Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tara's First Blog Post--"The Rhodes Bros"

Blog post from 1/23/15

So my first blog post is about a Youtube video that I watched recently. It was made by "The Rhodes Bros"--aka Aaron and Austin Rhodes--who are twin brothers that both came out as gay to their father over a phone call. The video was approximately 8 1/2 minutes long. Much like the selfie photos we have been analyzing, in terms of surroundings, attire, demeanor, etc., this video can be looked at for the same qualities. For one, both of the brothers were nervous before making the call, as heard through their shaky voices and verbal comments that they were nervous. They later cried during the phone call as they were telling their father about their sexual orientation, but then "10 minutes later" they had smiles of relief on their faces and expressed how happy they were to have "10 million pounds lifted off [their] shoulders" after making the call. Thus, this challenges the traditional gender stereotype of males having to maintain a "strong" persona and not show their emotional sides. The twin brothers also wore similar attire, in that they each wore the same style of sweater but one was black and the other was grey, which I believes shows their solidarity with one another. They also have blonde hair, blue eyes, model good looks, and appear through their physical identity as stereotypical "all-American guys." Additionally, the background was a whitewashed bedroom, and they were both sitting on a bed, which discloses their intimate and personal setting, as they might live together or were simply relying on each other for support during this difficult phone call. This video definitely represents a familial identity, in that these brothers are very close and chose to make the call together rather than alone. It also shows their fear of upsetting their father or just his reaction alone, as they said that they had told all of their family members aside from him up until this point. The father's familial identity is also addressed in this video, as his voice is heard on the other end of the line (he is on speaker) and the words he says are presented at the bottom of the screen. He neither asks his sons to change who they are nor blatantly disapproves of their sexual orientation, but does say that he loves them and this situation "is what it is." This video most definitely concerns identity in terms of sexuality, as the boys' main concern was using this social media platform to post their video about coming out to their father. They relay that their message moving forward is to encourage others to "be themselves" and do whatever makes them happy, whether they are gay, bisexual, transgender, or straight and dealing with other issues. Also, they invite people who have come out or who have yet to come out to share their stories in the comments, as they will read all of them. This invitation reminds me of Rettberg's article, as she talks about people posting words and images online in order to have a conversation with their peers in the world. The brothers' personal and informal tone makes this video relatable, and I believe provides appeal for many types of viewers. Clearly, their video has become very popular, as it has over 14 million views. I definitely think this video applies to our class in regards to defining one's identity through his or her online presence.
Here's a link to the video:

Monday, January 26, 2015

Miss Universe Selfie in Relation to Online and Global Identitiy


Approximately a week ago, another selfie made international news; this time, however, the picture was directly related to global affairs. During the Miss Universe pageant, Miss Israel posted a picture on Instagram of her and three other contestants: Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia, and Miss Lebanon. Immediately after the image was posted, sources from Lebanon heavily criticized both Miss Israel and Miss Lebanon for taking a picture together, since the countries of Lebanon and Israel are enemy nations. Some Lebanese people asked for Miss Lebanon to be disqualified from the competition. Miss Lebanon was quoted saying that she did not mean to be in the selfie with Miss Israel; she just came up and took the picture of everyone together. Other people were upset with Miss Israel, saying that she should pay more attention to current events and know that this was inappropriate.

After this image blew up in the news, Miss Israel talked to a representative about how it made her sad that there was still hostility even though she felt as though this was just a place to meet many girls from different cultures in an once in lifetime experience. Both Miss Israel and Miss Lebanon's nationalities affected how they were able to represent themselves in the online community. Even though they could be friends in person, putting this image on social media not only jeopardized their chances in the Miss Universe competition, but also ignited more sparks between the two enemy nations.

This is all representative of the growing power of selfies and social media, especially when it comes to celebrities. The pictures that they post may have a wider sphere of influence then they could have imagined, especially when it comes to something as trivial as a fun group selfie.

Sunday, January 11, 2015


Welcome to Self vs. Selfie Performing Identity Online, a blog for our course on the ways we shape ourselves and are shaped by online environments.

Writing 150: Writing and Critical Reasoning: Identity and Diversity
Self vs. Selfie Performing Identity Online

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From Twitter to Facebook, from Instagram to Snapchat, we formulate versions of ourselves which we circulate on networks. These social networks make material the process of symbolic construction of our identities: our gender, sexuality, race-ethnicity, and socio-economic status. With each Tweet, each selfie, each Like, we create a public sense of ourselves.  And yet those social networks in which we create ourselves also shape and are shaped by that identity. Over time, our networks begin to homogenize, according to identity, ideology, opportunity, and location.  Often the rate at which these networks form prevents us from reflecting on their nature.

What self do we post in our selfies? With what other selves do we network?  How does our identity materialize? This site will be a source for your postings on topical matters of online self-representation.
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