Microwave Advertisement Study

In the late fifties and early sixties, back when the microwave oven was first invented and marketed, very clear and unwavering gender roles were deeply rooted into American culture. Men worked to provide for and protect his family, while the women stayed at home, tending to the children and the home, and cooking meals for the family. As such, advertisements of that era pertaining to home appliances were centered on the idea that women would be operating it, but men would be buying it. The microwave oven, as a result, had to be marketed as a masculine and alluring product, to entice the men to buy it, but also helpful enough in the kitchen to convince the men that buying one would be a great favor to his wife. Although the microwave did eventually become a gender-neutral appliance, it started as a device to aid women in their duties, with no intention of changing the long-standing gender roles.

In the early sixties, when microwaves we beginning to popularize, Thermador launched an ad campaign designed to convince men to buy their microwave buy painting it as a symbol of manhood. This was one of the first advertisements that tailored to the male gender role, in an attempt to persuade the man to buy the microwave for his wife or other female pursuits. This ad depicts a suave, seemingly wealthy man looking confidently down at a beautiful woman, who is mesmerized by the size of his microwave. On the picture itself, the only words float above the microwave and read, “STACKED for convenience.” This very obviously phallic image suggests that your microwave is directly related to your masculinity. The description below the picture is heavily sexualized, with words like, “intimate, appeal, and exotic,” to further ingrain the idea that a true ladies man buys a Thermador microwave. Since gender roles were a much more universally accepted construct in the fifties and sixties, references to those roles, and just blatant sexism, was much more prominent and less hidden. Modern advertisements, for example, may still discriminate or build off of sexist notions, but it is much more well masked, working either subtly or subliminally, to get across the same message that is so nonchalantly displayed in this old Thermador advertisement.

Another advertisement made by Swanson markets microwave dinners by directly targeting wives. This ad shows a husband coming home from golf who brought back his buddy as a spur-of-the-moment invitation to dinner. Since the wife has Swanson’s microwave dinners, she can quickly and easily set another plate and have enough food to serve her husband’s friend, making her a hero in her husband’s eyes. This marketing strategy relies around the idea that it is a wife’s paramount responsibility and joy to cater to the whims of her husband and make him happy. To a certain degree, this advertisement dehumanizes women by insinuating that women have no personal agendas, and instead exist to serve the man she married.

As time went by, sexism in the public sphere became less blatant, but still remained quite prevalent. Amana’s advertisement for their Radarange Microwave Oven has actress Barbara Hale testifying that the microwave is the “greatest cooking discovery since fire.” This ad, although less outwardly discriminatory, still furthers the sexist framework of American gender roles buy using a famous women to convince other women to stay in the kitchen and purchase a microwave. The bottom half of the advertisement features a variety of women cooking various foods in their microwaves, with instructions below each image. Displaying multiple women cooking many different meals works to convince those who read this advertisement that using microwaves in the kitchen is a very commonplace and expected activity in the daily life a housewife. The subtlety of this ad proves that although sexism may not be so aggressively brazen in all cases, it is still very present throughout American media.

Looking back through our history, it is baffling to see just how discriminatory and sexist American culture was only fifty years ago. Not to say that sexism does not exist today, but it is certainly not as fundamental to daily life as it once was. The power that American media has as an agent of influence and social change is nearly boundless in a world in which television and tabloids are so deeply ingrained into people’s lives. This power certainly lives up to its name in the case of microwave advertisements. The microwave was marketed as a tool to ease to strain of the woman’s duties and please her husband, and so it was used as such.

Works Cited

Amana. Click Americana. N.p., n.d. Web. 1959.

Swanson. Mortal Journey. N.p., n.d. Web. 1953.

Thermador. Man’s Life Jan. 1958: n. pag. Print.

Soylent, The Movie

Soylent: one man’s quest to eradicate obesity and end world hunger. That’s how you can market it anyway. Making a movie about the journey of Soylent’s conception, introduction into society, and future impacts would be an instant success in the American movie industry, because if there’s one thing Americans love, it’s sensationalism. The idea that a nine dollar bag of powder could revolutionize the diets of the American people and solve third-world starvation is too enticing to not be interested in. And, to make things easier, previous movie plots and themes have already paved the way for this blockbuster.

Rob Rhinehart, the creator of Soylent, would be portrayed as the Good Will Hunting of food. While the average person toiled over issues that are seemingly difficult, Rhinehart saw through the issue, imagining it on a level incomprehensible to us mere mortals. Where someone saw a simple vegetable, Rhinehart would see the chemical composition of its nutrients and minerals. Being the altruistic hero that he is, Rhinehart knew he must use his gift to benefit society. He used his vast intellect to concoct a substance perfectly designed to keep the body running as efficiently as possible, for as little cost as possible. He, of course, fought through the adversity and doubt of his peers and colleagues and emerged triumphant, with his design in hand, ready to face the rest of the world.

At this point in the most fantastically cliche story imaginable, American moviegoers will be hooked. Despite his superior intellect, each and every member of the audience will be able to connect with Rhinehart’s humble beginnings, making him a hero of the people, something every movie secretly requires to garner success. In case, however, you were wondering how any true movie critic could possibly accept such a generic movie as quality film, fear not. The originality of the idea behind Soylent will intrigue the more refined viewers, and Rhinehart’s humanity, in the form of humility, nervousness, and a battle with depression (which we will of course play up for dramatic effect), will give this movie an extra dimension that will lock in the critics (such is why Casino Royale was rated so much higher than the other Bond movies).

Finally, we reach the movie’s conclusion. What some people may not know is that a good ending to a movie can often be its saving grace, regardless of quality up to that point. A good ending can make a bad movie, good, and a good movie great. Soylent, The Movie‘s conclusion sees a wide-eyed Rhinehart, baffled by the commercial success of his product, going back to the drawing board to see how Soylent can be improved. He desperately wants to figure out a way to spread his product to the impoverished countries around the world, again because he’s such a swell guy. He wears quizzical yet faintly excited expression on his face as he begins to toy with the idea of using algae as a self-sustaining framework to create Soylent on its own. Then, just as Rhinehart reaches that Eureka! moment, the shot cuts out, and the film ends. Best. Movie. Ever.

Twine Game

Game Download Link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/cyry9vs1nwfy8p2/Game%20%281%29.html?dl=0

Image Source: http://www.unawe.org/static/activities/93a41cd1-6d53-4723-81e6-613f07660988/Image%205.jpg

Impact of Research on My Life

During my junior year of high school, my English Language teacher gave my class an assignment to research a subculture that we found interesting. In order to figure out what to write about, i briefly went through a list of my hobbies in my head. Guitar? Too broad for a subculture. Skiiing? Not interesting enough. Video Games? I already know at least five different people doing that one. Rock Climbing? It’s always been something I enjoyed doing but never really had the chance to do it that often. I had gone on a few trips out West to climb but there aren’t that many towering spires and vast mountain faces in my hometown of Plantation, Florida. I decided that, even though I wasn’t to in tune with the culture, I was going to write my paper on the professional rock climbing community. What I learned through my research truly opened my eyes to the beauty and power of the sport and the lifestyle.

Alex Honnold, one of the most experienced and skilled professional rock climbers alive, talked about what it’s like to free-solo a difficult climb. Free-soloing is when someone climbs alone without a rope. It is the form of climbing in which one mistake will kill you. It is accepted as the truest and most difficult method of climbing. Honnold said that free-soloing is the ultimate expression of absolute commitment of the body and mind. Free-soloing is self-reliance and confidence. Free-soloing is the true test of will. When you are alone, hundreds of feet up on the side of a mountain, with the entire world below you, you experience a profound sense of primal connectivity to nautre. Two powerful and opposing feelings overwhelm you. You feel in tune with the serenity of the Earth as you stand perched atop a cliff, looking out at the vast landscape in silence. You also feel an aggression as you battle against Mother Nature in an attempt to conquer some of her most daunting challenges. Through my inquiries I learned that almost every professional climber found their inspiration rooted in one or both of these forces. These climbers are driven to some of the most remote and dangerous places on earth by the desire to experience these feeling on a greater and greater magnitude. The beauty of professional rock climbing is that the essence of the sport is not about competing against other professionals; it’s about challenging yourself. Now, it seems that every athlete claims that the sport they play is about challenging themselves, but no other athlete can claim that as truly as a climber can. Once again referring to the legendary Alex Honnold, climbing, and especially free-soloing, demands perfection. He noted that making perfection in execution a necessity in his life is what pushed him to become the absolute best version of himself he could be.

After concluding my research on the life, actions, and motivations of professional rock climbers, I was truly inspired. That summer, I embarked on a three-week backpacking and climbing trip in the back country of the Wind River Mountain Range in Wyoming. During these three weeks I was over one hundred miles from nearest man made structure, and was able to experience the tranquility and bliss I had read about. I scaled many faces that stood hundreds to thousands of feet in the sky, and looked out over the magnificence of Earth. And, on one of the last days of the trip, I completed my first free-solo climb. I experience the overwhelming fear that those professionals had battled with while I hung freely above the Earth, nearly two hundred feet above ground. Once i completed the climb and stood atop a cliff, surrounded by endless, uninterrupted natural wonder, I felt as though I had conquered nature, and conquered fear.

Literary Merit of “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box”

Trying to classify something as literature is a very subjective and abstract task. In an educational sense, literature is supposed to be something rife with meaning, complicated symbolism, and a socially impactful theme. It is, however, hard to determine whether a piece of writing has deep meaning, or whether meaning is arbitrarily given to it. The Adventure of the Cardboard Box, along with other of Arthur Conan Doyle’s short stories in the Sherlock Holmes series, is a straightforward and easy to read piece of writing that entertains and satisfies its readers. Its simplicity may cause educators to say that it isn’t true literature, but the determinants of what is and isn’t literature need to be more broadly defined. Literature should, at its core, be simply a work of writing that, by its self or in conjunction with other works, has a great impact on society. With that definition in mind, the Sherlock Holmes series, and by extension The Adventure of the Cardboard Box, should certainly be considered literature. The Sherlock Holmes series is one of the most popular sagas in history, and has, through its long life, molded an entire genre of writing. Sherlock Holmes’ popularity and influence is so great that re-creations and continuations of the story are still being produced and published nearly one hundred and thirty years later. For these reasons, any of the stories included in such a significant series should very deservingly be considered literature.

However, when determining whether The Adventure of the Cardboard Box satisfies the expectation of literature as pronounced by educators and the school system, we must look to a much for exclusive definition. Literature as defined by teachers and professors has earned itself an almost pretentious connotation. Although the works that are considered literature from and educators standpoint may very well be riveting and masterfully written, their reputation as scholarly literature invites readers and critics to assign absurd levels of meaning to the words and story and claim that it was the author’s intention. This in turn serves only to further sensationalize the significance of the work, thereby continuing the paradoxical cycle. At times this can affect a piece of literature so deeply that much of the work’s importance originated from simply labeling the work “literature.” Therefore, when analyzing The Adventure of the Cardboard Box, it can be accepted that the short story does not meet the standards of what can be defined as literature in the scholarly sense, but in it can certainly be considered literature from the perspective of society as a whole.

The Purpose of Beautiful Handwritten Letters

The movie “Her” opens with Theodore speaking aloud a heartfelt, emotional love letter to a long-time partner. His words are strong and sweet, and instantly create a mood of love and lasting bonds in the film. It isn’t until he notes the fifty year marriage that the audience gets suspicious about the true author and recipient of the letter, and the truth is finally unveiled when the camera zooms out to reveal that he is writing this leader for another couple as part of his job. This isn’t moment isn’t meant to make the audience resent his deception, it is meant to display Theodore’s sensitivity, thoughtfulness, and passion.

Throughout the entire movie, there isn’t a single reference to the oddity of this service. The focus lies solely on the beauty of the letters’ content, as written by Theodore. His letters are so tender and true that his boss singles Theodore out as his favorite letter writer. These elements all speak to Theodore’s romantic character.

Theo’s job as a letter writer seems to accurately mirror his emotional status. While Theo is content in his relationship with Samantha, his letters are happy and up lifting. Theo even confesses that he’s often proud of his writing, noting that he is sometimes his own favorite writer. At the peak of his relationship with Sam, his letters are published, elevating his writing to a level higher than it had ever been before. However, after he and Samantha fight and his relationship begins to crumble, he grows disinterested in his writing. Going to work, at once a pleasure, is now a chore. He becomes so distraught that he even lets his own personal thoughts spill into his writing, like when he starts cursing out a child’s grandmother in a letter from her grandson. Additionally, after his fight with his ex-wife over his relationship with an operating system, he projects his sadness to other people in his office. When Theo’s boss mentions reading Theo’s letters his girlfriend shortly after this fight, Theo notes that they are simply empty letters. What once had great meaning to him now means nothing. This parallel story arc with his letter demonstrates the purpose of the Beautiful Handwritten Letters company as a tool to display Theo’s emotions.

Looking even deeper into the content of Theo’s letters, there are connections between his writing and his life that truly breathe meaning to his work. In that letter from the very first scene mentioned earlier, Theo signs off with, “Happy anniversary my love, my friend til the end” (Her). These last words are the only ones from the letter that the audience can see being written down on the computer, this works to emphasize the meaning of the words, which speak of an everlasting bond. This plot element remains dormant for the entire rest of the movie, only to return in the final words of the film. This time, the true author of the letter is Theodore himself, and he is writing to his ex-wife Cathrine. This time, Theodore closes with,  “Whatever someone you become, and wherever you are in the world, I’m sending you love. You’re my friend til the end. Love, Theodore” (Her). This final expression not only re-emphasizes the theme of love and everlasting bonds, but also ties Beautiful Handwritten Letters to his real life, proving the company’s purpose as a device to display Theo’s character and emotions.

Facebook Profile Revised

In the past decade, social media has created an entirely new world. Hundreds of millions of people log on everyday and put on a mask, pretending to be the coolest version of themselves that they can imagine. What people don’t realize is that, in trying to change their online identity, their real life personalities may be altered as well. I, like many others, have found myself to be guilty of online personality shaping, and have experienced the real world effects. In an effort to demonstrate these effects, I will walk you through my experiences with Facebook and how my time on that site changed me.

My early days of using Facebook were some of the more regrettable times in my life. I discovered Facebook back in 2008 when it was just beginning to take over MySpace as the most popular social network. At this point in time, making a profile was extremely scandalous. Parents vehemently believed that social networking sites were a breeding ground for predators, and that making a profile meant instant abduction. That meant that the kids my age that had Facebook profiles were seen as edgy and cool. Naturally, the James Dean inside of me needed to be as suave and dangerous as possible, so I created my account.

I spent little time establishing unimportant things like my interests and tastes and skipped right through to the end. I posted a picture of myself wearing a beanie, sunglasses indoors, and, of course, posing with a gang sign. Damn I was cool.

I began friending and poking as many people as possible because your peers obviously judge you based on your Facebook friend count. Soon enough I was a friend with everyone I knew from school, plus some other unknown entities that are still quietly lurking in the depths of my friends list.

Now that I had friends, it was time to satisfy my social network, chomping at the bit to hear the precious nuggets of wisdom my mind could concoct.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 4.22.45 PM

To this day I cannot understand why my Dalai Lama-esque musings of philosophical greatness only garnered one or two likes. I guess some things will remain a mystery.

As I got older and more mature, my Facebook use branched out to more than just playing games and letting everyone know how sexy I am. I began actually having conversations with people through the chat feature, and becoming informed about the semi-important happenings of my network of friends. Facebook became my most frequently visited site, acting as a sort of base camp for my Internet experience. I started to become more socially aware, learning the basic dos and don’t of social media. For instance, it is not acceptable to relentlessly preach your religion on Facebook. It is a place of interaction and information sharing, not a place of religious conversion or beratement. There’s also an unspoken limit to how many things it is ok to post in a single day. I do not log on only to find out what Johnny Facebook is doing every thirty minutes.

Learning all these rules and expectations turned me into a very judgmental person online. Although I may not say something about it, you can be sure that if you do something stupid, or even remotely off course with what I believe to be acceptable on Facebook, I judged you. I may have even let out a sharp, snide breath from my nostrils to show my distaste. I know, it’s some really brutal stuff.

Coming up to present day, I’ve liked so many useless pages on Facebook for discounts on amazon and all sorts of cheap things that my newsfeed is just a foreign mass of misleading headlines and advertisements. Of course it’s still my most visited website, and will probably remain my base camp of the Internet until some newer, hipper social media trend consumes it; but now its more of an obligation than an interest.

When I began using Facebook, my online persona was so far removed from who I was in real life that someone who had known me only through Facebook would probably not even recognize me in person. They’d be expecting Steve McQueen, only to find a scrawny little half-pint with an oversized ego. Although I eventually broke through the BS and began representing myself online in a manner consistent with who I actually am, I was certainly a different person than who I was before. I emerged from this experience a more judgmental and sarcastic person than I ever would’ve been without Facebook. Therefore, to anyone who hasn’t made the plunge into the masquerade that is social media, my advice is this: leave the mask at home.

Misperception by Voice in Pillow Talk

In Pillow Talk, communication through speech alone is heavily focused on. As a result, subtleties and changes in things like tone and word choice play important roles. Throughout the movie, characters either intentionally take advantage of this fact to manipulate the listener, or the listener makes assumptions on these factors of speech to draw sometimes inaccurate conclusions.

The most important and obvious example of this is Brad’s vocal transformation into a born and bred, deep-country Texan. Brad Allen was a suave, charming, fast-talking songwriter with a prominent and sometimes abrasive tone of voice. Rex, Brad’s romantic and gentlemanly alter-ego, however, is a chivalrous all-american man who speaks slowly, genuinely, and with an irresistible southern twang. Brad made an entirely new person, all by simply altering his voice.

The power of these changes truly comes to light in one simple scene. Jan hears the phone ringing, answers it, and is instantly spellbound when she hears Rex’s voice on the line. The conversation is then interrupted by another call. Jan answers, only to hear Brad speaking to her in his regular voice. Her loving and enchanted mood then rudely twists into loathing and frustration. Though talking to the same exact person, changes in tone and speech lead to misconceptions that evoke polar opposite emotional responses.

Another, less obvious, but still notable example of these misperceptions is found much earlier in the film. When serenading Yvette, one of Brad’s love interests, Brad’s call is interrupted by a begrudged Jan. By simply hearing an angry woman’s voice on the phone, Yvette assumes she is another one of Brad’s lovers, there to scold his infidelity. Yvette’s generalization of a likely scenario based on voice alone led to yet another misperception that did nothing but overcomplicate an already tense situation.

Voice is a very powerful tool, with the capacity to completely alter one’s understanding and conception of a situation. Pillow Talk is rife with manipulation, misdirection, and misunderstanding, all stemming from misperception by voice.

Facebook Profile

My early days of using Facebook were some of the more regrettable times in my life. I discovered Facebook back in 2008 when it was just beginning to take over MySpace as the most popular social network. At this point in time, making a profile was extremely scandalous. Parents vehemently believed that social networking sites were a breeding ground for predators, and that making a profile meant instant abduction. That meant that the kids my age that had Facebook profiles were seen as edgy and cool. Naturally, the James Dean inside of me needed to be as suave and dangerous as possible, so I created my account.

I spent little time establishing unimportant things like my interests and tastes and skipped right through to the end. I posted a picture of myself wearing a beanie, sunglasses indoors, and, of course, posing with a gang sign. Damn I was cool.

I began friending and poking as many people as possible because your peers obviously judge you based on your Facebook friend count. Soon enough I was a frien with everyone I knew from school, plus some other unknown entities that are still quietly lurking in the depths of my friends list. Now that I had friends, it was time to satisfy my network of friends, chomping at the bit to hear the precious nuggets of wisdom my mind could concoct.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 4.22.45 PM

To this day I cannot understand why my Dalai Lama-esque musings of philosophical greatness only garnered one or two likes. I guess some things will remain a mystery.

 

As I got older and more mature, my Facebook use branched out to more than just playing games and letting everyone know how sexy I am. I began actually having conversations with people through the chat feature, and becoming informed about the semi-important happenings of my network of friends. Facebook became my most frequently visited site, acting as a sort of base camp for my Internet experience. I started to become more socially aware, learning the basic dos and don’t of social media. For instance, it is not acceptable to relentlessly preach your religion on Facebook. It is a place of interaction and information sharing, not a place of religious conversion or beratement. There’s also an unspoken limit to how many things it is ok to post in a single day. I do not log on only to find out what you’re doing with your life.

 

Learning all these rules and expectations turned me into a very judgmental person online. Although I may not say something about it, you can be sure that if you do something stupid or even remotely of course with what I believe to be acceptable on Facebook, I judged you. I may have even let out a sharp, snide breath from my nostrils to show my distaste. I know, it’s some really brutal stuff.

 

Coming up to present day, I’ve liked so many useless pages on Facebook for discounts on amazon and all sorts of cheap things that my newsfeed is just a foreign mass of misleading headlines and advertisements. Of course it’s still my most visited website, and will probably remain my base camp of the Internet until some newer, hipper social media trend consumes it; but now its more of an obligation than an interest.