Gender and Technoculture Assignment

For those of you who normally subscribe to my blog, this post is for a class I am taking on Gender and Tecnoculture.

Plus Size Barbie and Ken Doll Commutation Test

In this image I performed a commutation test on body image and size. This is also a sort of spoof advertisement, but I originally intended it to be a commutation test. I first downloaded the image of Ken, and then took a picture of the screen for Barbie. I wanted to choose pictures where their waists would be easily expandable, so I chose one with the dolls wearing bathing suits. For my text, I added a description of the dolls, in advertisement form, and a title describing what the dolls were.

Barbie and Ken and all their other doll friends are the epitome of the popular girls and boys. They are skinny, have great hair, and have the most fashionable clothes. Little girls and boys want to play with dolls with whom they hope to identify with, and in some way, look up to the dolls. Rarely, do you see dolls in various body types. It used to be that you couldn’t find ethnic minorities in dolls, but with enough protesting that changed. Shouldn’t Mattel, who reaches so many millions of children each year, promote healthy body images? In class, we talked about how people perceive others based on what they look like. Unfortunately it is still very true in today’s world. It makes me think that in some ways dolls like Barbie and Ken may have something to do with this perception. From the time they are very young, dolls are shoved in kids faces, showing them what they can look like when they are older. Maybe, if heavier, or at least healthily proportioned dolls existed, we would not have some of the same issues today.

White Slave Reward Commutation Test

In this picture I have performed a commutation test on race. I first took a picture of an advertisement for a slave reward I downloaded from the internet. I also took a picture of my screen for the slave woman, and then edited the color and cropped the image. For the commutation test I made the slave in the picture Caucasian to see how perceptions of slavery would change. For the text I erased over the name Jack and put Jane. I also changed some of the wording in the background image to read “white folk” instead of “blackmen” and “white and dark tan” instead of “black and brown,” to better fit the commutation test.

So much of society is based on a hierarchical ranking system, with slaves on one of the lowest pegs. Most people associate Caucasian males as being on one of the top pegs, so what if the opposite was true? Would people associate slavery as being as negative as it was if white men and women were slaves, and African Americans or other Caucasian men were their owners? I personally believe that society would have looked at slavery in a different light if the commutation test proved true. White men have the fortunate advantage of being one of the only non-minority groups. Even white women are one less peg than white men. Seeing a white slave then would be perceived as odd, and less worrisome, because of their already high ranking. For example a white slave would maybe be perceived as working off a debt, or just working in general and would not be perceived as “property.”

Victoria Secret Spoof Advertisement featuring Adam Levine

This was my favorite image that I created, and it is a spoof on a Victoria Secret advertisement. In the original ad, a semi naked girl is posing seductively with the same words you see on the spoof, and the lotions in the corner. I immediately thought of the Adam Levine picture that you see in the image. I took a picture of the screen for the picture of Adam, and then I downloaded the original ad and took the lotions out of the picture, and put them on the spoof. I had to manually create the background from scratch, and I also added all the wording to mirror the original ad.

This image was really engaging mentally as well. In class we talked about how sex sells, and how women are so highly sexualized in todays media and culture.  Very few advertisements use men to sell women’s products, even though women are the ones that are buying the product! It is odd how if a man is put in a sexualized image that it suddenly seems taboo and foreign, which goes back to commutation as well. When women are in sexualized imagery, it appeals to both men and women without women feeling awkward. However, if a man is in sexualized imagery, other men feel awkward looking at a picture of the highly sexualized man. So how is it ok for one gender and not the other? Most of it boils down to the sheer level of exposure that female sexualization in ads get, but that never makes it ok.

How to fail at a seemingly easy task

So, I haven’t posted in about a week, mainly due to my uncreative brain, and not being able to think of a dang thing to write about. I kept on saying “I have nothing to write about” “Nothing interests me right now”, “Nothing is going on in my life, that is even remotely hilarious”. All of a sudden it dawned on me. Why not write about nothing?

Now, you may be thinking How in the world can she write about nothing? Nothing is just nothing. It’s negative space, it doesn’t exist. Nothing isn’t something you can pick up, or hold, or see. So how can I write about it. Well, this is where my ADD brain kicks in. All of a sudden i just start thinking about how you can’t think about nothing. Think about it.  If you are thinking about nothing, then you are thinking.  One cannot stop thinking. Even when you are asleep, your mind is at work, thinking for itself.

It’s an interesting concept really. One cannot stop thinking. It’s kind of weird to picture your brain as never taking a break, never  hitting the snooze button and sleeping in five minutes late. But, it’s true. And that is where thinking comes in handy. How else would you think to think about your brain hitting the snooze button (seriously, how do i think of this stuff).

As a social experiment, I tried to just close my eyes and clear my mind for a minute (that being the seemingly easy task). I sat there for maybe ten/fifteen minutes trying to clear my mind and being totally unsuccessful. Did you ever notice that when you’re doing yoga or de-stresssing how people say “clear your mind”? This has ALWAYS pissed me off, because you can’t clear your mind! It’s impossible!

Anyway, now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest, hopefully my mind will be relatively clear, and allow me to sleep. Good night!

Clear Mind

A perfect illustration of what my brain thinks about as an alternative to nothing.

Things I will never do if I am a teacher

Having just completed my second to last semester of my Undergraduate career ( 2 A’s and 3 B’s thank you very much!!), and dealing with countless idiotic teachers, who really did nothing to further my education, I have decided to make a list of pet peeves/ things that I will never do if I become a teacher.

1) Say “Look in the book” – This is probably my number one pet peeve. Seriously, if a student comes up to you and asks a question, they’ve obviously looked in the book. Even if you wanted to verify with the student, you could say, “Hey John, did you already look in the book for that answer?”. But don’t just say “The answer is in the book”. I had a math teacher who insisted every answer was in the book, and it wasn’t, which was super annoying.

2) Hold students after class for one students misbehavior – This is also really awful. I went to a private school, and the same kids were in your class year after year, and there was this one really terrible kid who always made us stay after class. I can’t count how many times I had to stay after school for that kid.

3) Just read off the powerpoint – I understand if you refer back to the powerpoint for the main points, but if you are just going to stare at the powerpoint and read word for word, then you’re just wasting yours and the students time.

4) Return papers four weeks after you said they will be returned

5) Pick your nose in the corner – Seriously, I had a teacher do this one time. We can see you. And it’s disgusting.

6) Have favorites – Favorites aren’t fair, even if you’re a favorite. It’s okay to like someone better, but don’t treat them any different than the worst kid in the class

7) Sit behind your desk the whole class while we read the book – I had a college G.E. professor do this to the class. He would literally give us a block of pages to read, while he sat behind his desk staring at his computer doing God-knows-what. At that point, why not just cancel class.

 

There are many more things I will never do as a teacher, but I’ll save them for another post! Hope everyone had a fantastic new years!

New year, new beginnings, and New Year’s Resolutions

There is something about the change of the clock from 11:59pm on December 31st to 12:00a.m  on January 1st that has the whole world captivated. Really, New Year’s Day is just a day. The clock goes from 11:59 to 12:00 twice a day, so what makes New  Year’s so special? Maybe it’s the magic of having a whole new year to change your life for better or worse. Maybe it’s the anticipation of a better financial year, where your personal, and the national job market will actually recover. Or, maybe it’s finding that person you will love for the rest of your life. Whatever it is, celebrate the new year today (or recover from last night’s celebration) and make plans to change this year around.

Personally, I’m really excited for 2012. This is the year that I graduate from college and start my Master’s degree. I will hopefully also be moving out, although that may be next year. I will also get out of debt with my parents this year, which will help them out a lot too.

I also decided to make a few New Year’s resolutions, and am happy to say i started one today. I’ve been battling my weight for a while (5-6 years). I have tried multiple diets, and weight loss methods, but none of them really worked, and i usually dropped out of them. This year though I am determined to lose weight on Weight Watchers. I even joined and went to my first meeting today.  With the weight loss comes exercise, so another resolution will be to get active!

Another hope for this year, is to start/maintain a relationship. For those of you who know me personally, you know this has been a struggle. If you don’t know me personally, this is one part of my life that I would change in an instant. For me, it’s not about just “having a boyfriend.” It’s more about the relationship, and having someone in your life that you care about, and that cares the same way about you.

Hopefully, 2012 will be great for everyone, and the world won’t end at the end of the year. But even if it did, at least I would die skinnier!

The end of the year, and other exciting news

I was debating whether to even write a goodbye to 2011 post, for almost a day now. I’ve been back and forth, and mainly decided to do one, just to express myself and my thoughts on 2011. 2011 wasn’t a great year for me and my family. I had a lot of health problems, and my family had a lot of financial problems overall. Good things happened too such as that I got a new job, which I absolutely love, and this year marks my last full year as an undergrad.  I think what I am most excited for is the start of the new year, of 2012, and of new beginnings.

In other exciting news, I am going to Disneyland to hear my favorite band perform. Their name is Suburban Legends. If you haven’t heard of them, they are an amazing Ska band. You can check out their facebook page here. This band puts on an amazing stage show, and I can’t wait to see them again tonight. You guys rock!

Life Decisions and the Magic 8 Ball

I wish all decisions could be made using a Magic 8 ball. All of life’s complicated decisions wouldn’t be decisions anymore. For example “Will the U.S. ever not be in debt?” Answer: “Outlook not so good.” “Will I become a multi-millionare for inventing the world’s best invention?” Answer: “You may rely on it.”  In theory, this sounds wonderful, although realistically it just wouldn’t make sense to rely on a ball made of plastic to determine major life decisions such as whether we should remove troops from Iraq, or even whether to eat ice cream before dinner.

Right now, in this stage of my life, I’m deciding what I want to do for the rest of my life. I know I want to work with kids, most likely in an educational setting. Where it gets tricky is knowing what to do. For about 6 years now, I’ve wanted to do something with Counseling. At first I wanted to be a Marriage and Family Therapist, then a School Psychologist, and now a School Counselor. I have talked to a few Graduate Schools and other people who are currently School Counselors, and everyone tells me that the job outlook and current job market for School Counselors is terrible. So if I went through the program, there may not be a job when i graduate.

On the other hand, being an instructional aide for moderate to severe special education right now, I know that I may want to teach special education later in life. This is something I really never saw myself doing, but now that I work in special education, it’s becoming more of a reality. The students that i work with teach me so much about myself, and I know I would enjoy working with them to make their lives better.

So now comes the hard part: The decision. Should I go to Grad School for Special Education, or School Counseling. My passion in life is School Counseling, but there are no jobs. I also really love Special Education, but it isn’t my passion. I could do both, but that’s a lot of time and money. Also if I get my teaching credential first, i couldn’t do the hours needed for my masters in counseling. and if i do counseling first, i couldn’t get my student teaching hours in! All of these decisions make me want to pull my hair out!

Magic 8 Ball, I need you!!

Magic 8 Ball

The story of my life...

The Reason for the Season

For many people, Christmas involves waking up in the morning, smelling the rich aromas of food cooking, running down the hallway, and seeing the presents around your tree. When you were little, you probably ran up and tore open the biggest present you could find, squealing with excitement over that really cool toy that all the cool kids had. Now, you may wait for your kids to open their presents first, or, if you don’t have any kids, and are like me, run up and tear open your presents like a kid when you’re 21.

But what is Christmas really about anyway? It’s not about the presents, although those are nice to give and receive, It’s not about Santa, although he is pretty awesome. It’s not about the holiday feast with turkey or ham, and all the fixings, although it is delicious. it’s not about trees, snowmen, stockings, carols, angels, or mistletoe.

Christmas is in fact about Christ. Christ is even in the name. Christ-mas. In spanish, that would be More Christ (More = mas) Well, not exactly but close enough. Christmas has become so commercialized over the years, to where people lose sight of the real meaning of Christmas. Even if you aren’t a Christian, you can still celebrate Christmas. You don’t have to believe that Jesus Christ is lord, but you can still believe there was a man named Jesus Christ who was born on Christmas Day. If you’ve never read the Christmas story, I have copied it below from here. It is truly a wonderful story. Give it a read!

       This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.”

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'” Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

–Matthew 1:18 – 2:23 New International Version

    

Hi, my name is Alyssa, i’m white, and I can’t dance.

Hi, my name is Alyssa, i’m white, and I can’t dance.

Well, actually i should clarify that statement. I can dance as long as it doesn’t involve some crazy feet moving concept. Like for instance, I can do ballroom dancing. Nice, fluid motions.

However, if you want me to do any sort of dance where the feet move at a faster pace. WATCH OUT. Wednesday night, I went dancing at this place called InCahoots in Fullerton. It’s a country bar but they also play some other music and people do awesome looking line dances to them. Anyway, I went with a group of  friends, and we decide to wait until they have an instruction on how to do the dances, since none of us really know how to line dance. I start following the dance instructor, and i get to the second combination of steps. It went something like right, behind, cross, heel, left, behind, heel cross.  Basically it involved a significant amount of steps in a short period of time. And that was when they were going slow.  When they sped the moves up and added music i thought my legs were going to fall off. Not only that, i was missing steps so much that i was bumping into everyone around me. I’m pretty sure i took out a few people in the course of the night.

And don’t even get me started on Dance Dance Revolution.I love that game, but the most i can do is standard on some songs. I usually stay in light. But then i watch those people who hold DDR champion titles and you watch their feet move 50 miles an hour. My jaw just drops and stays there.

Do’s and Don’ts of Holiday Shopping

Here is my list of do’s and don’ts for the holiday season. This includes black friday, valentines day, halloween, thanksgiving, and christmas. Pretty much any holiday that is commercialized.

DO:

  • Plan for long lines – Aka, leave an extra hour or two at the end of when you plan to be done just to accomodate for long lines/traffic etc.
  • Wear comfy shoes – So if you’re standing in the return line at Walmart for 19 minutes and 30 seconds, then at least your feet won’t die. This also comes in handy for the mile walk back to the farthest parking spot in the lot.
  • Bring snacks if you plan on shopping all day – It beats having to pay extra money for snacks, and cuts down on horribly caloric snacks.
  • Let people go in front of you when you are driving –  It won’t slow you down that much, and it probably saved them their sanity.
  • Tip better at restaurants –  Think of it as them giving up their holiday weekend with their families and loved ones to serve you.

Don’t:

  • Be a jerk –  No one likes people who push, shove, and demand their way everywhere they go. Be courteous, everyone else is in the same boat you are, and you being a jerk to people isn’t making your life, or their life any easier.
  • Take up two parking spaces – parking is bad enough around the holidays, so if you can’t drive, DON’T. (This happened to me while I was shopping today. I wish i was a cop so i could give them a ticket.)
  • Pull up in your car so someone else can’t turn right out of a driveway – Ok, this one seems obvious to me, but apparently not to everyone else. If someone is waiting to turn right out of a driveway, and there is already a line of people in the right hand lane coming to about the driveway, stop BEFORE the driveway, and let the person turning right get in front of you.
  • Wait until the day before a holiday to do your shopping – Unless it is literally the ONLY time you have to go shopping, don’t. You’ll save yourself a ton of a stress.
  • Go driving in downtown areas in the whole week before a major holiday (Christmas) – I was out shopping today, and it probably took me an hour a half to drive what normally would have taken a half an hour. Not fun.

Well, there is my incomprehensive list of holiday Do’s and Don’ts. Most of these apply other times too, but especially during the holiday season. Happy shopping (or not shopping).

Food and Phone Calls

Imagine this scenario: Your fork is in your hand, moving up toward your mouth.As you open your mouth, and close it around the fork that contains the next piece of food you are going to eat, THE PHONE RINGS. I don’t know if this happens to other people, but it always happens to me. I mean seriously. Almost whenever I’m eating food (even without fancy forks) the phone inevitably rings. Sometimes, I wonder if people have a special Alyssa-meter that tells them when I’m eating so they can purposely call when I’ve just taken a bite of food.

The worst part isn’t the phone call. I’ll gladly talk to anyone that interrupts my terribly dull life. No, the worst part is what to do with the food. I mean, it’s already IN your mouth.You can’t spit it out without looking like a freak, and depending on what it is, you can’t swallow it easily (chips, a large meatball, one of those jawbreakers, etc.) . So, what do you do? Can you push it over to the side of your mouth? Do you just wait for the phone to go to voicemail? But what if you’re at work and answering the phone is your job?

Well, this happened to me today. I had inevitably just put a lifesaver in my mouth, because i had this crazy craving for something sweet. Then, three sucks in, the phone rings. *ring ring…. ring ring*. In my head i’m going “Oh crap,I can’t spit this back out, but i don’t want it on my desk, and I would sound weird talking with it in my mouth *Silent Scream*” In the end, I just ended up spitting the stupid thing in the trash. All of this happened in a grand total of maybe five seconds. Oh yeah, life is crazy.

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