Monday, May 2, 2011

Social Justice Event

Playing Unfair: The Media Image of the Female Athlete (Reflection)

I am not big on film events usually, but this particular title sparked my interest.  Not only does it relate to this course, but also greatly to my life since I was young.  I have always played sports from the time I was six years old, and although at that time I did not realize the portrayal of female athletes, i did eventually get to that point.  This Social Justice Event was the showing of a short film titled "Playing Unfair: The Media Image of the Female Athlete," and unfortunately it wasn't much of an event.  I'm not sure if it was lack of advertising of the event or if people just really weren't interested, but other than Marisa and I there were only two other women that attended.  We watched the thirty minute segment and left, we didn't really discuss it as a group or pay any mind to its relevance.  Leaving the event, Marisa and I did discuss the facts and examples the film displayed and talked about.  Both of us being female athletes at a college level and being teammates also, we had a lot to say about what we had just seen.  Although we had many similar comments, there were things we noticed that the other hadn't.  Even though the event wasn't exactly what I had expected, the film we watched was interesting and definitley was relevant to my life and this course.

This particular event would very closely relate to Linda Christensen's piece because her piece is mainly on media and its influence on society.  This film we watched dealt with exactly what Christensen talks about and how all types of media can be responsible for misconceptions and unnecessary displays of different people everywhere.  Female athletes definitely experience this along with the stereotypes from society.  This could also partly tie into Lisa Delpit's piece because part of the rules and codes of power include the male role in society.  Presenting female athletes in such manners is demeaning and keeps men with higher respects in the eye of the viewer.

Talking Point #6- Tim Wise

Between Barack and a Hard Place, Tim Wise (Extended Comments)

Extension from Billy's post:

First off I have to agree in saying Tim Wise had numerous valid points in both video clips we watched.  Like Johnson in one of our first readings of the semester, it is not often you read or hear from a respected Caucasian person confronting and discussing the issues lying within diversity and racism in a positive manner.  Both defend and argue against the inequality and unfair treatment of citizens of different races and ethnic backgrounds.  In regards to "white privilege," I cannot say I know how it feels to be in Billy's position as an African American male in today's society, whether growing up in a Caucasian family or not, simply having a darker skin tone and a partial African American background in a predominently white community, sets him "different" from majority of the population around him, and like he states, he will not have the equal privileges as many of the people surrounding him on a daily basis; even if the very woman that gave him birth has the full advantage of "white privilege." 

Although I moved around a lot as a child and well into my adolescent years, I too grew up in a predominently white community.  Sure there were a few kids in my elementary level classes having different ethnic backgrounds, but it was not as nearly diverse as school became throughout middle school and high school.  Fortunately I was a child that from the start realized the difference in the skin tones of myself and some of my peers around me, but I never saw them as "different" from me.  I sometimes hear comments from some people I know, or overhear a conversation when I am somewhere in public, or even in the fashion people express ideas or opinions in class in regards to race, or different backgrounds and the lifestyles of different cultures and I become extremely bothered by what is being said.  I am a white straight female and I benefit from the "white privilege" in society.  Am I proud of it? No I am not, and I can honestly say I will not be proud to have this benefit until the day my best friend, an African American woman, has the same privileges I have, and if that day doesn't come in my time of living, I pray one day it will.  Billy is absolutely right when he talks about the numerous flaws of George Bush and the fact if he was black he probably wouldn't have even made it into the running for president.  I am not big into politics nor am I very familiar, but I can say that Barack Obama becoming President was definitely refreshing and gave me a little more hope of further progression in the equality of today's society and the years to come.

Lastly, in regards to segregation in schools...stating schools are no longer segregated is like stating the sky is no longer blue.  Although there is certainly much more diversity throughout schools today than years ago, is it really diversity in which white students go to school with numerous kids with a variety of different backgrounds?  This may be the case in some areas, but as all of us have experienced visiting our school for our SL projects, it seems to be the diversity in many schools actually consists of diversity between all backgrounds except for white.  These schools we visit are not in the wealthiest of neighborhoods, and the majority of the population of these neighborhoods consist of minorites in somewhat creating an oximoron.  Some may argue these schools are not populated in such a manner because of the segregation of race or ethnicity but instead family income and social class determining where they live, but stepping back and looking at the whole picture people need to realize something; arguing the segregation is result of social class and economic standing may be true, but why do such a large number of minorites financially and socially stand where they do? Why are they working two or three jobs just to keep up with the rent each month and to feed the mouths of their young children?  Why do these jobs entail hours upon hours of tiring labor that take every last bit of energy out of them that by the time they do get to spend any time with their children they are just too tired?  It is largely because of Billy's first point, "white privilege."  The minorities in this country are not given the same opportunites as the white population and therefore they may not get the position in the corporate office no matter how qualified they are or more efficient they will be able to do the job because the white man interviewed before him and the white man to come in after him have that privilege and the advantage of being in the "social norm."  Children should not suffer because they do not live in the "better" neighborhoods, they should all receive the same education and opportunites in life as the next child, no matter the color of their skin, their race/ethnicity, the holidays they celebrate, etc. There are plenty of "rich white kids" in the best-of-the-best school systems that could care less about receiving an education and waste that spot in class and the teachers' time when a child from a less fortunate minority family is striving to do more and wanting to be the best he can be in life and he deserves the same chance!

Talking Point #5- Kahne & Westheimer

In the Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning, by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer (Extended Comments)

Extension from Courtney's post:

I definitely agree with Courtney's post on the importance of service learning projects.  Presenting the idea to high school students might not receive the most enthusiastic responses, but if they were required to do so I believe majority of the students would end up enjoying completeing a project of the sort.  Also I wasn't aware of the various types of service learning projects either.  I have participated in numerous charity events and volunteer work that I didn't even realize were service learning projects.  Courtney makes a great point in talking about how good of an experience any type of service learning project can be and I also believe that an project like this should be required for high school students to graduate.  They may not believe so at the time or immediately after, but they will eventually realize the good they did and the benefits from completeing a service learning project.

In addition, after completeing the in class assesment type handout with the chart on it displaying the two categories, "Service Learning as CHARITY" and "Service Learning as CHANGE," it made me really wonder about the types of projects I had done thus far at different points in my life.  I wondered why I really did these projects, what my feelings were behind the reasoning, and which category they would fall into.  We also modified the chart on the board and made it into a venn diagram because as a class and Dr. Bogad realized, there were some that fell into both categories.  Our discussion covered numerous topics and truly made me wonder if in changing/improving the Institutions meant changing from where they are at this point in time and completely disregarding the improvements we have made from decades ago until today, or if the changes were in reference to continuing the improvements and hopefully one day coming to almost an entire transformation.

Talking Point #4- Christensen

Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us, by Linda Christensen (Hyperlinks):

  Linda Christensen begins her piece with her own experiences per say, growing up and moves into her opinions about the media and its affect on society.  She had her students partake in different activities and use different thought processes while watching cartoons and movies. It is amazing all of the underlying racism, sexism, inequality of social classes, and many other different negative portrayals or misconceptions we are exposed to at such an early age.  Without even realizing it children are influenced by such a stereotype from day one and unless adults or people around them tell them otherwise, they go on believing that is really the way the world works.  Fortunately there are some programs that do display a more open-minded opinion on such issues.  A program on Nickelodeon called Mighty B does such in displaying the "proper" ways of being a "lady" in society, but mid-way through there is an interruption of that portrayal and encourage freedom of expression and women do not have a set of rules or requirements to be considered a "lady."  I myself was exposed to this episode accidentally, but was extremely glad because I thought it was a great example in the media's portrayal of roles of women in society, but at the same time providing a positive "turn-around."
    When Christensen refers to race in her section called, "A Black Cinderella?" she discusses Disney coming out with a new movie to "fix" the problem of not having a princess of a different background.  There are many faulty Disney portrayals in our childhood classics as many call the movies they grew up watching.  these misconceptions involve the stereotypes of different races and ethnic backgrounds, as well as social class and what the living environment is like.  In all of the bringing up of these issues, Disney tries to come up with a solution, but in becoming more sensitive about the feelings of viewers for one or two issues, they end up either mocking the issue or bringing in another negative.  There is no happy-medium within it all, and it seems there will always be an underlying misconception or influence of the "rules and codes of power."  However, Disney is not the only guilty party in such, television programs from sitcoms to comical cartoons do so also.  In presenting people of the working class, the media tends to describe and include characters' roles as obnoxious or out of control.  Families just get by and some settle for what they have and believe they were just meant to live that way.  There are also programs showing families that believe they were meant to live better and with hard work and dedication they will succeed and eventually be able to escape the lower living conditions.
     Another example that could relate to Christensen's piece is in reference to the portrayal of the female image in the media.  In surfing for articles or related topics I actually found another blog that excellently displayed numerous examples and categories of this exact issue.  She specifies in which ways the media influences women and their desire to be "beautiful."  Reading through this blog and watching the clips she included reassured my initial thoughts and feelings of the media.  It is ridiculous the impact and influence the media has on the minds and views of people everywhere.

Talking Point #3- GLSEN

Shared Differences Examines LGBT Students of Color Experiences in School (Connections)

     In surfing through the GLESN website, I found many different articles and examples of media that effected me in many ways.  I chose this article/report to share with the rest of you because I felt it spoke very loudly on not only the discrimination of sexual orientation and gender expression, but also the included discrimination of race and different ethnic backgrounds.  It is bad enough people all over the world are judged and treated differently because of their "difference" in attraction to people of the same gender instead of opposite, or attraction to both genders, and even the "difference" in their representation of the gender they are "supposed" to be.  On top of the harassment, judgment, torture, etc resulting in these "differences," they also have to deal with it in regards to their race or ethnic background.  Think of how difficult and miserable your life would be if you personally had to deal with this on a daily basis as a teen, a young adult, a student, a coworker, a grown adult, or wherever you fall at this point in your life.

     This report documents experiences of over 2,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-gender middle and high school students of color who were African American or Black, Latino/a, Asian or Pacific Islander, Native American, and multiracial.  Many of their responses included how the unfortunate events that occur bring them down emotionally and greatly discourage their hopes for their schools ever becoming a better place.  Numerous students were extremely hurt by simply one word (the one word varies from different examples) that too many people use so loosely, whether it be directly or indirectly, such as "fag" or "fairy" in regards to someone being gay.  A reference to the words of GLSEN Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard, she talks about the importance of understanding how each students' experiences differ based on their race, ethnicity, and other personal characteristics.  A few of the key findings included are:
   -- 4 out of 5 LGBT students, within each racial/ethnic group, reported verbal harassment in school because of sexual orientation and about 2/3 because of gender expression.  At least 1/3 of each group reported physical violence in school because of sexual orientation.
   -- About 1/4 of African American/Black and Asian/Pacific Islander had missed class or days of school because they felt unsafe.  Latino/a, Native American, and multiracial students were even more likely to be absent for safety reasons-about a third or more skipped class at least once or missed at least one day of school for safety reasons.
   -- Less than half of the students of color who had been harassed or assaulted in school in the past year said that they ever reported the incident to school staff.  For those students that did report incidents, less than half believed that the staff resulting response was at all effective.
These are just a few of the numerous shocking facts of this report and in my opinion they are nauseating.  The idea of these students and the countless amount of other students, or people of the general population, being mistreated in such ways is disgusting.  I could go on for pages or days about everything I feel is wrong about this, and I feel that the media and our minimal positive exposure to to these issues from childhood has a huge part to do with how society reacts today.  Throughout the semester and all of our readings, I think the two authors that strongly relate to this report and my opinions are Lisa Delpit with "The Silences Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People's Children," and Linda Christensen with "Enlearning the Myths That Bind Us."

     In regards to Delpit's piece, she discusses the rules and codes of power in society and the exposure and information students receive from their teachers, or should receive.  Although in my given article from the GLSEN website does not refer to social class or other examples Delpit uses, it does involve race and the ideas of sexual orientation and gender expression.  The statistics and all of the information we receive from the Shared Differences article, I saw as examples that could tie into the rules and codes of power Delpit displays.  The discrimination and mistreatment of students illustrated in the article are partly results of the difference in race and ethnicity from the predominantly white society, in which Delpit describes in her discussion of the "culture of power."  Just like we talked about in class using S.C.W.A.A.M.P., being white and straight with a known definite gender is dominant in society, and differing from these characteristics gives you less "power" in the world we live in.  You as an individual being "different," are less valued and put down for being who you are.  Your person and style of living goes against the rules and codes of power, or the "culture of power."

    Christensen's piece is much shorter of a reading, but I feel delivers just as strong of a message.  All of the discrimination and judgment of differences in society originated from somewhere.  It may have started by word of mouth and the influence of others around you and the environment you grew up in, but unfortunately now there are numerous more sources where these misconceptions and negatively portrayed issues are displayed.  The media, no matter what type of media (magazine, news, television programs, movies, billboards, etc.) have a great influence on today's society and the opinions we have.  Thankfully there are a large amount of people that don't agree with the portrayal and displays of racism and sexual orientation, but there are too many that do follow in what majority of the media says.  Christensen talks about Disney movies and the roles of females, and princess', along with the race and gender of the dominant roles in films, story books, and television programs.  The portrayal of LGBT and race/ethnicity in all types of media is often negatively or incorrectly displayed, effecting the views of people all over the world.  In result of such a strong influence, LGBT and/or people of different a different race/ethnicity suffer from all the given examples.  If the digital world does not change the way they illustrate the lives of people out of the "social norm," such behavior will only continue and could even ruin the lives of many people.

A video I found of a boy talking about being gay and the stereotypes of being gay...thought it was pretty interesting!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Women In Sports: Unequal Underdogs

This video contains mostly pictures, but I decided to still post it because the handful of statistics in my opinion, are mind-blowing.  Some of the information provided by this clip include the following;
    --> Female NCAA athletes receive only 45% of college athletic scholarship dollars, which is $148 million less than male athletes.
    --> Female college athletes receive only 38% of sports operating dollars which is $1.17 BILLION less than their male counter-sports.
    --> As of 2002, only 15 NCAA Division 1 schools spend more on all women's sports teams combined than on football.
    --> In 2001, women's sports passed the $1 billion mark in total sponsorship revenue, while men's sports sponsorship was at $25 billion.
These few blurbs are just glimpses at the severity of the gender inequality that still exists today.  These facts don't even touch upon the countless other aspects of life like the work force, education, economy, etc.  If something that typically begins as a hobby for many, but now more often can become a career is so unequal, how is it looking at all these other factors in life?  How unequal is society still today?

Baraka Project on Gender Equality

 WOW!  Definitely the first thought that came to my mind.  Watching this video put a knot in my stomach and kept me on the verge tears.  The statistics shown in this clip are just a few, but still have a major impact on the viewer.  In regards to "education is the answer," I do agree to some extent.  I believe educating more women would obviously help in many ways and would begin solving problems faced in our everyday lives.  Is education the only solution?  Will it solve everything?  No, I don't believe education will solve everything.  In my opinion, there is no one solution to any problem or set of problems.  The given examples in this video are true, such as the one about decreasing levels of poverty and women being able to be more independent if they are treated equally in the work force, being able to obtain an equal position to any man.  Education is a big step in solving these problems, and gender equality in education will only make this step easier.