The Interview

When considering assessment 2, my group and i came to a consensus that we were all interested in investigating the topic of stereotypes within families in comedic television programs. What i mean by this is analysing family roles in different tv shows and identifying the social stereotypes they posses. For example, it is commonly found in tv shows that father’s are often depicted as lazy and idiotic, mothers are often nagging house-wives and children are often categorised as one being rebellious ‘failure’ and one being an intelligent ‘goodie-goodie’.
Although we knew the area in which we wanted to research, in practice, we struggled in creating a specific research question however we have now landed on

As practice, i asked my sister some of the questions we have put together.

1. Age: 29

2. Gender: Female

3. Are you familiar with the following television programs: The Simpsons and Modern Family?
Yes, i have seen episodes from both shows

4. How would you describe the traits of the characters from:
– The Simpsons:
Homer:
Idiotic
Marge:
a nag
Bart:
rebellious
Lisa:
intelligent
Maggie:
the outsider

– Modern Family:
Phil: Idiotic
Claire:
a nag
Hayley:
rebellious
Alex:
intelligent
Luke:
the outsider

5. In one word, describe the main role of each member of the family
Homer: provider
Marge:
housewife
Bart:
rebel
Lisa:
nerd
Maggie:
forgotten-child

Phil: Supporter
Claire:
Family therapist
Hayley:
the cool one
Alex:
nerd
Luke:
Loner

6. Do you see a familiarity between any of the characters from The Simpsons to the characters in Modern Family?
Yes

7. Do you think the way families are represented in television has changed over time? Can you elaborate?
Yes, for example, modern family now incorporates gay couples, adopted babies and generational differences in marriage.

8. Do you think that the roles in The Simpsons have changed over time to fit in with social norms?
Yes

9. Do you think that Modern Family correctly reflects social norms in society today?
Yes

It is important to note that these questions at this point are merely drafts and nothing has been labelled official.

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The Personality of Music

Music is arguably one of the most influential, personal things in an individual’s life. It serves as a form of therapy, a companion, a hobby and a passion. As a result, it is safe to say that music has the power to completely shape any person it affects. There are so many genres to pick from in music’s repertoire including: rock, pop, hip-hop, country, indie, R&B, metal, electronica and a myriad more. In saying that, all these genres are structured based on particular characteristics which, in turn, appeal to different individuals, which brings me to the question, do people reflect the genres they listen to? Jane Collingwood analyses this theory within her article ‘Preferred Music Style Is Tied to Personality’.

This article illustrates that the music genre that an individual is most interested in strongly correlates with: their personalities, their clothing, their hobbies, the way they talk and even the places they go. Collingwood identifies the research of Professor Adrian North, an expert on music psychology, who organized the ‘largest study involving both musical interests and personality types’ (Collingwood, 2013) This study was performed over 3 years with more than 36,000 from more than 60 countries, demonstrating thorough research and a commitment to the cause. In able for the study to be successful and examined, it required those involved to rank a wide array of music genres and styles based on their own personal preference.
The results concluded that:

Chart pop fans have high self-esteem, are hardworking, outgoing and gentle, but are not creative and not at ease
Rock/heavy metal fans have low self-esteem, are creative, not hard-working, not outgoing, gentle, and at ease
Indie fans have low self-esteem, are creative, not hard working, and not gentle
Rap fans have high self-esteem and are outgoing
Dance fans are creative and outgoing but not gentle
Country and western fans are hardworking and outgoing…. (Collingwood, 2013)

North ‘believes that his results show why people can get defensive about what they like to listen to, as it is likely to be profoundly linked to their outlook on life’ (Collingwood, 2013)

I believe that any music appreciator would find this article particularly interesting as it may reveal significant information that was not previously thought of. By reading this article, the reader may find that they can relate to it’s content or identify these trends with someone they know.

In regards to research, it is clear that the Collingwood has used North’s study has the main source for her article, accurately represented his findings and staying faithful to integrity of his findings. The results from the questionaire alone proves and defends the main argument of the article.

References
http://psychcentral.com/lib/preferred-music-style-is-tied-to-personality/0001438

Disney Gender Roles – Text Analysis

Who here HASN’T seen a Disney movie? Let me guess.. not many.  And if you do happen to be the one person in the back, hiding in the shadows, hesitantly raising your hand, then I’m sure you’ve at least heard the stories.
I think most of us can agree that Disney movies are a childhood staple, a right of passage in growing up and moral development. But despite our once utopian perspectives on the story-lines, Disney movies have become an interesting subject when evaluating gender roles and stereotypes within it’s primary characters. Pop culture writer, Leah Pickett, comments on the stereotypical gender roles of females with reference to: ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in her article ‘How growing up Disney shapes gender roles’.

The content of the article comments on the poor examples these movies demonstrate in regards to creating suitable role models for young, impressionable minds. In hindsight, the women in these movies are strong, beautiful, intelligent, independent protagonists, however their integrity is questioned as soon as a potential male lover enters their lives. Suddenly, these women become subject to stereotypical, submissive roles when involved in a relationship (Pickett 2013).
For example, the mermaid Ariel is willing to change or eradicate important features of herself, including her voice, her tail and her family, in order to be with Eric, a human man who she had never talked to and saw for approximately 5 minutes. This suggests that she has to change for him in order for the relationship to be sustained as he is the dominant figure of the relationship. Take notice that as the story evolves, It isn’t even considered that he could become a mermaid in order to be with her. (Pickett 2013).
Ursula - The Little Mermaid
Furthermore, the female protagonist of ‘Beauty and the Beast’, Belle, follows a similar destiny as pre-male, she was an independent, book-loving, wanderlust woman however, post-male, she submits herself to the beast, enduring his aggressive outbursts and severe oppression, suggesting that ‘a woman is obligated to stay loyal to the abusive male in her life…[and try to] fix him to become sweet again: a dangerous error that many women make when struggling to leave a home of domestic violence. ‘ (Pickett, 2013)
Gaston - Beauty and the Beast
I believe that any former or current Disney appreciator would find this article particularly interesting as i have found that it is not until you are older that you can reconstruct these story-lines into a new perspective which would be one of Pickett’s main intentions. Her feelings and opinions are written clearly and coherently, although she does not incorporate any other official viewpoints in order to provide further evaluation or critique for the reader however any member of the public has the option to comment on the piece to either support the view or oppose the view.

In regards to research, i noticed the article is rather subjective with very limited resources. What this shows however, is that majority of the content may highlight Pickett’s own personal opinion, which naturally isn’t ‘sourced’ from someone else. On the other hand, just because the sources aren’t listed, doesn’t mean that she hasn’t used information from somewhere else. Perhaps Pickett has simply just not stated her sources which, in turn, would suggest that this article is not and academic one.

While Pickett’s article demonstrates great examples of genders roles within women in Disney movies, i believe that the issue should not be restricted with only women. Male characters can also be stereotyped which can result in unrealistic perception of reality. Desirable males must always be big, strong and muscular. Any other male that does not share such characteristics are usually dubbed as weak outcasts. Men are also expected to become ‘knights in shining armor’, brave in the face of any danger and always know what to do in any circumstance in order to get the girl.
So not only can DIsney movies send the wrong message to young girls, but young boys can also be negatively impacted due to the unrealistic views of the ‘ideal man’. Pickett’s argument could have been further improved if both perspectives were analysed and considered, however her message still comes across in the article.

References

Pickett, L 2013, ‘How growing up Disney shapes gender roles’, WBEZ91.5, wbez.org, viewed 16 April 2015, <http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-06/how-growing-disney-shapes-gender-roles-107575&gt;

GIFS: 2015, ‘What Do Disney Movies Teach Us About Gender Roles’, MTV news, mtv.comViewed 17 April 2015, < http://www.mtv.com/news/2098135/disney-gender-roles-laci-green-braless/&gt;

Let’s Look at this Ethically…

When considering the importance of ethics within the realms of research, it must first be made clear exactly what ethics is and how we define it within society. Ethics is a rather subjective term with no distinct boundaries in regards to it’s definition. Consequently this can result in many differing interpretations depending on the individual however, most commonly, can be identified as a set of widely-agreed moral principles that aid in distinguishing between what is right and what is wrong (McCutcheon, 2015). Ethics can be classified in either professional terms, such as ethical codes of conduct within a business or institution, or merely in regards to out own personal moral standards which we often adopt in particular social settings such as at home, at school or at church (Resnik 2011). As a result of this definition transparency, principles and standards of ethics vary according to the discipline they are conducted in, whether it be business, government, law, medicine, and, more to the topic, research. Ethics in research can ‘ensure the researcher is ‘doing the right thing’ by the project, it’s participants and society at large'(Weerakkody 2008, p.73) and as chief priority, should cover five important stages:

  1. Design
  2. Data Collection
  3. Data Analysis
  4. Reporting of Findings
  5. Publication

However, an unfortunate truth is that the development of research has been constructed on shocking and disastrous violations of moral human values, resulting in many ethical issues. More specifically, is the 1971 case of ‘The Stanford Prison Experiment’. Psychologist, Philip Zimbardo and his associates aimed to further expand on Stanley Milgrim’s obedience experiment by analysing the behaviours and reactions of individuals when assigned particular roles and power dynamics in social situations. In order to test this, Zimbardo attempted to replicate a prison environment in the basement of the Department of Psychology in Stanford University, California. During this simulation, 24 male students who had no criminal background, psychological issues or any major medical conditions, were randomly assigned to either the role of a prisoner or a prison guard for a period of two weeks (Cherry, 2010). In true commitment, police were directed to publicly apprehend the student ‘suspects’ and sent to ‘jail’ where they were exposed to strip searches, ankle chains and other distressing procedures while ‘guards’ were instructed to proceed with constant, continual acts of authority over the ‘prisoners’ (Weerakkody 2008, p.75). ‘..guards began to harass prisoners. They behaved in a brutal and sadistic manner, apparently enjoying it…One prisoner had to be released after 36 hours because of uncontrollable bursts of screaming, crying and anger.’ (McLeod, 2008). What the results showed was that people can follow to the stereotypical social norms they are required to play without hesitation, emphasising the dangers of blindly conforming to a role of power and authority. What was worrying ethically, was exposing these young men to mental and physical trauma which had the potential to lead to long-term effects for research purposes. Even converting happy, healthy, strong, young men into aggressive, dictating tyrants rang ethical alarm bells. Despite the anticipated two week time period, unsurprisingly, the brutality of the guards and the intense suffering of the prisoners lead to the termination of the experiment after a mere six days (BBC Prison Study, 2008), emphasising the vital importance of ethics within the field of research.

References
BMAPify 2013, ‘Zimbardo Prison Experiment (shortened clip), Youtube, youtube.com, viewed 16 April 2015, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GePFFf5gRKo&gt;

Cherry, K 2010, ‘The Stanford Prison Experiment’, About Education, about.com, viewed 15 April 2015,<http://psychology.about.com/od/classicpsychologystudies/a/stanford-prison-experiment.htm&gt;

Jarrett, C 2014, ‘1. The Stanford Prison Experiment’, The 10 Most Controversial Psychology Studies Ever, The British Psychological Society, bps.org.uk, viewed 15 April 2015, <http://digest.bps.org.uk/2014/09/the-10-most-controversial-psychology.html&gt;

McCutcheon, M 2015, ‘Lecture 3 Research Ethics’, BCM210 Researches Practice in Media and Communication, powerpoint slides, University of Wollongong, viewed 15th of April.

McLeod, S 2008, ‘Zimbardo – Stanford Prison Experiment’, Simply Psychology, simplypsychology.org, viewed 15 April 2015, <http://www.simplypsychology.org/zimbardo.html&gt;

Resnik, D.B 2011, ‘What is Ethics in Research & Why is it Important?’, Research, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, nih.gov, viewed 15 April 2015, <http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/resources/bioethics/whatis/&gt;

The BBC Prison Study 2008, ‘Background: The Stanford Prison Experiment’, The Study, bbcprisonstudy.org, viewed 15 April 2015, <http://www.bbcprisonstudy.org/bbc-prison-study.php?p=17&gt; Weerakkody, N 2008, ‘Research ethics in media and communication’, Research Methods for Media and Communications, Oxford University Press Australia and New Zealand, South Melbourne, Vic., pp. 73-75, viewed 15 April 2015, <https://tr.uow.edu.au/uow/file/673e82a9-ad8b-4240-a296-141f9ba56f74/1/weerakkodyn2.pdf&gt;

‘What Is Research?’ – Hold-up while i google this

And so we enter this subject with our serious faces on, technology in hand and a strong determination to absorb every piece of knowledge there is on media and it’s research elements, however, what we’ve failed to realise until now is that we already know a great deal about it. Like many of us, upon hearing the word ‘research’, images of white coats or men wearing brown suits with leather elbow patches pops up. Public perceptions associate research with uninteresting, complicated and monotonous work, however, it proves to be more that just complex numbers and fancy words. Research is an everyday process that can often occur without us even being aware of it. Consider the hypothetical situations of looking through recipe books to decide tomorrow night’s dinner, browsing the web for inspiration for your next holiday or even flipping through catalogues to find the best deal on an iPhone. These common occurrences come as second-nature and are all associated with research. So what exactly is ‘research’? Taking into account it’s broad and diverse nature, in a literal sense, it means ‘to find or to search for’. However, when considering its definition, it is important to distinguish between scholarly research and everyday research. While everyday research can involve gathering information as well as weighing alternatives and outcomes, Berger defines scholarly research as being ‘more systematic, more objective, more careful and more concerned about correctness and truthfulness than everyday research’ (Berger, 2014) with statistics, numbers and other data held in little regard. In relation to media, we can further define the concept of research into the categories of quality and quantity. Berger suggests that qualitative research involves the identification of properties and characteristics of a particular text including ‘elements of evaluation, judgement and taste.’ (Berger 2014) Quantitative research on the other hand, refers to specific amounts, numbers and measurements. A major limitation of quantitative research however, is that not everything can be counted or measured which, in turn, can be subject to the criticism that the area is too narrow, neglecting what cannot be measured despite its potential importance (McCutcheon 2015). Certainly, both forms of research have their benefits and drawbacks in both scholarly and everyday instances but nontheless continue to improve and develop as time goes on. In regards to my research for the subject of BCM210, i would like to potentially explore the field of stereotypes within music and television. I’ve always had a great passion for music and have always been a firm believer in it’s ability to influence and shape not just an individual’s life in general, but more specifically, their appearance, mannerisms, personality, hobbies etc. I’d like to delve deeper into the varying genres of music, including: rock, pop, hip-hop, indie, country, metal etc, and research how these different genres tend to generate their own, independent set of characteristics amongst the individuals who show a preference to one of these music categories. For example, when thinking of a country music fan, the stereotypical characteristics of cowboys hats, boots, flannelet shirts and utes are prompted in our minds. To continue along the path of stereotypes, i’m interested in how families in comedic television shows are depicted. More and more we find that mothers are stereotyped as ‘naggers’, fathers are ‘lazy’ or ‘lame’ and children are divided into one rebellious and the other a smart ‘goodie-goodie’. References Berger, Arthur A. 2014, ‘What is research?’, in Media and Communication Research Methods: an introduction to qualitative and quantitative approaches, 3rd ed., SAGE, Los Angeles, pp. 13-32 McCutcheon, M 2015, Week 2 What is Media Research?, PowerPoint slides, viewed 3rd April 2015, University of Wollongong, Wollongong