The Messages Media Are Really Sending

The Messages Media Are Really Sending

Disney did what now?
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As most people know, the media is integral to everyone's lives. I don't think anyone can go through their day without interacting with the media at least once- whether it be on their phones or the TV's around campus. Let's face reality; media is the skeleton of our lives.

How many times do you watch television or Netflix in a day? How many times do you check Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and get wrapped up into the black hole that is social media? Probably a million times, and we are all guilty of it. And it's totally fine to become absorbed in the media, as long as we can fully examine and analyze the messages we are receiving.

School systems today are starting to recognize the importance for media literacy, however, not enough educators and parents are incorporating it into lesson plans. The media, specifically television (Netflix *cough cough*) send various different messages that influence how we see ourselves and those around us.

Disney is a key example of the need for media literacy. Disney is founded upon the power of imagination and dreams coming true, but is that the only message they are sending? No, of course not. Many people don't realize that the Disney Princesses, while beloved, send several negative messages about girls and women in various different races. For example, most Disney princesses rely on men, their princes, to save them labeling women as defenseless damsels. Princess Aurora, in the Disney film Sleeping Beauty, is asleep for the majority of the film waiting upon her prince to save the day and wake her. The damsel theme is extremely insulting and reinforces young girls to rely on men for happiness.

Another key theme that is prevalent in Disney films is whiteness and white supremacy. A key example of this is the film The Princess and the Frog. Tiana, the main protagonist (I would say princess, however, she is not even given the title until she marries Naveen), is a struggling young African American women living in New Orleans. As I mentioned, Tiana is not deemed worthy enough to be a born 'princess' therefore Tiana's benevolent rich white friend, Lotty, is the 'princess' of the film. This example alone demonstrates just one act of whiteness throughout the film. Furthermore, the first African American princess, which fans waited years for, is a frog for 2/3 of the film. Yes, they make her an animal...just how dehumanizing is that?

Disney is just one key example of why media literacy needs to be taught early on to children and continued through high school. The media sends so many important messages to us daily that it is important that we are active participants in this communication. Our favorite shows, The Walking Dead, Orange is the New Black, The Office, New Girl, or Grey's Anatomy all have messages beyond the theme of the show. As viewers, it is important to recognize our role in the media and make the choice to learn and change. The media should not tell us what to believe, but should tell us what to think about.

Next time you are watching a show or a video on Facebook try to look for the hidden messages. Media literacy is in high demand and I personally believe it is a key factor in future education.

Cover Image Credit: Oh My Disney

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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To Love a Broken Vase — An Ode To Valentine's Day

"To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides." --David Viscott, How to Live with Another Person, 1974

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I remember an anecdote my elementary school teacher told us in the fifth grade. When a mother is pregnant with a child, they feel comfortable in their flesh. Provided with everything they needed to survive, they don't have to worry about anything. It's not until after they are born and the umbilical chord is severed that they realized they were not good enough, and insecurities fester.

I went through a similar process when I was growing up. Contained within my family and books, I felt like I held the world in my hands. It was not until high school where I seriously sought out others for company and wanted to apply myself to the social universe. And I saw myself changing in not only my behaviors, but how I see myself within the world.

With working hard to get good grades, with trying to get my driver's license, and becoming a better person overall, I realized the process involved a lot more effort than I ever had expected. And I found myself unprepared for the slow drudgery of it all. While I once pushed through to get things done, now I find myself giving up on projects while coming up with new ones. I frequently turned to my laptop for solace, as it kept my fantasies alive, but it also stole time away from me.

These behaviors showed in my relationships: I found it hard to meet up with friends, and my parents started worrying about what would my future look like. With the latter, I've had multiple conflicts with them, with me asserting I wanted to be free from everything, including accountability. Of course, that perception was quite unrealistic — to love and be loved, as well as to succeed, there has to a tug to know when you're doing something wrong.

***

A year ago, I wrote an article about how I saw romantic love from somebody who has never been in a relationship. Many things still apply today — I'm better off working towards my educational and career goals than seeking out love, though with Valentine's Day, it still fascinates me on whether or not I could be loved from somebody else.

From what I've heard from others, they would be charmed by my intelligence and kindness, neither fulfilling the stereotype of a nerd nor the perfect angel. However, the naivete would also put someone off, and potentially puts them in danger. I also see myself as the spontaneous type, but to the point where I forget where my priorities are, again making them worse than they really are. I imagine they would be intrigued by me as a friend or a lover, but end up breaking away after a short amount of time.

I don't imagine finding myself loving other people in the short term; however, I find myself open towards others. And that what makes me more afraid about how people view me--will they not be able to see the positives in myself when the time comes? Will they be just as capable of forgiving me the same way my family does?

At the end, I should take my friend's advice for Valentine's Day — love oneself. And take actions to make sure that I can love myself deeper and further.

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