Archive for the Uncategorized Category

The Effects of Advertising on Gender Roles in Children and Adolescents

Posted in Uncategorized on June 30, 2011 by SyrWRT205

In this digital age, technology allows for the consumption of media through many platforms. Much of what we consume as readers is advertisements, which we see hundreds of every day. In a chapter of their book, Gunter, Oats & Blades discuss the current issues and debates about children and television advertising. The authors believe that while advertising to children has shown some negative effects on their attitudes, but it hasn’t changed advertisers use of them because they view children as a highly profitable market. The reason for this is that children have great buying power. Over the year the amount of money children spend on products such as clothing, games, toys, books etc., has increased. Not only do children themselves dive into consumer culture, but they also have the power to influence their parents into buying even more products according to their tastes.

From jasontammemagi.com

But what is the underlying problem with all of this? The content of these advertisements can affect the ways in which children perceive the world around them, particularly gender roles. The more children and engage with these advertisements, the more distorted their views on gender become and the more likely gender stereotypes will hold in their developing minds. This also applies to adolescents who take in messages from the media just as much as younger children do.

See News Story on CBS site:   Marketing to Kids

According to some social learning theories, children and adolescents learn about gender roles through actual experiences but also through how they see others (such as parents and friends) act. Children do not know right off the bat how to act in certain situations, so they look to those close to them for an idea about what to do next. Parents play a big role in how children view their own gender. When parents give their children specific toys to play with, children will associate those toys as their “right” ones to play with. So when girls are given dolls and boys are given trucks they will learn that girls are supposed to play with dolls but boys aren’t supposed to. Girls will also learn that they shouldn’t play with trucks but only boys should.

Young children do not have think the same way that adults do and are more susceptible to the distorted messages that are so easily available to them. Because children nowadays spend a lot more time interacting with television sets than they did five decades ago, it is easier to endorse certain attitudes. Some statistics state that children spend four hours in front of a television screen, either watching television programs or playing video games.

Gunter, Oats and Blades discussed some of the tactics used by advertisers in order to get maximum results in sales of their products. While not everyone agrees that advertisements are a cause of misinterpretations of social values, research studies suggest that on the fact that the messages shown in media affect how viewers see the world around them. Cultivation theory holds that the more television someone watches, the higher the likelihood that viewers will think the TV world is like the real world. The authors have discussed some of the tactics that advertisers use to effectively sell their products. While advertisers may say that their tactics are only used to sell the product, analysis of some of these ads will show that they reinforce gender stereotypes to young children who watch the ads.

One way that advertisements attract the attention of young children is through exaggeration. Many product advertisements will claim that their product is “newer” and “better” than others out in the market. By saying that owning a certain product will make you “better” than the next person, it makes children want the product more. Advertisers also make use of thematic elements of fantasy to get children’s attention. Many television programs for children have characters in them that are not human but share most of human capabilities, particularly speech. Advertisers use this connection in order to create a special relationship between the child and the character. When the child associates him/herself with characters in TV shows then they will most likely form that positive attitude between him/herself and the product being sold. How does this fit into gender stereotyping? When ads targeted to young boys feature characters that are male and powerful, then young boys will create the mindset that boys are supposed to be strong powerful, aggressive men as well. When young girls see nurturing characters on television ads to which they create a positive connection to, they might want to be nurturing themselves. While this may not necessarily be such a bad thing, nurturing stereotypes will create a distorted self image in females. If girls continue to think that they are only nurturing they will not strive to be the assertive individuals they can be, capable of doing anything their counterparts can.

Another tactic described by the authors as used by advertisers is appeal. Some advertisements might appeal best to girls, while others to boys while still displaying gender stereotypes. Most advertisements aimed to children focus of their accessibility to a product that will allow them to have a good time. Many children spend a portion of their days playing with toys, and other children. Advertisements can shape the idea that toys targeted to boys will make them better and stronger boys, and that girls will be a lot happier with themselves if they own products marketed to them. Celebrities also play a role in gender identifies of the audience. Some products are advertised by use of celebrities which children may recognize and as a result associate their product with positive effects. Perhaps the use of strong, tall, muscular athletes as endorsers of some products aimed at boys will create the stereotypes than men are better than girls. While using female celebrities will give girls the idea that women are supposed to be nurturers. Whichever of these underlying tactics that are used, they can be found all over child advertisements.

Our blog will explore and analyze of child advertisements in television pertaining to toys, video games, and clothing. When analyzing the advertisement we are looking for how gender stereotyping is suggested. We will be looking at how both explicit and implicit messages work the same way to enforce gender stereotypes.

  • What kind of roles are portrayed in these advertisements? Are boys more likely to be shown in an authoritative role? Are girls more likely to be shown in submissive roles?
  • What are the different ways in which boys and girls are supposed to use their toys?
  • Are girls portrayed in family roles more than men are?
  • Are girls products aimed at keeping them indoors, while boy products are aimed at keeping them in the outdoors?

All of these things will affect how children view gender in real life situations. Our blog will also discuss how some of the technical aspects are also a factor in determining interpretations of these ads. Sound and editing may sometimes work together to portray some of the stereotypical attitudes about gender. Generally, advertisements for products aimed at young boys will feature some more live action and louder music than ads for girls, possibly alluding to the fact that boys are naturally more aggressive than girls. For the products aimed at girls, there is not so much action, the environment is a calmer one and the music tone is much softer, alluding to the fact that girls are calmer and more caring/nurturing than boys are.

Video Games and Adolescents

The most widely used “positive” impact video games are said to have on children is that they may improve a player’s manual dexterity and computer literacy. Ever-improving technology also provides players with better graphics that give a more “realistic” virtual playing experience.  This quality makes the video game industry a powerful force in many adolescent lives. Video games are intentionally marketed to children and adolescents, for instance, M-rated video games, which according to the gaming industry’s own rating system are not recommended for children younger than 17 years, but are frequently advertised in movie theaters, video game magazines, and publications with high youth readership.  However, numerous studies show that video games, especially ones with violent content, make teens more aggressive.   Part of the increase in aggressive behavior is linked to the amount of time children are allowed to play video games.

In one study, a majority of teens admitted that their parents do not impose a time limit on the number of hours they are allowed to play video games. The study also showed that most parents are unaware of the content or the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating of the video games their children play.  The gender bias associated with video and computer games have existed since the initial phase of video game activity in the early 1980s, with young males being the targeted market (Ward Gailey, p45)

This raises the question of whether video and computer games have different impacts on males than on females.  In one study conducted by Gentile, Lynch, Linder & Walsh (p.6) “adolescent girls played video games for an average of 5 hours a week, whereas boys averaged 13 hours a week”. The authors also stated that teens that play violent video games for extended periods of time:

  • Tend to be more aggressive
  • Are more prone to confrontation with their teachers
  • May engage in fights with their peers
  • See a decline in school achievements.

The interactive quality of video games differs from passively viewing television or movies because it allows players to become active participants in the game’s script. Player’s benefit from engaging in acts of violence and are then able to move to the game’s next level.  Gentile & Anderson state that playing video games may increase aggressive behavior because violent acts are continually repeated throughout the video game. This method of repetition has long been considered an effective teaching method in reinforcing learning patterns.

Video games also encourage players to identify with and role-play their favorite characters. This is referred to as a “first-person” video game because players are able to make decisions affecting the actions of the character they are imitating. After a limited amount of time playing a violent video game, a player can automatically prime aggressive thoughts.  This concluded that players who had prior experience playing violent video games responded with an increased level of aggression when they encountered confrontation (Bushman & Anderson, p35).

The Call of Duty: Black Ops commercial is an assemblage of gratuitous violence in which several people are pitted against one another. However, unlike most video game advertising, this ad not only uses real people in favor of in game footage, but also uses everyday people, including children and recognizable celebrities. While the production and entertainment value of the commercial is great, one has to consider the appropriateness of the content given that it’s directed partially at children.

Video games are no longer just a childish endeavor. People who originally grew up with video games are now in the thirties and still continue to play. In that respect ,advertisements for video games have become more mature and sophisticated, often displaying violence. This is fine for the older demographic as they can put the violence into perspective as an ad for a video game. But even though the game is rated mature or 18+, young children will nonetheless play the game and watch the ads.

Clearly the games creators realize and accept the fact that young children are playing the game because they included a young girl in their ad, complete with a shotgun. They also incorporated celebrities Jimmy Kimmel and Kobe Bryant, the latter being widely recognizable among children. Especially when viewed beside the banned X-Box ad, which came under the spotlight for being too violent, it’s difficult to see how the Call of Duty commercial manages to stay on the air despite being more violent that the X-Box ad.

Kobe Bryant

The ad is effective in reinforcing the stereotype that males are aggressive and that this behavior starts at a young age and should continue on throughout adolescence. This is also an example of a commercial that attempts to create a gender neutral audience. But these kinds of video games are played mostly by males. When girls play games that are usually aimed at boys, it is accepted (as is shown in the commercial), but it is rare to see a commercial where a boy is playing with a girls toy.

Toy Advertisements

When children come home from the school the first thing they usually do before doing their homework is watching afternoon cartoons on channels like Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and the Disney Channel. Within these television shows they are being flooded with highly gendered toy commercials. These advertisements are not only marketing toys to children but they also promote and encourage gender-specific values that limit to boys and girls in different ways. These values and skills promoted in these commercials can play a critical role in the socialization of youth and their development of emotional expression, conflict resolution and the ability to maintain healthy relationships as adults.

Toy Commercials for Girls

The gender of the main character(s) usually coincides with the gender that the toy commercial is aiming to attract. Toys that are targeted at young girls which are Barbie’s and Easy Bake Oven have female main characters within the commercials. Males are not represented in any of these commercials. The emphasis on commercials for girl toys is a stereotypical role of female in society. This is an idea that all women are girlfriends, mothers, homemakers, a source of comfort, and communication experts. Toys that are aimed for girls were presented in an indoor setting usually with an adult present. The advertisements for girl toys usually have soft music in the background. The female actors in these commercials are usually dressed in light colors usually pink which would characteristically make feminine outfits.

Toy Commercials for Boys

Similarly, all of the male expected toys like Hot Wheels and Nerf have male main characters with no depiction of females in these commercials. The emphasis in commercials for boy toys are building, running, and exploring. Toys for boys are often presented in an outdoor setting without any adult supervision. The advertisement for boy toys contained more noise, such as loud music, and sound effects. The male actors in these commercials are usually dressed in dark and supposed characteristically masculine outfits. Absolutely no female voice-overs were used in the boys’ advertisements. The male characters are portrayed to being really manly and being all about action.

This video shows how gender roles are deeply embedded in childhood toy advertisements where they are told what kind of toys they should be enjoying or playing with. This forms impressions when parents choose to buy a gendered toy for their children. In some cases there are examples of companies that aim towards girl and boys.

One example of an advertisement commercial for children toys is Lego. This is an example emphasizing the male gender as the most dominant, strong character. Lego commercials shown in 2011 for Lego City, Lego Harry Potter, Lego Pirates of the Caribbean, and Lego Cars 2, all share some of the tactical characteristics that reinforce stereotypes. The sound and editing play a big role in reinforcing the stereotype of the male being the intellectual and the adventurous in the Lego commercials there is a loud, male voice that narrates the commercial, stressing the fact that only boys are the ones who are authoritative. Lego’s are supposed to allow for children to use their creativity and intellectuality to build the pieces given into their own scene. But the commercials for Lego only show male characters, building and rebuilding scenes.

Lego Indiana Jones

Lego Belville

Lego Belville

There is always a lot of action going on in these commercials, where only boys play the role of the adventurer who is always in the midst of some kind of quest. Girls are never seen as the characters or the actual players in the games. The Lego Pirates of the Caribbean and the Lego Cars 2 also stresses the point that boy’s play is outdoors, rather than indoors, which is the opposite that is expected from girls. Lego Pirates of the Caribbean includes building a ship, while Lego Cars 2 obviously allows the building of cars. In contrast, the Lego Belville line of products aimed at girls has a whole other agenda. The Belville line, for which we couldn’t even find a commercial, includes Lego Belville Horse Stable, Belville Playful Puppy and, Belville Sunshine Home. This line of products plays on the stereotype that a female stays mostly indoors and that they are nurturing. While the boys’ line of Lego products is meant for boys to build, create, and explore, the girls’ line is meant for girls to take care of their home and nurture the animals, as women take care of children and homes in the real world.  There is no adventure seeking when all girls are to do is take care of the animals, and create a lovely a home as they wish with accessories included: furniture, kitchen, a father and a baby. These Lego toy differences clearly reinforce gender stereotypes. Interestingly enough, on the LEGO website out of their list of 37 product themes, Belville is the only one for girls.

Past studies suggest that children as young as four years of age are likely to choose gender-typed toys when they have seen them modeled on television by same-sex.  Hence, most children tend to accept sex stereotypes, identify with the stereotypical role of their gender, and punish other children, especially boys, who exhibit cross-gender behaviors and traits.  This punishment of other children can be especially harsh.  If a boy prefers “girl toys” or exhibits girl behaviors or traits such as being kind and caring, he can expect to be teased and called a sissy or gay.  Girls who prefer to play sports, be active and play with “boy toys” are often times labeled as tom boys or as being butch.  Being labeled as a tom boy may or may not lead to punishment by other children.  When I joined my daughter for lunch at school one day, I noticed that she sat with the boys while most of the girls in the class sat at another table.  The boys told me that my daughter was a tom boy because she liked boy things.  They accepted her as “one of the boys.”   As I have experienced with my daughter, six and seven-year old children are able to identify gender behaviors and traits and quickly label those children who exhibit cross-gender behaviors and traits. As a young child, my daughter didn’t differentiate the sexes, was willing to model behavior regardless of the models sex and developed a preference for “boy toys” and more active play.  As she has begun to understand the concept of gender constancy, she is able to identify gender roles and acknowledge her “deviance” from what is considered gender appropriate by accepting the label of tom boy.

The messages behind child oriented commercials continue to be extremely gender based. It was found that children watching television commercials contain little to challenge stereotypical gender roles. Children spend a lot of time watching television and their gender behavior has been shown to be influenced by television.

Clothing

Besides toys and video games, there is also a more marketable product that we witness advertised, which also depicts our stereotypical gender roles and that is clothing. Now since we’re talking about clothes how could it be that it’s more marketable, because don’t miss kids hate clothes? Clothing for children of course then appeal largely to adults, and these gender roles also play an influential role on them as well.

When it comes to clothing, companies and advertisements attract the children in various ways, one of them being the use of popular fictional characters. Children spend a very good amount of time watching television shows, typically cartoons, and what better way to make a child want an article of clothing more than putting their favorite TV or movie character on it. This in itself of course is gender oriented. Society as a whole tends to shy away from anything that is seen as “abnormal”, so with that being said clothing with characters such as Spiderman are intended to be appealing and worn by boys. If a little girl was seen wearing clothing of any kind with masculine male super heroes, GI Joes, or even racecars then it would be seen as strange or out of the ordinary.  Girls are taught to be “girly” and thus appealing to them through advertisements and just simple interest itself involves girly things, one of them being princesses. At the preschool age what little girl doesn’t want to be a princess? In our generation we grew up with the Disney movies and several of them involve princesses including Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, and Little Mermaid just to name a few. Not only do girls go crazy for clothes that depict such fictional characters, but if you put one of them in a an advertisement you’ll be sure to capture the attention of their sensitive and underdeveloped minds. It does not even have to be clothes that you would typically see outside in public, Disney actually sells princess dresses, which is sure to be a highly marketable product aimed towards little girls no older than four or five yours old. It may not seem that evident, but just the simply fact of little boys wearing clothes that have more masculine fictional characters on them and little girls wearing clothes with feminine characters on them give us that subliminal gender role idea that girls are to be associated with one thing and boys another and overlap such as a girls liking sports and acting like a “tomboy” is relatively different and does coincide with what society had taught us.

At preschool age clothing with fictional characters meant for boys and girls seem more clear-cut and give us a more direct look at how gender roles play a role, but it does in fact continue into the elementary school years. For instance check out this Gap commercial below.

The girls in this commercial are probably no older than ten years old, so they are probably out of the “princess stage”, thus how does this advertisement play a role towards our stereotypical gender roles? Well first of all they young girls are singing and dancing, something that boys typically are not associated with because it is somewhat of a girly activity, so if you really break it down that could be the first thing someone may point out. The cute little jingle and dance is a great way to capture the attention of girls that age and even parents, because when you think about there are plenty of parents especially mothers that find little girls in advertisements adorable and this just seems to spice it up a little. When listening to the song they sing their main point is that they don’t want to wear dresses anymore and they love their “comfy sweater”, and as you can see in the video they are wearing winter attire. So since dresses are our typical girls article of clothing, then how is that this commercial gives off the girly impression? Besides the jingle one can notice that the clothes itself are florescent and brightly colored. Colors are good way to stereotype gender roles, typically its boys associate with blue and girls with pink, and if boys playing with or wearing anything that’s considered a “girly” color like pink, purple, or yellow is not confiding with the norm.

Little boy in blue

So, in this commercial all the clothes are bright and florescent giving off the impression that girls clothing, and specifically young girls clothing should stand out in such ways as being bright florescent, but boys clothing probably not so much.

This Wal-Mart  commercial below gives us a little different outlook on the subject. Although this commercial does not intend to sell clothes, looking at the way it uses clothing to depict the young boy and girl does. Here we have two children no older than probably ten years old again and they are playing the roles of parents.

The parents they portray are blatantly gender oriented. The little girl is wearing bright red lipstick, high heels, bright red dress, and a bright yellow sun hat, all of which uses the emphasis of color like in the previous commercial. The boy is shown wearing more dull colors black vest, black tie, black pants, and a white shirt, which again overall gives us this immediate sense of what types or colors go with what gender. The girl is dressed as girly as can be, especially with the high heels and the furry red sash around her neck, this could be a way of the ad producers to play on the fact that young girls like to play dress-up in which case it is usually in their mother’s high heels and clothes, and this commercial plays on this well, especially with the use of overly girls items and colors. When you think about it they could have just shown the girl in average clothes, but they really hit the point home with the exaggeration and over the top girly look.

Dereon Girls ad

Continuing off of the exaggeration aspect we decided that it was appropriate to show this advertisement for Beyonce’s clothing line, which has it’s own girls collection. This clothing line is not just got the younger girls, but extends up into the early teen years around thirteen or so. With this being said the fact that the clothing line is Beyonce’s will make for a marketable product. Just as little girls like princesses and boys like superheroes, as they get older they look up too celebrities and if you’re a girl Beyonce is definitely one of those celebrities to look up to. Little girls admire her beauty and her signing talent and so what easier way to be like her then to wear her clothes? From the picture it is clear that the clothes are as girly as possible, there is no in between look.   Like the Wal-Mart ad these clothes are quite exaggerated with the use of high heels, furry sashes, and even brightly gold décor on the jean jacket of the model to the left. Again we seem to get that sense that girls are to be associated with the most concrete and blatantly girly items and accessories. Jean jackets and jean pants are items that apply to both genders, although they’re not as popular anymore, but adding the gold décor to it makes it undeniably girl oriented and adds that extra something that appeals to girls in the elementary school age. The clothes also appear to be more on the “high-end” side, which could be a positive or a negative. For the wealthier household this could be very appealing to the mothers, because some parents want their children to be fashionable and stylish so they lavish their children in nice clothes, and of course make sure it coincides with their gender.

Some of the different ways in which adults have made use of advertisements to market their products to children and adolescents have described above. Advertisements portray stereotypical gender roles when it comes to toys, video games and clothing. There are many other points and arguments that can be made about the dangers of advertising to children. In these specific cases, messages about gender stereotypes can create a false and strict idea of what a girl and boy should be. Parent’s should not let children just watch anything on TV, even though it might be hard because advertisements are a big part of it. Parent’s should also take time to teach their children the idea of gender norms, and how not everyone should follow them but try to be individuals instead. Parent’s should also implement media literacy and teach their children that there is a difference between a show such as a cartoon and an advertisement. They should teach them that even though an advertisement might have familiar faces or cartoon characters, that they should do follow everything they see. Children should learn about what advertisements are and, who puts them out there and why so that they will learn starting at a young age not to imitate what they see on the television. Parent’s should also try their best to avoid being strict with what toys girls and boys can play with and allow them to make their own decision. If parent’s are too strict when it comes to gender norms in their children, they can cause their children to believe and perpetuate the  norms seen on television. Advertisements shown in television have only grown in numbers over the years, so we doubt that advertisers will just cut them off. So it is up to parent’s and educators to teach children about the real deal when it comes to ads.

Advertisements

Cyber-Hate

Posted in Uncategorized on June 24, 2011 by SyrWRT205

Anti-Gay protest

In today’s society people who are completely against the ideal or belief of homophobia use several justifications in order to support their disagreement with it. One of these justifications that they use as a mean to get their point across is the bible. Anti-gay websites should not be rooted in biblical teachings. First of all, whatever happened to the idea of separation between church and state?  America is supposed to be diverse in terms of ethnicity, religion and orientation. It isn’t right that people support their hate with religion and for the so called evidence in the bible that is used by these perpetrators of hate, the god they believe in did not write the bible. People did. People whose interpretations of their faith influenced the writings in the bible. People who had the power to edit every single word that was published, and decided each and every word they wanted people to see. Why is it that Christians promote the belief that God has created everyone in his image. If this is so then God created everyone as he wanted them to be. Haters want to use single lines from the whole bible such as a verse in Leviticus, Chapter 18 verse 22 to account for their belief that gays are immoral. What happens with the overall theme of love and loving all people as equal? If Americans want to call themselves egalitarians then they need to put more pressure on hate groups so we can STOP THE HATE.

It is said that anti-gay websites share two common elements, the other one of those elements is that of the use of American Patriotism. The fact that hate groups think this is good justification is absurd, if anything their use of this offends many many more Americans than it does not. How is it that these hate groups think that homosexuality is un-American? One’s sexual orientation has nothing to do with where one is from hence why every country on our planet has gays and lesbians. By this, homosexuality is technically then universal and there are no symbols especially American symbols that could be used as anti-gay propaganda. There clearly is not much that could be said to individuals of a hate group in order to change their outlook, which explains why they come up with such ludicrous examples in which to justify their hatred towards individuals of the gay community. The irony of it all is that they use American symbols despite the fact that it does not make clear sense and that the American people as a majority probably has more of a negative outlook on these hate groups then the members of the gay community.

Proposal

Posted in Uncategorized on June 23, 2011 by SyrWRT205

Advertisements today are well aware of the effect they can have on the minds of young children when it comes to persuading them into wanting ta particular product and thus leading to the nagging or begging of one’s parents to purchase the desired product. Along with this comes the subliminal messages that advertisements send to young undeveloped minds such as gender roles, which we see when young boys are driving trucks or girls are in play kitchens cooking food. With this being said we will be taking a closer look at specific ads targeted towards the younger generation and see just how they are able to capture their attention, which leads to their ultimate goal of making a sale. The best way to explore the subject is by researching scholarly journals and other sources that have been written on the subject as well viewing the advertisements themselves.  In our blog we decided to discuss the negative influences that advertisements have children. These advertisement play a big influence on children because they grow up thinking they have to posses certain materialistic things and act a certain way.

Through research and analysis of current controversial ads we will determine which ads have the most negative impacts, why did is so, and how or why they should be changed. We will analyze which specific group of children is the focus (gender, age, SES), what tactics are being used to attract children (such as popular cartoons characters) what path of action is being influenced through the ad, what will be the negative impact, and how it can be changed to improve.

1. type of product (food, toys, etc.)
2. marketing technique (use of pop culture such as cartoons, make an existing product better/different)
3. gender role in ads? who exactly is the product for or is it geared towards all children (food), subliminal messages within ad?
4. negative effects of the ad (child obesity, guilt of parents, etc.)
5. Is it ethical?

Community Blogging

Posted in Uncategorized on June 21, 2011 by SyrWRT205

PostSecret card of the absent father

1.) While reading the PostSecret website each member of our group had a different reaction and found certain specific cards more intriguing than others. The fact that people aren’t afraid of what judgment can come out of their secrets is quite shocking. The picture where the mom admits to enjoying “disciplining” her child was the most vivid to me. She is admitting to having a problem and I like that someone she doesn’t even know replied to her secret in a  non-judgmental way and offered help (through a link to a website for prevention of child abuse). The card with the switch blade that reads “I wish my friend hadn’t made me promise i wouldn’t hurt myself anymore” makes us realize that situations like theirs occurs often around the world and overall it’s sad and depressing. Other more family related issues such as the fathers day card of the daughter that never got to experience  the love that a father can give but still forgives him demonstrates the humbleness of a young child that probably  never got the chance to have someone that she can call her father. The overall diversity of the posts that the author chose to put up on the website can be interesting. The types of posts extend over a broad range of topics such as suicide, child abuse, death and others that are shocking, sad, and personal. Then on the other side of the spectrum you have posts that are more funny and positive such as the one where a tv is admitted to being broken because of a Celtics loss and being able to orgasm after just a kiss. This keeps the site from being just strictly more on the negative side of personal secrets and and give us a sense that some really personal things can be shocking yet entertaining in a funny way.

2.) As a group overall, while reading the card we didn’t really try and identify the race or gender because we were just more intrigued by what was written. There were of course some instances where a card would be read and you automatically assume the gender, such as the broken TV as a result of a sports team loss, which we automatically assume to be written by a male. When it comes to these cards, it’s not really easy to identify the potential race of the person whom wrote it, hence gender seems to be the only thing that comes into play and it’s meaningful to be able to identify the gender because it allows us to think about some of the ongoing issues that both females and males face. This of course only applies if it is somewhat obvious to be able to identify the particular gender, but if we can then we are able to see what issues are prevalent among females and what issues are prevalent among males.