SuperPost for week 3: Jan 31st and Feb 2nd

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Theme for the week:   “Virtual Girls”: Youth and identity online

Readings to discuss in class on Tuesday: 

Additional material to discuss on Thursday: 

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33 responses »

  1. Hey, all! Just a quick starter comment before everyone gets on at 11…
    Looking at that short Spotlight article and the class blog devoted to the topic of virtual girl identity (how awesome would it be to take a class just on that subject, btw?):

      How do you think identity is maneuvered for young women in this digital age?
      Are your thoughts similar to what we talked about on Tuesday?
      Could tenets of cyberfeminism from last week’s discussion be worked into this (/how)?

    As always, any and all discussion related to this week’s topic is welcome (and remember, Ctrl+R / Command+R / Refresh is your friend!)

    • Similar to Tuesday discussion I feel that the internet serves as a outlet to young women. Similar to last weeks discussion the internet is used as an umbrella for young women where they pic and choose what’s said and done on certain sites.

      after a vivid discussion I felt lead to dig deeper, I interviewed both my 9 and 17 year old sisters. Their answers to the questions you will find both obvious and yet shocking. Because the innocents of one is still sort of apparent but ingenius. And the crazy truth of the other is still the same for us women today. The snipid will be on my blog: kiaraann365.wordpress.com very shortly. 🙂

    • For me, I think peoples blogs, pages, sites, etc reflect how people want to be seen. They may have a certain personality that no one sees, view that know one knows about, or just who they are as a person they no one really gets to know so they put it up on a wall so people may get to know the real them. Cyberfeminism can be used for them to get their ideas out and share with others about what they believe. The messages get passed on to someone who has interest and so on.

    • I agree with the stance I and most everyone else was taking last tuesday despite how quiet I was (sorry exhausted…). The early myspaces and even facebooks of current era for I think anyone but especially younger teens is a social pleasure center. Unfortunately, it cheapens what it means to have a “friend” or interact with someone which I feel robs a lot of younger, more online involved pre-teens/young teens of fruitful social experiences.

      I am sure cyberfeminism could be worked into these outlets (if they haven’t already) but I have severe doubts if it taking hold in that age bracket. Not that it’s lazy or even purposeful, but most teenagers are too self-consumed, too distracted to think far outside of their small social circles or even themselves. We had mentioned being essentially a mentor to the younger online generation which, if you’re a trusted and respected source, is an excellent way to try to shift the current paradigm.

      • it cheapens what it means to have a “friend” or interact with someone which I feel robs a lot of younger, more online involved pre-teens/young teens of fruitful social experiences. —-Agreed!

        But yet I feel as if teens in this era have conformed to the “cheapened” friendships that it seems quit normal and acceptable for them.

        • If I may provide a small counter-argument… Are they accepting these “cheapened values” or is that they simply don’t know any better? Did the generation before our’s (who was too early for online social interaction entirely) look at our experience as fake and shallow?

          • I beg to differ, I believe a lot KNOW better, but simply go with the flow of things. Like we did in some instances. But I can absolutely see where your coming from and agree that yes, some really don’t know any better, because that’s all they’ve known.

  2. I think that a lot of young women use blogs, social media, and other forms of the Internet to begin on a life long journey of finding themselves. I do think this can also be a source of identity for men too. It kind of depends on the person. I don’t think I particularly used the Internet enough as a teen or even now to say that it shaped who I am or helps me on a daily basis to express myself. But I have learned in this class that there are all types of Internet users. I definitely do think however that now more than ever do young girls reach out the Internet to gain confidence, friends, and a sense of self. I think in the spotlight article is when they said the Internet is like a public diary and that is so true! So many people post everything about their daily lives on facebook (the only website I visit frequently enough to make that statement)

    • I can vouch for using the Internet for learning more about yourself and whatnot. I started a LiveJournal in 2004, so I was about 14-15 years old. I still wasn’t as net-aware as I am now because LJ was technically the first blogging site I ever joined or even heard of. I don’t think I even had anyone other than a few friends look at it once in a while, but just the act was pretty cathartic for me. Skimming back through it a little, a lot of what I posted were quizzes, surveys, and just me writing little blurbs about what was going on at the moment. It’s actually a little amusing to look back and see the development of certain parts of my identity.

      “Early blog entries, created when the girls were age 14 or so, focused on creating lists of favorite things (music, books, movies, ice cream flavors), taking quizzes and creating content that reflected a concrete self-definition.”

      Completely. Accurate.

      • The Almjeld dissertation I linked above for Tuesday (which you didn’t need to read) compares young women’s use of blogs to more traditional “feminine modes of writing” like scrapbooking, passing notes in class, photo/autograph albums, etc.

        I can see where she was coming from with this assessment since it combines communication and documentation of memories

        • Kind of going off of this, I remember before I started college and got a new email account with siu, I had been using the one I had since I was in 4th grade. I went back to the very first 100 emails I ever had received and read them.. It was like I was reliving all the old drama from elementary school and I couldn’t stop reading even though I knew what happened.. obviously I survived, but I thought it was kind of funny that I enjoyed reading the emails from roughly 8 years prior and was interested.

          • Wow, 4th grade? I don’t even think I had Internet access when I was in 4th grade, though I could be wrong. *feels old*

            Going back through old emails is weird. Seeing what I kept in my inbox versus wondering what I deleted, seeing what my interests were at the time, reading stupid conversations I had with friends, being able to pinpoint when in my life some of these were sent…yeah.

    • I would also say I started with an online blog at Livejournal, though it kinda bored me with time and it was at the request of a few of my female friends that I get one. Most of my friends at the time, who were girls, were quite addicted to the Livejournal/Xanga concept. I really can’t recall too much of what they posted other than rants regarding people at school and the occasional “personal survey”. My initial use sorta delved into the AOL chatrooms… one of those things I kinda regret for being a waste of time and an excellent way to be exposed to not so pre-teen/early teen concepts.

      • lololololol
        I TOTALLY was an AOL chat room junkie. I remember I had a little notebook of emails which were all the people I liked and didn’t like.
        I also got our whole family’s AOL temporarily suspended because I said ‘Clay Aiken is gay’ in a chat room…..I was being juvenile and ignorant at the time…BUT GUESS WHO WAS RIGHT, AOL.

        • The small victories are the best kind! heheh. All the same, AOL chatrooms/any chatroom was system overload for being one of my first internet experiences. I could be anyone I wanted or converse with someone who may not have been what they claimed to be. Kinda disturbing in retrospect…

      • Haha, I never poked around the AOL chatrooms and I’m somewhat glad of that. I definitely wasn’t ready to run into more adult stuff yet. Didn’t use Xanga either, though that’s probably because I already had an LJ and didn’t see the need for another thing. Like you, I also got bored of using LJ. The last entry currently was from when I turned 20 and I didn’t post a ton from a certain point in time. I wonder if that’s because I didn’t feel that I needed it anymore instead of getting bored with it?

        Thinking about it, AIM chatrooms and AIM in general also helped me figure out more about myself and somewhat more comfortable with expressing my opinion and whatnot by talking to people who would later become some of my closest friends. Hell, I’m marrying one of them.

        Random note. Those emoticons in the first article we had to read for Tuesday were all, I think, LJ mood icons at some point. I actually used the floating cat ones.

        • Yeaa…. early chatrooms in general for those ignorant to ways of the internet… not so good… heh. I got bored of LJ fast, like four-five post fast. I was on it and I was one of the few males so all I was seeing were girls posting about other girls they liked/didn’t like and,again those personal surveys. Not saying I was the stereotypical young teenage boy (most of my friends were girls) but I needed something to grasp onto. I drifted a bit till I got into myspace and that lasted from mid-middle school to mid-high school.

          Also found online aviation communities (I’m a nerd) but it was an excellent way for me to relate to other people all over the world who shared a common interest.

          tl;dr The internet was awkward but so was I.

          • i kinda want that tl;dr on a tshirt.

            I wonder what is different about Myspace from LiveJournal that would create such a gendered divide.. perhaps that girls are more encouraged (not that it comes more naturally) to express their feelings?

            Niche communities are definitely helpful when you’re trying to figure out what you like and why you like it.

          • Kate: (it won’t let me reply to any more replies apparently…) If I had to guess what separated LJ from myspace in terms of sex/gender I imagine it was the ways young boys perceived online interactions.

            Speaking from the standpoint of most teenage boys, we probably didn’t care (not to sound mean or heartless) what teenage girls were thinking about. Most young males were in it for the short/constant interactions (i.e. “Hey Girl…”). The fact that young women (in most cases) made it easy to access the occasional racy photo would be the soul reason some guys got into online interaction. LJ entertained (I say this conservatively) deeper thought while Myspace made it so easy to be flirty and simple.

          • It could also partly be the name. Myspace is obviously more possessive and sounds like you can do whatever the hell you want there. LiveJournal…has the word journal. Journal implies diary, which implies girl. Journal also implies more work and more involvement, which implies less fun for people who aren’t interested in that, which was probably mostly guys.

  3. Art has always been a constant in my life. And as superficial as the artistic side of social networking sites and blogs can be (editing your acne out of photos, pumping up contrast to make yourself look better), I think that, in the example of myspace, it really gave me a tiny glimpse into graphic design and how to express myself artistically online. I definitely think others out there have had similar experiences, forming a facet of their identity through creating and editing the ascetics of their pages.
    Also, I agree that the quizes were a big part of my myspace days. Many of us took them as a way of letting others know more about ourselves without having to say it right out. I also remember many of the girls I was friends with had much more developed answers than the guys. More than ‘yea’, ‘nah’, and ‘lol’.

    • I totally agree about people editing their pictures! One of my friends still does that today, well she just changes the coloring or the brightness of her pictures, and of course takes out the red eye. But I know there were many times in my Myspace days where I would be looking at someone’s picture that I went to school with and they would look waaaay different in their pictures than they did in person. I figured it was self confidence, or just the fact that the ability to alter and edit yourself is there on the computer so why not? type thing.. but I never thought of the art aspect! And I remember those surveys too!! I think I rarely ever posted them just because I felt like people might judge me for my answers.. which is maybe what I was doing when I would read other people’s answers. But I do remember the vagueness that the boys would have in answering compared to a girls sentence.

    • I will admit… when I started growing into myself in early high school and radically changing how I appeared I would do slight photo manipulation. Usually in terms of increasing saturation/etc but here is the thing, even as a teenage male when I posted those certain photos I got a lot of positive feedback from girls I knew. In itself that was an ego boost that helped to motivate me in being more outgoing. Just found it interesting this aspect was mentioned…. and more interesting that even I was somewhat guilty….

    • Even beyond the personal photos, which was also a small step towards my love of photography, I loved editing the code of my layout. Changing the picture, changing the font and size of the text on my page, and using photobucket to add photos to the personal portions. In the beginning most of my energies were focused toward compiling a long list of ‘hot dudes’ in my ‘Who I’d like to meet’ category, but over time I liked solely using images and being as esoteric as possible…..it’s probably the biggest think I like about myspace v. facebook and one of the biggest things that has drawn me to tumblr.

      • Yes! I edited the code of my layout on Myspace and other sites back then too. Come to think of it, I bet that was where I started taking interest in HTML. Talk about building identity in a different way 🙂

      • Well, this online community hasn’t been mentioned yet, but since I also became heavily interested in photography I found commonality in Deviantart. I made a lot of online connections and found validation for my works. It was an odd pair, I could post and talk about photography but at the same time I would go into the photography chatrooms and seek out social interaction (even if it had nothing to do with photography). Unique site though, one of my more positive early online experiences.

      • Haha, I did that too. I think I had more fun messing around with my layout than I did actually using Myspace. Of course, that was when I wanted to be a website designer, but whatever. I liked HTML once I found out what it was when I was like…god, 12? Yikes.

  4. It’s 12:15… thanks again for a great discussion! I will post the assignment for next Tuesday soon. Remember, blog posts are due at 6pm TONIGHT!

  5. Pingback: The Birth of an Identity « Tentacles of Justice

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