Archive for February, 2012

After leaving today’s class, a couple thoughts about culture and stereotypes came to mind.  In class we looked over some advertisements concerning how we associate cultures to costumes, which reminded me about my Grade 12 World Issues class summative project where we had to assume a country in a model UN.  Every student was able to chose a different country to represent, and respond to different current issues.  For out assignment presentation, we were graded not only on the information we presented, but also on how we visually represented our country.  Our teacher suggested that in order to get top marks here, it was important to “dress up” or bring in props that reflected our country.  For example, someone representing Japan wore a kimono, the student representing Cuba held a cigar, and the person representing France drew on a curly moustache.  Does this mean that we can reduce an entire country to one piece of dress, or an accessory?  Why is it necessary to “dress up” in order to portray a certain country?

Also, here is another clip from “The Office” that helps to demonstrate how stereotypes can be associated with certain cultures.

Diversity Training

Colleen Haslett – Sext up kids

Posted: February 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

In my Con ed Sociology class we watched a documentary on CBC’s Doc Zone called “Sext up kids.” This is a 45 minute long video that covers a wide variety of issues with what affects children in today’s society.

The image of sexualized younger children is becoming the norm and there are many pressures within this hyper sexualized society for these children to conform to these identities.

There is a section within this documentary that covers Barbie’s and Bratz dolls and their effect on the over sexualization of young girls, the unrealistic body types that is portrayed and what is considered “beautiful.”

It’s a lengthy video, but definitely worth watching!




After reading Friedan the thing that surprised me the most was how much attention and detail went into manipulating women into buying products. It seemed as if the report she discusses thinks up every possible problem that may occur when advertising to women as well as a solution to each conceivable problem. The part I found most interesting was the instructions regarding selling products to women by making housecleaning seem like a profession in where they are the expert. The reason I found this most interesting was because I was able to relate it to my mom. The article states that women want to feel a sense of achievement and ego enhancement by knowing that they are an expert at their profession. While I never considered my mom to be a typical cookie cutter housewife, she worked from home for ten years as a seamstress while my siblings and I were young. I recall many advertisements that I thought were amazing but my mother was not so easily drawn in. One example I recall was an ad for those automatic vacuum cleaners that just circle around your room in a variety of paths so that you don’t have to do a single thing expect possibly press a button. As I stared in astonishment I remember my mom saying that it would never clean the floors as well as she did. I didn’t think much of it then but after reading this I wonder if it had to do with her sense of expertise in domestic duties.

Hey everyone, I found this music video online (using clips from the 1950’s) and I think it illuminates what Friedan was mentioning in her article. ( How housewives are being manipulated / persuaded into purchasing products they don’t need…even manipulated into purchasing more of what they already have in order to make them feel better about their current life situation and also themselves)

Also, I found this consumerism video from the 1950’s…
“mass consumption makes you the most powerful giant in the land”
(it’s only a minute long)




ps – I also found and watched a video biography on the author of this weeks reading called “1950’s Housewife to Women’s Activist: Betty Friedan” worth checking out!


I wanted to talk about something I realized when shopping with my sister at the Eaton’s Centre this reading week. I noticed that we don’t just talk about ‘buying’ something, or ‘getting’ something, we talk about our purchases as ‘investments’. I found both my sister and I saying things like “I need to invest in a good pair of boots” or jacket, or watch, etc., etc. I think this is how we are getting away with not changing our crazy consumption habits in a time that we are increasingly recognizing this issue. It was often something that puzzled me… that there is a dialogue about how our consumption is detrimental to our world and how we need to change, but it doesn’t seem to have any effect on our habits. I think this is because we are changing our ideas about what we need. I find myself saying I need to invest in different purchases which means it is alright to spend money on myself because it will be useful, whether this is true or not is irrelevant. I convince myself that I need this, and the guilt of purchasing is somewhat lifted. This cannot just be something that I do, so I would argue that perhaps this is something others are doing as well to keep up their spending habits. Does anyone else find themselves doing this? Any other opinions about this?

Cassandra Jetter and Lewis Wood

Posted: February 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

In the article Culture Jamming by Kalle Lasn, it compares culture jamming to a “meme war” or a battle to change the ideas of consumerism in Western society. It is a form of activism where preexisting messages are transformed in a variety of ways to send a realistic message to the audience. In Children, Toys and Media the example of Greenpeace targeting Mattel was looked at. In this video you can see one example of a culture jam that was very successful, as it got Mattel to change the packaging of Barbie.