In our final day of class with Dr. Paxton, we discussed and examined popular culture and culture jamming. We also found out a bit about modern monopolizing and that all the media we are exposed to are owned by not much more than six major corporate powers.
|These six corporations own almost all the media we see daily!|
We watched a short film about "cool hunting" which is one way in which companies try to find the new trends. They look in streets of urban cities and look for certain types of teenagers. There are innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards. The "cool hunters" look for the innovators and early adopters and have to act fast because once the new, cool thing gets to the majority, it becomes uncool. Because of this cycle, the true power is in the youth. Teenagers are both where they get their product ideas and who they sell them to.
Dr. Paxton used jeans as an example of a complicated and contradictory topic. Jeans have lasted decades and are still owned by almost everyone. They do not fit into the normal cycle of becoming uncool. Originally, jeans were made for manual labor. Those who actually do manual labor in the room were supposed to raise their hands... About five people do. Sometime later, jeans became a fashion statement. Different styles of jeans arose and people started to customize them. This is unique because it is one of the only times in the fashion world that people are being both individuals but also acting the same. The expensive jeans are usually made in the same sweatshop as cheap jeans and are rarely actually limited edition. The only difference is the label on them.
We learned about culture jamming next! Some famous examples of culture jammers who brought attention to controversial issues were the Bhopal disaster in India and the Yes Men. Dr. Paxton actually knew one of the Yes Men and was there to see one of their first culture jamming pranks where they replaced all the signs on a main street to "Malcolm X Street" to bring attention to the controversy of changing the name of another street to "Martin Luther King Jr."
|Hollaback PSA in the subway|
We had two guest speakers, Rochelle Keyhan and Anna Kegler who work with a nonprofit called Hollaback which works to end street harassment. There are Hollabacks all over the world and they earn money through fundraising and grants. As a company, they try to include everyone who may get harassed in the streets in their advertisements. There are flawed depictions in the media, such as only men harassing females or all construction workers doing it. They told us about how sexual harassment is a form of oppression and showing power. Hollabacks is through a feminist lens and they never blame the victim in their campaigns.
After lunch, we had a speaker named Filip Kovacevic. He had been sitting in on our feminist classes all week after coming all the way here from Montenegro to talk to us with his wife, Olga. First, we went over the two books we had read Monday and Tuesday, Crack Capitalism and An Essay on Liberation.He also told us about his life story, which I found interesting. After facing some trouble in Yugoslavia, he moved to Ohio at 17 and learned American culture and our language. He went to school in California and graduated with a concentration on political science as one of the top in his class. He found that in order to make the world a better place, he needed to first learn how the world works. He moved to Russia to teach classes and met his wife, Olga. He settled with her back in Montenegro, where they were marginalized because he might corrupt the youth so he had to start again from nothing! Now, he teaches at the department of tourism. We discussed a lot of complicated issues of Montenegro and some of the activism that goes on there as well. Overall, today was quite interesting as always!