Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stereotypes: Denying Opportunity

The overuse of stereotypes within the American society is a troubling issue, although it may occur on a very subtle level.

For the most part, the use of stereotypes and entrenched sexist sentiment against women limits their ability to move up in the workplace and prominent public positions. Women are objectified and seen as weak or incapable. This objectification steals any human sentiment from the women. "How could an object fill the role of president/CEO/manager/etc." The weakness stereotype removes many opportunity because women might be too fragile to accomplish its tasks. On top of these stereotypes, there are the old traditions that say that men should be the ones earning the money within the family structure, while women stay at home. That tradition filters through the family into the workplace as well.

Men, on the other hand, are portrayed as brutish, violent worker people that have no feelings. The mental health issues that are derived from this portrayal are definitely an issue because those feelings that they are denied must be internalized. They are denied emotion for family and friends by the stereotypes. The quality of life suffers for that.

Ultimately, society lets false truth dictate its assumptions about the world's groups and the interactions between them. There is an expectation of people to follow the stereotype of their group. This expectation distances people and puts a facade on their relationships. Opportunities are denied, and possibilities are lost. A better future is stolen.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Worshipping the False Idols, Breaking a Comandment?

Although, I'm not an addicted viewer of the ever popular "American Idol," I do watch the programs on occasion since I do usually find them entertaining. In this episode, the four judges analyzed the performances of the contestants to see who would be kicked off the show, and who was deemed good enough to stay with it.

Many of the American Core Values can be taken from the show. Achievement and Success is the ultimate goal of the contestants as they work hard to try to win the competition. Progress is a frequently visited theme of "American Idol" since the host shows the change in the singers since their early days on the show. The judges often critique the performers on Individualism since oftentimes the contestants conform rather than doing what they do best. That brings me to the next point, which is Conformity, since the judging is will reflect whether or not the singer is too close or too far from the standard of conformity. Finally, Youthfulness is very important for the program to maintain viewership that wants to take part in an event full of so many young and beautiful people.

Although these values are present, the program influences the audience and its values. "American Idol" heavily glamorizes the youthfulness factor along with beauty. To win, beauty is almost necessary. As terrible as it sounds, it is one way to make sure that the program is honest because to be an American idol, one would most definitely have to be good-looking to gain the respect of a nation. Achievement and Success are displayed in the very setup of the show itself. The whole show is about winning and losing. It even allows the audience to partake in who wins or loses, thus forcing the value on the audience by merely allowing them to partake in the success or lack there of in each individual participant.

Monday, February 2, 2009


After reading Cultural Forum: Media Literacy as the Struggle for Power and investigating the Cultural Environment Movement online, I can easily see the issue that they raise. In any place that power is concentrated in the hands of only a few, problems arise. Inevitably, there is a struggle between those who are privileged and those whose voices are smothered. The way I see it, the entire world is socialized by mass media, and, as mass media is owned by a smaller group of people, this socialization forces the cultural values of the media elite on the disadvantaged. This is not always an intentional act, but, inevitably, there are some who seek to use their power expediently, serving only the interests of their profits, global hegemony, and monopoly.

Those that see media literacy as a struggle for power see that culture reflects what is distributed by the media. I believe that they are largely correct. When the controlling media elite are separated from the mainstream like they are, there is no way that they can properly take into account the opinion of the masses, when they are so distanced from their consumers. Therefore, media forces its view on the people in most cases rather than the media reflecting the norm. It's important to understand that nearly everything is a shade of grey, so, to an extent, the media conglomerates must take into an account the opinion of the public. However, their ultimate capitalistic goal of profit making allows the media conglomerates to use their power for their purposes rather than the purposes of the public.