Internet. Is. Everything.

(WB 5)

I know it, you know it, we all know it – internet is everything in today’s society. Can you imagine living without it? I’m a millennial, I grew up with the internet so I can’t literally remember a time when the internet wasn’t a part of my daily life, but of course, it’s never been as big as it is today and it’s probably just gonna get even bigger. Back when I was a kid just learning how to navigate the internet, I used it mostly for emails, as a means to communicate. Later on came chat rooms and instant messaging, but then again, I used it mostly to communicate. Then came online games, websites started to pop up, Google, Wikipedia and I could check everything from the bus schedule to a new recipe online!

Now it’s everywhere, the internet is no longer confined to computers but accessible on smartphones and tablets, with apps that can handle everything and a bit more. I probably use the internet more on my phone that on my computer now… I am so dependent on the internet and being constantly connected to the rest of the “world” (the online world, that is), but I am also a bit afraid, or at least worried, on what’s to come. Are we all going to have a like a computer chip implanted in our heads so that we will be able to connect to the internet directly to our brains someday?! I have no idea what’s going to happen, all I can say is that it’s moving SO FAST. 20 years ago, the internet wasn’t big, not a lot of people used it, but now… Oh boy, it’s everywhere!!



Cable TV Impact

(WB 4)

To be honest, I never learned about the difference between broadcast and cable TV until I took this class. I’m serious, I thought all TV-programming was different just because it came from different channels… ? All I remember from back home in Sweden was that up until I was like 12, we only had like 6 channels (which I now know are the broadcast network channels), and after my dad bought a little box and connected it to our TV we suddenly had like 100+ channels (cable TV)!!

Now here in the US I’ve had to learn the distinction between broadcast and cable TV programming, and I’ve found it all very interesting. It turns out that most of the TV shows I watch are from broadcast networks, but that the most interesting, fun and oftentimes more challenging and mature in content come from cable TV (Game of Thrones, Veep, True Blood, Penny Dreadful, Masters of Sex etc). Since cable TV doesn’t reach everyone like broadcast TV does, since you have to pay for it, it can be more narrow in it’s programming, all to the audience’s benefit! If you don’t enjoy watching bloody gore like True Blood or Game of Thrones, then you simply don’t pay for HBO. I’m glad there’s a platform for great shows like these to be shown, and it’s not just me who think they are great. For the past few years, cable shows like Game of Thrones, Veep, Mad Men, Girls and Breaking Bad have been breaking boundaries, and winning Emmy’s on the way – beating out broadcast TV shows! Cable and satellite TV belong to the future of TV as well as internet streaming sites like Netflix, where the FCC restrictions don’t apply and the shows are allowed to go a bit crazy!

hbo-vennPerhaps a bit outdated, but you get the point..

Broadcast TV Impact

(WB 3)

When I grew up, broadcast television was by far the media that impacted me the most. The extent to which I watched and took after TV is ridiculous when I think back on it now, but as young, naïve and lonely as a I was then, it was my savior. This was in the early 2000’s and broadcast TV has actually come a pretty long way since then. Don’t get me wrong, I still think there are many, many problems to the content as it is today, but compared to the kind of shows I was watching as a kid, children today can watch more inclusive and varying shows with more diverse characters.

Broadcast TV, as with film, has been dominated by men both on screen and behind the scenes since it’s beginning, and that has definitely shaped the available content. In the early 2000’s when I was looking for female role models on TV, there were only two good enough for my standards; Xena of Xena: Warrior Princess and Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Most other female characters back then were still mostly interested in their family or finding Mr. Right, but Xena and Buffy kicked ass and fought for the greater good. In broadcast TV today there are many more characters out there who remind me of them (and you can probably still catch Xena and Buffy on syndication…) and I know that if I had been able to see this many great female role models on TV as there are today, well, who knows what I could’ve learned?! Again, there still a long way to go, women are still severely underrepresented and misrepresented on TV compared to men, but at least it’s an improvement from the 50’s and 60’s sitcoms – and from the early 2000’s content I grew up with.


The future of movies

(WB 2)

As a film major, I’ve been studying film history, film production, cinematography, script writing – all things related to making movies, but what I’ve noticed is that the reality is not as simple as the textbooks makes it look. In the golden days of cinema, movies were produced by studios in an assembly line fashion, distributed and exhibited by the same production companies in their own movie theatres, with actors and crew on contract to make the whole process as smooth as possible.

Nowadays, the process is much more complicated as there is much more competition. One could argue that it is at both much simpler than before to make a quality movie, but at the same time it is also harder. Anyone can make a movie with a cheap, easy-to-use equipment such as a digital camera, a microphone, or just a camera phone even. Upload the movie online, and boom, there you have it, it could be as simple as that!

However, making a big-budget Hollywood movie is way more complicated than what it used to be, they are not made in the same assembly line fashion as before, and there are of course many more ways today to watch movies than just going to the movie theatre. Watching movies online, on your tablet or phone, getting them on DVD’s, watching it on TV or DVR’ing a movie airing on TV to watch later – the possibilities are endless! But – the problem of course is that when the audience is moving away from the movie theatres, the studios are loosing money. Piracy is a big issue and while studios produce more expensive movies than ever, the movie tickets are getting more expensive too; its an evil spiral really, audiences want cheap movies but studios keep making it harder to get it, and so audiences leave and they have to raise prices even more!

I don’t know what the solution to all of this will be, there has to be a way to find a balance between it. Audiences still loves movies, we just have to figure out a way to give it to them without the studios loosing too much money and without audiences paying a fortune.


It’s not worth it!

(WB 1)

On “The Sean Hannity Show” broadcasted on February 25th, the radio host talked to several callers about current important issues, and although there wasn’t much I could agree on (with Hannity being a conservative and all..), we did agree on one thing quite strongly: legalizing marijuana is ridiculous!

When Hannity was asked the question from a caller about his opinion on the whole issue, he said there are so many more important issues to deal with that, and I agree completely. I understand there are people who benefit from marijuana as a pain reliever and so on, and they should totally be allowed to use it (which they are – with a prescription) but trying to make this addictive drug legal to anyone..? Nope, I don’t see the point at all. As Hannity said, there are so many other things the government and the states should focus on instead, the country is in crisis for many reasons and legalizing marijuana is not the answer.

Personally, what bothers me the most about marijuana is that it is a dangerous substance, just like tobacco, alcohol and other harder drugs of course, and so why should it be made legal? Freedom to do what you want with you life (even if it means hurting you) is one thing, but by making marijuana legal would also make it more socially acceptable to do drugs and moreover teaching our kids that doing drugs is okay! The long-term effects of marijuana on the brain is a hot topic, current research debates whether it has a negative effect or no lasting effect, and while we are trying to figure that out, legalizing this potentially damaging drug would be a bad idea.

 a2591c0d32aea1d5b47be888eec39e0fNo, weed is a drug, don’t fool yourself people!

Raunch Culture

After the women’s liberation movement in the 70’s, a group of women including Gloria Steinem founded Women Against Pornography (WAP); feminists opposing the porn industry, violence against women, sex trafficking and prostitution. This group was not as anti-sex as many of its opposers and critics would make it seem like, but they did oppose and actively try to change the way pornography portrays and objectifies women. In the coming years, the feminist line became more pro-sex and sexually liberating, seeing sex as an empowering way for women to become more free, and in the 90’s, the sexualization and objectification of girls and women became even more prominent in the mainstream media.

The raunch culture as Levi describes it is the highly visible sexualized culture we live in today, where both men and women are openly sexualize and objectify women as sexual objects, or as women, objectify themselves. Raunch culture is visible in music, film, TV, advertisements, magazines, fashion, video games and within the political and social world. Raunch culture is a form of backlash from the earlier times before the women’s liberation movement and the sexual liberation, before these events women’s sexuality wasn’t very visible at all, wasn’t supposed to be seen actually, but now with the raunch culture, it’s seen everywhere, from children’s movies to adult magazines! I don’t think (or at least I hope) I haven’t participated much in raunch culture, I don’t think it has anything to do with being a prude, it’s just not something I feel comfortable with. I don’t feel like I’m just an object, I’m more than just my body, and so all this sexualization and objectification and false empowering that the raunch culture ensures just makes me sad. Women are so much more than bodies, so settling for that is just cheap or talking the easy way out.

I don’t think that raunch culture is a symbol for post-feminism liberation, because even though women and girls may now feel more open, liberated, free and confident with their sexuality, raunch culture also makes women seem more like objects, and even more so, it makes it more acceptable because it’s so visible in the media. Flaunting your sexuality does not equal empowerment, raunch culture just makes sexuality less controversial but it is still as problematic from a feminist perspective. Male and female sexuality is still viewed on differently, and raunch culture just makes the differences even more obvious; men = subject, women = objects.

In the video, Anita Sarkeesian talks about the sexualization of some selected female cast members of Glee, a popular family show aimed for kids and adults alike. The female cast members in the photoshoot wear revealing clothes, sexualised pozes and attitudes – all while still looking like their on screen characters; high school kids. Sexualizing these girls, no matter if the actresses are older than they appear, is still harmful because it happens all. the. time. Girls and women are sexualized more than men and boys, that’s a known fact, but that they are doing it with characters who appear to be around 16 years old, living just an ordinary high school life? I agree with her arguments and I too feel like there is a bigger problem within this than just this single photoshoot. When images like these are getting more common, it’s no wonder than girls at younger ages than ever start feeling the pressures of being sexually objectified and conforming to beauty standards, just to “fit it”. That should not be the main goal of high school girls, but when images like these are frequently seen around the media, in magazines, billboards, advertisements, commercials etc it sets the standards; young girls look up to characters like the the girls on Glee and other role models like that, and seeing them being sexualized like that makes it more okay for it to happen in real life too. Raunch culture definitely makes it more acceptable for sexualized images like that to circulate and reach the eyes of young people who may not know better and think this is the norm.

(Originally posted on 2014/12/16 for Melanie Klein’s class blog “Women and Popular Culture”)

The Body Project

The Body Project is probably the longest project I’ve ever worked on, I’ve probably never taken a break from it since the first day I became self-conscious about my body and how others viewed it. The female body project has become the primary focal point women and girls in today’s society; because if you take care of your body = you respect yourself.  Women and girls from a constantly younger age are encouraged to spend more time, energy and money than ever before on their appearance, because in today’s society, a woman is only worth her looks.

Compared to earlier times, like during the Victorian era, women still cared about their looks, but not to the same extent as today. Back then, if a woman cared too much about her looks or appearances, she would be considered self-absorbed, while today, that same consideration would be thought of as self-respect or self-worth instead. It takes much more time, energy and money today to obtain such beauty standard than it did before as well, because while the standard during the Victorian era was to be thin and weak (by wearing a corset), the standard for today is to be toned and fit, which takes much more effort to obtain for a woman. The beauty norms reflect the sociopolitical environment because there is nothing natural about beauty, what is considered beautiful or desirable characteristics both physically and mentally varies between cultures and time periods. After WWII for example, in order to get women out of the factories and give their jobs back to the returning men, the new beauty standard for women became hyper-feminine; women were encouraged to be more feminine and go back to the kitchen, working women were considered manly and not desirable at all.

The beauty myth reenforces other forms of oppressions as well, with its Eurocentrism. What most women strive for, and what is considered most desirable in our society is to be white, skinny, young, tall and rich – to be able to afford all of those beauty products, services, clothes and accessories. Women who don’t fit into the norms of what is considered most beautiful must spend even more time, effort and money to look like the norm; these increasing demands of women serves as a backlash as well, in that it makes it even harder for women to succeed in other areas. When women climb the social hierarchy in the political or business areas, becoming powerful and getting status and respect, they are still required, and to an even larger extent than less powerful women, to show that they are still beautiful and measure up the social beauty standards. So in today’s society when women have more power and have gotten further than ever in being equal, the backlash for women getting this far is the ever gaining pressure of living up to the beauty standards, that are also getting more and more demanding.

I have felt the pressure on me from our society and culture to work on my body project, to focus more on my appearances and looks, and it has had an enormous impact on me and my life, because when I was younger, as an insecure teenager, I spend all my time and effort on it. I had extremely low self-esteem and thought I wasn’t worth much (even though I was very successful in school and in sports for example) because I didn’t feel like I was pretty or skinny enough. I was very self conscious about my looks and my body to the point where I developed and eating disorder that ruled over my life for many years and stole a part of my childhood. The scary thing was that even when I was at my worst, I would still get compliments from friends who envied me for being so strong and so dedicated, for looking good/pretty/skinny etc, all while I was slowly breaking myself down both physically and mentally. I don’t have an answer to how this problem is going to be solved, girls even younger than me at the time I started to feel that huge pressure on me are facing the same problem and going through the same things, but whatever the answer is, I know it has to involve the media. The media gives young girls the images and role models to look up for and to strive for, and when those role models are overwhelmingly white, skinny, young, pretty, beautiful, tall and well-dressed, it’s no wonder that girls start to focus on that. The representations of women has to change, it has to be more diverse and feature women in all shaped, colors, sizes, professions, classes etc for girls to feel comfortable and proud of their bodies, but first of they have to see themselves represented, to know that there is no one universal beauty standard, because the truth is, there isn’t, even though the media today makes is seem like there only is one.

(Originally posted on 2014/12/16 for Melanie Klein’s class blog “Women and Popular Culture”)