Wednesday, December 16, 2009


This movie is an extremely good movie to see a typical guy fantasy. The main character,
who in my opinion is having a mid-life crisis, sees this girl and instantly becomes
attracted to her. He calls her his perfect ten. The girl is tall, blond, and curvy in all the
right places, the typical beach bunny. He say's that he has never been so infatuated with
a girl in his whole life. To me this is a typical male response when facing a mid-life crisis.
He is trying to rekindle his youth by trying to win over this young girl who is obviously
some one to be desired. All the while he is seeing a beautiful woman his age, but he is
losing interest in her because of her age. Its sad to think that this man is so caught up on
catching his youth and this girl that he is willing to lose the woman that he already has. I
think this has to a lot to do with what the media says about the issue of "old age".
Though 10 was made in the 80's image was still very important back then as well. Today
you either age gracefully or you get plastic sugery. In my opinion i think it is much better
to age with grace rather than look like you are forever walking against the wind.

Almost Famous

I personally love this movie. Kate Hudson does such an amazing job in this movie. However
that is not what we discussed in class on Monday. We discussed the concept of heroes and villains. I thought this was an interesting topic because in the movie Almost Famous the
heroes and villains collide in perspective. For example the lead singer at times is can be seen
as the villain and the hero. An example of this would be when he agrees to give the kid an
interview, this is where he is being the hero. However he then avoids the kid whenever he
wants to do the interview. As well as Jason Lee's character. At first he is all in to the kid
coming and interviewing them and then he calls him the enemy when he finds out the kid
works for Rolling Stone. This to me makes Jason's character seem like a villain because he is
going back on how he felt about the kid in the first place. This proves that there is a fine line
between a hero and a villain, they are almost the same character


When we spoke about globalization i couldn't help but think about all of the cultures that we
spread to but the cultures never really spread to us. For instance, with music we have spread
rap, hip hop and rock to other cultures, who then make it their own. What i find interesting is
that they never try to bring their music over here. An example of this would be with Asian
music, which i mentioned in class. We brought rock and rap over to them but their artists
don't try to come over here. This is interesting because, as i also said in class, these Asian
artists are usually born here in America and they go to Asia to make music. We as a whole
probably don't have a big calling for Asian rock or rap because we don't understand the
language, but if they were to translate their music i don't see why they would be able to
make it here in America.

Fatal Attraction

I really enjoyed this book and the movie was truly hilarious. My favorite thing about both
of them though was their detatchment from everything. I think because i was like that for
most of my life as well. I was just going through the motions of getting up, going to
school, coming home, doing homework, and going to bed. I was never allowed to go
over my friends houses or really talk to my friends outside of school. That in itself made
me keep my friends at a distance. The characters of Fatal Attraction though keep people
at a distance willingly. I thought this was interesting because it made them seem all stuck
up and pretencious as Lauren would say. I thought that the saddest part was when
Lauren goes to see Victor and he doesn't recognize her. It was sad because i have had
something like that happen to me. This guy that i had a crush on for 3 years one year
didn't recognize me. I was a little hurt because we had at least one class together and we
even talked and studied together. So i really felt what Lauren was going through, though
I'm sure her hurt was greater than mine, considering she though Victor was her
boyfriend. I at least didn't make our relationship more than it was. I like Lauren's
character in the book because even though she is completely obsessed with Victor she is
still a really strong female character. In fact she is more like a guy than the guys in the
book. I love how even though the book is supposed to be a testement to the death of
romance that "love" is still in the book. I don't think that their obsessions are obsessions
but love. It seems to be the only thing that they are really interested in their lives. It
gives them a bit of humanity back to them instead of beign complete vessles.

Final Paper

Jessica Rodriguez
Professor Steven WexlerEnglish 313 H
Audience Participation: Television’s influence in High School
Today in the American society Television seems to have become a very strong influence with everyone, especially amongst teenagers. Teenagers tend to emulate those who they see on TV, and Magazines. So it can be theorized that with the right type of people in a show, movie, or magazine it is possible for unpopular things to become popular amongst teenagers. This is the theory of my paper and through the use of newspaper articles, scholarly journals, and the currently popular show Glee, I will show how sets up trends thanks to audience participation.

I personally watch and love Fox channels new hit Glee.

While taking this class I was able to see how radical this show actually is. It’s really interesting because one of the main themes of the show is to persevere even when people knock you down. In order to fully use Glee as my outside source there must be a proper background of the show that needs to be established. One of the main characters names is Rachel Berry, she is basically the Glee club geek or gleek as the show has termed those enthusiastic about glee club.

She can come off as quite annoying because she is all about singing the leads and becoming a star when you have to work with a whole group. Another main character is Fin Hudson who is not your typical glee member due to the fact that he is the schools star quarterback.

Once Fin becomes a regular member of the Glee Club he enlists a couple of football buddies to join as well. This brings me to my first observation on how the show is radical; it portrays stereotypes of high school students.
How many times have we seen the typical all American Jock football quarterback player just like Fin Hudson, or the Perfect Head Cheerleader with a mean streak when it comes to those who aren’t popular like Quinn Fabray.

The best example of this would be in The Breakfast Club. Kids from different social cliques are forced to participate in detention together. This is something similar to Glee, kids from all different social cliques have come together, something they would never have done others wise, to participate in an after school club. The reason why these characters in Glee work so well like The Breakfast Club kids is because they are original within the stereotype. In Barkers book he discusses the concept of issues of subjectivity and identity, within this idea he brings up the concept of agency, which according to Barker is associated with originality. He states “While identity is a social and cultural accomplishment, our individuality can be understood in terms of the specific ways in which the social resources of the self are arranged” (pg. 236).
Now that a background has been establish I will move on my theory that Television sets up trend through audience participation. However, in order to do this it must first be shown how these media’s influence our core subject within this paper, teenagers. I personally have noticed that within recent television line ups there have been more shows specifically for the high school teenage audience. For instance, shows like Gossip Girl, 90210, Degrassi, Melrose, Vampire Diaries, and this papers core television show Glee, all have one major thing in common, other than the soap opera drama, which leads teenagers coming back for more; they all take place in high school. This for one thing allows the audience to easily relate to these shows and identify themselves with the characters.
Due to the fact that these shows fall into the Soap Opera genre there needs to be certain factors which have been established by Barker that make the genre so popular, such as “Open ended narrative forms: Soap Opera, as a long-running serial, has a potentially unlimited time period in which to tell its stories”(pg.322). Gossip Girl is a prime example of this factor, because the characters went from high school to their current carries in the recent season. This allows students to identify with the characters because they are both growing up at the same time. This can also be said for our secondary source Glee as well because the students are also in high school and growing up along with its viewers. Glee has taken problems like popularity, sexual identity, teen pregnancy, and general acceptance of one’s personal identity, all of which students in high school face on a daily basis in high school, this is radical because these types of issues have always been a little taboo in the television media. However, just recently shows like Secret Life of the American Teenager, Degrassi, and Glee, have been bringing different aspects of teen pregnancy, as well as homosexuality, something that wasn’t normally done on Television.
Leading to the second factor that Barker brings up “Core Locations: Most soaps establish a sense of geographical space that the audience can identify with and to which the characters return again and again” (pg. 323). In the show Glee most of the action takes place within the music room of the school, school halls, football field, principal’s office, or school auditorium, all of which are all relatable to any audience member in high school and beyond. The impression of the school is a lower to upper middle class range, which according to Barker helps establish the social living class of the city or town as lower to upper middle class. “The Neighbours utilizes the Melbourne suburbs while Coronation Street and Eastenders are ser in fictionalized working-class areas of major British cities” (pg. 323) This definitely is relatable to me and those who live in my home town of Victorville California. There isn’t much to do in either Lima, Ohio where the show takes place, or my town Victorville, so we tend to try to get out of our home towns.

For example, in Glee Quinn Fabray, who is Fin Hudson’s girlfriend, finds herself pregnant by Noah Puckerman, Fin’s best friend and football teammate. Instead of breaking up with Fin and dealing with the situation with Noah, she acts as if its Fin’s baby. When Noah confronts her about it and says that he wants to help he rwith the baby she calls him a “Lima-Loser” and says that she would rather be with Fin because he has a future while Noah is a Lima-Loser and will always be a Lima-Loser. When telling Fin that she’s pregnant in episode four appropriately entitled Preggers, Quinn says “I really thought I had a shot of getting out of here” ( I personally love my hometown; however I just like Quinn, don’t want to be stuck in Victorville when there is something bigger and better out there for me, which is why I am in College. Another character in the story who wants to move out of the town of Lima is Rachel Berry. She has dreams of making it big on Broadway, which is undoubtedly different from living in a small town like Lima, Ohio.
With these concepts of small town people making it out of their hometown being such a major theme within the show through audience participation it enacts a sense of self worth within the audience. For instance, in David G. Myers book Psychology in Everyday Life, he talks about a person’s self perception, “Self is the center of personality-the organizer of our thoughts, feelings, and actions” (pg 305). If we take this concept then those who want to make it out of a small town will work hard like Rachel Berry, to perfect a talent or intellect, or in Quinn’s case stay with someone who is likely to make it big. Myer also talks about the idea of possible selves “visions of the self you dream of becoming—the rich self, the successful self, the loves and admired self” (pg. 306). In the case of Glee, Rachel continuously talks about envisioning herself in Broadway as a big star.
In Quinn’s case once she finds out she is pregnant she, for a second, give up on leaving Lima, her worst nightmare. “Your possible selves also include the self you fear becoming—the unemployed self, the lonely self, the academically failed self” (pg. 306). When Quinn tells Fin that she is pregnant in the episode Preggers, he examines is possible self and in a conversation with the Glee teacher Mr. Schuester talks about what he fears of becoming if he doesn’t go to college “I see guys around town who had kids in high school, they work here, or at the supermarket, or pumping gas, or wore caged got no future. I can’t become one of those dudes. Mr. Schu I gotta go to college” (
The fact that these characters go through something that teenagers actually go through makes them more relatable and leads to the next Barker concept on what makes a Soap Opera, that fine line between realism and melodrama. “The tension between the conventions of realism and melodrama: Soap opera utilizes the conventions of both realism and melodrama” (Barker pg. 323). This line between realism and melodrama is what allows these shows to draw us in and keep us coming back for more. One example of realism in Glee is the music. The writers put music in the show that not only teens listen to but adults as well. In one episode they did a cover of Billy Idols Dancing with Myself, and my whole family was singing along with it. For instance, with the whole Preggers situation, there are two love triangles, Quinn loves Fin, and Fin Loves Quinn, but Quinn had sex with Noah and kind of likes him, and Noah is in love with Quinn, and Fin starts liking Rachel, who in turn loves him back. Now this is where the whole line between reality and melodrama is drawn. Teen pregnancy does seem to be a problem in today’s society. However, it is very rare in real life that there is a whole love triangle attached to it, at least not in high school. This is what makes this situation of Quinn being pregnant to interesting and radical; you want to watch and see if Fin will ever find out, which he does, and it breaks him and Quinn up and ruins his friendship with Noah.
Leading us to Barkers last theme of Soap operas, interpersonal relationships “the pivotal themes if interpersonal relationships: Marriages, divorces, break-up, new alliances, arguments, acts of revenge and acts of caring lie at the core of the soap opera. They provide the narrative dynamic and emotional interest” (pg. 323). Within Glee there is a lot of high school drama with the students, but there is also drama with the teachers as well. In the show the cheer leading coach Sue Sylvester has a rivalry with Mr. Schuester. However, there are episodes when she works with him, but in the end she sabotages him and the Glee Club. Another example of interpersonal relationships is between Rachel and Kurt, she becomes one of his best friends because she has a crush on him. In fact she is the one that tells Fin that Quinn is pregnant with Noah’s baby and not his, in hopes that he would fall in love with her (Rachel). This in a way made Rachel’s character more personal to me, not that I have ever sabotaged a relationship, but I know how it feels to like someone so much you are willing to do anything to get them.
These factors of soap opera are what allow Glee, Gossip girl, Vampire Diaries, and Twilight to have the audience participation in set trends within the shows or movie. For example, fashion is something that Gossip girl is known for other than the drama between the characters.

In Rachel La Ferla’s New York Times article Forget Gossip, Girl, the Buzz Is About the Clothes she states “its primary viewership of teenagers and young women tuning in not only for the plots, but also to render judgment on the clothes. The extravagant wardrobes of the stars – a clash of piped blazers, tiny kilts, dueling plaids and festoons of jewelry – have inspired countless posts on fan Web sites, and magazine features about the female leads”(Ferla). This is a prime example of audience participation.
The audience, mainly consumed of teenage girls, sees that the main characters in the show like Serena van der Woodson, Blair Waldorf, Vanessa Abrams, and Jenny Humphrey, are all wearing the latest trend in fashion and “Fans stride into boutiques bearing magazine tear sheets that feature members of the cast and ask for their exact outfits. Or they order scoop-neck tops and hobo bags by following e-commerce links from the show's Web site” (Ferla). Therefore a style of jacket, a type of purse, knee high or ankle boots, the designer down to the characters personal style of dress have all had an influence to this shows core audience. “Devotees generally fall into two camps: those taken with the worldly nonchalance of Serena (Blake Lively), the show's queen bee, and others fixated on the fussier style of Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester), who is given to layering on brooches, pearls, scarves, a shrilly colorful blazer and patent leather pumps, topped with a frilly headband” (Ferla). Glee also has a very trendy cast when it comes to fashion. Rachel’s character is always wearing preppy clothes that were made popular by Gossip Girl in the first season. Reema Desai stated in her article Fashion on Glee, “Although the show is known for its singing and music, one can't help but notice that some of the characters have a great sense of style. In fact, I would go as far as saying that most of the characters on the show have a fun, unique sense of style that a lot of shows right now lack” (
I have also noticed another trend that has emerged within television, books, and movies…vampires. Usually when you think of vampires you think of pale, dead, blood suckers who only come out at night. However, since Twilight came out vampires have been all the rage. The CW recently aired a show this year called the Vampire Diaries which has a Twilight feel to it. Once again I believe that the vampire phenomenon has become so big is because of audience participation. Stephanie Meyers character Bella Swan, is your typical high school girl, therefore making her more relatable to high school girls. However, Twilight has become so popular that in Hot Topic they actually sell a dress that Bella wears in the movie, and they sell jewelry, and shirts with the characters on it. The audience is being influenced by the fact that they relate to Bella so much, and the fact that they want their own Edward that they think that by buying these items that they get closer to getting their own Edward. In fact the Twilight fans are so hard core about their love for the books and its characters that “Over the last year or so, Forks (population 3,120) has morphed into a mecca for Twilighters, or Twihards as they are sometimes called” (Margolies, 2009).

Vampires have become so loved that they are no longer fear by its fans Ruth La Ferla quotes Emily Rose in article A Trend With Teeth, “There are monsters so much bigger and more realistic in our day-to-day lives,” Ms. Rose said. “Having somebody clamp onto your neck and drain you — that doesn’t seem so scary anymore”.
Another trend started by the whole Vampire phenomenon is the fact that because vampires are so inherently errotic, girls must choose between being a good girl or a total slut, and guys must live up to completely unrealistic expectations. In Gail Collins New York Times article Virginal Goth Girl she states “It's no wonder that Valenti sees today's young women being pulled between complete chastity and utter sluttiness” (Collins, 2009). Style today has definitely changed do to the vampire phenomenon Ruth La Ferla states in her article A Trend With Teeth, “The style world, too, has come under the vampire’s spell, in the shape of the gorgeous leather- and lace-clad night crawlers who have crept into the pages of fashion glossies”.

This reminds me of an episode on Glee called Hairography where Rachel takes styling advice from her friend Kurt in order to entice her crush Fin. She ends up wearing a black skin tight suit like Sandy from Grease. However Fin tells her he likes girls to be more natural like the way she was originally.

It used to be that musicals and glee club were meant for dorks and geeks. However with the show Glee, it has brought on a new positive perspective to the term Glee thanks to active audience participation.. These trends have become radical because Glee isn’t considered all that popular in high school, vampires used to only be considered cool by weirdoes or Goths, and characters weren’t typically made so big because of what they wear. The fact that these shows have made their characters so relatable makes it easier and desired to emulate them in any way we can; fashion seems to be the easiest of those emulations whether it’s the Fashion of Gossip girl or a hot vampire clad in black leather. It also allows things like Vampires and Glee to become popular because vampires aren’t seen as scary anymore and Glee kids can now be a mixture of Football starts and Cheerleads to nerds and outcasts due to the characters influence over its relatable audience and their participation.

Works Cited

Barker, Chris. Cultural Studies. 3rd ed. Great Britain: Sage Publications Ltd, 2008. 236,322-323. Print.

Collins, Gail. "A Virginal Goth Girl." New York Times(2008): 15. Web. 16 Dec 2009. .

Desai, Reema. "Fashion On Glee." 09/10/2009. Clarity Digital Group LLC , Web. 16 Dec 2009. .

"Glee Preggers." Mega Video. Web. 16 Dec 2009. .

La Ferla, Ruth . "A Trend With Teeth." New York Times (2009): n. pag. Web. 16 Dec 2009. .

La Ferla, Ruth . " Forget Gossip, Girl, the Buzz Is About the Clothes ." New York Times (2009): A.17. Web. 16 Dec 2009. .

Margolies, Jane. "‘Twilighters’ Put Small Town in the Spotlight." New York Times (2009): n. pag. Web. 16 Dec 2009. .

Myers, David. Psychology in Everyday Life. 1 st ed. New York, NY: Worth Pub, 2008. 305-306. Print.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Social Construction of Place

I Heart NY

The clip of Sex and the City that I chose was one called “I Heart NY”. In this scene the main character Carrie is having her last moments with her boyfriend Big. Big is at the time getting ready to move to Nappa in California while Carrie will be remaining in New York. The move is actually a surprise to Carrie and she is upset that Big wasn’t even going to tell her that he was moving.
I believe that this scene is a great representation of “The Social construction of place” that Chris Barker talks about in his book “Cultural Studies”. When the scene starts out Carrie has just arrived at Big’s apartment, only to see that all of his stuff is either gone or in boxes. According to Barker’s idea of Gendered Space, the home is what is known as the feminine domain. The fact that almost all of Big’s things are out of the apartment symbolizes that a man has no place within the construction of the home. Figures like Martha Stewart and Nina Campbell only further demonstrate that in today’s society a woman is constructer in the home.
Another demonstration of Gender Construction in this scene is when Carrie and Big are taking the carriage ride at night. Barker says that “attempts by some women to ‘reclaim the night’ are essentially spatial practices”(377). This carriage ride is an attempt to make the evening more romantic, and therefore feminine. This is demonstrated when Carrie is called to help a friend in labor, Big says “I can’t believe you are leaving me alone with a horse and buggy”, he clearly doesn’t find the ride an ideal means of transportation. Especially since the guy usually takes a girl on a carriage ride to please her not himself.
I found this scene quite interesting in how it shows that social construction of place really does exist in the world. It is just an unconscious habit that we have to make the woman chose how the house is going to be decorated while the guy goes to work, or how we limit the places that a woman is allowed to go at certain times in the day.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dating:The Concept of Male and Female

Jessica Rodriguez
English 313H
Professor Wexler
13 October 2009
Dating: The Concept of Male and Female
From the time we are children we are taught what is feminine and what is masculine. We take these concepts and apply it to our own identity. Girls are taught to be proper and polite. While boys, generally tend to be on the rowdy side. However, one thing that I really stood out to me as a little girl was the concept of if a boy is mean to you, it means he likes you. The movie “He’s Just Not That into You,” takes this concept applies it into today’s world of dating. It also shows the use of distancing oneself through technology, and the influence of Feminism in a relationship.
The main character in this movie, Gigi, claims that little girls are brainwashed into believing this concept. Therefore, women will try to rationalize that the guy is being a jerk because he likes you too much, or he is intimidated, or that you are too good for him. So throughout the movie she is obsessed with the current guy that she is with just to that she can have a relationship. This reminds me of the relationship between Brick and Maggie in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”. Maggie is willing to work at the relationship no matter how bad Brick treats her. According to Chris Barkers book “Cultural Studies”, Gigi is playing into the typical female character, she is completely dependent on, and anxious to please the current guy that shows the slightest interest in her that she doesn’t take the time to evaluate and see if he is truly into her. This in itself is radical because she is willing to be in a bad relationship rather than being alone, or looking harder for someone better.
On the reverse perspective of gender is between the characters Anna and Connor. Connor is in love with Anna but she just uses him whenever she doesn’t have a date. Anna takes on the role of a male within the relationship because she is the one who as Barker states is “Dominant, self-centered, decisive, rational, and conniving”. She is the one who ends the dates, or when they are going on a date. While Connor, is dependent, sacrificing, and anxious to please Anna. One major demonstration of Connors anxiousness to please Anna is the fact that he is about to buy a house for her if she likes it. Buying a house is something that is a really big step in a relationship and at the time they had just started to date again, so I saw this as being extremely radical.
Another concept of Barker’s that I saw in the movie that all of the female characters play into is defining the world through family relations. Every time a situation with the opposite sex doesn’t go as planed or the boyfriends are acting like jerks the friends tell a story about a friend who had a friend that was in a similar situation and how it worked out in the end. The main male character in this movie Alec, who is helping Gigi is very harsh when helping her understand guys, he falls into the typical macho guy role that Barker establishes for masculinity, he is self centered, self-confident, decisive, and rational. Barker states that “identification of oneself as male or female is a foundation stone of a self-identity”. I found this and interesting concept because with his advise he gives Gigi a male perspective when choosing how to go about dating. Gigi takes on a radical change in that aspect of being able to interpret the guy’s rejection allows her to not get hurt. She is in a sense distancing herself from rejection and taking on a male attitude when it comes to getting close to guys.
A different radical concept that I saw was how the character Mary see’s dating. She talks with her gay co-workers about this guy that she is interested in and how he myspaced her for a date. She says that she misses the organic way of dating and how now if she wants to attract a guy she has to update her profile rather than get a haircut. I thought this was radical because dating in today’s society has really become cyber based. Barker states that “electronics are the basis of modern information technologies. They are at the heart of global wealth production, communications networks and personalized information and entertainment systems”. With all of these E-Harmony, and’s it is easy to associate dating with the internet. At one point Mary even has a date over video chat. Using technology so much allows us to distance ourselves from others and romance isn’t a part of starting a relationship anymore, it’s more of let’s get right to the sex. This is demonstrated in Bret Easton Ellis’ “The Rules of Attraction”, none of the characters seemed to be in love with those they are obsessing over. Even when Sean claims to love Lauren he lets her go and then at the end of the book it is implied that he is about to have sex with a hitchhiker he just picked up.
The last demonstration of radical romance is between the characters Neil and Beth. Neil doesn’t want to get married. He states that “Married people are not to be trusted”, and “they do it because they are insecure”. I believe this is a radical idea because within our culture men are considered to be whipped when they get married. In television today the wife is portrayed as domineering while the man is subordinate, such as in Desperate Housewives. I believe this has to do with the raise of Feminism within our culture. Barker gives examples of different kinds of Feminism such as liberal, difference, socialist, poststructuralist, black, postcolonial, and postfeminism. According to Barker the Poststructuralist Feminism is the most influential, “Given its stress on culture, representation, language, power and conflict, poststructuralist feminism has become a major influence within cultural studies”. I also believe the fact that Neil who is friends with Mark, who has a domineering wife, has something to do with his opinion on marriage.
To conclude, “He’s Just Not That In To You” is a great movie to study the concept of radical romance. I really liked how the main characters fell into the typical male and female roles, and then at the end changed roles. Then there was the portrayal of characters that were opposite from their natural gender characteristics. It made me really think about the typical role that a woman plays and how we have changed that role with the ideas of Feminism. We have become more independent rather than being dependent on men. I also liked the fact that it showed how we as a culture tend to distance ourselves by using technology, as well as simply using the opposite sex for sex and enjoyment rather than having a relationship.
Works Cited
Barker, Chris. Cultural Studies
Great Britain: TJ International Ltd,Padstow,Cornwal, 2008