Monday, April 18, 2011

Extended Comments: Twilight directed by Catherine Hardwicke

Extended Comments:
Ron discusses in his blog the stages of teenagers; “Becoming” and “The Storm.” He mentions throughout the film the character of Bella portrays some of the characteristics of Raby’s teenager. First off, Raby’s “Becoming.”  As Ron states, Bella and her parents are a good example.  This rebellion she portrays is actually a mask to help her parents. She knows her mom loves this new guy and that she is really just in the way, and when she gets angry with her father and leaves it is to protect him from the vampire.  Although, her overall quite, keep to herself, demeanor toward her father and others in general  is very conventional to teenage behavior.  Like Raby says they are finding out who they are. Becoming is a time of self identity that forces the teenagers, such as the character of Bella to seem rebellious. “they assume that all teenagers rebel just because this is the age when we start to become our own person’ (Raby). This is certainly apparent with Bella. She is figuring out who she is and where she fits in. She doesn’t fit in at school, she feels out of place, she doesn’t like to be around too many people, hence the prom and social situations.  Obviously her biggest issue of self identity is the fact that she wants to become a vampire. This is definitely a sign of self discovery.

“The Storm,” Bella’s character can also fit into this category. Raby describes it as “ahistorical understanding of adolescence in which teens are inherently inclined toward experimentation, risk taking and uncertainty.”  Bella completely puts herself at risk by choosing to be with Edward. Although he tries to convince her to move she decides she can not live with out him. She says “I want you always” knowing that she would have to give up her life as a mortal to be with him. She is uncertain of the future but as long as she is with him it doesn’t matter. She not only puts herself at risk but she puts her mom and dad’s lives at risk also.

This brings me to two other points that Ron doesn’t bring up in his blog. Firstly, Bella as the good girl. Last weeks reading “How Being a Good Girl Can Be Bad for Girls” the authors discussed the good girl and the bad girl. In the third film Eclipse Edward asks Bella to marry him, she replies “People will think I’m knocked up.” Bella is obviously worried about her good girl status. This was surprising to me considering her love and devotion for Edward.
Secondly, the choices Bella makes. As opposed to Alice and Atalanta, Bella conforms to the ideology that women need a man to survive. Edward is a perfect example of the male, ( SCWAMP ). “The common belief is US culture is that anything associated with the feminine is weak, while masculine traits are deemed stronger and more valuable to society” (Grinner). Edward, although a vampire, is the protector, the fixer, the everything in Bella’s life. Her choice is to give up her whole life to be with Edward. Her future; college, exploring, and family is not thought of because her value is how she feels when she is with Edward. She is still a young girl but thinks she has found happiness.
There is an interesting article how media represents and therefore influences teenage girls to want boyfriends. Twilight is one of them.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Quotes: Tolman and Higgens; Alice in Wonderland; Atalanta

“How Being a Good Girl can be Bad for Girls” by Toman and Higgins.
Alice in Wonderland  and “Atlanta”
“The cultural anxiety precipitated by unbounded female sexuality is perhaps most apparent with regard to adolescent girls.  Coming under scrutiny from across the political spectrum, girls’ sexuality has been deemed threatening either to girls themselves (potentially resulting in rape, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancy), or to society (as evidenced by the single mother, school dropout, welfare dependent). Although none of these issues is limited to teenage girls, all frequently arise in that context because of society’s sense of entitlement, or indeed, obligation, to regulate teen sexuality” (Tolman).
Tolman argues that adolescent females do not fit into the “good” girl category. Teenage girls are more in touch with their own sexuality that they do not restrict how they feel and for many,  how it effects the male. This behavior is threatening because for a girl to be aware of your sexuality and to not be afraid to reveal it is seen as bad. The “bad” girl appears and girls are seen as “wanting” it. The double standard applies here because “boys will be boys’ but when a girl is seen a provocative it opens up society’s views of them as being promiscuous and a tease.  AS usually, the burden always seems to fall on the women; it wasn’t rape because you teased him and wanted it, you are pregnant because you chose to have sex. 
This reminds me of Grinner’s “Hip-Hop Sees No Color” when she discusses  SCWAMP  through the film Save The Last Dance.  “Her body represents sex, as in one scene where she  “steals”  Derrick from Sara on the dance floor and begins dancing in a sexually explicit and provocative way in contrast to Sara’s innocent movement” (Grinner).  Although this fits into the “Good girl, bad girl” category also, I want to emphasize  Nikke’s  body language . This may certainly be seen as “threatening” behavior that Tolman discusses in his text.  If she were to be raped that night the prosecutor would most likely bring up her dancing as sexual behavior.

“Perhaps more than any other group of men, teenage boys are assumed to be least in control of their sexuality.  The responsibility for making sexual choices, therefore, falls to their partners, usually teenage girls, yet these “Choices” are to be enacted through passivity rather than agency. Girls who attain good girlhood are at constant risk of becoming bad girls if they fail in their obligation to regulate  their own sexual behavior and that of their partners”(Tolman).
Here Tolman discusses the fact that boys cannot control their sexual urges, thus making it the girls responsibility to say yes or no. However, the choices the girls make usually tend to let the boy have control, as opposed to the girl being in control to say yes.. if she wants to. Although saying yes and succumbing to their sexual desires puts them into the bad girl category.  It is a no win for the girl. Tolman goes on to discuss the fact that many teenage girls use their sexuality to please the male.
This is unfortunate but true. Women and girls,  from the beginning of time have always wanted to please their man, as opposed to a man pleasing a woman. This is not just for sex, but when it comes to taking care of others. It has always been the job of the women.
“Teenage girls interviewed in the Sentinel story explained their peers’ behavior in terms of girls giving boys what the boys wanted. One suggested that “sometimes girls, in order to get certain guys, will do anything the guy wants. And that includes sex” (Tolman).
This statement suggests that girls want a boy more than they value their own sense of self and body. Girls are also much more aware of what their sexuality portrays and what their sexuality arouses from their partner or men (boys) in general.  Many use their sexuality  it as a tool as opposed as pleasure for themselves.

Perhaps here I can connect “Atalanta”  and “Alice in Wonderland.” Both Atalanta and Alice go against this behavior. Although neither one of them have the sexual qualities that Tolman brings up on his text, both females seem to fit into the “good girl “ category as they refrain from “getting their man” by  arousing them with their sexuality. Most importantly  Alice and Atalanta do not fit into the ideology that a woman needs a man and the male is of dominance. They are confident and that stereotype is exactly what they are not. They go out to experience the world or at the very least, they respect and act upon their own needs and desires. If Alice were portrayed as more sexual I am sure she would have acted on her desires without hesitation or the thought of what people may think.  
When thinking about Christianson’s “Myths that Bind Us” I was reminded of the “Secret education” he discussed. It is interesting that Alice in Wonderland is a Disney film unlike most of the other films Disney films like Cinderella, Snow  White and the Seven Dwarfs, and The Little Mermaid all have female heroines who focus on who they will marry as it is the most important thing in their life. In the end, they get their man and live happily ever after. They do not need anything else. They represent to the viewers (mostly young kids) that a female’s worth is the man at the end. However, Alice is portrayed as a educated, dominant female who puts any desire for a man aside to fulfill her own destiny. The vidoe has many of Disney's female leads waiting and wanting thier man.

Something to think about: Don't we all want soemone to love in the end?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Another Final Project Idea

After reading some other ideas I too, like Alexis and Ron, also thought that it would be interesting to compare two films or TV shows from when I grew up to the present (yes, this is a popular idea) but I would like to get the teenagers reaction. But I would like to see if teenagers have changed so much that they don't enjoy the films of today, that are much more explicit, and supposedly geared toward this age group. Does a film have to have sex, drugs, and/or violence in it?  Do we just think that our teenagers like this stuff as opposed to a film that focuses more of a good theme?  It would be fun to give out questionnaires and see what the response is. What is in in the text that attracts the teen?

Risky Business/ Fame/Dirty Dancing/ 16 Candles vs. Save the Last Dance

This can also be done with TV shows.  Brady Bunch, or The Cosby Show vs. current TV shows.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Final Project Ideas..

Well I am always interested in teenagers and technology. Not how they are represented but how teenagers use technology and how it effects their learning, their brains, and their social lives. I am not sure if this fits into the final project category though. Often the media does have a negative portrayal these "digital natives" as to many parents. However, is all this technology bad for our teenagers? Perhaps it is good for their brains but bad for their communications skills, I don't know but I did a little research and found many different  opinions and research that has been done on this subject. These videos are very interesting. Watch the "Teens Brains on Technology "until the end. The father suggests something about technology and teaching that is very interesting.

The first idea that I thought about was to write a hip-hop song/ rap/ slam poem. Whatever it turns out to be, but preferably with a beat to it.  I though it would be fun to write the lyrics about the media's representation of teenagers. I thought I could mix it with lyrics that represent real teenagers. Once the lyrics are written I woul have my studetns sing the words while I video tape it.  Challenging but fun!