Monday, April 19, 2010

Teenagers and the "Silent Dialogue"

"Good girls don't want sex; what they really want is love." For teenage girls, the idea of sexuality has been defined as sexual behavior as opposed to desire or feelings. This is true especially true when a girl does express any form of sexual desire, it is looked upon as deviant behavior. Deviant being negative and unacceptable as well as socially inferior.

I especially gravitated towards the research methods that Tolman used in this study, The Listening Guide. The LIstening guide has been described as a feminist, qualitative, rational, and voice centered method that enabled the researcher to actively listen to the participants. Tolman talks about listening to the participants rather than "categorizing or quantifying the text of the interview." As I am intrigued by this method, I also question some of the validity involved with this method, probably based upon my own ignorance of this method. For instance, Tolman makes a point of describing her own social distance from the subject although they are both white and middle class. The she goes on to say, "as a listener, I can utilize my experience and knowledge as a woman who lives in and experiences adolescence in this society to hear aspects of a particular participant's experiences that might not be audible without it." This alone could lead to bias within the study. I suppose I am trying to negotiate my own feelings about this research method as I understand the claims within the study.

Isabel has an interesting (and disturbing yet unfortunately not that uncommon) history that should have been introduced to the reader earlier on in the paper. The fact that she was subjected to sexual abuse early on in her childhood, 8 years old, probably altered her perception about her own sexuality and others, even though the dominant culture also does a good job of this too. In Tolman's conclusion, she makes and essential connection to this very topic, "she has little lived experience with sexual relationships, perhaps because she avoids them." YES, this makes complete sense. She has been violated in the past and felt "deviant." These feelings lead to avoidance as well as resistance. Many teenager survivors of sexual abuse need specific care to restore their sense of self. I feel that since Isabel has not dealt with this trauma that took place when she was 8, a lot of her ideas on sexuality have developed differently than others her own age. Again, this is just based on what I found and my own bias ;)

The other part of the study that needs to be addressed is the participants used within the study. Tolman chose to interview a 17 year old, White, middle class teenager in one 2 hour interview. I am assuming, based on the text, that there was no prior survey or initial interview. I wonder if the researcher chose the participant or the participant chose the research project. Anyway, Tolman points out that "the fact that she is White and middle class matters, because the ways that we talk about girls' sexuality are largely determined by their race and class." The media along with dominant culture have created this notion that White, middle class girls are "asexual" while lower or under class girls are "sexual." This could be form many reasons, and I have a few ideas but no solid evidence to back up my assumptions (think of Marco's presentation). While reading this study, I kept thinking of the movies Quinceanera and Real Woman Have Curves which both look at teenage Latinas in America as they navigate life and their own sexuality.

Both of these movies are great!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Teens and the "social" networks

Over the last 10 years teaching Middle School, I have seen the technology change that has taken place especially among the teenagers. There was a time, not so long ago, that teachers did not have to worry about cell phones going off in class, students texting under the table, and the awkward facebook friend request from a current or former student.

Miller identifies this move to new forms of communication and uses the term "phatic communication." Phatic communications are basically purely social interaction that do not have any formal basis, no real exchange of information or dialogue. Miller begin by examining blogging. Interestingly, blogging enables the individual to tell personal stories with emotional ties in a very non-personal way (via the internet). This exchange of "emotion" is really a way to create a persona of ones self which envelops the persons self-presentation. I found this very interesting. Through a blog, a person is allowed to create whomever they want and be that person in a safe environment with other like minded individuals, the problem is that these social bonds are not "real", meaning, they are not the true personal bonds that people can get from being with a friend for lunch. Miller refers to this as a micro-level social relationship.
Even less personal is the newer social sites such as facebook or myspace (sorry, friendster). Here the exchanges are not very personal at all. Miller identifies these sites as more visual as opposed to textual. Here, the "friends" are able to engage in a quick exchange of "data" instead of the long and generally more personal
blog. The fact that ta verb has been created to describe the act of making friends with people on these sites is almost bizarre, "friending." I though Miller made a great point about the fact that a person can have thier best friends next to a purely cyber friend yet they were all housed under the same category.
I agree with Miller about the point that these phatic communities are still important or meaningful and that staying in touch is also important. These social networks enable people to "talk" to someone whom they lost touch with or can not easily pick up the phone and call (I have a friend working in Cuba without phone access but she has a computer). Although, I personally feel that this should not be uses as a sole means of communication among family and friends.
Teens and the Social Media points at the fact that 93% of all teenagers use social networking. I can attest to this. Almost all of my students now have access to either a computer or a cell phone with internet access. I have always been weary about teens posting pictures of themselves on the internet. In this article, they noted that 73% of teens post pictures of themselves for others to see. Usually, these pictures are a little over the topic, I refer to them as the myspace pic (one hand holding the camera while a little over their head while they make a pout and try to look much older). It is even scary to think that 22% also post video which is often less restrictive than the photos.

As a teacher, there are some unique challenges I face when using social networks. First of all, I have a rule to never friend a student, current or former. I realize this may seem a little strict but I have my reasons. I always make sure that regardless of the fact that my students are not my friends that the content on my page is always respectable. I tell my students that I can not friend them because of the fact that I am their teacher and it is not appropriate. I do have other teacher friends that do accept request from students. I am not saying they are wrong but I do think their is a danger when blurring the lines between the teacher student relationship. On the other hand, I have other teacher friends that have created "teacher" pages. I like this idea more, it is a great way to remind students of their hw and project deadlines. This article is pretty good at helping teacher (new and old) navigate the social network scene.

Here is an interesting view on friending students

Monday, March 8, 2010


As I watched the pilot episode to glee, I was reminded of a show I loved to watch when I was young, Freaks and Geeks!


Anyway....back to Glee

I organized this blog entry a little differently.

Quotes and phrases that "spoke" to me:

Sue, the cheerleading coach, names the "high school cast system" into the populars and the "invisibles" and puts the glee club in the "sub-basement."

"Myspace schedule"

"Kids feel invisable that is why they have a Myspace page"

"Tired of being laughed at"

"Being part of something special, makes people special."

"They follow the leader"

"glee conflicts with..." "reputation"

"Children like to know where they stand"

Ways this show attempts to ____________ the dominant ideologies. (Fill in the blank)

Choir teacher is apparently homosexual (or at least is portrayed as a homosexual)

Rachel has 2 homosexual fathers

They included a student in a wheelchair (although he is picked on and geekish)

Football player has a single mother, never knew his dad

Pokes fun at the coffee budget being cut for a nutritionist for the cheerleading crew

The glee club consisted of 1 Asian, 1 student in a wheelchair, 1 African American, 1 white boy with a female style voice, 1 unpopular white girl, and a jock (pretty diverse)

Shows cheerleaders cyberbullying Rachel


Pushes back against stereotypes a bit
Strengthens other stereotypes

I also had a lot on teachers but thought it was not necessary to include since this is a teens in media course :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hip don't stop

When reading these articles I felt very removed from the topic. Not because I do not know any hip hop but rather I never really though about hip hop as a political tool. "Hip-hop is often taken out of the existing context of political struggle, repression, or the primacy of a domestic/neo-colonialism in the service of which mass media play a (the?) leading role." Basically, hip hop is often criticized for its message and often misunderstood. I assume Ball is referring to the history of hip hop and not all forms of hip hop that exist on MTV. Over time, "The pervasiveness of self/community-directed violence, misogyny, conspicuous consumption, product placement promotion, and general lack of ingenuity in popular hip-hop is the aforementioned specific systemic need produced systematically via its media representative, in this case, the music industry." In other words, hip hop changed because of dominant society. Because of this, it is claimed that "popular culture" is nonexistent mainly because it is created by those with power. Interestingly enough, "Hip-hop’s popularity has done nothing to improve Black America’s overall wealth, education, health-care, or certainly rates of imprisonment." In fact, it has helped strengthen many of the dominant stereotypes within our society. "At times called the petit-bourgeoisie, or even the Black bourgeoisie, they are simply that group which, as administrators, administer to society that which limits or confounds ranges of thought so as to keep people from stepping – intellectually or literally – beyond acceptable parameters." This is the idea of (re)production, society creates and maintains everyone's "place." It is nearly impossible to break out of this chain but that does not mean it can not be done.

I am a bit confused about why some songs are banned, "Young Buck would not include a track called Fuck tha Police due to its 'violent content'.” What does it take for a song to be banned? Ball suggests that "Corporate lockdown of popular media is a political necessity and scientific inevitability requiring further description of this process, along with suggested avenues of resistance", but why? I really need to discuss this concept to understand it further.

As I listen to some of the music my friends listen to, I wonder how we can surpass the current hip hop vibe and gravitate towards a more meaningful hip hop representation for our young. I listen to my students singing some of the popular songs about "milkshakes" and "beckys" and wonder how this could have stemmed out of a genre that started off as a politcal and social movement?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Coming of Age With the Internet

Brief History of the Internet
The internet was first though about in the 1960's. By 197o, a few colleges and universities (Harvard, MIT, and a few others) were connected by this archaic internet (known as ARPANET). from this, the internet did not see major growth until the development of Microsoft Windows 98 in June of 1998.

Macmillian and Morrison Article

Macmillian and Morrison collected autobiographical stories of college students.
"This study investigates how coming of age concurrently with the internet and related technologies has influenced these young people’s lives." Interestingly, the study was published in 2006, at this time much of our lives have already been impacted by the vast amount of knowledge on the internet. While reading this article, it was apparent that the researchers were interested in how the technologies (i.e.internet) had changes the students social lives (real comunities vs. cyber communities). Macmillian and Morrison found four major themes develop in their research:self, family, real communities, and virtual communities. The participants in the study noted a growing dependency on the internet in their soical lives. Interestingly, the participants also noted that the internet enabled them to develop a greater sense of self. Along these lines, the researchers also found that the particpants did not feel that they altered themselves online, that they were the same on and off line.

I do not agree that people (young adults) are always the "same person" on and off the internet. I have had this conversation with many students and there is certain amount of confidence they get being in front of the computer as opposed to being in person. Students are able to communicate more freely and say things that would not normally say to a person's face. This hints to the cyberbullying and sexting that takes place among our youth. Students do not go home and play anymore, they go home and get on the computer or their phone.

As an educator, I see an ever growing dependence on the internet in my classroom. I began teaching in 2000. At the time, I rarely did any online projects or interactive labs. Now, these technoologies are part of my curriculum. The students are well versed in computer language and technology. even though this is true, I fear their evergrowing confidence with the internet disables other forms of research and communication in and out of the classroom. For example, I am constantly fixing the IM language in formal essays.

Personally, I love facebook. I am able to connect with people I have not lived near, worked with, or known in years. I have not however let this become my sole means of communication, I still talk on the phone, meet people for coffee, and have friends over for dinner. I hope these social interactions do not get lost in future generations.

By the way, here is a new study that links internet use to depression. Currently, they do not know what came first....

Internet use linked to depression

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Changed template...

ok, I changed my template but still can not post comments.....

Monday, February 8, 2010

Media LIteracy 101

As I sit by my computer, with the TV on, and my cell phone by my side, I don't really have to wonder how the media shape out society. I am an example of a media driven person...

Media influences much of how we are and what we feel is important, ideal, and what we value (individually and as a society). Take this video clip for example....

Throughout this video, I found myself angry yet intrigued at the same time. I have read those magazines, bought the expensive mascara to elongate my lases, and look in the mirror confused at times...

It s important to understand the media and its pull on society in order to maintain a true self. Media Literacy equips individuals with the tools necessary to "read the mass media and TV." It is essential for us to be able to critique, analyze, and interpret the media messages. Some even include the production of media within the definition of media literacy.

PBS has posted a media literacy quiz...test your media literacy!