Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Subliminal Messages in Our Childhood

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Have you ever watched the Disney films and noticed just how similar they are in comparison? There is a reason for that. While watching Mickey Mouse Monopoly I found it very interesting how many hidden messages there are in Disney films. More specifically, I noticed all the messages being shown to little girls.

The messages being shown to these young children were definitely not positive. They were messages about how a girl should look, how they should act, and what they should accept as the norm. It was rather disturbing just how degrading these messages were to women as a whole.

One specific message was how young girls should strive to look like an image that just isn’t realistic. Disney characters portray women who are usually thin, have long legs, have long hair, have big beautiful eyes, and are unrealistically proportioned. Any one of the Disney princesses will have these physical features as shown to the right. This teaches young girls to worry about their weight and physical features at an extremely young age. They learn to sexualize themselves way too early. If you really think about it Disney is saying be skinny or be a size “0.” If zero is what media portrays as right they might as well say try to take up as little space in society as possible.

Another message is for young girls to use their sexuality to get what they want. An example the movie used was of Ariel from The Little Mermaid. It described how she used her body to win the man of her dreams. This movie also shows young girls they can get what they want without being heard. In The Little Mermaid Ariel gets her voice taken away in exchange for long legs in order to walk on land. Long legs are something seen in the public as sexual. These messages tell little girls it’s okay not to have a voice and to fight for what they want the way they should. It also says showing body parts are the only way to get a man’s attention.

The last example and most appalling of all is the message that young girl’s should accept violence and teach themselves to become desensitized to it. In Beauty and the Beast Belle is treated violently by the beast and is constantly yelled at. What’s even worse is that she forgives him for his beastly and violent behaviors. Here is a video to prove my point. This teaches young girls that it is okay to be treated in a violent manner. It also teaches girls that if they stick around with a violent person that they can ultimately bring out the good in them. We all know this is unrealistic and in a sense it is teaching children to put themselves in harmful relationships.

My Cell Phone is My LIFE

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Have you ever truly considered what a burden it is to not look at your cell phone or to not surf the web? Well not only did I consider this but I had to actually do it. It was two long miserable and stressful days without my electronics. It took all of the effort inside me to fight the urge to give up… and I still didn’t succeed in avoiding media.

One of my biggest obstacles was retrieving everyday information without an electronic device such as a TV or computer. For example, a small task like getting dressed soon became a huge hassle.  I simply wanted to know how the weather was outside so I would know what clothes would be the most comfortable throughout the day. I normally would have just pulled up weatherbug.com on my phone but today this wasn’t allowed. I couldn’t even check the weather on the TV. This obstacle had surprisingly shocked me because I had never felt like had no solution before. It’s really sad that it took me a few minutes to think of  just walking outside and feeling the temperature for myself. I began to wonder how reliant I am on all electronics not just for everyday use but on an emotional level as well.

I realized soon enough just how challenging this assignment was for me emotionally. I am in a long distance relationship. I live here in Baltimore while my boyfriend lives all the way in Charles County, Southern Maryland. He is two hours away so cell phones and Skype are what keep us connected most of the time. Not being able to talk to him was giving me serious anxiety. I constantly wanted to check my phone to see if he had texted or called me. I then, was worrying myself to death about him getting mad that I wasn’t texting like I usually would even though he knew about my assignment.

Sleeping also became a problem for me. I have a habit of calling my boyfriend right before going to sleep. It comforts me to hear his voice before going to bed and we usually joke around and talk about how our day went. The first night it was literally driving me crazy that my phone was sitting next to me and yet I couldn’t call him. I’m going to be completely honest. I definitely gave in and called after about an hour of just laying there in my bed. Not having the normal comfort that I have become accustomed to was torture for me.

The whole two days just made me worry about how attached I am to a material object. Yes, it does connect me to the people in my life but it was only two days. I feel like it should not have been this much of a struggle to go without media. What is even more interesting is that having the TV off for two days didn’t bother me at all yet not being able to text was absolutely killing me. I even experienced what people call, “phantom vibrating. I felt my phone was vibrating but when i looked down my cell phone was off like it was supposed to be. I wanted to know if i was experiencing some sort of mental withdrawal so I looked online and found this video explaining that phantom vibrations are basically hallucinations.

Overall, I’ve decide that even though I struggled and found the assignment rather bothersome I did learn some valuable concepts. I’ve learned that new generations of young people like myself are becoming more and more attached to their electronic devices. We are, in a sense, trained by the media to constantly check the web and our phones for texts, advertisements, and news. Everyone is slowly becoming reliant on solely the internet and their cell phones to connect themselves to the world and culture. I’ve also come to realize that because my cell phone connects me to the most significant people in my life it is only natural that I become so attached to it. My cell phone, in a sense, has become my security blanket; without it I would feel lost and detached from my life.

Is Media Truly Avoidable?

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During my two days of media use I noticed immediately just how much I was unintentionally being subjected to ads and other forms of advertising. I rode a bus and was exposed to music that I, on a  regular basis, would not have noticed. I then got on campus and started noticing all the on-campus activities being advertised on posters, on doors, and even written on the sidewalk with chalk. I basically spent my entire two days being completely mind blown because I hadn’t realized just how much media Iwas being exposed to everyday.  

I then started to ask my friends questions about how much media they were exposed to at home. My roommate, for example, said she spent at least three hours everyday watching TV. A friend in my math class said she spent maybe an hour a day watching TV but that she also sent at least 60 text messages a day.

I, on the other hand, spend maybe an hour watching TV. I also only send about 30 to 40 text messages a day. What I do spend most of my time on is Facebook. I had spent almost ten hours on Facebook in just two days. I also spent at least thirty minutes of every hour I was awake checking my phone for texts, the time, Facebook updates,the weather, and lastly, calling my friends and family.

From this experiment and the small survey I conducted I learned that I spend way too much time on social networking sites and what is even worse is that when I’m not checking Facebook online I’m checking it on my phone. Here is  a video declaring that Facebook is an actual addiction.  I’ve also discovered that my music intake is incredible. I spend at least an hour a day finding new music to put on my iPod and over three hours a day just listening to music that I already have.

The media I am exposed to the most say a significant amount about what I am learning about the world on a daily basis. I’m learning music trends as well as different forms of music that are not necessarily main stream. For instance, Dubstep or Techno are genres of music that the public doesn’t usually hear, but I love those genres and listen to them all the time. It pleases me that I’m educating myself on realms of music not yet discovered by millions of people. I also feel I’m learning about the most popular communication trends on Facebook. More specifically, I’m learning about what people are listening to, what videos they’re watching on YouTube, and I’m even technically learning what the latest fashion trends are based on people’s photos posted.

My most surprising realization is that it’s pretty much impossible to not be subjected to these types of media if I’m going to be involved in everyday culture. Culture, as a whole, has become extremely reliant on technology because without it many aspects of culture would not be known by people all over the world. It takes radios, TVs, internet, and cell phones to inform people about news, trends, and products being sold. As a result, I have become a technology junkie. I have become a person completely obsessed with having the immediate gratification of knowing what’s going on at every minute of the day.

Is My Education Truly Accurate?

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 While watching the video, Media History, it suddenly occurred to me that the historical information I was taught in school may have actually been inaccurate.  I started questioning the legitimacy of the historical facts taught to me throughout my entire educational career. What if during the medieval period an author just decided to put in his or her own personal ideas or words into someone elses work?

My reasoning for the questioning thoughts was that  people during those times had to copy every work of literature by hand if they wanted to pass it on to an audience . Thus it can be easily assumed that someone would, by human nature, make a mistake and copy the piece of writing incorrectly. Since this was probably happening quite regularly during the oral and written period of media history I then began freaking out that my education could be a total miscommunication.

Think about it. I mean if an assigned writer were to change the meaning and intent made by the original author then the masses of future generations will have learned something that is technically false. What’s even more stirring is that we, the future generations, don’t even know that what we’re learning could be incorrect.

Beowulf  is  a perfect example of how history or literature can be changed from manually copying.  Chaucer, the most recent author of Beowulf, actually had to changed parts of the story because he didn’t know how to translate the langauge that it was originally written in. I had not even thought of this factor! If interested in learning more about the changes in Beowulf and why they are there read the link attatched. http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/middleages/welcome.htm

I found this information enlightening and yet rather bothersome. People all over the world in some shape or form have received educational information that could possibly be wrong. I feel that says a lot about us as humans. Our personal knowledge, beliefs, and even mistakes go into all types of communication. It proves just how much the human mind and all of its aspects are involved in media whether it be books, radio, tv, and even online information. I found it very interesting that such flaws and even good qualities are such a huge part of what goes into our brains on daily basis.