The module was made up of two parts. The first was a series of tasks to be completed and then discussed in a theoretical manner, writing 500 words on four of the tasks and the last task was to create a documentary about racism. The second task was an individual 1,500 word essay using one of the themes discussed in class (Gender, Race, Class, etc) to write about a recent issue/controversy/debate of our choosing. For example I chose to look at hate crimes against the LBGT community, using theories base in the theme of gender and sexuality.
The first set of tasks were accomplished though group work. I helped to organize group meetings and group trips we went on in order to complete the tasks set. As a group we each played a part in writing the 500 word tasks up. I had a large part to play in the creation of the final project, I helped to direct and film with my group, and I used the video editing software to edit the documentary together. I received 62% for this part of my course work.
I recieved 55% on my 1,500 essay, the over all argument was good but the use of references needed to be more structured in order to create a coherent argument.
Somewhere like a toy shop can reveal true gender roles as it is exactly what implements them to children from a young age. The toy shop had a blue area named “action and adventure” clearly aimed at boys, and a pink area named “imagine and play” for girls. This immediate segregation separates the two genders and gives absolutely no spectrum as to what may be considered ‘boys’ toys and ‘girls’ toys. However, in recent times, this male female toy split has been shamed on social media and in society in general as it is deemed a thing of the past. In the toy shop, there was evidence of this new way of thinking. For example, the company ‘nerf,’ a brand that has always been associated with boys as it involves shooting and violence have brought out a seemingly ‘female’ version. It has pink and purple packaging and is called ‘Rebelle,’ which suggests that if a girl is seen to be violent she is rebelling against her typical gender role of being kind and gentle.Raymond Montemayor, a psychology professor at the Ohio State University, brought six- to eight-year-old children into his lab. He told them about his new throwing game called Mr. Munchie (which was really just a Canadian toy unknown to US Midwestern kids). To score points, children throw as many plastic marbles as they can into a clown’s mouth in thirteen seconds. Some of the children were told the game was “for girls, like jacks.” Other children were told that the game was “for boys, like basketball.” The children liked and performed better when the game belonged to their gender group. Even in the preschool section, the building blocks all had pictures of young boys on them and the girls had the more creative toys. The same toy had multiple colours for boys and girls, even though the toy was exactly the same. This exploits the fact that someone may find the colour opposing their gender offensive or unlikeable even though it is the same device as their gender colour.
Gender roles are even evident in fast food restaurants. We visited KFC and uncovered the startling amount of male iconography within KFCs advertising. Even without the bold, sans-serif, masculine fonts, the names of the food have clear male connotations. The names of the foods include ‘Big Daddy,’ ‘Boss Box Meal,’ ‘Legends Bucket,’ and ‘Fully Loaded,’ which all have tough, powerful associations. Some are even sexual which again, is to appeal to KFC’s target audience of men. We went on to think about why KFC was aimed at men. We believe that KFC are still following the 19th century theory about men and women’s spheres. After the Industrial Revolution, the workplace and the home which had previously been the same, now began to seperate. Women now were assigned the private/domestic sphere, while men were forced to do their work in the public sphere. This is exposed today, when women are somehow unavailable to put dinner in front of their male counterpart, the man finds cooking impossible so therefore goes to his local KFC to pick up a fried chicken beastly meal.
Being gay is not seen as an issue for most people in todays society, it might therefore suggest that we are starting to become a more homonormitive society. Being gay is now seen as normal. However, a simpler explanation might be found in the neoliberal ideals our society has which have become apart of our own individual ideologies. This ideology is that it is only okay if you keep it to your self and do not interact in a social dimension, this is due to the fact that neoliberalism tries to individualizes people an there sexuality. People might therefore have the impression that a person’s sexuality is their own and has nothing to do with society or the influence of other people.
One of the interviewees was a little shocked at the idea that Ashley Cole might be gay ‘I wouldn’t think he was gay, because he doesn’t follow the same stereotype of a gay person’, but it didn’t seem to change their opinion of him. They did not appear to link the idea of him being gay to his profession, but instead focused on his relationship with Cheryl Cole ‘I would still have the same opinion of him as I would be for, because the fact that he cheated on his wife would make me react more than the fact that he came out as gay’.
When discussing Stephen Fry the interviews where more focused on his choice in partner than his career or achievements. However some interviewees made a clear attempt to be politically correct ‘so what if he married a young person’ and ‘I don’t care it doesn’t really bother me’ to the questions of what they thought about his sexuality. They brought up his marriage immediately, as if young people feel obliged to state how socially acceptable being gay is before they say anything else about a person.
Foucault has suggested that a person who openly discuss sexuality which is non heterosexual ‘places himself to a certain extent outside the reach of power, he upsets established law’, this view might have been true during the 1980s, however as seen within the interviews a persons sexuality is seen as a personal thing. Society and law therefore has no right to comment on a person’s sexuality.
All of the interviewees made a point of ‘not caring’ about either Stephen Fry’s or Ashley Cole’s sexuality. Many said, “It doesn’t effect my life,” this mature and cautious response highlights the fact that young people are more politically aware and want to achieve equal rights within society.
A lot of people who are against homosexuality see it as a pathology that has to be abolished or at least censored. The main two reasons brought to the table are: religion and their incapacity of being “productive”. The first case is more striking in less culturally diverse countries because most of those haven’t even legalized gay marriage yet. Therefore, most of the people from those kind of countries don’t try to be politically correct and they usually just express their disgust regarding this subject.
On the other hand, Lee Edelman had a theory related to the second reason called the “reproductive futurity”, arguing that procreation is imperatively necessary in a capitalist society which is based on production in order to assure the persistency of the capitalist machine.
Our first leisure activity that we completed was attending Coventry Transport Museum. It holds the largest publicly owned collection of British vehicles in the world. At a few stages in your walk round, you get asked to vote on what you would do or prefer in terms of transport for the past and the future. This is an easy and simple way to appeal to all audiences. At the end of the experience you can go in the 4D Land Speed Record Simulator. Although it is £5, this will highly appeal to teenagers and is a unique selling point for the museum.
As the museum is free for all general admission, the museum is aimed at all classes. It does cost for schools and they encourage education groups to come along as it is educational and fun for children.
We noted that at the museum, there were mainly an older generation with their grandchildren and men. As cars and History are thought of as typically male topics, we were unsurprised by this result. The older generation would be interested in the History of transport as it could hold an emotional stigma to their past. They are the opinion leaders and inflict their dominant response onto the grandchildren. If they talk about the museum in a positive way, their grandchildren are likely to conclude a similar response.
When looking at who would visit Coventry Cathedral it is clear that a certain demographic would only visit this place as a Christian site. Children understanding a religion that may be more enforced through their primary school education. However it means that people of all classes are welcomed inside for prayer. There may be a divide in how class is represented there but inside people are equal. According to the theorist Karl Marx says that “ as of a difference in wages the working class are constantly ruled by people of a higher class, making it difficult to improve their jobs and life prospects.”
What he says is true but within a church for people to visit it removes the boundaries of class from the equation, as money doesn’t change what people are inside the Cathedral.
The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum
The third activity we decided to do was to go to the Herbert Art Gallery. There were a mixture of ages within the gallery from 18 to 60, there were not many children, as seen in the previous two activities. One of the exhibitions we went to was ‘war games’ in which there was displayed a mixture of audio visual content along with interactive displays of children’s toys. While these displays, would appeal to young audiences the message behind them is quite poignant.
On the whole from an economic standpoint, we would suggest that these activities are open for all classes due to the fact that they are free. It has been suggested by media theorists that culture and taste is ‘made to stand in for class’, therefore we are not defined by economic standing. Therefore while economically the classes that attend these activities can be any one, the fact that they are actively pursuing cultural stimuli suggest that these activities can be more associated with a middle class psyche.
Us at the Coventry Party have observed the current economic climate of the UK economy and we believe that by raising minimum wage, this will ultimately lead Britain into a brighter future. We are proposing to increase minimum wage to £8 an hour by 2020. Along with our minimum wage increase, we would freeze income tax for the foreseeable future for the lowest earning in Britain. We would give companies a tax rebate when they sign up to become higher wage employers. This would allow them to also benefit from the increase wages by investing their money back into their company and therefore stimulating their local economy.
John Stewart Mill argues that wages determine the elasticity of supply, therefore they have to exceed the subsistence level. Because of the fact that capital is the main source of money for wages, there are only two possible situations which would determine wages to increase: increase in capital or decrease in the number of workers. When wages do rise, the supply of labour does the same. However, in this context, there is also competition among workers, fact that determines a decrease both in the minimum wage and in unemployment. One of Mill’s famous quotes regarding this situation is “demand for commodities is not demand for labourers”. In other words, when there is more income invested for wages and not for consumption, the employment rate increases. This results in the latter being in an inverse ratio to investment. The best part is that if the investment rate is high, the wage fund goes up, too, therefore witnessing economic progress.
In addition, Karl Marx’s opinion on this subject was that the source of all commodity values in capitalist society comes from the labour of the working class, the vast majority of people who live by selling their labour power.
An economic boost will lead to a considerable drop in the numbers of families in extreme poverty, as the income for a minimum wage will increase, providing families with more money for food and shelter. It will benefit people getting the raise in wage, as they are working but are finding it difficult to survive comfortably on the current minimum wage. It would also benefit the government, as they will not have to spend as much on welfare and benefits. Moreover, the supply and demand raise in the labour market will eventually encourage employers to create more work placements and opportunities.
In conclusion, we at the Coventry Party are confident that an increase in minimum wage will put Britain in a better economic standing for the conceivable future. We share Marx’s opinion that if the working class earned more, they would be able to contribute to society and local economies in a much more productive way. An increase in minimum wage will give society the boost it needs to respond to the pressures placed upon us by the European Union.
For our group presentation we decided to use the website prezi, in order to make our presentation. We felt that it might give it a more protectional appearance than we would of been able to achieve by simply using powerpoint presentation. I felt that it appeared to flow well due to the graphics that we chose.
We received a mixture of different feed back about our presentation, from a positive comment upon the accent of one of the members of our group, to the observation that the use of mobile phones in order to read a script looked unprofessional.
My part of the presentation, on how to be successful at the course, was taken by some of the audience to be too aggressive especially my “you are not a child” point. I might be able to take this on board for my next presentation, by using less forceful direct language and a more calm tone when speaking.
However that being said the feed back we gain from the lecturer, was positive in regards to this statement, which goes to show that not everyone has the same opinion about the presentation. The comments we gained from the lecturers were more about the use of graphics, and their concern that our choice in graphic style might subtract from the presentation, making hard for the audience to follow the presented argument.
I enjoyed putting this presentation together mainly because it gave me a chance to work with people that I hadn’t meet before. I found it was a fun ice breaker to the course in getting use to know one another. But that being said I felt that I need to be more organised when I do another presentation. While we did complete the presentation on time we had trouble printing off the script which is why we resorted to using our phones in order to read the script. However had I practised my part more prior to presenting, it might of flowed better and I would of been less nerves.