President of the U.S., Topic of the World

What better person to reach out to a large audience about immigration than Donald Trump? Donald Trump has become well known for expressing his opinions on issues via Twitter. He has made his opinion regarding immigration clear through his tweets where he discusses the future border and the benefits from separating immigrants from the U.S.. This link shows several tweets from Donald Trump on the issue of immigration.

The tweet to the left, where Trump Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 8.10.38 AM.pngstates “we must build a wall” and tags a photo of a Mexican man holding signs showing Mexican support for Trump, raised a lot of individuals’ emotions. People replied asking the year the photo was taken and how much they paid the man holding the sign, while also projecting other angry remarks. However, there were also some replies in favor of Trump which mostly stayed around the idea of protecting American citizens in whatever way needed; they believe Americans are superior to people from other countries.

These tweets have created great tension between other countries and the United States. Since Donald Trump has been voted into presidency, his tweets, such as the one above, have a more powerful meaning. His position comes with great power where every action and word affects the rest of the country. Instead of the U.S. and Mexico being civil and seeing each other as equals, people are using social media sites like Twitter to virtually attack each other, creating conflict between countries.

Screen Shot 2017-07-16 at 8.30.15 PM.pngIn another instance, Trump has created an extreme influence on citizens’ perspective on racism. As a result of his beliefs, supporters have displayed acts of racism not only directly, but publicly as well. I have found a list of specific tweets that display the tension growing between different races. For example, Muslims state that they fear their safety by wearing their hijab, a symbol of their beliefs and religion. This is battling the idea that the United States is a country for opportunity and equality, because supporters of Donald Trump promote white power and the exclusion of minorities.

Immigrants continue having an unfair advantage due to their different backgrounds, and Trump’s policies and influences have not helped this issue. We are constantly flooded with comments of discrimination through social media sites that are noticed worldwide. Although President Donald Trump is a leader of the United States, he has made a significant impact on relationships between different cultures and backgrounds.

 

-Kaya & Aleena

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Do you like “exotic beauty”?

Social media has always been a dictator for how young adults view themselves or view others. However, lately it seems to be dictating the younger and older generations. Social media has changed not only generations, but cultures as well. All the “do’s” and “don’ts” are given to these people through social media as well as control on who to accept and who should be “outcasts.” Based on how much people weigh, how tall they are, the color of theirs skin, creases in their face are all factors into how society views them, and sadly, how they it is congruent to how they view themselves. As mentioned in the Illusionist video, “we are trying to embody ‘exotic beauty,’ the westernized image, because that is where power comes from.” It is explained in this video that white supremacy has influenced many parts of the world through social media, commercial and ads.

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Top is a poster of native Chinese brand. Bottom left is the magazine cover of fashionable life showing a white female, and topic about how to choose brightening skin product. Bottom right is a commercial billboard showing two white males on street of China.

Especially in Asians, people are obsessed with “exotic beauty”. In China, girls with typical westernized characteristics are the paradigm in mainstream media. Oftentimes, media producers even make white models as the cover of a magazine, on a billboard, or on the posters of native cloth brand. The media influence is so profound that even my mom always scold at me because of my sunspot, which is a big blemish on my face. In Korea, the situation is even severe. A lot of girls and even some guys put on makeups that make them look more “white”. According to this article, a lot of male Korean superstars also wear makeups. Korean guys want to look like them either because their girlfriends like the superstar or themselves want to be like them. In addition, probably due to the long history of most Asian countries, Asians incline to place everyone in a social hierarchy. The “exotic beauty”, such as “White skin” with tall nose bridge, and big eyes emblematize upper class with good education, lots of money, and higher status. Therefore, everyone wants to squeeze into the procession of being more surpassed, even if the person is ostensibly more superior.

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Korean superstars with makeups.

 

Social media standards portray what an ideal image is for people of all ages, race and gender. People aim to reach these standards. In doing so, they might engage in behavior such as unhealthy dieting, skin bleaching or undergo dangerous surgeries. It is signaling to them that anything less than is not acceptable. According to CNN, being different or looking different is one of the common reasons why kids get bullied.

It is really an issue because as students, we are aware that social media consumption is increasing among all people. Therefore, it should not provoke insecurities about our bodies that could negatively impact our physical or mental health. It is important to involve people in conversations about consuming social media because we need to be reminded that we can fight back unrealistic standards.

 

By Wen Yung Keh, Sovisal Sen, Bailin Zhang

Looking Through the Lens of Cultural Differences: How social media in different cultures shape ideal woman body

We all know that how profound the contents on social media could affect our thoughts and further form or sway our existed ideology towards various types of things; the ideal woman body for instance, has always been depicted and transformed into different versions that respectively meets the social expectation of each culture. Social media play an important role in the shaping of the perfect and expected woman body images that implant into people’s minds, making female pursue those body shapes that would help them meet the social expectation as well as build up self-esteem. Let’s take a closer look at how ideal woman body images are being presented on social media among United States and China and how people’s thoughts and behaviors are affected by them.

Among all kinds of social media, Instagram has the strongest photo-orientation; we are more emotional and somehow “inevitable” to contents presented as the form of photography over words. Oftentimes I hear people joking around saying that “United States is all about booty!”, since it doesn’t completely reflect the entire society, it’s still somewhat a true phenomenon on Instagram. The fact is that in United States, girls tend to post photos that emphasize some parts of their bodies (especially butt if they do squat a lot!) that generates an overwhelming social syndrome in which people’s aesthetics toward woman body becomes superficial: a well shaped butt is a must. This interesting article points out how America’s “ideal” butt has changed over times. Perhaps we should really consider if the way we judge a beauty based on partials of her body is a mature way of showing our respect.

The industry of social media celebrity is thriving recently, especially in Asia in these 2 or 3 years or so. We could see increasingly larger number of female and male following social media celebrities to keep up with the mainstream in the public. Among them, there are many celebrities who have done plastic surgeries to beautify themselves. Therefore, those “fashion” followers would take in the ideology and imitate the behaviors, whether consciously or unconsciously. Like this video from BBC portrayed, many girls secretly go to plastic surgery without telling parents to make themselves more “perfect” even though they are actually already pretty enough. Asian generally don’t have the big and abstruse eyes as people from western countries do, but they all want stereo faces and eyes like that. Now in Asia, not to mention Korea where the plastic surgery industry is already well developed, facial plastic surgery (especially for the double eyelid operation) is quite prevalently common as well in China. As mentioned in the article “Why double eyelid surgery is on the rise in Asia: rising incomes and acceptance, and star power of Fan Bingbing, Angelababy”, the famous stars and popular celebrities have great impact on people’s ideology about beauty. “They no longer think plastic surgery is a big deal.” said Cao Jiwu, the president from an aesthetic and plastic hospital.

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– by Lixuanpin Liu and Kevin Chou

Worldwide Addiction: Tech Companies engineering their apps to keep us hooked

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By Miguel Laureano and Tyler Miller

How many times did you check your phone today? Two, ten times? And how many of those times did you have a notification? All the time, half the time? Regardless of the number of times we check our phone and have notification, the point is that we all check our phones. However, we may think it is because we are deciding to do so, but in reality the apps were designed to make us do so.

According to the segment on 60 Minutes “What is ‘Brain Hacking’? Tech Insiders on Why You Should Care” by Anderson Cooper, app developers and tech companies do not sell their product to us, we get to use them free of charge and in exchange they sell our eyes/attention to advertisers who actually pay companies like Snapchat and Facebook. Because the more time a person spends on an app the more advertising money the tech company makes, the goal becomes “getting attention at all costs.”  

Tristan Harris, an ex Google employee gave the example of our phones being slot machines, in that “every time I check my phone, I’m playing the slot machine to see, ‘What did I get?’…What you do is you make it so when someone pulls a lever, sometimes they get a reward, an exciting reward.” The thought of having notifications, likes, retweets, or snapping back to not lose streaks keep people constantly engaging with applications. The fight for attention by tech companies is a “race to the bottom of the brainstem” where the “most primitive emotions we have…fear, anxiety, loneliness” target anyone, anywhere in the world, who uses these apps.

Here in the United States, it’s no surprise that social media plays an enormous role in all our lives.  Apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, etc. dominate in popularity in America, but this is not always the case around the world. In the US, social media is mainly used for entertainment, connecting with friends. In other countries, social media platforms do not have as big of a presence and are not always used for the same reasons.  

This article interviews various people from various countries about the presence of social media in their world and what they mainly use it for.  Facebook and Twitter are, for the most part, the most popular media platforms in all countries, but many countries have differences in the popular apps used following these two.  In the UK, Pinterest is a rapidly growing platform.  In Peru, Instagram is not very popular.  In Spain, some use social media all the time and some never use it at all.  

Most countries aren’t as dependent on social media as we seem to be in the US. Just by simply crossing a border, there is a whole different environment when it comes to social media usage.  

The world is complex and constantly changing, culture is a key puzzle in gaining people’s attention but there is no doubt tech companies will make all attempts to steal the attention of those that haven’t yet used their services.

 

Genres in Films and TV from Different Cultures

Movies shape cultures while they are the products from the culture. Cultures influence how we think and behave. Film and TV industries as a great part of popular media are, with no doubt, a great reflection of the society and culture that we live in.

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We can see from the picture of a visualization on movie references over the last 100 years that movies about history and war in America are quite a small portion compared to the whole. The data came from the internet movie database (IMDB, an online movie community with 42 million users) consisting of movie enthusiasts that linked movies by the references they made to other movies.

As Chinese, I was raised up with the education about greatly profound history of China. From my perspective, the most genres in Chinese movie and TV industries are history, war, and action(Kung Fu or ancient martial art). Chinese have really deep emotions about their history. And we could see that characteristic of them from most of the works made in China. They could always show a greatly magnificent scene in ancient empire of China. Of course wars come with the long history to get what the country is now. So there were many movies and TV shows describing the situation when China was in war and how they fought to manage the success and survive through. Also, the feature of martial arts (known as Chinese Kung Fu around the world) is another special one in movies and TV shows. Even for fantasy genres, there are still some reflection of history and martial art mixed within. Also, the characters transporting through time would land in somewhere in ancient China rather than in the future.

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Startling by Each Step

In the U.S., people are more creative, adventurous and full of imagination about the future. We could learn those cultures from their movies and TV products as well. Continue reading “Genres in Films and TV from Different Cultures”

Asian Youtube Stars Encourage Asian Stereotypes?

Stereotypes happen so frequently that we have become so oblivious to it in our daily lives. It has become a social norm and a form of easy humour we see on TV and all over social media today.

There are many Youtube stars that make videos based on Asian stereotypes but are these videos encouraging these stereotypes? We can see this being portrayed by Youtube stars MyChonny and JK films and how they portray these Asian stereotypes in their videos. The video below is an example of what some of these Asian stereotypes are.

This video highlights Asian stereotypes and uses it as a platform for humour. A lot of the stereotypes that were in the video surrounded the Asian parents as the parents are the target for most Asian stereotypes. These stereotypes hover around the theme of perfection. Most Asians are expected to achieve high standards in academics and play some sort of instrument.

We repeatedly see these stereotypes in movies and TV shows allowing us to begin believing that these stereotypes define who we are. The effect of social media on individual self-esteem can be strong as some may feel accepted into society by meeting these expectations. Social media is so powerful that it characterises an ideal image for every race, and culture. It can provoke individuals to feel insecurities and influence bullying which demonstrate the 4 dangers of stereotyping:

1. Marginalisation of people (usually in negative ways)

2. An inaccurate Representation of Diversity

3.Signals sent about ‘proper roles’

4.The Ultimate Attribution Error.

When we marginalise people, we exclude them and set people apart; generally in  negative ways. We also misconceive the culture, making judgements on what we believe is true depicted by the media. When we assume someone is from a certain country or make assumptions about their race, these are signals we receive stereotyping them in that way. Usually, people behave the way they actually are or, behave the way society tells them how they should behave.

In my opinion, stereotypes does create cheap humour for TV shows, Youtube videos. The consequences are beyond the surface. I think stereotyping can lead to the act of bullying and social matters. Stereotypes can influence how people behave but I also believe it is important for us to understand that we control how these stereotypes can affect us. I also think it is important for people to understand that everyone is different. That difference should be celebrated, and not viewed negatively.

Wenyung Keh

Top Stories: What Journalists Believe Their Country Should Be Informed About

Trending topics differ between countries, especially within the news. Imagine how the news stories from one of the safest countries in the world contrasts with a country that has an extremely high crime rate. I started by researching the top news stories in New Zealand and comparing them to the top stories published about the U.S.. Just at a glance, I was able to notice an immediate difference in what journalists published as their “top stories”. New Zealand’s top stories show a trend of travel information and stories that leave a positive impact on their audience, while the United States’ displayed news stories involving crime, politics, medical marijuana, etc. These stories are handpicked by journalists as what they feel is the most important information to share with the public. Considering New Zealand has approximately a 26% lower crime rate than the United States (according to NationMaster), it’s understandable why their news stories may not be as brutal or shocking.

Diving deeper into the difference between the countries’ news stories, I have picked the most recent top stories broadcasted on national television in New Zealand and the United States to compare and contrast. As shown in the news report below, the news anchors in New Zealand are reporting a death of a New Zealand resident that occurred in the Caribbean recently. What’s interesting about this report is that the actual incident didn’t take place anywhere near New Zealand, it was reported because the individual was from there. This is shocking for me because in the U.S., reporters can only show a small percentage of accidents and deaths that happen while New Zealand has the ability to discuss deaths of their citizens, even though the accident doesn’t directly affect the country’s citizens. In addition, there was an African American male who was explaining the details of the incident and giving us facts, however we were not introduced to this individual nor was he in a professional setting to make the audience believe that what he was saying was credible.

As for the United States, their latest news story covers information regarding a Russian official “taking over the U.S. Government”. The reporter is feeding the audience information in an aggressive tone, also using sarcasm in a non-satirical way to inform individuals about this story. These framing techniques alone make me feel that this reporter is not extremely credible or reliable with the information he is presenting because it seems biased. For example, Tucker Carlson claims Russia is, “the single most evil country in the world,” which is an extremely opinionated statement to make, especially without the right evidence to support it. Carlson continues to directly insult those who have opposing ideas or opinions on Donald Trump’s position with Russia.

As we can clearly see, the difference between not only news stories but also how news reporters present the news to their audience is vastly different between the United States and New Zealand. The United States has a huge focus on the issues going on with the government and politics, while New Zealand seems to gather whatever information they can to present such as a resident dying in a different country or extreme weather conditions. The severity of the United States’ news seems to be higher than New Zealand’s while also been relevant to more people within their country. However, New Zealand’s television news seems to be presented with an unbiased and neutral opinion unlike the United States’. It’s interesting to compare these differences because people from different countries could potentially have no idea what kind of news stories occur in a place they’ve never been to.

-Kaya Barcarse