A few days ago, someone posted on the blog a great piece on Women’s Image in America and Image Alteration. I immediately though of this video by Dove that came out a few years ago to demonstrate the process and illustrate just how drastically distorted the images are in advertising. Please take a minute to watch this video. I know some classmates were really opposed to legislation on limiting photoshopping in advertising, but I think this video highlights how far the advertising industry has gone to pervert the body.
Girls (and guys, too, probably but I can only really speak for myself and my girlfriends) are absolutely aware of the fact that the images we see in magazines and on Pinterest are usually photoshopped and edited. That said, we also absolutely fall prey to them. Perfectly healthy size 4-6 friends of mine have dieting app’s on their iphones. I struggle with my weight and constantly complain to anyone who will listen about how much skinnier I should be. I know more than a few girls who go to sleep with makeup on because they don’t want to be seen “looking ugly” in the morning when they walk from their dorm to the bathroom.
I think we’ve moved past subconscious influence in advertising. Its an all out war against the natural female body, and that is a serious problem. If you’re comfortable with nudity, you should check out the work being done by the Nu Project to combat the standard of beauty in our country. They’re professional artists taking incredible pictures of real women.
Today when I woke up I checked my scarletmail account. I don’t usually actually go into it- everything is forwarded to my normal gmail account- but I checked just to clear out some of the accumulated junk. What I found bothered me. I had at least one email a day from three out of my six class classes (some had more than one email a day!). There was dozens of sakai notifications confirming posts I’d made, and that posts I’d made had been read. There was also an obscene amount of information from housing, none of which actually helped guide me through the new lottery process.
When I checked my phone there were more emails, texts, facebook notifications, and updates to install. Instant work for me to do, before 8 am. This technology is supposed to make our lives easier, better. Why do I feel so overwhelmed then?
When I logged in to check out the blog I got the same feeling. Totally overwhelmed. There is so much information, and embedded in that information are links to websites with more information, which of course cite and reference and shoot you to other places.
Some days I handle the internet and technology just fine, but today I feel like a rat in a maze. There is so much out there, and I can’t help but feel lost. My computer skills are fine and its not like I don’t know how to navigate the web. It just seems so ridiculous. What are we losing in the constant tagging and emailing and notifying of things? It feels like so much must be taken out of context or have been poorly researched. With the need to rapidly post and notify I think we’re losing a lot (and not just our sanity).
And I’m not the only one who feels this way. A third of adults in a Cambridge study felt the same way- and so did 38% of kids 10-18. People, even when equipped with the tools to deal with technology, are feeling overwhelmed by it.
To make things better, the video I had attached to this post didn’t come up when I hit publish. I hate the internet.
We talked in class about how newspapers are struggling to adapt to the online world. Sure there are some interactive buttons, like “share this on facebook!” and “write a comment,” but by and large its a mashing together of the two things and with no true harmony. I had an experience this week that sort of struck me regarding print media…
I used to write for my community college paper, and staff wrote me to ask if I’d be willing to nominate a colleague from the paper for an award recognizing leadership in the newsroom. The editor had lead her staff to publish several stories about a professor who was “teaching” 17 classes in one semester at 5 different colleges in several different states at often overlapping time slots. Thats like teaching full time at 3 different schools. Anyway, a lot of their research was done online looking through course catalogs and other public documents. Some of the articles they wrote couldn’t be printed because the paper can only afford to print once a month and they wrote three articles on the issue within about a month.
When I submitted my nomination, it wasn’t in a letter or even an email. I made and submitted a video.
Its sort of bizarre to me that almost all the fact finding for the article was done online and the nomination for the work is online in video format, but its all for a print newspaper. This maybe isn’t a great comment but the whole thing got me thinking about print being really overshadowed by the internet…like, journalists are using the web and papers upload stuff onto the web and print news competitions rely on the web, but our papers seem to still be struggling with their online presences…what gives?
By the way, you should totally read the articles, they’re great!
I read this article from New York magazine and think it poses some interesting questions. It mainly asks “when did the internet become so nice?” But I think we should be asking, what are the implications of this niceness?
The article suggests that ten years ago the internet was a very different place…and sort of a scary one, with predators around every corner and brawls breaking out all over webpages. But know the internet seems in some way fundamentally different from the Wild West it once was. Today, google searches seems safer and more direct, Facebook “likes” have become something of an obsessions (as carltonharris discusses in his post below) and apps like instgram and snapchat have catapulted “selfie” pictures out from the clutches of 13-year old girls and onto the phones of just about everyone, where likes and simplistic comments also rule.
So if google is making us stupider and the internet (or at least social media) is making us nicer, what does that ultimately make us? Simpletons? I’m not so much worried about being nice or relying on google to get me through my calc homework, but I do worry that our hyper-dependence on the web could change how we make changes.
We saw what kind of power the internet and social media can hold through Arab Spring starting December, 2010. But in the US it seems as though our teens and adults are more caught up in liking someone’s vacation pics than demanding social change. Sure we don’t have Hosni Mubarak as out president, but we do have plenty of corruption and inequality that should be addressed. And maybe it would be if we weren’t so caught up in our likes and comments ratios. Perhaps we could and should be doing more bigger and bolder things and doing them more critically.