🍎⬅️🔥😫 Apple Emoji Got Backfires! 👨👩🏼👱🏿

Emoji, an ideogram used to convey ideal or concept, was originally contrived by a Japanese software engineer in 1999. Apple has adopted this new way of non-verbal, non-literal communication, and made it take the world by storm.

In order to increase its racial diversity and inclusiveness, Apple launched its racially diverse emoji in its IOS 8.3 update, which incorporated versatile color skin tones (6 color in total) to represent different races. The new emoji reformation should earn Apple a big applaud; however, it pissed off a lot of Apple users, especially the Asians. People in China alleged that the bright yellow tone is so stereotypical, and it is very offensive to Asians. A twitter user, Jade Tran, wrote “Is the yellow emoji supposed to represent Asians because I have never in my life seen an Asian looking like that.” 

Emoji Post 3

“A Yellow person,” is usually associated with many historically stereotypical words in the western culture, such as coward, short height, small eyes, feudalism, etc. In reality, not every Asian is superstitious, coward, has small eyes, and short height. (Well, I admit I have small eyes 👀, but all of my friends have big, bright sparkling eyes like this 👁.👁) Also, Asians think it is not fair to call them “yellow”, not only due to the stereotypes, but because Asians do not have such skin color in reality. Therefore, yellow skin is mischaracterization. Referring to this article, if two Asians are in a conversation, do they have to specifically choose the yellow skin emoji to represent themselves? Or do other people should feel compelled to send the yellow skin emoji to their chat people if they are Asians. The racial diverse emoji exacerbates racial distinctions even more, since a person sending a yellow emoji accentuates his/her identity, making it more conspicuous. 

Nonetheless, some colored people in U.S. harbored completely opposite opinions. They think Apple is so attentive that the racially diverse emoji, indeed, well-represented their identities. Apple has changed the idea about “white is superior and normal,” according to the quote of Matthew Johnson, MediaSmart director, “Players who are not white and male have to essentially leave some of their self behind and take on this white/male identity in order to participate in [a video game].” Emoji is the first small step towards a more equal, diverse, and powerful society. 

From my perspective, I felt awkward, when I used bright yellow emoji at first time. I think it was unnecessary and meaningless to include such diverse skin tones, and I did hesitate about choosing the skin color. I used to think if I use the white emoji, will anyone think I am weird? Nevertheless, I understand the intent of Apple was good, it was aware of underrepresentation of colored people. In fact, it did explain that the bright yellow tone is the default setting, the color did not refer to Asians. However, I still think this reform is hasty, it is much better if they did a survey before releasing the new emoji. 

 

—–Bailin Zhang

 

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Why are Arabs Portrayed Negatively in Hollywood?

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Aladdin was one of my favorite Disney movies growing up. However, amidst the appeal of the characters I completely missed the explicit stereotyping of the culture that the movie was being depicted. From the opening song, the movie describes the Middle East to be “barbaric” and soon after the release of the movie, there was controversy with the opening song, as it contained the lyrics “Where they cut off your ear, if they don’t like your face, it’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home.” Disney was forced to change the lyrics “under pressure by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, but kept the ‘barbaric’ lyric within the song.” By no means is Aladdin the only Hollywood film at fault for a negative portrayal of the Middle East. 

Dr. Jack Shaheen, author of “Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People” made a documentary with the same name, in which he explains the root of the stereotypical view the West has on the Middle East. In the documentary, Dr. Shaheen explains that “we (Americans) inherited the Arab image primarily from Europeans” (3:21). French and British travelers to the Middle East developed a prejudice view known as orientalism in which Arab men were stereotyped as dangerous, and Arab women as exotic. Those views were passed on for centuries, and eventually made their way into many Hollywood movies which further perpetuated the stereotype. 9/11 only made that stereotype worse, as most of the media solidified the image of Arabs and Muslims as terrorists through their constant coverage that extended beyond the actual event and simply became speculation to attract views based on fear of the “other”.

Dr. Shaheen broke down the findings of the study in which he analyzed 1000 Hollywood movies and found that 932 of them portrayed Arab characters negatively. “Not only are the Arabs dangerous, they’re incompetent,” said Dr. Shaheen of Arab roles in Hollywood.  Even with this overwhelming amount of negative portrayals, at the end of the documentary, Dr. Shaheen is optimistic that young filmmakers will “see that there has been a grave injustice committed, and they’ll make attempts to correct it (inhuman portrayal of Arabs).”

(You can watch Dr. Shaheen talk about Aladdin at time 5:15 in the video above)

 

Being a man:How K-Dramas & Telenovelas portray male beauty standards

 

If there’s one thing that can be said about dramas, it is that it’s kind of a big deal. Maybe not here in the United States, but in Korea and Mexico, they are a part of life.

K-Dramas and telenovelas play many roles. They emphasize many cultural norms that take place in the countries where they were created, in this case Korea and Mexico. Norms like being respectful to your elders, taking your shoes off before you enter the house in Korea, or taking your hat off before you enter the house in Mexico. Just by watching these shows, a viewer is able to absorb not only the plotline of the show, but a sense of what everyday life is like in each of the countries. The shows offer not only a view of customs followed in the country, but also different social roles that determine how people should look and act.

Beauty standards for men in particular are one of the things that is easily noticeable when watching a Kdrama or a telenovela. The actors that are seen are not representative of the population in either country but instead are the idealized models for how a man should look. For South Korea, this entails a wrinkle free and pale skin complex, a more western face with double eyelids, long and pointy noses, and a more skinny body.

For Mexico, this look tends to also take western features, tall, muscular, with a nice defined face. Also important is being being tough and aggressive; to show they have“macho” or “machismo”, which is an important aspect of being manly.

Although they have similar inspirations for beauty, the way they portray themselves in these TV shows is different. These shows have a big impact in the way males in these countries see themselves as and strive to be or look. A big impact in South Korea, for example, is that men go through plastic surgery to achieve the “perfect look”. Comparing South Korea and Mexico, South Korea has the biggest industry for male beauty products (worth $1 billion) but Mexico and South America, however, only account for 2% of worldwide sales in men’s skin care. Mexican men focus more on the “machismo” part of what the TV shows portray, and don’t necessarily care about how they look, as long as the character (or the person himself) is macho. Mexican men would show off their manliness through fighting, having many women, or by being a general “bad ass”.

The beauty standards may be different in South Korea and Mexico, but ultimately, the K-Drama’s and telenovela’s power to influence in both countries is the same.

Influence of “Social” “Media” platforms

Now most people are living in a fast-speed life with so many things to do and so little time to hold. We are all realizing that social media change the world in an inevitable way since many of us use social media in most of time every day. Takeout Apps, digital payment technology, online shopping become indispensable in our life. And we have to admit, they are significantly changing our society and ideology.

Among “Media”, Facebook, with billions of global users, definitely is the one we must talk about everytime it comes to social media. Facebook connects the world altogether to a huge “global village”. According to this article, Facebook changed the world in many ways. It provides a platform for people all over the world to share their life, and to obtain and understand new perspectives from others. Also, it brings groups of people with similar perspectives and interests together as a community. Social media like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and etc, offer things based on individuals’ movements like what links they clicked on and what kinds of information they are interested in, or spend more time on it. It makes people live in a “filter bubble” that the media create to provide personalized information.

For “Social” influence, Asia plays an importantly large component in the huge amount of users of those worldwide social media, except for China, which blocks some social media platforms from the US. So what social media are prevalent in China when people couldn’t use those? WeChat is the booming platform that Chinese are widely using these years, details from this article. It has so many applications used to implement their life. With WeChat, people don’t even need cash or credit cards to manage everything almost everywhere they go. Seen in the picture, it could send money interpersonally like Venmo, as well as between individuals and stores, restaurants, and websites. Besides texting, voice chatting and video chatting with others, people could get a taxi, pay bills, donate, buy tickets, order food delivery, book hotels, and shop in this little but powerful platform. Besides, Weibo is another quickly thriving media, which would be the very platform when famous celebrities and actors promote and communicate with fans in China. Moreover, there are many other platforms in China that have various functions to easily apply in daily life. “Red packets” is a traditional heritage that Chinese maintain from long ago. The development of social media even changed this very tradition, transmitting from physical packets for children to “grabbing packets” for everyone, which becomes a favorable activity in Chinese Spring Festival.

 

It seems awesome right? However, additionally it brings problems and concerns in this developed internet world. People start to consider their privacy and health of usage online. Problems come with convenience, like this article mentioned about worldwide cashless society around the world. Therefore, we need to keep a critical mind while enjoying the convenience that social media bring to us and being cautious at the same time during the usage of social media like Facebook, WeChat, and other kinds of platforms.

by Lixuanpin Liu

Major News Outlets’ Opinion on Job Market Increase: Same Story, Different Perspective

In 2012, there were many reports regarding the job market increase in July, however there was also an increase in the national unemployment rate within the United States. Evidence shows that an average of 151,000 jobs were available each month of that year, where there was hardly an increase from previous years. With a consistent rising population, the jobs available are significantly lesser than needed to sustain the economy. These issues are largely due to the decrease in consumer spending, which lowers overall revenue earned by many companies and results in a smaller necessity for employees and high wages. Many major news outlets published articles regarding this issue, but we see a difference in tone for the audience based on how the author emphasizes certain details of the story and carefully includes certain pieces of evidence to frame the event in a specific way.

NPR came out with an article in early August of 2012, discussing the issues of the job market and unemployment rates. President Barack Obama claimed that a part of the solution should include people with high incomes from the upper class to pay higher taxes in efforts to overcome future deficits. However, Mitt Romney counteracted Obama’s solution by claiming that the current state of the economy was a result of the President’s failed economic policies. Romney’s solution is to “get America working again” to decrease unemployment rates. He also states that the rise in unemployment rates is a “hammer blow to struggling middle-class families”.

Screen Shot 2017-07-03 at 3.10.23 PM.pngOn the same day, Fox News released an article presenting the same numbers and facts about the increasing unemployment rate, but framed it as more of an issue resulting from tension between Democrats and Republicans refusing to work together. This is contrasting the tone from the article posted by NPR, which mostly put the blame on President Obama for the plateaued number of job opportunities. The article posted by Fox News also includes more numbers and data regarding the number of jobs available for different departments and the state of wage increase from previous years. According to this article, these issues are resulting in Americans spending less and attempting to save more. Since consumer spending accounts for roughly 70% of our country’s economic activity, we are at risk of a recession.

The topic of job opportunities and unemployment rates is one that is of great concern in today’s economy. Since the rate was at a high of 8.3% in July of 2012, it seems that the public turned to President Barack Obama to put blame on someone. NPR’s article on the job crisis is framed largely in favor of the Republican party, which claims that President Obama’s economic policies are the source of these issues in the rise of unemployment rates. In contrast, Fox News has provided us more evidence and a less biased article that informs us more about both perspectives from the different political parties and their plan to address this issue. Business News gives a neutral perspective on the job increase while just providing the facts for the audience. It provides the effects that the job increase has on current and future stock markets, hours of labor, income, and unemployment rates. This is beneficial because we are able to read information about this issue without an underlying bias while still being informed about the state of the economy.

-Kaya Barcarse

Body Image on Social Media

 

Everyone is born with their own shape and sizes yet; social media allows us to believe that there is a ‘perfect’ body or image we admire and strive to look like. You might be familiar with the common hashtag, #goals. However, what do these ‘goals’ really mean? Social media can influence individuals in several ways. It has the power to make us feel a sense of belonging or the power to make us feel rejection to society. Through personal experiences and observations, social media has impacted me in both these ways. Growing up having social media accounts has made me want to accomplish many things and want to look a certain way but I think many people like myself misconceive media and let it influence our daily lives. It impacts the way we feel and allows others to bring people down.

Popular social media platforms most people have today are Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. I am an active user on Instagram and I follow my friends, families, a few celebrities, athletes and a couple of fitness trainers. My feeds include a variety of posts and through my observations, negative comments are inevitable. In fact, it is very common when it comes to body shaming others. Many women like to post photos of themselves embracing their bodies and yet there are still mean and hurtful comments. In this blog post, I admire how this blogger is able to take the positivity out of the negativity from others and feel more motivated and inspired. This is encouraging and sets a reminder for others who can relate that being perfect isn’t about having a good figure but to feel good about yourself and not letting others affecting the way you feel.

I also believe that having social media is like living another life. People don’t see your flaws, we strive to look our best in our photos somewhat like fractured glass. This a concept where many of us are very selective on what we want or do not want to post on social media. By posting the best photo of ourselves, we are wanting to create a ‘perfect’ or ‘best’ image of ourselves. By achieving this look, we would feel more accepted and sense of belonging. I think it is our nature to do and so as I mentioned earlier, I follow a couple of gym trainers; Kayla Itsines, Emily Skye, and Cassey Ho. I look at their social media account to remind me that feeling good is more important than to look good. Nowadays, athletes such as Serena Williams or Ronda Rousey allow us to believe that being strong and healthy is beautiful. In this post singer, Pink quoted “strong is the new skinny”. It is encouraging and allow girls to grow up with a healthier body image to strive for and focuses more on the mental and physical health than to look achieve these physical appearances.

Wenyung Keh

 

Flop movies, Great hit!

 

 

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Source from Google images

 

Wonder woman‘ is considered as the biggest blockbuster of Hollywood this summer, creating a new history that overwhelmingly overrides all the other movies including ‘The Great Wall’. Although the budget of ‘The Great Wall’ cost nearly as the same as ‘Wonder Woman,’ it was considered as a big flop in the U.S. Yet, it still got a great hit in China. 

How could such big flop in U.S counterattack in China? You might discover the substantial difference is due to the disparity of cultural ideology and media exposure in the two countries. ‘The Great Wall’ is the first China-Hollywood co-production, which is designed to conquer the world audiences. Matt Damon played the main actor William Garin, who was an Irish soldier in the movie, fighting with Chinese legion to save the world.

Despite blowing big bucks on the movie, the result of box office in the U.S. was far from satisfaction, and the movie aroused public criticism, especially among Asian Americans, about “whitewashing,” and the stereotype that only white man can save the world. Nevertheless, most Chinese people love this movie, and there was no single concern about “whitewashing”. The clash between native Chinese and Asian Americans is largely influenced by social ideology.

America is composed of diverse races, in which the Asian Americans count as minority. As being the minority, people are usually not treated as fairly as the majority. For example, more white people are likely to be rewarded in huge event, such as last year’s Oscar, and Academy Awards two years ago. Asian Americans are awfully underrepresented in the U.S. media and tied with negative stereotypes. Thus, they are more sensitive about racial issues. Compare to China, which is a monoculture that far fewer white people live in China. Even people have noticed their negative stereotypes existing in Western cultures and they think it’s frustrating. In reality, they rarely experience discrimination from a white counterpart in China. And the media, people usually consumes, is mostly presented by Asian actors/actresses. They refer the presence of white actors as a connection to the world. Therefore, a lot of Chinese people love this movie from the perspective of international debut (presented by an Asian America who analyses the movie from both sides), as the movie did show plenty of Chinese elements.

Another critical factor that caused such difference is the way how media propagandized this movie. Carefully scrutinize the posters available in the two countries, posters in U.S. emphasized greatly on Matt Damon, whilst posters in China had a more balanced feature. Chinese characters had approximately the same scale as white characters.

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Sources are from google images and baidu images.  Upper left and bottom right are Chinese posters.

Again, as I advocated in my previous post “‘Evil’ or ‘Angel,’  How do you think about Vladimir Putin?” that media is a profound factor. Sometimes it distorts and selectively report the reality by introducing a single side of information, which triggers strife even when people descended from similar culture. Therefore, media pluralism is an indispensable requirement to reflect the real world.

 

By Bailin Zhang