Stopping Dead in My Tracks

Good evening everyone.  For the record, I am a 23 year old female, who happens to enjoy a little wine here and there.  That being said, why am I subject to offense when I go into the wine section of a common, family, grocery store?

THIS IS WHY:

Why?  Just why?

Why? Just why?

I guess in order to enjoy wine, I need to have on a silk robe with an ascot, pipe in hand, next to the fire.  Why do I need to be interested in the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated in order to enjoy some wine?  My actual sexual orientation is completely irrelevant at this point.  The point being, why must this display be tucked away into the wine section?  How sexist can one store be?  I shouldn’t be forced to feel this type of stigma when I am simply browsing for a beverage to enjoy among friends.  Of course, that stigma I feel comes from the culture and society of this current day and age.  I must shun away from such frivolous journalism and maintain my innocence, right?  I can’t be considered a “lady” if I associate with such atrocious print.

I’m being completely facetious, but the fact remains that I was offended by this sexist display.  I just want my wine.  That’s it.  I don’t need a show to accompany me.  If I wasn’t so offended and thrown off guard, this probably would have been rather hilarious, honestly.

The Honest, Innocent Truth

Dr. Giordano was making waves when she could barely tie her shoes.  At the age of four, she was the focal point of a seemingly innocent campaign ad by LEGO.  This ad, published in 1981 seemed harmless and innocent, simply showing the purely creative spirit of children.  In the meantime, 33 years have elapsed, and Giordano is seen once again, holding up a modern day LEGO set.  The comparison is amusing, to say the very least.  While some aspects of our culture have progressed, gender norms have seemingly gone back in time.  Again, progress isn’t always progress.

What a difference 33 years can make.

What a difference 33 years can make.

 

As you can see, the 1981 LEGO set is simply that:  multicolored blocks, neutral, nonspecific.  The fine print of the ad points out the “Universal Building Sets” and how children build for both fun and realism.  It states how proud she is of herself for creating something of her own.  “What it is is beautiful.”  

I agree completely.

However, as time has elapsed and we look at a current set, things have different.  “What it is is different.”  In this new “LEGO Friends” line, girls are the focus.  However, this seemingly gender neutral toy is suddenly geared toward feminizing.  Why does the news van have to be all pink and feminized?  I don’t recall Meredith Vieira or Robin Roberts ever decking out in pure pink for a glitter filled news cast.  

According to HuffPost, the advertisements for this new line of LEGOs has this description for the pink news van: “Break the big story of the world’s best cake with the Heartlake News Van!”

Really???  Breaking news coverage over a cake?  Really?  Come on.

In my youth, I too played with LEGOS, like it was my job.  I had free bricks to create anything with, as well as a couple of sets.  However, my LEGO set was of an Indiana Jones type guy traveling through a forgotten mummified tomb – booby traps and all.  I don’t remember there being a cake anywhere, but I enjoyed it anyway.

I guess I’m just missing the point of making children’s toys have sex appeal.  Why?  Why can’t children just be children and use their imagination, rather than toe the line and follow the so-called ‘standards’ of popular culture?

In 1981, Giordano was donned in baggy jeans, a unisex shirt and shoes and only had her red braid to set her apart from the boys.  Who knows what she would look like today as a child.  The eternal tom boy in me cringes when I see little girls walking around with their parents in make up and clothes more expensive than those I own now.  I suppose everyone has their own opinion and they are rightfully entitled to have them, but I will be eternally grateful for the liberties my parents gave me as a child.  I was outside from dawn to dusk and played hard.  I dressed up for special occasions and stayed clean during school.  Any other time, the world was my oyster and I had countless adventures under the clouds.

I only hope that every little girl and little boy is given the same opportunity to explore in a label free backyard.

 

Coca-Cola: One Company Trying to Showcase America for What it Could Be

As most of you may know, the Super Bowl was last night.  Of course, whether or not a legitimate football game occurred, is up for interpretation.  As a Broncos fan, I openly admit that this game was a farce and a pitiful defeat.  So, the only thing keeping me tuned in, was the commercials.

Overall, the commercials seemed about the same as always – Doritos, cars, money, blah blah blah.  HOWEVER!  The Coca-Cola ad sweeping the nation and world alike has a lot to say.  Take a look:

This commercial has sparked quite a bit of attention, most of which isn’t very positive.  Why is that?  Why is it a constant struggle for this country to embrace the foundations of our nation and realize that America is indeed, a quilt of culture, language, and people?

I feel that this commercial is perfect.  The song is a wonderful fit.  Not only is a historically recognized and endearing song, it was written by Katharine Lee Bates, who lived happily with a woman for 25+ years.  So yea, she’s a lesbian.  The use of multilingual context, and individuals is beyond comparison.  Introducing a family with two dads, utilizing a good mixture of males and females, showcasing culture, happiness, innocence, and purpose was seamless.

Why must there be so much hatred and ignorance associated with this commercial?  Ok, so English wasn’t the dominant language…well…English isn’t a native language to this land if you really want to go there.  We are who we are and what we are based on a long history of immigration.  Sure, this immigration may have been done in both positive and negative ways throughout time, but what nation is exempt from this?

All I know, is that I have had a lot of problems with this country lately, but this commercial reminded me why I enjoy being an American.  I come from a country of culture, freedom, chance, opportunity and love.  Unfortunately, this gets covered up too easily.  Maybe 2014 can help turn that cycle around.

State of the Union: Economic Edition

In lieu of tonight’s State of the Union address, I am wondering: Will President Obama touch on the gendered aspect of the wage gap?  This address is to touch on the economic inequality of this nation, but I haven’t heard any tidbits relating to this issue as of yet.  Sure, this is a bit premature, but I continue anyway.  

Thus far, I have heard people touch on minimum wage increase, class separation/gaps, etc. etc., but nothing on gender.  It isn’t news that women in this country make less than men.  There is plenty of evidence and research out there.  So, will the president himself make this issue known, or will it be swept under the rug?  It won’t be the first time.  

You’ll know the answer as soon as I do if you tune in tonight at 9 p.m.  The SOTU will be broadcast on most major networks and also online at the White House social media sites.  It will also be aired on NPR and websites such as PolicyMic.  

“Selfie”

Is there more depth to this superficial craze, than meets the eye?

As this fad has grown and grown over recent years, my opinion on the matter has been torn.  Are selfies superficial, empowering, or both?  Honestly, I can’t say that I have a valid answer, as it’s a rather subjective phenomenon.  It’s become so wide spread, that the term has been officially added to the dictionary.  Because I haven’t read the technical definition yet, I’m going to look it up and toss it on in here.  According to the Oxford Dictionary, a selfie is “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”  Interesting.  Alright – moving forward.

I chose today to explore this subject, as Dove has released a new campaign titled, you guessed it – “Selfie.”  This short explores the idea of beauty and how it is conveyed in the eyes of mother/daughter duos.  The young women are relatively high school aged and their mothers vary.  Take a look:

After viewing this latest short, I continue to be torn.  I have been a fan of Dove’s previous campaigns and do still appreciate this one.  However, I feel that there are things missing.  Understandably, this is a short and not a media research analysis.  With that in mind, I looked to the people.  I listened for their words, for their stories, for their reasons.

For example, around minute mark 6:40, one mother states: “I think that my daughters have taught me that social media is widening the definition of what beauty is.”

Ok.  So.  Here is my paradox.  If social media is widening the definition of what beauty is, who is right?  Would this be a good thing, or a bad thing?  One common thread in the short is the idea of women basing their appearance off of celebrities in movies, TV, mags, etc.  So, why is that so different from social media?  Thread sites such as Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and others regurgitate the idolizing of celebs and airbrushed models.  As it were, the young women in this short admit that they frame themselves just so, when taking a shot.  If they are perpetuating these standards in their own pictures, doesn’t that just beat around the bush?

Understandably, the point of this campaign was to throw water on the situation and wake everyone up.  Did it work?  Will it continue to work?  The message is there and the purpose is positive, but I’m not convinced.  This particular community shared a wonderful event and I wish them well in continuing this renewed mindset.  As for the rest of us, what’s next?

There are many other points that I wish to touch on in this post, but I want to think a little bit more.  I’ve been reminded of other mediated messages from the past and may just have a little series up my sleeve.  Stay tuned, if you so wish.

In the meantime, what do you think?

New Year, New Me : Cliché or Not

2013 was an interesting year and I’m sure 2014 will have it’s own bunch of surprises.  It’s true, I’m not exactly where I thought I would be right now.  I just decided to put my graduate degree on hold, as the program I was in did not meet my expectations.  Although it was a hard decision to make, I know that it was the correct one for me.  I can’t be a part of a program that hinders my perspective and passion.  What’s the point in that?  Where’s the support?  So, back to the drawing board I go.

Of course, I do have a degree and do plan to pursue a more direct career here asap.  In the meantime, I’m not going to put myself on the back burner.  After working my butt off, juggling classes and a job for the past few years, I am drained.  Sure, I wake up for work before the sun everyday and don’t skip a beat, but my true being is exhausted.  I’ve been so focused on my education and work for so long, that I have been ignoring my own needs.  I am composed of more than one compartment; my spirit is hungry – my soul is thirsty.

I want that to change.  I need that to change.

I want to read for fun.  I want to pursue random interests and have new hobbies.  I want to create.  I want to explore.  I want to express again.  I want to be selfish, to better myself.  Really though, is it selfish to want to be a better, happier, healthier person?  NOPE.

Because of all of this, rather than make a New Year’s resolution, I have made a 2014 bucket list of sorts.  I composed a list of things that are realistic and attainable for me.  By utilizing this list, I hope to reach my goals and take myself to a better place spiritually and physically.  Art, music, writing, health, cookbook – so many things to work on and improve.

I honestly don’t have a whole lot of things to complain about in my life right now.  Sure, some situations could be more ideal, but I’m here.  I have a job.  I found a love for the history books, so what could possibly stand in my way?  I am the only one that can get in the way of being a better me.

Why would I ever want to stop improving?

So, here’s to a new year and a refreshed soul.  My ambition is vamped and ready to go.

Return of the Blogger

Hello there!  Allow me to dust off the microphone and do a quick sound check for any of you still in the audience.

It has been quite some time since I last wrote and much has changed.  Don’t get me wrong, my passions remain firm in their foundation and the blog will continue to follow the same basic theme.  However, I may be making some changes in the near future.  Not only do I plan to write more frequently, I may make a slight title change and overall direction.  The issues surrounding health and gender are still very important to me, but I may expand a wee bit.  Rather than starting a whole new blog and maintaining two, I may just streamline the one.  We shall see.

In the meantime, enjoy whatever posts are made and feel free to comment as you wish.  It is my goal to post at least once a week.  That doesn’t conceptually seem difficult at all, but things do come up.

Thank you again for reading!  Welcome to anyone new.

A Small Glimpse into My Passion

I haven’t written anything in a few weeks, thanks to my horrible insane schedule with school and work, work, work, but here we go.  The following is a brief response assignment given by my Health Communication professor and mentor.  Throughout the semester, we have been journaling daily about our experiences with listening, reflexivity, and other concepts.  From here, we write bi-weekly responses about our experiences.  Below is my second response articulating my thoughts on “listening”:

Throughout the second phase of the listening reflections, I tried to focus my utilization of active listening along with concepts discussed in class.  Although I have been attempting to do this for the duration of the process, I made it a point to go back to the texts and reapply these skills and concepts more proactively.  In doing this, I was able to gain a better sense of the power and depth that these intersections have.

Because I am facing giant cross-roads in my personal life, with the transition of graduation and adult life looming around the corner, I have been speaking with many people about my journey.  Not only have I been receiving excellent advice for this time of my life, I have also been told personal stories and experiences from these people.  Whether they were friends, family, professors, or colleagues, every individual has told something worth sharing.  Therefore, it has been my mission to soak up as much as I possibly could.

Looking back at what I have written about these experiences, I am pleased to see that I have made quite a few succinct connections, which have strengthened my previous understandings.  For example, the ideals and depth surrounding identity has been further engrained in my mind and way of thinking.  I have been conscious of identities and how they come into play between individuals, but they are also prevalent through listening.  I began to notice a bit of a trend surrounding the ways in which I listen to people; their identity and it’s correlation to my own, may impact the way in which I listen to them.  It’s not necessarily a popularity contest or anything of the sort, but the more I respect an individual, the more actively I engage.  Of course, there have been exceptions along the way, but overall, this pattern occurs consistently.

As I gained knowledge from the stories of others, I found myself engaging in what seemed to be mini-interviews at times.  The further into the story they went, the more questions and reflexive introspection I was having.  Therefore, the story would transform into a dialogue, with reflexivity exhibited on both ends.  This point in my life is terrifying and exhilarating at the same time, so it’s been an adventure hearing about the journey of others, as they enjoy learning about mine.

In addition to identity, I have gained more awareness to perception and how that shapes the overall health narrative of an individual.  In my own experience, I have encountered a handful of health related visits over the past couple of months, which is more than I have had in quite some time.  Other than dental cleanings and annual womanhood check ups, I only see a doctor under extreme circumstances.  Therefore, it’s been really fun getting to experience these recent interactions with all of these concepts revolving around my mind.

It all began with my Mom.  She has a similar mindset as myself when it comes to doctor visits; we are both able to tough it out most of the time, and don’t bother unless something is legitimately wrong.  So, in my conversations with her about my concerns of discomfort, I paid close attention to her reception and willingness to listen to my feelings.  Of course, she’s my Mom, so she showed immediate concern when I brought up the issue.  From this point, she asked me an array of questions about the feelings I was experiences, and made me think of things that I hadn’t even thought of myself.  Being two hours away from her and from my doctors, the process of getting an appointment had to be executed very concisely and my Mom handled that better than anyone else could.  Through a string of short updates, she would relay appointment dates and times to me, after closely considering the best professional for me to see in the first place.  Time was a huge factor, between my busy schedule and my ability to drive back home, but Spring break came at a perfect time.  I have written about some of my experiences in the doctor’s office previously, but I never even thought to think about the communication that took place in order to get me there.  The saga isn’t quite over yet, but the solution is sight and the entire journey was executed very well.  A+ Mom!

My own health narrative has expanded quite a bit in the past few weeks, but I was thankful to have my Mom in the room with me a couple of times while I was being questioned about my family history.  That narrative is one that I am not all too familiar with.  I am well aware of the family health issues surrounding people in my lifetime, but before my existence, I am not 100% sure of everyone’s story.  I see how intricately woven all of this information is and how it can impact my own situation.  So while I sat there staring at the ceiling looking for answers, my Mom was able to fill in the blanks, therefore informing the professional and myself simultaneously.

Communication, dialogue, narratives, listening, and identity are just a handful of critical factors in the equation of effective progress.  Without harnessing these skills and applying them on a regular basis, I don’t understand how people can cohesively survive.  The concepts discussed in class are more than just concepts.  They are crucial skills that must be understood and executed as efficiently as possible.  I guess that’s just going to be motivation for my future career goals.  No wonder I love Health Comm so much.

 

This Makes So Much Sense

Between the piles of homework and household chores I’ve surrounded myself in today, I came across an article on Huffpost:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/13/anti-aging-secrets-look-younger-deepak-chopra_n_2861062.html

I was compelled to read this article, as it is from the perspective of a spiritual leader.  Deepak Chopra brings a lot of valid and captivating  points to the forefront of health, though I believe that this information can reach people of any age.  The primary basis of this article revolves around the anti-aging process and looking younger.  Being 22 years old, I’m not really concerned with regenerating my youth.  HOWEVER, I feel that the information he shares is important to being healthy in general.

I am currently working internally to better equip myself with reflexivity, while finding ways to deter stress and other negative things from my daily routine.  I may be 22, but I want my body to feel the same way.  College, jobs, graduation, life – everything combines into a little ball of fury if you let it get away from you.  These days, I’ve started to get myself in a better routine of activity and experimenting with food, etc.  I feel pretty darn good.  I’m not going to lie.  I know there is still room for improvement, while I get myself into the shape that I want.

That being said, I take the information from this article/video and apply it to what I’ve always known.  Most of this information seems like common knowledge to me, but it has been great having it presented back once again:

“’More than perception, but… yes,” he says. “There are 10 really very specific things that you can do to change your biological age. Your biological age means your blood pressure, your bone density, skin thickness, number of wrinkles, hearing, immune function…’”

My biological age is 22 and I want to continue to use my perceptions and reflection to keep myself in proper check with my internal and external environments.  The human mind is an amazing thing; it can control much more than we are aware.

For me, a happy soul and a happy heart can move mountains.  This combination is highly effective and potent.  It can keep anyone young and strong, no matter what age they are.  Age is only a matter of time.  It can only be measured through wisdom, not wrinkles.

 

 

Ponder, Ponder

Health care covers such a wide range in individuals, groups, ideas, and theories.  There is the mechanical side, the communicative side, the emotional side, and so many others.  Personally, I am interested in the realm of Health Communication – it’s intersections with gender and class in particular.  In order to go further in-depth, I am going to be interviewing a professional in the field and discussing their personal stance on interpersonal communication.  I firmly believe that the interpersonal communicative skills of all parties involved can make or break the experience.

This interview is part of an assignment for a class that I am currently taking, but I have hopes to branch off of this project and continue in the future.

That in mind, I am creating potential questions in which to structure the interview.  It is imperative that I structure these questions as precisely as possible, as language itself is so powerful.   I do have a few strong questions prepared, but was wondering if anyone had any suggestions to offer.  I am not 100% sure who I will be interviewing yet, or what exact profession they are a part of.

In the meantime, I would love to hear from anyone who has any words of wisdom to offer.

Thank you!

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