September 2009 Archives

Response to articles-(mall experience)


Responses to:

Transforming Social Spaces: Female Identity and the Mall

The Full MOA-Living in the MOA




            The article Transforming Social Spaces: Female Identity and the Mall mentioned that the design of malls were carefully planned to create the consumer.  These are intentional planning that are thought of to target a certain group of the population, the middle class and women.  As a shopper, I did not realize this until I read the article.  Advertisements are put out to tell us what we want as the consumer.  These designs teach us how to be a consumer.  How do we know what we want?  The big poster hanging of the window of Charlotte Russe may tell women the "ideal" fashion they need.  As mentioned in the article, the advanced technology allows department stores to have televisions playing around.  The television playing a commercial on the new mop may tell women what they want as a new addition to their home.  We are surrounded by a design that allows us to continue to consume and want to consume.

            Matt Savders spent a week living in the Mall of America, and had a once in a lifetime experience.  By the end, he was counting seconds.  Why was his experience not so good?  I think this could be because he was not a woman.  Women are a big target of these corporations.  It could be because of their roles, being the "assumed" individual that does that kind of thing.  Had Matt been a woman, his experience would have been a lot better.  He would have spent more time on trying on clothing, and going through the different fragrance stores.  This goes back to the design of the mall.  Aside from the Mall of America, smaller malls in the cities do not have many stores made for men.  There is the occasional Mens' Footlocker and Mens' Express Store, but what else is really there. 

            According to my experience, I find going to the mall as something convenient.  I know I can go into many stores and find what I want.  My fiancĂ©, on the other hand, think it is a waste of time and money.  I've only been to the Mall of America a hand full of time, but still feel I have not gone through all the stores yet.  Why? Having that kind of experience takes a lot of foot ache and money. 

            Relating this to the educational experience, I think schools are institutions similar to these big corporations.  Although it was not an intention, I think we also teach our students how to be students, like how consumers are taught to be consumers.  How does a student know he/she would have to raise their hand before talking, or come home and do their homework?  In other words, we shape our students like how consumers are shaped. 

Response to 3 videos and 1 critique

Response to:

Leslie Gore- "It's My Party" video

Fiona Apple- "Criminal" video and critique

Lil' Kim- "How Many Licks" video


Portrayal of men and women: 


Leslie Gore:

According to this song, women of this time (1960s) were portrayed to be very passive.  Leslie's lyrics, "nobody knows where my Johnny has gone, Judy left the same time.  Why was he holding her hand when he's supposed to be mine" which leads to the chorus of crying during her party shows that although she was humiliated, she did nothing of it.  In addition, women were portrayed to be very needy, as her lyrics indicated, "leave me alone for a while, 'till Johnny's dancing with me, I've got no reason to smile".  Because of Johnny's behavior of being unfaithful, I thought this video portrayed men as having no respect for women.

            This video showed three levels (1) the performers, which were all females, (2) Leslie Gore singing, and (3) the audience which were also dancing.  In my opinion, the performers were all dancing in sync while Leslie was singing.  Being able to see that there were no men up with the performers, it showed that there was a very thick line between men and women.  Men were present in the audience, but only danced to their tunes, obviously there were women dancing with them as well.  However, this indicated nothing to the significant barrier between the two genders. 


Fiona Apple:

            Fiona's song seemed to put women in the negative thoughts.  First, the beginning of her song already stated, "I've been a bad bad girl".  Just from this first line, we can already assume what will be portrayed about women.  As many of the lyrics showed, women were also portrayed as helpless, careless, and in search of acceptance from the world.  From reading the critique of this video, I felt women were also portrayed as subordinate.  As the critique stated, women should be at fault if they were being abuse because it would be they who enticed men and made men abused them.  This meant that women had no powers.  In addition, women were supposed to be perfect, and if they were not they needed to be cleanse in order to be good enough.  Other parts of her lyrics: "suffer for my sins", "need a good defense", "need to be redeemed", "got to cleanse myself", "I'm begging you", and "need to make a play to make my love stay" all showed how low women are portrayed.  This goes back to the point that women should be perfect.  On the other hand, men were indicated to be perfect, and lack nothing.  Also, according to her lyrics, men were delicate.

            All the other characters in this video had no faces.  This could mean that the focus was only on Fiona, which made perfect sense because she was the singer.  The point was, the men in this video also had no faces, but had more roles than the women had in the video.  Fiona was also seen to be doing scenes that were more explicit with the men in the video.  Those scenes also indicated her subordination.  One example was her scene in the tub with the feet of a male on her face.  According to my understanding, putting a foot on someone's head, or the other around, showed that the person whose head was being touched by the foot had less power.  Fiona's character in the video seemed to be vulnerable.  This can be perceived as an indication that women are vulnerable and always in need of protection. 



Lil' Kim:


               Since I have talked a lot about women, I think men should be talked about first here.  The men, as portrayed in this video, were subordinate to women.  With the verse, highlighting the different men that she slept with, it showed that men were replaceable.  They should do things right or they are replaced.  A written piece on the screen but was not sung stated, "she doesn't satisfy you, satisfy her", showed that men should work for the women and not the other way around.  Women were portrayed to be independent and high class.  They also possessed a lot of power with their beauty.  This was something that should be irresistible to men. 

               The video production was explicit, but not as explicit as the lyrics itself.  One scene that helped me realized how subordinate men were portrayed was the scene where Lil' Kim was standing up, and a male character was sitting on the ground with his head between her legs.  Just from their position, it already showed that she had a lot of power over this person.  The indication of his head being between her legs also showed his subordination to her.  That position showed how demeaning he was compared to her.  This was also in Fiona Apple's video, but the situation was switched around.  Instead, Fiona was between the male character's legs, which showed her subordination to the male character.   


How have roles for women and men in regards to love and relationships changed?

            It was clear to see just from these three videos how the roles for women and men in regards to relationship have changed.  In the first video, which was released in 1963, women were portrayed to be passive.  This also meant that they did not speak against any wrong men did to them.  Men, on the other hand, can be unfaithful, yet are still wanted as companions.  This continued in the second video, which was released in 1997, but was less significant.  Fiona's video showed women's vulnerability and carelessness.  Yet it also portrayed how women needed men, and should try to be perfect for them.  The men, in this video, seemed to be portrayed as being perfect, and godly.  All these roles dramatically changed in the third video.  Lil' Kim portrayed women as high class and independent.  This video showed men as sex slaves, or in other words, subordinate to women.  Instead of women trying to keep the men, the men should be trying to keep the women. 

Response to chapters 1-3

| 1 Comment

Mai Yer Xiong

CI 5150

September 13, 2009

Response to Ch. 1-3



            The advancement of technology has greatly affected how popular culture is portrayed today.  At the same time, it has given children different ways of getting exposed to it.  Popular culture, as we see it today or neglect to see it is an influence on children and how they become exposed to the reality, they live in.  In my opinion, some schools prefer their students to live in a fantasy world, where everything is perfect and we all live in harmony following the status quo. 

That is a lie, and something students will never understand unless they are exposed to it. 

            We have forgotten how the mind of children works, and only teach the children as if on a drill.  As Cameron White and Trenia Walker (2008) stated, schools has turned into prisons, only teaching students to be "appropriately acting citizens" (p 3).  School no longer holds the interest of the students, and this only means that we are doing something wrong.  Even as adults, we seek pleasure from the popular culture.  Children, on the other hand, not only seek but also are a targeted audience for popular culture.  It is important that we stay updated with our students.  This only means that we must try to teach our students what they are required to know while keeping their interests. 

            What may seem interesting for me while in primary school may be, and most likely is, different from students in the primary schools today.  Then, technology was not as advanced as what it is today.  Now, we have cable and internet where children have more choices to pick.  Of course, this just makes it even harder to keep their attention in the schools.  What we need to understand is that, these children spend only a fraction of their time in school.  Whatever they do out of school we cannot control. 

            This controversy of bringing popular culture into the classroom is understandable.  Popular culture is good and does portray different aspects and point of views.  However, censoring is also good.  As teachers, we must know what to use and what not to use.  Just bringing something in for pleasure only may not be the best way of doing it.  Bringing something in for pleasure and knowledge is the best way. 

            I think that popular culture is the best way to portray America's society as it is, and whom it involves.  This topic of multiculturalism is very important for all students to understand and be sensitive about.  I think it is good for teachers to try to integrate the differences, but it may not be the most useful.  Because everybody has bias whether they know or not.  I think that it is best to have that bias portrayed in the music or films being shown, than by a teacher. 

            My few experiences as a student listening to my culture being exposed to my classmates were not very fun.  I remember coming out of it very disappointed and embarrassed.  I felt my teacher was not up-to-date with the information.  Actually, she was not very correct.  I felt a lot of bias coming from her.  It was more as if she was making fun of my culture as compared to hers (which the majority of my classmates shared her ethnicity).  I believe this did not successfully help my fellow classmates to understand me at all.

            I do not remember my teachers bringing in popular culture into my classrooms.  Once in sixth grade, my teacher secretly showed my class the movie Hook, which I remember our principle denied her request.  It was fun movie day, but I did not learn much from it.  I believe we were not learning anything that associated with the movie.  My point is if we allow ourselves to integrate popular culture into our classrooms, there is assurance that our students will learn better.  They will be able to see the world from multiple perspectives.

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