Author Archives: scarrano1

Merton and Music for The LA Riots

 

uprising-hip-hop-la-riots

Uprising: Hip Hop and The LA Riots – watch film here

The documentary made by Mark Ford, explores the topics on how hip-hop music during the time of the LA Riots was used as their way of communicating their message to the world of what life was like living in the ghetto of LA at that time. Hip Hop music by artists such as N.W.A, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, was the voice of all of their struggles, issues with police corruption and also with how they are treated in their society.  When watching this documentary it reminded me of the video we watched in class about the riots in England. I found that the rioters in both documentaries were rioting and looting for the same reasons and feeling they didn’t have a voice.  Ford explains that his film, “shows how powerful music can be, what it can do and what it means to people. I hope what people really take away from it is for us to pay attention to the suffering going on in our society. It just so happened at that time, hip-hop was about the only place you could hear the messages being told.” The music was made 20 years before the LA riots took over that neighborhood, but these songs were used as a theme song or soundtrack for the Riots.  Everyone on the streets had these songs blasting in all their cars with lyrics like ” F*CK the POLICE” clearly showed the anger, and resentment towards the police and the system. I watch this film thinking about how Merton’s ideas can be applied. But I think Merton can explain that the music and the way in which the public reacted to to as an Innovation adaption. The music is something they created to get their message out to the world, and they succeeded by it spreading to people of all races in which the film explains. Music with these lyrics wouldn’t be allowed on the radio, but they eventually got extremely successful to over power that.  But the violence that broke out in these LA riots, and the destruction of buildings, and cars were an example of the result of what happens when the police backed out and left the crowd getting more hostile towards everything. Merton would explain this as an rebellion adaption.  They weren’t secretive about it, they were rebelling publicly and looting just like the rioters from England and all for the same reasons which is why I think these videos closely relate to each other. 

 

“Miss Representation” and Gilman

I recently watched a documentary that I think will relate to a lot of Gilman’s theories on gender inequality.  This film was released in America in 2011, titled “Miss Representation“. The film explores the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America and challenges the media’s limited portrayal of what it means to be powerful women.

“The film challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself. In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.”

Excerpt from film.missrepresentation.org/synopsis

We live in a society where the people are extremely influenced by the media and what they see on television. Images and portrayal of women that you see on Television ( TV shows, movies, the news) and advertising are shaping the values and norms in our society. I think Gilman would agree with everything this documentary stands for especially at the fact that in the media, woman are over sexualized  and advertisements are constantly telling Woman how they should look and what is beautiful. This effects the way woman feel about themselves , where they start to feel like they aren’t good enough and essentially become dependent on men.

Image

I think Gilman would agree with Lisa Ling. She explains in her theories that this patriarchal society promotes Women’s economic dependence on Men and undermines their freedom as well. Gilman talks about the inequality in the division of labor and how a women’s economic standing and social status comes from her husband.

Image

This is statement in the documentary by Nancy Pelosi represents how society has created social norms where the woman is suppose to stay home and take care of children and not have the same opportunities as men to become a leader in this society. Being asked this question in the media shows how the media, “America”, still thinks that women need to stay home and be caregivers instead of trying to become leaders, CEOs, or politicians.

Image

This relates to Gilman’s ideology that women are oversexed and that there is too much emphasis on sex-distinction. Women are pushed excessively to devote to their looks and have to develop over the top female qualities all to attract a man. I agree with Jennifer Siebel with this quote, I truly feel that the media and this patriarchal society makes women feel disempowered as well as distract them with advertisements, fashion and beauty tips and instead of focusing on how to become a leader.

Image

In Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper (1892), she explains that women start to become depressed and have psychological issues because of the way in which women are being treated and undermined. Women face the authority of “The Man” or “The Doctor”, both of whom claim they know what is best for her but aren’t really listening to her therefore she stays depressed. This expectation to look a certain way and also what the media portrays as what beautiful is suppose to look like in the “hyper-sexualization” that occurs in hollywood, affects every women and this leads to eating disorders, and many psychological issues among young women.

Image

I am going to end this post with more quotes from the film to show how America ( which portrays the land of equality and opportunity) is still stuck in a patriarchal system and hasn’t made much progress:                          Image                            Image                           Image

If you want to watch the Miss Representation documentary trailer CLICK here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2UZZV3xU6Q

 

Blog 2: weber and Status anxiety

People are driven by the idea of being richer, and that it will make us happy and secure. This video goes on to explain why people suffer from this “status anxiety”, this anxiety that we are successful based on our status. People are resentful towards those who we consider to be our equals. We are envy towards them when they have a better house, job or car. This because our society tells us that we are suppose to be equal, but in reality we are actually living in a society filled of inequality. Weber explains that status and class creates the competition with people. Weber also explains that peoples actions are shaped by society, this is true in our society in which our drives and aspirations are based on this idea of the American Dream. The American Dream that we will all be equal and live comfortable and can afford nice things. This ideal creates the status anxiety that is explained in this video.

Wealth inequality – blog #1

I was surprised by the findings in both videos. I always knew that the distribution of wealth was unequal but not to that extreme. I feel that these findings somewhat prove Marx’s theory that capitalism is an engine of inequality. The working class works extremely hard, six to seven days a week and barely makes enough money to afford rent or money for their bills. According to the videos, the reality is that the working classes are considered poor. I was surprised by how some people in the video did believe that the way money is actually distributed in this country is the right way. That is because many people believe in that American way that you need to work hard to achieve the American dream. To me, these videos show me that the government and CEOs offer incentives to be working robots in this country. Marx theory explains that capitalists pay their workers as little pay as possible and workers agree to this pay because there are too many people from the working class begging for jobs, desperately trying to make money for this “American dream”. Just like the video title says, this country is the land of the free and home of the poor.