Thursday, April 30, 2009

News Articles
This article was about the death of 2 teens who were killed after drinking and driving, causing an accident. There were 5 teens in the car and were all supposedly drinking. A 19 year old and a 14 year old were killed. This is, of course, tragic as all these situations are. What I found most intriguing about this, however, was the comments left my people about the accident. There ended up being a lot of religious banter back and forth, mostly sparked by the comment of one poster: "I feel sorry for the people in the other car who got hit and had to suffer because of stupidity. I feel no remorse for the kid who drinks and kills himself. Its darwin in action. One less idiot teen left in the world. I do not feel sorry for the parents, because they should have tought them better. I see it as good for society."

This make me think about the debate about lowering the drinking age. At what point are we old enough to take on the responsibilities of the effects of alcohol? These boys certainly did not deserve to die. That is far too young. But everyone knows that drinking and driving is dangerous but we all suffer from the idea that something like that could not happen to us. Unfortunately it is not only teens drinking and driving. It's people of any age and it's tragic.
This article is about a 16-year-old girl who died after trying a low carb/high protein diet. "Electrolyte imbalances due to the diet, and the resulting damage to her heart function, were likely responsible..." The reason I chose this article was because of the pressure from society that is put on teens to be thin and fit some kind of mold. Just as we have discussed in class, the significance of what teens feel like they have to look like--both boys and girls. Eating disorder rates are higher than ever and diets for teens, and even younger, are dieting or have dieted. This is a scary thought. I walk through stores and see some of the outfits that they have for little girls and it's mind blowing. Now that summer is approaching, they have the bathing suits out and have little 2 pieces for little girls. Let me tell you, the day my young daughter wears a 2 piece will never come. I feel like that is inviting a future eating disorder and possible predators. Nooo thank you.
When 15-year-old Brandon Crisp's parents realized he was skipping school due to long hours playing his XBox and a game called "Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare", they took the game away. Brandon was devastated and decided to run away from home. He died of hypothermia several miles from his home. Video games have become so central to children and teens that people aren't considering the possibility of it turning into an addiction. I think this addiction is something that is going to continue to grow and be one that people are going to have to start taking seriously.
For any parent with a child who plays video games, it is essential to understand the world of video games along with the serious problems of possible addiction. Parents who realize the addictive nature of some video and internet games are in a better position to make wise decisions around the games their children are allowed to play.

I did not intend to be morbid by the post of teens deaths, but I thought each topic was significant to the world of teens and are things that adults aren't taking seriously enough.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Youth and Social Networking

It is almost scary how sites like Facebook and MySpace are signs of status in a way. They are practically running the lives of teens today.
Henry Jenkins said:
"MySpace has over 78 million registered accounts while Facebook has approximately 8 million. While over 85% of college students participate on Facebook if it exists on their campus, MySpace is a cultural requirement for American high school students. Or, as one teenager said, “If you’re not on MySpace, you don’t exist.” Not all MySpace users are teenagers, but most American teenagers have accounts on MySpace.
These sites play a key role in youth culture because they give youth a space to hang out amongst friends and peers, share cultural artifacts (like links to funny websites, comments about TV shows) and work out an image of how they see themselves. They also serve as digital publics, substituting for the types of publics that most adults took for granted growing up, but are now inaccessible for many young people – neighborhood basketball courts, malls, parks, etc. Youth are trying to map out a public youth territory for themselves, removed from adult culture. They are doing so online because their mobility and control over physical space is heavily curtailed and monitored."
When I heard it said this way, that youth are trying to map out a public youth territory for themselves, it made me consider these social networking sites in a new way. I certainly had never thought about it in that sense. It is understandable that teens just want a place for themselves. As long as they are being careful, i.e. predators, dangers of meeting people on there, etc. then maybe it is good for them to have their own outlets.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

"Teenagers, Kick Our Butts"

Hello folks.
For anyone who knows or doesn't know Dar Williams, she is an incredible songwriter and hits on all of the topics that people don't want to talk about!
I had my iTunes playing and this song came on. I have heard it plenty of times, but I payed much more attention to it this time and it's a really great song.
Thought I'd share!....

When I grew up, well it felt great
I watched how others took their fate
Some felt afraid and undefended, so they got mean
And they pretended what they knew made them belong more than you.
I'm sure you know there's lots to learn
But that's not your fault, that's just your turn, yeah, yeah
Teenagers, kick our butts, tell us what the future will bring
Teenagers look at us, we have not solved everything

We drink and smoke to numb our pain
We read junk novels on the plane
We use authority for show so we can be a little smarter
We still can grow, and many do
It's when we stop we can't reach you
We feel the loss, you feel the blame
We're scared to lose, don't be the same, hey hey
Teenagers, kick our butts, tell us what the future will bring
Teenagers look at us, we have not solved everything

The hometown brought its hero in
To speak at the high school gym
He took a breath, he took a chance
He strode up in his leather pants
And said, "Gee, thanks... but
I'm here today because I fought for what I felt and what I thought
They put me down they, were just wrong
And now it's they who don't belong, oh, oh
Teenagers, kick our butts, tell us what the future will bring
Teenagers look at us, we have not solved everything

And when the media tries to act your age
Don't be seduced, they're full of rage
Find your voice, do what it takes
Make sure you make lots of mistakes
And find the future that redeems
Give us hell, give us dreams
And grow and grow and grow

And someday when some teenagers come to kick your butts
Well then like I do try to
Kick our butts
Kick our butts
Oh I love
Kick our butts

Monday, March 16, 2009


Laura Greenfield's photos very much impressed me. Her photos were very powerful. What struck me is to us, some of these photos such as the thirteen year old weighing herself with her family looking on and the other 13 year olds who were all dressed up and had their hair all done. To us, this may seem crazy and disturbing, but it shines light on the fact that this is reality to many people. Greenfield says in her artist statement, "They are disturbed by what is exotic and what is familiar. They recognize themselves or their children and at the same time insist that their lives and values are not like those represented in the book." This statement did not shock me at all. It actually made me laugh because I think that is exactly how this world works. People are more than willing to point fingers and throw stones, but when it comes to their own lives, they don't want to hear it. They don't want to believe it.
"In recent years, I photographed “Fast Forward” youth in Milan and Shanghai. The young and privileged in Shanghai don’t care about politics or communism but are obsessed with MTV, Fashion TV, Gucci, and L.V. (Louis Vuitton). Milanese youth don cutting edge hip-hop fashion originated by the inner city and perfected by haute couture designers. Fourteen-year old Italian girls wear thongs deliberately hiked up over their low-riding pants and rip revealing holes in their jeans. They go out to discos on school nights and dance to American hip-hop and electronica until dawn." I particularly enjoyed this part of her artist statement because we as Americans know what the norms are for the most part throughout our country, but it is interesting to hear about what teenagers are doing and are like in other parts of the world. I am spending some time in Italy and Switzerland this summer and am very interested in seeing the teenagers there and how they are similar and/or differ from our teens here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Seeing Social Class

It took me a bit to get into it, but eventually I was indeed sucked into the life of Lee and the story of "Prep." What I enjoyed and appreciated was that I think whoever is reading this, can relate to in one scenario or another. It opens with Lee running out of her class after having presented on a topic that the person before her had just done. We all have felt that embarassment and panic mode that she went into.
This story also touches on economic, social, and cultural capital. Economic capital is touched upon in one area of the school itself costs $20,000. This also could be considered social capital, as well. Social capital is based on who you know, your class and status, the family you come from, etc. With tuition for this private high school being $20,000, one may assume that the families of these students are wealthy and in high places in our society and how we judge class. Cultural capital also plays a part--and an important one at that. Cultural capital is about the dominant culture and access to that. Social skills, knowledge, rules of power, etc..all of these things are central to the idea and practice of cultural capital. It appears as though Lee has not been "educated" so to speak, on cultural capital. She is an outsider and awkward. She doesn't fit in with the other students and can't seem to find her nitch/place in the not only the school, but the world. It almost puts into perspective how important cultural capital is to our society, no matter what age you are.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hip-Hop Controversies

Tricia Rose. The Hip-Hop Wars.

I was very interested in what Tricia Rose had to say in this article interview and NPR interview. What I was hoping would be talked about it was the 'Then and Now' type of thing. When hip-hop originated from vs. where it is now. Tricia Rose explains that hip-hop "wasn't primarly an economic industry, where people got involved more for money than for creativity." She talked about its origins being community based and having the power to cross generations. She also talked about the beginning of hip-hop as being political and "education and learning more about your history and asking questions and making better choices and trying to change society for the better." So, how did we go from this to what hip-hop is now? Now it seemingly is filled with money, power, sexism, and homophobia. At what point did we go from politics, education, and challenging listeners to think to what it has become?

Something I appreciated was the question: "There seems to be the tendency, when people complain about what they hear on the radio, for artists to say, "Well, if you don't like it, just turn it off." There's that shift in responsibility from artist to fan. Is that a disingenuous defense?"
I think this is a great question because people so often say if you don't like that music, then don't listen to it. Just because we are not listening to it, does not change the fact that the messages they are saying are still being put out there and people are still hearing them. They are still putting out messages of severe sexism, homophobia, and everything else...
I worked for an organization (Youth Pride) and the program I ran was doing homophobia 101 gigs in the state at schools. I would ask students what language they use and hear that one may consider homophobic. It seemed like each time I went out, someone had a new phrase that was being said and one day, someone said to me, "No homo." This means that if a guy is giving another guy a compliment, it is either started or ended by them saying 'no homo.' -- ya know, just for clarification purposes. It is the same for girls giving other girls compliments but I found it mostly said by the boys. Naturally I was very angry and upset about this because they are saying this not realizing the weight of the phrase. What I found in my research of this phrase is that it originated in rap songs. More recently, it is used in lil' wayne songs where he says it in a few of his tracks. That's what these kids and teenagers are listening to. If they are idolizing lil' wayne and he's saying it, then they should say it too. That's what they think. We are not explaining and inforcing the importance of critically thinking about these issues, whether it is homphobia or any of the other issues that are brought up in the music.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Rape Game

Hey-- I don't know if you guys have heard about this, but it is awful. It's a Japanese video game that is about raping women. That's the game and purpose. I posted a link to one of a few write-ups that I have read.... Horrifying and repulsing.

This is the basic idea of the game:
The objective of the game is to stalk a mother and her two children, described as “virgin schoolgirls,” and rape them repeatedly in every orifice until you “break” them and they become your willing sex slaves. Lovely, right? You can also recruit other men to gang rape them.
The only way to lose this game is if you impregnate one of your victims and you don’t force her to get an abortion. Also, one of the victims may randomly stab you, but only if you randomly put her in the cowgirl sex position. Otherwise, it’s just continued sexual assault with no repercussions.