Social Change Pre-writing

 

I am focusing on the issue of human trafficking in the United States and how it affects our population, particularly our youth. According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) in the past 5 years there have been 9,298 unique cases of human trafficking. 41% of these sex trafficking cases and 20% of labor cases referenced U.S. citizens as victims. Human trafficking generates 9.2 billion dollars annually in the United States. My goal with this project is to raise awareness about the issue and perhaps to begin thinking about solutions to the problem.

When I first began thinking about the project, I was considering the issue of human trafficking in general, a broad scope. To narrow this down, I’m going to focus it on the state of Virginia. Richmond has one of the highest trafficking rates in the country, and this is only an hour away from where we go to school. Typically, human trafficking victims are children who are poor or homeless because they usually don’t have family or friends who would report them missing to the police or care enough to take further action. However, there are many cases where the victims come from a middle or upper class family, and these are the ones we typically hear about in the media. The purpose of setting up a website is to include attention catching information that will make the reader want to know more about the issue.

 

Homepage- This page will be devoted to introducing the problem. I want to provide a general statement about human trafficking, particularly some eye catching statistics in order to grab the reader’s attention. The purpose of this is to surprise the reader and make them want to know more. I would also maybe include some pictures and brief notes from human trafficking victims.

Background Info- On this page I want to go into detail about the background of the problem. Providing detailed statics about human trafficking and more specifically, information about Virginia.

Solution 1- On this page I want to provide solutions on how to raise awareness on the issue itself.

Solution 2- This page would provide a solution on how to help trafficking victims after they have been rescued. This is a very long and sometimes difficult process because it is hard for the victims to lead a normal life after they have suffered through such a terrible experience.

I would like to add more pages to this list but am still in the process of fleshing out how I am going to set up my website to be the most effective. I would like to include a video on my page, and hopefully will have time to complete this task within the time limit of the project.

Post 6-Rhetorical Analysis Prewriting II

The Pantene Shine Strong campaign focuses on the language used by our society as well as the language used by women themselves to make a statement about gender inequality. It is directly addressing the way our society “names” women in the workplace, as well as the way women name themselves.

The main issue being foregrounded is gender inequality. There are several issues being back grounded such as women’s equality in the workplace, in the home or familial relationships and even in the way women dress.

I chose to focus on two commercials from the campaign, one produced in the Phillipines and one in the United States. I am going to compare and contrast the two for their cultural relevance, as well as their rhetorical effectiveness based on audience. These commercials attempt to take on two problems in the language surrounding women including the way women are viewed in the workplace, as well as women apologizing too much because they feel they have to in order to be liked or to keep from being surrounded by these negative terms.

Post 5- Reflection on the Hunger Banquet

We can look at our experience at the hunger banquet as a social intervention attempt itself. The main purpose of the event was to recognize the effect hunger has not only in our society, but globally. It allowed the presenters to effectively convey the message that hunger is a global issue, and not all classes can be considered the same. Some of the things that stood out most to me were that over half of the world’s population lives in poverty (low income level) and this class of people struggles to find food and clean water every day. 

Rhetorically, the manner in which the presentation was conducted was extremely effective. It allowed for the audience members to actually become a part of the experience, and place themselves in the shoes of someone else. This is much more effective than simply giving a slide presentation or a speech about hunger. It allowed the audience to visually compare the population living in low income, middle income and high income. As well as the amount of food these different classes eat. Creating this interactive environment allowed the interveners to approach the issue in a more realistic way, and further establish that a need exists globally for hunger awareness. 

There were also several different ways in which attention was given to certain information. The main issue being fore grounded was world hunger. But there were many issues being back grounded including, the socio economic status of different countries, living conditions and lack of proper care for children.

I think this presentation was powerful because of the ideology that we as Americans have about the “American Dream”. Given that the audience was mainly college students, we are all trying to achieve some aspect of the American Dream, whether it is economic stability, education or both, we as an audience, recognize the importance and definition of success in our society. The realization that many of the people in our own country cannot have that dream because they are living in poverty without basic necessities is much more shocking to us as an audience, if we were not previously aware of the issue. Following from this, many people in middle or upper class America have pre-conceived ideas about what it means to be hungry. Many Americans believe that if someone is poor, it is because they don’t want a job. Many of these Americans associate the word poor with lazy, when this is simply not the case. The presentation pointed out these stereotypes as well, and disproved them.   

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to attend such an eye opening experience, as well as the chance to view it from a rhetorically significant attempt of social change. 

Post 4- Introduction to Rhetorical Analysis Project

I chose the Pantene Shine Strong campaign for the focus of my analysis. This campaign was originally launched in the Philippines, November 9, 2013. Created by Marc Pritchard, the Global Brand Building Officer for P&G (company that owns Pantene) targets women and attempts to make a statement about women’s inequality. I am going to focus on two commercials produced for the campaign. The first released in 2013 and the second released in 2014.

In the first commercial, we are presented with several different scenarios in which women are compared to men in the workplace. In each scene, we see the action of the male character with a positive word describing his actions. Then, it switches to a woman character in the same scenario with a negative word describing her actions. The main goal of this commercial is to highlight the negative connotations that society has of women in power or women trying to obtain power. It is pointing out that there is a double standard for the behavior of men and women in the professional realm. It gets its message across effectively, although has some short comings including racial representation and dramatic presentation which I will analyze in my later paper.

The second commercial, released in 2014 switches gears to addressing the language women use when speaking to men. The commercial points out that women say the word “sorry” too often. It features women and men in multiple scenarios, many of them professional, reminiscent of the first commercial. It presents a scenario in which the women would respond to the male character with “sorry”, and then re-presents the same scenarios with what the women should say or do instead of saying sorry. The commercial is advocating that women feel the need to apologize to men even when they are doing nothing wrong.

The interesting thing about both of these commercials is that they are targeting the way women are viewed by men using language. The focus of these advertisements is the actual words themselves that are used to describe women or are being said by women. This is suggesting that it is the conversation itself that needs to change. It directly correlates to the RSI model through the process of naming. It points out that our society creates a negative name for women who are confident and try to succeed. This campaign has recognized that there is a need in our society to re-name the way we view and discuss women, while bringing attention to the subject from a powerful source, the global P&G brand. There are several flaws in this campaign, including inequality and validity that I will discuss further in my research paper.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOjNcZvwjxI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzL-vdQ3ObA

Naming/Renaming for Social Change. Rhetorical Reasoning in Freedom Writers.

 

 

  1. Erin Gruwell is teaching “Freshman English”. The name of this course is very straight forward and does not indicate what the students will actually learn from the course. Given that the students in the class come from harsh neighborhoods where gang violence is a way of life, they come in to the class with pre conceived ideas that it is unimportant and a waste of their time because many of them don’t care about making it to graduation anyway. The students demonstrate this by their actions in the class such as turning around their desks and talking to each other, leaving without permission and starting fights in the classroom. They also have no respect for Erin Gruwell and act as though her expectations of them to actually do their work is unreasonable.
  2. Erin Gruwell makes up her mind that she is not going to give up on educating this class. She gives the students journals, in which they can write whatever they want without being graded. This provides a space for the students to express their feelings and frustrations without being judged. She also takes them on a trip to a Holocaust museum and allows them to meet survivors at a dinner afterwards. This was incredibly interesting to me that she choose to relate the student’s experiences in their personal lives to this historical event. She wanted them to realize the pain and suffering that death causes, as well as the extreme that hate can escalate to. In addition to these acts, she also gets the students brand new books rather than old torn up ones. She knows that this will make them feel important and help them to redefine the name they give to her, as well as themselves. At first, the kids don’t even look at themselves as students, but that definition begins to change as the movie progresses. They come to trust and respect Erin for her attempts to understand them and fight for them, and at the same time, those efforts are improving the student’s self worth.
  3. They think that Erin is foolish and naïve. They think that her efforts are a waste of time because the students cannot be changed. They also mention several times that rewarding this group of kids is unfair to the children who do behave and work hard. They have no hope Erin and her teaching methods can make any positive impact on the students. They also say that if the kids fail, then it is a reflection that she as a teacher has failed. She goes from being labeled as unrealistic and inexperienced, to a successful fighter for her students.

An Introduction

It occurred to me some time ago that I was not meant to be a writer. After much debate about my future goals, and countless nights wondering why I could never receive a grade better than a B on a paper, I had undoubtedly decided that the art of written word was not my calling. Consequently, shortly there after, I began contemplating what exactly it was that I was meant to do. If any of you have ever come to a point in your life where everything you have ever worked for seems meaningless and inconsequential, then you know how stressful it is. I began researching every option the English department had to offer, and it was then that I discovered the Rhetoric and Professional Writing program.

I am sitting here today, a senior in this program, admitting to you that my first statement was wrong. I am meant to be a writer, I was just focusing on the wrong kind of writing. Discovering the study of Rhetoric has made me gain a passion for language and how it shapes the world around us. Understanding that language is the reason why we as a society label things the way we do or conduct the choices we make continues to fascinate me.

As a continuation of this study, I am currently taking a class on Rhetoric and Social Change. As you may have guessed, this is the catalyst for this blog. I hope to analyze social movements and events, past or present, from a rhetorical standpoint, in order to gain some insight on how they are affecting our society. As well as to consider the positive and negative aspects of these changes. I sincerely hope that I can spark some meaningful discussion on this topic and that I will receive some good feedback to help me through this journey.

Please feel free to comment on my posts; all ideas and input are welcome!

Thanks for reading,

Heather Gregory