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Check out my video log of someone from “the future” risking it all to tell us about their dystopian world.
One article that I found particularly helpful for my research, which will also be beneficial for others in the class, focuses on providing information about the risks of cosmetic surgeries to correct unattractive facial features. Diana Zuckerman wishes to examine risks associated with these types of surgeries to inform teens and young women in order to assist them in making their decisions, realizing that it’s difficult to determine when surguries cross the line. She begins the article by describing plastic surgery in developing teens, moves on to the risks involved with it, and then addresses possible solutions, all the while proving her point that this topic of research needs more time and energy to ensure that we aren’t ruining young girls’ lives.
65,000. To fix noses, lift breasts, perform tummy tucks, and go through with liposuction, 65,000 girls between the ages of 13 and 19 sought and received cosmetic surgery, many of whom did not make informed decisions (Zuckerman). Zuckerman points out that girls usually gain weight between 18 and 21 years old, so most girls who get surgery may need to get it again as their bodies change. Not only does she worry that teens don’t fully comprehend the risks involved, but the FDA has concerns about silicone gel breast implants and how young women don’t know all the information. As Zuckerman explains the risks involved with plastic surgery, she points out that “most women who get breast implants have at least one serious complication within the first three years” (Zuckerman). Many things can go wrong, and if something does, the patient will most likely have to go through surgery again. Body dysmorphic disorder is also prevalent among women seeking surgery, which holds a psychological risk. Zuckerman wants young women to realize what they’re actually about to go through and to understand the full scope.
Not only are the physical and psychological risks associated with breast implants, but monetary risks exist as well. Cosmetic surgery is very expensive, and if a complication exists, a lot of women may not be able to pay for it. Zuckerman also explains the risks associated with liposuction. Most people don’t realize that there can be “infection, damage to skin, nerves or vital organs…or blood clots” that can lead to death (Zuckerman). Teens will most likely not pay attention to the risks associated with these surgeries, which is a problem since the media and “public has an inflated sense of the benefits” (Zuckerman). Overall, research is lacking in results, but the media is influencing young women on this issue, which leads to uninformed decisions.
In order to prevent these decisions from occurring, Zuckerman proposes a couple options. Effective screening is a great way to determine if a patient is ready and mature enough to transform her body. Also, research is very important in this area since studies found that body images of teens improves regardless of going through plastic surgery or not (Zuckerman). Zuckerman feels that there is not enough long-term research for teens and their parents to make informed decision about cosmetic surgery.
This article is very important to my research because it showcases that we could be encouraging uninformed decisions about plastic surgery and that benefits of cosmetic surgery are inflated, just like in the novel Uglies. Many of the presentations focused on what dystopias can teach us about our society, and this article is a great example of what Uglies teaches us about our fears and how this benefits our society. We as a society are not focusing on the major problems associated with cosmetic surgery, and Zuckerman and I both realize that this needs to be changed.
Zuckerman, Diana. “Teens and Cosmetic Surgery.” Our Bodies Ourselves, 6 May 2016, www.ourbodiesourselves.org/health-info/teens-cosmetic-surgery/. Accessed 22 Feb. 2017.
The survey was conducted by Match, the largest relationship company in the world, and the participants are singles in America. The study covers many topics, from traits in potential partners, to the do’s and don’ts of a first date, the expectations of a romantic relationship, and how technology has affected dating. The participating group consisted of both men and women, and specific statistics were derived from the millennial generation to draw a comparison between the different generations.
To start with, statistics show that 15% of singles are addicted to dating, they enjoy the process of looking for a date. However, Millennials are 125% more likely to be addicted to dating, which implies how important dating has become in the social aspect of the younger generation’s lives. This statistic is supportive in my argument of how the millennial generation are not really taking dating seriously. Dating seems to be more of an amusing activity rather than trying to form genuine connections with others.
Additionally, singles are very judgmental, and during the mock academic conference, one of the presentations emphasize how insecurity is a flaw of our society that needs to be addressed. 42% of the singles judge their first date by their social media or profile picture, and this attitude contributes to the stigma that appearances are more important than personalities. Social media has only increased the insecurities of society in regards to looks, and the impact has reached the dating realm.
Feminism is a movement that is often misunderstood; in fact, 43% of the singles believe it has many different definitions. Feminism encourages the image of a strong independent woman, and many often translate this into the idea of single women who refuse to date men because they are do not rely on men. The misunderstandings of feminism can in a way discourage the whole romantic chivalrous side of dating, and the millennial generation appears to be the most approving of the feminist movement, which in turn can explain why dating is the least romantic when it concerns millennials.
Overall, the survey can be used as evidence in the research paper as inferences drawn from the statistics support main points of the argument. During the analysis of the survey, Match does project a certain bias towards online dating, emphasizing to the fact that online dating being popular is good, and this bias is logical. Match would not want to discourage the use of dating websites since the company is the original dating website. However, actual numbers from the survey are not biased; therefore, they can be used as evidence in support of the argument of the research paper. The argument is mainly about the millennial dating culture, and the statistics pertaining to the millennials are most relevant. Essentially, the thesis of the argument is that the characteristics implied in this survey are reflected in young adult dystopian novels.
“Singles in America Match Releases Largest Study on U.S. Single Population.” Multivu. Feb 6 2017. www.multivu.com/players/English/8024551-match-7th-annual-singles-in-america-study/?c=y?. Accessed 13 March 2017.
One article that could contribute greatly to many presentations is “America the Dystopia?” by Jean Card. Card presents the idea that our world is getting closer and closer to one of the many dystopian societies that fiction writers depict today. She describes historical, political, and cultural changes that are gaining momentum, but that will affect our world in a negative manner. She proceeds to detail the government found in many dystopian societies: a large government led by a charismatic leader who relies on martial order and control of natural resources. Continuing on through the article, she breaks down many individual characteristics of dystopias, and indirectly connects them to our own world.
The first idea Card gives the reader is, “Big government and big media are dominating American society and suffocating free speech. Who will rise up?”. If the presenter is of the opinion that America could possibly move toward a dystopian-like existence, then this article examines many of the aspects that support that claim. Card breaks down the way the government and media have taken steps to inhibit truly free speech. She defines the term “political correctness” and talks of how many American citizens feel “muzzled” by the negative reception speaking freely brings. This, she states, is due to the way the centralized media has been grooming the culture. She speaks of every kind of diversity being so embraced that it almost feels enforced. She goes on to give a breakdown of how she believes our government has devolved from the shining ideal our forefathers created it to be.
Technology is another aspect that Card analyzes in our society and then compares to technological usage in fictional dystopias. Technology, she says, in dystopias has made almost magical advancements, and, yet, if we look at the technology we have in our world today, we can see just as “magical” of advancements. The information that can be accessed with our technology typically comes from a centralized source. One of the examples Card gives is as follows, “Facebook has the centralized, massive, unprecedented power to influence the information we consume, almost blithely, on a daily basis,”. The technology and information available to us has become both a blessing and a curse. In all, the article is good food for the thought if nothing else, however, if your own opinion is mirrored in the article, it can be quite a valuable resource.
Here is the link to my vlog:
Also, the original source is from here:
“is the technology in dystopian fiction merely an instrument in the hands of the state’s totalitarian rulers, used by them to enforce a set of values extrinsic to the technology itself, or is it, rather, an autonomous force that determines the values and thus shapes the society in its own image, a force to which even the putative rulers—the Well-Doers and Big Brothers and World Controllers—are subservient?”
My conference presentation is on a topic that’s really interested me throughout the course of this class. Technology is a common theme throughout the books we’ve read and discussed, as well as an integral and ever-growing part of our society today. In my research, I asked the question, what social impact does technology have, both in the context of dystopian novels and in real life? After an analysis of my independent reading, along with class readings and other articles and books on the matter, I came to the conclusion that technology is portrayed as escalating social stratification throughout young adult dystopian literature, reflecting the way in which society struggles with the boundaries created by a growing technological presence today.
Throughout the presentation, we’ll first explore examples of social orders implemented or heightened by technology, looking specifically at Diana Peterfreund’s For Darkness Shows the Stars and Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.
We’ll then continue to discuss a concept known as determinism, and how this view is often the driving force behind the dystopian nature of technological advancements. I’m particularly interested in the work of two scholars pertaining to this subject: Gorman Beauchamp, who argues that technology isn’t something that happens to fall in the hands of totalitarian rulers, but rather is intrinsically totalitarian in itself, and Langdon Winner, who believes that advancements in technology limit our choices and constrains the direction in which we grow as a society.
In his work, Winner also discusses how this results in the implementation of social boundaries through the metaphor of a city-suburb relationship. While in a city, we’re forced to bump shoulders and come in contact with people of all backgrounds and opinions, while suburbia is an escape from this diversity, where one can live in a bubble of their own views and not be bothered by those of others. Winner argues that cyberspace is comparable to suburbia, where one can access media that applies specifically to their niche in society. I’m excited to share more about my research with you all and to gain more perspective on this topic.
Dystopian literature is a pivotal tool in critiquing current society and providing us examples, although some more extreme than others, of what could happen if we don’t change or improve our current society’s flaws. With this idea in mind, dystopian novels often try to create realistic worlds in which we can clearly see parallels between the society depicted and our own. Therefore, the political and social climate the novel was written plays a key role in how these divisions of race, class, and gender are represented in dystopias. For my conference and research paper, I will be using my novel The Selection and other dystopian novels written throughout recent history to analyze the difference between female and male depiction in dystopian literature and how situations in society at the time they were written impacted this representation.
Women have been struggling to gain equality in our society for much of the past two hundred years. Through historical periods such as the suffrage movement or women’s liberation movement, men and women have been given more equal roles in society, yet today divisions still exist. As dystopian novels often critique the flaws of our society, when our society refuses to recognize the genders as equal, these novels provide examples of the downfalls of this lack of recognition, or the benefits when one challenges the recognition.
More recently, though men and women are more equal than ever, there still exists gaps in equality between the genders. Currently, difference in wage, political representation, and statistics in employment reinforce the gaps that exist in gender. Stereotypes and social norms still influence society’s thought and perception of the two genders and therefore the fight more recently has been toward changing the social climate of our society and the views of the genders.
My independent reading book, published recently in 2012, The Selection, the strong, feminist lead America challenges stereotypes given by her society, where men are the providers and women are valued moreover for beauty than intelligence. The Selection emulates The Bachelor, where one man chooses from a pool of many women. The Selection seems to be a criticism of such shows like The Bachelor that objectify women.
Dystopian literature allows us to reflect on the current state our society and provides a warning of how portions of our society could worsen. In order to truly understanding the gender systems in dystopias, we must analyze the society at the time By doing so, we can deduce the root of the depiction of gender in the novel and how the dystopia seeks to address or overcome the flaw in gender divisions plaguing society.
Cass, Kiera. The Selection. New York, HarperTeen, 2012.
While dystopian literature is a criticism of society, sociology is the study of society. Specifically, sociology is the study of individual experiences in relation to broader issues in society. It can be used as a tool to help us understand why dystopias are inherently problematic.
I am interested in examining dystopian fiction through a sociological perspective. I would like to explore how characters in dystopias have been molded by society, and how their actions and thoughts are driven by their experiences in predetermined (and often inflexible) social structures. I am also interested in analyzing the interactions between characters, and how those interactions might reflect norms and values of that particular society.
In my independent reading book, Legend, for example, there are divisions between the wealthy and poor, very few opportunities for economic mobility, and conflicting interests between different groups of people. The two protagonists (June and Day) are closely matched in intelligence and physical ability. However, both are positioned very differently in a society that is hierarchal and stratified. While June was sent to a prestigious college and trained under the best minds, Day was separated from his family and sent to a labor camp. In the Republic, the dystopian society in Legend, a person’s whole life is determined not by merit, but by a biased system that favors those who were born a certain way. I am interested in researching how such a system would affect characters differently, and the importance of these effects in shaping the trajectories of their lives and their views of the world.
The Ruby Sector (wealthy) vs. The Lake Sector (poverty-stricken) in Legend
Another potential area of interest is the discussion of diversity. Mainly, I am interested in exploring the roles of race, ethnicity, and gender in dystopias and how they might influence decision making. In Little Brother, the author did a good job of illustrating internal and external conflicts in relation to identity. In one chapter, the protagonist, Marcus, was upset and bewildered that his good friend, Jolu, decided to stop participating in the rebellious Xnet movement. Jolu then explained his decision as one not of cowardice, but of self-protection, one that results from being a minority. Ultimately, Marcus understood “what Jolu was saying. Whatever risk [he] ran, Jolu ran more. Whatever penalty [he’d] pay, Jolu would pay more” (Doctorow 160). I thought this was an important moment in the book that explains why certain characters behave the way they do. It also sheds light on engrained issues in society – the consequences of which are magnified and are especially prevalent in dystopias. Hopefully, after weeks of research, I can formulate a better answer to the question: What social issues are brought to the forefront through dystopian literature, and how are individual lives ultimately connected to these issues?
Doctorow, Cory. Little Brother. Tor Books, 2008.
Lu, Marie. Legend. Penguin Books, 2011.
What interested me most about dystopia are just a few things. One is when a good author can take real situation that can cause dystopia’s to happen. If I was to use the book little brother as an example where the government ruled over technology and the public was upset. Look at an event that didn’t happen to long ago when a china closed all social media and only Hong Kong was about to report the news because of its ties to the British, doesn’t this sound like little brother. The next thing I like about dystopia is the hero or heroic of a story, that fact someone will rise out of the ashes to restore faith and light into the world and crumble the dystopia land kind of like a good underdog story. The last thing that interest me about a dystopia novel is that our hero is really a ‘’bad person’’ in little brother Marcus was the protagonist in the story, continue to break federal laws and was wanted by the government. These thing about a dystopia often interests me into reading or watching the movies.
What often upset me because I can’t figure out is why do in dystopias ever happen in the first place. I know a world is a very unpleasant place set with limit that come at a cost but dystopia no one loves nothing about it. I love America even though I have seen a system that continue to not work for my people years and years of not helping us but I still love this country but Katniss hates district 12 and the capitol. I’m not able to answer why they happens, the main charater in my book is a person who begin the story as someone who can’t read nor write and lives in a patriarchy society where women are the depress ones.