December 23, 2009

Hello fellow bloggers. I have not written on here since my class prompted me to, so here I am again..deciding to write something small about my life at the moment.

Its almost Christmas Eve-joy. I made margarita cake for tomorrow and it looks pretty tasty if I do say so myself. I am enjoying my break by filling my time with my intersession reading.  Perhaps on Christmas day I will do to the movies to see the gorgeous Jude Law in Sherlock Holmes..hmmm.

I really want to travel soon, but do not have the funds at the moment..perhaps over the next semester with my 2 jobs I will be able to save up enough to support my ambitious travel plans. I’m thinking about going back to Greece, and then also visiting France, Germany, the north part of Italy, maybe Belgium again…I think I could visit it all in 3 weeks.

I am still trying to figure out this wordpress thing..I am not much of a blogger (as you can tell from the great gap in time from when I wrote before) but I am trying to be more “with the times”.

I think I will go update my twitter as well. Happy Holidays everyone!!


The Agenda of the Media

April 28, 2009

When shopping for movies, my choices do not stray far from the 5 dollar bin of Target or Wal Mart. I can always find a great steal in these large bins overflowing with second rate films, and my movie collection is overflowing with them. A few months ago while browsing through these large bins, I came across the film Blood Diamond, staring the gorgeous Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou. I was surprised that a film with 5 academy nominations would be in such a bin, so I bought it and took it home. After popping some popcorn I watched the film, and I swear my mouth was hanging open the entire time with shock. blood-diamond

The movie is about the conflict areas in Sierra Leone and other parts of Africa, and focuses on a specific family who is split up by the rebel forces made up of child soldiers. I couldn’t believe the horrible things going on in the film were true and it prompted me to “google it”.

After looking around on the internet, it confirmed that such things as conflict diamonds do exist and for the next few days, all I could think about were these conflict diamonds! I made sure that all of my friends and family knew to look out for these diamonds when shopping for jewelry. Of course, they were not nearly as interested in this topic as I was because they had not watch the film, but looking back on this experience, I realized that this film did have an affect on me.blood-diamond-2 Being under the constant control of the third person effect, I realized that I too am affected by media. Blood Diamond had affected me by agenda setting, and all I could think about was conflict diamonds!

According to researcher Joanne Miller, agenda setting is usually set for us by the content of news stories.(2007) The media is constantly telling us what to think about, whether it’s the new outbreak of swine flu, or about Octamom and her newest cosmetic surgery, but my newly gained media literacy can help me deflect agenda setting. Although agenda setting will never go away, I can use my media literacy to really think about what the media is telling me. I can take a step back and ask myself, “Did I really need to know this?”. As for Blood Diamond, I think in that case, it was an example of positive agenda setting because it got me thinking about a particular world topic. But as for “breaking news” like Brittany Spears shaving her head…”Did I really need to know this?”.

Miller, Joanne (2007) Examining the Mediators of Agenda Setting: A New Experimental Paradigm Reveals the Role of Emotions. Political Psychology. Vol. 28 Issue 6, p689-717, 29p

How close is too close?

April 10, 2009

“Stay out of my bubble.” A common phrase used by me when referring to my personal space. Sure, there are no spoken rules about personal space, but there is an unspoken understanding between Americans to not get too close. For instance, when you are in a doctor’s office, you do not sit in the chair directly next to someone unless there is absolutely no other seat left in the waiting room. When in standing in line, you make sure to stand at least a foot away from the person in front of you, but when one person gets to close you immediately feel uncomfortable. Personal space is defined by Buchanan (1977) as “a physical zone surrounding an individual, which, when intruded on, generates an observable reaction of discomfort or flight.” For my social experiment, I decided to see how others would react to me violating their expectations of personal space in an elevator. In an elevator, the same unspoken rules of personal space apply and my prediction was that I would probably get a lot of stares and disgruntled looks.
I decided to make the students who have classes in the Humanities building as my victims because there is always a bunch of people waiting for an elevator. For my first experiment I decided to face in a different direction than everyone else. In an elevator with a lot of people, the expectations are that everyone will face in the same directions towards the door and avoiding eye contact with everyone else. So I hopped in the elevator with a large group of people and stood next to the door facing everyone in the elevator and everyone facing me. Immediately I felt awkward, but for research purposes, I gave everyone direct eye contact and did not look away. Almost everyone’s eyes were looking in a different direction and no one gave me eye contact. Only one guy in the back of the elevator who was at least 2 feet taller than everyone else actually looked at me, and upon eye contact he laughed quietly, then smiled. At the first stop on the fourth floor several people got out, and I continued to face everyone. After the ride up to the sixth floor, I had received no eye contact or any questions about why I am standing in the other direction even when there is lots of room. When we walked out, I laughed and asked the two boys that were left in the elevator how they felt about me facing in the other direction. They just said they didn’t think anything of it, and just thought it was kind of strange. The taller of the two guys said it made him a little uncomfortable, but he did not say anything because he didn’t want to be rude. After this experiment I decided I needed to do something that would cause a better reaction.
For my second experiment, I decided to wait until classes were in session so the elevators would be less crowded. My goal was to violate the expectation that when in an elevator with one other person, you are expected to stand on the opposite sides of each other, as far away as possible. I waited outside the elevator for about 5 minutes before the first victim came to ride the elevator up, so we waited together, and I politely gestured for this medium built white woman to enter first. After she took her spot in the back right corner of the elevator, I took my spot directly next to her. Just she and I, both standing in the same corner, so close our arms were about touching. I could tell she was immediately uncomfortable because of her immediate shift change from one foot to the other. I just looked straight ahead at the door, and watched her reaction out of my peripherals as to not give anything away. She was glancing at me every few seconds to see if I would move over, and to make sure I was not touching her, which I thought was funny. Her shoulders were raised, but I could tell she was trying not to be rude. As the elevator approached the 4th floor, her apparent destination, she left my side to stand by the door for the last few moments because the doors opened. As the doors opened, I followed her and told her about what I was doing. She said she felt so uncomfortable that she was tempted to press a lower floor as to wait for an elevator by herself. I asked her why she did not do so, and she said she did not want to be rude. After trying this experiment with a few other people, 2 men, and 3 other women, all reactions were the same as the first woman, with the same response of trying not to be rude. Though, the other victims were not as anxious to get out of the elevator as the first woman, they all felt very uncomfortable with me (a stranger) so close to them in their personal space.
I realized that through this experiment, that this issue of personal space could very well be a cultural thing. United States is a non-contact culture in contrast to China’s contact culture. But this phenomenon did just start one day considering that the United States was once a country of immigrants from all those other contact cultures. As an entertainment studies major, I have to assume that the mass media has had an impact on this phenomenon. We watch TV commercials where 2 strangers get in the elevator together and they stand at least a foot from each other and both looking towards the door. This is of course so the camera can film both of their faces, but I think after lots of exposure to this, people just adopt the behavior as their own. The attribution theory states that people are quick to associate the negative things that happen to them to other people and not to themselves. In the case of the elevator, people automatically think “they are making me uncomfortable,” putting the blame on the other person. However, if I was from another country, I would probably assume that the other person is being rude if they stood really far away from me. Though I would like to say that personal space violations do not bother me, I as well put the blame of my feelings of discomfort on the other person. “It is their fault that I feel uncomfortable, stay out of my bubble.”
Buchanan, D. (1977) Eye Contact, Sex, and the Violation of Personal Space. Journal of Social Psychology. Vol.33. pp19.

After a hard week at school where I get handed tests and reading assignments left and right, mixed in with a 30 hour work week making sandwiches and salads for the hundreds of people that come into Panera Bread everyday, I often find myself unwinding on the weekend with a good movie, most always a “chick-flick”. Sometimes living vicariously through the characters that meet unexpectedly and fall in love within the 2 and a half hours of the film. Sure Hollywood makes it look easy, but as we all find out eventually, real life is not like the movies.

            As embarrassing as it is to admit, my favorite ‘chick-flick’ is the 1997 film, Titanic. Watching Leonardo DiCaprio sweep Kate Winslet off her feet and seeing their last moments together in the freezing water of the Atlantic gets me teary every time. (Embarrassing…I know) According to Helen Fisher’s love types, Kate’s character is an Explorer and it has her almost jumping off the back of a ship, and then trading her luxurious lifestyle and fiancé for this poor artist she met just days before. (Talk about adventure!) In contrast to Kate’s Explorer love type, my love type would be the Negotiator. I follow my intuition and I am very social. I easily notice other people’s body language and understand the tone and inflictions in the way people say things. I often overanalyze my relationships and compare them to the relationships of my favorite characters in the movies I watch.

            In all these romantic comedies, women are always depicted as very feminine and beautiful and all the men are athletic, gorgeous, and masculine. Guys who are thin and wear glasses are stereotyped as the geek while guys with big muscles and chiseled features are in the leading roles. According to a study, “Social norms—not genetic programming—dictate what is attractive in a potential mate…They also define whom they are supposed to be attracted to, and how they are supposed to express this attraction. Men are supposed to be attracted to “feminine” women, and women are supposed to be attracted to “masculine” men.” (Malach Pines, Ayala 

When looking for a potential mate, I often found myself looking for the stereotype Hollywood created for the perfect guy, tall, dark, handsome, and to say the least, masculine. Sure these guys are out there in swarms, but what about all the other guys Hollywood missed? Why is the skinny guy with glasses not in the leading role sometimes?

 Now that I am older I know that love is not as easy as the movies, and not every guy with muscles and chiseled features is perfect for me. In fact, I found the perfect guy for me and ironically he is the skinny guy with glasses and we are very happy despite Hollywood and it’s never ending stereotypes!


Malach Pines, Ayala et al. (2001) The role of gender and culture in romantic attraction. European Psychologist Vol. 6(2), pp 96-102.

Hello world!

February 5, 2009

Hello world, this is my blog. Welcome!