jump in order to make it towards my end goal, and this class was no exception. Although I have grown rather weary throughout the years since starting the pursuit towards the benefits of a college education, I, once again, have overcome the obstacles that have been set before me.

With the course beginning with a series of rules, expectations, technical details and posts regarding the coursework I was to undertake for this class, I found that one of the things I had to do was join a digital group and talk about myself. Although digital interaction makes it rather easy to divulge intimate details about one’s self, I still found it rather intimidating to list the things that deeply matter to me as I am in this present point in time; the subject matter affiliated with many of my identifiers often ignites debate, prejudice, and overall frustration. However, I couldn’t help but notice that several other members of my group also felt a connection with some of my personal identifiers. This gave me the courage to go on and lay my guts on the table, so to speak. The overall reception of my post was a rather positive one that made for some constructive and gratifying dialogue. Perhaps the niceness I experienced from my other group members was the result of my admission of nervousness preempting the bulk of my post:

“This assignment makes me nervous. Many of the things I identify as are perpetually criticized and marginalized due to, mainly, misinformation or cultural misrepresentation. However, it appears as though I am not the only one with these identifiers within our group, so that makes me feel a little better.”

Of course, part of my fears were manifested in that, eventually, one of my identities did incite a comment which expressed a disinclination towards my viewpoint. This comment was met by a caffine-fueled, impulsive, 1,674-word counter argument. Thankfully, this did not damage my overall experience with the commenter in my group; he remained positive and gave me very encouraging feedback regarding my other posts.

However, all this interaction and positive exchange didn’t change the fact that I entirely loathe the idea of assignments or projects that have to do with introspection, which was to be the main goal of our mirror blog posts. When presenting my proposal for my Mirror Blog project, I requested that, rather than focus on myself and how I personally feel I am represented in media, I attempted to change the course and do mine on a subject matter that is rather important to me–Feminism. After a bit of exchange between me and the instructor, she approved of my desire to deviate from the intended goal of the Mirror Blog. However, I ultimately decided that I was being selfish and depriving myself of a challenge and went on to do an introspective piece which also happened to align with my views on feminism.

Although I decided to do what was originally asked of me regarding the execution of the Mirror Blog assignment, it was no light undertaking for me. I was met with many challenges regarding exactly what angle I wanted to do my research from. At first, I was flirting with the idea of doing my Blog on the societally imposed gender binaries with which men are taught to behave, dress, and think, but the research was conjuring a frustration in me that made it entirely too difficult for me to continue down that path. Another direction I had considered was going entirely personal and autobiographical and try to explain why men like me who freely walk outside our gender binaries are discriminated against and are mistaken as gay. However, all the examples I had to draw from were extreme examples that merited further cultural elaboration that I just didn’t feel was in the correct spirit of the Mirror Blog theme. Eventually, I decided to scale it back a bit and keep the subject matter simple enough to limit my findings to a 2,500 word maximum; simply how male feminists, like myself, are portrayed in the media. I also found a way to elaborate upon my own views of what feminism means to me, but I don’t feel as though I did so in excess; I merely dedicated a paragraph to provide a piece of context:

“For those of you who are not familiar with feminism, it is a rather complex movement that, for some, takes several full college courses to fully comprehend and explore. As a result of feminism’s complexity, for the sake of keeping things simple, I’ll just break the term down to it’s basic definition; feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. For many feminists, one of the steps towards gender equality is challenging and tearing down societally imposed gender norms and gender roles that shepherd people into assimilating a conditioned identity that is ultimately fiat, imaginary, and false as it pertains to the actual capabilities of either gender.”

I suppose, ultimately, the thing that I’ve come to understand about myself as a student is that I have the ability accommodate and compromise outside of my general comfort zone without experiencing any detrimental setbacks as a result thereof. Although group work was not exactly something that I was enthused about and although I didn’t entirely go the initial direction that I wanted to regarding my Mirror Blog assignment, I was still able to complete my goals by motivating myself and rallying an enthusiasm towards the transcendence of a new series of academic obstacles.

Niedermeyer ePortfolio

I must admit upon learning more about what I was going to have to do for this class I was a bit hesitant. Like a lot of people, I generally tend not to enjoy having my writing about in such a transparent environment. Despite this one bit of hesitancy, I realized the class was far broader than that, particularly with the various topics that were brought up in the blog. Upon starting this course and realizing the frequency and openness of the writing, coupled with small groups, I set some goals for myself that included punctuality, openness regarding my views/opinion, respect towards my group and others, and expanding my writing and thinking skills.

I express some of my reservation regarding group work in this Blog post from Week 1:

In terms of group work, the last time I was involved in a compilation assignment was for a technical writing course. We were tasked with writing a manual of sorts. It is clear that every individual has unique perspectives, styles, and methods. With this knowledge, primarily based on past experience with group projects, I decided to take a ‘laid back’ approach. Despite this, it is difficult to not take some form of offense when your personal work is edited and critiqued by peers, though it is often necessary. In terms of Wikipedia, as with any group dealings, some will perceive biases others don’t and in the end it is vital to keep the common goal in mind.”

In terms of a role which I improved in was as a group member. I have generally shied away from group work in classes, or at least not enjoyed it in the past. Thankfully the way this course was set up I was able to develop a kind of rapport with my group-mates which helped me to gain a new understanding in things like helping by review or simple encouragement. In addition, I gained skills as a student through the weekly blog writing due to the fact that it provided all sorts of room for various topics and content.

Some interesting topics we/I covered in the blog come to mind:

One group of people that I feel are represented in a one-dimensional way are football fans. In general, popular culture tends to portray football fans as beer-drinking, overweight, unintellectual loudmouths who love nothing more than the ‘gladiator’ aspect of the game. This representation is so commonly prevalent that when I announced to my poetry class I was planning on writing a poem about football I was met with decisive criticism. Of course, the poem was not actually about the game of football, but of the communal, familiar, and church like aspect surrounding it. Without question there are a large number of people who go to or watch football games and are largely unaware of what it is exactly they are cheering about. Understandably so due to the intensely complex nature of the sport. The reason I choose this to write about is largely because of my upbringing. In veiled terms, some of the smartest men I have ever met in my life have been involved in the game and the business of football. While others went to church on Sunday, I would go to Foxboro. It baffles me how many time people must learn that generalizations are generally a poor viewpoint. We must all beware of judging before knowing.”

and

“…One specific gender stereotype specific to these ads I found troubling was the Pepsi Max commercial. In this ad, the woman is depicted as the controlling wife/girlfriend trying to make sure her boyfriend/husband stays healthy. The man is seem trying to get or eat ‘unhealthy’ food and is swiftly corrected, largely by physical and abusive means. The man is kicked for trying to order french fries, has his head shoved down into the cake he’s staring at, has soap put in his mouth while hiding in the bathtub, and finally has a can of Pepsi thrown at his for looking at and smiling at another girl, who ends up getting hit. In all instances there is abuse occurring. An ad would never air if the roles in this ad were to be replaced, nor should it. The problem though comes down to the continued enforcement of the idea that it is OK to hit a man but not a woman. As a young child I was taught by my father to never hit my sister or any other girl, so I never did. This message was never conveyed in the same way regarding my brother or other boys. Naturally, my brother and me would fight occasionally, our older sister would hit us occasionally, and my brother and I never hit her or any other girls. I have no intention to downplay the seriousness of violence against women at all, it is impermissible, the point is that violence and abuse of any degree and regardless of sex and gender should too be impermissible. As Ringo would say, “Peace and love, peace and love”.”

This class helped me to develop skills that can be carried over into future coursework as well as life. One would be the ability to think critically about a topic or even how I view an advertisement. Another would be the advancement of my Internet communication skills, which are clearly very necessary in today’s world. The analysis of ads is one skill that also comes to mind. In week we analyzed an ad for e-cigs which provided me the ability to dissect its message piece by piece:

This advertisement is bold, clean, themed for the product, ‘in your face’, presumptive, and presents an air of class/sophistication. In it features a white male with an attempt at a distinguished and inviting expression. It presents the subject, Stephen Dorff, at eye level, like a friend. In addition, the lighting of the ad displays Stephen’s face and teeth prominently, as well as his hand which is holding the e-cig in question. The photo was done with a prominence an emphasis on the color blue, a play on the name of the product, with bold and highlighted elements in various shades. Last, the font of the advertisements appears clean and modern. The brand name is highlighted in blue to further illustrate the brand, while various words like ‘Rise’ are highlighted with the theme of “rising from the ashes”.

The ad, which is for Blu e-cigs clearly emphasizes the retaking of your freedom by allowing you to not be a slave to cigarettes. This emphasis on freedom is emblematic of archetypes that many American males value. It is not only playing on the actual nicotine/cigarette addiction, but also the larger theme of the value of freedom in the United States. It would seem apparent that the primary target for this ad would be male (and smokers) in large part due to the text that accompanies the photo. By saying, “C’mon guys”, it is set in a tone of one guy talking to another. The emphasis on the color blue, while logical, is a bit overkill, with essentially every element of the advertisement in some form of blue. Although ads are largely annoying, it is easy to see the thought and attention to theme and style that was implemented. While still an ad, I can clearly see how this campaign may successful, particularly when it is aimed at a market where many have tried and are willing to try various forms of ‘healthy’ alternatives.” 

Shout out to all the classmates that helped make this class what it was.

 

 

 

MALE COLLEGE STUDENTS IN THE EYES OF POP CULTURE

How Male College Students Are Perceived By The Media

 

 

 

Popular culture is defined as the entirety of perspectives thoughts and attitudes that are within mainstream culture (Bennett, 2000). Popular culture includes any and all phenomena that have become part of mainstream culture such as music, movies, TV and YouTube shows and just about anything you can think of. Because popular culture is mainstream it is, by definition, widely spread though peoples lives, it has become more and more similar to a living breathing organism, a presence who’s ideologies and opinions are analogous to that of a person with higher class and profound wisdom. And thus, popular culture is extremely influential and its opinions have become increasingly persuasive. A great part of pop culture is movie pictures; millions of people of all ages races and beliefs watch movies worldwide as they sit side by side and laugh at Robin Williams dressed as a nanny or cry when Dobby dies to help Harry Potter. Movies are without a doubt an extremely influential aspect of human nature and a fascinating aspect of popular culture for it convinces those watching to feel what is being told and can even sculpt the minds of many people.

 

Many aspects of popular culture have become intertwined with the higher education system. College students represent a significant percentage of our community, according to the National Center For Education Statistics twenty one million people attended higher education institutes in the year 2014, nine million of which are males, surely college students account for a large enough number to be considered a culture of their very own. These twenty one million college students are a part of most of our lives; they are our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, uncles and aunts, and our cousins and friends and are undoubtedly a great influence on our culture. Being a significant presence, college students have developed certain criteria of behaviors and mannerisms that are associated with the title of College Student, some of which are positive and others that are negative, but, as is the case with any widely spread cultural aspect of our environment college students have been given an identity in the eyes of popular culture.

 

Popular culture portrays male college students in many different way, some of the ways popular culture represents college students through movie pictures is considerably undesirable, such as in the movie “the neighbors” in which students are shows as dimwitted or feeble minded. Other movies show aspects of college students as stressed and under extreme amounts of pressure such as in the movie “A beautiful mind”. Other aspects of popular culture show male college students as plain sex hungry idiots such as in the music video “Spring break anthem”. Below these three artifacts of popular culture are analyzed separately in order to bring to light many important details of each individually.

 

Artifact one: “A Beautiful mind” directed by Ron Howard, screenplay written by Akiva Goldsman.

http://viooz.ac/movies/1473-a-beautiful-mind-2001.html

 

 

“A beautiful mind” is a movie based on the story of a young prodigy named John Nash who attended Princeton University on a mathematics scholarship in the year 1947. The movie is about Nash’s journey through college life and the struggles he faces while suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, a mental illness that has many effects on the mind such as frequent episode of hallucinations, paranoia and anxiety. The purpose of the movie is to tell the story of this genius man as a college student and to show the amount of a burden stress and academic pressure can have on even the most intellectual individuals, many claim that the strain and difficulties Nash faced were components that contributed to his mental illness. The audience for this movie is broad because the story is well appreciated amongst many ages and cultures, but I believe the intended audience leans toward younger individuals (between the ages of 20-30) who are in the prime of their academic pilgrimage. The film had its premier on the13th of December in the year 2001. The movie was first showed in Beverly Hills, California and went public January 4th of the following year.

 

 

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In the movie A Beautiful Mind the main charterer John Nash begins his academic journey when he moves from his hometown of Bluefield, West Virginia to New Jersey to attend Princeton for his graduate studies. Upon arrival Nash is immediately out casted by fellow colleagues for being different and socially awkward. Nash finds comfort in his imaginary roommate Charles, a drinking, partying, and wild British man. Further along the journey Nash begins to show symptoms of his illness when he starts to hallucinate and imagine he is now part of a secret government branch who has hired him to break codes found in newspapers. Director Ron Howard along with the writes used these facts from Nash’s life and exaggerated them to present their image. In a beautiful mind Russell’s character shows signs of searching for meaning and self worth, he is faced with a great opportunity of attending Princeton University one of the most profound ivy league school in the world, Nash is faced with a great deal of stress to find what he calls “An original idea” this shows the very real aspect of college life, stress induced by overwhelming responsibilities. Nash, without any knowledge of his mental condition, begins to miss many classes in order to focus of his original idea all with the comforting presence of his friend Charlie, Nash begins to fulfill his self proclaimed prophecy that was induced by the high standards brought forward by his parents and others around him because they saw potential in him.

In this movie popular culture views the college male as stressed, anxious and lost individuals who are seeking meaning and propose in their lives. This aspect of popular culture touches of the reality many college men live in today. The journey though college is a significant part of every young mans life, it is when he being discovering who he is and what he aims to become. In a study by psychologists Ranjita Misra and Michelle McKean, stress can cause many different psychological and physical illnesses and more than ever college students are more prone to these illnesses with greater socioeconomic standards. Further studies show that when stress is perceived negatively or becomes excessive, students experience physical and psychological impairment (Murphy & Archer, 1996).

 

Other than stress induced illnesses and self-seeking journeys, the movie industry has focused the lens on college students in additional, and perhaps less accurate, means.

 

Artifact 2http://mintmovies.net/watch-neighbors-2014-full-movie-streaming-online-free/

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  “Neighbors “ is a 2014 American comedy film, directed by Nicholas Stoller and written by Andrew Cohen and Brendan O’Brie. The film is about a recently married couple that has moved into a new house with a newborn baby. The movie shows the couples struggles as they are acclimating to their new lifestyle all while a group of college student move in next door. The purpose of the film is to show the similarities and differences between the typical college student and mature adults in a comedic fashion. The movie was originally broadcasted May 9, 2014 in movie theaters all across the United States.

 

In the movies “neighbors” there is a lot of emphasis of male bonding and relationships between classmates or “brothers” from the same fraternity. In this way popular culture shows that male collage students are attempting to cope with a transition between living at home with family members to being among friends or alone without any rules. In this movie male college students are portrayed as dimwitted and idiotic, for example the students are shown with little to no academic worries and are mainly focused on having sex, partying and disturbing their neighbors. Furthermore, the movie portrays the students as drug user with little to no moral grounds, their main purpose in college is not to archive academic greatness like in a beautiful mind, but to have the biggest parties and to sleep with the greatest numbers of women as possible.

This movie magnifies the phase many young men might go through. Once college men leave the nest they have grown up in they loose their contrite foundations that have stabled them for so long and as a results many seek the companionship and closes of brotherhood. However, this new sense of brotherhood comes with new social rules, peer pressures and in some cases the formations of dangerous habits. In the article written by Michael Kremer more light is shed on the subject. Kremer shows that the influence of ones peers can be significantly strong and may lead to behaviors otherwise foreign to the pressured individual (Kremer, 2008). These behaviors are likely due to the longing for acceptance by others, and in the case of this movie they are done because these individuals seek a bond similar to that of the family they have recently moved away from.

 

Other aspects of popular culture portray college students as idiotic and immature such as in the next artifact.

 

Artifact 3https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUw4Qh9uFK8

 

“Spring Break Anthem” is a song preformed by the comedic hip-hop band The Lonely Island. The purpose of the song is to portray the stereotypic imagine of young college students between the ages of 19-28. The intended audience however is a little more diverse; due to the fact that the song is meant to be funny the audience is not restricted to the age range of college students.. The song was released as the second single from the album “The Wack Album” on May 5, 2013.

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This music video portrays college males a barbaric manner more so than in the movie the neighbors, this music video emphasizes the idea that not only are male college students idiots and lack goals, they are out of control. The music video is about spring break the time of year in which college students finish stressful times of finals and have a 14-day break. In this video the assumption is made that every collage student relieves stress by drinking having sex and partying non-stop. The video even shows that these men are not only partying non-spot, it shows that they encourage the act of drinking till one falls sick and experience health problem. The phrase “and Mary a man” is repeated many times throughout the video this is done once again to show the lack of responsibility these college students have. Although the video is meant to be comedic the ideas have not sprung up out oaf thin air, the ide is based of true stereotypes that are a part of the everyday college student life.

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All of these artifacts are based of stereotypical ideologies that are carried with the title of college male. This is a clear cut case in which the majority suffers for the acts of the minority, most college students are not marrying men because its just the thing to do on spring break or hosting extremely irresponsible and dangerous parties or even doing copious amounts of drugs for the hell of it. However, the amount of stresses that are carried on the backs of male college students has numerous affects on their lives. These three artifacts are evidence of the demanding lifestyle male college students live but like a projected and enlarged image they focus on a small aspect of the lifestyle and the results are an over exaggerated stereotype.

 

In conclusion as a society we must accept the good and bad from people in order to understand one and other, in the case of male college students it is important to understand that these images of sex-hungry partying and stressed males looking for meaning are factual to some degree but it’s crucial to have a analytical stance in order to differentiate the fact from fiction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References and citation:

 

Bennett, Andy. Popular music and youth culture: music, identity and place. Macmillan Press Ltd., 2000.

 

Kremer, Michael, and Dan Levy. “Peer effects and alcohol use among college students.” The Journal of Economic Perspectives 22.3 (2008): 189-189.

 

Misra, Ranjita, and Michelle McKean. “COLLEGE STUDENTS’ACADEMIC STRESS AND ITS RELATION TO THEIR ANXIETY, TIME MANAGEMENT, AND LEISURE SATISFACTION.” American Journal of Health Studies 16.1 (2000): 41-51.

 

Murphy, M.C., & Archer, J. (1996). Stressors on the college campus: A comparison of 1985-1993. Journal of College Student Development, 37(1), 20-28.

Kathy Yeung: Eportfolio

In this course, my initial learning goal was to learn more about how popular media has an influence in our society. Especially with the emerging trends that involve young adults being more involved using the internet and e-sources, I wanted to learn more about it in an academic point of view. In addition to that, I also wanted to improve my writing skills and reading, as well as being able to apply and analyze things using the course texts we were expected to read on a weekly basis. Some of my strengths I saw were to learn how to pace myself and set certain dates to help me be on top of my schedule since this is an online class and there is no one to help manage my time. Another strength was I saw in myself was being able to learn how to apply different pieces of media, analyze what we were reading, and apply them into the prompts. Some challenges that I have encountered throughout the term was to come up with well thought out posts and replies. Replying to someone’s post is easy, but making it a post that elaborates and relates to what another classmate has posted has been a bit more difficult that what I thought it would be. Instead of just replying that you agree to something, our replies have more depth in them as we have progressed in this term. For example, this student replied to the prompt about intellectual property laws: “I agree with you. I too think that the intellectual property laws are important but many times they do go too far I think. Sometimes it seems that you can’t use anything anyone has ever said or made without citing it, but then you think to yourself, didn’t just about everything that you know or learned come from someone else or a different source? Where do you draw the line for what is ok to use without giving credit or what you have to cite. For example, if you write that the earth is round in an essay, would you cite the person that discovered that?” That reply not only agrees with the original person who posts it, but he also brings up more follow-up questions, and asks questions that pushes us to continue to think further than what we were asked to do. Replies such as these have make me think beyond what we read, and it constantly reminds us that we should think further than what we are asked when instructors in the future ask us to do things.

The role that I thought I have improved on is being a listener. By reading all the different posts that my classmates have posted, seeing how the authors in course texts have explained things in their perspective, and watching videos and analyze what they are trying to convince us, viewers, I have learned and seen things in a different perspective compared to what I am use to. Because there are so many of us on the blogging platform, there are more opinions to a single prompt than just my own opinion. Because most of us are replying to the same questions, I have learned a lot by seeing people have different variations to their answers, writing styles, what they have summarized and analyzed, and much more. One example of this would be during Week 4, The Influence of Advertising, we all talked about gender stereotypes. In those ads, many of us wrote about how females are being objectified and how men can be seen as the doltish guys. Many of us had similar thoughts, but I also remember another classmate posting about how some of the sayings in society are ridiculous, like how the saying “boys will be boys” is stupid because it becomes an excuse for boys to do whatever they want. Besides that, we also had students who talk about things that weren’t directly related to the course readings, but it propels us to think about all the connections and ties there is between what they are saying and what we are reading. One example was the post about the advertisements and how some of them are positive. “Politics are imaginary. The value of money is imaginary. Capitalism is an imaginary system. These are all abstract concepts that we’ve imagined into existence and have imposed on the world as a means to try and control it. However, it’s like living in the Matrix; you have to play by the rules or you won’t survive. In our capitalistic society, everything revolves around money, capital gain, and perpetuation of wealth. However, some companies try to use their powers to help other people and change society for the better.” This doesn’t relate to how the ads are affecting us, but it does provoke our minds to think further to how this relates to our world besides it being from a cultural perspective.

Another example that shows how diverse our answers and perspectives are are the Mirror Blog Post where we wrote about an identity that we associate ourselves with. In each post, we have found different ways of showing the connection between the blog post and about ourselves. While reading it, I have learned more about the different ways one can express themselves and how people see their world compared to how I see my world despite living on the same planet. One student stated in her Mirror Blog post that “popular culture can look at all us hybrids out there and reevaluate the way they label and put people into tiny, uncomfortable boxes.” I have never thought about how we can be labeled into these boxes, but after have read these posts, it had really changed the way I look at things.

Before I had taken this class, I did not know how we were going to be taught about popular culture from an academic standpoint. But after taking this class, I think I have walked away learning a lot more than what I was expecting. I think one of the biggest skills that I have learned is to be able to pinpoint how media manipulates the way we think, which makes me now more aware of the different stereotypes I see on commercials. Even something as simple as watching a TV show, I now think about how it influences us and how certain identities are portrayed. Not only did I learn things that can be applied to what we see in the media, I have found ways to apply what I have learned to everyday situations and things I have heard. For example, when I hear people talk about how guys shouldn’t do this and girls shouldn’t do that and so on, I would then think to myself, “why is it that they perceive those norms like that?” I would then try to analyze the different points they are making, and think about what sort of media had caused them to think like this. Another skill that I have learned is to use the available resources from our library and other websites that we have used to help me write a stronger essay, thesis statement, and other writing pieces I will encounter in the future. This class has helped me a lot with learning how to find reliable sources, and I will definitely be applying those skills in the future, as well as the “moves” from the videos we have learned about (and have applied to the Adidas commercial in Week 6). Those questions  help outline what to look for, and it will be something I will print out so I can use it as reference in future classes.

In the end, I have learned a lot more than what I have been expecting. From thinking this class would only just be a fun class, this course has changed the ways I now view things, and have taught me not to be as naive as I once was. It has taught me to think deeper than what is being shown, and how producers and creators may manipulate things in order to attract attention from young adults like me.

Shay Morris-Doty’s Eportfolio post

For me, my initial learning goal for this University studies course was to learn how to better interact with culture in this country. Popular culture is something we are surrounded by everyday, and interact with whether we want to or not, especially in our careers and studies. Related to my communication goal, I originally wrote, “…my job has had me practicing many forms of communication for a while. I often have to engage in consultation with individuals and groups through electronics, as well as in person. In addition, I have to often represent my ideas visually and orally for others to understand.

This term I can probably best see the ability for this group to learn together when it comes to how groups of people collaborate… As far as this group, I would hope that at the very least it would be able to communicate without long periods of absence this term. I have had many experiences with online groups dissipating due to inactivity from members, which just causes the other group members to suffer as they struggle to a. figure out what is going on with their group and b. try to keep up with the often difficult work that groups are assigned.” I do believe that I (as well as the group as a whole) was able to accomplish this goal. Almost every week’s workshop group is a testament to that as almost all of the members communicated well and in a timely fashion. This is definitely a strength I can see myself developing. Especially as I become more and more committed to my own studies, simple things like communication become a higher priority. Luckily this is an incredibly useful skill that manifests itself both within temporary online groups, as well as their real life counterparts in any of the careers any of us may go into.

As far as a struggle, near week 8, I began to take on more responsibilities in my job, and as a result I began to fall behind in terms of the work I was doing for school. I was encouraged through email by the professor of the course to communicate with my group members that I would be a little late on turning in a rough draft for the mirror essay. I was able to communicate to them, but unfortunately it didn’t communicate very well. This wouldn’t have normally been a problem, except this week required additional peer reviews from two different members. As I was a day late on it, I only received one peer review, which may have affected the overall quality of my essay.

As a reviewer, however, this peer review assignment helped me improve. Up to this point, almost every peer review I have ever done has been anonymous. While I understand this helps to be “truthful and blunt” in many cases, I have always seen a disconnect between anonymous reviews and those done by professors of a class. The way the groups were established from the beginning, and the way the review assignment was introduced and carried out, allowed us to give actual advise, without worrying about what people may think of what we have said to them. In many cases I can see that being anonymous allows us to be protect our identities for this, but I believe that having a name of a person we have gotten to know attached to the review letter helps to make the compliments more genuine, and the critiques more friendly. For example, in some of the compliments I gave to Penny and Aubree: Wow! Right from the beginning your thesis stood out and I knew exactly what your essay was going to be about. You were very clear about how these stereotypes existed in each of the popular sources, and Im glad that you went from a movie that exaggerated everything about being a ballerina, toward what you believed to be more realistic portrayals of the art form” “From the very beginning, I can tell you are very passionate about this subject.” “I definitely enjoyed that you identified all the stereotypes that you have experienced, and then found them in different movies”.

At this point in the term, these comments aren’t just empty compliments for the purpose of completing a project, but instead genuine friendly compliments for real people that I want to see do well. The assignment allowed for the critiques to be real as well: “But I kind of wished that you would have expanded on some of the later show that will be released in the fall (or at least what you have been able to find about it).” “I’m not sure if it was intentional for you to wait until the end to begin to really bring your own personal experience into the essay, but I could see this being used in some kind of magazine article as a result. Otherwise it would be cool to get your own personal perspective on these topics woven throughout. This also might allow it the essay flow consistently.” “Otherwise the only thing I could see as missing were your sources cited. But even without them, it was clear which sources you used, which thoughts were yours, and which were summaries or references to the sources. The only other thing I would expand upon again have to do with your own experiences as a result of these examples. One of the questions for the rubric asks how your experience compares, and another asks how these things influence you or others. This would also be an interesting first hand account because you don’t often hear about what dancers say about things such as eating disorders and drama.” “The only thing I would have liked to see is where these stereotypes come from. Did they exist before these movies existed? Or were they made up for these movies, and as a result society began to mirror them when they saw them. This could be a good thing to use secondary sources for (I didn’t notice any in the essay), as otherwise it just seems like you are responding to these stereotypes personally.” As I watched these ideas form throughout the term, I knew where they were coming from, and had some kind of investment in seeing my group members do well.

Additionally, not being anonymous allows real connections to be made with a topic. For example, I wrote: I have had the opportunity lately to interact from many people from both Hawai’i as well the Caribbean (I know they are definitely different, but hear me out), and you definitely bring up all of the same things that I can see they deal with on a daily basis when they leave the islands. For instance, my girlfriend is from Barbados, and she is almost 100% of the time asked how her English is so good, when in fact, everyone on the island speaks English. I can definitely see the same response in your letter as she often gives; the ignorance in people of other cultures is SO present in today’s society.” Coming from a “faceless” person on the internet, I imagine these kinds of comments would not mean much to the person being reviewed, and in many cases might even be straight up inappropriate to make. But this allowed for a discourse to take place between real individuals with lives connected to the work they were doing.
In regards to my own life and career moving forward, this course has helped me learn about tools I can use for the analysis of artifacts and types of culture I come across. As an international studies major, this will especially be helpful when I begin to come across aspects of popular artifacts when analyzing other cultures throughout the world, or interacting with people from different countries.

In addition to this, the mirror essay has helped me analyze who I would like to be, and popular artifacts related to my being. My final paragraph in the essay will stand out in my mind as an ultimate conclusion to this project: “Even though many of the musicians I have been surrounded by growing up show these qualities, I have a much greater awareness that it is easy to become assimilated to that type of lifestyle, and in the end I decided that I didn’t want to live like that. This doesn’t mean that I am any less of a musician than before. I chose to affiliate myself with this life, and of course have to interact with those that do unfortunately show many of these characteristics. But when comparing the documentary It Might Get Loud to some of the ‘mocumentaries’ such as Parks and Rec and This is Spinal Tap, it has shown that perhaps musicians aren’t like this in reality. This tells me that the stereotypes that exist in many of the ‘not-yet-professional’ musicians throughout the world are merely mirroring what we see in media, and not an accurate portrayal of what actually exists.” I had never analyzed artifacts related to myself, nor have I taken into account how they relate to me. But this assignment helped (and required me) to think about how they are associated with my life. They even allowed me to make real decisions on how to change my life for the better when interacting with other musicians that I come across.

Ultimately, this course was unique in how intertwined it can be with one’s own life. By opening yourself up, the assignments have real implications related to how to interact with the world.

Hockey Players

Growing up in Toronto, Canada I have been around the hockey culture since I was just a baby. I was two years old when I was put on the ice for the first time and ended up playing hockey for twelve years at a high level. Even though I do not play organized hockey anymore it is still something I am very passionate about and always will be. Being something I am passionate about and having played it for more than half my life I decided to look deeper into just how the game of hockey and specifically the players are portrayed in the media. Living in Toronto does not really give me a good representation because hockey is life there and people can only say good things about hockey players. So how are hockey players and the game portrayed in the media outside of the hockey centre of the world? Hockey players are often portrayed in the media in a way that does not truly represent them as individuals. I focused on how hockey players are depicted in films and in shows about hockey. What I found is that hockey players are shown as not the smartest people, fighters, and very masculine.

Poster-of-Goon-2012The first artifact I looked at was the movie Goon which was directed by Michael Dowse and written by Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg. Goon is a comedy movie that focuses on a guy who has never played hockey before and how he gets signed to a hockey team just to be a fighter. There were many instances in this movie that I found to be interesting. Two are the main character cannot skate to begin with and the amount of hockey fights there are. I find the fact that the main character cannot skate to start interesting because he gets signed to a hockey team after the general manager sees him fight on a video and then he moves up the ranks of hockey. This would never happen in real life. No hockey team would ever sign a guy just because he is a good fighter. All the fighters who play high level of hockey are also good players. They may not be the most skilled but they can contribute to the game outside of being a fighter. I found the amount of fights they show to be interesting because it is such an unrealistic amount it is comical, which I’m sure they were going for. In real hockey there is probably on average one fight every other game for a team but in this movie there is a fight almost every shift it seems like. Hockey players are not fighters which is what this movie seems to be portraying. Hockey players are hockey players and yes some also fight but they are hockey players first. Fighting is being phased out of hockey as the game changes so the amount of players that a actually fight is slim.

The second artifact I used was the movie Slap Shot that was directed by George Roy Hill k9X8h7mMgSSnVTGFJNxH5irvzEAand written by Nancy Dowd. It is about a hockey team that resorts to violent play to get more popularity and one of the ways they do that is by signing three brothers that are considered goons. The two details I found most interesting in this movie are the hockey players are all portrayed to be very masculine and the fact that the owner is focused more on selling hockey to the fans than creating a winning team. Seeing the hockey players being portrayed as very masculine is revealing that hockey is seen as a very masculine sport in popular culture and therefore the players are also very masculine. I found the fact that the owner is more worried about getting fans than creating a good team to be strange because even thought hey ended up becoming a good team, no owner would ever do anything that puts the success of the team at risk which is exactly what happened in the movie.

The third artifact I used was clips from Coaches Corner which is a segment featured between periods on Hockey Night in Canada. Broadcasted by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). It discusses what has happened the last week in the hockey world and is lead by Don Cherry, a former player and coach in the NHL. One thing I found interesting from the Coaches Corner clips was just how much Don Cherry praises the tough players and the players who fight. If someone who does not really watch or follow hockey was stop just watch Coaches Corner than they may think more hockey players fight than do. He praises the tough players over and over again throughout the clip and from what I can remember while watching him every Saturday night growing up. To him they are the most valuable players in the NHL and a perfect example of what a hockey player should be. This is unfortunate because people who watch his program will just agree with him if they do not watch much hockey and that is a very single minded viewpoint. Tough players and players who fight are definitely important in the NHL but to say they are what all players should be or are, is just simply wrong. More players than not are more skill oriented and it is too bad they do not get the air time or discussion on Coaches Corner as they should.

HockeyFightsoftheYear

I think that there is a lot of fighting shown and many movies are based on that aspect of the game because that is what will sell the best and bring in the most viewers. I think this is why it is focused on so much even though it is a very small part of the game. In today’s society we are all about making money and that is a great way to do it. After viewing the two movies it was pretty evident that the notion that hockey players are dumb comes from popular culture because of films and other media over the years that have portrayed hockey players in that light. It is especially too bad for the tough players and the “fighters” because they are the ones who get portrayed as the dumbest. In reality, hockey players are very intelligent and hockey is a sport that in itself you have to be a bright person to play it at a high level and the “fighters” are in many cases one of the smartest players on every team. Just because that is their role on the team and they want to do all they can to help their team win does not mean they a dumb.

SidneyCrosby2012The first secondary source I found is a scholarly journal that was written by Kristi A Allain who was a student at Trent University in Canada at the time. The journal focuses on Sidney Crosby, who is wildly regarded the best player in the world right now. Sydney Crosby is considered the model of Canadian masculinity and a national identity. However his image is mostly shaped by the media. “What is particularly interesting about Crosby, is the way his identity has been constructed by the public, and by the various media that report on him in contradictory ways” (Allain 5). The media has portrayed Crosby as a rough and tough Canadian superstar that is here to save hockey but also a whiney prima donna. This just goes to show how the media can shed a different light on someone than may be true. The media tries so hard to label people, in this case Crosby, as something that will sell. It does not matter if it necessarily true as long as it makes money. None of those journalists who have called Crosby those things know him personally so they really should not be saying what and who he is.

The second secondary source I found is an article from the Los Angeles Times that was written by Karen Kaplan in 2013. The article discusses a study that researchers from the Injury Prevention Research Office and the Division of Neurosurgery at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto constructed to see if the media is partly to blame for an increase in brain injuries. They studied many different newspapers and noticed that the media is almost encouraging the aggressive play that often leads to head injuries. I was not surprised to learn that these newspapers are encouraging this type of play because of the three primary artifacts I reviewed and how violent concentrated they were. People read this news and see that this aggressive style of play is being praised and talked about all the time so they want to go play the game of hockey like that because they think it is the right way. A lot of head injuries for younger kids in hockey is caused by someone just not knowing how to properly play the game or what is right and what is wrong. It seems obvious that the way the media portrays the game of hockey and its players is now getting to the point where it is actually dangerous to the players.

The media portrays the game of hockey and its players in a way that will benefit them the most so they focus on the violent aspects of the game and praise the tough players more than anyone else. For myself this was magnified when I came to the USA for school and when I would tell people that I had played hockey for twelve years they would tell me of how tough of a sport they hear hockey is and they would ask me about hockey fights. Those were the first things most people went to which just goes to show how much the media has an affect on people. The truth is I’m no more tough than the next guy. Sure hockey is tough sport to play but that does not make all the players tough people. Just because someone looks tough on the ice in the middle of a game does not mean they are tough outside of the game. Hockey players are just regular people like everybody else.

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Works Cited
Kid Crosby or Golden Boy: Sidney Crosby, Canadian national identity, and the policing of hockey masculinity
International Review for the Sociology of Sport March 2011 46: 3-22, first published on August 9, 2010

Goon. Alliance Films, 2011. Film.

Slap Shot. Universal, 1977. Film.

Kaplan, Karen. “Is the Media to Blame for the Brain Injuries of Hockey Players?” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 17 Apr. 2013. Web. 29 May 2015.

Tiny Box

Over the past year of my life I have really struggled with my identity in the ways in which I am portrayed in mainstream popular culture. As a female, Christian college student I have two different identities that are viewed and labeled in to completely different lights. With the labels being so strong and prevalent, at times I find myself struggling to see how and where I fit in with the two- or if it is even a possibility for me to be both. As I continued my research in finding out what ways me identities do and do not conflict, a lot of my previous assumptions were confirmed while I few we even disproved.

With my first identity being a Female College Student, I start would with a pretty strong idea of how we are viewed. Due to the sexualization of young women, especially us in our late teens and early to mid twenties, female college students are stamped with labels that other people gave us. We are wild, we are slutty, and we are adventurous, reckless, loud, stupid, dependent, and incapable. A lot of these labels and pre-determined notions on how female college students are, come from mainstream media over-exposing the college party scene. We have all scenes the movies, read the books and some have even dreamed about the day they will get the raging college experience. In the major motion picture Project X, the typical young-age party scene is laid out. The parents are out of town for a weekend and it just so happens to be a good friends birthday, they want to do something wild that will make them ‘cool’ forever so they throw the stereotypical house party that every under aged students dreams of going to, right? Here there is loud music, jumping off of rooftops, drinking, smoking marijuana, games, throwing up, sex and more sex. The entire movie shows the boys having all the ‘fun’ and part of that fun is winning over the girl that if sober would otherwise never give them the time of day. Because she is apart of this party crowd, of course they show her drunk hanging over multiple guys. The girls are dancing on each other inappropriately, they drinking out of liquor bottles and really set up as accessories or prizes to be won by the guys. A main part of the plot involves one of the main characters trying to win over a girl for the night.

I honestly was not surprised when I watched this movie. I went in looking and hoping that it would provide and successful and stereotypical portrayal of how female college students and young women in general are portrayed in popular culture and it provided exactly that. The reality of a female college student consists more of that late Friday nights on our laptops trying to perfect the paper due Monday, Saturday nights working a part-time job to pay for our higher education and Sunday mornings spent sleeping in to recover and prepare for another challenging week. However, very few forms of popular culture like to show this side of young women for two reasons. The first of the two being that it is flat out boring. No one is interested in watching a girl struggle to get all her homework done and get sleep while maintaining somewhat of a social life. It is boring because it is real life. Why would you want to spend two to two and a half hours watching something you experience daily? The second of the two being that it doesn’t cater to the way men want young women to be. If popular culture continues to portray young women as less than capable of young men, then more people in real life will view them that way too. It is a fun and unrealistic fantasy for many to believe that the majority of young women are wiling to get drunk, party, have casual sex, and be reckless. But in reality, that is really all this label or concept of young women is. A fantasy.

My other identity is representing in the most opposite ways possible. Frequently, Christians are looked at to be strict, uptight, and weird by popular culture standards. I have always struggled with this, especially in my young adulthood due to the way others think ‘I am supposed’ to be as a Christian. In the movie A Walk To Remember, the story of a young lady who is a pastor’s daughter is told. She is very strong in her faith and therefore labeled as an outcast. She doesn’t dress like the other ‘normal’ students. She is completely cover in long sleeves and long skirts typically, she doesn’t really talk to boys because her father says they are sinful, she is kind to everyone and never says anything mean, and she spends all her free time at church or reading her Bible. I think this movie is an absolute perfect example of how Christians are portrayed by popular culture.

Major movies and books like to pick the most extreme part of a group and amplify it to make it seem that is how everyone in the group is, when in reality it isn’t true in the slightest. Most Christians prefer to dress more modest, but nowhere is it a requirement or really an expectation to have all parts of your body covered by clothing. It is okay to show your arms, it is okay to where pants and it is okay to where a neckline other than a turtleneck. Christian women are also allowed to talk to and date boys. Obviously there are rules that are firm when it comes to that relationship and what goes on, but there is nothing that says women can not go out on dates and get to know guys. And lastly and probably the strongest stigma that comes with Christianity is that all we do is spend our time at church and read our Bibles. Yes, it is good to spend time at Church and reading your Bible. A lot of Christians value that time greatly, but that is not the only thing our lives consist of. We are employed, we play sports, we go out to movies and we hang around friends outside of church. You see the characters time and time again. The group of Christians that only hang out with each other and all they care about is church, the Christian that dresses in out of style clothing completely covering her body, the Christian that has no friends because they are ‘weird’.

As you have probably caught on to now, the way popular culture has decided to portray two of my most important identities makes it impossible to fit into either of the little boxes created for me. How am I supposed to get drunk on a daily basis if all I do is go to Church? How am I supposed to have casual sex if I am not allowed to talk to boys? How am I supposed to be slutty if all I wear are unfashionable clothing that completely covers my body? The two simply can not and will not make sense together because they have been created to be so opposite. In the article “The Female Perspective of Hooking-Up on College Campuses”, Maura Gallagher was able to bring my two identities the closest to uniting as I think they can get. She explains that it is becoming more socially acceptable to have casual sex because that’s what a lot of men are looking for in the college experience. This is how female college students are label as ‘sluts’ and ‘reckless’ because they are now doing what typically was looked at to be male behavior. However, she then goes on to say this is not the case for all female college students and that those who have a strong religious affiliation showed less regret when it came to hooking up because they didn’t partake.

 

Another factor that can influence a girl’s reasons to hook-up is religion. Girls who indicate strong religious beliefs are less likely to indicate a high level of regret related to hook-ups (Maura Gallagher).

 

I think the conclusion I have come to is that I simply can not be both popular culture’s view of the Female College Student and popular cultures view of a Christian at the same time due to the fact that they like to take the extreme of an identity and plaster it over everything, making those who do not do their own personal research believe that that is the way all people who carry that identity act. Because I have two strong and prevalent identities in today’s popular culture, I will always struggle with not being able to fully align with the stereotypes prescribed to me. Though some people may hate the fact that they will never be able to fit in with the way they ‘should’ be, I kind of like it. I like that I am a blend of all the different things that make me, me. I like that I am breaking so many stereotypes just by living my life how I feel is good and right, and I think popular culture can look at all us hybrids out there and reevaluate the way they label and put people into tiny, uncomfortable boxes.

Asian Male Athlete

The identity of Asian male Athlete is often misrepresented in modern society. We are often looked down upon. Not being able to compete with any other ethnicities around the world. Society view Asian male athletes as one who should be at home doing math or cooking. They do not believe Asians have the capability of being talented in the sports world. How do I know all of this? It is because I am an Asian Male Athlete myself. I have been placed in this situation. For many people this comes off not only a misunderstanding but as racism as well. Throughout history, we have not had much Asian athletes here in the United States but overseas, Asian males dominate at the percentage of 98% according to Asian-Nation. You might say “Oh only America does not believe. You can not say the whole world does not either.” Well, also according to Asian-Nation, U.S. media has so much power that it dominates overseas. This is crucial because although Asian male athletes are 98% overseas, they do not think they are good enough do to the media in the U.S. who portrays Asians as nothing but a bunch of nerds. Through these two sources, you will see how Asians are portrayed in today’s society.

In the film “Linsanity” directed by Evan Leong, you walk along side the NBA player Jeremy Lin and learn his struggles of becoming a basketball player. It is not just any ordinary struggle. It is the struggle of racism. Throughout this film, you see how Asians are portrayed to be untalented in the sports world as Jeremy Lin was cut from his middle school team and told by his coach to go home and do homework instead. Another scene in this film shows that Stanford rejected Jeremy Lin to play on the basketball team because they believed Asians would not be the ideal player for their school. The scene that really pushed the buttons was when Jeremy Lin led his team to state finals in high school but no one believed their team could win because it was an Asian led team. These scenes clearly shows the struggles of being misrepresented in the sports world. In this film, society did not accept Jeremy Lin as a basketball player because of he has an Asian background. He went and proved all of these people wrong. He became so good that it was hard not to notice him. When his home team Golden State Warriors gave him a chance in the league, he became a global icon. He was the inspiration for all the Asian Male athletes around the world. He changed how society started to view Asians in the sports world.

“Shaolin Soccer” directed by Stephen Chow, is another film that misrepresents Asian athletes as well. Just read the title and tell me if you still need explain why the identity of Asian male athletes are misrepresented in modern society. Well, for those who still are clueless this is offensive. Why? It does not just represent Asian male athletes wrong, it comes off a little racist as well. This film is about a group of Asian males that are recruited to play soccer because of their martial arts skills. In no country is this acceptable. Why are Asians assumed to know martial arts? Why can we not be an average soccer player with soccer talents and not martial arts expert? Why is it that, other ethnicities are portrayed as mighty at soccer, and Asian males are portrayed to be pipsqueaks unless they know martial arts? Films like these are the reason society misrepresent Asian male athletes. Media has such a major influence in today’s society that makes it very difficult to change.

Like many of the Asian males around the world, I am misrepresented as well. This really impacts our lives because society makes us feel like we are destined to fail in the sports world and that it is impossible for us to ever succeed. Growing up, I love sports whether it is football or basketball and even tennis. During basketball tryouts freshman year, I was so confident I outplayed everyone there. I scored the most points and racked up the most assist yet I was cut from the team. The coach told me, that I was not athletic enough and it is not my fault but is my genes. In other words he said I was Asian and that Asians can not play basketball. That year, our team consisted of only African Americans and yet there are so many other players that worked harder and much more talented. Those kids were not given the chance because our skin color.

My senior year, I decided to go out and play football. The coach sat me down and told me I am not allowed to use karate on the field. He believes Asians are too small and should not participate and risk an injury. Thus, I was cut from the football team. You know what makes it worst? It was a not cut team. How can Asian male athletes be misrepresented that bad. All I wanted was a chance and I never got that because of how society views Asian male athletes.

Is there a solution to this identity being misrepresented? Well, logically there is. If people open their minds up to get to know someone before they judge. Do I ever think it will happen? No, I do not because as humans, we are too selfish and tend to think highly of ourselves. Americans male athlete will always dominate over Asian male athletes because of how media portrays them. Media has such a huge impact on society that it can manipulate anyone. Asians male athletes are a hard working group of people. Though throughout our lives we have been told no, we use that as motivation to work hard hoping one day we can prove the whole world wrong. One day, maybe we can stop determining who is an athlete based off the color of their skin. Asian male athletes will only be represented correctly is society chooses to .

 

Work Cited

“Stereotypes of Race and Nationality: Sport Magazine Coverage of MLB Players from 2000 to 2007.” Stereotypes of Race and Nationality: Sport Magazine Coverage of MLB Players from 2000 to 2007. Web. 18 May 2015.

 

“Caught Between White and Black.” Asian American Sports Stars & Athletes : Asian-Nation. Web. 18 May 2015.

 

“The Portrayal of Race, Ethnicity, and Nationality in Televised International Athletic Events – LA84 Foundation.” LA84 Foundation. Web. 18 May 2015.

 

Sports, Sam. “Jeremy Lin Movie ‘Linsanity’ Delves into Racism, Hype.” USA Today. Gannett, 4 Oct. 2013. Web. 18 May 2015.

 

 

The Portrayal of A Hawaiian: What You See, Is Not All That There Is

Do you surf or play the ukulele? Do you speak pidgin or dance hula? I am sure many of you can guess what I am talking about. As soon as I tell someone that I am from Hawai’i, these are the kinds of questions that I receive. From the time I was a little girl, Hawaiians have been stereotyped as a laid back person who likes to surf, play the ukulele, speak pidgin, and exhibit violence. Popular culture has also glorified a Hawaiian to experience this “paradise living” due to the nature of it’s geographical location. Little do we know, popular culture’s influence of this stereotypical view of a Hawaiian plays a critical role in a Hawaiian’s life.

Why did you move from Hawaii to Oregon? Many people have asked me this without ever going to Hawai’i. Due to popular culture, paradise living is the epitome of a Hawaiian. Many people think about a perfect island, where the weather is always sunny and the water is always warm. Many assume that if you are a Hawaiian, you are living on an island without a care in the world, hence, “paradise living”. On the other hand, perfect weather and perfect life, is not necessarily the case for a Hawaiian. Everyone is a potential victim in the exposure of this stereotype, however, they have a choice whether to accept or refute this stereotypical view of a Hawaiian.

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To begin, as shown above, the movie Lilo & Stitch made by Walt Disney is what brainwashed people of this Hawaiian stereotype the most. This movie was targeted for families with young children. The first time that I watched this movie, my main takeaway was “Ohana means family and family means that no one gets left behind or forgotten.” I perceived the main message of this movie as this, no matter what happens, you stick together because family is the most important foundation, but after watching it a second time, I noticed certain details that has offended my identity.

First, it is portrayed that if you are a Hawaiian, it is in your blood to surf. In this movie, there is a strong correlation of a Hawaiian and surfing. I understand that having the beach in your backyard increases the probability of a Hawaiian to surf, However, I am a born and raised Hawaiian who has never even laid a foot on a surfboard. What I am trying to get at is that not all Hawaiians are surfers. Although I wanted to learn how to surf, it was never a top priority for me. When people ask me if I surf when I tell them I am from Hawaii and I reply no, I experience discrimination. It’s as if I have to prove to people that I am a Hawaiian just because I have never surfed in my life. Due to this stereotype, it seems that if you do not surf you are not a Hawaiian, even though my blood states otherwise.

Second, the ukulele is another detail that occurs frequently. In the beginning of the movie, the first time that Lilo, the little girl, met Stitch, the alien, she teaches Stitch to play the ukulele, as if playing the ukulele is what makes you a Hawaiian. Do you play the ukulele? This is a common question that I am asked when I tell someone that I am a Hawaiian. Being a Hawaiian, the ukulele is a cultural instrument. Throughout my years of growing up in Hawaii, my island incorporated Hawaiian culture with education which was interesting because the ukulele was not originated in Hawaii. The “ukulele” is a musical instrument that originally came from Portuguese immigrants. Therefore, it is very interesting how the ukulele is strongly correlated to a Hawaiian in Lilo and Stitch. Although ukulele classes were not mandatory, I chose to attend the ukulele classes not because I am a Hawaiian, but because it seemed fun. As of right now, I do not play the ukulele, further emphasizing to people that the ukulele is not for all Hawaiians, yet this movie makes the ukulele such a great factor for a Hawaiian.

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Furthermore, the TV show Hawaii Five-O, is another factor that has contributed to the portrayal of a Hawaiian. Due to the nature of the geographical location, when living on an island, it is all about paradise living, paradise as in warm weather. In Hawaii Five-O, it is always clear and sunny. There has not been an episode with rain or an overcast weather. This portrayal has contributed to the stereotype of a Hawaiian. Many people tell me things like “if I had weather like that, I would never leave”, when I say that I am from Hawai’i but I live in Oregon now. In all honesty, we do have “bad” days.  There was a time that my island rained for 2 weeks straight. Although the climate is frequently warm, our skies are covered by dark clouds that send pouring showers on the island on some days. The main point that I am getting at, is that Hawaiians do experience bad weather, yet Hawaii Five-O continues to brainwash their audience about Hawaii always being sunny.

In addition to brainwashing their audience, another important aspect in the movie is that with paradise living results in informal language, and pidgin is the perfect example. Pidgin is a type of informal language. It would be saying “hoi” instead of “you”. In Hawaii Five-O, pidgin is incorporated quite often. First, two main characters are foreigners, unaware of this informal language, however, as time progresses they begin to pick up on it, frequently using it whenever they speak. Second, the Hawaiians only speak pidgin in the movie. It seems as if speaking pidgin is a way to fit in when you live on an island. If you speak proper English, you are looked down upon. In my opinion, although pidgin is prevalent on my island, it is not as “cool” as it seems. To elaborate, you are looked down upon if you do not speak pidgin on island, however, I speak proper English on my island. I do not care what others think because when I do speak pidgin, I feel very unintelligent.

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Moreover, do not mistaken pidgin for Hawaiian language, as they are two complete opposites. As popular culture has proven, Hawaiian language is an important aspect in the identity of a Hawaiian. To elaborate, take the Merrie Monarch into account. The Merrie Monarch is a weeklong festival in which groups compete by honoring the perpetuation of Hawaii’s traditions, native language and arts. The type of Hawaiian language portrayed in the Merrie Monarch is both verbal and nonverbal. As David Kalakaua asserts “Hula is the language of the heart, therefore, the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people.” This festival allows everyone around the world to access it because the complete festival is recorded live and posted online. Hula is what has always stood out to me. Hula is a Hawaiian tradition, however, some Hawaiians do not dance hula. I am a primary example because even though I am Hawaiian in blood, I have never danced hula in my life. Hula is a beautiful story spoken from the body, yet, I feel that I am not graceful so I do not participate. Although hula is a great factor in Hawaiian Tradition, many Hawaiians do not dance hula and that is okay.

Equally important, is the physical appearance in the Merrie Monarch Festival. The picture shown above of a Merrie Monarch group is the perfect example. Coconut bras, puka shell necklaces, and hula skirts are accessories that are commonly shown in the Merrie Monarch Festival, which many people believe to be the typical outfit of a Hawaiian. Personally speaking, I have never worn a coconut bra before. Throughout my upbringing, I wore similar clothes as a foreigner, that is, a t shirt and shorts. Why should the physical appearance define someone’s identity? If that was the case, a foreigner could wear a coconut bra and a hula skirt, and she would be deemed as a Hawaiian. Being a Hawaiian should be more internal than external. Although I did not wear a hula skirt, I am a Hawaiian, yet this secondary source focuses on the ideal physical appearance of a Hawaiian.

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With that said, naturally tanned skinned is another aspect of the physical appearance of a Hawaiian. In the movie, Beyond Paradise, the Hawaiians do not have to lay out in the sun, they are born that way. Every Hawaiian character is dark skinned. Based on someone’s skin color, you can tell if a person is a Hawaiian or not. Yes, I can become tan skinned from the sun, but this tan skin does not occur naturally. On the other hand, many would argue that the association of tan skin and Hawaiians is due to the pigment in the Hawaiian, however, I am Hawaiian, yet, I can pass as a foreigner because I am white as paper. strong association with physical appearance and a Hawaiian. From my perspective, the stereotype of a tan skinned Hawaiian came from the belief that a Hawaiian’s geographical location is always sunny, in which stated above, that is not the case.

Besides the idea that a “white Hawaiian” can exist, the lifestyle of a Hawaiian is anything but “paradise living.”, and Beyond Paradise is the artifact used to substantiate this claim. Beyond paradise is a semi-autobiographical film of, the director, David Cunningham’s, experience in Hawaii. This movie is unlike any other because it is the polar opposite of the stereotypical Hawaiian movies that portray the paradise living. The purpose of this movie is to show their audience the interaction between a foreigner and an islander. This movie does not sugar coat anything as do majority of movies about Hawaiians do. Unlike movies that sugar coat the reality of a Hawaiian, Violence occurs frequently in Beyond Paradise. The theme with violence in this movie is about a “kill or be killed” mentality. In the movie, a foreigner moves to the island and is bullied by the Hawaiians. Many of the Hawaiians physically and verbally abuse the foreigner because the Hawaiians do not welcome Haoles. Thus, instead of talking it out, they exhibit violence. As I have I have witnessed firsthand of this type of altercation, this is an accurate depiction of how violent a Hawaiian can be towards a haole. Although I, a Hawaiian, am anything but violent, violence does occur frequently in a Hawaiian’s lifestyle, contributing to refute this “paradise living” that many associate with Hawaiians.

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Despite the prevalent view of Hawaiians being violent, some Hawaiians are nonviolent. I have told many of my friends to come with me to my island for a short vacation. However, they reject the invitation because they think that Hawaiians are scary, violent, and dangerous, when in fact some are not.Take for instance, the article, Pure Hawaiian: Beyond the glitz of tourist beaches, locals cling to the spirit of the ocean written by John Lancaster, an author for National Geographic. While Lancaster encountered many experiences with Hawaiians, the thing that stood out to me was when he stated this, “”We got nice people here, but if you treat them bad, they’ll treat you bad.” It wasn’t a threat, just a simple statement of fact. The man who uttered it was sitting on a tree limb that had washed up on the beach. Though well past retirement age, he looked like someone you didn’t want to cross, a thick-chested guy in board shorts, sunglasses, and a black sun visor.” This is important because the author states his assumption. He profiled the man to be someone that you did not want to cross because of what he looked like. More importantly, although Hawaiians are seen as violent, it is because they have to be when they are provoked. Although many Hawaiians are quick to assume when it comes to outsiders, Hawaiians will not initiate the violence. To elaborate, as echoed by the article, I am not mean unless someone makes me that way. For example, as I was minding my own business in the ocean, an outsider started throwing sand at me for no reason. I tried to ignore it but they did not want to stop, constantly egging me on. Attempting to distinguish the fire riled up between myself and the outsider, I politely asked them to stop multiple times, yet they did not understand my message. After a nonviolent gesture did not work, I then dunked their head under water. Although I acted violently, that was only because I had to. Many assume Hawaiians are violent, yet they do not know the justification for their violence. They do not know that Hawaiians have to be violent when all else fails.

Also in the article, I found the word “uncle” to be important, which the author does a great job in explaining. As many people know, an uncle is your relative, however, it can have a different meaning for a Hawaiian. In the article, Lancaster refers to Keaulana, the Hawaiian man, as “the most prominent of Makaha’s famous “uncles”—the mostly Hawaiian elders who serve as guardians of the community”. In other words, an uncle is either your mom’s brother, or dad’s brother, but a Hawaiian refers to a male elder as an uncle, regardless if they are related or not. As for my experience, I call all my elders aunty or uncle, based upon their preferred gender. When I refer to them as aunty or uncle, it is out of respect. Hawaiians highly respect their elders and referring to them as aunty or uncle is the way that they show their respect.

All in all, being a Hawaiian is challenging sometimes because I am the complete opposite of what popular culture has portrayed. Although I do not play the ukulele or surf, I am still a Hawaiian. Although I do not wear aloha print clothes or have naturally tanned skinned, my identity of a Hawaiian will never change. More importantly, not only are Hawaiians lifestyle anything but paradise due to violence being ever so prevalent, but also, Hawaiians geographical location does not mean always sunny. People need to realize that by supporting the stereotype of any identity, it can negatively impact an individual. Imagine what it would feel like day in and day out, to have someone tell you what you are supposed to be because we say so, and if you do not accept this, you are looked down upon. Popular culture has brainwashed society, telling individuals who they are, when they really do not know at all. Many people blindly accept this stereotype without ever questioning what this does to the individual that has been stereotyped.

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The Portrayal of Americans VS Russians

Think of the most horrifying person you’ve seen on television, or in a movie – did that person, by chance, turn out to be Russian?  After the Cold War, the ocean between Russia and America became larger.  Hollywood, being a company on the rise – chose to grab a hold of the opportunity.  At the time Russia was viewed as a Communist superpower, basically a big dude with a big red gun.  Hollywood was intelligent, they grasped the most terrifying thing that people saw in society, and portrayed it as an image of a villain.  Little did they know that twenty-four years later, that image would still stand? What makes a Russian so scary? What are the general stereotypes of a Russian in the media and how much are really true? What does Russian media have to say about America?

Before we get into the media, let’s examine that which makes America hate Russia, and vise versa. “The Cold War was a state of political and military tension after World War II between powers in the Western Bloc (the United States, its NATO allies and others) and powers in the Eastern Bloc (the Soviet Union and its allies in the Warsaw Pact).” [1] After WWII Nazi Germany was no longer a high power, leaving only the USA and Russia as the two superpowers of the world, defaulting both nations into a state of unrest and political tension. Avoiding mass destruction, the two superpowers never directly fought, but indirectly used smaller country’s civil war’s, to pick which side those countries will join.  With tension building up, Hollywood propagandized their multimedia villains as Russian. Why not, you might ask? It makes sense if the country is terrified of ‘the boogey man’.

If you enjoy an American action or thriller movie you have probably noticed that the Russian guy is portrayed as the bad guy. Comedian Dan Soder makes a joke, “Russian’s are the Scariest White People.” [2] Even though he is a comedian and he is portraying it as a joke – there is truth in what he is saying. If we look back at the Cold War, it was clear political tensions between the two countries where not so high, but twenty-four years later, are they still that bad? Steven Kurutz in ‘Russians: Still the Go-To Bad Guys’ states: “I suspect screenwriters and studio executives have deemed Russians to be politically safe villains. No advocacy group will protest. No foreign distribution deal will be nixed.” [3] I believe this is the biggest reason for Russia continuing to be depicted as the villain for so long. There really isn’t anyone to fight the media on this. Being a Russian, I have to say that there is something satisfying about it. When people find out my nationality, they are taken aback, stepping back, raising their gaze to my face. It’s amusing, and makes me feel a little better about myself. Being portrayed as a scary person was satisfying in high school, because people left me alone and didn’t bother me. Now, what kind of stereotypes does the media have for Russians, regarding Americans?

I am sure that many have seen the famous film ‘The Punisher’. In The Punisher, there is a fight scene where a huge Russian guy fights Thomas Jane, The Punisher. It seems as if this big guy is the perfect definition of a Russian who is portrayed in the media. A big, violent man with a tight shirt, and a dumb look on his face. The following is a list of Russian stereotypes, which are mostly not true. All Russians love vodka. Pretty Russian women are brides and gold-diggers. Russian ladies are submissive and just cook a lot. We are anti-laughter. Everyone wears those furry hats (ushankas). Russia is basically one giant ice cube. Russians have pet bears. We only read Dostoyevsky, Pinsky, Tolstoy, and Nabokov. Russians miss the USSR and they’re Communists at heart. Everyone is in the Russian Mob. All of us are bad drivers. Russians are homophobic. Russian ladies are especially vain. We’re insanely rude. We’re nuts. Russians like weapons. We have our own version of Winnie the Pooh. [4] We all have a long last name. First off, we don’t all like vodka – I don’t even drink. Being a man, I don’t know a women’s intentions, but I would like to say that they aren’t just porcelain dolls on a shelf. I have to say, Russian ladies have a cooking feature built into their genetics – they can all cook amazing food and a lot of it, but they are not submissive. If you have hung around me or my friends you will know we are not anti-laughter, but quite the opposite. Everyone I know owns a furry hat, although not all of us wear them. Siberia is the only place that basically is an ice cube. The rest of Russia gets the same weather as the US. I wish we could have pet bears, that would be absolutely amazing. Truthfully, I don’t like Russian books – they tend to be over-dramatic, but my mom loves them. I have no comment on Communism – that is a personal life choice, and not something that can be explained by me – someone who lives in the USA. We are not all in the Russian Mob, even if we dress like it. We Russian men like to drive a little faster, but the woman are absolutely crazy drivers. Yes, we are nuts and crazy and rude, but we are naturally more aggressive. Russians don’t like weapons any less than Americans. I do have to say that our Winnie the Pooh is better than the American version.

Finally, I wanted to look at Russia’s media and how they portray America. In my research, I found something very interesting. Russia had very limited movies in which America was promoted to villain status. What was more interesting, was how no matter if the movie was American or Russian, Russia dealt with the issue of the given plot in said show or movie, by using violence and force. The American bad guys were always the business corporations that are ruining society. In the movie ‘Brat 2’, a few brothers in arms come home from serving in the military, to find that their town has been occupied by the mob. The first movie sequel is about how they cleanup their streets of the mobsters. In the second movie sequel, they go after the American business men who think they are safe, because of the ocean between the two countries. To their surprise, the brothers make it to America, and terminate the corrupt business officials. [5] It was really interesting to find out out that the Russia community would rather turn to violence to solve an issue, whereas the American community would not. Jenya states in ‘Russians: American Film Antagonists’, “I have never seen a Russian-made movie that depicted Americans with the same level of vitriol, though I am sure they must exist.” [6] Jenya is right, there are very few movies about American villains – but when there are, they aren’t portrayed as evil as expected. America doesn’t need anyone to make fun of them, they do a great job of it themselves. The US is known for hiding from the rest of the world. That was how they fought WWII and the Cold War. They believe that having a large body of water in enough to hide them. Fortunately for the rest of the world, the US is destroying itself from within – but that is a different subject, for another day.

In conclusion, answering the previous questions. What makes a Russian so scary? What are the general stereotypes of a Russian in the media and how much are really true? What does Russian media have to say about America? What makes a Russian horrifying, is the natural build that a good portion of us are born with, and also the fact that Hollywood has shown us as the bad guys. Hollywood, in doing so, programs Americans from a young age, that Russians are indeed villains. Above, we went through a list of stereotypes – and interestingly enough, there was a good portion of them that made sense and were true. The most interesting thing that I found, was the lack of Russian media that portrayed Americans in a bad way. This research project was intriguing, and forced my eyes open to a few political situations which I previously was not prone to.

 

 

MLA Citations:

[1] “Cold War.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 17 May 2015.

[2] “Russians Are the Scariest White People.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 17 May 2015.

[3] Kurutz, Steven. “Russians: Still the Go-To Bad Guys.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 18 Jan. 2014. Web. 17 May 2015.

[4] Vaynshteyn, Gina. “Bustle.” Bustle. N.p., 24 Nov. Y2014. Web. 17 May 2015.

[5] “Brat‚ 2 – Trailer (2000).” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 17 May 2015.

[6] Jenya. “Russian Language Blog.” Russians: American Film Antagonists. Transparent Language, n.d. Web. 17 May 2015.