Monday, June 1, 2015


Women have struggled throughout history to be seen as equals. Even after gaining suffrage in the 1920s and after March 22, 1972, when the Senate passed the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution-which proposed banning discrimination based on sex(The New York Times), there is still so much discrimination against women. An obvious sign is the unequal pay gap between women and men (which I've blogged about here), as women only make 77 cents to every dollar a man makes at the same job. This tells us that society literally values men more than women. Sadly, this isn't surprising to me. 

As young girls, women are taught by society that they're different and that ultimately it's okay that they deserve 33 cents less than men. This stems from the types of toys advertised to them and even the school supplies marketed to them in stores.

 To the right is a picture of the same exact pens, made by the same exact company. But what's different? The right pair of pens are "for Her." Notice how the pens are packaged and the actual pens themselves are purple and pink - with a fancy little cheetah print design. Why is it necessary to have a different design of pen for women? Why does the company believe these pens would actually sell? 

It's because society has taught women that the pink/purple girly combo should be aesthetically pleasing to them. Women should love pink and cheetah. Notice how there is nothing on the right package of pens about actually writing or using the pen - while on the left, clearly more masculine pens, has a huge,"Smooth Writing" stamped on the side. Women are not expected to write or have thoughts to add to society- they should just be pretty to look at (exactly like those pens). As little as these pens may seem, I think they play a huge role in society in assigning gender roles. Women are not just the only victim, but men are hurt from this too. What happens if a little boy likes the pens on the right, but sees the "for Her"? How do you think he feels? 

These types of restrictions on society is what leads to the discrimination and stereotypes revolving around what it means to be a girl and a boy.

Another example, is this globe. I think this globe is a great metaphor for how the world is literally different for girls. The pink hues of each country and the smiling little girl hugging the globe to the side of the package makes me, ultimately, sad - how can women expect to be paid the same as men, when their taught that their world, and their role in it, is entirely different. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Good Morning, Baltimore!

Since August 9th of last year, the day Michael Brown was shot by a police officer in Ferguson - there has been national tension on the relationship of law officials and African Americans. Riots, civil unrest, and many protests broke out, not only in the streets of Ferguson, but all over the world. #Blacklivesmatter is still trending on Twitter today. Yet, sadly, history repeats itself. Just soon after Ferguson, protests have broken out in Baltimore over an eerily similar situation. Freddy Gray sustained injuries from an arrest by a police officer - and then shortly died soon after. Just like Ferguson, protests have broken out and spread to every corner of the nation. ((I've blogged about these protests, and similar protest symbols before (click here and here)). 

While looking online, I noticed a strange parallel to one of my favorite childhood musical movies, Hairspray. On the right is an image taken from a scene in the movie and on the left is an image of the real-life protests in the streets of Baltimore today. Both protests are set in Baltimore and both are standing up for equality. Similarly, both marches are made up of, mainly, young African Americans and a few other white people. I think it's important that both protests are set in Baltimore because according to the Census, 63% of Baltimore city is African American. It's interesting that in a city that is predominately African American, there is still so much inequality in both scenes. The only thing that is different between there two images is the time period. These two scenes are 53 years apart.

 Have we made any progress? 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Balls Are More Important

Football: a sport so uniquely American - associated with masculinity, toughness, and aggression. Every year, millions flock to their television to watch the magnum opus of the National Football League: The Super Bowl tournament - which determines the overall best team in the nation (and I guess, overall the world). This past year, there was a scandal involving the air pressure in the footballs used. Many thought the Patriots deflated the balls on purpose, making them easier to catch. This past week, Tom Brady, the quarterback for the Patriots, was found guilty and suspended 4 games

The investigated report said, "it is more probable than not" that Brady was "at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities" of locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski" (CNN). 

This made me unhappy. Not because I am a die hard Patriots fan, nor do I even care for football in general, but because Tom Brady was suspended for more games than another football player, Ray Rice. 

This fall, a video was released of Ray Rice beating his fiance and then dragging her unconscious body out of the elevator. And what did the NFL do? They suspended him for a mere 2 games and made him attend a mandatory domestic violence workshop, because sure... that'll really teach him a lesson.

 According to the results of a recent Adweek/ Harris Poll, "almost two thirds of U.S. adults say they currently watch NFL football (64%), including almost three quarters of men (73%) and over half of women (55%)"(TVbythenumbers). Football has an obvious pull in American society, with the fact that more than half of the population is said to tune into the big games. So what does this difference of punishment teach Americans? It teaches us that domestic violence is okay, and that it can be fixed with a  little slap on the wrist, but how dare Tom Brady be "generally aware" of the fact the air pressure wasn't up to standard.

I guess balls really are more important. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fast and Easy

As with every era of history, American culture has shifted. Americans now lean towards  a more “push-button mentality,” meaning that people are always searching for quicker, more efficient, and easier ways to do things. An example of this is the love for smartphones. With each new update of smartphones, advertisements shout, "do things simpler and easier," "do things faster", "do them better."

Above is an example from the New IPhone6 Ad. Notice how in that short segment they use words like, "fast, easy, secure" and "You simply pay by placing your finger on the TouchID." These are the types of advancements that play into this American push-button mentality.The overall pace of existence has just been accelerated. It is no longer part of American culture to sit around on a Sunday morning, and read the newspaper for two hours. People are looking for quick sound bites, faster ways to find what they want to know, and as much information as efficiently possible. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Survival of News

American newspapers have lost 42% of their market value (Pew Research Center). Value is measured by the revenue of the paper, which heavily relies on readership. There has been a steep decline in readership, and this affects the job market in the printing industry because in order to gain back economic balance, newsrooms are forced to become frugal and cut newsroom jobs.  According to the American Society of News Editors annual newsroom census, there was “a net loss of another 1,300 full-time professionals last year” (Edmonds). With the shorthand of staff,  newspapers are being forced to consolidate, this means they have to print less words per page and combine with other papers to stay alive. For example, as of October 31st, The Chicago Tribune bought the Sun-Times, “The agreement… brings six daily and 32 weekly suburban newspapers into the Tribune fold, bolstering circulation and revenue while significantly expanding its publishing footprint across the Chicago market, from Waukegan to northwest Indiana” (Channick).

This deal was made to balance the revenue to cost ratio. Buying the Sun-Times would increase circulation of the paper. But consequently, doing this leads to a much less local touch. The paper has to be printed more generally to be able to relate to the wider publishing footprint, making the paper blander and less effective. From a business perspective, advertisers are less likely to print in the paper because it is too much of a risk. Without the money from advertisers and the loyalty of readership, print newspaper is at a loss to the new future of the news.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

News Just For You

Not only did the 1980s give us Full House, New Kids On The Block, and Dirty Dancing but it also gave us the start of the 24 hour news broadcast. Instead of filling up only a 30 minute time slot, reporters are now tasked to fill up 48 of those 30 minute time slots in a day. How much news is there really to report? 

Well really, not much. In a more than competitive race for viewership, overblown stories and biases have engulfed the news. This has created and evident polarization between the different network news stations available on television.

 For example, Fox news has been widely noted as a highly conservative news network, so who do you think their viewers are?

Mainly, white older males.According to a study done through The Wire, " Fox News's viewership is aging out of that key demographic, even as the overall median age of cable news viewers remains high: the median ages for the three cable networks in May were 62.5 (MSNBC), 62.8 (CNN), and 68.8 (Fox News)." 

With the unlimited access to different choices of news, viewers are able to hear the news they want to hear. Is it right for news to appeal to certain audiences? 

All networks make choices on what stories to highlight, which experts to bring in, even the order of the stories that our shown. But, personally, I feel like this leads the general public into opposite ends. With one side not understanding the other and visa-versa. I think generally this is making the public more ignorant to the thoughts of others, by the way they hear the news through different channels. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


In this day and age, in a device that can fit in the back of your pocket, we are able to have access to the weather, the news, our friends, our family, and endless hours of entertainment. The internet. A game changer in more ways than one (to say the least). The internet coincides perfectly with the push-button mentality of American society. "Push-button mentality" meaning finding easier and quicker ways to do things. But with this constant accessibility to this un-quantifiable amount of information, comes obvious draw backs. One industry that has been majorly compromised due to the internet-boom of the last 2 decades is the print news.

Almost all statistics show an evident decline in print newspapers sales. According to McChesney, American newspapers have lost 42% of their market value in the past 3 years. Only 23% of households are delivered a newspaper at the foot of their doors in the morning. So how are people getting their news?

Obviously on the internet, but where?

As of right now, Facebook leads the way as 64% of US adults use the site, while 34% get their news on this site (PewResearchCenter) and this phenomenon is only growing. With the ability of sharing anything with a push of a button internet users almost become reporters, as they weigh in their thoughts and opinions on the breaking news story. This can be dangerous is many ways. With so an overdrive of information, it's becoming harder to find credible news online when almost anyone can write, share, and send a story out to the world. Falsities and rumors tend to go viral, hurting the image of many. Without a whole fact-checking team working behind a print newspaper, information is just released.The easy "fast-food" way of getting the information is through a social media sharing site (i.e. Facebook), not waiting for a print newspaper.

It looks as though this trend of online quick easy news is set for exponential growth, but what this nation needs to adapt to this is a fact-filter to see what is credible/reliable or what's just here to cause a stir.