Popular Cultures affect on Social Systems

On average social media, specifically twitter has 288 million monthly active users, 500 million tweets are sent per day and 80% of active Twitter users have the convenience of pulling it out on their mobile device and checking what is “popular” in social media (Twitter 2015). This activeness has created many issues today, and not only are people you see on the streets affected by issues such as cyber bullying but even some of the more famous people such as actress Ashley Judd are affected by threats received via social media. Ashley Judd, a 46-year-old actress received violent threats from random users following a tweet she made about a basketball game (Alter 2015). Following these threats she decided to speak out about twitter abuse and rape.

By Ashley Judd speaking out about her recent situation, it revels many issues such as marginalization when it comes to white females and sports. This idea of women being of small importance in the conversation of sports is most evident when females receive negative responses and threats from males. This all connects to the idea that sports are meant to be dominated by males as it is known to exclaim masculinity thus females are judged for their interest or participation in sports. Margaret Duncan an author of Examining Identity in Sports Media quoted “Sport is, according to commonsense understanding of the world, a celebration of manhood” (231). This patriarchal approach to sports limits the possibility for females to not only have an interest and be fans of sports such as basketball, but it disallows the possibility of success for females in sports. Ashley Judd, did her best to fight through the systems of misogyny and patriarchy but in the end it is a battle that will forever continue to be fought due to the social expectations and attitudes associated with gender (Aulette and Wittner). This gender socialization of masculinity to males and femininity to females is one that allows greater opportunities for males when it comes to sports. Males are taught to dream and succeed in sport where as females are only to play sports for recreation because once they reach a certain age there is no longer anywhere to go but work. The overall message that society presents is that sports is generally meant for males to play and succeed in. Should a female make a recommendation about sports they are either ignored or they are harassed for being “unknowledgeable.”

People can thank the concept of hyper-sexualization of females for the stereotyping of females (Aulette and Wittner 414 ). The way the media portrays females to be “sexy” or to show skin when dressed and to be thin with a clear face is the reason why females who are some times opposite of those traits are victims of social media attacks. Popular Culture has allowed people to find more convenient ways to victimize those who don’t believe in what they do. This conveniency is what has evolved rape culture in North American society. Rape Culture is one that encourages male violence against women; it is when a variety of women are being violated against verbally and/or physically (“What Is Rape Culture?”) Rape Culture doesn’t allow violence against women, but rather it perceives it to be a normal situation of life (“What Is Rape Culture?” ). With the way Popular Culture has quickly emerged to a piece of everyday life, it opens up the door of opportunities for more acts of sexual violence to happen. This is shown in Ashley Judd’s case where specifically males, take the opportunity of responding to her tweets and violates her by sending verbal threats (Alana Prochuk).

In the case of Ashley Judd, she has the ability to take to social media and have her voice be heard about the above problems. However, not everyone has this opportunity to be heard. Due to Judd’s white privilege and celebrity status, people are more than likely to listen to her issues and attempt to do something about it. But in the case of Stolen Sisters there is a case of indigenous women who’s voices are not heard due to the system of oppression. Stolen Sisters involves over 500 missing and murdered indigenous women and the number continues to rise today (About the Stolen Sisters Documentary). It is said that colonialism is the reasoning behind this situation, but due to the fact that many people are uninformed of this situation, no one truly knows the reasons behind it. People look to colonial logics as the anchor of the acts behind stolen sisters. The idea of taking, conquering and dominating over someone’s culture is exactly what is being seen in the case of Stolen Sisters (Cultural Appropriation 2015). Much the same in Judd’s case in terms of sexual violence, people look to dominate over one another to simply feel more powerful and thus the system of hierarchy is established.

Overall, popular culture has a major impact on systems of society today. People look to social media specifically to gain the attention of people so that problems such as rape culture can decline. However, there are also many negatives to popular culture, where as people tend to use it to hide behind and use systems of patriarchy and privilege to their advantage. Ashley Judd speaking out about her issue is a stepping-stone to positivity but at the same time, it allows opportunity for others to add to and cause more issues.

Works Citied:

About the Stolen Sisters Documentary. Dir. Antonio Hrynchuck. About the Stolen Sisters Documentary. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2015. Retrieved from http://www.stolensisters.com/index.html

“About Twitter, Inc. | About.” About Twitter, Inc. | About. Twitter, n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2015. Retrieved from https://about.twitter.com/company

Alter, Charlotte. “Ashley Judd Speaks Out About Twitter Abuse and Rape.” Time. Time, 19 Mar. 2015. Web. 1 Apr. 2015. Retrieved from http://time.com/3750788/ashley-judd-speaks-out-about-twitter-abuse-and-rape

Aulette, Judy, and Judith Wittner. Gendered Worlds. 3rd Ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.

“Cultural Appropriation: Settler Colonial Logics and Representations of the “Imaginary Indian” in Popular Culture.” Queen’s University. Biosci Auditorium. 9 March 2015. Guest Lecture.

Duncan, Margaret. 2010. “Gender Warriors in Sport: Women and the Media.” Pp 231-252 in Examining identity in sports media, edited by H. Hundley and A. Billings. Los Angeles: Sage Publications

Prochuk, Alana. “What Is Rape Culture?” WAVAW Women Against Violence Against Women. Rape Crisis Centre, n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2015. Retrieved from http://www.wavaw.ca/what-is-rape-culture/


Think Before You Speak: Understanding Culture

It was until after the article “An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdresses” was read that the realization of people not understanding other cultures other than their own came to mind. A serious understanding of cultural appropriation would help put a stop to many racial issues that occur in the native culture. When Êkosi uses the example of the headdress there are various examples of how pop culture portrays the Native culture to be something that it is not. There are many visual examples today that come to mind when discussing the idea of Cultural Appropriation and how uninformed many people are about this issue (Êkosi). For example, there are many models that walk down the runway with a headdress as well as many singers who chose to perform wearing the headdress; this example of cultural appropriation comes extremely offensive to people of the Native culture (Cultural Appropriation 2015). The background of the native culture as Êkosi explains it, has restricted symbols and unrestricted symbols to it (An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdresses). The headdress, being an example of a restricted symbol would be why there is offense taken to celebrities of pop culture wearing it. Not only is there a problem with the idea that celebrities who have not earned the headdress are wearing it but also females themselves of the Native culture are unable to wear the headdress and if they do they earn it, but it is something that is very rare. By females wearing the headdress in popular culture it not only shows racial discrimination but it is an example of people being uninformed about the culture they are “representing.”

The Native culture in itself is one that over time has gone through various issues in the past that are looked at today as something that should have never happen. It all began with the idea of Colonialism and how there was a sudden want from European colonizers to take over all the land that was predominately populated by indigenous people (Martini 2015). Specifically Settler Colonialism caused the major issues where Europeans took, conquered and dominated land, bodied, environment, natural resources, cultural objects/symbols and traditions of the indigenous population (Cultural Appropriation 2015). This was the beginning to the problems in the future that surround that native culture. Resulting from colonialism was this “super” idea of The Salvage Paradigm, which Europeans thought that there was a sudden need in “saving” indigenous peoples (Cultural Appropriation 2015). This need disallowed natives to explore their own culture, and further express their beliefs upon one another. It was believed that their culture was dying off and they needed to save the people behind it, by doing this, they then allowed native people to keep or lose any aspects that they may not have wanted to keep (Cultural Appropriation 2015). This newly run system of colonialism under Europeans discarded many aspects of the Indian culture as the colonial logics included conquering the native culture. The whole idea of conquering someone else’s culture, is basically taking over their culture thus native people truly don’t have much of a choice to express their beliefs when they are under colonial power.

Those who decided to take over indigenous land were predominately white thus the concept of white supremacy was introduced (Cultural Appropriation 2015). This history of white supremacy is one that began due to Europeans taking advantage of indigenous people (Cultural Appropriation 2015). Their (white people) beliefs that they are superior simply because of their race are what cause many issues in social institutions today (White Supremacy and Terrorism). As noted earlier, this continues to happen today in popular culture as most people who display cultural appropriation through their attire simply feel that there is no need to understand the true meaning behind what they are wearing. The article could not have represented white supremacy any better then when the author noted that when white people get questioned for wearing or representing a restricted symbol they are asked and immediately get offended. By white people taking offense to this, it is the representation of them thinking they are not doing something wrong.

The native culture is one that not many people know or understand their past and unless you are a part of that culture you truly will not know what it is like. Aboriginal people experience a variety of issues. As time went on from the beginning of settler colonialism, Canadians finally started to gain some knowledge of what happened in the past. Bill-C-31- Amendment to the Indian Act was the begging of eliminating discrimination based on race and gender (Matani 2015).

There still is a lot to be learned about the Native culture. By doing this Canadians are able to inform themselves about the past and gain more knowledge about the various different forms of discrimination that other cultures are faced with and why. The story here produced by êkosi provides an in depth look and why people should understand. In the end there are always going to be people who find the need to be offensive towards someone. Unfortunately society is filled with ugly people and small steps can be made towards eliminating this just by providing small bits of information. Popular culture continues to contribute to negative stereotypes and to help put an end to this, it begins with informing celebrities about what is right and wrong so they can have a positive impact on this overall issue.

Works Citied:

Êkosi. “An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdresses.” Pihtawikosisn. 10 Feb. 2012. Web. 14 Feb. 2015 from http://apihtawikosisan.com/hall-of-shame/an-open-letter-to-non-natives-in-headdresses/

“Cultural Appropriation: Settler Colonial Logics and Representations of the “Imaginary Indian” in Popular Culture.” Queen’s University. Biosci Auditorium. 9 March 2015. Guest Lecture.

Matani, Maria-Teresa. “Colonialism.” Queen’s University. Ellis Hall. 12 March 2015. Tutorial Presentation.

“White Supremacy and Terrorism.” Slavery by Another Name. PBS. Web. 14 Mar. 2015 from http://www.pbs.org/tpt/slavery-by-another-name/themes/white-supremacy/

– lazybreakfast95

An in depth look at Boy Meets Girl

film festival was first introduced to me one afternoon while sitting in a course at Queen’s University. There I was siting in the Biosci Auditorium on a Thursday morning when three unknown individuals walking into the lecture hall to inform approximately 400 students all about the Reelout film Festival. I was intrigued almost instantly with the purpose of the Reelout film festival. I felt as though this film festival is one that reaches out to the community to let us know that there are more than the stereotypical heterosexual romantic movie, there are more than those sport filled action type movies. The Reelout Film Festival is one that does a good job at reaching out to provide a balance between gender and race through the use of popular culture.

The three presenters informed students of the class how to go about buying tickets to this festival and me being myself, I thought that I could get away without buying tickets ahead of time. But boy was I wrong! It was the day before my movie was to be shown and I checked online to see that the movie I was interested in was all sold out! I was very interested in the movie Boy Meets Girl not only because I would get to look at the soft skinned, blue-eyed beauty, Michael Welch throughout the entire film but mostly because I was interested in the story line which included your stereotypical romantic-comedy but with a transgendered girl.

So there I was 24 hours before my movie was going to be aired without a movie ticket,. To be sure I attended a movie at this festival I had bought a ticket to the movie “First Period” which was to be showed on Friday evening. However, I so desperately wanted a viewing to Boy Meets Girl that my determined self decided to hike on downtown to the screening room an hour and a half before tickets were being sold. I understood that there were only approximately 7 tickets left at the door but that was not stopping me from attempting to see this movie. An hour and a half past and I was 7th in line and I got my ticket! I now was in the theater ready to see this movie that I my determined self wanted to see. There I was making some new friends that were from upper year gender courses who were 8th and 9th in line chatting the entire time about whether or not they were going to get in. Sure enough, we all got in to the screening because the roads were bad thus multiple people didn’t show!

There I was on Wednesday, February 4th in a theatre that holds about 80 people filled with the awful stench of popcorn sitting front and center. Due to some technological issues the movie didn’t actually start showing until about 7:20. Boy Meets Girl was about a 22-year-old transgendered girl: Ricky, living in the state of Kentucky. She was someone who has never dated before and just wanted to experience love. Her best friend Robby from childhood was with someone who was always with her throughout the entire film he was a friend that stuck by Ricky’s side no matter what and was there to always talk. One day while working in a coffee shop Ricky meets an attractive young female, Francesca who is at the time engaged to her fiancé, David who is off with the Marines in Afghanistan. From the time in the coffee shop and on Francesca and Ricky spark an instant relationship, which is when some jealousy traits start to be revealed from Ricky’s friend, Robby.

The movie Boy Meets Girl is one that included an easy to follow story line. The simple story behind this film is about a transgendered girl experimenting to find true love. Now with Ricky sexually identifying herself as a female this leads to her to be a sexual minority throughout the movie, which then leads to other issues that people have with Ricky. However, Ricky’s character was made out to be someone who was clearly comfortable in her own skin and was not afraid to stand her own ground. I thought overall, the movie did a great job in representing that all though you may be minority in society, you are capable to stand your own ground and it reminded movie watchers that you have the freedom to be who you want to be and love whom you want to love.

The movie has specific scenes, which clearly represent homophobia. The one that comes to mind most is when Francesca was skyping her fiancé, David and he made it completely clear that there was no way Ricky could be a girl because she grew up a boy. He also wanted to be clear that Francesca was to no longer be hanging around Ricky and she should be referring to her as a boy. It was an instant conversation changer when Francesca had mentioned Ricky’s name. This scene had a lot of significance to a class like Gender, Race and Popular Culture. It demonstrated an act of homophobia but it also demonstrated a class act of how to handle it. Francesca was not pleased with the way David had acted regarding Ricky and she would not stand for it. If there were more people like Francesca in society, there would be less hate around. Lastly, the film reveals examples of gender spectrum, when Robby is portrayed as the hotshot boy who has experienced multiple sexual relations with other girls. But in the end, he ends up with Ricky. Proving that he was just confused about who he wanted! This proves that gender isn’t all black and white but it is about experiencing the spectrum of it all.

The movie Boy Meets Girl, was one that honestly kept me on the edge of my chair throughout the entire movie even though it wasn’t an action filled movie. There were scenes that had viewers guessing and assuming about what was going to happen. This is a film I would most definitely recommend watching!