Getting Lost In Translation

When we were children, our parents would always tell us what was right and wrong, what was good and bad, and what we should believe and what we shouldn’t. Often that’s where the problem lays in terms of homophobia, racism, sexism, and many other beliefs. Because we are told what to believe from an early age, we rarely question it unless it effects or pertains to ourselves. When we look at homophobia, there are dozens of different viewpoints that come into play with the mindset and belief that being gay or lesbian is bad. One main point is that of religion. Christianity is known for its stance on homosexuality, but why is that? Eve Sedgwick wrote “The historical manifestation of this patriarchal oppression of homosexuals have been savage and nearly endless.” I believe that she’s right. This oppression and prejudice against those who are homosexual will never end, not completely that is. People may become tolerant, but many will never accept it.

I always ask myself why people are avidly doing things against the LGBT community. With this picture, it really makes one think. “Leviticus also said ‘No hair cuts’ But I guess we are skipping that one.” The man holding this sign has a point. The Book of Leviticus states many rules that people are supposed to follow, yet we choice to ignore many of them. Leviticus 19:27-28 says “You are no to cut off the hair at the sides of your head or mar the edge of your beard… or put tattoo marks on yourselves.” This is the passage which the man is referring too. We choice to ignore this law, as well as the second half of this passage which says for people not to get tattoos, yet we do it anyway. Why is it so simple to ignore things like this, but focus our time and effort on something else? The Bible also says to “If a man commits adultery with a married woman – if he commits adultery with his neighbors’ wife – both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.” (Lv 20:10) We don’t kill people for cheating, but the Bible tells us to. I think over time, people have gotten lost in the translation of things. We don’t understand what it is we really are saying is bad and what we truly believe is a so called sin.

When I searched this image on Google, it came up with “11 Things The Bible Bans, But You Do Anyway” This image is being used as a way of bringing out the point we don’t always half to follow what the Bible tells us to. This image is being used as a way of saying “we aren’t the only sinners”. For those who believe strongly in the word of the Bible, many of them fail to follow all the rules, which is what this image is trying to get across.

When I was looking for an image to talk about, it didn’t take long before I found an image dealing with sexuality. The internet now has become somewhat of a message board. People are able to get their message across more efficiently than ever before. With this efficient way of communicating, people are able to find images like this. It is being used to break down all the barriers we have and start showing people that we can think for our own and believe what we think is right.


We Have Become One With The Internet

More often than not, most people will simply agree to the terms of use policy set forth by social networking sites and various other websites without even glimpsing over what they are agreeing to. With the world we live in being so fast paced, we always claim that we “don’t have the time” to read over these policies. And if we did, we may just have to rethink what we are really getting ourselves into.

Whenever we go onto the internet and sign up for a SNS site, we automatically assume that our content we place on those websites is safe and secured, however this is never the case. After I went back and read through some of the SNS sites I use, I was not at all surprised that these terms of service policies clearly state the risk people take when they post items on these websites. When I read through Tumblr’s terms statement, I was struck by this line: “One thing you should consider before posting: when you make something publicly available on the internet, it becomes practically impossible to take down all copies of it”. I had always been aware that it would be difficult to take down whatever items people post, but it never occurred to me until it began happening with the items I posted on Tumblr. When people began “stealing” the items I posted on my Tumblr blog, such as graphics and stories I had written, that’s when I began to realize how anyone can be taking these things and using them for their own us or even plagiarizing my writing (which unfortunately has happened to me before).

With these terms of service statements, they warn users that things like this can, and probably will happen. But we do it anyway. We choice to ignore these policy warnings and then we get angry when something like this happens, even when we should have expected it.

Another part of the terms of service statement on Tumblr said “Something else worth noting: Countless Tumblr blogs have gone on to spawn books, films, albums, brands and more. We’re thrilled to offer our support as a platform for our creators…” This is what our internet has become. It is a platform for media and literature produced by us. We give the internet what it is. People can go online and anytime and find what they’re looking for on any social networking site. Everything for Tumblr to Twitter to Facebook, all of these sites are providing and encouraging that people post their own content. We have become a society of people based on the internet.

We have become a society who lives our lives connected to the internet; we have created what is known as Web 2.0. In Burgerss’ User-Created Content and Everyday Cultural Practice: Lessons from YouTube, he defines Web 2.0 as “a description of the actual features of some of the most talked about social media platforms built around user-created or contributed content…” We have created this culture we now live in because we want to be involved. People want to participate in the world around us and in the things that we enjoy doing. That’s where SNS sites come in, they provide an ideal place for our opinions, art, music, literature, and so much more. These websites created this atmosphere and it’s only growing as time goes on.

The World Is A Cyborg World

When I think of a “cyborg” I think of someone or something that is heavily controlled by the technology around them. And to be honest, I believe that the large majority of our society has become a cyborg type of society. I can’t walk down the street, or sit in a class lecture without seeing someone on their cell phone, or laptop or Apple product. Technology is everywhere we look nowadays.

tumblr_lvt1476eId1r79nqko1_500This idea of our world being and becoming a cyborg society has been around far longer then I originally thought. When I was younger, I would always watch “Rugrats” and I always remembered that Charlotte, Angelicas mom, would always be on her phone doing business. If she wasn’t on her phone when you first saw her in an episode, it was only a matter of seconds before she was on it. I don’t think there was a single episode where she didn’t talk on her phone at least once. With Charlotte, she was a modern day cyborg, even in the 1990’s. She used her phone to stay connected with her work and with other people.

This is just a minor demonstration of what has become of our society today. Today, we are far more technologically dependent then Charlotte ever was in the television show. However, one thing that I found interesting about this “cyborg” was that it is a woman. Charlotte depicts a mother and a business woman in the show. I find this surprising because “Rugrats” is taking the boundaries that are set forth about a “typical American family” and switching it up. For being a cartoon in the 90’s directed towards children, I would have thought that it would have been the father figure being the cyborg and being attached to a phone or another piece of technology. The show broke down that traditional boundaries of the American community, and transformed it into a more feminine oriented lifestyle.

In Donna Haraway’s, A Cyborg Manifesto, she writes “Cyborg writing is about the power to survive…” Haraway is saying how being cyborgs is our way of surviving. Just like how our ancestry sapiens, which learned new skills and techniques to survive, we are also adapting to the world around us in order for our survival and for our ease in communicating with the people around us. Amber Case talks about how we have become cyborgs to be more human in her TED talk “We Are All Cyborgs Now”. Case and Haraway both have very similar messages; we are all using technology and surround ourselves with technology because it is our way of being human. Technology and being a cyborg is our new way of staying human and communicating with the people around us. We can see this whenever we go online and check our emails or when we receive a text message from a friend or a call from a parent. We are using these technologies to stay connected. As humans, we are social beings, with this ease of technology; we are able to be the social beings we are.

Writing Our Way Into Gendering Products

It is no lie that when asked what is masculine and feminine, people are able to list off assets and characteristics of what they believe to be is either masculine or feminine. Due to these beliefs, the products we use daily begin to reflect these traits and characteristics.

I always believed that something as simple as a pen would be considered a universal object without any gender bias. However, this mindset has changed when BIC introduced the BIC Cristal for Her line of pens. With this line of pen, they are trying to sell the product to females. This is demonstrated in the name itself. It also prides itself over having a “Thin barrel to fit a woman’s hand” which is used in the description of the product. BIC uses the phrase “The Cristal reserved for women!” as the pens slogan.

With the BIC for Her, BIC attempts to create this atmosphere of what a pen should be for women. It uses the typical characteristics of a feminine product, and incorporates that into its product. When I began look at the difference between these brands of pen, I looked at the standard BIC Cristal pen. The standard Cristal pen is exactly the same as the pen marketed towards women. The only difference between the two is the color of the pens barrel and the description on the back of the packaging.

The BIC for Her was brought further into the attention of consumers’ minds when Ellen DeGeneres did a segment of the pens on her television show. Even though Ellen was able to show the sexism of this product through humor, she still illustrated how people are preserving women. She jokes “and they both come in lady colors, pink and purple.” Although the comment could come off as being a joke, the statement still holds a lot of truth behind it. People have characterized pink and purple as being feminine colors, which is why BIC uses these colors in the product. She further goes on to say “and they’re pink so they cost twice as much.” That’s another sad fact about this certain product. Companies know that if they can create a product, direct it towards a certain set of people, they can raise the prices because they know that it will sell.

In McGraw, Why Feminine Technologies Matter, she says “although we usually associate technology with utility, its actual role is often decorative or cosmetic”. With the all of BIC’s products, we would often believe that it is being created to be utilized, to be used for writing and drawing. But will the BIC for Her, the focus of the pen is centered on its appearance, the colors of the pen, and the “thin barrel” that is supposedly made to fit a women’s hand, even though it is exactly the same pen as several other products they create.

Overall, there are many different ways in which our world has been divided by the products we use and the gender segregation we give these products.

Becoming Social Beings Via Social Networking

In Gandy’s article, “Matrix Multiplication and Digital Divide”, he quotes Fuchs saying “social networking has an ideological character: its networking advances capitalist individualization, accumulation and legitimization.” By this Gandy is pointing out how social networking has set the ideals of what people should be and how they should go about being this certain way. It is achieved through the use of these SNS sites by allowing us easy access to products shown specifically for us, by creating this idea that we are showing who we are, even though many times we show how we want to be.  Social networking sites give users the sense that they are forming their own individual self, and through those individualized self’s, we set ourselves up for being targeted by products and other “preferred” beliefs.

2013-04-08_13-47-57The other day I came across this picture on Instagram. I found it very sticking because of how accurate the image is. The media itself is able to show viewers whatever it deems appropriate. They can distort everything we see. With that in mind, the image got me thinking about what I see on Instagram daily. I had never consciously realized how commercialized Instagram actually is. When I go onto this photo based social networking site, I see brands being photographed and some users even going as far as providing links to the products that are being shown.

With Instagram, users are able to follow whoever they want. With my account, I follow a various amount of people, some friends, some art pages and some that show outfits and accessories that are “trendy” of some sort. With this social networking site, I am unintentionally setting myself up for the commercialization of products. I choose to follow these people because of the pictures they post, and for some people, if they like the objects in the pictures, they might even go out and obtain those products themselves.


However this is just one SNS site. I set aside this blog post for a few days because I was struggling with it, but then yesterday I was once again on a social networking site, this time, Tumblr. When I was on Tumblr, I saw this image. I was struck by how accurate this picture depicted the people and the society we have become. It shows how we have become people of products. The fact that this image was posted on Tumblr even shows me how this is true.


With SNS sites, we get the idea that we are a part of a community in ways. I saw this more than ever today as I logged onto Tumblr and dozens of users were spreading news of the Boston Marathon bombings. Through this event, Tumblr has brought the idea of community into play. People on this SNS site are warning other users of where potential bombs are being found. It allows for users to participate in events such as these. I remember seeing similar reactions after the Newtown shooting on December 14th. We all stay connected to what is happening in our world through these SNS sites.

Branding Our Surroundings

In a day to day setting, we find ourselves surrounded by hundreds upon hundreds of brands. There are so many brands around us each day, that it is nearly impossible to list them all or even recognize them for that matter. Because we are surrounded so heavily with various brands every day, we begin to get a perceived idea of what we should be like.

Often times when I walked around campus, I noticed that certain “types” of people wear certain types of clothing and usually specific types of brands. Many times I see the athletic students walking around in track pants, sweatshirts, t-shirts, basketball shoes, and a hat of some sorts. The brands these types of students wear are often popular athletic such as Nike and various other brands. Other times I will see some of the Greek students, in particular the sorority girls, walking around in vibrant clothing with big bold brands emblazed on their clothing. These students have become walking billboards for the companies that’s brand is being shown on these clothing’s. It’s free advertisement for them, but also forces passerby’s to witness these advertisements.

Whenever I see brands being shown on clothes or on the items people have, I often find myself making preconceived assumption of what the person is like based on what they have. Such as if a person is using an Apple laptop and wearing designer clothes, I will often make the assumption that this person is quiet well off financially. Many times when I make these assumptions, I will also being to judge the person’s character, “are they stuck up?” “Are they judging who I am because I don’t look the way they do?” These questions are common in not only my life, but lives of other people.

Brands target specific types of people and this can sometimes come across as targeting specific races or a specific type of group of people. If a brand has an advertisement with an African American basketball player, the brand is targeting their product to people of the same race. And the same goes for brands that have campaigns with certain celebrities, if they show a well known face in their ad, then people who are a fan of that celebrity are more inclined to buy the product because they “want to be just like (insert celebrity name here)”

With these brands and the deliberate placements of their logos and advertisements, we become surrounded by the idea of consumption. If we do not buy these products we will be judged for what we do have and what we do wear. We form our individual identity based on the specific brands we surround ourselves with. We see “quality” in brands.

In our world, with the brands we see each day, we being to be so consumed with the idea that we have to be this way or look this way or have these things that we begin to become blind to what is truly important. The brands we use can occasionally be a fault because it could ultimately bring out misconceived judgments and racist beliefs because of the brands we use.

Try As We Might, But We Will Obey

In the article, 8 Reasons Young Americans Don’t Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance, by Bruce Levine, I agree quite heavily with what they author presents. When I read through this article, I was struck by how often I find myself in the situations he explained. Everything from student loan debt to the areas of psychology and the educational system we are a part of. With the many factors Levine mentions, we as young Americans are becoming passive to the world around us.

With Levine’s discussion of the educational system, it reminded me of my time in high school. I went to a private Christian preparatory school which held very strict and numerous rules that every student had to follow. If you did not obey to the rules, then you would be punished in some form. With my school, we did not have detention like most high schools did. Instead we had something known as JUG, or “justice under God”. Whenever a student received a JUG they would have to stay after school and perform community service wherever it was needed in the school grounds. Those who disobeyed the rules set forth by the school would be forced to do as they were told or they would get a sanction and have to come back to the school on the weekend to do more time consuming work.

But not every student was deviant and disobeyed. For those who followed the rules (or didn’t get caught disobeying the rules) they would be rewarded for going through the school year without reviving a JUG. People would benefit by obeying to the rules set before them. The school taught us that if we disobeyed, we would be punished and for those who obeyed, they would be rewarded for obeying to the norm of the school. Our school taught us to be docile. They did not want us to be deviant and go against the norm; they wanted us to fit into the standard “good student” category.

In Levine’s second argument about “Psychopathologizing and Medicating Noncompliance” I was a bit skeptical about this topic. From my prior understanding, psychologists are meant to help the person seeking psychiatric help. However, after reading Levine’s argument, I was surprised to see that he made a decent argument on how people are being classified as having a mental disorder if they are vocal and act upon their dislike for authority. For myself, I found this very intriguing that there was such a disorder in the DSM-III classifying dislike for authority as a disorder. I myself am currently studying for a degree in psychology. This is why I was so skeptical towards this issue to begin with. But I can see Levine’s perspective on this issue. If a psychologist can name mental disorders such as “oppositional defiant disorder”, then who’s to say they can’t name other disorders similar to ODD. With these cases, it is possible to medicate patients into a docile state. People want to see everyone acting the same as themselves and not going against the norms our society has put up.

Overall, there are many factors on creating a docile society. Some are more prominent than others, but all together, we as human beings are trained from an early age to obey the rules and listen to what we are told and for those that don’t do as they’re told, then there will be consequences  for their actions.