Rave About It

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In today’s society, the idea of loud music, pretty lights, and minimal clothing has become a more prevalent way for teenagers and young adults to spend their time. The idea of raves began mainly in the United Kingdom, as a way for DJs to experiment with house music. Many of the rave goers in the UK were able to express themselves by the bright, flashy attire they chose to wear, which created a sense of individualism.  As well as the attire, people got a first look at the rave culture and ecstasy. Rave is a culture, holding a variety of people and many different reasons as to why people attend and enjoy raves. It is a way to loose yourself in the trance of music, dance, socialize, and get high. There are many components that go into attending a rave, purchasing a ticket, finding your outfit, and acquiring drugs.

            In this day and age everyone wants anything for a cheap price. People will go to many extremes just so that they can get their item for a fraction of the cost, for example people will camp out if they know they can get their item for 50 percent off of the original price. Same goes for rave tickets, people will ditch school just so they can stay home where there is faster Wi-Fi, in order to buy their tickets for 40 dollars off the original price of 100 dollars. If you aren’t lucky enough to get the tickets on pre-sale, it is extremely important that you get it within seconds of the regular sale because they sell out very fast and prices can double. A lot of kids will wait anxiously by the computer or telephone waiting for the moment tickets are available for sale just because they cannot afford an 100 dollar ticket for a rave and need any discounted price possible. My friend Lorni said “the 40 dollars I can save on my ticket is definitely going to go into my outfit”. Which signifies that going to a rave is definitely not something that is cheap but it is important that you scope out your options for ticket prices because the remainder money can go to your outfit or accessories. There are even some people that are willing to skip school or work and stay at home just so that they can get a couple of tickets so that later on they can sell the ticket at a higher price to turn a profit. The reason why kids these days are willing to stay at home to buy their tickets rather than buying it in class is because they do not want to risk the site crashing on them while in class due to the fact that normally schools have bad internet. Since the rave culture is such a mainstream lifestyle right now, individuals are willing to do whatever it takes just so they can fit in and purchase tickets to these events. After purchasing the ticket the next step in going to a rave, that takes a lot of time, effort, and money constructing is the outfit.

            Raves are fun and exciting but usually one of the best parts about going is the outfits and the accessories preparation prior to the day of the event. This process is what makes most people excited and pumped up even more knowing that the date of the event is just around the corner. When it comes to outfits, guys usually don’t have much to plan since most just either come shirtless or with a neon tank and shorts. If they were to really dress up, they would typically wear furry things on their head or funky costumes they have designed themselves with a beaded or LED mask. As for girls, they would wear a tutu, bedazzled bras, colorful spandex, or would just go crazy and wear costumes with wings and LEDs everywhere. I interviewed one of my friends explaining her outfit preparation, “I spent about 2 hours in Michaels just looking for flowers and jewels and then about 3 more hours at home hot gluing them all to my bra”. There are also occasions where if they were to go as a big group, everyone would have a certain theme and dress accordingly to it. As for footwear, most would wear closed toed shoes since the chances of getting stepped on are so high especially with such a big crowd. But of course, an outfit is never complete without its accessories therefore one of the main components of a rave outfit are the beads/bracelets. These are actually not hard to make considering that they only consist of a color pattern, a few words or special beads and then you attach them on an elastic string. What usually happens is someone gifts some of their bracelets to someone who may not have any or they would just exchange “kandi” with one another. At the beginning of the night, what started out as a single bracelet can grow into multiple cuffs and an arm full of beads by the end of the night. When exchanging bracelets with one another it is known that you recite “peace, love, unity, and respect”. These bracelets represent a kindness that brings the rave community and culture closer by being a conversation starter that can double as a gift. Each individual has put some sort of their creativity into these bracelets; therefore it is interesting to see what kind of bracelets the people around you come up with. Following the outfit preparation usually comes purchasing and procuring drugs.

            The rave culture has many stereotypes; one being that everyone attending raves is on drugs, has drugs, or wants to get drugs. From the outside looking in it looks like people just want to be able to live outside of their bodies and really be able to enjoy the music. To get the full story about the influence of drugs at raves, I talked to a couple of my friends that have experiences drugs at a rave first hand. Each has unique responses but one common theme was how easy to access they are. No matter what event, show, or festival one attends, the drugs needed to “have a good time” are there, for a cheap price hidden in some girl’s bra, or the bottom of a guy’s sock. People feel the need to do drugs at raves specifically uppers because it makes the music more intense and the experience more exciting. The feeling that the drugs give the body is euphoric and mind blowing. Throughout the concert people need to re-up their dosage, and that is when the people selling the drugs come in handy. A rave is somewhere people can let themselves go and feel free to try new drugs, and feel that they are in a safe area to try them. One of the drugs MDMA (molly) makes a person extremely social and comfortable in their environment, which is why most people take it at raves. One of the friends that I interviewed described her experience with molly as, “indescribable and amazing. It is nothing I have ever felt or experienced before. Nor have I ever felt so in sync with the sound of music and the amazing lights”. The drug helps the body relax and be okay with being surrounded by 5,000 people you don’t know. However, one of my friends said that he tried Molly for the first time at a rave and his body did not know how to handle it because of the loud music and people everywhere. That experience swayed him away from drugs for years because he had such a bad time while on the drug. This is another point that was made by the friends I interviewed, if you try drugs at a rave make sure that you are with people that you trust and you know wont leave you alone if your body responds negatively to the drug. The main message about drugs being apart of raving is that a person must feel comfortable in the environment that they are in, as well as the people they are with in order for them to have a good time.

            The culture of raves has changed our society’s views on music and has made and encouraged people to experience the pure joy and wonders of raves. Rave goers live by PLUR and respect the music as well as the lightshows and attire. Raves encourage creativity, laughter, friendship, and individualism, something that is so valuable in our society. Although there are many pricy components that come with going to a rave, the experience you get is simply priceless.

Sex Sells

The idea of women and how women should act has evolved through centuries due to many forms of the media. One of the most prominent forms is through music, specifically rap and hip-hop. Rap and hip-hop music emerged during the 1970s, often as a source of expression through music. As seen through many current rap artists, the expression of emotions through music has turned into hatred and objectifying views towards women. As new artists have emerged, women have increasingly become sexually exploited through the form of lyrics and music videos. Misogyny is the hatred or disdain of women. Misogyny in music portrays an idea that reduces women to objects rather than human beings solely for men’s ownership and abuse [1]. Although misogyny has not always been present, it has become a constant theme throughout all the works of new artist such as Eminem, Robin Thicke, and Lil Wayne. The theme of misogyny in music has become widely accepted throughout society and has flourished through the music industry for years.

Robin Thicke’s music video of “Blurred Lines” is very aggressive on the male part. It shows girls flocking to Robin, Pharrell and T.I., and the men are objectifying the women by having them walk around in bikinis almost as if they are just flaunting their bodies for the men. The video is completely in the dominant gaze and objectifies women because it puts the men in the power position, and makes it seem like the women are only there for the men to look at and flirt with. The women in the video are looking into the camera trying to seduce the viewer into believing the idea that objectifying women is okay. What the video does well is distract the viewer from the lyrics that are obscene and focus their attention on the beautiful women walking around or caressing Thicke. In the lyrics of the song “Blurred Lines” Thicke sings, “What you don’t like work… I know you want it”(Thicke). He is saying to the female dancer she has to work for him but he can have her for free or for whatever he wants. He also sings about knowing the women want to engage with him sexually and physically but they must work for it. The idea of women wanting men and men being able to have their pick is one that is popular now-a-days and has become a big issue in society. Whether or not the men are singing about women in a derogatory manner may or may not be doing it for money, publicity or to make a name for themselves does not matter, the artists should be thinking about how women feel when they hear and watch the songs. 

In the music video of the popular song “Beat the Pussy Up” by Loverance featuring IAMSU, it provides images of attractive women dancing around at a bar and vying for the attention of the artists. In the first moments of the video they talk about entering an exclusive party they were invited too that is filled with alcohol and beautiful women who are there simply there to give out sex. As the video continues you hear lyrics like, “Im gonna get deep in it” or “Call me I can get it juicy for ya.” Insinuating that not only will sex be had, but it very well might be the best sex that these women will ever have. This video eventually cuts to a scene where a rapper talks about what he wants to do a girl like “fill me on up, put it in your gut” and as he is saying this he looks as if he is directly speaking to a girl looks to be smiling and enjoying everything the rapper says. As you watch the video every girl seems to enjoy the lyrics and the artist’s presence further confirming the values and labels men put on women. For example, a label often put on women is “hot piece of ass” which relates women similarly to barbequed meat. These labels will often leave women feeling like sex objects and pieces of meat that can only contribute to world by having sex.  I think if women were to push back on dominant gaze that males have on women within the music industry they should resist and shoot down artists that write songs that are as disrespectful to woman as  “Beat the Pussy Up.”

Eminem has always had trouble with the opposite sex, and although everyone can relate to this in some form, Eminem’s experiences have been well…legal and public to say the least. Eminem’s fans know that his relationship/divorce from his wife Kim Scott was rather chaotic for him. The couple divorced once, remarried each other, then later divorced again three months later with a lawsuit she filed against him. Eminem has also been sued by his own family (mother and aunt), and his ongoing feud with Mariah Carey over their alleged relationship, which seems to be brought up from time to time in some of his work. All of this leads to the excessive amount of violent Misogyny in his songs, specifically, “Superman”. This song is about Eminem’s perception on women. To him, women are whores, gold diggers, and liars. He doesn’t want to be in a relationship with anyone from the opposite sex and doesn’t want to be affiliated with women in general. To him, women lie, and all they want is fame and the life that comes with it. In order for him to not get hurt again, he basically plays games with them. An example of that is in the beginning in the music video, Him and the girl (pornstar Gina Lynn) describe themselves as “wanting” and “loving” each other. All this goes on and all of a sudden his opinion of her changes: “Ooh you drive me crazy, bitch you make me hurl”. In other words, he says she’s another worthless slut and in the video, he kicks the chick out of his home along with her belongings as if she was a prostitute. He tells them that he is their superman, and how the girl drives him crazy. To him everything is a game, and he is the winner because he will never fall for a female’s game. “I’d never love you enough to trust you, we just met and I just f*cked you” just comes to tell you that he’s using women for sex one after another treating them like shit. In a few clips in the music video, Eminem is shown in a sea of almost naked women basically wanting to grab a piece of him and this interpretation shows that women want nothing but lust from men and all of them are the same. “Love that tattoo what’s that say? Rot in Pieces, uh that’s great” is basically telling his ex to go f*ck herself and die. And finally,” “Put Anthrax on a Tampax and slap you till you can’t stand.” basically put the nail in the coffin of this misogynistic song and video. In my opinion, he’s just going with the popular hip hop culture’s ideas that he grew up around and trying to keep a traditional, stereotypical hip hop view of women in his music. Sexism sells in the hip-hop industry unfortunately. The majority of rappers/rap songs use offensive vocabulary (all because they think it’s cool), “bitches” and “hos”, etc. If you find Eminem sexist, then you should find most other rappers sexist too.

             “Pop that” featuring rap artists such as Drake, Rick Ross, French Montana & Lil Wayne, shows endless amounts of woman in bikinis and swimming pools. The singers are singing about them doing a certain type of dance called “twerking” during the entire song they ask “what you twerking with” the girls seem to be enjoying themselves even though they get referred to as “Bitches and Groupies”. At certain points the men are completely surrounded by woman. They are bumping and feeling on them. A line in the song that really stands out to me is when they say “pop the pussy bitch” that line is very vulgar. The females in this video are being used as only an object for sex and erotic dancing. The fact that the video never shows the females fully clothed and seen only in bikinis proves that they are only a sex factor in the video. I know that objectifying woman in the music industry will never end since it sells very well. The only realistic way to put an end to it is having the women who allow this to happen to them to stand up for themselves and produce music videos with an alternative gaze. But that won’t happen since the pay is good and the desire for fame is great.

            The genre of rap and hip-hop is a thriving industry and although it may portray misogynistic views they are not going to stop producing it. Some people may choose to listen to the message it sends and others may not but consciously or not the mindset of the young audience is changing and forming around these lyrics and music videos. It is very hard to single out songs that have done very well without objectifying women or by using an alternative gaze where women are portrayed as empowering figures. The few that are out there don’t merely do as well as those who do use woman as sex symbols in order to sell the song. Most of these songs really have no meaning and really only sell due to the woman and the sensual content and appeal in the lyrics and music videos. As long as our society deems it acceptable we will continue to see this and accept it as a daily norm. Young men are becoming aware with this music that they have so much control over women and they can make them do whatever they want. The messages being sent through the lyrics and music videos is definitely not a message society should be living by and it is extremely important that an alternate gaze of female as dominant figures becomes apparent in music videos.


[1] Terri M. Adams and Douglas B. Fuller, The Words Have Changed But the Ideology Remains the Same Misogynistic Lyrics in Rap Music (Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 36 No. 6, July 2006 938-957), 67

 

Mass Media

            Over many years, mass media and its influence on society has grown exponentially. Ranging from the television to the Internet, once something becomes publicly known, it instantly goes viral for everyone to see. Just about everyone depends on the information and communication from technology to keep their day going. Without the easily accessible media, a lot of individuals would not be able to know what is going on in the world. Our society has traded newspaper and word of mouth for being able to look on Facebook and find out if something is true or not. Justin Beiber got a DUI? Did the Seattle Seahawks win the Super bowl? What did Miley Cyrus at the MTV Music Awards? All of these questions can be answered through the mass media.

            On April 15, 2013, two bombs went off near the Boston Marathon finish line. “The blasts left three people dead, more than 260 wounded and a nation terrified.” Almost immediately following this horrendous event, the media was able to provide information about what had happened. I remember when first hearing about the bombing, I could not believe something this horrible could happen to so many innocent people. I logged onto Facebook and my newsfeed was overflowing with statuses about what had happened in Boston and many people sending their condolences to loved ones who may have been involved. I received a text message from my mom telling me about what had happened and I immediately searched “Boston bombing” on the Internet and various articles began popping up. Articles providing information about the actual incident and possible suspects as to who could do something like this. Each day, a different article would appear with different stories about the event. Once I got home, I turned on the TV and saw that the news was providing live coverage and personal reactions from people who had been involved. One thing that stood out from watching the news was that I was able to see raw emotions and how it affected people, it wasn’t just about the facts and what had happened, it was more personal. This event did not only affect the people involved in it, it affected the world. The various media that was displayed to our world allowed for our society to feel for the people in Boston. The mass media united our country in way that without it, it would have not. The emotions were real and gave people a sense of despair and togetherness.

            In Sturken and Cartwright’s book, they question the way that contemporary media contributes to public life and in what ways are they detrimental to it. Contemporary media contributes to public life in multiple ways and sometimes people don’t even realize how much it affects our daily lives. The mass media is completely built into our society; it is a way of life. Each source of mass media has different affects on our society and gives off news in very different perspectives. The Internet is always up to date and easily accessible to anyone who needs access to it, which allows people to grow a dependency towards it. Though the Internet is always reachable, some sources aren’t always credible and accurate. One source that is more credible is the television. Reading something online is completely different then seeing it visually. It gives a person a better understanding of what is going on and is a more personal approach to media. By visually watching something, you are able to somewhat experience what is happening and it has more of an affect on you. Mass media is part of our society and completely contributes both negatively and positively to our society.

Glorifying Drugs or Label Hungry?

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Advertising is a form of marketing communication used to catch a consumer’s eye and make them more intrigued about their product. Advertising often pushes certain extremes in order to capture the attention of the audience. In today’s society, advertising has evolved into a way of displaying sexual innuendos, drug use, and abusive behaviors specifically toward women. What many consumers don’t realize is how company advertising tends to alter the way they think and push them towards thinking that sex, drug use, and abuse is a regular, acceptable thing in our society. Fashion advertising specifically is extremely prominent and can be found in almost every magazine. The printed ad shown above uses many factors that definitely catch the audience’s attention.

Sisely is a clothing brand based in Italy and is owned by the brand United Colors of Benetton. They are typically known for their racy and often inappropriate advertisement that never fails to intrigue the consumer. This ad first appeared in a very high fashion magazine in China and once it hit the Internet many controversial ideas began surrounding it.

When first focusing on this picture, my eyes are instantly drawn to the white image, which appears to be a dress made to look like a line of cocaine. The characters in this ad appear to be between the ages of 18 and 29, one of them is going down to snort which appears to be a line of cocaine and the other one seems to have just finished one. Both of them are wearing very heavy makeup and give off the impression that they are under the influence of substances. It suggests negative connotations towards women from the activities and the way they are positioned.  Another thing that I noticed about the characters is that they are dressed very promiscuously; the girl leaning in to snort has her nipple showing through her shirt.

A tool used to attract the eyes of the audience in advertising is coloring. The background is completely dark and gives the impression that they are in a bar or a nightclub. The white dress on the table is made to look like cocaine and next to that is a chase credit card with the white substance placed on top of it. Which portrays the idea that the credit card was used to cut up the cocaine. Another tool used in this advertisement is wording. “Fashioin Junkie”, which is misspelled in order for fashion to rhyme with cocaine. This can often symbolize that there is something similar to cocaine and fashion and that is the fact that it is addicting.

Many young girls ranging from the age 13 and above read fashion magazines. From this specific ad I believe that they will take away that in order to be cool and fashionable, they need to partake in illegal substances like cocaine. This ad is sending the message that it is okay to do drugs and only good things will come from doing it like being fashionable. For girls who cant distinguish that it is just advertisement, might fall into drug use because they saw it as acceptable from a magazine ad. Despite the glorifying of drugs in this ad, I believe that they are also symbolizing that fashion can almost be comparable to being addicted to a drug. To some people, fashion is a lifestyle and sometimes it may not be brightest pathway. Fashion just like cocaine is addicting, individuals are always left wanting more.

Each person who sees this ad will focus on a different aspect of the picture. I think it is extremely important that when analyzing various advertisements that as the consumer and audience you are able to distinguish the difference between what is right and what is wrong. If the company is glorifying drug use or if they are just label hungry, how would you depict it?