Thursday, November 26, 2009

To Everything There Is A Season

I've been reading a lot of books lately that discuss branding, as it pertains to teenagers, as it pertains to stereotypes being packaged to young boys and girls to mold them into accepting not just a gender binary but that the gender binary can only be expressed in particular ways; a constant narrowing.

One of the topics that continually comes up is how media enterprises continually put the onus onto parents to protect and shield their children. If you don't want them exposed to things, then don't let them, watch tv, play video games, go shopping, listen to the radio, read any contemporary books, leave the house to go to school, have any friends, talk to people outside of approved lists of blood relatives...

Well yes, these media enterprises don't actually give a list of what to protect children from if you don't want them influenced by messages bombarding from outside the immediate family world. They just say 'They're your children, you protect them.'

It shifts the burden of societal responsibility and puts all responsibility for that child on parents.

It takes a village to raise a child? Ha!

So what if children need independence and to know their parents trust them to make, first small decisions and then bigger ones. So what if their parents can't be beside them to shield them from every song, and every outfit another child wears that the parent might think inappropriate and every commercial etc. It's the parent's job to become a safty bubble, smothering the child, instead of the world offering varied views or even better, the world offering age appropriate attention.

Age appropriate as benefits actual psychological development with an eye towards constructive and positive growth NOT grooming to be a better consumer. Not "Kids Getting Older Younger".

I bring all this up because I've seen this several times now, post Brian Seiler, Utter Jerk Bag.


Seiler shifted the responsibility of a corporate entity to act with mindfulness, compassion and good sense (business as well as common) onto a gay individual who was offended at something they'd done that was in extreme bad taste.

It was apparently the gay person's responsibility to give the company the benefit of the doubt and interpret their actions outside of history's context.

Which brings us to my reading this entry. And in particular, this comment quoted here with the part in particular that caught my attention.

And regarding your last few paragraphs about society’s depictions/stereotypes of the disabled- all I can say is that we cannot control what others do- no matter how morally wrong, unsympathetic, or frustrating their actions may be- but what we CAN control is how WE react- how we let them make us feel- i find it helpful to try & focus on that which i can change (IE myself, my reactions, my actions)

It is not the film makers fault they have tapped into "disability = scary = violent = bad" and helped promote that concept in public consciousness. It is the fault of the disabled person pointing it out; that they're refusing to rise above it. {Strong Black Woman, Strong Black Man, You're So Strong If I Had That I Would Kill Myself, Model Minority, So Hard Working} They are refusing to not change the world, starting with themselves; namely their outlook, attitude and tone to something more positive.

Which frankly I read as 'you should be less confrontational', even though the original post wasn't. It was simply pointing out a trope.

But more than that, something I do not think the individuals debating with the OP seem able to recognize, the tropes about what behavior is abnormal and thus scary and potentially violent and bad are actually based on either exaggerated behaviors within minority stereotypes OR they are based on behaviors regarding human states medicine in the past had no answers for; Those behaviors of course representing a gambit of symptomatology within another minority.

It is not accident or coincidence that the visual quote of 'scary child' includes said child rocking themselves in a corner or doing some other repetitive act, being afraid of touch or claiming pain from sensory stimuli.

It is not accident or coincidence that people 'know' the character who trembles, breaks into tears and ends up running screaming, tearing at her face and hair from the priest come to stop in to see her, must be possessed. Priests committing acts of sexual depravity upon helpless child parishioners, was not fact when these visuals began to be disseminated as clues to plot. It's still being refused as fact now.

It is not accident or coincidence a white American woman looking bewildered on the streets will react to a "Baby girl, you all right?" or a "Miss, you ok?" as if someone just propositioned them by verbally describing a porn scene involving unsanitary sexual acts - if said words came from a black male of any age, who is not wearing a suit.

It is not accident or coincidence that all those tv commercials describing Depression, as essentially Sweatpants Syndrome have created a public consciousness of what it is and what it is not aka what is faking aka what a woman's insurance can drop her for not looking like.

These stereotypes were put into public consciousness. And yet when anyone affected by them points this fact out, and that it needs to be corrected, the come back is always 'Own Your Own Shit'; As if the people being portrayed badly in media had ever had the power in the first place to prevent those portrayals.

Just how exactly does it work out into equality for everyone, for the majority to keep the power and the minorities to rise above not having any?

Do they think we don't notice that illogic?

Do they think, as a whole, disenfranchised groups will buy that they are being empowered if they just stay beautiful, silent and strong, rising above all the past and current wrong and just trusting the majority to see the point; without reminders or privilege checks? Cause that's the same thinking as "Put it to a vote and let the public decide."

And let us not forget, as Americans celebrate Thanksgiving that the most common iconic image of beautiful, silent and strong are a multi-nationed peoples, many Americans believe are long dead and gone. And of course having gracefully left behind culture, spirituality and government for the majority to pick up and claim as their own (or to be continuing it as their own).

So Majority? So Corporate & Would Be Societal Puppeteers?

While some minority peoples might purchase the [ powdered flavoured drink; just add sugar], and even feel a need to pitch it to others(like a bad home video that must be shared), not everyone is.

Don't think some of us don't recognize "Be Better Than We Are" is mockery, sniggering and a put down. Don't think everyone wants to join you (a slowly sinking prison ship), when the horizon holds the possibility of a whole new world. It might take more effort. But reaping what we will sow and create with our own hands, is better than your tired, stale, rationed handouts.