Myspace began in 2003. Facebook began in 2004. Youtube began in 2005. Twitter began in 2006. Instagram began in 2010.
If we were to not have social media ever again, I do not think it would be that big of a deal. We didn’t have it in 2002 and I think we were all okay. Social media has allowed us to express what is on our mind with the world, keep in contact with people publicly, share pictures, and most importantly… show everyone what super extravagant meal we’re eating for dinner. If we were not able to do those things anymore, the world would still keep spinning. I also feel that if there wasn’t social media, then maybe our generation wouldn’t be so focused on our phones, and maybe be more focused on how to communicate effectively in person.
However, I do think social media, when used in certain ways, can be extremely beneficial to society. There have been many campaigns that have used social media to raise money and awareness for various situations. Social media is also very fun to use, and it gives people a place to casually vent and communicate to people from all over the world about trending topics.
All in all, social media is here to stay, but if it were no more, I believe society would be #justfine.
There have been many clever hashtag campaigns over the past several years, but one that easily caught my eye was the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. This campaign was used to help raise money and awareness for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or AKA Lou Gehrig’s Disease). At the time of the campaign, it seemed like everyone in the United States was participating. From average Joe’s like myself to celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, everyone under the sun dumped ice water on their heads in order to raise awareness for the disease. It became such a big hit that some questioned the legitimacy of why some were participating. The “challenge” became extremely popular, and everyone wanted to post their own video showing them get drenched with ice water. Although many might have performed the stunt because it was just the popular thing to do at the time, the “ALSIceBucketChallenge” hashtag was still being used, therefore there was still significantly heightened awareness for the disease, thus making it a successful hashtag campaign.
When one thinks of hip-hop, women aren’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. However, women hip-hop artists have influenced the genre and culture of hip-hop on ground-breaking levels. Lauryn Hill is one of the most well known and influential female artists to have ever touched a microphone. Ben Brubaker, an African American feminist, speaks about her influences in great detail.
“Lauryn Hill is a complex individual manifestation of post-modernity, encompassing a wide range of beliefs and characteristics that often conflict and blend together. Lauryn Hill also represents the less narrowly defined 3rd wave of feminism because her post-modern complexity results in an incredibly empowering message for women, which often conflicts with her more traditional submission to certain patriarchal values. Lauryn Hill also embodies a post-modern approach to “Prophetic Christianity” (a term coined by Dr. Cornel West) in how her lyrics often break down the oppressive forces within the world on a spiritual level, including criticisms of the Catholic Church and expressions of liberation through personal testimony.”
All of this is expressed in her record selling album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” which was revolutionary in how it paved the way for women to have a legitimate role in hip-hop.
In extreme circumstances, people tend to get…well…extreme. Riots, looting, burning, and other acts of violence are all examples of extreme behavior used by people when they feel that there is no other way to get their point across. These types of behaviors and methods are used mostly when there are issues with discrimination of any kind, or politics. While some, maybe even most, of Americans might think that these methods are over the top and uncalled for…to the passionate people doing the acts, at least they know that they have your attention. Rioting, looting, burning, and violence are all extreme, but sometimes that is the last resort.
In general, humans spend their lives in fear. We fear the things we don’t understand, we fear the future, we fret over the past. When it comes to things we don’t understand, it’s only human to rationalize in the best way we can: to make assumptions and draw our own conclusion to the best of our mental and emotional ability. The film Philadelphia is a true testament to what happens when our natural ability to rationalize fails us and we’re forced to come to terms with the harsh truths that the universe has given us.
Though Philadelphia was written in the early 90’s, the social stigma behind HIV and homosexuals still remains. As time has progressed, we’ve learned more about the disease and how it moves. Philadelphia highlights the ignorance behind the individuals who still view HIV as a disability and a condemning death sentence that renders the individual as ‘hopeless’ or ‘valueless’. This film highlights the homophobia that is ingrained within men of all walks of life. Discrimination isn’t limited to just race or origin and Philadelphia effectively conveys that.
Homophobia, especially in this film, was directed more towards black males and older white men. Denzel Washington’s character repeatedly voiced his hatred and disgust of homosexuals as well as the older white males at the law firm. Unfortunately, we still see a trend of African American homophobic attitudes even today. Denzel Washington interestingly pointed out that the reason why he is homophobic is due to the way he was raised. As a man in society, one is taught to always be masculine in every aspect of his life. They are taught that anything feminine is considered weak and any contact with femininity is a direct threat to one’s own masculinity. Men are taught to fear homosexuals because they threaten masculinity and do not act the way society believes a man is “supposed” to act. For black males, the homophobia is stronger because it adds to the discrimination that they already face. In other words, black males are already discriminated against because of their race and being gay would add to the hardships and struggles they deal with.
In the library scene, Tom Hanks is asked to move into a nearby research room by the librarian. Hanks politely responded by saying “no,” but the librarian kept insisting. It is obvious in this point of the movie that Tom Hanks has HIV, and the people that he comes in contact with don’t want anything to do with him. The man sitting across the same table as Hanks is actually the one who contacted the librarian and asked for Hanks to be moved. When he saw that wasn’t going to happen, he quickly gathered his books and other belongings and left. This is a perfect example of how ignorant people were about HIV and how those who had the virus at that time were discriminated against.
Although not as prevalent anymore, homophobia is still a condition seen in both white and black men especially. In today’s society, the gay community is larger than ever and becoming more accepted in America, but the population that fears those that are gay is still a rather large one as well. Research on HIV has grown exponentially since 1993 (date movie was written), and we know for certain that it is transmitted through bodily fluids and that there still isn’t a cure. Shouldn’t we be compassionate to those with the virus? Shouldn’t we be trying to help those with HIV? Why is there still discrimination against those with the virus? We don’t necessarily think people with HIV are going to contaminate everything they touch anymore, but we do sometimes still view them as a lost cause, or ‘valueless.’ How can we stop this? What can we do to change the way America views the LGBTQ community and how can we help those who are struck with HIV?
How do we make our world bigger? How does film or TV differ from reality? Explain how film can imply social change.
Visual media is a way for most of us to escape from reality and enter into new worlds. We file into movie theaters in order to see the next big blockbuster hit, hoping that for the next two hours we will be drenched in entertainment to distract our minds from our everyday lives. Or, we come home from long days and relax by watching our favorite TV shows. Usually these movies and TV shows depict situations that are fictional for entertainment purposes, or they portray extreme realistic circumstances that one mostly likely will never experience. Because of this, visual media is able to draw the viewer into a “new reality.” This in itself describes the impact that visual media can have on an individual. Now, how are we using visual media to positively impact and educate people to bring about social change? Well, films like “Selma” and television documentaries like “Blackfish” are two examples of doing just that. Dr. King is a hero. We learn about him in the very early stages of our lives, and we have a day dedicated to him. But, what the movie “Selma” allows us to see is Dr. King’s life through a different lens. The movie gives us an inside look into his daily struggles and triumphs, which isn’t something we can learn from a textbook. The documentary “Blackfish” is a film educating us on the lives of the killer whales associated with water parks such as SeaWorld. This documentary educates its viewers on the every day processes the people and whales experience, and how those processes led to violence and injuries for both. “Blackfish” gives us knowledge on how to properly care for such animals, and also how to prevent certain negatives outcomes from happening. It has also brought a substantial amount of attention to these water parks, and has helped ensure proper care for all involved. Visual media allows for an escape from reality, but sometimes an escape isn’t always what we need. When that is the case, why not approach visual media in a different way and educate yourself on our history or broaden your knowledge on current topics? Knowledge is indeed a very important asset to have when try to bring about positive social change, is it not?
How can I take my individual world and broaden it to expand my network? Well, this can be done in a number of ways. As a student-athlete of the University of Virginia, the amount of people available to help provide me with proper knowledge about the wonders of life is incredible. We have financial advisors, academic coordinators, sports and life psychologists, health and nutritional specialists, and of course our coaches to help us better ourselves and prepare us for life after college. The exciting part about having all of these resources is that these people also have a large number of connections in the corporate world. Admittedly, I do not always take advantage of all of these resources on a consistent basis. For my last two years at the university, I definitely plan to build more relationships with our coordinators and advisors.
Also, because of my position as a student-athlete, I’ve been given a platform to potentially have a huge impact on so many lives, thus also broadening my network. Through the football team’s community service group “Community Cavs,” I was able to make visits to the children’s hospital along with several of my teammates every Friday before our home games. Seeing the children smiling every Friday (even though they did a better job of making me smile!) was enough to bring myself to the conclusion that I could make a positive difference in someone’s life. By taking advantage of my time at the children’s hospital, along with participating in other “Community Cavs” events throughout last semester, I made a lot of great connections with people from around Charlottesville. I hope to continue making similar types of connections during this semester, as well.
Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” is an extremely iconic song that reveals the devastating truths about the lynchings of African Americans in the early 20th century. Holliday’s original song was recorded in 1939. Nina Simone covered the song in 1965, and this version of the song was sampled by Kanye West for a song in his newest album titled Yeezus. West titled the song “Blood on the Leaves,” which is a lyric from “Strange Fruit.” Although West’s song talks mostly about the struggles of fame and molly usage, one can’t help but notice the powerful voice of Simone in the background singing “Strange Fruit.” Although Kanye isn’t singing for the purpose of educating the generations of today about the daily struggles of African American lives back in those times, his sampling of “Strange Fruit” has caused many who were unaware of the song’s purpose to wonder about the meaning. Thus, indirectly educating today’s youth about one of America’s most towering, important songs of the 20th century.
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I freak out when speaking in front of people that I do not know, so singing in front of the class if I’m tardy might mean that dropping the course is in the picture. That, or I better just make sure that I’m early. For the purpose of this assignment, however, three songs that I would sing if I was ever late to class would be 1)Charlene by Anthony Hamilton. Anthony and I go way back. He gets me. 2)The second song I would choose to sing would be The Real Her by Drake. This was one of my favorite Drake songs in high school and it has stuck with me to this day. 3)The third song that I would sing would be Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath. He is a Christian artist and I love the lyrics along with the message and overall meaning of the song. I in no way agree to singing any of these songs, though. I will definitely be arriving to class earlier than usual from now on.