Assignment 2: Reaction to music videos

For this weeks blog post we had to review three videos that are intended to "document" relationships of men and women during their respective times.  Leslie Gore's "Its My Party," (early sixties).  Fiona Apple's "Criminal" (late nineties). Lil Kim's "How Many Licks" (early two thousands). 

All videos had the same general idea that the only relationship that men and women have is based on sex, or so popular culture and the music industry try to tell (sell) us.  Leslie Gore sings about her recent heartbreak when her man, Johnny, brings another woman to her party.  She feels like a helpless victim and now all she can do is cry.  She will not be happy during her birthday celebration; instead she will give Johnny all the power in their relationship.  She will allow him to ruin her birthday.   This was the role of women during this time period.  They allowed men to dictate their relationships, whatever the man wanted..., even another woman.

In contrast Fiona Apple's song criminal makes the female the sexual deviant.  She is the devil because she has been careless with a delicate man.  Where Leslie Gore sang about her heartbreak, Fiona is singing about "breaking a boy, just because she can."  This seems to be a rise to power for women.  However, the video is filled with shocking scenes of almost child pornography.  I can not really understand how this video connects to the song.  The lyrics of the song seem give control to women, but the video makes Fiona a victim.  Her innocence was taken- not a man's.  This was the nineties women seemed to be struggling with what their role was, are they powerful equals or innocent lesser people.    

There is nothing innocent about Lil' Kim. She has based her career on this shock and awe technique.  In this video Lil' Kim is meant to be in charge of the relationship, telling the man what to do.  She has to be promiscuous and "man-like" talking about all her sexual conquests.  The video makes her a caricature, she is "Candy Kim" and "Nightrider Kim", however she seemingly has the control.  I think this video is trying to maintain that women have control over men in relationships because we always have the sex carrot.  We can always dangle sex in front of them to get what we want.  I think this does not empower women and always keeps men and women at different levels instead of giving us equality.  How we explain these relationships and power struggles to kids, when this is what pop culture teaches them, is troubling. 

Assignment 1: Chapters 1-3 Tooning In Response

As many have mentioned this is my first adventure in blogging too.  Whole new world out here in cyberspace!  It is different recording my babble.  I encourage any feedback.  

The first chapters of Tooning In are and introduction to the concept of using the media in the classroom to help educate.    Chapter 1 describes the importance of social efficacy in education.  "Social efficacy in education moves beyond traditional practice by suggesting the inclusion of student- and issue-centered approaches in teaching and learning". (White & Walker, pg 2)  I think this is a great idea, definitely the direction that our educational system should go.  We need to start helping our youth to become educated responsible citizens.  "Public education should be about creating critical thinkers and active capable citizens rather than passive consumers."  (White & Walker, pg 20)

This is so touchy though.  In our country, where we can not agree on anything, it has been easier to simply agree that education should follow certain standards and guidelines. This way we would not have anyone pushing their personal agendas on our children.  We are so afraid of our children having someone else's thoughts, that we don't even encourage them to have thoughts of their own.  An example of this from Tooning In can be found on page 25-26.  The inclusion of Disney films in education is up for debate.  "Giroux believes that the "cultural texts that dominate children's culture, including Disney's animated films should be incorporated into schools as serious objects of social knowledge and critical analysis", "he (Giroux) supports using Disney's animated films intact."  Conversely the Southern Baptist Convention voted to endorse a boycott of all things Disney, Disney being too liberal.  Here is an example of how we can not agree on what to teach our children.  Instead of educating them to think for themselves and decided if they believe Disney is too liberal or conservative, we just don't teach them at all.  We need to give them tools to draw their own conclusions. 

Chapter 2 mentions sponsored educational material (SEMs).  I giggled when I was reading about the lesson plan and video from Exxon that praises the efforts of the oil company in cleaning up the environment and wildlife in Alaska, not mentioning they were the ones who caused the spill.  Also, the educational program sponsored by Hershey, "The Chocolate Dream Machine, that discusses chocolates place in a well balanced diet is rather ridiculous. (White & Walker, pg 20)

Working in environmental education I have come across my fair share of SEMs.  Since environmental education is non-traditional education by nature you often find yourself searching for programming.  Many companies realize they can push their agendas by creating "educational" material.  Examples include "clean-coal" energies, and oil companies' environmental education departments.  The government is also quite good at this.  Think Smokey Bear preaching the negative effects of forest fires when, in reality, fire is part of a natural healthy ecosystem.   

Chapter 3 touches on the importance of diversity.  It is nice to see a conscious effort by society to include diversity in programming.  I think it is really important.  I remember seeing women in high-profile job settings on television as a child and it definitely inspired me, or helped me realize my potential.  I think it is good to discover positive role models on television.  What concerns me is that youth now watch these reality shows (VH1- Rock of Love, Megan Wants a Millionaire, etc.) and think that this is a normal way to act.  I hope they don't see these people as role models.  Like President Obama mentioned In his address to school children last week:  "I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you're not going to be any of those things." (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32723584/ns/politics-white_house/page/2/) It is our job as educators to help the children understand this. 

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