Tag Archives: comm470

What’s on the Agenda?

Turn on your television, scroll through your Twitter timeline, or even go to your Facebook feed and you will see an array of news stories. These stories are filling up the screens of your tablets, phones, and computers. The medias influence is unparalleled in today’s society and its messages are put out across the world for the consumer.

Therefore, the information in the forefront of people’s minds is largely down to what the media decides to put out. A big story that is currently being publicized heavily by the media is Indiana’s religious freedom law. This story is stirring up a lot of discussion based on what the law could lead to in terms of discrimination towards the LGBT community who have become a much larger force over the last few years.

With equality being such a hot topic at the moment the media jumped on this and set the agenda to air this issue heavily. Agenda setting is the technique that the media uses to focus the publics attention on a topic or event. Julia T Wood explains in her text Gendered Lives that the media uses agenda setting not to tell us what to think, but rather what to think about.

Indiana’s religious freedom law provides some great examples of the agenda setting technique being put in place by the media, in this case through news outlets. One way in which this has been executed can be found in an interview (below) with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.


The interview is quite extensive and I am not picking sides on the topic but at the 4.12 mark, Pence condemns the medias role in reframing the intentions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). For example, Pence details that the media has made the law seem to focus on one particular aspect, the potential LGBT discrimination, rather than the law as a whole, which also includes the right to express religion freely (hence its name). The media has done this in order to bring equal rights discrimination to the forefront of the publics minds.

Gov. Pence is facing the full force of the media on this issue and these media sources have ‘set the agenda’ for the public to think about the spread of discrimination in the United States and are using Indiana’s stance on the RFRA as a means to do so.

Despite the fact that Indiana and their support of the RFRA has caused enormous controversy over the last week or so it is important to understand the underlying topic here, of gender and gender equality. How gender and sexual orientation are being portrayed and supported in the media is a sign of the changing times that we must all be a part of or at least be educated on in order to create equal rights for every member of society.

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Why ‘boys will be boys’?

Walk in to any toy section at your local Walmart and you’ll find three or four aisles packed tightly with a sea of pink, attributed with shiny glittering tassles and fairy wands. Walk down further and you’ll see the aisles of neutral colored boys toys, with guns, swords, and bows.

You can look and see this distinct separation and it has become the breeding ground of gender identity and gender roles. Toy expert Richard Gottlieb discusses exactly just how far Walmart’s toy catalogue takes it subliminal gender role influence in this 2011 article.  However, the type of toys that boys and girls use is only a small part in what molds a child’s gender identity.

In Julia T Wood’s text Gendered LivesWood defines gender identity as “a person’s private sense of, and subjective experience of, his or her own gender” so when you look at childhood and how gender is influenced it is important to consider how social learning and cognitive development come in to play. The development of gender identities can be influenced through the response of others through social learning and the role models that are present in their life, which is cognitive development.

If you look at how boys are brought up around other people it is rare to see them be held regularly by others, instead they can be found to be left alone more to figure out the world for themselves. Where as girls are encouraged to share their feelings and are given closer attention for the most part. I came across this light-hearted Buzzfeed video that emphasizes the gender roles that are put on to children if they were still heavily imposed as adults:


In the video the obvious gender roles are covered but one really captures my attention. When a woman asks her colleagues to clean up compared to a males request for the same action. Because males are left alone more during childhood they are seen to be tough, independent and have a set of leadership qualities unlike girls who are seen to be dainty, innocent, and interdependent on other people.

Gender identity is something that is constantly shifting, it is happening more today than ever before. Understanding what molds these identities and understanding gender identity itself are both important. Having a strong knowledge of gender means that it less likely society will cage males and females in to gender, but to allow for each sex to harness the best qualities from each type of identity. Let’s face it, every girl likes a guy that can cook and knows how to keep himself clean and guys like a girl that doesn’t need to be carried through life and can handle herself.


The Second Coming


Longwood Part 2

Hey there guys!

My name is Daena Bodie, I am currently a Junior (quite possibly a Senior, it’s a little complicated!) Public Relations and Organizational Communication major.

I’m Bahamas born but moved to England in my early teens. I am a soccer player here on the Longwood Men’s Soccer team and have played the sport my whole life. My main professional interest is definitely soccer and I took a semester out last Fall to pursue some avenues within that.

However the lure of finishing up my degree at Longwood within the strong communications program we have here was too much to keep me away.

Whilst I have written previous introductory blogs that outline my own experiences and expertise within the communications field I feel as if nothing has help me put in to practice the skills I have learnt within communications as much as my last job working at The Rockmount Bar & Restaurant over the last few months.

I was a bartender there and nothing has translated more from the whiteboards to face-to-face interaction than my time within that job. Not only did my experiences extend from handling basic customer interaction but also to dealing with managing crisis situations on a bigger scale.

Having worked in a bar I have experienced a lot of situations regarding gender and how gender norms aren’t really set in stone, which has led to a few awkward moments.

One particular scenario takes place very frequently that defies our stereotypical idea of gender norms. This situation occurs where a couple walks in and both sit at the bar and the male orders the drinks for the two of them. One is a draught beer and the other is a vodka and coke. Being presumptuous and trying to serve as quickly as possible, I will just assume that the beer is for the male and the vodka is for the female.

However often times this is not the case, but having grown up where it is usually men that drink beer and women that drink wine or liquor, I would never give it a second thought that it may be the reverse.

Throughout this semester I hope to understand the bigger picture on how gender norms and roles affect people that lie outside of the stereotypical gender ideals.

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