By any Media Necessary Post 1

One of the first concepts Jenkins covers in “By Any Media Necessary” is the impact of Political Science on media, and the effect this combination has on society. As a Political Science major, I often think about the different ways in which people are involved in society, as well as the impact that individuals have on society. Jenkins highlights the importance of social media in the first chapter, and discusses the widespread effect it can have on a population. He describes a group of senior women who were taking pictures with a group dressed as zombies that had joined the “Occupy Movement”. In what other time or place would that have made any sense at all? Yet today, there is such quick movement and effective mass communication that the idea is not at all far-fetched.

An issue that I have written about before in this blog is the importance of attracting the younger generations to vote and participate politically. While a lot of attention today is spent on bringing Generation “X” to the polls, there are entire populations of younger people being forgotten about. Instead of looking to maintain an older generation who already goes out to vote, larger proportions of social media and mass communications should be spent on attracting millennials and generation y, who do not have a large poll presence, but could make huge political sways if they were better represented in government. One of the biggest reoccurring topics that we have addressed throughout this semester has been how a movement can grow and become a huge nation-wide activist movement. This has been seen in the case of the “Occupy Movement” which has been felt at the national level, yet its also been seen on the local level when an individual talks about social injustice, and looks to see what they can do on a personal level to make a difference. If every person looked to make a small change in order to make a difference, the world would change a lot quicker than it has already.

Project 3: Media and Social Movements

The objective of this project is to utilize the same strategies as Media and Social Justice in order to promote awareness about a particular issue or political movement, and to engage with it just as the editors of the book did. The issue I have chosen to focus on regards LGBT rights in North Carolina, where there has been anti-LGBT legislation passed that has raised concern with many of the state’s LGBT residents and allies alike.

In the same way that Media and Social Justice looked at different social issues, I will look at LGBT rights through the four strategies that were used in the book: frameworks, collaborations, power struggles, and media justice. Each of these tools have been utilized to make a stand in order to reflect the general dislike of the bill, and without the use of media, the mass disapproval of this bill, and the waves it stirred nationally would not have been felt as widely.Unisex_pictogram

Frameworks: In March of 2016 a Bill was passed in the North Carolina Senate that was meant to promote personal privacy in the case of public restrooms. Thinkprogress.org discussed the bill when it was first written, “House Bill 2, passed into law in North Carolina on March 23, is colloquially known as the “bathroom law” and requires transgender people to use bathrooms that align with their sex marker at birth, not their gender identity. The bill — official title: Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act —”. This bill makes it so that transgender people are unable to use the bathrooms of the genders they identify with because it does not match the sex they were assigned at birth.

When an individual’s assigned gender does not match the gender they identify as, yet they cannot find acceptance as the gender they do identify as, they already feel enough feelings of disassociation with gender, by preventing them from going to the bathroom of the gender they identify as it only adds to this feeling of dissociation. There is often a fear of the other, and that is especially felt when it comes to transgender individuals. People do not always understand what it is like to not agree with the sex you were assigned, and because of that they are intimidated. Because of this fear, it has caused an entire law to be written and passed that discriminates against an entire group of people.

The legislation has caused a lot of backlash, and many people are unhappy that it was put in place to begin with. The bill has caused a lot of hate speech regarding LGBT individuals, which has caused a lot of reaction from those who are associated with the community in some way or another.

Collaborations: One of the first reactions to HB2 came in the form of celebrities and singers boycotting performances and appearances in North Carolina. Artists all over the country began to unite against the bill. If artists were not going to cancel their shows, they instead decided to donate the profits from their shows towards groups across the state the represented the LGBT community and its allies. Seeing these very powerful, very influential celebrities, many of which are not actually members of the LGBT community, just allies, is remarkable. It also helps to see the influence these people have. Instead of just watching everyday people stand up for their beliefs, we are seeing famous people who are often looked at as superior to the everyday person representing the same beliefs as an everyday person. Most recently, we have seen the NCAA, an extremely powerful and influential group protest hosting the NCAA March Madness Tournament in North Carolina because of HB2. By putting this type of pressure on the state at the risk of losing all the tourism associated with the event, it expresses the general dislike of the bill, and urges a change. No change means no game, and no game means a loss of potential profit coming into the state.

Power Struggles: This is more than just a struggle about being able to use public bathrooms. This is an attempt on a state to maintain discrimination based on sexual orientation, or gender identity, and by not fighting to correct this horrible injustice, it allows for other legislation to be passed that maintains prejudicial attitudes and sets back the progress made towards equality. There are many groups involved in the making of this decision. There are lawmakers, residents of North Carolina, and the members of businesses and companies located there. Each of these groups holds a heavy influence in the political sphere in North Carolina, and each group is struggling to hold power regarding the LGBT community and the rights it is allowed. When a large group of individuals share a belief that an issue is wrong, they can unite to cause change, as we have seen occurring in the case of North Carolina and the HB2 bill.

Media Justice: There is still significant coverage regarding HB2 in the news. The work of celebrities, lawmakers, and individuals has made it possible for changes to be made, as slow as it may seem they are happening. By putting it out there that people are unhappy with the decisions of lawmakers, and by having groups of people expressing this mass dislike, helps to make change possible. Just by getting the story of the bill online has made it possible for people to protest it.

This is such a personal topic, because as both a member of the LGBT community, and as the sister of an incoming college freshman who is going to UNC Greensboro, I have followed the progress of the changes being made to this bill. While there has been a significant amount of media backlash because of the bill, there is still a lot more work to be done before a significant change is made, but seeing effort from all across the country, particularly by young people who are unhappy, proves how capable each person is of making change happen.

The use of social media to make change is remarkable. A person is able to communicate a message or feeling across the country and to huge groups of people at a time. Instead of a single person having to express how they feel about a piece of anti-LGBT legislation, there is the opportunity for that person to express their feelings to a huge group of people simultaneously. And people with similar beliefs all across the country are uniting in order to make big social changes. In a changing world, there is no option to exclude others. We must fight to make sure every person is treated equally in the eyes of the law, regardless of sex, race, and sexual orientation- and the first step is to take actions to repeal HB2.

 

 

Media and Social Justice Post 4

I found this section of the reading to overall be very interesting, particularly Chapter 14, which focused on shifts in the way media and philanthropy work. Right before starting my college career, I spent some time in Seattle, Washington where I learned about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This amazing foundation has provided amazing services since its founding in 1997, including medical care for women and children in the developing world.

The use of media for a major foundation such as the Gates’ is very influential on society. While many people know who Bill Gates is, it is not as often that they know of the work the foundation has done. After walking through the building of the foundation, I was blown away by just how much one family has been able to do, and the huge impact it has had on the lives of many individuals who otherwise would not have received medical treatment or scholarship money in order to better their lives.

Philanthropy has always been seen as a bunch of rich guys giving money to poor people to make themselves seem like better people (think back to the days of Carnegie and Rockefeller) yet today, Philanthropy is more than that. By sending cameras into developing countries following around doctors who are giving medical attention to those in need, it shows the particular extent to the ways in which people are being helped. The media can also be used to keep these huge foundations and the people they represent from straying from doing the right thing.

The media that portrays a huge company that represents a foundation is the same media that every day people look to when deciding if they support the values of a company which can determine whether or not a person uses the services of a company. Media, and a company’s presence in the media often changes the impact it has and can also help dictate the success of the presence of a company.

Media and Social Justice Post 3

When I think of social movements, many times my first thought is of feminism. As a woman, one of the most important goals I have is to gain success in a world where there are equal opportunities for men and women. Despite huge gains following the third-wave of feminism, there is still a long way to go before all women are truly treated equal to men in society. download

The use of social media in order to spread awareness about current societal inequalities has promoted good starts to the beginnings of social change, but there has also been a lot of social media clapback from these advancements. As I walked through the concourse of Old Main today (my Kutztown readers would know the place) I passes by a table of women who were offering information about “Equal Pay Day” an international event that focuses on addressing the wage gap between men and women.

Despite events such as the one I passed today, there is still a lot of negativity associated with feminism, and many times this negativity comes from men who do not realize how detrimental this wage gap actually is. There are few women who have gained positions of power in both politics and in corporate America, and the women who have often receive negative feed back for “abandoning their responsibilities to their homes and families”. One of the best examples of this was seen in the previous election cycle, Hillary Clinton was often asked about having to leave her grandkids, yet President Trump was never bothered with questions about his responsibilities to his family.

The media has benefited women today to a certain extent, yet it has also caused a lot of detriment. Women are now faced with body shaming if they do not live up to beauty standards of actresses and models, and are criticized for looking for fulfillment in business or politics, instead of in the home. There is no doubt that media has made a difference in the lives of American women, yet this difference is not always positive.

Media and Social Justice Post 2

When we think about the greatest population that mass media has an influence on, it is not often the people think about society’s youth. Many people immediately turn to the voting age, or even the workforce population in order to sway votes or public opinion, yet there is an entire population of young people that is forgotten about, who is often the most impressionable but also the most influential. It is the youth of today who will make the decisions to the future, and it is also the younger generations who has the most presence on social media. Instead of catering to older generations that will turn out to vote regardless of whether or not they saw an advertisement on Facebook (old people’s social media) media should be catered to inform young people about the choices they will eventually have to make for themselves for the future they want to shape.

Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Snapchat. These are all the current ways that people receive media information. No longer do people sit in front of the television waiting for the nightly news, or look to newspapers to keep them up to date on the most current news or political happenings. People look to their phones for instantaneous news updates, they scroll twitter to see sports scores and political news- always updated live. They look to Facebook to tell them about the latest political decisions, and many of them engage in political arguments on this media platform, because it’s an open forum in which it is almost encouraged to enter this new political arena to combat opponents verbally, and to refute any arguments against ones own point of view with “news” found from various internet sources.

We are in the midst of a Social Media Revolution. The way we think and interact is changing as technology changes, and it’s almost impossible to keep up with it.

Media and Social Justice Post 1

There exists a relationship between media an democracy, and that line intersects at many points, crossing and circling back to cross again. The relationship exists on the basis that as people turn to media for information, they are able to become more politically and socially aware as well. Being able to log onto Facebook or scroll Twitter allows for more people to have access to media that they might not have had access to otherwise. People in very conservative areas that disagree with the conservative mentality of those around them can now access more liberal ideologically based sources, and can feel accepted by those with similar belief systems, rather than having to hide their beliefs their entire lives.

By making media available on a mass scale, it helps to gain larger audiences with similar beliefs. While one person on their own can make a difference in their own way, having multiple people representing the same belief and doing something about it, they can make more of a difference than a single person ever could.

The effect media has on a social movement has been known to either make or break the overall effectiveness a movement will have as it develops. Social media presence also has a huge impact on the influence a public figure will have. As we have seen with the present administration, Twitter can be a very public media source, and it can change the public’s perceptions if there is a leader who reacts poorly on social media. The backlash a public figure can receive as a result of their actions can also cause them to be looked at in a more negative light than they otherwise would have been perceived in.

Project 2- Necessary Trouble

When I first began to listen to Belabored Podcasts episode 110, an episode in which author, journalist, and activist, Sarah Jaffe was featured, I was not anticipating the first words out of her mouth to be about the US Women’s Soccer team, one of my all-time favorite sports teams, and to detail the struggle the women face regarding the pay gap between men and women’s sports, and particulary that between men and women’s soccer. As a female collegiate athlete, I recognize the existence of a disparity between tEngland_Women's_Vs_USA_(16365778038)he pay men and women receive for the same work, and that a change needs to be made. After the men’s team lost in the first round of the 2016 World Cup, the team was still paid $8 million. After the Women’s team won the 2016 World cup, they made $2 million. This is just one of the many unfair examples of men’s sports being paid way more women’s, and Jaffe addressing the issue immediately in the beginning of her podcast shows it is also an important issue to her as well.

I chose to include Jaffe’s podcast in this project, because I feel that the more exposure to Jaffe’s work, the more people who can make  a difference.  In just under an hour, Jaffe covered so many different aspects of American Activism, and the different movements she was personally involved in. Jaffe not only talked about American Activism, she also addressed the new child labor laws in India, and the implication that these new laws can have on Indian society. What Jaffe does is take domestic issues, as well as global issues, and makes them more tangible. While the everyday citizen is not thinking about child labor issues in India, by starting on a more local level by addressing the US Women’s soccer team, then gradually growing to address more globally based issues, makes Jaffe’s work a lot more tangible. By having an easy segue from the domestic to the global sphere of activism, Jaffe shows the connection between all levels of activism, and how many movements are interconnected, with the issue of interest serving as a connection between them all.

My first post about Necessary Trouble focused on the Occupy Movement, a movement that I had heard about but really did not know much about. What I found extremely interesting about Jaffe’s writing on the Occupy Movement is how she details the process of becoming involved in the movement, although she had not really planned on it. Jaffe writes about American activism from a very personable approach, and that makes it very accessible to everyday people.

The second post I wrote regarding Jaffe’s book was about the LGBT community, which is a huge part of my life, and the book actually led to me finding some new LGBT resources, which are always helpful. Each movement that Jaffe writes on is connected to the others in some way. By helping the LGBT youth of today, it provides the basis for the next generation of activists to accept all people, and to help others without question.

The last post I wrote regarding Necessary Trouble was in regard to the way activism travels. Growing up on the Jersey shore, one of the most memorable events in my lifetime has been the experience of Superstorm Sandy, and the subsequent devastation and rebuilding that occurred. Jaffe writes of the Occupy Sandy Movement, an activism group that looked to repair damage following the superstorm. Many of the people involved in the movement were not directly affected by the storm, yet because so many people had been there to help during the Occupy Wall Street movement, the same people who had received help were now the ones in a position to help those in need. There was no obligation for those involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement to help those affected by Superstorm Sandy, yet what federal aid failed; Occupy Sandy was there to help in the wake of the devastation.

What I really enjoyed about Jaffe and her book is how incredibly accessible she is. The movements are explained, history is given regarding how Jaffe became involved, and the inclusion of personal details about her own experiences that brought Jaffe to where she is today, and the network that her activism has caused. This idea of paying it forward, and what one is able to do can help someone who can in turn help someone else is a fascinating notion, because many Americans do not think that way today. Just as we do not often think about issues such as the Women’s soccer team making drastically less money than the men’s team, yet having had a history of performing better,we do not often think about the different social movements that have passed through the United States, especially within the last few years, and the way these movements are connected is nearly never brought up in conversation.