Monday, February 28, 2011

the American Dream

I am so tired of hearing people say 1) there is no such thing as the American Dream 2) not everyone who is qualified can succeed 3) the only means of success are being in a movie, being a millionaire, owning your own company or some other crap like that. Yes, if you think the American Dream means that every person has the exact opportunity as every other person, you are right to say the American Dream is false! That’s the problem with people today, though, thinking that equal means exact. But guess what, that’s not what the American Dream means. To me, the American Dream can be different for everyone, because everyone’s goals -- aka definition of success -- are different. It means that those who work hard, and I mean really sacrifice, will succeed – but THEY get to decide what successful is, whether that’s starring in a movie or simply putting food on the table.
The American Dream never promised that you would be good at what you did or that everyone would buy your product or watch your movie. But it did and still does mean if you want to be a baker, you can be a baker. You might not make the world tastiest bread, but you can still be a baker.
I don’t mean it won’t be hard. I also don’t think that people who are in poverty, or just people who could use a little more money, aren’t trying hard enough. But I do think people who cry about not having any opportunities to succeed just need to change their perspective about what success is.
Maybe if the world would stop trying so hard to give people an excuse to give up (“because you’re never going to make it anyway because of your race, gender, class, social upbringing, education, etc etc”) or stop forcing people to compare themselves to others (this is what car Brad Pitt drives, what makeup Paris Hilton wears, what clothes Kate Moss wears) and just redefine what success is (being an honest person, having a good work ethic, trying your hardest, being a good friend, parent, wife, husband, daughter, son..) we wouldn’t be discussing who’s poor and who’s rich.
Plus, who ever said the American Dream was just about money? According to our forefathers, it means "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." The American Dream means you as a person have the right to live how and where you want. You have the freedom to study what you want, believe in whatever religion you want, and pursue whatever goals you have. And I’d say that’s pretty sweet.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


This week our readings covered advertisements for women and women and romance novels. While I know some campaigns don’t appeal to women and don’t even try, and others use women as sex objects to provoke men into buying products, I still can’t say I’m this huge “better women advertisements!” advocator. Personally, I think in general women’s magazines are trash. Yes there are some food ones that strictly talk about recipes and groceries and have all sorts of womanly ads that are just fine. But the ones like 'Cosmo Girl' and 'Seventeen' are just disgusting and yes, the ads are sexual and not honest and probably not filled with cars or beer like man magazines because the decision makers for those ads say “No, woman don’t buy beer and if they do it’s because their boyfriends tell them what brand.” I don’t care. By taking this class I guess I am supposed to be exposed so I'll care about things like this, and with other subjects I have been (or it just reiterated and strengthened what I already felt) but with magazine ads I just don’t care. The magazines and the ads are trash, so I don’t bother. Maybe they’d be better if the ads were better because it’d attract better people who don’t want to read about “having a satisfying multiple partner sex life” and “what to do if he doesn’t call you back after sex.” But honestly I hope that beer ads don’t get put in women magazines and if they do they are obviously sexist toward men because then hopefully it’ll turn women off to drinking that type of beer, or anytype of alcohol. And yes, that doesn’t solve the problem with the decision makers being sexist, but let them rot in hell, their time will come.
Secondly, the whole idea of women and romance novels being “a way to escape their horrible lives” kind of disgusts me. “These few comments all hint at a certain sadness that many of the Smithton women seem to share because life has not given them all that it once promised. A deep-seated sense of betrayal also lurks behind their deceptively simple expressions of a need to believe in a fairy tale,” (Gender, Race, and Class in Media, page 69). OK doesn’t that bother you? Some of the comments were “It’s [reading romance novels] a way of escaping everyday living,” or “I enjoy reading because it offers me a small vacation from everyday life and an interesting and amusing way to pass the time.” But obviously these simple comments are “a hint to betrayal and unhappiness” that’s just so ridiculous. Women need to relax just like men! No one writes these long, over analytical articles about men tinkering in the garage or watching TV after a long day, even though they give the same excuse as just needing an escape or to relax. I think it’s so annoying when just because women like to read or watch love stories that they are automatically assumed to be depressed, have a sucky life or have no confidence and need to rely on a man to make them happy. Guess what, real love is great and real love there is no complete dependence of one person on another—real love is two equally yoked people. So where’s the dependence or loss of self worth in that?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

social standing

Have you ever been in a room filled with strangers and been like, hey, nice to meet you, would you like to compare our social status?
I have.
It was weird.
So at Thursday's class all 25 or so of us stood against a wall in the hall. My teacher then would ask a question, and if our answer was yes, we took a step forward.

If your parents read to you when you were little, take a step forward.
If your electricity never got shut off when you were a child, take a step forward.
If you went to summer camp while growing up, take a step forward.
If you had braces, take a step forward.
If your father went to college, take a step forward.
If he finished, take a step forward.
If you had a phone in your room, take a step forward.
If you had your own car, take a step forward.
If you could eat whatever you wanted whenever you wanted, take a step forward.

You get the idea.

It didn't take long before we were all scattered in different areas of the room. Some still near the wall, a few in the front, and most some where in between. It really made us reconsider our great wealth, you could say. Because when someone asks a question about something you thought was a necessity growing up, and you see others around you not taking a step forward, you start to reconsider.

Now I feel some sort of need to take a second and just say, all of us in that hallway are students at Brigham Young University. In one way or another, we got there, and because of that we are incredibly lucky and in relative terms, not poor at all.

But as some of you know, I grew up in a relatively we-don't-have-a lot-of-money home. Which was fine with me. My parents still taught me about manners and respect, they taught me the importance of education and that money and wealth aren't everything. But sometimes I wished we had more of it. But on Thursday, I was in the upper section of the middle area that day. So what did I learn about social class? To me it isn't about money. My parents read to me at night because they loved me. They sacrificed to make sure I got an education because that's the type of people they are, and the life they wanted for me. And I think I'm better for it.

What do you think?

Friday, February 25, 2011

movies movies

Have you seen...

"Marley and Me"
"State of Play"
"The Pelican Brief"
"Morning Glory"
"Shattered Glass"
"The Bounty Hunter"
"All The President's Men"
"Goodnight and Good luck"
"The Devil Wears Prada"
"How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days"
"Almost Famous"

Did you catch on to what these movies have in common?

Yes, JOURNALISM!! Just in case anyone was wondering, my profession is pretty sweet.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ideas, ideas, procrastination..

Lucky me decided to start this blog on a week I don't have Tuesday class because of the holiday. That means I don't have much to write about. I've been looking for ideas to write about, but really, I haven't been looking. I lied. I'm kind of a slacker this week because it doesn't feel like a real week. Let's be honest, after a long day Lance (the husband) and I like to curl up and watch one of two things: "The Office" (we have seasons 1-6 on DVD) and "Everybody Loves Raymond" (we have season 1-9 on DVD). We don't watch cable because cable has commericals, so sorry, won't be analyzing commericals here. Plus can't stand watching a show and having to wait a week to see what happens next. I guess it's just my generation.
Anywhoo, we will definitely be discussing "The Office" (in its hilarity) and its total lack of sensitivity to other races, cultures and genders at a later date. I hope you think it's funny, because I definitely do. But if not, great, the more the merrier.
Also, homework: if you haven't watched "Everybody Loves Raymond" - do it. We'll talk about its treatment of marriage and gender, and everything else that made that show last 9 seasons, later.

Have a delightful day!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Today is the day

Well hello. If you knew me, which you might not, you could possibly but not necessarily know that I am in a class that regularly discusses instances of race, class and gender in the media. Probably because it is called, "Comms 481: Race, Class and Gender in the Media." Oh what a joy this class is, though some might scoff that it is full of BYU students, "No opinions they have," you might say. Or "They live in a bubble" -- which is a favorite of many. But, let me tell you. This class is where the beetles come out of the woodwork. You know? It is full of many differing - including some fairly obnoxious - opinions.
But, due to this class, I've been exposed even more to the perspectives of others, as well as seeing how the media effects them and me. Not sure what I'm talking about? Little example, we discuss why the Superbowl Pepsi advertisement featured a black woman throwing a can at her black husband for checking out a white chick, and if the commercial would've been perceived differently (not so funny? or racist?) if it was a white couple and a black woman. I know, kind of a stretch, but it can be fun to analyze.
So for now, this blog will be used as a place to discuss further those discussions, and even bring up others from what I've noticed in the media or how its effected me on any given day.You know you want to, so feel free to join in.