A Dent in Me

Identity is generally thought to be expressed through conscious or unconscious actions that communicate ideas about who or what a person is. I have too usually thought of identity this way. That what I wear, what I eat, what I do with my free time all show the people around me what kind of person I am. What this disregards is the idea that one may not be free to choose their actions for themselves, or that these actions can be interpreted incorrectly.

This was especially evident to me in the essay, “There Is No Unmarked Woman” by Deborah Tannen. What was enlightening about this piece was that it showed that women were not free to fully identify themselves accurately. Every decision a woman makes, especially in reference to wardrobe, influence how people see her. A woman could never just be a businesswoman, full stop. She has to be the type of businesswoman who wears skirts, or one that wears scarf; one who wears heels, or make-up, or one that wears neither. Because women were not socialized to seem natural in the business setting, anything that separates them from the businessman archetype puts them in stark contrast.

Personally, I have attempted to control how people perceived me in several ways. This was mostly done through my wardrobe. I have spent the last ten years creating and recreating what I believed “my” style to be. Building a style that could encompass who I was as a person. And yet the more I try to create that persona, the less accurate it seems to become. I think that as I have grown up and become more complicated, it’s become more impossible for any identity I exude to accurately convey my personality with others.

As a more specific example, I have recently been more out of the box with my clothing choices. This leads many to label me a hipster. This is fair as it is the type of style I gravitate towards and emulate, but implies things about my character that are mostly untrue. This caused me to desire to live outside that stereotype in fear of wearing the clothes I really liked. I didn’t want to be associated with a style that has untrue and often negative ideas connected to it. But then after a conversation with my aunt, she said to me, “There is nothing wrong with being on trend.” This hit me harder than it probably should have as is obviously true. Trends come and go and there is no shame in liking and emulating them. Why did society make me feel lesser for the clothes I liked to wear? It was ridiculous and so I quickly decided to wear whatever I liked.

But this became difficult again when I went abroad and realized their style was very different from my own. I didn’t know how to react. I didn’t know how to be myself there. But after a few months I decided to take what I liked from their style and mix it with what I already had. It influenced my style in the same way being abroad influenced me as a person, and still does. It made me realize that this is a constant struggle that will always be something I have to deal with because of the way clothes have been socialized. Luckily, it’s a decision that is entirely under my control.

Blog Post #8

1. Graphic Design: I’m pretty confident in this but I’m not the best there is. I know how to use Photoshop and Illustrator pretty proficiently and have worked as a graphic designer for the CUB.
2. Writing/Editing: I am getting an English minor, have always enjoyed writing and have taken and passed come295 so I have a good handle on this. I am also an Editor so LandEscapes.
3. Video: Everything I know about video I have learned from com 210 and this class. I understand it well and so can do it well enough. I know iMovie and Premiere well enough.
4. This is the one I definitely have the least experience in. Before this class I had zero experience. I like what we’ve done but definitely wouldn’t call it a strength of mine.

Blog Post #6

Photo on 3-5-14 at 12.03 AM

Photo on 3-5-14 at 12.03 AM #3

I’m sorry these pictures are so bad and backwards. My phone was being impossible with pictures so I had to use my webcam. Anyway, my feedback was very constructive. While my ideas about my story board remain largely unchanged (a vlog style with pictures and clips from the video) I changed some of the words of my copy. I was very much doing a sort of check list of terms but instead I was told to focus more on my opinion and how I felt about the campaign. This was great advice and will definitely be more interesting this way. This is what I have for my copy.
1. For my project, I wanted to focus on political campaigns, especially negative ones.
2. To do this I chose an ad to re-elect President Obama in the race against Mitt Romney. I didn’t choose which side to focus on for political reasons but because I thought it used negativity in a very interesting way.
3. The thing is, I don’t like negative political campaigns. I think they create a culture of destructive rather than constructive conversations that has created the non-partisan atmosphere that we have in D.C. today.
4. When you’re trying to convince people on the fence of who to vote for that you are the best, most honest candidate, I feel like talking bad about other people is not the best way to do it.
5. The specific video clip I chose had some very interesting aspects to it, mostly in the visual and aural modes. The commercial starts with a very familiar format of a mock interview of Obama talking about what he wants to do if he’s reelected
6. that moves into a still picture heavy procession showing him interacting with “the everyday American.” The words of reassurance from the narrator and soft strumming guitar all reinforce that Obama is a normal trustworthy guy. The bright colors take this feeling into the visual mode.
7. That is, until the screen goes black suddenly and a really ominous sounding song starts playing. This abrupt turn uses contrast, emphasis and proximity to draw a direct line of opposition to Romney. Obama is basically saying, see! Aren’t you glad I’m not that guy!
8. According to the visual and aural cues, Romney is the opposite of all the positive things Obama is associated with in this video. The narrator goes on to say, in an entirely different tone than he was using before, that Romney wastes his money on making negative ads against Obama, never mind the fact that that is exactly what Obama is doing in this part of the video.
9. The video then cuts quickly back to the happy mood by saying “[Romney] isn’t interested in rebuilding the middle class. He is.” All this uses direct contrast to paint Obama in a positive light.
10. Overall, the video is probably not as effective as Obama hoped. While it used all its conventions in the right way, it came off sounding cliché. His intended audience may be older than late teens/early twenties and that’s why the video doesn’t work for me, but Obama is known for targeting youths and it just didn’t work here. Emotionally and logically, this video just does not work for me. It all comes off like a bad parody of what political campaigns should be. I think political ads in general need a massive overhaul to continue to be effect to the next generation.

ASSETS:
My assets are: the video of my vlog style clip that will be the background of the video, picture to represent Obama/Romney election, picture to represent the audience of the video, clip of obama interview from video, stills of Obama with people from video, still of attack part of the video, clip of the end of the video, possibly music.

Blog post #5

For project 2 I wanted to focus on negative political campaigns because I think they’re really dumb. I chose this one in particular because it has the added benefit of being a regular political campaign commercial with a few second of negative advertising ABOUT negative advertising. I think it’s silly and the format for the entire ad is too standard. I think political ads in general need a massive redesign and I will use this ad/campaign to illustrate why I feel that way.

Blog Post #4

Technical:
To make my website I downloaded a template and then build up or down from it. I worked with the basic design it already had and filled in my information. I also created other pages and linked then all to each other. I really liked having some code to start with rather than starting from a blank slate. But starting from someone else’s code can get confusing. It took a lot of trial and error to get the pages to look good and to make sure all my links were working. I had a lot of difficultly with my contact me page because it started to link things that had no href. To overcome this I tried to delete the sidebar but the link just skipped down to the next place of text. It’s still doing it and I don;t know why! It’s super frustrating.

The Ideal Website:
My original vision for my website looked pretty similar to my end product except that I had planned on it looking fuller and more polished. I didn’t end up knowing how to come up with more content to fill the pages. If I knew everything there is to know about code it would definitely be more interactive. I would have had a rolling gallery of pictures that slides every few seconds on its own. I also would have tried to incorporate sound more.

Modes:
The most obvious mode that I used in my website is linguistic. The words on the site were all chosen for a reason and teach the reader about me. The visual was also very much used in the colors and photographs I used. This, to me, is one of the most powerful modes and it shows my personality and gives the site a tone that would feel entirely different with other choices. The spatial mode is mostly used in the set up of the pages. My use of it allows the audience to understand how to navigate the pages and know what will happen if they click something. This shows that I am organized. The last mode I use is the gestural, if only slightly. My facial expression in my photo speaks to who I am as a person, that I am friendly. I don’t really have the aural mode other than how the audience hears the words I say in their head.

Design Strategies:
I used many design strategies to make my website look and feel the way I wanted. I used underlined links and shading to indicate what page a person is on with the use of emphasis. The bright colors against a white background is an example of contrast and helps to make my page visually interesting. The organization was designed to move the audience through the pages with ease and draw their eyes downward to the main part of each page. Proximity of all the links along the top tell the audience that they go together and serve similar functions. Lastly the alignment of all the elements shows cleanness of design and professionalism.

Blog Post #3

http://www.sasquatchfestival.com/

The text I chose was a website for the Sasquatch Music Festival. The implied author of the text is the festival itself and by extension, the people who run it, while the actual authors are their web managers and designers.
The primary purpose is to get people to want to go to the festival and buy tickets. The secondary purpose is to get people to identify with the style the website has which leads the audience to trust the festival’s judgment of what makes music (and comedy) good.
The context of this site are people who probably already have heard of the festival and are just looking to get more information about this year’s line up/ how to get tickets.
Lastly, the genre is a modern, youth oriented music website that appeals to its audience through colorful artistic expression and well organized information. The art style appeals to hipster youths who are informed about the line ups of the two separate weekends through specified sequencing of links. The bands in the line ups are organized purposefully to have the most famous and liked bands at the top to attract people quickly. The colors are vibrant and contrast greatly against the dark background. As does the white fonts and art. Overall, I think it is a very successful website.