Monday, September 18, 2006

class update

The class continued talking about the politics of advertising. We talked about our roles as designers and the ability to choose our clients. Yes, it may be a little naive to think that we can always choose, but it is important to think about your own beliefs and honor those when possible.

I try to encourage communication and critical thinking in my course. I remind my students that I have no answers. There are no "right" or "wrong" answers. We can only question what we see every day. We need to think about our personal reponses to our culture.

We talk about change. How can we encourage change? How can we educate people that they do have a role in our world and can affect others? These are questions that the students are still trying to discover in their own research. How do we counter a culture that encourage accumulation? How do we educate people that by making some changes we can do some good? Change is tough....

We talked about the fact that we are recipients of images every day. We don't interact with the images we see. There is not a feedback system (we can't speak to the images and have a response). We only receive the message. We don't take time to think about what we see. Instead we are bombarded with images. Images and stories of how we should look, how we should be and how we should live.

The power of celebrities: As of late, my 12 year old is obsessed with her appearance. I know that part of this is due to her age. I remember being in 7th grade and worrying about my appearance. So, I think some of it has to do with the usual 7th grade concerns and insecurities. Some of it, however, I have to believe is related to what we see in advertising.

I read an article in the local paper the other day about celebrities. Many celebrities are airbrushed in every reel of film, in every photograph. They are also enhanced in body features and thinned. This is sad. It is sad that we are measuring ourselves against these beautiful flawless people. These beautiful flawless people who are not real. What is real?

Too many of us want to be like these celebrities in many ways. We want to look like them, we want to have their lives (real lives or movies/soap opera) lives. None of this is real. We think that if we have what they have that we would be happier. Of course, this does not happen. We buy what they have and it does not make us happier.

One student pointed out the reality of our american lives. She stated that we want the easiest and fastest solution to our problems. If buying something will make us happier, even temporarily, then we will do it. If we think that looking like someone else will make us happier, then we will do that. So many of us are receiving messages from the outside that we have to look, act, or be a certain way that if we are different then we are "bad" in some way.

This made me think about myself. Am I happy with my self? I know that in my 20s I was obsessed with my appearance. I wanted to be like those celebrities.

Now? Well, besides my gait becoming a waddle, I am happy.

1 comment:

MrsAngelena said...

I think becoming happy with yourself also comes with age. When I was in my teens I wanted so badly to fit in with the "in" group. When I was in my 20's and married I tried again to fit in with my husbands side of the family, you know agreeing when I really didn't agree? Now that I am 32 I am learning to like me for me and discovering my own comfort zone, and caring less and less about fitting in whatever that is.

By the way, I have really enjoyed your blog.