Monday, February 24, 2014

A Cycle of Outrage: Gilbert, Palladino and Raby

I am of the belief that John Gilbert's piece "A Cycle of Outrage: America's Reaction to the Juvenile Deliquent in the 1950's" conceptually relates to "They're Getting Older Younger" by Palladino and "A Tangle of Discourses" by Raby. I like bullet points, so I'm going to assess the texts based on themes and concepts.

1. "Juvenile Delinquency" as a way that adults deal with uncertainty. 
Raby addresses this in her article and talks about the ways in which parents and adults in general tend to refer to adolescents as unpredictable and unstable because they are, in fact, feeling unstable. She says that feelings of jealousy and loss of power when it comes to their children often causes adults to project negative feelings on teens. At the beginning of his article, Gilbert talks about Life Magazine and the way in which teenagers were talked about and portrayed in it. As he puts it, the typical discourse on teenagers consisted of "curiosity and fear, set against a background of reassuring noises" (11). Teens seemed to be something that parents--and adults--were afraid of and needed to find a way to deal with.  

2. Teens being taken advantage of and confused by the media.
Palladino argues that "contrasting images" of content (encouraging the kind of teens who mom and pop want) and advertisements (encouraging teens to "fit in") gave teens mixed messages about what it means to be a teen. Raby brings this to a different level and poiints to societal and adult expectations as pushing and pulling teens in different directions of being a kid, not worthy of responsibilities, and being a responsible adult. Gilbert directly addressed the concern of people in the 1950's that mass media was forming their children into delinquents. I think they weren't as concerned with the confusing pull of differing opinions as Palladino and Raby seem to be in their works. 

3. Parents thinking their kids are "doing it" so much younger and are falling prey to culture. 
Raby's article addresses how older generations feel about teens and, as expected, the grandmothers say that teens these days are just doing much more and acting differently. I wasn't surprised that people in the 1950's were thinking that their kids were all having sex super young, but I love that Gilbert put in a study done that showed that it really wasn't the drastic difference that everyone thought it was. And now I give you a link about how our grandma probably had premarital sex too!!! 

I had never seen ay of the movies Gilbert talked about, so here are some pictures of them to help those of you who need visuals like me....

I think I'd really like to talk about how different our movie going experience is today. Issues of free speech and expression have made film allowance so much different than the controlled environment Gilbert talked about. I find it weird reading about how controlled the movie making and watching experience was in the 1950's...that wouldn't fly today. So what do you think about it? Think about having kids of your own going to the movies and how you'd feel about the messages films send.  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Tangle of Discourses: Raby's Argument with Lots of Pictures

In "A Tangle of Discourses: Girl's Negotiating Adolescence," Rebecca Raby talk about the different ways teenagers are considered. She also talks about the contradictions in the ideas and the ways in which these views of teens effect the way in which we view their "rebellion." First, let's address these ways in which Raby says people see teens...with the cheesiest pictures I could find to illustrate (except for the second one).

1. The Storm
Being a teenager is seen a a phase that people go through in which they're experimenting and finding out their identity. Because teenagers don't know who they are, they're unstable and being a parent to one can be rather "stormy." Raby also mentions the theory that this storm view of teenager hood is a way in which parents/ adults deal with teens and the way they act. Since this stage of life is portrayed as unpredictable, teens are seen as needing rules because they can't govern their own lives.

2. Becoming
This view of teenager-hood also sees being a teen as a phase, but really plays on this idea. Basically, the time of being a teen is just a formative process on a person's way to being an adult. This idea focuses on what teenagers will become as they gain responsibility and figure out who they are what they're doing. The problem with seeing teens as adults-in-the-making is that being a teenager becomes more about growing up than about participating in just being a teen. This view also contradicts itself because it wants teens to have more responsibility in a world in which they are "just teenagers" who can't handle responsibility.

3. At-Risk
This view of teen life believes that teenagers are an at risk group for things like sex, drugs, alcohol (and rock 'n roll?!?!).  Like the view of the "Storm" phase, this view advocates for controls in the lives of teens in order to protect them from the bad things that they could experiment with. Raby says that this view is dangerous because it allows adults to distance themselves from teenagers, just as grandparents did in the interviews by saying that kids were being tempted with all of these things that they had never experienced when they were younger.

4. Social Problem
This is a pretty prevalent view of teens today: they're independent, taking risks and in an environment that is offering them things like drugs and alcohol. This outlook on teenager-hood also portrays teens as needing an intervention before it's too late and they become dangerous. It's kind of frightening, but if we think about it, many people think teens are a problem that is waiting to happen if adults don't save them from themselves.

5. Pleasurable Consumption
This view reminded me of the reading we did from Palladino--"They're Getting Older Younger." In fact, Raby quotes something that Palladino wrote when she touches upon teenagers being a consumer group. Like we talked about before, teenagers are seen as buyers and consumers and the market takes advantage of that. And like Palladino claimed, Raby also points out that advertising send mixed messages to teens. In this view of teens, teenager-hood is seen as a time of needing to fit in and express through buying things.

Now that you've enjoyed the 90's depictions of rebellious teens, I think it's important to touch upon what Raby brings up about rebellion. When she gives definition to "rebellion," Raby points out that when applied to adults, it means something yet when applied to teens, it just means that they're acting out because that's just what teens do. When teenagers try to deal with the contradictions in the five views of teenager-hood (that Raby gives examples of, like trying to be more responsible but not being given responsibility), they are dismissed. As Raby puts it, "rebellion is a much more dominant frame of reference for teenage activities than resistance." Here Raby captures her argument, that teenagers trying to develop identity and gain independence and responsibility are dismissed as being rebellious when they attempt to push back against the stereotypes of being a teenager. Their views and ideas--which could be really helpful--are often overlook because "they're just teenagers."

And now, a scene from what has been deemed the Top Teenage Rebellion Movie...Hmm, maybe Raby has a point about this whole concept of rebellion.

A point I'd like to talk about in class is how people feel about these views of being a teen. I think that they are valid and do reflect reality, but are they stereotypes. I'm just wondering how much of these ideas come from a distanced place of adulthood. Some of the teens in the interviews did agree with the statements. It's kind of the typical question of did they come about and how much of them are true now?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Unlearning the Myths that Bind Us

In "Unlearning the Myths that Bind Us, Linda Christensen talks about how cartoons influence everyone as they grow up. Many story lines in TV shows and movies exclude different races or portray them in racist ways, show children a stereotypical ways to be male or female and introduce young girls to the wonderful world of fat-shaming. It's easy to take these as silly cartoons, but they teach young children certain things about the world at a time when they are most vulnerable and learning at every moment of the day.

I chose to give some links to videos and articles that relate back to our reading because this issue is talked about a lot by some pretty smart people :)

1. This video is a TED Talk about what movies teach young boys about manhood. As our article said, media is steeped in cultural stereotypes. We tend to talk a lot about how negatively girls are affected by movies, but sometimes we forget about boys. As a father of both a boy and girl, he feels that it's important to address what boys are being taught through movies. The way women are portrayed and the way male characters interact with them teach boys a lot about manhood.

TED Talk

2. Here is a little article about six Disney films that are racist or sexist. This obviously relates directly to our article and--you might have guesses--Peter Pan is in it just like Christensen said. It's pretty interesting and I like that it gives pictures and a little excerpt from one of the movies because I'm a visual learner--and we really do need the visuals to fully get the picture...literally! I think some people are often surprised that The Princess and the Frog made it to the list and I'm not sure if I agree with the point about Naveen. It's true that he isn't identifiable of a particular race but if you choose to look at it more positively, the two are an interracial couple, right?

3. I also wanted to add some pictures of how Native Americans have been represented in cartoons because it's a good example of the racism that doesn't always seem like racism to us. We just think it's a cartoon for kids, but it causes us to grow up thinking that Native Americans are something they are not.

4. To end my blog, I wanted to link this awesome video by feministfrequency. If you like her stuff, she's got lots of other videos about television, toys and video games. In this video, she talks about the "straw feminist" in television which portrays feminists as unnecessary and over the top. I think the one that struck me the most was The Power Puff Girls. I watched the show religiously as a child and remember the episode she talked about. It's crazy that shows that children watch are being set up with such a political agenda.

In class, I'd like to talk about how feminism is depicted in the media. I think it goes right along with this reading because it doesn't the same thing that sexist, racist, classist or fat-shaming cartoons do" it teaches kids a one-sided view of something that they don't yet understand.