She's All That
She's All That is a romantic teen comedy that presents many examples of sociological themes. The sociological themes present in the film include social construct, stereotypes and social class. First, I will briefly summarize it for those who have not yet seen the movie.
The movie takes place at a California high school and revolves around high school students: Zack Siler(Freddie Prince Jr.) and Laney Boggs(Rachael Leigh Cook). These two main characters live two different lives. Zach is the most desired and popular man in the school and Laney is an outcast art student known for her dirty and unkempt appearance. Zach agrees to a bet which involves him transforming an undesirable girl into prom queen within six weeks. In his charade of befriending her as his love interest he actually falls for her.
The social construct of beauty in this movie is evident in the appearance of Laney Boggs in comparison to the popular girls in the high school. Her appearance from the beginning is laughable to the popular males at the school. She has glasses and messy hair kept in a bun with paint covered overalls to portray her unattractiveness. In contrast she becomes more noticeable and attractive after she is given a makeover and her appearance changes from unkempt to clean and more revealing in the clothes she wears. Beauty is sexualized in this movie. It is a norm in society to see images of beautiful women in advertisements and most often these women are sexualized.
Social class are presented through the portrayal of stereotypes of teen cliques in the high school. Zach was a privileged and popular as opposed to Laney who was poor and non involved in the social life. The popular crowds are depicted as upper class privileged individuals who participate in either sports or cheer-leading. They are often desired and respected or feared by the other population. In contrast the lower class individuals are depicted as the losers, isolated from the norm. These stereotypes of social class are often found in society within advertising and popular culture. The lower class are often not respected and looked down upon as outcast.
This movie examines the affects of social constructs and social class on individuals in society.
She's All That
Social Aspects of Pitch Perfect
Pitch Perfect may seem like a typical feel good chick flick, but there are actually a lot of social themes throughout the movie when analyzed with a sociological lens. This movie is filled with social stereotypes, intersectionality, and examples of application of power.
For those of you that have not seen Pitch Perfect, I will provide a brief summary of the movie. The main character is Beca and she is attending her first year of college at Barden University. Her first day of college she is encouraged to join the Barden Bellas, an a cappella female singing group that is desperate for new members. At first she resists, but after pressure to get involved from her dad, she ends up joining the team. Throughout the movie the Barden Bellas compete against the Treble Makers who are the male a cappella group at the University.
The social stereotypes in the movie are evident mainly within the Barden Bella group. I will first start with Cynthia Rose. From the information I was given in the movie I was able to determine Cynthia Rose's social location to be African-American, female, and lesbian. Pitch Perfect stereotyped this character's race by having her be the rapper in the group, and they stereotyped her sexual orientation by having her dress and look like a boy. Another character in the movie is Lily. I was able to determine her social location as Asian-American and female. This movie stereotyped her race by having her be the quiet girl that no one could understand when she spoke. Although stereotypes in cinema are usually a comical strategy, in real life judging people by their stereotypes can be detrimental to society.
Intersectionality is a concept in sociology that refers to the blending of different social identities. For example there may be two females, but if the two females are from different races they are going to have much different experiences. This plays a role in Pitch Perfect because all of the members of the group are female, but because they have other social locations that differ, they have much different experiences from each other. For example, the main character Beca is a white female, and the character Fat Amy is also a white female. Although they experience the same race and gender, they do not experience the same ability in Pitch Perfect. Beca is a much better singer than Fat Amy and therefore has more opportunities musically throughout the movie.
The final aspect of sociology I was able to find in Pitch Perfect is the application of power. I was able to identify tradition authority and charismatic authority in the characters Aubrey and Beca. Aubrey is the senior captain on the team who gains the identity of traditional authority because she is the next in line for captain, and becasue no one questions her authority. Aubrey likes to keep the Barden Bellas looking fit and proper, and singing traditional female empowering songs. Then there is Beca, who identifies as the Charismatic authority because she is new to the team and has talent and fresh new ideas that challenge Aubrey's authority. The group likes Beca and her ideas better than Aubrey but yet they continue to listen to Aubrey throughout the Movie.
Although Pitch Perfect seems like a girly film with lots of song and dance, when analyzed with a sociological lens you can really apply a lot of concepts and ideas from lecture throughout the film.
Endangered Peoples: 'Racial Extinction' Framing in Anti-Abortion Movements by Kia Heise
Kia Heise researched and examined anti-abortion movements within the African American community. She collected data by observing social movement organizations, politicians and political pundits in 2009-2013 in addition to coding documents within websites and the media. In her presentation she discussed two racial extinction frames: race suicide frame and race genocide frame; however, Heise focused primarily on race genocide. Her research stated that several members of the African American community regarded "birth control as race suicide." She referred to political leaders such as Marcus Garvey, Jessie Jackson, Black Panther members and the NAACP when discussing African American views on birth control and its role as a tool from the White race to commit black genocide. She discussed eugenics and African Americans opinions on the White race discouraging reproduction for African Americans so that they can eliminate unwanted qualities within their race. African American's who believed in birth control as a form of black genocide protested against the pill as a form of having some agency. Having been the minorities in America with little agency in the structure, refusing to take the pill showed that they still had agency over their lives. This talk touched on issues social construction of race and inequality of race. Socially constructed ideas placing unequaled values on races allow for racial discrimination and fear from the undesired race.
The speaker that I'm going to review is Tom Slater, who works at the University of Edinburgh and spoke at the Urban Marginality and the State Conference in Paris, France. The conference had speakers such as Javier Auyero, Kate Swanson and Loic Wacquant and all had to do with the discrimination with races and classes within urban settings. Tom Slater studied politicians and the media, and their portrayal about individuals on welfare. Because of the recent recession, a series of reforms were put in place in Britain to lessen the state's help for those on welfare. Tom Slater argues that these are not reforms, but assaults on the welfare state. Many of the benefits of welfare were halted or reduced and as a result many people were evicted from their homes and were put on even financial strain. However, the public responded with support for this policy and the media has not responded with any sympathy. These people on welfare have been demonized as scroungers who get way too much money from the government and welfare dependency is seen as a growing disease. As a result of these reforms, thousands of people protested outside a police station, the protest escalated and turned into a riot, and set four buildings on fire. 1,500 people were prosecuted and the politicians instructed the lawmakers to be especially harsh, which resulted in one person getting sentenced to six months in prison for stealing a bottle of water. Prime Minister David Cameron blamed the lawlessness and bad behavior that is promoted in these poor neighborhoods for the riot. He focused on the people who participated in the riot instead of their motivations for rioting in the first place. Slater talked about how the idea of "family breakdown" caused the mentalities towards the riot. The characteristics of family breakdown are dissolution, dysfunction and dadlessness and this is what the British government blames for the riot. However, the book "Reading the Riots" talks to over two hundred people who participated in the riot and they all say the same thing: they participated in the riot because they had felt invisible and excluded from the opportunities that most British people have. This talk was very enlightening about the discrimination that working class people face and the lack of understanding that the society has about them.
Extra Credit-Movie Analysis
6 May 2013
Key Concepts: Agency- the extent to which people have control over there actions
Structure: ordered relations or patterned expectations that guide social interactions
Social construction: not natural, biological, or inherent, varies across time- we as a society give things meaning but we are not simply free to decide whether we subscribe to these ideas or not
The movie Office Space highlighted many sociological themes that we have discussed throughout class. For starters, the main character Peter is fed up with living out the societal construct of working a full time job from nine to five. He sees his work as mundane and unfulfilling. Peter then decides to use the agency he has to finally take action. Peter starts to fall into a pattern of not showing up to work because he does "not feel like it," basically in an effort to be fired. His boss even asks him to come into work on Saturday and Sunday and he does not show up for that either. This type of behavior goes against what people see as normal. Moving up the ladder within your job is a goal of almost every employee out there. This is why his co-workers and friends react they way they do. Furthermore, when Peter first tells his co-workers they are alarmed and try to convince him that he has to "pay his dues" now in order reap the benefits later. However, Peter has none of that and continues on his pattern. Peter is upset with the structure of society and how things seem to be working for him. So, unlike most, he decides he needs to take action to try and get fired so he can do what he wants, and to get out of his everyday rut. The agency Peter shows over his life begins to give him more confidence with everything. He even blatantly asks a woman out that is very attractive and she says yes. Furthermore, his plan to get fired takes an odd turn that he doesn't expect. There are consultants that come into interview all the employees of the company he works at and they absolutely love Peter, and they want to promote him because of his explanation why he does not work hard. This sort of behavior really is confusing because Peter basically admits that he does not work and the consultants then come to there own conclusions that it is Peters boss' fault that there is no incentives given for people to work hard. Again, this sort of behavior definitely goes against societal constructs in regards to the work force. In almost all scenarios when you are being interviewed or questioned about the importance of your work or what exactly you do you would think the best way to blow people out of the water would be to try and make yourself look better. However, in the end Peter ends up conforming back to societal norms that are being pushed upon him by society and he ends up getting a construction job that makes him happy with himself. Furthermore, this movie exemplifies the importance of structure and agency, as well as, societal constructs and how they shape our decisions in every day life.
Each of us are shaped heavily by the sociological institutions that we belong to. Most of us go to college with the intentions of being able to get a quality-paying job in a field in which we enjoy. But, many come to realize that much of what we spend years, and countless hours of the day learning about in school is never utilized. Creativity and personal innovation is blocked because of structure and a lack of agency especially in the workplace. In the movie Office Space the characters come to this harsh realization, and then push on to challenge the established social norms.
Peter the main character hates his job, and is losing his mind. Every day he goes to work and is stuck needing to answer to the demands of his multiple bosses, and operate within strict boundaries. Simply by doing what he is "supposed to do" his life is miserable. This is similar to how people around the world are confined by social norms and structure. Thanks to race, color, ethnicity, economic status, and so on, everyone is placed in a category. The rich stay rich and the poor stay poor. The powerful stay powerful and the weak stay weak, all wish very little room for mobility. Office Space helps display this social conflict in an environment that is more relatable for many.
Once Peter has finally had enough of being in a state of constant agony due to his job, he decides its time to do something about it. Although he is hesitant and scared he takes on the tough task of breaking established norms and attempting to g gain agency. Again this is sociologically significant. Not only do sociologists work to understand how groups work, but they also challenge ideas and traditions that are not logical. Like Peter they take pride in stepping up and making others aware of the injustice on display, and begin efforts to change it.
Before class, I was unaware of the numerous issues and inequality in out world. Simply by pointing out examples of these problems along with "making the comfortable, uncomfortable" the way I see the world has changed in a dramatic way. Although Office Space is a comedy, and was produced to get laughs, it lays out some substantial social issues particularly steaming from power and breaking social norms in favor of agency.
This short video was created based off a speech given at the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts) by Ken Robinson, world-renown education expert and recipient of the RSA Benjamin Franklin Award. It gives a good overview of our current education system and why it functions as it does. It argues that the system in place now is privileged to individuals with certain skills, and does not cater to individuals with creative minds. The speaker talks about industrialization and how it has shaped the education system today and also addresses the rise of ADHD medication and how it is affecting youth.
Sociology Talk Review: Ahmed Yusuf, author of Somalis in Minnesota
by Stia Jama
After receiving Meg's email about this upcoming event I decided to check it out because I was interested in the topic (and a little for extra credit). The speaker I decided to evaluate was Ahmed Yusuf writer of Somalis in Minnesota, a book that tries to discuss the issues of the Somali people, why they decided to immigrant from their home country to Minnesota and issues they face because of this. This book, especially for non-Somali's, allows them access in better understanding our cultural practices, societal norms, and economic and political beliefs. I had never really thought of why, Somali's choose such a place so different from the basics of their home country to settle into. I mean my mother saw snow for the first time when we moved to the US. So why would they choose a place that normally goes below zero in the winter as well as has several feet of snow fall down as a place to settle in. As he spoke I realized why, community. The first immigrants from Somali were scattered across the country, (however in relatively local hubs, Maine, Washington, Minnesota) but Minnesota grew to be the largest population of Somali's across the country because it offered relatively high paying jobs at first. Then as more and more Somali's came the culture and community of Somali people grew as well and as a result it caused more and more Somali people to move to Minnesota, like an ever perpetuating cycle. He also discusses another major reason that the Somali's decided to stay in Minnesota, hospitality. He argues that compared to other regions of the US, Minnesota was one of the most accepting and hospital regions that the Somali people felt comfortable in living and showing their unique cultural heritage and customs. However, the most interesting part of his talk I found was that he discussed issues that many Somali's and the wider public shy away from bringing up, such as issues of terrorism.
What is the message of this ad? Apparently, a soft drink labeled "diet" just isn't manly enough for the young American male demographic, raised on action adventure movies and eager to identify with the testosterone-driven heroes so esteemed in young male culture.In this ad, a rather thin young man manages to get the beautiful girl. On the "morning after," we see him reach for the soda with the black label, clearly intended to give the product a masculine appearance. Unlike the artsy, creative women featured in some of the Diet Coke ads, this young man's soft drink choice identifies him as a man's man. Really, is there any reason that this product should rationally be associated with a particular gender? Both Diet Coke and Coke Zero are similar, zero-calorie soft drinks. Any preference for subtle taste difference of one drink over the other is a purely subjective one, with no biological basis for a gender-based difference that I can imagine. Clearly, Coke is unabashedly trying to portray an image of an ordinary guy who is perceived by a hot girl as attractive, adventurous, and manly, due to his choice of beverage, something Diet Coke evidently was not successful at doing. If holding a can with a label that implies that they are dieters was considered an acceptable norm for young males in our culture, it is doubtful that Coke would have created a new product, and certainly they would not have targeted their marketing so blatantly to young males.
How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days
Film; Sociological Movie Review Extra Credit
(SOC 1001, Anna Posbergh, SEC 014)
The 2003 romantic comedy film, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, exploits social expectations and social norms in the dating world and gives an exaggerated interpretation of what happens when these expectations and norms are ignored. Hudson, a writer for a magazine, seeks to find a man and break up with him using only 'the classic mistakes women make'. The idea of 'making mistakes' in regards to dating implies that there are certain standards and expectations that must be met and fulfilled, while the idea of making mistakes that only women make implies that there are specific guidelines and expectations set aside for only women. The difference between expectations and 'mistakes' for men and women, as Hudson inadvertently points out, is distinct and apparent. Thus, Hudson also points out a gender inequality between men and women in regards to dating. Later on in the film, Hudson goes to the extreme in regards to these 'mistakes'; she quickly moves into his apartment, acts overly possessive and emotional, talks about marriage and future children, and even goes so far as to ruin poker night for McConaughey and his friends. Each one of these actions she takes evokes a sense of discomfort and awkwardness, as her actions significantly divert from what is considered 'socially acceptable'. But the idea of 'socially acceptable' comes from societal expectations and norms that are developed throughout communities and touch on several ideas such as gender inequality. Additionally, 'socially acceptable' is an indication of social construct in society - its exact original sociological source is unknown, but thinking about it, why are some things considered 'wrong' or 'unacceptable' in regards to dating. Sociology seeks to make the familiar strange; dating guidelines in our society have always been merely adhered, but nobody questions their origins. Hence, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, though it often evokes awkward and uncomfortable comedy, sociologically questions dating guidelines and exploits societal norms and expectations in regards to dating.