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I attended the “Sex, Gender, and Commodity on Facebook” Pop Culture Series event. The presentation illustrated the power and impact Facebook has on us, our relationships, and in our lives. Ceilan and Jeff were describing Facebook as an ideology that calls us to participate and become a part of it. The social network was a commodity that has turned into an important necessity in our lives. Facebook is a way for people to keep score and evaluating themselves against their friends and family; by comparing their accomplishments, social lives, and possessions. It is constructed to be a template for a simple, flattened, and edited construction of one’s self and identity. It allows you to share your life with others on the Internet by sharing the six essentials: work and education, places lived, relationship, family, basic information, and contact information.
Facebook also provides its users with safety, security, and control. The social media site lets individuals control how their fellow Facebook friends portray them. Pictures, statuses and posts on friend’s walls manage how people can perceive you. It also provides protection from seeing people’s reactions in an objectified type of way. Facebook’s protection creates a positive atmosphere for its users by only having a ‘like’ button. Users strive for ‘likes’ on their posts. It also gives individuals a self-esteem boost and societal approval by the amount of ‘likes’ received on their posts, photos, and statuses. ‘Selfies’ have also became a new phenomenon among all social media sites. Many people hate the constant blow up of ‘selfies’. They have been negatively labeled among all Facebookers; but people still post them. The amount of ‘selfies’ a user uploads can label the individual as someone with low self-esteem and confidence. However, Rachel Simmons believes that ‘selfies’ do that opposite and gives “selfie posters” the power to influence the photos interpretation.
Two key points – cover pictures and ‘selfies- in the presentation on Facebook and its role in our lives connected with two chapters from our course: Chapter 3: Socialization and the Social Construction of Gender, and Chapter 11: Popular Culture, Media, and the Spectacle of Sports. A Facebook cover picture is a “unique image that represents your Page” – represents you as an individual (Facebook). On average, a majority of females cover pictures are of nature; while male’s pictures consist of sports. The male interest of sports is created from outside forces that ‘make you like them. It shows masculinity and is influenced by family, friends, and role models – it is not biologically determined.
This idea of cover pictures relates to socialization. Socialization is a process that has taught males and females to internalize norms and values related to different functional roles. Men are presumed to be rational, authoritative, unemotional, and masculine. Women are viewed as submissive, irrational, kind, gentle, and emotional. These societal gender roles have played an important part in our lives and now our networking “lives”. Many Facebook users use Facebook pages, cover pictures, and pictures as a first impresson; it is very accurate.
“Selfies” have become a recent Internet phenomenon among adolescents and young adults. As I have scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed daily, I have noticed that majority of my friends that upload “selfies” are females. I agree with Rachel Simmons’ belief that ‘selfies’ provide self-promotion, control, and give power to the young females posting these pictures. However, sometimes these ‘selfies’ can give the wrong representation of women to the opposite sex.
Our society and media encourages girls and young women to present themselves as sexually desirable beings by dressing and using facial expressions in a sexual way to draw male’s attention. Many of my female friends sexually objectify themselves in their ‘selfies’ on Facebook. The pictures can consist of them standing or lying down in a sexual position that has their breasts or buttocks, or a combination of the two, as the focal point of the picture. Also, they paint their faces’ in thick amounts of makeup and take ‘selfies’ with sexual facial expressions of biting their lips or of an orgasmic look. Not all ‘selfies’ are of this sexualized nature, but many female adolescents are beginning to partake in these types of pictures and are suffering from the negative consequences of their self representation in these images.
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