research topic…continued.

My argument that will be presented in my research paper is the following point: Bread has, throughout the past century or so, changed in various ways. Obviously, I will go into much more detail in the essay I write. But basically, I just want to make my point clear in that the very image/idea of bread has altered so much over time. Advertising is one factor among the reasons for this transformation. I will present my argument with examples from different time periods, such as advertisements and catch lines about the bread being sold to customers. I expect to discover that my hypothesis will be proven correct: bread and its advertisements have changed drastically over the years.

My first source of information that I will be using to back up my argument is the Wonder Bread website, www.wonderbread.com. Wonderbread will probably demonstrate the most change, since it has been around practically for ever. Upon entering the site, the message displayed states, “For over 80 years, Wonder Bread has helped America build strong bones.” This source has provided a detailed history of Wonder Bread, including a somewhat specific timeline that includes such useful information as the decade in which nutritional information became necessary for packaging. The second source I have ventured upon visiting in order to provide information on my topic is www.everydiet.org – it provides, as well, a more concise timeline of bread’s nutritional history throughout time, reaching back as far as Biblical times. These two websites should prove to help me in my research of bread’s alterations over time. What I still need to do concerning this assignment is to gather more sources for research and information – I plan to look into the databases we’ve learned about, as well as books, magazines, and other periodicals.

8 comments November 15, 2006

The “Banking” Concept of Education (Questions for a Second Reading)

1. When Freire talks about the “politics of the classroom,” I interpret this to mean the circumstances under which students are placed – meaning, they are put into a situation in which they have no power and are somewhat inferior to their professor. Often, professors don’t allow for discussion within the classroom, therefore inhibiting the idea of a “problem-posing” class. Teachers seem to think of themselves as some sort of royalty and discourage students from speaking their minds and offering opinions and logics of their own to fellow students. On the contrary, teachers should rather be more open-minded to activities such as discussion and commenting from students, in order to learn different viewpoints of certain topics.

2. The term, praxis, is used within this essay to resemble liberation and a desire to do good for others – in this case, being supportive of students and of discussion within the classroom. The term, alienation, is used in the essay to define separation and a sense of control over one’s thoughts and/or ideas. Alienation would therefore occur in the setting of a classroom in which a professor discourages different viewpoints and suggestions; he is “alienating” the students because their ideas are not up to his standards.

3. I think Freire writes in a way that is similar to the deposit of funds into a bank – he fills us with ideas, as readers, that we are expected to absorb and understand without questioning why. He feeds us information, and we ingest it. He speaks to readers as if we should not be thinking for ourselves, but rather accepting his viewpoints on the topics at hand.

Add a comment November 8, 2006

Research Topic

For my research assignment, I think I might like to do something in the food industry – bread, to be more specific. I find health and nutrition very interesting, and so I feel this will serve as a good topic for me to research. I think it is interesting how much advertising and labels for food companies have changed over the years. Instead of saying the food is good-tasting or nutritious, nowadays it seems as though there is more importance and emphasis upon how many calories the food contains or how many carbs have been cut out of it. I plan to use various databases, search engines, books and periodicals to reasearch my topic.

3 comments October 25, 2006

Susan Bordo: Questions for a Second Reading

1. “The real work and the real pleasure lie elsewhere”-Susan Bordo uses this essay “as a way of organizing the pleasure of the text” by means of thorough and in-depth analyses of men in advertising and her interpretations of what these ads represent and symbolize to society. She uses several examples, such as Calvin Klein, Versace, Gucci, and Abercrombie & Fitch, to demonstrate her opinions and theories on how men’s sexuality being presented in advertising affects the emotions that are stimulated in women upon viewing such photographs. Her strategy of writing may be an effective method in getting her point across to readers, but in my opinion, it is much too tedious and redundant concerning the topic at hand.

2. Susan Bordo divides her essay into subsections in order to mark the stages in the presentation and therefore encourage the reader to use each section as a prerequisite to the ideas presented in the next subsection. In my opinion, the first example of the Calvin Klein advertisement found on the first page of Bordo’s essay is the part of the reading that sends the strongest message and therefore speaks the loudest: it exemplifies a very distinct kind of man that is presently seen in everyday male advertisements today. Bordo’s argument concerning this ad drew me in while first beginning to read. Her question of , “Who is the electrician here: God? Mother Nature? Or Hugh Hefner?” sends a powerful message that makes the reader want to read on and discover more of Susan Bordo’s theories and viewpoints on such issues.

3. Bordo differentiates herself from the “subject position” of others by not only comparing, of course, the similarities and differences between the emotions of men and women; but she also compares the actions and subject positions held by people of a different race and social status than others. She describes how, when one feels the gaze of another’s eyes upon him or her, that person will immediately be put into a “subject position,” whether good or bad, that is usually a stereotypical assumption being made by the gazer. She says that (and I can testify to this), “many of us get somewhat addicted to the experience.” When a woman is told that she is “looking good,” her confidence gets a boost. For those who have been blessed in life with good looks and beneficial qualities and talents, receiving a sometimes sexualizing gaze from the object of their affection is more often than not a good thing.

  

Add a comment October 25, 2006

Deconstructing Advertisements

 old-toothpaste.jpg new-toothpaste.jpg

Although both Kotex advertisements are trying to sell the exact same sanitary napkins, each comes from a different place in time and represents a completely different culture for women than the other. The first advertisement is older and filled with text including social situations, product information, and scenarios in which women would feel comfortable and satisfied in their decision to use Kotex. Its use of the phrase, “More women use Kotex than all other sanitary napkins,” suggests to viewers that Kotex is the most widely used and therefore most superior brand of pads out there. Because “more women” use it than the few that don’t, readers will, as a result, want to jump on the bandwagon and follow the menstruation techniques used by other women. The second ad, on the other hand, focuses more on the individual. It wants its readers to feel some kind of special treatment by using Kotex. Its catch phrase demonstrates the self-consciousness and vulnerability that women often must endure; they should therefore use a brand name of pads that helps them to feel more secure and confident in their daily activities.

 The two advertisements pictured above, although obviously very different than each other, are both selling toothpaste. The first is a magazine advertisement from the 1930’s with the headline, “Two clues to whiter teeth.” It has a lot of text, largely including healthy tips in which to keep teeth strong and information about the product, promising “it adds gentle double polishing to thorough cleansing.” The ad wants consumers to value a strong and properly cleansed set of teeth. The second ad pictured is a more recent magazine ad, telling consumers that Rembrandt “can get even clean teeth two shades whiter.” The prominent object on the page is a set of women’s lips, red and glossy. Along with them, of course, comes a beautiful mouth filled with perfectly white teeth. It is very different from the previous advertisement, in that it is directed more towards women – women who want a mouth that looks just like the one in the ad. This ad is a perfect example of how women are objectified for their features in advertising, even when toothpaste is the product being sold. Over the years, companies selling products in magazines have come up with clever and cunning ways of persuading women to buy their products. Women inevitably want what they can’t have, so if they see in a toothpaste ad a gorgeous set of white teeth with full, red lips, they will automatically assume that when they go out and buy this toothpaste, in return they will end up with a more beautiful and enviable mouth.

We, as consumers in a world filled with more advertisements than we can count, must learn how to “deconstruct” the ads we see in front of us to better understand what the motives really are behind these companies whose products we might buy. We must develop smarter ways of seeing things put before us; otherwise we will fall victim to the shallow ways of society today.

Add a comment October 11, 2006

Susan Douglas – Questions for a Second Reading

1. While reading Douglas’ essay, Narcissism as Liberation, I couldn’t help but notice the author’s tedious and redundant references to women’s bodies in the context of media. She was very repetitive with her point – women should not have to work out their bodies religiously or diet to the point of starvation – yes, we know, we know. But she also goes on and on with her theories of exercise and the popularity of a toned body and “sculpted thighs” that went along with the 1980’s compulsive exercising fad that swept the nation. These examples are not relevant to today’s standards of women as portrayed in the media. In particular, her reference to the college girls who refuse to show themselves while walking to the pool and her self-consciousness while in their vacinity, revealed nothing more than one woman’s body naturally evolving with age. 

2. The idea of “deconstruction” is presented throughout the essay – it shows readers how women fall victim to the beautiful images of flawless models they see in magazines – little do they know how much goes into making these images appear perfect in almost every way. Deconstruction is making ourselves knowledgeable and therefore aware and cautious of the beauty industry’s tactics in gaining sale production and business. It is taking away all of the extra things that go into making women beautiful, and recognizing their natural loveliness for what they were born with.

 Assumptions made by Susan Douglas in her essay represent not all women, but those whose weaknesses, vanities, and diffident feelings of themselves she chooses to demonstrate within her critique on the media’s influence over women. Douglas assumes that, as a woman, it is natural and expected she will read magazines, watch “Buns of Steel” work-out videos, and as a result degrade herself to a lower level of self-worth based on what she sees in front of her.

1 comment October 4, 2006

Narcissism as Liberation

marilyn-monroe-on-magazine.jpgdove.jpgcurves1.jpg oprah.jpgwe_can_do_it.jpg

These women all have one thing in common: they go against what you would expect to find in an advertisement directed toward women. They challege the predominant logic of the female body in the media. As Susan Douglas says in her essay, “Narcissism as Liberation,” thanks to advertising, “the new woman was now sophisticated enough and privelaged enough to benefit from a scientific enterprise designed specifically for elite white women.” Those pictured above go against the stereotyped models we so often see in magazines and on tv commercials – they don’t appear to be rediculously skinny or to be battling eating disorders and compulsive overexercising. These women are just real, everyday women, who are not all caucasion or necessarily of the “elite” social class. They don’t punish themselves through starvation and don’t feel the need to receive several shots of botox or collagen in their faces to feel beautiful and happy with themselves. Although each of these women may be given “permission to indulge her prefeminist side, the one still obsessed with little commas and crow’s-feet,” she doesn’t follow through with it. She is much happier being herself, and will not degrade herself to the level of shallow and narcissistic women across the country who will spend a fortune on things designed to “better themselves,” such as injections, medications, exercise equipment, supplements, and, in extreme cases, plastic surgery.

Marilyn Monroe, legendary for her sexual and provocative body, represents a woman who has a curvacious figure and isn’t afraid to flaunt it. Oprah Winfrey is a woman that stands proudly as a role model for young girls everywhere. She is first and foremost, African-American, showing her bravery to make herself known in the competitive and judgmental world of entertainment. She also defies stereotypical women in show business, enhancing her body and herself not with fad dieting or surgery, but rather with the right makeup and a sophisticated sense of style that gives her the confidence and poise to be the important person that she is to so many people.

Although Jane Fonda may have said that “discipline is liberation,” these women prove that just feeling happy and at peace with yourself is the ultimate reward and liberation you can have.

2 comments October 2, 2006

John Berger’s “Ways of Seeing”

1. John Berger’s use of the word “history” is used in relation to our subjective views of the past, rather than what has actually occured in the past. He says, “History always constitutes the relation between a present and its past. Consequently fear of the present leads to mystification of the past.” He also uses it in the context of something to be owned or possessed, and if we are prevented from seeing art of the past, we are therefore “deprived of the history which belongs to us.” History, according to Berger, is a matter of perspective. In the case of Frans Hals’ two works of art being described by an unnamed art historian, Berger criticizes his choice of vocabulary, saying that they “transfer the emotion provoked by the image from the plane of lived experience, to that of disinterested “art appreciation.” Here, history’s meaning has changed into that of a biased artist’s point-of-view. The definition of history has changed entirely here, because now, as readers, we are put into a certain mindset and somewhat forced to appreciate two works of art in which we otherwise might have had little or no interest.

2. The ways in which Berger looks at images and paintings depend upon his own relationships with the past and the questions he asks regarding the “power” of the pictorial images. Berger’s strong viewpoints on the use of cameras represent his theories that the meanings of images change when those images are placed in some kind of a different environment, or captured by a camera – “Because of the camera, the painting now travels to the spectator rather than the spectator to the painting. In its travels, its meaning is diversified.” When original artworks are replicated, they lose their status and meaning. Berger obviously believes that by reproducing or capturing artwork, one takes away that picture’s value, worth, and uniqueness.

1 comment September 20, 2006

Questions for a Second Reading

1. The various examples used by Walker Percy in order to prove his points throughout the essay are not all meant to illustrate the same idea, but rather to give the reader a better understanding for the author’s viewpoints and motives for writing this essay. Percy’s system of transitioning from one example to the next is done through a series of observations and overviews that the reader should now be aware of. For example, between the story of the tourists viewing the Grand Canyon and that of the tourists travelling to Mexico, Percy writes a paragraph that starts with, “It is now apparent…” which is his way of making the point that the upcoming statements are what the reader should now be thinking about.

2. Walker Percy’s essay on the loss of sovereignty and of the “creature” was not written so that he could tell the world what he believed based solely on his own opinions and experiences, but rather in the hopes of educating people on the ways of society and as a result to change their ways of looking at things, or at least to make them think. Percy’s beliefs are not those of a “peculiar prejudice” because the examples he uses to which he refers time and time again are human beings. And Walker Percy can’t be prejudicial against human beings because he is, in fact, of the human race himself. So, in my opinion, we are asked to share his concerns because they will actually help us in the long run. Represented here are the interests of all members of society.

3. Percy’s “method” of writing – his choice to disregard any statements or opinions made by those he is observing – is done so in order to keep the reader from forming a biased assessment based on the information given. By only giving readers an outside look into the experiences of these people, Percy can put forth his own viewpoints on these occurences (with the assumption the reader will agree with him).

Add a comment September 11, 2006

“The Loss of the Creature” by Walker Percy

     Reading “The Loss of the Creature” by Walker Percy was challenging in many ways, but it was also thought-provoking and interesting. The story obviously was an expression of annoyance and frustration of today’s society through descriptive examples by the author, and his viewpoints on human beings and their ways of experiencing things really made me think. It also left me with some questions, such as:

1. Why do human beings feel the need to be reassured that what they are experiencing is indeed unspoiled and authentic(as in the case of the couple travelling to Mexico City)?

2. Why can’t people just experience things for what they are, with no complaints or what ifs?

    

     The parts of the reading I struggled with were some of the vocabulary words Percy chose to use, certain ways he described things (such as “value P,” the “sovereign knower,” and the “surrender of title”).

     This reading can definitely be related back to the discussion of cliche, in that Walker Percy’s style of writing is to use several specific examples of points he is trying to get across, all of which are typical things that might happen in people’s everyday lives. The way the people react in each of their situations is cliche in that they feel insufficient and need proof that what they are experiencing is perfect and therefore something to be envied by others. Their experiences are not acceptable to them unless the travelers are made sure that it is “too good to be true” and “now they are really living.” Whether we admit to it or not, we as human beings are a very selfish and self-conscious society – this is the reason Walker Percy’s writing is cliche.

4 comments September 6, 2006

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