Distant Lovers

 

Friends come and go, but we all have the few friends who will always be in your life through thick and thin.  I have a friend who has been very close to me since childhood because our families were close.  We have a brother and sister kind of relationship, she feels comfortable talking to me about all her personal problems and especially when it comes to her love life.  She likes to hear the “male’s” perception on the situation and that is where I come in.  Lately the biggest problem in her relationship is the break-down of communication between her and her boyfriend and when they do talk it is always an argument.  In the article “Arguing Can Be Good for a Relationship…When It’s Done Constructively”, author Stan states that, “arguments are due to a breakdown in communication, one or both parties are having a hard time expressing feelings, or one or both of you is having a hard time understanding. Breakdowns in communication lead to frustration.”  This statement by Stan almost perfectly describes my friend’s problem in her relationship.

 

It is important to understand what is going on in your significant others life, he or she might be feeling pressured to do well in school, at work or even to make sure the other person in the relationship is feeling happy.  In the article, “Too close for comfort” written by Stephanie Coontz she states that “As Americans lose the wider face-to-face ties that build social trust, they become more dependent on romantic relationships for intimacy and deep communication, and more vulnerable to isolation if a relationship breaks down.”  In the case of my friend’s situation her boyfriend has already graduated from college so he has a career so the face to face contact is not always immediately there for them.

 

In Julia T. Wood’s book Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters, committed love is described as being voluntary, it will include sexual and romantic feelings and is considered primary and permanent.  My friend feels as though her boyfriend’s commitment to the relationship is starting to falter very quickly.  Wood talks about three dimensions of romantic commitment, and they include; Passion, Commitment, and Intimacy.  Passion is defined as intensely positive feelings and desires for another person, commitment is defined as the intention to remain in the relationship and lastly intimacy is defined as having feelings of connection, closeness, and tenderness.

 

There has been a lack of intimacy in the relationship; this is due to the distance between them.  As I stated earlier my friend feels as though her boyfriend is starting to lack commitment for the relationship, she has disclosed to me that he feels like they are not close anymore.  Listening to someone’s personal love life like I do with my friend is not easy because since I care about her feelings when we talk I am very mindful.  Wood defines being mindful as paying complete attention to interaction occurring during the moment, without imposing your own thoughts, feelings or judgments on other communicators.  Another key factor in being a mindful person is asking questions and showing positive nonverbal responses.

 

When we talk about her relationship problems I always ask her how does the situation make her feel, or what do you think caused a specific argument to happen, and if there was a big argument was it helpful.  A key factor in why my friend feels comfortable talking to me about all her romantic problems is because she knows that I’m always listening to her and not just hearing her.  People get the two confused all the time, just because you say that you hear someone does not necessarily mean you fully understand what is being said.  Wood says that, hearing is physiological activity of sound waves hitting the ear drums whereas listening is the process of being mindful, hearing and selecting and organizing information, interpreting communication and responding.  As I have stated before I always question her on how she feels whenever she is talking about a situation at hand.

 

In conclusion my role as a good friend all starts with mindful listening and not just hearing what my friend is saying to me.  Mindful listening is also important for romantic relationships.  My friend and her boyfriend can use that approach to better understand how to fix their problems, and that can be done for anyone who is in a romantic relationship.

 

 

 

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You’re Hot and Cold

It is pretty safe to assume that we have all been in some kind of relationship, not necessarily a romantic one but I’m including friendship in here as well.  Within people’s relationships there are ups and downs that will occur.  Two of my roommates have girlfriends, and although they have very good relationships there are still times where they will have arguments or disagreements with their girlfriends over the smallest things.  Sometimes that may lead to the cold shoulder or just being very short with the other person.

A perfect example of best friends ignoring each other is from the 4th Harry Potter movie The Goblet of Fire.  Ron, who is Harry’s best friend, becomes jealous when Harry’s name is called to become a part of the Triwizard tournament. This jealousy displayed by Ron causes a rift within their friendship. In the video clip below this scene displays how both Ron and Harry were trying not to acknowledge each other by having Hermione relay there messages.

(Watch until :36 secs) 

Since both people who are mad at each other in this instinct don’t want to talk directly, it then puts Hermione in an awkward position as the message lady.  So as seen in the clip other people can be affected by an argument within a respective relationship.

In Julia T. Wood’s text Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters; she talks about relationship climates.  There are two different relationship climates and they are confirming climates and disconfirming climates.  Confirming climates are positive for a relationship because this is when you recognize that the other person is there, and most importantly you acknowledge that the person is important to you.  On the other hand disconfirming relationship climates is when you deny a person’s existence and says the person in your relationship does not matter to you.  In the Ron and Harry situation, they were both exercising elements of the disconfirming relationship climate. We saw in the video clip that Hermione was used as the messenger for what they had to say to each other, but they were at least ten feet apart and could have clearly acknowledged each other but failed to do so.  Neutrality is labeled underneath disconfirming relationship climates; Hermione was trying to be neutral in this instinct but gave up after being frustrated. 

I found the relationship climates very interesting because it’s something we see on an everyday basis.  My new knowledge of the “climates” definitely changes the way I will go into any kind of relationship with somebody whether it be a new friendship or a romantic one.  It is important to understand this because we all should have a better understanding of how to sustain a relationship and try to avoid occurrences within the disconfirming relationship climate.

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Language in Hip-Hop

The language in hip hop is constantly changing as new artist emerge and the older ones fade out.  Rappers come from different regions in the U.S; each city has their own unique set of slang, so a rapper from their respective city tends to display the “language” from their city.  In the PBS article titled “The Power of Slang” the author Tom Dalzell talks about how the evolution of slang in hip hop has influenced young Americans as time goes on, especially by African Americans.

Some common slang terms within the hip hop community today are words such as, “Bad”, “Son”, “Cuz” and the controversial word “B**ch” which is used in different contexts.  Rapper Kanye West recently went to Twitter and asked his followers what makes the word “B**ch” acceptable to use; or better yet does it make it o.k to call a woman that if we just stick “Bad” in front of it.  Nowadays in the hip hop world the word “Bad” is used as an adjective to describe woman in an endearing way.  For example in Rick Ross’ song Bag of Money in the hook he constantly says, “My B**tch bad looking like a bag a money.”  Referring to his female companion as being sexy, and is as valued as money.  So why are phrases like that acceptable in hip hop?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hQxfTuE67g

Julia T. Wood, a communication scholar, states that language is symbolic; meaning that words are symbols representing something else.  She also states that the understanding of these symbols is affected by our experience, standpoint, and culture.   So this correlates with Rick Ross’ song.  Remember in his song Bag of Money he refers to his “B**ch” as a bag  of  money; while calling her a B**tch his intentions are good to him because he puts the phrase bag of money in there which is his symbolic meaning of B**tch.

The symbols in hip hop will always make up the language in their music. As we have been talking about it in the Rick Ross song the woman was portrayed as money.  Slang in hip hop will continue to have their own meanings from the communities they come from.

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About Wayne

Hi, my name is Wayne Malcolm; I’m currently a senior, Communication Major with a concentration in Org Comm and Public Relations with a minor in Sociology. I currently live in Richmond, Virginia but I was born in Spanish Town, Jamaica.  When I was three years old my father and I moved to the United States to pursue better lives.  On our campus Longwood I have been involved with the establishment of our new club football team which had its inaugural season this past fall.  I have also volunteered for movers and shakers which helps incoming freshman move into their dorms.

I have been a Communication Studies major for three years now and have taken an array of classes that have been beneficial to my development as a young adult in today’s world.  Last fall I took the class Applied Organizational Communication, this class really made me work to my full potential as a student, team member and it helped me get a mini insight on how an audit of an organization or company would be like in the future.  In this class we were interviewed by our professor in front of the entire class which was great because I then got feedback on my interviewing skills from my peers and professor.  The most important thing I walked away with from this course was the ability to work with a group of people that I had never worked with before and manage intense deadlines.

 

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“Dancing Together Changing Lives Forever”

What is a Marathon Dance?

Ever heard of dancing for 27 hours? But not just dancing for your own enjoyment but its for a great cause.  The high school I graduated from, (Deep Run) in Glen Allen, Virginia started having an annual marathon dance since 2007.  What exactly is a marathon dance that is probably what you’re wondering.  Well the whole idea behind this concept is to raise money for different charities in and around the greater Richmond area.  

This whole idea started with one of our teachers (Kathleen Kern) who is a physical education teacher, she brought the idea from her high school.  In order to participate in this dance students had to raise a minimum of up to $100.  The idea of raising money  for charities in need of help sounded rewarding to myself and a lot of people in our student body.  Mrs.Kern idea hit the ground running hard due largely to the culture of our high school.

Culture

According to Griffin in the textbook “A First Look at Communication Theory“, it states that culture is a web of significance and systems of shared meanings this term was named by Clifford Geertz .  The culture that students had while I was attending Deep Run and still have to this day is one of caring for our community and the people who are in it.  Community service was something the Marathon Dance embodied so I believe this is the reason it became so popular.  We only raised money for one cause in the inaugural year of the dance and that was autism. We raised $70,000 the first year and like I said before that all went towards autism.  The following year we decided to change it from just one organization to raising money for multiple organizations.

Thick Description

The term thick description was also coined by Geertz, this is a record of the intertwined layers of common meaning that underlie what a particular people say and do.  So in regards to thick description, after being told how this “marathon dance” was going to be setup we all knew what we were in for.  Nobody had ever heard about a marathon dance so everyone including myself at school was very intrigued.  Well the entirety of the dance lasted 27 hours, were we dancing for 27 straight hours?NO! We would dance have breaks, there were different themed “parties” throughout the night and day, there was food donated from different restaurants in the area, and the most important part of the dance was having the charities that we were raising money for come visit during the dance and talk to us about how thankful they were for our donations.  At the finale which is when the total amount of money raised was announced everyone felt so exhausted but at the same time we all had a sense of accomplishment for what we just did.  Also throughout the course of the dance if any of the teachers who were helping run the event needed our full attention we had a chant called “Bam”.  This chant was understood by everyone that someone was speaking or needed our attention.

Stories and Rituals

According to Griffin, rituals are texts that articulate multiple aspects of cultural life, often marking rites of passage or life transitions. Where as stories are categorized as corporate, collegial, or personal.  In regards to Deep Run’s Marathon Dance after the first year there were both rituals and stories incorporated with the dance. Personal Stories were important for this dance to continue from its start in 2007.  I say this because it was imperative that students spread how much they liked the dance and what it was all about among their peers so the dance would grow in years to come.  In the second year the dance went on, the new people who did not participate in the inaugural dance needed advice on what to bring to the dance and what not to bring.  Students were giving their own personal stories to students new to dance, this word of mouth was really helpful in helping people new to the dance adjust, for example it was important to have a sleeping bag, bring deodorant, a toothbrush, and more than one change of outfit.

The “air band” is a very popular event during the dance.  The concept of an air band is you get together with a group of friends and either choose a song that you are going to lypsync and perform or people have done a dance to a song.  This ritual of the air band is very selective, weeks before the dance begins Mrs.Kern and her committee hold try outs and she chooses the top four air bands to perform during the actual dance.  During the dance the students choose who wins the trophy for best air band.

(Below is an air band, I participated in my senior year)

Looking Glass Self

In Griffins “A First Look at Communication Theory,” it states that the looking glass self is The mental image that results from taking the role of the other; the objective self; me.  When I was out raising money for this dance I never wanted to only get the minimum of $100 I always wanted to push myself and see how much I could raise.  Not only did I want to prove to myself that I could raise a lot of money for our chosen charities but I wanted other people to see my generosity and see me as the most generous person.  The amount of money I raised was due to my own gratification and as well as wanting other people to see me as a “good” individual for a large fundraiser.

What to do to continue with this

Not only are the participants of the marathon dance helping out the people in the Richmond area in need of donations but it also makes you as an individual be thankful for your life and they way we are living.  My favorite part of the dance was always listening to the beneficiaries of the organizations speak and also the actual people who were going to be directly impacted by our donations spoke to us as well.  This always made me feel very good to see someone who did not have much to look forward come speak to us with a big smile on their face because we were in someway changing their lives for a particular moment.  In the five years that the marathon dance has been around we have in total raised over $612,000 for charities such as: Virginia Home for Boys and Girls, Canine Companions for Independence, Freedom House, Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Richmond Chapter, Girl Power 2 Cure, Inc, Richmond Entrepreneur’s Assistance Program, The Gerry Bertier #42 Foundation, Ramp Access Made Possible by Students, Blue Sky Fund, Fisher House Foundation, Inc, St.Joseph’s Villa and Embrace Richmond. I am very confident that these charities and organizations have benefited greatly from our donations and other organizations out there would also benefit from us in the near future.

References:


Griffin, E. (2012). Cultural approach to organizations. Retrieved from http://www.afirstlook.com/edition_7/theory_resources/Cultural_Approach_to_Organizations

Symbolic interactionism. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.afirstlook.com/edition_7/theory_resources/Symbolic_Interactionism


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“What a Moron!”… Media’s Outlook on Fatherhood

Fatherhood in today’s society

When we think of parenting in today’s society I think it’s safe to say that we usually just think of the mom as the parent who is capable of properly taking care of the children.  Our media is at fault, from t.v shows, movies, commercials and parenting magazines;  fathers are always portrayed as being incapable of taking care of their children.  They show men as being confused, immature, irresponsible and just flat out morons.

The movie Daddy Daycare starring Eddie Murphy is the perfect example of a movie that exemplifies the characteristics that I just mentioned.  In Daddy Daycare Eddie Murphy’s character (Charlie Hinton) gets laid off from his job, when this happens he is forced to take his son out of an exclusive academy for kids, leading him to the idea of starting a day care ran with his friend played by Jeff Garlin ( Phil).  There are two important things I want to shed light on from this movie, and they are the fact that both these men were laid off from their jobs which means they can not support their families like “real men” are supposed to.  In chapter 7 of Julia T Wood’s Gendered Lives, she talks about how men are supposed to be when growing up, and two of those traditional characteristics are not being female and being successful.  First off lets be honest when you think of a day care you never in-vision men to be working there, and secondly these men were laid off from their jobs so we automatically start thinking how will they provide for their family?  Throughout this movie the dads just plain and simply look confused.  Another movie that shows the characteristics talked about earlier is the movie What to Expect When Expecting. The trailer to the movie What to Expect When Expecting really bothers me because they show men not watching their kids properly, they are in the park throwing around beer,and one character even brags about how he forgot to pick up his kid from day care.

The sit-com dad

Homer Simpson on the left Peter Griffin on right

The Simpsons, Malcolm In the Middle, Family Guy are shows on television we have seen or if not heard about.  Homer Simpson is the father in The Simpsons, he is shown as being forgetful, loud and ignorant, and always at the bar with his friends;  Malcolm In the Middle’s dad is played by Bryan Cranston (Hal) and this character is shown to have no back bone, only disciplining his kids when he is forced to back up his wife’s decisions, also when she leaves for any period of time during the show Hal does things like smoking, gambling, blaring loud music and building “killer” robots.  In the case of Peter Griffin, the father in Family Guy, he is shown as being a “moron”  who is always seeking sex from his wife and talking down to his kids.

(This video clip shows Homer going insane over beer and t.v)

If you were to go back 20 to 30 years and watch the shows on television such as The Cosby Show and The Brady Bunch the fathers in those shows were shown in an extremely different light, Bill Cosby’s character (Cliff Huxtable) and Robert Reed’s character (Mike Brady) were seen as lovable caring fathers who were always there for the kids, they knew what to say in times of need, and then they were also hard working men. So why is there such a big difference between men on television now and from 30 years ago?

Lets take a look at what fathers are really doing

Media definitely plays a part in how we look at men being fathers in our society but what we see on television and what fathers are actually doing are two complete different things.  When you have a family with both parents and children involved, work schedules start to play a major role in how each parent may spend time with the kids.  In the journal “Juggling Jobs and Kids” written by April Bray Field, she goes on to state that “fathers who take a major responsibility for child care ease the burden of the “second shift” for employed mothers, and they reduce maternal “stress from work overload, anxiety about adequate childcare and supervision, and a shortage of time for rest and leisure.”  With that being said, sometimes it is hard for fathers who do want to take greater responsibility in their children’s lives but because of the time and demand of their jobs it is harder on them.

Lets talk about how the scheduling between the mom and dad directly affect how men go about looking after their kids.  Bray says that most men are going to be more responsible for looking after the kids if the wife has a part time job and if she has a non-day job where shes going to work at night.  If the mom is working during the night time then that leaves the dad to have hours at night time to bond with their children and take care of them just like the mom does while he is at work.  The psychological responsibility, which is the responsibility to plan remember coordinate and follow up on matters involving home and family is usually a role adopted by women, but in the case of a mom working during the night such as a nurse this leave the “psychological responsibility” duties with the father.  My aunt in New York is actually a nurse and I remember when I would visit my cousins on summer vacations my uncle did a great job taking care of us while my aunt went to work at night, taking us to the movies, going to the mall and doing activities at home with that were fun.

Our outlook on single fathers

Whenever you think of the single parent lets be honest you think of a mom who was left behind with 2 or 3 kids because her dead beat husband ran off and isn’t taking responsibility for his children.  Once again the media can be blamed for this perception.  Why don’t we ever think about the dads who are out there by themselves working and providing for their kids and themselves?  This may go back to the notion that since men are supposed to be able to take care of themselves and family that they we don’t need acknowledge the single father.

From the journal “Single Custodial Fathers’ Involvement and Parenting: Implications for Outcomes in Emerging Adulthood” by Bronte-Tinkew, J., Scott, M. E., & Lilja, E; in a study on father involvement with adolescents, research suggested that adolescents report greater levels of single-custodial-father involvement than do adolescents with fathers from other family types.  Bronte-Tinkew, J., Scott, M. E., & Lilja, E go on to say, “Single custodial fathers spend significantly more time with their children engaging in activities, such as participating in leisure activities, talking, reading, and helping with homework compared to married fathers and step fathers.”  We can easily try and say that well since they are the only parent, they have no choice but to take responsibility for their children but they could easily be away from their child by dropping the kids off with the grandparents or even leaving them at home while they go out about their own business.  In the show Two and a Half-Men actor Jon-Cryer plays the role of a single father (Alan Harper), this is actually one of the shows in today’s media that shows a dad who is trying his best to provide for his son.  Although he may seem flustered at times during the show, in large part because of his brother which is played by Charlie Sheen’s character (Charlie), this is a good example of television showing a different side of today’s father.

Alan single father

This is something I can personally relate to since for a large part of my life it was just my father and I until he re-married.  Just like the study results said that single fathers were more involved with leisure activities, home work, talking and etc.. my dad was just like that. He had to work during the day time and I would go to a baby sitter after school but when he picked me up after work, everything he did was to make sure I was happy.

Lets stop making assumptions

In conclusion we have seen that our perspectives on dads in today’s society is driven by our media and what they show us.  Just because we see television shows and movies that portray the moronic dad who can’t get out of his own way, lets not just assume every dad is like that.  If you are a kid who has grown up without a dad how do you think they feel about “father figures” when they watch the above mentioned movies and t.v shows? Lets take our dads seriously and dispel the notions seen in our media.

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“Fast Fun and Friendly”

"Targets Culture"

When was the last time you shopped at your local Target retail store?  Well I’m surewhenever you visit a Target store to do some shopping it is much more enjoyable than the chaotic mess at a Wal-Mart.  As an employee of Target for the past year now, I have been trained to provide each and every one of our guests with a “fast fun and friendly” guest service.  This slogan is taught to every Target team member from day one!

When you go shopping at a store what is it that you look for in your guest service experience? Are the workers coming up to you to help you as soon as they see you, or do you have to go searching for help because no one is around? Well at Target, the store culture is exactly that of being “fast fun and friendly”, every guest that a Target team member sees in their department, 9 times out of 10 they will be greet the guest with the phrase, ” Hi, can I help you find something?” Now what exactly is culture?  According to Clifford Geertz culture is a system of shared meanings.  So as an entire store, Target team members prioritize their guest needs before anything else showing them what fast fun and friendly really is about.

Every Target team member says this

In any workplace the people who have been working there the longest always have advice for the new people coming in, usually the advice comes with some kind of personal story with valued meaning behind it.  There are three kind of stories that can be found throughout a working environment and they include: corporate stories, (tales that carry management ideology and reinforce company policy), personal stories, (Tales told by employees that put them in a favorable light), and lastly collegial stories (Positive or negative anecdotes about others in the organization; descriptions of how things really work).  When I first started working at Target last summer the person training me was very helpful with giving me tips on how to handle guest in different situations and most importantly their collegial stories.  I benefited from these collegial stories because I found out which team members I could really go to for help whenever I needed it and I found out which managers were most liked and disliked by my fellow team members.

In conclusion, Targets main emphasis for their stores will continue to be “fast, fun and friendly!”  The culture in our stores have helped drive store sails and guest surveys have shown this.  Lastly it is imperative for every member within a company or store to know exactly what the culture of their business entails so everyone is on the same page.

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Ins and Outs of a PR Manager

When you look in the mirror what do you see? Well I would say I’m a very self-confident person who is assertive, sociable, energetic and very ambitious.  These are key characteristics to becoming a Public Relations Manager and Specialists.  I find this field of work to be very interesting to me because I would love to be the person who is helping a company create and maintain a favorable public image throughout the course of a year.

Becoming a good candidate for this position involves but doesn’t limit you to having a bachelors degree, you need to have studied public relations, journalism, English or business.  To strengthen your chances of becoming that PR manager try to take courses in advertising, public speaking (which we all are required to take), political science, and even a creative technical writing course.  Like I stated earlier having your bachelors degree is great but if you were to show up with a masters degree in public relations or even journalism you would definitely boost the chances of succeeding.

While thinking about the experiences needed to get into this field there was a slight sense of panic that went through me because I have never done anything dealing with public relations for a company.  Well no need to worry because public relation specialists are typically trained on the job, either in a formal program or by working closely under more experienced staff members.    The thought of training under somebody who has experience within a company is very inviting, and the training can be as short as a month or last up to a year.  But if you do have several years of experience in a public relations position that will largely increase the chances of getting hired.

Longwood has many different clubs to offer to its students.  One of the organizations that I believe may benefit an individual the most within this field might be Lancer Productions.  While taking the class Applied Organizational Communication I learned a great deal about LP.  They do a lot of the events that we see come onto our campus which involves a lot of time, planning and most importantly the people in LP have to be energetic and assertive to get the word out about upcoming events so there are people coming to their events.  Just like in an environment for a public relations manager you will be attending many meeting, working in offices and attending community activities.  All of these are things as being a member of Lancer Productions include.

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And Best Mom Goes to…

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-HOLLYWOOD-AWARD-BEST-MOM-/220773890759#ht_500wt_1156

How many moms have you seen at the mall, grocery store and even at a stoplight, who just look like they want the world to end.  These women are probably the moms who are trying to achieve the title as a “good mom.”  Nine times out of ten when you see these women they all have there children with them and they are yelling at one to do this thing and yelling at another to do something else, meanwhile everyone is barking out demands towards mom.

Pat aka "perfect mom" http://34st.com/2011/12/guilty-pleasure-smart-house-1999/

Why does our society and mass media put so much pressure on women to be a “perfect mom?”  As stated in Dr.Naomi’s lecture, the “perfect mom” is a women who is patient, adoring, always has fun activities planned, and centered life around children.  Realistically how many moms actually can fulfill that list every single day of their lives.  Well the computer generated mother Pat, in the Disney original movie Smart House exemplifies just that of a “perfect mom.”  In the movie, character Ben Cooper’s (Ryan Merriman) mom has died so he lives with his dad and little sister. The family wins a computerized house shortly after, and the program inside house comes with a computerized woman named Pat (Katey Sagal).  She cooks, cleans, reminds the children of their activities, helps with homework and much more.

In Susan Douglas’s book The Mommy Myth, in the chapter entitled “New Momism,” she explains what the idea of “New Momism” is.  She goes onto explain that “This is the insistence that no woman is truly complete or fulfilled unless she has kids, that women remain the best primary caretakers of children, and that to be a remotely decent mother, a woman has to devote her entire physical, psychological, emotional and intellectual being, 24/7, to her children.”  So new momism as we can see is a lot like the concept of being the “perfect mom” as I went over earlier.

Another important aspect of being a “perfect mom” is being sexy.  We see this part of motherhood through the media’s coverage of celebrities and how they are taking care of themselves throughout their pregnancy and afterwards.  There are an abundance of magazines that make a big spectacle about a celebrity’s “baby bump” and they are even covering how a celebrity’s mom is parenting that specific celebrity.  An example of a baby

Pregnant Beyonce http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/2012/01/beyonce-still-pregnant/

bump incident would be when Beyonce showed off her bump at the 2011 MTV VMA’s.  Even during her pregnancy Beyonce maintained the look of a “sexy mommy”, keeping her name out of the tabloids because she looked the part.  In the case of Lindsay Lohan, her mother Dina Lohan was ridiculed after Lindsay was arrested on charges of driving with a suspended license; this can be seen in the New York Times article, “Sometimes Mothers Can Do No Right” by Kara Jesella.  Why is the media making Dina Lohan out to be a bad mom because her daughter made a dumb mistake, this goes back to new momism where it says moms should be an emotional and intellectual being, 24/7 towards her children.

So is the character Pat from Smart House the best mom here because she can cook, clean and look after the family at pretty much all times; is it Beyonce because she managed to maintain the “sexy mommy” look before, during and after the birth of her child; and then do we just dismiss Dina Lohan because she “allowed” her daughter to get arrested? Well in conclusion, moms are always going to be scrutinized by other moms, the media and even their own children, but its imperative to remember that they are not super humans and just because they might not embody every trait of “new momism” or the “perfect mom” does not mean your mother is  not a great person.


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The Effect of Spraying Axe: The Semiotic outlook

When I was in high school the class I always looked forward to was gym.  Well after every gym class there would be a distinct aroma in the locker room.  If you were to walk into that locker room after a gym class almost everybody in there was spraying on some different scent of Axe.

Different varieties of Axe body spray

Ever wonder why a group of sixteen year old boys aren’t putting on cologne such as Giorgi Armani after gym class, but instead they have chosen Axe?  We all watch t.v and I’m sure we have all encountered an Axe commercial at some point in time.  One of the most outrageous Axe commercials I have seen was when billions of girls were running from all parts of the world to a beach where a young man was spraying himself with Axe.  In the New York Times article, “Masculinity in a Spray Can”  author Jan Hoffman talks about the phenomenon of young teen age boys purchasing  Axe in large quantities.  “The surge is certainly due in large measure to new marketing strategies,And armies of researchers note that tween boys have modest disposable incomes, just fine for products that typically sell for less than $7 .” (Hoffman) At a cheap price within range of a young teenage male’s expense, and marketing tactics that draw them towards the product they have created a great signifier.

How has the Axe phenomenon affected our teen males outlook on products being marketed? As Dr.Tracy states in our lecture,  semiotics is the study of social production of meaning from sign systems;analysis of anything  that can stand for something else.  “Boys are paying attention to personal brands more than ever because it’s too easy to be criticized virally by a girl.” (Hoffman) So with the constant urge to impress girls and to date them, in the mind of a teenage boy at about age thirteen using Axe can attract large quantities of women. As shown in the video clip of an Axe commercial below.

Another term covered in Dr.Tacy’s lecture was the systematic belief system.  Systematic belief systems are represented as natural, “that’s just the way things are” states Dr.Tracy.  So as we see in the commercial above, billions of girls should “always” flock to the young man spraying Axe on himself.  In our society a “manly” man is supposed to be sexual and get lots of women, the Axe commercials are just solidifying the idea that a man can get almost any female he wants just by simply applying this fragrance to himself.  This example may also be used to show off the idea of Roland Barthes explanation of myth as well, Barthes says that myth is the connotative meaning that signs carry wherever  they go, myths make what is cultural seem natural.

Lets go back to my question that asks why teenage boys are choosing to put on Axe body spray instead of a cologne such as Giorgi Armani.  Well we have learned from the article “Masculinity in a Spray Can” that Axe markets their product directly to teenage males to their convenience within a price range of around $7, and of course we can’t forget the notion that they might be ran down by a billion beautiful women.

 

Hoffman, J. (2010, 29 01). Masculinity in a spray can. . Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/31/fashion/31smell.html?pagewanted=all

 

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