Swift Refuses to Conform

The 2016 election was probably one of the most memorable elections of this generations’ lifetime. No one could have guessed that TV personality and businessman Donald Trump would not only run for presidency, but also win and become the 45th president of the United States. Besides Donald Trump’s lack of political experience, what really surprised many was his outspoken, unfiltered, and more times than not, very controversial way of speaking. During this election, many well-known names spoke out against Trump and publicly voiced their political position. Celebrities such as Beyoncé, Meryl Streep, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, and many others made it known that they were against Trump and fully supported his opposing candidate, Hillary Clinton. Though many celebrities spoke out and against Trump, one celebrity in particular, one who many would expect to follow the same route remained relatively silent and because of this has received some backlash for it.

In an article by one of Cosmopolitan’s contributors and authors, Mehera Bonner, Bonner discuses how singer-songwriter Taylor Swift recently received some backlash from actress Lola Kirke for not using her platform to denounce Trump. Kirke’s stance was that Taylor might as well have supported Trump since she remained silent during the election. Bonner writes, “There’s no obligation for celebrities to tell their fans who they voted for. But — in the age of Trump — the phrase “silence is compliance” gets thrown around for good reason.” This article presents an example of conformity. Conformity is a change in behavior or belief as the result or real or imagined group pressure (Myers, 2015). Two main reasons why individuals conform are because they believe that the mass majority knows something that they don’t, and therefore they must be right. The other reason is to avoid any discomfort or possible judgment that comes with disagreeing or going against the mass. This article presents a perfect example of nonconformity and what can result. By not conforming and not following the same path as other popular celebrities, Taylor Swift received some pretty harsh feedback. Though she did not reveal whom she was voting for, Swift made it clear that she was voting through social media. Many would assume that she did in fact vote for Clinton due to her public support for her in 2008. Did Swift remain silent because she supported Trump, or did she just want to remain private for this personal matter? In one article, the topic of political conformity is explored.

In one particular study, it was tested to see if individuals would conform on political issues and which individual differences influence this behavior. The study revealed that individuals do alter their political opinions they share with others whom they disagree with (Carlsen, 2016). It was found that many individuals, more than 80%, did alter their previously stated political views. It was also found that when in a group with other participants, the majority disagreeing with the main subject’s viewpoint, the participant was more likely to conform.

Taylor Swift’s reason for remaining silent during this past election is still unknown, but based on the study there could be several theories as to why she kept quiet. Taylor Swift has been very active in various causes throughout her career. She has promoted the Every Woman Counts campaign and she has spoken out against LGBT discrimination. Due to her active participation in more liberal causes, the mass majority of her fan base more than likely supported Clinton. If Taylor Swift did have opposing views to the majority and possibly decided to vote for Trump for other reasons, her awareness of her fan base may have led her to keep her silence in regards to this election. By remaining silent, Swift would avoid possible controversy and fallout with her and her fans.

 

 

 

 

 

Carlson, Taylor N. and Jaime E. Settle. “Political Chameleons: An Exploration of Conformity in Political Discussions.” Political Behavior, vol. 38, no. 4, Dec. 2016, pp. 817-859. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s11109-016-9335-y.

 

Bonner, M. (2017, March 17). Lola Kirke Slams Taylor Swift for Staying Silent About Trump. Retrieved from

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/a9146655/lola-kirke-taylor-swift-trump-interview/

 

Myers, D. G. (2015) Exploring Social Psychology. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Education.

Women In The Film Industry

By: Emily Indriolo

In today’s media,we see a lot of controversy over gender inequalities in the industry almost every day. If you go on social media, it will likely be one of the first news topics to pop up. This was the case when we found the article “Women still woefully underrepresented in Oscar nominations, study finds,” written by Nicole Sperling on Entertainment Weekly (or EW). The article outlines the disappointment of this years Oscar nominations, a very lacking lineup of female nominees. The behind the scenes roles seemed to be the ones to suffer the most, dropping by 2% compared to last years nominees. The Women’s Media Center conducted an investigation on the matter and concluded that 80% of all the nominees of behind the scenes roles are men. San Diego State’s Center for the study of Women in Television and Film also conducted research on the matter. They found that of all the top-grossing 250 films in the United States in 2016, that only 17% percent of all the behind the scenes workers were women. This article gave interesting points for how women are being forgotten in the industry, but it also contradicted itself. The writer may not have realized it but for as many negative points as she gave, she provided just as many positive ones.

This article presents examples of two important concepts. The first concept shown in this article is of an illusory correlation. An illusory correlation is a concept to describe the imagined relationship between two things or, in the case of the article, a stronger relationship perceived between two things (Myers, 2015). The two “things” would be the nominations and women. The imagined relationship is the theory this article suggests, that because they are women they are not receiving Oscar nominations. The author of the article makes it seem like there is a stronger relationship between the two. Those who vote for the Oscars are those in the industry themselves and they vote for who they believe to be the best of that year. Hollywood is a very vocal community in demanding equality for everyone, so it would be odd to think that they would purposely snub women. The second concept presented in this article is of confirmation bias. A confirmation bias is when a person seeks out information to further prove or confirm what they already believe (Myers, 2015). This article decided to highlight the negative factors and gloss over the positive ones. Some points the author briefly mentioned was that there were films nominated with strong female characters as the main protagonists, nine female producers were nominated in the Best Picture Category as well as women taking nominations in usually male dominated categories. Those are quite honorable and noticeable achievements but that is not what the article was focusing on. The author brought in facts, which are mentioned in the first paragraph, that further confirm her point.

Although this article may show examples of an illusory correlation and confirmation bias that does not mean that there is not a real issue at hand here. In 2004 two studies were conducted by Dean Keith Simonton that analyzed the gender differences in the film industry. Study 1 analyzed 2,157 films that received Oscar nominations or awards between 1936 and 2000. In study 2, 1,367 films were analyzed that received awards or nominations from seven major professional, journalistic, and critical associations between the years 1968 and 2000. Both studies showed a statistical difference between genders. Both studies uncovered that outstanding acting performances by women are less likely to be associated with outstanding films (Simonton, 2004). Simonton coined this phrase the “Best Actress Paradox.” While Simonton proved there was a statistical difference between the two genders, he also made sure to include the fact that other factors, such as time period, genre, and acting performance, play a role when it comes down to it.

 

Works Cited

Simonton, D. K. (2004). The ‘Best Actress’ Paradox: Outstanding Feature Films Versus Exceptional Women’s Performances. Sex Roles, 50(11-12), 781-794. doi:10.1023/B:SERS.0000029097.98802.2c

Sperling, N. (2017, January 30). Women still woefully underrepresented in Oscar nominations, study finds. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from http://ew.com/awards/2017/01/30/oscars-2017-women-underrepresented/

Myers, D. G. (2015) Exploring Social Psychology. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Education.