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Salem's "Strength Is Not How Much Muscle You Have" Post: I completely agree with what you're saying. Concrete stereotypes don't do anyone good, and they leave each of us feeling isolated and alone in our suffering. However, it's hard to escape the stereotypes. A lot of people feel like they cannot break down the walls that the media has used to confine them without ostracizing themselves entirely. The dynamic feels very much like it is confined within the lines of "either/or." It's hard to watch my male friends wrestle with their masculinity, just as it's difficult to watch my female friends struggle with defining their femininity. I also have friends who don't identify with any one of these categories, and defining what exactly that means to them has proved very difficult. Everyone wants to feel like they belong, but no one wants to feel like their have to sacrifice their authenticity. Because of this, we feel an intense, frustrating s…
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A Reflection On Media Blogs

While this experience has been interesting and provided me with an opportunity to explore ideas that I wouldn't have acknowledged otherwise, it has left me with a greater feeling of cynicism and lack of hope for our future. I realize that the intent of this project was to make my peers and I more aware of media and the ways in which media conglomerates aid companies in manipulating us. I think it served that purpose. However, the sheer amount of media we are exposed to and the desperate attempts by media companies to grab our attention has resulted in our living in a world practically made of marketing. And I can't see it getting much better.

As a result of this project, my media consumption habits have not changed, but my mindset while consuming media has. I am still willingly exposing myself to the marketing on Youtube and Netflix, and I still read news online, where ads from various sponsors dance in small squares along the margins of the text. The difference is that now I…

Love for Sale (Post 10)

The way that media teaches us to love is grossly inaccurate. In the love we see on screen, there are only two options for each character. They can either be emotionally deprived and devoid of feeling or gullible and beholden to love. In the rare instances in popular television where a character starts off with some complexity or ambiguity, there is always a defining moment in which they are swayed in one direction or the other. In terms of the women I see on screen, emotional deprivation usually accompanies independence while emotional vulnerability is usually common amongst characters that embody the ditzy, sexualized female archetype. For men, they have the choice between being a macho, testosterone-fueled sex-machine or a nerdy, sensitive second choice.

In reality, no one embodies these characteristics entirely. But, because humans are bad at communicating with each other, we assume that in order to be loved we must become the characters we see on screen. In my case, the thought o…

The Evolution of Music Performance (Post 9)

Music has always been a principle part of culture. Whether it accompanied religious rituals, served as motivation in times of battle, stylistically divided rich and poor culture, or otherwise, music has played a role in every culture we know today. Music was a reflection of the people and their values, and music culture served as a stage on which the art of those cultures could be displayed. In Western and westernized cultures today, the world in which music existed for the sake of music is known only by band kids and nostalgic, decaying old people. It has evolved into a platform where trends are born and corporate profits are determined.

Today, the quality of music is determined by the quality of performance. Success is defined by the quality of the music videos that accompany the music itself. When people attend concerts, they ask, "Is it instagramable?" Brands partner with musicians to generate profits for themselves and link their product with a specific niche of music …

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To Ailyn's feedback loop post: I think that you make an excellent point about the feedback loop. It's frustrating that a significant chunk of teens and parents try to reflect the archetypal image of their demographic, which then further perpetuates the stereotypes that media has placed on them. Parents buys things for their kids because media has shifted to tell parents that material things are the most tangible form of affection. Kids expect material things from their parents because they've been told that they need social acceptance in order to survive their youth. I'm glad that you value the thought that your parents put into the gifts that they purchase for you. I think that's something that we as a society have neglected to emphasize. I doubt that the narrative will change anytime soon because corporations benefit from advertising through media/TV and media/TV benefit through their partnerships with corporations. It's up to us to instill an alternative mes…

An Ode to Barbara (Post 8)

One of the people interviewed in the PBS Frontline episode "Merchants of Cool" was 13-year-old Barbara, who epitomized the impact of media on youths and youth culture. Barbara, who had grown up watching Brittany Spears and the other over-sexualized Midriffs of the world, was intent on becoming a model and looking like the women she had seen on TV. And it broke my heart.

It was horrifying that a child, a 13-year-old girl, was so moved by the image of femininity forced on her by advertising that she flew to the International Model and Talent Association's annual convention and walked on a stage to be judged by adults who wanted to use her in advertising campaigns that would further perpetuate the stereotypes she fell prey to and line their pockets with money. She beamed when she was told that she could pass for a 16 or 17-year-old, and she was told that she was a "good girl," when she said that her main goal was "success."

She wore skimpy, sexualizing …

The Plight of the Mooks and the Midriffs (Post 7)

When we don't know who we are, we are willing to cling to and embrace the most readily available identity that we may hide our self-doubt and shame behind. As teenagers, writhing in our awkwardness and discontent, we are dangerously susceptible to this. As much as we may laugh at the Mooks and Midriffs, the exaggerated male and female archetypes as they are displayed on television, the tendency we have to submit to them is an actual threat to our self-image.

As a woman, I grew up watching television shows where pretty girls prance around and giggle and hide their intelligence for the sake of seeming nonthreatening. And if they dared to be intelligent, they were "ugly" and wore turtlenecks and didn't know how to behave around men. Dora was the only badass woman I ever saw on screen. In my teenage years, I see girls who exemplify what happens after years of suppression and emotional neglect, and I am shown that in order to be accepted, I must be thin and self-loathing…