Wednesday, 26 March 2014

4chan: Anonymity as a form of identity for Americans

I would link the site, but it is very unsafe for work and profane. Instead, here is an article by The Daily Dot chronicling its history on its 10th anniversary:

4chan is a primarily anonymous internet message board with fairly few rules and little moderation compared to other message boards. This makes it somewhat unique in world history, being possibly the only human society without a true social contract. While international, there are many more Americans on the site than members of any other country (source). While it is difficult to tell, considering the anonymity, it is also estimated that the majority of the site's users are young people. It is interesting that, in an environment like the internet where one could theoretically choose any identity they wanted, so many young Americans are choosing no identity at all. 4chan is not without a culture of its own, however - typically it is countercultural, originally founded for discussion of Japanese Animé (something still done on the site to this day) and now being a haven for various unusual political views and hobbies. The site is also unusually ephemeral in nature - "For every thread created on /b/, another was deleted. In other words, there was no archive." Though an archive has recently been implemented, the core nature is still that a discussion thread will only exist for a certain amount of time before deleting itself and being only viewable as a piece of history. These factors combined give 4chan a very recognisable collective identity, even though (and because) each individual anon has none. The unique internet slang means that individual expressions of American culture effectively disappear and all users, no matter the nationality, become anational; the ethos, however - complete and total freedom of speech - is perhaps the most American thing imaginable.

It is unclear what this means for American identity in the future. I am reminded of a quote I once read on the site itself: "In 30 years we could pass one another in the street and never know we spent every day of our youth together". This is the first time in history there has ever been such a situation, and it undeniably affects a large number of Americans. Certainly, 4chan's cultural affects will probably persist after the site disappears or becomes irrelevant, as it has given the nebulous "internet culture" many of its most well-recognised in-jokes and traditions (some of which have bled over into the mainstream and received coverage on news channels, one such incident involving the Occupy Wall Street pepper spray incident). Perhaps its users will grow to have families and friends like the average American, or perhaps they will remain alone, as so many 4chan users are. If this is the case we will have a sizeable demographic of American adults in the future who have no real analogue today, whose personalities were shaped by formative years spent on an anonymous countercultural website. It will be interesting to see.

America's Digital Identities

The biggest factor of digital identity is social networking, alongside online purchasing, gaming, and many others.

This picture shows the main digital identities of, not only America, but globally. It seems, that America has set a trend for people around the world, the trend being, setting a heavy importance on social networking. When looking on Pew Research's findings, it shows that 90% of Americans that are aged 18-29 use social networking sites. There seems to be a phenomenon amongst the younger generation of socialising through text and images, no natural interaction. Moreover, social networking has impacted this generation so much so, that some feel social networking is a necessity to their lives. Therefore, other generations are feeling a need to incorporate the digital world into their communication, for example, education. In this modern age, it is now very common to receive work via email without even going to a lesson and just working independently away from a classroom. However, there is now conversations about having lectures via Skype, no longer the need for physical interaction or a learning environment, i think this idea gives a very clear image of what America's digital identity will be. Although, this data was collected in Septemeber 2013, so the percentages may have increased, and still be increasing.

When looking at the volume of people using social networking, and how people rely so much on the internet to carry out their daily tasks, it can be predicted that digital identity will become a necessity to Americans as there will no longer be any need for physical communication or interaction.


Digital Identities

There are many possible digital identities, not only in America but globally too.  The main ones being Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube and Instagram. However there are many more such as 4chan, reddit, pintrest, etc. Each one offers a variety of communities. For example Tumblr has many 'fandoms' (Fans of Doctor Who, Supernatural, Sherlock, pretty much anything). Youtube has Youtubers and their fans, and when Youtubers create videos with other Youtubers it creates a bigger community within the fans. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are more for keeping in contact and putting your life online. This points out that there are different types of digital identities. The identities that are just personal and the identities which share things of interest with other people with the same interest. 

This image is just an example of the multiple identities on the internet.  The people above can be seen as a representation of the stereotypical users or creators of the stated sites, but are also colour coded to their logos. 

With the communities that come with these digital identities, boundaries can be crossed. For example recently it has come to light that some Youtubers have emotionally and physically abused people, some being fans.

Also communities may not always mix together well and online feuds can be created. A notable example of this was the 4chan vs Tumblr argument. 

With these digital identities it is also possible for people to create new identities for themselves, sometimes for better sometimes for worse. But this action is often taken advantage of and thus the creation of Catfishing was created. "catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they're not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances." -

Actual identities can also be ruined on the internet, as once something is posted it is there forever. A good example of this is Jessi Slaughter. 

For the future, I don't think it'll be possible to have an identity without being online. People used to ask "What's your number?" but now its "What's your Facebook or Twitter?". I think this will be more so in America due to a lot of social media sites being made in America by Americans. One day our whole identities could be online. Another Scenario is the storyline of the film Her, where a man falls in love with his operating system, a few years into the future. Before this his presence online was much greater then it would be now. It could seem like he was inside the computer when playing games for example. If it was possible to simulate a game around a room it would also be possible to simulate people around, there would no longer be a need for physical interaction. It would be even more possible for meetings and lectures to be held over Skype, more so then what is being done already. 


There are various digital identities available to Americans and other people around the world. Some of these include, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram. These digital identities hold the data that uniquely describes the person or thing that describes the persons information- for example social networking sites such as twitter and Facebook. These social networking sites hold personal information for millions of people all around the world.

This picture I found shows an average teenage Americans digital identity, it contains social networking sites such as flickr, youtube etc. Instagram is an online photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services. This is an example of an digital identity as it enables people to share their personal life through pictures rather words like most social networking sites. It also enables the use of hash-tagging which is a concept that lets you take one word or a phrase and enable it to become a hyperlink that the rest of the world can use to search up other peoples photos with the same hashtag.

Users can upload photographs and short videos, connect their Instagram account to other social networking sites (which will enable the option to share uploaded photos to those sites), and follow other users' feeds. In 2012, Instagram created web profiles which allows users to use their Instagram account like a social media site. This gave users a web profile featuring a selection of recently shared photographs, biographical information, and other personal details. 

Thursday, 20 March 2014

The Repeal Pledge

The first thing I noticed about this website was the use of the colours red, white & blue in not only the sticker-styled header image, but also the first image of a hospital from the outside. These are the colours of the American flag, which are often used to represent the concept of "freedom", immediately giving a subtle but good indication of the complaints this website raises against Obamacare.

Sure enough, the first piece of bolded text rails against government takeover and intrusion into the personal lives of citizens. The claim is also made that the existence of Obamacare goes against the will of the general population and is thus not in the spirit of Democracy, a very important concept to many Americans (especially on the right wing, where most of the Obamacare opposition comes from). The fears held are elaborated on at the end, interestingly, indicating that this is a website intended not for gaining new converts to the cause but rather to inform people already in on the cause of how to take action that will benefit it.

The grievances themselves often reflect the issues raised in Michael Moore's documentary Sicko. "give control to patients and doctors, rather than bureaucrats" and "promote a system in which good and timely care is available to all our citizens" particularly brings to mind the oft-raised issue (of debatable accuracy) of waiting lists and new treatments being withheld for some time in countries such as Canada and the UK. "make medical care, and the practice of medicine, affordable" indicates that Obamacare may not have made it cheaper for all citizens to obtain medical care, as was its main selling point. "encourage continued innovation and investment in the development of new medical treatments" implies that, somehow, research into medical treatments is motivated by free market competition in the same way as research into new products (I confess that I have difficulty empathising with this one). "honor our traditions of freedom of choice and privacy" is, perhaps, the most stereotypically "conservative" of these viewpoints - personal freedom is very important to the American right, so the idea of the penalty tax involved with Obamacare is a big no-no for them.

The positions are not impossible, or even difficult to understand. After all, it is not as if even liberals claim Obamacare is a perfect system, and it is in keeping with founding American ideals that one should be able to opt out of anything if they so wish. However, I cannot shake  the feeling that this is a kneejerk reaction to the idea of "socialism", still looked down on as a dirty word in American politics.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Defeat Obama.

This website is completely Anti-Obama and has separates pages for each of his policies or opinions. Under ObamaCare it firstly outlines it's main criticisms;

  • "Obamacare is not about getting medical coverage to everyone
  • Obamacare is not about getting medical coverage for children
  • Obamacare is not about getting better medical coverage in the workplace
  • Obamacare is not about helping to prevent medical problems
  • Obamacare is about coercion of the individual by the government
  • Obamacare is supposed to ensure quality health care for all Americans at an affordable cost. But the exact opposite will occur: insurance premiums will increase and not decrease
  • Obamacare will be a disaster for taxpayers."
Other arguments include that it is just a form of Government enforced Euthanasia, a way to kill off the elderly to save money. It also states Obamacare will force people to have chips placed under their skin which will be linked to medical records and bank account details "Obamacare requires an RFID chip implanted in all of us."

It is understandable that criticisms like these are being made. The issue with tax, insurance premiums in some cases going up, etc. The reality is that it would be law for everyone to have health insurance and having an existing condition wouldn't effect it. Taxes wouldn't change drastically unless their health care was changed to France's health care system, which notably is the best health care system. The Euthanasia criticism is not how ObamaCare will work and would not be legal.

From a European point of view, the best health care reform they could have is one like the UK's or France however most American's do not have the attitude of paying for others and do not want to pay more tax or have the Government control their health care, resulting in a lose lose situation for those who cannot afford health insurance or for those with insurance cancelation. To be able to see if ObamaCare will work, it will need time and support, something it isn't getting a lot of right now.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Covering Health Care, California- Anti- Obamacare

This website is a not exactly a lobbying website specifcally against 'Obamacare', but moreso, it focuses on the provisions that may need to be put in place due to the new acts that have been passed, specifically for Californians. They are calling it the 'California Resource Guide' - offering an insurance plan so people will not get hit with the extreme estimated costs from the 'Affordable Care Act'. You can purchase an insurance plan called 'Covered California' which assesses the individual on income to get the right amount of coverage desired.

Despite these changes and laws being passed in order to improve the healthcare, there are still huge costs for Americans, it seems that this is only one small step to the massive change that America needs. Henceforth, there is still a need to protect people from these new costs, that there is an even greater  necessity to have health insurance aka 'individual mandate'. It puts a greater pressure on Americans as they mat not even be able to afford the insurance, let alone be able to reep the benefits of being affected of the smaller costs of treatment with having health insurance. Until now, many Americans have just 'got by' without health insurance otherwise their living ability would be jeprodised, this is no longer an optiion anymore. Therefore, they will have to pay for health insurance, and may never have any medical treatment in their life, but still have to pay unecessary costs out for this insurance.

However, many Americans are opposed to Obamacare for the particular reason of the rise in taxes, which is considered a very european view on healthcare. It takes the view that you are looking after everyone else in the country, as well as yourself, which many Americans can't afford because of the amount they earn, or if they are possibly poverty stricken. This 'Covered California' insurance plan enables people to recieve tax credit, but only on this plan.

It is difficult to answer the question of sympathy to such a controversial topic, it is a question that cant be answered yes or no. There are many pro's and con's to this new Obamacare, however because payment still has made for healthcare, its just reduced, but taxes have increased it is hard to see the monumental improvements from this bill that America so desperately needs.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Today Books., 20/03/2006.

This review firstly acknowledges Jeannette's current job as a gossip columnist and this subject is focused on throughout the review. "In the opening pages of “The Glass Castle,” Walls recalls watching someone else do a little digging — her mother".

I think the intended idea of going forward and back to Walls' current life is to make the reader realise if they hadn't before, that this is a true story that can happen to anyone. It stresses that no matter what happened throughout her tough childhood, she became something and didn't let it control her. This can bring light to an emotional story attracting readers to share the experience with her.

This review is problematic as it mainly describes the novel instead of showing the positives and negatives of it. It also features too many of Walls' opinions and reactions of writing the book when there should be different peoples opinions or at least one opinion of a reader. Therefore it would be difficult to call this a 'Review' as there is no reviewing being done. This is a description of the book and a brief look into Walls' life, nothing more. 

The New York Times Review of The Glass Castle

With 'The Glass Castle' remaining at The New York Times Best Seller list for 261 weeks, its no wonder the reviews were raving and praising Walls work on the novel, calling it an "Outrageous Misfortune".

The article seems to highlight that its autobiographical and it is a memoir, therefore especially effective in terms of emotion on the reader as they say "Memoirs are our modern fairy tales". This true story makes it a truly shocking tragedy, according The New York Times.

While The New York Times praises 'The Glass Castle' for its succesful effective through the shockingly true story, it does not seem to offer much criticism. Moreover, after the first two paragraphs, it seems to give a brief summary/description of the novel, rather than critiquing it as a normal review would do. It praises Walls for her even being able to comprehend sorting through her emotions so much so that she could transform it into a novel, as the review says "while at the same time attempting to understand, forgive and even love".

It seems to offer a glimpse into the novel, rather than evaluating it through it strengths and weaknesses in order to convince a reader of this review whether 'The Glass Castle' should be read or not. However, the fact that is stayed in their Best Seller list for 261 weeks, in itself, is self explanatory in the novels raging success.

Monday, 10 March 2014


Created by Todrick Hall on Youtube, 'CinderFella" is the story of a male Cinderella going to the ball to be with the Prince and also features Princess Jasmine and Alice from Wonderland as Lesbians. This story is told through a mix of chart music and Disney songs. It represents that love is love no matter the sexual orientation or colour of the skin. Hall describes his video... "I wanted to tell this famous fairy tale in a new and innovative way, combining familiar top 40's songs with classic Disney melodies. This story speaks volumes and I think that love is as classic as this fairy tale. It's time for us to legalize love in all shapes and colours."

The use of Disney characters and songs enables to attract the audience that grew up with Disney, from ages 16-30's. The use of Disney can also help younger people understand gay relationships and how it doesn't have to be the traditional prince and princess story. The stepsisters at the beginning who were men dressed as women could also represent trans people in the community. 

The choice of music and lyrics help represent the sexual orientations shown. "Prince I don't want you bye, I'm gonna kiss the girl" accurately portrays the lesbian side of the story. "Someday we'll be part of your world" meaning that eventually gay marriage will be legal and everyone will be accepted no matter their skin colour or sexual orientation. 

The main issue of identity in this video is marriage for gay, lesbian and trans people. This is still an on-going issue for America, as only 17 states have legalised gay marriage. However this issue is on-going globally, some countries allow it whilst others don't, some being quite strict with this. The main message behind this video is that love is love no matter the gender or colour. "Legalise Love."

Gay Identity in Contemporary USA: George Takei

George Takei, famous for his role in Star Trek, is among the most famous openly gay celebrities, and a prominent activist for gay rights including marriage equality on various social media. In his old age he has become famous for his flamboyance and willingness to say things considered offensive or raunchy (giving rise to his catchphrase, "Oh myyy"). This video is a promotion of the gay identity by way of an attack on its opponents, in this case Arkansas school board member Clint McCance. George Takei's use of his fame to openly shame him and his statements, and by extension the entire opposition to the gay rights movement, is an important signifier of the progress of the movement to the mainstream and the steadily increasing acceptance of gay rights in mainstream US society. His promotion of the help line at the end likewise shows that homosexuality is now more accepted as normal, and that the focus should be on helping gay people to survive the bullying and discrimination they face rather than to "cure" them.

Feminism (late): Feminists in Games

Gaming is a topic I had much interest in at one point, and perhaps what I remember the most about the discussions I participated in is the debates about feminism. Female representation in video games is a hot-button issue for young feminists, and this website proudly boasts about a convention that was held on June 2013, featuring a number of prominent figures including the ever-controversial Anita Sarkeesian (whom at one point received rape threats for attempting to do a youtube series on women in video games). The site design also includes an iconic classic console controller, while the current header image is of the last workshop featuring predominantly women - a subtle (or perhaps not so subtle) link. "About FiG" reveals an academic tone rather than the more immediate language you would expect from a site affiliated with video games, and the target is said to be "Creating knowledge transfer between academy and industry in the form of a web 2.0 interactive database for gender-focused research for the games industry." This, then, is no social justice blog but an intellectual research organisation dedicated to increasing female representation in video games, perhaps indicating that this is a bigger issue to feminism than you would think.

Ellen Degeneres

The video I have chosen is an interview on Ellen Degeneres' talk show between herself and John McCain. John McCain is a Republican presidential nominee and is the Senior United States Senator from Arizona. Being from the Deep South of America he is openly opposed to many gay rights within America. Ellen Degeneres is an openly lesbian woman who in this interview is discussing that she could legally get married to her partner of 5 years Portia De Rossi.
McCain is being asked questions about his thoughts towards Ellen marrying a woman and his response indicate that he is happy for people to enter into legal agreements with each other however he was raised in a household where men and woman were the norm to get married, not same sexes.When asked again on whether everyone should be equal and given the same rights he comments very lightly on the subject, again just saying that he "has a respectful disagreement with Ellen on her views".
McCain is also known for not wanting gays within the military and embracing the right-wing tactic of discriminating against the LGBT community for electoral gain within the south of the USA.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

"Gay Men Will Marry Your Girlfriends" - Gay Marriage Promotional Video

This video is not only a phenomenom on Youtube, but also Facebook. It has been made to appear like a spoof video, but instead of mocking gays, it mocks the hetrosexual man and their failings within a hetrosexual relationship.

These gay men, are saying that they have all the qualities a woman desires, even the sexual aspects. Therefore, if they cannot have same sex marriage, in other words gay marriage, then will continue to be gay, but marry 'your girlfriends'. However, this raises the question of the stereotype of men being flamboyant and women having a 'gay best friend'. For example, one man in the video says hits back at hetrosexual men saying 'you dont want to go to that broadway show? We do, we're in it.' Which indicates that stereotype of having only one gay identity, that by this open love of dancing, etc they can be easily identified as gay. This promotional video seems to be promoting only one particular gay man, the identity of a gay flamboyant man, which in retrospect, is not neccessarily the only gay identity.

However, the fact that the title of the video is that they will 'marry your girlfriends' indicates that there is a shift in power, that hetrosexual men should feel threatened by homosexual men. It seems to be that gay men are using women as there allies in order to support their view on allowing gay marriage, as women are mens weakeness, because it would be taking away hetrosexual mens' source of desire, pleasure and happiness. This in itself is interesting as it is reprsenting women as having the power over men, yet they have been considered the minority for centuries.

The rights of gay's have progressed in a lot of ways, but the idea of gay marriage being allowed legally is still a prominant issue in America. However, the idea of gay 's as individuals is seemed to be more accepted, as long as they just stay coupled and not legally, more importantly biblically, in wedlock. The biblical aspect of marriage is the most important reason as to the backlash on gay marriage, as gay's would not be considered aloud in the Bible, and as their is heavy Catholic influence in America, this is a massive fight for gay men across the country.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

The feminist website seems more of an article about the rights that women have had for a long time. It shows a bit of history on the feminism movement, just so any feminist audiences can learn about the history of the movement. People seem to assume that the rights of women began fighting around the 1960s but that is wrong. The feminist movement still survives today in the 21st century in America, but the problem that feminism have is that they are not as popular as they are when they first started off. This could be the desire that people have to be the typical stepford house wife, but with the feminism it allows women to choose allows them to have some power that the men have maintained over the years. It was only a matter of time before the women had got some of the power that the men had for a long time, especially when it came to actually having a job and be able to vote. The feminism movement still doesn’t attract lots of women especially in America just like the past. It is the right thing for the movement of feminism act to even be inented why have a world where men have all the power and females can’t decide on anything that would be a boring world, there would be no powerful debates. Without the feminism act, America wouldn’t have powerful women like Michele Obama the first lady.  The feminims is basically able to say how men were given the power on the plate but the women in fact had to fight for it.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Problem with women today.

I have chosen this blog as it explores women as issues specifically American rather then women's contemporary issues. Although I have gone slightly off task I think this is interesting and would be good to discuss and look at. In a way it is a contemporary issue women face and it criticises them and their feminism acts.

The main points being said are that the average american woman is a walking STD, is only alive to create children, and that their idea of work is reading magazines all day and being praised for just being a woman.

"Today’s modern female is also shrill, confrontational, and constantly complaining.They are petty tyrant micro managers with no accountability but always criticising and blaming everyone around them"

This persons arguments against feminism are that it has destroyed society and lives. That it has still made women miserable and it is brainwashing them. The only real valid point in this whole thing is that he acknowledges that Feminism isn't just a thing of the past. "To say that feminism ended in the 60's is like saying drug use ended in the 60's! It became mainstream and is now all around you, destroying every facet of our lives and society."

He states that feminism has made women into the apparent laughable stock that they are today "today's American woman is nothing but laughable. This is what happens to human beings when they are no longer held to any standards or accountability."

This is just mostly clear discrimination against women, which is still a big issue in contemporary America as well as other countries. This can be seen on other blogs and social media. Men and sometimes other women judge women on their appearance, lifestyles and careers and broadcast their views upon this. There are constant debates about Feminism and it still being seen as just man hating. Some media does not help with this view point as some outlets only show images and stories that back up this view of all feminists being radical in their actions. I have seen this personally just through Tumblr and Facebook and news websites. 

However this blog is just an extreme view against feminism and women combined and is just one persons opinion with only 26 members following this, and it is doubtful that all 26 agree. 

"In the end, all Feminism and it's never ending new laws did was just make women accountable to no one, not to employers, not to their family or husbands, or even to the legal system.. creating these mentally ill, drunken, abortion-happy, venereally diseased feral-cat like sub-human things we are subjected to today."

Feminist Website

The website I have chosen is the website for the Feminist Majority foundation, a foundation which is dedicated to women's equality, reproductive health and non violenceIn all spheres, FMF utilises research and action to empower women economically, socially, and politically. The organisation believes that feminists - both women and men, girls and boys - are the majority, but this majority must be empowered.
Led by FMF President Eleanor Smeal, the research and action programs focus on advancing the legal, social and political equality of women with men, countering the backlash to women's advancement, and recruiting and training young feminists to encourage future leadership for the feminist movement in the United States.
To carry out these aims, FMF engages in research and public policy development, public education programs, grassroots organising projects, leadership training and development programs, and participates in and organises forums on issues of women's equality and empowerment. The sister organisation, the Feminist Majority, engages in lobbying and other direct political action, pursuing equality between women and men through legislative avenues. There are also many events which the FMF engages in, for example they have an events calendar which shows events such as museum events dedicated to the women's arts. Every year the FMF society organises events such as the global woman's rights awards or the woman of colour conference. They also work towards the right for woman to have abortions in more poorer and less economically developed towns. They also work towards the issue of birth control and education.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

NOW- National Organisation for Women

Betty Friedan was the Co-Founder of NOW and it was founded in 1966. Friedan was one of the first women to have a backlash to the recent adverts of the time which promoted domesticated products such as the washing machine and the fridge, in order for there to be lesser chores for women to do in the kitchen. However, it still promoted this idea of women being domestic and belonging in the kitchen with little important responsibility. Friedan spoke out to this saying this is not the only identity of women, not all women should have to be domestic, and it doesn’t give scope for other types of women. She went on to lead women’s protests in San Francisco and many other cities. Friedan is a representation of what is known as 'Second Wave' feminism, which meant women breaking out of the constraints of being a domestic housewife and having practical/office jobs and just having an inclusion within the workforce. In other words, trying to say that women could do the jobs that were primarily for men just as successfully as men.

The NOW website offers many pages, such as recent events/campaigns, blogs, 'hot topics' and donation information. One particulary interesting feature was the blog 'Say it sister!' evoking this idea of sisterhood aned that women have a 'special connection'. The blog really unifies women and their right for equality,  but takes into account the varities of female identities such as lesbians, repoductive rights, body image, career driven women. It represents 'Third Wave' feminism in the fact that it includes the problems of women within all aspects of life, including politics and business world and then right for women to make their own  decisions on their life.

The events and campaigns they are holding seem to tacle the current issues of todays society within feminism, such as body image and marriage equality. Body image is a big issue in the fact that there is a lot of pressure for women, particularly young girls, to be a size 0. This is largely due to the media attention to size 0 celebrties and models. The campaign encourages women to speak up about their body issues and images, this is in order for them to not feel repressed by their body image and feel they have to have a certain image. Again, trying to encourage scope for more identities and the freedom of choice in image, not confined to stereotypes.

'Hot Topics' is an interesting page in that it presents the current news within feminism, but seems to present primarily political issues. For example, 'Urge Senate to pass Military Justice Improvement Act!' and 'NOW Comments on President Obama's State of the Union Address: A Step in the Right Direction, But We Can Do More'. The 'Hot Topics' looks at political issues of feminism in order to try improve feminism on a large scale, trying to make monumental progression for womens rights.


Thursday, 20 February 2014

American Atheists

I chose Atheism because it is an interesting anomaly that there is a website promoting the lack of belief in any god. The fact that the words "STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS" are emblazoned in the most immediately noticeable place on the website gives a clue as to the position (or, at least, perceived position) of atheists in the generally religious America. The chosen badge is also interesting, reflecting Atheism's stereotypical ties to scientific fields (specifically physics in this case). Their priorities, according to their About page, are fighting for civil liberties for atheists and promoting the total separation of church and state.

Atheists are a minority in the United States (only 10% of the population), and the Activism page suggests that the organisation is interested in expanding itself - "With our community projects, billboard campaigns, and educational resources, we encourage the millions of atheists who are "in the closet" to come out as atheists and be proud of embracing reality." I find it fascinating that a label defined by a lack of something is so interested in "converting" others, although it does make sense that it is attempting to "raise the profile of atheism" in a country where belief of some kind is emphatically the norm. "The American identity" is most evident here in the organisation's promotion of elements of the constitution, and on being free to hold individual non-normative beliefs without any fear of discrimination.

American Athiest

Being an atheist means that you lack in the belief of the existence of god. Some parts of America if you become an atheist you are automatically disowned and looked upon as a traitor. Being a Christian is a big part of being American so becoming an atheist is like changing your identity. American Atheist has been fighting for the rights of civil liberty since 1960s. But since the 50th year of fighting for their rights the atheist group had decided to work to separate the church from state. This particular website is help promote and to fight for their cause, there is a lot of information in the about point of the website. It allows you to see what the American atheist aims and purpose of their group, it also gives the audience a chance to not only become a member but they have the chance to donate to help fund the organisation. The entire site is very pack full of information, it gives information about the law suit and the company which allows the audience to look around the atheist case in hopes that they will convert and join their fight for their cause. But the American atheist is not only a faith it is also a site about collecting money the site allows the audience to buy merchandise like an American atheist rhinestone pin. So the faith has come a long way from 1963. The site began when the founder of American Atheist filed a suit against her son’s school for harassing her son just because he refused to attend the bible readings. This relates back to what I said athiest’s been looking upon as traitors. There is a lot of news of the website which allows to show what’s happening, about the different press releases that were released on to the website allowing the audience and members of the website to keep up to date with the news.


I have chosen the website for Scientology. 
The religion of Scientology was formed in 1953 with the first church being built in New Jersey december of that year. It is a new religion created in America but is now global. Their main goal in the religion is to find true spiritual enlightenment and freedom for all. Their 'mission': "Developed by L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology is a religion that offers a precise path leading to a complete and certain understanding of one’s true spiritual nature and one’s relationship to self, family, groups, Mankind, all life forms, the material universe, the spiritual universe and the Supreme Being." - Found on their about page. 

It is suggested on their website that their religion is about answering questions of life "who are we? why are we? what are we?". It also says that man is good not evil; "Scientology believes Man to be basically good, not evil. It is Man’s experiences that have led him to commit evil deeds, not his nature. Often, he mistakenly seeks to solve his problems by considering only his own interests, which then causes trouble for both himself and others." However some of their beliefs are similar to those of other religions such as man being a spiritual being. 

It's presence in American Society is becoming more apparent with celebrities being scientologists. These include; Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Priscilla Presley. They have also been the center of controversies with the death of one of their members and the Anonymous attack, resulting in a lot of media coverage. 

John Travolta thanks church of scientology 

Although they have the back up of celebrities and controversies in the media, the number of members is not as many as they boast about. "There have been a number of these around the world, but the most accurate are in the United States. A 1990 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) concluded there were 45,000 Scientologists in the US. A 2001 survey estimated 55,000. In 2008 ARIS concluded the number had shrunk to 25,000." -  
So there is no real way of really knowing how manny there are unless an official census is released by them. 

The website itself shows little to do with specifically America as it does show the location of churches in North America but it has a more global focus, however it is interesting how it offers a location of the churches in Latin America. The website offers a free online course feature for anyone to use which includes courses on Marriage, Children, drugs, communication, etc. I think this is effective as it offers things for members who cannot attend a church or meet up with other Scientologists. 

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Amish faith

The website I have chosen is the Amish Website for America. This website represents Amish communities from around America is a website where you can find news, events and information about Amish communities from around the country. Even though the man responsible for this website (Erik Wesner)  is not Amish he writes on the 'about' page that he was lucky enough to be accepted into their lifestyle and wrote a book on Amish entrepreneur and businessmen. The website is also a host to a public blog where people from Amish settlements can post news stories from their own experiences. On the home page you can get links to an online amish dating website, one of its first in the world and links to photos and the blog.
The Amish are a group of traditionalist christian church fellowships closely related too mennonite church. They are known for simple living, plain dress and an objection to adopt many conveniences of modern living that the rest of the world has. In the early 18th century, many Amish and Mennonites immigrated to Pennsylvania for a variety of reasons. Today, the most traditional descendants of the Amish continue to speak Pennsylvania German, also known as Pennsylvania Dutch. There are around 250,000 Amish living within the USA and this has grown 10% in the last couple of years.
Something fascinating about the website I chose to look at was the fact that it has an Encyclopaedia of Amish questions and FAQs. There are many normal and interesting questions that are asked to the Amish community, some of these are; What are typical Amish business', How many children do Amish have, Do Amish woman wear makeup, Do Amish date and can Amish get divorced.' There are also some unusual questions, such as; can Amish fly, what do Amish think about tourism and do Amish tell jokes.'
The Amish live a lifestyle which is the same as it was 100 years ago. They don't believe in using electricity or most modern items, For example on the website, when asked if the Amish use electricity this was the answer:
Amish do not use power from the public electric grid due to a belief that too much reliance on public power ties one too close to the world.  Amish are cautious about worldly influences and ideas which may run counter to Christian values.  Amish are careful about what they let into their homes, a fundamental sphere of Amish existence.
They still live in a post modern world, something that has been lost and only a few native groups and religious groups still do. For example the Amish don't use birth control as they have the view of 'to go forth and multiply', they go to church most days of the week, the woman do not wear make up or any bright/non plain clothes, (they are not allowed to express themselves), they don't believe in divorce, the children are only educated until 8th grade and then the children will either do manual labour (boys) or work in the community kitchen etc becoming domesticated (girls). 
Their lifestyle is very much an old one, however they do represent a part of american identity which is hard to come by now, an identity that has died out practically everywhere else. 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Mormons: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

The website representing the organisation of Mormons, who preferred to be known formally as the 'Latter Day Saints'. They worship in Mormon temples and have an emphasis on the Mormon family and togetherness. They make frequent references to God, The Bible and its teachings, as thery are referenced throughout the informative 'About Us' page.

There is a section of the page which is particularly interesting; 'Meet Mormons' so you can narrow your search to find a mormon specifically suited to you in terms of your gender, ethnicity and age. The fact that the Mormon faith isnt defined as one particular race could make them a more appealing religion in the fact that they are more accepting of minorities in terms of race. As apposed to, for example, the Catholic faith, there have been disputes between the black and white ethinicities as to who is accepted in the faith. There is even a 'Hispanic and Latino' section, proving that they make themselves appear to be accepting of all newcomers to the religion, including minorites, some of which are criticised heavily for immigration accusations and not being a 'true american'.

There seems to be less of a signifiance of being an American mormon as their identity, but rather just a mormon, so including many different ethnic backgrounds. This could be seen as the Mormon faith trying to obtain more power as a religion worldwide as well as America.

An American feature of the Mormon faith, is the events and many destination points they have, such as temples, family history centres, meeting houses. This level of destination points holds a heavy emphasis on the religion and how it can really influence a persons life , even by their day to day activities, which is a real representation of American ideology of having a loyalty to God in terms of worship.

The site offers information on anything and everything about the Mormon faith, including its history and how it was founded. This is to allow future Mormon believes to join them or convert to the faith as they would like to grow their faith not only in America, but worldwide.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Rosebud Sioux

This is the website for the Rosebud Sioux tribe, who have a reservation in South Dakota named the Rosebud Indian Reservation. It contains over 20,000 people and a casino just north of the border with Nebraska, powered by wind turbines.

The website is presented very professionally and cleanly, making sure to look modern rather than evoking traditional native American imagery. The first image seen as the website loads is one advertising enrollment, indicating that their first priority is more people coming forward as blood members of the tribe and accepting their cultural heritage. The headlines underneath this image indicate that tourism is also given a high priority. Environmental concerns are also immediately evident, however - "STOP THE KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE!" is another headline. Tabs at the top prioritise the members of the tribe, with announcements, employment opportunities and information on the tribal government being available. Scrolling down reveals a weather report and a local news wall. This, then, is a practical website aimed at modern members of the tribe rather than clinging to tradition.

Naragansett Indian Tribe

Naragansett Indian Tribe

The Naragansett Indian tribe are the descendants of the aboriginal of the state of Rhode Island. The history of this tribe are shown with drawings on rocks.  This relates to the picture of the native American on the rocks on the home page.  The tribe’s existence is estimated to be over 30,000 years ago.  The members of this particular tribe were thought to be soldiers. The current population of the tribe stand at approximately 2400 members.  Majority of the members of this tribe today still live in Rhode island but some have expanded and live in other parts of the states.

There are lots of different things located on this site. But the most interesting part of it is the layout of the home page. Just clicking on the homepage you are able to see different types of images each with a little description of what they are. All being native American related the most interesting image was the last image, it is a stereotype of a native American drawn into rocks. This was the most interesting because it wasn’t a building it was showing off someones art and could be very appealing to the audience’s eyes.  When you click on to the history tab there is a multiple choice of what to be given which allows the audience to be able to explore there history and culture in different ways. They are able to broaden what they can find out about the native’s and could possible learn new things about the culture of the people that live on the land they call there’s.


Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Cherokee Nation

This is the website for the Cherokee nation of the Cherokee tribe.  It is a federally recognised government of the Cherokee people. Their mission is "The Cherokee Nation is committed to protecting our inherent sovereignty, preserving and promoting Cherokee culture, language and values, and improving the quality of life for the next seven generations of Cherokee citizens.".   There are over 317,000 Cherokee people and "several groups claiming Cherokee lineage that are not federally recognised make up some of that 819,000-plus people claiming Cherokee blood." -  this makes the Cherokee the largest tribal nation in the US. They are mostly based in Oklahoma. 

 The image/logo used is the seal of the Cherokee nation with the date September 6, 1839, suggesting the original government was formed around that time however the US federal government dissolved it during 1898-1906 with the Curtis Act of 1898, after this the structure of the tribal government was not clearly defined until 1938. And in 1975 a constitution was written up. "In 1975 the tribe drafted a constitution, under the name Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, which was ratified on June 26, 1976. The tribe has also conducted litigation using this name." 

In more recent times the Cherokee nation have experienced high economic growth. They have significant business, real estate, and casinos. They have contributed hugely to the community with development programmes, health clinics, learning facilities and universities, the practice of Gadugi and self reliance, created language programmes for children and the youth and are also a powerful political force in East Oklahoma. 

The websites features the history of their tribe and displays events such as 'Remember the Removal' which is the Trail of tears bike ride programme. It also offers financial and other types of help for their citizens including healthcare programmes. 

This shows the Cherokee nation are trying hard to keep their culture alive, spreading on the language and history to future generations which appears to be working successfully. The offering of healthcare and financial help can also be an encouragement to stick together as a tribe. 

In my opinion the Cherokee are the most successful tribe with the most people and the most culture saving programmes. The use of events and bringing people together and teaching the future generations is a positive and effective way of keeping their culture alive. 

Navajo Nation Tribe Website

This website is the Navajo Nation Tribe website and is titled as the 'Navajo Nation Government', the official site of the Navajo Nation. Established in 1868, it talks about the history of the Navajo Nation and how it is 'striving to sustain a viable economy for an ever increasing population that now surpasses 250,000.' There is a real determination to keep their population in the 6 figures, as history evidences how their rapidly decreased.

The Navajo Nation covers over 27,000 square miles, and the Navajo government was established in 1923. The Council Chambers hosts 88 council delegates representing 110 Navajo Nation chapters. It states how they attain their integrity by still speaking their Native language, which really symbolises their strong feeling on the importance of their heritage and keeping it alive.

This links to the fact that their population is very small, and the language has been suggested to be dying out, so keeping history and heritage alive is considered a necessary tradition and imperative in order to sustain them as a tribe.

Quoted from Wikipedia their name change from the initial '"Navajo Indian Reservation"' to  'governed since 1923 by the "Navajo Tribal Council"' indicating their dedication to be respected within the rest of American society as a group with power and freedom, but also good organisation in terms of their government. 

The logo they have on their homepage mimics the Navajo flag, with some extra features added on, such as the sun and the (buffalo?) to highlight the importance the buffalo was to the Native American tribes as they were there main, and sometimes only resource. By having the mountains and the sun it represents the type of environment the Navajo lives on (The Great Plains), a dry dessert.

In terms of land and economy in relation with each other, the Navajo Nation seem to be successful as they cover a large amount of land as appose to the small reservations they had many years ago and the website seems to indicate that they are a 'wealthy nation in a world of its own'. Indicating that they define themselves against other tribes not collectively all tribes against the rest of the American population. History has indicated that since being conformed to the reservations, the Navajo's have grown in size and power, which has been suggested by the Nation it was due to the discovery of oil in the 1920's which lead to their decision for a more systematic, strategic and organised government, hence the expansion era for the Navajo Nation (1878-1930).

When talking more specifically about its governmental strategies, the Navajo's discuss their 3 branch system (executive, legislative and judicial) which was reformed in 1991. This type of organisation combined with the imperative to uphold traditions, such as speaking the native language, indicates that the Navajo's are trying to be innovative. Therefore, they have a right to be included in American society and not considered such a small minority, or even non existent. More so, they are combining traditional culture with modern strategies in order to be able to survive and achieve much success in modern America, without having to change their identity.

The Navajo Nation seems to be the most successful tribe out of the existing tribes left in America in terms of the amount of land it covers, the numbers in their tribes and their strong existence of a government and its organisation. The biggest success would be their innovative government strategies in order to be successful and included as a significant group of people in modern America, yet still being a semi-autonomous Native American governed territory.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Overview of Push Presentation

The issues I will be discussing and exploring in my presentation today are;
The need for white physical appearance and identity.
The use of derogatory language to describe white AND black people.
The epidemics of AIDS & Cocaine.
The significance of 'The Colour Purple' and Farrakhan in relation to Precious' understanding of her cultural history.
The identity of the combining factors; being black AND female.

The questions I will ask will be;

·        When knowing before reading, it was going to be a novel about a poor black girl and the community she lives in- did it meet your expectations in terms of the way it was written and described as a story? Did it meet your expectations of the emotional impact it would have on you?

·        Do you think it is good or bad that Precious doesn’t seem to pay much attention to her history of being black and just focuses on herself?

Review of Push

The review I have chosen was written and published on a website called womanist-musings. This website is a blog set up by a mother of two in Canada. She writes that if you are looking for a website that publishes about how wonderful and rosy this world is, turn right because this space will not be for you. She notes that she is a committed humanitsit who believes in the human right to food, clothing, shelter, and education. I thought this was a good website to choose as the person who wrote the review believes in equal rights for everyone, especially woman and it would be a good viewpoint to read of what she thought of a novel which demeans women and introduces themes such as rape and drug abuse on a child. 

Her review starts off by feeling empathy for Clarice, who she refers too as a fat, black, poor survivor. This is consistent with the fact that the review is written by a mother so she will show more empathy for the child. She then focuses on the actions of the father and other school children who teased her for being fat and wetting herself as a result of the abuse her father gave her. The woman who reviews the book focuses on the point that she can not understand how teachers and other people who know her, dont know something is wrong with her home life and she then ponders the question: how many victims of child abuse slip through the cracks in just the fashion? 

Throughout the review the woman focuses on the details of the rape and sexual experiences that Clarice went through, for example she comments on the way Clarice describes her mothers vagina (fowl smelling) and how she orgasmed during the rape which she did not want to happen. She describes them as being written like they are "horrifyingly real". She also comments on the fact that there are many black lesbian women within the novel and says this is because the writer was a lesbian (she calls it refreshing). The review is rounded off by the discussion that this book was about sexual abuse, and how it was also statement about the various ways in which the system continues to fail poor women of colour. I believe this review is a negative view on what happened to the young girl and I can tell the woman empathises with the girl. I do, however, think she believes the book was a hard read and she didn't enjoy the book, not because it was badly written but because it was too life like in the content. 

Review of Push

This is a (predictably) positive review of Push by Sapphire. The review is written by Alex Sorondo, who has a career in book reviews.

The primary item of praise presented is the author's control over her narrative voice: the story is presented from Precious Williams' point of view, and the change in the writing style as she becomes more educated and her circumstances improve is noticeable. Sorondo notes that this is an unusual move, and praises Sapphire's bravery in challenging the readers with such an unconventional style.

In a similar way, he praises the transgressive content of the book, such as the multiple sexual assaults Precious suffers at the hands of both her parents. Sorondo relates this to his previous point - the experiences, conveyed through the unique narrative voice of Precious, are more affecting in his opinion than they would be told normally.

It is interesting that most of the praise lavished on this book is for its bravery in being unconventional, in particular for its covering of sensitive topics relating to race. The acknowledgement of the existence of such issues, then, is clearly an issue in the mainstream American population. Still, the fact that a book covering the issues can become so successful may mean a shift towards awareness of these problems.

Push Presentation Outline

In what ways and with what success does Push reveal the complexities of African American identity? 

  • Brief History of other African Americans with similar stories.

“Much of the grand jury evidence pointed to a possible motive for Brawley's falsifying the incident: trying to avoid violent punishment from her mother and her stepfather, Ralph King. Witnesses testified that Glenda Brawley had previously beaten her daughter for running away and for spending nights with boys. King had a history of violence that included stabbing his first wife 14 times, later shooting and killing her. There was considerable evidence that King could and would violently attack Brawley: when Brawley had been arrested on a shoplifting charge the previous May, King attempted to beat her for the offence while at the police station. Witnesses also described King as having talked about his stepdaughter in a sexualised manner” - Tawana Brawley (Wikipedia)
“Winfrey has stated she was molested by her cousin, uncle, and a family friend, starting when she was nine years old, something she first announced to her viewers on a 1986 episode of her TV show regarding sexual abuse. When Winfrey discussed the alleged abuse with family members at age 24, they refused to accept what she said. Winfrey once commented that she had chosen not to be a mother because she had not been mothered well.” - Oprah Winfrey (Wikipedia)

  • Precious’ abuse. Page 133. “I guess, he come over you know. I wake up at night, morning he not wif me, I know he in there wif her.”

  • Drug use in Harlem 1980’s. Page 14. “Don’t nobody ring our bell ‘less its crack addicts trying to get in the building. I hate crack addicts. They give the race a bad name.”  and page 37. “Give race a bad name, lost in the hell of norf america crack addicts is.”

Why do you think crimes like rape, drug use, and abuse are such big elements in African American Identity and this story? 

  • More recent examples of ‘stars’ from Harlem and similar difficult childhoods. Azeiala Banks and A$AP Rocky. 

  • How Precious feels about white people. Page 31. “Do all white people look like pictures? No. ‘cause the white people at school is fat and cruel like evil witches from fairy tales but they exist.”And page 113. “I would be light skinned, thereby treated right and loved by boyz. Light even more important than being skinny; you see them light skinned girls that’s big an’ fat, they got boyfriends. Boys overlook a lot to be wif a white girl or yellow girl.”

Why do you think Precious thinks in a perfect life she would be white? Why not just a different family background?

  • Hispanic Immigration and Spanish god. Page 10. 

Why do you think she felt so connected with this Spanish man? 

And lastly, what do you think the word Push represents?  (Being used over and over, is there a specific meaning?) 

Monday, 10 February 2014

Nobody has blogged

Let me remind you of the handbook

If you are presenting: post an outline of your presentation, supplying background information

If you are not presenting: find and analyse any online review of the novel.

Thursday, 30 January 2014


This particular website here is a pro Hispanic/Latino for the most obvious reasons being it is a website about the Hispanics heritage month that is held every year in the US. The nation Hispanic heritage month is so the citizens of America to be able to recognize the Hispanic and Latino culture. It happens for thirty days as it was expanded in the year 1988 just so it would cover a thirty day period. But in 1988 it was then acted into the law approved by the Public law of the united states.  The reason for it starting in September was so Hispanic and Latinos had a chance to celebrate the independence of there countries in 1821.

The anti Hispanic/Latino site I chose is this because the fact is discusses the racism that is used against them and shows the stereotypes of the Hispanics/Latinos, whether that be stereotypes be in movies or kids programmes. These percific kinds of people are never shown to be in the best of light.  There are a lot of stereotypes that are shown there is the male buffoon who is very childish and very baboon like or  the harlot who is lustful and a slave to her passion. These are two of the very types that the Latino and Hispanics both get categorized into because of the media today. Hispanics and Latinos are shown in such a bad light because of the media, they have been portrayed into a unbroken image and this stereotype began with the battle to take over Mexico.

Pro and Anti Immigration

This is a website in favour of reforming immigration laws in order to make them more friendly to immigrants. Specifically, it references the "11 million undocumented persons", referring to illegal immigrants. Interestingly, however, the term "illegal" is not mentioned on their About page - even on their Our Principles page, the wording used is "those working and living in America without papers", suggesting a reluctance to acknowledge the fact that these people are criminals as perhaps they fear this would render people unsympathetic. While one of their aims is "securing the borders", this seems almost a token entry. The main focus is on letting illegal immigrants gain citizenship and making the borders more open to more legal immigrants, as well as protection for them as employees. Sympathy for these people as human beings is emphasised.

This site makes its intentions clear from the moment it loads, the header reading "Call & Tell your House Rep. NO LEGALIZATION for Illegal Aliens". However, on another page pains are taken to clarify that the site is not about "immigrant bashing": "illegal aliens deserve humane treatment even as they are detected, detained and deported." The focus is on the perceived overpopulation problem presented by the immigrants ("deteriorating quality of life due to sprawl, congestion, overcrowded schools, lost open spaces and increasing restrictions on their individual liberty"), and wishes for policy changes to discourage immigration (legal or illegal) and toughen up on illegal immigrants. The front page is occupied by news reports relating to the issue, as well as a blog. Statistics are also provided. This site sees immigration, particularly illegal immigration, as a major problem and emphasises its effects on "Americans", indicating the immigrants should not be viewed as American.

These sites are slightly different in function and so cannot be directly compared, but their differences are nonetheless intriguing - NumbersUSA's use of terms like "humane treatment" almost sounds like they are describing captured animals, whereas Reform Immigration For America attempts to downplay the fact that illegal immigrants have committed a serious crime. One can certainly imagine the fireworks if representatives of each site met.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

For and Against US Immigration.


"The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is a national, nonprofit, public-interest, membership organisation of concerned citizens who share a common belief that our nation's immigration policies must be reformed to serve the national interest."

Founded in 1979, FAIR is an organisation in favour of more immigration control. One of it's advocates is "there should be no favouritism toward or discrimination against any person on the basis of race, colour, or creed; that all admissions of immigrants come within a single, stable ceiling which is periodically reviewed on the basis of reasoned, explicit population goals for the United States". It seems to show that although it wants to reduce immigration it is not being specific of what immigrants (just all) so it is not seen as racist. 

It features a fact page where maps are shown of population narrowed down by different types of immigrants even including foreign student enrolment. 

Overall this is a fairly normal and fair organisation for immigration reform, it is not extremist or racist. It mostly suggests more control over illegal immigration and minimal legal immigration. 


Comparing the sites together the most prominent feature in both is the donations. However this page seems to focus more on donations placing it in the centre of the page in bright colours and boxes. I think this takes a way the key issue which to this page is supposed to be Immigrant rights. It does feature newsletters and posts of recent events but the against immigration site is easier to access and get in contact/communicate with. A good thing it features is the "know your rights" section which would help immigrants if they are involved in a situation where these would be needed.

Overall the first site is more of an action organisation that likes to get things done (reform) and the second is more informative of rights, events and news then actually doing something.