Based on reading the following article below:
What are the biases in this article and how do they perpetuate the social norm of our society?
Does the article stereotype, discriminate against race/ethnicity or reinforce gender roles?
Does the article reinforce the status quo, refer to social class etc..?
1 Answer | Add Yours
In addition to appealing more to females than to males, one could conclude that Kelsey Sunstrum’s article “How Social Media Affects Our Self-Perception” does warrant dissection from the critical perspective suggested in the student’s questions. While men are not immune to the kinds of psychological phenomena associated with issues of self-esteem, and while they are naturally-inclined to present themselves publicly in a more flattering light than they do in private or less-public social settings, Sunstrum’s target audience appears to be women and girls. After all, how else could one interpret the observation she makes that “[t]he pressure of taking the right picture, with the right filter, wearing the right outfit, at the right place, with the right people was too much pressure” for some individuals. Men are far less likely to burdened with the expectations of society expressed in the article, such as when Sunstrum suggests that her “ideal self would be a 25-year-old successful freelance writer who lives in a perpetually clean house and who always takes the time to put on makeup before she leaves the house.” Not too many men (although data may be inconclusive) devote much time and energy to the issue of how and when to apply makeup before leaving the house. In this sense, the article most definitely perpetuates stereotypes about women and could be considered demeaning in the sense that it presents women as being preoccupied with superficialities at the expense of more substantive concerns. Additionally, Sunstrum references the late-psychologist Carl Rogers employing feminine pronouns (“improve herself and realize her full potential”), further solidifying the notion that she is focused principally on women.
While Sunstrum could be considered guilty of perpetuating gender-specific stereotypes, and of setting back the cause of feminism, one would have go out of one’s way and employ a certain level of creativity to indict the author for a racist perspective. There is nothing about this brief article that suggests latent racist tendencies on the part of the author. Her intent is solely to illuminate the pervasive role social media has come to play in our daily lives and the impact it has had on individuals who suffer from depression.
With regard to the question of whether the article reinforces the status quo, refers to social class, etc., one could logically conclude that the text is oriented toward professionals and not blue-collar workers or stay-at-home mothers. Sunstrum is, obviously, a professional herself, a writer, and is quite young (judging from her photographs and published biography; in fact, she appears to be fresh out of college). She appears to have a somewhat narrow focus on humanity and writes and blogs from that very narrow perspective. She represents the young, white, middle class Canadian perspective, but that’s no crime, and she can’t be criticized for reflecting her own background in her writings. The worst that can be said about her article is that does represent a narrow segment of the population, and that she does extrapolate on the basis of limited (cited) data in making her judgments. The article does reinforce gender roles but, again, Sunstrum is writing from her own limited perspective. No one should infer too much from this simplistic article, but no one should rush to condemn its author, either.
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