Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Blog 12 State of contemporary america

The website I have chosen is the American video site youtube. While this might not be an obvious answer I believe that it is a good symbol of the contemporary United States. The fact we have used it so much in previous blog posts shows what a powerful a tool it has become. Within reason you can more or less upload whatever you want on there. It is a great example of freedom of speech in America which I believe is one of its greatest strengths. It played a large part in Barak Obamas election campaign in 2008 and many others have used it to send their own messages and opinions on the state of the world. It has also allowed many ordinary people to become famous and successful. This is also a recuring theme in America. That one can start with little and end up with lots. Youtube has certainly helped many people achieve that ambition.


I have chosen the Nation Rifle Association as the website that most of all typifies the contemporary state of America. The NRA are dedicated to protecting America's second amendment rights allowing citizens to legally own fire arms for their own purposes. On the website they quote from a speech George Stephanopoulos gave saying "Let me make one small vote for the NRA. They're good citizens. They call their Congressmen. They write. They vote. They contribute. And they get what they want over time." This statement to me symbolizes that members of the NRA aren't lunatic psycho's that just go around shooting up where ever they feel, its that they are concerned citizens who's only agenda is to protect themselves and their families by fighting and protecting their constitutional rights. If anything this statement shows that members of the NRA are more concerned for their country as they are so involved in politics and by keeping in touch with their congressmen and voting they represent the proportion of Americans who will vote for what changes or not they want to see in their country. I think this is a really interesting website and there's a lot of information on it about the kind of work that goes into protecting American second Amendment rights. I feel this website typifies America because a general view in America is preserving the peoples rights of the constitution as that is what America was founded on.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Contemporary America

I have chosen this website for my final post. It is a live count of the illegal aliens in America, amongst other figures. I think this website represents contemporary America the most because 21st century America has become focused upon immigrants (legal and illegal) and how they have changed and will change the country. Contemporary America has altered the national character because of immigration, the workforce has been altered because of illegal immigration and the media has had to be altered because of immigration.

This counter refers only to illegal immigration- and the speed the counter goes up at is shocking! It really highlights the problem contemporary America has with illegal immigration. The figures that define 'other than Mexican' immigrants is perhaps most important to contemporary America. It suggests that most illegal immigrants are Hispanic, and this is thus why there have been new names created for America, such as Mex-america. It is the immigration that is altering the national character most. As a figure below shows, there are an increasing amount of illegal immigrants in the schooling system- which has lead to debates over the national language and how history should be taught.

This illegal immigration, which is what is being counted has dramatically changed the economics of the workplace. America can now pay illegal immigrants less than minimum wage, and treat their workforce how they like- because as the counter suggests, there is always someone ready to take their place if a complaint is made. I think this is shocking- and America should treat all humans equally if their constitution and ideals are to stay strong. None the less, it is interesting to see the continuous influx of illegal immigrants into America- and it gives people such as myself a visual representation of how dire the situation in America is. This counter for many America politicians should pose a real problem- do they shut the golden door to America, or leave it open and allow this number to keep increasing?

What is most interesting is why these immigrants flee to America? There is so much press regarding the sub-standard of living and life these illegal immigrants have to endure, so it makes one wonder why it continues. But the answer is simple, it is the idea of the American dream which is driving the illegal immigration in America!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Relationship of China & the US.

The website I found is a little out of date, but I thought it would be interesting, to look at how far or the progress made between China and American relations in comparisson to now. The piece of material I focused on was an interview of Wang Yizhou, Vice-director of  the Institute of World Economics & Politics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The interview was carried out just after former President Bush, visited China back in 2002. During the interview, its clear from China's view that both them and the USA understand their relationship isn't based mainly on  a fraternal foundation but based on a mutual beneficial interests especially in regards to economic gains that both countries will receive in terms of  an increase trade.

Blog 11 China and the USA

The article above was written during Hu Jintau's state visit to the USA in 2011. The fact that the Chinese president is visiting the USA already signals the improvements between Americas relationship with China. With both countries now holding a great deal of political and economic influence they have been forced into a fairly uneasy relationship. As the article points out there are still significant ideological differences between the two countries. Certainly America still feels uneasy about Chinas human rights record and this was raised at the summit. The article points out that a third of the nations economy comes from these two countries. Both countries want this relationship to work. But it is still very complicated.

Relationship of America & China

This is an article from USA today discussing the relationship between America and China, the relationship is described as one that as they are “the two most powerful economies on earth cannot long continue to thrive without each other”. The article states “China is here to stay” these statements indicate that both countries need each other to excel in the world and they are in it for the foreseeable future. Even though the United States wouldn't be where it is today without China the article states that China has to come to terms with the fact that they “never will replace the United States” as a world superpower. This is due to the issues China is dealing with such as human rights. The article states that “both countries share enough at minimum a common aspiration for peace and prosperity that cooperation makes far more sense than a struggle”. This again relates to the difference within both countries and not letting issues they are both dealing with at home interfere with the work and policies they agree upon. The article also states that China will never over take the US because of how each country treats and spends on it military. “China spending between one-seventh and one-fifth of what the United States does on defence, our security is assured well into the future. Our fighting force is the biggest and most expensive — perhaps even the best — the world has ever known.” this shows that the US feel the need to have a larger and better military than any other country, not just China, to remain on top. This could be seen as a fear the United States has that they have to always be on guard for a foreign attack especially after 9/11 also it could be seen as a threat to other countries that they would want to be on the right side of the US because they have the advantage of having a bigger and stronger defence than any other country. As China holds most of the United States debt so it makes it an even more important issue for the United states to have a positive relationship with China.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Chinese and US relations

The item i have chosen is an article about the current tour of the US that the Chinese Military Chief begins in the week. I think this is an important article as it contains imfomation about the current relationship between the two countries, and it shows an interesting outlook for the relationships. This article is found on the website for Fox News, and therefore is as always very opinionated.

The article states that "Pentagon officials hope the visit, which begins Monday in Washington, will mark a fresh beginning for a prickly, start-and-stop relationship between the two military behemoths of the Asia-Pacific region." This is focusing on on the military relationship- which is hoped to improve. However this article doesnt take into account the other factors that will effect the US and Chinese relationship such as political and cultural factors. Also the unstable past and the current competition that is found for the struggle to be the worlds superpower in the 21st century.

Whilst the article does show a sense of positivity, there is no denying the element of threat that is shown towards China in this article. America it is claimed feel threatened by the continually increasing power of the Chinese military and perhaps the trip is to enable America, as the saying goes 'to keep your firends close but your enemies closer.'

The continued stress between the relationship is also picked upon when it is argued "This week's visit was delayed due to Chinese anger over the Obama administration's approval in January 2010 of a $6.4 billion weapons sale to Taiwan, the self-governing island that China claims as its own territory and that the U.S. is committed to arming." To me, i think this material and this article suggest that the visit is simply for show, and that behind the scenes feelings and attitudes will not have chnaged at all. The material in the article draws upon all the negative points in the history between the Chinese and American relations.

As always, the article is biased and supports America continually, when it is says "China's unwillingness" and "China refused to believe that the 1999 bombing of its embassy in Belgrade was accidental." To me this article fails to give China a fair argument- believing America is obviously the innocent, sleeping giant that is it always portrayed as and that China is the agressor, and is always doing the wrong thing. The Chinese are of course, seen by many as Amoral, but the US have their faults aswell, especially with regards to military action and this is not picked up on in the article.

The article, was always going to have a bias towards America, yet being about and based on the Chinese visit to America one would have assumed that the author would have made more of an effort to give China a fair assesment.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Blog 10 9/11 tribute

This is an independently made video that was posted on Youtube to pay tribute to those effected by the events of September 11th 2001. It uses images from the attacks as well as those in mourning as a result. There seems to be a focus on the emergency services that tried to save people on that day. The use of "How to save a life" by the Fray is very suitable for such a video.

The final quote in the video is "We will live our lives as Americans". This is highly symbolic and helps define what it means to be an American. They will remain strong in the face of adversity.

9/11 Tribute

This video I have chosen is of President Bush speaking on the night of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre. This video shows a collection of pictures of the hijacked planes hitting the Twin Towers, them on fire and the Towers falling. There are also pictures of the American flag and the Eagle with a tear falling from its eye. The message Bush is giving to America in his speech is “Our country is strong” and that “America was the target of a terrorist attack because we are the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world and no-one will keep that light from shining.” Here Bush is stating that America are being victimised for its ideals and beliefs but that will not stop what America has come to be it will only make America stronger.

Bush also speaks about how things will still go on, people will return to work, “the functions of our government will continue,agencies in Washington [..] will be open for business tomorrow and our financial institutions remain strong and the American economy will be open for business as well.” This is a message to America and to the world that even though they have suffered this terrorising attack it wont stop or destroy America from being all it can be.

President Bush then goes on to say investigations into who is responsible are already in place and they will be brought to justice and that he will “make no distinction between the terrorist who committed these acts and those who harbour them” This message tells Americans that the people responsible for they attacks will be caught and justice will be served. To finish off his speech Bush quotes from the Bible Psalms 23 “even though I walk through the valley of shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me.” this is a message to the American people that they dont have to fear what has happened because they have the power of God to help them through it and dealing with the tragedy of 9/11.

'Crash' Film Review

The film Crash is based on racism and discrimination within contemporary America, its focus is on the stereotypical types of people from different cultural backgrounds and how they all react and work together within the American society. The opening of the film we hear Don Cheadle's character saying “Its the sense of touch, In any real city you walk, you know, you brush past people, people bump into you, in LA nobody touches you, we're always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much that we crash into each other just so we can feel something.” I think what Haggis is trying to get at here is that people are so afraid of each other that they keep their distance because they don't really know who people are and what they are about because of these built up perceptions they have of people which have grown and infested within society and the only time people do come into contact with each other is when they are forced to collide by a series of consequence of their own actions.

We see different types of racism and discrimination throughout the film, which are based on the personal views of the characters and their appearances as well as their voices and names. The language that is spoken and used is a key element in the film, one early scene we see a Persian man in a gun store attempting to purchase a gun after the store owner asks if what the Persian man is say is the closest he can come to English they begin to argue and the store owner jumps in and assumes that he is maybe a terrorist and tries to blame him or his people for 9/11 by saying “you're liberating my country and I'm flying 747's into your mud huts and incinerating your friends”. This shows the anger and hatred some American's may have for people of different cultures because of the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

Later we see two young African-American guys (Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges & Larenza Tate) leaving a cafĂ© and they are discussing racial discrimination when Ludacris' character notices that a white woman clings to her husband when she sees the two black guys walking towards them, he then states that if anyone should be scare it should be those two as they are surrounded by white people and the “trigger happy LAPD”. The two young men then pull guns out on Sandra Bullock and Brendan Fraser's characters and steals their car. We later see that the car-jacking has affected Bullocks character when a Mexican-American locksmith comes to their house to change the locks she tells her DA husband that she wants the locks changing again because the guy the company sent is a gang member who is going to sell their key to his friends. This is based on her fear of what has happened earlier that night and what the locksmith looks like as she describes him with the tattoos and the clothes he wears and how he wears them. We later learn though that the locksmith is a family man and he moved neighbourhoods so his family would be safer.

We also see how people mistake other people's nationalities and ethnicities based on their looks. The DA husband (Fraser) talks with his employees about a man who he say “looks black” when actually he's Iraqi. Also when Bridges and Tate's characters are driving the vehicle they stole they run over an Asian man who they refer to as a 'Chinaman' and also Cheadle's character never gets his partner's ethnicity right and she has to tell him she's not Mexican and her parents weren't from Mexico. This shows that people are judged on the colour of their skin as well as what they wear.

There's a sense in the film that white people can get away with almost anything just because they are white and they have power, for example the scene with the African-American couple (Thandie Newton and Terrence Howard) are pulled over by the police (Ryan Phillippe and Matt Dillon), one officer shown throughout the film as a racist then sexually assaults the woman and the husband and the other cop just stands there and does nothing. Later we see the cop saves the woman from a car accident and pulls her to safety just before the car blows up. This is when the cop realises how he treats people and starts to feel ashamed and guilty for it.

Everyone in the film is guilty of something, whether it be discrimination, racism or human trafficking. I think the Haggis' aim for the movie was to shoot the character's in the way he did so that it would be easier for the audience to relate to what kind of people they are and what role they play in society and how their actions and discrimination and prejudices affect everyone. Haggis has picked out the key elements of what kinds or racism and discrimination people have to deal with on a day-to-day basis because of their skin colour or their cultural background. Throughout the film we only see the murder of the young African-American (Tate) he is shot by a cop (Phillippe) because he thinks he's is reaching for a gun, through the film we see Phillippe's character not act upon his fears but when he is on his own with a someone of a different race he jumps to conclusions and he kills the kid. Then when he realise he was reaching for a statue figure he dumps his body and burns his car.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Osama Bin Laden Reactions

Osama Bin Laden Reactions

I have chosen to discuss reaction videos to Osama Bin Ladens death for two reasons, the first being that it is the more recent event and as such i have a greater understanding than i did when i was 8 years old. Secondly the reaction videos to Osama Bin Ladens Death are generally people speaking about the event where as most of the 9/11 videos were news footage with music playing.

This firsr video is of an American who has a news show on youtube, i have chosen to discuss this video as it presents a well formulated reaction to the death of Osama Bin Laden and partcularly he addresses what this event means to him and America as a nation. he discusses how it has taken 10 years to kill him as well as adressing the countless conspiracy theories. But most importantly he discusses where he was on 9/11 and how he remembers it as a young person. There is also an acknowledgement of the lost lives on both sides which i felt was significant as it displays the dying perception that America is the saviour of the world and can do no wrong.
finally he discusses how the death of Osama really has no effect on whats going on in Afghanistan but is cosmetic victory for America "just in time for a sputtering re-election campaign.

Over all the video shows a balanced an reasoned reaction to the death of Osama.

This second video presents the opposite to the first video, it shows the spontaneous American enlightenment to the fact that Osama is dead. But most importantly it shows how important this news was to Americans as it is probably not the way anyone in Britain reacted to this news. The video mentions how the American dream is still relevant in America and "if you work hard you can do well in America"

this shows how unlike the first video the attitude that America is exceptional, still. The above statement is an indication that he feels this would not be possible in any other country it's the 'only in America' attitude.

Fianlly the video descends into chanting USA, USA over and over, something that reflects what was happening in America at the time this video was made. There is much less awareness to any wrong doing on Americas part, the fact that thousands of innocent people would have died in the lead up to this event is insignificant because this is the victory America needed.

Crash Review

Crash Review
Crash (2004) is a film that deals with stereotypes and racial tensions which are heavily present throughout American society. The film is keen to address and either negate or confirm these stereotypes through its variety of characters and their interlocking stories. Throughout the film we see racists put their prejudices aside and liberals act upon what is almost portrayed as a natural instinct. This is particularly evident when the character of Tom Hansen, a police officer who rejects his partner on the grounds that he is a racist, shoots and kills a young black man because he reached into his pocket. The film portrays this almost as a natural fear as despite all of the police officers attempts to be as fair as possible when it comes down to it he is just as scared of a black man reaching into his pocket as other characters within the film who we deem as racists, particularly Matt Dillon’s character.
The reaction to minorities and the stereotypes that come with their ethnicity is constantly being addressed and either confirmed or denied. For example we have the character Daniel who is a Hispanic father with an honest trade, throughout the film he is portrayed as a good father who is constantly confronted with the social stigma that comes with his ethnicity from both white people and other minorities, such as the Persian store owner Farhad who is perceived by others as an Iraqi. This is a significant as it demonstrates how racial stereotypes are acknowledged by all ethnicities, how even the persecuted can be prejudice based on race. Farhad is an interesting character as he is suspicious and paranoid of almost everyone in the new land he is in, his character is in essence an acknowledgement of how America is a nation where the weak will be taken advantage of, however he takes this to the extreme and it is his determination not to be taken advantage of that leaves him weak and vulnerable.
Whilst Crash is keen to demolish racial stereotypes and does so throughout it is also its rightful acknowledgement of these stereotypes as somewhat accurate that perhaps has caused some of the controversy surrounding the film. Crash is not an anti-racism film, it is simply a depiction and portrayal of how these stereotypes can influence decisions and people’s lives. It is my belief that Crash’s intention was not show how bad stereotypes are but to simply show them and the effects stereotyping has. But at the same time it acknowledges that these stereotypes are not without warrant, something which Ludacris’ character Anthony and his friend Peter reference and discuss rather ironically at the beginning of the film. It is the fact that Crash’s black characters conform to the stereotype the film acknowledges that both makes the film an Oscar winner and stirs up controversy around it. The black characters are gun owning thieves, the Persian man thought of as a terrorist does have an extremist attitude after all the first thing he does is buy a gun and eventually tries to shoot a man. It is the acknowledgement that these stereotypes exist because people do conform to them that essentially defines this film in my opinion.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Crash Review

The film Crash is effective in portraying a contemporary American Society. It is interesting the way the characters within the film interact- and they re-enforce whilst at the same time proving some stereotypes completely untrue. It shows, and this is visible from the ending of the film that no matter how hard to try to beat a stereotype and prove yourself to follow a different ideology; this cannot always be done. The white police officer continuously proves himself throughout the film, implying he realises that in the new American identity there is no room for racism or gender subordination. However the ending of the films suggests that despite trying your best to ignore stereotypes, it is harder than it first appears. Sandra Bullocks character again shows this whilst walking past the two black men. Crash is successful in showing how hard stereotypes are to break and how hard it is to change the dominant ideology in America.
Crash shows many different characters from different walk of life- and i think the film portrays some more positively than others. For example, the African-American characters are shown speaking full English and assimilating into the white culture- it is suggested that the director character doesn't know what it is like to be black. However, the Asian-Americans are portrayed in a different light (perhaps this is because they are the 'new' immigrants and society hasn't adapted and embraced them fully yet.) The family whom own the shop struggle to understand the American language and cannot communicate outside of the family. This lack of communication leads to a shooting- which could of potentially lead to a death. These immigrants are portrayed as a problem in American, and the China men aren't seen as people, but property to be sold. This takes America back to the 17th century when African-Americans were pieces of property.
Overall Crash deals with many identities in American society, and some are shown to be more adapt to life in America than others. Ethnicity is the main component of the film, producing the racism and the stereotypes. But as well as dealing with ethnicity, it touches upon many other aspects of American life such as the Civic religion, family, religion and gender. Therefore Crash is a film that shows contemporary America not only at its best (with the integration of black and white people, women and men) but also at it's worst, with positions of power being abused and immigrants facing discrimination and hardship because of their lack of understanding of the American culture.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

9/11 commerative video

This is a video from YouTube and the video itself creates a sense of unity amongst all Americans- and the amount of views the video has had also implies that America comes together in such harsh times.
The images create a sense of despair and shock in America and truly represent the American tragedy. They are of crying and distraught people, who simply cannot do anythning but cry for their countries loss, or even the loss of their family and friends. The continuos image of the American flag is important in this short video as it re-creates the sense of American ideals, and the unity the ocountry has. The colours of the red and blue also distinctly constrast to the dark rubble the flags are being placed in. I think this shows not only respect to the individuals who lost their lives, but also that America is going to fight back and conquer the dark forces that were behind the horrific attack on America. This unity marks a turning point in American history- as it had been at least 10 years since the country united over a common enemy and a war. The phrases such as 'hope' that are clearly shown suggest that America has not given up, and that they will put the people that died that day to rest, whether this by retalitation or not. The video gives america an identity of unity and closeness. The citizens all come together, whatever race, whatever class to join the war on terror. Everyone that died that day and that was affected was seen as American, and 9/11 erased any barriers between minorities and created a common cause for the people of America once more. America is the victim like history has always suggested.
The image at the end of the video re-inforces the American identity and importance of religion in America. The cross emphasises the christian nation that America is and also suggest that god is looking after these people. This is included in the video because religion is a driving force is so many americans lives, and the idea of god taking care of America and those who lost thier lives makes people feel better. God is a guding force in many Americans lives, and will continue to join people together in the aftermath of 9/11.

This is a video i found whilst on YouTube and i just wanted to post it because i think it is a stunning tribute to the victims of 9/11. The horses suggests that all of America is haunted by that day, it is not simply the lives of humans that were changed, but all living things in America felt the impact and the loss of th people, and the building. The music suggests a sense of sadness, and is very moving.
I like the images of the horses bowing and stopping before they even reach New York- it shows a sense of respect and re-enforced the significance of the attack as we look at the altered skyline and the distance the horses travelled just to bow their heads and a pay their respects.
I could not uses the video for the actuall blog task because it is a commercial (aired only once however, so not to make a profit) by Budweiser, and therefore does not truly reflect the citizens horror and anguish on the day of 9/11. But it is a truly moving advert and a good tribute to the 9/11.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Christian Coalition of America

the group i have chosen is the Christian Coalition of America. Their website is a Christian based news/politics website with information regarding their own agenda for the year in politics, how you as a good Christian can have an impact on the government and general news about what is going on in the world of politics.

the group was founded in 1989 and is largely a grass roots movement from the political right. The group is concerned with being overtly pro family and protecting the family from the government. the site also boasts the the sheer size of the Christian Coalition of America has achieved in the last decade, pointing out how they are active in every state in the USA and pledge millions into education every year. The group stresses the importance of christians voting in elections to ensure the righteous and good decisions get made.

In terms of identity it is apparent from this site that an American Christian identity is one that strongly revolves around politics and government, with the site even saying "Today, Christians need to play an active role in government again like never before." so it is clear from this that politics is something that is extremely important in the contemporary Christian identity in american, the need for Christianity to have a large impact on how things run in the USA is great. Religion is something these people believe their nation was founded upon and is something they are keen to ensure remains prominent in how things are run. It is perhaps because of this that it is so important for candidates to be particularly religious because if they are not they could lose the backing of a huge portion of the country and the Christian Coalition of America is well aware of this. They use the knowledge that the Christian community has great power in politics to ensure the best decisions are made and the right Christian candidates get into office.

Despite the organisations name the Christian element within the organisation, for better or worse, doesn't seem to be to apparent or exploited on the website. In fact excluding the name and the one reference to Christians already mentioned there is virtually no religious paraphernalia on the site, there are no crucifixes or pictures of Jesus etc. littering the site. The main agenda of the site would seem to be getting the vote of the person visiting and the religious element of the site is just used to attract the audience it requires and get donations to its causes.

National Baptist convension

The group I have chosen is the National Baptist Convention. One of the largest groups of its type in the United States of America. They are a devout Christian group.

It's mission is to "fulfil the great commission of Jesus Christ and though teaching, preaching and healing". It aims to untie baptist churches, home and foreign mission efforts, to encourage and support Christian education, to publish and distribute Sunday school and other Christian literature and advance the cause of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

There is a focus on community and goodwill. Something that is very important to American Identity. There is also a focus on a sense of belonging. Faith is very important to many Americans and this website seeks to spread that message.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Southern Baptist Convention

I have chosen to look at the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) which is a Christian denomination, was Organized in 1845 in Georgia and currently has over 16 million members and 42,000 churches in the United States. On the website of the SBC they state that they “share a common bond of basic Biblical beliefs and a commitment to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire world.”

The Southern Baptist Convention base its beliefs on biblical interpretation they believe, that the Bible is “God's revelation of himself to man […] therefore all scripture is totally true and trustworthy.” They believe in heaven and hell, they oppose homosexuality and abortion and feel all beings should be born and die in a natural way as God intends.

The Southern Baptist Convention believe that the family is the foundational institution of human society, composed of people related by marriage, blood and adoption. They also believe that “marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman and that the husband and wife are of equal worth before God.” Also they believe that the husband has “the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family” and the “wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband […] She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.”

These beliefs that the SBC have create an identity for its followers to express their faith and love for God throughout their day-to-day lives and by teaching their children about faith and Christian ideals creates an identity for its followers. The SBC believes that “a free church in a free state is a Christian ideal” which is also an American ideal, that church and state are separate.

Mormons and American identity

The religious group i have chosen is that of the Mormons. From their website it is clear that for these people, religion gives them their identity on earth. For the Mormons, their American identity is based on nothing but religion, because it is the most important thing in their lives. The Mormon religion is a denomination of Christianity. Mormons still do believe in Jesus Christ, and god but they have their own 'Mormon Book' by which they must abide by.

First and foremost, religion gives these Mormons an identity and place within America. Like Latino's find their identity among other Latino's in America, the Mormons appear to find and express their identities within a community setting. The front page of the website allows you to search for other Mormons, suggesting this is the part of the American identity that is most important. Mormons feel the need to find other Mormons. They dont feel the need to search for immigrants, wealthy, or other Christian people, it is Mormons- making religion central to the identity. The American identity is based on faith for the Mormons, and the use their faith to control every aspect of their daily life.

Family is key to the Mormons, as you must protect and teach your children the correct way of living. Therefore the values they teach their children will be those of the Mormon faith. For me, this shows that faith is the most important identity for the Mormons, because it takes away freedom of choice for their children, which is supposedly an American value. But American values mean nothing compared to their religion, and therefore forcing the Mormon way of life upon your children implies faith defines the American identity. The website has examples of what families do, and the children are subject to evenings of prayer and Mormon games and activities to teach the correct way of living. This website strongly suggests that faith defines your identity first and foremost, telling you how to live, what to do to get into heaven, and giving you reason to be a good citizen.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011


The two stories i have chosen are:
Daughter of Intervention

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blog 6 South West Immigration


You get a feeling for what this website is like by because of it heading. Conservatives who love America. It is not strictly just anti immigration but a website voicing American conservationism. They are against South West immigration for a number of issues. Firstly they say that unlike other forms of immigration they cannot be properly assimilated into America (the melting pot) and the claim that this will result in a separate quasi nation in the United states. They also claim that they are overly politicly active.

This latino affairs page of ADL. The adl serve to support immigrants and stand up for their rights. They have not just supported Latino integration but integration of several immigrant and religious groups. It runs training programs to help understanding of such issues. They claim to have "taken a role exposing the virulent, anti Latino and xenophobic retertoric" that has risen over the immigration debate.

Latino America

Anti-immigration - -

The California Coalition for Immigration Reform (CCIR) is a anti-immigration group based in California. The Southern Poverty Law states that the head of the organization is a woman named Barbara Coe who is a co-sponsor of California's Proposition 187, which would have denied medical care to illegal immigrants. The website also states that Coe claims that she has exposed a secret Mexican plan to take over the South-West states of America. According to The Southern Poverty Law the California Coalition for Immigration Reform has sponsored billboard at the border of Arizona and California saying “Welcome to California, the Illegal Immigrant State. Don't Let This Happen To Your State” which you can view pictures of on the CCIR website.

The website CCIR, headed under the slogan “Ready, Set, Go Home” offer merchandise and membership which can be bought via the internet by anyone. The website offers news links to keep up-to-date with the status on illegal immigration in the media and a report card of activity of illegal immigration in each state. The CCIR aims to spread the knowledge of illegal immigration that is by their definition affecting their children lives in schools and in their communities.

Pro-Immigration -

This is the Anti-Defamation League website who's aim it is to speak out against discrimination of immigrants and minorities by people who want to fuel white supremacy and hate groups who aim to ignite fear in people that illegal immigrants are invading America and destroying its culture and trying to take over, violence is another issue that people believe illegal immigrants are coming into communities and causing chaos and destruction to the families in America. Also another stereotype which is being promoted by hate groups and other organizations is that these illegal immigrants bring with them disease. The Anti-Defamation League wants to put an end to these stereotypes and stop hate crimes against minority groups and Latino's which are on the rise. The website has its own Hispanic affairs page where you can find information on the work they do to help maintain communities environments and trying to put an end to the stereotypes which are causing the fear among American communities.

The Mexican Evolution/Confronting the Problem

This article from the New York Times is typically pro Mexican immigration into the United states and suggests that immigration both legal and illegal is having a positive effect on the United states and what it terms the forgotten side of the argument being Mexico itself.

The article is keen to point out statistics from the UN and suggests that the statistics for immigration from Mexico into the US, again both legal and illegal, will fall dramatically in the next few decades. the article attributes this to the side of the equation that is forgotten and that is the effect immigration into the US is having on Mexico. the article states that immigration is having a positive effect on Mexico because it is helping to stabilise the country and the economy as children per woman in Mexico has dropped from 6 to 2 as well as the increasing average life expectancy increasing. all of this in turn improves the countries economy as their are less people living in poverty, an again in turn the improved economy will reduce the numbers of future generations leaving the country as the difference in circumstance will be less significant. Finally the article suggests that Hispanic population in the US has peaked or is soon too and after the first generation has settled, combined with the other factors, the Hispanic population will be decreasing by 2050 rather than increasing and the article is keen to point out that the low cost of employment of immigrants is significant to the US economy and businesses.

this is an article from Bnet a subsidiary business based branch of CBS and it discusses the 'problem' that is Mexican immigration into the US and aims to dissect the reasons for this mass migration and the problems it is having on the US.

The article whilst considerably long in length delves straight into the key issues and begins by establishing some context as to the sheer scale of the 'problem' that is Mexican immigration by outlining the 8,000,000 illegal immigrants believed to be currently in the US and 250,000 that enter each year. The article then discusses why immigration is so easy, it is generally attributed to the huge land border the 2 countries share and the impossibility of policing it effectively. the article then mentions various anti immigration laws which have been passed over recent years, or at least since the problem has been realised. The cost illegals are having on the US tax payer is soon to be mentioned and the article is topped off with the aptly titled section "why Mexicans migrate north" in which the motivations for the Mexican migration are briefly discussed and it is eventually put down to the higher wages and not simply the better living conditions as the article states "They come to solve temporary problems of family finance--by saving dollars and sending them back home in the form of remittances. Their goal is to rejoin their families and communities after a few months or years as sojourners in the American labor market."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Latino America


This is an article from the New York times regarding the proposed change in Immigration laws in Arizona. The aim of the new law would be to stop allowing immigrants any type of right. Arizona (a south-west state, and therefor close ot the mexican border) would change laws so "Illegal immigrants would be barred from driving in the state, enrolling in school or receiving most public benefits. Their children would receive special birth certificates that would make clear that the state does not consider them Arizona citizens."

This proposed change would single out all illegal immigrants and make surviving in Arizona very hard. However, once in America illegal immigrants can travel anywhere and therefore they could just avoid the state of Arizona, which would help them but it would change the population of Hispanics dramatically in surrounding states. However, as stated in the article by State Senator Russell Pearce “If you are ever going to stop this invasion, and it is an invasion, you have to quit rewarding people for breaking those laws,” This suggests how the people of Arizona see the immigration of Hispanics, and they are clearly not happy with the quick change in population and nationality of the state.

These laws would only encourge discrimination and not allowing certain rights and freedoms would not help their assimilation into America- instead it would stop the idea of the salad bowl completely as many would be discouraged from living in Arizona- which could quite easily then become a predominately Anglo-American state.


This is a website that supports Hispanic Immigration. It is an article which is based on religion. It is about the religious protestants in Chicago who want to embrace the illegal immigrants and are happy to invite them to be Hispanic in America. This article is strange because it comes from the protestant point of view, where Hispanics are traditionally Catholic, which should cause problems- but it doesn't. The article even says that they have a sunday mass that is in Spanish to try and "build a bridge" between the two communtities. Their acceptance of the Hispanic community is amazing- as many Americans do not feel like this. The fact they are Christian and they follow the law of god has a strong impact on their view of the illegal hispanics- and this is stronger than the law's of America.

This article suggests that Hispanics should not be used for cheap labour- because that is exploitation. Instead we should try and embrace the qualities that they do have and use their education to good means in America , because everyone has potential yet the Hispanic community are often not given the chance to show it in their low paid jobs.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New Black Panther Party

This video is of an interview with Dr Malik Zulu Shabazz (the chairman of the New Black Panther Party) here he talks about black racism, unemployment and police abuse. Shabazz says that the mission of the New Black Panther Party is dedicated to the liberation of black people and the unification of black organizations throughout the USA and the world. Shabazz states “we mush have unity amongst our people, do what the US government isn't” this referring to protection from discrimination, racism and police abuse to unemployment and poverty within black communities.

Shabazz also states that “we exists on an unequal basis” by this he means that black people are treated differently in society and don't receive equality and fairness like other people. Shabazz goes on to say that “we (New Black Panther Party) seek our own nation” this meaning they want to be separate from the society they are in and provide for their own people. Shabazz goes on to talk about President Obama and how having a black president doesn't mean that “justice has come to blacks” he states that the position that President Obama is in he is “constrained because of other influences from republicans and others”. The interview finishes on talking about immigration and Shabazz states that “we are under attack and we are uniting, we are not the illegal immigrants”. Throughout this interview we see reasons for why the New Black Panther Party want a nation of their own for true freedom and equality which they feel they can only achieve in a society of their own people.

Blog 4 African American seperatism

This website is that of the Black Panther movement that rose in America during the 1960s. It describes both the history and the legacy of the Black Panther party that was active between 1966 and 1982. The panthers were heavily involved in the Black power movement and received a lot of criticise for their militant stance. The website is very interesting as it gives many interesting facts and statistics about both the civil rights movement and the black panther movement itself. It emphasizes a 10 point plan for black people in America and set out a plan to achieve African American seperatism( .

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Black Panthers

This video is a selection of news and documentary footage taken from the time when the Black Panther movement was at its strongest. The video documents both the reaction to the threats and actions of the black panther's and puts is with footage of people discussing why they are deciding to join the black panthers and why they support the black panthers.

The video is useful because it presents both sides of the black panthers, it demonstrates why the group has been formed and does this by showing a series of videos of black people being attacked and beaten by white people during the civil rights movement, however it also addresses the murder of many police officers and others by the militant group. The video offers the viewer a conflicting view of both a justified reason for outrage and the establishment of such a group and the horrific acts of violence that the group committed as well as the extreme initiations into the group, it informs the viewer that the black panthers weren't just a group you could join if you felt oppressed but you were only welcome if you were prepared to at the least kill a police officer to gain entrance to the group.

Monday, March 7, 2011

African-American Separatism

This is a video of the New Black Panther Party Minister supporting the words "we should exterminate white people." The New Black Panther Party is fighting for Black Nationalism. Their website states that they want black self-determination and this shows how this African-American separatist group feels they dont have equality in this modern day and age, and still want to be separate to all other communities. The minister does not say either way in the video whether he agree's or disagrees, instead he makes it clear that we should be looking at the white people, and what they have done in order for the professor to say these words. The Minister blames the white community; and therefore in doing this he is supporting the call for extermination.

The video comes after Kamau Kambon spoke these words that caused much debate, and consequently Fox news decided to interview a memeber of the Black Panther Party. The minister would not give an answer on where he stands on white people being the 'grandson of a slave'. This makes the issue hard for many African-Americans as they still know family who were abused by the white community and this generation can still feel hate towards white America for what they have done.

What is interesting in this video is that the idea is brought up of white violence and the need to fight back and be seperate."I came on to talk to my people. My people need to worry about being exterminated because that's the reality in black America. Black America being exterminated is a reality." This video suggests that separatism is needed in African-American because otherwise they will get extermniated, like so often in the past. it suggests that this movement is formed out of fear and the need to pre-empt a strike that could happen at any time.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Immigration taught in school

This website is Parkland School District in Allentown Pennsylvania. The website shows the modules covered throughout the first to eighth grades, under 'Social Studies' we find that children are taught about US history, Holidays, Famous Americans and Symbols this develops each year and until the eighth grade where children are taught about immigration and how it contributed towards the cultures and policies of the US government. The website doesn't specifically say what area's of immigration are looked at and in what time period for example housing and work during the 19th and 20th Centuries, just how immigration has contributed to America. Also in the eighth grade the Geography module looks at helping students use map skills to analyse the “flow of immigrants from around the world” this will help children to develop an understanding of who came to the US and when and the history modules will discuss the reasons why immigrants came to the US.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

K-12 Immigration

The website above is from designed for 5th graders in a school in North Carolina. The first thing that strikes me is that 5th graders are young in age (elementary school level I think!). Therefore as expected the topic is slightly watered down for them. It teaches immigration using puzzles and activities and encourages external research of the topic. There however does not seem to be any sort or "over-Americanisation" of the topic. They do not seem to teach it differently in America. The website in particular focuses on Ellis Island.

Women & Work

I decided to focus on these two images, as I believe this is still very much the portrayal of women and work that people still have. The images I found were one from the 2006 film, The Devil wears Prada and the 1987 film Fatal Attraction. I thought it would be interesting to highlight how many of the negative connotations that came with not only women at work, but with women in power have not changed since the 80’s. The image of actress Glenn Close in the film I think says volumes about the emotional state that is believed to consume and possess women when let out to the responsibilty of the work place. It almost suggests that women can not be allowed in the work place as they will mess it up, by falling in love or doing something typically, stupidly or uniquely female.
The image of Meryl Streep, I found quite cold and almost echoes ice maiden. Her body language although it suggests professionalism, power and no nonsense somehow you can’t help but feel if she was swapped with a male counterpart it wouldn’t be as chilling and unnerving. Having watched the movie, her coldness isn't only present at work but its reflected in the neglectful relationship she has with her husband and results in most of her maternal instincts, time and effort invested in steering her magazine forward.These ideas, that women turn into psychotic messes or soulless corporate witches seem narrow minded in this day and age, but never the less still exist and supports the view that some feminists still hold, that women still have a long way to go.

Native Americans Today.

The website I looked at was a site branched from a Native American weekly newspaper. The reason why I chose to look at this particular website was because, I found the website truly displayed the collective thoughts of how the Native American people represent and felt about their culture today. The sense of pride in their history is evident the more you browse through the site and displays no sign of a diminishing culture or a sad history. It looks at Native Americans as a whole, rather than one tribe in general. The website not only celebrates the many achievements of the different nations that make up their heritage today but it also focuses on how to advance Native Americans and surrounding communities. Whether you're part of the Indian Nations or not you get an overwhelming sense of traditional brotherly love that is still deeply rooted in Indian Culture today and the encouragement to do better, with the support of indiancountrytoday. With different scholarships available, it isn’t only great opportunities being made available, but also an investment in keeping their heritage alive. This is why I found their motto quite fitting in relation to what they were trying to achieve ‘Serving the nations, celebrating the people.’

Monday, February 28, 2011

How immigration is taught

I have found a website for a a high school in Massachusettes which has a overview of how and why they teach an immigration module. Shady Hill High School does teach a vast amount of American History and this includes the immigration that began in the 19th century or as they put it (the great waves of migration.) The module focuses on a range on nationalities such as the Irish, African-American, and the Mexican but it doesnt look at whether the Anglo-American's are immigrants. Instead choosing to focus on the more obvious immigrants who dont fit into the dominant ideology of being a white, english speaking person. This shows how the dominant use the schooling system to make some children feel left out, while the white children can feel superior knowing they were always there. The module then looks at the problems that have arisen for immigrants in the past to do with The Bill of Rights and Citizenship which suggests that the immigrants position is even more constested. The module also brings up the idea of boundires of the United States and the borders which the immigrants cross (sometimes illegally) in order to get the Ameircan way of life.

This school doesnt say that they teach or touch upon the issue's that many immigrants have or had to deal with day in day out such as the housing problems, the lack of jobs, the over-crowding and the discrimination that they recieved. Overall this sppears to be a very biased view of immigration, because although it is taught who immigrated and when, and for what reasons - it fails to refelct the difference in quality of life that was experienced between the immigrants and the Anglo-Americans. So although the children learn that immigratation is common and that many different nationalities live in America; it struggles to show the children that certain immigrants have a different way of living.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

The Lakota people of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe are located in South Dakota. Their three million acres of land of the Cheyenne River Reservation is home to four bands of Titunwan people. The Lakota Nation have their own government and take care of their own people with no or very little influence from the US government.
The aim of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is to “preserve our cultural resources”. The website has links to the history of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe for example the Battle of Little Big Horn and the Wounded Knee Massacre. The website also talks about their fight for religious freedom.

The website offers links to all the different services available within the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, from education to employment, law enforcement services, Tribal court, Accounting and many more. The website makes reference to the importance of community as it states “community is our culture, just as it has always been.....We are all one” and also “we know our future depends on the strength of our community today.” By working together the Tribe has remained strong and are able to share the stories of their Tribe not just with each other within the Tribe but with others who will listen, for it states on the website “listen to our story if you have been given ears to hear it.”

Ogala Sioux Tribe

The Ogala Sioux or Sioux tribe is one of the most famous Native American tribes particularly because of their fierce battles with the US army and the massacre that eventually ensued as a result of their resistance.

The Sioux website offers a detailed history of their tribe and offers a traditional story telling history of the historic events in the Sioux past. These re-tellings of events are labeled under headings such as "What happened at wounded knee: the true story of the US Army's massacre" Which offers almost a story telling perspective of the infamous battle which suggests other reasons why the massacre occurred other than that presented by the US military.

As well as the site offering a detailed history from a native American perspective, the site also functions on a contemporary level providing information about up and coming events within the Sioux community such as the recent election of the OST president. The site also provides information on how to donate to the reservation, employment options within the community and entertainment and artwork produced by the natives. There is also a tab which allows you to view a history of tribal chiefs.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blog 3 Tribes

The shoeshone-bannock tribe is mainly located in south-eastern Idaho. It has 5300 members and seeks to preserve the fort hill preservation and still has a heavy presence there. 96% of the land still remains in tribal ownership. A tribal government is still in place. Certainly the idea of trying to hold land and protect it against development a fairly common idea and the tribe does have native American roots and shares their common objectives. Its government however seems to be set up professionally. Certainly they have specific roles such as chairmen, vice chairman and treasurers. These are roles you would associate with tribes but with a business.

Monday, February 21, 2011

American Tribes

The Klamath tribe is based in the Klamath Basin in Oregon. The website has a very traditional 'American Indian' feel to it. The first images that are seen are those of Indian head-dresses, with feathers and the images of nature. The Klamath tribes' website is extremely positive and upbeat about their future and position in society. There is talk about the future and the recognition they want to get from protecting nature whilst creating a profit. This is not the website of a tribe who feel threatened, instead they feel necessary in the community they live in. The Klamath tribe has a mission to

"protect, preserve, and enhance the spiritual, cultural, and physical values and resources of the Klamath, Modoc, and Yahooskin Peoples . . ."

This shows that the tribe see's there current position in society as important, and one of preserving their beautiful natural resources. This is re-enforced with the tribes logo on the webiste, which has many animal images on it enjoying the beauty of nature. There are also many energy effiecent agreements made between the tribe and government aswell such as the 'Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement' which aims to preserve nature. However moving around the website it is obvious that the current tribe also has another vision for the current and future situation; one of economic prosperity having "At present, with current enrolled membership around 3,500, the Klamath Tribes contribute about $25 million per annum to Klamath County's economy in the form of payroll, direct expenses and goods and services." This shows how the history and aims of Tribes have chnaged. They no longer want just to survive, but instead become part of Americas capitalist society and prosper.

The history is shown as one of struggle and friendship as the tribe stcuk together to survive. The tribe has been involved in the Modoc war, and has faced constant struggle against the federal government for recognition (like a lot of tribes) and they have been sucessful. The website makes sure that the readers knows that the have lived a hard life and have only recently found prosperity and gained the ability to live freely on their land. They believe that their constant battles and strenght of character to fight helps define them:

"We help each other; We will live good"

The history of all tribes in America is one of a rough ride; and the Klamath tribe is no different. There have been struggles in the past as the settlers struggle to accept that they can live side by side. However as the website states in 1986 we were successful in regaining Restoration of Federal Recognition for our Tribes. And the battle was won! This means the tribe is free to live; with many festivals and parties to show their off their culture and way of life.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Blog 2 Women and work

This is certainly a very different representation of women. It shows a women serving in the army wearing uniform and carrying a gun. Serving in the front line of the military is commonly seen as a highly masculine job and is not a job assosicated with women. It therefore challenges the "traditional" steriotype of women that they should stay at home, look after the family and put food on the table. It now seems to be fairly commonplace for women to serve in the military.

This however is a more traditional view of women. The traditional stereotype that women should spend time in the kitchen, cook and look after their family. Of course this is far less commonplace today and the idea of women working for money outside the house is far more common. In some cases there is some role reversal with women being the main source of income in a house rather than men. This was unlikely to be the case 50 years ago.

Women and Work

This first image is from the 1980's and the caption reads “a career... a family to care for... gee! I've got it all!” this is clearly suggestive in that it shows that women are satisfied and happy with their lives of being a housewife or stay-at-home-mom. This is a generalization which has been shun by many women as an idea of the “perfect life” as there has been a huge increase in the number of women who have better educations and in turn better career's. In this picture it shows a woman stood in the kitchen with her hand on her hip (which is deemed as a feminine pose), holding an oven mitt and a towel hanging from her side, it also shows that the woman looks after her self and takes pride in her appearance as well as the appearance of the house, hence the cleanliness of the kitchen, the woman is wearing make-up, nail polish and a dress. This differs from Nickel and Dimed as the woman in the image is presented as doing the work Barbara was getting paid to do when she worked for The Maids, this woman seems to have married into a life where she doesn't need to go out to work as she is supported by her husband and her work is within the home.

This image shows three business women and one business man in a work place which displays the image that women play a bigger role in positions which are usually dominated by men. Also in this image it seems that the woman stood up looks like she is the one who is in charge which many people may see stereotypically the male as being the boss. This image is very different to the first image the women are wearing suits which are dull colours, not bright colours some may see as “girlie colours” like pink and yellow. The women still present themselves as taking pride in their appearance, they are smartly dressed, wearing make-up and have their hair done as well as wearing jewellery, rings, watches and earrings. In relation to Nickel and Dimed these women are a few that may have succeeded and come so far in life because they are well educated and that's why they aren't working in a diner or at Wal Mart because their opportunities in life will have been a lot different to a majority of people in society.

Women at home and at work

Both of the images i have chosen for this blog task typically come from the same era which is during and post second world war. this first image i believe was used during the second world war when women were encouraged to take the places of men at work who had gone to war in order to aid the war effort on the home front. This pro feminist image is significant in representing women in the work place, the image shows that women are equal to men and to some could suggest that "we can do it" is in itself sugesting that women can obtain equality to men in the work place and are as physically equal to men, something which at the time was not common belief. Although the iconic poster was released after women had obtained the right to vote in the USA women were still expected to be house wives and not work.

The image itself is significant as the woman on the poster is not depicted in a way women were often depicted at the time. the woman is very masculine in both the pose she is striking and the way she is dressed. However because of this the image would seem to suggest that women cannot be women in the work place but instead the only way a woman could do a mans job would be to physically adopt masculine characteristics.

Despite this the 'we can do it' poster could be seen as a symbolic image for the begining of women's struggle to find equality in the work place.

This second image is of a typical 1950's house wife serving dinner to what is presumably her husband as he arrives home from work and the image contains the caption "Life can be wonderful"

There are two striking things about this image and theey are what is happening in the image itself and the tag line. to start this image of a male being served by his wife almost as if he were in a diner is what was expected of women during that particular era. it would seem most imagery from the era would typically depict women in the home cleaning or cooking something which would have suggested to women that is what they were meant to be doing and that's what everyone else is doing. This is then supported by the tag line which can be read in 2 different ways first off it can be read from a male perspective simply suggesting that on perfect occasion when you arrive home and dinner is already waiting for you "life can be wonderful". however the same tag line can be read from a femal perspective as "life can be wonderful" as long as you work hard at it like this woman and accomodate your man with a made table and dinner when he arrives home, as there is nothing in the image which suggests life is wonderful for the woman, she is simply fulfilling a subserviant role. This line which can be read from two perspectives may have been included to combat the idea of the desperate housewife, unsatisfied and unhappy with life by sugesting everyone else is happy, you just need to work harder at it. turning the lack of purpose in the womans life into something that is her own fault.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Women in the workplace

Women are represented in a number of ways and these vary depending on the time they were taken or the image they are trying to portray. For this blog i have chosen a magazine front cover of some of the Top 50 American Business women from Fortune magazine which is a global business magazine which has been in production from 1930. This front cover is from 1999, an age where women were becoming increasingly visible in the workplace and therefore more respected. However there must still be inequality because the cover has chosen to seperate the business men from women, suggesting they are different and still looked at spearately. This cover aims to show business women in a good light. The black clothing they are all wearing connotates a sense of seriousness about their work. This means that these women are not airheads or fixed on celebrity news. Their clothing dictates a serious side of their personality and shows an intelligence about them, which would disappear if they were to be wearing Barbie Pink for example. There are no short skirts or high heeled shoes suggesting these woman can compete in the tradition male game. Men wear black and therefore women wearing black shows a sense of equality. However the woman are attractive, and they are all wearing make-up in order to show aspects of their femininity. They want to appear beautiful and stay true to the representation that women take care of their looks. The necklace one woman is wearing is white which suggests that contrast of personality in her life between the strict business woman and the more traditional virginal look about women, that can do nothing wrong and are clean and soft. It is also intersting that the background colour that the women are placed on is pink, which shows that there are still those gender stereotypes with woman being pretty and men being tough. The positions they are in on the page suggest that women still need that closeness of a group (like the stereotype of not being able to go to the toilet alone) whereas a men would more than likely be placed apart on the page. With regards to Nickel and Dimed, these women must be in the minority in America, for it is still hard for women to progress to such a high lever in the workplace. The majority would be in supermarkets or cleaning jobs- however these women many have help a helping hand of education for example.

The second image i have chosen is an advert for a popular tv show in America and England 'Desperate Housewives.' Like the previous image the woman have a sexual aspect about them which suggests that the common image of woman doing work is that it can somehow be made sexy. For me it means women try and get by and up in society by looks rather than the hard work which the previous image suggested. They seem more than happy to emphasis the feminine aspects of their body is this because it is a typical womans workplace? The previous image acknowledged the feminine aspect to a lesser extent suggesting the business world is still predominantly for men. This is a far cry from what Barbara experienced- the cleaning job at the Maids for example was blood, sweat and tears rather than laid back casual hoovering. The woman are all holding a typical household item and this relates back to the more traditional concept of woman having their job in the household, doing the chores. One woman is brandishing a rolling pin which implies that the house is not where these wives will be staying. This representation of women as housewives is not the norm now and woman continue to find thier place outside of cleaning and housework and learn and experience the world. The work that these women are doing appears to be fun and quirky in comparison to the business world, as the colors used are feminine and the background yellow implies a sense of having a good time. The bright colors suggest fun and are a far cry from the feeling of being held in the workplace, these images suggest that these women enjoy their job. It could be argued that this is a better place to be with a rich husband; instead of living in poverty with a job that forces you into hard manual labour and injury? Women in poverty would surely prefer this lifestyle...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Masculinity in America

This blog post is from a man named Ray Williams who discusses a loss of masculinity in American in the work place and in education, he states that it is having a “huge impact on the male identity.” Williams uses quotes to illustrate the rise of women in employment for example “forty percent of family's primary breadwinner are now women” and “women now make up more than fifty percent of the nations workforce.” Nowadays women are being employed for roles men would traditionally undertake but women are now educated and skilled to do these jobs and also some women may have a better education than male competitors hence why there is a decrease in masculinity in the workplace. Williams also states that the “number of women in government continues to rise” he later states that the last male dominated roles are in the military and in politics “although even those areas are slowly being eroded” this indicates that Williams feels that these areas are being spoiled by femininity and there will not be much left to offer up once the masculinity of these roles have been washed out.

Williams discusses the reasons for why masculinity is under threat and that is because of the way men are portrayed in the media. Williams claims that images and stereotypes used by the media are giving men a bad name making it hard for them to maintain their masculinity and their role in society. Williams also states that the “negative portrayal of men in the media, along with the feminization of men and loss of fatherhood in society has caused confusion and frustration in younger generation of males as they do not have specific role models and are less able to define their role in society.” Here Williams is saying that the younger generation of makes are going to grow up having more of a feminine outlook than a masculine outlook on life because of the loss of masculinity within society and the family home, as Williams states that “forty percent of family's primary breadwinner are now women” and also there are more stay-at-home-dads than there was ten years ago which shows that the roles have changed.

Williams states that “it has been difficult to know what it means to be a man and even harder to feel good about being one [....] and men are groping in the dark for their identity” Williams also quotes Guy Garcia as he states “as a group, men are losing their way” this shows that men think masculinity is under threat of being a thing of the past and that they have no way of knowing how to reclaim and maintain their masculinity for the future generations of men.

Post please

Elizabeth & Kirsten - we need your posts!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blog 1 Masculinity

The article above was taken from the New York Times in 1005. It questions whether masculinity is to blame for various school shootings including that of the Minnesota teenager Jeff Weise. The article claims that there have been 29 shootings since 1982 all by boys who have been teased and bullied for not being masculine enough and not following the expected stereotypes that men should be strong, sports orientated etc. "Was the shooter teased and harassed as unworthy, incomplete or failing as a real man. It is claimed that boys need to be freed from their "emotional straight jackets".
The article raises many interesting points. There is no doubt a large amount of pressure on teenage boys to fit and follow an unofficial masculine code. Anything else could be rejected as not normal and wrong. Many teenagers have been bullied for not following these trends and in some cases there have been disastrous consequences including the murder of Jeff Weise in 2005.
Contemporary Masculine Identity

The first article i have chosen which analyses contemporary masculine identity is an academic blog post which in some detail discusses the current male identity of Americans. The blog post argues that Americans have lost their masculine identity through something commonly referred to as the He-Cession caused by the recent economic down turn in America.

The theory is that the recession has caused many men to lose their jobs, more so than women the article argues. but the difference being is that when a man loses his job he is effectively robbed of his masculinity especially men working in the lower tier of of society, in working class, blue collar jobs. This is because when a man loses his job and is unable to find another he has lost all of his male responsibilities to his family. The man is no longer the bread-winner, he is no longer the role model to his children or the respectable figure to his wife. at least this is what the article suggests.

Because a man has lost his job he essentially becomes worthless in his own opinion and with out purpose. This then may result in the woman of the family becoming the primary source of income, further emasculating the man.

The problem with this article is that in my opinion it has a very traditionalist view point which is not relevant in contemporary America despite being written about contemporary America. The author appears to believe that the average American family is working husband and house wife and that the reversal of this in modern society is the cause of American men's loss of masculine identity. in essence the post argues that the progression of women as equals has caused the downfall of the male identity. this is shown through the articles initial stating of statistics about the amounts of men leaving college with degrees compared to women and how it is falling every year.

The second article from The Chronicle bares a small amount of significance as it has a few suggestions as to where the American Male's identity has shifted due to the He-Cession. And that is to the few male dominated areas left in American society, contact sports and video games, although not exclusive to men, the article suggests that a man is now the subject of his sporting talents and his appreciation of violent video games, particularly as what used to make a man a man in America is now no longer male dominated, again employment is brought up and the loss of industries in America such as steel. All that is left for the American male is video games, guns and sports.

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Contemporary Masculinity

I have decided to look at the ever growing number of men in America who are becoming stay at home dads, whether this be down to the recession is not clear, but for whatever reason they have given up one previosuly masculine activity (being the breadwinner) for a more tradtional female role. However, in the article i looked at the idea that this is feminine in anyway is ridiculous! It starts with "Not only are stay-at-home dads macho, but all dads who show up for their kids are macho." From the first sentence their is no mistake about the man feeling any lose of masculinity, in fact he feels very masculine which suggests that there is more than one way to define the male in the 21st century. Men can show their masculinity a number of ways. Men no longer have to go out to work in an office to feel like they are contributing to the family in the traditional masculine way. Instead staying at home is found to be just as masculine.

The article deals with the problems the stay at home dads have, and the challenges they must overcome in order to earn the right to feel masculine in their dad position. This like any other job has a 'purpose', and you must suceed in this in order to show your strength like nay other man- a binman would be no good at his job if he couldnt lift bins, and similarly a father must learn how to look after his children in order to gain that feeling of sucess in a job. From this article i feel like it is the sucess in a job that creates the masculine feeling, similar to any man in a high corporate position who earns a bonus pay check because of his sucess- it is juts a different reward. Although this is still a fairly new role reversal, while researching i found numerous websites and blogs devoted to stay at home dads and a lot of support for the men, suggesting that this is an aspect of masculinity which needs to be encouraged. Women, especially in the 21st century are gaining higher positions in the workplace and are climbing higher up the corporate ladder than before; meaning this type of masculinity will only become more visible in daily American life.

However there are problems with stay at home dads. For these men meet challenges daily being called 'sissies' which has to be endured. The film 'Daddy Day Care' with Eddie Murphy in some respects challenged the traditonal masculinity by putting the male in the child care role, which was refreshingly nice to see- however the plot finished with him creating a business out of childcare, subverting back to the traditional money- making, strong man that history has taught us men should be.History tells us the man will be responsible and work for his family, and the stay at home dad must do the same. It is just as easy to care for your children day in, day out and still feel like you are earning; but instead of getting macho money to buy 'boys toys' you are getting to 'makes up for time lost in prior generations' as this article suggests- and this makes it sounds a lot more rewarding.

Masculinty in this article is defined as stepping up to the task in hand, and putting your all into it. Previous generations and images have told us that it is masculine to teach a child how to cook a barbeque, how to hold a gun and how to attract women but this generation of men suggets that there are many more masculine activities a male can do with regards to children, and still feel the masculine strength they need.