Why You Should THINK Before Making a Sign

November 3, 2009

I stumbled upon this image on the web today. The sign on the left was a real sign used at an Obama protest. This sign is a perfect example of why understanding society matters. Not getting into politics at all, the comparison between American taxpayers under the Obama administration to the massive amount of Jews murdered during the Holocaust makes this man appear to be extremely ignorant, and makes the sign seem very offensive. I like the edit that has been done to this picture, because it shows that by being ignorant of social history can greatly distort your message. This man’s anti-Obama message is not what sticks in the viewers head, it is instead the message that sticks is the man’s ignorance of world history. It just goes to show that just because something is attention-grabbing, doesn’t mean it is effective.

Discuss. What do you think?

my post about not posting and other random things.

November 2, 2009

Sorry about the lack of posts lately, I have a draft of my undergraduate honors thesis due today, and…. well, it’s kind of absorbed all my time as of late. Plus it was Halloween. Not that I’m making excuses, well, actually, yes I am making excuses, that’s actually exactly what I’m doing…. So… here goes. It’s going to be random, and you aren’t going to have to read much, kind of like a Mitchell Davis Video.

I thought this picture was interesting because I have frequently heard about how gendered the Disney princesses are, but I have not as frequently heard about the over-the-top stereotypes embedded in the Disney princes. Aside from Aladdin, who is the only lead character of the group, I feel as if any one of these princes could replace each other. What do you think? How are they stereotyped? How do these images affect children? Are more recent children’s heroes any better?   (image found via Heartless Doll)

Yes, this picture is what you think it is. Someone has created kink-wear for toddlers. It’s disturbing and it’s weird. In my discussion of it, I want to do little more than to quote Andrea Grimes and proclaim “I quit life.” The story originally came from Carnal San Francisco, who speculated that it may not ever be for sale, but simply be an artistic piece, the question they posted was “have we reached the edge of edgy?” and he concluded with this, “I am going to pose this question to test your true lefty liberal backbone: If a parent dresses a toddler in fetish wear, is it consensual? Discuss.”

And this last video is a Russian child, I think he is 5 years old, who is very strong. He weight trains. What do you think? Do you think this is unhealthy? What does this say about our cultures fascination with athleticism?

That’s it for now. I hope you enjoy, please discuss any of the articles below if you so chose, or not, but–at least think about them. How do these images affect us? How do we socialize children? Why is the socialization of children important? Why does is matter? Does it matter?

Cultural Object of the Week: Goodbye Makeup, Hello LED Eyelashes

October 28, 2009

I am so excited about this cultural object.  Japanese designer Soomi Park has created the weirdest thing I’ve seen in awhile–LED eyelashes. They were created in order create the illusion of bigger eyes, a trait many Asian women would like to have, according to Park.

There is some speculation that they LED eyelashes were created to spark social commentary on marketing towards very specific demographics.

What do you think they say about our cultural fascination with certain traits? Do you think they are a realistic fashion trend? Do you think you can see while you’re wearing them?

I expect to see Lady Gaga wearing them sometime soon.

Sources: Gizmodo, FashionTechnology

No One Called: A Highschool Girl got Raped at her Homecoming Dance

October 27, 2009

This isn’t a story with a happy ending. This past Saturday night, a fifteen-year-old girl was brutally gang raped by as many as seven young men. She was raped, beaten, and sexually assaulted for two and a half hours. She was so badly beaten that she was flown from the scene in critical condition.

Perhaps the most disturbing part of the ordeal is that no one reported it. Instead, about 15 males actually stood around watching it. Jezebel explains why this makes it so much worse,

At first I thought this was a Kitty Genovese situation, in which indifferent bystanders failed to help a crime victim. In fact, it’s worse. CNN’s Nick Valencia writes that, “as many as 15 people, all males, stood around watching the assault, but did not call police or help the victim.” Gagan adds, “As people announced over time that this was going on, more people came to see, and some actually participated.” This isn’t a case of people turning their heads away and saying “none of my business.” It’s a situation in which 15 boys and men (one suspect in custody is 19, the other 15) treating public, brutal assault as a form of entertainment.

Anyone who went to a big, rough high school has seen this happen with a fight — everybody in the school rushes to the scene, cheering, booing, and even joining in as kids beat each other up. This practice is bad enough, exposing teen bloodlust and lack of compassion, but adding sexual assault to the mix makes the onlookers’ situation all the more heinous. That all said onlookers were male seems important here — were they so afraid of having their masculinity questioned that they couldn’t say anything? Or, more disturbingly, were they enthusiastic about the event, participating, however vicariously, in some kind of conquest? Whatever the case, not one, not two, but fifteen young men watched a gang-rape take place and essentially chose to side with the rapists — as Yes Means Yes would say, “that’s rape culture.”

Obviously, a terrible thing happened. How can we change out culture so that people DO report rape when they see it happening?

Sources: Jezebel, LA Times, and MSNBC

Tweet Your Heart Out… unless you’re a celebrity.

October 27, 2009

Celebrities and talent attached to companies such as Dream Works and Disney have recently been slammed with a “Fail Whale,” not from Twitter, but from their companies, which have asked them to sign contracts promising not to tweet (aka post) things that could tarnish their image. Twitter is an online micro-blogging social networking site which has come to fame due largely to many celebrities who are active users–including people like Oprah, Ashton Kutcher, John Mayer, and many others. While some companies are limiting what their talent talked about on Twitter, other companies, such as ABC, ask their talent to tweet regularly in order to generate “buzz” for their projects (source: CeBIT )

What do you think of Twitter? Do you think companies should be able to control what their employees tweet about? Have social networking sites changed the way we socialize? If so, how?

Why Miley Cyrus doesn’t tweet anymore:

Cultural Object of the Week: Geeky Drinks

October 22, 2009

Hey all, this is going to be a quick one, because I have class soon… But as I was doing my morning blog reading (kind of like how some people read the newspaper, I suppose… most of the blogs I read are listed on the right), I came across a post by Topless Robot about new mugs that World of Warcraft is coming out with for its 11 million+ active players to buy. Anyway, it reminded me of a few other drinks for geeks I’ve seen over the past couple months, including these.

Blood Energy Potion: this one is trendy because it “nice” vampires are very cool right now. By “nice” I mean vampires that don’t eat people. With this energy drink you can pretend to BE one of those vampires, as it comes in an IV bag. So, if you like Twilight, Buffy, or Tru Blood, this may be for you. It tastes like fruit punch.

Oh, and if you don’t like that, you can buy Official Tru Blood, that’s right, because we live in a society where if you want to drink fake blood, you have options.

Dungeons and Dragons Jones Soda: I have to preface this with, I think this  is awesome. Marketed toward DnD players (and probably others who play RPGs, such as World of Warcraft), geeks can now buy drinks such as “sneak attack” or “healing potion.”

What do you think about these items as cultural objects? What do they say about our society’s interest in fantasy/horror/fiction? Do we market things like this toward mainstream culture, or do novelty drinks remain only in geek-marketing territory?

“It’s all about Sociology, Not Technology”

October 12, 2009

Last Spring, Bruce Nussbaum, a blogger for Business Week, wrote that what technology companies needed to start using sociology for innovating new ideas and marketing strategies for their products, instead of technology.

View the Article Here

He specifically states that Apple is a company that has done this, while Google has not. While I’m not going to choose sides on that debate, I found his argument that in order to successfully understand what consumers want, you must have a firm understanding of social systems and culture. This has become particularly important in our globalized economy. Perhaps more importantly (especially to me, as I’m a senior unsure about my future), this post made me think about how I can use my sociological education beyond the classroom, and perhaps how I can market myself as someone a company would want to hire.

What do you think? Do you think technology needs sociology?