Some throwbacks don’t want to be remembered

According to recent articles from The Verge and Time, the new streaming service, Disney+, has started to include disclaimers about the scenes in movies that show racism. Some of Disney’s older movies are centered around cultural context in which racism is present. In the description box for certain movies, the phrase “This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions,” (Alexander, 2019). Movies such as Dumbo and Peter Pan show discrimination against certain races. The chairwoman of American studies at the University of Maryland at College Park, Williams-Forson, said the company “needs to follow through in making a more robust statement that this was wrong, and these depictions were wrong.”

Stereotypes have been around in Disney films for decades. In present day, there has been controversy around old Disney movies, and how they depict racial stereotypes because of the new streaming service, Disney+. One complaint of a stereotype in an old animated Disney film is a scene in the movie Dumbo. A stereotype is a belief about the personal qualities of a group of people that are usually inaccurate and overgeneralized. In this scene, a group of crows are singing about how Dumbo flies, and the main crow in the group was named Jim Crow. This was a mocking term used to insult black men since the real Jim Crow implemented controversial segregation laws.  The scene shows an example of stereotyping in the sense that the crow, Jim Crow, is verbally belittling Dumbo about his ability to fly. You can tell how times have changed due to how these stereotypes were allowed to be shown to the public back then and how there is so much controversy around the stereotypes in present day. Even though the scene is offensive, it is still being shown within the movie. 

Another movie, that is not well known to the public due to how racist it is, is the Song of the SouthRacism is when people are treated differently by others of a different race due to the assumptions made based off of their skin tone. This movie was set on a plantation in the 1940s in Georgia after the Civil War. The depictions of black people are so controversial that this movie has not been shown in years. Disney+, along with other streaming networks will not show this movie due to the racist nature.  The movie shows a plantation worker in a positive light, disregarding the horrible treatment that other workers faced.  Although the setting took place after the Civil War, a war over the use of slaves, the movie never defined the plantation worker as a slave.  However, Disney dances around the idea that he is a slave. The controversial showing glorifies being a slave which is wrong because racism pushed black people into slavery.  A reporter from Time further states that the Song of the South “…hasn’t been shown theatrically for decades, due to its racist representation of the plantation worker Uncle Remus and other characters.”(Anderson, 2019).  Racism along with stereotyping has been around for centuries in Disney movies. Not much was said back in the day when the song first came out, but currently everyone is noticing how racist these film makers were in the past.  

Alexander, Julia. “Disney Warns Viewers about Past Racism, but Not as Well as Warner Bros.” The Verge, The Verge, 13 Nov. 2019, https://www.theverge.com/2019/11/13/20963014/disney-plus-racism-cultural-disclaimer-dumbo-song-of-the-south-warner-bros-tom-jerry.

Anderson, Mae. “Disney Adds Content Warnings to Movies With Racist Tropes.” Time, Time, 16 Nov. 2019, https://time.com/5730892/disney-plus-content-warnings-racist-movies/.

Dominique Fornabaio

Frozen II Adding a Splash of Color to Arendelle!

Disney animation movies that have predominantly caucasian main characters, don’t include characters of color in their movies. The director of the new upcoming Frozen II decided they needed a change. According to articles like Blackfilm and the Chicago Tribune, they are breaking the stereotype of having the same color of characters throughout the movie by adding an African American character named Lieutenant Mattias who is being voiced by Sterling K. Brown who has played roles in Black Panther, This is Us and Waves. A stereotype is the belief about someone’s personal attributes of a group of people. The stereotype for Disney animated movies is usually if the main character is white than the rest of the characters in the movie are also white. In Frozen II, the directors went against this by putting a character of a different race in a movie that has only white characters. Brown explains that for a long time black people had to wonder if they would ever be able to see a person of color as a superhero or a main character in an animated movie. He says, “I love that there’s a character of color in this world of Arendelle,” he said. “I think for such a long time black folks have had to wonder, ‘what would it be like to have someone like me in this show, what would it be like to be Superman or Batman.’ And then you get ‘Black Panther.’ Now, we have this character,Lieutenant Mattias, who I get the chance to vocalize, and I have a little action figures and Legos, and I’m like, ‘Ah, it’s really happening.’”(Brown, 2019) 

This movie is also going against the idea of racism. Racism is when a person has prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory behavior towards people of a specific race. Because the directors included an African American in an all white character animated movie, they are going against racism. Having a character of color being added to an animated movie which usually doesn’t happen, opens up new opportunities and doors for other Disney movies to follow in their footsteps. This movie is giving people of color the opportunity to recognize that they also belong in a fairytale or myth. In an interview with Blackfilm.com, Brown says, “I love for people of color to be able to see someone who is ostensibly of color in this world, recognizing that they belong in myth and fairy tale as well.”(Brown, 2019) Everyone in the cast has been very welcoming to their new castmate and Brown couldn’t be more comfortable with a group of people. Not only does Brown love to be able to be part of the Frozen II cast but he also loves the message the movie is portraying. He says to the Chicago Tribune, “I’ve seen bits and pieces [of ‘Frozen II’], and it is every bit an action-adventure movie led by these two heroines that happen to be sisters, and they choose each other over and over again, they don’t need some dude to come save the day, they can save themselves,” he said. “I love being a part of that.” (Brown, 2019). He enjoys what he is doing and the fact that he is making his mark in Disney animation for African Americans make what he is doing and his experience that much better and inspirational.

By Kayla Lopes

Morales, W. (2019, November 14). Exclusive: Sterling K. Brown on ‘Waves’ & ‘Frozen II’. Retrieved from https://www.blackfilm.com/read/2019/11/exclusive-sterling-k-brown-on-waves-frozen-ii/.

Nyren, E. (2019, November 12). Sterling K. Brown on the importance of seeing a person of color in ‘Frozen 2’s’ Arendelle. Retrieved from https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/movies/ct-ent-sterling-k-brown-frozen-2-diversity-20191112-zmulgxgevfcihklfc7vubghh4y-story.html.

 

The One Time Being “Drake” Wasn’t Good Enough

Camp Flog Gnaw, a rap festival created by Tyler the Creator, was held this year and sparked some uproar with its attendees. According to articles written by Buzzfeed and USA Today, fans were informed that “the headliner spot was kept a surprise- the official lineup included ‘???’ in lieu of a name”; there were several speculations that the performer would be Frank Ocean (Yasharoff, 2019). Due to Frank’s very rare appearances in public, this caused many fans to be excited due to its mysterious reveal. Because of this, people expected him to perform at the festival. However, Frank Ocean did not come out; instead, Drake did. Drake is a professional rapper known globally for his music. Although he is a respected artist, the crowd was majorly upset. Drake was booed off the stage at Camp Flog Gnaw by the crowd in response to their frustration and disappointment for the absence of Frank Ocean.

The crowd surrounding Drake’s stage at the festival were angry and acted out on Drake because of displacement. Displacement is when anger is placed on someone or something else that is not the direct or actual cause of a problem. Because the fans were mad at the fact that Frank Ocean did not appear, they took their anger out on Drake and booed him. Instead of being mad at Frank, they decided to target Drake for the source of their frustration.

Because fans were angry that Frank was not there and took their anger out on Drake, in addition, they acted out in catharsis. Catharsis is the way in which people attempt to relieve their anger through action or thought. People booed Drake off the stage; even “after Drake left the stage, the crowd started chanting, ‘We want Frank!’” (LaConte, 2019). By booing, shouting and chanting, this provided the crowd to believe that they were relieving the anger and frustrations they had. However, though it seemed as if acting out would help their feelings of disappointment, it did not change their mentality or help them to feel better about the situation at hand.

Though it was disappointing that Frank Ocean was not the surprise headliner, it is incredibly rude and unfortunate that an artist was treated this way. Drake came out of his way to headline a festival and people were rude enough to boo and shout him off the stage. Though it is frustrating to expect one artist, it was never promised or confirmed. Because of this, it is awful to see that people were so ungrateful to be in the presence of another great artist.

 

References

LaConte, S. (2019, November 13). Drake Got Booed Off The Stage At A Concert And Now There’s Big Drama On Twitter. Retrieved from https://www.buzzfeed.com/stephenlaconte/drake-booed-camp-flog-gnaw-frank-ocean-tyler-the-creator.

Yasharoff, H. (2019, November 11). Music festival curator Tyler, The Creator slams fans who booed Drake off the stage. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/music/2019/11/11/drake-booed-off-camp-flog-gnaw-stage-surprise-headliner/2560244001/.

Britney Cantel

Au Natural Beauty.

Through magazines on coffee tables, advertisement on billboards, or posts on your timeline, a variety of models are displayed everywhere for the public’s eye to see. Since mass media became one of society’s biggest influencers, we constantly find ourselves comparing and contrasting every perfection displayed to our own flaws and the repercussions have been detrimental. A resident of Tallahassee, Florida, Shoog McDaniel was one of many who suffered from this. As a nonbinary, trans using the pronoun “they”, Shoog found themselves in many difficult positions struggling with suicidal tendencies as a queer teenager. Not identifying with their peers and being the complete opposite of what everyone else defined beauty as. At the age of 18 years old, McDaniel found an escape for their mental illnesses through a pack of expired disposable cameras behind a pharmacy. This was the moment where their creativity was able to flourish into something that breaks the beauty standard beyond belief.

McDaniel’s has become one of the fewsubgroupingtrans people who dares to speak out against their stereotypeof being hidden from social media and living marginalized lifestyles. Shoog is a photographer of mainly nude, fat people posing in nature and enjoying life fully in order to embrace the human body. They explain that their message is to accentuate an idea where trans, overweight individuals should be valued just as much as any thin or straight person is through out a mass media basis. McDaniel says in her interview with Huffington Post“Most of the people that I photograph are queer and trans folks, because that is who is not represented in media but needs to be the most uplifted.”

Unfortunately, it is no secret that this is a controversial topic in the world, even Shoog addresses that they are continuouslydiscriminatedon many levels. When speaking on the stereotype threatthey elaborated on the hate mail they received which included death threat letters saying that promoting an unhealthy body should not be normalized and is harmful to the view of the public. McDaniel easily contradicts these claims by saying that they are simply trying to express the gracefulness of the bodies, “I feel like if I take a body and make a piece of art, it will be easier for some people to ingest and that it will eventually change what is limited as beautiful in the world.”

Shoog’s work is one of the few outlets that trans, let alone overweight trans people have been able to experience as positive. The backlash and hate that is targeting this community has been an ongoing issue for several years now and receives little to no encouraged attention. McDaniel says “You are able to connect so much more freely, without having eyes clocking you or telling you ‘Oh you shouldn’t be this way, or you’re acting in this way that might be wrong or weird. (In nature) There is nobody looking at you, only trees” they explain how nature is part of the coping process to dealing with the inequitable criticism of their style of living and in her work in particular, “It is a very liberating place; it is why I shoot nude. It’s really about freedom and a sense of wildness, returning back to nature.”

Sterling, Anna Lucente. “This Photographer Wants To Capture The Beauty Of Fat Bodies.” HuffPost, The Huffington Post, 21 Oct. 2019, www.huffpost.com/entry/photographer-fat-bodies-shoog-mcdaniel_n_5dadd484e4b0422422c99604.

A Splash In The Water: Accident Or Murder?

Although an old topic, the mysterious case of Natalie Wood has been puzzling authorities for years and continues to do so to this very day. A case that happened about thirty-seven years ago was reopened in the year 2011 and has once again been cycled around. The case involves Natalie’s late husband Robert Wagner, Christopher Walken, and a yacht captain, Dennis Davern. While out on a yacht trip, Natalie Wood had been found floating dead in the water. Suspicions were raised over how Natalie had died, pointing fingers at Wagner, Davern, and Walken. In the most recent update to the case, Natalie’s sister Lana, speaks up about how she feels and how she wants her brother-in-law to admit to what truly happened that night on the boat. Us Weekly Magazine gives us the inside scoop with an article containing a small excerpt of audio between Lana and Wagner.

The case revolves around many assumptions, theories, and thoughts of skepticism. However, when we look at it from the perspective of social psychology we can apply different concepts to help explain or dwindle down certain views or maybe even perhaps make the case even more elusive than it already is. A main concept that plays a role in this case is the concept of the confirmation bias. The confirmation bias is the tendency to look for information that helps confirm our own preconceptions. For instance, Natalie’s sister Lana opens with this statement in the thirty-minute clip found on an exerpt by US Weekly, “We all have to accept what we’ve done in life and accept the wrongs. We have to all face up to it…and if that’s what he’s done, he has to face up to it.” She constantly implies that Robert Wagner was involved in Natalie’s death. She also implies that he was involved with the death of Natalie by confronting him in an interview and saying “…but R.J you’ve changed your story, you’ve never said anything to me, you’ve never for one minute stopped and said, ‘This is what happened”’, after saying that he had spoken about the events to people many times. This relates to confirmation bias by the simple fact that Lana is trying to find information to confirm her own views, and is reluctant to look or accept facts that support other possibilities.

We also see the concept of illusory correlations play a role in this investigation. Illusory correlation happens when we perceive a strong relationship between two things rather than what truly exists. We have a perception that there is a prominent relationship, when there really isn’t any. In the case of Natalie Wood, there may be a high tendency of correlating two events that happened to the buildup of Natalie’s death. This tends to be rather easy for the simple fact that the case does not have a lot of people involved, and the area in which the events took place were confined to that of a boat. A prime example of this illusory correlation would be surrounding the idea of Natalie and Robert fighting earlier on in the night. Many times when we see that a spouse of someone has died rather unexpectedly or abruptly, we like to trace it back to the other half. For example, if a man’s wife had suddenly died due to some freak accident, many people would be inclined to believe that the woman and her husband had had a bad marriage or some sort of conflict that lead the man to do something horrible to his own wife. People would assume that they had gotten in an argument that lead to extreme anger leading the man to lash out regardless of previous judgements of the couple. However, there is no true correlation between this woman dying and her husband being involved with the murder. However strong the correlation between fighting and something bad happening preceding a fight is, we cannot conclude in complete confidence that Natalie and Robert arguing, lead to Robert murdering his own wife.

Perhaps by looking at the mind puzzling case without preconceptions and wants of our own, we could see it in a different light and by chance find new facts. The reason I say this is because our own needs to fulfill our confirmation bias, as well as illusory correlation, blinds us from seeing other possible options.

Citations:

Us Weekly Staff. (2018, October 1st). Natalie Wood’s Sister Lana Confronted Robert Wagner: ‘Why Won’t You Speak to Detectives?’

.Retrieved from https://www.usmagazine.com/entertainment/news/natalie-woods-sister-confronted-robert-wagner/

Prejudice and Discrimination at Hartford University

The University of Hartford, or UHart, is known for its diversity and wide varieties of study. However, UHart has recently been the home to a very controversial issue. Chennel Rowe, a freshman at UHart from New York City, was living with “The Roommate from Hell”. Chennel Rowe and Brianna Brochu were paired to be roommates through their freshman year of college. Rowe was becoming increasingly sick about a month and a half in living with Brochu, and she claimed to have felt unwelcome in her own room. Rowe’s sickness got so severe that she was unable to speak or sleep due to extreme pain in her throat. Her school’s medical services recommended she see an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor because her illness had gotten too serious. Rowe was unaware of what was causing her sickness but she would soon find out. The day that Rowe began to move her belongings out of her current room into her new one, Brochu asked for confirmation of her room change and it was granted. Immediately after Brochu was seen texting on her phone and by the time Chennel got downstairs, her neighbor informed her of a post made by Brochu. On Brochu’s Instagram read “Finally did it ya girl got rid of her roommate! After 1½ months of spitting in her coconut oil, putting moldy clam dip in her lotions, rubbing used tampons [on] her backpack, putting her toothbrush where the sun doesn’t shine and so much more I can finally say goodbye to Jamaican Barbie”. It seems that Brochu had prejudice feelings towards Rowe and this caused to her to discriminate against her.

Brochu had no logical reasons to dislike her former roommate, she even began to mistreat her before getting to know her. In this case we see that Brochu made racial slurs towards Rowe such as Jamaican Barbie”, and contaminated her personal belongings. Prejudice is a fixed opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.-It is quite evident that Brochu had prior negative judgements associated with black people and individualized those on Rowe. Those judgments are called prejudices. Evidence of this evidence is shown in a live video posted by Chennel Rowe. Brochu’s prejudice in regards to Rowe also caused her to display unwarranted negative behaviors towards her, otherwise known as discrimination. Although these are broad terms, Brochu’s behavior can be explained …When breaking down the idea of Prejudice, it is easy to get a better understanding of our dual attitude system. Our dual attitude system can come in the form of implicitness and explicitness. Implicit prejudice refers to automatic attitudes towards the same target. This basically means that you know something or feel a certain way about something without actually knowing that you know or feel that way. If she had shown implicit behaviors, she would have maybe expressed those feelings in a more subtle manor being that she was unaware of the subconsciously. In this case maybe the outcome would have varied. Nonetheless, explicit prejudice refers to conscious attitudes towards the same target. In this case Brochu expresses explicit prejudice. This is seen through her direct negative feelings of wanting to find a way to get her out of the room. She was aware of her attitude when considering Rowe, and these attitudes were neither pleasant nor friendly.

This case went viral after Chennel Rowe posted a live video on her Facebook account describing how the situation unfolded. She gives much more detail as to what was done to her and how she was being treated generally by her roommate. Rowe also touched on the fact that she had no control on how the issue played out. She decided to use her social media outlet as a way to bring more attention to the issue. This actually sped up the investigation process and Brochu was charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief and breach of peace. The NAACP as well as Rowe and her lawyers want to push for hate crime charges, so trial is continued to December 18th, 2017. Click here to watch Chennel Rowe’s live video!

Miller, J. R. (2017, November 01). Roommate from hell’s sick sabotage involved bloody tampons, licked utensils. Retrieved December 13, 2017, from https://nypost.com/2017/11/01/roommate-from-hells-sick-sabotage-involved-bloody-tampons-licked-utensils/

Press, A. (2017, November 21). Roommate from hell not expected to face hate crime charge. Retrieved December 13, 2017, from https://nypost.com/2017/11/21/roommate-from-hell-not-expected-to-face-hate-crime-charge/

Kiana Charles

 

 

Ads Persuade Us More Than You Think

Pop star and actress, Selena Gomez, signed a contract with Coach to design her own line and become the face of the brand. She has a very large fan base and is the most followed account on Instagram with 129 million followers. Coach has seen a spike in sales and social media interaction. Whenever Selena posts a photo of her with a Coach bag, the brand’s social media pages have shown a dramatic increase in activity. An analysis by assessment management firm Piper Jaffray, reported that since partnering with Selena, Coach has seen an increase of roughly fifty percent in followers. Her promotion of the products has helped increase sales; on the same day Coach and Selena launched their fall collaboration collection, the brand’s stock rose by 2%. It is a marketing tactic to have celebrities promote products in order to influence the consumer’s mind about it. The goal is to convince consumers that the merchandise is worth buying. This is persuasion, the process by which a message induces change in beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors.

Celebrity endorsements and promoting products on their social media page is a peripheral route to persuasion. This occurs when people are influenced by incidental cues like a speaker’s attractiveness. The audience/consumer was able to focus on the very famous pop star/actress who has a huge following on social media which triggered automatic acceptance without much thinking involved. Associating a product with celebrities and their fame and attractiveness allows these visual images to become peripheral cues. Peripheral route processing builds implicit attitudes, through repeated associations between an attitude object and emotion. This means that people unconsciously formed attitudes through the repeated connection between their

feelings and judgement of Selena Gomez in the ad. This is different from central route to persuasion where the audience focuses on the content of the message. If the ad or photo had facts about the kind of material used for the Coach bag and said the quality was the best, then the audience can be convinced by the arguments presented and not by peripheral cues.

Credibility of the speaker in an advertisement is important in the persuasion of the consumer. Selena Gomez has the perceived trustworthiness and expertise necessary to make her promotion of the merchandise believable. A lot of times celebrities get caught up in scandals like inappropriate behavior and drug abuse. Selena Gomez has never been involved with any kind of scandals and is seen as a person with a good reputation. She’s worked with many charities and foundations and rose to fame due to her starring role in a popular kid’s television show. Gomez is very involved in the fashion world so she has lots of experience with clothing brands. It makes sense why there are so many athlete endorsement deals. There’s more credibility if an Olympic gold medalist were to be in a sneaker advertisement than if it were just any ordinary person. A credible person makes consumers believe that they can trust the speaker because they are experts in what they are promoting. So, next time you see an ad, ask yourself did you really like that product or did you like who was promoting it?

References

Velasco, P. (2017, October 09). Did Selena Gomez Boost Coach’s Insta-Popularity? Retrieved November 06, 2017, from http://people.com/chica/selena-gomez-boosts-coach-instagram-success/

 

– Hilary Concepcion

A Surge in Internet Suicide Searches Brought on by “13 Reason’s Why”

When Selena Gomez, decided to produce the Netflix’s adaption of the novel 13 Reason’s Why, she set out to create a show that spread the awareness of the dangers of suicide.  Although she was successful in making suicide a more talked about subject, suicide has now fallen into the realm of reality of some youth.  The series followed a teenager named Hannah Baker, and her journey throughout high school which was seemingly filled with turmoil and chaos.  Following the many obstacles she faced throughout her life, Hannah committed suicide which was graphically depicted towards the end of the season.  There was no trigger warning for those who were sensitive to such material.  The very vivid depiction of suicide was intended to illustrate the severity of suicide.  Instead, youth seemed to respond to the show under a false consensus.

A false consensus is the idea that individuals have the tendency to follow a belief they believe the majority also shares, in other words it is when an individual believes their belief to be conventional and common.  This was a concept prevalent amongst viewers of the show in that it is likely that since suicide was portrayed in the show as the most practical solution by a very relatable character, young viewers going through a similar situation may have glorified suicide.  This possibly drove viewers to deem their urges for suicide as the norm.  It is feasible they jumped to the notion that other views may share similar beliefs and they’re probably also taking after the main character, Hannah Baker.  This is a very practical reasoning for the strong correlation between the airing of the series as well as the upsurge of searches on how to commit suicide.  According to the Huffington Post, researcher found that Google searches pertaining to phrases such as “how to commit suicide” increased by a frightening 26% along with similar Google searches also increased following the airdate of the series.  This sudden growth of Google searches that followed the airing of the series was perchance due to young teens falling victim to the false consensus effect.

In a report conducted by Florian Arendt and Sebastian Scherr, examined the aftermath and effects that followed the suicide of celebrity, Robin Williams.  According to the report, although the suicide of the actor spread awareness for suicide, it also proved to have several risk elements to it as well.  In the report, search engines were monitored ad examined both before and after the publicized suicide and it was discovered that following it was an increase in harmful searches which included “commit suicide”.  It was noted that the amount of query shares, or the total volume of harmful searches divided by the number of queries in the region which including “commit suicide”.  It was show that it had rose drastically and doubled from the ten days prior to the ten days that followed.  The conclusion drawn from this study was that the highly publicized suicide of Robbin Williams seemed to cause a rise in the amount of searches on suicide and commit it.  Much like the series, it is possible that since many seem to form connections with celebrities and characters, they seem to feel the inclination to also follow in their footsteps and solve their own problems the way the person they look up to would.  It is evident that the discussion and/or depiction of suicide in shows or in media has the ability to influence people in a negative manner which raises the question, why aren’t there more trigger warnings?

 

References:

Ahsan, S. (2017, August 01). Did 13 Reasons Why lead to a rise in suicide rates? Retrieved September 27, 2017, from   http://nationalpost.com/entertainment/television/did-13-   reasons-why-lead-to-a-rise-in-suicide-rates

Holmes, L. (2017, August 02). ’13 Reasons Why’ Led to A Major Increase in Suicide Internet Searches. Retrieved September 27, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/13-    reasons-why-suicide-search_us_5980808be4b0d6e28a107dbe#

Arendt, F., & Scherr, S. (2017). The impact of a highly publicized celebrity suicide on suicide-related online information seeking. Crisis: The Journal Of Crisis Intervention And Suicide Prevention, 38(3), 207-209. doi:10.1027/0227-5910/a000455

 

Shannon Luke

Cults in Hollywood Exposed

It’s no secret, Scientology has been getting a lot of attention recently mainly for its cultic characteristics and celebrity recruitment in Hollywood. Cults are known to be a group with 3 identifying characteristics including (1) distinctive ritual and beliefs related to its devotion to a god or a person, (2) isolation from the surrounding “evil” culture, and (3) a charismatic leader (Myers, 2012). Recently in the past few years, a number of celebrities have opened up about their former involvement in a cult, mainly the cult of Scientology. Celebrities who’ve spoken out about their experience in Scientology, also reveal the abuse, harassment and trauma they endured as an active member of the church, as well as a former member.

Business Insider published the article All the most shocking things about Scientology, according to Leah Remini’s revealing show, which discusses celebrity Leah Remini exposing the dirty hidden secretes about the church of Scientology in her new hit show, “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath”. Remini left the church 5 years ago and states that this A&E show is her platform to expose Scientology’s abuse and manipulation, as well as help current members of Scientology that want to escape from the church’s corruptness (Nededog, 2017). A main

One research article, Cult Experience: Psychological Abuse, Distress, Personality Characteristics, And Changes in Personal Relationships, discusses the psychological abuse and distress that ensues in a cult, whether an active or former member. The study also highlights the personality characteristics of a typical cult member, and the changes that occur in their personal relationships. The study mentions that there are identify four distinct factors associated with cultic environments:  Compliance, Exploitation, Mind Control, and Anxious Dependency (Gasde, I., & Block, R. A., 1998). These findings correlate to Remini explaining a policy the church uses called “fair game”, which implies that members have the ability to push the boundaries of the law in order to keep ex-members quiet and prevent destruction of the church organization. The news article reports a statement from Remini’s show talking about fair game policy, “…actions could include stalking, digging up dirt, checking out people’s background, vilifying them in the media and on the internet, and hiring private investigators to surveil them” (Nededog, Jethro, 2017).

It’s clear to see why members who have doubts and want to leave the cult would have such high anxiety and hesitation, knowing the repercussions that will ensue. Still, advocates like Leah Remini stand as a motivational figure, helping to expose this wrongful abuse and inspire others who desperately want to break away from the cult their involved in. “Langone (1995) insightfully remarked that the reason why cult members generally do not return to the cult after the floodgates of recognition and emotion have opened is “because the suffering they experience after leaving [the cult] is more genuine than the ‘happiness’ they experienced while in it.  A painful truth is better than a pleasant lie” (Gasde, I., & Block, R. A., 1998).

 

References:

Gasde, I., & Block, R. A. (1998). Cult experience: Psychological abuse, distress, personality characteristics, and changes in personal relationships reported by former members of Church Universal and Triumphant. Cultic Studies Journal, 15(2), 192-221. Retrieved from http://www.icsahome.com/articles/cult-experience-psychological-abuse-csj-15-2

Myers, David G. (2012). Exploring Social Psychology. New York: McGraw- Hill.

Nededog, Jethro. (2017, February 2). All the most shocking things about Scientology, according to Leah Remini’s revealing show. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/craziest-scientology-facts-leah-remini-2017-1/#hubbard-based-scientology-on-his-claim-that-he-healed-himself-from-war-injuries-a-claim-that-going-clear-author-lawrence-wright-says-is-fabricated-2

Mannequins on the Red Carpet

For decades, various award shows would spotlight what women were wearing, instead of what they were at these ceremonies for. Men were scarcely asked what designer they were wearing and got to speak more about their roles in their product. Shows like Fashion Police would compare women’s outfits the next day, picking out which they liked best and making fun of others to the point where they would have “who wore it better” segments. On Fashion Police, the number of men being judged for what they wore was a fraction of that of the women. In magazines following the event, there would be multiple pages dedicated to which woman they believed had the best dress. Is the point of an award show to see fashion? Does it really matter if you don’t like what a star was wearing or if they wore something similar in past years? Why are women constantly asked what they are wearing when men are rarely asked? We can attribute this to society’s creation of gender roles. A gender role is a set of expectations society has for men and women. Traditionally, men are valued for their work and what they have to bring to the table, whereas women are valued for their looks while their skills are overlooked.

Since 2014, there has been a push on social media to #askhermore. This means that at the red carpet, women should be asked about their roles in their film or their career goals over being asked what designer they are wearing. According to the Bustle article, at the 2017 Golden Globes, women were first asked how they were or about their movie role, then asked about what they were wearing, which led to the end of the interview. Women were asked about their roles more than they were in the past, but there is still significant improvements that can be made on the quality of questions women are asked (Griffiths, 2017).  “Because men occupy a privileged position in the social hierarchy and women occupy a subordinate position (Ridgeway & Correll, 2004), holding the belief that gender roles are fixed may have different consequences for how each gender views themselves and the legitimacy of the social system as a whole” (Kray 2017). By pushing to have more equal treatment for men and women on red carpets, we can help to remove the subordinate gender role from women and have an equal appreciation for each gender’s contribution.  Additionally, In a study by Kray, Howland, Russell, & Jackman they “predicted that fixed gender roles would trigger masculine identity motives and lead men to align their self-perceptions with masculine attributes more than feminine attributes. Given the implied value of masculinity over femininity under fixed gender roles, we did not expect to see evidence of elevated self-stereotyping for women, as claiming more feminine characteristics would require distancing themselves from the more highly esteemed masculine traits. Instead, fixed gender roles might also increase women’s identification with masculine attributes over feminine attributes” (2017). Because men are higher in the social hierarchy than women, on red carpets women are taking more traditional masculine roles by demanding that their worth isn’t defined by what they are wearing. They are thus elevating their societal position to match the advantage of men.  This would also help remove the inherent objectification in only examining women for how they appear.

By: Christina Marciante

 

References

 

Griffiths, K. (2017, January 08). The 2017 Golden Globes Red Carpet May Have Asked Her

More, But They Still Had One Big Problem.Retrieved March 29, 2017, from

https://www.bustle.com/p/the-2017-golden-globes-red-carpet-may-have-asked-her-more-

But-they-still-had-one-big-problem-28850

 

Kray, L. J., Howland, L., Russell, A. G., & Jackman, L. M. (2017). The Effects of Implicit

Gender Role Theories on Gender System Justification: Fixed Beliefs Strengthen

Masculinity to Preserve the Status Quo. Journal Of Personality & Social Psychology,

112(1), 98-115. doi:10.1037/pspp0000124
Myers, D. G. (2015). Exploring social psychology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.