Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Tik Tok, despite being one of my biggest distractions and time wasters, is also a good source of useful advice. From skincare product recommendations from dermatologists to help with college applications from college students and from simple methods to memorizing chemistry to ways to lowering your medical expenses, a variety of educational information pops up on my Tik Tok feed every day. An educational Tik Tok I saw recently, summarized a quick way to build credit score. This TikTok made me really angry. Now, I saved it and I have it memorized, because from what I know a good credit score is important to have when you're an adult, and having a bad score sucks. But then it hit me: I really have no idea was credit even is. What is a credit score? How do you get a good or bad one, and what does it mean to have a good or bad one? I don't think I'm alone in my ignorance about credit scores or other realities of life as an adult in America. I'm pretty sure most of my classmates couldn't tell me how to get a good credit score either. I felt so angry after realizing just how ignorant I was because that ignorance isn't really my fault, right? Sure, I could go online and do a ton of research through websites I don't understand, or... Now, don't think I'm crazy for saying this... Public school could be required to educate students on real life matters, instead of letting them leave high school clueless about what taxes are and how to pay them or what the difference is between a credit and debit card.
Sunday, January 12, 2020
Self-objectification is something I've experienced and probably seen experienced by every girl I've ever met, but only after watching the Miss-representation video did I realize just how prevalent the act of objectifying myself had been in my lifetime. I've felt that my appearance determines my value for as long as I can remember, and when I begin to consider all the things in the past that have confirmed to me that my value is based almost solely on my appearance, the list of experiences is long. One of my most vivid memories from the third grade is when a new girl student transferred to my school very shortly after I did, and almost immediately, she was the center of attention. Even before she said one word, everyone knew she was cool. People talked in excited whispers about the outfit she had on, and how pretty she was, and how cool her backpack and lanyards were. I distinctly remember thinking that the outfit she wore, with all its sparkles and jewels, was something I'd see on Zendaya or Bella Thorne in the Disney show about teen dancers, Shake It Up. Zendaya and Bellla Thorne played cool high-school kids in the the show; they were the "it girls" of the time, and the new transfer's outfit looked like it could have been pulled right from their wardrobes. I thought she looked similar to Zendaya too; they were both beautiful, with long curly hair, and skinny, and small in the exact the same ways. She even had a backpack from Justice and a mini jean-jacket. She was so lucky to shop at the same place with the blindingly sparkly outfits and crop top shirts I always saw on the commercials and billboards. Even as a ten year old, the differences between how she and I looked and the differences in how we'd been treated stood out to me. The class had reacted in a very different way when I'd transferred; the boys and girls in the class were nice, sure, but within a couple days I'd already become just another student in the class. Almost immediately, I made the comparisons between her, me and the girls and styles I'd seen on TV. She was smaller than all the boys, and I was taller. The girls on the Disney channel were never taller than their male-costars. She looked just like a brown haired Barbie I'd seen going to the Dream House in the Barbie ad, and I thought I looked like a stink bug by comparison. She was exactly like the girls I'd seen on TV, and people liked her, so there was obviously something wrong with my short hair, and the lack of sparkles on my clothes. No wonder we'd been treated differently. She looked just like one of the girls on TV, and because of this, was seen the way she was. Her appearance being what it was (just like the girls on TV) and the differences in how we'd been treated only confirmed to me that my worth is based on my appearance, and that as a girl, there is a correct and ideal way one must appear in order to be worthy and feel valid, and this correct way to appear is to appear the same as the 'pretty' girls I saw on the Disney channel. The TV depicting girls in our generation has set the standard for what is considered attractive and in turn valuable. The way these girls appeared and were treated in these shows has determined the self-image of all the girls who now strive to appear and be treated the same.
Monday, January 6, 2020
So, over break I was watching the show Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated with my little brother, and I noticed that through its main characters, the show was enforcing stereotypes about class. Velma, who is well-known by all to be the smartest and most resourceful member of the Scooby-Doo gang, is depicted in this show as working class. Her parents are the only characters in the show that consistently been depicted working persistently in their professions. They're shown as persistent in their work, and they will often talk and worry about money. They are also shown as just plain, average people; they're not rich, they're sensible, they don't spoil their daughter, and they most likely remind audience members of their own parents. This shows reveals that people who are working class are sensible and plain, but that it's not necessarily a good thing. The ways Velma resembles her parents (sensible, intelligent and hardworking) are the exact traits that make her notoriously nerdy and unattractive to other characters in the Scooby-Doo series. Comparatively, Daphne is rich. She and her mother live in a mansion and are spoiled by Daphne's father. Both act ditsy, and often behave as if things should be handed to them. Neither of them know how to react when things don't go their way. These behaviors (being ditsy, bratty and clueless) are exactly the traits that seem to make Daphne so attractive and popular in the series. Daphne's behavior reflects the stereotype that wealthy people are spoiled brats, yet her popularity reveals that it is these exact behaviors that make one 'cool.' This depiction of the stereotypes and values of different classes idealizes being rich and bratty, and shines a negative light on the normal and sensible characteristics that result from being middle class.
During winter break, I saw the movie Parasite (after reading Natalie's blog and seeing she recommended it - I had to). It's a South Korean film that's mostly a thriller, but with a little comedy too. The basic plot is that the son of the Kims, a family living in extreme poverty, gets an opportunity to work for a very very rich family (the Parks), and slowly convinces the Park family to employ his other family members, all while pretending to be skilled workers that are unrelated to one another. Essentially, the Kim family infiltrates the Park family. This movie stuck with me because it ultimately revealed how different life is for people living in poverty compared to people with wealth and how separation of classes and unequal distribution of wealth are simultaneously ludicrous and cruel. The mother of the Park family is self-centered and air-headed, and takes her wealth for granted. Her behavior and perception of her life and wealth makes a sharp contrast with the experiences of the Kim family, and highlights just how lucky she is to live in comfort and just how unjust it is that the Kim family is forced to live in the conditions they do. At one point in the movie, the Kim's tiny underground home is flooded with sewage water, and they desperately try to save their prized possessions as the watch their home be destroyed. The next day, the mother of the Park family calls Ki-Woo (the son of the Kim family) to ask for his help planning her son's party, and complains about how difficult the job of throwing the party is. The extreme differences between their situations is further illustrated as the mother of the Park family blabbers on and on about insignificant things that aren't real problems at all, and that if anything, she is lucky to get to worry about, to Ki-Woo, as he sits with the few damaged possessions he managed to save, in a gym surrounded by hundreds living in the same poverty with flooded homes just like his. The watcher sees with clarity that the the Park family lives in a cloud, something resembling a heaven, without real problems, and people like Ki-Woo and the Kim family are left destitute in a struggle for their livelihood.
Sunday, December 15, 2019
The other day, I was watching hulu and THIS AD randomly popped up. I looked up from my phone and watched it all the way through, and I was almost crying at the end I thought it was so cute. I immediately thought that I should use it for my media blog, as in thirty seconds, the ad made me want to donate my entire savings account to the Raley's Food for Families program. I assumed the ad had to be telling some inkling of truth, and must give food to families in need. I was convinced that if I could make a family as happy as they had been in the Raley's commercial just by donating to Food for Families, then why not donate? Why not sell my soul, even? Following getting made fun of my brother for getting teary eyed at a hulu ad, I looked up the ad on Youtube to watch the full version. I read the comments of the video on Youtube, and more than half of them were written by people claiming to be Raley's employees. There were four or five long comments written by different people saying not to donate to the program because the money didn't end up going to the program - it ended up in the Raley's cash register. Seeing these comments that I assume are being truthful about where the money goes made me wonder just how much advertisement manipulation I've been subjected to in my time on earth. If this ad is a complete lie, and basically convinced me to sell my soul to Raley's with 30 seconds of a sad song and adorable kids, how many other companies that I'm convinced do good for the world are actually big fat fakers?
Monday, December 9, 2019
This past week and over the weekend, I've been watching the Netflix show Breaking Bad. In this show, I've realized that there is a glorification of the production and use of drugs (specifically meth and weed). This show follows a high-school science teacher suffering from lung cancer as he starts his own enterprise cooking top-tier meth and selling it in order to pay for his treatment and leave money for his family. Although quite often in the show he suffers negative consequences as a result of his actions, some things portray production and use of this drug as beneficial and much less harmful than they are. Every time a character on the show is pictured doing a drug, very little happens. For almost every scenario, if you were to take out the drug scene and just show the effects they could have done something as mundane as eat a pizza that made them a little nauseous; not once (so far) has an overdose been pictured, and most often the only pictured negative effect is nervousness or hyper-ness. In addition to this, the true dangers of additions are completely glossed over and ignored; no character so far has gone beyond 'casual use,' and suffered in any way from an inability to stop using, which doesn't happen in real life. Overall, I love this show- but I have to acknowledge that it does not present an accurate or realistic picture of drug production or use.
I was watching a compilation of this year's Superbowl ads the other day and I found this one. It's an advertisement for Coca-Cola soda. In the ad, nothing regarding the quality of the soda is advertised, and this ad instead highlights that worldwide, everyone enjoys Coke the same way no matter who they are. It promises the consumer that if they drink Coke, they can be a part of this loving community that exists despite the differences its members have, and even emphasizes that these differences are what makes the Coca-Cola drinker community so desirable. This advertisement proves that Coca-Cola has made themselves a 'love-marked' brand. The actual product being sold is not advertised at all; the only thing the watcher would know about Coca-Cola's product from watching this ad is that it is a brown liquid that comes in bottles of all shapes and sizes. This means that whoever is trying to sell Coke is relying on the fact that the watcher probably already knows what Coke is, and doesn't need to be convinced of the quality of the product, as they're already familiar with it. The advertiser's aim that people who see this ad will believe that Coca-Cola soda will offer them a sense of community, love and acceptance. This is how all Coke ads are; they rely on the fact that people world-wide are already familiar with their product, and instead promise the consumer these feelings of love and community, without ever actually describing their product. Since Coke is one of the most successful and well-known brands in the world, their strategy of promising support and acceptance in their advertisements has obviously worked, and created a market of Coke consumers that buy Coke only on the basis of acquiring the feelings in the ads, and not on getting a quality product. This shows that Coca-Cola advertisements have successfully transcended from traditional advertisements that promise a superior quality products, to advertising emotions, and in doing so have made themselves a brand with a special spot in their customer's hearts.