Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Lunch with Dean Almandrez

Today was a fun filled day! I awoke both Emily and myself by accidentally pressing my home button on my phone, which resulted with a loud, “Siri is not available.” In other words, my phone initiated my day.

Dean Almandrez began class by playing a hit song on the radio that I am familiar with. The song is called "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke. While the song was playing, she projected the lyrics for us to read. The rhythm of the song is catchy, but the lyrics and the music video are degrading to women. The lyrics explicitly infer that women are subordinate by using terms such as “domesticate” and by mentioning disrespectful phrases geared towards women.  I am glad that she used this as an example of hegemony because I am beginning to acknowledge all of the social injustices that we are subliminally subjected to. I previously enjoyed listening to this song because I liked the rhythm, but now I know it reinforces an image that I am not fond of. There are two versions of the music video: one contains nude females but the other one does not. Since I am aware, I will not be able to fully enjoy songs and television shows that reinforce these messages, but I am happy that I have more knowledge in this aspect of life. For example, I adored Twilight, but I recently wrote about how it helps reinforce the social construction of gender. The character, Bella is seen as inferior, and Edward’s supernatural powers exemplify his masculinity. I provided a link for the music video and the link for the lyrics of the song.

Robin Thicke - Blurred Lines ft. T.I., Pharrell
Lyrics

Then I participated in an activity that described the stereotypical qualities of a leader. After everyone labeled the qualities of a leader, the class discussion had somehow led to Adolf Hitler. Dean Almandrez stated that in each one of her classes someone never failed to mention him when discussing the qualities of leadership, despite the fact that there are other extraordinary leaders from the past and present. Although the class acknowledged that what he advocated for was horrendous, the class argued that he displayed leadership qualities. In order to convince people that the genocide was beneficial, he must have been charismatic, confident, and persuasive. The class primarily challenged the definition that stated that leaders engage with others to accomplish change for the better. In an excerpt that we read for homework, the author suggested that the definition of leadership must be based within the context of the circumstance and that the definition varies from each person. Although there is no solid definition for “leadership,” I believe we were given the definition that described leadership as positively impacting a group of people because we are learning to advocate for social change.

At lunch Dean Almandrez took Shraddha, Alicia, Eve, and me to eat at a Vietnamese restaurant. The restaurant was off campus so it was exciting to be in new surroundings. We were able to ask her questions about her personal life and she was able to learn more about us. I appreciate the fact that she takes the time out of her day to have more of a personal relationship with her students. I enjoyed learning more about her and the other students who attended the lunch.
The Vietnamese Restaurant Dean Almandrez took us to 
The second portion of class began with the video of Malala Yousatzai addressing the United Nations about the significance of education for women. Watching her was so inspirational because she is only sixteen, yet she has accomplished so much and is compassionate about the rights of receiving an education! I am so happy to see that she is now healthy and strong. I provided a YouTube link of Malala giving her speech for those of you who are interested. 

Girl Shot in Head by Taliban, Speaks at UN: Malala Yousafzai United Nations Speech 2013

Afterwards, the class participated in a fish bowl activity. A group of students were instructed to have a discussion and other students were expected to congregate around the smaller group and listen to their discussion. The two groups were divided according to their socioeconomic background. After both groups were able to have a discussion, students expressed their apprehension about the division of the class based on their economic status. I do not judge my classmates by their social class and I feel the same applies to them. I liked the activity because despite our different socioeconomic background, we all have similar emotions and fears. Dean Alamandrez and the assistants purposely divided us by a controversial identity to evoke a more detailed discussion. I liked the fact that class ended with the understanding that I have more commonalities with my classmates than I had previously known.

Emily, my roommate, and I planned to go to the yogurt shop after class. We talked about our day and what we learned in class. I enjoy talking to her because I am able to reflect on the events of my day and I am able to hear about hers.
Me and Emily 
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