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Tattoos in the Academic Setting: A Student’s View

December 16th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

In high school, I had an English teacher named Mr. Heyl. He was one of the best teachers in the English department. On the first day of class, he put a Jay-Z song on the SmartBoard and gave a lesson on the rhetorical devices Jay-Z used in his lyrics. Throughout the year in Mr. Heyl’s class, we learned that he was an avid lover of U2 and Springsteen, was a Shakespeare fanatic, and had a sleeve of tattoos adorning his left arm. The tattoos ranged from quotes from famous novels, including Wuthering Heights and 1984, to various figures in popular culture, including Bono. As the year progressed, we looked forward to hearing Mr. Heyl’s stories about his tattoos and what inspired them. This was especially interesting when we were reading the novels that his tattoos were based on, and we had the opportunity to hear what it was about the book that he felt connected to and which parts of the book he drew inspiration from. Mr. Heyl’s tattoos acted as an icebreaker and invitation for conversation. His tattoos broke down the wall between teacher and student, and also acted as a method for teaching.

 
Tattoos provide a way for students and teachers to connect on a more personal level, while still being professional. Tattoos in the academic setting can allow for teachers to be seen by the academy as more than just grant money and evaluation scores. Tattoos allow them to feel like an individual in a system that lacks individuality. There is, however, a well-documented stigma in society against tattoos. In a study conducted by Benjamin A. Martin and Chris S. Dula, it was indicated that some students have negative attitudes towards people with tattoos. Using the Martin Stigma Against Tattoos Survey (MSATS), attitudes towards people with tattoos were evaluated. The 17-item measure consisted of biased statements about people with tattoos, and participants responded using a 6-point Likert scale that was anchored by “Strongly Agree” and “Strongly Disagree” (Martin, 2010). The results of this survey indicated that stereotypes about tattoos and people with tattoos – that they are unsuccessful in school, have poor decision making skills, usually obtain body modifications while intoxicated – are still prevalent in society today (Martin, 2010). In a similar study conducted by Dr. David B. Wiseman, four photographs of the same woman were shown to student participants. In three of the photographs, the woman was depicted with tattoos on her arms. When these three photographs were compared with the tattoo-less image, they were rated lower on their perceived level of organization, ability to manage the classroom, convey material effectively, and sympathize with students, and they were rated more poorly as a teacher (Wiseman, 2010).

 
While some students view tattoos negatively, others view teachers more positively in some aspects. In the same study conducted by Dr. David B. Wiseman, the woman who was depicted with the tattoos was rated more highly as a motivator, more imaginative in regards to her assignments, and was more recommended to other students (Wiseman, 2010). Professors with tattoos may be viewed as more creative because of their ink and the stories behind them, and may be more recommended because students view them as more human than professors without tattoos. Professor David J. Leonard, an associate professor at Washington State University, has numerous tattoos adorning his body, as do at least six other professors in his department. In his article, “The Inked Academic Body”, Professor Leonard argues that tattoos challenge the stereotypes associated with professors – “tweed jackets [and] bookworm glasses”. They act as a way to humanize professors and make them more relatable (Leonard, 2012). In his experiences, students gravitate towards professors with tattoos because of their relatability. Professor Leonard asserts that “ink transcends race, class, gender, sexuality, political affiliation, ideology, and even sports loyalties” (Leonard, 2012). This is another way in which the barrier between student and teacher is broken down. Tattoos encourage people to see past the surface and communicate with those they might not typically converse with. Not only do tattoos act as a means for communication, but they also act as a method of teaching (Leonard, 2012). Using Mr. Heyl as an example, students can learn about both their teachers’ lives and the courses they teach (depending on the tattoos).

 
Tattoos in the academic setting do not only change how students view teachers, but also how the academy views them. In the eyes of the university, teachers are often reduced to simply grant money and numbers on evaluation scores, but “tattoos offer a space to disentangle … individual selves from the bureaucratic and corporate university” (Leonard, 2012). Tattoos act as a way for professors to show that they are more than just numbers. They are individuals who are “more performative, more political, more human” (Leonard, 2012). In a system that lacks individuality, tattoos provide teachers with a way to truly be seen by their students, co-workers, and the academic administration as an individual instead of a number or stiff figure in a tweed jacket.
Tattoos in the academic setting is a controversial topic, as there are studies and surveys that indicate a negative stigma associated with tattoos; however, there are many positives that come with tattoos. Students view professors with tattoos as more imaginative and motivational than their inkless counterparts (Wiseman, 2010). Professors with tattoos are also more highly recommended by students than those without tattoos (Wiseman, 2010). Professors with tattoos, like Professor Leonard, have noted that students are drawn to their tattoos because they break down barriers between teacher and student. Tattoos allow for the stereotypes often associated with professors to be challenged, and allow for the academy to view professors as more than just numbers – whether it be grant money or evaluation scores (Leonard, 2012).

 
Having a teacher with tattoos, like Mr. Heyl, was an interesting and incredible experience. In high school, Mr. Heyl was the teacher that we felt we could go to with our problems because he always had a life lesson (in the form of a tattoo) that could relate to us and help us. To his students, Mr. Heyl seemed more human than the other teachers who seemed to be there only to test our memorization skills. Mr. Heyl not only taught us about rhetorical devices and well-known novels, but he also gave us wonderful life lessons and advice to take with us into the future. He helped us learn from his past experiences, stories, and tattoos. My year in Mr. Heyl’s class and his untraditional teaching style have greatly influenced who I am today, and I firmly believe that if it were not for his tattoos and using them as a method of instruction, not only would I be different, but so would my classmates. Mr. Heyl successfully changed our predisposed perceptions of teachers with tattoos for the better. His life lessons are something that each of us took with us after we left his classroom and as we move to the future.

 
Works Cited:
Leonard, David J. “The Inked Academic Body.” Chronicle of Higher Education. (2012): B2. Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.
Martin, Benjamin A., and Chris S. Dula. “More than Skin Deep: Perceptions of, and Stigma Against, Tattoos.” College Student Journal 44.1 (2010): 200-206. Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.
Wiseman, David B. “Perceptions of a Tattooed College Instructor.” Psychological Reports. 106.3 (2010): 845-850. Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 Nov. 2015

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Coping with the Pain

December 16th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Aminta Burnett

Professor Fox

EN 101

 

Ballet is as much of a sport as any other, and I would know because I was a ballerina. I used to do ballet when I was younger, I started when I was three and stopped when I was twelve. I always loved going to ballet classes as a kid and learning new dances and techniques. From experience, I can say that ballet puts a big strain on your body. The style of classic ballet puts pressure on the body and makes your body move in weird ways that it isn’t supposed to move in. If an injury occurred from dancing it was taken very lightly and I had to deal with it on my own and continue to dance. In the dressing room, dancers would tape their feet and use bandages to wrap their ankles to prevent further injury. Although it’s not the common choice, dancers and athletes alike need to seek medical attention when an injury persists, instead of powering through pain.

All athletes experience physical pain at one point in their athletic careers, which is why it should be treated, instead of swept under the rug. All athletes need to be taken care of and treat injuries with great care so that the injury can heal. The injury gets fixed and the player gets right back on the field or on the stage. Most athletes know this and understand how injuries can get worse over time if not treated, so why do dancers think it’s okay to keep going even when an injury arises? More often then not dancers will decide to brush their injuries aside and mark it off as nothing. This decision to continue dancing on an injury is better than to stop. Dancers like myself have been taught over the years to cope with the pain. Most of us have heard the phrase “push through the pain” or “no pain no gain,” but at some point the pain is too much. Whereas most athletes know that there is a point where pain overcomes the will to perform, whereas dancers don’t have that signal.

Dancers have a different mindset when it comes to coping with pain, it is a mind game that dancers play with themselves to convince themselves that they aren’t actually hurt. I can say that I have played this game with myself as well. Whenever my knees, ankles, or feet hurt I would brush off the pain and continue dancing. “No pain, no gain” is often used to get athletes to push through, but at some point one needs to stop, whereas dancers won’t. There’s a simple reason, unlike football and soccer or baseball, there aren’t multiple game or performances for dancers to partake in. There is one big show that encompasses all the dances that you learn over the year. There is so much time, effort, and preparation that goes into a show that the thought of not being able to perform because your feet hurt is unheard of.

In the article “Moving Beyond “No Pain No Gain,” by Rosie Gaynor and Nancy Wozny, a ballet dancer who was performing, Kaori Nakamura stated “I couldn’t point my foot” and that it was “so painful and numb.” (Gaynor, Rosie, and Nancy Wozny. “Moving Beyond “no Pain, no Gain”). While backstage the director asked her if she wanted to stop, the dreaded question that no dancer ever wants to hear. She had worked so hard for this one night she couldn’t possibly stop now, and so she didn’t. She pushed herself through two more acts and fell when the curtain closed. She said, “I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t even touch my calf, it was so painful,” but for her the show had to go on (Gaynor, Rosie, and Nancy Wozny. “Moving Beyond “no Pain, no Gain”).

This type of behavior is very common for dancers, while a coach for any other sports team would have pulled their player out of the game and had the trainer looking at their injury. Dancers have a choice whether they want to stop dancing or continue. Given the power to choice their fate it is easier to trick your mind and push past the pain for the long awaited chance to perform on stage, even with an injury that hurts like no other.

 

Works Cited

Encarnacion, Maria L. G., et al. “Pain Coping Styles of Ballet Performers.” Journal of Sport Behavior 23.1 (2000): 20-32.ProQuest. Web. 8 Dec. 2015

Gaynor, Rosie, and Nancy Wozny. “Moving Beyond “no Pain, no Gain”.” Pointe 12.1 (2011): 44,44,46. ProQuest. Web. 8 Dec. 2015

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Long term bodybuildling effects

December 15th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

 

Kyle Wilson

Professor Fox

December 14, 2015

ENG 101

Research shows that body building could be beneficial when one reaches old age but could also be unfortunate. Useful outcomes like stronger bones from gaining muscle as well as feeling good and learning self discipline. Harmful outcomes are bad knees and joints, and sometimes communication problems because they could be so focused on what

they do and their main goal to succeed. Lifting weights at old age generally is great for their body because it keeps them healthy. Body building has more beneficial outcomes then the harmful ones so overall it’s still great for anyone to do.

Lifting young as a kid or a teen can be harmful because of growth problems which could affect you for the rest of your life. Starting young can affect one at old age because of the stunt growth. Lifting at a young age can cause future problems such as joint pain, most commonly seen is knee pain (J Glickfield, 2013).These usually occur due to improper form when lifting or doing squats. Running is another task that will put tons of strain on your joints, knees and back. Most bodybuilders participate in a lot of cardio to burn off the calories they have ate. To resolve this issue, bodybuilders should lower their calorie intake sl they do not have to run as much. Since reducing the amount of food you eat is extremely difficult, one could also resolve this by using the elliptical or stair climber for cardio instead of an intense run on the treadmill.Even though these problems may interfere with future participation, it should not stop young people from participating in bodybuilding.

Along with joint and knee issues, social issues can be a common negative effect of long term bodybuilding. The social issues that some bodybuilders have but not many is their lack of communication skills. Most active bodybuilders take lifting seriously. This means that they usually are only found working or socializing in a gym setting. Because of this detached demeanor, many bodybuilders neglect family, friends and relationships. As the body builder gets older, they may also start to feel a sense of emptiness as their body degrads and their abilities decline. This makes them feel lonely because they are comfortable around bodybuilders only, and feel a resentment towards them as they realize they can not work out as hard. The solution to this problem is simple: talk to your family and friends, and aspire for opportunities to achieve new friendships and hobbies outside the gym. Not talking to anyone for a good amount of time could change a person’s communication skills and or love life if they have one.

Lifting at an old age can be great and healthy for the body. Many older bodybuilders claim that they, “feel better physically and mentally; I feel wonderful inside and out (Woolston, 2015). Working out consistently can increase the strength in your muscles even into old age. A common fear the elderly have is falling and breaking a bone. As a person gets older, their muscle density starts to decrease, leaving the bones more open to detrimental situations, such as falling. The reason why their bones break so easily is because when they fall, their muscles are so small they do not give ny padding to the impact. Working out leading up to the old age intensifies the density of the muscles and increases the padding covering the bone. Stronger muscles also leads to stronger bones. The more amount of muscle one has on their body then the more dense their bone mass will be. This helps in too late age because it will protect against rapid bone decay and diseases such as osteoporosis.

Self discipline of one of the most important factors towards bodybuilding if you ever were one or would like to be one. Since Bodybuilders have to eat, sleep, and drink bodybuilding, they gain self discipline from having a strict diet to spending countless hours in the gym. Someone who lifts regularly has made a schedule for what they have to do a specific day as well as what time they are going to the gym that day which is self discipline. Body building motivates people to believe that they can achieve anything as long as they put their mind to it and remain dedicated. The discipline that comes with this dedication is irreplaceable and can be spread from person to person. A regular lifter will master time management and dedication due to the daily workouts and strict diets. Being dedicated in the gy can also create people to be dedicated in other parts of their lives such as relationships and work. A bodybuilder who wakes up at 5am to achieve an intense workout, knows that they will have the rest of their day to finish important work. These attributes are important to everyday bodybuilders, social and work lives.

Just like everything in life, bodybuilding comes with costs. Starting bodybuilding young can lead to joint damage, bad eating habits and a decreased social life. These things can all be avoided if bodybuilding is implemented correctly. As a person ages, bodybuilding will stay with them. body building increases the amount of muscle on your body which also increases the bone density. These gains can help prevent a major bone fracture or disease. Body building as a whole can also make a person be more dedicated to his relationships and work because of the amount of dedication it takes to be a bodybuilder. Bodybuilding has negatives that can be prevented, but benefits that can stay a lifetime.

Works Cited

Jglickfield. “Pros and Cons of Long Term Bodybuilding.” A1Supplements. A1Supplemens, 2013.    Web. 13 Dec. 2015.

Woolston, Chris. “Seniors and Weightlifting: Never Too Late.” Seniors and Weightlifting: Never Too Late. Health Day, Mar. 2015. Web. 13 Dec. 2015

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Are Facial Expressions Universal?

December 14th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

There is a massive debate throughout psychology and different fields of science about whether or not facial expressions have remained universal, or they have evolved to become culturally driven. Different studies have proved different ideas and theories in this area, however everyone has their own interpretation of these studies: a prime example of this is Charles Darwin’s work on facial expressions of emotion. Some believe he didn’t take into account different details and facial expressions are culturally specific, and others believe there are still the six universal facial expressions- happiness, surprise, anger, fear, disgust, and sadness, and all of these are displayed in different societies around the world. Specifically at Marymount University, 10 % of students are from foreign countries, so there is a need to know whether facial expressions are cultural or universal. Humans still share the same basic facial expressions, however, this has evolved to become culturally driven.

One study called “Facial Expressions of Emotion are not Culturally Universal”, led by Rachel E. Jack, discusses how facial expressions have become culturally specific. “…These once biologically hardwired and universal signals have been molded by the diverse social ideologies and practices of the cultural groups who use them for social communication” (Jack, 4). This study adamantly explains that through their results, facial expressions are no longer universal. In her study, she used a facial expression generator to create six models of these facial expressions with Western Caucasian and Eastern Asian cultures. Since humans have evolved from being animal-like, Rachel E. Jack claims that each culture has changed and created a variation of the specific expression, even for the expressions that many others believe are universal. In the discussion of this particular study, it showed that each of the two cultures had an easier time of understanding their own culture’s expression of emotion, rather than the other culture. And another study called “Cultural Differences in Recognition of Subdued Facial Expressions of Emotion”, led by Fang Zhang, discussed similar results. “The present findings have important implications for cross-cultural communication of emotions, suggesting that cultures differ in how sensitive people are to subtle emotional signals” (Zhang, 7). In her study, she discussed how each of the two cultures she used were more sensitive to their own society’s expression, both at moderate and low intensity, and they had more of a degree of difficulty interpreting facial expressions from the other culture. These two studies bring forward the results about how facial expressions have changed, as humans have changed, to become culturally specific rater than universal.

However, this idea is not so cut and dry. A prime example of how facial expressions have remained universal and in our biological makeup are newborn babies. Babies that are days to a month old make similar facial expressions when they are crying or disgusted; and these infants are so young they couldn’t have influence from the specific culture they are born into. This is evidence that evolution has not changed our facial expressions, but through time and how cultures have grown, each has developed their own system for non-verbal communication through expressions of emotion. There is a new theory that Ana Mrovlje mentions that was introduced by Paul Ekman called the “neuro-cultural theory”, which balances both sides to the debate. The “neuro” refers to the biological side of humans, or the relationship between particular emotions and specific facial muscle patterns. The “cultural” part of the theory refers to the rules about controlling facial expressions, and the consequences when these rules are not followed in different societies. This gives the idea that since we are all still human, we have the same biological makeup with how we express our emotions. But it is through cultural norms and what is acceptable in each society that forms an individual’s idea of facial expressions.

Humans still share the same universal facial expressions, however, this has evolved to become culturally driven. Each culture has different rules as to what can be expressed or not, and each have their own consequences if these are not followed. A scowl can mean something very different in China than in England in a specific situation, since both countries have their own rules about proper behavior and expression of emotion. There are still the six basic facial expressions in all humans, however our expressions of emotion have also evolved with us to become culturally driven, rather than universal and understood by everyone. Each facial expression that is displayed by someone all depends on the society the person is raised in, and what is culturally acceptable or not. And since so many students that attend Marymount are from foreign countries, it is important to understand cultural differences between our facial expressions.

 

 

 

Work Cited:

Jack, Rachel E. “Facial Expressions of Emotion Are Not Culturally Universal.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 19 Mar. 2012. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

Mrovlje, Ana. “Facial Expressions as Reflection of Inner Emotional State.” KAIROS, 1 Aug. 2014. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

Zhang, Fang. “Cultural Differences in Recognition of Subdued Facial Expressions of E.” Motions. Springer, 30 Nov. 2014. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

 

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Benefits of Music Education

December 14th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Music Class USA

For the past couple of years, the link between music education and increased test scores has been the main focus of advocates and politicians who wish to promote music education in schools, but they may be talking about the wrong benefits. In a 2013 study done by Kenneth Elpus, an assistant professor at the University Maryland, it was found that after including variables such as prior academic achievement, demographics, and IEP status, music students did not score better on the SAT than non-music students, and that music students only scored better when these variables were not included, meaning that an omitted-variable bias would exist if that data was used by researchers (Elpus 185). The knowledge that politicians and music education advocates are using inaccurate statistics is extremely disconcerting. As a former music student, I know there are more benefits to music education than just the possibility that it may raise test scores, and these benefits are the ones that politicians and advocates for music education should be using to promote music in schools. Music education should be promoted for its social, neurological, and intellectual benefits.

Music education provides students with many social benefits. School can be a hard time for many students, but a study done in Finland by Tuomas and Päivi-Sisko Eerola showed that students that participated in a music class exhibited a more positive reaction to objects associated with a classroom climate (Eerola 98). It is well known that students generally dislike attending school, but if participating in a music class creates more positive feelings towards school then children will be more likely to do well because they enjoy school. The same study also found that students in the music class were more likely to believe that school offered them achievement and opportunity than students not in a music class (Eerola 98). Other social benefits were observed by Dr. Susan Hallam in her review of music education’s impact on different aspects of life. Through the analyzation of many studies she found that music students are more likely to converse with parents and teachers, and that these conversations could lead to increased self-esteem (Hallam 278). She also observed that the increases in self-esteem lead students to become more motivated (Hallam 278). A student that is happy in class and believes that their education is an opportunity is much more likely to be motivated in their studies, and a student who is motivated is most likely going to do well in their classes. Two of the studies which Dr. Hallam reviewed indicated that students that took music also showed increased social skills and increased social adjustment (Hallam 278).

Music education has also been found to have a plethora of neurological benefits for students. In an article published in 2014, Anita Collins reviewed multiple studies on the effect of music education on brain development (Collins par. 12). In her review she cites multiple benefits of music education on brain development. Dr. Collins states that often musicians are found to have increased long and short term memories, and possess better memory retrieval and storage than nonmusicians (Collins par. 8). It has also been found that music education allows musicians to acquire and understand language better than those who do not play an instrument because of possible similarities between music and language processing in the brain (Collins par. 9). Collins states that musicians are also often found to possess increased levels of Executive Function (Collins par. 10). In her article, Collins defines Executive Function as “a group of interlinked tasks which include planning, strategizing, setting goals, and paying attention to detail” (Collins par. 10). The last benefit that Collins describes in her article, which she states is what caused investigations into the benefits of music education, is brain plasticity, or the ability of the brain to change and continue learning throughout the lifespan (Collins par. 11). All of these benefits could be extremely beneficial to students. While brain plasticity is more of a long term benefit for students, better memories and better language acquisition would be immediately beneficial to students, mostly on the secondary level. Increased long term memory could greatly help students who take classes that build off of each other, such as high school math courses (Geometry, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, etc.), and an increased ability to acquire language would also benefit secondary school students, many of which are required to take language courses in order to graduate.

While its affect on test scores is debatable, music education has been found to have an affect on intellect. Increased intellectual development could be very advantageous for children. It could provide with with the ability to go farther in their studies than they might have had they not taken part in music education. Dr. Susan Hallam outlined multiple affects to intellectual development in her review of different research studying the affect of music education on a plethora of elements. In one study she reviewed, it was found that after seven months of five music lessons per week, a group of first graders had higher reading achievement than their classmates that were not taking music lessons (Hallam 275). Being on a higher reading level than classmates could allow students to learn more and at a faster rate than other students due to being able to understand harder texts. Seven of the studies Dr. Hallam reviewed found that students actively engaged with music exhibited measurably impacts on the visual-spatial intelligence (Hallam 275). Another one of the studies in her review found that when given music lessons for a year, two groups of children experienced greater increases in their general IQ than what the researchers were expecting from children that were still growing and developing (Hallam 276). The notion that music education could positively affect the intellectual development of a child is extremely important, and should be further investigated by researchers. If music education can truly affect the intellectual development of a child in the way these studies found, then music could become an activity that can open doors for children that previously would have been firmly shut and locked. An increased intellect could be the difference between a child one day receiving enough scholarships to attend college or being stuck in a minimum wage job with no degree.

            In a world in which everything seems to become a political debate, music education has become a hot topic as of late. Arts programs are often the first programs to go when school districts begin to make budget cuts. Many take this as an opportunity to begin preaching that music classes will raise students test scores so we can cut that, but if the studies are to be believed, as they should, then these people should be focusing on the other benefits that music education can yield for students. Studies have found that music education can lead to social, neurological, and intellectual benefits for students, and it is these benefits that we should be using to fight for music education in schools. In recent months, colleges have started to make standardized testing optional for admission, if people continue to campaign for music education on the basis that it improves test scores then it will soon become an irrelevant issue. School districts would no longer be as willing to keep those programs running. Music education in schools should be fought for not on the basis that it will increase test scores, but on the basis that it can be socially, neurologically, and intellectually beneficial for students.

Work Cited

Collins, Anita. “Music Education And The Brain: What Does It Take To Make A Change?” Update: Applications Of Research In Music Education 32.2 (2014): 4-10. ERIC. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.

Eerola, Päivi-Sisko, and Tuomas Eerola. “Extended Music Education Enhances The Quality Of School Life.” Music Education Research 16.1 (2014): 88-104. ERIC. Web. 18 Nov. 2015.

Elpus, Kenneth. “Is It the Music or Is It Selection Bias? A Nationwide Analysis of Music and Non-Music Students’ SAT Scores.” Journal of Research in Music Education 61.2 (2013): 175-94. SAGE Journals Online. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

Hallam, Susan. “The Power of Music: Its Impact on the Intellectual, Social and Personal Development of Children and Young People.” International Journal of Music Education 28.3 (2010): 269-89. SAGE Journals Online. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

Music Class Usa. 2011. N.p.

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Preceptions of women with tattoos

December 14th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

tattoos

For centuries humans have been finding new and interesting ways to transform their bodies in order to express beliefs and moral of a group or the beliefs and morals of an individual.  The art of tattooing has been used for thousands of years as a way to permanently mark the body to show devotion to a group or cause. Throughout the years tattoos have been seen as a form of masculinity, as a way for a man to show his strength and endurance, by enduring the pain of a tattoo needle. It became socially acceptable for a man to have tattoos, because tattoos were seen as a sign of strength, rather than beautiful pieces of body art. Tattoos have been associated with masculinity for years and that stigma has been transferred on to women who have tattoos. That stigma has caused stereotype to form, that women with tattoos are masculine, less attractive, and more sexually promiscuous. At one point in time tattoos did represent strength and resilience but now tattoos can be beautiful, elaborate pieces of art.Tattoos have grown in popularity over the past several years among young adults, more and more women are breaking gender roles and getting tattoos. This is causing issues about the perception of women to come up. Society still view the negative connotation of tattoos and that view is being transferred onto women with tattoos. Tattoos on women has now become a form of self-expression and does not mean that a woman is masculine or sexually promiscuous.

        Tattoos are socially accepted to be on men, because the tattoos use to express strength and endurance. When a man had tattoos, he was seen as a tough and strong person. Tattoos were a way for a man to prove his strength and dominates over other men. Therefore tattoos were viewed as a way for a person to show off their masculinity and strength to other people. When women have tattoos they are expected to have the characteristics of a man because they are judge for having a form of body art that is associated with masculinity. But tattoos are now changing into something that can show off a woman’s femininity. More and more women are now getting tattoos that represent their femininity and the morals and values that they hold. Women are now shifting the stigma of tattoos, from a representation of masculinity to something that can just be a beautiful form of body art or something that can represent femininity. Much of the tattoos that are labeled as female or girly tattoos have objects or phases that are social seen as girly things.  If a girl does have a tattoos they are expected to have it in place where it can be concerned. Having visible tattoos can be seen as unprofessional for a women to have because the negative association of tattoos can make a women seem more masculine and more assertive.

        It is a popular belief that men find women with tattoos as less attractive than women without tattoos. A study by Viren Swami and Adrian Furnham in their article “Unattractive, promiscuous and heavy drinkers: Perceptions of women with tattoos” , was conducted to see if this is true found that men, when looking at pictures of women with tattoos and without. They normally would rate the women without tattoos as more attractive than women with tattoos. But in a field test conducted in another study by Nicolas Gueguen in his article “Effects of a Tattoo on Men’s Behavior and Attitudes Towards Women: An Experimental Field Study” ,  it was observed that men are equally likely to approach women that they found sexually attractive with or without tattoos. It was also found that women with tattoos are more approached by men if they have a tattoo in a scandalous place, like the lower back. Men tend to find women with tattoos less attractive because they associate tattoos as a sign of masculinity causing them to see the women with tattoos as manly.

        Today’s view of tattoos on women is shifting from a representation of masculinity to representation of sexual promiscuity. The same test that was conducted to see if men found women with tattoos less attractive also found that men tend to approach women with tattoos more because they are viewed as more sexually promiscuous. Now tattoos on women are sending the signal that they are open to sexual contact. Tattoos, like tramp stamps, are causing a different negative stereotype to form around tattoos, they are now being sexualized. Now in an age where women are being sexually exploited, more and more images are being released of tattooed women in scandalous position or emphasizing having sexual tattoos. Although some forms of tattoos could be interrupted as a sign of sexual promiscuity not all women who have tattoos are sexualy promiscuious. Women can get tattoos for a number of different reasons and the tattoo that they get can stand for a number of different things. Many women today are choosing to get tattoos to represent something important to them. Only a small percentage of women who choose to get sexual tattoos are trying to send out the sign that they are sexuality promicuious. Letting that small percentage of women represent the whole group of women with tattoos is an inaccurate representation and is one of the reason as to why there is still a negative connotation against women with tattoos.

Women are now just being able to express themselves using different forms of body modification, but women with tattoos are still facing some judgement and it is difficult to change the social stigma that some women with tattoos face. Society still views women as small, weak and fragile, therefore having tattoos breaks the stereotype. This is causing other untrue stereotypes to form around women with tattoos. All the stereotypes that are being formed  are all false. Women are now choosing to get tattoos to represent thing other than sex or masculinity.By chossing to put all the negative contaions onto women with tattoos it is just holding women back from being able to express themselve with their bodies. Society needs to change their perspective of women with tattoos in order for women to be able to have full freedom of their bodies.

Work cited

uéguen, N. (2013). Effects of a tattoo on men’s behavior and attitudes towards women: An experimental field study. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42(8), 1517-24. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10508-013-0104-2

Swamia, Viren. “Unattractive, Promiscuous and Heavy Drinkers: Perceptions of Women with Tattoos.” Unattractive, Promiscuous and Heavy Drinkers: Perceptions of Women with Tattoos. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.

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Miss Represented

December 14th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Over the years, men and women have been expected to adhere to certain expectations created by American society. Women weren’t expected to make as much money as men or be politicians or strong leaders. As time moves forward, women attempt to defy these boundaries more and more. But there is one stereotype that continues to dominate over the way women are seen: women are supposed to look pretty. This expectation is enforced constantly by the media, which is becoming more and more of an influence on our everyday lives. This is because the public seems to be content with the way woman are being represented. Consumers need to take a stand against the way media represents women because of its negative effect on women’s self-image and the re-enforcement of dated and rigid gender roles.

The two most represented roles of women by the media are “housewives and sex objects” (Kilbourne 6). Whether in magazine advertisements, television shows, or movies, women so often hold one of these two roles. The media continues to show women in either a pornographic sense or a super woman who can do all figure (Kilbourne 14-15). Consequently, the message that women cannot be strong, independent leaders in our society continues to be sent. Part of this issue stems from the fact that very few women hold high positions in media outlets. According to studies done by The Representation Project, only 17 percent of all directors, executive producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films have been women (The Issue). If women are not equally represented behind the scenes, how can they be equally represented on camera? There is a clear need for the more equal representation of women in positions of power and not only in the media. Only about 20 percent of congress is made up of women when about 51 percent of the United States population is made up of women (The Issue). It might seem like the United States has made a lot of progress on the issue of gender equality but this doesn’t seem to be the case. Change needs to start with how media, the most influential force in modern America, represents women.

The way women are represented in the media has also had a great impact on their self-image. Women are constantly held up against the unrealistic ideal beauty standard that has been created by the media. This Barbie like ideal is virtually unattainable for most women yet it continues to be the dominating represented body type across all media platforms. If a woman featured in an advertisement does not fit this standard, media creators will go as far as digitally photoshopping her body to appear flawless (BR Admin 2). Despite the clear controversy created by photo manipulation and the idealized beauty standard, media heads continue to defend their products claiming that they are just making the models look the best they can (BR Admin 7). But this illusion of unattainable beauty is having a major effect on women and girls across the United States. Statistics show that rates of depression among women and young girls continue to climb, doubling in the last ten years (The Issue). A recent Wall Street Journal survey of students in four Chicago-area schools found that more than half the fourth-grade girls were dieting and three-quarters felt they were overweight (Kilbourne 11). Women and girls suffer a lack of self-esteem and confidence in their own bodies and the insecurity is beginning at a younger and younger age. They are spending more and more money on altering their appearance using cosmetics, diet pills, and even plastic surgery. These industries are reaching profit all-time highs causing them to feel little need to change the way they advertise (BR Admin 11).

Ultimately, the only way women can be represented fairly by the media is if there is pressure from consumers to change. Beauty needs to become less about artificial perfection and what is on the outside and more about the qualities that come from within. Americans need to reevaluate the way women are traditionally portrayed and represent them in a variety of ways. The media will not adjust unless there is proof of change in what the public wants to see. We need to learn how to except oneself and understand that we are more than just a body. We must also accept the responsibility to teach our children these values. Then once we address ourselves, we can finally take an effective stand against the way the media portrays women and become an equally represented society.

 

Works Cited

Beauty Redefined Administration. “Photoshopping: Altering Images and Our Minds.” Beauty Redefined. Beauty Redefined, 12 Mar. 2014. Web. 10 Nov. 2015. <http://www.beautyredefined.net/photoshopping-altering-images-and-our-minds/>.

Engeln-Maddox, Renee. “Cognitive Responses to Idealized Media Images of Women: The Relationship of Social Comparison and Critical Processing to Body Image Disturbance in College Women.” Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 24.8 (2005): 1114-38. ProQuest. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

Kilbourne, Jean. “Beauty…and the Beast of Advertising.” Center for Media Literacy. Center for Media Literacy, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015. <http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/beautyand-beast-advertising>.

“The Issue.” Miss Representation. The Representation Project, n.d. Web. 8 Dec. 2015. <http://therepresentationproject.org/film/miss-representation/the-issue/>.

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The Price of Happiness

December 13th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Can you imagine how empty museums would be, how uninspired poetry would be, or how vapid and empty lyrics would be without the Van Gogh’s, Nina Simone’s, and Edgar Allen Poe’s of the world? If depression didn’t exist, we’d have a taste of such an artless world.

Aristotle once said, “Why is it that all those who have become eminent in philosophy or poetry or the arts are clearly melancholics and some of them to such an extent that as to be affected by diseases caused by black bile?” This was the earliest inquiry of the phenomenon that is the correlation between depression and artistic creativity. Today with modern psychology and neuroscience, we know that these two things go hand in hand. This correlation makes depression a double edged sword- on one end, superb creativity and enhanced empathy that allows for beautiful expressions of art, and on the other end, a sometimes crippling mental state that can both inhibit and enhance emotions to extremes and push people to the edge. So what happens today with treatment for depression? Just as Aristotle thought, depression and creativity often go hand in hand, but what Aristotle referred to as “melancholic temperament”, we know now as depression or affective disorder. “Affective disorder can be regarded as the price of exceptional greatness. Thus, creative and eminent individuals, by virtue of their being exceptional, occupy a somewhat unstable terrain between temperament and affective disease.” (Akiskal, Hagop S, 2007) This “unstable terrain” is a problem for people who seemingly have to choose between two mental states with trade-offs for either one. The treatment available isn’t the fix-all pill that people think it is. You gain your happiness at the cost of your creativity.

With depression enhancing creativity, an ethical dilemma for many sufferers of depression is: should I treat my depression and lose my creativity but be happy or not take antidepressants and be depressed but creative? This is a legitimate issue people face due to the fine line between suffering and brilliance.  For example, the poet, Robert Lowell’s, experience on lithium was described. At first he felt as if he were cured and his life was improved but his artistic ability suffered. “There’s always a debate, though, about whether their work suffers after their “cure”, after they’ve lost access to that part of the psyche most of us never get to glimpse.”, and “Most artists report feeling flatlined or tranquilized on lithium.” raised an interesting and perplexing point that treating “madness” inhibits creativity. (Kean, 2011) Even treatments less intense than Lithium like the more commonly used selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors can be questioned because what are they doing to the person’s artistic ability and their personality? I speak from experience on this dilemma. I have depression and I, along with approximately one in ten American adults, take antidepressants regularly. Except sometimes I find myself holding the tiny almond shaped, light orange pill in between my two fingers and wonder if I should even take it. This pill that stabilizes me makes me lose my artistic spark and while I benefit from being happy, I lose so much of myself in the process. My brothers are classical musicians and I’ll never forget when one told me that he’s stopping his pills for a week because he said “I have to compose so I have to feel”.

All pills come with side effects and warnings. Even people without depression have seen the commercials for anti-depressant drugs with a bright, smiling, paid actress talking about detailed facts of the drug that nobody but a doctor would know and how she can “live again”. The facade is followed by a voice over of a monotonous man quickly listing the awful side-effects so quickly that it almost seems like he doesn’t want anyone to know how many and how bad they can be. “You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking celexa: agitation, blurred vision, confusion, fever, suicidal thoughts” he begins and we start to wonder why anyone would even take it. It almost seems counterproductive. But the side effect that doesn’t get a commercial slot or fine print on the prescription bottle is loss of creativity. Sometimes however, a side effect that is listed is “lack of emotion”. This lack of emotion could be the key to loss of creativity.

Researchers have hypothesized self-reflective rumination may explain the connection between depression and creativity. This hypothesis was examined in a sample of 99 undergraduate college students, using path analysis. The authors found that self-reported past depressive symptomatology was linked to increased self-reflective rumination. Rumination, in turn, was related to current symptomatology and to self-rated creative interests and objectively measured creative fluency, originality, and elaboration. These results suggest that the association between depression and creativity is the result of rumination. (Verhaeghen, 2005) Expression of emotions and self-rumination are closely related, therefore the suppression of emotions due to antidepressants makes one lose the level of heightened self-rumination that is a consequence of depression so creativity is lost along with the depression.

While I’m not rushing to throw my antidepressants out of the window or urge others to stop treating their depression, I see that when treating depression feelings are lost. This will continue to be a dilemma until treatment options expand but for now it seems that artists will have to choose between being happy and being artistic. This is a choice to be left to the people with depression, but with antidepressants being prescribed every day in America alone and there being an upward trend in depression diagnoses (Lépine, 2011), we just might see a world without the Van Gogh’s, Nina Simone’s, and Edgar Allen Poe’s sometime soon.

Works Cited

Verhaeghen, Paul, Jutta Joorman, and Rodney Khan. “Why we sing the blues: the relation between self-reflective rumination, mood, and creativity.” Emotion 5.2 (2005): 226.

Akiskal, Hagop S., and Kareen K. Akiskal. “In search of Aristotle: temperament, human nature, melancholia, creativity and eminence.” Journal of affective disorders 100.1 (2007): 1-6.

Kean, Sam. The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements. Random House, 2011.

Lépine, Jean-Pierre, and Mike Briley. “The increasing burden of depression.” Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment 7.Suppl 1 (2011): 3.

 

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Tattoo Acceptability in the Medical Setting

December 12th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Millions of people in today’s society have tattoos. Recently, it was discovered that tattoo have become more popular by 13% since 2007 and that about 42% of adults have tattoos (“Tattoos in the Workplace Statistics”). Due to this trend, tattoos are becoming more prevalent every day. Since my junior year of high school, I have been begging my parents to allow me to get a tattoo. Every time I asked them if I could get a tattoo they would come up an excuse on why I could not get one. Both of my parents have tattoos on their arms that could be easily covered up with a long-sleeve shirt but, not with a short-sleeve shirt. Their tattoos do not interfere with their jobs at all. My parents knew that one day I wanted to be an orthodontist. They would constantly express that not all people are open to doctors having tattoos so they were very reserved about me getting one. They also did not want me to get a tattoo that I would regret someday. Eventually, my parents caved in and allowed me to get a tattoo on my foot as a graduation gift when I was 17 years old. As mentioned before, my goal in life is to become an orthodontist, I knew did not want to have a tattoo in a place where it can be seen easily by patients. Today, people have different views on if tattoos should be seen in the medical setting. Medical professionals, as well as other occupations, are always judged on their tattoos on a daily basis. I think the main problem with visible tattoos is that they get a bad reputation from older generations that think tattoos are not appropriate. In fact, the presence of tattoos is protected by the Constitution because it is protected against the criminal law but, in the workplace they are not federally protected (“Tattoos in the Workplace Statistics”). In today’s society, tattoos are all about people expressing themselves through art on their skin. Tattoo acceptability in the medical professional setting has its pros and cons that are associated with them. Some people believe that tattoos are not acceptable while others believe that tattoos can help develop a strong patient and medical professional rapport. Tattoos should be accepted in the medical profession.18-Foot-Tattoo

“50 Awesome Foot Tattoo Designs | Art and Design.” Art and Design. 10 Aug. 2013. Web.
Sometimes, tattoos can be acceptable in the medical setting. Personally, I think tattoos that are not vulgar should be appropriate to be visible if wore with normal scrubs. Just because someone has tattoos does not mean that they are not as qualified as someone that does not have tattoos. There is an assumption that tattoos will make patients feel uncomfortable and lower their overall satisfaction of services due to the negative stereotypes that come with the presence of tattoos (Wittmann-Price 2). A study was done regarding the views of 150 patients towards medical professionals with tattoos. In this study the patients were shown a picture of a male and female healthcare professional with tattoos and one without tattoos. It was concluded that there were no differences in care, approachability, cooperativeness, attentiveness, reliability, professionalism, confidence, and efficiency between the tattooed healthcare provider and the non-tattooed healthcare provider. The majority of the people surveyed did not find it wrong for healthcare providers to have tattoos (Westerfield 3). When surveyed, many nurses believe that their professionalism should not be judged on their appearance and they also believe that professionalism is about “how one behaves and interacts with others, not to the style of clothes one wears or the presence of body art” (Wittmann-Price 2). In reality, tattoos are more acceptable in some occupations than others because some occupations are not a professional or strict on appearance as others. Sometimes tattoos can be a conversation starter with patients according to Emilie Robertson (Glauser 2). Glauser explained that if the patients have tattoos that are similar to that of the healthcare providers then the patient and healthcare providers has something to talk about. This entails that tattoos can make the patient feel more comfortable around the doctor since they have something to relate to.
Even though there are a lot of people who support tattoos in the medical setting, there are a lot of people who do not support it. Many hospitals and other healthcare facilities make it mandatory for their employees to cover up their tattoos while on the job (Wittmann-Price 1). “In 2011, for example, the Ottawa Hospital introduced a dress code that required tattoos to be covered and piercings removed. In January 2013, a labour arbitrator found the directive overstepped the rights of health-care workers, and the dress code was lifted” (Glauser 2). Emilie Robertson is a medical student that has six tattoos in various locations that are visible with scrubs on. Robertson understands that not everyone is comfortable with tattoos being visible on their doctor so she often tries to cover them up with long sleeves while with patients (Glauser 1). Another example is Kris Dodd, who is a third-year medical school student that has spent thousands of dollars trying to get a small portion of his tattoos removed. With the remaining of his tattoos, he wears long sleeves to cover them up (Glauser 2). He does this so he is not judged by his colleagues and patients. In a study done to compare female and male healthcare providers with tattoos, there was a slight inclination between them because women with tattoos were found to be less professional than male healthcare providers with tattoos (Westerfield 3). In another study was done, a picture of a nurse with body art and one without body art was shown to 240 people that were students, patients, nurses, and faculty members at a medical facility. The study showed that the nurse with tattoos appeared to be less knowledgeable, caring, and skilled as a nurse (Wittmann-Price pg.2). Through surveys, it was determined that people view their healthcare providers with tattoos in a different light than their healthcare providers without tattoos.
It is still rare to see doctors with visible tattoos (Glauser 1) but, I think that it is time for the world to start being more open to tattoos on their healthcare providers. There is a nurse that works at the doctor’s office that I go to with neck and arm tattoos. Ever since I was young, I always thought that she was very cool; I never thought less of her even as a child. In fact, I find it interesting when nurses and other medical professionals have tattoos because you learn more about them. Most tattoos have a lot of meaning behind them; this is probably the reason that they are becoming more prevalent in society. Personally I think that tattoos are not a bad thing, they are just a different way that people express themselves. Covering up tattoos are a great way to hide tattoos but, I do not think it should be mandatory to cover up tattoos in the medical setting. It all depends on the patient, some patients are comfortable with visible tattoos and some are not. I am all for tattoos in the medical setting as long as they are not derogative or excessive. In the study done by Wittmann-Price that showed that the nurse with tattoos were viewed to be less knowledgeable, caring, and skilled, I think is unfair. People should not be judged on their appearance at all. The stereotypes that are associated with tattoos makes people believe that tattoos are a horrible thing. Even though this is not always the case, it is important to know when tattoos can be shown and when they should be covered up around certain patients. Also, people who are thinking about going into the medical field should think about the location of their tattoo and how a patient may react to it before they get it. Patient also should know that doctors and other medical professionals have lives of their own and they should be able to make these decisions without being judged for it.
WORKS CITED
Glauser, Wendy. “About.” Wendy Glauser Journalist. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.
Glauser, Wendy. “Inked: Are Tattoos Still Taboo in Medical Circles?” Medical Post 50.2 (2014): 21,22,24. ProQuest. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.
Westerfield, Heather V, MSN,R.N., C.M.S.R.N., et al. “Patients’ Perceptions of Patient Care Providers with Tattoos and/or Body Piercings.” Journal of Nursing Administration 42.3 (2012): 160. ProQuest. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.
Wittmann-Price, Ruth A., Karen K. Gittings, and Kerrith McDowell Collins. “Nurses And Body Art: What’s Your Perception?.” Nursing 42.6 (2012): 62-64. Academic Search Complete. Web. 19 Nov. 2015.
“Tattoos in the Workplace Statistics.” Support Tattoos and Piercings at Work. Health the World, 2012. Web. 4 Dec. 2015.
Image: “50 Awesome Foot Tattoo Designs | Art and Design.” Art and Design. 10 Aug. 2013. Web.

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Is Diversity on Television Actually Improving?

December 11th, 2015 · No Comments · Uncategorized

diverse tv shows

When I was younger, I remember watching an episode of “Hannah Montana” and thinking to myself, “Why don’t I look like Miley or Lily?” Of course, I loved this show but I couldn’t help and ask myself questions like this one often. How come the only diverse characters on the show were the two mean girls, Amber and Ashley who were African American and Spanish-Filipino, and the diabolical troublemaker was a Hispanic boy named Rico Suave? Most importantly, why were these characters always portrayed in a negative way? This realization that occurred at a young age for me also happened to actress Gina Rodriguez, the star of the CW’s “Jane the Virgin.” According to an article at the Washington Post, while watching the 90’s hit show “Full House,” Rodriguez began to think about how she rarely saw someone that looked like her, and if she did, they were normally represented in a negative light: “That lack of visibility, that lack of relatability, really made me feel kind of alone in this world…[i]t really made me feel a certain way about myself, about beauty, what I could and could not be.” This lack of diversity on screen is a huge problem in the industry, although it may seem like it is getting better. You might ask yourself, what does this have anything to do with me? How can I help fix this issue if I’m not an executive producer or don’t even work in the television industry? So what can be done to solve this problem? The answer is simple and easy to accomplish. To promote more diversity on screen, people must first change what they watch on TV.

Lately, I have started to notice that a lot of shows I watch now include more racial diversity and star more women. I was extremely impressed with networks like ABC, NBC, and the CW, and specifically shows like, “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Quantico,” “Chicago Med,” “Jane the Virgin,” and more, for achieving diversity. However, I still wondered how much the TV industry was actually improving in this area. While researching, I found statistics regarding minority writers underrepresented at major networks from a Writer’s Guild of America report: “During the 2013-2014 season…minorities claimed 16.1 percent of the positions at ABC, 14.2 percent of the positions at NBC, 13 percent of the positions at Fox, and just 11.3 percent of the positions at CBS.” These numbers were surprising, but reading about women like Viola Davis, the lead in ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder,” and Rodriguez, who were breaking racial and gender barriers and essentially shaping history through their Emmy and Golden Globe wins, made it appear as though TV was finally embracing diversity. However, I was shocked to discover diversity in the industry was not actually improving that much.

The misrepresentation of ethnic groups on screen is due to the lack of diverse writers in the TV industry. Sometimes shows tend to stereotype certain characters and this can affect viewers in a negative way. Jessica Goldstein’s article refers to a report from the Latino Media Gap where statistics prove that in movies and TV shows, Latinos are usually portrayed as “criminals, law enforcers and cheap labor [and that] since 1996, 69 percent of maids in both industries are Latinas,” when in reality “only 44.3 percent of maids and house cleaners are Latino.” As a child, “Jane the Virgin” star Gina Rodriguez grew up affected by this negative portrayal of Latinos and was inspired to change this representation by becoming an actress. Before accepting the role of “Jane,” Rodriguez declined a role on Lifetime’s “Devious Maids” because she, “[F]ound it limiting that that was the one that was available to [her]…[and] for the stories that Latinos have.” She continued by saying that “[B]eing a maid is fantastic [but] there are other stories that need to be told.” So why are diverse characters like the ones in “Hannah Montana,” unlike Jane from “Jane the Virgin,” who is real, relatable and not a negative stereotype being portrayed in unfavorable ways? It is because of the lack of diverse writers that are unable to tell real stories that translate onscreen, and frankly because people still watch these shows.

The key to success in the TV industry lies with diverse writers. In “Same Old Script,” Aisha Harris reveals that Shonda Rhimes’ commitment to casting people of color in lead roles in all of her hit shows, “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” and “How to Get Away with Murder,” and writers’ rooms is believed to have paved the way for all of the new shows that successfully captured racial diversity last Fall. Harris even states that in 2012, Scandal became the first network drama with a black woman as the lead in nearly four decades! The 2014 to 2015 season introduced successful and diverse shows “Jane the Virgin,” “Fresh Off the Boat,” “black-ish,” “Empire,” and now the new fall season this year has presented Fox’s “Rosewood” and ABC’s “Quantico” and “Dr. Ken.” Although it may seem that racial diversity on TV is improving, the statistics that prove the decline of diverse writers beg to differ if the television industry is truly embracing diversity. Harris’ article includes the Writer’s Guild of America report that states that between the 2011 to 2012 and the 2013 to 2014 season, the staff employment for people of color actually decreased from 15.6 percent to 13.7 percent, and the number of executive producers of color decreased from 7.8 percent to 5.5 percent. The report also adds that people of color occupied only 5.5 percent of the executive producer roles in the 2013 to 2014 season. “Even as the hottest show on TV boasts a majority-nonwhite writing staff, the work of vigorously recruiting non-white writing talent is still confined to a narrow pipeline: Diversity departments and fellowships help to fill one or two designated diversity slots on each staff.” (Harris 2015). To change these numbers, viewers need to stop watching shows that misrepresent or stereotype ethnic characters and shows that do not hire diverse writers too. There is really no way to determine which shows employ diverse writers besides looking at the credits. However, if the showrunner or executive producer is a diverse woman or man, they will most likely hire other diverse writers in their staff. By watching shows with diverse writers, they will become more popular and prove that it truly is because of the stories written by these staff members.

TV Networks are finally realizing that most successful shows are due to racial diversity. According to Alyssa Rosenberg’s article, “TV’s Slow Embrace of Diversity,” Paul Lee, the president of the ABC Entertainment group, revived his network by hiring more women and people of color to tell their passionate and real stories. ABC’s Thursday lineup of Rhimes’ three popular shows proves just how effective this strategy is and how no other network tries to compete with it on that night. Even NBC is starting to catch on to this movement and is now premiering two new shows next year in January called “Superstore” and “Telenovela” starring Latina women, American Ferrera and Eva Longoria.

To change what airs on television and promote the use of diverse writers in order to receive more accurate and diverse shows, people need to change what they see on TV. Stop watching shows that do not reflect correct stories and that do not represent true diversity. It is important for real and passionate stories of diverse people to be told on television, and changing what we see and support on screen is the only way that can actually improve the amount of diversity we get on TV.

 

 

Works Cited

Goldstein, Jessica. “How Gina Rodriguez Sees Herself.” Washington Post. Washington Post, 2 October 2015. Web. 9 November 2015.

Harris, Aisha. “Same Old Script.” Slate. Slate Group, 18 October 2015. Web. 12 November 2015.

Rosenberg, Alyssa. “TV’s Slow Embrace of Diversity.” Washington Post. Washington Post, 18 August 2015. Web. 9 November 2015.

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